Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Vacation 

After checking out of the Omni Hotel, I pointed my Honda South on I-75 and began driving toward Flagler Beach, FL. When I decided that I wanted to go somewhere for my birthday, I looked around at several beach destinations and came across an online ad for "The Whale Watch Motel" in Flagler Beach. I hadn't heard of either one of these places, but I checked out the website and instantly fell in love. A phone call to Barry who owns the motel with his wife, and I was convinced this was where I needed to be. For all intents and purposes, this is a 1950's style motor court that has been cleaned up and painted. All you had to do was cross A1A and you were at the beach, far from the maddening crowd. Perfect!

I got into town about 7pm and was greeted by Patricia, Barry's wife. She got my key and helped me unload my car into a very bright and clean little room. Patricia pointed at a deck right across the road and advised that this was a great place to watch the sun come up.

After a long drive, I was hungry. Someone had recommended High Tides at Snack Jacks so I thought I'd give it a try. They were very busy and admitting the kitchen was very backed up, but I was not dissuaded. I had a couple of Red Stripes and some fish cheese dip and people watched and enjoyed the juke box. Before I knew it, my fried shrimp had arrived! It was really, really good! They were offering Carrot Cake for dessert that I couldn't possibly eat right then, but I got it to go. After all, I was on vacation!

Thursday I slept until I woke up, got myself up and moving and on the beach. I looked one way and there was a speck that appeared to be sunbathing. I looked the other way and there was another speck that appeared to be fishing. I set myself up, took a deep breath and stripped down to my bathing suit. For those of you that don't know me, I have not worn a bathing suit since my early 20's, (or maybe my teens!), so this was a big deal. Knowing that I was lilly white, I did not want to take a chance of getting horribly sunburned, so I made sure I had plenty of sunscreen on and limited my time in the direct sun. I got my courage up again and went out into the ocean in my swimsuit! This was one of my first experiences with the Atlantic Ocean, so I didn't realize how cool the water would be and how them waves will knock you on your ass! LOL! It was still a lot of fun, though!

Although I didn't want to, I figured it was best that I got out of the sun. I went back to my room and tried to get all of the sand out of my ass and other various nooks and crannies before heading out to find some lunch. I drove up A1A to Betty's A1A Cafe in Ormand Beach where a waitress recommended the Caesar Salad with Monk Fish. It was delicious! I drove back to Flagler Beach and went to the Pier area. This is the public part of the beach so it made for some great people watching! It was also fun to watch the surfers and the boogie boarders.

For $1.50 they let you on the Pier and as I was walking, it appeared that most of the planks were inscribed. It appears that you can memorialize your loved ones on a plank at the Flagler Beach Pier. I wandered toward the end of the Pier and talked to the fishermen and listened to their conversations as they debated politics, beer and fishing bait.

It was time for an activity known as a "nap," so I made the short trip back to the motel and snoozed for a bit. When I woke up it was pushing 8:00pm, which is late by Flagler Beach standards! I went out for a bite to eat and ended up at "Manny's Pizza House IV." I ordered a pizza and got it to go and went back to the room to eat the really wonderful pizza and relax.

The forecast for Friday was rainy all day. I slept late and wandered back to Manny's for their "must have" breakfast that luckily they serve all day. A Denver Omlette and Cheese Grits was the fuel I needed to head down A1A toward Daytona Beach. Although it was interesting to see, I must admit that Daytona Beach was not for me. Too crowded. Too gaudy. Too busy. I can see why it's a good destination for Spring Breakers, but just not for me.

When I finally made my way back from Daytona Beach, it was time for another lovely siesta. When I woke up, I decided that I wanted to eat at "The Fisherman's Net" which I had been told by several people was "THE" place to go in Flagler Beach. I was not disappointed! I ordered cold peel and eat shrimp for an appetizer and Shrimp Parmesan for dinner. I could not get through 1/2 of my Shrimp Parmesan even though it was SO good!

Saturday morning I finally made it up early enough to catch a sunrise. It was beautiful and well worth it. After the sun was up, I went back to bed for a few hours and when I woke up, I sadly loaded up my car, paid my bill and drove North on A1A. It was really neat to drive parallel to the Ocean and see all of the houses and the resorts and the ocean. I stopped at "Washington Oaks Gardens State Park" and it was really quite lovely. By the time I got to St. Augustine, I didn't have time to stop and look around, but it looks really cool and I can't wait to go back and check it out! I finally found my way to I-10 and then I-75 back toward Atlanta and made it home by 8pm.

I must admit, I was a little nervous about taking a vacation by myself, however now that I've done it, I don't know why I've never done it before. If you'd like, please check out my vacation pictures here.

Until my next grand adventure...


Monday, July 10, 2006

4th of July 

I took the week of the 4th off from work. When I decided that I was going to do this, I also made the decision that I wanted to do special things because this was also around my birthday. I went on Hotwire.com and looked up hotels in downtown ATL on the 4th of July. Lo and behold I found one that was only 100.00 for the night! I ordered it up and it was at the Omni Hotel which is right smack dab across the street from Centennial Olympic Park where they would be doing Fireworks!

Since I got the room from Hotwire.com, I expected to be stuck in a nice, but far away from everything room, as that has been my experience in the past. When I got there to check in, the room they had me assigned to was not clean. I piped up that I would love a room that faced the park and the guy behind the desk said, "OK, I happen to have 1 left!" I was so excited!

The room was PERFECT. The whole far wall of the room was floor to ceiling glass. I called Jef to let him know as he was coming to hang out with me for some Jef-and-Joan-birthday-and-4th-of-July time.

Jef arrived later and we walked to CNN Center and had some Mexican Food and then came back to the room in anticipation of having a primo seat for the fireworks. We took the comforter off the bed and all of the pillows and set up camp in front of the window. It was about 30 mins before the fireworks were to begin, and the sky opened up with a massive thunderstorm. I kept hoping against hope that the storm would blow through quickly and the fireworks would commence, but it wasn't going to happen that way. Jef and I were kind of disappointed, but at the same time, it was cool to watch the people and traffic and lightening and look at all of the buildings. We laid on our stomachs side by side talking about the things that only Jef and Joan talk about after having been so close for 19 years. When we finally accepted that the fireworks just weren't going to happen, we ordered room service dessert and watched an A&E special on SuperMan before Jef headed out into the night to go home.

Thanks for a wonderful evening, Rocky.

I love you,



My birthday! 

My birthday was 7/1/06 and I am now 39 years old. Not "29...again," but 39. I've lived a lot of life in my 39 years and I claim every one of my years and every one of my gray hairs! All of those experiences and blood, sweat and tears and laughter and smiles and really low times and insanely high times and middle of the road times have made me the Joan that I am today - and I like her - NAY! I LOVE her! You should get to know me - I am super fantastic! ;-)

...but I digress...

After a week at work that kicked my ass, I got to look forward to hanging out with some really good friends (who shall remain nameless, because that's the way they prefer it). We went to lunch at Sonic, because I love me some Sonic! Then we went to get nails and eyebrows done. (For those of you that don't know me, I'm not especially girly, but this is where my girlyness comes out. I love to have manicures, pedicures and the hair over my eyes ripped out violently.) After that, it was back to the house for a little afternoon siesta before motoring to Decatur for dinner at the Raging Burrito. (There are a lot of burrito joints in the ATL, however none of them make guacamole like Raging Burrito!) After a lovely dinner we strolled to Eddie's Attic to see Michelle Malone perform. (Damn! That girl can play a guitar when she wants to! I love it when she trances out and just PLAYS!) After getting out of there and making a pit stop at the house, we ventured out again to Cafe Intermezzo for dessert. We got there at 1:50AM and they closed at 2, but we didn't care! We sat on the patio with a perfect breeze mussing our hair and enjoyed some utterly delectable yumminess. After all of that, I made it home about 3-ish and hit the sack. I woke up 12 hours later and could have slept longer, but I didn't.

It was a really lovely day spent with really lovely people who's only agenda for the day was to make me happy. Am I a lucky girl, or what?

Thank you again, "People who shall remain nameless!" I love and appreciate you very much!


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