Thursday, February 19, 2009

Discoveries made.....

Oh I am SO not doing well at the blogging thing! You would think that as much as I love to talk and write, I would be tearing this up. But no - illness, problems, busyness.... all sorts of reasons/excuses for why I'm not doing one of the things I enjoy most - writing. Have to find some "me time" in here somewhere!

Let me tell you about a recent thing that happened to us. My wonderful aunt and uncle blessed us with a trip to the Tampa/St Pete area recently. We stayed in a picturesque little coastal town called Treasure Island, and it was fantastic. This area is what I think about when I think of "old Florida" - the houses were all shades of pinks, blues, greens and yellows. Absolutely beautiful. The town is on an island, and many people walk or ride bikes. There are sidewalks and lanes specifically for that purpose, and many of the locals utilize them. Since it is on an island, there are beautiful bridges here and there, and lots of boats and sea birds. The main part of the little town is so pretty, with a bell tower in the center of the square. As I said, it is "old Florida" but so beautifully maintained, with new developments carefully blending with the old.

The children and I had such a wonderful, relaxing time. We didn't do anything special - played in the pool and walked on the beach. Found tons of shells - for this Alabama girl, that IS something special! We played miniature golf one night under a beautiful full moon and lots of stars. They had live alligators in certain areas of the course, and K was absolutely thrilled! She could not concentrate on playing because she was so excited about the 'gators!! E takes his golf playing very seriously (even the miniature kind!) and was not so thrilled with her inattention. :-) I guess it sounds boring to some, but it was nice to not have to "go, go, go" on this vacation. We relaxed. We talked. We laughed. We had fun!

We officially "took a break" from schooling for a little while, but of course learned so much while we were there. How can you keep from it?? We found a puffer fish which was dead, but we scooped it up and examined it closely - it's mouth looked like a bird's beak! We saw a clear jelly fish which had washed up, and of course were fascinated by the aforementioned seashells. There were thousands of them - it was incredible! We watched the sun set over the gulf every evening with all of the indescribable colors and lights that go with it. I'm still as thrilled as a child when the last bit of light - plop! - disappears into the water! The corals and pinks and oranges that were displayed were simply breathtaking. It was a magical moment of beauty and quiet reflection for us each evening. I'm not sure how anyone could doubt God's existence when witnessing such an event.

This was the first time any of us had flown, and I will tell you - I was NOT crazy about it! We had uneventful flights down, for which I was very thankful. The flights back were a little rougher, but not too bad. (We flew in on the same day as the plane crash in New York which killed everyone on board.) The safety of it is not really what bothered me. It was more the hassle and the discomfort of the trip that I did not care for. I am tall (5' 10", and on the plump side of chubby - being kind to myself there :-) and my son is 6' 5". We take up lots of space and there just is not "lots" of space on airplanes! But the realization I had on this trip is this: Road trips may be tiring and sometimes frustrating, but the trip to and from our destination is always a very important part of our vacation.

Being in the car together for long periods of time gives us a chance to talk and discuss things that we might see or hear along the way. There is a feeling of "we are in this together" that I enjoy. I also like being able to pack anything I want and not have to worry about airport security. (I like being able to stuff my dirty clothes into a plastic bag and not worry about some overzealous TSA guy going through my unmentionables!! Didn't happen to me, thank you Lord, but I have heard of it happening!) I like being able to carry a cooler stocked with drinks and snacks and enjoying them whenever we want.

I like being able to stop when we want to, and not rely on someone else to tell me when I can and can't eat/go potty/stretch my legs... whatever. As a homeschooler, I am not one to "follow the crowd" of course, and I am apparently just too independent for airline sheeple travel. Now don't get me wrong. I totally understand the need for airport security, and appreciate that measures are being taken, but still felt violated by the shoe removal, x-rays, metal detectors, taking away of my bottled water.... I felt guilty without opportunity to prove my innocence! I don't like that they make you throw away perfectly good bottled water, then charge 3.50 for the same thing inside the terminal. I wonder if they just take all those bottles they confiscate and sell them on "the other side"?? I did NOT like the fact that the sour faced TSA lady sent my purse on through the x-ray machine before I even got my shoes off, and that it sat unattended for several minutes!! You ladies all know how we are about our purses!! Our tickets, cash, credit cards, cell phone - a huge part of my life was in that purse, and she sent it on like it was nothing. I was SO not happy with her, but you feel that you can't voice your feelings because they will take you to that "little room" where terrible things probably happen!! :-} I was proud of myself for not telling her exactly what I thought - great self control on my part. Praying "Lord please keep me from slapping this mealy-mouthed person into next week!!" lol........

So, unless it is absolutely necessary, I don't see myself flying again any time soon. I'll take the road trips any day - me and the kids on the open road, enjoying each other, quarreling a little (OK - sometimes a lot :-), asking the Good Lord to keep us safe........ To me, THAT is a vacation! Besides, I need to get my money's worth out of that travel dvd player............... Have a great day! :-)

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