Happy Fourth of July! This year for the fourth, I ran down to Atlanta with my friends Hope and Diana, to visit Diana's homestead. We were greeted by this:
Well, actually, we were greeted by this:
Which was then put in the pigs, and the pigs were put in this:
Wait a minute. Hold the phone. Let's back it up a bit. We left Chicago early Friday morning, journeyed through Gary, Indiana, and then went through the rest of Indiana, and down to Kentucky! I've never been there, so it was kinda of a big deal.
The whole way down I chilled in the back seat and ate Pirate's Booty.
Well, obviously I wasn't eating Pirate's Booty the whole time. Because the rest of the time I was reading aloud this book:
We had a goal to finish it before we made it back to Chicago, and I'm pleased to report that we successfully met our goal. And before nightfall, too.
I don't know if you know, but I'm from California, and have never been to the south. Which means I've never been to Chick-fil-a before. So we stopped by to use the restroom and take this pic:
Oh, and check this out! They had a complimentary outlet for all my charging needs! Man, outlets were a hot commodity in New York. We were always looking for one, and did a lot of ghetto rigging. But here, at this classy Chick-fil-a, they offer a sweet outlet free of charge!
Once we finally got to Georgia, we realized we were very hungry and we stopped for my very first Chick-fil-a meal. It was delicious. And the manager was hot.
Around midnight (or something) we rolled up to Diana's house. It was a land full of activity, because they had to get the pigs ready to cook, because they were going to be eaten at the luau the next afternoon. As you can imagine, I felt a bit overwhelmed, so Hope and I started making friendship bracelets. They are all the rage this summer, you know.
Somewhere around 3 in the morning (okay, prolly not, but it felt like it) I finally went to bed. The next morning we went to the Atlanta Aquarium! I read about it in a book once, and had been dying to visit. You know I like myself a good aquarium.
It was legit. I really liked it. They had baby belugas! I know, awesome, right? Also, they had sea otters! I simply adore sea otters. Cute little things. Playing and playing and in the wild working on getting dinner. Well, we get to the sea otter exhibit, and guess where they were from? Monterey, California, of course! Which brings me to my next point: I will always love the Monterey Bay Aquarium no matter where I may journey in this world. It's just a fact.
After the aquarium we went to the Varsity which is the most happinin' hot spot in all of Atlanta. It was intense. This is how intense it was:
Hope and I basically had the same face as we were ordering, but thankfully Diana was in her element and was able to successfully order for all of us.
It was quite good. Greasy, but a good kind of grease. We made a pit stop for some bagels, and Hope and I spied a Ross! We LOVE Ross! Diana had no idea what we were talking about, and we had to convince her that she wanted to go shopping there. I am pleased to report that we all got new dresses! AND, I found the sheath dress that got stolen from me after DC! That's right, I bought a dress in DC, went back to Chicago, it got stolen, a few weeks later I go to Atlanta, and I end up finding that same dress again! It was a miracle! I look so good in that dress. Sigh. I couldn't even believe it. But there it was. We loaded up the car with our purchases (I love to shop!) and headed back to the Carlson homestead. When we got back to Diana's, we arrived just in time for the removal of the pigs!
Just FYI, Atlanta was wicked hot. And humid. And gross. It was sick, is all I'm saying.
The High Priests came over to help shred the pigs. Ew. I don't like behind the scenes food stuff.
This is what Diana thought of it:
A bit later that afternoon, all of the Mormons in the Atlanta area came to the Carlson's for a huge Fourth of July Luau!
It just so happened that Sandy has a friend living in Atlanta, so she flew down for an Atlanta visit!
Chicago in Atlanta.
Later that night we hung out with some of Diana's friends, and also ate leftover corn in the kitchen.
That's me and Hope, and of course Katie, Diana's sister in law, who I happened to meet as we were both working EFY in Santa Barbara in 2004 or 2005 or something. So, Katie and I go way back.
The next morning was church, and it was kinda a huge deal because they split the Atlanta Ward, and Diana's dad got released from being the Bishop. It was a long day. But in the end, we finally got what we came down to Atlanta for: I tour of the yard given by her Pop.
Their yard is HUGE and Brother Carlson loves gardening, so our tour was detailed and awesome.
Somewhere amidst all the activities, a time honored Carlson tradition was not forgotten: Blueberry pie.
It. Was. The. Most. Amazing. Blueberry. Pie. I've. Ever. Had.
FYI, these people have like, 2900 blueberry bushes in their garden. I learned about that on the tour.
The next morning arrived in gorgeous splendor.
It was the Fourth of July, and everyone was preparing to run the Peach Tree Road Race, the largest road race in the world, apparently. By "everyone" I mean everyone in Atlanta besides me and Hope. We stayed at home and made cinnamon rolls instead.
After the race we hit the pool, and then a rainstorm hit us. It POURED. And stormed. It was crazy. It was noisy. I wish the noise came from fireworks instead of thunder. Oh well. It was our last night in Atlanta, and despite the rainstorm, we still went out for ice cream, and all in all we had a really fun trip.
The morning we were to roll out, we decided to pick some blueberries first. We needed some in Chicago!
We quickly swung by the temple:
It was newly rededicated after going through some renovations.
The trip back to Chicago was easy. I finished my bracelet:
We finished the book, and we went to Waffle House, which I like to call Waffle Ranch, and experienced a slice of Tennessee charm unknown to me before. It provided great joy and amusement, and also cheap food.