Thursday, September 30, 2010

A peek at Newport

At some point, I may get around to processing images from my trips.  In the meantime, here's one from Rhode Island.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't even dumped the CO shots from the camera to the computer yet.  They're just bangin' around on my card, latent.  Sometimes I worry, ridiculously, that it'll leak pixels or something.  I really need to get them at least moved over.


I ran home for lunch because I was in a big-ass hurry to get out the door this morning and forgot to take something, and I figured if I came home I could avoid the Lion's Choice craving.  I wanted leftover chili, but have a feeling that we'll be eating that tonight for dinner.  So I scrounged around in the fridge and found cold pizza from last night, and home-made smashed pots from Monday night, and pickles.  Oh, and a bottle of Fitz's Root Beer.  Yum.  Not the most gourmet of lunches, but it'll do.  At least until tonight when I get my chili-mac fix.

I just realized that, not counting the root beer, I had a very P lunch.  Pizza, Pickles, Potatoes.  I should really work on food alpha-diversification.

Or something like that.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A mother's pride

Last night, my stomach wasn't feeling so great.  After making salads for the family dinner, I laid on the couch and groaned while M made ravioli.  Then I shuffled to the table, ate a few ravioli, ignored the salad, and generally felt like crap.  After awhile, I mentioned that the stomach was getting worse.

Zoe looked at me, then leaned way to the other side of her chair, as far away from me as she could get.  "Ummm.  Are you....?"

No, I'm not gonna get sick.  But that's awesome that you knew to get the hell away from me!  M cracked up laughing.

A few weeks ago, her best friend, Kaitlyn, got sick at school.  It was big news when M picked Zo up, and he had to hear about it twice, once first-hand and then again when she told me.  "Mommy.  I have some bad news."  I called Kaitlyn's mom later to find out how she was doing.  Carrie told me that she was fine; she had just gotten herself worked up about going to school and made herself sick.  But then she relayed the story that Kaitlyn told her about the events of the day.  Kaitlyn and Zoe were playing outside in the sandbox.  K mentioned to Zoe that her tummy hurt.  Zoe expressed appropriate empathy and they continued playing.  Eventually K said, "I think I might throw up."

My daughter's response?


And so K did, and yakked all over the sidewalk next to the sandbox, which, according to the teachers, is infinitely better than yakking in the sandbox.

So, I am pleased that, at five years of age, my daughter is well-versed in the art of puke avoidance.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mother suckitude

"I need to go to bed early tonight.  I'm so tired.  And tired of being tired."

"Tired?  WTF?  You were out of town for a week and a half, and that last part you just goofed off.  How can you be tired?"

This is where our life turns into a vintage superhero cartoon whereupon I, caped, take the bad guy and head-butt him and pound him until he screams uncle, and then finish up with noogies and maybe a swirly while starbursts with words in all caps pop up around our heads, "CRASH!"  "BOOM!"  "POW!"  "SWIRL!!!"

Okay, so that last one isn't powerful or mighty or cringe-inducing, but I couldn't think of a better way to alphabetically describe a swirly.

Instead of the cartoon, though, I whine.

"But we didn't goof off.  We hiked our asses off.  And besides, then I came home and unpacked and worked late for two nights to get stuff ready for the garage sale and then we had the garage sale and then I went to Joey's game and then we had the mouse races and so that was a late night and then yesterday I cleaned the entire frickin' house and did laundry and made home-made chili and went grocery shopping and inventoried the left-over garage sale stuff for St. Vincent De Paul to pick up and helped load up the foosball table and the mini John Deere tractor into Beano's truck and gave the model airplane stuff to cousin Joe and entertained our child and let her help make chili when really a five-year-old has no business making chili but it was fun because the onions made us both cry and laugh..."

What's really going on here is that I have a huge case of delinquent-mother-guilt going on.  Today, I am a bad mother.  Despite the onions and the Halloween decorations we put up together and the snuggling and the laughs.

Because I didn't get her f*cking Kangaroo Kid poster done this weekend.

I could give excuses about how busy we were with swim lessons and garage sales and golf tournaments and the like, but that's not really the truth.  The truth is simple, and ugly.  I forgot.

We got the poster in her cubby Friday when we picked her up.  I silently raged when I saw it.  Once again, Zozer is the first child picked for this honor.  This happened last year, too.  The first child picked, therefore, typically has no notice to get things done.  I should be honored that one of her teachers told me this morning, "I picked her first because I wanted a kid with lots of excitement, lots of personality."  I should be honored, but instead, I'm pissed.  Mostly at myself.  But it's easier to take it out on Ms. Lisa.  Anyway, the reason I raged when I saw it was that I knew that we had a jam-packed weekend and the poster would get lost in the activity and that I would most likely forget.

And so I did.

Until last night, at 10, after Zozer was long asleep.  Queue argument with M.  He claims I didn't tell him.  I claim I did.  (We typically have counter-claims, and it's at these moments when I wish our entire lives were recorded, Big Brother style, so I could rewind the tape and say, "See!  There!  Right there!  While we were both running a gajillion miles an hour I slipped it right into the conversation between, "We need more milk" and "Where in the hell are you gonna find inch-and-a-quarter black pipe?")  We were both hacked at ourselves, and probably a little bit with each other.  I went to bed upset, which means I don't really go to bed but rather lay there and beat myself up mentally for failing my child by not coloring her Kangaroo Kid poster with her over the weekend.  We made Rice Krispie treats together, but pah.  Rubbish!  What counted at that moment was the damn poster, and nothing else.  My entire self-worth as a mother rested on that poster, and it wasn't done.

I tried making weak excuses with her teachers this morning.  "The note said we'd get the poster a week before..."  They weren't buying it.  Three bad-ass preschool teachers staring me in the eye. I half-expected one of them to say, "Really?  Dumbass."  I considered making up excuses, like a plague of locusts or an emergency lobotomy, but instead I hung my head and meekly mumbled, "Um, we were really busy this weekend.  We'll have it done tomorrow."  At that they softened, and then discussed amongst themselves that maybe they should give the poster to the family the Wednesday before the Kangaroo Kid week, not the Friday before.  Yes!  Yes!  I wanted to shout.  For the love of all that's holy, give families some time, some notice.

I'm not sure about other families, but for our family, the weekends are both jammed and free-wheeling and have nothing whatsoever to do with school.  It's our break from school and work.  We don't think about either on the weekends.  So having just the weekend to complete a poster...yeah, ain't gonna happen.  We had the same situation last year when she was Star of the Week, and there we were, right up against her bedtime on a Sunday night, feverishly coloring this stupid poster on the kitchen floor.  It was less a fun project and more a pain in the ass because we simply didn't get to it over the weekend.

And so I wear my delinquent mother crown today, and wince every time I think about Zozer starting her Kangaroo Kid week without her poster.  I realize in the grand scheme of things that this isn't likely to scar her for life, and that we will go and be fine, and that the memories we made this weekend in the form of Rice Krispie treats and Halloween decorations and giant pots of chili and learning that Abraham Lincoln is the old dude on the penny mean more than a poster.  And I take some comfort in sending her in with her beloved World Bird Sanctuary CD to share with her Bunny Room friends (she planned on playing both The Owl Song and The Vulture Song, and maybe Little Tree and probably The Wonderful Bird Song...all of which she knows the words), and that the doughnuts we'll take into school tomorrow will more than make up for it.  But still.  The guilt settles heavily on my heart and hangs around my whole body like a shroud.  Damn.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Current elevation: 574 feet

Home at last.  I am tired.  And so, so grateful.  I've had an amazing two weeks, going from sea level one week to 11,000 feet above sea level (Estes Cone) the next.  I've met tons of great people, gotten to know acquaintances better, and caught up with old friends.  I've karaoked, hiked my butt off, ate amazing amounts of food so good it should be illegal, and indulged in French, Portuguese and Californian wine.  And Newport beer.  And the very best part of it all was rounding the corner from security at the airport tonight and hearing my little girl scream, "Mommy!" while running into my arms.  I knew I missed her, but I couldn't believe the overwhelming feelings of love and relief and home I felt when I scooped her up.  I hadn't planned on crying, but there I was, tears squeaking out as I hugged my girl hard.

My next few days are hectic, as I have to prepare for the neighborhood garage sale Saturday morning and take care of a few other loose ends that have piled up over the past two weeks.  My sale ends at noon and then I'm off to see my nephew play football.  (I love that he's playing, but I predict that I'll sit in the stands with my stomach tied in knots, willing other players to stay the f*ck away from him.  I did that when my little brother played hockey in high school.  Although football and hockey are two sports I enjoy watching, they are entirely different games when someone you love is out on the field/ice.)  Then that night are the mouse races to benefit his team.  Sunday I have nothing on the schedule.  Well, there's church, but that's actually relaxing and calming.  Except when we get the bonehead priest.

Ah, so.  I am home, and all feels right (except for M's absence...he's in RI again) and good and quiet.  As much as I love the purple majesty of the mountains, the blue eyes of a certain little girl mean so much more.

I've unpacked, taken care of a couple things that just couldn't wait, and am going to go fall into bed.  My bed.  Bliss.

Good-bye, EP

Clouds rolling in as I'm rolling out. Perfect timing. Great time here, but I can't wait to get home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From Estes Cone

At the top

And there's my boot to prove it!


Today's Hike

Estes Cone

Monday, September 20, 2010

EP Sunset

Grabbed this on our way into the Phamacy Liquor store. We were out of wine. Can't let that happen!

St. Malo

Quick visit here this afternoon...this doesn't do it justice. Better pix w/ the big ol' Nikon. Also got shots of the giant scary JC statue on the cliff nearby.

Hunter's Chop House

Late lunch. Look what's on the menu. Can't get away from the Lou! Sorry it's sideways. Apparently the iPhone is smarter than me today as I can't figure out how to rotate it. The picture, not the iPhone.

Oh, and about the lights...nice rack.

Where glaciers are born

It's called a cirque.

Alpine Visitor Center

View from the top.

On the way up

We drove up to Alpine Visitor Center and saw some amazing scenery on the way.

Just another day in CO paradise

Good morning, Rocky Mountains!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Multi-berry shortcake

A nice finish to our steak-potato-green bean dinner. If we hadn't hiked today, I'd weigh 400 pounds.

Hiking trail in RMNP

The aspens are turning

Pre-hike Protein

Hiking in RMNP later. Scrambled eggs (with cheese-yum!) this morning. I'm never leaving this place.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

View from the deck

Um. Wow.

Hiking with Chris

Their neighborhood borders Rocky Mountain National Forest, so we hiked through to the park and then hiked some more. Lovely!

First morning in Estes Park

View from my friends' deck. Amazing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

At the house in the mountains

Never coming home.

Descent into Denver


This is getting to be a familiar view

Waiting for yet another flight

It's weird to be back at the airport a mere 16 hours after I left it.

Greatly downscaled luggage and carryon. No business clothes. No dress shoes. No laptop.

Camera. Hiking boots. Jeans. Green Keens. T-shirts. That's how I roll.

Thanks to my MIL for the ride (and lunch!) today. What a great start to my trip!

Colorado, here I come.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Flight 4 of 6.

Airport pizza is disgusting.

Especially when you have 30 minutes to find it, buy it, eat it, throw the trash away, and wash your hands before boarding.


Flight 3 of 6 this week. Heading home.

Clam chowder at The Black Pearl

Holy yum.

View from the hotel

Waiting for the closing session to start. Final day in Newport. Can't wait to get home and see my Bug and my M.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fancy French Wine

The CEO of my company (dining at a nearby table) just sent over a bottle of fancy-schmancy French Bordeaux wine. Ooh la la! C'est la vie!

(To M and my FIL and MIL: it says Chateau Pape Clement...does that make it holy?!)

Dinner Tonight

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


It's not Schmickles. It's Schmidicks. Or something like that. Whatever it is, it's tasty!


Someone has just ordered me a beer called Schmickles. We are at an Irish pub around the corner from our hotel. We are having way too much fun. I may or may not have karaoked tonight. Dire Straits. Money for nothing. And, you know, your chicks for free.

The appraisal of Troy

I ate the lobster. Troy. I ate him. I ate his tail. And one claw.


Way too much work. And frankly not that delicious. And messy.

This is Troy.

On Goat Island

On the way to Goat Island

Another fine start to the evening

Local brew before the clam bake. Which I just learned is more of "clam bake" as the only clams there will be in the clam chowder. Not complaining tho. I loves me some authentic clam chowder.

Cliffwalk & The Breakers

Monday, September 13, 2010

Was there daylight today?

I am tired. Flat out tanked. As M says, "put a fork in me, I'm done."

I didn't realize until I was washing my face before bed tonight that I didn't step foot outside today. None of us did, except for the smokers who crowded on a tiny terrace during our ten-minute breaks. And you can't really call that getting fresh air, can you?

I had a couple hours to wander around old Newport with my camera yesterday. Been a long time since I've done that. It was wonderful and I think I captured some great images. I went off the touristy main street filled with shops selling scarves for $350 and the women who can afford to buy them. I went up the side streets, where people live and play. That's where the true heart and soul of a community is. Wonderful things, and sights that my traveling companions didn't get to see. It's like a little secret between me, Newport, and my camera. Well, and you once I get home and process the images.

But for now, my bed calls. Tomorrow is another busy day, but I'm signed up for the afternoon activity that involves a walking tour near the Breakers and through some old mansions.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Posted too soon

The lobster bisque has arrived. Oh. My. God.

When in Newport

The week is getting off to a fine start.


Descending into PVD.

Between the clouds

Descending to PHI.