Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Different Perspective

I have decided to copy an idea from a friend's blog and have occasional guest bloggers post. That being said, the following anecdote needs an introduction.

I love children. Any age. But I especially love little kids. You never know what they are going to say. Everything is fresh and real from their perspective.  They love unconditionally.  I always try to find time in my schedule to babysit...especially kids from my church.

One little girl named her baby doll "Baby Charise." Her mother is always updating me on thing Baby Charise is doing...and let me tell you, she's quite the baby doll! She bakes brownies (which I have not mastered), cleans house, is potty-trained, knows karate, and does a little bit of traveling in her spare time.

This post is about her recent trip to Disney World. Enjoy!

"I am a baby doll who likes to be doing, trying and seeing new things. My loving owner-mommy is constantly finding exciting stuff for us to be involved in. It was, of course, only natural that we travel to Disney World together.

The adventure started with a LONG road trip. If you think Georgia is a big state, you should drive through Florida. We started out on a Monday morning and drove for nearly forever.

I spent my time looking out the window. Maybe not the most exciting thing to you, but I loved it. New places. New sights. New cars.

After we got there, it was decided we'd settle into the hotel. What fun we had swimming in the big pool!

The next day, we got to see the big castle. We also got to meet TinkerBell, who we watched on TV in Peter Pan and in TinkerBell and the Great Fairy Rescue.  She was bigger in real life.

It was a busy day, for sure. But the next day was even more busy! We met Mary Poppins and went to Mickey Mouse's Playhouse, where we met Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It was a lot of fun.  Everything went by so fast. We really enjoyed our trip. One day we saw Sea World, and on another day, we saw a really big lighthouse.

It was a fun trip. I think I slept most of the way home. I can't wait for more adventures!

Baby Charise"


Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Old

Destination: Charleston, SC
Total Miles: 520
Cost: $75

Before I tell you about my road trip, I must first clarify three facts for you.

1. I am NOT a beach-kind-of-person.
2. I like to look at the ocean.        Period.
3. I LOVE history.

Those being stated, let me commence with my tale.

Growing up in the South, one learns a great many facts (some biased) about the role of Charleston throughout the history of the United States of America. Charleston was the main port in South Carolina during the colonization of America. It also played important roles in both the Revolutionary War and the War of Northern Aggression (I mean, the Civil War). :)

In the past few years, I have come to take advantage of the fact that I live roughly 3 1/2 hours from this fascinating, historical city. While I tend to do many of the same things each time I go, I also enjoy finding something or some place which is new to me. In the true spirit of road trips, I have discovered various places the past 3 years in Charleston such as: Morris Island Lighthouse (which stands in the water), Sunset Point, Harbor View Road (an excellent area to meander), the Spice Tea Exchange, and a pink house in the French Quarter (just to name a few).

This trip, I invited a friend who had never been to Charleston (and, having grown up in the North, did now know much about this amazing Southern city). Robert is a friend I met in nursing school...he works in the OR at my hospital and has a somewhat more normal schedule than mine. We coordinated a day off, and Tuesday was selected.

After rising much earlier than I normally do (aka 7 a.m.), I set off to his place to pick him up. We were on the road just after 8 a.m. Our first (and most important, we decided) stop was in Columbia at a Starbucks I usually stop by on my way down.

It was the perfect day to visit Charleston. The sky was mostly clear, with the occasional perfect cloud. Since Robert had never been to Charleston (and it being close to lunch by the time we got there), we parked along the Battery. The salty smell pleasantly assaulted our olfactory nerves. We walked down Meeting Street, up through the Market, and doubled back for lunch at Bubba Gumps. Then we wandered around some of the shops, smelling spices, taste-testing nuts, and enjoying the sights and sounds. We walked down King Street, back to the Battery where we picked up Mr. Darcy and headed towards Folly Beach.

The leisurely drive around Folly is always worth a go...but my favorite part would have to be going as far as the road lets you, parking, walking up the beach, and rounding the corner to find Morris Island Lighthouse.

This walk up the beach was interesting in that we came across several beached jellyfish. Robert, having never been on a beach this far south, let alone seeing a real jellyfish, prodded a few of them...picked them up (because as we all know from Finding Nemo: "The tops don't sting you!") by the top and threw them back into the waves. This was also the part where I think we got burnt the most (at least I did).

After our stroll around the beach (and over some rocks), we found the lighthouse.

It was well worth the walk, jellyfish, hot sand, and all. I have always been fascinated by lighthouses. They are about the only thing I can draw...I love the colors surrounding them (the blues and greens of the sea and sky, both calm and stormy)...if they were worked properly, they could save hundreds of lives during storms.

But the one thing I really wanted to see this trip was something a FB friend had recommended. The Angel Oak. A massive tree, that (to be quite honest) is hard to describe and best seen in person. Something completely new to me, yet it is thought to be among the oldest trees left standing in America. It was probably not quite 30 minutes from Folly Beach, and I would have to say, definitely worth the drive.

After walking around the oak...almost overcome by the sheer size of it, we headed slowly back. First Starbucks we came across was located inside a Piggly Wiggly. Being another Southern fixture, Robert had never been in one (not even sure if he'd heard of it), so we stopped in for a few minutes (for those of you who have no clue what a Piggly Wiggly is, it is a chain of grocery stores).

All in all, another successful, enjoyable road trip. Charleston is one of those classic cities that I think I shall never tire of visiting.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Destination: the mountains
Total miles: ummm...70?
Cost: free

Well...the plan for today was to go to Charleston...that was the plan. And as we all know, the best laid plans often go awry. For various reasons, I woke up during the night and was up for over 2 hours. So, that plan went out the door while sleep (as usual) took precedent.

Plan B. Make it up as you go along.

My favorite kind of plans!

After arising from my repose (some time after 11 a.m.) and preparing myself for the day, I headed into town to satisfy my spiced tea cravings...which some of you know how bad those can be...aka I went to India Palace for a late lunch at 2pm. I love their spiced ice tea. I get the same meal every time (which I don't even have to tell them because they know what I'm going to order) and while I normally take a friend or sibling with me, I enjoyed being by myself (read a couple chapters of Sense and Sensibility and had an enjoyable talk with my waiter, Chetan).

Not having any particular direction to head in, I just started driving towards the mountains after lunch. It's been I-don't-know-how-long since I've been to Caesar's Head, so I followed the road signs. It was the perfect day for a drive through the mountains!

Impending rain and a weekday afternoon insured there would be little traffic. No place to be provided the opportunity to take my time and enjoy the vivid colors of an Appalachian Spring. And my iPod playing the soundtrack from The Man from Snowy River and Return to Snowy River provided the atmosphere befitting a leisurely drive through the Foothills.

Confession: I didn't go to the overlook at Caesar's Head. It was lightning and raining quite hard by the time I made it up, and I opted to sit in my car and enjoy the sound of the rain and the view I could see through the trees. :)

On my way back down, I spotted a sign for Jones' Gap State Park. Making a hasty left turn, I found myself on some back roads that eventually led me to the Park. Here again, it was raining quite hard, so I drove around while reminiscing about childhood trips with the family to Jones' Gap.

To sum it up, I must be honest and say that I don't mind the rain. The colors it brings out, not only in the foliage but also in the sky, are among some of my favorite! The deep blue-grays especially (for a reason I cannot explain) cause my heart to sing and praise God for the wondrous creation He has made. And I know that somewhere nearby, whether I can see it or not, is a rainbow...a reminder of God's                             faithfulness to us.