Monday, December 28, 2015

At the Airport

Portland Airport may be my favorite place to await a flight. It's clean, the people are friendly, there's an outlet for every passenger and you can actually understand the announcements.

The rocking chairs are nice and if you haven't had enough lobster, they're ready for you. 

Other observations from @PWM:

I don't know how people traveled without smart technology. I suspect it keeps a lot of folks from going postal. Unless, of course, there aren't enough power outlets.

It's 705 steps from one end of the airport to the other. For a person short on steps and snug in the waistband, that's kind of a godsend.

In my journey up and back, I've learned a lot more about some guy's father's health issues than I need to. We're worried about whether he can get dialysis in the area to which they want to relocate him. What I learned from my newfound knowledge: bluetooth tech should be kept to the car. Or away from others' ears.

I've learned that families who leave their 2-year-old in charge of luggage risk TSA flocking toward them. You're welcom, random family. Happy travels.

When did dogs become passengers? Not service dogs. Just your ordinary pets; some that fit in carriers and some free-ish range. We shared space with four dogs on one of our flights out and I've seen at least six here. No cats, rats or ferrets. I wonder where TSA draws the pet line?

I was tempted to channel a store clerk and inform the hipster girl that she needed to decide if she was going to buy that book or just read it in the aisle. 

I was even more tempted to tell the guy with the jeans to his knees that they needed a pull. His backpack was hiding his underwear, though, so I gave him a pass. Sort of.

I'm worried now about the soldier who left his military security badge behind at gate three. Seems like his/her C.O. might frown on that when he/she gets back to base.

Jeff is sacked out on a stretch of chairs. He never sleeps well the night before a flight. Ali took pity on him, sharing her pillow and Pink Bunny.

We had another awesome Christmas in Maine.  Sadly, Ali and I had to leave our paintings behind because we'd already shipped out our extra stuff and had no room in our bags. We've redecorated a bit at Grandpa's. The bet line of the art outing was when I'd stepped back from my snowman family - a departure from the instruction - and was proudly surveying my work. Jen glanced over, pointed to the shortest snowman and asked if that was me.

Separately, Alison had done the same thing. Tall people have issues, man.... :)

We're traveling with a packet of James' donuts and some fruit. I think the fruit will make it home to Indiana. Not so sure the donuts will.

Hope your holiday was awesome, too. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Shopping with Alison

Ali and I spent much of the day shopping. We'd made a dent on Mass Avenue yesterday but my foray through Circle Center mall was a bust.
Worse, I was dressed for my Saturday workout. No one else in the mall was wearing sneakers and I had their hair scraped back. More than a few people gave me funny looks. I guess it's the season for dressed-up shopping.
So today, heading into the madness we call Castleton at Christmas, I put on an outfit and even brushed my hair. Not saying I kept up with the Carmel housewives but I wasn't barred from the door.
Highlights from The Fashion Mall:
On the way, Ali reminded me she was celebrating a holiday she made up when she was supposed to be studying for finals. She calls it Reverse Lent and during its tenure, you do whatever you want with no repercussions.
I asked her how long it lasted, noting that Lent's days of deprivation number 40.
"No! It can't be 40 days: I'd run out of stuff to do."
As we strolled, we saw a bunch of really beautifully decorated trees. I said we might need to have a themed tree one year. Something elegant like the ones we were seeing and others from Mass Avenue with their one-color or special design theme.
Alison was not convinced. "Our theme is family. A mish-mash of stuff that's old and new and some stuff so old it doesn't even make sense. We're keeping it all."

We took a break to have lunch. Alison had offered to share her coconut shrimp and I demurred as I'd already had one. She pointed out that I didn't have a tail on my plate and I told her I don't like debris on my plate so I'd tossed it into my empty soup cup and it had been carried away.

She doesn't subscribe to my dining quirk.

"I keep it all on my plate to show my pride. Especially with ribs. I like a big pile of bones so I can say, 'Yes. I ate all of that," she said. "The bones of my enemies, you know?!"

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Holiday Hits & Misses

Pretty sure you're like me and scrambling to get ready for the holidays. I thought I was ahead of the curve but then got trapped in Shutterfly Hell last week. It put me back a good six hours, which if my Facebook feed is any judge, is not an uncommon occurrence for folks trying to make last-minute(ish) gifts.

I'd complain to Shutterfly but I'm pretty sure they'd roll their collective eyes and ask me if I'd sorted my photos before embarking on the task. Thinking you can whip out a calendar filled with touching/funny/silly/significant photos after not backing up or sorting photo files for three years is like thinking you can build a deck in a day after watching HGTV.

So, sorry, family. By the time I get those damn things organized, Alison will have graduated from college. But riddle me this: I was complaining about my picture plight to a fellow sufferer when another woman happened into our conversation. "What? You sort your photos? You name them? Why would you do that?"

She didn't actually call us idiots, but I'm now sure that I'm missing some sort of virtual magic photo sorter. If it's just me and that lady in the dark, I'm going to explode.

In any event, I resorted to using an old photo to make cards at CVS. It outrages Alison now that I hooked her baby self up to our old sleigh and called her Max (the Grinch's dog.) But it's a great shot.

Here's an updated one, though, which is fun, too. It only took a little begging to get her to do it.  

"Remember when you used to love helping me with Christmas pictures?" I said.

"I was a baby," she deadpanned. "I had no choice."  

Ali has taken to blasting “Highway to Hell” when I pick her up from school. She's not a huge AC/DC fan. She is though, of late, not a fan of my driving. 

When she was a kid, she and the Ogdens loved to sit in “the way back” of the Subaru and I’d bounce them around by swerving wildly (while in perfect control) in our neighborhood. But now, she’s subscribing more to the unfounded rumor that I’m a bad driver.
Here’s a conversation we have had nearly daily for the past few weeks:
“You almost killed me. Again. ” she will claim from her shotgun seat,  referring to a time when a car swerved out of traffic in front of us and I had to slam on the brakes.
“Actually I saved your life,” I retort.
“Only because you almost killed me first,” she'll claim.
No respect.

Jeff was struggling (kind of) to get off the couch where he was weighted down by the youngest redhead in the house

"Be like that blue train," she encouraged.
"You know. That blue train. Be like that blue train!" she said.
"What are you talking about?" he said, exasperated and still trapped.
"You know: “I think I can. I think I can. You can do it!”


One of the first clubs Ali joined at Herron was an a capella group that meets an hour before school one day a week. She's also in the choir and was chosen to be part of a special part of one of the songs in the school's winter choral performance. The choir has new dresses this year and her's needed hemmed.

I thought I'd do it myself. What a mistake: it was Shutterfly all over again. In my defense, I'm not my sister Donna, and the skirt was full -- with a lining. 

It was well worth the $20 to have it hemmed and to withstand expected ridicule from our tailor, Lam Son in Broad Ripple. He's great and knows us mostly because of Jeff's suits, though he took in a bunch of clothes for me a while ago. I went to pick up the dress, which still bore the safety pin hem-mark job I did. 

"How hard did you laugh at my poor attempt?" I asked. (Jeff had delivered it.)

"Well, you don't have the tools I have," he said.

Savvy, Lam Son. Savvy.

If you're downtown in Indy next week, look for Ali to be caroling with her a capella group. She might have her Santa hat on. I'll give you a cookie if you ask her how to spell "a capella."


She's still fun most of the time. The teen drama has been minimal. Or perhaps she's just investing it in snark. The plumber was coming a few days ago so I cleaned her bathroom.

That night: "Hey mom, while you were destroying my place of sanctuary, you didn't happen to see my Harry Potter hair bow, did you?"


She was baking cookies this morning and moved my teapot, which sent her pan of just-baked cookies a titter. So of course she grabbed it with her bare hand. I told her not to put her hand under cold water but to instead put butter on it. I took out the remnants of a stick from the fridge.

I reached for a butter knife to apply it. She plunged her singed fingers into the 1/4 stick nub of butter.  I looked at her. "Uh. I wouldn't eat this," she said.

Merry Christmas. Hope you keep your oven mitts handier than we do.