Saturday, March 25, 2006

Saturday Six - Episode 102

1. How confrontational are you in real life, and how does your real-life persona compare with your blogging persona?  I am the least confrontational person I know.  I will go to practically any lengths to avoid confrontation of any kind.  My real-life persona compared with my blogging persona?  What you read is what you get, folks.

2. Other than the food itself, what makes your favorite restaurant your favorite?  Ambiance, service, affordable wine list and background music

3. You buy an iPod: what's the first tune you're likely to put on it?  This is not a likely scenario but how about "Flesh for Fantasy" by Billy Idol for starters.  Why?  Because I like it!

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What's the most important quality of your (ideal) significant other?

Kindness is most important in a boyfriend/girlfriend. You want someone who will go through everything with you - the best moments and the worst, and all of those other moments in between. You love to be able to say anything to your partner, and have them say anything to you. You are able to be extremely close with your partner for that reason.

Oh yeah!

5. If you had to choose one or the other, which would you rather do: hear gossip or be the first to reveal some juicy piece of gossip?  I try to avoid the entire gossip cycle but hey, I'm only human so I'll pick hearing gossip.  It stops right there; you won't hear it from me.  More often than not, I'm usually "out of the loop" on a general basis.  Fine with me.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #85 from Barb: If you had a magic feather (my Daddy Do carries several in his pocket) and this magic feather could make you unbelievably attractive OR unbelievably intelligent, which would you choose, and why?  At this point in my life, I would choose to be unbelievably intelligent so I could secure a well-paying job, make a lot of money in a hurry and retire at a young age. 


Monday, March 6, 2006

Sunday Seven - Episode 27

Name up to seven books you own that you've read more than once.

1.  The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

2.  The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

3.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

4.  Maggie Now by Betty Smith

5.  The Legacy (aka A Town Like Alice) by Nevil Shute

6.  The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg

7.  The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier

And many, many more.  I reread books a lot.  There are so many books that suit a mood I'm in much like there are films to rewatch when I feel a certain way.  I have to force myself to read new material and this is something I've been trying to do lately.  It's nice to have old friends handy by, however.





Friday, March 3, 2006

An Adventure of the Aquatic Kind

Where does one begin to describe a wonderful weekend spent in a completely new place? Several months ago my daughter told me that she and her husband were planning to "kidnap" me and take me somewhere with them for a weekend sometime in the near future. The destination was to be a surprise. It didn't remain a surprise very long though because a short time back, my granddaughter asked, "Are you goin' to the Monterey Aquarium with us, Granma?" Hmm, I thought. This could be a major clue as to our destination. And, of course, it was. I was delighted. My daughter and her little family have made several trips to the Aquarium and when they tell me of all the wonderful things they see there, I always wish I could've gone too. The big draw for me was knowing they had a wonderful sea otter exhibit and anyone who knows me well knows that I adore otters, both sea and river.

Last weekend I was picked up and swept away for my surprise weekend, their treat. I was primed to enjoy every aspect of the trip. Even though I was offered the front seat I opted to sit in the back with my grandchildren. Already at the tender ages of five and six, I knew they were good travelers and would be equipped with some diversions to keep them occupied. We listened to kid-friendly music and played a great traveling game of "who can find (fill in the blank) first" and the person who does suggests the next item. For the most part I simply enjoyed riding along, looking out the window and listening to the interaction of the family. My son-in-law's an excellent driver, I felt perfectly safe and it was wonderful to mentally drift in and out of the conversation as I chose.

In due time we arrived in Monterey and checked into our motel. I was thrilled to discover that I was to spend the night in an additional room with a bed, a TV and remote of my own and door to close for privacy if I wished. This was a huge treat and I stayed up late the first night watching television to my heart's content. We arrived in the early afternoon and since we wanted to spend an entire day at the aquarium, we bought our tickets for Sunday and spent most of Saturday afternoon wandering in and out of shops, visiting Cannery Row and conducting ourselves like the tourists we were. We didn't go out for lunch because we had stopped at an IHOP for breakfast on the way and I, for one, was still full and we wanted to save our appetites for dinner. They assured me we were going to a wonderful place with great food so I wanted to be ready.

While wandering down around the Cannery, we came to an open area to look out at the sea. There were telescopes to deposit quarters into to check out items of interest in the distance and it was through one of these that I saw my first glimpse of a sea otter, lazily floating on its back wrapped in kelp looking very much like all the otters on the pages of calendars my husband has given me down through the years. It was wonderful! I felt like I was a little kid seeing something I'd loved and thought about for a long time but thought I'd never see. If I'd been told to pile back into the car to return home then and there, seeing that otter would've been enough for me. Thankfully, this was not the case. As the evening approached, our hunger returned and we headed for where my daughter and her husband were taking us for dinner. Turns out it was the restaurant where they had their first dinner out as man and wife on the first day of their honeymoon. The food was excellent, the children were well behaved, the ambiance was warm and cozy and I ate more than I generally do in a week!

Sunday morning arrived and we devoured a quick breakfast of dismal motel-room coffee (it was hot and provided a jolt of caffeine (its only redeeming features) and donuts bought the night before at a corner market. Once again, the donuts were a treat because I never eat donuts and my absolute favorite, glazed buttermilk, was part of the mix. We arrived at the aquarium promptly before 10 am and the first thing we headed for was the sea otter exhibit. We were there in plenty of time to watch them being fed and interacting with their keepers. I could've stayed there the entire time, just watching them. However, the Monterey Aquarium is packed with things to see and do and I think that by the time we left around 5pm, we'd seen and done it all. Their jellyfish collection is extraordinary and I never realized there were so many different kinds and how beautiful and delicate they were. The assortment of fish, the tidal pool areas and the way in which these creatures were showcased was wonderful. We took a break in the early afternoon and I was treated to lunch at Bubba Gump's; a tourist attraction for sure but the place was full and lively and the food was excellent. Again, I ate like a pig and enjoyed every morsel!

The day before when we were browsing the various shops, I was looking for a special souvenir to bring home to remember this trip for a long time to come. I was looking for something otterish in the form of a pin or earrings, something like that. I found a pin which was lovely but I didn't buy it immediately since I knew I'd have a chance to return the following day. I've never been an impulse buyer and I wanted to be very sure of my final purchase. As it turned out, I ended up buying something far and away from a frivolous pin which I knew deep down I'd never really have much of an opportunity to wear. The weather, as predicted, turned cold and extremely wet on Sunday and I found a reversible jacket, fleece on one side, water repellent on the other, with a tasteful little otter patch on the upper front of the raincoat side and the same otter, albeit larger, on the middle of the back of the fleece side with a detachable hood. I had been looking for just such a jacket for work for some time. I needed one that was long enough to cover my scrubs tops, not too warm nor too light and a hood to pop over my head when the rain fell. This jacket was exactly right and at a great price too. I bought it and donned it then and there and it has already become a favorite possession. Interesting to note: I must have a "thing" for coats and jackets because three of my favorite articles of clothing fall into that category.

This wonderful weekend came to a close and we drove home in the wet, dark evening. My mind was full of all I had seen and done. I enjoyed being part of the microcosm of my daughter's family. I enjoyed spending a weekend free and detached from my "normal" life which is, I know full well a most wonderful one, but to experience something a bit different is always a pleasant diversion occasionally. Rain was on tab for the entire week following so my souvenir was most welcome. I had a marvelous time and saw lots of incredible creatures that share this earth with us but aren't usually seen. I think, perhaps, the most wonderful part of all was that my daughter and her husband, my son-in-law, even thought to invite me to join them on such a trip and did. This in itself is a huge compliment on many levels and I hope they realize how very much I enjoyed their company and all that I saw during those magical 38 hours I spent with them. Thank you so much. It was a most excellent trip...better than I ever imagined.