Archive for the 'Family' Category

Almost Every Year

Almost every year, we come to Bethany Beach and spend a couple of weeks with the family.  Almost every year, there are new things about the house, the town, the beach and the cast of characters that make up our time together at the beach.

The Wilson family comes to the beach almost every year, except years when we go someplace else, such as Australia (last year) and England (various times, and planning for next year).  Every year we are here, the Vache’s of Washington State (my sister, bro-in-law, and nieces) are here, and the Greene’s of Florida (my parents).  More recently we have added the Sutton’s of Texas to the mix.  There have been many and various other cousins, McGrath’s of Missouri, long-time friends, girl friends and boy friends on and off over the years.

The time at the beach follows a predictable, comfortable and welcome routine.  We keep a storage locker with our beach chairs, umbrellas, and many other needed supplies in Millville.  When we arrive we unpack the storage locker, and move into our house.  It’s not our house, really, since we just rent it, but it’s our house since we’ve been renting it for about 15 years.  By the time we arrive my sister has stocked up at Sam’s or Costco, and we’re ready to go.

Tony brings a metal detector and has a lot of fun searching the beach for treasures.  Every once in a while he finds something.  This year he found a cell phone, among other things.  We answered one of the texts we read, and were able to reunite the phone with its grateful owner.  I was glad to wish the young man a happy birthday — it was his 18th.  Good stuff.  This year he got up at 5 a.m. every day to go metal detecting, and then takes all the chairs and umbrellas down to the beach.  Then he gets me up and we ride bikes for an hour.  It’s been good exploring the area that I know so well, but know so little!  I’ve spent years here, but have not ever explored the back roads and countryside as I have this year on a bicycle.

Almost every year we have a rainy day and head straight to the outlet malls for some of the great Delaware tax-free shopping.  This year was just a very short day, as we got to Rehoboth, the sun started coming out.  So just a few stores, and then back to the beach.  It wasn’t our best day, but certainly far from the worst.

Every year Bethany Beach puts on a 4th of July parade.  That will be tomorrow, of course, and just around 11:30 a.m. we will all go up to Ocean View Parkway and put our beach chairs up in front of someone’s house (don’t know who they are but we sit there every year).  The parade starts at the Christian Church and makes its way down to Ocean View parkway by about 12:30 or so, and then goes on and on and on and on… and on… and on…. made up of large groups of children on bikes, local beauty queens, local politicians, the Shriners in their  mini-corvettes, and many many other wacky and wonderful creatures.  It’s a great parade, and we are usually parched and sun-stroked by the time we make our way home, but it’s worth it for the fun of seeing a great small-town parade to celebrate our nation’s independence.

Every year Bethany Beach puts on a fireworks show, and almost every year it is fantastic!  One year it was entirely shrouded in clouds, and one year was rained out.  That year there was this guy who had a fireworks show of his own on the 5th of July and I kind of suspected that he had bought out the BB show for his private showing.  But then this year I heard that there was a big birthday party for some rich guy who had rented out a whole neighborhood that year… so I’m thinking it was his birthday celebration.  Nonetheless it was good entertainment for us since the 4th was just busted by rain.

Almost every year something changes about the beach, for better or worse.  Some years ago they built giant dunes to protect the town – that was a good change, but made a huge difference in the landscape of the beach.  Some of the old landmarks are now gone, replaced by new buildings — such as the old Blue Surf Motel — now the Blue Surf condos.  It’s an attractive building, and I’m very glad they replace the old Blue Surf in such a nice way.  There used to be an old bait and tackle shop called Harry’s on the corner across from the Christian church.  It burned down some years ago and was replaced by an ugly, garish, “pirate” mini-golf with a giant skeleton pirate that barfs water out of its mouth.  Ugh.  The bait and tackle shop was nothing special – I remember getting candy and comic books there, and it was the bus station, too.  But the replacement is not to be endured.  Another change is the replacement of the town’s parking meters with a pay-and-display format.  Not a bad thing, but they haven’t gotten around to taking the parking meter poles out of the ground.  So everywhere you look there are these poles sticking up out of the ground.  Tacky.

The one thing that never changes is how relaxed we feel when we get down to the beach, and plant ourselves in our beach chairs in the sun, pull out the trashy novel and lose ourselves in the lovely breeze and sunshine.  It’s heaven and there is no other place on earth that can quite compare to this.

Here are my pictures taken this year.


Mr. Shane’s Wild Ride on The Great Ocean Road

There always has to be something funny.  It wouldn’t be a Wilson trip without it.  On Friday, we went on a tour of The Great Ocean Road (I’ll say GOR from now on).  But I should tell you a bit about Thursday, too… so we back up.

Thursday was the day we arrived in Melbourne.  It kind of took us a while to really figure out what day it was here.  We left LA on Tuesday the 1st… but somehow we missed out totally on Wednesday the 2nd… because when we arrived in Melbourne it was Thursday the 3rd.  That’s a bit strange… I guess those of you who’ve lived through it know what I mean.  If you haven’t, all I can say is it might be like when you’re dreaming…and you can’t remember where you left your clothes…oh wait…that’s another dream.  Well… you do kind of walk around in a bit of a daze, for sure.

Anyway, we had a good time walking around Victoria Market, where they have a huge selection of fruits & vegetables, a sort of flea-market-like section, a hall with meats and fish, and a hall with deli and other delights, like Chocolate, etc.  We bought a couple bottles of wine from a merchant who sells bottles with nice screw-tops, filled with local wines, and when you finish the wine you can bring the bottle back (rinsed out) for a re-fill.  Great idea, and the wine was pretty good.  We bought a Victoria Shiraz and a Pinot Grigio.  They’re both good for my taste, and I’m no wine expert… but this is pretty good if you ask me.

After the market we found a grocery to stock up on other essentials for breakfasts to add to our market finds of fresh bacon, cheese, and fruit.  We found our way back to the hotel and had an early dinner at Young and Jackson’s, just a short walk from our hotel.

When we got back, it was only about 8:30 p.m. but everyone was completely bushed and we went to bed, but what a laugh… I was up at 2 a.m. thinking that it was time to get up for the day.  I forced myself to stay in bed ’till 5 a.m. If you know me well, you know that I don’t normally force myself to stay in BED at 5 a.m.  So you can stop laughing now.

We had to be up fairly early because we were being picked up for our Great Ocean Road Tour.  They were pretty much on time, and so were we, and we started off on our day with our driver Shane.  We were the last to be picked up, so we ended up in the back of the bus.  Again, for those of you who know me, ask how long it took me to ask to ride up front.  Not long.  And so I got to know our driver, Shane, pretty well throughout the 580-Kilometer ride (about 360  miles).

Shane had a lot to say for himself, and I must admit, that I started to think most of it was tall tales, but went along with it because I really wanted to see how far he would take it.  I will not bore you with the details of the Great Ocean Road.  It’s amazing scenery, and people are surfing in the ocean all over the place.  These Australians take their surfing seriously…but you should see the waves!  We were also treated to a Mooning when we were in the parking lot at Bell’s Beach when one of the surfers was changing into his wetsuit.  Moons over Miami, for sure!!!!  heheheheh  I didn’t think fast enough to grab my camera, LOL.

Shane had a schedule to keep if we were going to get to the end of the tour before dark, so he was really putting pedal to the metal at every opportunity.  By this time, of course, I had moved to the front of the bus or I would have lost it many times over.  On the way back to Melbourne we were to stop for dinner in a town called Colac.  About 5 minutes after hitting the road to Colac, a fog set in, and Shane was remarking that he had never seen such fog in all the years he had been driving in this area.  Oh great, I thought… I have the crazy driver, I’m sitting in front of a bus with about 1/4 inch of glass and steel in front of me, and we can’t see a thing after 100 yards.  I put my seatbelt on…no offense Shane…but it was insane, because the bus had no seat belts in the back.  To make matters worse, the road was full of dips and potholes which made it impossible for anyone in the back to actually stay in their seats.  OMG if I was in the back I can only say I would have begged for death.  As it was, there were several times during that drive to Colac that I was pretty sure that I was going to get that wish…but Shane turned out to be a skillful (or very lucky) driver and I’ve lived to tell the tale.  The other lucky thing is that it is winter, so not so much traffic out there in that area.

Shane told us that he was born and bred in the Northern Territories and he’s an aboriginal person, but he looked European to me.  What do I know?  He said he is active duty military but can’t tell me what branch.  He said he did missions that no one knows about.  I just said, Ok…. well I work on a secret project, too… and I can’t talk about it so I guess it’s possible…what do you think?  He told us such wonderful stories that it really felt like the drive just flew by… or maybe it  just felt like the bus was flying… which it was… but never mind, we are back safe and sound.

I had a blast, by the way… it was an experience I’ll never forget, and Shane is one of those people in life that we never forget either.

If you are ever in this part of the world, you really must get out to the GOR, it is amazing scenery and local history that is not to be missed.  It was worth every minute of the day spent.

I have to catch up now… that was yesterday and today we spent the day in Melbourne shopping, and we went up to the top of the Eureka Tower — 88 stories… but the weather was cloudy and by the time we finished our day out it was raining.  I think it still is…. luckily there are shops and restaurants in a mall very near to our hotel so we don’t have to get out in the rain too much.  Tony and Amy are flaked out on the couch sleeping as I write this… and it’s not even 7 p.m. yet.  I hope I can get them up to go out to dinner.  Anyway if I can’t I’ll just enjoy another glass of that Shiraz and relax.

I’m having a great time!

Winding Down, Gearing Up

Well, here we are!  I’ve just about finished work for the day, my last day before a fabulous month-long holiday trip with the family to Australia!

But before that, it’s Amy’s High School Graduation day!  Tomorrow at around 9 a.m. we’ll be meeting folks over at Heritage Park and the ceremony will begin at 10 a.m.  Amy’s about 2nd to last, (alphabetically not academically), but you know they always save best for last!  And last is what most people remember!  Then we’ll have lunch and I’m sure Amy will take off for a dizzying whirlwind tour of graduation parties, and much more.

I’ll be heading home to do laundry and packing for our trip!

Follow along with me here, where I plan to blog our adventures as we go along.  I’ll also be posting my pictures at my Shutterfly site, and I’ll have links over to them so you can go look if you want.

We leave bright and early Tuesday morning, and we will spend the day Tuesday in LA with my cousin Lizzie and her family, and will have an opportunity to tour the Disney Studios in Burbank, which I’m really looking forward to.

Hope you enjoy it, I know I will!

Life in the Slow Lane

We are enjoying a day outdoors on this lovely April day at Blue Springs State Park with friends. Blue Springs is on the St. Johns river in Orange City. It’s very beautiful and peaceful.

I’m also trying out blogging with the WordPress iPhone app for the first time. That will explain the brevity and typos.

Blue Springs is nice, there are areas you can swim, kayak and canoe on the St. Johns and they do Scuba diving in the “boil” which is what they call the place where the water bubbles up to the surface from beneath the surface. It’s popular and small. They close the park when the parking lot is full.

We brought Turkey Dog with us. The park allows pets on a leash. All Florida State Parks do, evidently. He’s having a great time, bit he has to stay on the leash.

I will post some pictures later. Wonder if Shutterfly has an iPhone app??

Catching Up

I sure don’t write in my blog often enough.  I read a lot of other people’s blogs, and I wonder… how do they find the time?  I’m sitting here watching my favorite program, Dancing With The Stars.  So I have time to write a bit during commercials.

I know no one really reads this much, and if they do it’s because they probably landed here by mistake, but no matter.  Sometimes there are some fun things you can get when you read random blog posts.

I spent Easter with my family, and after dinner was reminiscing with my mom about cousins we don’t see too often any more.  I have cousins scattered across the US, from coast to coast.  There are a couple I haven’t seen in many years.  There are a couple I have literally just met within the last few years.  (That’s a story for another day.)  But I do so much like catching up when I get the chance.

I have a friend that I re-connected with a couple of years ago, who lives in Bulgaria.  I’ve made new friends who have moved here from Iraq as refugees.  I’ve literally grown old with my best friend who I married 28 years ago.  No matter how often I see my friends, my cousins, my parents, it’s always fun to catch up.

Are we caught up yet?  Not hardly!!  There’s always something new and fun to learn about each other.


So… how am I doing on my goals for this year?

  • Tony is enjoying his new-found freedom and is keeping busy working in the garden (the weather has improved) and has taken up kayaking in addition to his metal-detecting hobby.
  • I’m attempting to the the weight off, but not having a lot of success yet.  I must say I’m feeling much better and healthier, though, and I’m in better shape…that is, I can climb flights of stairs without getting winded.
  • I’m doing well at work and while I’m still not back to my level of organization I feel I should be, it’s coming quickly.
  • I am SO looking forward to vacation in Australia.  I’m going to do the bridge climb in Sydney.  That’s saying a lot for me, since I do have some fear of heights.  I’ll post a page with our itinerary so you can follow along.

Goodbye 2009 — Welcome 2010

I am soooo looking forward to 2010!  I can hardly wait to say goodby to this year, it’s been such a hard year to live through.  Many of our friends and family were affected by the lousy economy and it made me pretty nervous.  Needless to say we survived.  I think I should have a t-shirt made.

2010 holds a lot of promise, and we are eagerly looking forward.  First, Tony retires on January 8th.  He has been working for over 50 years, and he counted that the had 38 jobs.  Some of those jobs he must have held for about 20 minutes, because he’s been with his latest employer for 20 years.  Maybe he’s counting some of the progression within his number, I don’t know. 

Next, Amy is turning 18!  I must say there is no way she can have aged this quickly.  Have a kid, enter a time warp.  That’s all I can say.  Of course with that she will graduate from Osceola High School on May 29.

Then, we are off to Australia!  Watch this space for the Oz itinerary.  I’m working on it now, I should have it done in a couple of days.

In August, Amy moves into her new apartment and starts as a student at University of Central Florida.  Go Knights!

Let’s see, what can I say are some goals for 2010?

  1. Help Tony enjoy his retirement.  I’ll make him a nice long Honey-Do list.
  2. Get some of the excess weight off.  I know that’s a common one, but I really have to buckle down this year.  I really don’t want to have all my Australia pictures done in wide-angle.
  3. Be more creative at work, home, and church.  I know there’s a lot to do, and in order to be productive, I need creative ways to organize, prioritize, and task myself so I can get the most out of the time I have.  That probably starts with more self-discipline around daily schedules.  Early to bed, and early to rise, so to speak.

That’s it for now, have a fun New Year’s Eve, and hope I can update the blog again really soon!!

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Catching Up

I’ve been meaning to write in my blog for a while now.  The last post was at the end of November, for goodness sakes!  I think I should write at least once per month.  So by that standard, I’m only one month behind!  So, to catch up, let’s see if I can fill in some news about December.

I remember there was Christmas… the whole month of December always goes by like a blur because so much is going on.  This year there was not as much, since both KUA and Disney along with most of the rest of the world cancelled the company  Christmas parties.  I didn’t miss those so much.  Usually I get kind of bored with them…but they give a good excuse to dress up nice.

Tony and I decided to give each other a new TV for our bedroom for Christmas instead of giving each other presents.  That worked out ok, I think, we picked out a low-priced LCD and it worked ok, the sound was good, but it had a dead pixel (which means there was a red spot on the screen) and so we took it back.  We bought another one that was $100 more, a name brand, and it looks great.  The one problem was that the sound was lousy.  Go figure.  So I ended up buying a speaker bar from Target for another $100 and the TV sound comes out of that, and now it sounds great.  I get a few HD stations on it, and I guess if I wanted to spring for the extra smart box I could get all the HD and digital channels on it, but for a bedroom TV it’s just fine.

We gave Amy cake decorating lessons (something she is interested in) and I’ll have to fill you in more on that later. Continue reading ‘Catching Up’

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