Exceedingly Mundane

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Archive for the ‘Vacations’ Category

Posted by Stace

Catch Up: Memorial Day Weekend

Yes, I know it’s been almost a month since Memorial Day. 🙂

I had thought Tim would play golf on his long 3 day weekend, but he surprised me a few days before and offered for us to go away for a short weekend trip. We haven’t been to the coast and New Orleans in a while, so he picked that. I had picked Dallas, as I want to continue our tour of presidential libraries and had thought we could hit both Bush libraries on a long weekend. We’ll have to save that one for another time. Tim absolutely loves to go to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. We’ve been 3 or 4 times, but not in several years, so he picked that. And it’s a good time to go, Memorial Day weekend 🙂

We booked a room for two nights in New Orleans, but drove down Saturday morning late to the MS Gulf Coast. We had eaten years ago at a restaurant we loved called Shaggy’s. Come to find out, there’s now several of them (3 or 4, I think!). Years ago, we apparently went to the original one that they built after Hurricane Katrina, down in Pass Christian. This time, we picked the one on the beach in Biloxi (so we actually drove right by the Shaggy’s in Gulfport, which is across Beach Boulevard, in order to eat *on* the beach!). We had a late lunch and probably the best food of our trip. We didn’t make great choices in New Orleans, so this was my pick for food on our short trip. We were late getting there, so of course, we were both starving! Tim ordered an appetizer, fried crawfish tails with remoulade sauce, and of course, we scarfed them all down! By the time we ate those and I had finished my salad, I was stuffed! I had the crab cakes and Tim had the catch of the day, which was redfish. I tasted his and it was equally as good as mine, if not better.

Tim at Shaggy’s:

And the reason we drove out of the way to go to this one, the view from our seats:

After we ate, we walked on the beach for quite a while. We ran by the outlet malls in Gulfport on the way out, but I found I was way too full to look at and try on clothes!

Tim at the beach after we ate our late lunch:

So, we set out down the highway and went on to New Orleans. Crossing the bridge over Lake Pontchartrain:

We checked into our hotel, the Hyatt Regency, and got cleaned up, then headed out into New Orleans. I was NOT hungry, but Tim was, and he wandered around until something grabbed his attention, which in this case was Bubba Gump. Chain restaurants, that’s what he picks in a foodie town! We were not hungry, so we split an entree and a dessert. I’d like to say they were great, but they were just ok. We split shrimp and grits and then a chocolate chip skillet cookie for dessert. Tim commented as we were eating that he prefers my shrimp & grits and skillet cookie to theirs 🙂

Wandering around the French Quarter, dodging the trolleys. I love the trolley!

Bubba Gump shrimp & grits we split:

And dessert at Bubba Gump, chocolate chip cookie skillet with ice cream:

Sunday morning, we went downstairs and contemplated having the big breakfast buffet in the hotel, but opted for the Starbucks instead. We both had coffee and breakfast sandwiches. We headed out on a nice walk to the World War II museum, where we spent most of the day.

Luckily, we had bought tickets online, since the Will Call line only had 3-4 people in it, and the main ticket line snaked all the way through their barriers! First up, we watched the Tom Hanks narrated 4D movie, “Beyond All Boundaries”. Tim chose “Road to Berlin” first, which is the war in Europe. Then we did “The Road to Tokyo” about the war in the Pacific. There were several new things since we had been, and another building under construction. The New Orleans Marine Corp band was there in the Boeing Freedom Center playing around lunchtime. We had a great time going through the whole museum and checking everything out. We’re both such history buffs that this is right up our alley.

Selfie in front of the Higgins Boat:

I will say, I had a great time except for one thing – Tim walked us up to the top of the Boeing Freedom Center, to the catwalk overlooking the planes. I got a serious case of vertigo and had trouble, since the walkway was fairly open. He took some pictures, thank goodness, as it was all I could do not to hyperventilate and feel like I was going to pitch forward and fall over the railing. Ugh.

Tim’s photo from the catwalk:

We stopped early afternoon and had lunch at one of the restaurants at the Museum, The American Sector. We had really good food there, Tim had a burger and I had an orzo with grilled chicken dish.

Tim’s cheeseburger:

And my delicious orzo with grilled chicken and roasted broccoli:

After the museum, we walked around New Orleans a bit more, then headed back to the hotel to clean up and rest a bit. We had a snack, watched some tv, then laced up my walking shoes again and went back out. We took the trolley down into the Garden District and rode it until dark. By the time we were walking back to the hotel, it was too late for me to eat, and honestly, I wasn’t hungry! Tim was, however, so I let him pick. He picked a local pizzeria near our hotel, which was fabulous. I had one slice of his pizza and it was delicious!

Cute menu on cardboard at Reginelli’s Pizzeria:

Ultimate pizza for Tim (NO green peppers for me, ick!):

Monday morning, we had to do one last thing before we left, which we always have to do while in New Orleans. We walked down to Cafe du Monde and had beignets and coffee. Nothing else quite like it!

We stopped in front of the cathedral to take a selfie, but had a nice lady offer to take our photo. I bet we have at least 6 or 8 of these through the years, but I always want to take one in Jackson Square!

We checked out of the hotel and headed home. Once we got back, it was a trip to the grocery store for me, then laundry. Tim, of course, headed straight to the golf course! Lucky for him, we have a big vacation planned later in the summer that is nothing but golf! Needless to say, he’s looking forward to it a LOT more than I am 🙂

Posted by Stace


Tim and I have been married for over 14 years, but we’ve never been on a vacation to the beach before. We’re not really “beach people”. We’ve been to the coast a couple of times, and walked briefly on the beach, and a few years ago we went to Tybee Island Georgia, so I got to stick my toes in the Atlantic. But those were brief visits, just as a side to whatever else we were doing. This time, it was all about the beach. Well – it was all about golf for Tim!

My sister Gail and her husband Don invited us to go to the beach with them and some of their family, and their friends Jerry and Susan, over the long Labor Day holiday. Jerry and Don both play golf, so Tim went every day to play golf with them. Gail, Susan and I shopped, walked on the beach, and hung out at the beach house. We went down on Thursday and most everyone else came on Friday. When Gail’s oldest daughter Kathryn arrived (my oldest niece) with her husband Jeremy and their kids Katelyn and Sam, it was really fun to go to the beach and the pool 🙂 Kids at that age (4 1/2 and nearly 3) are so much fun to play with in the sand, the waves and the water! Liz and Chris came too, and my dad also, so we had a lot of family and friends to hang out with.

I need to finish going through my photos, then I’ll post some at either Flickr or Facebook.

Posted by Stace

Back from Vacation

I didn’t post ahead of time that we were leaving, but Tim and I just got back from a short vacation. I have blogged in the past from our vacations, but this time we left the laptop at home and just went away for a couple of days. I didn’t even really take a lot of photos, which is odd for me. For one reason, we went somewhere we’ve been many times before. The other reason is that it rained about half the time we were gone and I just didn’t want to lug my Canon DSL around in the rain and icky weather. I haven’t transferred my pictures yet, so I don’t know if I’ll have any worthy of posting!

We went down to our coast (the Mississippi Gulf Coast, that was devastated during Hurricane Katrina) and then over to New Orleans for the long weekend. We had a good time, ate way too much good food, and just generally relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. We had booked a room at the Hard Rock Casino on our coast, and by the time we got there to check in, we were told that the type of room we had booked (king, water view) had already all been taken, so they were upgrading us to a complimentary suite! I was very excited 😀 It doesn’t take much to psych me out, you know! I had never stayed in a suite before, so I really enjoyed it. We had a living room (with 42″ plasma TV and JVC surround sound system), a separate bathroom for the living area, the bedroom with its king size bed, 42″ plasma tv and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the strip of hotels and construction. We had another room that was floor to ceiling windows overlooking the gulf with its jacuzzi tub and yet another plasma TV. I had 3 sinks to choose from to stand or sit in front of to put on my makeup. We had another room for the shower, which had 3 shower heads and was entirely tile, with a bench and was all glass on two sides. Very cool looking 🙂 We had a private balcony that we sat out in the morning and drank our coffee (made in the Keurig in the room). Anyway, I really enjoyed it!

We had some good seafood while we were gone. We stopped at a local joint in Pass Christian, right on the beach and had lunch. We had crab claws with remoulade for an appetizer then grilled mahi-mahi sandwiches. In New Orleans, we had shrimp poboys and then our customary dinner at Landry’s. We love Landry‘s and always go when we’re in town. I had the jumbo lump crab cakes with risotto and Tim had the Shrimp Fresca, which was really probably better than mine (he let me have a bite!). We were full, but since it was vacation, we got Bananas Foster for dessert 😀

We did a little shopping and a lot of walking around, and we even did the unthinkable and watched some TV in the hotel rooms! We watched a lot of the Olympics and the Saints preseason game. I had to see Michael Phelps swim and get his gold medals!

When we got home, we were really sorry to find that our niece, who had been house and dog sitting for us, was sick. She had been throwing up the night before we got home, and was not feeling well at all. So, now we’re going to try to get some Sprite and saltines and Jello in her and get her to feeling better 🙂

It’s good to be back even though I have a mountain of laundry to tackle. I also had 200 new email messages and almost 400 new posts in my Google Reader. That is going to take me a while to catch back up. Hope everyone had a great weekend and will have a wonderful week!

Posted by Stace

Vacation Pics

I’m still trying to catch up from being gone on vacation. Today is a day for going through the pile of mail and newspapers, working on the pile of laundry, catching up on emails, blogging and posting photos to my Project365 photoblog. It’s going to be another day or two before I get caught up enough to come by and visit all of my favorite blogs – hope everyone understands 🙂

I’m using my Project365 blog for most of the pictures I post, so go check out the last several days entries if you want to see some vacation pictures. I actually didn’t take a lot of photos on this trip. Half the time, I left my camera in my room 🙁 I think because we’ve been up here so many times before that I just didn’t think to take photos. I did take a few though, and I’ve posted some over at my photo blog. I’ll post a few more in the extended entry, so click on the more button if you want to check them out 🙂

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Posted by Stace

Chicago Pics

Believe it or not, I didn’t really take a lot of pictures while we were gone. We really only went for the Saints-Bears game and we didn’t get to do any sightseeing while we were there. We had two days of traveling and one day for the game and that was it. I hope we can go back another time and do all of the “touristy” things in Chicago. Neither of us have ever been there before, and it looked like a really nice city.

My overriding memory of Chicago in January will be of how cold it was! Tim, on the other hand, was fine and loved every single minute of it. But, I’m pretty cold natured, and even though I had on a lot of layers, I still got cold. We left for the game (2 PM game) at 11 AM and got to Soldier Field around noon, so we had two hours before the game even started. Then, it took a while to get back out, so we were out in the cold for about 6 hours or so all together. After about 3 hours, I started getting pretty cold. In the third quarter, my feet and hands started getting numb, so I felt cold all over. I think it would have really helped if the Saints had been winning, I would have been a lot warmer! LOL 🙂

I have a few pictures and will post them on the extended page. I discovered that it’s a hassle to store your camera in its case under your coat, or in the pocket of your sweatshirt, under a few layers of coats, gloves and scarves. It takes a while to get to it, and then to put it back in its warm spot. So, I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures at the game since it took some much effort to get my camera in and out! 🙂

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Posted by Stace

The Big Game

N.O. SaintsIf you’ve visited here much, you know we’re football fans and my husband Tim is the world’s biggest Saints fan. We watched the playoff game Saturday night, and were both experiencing heart palpitations throughout. I didn’t have a single nail left to bite before the end of the game.

It shouldn’t surprise you then (although it does me!) to learn that yesterday we got tickets and airline reservations to Chicago for The Big Game this weekend!!!!!!!!!!

We’re going to the Bears-Saints NFC Championship game at Soldier Field on Sunday. It’s going to be cold and I’m going to be colder (I get cold if it’s 50 degrees outside). Tim is beyond excited. The Saints in the NFC conference championship. He can’t believe it and he’s too pumped for words. :mrgreen: We’re also really excited about seeing my sister Suzanne, she lives in Illinois, so we’re going to get to see her while we’re there, which will be great.

Ok, send me any and all tips about surviving the cold. This Southern Girl gets cold taking the garbage out to the curb when it’s 50 degrees. Seriously. I know about layers, but here’s the kicker – how do you layer what you don’t have in your closet?! 🙂

And, if you have any experience being the visting team at a stadium full of rowdy fans, let us know!

Posted by Stace

Photo of the Day – Misc Pictures

OK, I convinced myself yesterday that I had posted all of the pictures from our vacation that I wanted to post here. But, I had a few “people pics” that I wanted to post, and a couple of cute pictures I took of odd things. So, even though I posted a boatload yesterday, here’s a few more! :mrgreen:

Here’s a couple of tropical birds that were at the Butterfly Conservatory at Callaway Gardens. I was so enthralled with the butterflies that I didn’t take very many of the beautiful birds!

Blue and Gold Macaw:
Blue & Gold Macaw at the Butterfly Conservatory

Is this a parrot of some kind?? I can’t remember!

More on the extended page….

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Posted by Stace

Photo of the Day – Savannah Part 2

Well, it’s nearly two weeks since we were in Savannah, and I’m still working on pictures! Geesh, I’m slow! Sorry about that… there are a lot that I want to show, so I’ve included a bunch on the extended page. Enjoy!

First up, a favorite I took down at the Riverwalk. We were sitting on a bench, watching a boat navigate up the river, and these buildings were behind us. I loved the contrast of brick and stucco and whatever else was showing in spots on the facade:

Architecture at the Riverwalk

When we decided we were going to Savannah, I knew that two things I wanted to do were see Bonaventure Cemetery, and eat at Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady and Sons. I’m sorry to report that I did neither! I had not read great things about her restaurant (2 hour waits, good but not spectacular country cooking, which we get all the time at home). I really wanted to see several of the historic homes that are open to the public (for a fee) and also Bonaventure Cemetery (even though I never read the book), but Tim was so not into that! He really didn’t want to go and I didn’t want to make him miserable on vacation, so we skipped those. Click on the -more- to see some of the other stuff we did though, including some churches and one cemetery in the historic district, our trip to Fort Pulaski, and our trip to Tybee Island.

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Posted by Stace

Photo of the Day – Savannah Part 1

Yes, I’m the world’s slowest blogger, I admit it. We’ve been home a week now, and I still haven’t posted half of the pictures that I took on vacation to Georgia that I had planned to post. I started off slow, just posting one or two at a time, then realized mid-week that wasn’t going to cut it! I have so many scenic shots and things I wanted to blog about, but I think I must be slower than molasses to get it all on the blog. Sorry about that!

I’ve been posting some from Callaway Gardens – of flowers and butterflies. The main point of that first stop at Callaway Gardens was for Tim (hubs) and Don (BIL) to play golf. I have a few golf pictures, but I’m not going to post any. Blogger Privilege, hehehe! :mrgreen: I’m also going to skip posting pictures from Warm Springs, GA (our second stop), although we really enjoyed it. Warm Springs is the location of the only home that Franklin D Roosevelt ever owned, which is also the house that he died in. Neither of us knew that – he was having a portrait painted at his modest home in Georgia on April 12, 1945, right before WWII ended. He collapsed and was carried to his bed where he died a couple of hours later. They also had a really good little museum dedicated to his life, his presidency (all 4 of them), his battle with polio, the healing effects of Warm Springs and the work he did there to benefit other disabled people. We really enjoyed it, but the pictures are not that breathtaking, just your typical museum type stuff.

So, I will move on to our last stop on vacation – Savannah Georgia. Today’s photos are of some of the parks and squares and monuments. Savannah is a beautiful place – so clean and well laid out and just very Southern in the look and feel of the place. Very genteel! We felt safe and in a very cared for area, walking the 22 square blocks of the historic district. The parks are laid out every couple of blocks, and we walked to most of them. We saw tons of monuments, markers, fountains, and plaques devoted to people important in the life of Savannah, many of which dated back to Revolutionary times. We are both history nuts, so we loved reading and learning about the history of the area.

Click on the extended entry for some pictures, and I’ll be back soon (maybe this weekend?) with some pictures of churches and cemeteries, and of Tybee Island.

Have a great day, everyone!

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Posted by Stace

Photo of the Day – Flowers

Yesterday, I posted a picture of an owl butterfly that I thought was so cool. I have a bunch more butterfly pictures, but I will post them in a few days. I saw yesterday that my sister Gail had posted here about some of the pictures of flowers that we had taken. The guys were playing a lot of golf, and Gail and I were exploring the grounds at Callaway Gardens. I still haven’t gotten to the Savannah portion of the trip. Looks like it’s going to be a few more days before I post photos from that portion of our trip, so please be patient and check back later. :mrgreen:

Anyway, since Gail posted her flower pictures, I thought I would follow suit and post some that I took also. I have already posted my favorite flower picture, the Purple Passion Flower that we saw at the Horticultural Center. There wasn’t a whole lot of other stuff blooming. We were late for summer flowers and early for the fall stuff. But, I did get some shots. Click on the extended page to see some. 🙂

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Posted by Stace

Photo of the Day – Owl Butterflies

I still want to post a lot of pictures from our vacation last week, but I seem to be having trouble finding time to sit down and work on all of my pictures. So, I think I’ll continue this thing of “Photo of the Day” for a while, and highlight some of my favorite or interesting pictures I took while we were gone.

We went the first weekend to Callaway Gardens Georgia with my sister Gail and her husband Don. Don plays golf with Tim and they always have a good time, so we planned this stop first so the guys could play golf together. Gail and I spent all of our time exploring the gardens, grounds and attractions at Callaway Gardens. It wasn’t the optimum time to go. The best time, I think, is in spring when all the azaleas are blooming. Or a few weeks from now, when they have some fall foliage. But, it was still a nice place and we enjoyed several of the attractions.

My favorite place, by far, was their butterfly conservatory. I love butterflies and dragonflies and love trying to get pictures of them. The conservatory was a very cool place, with tons of butterflies flying around. I took *a lot* of pictures and plan to put several more of them here over the next few days and weeks.

I’ll start with what I thought was the most unique butterfly there – the Owl Butterfly. I kept seeing these butterflies in the trees and hiding in spots and didn’t think much of them, other than… “oh, they are not that pretty”. Here’s what one looks like:

Owl Butterfly in a tree

But, then, I saw two of them together and realized how totally cool they were! I was totally amazed at their coloring and markings and how they protect themselves from predators – by looking like an owl! Makes you really stop and realize the beauty of nature and how God made all of these things. You can’t tell me that these creatures just happened to be created like this. Look…

Owl Butterflies

Owl Butterflies

I’ll be back either later today or tomorrow with more pictures, probably of more butterflies! There were so many pretty ones there, and I had a blast taking pictures. Gotta love digital, baby 😀

Posted by Stace

Sunday Photo of the Day

We went to the German Fest near our house today, something I look forward to every fall. I love all the festivals and stuff, but I’m afraid I’m the only one. Tim is only interested in going to get food and not staying, so that’s what we did today. My dad drove up, and we all went and got bratwurst and sauerkraut (enough for lunch and dinner). I also bought a t-shirt (love their shirts, I have 3 of them already), some jarred sauerkraut and homemade German mustard. I meant to take my camera to get pictures for the blog, but of course… I forgot. 🙁

So, instead… I’ll post another scenic picture from our vacation last week. This time last week, we were in Callaway Gardens, GA. Tim and Don were playing lots of golf, and Gail and I were hanging out and checking out the grounds, butterfly conservatory, horticultural center, etc.

We went to the chapel on the grounds last Sunday, named after one of the lady Callaways, and it was so pretty. Wood and stone, in front of a lake. Very quiet and peaceful and I thought it was just beautiful. This was one of my most favorite pictures I took while we were gone, of the glass window in the church:

Glass in the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel, Callaway Gardens GA

Here’s the chapel, and the window that I took the close-up picture above, of:

Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel

Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel, back glass window

Sigh, I just loved how that first picture came out. So, it’s the Photo of the Day! Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Posted by Stace

Home Sweet Home

Grocery Shopping!It’s always great to go on vacation, but it is always equally nice to come home! We just made it in, and I have tons to do. Just wanted to post and thank everyone for the nice wishes for us on our little trip. I’ll post more in the next few days and some pictures also, of our trip. We had a good time, but it is good to be home.

We got home a lot earlier than I had anticipated. That would be because you-know-who woke up at 3:30 AM and said “are you ready to get up and go?!” Sheesh, no — I don’t like to sleep! But I was ready to get home too and it is easier to drive with less traffic in the middle of the night! So, we got home a lot earlier than I had anticipated. The good news is that since we are not midnight pulling in, I will have a chance to go to the grocery store. I’m off for milk, juice, bread, eggs, etc; you know, the essentials!

OK, here’s a final vacation related Question of the Day:

When you come back from vacation, what is the first thing you do? Leave your answer in the comments… I look forward to reading them!

As for me, the first thing we always do is unload the car, then I start to unpack. I think it’s an OCD thing I have, I don’t just drop the luggage and stuff and leave it. I like to go ahead and unpack and get it “over with”. Today, right after I finish unpacking, I’m going to the grocery store. Those are the top two on my list this time around — How about you?! :mrgreen:

Posted by Stace

Checkin In

Thought I would try to check in, while we have Internet access 🙂

We left Friday and spent the weekend with Gail (my sister) and Don at Callaway Gardens Georgia. The guys played golf on all 3 courses and Gail and I hung out and looked for something blooming. 🙄 They have the coolest butterfly conservatory there, and I took over 100 pictures of butterflies! We also toured the horticultural center and other spots at the resort, did a short trail, and also tagged along on 9 holes of golf with the guys. We had great weather and had a great time. We wished Gail and Don had been able to come with us on the last leg of our vacation, but they had to get home.

We left Monday and went to Warm Springs, Georgia. I realized I had lost my sunglasses (something I never do!) and we had to stop at a Dollar store and buy me some replacements. We toured the “Little White House” in Warm Springs and saw the only home that Franklin Delano Roosevelt ever owned. We also visited the springs and the water is warm, but not hot. They had a good museum there about Roosevelt, his presidency, his life and works, and his polio. We both love history, so this was a great little spot for us to visit.

We got to Savannah yesterday (Monday) and we love our hotel and location! We’re in the historic district, one block from the river and Riverwalk, in a historic inn that was originally built in the 1850’s as offices for cotton merchants. The ceilings are very high, we think 16′ tall, and the rooms have these huge windows. The first floor facade is cast iron, which was common for the time. We love our room, and the location and have done a lot of walking around and visiting sites in Savannah. We are hanging out in our room this afternoon (Tuesday) because it is dark and pouring rain! A line of thunderstorms are moving through, so we hope it will clear up later. There’s more we want to see, although Tim is not interested in touring some of the old houses that I had wanted to see. He said he’d go, but I hate to drag him when he’s not interested.

Anyway, just wanted to check in and say hello to everyone. I’m taking lots of pictures, and will post some after we get home. These are all scenic pictures though, there’s very few “people” pictures on this vacation, except for a couple that Gail took for us over the weekend. I have lots of pictures of butterflies, flowers, buildings, monuments and old buildings though!!! 😀

Have a great week, we’ll be home soon and I hope to return to daily blogging then! :mrgreen:

Posted by Stace

Road Trip

Road Trip!We’re headed out on our vacation. I know we will have internet access from at least one place we are staying, but that is next week. I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to check in, but I will if I can and have time. 🙂 We are taking the laptop, just in case!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and week! See ya when we get back!