I had planned to write about another topic this week but decided to postpone it because Saturday was such a marvelous day that I do believe Spring is here. And about time too….
In just a few days, we’ve gone from a hard freeze to mid-70’s. For the first time in months, Susie and I walked around a nearby lake (which I think is a retention pond dressed up as a lake). A start to losing ten pounds of “winter fat” that I put on last Fall 😉 and which I’m determined to lose. Susie needs my ten pounds because she only weighs 95, despite my efforts to get some weight on her.
This first week in March has been marked by a number of “events.” It was our anniversary on the 4th. The celebration will be a very special one that’s happening tonight and which I’ll tell you about next Sunday. For now, I’ll only say that it has the potential to set me back in the quest to lose ten pounds because it is a buffet of sorts that only happens once a year.
Today is also the birthday of my best friend from 5th grade through junior high. He moved into a house two doors from me when his family arrived in Manila. As fate had it, we were in the same 5th grade class. We lost touch after graduation but reconnected a few years ago thanks to a mutual friend.
In a birthday e-mail, I remarked about another childhood friend that his sister had tracked down just a few weeks ago. He mentioned that Nate’s father was with the 101st Airborne and had parachuted into France on D-Day. He ended his military career as a Colonel with the First Cavalry in Nam. I would have loved to hear his war stories from the liberation of Europe, especially the 101st’s stand at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.
On the negative side, a close friend of Susie and her mother passed away suddenly a few days ago. Fortunately, we visited her at her home about 50 miles west of us while returning from Panama City about two weeks ago. Although she was in her mid-80’s, we were not aware of any special health problems. (She suffered from lung cancer a few years ago but it was in remission.)
Spring is the time when I start thinking of vacations for the rest of the year. And vacation is something I need to take a lot of between now and November 2010 when I retire. I need to take four weeks by the end of the year and another four weeks by November 2010 or I will lose that time to sick leave, for which I’ll only be paid 25% of its value when I retire.
I want to retire with the maximum vacation time I can paid for. I’ll be a bit short on the maximum for sick leave even though I have over 1,000 sick leave hours. I’m projecting a payout a bit over over five digits, before taxes, enough for that trip to the Netherlands and Belgium I keep trying to put together. Hope USAirways stays alive long enough for me to cash in my last 50,000 miles for a free ticket over there. But if not, I got my miles’ worth since we’ve flown to Europe free twice.
So I’ve been planning two vacations to two favorite cities these last few weeks. Which has seriously impacted my poker time! 😉
I’m wrapping up a few minor details for a Spring Break week in New Orleans at the end of the month. Like St. Augustine, it’s a nice walking around city but a lot larger and a lot closer than our other favorite walking around city: San Francisco.
Susie likes Nawlins because her mother took the family there regularly after her father died when she was young. (Her parents spent their honeymoon there.) So Nawlins has a lot of memories for Susie. I’m mainly interested in the muffelettas, cafe au lait, Zapp’s potato chips and other fine culinary aspects of that very unique city. (We were last in Nawlins for Thanksgiving 2007 and the tourist areas are fine.)
Speaking of San Francisco, I’m in the middle of planning a two-week trip that way to take advantage of a free Southwest ticket. My Manila high school’s class of ’79 is having its 30th anniversary reunion in San Jose and all classes are welcome. (The classes of the 70’s regularly party together so I know lots of alums from the 70’s.) Since I missed last year’s 70’s classes’ Vegas blowout, I don’t want to miss this reunion.
The plan is to fly into Vegas for our annual trip there. Then rent a car after a week in Vegas and drive into the the Bay area. Possibly through Mono Lake and Yosemite, a trip which we did many, many years ago coming from San Francisco.
After checking airfares from Vegas to San Jose, it’s just another $120 to rent a mid-size car for a week and make it a driving vacation. We were in San Francisco in October 2007, so we don’t need to spend a lot of time in the city this time around. We’d rather see some “new’ sights.
To rephrase a line from Apocalypse Now, “I love the smell of vacation on a fine Spring day.”