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Archive for May, 2008

I’m here, I’m here!  I arrived yesterday in a flurry of heavy luggage and delayed flights.

They all talk funny and drive on the wrong side of the road!  (Francis said this, trying to be a smart ass, but it’s true!)  The drive from the airport was quite lovely; teeny roads and hedges and Englishy-looking cottages.  And it’s cool and rainy, of course.

I’m tired and jet lagged and discombobulated, but Francis is being so very sweet and taking good care of me.  Right now he’s making phone calls to add my name to utility bills so I can prove to my cell phone company that I’m living in England and therefore won’t have to pay the $200 cancellation fee.  Bloody cell phone companies.

I’ll write more later, but now it’s time for toast and a shower.  And catching up on smooches.

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I only have a moment, but I wanted to let you all know that I’m in the States until the 27th.  I have the same phone number until then, so drop me a line if you like.  After that, I’ll have a new Skype capable cell phone, so we can chat via Skype.  I’ll post more on this later, with instructions, etc. when I have more time.

Francis is back in England now, participating in a rigorous training seminar for his job.  I’ve been sitting on my butt and drinking beer and eating sammiches.  Well, that’s not true: I’ve been helping Mom paint her house!  I always wondered why my house-painting friend Sue had such toned muscles in her arms; now I know.  Ow!

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Hello my dear ones!

Mom and Francis and I are at Richard and Ralph’s house in sunny Ft. Lauderdale!  (Richard is one of my paternal uncles, and Ralph is my grandfather.)  They are such lovely hosts (along with Gary, Richard’s partner), and it is hot and humid and breezy and simply delightful.  As I write, I can hear the fountain in the pool, and the coo of mourning doves.  Leftover key lime pie awaits in the fridge, and until then, a seriously excellent beer is keeping me company.

Francis and I are both still getting over jet lag, and we’re having some restless nights, but overall we are delighted to be together and visiting with family.  It’s a lot of people he’s meeting on this trip, and he’s been a real trooper!  I’m still coming down off of some stress, and resolutely refusing to think about the friends and family I’ve left behind in Portland.  Wait, that sounds terrible!  Not “left behind in Portland”!  How about just “friends and family in Portland who I will visit as soon as I possibly can, almost certainly in September when I’ll return for Alison’s wedding”.  Yes.  That’s much better.

Anyway, let’s backtrack a bit… On Monday, after a tearful goodbye to my friends and family in Portland (god, that was so very hard), I met up with Francis in the Philadelphia airport.  (I had arranged for us to be on the same connecting flight to Jacksonville.)  There was a lot of hugging and smooching and murmured endearments, much to the disgust of the other weary travelers.  Mom came and picked us up at the Jacksonville airport and took us back to her house in Gainesville.  We gratefully went to sleep to the sound of the creek and the crickets.

Tuesday was a slow-paced day.  There was a tour of Mom’s beautiful yard, with all sorts of plants and flowers (oh fragrant mogra!) and evidence of the mole that keeps digging up her flagstones.  There was a walk on Payne’s Prairie, which is less than a mile down the bike path from Mom’s.  The prairie revealed wild turkeys in full display (they’re like peacocks!), growling alligators (I’ve never heard them like that; it was scary!), hissing gators (that was scary too!), great blue herons, a small unidentified heron, egrets, ospreys, buzzards, grasshoppers, moor hens, butterflies, and a photographer.  Then there was a nap.  Then my brother Nat came over for dinner, and we played Apples to Apples, which was very much fun, even if those dern boys ganged up against me and Mom!

Wednesday we drove down here.  The trip is long, about six hours, but it was made bearable by a roadside picnic (chevre, olives, crostini, turkey, chips, ginger beer, yum) and a tour of a couple cheesy but comforting Florida rest stops.  I also read aloud from a very entertaining book, and we sang along to some Gillian Welch.

Today we went to the beach.   Ralph sat in the shade of a palm tree on a folding chair, Mom went for a long walk and sunburned more than the tops of her feet, and Richard stood in the surf and admired the waves.  It was quite windy, and, for Ft. Lauderdale beach, quite choppy.  The water was delightful, though, and Francis and I frolicked in the waves like otters.  Afterwards, salty and limp from the water and sun, we had a marvelous lunch at a schwanky cafe.  There was risotto with prosciutto and fava beans and garlic, Greek salad, and veggie pizza.

Tomorrow we must return to Gainesville.  The visit with Richard and Gary and Ralph is a little short for my tastes, but we have to get back to Gainesville to get ready to greet my sister and her husband, who are flying in on Saturday from Wisconsin!  (By the end of his time in Florida, Francis will have met all of my immediate family, save my dear uncle Dave and his wife Jo.  Rain check for you guys, and big hugs!)

I’ll have limited email access while in Gainesville, but anyone can call my cell phone, and I’ll try and update A Bee’s Adventure whenever I can.

More soon!  I’m going to go look for that frog living behind the shutters of Richard’s bedroom, the one that sounds just like a duck!

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I leave on Monday morning.  (Off to Florida, not England quite yet!  That’s on May 28th.)

I’ve been frantically sorting, selling, giving away, and packing my belongings.  I’m down to three boxes of books, a box of CDs, a big box of sentimental items/tchotkies, a box of photos (meant to scan those but ran out of time), some nice pots and pans, some crystal wine glasses and a beautiful red vase, a pool cue, and two suitcases of clothes.  All but the clothes and one box of books will be living in my dear friend Alison‘s basement.

I am exhausted.  I am stressed.  Very.

But I am happy.  Everyone has been giving me (and Francis!) the best, most sweetest wishes possible.  Everyone is so very enthusiastic about this venture, and it does my heart good to know that I have the support and blessings of the people closest to me.

I will write more later, as I’m able.  Kisses!

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