I think I was Left Behind…

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I still haven’t sent out any Christmas Cards yet this year. Better hurry, I have 6 days left. I do have one made up but I’m not so excited about it. I tried to get one of just the dogs in their holiday garb and it was too hard to hold the bacon in one hand and the camera in the other and keep them from biting my hand off. Here is the result:

doggies

But, we are on our way to 2013 and survived the apocalypse. Whatever THAT was. I do think 17 was hoping for a reprieve from school, but the joke’s on her!

Maybe we’ve been left behind.

I even took a shower.  Put on a bra. And they STILL didn’t include me. So I guess it didn’t happen.

And, Big Momma’s still here-they would have definitely taken her with.  She still makes me feel guilty about going to church.  But that’s her job.

So, back to our Christmas.

I live in an area of Atlanta where the kids go on mission trips in the first class section of Delta, get sub woofers for their new BMW’s and take pictures of their haul of Tory Burch and Michael Kors and put them on Instagram. As a friend of mine stated yesterday, obviously we didn’t get the message…

I grew up in a family that never made a huge deal out of the holidays, gift-wise. We got our bikes, Barbie’s, Easy Bake Ovens(and now they are gender neutral??? Do you really want your child to learn how to bake a cake with a LIGHTBULB???REALLY???) and Mickey Mouse watches like everybody else. In high school we typically got the requisite nightgown, ONE LP (Yes– Frampton Comes Alive!) and a pair of Levi’s cords. We thought we were doing pretty good with that. Then, on Christmas night after we had dinner with our families we headed to a local friend’s barn garage were upstairs we would listen to those LP’s and drink copious amounts of beer (the drinking age was 18). We walked home. The local cops would sometimes give us a ride.
I was really lucky to have lived in that small New Jersey town as a teenager.

You want to feel like a crappy parent? Don’t get your teen a car, a MK bag, an iPhone, an iPad, or fancy camera for Christmas.  But I confess, 17 asked for some Lily Pulitzer and after a couple of years of shopping  in the skank section of the mall I acquiesced.  I was so happy to go in to that store and buy that crap you have no idea! My baby is growing up.  Now, I need to be able to afford J Crew

We still do a quiet holiday here.  Though 17 would like to have more stuff to open.  And we were supposed to go on a trip with BC (the hubs, the pilot) to Paris.  Since  THAT didn’t happen, we hung here, ate at friends homes, and watched movies on the tube.  And, since BC has been texting me pictures of the Eiffel tower – 3 yesterday and a video – I think I am going to short sheet his side of the bed tonight and make my way to the shoe store to make myself feel better.

Notre Daem Cathedral Christmas Eve @BC

Notre Dame Cathedral Christmas Eve @BC

Merry Christmakuhzaa from the Mermaid!

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Why the Mayor of Newark Restored My Faith in Politicians

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There are some good ones out there. You just have to look for them.

@wikipedia

And it’s too bad that it sometimes takes a disaster like Sandy to bring attention to these people when they have been doing their job all along.

Which is why Corey Booker, the mayor of Newark, NJ, has restored my faith in politicians. Like I tweeted last night-Dude needs a cape.  And a drink.

He let victims of Sandy crash at his house. He tweets help to his citizens.  And he is also pretty good lookin…

I am an independent. I look at all the facts and then decide what is best going to fit for my family and business, as well as my value system. And I have learned, over time, starting as a Democrat, then a Reagan Democrat,then a Conservative, now an Independent,  that as you age and as you have various careers and life experience, those views can change.

The fact that Mayor Booker has been working his ass off for his constituents and using social media to connect, communicate and really help them amazes me. While other politicians would sit in their ivory towers and pontificate on the disaster, he is getting his hands dirty and truly SERVING his people. He is one big bowl of awesomeness.

Chris Christie, the Governor of Jersey, is doing the same. While he might be a controversial politician to some, he tells it like it is and gets it done.

One is a Democrat, one is a Republican.  But in the end, we are all just people.

And they are helping their PEOPLE, party or not.

Go Corey-Go Christie-Go everybody who puts their constituents needs before their own.  There are not too many of those folks out there anymore.

Where Were You? Hating the ‘Quiet’ After 9/11

Painting by Jane F Beebe @Copyright Jane Finn Beebe

That’s the question every is asking today. It’s been 11 years.

We are still in a war in Afghanistan.

We have troops all over the world.

Airplane travel is not what it used to be.

Every time there is some outbreak of some weird disease, or West Nile, or Hantavirus, or flesh-eating bacteria, you can’t tell me that you don’t raise your eyes just a teensy bit at that kind of thing.

My family was in New Jersey in the 70s and 80s. We lived in a quaint small Jersey town on the Erie Lackawanna commuter train. Mom would take dad to the train every morning . Dad would ride the Lackawanna in to Hoboken and then take the PATH into the World Trade Center stop. He worked for AT&T at 195 Broadway for years. We used to love going in and meeting him for lunch. We would watch the fish mongers at South St Seaport. We toured the WTC many times. Dad was there when that guy walked on a tightrope between both of the towers.  It was a great experience and left wonderful memories of growing up ‘Jersey’.

Labor Day weekend 2001 BC and I went with friends to Manhattan for the weekend to see the US Open and enjoy a kid free, restaurant and touring filled long weekend. On the Saturday of that weekend our plans were to go to the top of the WTC as our friends had never done that and then enjoy a drink at Windows on the World. We arrived at a subway stop and walked up the stairs only to hear that the subway was not going all the way downtown because of repairs, and that you had to take a bus. The lines were ridiculous. So we decided–‘We’ll get it on our next trip’.

My how life changes in 5 days.

Where was I?  I was getting ready to go to the barn and ride my horse that morning after I dropped off (then) 6 at kindergarten.  BC was down in the man cave on his computer, natch.  I was watching the TODAY show and when they came on looking quite confused talking about a possible small plane going in to one of the towers, I called down to BC and told him to come up and see this.  He came up and was watching, and then said, “I don’t think that was a small plane, honey.” A while later we actually watched the other plane go in.  The feeling in my stomach was horrible.  BC is ex-Air Force and commented quietly, ‘This is not good…”

The rest of that day and week was spent watching the  TV and listening to the radio.  Driving around, even here in Atlanta, was a surreal experience.  The quiet was palpable in stores, in schools, everywhere.  Almost eerie.  That  is what I remember.  And it didn’t go away really fast.  It took some time to get back to normal.  If you even call it that.  It’s just different now.  How different, I don’t know, but it is.  Loss of innocence.  I guess.

We were coming back from a Christmas trip to Brussels Belgium in 2010.  We traveled on Christmas day back to Atlanta.  BC was flying the plane.  About an hour before we were to land, the first officer came on the microphone and told us that the FAA didn’t want anyone up, in the aisle, or un-escorted to the lavatory for the last hour of the flight. OK, I think to myself, this is unusual. One of the flight attendants husband who went with us immediately got on his smart phone and told me that there was some incident going on at the Detroit airport – the underwear bomber.  No one really knew what was happening, but there was that quiet again. 

I don’t ever want to hear THAT quiet again.

There are many posts and stories told today-even around the world.  I just needed to add mine.

Marry Me, Fly For Free

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BC-El Capitano

24 years ago I was set up on a blind date.  With an airline pilot-former Air Force captain.  In my single days, I had a cousin who was a Navy fighter pilot and had come to visit me on leave and practically got us all arrested, drank every bit of my meager supply of booze, and scared off my girlfriends.  I was NOT looking forward to this.  But I was bored and didn’t have much else to do that Friday nite so I decided to meet whomever this was.

A year later we were married and living in suburban Atlanta.  What was I thinking?

FLIGHT BENEFITS!!!!!!!!!!!   Yippeeeee!!!!

Even if the uniform is all polyester and he wears a clip-on tie.  Wow, soooo hot….

So, over the course of our married life, we have been able to travel to some pretty great places around the world.  Even if we do stay in the airline discount places and not the Ritz.  Besides-I consider a hotel with a door to the outside camping and I certainly won’t do that.

And the great part of this benefit is you usually get in the first class cabin space available.  That is, until fares dropped, 9/11 tanked the airline industry, and it was cheaper to fly than take Greyhound.

The other benefit-or it could be a detriment, is that your child gets to fly anywhere too, and is eligible for first (space available) after the age of 8.  So every time we have flown to Europe, 16 has flown in business class. Good or bad, it is a great perk.

But the funny thing is that our kids are so well-traveled  these days, they have no idea what it is like to ride in a yellow 1976 Pontiac station wagon for 17 hours from New Jersey to Florida with two sisters whom you detest and a father who tells his “What, NO Green Beans?” story 10 times on the way.

How Fun are these!!!

I remember the times I begged my dad to stop over nite at South of the Border in South Carolina.  For those of you who have traveled I-95 from Florida to the northeast, this is the mecca of tacky hotel.  They have billboards for hundred of miles that say “Pedro Sez..Chili Today, Hot Tamale!!..Stay at South of the Border!”  My family would tease me so much about this. So one time, we finally stayed there.  It was a defining moment for me.

First of all, I won an argument.  Second of all, the memories of walking through the giant painted sombrero that was the check in lobby was like walking into the Vatican.  The amount of cheesy gift shops was astounding.  The rooms had those striped Mexican blankets in them.  Shag carpet.  And my family could not stop laughing at me.  I  still get grief about it to this day. And I still like kitchy hotels–like the Excalibur in Vegas, but you won’t catch me dead in one.  Unless I am the owner…….. And Holy Crap! Now SOTB has a new  attraction, a reptile lagoon!

So snagging an airline pilot was a good move on my part.  Except for the time I flew with him to San Francisco, and knowing I ‘d had copious amounts of coffee that morning, and knowing what that does to my system, he decided it would be funny to leave on the seat belt light for over 30 minutes climbing out of SFO on a clear morning.  I will never forgive him for that.

Or the time 16 was 16 months old and coming home from Florida she was screaming on descent so I gave her a bottle, which prompted her large intestines to dump her innerds out on me through her pretty white stockings she had on.  And the businessmen around me were looking at me with that “WTF is that smell?” look. And that was the first time I ever had the inkling to run up, open the plane door, and jump, or throw her out. Whatever…..

We take our kids on all of these glorious vacations.  Disney, Europe, Carnival Cruises, NYC, even many sleepover camps have air conditioning in the cabins.  I kid you not.  Airline kids have it even better.  16 has been to Paris, Brussels, Germany (many times, I have a sister there), Dallas, Caymans, Jamaica, LA to see ‘The Ellen Show’, the Marriott 42nd St in Manhattan, and more.

I need to start a travel company that is called, “The Torture Travel Company For Kids”.  All trips are car based, no fast food stops unless it is a Stuckey’s-type place.  Other than that it is homemade turkey sandwiches in a cooler, they have to bring a book and one game-no electronics, no phones, no TV, or movies in the car, have to stay at a creepy hotel with a crappy pool for at least one night,  and then stay at their grandparents place for a minimum of 3 nights with no eating out.  That oughta fix ’em.

And mom and dad get a free weekend vacation at a Ritz if they survive it and don’t involve the police at anytime during the trip.  That’s incentive!

It’s hard to justify a car trip when it’s easier and sometimes cheaper to fly.  The only thing BC forgot to tell me was that it is standby.  But, now with 25 years of service (and a plastic set of gold wings to prove it), we do get on more often than not.  With the great unwashed.  In coach.