the no expectations vacation

29 04 2010

When the one expectation I had for this time was met within the first 3 hours, it really makes for a relaxed ride.

Our decade plus in Spain was marked by frequent visitors – some expected and loved, others complete strangers.  It took a while to figure out that the key to a successful vacation experience for people had everything to do with the what they were hoping to accomplish.  So regardless of how well I knew people, the early hours of their stay were marked by planning.

I started with a litany of questions to sort out their expectations.  Were they art lovers who would drool over The Prado? Were they kitsch shoppers that would buy cheap T-shirts and key chains and call it a day?  Were they open to real cultural experiences that they would allow ME to do all the planning?  Did they need to eat every few hours?  If I had the answers to these questions, then I could probably come up with itineraries that would keep them happy.

So now before we plan any trip for business or pleasure or a combo of both – we work out those details as best as we can.  There has never been as smashing a success as last year’s great escape.  Not every time away can be centered around cliffs, sun umbrellas and a suitcase of books to be devoured.

This trip was a last minute mental necessity – a need to reconnect and get some face time with Best Boy and Mimi.  There is something strangely wonderful about being in the Entertainment Capital of the World and not needing to go or do or see any of the sights…except for hanging with them.  I dare say that our future holds return trips with Donny Diva in tow where we’ll be back at Disneyland or Universal Studios or Legoland or the San Diego Zoo or – or – or…

Not this time around though.  There is nothing looming on today’s horizon except for the fact that I know we’ll eat more than once.

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“H” is for homophone

25 04 2010

Homophone – words that sound like one another but have different meanings, like flour and flower or mamama and Mom and MoMo and Nana.

I am in an odd vortex these days, trying to multi-task and float between three very different worlds at any given moment.  I will gladly screech to a halt to watch Donny Diva’s daily challenge of learning new skills and discovering the things that he can do.

Then there are those times like a few weeks ago, when the Mrs. wanted to attend the joyous occasion of one of her widowed niece’s finding new love in an old college friend.  The weekend was long.  It started with an extended appointment at the hair dresser’s for a perm and manicure.  The following day, I fetched her so that she could sneak in a quick visit with Donny Diva before spending the night here.  Before 8 a.m. the following morning, we were on our way across the state.  Brunch before the ceremony, the ceremony followed by a cake reception, all topped off by a family dinner at a restaurant another half hour’s drive away, kept us moving through the day.  By 6 p.m., all the fun was over and we were headed back to her place – another three hours away.  Once I got her gladly settled back in her own space, I drove another 2 1/2 hours home to my own bed arriving in time to do nothing more than to fall headlong into its pillowy goodness.  The next day she gladly took my advice and didn’t go to church.  She was pretty much all tuckered out the rest of the week!

I could have easily told her it was all too far away and too far-fetched to attend the wedding.  I could also tell Donny Diva that he’s not up to sitting on his own yet and playing with blocks…he might fall over, he might hit himself in the eye while trying to co-ordinate both hands to clap two blocks together.   It might tire him out.

I had never spent any time thinking about how tricky this space is…trying to be a parent, grandparent, and parent to the grandparent all at once but here I am.  It is a season after all.  Just as quickly as Donny Diva moves on to the next exciting adventure (like crawling!) the Mrs. might not be up to any car rides for some reason.

So for now, “H” is for helping…helping them both find their way and face the challenges that their lives bring them each new day.

And “H” is also for heading out of Dodge.  I need a Best Boy and Mimi fix.  The other day Shop Girl said, “Mom, now I get it.  I get the bond between mother and son.” There was no way of her ever really understanding the things I couldn’t put into words until she started to experience them herself.  I am looking forward to the best “H” I know that will be all the Mother’s Day gift I could want…a Best Boy bear-hug.





the perfect storm

6 04 2010

When it’s 10 a.m. and looks like it could be 10 p.m., the dog is in her kennel taking refuge from the rumbling thunder and I’m back on the couch after awakening at 5 a.m…this looks like the perfect storm.  In a good way!

Thunderstorms were one of the things I missed the most about the Midwest during our dozen years in Spain.  Not that there aren’t massive rainfalls in certain places but we just happened to live where the thunder and lightening parts were scarce.

I remember being afraid of storms when I was young and Billy telling me to “make no never mind…it’s just the angels bowling.”  Funny how something that can be so unnerving can end up being something you long for…something that brings a weird sense of comfort.  Of course, there are limits to all that if it is accompanied by tornado warnings and wind shears.

But today, in spite of the fact that there isn’t a room in this house that couldn’t use some serious attention, I am going to do like Jesus and take it asleep in the boat.  After all, I think this is my Spring Break with the Dr. on a two-week trek in parts unknown.  I am night hosting Shop Girl and Donny Diva while Book Boy is off to Haiti delivering relief supplies for the next couple of days too.

No more excuses – I’m just gonna recline here some more and listen to the heavenly USBC contestants taking their turns on the lanes.





on that great resurrection morn

2 04 2010

It’s noon – the tornado siren is blaring.  It is the first Friday of a new month…a new season.  With temperatures breaking records in the last few days, everything is popping.  It is Spring.  It is good.  There is hope.  There is life.