Saying Yes to Pretty in Pink

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Pretty in Pink

This is one of many pretty princess dresses comprised of princess dolls at Downtown Disney, which I almost didn’t get to see.

That’s because when my son invited my husband and I to join him and his girlfriend on a New Year’s Day outing there, I really wanted to say no.

After all, it was a work night. It was a holiday.

I knew it would be unbearably crowded and tough to find a parking spot.

Perhaps impossible to get a table in one of the restaurants for dinner.

I also thought maybe my son simply invited us to be polite — that he fully expected us, perhaps even wanted us, to say no thanks.

But I said yes — mainly, perversely, because I so wanted to say no.

Because, I told myself, you can’t say no if you plan to try new things. And I do want to try new things.

So we went.

And sat in traffic for 90 minutes.

And spent another 30 minutes searching for a parking spot.

Then, luck found us. We decided to eat at House of Blues. And despite the fact that another popular restaurant at Downtown Disney had a 3.5-hour wait for a table, we got seated at HOB within 5 minutes.

On top of that, the food and service were great; the decor, which included painted shoes on the ceiling, was intriguing.

The bathroom walls in House of Blues were painted with an interesting pattern.

The bathroom walls in House of Blues were painted with an interesting pattern.

Afterward, we wandered around amid the festive crowd,

My husband (in red) heading into the Downtown Disney crowd. I love the lights strung overhead.

My husband (in red) heading into the Downtown Disney crowd. I love the lights strung overhead.

finding live outdoor musical performances scattered throughout the entertainment complex.

They included:

One guy playing both a didgeridoo and a 2-necked guitar;

Another man playing a smoking-hot saxophone to the utter, unfettered delight of a free-spirited 3-year-oldĀ girl who skipped, danced and swayed to the music;

A foot-stompingly good high school show choir from Ohio performing jazzy Christmas tunes;

And a woman belting out the blues.

This guy played a hot saxophone outside. (Sorry for the blurriness...)

This guy played a hot saxophone outside. (Sorry for the blurriness…)

It was a perfect, balmy, 65-degree night, Florida-style.

Downtown Disney features a giant sea serpent made of Legos in a pond opposite the Lego store.

Downtown Disney features a giant sea serpent made of Legos in a pond opposite the Lego store.

As magical as a pretty pink princess dress comprised almost entirely of pretty pink princess dolls.

And sometimes, that’s what you get when you say yes.

What about you? What did you say yes to recently when you really wanted to say no? And how did that turn out for you?

New year, new experiences: Trading empty-nest malaise for volunteering, art, travel and more

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2014 will be the year of new experiences for me.

After becoming an empty nester four years ago and no longer ferrying my 2 sons to after-school activities, I found myself becoming a homebody on my days off from work, rarely leaving the house if my husband works on those days.

And then, I started not really wanting to leave the house even when he was home with me.

I don’t suffer from any form of agoraphobia — it feels more like mild mental malaise.

So I’m determined to try new things this year.

In fact, my goal is to go somewhere/try something new every week.

That way, when people ask me what I’ve been up to, I can tell them something about me, rather than only being able to talk about my sons’ or grandkids’ latest exploits.

I’ve signed up to become a literacy tutor, and hope to take the training class in January so I can get started.

I’ve also asked my husband, who used to paint, to pick up that hobby again, only this time with me, so we have a shared hobby.

I may try to kick-start that by signing us up for one of those one-day classes where people all go and learn to paint their own version of the same thing.

And I want to get back into photography (forcing myself to go out to get interesting shots), and possibly incorporate prints of some of my photos into multimedia paintings.

Plus, we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary next summer, so I hope to plan a cool trip.

I’m thinking either a cabin in the Smokey Mountains, an island cottage in South Carolina or a jaunt to Rhode Island.

Smoky Mountains

What about you? What have you done to overcome empty-nest malaise, and how did it work out for you?

Also, what’s the coolest trip in the U.S. you’ve taken recently?