Moon’s Top Traveling Tips

I asked Moon what she learned from our travels. Below are her actual tips, with editor’s commentary, of course.

Fly First Class. Being in the back of the plane stinks and we should know. We were in row 46 both going to Disney and coming home. There is nothing like sitting in the back with two kids eager for their first visit to Disney while 279 octogenarians try to wrestle gear from the overhead compartments. It didn’t take long for the kids to notice the people up front in the swanky seats. Moon said that’s where she wants to ride next time. Dream big, Moon, dream big.

Security is a pain, wear slip-ons. The girls could not figure out WHY they had to take off their shoes going through security.  I wasn’t about to tell them, but JD had no problems explaining, in detail, how a man once tried to set off a bomb in his shoe. Lovely. As if that weren’t bad enough, Rimfire got randomly selected for “extra security measures”. I thought they were about to give her the TSA Special, and got out my cell phone to record it for Drudge, but instead they said they would take the OLDER companion. As in ME. I didn’t get the pat down either, just a quick test where they swabbed my hands for bomb-making materials. Flying is so much fun.

Don’t sit in front of a screaming kid. A 2 year old boy behind us had had all he could stand of the flight and we got to listen to his displeasure the whole ride home. Well, most of us. JD somehow managed to sit across the plane all by himself, far away from said kid. Not so far that I couldn’t see him smirking though.

Pack your own bag. We didn’t check any luggage, instead opting to carry backpacks, one for each person. Since the whole trip was a surprise, I packed Moon’s. I’m more of the “Let me know if we forgot anything and I’ll show you how to live without it,” variety but that’s not my sister-in-law’s style. She packed for Rimfire and all we could figure is that she wanted to make sure she’d be okay if we got stranded in Florida for a week. And it snowed. Including what she wore on the plane, Rimfire had 2 pairs of jeans, 5 shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 2 skirts and FOUR jackets. Once she bought souvenirs, it was over. We had to split her clothing up between the three of us to get her home.

And Moon’s final trip tip for a successful journey?

Sit by your cousin.

Just 9 years old and a traveling pro. Who needs Frommer’s when you’ve got Moon?

Riding High

Once we convinced the girls that, yes, we were ACTUALLY going to Disney, I gave them the speech. The “the moment, you own it, you better never let it go, you only get one shot, not to blow” speech. Okay, that was an Eminem song. What I really said was, “We’re going to Disney, and you better ride what you can while you have the chance.” It might not sell millions of records, but they took it to heart. They rode everything with gusto. EVERYTHING.

Beginning with the airport train to the gate. Hanging on is for sissies!

And we’re off! It was the first time either girl had ridden on an airplane. I told Moon previously that it was just like riding in a car. This photo was taken about thirty seconds before she informed me it was NOTHING like that. She was right. I can TEXT while riding in a car.

The first ride we hit in the park was Aladdin’s Flying Carpets. Neither girl was impressed despite the fact they could have fallen to their DEATHS.

When I was 18, I went to Disney with my parents. This ride, It’s A Small World, was my mother’s favorite. I am much too young and hip to like it. I just went along for the kids. Twice.

The Race Car ride gave the girls a chance to perfect their driving skills. I rode with Rimfire while JD and Moon brought up the rear. Despite the fact that there were HUGE signs imploring people NOT to bump the cars in front of them, a certain person set a terrible example for another certain young child that will one day be driving HIS car and when she wrecks it and gets a ticket for following too closely I think we all know who I’ll blame.

Moon is not a thrill seeker at all, so I was pleasantly surprised that she tried every ride we wanted to do at least once. This was a  roller-coaster called Runaway Train Thunder Mountain Goat or something. Hey, I walked 4 parks for 19 hours, I can’t be expected to remember everything. But this was Moon’s favorite ride and the first thing she wanted to do on Day Two. Which is weird considering THIS is the way she looked the first time she rode it.

Rimfire’s favorite ride was Splash Mountain. Kittens, I’m not going to lie – I hate the feeling of falling. And when I saw the FIVE STORY DROP that is the finale of Splash Mountain, I was hesitant. But I remembered the speech and jumped in the boat. The ride actually lasts about five minutes and includes a few small dips and drops, enough to get your heart racing. And it was during those drops that I developed The Theory. See, I figured that if I held my breath, the feeling in my stomach would lessen. Maybe, just MAYBE, holding my breath would tighten my stomach muscles and the terrible sinking feeling would go away.

And I was ducking so I wouldn’t get wet. And closing my eyes so I wouldn’t see our fatal end.

Moon just thought she was about to die.


For weeks now, we’ve been planning a surprise visit to Disney for MoonPie and her cousin. We packed them each backpacks, called the teachers, got money from the grandparents (holla!) and concocted a lie to get them together on Friday morning. The girls were sitting in the backseat, school bags at their feet, ready for just another boring day at school.

Then we drove right past it.

The “Are we realllly???” comments continued for at least another five miles. Finally, I was invited to unbuckle and crawl in the backseat for a group hug.

Surprises must go a little better when there’s a bit of trust between the participants. You’d think JD and I were known for teasing or something.

More on the trip to follow. Kittens, you know I’m gonna milk this for at least a week!

Femme Photographers

JD and I were talking the other day about Moon and her desire to be a photographer. While I’m sure she’ll change her mind a few hundred times between now and her high-school graduation, I thought I’d buy her some photography books for Christmas. When I first became interested in photography, I looked at every image I could get my hands on by Margaret Bourke-White, Sally Mann, and Diane Arbus.

Now you can find photo blogs by women all over the internet. One of my favorites is not a photography blog in the traditional sense, but it’s super clever. Check out the self portraits at

I think we can teach Moon how to take a photo but she’s gonna have to figure out the flying thing on her own.


Kittens, I’m still not over my bridge weekend. I worked from my couch today wearing a slanket and drifting in and out of sleep. I was going to blog about it, but the previous sentence pretty much sums it up. So, let’s do a list!

1. I am a little bit in love with Tim Tebow. As if he doesn’t have enough problems.

2. Twitter is fun. Tweeters are funny. Ex. Andy Borowitz – “Cheaper than an iPad: At the end of every email, I type, ‘Sent from my iPad.” and “Asked if flip-flopping charges against him are fair, Mitt Romney responded, “Yes and no.”

3. Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. hugged it out last night. Finally, I can sleep at night.

4. A diagram of how I spend my day.

5. I took a recent babysitting opportunity to tell Baby A about Tania-the-Mad.

And that’s just the half of it.

Melee in the Mountains

Kittens, I know you set your alarm early yesterday morning so you could get up and read about the bridge weekend, but I was just too darn tired to write about it. I came home, lay on the couch, and watched a show about a woman who recently completed an Iron-man competition. You know, 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run? All I could think was “What a WIMP!” She should try something really hard, like playing 320 games of bridge on 4 hours of sleep.

Our journey started with a literal bang. As we were driving to the mountains, a dump truck in front of us threw a rock and hit my windshield. I moved the visor and found a big crack. Great. I wasn’t REALLY upset since I was driving JD’s truck not mine, but being women of action, we photographed the offending vehicle, got the number, and called and reported him to his boss!

Then I called JD and broke the news to him. He wasn’t upset either. Turns out that crack has been there since he bought the truck. Oopsie.

Since this was the first year without our dear Katie, we thought an opening ceremony was needed. We each wrote her a note on a balloon, and let them go.

I think it was a fitting way to begin the weekend.

When we weren’t playing bridge, we were eating. We had chili, hot-dogs, chicken Caesar salad, biscuits and sausage gravy, artichoke dip, brownies, corn dip, fruit dip, and jalapeno/cream cheese puffs. I’m pretty sure Michelle Obama would not approve.

We also took a break for some hot-tub time. Patty has a personal trainer and put us all to shame. Hmmm, Patty with a glass of wine? Oh, she was probably just holding it for Carolyn.

That’s what I was doing. I’m pretty sure she has a problem. Someone should talk to her about that.

Then it was back to the bridge table. Carolyn tried wearing a fiesty hat to change her luck.

I thought she looked ridiculous, but I didn’t want to say anything. Some people just don’t know what looks good.

In honor of Katie’s sweet legacy, Patty suggested we retire the trophy. She felt we should just concentrate on having fun. That and I’m pretty sure she figured one day, someone was going to pass my 2 club open and I’d fling that sucker over the railing. Of course, if you knew what passing a 2 club open meant, you’d know that that is a perfectly reasonable response.

All in all, we had lots of fun. Granted, you can’t put four women around a bridge table for 48 hours without there being some anger, snark, and tears. Okay, that was just me, but still. There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who aren’t really competitive, prefering to just go with the flow and have a good time. And those who bring intensity to whatever they do, putting on a game face for EVERYTHING, turning even the most mundane of activities into a competion.

You know who you are.

Black Friday

Kittens, this is going to be a fabulous weekend. I’m leaving today for the mountains where I will play 48 hours of bridge and eat 6700 calories per day. I mean per meal.

We’re trying out a new scoring system which is sure to make things interesting. Basically, at the end of each round, you take the two scores, say 900 and 500, subtract, and then give each team a plus or minus score. So 900 – 500 is 400. One team gets +4 and the other gets -4. The ladies were afraid that being minus would depress them, but I convinced them to give it a try Wednesday night at our regular game. At the end of 3 rounds, the score was Vicki +5, Patty +9, Carolyn +11 and Me -25.

Surprisingly, they all LIKED the new system.

While I’m gone this weekend getting my bridge butt kicked, I thought you might be bored. The two men below found something fun to do – why not call a friend and give it a try?