Tag Archives: Travel

Cork Family Vaca 2012

When we plan our family vacation, the babydoll has two requirements…a beach and a pool.  Because of this we have tended to find ourselves somewhere in Florida or California.  Don’t get me wrong we have traveled to some amazing cities that do not have a beach, but we can’t spend a week away and not have a pool.

This year we wanted to try something different.  We have heard from many people about Myrtle Beach, SC.  It’s funny to think that we’ve never been here, but have been to locations really close by.  We decided to make the drive (for several reasons – the cost of airfare is crazy stupid right now and there’s a boat load of stuff you need for the beach that we already had at home so why buy more when we get there to throw it away when we couldn’t take it back with us on the plane.) and headed out Saturday morning.  I have to have a side note really quickly…we left a lot later than we expected Saturday and one of the biggest reasons was my niece gave birth to her baby girl at 3am Saturday morning and we needed to get keys to my brother (the proud grandfather), who was dog-sitting for us, so we had to go to the hospital.  Of course we weren’t leaving without seeing my new great-niece who looks like a beautiful babydoll.  She reminded me so much of my babydoll.  There were a few complications with the birth (just like with my babydoll), but I’m confident babygirl will be just fine.  Now back to our vaca.

The drive was fun and very mountainy (is that a word?  it should be.) and we didn’t arrive at our hotel until around 11 (did you know that North Myrtle Beach is actually the name of the city and not a division of Myrtle Beach?)  We checked in and got on pajamas and checked out for the night.  I’m an early riser…so I was up at 6am the next day to a beautiful view of the beach.  It was my birthday…the big 4-0.  I was excited to begin our time here to see what everyone was raving about.

022  That’s my supermodel.

Unfortunately I ate something for breakfast that deflated me.  It hit me while we were in the grocery store (which was about 30 minutes after breakfast) and stuck with me for the rest of the day.  My birthday dinner consisted of a piece of chicken from Bojangles (first time having that) and the ice cream cake that my hubby picked up while at the grocery store.  Another side note: some people would think an ice cream cake is cheesy, but my favorite dessert is ice cream and cake so this was perfect for my especially since it contained tow real layers of cake sandwiching vanilla ice cream.  I have got to make one of those when I get home.  Smile

The babydoll did get to spend some time in the pool.


I think she would have had a hissy fit that would have made any “queen” be proud if she had not.

Stay tuned for more details of our trip.

How about your family…are there any big trips planned for the summer?


(I’m including a signature, tell me what you think.  Should it stay or should it go?)


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The busy season

I always knew the month of May was a busy one for me with the Babydoll’s birthday, ending of the school year, Babydoll’s choir Spring concert, Mother’s Day, etc.  This particular May I also had to add my annual Book Club trip to West Chester, OH for the Lori Foster Reader/Author Appreciation Event (check out sugarbookclub.wordpress.com for more about that) to the schedule as it is always the 1st weekend in June and that ended up including the last few days of May as well.  Oh yeah…did I mention my sister, her husband, and eldest daughter graduated this month.  My sister and her husband finished up Bachelor degrees and my niece from high school.

I was prepared to tackle this month.  I had my game plan ready.  One thing I could not, nor had I not, plan was the death of my grandmother.  My grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago when we had brought her up her from Louisiana for a visit.  She had doctors here because we just didn’t feel that she was getting adequate diagnosis where she was.  Not to say that the doctors where she was were not competent, just that here there was more thorough testing done.  Anyway, Mrs. Lady as I ended up calling her along with the formal Grandmother, lost her fight with the disease the same week of Babydoll’s choir concert and birthday (yes, there were in the same week – dress rehearsal and concert Wednesday & Thursday and party that Saturday. Surprised smile).  My family had to coordinate massive travel arrangements because we had to go back to Louisiana for the funeral and burial and we had quite a few of us coming from various locations.  It turned out we headed out the week in-between the birthday party and my trip that was already paid for.  But ended up missing Aleesha-Boo’s graduation (she’s going to get me for saying that – she Tweets that I always find a way to embarrass her; but I remember her as my beautiful niece who stole my stuffed bear when she visited before going to Italy.)

The funeral was very nicely done with a minimum amount of drama.  And I stress the word minimum – this could have been a colossal event that went down in the history books of drama.  Better than any episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I’m going to really miss Ms. Lady and her quick wit, sharp tongue, and abundance of love.  My dad used to call her the 4 foot general (I think she was around 4’10” or 4’11”, but she was a short one compared to my 5’10.5”)

My Babydoll’s spa party was another big success.  We had sent out 10 invitations, but I’m really glad only half of that showed up.  The girls had a good time getting facials,

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getting mani’s and pedi’s

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and drinking “champagne” from champagne flutes (plastic of course).  I spent three weeks making face mask and spa robes and they really didn’t wear them long.  You see, the control panel for the HVAC battery went out and so we were unable to adjust anything until we had a battery.  It had been cool enough throughout the week that we didn’t need to have anything on, but Saturday it got HOT.  By the time we found a battery it took a “minute” to get the house cool again.  The girls just didn’t want to wear the robes longer than what was needed for the facial.  I hired a wonderful young lady to do the mani’s & pedi’s and I did the facials.  It was loads of fun for everyone.   I can’t wait to hear what her thoughts of next years party will be.  She’ll probably coming to me soon with her thoughts on the matter.

Another big event was my Babydoll receiving a “Personal Best” award from the school Superintendent.  It was a surprise for her, and Stan and I had to act like it was school as usual that morning.  What made it super crazy was the fact that there was a lot of construction going on on the way to school that morning and I got her to school just in time to walk down with her classmates to the gymnasium.  I had to run back out to the car to get my purse and camera and find us a seat.  The only bummer was that I didn’t get a good picture of her getting her award.  The zoom lens that I’m currently using is not for my camera; it’s my husbands old lens and it was made for a Nikon that has the focus built into the camera and my camera requires the zoom to be in the lens.  I have to manually adjust the zoom and tight focus and sometimes my camera does not recognize the lens as being attached to the camera – usually at a crucial time like when I’m ready to take a shot.  Can you say birthday gift boys and girls?  This is what I did get (excuse her attire…it was PE day and I couldn’t dress her up without giving away the surprise)

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Memorial Day was spent relaxing and doing laundry (I had to go to work the next day and leaving for Ohio two days later.), but we did spend several hours in the French Quarter before we came home.  Can you say HOT?  I mean HOT!!


I had every intention of sitting down to have Biegnets at Café du Monde and getting a Shrimp Po’Boy.  The line at Café du Monde was way too long.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the line that long.  I just kept walking on by.  We went to the shopping part of the market and I was able to find a few things (a gift for my Mommy’s birthday & a couple of souvenirs for Babydoll – she loves to bring home something for every trip we take.)


My husband and daughter was able to get a crawfish Po’Boy, but we could not find a FRIED shrimp Po’Boy for me. Sad smile  I did get a icee – Tigersblood is the bomb, and found my Po’Boy once we got of the Quarter Smile man do I love those things.

With all of the traveling that I did, I’m glad I’m back home (for now) and I had a great time.  Even my grandmothers funeral trip was enjoyable because I had the opportunity to spend some time with family members that I had not seen in a while.  Aren’t we a handsome group (this wasn’t everyone either –  more like half)?


My handsome brother in his suit (everyone wore a touch of purple because it was my grandmothers favorite color).


The one I married 14 years ago…be still my heart.  He cleans up so nice.  He really isn’t a drinker…I think that was iced tea. Smile with tongue out


My cousin from New York husband…all the men looked really good.


The month of June promises to be just as busy (my Mothers birthday, my nieces baby shower, MY BIRTHDAY!!, MY ANNIVERSARY!!, family vacation) you know how my life is. Smile

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Cork Vacation 2011 – Day 1

As promised, I’m going to share with everyone some photos from our family vacation.  I know our vacation was months ago, but I’ve been busy.  See the previous post. 🙂

This year we decided to travel to Fort Lauderdale, FL for a week and then to Chicago, IL for another 4 days.  We left on Saturday morning very early (I mean REALLY EARLY), but we were able to arrive in the beautiful city before noon.  We had searched high and low on the internet for a hotel that would allow us to have a kitchen and living room.  If we were going to be staying in a room for a week, it was really important to us not to be in a room with just beds and a bathroom.  So…after much searching we found a hotel that was designed like a mini apartment that was also on the beach.  The Lago Mar.

After we got off the plane and got our rental car, we decided to head to the store to pick up a few things for snacks and a few groceries before checking into the hotel (plus it passed the time we needed for check in).  The lobby of our hotel had some really beautiful tiled murals.

My baby doll was on cloud nine at the pool and insisted that we spend a lot of time there.  The hotel had its own private beach as well as a putt putt coarse, large chess board (like the one in the Harry Potter movie), volleyball court, and awesome pool.

Stan and I did not sleep the night before (because we had to get up so early) so we were beat.  We slept on the plane, on the pool chairs by the pool, on the sofa in the living room; if we seat still too long – we would doze off.   We finally called it quits early, which allowed me to be able to wake up early and take a couple of photos as the sun was coming up .  Remember, I had all of my new photography tips to implement and ended up taking alot of shots of the same thing.  But I think I got some pretty good shots of from our balcony.

I woke up at 6am to get these last two shots.

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I didn’t like her tone…

Happy 4th of July everyone!

I hope that everyone enjoys this day celebrating the independence of our nation and that later when fireworks are lite that you use caution. 🙂 

I’ve been so busy vacationing that I have not paid sufficient attention to my Red Oven blog, but as promised last week I mean to rectify that situation.

We just returned home from, Chicago, the final leg of our family vacation.  This is usually the time when we really unwind and enjoy good food, great scenery and basically chill out.  We travel to Chicago several times during the year, because it’s so close to home (a meer three-hour drive) and we know that we can usually get some really good food there (this weekend was the ending to the “Taste of Chicago” and it’s an awesome time to walk around and “taste” all types of food in one location).

I promise to show pictures later when I chronocallize my vacation, but today I wanted to focus on one MAJOR event that happened this weekend.  Saturday as I was trying to post on Facebook about how awesome the “Taste” was, my phone (Crackberry Blackberry Torch) died.  I mean it actually had a stroke, when it froze up; then when I removed the battery from the back and tried to reboot it, it just couldn’t reboot.  After about two hours of trying to reboot unsuccessfully, it finally went into cardiac arrest and life just stuttered out of it.  I describe it this way only because that’s exactly what it was like.  Watching it stutter into nothingness was heart breaking and left me with a sense of complete despair.   Why despair you say?  Well…one of my besties was moving back to the Chicago area that weekend and she was supposed to call me so that we could meet up while I was so close to her and I had her numbers programmed into my phone which was dead (I will talk about that in a moment) AND I’m not at home and my phone is DEAD…if my family need to contact me for any reason, they couldn’t! 😦  I hadn’t done a backup on my phone in a couple of months so any new numbers that I had stored in there was gone… and I know there are new numbers that I had stored in there.

I began to panic and me panicking is not a good thing.  I needed to find an ATT store fast.  But guess what?  By the time this catastrophe had occurred all of the store were closed for the evening.  I called ATT Tech support and the gentleman suggested I try charging my phone to see if it could be revived and then said if all else failed I was still under warranty so they could get me a new phone.  I charged overnight and nothing happened.  I informed my family that the most important thing on our to-do list for that day was getting my phone situation taken care of.  I found an ATT store (it was about 10 minutes away from our hotel) and after some diagnostics were performed it became official…my Torch was a goner and there was nothing a new battery or repairs could do to bring it back.  I said okay get me a new phone and that’s when I was informed that my phone was not under warranty any longer (because I had bought a refurbed phone and they only had a 90 day warranty versus the one year warranty of new phones – that’s another post too).  I called ATT back they said I was under warranty and it became a “he said, he said” game.  I’m in distress…I don’t need GAMES, I need RESULTS. 

My husband was in my ear telling me not to pay $125 for another refurbed phone (that’s what they send you when you get a “new” phone from the insurance side) and I was just so desperate that I didn’t care, JUST GET ME A PHONE!  Okay so the two things that set me off was the time it would take to get another phone, it is a holiday weekend so I was looking at Thursday or Friday before I could get the phone; and the claims operator for the insurance company. 

Let me say this…  I’ve been VERY happy with AT&T and their customer service.  Years ago I was a Sprint customer and I STOPPED being a Sprint customers because I was “talked crazy” to one to many times.  The problem that I had on Sunday was not with AT&T, it was with the insurance company; and it is not the first time that they have rubbed me the wrong way.  I AM 39 YEARS OLD, you are not going to talk to me like I don’t have any sense when it is your job to make me happy.  I am the one that is upset and it is the job of the company that I am PAYING for a service to respect me and try to make me feel better.  Not only did the representative use the wrong tone with me, but I called her on it and she kept talking to me with the wrong tone and basically daring me to find a better deal somewhere else.  Folks I’m six months into a new two-year contract, this would normally cause someone to think about breaking it.  I am now a Verizon customer.  I found a better deal somewhere else.  I don’t have a Blackberry anymore I now have an Android (I’ve been a Blackberry user for about 4 years now and this will be an adjustment for me) and I’m saving more money with my employee discount than before (but I was happy with AT&T so it wasn’t a big deal about discount amounts) and most of the numbers that I call are no longer within my network; but I’m satisfied with my decision.  Looking at it on the bright side, my parents will soon be switching to Verizon (most of my Dad’s siblings are with Verizon and he HAS been frustrated with AT&T) and I get to add my “Favorite Five” (just need to figure out who my favorites are. :))

My Dad has always said that I’m as faithful as they come, but if you push me wrong one good time; all that faithfulness goes right out the door.  I’ve tried to deny it, but it really is true.   Have you ever had to discontinue service with a company due to lack of good customer service?  Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Be safe everyone and enjoy your holiday.

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We’re on Vacation

I haven’t posted anything in just about two weeks and there’s a good reason for it…we’re vacationing.  A week in Fort Lauderdale,you come back for a few days, then leave for Chicago and the “Taste” for another 3-4 days…you know how it is.  I promise I will have pictures (I’ve been trying to use the aperture and shutter speed settings only) and tell you all the details (I’ve celebrated a birthday AND anniversary) when I get back. 

I did want to pass on a link to an awesome article about the jobs of mothers.  If your single or a single-mother this may not be for you because it talks about the differences between a working mom (of a two parent household) and a stay-at-home mom.  I was a stay-at-home for 2 1/2 years (and I LOVED it) and I really wish I could do it again, I feel that working does take away from a lot that I can and should do for my family; like I’m not doing my real job effectively.  Maybe things will work out where I don’t have to do it much longer and I can do the job that I know God meant for me to do. 

In the meantime, check out this link by Linda Johnson, a Christian Life Coach and Marriage Counselor.  Also check her website from time-to-time, she has some really good insite into motherhood, being a wife, and walking with the Lord.

Until I get all of this vacationing out of my system,


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Reader Trip

It has been a couple of weeks since I have written a post and I’m so sorry folks.  It has been sooo busy in the Cork Household the last couple of months.  We had Babydolls birthday party in May and then the end of school (and I volunteered to chaperone the final field trip the last week of school).

I made cake balls for the Babydolls teacher that I were made from melted caramel and chocolate cake.  I then had my trip to the Lori Foster Author/Reader Get-Together to attend at the beginning of June followed by the surprise birthday party for my mother this past weekend.  I so wanted to post about the preparations for my mothers party but could not because she reads my blog and the surprise would be ruined.  I couldn’t put anything on Facebook or Twitter, because she would have found out about it.  It was a really weird week.  And to top it all off the Corks are off to sunny Fort Lauderdale this weekend so I might be slow in posting for another week. 😦  But boy do I need this vacation. 🙂

So let me tell you about the Lori Foster Weekend….

My book club mates and I left Thursday afternoon so that we could attend the Mystery Dinner hosted by author Duffy Brown that evening.  It was such a good time.  I don’t have pictures because I forgot to put the battery in my camera after charging it.  My character was Dee Dee Johnson (my maiden name is Johnson) who was a pick-pocketing waitress who might also be a little “slutty”.  I had on the shortest skirt ever (I hadn’t worn anything that short since I was 21) and it even helped us to an onion ring upgrade at Steak & Shake later that night. 🙂 

Friday we got up and spent some time at Jungle Jim’s. 

I was determined to purchase a few bottles of wine (five bottles of wine, one bottle of flavored vodka, three small bottles of Asti, and 5 small bottles of vodka and tea blends) and I had to buy some bar-b-que rubs/marinades for the hubby. 

The fire truck right above the hot sauce and barbeque section.

I also bought a few bottles of honey (need it for my hot tea). 

Aisle of Honey

 The store is such an adventure in itself, I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cincinnati or surrounding area.  

Giant Pez HeadsYes...that is a pigs head. Who buys it I don't know.There's all kinds of iconic stuff like this throughout the store.i've never seen a bigger produce section in a store.The restrooms...they're really not Port-O's

The conference started on Friday and by the time we returned from the store it was time to register and join the festivities.  Along with the opportunity to meet the authors there are a large number of raffles that happen throughout the weekend with all proceeds going to the charity for the year (this years proceeds went to One Way Farm – a home for abused, abandoned, and neglected children).  You purchase raffle tickets (2 for $1) and place them in the bags for the baskets that you would like to win.  This year I decided to not get carried away with the raffle tickets because I do not win. 

My $20 worth of tickets

I have never won and I go to a couple of these events a year for the past four years.  I limited myself to $20 worth of tickets and didn’t have any high hopes for winning (I actually read during the drawings because I knew I most likely wouldn’t win), I just took it as an opportunity to donate to a worthy charity.   

Our group submitted a basket and this year it was big enough to warrant a spot on the big stage along with all of the other big gifts. 

 The big gifts usually include Kindle’s or Nooks and this year there was even a Pandigital. 

It was a great event.  I got the chance to attend “An Intimate Chat” with Nalini Singh – the author of the Psy-Changling and Archangel series. 

Nalini Singh

 Another member of our Book Club attended the “chat” with Mary Burton- whom I just happened to talk to at the continental breakfast line.

Mary Burton


I talked with a publisher and got information for my sister (who is writing a book) while standing in a line to get Nalini’s autograph (I’ve decided to get the cover for my Nook signed by all of my favorite authors which I will reveal after the RomCon event in August).    I did not win any baskets, but a few of the members of my book club did win (one won the most coveted SyFy basket).

We headed home on Sunday after making a stop at IKEA which was right across the bridge from our hotel.  Can you really be this close to an IKEA and not go in?  I think not.

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I forgot something

Last weekend, my family went to Memphis to attend Memphis in May which is a national barbeque competition.  My husband is a HUGE barbequer/smoker of meat and whenever we travel he HAS to find the local “great” barbeque restaurant so that we can sample.  Needless to say…we went to the event anticipating sampling some awesome barbeque and that did not happen.  Not at the competition that is.  Unbeknownest to ALOT of people you could not eat ANY of the barbeque from those competing, but you could purchase from vendors (who weren’t any better barbequers than my husband who is really good at it).  We did end up eating barbeque along with some other good eats that I will talk about later and provide pictures, but I need to edit the pictures (I have taken a little over 200 pictures over the past three days). 

What is the title of this post about?  I don’t know about you, but whenever I travel, I try to make a list of the items that we need to take with us, so that I don’t forget something important.  Although I knew about this trip ahead of time, it still seemed like last minute because I didn’t have time to pack the night before like I usually like to AND I had to get up and head out early on Friday morning AND we were leaving right after Kristian and I returned home.  My husband didn’t work on Friday, but he’s one of those guys that you do n’t ask to pack for you.  There is a method to packing and he doesn’t know it yet. 

So I’m rushing and to get everything packed and looking at my list thinking I’m doing good.  I have put everything in the bag that I had on the list.  EVERYTHING THAT I HAD ON THE LIST.  So why was it that when we got to the hotel, there were missing items that were essential?  Because I didn’t have them on the LIST!  We had to find a Wal-Mart to get a hair brush (I  have short hair that needs the assistance of a brush to help it lay down, especially since it’s a little too long right now) and the hubbies belt was left and my face wash (and I had one make-up remover wipe in my make-up case and a completely made-up face).  I was in the car telling my boo that I needed to make an extensive packing list that I could always print out whenever we are about to travel that I could use as my checklist.  If there are others out there that are as list-crazy as I am, you probably already have this list; but for those of you that do not…you’ve got to save this for future use.  I’m telling you, packing will become so much easier if you have this list.  I have it set up so that you can put the quantity of each item you need to pack and then you check off when you have them for each member of your household.  I didn’t include papers that you may need for the trip, because I’m thinking of items that you are actually going to put into the suitcase – I don’t usually pack my transpo tickets nor my passport; those are items that you typically have on your person.  Here’s a look at my list, and I will have a link so that you can download the printable version. 

Tell me what you think and I would love to hear your stories of getting to your destination and realizing you’ve forgotten something.  Like your cell phone charger. 🙂

Travel Pack list

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