hildy89: (Default)
After using up my camera on local snow photos, my photos from St. Augustine are up on Flickr. I do wish I'd captured more of the wacky architecture but they're not too bad. I'm still deciding which snow photos to share. None of them really convey how bad the storms were.
hildy89: (Default)
One of the things I've loved about my trips down to Florida for the holidays have been our quirky side trips. So this year when my parents were casting around for ideas, I suggested St. Augustine. I'd read [livejournal.com profile] jordannamorgan's regular accounts of visiting it, so I was intrigued enough to see it for myself.

Walking around the Ancient City )
hildy89: (Default)
The weather has turned even warmer and muggier here in Florida. My allergies are not liking this development. My throat woke up feeling like it was being strangled.

We had Christmas Eve dinner out at a local restaurant. We were seated next to a large family gathering which got very loud and boisterous. I think I'm developing my father's sensitivity to sound, less in the ears and more in the making my head hurt. It's hard to hear yourself think in that din.

Otherwise it's been a fairly uneventful trip thus far. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all on my list.
hildy89: (Default)
So I awoke way too early this morning to bundle myself up to go to National Airport. When the taxi dispatcher tells you to stay warm, it's probably a warning of how bad it is. We may have gotten into the 20s when I left. At least it was clear and sunny. I don't even want to think about snow and ice in that equation.

The airport was the usual organized chaos. I had to pay even for the first checked bag which ticked me off, especially since it's credit cards only, no cash. I know it's the way things are going with the airlines, but it still bothers me. Alas I discovered one distinct minus to leaving this early -- the Borders hadn't opened yet. *sighs* The flight boarded on time, but we were delayed half an hour because some of the maintenance equipment was having problems. Some poor lamb behind me managed to lose her Ipod in the airport waiting area; her mother was not amused or sympathetic. I put on my headphones on my now ancient Dell DJ and listened to music for most of the flight.

I still have to say -- DC is a pretty city, especially from the air, spotting all the monuments. Usually I'll spy the usual threesome, but this year I also saw the WWII memorial too.

After my arrival, my parents and I had an okay lunch at Cici's pizza, which is a buffet style deal with pizza, salad and dessert. My uncle sent me a book on city foxes for Christmas present to go with his charitable donation in my name.
hildy89: (jeff/hilary)
So I am in Florida for the Christmas holidays. The plane trip was surprisingly uneventful, considering the horror stories I kept hearing. I landed in concourse A and took the train over to concourse. Of course they changed our gate number later. We only left about forty-five minutes late, but again not bad, at least we got there, unlike some of the people stuck in Chicago.

The weather varies between balmy and cloudy. The sun couldn't decide whether it wanted to come out today. But it's a welcome change from DC hovering in the early 40s.

Today was mostly shopping at the local mall. One of the stores was in the Christmas spirit. Instead of calling for a particular salesperson, they apparently had codenames. So we heard "Prancer and Vixen to the customer service counter..." (For some reason it makes me think of Hilary and Jeff in "Christmas in the Airwaves":

Hilary: "Oh, Jeffrey!--why every Christmas do you start acting like Santa's reindeer?"
Jeffrey {puzzled}: "Reindeer? Ah, what--like Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen?"
Hilary: "Yes. You start dashing out with some dancer and prancing around town, you vixen."


Probably not the image the store was going for...
hildy89: (blue box)
So tomorrow I leave for my annual trek to Florida for Christmas. I get the joy of flying through Southern Cylon HQ aka Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta. A long time ago and many Dragon Cons ago, I flew down to Atlanta and missed my flight home. But I have fond memories of the tram with the glowing red LCD that looked like the Cylon Centurions. I'm not wild about changing planes there, but maybe it'll be better than O'Hare?

At least I'll get a short break before I have to deal with work stuff.

Is it 2008 yet?
hildy89: (Default)
Well, it wouldn't be Christmas without some excitement.

The weather front with all those rain and tornadoes blew through here. Fortunately we appear to have missed the worst of it. Some of the other Florida counties were not so lucky. My parents have a skylight and the rain against that makes a horrible racket. And I was only here for a mild storm by Florida standards. Tomorrow it'll cool down right as I'm leaving. Hopefully the rain will clear out of D.C.

The Christmas loot was the usual variety of clothes. I miss the fun gifts. Christmas has lost a lot of spontaneity, especially now that I ask what they want ahead of time. I managed to score "Bones" and "Supernatural" season dvds courtesy of Circuit City's little sale, so all is not completely lost. I suspect my Dell DJ is going to acquire more classic rock in the near future.

Hope everyone had a safe and pleasant holidays.
hildy89: (we're all mad here)
Discovery is home. NASA took the longest time figuring out when and how to bring her down. From the sounds of it, they really really wanted to bring her back to Florida. Alas Discovery took a northern route home so we didn't hear the twin booms in this corner of Florida. I was a little disappointed, but at least the shuttle's home safe and sound. Bless NASA TV. It's Dad's CSPAN. To listen to CNN though, the whole landing was insanity. Granted, we had a cloudy overcast day with a little rain, but methinks if the nice people at Canavarel think they can do it safely, they will. Bunch of doom and gloomers anyway.

For lunch, we took a long trip up the barrier island past Satellite and Cocoa Beach, past Patrick AFB, and eventually to Port Canavarel. Patrick AFB had some large cargo planes parked on the deck, but Dad mentioned the search and rescue planes for the shuttle were out. Only one of the giant cruise ships was in residence. Rusty's had a nice view of the port, along with all the lively pelicans who decided to park themselves on the various boats moored there. They look like the ungainly of birds, but once they're airborne, they'll swoop and glide with the best of them. At least the wildlife here has personality, compared to DC's panoply of pigeons and squirrrels. (Not suggesting that squirrels lack personality, but after awhile, you want for a little variety...)
hildy89: (our first date)
I made it safely to Florida for the Christmas holidays despite a rather trying day. I arrived at Reagan National a little behind schedule only to discover my flight to Melbourne was delayed by an hour. That delay increased to three as the day wore on. The door seal on our plane was having issues, so they were busy getting it fixed. Unfortunately we had a mumbler giving announcements for our gate. I swear I could understand every other departure in that corner except mine. And every time someone mentioned it, she'd blame the surrounding noise. So needless to say, I was just happy to board the plane and get on with it. We actually had to go outside to board the flight, rather than use a gangway.

Then I discovered that to my horror I had seated in front of a babe in arms and her parents. A rather vocal one, in fact. I could deal with that. I could even deal with her jostling and occasionally hitting the back of my seat. To their credit, the parents did try to shush her. Unfortunately, when the flight started, they opted to use a portable dvd player to entertain her... without headphones. Isn't there supposed to be a rule or something about that? Someone objected and they did turn it down a little, which was fine for the people five rows back, but I could still hear it. At least the child was quiet. Then came the descent. She was having inner ear issues. I sympathized whole heartedly. I am told I had many inner ear infections in my youth. However, my adult ears could have done without the wailing and screaming.

I definitely don't need a heavy coat here in Florida. Yes, hate me all you like, even in short sleeves, I'm sweltering. It's December. I don't do late 70s this late in the season! Still waiting to hear word on Discovery's return. For some reason I feel like quoting "Space Camp"... "It seems I remember reading something about the shuttle landing in White Plains or something..."
hildy89: (sidonia)
I do always seem to have interesting cultural excursions when I visit my parents. This year we went down to West Palm Beach to the Norton Museum for an exhibition on Impressionists from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I must still be an old fogey when it comes to art. Like the Philadelphia trip, I found myself not liking the modern art parts of the museum that much. They do have a relatively nice Chinese and older European collection upstairs.

Tomorrow will be Christmas Eve football. I'll probably be stuck with whatever Florida team they're showing, but my heart will be at Fedex Field.
hildy89: (harvest moon bpal)
So I'm in Florida. The temperatures are only in the 60s. Since I left Virginia hovering around the freezing mark, I'll take what I can get. The flight was fairly uneventful. No screaming banshees behind me this time around.

I had dinner at Legal Sea Food at the airport. The security gate was right there, so I could get in line afterwards. Next door the Olssons book store was having a signing by Eleanor Herman, author of Sex with Kings. She dresses up for all of her signings, so she was in a beautiful red 16th century gown with a gliterring snood. Absolutely stunning dress.
hildy89: (we're all mad here)
I didn't take any pictures this year in Florida. I really need to finish off some of my old throwaway cameras and get them developed. While there, though, my parents took me by this place, although never at night. Someone had literally redone his entire house and lawn as a gingerbread house.

The Gingerbread House )

Florida

Dec. 22nd, 2004 11:28 am
hildy89: (Default)
I'm here in Central Florida visiting my parents for the holidays. I've gone from the highs in the 20s to highs in the 60s/70s, so it feels like heaven. The humidity doesn't, but at least it's moderate.

Getting to Dulles and going through security was far easier than establishing exactly where my flight was leaving from. The express bus from Rosslyn worked out great. There were two Orlando flights from Independence Air and one left from one gate and one left from another. So there was a lot of confusion from my flight about the second one. To add to that, we ran about an hour late, so the second later flight actually arrived in Orlando before we did. The flight was fine, except for a screaming child. He wailed the entire way, much to everyone's annoyance. Some other parents or guardian had one of those singing Elmo dolls for her child. Thankfully the doll only played at the airport and not on the flight.
hildy89: (Default)
I heard from my parents. They returned after their evacuation for Frances. The house held up fine with no apparent damage, just some tree and shingle debris out in the yards from other houses. No cable connection or phone line for the computer, but all things considered, they came out great. Hopefully Ivan will not be either crazy or terrible.

Frances moved up the coast, dumping lots of rain everywhere. It probably did rain here but I wasn't really aware of it, not like Isabel. The rain did interrupt my days of tennis with the US Open. Okay, we get that the Williams-Capriati match on Tuesday night was a big deal, but could you please stop reshowing it at every opportunity? Leave it to the judges yet again to take the sport out of the athletes' hands with a blown call... or several. (Sad thing about the new "Wimbledon" movie, I'm probably going to be so sick of tennis by the time it comes out. And if the movie makers are true to form from "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill" group, I'll love all the characters, except the leading lady. Why can't they write/cast likable American women?)

Frances

Sep. 4th, 2004 06:04 pm
hildy89: (apocalypse)
*meep* The local CBS affiliate just did a report from Melbourne, FL, where my parents live. Frances certainly looks like she's going to take a piece out of the East Florida coast. At least I know they've evacuated inland already. And my parents wonder why I didn't want to move with them.
hildy89: (underwater archaeology)
GIP! I decided to turn this into my underwater archaeology icon. Very apt choice, after watching a program on National Geographic's "Mysteries of the Deep", which featured two wrecks. The first one was a classical Greek ship off the coast of Turkey at TektaƟ Burnu. That one fascinated me because the team was led by George Bass from Texas A&M's Institute of Nautical Archaeology. The other ship was the 17th century Swedish warship called the Kronan lost in the Baltic. Because of the Baltic's lack of shipworms, the divers brought up some glorious pieces of ornate woodwork.

Good wishes to my parents and other Floridians who are facing Charley who turned into a Category 4 Hurricane. I looked at the radar on the Weather.com just now and there isn't much of the state showing right now.

I thought of my PotC fans and the Slayers campaigners while reading Crossgen's "El Cazador", their gorgeous pirate comic. A pity the company is filing bankruptcy, so they won't at least release a trade.

The Olympics start tonight, so I'll probably be curled up in front of the tv, watching the opening ceremonies. After that, who knows what events I'll catch. I tend to watch less of the Summer Games than the winter ones.
hildy89: (fairy)
I was bored and came across some of my old photographs from my last two trips to Florida for Christmas. So I decided to scan and share with my flist.

Kennedy Space Center and Trains )
hildy89: (cleo)
Friday consisted of the traditional post-Christmas shopping. I won't bore you with my experiences at the local malls, other than to say "Yay" to boring electronics stores. Sometimes they work out better than the trendy ones with the cooler stuff.

I left for home early this morning, just as a cold snap was coming in to Florida. It seemed like Mother Nature was sending me a distinct message to return home where I expected it to be cold. I know it gets cold in Florida, but the palm trees were still messing with my head. Palm trees lit with Christmas lights were messing with my head even more so. It's one of those things your parents tell you about but you don't believe until you actually see with your own eyes.

Flight to Charlotte was uneventful. The security at Orlando looked like a disaster but the lines moved pretty well. I wound up next door to my connecting gate so I didn't have to hightail halfway across Charlotte airport. Odd thing, they didn't require photo id to board that flight, which was unusual, especially for a DC bound flight. After a long wait at baggage claim and short taxi ride down the GW Parkway, I'm home. The more I visit other places the more I appreciate what I have here. For all of its faults, it's still home.

Now comes the recovery period...
hildy89: (Default)
I've been interested in the space program for as long as I can remember. The following will date myself nicely and I don't care. My parents grew up with the moon race, but I'm from the shuttle generation. My mother recalls being in school and informed not to change classes so Shepard or Glenn could go safely into space. I remembered being a sophomore in high school hearing that "something" had happened to the shuttle. That something was Challenger. I remembered the shuttle launch after Challenger when everyone watched numb-knuckled hoping upon hope. I went to Space Camp/Academy for two summers, flying on the Columbia team.

Now my parents have moved to the Space Coast. They were watching the last Endeavour landing on the NASA channel when they heard the twin boom. Yes, that was the shuttle landing not quite in their backyard. We visited the Kennedy Space Center today which is an impressive place, drawing several million visitors a year. And all several million seemed to be there today! The lines were long and the Florida weather was brisk and windy. By some coincidence, the next shuttle was on the launch pad ready to go up in January. The shuttle was my old friend Columbia. Unfortunately the lookout point didn't give a really good view of the orbiter, just a little orange bit of the solid rocket booster sticking up. The Apollo Center was much more interesting with the massive Saturn V rocket and presentations on Apollo VIII's launch and Apollo XI's moon landing. Mom and I had forgotten how many problems the moon lander had encountered during that trip. Usually history books remember they landed on the moon, not how many times they lost radio or computer contact.

Over dinner, we talked about what had happened with the space race. Dad honestly thinks that they lost something when they got to the moon. We send up the shuttle but nothing seems to come of it. The moon has been forgotten, although the Chinese are talking about going. I pointed out the Hubble telescope and other scientific discoveries, but he was right. We weren't trying to explore new planets, sending little drones and robots. My own thought was that Kennedy gave them one goal to the moon, but no one thought to extend that further to the next goal. After you've scaled the mountain, where do you go from there?

Oddly tonight, I'm wishing I could watch Apollo 13 again.

Florida

Dec. 25th, 2002 10:17 am
hildy89: (Default)
I made it safely to Florida late last night. I was having my doubts after I spotted the sleet changing over to snow just before I left for the airport. Given all the horror stories I had heard about security, I was prepared for the worst. National Airport hasn't started enforcing the boarding passes at checkpoints yet so I was able to check my bag at curbside and go straight to the gate. The snow never accumulated into anything more than a light dusting. The weather delayed us a bit getting out DC because they deiced the plane, which I was grateful for. I was sitting on the wing so I could see the snow and ice on the wings. The flight attendants attempted to lighten our mood by threatening to make us sing. They apparently decided this wasn't a good idea. We had an equally nervous moment when our captain announced that we were further delayed by a storm in Orlando which closed down the airport temporarily. Finally we arrived to discover a "light rain" falling. Right. Half of the airport parking garages had large puddles of standing water from that light rain.

Christmas involved the traditional opening presents after breakfast. Usual assortment of useful and oddments, including Dumbledore's favorite gift of socks. One can never have too many after all.

It's still strange to be in a house where I'm cooled by ceiling fans not heaters. And everyone is in short sleeves still. But I guess it's better than being six feet under by snow and ice.

Merry Christmas one and all.

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