26 May 2010


8:30am Yoga on the beach! What a way to greet the day. I love it.

CA wakes up with a very sore back and finds a lounge chair by the pool to soak up some sun. After Yoga I go over on 31st (Laskin) to a few shops (The Globe, an International Collection, The Lemon Cabana, and Megs Swimwear, among others) and then Mary’s Nail-Tique at 321 Laskin Road for a small touch-up on the French manicure I’ve had since Thursday. My manicure’s never last long, but the manicurist seals all my nails with an acrylic gel. She’s so sweet and refuses payment, but I insist.

By the way we hear Navy jets taking off and landing throughout the day and a bit at night. The tourist info acknowledges the noise and calls it the sounds of freedom. You do get used to it, and with that spin you even feel a patriotic pride each time the engines roar.

CA manages to get our timeshare presentation (Remember when I said I’d never go to one again! And that was just in February! I just love it here at the Ocean Beach Club, and I want to own.) Changed to 2:30pm today since the pre-scheduled time will interfere with my Yoga class tomorrow.

We snack on tuna, cheese, and crackers in our studio. CA’s back is really in bad shape, but we wander over to the sales center at 2:30 to meet Vanessa. We chat and tour a one bedroom suite, (2) two bedroom suites, and just for fun a two-level penthouse suite. Sweet. We’re suitably impressed with Gold Key’s deal. They have several properties in Virginia Beach and on the Outer Banks, and of course all are traded through Interval, so you get full benefits with exchanges, trades, getaways, and bonus weeks.

I really want to buy, but CA is cautious so we agree to take some time to process everything and get back to Vanessa before 9:30am tomorrow. Before too long CA and I reach a workable compromise. We plan to come back here the week before Memorial Day next year with our kids and grandkids through Interval, if possible. And then, reevaluate the buy/trade decision. We’re thinking a two-bedroom flexible deal with lock-out privileges.

CA’s main concern is that he doesn’t want us to make any financial decisions that put other plans in jeopardy—like our month or so in France in November. And, we never want to feel financially strapped during these retirement years. I can wait. If we CAN’T get in here with a trade next May, then buying will be a stronger option.

Gold Key gives us $90 in restaurant certificates and we go immediately to Catch 31 for an early dinner. Pathetic how senior-citizen we’re acting with early-bird dinners, but we’ve been eating just two meals a day and by late afternoon we are HUNGRY.

We love Catch 31, and our waiter Shiloh is a culinary arts grad and very knowledgeable about food and the menu preparations. CA orders the Bronzed Yellow Fin Tuna steak with sweet potatoes strings, served with edamame succotash and pureed sweet potatoes—all drizzled with a parsley olive oil. I order the Oysters Rockefeller to share with CA (there are 6)—béchamel sauce with maple-wood smoked bacon, spinach, shallots, and Jack cheese; and a Cobb Salad. The food is lovely and divine! Ah-h-h…

CA is hurting pretty badly, so we decide to get our car and take our nostalgia tour around Norfolk with the seat heaters turned on high. (For some reason I continue to refer to this wonderful invention as heat seaters!) I take the wheels and we head down Atlantic to 22nd Street and onto Int. 264 toward downtown Norfolk. We exit at Military Highway North and are immediately in familiar territory—even though it’s been 22 years since we’ve visited this area and 37 years since we’ve lived here.

On Virginia Beach Blvd, we head west and wind onto Raby Road to Crown Pointe Townhouses. We lived here at 5353 Bellfield Drive for two years in the early 1970s. Today they look much the same, but the area appears to be a bit lower income; still nice. For whatever reason visiting our youth makes both of us smile.

We continue on Virginia Beach Blvd. toward downtown Norfolk looking for Granby Street. When we find it, we decide to make a small detour toward the harbor and we see wonderful streets, some cobbled, with townhouses, condos, single family homes, restaurants, shops, etc. It’s lovely! My expectations have been met and exceeded. Norfolk’s urban center began undergoing a rebirth within a few years of our departure and I’ve wanted to check it out for a very long time. Harbor Park—where the Tides play—is just a bit further along the harbor from where we are today. I could live here.

We drive north on Granby through a mélange of neighborhoods and then come to Wards Corner which is near the neighborhood we first lived in Norfolk in 1971. This is still a vital commercial area, but just off of Little Creek Blvd our little street and apartment building is very much in the “hood.” We lived at 364 Fort Worth Avenue—just over from San Antonio and perpendicular to Dallas.

Southern Shopping Center looks much the same, and Speedy Tacos is still there! We tasted our first tacos ever at Speedy Taco in 1971, and while they weren’t good, they were a first and we liked what we tasted! Now we’re complete Mexican/New Mexican foodies with sophisticated taste formed by trips to Santa Fe and meals prepared at Rick Bayless’s restaurants in Chicago. And, we always say that the best Mexican food we eat is what we prepare at home.

We decide to continue on Little Creek to Shore Drive which will take us along the Little Creek Amphibious Base (now called Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, encompassing the Little Creek Naval facility and Fort Story—the Army base), down past The Narrows and the Cape Henry Trail, onto Atlantic Avenue and back to 34th Street and the Ocean Beach Club.

This has truly been a trip down an actual memory lane. We’ve recalled meals and adventures, military life and childbirth, friends and experiences. As I’ve said, CA and I grew up in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. We were 21 & 22 year old kids (mature for our ages!) when we arrived and adult parents when we left three years later.

It’s just 8:30 when we get back to our studio, but we’re tired and content. We both have good books and look forward to some Internet time. There’s music on the beach tonight, as usual, but we’ll appreciate it from down the block. Maybe we’ll have that moonlight walk on the beach tomorrow night when the moon is full and romantic.

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