Saturday, June 30, 2007

Our MidLife Crisis Vacation -- Day Seattle

I've decided this trip to Alaska will hereafter be referred to as our "Mid-Life Crisis Vacation" (MLCV for short) because, well, we've always wanted to go to Alaska but couldn't afford it the first ten years of our marriage. Then, the next few years we were too busy taking care of tiny, crying packages to go pretty much anyplace. Then, we reached the point we could afford it, but the kids were still too young and too much work to leave with anyone for that length of time.

Now, we still feel awkward about asking my mom for such an extended bout of babysitting, but we saved our pennies and fear if we wait another twenty years, we'll be too old and arthritic to go. Or, that pesky Al Gore will be right, and all the ice caps will have melted and cruising to Alaska will be just like crusing to Mexico, only a thousand miles or so to the north.

So we figure we better go now, while the going's good. MLCV, here we come!! I have no idea what the wi-fi set up will be, although I'll try to update every day. But since I can't include pictures until we get home and I get to my own computer, I'll probably do abbreviated updates, and wait to bore enthrall you will all the boring thrilling details

Our plane arrived safe and sound in Seattle yesterday afternoon, and after deboarding and doing the requisite kissing of the ground that I normally do, we picked up our rental car and headed for the hotel.

Now, here's the thing about Seattle. It's a really neat city. I've actually been here twice already, and Blaine, many more times than that. It's just that usually, Blaine is in the hospital and I'm too busy suctioning and wiping and gagging and NOT sharing my chocolate to do anything fun. Sure, we've been to the top of the Space Needle and watchem them throw fish a Pike Place, requisite tourist stuff, but we've never really had a chance to explore the city.

Some of you might remember Heidi. She is a local Seattle-ite who single-handedly reaffirmed my faith in the entire human racethe last time I was here. Since then, Heidi has been busy popping out a ten-pound baby (Yikes! Ouch! And Congratulations!) but when she heard we were having a layover in Seattle before our MLCV, she e-mailed me to tell me about a local adventure we needed to try.

So last night saw us braving the downtown Seattle rush hour traffic in our rental car to attend Teatro ZinZanni. I have no idea what "Teatro" means, because most of the show was in English but some of it was not, but I'm pretty sure it's French for Fan-Freaking-Tabulous, since the entire thing pretty much was.

It's billed as a three-hour whirlwind of cirque, comedy, cabaret, and live music, all served up with a gourmet five-course meal. Ya'll, it was one of the neatest things we've seen in ages. Singing, dancing, gymnastics, trapeeze, juggling, audience participation, improv ..... it was really incredible. If you are any where near Seattle, ever, you MUST go. Heidi, I can thank you enough for the recommendation. It was the perfect, grown up, enjoyable, fancy pants way to start our MLCV.

Now, the big question is if the food on the cruise ship is as wonderful as the food they served last night, which I think it will be, and if I gorge myself all week like I did last night, which .... DUH ..... the question is whether I should pack more Dramamine, or Zantac with me on the boat. And, do I have time to buy fat pants here in Seattle.

After, we drove our tired bodies, which were on a 1 am time zone lag, back to the hotel, where we slept on big, clean sheets, on big, comfy beds, and got up this morning and took showers in a clean bathroom, with no evidence of duct tape.

Worth. Every. Penny.

Too bad they don't take dogs.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Travel Tip #8

Less of a travel tip, and more like an open letter to God:

Dear God,

Please, please, please, please .... don't let Blaine and me die in a fiery/watery/terrifying plane crash on our way to Phoenix/Seattle today. You know how I usually cover my bases by flying us on different planes, and I did that today, as well, but then Continental changed my flight time by over four hours and I had no choice but to book myself on the same US Airways flight as him. And while I know I listed a "100 Things I Love About You" list for our 20th anniversary, "plunging to our deaths together" is NOT what I want on the list for #101.

Please, please, please, please ..... let this sick, nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach be nothing more than the fact I haven't yet eaten my TJ Cinnamon's cinnamon roll that Blaine bought for me, and not the mounting guilt and fear that we are about to leave our children as parentless orphans with our selfish and greedy all-adult trip to Alaska. Because although I know my mother loves them, and would take good care of them for the rest of their lives, quite honestly, I don't think she has the mental fortitude to survive the non-stop, 24/7 Disney channel obsession that is my children's lives. Love them she might, but withstand the constant barrage of Suite Life and Hannah Montana? No, sadly, I don't think she's quite tough enough.

Please let us not only survive the flights, but please let's also keep the ship afloat, and not sink in the lake on our floatplane adventure, or be capsized by a whale, or eaten by a polar bear when we dogseld across the glaciar. Do they even have polar bears in Alaska? I don't know, but my point is .... as much as the little hooligans annoy me at times, I would very much like to return to them in one piece, ready to resume my role as parent.

PS. Thank you so much for the kind, helpful US Airways curbside attendant who not only helped dragged all six suitcases from the van to his check-in counter, but who weighed two of them because he was worried they might be over weight (Whew! Just made it! Two pounds to ) and helped with our ID tags and everything. Too bad he worked for United.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Travel Tip #7

And if you continue in your vain, shallow, organized manner, you might decide in addition to the clicky fake nails, you would like to get your hair styled while on vacation. If you wear your hair straight and {sometimes, unless it's a thousand percent humidity like it has been every day this week in which case I resemble Leo the Frizzy Lion} flat like me, that means getting your hair blown out and flat-ironed by a professional. A concept your husband will find totally bizarre .... "You're going to **pay** someone to blow dry your hair??? If *I* do it, will you give ME twenty bucks???" But you will do it anyway, because you want to look pretty for the humpback whales and bald eagles you will be seeing soon.

And while you are in the salon, getting your hair done, the shocking and depressing realization will come to you ..... that the girl styling your hair, the girl who is not only a high-school graduate but also a cosmetology school graduate, who is telling you about her upcoming vacation with her boyfriend and the house she just bought ..... is your best friend's daughter. Your best friend's TWENTY TWO YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. The guy whose ass you saved in sixth grade, who helped you learn to drive a stick, who double-dated with you, and who taught you how to shotgun a beer in high school. And if HE has a 22 year old daughter?????

That makes you officially old.

So afterwards, you will decide to take the pampering all the way, and treat your OLD skin to some quality skin care products .... or at least a higher-quality than the Clearasil brand cleanser you normally buy at Kroger. So you will find yourself sitting at a Clinique counter, confessing to the counter-girl that you'd really like something to help you obtain that elusive glow that (younger)women with beautiful (younger)skin seem to have.

And she will recommend cleansers, and moisturizers, and refiners, and you will be encouraged.

Then she will bring out an anti-wrinkle creme ...... "just in case you're interested". And then she'll dab on a little under eye gel .... "to help with those bags and dark circles."

And after you get done running her over with your car for daring to suggest such a thing, and then forking over your credit card because my gosh, she's right, I need every one of those products, you will realize ....

I am officially, seriously, depressingly old.

But! My hair looks fabulous! If only I could swoop it all the way over to cover the wrinkles and bags under my eyes, I'd be all set.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Travel Tip #6

There are certain vain, superficial, organized things that a girl such as myself likes to get done before going on vacation. Things like cutting her hair, buying new shoes, and getting fake nails put on. Because nothing says "Hey! I'm ready for an Alaskan Wilderness Adventure!" like a nice french manicure.

Just remember, however, that prior to your Alaskan Adventure, you might possibly spend a few days doing fun activities with your children. Activities where half-inch talons on the end of your fingers, although shiny and pretty, and definitely handy for opening those cans of Diet Dr. Pepper, will actually NOT be helpful .... like bowling.

And although you will have the highest score of the afternoon, you will be forced to admit that the only reason you had high score is because two of your spares happened when your ball flicked off your long nails, bounced off the kids' bumpers, and technically should have been gutter balls. And that knowledge, that you won because of the BUMPERS, will make it hard to clap your beautifully manicured hands in celebration.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Travel Tip #5

Driving cross country, even only part-way cross country, is a wonderful, educational opportunity for you to enlighten and teach your children about the beauty, geography and history of these United States of America. A great chance to fill their eager little minds with trivia and knowledge about the very states whose terrain you are traversing.

Proof that I am doing a good job with my own kids? Kendrie's plaintative wail, as she dropped her head into her hands, about hour sixteen into our journey, that .....

"Arkitado is the longest state EVER!!!"

See? See what a good job I'm doing?

I should probably homeschool.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Travel Tip #4

When traveling Hwy. 78 between Birmingham and Memphis, keep your eyes peeled for the absolute BEST name ever invented for an (ahem) adult establishment:

The Boobie Trap


Get it? Boobie Trap? BOOBIE Trap????? Woooooweeee! {slapping knee, wiping mirth from eye}

{usual disclaimer about demeaning to women, and not appropriate, and should be ashamed, yadda yadda yadda)

(boobie trap, hee-hee ..... still giggling)

I am very immature.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Travel Tip #3

ps. those of you who've made it clear you don't like bad language can skip this one. It's only a word or two, but consider yourself warned.


Once upon a time, there was a charming, sweet, lovely, even-tempered, beautiful (and extremely modest) princess who lived in a wonderful land, far, far away. And although she loved her beautiful land, with its blazing hot temperatures and sweltering humidity levels, she wanted to visit other beautiful lands, also far, far away, preferably with much less sauna-like climates.

So she contacted the dwarfs at the Department of Travel and was told as long as she applied for a magical piece of paper known throughout the land as a "passport", she could travel. In fact, her "passport" would be like a golden ticket of admissibility to any land or foreign shore. And so, she applied. And she was happy.

Sadly, the dwarfs were not aware of their own limitations, or that many other beautiful princesses from all over would be applying for passports of their own, all at the same time. And the dwarfs failed in their issuance of the magical passport. And the beautiful princess was very sad.

But then! Friends of the princess told her that the dwarfs had decreed a new Department of Travel edict, and she could still travel far and wide, as long as she had the certificate of her noble birth, and her current, photo-ID Carriage License. Which she had. So she was happy once again.

The first day of her travels, she loaded up her carriage with all sorts of travel goodies, including three midget people who insisted on traveling with her, and the royal dog, and began her mystical journey. And she drove, and she drove, and she drove some more. And at long last, after an innumerable amount of carriage jams and road construction that brought her to many dead stops near a curious village called "Atlanta", she was able to continue, and finally arrived at a shithole motel wondrous palace where she could rest her weary head, and the heads of the midgets and the royal dog.

And so she crossed the moat into the entry way of this beautiful palace, where one of the serving-maids helped process her paperwork. And asked to see her magical credit card, and her Carriage License for security sake.

And this is when, the beautiful princess realized, to her total and utter dismay, that she had lost her Carriage License. For it was not located in the magical compartment in her magical royal handbag where it is held. Where it is *always* located. Where she keeps it, every royal day of her ROYAL DAMN LIFE WHERE THE HELL IS THE CARRIAGE LICENSE THEY WILL NOT LET ME INTO THE MAGICAL LAND OF CANADA WITHOUT THE FUCKING CARRIAGE LICENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the beautiful princess, although not normally suffering from respiratory issues, began to have an asthma attack right there in the lobby of the palace. The serving wench looked on in boredom as she frantically dumped her royal handbag out on the counter in a desperate and futile attempt to locate the carriage license. And then she paced back out into the carriage lot, where she beseeched her man-servant with pathetic pleas for help, because "Oh my gosh we've planned this royal trip for so long and I've made sure every royal detail is covered and now it's ruined ITS ALL RUINED BECAUSE I CAN'T FIND THE FUCKING CARRIAGE LICENSE AND WON'T BE ABLE TO GO!!!!!!"

And her handsome and incredibly virile man-servant, who she hired in the first place for his level-head and calm manner, reminded her she still had her Government Issued Magical Military Land photo ID and that would certainly suffice for the remainder of the journey. But the princess was still not happy. For she had the rest of a long journey ahead of her and wasn't happy about the thought of guiding her noble carriage without proper licensure. Plus, she was pretty sure the knaves at Tire Plus had stolen the Carriage License out of spite, when she refused to let them do an additional forty-seven gold coins worth of work to her carriage earlier in the week when the were replacing the wheels of her golden chariot.

So began her verbal barrage against the dastardly deed of these knaves and their irresponsibility in forgetting to return her carriage license and how first thing Monday morning, she would use her royal cell phone to call those bastards and they would send her license to her at their own expense, by the fastest runner in the land, and they better hope for their own sake it got there in time.

And this entire time, the midget people who had been traveling with the beautiful princess were looking at her with fear in their eyes, for the histrionics and drama of the situation seemed forthcomingly extreme. But the princess was obsessed, and could not be calmed down as she once again searched her royal handbag and shook her dainty fist to the heavens and showered dark curses down upon the heads of the Tire Plus license thieves and their children and their children's children.

Then, she noticed the envelope velvet pouch that the teller elf from the bank Building of Wondrous Donations had given her the day before. An velvet pouch filled with gold coins ...... and with her Carriage License stuck inside.

And the beautiful princess practically wept with relief, and said a prayer of thankfulness to the Patron Saint of Lost Things (Andrew? Augustine? Bob? What was that guy's name?) that she wasn't actually losing her mind. And that she would be able to enter the Magical Land of Canada after all.

And although she probably should have retracted her dark thoughts and comments about the knaves at Tire Plus, she didn't, because the midgets were still watching, and they need to know *someone* is to blame for this emotional display of ginormous proportion, and the princess sure as heck isn't taking the fall for for her own temper tantrum.

And they lived happily ever after the end.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Travel Tip #2

When traveling by car with the family pet, you will discover that it is not difficult to find a dog-friendly hotel.

What you *will* discover is that it is next to impossible to find a dog-friendly hotel that:

a) allows pets over 25 pounds
b) does so without charging a $75 pet fee
c) is not at least twenty miles out of your way

You cannot help it that your pet is not a yap-yap lap dog, and that he weighs way over the limit, but to pay $75 for the privilege of letting your arthritic, geriatric canine, who is way past the point of chewing on things or urinating on the sidewalk, sleep placidly in the corner of the room on a blanket you brought from home, seems a bit excessive.

So when you finally DO find a hotel that allows pets of all sizes, for only a $10 charge, and that it is located only half a mile off the interstate, you will do a little dance and praise the Gods of Google and make your online reservation.

Then, you will discover that the rooms are only $54.99 a night.

Red Flag.

And for good reason.

For if the rooms at a motel only cost $54.99 a night, there is a reason why. And you are not actually getting a great deal by booking two rooms side by side. You're simply getting double the dose of shall we say, less than stellar accommodations. And you will remember why there is a difference between a hotel and a motel. And you will come to the conclusion that by charging these cheap rates, management is quite obviously skimping a bit in both the housekeeping and maintenance divisions. And you will vow to yourself to pay the damn $75 fee on the return trip home.

Shower curtain? Held together with DUCT TAPE?

Not so charming.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Travel Tip #1

(Because you know there's going to be about a billion of them, right?)

Prior to leaving on your very long car ride, do NOT believe that you will save any time or effort by taking your children out for a quick fast-food lunch.

You will tell them you don't have time to run back home and change clothes, plus all the clothes are already packed away, and ask them to please eat carefully and not spill their food down the front of their shirts.

And they will listen.

You will remind them to drink their frozen cokes carefully, and not play with the straws, so as not to dribble on their pants.

And they will listen.

When they ask to go outside and play on the play land, you will remind them to avoid mud, grass, or anything that might get their shoes dirty or sticky or nasty.

And they will listen.

Then, they will find a tree frog on the slide, and squeal and make exclamations about how much they love it and how cute it is and grab hold of it. And in its efforts to free itself, the traumatized tree frog will pee all down the front of your 7-yr old's favorite t-shirt.

And you will realize that no matter how well (or sporadically) your children listen to you, your best-laid plans will ALWAYS lose to the ways of the urinary-challenged tree frog.

Not to be left behind ....

Kendrie's cute comment today, as we drove Brayden home from Enhancement Camp and passed a car on the side of the road with its hood up:

"Look, Mom, his front trunk is open."

Sadly, not any better

Proof positive that my son unfortunately got his geography DNA from me:

The following conversation took place as we left the movie theater after seeing Surf’s Up (two thumbs up, by the way):

Kellen: "Mom, can I be a surfer when I grow up?"

Kristie: "Um, I guess so."

Kellen: "Really? I can?"

Kristie: "Well, yeah. I mean, if you really love it and practice enough, and get really, really, good ….. there are people who surf professionally, you know, to make money."

Kellen: "Great! After we move to Oklahoma, I’m going to practice and practice every single day until I’m the best surfer EVER. Then when I’m a grown up, I’m going to move to Hawaii and surf for real!"


So, do *you* want to tell him Oklahoma is a land-locked state and the best wave action he’ll catch is by getting his sister to bounce on his grandmother’s water bed, or should I?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sonic! (not the hedgehog)

You all know I pink puffy heart Sonic, right? I mean, I’ve certainly talked about it enough. Well, check out the note my friend Lisa sent me today:

“I nominated you in May as the Sonic customer of the year (the idea came from someone else here, though) and I got a follow-up email today from Sonic!

"Thank you Mark and Lisa! I have forwarded this info on to our Peoples and Communication department for follow-up. We love to hear these stories!"

I think this must mean you are at least being considered! C'mon everybody--write in for Kristie, too!”

Now, normally, I’m not a big fan of self-promotion ... seems a little crass. But who knows? If the grand prize is free rabbit pellet ice and Diet Dr. Pepper for a year, I’ll stand right here and prostitute myself to the Gods of the Styrofoam Cup and not even blink an eye, and ask all of you to do it, too.

Thanks, Lisa, and who-ever gave her the idea to begin with!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"A" stands for ..... what!?

I drove the kids to the local bookstore today to let each of them pick out a new book for the car ride to Oklahoma. There are only so many hours of "Home Alone 3" I can listen to through the DVD speakers. And yes, we have earphones, but the kids hate them and I don't think it's safe for me to drive wearing them, although about the time the crooks jump off the roof of Alex's house, screaming the entire way, I'm more than ready to put on the headset, or even stab myself in the eardrums with those little things you use to hold corn on the cob.

But I digress. Bookstore.

So we pulled up into the parking lot of Books-A-Million, and Brayden exclaimed excitedly, "Hey, look! Look you guys, do you see it? Do you see that bird right there? She built a nest in the middle of the A-hole!"

And all I could do was laugh.

PS. Brayden = Ella Enchanted
Kellen = A Wrinkle in Time
Kendrie = Ramona Quimby, age 8

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


So, uh, I have this *friend*. This *friend*, who is traveling … to, um …. someplace in Canada. For an, um … important business trip. So this *friend* was just wondering, since she and her husband and friends co-workers are going to have some down time, they were just wondering about alcohol. Specifically, if they wanted to get alcohol on a cruise ship into a business resort in Canada, would they need to actually purchase it in Canada, or could they purchase it in Seattle …. Er, I mean, New York. Yes, they’re definitely traveling from New York. Or maybe North Dakota.

So, could they purchase their alcohol in New York and drive it across the border into Canada, or is that something that would be confiscated by Border Patrol? Is there even such a thing as Border Patrol? Is that what they mean by Customs? Does it need to be in plastic bottles? Glass? Any particular size? Should it be packed away in the luggage, or should they declare it? And speaking of Customs, does it matter that Blaine and I …. Uh, I mean, MY FRIEND, doesn’t even have her passport yet, despite the fact she obsessive-compulsively followed the Travel Department’s instructions and took the requisitely-hideous passport photo and filled out the forms and ordered it almost FOUR MONTHS AGO because of those insane new passport restrictions and she was told she’d have it way before now but she doesn’t and if they try and stop me -- I mean, HER, from getting on that boat, heads will roll, people, heads will roll.

So, anyway, about the booze. Can we buy it in the States, or do we buy it in Canada? (Come on, you know it’s for me … who am I kidding? Although my mother did make me promise I wouldn’t get drunk and fall off the boat. Thanks, mom, for the vote of confidence.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Housekeeping; the Trilogy

Trish -- the guy singing "Rocky Road" is a musician named Jon Allmett You can find his music at this website and specifically, the "Some Trees Grow Bananas" CD is the one you’re looking for. We got his CD at Camp Sunshine and have enjoyed it immensely. Or at least we did, until in a pathetic attempt to make a measly five bucks I sold my boom box at a garage sale with the CD IN IT and have never forgiven myself. Nor have I ordered a replacement because yeah, I’m lazy and it’s less work to just complain about my own stupidity.

Amy in NJ -- Ha! About DZ! Although really, he’s laughing instead of me, because I bought his book and gave him a profit, didn’t I? You’d think the least that could happen is the book would magically suck away a few pounds of my abdominal fat, what with a title like that. I sort of thought that by merely reading the book, my abs would become flat. Like the rapid, rapid eye movement would burn off hundred of calories and be the equivalent of a million sit ups. Um, didn’t happen.

Kati in Atlanta -- I am beyond sad to hear the news. In a selfish way. For you, though, I am thrilled. I would love to hear more …. E-mail me, or something. Sadly, you’ll be gone from clinic by Kendrie’s next appointment. (sniff, sniff) Best of luck to you! Please keep in touch!

Anonymous -- (thank you, the vast majority of you, who leave your name and town or state …. "Anonymous" just feels so ….. well …. Anonymous.) You asked about the white sand on our vacation last week. We were in a resort community called Seaside, which is next to Watercolor, in the Grayton Beach area. About 60 miles west of Pensacola. (West? East? My gosh, I stink like rotted cheese at geography.) Those local communities (Gulf Trace, Rosemary Beach, etc) have all been fantastic at welcoming and supporting The Lighthouse Family Retreat and I can’t say enough great things about them and their hospitality, especially if you’re looking for a beach getaway. We’re hoping to go back this fall, just because we liked it so much. And I want another chance to ride around town on a rental bike with my leg-flab flapping about in the breeze.

Lisa -- you asked about the latest on Blaine. Currently, he’s doing prep-work for his next surgery, which we think will take place in mid-August. We’re trying to figure out if we can get my mom out here, or if he’ll go it alone again. A lot of that will probably depend on how my kids behave in Oklahoma later this month, and whether or not my mom is “suddenly unavailable”.

Amy from St. Pete -- I’m not sure if Blaine’s mom should get credit for training Blaine, or if he just popped out of the womb in OCD order. He said even growing up, he was one of those obnoxious kids who wanted the books on his shelf arranged alphabetically and his underwear folded in quarters in the drawer. But I think it’s fabulous you planned to do the 100 Things idea for Fathers Day and would love to hear how it turned out! Lisa C in CT … how did your slide show turn out, as well?

Leesa -- thank you clearing up the SAHM mystery with your comment “Nothing makes us happier than cleaning up after everyone else.” {re. end of school year parties} I’m beginning to realize that there are people, in addition to my immediate family members, who seem to operate under the delusional belief that this is true. And several of them have kids who go to school with my children.

Bethany -- thanks for saying thanks, though, on behalf of teachers everywhere.

LeeAnn -- our End-Of-The-School-Year-Interview is very scientific and precise, and involves technical, skilled, thought-provoking questions such as:

What was your favorite lunch item this year? “Nachos” (Kendrie)

Who were your best friends this year? “All the boys and not all of the girls” (Kellen)

What was your least-favorite subject this year? “Science. I don’t like it because it’s complicated.” (Brayden) (Don’t feel bad, Brayden, I agree, love, Mom)

What do you want to be when you grow up? “Someone who takes care of animals, but doesn’t have to hurt them” (Brayden)

Who were your best friends this year? “Nicholas, Jonelle, Miranda … and there was one more … who was it?? …. Oh, yeah, Kailyn” (Kendrie)

What did you think of your teacher this year? “She was nice and she loves Florida” (Kendrie)

The interview has about twenty questions like this on it, and we do it the first day and last day of school every year, then I put them in the kids’ scrapbooks. I have to admit, the answers were a lot funnier when they were younger, but I still enjoy doing it.

Haley -- don’t feel bad or apologize for being obsessed with grammar and spelling! I used to be, until so many people felt it was necessary to point out evry singl miztack I mad in mye jurnell entrees. Then, it wasn’t so fun to mention anymore. Butt I toatly stil am.

To those of you who have asked when I’m going to finish the “How our family became complete” story … well, I thought that I had. I got pregnant with Kendrie and nine months later, a doctor pulled her out of my bagina with salad tongs. The end. Not sure what else you want to know, although I’m certainly open to questions.

To those of you who have asked about the surrogacy story … well, I’m not sure. There are so many more people involved and I don’t want to break anyone’s confidence. Plus, to be honest, I’m not sure **what** you want to know. So post your questions in the comments and I’ll see if I can answer them without delving too deeply. It’s one thing to talk about my own cervical mucous on the internet; it’s quite another to discuss someone else’s.

And along *those* lines ….. D, how exciting! Keep me posted!

Allison -- I have to admit, most of the things we’ve done in Atlanta have been primarily kid-friendly, and I don’t know if that’s anything you are interested in. We’ve enjoyed the Atlanta Zoo, Jump Zone, Fernbank Museum, American Adventures, and Six Flags. We’ve attended a Thrashers game and a Braves game. We’ve spent an enjoyable afternoon or two at Briscoe Park in Snellville, gone several times to Stone Mountain, and have every inch of Children’s Hospital covered. If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, you can always get involved with CURE and Camp Sunshine. But I have to admit, Blaine and I haven’t spent any time there as adults in many, many years. But Morgan was nice enough to say you could contact her …. Look under your original comment and e-mail her! Best of luck to you!

Carrie -- thank you for your encouraging comments about our upcoming Alaska vacation. I haven’t said a whole lot about it here because I don’t want to be too obnoxious, and once I get started, I AM SO FLIPPING EXCITED THAT IT’S PRETTY OBNOXIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! We have had this trip in mind forever, and have been planning it for well over a year. You want to know where I’ll be in exactly fourteen days??? On a boat, with a guy named Captain Larry, whale-watching, in JUNEAU, ALASKA!!!! (See? Obnoxious.)

And finally, saving the very best for last, quite a few of you have inquired about Camp Jack since seeing his photo in my Lighthouse pictures. I am thrilled to say that Jack and his family are doing great. His mom Jen closed down his Caringbridge site not because anything was wrong, but because even the half hour, or hour (or more!) a day we spend updating those sites, and these sites here, are time spent away from our family. When a child has fought a battle as courageous as Jack’s, you certainly don’t want to fritter away a single minute doing anything that seems less important. So Jen closed the site …. but …. public demand for her beautiful writing and awesome updates prevailed, and she’s considering starting a blogger site like this one. In the meantime, she sends out occasional bulk e-mail updates on Jack and Kate and if you’d like to be included, e-mail me personally and I will send you (with her permission) her e-mail address here so you can contact her. Jack recently finished kindergarten, and just celebrated his 6th birthday, so if nothing else, you can use the e-mail address to send him big birthday wishes!

And I think, with that, I am finished. Caught up on these interactive comments that I have been meaning to answer for quite some time, and simply haven’t. Just haven't. Because I get distracted. Easily distracted. Doing important things, traveling import --- ooooh, look, something pretty!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


When we arrived home from the beach last weekend, Kendrie started complaining that her stomach hurt. I figured she was tired and out of sorts from the vacation (and a little bit of a whiner) and that once she got a good nights rest she’d be fine (and quit whining). She was still complaining about it the next day, and the next. I started to wonder if perhaps she had swallowed too much ocean water (maybe when I fell on her and trapped her entire head underwater because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get up?) or that maybe, she really *was* a big ole’ whiner.

When she was still complaining on Friday, I started to take her seriously. I didn’t think it was appendicitis because her appetite was fine and no nausea or vomiting. I knew she wasn’t constipated (no need to explain, but, well, I just knew) and by the same token, no diarrhea or fever, so I wasn’t sure if it was a virus. (You’re really glad you checked in today to hear about all these bodily functions, aren’t you?)

But six days is a long time for a child to consistently complain of stomach pain, so I figured even if she WAS the world’s biggest whiner, it was time to take her to see a doctor. Naturally, I made this decision at 2pm on Friday when her regular pediatrician had no appointments left, so they sent us to the local Med-Stop.

I felt a little silly explaining to the nurse, “No, her appetite is fine, her activity level is normal, no fever, no vomiting, no nausea, no diarrhea … just complaining of a stomach ache.” It didn’t help any that Kendrie’s lips and tongue were electric blue from the Push-Pop she had just consumed and she was carrying a soft drink, and I’m pretty sure the nurse attributed her stomach ache to all the crap I obviously let her eat.

Then the doctor came in and wow! Talk about good looking! With exclamation points! I was so distracted, staring at his piercing blue eyes and dashing, rugged looks that I almost forgot why we were there. And on top of being a total babe, he was kind to Kendrie, and gentle, and did I mention how good looking he was?

He turned to me and said that her colon felt slightly full (What? She just pooped at Wal-Mart, right before the Push-Pop, I swear!) and that he wanted to test her for strep throat.

And I thought, “Oh, my beautiful, beautiful vision of manliness in scrubs …. You are obviously not very bright. It is her stomach that hurts, not her throat. I guess it’s a good thing you’re so pretty, since I don’t think you listened much in medical school. In the meantime, would you like to take me out to dinner or let me have your babies?”

But what do you know … the kid had strep. And he said he’s seen several kids this past week who have complained of stomach pain, which they get when the strep slides down their throat and into their gut and leaves them with a little ulcer or gastritis (or something scientific like that … once I found out he was right, I was too busy admiring God’s perfect combination of Beauty AND Brains to really pay attention.)

Anyway, he sent us home with prescriptions for Miralax once a day for the constipation, which Kendrie took while she was on her cancer treatment, and Zantac, twice a day, which she also took while on treatment. She’s also on antibiotics, three times a day, for the strep and once again, it looks like an Eckerds threw up in my kitchen.

You might remember that when Kendrie would take her nightly chemo, this is the face that greeted us each evening for over two years of therapy:

I should say, she’s really grown since then … matured …. developed a much more stoic and calm manner.

I *should* say that, but I’d be a bold-faced liar, since we’re right back to the fussing and complaining and whining every time we tell her it’s time to take medicine. It’s going to be a loooooooong 30 days. But hey! Grandma Betty will get stuck with the last half, so looks like I got off easy!

The Zantac, especially, she hates. It’s peppermint flavored, and she despises it. With big, pathetic crocodile tears. Which I guess it’s good to know that she won’t be sneaking fifths of Peppermint Schnapps into Sonic Route 44 jumbo cups of Sprite when she’s in high school (not that I would know anything about that … ahem). And in the meantime, she’s got 48 hours worth of antibiotic in her so we can once again leave the house without worrying about her infecting the entire community. Thank goodness, since we have an exciting, exciting day planned tomorrow. Um … yeah, exciting. I’m only taking the kids to see Surf’s Up, but at least it will get us out of this house, and for two brief, glorious hours I won’t have to listen to her whining about taking the medicine. And yes, that IS exciting.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go scatter some banana peels about my kitchen floor and accidentally slip on one and sprain my ankle so I can spend the rest of the evening gazing at my new doctor at Med Stop. Wonder if my insurance will cover drooling???

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Housekeeping Part Deux

Let me just say WOW from the very fiber of my being to all of you regarding your wonderful, great, numerous book recommendations. I now have a list four pages long of books and authors I want to check out, and I'm a little tingly with anticipation for my next trip to the book store, so thank you! I hope all of you will go through the comments for inspiration and suggestion, as well, because it’s obvious we’ve got some heavy-duty readers in here!

Regarding your suggestions:

OK, ok, I hear you already on the Janet Evanovich series, and I bought One for the Money at the bookstore today ….. geez, if for some reason I don’t like it, I’ll be too scared to say so out loud, because so many of you are fans! I also bought another Jodi Piccoult, although I’m waiting for Nineteen Minutes to come out in paperback (because I’m a cheapskate who isn’t willing to pay hardcover prices very often.)

A few books ya’ll suggested I’ve already read and enjoyed and would recommend to anyone:

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. I have read and re-read this series several times and it’s one of my all-time favorites, if not THE all-time favorite. I pine away for Jamie and think Clare totally kicks ass, but Brianna is a little unbelievable and Roger is the biggest wiener on the planet. Just my humble opinion. Did I mention that Jamie is HOT and despite the 100 Things I Love About Blaine, I would toss him over in a heartbeat for a piece of that fabulous, red-headed, Scottish man candy??? I definitely think the first four were the best ….. but I’ve got them all and read them all and HIGHLY recommend them all!

Clan of the Cave Bear Series: Another series I’ve re-read several times because I enjoy it so much. Like Outlander, I enjoyed the first few books the best, but I do love them all. And I love Jondalar. But not as much as I love Jamie. Who I would TOTALLY be willing to time-travel for. Good grief he's hot.

Nobody mentioned this book, but one of my other all-time favorite books is Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. Huge book, for those of you who like to really sink your teeth into a long story; historical romance set in England during the 1600’s …. I’m still waiting anxiously for the sequel, but considering the author died in 2003, I don’t guess I should hold my breath.

I also enjoy Meg Cabot, Debbie Macomber, and Susan Wiggs. Also, Maeve Binchey and Rosamond Pilcher. I’ve read 90 Minutes in Heaven and enjoyed it, but didn’t enjoy 23 Minutes in Hell. I liked White Oleander and if you enjoy autobiographical stories like this, I highly recommend A Child Called It and the books that came after. As a parent, it was very, very hard to read at the time. On the other hand, it made me grateful to realize that even on my worst, absolute awful, terrible, worst day as a parent, I am still five bazillion times better than his mother was. The Glass Castle was much the same way.

If it’s parenting books you’re looking for, one of the best I’ve read is Protecting the Gift by Gavin DeBecker, about keeping children and teenagers safe. Another great, must-read for parents, educators, etc, is The Essential 55 by Ron Clark. An educator, he’s compiled a list of 55 rules that all children should understand and follow to be a success both in the classroom, and in life. My friend Laura turned me on to it several years ago and our family sat around the dinner table for 55 nights, discussing each rule with the kids. Now that they are older, I think we’ll do it again. Yes, we definitely will. (In case you can’t tell, I loved this book.)

If you like action-adventure, a la Tom Clancy, then Blaine’s all-time favorite author is Clive Cussler. The protagonist of his books is named Dirk Pitt, and let me just tell you that Blaine’s total and complete adoration of this series should not be questioned, once you find out that if he had his way, our son "Kellen" would be our son "Dirk". I pointed out that "Dirk" sounds too much like "Dirt" and veto'd him.

I read both the Alice Sebold books and liked them, but struggled a bit because I found the subject matter to be grim and frightening. I have to be honest, I don’t read true crime or murder mystery, because I am the biggest coward on the planet very delicate and fragile. I made the mistake of reading The General’s Daughter when Blaine was away from home in training once, and had to sleep the entire month with every light in the house on. After reading Helter Skelter and being physically unable to take a shower unless he was home, I finally admitted that genre was just not for me.

I haven’t read any Mitch Albom books because, well, I’ve mentioned this already, but I’m cheap. I read a lot, and I read fast. I can’t justify paying eight or ten or twelve dollars for a book that I will be able to finish in an hour. I do go to the library, but don’t seem to have much luck finding recent or popular books. I am definitely going to check out the half price website that was suggested ….. and if I wasn’t so lazy I would go to book sales and yard sales but that involves actual WORK and PLANNING and ACTIVITY so I don’t see it happening. My girlfriend Lisa mailed me a box of books recently and I swear, it was like Christmas when I opened that bad boy up! (Lisa, PS, I still owe you shipping for that … send me your paypal account!) I love sharing books with friends, but must confess that if it’s a book I really, truly love, I usually won’t share for fear I won’t get it back.

Let’s see, more .. more ….

I enjoyed The Midwife and The Midwife’s Advice by Gay Courter, and think you can never go wrong with classics like Gone With the Wind (which I have to say, I enjoyed much more when I re-read it after moving to Georgia) The Thorn Birds, and Little Women. Although I despised The Grapes of Wrath. The book AND the movie. So maybe I’m not as cultured as I think I am.

And I also re-read the HP series before each new book comes out although at this point, I’ve read Sorcerer’s Stone six times, Chamber of Secrets five times, etc. I think in anticipation of HP7, I’ll skip right to Goblet of Fire and start there. And Liz, I love your suggestion of making it a contest to see who’ll finish first, but I have to be honest …. Since this is the final book in the series, I plan on savoring it like my favorite box of Russell Stover chocolates and deriving slow, guilty pleasure out of each and every page. So all of you who finish it before me have to promise NOT to e-mail me or leave comments about what has happened. In fact, I might just put myself in a sensory-deprivation chamber until I’m done.

Jenny B, you bring up a good point that killing HP would kill Voldemort --- but if that happens, I will personally fly to England and leave a flaming bag of dog poop on JK Rowling's front porch. (PS. We miss you guys!!) And Becca, what’s up with your sister getting to take a HP lit class in college??? I got stuck reading Voltaire and Goethe, for heaven’s sake, and she’s getting credit for studying Hogwarts??? There is no justice in the world, that’s all I’m saying.

Well, ok, I’m going to sign off for tonight. This will be my last post for a while regarding the book suggestions, so don’t worry I’m turning this into a literary site. (Although I'm certainly open to more suggestions and appreciate them, anytime!) Lord knows I’ve got too much complaining to do about my children for that to happen. I’ve got a few more late guestbook replies to make, then I’ll move back to my normal fare of obsessing over DDP and whining because people keep asking me if I’m pregnant.

In the meantime, hope you are all enjoying your weekend …. And that you have your nose buried in a good book!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Proof ...

…that I don’t do my fair share of the cleaning around this house:

I dropped a carton of eggs this morning and three of them broke on the kitchen floor (I know, I’m a total klutz.) About that time, Kellen and Kendrie came into the kitchen looking for their Lucky Charms nutritional morning meal of veggie omelets, and I hollered at them to "Watch out, don’t step in the eggs!" This conversation ensued:

Me: "Watch out! Don’t step in the eggs!"

Kendrie: "Ick, what happened?"

Me: "I dropped the eggs. But don’t step in them, they’re slimy and sticky."

Kellen: "Sticky?"

Me: "Well, they won’t be sticky once I get them mopped up, but for now, yes, they’re sticky."

Kellen: "Mopped up? Like, with a mop?"

Me: "Yes, son, with a mop."

Kellen: "Oh. Um ….. do you know how to do that?"

PS-- in the meantime, thank you all SO MUCH for the fantabulous book suggestions! I am making a list and SO going to the bookstore before my vacation! I’m going to respond tomorrow and in the meantime, keep the titles coming! I know lots of us are getting super ideas!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


First of all, I just want to take a quick minute to thank all of you who take a moment or two (or three or seven or ninety, depending on how long-winded I’m feeling) out of your day and stop by this site. And actually read it. And even better, leave a comment or a question or send me an e-mail. Because I am a shallow, pathetic, self-absorbed, egocentric, needy individual who derives great satisfaction out of the thought that somebody besides *ME* drives the site counter up each day. More on this later.

I do read every single comment and e-mail, and embarrassingly, haven’t answered quite a few in quite a while. So today, we’re doing a bit of housekeeping, which is fancy talk for “OHMYGAWSHWOMAN clean out your inbox and apologize to these poor people for your lazy, slothful behavior already!!”

So here we go:

Rhonda in Texas, who requested book suggestions for her beach trip (which she went on a MONTH AGO do you see what I mean about how tardy I am????) (Sorry, Rhonda, but better late than never):

Books I’ve read lately that I recommend:

Come Back; A mother and daughter’s journey through hell and back by Claire Fontaine

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Piccoult (Basically, I recommend anything by Jodi Piccoult)

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Breaking the Code; Two teens reveal the secrets to better parent-child communication by Lara Fox and Hilary Frankel

Boys Will Put You On A Pedestal; So they can look up your skirt by Philip Van Munching (pretty much required reading for anyone with a daughter -- and, it’s highly entertaining)

Dry by Augusten Burroughs (make sure you’ve read the prequel Running With Scissors)

The Alaska Traveling Companion by Joe Upton (but I only recommend this if you’re actually **going** to Alaska, otherwise, you won’t much care about the steam-powered rotary snowplow located in Skagway which kept the mountain passes open that has recently been restored. Or at least I don’t think you will.)

Ready, Freddy! Don’t Sit on My Lunch! by Abby Klein (Hey, I didn’t say they were all books that I read to myself! I try to help my kids fulfill those required summer reading hours -- quality time, blah blah)

Books I’ve read lately that I do NOT recommend:

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (Am I the only person on earth who thought this was the most boring book ever??? And that this couple was so dysfunctional I couldn’t even care about them and their boring, dysfunctional relationship???)

Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish (gave up after the second chapter … that should tell you something)

The Abs Diet by David Zinczenko (shockingly, after reading this book, my abs did not become ripped and muscled, all on their own, through the power of osmosis, like I hoped they would. Perhaps I should try actually following a few of the author’s suggestions regarding diet and exercise. In that he suggested I actually DO them. Gack.)

Design Ideas for Bathrooms and Design Ideas for Kitchens (while informative, and probably very helpful for those of you about to embark on a remodeling project, they’re not something I’d recommend for a little light reading.)

Additional suggestions welcome. I’m a voracious reader, and am always looking for a good title. Still need to check out The Mitford Series, don’t I? In the meantime, I’m waiting none-too-patiently for my pre-ordered Harry Potter 7 to arrive in just a few weeks!! So do not expect any blog entries from me for however many straight hours it takes me to start and then finish that book, because I will not tolerate any interruptions while I am reading it, because I’ve GOT to know what the heck happened to Dumbledore in the last book, and how on earth she’s going to make Snape into a good guy because I believe with all my heart he’s a good guy he’s just GOT to be, don’t you think he’s a good guy???? And, and, and ….. (don’t get me started on HP … just don’t)

Katie in New Orleans: regarding your question about the bone marrow registry -- first of all, kudos to you and all the people who signed up, or are considering signing up!!! I checked with Cindy of Jay’s Hope regarding your question about herniated discs, and this is the answer I received:

“In some cases, we do accept donors with herniated discs, but usually it has to be just ONE disc with little to no pain or complications. It would also have to be several years out from the injury. With EIGHT herniated discs, I believe they would say no for the donor's protection. When they collect the marrow from the hip, they go in very close to the spine. Any manipulation of an "unhealthy" spine could cause serious damage.

Let me know if I can answer any other questions. “

So, Katie, I don’t think that was the answer you were looking for, but I hope it was helpful, anyway, and even if you can’t donate, thanks for encouraging others to do so with your example of willingness!

Federica from Italy: Not even related to your question, but how cool is it that people from all over the world can communicate like this?? I mean, Italy! That’s like, in Europe! (Europe? Right??? I’m really, really bad at geography. I know Italy is the little boot thing …. Doesn’t it hang down below England? Hey speaking of England, do you know Angela? She reads here, too! Well, no, wait. Angela's in France. See what I mean about how bad I am???) Sorry, off on a tangent. Anyway, Federica, I am not at all offended that you didn’t like Diet Dr. Pepper -- at least you tried it!! Could you maybe teach my kids that lesson regarding all the summer vegetables??? And since you asked, I’ll make it a point to post an occasional scrapbook page or two. If I ever actually completed any lately. Which I probably won’t because I never seem to get my behind out of my computer chair. I tell you, I’m letting the internet suck my life away, and I definitely need to do something about it. But not tonight, because I’ve got to get caught up on my favorite blogs and celebrity gossip sites.

Lisa from a few miles down the road: Hey, girlfriend, when are we taking these kids swimming? Mine are already driving me crazy this summer, whine, whine, whine, we’re bored, there’s nothing to do, blah, blah. Oh, wait. Sorry, you asked a question. That was Kellen in the raccoon Halloween costume, at age one and a half, and if I could just say, he was pretty much the cutest nocturnal mammal EVER! That Halloween we were in Ohio, and I had prepared for the Arctic late-October weather by putting him in that raccoon costume, Brayden in a polar bear costume, and had layered sweat pants and fleece shirts underneath the costumes for both kids, complete with stocking caps to keep their little heads warm. Naturally, it was about 70 degrees that night and I’m amazed they didn’t both suffer heat stroke.

Lyndall of FL and Anonymous, whoever you are: The Tim McGraw song playing was called “Wherever the Trail May Lead” and was from the Disney Home on the Range soundtrack. The first time I played it was on Kendrie’s Caringbridge site, when she started her sixteen months of Maintenance Therapy and I wasn’t sure what lay ahead for us, but felt the words of the song, about sticking together and getting her through, were pretty poignant. When it came time for mine and Blaine’s anniversary entry, I couldn’t choose between that song, or the dance version of “I Was Made For Loving You” by Kiss which really, really, rocks ….. needless to say, poignancy won, and I’m glad you liked it. I agree, it would make a fab wedding song.

Abbie in Des Moines: For your information, missy, that flannel (yes, I said FLANNEL) dress was quite high fashion for the time. We’re talking mid 1990’s, when craft and antique fairs were sweeping the country. Not only was it flannel, PLAID flannel, there were also puffy paint snowmen on the chest, and snowflake buttons down the front. I paired it with a brown turtleneck shirt and brown riding boots and considered myself quite stylish. (Dear Lord, it’s still in my closet -- don’t tell anyone! -- On second thought, contact “What Not to Wear” immediately!!)

OK, more questions tomorrow -- but before I go -- HUGE shout out to Postcard Cindy!!! Do you have any idea how happy you made our girl? She made Blaine re-arrange the furniture in her room, to make wall space, and put the poster up THAT VERY NIGHT before she would go to bed! Seriously --- you hit a bulls-eye with that one and I thank you sincerely!

Now, the rest of you, post your book recommendations in the comments section because I’ve got a vacation coming up, and many, MANY hours of air travel ahead of me, and if you think I’m going to sit and talk to Blaine the entire time, like I ***lurve*** him or something, you’re crazy. Send me some book suggestions!

Laughing in the Sun ... Saving My Favorite Pictures of the Week For Last

Tasting Saltwater at the Beach ...

Hanging at the Beach ....

(and no, this was not the day we cheated and actually got in despite the red flag ... more on that later. And I promise, I'm almost done with the photos and will put up a real update soon, with words, and thoughts, and typing letters to make sentences that hopefully make sense ...)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Beach Retreat in Numbers

Number of suitcases required to pack for week at the beach: 4

Number of bags packed and carried by the children containing all of their “essential” items for beach vacation (ie, toys, books, stuffed animals): 5

Number of hours spent in the van driving 110 miles to Atlanta to get on the Lighthouse chartered bus, thanks to the major accident on northbound I-75: 4

Number of minutes it took us to travel 3 miles after that major accident: 92

Number of people pulled over at first gas station after accident getting fuel, snacks, and using the potty: 3196

Number of kids that Blaine took into the men’s restroom never mind that there’s no toilet paper they can use a paper towel did you see how many women were in line for the ladies restroom? : 3

Once on the bus, number of minutes I was able to enjoy wireless internet connection before the computer battery went dead: 35

Number of positions I tried to sleep in, on the bus: 5

Number of those positions that were comfortable: 0

Number of children under the age of 7 we had in the beach-house we were sharing with two other Lighthouse families: 7

Number of times the noise level was out of control: surprisingly, 0

Number of times I cursed the aesthetic beauty of Seaside which prohibits cell towers of any kind, rendering my cell phone and wireless internet connection useless: 374

Number of miles we rode to and from the beach and Lighthouse activities on our rental bikes: approximately 100

Number of times I wished either the humidity was less, I was in better physical condition, or both: approximately 100

Number of times I told myself to shut up with the complaining because it sure beat walking: approximately 100

Number of times I rewarded myself for the strenuous bicycling activity with ice cream, therefore cancelling out any kind of physical benefits of exercising: 2

Number of times I thought I would die from lack of Diet Dr. Pepper: 796

Number of times I regretted not packing my anti-frizz hair cream: 27

Number of days the “no getting in the water” red flag was flying at the beach: 5

Number of days we gave up and swam in the pool: 4

Number of days we cheated and got in the ocean anyway: 1

Number of times I thought that might have been a bad idea: Only 1, when a big wave knocked me over and I fell on top of Kendrie and I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get up and almost drowned the poor kid.

Number of pairs of goggles I had to buy at the beach because I am a terrible mom who forgot to pack them from home: 3

Number of sweatshirts I bought so we wouldn’t freeze to death on the bus ride home: 5

Number of times we have been lucky enough to attend The Lighthouse Retreat: 3

Number of times we would go back if they would have us: 1,000,000,000

Number of grains of sand we brought back from Florida in our clothes, suitcases, towels, shoes, shorts, and on our skin, in our hair, and even the cracks and wrinkles of our bodies: Google. Infinity.

Friday, June 08, 2007


When Red is Good:

When a teacher uses a red pen to write a big, fat "A" on your paper.

When you bite into a juicy, ripe tomato.

When somebody buys me ruby jewelry, which granted, hasn't ever happened but maybe it will someday don't ever give up the dream.

When those slippers worked for Dorothy.

When Red is NOT good:

When the flag at the beach has been red EVERY SINGLE DAY of this retreat, and the kids haven't been able to get in the ocean for four days in a row due to the current and undertow, so please cross your fingers for a green or even a yellow flag today because honestly, if they can't get in the water on today, the last day, I think they might pretty much boycott the ocean and Florida and family vacations from now on.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pedal to the Max

Universally Well-Known Factoid: You never, ever, ever, forget how to ride a bike. Even a rental bike with a big-butt seat and a big metal basket on the front.

Less Universally Well-Known Factoid: While admiring your pedaling prowess, if you load your basket down with beach towels, new sweatshirts (because I'll be damned if we freeze on that bus on the way back home) flip-flops, the camcorder, goggles, and a bag from the local market with a loaf of bread, a jar of jelly and bananas .... AND you have your camera bag slung across your shoulders with your expensive telephoto lens and external flash inside, you will be so pre-occupied with not biffing it going over any curbs and trashing your camera that you won't even give a second thought to the fact you are riding all over the resort in your bathing suit with your flab bounching and jiggling everywhere. Seriously. Not a thought. Not until you reach your house, safe and sound, camera intact, will the gravity of the situation cross your mind.

Then, you will be mortified to realize the horror and trauma your fat white thighs have unleashed on this innocent seaside community.

Monday, June 04, 2007

On the Road Again

I'm typing this on a wireless laptop, from a bus, on 1-20 between Atlanta and Alabama. Isn't technology fucking fabulous???

Our family is on its way to spend a week at the beach with The Lighthouse Family Retreat. {I have no idea if that link will work, as my cheat sheet for entering links is on my computer at home, which is someplace I am not, because did I mention I'm typing this on a wireless laptop on a BUS?!?!?} Lighthouse chartered a bus for all the families to ride to Florida together. Part of me loves this, considering I don't have to drive and they've got movies and snacks for the kids and it frees me up to type on a WIRELESS LAPTOP .... but part of me hates it, the part of me that's sitting in the last row by the bathroom and freezing to death because I swear it must only be 50 degrees on this bus. Actually, sitting in the back row by the bathroom doesn't bother me at all because I don't get car sick and I've got the entire row to myself .... plenty of room for the WIRELESS LAPTOP .... but seriously, it's like a damn ice cave on here.

I'll be able to update throughout the week, but wanted to pop on now and say hi ... mainly because I can, thanks to technology. Now, about the time we hit a speedbump and I accidentally hit the delete button and lose this journal enty before I post it, I'll be cussing technology ... but for now, let me just repeat it, in case you didn't notice --- I'm typing on a BUS, on a WIRELESS LAPTOP!! I love technology. And I love going to the beach with the Lighthouse.

I'd say pretty much it's a win/win situation. Or at least it would be if a sweatshirt or fleece blanket would fall from the sky.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Rocky Road

Thanks to all of you for your kind comments on my 100 Things List, and also for the anniversary wishes for Blaine and me. Just like I used to think the age of 40 was old (but now I know it’s NOT, ahem) I also used to think being married twenty years was a long time. I guess it still is, by today’s standards; it’s just amazing how quickly it goes by. Next thing I know, I’ll look up and I’ll be dead. Depressing, actually.

We celebrated last Friday night by hiring a sitter, going out to dinner, and then parking in the Comfort Inn parking lot for a few hours and ………… hey, get your mind out of the gutter! We’re such party-animals, we rented a movie from Blockbuster, went to an ice cream shop and bought blasts (boring Vanilla with Oreo for Blaine, and the vastly superior Chocolate with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for me … seriously, who gets *vanilla*??? I mean, who’s he kidding? “Vanilla” will never make the next 100 Things list, that’s for sure) and then we parked the van and watched the movie in our DVD player, stretched out across the bench seat in the back, enjoying our ice cream.

I know …. twentieth wedding anniversary and we spend it eating ice cream and watching "The Pursuit of Happyness" in the back seat of our van --- how pathetic are we??? Losers. (Us, not you.) Actually, it was kind of fun, and I imagine we’ll remember it much longer than if we’d gone to a regular ole’ theater, don’t you think?

Blaine liked the scrapbook, and since I couldn’t afford the gift he really wanted (a two-week trip to Canada to hunt upland game, complete with luxury lodge accommodations and private waterfowl guide) then he’s just going to have to be satisfied with the album until this summer. That’s when we’re doing the BIG celebration by taking a long-anticipated cruise to Alaska, sans children, with our good friends Keith and Renee’. I’m so excited for that trip I can hardly stand myself, but in the meantime, Blockbuster and ice cream works just fine for me. I’m very low maintenance, you know. (Blaine is snorting in the background as he reads over my shoulder; mocking, in particular, that very last sentence. He better watch it, or he won’t reach the next twenty.)

In the meantime, the rest of our week raced by in a blur of end-of-the-school-year activities, culminating in the class parties this afternoon. And by “activities”, I mean “me, making thirty-seven trips to the grocery store to buy all the juice and food and ice cream and crap for the end-of-the-year parties for all three kids”. Thank you Jesus for the very few parents who chipped in and actually helped; the rest of the parents can visit me in debtors prison considering how expensive it was. Not that I’m whining and complaining, because that would be negative.

I’m just amazed at the parents who haven’t shown up to a single thing all year, haven’t shown their faces or volunteered one damn minute out of one damn day out of the entire year; who can sit and watch one or two women pull out all the paper goods and food and snacks and drinks they’ve purchased, with their own money, not lift a finger to help set up or clean up; just sit there without offering to help or anything, where do they think the money to buy this stuff came from better yet did my friend Sonya pull four large pizzas OUT OF HER ASS??? --- yet they feel perfectly comfortable helping themselves to pizza and drinks and ice cream sundaes, and getting it for their other children, as well, without chipping in and without lifting a finger.

Obviously I’m tired and crabby and should perhaps delete this entry without posting it, because it perhaps give off the impression that I mind doing that sort of thing for my children. And I don't mind, I really don't. But a little more help from some of the other parents would have been nice. (Waaaah! I'm such a whiner!!!)

What matters is that the kids had a good time. We did our annual “Last Day of School” interviews here at the house this afternoon, and Kellen and Kendrie agree that the highlight of the year wasn’t the stellar education they received, or the friendships they cherished, or the wonderful teachers who nurtured their souls and fed their little minds intellectually --- nope, best part of the year was the unlimited ice cream on the last day.

Good ole’ Rocky Road.