Strange and Alluring

On one trip to Denver a  few years ago, I ventured further west by myself and discovered the Colorado National Monument.    Normally, I like the lush and green…. and the beach, of course…… but sometimes the lack of green fascinates me too.  I thought a lot about bare bones survival on this trip.  When life gets distilled down to hundred year old trees that grow at a snail’s pace and animals that survive by living underground,  one sees life through a different lens.

America’s Capital, Washington D. C.

On our nostalgic trip out east, my sister and I visited Washington D. C.  I’ve been there several times.  Once I was there for an AmeriCorps training week where we toured the memorials at night.   I have always loved the memorials.  If you ever have a chance to see them  at night, you should really take advantage of it.

I don’t really believe in war as a means to solve conflict, and yet, I am thankful to each and every soldier for what they have had to face.  Does that make any sense?  When I was a child, I thought I could stop the Vietnam War, if I could just stand in the middle of the “battlefield”, and say, “stop this!”  My heart goes out to every soldier who has faced the battle, to every soldier who has died, to every family who has suffered a loss.  I wish our society would stand up with one voice and say  “no” to more war.  Maybe some day……..

Road Tripping to Colorado

Steven and I have taken several wonderful trips to Colorado.  We visit his family, but we usually take a little vacation side trip too, which involves mountains and sometimes even some snow in July! The drive west always amazes me…corn, corn, corn, flat….then some irrigated fields in Nebraska, then dry, dry, dry…so dry it makes your nose hurt.  And then……mountains appear like clouds in the distance.

We took a trip to the Rockies when I was a kid and I loved it, but especially so since my sister did a lot of the driving!  Remember Pike’s Peak?!!  I’ve gotten used to driving  in Rocky Mountain National Park in recent years though.  The mountains are overpowering, more so than the ocean for me, but they have their own magic..and then there are the valleys and canyons and white water rushing over boulders, all frothy and exuberant!

Vacationing to remember vacations

In the summer of 2007, my sister and I took an excellent road trip, back to the place we vacationed when I was a tween.  My mom, sister and I would drive to Deltaville, VA where my aunt lived and spend two weeks visiting and vacationing.  My dad got a vacation from vacations and stayed home.  So, in 2007, sis and I retraced, remembered and revisited!

Crabs!!!  My aunt and uncle lived just outside of Deltaville, on Chesapeake Bay.  My uncle had a boat and my cousin’s husband was a 100% full-time fisherman, so…fishing and eating fish and crab were huge parts of our time there.  Deltaville has become quite the vacation and yachting spot now, but we were still able to find some of our old haunts, including a little market with glass cases full of crabs.

This is Taylor’s eatery, where the line to get in on Friday nights seemed like forever when I was a tween.  Back then, in the old days, it was a huge deal to go out to eat at a restaurant, but we usually did it once in the two weeks we were there.

They had excellent summer picnics at my aunt and uncle’s church,  but I remember Sunday morning services being hot and long and punctuated by the choir singing “arrrrmennnnn” (in my younger days I still thought regional accents were quite funny!)


Stingray Point was still to be found, but the boats seemed much more luxurious in 2007.  I never had the boat “obsession” that my brother and sister have, but I do enjoy looking at them from the shore, and mostly when we ran over to the nearby marinas when I was a kid, I remember the wonderful smell of fish and the sounds of the crabs scratching around in their traps.

My aunt and uncle’s house is vastly remodeled now by its new owners, but sis and I were able to catch a peek of it and also see the neighbor’s house built like a lighthouse on stilts.

We also wandered down the road through the tall pine trees to the beach and little beach cottages where we used to go to watch the sunset.

Ahhhh, vacation…water….beach…sunsets… was a good trip down memory lane!

What makes a “vacation”?

So I am looking through my old vacation pictures and it occurred to me that defining vacation might be a little problematic.   I guess  I am conditioned by what my dad considered to be summer vacation.  It was always a road trip that had been elaborately planned out and involved traveling from place to place for at least a week if not two.

Here are some photos from a winter vacation my sister and I took to Florida.

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My sister and I both love water birds, I love the beach (in case you hadn’t figured that out already!) and sunsets should always be a part of any vacation, right?  In fact, a good way to feel like you’ve had a mini vacation is to get yourself outside and watch the sunset, right there in your own home town!

Where did the summer go?

Ooof, it’s time to get blogging, thesis or no thesis!  One reason I love vacations so much is that no one can take them away from you or change them, they don’t rot or break or wear out.  So the highlight of most of my summers is vacation, and if I had a vacation, I never feel like I just “lost” the summer.  So maybe I’ll post for a few days about vacations past.  I’ll apologize ahead of time for any repeat photos.

Here are some of my top pics from summer vacation 2010: Road Trip to Florida and Home Through New Orleans

The main reason (excuse!) for going to Florida was doing an interview for my thesis research.  And New Orleans?  Well, I’d never been there before, and since it was such big news with the BP oil disaster, I thought it would be interesting for this social scientist to spend a little bit of time just checking it out.  I saw no evidence of oil in Florida, the beach there was fantastic!  The stay in N.O. was brief, but I was tickled by the Mardi Gras beads hanging from the trees, enjoyed seeing the French Quarter and made it to a wetlands called Bayou Sauvage.  There were no cleaning crews, no activity of any kind, but I do think I saw oil and its damage in some of the marsh.

I love the pastel colors used on beach structures in Florida!
No signs of oil spill here!
Mardi Gras beads hanging from the trees in N.O.
Such a fragile but important ecosystem
This, I assumed, was oil and its effect on plant life in the wetlands

Country Breakfast

I love the internet!  I figured we could hit Chattanooga, TN for breakfast on our way to Florida, did a Google search and found this cute place, Aretha Frankenstein’s. Just looking at the menu was enough to make my mouth water for days before we left.  Once there though, I passed on the pancakes and waffles….all I could think about was grits! Don’t ask me why….think just slightly cheesy, warm, kind of bland, comfort food….and the apple smoked/cured bacon was awesome too.  And did we have trouble finding this little neighborhood gem nestled not far from the revived downtown?  Not at all, thanks to the Garmin GPS girl “Jill”!    Garmin has revolutionized travel for me!

I almost forgot….

Ok, one more post about the Poland trip! I forgot to include some very important photos. We had a wonderful visit with these folks, and tons of fun laughing about the atomic fireballs I brought as gifts for the kids. “Atomic fireballs?” you say. What was I thinking? Well, I wanted to bring some “American” candy as gifts, and I knew American chocolate doesn’t really compare to European….I bought tootsie rolls, but was afraid they would melt somehow in my bag, so I brought sweet tarts and atomic fireballs! Yes, you are right, not really a good choice. Next time….maybe gummy worms?! Anyway, they served a lovely tea!

Saying goodbye to Poland

This will be my last post about my trip to Poland this summer to visit my son. I ended up making a full circle, flying out of Warsaw where I started. We spent one night with this man and his dog! His wife and kids were back home in the UK for a summer visit. He was a great cook and I appreciated their hospitality and the room to spread out my stuff for one last repacking!

I have to say my trip was perfectly wonderful in every way, from the flight on United Airlines to the Polish people, the hotels and food, the beautiful old cities and countryside, the trains, buses, and trams, all the cute puppy dogs, the weather, the flowers and the Polish air! I met a lot of wonderful friends and was on the receiving end of so much hospitality.

I truly hope I get to go back again next year!