Been a long time

I have, like many times previously, been neglecting this sad little blog. Time to brighten it up a bit. I’ve already changed the appearance. What have I been doing since last year?

My mom and I finished the lighthouse triple crown by completing the Maryland Lighthouse Challenge in Sept. 2009.  We had been to couple of the lighthouses on the Challenge before but it was great to get away just the two of us and see all the Maryland lighthouses.  And of course, the trip was less arduous than driving up to Long Island or New Jersey.  My dad, who went on those challenges with us, happily let us go on our own for this one.  I didn’t blog during the Challenge, but shot out a few twitpics to keep my online friends amused.

I have wanted to visit Chicago for a very long time and finally did, with my friend Rob, in October 2009.  It was only for a couple of days, but I managed to take in the top two site on my Chicago wishlist: the Sears Tower (holy crap, that thing is tall!) and the Art Institute (lots of cool impressionist works I hadn’t seen before).  We made a trek to Adler Planetarium, but couldn’t stay long because of a poorly timed architectural river cruise we had signed up for.  I felt really bad about that.  Fortunately, the river cruise was awesome so I didn’t feel to bad about shortchanging Adler.  Seeing all the Chicago skyscrapers from the river is definitely the way to go.  I’ll have to check Adler out on another trip.

Rob and I also took a trip to Florida in May of this year.  We took one of his elderly aunts down to visit another of his aunts.  Rob’s mother had passed away a few months before and he wanted to bring two of her sisters together who hadn’t seen each other in a long time.  It was a grueling drive down there and back but in between we had a lot of fun. In a rainstorm at Englewood Beach, we ran into a local TV reporter who recommended that we check out Siesta Key Beach, often rated one of the best beaches in the U.S.  And it does indeed deserve the accolades.  We didn’t get a chance to drive down to the Everglades (we were staying in Port Charlotte) but we saw the lighthouses of Boca Grande (and a few herons, egrets, and ibises [see above]) and drove up to Mote Aquarium in Sarasota.  The Aquarium was small but nice and included a lovely cruise around the bay there.  It went past a rookery where hundreds of herons, egrets, pelicans, and cormorants were nesting.  I had never seen some many of them congregating together like that before.  And boy, did it stink!

I’ve been to California three times so far this year.  Sadly, two of the trips were for funerals.  My uncle Randy Lynn died at the end of January.  We managed to get out to Huntington Beach before the first snowmaggedon storm hit (if I recall correctly) but were delayed in our return because of it.  My parents and I did our annual vacation out there in July, and at that point it was starting to be clear that my grandmother wouldn’t be with us much longer.  Indeed, she passed away last month, two days before her 93rd birthday.  Our summer vacation was mostly pleasant, though.  I finally got up to Griffith Observatory in LA.  They had a big renovation a few years back and I hadn’t seen the place since my college days at USC.  Another day we wondering what to do and my mom recalled a place where we kids (though probably not me) had gone on field trips to look at tide pools.  She thought it was in Corona Del Mar and a quick web search led us to Little Corona Beach and a nice little outing.

Well, those are the most (debatably) interesting things I’ve done in the last year.  The future?  Hopefully no more family funerals!  I’ve been fantasizing about taking a trip to London, which I visited once as a child when my family was living in Madrid.  But I’ll need to build up a lot of vacation time at work before I do it.  Still, a girl can dream and plan…

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