Friday, June 19, 2009

Hello Blogger My Old Friend...

...I've come to write on you again.

So I'm back. I thought I had nothing left to say that couldn't be covered in the twitter-like status updates on facebook. And maybe that was the case. But I decided that I still need to say it here, where I can store my footprints rather than have them wash away with the ebb and flow of all the other things that facebook compiles. The reason is simple -- I'm 40, and my daughter is 2. By the time she's 22, and maybe starting to learn about who her father is, I'll be a different person, and she'll never have known the person I am now. And I want her to have various anecdotes of who she was as a little girl, given that we'll undoubtedly have forgotten most of them unless they're recorded somewhere.

Of course, who I am as a blogger is not an accurate portrait of who I am -- it's what I choose/bother to share, and who I hold myself out to be in the public environment of this blog. Still, that'll have to do -- I have no desire to share everything.

And you the reader in the present are welcome to come along for the ride. It's a given that I'm writing for you too, not just future Emelia. Otherwise I could just keep a journal.
Now that that's out of the way, let's cover Hilton Head, where we spent the second week in June with my family for our annual vacation. Unlike last year, we drove down -- our direct flights being canceled last year, thereby requiring a connection, probably had something to do with it. Both coming and going, we stayed in Raleigh with our friends Margie and Chris, hitting a bit of the beer scene down there and seeing their new house (they closed on it the Friday we were in Hilton Head, meaning that we stayed in different places coming and going). They'll be up here this weekend for a wedding, and we're camping with them next weekend, meaning we'll be seeing them all four weekends in June. Seeing Margie, a college friend, was as close as I came to attending my 20th college reunion, as Hilton Head started the same weekend that was held.

Down in Hilton Head, the house we stayed at was amazing, as the family selection seems to be each year. We let others fight over the bedrooms with the ocean view, and grabbed the darkest room we could find in hope of sleeping in. It didn't work, as I think I was out of bed by 6:30 every morning except one.

The beach was lovely and the weather was pretty cooperative (mostly sunny, and only over 90 a couple of days). We had a good time for the first part of the week, and the absence of "Explosion Wednesday" that has been present in past years was a definite improvement. Still, by the end there was some strain, which probably started in earnest on Thursday with Dad's fixation on consuming the leftovers. If we had thought to turn his mention of them into a drinking game, maybe things would have stayed a little mellower, but I only just thought of it while typing this out. And besides, being plastered by 10am is not conducive to keeping up with children, of which six were present.

The newest child to enter the family's fold is three-month old Emily, daughter to my sister Shari. We met Emily on this trip, and she's a real cutie (and sweetie). Emelia loves babies, and she had been looking forward to meeting "Baby Emily" for months. The reality mostly seemed to meet her expectations. Throughout the week, Dad regularly interchanged the names of Emelia and Emily. I can't really blame him -- when we picked Emelia's name, we were concerned with picking a name that wasn't too close to others in the family, but Shari had her heart set on the name Emily for a long time, and stuck with it when the time came. As long as she keeps Emily west of the Rockies for the most part, I figure the country's big enough for both Emelia and Emily.

Emelia had a great time with her cousins -- she gets along with all of them (they all get along with each other), and at the end of the week, she was so sad that she had to say goodbye to everyone. Probably Emelia's favorite activity for the week was going in the pool, especially jumping in from the side and having one of us catch her. Her excitement at doing that resulted in her jumping a few times before the adult was ready for her, eventually resulting in stern lectures and time out of the pool because she forgot to ask if the adult was ready. Her next favorite activity was putting on various articles of her cousins' clothing -- she already has a shoe fetish that exceeds her mother's.*

Foodwise, easily the highlight of the week was the Dallas contingent's night in the kitchen. Kim started us off with afternoon queso that was delicious. For the actual meal, Josh led off with crabcakes that were fantastic. Next up was a tasty salad course that Josh and Hunter prepared that included a goat cheese medallion covered in crushed pecans. As for the main course, most people were served 3-inch thick steaks that received universal acclaim, while Hunter, Kathy and I went with 10-ounce tuna steaks that were some of the best I've ever had. After taking a bit of time to digest, Kim brought out poundcake topped with creamcheese frosting and fresh fruit -- fairly simple but so good. In case you're wondering what we did for our night of cooking, we volunteered to make dinner the night we arrived (4pm check-in), so we kept it simple with ground turkey tacos. Our meal was well received (as were all the other meals the various family members prepared, lasagna by Dad/Mom/Shari and BBQ chicken by Rebecca & John), but it certainly belonged in AA compared to Josh, Hunter, and Kim's major league offering.

So we survived another year, even thrived at times, and Josh and Kim get to pick next year's place. That they haven't already is something of a miracle considering how much Mom was looking at places for them to select. Collectively, our family is crazy enough to think that the destination should be all set up a full year in advance. Last night, Josh and Kim threw up their hands by sending around a list of six possible houses in four different locations, and seeking feedback. Our response is simple -- all the houses look lovely, and we'll be happy with whatever you choose. They're not getting out of their responsibility that easily!
* - At least it exceeds it now that Kathy's somewhat reformed.