We have had a sort of staycation this holiday season.  The hubs and I traipsed around north Texas and Oklahoma in search of small treasures, and something interesting and different to do.

Honestly, I would have liked to go somewhere beachy over the break but my car was not about to let that happen as it went into the shop and practically cost us a small house in repairs.  Crap, I could have purchased 2 acres somewhere in the piney woods of East Texas for the price of it all. Damned car.

Despite this, we decided it would not ruin our nice long break from reality so a staycation was in order.  Besides, there were the holidays, birthdays, and family in town to keep us busy enough.

Not usually taken to spontaneity, the spousal unit suggested that though I might think it was crazy, he wanted to go do something yesterday, but what?  Ya, ya, sure, sure, he's terribly exciting.  Don't I know it.

Suddenly it became about what I wanted to do in his fly by the seat of his pants moment.  So I suggested we go to Choctaw to gamble.  To be honest, we had not been there since Choctaw was in a large metal building in a field. I still remember it vividly because we took my parents and we all walked out of there so smug, having won a couple bucks each.  Good times.

So Choctaw it is, and we set off to the now sprawling, and ever constructing and reconstructing fortress which is Oklahoma gambling at its finest. It was a far cry from the metal warehouse we went to many moons ago.  Now it is a fancy building, with its own road, hotel, and massive parking garage.

It was a rainy and dark day and we felt a sort of sense of foreboding as we walked around puddles in the dark garage. Once inside, the smoke about killed me, but at least my eyes did not get all dry and scratchy this time.  Well, there's that.

Lady Luck was not to be ours as the two cheapos in us played the penny slots.  I played a whopping $40 and the hubs an astounding $3.  Guess we're  not much in the way of gamblers you could say, but we had fun just the same.  After a couple hours I egged him on to lose that last damned .30 cents. You could swear it would have killed my own personal Fred Mertz sitting there, pinching every penny out of that last dollar. Sheesh.

With that through, we decided a couple little side trips were in order.  Now we were really walking on the wild side.

On the way home we stopped at our favorite little Oklahoma shack called The Peanut Shoppe. Gawd I love this store.  Every kind of peanut, nut, and chocolate covered cluster you can think of. We used to go buy the tubs of nuts back in the day, and their peanut brittle is awesome and cheap.

The next stop was a trip to main street Denison which I had never been to but was one of the stops on the Google vacation day I took the day after Christmas.  I swear, if you have never gone and Googled tiny towns out in no man's land, you would have no idea how cool this country is.  Did you know that there is a Prada store in the middle of the desert just outside of Marfa, Texas?  Yup, a lone, boxy store sits under the crazy lights of Marfa, which I am convinced are bouncing aurora borealis lights instead of alien lights, since I'm not really given to believing in ghosts, monsters, Sasquatch, aliens, or supernatural crap.

Anywho, my fingers traipsed all over Texas looking at quaint little historic downtowns and marveling at how most of them were built around a center massive stone courthouse. Some were a little more utilitarian, such as those out in the Llano Estacado, and some were just plain non-existent.  But many had cute bar and grills and antique shops, and in person, Denison did not disappoint.

I've been on a hunt for the past couple months for some sort of crockery to use as an umbrella stand. To be honest, the desire came when I saw my chivalrous son take one of the umbrellas from the garage and hold it over his girlfriend on her way out the door to her car.  In that instant, something just felt right about umbrellas and the notion to have a proper stand to corral our collection of mismatched and ugly umbrellas burned in my mind.

I mean, there's the Nascar one, the two purple ViaViente ones, the powder blue and white one. Honestly, what does one do in Texas with so many umbrellas?  It's as if we get a ton of rain here in dry, severe drought-stricken North Texas.  In fact, for years we have been getting pretty much nil in the rain department.  But still, I got struck with the need for an umbrella stand to warm up the front entrance, and I found the perfect pickle crock in Denison to serve for years, strong and heavy.

Wouldn't you know, the moment I got that bad boy in my car the need for vintage black umbrellas suddenly set it?  Cuz that's how it works, you know.  It is a never-ending cycle of divide and conquer, or in my case, binge and purge.  Clutter begins to grow, my OCD side becomes overwhelmingly sick of clutter, I declutter to the trash picker's delight at our front curb, and then the clutter begins growing again.

Now you have to understand something here.  For me, clutter means having more than one objet d'art on one surface.  If I can't take a right handed swipe at the surface as the left hand holds up the object, it's just plain too much crap to clean then.

But there it was, the creamy, cracked crock that glows by the front door with tons of character. Hells, the crack helped me get it for $25 instead of the pristine one across the street they wanted $75 for. Ya, it was the thrill of the hunt for me, and Fred Mertz's creaking wallet in the background.

Feeling called, nay possessed by the warmth and protection the image of used and tattered, black umbrellas with bamboo, sterling metal, bakelite, or acrylic handles conjures in my mind, I am now back on the hunt.  In fact, I may make the hubs take me back up to Denison to go buy a handsome vintage umbrella with an ornate, sterling curved handle I saw yesterday in one of the antique stores. Because wouldn't that just look so cute in my new umbrella crock?

Of course, once I placed it in its new home next to the front door, and I actually got to use it last night while walking the dogs in the rain, I realized I needed a stool on the other side of the door for a place to sit down and take off my shoes or set my wet hat and gloves.  Good thing I made sure everything in the house goes with everything in the house because I had just the ticket sitting next to the armoire in the living room. So I have my stool to sit upon but that left an odd, empty spot where the stool once stood so the vintage set of skis took the stool's place, and so on and so forth and well, ya, the house got redecorated last night.