Atlanta

We drove to Bloomington, Indiana (I found out there’s a Bloomington, Illinois, too) in August, packed up the kids’ moving truck, and headed to Atlanta, where Matt is working on his Ph.D. at Emory.  I ended up being mostly emotional support.  Matt’s parents packed a lot before we even arrived, and unpacking?  Maddie was bitten or stung by a nasty insect that caused her foot to swell up to gigantic proportions, and itch crazily.  We spent time at urgent care while the unpacking occurred.  Convenient, huh?

Ash and Matt actually live in Decatur, which proved to be a delightful suburb of Atlanta.  They live in a large apartment complex built in the 1940’s, with lush green spaces surrounding them, and people have gardens outside their back doors.  Ash walks a few steps to do laundry, and even has a clothes line, which works when it’s not raining (good luck).

We toured Decatur, ate wonderful food, touched the surface of Atlanta, and drove 16 hours home.  The trip went quickly, compared to the 19-hour drive home from New Orleans earlier in the summer.  Did Ash and Matt NEED us to come move them?  No.  But we could help, so we did.  Seeing the place our kids would call “home” was priceless.

Here are the kids, in front of their apartment, and ready for adventure!

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Downtown Decatur.

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(Matt propping up the affronted foot.)

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Standing in line for tacos in a converted gas station?  Yes, please.  Visit Taqueria Del Sol when you go to Decatur.  You’ll thank me.

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Donuts!  Yummy, but the maple-bacon one was weird.

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Ash went dumpster diving before we left her apartment in Bloomington.  She scored.  An oak desk for the office, a 1950’s table for the extra bedroom, and another bookshelf.    White spray paint did wonders, even the places where I put masking tape over the screws.  Don’t tell Marcus.

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Onward to Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.  I could have watched the kids play in the fountain all day!

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The capitol building, where they were filming a scene from Ride Along 2.   I didn’t see anyone famous, and was irritated that I couldn’t get better pictures of the whole building due to props, cameras, etc.  At least we got to see the two-headed calf.

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We were looking for ice cream, and found an old brick building (across the street from this one) converted into a fresh food market.  So fun!  I am sure Ash and Matt shop for their tripe and cow feet there!

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I’m already looking forward to another visit, especially now that Lincoln has a direct flight to Atlanta!  What would we do with all our extra time if I got there in 3 hours instead of 16??

Myrtle Beach.

I am home alone for the 2nd night in a row.  The family has quarantined me, painted a cross on the front door, and headed for the hills.   Or maybe everyone is rushing around besides me.

That is okay, since public school started for my youngest daughter today, and I realized I hadn’t even posted our June vacation pictures.  This always happens.   I have to sort through too many photos and give up.  Except this time!

Next time I will only take one group picture at our vacation spot and call it good.

We actually went to North Myrtle Beach, and stayed in a timeshare my in-laws rented.  I didn’t think I would like the beach for many reasons not worth listing here, but I did enjoy this.  The weather was around 80 degrees, we had low humidity, it rained or misted occasionally, and the water was warm.  Glorious.  The hot tub even felt nice after jumping in the waves.  I will mention that the nice weather was an anomaly, and it is usually HOT and HUMID.

We didn’t do anything touristy besides enjoy the beach.  Marcus and I found a seafood market, and bought plenty of shrimp and scallops.  He cooked in the evenings, and we all ate, moaned and ate some more.  Sautéed scallops in butter and garlic?  Yes.

Just because Matt is pursuing his master’s degree in Judaic studies, he thought he could part the Atlantic.  Didn’t happen.

Marcus had to get a boogie board after watching everyone riding the waves.  The kids enjoyed it, too.

Don’t they look like beach bums only after a few days?

Marcus is a sand-craftsman, also, and made the sand-titanic.  It was as unsinkable as the original.  I collected shells for the top.  Hey, all parts of the Body are worthwhile, okay?

Matt added the penguin on the iceberg.  Nice touch, Matt.

Some guy got up early every morning and made a maze for people to walk through each day.  He was staying at the hotel, and I couldn’t figure out if he got paid or if this was just a hobby.  I should have followed him to find out, but I spent my free time in the game room trying to beat Matt at air hockey.  I did beat him the last game before we left.  You know, the last game you always remember?

Rebecca looked so cool in the hot tub I had to take the elevator to the 14th floor and back with my camera to take her picture.  Oh, Rebecca.

Marcus and I took an early morning stroll for pictures, but the sun was too high already.  But it kind of looks like a movie poster for a post-apocalyptic movie to me.

There was a huge dock we could see from our condo.  Matt kept hinting that he would really like to walk over and see it.  No one took the bait, but I finally did the day before we left.  We thought it didn’t look too far, but Marcus said, “See you in four hours.”  I won’t tell you who was right, but only that by the end of the walk I had pulled a muscle in my foot from walking so far in the sand.  (groan)  The dock was interesting, but they were going to make us pay to walk on it.  I only had enough money for Matt, so he begged them to let me walk on it for free.  It worked.  On the way back, I saw some baptisms in the ocean.  Sweet.

Matt took a shower one afternoon and came out looking like this.  I have nothing else to say.  Except this is the father of my future grandchildren.

The colors by the sea are so different from here in the Midwest.  I couldn’t get enough, whether it was sunny or cloudy.

Thanks for the timeshare, Rodney and Malinda!

What a gaggle of girls.  Ashley looks like a true poet walking on the beach with her pen and paper, stopping to get her picture taken with her fans.  No autographs, please.

By afternoon, all these chairs were full, in addition to the whole beach.  But I didn’t mind the crowded beach.  There was enough ocean for all of us.

I  used my micro lens minimally.  This seashell looks like a gear for some type of machine.

And this little creature is a sand crab.  In the evenings, Matt would see rippling sand and run over and pick up all the sand with his hands – and sand crabs would go everywhere.  It made Ashley scream, of course.  These little buggers are fast.  The only reason I got a picture of this one is because he expired.  Sorry to post a picture of a dead crab.  Rather morbid.

We probably won’t go to the ocean again for many years, so I am so glad we took the plunge this year!

Nashville.

On our way to Myrtle Beach, we decided to stop in Nashville, because it was a good half-way point.  A mere 13 hours away, if you include bathroom and Chick-fil-A stops.  Actually, this was my first Chick-fil-a stop ever.  I know, I don’t get out much.

I was a bit perplexed when I tried to book a hotel in Nashville; there were only one or two rooms left in the whole city.  Really?

Then I saw a friend’s Facebook status, which said she and her mom picked a dandy time to go to Nashville during the CMT music awards, as did another 100,000 people.  Yikes!   But a few extra people didn’t kill Marcus’ appetite for BBQ in downtown Nashville while we were there.  So we took the plunge.

It was like a football Saturday in Lincoln, but the people wore cowboy hats and boots instead of Husker Red.  Considering the 100,000 visitors, downtown Nashville was delightful.  Our traveling brother-in-law told us to go to 2nd and Broadway.  So we did.  The buildings are a mix of old brick, new brick and modern skyscrapers.

Doesn’t the ATT skyscraper look like Sauron’s big, flaming eyeball should be in-between the two towers on the top?  I thought so, too.

 

I am sure the American National Bank never thought their regal building would be a tattoo parlor in 2012.

We managed to find Jack’s BBQ, and ate yummy brisket and ribs on the top of an old brick building.  Marcus’ day was complete.

My favorite part of our short tour of Nashville was the courthouse plaza.  The sunset cooperated, too.  The windows of the courthouse had lights around them that changed colors every few minutes.

I had even brought along a hat for the beach that seemed more appropriate here.  I almost looked like I listened to country music.

When we finally found our hotel tucked behind Hooters at the airport, we were a bit concerned.  But it turned out to be a nice, clean, remodeled little place with comfortable beds and a complimentary breakfast.  Score!

See ya later, Nashville.  We may come back now, ya hear!

 

 

 


 

 

We’re back.

Most of you didn’t even know we were gone.  Well, we were.  We drove on out to Myrtle Beach and had ourselves a nice vacation by the ocean.

As usual, I have good intentions of going through my hundreds of pictures and posting the best ones here along with my witty banter with myself.

But from my track record, I better tell you what the best and worst thing was from the vacation, in case I never think about it again.

Best:  The temperature.  The weather was in the 80’s with low humidity.  The ocean was warm.  So was the hot tub.

Worst:  We drove 24 hours straight to get home.  Very bad idea.  I think I saw little green men on the side of the road by the time we pulled in at 3:00 a.m.  As of today, I am only suffering mild hallucinations.

Hope to get back to my vacation pictures soon.  Happy summer!

 

Iris.

First topic:  Irises are about as old-fashioned as you can get.  I wish I appreciated them more, but I have been inundated with them since marriage.  Marcus’ aunt raised irises into her late 70’s, and always sent bags of iris bulbs back to the Lincoln relatives whenever she could.  I have planted many over the years, but gotten rid of more, I hate to admit.

My disdain of irises ceased when I spotted tall, slim, sophisticated irises in the plantings in nice neighborhoods this last decade.  Japanese Irises have changed my attitude, and the ones I dug up from an avid gardener’s yard a couple years ago haughtily bloomed in front of my house this spring.  I love them, and will be digging up the bulbs and spreading their capital plumage to other places in the yard soon.

The practical aspect of irises is that you can dig them up almost any time of the year, and basically set the bulbs on top of the earth, sprinkle a bit of dirt on them, and you’re done.  Botta boom botta bing.

Topic two:  When I bought my micro lens, and snapped a few pictures, Child Number 1 said, “Wow, Mom.  With this lens all you have to do is get really close to something and you get a good picture.”  Hmmmm.

My photographer friend piped in, “Better get out the tripod.”

A micro lens HAS the capacity to give you a fantastic picture if you have good lighting and it isn’t blurry.  I would say 3/4 of the pictures I have taken with it have been blurry.  Part of the blame was from camera shake, and some was the confounded wind.  The above picture was taken with a tripod, and it really helped.  I just don’t always like to haul my tripod around, and getting it adjusted close to the ground is a pain in the watooie.

So there you have it.  All my wisdom about irises and wiggly micro pictures, in 349 words or less, if I don’t count the words you skipped because you have just scanned 5 other blog posts before mine.  What a bargain.