Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Salon: Off the Grid

I never intended to stay away this long, but I found myself off the grid for awhile, and I guess that is never a bad thing.  So I have to catch you up over the last couple of weeks.

So it turns out that while my son didn't individually qualify for the National History Bee, our school team did.  So in early June, the five kids and their families will all head up to Atlanta to compete.  My husband, my daughter, my son and I will all go, and make a long weekend out of it.  He also received news that he qualified for the Criminal Justice Magnet at a public high school in town, which has been his ultimate goal for a couple of years now.  This kid has only ever gone to private schools, and he is so excited for this new challenge.  I am now running around gathering documents, registering him in the public school system, and making an appointment to schedule his classes.  This whole thing gives me the heebie jeebies.  If you have young ones, look at them long and hard and appreciate them, because they grow up overnight.

On that note, my daughter turns 16 tomorrow.  We've got a big dinner at Disney planned for her next weekend, and the weekend after that she and I will be doing the spa.  (We had to plan the spa weekend around her test schedule!)  I just wrote a $995 check for an SAT test prep course that starts in August, and she is whittling down a list of colleges she is aiming for.  Gah!

So last Saturday, my husband and I went down to Key Biscayne for a JP Morgan conference that is held every year for their clients.  It was held at the Ritz.  Yeah.  No way I was going to be left behind on this one.  But you see, while the Ritz prides themselves in serving their customers like royalty, they also charge $20 a day for Internet, which I cannot abide.  Thus, I just put my computer away while I was there.  We had A BALL.  We golfed...I experienced having my first caddy - a wiry little dude from Boston.  I ate some amazing food and drank a bunch of rum, thanks to our bartender friend Anthony.  I spent excessive amounts of time at the spa and the pool.  We went on a couple of long walks and explored the island, and observed wealth that is hard to comprehend.  Tony Blair talked to our JP Morgan group about the state of the world...that fellow is looking good these days.  (And he ended up in the gym with me the next day, but I left him alone lest his guards rough me up.) Here are some pictures:

The ball-eating tree.  One of them belongs to hubby.

Sunset off our balcony.

Where the rich and famous hide.

Trying to steal my lunch at the poolside.

Anthony our rum man, and enabler.

 I had to actually go back and see what I was reading two weeks ago.  So here is my update.  I finished Fight Club in print, and loved it.  In this case, however, I might even say that the movie is better.  I almost never say that, but I probably would have loved it more had I read it first.  I'm anxious to read more by Palahniuk.  I'm literally pages away from finishing The Tilted World by Tom Franklin (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter) and his wife Beth Ann Fennelly.  Great historical-based novel that nicely balances his tendency towards violence and her fierce maternal instincts, and has heart times two.  I'm diving into This House is Haunted by John Boyne next for book club.

On audio, I finished both The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, the first two books in The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater.  I really liked both of them...loved the characters, their chemistry and the overall premise.  Will Patton, the narrator, does an excellent job.  I also listened to The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.  For the first half of the book, I listened to it on Overdrive from the library, and was narrated by David Warner, and I loved his gothic British accent.  Then it stopped working, so I found it on the new Hoopla system from the library, and that one was narrated by Bernadette Dunne, who was fine but I preferred Warner.  Great classic scary story where you don't really know what is going on, kind of like A Little Stranger.  For fun I watched The Haunting, a 1999 movie based on the novel, starring Liam Neeson, Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta Jones and Owen Wilson.  Goofy ass movie, kind of a shame.  I'm now closing in on the end of the latest Reacher novel, Never Go Back.

Whew.  Are you still with me?

We went to the annual Gala fundraiser for the school Friday night, and last night we went to the annual Crawfish Boil at a friend's house...a Catholic community's big hurrah before Lent.  Spicy food, crawfish from Louisiana, King Cake, Hurricanes.  Yeah baby.

Today my mind is on the Oscars.  I have officially seen all 10 of the nominated movies.  I have my opinions.   Not sure if I'll be able to stay up the entire time, but I will try.

I won't torture you any further.  Hope everyone has a great Sunday!  


bermudaonion said...

Oh man, Key Biscayne sounds fabulous - I need a getaway like that!

I am listening to The Perfect Score Project and boy,does it make me feel like I was a bad mom. I left Vance on his own when he took the ACT. You should suggest Clemson to your daughter - then I could see you when you come to visit her. ;)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Wow, cannot believe E. is 16! Hope you have a great celebration!

JoAnn said...

Haven't been to Key Biscayne in 20+ years, but your description is exactly how I remember it!

Congrats to your son, and brace yourself for the "college process". In the three years between my oldest and the twins (who are now juniors), the whole thing got even crazier and more stressful. Start laying in a good supply of wine now ;-)

Beth F said...

The grow up way too fast. What an awesome getaway!!!

Unknown said...

Key Biscaynne sounds lovely...I like to travel with Kevin and experience life on the nicer side too!! Nick was 16 on January baby!!! Where did you find your SAT PREP class. I want one but hope to spend less.
Nice to see you back.

Trisha said...

Ah, the joys of prepping for college; the tests, the searching, the horrid entrance essays.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Ryan!! I know he was hoping for that and I'm glad to hear it happened for him. :)

Key Biscayne looks beautiful! We just got back from a quick 3-day cruise to the Bahamas and it was perfect, exactly what I needed. Back to reality tomorrow!

Nise' said...

Happy Sweet Sixteenth Birthday to your daughter! Congrats to your son! Those years do go so quickly. I survived 3 kids through high school and college. There should be awards for that!

Iliana said...

Well although we missed you, sounds like you were having a fabulous tme at the conference. How cool. Reminds me when I used to work for consulting firms and we had offsite events - so much fun!

Good luck to your kiddos on all their endeavors!

Anonymous said...

I'm watching the Oscars right now! Your confernce trip sounds amazing. And as for appreciating my young one, I'm getting better at more hugs and smiles and less stressing, but I'm a work in process :)

Heidenkind said...

Criminal justice, huh? I wonder if his mom's love for crime novel influenced that? :)

Anonymous said...

I am listening to Dream Thieves soon!

Ti said...

When I was living on my own is my cheap little, run down apartment, the guy downstairs would throw a crawfish party every time his mom sent a care package from Louisiana. It was like Christmas! We brought the bread and booze and he supplied the best eats, ever!

Rum? I love spiced rum. I needed some this weekend cause The Teen was in rare form!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I can't believe your daughter is 16! Your vacation looks fantastic too. I almost think it's better to be forced to unplug on vacation.

Unknown said...

Glad you had such a nice time away - it sounds fantastic! Can't believe you were in the gym next to Tony Blair - that is a great claim to fame!

Hope your daughter had a fantastic 16th. They grow up so fast :-(

Hope this week is just as exciting.

Michelle (my books. my life.) said...

You're supposed to charge the internet to the room and pass it off as a business expense. ;)

I tried listening to the Raven Boys and Will Patton did not work for me at all. I seem to be very much in the minority on this one.

Kathleen said...

Wow Sandy, I have been reading your blog since 2009 so your daughter was just 11 or 12 then? Time flies so hold your children close as they will fly out of the nest soon!