Tag Archives: Road Trip

A Proper Vacation

toes in the sandI just returned from my first proper vacation in five years. By proper, I mean a vacation in which I do a lot of sitting around at a beach with umbrella drinks.  This vacation was the First Annual Mother Daughter Beach Trip to North Myrtle Beach, SC.  I had a whole week with my mother – something I’ll treasure for always.  And we do it again next year!

The drive down was uneventful.  We arrived a day before our check-in at the condo, so we stayed in a seedy motel on the beach.  It was glorious that first night on the beach sitting in the dark and watching the phosphorescent surf.  After the long drive, I slept like a dead person.

010We stayed in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo at a Wyndham resort. We unpacked suitcases and put clothes in the drawers and closets.  We shopped for food.  We had board games.  We set the timer on the coffee pot so we’d have coffee when we woke.  We flippin’ moved in.  It was wonderful.

The condo was luxurious – granite countertops, walk in showers, a large soaking tub.  It was equipped with everything we needed including a washer and dryer.  We were on the 9th floor and although we were not ocean front (long story), the view was fabulous.  While I would never give up my barn, there’s something to be said for smaller living spaces – they’re a whole lot easier to keep clean and organized.

029Left to my own devices, I would have sat on the beach each of the 8 days we were there and stared at the ocean until I was fried to a crisp. Mom is more of a get out and do things kind of chick.  So we ran up and down Highway 17 eating and shopping and visiting a sculpture garden.  The garden is truly a marvel and I had a lot of fun with the camera there.  I have still not properly learned to use the camera.  But it’s on my to-do list.  You know, that list of mine that is in volumes.

We did a fair amount of shopping.  I bought a dress that I have no idea where I’m going to wear it other than next year’s beach trip.  Honestly, does a 55 year old need a strapless blue and white striped sun dress?  No.  But what’s need got to do with it.

toes on the balconyBut each day started and ended with me drinking coffee or wine on the balcony. The balcony and I fused.  I was one with the balcony.  The ocean breeze, the scent of salt water, the sounds of the waves, the tightness of my sun-kissed skin.  It would take about 5 minutes on the balcony for me to become all zen.

One afternoon we had a rousing game of Scrabble.  We didn’t keep score, but I think Mom won.  She had longer, more interesting words.  I was too zen to give the game my full attention.  The glass of wine probably didn’t help much either.

I do miss that balcony.

mamas artBetween balcony sessions and running up and down Highway 17, I sat on the beach in my blue sand chair. On the beach, it took me about 2 minutes to be all zen.  There is nothing like planting one’s butt in a low chair with feet in the surf for chilling out.  I was a puddle of ooze with no more ambition, aside from procuring the occasional umbrella drink, than the sand on the beach.  One day I watched dolphins cavort.  Another I watched toddlers cavort.  I was struck, as I always am, by the joy children find on the seashore.  I need grandbabies to take to the beach.  (Do you hear me, Chef Boy ‘R Mine?)

first breakfastWhile we did procure groceries, we ate out a lot. One morning for breakfast, I had a steamer of crab legs and shrimp.  Another breakfast involved fish tacos and a Hurricane in a souvenir glass.  One day we had banana splits (bodacious banana splits) for lunch.  We had dinner in a dive bar and the fish was so fresh, I swear they went out and caught it while I was eating my sushi appetizer.

I went to bed early, slept late and usually managed a nap. We had rain one day and I tucked into a good book while listening to the roar of the surf and raindrops on the patio door.

jeansIt was all good. All of it.  It was the vacation I sorely needed after the past few years and I savored every moment.  I have my commemorative Christmas ornaments to mark the occasion and I have memories of quality time with my mother.  I can highly recommend a proper vacation!

I’m having trouble reorienting to real life. My house is a mess.  The suitcase is still sitting in the kitchen. The puppy missed me and spends a lot of time on my lap.  It’s been hard to motivate to do much more than what is absolutely necessary.  But today I have a fire in my belly to tackle this house – I want it as zen as I feel.  So off I go to clean and declutter and deal with the suitcase.

 

6 Comments

Filed under September 2014

A desert, an oasis, green hills and home.

029 (2)I’m home from the Great Ash Dash of 2014.  It was such a good trip and I hated for it to end; however, driving up the hill on the way home from the airport, my heart just thrilled.  It is so good to be home.  I’ve wallowed this day away for the most part.

I did manage to do some laundry and sort through the nearly two-thousand photos that one of my traveling companions took.  With my bum foot I found it hard to take photos.  Balancing a heavy camera to focus puts more stress on a body than the fully-able realize.  Fortunately, Mr. Paparazzi took care of the problem.  Some of the photos I did take were of one of my childhood homes.

746 (2)1047 Bluegrass in Vista, California was my stomping grounds for 1st and 2nd grade.  While I have few memories of that time, I do have some.  I can remember attaching a quilt to the chainlink fence in the backyard to make a tent.  I can remember a scary goose following me home from school and I can remember playing with snails in the side yard.  I can remember posing with my brother in front of the house.  I was wearing a pair of my mother’s high heels.  (Even as a small child, I was into shoes!)

743 (2)When my parents bought the house it was brand new and the show house for the neighborhood.  Bluegrass was a cul de sac of new construction.  Behind our house was a small orange grove and farm replete with chickens.  The neighborhood itself was lush and green.  Most of the residents on the street took pride in their yards and the masses of geraniums were planted so that a ribbon of them undulated through all the yards.

My mother was an avid gardener and I can remember apricot roses and calla lilies taller than me.  I also remember their scent and her dislike of the snails that intrigued my brother and I.

Returning to this place was interesting, but also a little sad.  The neighborhood is run down and evidence of California’s long drought showed in the absence of gardens, geraniums and lush grass.  Still, it was a treat to visit.

756 (2)I haven’t been in California, the state of my birth, since I was 10.  Going back with adult eyes all these years later was sweet.  Besides the house in Vista, we also visited the town of my birth, Twenty-nine Palms, California also known as 29 Stumps.

We stayed at the 29 Palms Inn, established in 1928 and the site of the oasis for which the town is named complete with the fabled 29 palms.  In the middle of desert, there was this oasis with turtles and humming birds and lush vegetation.  No wonder people think oases are mirages.  This beautiful, verdant spot was set against the spare, brown desert.

764 (2)HMO’Keefe once wrote at length I a letter to me about his love for the desert.  In the letter, he lamented ad refuted the idea that the desert was empty and dead.  His eloquent words made me love the desert I couldn’t remember.   I was disappointed on this trip to learn that I don’t love the desert.  I want to.  It seems that I should.  But the desert did seem empty and dead to me.  I kept thinking that with a little compost, some seeds and water, the desert landscape could match the sky for sheer majesty.  Perhaps the fact that I was born in a town named for an oasis explains why I so love the green of West Virginia and its mellow hills as opposed to the browns and rusts of the flat desert.

5 Comments

Filed under April 2014

Day 7 – Chaco Canyon

feet chaco

It’s been a week now since I left on this grand adventure. I had expected to blog every other day or so, but it isn’t working out that way. Either I can’t get a signal on the phone or the wi-fi in the hotel is wonky or non-existent.

Today we were at Chaco Canyon. Maybe later I can write about it, but right now I’m still digesting all that has happened. It’s been good – all good.  I’m very tired, but happy.

1 Comment

Filed under March 2014

Day 1: Ona to San Diego

Today was the day of hurry up and wait. My flight out of Yeager Airport wasn’t until 5:15. From there I spent approximately 3 hours getting to Dallas and then another 3 hours getting to San Diego with 2 hours of sitting around time at the first two airports.

Both flights just dragged, I think because I’m keyed up and excited. On the last flight, in particular, whole geologic eras would pass only for my watch to indicate 5 minutes.

But I’m here now. My plane finally landed at midnight my time, 9:00 California time. San Diego is bigger than I realized. I’m in a cute bed & breakfast. I’ve unleashed the foot from the ace bandage and am sprawled on the bed. I’m exhausted, but too wired to sleep.

Tomorrow we’re going to the farmer’s market, Old Town, and capping the day off with Ethiopian food.

The cast of characters have assembled – good times ahead.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under March 2014

Daffodils for Doug

20140322-135449.jpg

The road trip begins. It’s appropriate that the daffodils should be blooming. We shared a love for these spring flowers. I always hope they bloom in time for his birthday on the 25th. They made it this year.

I leave for the airport in a few minutes. The journey begins.

Leave a comment

Filed under March 2014

This is a test

This is a test to see if I can post from my phone.

20140322-120321.jpg

1 Comment

Filed under March 2014

Oh for Pete’s sake. . .

brokenfootSo, of course I broke my foot four days before I leave for the Great Southwest Ash Dash. It’s almost appropriate given HMO’Keefe’s interest in bone.

Last night was rough. I was in a lot of pain and certain I would have to cancel. I was bereft beyond words and under the influence of hydrocodone. It was not a pretty sight.

So the breaking of the foot is not even an interesting story. I merely stepped on my right foot wrong, wobbled, caught myself and then gaped in astonishment as my foot exploded into fiery pain. I hobbled about a bit until it was clear something was really wrong. My mom dragged me into the nearest doc-in-a-box where they pronounced me broken, sent me home with pain pills, crutches and dire warnings about putting any weight on my foot.

Last night was just awful.

This morning I saw the cutie-pie doc that did the three foot surgeries following my car accident. He’s a bona fide sweetie, nice to look at it, and a really caring guy not to mention competent. You can’t ask for more in a doc other than looking older than 12. He’s nearly my age and looks like he’s skipping school and hanging out in an orthopedic practice.

He tells me that I was lucky. The fractured bone usually completely separates in these types of fractures and he has to pin it back on. I didn’t separate. Consequently, I’m in an ace bandage and walking boot with news that once the swelling goes down, I’ll feel a whole lot better. The really good news is that the swelling should abate before I get on the plane. Yes, I can still go although I won’t get to wear my spiffy new hiking boots and the suitcase needs to be re-packed to accommodate my needs-based itinerary of lots of sitting.

My co-travelers are being real troopers about my limited trooping ability. I’ve been blessed with some really wonderful people in my life. So the epic trip now has a heroine with an obstacle as all good epics must.

Leave a comment

Filed under March 2014