setting-the-stage

A recent college grad finding her role on the world's stage

Posts tagged family

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New blog post: "Garden Roams"

The rose gardens were in full bloom, their blossoms rejoicing in the richness of summer’s end. Scattered about the walking paths, gardeners tended to abundant flower patches and continued the cultivation of nature’s beauty. We walked and sighed at the lovely sights, relishing each step and each subsequent discovery of different floral species. As we turned to leave, I turned my face to the sun and closed my eyes, breathing in the essence of a perfect summer day.

Filed under blog writing gardens nature beautiful roses cafe food fun summer family memories

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Vaca Recap

As you may recall, I spent the previous 5 days with my grandparents in Naples, FL. Ahhhh. Can I go back right now? Not to Naples, specifically…any tropical locale will be just fine with me. I actually don’t like Naples very much; when you are a middle-class denizen surrounded by mammoth 35 million dollar mansions, and the main industry is art collecting and house buying, you don’t really feel at home. This was really pointed out to me when I accompanied my grandmother on a “See Naples” sunset cruise one evening. The main goal of the boat ride was to watch the sunset in the Gulf of Mexico. However, to get to open water, the boat needed to pass through various harbors and canals, all lined with extremely expensive boats and mansions. Some people even owned 5 boats simultaneously: a yacht, a fishing boat, a sailboat, a catamaran, and jet skies. Jeez.  The captain kept pointing out the values of various properties, dropping names and saying that only 5% of the homes were occupied at any given time. 5% !?! What a waste.

I’m sure I’m generalizing the area, and I really don’t mean to. I’m just illustrating the blase’ attitude of a small portion of the population. A large number of people there seem very welcoming and affable and truly enjoy their beachy lifestyles. These would be mostly retirees who reside in still-pricey condos far removed from the actual shoreline. I’m just easily distracted by the minority who seem to squander their wealth on multi-million dollar vacation houses they only use 5 days a year. That extravagance is really annoying right now, especially when one considers the plight of people in Japan who have no homes, water, food, or families. Sigh.

Aside from my societal observations, I did enjoy my time in Naples.  I arrived Monday evening and departed early Saturday morning. My grandma and I walked the beach every morning, collecting shells and enjoying the sand under our toes. We packed fresh fruit and water in a cooler and watched the waves, from which dolphins often leaped and played.

At night, we either dined out or explored the area. If you are ever in Naples, I recommend eating at the Dock Restaurant or at the Snook Inn on Marco Island. Though we hit up great seafood spots the first nights, we deviated from the norm on Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day, and went to…get ready for it…the ever classy Red Lobster. It was the only place in town where any tables were available! And I ordered…chicken. Ha! But it was excellent chicken.

I’ve never gone out for St. Patrick’s Day, so I was bewildered by the extreme amount of celebrations going on around the city. The town center was jam-packed with green people. Literally, some men had dyed their white hair to a brilliant emerald hue. One man had turned himself into a full-fledged leprechaun, complete with red beard and pot of gold. Drinks were flowing and bands were playing wildly, and all the Irish pubs were overflowing with people. In short, it was an insane scene.

The last day of my visit, my grandparents and I went to the Naples Zoo. It wasn’t in my top ten list of things to do, but my grandma had wanted to visit the spot. I think the best part of the visit was the boat ride on “Victoria Lake”, where we glided past several islands, each a habitat to a different species of primate. While waiting in line for our boat, we conversed with a friendly German family. Luckily, my grandpa wasn’t wearing his usual “WWII Veteran” hat that day (he was a B-17 pilot who flew in the European arena). The conversation might have gone a lot differently.

After our zoo expedition, we returned to the condo and I gleefully enjoyed the pool for 2 hours of uninterrupted paradise. Ahh. Later that evening, my grandma and I walked down the Naples Pier to watch the sunset, along with a crowd of other sun watchers. We got there early to secure a parking slot, so we waited nearly an hour for the final rays to fade from the horizon. It was a stunning sight, with the ocean breeze gently coming off the water, graceful pelicans soaring above, and exuberant dolphins leaping in the sea foam. I took lots of pictures! Will post some soon, I promise.

As darkness descended, we drove to 5th Avenue and enjoyed delicious ice cream at Regina’s.  As we stood in line, one of the workers asked for my order and promptly served me. In the process, however, he had skipped the three local ladies in front of me! They were clearly affronted, but all I could do was shrug. Not my fault! My grandma giggled. ;)

We exited the shop, my grandma with her butter pecan cone and me with my chocolate cup. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied the same German family from the zoo eating their ice cream at a nearby table! What a coincidence. We chatted a while, and they explained that this was their last night here as well. Such a nice family.  

Bidding auf wiedersehen to our acquaintances, we ate our ice cream outside the parlor, next to a towering palm tree.  We watched people navigate the Friday night streets and crowded sidewalks, then ventured back to the condo to watch…NCIS!…with my grandpa. A very enjoyable last night of vacation.

On the plane ride home, I sat next to an elderly couple who were traveling from Florida to a relative’s funeral in Detroit. The gentleman asked me if I had been on spring break. I replied that I had, and I had visited my grandparents. He sighed sadly, saying that his four grandchildren, all in college, had never visited them. “Who wants to party with their grandparents?” he asked.

I say, why not treasure the time you have with your family? They are the people who really matter in life.

Filed under vacation memories travel florida sun beach funny stories family

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Spring Break Surprise

I just found out that I’ll be going to the Sunshine State for my spring break next week!! I’m completely thrilled and surprised.

My family usually spends spring break down in Florida, but since I began college, we haven’t been able to go on vacation due to schedule conflicts (my mom is a public school teacher and my sister is still in high school, and their break are different from mine). As a result, we’ve all felt a “vacation void” in our minds. We’ve been so conditioned (and fortunate) to go on trips each spring, that it feels weird and wrong not to go on vacation! It’s very depressing, because you look forward so much to that temporary escape from the daily grind.

I had resigned myself to another year of no spring break vacation when my grandmother phoned me today. “Is your suitcase packed? We bought you a plane ticket to visit us for the week!” I was shocked; we had tossed around the idea for a while, but I really wasn’t thrilled with the expensive flight prices. My aunt, uncle, and grandparents decided to treat me to a [very] early birthday present and buy my plane ticket for me. I’m extremely grateful, yet also a bit sad because the rest of my family won’t be going down with me.

My grandparents are currently staying in my aunt and uncle’s condo in Naples, FL; they’ve been going there the past few years to escape Ohio’s terrible winters. This year’s weather has been especially bad, so I am very relieved that they’ve been able to enjoy a bit of sunshine instead of blizzard conditions! Brrrrrrrr.

I plan to enjoy every moment I have with my grandparents. I love them so much, I don’t know what I would do without them. We telephone and Skype whenever we can, but still, that’s no substitute for real contact. I’m so excited to see them again!! A vacation full of love and sunshine, the perfect combination.

I plan to savor the sand between my toes and the comforting sound of breaking waves, because I know when I return to school, life will resume its insane pace. I am so very much looking forward to this relaxing time; I will keep it in my memory bank to look back on if I ever feel overwhelmed by the approaching climax of the school year.

Do you have any spring break plans? Even if you are not traveling to a different locale for your break, take advantage of your time off! If I wasn’t traveling, I would go to a new fitness class, try a different style of dance, see a cool show, or enjoy the spring weather and go walking around the neighborhood… anything to beat cabin fever! Speaking of which, I’ve previously posted that infamous clip from Muppet Treasure Island (a true classic). Check it out if you are in need of good entertainment and tropical amazingness. :)

Filed under spring break vacation family florida sunshine fun travel

Notes

Funny

Funny thing of the day:

(On my laptop in my living room)

I watched Britney’s music video for “Hold It Against Me.” I wasn’t blown away; the dancing was nearly nonexistent, the synth was overpowering, and somehow, the body double catfight wasn’t that exciting. I turned my laptop off.

(5 minutes later in my living room)

Mom is on her laptop and I am watching TV. Over the sounds of a commercial, my ears detect a strong bass beat and pulsing synth. I look around. Mom is watching the Britney music video, one eyebrow raised dubiously. Ha! She agrees with my earlier assessment.

(3 hours later, still in the living room, after dinner)

I’m crashing on the couch with my sister, enjoying a NCIS/CSI loop. Out of nowhere, I again detect the strains of Britney music coming at me. I look into the kitchen. My dad is watching the music video on his laptop; his eyes are wide with fear and curiosity.  LMAO!

Go on, say it. My family is awesome. =)

Filed under britney spears funny music video family