Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Posts Tagged ‘Vacation!!’


Posted by Lissa on September 28, 2010

Since Mike’s folks live in Florida, I’ve visited there — oh, at least five or six times during the last decade.  And, to date, I had NEVER SEEN A FLORIDA GATOR.  I developed a very annoying habit of peering eagerly into every body of water we passed — be it pond, lake, river, or large puddle — while hopefully piping, “Gator??”

Well, dammit, I finally saw my gators!!!

They had a little alligator near the front just for me:

We were treated to an exhibition of alligator wrestling:

We got two packets of hot dogs to throw to the gators. And then proceeded to nail them DIRECTLY IN THE HEAD and they STILL wouldn’t get them. The big white birds standing on them as they floated around were MUCH quicker, more agile and more likely to eat the damn dogs than the gators were. I was heckling and yelling, “C’mon, gators! You’re at the top of the frickin’ food chain! Don’t let those birds steal your food, EAT THE BIRD!!!”

(We later closed the Circle of Life by eating Alligator Nuggets at the cafe. They tasted like overcooked chicken nuggets that had been misted with tuna water.)

Oh, and the birds were insanely fearless:

(As befits birds that live with alligators.)

We cheered and hollered “Jump!!” as instructed during the Gator Jumping show:

Naturally, we had to stop at the petting zoo, where we fed pellets to some VERY. DETERMINED. GOATS.

Two thumbs up for Gatorland, where Lissa finally got her full quota of gators!

P.S. Oh, almost forgot — as promised:

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Chickens — the non-counting thereof

Posted by Lissa on July 19, 2010

There’s just a possibility that we might be moving.

PROS: Warmer weather, cheaper property, lower cost-of-living, political climate more in tune with my current thinking (which includes more gun-friendly attitude), closer to Mike’s family

CONS: Farther away from family and friends, job-shopping for me (and oh, it’s a great economy for that, is it not???), moving (which is ALWAYS a horrific pain in the butt), more gun regulations (remember that once you get an A license here there are very few restrictions on where you can’t carry)

Mike flew to the potential Lissaville South on Thursday and I followed him Friday night.  We spent Saturday wandering around and trying to get a bead on the town.

How does one assess a possible hometown?

Well, you try to hit the hot spots.

First on our list was the library.  (No, not the one belonging to The World’s Most Dangerous Librarian.  A different one.) We don’t often go the library, except to vote — sorry, we’re all about Kindle books nowadays — but I feel like it offers a good feel for the locals.  A dirty, dinky library full of VC Andrews and no Twain would be worrisome.  In this case, a small but bright and clean library with a decent selection and perhaps twenty kids (with their parents) gave me good vibes.

Next on the list? The local animal shelter, of course!  (Bet you thought I was gonna say the gun range.  You did, didn’t you??  Mike checked one out the day before I got there, so we concentrated on Fiction and Furry Friends for my day about town.)  The local no-kill shelter was clean, welcoming, well-appointed and home to about fifty adorable cats.  At the Lissaville Shelter only volunteers can open cages; if a customer is interested in a particular cat we’ll put them together in a petting pen.  Here, though, we were allowed to open cages and cuddle.  So I spent the ten minutes of our visit wandering around with a mini-Rajah kitten cradled in my arms.  Purr!

Next up? Farmer’s market! We didn’t try the barbecue, crepes or nuts — but I *wanted* to 🙂  I checked fruit and vegetable prices — which varied from reasonable to Holy Cow Awesome — and found the biggest and weirdest cantaloupes I’d ever seen:

Um, they don’t look like that at my local Stop ‘n’ Shop.  They also don’t cost a buck.  Mutant Cantaloupes, yay!!

We also spent a good portion of the day driving around and looking at houses-for-sale.  I went to my very first open house! As I wandered around opening closets and gaping over bathtubs, all I could think of was that scene from Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven.  You know the one — where Norma and her realtor friend barge into a house to get the jump on the RE/MAX folks, only it turns out the sign adverstised a HORSE for sale, not a HOUSE.  😉  Oh, and also? The Zillow.com app ROCKS. You can drive down a neighborhood and scan the houses for sale, zero in on one, and learn

– how many bedrooms/bath/sq feet
– how much they’re asking
– how much it sold for in the last go-round (even if that was fifteen years ago)
– how much similar houses sold for in the last few weeks

Living in the future is AWESOME.

We also checked the local mall.  For kittens.

Those darlings are a dead ringer for my poor little Jolie (RIP) and Rajah before he grew gargantuan!  There was also a leashed pit bull available for adoption — a beautiful copper-colored animal named Diamond, who was a perfect blend of goo, adoration and begging friendliness.  I enjoyed the reaction when a fawning couple asked after his breed and learned he was a pit bull.  Man, they’ve got such a bad rap — it just ain’t fair.  (And no, we didn’t go to the mall to adopt animals; it just so happened they had an adoption event going on at the local pet store.  I attract these things like you wouldn’t believe.)

Anyway.  It was a lovely visit and I’ve got a good feeling about this. I’ll keep y’all posted 🙂

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Polar bears and tanlines

Posted by Lissa on July 15, 2010

Did you know that polar bears like watermelons?

Mike, LilBro1, LilBro2 and I spent an afternoon at the Toronto Zoo.  Despite the fact that those meanies wouldn’t let me pet the ocelot, cuddle the red panda OR sneak the tree kangaroo into my purse, we had a fabulous time.  The polar bear tank was one of the major highlights — we walked by just as the keepers threw in their afternoon snacks.  One by one, the polar bears dove into the water and climbed out holding a watermelon in their jaws.

(We all know polar bears are big, but to see them moving about while nonchalantly holding an entire watermelon in their mouths — well, it’s a sight!)

The bears just RIPPED into those melons.  It was melon CARNAGE, baby.  It was also a nice demonstration of strength — they’d shove their noses into the hole and the rind would just flake away.  The red juice added a nice touch of carnivorous verisimilitude — without making any small children cry.  😉

It was so cool, in fact, that I easily ignored the zookeeper’s lecture on teh global warming and zomg zeh polar bears are starving to death and you people are ruining Mother Gaia! I rather expect that type of lecture in this setting, though I wish I could have sent them over to my friend Borepatch’s site.  (My mini-take on global warming? I think it’s a crock.  The earth has been much warmer and much cooler than it presently is.  There’s a big honkin’ fireball up there in the sky that is much more likely to have caused any temperature change — which is still unproved — than Man.  To assume that we are killing the earth smacks of ridiculous arrogance.  It was here LONG before we were.  It’ll be here long after we’re gone.  Oh, and it appears that polar bear populations are increasing, so I’m not losing sleep at night over the pretty aminals.  Just sayin’.)

Anyway.  We had a lovely, lovely time, and a nice day, and a lot of walking, and a bit of sun.  And therein lies the problem.

May I offer an unsolicited piece of advice, dear readers?  Yes?  Why thanks!  To wit:

When one plans to walk around for hours during a sunny afternoon, one should not pair a v-neck shirt with a lack of sunscreen:

V-neck = Area of Concern!

Yeah.  Awesome, huh?!?  I hope to hell it fades.  Otherwise I’m going to be playing with fake tanners and tanning booths.  ‘Cause that up there?  Super-sexy!

I’ve also got a nice sandal strap tanline across my ankle, but I find that less troubling:

Pride goeth before sunblock, y’all!

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Trip to Toronto

Posted by Lissa on July 14, 2010

I’m back! I’m back!

Good morning everyone!  I hope you had a good weekend! We flew back from Toronto yesterday afternoon.  Thankfully, the flight home was much nicer than the flight back, for two reasons.  The less important reason is that we flew direct coming home –Toronto straight to Boston.  The flights on the way there connected in Montreal and the mean security people took my manicure scissors.

It’s not like they thought I was a threat.  I mean, these scissors were in a $2-manicure kit I keep in my purse.  They were about an inch long and flimsy as hell!  Also, security hadn’t finished laughing at me because I was carrying cookies, but more on that in a moment.

TSA DUDE: It looks like there’s a pair of scissors in there.

LISSA: Um, they’re manicure scissors.  They’re tiny.  Really?

TSA DUDE: Yup, no scissors of any kind.

LISSA: But they made it through security in Boston!

TSA DUDE: I’m sure they did!  It’s a ridiculous rule, it makes no sense, they’re obviously not dangerous, but I absolutely have to take them.

LISSA: Um, okay.  D’ye want me to dig them out?

TSA DUDE: Absolutely not!  You can’t touch them, it absolutely must be me!

Meh.  It was an irritant, but the guy had a good sense of humor and that helped.  He certainly found my cookies funny.

About that — I decided the night before to bake cookies for my awesome grandmother‘s nurses at the nursing home.  We usually buy them a container of cookies while we’re up in Canada, but I’m much better — and quicker — at baking than I used to be, so why not? Also, it’s a status thing — the fact that Japo’s American granddaughter baked cookies for the nurses and brought them all the way from Boston shows how dutiful I am, which reflects well on her.  It’s a duty and status thing.

Since they’re the easiest, quickest and tastiest, I made my usual PB/Hershey kiss tartlets.  The only problem? They have to be stored upright and they can’t be crushed. They can’t even be stacked until the chocolate is absolutely hardened again.  Well, necessity is the mother of invention:

And this is where Lissa proves she’s not an engineer.  Or a builder.  That whole “measure twice, cut once” thing?  Yeah.  No.  Not when it’s a paper plate one is cutting, and one has spares.  And also not when one is tired, strung out and nervous.  Nope, her method is to cut, and then try it; cut, and try the fit once more; and then cut again.  It’s scientific, baby!

The flimsy cookie shelves obviously wouldn’t hold them in place if the container tipped over.  That meant that every time I went through security I had to pull them out of my purse and stick them in a bin.  That meant that every TSA guy did a double-take, laughed at me, and asked if he could have some.  Oh well — at least they didn’t think I was a terrorist!

The flight from Montreal to Toronto was . . . DIFFICULT.

You know how, sometimes, a group can walk onto a plane and just give off an air of competence?  How its members can instantly give off a vibe of efficient, organized jet-setting?

This was nothing like that.

We lingered too long in the airport lounge and had to dash to make our flight; the announcers declared that “all passengers should be on board” just as we jogged up.  We breathlessly swept onto the plane and settled into our seats, rejoicing that the third seat in the row was empty.

And then.  And THEN. This family walked on board.

They couldn’t figure out their seats.

They couldn’t figure out where to put their carry-on.

They couldn’t figure out how to juggle their enormous plastic shopping bags full of loot.

And when the father finally plopped himself down into our row?

It was kind of like this (scroll to about 1:10):

The REEK from this guy . . . it wafted in palpable WAVES of B.O., killing all life and sucking out souls.  Flowers were dying. Children were crying. (So was I.) We put our air spouts on high but every time he moved — or worse yet, crossed his arms behind his head — we’d get a fresh assault of his stink-bomb and start gagging.  It was THAT BAD.

They make earplugs.  Why don’t they make nose-plugs???

I’m off to shower now.  Would that Stink-Dude had done the same!

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More Disney!

Posted by Lissa on October 7, 2009

Funny thing — I absolutely HATED roller-coasters when I was growing up.  They scared me to death and I’d miserably whimper the whole time if I had to ride one.  Sometime in high school it changed over, and now they rock my socks.

Outside the Rockin' Rollercoaster

We went over to Disney Hollywood Studios the second day and, thanks to the super-short lines, accomplished our business in short order:  We rode the Tower of Terror once and the Rockin’ Roller Coaster twice.

Adrenalin rush accomplished, we went to Ireland for a snack:


That’s right, the International Food & Wine Festival was on at Epcot.  We shared a tiny lobster-and-scallop pie (topped with whipped potatoes instead of pastry — weird), a little cheese plate and a petite cup of honey mead.  We didn’t want to eat too much before Mission Space!  (Weer’d Beard — of COURSE we went Orange.  What do you take us for?  😉 )

We visited Nemo and his aquarium . . .

Cuttlefish says, "Don't let Mario Battali near me!"

Cuttlefish says, "Don't let Mario Battali near me!"

. . . and then met up with Mike’s parents, who live perhaps an hour away from Disney and therefore have annual passes.  The four of us wandered about, eating and drinking and stopping to watch the occasional show.  (Such as the Voices of Liberty concert, a snippet of which I posted Monday.)  We also stopped to watch a show with a “chef”, his acrobatic assistant, and some chairs, and I won’t lie — this show scared the HELL out of me.


The chairs didn’t seem to interlock in any way, and even so — the chef would occasionally “grab” one to hoist himself up or down and it was all I could do not to run screaming.

We had a lovely day, truly.  We ate and drank samples from places all over the world, and walked until my feet almost dropped off.  (Four people is a good number to hit a food and wine festival, BTW; it lets you easily divide dishes so you can get a taste of everything without gorging yourself.)

Let’s finish the post with a fashion show, shall we?

Mike is rather a-moose'd

Mike is rather a-moose'd

I'm not a stinky-head, YOU'RE a stinky-head!

I'm not a stinky-head, YOU'RE a stinky-head!

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I have climbed the mountain, and it was good

Posted by Lissa on October 5, 2009

By “the mountain,” I mean Expedition Everest, of course!

"telescope" view of "Everest"

Mike and I had a fabulous time at Disney!  We flew in Thursday morning and hit Magic Kingdom in the afternoon.  We posed in front of Cinderella’s castle, rode the Carousel and made ourselves sick-dizzy in the spinning teacups:

Spinning teacups!

Seriously, we were staggering like sots by the time we got off!

Due to the wretched economy and it being the off-season (i.e., no school holiday), the lines were CRAZY short.  It was rare that we had to wait more than ten minutes for ANYTHING.  The longest part of the line was usually walking up to the kick-off point, not standing around.  We amused ourselves in the Haunted Mansion and did Splash Mountain twice:

We also had a weird encounter with some Michael Jackson Mickey Mouse’s (Mickey Mice?):

Oddly pale Mickeys

Weird-looking, right? Apparently they’re made of recycled materials or something.

I know, I know, this is The Most Boring Post Ever.  Shut up.  I’ll try and make tomorrow’s more interesting; but in the meantime; here’s a treat for your Monday morning:

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A girl and her mouse.

Posted by Lissa on October 1, 2009

Off to Florida, and the taxi is due to pick me up at butt-crack AM.  (Technically, that would be FOUR in the morning, but really, who’s counting??)  I’ve cued up a Caturday post and I hope to post something from Disney, but in the meantime — y’all behave yourselves, and don’t y’all make a mess or you’ll be in deep kimchi!!

Disney World - Oct 2005 (54)

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