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This is getting obnoxious, but we are Anglophiles, and we needed a good vacation. So, we went to the UK again! For almost 2 weeks! With a bunch of my college friends and their families! The whole trip went smashingly well, we had a fantastic time.

Here's the play-by-play, will try to add pics and/or links later:

Days 1- 2: Dorchester & ExeterCollapse )


This is getting ridiculous...

We went to England again! At the end of August, again! It feels obnoxious to have gone to England two years in a row, but it was amazing, and as usual, I'm going to memorialize it here. More after the cut!Collapse )


Last vacation entry!

Day 9- August 30 (Drew's b-day!). This was the only rainy day of our entire vacation. It started out just gray, got misty, then became a full-on downpour.

We started the day at the Tower of London. It was not crowded at all when we got there, so we basically walked right into the Crown Jewels exhibit, where West became obsessed with a sweet jeweled sword, then we walked all around the place and explored almost every nook and cranny. The biggest hit by far was the White Tower, with the armor exhibits. At the very top room of the tower, there's an enormous dragon made out of armor and weapons, and West lost his mind over how amazing it was. The dragon's name is "Keeper," and West could have stayed there all day looking at it.

After the Tower, we took a boat ride up the Thames to Westminster. Probably not a great call, since it was about noon, but I saw there was no line at Westminster Abbey and figured we could bang that sight out pretty quickly. So we went to the Abbey, but I'd forgotten how much it bottlenecks all over the place because so many people stop randomly to listen to their audio guide, so you get stuck in a slow moving line for the entire circuit around, so even if you want to glide through, it takes a while. Saw a pretty amazing tomb with an elaborate carving of a skeleton reaching up to grab a carving of a woman, saw all the royal tombs, and revisited Poet's Corner to quietly commemorate our engagement. West was super patient through the whole thing, even though I'm sure a tour of an old church filled with tombs isn't the most exciting thing for a kid.

Left the Abbey in search of lunch and had to wander in the rain until we stumbled on a pub. After lunch we wandered to the theater district so I could grab our will-call tickets for that night, and Drew went to a bookstore. We later reconvened at the hotel, fed West a peanut butter sandwich, then dived back out into the night for dinner and a show. We randomly went to a hot pot restaurant in Chinatown that was amazing, and I'm still obsessing over how good the food was. The broth was so spicy and good, and there was a conveyor belt with all the stuff you could get to put in the broth. Amazing!

Then West and I went to the theater to see Aladdin the musical. It was such a spectacle, really great sets and costumes. The music was a little meh, because there are basically 3 outstanding songs in the movie, and I think they had to make up a few original songs for the play to make it a true musical. West loved it, there's a part when Aladdin is in the cave getting the lamp where he touches some jewels that he's not supposed to touch, and the whole theater goes dark for a minute. There's another part where they set off confetti over the audience, and for A Whole New World the two leads get on a carpet that's rigged up to look like it's flying around. Totally worth it. Took a taxi back to the hotel at the end, and that's that.

Day 10- August 31. This was a tough day to plan because we had hit so many of the must-sees, and we were getting tired from so much non-stop action. We started the day with a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour, since we wanted to get down to the old part of the city and could get on the bus using our London Pass. We got down to the Monument area in time for a two hour walking tour done by London Walks. There were a lot of people on the tour, and while some parts of it were cool (like going through secret passageways through churches and secret gardens), it was a little too big of a group to really get into it, and so it wasn't as great as I'd hoped it would be. The tour guide also wasn't the most personable person, but eh, what can you do. West was really good for such a long walking tour. At the end of the tour it was lunch time, so we headed in the direction of a restaurant we'd looked up online that looked promising, only to arrive at it to find that it doesn't exist yet! It opens in a few months. So we wandered and found a Mexican restaurant that turned out to be good, and wonder of wonders, West agreed to eat a quesadilla.

After lunch we went to the Natural History Museum, which was bananas busy and crowded. It also wasn't air conditioned, and with all those people crowded in, it was hot. We saw the dinosaurs, which is what West really cared about, and he spent a while staring at an animatronic t-rex. Walked through their outdoor garden, which was quite nice and very tranquil (and had a surprise sheep!), then went back in, did a quick breeze through the mammals exhibit, then escaped.

Our last stop was the Princess Diana Memorial Playground near Kensington Palace. Aka, the best playground in the world. It was incredible, I only wish we had been able to squeeze in one more trip to it because it was so much fun for West. It has a huge pirate ship, a water play area, an adventure playground, an area with Native American tents, a secret tunnel to a music exploration area, a sensory garden, and a hidden little nook with a pirate treasure chest. Also has a kiosk selling kid-friendly food, so that was West's dinner sorted. Drew and I got Indian food take out and ate in our hotel room that night, and we watched some British tv while we packed and relaxed before the big trip home.

Day 11- September 1. Not much to report, went to Heathrow, in the plane we ended up sitting a few rows in front of an attorney from my work who was traveling with his family, got to Logan, got in our car service, and had a very loooong traffic-slow trip back to Salem.

That's the story of our vacation. It was perfect and amazing, I don't know how we can ever top it! West wants to go back to Warwick Castle, but man, that's chasing lightning, I don't know that a second trip could live up to the memory. But I'm already hoping we can do another trip to the UK sooner than ten years from now (Cornwall! Non-creepy Wales!).


Still. More. Vacay.

But wait, there's more!

Day 6- August 27. Up with the literal dawn. We didn't even wait for breakfast, and the reception area was dark and unstaffed when we left. Left the key on the front desk and left town so fast there were probably cartoon speed marks in our wake.

This was Drew's Liverpool soccer game day, so we drove to Crewe, which is a nondescript post-industrial city that happens to have a big rail hub. We breakfasted at a sketchy McDonald's because there were no other options, and then dropped Drew at the train station. Then West and I went off for our day of adventure.

First stop- The Trentham Monkey Forest. It's a preserve for one species of monkey, and the monkeys wander free through the forest area. We saw some monkeys having a spat, and a few monkeys walked across the path in front of us, much to West's delight. Saw a talk by one of the staff at feeding time, West played on the playground for a few minutes, I paid a couple of pounds for him to get a few minutes in a bouncy house, then we headed out.

Stopped for lunch at a rest area on the highway that had a nice outdoor patio next to a pond & water fountain, so that was nice. We eventually made it to Stratford-Upon-Avon, and went to Mary Arden's Farm.

The farm was Shakespeare's mom's childhood home, and it was way more interesting than I expected! West loved it! There are some people in old timey costumes doing various farming/crafting demonstrations, and you can wander around the grounds, which include some gardens and some sheep/cattle fields. There's also a nice old Tudor house that you can walk through. Of course, for a couple of pounds you can do have-a-go archery, so West got to shoot some arrows. There's also a nice playground, so we booked some time there. We spent a good couple of hours at the farm, and could have stayed longer, but it was getting on a bit in the afternoon by then and I wanted to get to our hotel before dinner time. Also, my phone battery was almost dead and I didn't want to be stranded without a phone.

Made our way to our hotel for the night, The Castle at Edgehill, which is just on the outskirts of the Cotswolds area, or maybe just within it. It's up on a hill in a pretty small town in a rural farm area, but even with the secluded area it felt so much less creepy than the Wales inn the night before. It's a genuine castle, built in the late 18th century, though it's more of a folly and I don't think it was built for fortification. It was near the site of a big battle in the English Civil War, though. So our room was super comfy and felt luxurious, which was nice after such a bummer before. West's bed was tucked in a little alcove off the main room, always a plus, and they left a big basket of continental breakfast food for us, with juices and local milk in the room's fridge, so our breakfast was ready to go. That was totally awesome.

I was thinking about driving back into Stratford-Upon-Avon for dinner with West, but we were pretty tired after a long day, and knowing I would have to drive again later that night, I took a chance on bringing West to the hotel's fancy restaurant. It turned out to be awesome, he ate a grown-up fancy burger and was generally a very pleasant little dude. He got really into pouring water for me from the table's water bottle, and he wanted to be fancy for fancy dinner.

After dinner West and I piled back into the car to drive to Rugby, another post-industrial city with a big train station, so we could pick up Drew after his day in Liverpool. The GPS in the car stopped working just for this car trip, which was aggravating. I got Google Maps working on my phone, but it still led me astray a few times when the car's GPS probably would have been better (but amazingly, when we mentioned this to the car rental place when we returned the car, they actually refunded us the cost of the GPS for the week!). Finally made it to Rugby after driving for an hour down a bunch of twisty tiny country roads in the dark, got Drew, drove for another hour down the country roads.

Day 7- August 28. Time to wrap up the countryside for London! We headed out bright and early, anticipating Monday morning traffic jams, but it was a bank holiday, so we were pleasantly surprised by the complete lack of traffic. Made it back to the car rental place at Heathrow in record time, then got on the Heathrow Express to get into the city. Dropped our luggage off at our hotel, the Nadler Kensington, which was in a great location near a big tube station, but enough out of the way to be quiet at night. Room was comfy and had a little bed for West, so it was just what we needed.

We spent most of this day walking around London, taking in the big sights. First things first, we got off the tube right in front of Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. West was duly impressed. Walked by 10 Downing Street and West got a picture of himself standing next to a guard on a horse. Went to Trafalgar Square, then got lunch in the crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Field, which is something I've always wanted to do. Walked around St. James Park, which had a surprise playground that was awesome, and West made a buddy for a little while. Continued on to the end of the park and arrived in front of Buckingham Palace, so we could check that off the list. Walked back through Trafalgar Square to get up to Regent Street, where we found Hamley's Toy Store, a completely bananas incredible toy store. It blew West's mind. Got dinner at Pizza Express, because it's not like we can visit England without going to Pizza Express. Then we decided on the spur of the moment to do a Ghost Bus tour, which was highly entertaining and totally worth the steep tourist-trap price.

Day 8- August 29. This was probably my second favorite day of vacation, it went off perfectly and was a total delight. We started the day by going to King's Cross Station to do the Platform 9 3/4 visit. The line for photos wasn't long, so we got some good photos of West there, got our Harry Potter memorabilia, and then set off on foot for the London Zoo.

We walked through parts of Camden I'd never seen before, and got to the zoo after a solid 20-30 minute walk. It was awesome, West saw the gorillas and was happy, and he spent the entire time we were in the Reptile House hissing at the snakes to try to communicate with them. We had a decent lunch at the zoo cafeteria, then it was time to move along.

Our next stop was the British Museum. I wasn't sure how it would go over with West, but he had a great time. They have backpacks you can rent that are full of various activities for kids. The backpacks are themed, so we took the ancient Greece themed on, which had the cutest little toga for West to wear while we ran around the Greek stuff doing the activities. One of the activities was to sit in a quiet corner and play a game of knucklebones, then look at the vases that show ancient Greeks playing the game. It was awesome, though the museum was not air conditioned, and that wing was particularly hot that day. Saw all the big stuff that you want to see at the museum, and by the end of the day, Drew wanted to go check out a bookstore that was nearby. West and I stayed at the museum for a cupcake snack and a leisurely shopping break in the gift shop, then we all regrouped and headed to a nearby pub for refreshment. Ended the day with dinner at a super touristy and embarrassing to set foot in American style restaurant in Trafalgar Square, but we wanted someplace easy with food West would eat, so that's what we were stuck with.


OMG We Went to England

Ahem. *Tap Tap Tap* Time to dust off this old thing. Putting up a skeleton of a post now while things are still somewhat fresh in my jet lagged brain, will try to add pics later. But OMG, we went to England! We brought West! It was a magical delight! Seriously, A++ vacation, it'll be hard to top it ever.

Click for details!Collapse )


Tonight when I picked West up we went for our now-traditional Wednesday evening ice cream (Drew works late Wednesday nights, and it's a bad habit I got us into over the summer, luckily the ice cream store is closing for the winter season this weekend). While we were sitting there eating our ice cream, West leaned over and whispered in my ear "the people who work here are so nice giving us our ice creams all the time, can we give them something to say thank you?" It was the sweetest, most touching thing I've heard in a long time. I had tipped extra when I paid, but I gave West a dollar to put in the tip jar on the way out.

Guys, whenever I tip too far into election despair, I try to remember, so many of the kids are alright. So many of them are so kind and compassionate. I hope we can keep the present from fucking up their future too much, because the kids get it, and a lot of them are going to grow up to be better adults than the crop we've got now.


I took West to a Hillary Clinton rally (and Elizabeth Warren was there, too! Their first joint appearance since June!) on Monday. I figured I'd give the run-down of the day here for posterity's sake.

We got there around 8:30, "doors" were at 10:30 ("doors" being security check started then, because it was outside), and it was supposed to start at 12:30. It didn't start until 1:00 (if not after that, I didn't check the actual time, but it started super late).

It was a gorgeous day, and the couple of hours of waiting before we went through security were not bad at all. The guy in front of us in line eventually had his daughter join him, she was four, so she and West goofed around and played together in line. They ended up standing next to us at the actual rally, too, and West and the girl drew pictures together during that long wait, too.

We were so close to the stage! We were right up at the barrier, and were in front of where everyone walked up onto the stage. I'm going to append a couple of pictures I found online of the rally that show us!

It ended around 2:15. I didn't want us to have to pee during the rally, so we ended up being completely parched and hungry by the end. I gave West a peanut butter sandwich at 10:15, because I wasn't sure if they'd let any food in (turned out they did, but we were so squished in that there wasn't enough room to attempt to eat anything), and we shared a bottle of water before going through security, because they didn't let any liquids in. It was surprisingly hot in the sun, so by the end we were so hot and thirsty, and West was losing it. He was great for so much of the day, but he became a total bummer exactly when the event actually started, and he was pouting and flopping all over me and trying to sleep through the speeches. He perked up after it was done and I got some food and water into his face, and he said it was awesome.

Anyway, it was pretty exciting. There was such a happy excited air about the whole event, and everyone was so psyched to be there, it was awesome. Totally worth it, totally worth pulling him out of school. How many times are you going to be that up close to the next President of the United States?

Pictures if you click 'em. I drew crazy conspiracy theorist arrows on them to point out where we are- West wore my hoodie on his head to block the sun.

From the kids are unintentionally hilarious file:

Yesterday West asked me "How did sakes die?" After puzzling through WTF he could possibly be talking about, I lighted on "Do you mean "for heaven's sakes?" He did. I don't... even know how to explain that.

The other day one of his spelling words was dam. When I said it out loud for him to spell it his eyes got huge and he said "that's a spelling word?" Not damn, I had to explain, but a thing that holds water back.


Wow, kids losing skills over the summer is no joke. West is currently struggling to copy the thank you card notes I pre-wrote out for him. Like, all he has to do is look at what I wrote and literally just copy every letter, and it's like pulling teeth over here. I am feeling super guilty for letting the school work practice slide this summer, he's going to have a tough time going back to school in a few weeks. But jeez, man, how hard is it to copy a salutation, two sentences, and the closing signature? OMG. Someone's gonna be doing worksheets next summer.



We're back from Summer Vacation #3 (#1 was a week in Maryland in July, #2 was a couple of nights in a cabin in Maine last weekend). The drive home from New York always leaves me feeling so much more drained than the drive there. But Drew pointed out that we also walked 6 miles this morning before leaving the city, so there's that.

We drove down Friday morning, it was a surprisingly smooth ride, not as much traffic as there normally would be in the morning, and we triple-protected against West's motion sickness- half a chewable Dramamine, those sea sickness wrist bands, and lollipops made for morning sick pregnant ladies. It worked! And the Dramamine did not dope him up too much, so we were ready to hit the ground running on arrival. We parked at the Met and started our visit there. We walked in via the Greek/Roman statues wing, so West immediately saw statue butts and thought that was the height of hilarity. Got some comically overpriced lunch at the museum cafeteria. Saw the armor exhibit, the medieval exhibit, the Egypt exhibit, more ancient stuff, and European paintings. All while playing Pokemon Go, because the entire museum was covered in lures the whole time and there Pokemon everywhere. Talked to someone from Miami who was happy to see how into the game everyone is up here. After the museum we went to our hotel, which was in a great location, was pretty comfy, and had a super sketchy scary elevator. So I took the stairs a lot. Anyway, after freshening up, we walked down to the area where we knew we were having dinner, stopping in stores along the way because it was a thousand degrees and like 200% humidity, it was seriously epically uncomfortable the entire weekend. We went to The Strand, Forbidden Planet, Dylan's Candy Bar, and a Lego store (NYC business establishments got a lot of our money this weekend). Once we got down to The Village we stopped in a bar for a quick beer before dinner, then headed into Jekyll & Hyde for dinner. I had a groupon for dinner, which is the only way that place is remotely affordable, and even with that I ended up feeling like it was waaaay too expensive for what it was. We thought it would delight West, but he was kind of terrified the whole time. He did laugh at some things, and I think the rose colored glasses of time will make it a fun memory.. eventually. The food was beyond meh. Luckily we were right across the street from Big Gay Ice Cream, so we got delicious ice cream after dinner, and actually walked all the way back to our hotel from there. It was a lot of walking and West was a trooper for it all. It's not a Meger vacation until we have walked a punishing number of miles every day!

Saturday we got breakfast at a super New York corner diner that was super tasty. Then we walked up to the Nintendo store to drop some cash on Pokemon products. We played Pokemon Go the whole way, then went up to Central Park for more Pokemon action. We walked back to our hotel and got lunch at a bar with soccer on tv and a good beer selection, then I made a quick shopping detour to the row of awesome Korean beauty product stores (our hotel was in Koreatown). West and I attempted to nap at the hotel for a bit, completely unsuccessfully. We'd intended to do a ghost walk in the evening, but by the time I went to buy tickets that day they were all sold out, which was a bummer. So, change of plans, we took a bus way down to Bowery and Banyard, and then walked around Chinatown and Little Italy. Got some gelato because it was a thousand degrees and we lived off ice cream all weekend. And the gelato was delicious. We walked all the way to Avenue B to an HP Lovecraft themed bar that turned out to be underwhelming in its devotion to the theme. After that we found a bar specializing in hot dogs, so West could have a hot dog for dinner. A mouse totally ran across the floor in the place, but what can you expect from a restaurant below street level in New York.... We went back up to the area around our hotel (by cab this time, we aren't total gluttons for punishment, that would have been a crazy walk), Drew and I got some dinner, and that was the end of the day.

This morning we walked through Times Square to get to Ellen's Stardust Diner for breakfast. Ok, it's a total tourist trap, and in keeping with our food theme of the weekend, it was super expensive for meh food, but the waitstaff sing while you eat (I thought it would be like all the waitstaff singing to tables individually, but it's one person at a time singing with a microphone, so it's not as chaotic as it sounds). West was totally delighted with it, so it was worth the price tag and mediocre food, and looking like total tourists. We walked up to Central Park again, did more Pokemon Go-ing, then walked back to our hotel to check out. And that's that!
We just had a vacation, and it's been way too long since I've posted here. Our vacation was just going down the Maryland to visit the in-laws, but still, I haven't been at work for a week, so that feels pretty good to me.

Our trip started off with West throwing up all over me just as we landed at BWI last Friday. So that was fun. We were sitting close to the front of the plane, so everyone else on the plane got to walk by us as I tried to clean us up with a handful of paper towels and all of the wet wipes I carry in my purse (note to self: replenish purse wet wipe supply stat). All while calmly telling West it's no big deal, lots of people do it, that's why those little bags are there. Those little bags are great if you get some warning that your companion is going to blow chunks before said chunks are blown. So then we walked through the airport while my shorts were soaked through with vomit, and lurked in a corner at baggage claim until we could get clean clothes out of our suitcase. What a start!

We saw fireworks on the 4th at a minor league baseball game that 1) took foreeeeeevvverrrr for them to play, and 2) got rain-delayed halfway through when the heavens opened up on us. But by the time fireworks were on the rain had stopped, and we had great seats in which to view them.

On Tuesday we went into Baltimore for the children's museum, a stop at the Maryland Historic Society to see their mastodon skeleton, and finished the day with a trip to a remaindered book warehouse that was awesome. Children's illustrated abridged versions of Shakespeare, Greek myths, and the Canterbury Tales- yes, please!

Wednesday we went into DC so I could book a half day of work at my DC office (and get four blissful hours of peace and quiet and not having to hear "uh, mommy?" five bazillion times). West and the fam went to the natural history museum, saw a few dinosaur fossils and watched tarantuala feeding time.

Today we flew back home. I set off the explosives detector with whatever explosive substance I had on my palms. Oh boy! I got the extra special go-into-a-tiny-room TSA pat down. That was... thorough. The lady doing it did say "nice shirt" about my Veronica Mars t-shirt. I was a little rattled by how non-communicative everyone involved in the process was, as I was led around by a guy who only spoke in grunts, and it was confusing what they wanted me to do pre-pat-down. But I ended up kinda feeling bad for the TSA lady who has to feel up strangers all day, because that must feel kind of lousy for her, too. ANYway. The flight was a little bumpy but otherwise uneventful, and West kept his breakfast in his stomach.

And tomorrow we have a final day of vacation!

Apr. 18th, 2016

So I guess we've reached the point in our car's life where it just falls apart? In the last 3 weeks we've had to get the mass air flow sensor replaced twice. Today, driving home from the mechanic that just replaced the sensor again, the car sounded weirdly loud. The muffler had detached from... whatever holds mufflers onto cars. Completely coincidentally and not related to the mechanic fixing the damn sensor. WTF, car. We still have a couple of years left on the loan, so I think we're stuck with it until something really catastrophic breaks, but I am now seeing some of the wisdom of possibly leasing in the future. Even though leasing seems like a scam and I'd prefer to own a car at the end of making payments for 5 years.


In a rare parenting win, I may have stumbled on something that seems to work. Lately I've been asking West once he's all tucked in bed if he has any questions. Like, about life or his day or anything. And he's had a lot of questions about evolution and sciencey things, and a couple of questions about why I don't like guns. I wanted to do something to encourage us having a little chat after story reading time, and he never remembers much about his day, or doesn't have anything he wants to tell me about it, but he always has a million questions.

Of course, I temper that by sucking sometimes, and I got super annoyed with him tonight when he hurt his hand because he was fooling around with a stepstool while I was trying to wipe his butt tonight. OMG. I am so tired of butt wiping. When will it end?! He does a passably ok job of it when he has to, but we are not at 100% independence there yet. Anyway, I try to apologize to him after I've failed at being a reasonable adult, and I explain how I should have been more patient or whatever my failing du jour is, and that I'll try harder. I don't remember my parents ever apologizing for a parenting mistake, so I hope maybe it's ok to at least show him that hey, we're humans, we screw up, we try to do better next time. Maybe? I don't know what I'm doing here, who put me in charge of a human anyway?


Watching West learn how to read is amazing. In September he couldn't read anything other than his name. Tonight he read me an entire Elephant & Piggie book, with help on the harder words, but still, he did it. He's kind of obsessed with learning facts about presidents now, and he's super obsessed with Pokemon and knows a lot of their names and powers. This little person blows my mind sometimes.


Sometimes you lose a kid in a grocery store for like 30 seconds. This weekend we were at BJ's getting a ridiculous amount of wholesale goods, and Drew & I went down an aisle thinking West was right next to us. I turned around and West was nowhere to be seen. I found him about 30 seconds later just outside of our aisle looking super scared because he couldn't find us, either. That was genuinely terrifying. Poor little guy was so freaked out.

In the parenting win column, we started him in a kids' swordsmanship class and he absolutely LOVED it. I've never seen him so excited about an activity. Exercise, social time, hopefully some learning to focus and control his body a bit, it's the best!


Jan. 1st, 2016

I just wanted to get this in here more so I don't forget it than anything else. For a while Drew and I have had this joke that our family motto is "Efficiency In All Things!" which we like to say, uh, energetically sometimes. The other day I was out at the museum with West, and West said "our new family motto should be 'Out And About'." So cute! Then later West said "but my motto will be 'Whatever'." Ahhh! This kid is so hilarious sometimes.


It's 9:45 and every present in the house has been unwrapped, including those that required long skype sessions with the grandparents for unwrapping. West was up at 5:30, which isn't that bad because that's exactly when he usually wakes up. This was super successful Christmas season. I pulled off a hail mary gingerbread man cookie baking session last night so we could put out cookies for Santa. Took West to the mall Santa last weekend at the last minute. He told Santa he wanted the Gold Power Ranger, which was totally different from what he'd been saying all month (he'd been all about getting a Transformer before this). So I did a last minute Amazon power ranger purchase, and it was so worth it because he was so excited. He's been pretty charming and excited about everything all morning. We watched Muppets Christmas Carol a couple of nights ago and he actually liked it. I'm pretty pleased that it's been a totally whimsical and fun Christmas season. Now I need a five hour nap.


NYC! Holiday whimsy and magic!

We had a surprisingly AMAZING time in New York this weekend!

After the cut!Collapse )


I have been going to some kickass shows lately. Like, on weekday nights and everything. Not that I can actually handle the lack of sleep, I had to take a half day yesterday to recover from being up too late the night before.

A couple of months ago I saw Idlewild at the Sinclair. They did a tiny tour of the US, just hitting 4 cities, it was the first time they'd been over here in 10 years. They were so good, played everything I hoped to hear, and played it all with so much energy.

Last week I saw Okkervil River at the Royale. They were doing a tour playing one of their seminal albums from like 10 years ago or so. I really like the album, and it was a good show, but I wasn't super invested in it and the crowd wasn't great, so it wasn't a transformative experience, not like the other shows I've been seeing lately.

Sunday night I saw The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die... the best band playing music right now. Period. OMG. That show was transcendent. They were so good, the crowd was electric (I could have lived without the mosh pit, crowdsurfing, and stage diving, what is this, 1994, and what are we, 14 years old?). Plus, it was an all ages show at the Sinclair, which meant they kept to schedule with brutal efficiency- there were 4 bands playing and the show ended promptly at 11.

Finally, this weekend in NYC I'm seeing Sleater-Kinney. Reading Carrie Brownstein's book and listening to all of their albums, I got so psyched by the possibility of seeing them, and then Carrie wrote in the book something about how amazing it is to be in the room when Corin Tucker is singing, and I was like "hells yeah, that's right, I have to go to that show!" I haven't missed an opportunity to see Sleater-Kinney since I first started going to shows back in 1997/1998. I've seen them tour for every album since Dig Me Out. I'm so excited I'm even willing to trudge across Brooklyn by myself for it!


Nov. 27th, 2015

Tonight we went to the annual Salem tradition of watching Santa get rescued from the roof of a hotel by firemen on a huge fire truck ladder. As you do. While we were waiting, a girl in West's class walked by, and she yelled to him "I've been dreaming about you" OMG. Kids are hilarious, but send help, because we've also received notice from his afterschool program that he was kissing a girl one afternoon. IDK what is even happening here. Let's get through the final stages of not wetting the bed at night, and eating spaghetti with a shirt on, before I have to step up my parenting game (or lack thereof) to tackle human relations. He takes his shirt off to eat spaghetti. It's a thing. The other night Drew came home and noted West's lack of shirt, and said "spaghetti for dinner, huh?"


West is working on his tight 5 comedy routine. We watched Muppets Take Manhattan today, and his joke tonight was: "Why is called Muppets Take Manhattan? It should be called Muppets Leave Manhattan!"

OMG. This kid.

Also, that movie holds up remarkably well, it's amazing! I am so excited to take him to NYC in a few weeks. It will be magical and whimsical!


Book orders! Yaaaaassss. We got our first book order forms for West today, I'm so excited. You remember those Scholastic flyers we got in school when we were kids? They totally still do those. Super cheap books are the best. Also, ordering a bunch of books from this earns free books for his classroom.



So we are 4 days into Kindergarten, and I am loving it. Walking around West's school I was astounded by how awesome the facilities are, and we're in a pretty low scoring district in the state. They have an art room! A science lab! A big library! A music room! I guess the Catholic schools I went to were just super shabby.

Every week Kindergarten gets 2 music classes, 2 art classes, a PE class, and a computer class. Our school gives every kid a free breakfast and free lunch. We're still navigating that, because West is so picky, so he won't eat most of the food they have, but he also had one morning where he ate two breakfasts, one at home and one at school (he was like "yeah, I had a tummy ache after that"). So, still packing a lunch most days, but today he got school lunch and went for the super responsible choice of eating pancakes and chocolate milk for lunch. Oh, kid.

His teacher seems really nice and is brand new, and the kids seem like great kids (from what I could tell from seeing some of them like twice). The school did a scavenger hunt / meet & greet / Q&A session for the incoming Kindergarteners on the night before the first day of school, it was super nice.

He's in the Y's afterschool program in the same building where he was going to daycare, and it's going surprisingly well. He seems super happy, a couple of kids from daycare who go to different schools now are in the program with him. They actually give the afterschool kids free dinner every night if the kids want it. We could literally not have to feed our kid at all except for snacks every weekday if we needed to.

So we're starting off well! Yay!


I have just learned that there is an Institute for Mummies and Icemen, and I feel just a little like I have wasted my life on librarianship when I could be working in an institute for mummies. Oh well. I'm sure that requires more work and effort than I ever wanted to put into my education. Librarianing is perfect for the lazy scholar, learn just enough about everything to get by but not having to actually do terrible things like writing dissertations. I kind of also wish I had been a spy, but not like a danger-spy, more like a working-from-the-safety-of-a-computer spy. Those exist, right? Guess I'd better get working on that novel I'm never going to write!

Anyway, it's been forever since I've written here. We're having a lovely summer full of enrichment and adventure (read: we are not home very often and are very overbooked). Last weekend we went up to Storyland in NH. The mountains are so gorgeous, I love going up there for a little weekend getaway in the summer. West was delightful most of the time and was filled with whimsy at the park.

Finally, this blog about making food in books (with a heavy Harry Potter focus) is awesome and totally relevant to the interests of the... five people? who might be reading this. Come back to LJ, everyone! Facebook isn't the same and LJ is so lonely!


So my latest project has been diving deep into Irish indie rock (which, thus far, is proving way less interesting than Scottish indie rock). Whilst poking around YouTube tonight, I re-discovered a Scottish indie rock song from the 90s that I had completely forgotten about, but I now remember fondly playing it a lot on my radio show. I must have listened to it a ton because the words are still lodged in a nook in my brain. I'm so excited to have re-found lost music, and it turns out to be Scottish!


We went to Scotland! Part Five

Day Five, Friday, Inverness-Loch Ness-Fort William-Loch Lomond-Balmaha

Our biggest driving day, and the first day of the trip when it super rained for a lot of the day.

We started off bright and early and just made it onto the first Loch Ness cruise of the day. It was an hour boat ride, the wind was brisk (ok, it was freezing), the sky was gray, but it was awesome.

After the cruise we headed on to the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition. It came highly recommended by our tour books, and we obviously needed to do something Nessie related, but I can't say that I echo the recommendation. It was kind of interesting, but it was basically just a bunch of videos in different rooms.

Next, we went down the road to Urquhart Castle. Here's another part of the castle. It was a nice tumbledown castle. Drew says some of the Highlander movie was filmed there. We managed to explore the entire castle and get inside the visitor's center for lunch just as the rain started, and it was pouring by the time we left.

The rest of the day was rain, rain, and more rain. Luckily, this was the day we'd planned to be just driving for hours after the castle, so we got in the car and I white-knuckled it down the A82. The views were still amazing even in the rain, and hey, I didn't crash the car or run it off the tiny windy roads! Victory! We stopped in Fort William (unremarkable except for Outlander nuts like me) for a quick break- mostly, I had to pee and I needed to stop driving for a few minutes. T went in search of a stamp, and Drew and I went off in search of a bathroom, and ended up ducking into the free West Highland Museum strictly for their bathroom. Classy! Also, I got a Tunnock's tea cake somewhere in Fort William, and it was a taste sensation. I might be obsessed. So we got back in the car for more driving. We drove through Glen Coe, stopped to step onto Rannoch Moor (very desolate, rainy, and barren), and drove the length of Loch Lomond (very pretty but too scary for me to appreciate because OMG the road). Our hotel for the night was on the other side of Loch Lomond, in Balmaha, The Oak Tree Inn. Look at how cute and picturesque it looks! Reality was a little different. I do think that in the summer, on nice days/nights, it's probably really beautiful and nice. On a rainy, cold night it left a bit to be desired. This was, sadly, the most uncomfortable night of our trip because the rooms are tiny and there's no sound insulation so we heard everything going on in all the rooms around us, and it sounded like they were all having parties. The inn is a big draw for hikers who are setting out or coming back from the West Highland Way, and I think if that's your thing it's perfect for you, but since that was not our thing, it was just kind of meh. We got dinner at the inn, and Drew & I did a bit of reading in the bar, but the bar was crowded and hot, so we grabbed some drinks from the store that's part of the inn and retired early to our room.

Day Six, Saturday, Balmaha-Glasgow

I had planned for the night at Balmaha because I wanted one more night in the highlands, but knowing what I know now, I do wish we had just pushed on to Glasgow and had two nights in Glasgow. However, our Glasgow hotel was weird and I think I would have been disappointed to spend two nights there. In retrospect, Drew maintains that he loved the hotel because it was like a British sitcom. The hotel appeared to be managed by a very nice lady who was super helpful in the morning, but she kind of disappeared in the evening. Her son, the lead singer of this band was bartending that night and we did have an awesome conversation about music. He got so excited and gave me a huge list of Scottish bands to check out, and I was able to give him a few bands he'd never heard of. That was actually a highlight of the trip and was super awesome. Talking about Scottish music with a guy in a band! OMG.

Backing up, we got into Glasgow in the morning, panicked about the lack of parking by the hotel, Drew and T got the very nice hotel lady to help clear out a spot for me to park in the tiny hotel "parking lot." We were close to the Necropolis (giant Victorian cemetery on a hill) so we hiked up there and explored that in the rain. The rain cleared out and we got some stunning(?) views of industrial Glasgow. We checked out the Glasgow Cathedral, then started our march to explore the city. It rained off and on pretty much the entire day. Like, it would downpour for ten minutes, then clear and be sunny, and repeat. We walked around the city center until lunchtime, got lunch, then Drew set out for his soccer game. T and I kept walking around, as I had a couple of record stores I wanted to check out. We found them and checked them out (Mono records, owned by a guy in the Pastels, and Love Music). I talked to a record store guy about the new Twilight Sad single. Yay! We continued on and eventually took a break at the Willow Tea Room. We kept on walking until we needed another break, and stopped at the Kelvingrove Museum for a bit. Then we pushed on to our meeting place with Drew, The Sparkle Horse. This was one of the placed I was really looking forward to, and it lived up to my hopes! It's owned by a guy who was in the band Bis. Upon internet research after the fact, I am 99% sure that guy served me our first beers. OMG! Drew joined us, we stayed for dinner, then got a cab back to our hotel because we were super on the other side of the city. I'd love to go back to Glasgow and stay in the West End area, it was very much the Cambridgey/Somervilley college area of the city. Had our music chat evening at the hotel bar, and that was the end of the day.

Day Seven, Sunday, Glasgow-Maryland

That's it. We drove to the airport without mishap, had our flights without any problems, and got back to Baltimore to a very excited and happy West. I wish we could have had a few more days on our trip, but I think in reality we pushed it as far as we could be gone from him, and I really missed the little dude by the time Sunday rolled around. So that's our trip! We flew back to Boston on Monday because it would have been too much to try to fit another flight into the day. So glad we did that! Hopefully someday we can go back to Scotland and do a slow travel vacation where we stay in one place and really relax and possibly get outdoors and hike a lot.

We went to Scotland! Part Four

I think I fixed all the broken picture links in my previous entries. At least, I hope I fixed them.

Day Four, Thursday, Fintry-Doune-Pitlochry-Newtonmore-Inverness

This was the point in the trip when we lost all track of time and were like "what day is it? It can't be Thursday!" This day was my favorite day of the whole trip.

Our goal for the day was to make it up to Inverness, where our B&B for the night was, but with stops along the way. First stop was Doune Castle. This castle is where a lot of Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed (look familiar?), some shots of Winterfell on Game of Thrones were filmed here, and most importantly, it is Castle Leoch on Outlander. Here's the courtyard inside the castle walls.

We had some minor road snafus on our way out from the castle but eventually found our way to the highway and started north into the highlands. We stopped in a super cute little town called Pitlochry for lunch. I will probably add a picture when I get my film back from being developed, though it's possible I just didn't take any pictures. It was a cute town, lunch was tasty sandwiches consumed on a bench next to a babbling brook.

We carried on up to Newtonmore, to the Highland Folk Museum, aka Jennie's Happy Place. The day was gorgeous and sunny, and the museum is an amazing place with old timey buildings all over the place that are decorated as old timey businesses and stuff, and there are people in costume dropping knowledge bombs about history. We had a nice chat with the lady pretending to be a 1930s school teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, then hiked up to the area of the museum (the grounds are huge) where Outlander filmed the episode Rent. It looked just like the show! You can go inside all of the historic stuff and touch things and poke around! here's an inside of a 1700s croft. Also, there were ponies and sheep. Seriously, I can't overstress how much I loved this place. It was incredible. And it was free! OMG. I would have paid 20 pounds to go in (I did give a donation in the donation box, I'm not a monster). I'm guessing they are going to see a huge uptick in visitors because of Outlander.

We had still more driving to do to get to the Inverness area. I had planned one more stop to see Culloden, but it had been a long day and we were nearing the time for the Culloden visitor's center to close anyway, so we decided to just continue on into Inverness, find our B&B, and chill for the evening. Our B&B was so fabulous! Inverness is mostly B&Bs, and I had a hard time finding one that had two rooms open on this night, so I went through a long list to arrive at this one, but I'm so glad we ended up where we did. The owner was so nice, the rooms were cozy, and the breakfast was the best breakfast we had on the whole trip. Drew and I walked around looking fruitlessly for a store that would see him a Scotland soccer jersey. Then we all went out for Indian food. The food was good, though it was sweeter and more coconutty than the Indian food we get here. We learned that night there is a vast cultural divide between American diners and UK restaurants. Apparently it's considered rude for waiters to bring the check to the table without it being specifically asked for. Meanwhile, we think it's rude to bother waiters by asking for the check. So we sat at our empty table long after they cleared the plates away, wondering if we were ever going to get out of the restaurant. The restaurant owner came over for a chat, and we were just like seriously, how do we get out of here. Drew and I ended the night going to read books in bars- we tried one very gritty local pub and felt super out of place (or at least, I did, because I was the only woman in the pub, it was weird). We landed at the hotel bar next door to our B&B and it was comfy and pleasant. Oh, and here's the view from our B&B. It looked cool at night, too.

We Went to Scotland! Part Three

Day Three, Wednesday, Edinburgh-Stirling-Fintry

We bid farewell to Edinburgh with only a modicum of directions/road induced panic. Our first stop of the day was Linlithgow Palace. Like many crumbling castles in Scotland, Linlithgow has some Mary Queen of Scots and various-kings-Jameses claims to fame. It's basically an empty shell of a palace, but there were lots of nooks and crannies to explore. It also happens to be an Outlander filming location, which was my main motivation for wanting to visit. It had a cool fountain. There weren't many visitors that morning, just us and a school field trip where half of the children were dressed in historical garb and giving reports about history to their classmates. As you do. I like this picture because it feels so empty, but you can imagine the old timey days when it would have been a... thing. The view from the top of a tower (possibly the tower where Queen Margaret or some other fancy lady went to cry, at least, according to the guidebook). When we returned to our car in the parking lot some rando dude was taking pictures around our car, causing me to leap into a panic. I ran to him yelling "what did I do wrong? I thought I parked right!". He replied that he was just taking pictures of the wall our car was parked in front of- an answer of which I'm still dubious because it was an unremarkable modern wall and there was plenty of it that was not directly in front of cars. But whatevs.

Next we trundled on to Stirling. We had originally planned on visiting the Wallace Monument first, but parking and my inability to understand a map dictated that we do Stirling Castle first. Before that we walked down a huge hill to a cute little pub for lunch. Then we walked back up the huge hill to the castle that was atop still more hill. The theme of Scotland, by the way, is HILLS AND STAIRS. Everywhere. Stirling Castle was awesome, it was the most done-up castle we visited, with sweet unicorn tapestries and weird face ceiling decorations. There were even a few costumed people pretending to be historical folk. Look at this proper castle realness. Magnificient view, too.

Onward we rolled to the Wallace Monument. The photos of smiling people on that website are a lie. The monument is perched atop a very high hill that you must ascend to get to the monument. The monument itself consists of 246 stairs with a couple of landings where people grimace at each other in communal self-pity for paying 10 pounds to walk up 246 stairs. That's a lot of stairs. The stairs are all turnpike stairs, very narrow, and there is only one set so people are going up and down the same tiny twisty staircase. Here's a nice picture of the Scottish flag at the base of the monument. The view from the top of the monument was spectacular, but I was too winded and nervous about the two-way stair traffic to really enjoy it. Also, I guess I only took pictures up there with my clicky disposable camera, which is currently being developed somewhere where film still gets developed.

After all that, we headed to our hotel destination for the night, Culcreuch Castle. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the evening was just gorgeous. Check out this amazing castle grounds scenery. We had dinner in the dungeon bar. It was tasty. I had my first and only whiskey of the trip. It was disgusting. Also, our badass room had original, hand-painted wallpaper that was imported from China in 1723. OMG! History! It was really cool. We stayed in a real, actual castle! At breakfast the next morning, one of the castle staff told us that Outlander had filmed on the castle grounds! The actors and actresses used the castle rooms for costume changes! OMG!

We went to Scotland! Part Two

Day One, Monday, Glasgow-Edinburgh

We finally got ourselves sorted, picked up our rental car, and drove off from Glasgow onto the M8 to Edinburgh. By the way, I did all the driving over there, and I rocked it! Nary a scratch on the vehicle. And I kind of suck at driving and really suck at parking / de-parking. No scratches, but our psyches were worn and scratched by my complete ineptness at parking (I often need people to get out of the car and motion me into a space as if they are directing a large plane down a runway).

Our hotel in Edinburgh turned out to be in a charming old-looking building, but our room was super comfy, and it was a very pleasant place. Our first order of business after dropping our stuff off was to seek out some dinner. We wandered about, and after being shut down by a place that seemingly had delicious burgers but did not serve food on Mondays, we found ourselves at Nandos. This is hilarious to me because after coming home I discovered the Nandos is blowing up the internet. How timely of us! It was an unremarkable dinner, and marked the first (but not the last!) time we would be confused about protocol in a Scottish restaurant.

After dinner, we walked down to Princes Street so we could get cheap clothes at Primark to get us through until our luggage could join us. Then, we headed over to attempt to go to The Real Mary King's Close, but they were sold out for the evening. As luck would have it, we were across the street from where all the ghost tours leave, so we wandered there and were just in time to get in on a tour of some underground old timey, totes haunted, vaults. It was pretty creepy, and the tour was entertaining. We ended the tour right down the street from a Brew Dog brewery bar, so we capped the night off with a beer and then headed back to the hotel.

Day Two, Tuesday, Edinburgh

Luckily we had planned for two nights in Edinburgh, so even though were disappointed to have lost half a day of our trip, we still had plenty of time to get in our major must-sees.

We spent the morning at Edinburgh Castle. Pretty sweet, huh? Behold, my inability to properly frame a picture! The castle was awesome, there was so much to explore, and their displays were informative and interesting. Also, one of the areas of the castle is where the Black Dinner was held in like the 1400s or something, and that is what the GoT Red Wedding was based on. Here's a sweet view looking out from the castle.

After the castle it was time to wend our way down the Royal Mile, and we bought tickets for a later tour of The Real Mary King's Close. It's a hugely popular attraction, and for good reason, that was really entertaining and was an hour well spent. Before doing that tour, though, we had some time for lunch (coronation chicken sandwich!). We were right next to St. Giles Cathedral, so here's a picture of it. We did a lot of walking around, so by the time our Mary King's Close tour was done we were ready to call it a day on touristing and settle in for some drinkin'. We went back to the burger bar we'd been denied the day before, had some tasty beers, had some tasty burgers, and then moved along to a couple of different bars. Woo-hoo, vacation!


Vacation in one week! I am sorting out logistics like a boss!

Car service to get us to/from Logan: Check

Pet sitter sorted: Check

Crazy notebook full of driving directions, points of interest opening times, reservation numbers: Work in progress. Notebook supplements my crazy Google spreadsheet, since heaven forfend we don't have internet access to figure out exactly when Doune Castle is open, damnit.

Monty Python & the Holy Grail rewatched to have relevant castle in mind for full appreciation upon visit: Check

All manner of assorted first aid and toiletry items ready to be packed: Check

Just watch, all this planning and I'll forget something completely essential like my passport, but I will have extra travel containers of Advil, Pepto, two things of glasses cleaner in case one isn't enough, and more hair products than is reasonable despite the fact that the inevitable Scottish rain will turn my hair into a frizzball in two seconds.

Feb. 15th, 2015

OMG I cannot with these snowed in days. I am losing my mind being stuck inside! The only thing keeping me chugging along is the promise of our trip to Scotland (!) that we are doing in the spring.


Dave Holmes, a former MTV V-Jay, has awesome series of nostalgia blog posts. It's like falling down a rabbit hole of 80s and 90s memories.


Kids' books round-up

Hey LJ, it's been a while! I thought I'd do a round-up of the best kids' books we've read recently.

First is The Book With No Pictures. Written by The Office's B.J. Novack. I was not expecting this to be as big a hit as it is. The first time I read it West laughed so hard he peed his pants, and he regularly laughs so much he falls over on subsequent reads.

The Rabbit Problem is gorgeous and also math-y. It has lots of little fiddly bits in the book that West loves, and the Fibonacci sequence running through it makes me feel like a smarty-pants mom even though I didn't actually realize that was a thing in the book until someone else pointed it out. I still feel kinda smart about it.

My First Book of Girl Power. I am not a huge fan of West seeing all the scantily clad lady superhero outfits, but I like the message, and I am really trying to make sure he has plenty of books about girls that he likes. In the vein of girl power, I also really like these books: Rosie Revere Engineer, The Most Magnificent Thing, The Three Ninja Pigs, and Ninja Red Riding Hood. There are so many books where the default is BOY, or if it's about girls, it is marketed solely to girls and is covered in pink, making it hard to get West interested in it. I like the Olivia books because they aren't always pink to the max, and he likes the stories.

Anyway, Christmas was whimsical, we had a really nice day and West was really cute and loved his presents.
Woe! We are now done with the Arbitron ratings. No more meter wearing, no more $25 checks every month. It's been a year and a half, I've gotten so used to wearing my meter and looking for it when I lose it and checking my pockets to make sure it's there. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted! I really liked making my tv watching count for something. But Vampire Diaries continues on, meter or not, thank goodness. Bring me some more vampires and witches in 1994 for *reasons*. Also, the newest Raven Boys series book is sooooo good. Also, Drew is reading a book with West right now and West is kinda getting some of the words, or at least the letters. It's hella cutes.
West can draw actual representative art now! I had no idea he was capable of this until last week! He's been coming home with reams of drawings from daycare, and he is all about drawing houses and pictures of his family. It is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Today he gave me a picture he drew of me, Drew, and him, and his drawing of me even has a ponytail and eyelashes. I love the little surprises of seeing him learn new things. Yesterday he even showed a welcome bit of actual patience and restraint and said "I'll wait until you're done with the apple crisp" (I was making apple crisp with the gazillion pounds of apples I have from two weekends of apple picking). OMG. This child is growing up!


Writing out some thank you cards tonight, I am reaching the bottom of my usual stash of cards. And, behold, I pulled out from the very bottom a card that I have apparently been carrying around with me since 1996. It is an edited draft of a thank you card I must have sent to the people who interviewed me for my college admissions applications. Like the Harvard alum to whom I claimed I had an abridged version of Ulysses. Sadly for me, the book I was thinking of was the Odyssey. James Joyce's Ulysses has yet to be abridged, and I am still yet to have read a word of it. I'm not even sure I've actually read any kind of version of the Odyssey. Gaze upon the glory of the card I needed to practice because two sentences is too difficult for someone applying to 13 colleges to remember. I am particularly tickled by the placeholder of "so + so" for someone's name, and the fact that upon editing I needed to remind myself of my full adult sounding name. Just in case I'd forget, I guess. 


Jul. 27th, 2014

West, on history: "The asteroid crushed all the dinosaurs. Except for the one in the pond."
Drew: "You mean the Loch Ness Monster?"
West: "Yes."


You guys, this is the greatest internet time suck ever. The Nostalgia Machine.

Man, the mid-90s were weird years.


We had a mini vacation this weekend! Friday we took off to the northern climes of the White Mountains. Left around 10 am, stopped in Woodstock NH for lunch at a brewpub that turned out to be really awesome. It's a brewpup attached to an inn, in a cute little town at the foot of the mountains, Woodstock Inn, and I would love to go back for a night sans-child, that would be fun. So then we moseyed up to Jefferson, checked into our motel room, and then went off for Super Fun Times.

We took West to Santa's Village, a magical wonderland of whimsy and joy. Ok, I am laying it on thick, but I went there a handful of times as a kid and really loved it (though, to be totally honest, Storyland was always my favorite, and Santa's Village was my brother's favorite... so we went to Santa's Village more often). Went into the park for a couple of hours at the end of the day so we could do a few rides and get a return pass for the next day free. We returned to the motel, which was just a two minute walk down the road, hopped into the car, and drove for miles in search of decent food. The closest we could come to decent food was Pizza Hut, which tells you the dire state of culinary opportunities in that area. Got back to the motel and let West run wild in the playground for a bit, then the motel had a scheduled camp fire with smore's. West was running on fumes at that point, it was past his bed time, and he barely kept it together for whimsical marshmallow roasting and eating.

The next day we took one look at the motel's free breakfast and made a break for a local diner instead. After breakfast we drove north for a while in a vain attempt to get West to nap a bit because he was already cracked out from not sleeping enough during the night. Drove into Vermont, saw plenty of creepy broken down barns, and then it was time for Santa's Village Round Two, with incandes_flower's family. We had a great time, and the kids had so much fun together. Of course, wrangling two 3 year olds is not exactly a picnic, and there were plenty of tears and pointless struggles and West refusing to do things he would enjoy if he would just try, but overall, I think he's going to have very fond memories of the trip. It is a lot of thankless and difficult work for parents to manage a day like that. I actually have some serious gratitude that my parents took us to so many amusement parks and little vacations when we were kids, because now I know it was probably mostly annoying and exhausting and exasperating to deal with my brother and me probably running around being cranky/tired/ungrateful/fighty. At least with just West we don't have to listen to two children fighting all the time.

This morning we all went back to the Water Wheel for breakfast, then hit the road. This afternoon I went grocery shopping and realized that was a BIG MISTAKE because apparently Market Basket employees are protesting the shenanigans going on among the family that owns the stores, so their food trucks made no deliveries this weekend to their stores. The produce and meat shelves were literally barren. It was a kind of scary reminder of just how much we depend on a potentially precarious food supply chain. So groceries took like two and a half hours today because I had started my shopping at Market Basket in Danvers and had to go to Beverly to actually get all the perishables goods I needed. Sigh. Now I should really go to sleep, but I have a new Maggie Stiefvater book and if I start reading I will probably stay up way too late.
Sometimes West is just so freaking cute. Yesterday his class was doing a camping day (they were going to bring tents & sleeping bags out to the Common, but it rained, so they set everything up in their classroom instead). In the morning West got all big-eyed and said "we'll have marshmallow sticks and tell imagination stories!" OMG so cute.


Jul. 6th, 2014

Ugh, three year olds. When he good, he's awesome, but when he's not he finds my last nerve and tries it to the end. And it's only 10 am!


Tonight West spent 40 minutes crying hysterically about dinner. He wanted a grilled cheese, you see. And dinner was quesadilla. Attempts to explain that they are essentially the same thing fell on unwilling ears. He finally gave up and ate the damn quesadilla when I was about to haul him upstairs for bed without dinner (as it was bed time by the time he was done carrying on, not that I am that punitive, it's just... natural consequence of not eating dinner is bed time eventually comes and it's either eat cold dinner or go to bed hungry).


West now has a long-running, elaborate fantasy about a pet store he works in / owns. He loves talking about it and remembers weird details from one telling to the next. First it was in Boston next door to my work, but he had to move it to Beverly (because he "built roads to get to it"). Tonight he was vetoing all my book suggestions for his reading time because he only wanted to read books about his pet store. Then he added "it's in space." Thinking aha! I pulled out a book about space, but nay nay, he said "it's not in that space, it's in different space". He can be pretty darn cute.



strawberry shortcake
Gimme Indie Rock!

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