Saturday, July 16, 2011

NYR 7-16-11 - going on a vacay

Tomorrow morning, early-squirrely, Mac and I leave to drive to Washington, DC to meet Jimmy who's flying in tomorrow afternoon. Jimmy has to take a class for work, but Mac and I intend to fully enjoy ourselves. His BFF and family are meeting us there and we're stopping in Richmond to pick up Mac's British teacher from this past year to take with us. Neither the BFF and family nor the teacher have been to DC, so we're going to do all the old favorites and not-to-be-missed sites in DC.

Which means we probably will all be tired and cranky after the first day.

Which means that we may or may not stick to the very well-scheduled-out calendar I have come up with for the week.

But we do have White House tickets for Friday so we'll all have to be speaking to each other by then!

For vacation excitement, I am truly thankful.

7-15-11 - tennis at sea level

This morning I played tennis with my high school friend Dara. "Played tennis" might be a stretch. We hit balls around some, talked a bunch and laughed a lot. It was a great time, and I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED playing at sea level as opposed to 8500 feet, even if I was dripping sweat by the end and was as red-faced as if I'd run a marathon. I could breathe!

For a great time catching up with Dara, I am truly thankful.

7-14-11 - why we're really home for a 7-week vacation

I have heard for nearly 11 months how by moving to Bogota, we ripped Mac away from his BFF and from the best place on Earth (that would be Summerville, South Carolina for those of you not from there). And I promised for nearly all of those 11 months that Mac would get to spend all summer back at home. (I really sort of hoped being back here would make him realize that it's not entirely the land of milk and honey, but I don't think I'm succeeding yet - he's having a great time.)

So to fulfill that promise, Mac and I have come back for a total of 7 weeks which we have never ever done before. We're not in South Carolina for the whole time, but we're certainly taking full advantage of our time here to get these boys together. Mac is loving every minute of it.

For teaching our children that continued friendships take some effort but they're always worth it, I am truly thankful.

NYR 7-13-11 - rental cars

Today I picked up the rental car that we'll be using for the next couple weeks.

I, of course, rented a cheap car and refused to be upsold no matter how many times the website told me it would be "just another $22" to get the next grade higher. (Remember that number the Budget guy pulled on Jimmy a few months ago? On the little quick jaunt home that turned into an eternity? Yeah, well the cost of renting that midlife crisis red Mustang still smarts.)

So I rented a Toyota Corolla since that's what I drive at home and am comfortable with it. When I went to the Hertz office, the woman didn't know that I was coming in because apparently she didn't bother to check her computer. She told me that all she had fueled up and clean (and her idea of "clean" is questionable) was a Mazda 5. I asked what that was and she told me it was a mini-minivan. I asked if it costs the same as the Corolla rental and she said "yes" so I was sold.

Now here's why I like rental cars. Nay, love rental cars:

1. There are new buttons and radio controls and cup holders and plugs to be found. I'm a sucker for new buttons and radio controls and cup holders and plugs. We couldn't find the cup holder for the middle row of seats until we read the instruction manual. There was a whole little caddy thing folded up inside the seat that had to be pulled out. Once we got it out, it had cup holders and a storage area. How cool is that?

2. Rental cars are usually new. This particular car is a 2012 model which would make it 9 years older than the Corolla I currently drive. Nine years means it's shinier and smells newer and still has the factory floor mats which aren't stained from spilled soft drinks and mud-caked shoes.

3. A rental car's a short-term investment in a new car that you soon get to turn back in. I love driving this Mazda but maybe in two weeks, I'll be tired of the upholstery because it's too sweaty or I'll find out that I really do want more than 2 plugs in a mini-minivan (because after all there are more than 2 electronic gadgets that could need to be plugged in at any one time).

4. This particular car has 3 rows of seats so if Jimmy, Mac and I get tired of each other on vacation, we could all sit on a different row and have our own space. (Of course, we'd have to leave our luggage behind because with the third row of seats up, there would be no space in the way back for suitcases, but I'm just saying we could do that.)

5. In a rental car, you don't really worry about the pesky things you worry about with your own car. I'm not concerned about what sort of gas mileage this car gets or when the last oil change was. I'm just driving it, knowing that I can turn it back in in 2 weeks and the oil change is somebody else's problem.

I will enjoy the Mazda 5 for the time being, knowing that all too soon I'll be back in my 2003 Corolla with dents and scratches and chips on the windshield and Wal-Mart floor mats and only two plugs.

For my 2-week ride in a Mazda 5, I am truly thankful.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NYR 7-12-11 -a little visit to the dermatologist

Today I had an appointment at the dermatologist's. I was going for a routine skin cancer checkup but had a specific concern about this little white scaly thing that had been on my lip since our trip to Sao Paulo in April when we spent a week at our favorite beach and where I may or may not have regularly applied the 50 SPF lip balm that I normally use.

That little scaly thing turned out to be a keratosis from sun damage and it was removed by freezing with nitrogen.


The doctor told me a blister would form and then heal up. I informed the doctor before the freezing that I was traveling to Washington, DC on Sunday and asked would it be healed by then. He laughed and said it would look like an awful fever blister by Sunday. Yay for me.

When I suggested that we wait until after Washington and our subsequent trip to the mountains and our subsequent trip to the beach, the doctor said we were doing it today so we could see if we needed to do it again.

I think I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but I have to tell you that this really, really hurt. Like laser surgery was nothing compared to this. Like it better work or else I'll pick the keratosis off with my fingernails to avoid more freezing.

I kind of have an Angelina Jolie bottom lip right now. Well not really, but a girl can pretend right? Now I just wait for the ugly fever blister part to form so it'll fall off and heal up.

(On a related note, I have been studying actinic keratosis on the internet and on The Skin Cancer Foundation's webpage devoted to this diagnosis, some of the photos are provided by my doctor, who was also my father's dermatologist, and who has elevated status at the West household for his extraordinary love and devotion to the dermatological game.)

For great doctors and ridding myself of what could be a pre-cancerous growth, I am most assuredly truly thankful (even if I'm going to have a disgusting lip malfunction when I see my husband on Sunday for the the first time in 3 weeks).

NYR 7-11-11 - Lightning McQueen is back in the house

The first movie that Mac fell in love with was Cars. We saw it in the theater with my mom and dad and bought the dvd as soon as it came out. And watched it over and over and over and over. I cannot stress to you how many times he watched that movie. I remember being on a beach trip to the northeast of Brazil, during which time Mac turned 4 years old, and I distinctly remember that the Cars movie played nonstop. We heard it in the rental house, in the hotel room, in the rental car. Non.stop. It was the soundtrack of our lives for a long while.

Because that movie was so successful, I have no idea why it took them so long to come out with Cars 2, but we happily saw it with my mom today. I felt like we welcomed an old friend back to the family.

For Lightning McQueen and his latest trip around the world, I am truly thankful.

NYR 7-10-11 - quintessential summer supper

For steaks on the grill, fully loaded baked potatoes (complete with cheese, sour cream and bacon bits - oh my!), pasta salad and tossed salad - a perfect summertime supper in my opinion - shared in the company of friends, I am truly thankful.

NYR 7-9-11 - lazy afternoons at the pool

Today I got the following message from a friend from Bogota who's currently in Chicago for vacation:

"Gorgeous day at Lincoln Park Zoo. Laying in the sun with my Dr. Pepper. Remind me again why we live in cold rainy Bogota?"

I do love living in Bogota, but while my friend was at Lincoln Park Zoo, I was in the pool at our friends' house and similar thoughts about living in cold, rainy Bogota went through my head.

For sunny afternoons in the swimming pool in the company of good friends, I am truly thankful.

NYR 7-8-11 - shopping nirvana

Today my mom and I went shopping in Mt. Pleasant at the fabulous Towne Centre. Lots of great sales, good shops, and nice deals. I came away with a few new pretties, and for that I am truly thankful.

P.S. If you're Charleston, you should most definitely hit up Towne Centre for all your shopping needs.

NYR 7-7-11

I am so far behind on posts, but I'm trying very hard to catch up. For my one loyal reader, Dara, who's keeping me on task, I am truly thankful.

NYR 7-6-11 - now you see it, part 2... you don't.

(photos coming someday)

For my summer haircut with the always-fabulous Luanne at Stella Nova in Summerville, I am truly thankful.

(A photo of my summer 'do will surely be forthcoming later. Since I'm single-parenting right now until Jimmy comes home on Sunday, I have no photos of my new haircut because I'm the one taking all the photos. But truly the ever-fabulous Luanne has worked wonders. It's much shorter and takes a couple seconds with the hairdryer and VOILA!)

NYR 7-5-11 - now you see it...

... and now you don't.

For summer haircuts (and the loss of the resident bird's nest - see photos below for what we left behind), I am truly thankful.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

NYR 7-4-11 - let freedom ring

For life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I am truly thankful.

NYR 7-3-11 - early Independence Day

For hot dogs and potato chips and baked beans...

In the beautiful western NC mountains...

With my aunts and uncles and grandmother and cousin and sister and mother and all our assorted children and spouses (except for Jimmy :-( )...

To celebrate the independence of a great nation...

I am truly thankful.

NYR 7-2-11 - playing in the creek

For cousins reunited and playing for hours in a mountain creek, I am truly thankful.

(Pictures will one day be forthcoming once I figure out how to connect my laptop to my mom's internet. In the likely event that never happens, you'll see pictures in late August.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

NYR 7-1-11 - airport travel, aka the thing that causes me a lot of stress

Today Mac and I flew home for the summer. I love air travel and airports and layovers. What I don't love is the often-surly people who work for airlines who get my trips off to bad starts and who cause my trips to end on bad notes.

Because we used frequent-flyer miles for this trip, we flew Delta.

Normally Delta causes me a lot of grief. A. LOT. Mucho. Muito. Beaucoup.

So I went to the airport expecting everything to fall apart (especially after the disaster that quickly became our "quick" jaunt home in March).

I am very, very happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. Everything worked like clockwork. We didn't wait in long lines, nobody said our underweight luggage was overweight, and the plane from Bogota to Atlanta left on time.

We also got very lucky in our seating. We knew that one of Mac's closest friends in Bogota was going to be traveling with his family so we were prepared to ask the third person on our row to switch seats with Mac's friend so they could sit together. We got a 20-ish year-old kid with a lot of piercings who readily agreed to switch. Dude, it's all tranquilo. We are on the return flight out of ATL with them in August, so hopefully our seatmate switch luck will continue.

So Mac and his friend entertained each other (and likely bothered everyone around us) for 4+ hours to ATL , we all got through Immigration and Customs together, rechecked our bags and hit up TSA once more before saying our goodbyes until mid-August. Mac and I found our next gate, boarded and left on time for our final destination.

Smooth sailing.

Thank you very much Delta; I am truly thankful.

NYR 6-30-11 - two things to be grateful for!

I am truly thankful for:

1. Surviving a sleepover with three 8 year-old boys. There was a lot of loudness and commotion and running and screaming. I'm sure the lady below us with the one month-old baby is even more thankful than I am.

2. Getting a great report from my eye surgeon three months post-op. 20/20 and no myopia!