Hard to get tired of this view: Sunrise from our apartment on Amelia Island

Wow!  It’s almost spring!  We’ve found, as we’ve heard other retirees say, that it’s difficult to remember what day of the week it is.  In Michigan I often felt like winter lasted forever, but now that we can escape the cold and the snow, we sometimes even forget what season it is. We are continuously reviewing and revising our upcoming travel plans.  We spent January and part of February back on Amelia Island because we enjoyed it so much last year. We even went back to the same complex but when we found the one we rented last year had gone up considerably in price, we kept on looking and lo and behold the condo literally next door was $900 dollars cheaper. All the things we loved about last year’s condo but at a price we could afford!

We found a few new places to visit. One we particularly enjoyed was Jekyll Island.  It has a lot of history.  In the early 1500’s Spain claimed a colony there and later in the mid 1500’s the French came.  Many battles ensued with the Spanish eventually winning out. Then in the mid-1600’s the English expanded their colonies from Jamestown south and allied themselves with the Cherokee, Creeks, and Yuchi tribes and eventually won out over the Spanish.

Horton’s home made from Tabby

When James Ogelthorpe established Georgia as a colony in 1722 he named the area for his friend, James Jekyll, who had contributed 600 pounds toward the establishment of Georgia as a colony.  Ogelthorpe assigned William Horton in the 1730s to set up a military base to protect the fort on nearby St. Simons.  That home still exists. Our first reaction when seeing the house was how did he get the cement? But then we read that it was built from tabby…a combination of lime, crushed shells and water that creates a sort of cement like composition.  Horton’s plantation raised barley and indigo and provided the nearby fort with beef and corn. The labor was provided by slaves. Spanish attacks continued and by the end of the 1740’s Horton was dead. The plantation was continued by an owner who had escaped the French Revolution and who also imported slaves onto the island. But by the time of the American Civil War the plantation was pretty much deserted.  Really interesting place.

March and April we’re going to be in Panama and Cuba. So we decided in mid-February to head back to DC, and to return to favorite haunts including our Thursday Trivia game at Zeba’s. One of the things I love best about DC is the passion with which people voice their beliefs. Weeks after the Women’s March these signs say it all:

 People often ask why when we return to DC we go to the same area instead of exploring new places. It’s kind of a no-brainer for us.  Because we don’t own a house, it’s fun to return to something familiar.  It’s comfortable to know the neighborhood, have favorite restaurants and grocery stores.  It’s close to one of our son’s and has easy access to another son’s family (so we can spend time with some of our grandkids!) in nearby Maryland.  Anyone who knows DC knows that one can spend hours in traffic just trying to make it across town. Our son in Maryland only lives about 14 miles from Columbia Heights and on a good day we can make that in half an hour.  From other parts of DC and south it could easily take us three times that amount of time. As a result, Columbia Heights has sort of become, at least for now, our home away from home.

We were really fortunate that for the last days of February when we were there the weather was amazing!  It was generally in the 70s with the sun shining!  There was a lot of concern that the cherry blossoms were going to bloom way early!

We were thrilled when our son, Stephen, asked if we’d be interested in going to the Hirshhorn Museum for the opening day of Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit, “Infinity Mirrors.” While we didn’t know anything about her work, we quickly researched it online and found this exhibit reflects the body of her work over the last six plus decades. It also may very well be her last trip to the United States.  We jumped on the bus Thursday morning, and within half an hour we were at the Hirshhorn. The tickets were timed and the display was an unbelievable sensory experience.  We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to see this wonderful exhibit! Check it out: http://hirshhorn.si.edu/kusama/the-exhibition/

One of the things I like best about seeing my grandkids often is being part of their everyday experiences, like walking them to and home from school. So on Wednesday morning after walking them to school, Bob and I called an Uber and headed to National Airport to head for Panama.  The spring-like weather had created the right conditions for some really heavy thunderstorms so we were delayed taking off. And our two and a half hour layover virtually disappeared in Atlanta. So when we landed, we really had to hustle to make the flight to Panama City, but we did it!  And we were extra lucky in that we had no one sitting in the middle seat so instead of being packed like sardines we were able to stretch out a bit!

We were waiting for take-off when the guy sitting in the row in front of us called over the flight attendant and pointed out to her that his luggage was still sitting on the cart that he could see from the window. The flight attendant immediately called it to the attention of someone who could solve that problem and it was quickly put on the plane.  Several of us were really impressed that he could recognize his bag while seated in the middle seat of the plane.  “That” he remarked, “is why I have a pink suitcase!”  It occurred to me then that all travelers have their little secrets for making travel easier! Little did I know that upon arrival in Panama City, Bob and I would be facing an obstacle of our own! Just when you think everything’s in order…