Not A Pink Girl

I want to travel! *eyes glaze over*

August 4, 2009
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Whew. It’s a tough travel world out there.

I crave travel. I want to go on a trip. I yearn to hit the road. But it’s not that simple.

I’m beginning to think that, unless you have an unlimited bank account, planning a getaway is an overwhelming & off-putting challenge. Every year I go through this. It’s about to drive me nuts!

When I was a kid, we didn’t really travel. We went to the beach (Ocean City MD) every summer for a week (for a couple of years there, 2 weeks). That was it. *yawn*

Don’t get me wrong. I loved our beach vacations. I lived for them. Ocean City was (still is, maybe more so) a tacky tourist trap with a boardwalk filled with all the sights & smells that make a little kid dizzy with the possibilities. Thrasher’s French Fries (I think they were the original “boardwalk fries”), Dolle’s caramel popcorn, Dumser’s real custard soft-serve ice cream (not like the fake weird stuff they serve at McDonald’s now), The Dough Roller pizza pies, Josh’s doughnuts (now called The Fractured Prune), Weitzel’s Crab Cakes, The Candy Kitchen’s fudge (I always found saltwater taffy to be the biggest letdown; all the flavors sounded so great & it just tasted so blah [& took my fillings out to boot]), & so many more yummy stuff.

IMG_0237

Each dozen is made to your order! *drool*

Each dozen is made to your order! *drool*

I’m done with all the maintenance doctor appointments for me & my son (dentist, general practitioner). I’m itching to hit the road. Have you ever seen the book RoadFood? I want to drive (& eat) my way through that book.

I’m especially tempted by all the diners in New England. I adore New England. I figure it’s sort of like when you go to Europe. Everything is so close together. You can land in London, stay there a week, hop a ferry, visit the old castles & monastery ruins in Ireland, take another boat to France, buy a EuroRail pass & take the train to Paris, then Marseilles, Provence, the French Riviera… mais qui, mon vieux! Oops, got lost in thought there for a second & imagined myself wearing a jaunty beret & Paloma Mon Rouge red lipstick while walking my well-groomed poodle as I teeter down the 13th arrondissement & hum La Vie en Rose

In other words, if you go to Europe you’re in the immediate vicinity of lots of major cities on the continent. But if you live in Arkansas, good luck if you want to go to Vegas. You have to fly or borrow some vacation days from somebody at your job.

Remember back in the olden days when you’d drive to Florida at the drop of a hat? I’ve driven to Florida “straight through” about 3 times. That means I didn’t stop. It was a 22-hour drive. That was back when my bones & muscles were relatively flexible (like, in my 20s). Now, if I drive 100 miles without stopping, I get a “hitch in my gitalong,” otherwise known as a cramp in my hip. And how about that “restless leg syndrome?” Sheesh! When did they invent that? I get this weird feeling just below my knees all the way down to my toes. It’s not pain, but it’s this feeling like, if I don’t walk around & get the blood circulating in my legs pretty soon, my feet are gonna fall off.

The funniest part is when I go to get out of the car after driving for a hundred or so miles. I have to get out very. Slowly. And carefully. Then stand for a minute, just stand there, before I take a step. And it’s not like I’m 80 or something.

The tough thing is that I find it so difficult to book airline tickets. Don’t get me wrong, I love to fly. I mean, think about it. It takes about 2 hours to get from DC to Fort Myers Florida by plane. If I drive it takes 22 hours. Really easy choice there, right? But when’s the last time you booked airline tickets online? I am serious when I tell you I break out in a sweat every time I try to buy a seat on a plane. I always end up closing the page before I enter my credit card number & click SUBMIT.

It seems easy, right? You go to Expedia or Travelocity & put in your travel dates. First, I don’t like the markup you have to pay to use these sites. It’s just so arbitrary, sort of like the “service charge” you have to pay when you buy concert tickets through TicketMaster (the name says it all) or LiveNation. I mean it can’t cost $9 a ticket to drive to the box office at the venue & buy your tickets, even factoring in the age-old “Time is money” conundrum, carbon footprint, gas, wear & tear on your vehicle, etc. If you’re buying 4 tickets, that $36 extra you have to spend just to print the tickets out on your home printer! Thank you, dear Master, for giving me the opportunity to line your pockets with gold pieces!

Okay, so Expedia & Travelocity are out. So just pop over to one of the many airline websites, like JetBlue. I love JetBlue. I’ve flown it to Vegas. That is definitely a party flight. Everybody’s in a good mood, convinced their going to line their pockets with the MegaBucks jackpot at Caesar’s Palace. Or get lucky in another way.

All the flight attendants are perky & chirpy & passing out the Famous Amos cookie packets & bottled water like there’s no tomorrow. The flight back is a different story. I took the red-eye back. Huh-boy. Even the flight attendants are like flaccid kiddie party balloons. Vegas giveth… & Vegas taketh away.

But it was cheap, something like $238 round trip (that includes all the hundreds of extra charges, like taxes, Dick Cheney-Halliburton fuel surcharge, 9/11 security fee, TSA teach-the-security-officers-how-to-look-really-threatening class fee, etc.). And my friend Mary has a timeshare at Tahiti Villages (you know, the one that’s hawked by Alan Thicke as he stands knee-deep in one of the swimming pools on the property). The desert is beautiful in November (we went 2 weeks before Thanksgiving) & I hadn’t been there since 1995.

So, back to the present & my itch to go on vacation. I think I’m going to end up driving to Florida. Yes, I know I said I’d never do it again. The last time I drove to Florida was July 2005. I had a Scarlett O’Hara moment where I shook my fist at the I-95 rest stop sign & shouted, “As God is my witness, I’ll never make this drive again!”

But we did have an unforgettable time. I’ll tell you about it in another post.

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I’m a proud mom… what next?

May 30, 2008
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When you get to be my age AND you have a teenager for the second time around, it’s tough trying to figure out how to navigate as a parent. I want to guide my son but I don’t want to get in his way. I want to firmly steer him in what I believe to be the right direction, but he’s old enough to put one foot in front of the other towards his own goals, too.

My son received an award at school tonight for being in the top 20% of his school academically. He goes to a small, independent (of the diocese) Catholic school that has 260 students. He & 15 of his schoolmates got this academic award. It’s my son’s freshman (first) year at this school & it is not an easy school. I am so proud of him I could burst. (Heard that before from moms, have you?)

My son also got a letter in academics. The school he goes to is exceedingly sports-minded, but it recognizes outstanding students with the same type of letter that the good athletes get. So we’re walking down the boxwood path from school tonight after the ceremony. As the cool breeze lifts my hair & I bask in the pleasure of being proud of my kid, my son turns to me with the letter in his hand & says, “This is SO dorky.”

Now, I’ve been wondering for a few months now (okay, actually since last summer vacation ended) what the heck I was going to do with my son for the summer of 2008. I don’t want him sitting in front of his laptop IMing & facebooking (okay, I love facebook; if you’re on it, check me out) & generally sitting on his butt. He’s sedentary (he gets that from his parents) & has never been athletic. So I got the idea that I would get him a personal trainer.

I joined the local gym in the fall of 2004. I’ve never played a sport (not in school or otherwise). My father said that girls should learn to cook & clean & that organized sports were for boys (no, this wasn’t during medieval times, it was in the 1960s & 70s). I have 3 sisters & none of us ever played a sport in school. My brother (the only boy in the family), on the other hand, played every sport: football, basketball, baseball, you name it.

I “worked out” at Spa Lady in the late 1980s – early 1990s, but never really broke much of a sweat. So a little over 3 years ago I joined the local gym. Suddenly, my husband decided he wanted to join too (after never lifting anything other than a 12-ounce Coke in all the many years I’d known him). So he took my son – then 11 – & signed him up, too.

My son has been to the gym twice in the past year. His father, maybe twice that many times.

My son balks at the suggestion of any kind of physical activity. But I have a friend at the gym who recently started his own personal training business after getting his national certification. This guy has a great personality & I think my son would respond well to his training. My friend’s name is Dion & he’s also the leader of a gospel choir.

I took my son to see Dion & his choir sing about a year ago. My son loved the service & the music. So he’s met Dion & likes him. We’re meeting this Saturday to talk about my son starting a training program.

I’m nervous!

I was flipping around on the TV last night (ended up on The Andromeda Strain which was rather good – not great – but it was only the first episode; I love Eric McCormack & Benjamin Bratt so the eye candy factor is high which don’t hurt) & saw a bit of Work Out on Bravo with nutty Jackie, the owner of the gym & the star of this reality series. She had some of her very-out-of-shape clients running flat out in a boot camp. Yikes! Is that what Dion’s going to expect my son to do?!

More on this subject later in the week.

 


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