Saturday, January 12, 2008


We're back from Florida after a short vacation. We went to Daytona Beach and stayed with our good friends, Tanya and Mike and their gianormous cat, Boris (and also their fish, frogs, turtles, finches, parakeets and a canary). The weather couldn't had been better - upper 60ies in the mornings and low 80ies in the afternoons with sunny sky and lite breeze.

We spent some time driving around town, looking at things that were old and that were new. Frankly, Daytona hasn't changed for the better in the last year and a half. Lots of places closed down; others looked like they might follow the suite in the near future; new businesses were mostly box stores and big chains. But the beach was as nice as ever and the views from the bridges as one crosses the Intracoastal to the beachside - absolutely stunning.

Mark behaved very well on the drive to Daytona and we were able to make it there in just 9 hours. The next morning we went straight to the beach and to see our good friend, Eleonora. We had a few things on our to-do list and most of them had to do with food - shripm, sandwiches, ice-cream, tiramisu, hot dogs and more. Apart from eating, we wanted to spend time at the beach, see manatees at the Blue Springs, maybe watch dolphins in New Smyrna Beach, play a round of mini-golf, and just forget about house, work, bill-paying, etc and just have fun. For the most part, we successfully accomplished this mission.

We weren't in too much hurry to get back to Raleigh and adopted a very leisurely driving pace. First, we went for a little stroll on the beach, then - for some coffee. Then we stopped to buy oranges at one of the many Indian River Fruit stands along I-95 and ended up with a bushel of navel oranges and a small orange tree that immediately filled our car with the smell of orange blossoms. Then, somewhere in Georgia, we stopped at an outlet mall and got some stuff for the kitchen. Finally, around 3pm we drove into Savannah for a late lunch of crab cakes and a walk along the River Street. Needless to say, we had to stop for the night well short of Raleigh. But it turned out a lot less stressful than driving straight through.

Midway through our trip Mark turned 11 months. He was mostly very happy with the vacation even though he spent more time sitting in a car seat and in the carrier than he's used to. He started saying more things, such as "baba", "vava", "tata", and most exciting of all, "papa". He also became very proficient at pointing at things that attract his attention (he also says "etoh" or "toh"). He really knows the point of walking now - to get to something. So when he's up on his feet, he almost runs (with our help and support) to whatever interests him most. He's also a lot less shy than he used to be. Or rather he figures out whether being shy works to his advantage (i.e. gets him more attention) and uses it discriminately. All in all, he puts a lot of effort into getting and staying noticed. He also plays "monkey" - stick your tounge out and he'll happily reciprocate; show him how to bang two toys, and he'll do the same.