Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rhyme Time

My son and I were out and about having some Mitch and Mommy time. While in the car he said, "Let's play that rhyming game!"

"OK," I said. "Boat..."

"Goat!" he replied.

"Great job!"


"Awesome! Tree..."

"Bee!" he exclaimed.

"Alright! Hmmmm...OK! How about gas?" I asked.

"Gas!" he said.

"Yes, gas. What rhymes with gas?"


"That's the word Mitch. But what rhymes with it? What rhymes with gas?"

"Gas Mommy! Gas and gas!" Mitch said proudly.

"Gas and gas?"

"Yes! Gas you put in the car and smelly gas from your bottom!"

Alrighty then!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Farts

My dear hubs and I were on the tail-end of a disagreement. We resolved the issue but I was still in that funky place between fired-up angry and happy contentment. We picked the kids up from school and headed into town for a bite to eat. Dealing with my funk I was driving solemnly, not saying much. The kids were chatting back and forth. The hubs was staring out the window likely wanting to be anywhere but trapped in a car with me. Then it happened. From the backseat our little princess rips the meanest fart one has ever heard. Peals of laughter fill the car and my funky mood, thankfully, escapes. Ellie is absolutely delighted in her crude behavior and I truly don't mind this time. It took a fart...but I am back in my happy place!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Watch Out Snow! Here We Come!

The entire tribe was finally well enough to tackle a snow day! We gathered up our kids; our gear; our snacks; and a carrot (for the snowman of course!) and headed to the hills. We met up with my dad and my brother's crew and proceeded to have an absolute blast!

The day started a little rough with Mitchell's first solo sled ride landing him square into a tree. That was followed by Grandpa's version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride that ended with Grandpa wrapped around a pole and the boys standing in the parking lot looking dazed. We decided the Sno-Park was a bit icy for our fledgling sledders. Grandpa had the foresight to pack a bucket's worth of KFC in his ice chest, so we chowed on that and plotted our next move. We decided to seek out fluffier snow so we could build a snowman. What we found was a little hill all to ourselves where we could sled and build a snowman with oodles of character.

Quite proud of our handiwork...

It is always more fun to sled with a buddy...or a grandpa...

Or a father-in-law...

And even though princesses don't like the snow...they are, um, attached to their Daddies...
And, the perfect end to a perfect day is smiles on faces....

Thursday, January 15, 2009


While sitting in my favorite coffee house in Modesto I witnessed something that was truly bittersweet. I was plugging away on my laptop and watching the clock so I would not be late in meeting an author who had come to do a presentation at the local junior college. I admit that I am a people-watcher. I truly find the behavior of people fascinating. So, it was not usual for me to look up when the door open and a trio of people moved in.

The group consisted of a daughter, who look to be in her fifties, and her aging parents. Her father was in a wheelchair...quite a hip one! The family got situated at a table near me and then the mother took their orders. When the mother left the table the father leaned into his daughter and said, "Is that lady married? I'd like to meet her!" The daughter replied that the lady was indeed him! The man just beamed and locked eyes on his bride as if he could not believe such a fox had married him.

What a tender moment! So sad that the man momentarily forgot is wife...but so dear that he still desired her. This must be a love that survives the ages whatever they bring.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This isn't Smokey Acres!

Today, I had my first experience with a topless beach. Oh, I didn't toss my top and let everything hang in the wind. I kept my shirt on and may have even unconsciously buttoned the top button. But, I went for a walk down a little trail outside of the hotel here in Miami . As I strolled, I watched the tide come in and out and then this women steps into my line of vision. I do a double-take. She is there, chatting with a friend, with her breasts flopping this way and that. I am aghast as she bends over and digs through her duffel for a cigarette which she proceeds to light. I know, I was staring and staring is rude. I tried, but could not pull my eyes away. I was a first-rate rubbernecker! But, where I come from girls wear shirts!

So I looked around again and I see a number of women totally at ease with their naked boobies hanging out. I feel like a prude! I set my sights back on my path and then take one more look to the beach. Then I laugh. There are a great many old men in speedos. They are tanned and oily looking. White shoes clomping on the sand. And, did I mention the speedos? This is almost as horrifying as bare boobs. I finally turned and went back to the hotel when I saw a man and his son/grandson (age about 5 years) wearing matching white speedos. Oh, that is just not right! A child in a speedo on a topless beach! Egads! The child was just happy as a clam. I know if my 4-year-old was at my side his lower jaw would be scraping the sand.

I quicken my pace back to the hotel gate which leads to the pool. This is a good people watching spot but I have had enough. As I take the steps back to the hotel entrance I pass two old guys talking. One guy says to the other, "Thing is, the only gals down on the beach going topless is the ones that need their tops on!" Amen to, I think?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What's with the travel juju?

Why must my every cross-country trip be a collection of various snafu's? If it is not fog, it is ice. If it is not the plane's on-board computer, it is the wing flap. I actually thought I would make it to Miami in record time yesterday. I woke at 4am to no fog. I breezed through the airport security screening. I boarded the plane a full 15 minutes prior to our scheduled departure. The pilot cruised us on out to the runway...on time! And, then it happened. He promptly made an awkward u-turn and faced that jet right back toward the concourse. NO!!!

The pilot declared there was "something" wrong with the wing flap. So we sat. We waited for a mechanic to be roused from sleep. We waited while he tested a number of systems to determine the problem. We waited while he physically located and researched the problem. After a full hour, the flight attendants finally let us off the plane where we waited while the mechanic actually fixed the problem. Now, I am a big fan of wing flaps. I would never fly with a broken one. But why my plane?

It was clear I was going to miss my connection in Dallas so I re-booked myself on a later flight. I would get to Miami at 8:30pm instead of 6:00pm. OK. Not devastating. I get to Dallas. I down an airport hamburger. I go to my gate. I am pleasantly surprised that we board just a few minutes behind schedule. No worries...we can make those minutes up in the sky. I get to my seat. I get buckled in. I read my book. I read my book. I read my book. Page after page. Finally, I look at my watch. We have been sitting on the plane for close to an hour! I look out my window and the crew is loading up bags. Well, at least my bag will make this crazy delay. People are getting restless. I notice it is suffocatingly hot. I start to cough. And, I cough. And, I cough. I try to hold it in and I feel myself get all red in the face. I panic because I know people are thinking, "Oh great! Ms. Germ Spreader is on board!" I cough into the sleeve of my sweatshirt. "Please," I think to myself, "I need AIR!" I finally rummage through my backpack and find a cough drop (I am whacked out on cough drops by the end of this flight). The plane finally rumbles to the runway with no clear explanation for the delay. I look at my watch and think we should be in Miami by 9:30pm or so.

It is 10:15pm when we land in Miami. I am in the very back of the plane and it takes no less than 20 minutes to get off. People are holding up the line down the center with rearranging their bags and saying "Oh, should I meet you in the terminal?" to their friends. Just get OFF the plane! I start to cough again. If I take another cough drop I will puke.

I find baggage claim and wait for the belt to fire up. It finally does. Round and round the bags go. I get a sick feeling when the people start to thin out and the same few bags keep passing by. I can't believe it. I sat in Dallas at the gate while they loaded bags and mine did not make it? I ask an incredibly unhelpful TSA agent if he can track down my bag. "No, not really," he replies. Why do they even have bar codes and baggage claim check stickers?

I can't call my dear hubs because he is putting the kids to sleep. I call my parents and relay my woes. I tell my mom I am on the edge. I am so annoyed. I am rambling away into the phone and I realize people are looking at me. What is their problem!?!? Then I realize I have been pacing back and forth in front of the baggage conveyor belt like a caged tiger ready to pounce. These people thing I am losing it. I relay this to my mom and she laughs because she can picture me all wore out and gross looking pacing like a loon.

I disconnect with my mom and go look at the arrival board. One more flight coming in at 11:30 from Dallas. My bag has to be on that flight. I find a seat. I place my face in hands and I pray for my luggage. It has been such a retched day I really want to sleep in my pj's and brush my teeth. Just when my last sad frayed nerve is about to snap I see my bag come out of the shoot. I say, "Thank you God!" and I whip that puppy up.

It is well after 1:00am when I go to sleep. I sleep until 11:45am and then decided I should probably get myself ready for the beginning of the meeting. I have a few days to recover and then I will begin the adventure home. My dear mother said, "If you have to sleep in the airport, don't sleep next to the window this time." Maybe I should start packing an air mattress in my carry-on.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Leaving Home

Tomorrow I fly to Miami. This is the hardest part of my job. It is so difficult to be away from my children longer than my standard three-night work trips. As I do before every week-long trip, I breathe in as much of my children as possible. Yesterday we kicked a soccer ball around the yard; my son and I put together 3D dinosaur puzzles; we piled on the couch and watched Kung-Fu Panda; my hubs and I scrubbed them clean in the bath and then dressed them in their warmest pj's; we all made playdough balls that we lobed around the living room; then we snuggled in for bedtime stories.

Tomorrow I will creep around before dawn getting ready for my cross-country flight. I will kiss my dear children on their foreheads as they sleep and my sweet hubs will walk me to the car and help me get on my way. That first step out the door in the wee morning hours is always the hardest. The first couple days of my trip I will be sad but then the excitement will mount as I get closer to catching my flight back home. When I walk through the front door the kids will scream and I will be shocked at how much they have changed in a week. They will be delighted with whatever trinkets I will for certain bring home to them. They will be happy to have Mommy home and they will never know how my heart breaks when I leave them. And, I will feel complete once again with my family close to me.