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Archive for August, 2008

Summer’s winding down

These are the last lazy days of summer. Z. goes back to school next week. She finished her last project of summer homework (read three books, do three different projects, one on each book) yesterday. At first I was okay about the summer homework, she has always had summer reading to do. But as time went on I got more and more annoyed by the three projects. Why couldn’t they have been done during the first weeks of school? Why does everyone’s summer need to be bogged down with getting your child to focus on school homework projects? I am wondering how many kids won’t actually have them done.

I’m nervous about what this means in terms of homework this coming year. The homework guidelines at her school say that 5th grade is 1 to 1 1/2 hours of homework per day plus 30 minutes of reading. She plans on playing soccer as her after school sport this fall so three days a week she won’t be home till at least 5:30pm. She has piano lessons the other day. So she has 2 hours of homework, piano practice and dinner, which leaves very little down time (crucial for a child like Z.) which means that she will have a very hard time winding down and falling asleep. She’s in 5th grade for goodness sake! I don’t know, I am trying to take the wait and see approach, but as it gets closer and closer to school starting I am having a harder time doing that. Homework isn’t just annoying for the kids, it’s annoying for the parents too, who have to make sure that they are home to do it, have a focused place to do it, etc. Makes me long for those carefree days of preschool and Kindergarten!
Meanwhile, Z. hasn’t really wanted to do anything but hang out at home this month. At first this was making me nuts. It’s not that we are spending every day home, we have had errands to run of course, but we have done very little “fun” things out together (we went to the zoo once) as she’s happier staying home (remember what I said about down time, the girl loves her down time). This week though I am feeling happier to just relax. I’ve been out by myself, I have had two support group meetings this week, which helps, but I think the anticipation of the flurry of activity that starts back up again next week has me savoring the relaxation of so much unstructured time. Sometimes I get into these things where I feel like I have to be productive all the time (which is funny because I am so far from it), it’s like the clock is ticking so loudly in my ear that I’d better not waste any time. I have been forced this month to slow down and remember that doing “nothing” sometimes is the best thing. Initially I found myself bored and tired, but now (now that it’s almost over of course) I am finding myself savoring it. 
One thing we did do out this week was go shopping for an appropriate outfit for Z. to wear to a friend’s son’s bar mitzvah in a few weeks. This is a challenge as she wears only boys clothes and has very definite ideas about how she dresses. She does understand that special events like this do require a bit of flexibility though, and I am not asking her to do something she is uncomfortable with, like wear a dress. She had some black uniform long pants already so our goal was to find a shirt and some shoes. We actually found two shirts, both in the women’s dept. (which was huge in that she has really rejected anything that isn’t boys for a while now, except for socks and those silky Nick and Nora boxy pj’s with the long sleeved button down tops from Target). They are button down shirts, but have a little bit of taper to them (but we bought them big enough that she feels comfortable, nothing that she doesn’t want to show shows). One is white, the other is white with a black and gray stripe. Simple, classic, nothing fancy, but presentable for a daytime event I think. She actually loves the white shirt and I think will wear it whenever we go to an orchestra concert or out to dinner, etc. A. and I both agreed that for the bar mitzvah the striped shirt will look best.
The shoes were much harder, she is at the top end of kid’s sizes (a 6 1/2, but that doesn’t really exist so it sometimes means a 6, sometimes a 7, both of which are hard to find except for in sneakers) so we needed to go look at women’s shoes. I figured a place like DSW would be good, lots of selection, “discounted” prices, etc. I had in my mind that a simple black leather loafer would fill the bill. Wrong! She hated them and they didn’t fit her right (the backs always flopped up and down, regardless of how small the front was). Her feet are long but they are still small and narrower than women’s feet. There was one pair of shoes in the whole store that she liked. A $60 pair of Anne Klein black suede tie shoes, the only pair of tie shoes in the store besides sneakers. They were very nice and because of the laces keeping the shoe on, the size 7 1/2 fit great (women’s sizes are about one size up from kid’s sizes I think). But $60 for a pair of dress shoes she’s probably going to outgrow in a few months? At first I couldn’t do it and we left and continued our quest, but then I realized that tie shoes are not in style right now so we found nothing to even try on anywhere else. So back to DSW where I sucked it up and paid for the shoes (actually “only” $50 because I had a $10 certificate). I told her she is going to have to wear these shoes a lot!
Well, one last hurrah this weekend, we’re going to see family including Z.’s beloved cousin J. I am really looking forward to spending time with them, but only wish we still had another week of summer afterwards. September is a busy and stressful month between school starting and my ct-scan and drs. appts. But for now I am going to stay in this lazy summer place as long as I can and try to push off the stress till it actually happens. A good idea, hopefully I can do it.

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Stand Up 2 Cancer

SU2C

Last night A. and I went to the movies (we saw Mamma Mia which was boatloads of fun, even if I am not an Abba fan) and before the movie there was a clip about Stand Up 2 Cancer. Today I was reading the Mothers With Cancer blog and there was a post (and another post) about it there. So I went over to the website to check out what this group is all about. Well, I am impressed and excited! They are basically trying to put together the top cutting edge researchers into Dream Teams for cancer research. This is fantastic, because the way things work now there is not much interaction, at least here in the US. There will be a big television fundraising event on September 5th at 8pm on ABC, CBS and NBC. They are also asking bloggers and myspace/facebook people to participate in Virtual Stand Up and post to their pages that day, something about their personal experience with cancer (and everyone has been touched by it in some way I think).

So you can go check out the website, come back to my blog on the 5th to read my post, post something to your own blog or myspace/facebook page, and donate and/or form a team to get donations (you can also Launch a Star in the name of someone with a donation of as little as $1). Spread the word!

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The Omnivore’s Hundred

After my whiny post yesterday I thought that today I’d do something fun! I was browsing some of the food blogs I read regularly and found this post on the Chocolate and Zucchini blog. It’s a list of 100 foods (or drinks or some things that are questionable) that Andrew over on the Very Good Taste blog thinks that Ominvore’s should try. He’s from the UK but there are a lot of American foods on the list. He has a another post where he explains his choices.

I will preface this by saying that I don’t like fish or seafood, so have no intention of trying most of those (nor the whole insects either thank you very much even though I had the opportunity while we were in Mexico recently). I am generally picky about my protein sources, but much more likely to try most other things. I have also put comments on some things in parentheses. Doing the crossouts is too much of a PITA so I am putting the things that I would never try in italics. If I have counted right I think I have tried just over half of the list (53) and won’t try 19 things.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison (tried it but don’t like it)
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (ick!)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda (I think I may have had this but I am not sure)
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (I have tried clam chowder, don’t like it, but never had it in a sourdough bowl)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (no thanks to the cigar!)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (I had some kind of liquor in jello in Mexico, but it wasn’t vodka)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (who knows, it’s been years since I’ve had whisky and I have had some single malt whiskies but I don’t think they cost that much, at least 20-25 years ago)
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear (hey, these are tunas! I just had those in Mexico!)
52. Umeboshi (I have had umeboshi vinegar, but not an actual umeboshi)
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini (not a martini drinker so I had to google this to see what it was- it has olive juice in it)
58. Beer above 8% ABV (I don’t think so, but like the whisky, who knows!)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (okay, this is another ick!)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (I’m on the fence but I don’t think I’d try these)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox (I’ve tried lox mixed into cream cheese by mistake, yuck!)
97. Lobster Thermidor (I have tried lobster, didn’t like it, so wouldn’t bother trying the Thermidor)
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Leave me a comment if you post your own list on your own blog, I’d like to read it!

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Pain whine

It’s been a bit of a rough week with my back. I went to acupuncture a week ago Monday and he did something different than usual, putting me on my side and putting the needles into all the spots in my hip and thigh and lower back that hurt all the time. I spasmed pretty badly that afternoon and evening, but was hopeful that that would be the worst of it. Unfortunately it just kept going, every single day since then. I spent some time looking up side effects for narcotic pain pills over the weekend as I just can’t live with this pain all the time. Yesterday morning I thought I was feeling better, I woke up sore, but nothing more than a normal day. Z. and I got in the car and drove to a shopping area about a half hour away to do some shopping and I was fine in the car. We got to the first store and as we walked to the back of the store to get what we needed all of a sudden my back started spasming bad. This is not the way my back pain usually works, it’s hard to explain, but it’s usually always there, even if I am not feeling pain, and then semi gradually comes on stronger, not in an instant from fine I can deal with this to omg I can’t.

We pressed on because we were there and needed to get the shopping done but I took an ibuprofen (I had taken one at breakfast). We went to a 2nd store and I had Z. hold my backpack purse for me, we got our shopping done but occasionally I had to lean into the racks and hold my breath for a bit. We were supposed to go out for lunch but thankfully Z. wanted to go home for lunch so we decided to drive back home. It was excruciating, I have not had that level of pain with my back while driving before, and I had to do this for a half an hour. It was a white knuckle drive. I put Z.’s playlist on my iPod on the stereo which kept her quiet and I did my best not to moan out loud.

Finally we got home and Z. went and made her lunch and I told her I’d be upstairs. I took a muscle relaxant (which I hate to do during the day, they make me so sleepy) and laid down on the heating pad in my bed. Amazingly after a half hour or so the pain stopped and I fell asleep for a short bit. I got up and had lunch and started downing the ibuprofen 2 at a time at 4 to 6 hour intervals. I felt pretty good till I got in bed when it kicked up a bit again, but spent the night sleeping on the heating pad (set on medium at least, but I hate it, I already have night sweats from menopause so sleeping on a heating pad means I am sleeping completely drenched). I’ll be seeing the osteopath on Friday so I hope he can help me get out of this spasm circle I seem to be in.

In the meantime I am concerned about my blood pressure which has been getting steadily higher so that I am getting hypertensive readings at home now. In my research on meds this weekend I discovered that Megace also raises blood pressure, so I’ve got the ibuprofen, the Megace, my natural tendencies (and genetics) and the pain factor all raising it. I think that there is no avoiding going on medication at this point, which I hate, there is always some other side effect or interaction that each new medication causes.

Speaking of which, at the dentist last week (Z. and I both had good checkups) the dentist and the hygienist both noted that my mouth was dry. Luckily, they did not see any of the negative things that dry mouth can cause, like gum problems, as everything looked good. But there’s definitely been a change, which could explain why I am having such a difficult time with my chronic salivary gland problem this year. It’s been bothering me at least once a week (this means it fills up and I have to go through gyrations to get my face not to look like a chipmunk). The dentist and oral surgeon I saw earlier this year also commented on the lack of saliva, even when they “milked” the glands. So my regular dentist said maybe it’s an interaction between the various meds. I don’t think that anything has dry mouth as a specific side effect, but I could be wrong.

This is turning into a whine, but when my pain steps up like this it makes me whiny. It’s a real struggle to stay focused and optimistic. It always amazes me how quickly my mood shifts when I hurt or when I feel better, it’s pretty striking. Well, hopefully today will be better, so far it’s not too bad, the usual below 5 pain I have most mornings. That intense spasming out of nowhere thing yesterday though has me a little spooked, I hope that doesn’t happen again!

So, I’m not sure where I want to go from here except that I want to see what the osteopath can do for me Friday. I don’t have another acupuncture appt. scheduled for another 2 1/2 weeks and while it is tempting to just cancel it, I don’t think I will. I have been going to this guy for over a year now and this is not the usual response my body has, although early on I did have something similar happen. He adjusted some things based on my response and I had some of my best relief for a couple months after that treatment. So while it’s tempting to say forget it, I want to at least give him that chance.

I am wavering on the pain meds thing. I had been pretty adamant about not trying narcotics (or something called tramadol which is not a narcotic, but has many of the same side effects as narcotics, which my internist suggested as a 1st step). I’ve been concerned about the side effects, the sleepiness, nauseousness and constipation that come with using them. But often times when one is using them for chronic pain the sleepiness and nauseousness at least will decrease as the body adjusts to the medication. It’s a big step for me though, and I’m not sure if I am ready for it or not. But being on daily ibuprofen for 2 years isn’t good for me either, even though I try to get by on the absolute least amount that I can (and take prilosec otc every day to help avoid the stomach problems, which so far is working pretty well). So it’s a hard decision but one I was revisiting during this painful week.

Sometimes I think these treatments (acupuncture and the osteopath) really help me a lot, other times I’m not so sure. This back thing has a life and mind of it’s own and there’s no predicting how it’s going to behave. It will be 2 years of this in a couple of months. I’ve gone from being a die hard side sleeper, flipping from one side to the other over the course of the night, to a one sided sleeper, to now being a back sleeper as I can’t even sleep on that one side anymore. I have no other sides to sleep on (tummy does not work at all) so I’m out of luck if sleeping on my back stops working. Actually I’ve made another accommodation that has helped with the back sleeping (which is tough for me, I sleep lightly on my back and wake up a lot). We have a very good latex mattress with the top of the line soft stuff on the top, but we have a tempurpedic pad that we used to use on our old mattress and I decided that we should try it out on top of the latex mattress. It’s been great, it adds a layer of cushiness, yet does not affect the good qualities of the mattress (that really does help with my back a lot) so I am finding that my sleep is a bit sounder as I am more comfortable. I also have a wall of pillows around me, a long body pillow on one side that wraps around under my knees and a regular pillow on the other side, so I’m sleeping in a pillow fort (poor A. has to do battle to come over and see me LOL).

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A day on the boardwalk

Yesterday we drove down to Ocean City to spend the day on the boardwalk. The last few years we’ve gone to OC for 4 or 5 days with my family (my BIL, SIL and kids and my parents) but this year with the Mexico trip and my parents not having made it up north from Florida yet it’s not going to happen. Z. really loves these vacations, especially because she’s with her cousin J. but while going with her parents for a few hours isn’t quite the same we figured it was better than nothing.

We’ve come to the realization that none of the three of us are beach people so there was no question that this trip would just be about the boardwalk. I thought that Z. might want to go on some amusement park rides, but no. I asked her this morning if it was because J. wasn’t there to ride with and she said yes. Not quite the same riding with your mother I guess. She was also not wanting to play mini-golf but we overrode her on that one and she ended up having a great time. We also played skee-ball and I (drum roll please!) scored 2, count them, 2 one hundred scores! I had one game that was 320! I am not usually a good skee-ball player (in fact I also had a 90 score on one game which is the least you can get if you manage to get all the balls into a hole). Z. was really annoyed with me LOL. A. managed to score a 320 game too, but without the 100 score. He said he has never gotten it into the 100 hole so I was feeling pretty pleased with myself 🙂

One of the main objectives of board-walking is eating junk food, which we are normally pretty careful about avoiding. So, we ate junk food and enjoyed every minute of it. A slice of Mack and Manco pizza for lunch and a Kohr Bros. frozen custard for dessert (vanilla for Z. and me, hers with rainbow sprinkles of course, and a coffee/dulce le leche twist for A.). Later on we shared a Curly fries (the seasoned curly ones) which kind of sat in my stomach like a lead balloon. I tried not to eat too many, but I should have eaten less. To bring home we bought a little bit of fudge and salt water taffy for Z. (who ate a few pieces throughout the afternoon), fresh roasted peanuts in the shell (still hot, yum, of course we had to sample a few right then and there) and refilled our bucket of caramel corn ($1 off for bringing back your plastic tub, we bring it back every year) which you can get with the top off, so it’s mounded on top, which of course means you have to eat that part before putting the top on, so we did.

Later on for dinner Z. got another slice of pizza and I was lured by the sign for beer battered onion rings (I knew I would only eat a few so offered to share them with A.) and A. ordered some kind of battered (or maybe it was breaded) chicken pieces with buffalo sauce (advertised as boneless chicken wings but I think it was breast meat chunks, I tried one, it was okay, not great). Then Z. and I went to the frozen custard place and she got her usual vanilla with rainbow sprinkles and I decided to be daring and try the coffee (plain, no twist flavor). Normally I am disappointed when I try another flavor besides vanilla when having frozen custard, but the coffee was really good and I would order it again.

We shopped a bit too as we walked up and down and back and forth along the boardwalk, mostly for Z. (and food). We bought her a $5 OC tee shirt (she needs a new one as she’s getting bigger and she likes her tee shirts oversized). We also bought her a starfish (remember the starfish she wanted in Veracruz? I did promise to get her one in OC). At the collectible section in the Surf Mall (where you can go to an oxygen bar) there were individual Pokemon cards, 2 for 93 cents on one shelf, so big spender that I am I let her pick out 4 cards. She was thrilled with her finds. One of the most important purchases was the metal embossed OC license plates with names on them. Last year we were so thrilled to find one for Z. as we never see her name on any of those personalized things, and to find my name spelled with one “L” as it is always spelled the wrong way with two “L”‘s (my apologies to any of the two “L”ed Michele’s out there, but that is just plain wrong LOL!). We were so excited that we bought them but completely forgot to look for one for A.! We needed to get one for him and then of course one for the cat Calvin (which we found, OC is definitely the place to go for those hard to find names). All 4 of them are up on the little bulletin board in our kitchen now.

We lucked out with the weather. Silly us didn’t bother to check a forecast past 4 days before we went, so as we got on the highway we turned on the radio and the shore forecast was “heavy, gusty thunderstorms in the afternoon”. Ooops! We decided to keep going and take our chances. On the way down we went through a couple spots with torrential rain (lots and lots of cars pulled off to the side, but we didn’t think it was bad enough to have to do that). We got there around noontime and within an hour it started to rain but it never got very heavy so we just ignored it (although we did start walking towards the section of the boardwalk closest to our car, just in case). We stayed till around 6:30pm or so and at that point the skies looked pretty ominous. We hit a lot of torrential rain and thunder and lightening storms driving home (the lightening was quite spectacular to look at), so our timing was pretty good.

The sky looked pretty cool about an hour or so before we left.

I figured my blood sugars would be horrendous this morning after all that junk food, but amazingly they were fine. Must have been all that walking. Poor Z. woke up in the middle of the night and woke up A. (that was so nice of her to wake him up and let me sleep) to complain. He gave her some tylenol and put her feet up on a bolster pillow she has and she did fall back asleep. Maybe it’s time to get her new sneakers? My feet were fine (although A. said his were sore too).

So the summer seems more complete now that we had a few hours at the shore. Honestly, that’s all we needed, just a few hours and we were all happy.

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Mexico- Day Ten & home

R. had given us his travel alarm which I had set for around 4:15am. At 3:50am the phone rang. No one moved and it stopped. Then 5 minutes later it ran again and A. got up and answered it. It was a recording in Spanish, he had no idea what it said, but thought it might have been a wake up call. We hadn’t asked for a wake up call. But later found out that R.’s parents had (and they never got the wake up call). We go back to sleep and then at 4:05am the phone rings again and it’s R.’s father calling to wake us up. I was a bit cranky and said that we still had 10 more minutes to sleep. After I hang up the phone about a minute later the alarm goes off. Okay! Apparently it is time for us to get up now, I can take a hint!

We get ourselves showered and dressed and the last bit of stuff packed and head on down to the lobby to check out. The lobby is dark and after checking out we go sit down with R.’s parents in the dark and wait for G., the husband of one of N.’s cousins, to pick us up, which he does promptly at 5am. He speaks very little English, just a few words here and there, but he presents R.’s parents with the clock that they had admired when we were at dinner at his house last week. They were a bit overwhelmed but pleased and thanked him profusely.

Meanwhile, R. and N. had taken a bus at 2am to Mexico City along with taking 4 large suitcases. There was no way we could fit all the people and all the luggage in the rental van, so they decided to do this. G., was going to take a bus back home after dropping us all off at the airport.

So he drove us to A.-Sr.’s house to pick up M., V. and J.. We did get to say our goodbyes and thanks in person to A.-Sr. and L., but the boys were still sleeping.

So, on to Mexico City, at least a 4 hour drive. R., N., the kids and R.,’s parents were taking at flight to Cancun around noon-ish. Our flight to Houston was at 3:20pm, so we had to get there in time for the other’s earlier flight. It was dark when we left and driving through the mountains there were patches of fog here and there. G. was a stable (if that’s the right word, he was smooth and didn’t change lanes a lot) driver but probably a bit slower than our other drivers.

I was up front (as usual) with G. and V. was our only translator in the car so she sat in the row right behind. G. was telling us all kinds of things about the areas we were passing. What was funny was he would talk and talk and talk in Spanish and then V. would translate and it would be about one sentence. So we may not have been getting all the nuances 🙂

At one point he pulls out a plastic Virgin, something with a suction cup on the back that you put on your car window. He explains through V. that it is someone you pray to for the sick, and gives it to me. He went on to talk about taking some kind of class for 4 months and then will do a pilgrimage there (I’m not sure but I think something might have gotten lost in that translation). Once home I showed it to a woman I know from Puebla who told me it was the Virgin of Juquila. I thought it was so sweet of G. to think of me and have put the Virgin up on my kitchen window (inside of course) over the kitchen sink where I also have an angel hanging that my mom gave me (in honor of my late sister) and a silly chef ornament (well, after all, I’m not exactly a religious person).

Both V. and I fall asleep at one point so G. doesn’t have anyone to talk to. I think others in the back were probably sleeping too. We stop for a rest room break at some point and at some point on the highway (near a toll booth maybe?) G. stops to buy a slew of little gelatin cups from someone selling them on the side of the road. He says “breakfast” and most of us were grateful for something to eat at that point.

As we get closer to the airport N. calls one of the kids on the cellphone and we hand the phone over to G. She tells him where to meet her and R. and we get there about 9:30am. We all pile out, get their bags out, our bags back in, say goodbye to everyone, and then get back in the van with G. and the rental car guy who drives us over to the International terminal. We say goodbye to G. (who I think is getting driven to the bus station, but I’m not sure) and head on in.

I had been thinking on the drive there that maybe we could see about moving our flight up. We had such a short layover in Houston and didn’t think we had enough time to get through Immigration and Customs and then recheck our bags and go through security to make our connecting flight. So we go over to our airline’s check-in counter and ask. The woman tells us yes, we can get the 12:04pm flight for a $50 per ticket charge (when I had initially tried to do this online before we left they wanted $150 a ticket so we decided we’d just stay overnight in a hotel near the airport instead, as our connecting flight was the last flight of the day). We say yes and get our bags checked and re-ticketed.

While we still had plenty of time we decided to head over to our gate. As we show our passports to go through security (I always handed them mine and Z.’s) the woman is looking at Z.’s passport and then at mine and at us and back and forth and back and forth and finally says “senorita?”. She was referring to my daughter who standing there in boys clothes and a cowboy hat with her hair in her face didn’t look very much like a senorita. So I say “yes, senorita” and she then looks at mine and says “senora”, uh, yes, I do think I look like a girl, but my passport photo doesn’t have my glasses on (they were glaring too much) so maybe the whole thing was confusing her. Anyway, she gives us back the passports and lets us through.

Since we had thrown out our water bottles right before security A. goes off to buy new ones for both our wait and the plane. Only thing was that they have another security checkpoint right before you board the plane where they look through your carry on bags and take away your water bottles. Oh well!

So the flight was fine, only problem I had was my ears. I had the congestion from my cold and the drive to Mexico City with the mountains and all had my ears clogging and popping. The descent was really clogging them up. I was able to clear them a bit once we landed thankfully.

We got through customs just fine, but there were very long lines. By the time we got through the whole process and the bag check and security again (also long lines) it was at least an hour and a half. So we made the right decision, we likely would never have made our next flight if we hadn’t changed them. We had time to kill in the Houston airport and A. and Z. were hungry (I guess it was lunch time, who knows?). We had a snack on the plane and I wasn’t feeling hungry but had a real craving for a vanilla milkshake for some reason, so I got one of those (which they split into one larger cup and one smaller cup and I gave Z. the smaller cup). Then I got a gigantic cup of green tea from Starbucks, I was definitely in green tea withdrawal (I had it once the whole trip, at breakfast in the hotel in Veracruz).

We went to the gate and hung out till it was time for our flight. Z. of course wanted dessert so at some point A. got up with her to get her some ice cream. Eventually it was time to board our last flight home.

We landed pretty close to on time (and the descent seemed to permanently clog both my ears) and got our luggage quickly (yeah!, it’s usually a long wait for luggage) and called the airport valet place and went outside to wait. It was around midnight and hot and humid! Welcome home! By the time we got to our house it was almost 1am, a very, very long day of traveling. Needless to say we went to bed fairly quickly and I had the best nights sleep I’d had since leaving home!

It was a great trip, kind of one of those trips of a lifetime kinds of trips. While we had such a wonderful time, we were also exhausted when we got home. One of my ears is still clogged, flying with a head cold is never pretty and can mean congestion for weeks (at least for me). My tummy troubles, which began the next morning when I got up, resolved in a few days. I haven’t had the chile powder N. got me near the pyramids on oranges yet but we had it on jicama (with lime juice) and it was so good! This trip will be such a great memory for Z. (for all of us of course) and I’m so glad that she is old enough to both remember the trip and to appreciate it.

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Mexico- Day Nine

I ended up taking a muscle relaxant for my back last night, it was really hurting, probably from the metal folding chairs that were underneath the pretty cloth chair covers at the wedding. It helped me sleep at least.

Last night R.’s parents gave R. and N. their hotel room (and they stayed at Mamacita’s instead) so they could have a little alone time on their “wedding night”. They came in later than us, as N. felt they had to stay at the reception till everyone had left. I think they ended up going somewhere else too, but I thought I heard them going into their room before 11pm.

We got up around 8:15am, showered, dressed and went down to the restaurant. I totally threw caution to the wind and decided to order the hotcakes and bacon, as did A. (the caution is because of what a meal like that would do to my blood sugars). Z. had her toast and chocomilk. R. and N. joined us after we had gotten our food. Z. and I left the restaurant before the other three and went back up to the room for a while.

We met up again with them at around 11am and took a little walk around the block (back towards the church behind the hotel) before heading out to Mamacita’s. Since they had a van at the hotel we didn’t have to wait for a ride.

We hung out at Mamacita’s for a while, on the front shaded patio on the rocking chairs with R.’s parents, while N. and R. started trying to do some packing. Family were coming in and out and the plan was to move down the street and around the corner to another cousin’s place. She ran a daycare center but also lived there and so there was a big area to put a lot of tables for all the family to come eat mole poblano, tamales and rice. We also tried some sparkling apple cider that had 4% alcohol that someone had brought for us to try.

The kids all had fun playing in the yard, and again I think had bread for that meal. R.’s parents and us were pretty tired and after we were there for a while and it felt like it would be okay for us to leave we went back to Mamacita’s to sit on those rocking chairs. The metal folding chairs again were hurting my back, but the rocking chairs made it feel better. M. joined us and went and took a nap. We stayed there till about 5:30pm and then N. drove us back to the hotel (and then headed back to continue packing).

After we got there A., Z. and I went across the street to a candy store. We had decided that an assortment of candy would be a good gift for our neighbors who were cat sitting. We had not a clue what we were buying, so picked things out by looks, size, shape, color, etc. Everything we bought them we also bought ourselves. We still haven’t given them theirs (we’re hoping to get together this weekend) but have eaten most of ours so can at least explain what it all tastes like to them.

Then back to our hotel room to start packing for our trip home tomorrow. A. and Z. went out a bit later to pick up some dinner. He got Z. some mcnuggets at McD’s but for us and R.’s parents he went to another place a few doors down that we had heard about from V. and M. They had gone to another location of this place at 3am a few nights for these sandwiches that they both loved. They described them as Mexican Sloppy Joes and were called bombasas (or something like that). A. said they weren’t on the menu but he asked a waiter (who spoke very good English) who said, oh yes we have those. So he got 4 of those and brought them back to the hotel and we all sat on the 2nd floor balcony area overlooking the courtyard at a table and ate. They were a soft white bread roll with flour dusted on top (the roll is what I think is actually called bombasas and is what the sandwich is named for) and inside is melted cheese and a sweet sausage cut up into little pieces. They were soooooo good, we all loved them. R.’s mom said that she hadn’t thought she was very hungry but they were so good she could have eaten two (they weren’t very big). Too bad we hadn’t discovered these things a few nights before when we ate the McD’s food in our room.

We got ready for bed early as we had to get up at 4am the next day. At 9:30pm I turned off the light and about a minute later the phone rang. N.’s brother and family had wanted to come to the hotel to say goodbye to us. The 4 of them weren’t at the lunch today as they had gotten up really early in the morning and drove to Mexico City to bring a load of stuff for A.’s new apt. (he was to be moving there the following weekend to start college). They must have been exhausted, but they never seemed to show it. Anyway, we told them we were in bed, so A. said goodbyes and thanks on the phone. It took me another half hour to fall asleep and then I was woken up 2 hours later at midnight by Z. getting up to use the bathroom. My hip was aching and it took me at least another 2 hours and an ibuprofen to fall back asleep.

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