Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PB and J, Beer, and a Beach

And that's all I have to say about that.

It's a Bug's Life (With a Special Appearance by a Gecko)

Peace, love, harmony, and Karma.  Four words, four very important concepts to live by.  

While Googling some quotes earlier today, I came across one that I found particularly fitting: "I never kill insects. If I see ants or spiders in the room, I pick them up and take them outside. Karma is everything."

It's true.  Karma is everything.  

Also, I like to think that I have an affinity for all things nature-related including creepy crawlies.  I mean, seriously, I can't even tell you how many times I nearly drowned a bee trying to save him from the icy depths of unheated swimming pools in suburban neighborhoods across the east coast.  You do what you can, right? 

Some people say, the more the merrier.  But, today, I'll say the more legs the merrier.  I particularly like spiders, but I'm not a fire ant's biggest fan, especially after the awful sting I got in a Rita's Water Ice parking lot in Summerville, SC. It still stings. 

That negative bug experience, however, still doesn't taint my opinion of creepy crawlies.  I will never intentionally kill anything unless, say, it's trying to kill me.  With that being said, I didn't freak out about butterflies landing on my arms or the geckos slinking around the Cypress Garden grounds.  Instead, I whipped out my camera.

Especially when I heard the words "thousands of bees" and "fresh swamp honey."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Check out this scene from The Notebook where Noah rows Allie out to a most beautiful landscape.

Rachel and I rowed a boat there, too.  Maybe I even used the same paddle as the hunk-tastic Ryan Gosling.  A girl can hope, right?  Betch'a can guess what the Poops and I will be watching while Brad's gone.....................

There were no swans when we went to Cypress Gardens in Monck's Corner, SC, but there were plenty of alligators.  The surprisingly-adorable beasts were hibernating when the crew transported the swans to SC in order to film The Notebook scene.  Bloody swans scream bad romance.  Waiting till winter was a good call on part of the crew. 

The pictures I'm going to attach to this blog don't do the place justice.  I know it's a cliche, but it's true.  The setting was breathtaking.  Tall cypress trees reflected off the black water.  And in the black, you could also see the beautiful blue sky littered with massive puffy, white clouds.

A storm was preparing to roll in when we started our self-guided tour, and sweat dripped off our backs because of the hot and muggy temperatures. We didn't care, though, we were mesmerized. 

Soon after we docked the boat, it started to pour.  Luckily, we were no longer on the water; however, rowing in the rain would have been an equally wonderful sight.

Perfectly Frank's

Rachel and I dined at a second place featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Drives on Saturday night.  Perfectly Frank's is located in Summerville, SC, and big stickers on the restaurant window advertise its Food Network fame. 

Perfectly Frank's is known for their hot dogs, and there were so many different hot dogs on the menu.  Hot dogs topped with fried onions, cole slaw, and BBQ sauce.  Hot dogs topped with homemade macaroni and cheese.  Hot dogs topped with BBQ pork, and hot dogs topped with numerous other fixings...some as simple as ketchup and mustard. 

Peanut butter is a weakness of mine.  It's essentially my kryptonite, so when I saw the description of the "Frankie Elivs," I was hooked: A Nathan's hot dog topped with peanut butter, carmelized bananas, and bacon bits, then drizzled with honey.

Trust me, it tasted as good as it looks. 

For a small place, Perfectly Frank's had big personality.  Maybe it was the sweet tea canisters that read "Sweet Like Me" and "Sweet Like You."  Maybe it was the variety of personality types dining in that night--biker gangs, elderly couples, families with children, etc.  Or maybe it was the cover band that was rocking hard and sporting their very sharp Blues Brothers-esque matching black suits.

Everything added up to make Perfectly Frank's a very delicious and memorable experience.  Quite frankly, two thumbs way, way up.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Three Hour Tour

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from Shem Creek
Aboard this tiny kayak.

The non-existent mate we'll pretend was a mighty sailing man,
The tour guide brave and sure. 
Seven passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny kayak was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The dolphins would be lost, the dolphins would be lost.
(Work with me took us a while to find them)

The kayak set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With Aimee
The Skipper too (His name was Kevin),
The Asian man and his wife,
A movie star?  Nope.
A professor? Nope, as well.
But Rachel Ann was there,
Here on Birdy Isle.
^Like a thousand birds

So this is the tale of the castaways,
They're here for a long, long time,
They'll have to make the best of things,
It's an uphill climb...
Note: paddling against the current with the winds blowing you in the opposite direction that you want to go is most definitely "uphill" in my opinion.  Just sayin'

Nature Adventures Outfitters and Kevin too,
Did their very best,
To make the others comfortable,
In the Mt. Pleasant island nest.

No iPhones, no lights, no motor cars,
Not a single luxury (excluding digital cameras),
Like Robinson Crusoe,
As primitive as can be.

So join us here each week my friends,
You're sure to get a smile,
From eight or so stranded castaways,
Here on "Birdy Isle."

Yes, I really just did that.  Now here some pictures to accompany my remix of the Gilligan's Island theme song.  :)

But before you see those, I would like to announce that item number 8 (Swim with Dolphins) has been crossed off my Bucket List!  Because of a recent enlightenment thanks to a documentary called The Cove, I refuse to swim with dolphins in the typical tourist fashion.  In my eyes, my sea-kayaking most definitely counts.  To understand more about why I feel the way I do, please click here.


Cabo Fish Taco

Tonight I ate in Charlotte, NC, at Cabo Fish Taco with my dear friends Christy and Rachel. Cabo Fish Taco is a restaurant which was featured on Guy Fieri's show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

Since I cannot eat seafood around Brad (yes, I sucks), I went to town on two fish tacos. Wahoo fish tacos because tuna is not environmentally-kosher right now.

This is what a sign said on the table:

Due to previous years of oil spills and overfishing all types of tuna are being held by FDA and extremely scarce.  We value providing our customers with fresh tuna.  We also understand to sustain our business we must also sustain our environment.  Please understand as we are only temporarily substituting all of our dishes that include tuna with fresh Wahoo.  We will hopefully be able to return to our regular menu within the next month or so.  Thank you for your understanding and your patronage.

My tacos, and the accompanying black beans and rice, were delicious. The taco shell was flash-fried, which gave it just the right amount of crisp without the yucky greasy feel or taste that tacos can sometimes have. The fish was flavorful and flaky, and the honey-wasabi sauce was absolutely to die for. Both tacos had all the fixings, too...avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, you name it. As Guy would say, "It was winner, winner chicken dinner!" Except, it wasn't chicken.  And despite what anyone tells you, fish does not taste like chicken.

Here's a picture:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Road Tunes Tuesday

I'm pretty sure that my grandma is the only person who reads these posts, so Grandma, if you're reading this, I'm tweaking Road Tunes Tuesday.  From now on, it's going to be one song inspired by a future trip or a memorable moment from a past journey.

TGIF is especially epic this week because on Friday afternoon I am driving down to Charleston, SC, with my best friend Rachel for our first annual girls getaway.  But, *heavy sigh*, it's only Tuesday.  Thus, as our souls continue to rot in front of a computer for the rest of the week while we work hard? for the man, we'll most likely have the same things on our mind: Carolina and food, because that's how we measure time--minutes until our next meal (e.g. minutes until breakfast, minutes until lunch, etc.)

Carolina.....mind........mind.......Carolina........I bet you know the tune for this Tuesday..........drum roll, please.

It's "Carolina in My Mind" by James Taylor!  And it's okay that the songs about NC.  I don't discriminate. Free love all around. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rainy Day on Skyline Drive

The above pictures are some of the shots that Brad and I took during our spontaneous Sunday drive.  From Waynesboro to Elkton, I was mesmerized.  There's just something about my mountains (I guess I can share them with Brad and Rex, too) that just can't be beat.  I love how small they make me feel, which reminds me of a travel quote that I recently found online:
     Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. – Scott Cameron

108 Miles per Hour

I drove a car at 100 mph.  I actually drove it at 108 mph on the hottest day of the summer.

On Saturday July 7th, 2012, I spent most of my day at Summit Point, WV watching my brother, John, and his best friend, Paul, better known as Skooly (because he went to college), ride their tricked-out sport bikes around a motorcycle track.  If I loved these guys as much as I should, I would not bitch about attending their Track Days.  I would be excited, even fascinated, for them.  Needless to say, that's not the case, and it's pretty well-known that I'd rather stay home and watch my hair grow.  The only thing that gets me to Track Days is the company.  And my company on July 7th consisted of some pretty kick-ass people: John; my practically sister-in-law, Jessie; Skooly; Skooly's awesome girlfriend, Casey; and my Dad.

My dad and I had to leave WV at lunch time because I had to get back to Harrisonburg to waitress.  I wasn't very excited about that, but there was a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.  John, Jessie, Skooly, and Casey would be dining at Vito's in my section later that night, and I would get to drive my Dad's convertible 100 mph at some point on the way home.

When I first sat behind the wheel of his car, I got butterflies in my stomach.  And when I spun the tires out making a left on a back-country West Virginia road, I got bigger butterflies.  Not only would I be driving a car really fast, but it would go really fast really friggin' quickly.  Luckily, I had a wing-man: my Dad, and he watched for the cops.  Also, Skooly let me borrow his radar detector.  Yay Skooly.

Before we left the race track, Skooly suggested we take it.
My dad said, "Dude, radar detectors are illegal in Virginia."
Without missing a beat, Skooly replied, "So is driving a car at 100 mph, you gonna argue with my logic?"
It was funny...but maybe less funny to someone who wasn't there. 

Anyways, my dad and I were past Winchester, VA when he felt he had picked out a "decent enough" spot.  With the radar detector on his lap and his Droid MPH app on the ready, Dad told me to gun it, and I gunned it.  Pedal to the floor...and that's not a cliche.  I actually put the pedal to the floor.  My stomach was tied in happy knots.  Think butterflies on steroids times 100, 100 mph even.

I had no idea where I was when it happened.  I didn't think to look at a road sign or a mile marker.

I just kept asking Dad, "Did I do it?  Did I do it?  Did I do it? Did I go 100mph?" 

He never answered my question, he just showed me the picture below. 

Item Number 4 = complete.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Been There, Done That, Got the T-shirt

I couldn’t fall asleep last night.  I made the mistake of drinking a cup of coffee and taking a vitamin with caffeine in it like two hours before bed.  Needless to say, I was wired until approximately 2:30AM. Brad was sound asleep, and that made me very jealous. 

While I listened to Brad's very soft and kind of delicate snoring symphony, I made a mental list of non-bucket list things I’ve done and realized that if I die tomorrow, I've experienced a lot during this life, which may or may not be all there is for me.

Either way, here goes nothing...the 10 most pivotal non-bucket list moments in my life.  These things shaped who I am today:
1. Rescued a dog;
2. Delivered a eulogy;
3. Been acknowledged in the acknowledgements section of a published book;
4. Witnessed a blizzard in the desert while traveling cross-country on a train;
5. Been someone’s pen pal;
6. Saw a bear in its natural habitat, including a momma bear and her cubs;
7. Gave money to a homeless person (have done this more times than I can count);
8. Graduated from college;
9. Been a caretaker for my mom, who had breast cancer;
10. And watched a sunset on a mountaintop.

And some honorable mentions.  These things didn't really shape me, but I think they're pretty cool:
  • Ordered room service at a Hilton with Brad at age 17;
  • Supposedly saved someone's life when I was in the 5th grade;
  • Witnessed a police chase;
  • Snorkeled a shipwreck in the Bermuda Triangle;
  • Caught a wave;
  • And experienced a severe thunderstorm in a tent in the middle of nowhere.

For those of you who don't know, The Poops was found tied to a balcony at a Best Western hotel in Charlotte, NC. He had rope around his neck, belly, and paws and was less than six weeks old.

But never have I ever...broken a bone, hitch-hiked, or caught a fly ball at a baseball game.