Invisible Fat Lady Presents – Montgomery, AL

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travel

Hi Lovies,

It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you without a dope place to travel to. Okay, so I am no Rakim, but it has been a while since I wrote a travel blog. Well, the Invisible Fat Lady is back with a historical trip to Montgomery, Alabama. Yaaaaas!

As some of you that follow my blog know, my husband and I recently moved to Birmingham, AL. Never, ever ever in my big thighed life did I expect to live in Alabama! However, when the opportunity knocks, you have to jump in. Since I can write from anywhere, it was only fair to support my hubby in following his career goals. So what do I think so far? Not too shabby! Who knew Alabama, specifically Bham was poppin?

Well, you didn’t stop what you’re doing to read about my likes or dislikes of the Magic City. We are supposed to be chatting about my trip to Montgomery. Don’t get too excited, we took a day trip which meant we had to drive down and back(two hours each way) on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I read about the new Legacy Museum and the corresponding National Memorial For Peace and Justice that just opened and I had to see them for myself.

For a total of $10 per person, we purchased a combo pack of tickets that allowed us access to

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© Lisa W. Tetting

both attractions. Of course we tried to be all tech savvy and purchase our tickets in the car, thinking we could just show the bar code on the phone to gain access. WRONG! There we were, looking at each other, neither armed with a portable printer. Well, damn! Luckily, the lady at the box office/gift shop was nice enough to print out our tickets for us. It only took navigating through a long corridor to find the box office. It was actually a little area that used to be used as a gateway to moves slaves from one holding area to another. It has been renovated and gentrified to house several shops and restaurants in this era.

Once we got our tickets, we walked back over to the museum, which is less than a block away, only to have water poured on my head. I don’t mean literally, but that’s what it felt like. The night before we left, I charged up my Canon SLR and was ready for a day of great picture taking. Well, The Legacy Museum had other plans. You could certainly take your camera inside, because they didn’t want to inconvenience you and make you walk back to your car. However, you were not about to use said camera inside the museum. I had 3 pictures that I needed to get, one of the entry wall, one of the jars of sand collected at the lynching sites all over the south, and one of the sculpture on the way out. Just three measly pictures would have satisfied me, but I was denied.

Security Guards be like… 

Sorry Guys, no pics of the inside of the museum and since I had my petty boots on, I didn’t take any of the outside either. That will show them. Anyway, the tour was self-guided and it didn’t take that long. Give yourself 45 minutes to an hour depending on how busy it is. The displays were ok, but I prefer the ones in the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham. They were totally different so it is not a comparison in that manner, just the overall feel of the place was different.

The theme of the museum is ‘From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration’. The most intense part for me was seeing the jars of soil that were meticulously collected from each documented site of a lynching in the South. The most astonishing thing was seeing so many jars with Unknown listed as the name of the person lynched. It amazes me the amount of hate displayed there. On a positive note, I saw a lot of families touring the museum. People of all races, many from other countries, learning about our country’s shameful past and present. (Remember the Mass Incarceration part?)

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When we left there, we loaded back into the truck, after a brief walk around the area to see what we could see. I found it amusing to find the Hank Williams Museum just steps away. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you the historical significance of the location of the museum. It is housed in a restored building that once served as a warehouse/holding cell for slaves between the time they disembarked from ships and were sold at the market, which is only a few blocks away.

Once we left that area, we traveled over to what I deemed one of the greatest memorials I have ever experienced. I say experienced, because that is exactly what you do there. The National Memorial For Peace and Justice is a sight to behold. Thankfully, the guards allowed pictures there. Starting out along the entry of the walkway, you are greeted by a beautiful quote from one of today’s most important writers, Toni Morrison. Continuing up the slight incline you reach a breathtaking sculpture representing the enslaved ancestors. I was speechless as I viewed the art installation created by West African artist, Kwame Akoto-Bamfo. The attention to detail is evident as you view each representative down to the braids of one woman’s hair. Just beautiful and sad at the same time.

As you continue to walk up the pathway, the wall on the right continues to get taller and taller, with inscriptions leading you along the way. Then you get to a stopping point where you can look over the wall to inspect the lawn down below. The view is stunning, but you continue because you must. The first sight of the monuments is at eye level. You’ll notice the pattern throughout the monument of the name of the county and state where the lynching took place, followed by the names of the people who were brutally murdered, and the dates of the lynching.

Some are individual instances, while others appear to have been a massacre. We counted on one structure at least 17 people all killed on the same day in the same county, but the most unnerving thing was they were all listed as Unknown! I can’t tell you the amount of pain this brought to my soul. Imagine families being dragged out and murdered in the streets for no reason. They didn’t even know the people’s names, just their race.

 The memorial is well structured throughout. As the incline increases, so do the structures. They move from eye level to rising overhead at a slow steady pace. You will be entranced at this level, but I will warn you to watch your step. On the structures that are hanging above you, the name of the county and state are etched into the bottom, causing you to look up. Although the designers have installed frames directly underneath the structures, you will be distracted looking up and may run into one. I witnessed a lady doing just that.   You have been warned.

The next corridor has more structures, but also a display along a wall that tells the stories of several families and individuals and why they were lynched. There is a peaceful water wall placed there to honor the dead. From there it continues. It goes on and on and on. The path leads you around to what I call the garden, where the structures are now laying to rest on the earth, in the same fashion as a coffin. It truly resembled a graveyard. Once you reach the end of this path, you are greeted by a tranquility park, set there to honor civil rights pioneer Ida B. Wells. It is a place for peaceful reflection.

Just on the other side of the peaceful little corner, there is a pathway that takes you back around to the start of the tour. Here you will find more sculptures that depict racial violence from both the past and present. On your way out don’t forget to read the poem Invocation by Elizabeth Alexander that reflects on the past, but gives hope for the future.

I couldn’t believe how many people were killed in this horrific fashion, not to mention their murders going unpunished. I want you all to stop and think about this. How can this country ever heal if we can’t get justice for the blood that has spilled? This memorial is a good step in the right direction and I applaud EJI for sanctioning a memorial worthy of the mall in DC.

I encourage every man, woman, and child who is drawing breath in their bodies to take the trip to Montgomery and see this memorial. We must start the healing process in order for things to get better for ALL of us. That’s all for now.  And remember… meme53

 

 

 

 

 

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The Invisible Fat Lady Goes to Charleston, SC

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Hi Lovies,

It has been a long minute since I last posted anything travel related. Well today you’re in for a treat. My husband and I took a short road trip a couple of weeks back. We were bored and decided to drive on down to Charleston, SC for the day. It’s not a bad trip, only 3 -3.5 hours from where we live so of course I was happy to ride. We’ve been there before about 16 years ago, but of course it was totally different than we remembered.

I have been dying to see the beach ever since we move from Florida and hubby thought it would be a nice way to shut me up. Lol

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©Lisa W. Tetting

So we get there and we go to the beach and everything is beautiful. I zen out to the ocean and let the waves carry me to a place of calm. The ocean has a way of resetting my soul and allowing me to continue my journey. Once we had our fill of the sun and sand, we decided to kick around town to look around. We had some major catching up to do after sixteen years.

We headed over to Fort Sumter which is a historical fort right on the marina. It is adjacent to the SC Aquarium as well. It was a beautiful day so we walked around just to see what we could see. There were all these people dressed in suits and gowns walking around in the area. It appeared that they were going out on a boat for a function. The writer in me automatically made up a whole scenario as to where they were going and why. In my head they were headed out on the waves for a fundraiser to save the sharks. Ok, I have a thing for sharks and I am sure they were probably going to a wedding or something, but you can’t blame a girl for making up her own scenes.

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©Lisa W. Tetting

Anywho, as we got closer to a few of the ladies that were milling about, I noticed how lovely their dresses were, one in particular.

Well, I couldn’t help myself. I just had to compliment the lady on her dress. “Your dress is so pretty” I said, looking her in the eye with a friendly smile. NOTHING! I mean crickets. The chick(I really want to use a different descriptive here) looked at me like I spit on her or something vile like that. She uttered not one word like she was too good to be in my presence. RUDE!

She actually thought she was better than me. Ha! Didn’t she know my name is Molly Singer and there’s nobody in the world better than me? Yeah, OK I watched Corina, Corina about a hundred times and I loved how Whoopi Goldberg gave that girl high self esteem.

But back to the chick on the marina. It bothered me a bit that I complimented this lady and she had the audacity to be so crude. I thought long and hard about her reaction and then felt bad for her. She was so pretty on the outside, but inside she must be rotten to the core. I mean, who doesn’t like compliments? My warning to you, don’t be this girl. I certainly won’t let her keep me from blessing other people with my happiness. I will continue to compliment strangers and hopefully make their day a bit brighter. She will never steal my joy, but she did end up in my blog. Even if she never reads this, the universe has a way of making it come back on her.

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©Lisa W. Tetting

Anyway, hubby and I had an awesome road trip to Charleston. If you’re ever in the area pay it a visit, but beware of the pretty ladies in nice dresses. They bite!

Rebirth’s Top 5 Tips For House Guests

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Recently I had a house guest who came in for the weekend.  We were close in the past, but have only had contact via social media since she moved to another state to have her daughter 17 years ago. When she called to say she would be coming to town and would like to stay with me and my husband, I thought she wanted to rekindle our friendship. She and I had always been cool with each other despite the distance, so I was excited to see her and reconnect. My spidy senses went off a little when she invited herself, but I ignored it.

She arrived on a Friday afternoon and immediately made her presence known. The lady actually walked in the door, hugged me and started looking around while asking, “Do you mind if I look around?” The question was obviously thrown out as an afterthought, because the woman was already in the next room evaluating my living space. Later that evening, once my husband came home from work, we went to dinner and everything was fine. The next morning she was dressed and out of the house by 8:15. She went to an all day seminar, which wasn’t a problem because she informed me that she was going ahead of time. What got me was when she returned later that evening, after driving around the city and going shopping, she promptly disappeared into the guest room. I assumed it was to freshen up, but then she asked for my wifi password, exclaiming that her internet service was extremely slow and she needed to update some programs on her laptop. The rest of the night, she spent hanging out in the guest room. By the way, the workshop was not for business purposes, so she wasn’t working.  She came into the kitchen for a drink, and then announced that she was going to her room to watch a movie. On my cable? Really? Who does that?  

She left the following morning around 11 and I truly felt violated. Part of it was my fault. I allowed this woman who I hadn’t seen in years to come into my home under the pretense of friendship, and use my hospitality against me. I have been known to be too nice to people at times, but once you burn me, I’m done! I have tried for years to work on this aspect of my personality to figure out what is wrong with me. I finally determined, it is not my issue. There are just some people out there who are rude and willing to use others for their personal gain. For those who care about your friendships and relationships with your families, I wanted to write a post to inspire you to be the best house guest you can be.

As we approach the holiday season, I have some steady tips for those of you who may be traveling and staying with a relative or friend. These tips are not regulated for just the holidays. They can be followed any time you visit, but the holidays always bring out the worst in people. Here goes:

 

  1. Don’t invite yourself – People’s homes are their refuge from the world. Nothing can be more stressful than having your home invaded by an uninvited guest. Even if your host is gracious and welcoming, it’s just not something that is welcomed, no matter how close you are. Always wait for them to extend the invitation. If one doesn’t come your way, then maybe you aren’t as welcome as you may think. Don’t take it personal either. Some people just need to have a place that is their own, with no outside influences. Hell, there may be a BDSM den that no one needs to know about. Just remember, their home is their sanctuary and they may not want visitors there, no matter who they are. Respect that.
  2. Upon Arrival, wait to be shown around – Say you receive a warm and welcoming invitation from your hosts, what you do upon arrival sets the mode for the entire visit. It is fine to feel welcome in the home, every host wants you to be comfortable. However, don’t be one of those people who walk in like they live there and start looking around the house. This has happened to me and let me just say, it is annoying.
  3. Make yourself at home, but remember it is NOT your home – As I mentioned earlier, most hosts want you to feel welcome and to be comfortable. HOWEVER, please remember your manners. As a general rule, you should not be moving furniture around in the guest room. If things are not to your liking, tough it out. You can design the guest room in your house any way you like it, but if you are in someone else’s home, show some respect and decorum. It is just plain rude and obnoxious to move furniture and televisions to accommodate your liking in someone else’s home. The guest room is there for you to rest your head, not to move in.
  4. Spend quality time with your host – Nothing screams user more than a guest in your home who doesn’t feel the need to actually visit with you. Please do not use someone’s home as a free place to crash, without having the common courtesy to spend time with them. They are not running a bed and breakfast! If you are fortunate enough to be invited into someone’s home, remember it is a privilege. The least you could do is show a little appreciation by hanging out with them.
  5. Don’t invite yourself back – Once you have stayed with someone, they need a little break from having a guest around. If they want you to come back, believe me they will ask. Please do not insist on making another trip soon. You know the saying, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’? Well, I am convinced whoever said it was talking about house guests.

Now that you are armed with a little etiquette to use when invading someone else’s space, I beg you to put it to use. Don’t be that person that no one wants to invite back. Happy Travels and remember…img_5992-1

Things to do in Savannah when you’re in love!

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They say Virginia is for lovers and that may be true, but I have found another place that gives that sentiment a run for it’s money. Back in January my husband took me to Savannah for a romantic getaway. It wasn’t our first trip there so we were familiar with the feel of the city. If you’ve never been let me set the #mood: Southern Romance with a bit of sexy and a whole lot of fun.
On previous trips we discovered the horse drawn carriages and charming shops, as well as the wonderful restaurants and cobblestone streets. You know, the classic romanticized touristy things. They all put you in a relaxed state of mind and elicit a need to be close to each other despite the heat.

Speaking of heat, Savannah is notorious for its hot temperatures, but luckily during our most recent trip the weather was wonderfully cool. But don’t get your hopes up! It is full fledge spring now and that means heat, humidity and more heat, but like The saying goes if you can’t stand the heat…

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We stayed at The Westin located across the river and away from the hustle and bustle of the town. Located next door to the convention center, the hotel is a haven for business movers and shakers. It is quite large and the rooms are extremely comfortable. The amenities such as the fire pits, both waterfront and poolside, and the river walk aided in the romantic theme of our trip. The waterfront location afforded a picturesque view of the Savannah River and the river walk portion of the city. Our room shared the same river view as well as one of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge which we enjoyed from the comfort of our balcony.

The river is mesmerizing and makes you want to fall in love all over again. Watching the enormous cargo ships coming and going with countless numbers of containers stacked on their decks was a fun pastime for my husband while he waited for me to get ready. He has a thing for ships and especially tug boats. Even if you aren’t into ships the charm of the water and the glow of lights from the ships passing by at night provides an picturesque backdrop.

Being true foodies, we made the most of the hotel and took advantage of the excellent restaurant , Aqua Star located on the second floor. The view of the river was breathtaking at night and made for a very intimate dining experience. It was the idyllic settiimg_6279ng for a couple in love. The staff was friendly and efficient and the food was on point. Doug being a fan of seafood lost himself in the Aqua Star Signature Pot Pie (lump crab,shrimp, scallops, lobster,) with butternut squash and potatoes, while I chose the Meyers Angus Short Rib served with mashed parsnips, carrots and potatoes. Usually a fan of white wine, I decided I wanted to switch things up and try some Pinot Noir instead. The change in vino was a nod to a character in a book I was reading before taking the trip. She was always drinking her Pinot so I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I was not disappointed. The bold sweet flavor danced on my tongue and made me a fan of the red stuff. You see reading is fundamental! The rest of the night was filled with romance of another sort that is really not up for discussion. I will say to the fellas, this setting will put your girl in the mood.
The next day we were starving and since we have visited the city before, we decided to explore new places to eat lunch that are off the beaten path. We were not disappointed. Doug found a local Jamaican restaurant and let me just say we hurt ourselves trying to sample the cuisine. Sweet Spice Jamaican on Waters St & 70th has some of the best authentic Jamaican cuisine I have had in a very long time. If you go be sure to get the oxtails with rice n peas, macaroni n cheese and a side of cabbage and fried plantain, but order the small because the portion size is quite sizable. Wash it down with a ginger beer or lemonade. I promise you we had to do some serious walking at our next stop to keep from falling asleep. Soo good.

It was a good thing we didn’t fall asleep because our next stop was a cemetery. It would have been easy to mistake is for residents the way we were feeling. You may not think a cemetery would seem like the most glamorous place to take a date, but you would be wrong; in Savannah anyway. A nice walk through historic Bonaventure Cemetery can set the mood in an off kilter kind of way. The large oak trees that line the paths make for great cover as you stroll through the various tombs. The people buried there have some of the most beautiful resting places. The cemetery is just off the Wilmington River and features interesting and eclectic tombstones. One such tombstone boasted miniature Sphinx statues guarding the DeRenne family plot. Since I am fascinated by Egyptian culture this particular tomb caught my eye. What I found most intriguing about this place was the way the plots were sectioned off, especially where it pertained to religion. There was a separate Jewish section where visitors customarily leave pebbles on the headstone. There was also a section for fallen soldiers, as well as a Christian section. I looked for a section that housed slave remains, but of course found none. It was not customary to bury slaves in the same cemetery as the slave owners, but I had to check. There is a popular slave cemetery in Savannah called Laurel Grove, but we were unable to fit it in on this trip. The next time we go it will be on the itinerary for sure.

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The stroll through the cemetery was eventful, but we still had a bit of the ‘itus’ so we decided to hit up a local park. There are a number of parks throughout the city that are the perfect setting for a picnic or a romantic walk. Forsyth Park is just such a place. It is a wide open space of grass for you to walk on, lay on or simply admire from a bench. It is a great spot to toss a ball or a frisbee as well. The highlight of the park is the famed fountain. Can you say photo op! Get your selfie sticks out because the natural lighting is perfect. The only issue I saw was there was not sufficient parking. The location is great for residents who live nearby, but if you have to drive there, you may have to park over the river and through the woods. Just playing, it wasn’t that far away, but it wasn’t that close either.
As I mentioned before Savannah is an old city. If your honey is a history buff this is a prime location to take them. This city is rich in Southern historical spots from the Civil War era. Lord knows I do not go around all nostalgic for that era in history, but I can appreciate the natural beauty of the town. The city has done a good job keeping the buildings and some of the cobblestone streets in good condition. If you’re up for it there are several historical tours to show you the sights and for you brave readers there are the famous ghost tours. They say the town is really haunted. This is not something that interests me, but I can see how the thrill of being scared could turn into a steamy night. Ladies, that’s really why guys take us to scary places anyway. Am I right?

Night time is the right time to snuggle up next to your lover and steal a kiss or two. One place that has the perfect ambiance for this is the rooftop bar atop the Bohemian Hotel on the riverfront. Now it was too cold outside during our visit to partake in the rooftop, but now that it is warm I am sure you will have a ball. Have a cocktail, listen to some music and make out like teenagers until the staff asks you to leave.

img_6280The next day why not visit Huey’s for breakfast? It is a popular spot on the waterfront that just screams Southern charm. I have always wanted to try Eggs Benedict and I figured it was the perfect time. The restaurant has a Louisiana flair and they even serve beignets!!! It was a no brainier after reading the menu. I had no idea what to expect from the eggs, but I must say I was happily surprised that I liked them. Paired with cheese grits and some hot chocolate to warm my chilly bones was the way to go. Ok so I know I shouldn’t confess this, but we ordered the beignets too. I had never has any and since we were throwing caution to the wind…. Can I just say AMAZING! My husband and I agreed, they taste so good when they touch your lips.(A Frank the Tank reference)
After breakfast we walked the cobblestone streets window shopping and looking for bargains. We ran across an interesting booth at the open air market called River Street’s Elegant Creations, where a nice lady named Candi showed us how she makes lamps out of recycled plastic milk containers. They come is a variety of colors and shapes and some even have lights that change color via a remote control. I love eclectic things and this spoke to me so now we are the proud owner of a hanging lamp made from recycled parts. Don’t judge me, the lamp is awesome and looks great hanging over our table in the breakfast nook.

Continuing our stroll down the river walk, we ran into a beautiful lady who I won’t soon forget. Her name was Thalia and I was immediately drawn to her. Entranced by her beauty. In another lifetime she would be mine. Wait, what? That sounded like it was headed somewhere else. Get your minds out of the gutter for a sec and let me explain. Thalia is a 53 meter sailboat with teakwood and steel dressings. She is the creation of famed yacht designer Ron Holland. Even though She was undergoing a little face lift at the dock, she was still quite gorgeous. Oh what I would have given to take a peek inside, but alas we were mere mortals and had no place being near her. I did snap a few photos so I could remember her always.

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Overall the experience was one that will last in my memory of one of our best weekend trips together. I am a sucker for love and romance so it was almost perfect. If you are looking for a nice spot to take your homie, lover, friend for a getaway look no further… Savannah is HOT!

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The Adventures of the Invisible Fat Lady – Davis Island, FL

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Another weekend is upon us…Yea!!! It’s time for me and the hubby to go out exploring our new surroundings again. Last week we stumbled upon a little spot near downtown Tampa called Davis Island an island suburb of Tampa and was the dream of Dave Davis considered the “Florida version of the Great Gatsby.” We took a chance there was something interesting in this area and we were pleasantly surprised.

We discovered Seaplane Basin Park located a stone’s throw away from Peter O. Knight Airport and bordered on the other side by a body of water called the Seaplane Basin. (Hence the name) It was a very serene area with people sitting on benches, riding bikes and fishing. We ran into one bike rider who had her precious little terrier in the basket, just like in the “Wizard of Oz” only his name is Cooper not Toto. How do I know the dog’s name you ask? Well, he was so darn cute my husband was compelled to make friends. I had to drag him away from betting the little munchkin who was totally into it. Little Cooper went on to play fetch with his mama in the grass… so cute.

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We walked around the area people watching and chatting. The views were beautiful as you will see in the pictures posted below and the weather was great. While we were there several sea planes took off from the airport and a helicopter landed much to my delight. I have a thing for whirly birds. We also drove around a little and located a dog park and the Davis Island Yacht Club. We also watched at least two cruise ships sail by on a journey out to sea. Hmm, I wonder which island they were headed to.

After returning home I did a little research and ran across the website for the 9th Annual Islands Fest. The festival will be held on March 28 and attendees are encouraged to join the fun by land, air or sea because of the location’s accessibility. There will be an auto show, sailboats in the Seaplane Basin and Airplane displays. I think I found something for us to do that weekend…. Score!