Aug 31, 2010

Rockets, Pasture, and Fire

Last weekend Josh and I went on an adventure. Hobby Lobby. I think I could spend the entire day in that place. Especially if they have sales going on! Ok... they ALWAYS have sales going on! My favorite sales are... 50% off Scrapbooking paper, 50% off Stickers, 50% off wall decor, 50% off anything else...

Well they had the 50% off on Stickers sale... So I racked my brain thinking up everything Josh and I have done in the past year to buy stickers for our scrapbook. Notice I said 'year'? I'm waaaay behind in the scrapbooking department.

So I ended up getting stickers for the Braves game, louisville pig show, Churchhill downs, birthdays, graduations, and golf/Masters. Maybe a few more.

Well, Josh had never been to Hobby Lobby Land.. but he has been wanting to go for the past couple of months for one thing. Rockets.

Josh and I both had the luxury of shooting these rockets when we were little. I went with my dad and little brothers and sometimes sisters (if they weren't painting their toenails... ok I'm kidding!) out to a pasture at Mr. Kirk's house and shoot off these rockets. We had a launch pad and everything! Josh did the same with his dad!

So Josh wanted a Rocket. Well, Josh bought a Rocket and six engines. For the next 5 hours our day was occupied. Josh put the rocket together and we headed out to the pasture to shoot it off!

The first time... It flew beautifully!!

It went waaay up... horses went running..... 'pop'..... out came the parachute and it floated down with the grace of a tiny ballerina fairy!

We got it ready to go again and sent it up! 'Pop'.... no parachute.... no parachute!! NO Parachute!! Josh!! Where's the parachute!!!  BAM! Oh no.
Oh no.

'I think it can fly again! It'll be alright we'll just put some tape on it!' says Josh.

While I was gone to get some tape, my uncle and cousin show up and they join in on the action.

We tape it up, get it ready to go again, and countdown for the lift off!

ppppssshhhuuuummmm!! Pop.......... no parachute.... no parachute!! BAM!

Oh great. Well the tape didn't help much.

'We'll just bend it and straighten back out and it'll be fine!!'

We lift it off again and again... and every single time there is no parachute! My cousin gave it a  go and she didn't have any luck with the parachute either!

We were on our last engine. I wanted to shoot it off at least once so Josh gave me the button!

I pressed it and the engine went straight up! Only this time... after about 30 feet it went straight OVER! like... over there across the pasture... as it moves across the pasture it starts turning circles and then BAM. Straight into the ground..... followed by lots and lots of smoke and then finally the 'pop' that was supposed to be the parachute!

We jump on the golf cart and dart through running horses and make it over to the rocket. Fire! Ok don't worry, we didn't burn down our farm!  It was just  a little fire :)

I will never forget that day... it was probably one of the funniest days Josh and I have shared yet!

Now Josh wants to go back to hobby lobby! Only this time he says he won't have to spend so much.. He just needs a new rocket! And.... maybe we'll read ALL the instructions and use 'wadding' next time!

Aug 30, 2010

Do you collect anything?!

I do!  I collect junk.  I like to go to dumps and pick up broken chairs, lamps, tables, toys... all sorts of stuff and bring it back to my house and collect it. Sometimes I fix the stuff up... sometimes you can't.

No, I'm kidding! Y'all... I don't even like the smell of trash. How could I go to a dump without gagging!

I collect Horses. They are special kinds of horses. You probably have seen them before and if not, you may have heard of them! They are called Breyer Horses.
Sorry for the awful quality of this picture.

I started when I was a little kid. I remember that there were some of them in the top of this closet in my old house and those are what we started playing with. I still have those three!
Here is the Mare. See, she's even missing a leg, poor ol' thing!!

I remember I got MY first Breyer in Daytona Florida. 
I thought she was the most gorgeous horse! :)

I continued getting them throughout the years from my Mema. She would give me one for Christmas and my birthday. I loved getting them!!

I plan on keeping them around for my kids. Some of them are in perfect condition, some still in boxes, and then some with lots of scratches from me playing with them. 

Here are a few of my favorites! 
And they are all hand painted... so a lot of the same ones are always a little different!

I named my Scouty Boy after Tonto's Scout.

I loooove to cut me some cows!!! :)

This one is actually a lot bigger than all the rest. It was made for a real life horse, I have a few of those and they are really neat!
Another real life horse.

So that's what I collect. I can remember when I got most of them and they are really special to me! I can't wait to pass them down to my kids and grandkids. I hope they love them as much as I did and still do!

What do you collect?!

Aug 26, 2010

Sticks and Water?!

I took my precious dogs to the pond today. When I got home from school Lola was already outside... just guess what she looked like. She looked like this... remember? Ok maybe not that bad... but still.

So I said oh what the heck let's go swimming! Lola, Tug and I headed to the pond. I started throwing sticks for Tug and he would dive and go get them while Lola bounded in after him! She was looking like "Ooooo this is Fun!! What are we doing!?"
He obviously would beat her to the stick then she would swim back shaking her head, "Oh I got water in my ears!"

After a couple of times throwing it for Tug, I told him to stay so she could have a turn. I threw the stick out about half way of what I had been throwing and she bounded into the water! Well... she stopped, looked down, and started dunking her head in the water biting for the stick! She is such a water novice! Well she got out and shook off and left the stick in the water.

I finally found another stick and threw it way out in the middle for Tug. Lola sees it and jumps in the water then stops... turns around and comes back out. She then proceeds to run half way around the pond through the woods and then dives in on the other side. I guess she thought this short cut would take her less time to get there... but by the time she jumped in.. Tug was already at the stick!

She finally figured out that she had to swim out to get it from where I was standing to beat Tug. It was hilarious watching her! I don't think I have ever taken her down there because she's always in the house and no one ever wants to give her a bath so she doesn't get to play! I let her out a couple days ago to play being prepared to give her a bath. She had a good time though!
I guess I'm off to give her another bath.... even though I'm not the one who let her out! ;)

Aug 23, 2010


Well, what do ya know. I'm super busy with school again. I have all these blog drafts saved and I can't get them finished. I'm going to try to finish up my trip and get my pictures up and complete my life story! I just don't have time right now!! I've only been in school one week and I already have a test tomorrow and lots of assignments due!
As I mentioned before... I had to be at school at 8 in the morning the day after I got back from Europe. I also had to be there at 8 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Please don't forget it's an hour drive! :) Well, I just now caught up on my sleep this weekend. Now, It starts all over again! I have to be there at 8 in the morning and the next and the next. I'm sure it will be worth it in the end (18 months from now)!

On a positive note, I am house/dog sitting until Friday, so I'll be getting up a few minutes earlier than I usually do to take care of these three weiners. I don't think I realized that 5:45 came twice in a day... ;)  But at least I'll be able to afford driving to school for a while!
I am also keeping some kids this weekend while their photographer parents go out of town for a wedding! I get to be mom and take them to school on Friday, cross country meets, and whatever else moms do. I'm moving up quickly in the world... from dogs to kids all in one week!! I think that's a big step for me!
So don't wonder where I am this week... I have lots of dogging to do. I mean studying to do. Babysitting too.

For your entertainment... Some of my Favorites!!

Me and Maggie

Locks in Cologne 

Cologne Cathedral


Ice cream in Nuremburg


Aug 22, 2010


 I'm a big fan of jewelry. Well, I'm a big fan of earrings! I pretty much always have a pair of earrings on of some sort. Thought I would show everyone my favorites! 

When Pioneer Woman posted on this jewelry... I fell in love. It's called Tweak and it's lovely.
I went ahead and bought these hoop earrings. I absolutely love the flowers.

I also bought the little owls! Perfect for summer.

Now these... these were given to me by my grandmother, Mema. The left is a smokey quartz and the right is a smokey topaz. The smokey topaz she bought in the caribbean for like $7! She brought it back to our hometown jeweler and he mounted it and it's beautiful.

These earrings were given to me by my sister. They are from... um, Spain? Austrailia? I can't remember exactly. Ash, Where are they from? All I remember is that she told me not to lose them because they were pricey! So, I haven't! They are one of my favorites!
The light in my bathroom makes everything look yellow... please forgive me.

Ashlee also gave me these! Now, I know these are from Africa! They are so unique and I always get compliments when I where them! These guys made it in my Europe jewelry stash. I'm not taking much... but I am taking these!

Oh I love these! These are two of my favorite pairs of earrings! My best friend who I have mentioned a lot lately, Leslie, gave me these earrings. I especially wear the ones on the right because they pretty much go with everything! They are both from little boutiques in Auburn, AL.

My little elephants!! I love elephants! :) These are from Target. I loved this line of jewelry until Target decided to get rid of it! They had elephants and owls. I went back to get the owls and everything was marked down and pretty much gone. Bummer.

I picked these up in a little boutique in NC when I went to my sister's best friend's wedding. They are really really lightweight and I forget I even have them in! I showered with them on in NC and kinda messed up the color.. oops. But they are still fun!

I didn't take pictures of two rings that I wear everyday. One is a horseshoe and the other is a Ruby and diamonds that my mom gave me for my 21st birthday! I got... I mean stole the horseshoe from my other sister, Linsey. Thank you for not stealing it back! :)

Aug 19, 2010

Chapter 7: Passau and Munich

5 Hours later, we woke up from a night in Regensburg! Maggie and I were both struggling to make it onto the bus that would take us to Passau! Since the waters were still too high for us to get under this one imparticular bridge...  Maggie decided to skip out on Passau, so Pop and I journeyed alone to Passau. We went on a walking tour as soon as we arrived. We passed by a place where you can by horse meat, the executor of Passau's house, and the Cathedral. Our tour was very short and sweet. They left us at the Cathedral where we would listen to an organ concert. It is the biggest organ in the world with almost 80,000 pipes. They played some Bach and many other songs. It was very loud, but very good! After that, Pop was determined to find a liquor store so that he could get a bottle of vodka. Every night in room 205 he attended a private drinking party with Maggie's grandmother, Mrs. Sarah, and Mrs Sarah's friends, Tom and Margy. This is the crew we had dinner with every night, so they loved each other's company. Pop wanted to get a bottle to repay them for their kindness. Let's just say I spent the 3 hours trying to find a bottle of Vodka. These were the only 3 hours I had in Passau so I did not get to go see anymore of Passau. Except the grocery store. We bussed back to the ship that was waiting for us in Regensburg, hopefully going to sail off that night for Melk! When we arrived back on the ship, I looked for Maggie and finally found her. The first thing that came out of her mouth was "Cata is gone!". Cata, our faithful waiter and shopping companion from the day before had hurt himself. The night before when we all arrived from our night out and all the girls went to sleep... the boys decided that they wanted to go out again! Well, right outside the ship was 2 large dumpsters. Cata decided he wanted to swing around on them for entertainment. He fell off the dumpster, broke his collar bone and busted his head open. Needless to say, Cata was taken to the hospital and didn't come back. He was sent home and that is where he will stay for the next 2 months to recuperate! Maggie and I were very sad... Cata was by far our favorite waiter. We decided to go out on the town again that night with Stefan and Bobby, but didn't stay gone long. It just wasn't the same without Cata there! So we all headed back to the ship by 12 and went to bed.

The next morning, we were informed that the waters were still too high for us to make it under the bridge. We were going to miss our scheduled stop to Melk, but they awesome cruise directors surprised us with a trip to Munich instead!
We bussed an hour and 20 minutes to Munich (I slept!) and took a bus tour around the big city. They let us off in front of the big Opera for a small walking tour. Pop and I joined the walking tour and went to the cathedral. This cathedral has a coo coo type clock on it that goes off at 12 PM. We just happened to be at the cathedral at that time so we all stood around to watch! The little figurines danced around the clock and all the bells were dinging and dinging!
After the cathedral we had a little free time. Maggie and I set out to the market to find something to take back to our families! Pop decided he wanted to go sit at the small cafe near the place that the buses would be picking us back up. Maggie and I went through the market and I FINALLY found a place to get my sister something! She is pretty hard to buy for and I was so so so excited about this store. I can't say what it is yet... because I got something there for both of my sister's and only one knows about it so far! She liked it a lot and that's all that matters! After that store I was on a mission to find some wine for my mom. I really wanted some Frankconian wine because that was the region of Germany we sailed through and that is where we saw all the vineyards, but I couldn't find any. Frankconian wine is in a special bottle. It is a short fat bottle not tall and slender like normal bottles! I ended up getting some Italian wine that I hope will be really good!
Maggie got a little box of raspberries that were gone in about 5 minutes. They were really good. We continued walking around looking at everything until we had made our way close to where the bus was going to pick us up. We came up on a square that had nothing but grass. There were children playing with balls, young couples laid out in the grass on blankets, and young women reading books. We sat down in the grass and just watched everyone. We saw and artist on the other side of the square and went over to talk to him. He was from Italy and spoke english very well. He said he had been to Atlanta before and that he wanted to go back one day and that maybe I would see him there! I loved his paintings... I so wish I could have bought one and brought it back but they were too big! He let me take some pictures of them though! That was so nice of him! We finally made it back to the square where the bus was and headed back to the ship in Regensburg.
While on the bus, they informed us that the water was still too high. That we would yet again spend another night in Regensburg. I was kind of hoping that we would sail because I was tired of spending nights out with the crew. They were becoming a little rude and obnoxious at times. Maggie and I had planned to do laundry at a laundry matt later that night instead of going out so we went and got ready to do that when we got on the ship! When we went to leave, they wouldn't let us off the ship. They said "We're leaving at 7:30!" Hallelujah! I was so glad we were sailing that night. Maggie... she wasn't so happy. She really needed to get her laundry done because she would stay in Europe another week after we got off the ship. So we set sail 30 minutes after we wanted to get off and decided we would join our dinner table instead of going to eat the famous german Kebab.
We were informed after dinner at our nightly meeting that we would have a sailing day to catch up to our schedule and make it to the lovely city of Vienna!!
Then it was off to bed!

Aug 17, 2010

My Artsy Side

*Please accept this pre written post while my brain recuperates from my trip!*

When I worked at a 'paint your own pottery' place, that is what I did when I got bored... painted my own pottery. It's not like I wasn't doing my job.. there just wasn't really anything to do. I'd pick out a piece of pottery, pay for it, and paint it!

I did a large rectangular platter for one of the local policemen. He was getting married and he wanted a gift for his parents. He chose the platter and I painted their last name in the middle with all the kids names along the bottom. Then I did leaves in all the corners, per his request! He loved, they loved it, they cried, I didn't get a picture of it... the end!

After the platter, I chose to paint a piggy bank. Yes, a piggy bank! I never got to do this as a child... ok!! :)
Really it was a fishy bank. Here is my fishy bank!

Hello Fishy!

Each side is different. Although, the birds are on both sides.

And that's my fishy bank!

I think it took me about a month to finish that thing. The day I put my fish in the Kiln was a glorious day!

Now I am in the middle of a 'square footed dish' for my bathroom. I plan to keep my jewelry in it and my watch.. etc. I am no longer working at this place, so I haven't finished it!! I want to go back and get it done so I can have it! I got the design from Anthropologie! It is painted on the inside of the bowl and looks just like this!
I haven't quite decided what to do on the outside!

Aug 16, 2010

I'm baaaaack!

I can not put into words how happy I am to be home!! The second I stepped foot off that escalator and saw my mom and my Joshua standing behind that black ribbon holding them back from coming towards me... I was SO happy! I latched on to Josh as soon as I could and didn't let go for some time. I was so happy to see them and to be in Atlanta!

I had a GREAT trip and I will post lots and lots of pictures for everyone to see as soon as I get a chance! Also, I will see if Josh wants to finish his awesome story his was writing! Isn't he a doll? He's so good to me! :)

I will be back as soon as I can! I am at school right now and about to go to my orientation...... Are you thinking what I'm thinking!? (This girl just got back from Europe and she's at school already?) Yes, I got back from Europe at 7 last night and got up at 7 this morning to be at school. Phew. It's been a long 3 days!

But I did sleep perfectly last night in my big, poofy, comfy, feathery, cool (Daddy got me a new fan!) bed!

So many more pictures to come! :)

Aug 9, 2010

Chapter 6: New Friends and a Night Out!

    After breakfast, the passengers offloaded the boat, and disembarked to the town of Nuremburg. The short bus ride came to an end in the 'new city'. In Nuremburg, there is an old city and a new city. The new city does not have a wall surrounding it, while the old city is enclosed by a three and a half mile stone wall, the longest in Germany. During world war two, the Nazi's gained control of Nuremburg and built many buildings in the now 'new city' to host their rallies and meetings. Now, however those buildings are used as offices and a post office.
    Molly and Maggie followed their tour group as they headed into the old city. The old town was lined with beautiful old houses that were all centered around the enormous town square. Normally, the town square is bustling with merchants and shoppers at the market, but it was Sunday, and sadly the market was not open.
    Maggie and Molly decided to go further into town with the ships director, Markus, and a few other crew members, instead of going to the castle and then walking back to town. They found a coffee shop where they decided to stop and hang out. They sat for a while with Markus as he told them about live in Germany.
    The one topics that really struct the girls was the German education system. At the age of six, children attend school for four years. After that time the children are around the age of ten, and that is when they decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Once they choose, they then decide on one of three paths; go to school for four years, six years or for eight years. After those years are up, the students then choose to go to work, or go to a university.
   The friends finished up their coffee with Markus, and they walked to the castle to take pictures. Out of no where, while they were taking pictures at the castle, it started to rain. Molly and Maggie hurried back to the bus, trying to escape the rain and be on time for lunch back on board the ship.
    After drying off  from the rain, and eating their lunch, Molly and Ashby took a shuttle bus back into Nuremburg. The bus pulled into town , and they stepped out onto the town square. Molly and Ashby walked around the square, and up the streets of the foreign town. Soon though, their sweet tooth began to drop a hint. As they scoped out their surroundings, Ashby spotted an ice cream shop! They both ordered ice cream sundays. Molly ordered a flavor called 'after eight', which was a mint ice cream, while Ashby ordered chocolate.
    They found an empty table on the patio with an umbrella over it, sat down, and began to eat their afternoon treat. Then, in the blink of eye, it came a flood! The wind was howling , and Molly felt as if she was going to blow away. Everyone that was sitting outside on the patio began to scatter. The waiters were frantically trying to stop the people from running off without paying. Ashby and Molly quickly made their way inside of the shop, and paid for their treats as they waited for the rain to slow. As the rain began to slow, they quickly ran across the square towards the bus to wait to go back to the boat.
   Back on board the boat, they went to their room to get out of their wet clothes, and shower for dinner. They went to the evening meal in the dining room, and afterwards, Molly and Maggie were off to the bar! The ships hotel manager, Christian, saw the vibrant young women sitting at the bar, and he was kind enough to buy them drinks. They ordered several Bailey's and sat and talked with Christian for the rest of the evening.
   The next morning the ship was docked at Regensburg. Molly and Maggie agreed to skip the tour and venture out on their own. Molly found a couple gifts to take back home to her brothers, and they walked through every store in sight. Lunch began to draw near, so the two decided to make their way back to the boat.
   After lunch, Cata, one of the six waiters that they always have in the dining room, was outside about to go into town, and he asked them if they would like to join him. Many of the young crew members were absolutely smitten by Molly and Maggie's presence on the boat.
    In the words of Cata, "The average number of persons their age on the boat!" Noticing how flirtatious the young crew members were, Molly was quick to tell them," you see that boy," pointing to her computer screen," he's my boyfriend, just to let you know!" She wanted them to know that she wasn't there for a foreign fling. 
  The three walked through town, and visited a few shops that they missed earlier in the day. Cata would pick up shirts and dresses, trying to pick out outfits for Molly and Maggie. Amidst the laughter, Cata suggested that they go and get something to drink. He insisted that they go get beer. Molly drank a cappuccino. But the girls found it nice of him to buy them drinks. It seemed to be becoming a reoccurring activity, guys buying the two girls drinks, something they were definitely getting used to!
   After sitting and having their drinks, Molly spotted a somewhat familiar, yet unfamiliar store. TK MAXX. Yes, that's how it was spelled, and that was the actual name of the store. The store was very similar to the American TJ MAXX, but they were unable to find any big bargains.
   Upon returning to the ship, Cata was informed that the water level of the river was up, and that they boat would be staying docked in Regensburg for the night. At the conclusion of dinner, Cata found Maggie and Molly to tell them the news, and he asked them if they would like to go out with him and some of the other crew members that night for drinks and a good time.  Realizing their need to get away from all of the older guest on the boat, and go do something with people their own age, they told Cata that they would join them.
     Oh, all of the guys were super excited, they were going to be accompanied by the three prettiest girls on the boat. Three because Maddie, the other girl, decided to go with them. Around 9:30PM, the three girls nervously met the young men outside on the dock. Markus, the ships director was also going to tag along, seeing as he wasn't very old himself. He had agreed that he would protect the girls if any of the younger guys started to get too friendly.
    There was a bustling bar not far from the dock where they entered. They guys bought the girls all the drinks that they wanted. Molly, had a couple mixed drinks and a Bailey's when she started to feel them working on her. Maggie however, decided to let loose, and ended up a little on the drunk side, but they were all having a great time, and that's all that really mattered!
    The group moseyed their way back to the ship. Laughing and enjoying the end of their night amongst their new found friendship. Molly and Maggie finally found themselves tucked away, and in a slumber by 2:30 that morning. 

Aug 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Mema!!

Mema doesn't have internet, so Mom tell her I said Happy Birthday!!!!!!

Read her this... paalease!


I hope you have a wonderful birthday! Know that I am thinking about you while I am galavanting the streets of a foreign country! :)  I love you so much and I can't wait to see you when I get back!! Happy Birthday!!!!

"Precious Angel"

Happy Birthday, Mema!!


Aug 7, 2010

Chapter 5: A Pirate and a Bachelor

     Maggie and Molly had arrived in Würzburg, and decided to again ditch the tour groups and explore the city on their own. Two American girls, in a German town, with no tour guide was the perfect recipe for getting lost. The Viking Cruise line equips everyone with maps of each city, but they are in German, and are supper small. Twenty minutes later however, they finally made it into town from the docks.
      A few days ago while touring Cologne, Molly checked her watch to find that the battery was dead. Every time they would get off of the boat to go to another city, she would always leave her watch on the boat and pass two or three jewelry stores in town that would remind her of her dead battery. Today though, she brought her watch and that was the first place she visited. Once the jeweler was done exchanging the battery in the watch he offered the girls a glass of water. They politely accepted, and then asked for directions into town. The cheerful old man quickly explained to them exactly how to get into the center of the city.
    So the two outlaws thanked the jeweler for his hospitality, and began their self guided tour of Würzburg. First they walked through all of the main streets, and did their usual preliminary window shopping. Then they made their way to the Old Main Bridge, then on to the Würzburg Cathedral. Since they chose the "self guided" tour, they learned and knew nothing of the places that they visited, except for the names of them, of course. But, in the spirit of visiting new places, Molly managed to get plenty of pictures.
    Ashby joined the guided tour, which visited the Würzburg Residenz. The Residenz was completed in 1744, and was inhabited by seven different princes. It is known for its immaculate gardens, grand staircase, White Hall, Imperial Hall and the Court Chapel. Photography was prohibited inside the Residenz, and the tour included a bus ride from the boat to the Residenz. Taking into consideration the events of the previous bus ride, Molly found it acceptable to skip that tour.
   The rest of the day for the girls can be summed up into just a few sentences. They walked through town, went back to the boat for lunch, and then headed back into town. They found a bench to sit on, people watched for about an hour or so,  and went back to the boat for dinner. After dinner, Molly and Maggie trekked back into town for a concert in which they left early, and went back to the boat to watch it from bow of the boat. Finally, with the end of the night drawing near, Molly and Maggie made their reoccurring trip to the bar before calling it a night.
     The following day, the Viking Europe steamed into Schwienfurt. The boat arrived to the dock slightly ahead of schedule, so Molly and Maggie exited the boat and found a bike trail, and went on a twenty minute walk along the river. Once back on the boat, they attended lunch in the dining room and waited for the buses to arrive to take them to Bamburg.
     "Buses?" thought Molly. " Not again, I don't want to get sick!"
    Luckily this ride was mountain free, and was a B-line shot into the medieval town. During the ride, Molly was still skeptical about getting sick. So for the forty five minute ride she decided to sleep, hoping to avoid becoming sick.
     "Molly, we're here, wake up," said Maggie, as she shook Molly from her subconscious state.
    They unloaded the bus and found their tour guides. Ashby insisted that he go with Maggie's grandmother, Sarah, on the leisure tour. He also urged them to go on a tour and meet back up with them when the tour was over.
   Obeying their grandparents' wishes, they joined group two, and set off into the city of Bamburg. Their first stop was the Green Market where they found flowers, souvenirs and other nik naks. Next they walked through the city to a little tiny church. The guide talked about the exile of the Jews from Bamburg during the rein of the Nazi's. Then it was on to the Bamburg Cathedral where the two wild hearted friends gave each other the look of agreement. And then...............

                                 ...................they spilt!
    They made sure with the group of the later meeting point, and slowly they vanished from the group. On the tour guided walk through the city they passed several eye appealing stores. So they decided to back track and go through them all! Maggie and Molly stopped and got a crêpe early in their shopping venture so they could do more shopping than eating. Molly also found a few presents to take back home. While in one of the boutiques, she spotted a dress that she absolutely adored, and it was on sale, 60% off! Upon trying it on, Molly found it too be too small in the bust. She was absolutely heartbroken. One, it was beautiful; two, it was on sale; and three, it fit perfectly everywhere, except where it counted!
    They stopped for a restroom break at an ice cream shop where Molly couldn't resist getting her favorite flavor. Mango Raspberry. They continued to walk around the gorgeous little town as they ate their ice cream. The city was lined with tall buildings with stunning flower boxes on every window, Each house was adorned with a vibrant colored front door, and matching shutters.
   A section of the city is located on a small river and is called "Little Venice" due to its resemblance of Venice, Italy. The people were really nice to Molly and Maggie, but things were about to go beyond their expectations.
  As they were walking heading back to revisit the Green Market for another crêpe, Molly and Maggie noticed a strange figure ahead of them.
       "Is that someone dressed as a pirate?" declared Maggie.
         "Um, I think so," confirmed Molly.
      As they approached him, he quickly headed for them. He was wearing a pirate hat, a white t-shirt,capri pants and black boots.
       "Excuse me ladies, my friends and I are trying to get our shirts signed by all of the pretty girls in town. Could you two beautiful girls sign mine?" the peculiar young man asked.
       "Um," as she looked and Maggie and got the OK look," sure why not," said Molly. And they signed his shirt
        "Thank you so much," he said. "Have a wonderful day." As he ran off in search of more pretty girls.

   Back in the green market while sitting on the fountain eating their crêpes, Molly and Maggie noticed yet another strange sight. It appeared to be a group of young men as they drew near. 
       "Hi," said one of the guys. It is my friends bachelor party. Could we ask you two a favor?" as the jokingly shoved the shy groom forward.
  The men were wearing black shirts, while the groom was wearing an orange shirt.
      "Sure, what is it?" questioned Maggie.
       "Well we started this morning at 8:30, and we are trying to get girls to wax the groom with these" as one of the guys held out Veet wax strips.
     Molly and Maggie turned to each other, and simultaneously said, "No, I'll pass!"
  Disappointed, the guys turned and headed toward another couple of naïve girls hoping for better luck.
   During the whole event, Molly noticed that a little ways down from Maggie was a woman from their ship sitting on the fountain. She was just a chuckling at the guys and their crazy scheme. Soon, without a word, she got up and left. And shortly there after, Molly and Maggie did too.
   They continued to walk around until it was time to meet their group, and go back to the buses. Once they had finally met up with their group on the upper bridge, to their surprise, a lot of people already knew about their run in with the bachelor party. They were the last ones to board the bus because they waited for Ashby and Sarah's group. They snagged the back seats and Molly drifted back to sleep.
  Back on board the boat, they hung around the lounge and soon went to dinner. After dinner there was a question and answer session with the crew of the boat and the director in the lounge, which Molly and Maggie found quite interesting. At the end of the session, Molly made her way to the bar for her evening Amaretto Sour and the "pretty girls" called it a night.

Aug 5, 2010

Chapter 4: Let's Split!

    Kathump! Kathump! Vooom, vooom!
  "This sure is a bumpy ride," said Maggie.
  "All these old stone roads are awful. You would think that they would take a little more pride in their roads," suggested Molly.
   The old international bus soon came to a slow stop, and the pressure controlled doors flung open. They had arrived at the Marksburg Castle. This would be the only stop today, and it was only a short ninety minute tour so Ashby, along with many other guest on the boat, opted to sit this one out and relax on the boat.
   Cheerfully, a man approached the group,"Welcome, to the Marksburg Castle!"
  And with a swift motion, pulled a enormous key from behind his back.
   "Shall we begin?"
 They entered the castle through two large oaks doors. Anything that you have ever imagined a castle to be, this was it. Molly and Maggie were in awe at what they entered. A large open floor plan, stone floors, tunnels, big open kitchens with ovens the size of dinning room tables. Pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, long, wooden counter tops, and a of course, a wine cellar! Next, they entered a very peculiar bedroom. The bed was short, and not very wide, the guide said it was fit for two people, but the girls found that hard to believe.
   "In the middle ages, people believed that if you didn't stay propped up while sleeping then you wouldn't be able to breathe," said the guide informatively.
  "That would explain all the pillows," whispered Maggie.
  Just off of the bedroom was a private chapel, and from there they moved to the spinning room where the maids would spin fresh wool into thread, and then make the clothing for the family. After a short walk down a dark hallway towards the back of the castle, they entered a room full of different types of armor. The guide explained every set to the tourist, and when and how they were used. Molly, however, had her eyes locked on the adjacent room, where she could see many strange things on the walls. Soon, she noticed the crowd beginning to move that way.
    "And this is the torture chamber," exclaimed the guide. "The things in here now, however, are the medieval ways of embarrassment."
  There was a pigs face, to be worn by those people who talked about others behind their backs; a cage like thing for people who committed adultery; a headdress that fit over the ears of people who told lies; and a stock, that went around the heads of women who talked too much. The last interesting contraption was a metal cage that was in the shape of underwear. This was worn by the women to prevent them from being raped while the soldiers were out fighting in battle. The odd mechanism was also placed on prostitutes that did not pay their taxes, Maggie and Molly found that quiet comical!
   Before loading the bus, they stopped by one of Molly's favorite spots in the castle, the blacksmith's shed. There they made horse shoes and tools to be used around the property.
   Once back on the boat, after their fifteen minute bus ride, Molly and Maggie sat down for lunch in the dinning room.
     "It is such a pretty day outside!" said Molly.
     "It sure is, not too hot, not too cold, it's pretty much perfect," said Maggie.
     "How about...we put our shorts on and go up on the sun deck while we sail down the river?" Molly suggested.
     "OK, that doesn't sound like a bad idea," said Maggie.
   They finished up their lunch and hurried to their rooms to change. As they made their way onto the deck, Maggie found two empty lounging chairs. It took all of about thirty minutes before Molly and Maggie realized they were freezing their butts off! In Molly's picture taking spirit, she toughed it out and captured pictures of the many castles nestled into the sides of the mountains and river banks. They passed castles such as the Burg Katz and Burg Rheinfels, which is the largest castle that overlooks the Rhine. It was partially destroyed during the french revolution, but some of the remaining buildings serve as a restaurant, hotel  and youth hostile ( a safe place for students to stay while they travel).
   Further down the river, the boat steamed past the largest vineyard in Germany. It was such a beautiful sight. The vineyard was situated on the sides of the mountains that towered along the Rhine River. Marcus, the cruise director, came over the loud speaker.
      "To the left of the boat is the largest vineyard in Germany. There are over one million sticks of grapes planted in the vineyard. When harvesting, the workers start from the bottom and work their way to the top."
   Molly soon began to get even colder, she flipped over and  put her back to the wind, and ironically, fell asleep. After waking from her short nap, it was time for dinner. As the sun slowly set, the beautiful scenery began to fade, soon it would be time to start another day.
   The next morning Molly attended a German lesson, which she found pointless due to the fact that it was just a crew member reading over a list of words. After the lesson she sat with a couple from Dallas,TX, Mr. Blewett and Mrs. Jane Gardner . Molly absolutely loved them! Mr.Blew found interest in Molly life back home in Georgia. Her animals, Opie in particular, and all of her pictures that she takes. He was fascinated by her boyfriends small scale pig farm and his success over the years. The two sat for over half an hour and talked about anything and everything.
    Finally though, after a fourteen hour trip, the boat docked at Miltenburg, Germany. Maggie and Molly were in group four. They met up with their group, and began walking. They were a mere ten feet from the boat when Molly realized that she left her SD card in her computer. She turned around to find that the boat was sailing off to Freudenburg, the dock up river where they would reboard the boat that evening.
    Dismayed, Molly and Maggie caught back up to the group for the walking tour. Shortly into the tour Molly turned to Maggie and said,
                  "Let's split!"
                 "What?" questioned Maggie.
        "What do you say we split and take an early free time?" suggested Molly.
          "That's fine with me," stated Maggie,"all that I've learned so far is that this is one old town."
       "Before we go though we need to find that church that we're supposed to meet back at after free time," said Maggie.
   It wasn't very long before the two sneaky travelers located the church, and purposely fell behind the tour group. After walking down several alleyways they stumbled upon the most precious house with a quaint little garden, it was absolutely beautiful. They walked up further and found a set of stairways that soon led to an overlook of the whole city. It was a picture perfect sight, but oh yeah, no SD card! While  looking down at the road, Maggie noticed something,
      "Um, Molly, I think that's our tour group!" as she pointed down the street below them.
        "Oh crap! Let's go, it probably wouldn't be a good thing if she spotted us away from the group," said Molly, "then she would know that we didn't tip her for the tour!"
    Full of laughter, the two friends hurried down the stairs and onto the main street. First stop, find Molly a new jacket. During all the hustle and bustle between flights, and pulling Ashby away from the beer fest, Molly had lost her fleece Columbia jacket. After searching in a few shops, Molly finally spotted a jacket that she liked. It was a waterproof jacket with a cotton lining on the inside, and it was a very pretty lavender color which, ultimately, sealed the deal!
     After another hour of shop hopping, Molly and Maggie found a coffee shop and decided to get a snack. Maggie got a couple of pastries, and Molly got Tiramisu. Molly proclaimed that it was the best Tiramisu that she had ever eaten, but then she thought about it, and realized, her mothers was slightly better. After a while longer of walking around the city, the two sugar bugs found an ice cream parlor and couldn't resist getting a bite.
    Shortly, the two outlaws made their way back to the bus for the ride down the mountain, and back to the boat. One bus ride down the mountain, plus one full stomach of sugary treats, well lets just say they didn't mix, and our Molly, inevitability got sick!
   Back on board the boat, Molly met back up with Mr. Blew and Mrs. Jane to watch the glassblowing exhibit, while Maggie borrowed her computer. After the demonstration, Mr. Blew bought Molly an Amaretto Sour, and just before dinner a Cosmopolitan, which was surprisingly strong, and left Molly with a lingering buzz throughout the evening meal.
  Molly and Maggie soon went off to bed, and anticipated the events of the next day, knowing it was sure to be another exciting day on the Grand European Tour.

Aug 4, 2010

Chapter 3: Lost in the Media Center

       After an early morning breakfast, Molly found Maggie waiting for her outside on the dock. The friends had planned to go on the walking tour, while Ashby said he wanted to join the leisure tour.
      Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany, and is also referred to as the "Media Center of Germany". The city is home to many of Germany's largest television and radio stations.
       Molly and Maggie joined their tour group, and headed for the heart of this large city. Their main stop was the magnificent Cologne Cathedral. Once everyone was gathered just inside of the cathedral, the tour guide began to speak.
      "Welcome to the Kölner Dom, or better known as, the Cologne Cathedral," he pronounced! "Construction on this marvelous gothic masterpiece began in 1248, but wasn't completed until 1880. The total cost to build this archetictural giant was 7.6 billion euro's, or 1 billion U.S. dollars in the present day. At the heighest point, the building towers at 515 feet. The building is a total of 85,186 square feet and is visited by more than 30,000 people each day."
    He began to walk down the aisle towards the altar, motioning to the ceiling.
       "During world war two, the cathedral was it by more than seventy aerial bombs, and the two twin spires were used by pilots as navigational landmarks. After the war, it wasn't until 1956 that the repairs were completed."
        The guide went on to tell the tourist of the eleven great bells that hung in the bell towers of cathedral, four of which were from the medieval era; and the cathedrals greatest treasure, the Shrine of the Three Kings. This golden sarcophagus is believed to contain the remains of the Three Wise Men, and is nearly 2,000 years old.
      After several more intersting facts about the cathedral, the tour was over and the guest had the rest of the day to explore the city on their own! That only meant one thing for Maggie and Molly, shopping! They headed to the bustling area of town to find the boutiques and restaurants that they had been longing for. In one, and out the other, stop for a drink here, sit and rest there; pictures, picutres and more pictures . The two friends absolutely enjoyed their afternoon in the age old town, but dinner time was drawing near. They decieded it was time to make their way back to their carriage on the water.
       Once aboard the boat, Molly went to her room to retrieve her laptop. She returned to the lounge and her and Maggie began to sort through the hundreds of picutres that she taken. Engulfed in their photo heaven, dinner quickly came upon the hour. Molly removed her SD card, closed her computer and grabbed her camera, and swiftly head to put them back into her room, and then meet Ashby for dinner in the dinning room.
      At the conclusion of dinner, Molly told Maggie that they could meet back in the lounge to finish going through the pictures of their exciting afternoon. When Molly went to retrieve her laptop from their cabin, her SD card was nowhere in sight! It wasn't in her camera, it wasn't in her laptop, and it wasn't on the desk. She rushed back to the lounge to look were they had been seated before dinner, but no sign of the SD card. By the frantic look about Molly's face, Maggie could tell something was wrong.
     "What is it? Did you lose something?" she asked.
     "Well I can't find my SD card for my camera. Do you remember seeing it?"
     "No, not that I can remember," Maggie said.
     "Ugh, I can't believe I can't find it. I just had it before dinner, there is no way I've lost it!"
   Molly sat down in disgust, the SD card was gone.
     "Well before you go and buy another one maybe we could go and see if the boat has a lost and found center," Maggie suggested.
     "Ok," replied Molly," but what are the chances of someone turning it in?"
    Molly spotted a memeber of the crew and asked," Excuse me, but is there a lost and found on the boat?" "Well yes ma'am there is," he quickly replied, " have you lost something?"
     "Well I can't find my SD card for my camera, its blue, and I was just going to see if someone has turned it in," Molly informed.
      He reached into his pocket and said," This doesn't happen to be it, is it?"
      Molly was ecstatic! " Yes!" she replied. "Thank you so so sooo much."
      "No problem," he exclaimed," I found it sitting over there on the table just before dinner," as he pointed across the lounge. "I was going to turn it in to lost and found this evening as a matter of fact, but I'm glad I was able to come across the rightful owner."
     "Well thank you so much, you have no idea how happy I am that found it," Molly said. "I didn't want to have to run back to town and buy another one."
     "No problem, I'm glad I could help," he said delightfully. "Well, you two have a great evening, I must get going."
     "Ok," Molly smiled,"thank you again!"
     "No problem."he said as he walked away.
     Maggie and Molly returned to their seats in the lounge, and entranced themselves in the pictures of their eventful day. It was only day three of their fifteen day excursion, but if the evening was any indication of how the rest of their trip would be, then there was sure to be more excitment in store.

Aug 3, 2010

Chapter 2: Windmills and Water

    When our two travelers awoke from their slumber, they made their way towards the dining hall for breakfast. Ashby and Molly had arrived in Kinderdijk, Germany, ready to start their exploring. It was a sunny and brisk morning when they stepped onto the docks. They, along with the rest of the members of their ship, were headed  to the UNESCO windmills!
     After a fifteen minute stroll up to the windmills, Ashby and Molly approached eight stone windmills. Once everyone had gathered around, the guide began to speak. "Welcome to the UNESCO Windmills here in Kinderdijk," he pronounced. "These windmills before you are entirely made of stone and were built in 1738. Kinderdijk is Dutch for 'Childern's Dike'. The town of Kinderdijk is situated on a dike that sits just above sea level. Due to the shallow elevation of much of the land around Kinderdijk, the Dutch needed to find a way to get the water out of the low lying areas and into the Rhine river to keep the land dry.Their solution, the windmills that you see before you!"
     The guide informed them that one of the windmills would be open for the visitors to go inside and look around. Upon entry to the windmill, Molly and Ashby noticed the remarkable carpentry work that was put in to building the internal skeleton of this massive structure. The entire interior was built out of wooden beams and struts. There were four levels to every windmill and the levels were separated by a very steep ladder. Ashby decided to stay on the first floor and avoid climbing the ladders to the different sections. The first floor contained a kitchen and a small living room. The second floor contained two bedrooms where the family slept, but in these bedrooms were not your typical beds. There were three beds that more closely resembled cupboards that were spread out evenly in the room. On top there was a bed and towards the bottom there was a drawer. Curiously, Molly asked,"Is that where they store their clothes?" The guide turned to her and said, "No, that is where the baby is placed to sleep at night." Molly was shocked! "You mean that is where they put babies. Not in a crib, but in a drawer," she thought. As the group moved on to the next level, Molly was still puzzled by what she had just been told. On the third floor, the group found nothing but a storage area for the family's use, and the fourth floor contained the dangerous inner workings of the windmill and they, as visitors, were not permitted to access the fourth floor.
     The group soon gathered at the lower level of the windmill, and Molly rejoined her cheerful grandfather. As they walked back to the docks, Molly told Ashby of everything she saw in the upper levels of the windmill and the many interesting things she had learned.
     As they boarded the boat, they would shortly began to sail to their next destination down the river. It would take the rest of the day and into the night to reach their next stop. Suddenly, across the lounge, Molly spotted a young brunette that appeared to be the same age as her! "Finally," she thought,"someone my age!" After a couple of minutes deciding whether or not to introduce herself she did! The two quickly engaged in friendly conversation. Her name was Maggie, and she was twenty years old. Ironically Maggie was also on board with her grandparent, and they were from Vermont. After several hours of casual talk, Maggie informed Molly that there was yet another girl aboard the ship that was their age that was also there with her grandfather. I'm sure, like Molly, they both imagined they would be the youngest person on the boat, but they were surprisingly mistaken!
      The new found friends sat for a while and talked about their lives back home. Soon they said their goodbyes, and went their separate ways to retire for the night.
      With the boat in gear, there was a smell about the air, notioning that they were not far from their next destination....Cologne!

Aug 2, 2010

The Journey Begins!

      The Grand European Tour
-A short story depicting the travels of grandfather and granddaughter aboard a
 300 foot river boat as they discover eastern Europe!

    It was Saturday, July 31, 2010, at 3:30 in the afternoon when they arrived at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. There was a cool breeze about the air that gave the notion of an approaching afternoon thunderstorm as they removed their luggage from the Cadillac. Ashby and Molly strolled into the lobby in search of the Lufthansa ticket counter. Through the double doors and just to their left the vibrant yellow Lufthansa signs were not hard to miss, and neither was the line that stood in front of it! Molly retrieved the passports from her luggage along with the ticket information to present to the foreign man at the counter. After their extended wait and with his rough German accent the attendant asked for their passports, their ticket information and finally their luggage. Ashby's luggage weighed in at a whopping 15lbs, Molly's however, was almost a scale tipper at 38.5lbs, with the limit being 40lbs. The young man behind the counter in charge of luggage placed the ID tag around the handle and threw them on the conveyor as the man at the counter handed them their tickets and said,"Hav eh nice flight," in his deep, yet kind German accent.
     Once inside the airport, and after one caramel frappe and one coffee from Starbucks, Ashby and Molly headed towards security and on to the boarding platform. Their plane was scheduled for take off at 6:15pm, but expectantly, they weren't off of the ground and in the air until 6:40pm.
     Seven hours and fifteen minutes later the two touched down in Frankfurt, Germany. After exiting the plane, Molly insisted that they go ahead and go to the concourse and wait for their flight to Amsterdam. Ashby however, had a different idea, Beer! Molly tried and tried to convince her grandfather that they needed to go to the concourse, but age prevailed and the two American travelers missed their scheduled flight to Amsterdam due to the "freaking beer fest".
     Once away from the excitement of the bar, the two headed for the security checkpoint. Molly and her carry-on go through the scanner and on to the other side. Ashby on the other had was stopped due to the bottle of sunscreen in his bag. The officer said," Mr. McCord you can not take that on the flight with you, it is too large. You are going to have to leave it here." Ashby didn't like the information the man had just told him. He refused to give up his nine dollar bottle of sunscreen to the security officer! So, being the man that he is, Ashby turns around and goes back through security to check it in. Oh our little miss Molly was livid! After ten minutes Ashby returns to the security scanner with no sunscreen bottle in hand, with fifteen minutes after boarding time.
     The pair got on the next available flight as a standby, and soon got seats at the last minute. They were not sitting together, but after the past 3 hours, Molly didn't mind at all!
    Molly was seated next to a delightful Irish woman named Deborah who lived in Amsterdam with her boyfriend. The two talked throughout the whole hour long flight, and that put Molly in a much better mood. Deborah informed Molly of exactly what to do and where to go once they were off of the plane, she even offered her house to Molly and Ashby for the night, but their river boat awaited them at the docks.
   Once Molly and Ashby exited the plane she tells him exactly what they need to do, but in his wisdom, he went about asking people where "the Europe" was. Unsuccessful in his asking for directions he turns to Molly and allows her to lead the way.
    Finally aboard the Viking Cruise Ship 'Viking Europe', the traveling pair got settled into their quaint cabin in the three hundred foot river boat! Ashby retired for a nap as Molly went out to explore her home for the next few weeks. As the clock reached seven o'clock, the evening dinner was served in the dining hall. Molly made her way to a table alone as Ashby, by choice, remained asleep in the cabin. At dinner a middle aged couple from Kent, UK, asked if they could sit with Molly, and she gladly insisted that they did. Their names were Maggie and David and they had one child, a girl, that was twenty eight. After dinner the couple asked if Molly would like to join them as they went into Amsterdam to look around the city. She quickly replied," Yes I would love to, just let me run and get my camera!" Amsterdam was such a beautiful city and she didn't want to miss it!
    The travelers hopped in a cab headed for downtown Amsterdam. They walked through the heart of the thriving city, lit up by its boutique lights, neon tavern signs and the apartment windows. They passed bustling canals with their arched bridges that were illuminated in the night, and they accidentally ended up walking through the red light district of the city, a part of the city that should be avoided by conservative and humble tourist!
   Around eleven o'clock they returned to the dock as the ship would be setting sail for Kinderdijk [Ken-der-dyke] at midnight. Once on the ship Molly spotted Ashby in the lounge enjoying a glass of wine with a couple he had met.
    After a few minutes of conversing in the lounge, the weary travelers from Georgia  head to their cabin for some much need sleep. With her ear plugs in and lights turned off, Ashby and Molly dozed off to dreams of windmills and water.