Things to Recommend about my Vacation

  • sitting on the beach, doing nothing but reading, staring at the water, swimming, and staring at the ocean again.
  • spending lots of unplanned time, in which we managed to find wonderful food and lots of interesting things to do on the spur of the moment
  • mojitos, especially after you smush the mint leaves against the side of the glass so that you can taste the cold rum, the tonic, and the cool spiciness of mint all at the same time
  • the discovery of sushi that I love: slices of abalone, octopus,and something else that I can't recall, and Japanese pickled vegetables, and a very cold Sapporo beer in South Beach, which had far fewer Beautiful People and many more ordinary mall-type shops that I'd been expecting (and I think that we walked by Versace's house)
  • the happy insanity and huge crowd of people at the Barnes and Noble in Coral Gables, Florida, all waiting for 12:01 a.m. and their own copy of the seventh and final Harry Potter
  • deciding at 3:15 on Friday afternoon to drive to Ft. Lauderdale for a 4:40 p.m. show of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on the giant Imax screen at the Museum of Science and Discovery - with 3D glasses for the beginning and end - and arriving at the museum not only in time, but to the minute, after navigating our way from Key Biscayne to Ft. Lauderdale through Miami Friday night rush hour traffic
  • the unplanned rhythm, the quietness, the sense of being at home in a wonderful, quaint little motel that I found in a Lonely Planets tour book. On first sight, not so reassuring: I drove into the parking lot and my first sight was a horde of iguanas and lizards and Komodo dragons sunning themselves. A bit freaky, especially if you're not accustomed to lizards. But the place was perfect. Most of the other guests were from Latin America, so there was lots of speaking of Spanish and a feeling of being someplace special, and when more Americans arrived on Saturday, I realized that yes, we are a very loud and potentially irritating culture.
  • spending time with my younger daughter, who came down to join me on Thursday afternoon. I have amazing, interesting, strong daughters, and I'm pretty lucky that they actually seem to like spending time with me and their dad from time to time.
  • reading the very end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm not actually done with the book, so don't leave any comments that give away the ending, please. It's just that I could not bear the manifold emotions at play: excitement about having the book in my hand, anticipation of what would happen, sadness that this is the last book in the series, more sadness that with each page turned there was one less page left to read, worry about the fates of the characters, hope that Luna Lovegood will appear, speculation that my theory about a pivotal scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, in which Luna tells Harry that things that are lost have a way of returning, may mean that Sirius and Dumbledore and everyone lost will come back somehow - well, you can see how I was having trouble concentrating. So I looked at the last few pages, just scanning for names and conditions, and that took at least one element off the table. I'm glad that I did, too.
  • finishing Scarf Number Two in the Knitting for Compassion project. I'll post a picture tomorrow. Right now, I'm going to sit and read, and listen to the sound of my pond. Not the ocean, but back in Illinois.