Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Girls' Getaway Weekend (and the Story of the Suicidal Turtle)

For Memorial Day weekend, I flew back home to Nashville to spend Saturday and Sunday with my two best girl friends, Melody and Michelle. It was so awesome to finally get some girl time with them!! We decided to spend our days and nights in Atlanta, since they could both use a nice relaxing weekend away, too. We spent our first day relaxing by the pool at our hotel, since it was in the 80s and sunny. Then we went shopping at IKEA, which is a home furnishing mega-store/warehouse. I have one nearby in San Diego, but Michelle and Melody had never shopped at one before. It's an overwhelming but fun experience just to walk through the store, even if you don't buy anything. We also ate dinner and window-shopped at Atlantic Station mall, which is a really pretty outdoor mall that's built to look like a town square. On Sunday, we spent the whole day at Six Flags Over Georgia and felt like kids again - for the most part. We had to admit that we have "matured" a little bit since high school every time we rode one of those old-school roller coasters that jerk you around a lot! But we had such a great time, and even the long lines weren't a bad thing because we had lots of catching up to do.

As we were leaving Six Flags, we had to swerve to avoid hitting a huge turtle that was crossing the road! Its shell was about as big around as a large pizza, and it probably weighed 30 lbs or so. I got to know this first-hand in the next few minutes, because I made Michelle pull the car over. I wanted to take a picture of it, but then I realized how much danger it was in because of the oncoming traffic. Plus, after it crossed the road, it was headed towards the Six Flags parking lot which was even more dangerous. Now, I really don't like any animals that don't have fur, but I couldn't stand by and watch it risk its life like that. So I stood behind it and grabbed the sides of its shell and lifted it, and I was expecting it to curl up nicely into its shell and maybe pee out of fright like small turtles do when you catch them. But this old guy was feisty, and it kept jerking its whole body and trying to reach back far enough to bite me! So (after a bit of squealing and hopping around) I built up the nerve to pick it up again, and I ran over to the grass with it. Then it gave another big jerk and I lost my grip, and it fell and landed on its back (at least it was in the grass!). I thought I was going to have to help it flip over, but it reached its creepy long neck out and used its head to push itself over again (ick!). It was really mad at me, but at least I saved its life for a few minutes! I have a feeling it just continued on its suicidal path after we left, but I did what I could! (Since I first posted this, I found out that it was a "common" snapping turtle. Apparently if you need to handle one, you're supposed to grab it by its tail and hold it away from your body, since its neck can be long enough to reach most other places and it has a nasty bite. Ha! I'm glad I still have all my fingers!!)

We drove back to Nashville the next day, and I had just enough time to eat some delicious TN barbeque with my family before they took me to the airport. It was such a fun weekend!

My friends, Michelle and Melody
We're in the IKEA store, trying out one of their many couches
This was right in front of the Superman ride, which was AWESOME! They put you in a harness and lift you up until you're belly down and you go through the whole ride like you're flying Superman-style!A very angry snapping turtle. But I'm sure he'll think fondly of me someday as "that psychotic Six Flags parking lot lady." Good barbeque in San Diego is almost non-existent, so my family took me to eat at Famous Dave's before I left.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

5 Years of Marriage & the Happiest Place on Earth

It was our 5-year anniversary this Saturday, May 3rd, and we celebrated in classic Jester-style with a weekend at Disneyland! We spent Sat. at Disneyland and Sun. at California Adventure (two separate parks on the Disney property). It's one of our favorite places to go in Southern CA, and it was nice to spend the night in Anaheim on Sat. so we wouldn't have to drive back home at midnight. We got to ride our favorite rides and see our favorite shows again, and we also ate dinner at the Blue Bayou, an upscale New Orleans-style restaurant that's inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The food is fantastic, and we love the atmosphere in the restaurant, because no matter when you go, it feels like you're sitting outdoors beside a calm riverbank in the South at night with the stars shining above. Disney does a great job at creating memorable ambiance. Anyway, we had a blast this weekend and we've enjoyed the best 5 years we could've imagined! We're thankful to God for bringing us together and for all the blessings He's given us during our first years of marriage. We're looking forward to many more years to come!

Here are a few photos of our weekend at Disneyland.
Dan is shooting me with a laser gun on one of his favorite rides, Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. You ride in a moving car and shoot targets lasertag-style. I think he likes it so much because he always beats my score and it makes me mad!
The romantic atmosphere inside the Blue Bayou restaurant.
We had a prime spot to watch the fireworks show over the castle, but the show got cancelled because of high winds! We were bummed!
We got awesome 3rd row seats for our favorite show at California Adventure, "Aladdin." It's a musical spectacular based on the Disney cartoon, and the Genie is hysterical!
We saw Nick Lachey doing a video shoot for "High School Musical." Random celeb-sighting!
This is the photo that was taken on the Tower of Terror (we're in the back row). The lady beside me is holding her son, who is petrified. I'm not helping matters by screaming my head off!
We loved the first 5 years! Keep 'em coming!