May 10, 2011

Back in the vacation backyard

It's true: We were on vacation. Thanks for not telling any burglars. (Although in the future, if you do, please also tell them that our really mean, bloodthirsty dogs are still at home, guarding the premesis. And that we've recently trained them to use shotguns. Well, not the puppy -- he can only handle a .38.)

BUT YES. We just returned from vacation. (Oh, sad vacation end times!) And most of the time, when we take a vacation, it's either a "stay-cation" (ugh -- hate that stupid "word") during which I try to convince T that weeding the flowerbeds is NOT relaxing, or we head to Florida. Specifically, Sarasota, land of white sandy beaches and my family's vacation house.

Growing up, my grandparents owned a house in Sarasota (along with approximately 1 bajillion* of our relatives) and lived here from right-after-Thanksgiving to right-after-Easter with a quick trip back to Ohio for Christmas. For us, this meant fall breaks on the beach, and hunting for melting Easter candy around the orange trees in the backyard. Back then, it was such a sleepy tourist town that my cousins and I were allowed to walk or bike the two miles to the beach by ourselves, which was SUPER cool.

The neighborhood today looks COMPLETELY different. The formerly two-lane roads are now six- to eight-lane monstrosities, and I'd no sooner allow a child to take off for the beach unattended than let them leap off the Empire State Building, but it's still a nice, slightly-less-sleepy little neighborhood. My grandparents still winter there, but since my parents now own the house, the rest of the family uses it for super-cheap, super-relaxing vacations.

Since we go there at least once, maybe twice, each year, there are certain highlights we like to hit. The beach, obviously. Walt's Fish Market, where you can get ridiculously amazing seafood on paper plates, surrounded by kitschy sea decor. Mote Aquarium. And Smuggler's Cove, where I kick T's butt at putt-putt on the regular, and you can feed meaty treats to the baby alligators chilling in their lagoon.

But one of our favorite things, maybe even more than the beach and the running around, is just chilling in the backyard. It's nothing special: Just a little patio, some grass that never really grows and a cracked shuffleboard court. But there's something so tranquil about it. It's surrounded by the fruit trees and tropical plants my grandparents so lovingly planted and cultivated over the last 25+ years.

And you know what? Shuffleboard is kind of awesome. Especially when you make up your own rules.

*Estimates may be grossly exaggerated

Here's where I admit that I really don't have a point to this post, and this very wordy diatribe was supposed to be a short, simple lead-in to a photo montage of our beloved Florida backyard. Since I've robbed myself of any logical and/or smooth transition, I'll now just say...here are the photos! Yay!

********

Tropical Plant of Some Unknown Variety
(Now may be a good time to tell you that, while I enjoy them,
I know absolutely nothing about plants.)


Cool-looking Palm Tree Offshoots
(The larger tree wasn't quite as cool-looking, so it didn't make the cut.)


Tiny Green Oranges!
(They're tiny! And green! I guess they're greens at this point, vs. oranges?
Whatever. They're adorable.)


Medium-sized Palm Tree
(Not as cute as the tiny offshoots above, not as impressive as the big mama palm tree below.
I call this one "Meh.")

Shuffleboard!
(The awesomeness cannot be denied.)


Mango Tree! With Mangos!
(It took us forever to figure out what kind of tree this was. Also, I hate mangos. Also, I think it may be spelled "mangoes," but that makes me think of "man toes," and therefore I don't spell it that way. Because, ew. And also I'm too lazy to look it up.)


Awesome Spiny Cactus
(It's ridiculous how much I love this cactus.)

Aloe Plant!
(So handy when you come home from the beach all sunburny! Except, as it turns out, raw aloe smells like B.O. Did everyone know this but me? It's seriously gross.)


And finally, Big Mama Palm Tree
(It pains me that I can't get a shot of her without the power lines. Stupid electricity.)

9 backtalk:

wrestling kitties said...

FUN FUN FUN!!!

Welcome back from vacation and welcome back to the blog :)

First, I must say that I laughed at the burglary comment as we are taking vacation, I may have mentioned that like once or hundred times!!, but I am nervous about saying exactly when it is because who knows what creepy people (like me) read the interweb!! And though our three cats may appear scary, if you give them food you have their love :)

How beautiful are those plants and what a relaxing way to spend your vacation. I am with you - some putt-putt, shuffleboard (LOVE SHUFFLEBOARD!), playing cards, just sitting outside and relaxing....oh and eating a LOT is what I plan to do on our vacation!! Sounds pretty great to me :) Glad you had a nice trip

And how nice you have a family home you can stay at - very cool.

Question, how hard was it to leave your little ones?! And how great was it to see them again?! I need you to comfort me!!!

It is the only part of the vacation so far I am nervous about. We got our oldest cat right after our last vacation...7 years ago...so it was no big deal. But now our three crazy feline friends will be alone for awhile and I HATE it. We will have a friend come everyday and clean the liter box and feed them, but still I HATE this feeling of leaving them and know you do too...so remind me again how great it is on vacation and when you return and they LOVE to see you!!

Oh, and where are pics of that awesome tan?!

Written Permission said...

WK, I shall not lie to you: I was WRACKED with anxiety for several weeks before we left. I mean, anxiety beyond all normal human reason.

Our neighbors (who are wonderful) were going to be staying with the dogs, which they've done before, but...this was the first time BOTH of us would be leaving Ozzie. All I could think of was how tiny he was, and how NOT good at listening he still is, and how he would run away from them onto the road and be killed.

(I'm not melodramatic AT ALL.)

We ended up leaving tons of instructions (and treats) for the neighbors, and they texted us pictures almost every day we were gone. (They are supremely patient people.) We missed the dogs a LOT, but we felt good knowing they were in good hands, and we had visual proof of that, which was good. :) And it was pretty cool to have a few days without the responsibility, I'll be honest.

But yes, it was AWESOME to return to dogs who were like, "OMG, MAMA!!!" :)

You can do it! You NEED this vacation -- it is time, girl. Enjoy! (But don't tell anyone when you'll be gone. Creepy creepers can't be trusted.)

(My awesome tan is peeling! Boo. I'll have to see if I can get a non-gross picture of it...)

Ky • twopretzels.com said...

WHAT????

YOU HATE MANGO(E)S?!?! Stop it. Why? They're GOD'S FAVORITE FRUIT. You're crazy.

Your favorite cactus is called a barrel cactus and they're my absolute favorite, as well. I love them. They're so friendly. And round. And motherly. And kind looking. (Note I said "kind looking" - damn those things are sharp.) There is a barrel cactus farm here and I love it.

I am soooo glad you had a wonderful time. Yay for a REAL vacation and no stupid staycation. (I hate that word, too.)

Wendy said...

Glad you had a great vacation to a warm sunny place! I loved the photos - that cactus IS cute, as far as cactuses go - or is it cacti?

Written Permission said...

Ky, I think mangos taste pine-y and weird! I was forever trying to force myself to eat them and finally just gave in to my hatred. :) I know: It's sacrilege. Bethany nearly shot me, too. That cactus IS kind-looking! So cute. I did not, for the record, try to pet it, though.

I think it IS cacti, Wendy, but again: I'm too lazy to verify that. :)

Summer said...

So glad you had a nice time. Florida is just great, isn't it. And that aloe plant? Totally brought back lots of memories, although I never made the b.o. connection. :)

Nadja said...

I died with jealousy that you were near a mango tree yet didn't want its tasty fruits.

I need sand. I need warm. I need palm trees. Why oh why do I live in Ohio?? It's not natural for me.

Welcome back :)

wrestling kitties said...

*DEEP BREATHES* Ok, if you can do it, I can do it. But I will still be a basketcase!!!

Sarah W said...

Hahahahaa! You are FUNNY! And so is this comment thread. Thanks for the laugh - MUCH needed.

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