Category Archives: Fun

Girls’ Getaway:Chapter 4

In April of 2008, Mom, Rachel, and I were in search of a last-minute plan to get away for the vacation. We reminisced on the trip we took with Ann, Caroline, and our Auntie Lala to Florida years ago. Whether the idea to drive up to Niagara Falls started as a passing “Oh I would love to at some point…” or a definitive idea, I can’t remember. But this story began when Ann, Caroline, Mom, Rachel, and I drove up to Canada on an eight hour car ride in April 2008. We bonded over jokes, many laughs, and an understandable fear of falling into the Falls. Okay, that may have only been me. Regardless, we had a great time, and decided to do it again next year.

The following February, the five of us took a plane to Washington D.C. Again, we had a great time, and agreed to make this an annual event. Just the five of us, getting away for a week or so during vacation. This brings me to this evening’s story, the fourth chapter in the book of our girls’ getaways.

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On Tuesday, the five us embarked on our journey to Cape Cod at the crack of eleven…okay maybe it was noon. But on vacation, who’s keeping track? We made two stops on our way to the Ocean Edge Resort in Brewster. One was at the Macys to find all of us much-needed¬†swim gear. The other was at the Cheesecake Factory for lunch, where our waitress seemed to store all her waitressing supplies in all the unconventional ways imaginable; Mom feared to ask for a straw. We caught up over lunch (we hadn’t seen each other since November), and laughed about my abnormally small thumbs, which were a new discovery for Ann. The jokes and laughter had begun, and already I knew it was going to be another enjoyable vacation. The two hour drive was nothing compared to the 8 hour drive we all endured on our trip to Canada a few years ago. We arrived at the beautiful resort and found our cottage quickly. Rachel, Caroline and I put on our new swim gear and found the pool in no time (and of course, snuck into the jacuzzi underage.)

We stayed in that night, eating Cheesecake Factory leftovers, and watching American Idol. Much to my disappointment, in Cape Cod I was surrounded by many Siobhan Magnus fans ūüė¶ We also watched Glee. Rachel, Caroline, and I are obsessed, and I think our upstairs neighbors in the cottage could tell by our frequent screams and cheers.

The next morning, we ate breakfast, and Mom and I walked along the beach. It was beautifully peaceful, in that time between the sunrise and high noon sun. The tide was out, which allowed us to search for hermit crabs, and admire the ‘snail¬†graffiti’ in the sand. When we got back, the five of us set out to rent bikes, not knowing what was in store for our poor hind ends. This is when we met Kandy with a ‘K’ who was extremely nice, and most memorable for insisting that we wear helmets. Dear Kandy, this is my public confession that those helmets did not so much as touch our heads. Just thought you ought to know! ¬†Sincerely, Amanda

We took the Cape Cod Rail Trail all the way up to Eastham and stopped for¬†sandwiches,¬†then ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s. We all were suffering a mild soreness at that point, and decided to head back right away. I’m not sure when exactly it sank in, but I’m willing to guess that it was around mile 18 that fatigue and pain started to set in. Not to mention the sunburns that were developing on those of us who hadn’t thought to put on sunscreen, and easily turn a nice shade of lobster (for example, me.) By the time we got back, we barely had enough energy to speak. We flopped down on the grass of the resort, and merely grunted. Kandy greeted us later with a, “I had a $10 bet going on whether you guys would make it back or not!” We were in okay enough moods to appreciate the joke, but none had the energy to spare a laugh. However, Kandy gave all five of us full permission to use the hot tub!

After the much-needed jacuzzi, we went to dinner at the pub in the main house of Ocean Edge. While waiting, Ann chanced a scolding and got us sodas from the bar while we were in the waiting room to be seated. When we were seated at our table, we all gingerly found ways to sit in the chairs so we wouldn’t feel like we were sitting on barbed wire. This is when we met Mirna (pronounced Meer-nah). Mirna had an interesting accent, so we all guessed where she was from. When we asked her to finally tell us, she said she was from northern Lebanon. As soon as she told us the name of the town though, it slipped out of our minds the next second. So to us, Mirna became “Mirna from Shmirna.” We all agreed that if we could, we would take Kandy with a K and Mirna from Shmirna home with us because they seemed to brighten our days that much more.¬†After dinner, we retired to the cottage, chocolate cake in hand, to watch American Idol Gives Back.

The next day, Ann, Caroline, Rachel, and I took a walk along the beach and sat (still uncomfortably) on the rocks for a while, just talking. I could start my day like this every day if I had the option. Then we went back to the cottage to get Mom, and headed off to the Beach Plum Spa in Harwich for facials, massages, and a day of relaxation to take away some of the soreness from the previous day. Needless to say, it worked. Feeling refreshed, we grabbed dinner in Chatham at a nice eatery with an over-accommodating owner. But hey, no complaints here! The food was great, and we shared many laughs to celebrate our last night on vacation together. Then to ice cream, and back home to watch the Project Runway season finale.

The last day, Friday, we spent shopping in Mashpee. We got some cool things, and really just spent the day walking around, enjoying the sun. The highlight of the day was going into Coldwater Creek after Mom, pretending to have run into our long-lost mother who abandoned, yes all four of us, years ago. Out of shock, embarrassment, or maybe a combo of the two, Mom inched towards the door, with the four of us disco-ing after her. Vacation well spent? I think so.

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They say people have tendencies to surround themselves with the people who compliment their personalities, and bring out the best in them. It’s trips like these, where we joke about whatever Rachel happened to shout in her sleep the night prior, and our neighbors who sound like clog dancers in the middle of the night, that I come to realize, and re-realize, that these are the people you hold on to forever. These are the ones that love you no matter who you are, but allow room for you to grow. I can’t say I’m the perfect spokesperson for keeping in touch, especially with none of my relatives living in this state (I know, it’s not an excuse!) BUT I’m learning a thing or two about who the Kandy with a K’s and Mirna from Shmirna’s in my life are- those people who make you laugh and feel good, no matter what else may be going on in the day, the week, or the world. Those are the people we surround ourselves with, and rightfully so.

Ladies, thank you for being such great friends and wonderful inspirations in my life!                                                                                                                                                         Cape Cod 2010

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Giving Thanks Through Traditions

Today’s blog is brought to you by the word: thanks. It seems to be the word on everyone’s mind this week.

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My Thanksgiving was pretty normal: football game in the morning, big meal of turkey, stuffing, etc… with the family in the afternoon.

My Black Friday, however, is NEVER normal. A long time ago we came up with the tradition of watching Irving Berlin’s White Christmas the Friday after Thanksgiving with Ann, Don, Caroline, Evan, LaLa, and of course, all the doggies. Each year someone else hosts, and by now we each own a copy of the movie.

(Top from left to right) Ann, Amanda, Rachel, Beccy (Bottom) Caroline and Abby

From there, our tradition has morphed into a costume party. Actually, it’s more of a contest– a battle for who can come up with the wackiest, most accurate, prettiest, or in the other night’s case, the “tappiest” costume (kudos to Ann for pulling that one off.) And then, there are always those who prefer to keep it simple and wear the ever-favorite Santa hat. Awards range from the Golden Tap Shoes, to a plunger, to The Pajama Game on DVD, found at the Dollar Store.

After we reveal our true selves in 1950s fashion, we settle down to watch the movie, reciting our favorite lines, and ¬†throwing around the ones we still don’t understand, like: “Well how do you like that? Not so much as a kiss my foot or haaaaaaave an apple!”¬†We poke fun at Vera Ellen for her abnormally petite figure, and Rosemary Clooney for the abnormally large figure she fills out in her later years.

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So among these semi-awkward yet ¬†totally fun traditions is an underlying question: What on Earth am I thankful for? Every year in church, at the dinner table, in school, I’m asked the same question. The obvious answer would be: my family, my friends, my health, etc… They’re all very important things in life and by no means do I want to take them for granted, but I feel like a broken record; it should go deeper than that. “Friends” and ¬†“family” just can’t describe how grateful I am for the people in my life that seem to make the world turn. We all have those people, so here’s a shout out to some of them below:

  • all of you who are taking time out of your day to read this now, and all of you who go the extra mile to comment
  • my extended family, even if our visits happen to be as often as a solar eclipse
  • you who entertain my craziest thoughts, sit first row in the movie theater and scream during New Moon, and sing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs with me– not to mock me, but because we can…you know who you are ūüėČ

To all of you, and I mean ALL of you– as the song goes: “You build me up Buttercup…I need you…You know that I have from the start…”<—(include wah wah wahs right here) ¬†Thanks for being there.

14+1

I’ve been fifteen for officially a week today, and I can tell you it feels exactly like 14+1 year. There’s no sudden epiphany that comes along with growing one year older, not to say I expected there to be one. But I can say, as most of you would agree, it’s certainly a time to reflect. As if I don’t dwell enough on the past as it stands, I like to take birthdays just to think about where I’ve been, and where I’m going. I didn’t have much time to myself on my birthday, between school, homework, and cheering on my teammates at their cross country meet (for those of you who hadn’t heard I’m out for the season due to a back injury.) In fact, my day was so busy and tiring, you could say I felt like the guy in the picture above…falling asleep in the birthday cake. ūüėČ

However, in my little spare time, I did do a bit of thinking, and this is what popped into my head from Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird (by far my favorite book): “Neighbors bring food with death, and flowers with sickness, and little things in between.” In my opinion, years bring wisdom, experience, and the little things in between.

Well I just thought I’d update you all on what’s going through my head this beautiful autumn evening. Happy October!

Fast Times at the Fair

Yesterday was the first day of the Topsfield Fair, and while I’m sure many of you will get in at least one day of the fair in the upcoming week, I’d like to say a bit about my fair experience.

It’s been a tradition for a few years now in my family that ¬†“Auntie Lala” as we like to call her, comes down to share a wonderful evening on the first fair night with us. Laura isn’t actually our aunt, more like a close family friend, but she’s Rachel’s godmother, and was dubbed “Lala” long before we met her. The great part about Lala’s visits is we know if Lala’s coming, there’s something sweet in it for us. Sometimes it’s words of wisdom, a great laugh, time with her fun-loving dog Daisy, or in some cases, like yesterday, it was Candy Corn. Many people don’t aren’t , and I can tell you it is still as delicious as ever!

Anyway, Rachel and I were anxiously waiting for the adults to put on their layers: socks, then sweaters, then coats, then windbreakers, then raincoats. Between their constant reminders to us to: “Bundle up!”, which we quickly waved away, I’m sure they each threw on a parka at some stage of the layering. I assure you: there is some logic to wearing only sneakers, jeans, and a North Face when attending such a big event, but I’ll revisit this later.

We finally arrived at the Fair, and Lala and I had to laugh at the boy who found it¬†necessary¬†to crawl under the fence to avoid the ticket-taker, on a night when Topsfield residents get in for free. How do you spell “IRONY”?

The appetizer for the night began with German fries for Lala, Scott, and Mom, followed by corn on the cob. I dove right in for chicken fingers with fries, while Rachel went for the ever-favorite hot dog. Between the three adults, I think I saw a steak bomb and tuna sandwich go down. Of course, these were followed by Learned’s apple crisp and fried dough. Does it get any better than fair food? ūüėČ

We later split off from the adults after our annual¬†ferris wheel ride, to go find our friends. Rachel didn’t have so much luck in the labyrinth of games and rides, but we soon found some of my friends, who were happy to have her join us.

It’s hard to hold your dignity in the Midway when you’re walking around like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man or Randy Parker from A Christmas Story, which is why Rachel and I refused to dress properly. There is a pecking order that’s to be followed when the teenagers come out at night at the fair. No line jumping, keep your head down, only wave to people you’re sure you know, and don’t get caught up in the jostling, pulling, and tugging of the craziness. This is probably why parents stay away from the Midway when 6 pm rolls around: even more of a reason for teens to flock to this one area of the grounds.

The lines were incredibly long, and it took the¬†patience¬†of my friends and my sister to make up for the lack of mine in the biting wind chill. We went on a total of three rides before we called it quits, and returned to the family for some more strolling around before that time when your eye lids become so heavy with sleep, you know it’s time to leave.

We ended the night with fudge and fireworks, a great combination to an awesome evening.

The week ahead looks pretty crazy as well: Rachel’s dance troupe performing, my martial arts school demoing, and taking shifts at the church fair booth, selling turkey dinners.

I can’t believe the fair is here again, and in a blink of an eye it will be gone. For me, this is my internal clock. A year measured at the Fair.