Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Peytyn says we brought the rain with us, and she's thrilled. I like the rain, too, because it cools things off. South Florida seems to be a very hot place. OK, I knew that already. Still, it bears repeating. Repeatedly.

We didn't do much Saturday -- I felt icky most of the day and the men decided not to go fishing at all. So we hung out mostly -- the boys went to the neighborhood pool and the girls went to the mall. Sawgrass Mills -- I think it's an outlet mall. Peytyn raved about Rainbow flip-flops from a Ron Jon surf shop, so I went to look at them. My feet have not swelled as much as they usually do when I go on vacation, but they have swelled just enough to keep me from buying flip-flops with leather thongs. :( I need more shoes, dang it.

(What girl doesn't need more shoes? Riiiiiiiiight.)

The girls -- Emily and Perry -- went power shopping while Peytyn and I strolled around in a leisurely manner.

After a while, I was hungry and wanted "a serious burger," so Peytyn took me to Cheeburger Cheeburger. Perry called just as we were headed that way, so we told 'em where we were going and they squealed and said they would join us. I ate *way* too much, but OMG, it was *so good*!!!!!! Exactly what I needed! I got the smallest burger on the menu, a "classic" quarter pounder, with pickles, lettuce, tomato, and I put on my own mustard and ketchup. We also ordered a basket of "frings," a combo of the onion rings and the french fries. YUMMERS! They have a special dipping sauce (for 99 cents extra), and everyone loved it.

I also had a "half" chocolate malt, but it wasn't very malty. It tasted more like a regular milk shake. Altogether with tip, the bill was only $45 -- a bargain for such a glorious meal. And I have no idea if there's a Cheeburger Cheeburger in Tennessee, but I'll be looking for it.

Then the girls went their merry way, and Peytyn and I went to the Mikasa outlet. Peytyn bought a crystal vase -- triple vase, actually -- for a friend's birthday. Mostly we just looked and squealed and drooled. I loved that store!

Then we got the car --- oh, they have valet parking at malls down here! -- and we came home. I collapsed for a *serious* nap while Wesley went shopping for dinner. He made his famous spaghetti sauce, and there was a massive pasta meal for everyone. I could hardly eat anything; I was so overstuffed from lunch. But it was a pleasant evening thanks to the afternoon rains. (Peytyn thought it was cold and told Jim to turn the heat on in the house. In the meantime, I was sweating and very relieved if a breeze blew past us.)

I think I drank too much, and I know Wesley drank too much because he and Jim were reading Trivial Pursuits cards at each other, and Wesley couldn't read any more by the time we left.

Today we're going to get a Cuban lunch, and I think we're going to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum. Woo hoo!!!

Vacation is good.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

I didn't find the computer in this house until today. Well, actually, Emily found it. We are not staying with the Tobins -- their neighbor is on vacation and needed a housesitter, so we get the whole house! We just have to take care of her dog and fish while we're here, that's all. ROFL!!!! Score!!!!

Wednesday's drive was ... a circus. We were hours late leaving home; we had to stop in Athens to get parakeet food, drop off the two little birds with Martha, and get breakfast. Then we stopped in Chattanooga to see if I could find shoes at the Kohl's there -- no, I couldn't. That was the WORST Kohl's!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe my eyes; it was so messy!

Then we crossed over into Georgia and the traffic came to a *screeching* halt. I have no idea how long it took, but we didn't get to Atlanta until *late*. We stopped at a restaurant on the Macon by-pass for a late lunch, and when we came out... police cars and fire trucks and ambulances went rushing by -- there was a car wreck between the restaurant and the silly interstate. Traffic stopped again!!!!! It was crazy, and it was like that all the way down!

We *finally* crossed over into Florida around 6:30 or 7:00 at night, and turned east on I-10. Not three minutes onto that artery, we ran into the smoke from the forest fires. I took a couple of pictures -- it was eerie. We crossed one state highway (441, which goes from FL through GA and up into TN) that was closed because of the fires. Weird *and* scary.

Anyway, we didn't get to our Jacksonville hotel until really late, like around 9:30. (There was traffic around Jacksonville, too -- you'd be driving along and then *blam* -- everything would just stop.)

Check-in was a breeze, and the girl gave us coupons to nearby restaurants. I was worried that the kitchen would close before we could get there, but we went to Ragtime, a microbrewery. Their kitchen was open late, even on a weeknight! The food was just OK. We went back to the hotel, and I watched "Shear Genius" -- dang!!!! Tabatha was my favorite!!!!! But I loved her attitude, "I don't mind losing as long as Tyson can't win, either." ROFL!!!! Tabatha was *so* mean. I don't know why I loved her so much!

Thursday morning, I leapt up at what I thought was the crack of dawn, and Wesley was already coming back to the room with Dunkin Donuts and coffee. He had been up for ages. I snarfed down some coffee and half a cake doughnut, and I put on my swimsuit and pareo, and Wesley, Woodrow, and I went to the beach to walk through the surf a little. It was very pleasant, although the water was on the chilly side. I was really surprised that it was so cool, because man, it was already getting hot outside.

We had to drag Emily out of bed, and we packed up and hit the road before 10:00 in the morning. Shocking!!!!

Basically, about the hotel: Seahorse Oceanfront Inn. They have a very dinky website -- -- and we stayed there in July 2000 right before the Big Honkin' WDW trip. I had totally forgotten how much I love the Seahorse. Before we left Thursday, I stopped in the office and asked if they were booked for next Wednesday night in case we get tired of Miami and want to go back to Jacksonville a day early. It's so kitschy and wonderful. And now the area around it has been restored and there are all these thriving, interesting restaurants and art galleries and stuff. Cool!!!! We'll be there again on Thursday night for sure, and I hope we'll get there early enough to spend some quality time on the beach.

Anyway, we left Jacksonville and drove to Ft. Lauderdale/Miami Thursday through clouds of love bugs. OMG, ugh!!!!!!! I got the lovebugs in WDW last September, and now I get them again in May!!!!!!! Rotten timing!!!!!

We spent Thursday afternoon/evening pleasantly with the Tobins. Very noisy, of course, but very nice. Lots of laughter, excellent food and company!

Friday we went to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The pictures don't do it justice; seeing it on America's Castles doesn't do it justice. It's the most glorious place, and we *all* *loved* it. I would really love to have visited it during its *very* short heyday (about 1916 to 1922, because the original owner died only six years after its completion). It's very, very Great Gatsbyish. Oh, oh! John Deering ordered a set of china from a British china manufacturer -- he always ordered service for 24 -- and he had the china commissioned through Tiffany's of New York. Tiffany's designed the china and sent him a single place setting for approval, and he ordered the other twenty-three. They were completed in England, and were shipped to Mr. Deering... on the Titanic!!!! The tour guide even said that they kind of wondered if that was a true story until after the Titanic was discovered and the artifacts were on tour a couple of years ago in Miami -- one of the things on display was a bill of lading for a crate of china, addressed to Mr. J. Deering, New York City, New York. COOL!!!!

(It's very pretty china. I wasn't allowed to take a picture of it.)

Anyway, the house is gorgeous, and it's right on Biscayne Bay, but it's stuffed full of historic artifacts. Three ceilings were imported from various castles in Europe. Some of the walls were, too. The house cost Mr. Deering something like 19 million dollars to build back in 1916. I can't even figure out how much it would cost to build now.

And the doofus died without an heir, and his half-nieces sold the remainder of the property to the City of Miami in the sixties for One Million Dollars. Geez!!!!!!!

If you're ever down here, I highly recommend visiting Vizcaya. It's a bargain to visit, too -- only $12 per adult. Woo hoo!!!!!

And then we got stuck in Miami traffic, and then we came back here to the house, and then there was a thunderstorm, and then we had dinner at the Tobins' house (make-your-own pizzas, and OMG, that was fabulously yummy!)....

I have left out ALL SORTS of details. I just wanted to hit the high spots -- Wesley said Georgia was conspiring against him with all the traffic mishaps there, and he referred to it as 40 days in the desert, LOL -- and the smoke -- and the beach -- and Vizcaya. Other than that, the weather is MUGGY, and I am a delicate flower. We were supposed to go deep sea fishing Saturday. I was REALLY looking forward to that. But... after all that riding in the car through smoke and love bugs, I do not feel totaly spiffy. I do not want to risk being stuck on a boat for four hours. I'm just not sure that would work out well for me... or anyone else stuck on the boat with me. Y'know?

I don't know what I'll do Saturday -- sounds like shopping and hanging out in air-conditioned places. I'm gonna miss that boat, and I'll be simultaneously grateful I'm not on it. But at least I'm in Florida! It's a travel blog again!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dining out

I was just reading Cathy Z's blog and she very generously shared a chili recipe that sounds really yummy. And instead of just saying, "Ooo, sounds yummy," I went off on a total tangent about how tired I am of cooking dinner.

Now, why did I do that? Not very polite of me. I guess I'm just feeling really grumpy about cooking today.

And I don't even have a reason to feel grumpy about it today, because Amy is now officially in East Tennessee, and I'll go see her tonight instead of cooking dinner. YAY!!!!! I get to hang out with Amy!!!! And YAY!!!! I don't have to cook anything, YAY, YAY, YAY!!!!!!

We don't know what or where we'll be eating -- we might be having burgers on the grill at Amy's cabin. Or we might meet at a restaurant in nearby Maryville for a tasty meal. I don't know yet, but I don't mind either possibility. Because, let's face it, either way, I don't have to cook it.

And I get to spend that time in the company of my sister, who was silly and moved all the way to Las Vegas.

Now, the cards above -- I enjoyed cooking up those little beauties. The last 8 cards I made were totally copied after Tricia's gorgeous creations in the Scrap Rap. These 7 cards were utterly designed by little old moi. My gosh, Club Scrap makes it easy with this kit.

And yeah, I went a little hogwild with my ink. Couldn't help it! I love ink. And paper. And stuff like that!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mystery Cantina

While Wesley and I were out walking (oooo -- I feel all healthy *now*), I realized that I've never taken a picture of the hosiery mill in late afternoon. Half of the old mill is gone. Of the other half nothing remains except the walls and a whole lot of vegetation.

I'm wondering when some enterprising soul climbed up a ladder and paint "Rosita's Cantina" on that plank over the doorway. Because it didn't say that four years ago. And I'm also wondering why. Who is Rosita? Where is her cantina? And is there a mariachi band playing?

In other news, I made a few cards from this month's Club Scrap kit. Totally ripped off from Tricia's "A Fit For Your Style" column in the Scrap Rap newsletter -- with alterations, of course. I only had a little time to work on them, so maybe tomorrow I can finish out the Greetings To Go pack. Then I would have 15 cards, all ready to send out to whomever needed a greeting from me.

I would send one to my sister Amy, but she's coming home in a day and a half. WOO HOO!!! Finally!!!! I'll get to see my stister!!!!!!

And yes, crafty news

Three post-bound albums!

I didn't get any good shots of the ALSB pages that went in the Crackle album, or I would have shared those, too.

Now, don't you want to make a book with me?

Doin' the Tim Tam Slam

After searching the world over -- well, really, after our podcast listener Paul in Australia (hi, Paul!) told us where to find them in the US -- Amy and I procured Tim Tams and did the Tim Tam Slam live on the podcast.

That was fun!!!

(The Tim Tam Slam is when you bite off opposing corners of a Tim Tam -- a chocolate cookie -- and suck coffee through it, slamming the melting, luscious, coffee-filled cookie into your mouth in one bite. YUM!!!!)

Of course, for those in the US, I should say that Tim Tams are sold under the name Arnott's Originals, and you can find them at Cost Plus World Market. (In Knoxville, we just call it World Market.)

And yes, this is an actual, unretouched photo of me slurping coffee through a Tim Tam while recording a podcast with Amy. The paparazzi was unreal that day! I hate flash photography. I think it adds, like, 60 pounds or so.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Make books, not war

I love glue. I love bookbinding glue. I love playing with it and getting it all over my fingers and rubbing the excess glue off. I love making things that require glue.

No, I don't sniff the glue. Although -- sometimes I can see why glue-sniffing appeals to some people. Personally, I would rather smell nice, fresh paper. But that's me. To each his own.

Anyway, over the last four days, I've made three post-bound albums. Yes, post-bound albums. Like, if you went to a craft store and said, "I want to buy a post-bound scrapbook album," the clerk would direct you to the scrapbooks that cost a fortune and you would say, "Ah ha! So that's what Bay made three of in one week? Ooooooooooo.... now I'm impressed."

I already posted a good picture of the 12x12 album earlier this week. It's too dark to take pictures of the two 8x8" albums I made today and yesterday, so I just crammed 'em in the scanner for the picture that you see in this post. The top one is made from last summer's Retro kit -- yummy lavender and green! -- and the bottom one is a special edition Crackle album available through Food For Craft. (The Crackle album is made with papers from English Garden and Extra! Extra!, both kits from 2004 which I absolutely adored and never would have thought to put the papers together -- aren't they scrumptious?)

And the weird thing is, these things are so perfect, I swear they don't look handmade! It's almost a let-down. What if I make one, give it away, and then they think I bought it instead of making it? Sheesh! That would be terrible!

(If you'd like to make a post-bound album of your own, Club Scrap sells a number of kits that are super-easy to make. And Tricia Morris taught the album-making kit on an episode of CraftTVWeekly. It's a 10-minute video and worth every second! As are all of Tricia's classes on that website!)

Now, after all this lovely crafting, I had to reward myself, so tonight I saw a movie -- "Hot Fuzz." This film is from the same guys who brought us "Shaun of the Dead," one of my all-time favorite fun movies. I'm not sure if "Hot Fuzz" would crack the Top 5 Fun Movies on my list, but it's darned funny and I enjoyed the evening immensely.

And more importantly, I found Tim Tams at World Market. They're marketed under the name Arnott's Original in the US, but I have been assured that they are, in fact, Australia's best-selling cookie, otherwise known as Tim Tams. Tomorrow, Amy and I will attempt the famous Tim Tam Slam on opposite ends of the continent.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Man and cat

Here are two of my favorite menfolk -- Wesley (the husband) and Hector (the huge cat).

Hector adores Wesley.

When Wesley comes home from work, no matter where Hector is napping, he gets up to find Wesley, and to lie upon him.

Whereupon Wesley says, "Cat found me." And my husband rolls his eyes as if he's sooooooooo put upon to hang out with this cat.

They're so perfect for each other, aren't they?

Stuff piles up

Furthermore, I'm swimming in projects and Host Gifts from my FFC Crafter Business Appetizer box. Yeah, I want to sell stuff. Still, I look at this pile of veritable Pirate booty, and all I can think is, "Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo."

Made a post-bound album

I've been trying to figure out a way to upload a bunch of photos, and it's official -- I give up.

While waiting for the May kit from Club Scrap to arrive, I was desperate. I made a 12x12" post-bound album to try to while away the hours.

It's gorgeous in the finished version, and I filled it with ALSB layouts. And it was good way to pass the time, even though I'm dying to get the new kit.