Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Limbo

I realized I haven't blogged from over the weekend yet, so it's time to catch up with a quick post. I am actually smack in the middle of getting ready for this upcoming weekend, but can't leave friends and family hanging about our last weekend. I think our parents rely on this blog to keep up with our life!!

Friday we leave for a long overdue vacation, and I will have plenty to blog about when we get back. But this last weekend, we had a fairly quiet two days, at least for us. Saturday morning we spent running errands around Newnan- and a cat to the vet- then a late breakfast at our favorite new Saturday morning place, The Dwarf House (Chick-Fil-A's full service restaurants). James then had to go up to Atlanta for a fun evening of NBA basketball with his fellow employees at a company sponsored event.

I did a few chores around the house, which included planting new trees. See them below? Yes, this is what you get for donating $10 to the Arbor Day Foundation- 11 tiny little baby trees. I know they look like sticks, but trust me, they are all already blooming with buds. I donated to the ADF many years ago and got the same gift of trees, and I managed to keep them alive for a long time, but eventually things happened in my life back then that caused me to neglect the poor saplings. I won't fail them this time! They are snug in big pots right outside the back door and under the deck, so hopefully the deer will leave them alone.

Sunday was our day to go check on the company trucks at the shuttle sites, since we won't be in town the next two weekends of March. On this trip, the penny machine hunt led us to the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon. That was, after a comedic half hour of driving up and down a highway, trying to rescue a big turtle as he crossed the road. I wish I had photos, but I was driving- which makes the story even funnier if you know how badly I drive.

MAS, as it's called, is a small museum, and we think probably geared more for children or families, but we enjoyed an hour or so there. They have a small area with animals (the tamarins were just too cute!), a planetarium, several educational areas, and an art gallery. When we were there, the entire gallery was dedicated to local Macon artist William Segal. It was the last day of the exhibit. Very unique work, and pieces spanning from the 1940's to the 1980's. He had an oddly strange but serene style, and I fell in love with several of his landscapes.

And also at the museum- for those of you who own cats and ever wonder if those silly little furballs actually have a brain in their head- well yes, yes they do......

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Latest In Kitty Toys

We put a small humidifier in the bedroom a few days ago, and the cats have been fascinated with it ever since! When it's on, they stick their little faces over the vent where the air is blowing out. And when it's off, Spider gets frustrated with it and keeps knocking it over just as quickly as I can set it back up. I hope the newness wears off soon, as we would like to actually be able to USE this! Right now it is just a giant cat toy!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Special Surprise Saturday

So all week long my husband kept telling me he had a super secret treat for me this weekend, but he wouldn't tell me what it was. Wouldn't even give me a clue. Just kept taunting me with it. And of course, I can't just leave things alone, so I tried to figure it out. I had a hundred ideas of what it could be, but I never came up with what it actually turned out to be.

Saturday was a gorgeous brilliant, clear day, and got up into the 50's. We took the train into Atlanta, where we stopped at the CNN center for coffee. While there, we got a bonus as the connecting Philips Arena was opened up for an Atlanta Thrashers game (hockey)- so we wer
e able to sneak over to get the elusive pennies in the machine there. With Starbucks in hand, we headed over to Centennial Park.

Centennial Park is of course the past host of the 1996 Olympics. As you can see, it was such a beautiful day, there were plenty of people strolling, playing, and relaxing at this 21 acre park right in the middle of downtown. The last time I was here, it was at Christmas a few years ago, and during the evening the entire park is decorated with lights and Christmas trees. I don't know which sight is more lovely, nighttime holiday lights or a bright sunny afternoon.

The park also happens to be centrally located around several tourist hot spots, including the World of Coca Cola, and the Georgia Aquarium. We've been to both, but it's been several years, long before we actually moved here. So, that was my exciting surprise. James had two tickets in hand for the aquarium. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know how much I love aquariums and post lots of pictures, and I have plenty of photos for this visit too. But, for those of you who don't know, the Georgia Aquarium happens to be THE WORLD'S LARGEST!!!

It was extremely crowded. It could just be the locals enjoying such a perfect day out and about downtown. Or it could be that the NASCAR race is here this weekend (go Tony!), and these were visitors. But, it is still wonderful for the local economy to see SO many people out discovering the joys of the aquarium. Not to mention for us, the three penny machines scattered throughout the building. We were able to see the latest additions to the aquarium, the lionfish (top), the amazing and enormous whale sharks (above), and of course the return of the aquarium's beloved beluga whales (below). The whales temporarily went to an aquarium in San Antonio, then Maris (in photo) was brought back just last week along with a new whale named Beethoven.

Of course there are plenty of non-fish cuties to look at, including the penguins, gators, snakes, turtles, poison dart frogs, and otters. A dolphin exhibit is currently under construction at the aquarium and will be open later this year. Sadly the sea lions are no longer there, and I remember them from our last visit, but their old home is being renovated for the dolphins. We caught the otters at nap time apparently. They reminded us of the fuzzy piles of sleeping kitties we have at our house.

Although many of the fish are in smaller exhibits so you can get right up close to them, there are several enormous displays as well. The one below looks like a gigantic movie screen, but it's not, it's a six million gallon saltwater tank.

There were also plenty of overhead tanks as well. Pretty cool as you don't always get to see this "side" of the fish.

The Georgia Aquarium has every aspect of marine life, from local and global rivers to the tropics to the deep cold oceans.

I wasn't able to get as many sharp images with my camera as I normally do at aquariums. The glass here was quite a bit thicker than what I've ever seen before. Plus, with it being so crowded, sometimes it took a patient wait of several minutes before I could get up to any of the displays. And then of course I had a line of eager visitors waiting for me to move out of the way.

After the aquarium, James and I walked around downtown for awhile. It was actually very quiet out on the streets as we made our way up to a different train station. But so pretty out that we weren't ready to go home yet. We stopped and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (bottom), one of our customers. Although we don't actually "live" in Atlanta (we are the next county down), when we were asked where we were from, I said "here" because I know we looked like tourists with our souvenir bag from the aquarium, and my camera out taking pictures of buildings!

When we got home later in the afternoon, it was still so warm out, I let the kitties have some time out on the back deck. Spider stayed out until the sun started going down. They love it out there, and the birds where busy at all the feeders and the sun was shining on the cats. After all, even the kitties deserve a special treat every now and then!

Monday, March 1, 2010

3 Days, 3 States, and 3 Sites

This past weekend was a long one, especially for driving. We left work on Friday and headed towards our old stomping grounds in the Carolinas. We stayed in SC that evening then got to Charlotte, NC in the late morning on Saturday. We were there for the wedding of James' best friend of twenty years, Ron, and his beautiful new bride Zoila. There was a small ceremony at the home they will be sharing together now, and afterwards we all went out to eat at a very authentic Latin American restaurant in honor of Zoila's heritage. They served more food than I could have eaten in a whole week...... Best Wishes to our dearest friend Ron and the lovely Zoila, we hope you have many happy and wonderful years together! And we can't wait for them to visit us soon.

Instead of heading back home, we left Charlotte later that afternoon and drove once again through SC and back into GA, where our GPS found a nice little hotel for us on Lake Oconee in Eatonton. Off the beaten path, and we never would have stumbled on it without the help of the GPS. Our room overlooked the lake (view from our window below), and the hotel was right next to a wonderful seafood restaurant that we just walked over to. Sadly, we were both still so full from the wedding luncheon, we barely touched our dinners, as yummy as the food was. The lake was gorgeous, and the area had a small resort feel to it, and since it isn't that far from home I have put it on the list of places we should go back to one weekend.

On Sunday we headed to south GA to check the tractors and trailers at three different shuttle sites for work, which you may remember I blogged about a few weeks ago as being part of our monthly routine from now on.

In our last city on the tour, we stopped at the National Civil War Naval Museum because, of course, they have a penny machine. We spent almost two hours there, enjoying both replicas such as the USS Water Witch (the ship outside), and the real deal. We could have spent all day at the museum, there were so many articles and documents there to read. Even a short movie which we enjoyed.

The ship above is so large, this is only half of it, I couldn't fit it all in one photo. This ship, the CSS Jackson, was burned during the War, but almost a century later the remains were brought up from the water. This part of the museum was actually constructed around the ship, because of the ship's size. Also in the museum were hundreds of pieces from all sorts of Civil War vessels- authentic weapons and ammunition, photos, letters from soldiers, even the flags that were flown on the ships during the War. A very interesting place, and another stop that we would never have made without the lure of the pennies to add to our collection!