Or, I'm about to write about a bunch of things that have nothing to do with one another.
It was good to come home this past Monday and sleep in my own bed. Ahhh. I was happy to see that bloglines was fixed but not so happy that I had over 500 posts to catch up on. I'm still working on that.
Here's what I learned in Florida:
* It is a profound experience to take your child to the ocean for the first time. I will never forget the utter joy on her face as she played on the beach for hours with no toys except what washed up. I said "She's never been so content in her life as she is right now." My husband agreed.
* It really makes you feel as though you are on vacation when you eat lunch at a restaurant on the beach where you don't need shoes and your child can wear a bathing suit.
* The Magic Kingdom was fun but we never need to be there for a week. The best ride is Buzz Lightyear. Those Disney princesses work a lot harder than you might think. Seriously.
* I'm not as bad at canoeing as I was when I went to Girl Scout camp. Thank goodness.
Speaking of traveling, I love travel guides. I couldn't agree more with European travel guru Rick Steves (who I ran into in Amsterdam on my honeymoon) who said that when you're spending so much money on a trip, it's worth it to spend and extra 15 or 20 dollars to figure out what to do when you get there. Online publicist Lisa Roe offered some travel guides on her site and I requested one about the Wisconsin Dells by Dirk Vanderwilt for two reasons: 1. I have been to the Dells four times in the past 5 years so I figured I knew the subject and 2. I'll probably go back and I thought this guide might come in handy. It turns out I was right on both counts. This guide is part of the Tourist Town Guides series which seems to focus on destinations that might not necessarily have already had an entire book written about them. This guide offers a great history of the Wisconsin Dells area, extensive reviews of everything from accommodations to attractions and even a few photos. Overall, I agreed with the authors assessments though I wished the restaurant reviews were more detailed. I learned about some things to do that I hadn't known about and I look forward to trying when I go back. I would definitely recommend this guide to those visiting the Dells, and I would consider using the other Tourist Town Guides myself in the future.
I finally got around to reading something by Shirley Jackson besides The Lottery. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously creepy tale of the two Blackwood sisters and their Uncle who live in the big family home alone because the rest of the family are dead. Their rather bizzare life is quite insular as they have little contact with the outside world. Jackson slowly reveals why the Blackwoods live as they do and why they are ostracized by the people who live in the village. Cousin Charles arrives and things turn even more upside down. I find these sorts of books difficult to review because I don't want to give anything away! This book made me uncomfortable in a good way as I learned the horror of the Blackwood's life. Something that I noticed was a scene at the end of the book that reminded me of The Lottery. It made me think that Jackson must have a sort of fascination with the idea of an entire community turning against one person or family. Did anyone else notice this? In any case, I'll definitely be reading more of Jackson's work.