vaca wrap-up: HH ’09

Being back home is a wonderful thing, but I had a fabulous time at the beach last week.  I was there with family and of course we all had our moments…days, even…but still – great trip.  I kinda wish I’d taken the Mustang – everybody looks better getting out of a Mustang than a Corolla.  But it’s two doors, and didn’t need the extra mileage anyway, so it’s all good.

The place we stayed this year [a trilevel 2BR/2 bath w/deck and view of trees and a stream] was a bazillion times better than last year [a studio/closet in a hugely built-up area (ie. view of parking lot)].  Privacy and space make getting along with family SO much easier.  Especially if they snore.  Loudly.

My dad was there to relax.  My sister and I were there to shop and hang out at the beach.  We all accomplished our goals.

We shopped, snacked, and watched the Hannah Montana movie.  Which is not that bad.  I mean, if you settle in for the cheese of it, it’s actually really fun.  Because I like to let my inner dork free sometimes, I suggested we learn the dance from the movie – it’s quite involved, but totally fun to try.

We mastered everything up to the first zig zag part, then we decided we’d sweated enough and hit the showers.  But we laughed a lot.  And if you can’t be corny with your sister – well shoot, I feel sorry for ya.

Went to the beach at midday and got burnt up on the sand. [And by the sun, I found out later.]  But had fun actually swimming in the ocean.  There were hardly any waves and the water was shallow for hundreds of feet, so it woulda been cool for kids, but I coulda used a few more waves.  Every day we got a few more waves tan the day before, so that was nice.

So besides shopping and hanging at the beach, I got some reading done:

bitch fall 09wedding girl

super in the city Loved it all!

After passing a hog on the side of the road on the drive down, seeing an alligator in the stream behind our place, and the bunch of pelicans that kept divebombing the waves a hundred yards or so from where we swam, I felt like my nature communion quotient had been satisfied.

Then I had the lovely privilege of getting to play vball on Saturday night -which was just as fab as it sounds [if you love vball like I do].  I jammed a finger, but otherwise enjoyed myself immensely.

And finally I made it home last night – just in time to watch some crazy people on the VMAs.  Another successful vacation over, another day at work looms.

Wii arm

Mole Spoiler:

It’s Paul.

I had an awesome weekend with friends.  A full house of folks and a baby.  A beautiful baby girl.  [She doesn’t cry, she just makes a few lil sounds.  She’s SO adorable.]

So yesterday, we busted out the Wii and played.  Tennis.  Baseball.  Bowling.  Golf.  It was really fun.  And then after my guest left, I played some more.  And now, I can’t lift my right arm past my shoulder.  Seriously.  I’m in pain.

But the wknd was great.  I’m so tired, but I’m happy.  Plans for travel over the next couple months are definitely much more limited than usual.  [Gas being what it is.]  But I am looking forward to Hilton Head.  It’s been probably more than 10 years since I’ve been.  Almost that long since I’ve been to the beach at all.

Life is actually pretty good, right about now – Wii arm and all.

home, sweet home

These days, flying anywhere is a BFD. It’s expensive as crap, airports are a nightmare, and more often than not, your flight will be delayed [if not canceled altogether]. Our flights to and from Rome did not disappoint in any one of those aspects. Indeed, eurofly [I refuse to link to them and recommend that you choose a different airline for your trip] kindly enhanced the experience with seemingly inept pilots and incredibly rude flight attendants. That’s right, it was full-service hellacious – only slightly better on the trip there than on the trip back here. I believe the rude flight attendants were the shining star of awfulness. I hesitate to assign racist labels to people for fear of being called “too sensitive”, but it stood out very glaringly to me (and my of-color travelmates) when I was skipped/overlooked for more than one beverage service trip. And no, I wasn’t asleep, my cup was empty, and I was actually even seeking eye contact with the folks. At one point I even lifted my empty cup.

I did finally get some water. But you know the deal with first impressions.

But as awful as eurofly is – that’s how awesome Rome was.

Standing in the middle of Circus Maximus – though original structures from 2600 yrs ago are no longer there – was awesome. In the actual awe-some meaning of the word.

And what can you really say about the Colosseum?

The Colosseum

Seeing the monuments and places I learned about in elementary school and Latin classes was everything I thought it would be. Our hotel was in a good location, and was fairly nice – certainly accommodating. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled with people who spoke with the front desk so often. For such varied reasons. [Everything from directions and night life suggestions to the shutting off of an accidentally triggered bathroom alarm (don’t ask), borrowing/receiving a plastic knife, and extending our checkout time by an hour.] We were actually really close to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, not to mention Pucci, Gucci, Cartier, La Perla, and Louis Vuitton. The location was really nice, considering how non-rich we are.

All-in-all, I had a great time. I saw my first opera ~ La Traviata. I actually climbed the 320 extra steps to the top of the cupola at St. Peter’s. (claustrophobic steps, according to the Rough Guide – and they are SO right) Walked in/around/through the Forum, baths, various monuments & museums…and completely and utterly exhausted myself by the time it was time to come home.

Being away so long was excellent, and though I’m tired [which could just be from lack of sleep here], I’m glad for it all. What a great time!

Oh, and none of us were robbed. Or pickpocketed. In fact, at one point, I had a euro bill in my back pocket, and it started popping out, an a lady spoke to me in frustrated and loud Italian to get me to get the money. We were never swarmed by sneaky children and no one threw a baby at us. Good times.

Ciao, bella

I happen to love Ciao Bella passion fruit sorbetto – a lot, a lot. But I have refrained recently cuz it’s just too cold to be having ice cream/sorbet.

I’m in the mind of having some, as I’m in the midst of the whirlwind of planning/co-planning a long overdue trip to Rome. My sister and I were actually supposed to go last year, and we could just never get our schedules to mesh. She’s in school and has much more freedom than the ball-and-chain that my 5-day/week grind has turned out to be. [This 5day a week crap with 2 weeks of vaca a year – it bites.] Anyway – we’re still a tad bit undecided between March and May cuz the prices in May are astoundingly outrageous in comparison to those in March.

Initially, my sister had concerns about the temperature in March, but the longer I think about it – the more I realize that my best clothes are long-sleeved anyway. [That is so feminist of me, right? eh.  I wanna look good.] Continue reading