Home again, home again, where do I begin?

After a week of sun and fun on the beaches of Mexico it was an adjustment to come home to the cold of middle Tennessee.We stayed at a newish all-inclusive resort on the Yucatan Peninsula called the Valentin Imperial Mya. We flew in and out of Cancun and the closest city (and where we shopped) was Play del Carmen).The Mayan architecture was amazing and Hubby and I spent lots of time admiring it. Our room was oceanfront so most mornings we were on our balcony (or in our hot tub or our all-glass shower) where we watched the sun climb cross the horizon. (Why isn’t it that easy to wake up at home???)

The newlyweds and the bride’s parents stayed in suites, which opened to a quiet branch of the pool. They could lie out on their terraces or take a few steps further and recline in chairs on a platform in the water.

The wedding couldn’t have been more perfect. There had been a threat of rain all day, but an hour or so before the ceremony, the clouds parted and the sun smiled on the festivities. The bride was beautiful in her gown and flip-flops. The groom and all of us parents were shoeless. How cool was that? An elegant dinner at the resort’s French restaurant followed for a gourmet ending to a picture-perfect day.

The happy couple and the rest of the wedding party flew home on Friday, the 23rd, but Hubby and I stayed until Monday the 26th. The resort did all they could to make it feel like Christmas with many Christmas trees, white lights everywhere, and a splendid lunch complete with ice carvings on Christmas day, but it just didn’t feel like the holidays to me. It’s difficult to get in the spirit while frolicking in a pool. Some guests brought small trees to the pool with them. I wish I’d thought of that.

We went to Christmas Eve mass in the lovely little chapel at the resort, and were surprised to find it was all Spanish. What did we expect? Italian? Just another example how spoiled we, as Americans, can be.

I’m glad we stayed a few extra days because it gave us a chance for some couple time. We took dance lessons, swam, snorkeled, played ping pong, danced under the stars, got a hot stone couples massage and went to a show. We also met some cool people including a mother-daughter from Michigan (or maybe Minnesota) who, after we met them for the first time, kept showing up wherever we were. Quite the coincidence for a resort that large. As we were waiting for our shuttle to take us to the plane to come home, we met another couple from Nashville. It really is a small world.

I finally figured out how to upload photos to the new version of WordPress so here are a few of my 500+ photos. (I’m still working on spacing.)

I hope you have a safe and happy new year’s weekend.

~ Kay

 

 

Oops!

I missed yesterday’s post.

I had it ready to go, except for some photos–I still haven’t figured out how to do that, but I will. I’d hoped my downloading issues would magically resolve and I could post before we left town yesterday, but no such luck.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to it because we had to attend the funeral of my step-children’s maternal grandmother.  Hubby’s mom and sister made the three hour trip with us for the visitation, funeral and graveside service. I was so tired when we got home I went straight to bed. I thought about working on my post some more–for about thirty seconds between the time my head hit my pillow and when I went to sleep.

I have to say going to a country funeral always reminds me of the simplicity I grew up in, the slower pace, the respect and courtesy found in small towns. The sheriff, police and highway patrol worked together to block intersections for the funeral possession and many of the officers stood with either their hands or their hats over their hearts. And every car we met stopped out of respect. When I do that in Nashville, people usually honk their horns or go around me.

I’m either going to figure out this photo thing or I’m going to uninstall this latest upgrade. If I don’t have a post tomorrow, it’ll be because I’ve broken the damned thing. I’m about to work on it now. I hope to be back tomorrow.

~Kay

Back to the real world

We are returning home today, and I get to reunite with MAC. I’ll have lots of details of how I survived without my beloved laptop for a full week on Wednesday.

‘Til then,

~Kay

Happy Holidays

Best wishes 

for a

Safe

Healthy

Happy

Holiday Weekend

All married

Youngest step-son and his beautiful bride tied the knot for the second time in less than a week yesterday. Since I promised Hubby I wouldn’t take my laptop on this trip, and I don’t want to rely on my ability to see the future to describe their on-the-beach wedding, I guess I’ll have to save the details and photos for when I get home. Unless … someone else has a computer. He only asked me not to take MY computer. He didn’t say I couldn’t use someone else’s, so maybe I need to clarify. If you’re reading this, the clarification must have been no computer, period, for a week. Oh, boy, I hope I can survive.

~ Kay

 

Dolls win big

Well, we did it! The Tap N Dolls not only survived the New York Dance Alliance Competition Saturday night, we were a hit. And, it was so much fun!

The judges sat right in front of the stage, at foot level, so they could see every shuffle, flap, frap, heel, toe, turn, combination … you get the idea. But the great thing was throughout both dances they all had huge smiles on their faces. The judge right smack in front of me was even singing along with the songs—Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Mambo, Number Five.

The audience was  super. They whooped, hollered, and clapped at all the right places. Of course most were there supporting someone in one of the groups, so they could appreciate the effort put into learning and perfecting difficult choreography. Regardless, I don’t think we did two kicks in a row that the crowd didn’t start applauding. What a rush! This (almost) makes up for having to miss the recital last June.

We were by far the oldest group there, and when I say oldest, I mean by decades. Multiple decades. When they handed out the awards, the owner of the dance company, who MC’d the event, said we were an inspiration. Hubby said after our first number, the MC told all the dance moms there to pay attention to us. It almost feels like he thinks we have one foot in the grave or something. We aren’t that old.

My sweet husband surprised us with roses backstage. He’s such a sweetheart. He said he got several hugs and a few kisses when he handed them out. In fact, when he went to the restroom later, he said he had different colors of lip prints on his cheek—we have to wear heavy makeup for the stage, you know. We also wear false eyelashes, too, but that’s a different story.

So how well did we do? Drum roll, please. Double platinum. We were awarded the highest possible award for each dance. Our teachers took classes and stayed overnight at the hotel, so some of our group went up to celebrate, but I came home to crash and start getting ready for our trip to Cancun. The competition had been at the forefront of my mind since we got back from the cruise, so nothing had been done for our upcoming travels.

When you read this, I’ll either be on my way to or in Cancun. My Christmas gift to Hubby was a promise not to take my laptop with me, so I had to prewrite and post for while I’m gone. Maybe, I can find a computer and add some pictures to Wednesday’s post. If not, I’ll have some when we return. It didn’t seem like a major gift when he requested it, but  my-oh-my it’s turned out to be big-time-major. I only hope I don’t have withdrawal and have to find a twelve-step program while I’m gone.

I have a photo of the Tap N Dolls with our trophies, but WordPress has updated something and I can’t seem to upload pictures. I’ll keep working on it, but in the meantime, check out this link of my first cousin, once removed (my cousin’s son) who is the real dancer in the family. I think he’s in the tenth, maybe eleventh grade and is incredible. He’s made some nationwide commercials too.  http://vimeo.com/33366335

‘Til Wednesday,

~Kay

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding bells

My youngest step-son got married last night for the first time. Cynical? No. He’s getting married again (to the same bride) next week.

Last night the bride’s parents hosted a small civil ceremony in their home. It was attended by parents, grandparents, siblings and one friend of each the bride and groom. Everyone wore jeans. The ceremony was short. I’d guess three minutes tops. The purpose, I’m told, was to make sure they were legally married before heading to Mexico where they’re having a more traditional ceremony on the beach.

The happy couple (and her parents and brother) left this morning for their honeymoon in Cancun. Hubby and I, along with our ex-wife, will join them on Monday. Then Tuesday, weather permitting, they’ll have their dream wedding, complete with beautiful white dress, tuxedo, and all that goes with it. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, there is a plan B, but I’m not going to ponder it, lest I jinx the whole thing. The ceremony is supposed be oceanfront, followed by a dinner at tables set up on the beach. It sounds lovely.

The biggest grin for me was my dress. When Youngest’s older brother got married three years ago, I spent considerable time (and money) searching for the perfect dress, shoes, and accessories. For this wedding, I’m wearing a dress I haggled for on the beach in Hatti (during recent cruise), with a cool hat I also got there and a wrap I already had. I’ll don sandals from my closet. (I think the bride is wearing flip-flops.) I shelled out less than forty bucks for the whole ensemble (including jewelry). There’s no way I’m going to tell you how much I paid for what I wore to the other son’s wedding.

The kids (and in-laws) are coming back Friday, the 23rd and our ex will head home the day following the ceremony, the 21st. We decided to stay behind and spend Christmas in Cancun. We’ve never spent Christmas in a tropical place before, and I’m not sure how I’m going to like it.

I’m a little nervous about traveling to Mexico right now with the unrest there. I was talking with a workman (from Mexico) who was in my neighborhood earlier in the week. I told him we’d be in Cancun soon. His face got serious and he said, “Be careful.” It frightened me. He said he hated to say that about his own country, and the resort areas were safer than most of the country, but advised me not to get in a cab and not to do this and not to do that… Hey, we’re staying at an all-inclusive resort and I mean that literally. We’re STAYING at an all inclusive resort.  I’ve already gotten Hubby to promise no matter how alluring some junket may sound we won’t change our minds spur of the moment and head inland. Usually I like to be more spontaneous than that, but not when guns are involved. Think Romancing the Stone. Ummm … she was a best-selling author. Maybe I should reconsider.

Our home will be secure with our security system (complete with cameras we can watch from down there if we get really bored). Our neighbors know we’re leaving and will be checking on things while we are gone.

Here’s the biggie. Hubby gently suggested I leave the laptop at home for this trip, and I’m considering it sort of as a self-sacrificing Christmas present for him. I’ll have my iPad (for my books) if I just have to write something. If I do this, I’ll have to get busy and get next week’s blogs posted and finish four critiques for my online group, but it is doable.

Tomorrow night is my tap competition so, if you could send some good vibes this way, my group would appreciate it.

Following are some wedding photos from last night. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Seasons Greetings or whatever. Best wishes for safe, healthy, happy holidays.

~ Kay

    

   

Hubby Hugs Groom

Me with new daughter-in-law

      

Cruise photos

I’ve been reliving our recent family cruise through some of  our photos. “They” say the pleasure of a vacation is in three parts: anticipation, the trip itself, and the memories. I know I’ve loved wallowing in the memories through photos!

EVERYBODY (all 26 of us)

Mother-in-law, Hubby and me

 

OUR DINNER TABLESeated: Aunt, MIL, Cousin's wife, Cousin, Hubby, Me

 

Hubby and me with our godchild

 

Peace,

~Kay

Monday Morning. I’d rather sleep.

What a great weekend! My former in-laws were in town on business and my almost twenty-three-year-old niece came along. We did some Christmas shopping (finished, I think), wrapped a few presents (no where near done) and had some girlie time for manicures and pedicures. She has grown into such a delightful young lady and is considering graduate school in Nashville. Now, wouldn’t that be cool?

I had a tap dress rehearsal Sunday afternoon, so Hubby got to spend some quality time with her as well. She wanted to go to Build-a-Bear to make a gift for a friend who is in the army. I’m not sure who had more fun. All I know is Hubby came home with THREE bears. One for our not quite hatched Grandson and two for Youngest and his bride-to-be.

There is a reason for dress rehearsals before performances, and I now know first hand what that reason is. I was missing a part of one of my costumes yesterday. Oops! I started getting everything together a couple of hours before the rehearsal and didn’t have a top to for a dance I’ve not performed before. I called my teacher who found another dancer who had it (whew!) but had this been the show, it could have been major trouble. Because of my five-month illness last winter, I’m the least experienced in my group, so I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread. It doesn’t help that the group I started with merged with the advanced group while I was sick. I’ve been taking two extra hours of lessons a week to catch up, but my body will only do so much in a day. All of a sudden, I feel like the problem child of tap—a position I’ve never in my life been in—and one I’m not fond of. The group is taking a one-week break for the holidays, but I’m taking two weeks off because of Youngest’s wedding in Cancun. Maybe the tide will have turned in the New Year.

For the weekend, I made Brunswick Stew, a favorite in my prior life and something I’ve introduced to Hubby’s family with success. If you want something to warm you from the inside out, try this easy recipe:

  •  3-5 pounds cooked meat (I use chicken breasts, but you can use pork, turkey, roast)
  • 5 cans stewed tomatoes (regular size cans)
  • 4 cans creamed corn
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 small bottle ketchup
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ a stick I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (Original recipe called for a stick of butter, but this works)
  • Add Tabasco to taste (I usually don’t cook this in the stew, but let folks add their own)
  • Cook overnight in crockpot or for ten to twelve hours in Dutch oven at 200 degrees. 
  • You’ll know it is ready when it changes from a light pink color to a deep, rich red color. 
  • Great warmed over and easy to freeze.

I have tap in a couple of hours and need to do some critiques before I leave, so that’s it for today. Stay warm and have a good Monday.

~ Kay

Finally Friday

Actually, this week has sped by. Returning from a ten-day trip and getting ready to leave town again will cause time to do that.

  •  Laundry. ✓
  • Christmas shopping. Mostly ✓. (Wrapping and shipping, another story)
  • Ready for tap competition next Saturday and dress rehearsal Sunday. Will be.
  • Ready to head to Cancun for Youngest’s wedding. Hahahahahaha

I know this is nothing to moan and groan about, and I do realize how fortunate I am to take two vacations within weeks of each other (even with relatives on both), changing from cold to hot to cold to hot to cold weather can’t be good for one’s health. I’m less than half way through the process and I’m already sick. Yesterday, while running errands with Hubby, my voice completely went away. Nothing. Zip. Nadda. He didn’t seem too bummed about it.

I was frustrated with myself because I finished Monday’s blog so late, but at least I remembered to change the time it was picked up for distribution, so those who subscribed would get it on Monday. Yep. I flubbed Wednesday’s post. It was finished in the early afternoon giving me plenty of time to get it in my MWF rotation, but I forgot to change the time and it didn’t go out until yesterday. Oh, well. For those of you who think I’m too rigid, (type A, first born, intense—whatever the jargon of the year happens to be), see, I’m letting this go. Barely even noticed it. Seriously.

We have guests arriving tonight—former in-laws of mine. At least they love us and will understand when they have to sleep among rolls of wrapping paper and spools of ribbon. Hummm…maybe they’ll help me knock out some of these holiday tasks. My almost twenty-three-year-old niece is coming and I’m so excited. I haven’t seen her in two years. Until I remarried, she was my only niece and, as far as I’m concerned, is the most beautiful, well-rounded, totally awesome young woman in the world. I can’t wait to hang out with her tomorrow. I’ve saved some errands and plan to treat her to a mani/pedi so we can have some re-bonding time. Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Can’t wait.

I still have chapters to review for my critique group and a short story for a friend. And I’ll get to them. But, I’ve worn myself out just writing about all I need to do. Shhhh. I’m going to take a short power nap.

~Kay