Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On the road again...

I cannot remember the last time I was this excited!! I am siting on the bus on the way to the airport, with one of my favorite girlfriends, and getting very exited about the next 5 days!
Okay. We landed in Orlando tonight. Leela picked us up at the airport.  And then the trip happened and I didn't come back to this post at all.

So now I have been home for 3 days and I realized that you didn't get to hear about any part of it.  So sad for you!  I apologize - can you forgive me?  Well you don't have a choice!

I guess this story starts way back in May when Sugarland was playing at Merriweather Pavilion.  But I couldn't go because my baby brother was graduating from Yale, and well I was proud of him!  So Colleen & I went looking for another place & time to go and see them.  We thought about Allentown, PA, but it would have been after school and a pain to get to and then there wouldn't be anywhere to sleep, etc.  So pass on that one.  Then there was Las Vegas, but it was the weekend before school started.  And that was a bad plan.  So then Orlando!  And Colleen has friends & family there, so it won even more!

So Wednesday I went to work and all I could think about was making it through the day.  Just 3 more classes.  Just a few more hours.  And then we were in the airport!  A beer & dinner and then on the plane!  Leela picked us up at the airport and we and hung out.

Thursday, we woke up and went to Universal Studios and to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  Oh it was wonderful!  Butterbeer!  And a roller coaster.  And lunch at the 3 Broomsticks.  A great morning all together.  We wandered around for the rest of the day. 
We went back to Leela's condo and hung out at the pool for an hour.  Then got ready for Sugarland.  We went out for Tapas and had delicious sangria for dinner!  Then CONCERT!!!!  Sugarland was all I hoped for and more!  It was love at first sight!

Friday.  Did we sleep in?  I don't think so.  Maybe a little.  Not important.  We went shopping.  I needed a dress for a wedding in November that is black tie preferred, and well I didn't have anything.  So I tried on all sorts of ugly dresses before trying on a pretty red dress.  The other issue was it couldn't be too short (ruling out half the dresses in my closet) and needing some sort of straps (ruling out the other half of the dresses).  I like the new one a lot.
Then we went out for lunch.  We went to the Ravenous Pig - a gastropub.  Yum. I had a delicious chicken sandwich with truffle fries.  LOVE!  I thought I had a picture, but I seem to have eaten it... hehehe

Friday afternoon we headed to Colleen's cousin house to sit by the pool.  LOVE THE SUN!  So MUCH!  Out for dinner.  Watched a movie. Went to bed.

Saturday.  We woke up so very early to accompany Kelly to work.  She works at Animal Kingdom.  She went to work and her opening meeting, then met us at the gate and got us in for free!  One of the perks of working there.  We spent the morning walking around the Animal Kingdom.  It was chilly in the morning before the sun came up.  And when we rode the Mount Everest roller coaster, it was freezing in the mountain air.  But it warmed up on the safari.  We saw all sorts of animals, elephants, lions, giraffes, gazelles, warthogs.  All sorts of animals from the Lion King - and we saw the show they put on.

Then we were off to Epcot and the Food & Wine Festival!  We ate our way around the world.  We ate:
  • Australia - Grilled lamb chops with potato-goat cheese salad and Shiraz reduction
  • Brazil - Seared Mahi Mahi with steam rice, hearts of palm and coconut-lime sauce.  & a Caipirinha cocktail (yum)
  • Mexico - grilled ribeye taco. Crispy shrimp taco.  & a strawberry lime margarita
  • Cheese (I know, not a country, but it counted apparently) - artisan cheeses & a cheese fondue
  • Italy - ravioli (cheese with creamy beef bolognese). & a Moretti (we had them on our honeymoon)
  • American Hops & Barley - Lobster roll, & a Sam Adams
  • Japan - California roll, Tuna & Salmon sensation
  • Ireland - lobster & scallop fisherman's pie (3 times), warm chocolate lava cake with Bailey's ganache (Colleen has these recipes). & a Meade Honey Wine
Do you think we ate enough?  We were there for 8 hours and ate our way around the world and back.  There was a lot more eating than drinking - THANK GOODNESS.  Except for Leela.  She had more drinking than eating at the beginning... I don't want to tell you anything about that.  It didn't end in the prettiest way.

While we were there we witnessed a number of groups that travel to the festival every year and they had the most wonderful T-shirts.

This was such a wonderful trip.  I loved every minute of it!  I can't believe it started with a need to see a concert and then just got better and better.  There is talk of a repeat trip next year!!!!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy New Year!

One of my favorite holidays just came and went.  And it feels weird to talk about Yom Kippur as being a favorite, or even positive holiday, but it is true.  For those who don't know (because maybe you live under a rock... sorry that was harsh because I am Jewish and therefore know these holidays, but I digress). For those who don't know there are two major Jewish holidays that take place in September/October (because they use a lunar calendar so the date changes slightly every year).  The first is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  We welcome in the New Year and wish everyone a sweet new year, by eating apples & honey. 

Then there are 10 days.  10 days of atonement.  10 days of saying you are sorry.  For asking for forgiveness for the things we have done wrong, thought badly, and for hurting others whether intentionally or unintentionally.  And this is the part I enjoy.  There is something about this part of the holiday which is freeing and uplifting (not the wrong words at all).  So it is just a matter of calling the people who mean something to you and apologizing for anything you might have done in the last year that hurt them.  (DISCLAIMER - this year I failed at this and didn't make the phone calls, and for that I am sorry.)

Yom Kippur is on day 10.  This is the day when after having asked forgiveness from the people we care about, we ask God for forgiveness as well.  One of my favorite parts of the service says:
"For transgressions against God, the Day of Atonement atones; but for transgressions of one human being against another, the Day of Atonement does not atone until they have made peace with one another."
The more well known part of this holiday is the fact that we fast on this holiday.  We refrain from engaging in activities that give us pleasure so that we can focus on asking for forgiveness and forgiving others.  We refrain from eating, bathing, and sex.  In doing so, we can focus on the task at hand and not be distracted from all the day-to-day nonsense. 

There was something about this Yom Kippur that was very different for me.  It felt more profound.  Which is strange because I was away from home and looking for a local synagogue (which I might have found after a non-holiday visit) and I did not truly fast (because of a medication I am taking - no worries, nothing serious). I missed my family.  I missed being with the community I know.  But I enjoyed not having the distractions of those same people.  I was able to focus on my apologies and hopes for the New Year. 

So after all this there are just two things I want to say.
If I have done anything to offend you, I am sorry.  Whether it was by my actions or by my words, I did not mean to harm you or hurt you in any way.  I know words can feel harmless and change after they sit awhile.  I am sorry for any misunderstandings. 
Also, have a wonderful and happy New Year.  May it be a sweet and wonderful New Year. 

---PS--- and no that apology does not count for the people I still need to call, but I dropped my phone in the toilet and I am waiting for the replacement to arrive in the mail.  True story.

Love you, D