Sitting here in a white t-shirt stained with barbecue sauce. No, not the country song – I really am sitting here with barbecue stains on my white t-shirt. See, we made another trip down to the beach today, and on the way back we stopped off to pick up some good old Southern style BBQ. I think my daily consumption of sugar must at least double while I’m here – these ‘rebs love their sweet stuff. Anyway, I plopped a dollop of the molasses-heavy sauce right on the undershirt. No big deal, as it is an under shirt, after all. But, it all feels quite “Florida,” really. Lounging around in some gymshorts and a stained t-shirt, drinking tea mixed to diabetes-inducing 1 cup sugar : 2 cup tea ratio. Ahh… Florida.

Keaton seemed to warm up to the beach today, her second visit of our time here. Last Tuesday she stayed rooted in place when we took off her shoes and set her down in the sand. She kept saying “durdur,” or “dirty,” while pointing down at her feet and refusing to move. She was also hesitant in the water, gripping tight to dad as each ankleslapping wave foamed past. But, today she seemed to come around. She happily tromped around in the sand, and even ventured out into the thin wash where the waves finally die. She had fun collecting shells and pointing at birds, and didn’t even seem to mind when dad piled wet sand around her feet. Kinda nice to have a beach so close.

The National show in Orlando last night was fantastic. The venue was small, the stage off-center and the standing area all asymmetric. This afforded one a pretty decent view from almost any spot in the house. The opening act, the Rosebuds, turned out to have a couple songs that I somehow recognized – and their set was outstanding. I allmusic’d them on my BlackBerry after they played and found that they’re a Merge act – figures. Anyway, Kyle ran into some chick he knows who works for Merge, and we ended up chatting to her a bit. On the edge of the “scene,” as it were – as she’s apparently buddy-buddy with the folk of the Arcade Fire. So, all in all, not a bad experience – and a darn good show. I trudged in the door at Sharaun’s folks’ place around 3am, washed the smoke off my face and out of my hair in the sink, and hit the sack. Too bad I couldn’t sleep in later than 8am – but I guess that’s what naps are for, right?

I wanted to write a bit about our experience going to the UF game on Saturday. Neither Sharaun nor I have been back to our alma mater to see a football game in seven years. So, we were both quite excited about perhaps reliving a bit of that college experience, and getting the chance to walk around the campus and reminisce. After walking what likely amounted to a few miles around the campus, checking out the old buildings to see how they’ve changed, we both agreed that, although it’s only been seven years, it almost feels so far removed that it’s as if it were in a different life when we were there. Those times are just so different from where we are now, with careers and family and a mortgage – that the memories seem almost unfamiliar. It was neat though, to walk around the campus again. To pick up a copy of the student newspaper and read it, to go visit my old study niche in the library, to walk through the student union.

And as for the game: It was great. Our seats were good, and the Gators won. The streets in town were even more choked with tailgating fans than I remember, especially for an lesser-known opponent – but I guess that’s what being NCAA champs will do to attendance. The atmosphere was perfect though, celebratory, drunken, and youthful. The in-stadium experience differed a bit, though. Sharaun thinks mainly because we sat on the more reserved “alumni” side of the house instead of in the more raucous student section. I think she’s partially right, but I also think it just has to do with the fact that we’re older. Back then, Saturday games were one of my single points of respite from the grind of homework and studying, and I looked forward to those days all week long. Somehow, swooping into town three hours before the game and then pulling up stakes again right afterward seems to lessen the gravity of what those three hours used to mean to me. But, over-analysis aside, we had an excellent time – and are both super glad we were able to go see a game after all this time.

Well, the power is out here in at the house, so I’m writing this in Word and waiting for the juice to come on before I can login and post. Until then, and then again until tomorrow – see ya.

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