Category Archives: Adventure

Islamorada, the trip of a Lifetime

For most of our married life, Hubs and I aspired to take a dream vacation to a tropical locale. I think the seed was planted in our romantic brains when we were newlyweds and adopted the Beach Boys song “Kokomo” as our anthem.

 

When times got tough like when our two spawn were expressing their teenage angst by slamming bedroom doors or reminding us how many days till they turned 18 when they could fly out of our godforsaken coop,  or when the demands of work and keeping our home functioning in good order amped up our stress levels, we would often partake of sharing our daydreams of the perfect beachy vacation for two.

Funnily enough, and despite the lyrics of this song clearly commanding us to visit the Florida Keys, this was not actually our first choice. We first considered a trip to Hawaii (still very much on my travel bucket list). That was determined a “no go” once we saw how long the flight would be and how freaking expensive it would also be. I mean, we had surely saved up ample money over the years for this vacay, but we were most certainly not willing to spend the bulk of it on a flight to get to and fro.

That’s when we did a little search on the Internet and found Islamorada. We booked 4 nights at Ocean House, a small but beautiful resort with great amenities, the best of which was the close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.

Their couldn’t have been a better location for us to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. For reals. 

This vacation was beyond wonderful. The staff greeted us upon our arrival with a cold adult beverage and chatted with us about where we were from and what types of experiences we wished to have while in Islamorada. The cabin we stayed in was spic and span and featured a sliding glass door that led to a covered patio, complete with two oversized lounging chairs overlooking the property and the Gulf just beyond it. We seriously enjoyed our personally delivered breakfasts of fresh fruit cups, freshly made  pastries, and hot coffee each morning while lounging in these chairs, pondering that day’s itinerary.

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Looking at the Gulf on Ocean House property

During the day, we spent time lollygagging on the beach at the Ocean House and swimming in their spacious pool. At night we would sit around the fire pit on the property and chat with other couples vacationing there from places like New York state and the U.K. Or we’d take a soak in the hot tub, which was next to that beautiful pool.

When we were feeling more adventurous, we went out exploring the Keys, like the day we swam with the dolphins or the day we visited Key West and got our picture taken next to the southern most point in America. Or the day we went on a charter boat for some deep sea fishing.

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Hubs looking fine with his dimples and new hat while deep sea fishing
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So glad we got this pic. God only knows why I felt the need to carry such a big purse.

Since this vacation, Hubs and I have often talked about going back there someday. We aren’t necessarily the type of people who vacation at the same places we’ve been to before. Because we like exploring places that are brand new to us, together. We think it makes life much more interesting. However, Islamorada is one of two places (the other being Washington D.C. but it almost doesn’t count because Hubs has to go there twice a year for work and I’m a really good “tagalonger”) we both would happily visit again.

Except it wouldn’t be as magical or special as it was the first time. It just wouldn’t. Especially now. 

Present Day Islamorada

Hurricanes suck. Climate change sucks. My heart goes out to all of the people living there now. I am eternally grateful that Hubs and I got to experience it when we did.

I am equally grateful that despite the horrific damage Irma left in it’s wake, the dolphins seemed to have come out unscathed.

Theater of the Sea animals safe

 

 

 

Solo in D.C.

Recently, I had the good fortune of visiting one of my favorite cities, Washington, D.C. I tagged along with Hubs, who had to be there for several days for work.

Whilst Hubs was occupied with giving presentations, attending meetings, and working his IT magic to serve his agency’s mission of saving American lives from weather calamities, I took the opportunity to explore the D.C. area solo despite my anxiety about getting lost in the city or getting mugged or kidnapped.

I was inspired to embark on sightseeing in D.C. solo in part through reading Caitlin Kelly’s blog, Broadside.  Caitlin is far more worldly than I, to say the least.  She inspired me to get out into D.C. all by my lonesome, instead of staying in the safety of our hotel room in Silver Spring, MD, where I would no doubt be reading, writing, taking a dip or two in the pool, and watching movies on cable. All things I can do at home. I figured, if she could travel solo outside the U.S., I could certainly manage a couple of days on my own in D.C. And…YOLO, right?

I, of course, took a number of pictures on my D.C. adventure. So here’s my little “show and tell” of my time spent in our nation’s capital:

This is a picture of a picture in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. I happened upon it in the Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice exhibit. It appears this lovely sea otter is praying. Or perhaps simply meditating?  Either way, this picture speaks to me spiritually. It’s very Zen, don’t you think?

 

 

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This one is from the American Democracy exhibit found in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. As a proud feminist and firm believer that women should play a much larger role in American politics, I couldn’t not share this picture.

 

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Let’s please put a woman in the white house in my lifetime mkay?

 

This is the first regal looking building I laid my eyes on after stepping off the metro. When I realized what it was, I wished with all my heart that I had a dozen eggs on hand.

 

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Trump International Hotel

Anyone recognize this staircase I’m about to climb? I was told on good authority (our friend John with whom we were dining in Georgetown that evening) that this was the staircase from which the priest was thrown at the end of the movie “The Exorcist”. It’s safe to say that I was more than happy to be climbing up it as opposed to down.

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My backside as I approached the famous staircase

This picture was taken from my perch at a nearby table in Martin’s Tavern. It has a rich history and is known to be the oldest dining establishment in the D.C. area. JFK proposed to Jackie here. The host, Mike, mingles around the tables of diners telling tales of the place. Dining here was indeed one of the highlights of our trip.

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Martin’s Tavern, Georgetown. Standing is Mike, the host with the most

This one was taken as I, covered in sweat due to the ridiculous heat and high humidity (not to mention having just reached 11,000 steps on my fitbit by 3 p.m.), leaned against a cement block and delighted in watching the youngins playing in the water feature without any cares in the world. A delightful break at that moment in time. I was thisclose to jumping in and frolicking around with those kiddos. But I figured it was weird enough for the parents of these children that I was all by myself taking this picture. 

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Georgetown Waterfront Park

And then there are those pics I only took in my mind. Like the one I saw through the window on the metro of graffiti framing the foliage on the other side of the track. To me it represented the beauty of nature and the grit of the city living in harmony. Or the one of my fabulous meal of lump crabmeat, fresh mushrooms, and squash in hollandaise sauce atop english muffins (known as the “Tavern Treat”) at Martin’s Tavern. Or the one of the beautiful mahogany bar housed at J.Paul’s in Georgetown. The bartender shared that the bar itself was formerly housed in the Chicago stockyards and rumor has it that Al Capone himself had enjoyed a beverage or two at it back in the day. J.Paul’s also features antique brass elevator doors brought over from New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Simply gorgeous.

And so it begins

Hubs and I will be leaving this week for a road trip to visit family and friends in our beloved states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. I may or may not have opportunities to do any blog posts while we are away, but I will get right back into it upon our return to our still new Colorado home.

I have quite a mixed bag of emotions heading into this adventure: excitement, anxiety, and guilt are at the top of the list. I’m excited about the opportunities so see all those people I love and miss so much. I’m excited about presenting my mother in law, sister in law, and a dear friend their birthday gifts (all are in the month of July). I’m excited to give my dad a box of his favorite treats when we visit him in his new home. I’m excited to spend time visiting our friends at our favorite watering holes, restaurants, and backyards. I’m beyond excited to see our eldest daughter and our grandson.

I’m anxious knowing that this will be the first time at my parent’s home with mom living there alone.  It’s going to be so strange. I’m anxious about how my dad will react to our presence, as I’ve been made aware that he is farther into dementia than he was when I last saw him in April. I like to think he will know who Hubs and I are, but what if he doesn’t? I don’t know how to prepare emotionally for this possibility. I don’t want to cry in front of him because I think that will be confusing and upsetting for him. I must for his sake keep it together. Dementia is such a bastard.

The guilt will inevitably sneak it’s way into my brain too, I expect. Here I am, living the dream in wonderful, beautiful Colorado while my family is experiencing the hardship of my parents aging and the stress that comes with caregiving. I’m an unemployed (by choice for now anyway) housewife (domestic goddess?) with the time to pursue my love of creative writing via this blog and enjoy a decent social life.  Currently my life is virtually stress-free, which is a new state of being for me. I worry that my family might think “Who does she think she is?”.

But go forth we will. Much time and energy has been spent by Hubs and I in the planning of this vacation. That fact ought to optimize the chance that things will go smoothly.

I will savor the good times, which I have faith will be plentiful. Like having chats with Hubs in the car about the past, the present, and what hopes we have for our future. Listening to Al Franken’s audio book “Giant of the Senate”. Listening to the plethora of channels on our Sirius XM. Sitting in motel hot tubs with a cold beer at the end of a long day in the car. Trying new restaurants. Sitting out on my parent’s front porch reminiscing about the good old times with mom and Hubs. Morning walks along the shores of Lake Superior. Taking the dumpling (our 3 year old grandson) out for ice cream and to the zoo. Splashing in the hotel pool with him and reading him the Sesame Street book I recently bought. Having a nice long, heart to heart chat with my beloved eldest daughter.  Sitting out on my in laws deck, chatting the afternoon away sipping wine and smelling the barbeque my father in law is cooking on the grill. Having girl time with my sweet sister in law, laughing and shopping our way through Stillwater, Mn. Catching up with dear friends while sampling craft beers. Spending time at one of my very favorite places on earth: my sister’s home on the Baptism River. These simple things in life are what makes it worth living.

I am so fortunate to have all these people that I love so much and who love me back. I hope all of you, dear readers, are as blessed as I. Happy summer everyone!