May I present...Plus, adventures in middle-aged camping.

This is my son, Ian, and his wife, Raven. They were married at the Disney Boardwalk on June 3rd, on a hot, clear Florida day, with the central lake of that particular resort area behind them. Total list of people in attendance was probably less than 20, themselves included, although the Disney staff on hand brought the numbers up. Disney's contract limited the number of people who could be there, and the venue was very small anyway, so it was really just the right number for the site. I thought her dress was quite beautiful, layers and layers of pink ruffles, and I'm sure I'm not the first mom to think her son was particularly handsome on his wedding day. There was a violin player who played selections from various Disney movies as the bride came up the aisle, and afterward during the reception.

The cake was two-layered and iced in blue, white and cream, with a small copy of a famous Disney castle on top.

The next day, my husband and I went on our first vacation alone in over 24 years, heading just under 200 miles north of Orlando to Amelia Island, which is just inside the border of Florida on the Atlantic coast. You can look across the river there and see Georgia. We hadn't been there in maybe 16 years, so it was pleasant to walk on the beach and enjoy the sun and the breeze. I can't exactly say fresh air, though, as there's a paper mill not far from where we were camping. Sorry, no pictures. I hadn't figured out how to use the camera I'd brought. The wedding photos are courtesy my mother-in-law.

We chose to stay at the Amelia River campsite at Fort Clinch State Park. If you're imagining wads of mosquitoes, you're not far off, though there were less than what I'd expected. Still, we had a nice site within the campsite loop, with enough trees around to keep us mostly isolated from the other sites. The tent we brought was not such a good idea, though. It claimed to have been sized for four people, but was claustrophobically tiny. We ended up visiting Wal-mart and buying the next size tent up, which worked much better for us. On the negative side, it rained the first night, and was humid and oppressively hot, my knees were hurting which made crawling in and out of the tent uncomfortable, and I of course had to get up repeatedly to visit the facilities due to all the water I'd drunk during the day. Dratted middle-aged bladder. It wasn't a fun first night.

We did discover something the first night that was new to us, though maybe not new to you. We were settling in for the night, and had not yet turned out the light inside the tent, when we heard the sound of the ice chest being opened right next to the tent door. That was quickly followed by the sound of rattling plastic and some raccoonish squeals and growls as at least two of the critters fought over the spoils--three souvenir cookies from the wedding and a bag of carob covered almonds, all tucked inside a large ziplock baggie.

Once the critters had dragged away the goodies, my husband reached out and closed the ice chest, which only had bottled water and bottled tea in it at that point. The raccoons came back and opened the ice chest twice more, I guess checking to see if we'd added anything to the chest since the last time they'd been there.

It hadn't occurred to us that raccoons would get into the ice chest. We put the chest inside the tent the next night, and heard them rattling things in someone else's campsite during the night.

The next day was gorgeous, and we spent time on the beach, then walked around the shopping district of old town Fernandina Beach, mostly hunting for souvenirs. It began raining toward evening, and not wanting to be confined to the tent, we went to see the new Star Trek film at the local cinema. By time time we returned to the tent, it was well past ten o'clock, and we crawled in to find that the tent walls had sagged enough to come into contact with our bedding and had leaked. By the time we'd gotten there, it had stopped raining, so we were able to open the windows and get air in. We'd also bought a small fan, which stirred the air inside the tent enough that we slept fairly well in spite of the damp bedding.

We'd been scheduled to stay a third night, but ended up spending it in a motel, due to tropical storm Andrea (Erm...I think that was the name). The park evacuated all campers for fear that the storm would bring some of the very big and very old trees down on tents and RVs. I don't know about you, but I'm just as happy not to get crushed beneath a falling tree.

I know the above makes it sound like I don't like camping. I do. We have a really nice backpacking tent that we used on a trip through Arizona and Utah one year, that housed myself, my husband, and our son quite well, but that was before I injured my knees enough to make it hard to crawl in and out, and before the idea of sleeping on the ground gave way to the idea of sleeping on air mattresses. I think next time we'll bring a tent that's roomier and big enough to stand in, though. I know my knees will appreciate it.

There are two books to report on this time around...

His Majesty's Hope, by Susan Elia MacNeal. Set during WWII. Maggie Hope has been secretary to Mr. Churchill, was assigned to protect Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, and had trained to be a spy. Her first mission has her parachuting into Germany, a job which her German contact is convinced she's not ready for. Third in a series. I'll have to look for the first two.

Proof of Guilt, #15 in the Ian Rutledge series. Inspector Rutledge's unfriendly boss has had a heart attack and is out of commission, though no one knows if it's permanently or not. His temporary replacement is a man from Scotland who has no familiarity with London or the way things are done at Scotland Yard. He's determined to see the case he's assigned Rutledge to finished quickly, even if it means sending innocent people to their deaths for crimes they didn't commit. And Rutledge suspects his former boss has left information in his personnel file that has poisoned this new boss' attitude and expectations of him.

There was a third one, the lastest Maisie Dobbs book. I got partway into it, as far as the point where the brother of the dead woman explains that his sister could ease people's pain just by touching them. Erm...no. I'm not into that. This went on the did-not-finish list.

As far as writing goes, Kira is cooperating at this point, and has even begun to tell me what she would and wouldn't do to an extent. Always a good sign. We'll see how it goes.

More later~~~