Sunday, May 01, 2005

VACATION? UPDATES

Well, Nicholas says that this can't be my vacation because to be on vacation means that you are on vacation FROM something, and since we don't work anymore, we aren't on vacation. What should I call this visit to the states? Just a visit? I really liked the idea of having a vacation from retirement...it seems so decadent!

I changed my eye doctor appointment so that we could both attend the Churchill Downs employee lunch and tour. Churchill Downs has undergone a major renovation, and the results are stunning.

We were allowed to wander throughout the facility, and saw places that mere mortals like us will never see again. We were on Millionaire’s Row, the Jockey Club…or maybe it’s called the Turf Club…anyway, it’s pretty exclusive. We wandered through the corporate suites with their private facilities and fantastic views. The whole place is beautiful….very elegant and classy…lots of wood for that “clubby” feel.

Then we walked into the section where Art usually works…..and they hadn’t done a thing! It was like walking into a time warp! I’m not sure why this area was left untouched, but the contrast is amazing.

Yesterday we went to see Al Pacino in “The Merchant of Venice”. I had been looking forward to seeing this movie for quite a while, and knew that it had been well received. And then we got to the theater, I asked for two tickets to “The Merchant of Venice”, and the guy tells me that it’s not there anymore! It was Friday, and movies always change on Fridays, but I had no idea that it would leave so soon!

We saw “The Interpreter” with Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman instead. I have mixed feelings about this movie. I enjoyed it up to a certain point….the point where I thought the movie was over…..but it wasn’t. After that, it really seemed to be moving in slow motion for me. I’m not sure if it’s my fault, or if the director needed to pace things a little better. Anyway, it was a good movie, and I’m glad we got to see…but still bummed about missing Pacino.

Speaking of movies, we also saw “Madison”. This film is about hydroplane racing and the boat that belongs to the city of Madison, Indiana. Madison isn’t far from Louisville, and this boat race has become quite an annual event. The movie tells the story of how Madison almost lost its right to host the race, and about how the town of Madison rallied to save their boat and their race.

Our friend Larry was involved in the making of this movie, and for the first time ever, we actually knew….personally knew…someone whose name was listed in the credits! Too cool! Although the movie wasn’t as emotionally charge as “Breaking Away” or “Hoosiers”, it was still a good movie and a very interesting story.

The weather here has been awful!!!! Before we got here is was 80 and beautiful. Once we arrived, the sun went away and it’s been rainy and cold EVERY day!!!! Today’s forecast doesn’t even give us the chance of sun until Thursday or Friday. This is NOT a good forecast for Derby week…somebody somewhere really screwed up….and this is the year when the Derby is the latest it can ever be….May 7th.

I’m enjoying listening to the radio…to my oldies and not so oldies. One of my favorite stations is WNAS, which is run by the students of New Albany high school. They always play such an interesting mix of stuff….except for yesterday.

While channel surfing…something I do constantly….I heard a lot of country music on WNAS. That’s not a bad thing, but it seemed obvious that whoever was in charge was REALLY into country. UNTIL……they played “McArthur’s Park….that incredibly camp Richard Harris song from maybe 1965. God how I LOVED that song in the sixties! Unfortunately, McArthur’s Park is NOT one of those songs that ages well. The words that used to seem so mystical and deep…..”someone left the cake out in the rain, I don’t think that I can take it, cause it took so long to bake it, and I’ll never have that recipe again”…..well, I’m sure you see what I mean. Oh, and did I mention…we heard it TWICE!!!! What are the odds of that?!

We’ve seen some new models of cars since we’ve been here. Two have stood out in particular. The first was a station wagon…a Dodge I think….and it was just so ugly, but I couldn’t quite describe what it was that I didn’t like. I said “It’s so ugly….it…..” and my daughter completed the sentence perfectly with “looks like a hearse.” That was it! It reminds you of a hearse because the windows are short and high up on the door.

The other car we saw was a Honda. It was a new SUV type car, and when I first saw it from the back, there was nothing very interesting. THEN I saw the side! This car wants to be a Hummer when it grows up! The similarity was so striking, and if the people at Honda were aiming for the Hummer market, they nailed it! Maybe the Honda isn’t as grotesquely huge or as obscenely inefficient as the Hummer, but for those who want the look and feel of being in an armored car, this car would definitely do the trick.

Art starts work at Churchill Downs today. I’ll be taking him and picking him up every day since we only have one car. We’re going to have to think of a different plan for Oaks and Derby Day…no way am I going to get caught in that mess! Maybe he can carpool with someone and I can pick him up at another location, or maybe he can just take the car and not have to worry about it.

It’s strange to be in a place that feels so familiar but to still face the challenges of someone on vacation…which of course we are. I’d love to see about renting one of those extended stay places the next time we’re here. We called around and they run close to $250 a week…which would make a month’s stay cost $1000….but when we rented apartments in Italy, they ran $600 and up just for a week! I wish we knew someone who had a small mother-in-law apartment that we could rent out while we’re here. Staying in someone else’s home is always a challenge.

The SUN came out today, Sunday!!! This was completely unexpected, and literally a blinding experience! Although the air was cool and there was a stiff cold wind blowing all day, we did see more sun than clouds today!!! Now if it would just warm up.

Tomorrow we move to my sister’s house….it’s a lot closer to the track now that Art is working…and now that I’ll be taking him to work and picking him up afterwards.

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