Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Public Service Announcement: Stay Away From the Squirrels

Don't think that squirrel isn't sneaking up on her...

To the lady in this most-unflattering rearview shot, I apologize, but a public service announcement needs to be made and you were unfortunate enough to be in my way...

Let be known that the Cape Meares, Oregon, squirrels are psychotic and crazy!  To all who with plans to every visit there, I plead with you to heed this warning.  They will not be afraid of you.  No amount of shooing or pretend-cawing or stamping or running away is going to deter them.  They want your food and your sandal-clad toes and aren't going to stop at any cost.

Don't bring a picnic lunch with the idyllic dream of sitting on this beautiful bench overlooking the most beautiful ocean view you've ever seen.  They will jump up behind you and stick their paws straight into your yogurt.

Don't give your kids anything.  Period. No food.  What kid have you ever met that doesn't drop their food on the ground while they're eating.  Let them eat and you're guaranteed to have rodents crawling over their own sandal-clad feet trying to get what's underneath.  Which leads us to my next advice...

Forget all notions you have of teaching your children that all God's creations need  love.  You need to share every horrible story you know about rabies and scabies and squirrels having babies.  Put the fear in them before they reach down and try to pet the very creature that's giving you clinical anxiety.

Do not think you'll be safe in the car.  Think about it.  Vacation, children, fast food addiction.  Your car is a ticking time bomb for squirrels with erratic behavior.  Open a door even a smidgen and you've invited in the entire crazy squirrel family.

And last but not least,

Leave your non-thinking, sleep-deprived, fairy tale tourist brain at home!  (This may also be loosely translated as your elderly)  Would you run out in your backyard shaking Ho-Ho's and peanut butter sandwich crumbs at the animals creeping through your trees?  If they were fat enough to carry away your youngest child (or grandchild), does it really seem like they need to have any more?  And if you see a frazzled mother running away from something with 4 kids in arms, could you maybe stop to see what's stalking her, rather than calling out, "Honey, Dear, KARL, here it comes, take my picture!"

Maybe I  write with too much emotion.  I didn't have any warning of the danger and peril I would be putting my family in on an innocent side trip to the sea.  There were no signs posted and no kind strangers giving the signal to beware.  Take it as my duty, to warn you, that the Cape Meares squirrels are not to be reckoned with.  This is my testimony:  If you get to close, they WILL try to carry you away!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

So Many Ways To Fall In Love with Boston

The city of Boston has a special place in my heart as I spent an entire summer working on Cape Cod and was able to drive in quite often.  Since then I've been back several times and LOVE showing friends around this very walkable city (one friend refused to walk "off" the Red Line and almost crashed over a flower vendor's cart).

Autumn is a perfect time to be there with the crisp cool air and changing colors accenting the life that comes from being in a place with so much history.  Check out this infographic with more detailed information on what to do in Bean Town.

What's your favorite thing to do in Boston?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Learning From Memory

Le Havre, France.  Not a town most people would know or remember.  Probably it's only claim to fame is being a logistically decent place for cruise ships to stop and send their passengers off for day tours of Omaha Beach and other noteworthy WWII sites.  Give me a few paragraphs, though, to convince you of it's redeeming property.

Travel back in time with me to April 2008.  My husband and I, with our 1-yr-old son B, set off on a celebratory tour of the continent of Europe.  My husband had finally finished his bachelor's degree so we packed our bags, got on a plane, and flew away!  Not until we were halfway across the Atlantic Ocean did we realize we'd left behind an important piece of equipment.

This is B:
No, he isn't what we left behind. But, at age one, you can imagine that B was an incredibly mobile child-not yet walking, but more than willing to get himself somewhere in a high-speed crawl.  Even at his best, however, we could hardly expect him to make do on his own for 6 weeks of budget traveling.

Figured out what the missing equipment was yet?  We'd left our backpack carrier in the car at home.  All of a sudden the idea of carrying a squirming, wiggly baby in our arms for hours and hours and days and days seemed daunting.  It was the first time we'd considered that traveling with a child might not be fun.

Enter Le Havre.  We happened to be there at the beginning of our journey and an angel of a tourism official directed us to a second-hand store where we might be able to find redemption.  She seemed ashamed not to be able to send us to a fancy department store.  We gave prayers of gratitude that our first unexpected purchase with euros might not break the bank.

This is the store:
Neither my husband nor I speak French and the shopkeeper of this adorable store knew very little English.  After a lot of pointing at B and then at our backs, we found ourselves following this nice lady out of her store and up three flights of stairs next door.  She unlocked a door and offered up her entire store room for us to find what we were looking for.  We were inundated with choices and she let us try on everyone.  Grateful and overwhelmed we finally settled on the pack we liked and hoped we had enough money in our pockets.  Truth is, to this day I don't know how much we paid for that backpack carrier.  What I do know is that it was worth it's weight in gold!

This is the pack: 
Honestly, it was perfect!  B slept in it, ate in it, laughed in it, played in it.  He rode on our backs through  eight countries.  It was incredibly comfortable and I carried him on my back for six of the seven miles on the Cinque Terre Trail in Italy.  That accomplishment is still a feather in my cap!  We have searched high and low and haven't found this exact backpack anywhere.  They don't exist.  But we have one.  It's our little miracle, and we've carried P and the babies in it now as well.

Why, you're asking, am I taking you on this trip down memory lane? 

These are the lessons: 
     ~It's What We Do.  People get confused and think we're being irrational to travel with our kids, but kids travel and we wouldn't think of leaving them home.
    ~Things will most certainly not go completely as planned.  Sometimes we'll forget things and there may be setbacks and delays.  That makes journeying all the more exhilarating.
    ~I love my family.  I easily get bogged down in my day-to-day.  Life doesn't magically become perfect when I hatch a new vacation plan, pack my bags and sail away.  My husband and four cute boys are always going to be there along the way.  If I can learn to make the most of the time I have with them, they'll make sure we live life to the fullest when they're out there (wherever there may be) with me. And that is all I'm hoping for.

And lastly:

    ~Don't leave the backpack carrier in the car at home!

What are the great lessons you've learned when things weren't going perfectly?
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