Freedom from What?
Andra Watkins has been encouraging her readers to make a memory. I regret it’s too late for me to make any more memories with my mom. So, instead, I’ll share a few.
- Discussing with two of my aunts my bosom size and how lucky I was to be well endowed. I was TEN.
- Inviting my boyfriend (if you can even call him that) in the 7th grade and his mother over for tea. So embarrassing. I don’t even think I spoke more than 20 words to him the whole time we went steady, let alone stare lovingly into his eyes. Sorry, Bas.
- Treating me like a princess for a day. I think I was 7 or 8 years old. Even though I was the only child living at home by that time, my mom still made a big deal out of it.
- Insisting that I take private Portuguese lessons over Christmas break even though we had just moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and my language teacher had decided not to give me a grade as I was so new.
- Not insisting that I continue to take ballet or guitar lessons. Thank you, mom.
- Buying me a paperback copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care two months after Christian was born. Perhaps it was her way of telling me I wasn’t doing it right. But, at least, she did not judge.
- Walking through the snow and ice in Pittsburgh during the winter of 1979 to catch the bus out to Northway Elementary School. It was miserable, but we did it every school day for several months. We had just moved back to the States after 5 years in Western Australia. And, my new classmates were weird.
- Walking everywhere. All of the time. Mom loved to walk fast.
- Making and eating pie. Mom used to bake them when I was little, lemon meringue in particular. But, in later years, she was always on the hunt for a competent, made-from-scratch piece of pie.
Writing of these few memories reminds me how my mom taught me to be open minded, to embrace different cultures and experiences, and to love and be loyal to my family. I only hope I can provide my son with half of the memories mom left me.
Friends are Forever
This summer, I was privileged to reunite with two dear friends. Friends I had not seen in decades, longer than some other friends have been alive.
I’m a worrier. I worry about what people will think of me. I want to be liked. So, when Caroline, Margy and I decided to meet in San Francisco and started planning, I started worrying. Would they like the accommodations I had arranged? (did I mention I’m also obsessed with planning?) Would they still like me? Would they like my family? What would they think of Ken, the man I married almost twenty-two years ago? Had I changed too much?
I worried for nought. It was as if we had not skipped a beat, like we had just hung out the night before. Sure, we had catching up to do but there was no awkwardness, no need for getting to know each other again. The only change? We had grown up. But down deep we were still the same 10-year-olds that had last time together probably pretended to be ABBA, debating who got to play Agnetha.
My only worry now? When I will see them next. I want to start planning pronto. I hope we will meet here, where we once all lived as neighbors.
I did it. I took a restaurant reviewer up on a recommendation and dove in. Manhattan is a daunting place–one does not decide what to eat but rather where to eat. It’s definitely not Charleston where there are maybe two or three worthwhile Asian spots. Leaning towards ordering room service, I checked the menu and nearly coughed up my lunch. $19.25 for a grilled cheese??? On my feet went my wide, white, I-am-a-tourist New Balance 940’s, and I headed down 7th Avenue, after a short detour to Central Park, to try my first izakaya.
Even more daunting was knowing what to order…such pressure to fit in, to be cool. So, I asked my new friends at the bar. I’m going back. To Sake Bar Hagi.
My Five Know’s of Air Travel
We all know the don’ts of air travel: Don’t turn on your phone after the doors are closed or before landing, don’t carry on more than two items, and, by God, don’t dare think of boarding before your turn.
So, instead I present five of my do’s.
Charge! I have become extremely dependent upon my smartphone for just about everything (boarding pass, watch, book, magazine, messenger, planner, theater, and phone) that I take advantage of every opportunity to keep it juiced up. Many airports now have convenient charging stations and we no longer have to look silly sitting on the carpet by some isolated outlet. But such amenities are few and far between (i.e., a privilege and not yet a convenience). And, unless you’re sitting in first class on certain planes or on an overseas flight, charging above 10,000 feet is not an option.
Stand, Stretch, Walk Move! Instead of sitting at the gate, waiting impatiently and listening to annoying announcements, get up and wander around. Peruse the overpriced souvenirs. Blocking fellow travelers rushing to their gates can be fun, too! There’ll be time enough for lounging around later.
Elevate If you must sit and wait at the gate, then throw your feet up on your suitcase like I do. Yes, it may seem gauche to some, but who cares? Your legs and feet will thank you later. Socks or no socks, that’s up to you (socks for me). But, ladies, do take extra caution when wearing a skirt or dress.
Alleviate Popping a few pills before your flight may be just as important as staying hydrated. Two regular old aspirin to prevent DVT. I know personally of frequent fliers hospitalized because of it and that’s proof enough for me. Though, remember, I am not a medical doctor so best to consult one when in doubt.
Learn and Obey Get over it and learn to tolerate the Transportation Security Administration. They are here to stay. The TSA website is chockfull of useful information; everyone who flies commercially should review this at least once. They even have an app (gasp!). And, the TSA actually has a formal complaint process if you feel you have been treated unfairly…I highly recommended using this over making a scene at the airport. Really. Bottom line: THERE IS NO EXCUSE NOT TO BE PREPARED. And, you are dumb if you get into trouble for making snide remarks out loud.
Yes, no doubt, air travel has moved on from the days of glitz and glamour
to comfort and efficiency. What travel tips or quirks do you have to share to make it a bit more tolerable?
Today, I resurrect my life as a road warrior.
It’s Monday for many of us, so I thought I would add a bit of levity to begin the day: Louis C.K.’s rant about how we whine about everything amazing. Enjoy it during a
smoke social break. I’ll still be laughing to myself as I sit on my chair in the sky.
(Be aware that Mr. Szekley is not known for family-friendly language.)
Here’s another new favorite thing.
I used to get really annoyed when I couldn’t get that perfect shot. Now, when we visit popular spots, I take photos of other people taking photos.
Some may consider this photo voyeurism. Maybe it is. I do have one rule: No derogatory comments about people I don’t know.
It’s fun. Enjoy the view from Twin Peaks!
Waiting on the No. 47 Muni bus near Fisherman’s Wharf. Sunday morning. Clear, calm, and cool.
A green bird fluttering in a tree. Then another and another and then several. Now in two trees. Green birds? Ken exclaims, “Parrots!” Me: “Parrots??”
Wild parrots in San Francisco? Are you sure? Yep, sure enough. And glad we got to see them.
What’s On Your Itinerary?
I thought I would share two articles I read recently in the New York Times.
The first is by Paul Theroux, a writer notorious for his travels. Someone who you would think has been everywhere. But, he hasn’t.
The second, a compilation of the top destinations to visit this year. (On a side note, kudos to the Times’s web team on an improved interface. Very nice.)
Maybe I am sharing these because I get to go somewhere this week. And, I am always excited when I get to travel. Giddy, giddy.
I like these boots.
I purchased them at Murdoch’s in Helena, Montana. Another one of my favorite places. Did you know that people really live and work on ranches there?
I was quickly educated by my cohorts in Helena that I had to get the right kind of jeans for my boots: Boot cut jeans. Jeans for people who wear boots. I had never owned boots so I had never owned such jeans. But, I now like them, too.
The only other pair of boots I have owned were from Spain. My parents treated me to them when we visited. I was eight or nine. I thought it would be neat to have a pair of real cowboy-style boots. I never wore them.
But, I wear my boots now. They make me feel more confident, taller.
When I am walking in them, I think of Montana.
Not too long ago, as I was admiring these boots and wondered where in the idyllic American west or Mexico or somewhere in the Americas they had been hand-crafted and sewn. China. Made in China??
I still like them.