4-28-10 Wednesday (Getting There)

Roadtrip! Today my Mom and I will drive to Myrtle Beach to visit my aunt and uncle.

Some relative information. My aunt and uncle aren’t really as such. My aunt baby sat my mother many, many a year ago. They became friends and over time, she became “family”. I call her An-Annie which is like Aunt Annie – but not.

On with the trip! Mapquest said 4 hours while the GPS said 3.5. I like the GPS – obviously more accommodating. I don’t really know how long it actually took since we stopped for gas, pee-pee stops and lunch.

Let me bitch (what else is new?) about the drive. It was very scenic. No problem. BUT we encountered traffic. Miles of 1 lane. Construction? Nope. Picking up trash. The ratio of workers to blocked lanes was annoyingly low. UGH! How many miles do you have to block off for 5 workers. Yes, miles, not feet.

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Once at my aunt’s we settled in for the evening. After dinner my mom napped, and my aunt and I went to Belk to visit my working cousin, Andrea. My aunt showed me some highlights of her immediate area. It was just a laid back evening of hanging out and socializing.

My aunt’s condo is lakeside. The lake, which is just steps from her front door, is full of fish, turtles, otters, a swan, ducks and geese! I haven’t seen any otters yet but I can mark the rest of the list as done.

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2010-04-28 023Above: An-Annie

2010-04-28 022 Above: Uncle Bobby.

DIH - Flower We enjoyed a lazy day at Gregg’s pool. Check out this potential ad for Sunchips starring Dasher & Patrick. The photo I’m talking about is a classic for us. Click here.

4-27-10 Tuesday (The Rules)

Mom wanted Ryan’s Buffet for brunch/lunch.  I enjoyed it and was careful not to over indulge especially since I’m diet-less right now.  The people at buffets certainly vary in shapes, sizes, etc.  The ones that always stand out to me are the “pilers”.  These are typically men that pile up so much food on their plate, it’s ridiculous.  It’s as if they can only have one plate and are making the best of it.  I like my foods to have a 1/2 inch space between them.  Perhaps it’s wasted space but sometimes I just don’t think some foods taste good together.  An observation about these “pilers” – perhaps they really loved baby food.  All those veggies and meats blended together.  Maybe it’s laziness?  They don’t want get up too often.  Whatever it may be, every buffet has ‘em.

After the buffet we went to the Concord Mills Mall yet again.  This time to return some earrings that were falling apart after one day.  While walking through the mall, I spotted Papayas, a women’s clothing store.  I’d never shop here.  2 reasons.  #1 – I don’t wear women’s clothing.  #2 – this place was absolutely cluttered with signs.

2010-04-27 001Above: “Caution – Do not enter – stay off the platform.  Do not touch any of the display items.”  Other sign “Please do not sit on table.”

 2010-04-27 004Above: “We reserve the right to search all bags entering and leaving this store. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” and “please no food or drinks allowed.”

2010-04-27 002Above: “Attention: Parents please do not leave your child unattended.”

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Mom shopped but meanwhile I was thinking this place sucks.  I mean why not just post a list of rules outside the door?  What kind of vibe does this place send?  Negativity. 

2010-04-27 005 Above: Stylish in Claire’s Icing.

Mom bought a bunch of clothes the other day at Walmart.  We needed to return what didn’t fit her.  While there I picked up some deodorant.  Here’s what I spotted:

2010-04-27 009Above/Below: $1.97 x 2 = $3.94

“Save” by getting the 2 pack for $4.33

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I wonder how many people trust the packaging and assume it’s cheaper?  Sad.

It’s kind of funny how I treat Ikea as an attraction.   One of those, you gotta see this store type of things.  Mom said she’s always wanted to go to one – I obliged.  She bought an ice cube tray like this:


Meanwhile – later that evening, mom helps prepare dinner.

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2010-04-27 015Above: Dasher did NOT help with dinner. 

DIH - Faget A year ago, Ann returns back to Florida.  We have a birth announcement.   We met up with a friend who lives in Phoenix but oddly we met while in Seattle.  Read about it here.

4-26-10 Monday (“Fashion” Show)

Finally we have a guest room that will likely undergo heavy usage.   When we lived in Florida, we had a family room and dinette which lead to a barely used living room/dining room.  We also had a guest room that only seemed to be used for our dog sitter, Stevi.  Now we’ve found that we’ll have all sorts of guests over the next couple of months.  After my mom, Jim’s mom will arrive the day of or 1 day after her departure.  Jim’s grandmother is reserving a week or so.  Jim’s stepbrother, Aaron and his at that time, new wife, Mo, will be here at the beginning of July.  There’s lots going on.  Luckily we’ve made the other bedroom a storage room with a futon to accommodate multiple guests if needed.  I’m thinking I should print out a separate calendar for room reservations and tack it up on the guest room door.  We love guests.  We love being able to show off our new city.

image Mom and I did some grocery shopping at Walmart.  Thrilling I know.  After unloading the groceries we headed to the Concord Mills Mall to have Nathans for lunch.  It’s been years since mom has had Nathans.   Afterwards, we popped into Burlington and browsed. 

2010-04-26 004Above: JoAnn shows off her Nathan’s meal!

2010-04-26 008 Above: How to look fashionable in Burlington.

2010-04-26 005 Above: We didn’t eat at Burger King – we simply swiped a crown. 

Below: Remember me in St. Louis?2008-09-11 Burger King 2 Above: 9-11-08 in St. Louis.  Like son, like momma.

2010-04-26 006 Above/Below: Look at all the weight I lost by being on the Tic-Tac Diet!2010-04-26 007


2010-04-26 003  Above: Never put your child into this bag or any other for that matter.


2010-04-26 002 Above: Dasher loves giving hugs.

I forgot to mention that the blinds came Saturday.  What reminded me to say something about it was an email I received today.


Really?  It shipped later than I received it?  Dumbasses.

Mom napped and I met Jim at the gym for a 45 minute cardio session.  We came home to a delicious meal of chili in the crockpot.  For our evenings entertainment, we watched 2012.  Jim and I have seen it but my mom hadn’t. 

While shopping today, my mom picked some junkfood she enjoys in the evenings.  Good thing she’s not fat.  Here’s the “yum equation”:


The only thing missing is chocolate…

DIH - Animated Arrow Ann, Jim and I took drove the Apache Trail Scenic Byway, stopping to enjoy a picnic.  We visited Roosevelt Dam.  Click here to see lots of photos and my typical narrative for the day’s adventures.

4-25-10 Sunday (Plain Ordinary)

white flag I surrender.  I give up.  That’s it.  I’m done.  I am a big ole quitter.  I was going to give Atkins more time but screw it.  In a recent post, Alix commented -
“We already talked about Atkin's the other day, so you already know what I think, but I just want you to consider this... When do salads and broccoli ever make people fat?”
I’m still a firm believer in Atkins.  Maybe it didn’t work for me.  Maybe I was doing something wrong.  I’m gonna go for Weight Watchers.  Alix, the ex-big-ole-heffer, had done so well with Weight Watchers.   She’s truly an inspiration. 

I’m not sure when to start my new endeavor.  I suspect it will be after my Mom leaves.  She brought a bunch of recipes with her so it would seem she’s ready to cook!  I can’t disappoint her by not eating, can I?  
Speaking of food, last night while channel surfing we caught Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food network.
Inspired by the show, Jim went on line this morning to check out what restaurants in Charlotte were featured on this show.  He found 4 places, only 1 of which was open on a Sunday.  Off to the Landmark Diner we went.  It was a 15 minute wait; on a Sunday afternoon at 1:30, this place was booming.  Prior to our departure, we couldn’t find what was recommended here so we asked the server.  We mentioned the show.  She said the Spinach Pie (Spanakopita) was featured along with the turkey and stuffing dinner.  We ate the Spanakopita as an appetizer per the server’s recommendation.  It was “OK”.  I had chicken slovaki which was “OK”.  My mom had a patty melt which was “good” but nothing exciting.  Jim had a sandwich of sliced roast beef with sautéed onions and Swiss cheese.   He said it was “OK”.  While in my typical for-blog-research-mode, I found a review that said,

“For being featured on Guy Fieri's "Diner's, Drive-Ins, and Dives," my experience at the Landmark was quite ordinary.”

Perfect choice of words!  In all fairness, one of us should have eaten the turkey as featured on the show. 
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After lunch we drove around uptown Charlotte and through some neighborhoods with huge pretty houses (Myers Park).  We spotted a man-made lake at a business park with geese and ducks so we took a closer look.  It was relaxing to watch the baby ducks swim around with mama-duck.
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Everyone was tired when we got home.  My mom napped, Jim napped, I blogged.
Steaks on the grill, baked onions, and baked potatoes (not for me).  Mmmmmmmmm.  We settled in with a movie “The Stepfather”.  Good movie.  I’m not sure what’s in store for tomorrow yet.
DIH - Silly We traveled from Flagstaff to Phoenix.  It wasn’t much of an eventful day but we still enjoyed it.  Check it out here.

4-24-10 Saturday (Arrival)

Ahhhh, is it a good life without a trip to Ryan’s Buffet for breakfast?  I had one omelet.   There’s not much for me to eat there at breakfast.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that in previous posts.  We took separate cars so that I could depart after breakfast for the drive to Raleigh to pickup my mom.  I took the BMW.  That is such a fun car to drive.

3 peepee stops in 2 hours later, I was at the airport.  I checked the arrival board and my mom’s flight was due in 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.  She got off the plane so damn quick, I didn’t have my camera ready.  I found out her connecting flight from Orlando only had 20 passengers and she was in the second row.  That would explain the super quick deplaning.  The luggage was on the carousel before we even walked to it. 

Once in the car, I began a GPS search for lunch.  I was trying to avoid fast food and stick with a known restaurant chain so I could adhere to my Atkins diet.  I couldn’t find anything en route.  I finally settled on a mom/pop diner.  We arrived, they were out of business.  Damn.  KFC was in sights.  Mom said it would be fine and she ordered a DoubleDown.  You know, that mess of unhealthiness?  2 fried chicken breasts with bacon, cheese and a special sauce in between.  What the hell, I’ll order it too, but I’ll skip the special sauce just in case since the clerks have no idea what it is.


Even though breading isn’t Atkins approved, I didn’t really care.  We had a long wait for the food.  It was so frickin’ hot.  We ended up eating it with a knife and fork.  The chicken was moist, and aside from the unhealthiness, it was a good “sandwich”. 

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Burp.  Back on the road.  Once home, mom headed to “her room” with a heating pad and laid down for an hour.  She’s got Fibromyalgia.  My mom is such a high spirited, fun person.  This disease just keeps her down.

Eventually we watched some TV and then went to the Concord Mills Mall to return some stuff that Jim had purchased earlier in the day.

 2010-04-24 002 Above: JoAnn checks out some accessory stand.

Mom and I browsed the Books-A-Million store.  “Hey Mom, try on this hat.”

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On our way out, I call the carousel to mom’s attention.

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Mom wants to ride.  Jim stays on the sidelines to snap 300 photos per my request.

2010-04-24 006 Above: Out of order?  Poor thing has a broken leg.  Maybe medically unavailable?  Maybe for handicapped only?

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We departed the mall and headed for dinner.  Just take a guess where.  Need a hint, scroll to the top of this post.  We have another BOGO for Ryan’s.  Funny, I mentioned Ryan’s to my mom on the drive to Charlotte and she said, “Oh, I love their fried chicken.”  She had it years ago while visiting my aunt in Myrtle Beach.  I had my usual food there.  I must say, mom ate pretty well.  She typically doesn’t eat much.

Stay tuned for what I hope to be more fun adventures.

DIH - Ladder Another day filled with adventure.  A trip to Walnut Canyon to see some cliff dwellings.  We walked through two ecosystems which was amazing.  To finish off the day, we drove around Sedona.  See it all here.