22 February 2011

Popcorn in Bed

Last week  I was in Dallas visiting my amazing friends Karen and Ashton, their daughter, and their brand new  baby boy.  Zoe and I went there together (sadly Rob had to stay home) and even though we didn't do anything  like Disney or theatre or fancy schmancy restaurants, I had one of the best vacations ever.  It started out about as well as a trip can start with a smooth and easy travel experience.  From there, it only got better. 

It was so good to just be with my friends.  Isn't that always the way with visits with friends that are too far away? Holding, feeding, changing their new baby (who I think of as a nephew) was an absolute delight.  It is amazing how much you forget about newborns when it has been awhile since you were around one.  There was Tex-Mex, good burgers, some rollerskating, some shopping, some playground time and a lot of frozen yogurt, talking and girl-time.  As per usual Karen and I picked up right where we left off.

One of the highlights of the trip, however, was simply watching TV and movies in bed with my friends after the kids went to sleep. Karen and Ashton were generous enough to let me have a whole third of their bed and it was all very cozy and very relaxing.  (No funny business, you dirty minds.)  My last night in town we even had popcorn in bed.  Not just any popcorn, either.  We had gourmet popcorn including what was the best caramel corn I have ever had (Hannah's Caramel Popcorn from Uptown Popcorn).  As Ashton put it, it touched a previously unknown source of pleasure and happiness. 

2011 got off to a bit of  a rough start, but this trip really gave it a fresh glow. 

11 February 2011

Fear of Flying

No, I am not channeling Erica Jong. I literally have a fear of flying. I don't know exactly when it started, but it can be pretty bad sometimes. I admit there are trips I haven't taken because I did not want to get on a plane. One time on a trip home on a small plane (the scariest kind!) I was so frightened that I had to ask a colleague if he would mind holding my hand. Being a gentleman, he did not mind and he did not tease me after.

For a long time I thought I was in the minority, but the more I admit my fear, the more people echo the sentiment back to me. Strangely that has made me feel better. Not feeling like I am the only one gripping the arm rest for dear life during take off or turbulence is oddly reassuring.

I was on a plane just yesterday and for the first time in a long time my fear was less than it has been. I attribute some of that, perhaps a lot, to the fact that I was traveling with Zoe and it was just the two of us. I was the only one in charge and looking out for her safety and I think that bolstered me a bit. Plus the fact that she was so calm seemed to help me to stay calm. I didn't want to panic in front of her or have her see me as anything less than in control so she would keep on feeling safe and happy. Zoe makes a great traveling companion because she is so enthusiastic about going new places and seeing new things. I don't want her to lose that enthusiasm especially not because of me. It really was like magic. I mean I think the vodka tonic I had mid-flight helped too, but overall it was a pretty good experience.

01 February 2011

Snow Days

Any parent of a school-age kid can tell you about the challenges of unexpected days off from school. Since we live in Connecticut this year has been extremely snowy and therefore we've had several snow days. As a matter of fact I'm not sure there has been a full week of school since Christmas break.

The first snow day was kind of fun. We had an unbelievable 2 feet of snow and the whole neighborhood was out that day. The kids were playing and the adults were shoveling, but everyone was in awe over the amount of snow and no one dreamed it would continue at that pace.

By the time this morning came and there was yet another snow day even Zoe sighed when I told her she wouldn't be going to school today. At this point most of the kids don't even want to play out in the snow anymore. So what do they do all day? That really is the question.

I can't allow Zoe to watch TV all day, but it sure is tempting at times. I can't be her source of entertainment all day either. I mean theoretically I am supposed to be working since I do work from home, but boy can that be challenging on a snow day. We are fortunate to have neighbors with kids the same age so we've all been hosting each other's kids, but that gets old (and really noisy). And now in order to avoid having the kids in school until July, it looks like the school will be forced to take away planned vacation days in April even though most of us would gladly give up the February vacation instead. As a matter of fact they should banish that February break permanently.

So basically this entire post is one long complaint about the excessive amount of snow and the
number of snow days we've had this year. I know there really isn't anyway to control this,
but I think it helps to whine a little.