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Saturday Mornings

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Saturday mornings are probably the nicest part of the week, I think. I’ve been going to the farmer’s market every Saturday morning for a while–since before strawberries were there. So its been a few months. The trucks full of corn are there now, and watermelons. We’ve moved from strawberries to blueberries and today there were blackberries–just a bit! Peaches, too.

I slept in a bit this morning, so when I got there a bit after 9am, it was swarming with people. And hot. I had to park behind the pork outlet! The girl at the La Farm bakery counter still hadn’t unloaded the van all the way again–I get my breakfast from them. (I also have no idea why they only send one person, since it is a two person job. The last time I was there, I waited 30 minutes to see if they would unload the sugary pull-aparts, only to be told that if I came back in 10-20 minutes they might have unloaded them. I went to the grocery store instead.) Today, I bought a croissant for Reed and a pain du chocolate for me–it’s really a croissant with chocolate baked into it. Yum.

Usually, I spend about $20 and it is money well spent. I bought six ears of corn, potatoes, two cukes, peaches, two eggplants, and a small watermelon–plus breakfast. It makes me wish I had a garden!

Fabulous Florida!

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Despite the travel by train, I had a wonderful trip with 007! It was so good to see her, and I could hardly believe that it had been over a year since we saw each other. Much too long.

007 picked me up at the Orlando train station around lunchtime on Thursday, and we started the first of our many adventures! I don’t think I can give a play-by-play, because the days were so full of fun! This is just a highlights reel.

Thursday afternoon, we went to the Leu Botanical Gardens. We walked on the trails through the garden and saw beautiful tropical flowers and plants while we talked. Florida is so different from North Carolina or Georgia–the plants and birds are a world away! Here are a few pictures of the wonderful plants.

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We also saw a new bird here for my list–a Common Gallinule. There are so many great water birds in Florida–and they tend to be pretty big and fun to spot.

After a much-needed nap, we went downtown to eat at a yummy place with wood oven pizzas. It was great to be in downtown Orlando. We also walked over to Lake Eola and walked around it a bit. There were beautiful black swans there. (I will be adding some pictures 007 took later, because her pictures tended to come out much better.)

The next day, I slept in while 007 went to work for a while and then we headed out to Animal Kingdom at Disney. The last time I was at Disney, I don’t think this was even built–but that is not surprising, since it was over 10 years ago. It was fantastic!

I had a great time, and amused 007 by being terrified on the Dino ride and shrieking in the It’s a Bug’s Life show. There was a lot of Disney magic and I saw wonderful animals–okapis, giraffes, tigers, a gorilla, bats(!!). Oh, and an ibis or two. Heehee.

On Saturday, we explored wild Florida! We walked in a jungle and saw a baby alligator and ospreys that were having a fit.

There was space crap visible from the beach. Oh, yes, the beach! We were at Cape Canaveral National Seashore where I picked up shell fragments and walked in the surf–the sand was beautiful, full of bits of pulverized shells. Gorgeous. A thunderstorm chased us back home, but not before we looked up Boat-tailed Grackles to add to my bird list!

On Sunday, we had brunch at Perkins so that I could relive a family roadtrip and then went to the รูเล็ตออนไลน์Orlando Art Museum. We got there early, which gave us a chance to walk around the nearby lake and see the people racing these radio-controlled sailboats.

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It reminded me of Stuart Little. The museum was great–the centerpiece in the entrance was a glorious Chihuly blue and yellow glass sculpture, and we got to see a funny collection of Victorian napkin rings, Salvador Dali paintings, creepy paintings by a woman with a 200+ glossary of images. There was a special exhibit of illustrations by William Joyce–it was amazing to see how a he created his books from the ground up and now I want to own all of his books!

All in all, it was a really wonderful long weekend and I am so glad to get to see 007 and where she lives and works! I hope that she did not need to recover too much from my visit, since it was packed with so much fun! Of course, I had plenty of time to recover on the train and the bus!

Well, I’m glad that passing the bar is also one of my adventures, because otherwise Adventure 56 would be the most frustrating adventure I’ve attempted so far. Thankfully, the fact that the trip was to Orlando to see 007 made everything worth it and then some! I’m going to write about the train trip here and then write about my wonderful visit tomorrow, because it will take me a bit to get the pictures I want sorted out! Plus, that fun shouldn’t be lumped in with this!

The trip from Raleigh to Orlando took 13 hours on the train each way, and I don’t think I could recommend that anyone, anywhere plan on spending a minute longer on Amtrak. The good thing is that it is pretty low hassle compared to flying. The train was late, but you can hang out with the ones who are there to see you off until the very last minute. There is a two carry-on and a personal item limit, but I’m 98% certain that if you could carry 5 bags yourself, no one would stop you. There is absolutely no formal security beyond the sign saying not to leave your bags unattended. Despite that, I felt perfectly safe during the entire round-trip. Both stations were fantastic public places–little gems that it seems time has forgotten. I loved them! The one in Orlando was in a Spanish colonial style, with beautiful curving benches and wooden phone booths and old-fashioned doors. And, of course, it took less than $100 to make the round-trip.

Train travel is one of those things that people remember nostalgically and it has a romance that surrounds it. I think it benefits from those hazy memories. I rode coach and it was like a very, very bumpy charter bus. It was freezing and the bathrooms were pretty filthy by the end of both trips–and who knows how much longer it would be before they were cleaned. On the other hand, you can walk around, stand up, go to the cafe car and sit at booths to play cards, the snack food wasn’t overly expensive, there were plenty of outlets in the car to watch movies on your laptop or charge your cell phone, you can use your cell phone, etc. If I weren’t traveling alone, it would have been much more bearable–even fun. But then misery loves company!

Most of the people on the train were families with young children (I did go to Orlando), then elderly people, then people my age. No one had apparently been on a train trip before, because people kept saying “Do you know… ?” and the answer was always “This is my first time on a train.” Which was sort of hilarious. People seemed much friendlier than people you tend to meet in airports or on planes. My seatmate going to Orlando was a woman traveling with her mother and another woman to catch a cruise–they just wanted to take a train trip. On the way back, my seatmate was a kid/teenager/guy (I couldn’t ever figure out how old I thought he was) who was traveling with his younger siblings (who were seriously the nicest 12 year olds I have ever met) to see their mom.

In any event, I don’t think that I will try for an overnight trip of this length for a while–if ever. Five hours during the day is probably going to be my max. My suggestions for train travel would be this: take a warm blanket, your own pillow, earplugs (this is a sanity saver), a good book, a bottle of water and some snacks. Hand sanitizer would be nice. Don’t pack too much–I had a weekend bag, my commuter bag, and a Target bag with my blanket and pillow, which was too much. (Possibly because I had half a dozen books in the commuter bag. Hmmm.)

An ordinary day

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We had Vietnamese-inspired steak sandwiches and homemade spring rolls with sweet-tart dipping sauce for dinner. Doesn’t sound that complicated, does it? Well, I made the sub bread for the sandwiches from scratch, too. (Spring rolls were about a million times easier than last time, by the way. And what made the sandwiches Vietnamese-inspired was the marinade and the carrotty slaw. FYI.) Why do I do this? What ridiculous tendency pops up and requires that I decide that not only would spring rolls be something fun to make at home, but that oh, why not make the bread for the sandwiches from scratch, too? I don’t know, but I don’t ever seem to get very far away from it. Of course, dinner was tasty (if I do say so myself), so there are rewards.

Reed was complaining (ha!) that the spring rolls needed to be bigger and not as long–or something–so I told him he could make them next time, whatever. He laughed and said they were fine, better than last time, and he would never have even considered making spring rolls at home anyway. It is funny–most of the time the only thing that I never even consider is that there are things that people would never even consider attempting.

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