Friday, July 29, 2011

The Polka Dotted Blog Stalker

Have you ever stalked a blogger while on vacation?

No,  I'm not talking about a creepy obsessive home stalking. I'm talking about visiting a shop or business yakked abroad on a favorite blog.  I had never done it before, but we had one such opportunity last week when we were in Florida.

We went to this place in search of buried blog treasure.

Now folks, this isn't your ordinary, everyday antiques mall. This is a very specific one. You see, buried in the middle of this nondescript building is the booth of one of my favorite bloggers, Carol, of The Polka Dot Closet.  

From the moment I opened the door, I knew I was in for a treat. The place is full to overflowing with antique and vintage treasures .  I could have meandered about all afternoon if the husband were at all fun at a place like that. He isn't.

We agreed to wander separately and search for Carol's booth instead.  I was pretty confident that I would know it when I saw it. I just told him to look for a booth full of pink. Believe it or not, he spotted it first.

It wasn't hard. 
It stood out from the others like the Texaco Star.

Yes indeed. It was the only booth covered in pastel pink wallpaper, 
 the perfect backdrop for Carol's signature romantic style. 

If you follow The Polka Dot Closet, you might recognize her shabby white makeovers, decoupaged  train cases,  and amazing use of tiles and porcelain remnants.  That's just the tip of the iceberg. 

I particularly loved those altered vintage books on the table.    

I got this one because it happened to feature one of my favorite songs.
I'm planning to use it in a vignette.

Imagine my delight when I opened The Polka Dot Closet on  Monday to see a tutorial on those very books.   I might try to make some myself.  Bet they won't be as lovely as hers, though.
(That picture is from The Polka Dot Closet)

If you haven't visited that blog, I highly recommend you give it a peek. You will come away utterly inspired. And if you're ever in the Orlando area, be sure to visit her booth in person at the Orange Tree Antiques Mall. You won't be disappointed.

*** Adding here that I didn't get to actually meet Carol. She was off stalking another blogger in Minnesota while I was stalking her in Florida. 

And that, folks, is absolutely positively my FINAL vacation related post,
Good grief, just imagine how annoying I'm going to be 
when I have grandchildren to yak about.

Sharing this on Pink Saturday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Simply Refreshing

In full disclosure, this week's simple pleasure actually happened last week.  I just reserved the right to yak about it until we got home from vacation. It's my blog, after all, and I make the rules.

You see, as restful as a vacation is supposed to be, ours rarely fits that description. They may be pleasurable, but there is nothing at all simple about them.  We stay busy packing and driving and site seeing and walking...
                       and walking....
                                and walking...

This year was much the same,
but  in the middle of it all,
 there was one moment that stuck out above all as reaching the level of  
simple pleasure

Was it strolling in the surf?

I just put that picture to throw you off track. I'm sneaky like that.

Car games with a captive audience? Singing with the Munchkins? 
Eating my way through Epcot?

and close,

Instead, my vacation simple pleasure occurred in the middle of the Magic Kingdom, in the middle of the summer, smack dab in the middle of the day.

You see, at a time when any logical family would be ducking for cover inside the nearest ice cream store, this bunch of Huckleberries decided to hop aboard a raft in the blazing sun and sail over to Tom Sawyer's Island.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Somehow, with all those trees, it looked cooler from the other side of the water. Well, looks can be deceiving, folks. There wasn't a breath of air on the island, and after about thirty minutes of following the seven-year-old boy I married

 through the caves 
and across the bridges 
and  into the rifle roosts
this hot mama was just about to hurl herself into the River Disney. 

And that's when I saw it.

Simple. Pleasure.

It was cold, too, so cold that I got back in line like a first grader to guzzle some more.

It's funny. We've done our best to glamour up the whole water drinking process. We have our bottled water and sparking water and fancy drinking containers, but in the end, nothing quite compares to ice cold water springing out of a regular old fountain.

I don't know about you, but slurping it up kind of makes me feel like a kid again.

Who knows...maybe we really did find the Fountain of Youth on vacation after all.

Sharing with Dayle at  A Collection of This and That
Join us for more Simple Pleasures

Monday, July 25, 2011

Magic Monday

We're finally home!

Our final leg in the Fabulous Fifty Fountain of Youth Vacation took us a bit inland.  There was really only one logical destination.

We decided to bite the bullet and endure enjoy Disney in July for three reasons. First, because it's the happiest place on earth where everybody is a kid.  Second, because even though we love historical vacations, we're not complete nerds....

 And third? Because we're  cheapskates and hoarders who had managed to save four unused sets of Disney World tickets since the year 2000.

Sad, isn't it?

And so we ventured inland to spend a few days at Disney World.  We figured we could cover a lot of ground in a less time since we wouldn't be chasing princesses all over the park this time.

Yeah, right...
Want to guess which daughter loves which princess?
(And don't you dare say that Mary Poppins doesn't count. In our house, she does.)

Of course, In my opinion there is really only one Disney Princess...

Who is yours? 

I've decided not to overwhelm this post with Disney details. After all, most of you have Disney memories of your own. I'll just give one personal pick and pan.

My pick for personal favorite was the movie ride at Disney Hollywood Studios.
 (Which I still call MGM) 

I was completely delighted from start to finish, even though the only passenger in our boat who got the concept of "sing along " was the delighted blonde on the third row.

In her head, she sounded just like the Mayor of Munchkin City.

My pan was Prince Caspian from the same park. We thought we had hit the jackpot with a less than ten minute wait, but then, we figured out why.  You just basically stand in a dark room and watch a trailer of the movie. Can't I watch the whole thing from the comfort of my own sofa? Why, yes, I can.  And no. I didn't take a picture.

All in all, though, we had a wonderful time,
and I'm very pleased to report that our quest was a complete success. 

After several full days at the Happiest Place on Earth,
we definitely no longer feel 50.

We feel 80.  

It's good to be home.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Older Than Dirt

Three cheers for Miss Daisy who figured out the first stop on our great family adventure. Yes indeed, that beach is off the east coast of Florida near the beautiful little city of St. Augustine

There was method to the madness, too.  You might recall that both the husband and I are celebrating the Big 5-0 this year. (Actually, he’s already there. I’m planning to be fashionably late…) 

So, we set our sails in search of the Fountain of Youth.  Just call us Mr. and Mrs. Ponce de Leon.

 In full disclosure, we didn’t actually see the mythical fountain.  Oh, we considered it; it just didn’t make the cut. I decided to spend the $40.00 admission price on some really good face cream and vitamins instead.

We were more interested in visiting the old city.  

When I say old, I really mean it.
St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the US. It was founded as a Spanish mission in 1565

There’s so much to see!  Every family has its own peculiar taste, and ours leans to the historical, especially in the form of living history.

  That’s why we headed into the old Spanish Quarter.

It was here that we encountered this fellow. He was busy with the militia, preparing the defense against the most dreaded of invaders...

…those Protestants from Georgia.

uh- oh…
mums the word

He was among the best historical interpreters I’ve ever seen, entertaining us on the origin of phrases like and going off half cocked and flash in the pan.  

I love stuff like that. I’m a word person ya know. 

We ventured from spot to spot and house to house, and I’m proud to report that I can still embarrass my daughters by wearing a dopey delighted smile and asking twenty questions.

Go, Mom...

One house was Spanish. 

Another was the oldest English home in the area.

Here, interpreters played the roles of a married couple who bantered back and forth throughout the house. I laughed all the way through the tour.

Which means that either I'm very easily amused 
or they were very amusing 

I think it’s both.
I highly recommend it.  

There was so much more, but let's face it. As far as vacation pictures go, a little goes a long way. I may be blonde, but I'm not dumb. You're just going to have to visit St. Augustine for yourselves.

OK, just one more. Anyone want to guess what this is? 

On to the next leg of our Florida adventure. So long, St. Augustine. Time to venture forth in the quest for the fountain of youth.  Now, where in the world could that be?

Sharing this with Decor To Adore for
Wayfaring Wednesday

Which, by the way, is a great idea for a party. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Where in the World is...

If you've noticed that my happy little flower cart hasn't visited your corner of blogland this week, please don't take it personally. I haven't been able to visit anyone.  You see, the flower cart has been temporarily sidelined.  For this week's adventure, we needed a heartier set of wheels. 

Because we're off on a family vacation.

Not a whole lot of prep time went into our adventure this year, and that's very uncharacteristic.  To me, half the fun of vacation is in the planning.  I just love to have it all mapped out in advance and organized on what the family smarty pants calls the clipboard of fun.  

That's because we rarely stay in one place for our vacations. We're not the exotic destination type of family. We're more the wandering vagabond type. You know the ones...

But this year, with the gas prices and the down economy, I hadn't given it much thought. We might have gone an entire summer with no vacation at all were it not for the fact that that I married Peter Pan. 

It's true. 

So when the boy who will never grow up came home a week or so ago and announced that he was taking this week off and wanted to go on a family adventure,  I knew that for the first time ever, we would be flying by the seat of our pants. Fun for the rest of the family, maybe, but these blogging britches don't hoist as easily as they used to.    

There was nothing else for the Vacation Queen to do but relinquish her crown in the name of family democracy. We took a vote, and I lost. Off we went. 

Out of Georgia.
Away from the scorching 100 degree weather
 and blistering sunshine. 

to this place...

I had nominated Alaska...

Alas,  Florida it is. 
But where? 

That's for me to know and you to find out. 

I'll just tell you that the scenery looks like this.

...which might give a hint as to which coast it is, based on the color it isn't.

Just look at them gloating. They think they're so smart.

Enjoy it while you can, smirkers, because the Vacation Queen packed her crown.

And the Queen says
 it isn't a family vacation
unless somebody  is dressed in costume
 and using words like "Huzzah!"

Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tracing Your Roots

That was then...

This is now...

Who knew you could be more beautiful and fruitful in a drought?

He did. 

For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.

Jeremiah 17:8

Comments are off for Sunday

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Simply Meandering

Most weeks, my simple pleasure is something that sneaks up on me unawares. Even though I'm on the lookout for it, I don't actually plan it. The surprise is part of the pleasure.  Some weeks, though, are different. Sometimes, you're in such need of simple pleasure that you go in search of one.

This was one such week.

It's hot and miserable around here, and I felt the strong need to color my world with flowers.

Too bad I can't grow them.

It's true.  The same girl who loves poetry but can't compose a poem and loves singing but can't carry a tune... also loves flowers... but has a brown thumb.

Sad, isn't it?

Not to worry, though. I just headed to the local botanical gardens. I grabbed the shiny red Kodak, too.  I thought you might want to come along.

I think you can tell a lot about a woman by the kind of flowers that she likes. Some gals like long stemmed roses. Others love the exotic orchids. Some prefer flowering trees; others have a favorite pick from the garden.

Me? I like a random, quirky, clump.

That's the way I like my gardens, too. No carefully manicured rose gardens for me. I like a meandering mishmash, emphasis on the meandering part. You see, it's not just the flowers that I love. It's the effect they have on my imagination.

That's exactly what I get at our local botanical gardens, 
especially in the summer.

Oh, it starts formal enough, with its brick walks and orderly blossoms...

But eventually, the paths become narrow.  
They turn into a little pergola covered walkway.
It's enchanting.  

Can you see it back there? 

It weaves its way through those flowers until it opens up
with a canopy of  Confederate jasmine.

I have no idea what those spidery white blossoms are.  I rarely stop to read the tags. I'm too busy writing the setting to the great American novel in my head.

The brick path picks up again and leads to this tumbled down fountain It's surrounded by wonderful old outbuildings and a vegetable garden,  but I'll save them for another day.

I'd rather explore.

That's where the brick paths end,
 and the adventure trails begin.
That's my favorite part. 

Eventually, you make your way  
back to the main cottage.  

It sits behind the fence

And beyond the winding path 

beside the secret garden bench 

surrounded by happy flowers

Simply wonderful...

And that's about it for this summer

Come fall, I'll be out there again, ready to make up a whole new story in my head to go along with the fall foliage. But for now, meandering through Mishmash Gardens is this week's simple pleasure.

What about you? What's your flower pleasure?

Sharing with Dayle at A Collection of This and That
Join us for more simple pleasures


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