Saturday, March 14, 2009

Eighth-Grade Trips Sound Fun

My sister is on a trip to Europe with her daughter and classmates, for their eighth-grade trip. For ten days, they are traveling to Italy and Greece. I imagine they are having a blast.

My children all went to public schools so there were no exotic trips like they often have at the private schools. The Obama children will have trips like this one scheduled. It's one of those areas where there is truly a big difference between the publics and the privates.

When you talk to someone on a daily basis and then they cannot be reached for ten days, it seems like an eternity! Hurry home, little sister (and bring lots of pictures!).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Family Visits: Surviving the Day They Leave

She's sitting on the plane with her husband, having two hours left of the grueling trip back home. I haven't moved off the couch. We ate so much this weekend, that I feel a bit like a slug. I have the familiar feeling of loss and uncertainty of not knowing when or where I will get to see my sister again. The hard economic times bring an unusual amount of fear that it could be longer than usual until we get back together. But, deep down inside, I am always optimistic about the prospects of spending more time with my sister or my Mom, who lives equally far away from my home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Distance from one's loved ones can be a bitch. Being stuck so far away makes everything more difficult. It's best not to think about the amount of time between visits. Rather, focus on all the laughs and fun we just experienced. Some families do not have this special relationship and I pity them. It's the best feeling in the world.

Thanks June and Scott for making the trek across country for a short visit! It was the very best. I will sulk for several more days, then come back to normal. It's simply the regular process I go through every time and it does not get gets harder the older I get.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Photo provided my daughter, Laura,

Scottsdale, Arizona has an average of 6" (yes, that's six inches!) of rain annually. So why is it that when my sister and her husband decide to come visit for a long weekend, we are scheduled for three rainy days!

Keep you fingers crossed for a dry Valentine's Day weekend!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Top Items I Would be Buying IF I Had the Money and IF My Sister and I Were Taking a Vacation Together This February: PT.1

Can I help it that the economy is in the tank, and we don't have the time or the money to go on a fabulous trip to some exclusive island in the Caribbean, this February? We really should be going regardless; after all, how many people can claim living happily with one husband for 20 years like my sister can?

Oh well, the 21st year sounds pretty darn good, too.

For me, one of the most fun aspects to vacations and travel was always the buying of a few new items of clothing and accessories. I never bought a whole new season of clothes, just a few fillers and almost always a new bathing suit. Bathing suits do not last very long when you live in a place like Scottsdale. They fade, get ripped up by sitting on the side of the pool and you generally just get tired of them.

So those of you who enjoy shopping or are lucky enough to be heading somewhere warm and wonderful, here is what I would have like to purchase (if, of course, money was no object):

First, this perfect little Eric Javits bag I saw at for $450. I have always liked the combination of caramel and off-white. It's bigger than the picture may indicate.

Next, the perfect spring, ladylike dress made by Versace. At $1540, it better be near perfect. I can see wearing this to my son's college graduation, several ladies' luncheons and to church. It comes with a coordinating cardigan, too, around $350 or so. I have perfect shoes to go with it, so all the better.

I have white shorts and slacks, so I really like this rugby shirt from Ralph Lauren's new Rugby store. It's called the Ashby Navy Striped Rugby and it's just $89.50.

Here's another one I really like, called the Adora Puff Sleeve Rugby and costs $79.50.

I'm not sure why I like this top, but I do. Made by 7 for All Mankind and retails for $95 at Saks online. It's like wearing an old comfy grey t-shirt, only more sexy. I would wear it with jeans and maybe throw a white blazer over for a change. Of course, that's if my daughter hasn't "borrowed it from me"!

Let's see, that's $2,604.00 worth of clothing and accessories. A good start at revving up this ole economy, don't you think? Well, it doesn't cost anything to dream!

Part Two: Coming Soon.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Always Carry Your Phone to the Dining Room Table

I missed one phone call on Christmas Day. It happened during dinner, around 7:30 pm. Our dining room is set off far from the kitchen where both the land line and the portable phones were located and we all knew that even if we sprinted down the hallway, we wouldn't get to the phone in time to answer. I did not even try to get up and get it. That happened to be a big mistake.

You see, my sister and her family went on a cruise down in the Caribbean Islands over the Christmas Holiday break. Before she left, she told me that we would not be able to talk as there is no phone service on the boat. She said all communication would have to be through email messages. Except when your sister is very clever and convinces the Captain of the ship to allow her to use the company phone to call her family on Christmas Day!

As the phone rang that evening during dinner, I did not budge because all the people I love was sitting around the table. (I also knew if it was someone on Bill's side of the family needed to get through to us, they would call his cell number next). I figured it to be a random prank call or wrong number. But I was wrong...

What's so sad about this little story of mine, is that I am 51 years old and not one year has gone by in my entire life that I have not seen or spoken to my sister on Christmas Day. Never. It worked on the Captain and I should have had enough hope that it might happen and bring the GD phone to the table!

Of course, my heart and soul is always with my wonderful, little sister, no matter if we speak, email or just pray. Merry Christmas, Junebug and a Happy New Year. Talk to you soon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

June Picks Her Mustique Villa, Then You Vote

Today, we review my sister's choice for a villa rental on the island of Mustique. She used the same timeframe and budget constraints as I had used in the post I wrote yesterday. After reading about her choice, I will be putting up a poll and we are going to let, the reader decide which villa we should select! It's going to be hard, because they are both amazing homes:

June's Criteria:

I picked this fantastic villa primarily because of its views.

Also, the main room reminds me of the movie As Good as it gets with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton - one of most favorite movies.

And, I loved the pool and imagined many fun cocktails looking at the beautiful view.

June's Villa Selection:

Sheltered on a gentle rise overlooking L`Ansecoy Bay, Moana (Hawaiian for ocean) offers a panoramic view of turquoise seas and the nearby Grenadine Islands. The bright and airy living room is the villa`s focal point, just steps from sundeck, dining veranda, balcony, bedrooms and a garden path which leads to the new swimming pool and secluded beach. The villa is cooled by a soft sea breeze filtered by the surrounding trees and a tropical courtyard.

(There is a third bedroom available for rental for an additional $1000).

Well, there you have it. It's time for you to select which villa you like best by voting in the poll below. Then, we will be exploring the two resorts on the island. So many ways this vacation could go. One thing's for sure, vacationing with my sister is going to be very special.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mustique Island, One Choice for the Anniversary Vacation

We start the journey to find the 'Anniversary Vacation Trip' with my sister and her husband on the island of Mustique. Mustique is a 1 mile by 3 mile island located in the Grenadine Island group. In the 18th Century, the island was covered with sugar and cotton plantations. English is the primary language but they say you hear French, Italian, German, and Dutch often from the people who visit here. We have always wanted to vacation together on this very special, unique island.

From our readings, it sounds a little like a small club where friends come together to relax and party. The size lends itself to this atmosphere and the fact that one company, The Mustique Company, owns the entire island. This simplicity is appealing, if we can afford it.

Basically, you have 3 choices in where you stay on this island. There is one luxury resort called The Cotton House that has 20 rooms, one smaller resort, The Fire Fly, with 4 rooms, or you rent one of the 60 or so homes that are spread out over the 1400 acres of land. Some are near the beachfront and others are set up on the hillsides. There is a huge variety of size and price range to choose from. But for our purposes, we are selecting from the smallest and the least expensive to accommodate our group and budget.

We will first choose a Villa. Next we will choose which room we like at Cotton House and finally select our rooms at Fire Fly all using the same criteria listed below. Pay attention, as you will be voting for which choice we should select!

Our Trip: One week in February (close to the actual anniversary day)

Our Budget: Up to $10,000 (which we will split in half)

Beth's Criteria: I do not care whether we are right along the beach or up in the hills, which is unusual for me. Here's why: the rental fee of your villa includes a Jeep or similar vehicle. I think it would be a hoot to drive around in a "mule" (called a golf cart in my neck of the woods).

I am okay with renting a home on this island as they also include a private staff of a gardener, cook, and maid (minimum of three) to take care of your needs during your stay. Yes! How Divine!

I know we need to be careful when selecting the villa to remember the 10% Government Tax and the 8% Administrative Fee that's added to our total bill. Villa rates are quoted in US Dollars and are on European Plan. But the cost includes a nice airport welcome by Mustique staff and transfers to your specific villa, laundry and ironing services, four (4) floodlight tennis courts that are complimentary, centrally located in the middle of the island, a fitness trail and a special invitation to the Managing Director's weekly Cocktail Party on Tuesday evenings in the Great Room of the Cotton House and finally, transfer returns to the airport upon our departure. That adds up to a nice package in my eyes as normally a house sounds like work and cooking and less time to relax and enjoy the good company.

Beth's Villa Selection:

Serenity Bay, 2 BR, 2 BA, Hillside Villa

This was an easy selection for me, actually. This villa won out as it satisfied the most important detail which happens to be my biggest pet peeve in renting vacation houses: it has two identical master suites! Usually, there is one enormous master bedroom with lounging area, fantastic views and huge bathroom and one sort of minor bedroom for the other couple that's placed in the back, with a smaller, crappy bed and no adjoining bathroom. Sometimes June and me have drawn straws for the better room, one time we switched mid-vacation but it's always a pain in the neck.

Reason # 2: Serenity Bay overlooks Britannia Bay yacht anchorage which I think would provide hours of something to look at besides beautiful blue water.

Reason # 3: The villa is within walking distance to the beach and village and of course, we can take the "mule" if our little hearts desire.

Reason # 4: The swimming pool overlooks the turquoise waters and the lounge chairs look like they will be in the sun for most of the day. Some of the villas' pool areas look like they are in a jungle and I started thinking they may be buggy.

In general terms: the villa looks nice but not fancy. I think we would feel relaxed here and be able to walk around barefoot and comfortable.

The cost: $9,500 (for weeks between mid-Nov. and March). The cost goes down to $5,500 if we waited until after May 1st.

Now I know you are dying to see my selection, so I have provided two fantastic websites. They have different pictures, so it's fun to compare:

I'll post June's selection as soon as she sends it to me. She's actually always more thorough in her research that me. In the meantime, sit back...close your eyes..and day dream about having a rum drink on my Villa patio!