Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

I Really Wuv Ken Burns

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Well worth the short five-minute watch.

I love his 1+1=3 analogy and the thought that his work is an attempt to wake the dead. I have often thought that bringing back the dead inspires me to write, or often the desire to hold on to life, because it could be gone in a moment.

I’m heading to Chattanooga tomorrow, and it is a place where I really hear the echoes of the dead. I might be waking the dead a bit. I’m thinking of Grandma, and Uncle Charlie, and Aunt Dot, Margaret and Mary, and even little Gretchen. And Jane, sweet Jane. There is something sweet about walking where others walked and making new memories that mingle so closely with the old. Bittersweet, but mostly sweet.

Thanks for sharing, T2.

Spring Break 2012

Monday, April 9th, 2012

We did the Spring Break thing. A few days on Hilton Head (Todd had a shoot this week: Bad advertising world! Bad!) and then we did the lake for Easter with the whole family. About 24 hours of my family in one small 2BR lakehouse is all I can take, no matter how much I love them. I think this is normal?

So busy after being gone – work, laundry, trying to get back into a diet and exercise happy place. I feel like a train that derailed in a fiery crash of fried, fat, beer and excess!

Highlights of the week, not in photos: Fishing with my kiddos at dusk. Morning kids swimming with dog while I drink coffee at lake. Watching Brody revel in lake life. Puttering around with my dad for a day at the lake, fixing stuff, for once not snapping at each other. A rarity. Mom’s potato salad. My kids’ awesome manners while out to eat in HHI. I almost cried. Watching Venus in the Pleiades (spelling?) from the dock on a clear night. On the water at the beach. Seeing kids’ faces when they saw dolphins up close. Hearing their contagious laughter in the car on 441 – They had a “make each other laugh contest” and were killing Todd and I with their laughter. Such sweet music. Driving home on a sunny, perfectly-warm Easter afternoon with only Rollie and Brody in the car. Windows down, listening to an old mix CD of some of my all-time favorite songs, discussing them with Rollie: He asks a lot of questions, like “who is it by? What is it called? What is it about? Why do you like it?” Memorable discussions of songs – “Mayonnaise” by Smashing Pumpkins, “This Must Be The Place” by Talking Heads, and “Tempted” by Squeeze. R. thought it was so funny that I used to sing it to him as a lullaby when he would cry as a baby. Teaching kids to jump rope in the driveway last night. “Cinderella, dressed in yellow. . . ” (What are your favorite jump rope rhymes?)

Hope you all had a great Easter, Seder, spring break, etc.

Girls Gone Mild 2012: Tybee Island

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

This time last week, I was on Tybee. Gawd, I love that place. Reminds me of everything that is awesome in life: Beach, warm sun, sand, marshes and birds, beer, kids and “yes, Ma’am,” and fresh seafood, and my grandparents, and being a Georgian. Say what you will (and leave politics out of it), but I live in one of the most beautiful states ever. Cities and beaches and swamps and Piedmont farm fields, and pine forests and hardwood forests and wilderness and lakes and mountains. (Seriously. Name another state with both the Appalachians and a monstrously-huge swamp. Alabama, maybe?)

Georgia is who I am. I feel Georgia in my bones.

So, I was excited to spend a few days on Tybee, with my little sister and my dear friends Robin and Vanessa. They’re my “newer” college friends. You know, I’ve only known them for a little over 20 years now. [gulp] Even more exciting was the fact that neither Robin or Vanessa had ever been to Savannah or Tybee. I wish we had more time – they barely got to scratch the surface. Pretty sure they caught the bug, though. They will return. I know it.

We got in on Sunday, after an enjoyable ride down 16, the world’s most boring drive (if you don’t happen to have three of your best friends with you, doing godawful Irish brogues in Dublin, and performing their best machine gun sounds – it’s true, girls really can’t do them – which make your stomach hurt from laughing, and which put everyone’s lives in peril as you struggle to keep the car on the road because you can’t see through the tears of laughter).

Got there, and checked into our condo. (We considered a house, which i would have preferred, but the condo had a heated pool and in early March, heated pool wins out.) Then we had drinks, hit the IGA for provisions. (I could write a whole blog post on just the IGA – awesomely strange people-watching. People drink while shopping for groceries. Hysterical. Oh, and did I mention awesome? They will deliver your groceries to your door, or stock your place before you even get there.) Then we went to Sting Ray’s for dinner. It was good, and they had decent beer and they were open on Sunday and god, i was starving. This is also the moment where our trip catchphrase was born. You know: Every trip with friends has one. Todd went to Tybee a couple of years ago and came back with “Release the Kracken!” They even had their own logo:

Gratuitous Kracken photo, courtesy of Iain Stewart, because it still cracks me up.

Gratuitous Kracken photo, courtesy of Iain Stewart, because it still cracks me up.

Ours? “I don’t know about you whores, but. . . ”

As in: I don’t know about you whores, but yes. We are that classy. And then we went back to our place, drank tequila, watched The Walking Dead, and made bird statues do weird things to each other.

On Monday, we rented bikes from Fat Tire Bikes. They were so sweet, gave us an “off-season” discount, and we made friends with Joey, a former science teacher, who now works part-time at the bike shop. They also traded out my bike for me when I had an overnight slow leak. Good people.

Lisa and Robin decided to head straight back to the pool, so they piled their bikes in the back of my van, while Vanessa and I readied for a ride, by spending about an hour adjusting our bike seats (I have long legs people!) and she practiced riding in a parking lot next to the bike shop. While we did that, we heard a crash and looked out in the middle of Butler (main st. on Tybee) and there is Robin running in the middle of the road picking up a bike basket that fell out of the back of the van. Yes, my sister likes to floor it. Even when there are bikes, not tied down, in the back of my open van. This happened right in front of the bike shop, which made me laugh my ass off. *No bikes were harmed in the course of this trip. Not sure when Nessie last rode a bike, but i think it had been a while. But, you know, riding a bike is, um, just like riding a bike. It came back to her and then we hit the road and explored and looked at houses and it was fucking awesome.

Then we hit the pool! Not much better than a day sitting around a pool with friends. We also tormented my husband by texting him at work and asking him to be our cabana boy. He is a good egg, my husband. I finished The Scottish Prisoner and started reading Ready Player One.

That night, we had dinner at North Beach Bar and Grill (unassuming building near the lighthouse, but great food and great servers!) And then we went to Huca Poo’s for beer. No link because damn, they need a new website. OMG, i loved this place. Not for those sensitive to smoke (you can still smoke in public places there, which is so weird, even though it wasn’t so long ago that everywhere was like that.) First of all, great bartender, Al. For the Auburn folks, he was a cross between Jared Pearce and my Mama. I don’t know how else to describe him. Red leather barstools, just like they had at The Georgia Bar, back in the day, when that was actually the place to be in Athens. Sweet seats! Pinball. People playing poker at a corner table. That ring toss game that I need to install at the lakehouse. Great people-watching. And DOGS AT THE BAR. There was an actual dog, named Zoe, wearing a plaid scarf, sitting on a barstool at the bar. God bless bars like this. I could live in one. Not kidding when I say i could put it in my top 20 bars of all time. (No, I haven’t really made this list, but i might some day.)

This place is the good stuff.

This place is the good stuff.

Tuesday, we had planned to spend the day in Savannah, but for some reason, everyone slept late and we bailed on that. So, instead, we rode bikes in the a.m. Okay, i had to get my damn tire fixed, and then i rode bikes. We ate lunch at Fannie’s On the Beach. Their onion rings are the best thing since beer. And then the girls went back to the pool and I rode my bike all by myself for a while. No pictures of that. It’s all in my head, though, and it’s all mine. And no one can take it away.

And then i think we had more time at the pool, and then we were tired and we ordered pizza in and drank some more that night. They don’t call us Girls Gone Mild for nothing.

Wednesday morning, Leelee and i got up bright and early and went for a bike ride. It was one of the best mornings I can remember having with my sweet sister. When was the last time you rode bikes with your sibling? There is a magic to it, like you are six years old again. We looked at houses, and talked, and did fashion shoots and action shots (see below) and walked on the pier and laughed.

And on the way back home, i rode past a house and saw my friend Lisa standing out in the front yard! Lisa is friends with my friend Donnie, from college. They live in Savannah, but Lisa has a landscaping company, Plan It Green Design, and she was working on one of the Mermaid Cottages on the island. She is awesome, even though I don’t know her that well. But you know, when you go skinny dipping at a downtown Atlanta hotel’s rooftop pool at 1 am on a Monday night after a Pixies show, you’re pretty fast friends. Anyway, it is a small world and it was nice to hug her neck and say hello.

Let’s see, what else? Robin and i walked on the beach a bit, and then we took Nessa and Robbie to The Crab Shack. I can’t really explain the crab shack. You will just have to go there on your own. Suffice it to say that it is extremely touristy, located down a weird mobile-home/awesome backriver home street, and it has cats, raccoons, parrots, and real live gators. Kids adore it, and adults lie if they don’t kind of like it too. Except for Robin, who doesn’t really eat seafood and was quite unimpressed. I felt a little sorry for her as I sucked crawfish heads and the eyes stared at her as she ate her ribs. I cracked shells and and slurped mussels and pretty much gave into the thrill of killing my own food as i ate it. I am a sucker for a food with a carapace or a shell or an exoskeleton. They are so fun to eat! And then we took photos with the fake gator. Fake gators are always a good time.

And on our last night, we went to the pier and it was a full moon and you could see Venus and Jupiter, i think, and the moon shined on the river. I stood on the end of the pier, looking down, watching the flow of the river make it’s way back out to the ocean. I thought about how good it feels to go with the flow of your heart and your desires, to be like the river, ebbing and flowing with the pull of the moon, and I knew that it is okay to be me, even if I change directions at the damnedest times, and with no apparent reason. I have my reasons, like the tides have the moon.

And then we went back and packed up and planned for a Kamikaze tour of Savannah the next morning. We got up, returned out bikes and said our goodbyes to Joey, and hit the road. I hate to leave Tybee – it pulls at my heartstrings so. The girls wanted to see Bonaventure, so we went there first, and spent a delightful morning walking the cemetery. It is truly beautiful, even if touristy.

And then we got REAL hangry and decided to eat on River Street, which I would normally avoid, but I thought if we had such a short time, they would want to see its cobblestone and the preparations for St. Patty’s that were already underway, and the sweet shops. OHGODTHESWEETS. There does exist, by the way, a peanut butter cup that is too big for me to finish. I didn’t think it was possible, but it is true.

The sad part is that we had to hit the road, and they never even got the chance to walk the squares, which is the true beauty of Savannah, but i am sure they will come back. I know I will. Maybe Girls Gone Mild 2013?

Thankful

Monday, December 19th, 2011

So, damn. That last post was a real downer. Sorry about that. I am pretty good at the ostrich thing, though. I do lots of fun stuff, and I am lucky to have a healthy family, and I still have both parents, and my husband is the best one in the whole wide world ever (for me.) So, here are some things I’m thankful for . . . Think of it as one whole post about shit I’m thankful for, rather than an annoying “I’m Thankful” facebook post every damn day of November. See how good I am to you? So thoughtful . . . .

My friends Shannon and Matt had a baby and we finally visited him.

Tills and DannyBoy

Tills and DannyBoy


We have beer on Main Street now.

We have beer on Main Street now.


I got to spend an afternoon with my sister and our kids. Sadly, that almost never happens anymore.

I got to spend an afternoon with my sister and our kids. Sadly, that almost never happens anymore.

Tills broke her arm, but I still got to go to NYC with Todd.

Tills broke her arm, but I still got to go to NYC with Todd.

I had breakfast that i bought at Union Square Greenmarket. I ate it on a bench and watched schoolchildren.

I had breakfast that i bought at Union Square Greenmarket. I ate it on a bench and watched schoolchildren.

I drank coffee and rode the Staten Island Ferry just for the view. I didn't care that it was cloudy and was repaid with some sunny patches.

I drank coffee and rode the Staten Island Ferry just for the view. I didn't care that it was cloudy and was repaid with some sunny patches.

I ate a pear in Trinity Church Cemetery, where my 5G grandfather was buried in 1786. Or at least records say he is. His grave is lost to time now. I thought about that while I ate my pear.

I ate a pear in Trinity Church Cemetery, where my 5G grandfather was buried in 1786. Or at least records say he is. His grave is lost to time now. I thought about that while I ate my pear.

Todd and I had dinner with my friend Harris and his girlfriend Anne. I am still always surprised that Harris wears button-downs to work. In my mind, he is always wearing a navy blue hoodie.

Todd and I had dinner with my friend Harris and his girlfriend Anne. I am still always surprised that Harris wears button-downs to work. In my mind, he is always wearing a navy blue hoodie.

And then we all went to a bar and played shuffleboard.

And then we all went to a bar and played shuffleboard.

We also stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Tres fancy.

We stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel. Tres fancy.

Posting these so that Harris can see what the rooms were like (he was curious):

The room had FOUR windows. And a beautiful rug. And original hardwoods.

The room had three, count'em three, windows. And a beautiful rug. And original hardwoods.

And here's the bed. Nice linens, velvety headboard, good lighting.

And here's the bed. Nice linens, velvety headboard, good lighting.

Pretty sure the bathroom was bigger than most NYC apartments. However, for the cost, i think they could have worked in a tub. (My only problem with the room.)

Pretty sure the bathroom was bigger than most NYC apartments. However, for the cost, i think they could have worked in a tub. (My only problem with the room.)

Even the closet was fancy.

Even the closet was fancy.

And here is a view of the sitting area from the front door. We had a SETTEE, y'all!

And here is a view of the sitting area from the front door. We had a SETTEE, y'all!

The rooms also come with access to the park. It is a private park that you have to have a key to get into. That’s pretty cool. And snobby and elitist. . . but cool.

So, the next day it was cold and pouring down rain. I made plans to meet Anne at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was so god-awful crowded, and wet and damp, but we had a lovely afternoon. I forgot to each lunch I was enjoying myself so much. We mostly wandered, took in the current exhibitions. (Romare Bearden was one Anne really wanted to see and I thought it was great, and was also surprised I had not heard of him in my Harlem Renaissance class in college).

Anne and I both checked out my favorite part – Arms and Armor. I think when she suggested it to me, she must have realized how much I would love it. She probably didn’t realize that I would take so long that she would get hungry and have to leave me there. (Sorry, Anne!) I could have spent all day there looking at the amazing things people have killed other people with over the years! They even had a helm that was (probably erroneously) said to have been worn by Joan of Arc – I have had a preoccupation with Joan since i first read about her as a child. (I also have a weird interest in Marie Curie, Belle Star, Annie Oakley, and Bonnie Parker, among others. I know. I am a freak.)

Joan of Arc Helm

Joan of Arc Helm

There was an interesting Stieglitz exhibition, about him and his artists (O’Keefe, Matisse, etc.) While I enjoyed it, i was way more interested in this tiny little exhibit of his early art photography collection. I could have looked at it all day.

And best of all, I found some new (to me) artists to adore: Like Francis Bacon; Like a painting entitled, “End of the Hunt” by Dale Nichols (Anne, that is the one that you loved!);

The photo doesn't do it justice. The light is so amazing in it in person.

The photo doesn't do it justice. The light is so amazing in it in person.

Or these two huge pieces by Stephen Hannock. You totally can’t see it online, but he put all this writing and mixed media collage stuff in these two works. I almost wanted to cry it was so cool. Oooh, actually, if you go to this link then click on the photo, then zoom in, you can see the writing. Awesome.

Like this one by Paul Cadmus.

His Seven Deadly Sins were awesome! This is Lust.

His Seven Deadly Sins were awesome! This is Lust.

Looks like a really cool graphic novel, right? He made it in 1945. Mind-blowing.

When i left the museum, I was starving, and it was raining cats and dogs, and todd wanted me to meet him for a beer at some place near his conference in Times Square, and i was all like, “Ugh, Times Square.” But the bar was actually pretty awesome, with cheap beer, and seemingly no tourists other than myself. It was warm and the barmaid was kind of bitchy, which I can respect, and I sat next to a guy who makes full-length concert DVDs for a ton of bands, some of whom i thought were crappy. But he also worked with Chrissy Hinde, and so I was all interested in hearing about that, because I heart The Pretenders.

Then we left and had to make it back to the hotel to change for drinks with work people, and it was raining and i felt kind of sorry for all the working sad sack new yorkers just trying to get home, but there is something very romantic about a rainy evening with my husband, and taking cover in Grand Central Station to get away from the rain, and just watching the people.

Blurry, rainy evening at Grand Central Station.

Blurry, rainy evening at Grand Central Station.

And then i put on my nice stuff, and we went to The Standard Hotel for drinks, and damn, they have a really nice view from their rooftop bar, which, i kid you not, is called The Boom Boom Room. Sometimes I think New York comes up with stupid shit like that just to make me laugh at them. The bathrooms in the bar were rooms with no lights and no window coverings, where you could look out over the skyline while you are taking a shit. Ridiculous, but fun. I was luckily warned first, or I would have thought I was trippin’ in some crazy house of mirrors.

I had my jeans down around my ankles and I was peeing while I took this.

I had my jeans down around my ankles and I was peeing while I took this.


After that? Yummy burgers and home to bed because we were both wet, cold, and exhausted.

A lovely trip. I’ll end here for now, as I have gone on and on, and will never click publish at this rate. It shall be a two parter.

The View from the Golf Cart

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Or: Of Friends, Sunset, Stars, Beach, Deer, Beer & Gator

I went to Fripp Island this past weekend with a bunch of girls from my Bunco group. (I wrote about them a couple of other times, like here and here.) They go to a beach house on Fripp for Mother’s Day every year. Can you think of a better Mother’s Day gift? Neither can I.

This was the first year I went, and while i did not feel 100%, and I didn’t get to go the whole four nights, and I did get my first speeding ticket since 1988 (I know the year, because I told the cop i hadn’t gotten a speeding ticket since i was sixteen, and he said, YOU WERE SIXTEEN IN 1988?! and I wasn’t sure whether he thought i was lying or he thought I was hot. I also know because I remember that Pierce, Mark, and Lisa were all with me at the time, and we were at the lake house. Side note: Mom and dad, what were you thinking sending the four of us off in a car together? Are you nuts?)

What was I talking about?

Oh, yeah. Bunco Mom’s trip. It was a blast. Megan hosted and the house is awesome and didn’t feel crowded at all, even with over ten people there.

When we got there, I needed a drink. (see aforementioned ticket.) So, i put my stuff down, poured a margarita and the rest is history!

It rained all day Friday, so it was really chilly on the beach, even before sunset. We took our drinks hopped in the golf cart (do you know how much i love golf carts?) and headed to the beach. Where we proceeded to drink and talk and be chilly. Then we headed back to the house and peed, before heading out to see the sunset, which is kinda their tradition, as I understand it. (You know me, pour me a drink and put me on a golf cart and say you’re taking me to the end of the island to watch the sunset, and I am in, even if you are a serial killer.)

Here’s some of us with the golf cart waiting on the sunset.

Emily, Jenn, Robin, Megan, and Moi

Emily, Jenn, Robin, Megan, and Moi

Here’s Megan, the hostess with the mostess.

Megan

Megan

And me being a little goofy. (Margaritas, duh.)

I can't tell you what Megan said that made my face do that.

I can't tell you what Megan said that made my face do that.

And then finally the sunset.

One of two amazing sunsets I saw while on Fripp.

One of two amazing sunsets I saw while on Fripp.

And another

So, after the sunset, we went back to the house to have dinner. Dinners with friends are so much more enjoyable than dinners with my kids. And then, it also always tastes better when someone else cooks it. (Learned that from my wise Mama.)

After that, i think we headed back out in the golf carts to see the stars on the dark end of the island (amazing) and more importantly, to play Deer Beer. It goes like this: See a deer, sip your beer. See a male deer, take two drinks. See a gator, finish your beer and run like hell! I totally enjoyed the golf cart tour and the company, and the stars and was not even disappointed at a dearth of deer and gator. There is no feeling like looking up at the stars from an unlit spot. I love it. Even if you can’t see the gators lurking.

After that, it was back to the porch for some late night Apples to Apples action. Evidently, Lucy feels I am “too literal” in my apples to apples interpretations. This is funny, because before we quit due to drunkenness and exhaustion, one of us had more green cards, and it wasn’t Lucy.

LateNight

In the mornings, coffee on the porch. (Perhaps my single most favoritest activity in the world.)

Morning

Then, off to the beach! I had only one day there and it is very important to maximize beach time. Sunscreen at the beach is tres importante, aussi. So is champagne.
champagne
That’s Megan applying sunscreen to her champagne-drinking sister, Kristen. Kristen, the only non-mom in attendance, is moving to Bahrain and plans to marry a Bahraini Sheik, and we are all invited to the wedding.

Lucy might have been a little overzealous with the sunscreen, but it was cute.
Sunscreen Lucy

So, after a whole day on the beach, wherein we drank and ate our weight in alcohol and Spicy Thai Kettle Chips, all the while solving all the problems of the world, and looking at every People Magazine written since February, we headed in for showers and the sunset viewing.

Here is Lucy driving the limo cart with Stacey, Monica and . . Ashley. Hard to see. All you need to know is that it was the slowest golf cart in all of God’s Creation (God loves golf!) and it had nothing to do with being weighted down by a full cooler.
Lucy, Stacy, and Monica (and who)

On the way, we ran across this big guy. Picture doesn’t do it justice, but if I were to have lain down next to him, he would still have a good foot on me. I thought the picture was funny, because I was still in the golf cart and when he came across the pond at these girls, it would be all “objects in viewfinder are closer than they appear” and i would have the gator dinner on camera, and then I would floor it, because I am a coward. Also, out of view are the family of three deer about 20 feet away from him.
Gator

The sunset thing is not a bad idea: Spending every night taking a moment to note the passing of day into night, the sun disappearing behind the horizon so quickly, just a symbol of our fleeting time on this earth. . . What? No, i don’t do that anymore.

Mostly, I stand around and take pictures of people at sunset because it makes me look like a better photographer than i am. Like Stacey. Windblown Stacey.
Windblown Stacey

Or Megan and Monica. Aren’t they just glowing?
More pretty girls

Lucy, Jenn, and Ashley. . .
Pretty Girls

Or the boardwalk from which we watched the sun set.
The boardwalk

And a final sunset, because that is my current happy place.
Sunset over the marsh

Oh, and right before we left, we heard a Whippoorwill. I never hear those at home.

I had a great time and can’t wait to go again. (Assuming i am invited, as I didn’t break anything.) It was so awesome to get away for a while, and actually be able to relax. Also, Beer. And Beach. And wonderful conversation.

Oh, and I had a great drive back, too, with Lucy. We ate oysters on the way out of town, because that’s what you do. Good times!

Life really is just better at the beach, especially if you’re with friends, sipping a cold one, having someone drive your lazy ass around seeing the view from the golf cart.

Akumal & Tulum

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Todd took me to Akumal for our tenth anniversary. It was great, except that I got really sick (sinus infection) and had to go to the doctor. So, i spent more time dealing with Doctor crap than enjoying myself (all of my first day, then almost two hours the second day, and a quick visit on our last day there), but it was still great. Beautiful place. We had never done an all-inclusive before, but i have to say that it was pretty awesome. It is nice to not have to deal with the money stuff (except for the doctor, which is NOT included, unfortunately).

View from the plane over Cancun. The reason i am able to take photos like this from the plane window is that i pop Xanax like candy before and during the flight so as not to give in to my fear and run up and down the aisles screaming, "We're going down! We're all gonna die!"

View from the plane over Cancun. The reason i am able to take photos like this from the plane window is that i pop Xanax like candy before and during the flight so as not to give in to my fear and run up and down the aisles screaming, We're going down! We're all gonna die!


This is where we stayed. Love that towel duck we got every day. Except one day, it was a bunny instead. Talk about messing with my head people!

This is where we stayed. Love that towel duck we got every day. Except one day, it was a bunny instead. Talk about messing with my head people!


Little Coati dude. These are all over the resort and, of course, I got total Coati Tourette's whenever I saw one.

Little Coati dude. These are all over the resort and, of course, I got total Coati Tourette's whenever I saw one.


Lobby at the resort. Or one of the lobbies. There are three.

Lobby at the resort. Or one of the lobbies. There are three.


My feet. At the Pool. Good stuff.

My feet. At the Pool. Good stuff.


Todd was enamored of the many different types of Tequila offered at the hotel bar. I think he tried them all. I abstained. Because Tequila in large amounts makes me howl at the moon.

Todd was enamored of the many different types of Tequila offered at the hotel bar. I think he tried them all. I abstained. Because Tequila in large amounts makes me howl at the moon.


Waiting to eat some cheesy Japanese Steakhouse dinner, but dang, it was really good.

Waiting to eat some cheesy Japanese Steakhouse dinner, but dang, it was really good.

Honestly, the food, other than the steakhouse, was not stellar, but it was not bad either.

Sadly, this marketplace at our resort is the place at which I spent more time than any other location at the resort, because it is also where my good friends the Doctor and Doctora are located.

Sadly, this marketplace at our resort is the place at which I spent more time than any other location at the resort, because it is also where my good friends the Doctor and Doctora are located.

After trying the doctor that second morning (I needed another antibiotic shot), we took off for Tulum. We decided to drive (we rented a car) because those tour bus deals are just not our scene. I was glad. It is fun to explore and be on your own time. It also allowed us to check out Tulum proper (there is a town there, in addition to the ruins) and to grab ourselves some stuff at a local grocery store. Highly recommend the rental option if you like to explore. The roads were good and the driving was pretty easy there.

These guys crack me up. They are EVERYWHERE at Tulum, just hanging out. Very funny.

These guys crack me up. They are EVERYWHERE at Tulum, just hanging out. Very funny.


This building was one of my faves of the smaller ones. You could still see the paint from these really old murals - so cool!

This building was one of my faves of the smaller ones. You could still see the paint from these really old murals - so cool!


Hard to imagine what this must have looked like 200 years ago, or a 1000 years ago. Amazingly beautiful place. Also made me feel like I was either in the game Myst, or at Tikal with Indiana Jones and Sophia. ("Sophia, Let's Talk." "This is Crab Central.")

Hard to imagine what this must have looked like 200 years ago, or a 1000 years ago. Amazingly beautiful place. Also made me feel like I was either in the game Myst, or at Tikal with Indiana Jones and Sophia. (Sophia, Let's Talk. This is Crab Central.)


Me and Todd at Tulum. We swam below this later, in that very blue water.

Me and Todd at Tulum. We swam below this later, in that very blue water.


Todd at Tulum

Todd at Tulum


Here is me traipsing over rocks at Tulum. Seconds later a lady busted ass on the same rocks. I did not laugh.

Here is me traipsing over rocks at Tulum. Seconds later a lady busted ass on the same rocks. I did not laugh.


After the ruins, we had lunch at this little place. Simple tacos. And beer. Good stuff.
These pigs made us laugh. Kind of reminded us of BBQ signs with happy pigs on them that you find throughout the South. You know, the ones with a pig on them, wearing a chef hat or a halo and wings, holding a spatula and smiling real big? As if to say, Come on, Yall! Come eat me!

These pigs made us laugh. Kind of reminded us of BBQ signs with happy pigs on them that you find throughout the South. You know, the ones with a pig on them, wearing a chef's hat or a halo and wings, holding a spatula and smiling real big? As if to say, Come on, Y'all! Come eat me!


This little old-school Coca Cola awning at a restaurant at Tulum made me a little tiny bit homesick. And then I remembered i had no kids with me and i was in Mexico, and I got over it.

This little old-school Coca Cola awning at a restaurant at Tulum made me a little tiny bit homesick. And then I remembered i had no kids with me and i was in Mexico, and I got over it.

After lunch, we headed to the cenotes. I admit that i felt so under the weather that I almost begged Todd to skip it, but I’m glad I didn’t, because it was my favorite part of the trip. We failed to bring an underwater camera with us, so there are no pics of the Cenotes. We went to this place called Hidden Worlds. You can take a gander here. They take you out in the jungle on a truck that can only be explained as looking like something out of Mad Max. You stand up in it (if you want to ride comfortably) and then bump over miles of hard, rocky, rough roads in this truck with an exposed engine. Complete deathtrap. I loved it. Then we put on snorkel gear and went down this very steep ladder and we were in a cave (cenote) and off into the water.

It was amazing. At points, the stalagmites (tites?) came down all the way to the water and you had to weave your way through to get to the other side. Definitely not for the claustrophobic. There were fish and we had these high power flashlights and we used them to see when we were deep in the caves. Lucky for us, it was just me and T and the guide. He took us into some parts that they don’t take large groups into, and we did fun stuff like sit in the dark caves and turn out all the lights. It is so dark you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face. Bats swoop when you light them up. And then we came out on the other side and saw these amazing birds! Again, i didn’t get a really good look at them, or a photo (disappointing) but it was amazing to see them.

We spent our last day at the beach.

Yes, I finally got to spend one wonderful day on this beautiful beach. Fish swam all around us and it was absolutely crystal clear.

Yes, I finally got to spend one wonderful day on this beautiful beach. Fish swam all around us and it was absolutely crystal clear.

That night we had dinner, then wandered, people watching and then checked out a free show. It was a Michael Jackson impersonator. It was awful. And funny.

Michael Jackson show at our resort. OMG. It was so funny that I could only take two songs and then we had to leave.

Michael Jackson show at our resort. OMG. It was so funny that I could only take two songs and then we had to leave.


. . . So that we could do our best MJ impersonations on the sidewalk outside. I am doing the moonwalk. Yep.

. . . So that we could do our best MJ impersonations on the sidewalk outside. I am doing the moonwalk. Yep.


Todd is doing that other MJ move. Awesome.

Todd is doing that other MJ move. Awesome.

The next day, we got up and packed and went into Akumal proper for lunch on the way to the airport. It is REALLY nice, with some beautiful homes all around the bay and great snorkeling. I could handle a rental there on the beach in Akumal.

Our last meal, in Akumal

Our last meal, in Akumal

And then we came back to the Real World. The End.

p.s. Huge shout out to my parents, The Big C and Virginia, and my Sis, who took care of the kiddos (and The Precious, Q) while we were gone. Round of applause also goes out to awesome neighbor, Lauren, who helped them out. Y’all are the best!

Forgotten Post: NC Girls’ Weekend

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Not sure why, but I wrote this and forgot to publish it back in November!

Do you have old friends that you still get together with for weekends here and there?

About once or twice a year, I get together with some of my college roommates. I met them the first quarter I was in college at The University of Georgia. (I may have mentioned on Dogwood girl that I attended that fine institution.) I was trying to study for my first ever college exam, and I was so nervous, that I had studied for hours. (Duh. I aced it. Part of a terrible domino effect of events that resulted in me doing terribly for a year there at school. Better to not do so well on that first test and think that college is hard than to get it in your head that you barely need to study.) Well, I was tired, over-caffeinated, and stressed. My boyfriend and friends had all gone to see a band (Five-Eight, if I recall correctly) and I wished I was out seeing a band, too. I was trying to concentrate, and all I could hear was music booming, shrieks of laughter, and loud voices across the hall.

Have you met me? I am not shy. I marched right across the hall, and I asked them (probably not-so-politely) to keep it down. So, this little tiny thing with dark hair and a pair of the most piercing blue eyes I have ever seen, marched right up to me in the door way. I towered over her, and looking down at her, she was looking up at me, and if looks could kill, i woulda been a dead girl. She stared me down for a minute, then looked at my t-shirt, then said,

“You like Jane’s Addiction?”

I was completely caught off guard. I laughed.

“Yeah, i like them. You?”

“Yeah. I’m Honey.”

That was the Fall of 1990. We’ve been friends ever since.

This is us on our floor at Church Hall.

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I think that’s Rachel’s room to the left of Charlie, and maybe Jennifer’s to the right of mine? I honestly can’t remember her last name now. Charlie was my boyfriend at the time. I think he is wearing my Hellraiser shirt! I was wondering what happened to it. I bet Matt Long was wondering, too, because I think I stole it from him. On the back, it said, “So many monsters, so little time.”

So, Honey was a deadhead, as was her roommate Laura. Not really my thing, so it was funny that we ended up friends, but college dorms make strange bedfellows. We all smoked cigarettes like maniacs, and played cards (Spitemouse!) and Nintendo in their room, for hours on end. Honey, and Laura, and Rachel, along with Jennifer, Rachel, Joy, and some chick that lived across the hall from me and could play the guitar like a mother. We laughed our guts out, and acted like complete dorks in front of each other.

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Our friendship was cemented that year.

The following year, in the Fall of 1991, when we decided to get an apartment together, we added in their friend, Dana. I didn’t know Dana that well. I only met her through Honey and Laura, but we became fast friends. We shared a room in the three-bedroom apartment, to save money. It was v. glamorous: Two twin mattresses on the floor. Add in two long-term boyfriends, and it was a coed sleepover just about every night. (Sorry, mama.)

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Wish I had a picture of Robert, who was Dana’s boyfriend at the time, but I don’t think I do. He is definitely a part of the landscape that was my sophomore year in college. He stayed up late watching TV and drawing. That was the year I had purple hair, which I remember, because Mya and I died our hair together in my bathroom in that apartment. No pictures of that either. I can only imagine that it must have looked horrible, but I can’t really remember. If you have a picture of it, for the love of God, please scan it and send it to me. I need a laugh.

We played a lot of Taboo, and the boys upstairs had lots of keg parties. Ren and Stimpy was always on tv during the weekends. That was also, “The Year Punk Broke,” I believe. Nirvana’s Nevermind came out that fall. I bought it the day it came out. I still remember begging Laura to go see Nirvana with me at the 40 Watt. Awesome show. I think Chris Herren went with us, too. It seems like everyone else had gone home that weekend, or something. And I think Dinosaur, Jr. played the very next night. That weekend is a distant blur of a memory of an awesome rock and roll weekend that I just enjoyed the heck out of. Green Mind, I believe, came out about the same time. Within a couple months, Nirvana was everywhere, and the guy upstairs would play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on repeat for hours on end, when he wasn’t screwing the guts out of his screamer girlfriend.

Then, Honey and I lived together with Scotty on Pulaski Heights. Best roommate arrangement ever. And then like a dream, I was graduating and it wall all over.

This is me and honey, on the steps of my little house, the day after my graduation party. Oi. My head.

Me and Honey

And she moved back to NC. Laura went back to Columbia for law school and then moved to Charlotte. Dana had gone back to NC too, and finished school in Boone. I moved back to Atlanta, and then on to Denver and then back to Atlanta.

Through it all we stayed in touch. Visits, breakups, showers, two brain tumors, weddings, divorces, births and deaths. We are still friends, and we still see each other every year. And I can’t imagine my life without them.

Not sure how I forgot to click publish on this post, back in November, when I spent a weekend with the girls at the farm. Better late than never. I don’t want the Girls to think that it wasn’t heaven. I want them to know how much they mean to me, and how much I love them.

Lego Nap

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

We just got on 85 and both kids and both dogs are already asleep, Rollie clutching his Star Wars Legos box in his arms.
Lego Nap

Happy Place

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Slept until ten. Coffee on the patio with my college roommates, overlooking the fields, Table Rock in the distance. Then, eggs, caramel croissant casserole, pancetta and mimosas. About to go for a hike.

I am in my happy place.

By This Afternoon

Friday, November 19th, 2010

I will be here.
Haybales at Dusk

Can’t wait.