Sitting on the dock of the ba….lake

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Day 5 of not working. A blog could get used to this.
Sorry about the posting silence. Lots of birds, trees, water and sky – but no wifi.
Happy Fourth of July eve!

Vacation part deux

Wishing I drove a big, fat, earth destroying SUV right now…

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Don’t worry – the Subaru is so weighted down we’ll only be able to go 20 miles an hour.
#weareclassy
#don’tbejealous

Time Out

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Holiday.
It isn’t just a Madonna song anymore.
It’s what this blog is doing. Or more importantly – not doing.
Just a mini break.
A short rest.
A small respite.
You get the picture. (Incase you didn’t I included photos)
Just trying to make you jealous.
Just a little bit.
Later suckers… With your jobs and responsibilities and what not.
I can’t relate. Not for 2 more days.

Grab Bag

The last few days of school are here. No more lunches I didn’t make. No more papers I forgot to sign. No more reading logs I forgot to send in. Phew. It’s been a long year. 

I can’t wait to go into summer mom mode. Summer mom is so much nicer and calmer than, say, holiday-crunch mom – or worse yet, new-school-shopping-at-the-last-minute mom. 

I asked my boy what we should get for his teacher as a thank you gift – lord knows she deserves it.  He had just finished telling me about “John the bus driver”. He’s a Yankees fan with 3 grandkids. He likes to fish and go to the beach. He loves candy and once he let all the kids eat leftover Halloween candy on the way home. Thanks John. Ok – so I’m set with what to get for John. 

Me: “But what about Mrs. S?” I say. “What does she like?”. 

The boy: “ummm. She wears sweatshirts everyday.”

Me: “ok, like team sweatshirts? Does she love the Eagles or Phillies or something?”

The boy: “No. Not really. They’re like jean sweatshirts. All different colors.”

Me: “uh huh. ok.”

This exchange made me think of another exchange, one even less helpful than this one, about 12 years ago.

I had just joined a very tight-knit group of event planners who seemed to have a million inside jokes, were constantly making fun of each other, worked insanely hard, and had a great time to boot. The leader of this pack was a woman who would go on to become one of my closest friends, but who at that point, wanted very little to do with me. To gain some brownie points, I wanted to buy the perfect gift when her birthday came around.  I asked one of the other gals that had known her the longest what she liked. Here’s the list she emailed me:

  1. Pugs
  2. The Spanish Language
  3. Traveling

This is not a joke. This was the list. WTF. What was I supposed to do with this list? Pugs? The Spanish Language? Come on! 

Once I got over the outrageousness of it – I laughed my ass off. 

To this day, when someone asks me what to get for someone else, I have to hold myself back from saying,”the Spanish language or pugs”.

 

 

 

Monumental

We took a quick trip to DC after Easter – literally.  As in we cleaned up, packed leftovers, said goodbye to our family and hit the road.

My husband and I have both been to DC often, but just for work. From train to conference room to train. This was an all out tourist trip.

We landed in the  capital at the stroke of 11pm. After miles and miles and miles of traffic, here’s what we saw heading into our hotel. Pretty friggin cool.

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For the next two days we traveled by trolley, monument to monument, museum to museum.

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It was cherry blossom festival time but a late snow meant no blooming trees (actually there were a couple but we couldn’t see them with all the Japanese tourists surrounding them. True story).

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This is Julia Child’s kitchen. Recreated spoon by spoon at the Smithsonian. This was my favorite monument in all of DC. Cluttered. Utilitarian. Completely unMartha. It was awesome.

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Thanks Easter bunny.

5 Star Problems but a **** ain’t one

I have a problem.

A Tripadvisor problem.

It happens every year.

At about this time, my mind and body starts craving/dreaming/needing a vacation. Somewhere different. Preferably to a place where trains are called metros and where you can stay in a flat instead of an apartment. Or maybe a tropical turquoise retreat where I can drink from a coconut and lay on beach.

A place where I can be Vacation Mom and Vacation Wife. The one that doesn’t worry and nag and yell and order. The one that lets you buy obscenely pricey gum from the gift shop and stay up until you feel like falling asleep. The one that doesn’t care if anyone has brushed their teeth or combed their hair. She’s awesome. I miss her.

But in order to transform into this groovy, go-with-the-flow chick we need to get the hell out of dodge first.

And in order to do that we need to find a place to go.

And every time we find a place I am compelled to that damn website to check out the reviews.

It never ends well for me.

Everyone has an opinion, and I read every last one.

MaryS from Wichita thinks the rooms at a certain resort in Puerto Rico aren’t clean enough.

George from New Jersey didn’t like any of the restaurants but loved the pool at his hotel in Hawaii.

clevergirl8 from Texas loved Peru but had a horrible time with customs at the airport.

I try to focus on just the positive. You can’t make everyone happy, I say to myself.

But then I toss and turn and doubt. And doubt.

Are people just really really picky?

I realize that I could never have been one of those people backpacking through Europe or Asia or Idaho. I need research. Data. Background. I need to know that others have gone before me and had a good time. Or not.

So we’ll make our plans for vacation and it’ll be very exciting, but deep down I’ll be thinking about MikeP from Albany, who thought Dublin was beautiful except for the hotel concierge who was a bit grumpy the whole time.

I give Tripadvisor.com 3 out of 5 stars. Lots of consumer information which usually results in the firm knowledge that no matter where you are going or what you are doing – it could have been better somewhere else.

Night Riders

I’ve never done an all nighter. Not even in college. So, last Saturday night, well into my 40s, I did it. We had 3 short days to enjoy in Vermont and my daughter had a dance she couldn’t miss. So around midnight, we loaded up the kids and left. In 6 hours we’d be having breakfast in our favorite spot in town.
My husband drove. We had coffee. We had snacks. We were on our way.
I fell asleep before we hit the highway.
To be fair, I did get up a few times. So it wasn’t a deep sleep. Does that count?
Here I am waking up at 2am…

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And then 5am…

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And 6:30am…(apparently I slept thru an accident that set us back an hour)

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And then I woke up to this…

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And this…

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Totally worth the lack of sleep (on my husband’s part).

While the cat’s away…

My sister and my parents watched my babies while we went on our European adventure.

We knew to expect the usual. We expected my daughter to go phone crazy. We knew our boy would ignore all bedtimes. There would be no “chores” – I put that in quotes because they hardly exist when we’re around.

We knew they’d get away with a certain amount of stuff, and you know what, that was fine.

We should have known better.

Our girl is not the real issue. Yes there’s ridiculous amounts of social media consumption – but whatever. The boy. He needs to be watched. All the time. 24/7.

A few years ago we left them with my parents for a weekend.  When we came back my mother told me about what a great host my son was. As soon as we left, he took them (my very traditional, old-fashioned Indian parents), on a tour of all the alcohol at our house. “Here’s the beer, here’s the wine…” etc.

There was another time when a good friend of mine called the house and he answered and told her that my husband and I were in the other room having an argument. Awesome.

So we should have known better.

Quick back ground: a couple of years ago my car was stolen. It was traumatic, scary, etc. but we got over it.  We decided not to tell my already paranoid mother and instead told her that I got a new car. End of story.

Guess what bedtime tale he told her, in gory detail, while we were away?

Sigh.

I asked him why he felt the need to talk about that and he said,”I was bored.”

Sigh.

I would be angry if he wasn’t so darn cute.

 

Back to life….back to reality

Back to work.

Back to errands.

Back to dishes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, homework, picking-up/dropping-off, conference calls, deadlines, bills.

Back to being behind on sending out birthday cards, birthday gifts, calling my mom, touching base with friends, making the kids practice piano, eating right, calling my mom, cleaning out my closet.

Back to fake butter, fake cream, the opposite of a flaky croissant, coffee without espresso, no crepes in sight.

I’m going to bed.

Here’s some pictures of my happy place.

parlez-vous anglais?

No. Most of the Parisians we ran into did not speak English. But who needs the international language of business and entertainment when you have this…

That is not a postcard – that is photo taken on my prehistoric iPhone.  Notre Dame. I swear to you that it was cloudy and rainy that day when we left our hotel. By the time we hoofed it to the cathedral the clouds opened up and the sun came out. On cue. That happened a lot there. Even the cloudy days seemed staged and moody.

We had heard all the cranky Parisian legends – “they hate Americans, they are completely unfriendly, etc.”

We didn’t get that. This may be because I’ve lived in NYC and my husband was raised there. People are busy. They live in a city overrun by tourists. Everyday they have to go to work, make a living, have a life, while we wander around the city with our cameras out asking for directions to the Louvre. Are  waiters super nice and helpful? No. So what. Once you realize that it’s not directed at you – it’s directed at everybody – you’re fine.

I’ve told you before that my husband isn’t exactly a social butterfly, so he felt right at home with the frowning faces. No one running over to you in a store, no one trying to make small talk with you in the hotel lobby – it was like his dream country. Leave them alone. They leave you alone.

Don’t get me wrong, we met plenty of friendly people, most of them traveling to Paris like us.

But who needs chit chat when you live in a place this beautiful?

Notre Dame, circa 9/23/12, it turns 850 years old next year. Doesn’t look a day over 721.

Shots from outside and around the Louvre – and we didn’t ask one single Parisian for directions.

The Mona Lisa madness I wrote about earlier…Sacré bleu! J’en ai marre!

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