Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Miami City Cemetery

I had a mental list of things I wanted to do while on vacation in Florida. I sent my friend Beth of Grave Addiction a Facebook message asking her if she was familiar with any cemeteries in the Miami area. She said that she heard from a friend that the Miami City Cemetery was pretty cool. If you are going to listen to anyone's friends regarding cemeteries, friends of Beth would be the first place I would start! She's all knowing so I'm sure her friends are reliable sources!

The night before I started off on my adventure I was at the apartment talking to Robin's roommate, Michael, while she was at work. We were discussing things I wanted to do while in Florida. I mentioned the cemetery and that I also wanted to see South Beach and Versace's mansion where he was murdered - yes, morbid... I know! - I'm sure that is not something that's on everyone's "must see" list when visiting South Beach!

Micheal started talking non-stop about that we could go the next night after Robin got off work and he could show me all the places. I said that Robin would probably be too tired to go after a long 12-hour shift and his response was "she can sleep in the back of the car!" Well, I never gave Michael an answer, but he just went with making these plans. He obviously didn't know me at all. I'm an independent person and would MUCH prefer to discover places on my own and not from the passenger side of a car. I appreciate the offer, but being someone's tour prisoner is not my idea of much fun. I want to stop when I want to stop, If I have to drive around a block 10 times to get the perfect picture I'm going to do it. Yeah, that didn't sound like much fun to me. Besides, I knew that Robin wouldn't want to do it.

The next morning I got up, charged my camera batteries and hit the road. I hopped on 95 South and headed toward Miami City Cemetery. I was surprised to find the cemetery was located right in the heart of Miami, not too far from the Miami Herald. The cemetery itself wasn't that big and that surprised me a bit. I parked in the middle of the cemetery because I saw a restroom. I had to go! I got out of the car and saw the grounds keeper who was kind enough to unlock the restroom for my use. When I came out he and I started chatting (I wish I had gotten his name!) and we talked for about an hour! He was a wealth of knowledge about the cemetery. He told me that he was the only person that cared for the cemetery, including the burials. Wow. He gave me pointers on what the sections of the cemetery were and also info on the notable people buried there.

I started walking around and took some photos. I spent so much time talking to the caretaker that I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked there, but the conversation was well worth it!

I love the "old" and "new" views from the Miami City Cemetery!

The photo above is one of my all time favorite graves. It reads:

The body of Carrie Barrett Miller
was moulded in this solid block of
concrete December 4th, 1926.
After the body has gone to dust, her
sleeping form will remain.

I Googled the name "Carrie Barrett Miller" and found an excerpt that her husband wrote after her death that wound up in American Mercury Magazine in 1927 - this man loved his wife!! - so beautiful!:

Even though it's located in the middle of the city of Miami, the cemetery is a lovely and relaxing place to visit, almost like a park.

Across the street from the cemetery is a huge mural honoring Miami urban artist Purvis Young. Sadly, it looks like the the person who created this masterpiece spelled Mr. Young's name wrong. I love stumbling across things like this. How else would I have ever learned of this talented artist?

As I drove around Miami, I found several other pieces of street art, which I always love to look at!

After wandering aimlessly around Miami I decided to head out to Miami Beach and more specifically, South Beach. I had a couple of places I really wanted to check out, but that tale has to wait for another blog post!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SoFlo Vacay Part One - Getting There!

So, I don't think I ever mentioned that Robin has been living in Florida since January... or have I? She took a travel nursing position in Delray Beach because sadly, there aren't many well paying RN jobs in Charleston. At the hospital she was working at here in Charleston she kept getting called off work and because she was PRN if she didn't work she didn't get paid. It was getting harder and harder for us to make ends meet so she started looking into travel nursing. Her old boss was working at Delray so she decided to go there since she would know someone. Six months later she's still there.

We are in a much better position financially than we were, but we really want to be on top of things when she comes home. It's been so hard on both of us. Robin has never lived away from home or her parent's so she's been pretty lonely. She comes home from time to time and I've gone to see her twice. I miss her terribly. I think about my Mom and her Navy wife days and how she watched us bratty kids, took care of the home and all of the bills for six, nine or even twelve months at a time while my Father was out to sea. How did she do it? I've been watching the house and taking care of the dogs and it has definitely taken a toll. I have a whole new respect for my Mother and every military wife! I really can't wait for this chapter in our life to be over! I miss her so much.

I haven't taken a true vacation since going to London in 2008 (and even that wasn't the greatest!) Most of my trips have been long weekends and the horrible thing is that when I get home I always need a couple of days to recover! I wanted to take a vacation where all I did was relax and not think of work, the house or the dogs! I wanted to sleep, lay on the beach, get some sun and hang out with my girlfriend! It was time to get away!!

I left for Florida on May 27th after work and decided to stop in Kingsland, Georgia to see Jen (my best friend from 6th grade) and her boyfriend Chris. The drive to Delray is about 9 hours so I thought it might be nice to divide the trip up. On the way to Kingsland I passed a sign on the highway that read "Smallest church in America next right." The sign was partially tucked into the woods and I did a double take when I saw it. How could I not stop at the smallest church in America??

When I turned off the exit in South Newport, Georgia I told myself that I would drive two miles and if I didn't pass it I would turn around. Well, I lucked out because about a mile and a half up the road I came upon this fabulous roadside attraction!!

I noticed a sign on the door that said "Please Close Door When Leaving" - What?! I can go inside, too?? Yes!! I turned the knob and opened the door and the lights automatically turned on!

The inside of the church was the cutest thing ever although it smelled a little musty! There were little knick knacks everywhere! I was trying to take pictures quickly because I parked away from the church, it was getting dark and I was in unfamiliar territory. I was a little bummed that my photos turned out a bit blurry. I love finding places like this! I totally forgot to check to see if there was a cache there... of course there was! I guess I'll just have to go back!!

Jen's house wasn't too far a drive from the church. Chris cooked us dinner and we spent the evening chatting and catching up which was fun. I'm really glad Jen decided to share with me that she has a ferret that roams the house freely because if it had appeared out of nowhere without my knowledge I would have definitely screamed... oh wait - I DID scream when I saw it! I was kind of terrified of it, actually - and I think allergic! I don't think I've ever been around ferrets!

The next morning I left bright and early. I was really excited to see Robin and I had about a 5-hour drive ahead of me. I used to take so many road trips and the drive would never bother me but now I get so restless. Is this what happens when you get old?

After arriving in Delray, Robin and I went and had dinner at Chipotle. We don't have one in Charleston which is totally ridiculous! After Chipotle we went next door and had handmade ice cream at Cream. I had mango, which is always my number one choice. Tasty! After we returned home Robin's roommate wanted to go to Wal Mart so we headed there to pick up some things for the week.

The first couple of days I was in Florida Robin had to work. Day one I hung out by the pool which thankfully was child (and grown-up) free!

A pretty good start to a well-deserved vacation, I think!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Post-Vacation Weekend

A weekend of total relaxation... just what I needed! Of course it comes after 10 days of vacation in South Florida visiting Robin. - did I ever mention that she took a travel nursing job in Delray Beach in January? Hmmm... Anyway, laying on the beach is very hard work! I definitely need to update my blog on vacation adventures - hopefully something I can do this week!

When I returned from Florida I remembered that Charleston Magazine contacted me last month about another photo from my Flickr page that they wanted to potentially use for their June issue. I wasn't sure if they decided to use it, or not, so on Wednesday (when I returned to work from vacation) I went to Barnes and Noble to check out the current issue.

Sure enough, there on page 64 was my photo of the Unitarian Church graveyard! Yay! I know that I'm a total dork about it, but I love it. I wish my Mom was alive to check it out. She always told me to do something with all my pictures. She would have gotten a kick out of it. The photo is also featured on a page of their website called Shady Adventures!

So much to write about, but I have to go to bed. Back to reality tomorrow!