Can I just tell you how much I’m loving July? After two months of plans-every-day-of-the-month in May and June, July has been downright luxurious. I know it’s just the calm before the storm. As my crazy, busy August and September draws nearer, I’m having momentary moments of panic but then I just read another book and take glory in July.
Although, before I get started, I’ve got to say that I’ve spent much of the weekend glued to the coverage from Colorado. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve not only cried, but outright sobbed over the stories. The stories of heroism continue to awe and inspire me, and I just can’t wrap my head around this senseless massacre. My heart breaks for everyone who was there, lost someone or even for the rest of us for losing one more “safe place” in our lives.
One thing I have been avoiding, though, is Facebook. What is it about events like this that makes me really hate some of my friends and family? Between bashing the parents who brought their young children to the movie (if you haven’t yet, you MUST read Heather Spohr’s post on Babble, “Stop Victim Shaming.” She beautifully put into words exactly what I was feeling) to the old stand-by “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” fights, I can’t take it. Now is not the time, people. But seriously, how can we as a country continue to allow the sale of assault weapons? I come from a family of hunters, so I’m not saying ban guns. But you don’t need an AK-47 to take down Bambi.
On Friday, DadJovi left work a little early and as is his MO, came home with a really random idea — he was taking E. to the circus.
Now, some of you me remember that I’ve issued a family ban on the circus. I still stand by the ban so I didn’t go. But I’m getting tired of banning things! First it was SeaWorld and then the circus. But now I’ve had to add Chick-fil-A to to the list thanks to Truett Cathy’s anti-gay comments and well, I can only handle so many bans at one time before I crack from the pressure of it all! I hate the Internet for teaching me so much about the things I once loved.
But you see, E. is currently OBSESSED with elephants. And you want to know why? Because they start with E. Oh, preschoolers. Well, DadJovi heard that kids can actually ride the elephants at this particular circus, and I just couldn’t talk him out of it. I wish I had easy access to the photo but I have vivid memories of riding an elephant myself when I was about E’s age and I didn’t even particularly like elephants.
So I begrudgingly gave them my OK and off they went. And here’s my girl in her pachyderm paradise.
DadJovi said the best way he could describe the circus is that it seemed like this was all of the performers’ (and animals’) last stop of their careers. The whole thing sounds just sad but since my husband is one big kid himself, he loved it. He kept saying he was ashamed by much he loved it, but a) they ended up getting free tickets b) they were able to sit wherever they wanted (front row) and c) he’s a sucker for guys doing motorcycle tricks in a giant moving ball.
Even the animals seem pretty pissed about this stop on their careers. Check out the sign next to the zebra:
I’ll just say one more thing about caving on my ban. At the end of the day, E is only 4. I think she’s entirely too young to tell her about elephant and animal abuse. Sure, there are age-specific ways I could describe it, but forgive me for wanting to protect my child just a little bit longer from the horrors of the world.
But the day will come soon when we will have this conversation. And she is never going to forget riding that elephant. To me, I think that will help me explain the situation in such a tangible way to her. I will ask her to remember how much she loved that gentle giant, then to imagine someone abusing it. It’s not going to be some animal far away — it’s going to be an animal she had direct contact with. To me, I think that will make the point all the more salient.
Or maybe I’m just making excuses for giving my kid a really cool experience and that makes me even worse because I know what can and does happen to circus animals. Why must ethics be so tricky?
While they were at the circus, I reveled in several hours of alone time. I got my hair cut for the first time in months (and had the hairdresser basically mock my current hair color. Sadly, I think he’s right), I got my Disney on Ice giveaway posted (you all should totally enter if you haven’t yet!) and I plowed through a show that my pal Missy has been begging me for weeks to watch. I’m not going to tell you what it is yet because this fabulous show deserves its own special post. I’ll give you one clue to see if anyone else in in the know — did you ever find yourself at a Cougar Ball? Were you the Queen Cougar?
On Friday, I also started a new book (which I finished in about two sittings since it’s so short).
Like “The Host,” somehow I’d never read this one. I enjoyed it and felt very sorry for poor Bree Tanner. It was also funny to see an outside person’s perspective on the Cullen clan. Is it just me, or was she totally snarking on Edward? Stephenie, I didn’t think you had it in you to make fun of your beloved Edward but that’s pretty much what Bree does, well, you know, as she’s about to die. I also thought it was funny that she kept describing him as a redhead, unlike the “copper” description Bella usually uses. It made me think that they’d cast the wrong Harry Potter actor as Edward.
On Saturday, I took E. to piano while DadJovi went to see “The Dark Knight Rises” at the IMAX theater. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous while he was there. I hate that we all have to second-guess completely innocent decisions now.
After we all got home, we headed east.
Most Orlandoans tend to go to New Smyrna Beach for day trips, but since Daytona Beach is DadJovi’s stomping grounds, we always head there.
Since my father-in-law is out of town (we usually go to Daytona Beach Shores with him), we decided to try a new spot on the beach — the area near the pier and boardwalk.
I love, love, LOVE that they’ve finally banned driving on the beach in some areas. The whole trip is so much more relaxing. And since we got there as the tide was going out, we had a whole bunch of beach space to ourselves since everyone else was already positioned up higher on the beach. We like to be as near the water as possible.
We swam a lot, including out to a sandbar. I probably should have paid more attention to the rip current threat before we did that.
P.S. check you out Daytona Beach with your lifeguard stand QR codes!
DadJovi carried E. out to the sandbar on his back and I should have followed them. I went a different way and kind of got caught in an area like you see in the sign above. I was never in danger of drowning or getting swept out but I certainly had a tough time actually swimming where I wanted to swim. I was WIPED when I got there. #outofshape
After swimming, we built some sandcastles and buried E. in the sand.
After a couple hours on the beach, we hit up the Boardwalk to play some games (um, all of them are only a quarter and you get a ton of tickets for each game). E. couldn’t wait to wear some of her loot for dinner.
And I enjoyed my reward.
Actually, the drink looks better than it was. I had to return to the Boardwalk to replace E.’s broken prize flute (it lasted less than a minute), so DadJovi ordered something called a Silly Vanilli for me. It was vanilla vodka with pineapple and cranberry juices. The best way I can describe it is to imagine Cherry Nyquil on ice. That pretty much sums it up. Needless to say, I switched to a Pacifico beer as soon as possible.
We ate at the Ocean Deck, a restaurant that’s right on the beach. They were even having beach karaoke while we were there.
This restaurant is a big favorite in DadJovi’s family. They’ve been going for years and years for great views and fish sandwiches.
In fact, while we were there one of the waitresses came up to us because she recognized DadJovi from high school. When he introduced E and me, she immediately said, “I know who she’s named for” and started to tell us how much she adored my late mother-in-law.
She was one of those teachers who changed lives. In the nearly five years since her death, we’ve heard from so many of her former students about how she made a huge difference in their lives. And this girl was no different. In fact, before we knew it, she was tearing up telling us how much DadJovi’s mom meant to her and how much she missed her. It was very, very sweet, and it just goes to show that no good deed or person is ever forgotten. The good things they did during their life keep making a difference year after year, and it was really special to hear how much DadJovi’s mom STILL meant to her.
When we got home Saturday night, we decided to tackle a new show — Mad Men. We’re three episodes in, and while I understand why people rave about the writing, I don’t yet get the devotion to the show. So far, there are NO likeable characters. I pretty much hate every single one of them, even the poor discriminated against women. Twitter tells me to stick with it, so I hope you’re not all lying to me.
Sunday was catch-up day — there was laundry, there was grocery shopping, there was British Open watching and there was cooking. We even made these treats:
I learned about these on Christine’s blog. They’re graham crackers with dollops of yogurt that are then frozen to make fro-yo sandwiches. We used Chobani so DadJovi thinks they’re not sweet enough, but E. and I love them.
And now, it’s Breaking Bad time!
Have a great week everyone!
In honor of my awesome mother-in-law, who was your favorite teacher? Do you still think about him or her?