From time to time, especially after an avalanche of rumors like those in last week’s column, I like to slow my pace, take a deep breath and reflect.

At the moment, I’m looking around at my home, the cleaning of which has been half-hearted for the past few weeks, and I know what this means. Deep in my psyche a voice is crying out, "It’s time to go on vacation!" This unanswered cry, like a whining teenager, is acting out through my own ambivalence toward my daily tasks. Should I do that laundry first, or download that new app? Clearly, the diversion of the new app is the priority. So, yes, several weeks in advance, I find myself distracted by thoughts of being elsewhere doing anything but the ordinary.

After almost five years of marriage, my vacation planning skills have improved dramatically, and my husband has entrusted the responsibility to me. Those of you who enjoy a good treasure hunt can imagine how I relished the hours of scouring the web for lodging, maps, attractions and so forth. I have a wonderful trip planned for us, if the departure date would only get here.

Letitia McMaster, owner of Backachers Ranch, called last week with information about her new project. She is the founder of McMaster Physical Therapy in Conway, which she recently sold. Her career in physical therapy goes back 30 years, thus the cute spelling of "Backachers."

McMaster grew up on a farm in northwest Arkansas, where she learned to enjoy horses. After putting in all those years into her chosen career, she has decided to do something just for fun. The ranch, located on College Avenue near the McGee Center, will have a full-service covered arena, a commercial kitchen, event center, and a veterinary station with 27 stalls. The facility already has 22 stalls where folks board their horses.

McMaster said the ranch will be a host for the University of Central Arkansas equestrian team’s competitions. They will give English and Western riding lessons and board horses for people in town. Also, the event center will be available for weddings, parties and so forth.

Marco’s Pizza has been open for a couple of weeks. It is located in the Nutters Chapel shopping center at Dave Ward Drive and Nutter Chapel Road.

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe, which is under construction at the former Pizza Inn building on Oak Street, has applied for a liquor license. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will make a decision on the permit in June.

(Rachel Parker Dickerson is a freelance columnist/journalist. Send your questions and comments to