Friday, July 29, 2011

This One's for the Girls

Brittany will hate that title. It's the name of a Martina McBride song, and she's not a fan. She thinks Martina McBride is way too peppy, just like Denise Austin is in her exercise DVDs. I agree about Denise Austin (though I wish I had enough pep to do her workouts) but I like Martina McBride. And since it's my blog, I can use any title I want. Sorry, Britt. :)

Last November, my sweet SIL, Kristin, visited for a "girlfriend" get-away. We took Brittany and Emma for pedicures, went to a Melissa Shirley class at my local stamping/scrapbooking store, went to several yummy restaurants, and took the girls to tea. We even managed to squeeze in some crafting time. The only bummer of the trip is that I came down with bronchitis and was really sick while she was here. Still, I managed to plug along like The Little Engine That Could. Then I ended up with pneumonia and became the Little Engine That Shouldn't Have.  Still, we had a lot of fun!

I am still struggling with getting good photos of my layouts. I just haven't found a spot with good lighting, but you'll get the idea. The title on this layout actually shows up quite well, but it's hard to see in the photo.
This was Emma's first pedicure~she was hesitant at first, but as soon as they started massaging her little feet she was hooked! Now every once in awhile she tells me that her "heels are dry and could really use a pedicure!" Her mommy gives her pedicures at home, too. I don't know how she paints those tiny little toenails. I can barely see them! 
Kristin taught Emma the proper way to drink tea with your pinky extended. Emma had fun practicing~it was soooo cute!
(SU Simply Scrappin' Tea Time, Pink Pirouette, Early Espresso, and Lucky Limeade; Cricut Storybook)

Yes, I did see my doctor yesterday. My mama told me I was old and foolish. Brittany threatened to kidnap me using zip ties and duct tape. Christy kinda sorta yelled at me from "across the pond," (she's in England, and she didn't really yell~she typed in all capitals which is sort of like yelling via the internet), and Rick asked me to go ever so sweetly. None of them knew that I already had an appointment, but it was nice to feel loved even though they were all being bossy, ha ha! Well, I have bronchitis. The last two times I've had it it has turned into pneumonia, so I PROMISE (an internet yell because I've lost my voice) that I will take care of myself. Not only do I not want pneumonia, but now I am afraid of all of you! Hee hee!

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Emma's Summer Bear, Phase DONE!

I finally finished Emma's summer bear, the pattern that she saw in a magazine and begged me to make for her. Okay, maybe not begged because I immediately said yes. It was more like, "Oh Giffy! I  REALLY LOVE this bear! Would you make it for me please oh please oh please?" I couldn't resist. She then hugged me and said, "You rock, sistah!" That alone was worth the time and effort. Anyway, someone asked me to repost the in-progress photos, so here they are:
Ta da!
It's now framed and hanging in Emma's room. I'm thrilled that she loves the finished piece as much as she thought she would. Now I am back to work on Monet's irises. I might actually finish it someday. 

Yesterday my mom called and is dumbfounded that I am (and I quote) "a college graduate, a teacher, and an author yet still so dumb" because I have not yet gone to the doctor. Yup, my mama told me! I then heard basically the same thing from Rick and Brennan. Of course, I can totally blow off what my mama says (because everyone knows that's what teenage girls do, and really, have I grown up at all since then?) but I can't blow off what Rick says (because every teenage girl hangs on every single word her boyfriend says and thinks he's wise beyond his years~again, not much has changed in 31 years, ha ha). And I definitely can't blow off what my kids say because it really bothers me if they worry about me. I guess the moral of the story is if you think I'm being dumb and stubborn (which I often am) then rat me out to one of my kids and I may just listen. LOL Besides, I'm worse today, so I am going to call my doctor. Really, I am. Probably. Maybe. We'll see. (Just said that to bug you, Mom! )

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Well, for us, it was just the gardens. By Friday morning I knew I was getting sick. I still had the headache as well as a sore throat. Now I assume that I was fighting this virus on Wednesday and that's why I fell victim to heat stroke. There's NO WAY it could have been because I'm old. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Although my mom did point out to me that I am pushing the big 5-0 (next summer) and need to adjust. Nope, I'm not going to do it! I'm going to stick to my story instead, so there! Neener neener! (Typed in pure childlike fashion, hee hee!)

Anyway, we were at the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens by 9:30. It's history is quite interesting. I apologize~I usually like to write the historic info here, but I'm sick and lazy today. You can read about it here. Anyway, the garden was humongous and was breathtaking. I cannot imagine how beautiful it must be in the spring when the myriad of flowers are in bloom. I did manage to find a few flowers to photograph (they're for you, Christy) and lots of tree branches and water reflections so I was a happy little wannabe photographer.

Oak trees, and I mean HUGE oak trees, are everywhere. What I really liked was the Spanish moss hanging from them.
I really like this bridge. It reminds me of the one in the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. I was not a fan of the algae covered water.
Yeah, like you could ever convince me to get into this rowboat, especially since there are alligators in the waters!
I like the bark on this tree. I'm sure there is a much fancier name for it than bark, but I have no idea what it is.
Okay, I was playing with my camera. Here's the shot with the background in focus...
...and here it is with the foreground in focus. 
These are just a bunch of random shots I took as we strolled.
This tree has grown out over the water. It looked pretty cool!
I'm not sure what happened to this tree, but I'm sure something interesting has moved into this hole. I thought about sticking my camera inside of it to take a photo, but then I decided that one near-emergency-room-episode (as Robyn calls it) was enough. Besides, with my luck I would have dropped my camera into the hole!
This is the family crypt. Apparently there is a hidden underground passage where the caskets are actually entombed. This looked so pretty and peaceful that I didn't realize what it was until I read the placard.
This is the front of the plantation house. It's architecture is quite different than that of Charleston's other plantation homes.
The back porch of the home is adorned with two unexploded cannon balls from the Civil War. I think this was the coolest thing that I saw!
Next to the home, there is one of several reflecting ponds. This was the only one not covered in algae. It's surface was completely still and glassy. Check out how clearly the bridge and trees are reflected.
The gardens sit behind the house, this reflecting pond is to the left of the house, and this meadow is in front of the house. I really like the character of the craggy old fence.
The meadow is home to quite a few animals: several horses and peacocks, geese, ducks, and chickens.
We waited around for awhile to see if this guy would fan his feathers, but he pretty much ignored us.
This horse, however, took a liking to Robyn. She would look at Robyn every time Robyn spoke.
This totally cracked us up~she knows how to scratch her itchy neck on the fence! She kept rubbing it back and forth as she whinnied. 
We wanted to tour the home and the slave quarters, but the heat index was once again 115 degrees and the slave quarters are not air conditioned. I thought that remaining upright was a good idea, so we passed. Besides, we spent so much time strolling through the gardens that we needed to hurry back and get dressed for our tea. I definitely want to go back and finish this tour, preferably in the spring when everything is in bloom. 

That's it for Charleston. By Saturday morning I was feeling really crummy but had to fly home anyway. Now I'm enjoying this virus in it's glory. It started as a head cold which has moved into a chest cold and laryngitis. Yes, Mom, I know I'm pushing 50. I promise to go to the doctor if it gets worse, so don't worry, k? Love you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Downtown Charleston

Last Tuesday, Robyn (my BFF from CO) and I met in Charleston, SC for a girls' trip. We stayed at the elegant Charleston Place Hotel in the heart of downtown Charleston. Check out the lobby and our room!

Tuesday evening we strolled through the local area, stopping to take a few photos on our way to High Cotton, rated one of the top two restaurants in Charleston. I enjoyed the best filet mignon I have ever had! Yum!

I bet you're shocked to see a photo of a steeple behind shot through some tree branches! LOL
 This building belongs to The Daughters of the Confederacy.
As you know, Rick and I like to decorate with "artsy" things we find on our travels. We have been looking for a unique centerpiece for our dining room table. In Charleston, I spotted this hand blown glass bowl. I had a difficult time getting a good photo because it is so glossy. It's turquoise and brown, just the right touch of color. It's very cool!
We planned to spend Wednesday on the Isle of Palms beach. I am so bummed that I didn't get any photos. Two hours after we got there, I fell victim to heat stroke: flushed skin, profuse sweating, headache, shaking, nausea, a bit disoriented, etc. I have never had it before and was shocked to have it this time. Of course, we were in Charleston during a record high heatwave. Between the 97 degree temperatures and the high humidity, the heat index was 115 degrees the whole time we were there. Thankfully, I recognized that I was in trouble and we quickly got into an air conditioned restaurant and pumped me full of ice water. After an hour or so I felt well enough to leave and continued to improve. By dinner time, I was back to normal except for the headache. I was quite disappointed for Robyn. We chose SC so that she could enjoy a beach day, as she rarely gets to a beach because she lives in CO. Not only was her beach day cut short, but she also had to worry about me. (As a side note: we taught 3rd grade together in CO. I had nine hand surgeries in two years, and always seemed to have my hand bandaged. Unfortunately, that meant that Robyn had to help me button my pants every time I used the restroom. So all things considered, dealing with me and heat stroke probably wasn't too bad for her! LOL)
After a short rest we were back on the go. We dined at Magnolia's, rated the best restaurant in Charleston. Supposedly, this is Oprah Winfrey's favorite Southern restaurant. It was wonderful! Once again I ordered filet mignon, about the only non-seafood dish available besides chicken, which I still can't bring myself to eat (I had a nasty bout of salmonella from chicken last summer). Robyn and I both thought that High Cotton was better. Anyway, here is our self-portrait in Magnolia's.
On Thursday, we went to lunch with some long-time family friends of Robyn's. Mr. and Mrs. Hart drove us all around Charleston, pointing out the historic buildings and mansions. I wasn't able to get photos from inside the car (and it was way too hot to stop and get out of the car), but I will say that Charleston is as beautiful  and charming as I've been told. After lunch, we did some shopping. There is an open-air market across from the Charleston River Hotel. We both stopped to watch Corey weave a sweetgrass basket, one of the oldest African crafts in America.
We each bought a small basket. These baskets are pricey: most of them are between $150-$400! Neither one of us wanted to spend that much, so we bought the tiniest ones we could find for $50. 
Still a bit pricey, but we both liked the historical background of the baskets. And mine does look fabulous on my shelf!

Thursday night, I still had a slight headache and my throat began to hurt. I chalked it up to the heat and refused to let it stop me! Not too bright, I know. But hey, I only get to see Robyn once a year at best, so I chose to be the energizer bunny and just kept going! I did make sure to get nine hours of sleep, though. It's been a long time since either one of us had slept so much.
On Friday, we went to the Magnolia Plantation. I took a ton of photos there, so I will post those separately tomorrow. Friday afternoon we enjoyed what's been rated as "the best afternoon tea in the South" at the Thoroughbred Club in our hotel. Yes it was wonderful and delicious, but we're not too sure about it being the best. We thought it was pricey and pretty typical. But that didn't stop us from eating every morsel!
After tea, we strolled through another side of downtown Charleston as we headed towards the water. We discovered that Charleston has three symbols: the pineapple (which is a sign of hospitality), the palm tree (which are all over town), and the carriage (which are also all over town). We found the parking lot for some of the horse-drawn carriages. Aren't these pretty?
South Carolina's Custom House is such a pretty building.
Waterside Park is located across the street from the Custom House.
I just think this shot is cool because you can see the water in motion.
The boardwalk was equipped with numerous porch swings hanging from the roof. How quaint is that?
 This is Charleston's famous Pineapple Fountain.
 This neighborhood is parallel to Waterfront Park. I wonder how much one of these places costs. More than I can afford, I am sure.
After enjoying every morsel of our afternoon tea, we weren't too hungry for dinner but I have to eat in order to stave off some of my esophagus issues. We opted for light appetizers followed by the best fresh peach pie I have ever tasted! That alone was worth the airfare! Ha ha!
 I'll be back tomorrow with the rest of my photos. One closing thought: Southern hospitality and gentility are alive and well. The people of Charleston are warm, friendly, polite, and gracious. It is definitely a place I want to revisit, but never again in the summer! Does anyone want to go with me?