#169 Mothers Birthday / Brits

We started the morning with church and Dunkin’ Donuts. I surprised my mother with tickets to see Lindsey Stirling & Evanescence Live in Concert with Full Orchestra in August. She went nuts. We were supposed to go to the Lindsey Stirling concert in NYC together, but the venue was not ideal for her claustrophobia. This time I made sure that there were assigned seats where I could pick one on the aisle. I have also bought premier parking and express line entrance tickets so that she doesn’t get panicked before the concert even starts.

Last week I ordered a cake from Publix Bakery. It was vanilla with buttercream icing and pineapple filling. I tried to make it as close as possible to the cake she has been getting for 60+ years. I asked them to write the message: Happy Birthday Mami / Malde! When I picked up the cake it read: Happy Birthday Mimi / Malde! Let’s just say for the rest of the day we all kept laughing and calling her Mimi. We went to my aunts house for a bit after picking up the cake, waited ten years for everyone to get ready, and headed out to Hudson for lunch.

Since 2013, my mom has been bragging about the fact that Prince George of Cambridge was born on her birthday. That being said, I felt it was best she celebrate their birthdays together by taking her to Brits, to have some traditional British food. The family met up with us there. We had crisps to snack on while we waited on food. We had beans on toast as an appetizer. Half of the table got fish and chips for lunch while the other half got bangers and mash with a side of Yorkshire pudding. We had desert back at my aunts house when we sang Mimi happy birthday and had cake and ice cream.

Today was pretty low key because we were exhausted from the rest of the weekend, but it was still a pretty great day. Mission Complete: 2016-2018.


#168 Crystal River Archeological State Park

Today was supposed to be my mom and I only, but Ashley works tomorrow (Sunday) and she will not be able to make it to the family outing, so I told her she could join us today. We woke early and had breakfast at Grannie’s. My mom loves diner food. I have wanted to take her to eat breakfast here for the longest time and never got the chance. As we were going to be in the area, I thought it would be the perfect place to have breakfast. We all had cheese omelettes with home fries and toast, I added bacon and Ashley added pancakes. My mother had her usual coffee while we had our orange juices.

I was glad to be able to use my Florida State Parks annual pass again for the Crystal River State Archeological Site, a sacred ceremonial mound complex. The state park features three kinds of mounds on their grounds. There were the purposefully built mounds that were structures made of sand, soil, shell, or midden material. They pretty much looked like small hills in the landscape, regular hills covered in grass. There were the midden mounds which were made out of the remains of everyday life that had been discarded and built up over time. These midden mounds were made up of artifacts such as food remains like oyster shells, animal bones, and broken pieces of pottery. You could see the shells sticking out in several locations and many artifacts found in or around the mounds have been put on display inside the museum at the entrance to the park. The Burial mounds of course contain human remains or burials. The remains have not been removed or sold off to be displayed. They remain in their resting place.

One of the mounds bigger mounds had a staircase, which we climbed and found the most incredible view of the Crystal River. We sat up there a while enjoying the breeze and watching the boats on the river. It is scallop season so boat traffic was heavy with people combing the waters for their treasures. Other than the views, my favorite part of the park was a Stela, where a pretty clear image of a face could be seen on the side of the stone slab.

The heat of the day was starting to get to us, we wanted out of the park, but we weren’t yet hungry. I very much wanted to take my mother for lunch at Tea House 650. She really loves to eat there and we are not in the area often, so I did not want to leave before we got a chance to do so. I decided to kill some time, work up an appetite, and cool off in some Air Conditioning to take them to the creepy Crystal River Mall. It actually wasn’t half bad this time around. I was very excited about our decision to go in there actually.

A few weeks back, while at the airport flea market, I found four beautiful white and gold tea cups and saucers for $2. I have been in search for a matching tea pot ever since, but the ones I found were all $200-300. As we walked through the mall we came across a store called RSVP Market. It was full of random objects, and at the entrance stood a tea party display that had the white and gold teapot I had been searching for. I ran inside and asked the lady behind the counter if it was for sale, she said it was and at only $20! I was not planning on buying anything for myself, but I had to. I knew I wouldn’t find it anywhere else at such an amazing price. I’m extremely happy to finally have a tea set. I had one many years ago, that my grandmother gave me. She absolutely loved tea. I would sit with her and drink tea while she gossiped and told stories about our family. Unfortunately, I lived with barbaric cousins who ended up slaughtering my set. I never bothered to get nice things again after that. Everything I ever had in that apartment was always destroyed. Now that I have my own place and can feel at peace for once in my life,  I can finally allow myself to have the nice things I have always wanted and could never have. It feels really good to be able to do that.

By the time we walked the entire mall (it’s not that big), we were feeling the hunger so as planned we had lunch at Tea House. I decided to be adventurous and try new things on the menu. This time I got the chicken salad with a Matcha Martini. No alcohol involved with that one. It is pretty much matcha green tea and lemonade shaken martini style with ice. It was delicious.

From the tea house, we took a drive out to see the old Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park in Homosassa. “This site was once part of a thriving sugar plantation owned by David Levy Yulee. Yulee was a member of the Territorial Legislative Council, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate after Florida statehood. The park contains the remnants of the once-thriving 5,100-acre sugar plantation: a forty-foot limestone masonry chimney, iron gears, and a cane press. The steam-driven mill operated from 1851 to 1864 and served as a supplier of sugar products for southern troops during the Civil War.” Next door, The Old Mill Tavern was playing live music, which we enjoyed, singing and dancing to, while we walked around the mill.


Back at home, I put my new tea set to use by having a mad hatter tea part with Ashley. It did not start off that way, but that’s definitely how it ended.


#167 Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

For the past two years, while I started my life over in Florida, my mother was alone in New York for her birthday. I always face timed with her, but I know she missed not being able to go out or be with me. Normally on her birthday all we ever did was get her some lunch or dinner at a restaurant like Olive Garden and have a Valencia Bakery pineapple cake at home. Now that she has moved in with me, I decided to give her a birthday weekend like none she has ever had before. Now that she has moved in with me, I decided to give her a birthday weekend like none she has ever had before.

The plan for the weekend is simple: makeup the missed birthdays! Friday night we celebrate her 2016 birthday, Saturday is for her 2017 birthday, and of course on her actual birthday on Sunday we celebrate her 2018 birthday.

We started the weekend off tonight, after I got off of work, by going to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. I loved it. It hit all the feels. I actually heard people crying in the theater. It was pretty funny. We went with Ashley and Diana, all four of us dancing and singing to the music throughout the entire movie. The only flaw about it that really bugged me was that in the first one they depict the dads during flashbacks as having certain traits and personalities, then in this new movie none of the guys resemble any of that at all. Anyway, we watched the first movie for her birthday ten years ago, so I thought it would be cool to see it for her birthday again. She loved the movie as well, couldn’t stop talking about it on the drive home.


#166 SeaWorld

Jesse came down to Florida for another visit. He got here Monday afternoon and we have spent the entire week together. We visited the caves, the park, watched the sunset at the beach, watched TV, played card games, went to dinner, and went swimming. On Tuesday he drove me to work so we could spend time together on the drive, he picked me up from work during lunch so we could eat, then he picked me up from work at the end of the day. On Wednesday I got home to a sweet beautiful bouquet of flowers. He met my mom for the first time and they get along and she likes him.

It has been a life long dream of my moms to go see “Shamu”, so as a mother’s day gift I decided to take her to SeaWold yesterday. The three of us drove out to Orlando early in the morning and spent the entire day at the park. We had a great time. We walked the entire park but didn’t do much. All three of us are not very big fans of crowds and neither one of them can really get on rides due to their anxieties and claustrophobia. We mostly watched all the shows available at the theaters around the park like the orca’s and the bottle-nosed dolphins. That was the entire point of the trip anyway so it was worth it. My mom was super excited to see her whales at last. She looked like a little kid at Disney for most of the day. We drove back home a few hours before the park closed to avoid traffic jams. We had dinner and I spent a few last hours with Jess before he headed back home.

Today is officially mother’s day but I am not doing anything. I am too tired from the trip yesterday. I feel bad that I didn’t take her to a dinner or something today but my mother doesn’t mind because she had the best present ever!

#165 Blueberry Picking

Every year Corey’s grandmother likes to go blueberry picking. Apparently she buys a big batch, makes her own blueberry waffles, freezes them, and eats them through out the year. This year she was nice enough to invite my mother and I along.

We first went to her home to pick her up. I was thrilled to find out that her community has a peacock infestation. Not rats, roaches, stray cats or dogs. They have peacocks terrorizing the neighborhood. They were beautiful. All over the parking lot and on roof tops.

We drove in two cars to Margo’s Blueberry Farm. Spent an hour or so walking through the rows of bushes picking berries to put in the buckets that his grams would be bringing home, as well as mischievously eating some of the berries when no one was looking.

We took two buckets full to her home where she prepared for us a wonderful lunch for us. Fruit salad, greens salad, bread and butter, coffee cake, juice water coffee.

We parted ways with Corey’s mom and grams. Christina, Corey, my mom and I returned to my apartment and went down to the pool for the first time. I loved it. Had not been in the water since last year. It felt so nice.

For dinner we decided to try another interesting find in my neighborhood, Taipei Taipei. I had the orange chicken with fried rice, egg roll, and a coconut bubble tea with passion fruit popping bubbles. Small restaurant, good food. Tea did not meet my new bubble tea standards but good enough.