Digitize This, by Marlene Bruce



What I did on my Winter Vacation

December 24-31, 2003

For National Play Week (Boxing Day through New Years) Kevin and I drove down to Florida to visit with Russell and Shelly. We had a really fabulous time … thanks guys!

Our activities included kayaking, crystal singing bowls, yoga, three beaches, two walks and swinging in Rowlett Park, a daytime visit to Ybor City, various hippie stores, delicious vegan meals (home-made and Trang Viet Cuisine), peanut brittle, a drive by the H.B. Plant Museum, and almost non-stop discussion about politics and social issues. We had numerous other things we wanted to do, but only had three days. Maybe next time we'll get to the Dali Museum. On the way back to Maryland Kevin and I also stopped at Tybee Island in Georgia for our last chance at a beach this winter.

Select any of the following thumbnails to see more:

The National Christmas Tree and trains at the White House ellipse.

[Kevin, me, Russell and Shelly] … Kayaking on the river a half a block from Russell and Shelly's. It was a Saturday, the weather gorgeous, and we were the only people on the river (save one or two motorboats). Was everyone inside watching TV?

Among R&S's big exercise balls was a hard-to-find giant one (I feel like quoting ACDC here). A plethora of mobiles hang all over the house, not surprising since Russell is Looney Labs Chief Mobile Maker. Sunday afternoon Shelly had practice for a Crystal Singing Bowl concert, and were joined by her mom Karole and friend Ronnie. We sat and rang bowls, and at times the combined singing tones reverberated so loud Kevin—relaxing in the next room—reported feeling the house vibrate. I can't possibly describe the sound and sensation. (Their spanking-new furniture is sheet-covered to protect it from their two sweet doggies, Luka and Sam.)

While we didn't go inside this time, the Tampa Bay Hotel / H.B. Plant Museum has an interesting architectural mix of Southern Victorian with Moorish minarets. We had a pleasant walk along Picnic Island. The other Florida beaches we visited offered pretty sunsets. Those black dots in front of the last are birds on a sandbar.

Shelly is a yoga instructor and spent a little time over the three days showing us a few asanas, including partner poses. Shelly also made us yummy breakfasts (walnut banana pancakes!), during which I think I narrowed down what may be causing a food-allergy type reaction in me. We think it's either a certain type of poppy seed found in some breakfast breads, or lemon zest. Whatever it is seems to cause my mouth to get all prickly.

These last are the Tybee Island lighthouse and birds on the nearby beach. The birds with the long beaks are Terns.

Our new friend Alan had a pot-luck dinner for New Year's Eve, and what great fare everyone brought! I contributed Roasted Onions and Grilled Asparagus with Pine Nuts. Michelle and John, and their friends Mike and Sarah attended, as well as Alan's date Faith.