Our Lake

IMG_0607IMG_0617You know how couples will have special songs or movies they claim as their own? Ray and I have a lake. Specifically, Lake Desoto in downtown Lake City.
I have a long history with that lake, but it didn’t become really special to me until I was in my twenties. As a child I remember my mom taking me to Lake Desoto to throw old bread at ducks and look for turtles. At the time there were several large victorian-style homes surrounding the lake and I remember wanted to live in one of them sooooo bad. Not that I didn’t love the house I grew up in, but living on a lake and being able to feed baby ducks stale bread all day is a 4 year old’s dream. When I was a teenager I would walk around the lake with my friends too late at night and talk about high school drama and boys.tbt lake desoto 1948Lake City Institue on Lake Desoto 1892(a few photos from around our favorite lake way before we were born via florida memory)
Before we were married (or even dating) Ray moved into an apartment on our lake. Albeit a little run-down, it was perfect for him. 2 bedrooms, a decent size living room, and french doors that opened right onto the lake. We spent many evenings sitting outside, walking around the lake, searching for alligator gar, and watching the ducks… and as cheesy as it sounds, it was pretty magical. I mean, how can you beat that sunset?
IMG_0616IMG_0627 Ray and I both have so many memories on that lake, both together and separately. It’s been the backdrop of our love story. Our first kiss was at Lake Desoto, we got engaged there, we spent time alone there just hours before our wedding, and we still visit almost daily to debrief after our work days. It’s our lake and we couldn’t be more in love with it.

Lawn Woes

IMG_0591Guys, I just have to share/vent/rant/cry for a moment about lawn maintenance. Our lawn is a straight up meadow in the front. Our hedges are out of control. We have a jungle patch in our back yard. For some reason, it’s 100% impossible for us to find a dependable yard guy that isn’t going to charge us $150 to mow our grass and trim our hedges.
Whew, let’s start from the beginning. You may be asking “Why do you need a yard person, anyway?! Cut your own grass!” For the first year we owned Big Brown, Ray cut our grass. Unfortunately, our lawn mower broke, we paid to have it fixed, and then it broke again. We borrowed my dad’s lawn mower and it was stolen, along with our broken one, out of our shed the next day. We were really REALLY poor at the time and replacing my dad’s lawn mower was a stretch. We certainly couldn’t afford to replace ours that didn’t work anyway.
Last summer, after going through several lawn guys, we finally found someone who did a not-so-great job, but showed up regularly so we kept him. He quit yard work in the fall.
We knew we would have to hire someone again for this year, because after Ray’s surgeries and him being sick for so long it wasn’t the best idea for him to do yard work. This summer we’ve gone through a couple of people. One who we paid to mow our grass and trim the hedges and then he never trimmed the hedges. One who made promises to mow and then 32948203984 excuses not to. One who said he got stung by a bee, so he went home. One who quoted us $100 for the yard and then a week later quoted us $200. Hello? Our yard isn’t THAT big. We had another guy who mowed once, and now his mower has been broken for a month.IMG_0592 Why is it so difficult to find a reasonably priced lawn guy who is consistent and does a good job? Over the last few years, we’ve received several letters from the city telling us we have to cut our grass or we’ll be charged $200 a day. They claim our grass is in violation of a city ordinance… which, I mean, it probably is. Guys, I’m over it!! Can we just replace all our grass with rocks or mulch? ūüėČ
If you’re local and have a great lawn guy please send him my way!

UPDATE:
While I absolutely did not write this blog post to coax someone into mowing our grass for us, our good friend Jonny was taking care of our yard before we came home from work. How sweet is that? We really have some great friends. We also were given several names and numbers of reputable yard guys. Thanks, guys! 

#throwbackthursday

The news loves to talk about the dangers of social media, how it’s producing a generation of narcissists and selfie-addicts. While I very much agree, I also believe social media has produced a lot of positive and fun things as well. One of my favorite things that has come out of social media is the hashtag #throwbackthursday. With the TimeHop app, #throwbackthursday couldn’t be easier to participate in. I love to reminisce and see old photos. I love to remember fun times, and even hard times. Today I want to share and explain some of my favorite throw back photos of Ray and I.alliray¬†This is a classic Allison/Ray photo. The first time Ray and I hung out with each other alone was in the Spring of 2007. We had been friends for a while and always had a good chemistry. We would hang out at church and talk back and forth on myspace, a throw back in and of itself. One day, he asked if I wanted to go to Live Oak with him while he paid a traffic ticket, haha. I had a new fancy camera, so we decided to have a photo adventure day after he paid his ticket. On our photo tour we found this flamingo and had to take a few shots with him. That evening, Ray sent me this picture, of our individual photos on top of each other. He also made one for himself with his flamingo photo on top and mine on the bottom. We used them as our myspace profile pictures for a long time. I loved this photo then, and I love it even more now.alliray 2¬†This tank photo was taken on the same day as the flamingo photos. We were so young and carefree.¬†4th of July 3¬†This photo was taken about a year after the flamingo photos. We had been dating for about a month. Ray had shaved off his beard because he thought I didn’t like it, which was completely false but at the time (2008) the average girl wasn’t into beards. So, we’ll forgive him. Before selfies were all the rage, bathroom mirror photos were the thing. So, here we are in Ray’s tiny apartment bathroom, dirty mirror, dinosaur stickers and all.¬†alliray 4¬†This is, in fact, probably one of the worst photos of me. I have no idea when, where, or by whom it was taken. While this isn’t the cutest depiction of my face (ahem, I look like a goon), I love that I’m wearing my airplane necklace. For Valentines day in 2008 (right after we became official) Ray gave me an airplane necklace he bought from etsy. While it’s not something I would wear much today and it was relatively cheap, I love that necklace so much. It reminds me of the beginning of our relationship, when we were young, silly, ¬†and I had a job where airplane necklaces were acceptable. Haha.
I’m looking forward to the next 10 years of photos Ray and I will have together.

Infinity Con 2015 recap!

IMG_3613As many of you know, this past weekend was the second annual Infinity Con in Lake City, FL. If you would have told me 10 (or even 5) years ago that I would be part of putting together a comic and pop culture convention I would have told you that you’d lost your mind. But guess what, this is where I am today.
Infinity Con was a lot of work. Like, A LOT of work. We were planning last fall, and probably should have started earlier than that. We had volunteers tirelessly working Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to make this event great. Guys, I just want to cry when I think about how amazing our volunteers were. When the flooring we rented turned out to not be at all what we ordered, our volunteers BUILT a floor. They not only built a floor, they took the floor apart, moved tables and chairs, put together pipes and drapes, cleaned, stuffed bags, folded tshirts, manned our ticket booth, took care of our guests, MCed our panels, dug moats in case of rain, parked cars, and so much more. We just can’t thank them enough!!IMG_3610IMG_3387IMG_3606 (1)One goal for Infinity Con was to create an environment that promoted the arts and creativity. Another was to have a place where people, who perhaps sometimes feel like outcasts, could feel included. We also wanted to provide a family-friendly event for our local community. We wanted to love and support our local community and the larger “geek” community… but what actually happened was that they loved and supported us more than we could have imagined. When we felt like we were about to break over flooring or weather, we experienced an overwhelming amount of love and encouragement. I mean, on Saturday morning when I was on the edge of tears, the Mayor wouldn’t stop talking about how great Infinity Con was for Lake City. When the Fire Marshall arrived before the event (and we had quite a few things that needed to be changed) he was so encouraging and helped us come up with a plan to make the event safe.
It was a long hard weekend, but it was wonderful! Thank you again to all our guests, attendees, and volunteers! See you next year! FullSizeRender