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??

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An evening in New Orleans. A whole different ballgame.

I know what you think I’m going to say.  That after dark, New Orleans turns into the Den of Iniquity.  It may in some areas, and I assume it may get more so as the evening wears on.  But that is not what stood out to me at all.

In the evening, the heat lessens, the light gets softer, and the city turns a little magical.  Every city probably looks better in the evening light, but it really brought out the loveliness in New Orleans.

After our tour, we all checked TripAdvisor for some good, moderately-priced food.  We found (after a few circles) Capdeville, which was wonderful.  Old album covers on the walls, a jukebox, and the food?  The Mahi-mahi was the best fish I’ve tasted.  The truffle oil macaroni and cheese melted in your mouth.  Marcus wanted local cuisine, and had crab cakes with collard greens and grits souffle.  (Sounds weird.  Tasted surprisingly great!) We topped it off with expresso creme brulee, which could have been the nectar of the gods in the Greek myths.

We had an hour left of parking (finding parking was relatively easy but expensive), so Ash suggested we see as much as we could see in an hour.  So we were off.  This may have been my favorite hour of our visit.

We enjoyed street musicians, and the blues music we heard from the bars.  We witnessed a wedding party walking from the church to the reception down a busy street with a police escort.  And I mean EVERYONE who attended the wedding.  The bride held a white parasol, and many others waved their handkerchiefs.  Why?  Look at my last blog post.  We saw the enticing insides of stores and art galleries whose lights glowed onto the sidewalk, making it difficult to walk past without peeking in.  Matt bought Ashley a drink because you can have an open container in the city, and someone had to exercise that freedom.  A party bus drove by, flinging plastic beaded necklaces into the crowds on the sidewalks.  Marcus and Nebraska both retrieved one.  (I heard if you flash someone at Mardi Gras, you get a necklace.  I reassure you there was no flashing to obtain these beads.)

In summary, I wouldn’t recommend Bourbon Street at night, but to really see New Orleans, you have to see it in the evening.

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My birthday is tomorrow, and it is a full day (my husband is having outpatient surgery; my daughter has a piano recital).  I was resigned, and not unhappily so, that there wouldn’t be a lot of birthday celebratin’.

My husband asked if we could go out tonight (we could).  I figured we’d go find some gourmet fries.  He informed me we were going out for something a little more upscale (we did).  The scallops were divine.  Thank you, my dear.  We celebrated, in spite of it all.