Category Archives: Mission: Uncage the Singing Bird

Day 9: And Then She Shut Up… Wrap It Up!

We woke up on day 9 determined to get in one last quick adventure before we had to be at the Boston Logan Airport to catch our plane back to reality land.  I wanted to go see the Salem witch trial stuffs, but instead we finally settled on checking out The House of Seven Gables or at least the house that was the inspiration for the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, he who also wrote The Scarlet Letter.   I’ve read the latter book, but had never read the former one… that will change after this visit as I had to buy the book in the gift shop…  you bet your sweet bippy!

It was another grey and rainy day… umbrella worthy, but the house was totes neat… complete with a hidden staircase, which we got to walk up… I would not have fit up that staircase 227 pounds ago… no question about it.

We also saw Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace and found out interesting facts about the author… like the fact that he basically lived as a hermit, shut off from the world for years, while he mastered his writing craft.   Ironically, I was shut off from the world for years, but the only thing I mastered was eating a large Hawaiian Pizza in one sitting.  Y’all, that should be a profession!  I win!

We then headed to the airport and to drop off our trusty stained seat Kia Sorento.  Bye, Kia.  It was a good thing we arrived 2 hours before our flight because the ticket desk had a line 5 miles long with 2 people working it.  We barely made it before the flight deadline and had to pick up our tickets at the gate.  Laws… girl with anxiety issues coming through!  We had another layover in Chicago, which was only made longer when we learned that our connecting flight was delayed by hours due to rainy weather!  The Wicked Witch of the West was right… I’m melting…  This was Madre’s reaction when she learned we’d have to sit at the airport for even longer:

It probably didn’t help that I was telling her to smile and the airport was undergoing construction so the Internet was out and there was no power to plug in her phone.  By the time we arrived in Salt Lake City and then drove the 90 miles home, it was around 2ish in the morning or 4ish back East.

To wrap it all up… I could not have done any of this trip 2 years ago.   Stamp it, guarantee it, and then deliver it to Hades.  Could NOT have.  Between the walking and the walking and the walking, oh and the fitting into booths and chairs with arms on them and did I mention walking?  There would have been absolutely no way I could have done it.  I would have had to rent myself a fork lift, a Jazzy scooter, and a vile of Valium.  Changing my life has really opened so many more doors and windows for me… literally.  No longer do I feel like my only chance of a good time is if there happened to be a Christmas Story Marathon on TNT one weekend or if the local burger joint started making deliveries.   Hard work… WORTH IT.  Worth every dagblasted frustrating minute of the last 2 years.  You best believe it.

Question of the Day:  Where was the last big trip you took? 

Note:  Thanks for sticking with me whilst I blabbered on about pretty much nothing for the last few weeks.  It will be good to have my memories down in writing for when I get Alzheimer disease next year and can’t remember which hand is right and which is left.

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Filed under Tripping 2011: New England

Day 8: Baw-ston Baked Beans…

Y’all… I am almost done with all of these dagblasted neverending trip retelling posts.  I’m like that person who makes anyone who visits sit down and watch filmstrips of all the new pictures she took.  And this here is a picture of Claude with his diaper on his head… ain’t he presh!?  Yes, I just used the term filmstrip and yes, I do remember filmstrips… they were back in my early days.  You young’uns and all your computing systems and flash drives and iPads… all we had back in my young’un days was a piece of chalk and a blackboard.  We done had to draw our memories!!

Day 8 found us in Boston, Massachusetts… well, actually we woke up in Peabody because you seriously seen the prices of hotel rooms in the Boston area!?!?!?!?!?!  Laws almighty, I could buy me a trailer house for that price back in this here country right after I brushed my teeth with a pine cone.  We drove to Salem, Massachusetts early that morning for breakfast at an old coffee shop from the 1600s… the original building.  I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure they remodeled it since then… you know, to upgrade from the wood-burning stove and candle lighting system.   😛

Oh, and don’t quote me on this… but those spica plants?  Totally original from the 1600s.  😛  It reminded me a lot of Angie’s back home… where all the locals meet to eat.  Mom ordered her a pancake, and the lady asked if she’d like the short stack… aka 3 pancakes.  Thank all that be heavenly glory hallelujah she went with just one.  This thing was a freaking cake…

Do not adjust your screens… the pancake was that big… imagine 3 of them things!?  I think I gained at least 6 pounds just looking at that thing.  I went with the veggie omelette owing to my previous waffle kerfuffle.  We then trucked our way into Boston, which took approximately 3 times longer than Freda, the GPS was saying it would.  Traffic, traffic, traffic.  When we’d finally arrived, we spent another hour trying to find a place to park the vehicular contraption… you don’t drive in downtown Baw-ston unless you have a death wish and approximately 6 hours to sit in traffic.   We parked in the Boston Commons parking garage and then got lost trying to walk to the Freedom Trail.  I’m a small town girl through and through, so the amount of people per square inch in this city was sometimes overwhelming.  We finally found the tourist info place, which was under construction and closed… quality.  Instead we walked across the street to some random cell phone place and bought tickets to the trolley tour.  We got lost again trying to find where our trolley would pick us up and then tried to board the wrong trolley… our stickers were SILVER trolley stickers and we’re all up trying to board the orange and green trolley.  BLASPHEMY!!  You ain’t lived until you’ve been yelled at by a Boston accented Trolley driver!!  I wonder if he was single.

When we finally found our correct trolley, my feet were already screaming at me, but I told them to shut up and then smothered them with my clodhopper.  The trolley tour wasn’t much of a tour… it was more transportation to different stops, and then you could hop off and walk around to your heart’s content and reboard at a later time.  First stop was Quincy Market.  Y’all calorizers… NEVER go into Quincy Market… I repeat… NEVER!!!  It’s basially this neverending building of the most scrumptious looking food things in the universe.  We walked the length of it and I’m surprised I didn’t get arrested for drooling.

I nearly bought this law-bster hat… y’all… how fasionable would I have been?

Madre got to meet JFK…

Then we hopped across the street to the Marriott Customs House where we paid to take 2 different elevators up to the very tippy tippy top floor to get a bird’s eye view of Boston.  Pretty cool, if you ask me.

 

Back on our trolley, we happened to sit in front of this couple from Malad, Idaho… so, we were immediately best buddies by default.  Before we left, we’d been told by my cousin-in-law, Ryan that we needed to go to Mike’s Pastry… heck if you go anywhere else… go to Mike’s Pastry!  7000 blocks later, we finally found him and drooled our way waiting in line.  People line up by the dozens for Mike’s pastries.  His specialty is cannolis… something like 34 different flavors of cannolis.   Mom got her a limoncello cannoli and I got me a red velvet cupcake just to buck the system… and they gave them to us all tied up in this little box, which we carried around the city for the rest of the day.

We rounded out the tour by checking out the USS Constitution (from afar) and the Paul Revere statue, amongst other things.  We then took the subway, aka the “T”, on the red line to Haw-rvard.  Just to say we’d seen it.  It took us 8 billion years to figure out how to buy tickets… what!?!?  We gots a free bus in my city!  I guess it was fun to ride for 20 minutes with a smelly dude’s armpit shove in my nostril.  You know, if  you like that sort of thing.

It was dark by then, so the picture taking got lamer and lamer.  We rode the red line back to the Boston Commons and then must have looked like 2 country bumpkins lost to the world because some nice guy took pity on us and stopped to ask if we were lost and needed directions.  He steered us in the general direction of our parking garage where we learned we owed $25 for all-day parking.  Next time, I plan on scooting in on my fold up scooter.

Baw-ston was an adventure.  I was a fish out of water for the day, but it was fun to see the sights and especially to get yelled at by a cranky Bostonian on a trolley!

Question of the Day:  Do you consider yourself a city person or a country bumpkin?  Do you wish it were opposite? 

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Day 7: Belgian Waffles Are Evil… and Lighthouses!!

Y’all… I should really learn the lesson that it’s not worth it to eat food on vacation.  Just not worth it!  😛  Okay, so that’s a total and complete utterly idiotic falsehood.  I did, however, curse the fact that for the first time in a long time I ate me a Belgian waffle with syrup for breakfast on the morning of day 7 and it was possibly the most idiotic idea of my entire trip.  It did not sit well and I spent the rest of the day wanting to hurl every 5 seconds, amongst other things.  Too much information?  Buck up, sport!  I did see a lot of the inside of a stall in the local Hannaford’s Supermarket chain on this day.  Shame I didn’t take any pictures because they were glorious… best scenery yet.  (insert sarcasm bone!)   But it did give Madre an opportunity to go shopping at Marshall’s and then get a manicure after having picked at her fingernails the whole trip.  Laws almighty.   Side note:  Is the main ingredient in them chewable Pepto Bismols chalk… because seriously… I wrote my name on the sidewalk with one.

Sickness be danged… I was still determined to see the sights of Portland, Maine.  It was one of the cities I was most looking forward to due to my HUGE lighthouse afficionado club… I’m not only a member, I’m the club geekident!  There was a time in my life when you could have walked in my bedroom and been punched in the face with lighthouses.   I used to decorate in all lighthouse… it was gag-worthy actually, I had so much crap.  Today, you won’t find many lighthouse items… maybe 2 at the most… but I still have a love for the lighthouses… land-locked states be durned!

Our first lighthouse was in Cape Elizabeth, Maine at the Two Lights State Park.  There were 2 lighthouses visible from this vantage point, but they were privately owned, so we couldn’t get up close and personal.  No matter… I saw them and then stood on the rocky beach and took in the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean… I guess it was the Atlantic Ocean… either that or Casco Bay/Gulf of Maine.  It was water… let’s put it that way!

Y’all… check out this “rocking” chair!  Get it?  Oh laws, I slay myself.  Cool chair with a nice view, but holy hard seat, batman!  We then drove down a bit further to one of my most favorite lighthouses (based on pictures alone), Portland Head Lighthouse, which is the most photographed lighthouse in the USA.  This one you could actually get up close and personal with.  Not like I asked it out or anything, but we were able to walk around the grounds.

This unflattering picture was brought to you by the letter W for WINDY!  Toto, we ain’t in Kansas anymore!  After gawking for a while around that joint, we saw one more lighthouse, which I was too sick to want to walk out to, so got a picture from the car:

This is when Madre’s shopping spree and manicure came in handy.  I’m sure she had a glorious time!  We then headed to downtown Portland… looked at some shops walked around a bit.  There were 2 things Madre talked about wanting to do most before we headed out on the trip… the first was shopping at H&M (CHECK) and the 2nd was eating a lobster roll in Maine.  Whatever flips your dress up in the air, Madre.  We got recommendations from several shop owners on where the best place to get said lobster would be, and all of them said J’s Oyster Bar.  Okey dokey… it’s an oyster bar… but I’ll play along.  It was mostly a dive.

I think Madre talked so long about her lobster roll that she was a bit disappointed with it.  Such is the life of a lobster afficianado.  Stick with lighthouses… they rarely disappoint!

 

We then drove back to Two Lights State Park to eat some homemade Maine blueberry pie… the other most talked about item on Madre’s list.  This, she loved… I think it made up for the lackluster lobster!

Besides that… you couldn’t beat this view!

Maine… let’s do it again sometime… next time with less Belgian waffles and Hannafords!!

Question of the Day:  I used to collect lighthouse paraphrenelia… do you collect anything? 

Have a great weekend, friends!  Bore you all again on Mondee!

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Day 6: Shakers, Pumpkins, and Turkeys

Not in that order… which came first, the pumpkin or the turkey?  Why did the chicken cross the road?  Y’all… I’m trying to be all deep up in this here paragraph… but apparently I’ve already run out of deep questions.  In the meantime, what’s up with Kim Kardashian, y’all!?

Day 6 began with a jaunt down to the Canterbury Shaker Village, which is not an operating Shaker village, but a museum of sorts.  I’d definitely heard about the Shakers… mostly knew about their hard work ethic and quality products, but it was interesting to learn more about their way of life.  We watched a documentary on Shaker living and why the religion dwindled into oblivion, and now I think there is only one working Shaker village in the US.   Then we had to hit the gift shop because Madre is in love with all things Shaker workmanship.  If she could have, she’d have bought one of each item.  Everything they make is of high quality.  I came away with a cool-looking carved wooden crochet hook (ALRIGHT, WHO’S GOING TO TEACH ME TO CROCHET A SWEATER!?!?!?), a candle that reminded me of Thanksgivingy smells, and a Shaker pie cookbook.  We also ended up with a pumpkin whoopie pie (who knew whoopie pies were so popular in the Northeast) because it came highly recommended by pretty much every person we talked to.  It did NOT disappoint!!  Holy night DEE-VINE!

I pretty much fell in love with their white picket fences and rock walls and vowed that I’d have one of them put in my invisible mansion… STAT!  The builders in my brain are working on it as we speak.  We then took off for this highway our hotel front desk chic said was a MUST DRIVE… something about Cowabunga Highway… Kookabura Highway?  Dang… I just Googled it… Kancamagus Highway.  You can see why I couldn’t remember the name.  I reverted to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle language… Cowabunga Dude… heroes in a half shell… turtle power!   It was supposed to be beautimous and fall colory and leavey… I wish I could tell y’all what exactly was going on up in that there highway but too many sleepless nights were catching up to me and I pretty much drooled my way through Lacucaracha Highway.   Maybe Madre could tell y’all what she saw in the comments (HINT HINT MADRE!!!)

On the other side of ArabEmigration Highway was another recommended place of lunching… Hart’s Turkey Farm.  I might be hallucinating, but I swear to you that the Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives visited this turkey farm once?  Anyone?  Anyhow, a turkey farm is a fantabulous place for a vegetarian because they have broccoli… mmm mmm fibery!  Madre really enjoyed her Thanksgiving meal complete with side order of pickled beets.  I wasn’t complaing too much because I had a rocking good pile of broccoli, a sliced apple, and some gravy-less mashed taters.  They also served this carrot relish on saltines… who knew carrot relish would be tastee!?

Carrot relish...

Madre is mighty tempted just to fly the family back out to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving dinner.  I’ll be sure to dress as a turkey in a pilgrim hat.

Thanksgiving over and done with, we headed for Portland, Maine… on the way we passed this cool-looking farm/farmer’s market majigger.  Such an adorable place.  If it didn’t cost so much to ship pumpkins home, I’d totes have bought a bushel or 5.  We pulled up just as a crowd of people were standing around a crane hoisting up a blanket full of pumpkins.  Apparently, they were going to drop the pumpkins and have pumpkin guts for dinner.  We missed the drop by about 15 seconds as we were running from our parked car to the field.  Eh well… there was plenty to see.

We LOVED these adorable pumpkin displays they had pretty much everywhere!

Inside they had assortments of beautiful-looking fruits and vegetables.  I wanted to buy one of each, but I settled for some apples, which were super crunchy and flavorfull!   Fun little produce stands are always a fun find in our book… even if none of it would fit in my suitcase!

Question of the Day:  What is your favorite thing about Autumn? 

 

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Day 5: Vermont’s Finest… Ben, Jerry, and Whitney…

Y’all would be impressed with how fast I moved on the morning of day 5… I was up before the rooster knew the sun existed and with masculine strength, I done lugged both 50-pound suitcases down that rickety old stairwell.  It’s amazing what a germ-a-phobe will do to escape the gross.  I was ready to get myself away from Smuggling Notches and move on to more important things… like maple syrup and haunted bridges.  Our first stop on that gloriously chilled day where the sun decided to peek out for the first 2 hours and then immediately decided rain was in the cards, was to the Maple Outlet, which according to Freda the GPS was supposed to contain breakfast… not so.  But, we did get to conversate with the nicest older lady on the planet and she gave us some good tips for places we needed to see in her home state of Vermont.   First stops… COVERED BRIDGES:

This last one is called Emily’s Bridge and is supposed to be haunted… Ghostbusters must have been in town since I done never saw one ghost… let alone any orbs!   There’s just something so quaint about a covered bridge.  I’m not exactly sure why they felt the need to cover some of their bridges, but it sure brought in the tourists in later years (me and Madre count as 3,000,000).  Next stop you ask?   Stowe, Vermont, where we briefly checked out the Trapp Family Lodge… that of The von Trapp Family singer fame, Sound of Music fans anyone?  This piece of land is where the von Trapps settled in the United States because it reminded them of their beloved Austria.

We then took off for downtown Stowe, VT where they were having a rained out artisan festival on Main Street.  All y’all wimpy artisans afraid of some wind and liquid falling from the clouds… seriously now.  Instead, we went inside of a cross stitch shop (MY WEAKNESS) where we were told we needed to drop by the cider mill!  Y’all… the CIDER MILL contained more delectable gooery per square inch than every Martha Stewart Thanksgiving special put together.  Apples and cider and donuts and pastries and jellies and jams and maple syrups and candies and any sugary delectableness you could think of all conglomerated into one building… and it was crowded.  I had to reign myself in because I knew where we were headed next… instead I shared a bite of an apple cider donut with Madre and a sip of hot cider… I’m still kicking myself for not getting to try the homemade maple apple pie with a chunk of Vermont cheese on the top.

Those delectabilites left behind we were on our way to the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Factory tour!  We must have arrived just as 85 tour busses did because we waited in line for hours just to buy tickets to the tour… and then in line again just to buy some ice cream!  Thankfully, I had some entertainment whilst standing in the cold, windy, rainy line… this lady was feeding her dog, who just so happened to be the size of a horse, ice cream whilst her husband was feeding her… and it went on for forever… Clickety click here to see video evidence.  I didn’t get it, but at one point she’d feed the dog ice cream and then eat a bite herself from the exact same spoon!  OH LAWS, SLAY ME NOW!  Sorry, you who don’t mind eating from the same silverware as your pets, but the breath alone is enough for me to say heck to the no to that!

I have a schoolgirl crush on Jimmy Fallon and so when I found out that he had his own ice cream flavor, I HAD to get it… no matter that it was potato chips covered with chocolate chunks.  It was not my most shining moment.  Not a good flavor.  Madre got this delectable clustery flavor that was like heaven on a spoon.  I tried to get her to trade me, but she was not interested in my potato chips!

Rub it in why don’t ya’, Madre!  Lactose intolerance over and done with, we loaded up in the contraption to head to Sharon, VT, which is the birthplace of Joseph Smith.  The monument and grounds were so beautiful.  I wished it wasn’t so cold and rainy and that we’d gotten there earlier so there was more light for picture taking.

I seriously am considering bringing more really large umbrellas to picture taking time to cover up the bane of my existence!  Totes effective until you have to put it down!  This cute little lady tour guide was insistent that we get pictures for our “Christmas cards” so had us pose in approximately 500000000 different ways while she snapped like we were Heidi Klum at a modeling convention… needs more fan!  It was pretty much the most hilarious thing I’ve ever been a part of.  Thank goodness I graduated from Supermodel Anonymous Academy.

The day ended with a rainy drive to our hotel for the night in Tilton, New Hampshire.  Tilton was the first “big” city we had stayed in yet (aside from Buffalo, NY)… they actually had places to shop and eat… it was miraculous!  My day in Vermont was a fun one.  I’d go back again… pretty sure Ben and Jerry will be asking me to come on as a partner… I have a few notes on the potato chip ice cream, fellas!

Question of the Day:  What is your favorite ice cream flavor?  Do you have a favorite ice cream brand? 

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Day 4: Smuggle Me a Notch…

I think it’s a rule that there will always be at least a couple of bad days in a vacation… I’d say day 4 was one of those.   It began in Syracuse, NY the night before when we had to trade cars because my seatbelt refused to work 85% of the time… which is totes ironic since there were years when I couldn’t fit a seatbelt around my bulk and now that I can, my seatbelts won’t come out of the door frame.  Frustrated me all to hades and back trying to get that thing to budge.   It was fine, though, because we were driving a Jeep Patriot and we weren’t so much fond of it.  It kind of sucked.  We traded her out for a Kia Sorento… totes an upgrade, even if the seats were all stained and looked like someone decided to have a “bring your own mud” volleyball party on the seats (see Ma… I explained it nicer like than I did on the trip).

Here she is in all her glory… with Illinois plates… hmmmm… I wonder how that worked out… coughcough!  I’d also like to take this opportunity to propose marriage to my GPS… Freda.  Oh laws, I’m in love with that thing.  I’m sorry Northeasterners, but your roads are screwed up!  😛  I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag with them windy streets.  That’s one thing I missed about UT streets… block system is the best invention in the WORLD… look it up… you’ll find it right next to the invention of sliced bread.  Anywho, Freda saved our butts on an hourly basis.  We rarely got lost when we had the address plugged into good ole Freed.

Day 4 was spent driving… the longest travel day so far.  We were driving from Syracuse, NY to Jeffersonville, Vermont in POURING rain the whole way… THE WHOLE WAY.  This was not a friendly little sprinkle of lemony goodness… this was like standing underneath the Niagara Falls all over again.  We stopped at a rest area at one point and just walking from the car into the building 20 feet away left me looking like a weasel stuck up a crick.   It was in that rest stop that I also managed to burn my tongue on a sip of hot chocolate, drop half a cup of hot chocolate on the floor, and then wreaked havoc when I threw the rest in the garbage can because it burnt my hand.  Did I mention I was valedictorian?  Good… because I wasn’t!  It only got worse when it got darker… the roads were narrow, the rain was heavy, and we couldn’t see a dagnabbed thing.

It was with much relief that we finally arrived at our destination at around 8:00ish to check into the “Smuggler’s Notch Inn” or as I liked to call it “GET THE HELL OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!”  Oh lawsy Gertrude in a pile of cow manure, this place was bad.  It didn’t look that bad when I’d booked it on the Internet (PHOTOSHOP), but in person… laws almighty.  It was an old house with original floors that slanted toward the middle of the house… thank all that be holy I left my silk sheets and pajamas at home this time… otherwise I’d have spent the whole night sliding out of bed.  The room contained 2 twin beds and was the size of a small jail cell… oh, and there was no elevator and our bags weighed 50 pounds each… no problem.  I usually carry mine around on my head.  Cleanliness was also not a strong point… they should have put that on the brochure.  We seriously considered trying to get out of the stay and find somewhere else and even went as far as to get Lindsay on the computer back home to try to find us something.

In the meantime, it was time for dinner!  We asked the lady that checked us in where she’d recommend going.  Turns out it’s an itty bitty town with only 2 restaurants, both of which she said were fabulous.  Okay… we’ll take your word for it.  We picked the wrong one obviously because I swear to you I got food poisoning.  My pasta was nasty and the sauce on top of it tasted rancid.  I ate 2 bites and then pushed the rest of it to the far side of the plate so it would look like I’d eaten more.  Madre got pumpkin ravioli that made her want to vomit… and don’t even get me started on the dinner salads… unless you enjoy wilted spinach leaves and wilted vegetables and dressing reminiscent of liquid tar… and it only cost me $30 for my dish alone… well worth the 2 bites I had!  NOT!   Never fear… I had my bed to look forward to back at the Smuggler’s Notch Inn.

It’s a wonder I didn’t take any pictures on this day.  It was too rainy to get out to take them and I didn’t want to remember my Inn.  I was determined to get up early and make day 5 one to remember… you best believe it.  Rain behave yourself!

Question of the Day:   Have you ever had a bad hotel/restaurant experience?   Misery loves company, so let me know the details in the comments! 

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Day 3: Church History… Will There Be A Pop Quiz?

Day 3 of infiltrate the Northeast with my slightly psychotic presence started out in a liiiiiiittttttllllleee town named Palmyra, New York.  Palmyra is beautiful… rolling hills, fall colors popping out of every corner and crevice.  I could live there if they provided free houses and money (hit me up Mayor of Palmyra… I’ll move out tomorrow… you can get a hold of me at 1-800-DREAM-ON-SCHMUCK!)  For those not familiar with the town, Palmyra is rich in church history for we of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints faith (just helping out that one Baptist minister who says we don’t believe in Jesus Christ… oh, and Susan Sarandon might need some help too).  It was there that many of the key church founding moments happened.  I’m not eloquent enough to explain it, so I’m quoting from this website:

On a spring day in 1820 14-year-old Joseph Smith sought solitude in a grove of trees and prayed to know which church was true. God the Father and Jesus Christ, “two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description,” appeared and spoke with him.1

Wondering which of the many churches to join, Joseph had followed the counsel in the Bible’s book of James: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.”

In short, for us, sacred ground abounds in that there city!

Our first stop was to the Joseph Smith family home…

I had no idea that they had orange construction cones and caution tape clear back in the early 1800s… it really does go to show you what a great invention duct tape was!

Y’all… now that’s a sink if I’ve ever seen one!!

I wanted to take a nap on that bed… but everyone was looking at me funny like… it looked cleaner than some of the hotel rooms I stayed in!

An actual Bible opened to James from the early 1800s… I bet it was hard to turn the pages with that glass case sitting on it.  They really did have it hard back in the olden days…

After taking a tour of the houses, the barns, and the grounds, it was time to head into the Sacred Grove.  They let you walk through the Sacred Grove by yourself… at your leisure, which I appreciated because talking in the actual grove seemed like such a waste… there was definitely a strong spirit there and Madre and I walked through it for a good hour and then sat on a bench in silence for another 30 minutes.  Madre said she wouldn’t mind pitching a tent and staying the night… then I reminded her of my failed sleep in the cabin attempt and she quickly changed her mind.

We’re playing a game… Where’s the Palmyra Temple… kind of like Where’s Waldo but without Waldo since he’s napping.

From there we also saw the Grandin Building and Peter Whitmer’s home.  We missed out on the Hill Cumorah because we got some ill-advised advice and then were dumb and didn’t plan our time wisely… but we did drive past it.  I am blessed to have had the experience to visit such sacred places.  We were lucky, in that it was a rainy day that day, but all the while we were walking through the grove, not a raindrop fell… not a one.  When we got back into the car, it began again.

Have a great weekend, friends.  Next week cometh beforeth thou knowest!  Enjoy the last weekend in October!

 

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Day 2: Falling For Niagara…

Day 2 in Buffalo, NY began as any day at a Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar does… some chic telling me her life story after knowing me for all of 2 seconds.  I must have a face that says, tell me your deepest darkest secrets… either that or she’s gone mad… come to think of it I do remember seeing her talking to the wall on my way out.  Amidst that conversation, I did get a couple of words in edgewise… asking her what she’d recommend we do while here in her glorious city, to which she responded, eat Buffalo wings (which by the way, I never saw one Buffalo!?!?!?!  And certainly not one with wings… the name is MIGHTY deceptive).  Then, some dude at another table piped up with, and beef on weck!  Okay, then… while we’re in your city, your only suggestions are to eat 8 gallons of food… oh, boy.  Therefore, we hightailed it right on out of there and drove ourselves to Niagara Falls, NY.

When we arrived we pulled up to park in front of this hotel, which looked SO familiar to me.  It took me a minute to put my finger on where I’d seen it before, but then when I remembered, I took the opportunity to take 8 bajillion pictures of it… I’m FAMOUS!!  (by the by… only 2 of my 8 bajillion pictures turned out okay… the rest seem to have the giddyism disease… where I’m too busy shaking and rejoicing to get a nonblurry picture.)

Who else has seen it?  Give up!?!?!  If any of you watch the TV show, The Office, this is the exact same hotel that Jim and Pam checked into on their wedding day.  We then started hoofing it all over the place trying to find our way to the falls.  Instead we ended up at some gift shop/Indian food joint/welcome center and some true New Yorkian was talking us into taking the 3-hour tour (STOP, GILLIGAN!)  I think it was worth the $65 each because we got to see the falls from every angle possible and our tour guide was pretty rocking too… Cal… another true New Yorkian, Yankee fan, and true blue to his state.  He didn’t take too kindly to anyone saying that the Canadian side of the falls was “prettier.”  As he put it, there are no picnic tables on the Canadian side… I repeat… NO PICNIC TABLES!  The US side of the falls is not thriving economically, a lot of the businesses are boarded up and it seems that there are no jobs, unlike the Canadian side which is booming… but the scenery on the US side is breathtaking.

We got a chance to basically walk right underneath the falls when we did the “Cave of the Winds” tour.  They provided us with yellow rain slickers, which I managed to tear up the whole left side when it got caught on my purse while I was putting it on.  They then gave us these plasticy doo-daddy sandal majigs, which I also managed to break when I pulled the strap too tight.  Apparently, walking with half of my foot hanging out the top of the broken sandal (aka barefoot) is not the easiest thing to do… this from a chic who wears her rocking horse shoes 24/7.

Phew... at least ma had her toes did...

 

Smiling because I'm dry... so far...

You walked up these steep stairs onto different levels of decks… the highest one called The Hurricane Deck for obvious reasons because the wind and the spray that those falls put off is blinding!  Everyone else seemed to be fine and dandy in their little worthless rain slicker and didn’t get that wet, but I ended up looking like a rat who drowned in a vat of Cheez-Whiz.  I could wring out my clothing and my hair and Madre was all walking around dry as a fiddle bone… stupid torn up slickers!

When that was done, we hopped back on the bus (20 people deep) to head to the Daredevil Museum.  This museum contained too many psycho people per square inch.  Apparently, some doofuses think it would be a fun day trip to lock themselves up into a barrel and ride off of the falls.  The statistics are pathetic… something like 15 people have attempted to do this at different points over the years and only 4 have survived.  Yet, people keep on deciding to defy the odds!  They had some of the contraptions people used to throw themselves over the falls on display.

Two people rode in this one… notice how it’s all torn and beat up… that’s due to the power of the falls and rocks it hit on the way down.

Some madman even tried to attempt jumping the falls on a jetski… may he rest in peace.  At the end of the tour, we hopped on the Maid of the Mist boat, which actually took us on the water pretty much underneath the falls… For you Office fans… this boat was also where Jim and Pam tied the knot… on the actual boat!

This time they gave us quality blue ponchos!!  I was uber tempted to keep it to use on the rest of the rained out trip, but I ended up chucking it.  Notice Madre’s dry hair.  SERIOUSLY!?!?

Totes fun… couldn’t see a lick out of my glasses when we got back to the dock and it probably would have felt better to be sopping wet on a warmer day, but it was an amazing sight to behold!!  You all need to see the falls at least once in your lifetime.  Worth it!

Question of the Day:  Have you been to Niagara Falls?  Did you get as wet as I did? 

The big buildings over yonder would be the thriving Canadian side.

That’s not fog… that’s mist from the falls… and the boat is the Maid of the Mist!

 

 

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Day 1: From Salt Lake City to Denver to Chicago to New York!

Did I ever mention how weird I think airplanes are?  Let’s load ’em all down with 8 bajillion and 50 pounds of crap and then make it soar amongst the clouds in a rainstorm.  Who came up with that idea anyway?  It’s like flying in a metal death trap up in that there thing.  Day one of Whitney’s Bucket List Slaying adventure was spent traveling.  Which is cool if you like to wake up at 3:30 in the morning to make it to the airport 90 miles away at 5:45 in the morning… basically that means Whitney did not sleep this day!  Who needs sleep when there are vacations to be had!  We had a layover in Denver, Colorado where I got to meet up with my FAVORITE sweater-wearing hottie… and by hottie I really mean, it must have been real hot like in the summertime wearing that sweater!

Be Still My Ruptured Arteries!!!

We then hopped back onto the flying death trap to make our way to the 2nd pit stop of our journey… Chicago, Illinois.  OPRAH TOWN!!!!!!!!!!!  😛  For some reason, I’m pretty durn sure my friend Oprah stood me up at the airport.  For rudeness… after all that stalking I’d been doing.  Instead I got kidnapped by some chic wearing a Peeps shirt and driving a PT Cruiser.  She tied us up, threw us in the trunk amongst our Godzilla luggage, drove us to the nearest Olive Garden, and made us eat stale saltines… no water… I repeat… NO WATER!   Okay, that never happened, but that there part is going in my book I’m writing entitled, The Day I Got Stood Up By Oprah!

What really happened was I met my long lost penpal from years back… the Avster and her Madre!  She was super sweet to pick up these random hitch hikers on the side of the road and drive us around the shady part of Chicago.  She even brought awesome gifts… and homemade peach PIE… oh, and a bag of Peeps, which went untouched by this chick… get it… Peeps chick!  After that, she drove us to the wrong airport and made us hitch hike back to the right one… okay, okay… I’ll stop with the horror stories!

We then hopped back on the plane to head to our final arrive-by-plane destination, Buffalo, NY!  Go Meeses!  That would be a FULL day of traveling… 3:30 in the morning to 10:00 at night.  Then, after we waited for our rental care and I did my sanitize the hotel room routine and dance number, I finally got to bed at 2:30 in the morning.  Plain ole TUCKERED!

I also learned that recycled cabin airplane air makes one crave ice chips and honey roasted peanuts… or so our friendly flight attendants seemed to think so.  I love how they call it “complimentary” peanuts… I spent $400 bucks on my 2 airplane seats and all I get is 3 peanuts and an ice chip!?  I’m thinking gold-plated teeth or you know… thinks like money would be more in order next time I fly.  Oooo… or a date with Oprah!!!  Maybe she likes honey roasted peanuts and ice chips!  I’ll find out next time she decides to feed me stale saltines and crick water!

Day 2:  Niagara Falls… coming tomorrowish… let Oprah know I saved her a seat!

Question of the Day:  Do you enjoy plane travel?  What is the longest time you’ve been on a plane? 

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Filed under Tripping 2011: New England

Dinner at 4:00… Lawrence Welk at 5:00…

When I was a kid, I remember Saturdays being quite the day at Gram’s house.  Some of my most fond memories of her include her dancing around the living room to one of her favorite “programs,” The Lawrence Welk Show.  For those who are not familiar with Lawrence Welk and his magical dancing show… he was a bandleader and every Saturday he’d put on a show full of singing and dancing and music.  The musical numbers were cheesier than 15 blocks of Velveeta melting in a vat of liverwurst, especially to a moody teenager… but for an hour every Saturday it was like we were all transported back to a simpler time.

I was asked a few months back to put together a program of songs to sing at the assisted living center my dad is director of, Lawrence Welk style (OLD songs).  Of course, I got right on that and 2 days before the actual date, I pulled out my old Karaoke CDs and started picking songs.  What!?  Do you think I actually do things in a timely manner?  Just be glad I didn’t decide to pick the songs the day after the performance.  At least I showed up with something besides a medley of Mary Birthing Her Little Lamb songs.  It’s been a LONG time since I’ve sung a nonchurch song in public… a LONG time.  I’d put it in the years category… so, of course I was nervous as all get out.  Even if three-quarters of my audience would be snoozing in their seats.

Part of my audience… as you can plainly see they were a lively group… the sweet lady in brown is already asleep and this was song #2.   She’s all like, I’m missing Lawrence for this!?!?!?!?

After 22 volume changes (mostly turn the music down, turn the voice up… then 2 minutes later… turn the music up, turn the voice down… and so on and so forth), profuse clammy hand syndrome on my part, and mumbling idiot disease, I got through the songs unscathed.  I did learn that I should never attempt to talk in front of a group of people without a written out script… dialogue and everything.  It took me 25 years to come up with the word harmony… I used every other word that did not mean that.  Stupid speaking in public issues!  And no one laughed at my lame jokes… oh laws… note to self… do not try to be a comedienne… stick to the plan… STICK TO THE PLAN!   *** crickets ***

Anywho… a learning experience under the old belt.  I’m getting back out there and doing things I used to do… even if 3/4 of my audience wished they were at Disneyland!

Question of the Day:  Do you sing or play a musical instrument? 

PS… I’m sure I’ll regret posting the following later… SURE of it.  I had Madre handle the mini video camera to record some of the songs… it made me laugh when I looked at the “video.”  She had thought it was just a recorder and had positioned the video on the wall for the first part, her hand in the middle, and Better Homes and Garden magazines near the end, which also meant that the speaker was facing the wrong direction.  Oh, Madre… what will we ever do with you!!

I Get A Kick Out Of You with horrible sound quality:

Madre’s Hand, Family Circle magazine and Someone To Watch Over Me with horrible sound quality:

Note:  Have a great weekend, friends.  A big huge thank you to Rachel, Audrey and Jen-Jen for the sweet cards! 

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Filed under Getting A Life, Mission: Uncage the Singing Bird