Monday, May 31, 2010

May Days - What Days - The Month Is Already Over!

I have no idea where May went... literally it flew by so fast I don’t think I even had time to write one May date on a correspondence.

The month started out on a flood of mixed emotion, Matt and I were able to escape to Myrtle Beach for a few days to celebrate my “official” school year being over and my birthday, but our trip, as previously documented in an earlier post, was overshadowed with the news that my Papa had some bleeding on his brain and needed to undergo surgery. We drove straight back to Jackson and headed to the hospital to spend his last days with him. The entire ordeal completely caught me off guard and the sadness of his death was difficult to handle. We had just enjoyed lunch to celebrate my birthday as a family, no more than a week before, so the dramatic change in his health was a painful reminder that life here on Earth is so precious. We spent the majority of the first two weeks of May back home with my family celebrating Papa’s life through shared memories, pictures and attending his funeral. It is always comforting; no matter the situation, to be back home in our small church surrounded by so many neighbors, friends and family. A detail that I took for granted for so many years and something that can be difficult to establish in a larger city like Grand Rapids.

Once things settled down back in Concord, Matt and I headed back up to Grand Rapids to return to work and for me to go back and teach Spring classes at GVSU. It is at this point in remembering the month that I am not sure what happened. I cannot remember what filled up the rest of the month, outside of teaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays and working around the house the rest of the week, I don’t know where the days went. I did go see Beth Moore one of the weekends and we have made some great progress on the house – painting interior doors, finishing touch-ups on the kitchen and working in the yard. And this past weekend we spent Friday having breakfast, getting new tires on my car, running errands at Sams Club, etc… Saturday we helped Erin move to her new apartment, Sunday we had a cook-out with family and Monday we just relaxed…. I suppose in the month of June I need to make a better effort to document what I spend all my time on!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Our First Taste Of Summer

Myrtle Beach as a destination isn’t much to get excited about, it falls on the list of “Places you must visit” somewhere between Bronson, Missouri and Wisconsin Dells as far as attractions and entertainment go, but with one important distinction… The Beach! To get out of town between-semester break, Meagan and I decided that this was the perfect answer for the question “How far can we drive in one day and still find warm sun and surf in late April?”The best part about the whole trip is that we were too late for spring breakers, and too early for summer breakers, so the town was our oyster and we were two grains of sand out for some irritation (and a pearly luster). This meant no lines, no crowds, off-season rates, walk-in service and preferential treatment everywhere we went.

The other best part about the trip is that most of the attractions can be found Anywhere, USA so there’s no real draw to do anything other than sit on the beach in the warm sun and relax – which is exactly what we did from 10AM to 4PM every day (with the exception of one rain day). Other than a few wild life encounters the beach is exactly as you’d picture it, just with fewer people around: sandy beaches, mid 80’s, sunny, cool breeze, cold ocean water (one drawback of April weather in South Carolina).

Apparently people in the south like to eat… a-lot… since every other restaurant offered all-you-can-eat fare of some form or another. We, of course, had to indulge ourselves and try out two of the all-you-can-eat restaurants, beginning with The Original Benjamin’s Seafood Buffet, which did not disappoint. There were so many options to choose from that each trip through the buffet line resulted in an overflowing plate of sea faring goodies. There were almost too many options since it was clearly an impossible task to sample some of everything offered. There was also the opportunity to be adventuresome and try some new and interesting things, but it was hard to resist the mountain of crab’s legs that were offered! For our last night in town we accidentally ended up at a Brazilian Steakhouse called Rioz that bumped Mongolian BBQ out of the top spot on my list for “Greatest Restaurant Idea Ever.” This place had all the elements of the Mongolian BBQ but instead the meat was cooked rotisserie style and brought to you directly to your table! The Brazilian cowboys (“Gauchos”) would take one of a dozen or so cuts of beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or shrimp and bring them to your table. You were given a coaster with green on one side and red on the other side where if the green side was up they would continue to parade the delicious meat to your table and if the red side was up they would skip your table until the green side was up again. The best part was that every cut of meat was top shelf tender and cooked to your liking and served hot from the grill every time. And for dessert, they brought around grilled pineapple dashed with cinnamon that literally melted in your mouth. We both gained a few pounds on the trip from those two meals alone, but what a great way to indulge ourselves and kick back for a while.I would definitely go back to MB, but based on the amount of space reserved for waiting lines everywhere we went I would highly recommend waiting for the next offseason!