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WOW Day #4 || Chemical romance



Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 | 3 comments

“The mysterious magnet is either there,
buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love


Vacationing and sightseeing are not the same thing. 

A good vacation has medicinal value balming soul and spirit with rest and relaxation; a fun sight-seeing trip broadens experience and brings to life the places otherwise relegated to a book's page or a World Market canvas.  A bad either one of those can breed frustration, flat wear you out or give you legitimate reason to sell your kids to the circus. 

Eight years ago we packed up our kids, loaded up the van, and made the nine-hour trek to Washington, DC.  Clearly, this was not a vacation. 

DC is an amazing city, and after visiting many times before we had children, we couldn't wait until they were old enough to go.  At the time they were 13, 11 and almost 9, the perfect age for a visit–old enough to log a thousand miles on foot without excess complaining and potentially able to remember what they had seen. 

Between three kids in a private, Christian school at the time and my husband earning our only income, money was tight.  We made the decision to share one hotel room among the five of us.  Lest you get the wrong idea, this was no fancy schmancy suite-hotel.  We had two queens (fulls??), a lop-sided roll-away and a single, small bathroom. 

The city's vibe may be all power and seduction, yet D.C. is a wonderful family destination.  Entry is free to most museums and there is nothing compared to standing in the very spot at the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his "I have a dream" speech or swaying at the top of the Washington Monument.  I'm sure I felt it.

After four days of touring every monument and museum in the city we headed home, exhausted but happy.  As is often the case on road trips, I fell asleep not long after we were on the road.  My husband takes that bullet for me, driving the majority of the time.  What may be a control thing for him is sweet gift to me.

By the time I woke up, the kids were asleep, a perfect time for uninterrupted, adult conversation.  Though we had been together constantly during our trip, my husband I were missing each other.  Being jammed in a hotel sardine can doesn't make for many romantic moments.

What he said next is one of those things I've never forgotten, the kind of thing that fans flame in a quarter century-old marriage (though at the time, we had been married 18 years).

"I had a chemical reaction to you."

My cocked head and squinchy eyes asked him to explain, so he did.

"When I looked at you while you were sleeping, my body reacted to you.  I looked away, then looked at you again, and the same thing happened."

Quite possibly, no sweeter words the man has ever spoken.

All these years into a marriage, I know that feelings don't always
reflect love; particularly ooey-gooey honeymoon, fairytale,
cartoon-hearts-circling-your-head kinda love.

Yet, without a word, without a touch, the very sight of me stirred something within my husband that attested to his affections for me. 

If that isn't testimony to the power and the wonder of a woman, I don't know what is.

Q.  Can you think of an exchange in marriage or friendship that testifies
to the power and beauty of your relationship?

The Wonder of a Woman

Thanks for following along with our #31Days exploration into the Wonder of a Woman.  Please click here for further explanation and a listing of all posts to date.

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D.C. Top Ten (field trip edition), Continued



Posted by on Jun 20, 2007 | 14 comments

Memories continue to fade, almost two weeks have passed since we were in Washington for Rachel's class trip.  I was compelled to post a "Top Ten" list after our family trip to D.C. a while back, so I thought it'd be fun to compare the differences.  Click here to read the first five memories this trip…and following is what comes to mind now.  Again, they aren't necessarily in order, just enumerated so I'll know when to stop :).

5.  Bus rides ? Thrill rides.

Or at least they shouldn't.  Our driver was not only new with the company, he had never set wheel–or foot–in D.C. before our trip.  Let's just say both parent and child were on edge when he was behind the wheel; it might've had something to do with hitting guardrails at 70 mph…or having the side mirror busted off by a "dump truck"…or leery "looks" and strange remarks (i.e., once when we were getting off the bus, I said, "We'll be back…" and he said, "Is that a threat or a promise?" and I was just a bit weirded out…) or getting lost in a suburban D.C. 'hood, where a "neighbor" was moving large cross ties from driveway to street at 10:00 p.m., and when asked for Larryhankin_aka_friends_mr_heckle_2directions, said, "We don't get many buses around here…"  Duh…ya think?  Actually, I'm sure this was a "had-Schneider_one_day_at_a_time_pat_harto-be-there-in-order-for-it-to-be-funny" kind of thing, but it was freakin' hilarious at the 
time.  Then, again, that ju
st might've been frayed nerves…  Think a cross between Schneider from "One Day at a Time" and the odd neighbor Mr. Heckles from "Friends" and you'll have a good visual. 


4.  Sleeping with strangers. 

I about died when I found out I'd be bunking with three other women.  Four girls, one bathroom, two beds…YIKES!  When I was MUCH younger, this wouldn't have fazed me, but now?  Different story…I was fazed.  I snore…I can't "go" with other people around…I don't like putting on make up, getting dressed or showering with an audience (like I'm sure they couldn't wait to see all of the above… ).  I had told K (principal and organizer) I'd give up staying with Rachel in order for her to be with her best friends; the other moms were chaperoning, too, so that would've meant the girls would be split up…and since this trip was about her (not me), I figured that was the least I could offer.  I DIDN'T KNOW I'd eventually regret that "sacrifice" THAT WOULD MEAN I'D BE SLEEPING WITH ANOTHER WOMAN IN THE SAME BED! 

The first night I got a reprieve…there were two rooms available for the four of us (whew!).  The next two nights (in a different city), no such luck.  Of course, because I cannot keep my thoughts to myself, I was pretty vocal about my anxieties…nothin' personal, I just like my s p a c e. 

The thing is, our days were full and long and there wasn't a whole lot of time spent in the room anyway.  AND, I got an unexpected surprise….the "found-$20-in-your-coat-pocket-from-last-winter" kind, not the "cat-left-you-a-'goodie'-in-your-right-shoe-because-he-was-ticked-you-left -him-home-while-you-were-on-vacation" kind:

It was FUN!

The first night together, as we laid there not spoonin' or anything even remotely approaching saucy or salacious in bed, delirious from having walked a thousand miles and carpe diem-ing D.C., everything was funny.  It reminded me of school-age sleepovers when life was easy and good and…more innocent.  There was a symphonic rhythm to our conversation–someone would say something, we'd giggle, and then settle…over and over again.  Eventually, the rhythm changed as we drifted off to sleep.  Snores replaced snorts.  Remarkably, insomnia queen that I am, I was one of the first ones asleep so the Zzzzz didn't bother me a bit.  Them, maybe….not me;).

3)  Sometimes $#!t happens, sometimes it doesn't. 

AKA ENTIRELY too much information…As
I've recounted on my blog before, when I'm out of town, I cannot "go".
This is not something I consciously "make" happen (or more accurately
DON'T make happen).  My body seems to know I'm not at home, so
apparently I digest food some other way.  I have an extremely shy
bladder, but an even shyer bowel.  Why I feel compelled to admit this before God and the whole world wide frickin' web is beyond me.  It's amusing to me I can t a l k about it, just not do it…

My friend and favorite co-chaperone Nancy was concerned about this on my behalf…she encouraged massive consumption of water.  Kinda hard to do this when you're averaging walking seven miles a day–your body may need it, but it's just not practical.   Nancy, a teacher, also decided to educate me.  She explaineDscn1596d that "__it" is supposed to be S-shaped, make a "certain" sound when it hits the water, and healthy stuff should be in a particular color range.  HUH???  WHAT THE HECK??  Well, apparently she's been watching too much Oprah…and Dr. Oz is her personal physician.

I REFUSE to become a poop inspector.  If I had wanted to be a proctologist, I would've gotten a medical degree.  Besides, obviously "I don't do that", so it's not necessary.  Kind of ironic that on our first day I took a picture of a "privy" at Monticello, don't you think? 

2)  Oh, the Joy!

We had a tour guide, Joy, who accompanied us from Chattanooga.  Lemme tell you this, Joy was a professional in every sense of the word.  She was dressed in uniform everyday–a long-sleeved white blouse, navy vest, khaki pants and sensible shoes.  She's been a tour guide since 1982 and .the.door.and.get.out.of.her.way…she was more than able to make it happen, whatever "it" happened to be.  She ran us ragged, and I'm serious when I tell ya we averaged seven miles/day.  A wealth of information (like where to buy $18 hoodies that sold for $30 everywhere else and the best food courts for kids…), Joy was deliciously "old school"….

It's important to add, she was born BEFORE the Depression.  The Great One (which really wasn't great at all).  She's in her late 70s and ran circles around us!  Oh, my, we enjoyed her on a thousand different levels–I soooo wish I had a "good" video of her–for now, here's a glimpse.  She was absolutely precious…and then some…;)


1.  Watching my daughter … "become".

This one is going to be a whole post to itself.  There's no way I'm squenchin' it in to this one. 

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My D.C. Top Ten – Field Trippin’ This Time Around



Posted by on Jun 17, 2007 | 12 comments

Why the delay in writing this post?  Because I’ve been TRYING ALL FRICKIN’ WEEK LONG TO UPLOAD VIDEOS TO YOUTUBE and I cannot get them to load, no matter WHAT I try.  Tears…  They account for two of my top ten picks…for now I’m going with Plan B.  Dang it. 

WAHOO!  STOP THE PRESSES!!  BACK TO PLAN A.  I FIGURED OUT A WAY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN (cartwheels and handsprings on my end…backwards and forwards).  So what if I’m a bit s l o w…nothing wrong with being a remedial student.  Einstein wasn’t born that way, was he?  No sirree, he was born wrinkly and naked with a brain the size of a kiwi….so there!

It finally occurred to me to search "video uploading alternatives" and voila…enter Google Video.  I can continue this post without the accompanying angst…turmoil…POSTAL-TURNED-ROAD-RAGE  frustration!!   I ** heart ** search engines right now, I’m buying rounds for the house, I love all creatures great and small, and although it is certain y’all would’ve known to do this within five minutes of youtube not working, I could care less that you’re rollin’ your eyes at me, feeling an earned sense of superiority.  It is my pleasure to bolster your self confidence. 


Perhaps this would be a good place for me to move along (lol).  These are numbered 10-1 to help you (and me) keep track of where I am, but order doesn’t matter…at this point, these are the things I’m remembering.  Who knows what the list would’ve looked like if I got the videos to load Monday or Tuesday.

10.  Last one in is a rotten egg

Departure from school was scheduled by apparent sadists for 6:00 a.m.  After getting, oh, about 1 1/2 hours of sleep because I was scared I’d oversleep,
we left our house at 5:57 a.m.; the only problem with this is we live
about 15 minutes from school.  Screeching into the parking lot on t
wheels I wish, I didn’t see any students…just parents
staring at the bus
.  Yep, we were the last ones on and I wished I was
the two inches tall I felt so I could sneak onto the bus without anyone

Last one on means you don’t get to choose your
seat–it chooses you.  All the mom chaperones were paired up already.
That left Big Dave for me (big as in athletic stocky, not big as
contender for circus freak).  I knew David before the trip
whipped his tail and took his money as a substitute player in Texas
Hold’ Em.  I was the player you’d DESPISE playing with, an innocent (ha!)  a poker ingenue (ha!ha!) pretty doggone
clueless throughout the whole night, and I’M the one who goes home with
the cash…heh heh, hustler without even trying 😉 ), 
but after the trip, I REALLY knew him.

9.  Sanitary wisdom. 

The lady cleaning the bathrooms at The
National Museum of the American Indian was one of the happiest people I’ve ever met.  Her body smiled out loud, her countenance radiated joy, she was a princess who could’ve cared less that her current vocation involved cleaning up after other people  In just a few words, I KNEW this about her.  Of course, how could I not adore her after she told me I looked like Sarah Jessica Parker.  I told her I was voting for her in the next presidential election.  She just laughed and told me she shouldn’t have been watching so much "Sex in the City", explaining that her niece had given her the videos.  What I’d do for Carrie’s size four killer body AND the ability to run in stilettos.  But even more than that, this lady’s aura that had the ability to make my day in a matter of minutes. 

8.  "Off Campus" Field Trips.

For the first time ever, I had opportunity to tour both Mt. Vernon and Monticello, respective homes of Presidents Washington and Jefferson.  Worth it, Worth It, WORTH IT!  Knowledgeable and animated docents brought these homes to life.  The architecture and the home sites are, in a word, amazing.  It’s clear these men were progressive, visionary, great thinkers and risk takers.  But it’s also clear they couldn’t have maintained what they had without slave labor. 

Which gives me pause to contemplate how not having slaves would’ve changed the evolution and progression of our country.  Wow…think about that one…how would the complexion of our country be different without the savagery and indignity cursed upon one man for the gain of another. 

Never mind, it’s easier not to think about it :/. 

(Heather was already thinkin’ about it with her comment in the Jefferson post…).

7.  Eat your heart out, Miss Congeniality!

One of our nights, dinner was scheduled in Old Town, a section of Alexandria, Virginia.  Old Town is a wonderful district, the perfect place to walk and dine and shop and people watch.  It’s on the Potomic River, and the architecture bleeds history.  It’s very animal friendly–I wish I could’ve gotten my camera in the "ready position" fast enough when I actually saw a woman walking her dog that was riding in a baby stroller (arms on the bar in front, tongue hanging out, happy as a lark!), but she was out of sight quickly.  Everywhere you turned pets were walking their owners, and not surprising few were mutts (this is the high-rent district)…tons of (I’m guessing here) purebreds.

Anyway, dogs were not the "top" memory here, Jamey Turner was.  Remember Sandra Bullock’s talent in "Miss Congeniality"?  Well, her coach must’ve been Jamey. 

We walked to the Marina after dinner–the weather was fantastic all week long!–and as we rounded a corner, there he was with dozens of water-filled brandy snifters. A fantastic entertainer, Jamey knew how to work the crowd.  He held us captive as long as we were "allowed" to stay (tour guide Miss Joy kept us moving…you’ll "meet" her later…), and I’ve never seen a street musician’s hat sooo full of tens and twenties, there had to have been hundreds of dollars.  Interestingly, he was in Chattanooga the week before we saw him, so we could’ve seen him here AND there.  This guy has played concert halls and been featured on all the major networks, but he seems to delight in being up close and personal with his audience.  His joy was as palpable as Miss Cleaning Lady’s in #9 above. 

A disclaimer:  Sorry the quality isn’t better…this is with our digital camera and I always seemed to begin a bit late.  Also, my seat partner, David, aka "Bama" (so named by me because he wore an Ala-freakin-bama tee shirt!) was drafted to play wrench.

6.  Library of Congress

Sadly, I’m having trouble saying this correctly now, for which I deserve to be cursed.  God-love-her 76-year-old tour guide self Miss Joy referred to it as "Libary of Congress"…which gave me giggly reason to bastardize it even more, calling it "Libary of Commerce" and now I can’t seem to get it right.  I sound rather ignorant, which, like I said, I deserve, because I shouldn’t have been having fun with Miss Joy, mocking her and all, and I’m really sorry, but it was funny, so it was worth it at the time.  SHE didn’t mind when I called it that, but now, well, now it’s not funny anymore.  And I can’t seem to alter my teeth, tongues and lips to say "liBRARY".  It’s kind of like when you tell your kids not to make faces because they’ll get stuck like "that"…  I’m stuck like that :/.

Anyway, this was my first visit to the L of C.  In three words, a maze ing!  Have I used that word before?  Can you tell I love D.C.?  Get this, we barely saw any books; the L of C is housed in three separate buildings, and we toured the oldest,
The Thomas Jefferson Building built in 1897.  We wondered around for about 45 minutes (not nearly long enough) and I’d recommend you scheduling a tour so you could have a full appreciation of what you’re looking at. 

I don’t know the language of architecture but this place was stunning.  STUNNING.  This is NOT a place to leave out when you’re visiting the area, trust me.  Even if you burn books for a living, you will STILL thank me for insisting you visit.  And plan the guided tour. 

Whew…this is enough for now.  I’ll finish with the remaining "Top Tens" later.  Long posts wear me out…writing AND reading them ;). 

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