Florida Party!

SUNSKI. I am outside right now, under a clear sky and scads of sunshine. Although things have been difficult at work; with the dark cloud of two months of temporary duty in Alabama followed by a deployment thereafter, I am trying to take time to relax and work on this here tan. Eight months away from a spouse with base exercises before you leave (further separating your time together) needs doing peaceful things to help you manage it. Did I mention there’s a bustling bird feeder six feet from where I am sitting?

Anyway, as mentioned, I will be heading to my old haunt of Montgomery, Alabama in June and July. I spent June, July, and August there in 2008 to receive my commission in the Air Force. It’s where I had my first experience (albeit contrived) with military life, including meeting Larry. It seems like the worst time of the year to go, weather-wise, & I’ve been chosen to go pay a visit during the hot summer months twice. However, a silver lining is on the horizon, as Devin is also assigned to attend this class for these two months, so I will have my best friend in tow, whom I haven’t seen since November of last year. Following my two months of 5k’s, 10k’s, and constant working out, I am shipping out to Guam for six months. Luckily, those 5k’s and 10k’s will exorcise the flab (see that pun there?) and be awesome for beach times overseas. Too bad Larry won’t be around to appreciate it. Lame.

90 LUFTBALLONS. Last weekend was my Granny’s ninetieth birthday celebration. Nonagenarian. She’s embarking on the wonderful journey of her tenth decade. Tenth, people. She is still as sharp as ever, completing the newspaper crossword each day, in pen. She can do the Cryptoquip (which I’ve never been able to do, which is ironic, given my career field). She works out regularly and attends the Lutheran church on Sundays. So the key to a long life is family and a healthful mind, body, and spirit. And paella. Let’s not forget that.

For her party, we surprised her with an eighteen-passenger limo bus. We were unable to secure a classy limousine because it was prom weekend (of course), but this party bus had a TV, bumping stereo system, leather seats, party lights, and built-in bar and ice chest. We all BYOB’d and set off to dine at the world-class rated “Christini’s” Italian restaurant in Orlando. I made an awesome playlist for the bus, including electroswing remixes of Louis Armstrong, Lawrence Welk, and of course, more Xavier Cugat than you can shake a maraca at. The restaurant was amazon, and we were all seated at a long table, tended to by a half-dozen extremely handsome Italian waiters. The accordion player came around, and I requested all of my Gramma’s favorite songs, including “The Anniversary Waltz”, “The Third Man Theme”, and “La Dolce Vita” (which stumped the player like it did last year. Fellini, people. Fellini… only the most memorable movie to date about Rome besides “Roman Holiday”). It was amazing to see all of my family together, including all my aunts and uncles. What was not amazing was arriving at the hotel in Daytona Beach at 1130pm, then checking out at 4am to catch a plane home to Louisiana.

While I was visiting beautiful Cocoa Beach, Florida, I stayed with my Aunt Vonni and Uncle Steve. She has a beautiful resort-style swimming pool and lounge area; somehow coffee by the pool in your ‘jams each morning brings a special sort of zen to your life. She is extremely zen, and we have that in common. My family can be hectic, so it’s nice to have someone “get it” & help you unwind on your vacation. That’s what Florida’s all about. Relaxation and the beach. And Rum Runner’s at Coconuts Bar on the Beach. Can’t forget that, too. I really love the Florida lifestyle and wish I could move back to the beach, or a houseboat on the water. Because I have the military to thank for helping me move out of Florida to begin my life, I have enough personal success to move back of my own decision. My cousin Marjorie, whose husband left her one day out of the blue with no warning months ago, is looking to sell her house in Tallahassee and move to Tampa. I would give anything to be stationed at McDill Air Force Base — to be one hour from Orlando and two from Cocoa Beach! Just gotta convince Larry…

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