Thursday, February 17, 2005

My Escape to South Florida

I got up at the crack of dawn to visit my friend FL in south Florida. My first revelation was that it is really hot here in February. I quickly shed my wool clothes and changed into jeans and a tee shirt. This has been probably the most action-packed day I have had in a long time.

From the airport we went to tap dance lessons at the senior center. The teacher is in her 70s and looks 20 years younger. FL is by far the actual youngest in the class. It was obvious from the beginning that these people are having a great time while they get a lot of exercise. They are preparing for a show this weekend and they really take this seriously. So they rehearsed for an hour or so and finally mastered the steps for the performance. Once person said she dances 5 days a week!

We went to FL’s to take a short break before our next activity. She lives in a really nice neighborhood, which backs up onto a waterway. There are large snapping turtles and ducks and egrets and herons. It is really quite idyllic sitting out on her screened porch watching the wildlife. We had just enough time to look at our kindergarten class picture and see how many people we could still identify. I think we knew all but about 6 of the 23 kids. We both wondered what had become of all those kids.

We were taken to lunch by FL’s friend Dave, who is an engineer at the space center, having launched the past 35 years of astronauts into space. He is a person who lives to fly – he flies planes, gliders, hang-gliders, sky-dives, you name it. He is obviously in love with FL, having sent her roses for Valentine’s Day. But they remain “just friends”. I thought it was really big of him to take both of us to lunch!

I insisted on a nap since I had gotten up at 4 AM and was practically falling asleep.

Then we went to a WONDERFUL yoga class with another Barb. I asked for hip openers and that is what we got. She is from California and reminded me a little of Rebecca. She concentrated a lot on the “third eye”, which I now know means the 6th chakra. At the end she came around and sprinkled everyone’s hand with a drop of orange oil that smelled heavenly and woke us all up after relaxation. The best part of the class is that it is FREE! FL drives a long way to go to this class and it is absolutely worth it.

We went directly from yoga to salsa night at a restaurant-bar on the beach. FL takes salsa lessons on Wednesday nights and on Thursday the class gets a chance to practice. The teachers are professional dancers and many of the students are latino. I give FL a lot of credit for doing this. So we mostly watched really good dancers until they stopped salsa at 10 PM.

Then we came home and decided to eat peanut butter crackers for dinner. It’s so nice not to be responsible for anyone else’s dinner. What a treat!

I’m already exhausted and I have been here for only a day. Tomorrow it starts all over again with tap lessons at 9:30 AM. I haven’t tap danced since I was 4 years old, but FL says she will loan me a pair of shoes and we are both going to tap. We’ll see…

We have talked and talked and talked some more about anything and everything. It’s nice to have a friend where there are no topics that are off limits. If we keep going at this pace, however, I will need a week to catch up on my sleep when I go home!

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