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Archive for the ‘then on to Monte Carlo to play chemin de fer’ Category

My childhood family–parents, sister and brothers–takes a vacation together every other year. Those who are able to make it throw in for a good time in various locations around the country. We’ve done Disney World, Sedona, San Antonio, Branson and Gatlinburg.

This year was the second time we did Gatlinburg. Coincidentally, the last time I was able to make one of these family trips was also to Gatlinburg. And I was TERRIFIED. Not “a little bit scared”. Not “reluctant”. I was cold-sweat nausea vertigo terrified. We had a cabin on a mountain which could only be reached by a drive not unlike the first hill of the Gemini. Rickety and unpaved, that road to the cabin caused me to whimper like a child. I swore I would never again stay in a Gatlinburg-area cabin.

Never say never, of course.

Eight years later I found myself going and I found myself having a pretty good time. Of course, going up and down the mountain still required some dissociation, self-hypnosis and begging my dad not to have discussions about Slippery Falls while we made that last hairpin turn.0625071340.jpg

Speaking of “rocky top”, this is me in my hat. For reasons I don’t go into on ye old blogge, I am now required to wear a hat in the out-of-doors. I bought this blue one in the first five minutes of my visit to Dollywood, and wore it all around the park. May I just say now that I felt like the biggest tool in the state of Tennessee as I carted around that chapeau? It was sort of like crossing your crazy great-aunt Matilda who cans her own jelly with your sullen poseur cousin Sam who thinks he’s a beat poet and spells his name Sam’l. Since I’m required by modern medicine and the laws of nature to wear a hat at all times I really wish hats would come back in style.

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When you come home from a week away and you:

1. Kiss your husband

2. Hug the dogs

3. Feed the dogs some leftover prime rib you’ve been saving from last night’s supper and hauled 200miles just for them.

4. Eat a piece of the candy you bought from Russell Stovers Outlet

5. Check your email

6. Check your blogs

7. Write a blog post

8. Make a slideshow of your vacation pictures in iPhoto

9. Write another blog post about your last blog post.

10. Shower and unpack.

(Of course, I haven’t done the “shower and unpack” thing, because I’m too busy trying to pick a good song for the slideshow. I’m darned if I’m gonna use “Rocky Top”….as obvious a choice as that is.)

UPDATE:  I decided to go with the theme to “Firefly”–I figured the whole “You can’t take the sky from me” and “there’s no place I’d rather be since I found serenity” fit well with the whole mountaintop cabin thing.  It’s probably better than my second choice, which was Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”

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Well, let’s see.

I walked all around London, went to Evensong at St. Paul’s and saw several West End plays.

I then made a quick stop at the Acropolis and hung around the Tennessee Statehouse for awhile.

This is part of why I love blogging. Here I am more or less shut in the house, but I still get to get out from time to time via all my blogging friends’ travels. In most every case I wish I could be there, too, but since circumstances prevent it I at least get to go partway. And I have the added benefit of getting to hear about things in different voices than my own, so I not only experience the place, but I experience it in such a way as to also feel a bit of what it’s like to see through someone else’s eyes.

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I shouldn’t admit this, seeing as how we’re still in the process of looking for a job for the husband and all. But I am jonesing for a trip to Disney World in the worst way. I do think it might be sad that I’m pushing 37 and still addicted to a vacation spot most people consider to be for children.

But I can’t help myself.

InThe Devil In The White City, Erik Larson tells a fantastic tale about the politics and architecture that went into the Chicago World’s Fair. (It’s a great book. Please read it if you haven’t already.) My favourite part is a brief paragraph where Larson talks about a young boy who went to the fair with his father, a low-level construction worker on some of the pavilions. The little boy was so captured by the idealised magic of the place that it never left him. That’s how I feel about Disney World. And I think that’d be fine with Walt Disney, since he was that little boy, and that years later his remembrances of the Chicago World’s Fair actually became Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

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Life is funny sometimes. There is a saying from somewhere [Siddhartha, I believe] that if you wait by the river long enough the body of your enemy will float by. I generally love this saying, as I’ve found it to be too true over the years.

There was once a man in my life who was authoritarian, legalistic and dogmatic. His exacting nature contrasted with his slight frame and bug-eyed myopia. He was a martinet with a tinny voice and an attitude of superiority which seemed strange in someone who was so inferior-seeming on so many levels.

But at this particular point in my life he had oversight of me and my actions. There was no escaping it. In life I’m generally a go-along-to-get-along person up to a point. Then the strident INTJ in me takes over, feeling the need to point out the cracks in the system. Several of the bricks in my libertarian wall were crafted in response to this man and his misapplied whims of authority.

This weekend I made a discovery. Apparently this man’s wife left him after nearly 40 years of marriage and his suspicious two-week sojourn in the far East.

I laughed out loud. Not because of his broken marriage, but because I know of only one reason that a married man in late middle-age would travel to that part of the world alone.

I’m not surprised that a man with such an outlook on life would be one of the dudes with an Asian-girl fetish. With all the stereotypes about the docile and servile nature of the Asian female, I’m sure this fellow thought he found his ideal women. Since I’m neither docile nor servile, it’s no surprise that he and I didn’t get along.

But I will savour over and over in my mind the moment where he lectured a number of me and my friends on sexual morality. The irony cracks me up.

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