April 8, 2010

Spring Break halfway mini travelogue

Out in California, where we don't have a "ski week" in February, we take our spring break at the logical and civilized time of Easter.  This is bad because the cousins in Connecticut are in school this week, but it's good because we have all the attractions and museums to ourselves.

We flew out on Saturday the 3rd, the day before Easter.  My older son had given up air travel for Lent, but when I reminded him that he's a devout Atheist and explained what Lent is, he relented.

Easter involves about 35 relatives all getting together at "the club" (a local former one-room schoolhouse that is more of a community center built in the 1950s than what most might think of when they hear "the club" up on "the hill").  I have a wonderful, fun family, and my extended family on my stepmom's side is as quirky and wonderful as my own.  Couple that with 75 degree sunshine all day, and you've got yourself a grand old Easter dinner.  Oh, and since my sister turned 50 on Wednesday, we had cake and sang and lit candles.  But only a few, symbolically, because after all it's an old schoolhouse and probably would have gone up like a bundle of straw.

We also colored Easter eggs in the morning. This is a tradition that I loved as a kid but now treat with unbridled apathy.  My boys, however, love it (for about 2.3 minutes, just enough to pretend that the white eggs have picked up a healthy pinkish glow from the dye).  What I love is that the main Easter egg company is named Dudley.  Why?  Who knows?  But it is an undisputed truth that everyone, simply everyone, needs a Bendable Dudley.

Monday we drove out to Bradley airport and the New England Air Museum.  This is a wicked cool museum, with a truly impressive collection of original, restored, and replica aircraft.  This includes the original oldest remaining aircraft in North America--a balloon basket from a hot air balloon from the late 1800s.  Military and civilian aircraft, with a tremendous amount of history and factual information.  Highly recommended.  Oh, and don't miss the B-29 in the Bomber Wing.
Tuesday we split up.  The boys went with the grandparents to laser tag and some other nefarious deeds that we parents didn't really want to know about.  Meanwhile, Maria and I went south to the my father's birthtown and the current town-of-residence of one of my very bestest childhood friends.  We and Larry lunched at a little restaurant right on the shore, complete with lobster bisque and a crab salad sandwich.  Some things just aren't available in California.  Then we took a walk out to the beach.  Another gorgeous day.
Wednesday we went to the Pequot museum at the Foxwoods casino in southeastern Connecticut.  I'd heard it was really spectacular as Native American museums went, so I had high expectations.  And I happily say that it far exceeded my high expectations.  I really recommend this museum.  The fact that it is near a casino should have tipped me off that there would be bare breastage, however.  (No, not the docents--the statues in the Pequot Village).  The toplessness of these figures was neither tasteless nor gratuitous, however.  And frankly, by the end of the Pequot Village exhibit, I was a little surprised to emerge back into the museum and see women wearing shirts.  I do love the fact that it's up front and center, so to speak, on their web site.  As the curator says, "Get a load of those... beads!  In her necklace!  Yes, those are some beads."

Wednesday we nearly forgot to call my sister and wish her happy birthday, but we didn't.  Forget, that is.  We called after dinner and sang into the speakerphone.  To her answering machine.  A typical Dudley birthday celebration.  Happy 50th, sis!

Thursday (today), we split again.  Maria and my stepmom were going to see some NPR speaker in New Haven tonight, so my dad and the boys and I hightailed it over to a truly manly museum:  Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts.  You may remember that last year at this time, we visited the HMS Belfast in London.  But that was merely a single ship, and that only a Cruiser class.  Battleship Cove has not only a legitimate, full size, wholly kick-ass battleship (the USS Massachusetts), but also a Destroyer, a submarine, some funky Russian missile boat, two PT Boats, and a landing craft like the one used in the D-Day invasion.  This museum rocked.  I thought the guns and magazine on the Belfast were impressive.  Holy smokes, the guns on a real battleship are daunting.  I did not get a photo of it, but the projectile hurled more than 12 miles by those turret guns are exactly the same height as my 10 year old son.  And they weigh far, far more.
You can see the boys sitting on that block in the foreground, under the guns.  The superstructure is behind them, with the I-195 bridge in the background.  This is another highly recommended museum if you have any interest at all in WW II history, military history, big ships, or whatever.  Plus, the woman working the snack bar on board was one of the friendliest servers I've ever met.

That's it so far.  We've also watched a few DVDs--UP, Hoodwinked, and Amelia. The boys are watching Live And Let Die as I write this.  We have two more full days, then earlyearly Sunday morning we take off.  Maria and the boys return home, and I go on to Minneapolis for three days of business meetings.

Spring Break should be more than a week.  It should last all Spring.


Stephen Parrish said...

You explained what Lent is, and he relented, ha ha.

fairyhedgehog said...

Sounds like you had fun.

It's interesting the way different cultures view nudity and body parts; Victorians would have found women in shorts to be scandalous. You can see women with naked breasts on most European beaches.

McKoala said...

Great vacation - and love the Lent thing!

Sarah Laurenson said...

FHH - But some of the most revealing porn was created during the Victorian era.

Ah, Pete. I'm exhausted reading over your vacation. Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun.

fairyhedgehog said...

Sarah, was it really the most revealing? Because you can only take so many clothes off and then there's nothing left to remove!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Mmm. Perhaps revealing isn't the right word. I saw a special on this many years ago that postulated the most repressed societies had the most tittilating porn. They talked about the Victorian era in particular as being extremely sexually repressed but with a hefty trade in porn.

This is an interesting interview with an erotica collector.

fairyhedgehog said...

Sarah, that makes a lot of sense. I suppose you don't need p0rn if you have an open enough society!

Peter, sorry to highjack this comment trail. You might want to delete our comments if you get unwelcome visits because of them!

Bernita said...

Oh yum!(I usually have to make do with a can of frozen.)

PJD said...

Stephen, I also liked the relented gag. It was totally unintentional, which made me like it better.

McK, it was a great vacation! The best part was seeing the family and having my brother, my sister, and me together. That only happens every couple of years now.

Bernita, lobster bisque was the best we could do. We usually go back east in summer when lobster and blueberries are in season.

Fairy and Sarah: My goodness, ladies, when you hijack a comment trail, you do it right. All we need now is a few celebrity names, and my hit count should skyrocket. Something like Hayden Christensen Hair Porn.