• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 143 other followers

  • “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” — Isaac Asimov

  • Recent Posts

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 167,621 hits

Road Trip – Part 3

Day 3 of our little road trip began with me getting up at 7 for another trek on the treadmill.

I knew that I’d be spending some time in the car, so getting my legs moving, while I could, was paramount.

Once the Mr. woke up, we packed our things and prepared to load up the car.

I had to chuckle when I compared my pile . . .

With his . . .

To be fair, that red laundry bag should have sat between the stacks of bags since both of our clothes were in it.

As we headed out, sans kids (boo), the weather wasn’t looking that great.

I was reminded, once again, of God’s grace the day before when the weather had been spectacular for the game.

When we were planning this trip, we had decided not to go straight home.

Our next destination: Auburn!

Atlanta sits less than two hours east of the prettiest town known to man, so we couldn’t allow the opportunity to visit pass us by.

We made a pit stop at a Chick fil A to potty, and I was struck by this dispenser in the rest room:

Something to fight the chicken biscuit bad breath, I guess. I wouldn’t know since I’m a vegan.

Anyhoo, it didn’t seem long before we entered Auburn’s city limits, and things just felt so good.

We headed into town to grab some lunch.

One of the kids had told us about a place called Pieology, which has similar pizzas to Blaze. Coincidentally, there was one right across from Toomer Drugs. Here’s what we saw when we went in . . .

When I first saw the crust advertised, I was excited. Then, I asked the girl working behind the counter if it was vegan. She told me that it had dairy in it. Dang! Their gluten-free crust is also vegan, though, so I opted for that.

There was also this sign . . .

Y’all, the world is slowly becoming a vegan-friendly place, let me tell you!

For the record, I am a vegan who doesn’t necessarily miss the taste of meat. I’d never been a huge fan of ground beef, and sausage was okay, but hey, I was up for trying new things, so I ordered my pizza with half “meatball” and half “sausage.” They were out of the “chicken.”

See that cheese? That’s Daiya – one of my favorite vegan cheeses. The gal had been extremely helpful when preparing this. She had a lot of knowledge of the products I could eat since she has to watch her diet as well.

I must have been hungry because I ate the entire thing!

Fueled by the delicious food, we were read to shop!

Now, if you’ve never been in Auburn on game day, you wouldn’t be able to compare the shopping experience we had during our road trip with a game day foray. There were some people out and about, but we were actually able to maneuver inside the stores fairly easily. We found several things on sale, and I tried on a few items.

I also purchased a few things because, well, when you’re in Auburn, you must buy all the things.

It’s tradition.

The Mr. and I did discover, after a long, hot walk, that the University Bookstore (my personal favorite because of its size) wasn’t open. Dang! Classes don’t start for another month, so they had no need for such silliness quite yet.

The Mr. was not happy.

As I said, it was hot, and our walk had been a long one.

We made our way back across campus, and he reluctantly posed with me for a selfie in front of Samford Hall.

We headed back towards Toomer’s Corner because of this . . .

This place is known for the VERY best lemonade you will ever have.

In fact, ESPN Game Day once did a story about this very special corner of lemonade heaven. I kid you not!

Of course a photo was in order – just to prove that the above pictures aren’t Google images. Ha!

What you don’t see in the picture above are the bottles I bought for later.

They’re labeled as being good up to four days post-purchase. I’m here to tell you that they can last up to a week (I drank the one above yesterday).

Ahem.

We rode around town, enjoying the scenery, talking of how much things have changed since we lived there almost thirty years ago, and enjoying the foliage, which we don’t have much of anymore because of stupid Hurricane Michael.

Then, we hit the road – destination home.

This was the hardest part of our road trip – returning to what we knew would be a house with one member missing.

I immersed myself in my knitting as a distraction and reflected on the wonderful trip.

I was thankful for its timing.

No, it hadn’t been great for Gambit, bless his heart.

For us, though, it had been a welcome respite from the stress we’d been under caring for an ailing pupper. Oh, we had enjoyed taking care of him and would have done it for years just to keep him with us, but if you’ve ever cared for a sick person or animal, you know that it wears on you.

The time away with family – especially after pretty much staying local since last October – had been a blessing as well.

Except for our trip to see family during Christmas and a couple of shopping trips to Destin after Thanksgiving, we had not left town since the hurricane.

The change of scenery and routine had suited us well.

A huge thanks goes out to the Mr. and Rooster for planning this, our children who worked the trip into their schedules, and those who prayed for us while we were gone.

Road Trip – Part 2

Friday began Day 2 of the little road trip we took to Atlanta.

I got up around 6am and headed straight to the hotel’s fitness room. It was actually a decent one with a few different pieces of equipment.

The only thing wrong with this room was the thermostat, which someone had set to 76. Oh my! It was locked up, behind glass, so it couldn’t be adjusted.

Despite the heat in the room, I wanted to put some miles in on the treadmill before embarking on the day’s adventures.

I’m not going to lie, y’all. My heart was hurting. I’d held in my tears fairly well the day before but once I was in a room by myself and had Christian music playing in my ears, my emotions cut loose. It wasn’t pretty, but it was necessary.

I was worn out, physically and emotionally, as I headed back to the room where the Mr. was sleeping off our late night.

He finally got up around 11, and we headed out to kill some time before meeting up with our kiddos.

We found ourselves at the Cumberland Mall, which was conveniently located only a couple of miles from where we were staying.

Now y’all, I was in heaven. Here we had a real mall with real stores.

Hurricane Michael, you might remember, was a Cat 5 storm that DESTROYED our local mall, so shopping has been tough. We were in our element, let me tell you!

First, we went to Macy’s. Honestly, I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but once I hit the shoe department, all bets were off. I wound up getting a cute (and inexpensive) pair of dress shoes/sandals.

Next, we wandered into a store called H & M, which I’d never seen before. The clothes were geared for the younger people, but man oh man, were there some cute outfits. The bonus? There were things in MY size!!! That is a rare thing, let me tell you.

Needless to say, I began trying things on.

The prices were fabulous too, so I didn’t feel bad when I left the store with a few outfits.

Just as I was changing into my last romper, I got a text from Rooster asking where we were and what we were doing for lunch. You see, they were stuck without a car since they’d ridden to Atlanta with us. After a flurry of text messages, we arranged to meet up at one of Rooster’s favorite restaurants: Cheesecake Factory, which was conveniently located at the mall we were currently shopping at.

We ran back to the hotel, picked up Rooster and N, and headed back where Chicky and B met us a few minutes later.

For the first time since Christmas Day 2016 (936 days), I had all of my children in one place.

Talk about a happy mama!!!

Lunch was amazing; vegan options were aplenty.

We had a lot of laughs as we shared stories and talked about the latest happenings. We learned a few things about each other as well, such as how much Rooster loves his cheesecake and how he doesn’t like to share. Ha!

When we finished lunch, we found ourselves facing a horrendous thunderstorm. Rooster had been closely monitoring the weather, and storms had been brewing and were forecast to hit hard around game time that evening. I’d told everyone to pray the rain away, and Chicky, who had lost the nose goes game (a race to see who’s the last to put a finger on his/her nose to say grace before the meal), had included a request to keep the rain away.

Since God works in His own time, and it was still raining, we decided to do more shopping.

Can I just tell you how much fun it is to shop with adult children who don’t need their hands held or to be told to put things down? I mean, it’s their money, so THEY get to buy it if they break it. Ha!

There were sales to be had, purses to be bought, shoes to be tried on and modeled, and team jerseys to decide between.

I bought all the things and felt nary a twinge of guilt – because Hurricane Michael, y’all.

This is a dust bag to protect a purse when it’s not being used. Rooster’s girl explained this to me. Am I the last to know this?
I bought a matching wallet too, which was also on sale.
The kids told me that these shoes were incredible (and made me look very cool). They should have gotten a commission!

At one point, Chicky called it quits and declared that it was time to leave. When we walked out of the mall, we were greeted by sunshine!!!! Y’all, God had heard our prayers and answered in the affirmative. I know that this isn’t always the case, so I was especially grateful!

We took a little ride to a local coffee shop where I tried a new-to-me drink.

I got the Lawn Boy. Even after adding a packet of regular sugar, I decided that matcha was an acquired taste.

I texted Super Sis and told her that the flavor of the weekend was inspired by nature. Ha!

I will say that once we all had our drinks and were sitting around a small, round table, things felt so very right. The small shop – my people – oh my heart!

At some point, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the game.

There were newly-purchased jerseys to don, caps to place just so, Facetimes to help set said caps (thanks, Super Sis), and other things to prepare.

Hat off?

Super Sis advised that if I was going to wear my hat, I needed to pull some hair forward and make sure the rest of the hair on the sides wasn’t poofy. Who knew that wearing a hat was so complicated?

Or hat on?

Then, we headed out.

Our hotel was located next to The Battery, so the walk didn’t take long. It was like playing Follow the Leader. Police officers kept traffic at bay at the intersections so we could cross safely, and we were at the stadium in no time.

Before we entered, though, I requested pictures.

I’d held myself back up this point knowing that this would be the perfect photo op. My children graciously accepted my request, and man oh man, I don’t think a professional photographer could have set things up better.

We are cute, are we not?

A huge shout out goes to the random guy who kindly said yes when I asked him to take the pictures (even after I asked him if he was good at it – oops!).

He was and even took multiple photos. Go Random Dude!

Then we headed in, and I was amazed at the sheer size of the stadium.

There were plenty of places to get refreshments and a slew of eateries with menu options to fit every eating lifestyle. Who knew that you could drink wine while you attended a baseball game?

Rooster had put some thought into the purchase of our tickets and had made sure that we wouldn’t be sitting in the sun too long. Our seats were perfect!

It had been years since I’d been to a professional baseball game; technology had come a long way, y’all.

I asked for a few more photos before we settled into the game.

There were pictures taken between innings as well because, well, I was a mama who hadn’t had her babies together in 936 days.

And these two . . . bestill my heart . . .

I refuse to apologize the number of pictures I’m posting because seriously, how adorable are we?

The only people I didn’t get selfies with were N and B. Sorry y’all! We will make up for that next time, I promise!

I only left my seat once to find food. There was a place that sold vegan hot dogs. I couldn’t believe it! In fact, my hot dog looked like the real thing – so much so that I pinched off a piece, took a small bite, and returned to the stand to tell the guy that I believed he’d given me a real hot dog. He told me that he hadn’t, and when I asked how he could be sure, he told me that they grilled the real ones but didn’t grill the vegan ones.

I didn’t take a photo because it looked weird when I tried. Trust me on that. The taste was on point though.

So, back to the game. I’ll admit that I haven’t watched baseball in quite some time, so I didn’t know the players. I could tell the most popular ones though. Rooster and N had been following the Braves and cheered loudly for their players. I heard B explaining to Chicky some of the particulars of the game. Remember that she knows all of the soccer things being that soccer was her life for so many years.

One thing I had not been prepared for was the tomahawk chop. Oy vey!

Y’all, I am an Auburn fan. I do not like FSU. At all. The music for the chop was played every few minutes, and I felt as though I was at an FSU game. I texted my friend, Megan, who had been to a Braves game a couple of months ago and told her that she had not prepared me for this. She laughed.

Rooster assured me that the Braves had the chop before FSU, but I refused to participate. I just couldn’t.

The game wound up being super close, and it came down to the last hit. The Braves won, and the crowd went wild!

Because it was Friday night, there was a fireworks show.

I’ve never been much of a fireworks girl, but I have to say that this one was spectacular!

Once it was over, we left and ambled around The Battery. A drum line corp was putting on quite the show just outside the stadium. A deejay kept the crowd going. What fun!

There weren’t a lot of places open by that time. We went back to Punch Bowl Social and tried to get food, but it was so crowded from the game attendees that we wound up leaving.

After wandering a bit, we made our way to the hotel.

I’d been dreading this because the see-you-laters were about to commence. I didn’t want my time with the kids to end.

We shared quiet laughs brought on by the lateness of the evening, and long, tight hugs were exchanged.

Chicky and B left the hotel to return to the place they were staying, and we rode the elevator with Rooster and N.

When you don’t get to see your children but once every blue moon, you stretch out your time together even more. I felt as though my feet were dragging as we walked out of the elevator.

Final hugs were given, and I stepped on my tiptoes to kiss Rooster’s cheek. Then, I watched him and his girl walk down the hallway to their room.

Sigh.

I didn’t cry though. The memories from the past five days had filled my heart with a joy that crowded out the tears.

I have learned that it matters not the amount of time you have with your people; it’s the way you spend said time that really counts.

We had packed a LOT of things into the hours we’d been together and had created lifelong memories in the process.

Day 2 of our road trip was in the books. Day 3 was just around the corner.

Road Trip – Part 1

Six months ago, Rooster and his girl came home after attending a wedding up in Alabama. Before they left, we began talking about a summer get together, when they would be returning for the wedding of another friend.

For the record, can more of their friends get married please? Preferably every six months.

I picked them up from the airport, where they deposited the rental car they’d used to make the drive down, and home we went.

We spent a wonderful four days at the house together. Gambit was extremely happy to see his boy and his girl. He does love him some Mrs. Rooster.

On Tuesday, while they were still sleeping, I got my nails done. The gel French manicure I’d had done three days before had started peeling. Apparently, I have oily nails.

So pretty, but they didn’t last long at all!!

This time, I got the dip powder. I love the color, which has sparkles. So far, so good.

On Tuesday, I took the kids to lunch at Dave & Busters on Tuesday. I guess you could say that chicken and waffles were the theme of the week since N had them twice.

The food there is actually pretty good. I found a vegan burger that had not been on the menu when we’d been there last (maybe a year ago), so that was good.

We went to The Mr. grilled out one evening, and another night, we took them for trivia at one of our favorite restaurants.

Thursday morning happened, and, well, you know.

Around 9:30, we packed up the car and headed out for a road trip.

The Mr. and Rooster had been planning this trip for months so, although our hearts were still so heavy, we were excited.

Our destination: Atlanta!

We made many stops for potty breaks and the requisite car snacks.

I took a new skein of yarn and, in between rounds of tears, began a new project.

Rooster had made us reservations at a hotel near The Battery. We had agreed to allow the kids an evening to themselves, after all, this was their vacation too

The Mr. and I got ready for dinner and headed out.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to The Battery, but not only is it home to the Braves, but there are a myriad of shops, eateries, and bars there too. Our first stop was Punch Bowl Social.

It is a two-story establishment with games (bowling even) and a bar upstairs. That’s where we headed. It was crowded since the Braves were playing that evening.

Sad eyes – hard day

The drinks were pretty expensive, but the food was delicious and definitely worth the price. I even found a vegan dish!

The BEST falafel sandwich I’ve ever eaten, and the rosemary fries (the few I ate) were perfect!

The place had cleared out by the time we finished, so we left to explore the area a little more.

As we walked, I saw this slide and, feeling adventurous (and not tipsy – I’d only had one margarita), I told the Mr. that I wanted to go down.

Despite being told to pull my elbows and legs in, I was slow on the draw and paid the price.

Let’s just say that my middle name isn’t Grace.

The Battery is a family-friendly place with a lot of open space. I was impressed.

We checked out the menus of several places before deciding to settle at the Garden & Gun Club.

We really liked this place. The inside was small with low lighting. It was also very quiet, which was refreshing after the loud place we’d been to just minutes before.

We were also impressed by the drink menu. This page caught my eye:

I ordered the Lightnin’ Hopkins after googling a couple of the liqueurs from the ingredient list.

Excuse the misspelled name.

Before I had taken three sips of my drink, Chicky and her boyfriend, B, arrived. What sweet joy. ❤ They had driven to Atlanta in their own car.

We couldn’t leave the guys out of the picture taking.

The bar had to quit taking orders a little early because they were having computer issues, so we left in search of other entertainment.

We were channeling our inner 20’something year old selves.

We landed at a country bar – the name of which escapes me.

Now y’all, we went from one extreme to another.

This place was a mecca for beer-pong-playing college kids.

The view across The Battery, since the country place was two story, was good. We even spied some Chick fil A cows headed out to, um, party maybe?

When you live in the South, you learn not to question anything you see.

Of course I had to potty a couple of times, and my naive self got an education when first off, someone spilled her drink on my foot – in the stall. Washing my foot off in the sink was an interesting experience.

Later, when I pottied for the second time, I tried a different stall. The same thing happened before I could even close the door, so I switched stalls.

Oh, the sad goings on in a bar bathroom. I was minding my own business when the girl in the stall beside me went down – hard.

And yes, if you’re going to get drunk and fall into my stall, I’m going to take a picture.

At least I turned OFF the sound on my phone so she wouldn’t know. I do have some manners, y’all.

I did go into teacher mode and quietly asked if she was okay. She assured me that she was.

I continued with my business and then this happened . . .

Yep. She fell again . . . on that nasty floor. I asked if she was alright, and a different voice answered. I guess she had a friend with her.

Sheesh.

Chicky, B, the Mr., and I had a good laugh about this when I showed them the pictures later.

Bless it.

By then, it was pretty late, so we walked back to the hotel so we could grab a few zzzz’s.

The next day promised to be busy.

California – Day 6

Oh Day 6, how I wasn’t prepared for you to arrive so quickly.

It was to be the day of our departure from our Rooster and precious bonus daughter.

I woke up at o’dark 30 to get in a workout.  I knew that a long day of travel was ahead of me, so moving my body was of utmost importance.

It was me by my lonely self – probably because I’m the only crazy person who works out at 4am.

The payoff is always worth it, as it was that final morning in CA.

I put in a little over four miles on the treadmill after my Obsession workout, keeping a close eye on the time.

Rooster had made it clear what time we needed to leave, and I’d been warned that I’d be left behind if I wasn’t ready.

Nobody was awake even after I’d prettied myself up, so I put the finishing touches on my packing.

The camo bag was my carry-on, and the green bag was going to be my personal item.  I don’t pack light, y’all.  What can I say?

After a final hug for Gus, we headed out . . . 8:30am . . . plenty of time to make it for our noon-ish flight.

The weather was strange as we drove, sunny but with smoke or something covering the tops of the hills.

The weather grew more overcast the closer to San Francisco we got.

The traffic situation also worsened – to the point where we were crawling – as we neared the toll booth.  I think it took us forty five minutes to travel eight miles.  It was a very good thing that we’d left early!

Once we paid the toll, we moved a lot faster and arrived at the airport two hours after we’d started.

But yes.

Now I’m going to tell you that I do not do departures very well.   Try as I might to prepare myself, it is very, very difficult to let my kiddos go.

Ugh.

I’ve always had a hard time with this, but being a military mama has made it even more difficult.

There’s a saying in our world:  There aren’t any goodbyes, just see-you-laters.

Goodbye feels more permanent; whereas, see-you-laters hold promises of future get-togethers.

I also tend to like to draw out our moments, but that didn’t happen this time.

Rooster and N didn’t plan to park and walk us in, like we always do when they visit us.  I couldn’t imagine the cost of parking, and the airport was a serious madhouse, so it just didn’t make much sense.

This was actually better for me, because when he pulled up to the curb, we had to hurry to get the bags out of the trunk.

I tenderly hugged N and told her how much I love her.  She is MORE than what I prayed for as a wife for my boy.  She is thoughtful and tender-hearted.  She is so freaking smart and gentle.  She’s as beautiful on the outside as she is on the outside.  ❤

Then, I hugged my boy and told him how proud I was of him.  Gosh, but I can’t even type this without getting tears in my eyes.  This boy of mine has grown up so much in the past two years.  He was always incredibly smart, but to see him doing life with his sweet wife and adorable dog.  Well, y’all, I guess I should stop calling him my boy because he’s a man now.

Getting to live in my kids’ world for awhile was an incredible experience.  It brought peace to my heart and created a connection between their world and mine.

I turned back to watch as they switched seats – overhearing an impromptu deal about who was driving and who was navigating the return drive home.  I wanted to wave to their car as they drove off, but the reality was that we needed to get checked in and through what we expected to be a long security line before we could truly relax.

So we headed in.

Ok, so one thing we could not figure out was how to print our tickets at the kiosk.  On our trip over, a sweet Delta employee had walked us through it.

I had the Delta app on my phone, so my reservation information was there, along with a QR code for both of our tickets, but we were old-school and wanted paper copies of the tickets.

Since we couldn’t make them print out at the kiosk, and we still needed to check one bag each, we got in the ticket line.  The gentleman who assisted us told us we could just use the app.

Okayyyyyy.  We were nervous.

Just as we thought, the TSA security line was l-o-n-g.  Summer travel was full speed ahead, and unfortunately, we had not remembered to do the pre-check-in, so we had to wait.

It took almost forty-five minutes for us to get through.  Before entering the line, we had to show our tickets.  This was the first time we used the app, and it worked like magic!

After being all cleared, we found our gate quite easily – it was the first one after the security check in, and took turns looking for food.

While I waited for the Mr. to come back from his scavenger hunt, Rooster texted me to see how things were going.  I explained that we’d just sat down and asked how his trip home was proceeding.  He said that they were almost home (remember that he was navigating).  It took them about an hour to get home – half the time to drive to the airport.

Sigh.

When the Mr. came back, it was my turn to find food.

I’m not going to lie.  I bought all the things because I was nervous about being hungry like our first trip had been.

I got myself a delicious wrap and bought boiled eggs and fruit for the Mr.

Then we waited for our flight to board, plugging into the entertainment system as soon as we sat down.

We got to see the score for one of the World Cup games that day.

Then, I settled in for a movie that I’d spied on our first trip.

I had new ear buds I’d purchased at Walmart the day before (see the green plug there), so I was set to go.

We had already picked out the extra snacks we wanted.  This was a box loaded with all vegan-friendly food.

I completely embraced the flying thing.  I mean, what better way to splurge on your healthy diet than with snacks and tomato juice, handed out by friendly flight attendants?

For the record, I brought home most of my box, uneaten.  I was actually full after the wrap I’d eaten for lunch and the free snacks they provided.

I knit my way through the movie.

And through an episode of Chopped . . .

I had the middle seat, and there was a lady sitting/napping to my left next to the window, so I couldn’t take any pictures of the land we were flying over.  Bummer.

We landed in Atlanta with plenty of time to spare.  The Mr. and I grabbed dinner and waited, actually running into a guy from our church who was also headed home and would be on our plane.  Small world, eh?

Departing from Atlanta at 9:30 was a neat experience.

Untitled

The city lights were beautiful as we gained altitude.

The final leg of our journey was only 35 minutes.  We’d barely gotten off the ground before we were landing.

Chicky picked us up, and the first thing I noticed when we stepped out to the car was the heat and humidity – even past 11:30pm.

Hello, Florida.

The dogs were so confused when we got home.  They thought they were going to bed with Chicky; instead, they were returning to their normal routine.

We were so thankful that Chicky had held down the fort while we were gone.  She’d cleaned part of the house – the kitchen and my bathroom.  It was so nice to come home to a clean abode!

So that, my friends, was our wonderful trip to California!  We had originally tried to plan this last summer.  I am so glad we didn’t with all of the health issues we had going on.  We would not have enjoyed ourselves as much as we did with the trip taking place this year.

I am grateful that we had the opportunity to make incredible memories during this special trip.

 

California – Day 5

This was going to be our last full day in California, and I didn’t want to waste a minute.

I got on up and did my workout.  It was the first day of Phase 3 of 80 Day Obsession and boy did it kick my rear end.  Beach Body on Demand rocked, y’all.  I loved using the app!!

Then, I put in almost three and a half miles on the treadmill before heading back to the apartment.

We were taking it a little easy as far as adventuring.  We went with the kids to see a house.  They were looking for a new place to rent – one with a small yard and a garage.

Doing everyday things with the kids almost made me forget that there are 3,000 miles that separate us on a regular basis.

The kids went to the gym when we got back, and the Mr. headed out to exercise in the apartment’s gym.  I took the opportunity to start packing.  I knew that we would be busy later that day and didn’t want to waste precious together time with the kids.

Later that afternoon, we headed out toward Sacramento for one last hurrah.

We’d heard incredible things about Topgolf and were eager to give it a whirl.  Rooster and N had played before.  In fact, they were the ones who suggested that we put this on our agenda when we were planning our trip.  Chicky has played where she lives too, so we were the last ones in the family to try it out.

Now, you guys know that I’m a bit athletically challenged.  The only golfing I’ve ever done is Putt Putt.

Ahem.

Still, I was excited to try something new.

Oh, and that bling?  Well, I was wearing a matching bracelet (duh), which was not the best decision.  I wound up taking it off later; it got in the way of golfing.  Lesson learned.

We asked for a bay on the third floor, which N said would be the easiest for hitting balls into their targets.  She wasn’t wrong about that.

It was another gorgeous day – sunny but not too hot.  Take a look at the view . . .

Untitled

Have you ever done Topgolf?

The way it works is that you pay one price for the bay.  You get assigned an attendant who will assist you with getting your games set up and will take your food/drink orders.

The menu had a lot of options.

I went for the margarita in the souvenir cup, of course.  Check out the golf club straws too.

We placed our food orders and then began playing.

There are quite a few golf clubs you can choose from, and they are marked as far as how much distance they cover – very helpful for newbies like me.  The Mr. and Rooster also provided invaluable advice in this regard.  They’re more sports-oriented.

You wave your club in front of the scanner, and your ball drops down onto your putting green.  There’s a tee for you to set your ball on.

Now, you just aim for whatever target you want, depending on the game you’ve selected.  Rooster set us up with an easy game based strictly off of points.  The further the target, the more points you earn.  There’s a monitor that shows you exactly where your ball lands each time.  It’s a little like bowling, only much more fun.

I was a nervous wreck when I started teeing off.  I didn’t want to look dumb by whiffing the ball.

Yeah, I whiffed.

Ahem.

Rooster chuckled but encouraged me.

I couldn’t believe when I actually connected with the ball and hit it over the edge.

Check out this video that the Mr. took of me . . .

Untitled

I felt like a character from the Jetsons.  Do you remember this cartoon from back in the day?

We played almost an entire game before our food arrived – nearly an hour’s worth of fun – so we signed up for another hour.

I got better the longer we played.  The key thing for me was remembering to keep my eyes on the ball and lower my shoulders.  When I hunched them around my ears, my ball went awry.  Once I got the hang of that, I was able to put more muscle into my swing.  All of those planks and pushups were finally being put to good use!  Ha!

This place has got it going on $$-wise, I’m telling you!

The food was delicious, and our portions were large!  I really enjoyed my hummus and veggies.

After finishing the first game, which I came in second or third in, we began the next game.  Rooster made this one harder.  We had to aim for certain targets each round.  I wound up almost beating the Mr.  I think I may have come in second in this game.  I think I surprised my crew, as well as myself.  This is a game I was made for!

After our second hour was up, we headed back home.

The sunset was breathtaking.

I hung out with Rooster and Gus while the Mr. packed.

Oh y’all, I was dreading the next morning, but I put on a brave face.  The kids had taken the entire week off just so they could spend all of their time with us.  What a selfless family I have!

We went to bed a little late, but like I said, I knew that we would be harried the next morning, so I eked out every bit of together-time that I could.

California – Day 4

Day 4 started with a gorgeous sunrise.

Because it was Sunday, I had a reprieve from my 80 Day Obsession workout regimen.

Y’all, as much as I loved the treadmill thing and being able to put in miles away from the hot/cold weather, it was incredibly boring.

Untitled

Don’t tell me that you don’t do this too, because you know that you do.

I listened to one of my favorite podcasts to help me pass the time.

Because I’d gotten up so early, I had time to put in some decent miles . . .

Go me!  Whoop whoop!

We had big plans for the day, so I got ready as quickly back at the apartment, and we headed out.

First on the agenda was a fairly short drive to Vallejo, which is a little north of San Francisco.

The kids told me that this is where parts of the series, 13 Reasons Why, was filmed.  Isn’t that cool?!

As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw an interesting sight . . .

One of those people is not like the other.  Here’s another clue . . .

Apparently, pirates have to pay to park in Vallejo, just like landlubbers.

What can I say, California’s got it all, people.

We crossed the street to buy tickets for this . . .

Yep.  We were getting ready to take the ferry!

That might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but for this southern gal who lives in Podunk, Florida, it was.

The Mr. bought all four of our tickets (return passage too).  We saw the ferry pulling up as we got in line.

I don’t know why, but I’d imagined something completely different.  I certainly didn’t picture a ferry with closed in seating, but that’s what we got, which was actually good since it was a little chilly.

We really wanted window seats, but they were already taken up by people who obviously had more knowledge than we did about such things.

Check out this group of ladies.  They were prepared for the hour we were about to spend crossing over to San Francisco.

Untitled

Let’s talk about the ferry for a minute.  The seats reminded me of what you’d find on an airplane.  They had pull-down tables, and there was a snack bar in the back.  There was even a bathroom with HOT water available.

You could get up and down, walk around, etc., at your leisure.  There were television screens that projected safety tips.  It was very spacious and actually very comfortable.

I could get used to traveling like this!

I had taken my fancy camera with zoom lens with me and stood up to grab some photos as we neared our destination.

There’s a reflection because I didn’t realize that I could have gone to the top of the ferry and stepped outside.  I learned that lesson later in the day when we were on our way back.

Even though the morning was overcast (boy how it changed from Vallejo), the Golden Gate Bridge was more visible than when we’d visited it two days prior.

I snapped some other photos of the city as we approached . . .

I thought I’d spied a lighthouse when I took the next picture.  We later learned that it was some other building (I’ve forgotten the name of it now).

This was the port as we pulled in . . .

The hour on the ferry flew by – there was so much to look at.  Here’s what we saw when we stepped off . . .

Isn’t that pretty?

There was a ferry building with lots of shops – kind of like an indoor market.  I should have taken a few pictures of the inside.  Here’s one I grabbed . . .

The stores were unique.  Some, like the one above, sold fresh produce.  Others sold ice cream or local honey (the Mr. bought a jar later that afternoon).

We walked around a bit before heading out.  Before we left, though, I spied this . . .

Oh hello there, my little friends.

I decided to buy one – duh – and I guess I must have sounded either adorable (ha!) or pathetic (most likely) because the sweet girl helping me put an extra (i.e., free) doughnut in my bag!  Yum!  They (salted caramel and matcha) were delicious, let me tell you (I didn’t eat them in one day either!)!

The piers were all numbered; we were looking for Pier 39, which is a tourist attraction.

We walked at least a mile and a half, but it wasn’t bad.  The sidewalks were very wide, and I saw a LOT of joggers.  I was a little jealous.

The temperature was perfect, though, and we enjoyed seeing this part of San Francisco.

Pier 39 was easy to find and well-marked with flags.

Check out this mural . . .

As we entered the Pier, here’s what we saw . . .

It reminded me of what you see when you arrive at Universal Studios in Orlando.  There were restaurants and shops on both sides.  The further back you went, the closer to the water you got.

We were all hungry, so we stopped for lunch first.

The restaurant had large windows with a view of the marina.

There were a couple of vegan options on the menu.

I went with the Summer of Love Burger, minus the aioli, which was a little different but tasty.  I did not eat the bun – no need for those extra calories given the doughnut I’d eaten already!

We ate until we were full and headed out to shop.

N wanted to look in this store since she’s left-handed.

The Mr. and I picked up a couple of souvenirs at one of the shops, but honestly, we really didn’t buy much.

Then, we made our way to the water.  That’s where the fun was really happening.

First of all, the weather had cleared up; the sun came out, and it was absolutely glorious.  It was windy too, as evidenced by my hair.

We took some photos with Alcatraz in the background.

I’d really, really wanted to see Alcatraz, but by the time we looked into getting tickets, they were sold out!  We found out that you have to purchase these 90 days in advance.  Lesson learned.

I took quite a few pictures of it though – the zoom lens was so handy!

The Golden Gate Bridge was easy to spot.

It was the perfect day for sailing.

There were lots of boat tours going on . . .

I’m not sure what the ship in the next photo was being used for – probably transport.  The Mr. liked that I captured the bird in the picture.

The real attraction, though was the sea lions.

You should have seen the crowds of people lined up to watch them.

They were, quite honestly, some of the most adorable animals I’ve ever seen.

There was definitely a pecking order too.  This guy was holding court.

He had a LOT to say.

This one must have been the Grand Poomba.

He gave everyone the What for . . .

. . . before he knocked them all into the water . . .

Here’s a video I recorded . . .

Untitled

After we got our fill of sea lions, we headed out.  Our legs were tired, so the Mr. found a taxi.  The driver was super sweet and agreed to drive us to Lombard Street, which is probably the most famous road in San Francisco.

To get there was a challenge.  Boy was I grateful for our driver’s knowledge.  Some of the roads were one-way.  ALL of them were hilly . . . as in you’ve-gotta-get-new-brakes-at-least-once-a-year kind of hilly.

He was able to navigate to the top of Lombard, which is one way (down).

Here was the view from the top – absolutely stunning.

Here’s a video as our driver made his way S-L-O-W-L-Y down the road.

Untitled

Do you remember seeing this street in movies?

There are actually residential buildings on both sides, and security is provided each day because there are so many tourists who go down this road.

What surprised me was how short it was.

I also didn’t expect it to be so pretty.  The landscaping was top notch.

Here’s the view from the bottom . . .

Of course the Mr. and I took a selfie (isn’t he a trooper?).

I don’t know how people drive in San Francisco.  I’d be so stressed out every time!  You should have seen the parking too – weird angles and itsy bitsy spots.

No thank you!

Our driver took us back to our ferry pier where we hung out until our ferry came back for us.

We did a little more shopping, and I bought one more doughnut for the road.

Ahem.

The Mr. and I took a selfie with the Bay Bridge in the background.

Do you remember the earthquake that hit the Bay area in 1989?  The Bay Bridge had a section that got messed up.  I googled it because I thought I remembered it being damaged.

After we boarded the ferry, I made myself comfortable.  We got window seats this time.  Yay!

We made one stop to another pier, where I spotted these gentlemen entertaining the crowd . . .

I snapped a photo of that pier as well.  I think it might have been Pier 39.  I’m not sure.

Then the ferry was headed back to Vallejo,  I visited the top deck, stepping outside for better pictures.

This is a close up of Alcatraz . . .

I took a few pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge – so pretty against the fading sun.

I took a final picture of the San Francisco skyline . . .

That evening, we ate at Rock & Brews for dinner.  It was a really neat place, and the food was delicious!

After watching some TV and playing with Gus, we headed to bed.  We had one more day of adventuring ahead of us, and we wanted to be rested.

California – Day 3

After the first two days of adventures, we decided to stay local.  The driving for hours had been taxing on Rooster and N, so we gave them a reprieve.

While they slept in, I got up and worked out, determined to stick to my routine.

Everyone was still sleeping when I got back – probably the only smart ones of the bunch.  Ha!

Since we’d decided to stick close to home, we weren’t in a big hurry to get out and about.

I think that this was the day we ate sushi for lunch.

Later, we ventured out, first to Fleet Feet, a shoe store that I was super excited to visit.

I’d read, in my Hogwarts Running Club’s Facebook group, about the amazing (and free) foot analysis that the store gives each customer.  When I’d researched locations, I’d discovered that there was a store close to the kids, and N was very agreeable to doing this with me.

What they do is have you step on a machine that takes a 3-D scan of your feet.

I wish I’d gotten a picture of the machine.

It took less than a minute.

Then, the gal, who I found out was the store manager, sat down with me and showed me the results on her iPad.

Take a look . . .

Untitled

Is that not the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?

Not only do you see what your feet look like, top to bottom and side to side, but you get a lot of other information, like the length of each foot, the width of different sections of your foot (this will be helpful for sock knitting), and the amount of arch in your feet.

I’d always known that one foot was bigger than the other, but I’d kind of forgotten that my feet were wide.

The gal suggested that I go up to size 8.5 shoes.  Say what?  I usually wear 8’s, so this was interesting.  She also told me that I needed to buy wide shoes.

Y’all, this is plain old embarrassing.  I grew up in the South and went barefoot from May through August.  I know that’s what made my feet spread out, but I’ve been living with horse blinders on and NOT buying wide shoes.  Guess that’s why I’m having some other issues now.

The gal also told me that . . . get this . . . I have bunions.

Wait, what?

Yeah.  I had no idea what they were except that two people at my school have had surgery for them and have had to be in a boot for their surgeries.

Y’all, I flipping have bunions.

I.

Feel.

Old.

See those knots below my big toes?  I thought those were normal.

They aren’t.

I’ve done some reading about them since, and if you don’t treat them, they will affect your toes and will push them into the other ones, thus disfiguring your feet.

Sigh.

What was also interesting was the view from the top.  Can you see my right ankle and the swelling that’s still there.

Sigh.

The gal looked at my shoes and the inserts I had in them.  She told me that I’d bought super good shoes, and that it was great that I was using my inserts . . . Happy Feet . . . which my first physical therapist had recommended given the pronation in my feet.  Her only suggestion was to get wide shoes the next time I make a purchase.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have a pair of ASICS in my size, wide variety, for me to try on.  I’ll do that the next time I’m at the outlet store near me.

I did wind up buying a new pair of Vionic flip flops.  They were so comfortable, and she gave me a little discount, so there was that.

Oh, and she emailed the link for the scan, so I can have access to it whenever I want.

I highly, highly recommend getting a fitting at this store, if you have one near you.  Some locations have customers run on a treadmill to analyze their gait.  The store I visited was too small to offer this service.

After we left the store, we headed toward Rooster’s base.  N works there too.  I’d told them that I wanted to see where they worked so I could picture it in my mind when we chatted.

Rooster took us the back way – the scenic route – and it did not feel like we were in California.  I could have sworn that we were driving on back roads in Alabama . . . except for the “hills.”

He took us to his squadron, and we got to meet his boss and another guy who happened to be there . . . on a Saturday . . . because the Air Force never sleeps.

We got to see Rooster’s closet of an office – I’m not exaggerating.  We also got to look at the different awards his squadron has won for their skill.  It was an impressive array and made me so proud.

As we drove around base, we got to see, from a distance, the plane that he flies on, and I was struck by its size.  I guess I’d always envisioned the type that had carried us across the country to visit our kids.  We also got to see another BIG plane (the name of it escapes me).

Y’all, I am a student of history and have read a lot about the planes and ships that have shaped our country’s military history.  I was in awe.

N took us to see where she works.  She has the privilege of caring for children who’s parents and grandparents have medical appointments on base.  Each Air Force base provides this service, which is so fabulous given that most people are stationed far from family who could lend a helping hand.  N has a tender heart for children – another thing to love about her.  ❤

We visited the BX and another store in the base’s mall.

I picked up a couple of things . . .

I love this little shot glass . . .

I didn’t take any pictures on the base.

I did take some video of our drive back . . . those country roads called out to me.

Untitled

Dinner was very chill.  Rooster and N ate leftovers, while the Mr. and I ordered something from a Chinese restaurant.  We took N’s car, and boy was that an adventure.  Ahem.

When we got back, I settled in for some knitting.  Gus was very curious . . .

That ended Day 3.  We had another big adventure planned for the next day, so an easy day had been a MUST!

%d bloggers like this: