Monday, December 29, 2008
3. The most God-awful sweater ever made. A gift from my Mother-In-Law the first year that JeepMan and I were dating. It defies explanation.
Suffice to say it was knitted in olives, pumpkins, browns, hot pinks, and yellows. Colors which, mostly, I would never wear individually, and which were heinous in concert. There were 4 panels woven into the front, each featuring a 3D texture...one of which had dangling balls, right over the boob.
You'll be glad to know I smiled and thanked her. In the car later, JeepMan asked me: "You aren't really going to WEAR that thing, are you?"
To this day I am unsure if she really thought I'd like it, or if it was re-gifted (she's since been caught red-handed doing just that), or if it was a not-so-subtle "you're not good enough for my only son, beeyatch!" kind of gift.
Oh well, I'm still here...take that!!
2. (Formerly #1) A six-pack of underwear from my Grandmother. I was about 13, at that age where everything embarassed me. And I opened these. In front of my entire extended family.
Oh, did I mention they were USED? Yeah. They had once been my mom's!!
My darling Grandma had saved them all these years because you could "hardly tell they'd been worn," and she thought I'd like to have them. God bless her; she lived through the Depression and she saves everything.
Again, I smiled and thanked her, then shoved them deep down into a bag. When we got in the car later, my mom told me gently, "When we get home, you can throw those things away. I can't believe she gave them to you!" I'd never been so relieved!
1. We have a new #1 this year, thanks to JeepMan's Uncle Mike. MIL's brother. He works sporadically, usually as a painter (of structures, not fine arts). He rarely has any money, what he makes he spends on cigarettes and beer. We never expect him to get us anything, and we've told him that before. Still, he insists. Usually I open his gift, smile, nod, and think, "well, it's the thought that counts."
This year was different. JeepMan opened our gift from Uncle Mike and what to our wondering eyes did appear? A gallon-sized ZipLoc bag full of coffee. In individual 4-cup packages. In an interesting coincidence, this summer Uncle Mike had painted the interior of a church and some dorms....places where one might find just such packages of coffee.
There had to be 25-30 packets stuffed into this plastic baggie. JeepMan and I just stared at it. Uncle Mike said, "You guys drink coffee, don't you?" We just nodded. And carefully laid the bag aside.
A gallon bag of stolen coffee. My new #1 worst Christmas present ever!!
"When even the thought doesn't count!!"
Anyone else want to share?
Sunday, December 28, 2008
For almost a week now, I have been wallowing in the holidays. In my own family, this means goodness, excess, and love of family. In JeepMan's family, it means excess, tension, and a thinly-veiled and ill-maintained facade of "family appreciation." It's sad, really.
But if nothing else, these contrasting holiday scenarios have made me appreciate what I have even more.
And they provide fantastic blog fodder!!
In upcoming posts look for:
-A list of my top 3 worst Christmas gifts EVER...one of which was this year.
-A rundown of Christmas at JeepMan's, with character sketch emphasis.
-A funny or two from the kidlets.
-And, if I get on the ball, a New Year's introspective.
So thanks for hangin' with me, and I'll see you real soon.
....Hmmm....are the chocolate-dipped espresso cookies all gone.....?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
"It's NOT okay to tell your mom she's 'sexy.'"
Plato, in his 7-year-old mind, thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world. Bless his heart.
And I appreciate that; I really do. I think it's super-sweet and I know he won't think that much longer.
At least I hope he won't.
But one day he gave me a bear hug and a big smooch, started rubbing his hands over the sleeves of my silky blouse, and proclaimed: "Mommy, you're ssseeexxxyyy!"
At which point he, albeit innocently enough, crossed that line from cute to creepy and I had to put my foot down.
Now. Try explaining to a 7-year-old what 'sexy' is, and why it does not apply to his mom, no matter how beautiful he might think she is.
Can you say, "AWKWARD?"
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
As you know, we took the In-Laws with us. We thought long and hard about this decision. On the plus side, they claimed to have interest in off-roading, and what better place to go than Moab? They could also help with the kids, and if they weren't into off-roading, they could hang with the kids and we could have some time to ourselves. They have a Nissan Armada (which I refer to as the "land yacht"), so there was lots of space to put stuff. Our Jeep has very limited storage space (much like our house).
On the minus side? They can drive us nuts in very short order. They are indecisive, yet tend to be dissatisfied (especially MIL) with the decisions that are inevitably made for them. Our interests vary widely. We do not operate at the same speed. In short, spending 10 days with them could have very easily spoiled our much-anticipated vacation.
And then there's "THE GAP."
JeepMan and I have similar intelligence levels. Similar social skills. Similar levels of tolerance and acceptance and easygoing-ness. FIL? He's mostly just along for the ride. He really has no other option, being married to MIL.
MIL. What can I say? She's just not like us. I marvel that JeepMan shares any of her genetic material. I can't even begin to list where the differences begin. Suffice to say, neither JeepMan nor I would voluntarily hang with her if there were no blood relation. Alas, you cannot choose your relatives.
This is not to say that we can't tolerate her. We must, and we do. As I stated: we are tolerant, accepting, and easygoing...skills we employ every time we are together with her.
One of the things she does that drives me the craziest is that she speaks without thinking. Just whatever pops into her brain, it pops right out her mouth. Unfortunately it is often at the most annoying times: while watching a movie, while having a conversation with a group, to random strangers such as wait staff and store clerks. The issue isn't just that she makes moronic commentary, but that she rarely realizes the inanity, and thus expects serious consideration to be given to whatever has just been said. At which point JeepMan and/or I are tasked with trying to address her comment or question with as much feigned seriousness and geniune tact as possible; i.e., without making her feel like a complete idiot. It's a thin line to tread, my friends, and it taxes my serenity greatly.
Since starting this blog, I've attempted to create a little mental vault to try to store her asinine remarks as future blog fodder. It helps me to be a bit more positive when, say, we are watching a baseball game and she is yakking on about how fat the players are and why do they spit so much, and why do they always wear white pants when they KNOW they're just gonna get dirty?
Back to vacation, then. We were leaving after spending 2 days traveling out and 5 days in Moab. Moab lies in a curve of the Colorado river. We first sighted the river in Colorado, then followed it, more or less, into Utah. We had taken a scenic drive into Moab through a canyon carved out by the Colorado. We crossed it going to Arches National Park. We crossed it going to see dinosaur footprints. We photographed it from multiple overlooks. We crossed it yet again going to Hooray Pass and Chicken Corners. In short, we encountered it multiple times in those 7 days, and even ate Thanksgiving dinner in a lodge overlooking it.
Why, oh why then, dear God, did this statement come out of her mouth on our way out of Moab, as we were crossing the bridge over the Colorado River, on that 7th day? Why?
"Hey, that sign says 'Colorado River.' Are we that close to Colorado?"
Silence in the car. She can't think what I think she thinks. Maybe it was a rhetorical question. Yeah. That's it. Maybe she'll drop it....
"Shouldn't it be the 'Utah River,' now that we're in Utah?"
FIL stepped up and took this one for the team: "No, it's still the Colorado River. It goes all the way through to Arizona. It's the same river that goes through the Grand Canyon."
MIL was quiet.
But only for a second. "Really? I thought that rivers named for states were just only in those states."
Did I mention that she lives about 8 blocks from the Mississippi river? In Iowa?
No, Seriously. I'm not kidding.
FIL pointed this out, tactfully. Bless his heart.
"OH! I guess you're right!! I never thought about that before!"
A long silence. JeepMan and I were exchanging eyerolls and trying not to bust out laughing.
She just couldn't help herself, though:
"Does the Mississippi River even GO through Mississippi?"
Sunday, December 14, 2008
All of these factors, coupled with the urgency to get home after a long week away make Friday nights in airports especially charged with negative energy.
As I was boarding my plane, I saw a mother hugging and kissing her son, who was wearing a letterman's jacket that said 09 on the sleeve. The fact that she was allowed to accompany him to the boarding gate (unheard of in post-9/11 times) coupled with the way she clung to him - a little too hard, a little too long- before wishing him luck and telling him everything would be ok, caught my attention. Immediately I marked him as having some kind of mental disorder.
Then I shot up a prayer to St. Christopher, Patron Saint of Travellers: Please, don't let him be sitting by me.
I am ashamed to admit that I do this frequently. I scope out the crowd at the boarding gate and wonder which one I will be sitting next to. Inevitibly I find a few I really hope I won't be sitting next to: the extremely obese guy in grungy sweatpants, the somewhat tipsy lady chatting incessantly to someone she obviously doesn't know, the woman holding her rosary and praying, who jumps every time an announcement comes over the intercom, the guy who speaks exceptionally limited English and is asking anyone he can make eye contact with about his ticket, bags, etc.
Then I feel like crap for being such a bitch.
I guess part of me feels that I've helped a heck of a lot of people in my lifetime, and is it too much to ask to be able to sit in my miniscule airplane seat and just read a book, without having to smell, touch, listen to, talk to, or otherwise be imposed upon by the person who just happened to be assigned to the seat next to me?
At any rate, I got on the plane and realized this kid was behind me and to my right, at a window seat (I always take an aisle seat). His nose was plastered to the window and he was watching all the ground activity with avid interest. I thanked St. Christopher for coming through for me, and settled in to my "luxurous" airline seat for the ride home. Then a middle-aged businessman took the seat next to the kid, and the kid pounced on him.
"Hi, I'm Greg! I've never been on a plane before! This is so cool! I'm really nervous though. What's your name?"
I groaned mentally, feeling very sorry for that guy. He responded politely but noncommitally, which an ordinary person would have interpreted as "Thanks for the offer, but I'd really prefer not to chat with you. No offense."
But Greg was far from an ordinary person. He related his whole travel story to this man, and because his voice carried quite well, soon much of the plane knew of this kid's situation. He was going to visit his uncle, his uncle had paid for the ticket. He had never flown, and was excited and scared. Where was the businessman from? Oh, yeah, that was close to where he was going. What was the weather like there? What did the businessman do? Wow! He flew in planes all the time? Wasn't he scared that he'd die in a plane crash? Had he ever had to go out an emergency exit?What's that sound? The cargo door shutting? Where's the cargo door? Where was the businessman from again? Oh, yeah, that was close to where he was going! ....Oh boy....they're closing the plane door.... We're going to be okay, right? Must be about time...!
As the plane pushed back from the gate, the kid's mood escalated. As the flight attendants gave their spiel about plane safety, emergy exit rows, water landings, etc, the kid was quiet. Then he said to the man, as quietly as he could, "Well, I don't feel like any of those things are going to happen on THIS flight, do you?" The man assured him that those things were rare, and that he had flown enough times that if anything did happen, he would help the kid out; he had heard those instructions hundreds of times. The kid breathed a sigh of relief, and said, "Well, I'm glad I'm sitting by YOU then! Thanks." Then he got real quiet for the taxi. I sincerely hoped the kid wasn't going to go off the deep end as we took off, or freak completely in flight. My years of nursing experience taught me to always be wary of the quiet ones.
As the plane took off, the kid's nose was once again plastered to the window. He couldn't contain his excitement, and nearly yelled, "WOAH!! THIS IS AMAZING!" Most of us hid our surreptitious smiles, and I was reminded for a moment of how it felt to take that first flight.
The kid was nervous, though, and anxiously questioned every sound, every bump, every speed change and bank of the plane. The man reassured him tirelessly, and very patiently. He told the kid many times, "Everything's fine. Really. It's all normal. You're going to be okay, OK?"
By the time we landed, the kid was elated. He'd finished his journey. It was the coolest thing he'd ever done. He couldn't wait to tell his uncle. The businessman "shared" in his enthusiasm, and congratulated him on being a great traveller. They parted ways with a, "Good luck," and a "Nice to have met you," and that was that.
I really really wanted to pat the businessman on the back and tell him how much I admired him for being so patient and supportive of that kid, and for bolstering his confidence and not squelching his enthusiasm. I didn't though, because I didn't want to embarass the kid. Or the man. He knew he had done well, and hearing it from me could have done more harm than good.
That kid had a 95% chance of sitting beside someone who would have tried his or her best to ignore him. Or pooh-pooh his anxiety. Or look with disdain on his enthusiasm. Or shut him out entirely. It could have ruined his whole experience. Yet this kid was lucky enough to sit next to a man who was able to look far enough beyond his own frustrations and exhaustion to see that this kid needed someone to lean on for the 45 minutes we would be in the air. And then he made the decision to give this kid what he needed, wholeheartedly, and with sincerity.
I'd like to think I would have done the same. But I honestly don't know if I could have on that particular Friday night flight.
Or if I could have, if I would have? And if I would have, would I have been able to do it with such goodwill and genuine concern?
I just don't know.
But witnessing this act has made me certain that I now have an example to live up to.
Bless you, patient and kind businessman, wherever you may be. You've made a positive difference in that kid's life, and in mine too.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Pop on over to The Fourth Strike for a pic of the little guy and another of proud big sis! Leave them a comment, and tell 'em I sent ya!
Yay for babies!
"Look at me. LOOK at me. Are you listening? If I pass out or stop breathing, check my pulse. HERE. Can you feel that? If you DON'T feel that you'll need to do CPR. Put both of your hands HERE, and push down hard and fast. Don't worry if you feel my ribs break - Just keep doing it. And after every 30 compressions, hold my nose, tilt my head back, and give me a big breath. You have to keep doing that until the ambulance gets here. It'll seem like forever, but you CAN'T STOP. Do you understand? OK, just don't leave me, please?"
You can read the whole story HERE. Ironically, it happened on a Thursday.
(cue Twilight Zone Music)
THIS WEEK'S PARTICIPANTS:
KLS, Student Nurse
Student RN Tiffany
Be sure to check their comments for some hidden gems, as well!
Thanks for playing!!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I remember being pleasantly surprised that John Malkovich, one of my all-time favorite actors, was in the movie. But I remember being most intrigued by the character "Durza," henchman of the king (Malkovich) and wizard/shade/generally creepy bad guy. I remember wondering who the actor was who played Durza...I thought he was incredibly good, and vaguely familiar. Here's a Durza Tribute from YouTube. Unfortunately there's no dialogue but you can get a gander at him:
So there he is. Creepy, huh?
So at the time that I saw the movie, I thought maybe it was Paul Reubens. You may remember him as Pee Wee Herman? Or you may remember him for his infamous adult movie theater incident. Either way, take a look:
You can see the resemblance to Durza, right? Right?
So imagine my surprise when I Yahoo'd the movie and found out where I'd REALLY seen this guy.
I was stunned.
(drum roll please...)
Is THIS Guy:
Oh, I SEE the resemblance. Now.
But in The Full Monty, Robert Carlyle's character "Gaz" was about as polar opposite of "Durza" as possible. And yet Carlyle played them both so convincingly!
I was impressed to learn that Carlyle starred in the film adaptation of my favorite book of all time, ever: Angela's Ashes. I never saw the movie because I didn't want to be disappointed. I can't fathom how one would even START to put the work of Frank McCourt to film. If you've ever read his books, you know what I'm talking about. A large percentage of the pleasure of reading his stories is the READING part...but I digress.
I know I've seen Carlyle in other films as well, but he always seems to be that guy that I can't quite place, but who puts on a good show (ha ha). I will now start paying more attention to him as an actor.
Interestingly, he played Hitler in a TV miniseries a few years back. I never heard about it, and I'm not sure I could stomach it, but I may have to rent it just to see Carlyle act. Here's a pic:
And the creepiness just doesn't end....
Monday, December 08, 2008
Anyway, the thing doesn't, of course, tell me when I've missed more than one post....so when I go visit, I need to click on the blog title, not the post title, then scroll through to make sure I haven't missed anything.
Well I goofed. Big time. SUV MAMA gave me an award on NOVEMBER 29 (yes, you read that right!) and I only just discovered it this weekend. I'm not sure I even still deserve it, but since she hasn't taken it down or yanked the graphic, I'm claiming it today. Here's what she wrote (about moi)!
"...I don’t think she’s revealed her “real” name but I think it’s okay if I call her G.
G was kind enough to meet me for dinner in Denver. I had a lovely time. We talked as though we had known each other for years. She’s just that kind of person- warm, funny, and sharp. My kind of cheese. G’s brain is always on, always working, and always going faster than the speed of light. Her view of life is positively interesting- and centered on being a grounded, dedicated wife & Mom who has achieved success through hard work- and yes, ingenuity..."
(sniff, sniff) Oh, you're done?
Well, I will agree with my brain always on, but the "always working" part seems to have been missed this time. Maybe it's because it's been going TWICE the speed of light lately...yeah, that's it! Either way, you all know me by now, and I am going to chalk this one up to a blonde moment.
Thanks, SUV Mama (Jess). I'm honored by this award and will place it proudly in my sidebar. You rock, and I'd love to meet you in Washington should I ever get the pleasure of going there again. Keep that baby boy of yours snug in your belly for the holidays, and I can't wait to hear all about him when he arrives, safely and soundly. You're the best!
Now, here's the award:
And a Plato funny:
We spent Saturday night at my folks; they babysat the kids while JeepMan and I went to a lame-0 Jeep Club Christmas Party (that was so lame it doesn't warrant elaboration).
The next morning my sister, "Aunt Tiff" and I were at the breakfast table with the whole family, discussing the evening before over fresh strawberry belgian waffles, a-la my dad. She had babysat the kids with my mom.
Apparently they were having a snack of sliced apples when Plato inquired as to what the nutrients in the apples were good for (a topic near and dear to his heart ever since the nutrition unit in 2nd grade).
Aunt Tiff: "He wanted to know if they were healthy for his eyes....or for his bones...or for a 'chest cold...'?"!
This last was accompanied by a cocked eyebrow and quizzical look.
Me: "Well, he HAS had a yucky cough for a couple days, but we've never called it a 'chest cold;' wonder where he heard that?"
Mouth full of waffle, Plato mumbled something that sounded like, "Thf nf wumf umf dumf."
Me: "Plato, don't talk with your mouth full. Swallow, then you can speak."
Dutifully he chewed and swallowed. Even took a drink of juice. He cleared his throat and spoke.
Plato: "I SAID, 'That's not what I said.'"
Aunt Tiff: "Well, then, what DID you say?"
Plato: "I ASKED, was this healthy for my eyes, my bones, or my Testicles!!"
Suddenly JeepMan was trying desperately not to spray waffle all over the table, my mom was speechless, my sister was turning several shades of red trying not to bust a gut laughing, and my dad was hunched over the waffle maker, his shoulders shaking with probable laughter.
Plato, being a quick study, immediately claimed the spotlight:
"You know, my BALLS!"
Please Save Me Now.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
"Do you really think Mommy is living at the airport while I'm gone, honey?"
(In response to Lulu's asking me when I'm going to be done staying at the airport this time.)
THIS WEEK'S PARTICIPANTS IN TINTINTS THURSDAY:
Frazzled But Loving It
KLS, Student Nurse
Student RN Tiffany
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
"Happy Thanksgiving from Moab, Utah!"
It's lovely out here, a Mecca of sorts for Hikers, Bikers, and Jeep-ers! Moab sits down in a valley just off the Colorado River in southeast Utah. It borders Arches National Park, and boasts its own Sand Flats Recreation Area which has offroad trails such as Fins-N-Things and Hell's Revenge.
I am a super-stud-jeep-drivin'-chick.
We're having a GREAT time; more posts and pics when we get back next week!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Whatever. You don't have to SAY it, you just have to DO it!!
I hereby officially launch a Weekly Post Idea. Play along if you like, it can be incredibly easy or incredibly deep. It's called "T.I.N.T.I.N.T.S Thursday."
The topic each Thursday is Things I Never Thought I'd Need To Say.
It all started Monday with my well-received phrase:
"Stop Drinking Your Potatoes. That's Rude."
Which was followed up Wednesday by Janey V's little nugget:
"Here's your Batman underpants back. Thanks for the loan."
So with Janey's enthusiastic endorsement, I've decided to run with this.
Now, TINTINTS started with some funny little statements. OK, hilarious. But while musing on this topic, I realized that there are many types of TINTINTS. Hypothetical examples:
"I can't believe I'm actually _________"
"You heard me, I said _______"
"I can't, I have a meeting with _______"
"Who flushed the _______ down the toilet?"
"What? You're saying I'm going to _______"
And so on and so on. The possibilities are truly infinite. Is there a phrase that marked the turning of your life in a completely new direction? One that devastated you? One that made you cry tears of joy? How about one that was so out of character for you that it became your "calling card?" One your parents used constantly that you SWORE you'd never need to use yourself? One that made you stop right there and rethink your whole life? Or revealed to you something about yourself that you'd never let yourself consider? How about a phrase so ludicrous that only the situation you were in at that very second could validate saying it (like drinking your potatoes, or exchanging Batman underwear with a grown woman).
Any phrase that made you stop, even for just a second, and think, "I can't believe I just actually said that" is fair game.
So here's the deal. If you want to participate, just post something on your blog, let me know, and I'll try to keep up with link-age. You can just leave a comment saying you posted and I'll link you. I'll try to post Weds evening, and I'll leave it up for Friday, possibly even the weekend if I'm busy!
Or, if you want to share a gem but don't want to post, just leave one in my comments section on Thursdays. You can use the TINTINTS to launch a story, or you can just hang it out there for the rest of us to laugh, cry, or scratch our heads over. Doesn't matter.
If you DO participate, could you kindly include linkage to me? I'd love to see a bit more blog traffic!
And with that, let the games begin!! Here's mine:
"Boogers do NOT count as a snack."
Yeah, Lulu eats boogers. Eeeeeew. And you thought she was so cute.
***MY FIRST PARTICIPANT!!***
Student RN Tiffany
Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...
57 % Nerd, 39% Geek, 30% Dork
"A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.
The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer! Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older.
What are you?
Monday, November 17, 2008
I was at the a pizza restaurant tonight, getting the kids settled, barking orders and trying to get them to SIT ON YOUR BUTT, BOTH CHEEKS ON THE CHAIR, STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER OR YOU'LL BOTH BE EATING IN THE TRUNK OF THE CAR SO HELP ME GOD!! You know, the usual. I was looking around for JeepMan and couldn't find him, so I headed over to the salad bar. Some guy bumped into me and I said "Excuse me..."
That's when the cement truck splatted me.
You see, in my mind, this "guy" that I had only half-paid attention to was "older," as in about 10 years older than me. He was going seriously gray and was stooped over (the salad bar, that is). I just blew him off as "some older dude."
It was JeepMan. And when I realized that I hadn't recognized my own husband because he looked too old to be my husband...you guessed it. BAM!
Wow...I'm still sort of reeling. 'Cause you see, if he looks older than I think he should look, then it stands to reason that I must be the same. Damn. That sucks rocks. (sigh)
On a funny note, I made a statement tonight that I could have never, ever, in a million years predicted that I would say:
"Stop Drinking Your Potatoes. That's rude."
What the???? Well it makes perfect sense when you know that Lulu had a cup of potatoes and gravy (watery potatoes and thin gravy) and she insisted on mixing them up into "potato pudding." The consistency was such that it didn't really want to stay on her spoon, so I suppose it made sense to her to drink them.
Ugh. I just had a total-body-grossed-out-shiver.
Maybe if I can I'll continue this theme for some short and sweet posts in the future.
I'll call it "Things I Never Thought I'd Need To Say."
Or something like that.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
On the Blog front: I have to say this because it just makes me giggle over and over. I've installed the new Feedjit widget, which lets me know where my traffic comes from and how it gets here. I am surprised at some of the searches that lead people to my little thoughtful spot: "Vitamins for Fidgety Children," "Boobs Showing Scrubs;" etc.
But the one that almost made me spew hot coffee out of my nose was this one: "Brendan Fraser Nipples."
Holy Crap. That's awesome!
Now I see why Penelope uses "Rush Limbaugh" as her chumming material of choice. Put it out there, and the sharks will start to circle!
On the Man front: I haven't mentioned JeepMan lately. Probably because he's being very, very good. In fact, this whole travel-work-thingy has brought us closer together. It's definitely deepened our appreciation for one another, and we cherish the time we have together even more. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder...or (pick a cliche).
I see him mellowing in his "old age," too (37!). Maybe it's because the kids are getting older, and more self-sufficient, and the gap in development has narrowed. He can really relate to them now, and that has chilled him out immeasurably. I really love listening to him talk to the kids, joke with them, play with them. He really is a great daddy, and I can see that very clearly now.
When they were infants? Well, I must admit that I sort of wondered what the heck I had gotten myself into, getting knocked up by THIS guy...!
He did something a few weeks ago that I keep meaning to post but keep forgetting. It's really not a huge thing on the surface, but for HIM? It's big. Huge.
My man, my no-nonsense, pragmatic, get-your-own-door, open-your-own-jar-you-weenie, MANLY-MAN...
(you may want to sit down. seriously.)
...gave up his office - his CORNER office with TWO windows and a DOOR (that closes and locks!)- the office that he earned after 8 years of service in his department- for a CUBE.
Why, you may ask? Is he NUTS? In point of fact: no, he actually isn't (at least not in this particular instance). So what drove him to this masochistic behavior?
Get out your Kleenex.
You're still sitting, right?
He gave his office up for a co-worker who just came back from maternity leave and is still breastfeeding. She has no where to pump except for the ladies' room, and he thinks that's not right. So he gave her his office for as long as she needs to pump.
I'm Verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.....
After I wiped my watery eyes (which he rolled his own eyes at), I told him, "Now, you KNOW she could breastfeed for the next YEAR or more, right?" He said, oh-so-nonchalantly, "Yeah, well, it's no big deal. I don't mind a change of scenery for awhile."
WHAT A MAN!!!
And before you start getting all suspicious, his cube is NOT close to the hottest woman in the office, or any of the cute work-study students. SHEESH! Like I would'nt see that one from a mile away!!
Besides. I checked.
And finally, on the Kid Front: Halloween is over, and here are some pics:
We love Halloween - What a blast!
Plato's been pretty quiet lately. He's learning about dinosaurs at school, and by osmosis, I'm always learning about dinosaurs that weren't even named when I was a kid. Like, Teratasaurus? I can't swear it wasn't around, but it wasn't one of the big dozen or anything!!
Lulu has been increasingly chatty. And she's a chatty kid anyway (maybe that's why Plato has been so quiet?). Now that the election is over, she's all excited that Barack Obama won. Which cracks me up! I'm sure it's just because it's fun to say his name.
The funniest thing is that she sees him EVERYwhere. Basically any young-ish, good-looking black man is Barack Obama to her. So far he has been spotted driving a school bus, putting gas in his car, walking his dog, pulling over a speeder, and shopping at Wal-Mart.
We were in the drive through at Burger King the other day, and the guy taking our money was a young black man. Then another young black man came to the window with our food. With both of them at the window, little miss Lulu observed (very loudly): "MOM!!!! DEY HAS TWO BARACK OBAMAS HERE!!!"
I just smiled at the guys. And hit the accelerator as the kids were wailing about ketchup. Ketchup? We have ketchup at home, dammit!
I later had a conversation with her about why she thought those boys were Obama. She said, "Because dey're BROWN BOYS, Mommy! Barack Obama is a brown boy, too!" I explained that just because people have the same skin color, that doesn't mean they're the same person.
Then used a very clever example about Daddy and Brendan Fraser having the same skin color, but obviously NOT being the same person!
Now when she picks up Plato's Nintendo DS and plays basketbal, she yells at the screen, "Shoot the ball, little brown boys!!" Once she caught me giggling and she said, indignantly: "WELL!!! I don't know dere NAMES!!!"
Well, at least she isn't yelling, "Shoot the ball, Barack Obamas!!"
That's all, Folks!
Monday, November 03, 2008
I actually got to be home all last week, which hasn't happened since May. Forgive me, but I didn't go near the computer at all, except one day when I had to do some online expense reports and miscellaneous "housekeeping" chores for work. Other than that, I just enjoyed my kids, my husband, my house, my yard, and my most-favorit-est holiday: Halloween.
Pics to be posted later this week, I hope. For now I am posting a quickie before I embark on my first of 3 flights in the next 3 days.
I try to decorate the yard a bit for Halloween. This year, I put some candy-corn lights in our tree, hung up some ghosts, and made a little pretend graveyard in the flower bed at the corner of our house. I did all this in about an hour on a day when I had to fly out; I wanted to leave the kids a little surprise for when they got home that evening.
When I talked to JeepMan that night, he said the kids loved it.
Lulu sat at the window for about 15 minutes just taking it all in. Then she got up from the couch, walked downstairs, and turned off all the lights.
When JeepMan asked her why, she put her hands on her hips and said, "Daddy! We need to save the batteries for Halloween!"
Plato has been big into his school's "Election" goings-on. He has been speculative about many aspects of the campaigns. He has already voiced his opinion about who should be president.
The other day he told me that he knew that he could run for president after he turned 35, but that he didn't think he would ever want to be president.
I asked why, and he said it was a lot of work, and that he would probably rather be vice-president.
Again, I asked why. He was thoughtful for a few moments
"Well, the vice president doesn't have to do ANYTHING. Unless the president dies."
Well, honey, the vice-president gets PAID to be vice-president, so he must do SOMETHING, don't you think?
"Well, I guess so..."
(thinks on it a while)
"Well the White House is pretty big...the vice-president must have to be the butler."
And lastly, we were all getting dressed to go out to the park, and JeepMan walked into the room with no shirt on. Now, he's no, ahem....Brendan Fraser...but my man looks pretty good to me.
Apparently Lulu doesn't agree. She took one look at him, and her jaw dropped.
"DADDY!! I didn't know you had big boobs like Mommy!!"
Poor guy. Guess I'll have to get him a "BRO:"
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Just hanging out and figured I'd do a quick Meme. This one's from Travis over at One Word, One Rung, One Day and it's a simple one: grab the book you are currently reading, flip to page 56, and give us 2 - 5 lines. Since page 56 isn't the best for quotes, I am going out of bounds here and going from page 51. This is an excerpt from Dearly Devoted Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay:
(Dexter is meeting his sister, a police officer, for lunch)
'Because I am an inhuman monster, I tend to be logical, and I had thought that her new assignment would end her martyrdom as Our Lady of Perpetual Grumpiness. Alas, even her transfer to homicide had failed to bring a smile to her face. Somewhere along the way she had decided that serious law enforcement personnel must reshape their faces until they look like large, mean-spirited fish, and she was still working very hard to accomplish this....'
'...She called in her location and status and then sat across from me with a frown.
"Well, Sergeant Grouper," I said as we picked up our menus.
"Is that funny Dexter?"
"Yes," I said, "Very funny. And a little sad, too. Like life itself. Especially your life, Deborah." '
If you haven't read the Dexter novels, I would enthusiastically recommend them. The writing is as enjoyable, if not more so, than the story. Now that's my kind of book!
I still owe JaneyV a meme. Hopefully soon, Janey!
Aannnddd, he LOOKS smarter, too."
Friday, October 10, 2008
Put on your hard hats, post ideas are falling from the sky today.
First, a confession. I had a major blonde moment today. I was trying to get cash from an ATM at one of my hospitals. The machine looked ancient. I put my card in, entered my PIN, and then couldn't get the thing to give me any money. I couldn't select the options: there were options in green, red, and black, with buttons on the keypad in corresponding colors. I tried pushing every button, then pulled my card out and tried again. Same deal.
I did this 5 times, then tried a different card. Same thing. Disgusted, I headed off to my case with no cash (and no coffee, grrr...). I asked the folks in the lab if they've ever had troubles with the machine. No, no one else ever had that issue. I figured the damn thing was malfunctioning and someone would probably be fixing it.
6 hours later, I tried one more time before I left the hospital. Same thing. As I pulled out my card to leave, a light bulb went on. I swear, there had to be one above my head!!
I put my card back in, entered the PIN, and USED THE TOUCH SCREEN. Voila!! Money!! (giant forehead slap) Some days I'm just so blonde it hurts.
There I was, commuting (hate it!), warily watching the bumper-riding teenage driver behind me as she held her phone in one hand and twirled her hair with her other. I had my escape route all planned out like a good driver. I pulled up to a stoplight, braced for the impact, and when it didn't come I turned my attention to the car in front of me.
Crud. Why did I do that? I now have one of those brain-eating questions that Lewis Black talks about. The one you will NEVER learn the answer to:
"...when from behind me, a woman of 25 uttered the dumbest thing I'd ever heard in my life ... She said, 'If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.'
I'll repeat that.
I'll repeat that because that's the kind of sentence that when you hear it, your brain comes to a screeching halt. And the left hand side of the brain looks at the right hand side and goes, 'It's dark in here. And we may die.'
She said, 'If it weren't for my horse...' as in, giddy up, giddy up, let's go -
'I wouldn't have spent that year in college...' a degree-granting institution.
Don't! Don't think about that sentence for more than three minutes, or blood'll shoot out your nose. The American medical profession doesn't know why we get an aneurysm. It's when a blood vessel bursts in our head for no apparent reason.
There's a reason.
You're at the mall one day, and somebody over there says the dumbest thing you've ever heard and it goes in your ear. So you turn around to see if your friends heard it, 'cause if your friends heard it, and you can talk about what the jackass said, then it'll be gone. But your friends are over here, pretending they're gonna buy a cellular phone, and they're not gonna buy a cellular phone, because they don't even understand how the rate structure works.
So you turn back, to find the person who said it, because if you can ask 'em a question like, 'WHAT THE F**K ARE YOU TALKIN' ABOUT?!' ...then it'll go away. But they're gone.
And now those words are in your head. And those words don't go away.
'Cause the way I see it, 7% of our brains functions all the time, because 99% of everything that happens is the same old stuff. We get it. All right. Move on. Get it. Right.
But every so often, somethin' like that happens:
'If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college.'
So your brain goes, 'LET'S FIGURE IT OUT! Son of a Bitch! I wonder what that's about?!!'
I wonder, was she riding the horse to school? No, she wouldn't be riding the horse to school.
Maybe it was a polo pony? She had a Polo Pony Scholarship.
Maybe she sold the horse and that's how she...?
....She was betting on the horse!
WHAT THE F**K!!!!
And then you realize that anybody who went to college would never SAY anything that stupid in public...and as soon as you have that thought, your eyes close...
And the next morning they find you dead in your bathroom."
(The White Album, 2000)
Pardon Lewis' language, he claims that F**K is his "thinking word;" you know, instead of "like...uhm..." Much more colorful.
Anywho, back to my own personal brain-eating question. The license plate in front of me reads:
No, I did not type that incorrectly. That's what it read. Phonetically, that would be "poh-nee-eet-uhr"
I'll let that eat your brain for a moment.
U crazy yet?
Because I'm going freakin' NUTS.
So my brain is running wild. The car is a recent model Buick LeSabre - and the guy driving is about 75 years old (I can see his white combover through the rear windshield). He's turning into Wal-Mart. So what's with PONYETR? Is it his last name? Unlikely. Is it some kind of vulgarity? That's a long shot.
So does he, literally, eat ponies? Like horse meat? Doesn't seem likely that its something a person would feel the need to advertise on a license plate.
Gathering speed, my mind downshifts and hits the accelerator. Now it's spewing other license plates that follow this theme (for my non-US readers: the standard US license plate is 7 letters and/or numbers):
Jeffrey Dahmer's plate: MANEATR (would also work for Hall & Oates)
Drunken Sot: BEEFETR (or a rampant carnivore)
Lord Voldemort: DETHETR
Hunger Striker: NONEATR
Insert your favorite food here: PIG- COW- CHIK- FISH- ETR
Deity on earth: SUNEATR, MOONETR, STARETR,
Foot Fanatic: ODORETR
Obese Driver: UBERETR
Always Wrong: CROWETR
I finally got the brakes applied and my brain skidded to a screeching halt. I had to find something that I could accept as reasonable so I could sweep this issue under my mental rug and move on.
So here it is: my backstory to the shiny black LeSabre with grandpa behind the wheel and the license plate proclaiming: PONYETR.
So this old guy saved all his money when he was a young man to buy a muscle car, say a Dodge Charger. He used to drag race the thing, and his biggest competition was a guy driving a Ford Mustang. As a cocky gesture, he went out and got himself a license plate that read PONYETR, and he's never been able to let it go since it makes him feel young.
Either that, or that was his nickname in WWII.
Any thoughts on this one?
Thursday, October 09, 2008
The ticket is due this week and, interestingly, we have found not one, but TWO $50 bills this week, both with no chance of finding owners.
Karma? Seems like a pretty big coincidence to me.
Thanks, K. Won't you stay a while?
****footnote: probably explains the money part of the dream below, huh?****
Monday, October 06, 2008
I dream a lot. I remember many of my dreams. Mostly I dream in vignettes. Several dreams in a night, but I don't usually remember the stories behind most of them: most often the ones right before I wake.
Occasionally, however, I have one of those marathon dreams...do you have these? It's like I have the same dream ALL NIGHT LONG. Vivid detail, complicated scenes, and seemingly authentic sensory stimulation. I wake up exhausted from processing (manufacturing?), all this information.
Whenever I have one of these dreams, I think about it obsessively. There is so much to consider, I feel like there must be a deeper meaning. The theory that the dream is simply a massive dump of my brain cheapens the experience. So I analyze, ponder, dissect...and frequently don't come up with much. Some things are just destined to remain mysterious.
So the dream: I am leaving out a lot of the detail since this isn't a novel. I'll try to hit the highlights.
I'm in a floating restaurant with my in-laws, but not my husband (?). We are having a nice dinner, when all of a sudden the restaurant starts pitching and rolling like a yacht. MIL says we have to leave, and quick.
Cut to the escape: we're in a car speeding over a long low bridge. To the left is a low-profile steel-domed building hugging the bank of the river. My MIL is bitching a blue streak about how she has joined a group that's been trying to sue the "nuc-u-ler guy" because his plant is interfering with the environment...blah, blah, blah...and all I'm thinking is: "Nuc-le-ar. Nuclear physicist. GAH!"
The building sends out a large sonic-boom type sound and the bridge starts shaking. I look behind and there is a wall of water rushing at us. The bridge ends on an uphill. FIL floors it, and as we crest the hill the wall of water engulfs the restaurant, bridge, and building below us. We are safe.
Cut to the park. My in-laws are gone, and now I am in a Jeep Cherokee with JeepMan driving. We are cruising through a sodden basin-shaped park, trying to find a way out. There are other vehicles all around us stuck in the mire. JeepMan decides to drive up an incredibly steep hill. I am telling him, then screaming to him, that we can't make it, it's too steep and the grass is too slippery but he floors it and we almost make it...then we are sliding backwards and the Jeep slams sideway against a tree growing out of the hillside, wedging itself there. I'm pissed!! I get out and start stomping away as JeepMan is trying to justify his risky, stupid action. Whatever. I squish through the slippery grass as a group of hippie-kids at the bottom of the hill trying to unstick their van start yelling at me about how cool that was, rock on, far out dude...
Cut to downtown, dusk. Nondescript city, I am walking in a herd of people that I don't know, together but anonymous. We are all heading somewhere, but I don't know where. The concrete is slathered with a thin layer of river mud that sucks weakly at my shoes as I walk. I look down and can hardly believe it but there's a soggy bill. I pick it up, and it's a $20. Sweet. I keep walking, and there's another. And another. Now I'm looking ahead and seeing them scattered all over the place. Others are noticing, so I start scrambling. One of them is a $50. I'm starting to get a stack. The money is soggy but, hey,it'll dry. A money truck must have gotten caught up in the wave or something. More bills. I'm scrapping with the frantic crowd. There's a $100 bill. And holy crap, a $200 bill...
My consciousness comes up for a gasp of air and I think, "Hey. I don't think there's any such thing as a $200 bill. Is this a dream?"
Then I'm pulled back under and I'm in a house with a bunch of people I don't know. I'm going up the stairs with my wad of soggy bills and I overhear someone downstairs say the cops are out on the streets stopping people to recover the money that is all over the street. I can't believe they didn't stop me but here I am with a giant wad of bills, and I'm in a house, and they can't come in here, right? A second disembodied voice says it doesn't matter, the money's worthless, they have the serial numbers and if anyone spends the money they'll be busted anyhow.
I should turn it in, but I can't, just can't. It's so much money!
So I go into a bedroom and there's Leonardo DiCaprio and I'm unfazed, like I expect him to be there. I show him the money and he says we have to hide it, somewhere safe. There is a young woman on the bed, sleeping, and her face is covered with the dew of fever. He glances at her with indifference, saying, "...she's sick. I don't know what's wrong with her." Then we head to the bathroom and he takes the money and melts it down, then pours it, drop by drop, into a big jug of water. Each drop hardens into a sphere of platinum and sinks quickly to the bottom. I am left with a bag of platinum marbles. There. The police can't track the money now.
We head back to the bedroom and the girl looks bad, real bad. In fact, upon closer inspection, she's dead. He face is covered with open seeping wounds and Leo says it was leprosy. Suddenly he's scared; he thinks he gave it to her. He gets twitchy and says we need to hide the body. I tell him no way, I'm in enough trouble already what with the money thing and all. He's wrapped the body in a sheet and is ordering me to help him lift it when I hear the cops break down the door and start raiding the house.
Cut to me running down the stairs, three at a time, four, until I'm leaping from landing to landing. There must be a dozen flights, I don't remember there being that many. I end up in a basement crouching behind a pool table. Others are clamoring in, and I can hear the approaching bootfalls and shouts of the police. Suddenly the room is full and there are dozens of people and the cops are pulling their guns and shouting. It's mass chaos but I stick to the wall and manage to sidle along until I join up with a group of people heading up the stairs and we're moving as one creature up the stairs as cops continue to stream down one by one, ignoring us in favor of the cacophony downstairs.
Then I'm outside in the dark and trying to sneak away. The air is cool and fresh and I inhale deeply before I realize that people are running everywhere. I watch police chase them down one by one, tackling them and cuffing them. I just want to hide. I crouch in the shadowy lee of a garage and try to be small. I'm alone, in the dark, on the lam with no one to reach out to. I know they're going to catch me - it's only a matter of time.
I wake up with my heart pounding and the lingering panic sensation of hiding in the dark being hunted during a police raid.
What the heck?
Analyze that, Jung. Freud. Dr. Phil.
'Cause I don't get it.
***no sleeping drugs were involved in the making of this dream. or bedtime snacks. nope, this is pure, unadulterated brain droppings***
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
It was a rough week for me. I flew every day but two: Weds and Thurs. My boss spent Tues-Fri with me in Nebraska "shadowing" me, as she has to do a few times a year. On the good side, it was certainly nice to have company and we got to know each other better: turns out we have a lot in common! On the bad side, one of our commonalities is that she is a foodie just like me, and we had some
So I haven't stepped on the scale this weekend because frankly, I don't need the downer. I can tell by my clothes that I have certainly not LOST anything, and if I've gained anything back, I just really don't want to know! Thankfully I'm back on my own this week, accountable to only myself and my Blub Blub Sisters, so I am handcuffing myself to "the wagon." When I get back this coming Friday, that dreaded scale and I have a date.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
This morning I walked through the cafeteria of the hospital I was helping for the day. I knew that I wanted protein and that was about it. On the way, I had to pass all the homemade goodies of their wonderful cook: peach cobbler, butterscotch-caramel brownies, three kinds of scones, muffins, coffee cake, and cookies. I felt as if I was walking through the valley of the shadow of junk food. And then this idea hit me: a psalm for the sisterhood, based on Psalm 23:
The Lord is my personal trainer; I shall not wallow in sloth.
He maketh me jog through green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the spring water counter.
He restoreth my body.
He leadeth me in the path of fitness for my health's sake.
Yea, though I power-walk through the valley of the shadow of soda and cookies,
I will fear no weakness; for thou art with me.
Thy vegetables and protein bars; they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me of healthy food choices
in the presence of mine fast-food enemies;
Thou annointest my head with monounsaturated oil;
My cup of green tea runneth over.
Surely health and skinny jeans shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of self-confidence forever.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
A:Accent: I'm from the Midwest, where absence of accent is well-documented. Rumor has it that news anchors and the like are heavily recruited from this area for just that reason.
B:Breakfast or no Breakfast: I could skip it everyday. I'm not hungry when I wake up. I usually make myself eat something just because I know I will get busy later and I hate to be starving by lunchtime.
C:Chore I hate: Cleaning the floors. JeepMan does all the vacuuming, God love him. But I get the kitchen/bathroom floors. Around the toilet is the worst. Two males in the house, need I say more?
D:Dog or Cat: Don't have either, but someday, a DOG.
E:Essential Electronics: My laptop and my Treo. Can't do my job without it. And I'm addicted to Bubble Breaker - how lame is that?
F:Favorite Perfume: Pink Sugar by Aquolina for everyday, Donna Karan Gold for special occasions. On him? Tuscany por Homme
G:Gold or Silver: Gold shows off my skin tone best, but I like silver too.
H:Handbag I carry most often: Whatever I found that season at Kohl's. I only buy one per season, then use it up and get rid of it. Not a purse person.
I:Insomnia: Used to get it worse than now. I think I'm just perpetually exhausted now!
J:Job Title: "Professional Education Specialist"
K:Kids: Two: Lulu, 4 and Plato, 7. Gifts from heaven.
L:Living Arrangement: Home with the kiddos and hubby!
M:Most admirable trait: I'm a good listener.
N:Naughtiest childhood behavior: Picking on my sister.
O:Overnight Hospital Stays: Yes. Several. Quite the experience for a nurse!
P:Phobias: Heights - more specifically, falling.
Q:Quote: "'Some stories', she'd say, 'the more you tell them, the faster you use them up. Those kind, the drama burns off, and every version, they sound more silly and flat. The other kind of story, it uses you up. The more you tell it, the stronger it gets. Those kind of stories only remind you how stupid you were. Are. Will always be.'" Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted
R:Reason to smile: Don't have a reason NOT to smile. I live a blessed life.
S:Siblings: One little sister (2 years younger) who I am fortunate to get to call my best friend. She's an amazing woman.
T:Time I wake up: Different every day; when I'm not working I like to sleep till about 9am.
U:Unusual Talent or skill: I'm pathetically usual and non-talented.
V:Vegetable I refuse to eat: Raw or undercooked onion. It's a texture thing.
W:Worst Habit: Picking my fingernails, especially in social situations. I think it's genetic - my mom and sister do it too.
X:X-rays: I work around them every day. I've had a few taken of me on purpose too.
Y:Yummy Stuff: Crab legs, chocolate, sushi, cookies, pecan pie...where do I stop? I LOVE food.
Z:Zoo animal I like the most: Sea lions, I could watch them swim around all day.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I had to try hard to process this question, but I finally asked him, "Do you mean, when we die do our spirits come back as a baby so we can have a new life?"
"Yeah, that's what I mean."
Plato goes to a very culturally diverse school so it isn't surprising that some of his friends might have these beliefs.
"That's called 'reincarnation,' Plato, and some people think that's what happens when we die. I'm not really sure what happens - no one knows, so it might be possible."
Plato was quiet for a few moments, then declared, "Well, I hope that's not what happens. I don't want to have to get all those shots all over again!"
Doing clean-up today:
Lulu: (holding up a pair of dirty socks) Mom? Where do I put deese?
Where do you think they go, Lulu?
Lulu: In da dirty hamp-ster?
Monday, September 08, 2008
Anyway, props to Monnik for guessing correctly. After dropping the kids at MILs for their annual Circus weekend, we spent Labor Day weekend in Sandusky, OH. Home of the Roller Coaster Capitol of The World: Cedar Point.
This impromptu mini-vacation signified, for me, the fulfillment of a nearly lifelong dream. Many have been the hours that I have stared slackjawed at my television screen watching documentaries such as, "Top 10 Wildest Rides," and "Top 10 Amusement Parks of 2007." I can watch them over and over and never get bored.
As you may have ascertained, I am a roller-coaster aficionado. Only lack of money and means has kept me from teetering over the precipice into Junkie status. Funny thing is, I have always been deathly afraid of heights. Introspection has revealed to me the truth: it is not the height I am afraid of, but the fall. Goofy but true. Send me to any amusement park, and I can tell you without even looking at the map what ride I am most afraid of.
Ready? Don't laugh:
I'm SERIOUS!! Just looking at this picture gives me the heebie-jeebies. I just can't put my faith in these things. They don't look PROBABLE. The cable looks small, the cars look heavy, and the little thingy that clips onto the cable? I mean, LOOK AT IT. It doesn't look right! A large percentage of these horrifying contraptions were made in the early part of last century. Am I the only one who has noticed the bodily expansion of our population over the last 75 years? I mean, what if the thing is running at capacity and more than half its occupants are grossly overweight? No thanks.
But put me in front of this beauty, and my mouth begins to water:
This beastie is called the Top Thrill Dragster. It is an out-and-back coaster that launches the rider from 0 to 120 mph in 3.8 seconds, climbs vertically to 420 feet, then drops straight back down, twisting 270 degrees before leveling out and returning to the station. I counted it: this ride takes a whopping 15 seconds from launch to stop. See? You can hold your breath the whole time!! This ride was recently Tallest AND Fastest in the world. It's a title that is always fleeting, and I believe is now held by an almost identical coaster called Kingda-Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure....a mere 8 mph faster and 45 feet taller than this ride. In my experience, second best was still quite a ride.
Three or four of their other giant coasters have been routinely voted in the top 10 best by coaster enthusiasts in recent years; and one, Maverick, got best new coaster of 07. I did not get to go on this one as after we waited in line 30 minutes it broke down and I had to pee so bad we just got out of line. 5 minutes later it was running again, but I wasn't about to start waiting all over. Something saved for next time, I guess!
Cedar Point is home to 18 rollercoasters. A few are wimpy, and though technically qualify as rollercoasters, do not count toward the thrill factor at this park. They do, however, serve nicely to offload some of the crowd. Lines were long by my standards, but hey, my local amusement park has 3, count 'em 1-2-3, rollercoasters, two of which will chip your teeth or send you gimping to the nearest chiropractor in screeching agony. If I have to stand in line more than 30 minutes, that's a long line in my book.
Coaster designs were varied, ranging from wood to steel, with one wooden/steel hybrid racing coaster that was lots of fun. In the steel variety (my favorite for smoothness and speed), there were stand-up, suspended, traditional, and minimal-restraint varieties. The Millenium Force was one such coaster, with just a lap bar and no sides to the cars. Once the Tallest and Fastest, it was a breathtaking ride with unbelievable smoothness.
I found this side-by-side comparison of the largest rides at Cedar Point:
The one on the left is probably comparable to the biggest thrill at my local amusement park. You can see that this was a HUGE treat for us!
As an extra treat, this whole park takes up almost an entire penninsula in Lake Eerie. Temperatures are moderate, and the views are spectacular
Aside from the park, we found a great little place to eat. When I go on vacation I don't want to eat at chain restaurants. I want to find something good and local. Asking locals where they eat is a great idea, but we couldn't find any locals at Cedar Point (go figure, they probably avoid it like the plague). So we turned to our handy-dandy GPS. We decided we wanted Barbecue. Voila! Two local restaurants, in opposite directions. We drove East 11 miles, and ended up in the middle of a trailer park as GPS-Aussie-lady announced perkily, "Arrah-vang at deistinah-tion..." Opting not to go knocking on trailer doors demanding BBQ, we punched in the other location, now 22 miles away. As we pulled up to this destination, this time a dark underpass in a run-down residential neighborhood, we gave up on BBQ and decided to go somewhere close by.
An "All Foods" search by Garmin revealed a restaurant called Crabby Joe's. Down a gravel road and out to the shores of Lake Eerie (Marblehead), Crabby Joe's was a bar with a deck enclosed by a permanent wedding-tent. Sounds seedy, but to us it was just local. A 50-ish man played keyboards in a corner with a pricey sound system singing covers of anything from Neil Diamond to Elvis Presley and more. We ordered the house special, "Drunken Mussels by The Pitcher," and some beers. What a lovely surprise when a beer-pitcher full of mussels and filled to the brim with a butter-garlic-wine sauce arrived, complete with tongs and soft lovely bread for dipping. We joked later that we should have just ordered 2 pitchers! After the appetizer I had local fresh-caught perch fillets, and we danced to "Fools Rush In," our song from our wedding, only done by UB-40 in 1996.
We played pool, got invited onto a 30 foot yacht by some creepy guy named Stele (yes, he spelled it for us), and I got hit on by some local thugs who were trying to sneak their 18 year old hoochie-mamas into the bar.
All in all, a vacation to remember. We'll definitely be back.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I hate having to do the html to get the crossout, so I'm going to italics them)
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/ linking to your results.
The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
27. Dulce de leche (cajeta crepes, yum!)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (on a wharf in San Francisco!)
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (skinny cigar - uck)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
41. Curried goat
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (the midwest equivalent, not the original deal)
60. Carob chips
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (yum, yum, yum and yum!)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
90. Criollo chocolate (mayan)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
Wow!! 73...not bad. I'll try most anything once. I DO draw the line at insects, though. And anything made of blood.
How 'bout you?