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Posts Tagged ‘Vacation’

My day started when the alarm rang at 6:15am, so that I could join my dad for a walk … unfortunately he slept through his alarm, so our walk was a bit later, and a bit shorter.

I had no idea just how addicted I had become to technology … specifically wi-fi … until arriving here in New Brunswick to visit family and friends. My parents do have a computer, and I’ve been using it to write, but my site is not configured ‘right’ and I am far too committed to Apple products to understand the world of PC. And the 3G isn’t working so … expeditiously … so my phone is reminding me of dial up internet.

So, as I sit at Starbucks, in a Chapters store (one of two in the area I am presently in … and, for those of you who cannot imagine it … in the entire province of New Brunswick, the number of locations has almost tripled in three years! From three locations, in 2008, to eight, in 2011 … I have entered the dominion of Tim Hortons! But, I digress), I am so thankful for the free wi-fi they offer (according to my free wi-fi app, the two Starbucks locations are the only free wi-fi hotspots within walking distance of where I am).

Today was shopping day with my niece and … hum, what do I call her? She used to be married to my brother, but they divorced … but, she still feels like my sister-in-law … I guess a couple can divorce from each other, but the ‘expended’ connections don’t dissolve so easily (or willingly). Honestly the two of them are a great pair! And I love them both 🙂 We shopped, we talked, we thoroughly embarrassed my niece 😀 .

Dinner tonight was such a comfort food meal … macaroni casserole (Mom’s famous recipe with beef, cheese and tomato soup), and biscuits (thanks to dad), salad (thanks to my purchase) and dessert (thanks to sister-in-law). And speaking of salad … vegetables are not a popular food choice here (I can only speak for my parents home), so I am eating here like hubby is feeding himself and the kids!

After dinner (or supper, as the locals call it) my niece and I got to spend the evening riding Go Carts. I truly believe that my niece may just have a future with NASCAR (or, more locally, as a stock car driver) … she makes me proud 😉

The day held many other things, many other goings on. I got home at 1am … and, after completing this blog entry … well, I will sleep well. I must say I really missed my kids today … probably because I spent time with my niece.

What fun they would have had … all together, to tease Grammie, to repeat things over and over and over again to Grampie (no, he’s not hard of hearing, they just do not speak loudly enough … ), to find similarities in each other, and to just be together.

And that is what time with far away family is all about … just being together … oh, and tomorrow I pick up the rental car 😉

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My first day in New Brunswick began with my dad’s homemade biscuits (at about 2am), but my first full day began at an hour (10:51am) that would more commonly be known to me as nearing lunch time … and it felt so good.

I felt almost giddy awakening in my parents home. The house was quiet, and walking through it (to the ONE bathroom in the house) I was experiencing des ja vous of my days growing up here. Days when I would be tiptoeing through the house to the bathroom, before anyone else would be awake.

I was remembering awakening here … the way the light came in through the windows, and the house smelled of … home, and all the creaking on the stairswere the same as I remembered.

After my morning ablutions, tea needed to be made. It always amazes me how I cannot make tea at our home near Vancouver, and in New Brunswick, coffee-making abilities allude me. Three cups of tea (with milk, not cream, and sugar) later, I was ready for my day.

But, when your day begins so close to noon, and jet lag is weighing heavily on you, it is a delight to just … do nothing (a foreign concept, that, due to my undiagnosed ADD, is only enjoyable for a limited amount of time). And so, we sat, my mom (pronounced mUm), dad and I, and we talked. And we watched the amazing hummingbirds enjoying my dad’s homemade sugary syrup from the feeders. There were up to eight hovering, vying for the next place setting at the feeders, at one time.

It was a day of simple pleasures …

waking at my parents home

making tea that actually tastes good

eating at their table

having a tour of my dads garden

having dinner at the most wonderful truck stop

texting my niece … making social plans

texting my girls

texting my hubby

checking expirary dates on foods (this will be a future blog)

A bit of negotiating went on too … negotiating that I not use certain goings on, and things said while I am here, in my next blog (I will, wisely wait until I am on the opposite side of the country, before using the vast amounts of material I am gathering 😉 ).

It has been a good, and full day (so my tummy says). Full of the things that I have been yearning for.

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Here I am, at 9:35am, in the Abbotsford airport … where you can see the entire airport from end to end, once you walk through the main doors! I just watched two massive airplanes (fighter jets?), who had been here to entertain the crowds at the annual air show, take off … I hope my hearing returns soon!

The day is bright, but there are lots of clouds in the sky. My hubby and son dropped me off … I think both were mystified as to why I was so eager to get here … only to have to wait for my flight. After all, my flight is scheduled to leave at 10:35, and boarding isn’t until 10:05. What they didn’t realize is that the earlier I was to get here, the longer I had to myself … 😉

I am so looking forward to the day!

My first flight was short. Only about an hour to Edmonton … just enough time to get committed to my novel. The flight did have enough turbulence to make me flashback to 911 (how imprinted our brains are to the memories of the tragedy. For that matter, can any of us board a plane, without thinking of that day, almost s ago?).

As we touched down in Edmonton, I knew I had about twenty-five minutes to un-board, pee, grab a snack/coffee, and board my next flight … but the travel gods were not working on my side.

Apparently Canada’s longest flying company parked their plane where MINE had a reserved sign … lets just say I un-boarded, was the last to board my next flight, managed to get into the airplane’s outhouse (before a flight attendant could tell me that it was too late) and sat in my seat, catching my breath from the speed walking.

And now onto the longest part of my journey … Edmonton to Toronto. But I am still on my own 🙂 …

with no disturbances … except  for the annoying lady behind my seat. She is some kind of a ‘self-absorbed, life coach-type who has a guru, and can take a fortune 500 company to the next level (is there a next level?). And she does this by using techniques (self actualization) that have NEVER been used by any other group of ‘people educators’ before … GAG. And she is talking spirituality … in that marketing sort of way … Jesus take me now! I wish that either the guy listening to her, or she would lapse into a temporary comma … just until we land! But, I digress …

and no distractions … except for the guy across the aisle, playing ‘Angry Birds’ on his iPad (green with envy … I bet that battery would outlast the one in my laptop). I would love to give him advice on his tactics … I know my Angry Birds, and this guy is an amateur. Oh, how my son and I could whop his butt!

Finally in Toronto, on time and unscathed (except for my ears from that lady). I found a restaurant that wasn’t fast food … sadly I had Mr. Lamo server … you know, everyone around you came in after you, ordered after you and they get their food BEFORE you? Thankfully the ‘other’ server brought out my meal or else I might have missed my next plane, waiting.

Anyway, boarded the final plane … so close …

An hour and a half’ish later I landed in Moncton, New Brunswick (or, as I texted hubby and the kids ‘the eagle has landed’). I was greeted by my mom (pronounced mum), dad, brother his wife and a niece … sweet! 

Then home to homemade biscuits (clothes are getting tighter already).

Ah, and now I look forward to crashing in bed.

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“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go …” Listening to this song just makes the excitement bubble up inside of me 😀

Off, on my own to the East coast (aka my home of origin) to spend a few days (no doubt too few) with family and friends. And to celebrate my parents anniversary. And to watch the sun rise in the east. And to eat my dad’s biscuits, and drink my mom’s reboiled tea (https://itsawonderfilledlife.net/2011/04/14/re-boiled-tea/ ). And enjoy many, many, many steamed mussels. And maybe lobster! And a great donair at Greco Donair (oh my goodness … another ‘eating’ vacation … it will take me forever to shed these vacation pounds). And take my nieces to the beach. And enjoy the rolling hills. And be in awe of the big, big sky. And, and, and …

There is simply not going to be enough time to do it all!

I have to admit, I am secretly (or not so secretly, now) thrilled to be going alone. This means that I get to be where I want when I want (thank you rental car), and I get to do what I want when I want, and I get to be center of attention 🙂 … I think I might like this! Hum, I am sounding just a bit narcissistic … and I do not feel bad about it, not one bit 😉

At this point (as I am doing the last minute preparations before heading to board my jet plane) I truly want it to be one way. It is not that I want to leave my family, friends, job, life, etc. here … it is that where I am going just looks (through my pre-vacation rose-colored glasses) so darn great.

And really what a thrill to have that perspective, as I get ready to board a jet plane (I LOVE saying that) to head to my parents home, to spend time with them, and the rest of family, and friends. I know it is not always a joy for everyone to be taking vacation away from the things one wants to do to visit family, but I am thrilled to be going, and I am really thrilled to be going alone.

I really am so fortunate to have a great family to visit. They will drive me buggy, at points when I am there, but … I have my rental car 😉  and I plan to use it!

Anyway, I gotta go … I have packing to finish! And then the drive there, and then the hugs and kisses at the airport (this is where I have to pretend to really be regretting leaving them all home … NOT … and they are gonna love having no one in the house to remind them to eat their veggies, and get to bed at a good time … I know they will have a blast without me), and then … boarding MY plane … just me! Just … me … oh, how those two words are music to my ears …

So, off I go, to the land of lobster, Tidal Boar (or is it B O R E ?), and people I have to love … we are related! And maybe a sneak trip to visit Anne … with an ‘e’ (at Green Gables …).

I’ll keep you all posted as to how wonderful the week on my own is … cause … I’m leaving on a jet plane,  I don’t know when I’ll be back again …

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As the van backed out of the garage, my mind went … blank. It held … nothing. And that strange, new experience … it felt soooo good!

Five minutes later I was checking Facebook, and emails, and blog stats …

Ten minutes later I was simply unsure of what to do with myself. There was nothing to do, and nothing to even think about …

Fifteen minutes later, I had gone through ALL of the photos on my phone. They were organized and some eliminated.

Twenty minutes later … exhale … va … ca … shun!

The trees looked greener (more green?), the sky looked bluer (actually, it was bluer … most of the summer, so far, it has been shades of gray), the terrain more beautiful and the mountains seemed to pop right out of the landscape.

Twenty-five minutes later my (UNdiagnosed) ADD (attention deficit disorder) became apparent when I state, with a loud sigh, “I’m bored.” Hubby looks at me, flipping up his clip-on sunglasses, as if I have spoken a bad word, a foreign subject, an abomination! I crawl back into my iPhone hole.

When life has been busy, when demands and deadlines are weighing you down into ‘survival’ mode, when the day to day has become mundane and meaningless switching gears into a vacation frame of mind can be a huge adjustment. But, oh how I am willing to make the adjustment.

The destination of this ‘vaca’ is, as every year at this time, Cannon Beach, Oregon … also known (by myself and my hubby) as ‘a little piece of heaven.’ We didn’t arrive until late at night (like around 1am), and yet it still was beautiful.

And what does this week of  ‘vaca’ at Cannon Beach hold for us? Well, did I mention I am NOT going to be cooking (although I might have to push the power button on the microwave, if I want to have popcorn)? We are at a conference center (www.cbcc.net), and so we get:

amazing accommodations,

thought-provoking and funny speakers,

“awesome, interesting, fun, extravagantly amazing” (to quote a couple of students I know RELATIVEly well),

friendships from all over the Northwest, that keep going from summer to summer to … infinity (and beyond),

tasty, chef-prepared, beautifully presented meals,

and a beach (that you can walk to eliminate some of the delicious calories you’ve taken in).

I am so looking forward to adjusting to this!

This morning, I was awakened by hubby, already showered (Cannon Beach must be heaven, because he is NEVER up and showered before I get out of bed), kissing my lips and whispering “va-ca-shun.” No sweeter words could be spoken. So, I did what came natural … I hopped out of bed, and woke the kids, because it was breakfast time … and I was not cooking!

Yup! I think that I can really make this adjustment. It is going to be a great vaca!

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We had only one day to do a Disney theme park, and the Magic Kingdom was the chosen one. But we wanted to maximize on every moment we could.

So, we started out, as any family on vacation should … realizing the alarm did not go off when it was set to (well, it did go off, we just didn’t hear it, as the volume was turned off). That resulted in a mad dash to get out of the condo we were staying in (envision the scene from Home Alone, where they were late to get up on vacation, but we didn’t leave anyone behind).

It was a two and a half hour drive to Orlando, with only one stop to gas up and pee. Oh man, while at the gas station we saw this guy whose pants were so low, he must have had pins holding them up! (ever heard the son ‘pants on the ground’?).

But I digress …

So we arrived at the Magic Kingdom.

Our girls had reservations for lunch with all the princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table (we only needed to take out one extra mortgage to pay for that). So, we dropped them, like a lead balloon, and headed with our son to Tomorrowland.

We spent the next few hours riding rides, trying to figure out where we were, and drinking lemonade slush (it was over 90 degrees that day, and every pore on my body was being cleansed, every minute). Then we had a mid-afternoon lunch, and met up with our girls.

The rest of the day was spent riding every ride we could (including Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and for the girls, Splash Mountain), eating turkey legs (how primitive), seeking shade (by late afternoon, little kids were thinking I was from Monsters Inc. due to my profuse facial sweating), and buying little mementos.

In the evening there were spits of rain (I know my regular readers … mom and dad … will be shocked to know that I actually loved the rain, in this context), and thunder and lightening rumblings. The lightening closed a some of the vendors and rides. But this gave us reason to sit still for a bit, chat about the day, and people watch.

As the sun was setting, the park became busy with staff scurrying around like little mice, setting up for the parade and fireworks to come.

Finally we found a place to view the parade. But, then there were delays (thunder and lightening were the cause). This wasn’t so bad, though, because each delay resulted in more people giving up the wait (with little ones) and heading out of the park, meaning that our view got better and better. But then, the third announcement was that the parade was being canceled 😦

This was somewhat disappointing, as our girls have been to Disneyland, but neither have seen the parade, and this was our son’s first opportunity to see it. It was also disappointing, as we could have left earlier, and then not had to drive home late into the night.

So, off we paraded to the gates, to being our trek home. Unfortunately, half of the park was leaving at the same time! It was not an expeditious exodus! We headed to the buses, which we arrived on, but they were only heading to the resorts. We headed to the monorail, but were stopped by a traffic director who suggested the boats were faster. Our day had gone from Magical to Mundane!

Finally we did board a ferry boat!

As our boat was ferrying us to the train that would transport us back to our car, we were given a little bit of wonder to close our day. It was in the form of loudly blasting fireworks, in beautiful, colorful arrays of light and design. Suddenly, as I leaned over the side rail I felt such gratitude that, despite the all-day-sweat-fest, despite the parade-canceling thunder and lightening, despite the over two hours we would need to drive back to our condo, we were able to end the day with not Mundane, but Magical.

Oh, and the mouse hunt … they are everywhere! The place is infested with the little guy!

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This was written a week ago, today while we were driving to Orlando, from North Port, Florida:

We are enroute to Disney World, to do a little Mouse hunt!

According to my 11-yr old son visiting the Magic Kingdom is the number 1 reason to visit Florida.

Going on the rides, at the Magic Kingdom, is the number 1 reason to visit Florida, according to my 14-yr. old daughter.

Dining with Cinderella, at the Magic Kingdom is the number 1 reason to visit Florida, according to my 18-yr old daughter.

But for my hubby and I, going to the beach is the number 1 reason to visit Florida!

We are on the west coast of Florida … the Gulf Coast … the clear turquoise water coast … the temperature of which was 78 degrees yesterday! Why would anyone go to Mexico, when they could come here? It is totally beautiful, and the city we are staying is so clean! (heck, why would anyone live on the Pacific Northwest coast? You can buy a house here for just over $100,000 … that’s barely a down payment on a house on the Pacific North WET coast … where the water temperature of Georgia Strait was 48 degrees yesterday! … just sayin’ …)

But, I digress from our mouse hunt.

So, we are now enroute to Orlando, to spend the day with Mickey, Bambi, Dumbo, and yes Cinderella. The last time I was here we came with our, then 18 month old daughter, and I really do not remember much of it. Today will be great, because our kids are old enough that they should remember this for life, and hubby and I are young enough that we shouldn’t forget it for quite some time. Hubby will probably remember more clearly than me, as he keeps hyperventilating whenever he thinks of the cost!

So, my question is, what will be memorable about today’s mouse hunt? Will it be the 18 year old’s lunch with Cinderella? The 11 year old’s riding on Space Mountain? The 13 year old’s experience of riding every ride in the park? Hubby’s passing out cold, and experiencing chest pains related to thinking too long about the cost of a hot dog in the park?  Or my vomiting on everyone below me, after eating that $6 hot dog, and then promptly going on Space mountain? Now those are the memories to make a scrapbook of!

I am not sure what memories we will gather today, but I know we will be gathering them. And, I expect, the memories that we take from today that will be the most memorable, the most long lasting will be the ones we experience with a sense of humor, a sense of intimacy with each other, a sense of ‘awe, a sense of … wonder.

And really, if we walk away from today (if we can all still walk after a day in the Magic Kingdom), with tired smiles on our faces, pictures to put in the scrapbooks, memories of laughing together (at each other, no doubt), and having experience a sense of wonder, all that money (currently giving hubby heart palipatations) will have been well spent.

So rodents, look out, we are on our way,and we we will snap you up (for the scrapbook, of course).

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