Thursday, April 25, 2013

Menopause The Musical

Seems like a hop skip ago that my posts were about traveling with little kids. Now I'm asking them to be our designated driver.

Two weeks ago I got to travel with my 82 year old mother in law (widow), 59 year old sister in law (widow), 55 year old sister (45 days shy of divorce finality), my younger daughter (17)), my saintly husband (54), and me (49). Can you picture it yet?

Said husband, who has been practicing diplomacy between women for over 23 years now, was brilliant enough to send us middle aged ladies out for a night of comedy and cocktails in Ft. Myers Florida. Oddly enough, he had seen "Menopause" by himself in Vegas a few months ago (poor boy) and thought of his sister.

At the Ft Myers Broadway Palm we were set up with seats that appeared to alternate every other, but we didn't realize this was dinner theater style seating as opposed to buffet then seating. So after some liquid courage in the form of Cosmos & Painkillers, we joined our new best friends for dinner & a show. I got the grand prize table with 7 women who came on a bus. They let me know right away what was tough, dry, tasteless, and edible. I was wondering if I was the only pre or peri menopausal woman in the audience. Let's just say, bedazzle sales are running hot on Florida's gulf coast.

As the show drew near, my family and I were able to draw close. We laughed until we almost peed our pants, fanned ourselves when no one else did, and had a great time tapping our feet to the familiar tunes.

As I spent another week in Florida with my sister, we often found ourselves referring to the inside jokes & tunes of Menopause: a sure sign that we had a grand time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Fun in Palm Desert CA

One of the things I spent last weekend doing was taking new photographs around our vacation condo out near Palm Springs CA. I'm not a professional photographer or videographer, but I think I captured the essence of our immediate area at Palm Valley Country Club outdoors.  The A/C in our vacation rental was cranking as the temperature rose over 100 F every day, and the pool shown here was empty save for us and some pool toys.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Solitude and a Foggy Day in Maine

It's just 48 hours since I arrived atmy summer rental in Maine.I've been doing this for over a decade, but this time is different. I came alone. Yes one glorious week to be responsible to just myself.

I have visions of reading late into the night, eating a bit here and there that creates little mess, long leisurely walks beach combing, Antique hunting for the fixtures I should have bought, and completing my rock/fairy garden.

Down poors the rain, in rolls the fog...this is June in Maine. Poor weather and all this has been marvelous. I've managed to break bread with a dear friend, finish an entire summer read "Summer Rental," if you must know, and spent the day beach combing at Reid State Beach.

As for wildlife, it abounds: big fat Robin, agile squirrels, a couple of does, a mamma wild turkey & two babies, nesting Piping Plovers, a jellyfish, and the best of the day: a seal pup basking on the rocks & seaweed.

Sometimes having nothing to do gives you the opportunity to do everything you want. I capped off the evening making a summer cocktail appropriate for Maine: Blueberry Cosmopolitan: 1 part blueberry vodka, 3 part cosmo mix, ice. Shake, drain, adjust to tast, serve with 3 fresh blueberries,

Do you have a favorite solitary getaway? Or a signature cocktail?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tea Travels

Green Tea Reminds me of a Korean Colleague
Strange how tea can take us to places, times, and memories. A few minutes ago I tweeted to a fellow traveller who was mentioning being calm without coffee that he might want to try Rooibos Tea, as I find it calming. The truth is, I find it calming because I associate the tea with a special bond shared with my older daughter. You see she introduced me to Rooibos tea while we were sharing a flat in Fish Hoek near Cape Town South Africa. She had discovered the tea (it's from a local redbush indigenous to the western Cape) while in the bush of Botswana. Sure I'd tried a variety mixed with other teas from Teavana back at the mall in Orange County, but it just wasn't the same as a simple cup of Rooibos which was said to be poor man's tea (vs the tea from Dutch colonizers and British tourists.) So as I got up to write this post, I miss my daughter, think of our guest house visit, the hosts from Colorado & Namibia, and guests from Ghana.

Then my thoughts wander to my most recent trip. To a place I equate with tea: London. Harrods. English Breakfast Tea. Earl Grey. High Tea. Classic tea party.  Funny thing is, tea has become such a luxury item business in the US that I was a bit disappointed in the teas in London. My hotel, the London Metropole, served "everyday" tea from Tetley in a bag. Kind of like a non vintage wine.  That said, we have a Starbucks inspired tea here at home that will always make me think of London, and my younger daughter who loves the London and it's namesake concoction: London Fog. We make it with a cup of Earl Grey, Soy milk foamed with an aerolatte tool, and a splash of vanilla syrup. Perfect for cool coastal California mornings when we are covered in marine layer. Honestly, London makes a better latte, and beer. Enjoying a london fog is equivalent to driving my daughter to school along a foggy coastal road.

As I open the tea cabinet I spy yet another memory infused tea: Sweet Orange by Tazo. Oddly enough I tried this at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines where my husband and I were given free tickets and a day free of cell phones to watch Mickelson and Woods battle it out. I remember the fresh fruity smell of that tea late in the afternoon, and how I scoured the lawyer sponsored room for more of those tea bags to take home. Now whenever I drink this tea I think of the beautiful Torrey Pines, the tricky 15th hole, and how Tiger came from behind, but Mickelson had such class. Sweet Orange takes me to a place of privilege and a once in a life time "pinch me" moment that was just too good to be true, but it was!

Where does your tea take you?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Beach Rental Tips

Some great tips from my experiences as a vacationer, vacation rental owner, and vacation rental manager on getting the right beach rental over on our Oceanside CA and San Diego area blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cape Town South Africa New Year's Mother Daughter Trip

I must be the luckiest mom to hit this planet.  I have two teenage daughters. Usually teenage daughters want little to do with their moms; but my older one is far too smart for that. Not only did she get us to agree to allow her to volunteer in Botswana once, but twice, she also "invited" me to join her in Cape Town South Africa for a week before her second trip (because she knew we wouldn't allow her to go alone). Hence started my first trip to the African continent for New Year's 2010 and my birthday (solidly middle aged).

First, I have always been enamored with stories of the explorers headed to India on the spice route and of Darwin coming the other direction. To me the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of the African continent is one of the most exotic locations in the world. When I was 16 I NEVER dreamed of going to Hawaii, never mind Cape Town. My dreams went no further than Southern California as a small town New Hampshire girl.  My daughters, however, view Disneyland as a routine activity, so their dreams go to Africa, India, Australia, and Europe of course.
As a first time visitor to the African continent, regardless of the tourist information that I read, I had a stereotypical view of "Africa" - read: safari's,  Zulu wars of the movies, and the infamous criminals praying on tourists.  WRONG!

Cape Town South Africa is a cosmopolitan city, in many ways no different than any other that I've visited, and of course in more ways unique. With prudence and reasonable but not fearful caution, Cape Town is a city, and the Cape Peninsula/Western Cape of South Africa, one to be enjoyed: by more mother/daughter travel teams.

I'm looking forward to more posts and sharing our favorite sites, tips, and photos. 

Tip for today:
Fish Hoek in False Bay is close enough, but a world away. Stay with Solveig and Peter at their guest house: Sunny Cove Manor and be sure to eat their hearty breakfast each day to save time and Rands by skipping a meal. We stayed for a week in the owner's "family flat" as the regular guest house rooms were full, and it cost about $900 USD. Moreover, our hostess helped us to make reservations, arranged for a local rental car when they were sold out all over the city, and our host set up a private visit to Masipumelele, a black township. Our hostess told us the best routes, and safe atms!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vacation Mamma Where You been?

I need more vacation, more mamma, less work...If you want to see what I've been doing that keeps me from writing (not so much from travel), check out my company: BETTER Vacation Rentals. We've managed to grow even in this economy, launch a new web site, add properties, and still get BETTER at satisfying our guests and owners. Top it off with a family and company move 40 miles south...and a year flies by.

Where have I been exploring? Sequoia NP CA, Athens Greece, Temecula CA, Canyon de Chelly AZ, Painted Forest National Park AZ, Five Islands ME, Cape Cod MA, Washington DC, San Diego CA , and my new home town of Encinitas / Cardiff CA. Next up: Cape Town South Africa.

Promise more trip info to come...until then.