Monday, October 24, 2011

Caught up in events beyond my control, as usual

I suppose dirty diapers or stomach upset fall into this category as well.  But I am really referring to several agenda items to canvas from my recent jaunt to Florida.  Plants will be mentioned, if only to maintain my claim to the subcategory “garden blog”.  (Really, I should just have done with it and call this a blog about nothing.)

florida trip 068

Firstly, a lifelong Alaskan doesn’t often look so sharp in 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  A partially melted ice cream sundae looks more put together.  I did my best by packing my newly acquired linen clothing (why do I need linen in Anchorage? It’s about 70F on a hot day) and channeling Katharine Hepburn. 

The effect, once the sun/heat hit me, was more “celebrities without their makeup”.  My bit of makeup seemed to pool up about chin level and drop in spatters onto the pavement, where I could have fried the proverbial egg.  That would have been more healthful than all the donuts consumed over the course of ten days of family reunion-ing.

florida trip 105

Secondly, I spent less time in lines that I had supposed.  The longest was about an hour.  The result of that wait: getting deluged to the point of actually ringing my skirt and shirt out upon exit.  However, the sodden underpants were more refreshing than an adult has any right to admit. 

This wet ride, Bluto’s Bilgewater (or something like that) at Universal Studios, was a true water ride. As in, you will be taking a lot of water home or down the path at least, and an hour later, will still be looking as if you wet your pants. (Sorry for all the commas in this post, I blame, jetlag.)  The water ride at Disneyworld a few days later was quite a letdown.  Only my right sleeve was soaking wet.  Just not good enough when one is melting like a pat of butter.

florida trip 088

Thirdly, I thought nothing could be more exciting than running with the reindeer, but Florida proved me wrong.  The sleepy little beach town of New Smyrna was an eye opener.  Not only was I caught up in my first pub crawl (quite perplexing for a teetotaler like myself) but about half of the crawlers were clad in red dresses.  Doesn’t sound so bad, and rather posh, but hairy chests bursting from scarlet satin are still rather rare in Alaska, so forgive the ignorance. 

Some of the men looked rather fetching in their frocks and were brave, too.  The tail end of a biker fest was being feted at the very same bars.  Can’t say I saw any of the Harley Davidson crowd in a red dress, but it must be rather difficult to mount a motorcycle in a miniskirt.  Me and my lot of squares just ate our yogurts (bacon flavor-who knew there was such a thing?) and watched the crowd, secretly expecting someone would be thrown through the front window of a bar before our eyes.

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Fourthly, (is that a word?) what’s with all the houseplants?  Types I beg and threaten in turns grow into the sidewalk cracks here with a jungle-like abandon.  The shopping malls in Florida even have better landscape fodder than the most blooming and lush specimens here in Alaska. (I didn’t see any dandelions.  There, that’s one thing we grow better!)  I freely admit it: I am jealous of all this botanical vigor.

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Fifthly, and lastly, a rundown of things I learned:

*wear sunscreen, stupid!

*do NOT eat at Pinocchio’s cafeteria two times in a row

*if wearing a skirt on a wild amusement park ride, use hands to hold down skirt unless you have a desire to flash everyone (I really am sorry about that!)

*try a frozen Butterbeer, after, I repeat, after you ride Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey

*perfect the art of pulling out your swimsuit wedgies as quickly as possible, so as not to flash everyone, yet again (so sorry, but I know you water park life guards have seen worse) at the bottom of the breakneck speed waterslide

*I (still) do not fare so well on long plane rides.  Orlando to Seattle: sanity in question, Seattle to Anchorage: insane, but welcome home

I loved Florida so much I was almost pressed into buying a timeshare.  Too bad twelve airplane hours with my six-foot frame cramped and near starvation (you call those peanuts sustenance?!) are what separates us.  I think I’ll try the west coast for the next family vacation.  Or even better, maybe somewhere within driving distance…I’m turning into a travel grump.


Vacation tips? Places you love to visit?

*Blurry picture with a portion of the red dress pub crawlers includes my brother-in-law, who insisted upon posing with this group


  1. Your wonderful account of life's insanities made me laugh, as always... :)

  2. I love to visit Alaska. After that Maine. Then again I love the mountains in Colorado. Lots of wonderful choices.

  3. So the brother-in-law is the one NOT in a red dress?

  4. @College GardenerI'm proud to be a garden blog that provokes a laugh rather than the alternative! Especially on a Monday. In autumn. With snow threatening any day now. Wah!


  5. @Lisa at GreenbowYeah, come visit us any time! Of course, I would recommend a July visit, but if skiing is more your thing, also darkness, dirty vehicles, and a general air of despair, please join us in February.

    We have some nice garden tours in summer if you can make it. And no sales tax in my city: yipee!


  6. @Elephant's EyeYes. I don't think his wife would forgive him for appearing in public in a red dress. Besides, the man simply couldn't manage a pair of matching red pumps.


  7. I'm not a heat lover either. I remember standing queuing in France for tickets to Lascaux caves and sweat (perspiration) dripping off the end of my nose. Thankfully there were lots of caves to explore where the temperature was cooler. We almost became underground creatures.

  8. I LOVE to visit Oregon. For the rain that all of the locals whine about. Thanks for the great giggles regarding your trip. I melt in Florida, too. The humidity is a killer, any time of year...

  9. Thoroughly entertaining, Christine.
    First of all, a TV show about nothing was, as you know, exceedingly successful so why not a blog about nothing? :)

    Actually you amaze me for braving the friendly skies at all. I'm so NOT a good traveler! But I suppose if you're going to live in Alaska you've got to brave all elements.

    Bacon-flavored yogurt, eh? Hmm...

    I remember being in Florida in January and I too was awestruck [code for "jealous"] by/of the plethora of plantings.

    Great post. Glad you're home now, safe and sound.

  10. I have been enjoying your blog quite a bit. I moved from Anchorage in 1993 to nature's sandbox, the mohave desert.
    As much as I miss natural water and life, I would gladly keep my 112 degrees rather than go back there in the winter! Year-round gardening really is incredible. Oh - and growing houseplants outside (with plenty of water) is pretty nice, too.

  11. By the way - we do still have that air of despair, it just happens mid-September when we are wondering if it will ever be back into the 2-digit temps.

  12. @Sue@G.L. AllotmentsNoted. I'll pack my spelunking gear if I can convince the hubby I need to get back to the family roots by touring Europe. Think he'll fall for it?

    Of course, I'll have to find out when the snowy season is in France, no more sweaty vacations for this Alaskan!


  13. @Kate/High Altitude GardeningMy last trip to Oregon was about 15 years ago. My dad was raised in Portland, so we'd go visit the grandparents on occasion. My strongest memory, besides the heat (it was summer and triple digits) was all the gardens. It seemed every yard had one.

    Quite the contrast with the Alaska of my childhood, where every yard had grass and perhaps a junk vehicle. Gardens were the exception. We're a little better about gardens here now, but still nothing like Oregon!


  14. @GRACE PETERSONHa, speaking of Oregon!

    Who/what will be my "Newman" is what I want to know? I need a nemesis.

    Ever read over a post later and picked out all the errors?Never hard around here, but I realized I used the word " rather" about a dozen times. I'm keeping it unaltered for a dose of humility. Was there ever a "Seinfeld" episode where there was a word of the day? What word shall I pick for next time?

    I bet your Oregon garden paradise looks smashing!


  15. @JiffyJSo you are one of those legendary "smart Alaskans" and got the heck outta Dodge! I am imagining shaking your hand right now. Well done!

    Glad you enjoy what is admittedly silly content here at LFG blog. Any suggestions on Alaskan-isms to blog about? I've done bunny boots and blue tarps. I think ice fishing may be next, if I can stand doing the research aka planting my behind on a bucket in the middle of the lake for hours in the cold. Sounds appealing, doesn't it?


  16. :)
    Who was I to know I was frozen most of my life. Glad I discovered otherwise, but would love to visit (in July/August).
    An Alaskan-ism I've noticed more now that I am away is the instant recognition of tourists from AK. They are usually the only weirdos in the hotel pool in January!

  17. Christine, such a funny and entertaining post. I can just imagine the heat you had to endure as a true northern dweller. I am not fond of plane rides or water rides. But I would have loved the trip to Disneyworld.

  18. I’m writing this comment from Southern California where it was 85 on New Year’s day and more of the same is expected for today’s Rose Bowl Parade. So, I appreciate the enormous contrast between Alaska and Florida because those are, after all, the two extremes of the North American continent.

    However, I remember touring through Alaska in July of the early 1990s and actually experiencing rather warm weather in Fairbanks although Juno, Anchorage and the Denali Park regions were rather frigid.

    Happy New Year to you and your love ones.


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