Monthly Archives: June 2013

Oh boy…Er girl!!

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We caved. Tired of hearing the doll complain, we remained at the resort so she could enjoy a ” pool” day. The boy begrudgingly joined the doll and I poolside and then treated the other vacationers to the “boy vs doll” show. Slightly embarrassed by their behavior, I wished the book I was reading had been big enough to swallow me whole… “Mom!! Tell him to stop splashing me!!” The doll yelled. “You’re in a pool! If you don’t want to get splashed, swim somewhere else…” I yelled back. “That’s no fair! What if I want to swim where he’s at?” “Them you run the risk…” I explained.

Not satisfied with my suggestion (she had an almost empty pool to herself). She swam toward her brother sending splashes followed by pinches at him” “Mama, let it be known she attacked me first!” The boy shouted as he defended her attack with more splashes. Then somewhere in the battle they found humor and the next thing I knew the boy was lifting the doll onto his shoulders and they were laughing.

Whew!

The day started off a bit rough for the doll. At breakfast she whispered to me “Mom, you know I’ve been able to keep my moods swings in check this whole week. But Grammy and uncle E are on my very last nerve! They’ve been downright mean to me. I’m ready blow!” Unbeknownst to the doll her grandmother confided early “The doll is in rare form today…” Evidently she hadn’t kept those mood swings in as much check as she thought. Trying to be empathetic to the doll’s feelings I said to Grammy, “Yes I think we will all be happy once that period finally hits!”
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Having alienated everyone save me, the doll and I hung out all afternoon…eating lunch together, shopping, talking and trapezing. Trapezing? Well the doll attempted to; even though she has a slight fear of heights; even though I could see how nervous it made her. She climbed the ladder, grabbed the bar, listened to instructions then began the swing. Then her hand slipped and she fell into the netting. “You want to try again?” One of the workers asked. Embarrassed she declined.

“Why did you make me do that?” She asked close to tears. “I’m proud of you!” I replied. “I fell mom!” She explained. “You tried something I couldn’t. There is no failure in the attempt” I reasoned.”Whatever!!” After about fifteen minutes of being mad at both of us, the doll relaxed back into the nice girl we brought on vacation.

Whether being mad at the world had taken its toll or she heard me express confidence in her, I do not know. What I do know is our evening was made more pleasant by the result.

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Adventure time….

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“Mom do we have any plans for tomorrow” the doll asked. “Why? Are you all adventured out?” I asked and found myself amused by her reply. “Yes”. “Really?” I asked.”Well you know what I mean…not ready to come home adventure, just ready to stay at the resort one day without leaving kind of adventure.” She explained.

We had spent part of the day at the Lucayan National Park which hosts not one, but two caves where archeological digs have found remains of Lucayan Indians. Today the only residents to be found there are bats and fresh water fish caught in the cave’s underground water system. I couldn’t help but chuckle when a little girl from the family on the trail ahead of us, bid fair well to the “ugly bats” at the same time my kids were saying “Oh cool, bats!”

After walking the trails to the caves, we emerged from the forest ready to cross the street and head toward the ocean. A nice boardwalk trail allowed us to cut across a 12 mile stretch of mangroves. The doll walked out front with her dad and Uncle E; while the boy and his grandmother kept stopping every few feet; looking/hoping wildlife would come into view. I stood in the rear; camera at the ready for anything that struck our fancy.

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Crossing through the mangrove forest, I could not help but find appreciation for the Lucayan Indians who settled the area. Just over the rise you could hear the ocean crashing against the shoreline, yet the wind blowing against the mangroves along with various bird calls gave a disoriented feel. Then the boardwalk gave way to a narrow sandy path which led up a small hill to reveal a beautiful beach before us.

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While the plan was to go snorkeling, the wind and ocean current made the task too difficult. Instead we swam, tried to catch baby waves, encouraged a splash contest and enjoyed one another’s company.

“You know doll, we spent all day Sunday at the resort…and we’re only going on small adventures at a time…I think you can spare the time” I offered. “I know mom” she said as she lowered her head as if collecting her thoughts. “…But you would rather spend the day at the pool?” I asked. Lifting her head she agreed.

Remembering what 11 feels like on vacation…. The outside chance/opportunity to meet and perhaps play with another girl her own age-rather than being stuck with her brother and parents is an overwhelming pull…and I can’t blame her one bit .

Sunrise…

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Daddy and I are spoiled; which doesn’t bode well while we’re on vacation. At home we sleep on a temper-pedic mattress; which is designed to help alleviate back issues or as the hubby not so eloquently put “It helps with
the aches and pains that come with age.” Consequently we have yet to find a mattress on vacation that allows for a good night’s sleep. Tuesday morning was no exception. We both awoke around 5 am after fighting with the bed for most of the night trying desperately to find a good “comfortable” position. Instinctively we both sighed and said “Let’s go for a walk.”

We hit the beach an hour before sunrise walking in nice easy strides, not saying much; just taking in the sights. The cloud patterns out over the ocean displayed evidence of approaching rain in the distance, but we walked on. My eyes kept getting pulled to the heavens, watching the approaching sunrise bounce colors off the clouds. Hubby kept his eyes on our surroundings-pointing out a beachside church a few hundred feet away from a beachside bar.”Well there’s the fine line in how people celebrate religion..” He remarked with a chuckle.

Every once in a while I would turn around long enough to snap a picture of the sun rising through the clouds; which was in deep contrast to the approaching rain clouds. The colors the sky was producing were unbelievably vibrant and beautiful. When the sun finally peaked above the clouds, talk about anticlimactic!

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We reached our destination; a jetty that partitioned the island. Stopping long enough to stretch, we and turned around and headed back toward our temporary home. Now we had the pleasure of walking into the wind-which incidentally brought the rain to shore. There is something interesting in walking under sunny skies while getting pelted with liquid sunshine. Then the dark cloud we saw earlier over the ocean made its way ashore too and we were drenched.

We laughed and talked about nothing in particular, as the rain fell. We passed a woman walking her two dogs along the ocean and watched as the animals ran through the surf with mighty exuberance. I can honestly say that was the best walk in the rain I've ever had. As the rain moved further ashore, I turned around, my eyes heaven bound again and captured a full rainbow, paired with hint of another, marking in me, a good mattress is sometimes overrated.

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Boredom defined is the doll

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We have reached the time in the doll’s life where having a friend on vacation is almost a necessity. But of course we didn’t realize this fact until after we left. Yes! There are limits to the amount of “ho hums” we can listen to.

In an effort to stave off boredom yesterday, we jumped into our rental car and sped off in search of adventure. We stopped when we arrived at the Garden of the Groves Nature Preserve. A nice 12 acre nature and wildlife preserve.

We wandered down the various paths stopping here and there to point out the red slider turtles, the various carp and funny looking birds nesting nearby. “You see the way that goose is waddling and wiggling its behind?” The boy asked in our general direction “He’s doing a ritual mating dance.” As per usual, we didn’t question; only shook our heads as we passed by.

To say it was warm in the grove would be an understatement. The areas 94% humidity certainly made its presence known. “Mom I’m dying of thirst” the doll complained. “Find your dad, he’s Mr. Moneybags on this trip” I informed and kept on exploring. As my family disappeared down one path I traveled down another and happened upon a butterfly sanctuary. Standing very still several Julia and Zebra longbows flittered past.

After ten minutes of trying to snap pictures of the butterflies, I decided I should find my family. I found them sitting outside a cafe refreshing themselves with nice cold drinks. The boy and his Grammy were flipping through pages of a newly purchased bird book; discussing various bird species to be found in the garden. The doll on the other hand sat there looking miserably hot and bored with everything.

After a minute or two of resting we were approached by a woman with the name Erika embroidered on her shirt. Evidently she was the author of the new bird book Grammy has just purchased. As we walked along Erika and the boy engaged in conversation about the various differences between bird species until she finally asked him “Are you some sort of biologist or something?” Smiling the boy stuttered for a moment before adding “That’s the plan”. “You have to really love the subject to become one. I think you’ll make a great one” Erika added. We bid her goodbye and continued onward.

After another half hour of walking down nature paths the decision was made to head back to our resort. “Mom when we get back can you take me swimming?” The doll asked. “Sure” I replied. “Good at least that will be funner than this was… I mean in a cooler sort of way” she qualified.

Uh huh…

Observations….

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Yesterday the doll was the minority, for nothing more than being a girl in a sea of raucous boys. I sat back on my chaise lounge and watched these boys pick on then beat upon one another. In the flurry of all that activity I began to wonder if the doll and I were seeing the same thing: boys, not white, not black just boys.

In the wake of the “Paula Deen” scandal”, that has been playing across social media, I kind of find the whole thing ridiculous. Yes in this day and age of political correctness she should have known better. But how many of us were raised hearing/using the same bad language? When I was a kid I heard horrible (yet in my ignorance, funny at the time) jokes aimed at individuals different from me…color, religion, sex, sexual preference, etc. hearing and using the “N” word was not uncommon.

But as I grew up I began to realize the traps these lousy word choices set in motion for everyone. I never wanted anyone to find a reason to dislike me; filtering what came out of my mouth via language choices seemed to be the best way to go. In effect I had to teach myself out of my conditioned prejudiced ways. And believe it or not, I still slip up. I still say things I wish I could take back or grab as they spill from my lips. As I see it, I’m a work in progress.

“Excuse me…” The woman in the airport said to me. Looking up I said “I’m sorry what?” She smiled and said, “I would just like to tell you you have very nice children.” I smiled and thanked her. She went on to tell me how her daughter dropped her toy and both kids raced to return it to her “I can’t tell you what living hell we’d go through if she lost that toy!” She conveyed. I smiled remembering the time when the boy lost pooh bear for a spell, when he was small. “I’m glad they were able to help you” I replied before we parted ways. Looking back at both kids I said “That was nice of you…” The two smiled very happy with themselves. I was proud. They never saw the woman’s color of skin, her sexual preference, her different religion; her differences. They only saw a toy in need of her owner.

business as usual….

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‘Thanks a lot MOM!” the doll said sarcastically. “You’re welcome” I returned in a nice easy manner. “Really mom, not cool!” she insisted. “What are you babbling about?” I asked? “What if I had gotten hit by a runaway car?” she said with her (more) frequently used raised voice. “Hmm, I would think, that at your age, you would know how to cross the street and notice if a car was careening out of control. Wait! Are you telling me that runaway cars only appear when you’re crossing the street?” I asked. “Stop it MOM!” she replied.

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Yesterday the doll and I had appointments to get our eyes examined. She came out near perfect-which meant no glasses for her. I on the other hand made the decision to go ahead and get prescription glasses this time, as I’ve found my “cheaters” becoming a more permanent fixture upon my face. While we waited for all the paperwork to be completed, the doll and I kept busy making small talk. “Mom, I don’t even know you” the doll retorted after I made a dumb joke. Lately “I don’t even know you” has been her favorite dig at me so I decided to play along.  “Well if that’s the case, the door is right over there. See ya!” I replied. “What?”  “I’m sorry little girl, I don’t know you. Um, perhaps you should go find your mother…” I explained. “Fine!” she replied, stood up and walked out of the vision center.

I never looked behind to watch her leave as I knew she was all show, no real action at all. After signing my life away for a pair of expensive glasses, the doll re-entered the store and said “Great Mom, that’s just Great!” Ignoring her I exited the building, opened up my car door and got in. She walked over to the passenger side and tried to get in, but the door was locked. Knocking on the window she said, “Mom, open the door. MOM open the door!” and then finally, “MOM OPEN THE DOOR!!!” I shifted the car into reverse and slowly began to back out. Looking back at her perplexed face I smiled and asked. “Oh, you want to know me now?”

“Open the car Mom…..please.” She asked not as nicely as I’d hoped, however her use of “please” helped.  As she entered the car she began her barrage of anger toward me. “Doll, really? Give me a break. This place is less than a mile from where we live.” I explained. “But Mom, we don’t know who lives in any of the houses I would have passed on my way home. Aren’t you afraid I’d be taken?” “Well no I don’t.” “Thanks a lot!!” she replied. “Doll, I never think about you being taken because you are smart enough not to talk to strangers and if someone approached you-you run away. I guess I keep thinking about when I was your age and rode my bike all over the neighborhoods, never with any fear of being taken.” “Well that was a long time ago Mom…” she offered. “True…but you can’t live in fear doll…you can be vigilant and keep your eyes open, be aware of your surroundings…but living in fear doesn’t do anything for you but keep you down.”

We sat in the car for a minute not speaking before I added, “Besides,  you were too worried to cross the street…” “Stop it Mom. I don’t even know who you are…” “Well then you’re accepting a ride from a stranger huh…stranger danger”. Giving me a her best eye squinting “look”  of disdain she said “Can’t we go home now…”  “Oh, there she is…my daughter has returned.” I said and turned the car toward home.

 

 

Was Monday a full moon?

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The other day while driving Charlotte to her hair appointment, she asked me if I was experiencing a hot flash. “No.” I said with a chuckle. “Do you ever experience them?” She asked. Not understanding why she was asking me such a personal question, I just attributed that she was 85 and making small (albeit odd) talk.

“I don’t get them very often yet; but when I do, they’re usually in the middle of the night….” I began to say before she interrupted and asked “Well you know why don’t ya?” Confused by why we were on this topic, I was about to reply to her, when she gave me her thoughts on my peri-menopausal hot flashes… “Your husband is having sex with you while you’re asleep!” Laughing at her assertion I replied “Really? And to think, all this time I just thought it was warm in my bedroom.”

The next few minutes made for an uneasy car ride together. Thinking back over our crazy conversation I looked over and asked “Is the air conditioning too cold for you?” “Yes Sherlock” She replied. “You know the next time you’re too cold, you could simply ask me to turn down the air…” I remarked. Giving me her trademark rueful smile she replied “There is far more fun watching you squirm”.
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After her hair appointment, as is customary, we went out to lunch. Charlotte is a creature of habit, eating the same thing week after week–which is fine for her, yet horrible for me. I decided to shake things up this week and take her to a new restaurant. Half way through lunch I excused myself to use the bathroom, but when I returned to our table something was off.

“Did you take your dentures out?” I asked. Looking back at me in surprise, she opened her mouth and lifted her tongue to investigate before saying “What? Someone must have stolen them!!” She gave a panicked performance; pretending to look for them around the table. “…Out of your mouth?” I asked with a smile. “Who would want to steal an old lady’s teeth?” She asked.

Amused by her theatrics I asked “Did you put them in your bag?” ” I don’t know…” She said and began searching her bag. “Oh look there they are, smiling up at me…” She added. So why did you take them out?” I asked. ” I think a seed got caught on them…” She admitted.

Before lunch ended she looked for her dentures at least ten more times; making up a new excuse for why she took them out with each try. I didn’t mind, at least this time she gave me the courtesy of removing them when I was away from the table; something that doesn’t happen very often.