Aaaand we're back, with part deux of Crystal's florida vay-cay-shun. I left off on Monday evening--after our walk around Downtown Disney, we killed some time before a dinner show that my mom got tickets to. She and my dad got $75 just for going to a breakfast at the hotel and listening to some guys timeshare spiel for an hour. Not bad. So we used some of the money to get tickets to this "Arabian Nights" dinner show in downtown Orlando. The pre-show (yeah, we weren't real sure what that was supposed to be) started at 7:30, so we drove around for awhile, and ended up in Celebration, Florida. Yes, Celebration. It's a city, you know. The darn creepiest city I've ever been to in my entire life. I felt like I had stepped straight into "The Stepford Wives" or something. It's owned by Disney, and I can't even begin to tell you how many Farenheit 451 and 1984 visions I had as we drove through the town. Everything looks different, only...exactly the same. It's as though we were on a ride at Disney, and I half expected the townspeople to open their doors and start preforming some choreographed musical. Not a thing was out of place--no laundry hanging in backyards, no rakes or brooms on front porches--everything was "perfect." Celebration even has its own school, hospital, and college (which has a tuition rate of $31,000 a year!). After awhile we started getting so creeped out that we had to leave. I can't believe people actually pay hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars to live there. ::shudders::

So after that interesting experience, we headed over to our Arabian Nights dinner show--a far contrast from the uniformly varying colors and buildings in Disney's robot community. After a short wait in line, we were ushered inside a huge arena-type building for some free "pre-show" drinks and, well, the pre-show: a tall dark haired woman who did about six different belly-dances. Mostly to Shakira. I admit, it was rather entertaining, but mainly because she balanced swords on her head...and there were a lot of drunk people. Especialy the fifty year old woman who felt compelled to tie her shirttails together (showcasing her chubby, leathery-tan belly) and imitate the "arabian" pre-show girl. Now THAT was funny.

I won't go into to much detail about to show, except to say that it was very cheesy, and needlessly patriotic in almost ever scene. It was Arabian, for goodness sakes--how they managed to work in Broadway, the Wild West, and a beach theme, I have no idea. They used lots of horses, though, and that was fun to watch--you have to respect a thirty year old guy who can do eight backflips on a horse that's circling around a ring. Even if he is wearing a velvet pantsuit.

The dinner wasn't bad, but we left during the grand finale (which involved fireworks, red white and blue confettie, and a horrible version of "The Star Spangled Banner) so we could beat the traffic. Darn.

Tuesday was spent at Universal Studios, which was a lot of fun. The weather was a little shaky, but thankfully it stayed clear for most of the day. I got to watch the Blues Brothers show (dang, those guys were good), ride on Twister, Earthquake, Jaws (at night, of course), Back to the Future, Return of the Mummy, and Men In Black. Some of the rides were definitely edging towards the cheesy side, but for the most part they were really good. I admit I'm a bigger fan of straight-up roller coasters (helloooo Cedar Point), but this was a lot of fun. I really liked the Back to the Future ride and the Mummy. And of course Jaws is always a classic.

Oh, and I got funnel cake with ice cream and chocolate sauce on it. Mmm yes.

We got to bed fairly early that night, since we left the next morning for St. Augustine. It felt like a longer drive than it was, since of course I was very ready to be there. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, which is further from the beach than I would've liked (about twenty minutes), but seeing as how two nights were free (thank you Dad for travelling a lot!), it was pretty durn good. We ate subs for lunch and then headed into town.

I dropped my parents off on St. George street to look around in the shops, and Phil and I went to visit Shannon and Allison. It's funny, because it was the first time I really hung out with then when Caleb wasn't there, and I didn't know if it would be awkward or not. But you know what, it was so much fun, and it was the best time I've had talking to them! It makes me sad that we live so far away, because I know we'd get along so well if I lived in their area. Ah well. It's good to know that we'll always be in touch, and who knows--maybe someday we'll all end up in the same place (now that would be fun).

They had to leave becuase they were flying to Chicago to meet Nikki, so Phil and i met back up with my parents and we all took a tour of Flagler. Even though it was my second time and we had the same tour guide as before, it was still fun. I love the architecture and all the history in Flagler's main building, it's so gorgeous.
We walked around and I showed the some of the art galleries, and then we went back to the hotel. I was killing time until Caleb arrived (he was supposed to come around 11 or so that night)--and then I get a phone call that his truck is still in the shop and no one can take him to St. Auggie until the next day. So I was quite bummed. But I went swimming in the pool and that helped a little.

We got up pretty early the next day, got ready for the beach...and around 10am I find out Caleb isn't going to be able to come until 9 that night because his mom has to do a women's Bible study before she can take him. He was really frustrated, because we were supposed to have a lot more time to hang out.

I was thisclose to driving to Branford myself to get him, but he wouldn't let me "leave my family vacation" just to bring him over. Which, okay, he has a point. But it was hard to enjoy the beach knowing that he should be there too.

We did rent a surfboard, which was nice...I'll never get tired of floating in the water, even when the waves are small. I read a lot, and we stayed at the beach most of the day. We ate dinner at this great little place called the South Beach Grill, about twenty minutes from Cafe Eleven. The food was so good, and we had a really funny waiter. After dinner my dad decided that we should go for a drive on the beach, since there was a ramp out there and everything. It was interesting...we drove by these people shooting off fireworks and almost got hit twice.

Finally, around 10pm I get a phone call from Caleb. They had the van packed and ready to go at 7:30, he turned the key--and it didn't start. The van battery was dead. So he was on his way to Lake City (45 minutes from their house) to get a new battery. At 10. Meaning there was no way they could get to St. Augustine until at least one, and that was too late for his mom and Nanny (whose house they were going to stay at). Needless to say, I was pretty upset--he felt so bad and it seemed like everything was working against him getting there. But they were going to leave at 6 the next morning, so I sucked it up and went to bed.

And, thank you Jesus, at 8:30 on Friday I met Caleb in the lobby of our hotel. I couldn't have been more glad to see him if I tried. We went over to Pap-pap's and drove his Jeep to the beach, where we met my family. I went surfing a bunch (the waves were better) and laid around talking to Caleb and getting burnt (which of course I didn't discover until later). We ate dinner with my family at Creekside Dinery, where this cool band that sounded like a more rock-and-roll version of Nicklecreek played. They even did "Wild Horses"  by the Stones for some couple! It was great!

Afterwards we all went over to Nanny's and hung out with her and Miss Kathy and Josh and my family. They got along really well, which is a relief (though not an un-expected one). Nanny loved my dad and was real impressed that he fixed her broken chair and the problem with her vcr. My dad rocks.

I stayed up until 2 am that night with Caleb, just hanging out at Pap-pap's and talking on the beach. It was so nice, although I got zero sleep since I got up Saturday morning at 4am. Yeah, we left pretty early. Saying goodbye to Caleb was no fun, but it was better knowing I'd see him again in less than 3 weeks.

We stopped in Atlanta for lunch, where we met my friend katie and her friend jordan. We ate at this cool cafeteria style place called "Eats," where they had some amazing lemon-pepper chicken. She also gave us a tour of the place where she's doing her internship--it's so cool! They have a theatre and a firepole and enough macs to outfit an army. I love graphic design.

The drive back was long. I finished another book and drove and slept and listened to cds. We hit some nasty traffic in Cinncinatti around 9, but finally ended up back in Detroit around 2am. Yeah, my bed felt real nice.


So there you have it. Florida was a lot of fun, and my family and caleb's family got along (yay!) and it was great seeing everyone again. I can't wait to be there again.


I just intertwined my fingers, stretched out my arms, and cracked my knuckles--then wiggled my fingers in that stereotypical "I'm about to type a novel" action. Yeah, I felt cheesy a few seconds later, but I promise I didn't do it on purpose.

It's about 70 degrees outside, and raining. Fall in Virginia? No, July in Detroit. Yeah, I hate my life. But at least I don't have to drive around with all my windows down. Still, the weather is such a contrast to what I was enjoying a few days ago--lots of sun and warmth, albiet more heat than I'm used to. It's funny how quickly I miss Florida, and the way that even though I've never spent more than two weeks there at a time, somehow it still always feels like home.

I have my Media Player on "random", and Shapiro's "If I'd Known" just started playing. I forgot how much I like listening to them, and how excited I am to see Nathan again. I've started getting those itchy, can't-wait-to-go-back-to-school feelings, all butterflies and sharpened pencils. However, I'll save all my bursting autumnal feelings for another post, becuase this is for Florida. And vacation. Mmmyes.

We left super-early on Friday. After I had only gotten 2 hours of sleep, no less, becuase Philip and I were up very late listening to "Stairway to Heaven" backwards and laughing a random web site that had lyrics for it. I'm not even going to try to excuse myself from that one. Needless to say, I spent a good part of the trip down sleeping in the backseat. However, I did find time to read "Auntie Mame", a hilarious play from the forties, and half of Mae West's biography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It. We took a picnic lunch break in Tennesee, where I saw lots of licencse plates that reminded me of Beau (Caleb's roomate).

After driving through some amazing and scary thunderstorms that had more lightning than a laser show, we arrived in Branford, FL around 11:30pm. Seeing Caleb was wonderful, and I'll save the hearts and flowers and leave it at that. My family met his family for the first time (oooh, big stuff), and they actually all got along quite well--there wasn't really even any awkwardness! That was a relief, as all who've seen "Meet the Parents" and other such scary movies should know.

His mom made us an awesome breakfast the next morning, and Caleb gave my family a tour of Branford and the springs and whatnot. Then my parents and Phil left for Orlando, to check into the time-share that my Aunt Linda is letting us use. Caleb and I got ready for Boceefun's wedding, where we sat with Allison and Shannon (those girls have such fun dresses!). The wedding was short and not particularly interesting (mainly since I didn't know the bride or the groom and Caleb hasn't hung out with Boceefun in a long time), but the reception had good food, and we chilled with the girls and Aleah and Eb's sister. After changing into comfy clothes again, Allison and Shannon and Aleah wandered around the Lake City mall with us--and let me tell ya, we spent half an hour in the Dollar Store. That's how big the mall is.

We all went back to Caleb's house and us girls looked at old Jones photo albums while Caleb made funnel cake. It was good! We feasted on the lovely fried food (I looove funnel cake) and watched "I Love the Ninties" for about...three hours. It was nice. Then the girls had to go home, so Caleb and I watched Pulp Fiction. It was good, and while I could've done without all the profanity, it was well-done and Quinten Tarentino-iffic.

The next day I went to Sunday School with Luke (Caleb had to practice for Choir), and it was fun coming in late and having Brother Danny arch an eyebrow and say, "Does Caleb know about this?" The service was good, and Caleb did a great job of directing the choir--it's so unexpected to see him doing all this crazy directing stuff, but it was a good kind of unexpected. I'm really proud of him.

After the service, I went to eat at The Gathering with all the Joneses. And Dirty J's family was there--I didn't know he had a sister (that looks just like him, no less)! It was real nice having a Monterey Chicken sandwich again...I think I might put the recipe up sometime under bargain bin.

It was real rainy that day, so we watched some tv and took naps and played with Pogo the Wonder Cat. My family met us at the night service, and we gave them a tour of the church. The kids play was good, but very long. We hung out with everyone for a little while, then I had to leave with my family to go down to Orlando. We at at Sonny's on the way down and I got to enjoy some real good sweet tea.

It was late and super-rainy when we got to Orlando, and it was not fun trying to navigate strange roads and such. After lots of confusion, we finally pulled into the Sheritan Vistana Resort where we were staying for free. Resort for free, yes, I love generous relatives. We had a villa with a kitchen and a humongous whirlpool bathtub in the main bedroom. Along with 8 outdoor pools and bunches of cool resort-y type things (okay, so we didn't really take advantage of much of them, but we were only there for three days).

It was rainy again on Monday, so Phil and I set out for the weight room. It was super-ghetto, so we made the best of it and (after a little exploring) found a sauna and a steam room. Steam rooms are fun! I think I might build one on the back of my apartment. Or not. Around three, my family and I went to Downtown Disney, where we got to visit the Lego store, lots of cheesy Disney propaganda shops, an extremely cool Guitar store that had a mint repro. of a Jimi Hendrix guitar, and the ::drool:: Virgin Megastore. Yes, I know Empire Records had qualms about being bought out by one, but they should've just gone with it. I 'bout died. They had three rows of vinyl, including every radio head/white stripes/rolling stones album I could ever want. I had to call Caleb and have him calm me down. Then I made the mistake of going into the Indie/Foriegn DVD section and almost passed out. ROWS, we're talking rows, of DVDs. They had to send a team of employees to drag me out. Okay, so not quite, but it got real close. Phil bought the new Polyphonic Spree cd, and wow. I didn't know that hippies were so alive and well. It's good, though, and the DVD is quite entertaining (but man, there do not need to be so many guys wearing multi-colored sheet dresses).

On our way out we came across the House of Blues--the very same one I almost saw Ben Harper in last year. Grr. I drooled and oogled and said, "I almost saw Ben Harper here but it was sold out!" to Philip so much that he had to karate chop me in the face. And then we left.


That's all for today's episode, as I need to go to the gym, but hold on for next time, when you'll hear the tales of patriotic Arabian dinner shows, 50 year old women belly-dancing to Shakira, and the 32 ways your boyfriend can be delayed from St. Augustine. 'Till later...


I'm home from Florida--sunburnt, but happy. It was a good vacation. Lots of driving, quite a bit of Caleb (although not nearly enough), and much walking. I ate seafood, swam in the ocean, saw the best ever imitation of The Blues Brothers, finished reading Mae West's autobiography, and hung out with some great people.

So that's it in a nutshell--don't worry, tomorrow or Tuesday after work I'll expand for you, but for now I'm tired, my face is peeling...and I'm going to go watch "Barefoot in the Park."


It's 11:51 and I'm still in my pajamas. Ahh. Feels good. Especially since none of yesterday belonged to me. Oh, it belonged to Pottery Barn Kids. It belonged to the Dentist, who gave me 3 fillings and two shots of novacane that went as far ast to make my nose numb (and let me tell ya, that is a wierd feeling). It even belonged to Ann Taylor Loft, who called me into work from 6 to close, while my lip was still unconcious. But did it belong to me? No sir. It was very sad.

So that is why today I'm enjoying my freedom to wear scrubby clothes until the wee hours of the evening. Okay, so I'll probably be changing in about half an hour when I head to the gym. But I still have a choice!

Tomorrow is going to be the longest day of my entire summer (so far). I have to work 1-10 (yes, that's nine hours!) at PBK, and the next day we're leaving for Florida. I think the only way I'll make it is if we get hit with a huge crowd and it's crazy busy. I'm crossing my fingers.

Have you ever been laying in bed talking on the phone, hung up, and then "closed your eyes for just a second", only to wake up the next morning with your lights still on? Becuase I definitely have. I did last night--and granted, if you're a guy, it's not that bad, but when you wear contacts and you haven't brushed your teeth or washed your face...well, you wake up at 7:30 feeling pretty nasty. I'm really bad about that (the falling asleep thing, not the feeling nasty). I do it all the time in the mornings--I'l get out of the shower and decide to hop back in bed for "just a couple of minutes". Only to fall asleep and wake up 5 minutes before I have to leave. I've been better about it in the past few years, but when I was in high school this contributed to many, many days of being late for school and causing me to lose my tv privilages.

Oh. Shoot. "I Love the Ninties" just came on VH1. Well, forget going to the gym for another hour. Sometimes I love cable, and sometimes it just takes over my life.