Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I'm feeling a bit JRish. Remember when he was shot and the next season he was simply dreaming?

I feel like the last few days were like that - a dream, a fleeting vision of merriment and joy. Not that life in Flint is all bad, mind you (Don Williamson said things are getting better, after all). But, Sarasota! Bradenton! Where fort art thou?

Ok - so the real story is my husband and Angela planned the whole trip, not that I figured that out any sooner than you did if you read my last entry. Yes, the manager and all her minions did come to our table at Applebee's and tell us we were the 100,000 customer, earning us a four-day trip to Bradenton WITH the plane leaving Detroit in less than six hours! What I learned later was David has been spending too much time watching "The Jamie Kennedy Experience." He created the coupon and slipped into the eatery a bit early to set the scene for Birthday Boy and me. (Birthday Boy aka David Stephenson, Angela's husband!) We always try to outdo one another in celebrating birthdays. Birthday Boy and I Punk my husband and Angela in honor of their years; they put us on television with a trip to the Sunshine State. I think we win whichever way you slice it!

Words do not do this episode justice. Not only did we eat at places of distinction and honor, but we stuffed ourselves like royalty with fresh fish, salads and unusual liquid refreshment. Whether we had blue cheese stuffed olives with our martinis or fire and ice chilled shrimp, no one left the table without appreciation for the cooks!

Strangely, the number of people we saw from Flint helped foster my feeling that all was a dream. From our arrival on Thursday night when we met with a whole group of folks who were down there to golf (IS it even spring break???), to family members who just happened to be there as well. I kept scratching my head wondering why everyone chose this week to visit the sun! And to all be in the same place?? Go figure!

So I am reading, Meet the Beatles, a great history of the fab four. I just finished the chapter on John Lennon being an artist who actually attended art school (who knew??!) Well, what is happening at St. Armand's Circle in Sarasota? None other than John's art exhibit, put on by Yoko Ono. We left the two in the Columbia and headed for the exhibit (Birthday Boy likes Lennon!) After mild discussions that border on insane, we decide to forego our plan to purchase the $6000 print and share it between our two houses. I was strongly tempted to pick up the "Watching the Wheels" lyrics handwritten by John - I think my favorite song of his right now. Nay, I ran from the temptation - and purchased a pair of knock off Crocs instead. A bit more affordable - Birthday Boy does NOT want to share them!

And we shopped some more as tourists do.
And we Segwayed through the historic district. Segwho, you say? The Segway is a two-wheeled platform that balances your body per your own movement. Lean forward, you move forward - tip back, backwards you go. Angela said no at first, then weakened, said no, weakened, no. The diliberations continued until she made it past the initial shakeup getting on. In fact, she said she watched that I couldn't do it any better and thought she wasn't so stupid afterall. Thanks. She's such a pal. And we tooled around the Botanical Gardens, saw the Doll Family houses (of circus lore), wheeled past the bay, through the city and spent much of the time taunting Angela who still wasn't sure she would make it through the tour balancing on the two wheels. In truth, I did run into her once (or was it twice?). She nearly fell. I laughed. So did Birthday Boy. Birthday Boy was a bad boy on the Segway - the teacher kept telling him to behave!! I don't think he heard her.

All of us heard the bells, however, the last bell tower in Sarasota. I told Angela that I had read that the bells were designed to ring in honor of Ringling (the whole town commemorates the circus family Ringlings!!). Listen, I told her, ring-ling, ring-ling. Just like shown on Polar Express, she heard it! Yes, she exclaimed, I hear it. (I swear, I could even see her head bouncing to the syllables!!) She then quickly told the tour guide that her friend had read this amazing fact about the bells. He told her they changed the ring to honor the new Chinese restaurant - Ling-ring, ling-ring. She tried telling him I was telling the truth - that I had read it on the Internet. Please don't tell her any different... Let's just keep this between me and you...

And, well, there is so much to tell of this dream... Suffice it to say, Birthday Boy and I won the shell finding contest as the sun slowly slipped into the bay.

And, we had the most fun ... at least in this dream anyway.