Can’t sleep.

ptr

Missing the sunrise and peeking over the balcony as early workers stroll by, conversing in native tongues over the rooster’s crow. Stretching out my legs and feeling the heat on my skin before daylight has fully broken.

Stirring the perfect cappuccino —

— under the latticed patio roof, flanked by lush vegetation and pretty florals. We pretend it’s all ours. There’s nowhere to be and nothing to accomplish. No one to appease but each other.

Then,

Heading oceanward to plunk down our bodies, laze about and brown deliciously all over. Dunking full selves into the surf when it gets a little too toasty. Hearing the wind, the waves and very little else.

The sun’s gone.

A peaceful respite though the bugs are biting, but we’ve learned not to notice. Sharing a tasty meal, not skimping on dessert, then heading out to where…

…they dance into the night.

Perfectly en pointe, in tune, attuned. Mesmerizing and seemingly without effort, commanding attention and deserving adoration.

Yet sadly,

It’s over almost as soon as it began, when the realization hits that you’re caught up and will do

Whatever
It
Takes

To feel that way again.

the love of travel
— by dianne c.

For mommy.

In the beginning it’s just me
Living in the palm of your hand, clinging to each finger joint, trusting every motion
Knowing nothing and nobody else
Decisions over choices, judgments over negotiations
You rule the world

As I awaken to much more
You begin to shrink
I learn, expect, love hard, disappoint
Hate, laugh, isolate, rejoice
You try your best, but it’s never enough
Why isn’t it?

A woman of curiosity
Life large, exciting, limitless
How strongly we differ

I blame and aim higher
You blame and cower away
Would it ever get easier?

You did as you could
So when you cling to every joint in the palm of my hand
To the very end, I’ll love you
And you will still rule my world.

To my one and only

anniv

You’re the kind and loyal counterpart to my impatient, sarcastic, and cynical being

You’re the voice laughing identically with and at me, because you share my silly sense of humour

You always forgive me when I’m being mean and angry and pick on you when I’m bored

You’re the voice of reason and stay collected, whereas I fly off the handle and spew obscenities out of my face

You tolerate my constant indecisiveness which would, should the tables be turned, annoy the heck out of me

You spoil me every day with little notions that are more valuable than materialistic possessions

You sacrifice your sleep for mine, not only when I’m tired from the endless day to day, but because I just love it so

You’re my best friend
You’re our children’s best friend
Everybody likes you

I could go on and on, but I don’t need to

I have you forever!

Happy anniversary!

Your #1 fan.

DisneyLIFE

fam at LEP

Happy 2015 everybody!  Thank you to all my visitors all over the world.  I haven’t been posting nearly enough as I should be, but that’s one of my resolutions for the new year.  Thank you again for all your support.

Orlando Florida family vacation:  September 20-27, 2014
There’s just something so happy and exciting about Disney Magic, and Dani just can’t stop talking about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

The weather was just perfectly suited to my taste: high in the mid 30’s (but not often) and low in the mid 20’s (mainly due to the rain, which came down 5 out of 7 days of the week).  In the dead heat of sunlight, I felt particularly suffocated because I’m not a “summer person.”  Plus, being pregnant, I’m always hot.  I welcomed the cooling sensation the rain brought, and strolling the air-conditioned malls almost every day was fun too, not to mention the swimming pools at the Orange Lake resort complex where we stayed for the week.

I shall rewind to day one and the adventures of happily married couple, adoring almost-three-year-old daughter, and 4-month-old baby swimming around in utero.  Leaving home at 5:30 am, we crossed the border and arrived at Buffalo International Airport around 8:00 am.  Flying out of BIA saved us at least $300-400 off typical fares out of Pearson.  We also parked across the street from the airport at the Hampton Inn for $5 a day, opting to take the $2.99 cancellation insurance (if something happens and your flight is cancelled or you can’t arrive within the next 24 hours, you’re not charged a late fee).  A 24-hour on-demand shuttle was ready at the door to take us over, and they provided us with a phone number to call a driver upon our return.  We were very pleased with the polite and efficient service.

Our first flight was to Atlanta, with a little over an hour to catch our connecting flight to Orlando.  No complaints or remarks to make here, as the flights and transitions were both speedy and smooth.  The first flight was under 2 hours, and the 2nd was just about one hour.  Even the wait at the rental car counter was fairly quick, although I’ll heed a warning here.  Car insurance for the week cost over $300, which was a surprise to us since we paid a third of that the last time we rented in Orlando.  Perhaps booking your car rental separate from a flight package and opting for their insurance is the safer bet.

After collecting the car seat and installing happy Dani into our black 2014 Ford Fusion (John wasn’t happy with the choice at all), we headed to Orange Lake West Village.  Our room exceeded our expectations.  We had used RCI exchange points to book and, listed as a Studio, it had a full kitchen minus the oven (stovetop, mini fridge, microwave, kettle, pots and pans, dishes, etc.)  To save some valuable shopping/Mickey dollars, we bought groceries at the nearby Target and Walmart stores and cooked a few dinners and even more breakfasts.

If you’re an Orange Lake timeshare owner, beware that you’re whisked to a separate desk to book your “return visit update” (aka Timeshare sales presentation).  The incentive was 50% the resort’s play-all-week package: mini golf, use of tubes for the lazy river, etc. for one hour of your time (we didn’t even end up buying it).

We dined at Ponderosa for our first evening (my how it has changed – pricey, and they eliminated the full buffet, boo hoo) and checked out some nearby stores i.e. Ross and Target, heading to bed early to recover from the 2.5 hours of sleep we had gotten the night before.

We were up early to catch our 8:00 am sales presentation, which we wanted to book first thing in the morning to just get it over with.  I’m extremely proud of Dani lasting the entire time, and of John and myself not upgrading or buying anything.  The last time we had attended such a presentation, we walked out with a timeshare =)  We had breakfast buffet at Sizzler, and after resting a bit that afternoon, headed to downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park.  We saw some swans and plenty of baby lizards (BUTIKI!  My favourite word!  LOL) and did some more shopping in the evening.

The next afternoon, after sleeping in again, we headed to Walmart to grab some groceries for the day: a barbecued chicken, salad, and some bread, and drove about 1.5 hours to Daytona Beach.  It was a perfect day: not blazingly hot or sunny, and quite empty on the beach.  If you’ve never been before, it costs $3.00 to park directly on the beach for the day.  Because it was overcast and rainy, there were only a handful of other cars nearby, which was just fine for us =)  On the way there, we passed the Daytona International Speedway and Vince Carter’s high school, for all you millions of Raptors fans out there.  =P

It was a lovely time.  Dani enjoyed playing in the not-so-packable sand and wading in the waves, although she caught and swallowed a mouthful of saltwater and vomited up some mushy strawberry remains (gross).  Afterwards, we headed to Toys R Us to pick up Dani’s Cinderella princess dress and the much coveted Shopkins, which were hard to find in stock back in Toronto and almost never available online.

I realize I’ve written quite a lengthy passage here, so I’ll save the rest for parts 2, 3 and maybe even 4 =)

Happy reading… don’t forget to come back!

on moments.

DJ

2:30 am.  Can’t sleep.  Sensing I am awake and turning slightly, Dani gently places her angelic little hand over my eyelids and says, “Close your eyes,” wrapping her arms around my neck and pulling my head down on the pillow beside her.  I lay there for the entire two minutes it takes for her to fall back asleep and pull out my phone.

I had been reading his blog earlier that evening, and it was consuming my thoughts.  It brought back a flood of memories of a time when I was just getting to know him, of when my soul mate was once a total stranger.  I remember our first encounter.  Quiet and shy, with a bag of gummy candy atop his work station (I think mmm, candy… yay), I would’ve never expected to squeeze a conversation out of him, let alone become as close as we have.

He doesn’t open up so easily, nor quickly let anybody “in.”  It was just natural, the way we connected.  Many poets and artists with flourishing pens may have tackled the subject in centuries past, but actually experiencing it is a different occurrence.  It’s real.  It truly does happen.

I believe in faith and friendship, trust and kindness in a relationship.  When those are absent, what do you have, really?   A life without love.  And when one is in this sticky situation, is he or she expected to remain in it?  Do you not owe it to yourself to find that happiness, or at least keep trying?

I gaze upon this beautiful little being lying in bed, eyes closed, mouth partially open and think, wow, she is the product of us.  I am inspired and full of pride.  I did all right by her.

Boston-a-thon… Bidding adieu.

salem_tree

Time that drags is ample time to commit to El Bloggo!

And here we are, with the 3rd and final installment of the Boston Road Trip Extraordinaire.  That Saturday was supposed to be spent waking up leisurely, having breakfast, and heading to the nearby Mashpee Commons Mall to visit Cupcake Charlies and grab a dozen (YES – certain allowances are made for dessert!), before heading to Salem, Massachusetts, for the Bewitched After Dark walking tour.

We had just finished our leftover Halal Guys for breakfast when hubby plugged the address of the tour into his phone. Alas, it was 2.5 hours away, not 1 hour like I had thought (I was referencing the point from Boston to Salem, and we were situated 1 hour away from Boston as it was).

It was already 10:30 am, so we hauled asses to the Red Van and, after grabbing the requisite Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (it doesn’t come CLOSE to Timmy’s, in my opinion), sped off towards Salem. We arrived at nearly 1:00 pm on the dot, at the door of the Bewitched store, where we met our tour guide.

If you’re looking for spooky stories and haunted houses, this is not your tour! Though not scary by any means, it was fascinating and informative.  We started off viewing houses in which murders had occurred, and then walked through a graveyard where victims of the Salem Witch Trials were buried.  Sadly, the majority of women died because of false accusations.  I won’t ruin the experience with too many details, but I think it’s a fascinating look back in history and highly recommend it.  Also, there’s a tree that apparently gets struck by lightning every few decades.  Exciting!

Salem is a beautiful town. We smelled some heavenly food and longed to stay a while longer to dine, but were to head immediately to Fenway Park for our 2nd tour of the day.  We zip back onto the road and towards the big city of Boston, park, and get all excited for the tour, until….

…we see the sign that says…

Tours are fully booked today. Please come back tomorrow morning.  We try instead to find something good to eat near Fenway, and end up walking for an hour unsuccessfully.  Bo-ring and unexciting food options (not to mention the surplus of green- and scantily-clad youth in celebration of St. Patty’s Day which was also that weekend)!  Instead, we drive nearby in search of P.F. Chang’s, which is located inside the Prudential Building in (downtown?) Boston.  After discovering the 1+hour wait time for both P.F. Chang’s and the Cheesecake factory, we settle for pizza and other food-court delicacies, Crumbs cupcakes, and frozen yogurt/ smoothies instead.

And it all worked out, because the next day we were up bright and early, one of the first groups in line to get tickets, to behold the wonders of ‘ole Fenway and its rich, deeply-rooted history.

I loved Boston. I will be back.  And next time, I won’t be leaving without a lobster dinner (or three)!

Hot Chocolate and CHOWDA

image

As I sit on my cold, hard floor at the insistence of, and beside, my new potty-training-in-training toddler, I seize the opportunity to write of a recent trip I took to Boston and New York with a great group of friends (and family).

It all began with softball (and what doesn’t nowadays, apparently) and the dream of two like-minded, separated-at-birth friends who longed to see a ball game at the legendary Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. A “Green” fan ever since the Celtics won the NBA title in 2008, I was very excited at the prospect. That, and any place oozing seafood is enough to get me anywhere. So after a few late nights checking timeshare accommodations, calling many car rental places to compare quotes, and numerous vacation requests later, we arrive at departure day on a Thursday in the middle of March.

Our happy band of travelers consists of myself, hubby John, daughter Dani, married friends Mark and Kate, their daughter Audrey, also 2.5 years old, and faithful shotgun companion Aaron (who is a bigger person than I, managing to stay awake the entire time).

After collecting the big “Red Car” as the little ones called it (aka the Dodge Grand Caravan) and all of its passengers, we hit the road by 9 am. This in itself was not a seamless process… a chilly morning characteristic of the larger-than-life winter we have had this year resulted in two cranky, wailing toddlers, all within 15 minutes of being on the road. Bless their little souls, because that was the beginning and end of the crying fits for the rest of the trip. Yay, girls!

I shall take a minute to digress and do a little review of the Dodge Grand Caravan. My sister owns a Honda Odyssey, which I always found quite roomy and comfortable. This was not quite the case with the Caravan. Its ease in getting in and out of the middle and last rows via collapsible seats was offset by the cramped accommodations in the back. We had known to pack “lightly” (in either duffels or other soft-shelled packs) so we had enough cargo space, but literally just enough. Don’t plan on packing 4 regular-sized luggages in there. We kept a small cooler with water, juice and snacks in the middle row of the van, headed to Timmy’s for coffee and breakfast (of course), and arrived at our first stop, Walden Galleria, in Buffalo New York, before 11 am. After a visit to Dick’s for softball gear (obvi) and lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (even more obvi), we headed back on the road. With the occasional pit stop for gas and meals (we can also name this getaway the Great McDonald’s and Pizza Feast, because guess what we usually ate roadside), we finally arrived at the Cape Cod Holiday Estates in Mashpee, Massachusetts, about 1.5 hours driving distance to Boston, a little after 1:00 am. After searching through the desk in the entry hall, not finding our package of keys, and instead taking the “Backup Set,” we unload, do a little happy dance at our arrival, toss a softball around, etc. and then head to bed to rest up for the excitement of the next day in NYC.

…to be continued. Dani wants more chicken! 🙂

F-DAY

It’s Father’s Day, and usually it’s a day that depresses me with bad memories and bitterness. Thankfully, for the second year, I can see the word “father” and now associate it with kindness and love.

I know I’m not the only person who comes from a broken home. And I can feel that others have forgiven and forgotten their parents’ indiscretions (if indeed, there were any). But I can’t seem to do that. Not even with my 31 years and what I believe to be a compassionate heart.
I don’t care what kind of flack I get. I will get really personal with you, because if you know me, then straight up is the only way I can be.
I don’t give a f*ck if you stick your ting into a woman, produce a child, and somehow proclaim yourself to be a father.  Because once that child is born, you’re supposed to KNOW that love, devotion, and responsibility are paramount to that family’s growth and success. You do NOT (“hypothetically speaking”) bring your pregnant mistress into your family home to meet your children, regardless of how pretty she tells your youngest daughter she is.
I hear it all the time: blood is thicker than water. Respect your elders. Blah fucking blah. If you DISrespect me, my family, or the way I live my life, do you really expect daisies and lollipops in return, just because I so happened to acquire genes from a random man and woman one day so long ago?
Mothers are not automatically off the hook either, but that’s a totally different story.  I’m already flubber-faced and teary-eyed as I write this, and forcing myself to come back to the present and be grateful for what I have right NOW.
I have a wonderful child and I’m married to, I swear, the kindest man I could ever know;  one who loves our daughter and me, his wife, without bounds, who would never leave my side and protects all that is sacred within a real, loving family.
THAT is what Father’s Day is about. As I sit here and wipe my hideously snotty nose and red puffy eyes, hubby tells me that it’s been so long and I’m completely fine without him. This is true. But I don’t forget. EVER. How I wish one day I truly could. But look at what’s been done. I’ve been messed up for life.
Sometimes a girl really just wants her daddy.