Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall 2012

An Autumn Affair

Taken on our breakfast nook pub table.

On the first day of fall, we headed to the Ozark Mountains in Ridgedale Missouri. I think going on a trip is the best way to start the season. Because although traveling takes us away from home, it also - according to Albert Camus - brings us back to ourselves.

Big Cedar Lodge is an 800-acre Table Rock Lake luxury resort.

We returned feeling more like ourselves, but even more alive. We stayed at the Wilderness Club in Big Cedar Lodge, a sprawling mountain luxury resort that is so pretty beyond words, so I’m not even going to try to describe it. Anyway, I will be writing about it soon in one of my magazines. 

Charming cottages built in the 1920s dot the purple fields.

It was a wonderful four-day weekend with family and an old friend from high school. Before graduation, she left for NY, and we reunited over a decade later in the Midwest. Over a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau and slices of stilton with cranberry, we laughed, we talked, we gossiped, and we reminisced. And in the process, we discovered how friendship can transcend time and distance.

The friendship that defies time and distance.

The trip was also a rediscovery of my little boy who is growing up so fast. It was an entirely different experience traveling with him now that he is more mobile, more inquisitive, and definitely more demanding. During our last trips to Texas and the East Coast, he was hardly a crawler and didn’t react much to the new things around him. 

Enjoying the fresh mountain air.

The Ozarks not only opened the mountains and a new version of ourselves to us, it also offered us a new way to travel: in luxury. 

We bought a time share plan with BlueGreen Resorts, guaranteeing us three -five star accommodations for at least one international trip and one US trip every year for a lifetime, all for a one-time cost payable in a year and a minimal yearly maintenance fee. This means that from here on now, we don’t have to pay a single cent for our lodgings and no longer have to worry about our budget no matter how much the rates appreciate. What really reeled us in aside from the thousands of participating hotels and resorts abroad is the fact that we’re buying a deed for an actual property, so if we choose to someday, we can resell it or pass it on to our kids. In short, it’s an investment that we get to enjoy every year.

That little house at the end of the path.

We’ve met an old timer who bought into this ownership decades ago and he said it has worked out well for him. His children have also benefitted immensely, that he just recently bought into a bigger share.

The share comes with a lot of perks, but here’s a big tip if you’re interested in this kind of ownership. Go to a Bass Pro Shop and ask about the Bluegreen vacation preview event. If you sign in through Bass Pro, you will get even additional bonuses. As one of their sweeteners, they’ve invited us back to recap on our investment for a free 3-night weekend. We’re going back this November to explore Branson, home to the biggest outlet malls in the country and the live music show capital of the world. I’m more interested in the former.

The apples on the banner are from a brief stopover in Arkansas.

The time share is represented by one of the key chains on the banner. In the middle is an MG keychain for my husband’s first midlife crises car. I say "first" because seeing how he looks up to his dad, he may follow in his dad’s footsteps. The senior Lykes started with an MG, followed by another one, then a Porsche, before he finally settled to a BMW Z3 convertible. Mind you, my husband has actually not reached the mid mark yet, but I figured he deserves the MG Midget as a reward for all the hard work he has done for the past few years. The British ever car, a 1979  MG Midget, the last MG ever manufactured, is also our “date night” car.

The 1979 MG Midget is the last one manufactured by the company.

I once read that making your child (or children) the center of your marriage is a big mistake. Family should be the center of marriage. Although I would readily give up my life for my son,   I believe that every member of the family should have equal importance, otherwise the child can grow up spoiled and dependent and the marriage may suffer. Our date night car is a representation of my belief because the car only seats two and therefore gives us the occasional opportunity to rediscover ourselves as man and wife. This is also why my husband and I go on second honeymoon trips every now and then.

This tiny tinker toy will be a long time project for him, but so far, it's been running purrrfectly.

The last keychain, with the interlocking GG, is for a Gucci tote that I recently purchased. After all, don’t we love to travel in style?  Since I moved to the States, the money that I’ve been earning in the Philippines has been going to charity. The rest is saved up as pocket money for our visits back there. Just recently I decided to splurge on myself. So while you see the classic entertwined Gucci insignia on the canvass, I see my articles written all over it. I also love it because I can stuff all my essentials in it: camera and diapers included!

A babe is a better accessory than a Birkin bag (or a Gucci for that matter).

Finally, the featured book: Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, said to be the novel that defined a generation. Also a novel that’s hard to read. After reading a book with a language so fluid, I fumbled constantly with Kerouac’s beat. While I was never one for poetry, beat poetry I somewhat appreciated because of the cadence, the exuberance, and the madness in which it seems to be spit out of the writer’s mind. But on long prose, it became a struggle for me, which explains why I am only halfway through the book.

The Devil's Pool in God's country.

I am however enjoying the joy ride so far. The novel gave me a backseat in the character’s mud- sputtered ’49 Hudson as his caravan zipped across America with reckless abandon. It also offered me a seat in the character’s messy and carefree mind.  And then in every page or so, I would encounter some of Kerouac’s brilliant lines, including one of my all-time favorites which I shall leave you with to fall for:

the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes "Awww!"


As the seasons change, so will my desktop banner. I will be adding little touches to it, moving the items around, and customizing it for the season. I will archive its transformation on My Desk. 

Read more about how I put the banner together and how my real writer's desk looks like at My Desk. And tell me how your desk looks like, and I will tell you who you are.



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