Thursday, August 31, 2006

November '06: House o' Monkeys

November '06 is notable not just because I am going to turn 39 (sweet Jesus) but also because it may just be that the Democrats have what it takes to hand Republicans their Congressional ass on a platter. Of the 40 most competitive House races, 31 of the seats are occupied by Republican incumbents. So that means 31 GOP folks in the hot seat and just 9 Democrats feeling the pinch.

And though the school year hasn't started, some rudimentary math is in order here. The magic number for Democrats is 218...that will buy them control of the House. They need to win just 24 of the big 40 races to make that happen. If they hold all the seats they have now, plus their 9 incumbent seats in the competitive 40......well then they only need to get 24 of the 31 remaining seats in the Big 4-0 and then bingo, Nancy Pelosi will be calling the shots. Historically, in a year when the incumbent party is not feeling the nation's love (yeah, I'm talking to you my red elephant friend) winning 24 out of 30 ain't no big deal. And the fact that the Republicans in trouble are running screaming from any association with GWB just isn't good news for the GOP.

In just a few short days I will have access to 16 bright minds who actually give a damn about this. As JT would say: bring it on.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Diamond Cutters

Sitting in the choir room for meetings this morning, I was seriously frozen. My nipples haven't been this hard for this long since I was in the 8th grade.

And a big thanks to W for help with the title.

Personal Grooming Issues

A few years ago I got a little over-zealous with the hot wax I use to groom my eyebrows. In my excitement, I took off my glasses in order to wax the brows (obviously, not my finest intellectual hour) and the next thing I knew, a significant portion of my right eyebrow was missing. That spring, I learned the value of an eyebrow pencil. And since then I have been very careful when it comes to eyebrow maintenance.

But last night I came very close to a dangerous situation. Happily, good sense got the better of me.....just seconds before I tore off half of my left eyebrow. Because that would have been a terrific way to start the new school year.

Sometimes I scare myself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Summer '06: Powered by Mama and the Love of Our Fabulous Friends and Family

This week, I returned to work and JT started to ease into the world of first grade. We are excited to start the school year, ready to welcome new experiences, and I think that I am in good enough shape to try this new single working mama deal. But getting here wasn't easy and it seems fitting this week to think back on our summer.

The summer didn't start off on the best of terms. On the last day of school, my partner of 9 years, JT's other mom, walked out on our life together. It was as awful as it sounds and for the first few weeks, JT and I were one part angry, one part sad, and one part numb.

That is where our family and friends came in: calling to check on us, ensuring that we never cried alone, making plans for and with us and generally being the biggest and best safety nets ever. We were so grateful. And, as everyone promised, we did start to feel better. We still have some low days but we know that we don't have to cry alone. That helps to make the low moments just a little less low. And three months into our new life, we can both look toward a happy future.

In the midst of it all, JT and I became closer than ever. We are the ultimate Mama and boy team these days, having fun with one another and laughing a lot. That may very well be the silver lining of the pain that began our summer: we don't take one another for granted.

We had two terrific vacations together. In July we went camping in Cape Cod with the R-K family. It was empowering, relaxing, and fun and we can't wait to go again. And in August, we went to California to see the cousins (and swim in their great pool) and visited Disneyland and California Adventure. Both trips gave us the opportunity to establish new memories for ourselves, memories that aren't tainted by the departure of JT's mommy. Memories that remind us of what we still have: the love of one another.

And there were some good firsts this summer: JT lost his first (and second) tooth; JT learned to swim (like a fish); JT honed his new reading skills (not a first but still pretty amazing). We made lots of cookies together and we laughed a lot. Mama got reacquainted with herself and learned that she can do more than she thought, she learned that asking others for help is okay and empowering in its own way, and she had her first date in a really long time. All of this was good.

When my family consisted of three people, it felt strong and complete. But as a family of two, it feels more fragile, like we must look after one another more closely. JT and I are still aware of the loss, and sometimes we are uncertain of what to do about it. I sometimes wonder how Lisa feels. Does she miss our family? Does she feel a loss? Does she think about it? Does she even care? Did she ever care? I will never know the answers to these questions and I've worked hard to accept that.

So we start the new school year in a very different place from how we ended it. We are still learning to embrace the new and say goodbye to the old. We are hopeful about the future, no longer tentative and not afraid of the unknown. But we are a smaller circle now and we hurt just a little easier than we used to. We are careful and we are caring, and in ways we never expected we are stronger than ever.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bring it On, Old Lady

We had a late lunch with our friend A this afternoon and after the grown-ups talked for a while, we went outside to play a little backyard baseball. A is hoping to persuade JT to be a Mets fan and he is a very patient hitting coach. While A showed JT how to stand and hold his bat and the boy practiced his swing, we all talked and laughed. Then we played --- each of us taking turns at bat and in the field. JT had the good sense to blame his poor hits on the pitcher, Mama managed to hit the ball a few times, and A, who can both hit and pitch, never complained about the lack of McMillen prowess.

JT may not always hit the ball, but he certainly knows how to talk some smack calling, "bring it on old lady" when I got ready to pitch him the ball. So it would seem he's ready for the big leagues.

Real Life Conversations, part IV

JT: Mama, can I ask you a question?

Mama: Go for it son.

JT: Are you evil?

Mama: No, I am not evil.

JT: Do you promise that you are not evil?

Mama: Yes, honey, I promise.

Honestly, what goes on in this child's head? Also, if I was evil wouldn't I lie and say that I'm not evil? Seems like JT can't win on this one.

To review: I am not evil.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Four Things

More inspiration from my friend S.....I will use of version of this for getting to know my students this fall. I'll ask them to share some things about themselves and then I will share some things about me.
1) Four jobs that I have held
- nanny
- receptionist (I was really good at this - seriously)
- professor
- prep school teacher (should have skipped professor gig & gone straight to
2) Four movies that I could watch over and over
- Hope & Glory
- Field of Dreams
- A Room with a View
- Enchanted April
3) Four places that I have lived
- Los Angeles, CA
- Nashville, TN
- Wayne, NE
- Dunellen, NJ
4) Four shows I love(d) to watch
- Thirtysomething
- Gilmore Girls
- Grey's Anatomy
- Sports Night
5) Four places I have been on vacation
- Cape Cod
- Yosemite
- Charleston, SC
- Orlando, FL
6) Four web sites I visit daily

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Miracle Boy

For many, many reasons JT is my miracle boy. But the most recent reason is that he slept in until 10 am this morning. Which means that Mama also slept in until 10 am. And that is a beautiful thing.

Friday, August 25, 2006

You Can't Make This Crap Up

I came home from getting my tire repaired, to reflect upon the fact that it wasn't enough that I found a nail in my tire (no damage, easily repaired) but that I had to sit in the waiting room at Goodyear with a host of people who were enthusiastically watching the Maury Povich show. Topic du jour: who is my baby's daddy?

I read my book while everyone else watched. And then it slowly dawned on me that of all the people in the room watching the show, I was probably the only one who was an unmarried mother. Who, in fact, doesn't know squat about the father of her baby, known affectionately to me only as "the donor." I realized: I am a baby's mama.

Could my life get any weirder? And if the fates are reading, let me be clear that I am asking merely as a rhetorical question.

An Inauspicious Start to My Day

It's Friday, the last day of JT's back to school camp, and at 7:50 am he marched downstairs chanting, "no quiet for you today, no quiet for you today, there will be no quiet for you today."

At least I've been warned.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


The New York Times is reporting the breaking news that scientists have concluded that Pluto is no longer a planet. It is now to be known as a dwarf planet. First off, is this really breaking news? Second, don't scientists have something better to do? You know: cure diseases...end global alternative power sources? Third, isn't dwarf a politically incorrect phrase? Shouldn't we say little planet?

Scientists, especially those paying their cable bills with my tax dollars, should get to work doing something useful, not casting Pluto out of the solar system.

Who Else Can I Still Be?

When my friend S wrote this entry over on her tasty and inspiring blog (, it felt to me like she was mostly looking forward toward new things that she could still do as well as being grateful for the powers that she still possessed. And that second part really appealed to me, especially after the events of my summer. So I have been thinking about who I am and who else I can still be. And here are my thoughts.

I can still be a woman who does her part to let the children in my world know how very much they are loved.

I can still read my son a story and safely tuck him into bed every night. I can still tell him that I will never leave. And I can mean it.

I can still be the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa.

I can still be a mama to a new babine.

I can still fall in love and be loved back.

I can still be brave and strong in the face of pain and fear.

I can still laugh and I can make other people laugh.

I can still believe that one person really can make the world a better place.

I can still pick flowers grown in my garden, place them in a vase, and admire their beauty.

I can still persuade my students that being smart is cool.

I can still take my son to watch a major league baseball game.

I can still hear my son laugh when he doesn't know I am listening.

I can still learn (again) how to change a tire.

I can still cook up a storm and make the best fried chicken ever.

I can still raise a happy and blessed little boy into a happy and blessed man.

I can still be someone's rock; their solid foundation from which to experience the world.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Recipe for a Playdate

- One part adventure (that would be jumping off the diving board at the pool like a zillion times)

- One part 6 year old boy humor (yes, that means fart jokes)

- One part pirate costumes and weapons

- One part pizza

- One part good friend (in this case Max, of whom JT once said, "If I had a brother, I'd want it to be Max.")

- One part patient Mama

Mix thoroughly and have yourself a big old time.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Real Life Conversations with KO, part I

S: I'm grumpy because I can't find a babysitter with a car for the weekend.

KO: Why does your sitter have to drive?

S: Otherwise, I have to get home before the kid falls asleep.

KO: Why?

S: Because it's lame to wake up your kid to run home the sitter.

KO: Whatever. It may not make you the most responsible parent, but the O'Mearas do it all the time.

S: Nice way to speak of your best friends.

The Ikea Empowerment Zone

When Lisa departed, we lost the library table used to store homework supplies. Naturally, JT has been concerned about this change and so I have been in search of a replacement table. We all know that I am picky and so it's taken me a while to find just what I envisioned.

Thanks to KO, I had found a table that I liked. But I still thought I should make a trip to Ikea to see what they had. I have a good amount of Ikea furniture, most of it put together by Lisa, who was handy with that sort of thing. The construction was always tense, with plenty of yelling and multiple suggestions that I was useless. But in the end, new furniture was in place, so it was usually worth it.

My friend W had agreed to help with construction and that would surely mean less tension than before. So I set off to see what I could find. I got to Ikea just as the doors were opening. I looked about and there it was: the perfect table. Among its virtues were its height and color. I liked the shelf down below. But there weren't any in stock. The nice Ikea staff said no worries, I could have one of the floor models. Already put together and at a discount. Mama did a happy dance and loaded up her cart. And when I got home, my neighbor N was in his front yard and he volunteered to help me carry the table inside the house. The timing was perfect.

So now the table is in place and JT has no excuse for skipping homework. I will get the boy to help me clean out the baskets below. No doubt he'll love that. But most importantly I have completed yet another task that could have been sad but ended up making me feel happy and just a little more certain that I really can handle single mama-ness.

Monday, August 21, 2006

In Praise of Tama

One of JT's best days of the summer was the Wednesday of our camping trip to Cape Cod, when T took the boys out in the bay in her kayak. JT was one part anxious and one part excited as the adventure approached and I wondered if he would really go out in the water. But T's quiet confidence and obvious enthusiasm for the trip won him over and once D had successfully completed a trip, JT happily climbed in.

It was a foggy morning and the tide was out so they could go far from the shore in total safety. That's perfect recipe for boy fun because the boys were impressed to be out so far in the water. They felt brave and strong. S and I watched from the shore as the yellow kayak paddled out into the fog.

We spent the morning out on the beach that day, T giving the boys turn after turn in the water. But the best part of that day was yet to come: JT has talked about it every week since we returned from the camping trip. We open up the computer and look at the pictures and recall the perfection of that morning and those trips in the kayak.

And it makes me so happy to know that my boy has such memories of excitement and bravery and being a strong from a summer that started on such a rough note.

So here's to T, whose patient kayak missions really helped to make our summer strong and good.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Real Life Conversations, part III

The scene: Sunday morning. JT's sleepover buddy D is at the house. JT is wearing a pirate costume, D is wearing a dinosaur costume.

JT: Mama can we play in your room?

Mama: No.

JT: But we need a room with a big bed and you have the biggest bed.

Mama: No.

JT (in his best wheedling tone): But Mama, we really want to have some fun in your room.

Mama: So do I son, so do I.

Saturday Night Baseball

When our friend Miss Amy told me that she had four tickets to see the Trenton Thunder play ball on Saturday night, I was ready to go. And Miss Amy wasn't deterred by the idea that we would have an extra boy along and so Saturday evening, JT, D, A, and I headed down to Trenton to see a little baseball.

The evening was humid but down by the river there was a lovely breeze. The crowd was big and let's face it, minor league baseball is great fun. There was the excitement of a home team home run in the very first inning and plenty of other things to keep the boys entertained......Chase, the ball-and-bat-fetching dog, Boomer the silly Thunder Mascot, a couple of innings spent in the bounce house in the corner of the stadium. Pizza for supper.

Dom had never eaten cotton candy and now there is photo evidence. But it will make his mommy's heart sing when she finds out that he tried it with great enthusiasm, but didn't really like it.

JT ate the whole thing, of course, smacking his lips like the junk food junkie he is.

A was patient and funny.....and scored us a cold beer, a most welcome drink on a warm summer evening in the company of two energetic little boys. And let's not forget the specter of an entire stadium of straight people happily singing YMCA with the Village People. We stayed 'til the end and enjoyed the fireworks over the river.

Next week is the last week of summer and JT heads to back-to-school camp at school, so vacation is winding down. A Saturday evening baseball game was a perfect way to end the summer.

Thanks for the idea and the company, Miss A.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Face Only a Mama Can Love

Same Old Cracker

My friend T, who has a mouth on her, recently suggested to me that certain life experiences I've had of late just felt good because they weren't with the "same old cracker." For reasons best understood by those who've lived in the South, this made me laugh out loud.

So thanks for the laugh T. You are ever dependable when it comes to good humor. And, yes, the cookies are on their way.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Can't I Read the Reviews?

After a few hours in the pool this afternoon, JT and I came home for that old summer favorite: supper in front of a movie. Tonight's pick was "Because of Winn Dixie" and it marks the third time this summer that I have selected a movie about a child pining for their lost mother. Nice. So I cried, OF COURSE, and JT cuddled against me and patted my arm and said, 'I'm sorry that you are crying Mama."

I am recovering nicely and it was yet another reminder that I totally hit the kid jackpot when that boy was sent my way.

Dispatch from Straightville

For the past week or so, JT and I have been at Middlesex pool each morning for swimming lessons. The pool is serious straight family-land and sometimes I feel just a little left out, what with my single gay parent status. We all know that I can pass, but I don't want to anymore. So I look to entertain myself. There I am, hanging out in my lawn chair, reading and people-watching and generally seeking to be amused. And lately I have been amused by the prevalence of dads in denim shorts.

What is the matter with straight women that they allow their menfolk to go out in public looking like this? Someone needs to tell straight-male America that denim shorts on men are no good. Stop the madness.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Why We Love Krystalle

Krystalle joined us for supper tonight and we made some rocky road fudge to get her through the next 10 days, as she gets ready to head off to college. She and JT played pirate and played some video games and we all laughed a lot.

Krystalle has become one of the family here at Second Street and we will miss her like crazy when she goes. But we are so proud of her and we know that she will be a terrific success in college. And to send her off with some good karma in her back pocket, after she left tonight JT and I made a list of the things that we love best about Krystalle. We took turns.......

JT's list:
1. She's good at video games.
2. She's a good bike rider.
3. Her bedroom is messier than mine.
4. She's pretty good at playing pirates.
5. She loves me and I love her.

Mama's list:
1. She's wise beyond her years.
2. She takes great care of the both of us.
3. She makes us laugh.
4. She works hard and never takes knowledge for granted.
5. I think JT said it best: She loves us and we love her.

Best wishes on your next journey in life Miss Krystalle. We know you will be a most terrific success.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Real Life Conversations, part II

JT: Why do some men have hair on their face?

Mama: Well, when your body starts to become a grown-up body, things change and....

JT (impatiently interrupting): I don't want that to ever happen to me.

Mama: When it happens, it will be okay.

JT: It's not going to happen at all. I am going to invent a machine and be your little boy forever.

Mama: I'd like that very much son.

Mama Powers Activated

Okay, as we all know, yesterday pretty much sucked.

I was determined not to have a repeat performance today. So the Mama Cleaning Tsunami came back for a second day and I went to town. Floors clean. Bathrooms clean. Kitchen scoured and fridge cleaned out. Clean sheets for Mama's bed. A few loads of laundry washed, dried and put away. New flowers from the garden. I was a machine.

I tackled the trunk of my car, still in disarray from the blown tire a few weeks back. I had been dreading this chore because I didn't know if I could put things back in place. But I got out the manual, read the directions, and soon had the grocery rack back in place.

Then we hit the grocery store and when we came home JT helped me to make some cookies. I'm feeling my Mama powers big time.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Karma Calling

I'm having one of those days that started just fine and then the descent began. No good reason for it and no way to escape it. Today I'm hurting. I've had several of these sorts of days this summer and I know that I just have to ride the waves until the good karma comes my way.

But, seriously, what I want right now is for Lisa to have the startling epiphany that she fucked up big time. I don't want her back ---- far from it. But I do want her to apologize to JT and me and really mean it. And most of all (perhaps worst of all) I want her to hurt with the vivid, searing hot pain that she's made us feel. I want someone to pull the rug out from under her just like she did to us.

And yeah, I know that this sentiment is pretty much going to keep the good karma that I need at bay. I know that healing isn't linear. And I know that forgiveness would make me feel better. And I know that some day all of this will happen.

But, damnit, it isn't going to be today. And I'm just so tired of feeling good for a few days and then unexpectedly hurting again.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Has My Son Read Fast Food Nation?

As we drove through the central valley, on our way home from Disneyland, we passed an enormous feed lot filled with dairy cows and I heard JT exclaim, 'My God, how many animals does one man need?"


Smarter, Better Looking, and All-Together Above Average in Every Way

This here is a picture of Cole, Spencer, and JT, hamming it up in the pool last Sunday with Aunty Stacy/Mama (depending on your line in the family tree).

As their Grandma and Grandpa will tell you, they are pretty much the best kids ever.

And though my sister and I occasionally suffer from a personal crisis of confidence, we know that we got it perfect when we had these boys.

H'dinger Food Porn

Two weeks ago, I was in California and I had Sunday supper at my sister's house. It is generally agreed upon in my family that my sister's husband is a catch --- kind, funny, enduringly patient with the McMillens who surround him. Uncle Marty has it all.

But what really makes Uncle M eye candy is that the man can stir up some seriously good food. Two weeks ago it was chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Let me just say that when it comes to gravy, Martin moves himself into a rarified class.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Real Life Conversations, part I

JT: "Can I go to swimming lessons without my shoes?"

Mama: "No."

JT: "You always tell me no."

Mama: "I don't say no to you often enough."

JT: "You told me no yesterday when I asked if I could have a fudgesicle with my ice cream."

Mama: "Good point. Maybe you should call the authorities."

JT: "Authorities!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Snapshot of My Life

Mama: My, that looks like a lot of dead pirates.

JT: They are not dead. They are sleeping and will awaken at dawn to attack.

Mama: Got it. Carry on, son.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Polar Opposites

I spent my morning at swimming lessons with the stay-at-home-mom crowd and then I hit Wegmans to re-stock our larder. This was all very suburban straight mom kind of stuff.

This evening, I played flag football with some members of the corporation.

These worlds could not be further apart. Seriously, I lead a double life.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Finally, a Town that Does Free Wi-fi

Let me just say that Denver has it over my hometown when it comes to easy, free, good quality wi-fi. There is a goddess.

And speaking of the goddess, that would be me right now, having secured a fine place for the boy to play plus some milk and cookies for he and his heavily armed pirates.

We are waiting for our flight back to the Eastern time zone and feeling excited to be heading home. California was nice but it would seem that New Jersey is home.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Today is my last day in California and while JT and his cousins played pirates, I trolled my mom's cookbooks for some tasty additions to my cooking repertoire. Some of these are tried-and-true favorites that I had forgotten about; others are new recipes. Those of you lucky enough to be invited to my kitchen can look forward to eating plenty of tasty food come the fall:

- stuffed chicken breasts (a big fave from childhood; KO and I considered this fancy food and I cooked it for my sister at UCLA on her 18th birthday)
- burgundy stew (I always think of Aunty Val when I eat this)
- pot tamale (a recipe from my great grandma)
- Texas straw hats (another childhood favorite; I also remember this from when we'd go camping)
- colonial chicken chowder (Mom says that the leftovers are to die for)
- split pea soup (my favorite b-day supper when I was 8 years old......should have known then that I was a weird child)
- tortilla soup (easy and so yummy)
- zucchini soup (yet another favorite from my youth)
- Amy's toffee bars (coming soon to the Christmas cookie tray)
- cinnamon sugar butter cookies (a recipe courtesy of Mom who got it from KO and KO doesn't mess around when it comes to baked goods)

Invitations are forthcoming (though y'all know that you are welcome to invite yourselves AND request your favorites).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Road Trip

We set off in my sister's mini-van on Wednesday. The boys sat 3-abreast in the back row, ready for some DVD viewing. KO drove and Mom road shotgun. I sat in the second row ----a comfy seat and close to the boy action, so that I could distribute snacks, fix headphones, and issue threats. The boys watched "Leave it to Beaver" while the grown-ups chatted and listened to KO's music. Everyone was happy.

My sister is a good driver and she knows her way around LA. But she is heavily dependent on her quick reflexes and quality brakes, which she applies with great force as needed. The result of this driving technique is that my mother holds tight to her seat and applies the imaginary brake with her right foot. This is fun to watch for a while, though it can lead to tension, as when my sister told my mother that she would be demoted to the middle row if she stomped a hole in the floorboard. I kept quiet and watched the show.

The ride south was good and, except for the boys asking every 45 minutes if we were almost there, was also fairly uneventful. Heading home was another matter. Within seconds of departure, Spencer announced that we should have flown home. He then explained that he "could not take anymore." With another 4 hours to drive, this seemed ominous. He whinged and moaned for 30 minutes before we moved him up to the second row, with advice that he fall asleep. Then JT announced that he had to pee. NOW. So KO pulled over to a Wendy's in Valencia and while JT and Cole went inside to pee, Spencer hurled in the parking lot. Not good.

Aunty Stacy obtained a Coke for the hurling party and then made a strategic error by also giving JT a Coke. We got back on the road and KO turned off the DVD player so that Spence would sleep. And then, perhaps to appease the children and perhaps to see if I would lose my cool, she turned on the Kidzbop CD. Spence slept and, in an effort to escape the music, I also went to my happy place.

45 minutes later, JT woke me with another request to pee. Those of you who know JT know that he loves public bathrooms and has made a virtual hobby of peeing all over America. On our flight out here from Philadelphia to Denver he made 4 trips to the bathroom, once announcing (loudly) that he didn't flush. After living 6 years with my son, I have become immune and mostly just let him go whenever (and wherever) he pleases.

KO said that if we stopped Spence would awaken. But Mama had a solution: JT could pee in an empty water bottle. All over America, frat boys do this on a daily basis so I figured that JT could just learn this particular skill a little early.

But alas, Mr. Prep School was horrified at this idea and pledged to "hold it." Naturally, after all the chatter and back and forth, Spence woke up. So we stopped to pee. Again. This time, I didn't get anyone a Coke.

10 minutes later, we were back on the road with a new soundtrack: Disney folk songs. By now, we were on Highway 99 ---- a little more than halfway home ----but we were pressed for time. KO had a 2 pm appointment to have a cracked window in her bedroom replaced. So all parties were informed that there would be no more stopping and KO applied her KYV strategy (Know Your Vehicle), weaving in and out of lanes, speeding us homeward.

We made it with 2 minutes to spare. But I'm willing to bet that JT will not be invited on another H'dinger road trip very soon.

PS: The photo is of Spencer, in a position that he claimed would make his tummy feel better.

Mama and Boy

JT and I have been all over this summer, but I haven't had any pictures of us together where I look halfway decent. My sister is the most photogenic person alive but I always look like some dreadful hag. This picture was taken at Disney's California Adventure and it's not half-bad.

Plus, we had a great time at the park.......Tower of Terror notwithstanding, of course.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Adrenaline Rush

After getting their roller coaster legs on the D-land rides, the boys hit California Adventure ready to feel a new kind of rush. The California Screamin' roller coaster was just the ticket. The ride begins with a 65 mph start up a steep hill, so you definitely feel the effects of gravity before several steep drops and then the ultimate fun....being spun upside down. JT and Spencer were game to go from the moment they saw the ride. Cole took some persuading and Grandma wasn't sure. So Grandma held the bags for the first ride.

The moment they got off the coaster, the boys were ready to ride again. And Grandma wasn't going to be left out this time. So we set off again, with Kristin and me idly wondering how we would explain it to our dad if the ride gave our 63 year old mother a heart attack......Spencer, with a more practical concern, took care that Grandma took off her glasses before we launched.

We took our third and final spin in the evening, as the coaster was lit up by lights. The boys thought it was terrific and afterward, they kept shouting, "that was awesome." It was a terrific end to a great trip.

Disneyland with the Cousins

My sister and I are hardly perfect, but damn if we didn't make some beautiful children. They are just the right age for Disneyland ---- old enough to walk around the park and yet still young enough to allow their imaginations to run wild. They had fun riding Thunder Mountain with one another and running through the treehouse. And this trip brought us a whole lot of happy boy laughter, something I can never hear enough of.

Underwire Blowout

At California Adventure on Thursday, my family persuaded me to go on the Tower of Terror ride. Basically, the idea here is that you are in a ghostly hotel on a broken elevator, which heads up and then ---- and this is the allegedly "fun" part ---- rushes down some 12 stories. It does this a few times, so that you get to really appreciate the feeling of your stomach flying out through your mouth. When the elevator gets to the top of the hotel, the doors open and you see the whole park. They do this to ensure that you know just how high you are before you fall. On the first ride, we sat in the back and I stomped my foot so hard when we dropped that some nice man sitting next to me may never walk the same again. We went on the ride early in the morning and when I got off I secretly swore that I would never go again.

But as the afternoon unfolded, the boys wanted to go again. My rotten sister and mother would not say no and so there I was, riding it again. I could have said no, of course, but this would require that I admit my cowardice in front of my mouthy 6 year old son. So I boarded the elevator knowing full well that I would not enjoy the trip. This time, we got to sit on the front row, allowing us perfect view of the park below us. I sat in the corner (hoping this would afford me some safety). I made my mother sit front and center, reasoning that she has already lived a full life. JT screamed with happiness while sitting next to me. I just prayed it would end quickly.

We survived the ride........but I blew out an underwire in my bra. I realize that some readers are under the impression that the underwire was under strain prior to the Tower of Terror, but you'll never convince me.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Satisfying That In-N-Out Urge

We headed south today and will visit the big mouse himself tomorrow. On our way to Anaheim we stopped and had supper at In-N-Out Burger. My memories of having the In-N-Out urge are mostly associated with my college days and a marked lack of sobriety.

But things have changed since Mama graduated from UCLA just a few years back. Namely, I have a 6 year old. So this In-N-Out urge was satisfied with total sobriety while JT and his cousins acted like 6 and 8 year old boys act.

It was a different kind of fun than my college days, though no less satisfying.