Friday, June 27, 2014

Keller Fest II

** Part 2 is dedicated to my friend Lauren too. Oooh, girl - we missed you today!

I didn't learn as much as I could have about Helen Keller at the festival today since my friend Shital and I chose to do the self-guided house tour and go at our own pace. It was nice, and once the small crowd left each room, I took the photos that I wanted. Shital was great too and took lots of pictures when I asked. I thought it was funny that a guy working at the main gate offered to zoom us up to the front door in a golf cart. The driveway was not very long. Such kind service!
   I'm not sure why it was necessary for the Keller's to have four fireplaces in their house. I thought the whole point of the kitchen being in a separate building behind the house was in case the kitchen burned down, then at least they would still have the main house to live in. But darn those metal railings for not letting the public sit in the very chairs that Captain Keller sat in so many years ago!
   The famous W-A-T-E-R spout!! (I started crying at that part the last time I watched the Miracle Worker movie. Sheesh. Online it said each year for the Helen Keller Festival, they put on the Miracle Worker play, but we didn't stay long enough for that.) I pumped, but no water came out. Then I apologized to an older lady who seemed to be waiting for her turn since I asked Shital to take lots of pictures at this spot, but then the lady politely said, "No, please. This is an important historic event. Take all the time you need."
   Behind everything was a small gift shop and had many small items for sale, including green aloe soap bars in the shape of Alabama. I almost bought a set of cards and envelopes that had a drawing of Helen and Annie Sullivan for five dollars, but I have so many other little cards in my scrapbook shelf already, and I promised I wouldn't buy any more. But I would have bought some of those cool stamps if they had the correct (up to date) postage amount.
   After the house tour, we stopped in to a couple places for lunch. Shital bought some yummy caramel and white chocolate Chex Mix, then we went to The Palace and got sandwiches and fruit. Instead of bread, my sandwich toppings came in two scoops with a big handful of butter crackers - one scoop of chicken salad and one of egg and olives! They were both really good. She paid for our meals as well as the admission into the festival when that started. About 25 vendors were set up to sell their crafts and we looked at each one, but didn't buy anything. It's times like this that makes me wish I had a ton of money just to help other creative people out, save their products to later give as gifts, then donate the rest to orphans and ministries.
  On the way home, Shital and I ended our discussion on one of my favorite topics: eating healthy and exercising. It timed out perfectly to when we got back to Birmingham and we stopped in at Winn-Dixie to buy some Dole bagged salads. They were on sale for $2.50 each and then they had a coupon right next to that for another $1.50 off. They were originally priced at $3.99 each, and I got each pack for only a buck!! The sale goes on through Tuesday, so if the salads are super amazing, I will definitely buy some more.

Keller Fest

This post is dedicated to my friend Lauren, who needs to check out this Etsy merchandise!

Last week my friend Lauren found information about a Helen Keller Festival that occurs every year in North Alabama. I'm not sure why it was Googled in the first place, but who cares! We found it just in time too, since the festival takes place at the end of June every year. And it was extra special that we got to go today since June 27th is Helen Keller's birthday! Today she would be 134. Unfortunately, Lauren wasn't available to drive up with me, so hopefully I can do something fun with her within the next three weeks.

My friend Shital (pronounced She-thal) was free today and we made plans to drive up together. She came over around 10:30am and after I got the correct address that would punch into my car's GPS, we were off! I was super glad that the weather wasn't extremely scalding since no matter what I was going to wear a certain outfit. I call it Pioneer Me, which I showed off previously on my blog, but my hair is longer now. And it didn't really rain either and the clouds were pretty. Yay!
A decently sized Amish-looking tiny house. My dream home!! For real. =)
The town of Tuscumbia was cute and had some nice shops and a bookstore, but with so many roads and the main map facing South meaning everything was backwards from where we were standing, it was hard to figure out how to get to the Keller house from where we were at the park. I even stopped to ask the mailman for directions, but I don't know where he was trying to lead us. Luckily, Shital noticed the huge green sign that read "Helen Keller's birthplace" with a big arrow pointed towards a gated house. I paid our $12 admission fee and we led ourselves on a self-guided tour. 
 I didn't know she learned to write too!! My goodness, I was surprised enough just knowing before that she learned how to talk. Was making the connection between feeling objects and the sign language letters in her hand not good enough? After getting this inspiration everyone else these days need to shoot their goals up by 500% compared to what we only think we can achieve. What a role model she is!! However I did find it odd that she looked different in every photo I saw of her.
The back yard was so pretty and I almost liked it more than the inside of the house, which I did expect to be bigger. I thought that family was rich, but perhaps they remained humble and used all of their savings to hire Annie Sullivan. I really liked her small cottage here (although did the houses still not have bathrooms inside?) and learned online that they drove Helen around in a horse and buggy for a while before returning to this side cottage with Annie, so Helen would think she was miles away from her family and couldn't rely on them as an escape to stop learning.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


If you're one of those people who just found my blog, loves it, then binge reads all of it in 3 days, then it will definitely seem like we just moved from California to Birmingham. And we're moving again!! Its actually become an expensive hobby of ours at this point. ;)
It has been official for a couple of weeks now to the point that it's fine to blog about. While I was in Gainesville for my brother's wedding, I was able to arrange an interview for the next day in Orlando. I'm applying to work at 911 again. It's what I do, and I enjoy it, and I'm good at it. Michael has a job secured for Halloween Horror Nights and Grinchmas at Universal again.
But I am definitely looking forward to all of the friendships in Orlando - Mia, Alana, Miriam, Sana, Jonathan, Alicia, Gabbie, and Julie when she takes seasonal time back at Disney. I love the girls I work with now, and will miss them dearly, but being close to my Orlando friends with their eagerness to workout is making me so anxious. How many more days until we move? Thirty-nine!
After my panel interview (which I passed! phew!) I stopped by Miriam's house to see her for a couple hours and meet her baby, Weston Arthur. He's the cute baby in the photo above. I love collaborating with Miriam about every fun task we need to do - crafts, cook outs, work outs, photo shoots, blogging - and help each other get it done. Individually, I feel like we can be so creative with 100 ideas, but always plan to do them later. It will be great setting deadlines/ goals and planning fun projects together that will keep our mind off of other things.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wilder Wedding

Here are some more pictures from Zach and Jacquie's wedding ceremony today. I love, love, love that chapel and never even knew it was there although we had gone to the Methodist church with my dad a handful of times after high school. I didn't appreciate things back then like I do now. All the huge windows, perfectly manicured greenery and the beautiful wood structure. Give me a blow up mattress and I could live in that chapel!!
 While I was taking 500 pictures during the ceremony and quietly shuffling back and forth to get a wide variety of cool angles and shots, I made sure to pause and listen to the extra important things Russell mentioned in his speech and laugh at the personal jokes said in their vows. One of Jacquie's sisters (Nikki) was recording the whole thing on her phone. I'm glad she did since I wasn't planning on doing it myself. I was in charge of pictures.
 ^^ The whole gang! Left to right: me, Lindsey, Stan, Auntie Rochelle, Beth, 
Jacquie, Zach, my mom, Nikki, my dad, Aubrey, Grandpa, and Russell.^^ 
Once we all left the chapel, we went out to lunch at a new place in town called Jake's Bistro. They had a nice table set up for the twelve of us (Grandpa had to take a nap). The "kids" sat on one end while the parents sat on the other. We all called across the table at each other to share stories and ask questions about our past jobs and college experiences. I got a turkey bacon wrap with pineapple coleslaw. Mmm!
After lunch, my mom and I ran to Publix to pick up their two tiered marble cake (as well as goodies to celebrate my birthday on Saturday) then came back to decorate a bit. My dad helped me go through the 687 pictures I had taken to create a "best" folder so he could create a simple slideshow when everyone came back over to our house. The slideshow was a hit - so were the hamburgers and hotdogs that Daddy grilled. Although tiring yet exciting, it really was a very great and joyous day.

Going to the Chapel

Yesterday I drove down from Birmingham to Gainesville. A seven hour drive with only one needed bathroom/ fuel break and no trouble staying awake. Thank you, Jesus! I said a lot of prayers about that one. Today was a very wonderful and special occasion ~ my brother got married. I cannot describe how happy I am that I got to be a part of it. My dad and I went to breakfast with Grandpa at 8:30am, then I got dressed up before going over to Zach and Jacquie's new place. It has great use of space and big walk in closets. I took pictures of Jacquie putting on her jewelry and one of her sisters curling her hair. Her family is so nice and it was great getting to meet most of them after hearing so many stories!
The ceremony lasted about ten minutes, but we were able to stay in the chapel for an hour. The officiant wedding script that her brother Russell gave was sweet and witty with a few Doctor Who quotes mixed into the end. Nerd alert, ha! Just kidding, it was really nice and they said their own vows before exchanging rings. Of course we took a lot of (687) really great pictures before and after. Jacquie did a great job of making sure I got every pairing of family members together- all the sisters, her with the sisters individually, grandparents, bride's family, groom's family, all of that. There were some pictures that I new I wanted and planned for, while others I tried just for fun that turned out really nicely. Everyone even did a silly picture when I set up the tripod and used the timer.
I really love how the Mini Polarids turned out as well. They were a tad underexposed, but the brown chapel door made it look like old photos from 1980. All the best wishes to my younger brother and his wife for life!! I'll post more family photos eventually, as well as pictures from when Sharanya drove up and visited after we got back from Hilton Head Island a few weeks ago.