Thursday, June 16, 2011

A turtle, a bumpy path and some amazing shrimp

Sometimes you just need to take a break. That's what my husband and I decided last night. Work stress was threatening to put us both in the hospital so we took the night off. After all, the yard work and gardening could wait and I would just have to work a little smarter to make up for an evening spent somewhere other than at my desk.

After Bill got home, we headed out to one of our favorite spots from when we were dating -- the Wildflower Reserve in Clinton, PA. We're not quite sure why they call it a wildflower reserve, because there are very few flowers anywhere on the property, but we love walking through the woods, despite the multiple roots crossing our way and making it a bit difficult to manuever at times.

The weather was perfect. High 70s with practically no humidity. Thinking ahead, I stuffed some vanilla-infused cotton balls in a bag in my pocket, just in case the mosquitoes were in attack-mode. They were and, after coating our bare skin in vanilla, they basically left us alone. Score one for the relaxation mission!

The highlight of my walk, other than holding hands with the man I adore, was stumbling upon a box turtle. I resisted the urge to take him home with us to put by the pond (good call, Bill), but I did pick him up and check out his spotted belly. Little things like that make me happy. They bring out the inquisitive little girl in me who used to lift rocks hunting for salamanders and snakes in my childhood days in Manheim with my best friend, Dawn. We had such fun together.

As the sun was setting, we headed back to the car in search of a good restaurant for a late dinner. By the time we got to the first choice on our list, the kitchen was closed. The second choice was too pricey, so we politely excused ourselves and the third option was a charm!

We stopped at Smokey Bones, where we had the best service (thank you, Justin) and amazing food, including some teriyaki shrimp that was unbelievable.

In the past, I would have driven right past Smokey Bones and looked elsewhere for our late night supper. After all, they used to be part of the Darden chain of restaurants, which I will not support. Fortunately, they were bought out. Dardin owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze, Longhorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille and Seasons 52. Why won't I dine in any of these restaurants? Simply because Darden is a supporter of Planned Parenthood (like they need corporate support after sucking up so much tax money from the government).

For me, there is no reason to give Dardin a nickel of my money, when I know there are many other good, and sometimes superior, options available.

We drove home, after leaving Justin a generous tip (he had to stay later because we came in so late), feeling revived and refreshed. It was a good night.

And now, I have to get back to focusing on deadlines and pleasing clients.

Reminding you to take some time to relax in nature,


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