Follow by Email

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

31 Days of Adventure: Day 31 - The End, An $11 Veggie Burger and The Release Party


Well, it's the end of the month and what a month it's been. I've had great time celebrating the month of my birth: lots of great food, a great birthday trip, a little heartbreak, some shopping, great times with friends, it's just been a great month. Thank you all for indulging me and bearing with me....Sorry if I bored you at times.

Today was a great day, a great way to end the month. It started with me realizing that I had accidental coordination - the pedicure that I had on Sunday matched the dress I wore today. It's not that hard since there was pink involved...but it was interesting because the exact shades....hmmmm!


Then my March work bud, and I went to lunch at Cheeseburger Bobby's in Norcross. We asked up front about special of the day - nothing; Birthday month special - nothing. Two for one special - nothing. We conceded that there was no discount available. My lunch mate ordered a Cheeseburger with french fries - she wanted greasy to end the month! I ordered the veggie burger, but asked if I could have it prepared like the Carolina Burger without the bacon...this would be Cheddar Cheese, Cole Slaw, BBQ sauce, it just sounded so yummy and fries. T.hen I got the shock of the month $11+. What?!! I didn't quite understand since the beef version of this was $7.99 It was explained to me that the $4.99 Veggie Burger was required to have everything else added on and now cost more than the original burger! Here's how the dialogue went:

Me: "Why? What?"

Lawrence the Cashier: "The Veggie Burger is a set price and everything (Cheddar Cheese, Coleslaw, BBQ Sauce is an add on)

Me: "The add on's cost more than the burger? So the Veggie Burger cost more than the beef? I can't just swap out the Veggie Pattie for the beef burger? It's not even a really good veggie burger. It seems that it should be the same price or maybe less!"

Lawrence the Cashier; "No, you can't swap out the pattie for the burger. Everything is an add on."

"Guy at the Side": Oh what I do sometimes is get the bun and fill it with the veggies."

Me: "Does that cost less?"

"Guy at the Side": "No, it's the same price as the Veggie Burger"

Me: "So I would do that why? I will have the plain Veggie Burger and Fries"(mumbling at this point - "Reason #638 why I pack my own lunch - March was just a celebratory month")

Now maybe I'm becoming cheap as I mature, but this just didn't make sense to me. After all of this I did enjoy my lunch which cost less than $10. And have enough veggies from the fixin's bar to make another sandwich if I choose to.



For the past couple of weeks I've been walking around with a little extra baggage that I've been trying to get rid of. I'd planned to have a Release Party a little earlier in the month but could never get around to it. The Release Party is supposed to be a physical representation of what I've already resolved in my head to do - release some stuff so I can move on.

So after my "exciting lunch" we went to select a few balloons to release, symbolically letting go of some stuff that we've both been holding onto for a while.

I chose the following:

1) A smiley face, which I decided to keep at my desk...after all I need a reminder to "Be Happy".

2) A Happy Birthday Monkey - symbolically getting the monkey off my back

3) And a red heart - symbolically releasing things that were weighing heavy on my heart.

Lunch mate got a red heart and loaded all her stuff on that one balloon.

As I was getting ready to leave work I wrote on my balloons with the stuff that I needed to let go and we headed out. As we were deciding where to release our stuff, the wind picked up and was actually blowing the balloons side if we wouldn't be able to get rid our our stuff. So we sat at a picnic table and talked about the things we wanted to let go and then it was time. Lunch mate went first...her balloon got stuck in a tree for a few minutes. It released itself and then got stuck in another tree before finally heading for the open sky. Maybe that means something - but I don't want to read anything into it....This is a release party. Then it was my turn. I let the monkey go first...releasing a bunch of "monkey on my back" issues. Then it was the hearts time to fly. I have to admit although it was only symbolic, it felt good as we watched them float out of sight.

On the way out of the park we saw a beautiful blooming tree. It reminded me that there are cycles in life. Sometimes we blossom or bloom and stretch to reach new heights. During the year if there is a period where we seem dormant, it's OK, just regroup until the blooming cycle comes again, it's fall or winter.

31 Days of Adventure: Day 30 - Chicken

Today, I ate chicken.

That is all!

Monday, March 30, 2015

31 Days of Adventure: Days 27 and 28 - A Show of Friendship and a Little Adventure

I've noticed a few distinct phases in adult life. One of the most painful is laying to rest loved one. I don't think we're ever completely ready for someone to pass, no matter how sick they may be or what pain they are enduring. This weekend, several of us from work traveled to support a friend as he laid his mother to rest. While we never met his mother, we know her son and realize that in the true spirit of friendship, we had to lay aside whatever other concerns we had in order to give the support and encouragement our presence would provide. It was in this setting and with a spirit of friendship that we left Atlanta on Friday afternoon. And what an adventure we had.

The first two hours were spent just trying to get out of Atlanta! 75 South on a Friday when Spring Breaks are still being taken...just two words: NIGHT MARE! It was stop and go, nearly bumper to bumper for quite a while. Just about an hour after we were able to maintain a pretty steady cruising speed, it was time to eat and we were just in Cordele at Golden Corral.   Despite my co-pilots incorrect GPS directions, we made it to Golden Corral. This was a natural choice since it offered a variety and we all have diverse eating preferences. After a dinner, which included one of the best salads I've had in a while, it was time to continue our trip. 

 We arrived in Jacksonville at around 11:30 Friday night located the church where the services would be held and began our search for a hotel room.

Yes! We flew by the seats of our collective pants and didn't book ahead of time. The first 5 or 6 places we reached out to? Booked! Booked! Booked! Who knew that Jacksonville was such a hopping place. When we asked why everything was booked, the response we received was normal traffic and maybe spring break. Just when we were about to give up a room was found.

Finally!  The Sheraton was approximately 20 minutes south of Jacksonville, so our travel coordinator asked that they hold the room for us and off we went. It was the last room available at that hotel. When we got there we were presented with a single king sized bed. At that point it didn't matter, we were road weary. I did begin to think that I should probably add an air mattress to go along with the blankets that I always have in the car. So we made due. The good points were: 2 of us are short, the room was a handicapped accessible room which provided some extra maneuvering room and we're pretty laid back ladies. So #1 candidate pulled up the chair and two hassocks and with the extra blankets provided, made a chase lounge. #2, the tall one slept on one side of the bed...Short #3 slept across the bottom of the bed with an extra blanket and short # 4 slept on the other side of the bed. We set up a bathroom schedule for the morning, that would allow everyone to have some undisturbed time and still be able to leave in enough time to get to the church on time. It was a perfect set up and everyone managed to get some sleep.

We hadn't told our friend that we were coming to the funeral and two additional folks from the office showed up as well. He said it really meant a lot to him and his aunt was happy to know that he had a support group in Atlanta. It was a very nice service that focused on celebrating his mother's life and was actually encouraging and uplifting despite the somber occasion. After visiting briefly with the family, we changed and began our trip back to Atlanta.

We decided to return via Savannah instead of I-75 which would allow me about a half hour of beach therapy and we were able to stop in Statesboro to visit one of our sons who attends college at Georgia Southern. On the way to Tybee Island, we passed exits on I-75 that I've mentally added to my "to visit" list for later in the year.

The beach although windy and a bit blustery, relaxed me and provided that 30 minutes of ocean therapy, that I need periodically. We took the chairs that are always in the car and sat out for a few minutes. Our next stop...Statesboro. What started off as a quick side trip to say hi to a son, ended a few hours later once we had eaten, rested, refueled and taken care of a bit of business.

Totally exhausted by the time we got to Macon, I turned the last leg of the trip over to my co-pilot to get us home. This took a bit longer than originally planned because since true to form, I-75 presented us with a traffic jam as we got close to Atlanta.

We finally made it back to our starting spot at about 1:00 am Sunday morning, the office parking lot, joking that we'd just take our blankets and sleep under our desks since we were so tired. All in all, despite complete exhaustion, strange sleeping arrangements, a chatty misdirecting GPS and a few side trips, we are thankful for travelling blessings which resulted in an uneventful and safe adventure while having the opportunity to support one of our own as he faced a life transition. It was a great way to spend a weekend and to my travelling mates....I'd roll with you again!

31 Days of Adventure: Day 29 - Breakfast, Pampering and a long nap

I slept a lot yesterday....when I got home at 1:30 in the morning to realize that I had turned off the heat at the end of "fake spring" last week and left town when the temperature dropped into the 30's...I was too cold to sleep. Hot chocolate, space heater, all the blankets and an hour later I was ready to go to sleep and did a pretty good job of it. Then I could start the day

I met up with some good buddies for breakfast at Egg Harbor Cafe. The food was yummy, but the company was the highlight of the morning.

At high noon, 6 of us continued our day and had various pampering services at Q Nails, just a few doors down from the breakfast spot. Had a great time, chatting and being on the receiving end of some pampering. I even got a manicure - which is rare because I do so much with my hands that the mani is not worth it for me.

A quick stop at Whole Foods to pick up a few things for the week, was kinda worthless since I went home and got right on the sofa and Zzzzzz! I woke up to hand over the laptop that I had run away with, LOL! took the night meds and back to sleep. For the first time in months, all of my post 8pm adventures were of the dreaming type. I slept right through the night.

Great day!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

31 Days of Adventure: Day 26 - Carrot Cake Success, A Streetcar, A Market and A Taco

Today was another highlight in the Birthday Month.

1) Carrot Cake success. My work Marchette and I finally conceded that if we wanted carrot cake we would just go across the street at lunch time and have the nice yummy warm, moist carrot cake studded with coconut, pineapple, nuts and raisins from J. Alexanders. It's tried and true and didn't disappoint. We even got them to take off the cream cheese frosting which is usually served warm on top, before bringing it out. Before you judge, this cake is so good so moist, it does not need the cream cheese frosting. It's just the right balance of sweet and to me, the cream cheese frosting makes it a bit too sweet. And since the cake is sooo moist, it doesn't need to rely on the frosting to make it moist. Delicious - mission 1 accomplished.

2) A Streetcar ride - Having planned for a while now, I finally got myself downtown to ride the Atlanta Streetcar. Joining me were two fellow Marchettes and Honorary Marchette.  The free fare period is coming to an end, after which rides will be $1 per boarding or $3 for a day pass if you want to get on and off along the route. We started and ended our ride at the Centennial Park Streetcar stop and got off to explore the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. The full 2.7 mile route takes approximately 33 minutes to complete in one of the three streetcars currently in service.  While I expected more seating inside the car there is ample room for wheel chairs, strollers, and plenty of standing room.   The Streetcar is built on the "flex" model, so it's about the length of 2 1/2 buses, but has the ability to flex around corners, making a bit more agile than a bus.

3) Sweet Auburn Curb Market - Originally opened in 1924 this historical site currently houses a variety of produce and meat merchants, a full service bakery, a bookstore, pharmacy and several natural products vendors (think juices and organic items), and popular local eateries including Arepa Mia, AfroDish (a Caribbean/African offering) and Sweet Auburn BBQ. We were provided a sampling of pralines and popcorn at Miss D's Pralines and each left with a container of Butter, Cheese, Caramel Popcorn. If I lived downtown I definitely would shop here for produce. In an area that could be a fresh food desert, I'm happy to see that there are fresh options being presented.

4) Taqueria del Sol - After ending our Streetcar Adventure, we decided to get some dinner. At the Howell Mill location, we enjoyed tacos, enchiladas, chips n salsa and cheese dip, with a side of conversation and an extra helping of laughter.

Thanks ladies for sharing my Streetcar Adventure and being tourists in our own city. If I had more time I was going to pull together some trivia, but I think everything worked out just as it should. Thanks again!

31 Days of Adventure: Day 25 - Carrot Cake Fail

The title says it all.   That is all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

31 Days of Adventure: Day 24 - Gorgeous Weather and Strange Easter Candy

Day 24! Wow! The time is seems we just started March and here we are tomorrow will be the last Wednesday....and the single day that I provide the most wishes to my fellow Marchers and Marchettes! 4 tomorrow.

Anyway today was a singularly spectacular day. The weather was absolutely perfect. So much so that being the island girl at heart, I opened the door to the deck and the window in my bathroom to let some fresh air flow through....this before the yellow storm of pollen befalls us.

I worked from home today and was able to get a little run in at lunch. I really need to do this both days that I work at home. It's very relaxing and therapeutic...and I am in need of a bit of therapy right now. It was beautiful weather, but I could tell the pollen count was starting to get high - or at least for my specific allergen. The first batch of trees are in full pollen producing mode. I came back with an itchy nose, but all is well.

I made a side trip to the Dollar Tree - one of my favorite places....for odd food products pictures. For the most peculiar finds, I also like Big Lot or other similar stores. My brother and I have an ongoing text battle to see who can find the strangest, oddest, or grossest food product.  Some of the more "fabulous" ones we've found:  kale soda,  pumpkin pie pop tarts, red velvet oreos...and the list could go on.  Each one more unbelievable or fantastic that the one before.  

However, I think I have the Easter Candy Edition handled! Something about those marshmallow bunnies....Although they were right next to the "Peeps" they definitely are not "Peeps"...I've named them Poops. They were just named generic "Marshmallow Bunny" - those eyes and that smile!!!! 

 Imagine the nightmares a child, or adult for that matter, would have finding those in their Easter Basket. And the Skittles - I didn't even know there was a "Darkside of the Rainbow"....creepy.

Anyway, after work I finally finished my Race Bib Project...I have a lot more runs to do to fill this up...but I'm working on that. I have a few other projects that I want to get done before March says bye, bye. I'll be getting busy the next 7 days!

All in all, it was a pretty routine day...other than the creepy candy....I'm not sure I'm going to sleep well tonight! LOL!

Monday, March 23, 2015

31 Days of Adventure: Day 23 - The Afterwards!

I have to say that this Monday had two high points.

1.  The massage I had this morning - I was a bit sore this morning.  (Bad prep for the 5K I ran yesterday + hills).  A silly little 5K and I feel worse than October when I did the 10 miler or
Thanksgiving when I did the Half Marathon.   So if I'm going to keep this thing up, time to do better!

2.  The Epsom Salts bath I had after I got home from work.

I was warned that the massage would end up leaving me sorer than before and I have to say she was right on.   By the time I left work - ouch.   But I followed instructions and kept moving, drinking water and plunged into a nice relaxing Epsom Salts bath as soon as I got home and I'm feeling better.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

31 Day of Adventure: Day 22 - Running and Still Going

Started this morning with the Luckie 5K. This was part of, or the little sister of the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon which goes through downtown Atlanta starting at Centennial Park. It was raining most of the morning including the race and I was happy that we were only completing the 5K. Despite the rain and a few hills (I actually ran up the first one), it was a good race and I felt good when it was done. So as of now, there is officially no excuse for not running when it's raining.

I stopped at Publix on the way home, thinking that walking with my 5K medal on would be impressive....LOL! No one even noticed! Oh well. The reason I stopped at Publix was I needed some things to make breakfast and some soup for the week. Breakfast of 5K finisher

: Tofu Scramble with whole grain toast.

Don't ask me where I got a sudden surge of energy from, but decided to do some spring cleaning in the kitchen. I'm a bit of a kitchen hoarder so I cleaned out miscellaneous cups and mugs (you know those you receive as gifts or with candy in them, a few odd dishes and glasses and bottles that I had been hanging onto. Don't ask. I also found and old coffee pot and a few other "housewares" type things that I had been hanging onto. It was actually good to break the emotional attachment....that's really what keeps these things hanging out long beyond when they should move on. So they've been bagged up, boxed up and are ready to head to a deserving charity.

I got the kitchen cleaned from top to bottom. Just need to empty the freezer and wipe it out one evening this week and the kitchen task will be complete. Moving onto the dining room!

It was great to be so productive today. I need another couple Sundays. Maybe instead of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday! LOL

31 Days of Adventure: Day 21 - 'Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Today, I had to rely on Him for something that was not humanly possible.  I got very nervous, I'll even say doubtful and at times considered taking things back into my own hands.  It's really easy to "talk" about letting go and letting God, but when it comes down to it, I seem to want to intervene and help Him out.  I'm a control freak like that.

He just proves once again that He's got this...I just have to let go.

Now if I could only work up the courage to let it all go!

Today, I felt foolish for not just trusting before.

...Oh for grace, to trust him more.

Friday, March 20, 2015

31 Days of Adventure - Day 20 Out and About and All Around

What a day! I was going to sleep in this morning, but after waking up and hearing that there was an accident on 400 (the direction I was headed for my 8:00 a.m. oil change) I got out of bed and rushed to get ready since I knew the secondary roads would be packed. A 15 minute trip took over an hour. When traffic gets messed up, it gets really messed up.

After the oil change, it was off to pick up "The Table!"  It fit perfectly in my vehicle and I'm happy with it. Just need a little clean up (perhaps on Sunday) and it will join me in the dining room.  I've not decided if I'm going to paint it yet or leave it as it is.  I figure, I'll live with it as it is and see how I like it.  I can paint later.

Between the Table pick up and lunch, I ran a few errands including a trip to Home Depot.   While they didn't have exactly what I was looking for, I did spy a few small fruit trees (nectarine and peach) that were blossoming. 
Peach Blossoms
I had lunch with a friend. We had a great time and great service at Buckhead Diner....thanks to the gift card giver, my dining partner and Joe P who provided the best, most courteous and attentive (correctly balanced) service I've had in a long time.

Blue Cheese Chips...soooo bad but soooo good!
We balanced out the chips with matching veggie plates
Birthday Dessert
Finally,  downtown to pick up my bib for the Luckie 5K on Sunday. Since I've been slacking on my running, I downgraded to the 5K instead of the Half Marathon as originally planned. I didn't stay for the Expo since I didn't want to get caught in traffic on the way home.

All of this, but I think today's biggest adventure was learning a bit about the power of forgiveness and being forgiven. I think it's important to balance both...forgive and you'll be forgiven, both sides of the same coin. Sometimes one is harder than the other...but either way, they both bring peace and I'm still learning.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

31 Days of Adventure: Day 17 - Eh!

A rough day.   Riding the high that was a wonderful birthday weekend and start of the week, I had a rough day.   But there is always something beautiful in everyday, no matter how rough it may be today's beauty was the day itself - how gorgeous was it?

This reminds me that when times are good, you have to put down roots, do the hard stuff, build that foundation,  cultivate relationships because when times are rough, you don't have the energy or desire to do any of those things and need to be able to lean on the strengths that you've worked on.

Hang on to tomorrow, I see a new day ahead!

31 Days of Adventure - Day 18 Grown up stuff!

This evening I started my taxes which will be done on Sunday. I just need to double check my documents and review my entries. I have a two step process that I follow. It really doesn't take that long and makes me feel pretty grown up.

Have you ever made the calculation that netted you a very small refund or a very small amount due when you do your taxes? You know, so you get more in your check and less on the refund? This year I adjusted my deductions to get more in my check and avoid the "refund". I got closer, but will need to make additional adjustments. I'd rather have my money "now" than get a refund at the end. This just requires adjusting your budget so you're not looking for that "big" refund.

One year, over twenty years ago, my accountant figured this out for me and I got a refund of only $27. That was a great year!

So, I'm doing some adult stuff and taking care of business today and then... back to fun tomorrow: 1/2 day work and 1/2 day play!

31 Days of Adventure - Day 19 Patience, Now!

I've had a great day

1)  Did my weekly weigh-in and registered 1.5 misplaced pounds!

2) Worked only 1/2 day.  1/2 day play day!

3)  Had lunch with a fellow Marchette at Taqueria del Sol.   Great lunch, even better company!

4)All of this was topped off by an unplanned visit to A Classy Clutter in Roswell - I've been looking for a dining room table and I'm pretty sure people who I describe it to think I'm crazy.  My specifications include:  round, pedestal base (not clunky, elegant, unique), not too big, has to have extensions, I don't need chairs because I have some already, wood. All of this, within a small budget. I considered Craigslist and actually reached out with interest on a few tables, but never heard back or the table was sold out from under me. Then after our rash of Atlanta Craigslist "excitement", I decided to leave that route alone.

I've looked high and low in town, went to Asheville (not the primary reason) and then this afternoon as I was getting ready to turn right, something said "turn left"...I've passed by A Classy Clutter many times while on routine trips and never went in.  As I entered and was greeted (+), asked if I was looking for anything special (+), I was left to look around on my own (+). 

I poked around, lots of brooches, jewelry, china, linens...really cute place and well set up. Again, I heard "turn left" and there it was! My table! Nervous, I asked the sales lady (should have gotten her name) to assist me. She was so pleasant (+) we chatted on the way back to the table and when she got there, she squealed in delight...I couldn't quite place the accent, maybe Australian or South African? She then went on to explain that it had been delivered just a couple of days ago and she was thinking of painting it, it has two leaves. The outside edge of the table has a marquetry design, and each leaf has the same inlay around the edges. Anyway, when I asked her how much - it was $75 below the budget I had set.

It's raining today, so I'm picking up the table in the morning.  Pictures will follow.
I've not had a table since I sold my old table to a friend in September. I entertained family at Christmas with no dining table. Mom wasn't thrilled, but it didn't bother me. I had family again early this month with no dining table. I haven't been eating at the table as all diet/healthy eating gurus tell you should be done. It wasn't bothering me and I knew that the perfect table and I would meet when it was time. It would fit my specifications, be within budget and I'd know it when I saw it. I saw tables with the wrong base, too big, too small, too clunky, over my budget. I considered settling, but am so glad that I didn't.

Aaah...that I had the patience to wait for all things. I need to remember, patience!

Monday, March 16, 2015

31 Days of Adventure - Day 16: The Midpoint Birthday

Did you know it was last year that I finally realized that my birthday is right in the middle of the month? 15 days before and 15 days after...don't know what it means, but it took me 47 years to realize that! LOL....Trying to be more observant now and sometimes that equates to a bit more wordy!

I have a special birthday text!

PSALM 103: 1 - 5 (especially that verse 5)

1Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Last night I was planning my birthday breakfast and happend upon some online menus.   One of them offered a bowl of granola for $9.25.   Now mind you it did come with organic vanilla yogurt, but honestly!   $9.25 for a bowl of granola?   Today, after "Granola Shock $9.25" last night, I decided to go to a old favorite The The Early Girl Eatery. I've never had a bad meal there and thought it would be appropriate for a Birthday Breakfast. Perfectly appropriate! I had the special which was Potato Spinach Cakes smothered with Vegan Tomato Gravy, Two eggs and Toast. I opted for the Herb Gravy on the side instead of the tomato gravy. De-lish-ous! That place is always hopping and always ready to serve and make the dish your way: vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, anything except taste free. Their dishes are always flavorful, filling and yummy.

And their service!!!! Always top's a casual place, but they are friendly, helpful and have mastered that perfect balance of attentive without overbearing. Today, I asked and got some extra service: On the far wall are a wall of windows, in each window is a plant. Several of those plants are spider plants...with many babies on each one. Since it was my birthday, I was a little more "froggy" than usual and asked the server if I could have a couple of the babies...she asked if I wanted the scissors and a bag...LOL! I thought it would be strange if in a restaurant full of people a customer started snipping at their plants so I asked if she could do it. She said sure! Thus ended my year long search for spider babies!

From there I ran my last minute rounds:
1) The Chocolate Fetish to pick up a few things for a friend and of course I had to get one Habanero Sea Salt Caramel for myself. Yes again, and yes same results with the burning lips! But it burns so good!) 

2) The Antique Tobacco Barn. I decided to purchase the two oil lamps I had seen yesterday! Because I thought about it overnight, that's not an impulse purchase, right? Happy Birthday to me?!  Well this was a challenge since they still had the kerosene in them. The cashier drained them and I asked that they remove the wicks too. No sense being overcome with fumes in the car on the way home.   I also asked that they remove the wicks. He also cleaned up the tops and packed them up very nicely in a box. When I got back to the car, I went ahead the put them in plastic bags and tied them sense taking any chances. Once I get them cleaned up (by the end of the month) I'll share. 

3) Biltmore Village - This is another place I've been wanting to go to on many of my trips to Asheville. Eh! A big shopping center laid out like a village...they do have a few unique shops, but most of the stores were nothing that I couldn't hit across the street from my job.

4) Katuah Market - Grabbed some lunch from the hot bar Katuah Market, a local health food grocery (think mini-Whole Foods). I wasn't paying attention and lunch came to a bit more than I had planned...but wow! I had rice, baked beans and bbq sietan with cole slaw and collards....Everything was really good!....It had me thinking, I need to figure out how to make each of these items. The sauce on the beans and the bbq was tangy sweet...I think that might be Carolina style was good. Did I mention I liked the bbq?

Then it was time to hit the road for the trip much of an adventure is it to see $1.99/gallon gas! You know I filled up for under $20 (wasn't quite empty) But I think they should have made it $1.48 or $1.16 in honor of my birthday....but just the same it could have been $3.16, so I won't complain.  Hey! now there's an idea...if I ran a gas station, with proof of birth, I'd sell the gas for your age on your birthday - 10 gallon limit. And that's probably why I won't ever own a gas station! LOL!

Well I'm home safely, laundry in the machine, green smoothie stuff in the fridge (time to pay the piper!) and settling into my routine for a couple of days...ummmm 1/2 day on Thursday and off and Friday....Let the celebration continue!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

31 Days of Adventure: Day 15 - Vacation Bliss

Do these glasses make me look old?
So how do I get paid for being on vacation? I don't mean paid vacation time, I mean paid to be on vacation...I'm going to have to work on that.

Today, got my exercise in before I had breakfast and moved out.

My first stop the Antique Tobacco Barn. This is just outside Biltmore Village (as in The Biltmore Estate) so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The building is an old Tobacco Barn the old wooden beams where I imagine bundles of tobacco hung from are still intact. I saw quite a few comments on line that the place wasn't heated or air-conditioned and can see how that might be an issue in the winter/mid-summer, but today the weather was perfect.

77,000 square feet of furniture, antiques, oddities, old Pyrex, clothing, signs, junk bargains and miscellany! What an adventure. I've been looking for a dining room table....a very specific dining room table...within a very specific budget. I'm sure some day these two things will come together, not today. In the meantime, I almost made an impulse purchase (and may go back tomorrow after I've had a chance to sleep on it). Two green oil lamps that were 50% off....we'll see. My goal of simplifying doesn't quite coordinate with their purchase, but so I'll think on them until tomorrow.

I spent a couple of hours dining room table, so no purchase. Folks! This is a major milestone. I just have to keep reminding myself "I'm simplifying. I'm simplifying"

Then it was time for lunch. I had plans to do an early dinner tonight at a restaurant called Plant in downtown Asheville, but I was hungry at about 3:30. I decided to try a place that I've wanted to try since I started coming to Asheville...6 or 7 years ago, The Laughing See Cafe. I was not disappointed. There's a patio at the front ample seating inside and a sunny little area in the back. I wanted to be in/near a sunny spot and the hostess accommodated my request. The staff was very helpful, when I mentioned that it was my first time, I was walked through the menu and given non-alcoholic beverage options.
I settled on the vegan Bahn Mi Sandwich with Jalapeno-Onion Fries and Citrus based Elixer.   Everything was delicious!  I skipped dessert for a trip to The Chocolate Fetish​ one must stop every time I'm in Asheville!   A couple trips ago, I happened on the Habanero Sea Salt Caramels. avoid too much temptation later...haha!   I say later like the two the I bought lasted past the bookstore.   I actually bit into one as I was crossing the street and got hit....with that habanero punch. Oh my!   Just as good as I remember, but my lips were on fire!  Only one way to quench the other one!

Walking out some of my lunch I stopped in one of the many small import stores and checked out some of the merchandise....clear sunglasses caught my eye....I tried on a few pairs and settled on none.

I then ran up to Malaprops Bookstore for a quick look see. Love that place. Things were on a roll! Great day so far.

On my way back to the hotel I made a stop that changed my whole mood. The Goodwill Outlet stores. You may ask "Goodwill has an outlet?"....I had heard of this before but had never been. Now I'm not sure if all the Goodwill Outlets (if more than one) are like this one, and I love a good deal just as much as the next person but no! no! no! This is where the stuff comes to die or maybe it's the stuff that was dead before it got to Goodwill.

Everything (including furniture, books and appliances) sold by the pound and in bins. Bins that are not specific to any one item, so there are shoes, cookbooks, cookie tins, waffle irons, lampshades, window screens - all together in a single bin. I was afraid to put any hands into these bins so I just looked. When you're ready to check out, your cart goes on the industrial scale that's by the register and you're weighed out. Happy to say I left without purchasing anything....shudders!
So I haven't found my carrot cake yet, but have a back up waiting for me in Atlanta....I'll check around tomorrow before heading home.

Tomorrow...Let's see what homeward bound adventures I'll have.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

31 Days of Adventure - Day 14: Botanical Gardens and some Exploration

It was a great day. The clouds rolled back and the day was mostly sunny. I started the day with breakfast that I had prepared for.   Since it is the Birthday weekend,  I brought one setting of my china and treated myself to a really nice breakfast.   It consisted of granola and yogurt with grapefruit, pineapple and strawberries and a cup of wild orange tea.    The perfect way to start the day and hold me over til dinner.

I also got some reading in.  I'm currently reading "Three Simple Rules, That Will change the World"  by Reuben Job.   It's basically a guide, in the style of John Wesley for living a simple live.
After feeding the body and soul, I headed out to the Botanical Gardens at Asheville. It's located adjacent to the campus of the University of North Carolina at Asheville and contains over 600 plant species that are native to the Carolinas.

With spring around the corner I think within the next 3 - 4 weeks the Gardens will be in full spring bloom. There are rhododendron, azaleas and many other flower plants as well as native ground cover and trees along the half mile loop and various side trails that meander through the grounds. Several bridges are located on the grounds that take visitors over the stream that meanders through the area.

For the "Great Gatsby" fans, just outside the botanical gardens, heading back toward downtown Asheville, is a marker indicating that
Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott, passed away in 1948 fire at the Highlands Hospital, just down the street. These markers are through out the area indicating other events of pop or historical significance.

A drive past the Grove Park Inn on the winding road which goes past it brought me up to a point looking out over the city and the Inn! This is the spot to go to if you want to get some great shots of Asheville from above...I did not get any of these shots, since I didn't want to get out of the car. Coming back down towards downtown, I drove through a few neighborhoods...yeah, I could live here! I think this every time I come here.

Then it was back to the hotel to have lunch/dinner - it was about 5:00 pm. I fear I may be turning into a "Florida Snowbird". You know the ones that eat dinner at 4:00 pm to get the special at a lower price! The truth is I just find it easier to eat two meals a day when on vacation since I want to sleep in a little and not eat too late....9:30 and 4:00ish work for me with a light snack in the middle.

Tomorrow, a bit of shopping...looking for a specific thing and my hunt for the perfect dessert (some of the bakeries are closed on Monday)...and we'll see what adventures come up!

Friday, March 13, 2015

31 Days of Adventure - Day 12: Let the Weekend Begin!

It's been a tough 4 days and I'm off tomorrow to begin my Birthday weekend

Let the weekend begin!

31 Days of Adventure - Day 13: A Mini Celebratory Retreat!

This weekends plans didn't quite work out the way I imagined when I planned it. But..."the best laid plans..."
Driving up to the mountains it was very cloudy and the higher I got, the harder it was to see. The tips of each ridge was hidden behind low hanging rain clouds
Once I got in town I poked around a little to get some breakfast fixins and pick up some fruit. I don't like going downstairs for breakfast and being the thrifty traveler that I am Room Service is out of the question. I managed to get in and out of Greelife/Whole Foods without blowing the entire weekends budget.

Once I arrived at the hotel, I had a pleasant surprise. I was offered an upgrade to a king room. Suspicious, I asked if it was going to cost me more. What?! No?! Well then of course I'll take it! It's quite cozy and I love the huge walk in shower. I mean if you passed out you wouldn't hit your head you could stretch out (well maybe I could stretch out) on the floor huge!

I had an early dinner at Tupleo Honey which was fabulous (except for the fried green tomatoes which I didn't care for). An excellent Spinach salad with cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, carrots, marinated onions and grape tomatoes topped with an Asian Sesame Orange dressing; Fried Green tomatoes on the bed of grits with a red pepper coulis and pimento cheese dip with corn chips. On my way back to the car I did pass a gentleman in town with a pretty white dog. The man had a nice full white beard, a little longer than it was full and wide. He asked for some change for "a broke down hippie". I helped him out and he said he liked my hair. I smiled and said thanks. A complement is a complement and I'm learning to accept them without qualifications.

Back in the parking lot of the hotel I noticed there must be something going on in town this weekend, 5 Model T's in really great driving condition were parked there. My hands were full, it was raining and almost dark, so I didn't get any pictures. But I'm going to see if I can catch them in the morning.

For now, I'm tucked away...happy to have seen another day. other way to look at it.