Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Travel Entertainment

If you’ve read my blog for awhile you know that I do a fair amount of traveling. I don’t have Platinum Medallion, or even Gold Medallion, status with Delta but I do take a few trips every year. They are all an adventure; whether I’m on a mission trip to a far away land, or a quick trip to the West Coast to visit my family. And yes, I get to see some fascinating places and things. But sometimes the most entertaining part of the trip happens at the airport. Our last trip was to Portland, OR for our son’s wedding and that trip alone had enough for a short story.

It all started when I went through security. I have artificial knees so after I unpack my computer and one quart bag of liquids, take off my shoes and jacket, and stuff all of that into two or three of those special trays I get to sound the alarms. At this point, I pretty much tell the TSA agent that he’s blocking the path to the “holding area” for potential criminals. As always, I waited in the holding area for a “female assist” agent to show up. She proceeds to take me to the “pat-down” area where I am wanded with the special “we know you’ve got metal on you somewhere” wand and somewhat appropriately patted down. Typically the women who do the pat-down lightly brush over my arms, legs and torso, with particular emphasis on my knees. Not this time. This time I’m fairly certain that the TSA agent responsible for protecting the rest of the world from the likes of me was instead doing a body fat analysis. Clearly she had lost track of the real goal. Let me just say, she was serious about her pat down and didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor either. When I told her I was expecting a body fat analysis when she got done she didn’t even smile. I want to believe she didn’t hear me, but I can’t be sure.

After grabbing some water bottles and food for the flight, we headed for the gate. I’d say we arrived to the gate a good hour to hour and a quarter before the flight was scheduled to depart. Even at that point, there were already people lined up to get on the plane. Really people? Do you think they’ll leave without you? Well, they will if you are late getting on the plane, but it’s not like they were getting ready to load. I understand the need to get on early to grab a spot for your suitcase in the overhead, but still, lining up an HOUR in advance? And, the funny part is, I think some of the people were flying first class. They get to go on first anyway. But, it gets better. The gate agent came on the loud speaker to inform us that our plane would be delayed at least 30 minutes, yet no one moved out of that line. When the departure time was pushed back another 30 minutes they still remained. I think it was the third delay announcement that finally provoked them, not to move, oh no, but to sit down. IN LINE!

There was more that happened before we left Minneapolis, but I don’t want to run out of room to tell you what happened after the flight home. When we arrived in Minneapolis I made a quick stop at the restroom. Another woman entered at the same time I did as her husband waited outside the door. Apparently, they were on an outgoing flight and should have been with the people in that line by the gate. We were both in the midst of washing our hands when I hear (and John sees) her husband yelling into the restroom, “Hurry up, we’re going to miss our flight!” Now, it takes about 15 – 20 minutes to load passengers into an airplane and less than five to use the restroom and wash your hands. If they’d already started the loading process, perhaps she should have waited until she got on the plane. If not, there was plenty of time. She left the bathroom without even drying her hands. When I emerged from the restroom, John was still laughing.

But then, what I considered to be the best entertainment of all happened. There was a guy on our flight who had a cat inside a cat carrier on the plane with him. While totally legal I’m still not convinced that the people with cat allergies are happy. Anyway, as this man headed to the baggage claim area the cat was letting the entire crowd know that he’d had just about enough of his stupid carrier and meowed about every 15 seconds. That, in itself, wasn’t so entertaining but once a woman started meowing back it started to get humorous. It went something like this: CAT: “meow,” WOMAN: “meow,” CAT: “meow,” WOMAN: “meow,” and on and on until the cat and woman parted ways. It still cracks me up.

It’s too bad people can no longer just go to the airport and hang around. There really is some great entertainment to be had there. On the other hand, you can probably find a similar kind of entertainment anywhere you find a crowd because seriously, people are funny.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Baby Boy Got Married!

On Saturday, June 12, my baby boy, and last unmarried son, Scott, said, "I do." How did this happen? Well, I know how it happened, of course; they met, they fell in love, they got engaged and bam, they're married. What I mean is, where did the time go? It seems like yesterday I was knee deep in diapers and baby food, then Legos and matchbox cars, and eventually soccer balls and school books. It all went so fast. I remember, in the midst of the growing up years, people would tell me how quickly it would go and I have to admit that there were days when that didn't seem so bad. Now I tell moms and dads of young children to soak it in and enjoy this season of their lives. I hope they listen better than I did.

I will have to say, I don't mind this current season of my life and the freedom that comes with it, but there are days when I'd give anything to have a wee one crawl up in my lap for a story or a snuggle. Of course those same wee ones might prefer a game of tag and well, let's just say, I'd lose at any game that involves running.
As the mother of three sons, I love having daughter-in-laws around. And, since we just added our last daughter-in-law this past weekend, I thought I'd share a few snapshots of the wedding. I only have a few to share because my mind was more on enjoying the wedding than taking pictures. That was someone else's job.
I had really intended to take only one picture during the ceremony, but these flower girls were so cute, I just couldn't resist.
One of my favorite things to watch at any wedding, and particularly at the weddings of my three sons, is the look on the groom's face when his bride is walking down the aisle. They just sparkle. This is the one shot I didn't want to miss. Scott, by the way, is the one on the right. The other guy is, of course, the pastor.
A beautiful toast from the best man, Mike Gesme. Scott and Mike have been friends for longer than they (or I) can remember. Hmmm. . . perhaps a smaller piece of cake would have "fit" better, but I think the intent was to have fun.Although they didn't have an official wedding dance, they did have a "first dance together." Ah . . .true love. Scott and Angelina heading off on their honeymoon to the Oregon Coast. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Scott is our last child to get married. According to tradition, it is the role of the mother-of-the-groom to "shut-up and wear beige." I have failed miserably in that department. I don't look good in beige and well, shutting-up has never been my strong suit. It's probably best then, that I'm done with this "wedding season" of life. I think now I have free reign to say whatever I want. No?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Food Journey

I could preface this blog post with a very long story about my declining health, but really, you don’t want to hear all that. Besides, it makes me sound old. I’ll skip to the part where I found out that I’m basically a medical mess and the “cure” is to significantly improve my diet. And by significantly, I mean MAKE HUGE CHANGES! I’ve never been a great eater. I hate vegetables in general, I don’t enjoy the whole cooking process; from meal planning to shopping to preparation; and all in all I would rather make a reservation for dinner than actual food.

But, my “new diet” is supposed to consist of organic food, grass fed meat products, perfectly proportioned meals (meaning I can’t skip vegetables) no products with high-fructose corn syrup, and I’m NEVER to eat a carbohydrate by itself; ALWAYS pair it with a protein. And if that wasn’t “fun” enough, I am also intolerant to dairy and soy, so no products containing either of those ingredients.

Let’s just say, there were quite a few tears the first week or two. I know it sounds stupid to cry over a change in diet but seriously, it’s quite overwhelming at first. The soy thing in and of itself, would have caused enough trauma, but add the “no dairy” and the whole organic fiasco, and what you end up with is an emotional mess. I pretty much felt like Minnie Driver in the movie Return to Me when she wails “Why does God hate me?”

Truthfully, I felt pretty stupid about all the crying until I called my sister-in-law who told me she sees people in the health food store crying all the time. (She has a son on a gluten-free diet.) When she encounters a woman in tears she knows right away they’ve just been diagnosed with a food intolerance and offers them a kind word of encouragement; which she also offered me. At least I’m not the only crying, nut-case in the world.

It’s been nearly two months since this lovely diagnosis and I have to say that I’m in a much better frame of mind these days. It helps, of course, that I do feel better since that is the ultimate goal. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

First off, when someone at the health food store tells you something tastes just like “chocolate ice cream” it’s code for “I haven’t had chocolate ice cream in so long I don’t have a clue what it tastes like.” I’m not saying that coconut milk, soy-free, dairy-free, chocolate yogurt isn’t good; I’m just saying it doesn’t taste like chocolate ice cream . . . at all.

I’ve also learned that going out to eat at a “mid-level” (think $$) restaurant severely limits your options – though it can be done. To their credit, Red Robin will print out a menu for people with dietary restrictions. If, however, you are allergic to dairy AND soy, your only real choice is a hamburger sans bun, and a salad with red-wine vinegar. Yum! Fast food is basically no longer an option at all BUT the high end restaurants use better ingredients and therefore provide at least one, and possibly two or three options for a delicious meal. John, of course, is thrilled knowing that the price of date night just went up.

And, while the nutrition doctor is a wealth of information, she also has taste buds that I believe are somewhat skewed. Cashew butter, contrary to her opinion, is not as addictive as crack cocaine. In fact, I wonder if she isn’t confusing said butter with crack. In addition to her taste buds problem, she doesn’t really understand the whole “goal” here. Her goal is to help me feel better and have more energy. I appreciate that, but let’s be real; if I’m going to give up chocolate chip cookies, pizza with cheese (you haven’t really “lived” until you’ve had cheese-free pizza), and ranch dressing, well, there just better be some weight loss involved; which I’m happy to say there has been.

When I reported said weight loss to my doctor she said, “Nancy, it’s not about losing weight.” Seriously, for a smart woman, she can be so stupid sometimes. If I have to eat organic, soy-free, dairy-free food, there had better be some weight loss involved or it could get ugly. She’s heard me whine, but to date, she still has no real concept of my whining capabilities.