Tuesday, November 27, 2012

a sad, but true update

ACL = totally, completely blown.
1 surgery.
7-9 months of rehab.
God knows how much money.
And worst worst worst of all, not knowing how I can teach.

That is the saddest part of the whole thing.

worry worry worry

I worry constantly.

It is not unheard of for me to wake up at two in the morning to see if my kid is still breathing - the ten year old. 

The eighth grader walks four blocks to church by himself - but I have him text me when he gets there. I read the labels on the children's Motrin, not once, not twice, but three times to make sure I don't OD the two year old. And when I come home to a quiet house, I run downstairs to make sure that Rico hasn't fallen victim to sudden illness or ax wielding maniac.

I let my kids stretch their wings, experience life, do the things that all kids should do, but I am always worried about it.

So when I read this article on one of my favorite sites Free Range Kids, it broke my heart.  I will keep doing my best, but in the end, all I can really do is love them.

Friday, November 23, 2012

quirks


We all have have our quirks.

For me it's leaving half drunk glasses of water all over the house. It's not on purpose. Though I hold tight to the argument that someday we'll be attacked by aliens, just like that Mel Gibson movie. Rico will take a bat and start knocking a baker's dozen McDonald's Sweet Teas from the mantle, thereby saving not only us, but all of mankind. It could happen, but it's not like I do it entirely for altruistic purposes.

And then there's Rico - leaving dental floss hanging in the shower, which will also come in handy someday if a crazed ax murderer has us trapped in the bathroom, and we have to braid our own rope to shimmy down the second story window.

Punk will draw the same thing over and over until it's just right. He's probably felled a quarter mile of rainforest in his attempt to draw the perfect Batman and Joker. But still, I admire his need to perfect his craft, to not settle for anything less than awesome.

Kooka will change clothes approximately 4 times a day. This is not an exaggeration. On the downside, she rarely remembers what's clean, and ends up doing much more laundry than she should. On the upside - she always looks fabulous and helps the rest of us when we don't.

I'm always looking to put a positive spin on these little idiosyncrasies - trying to figure out how these little quirks can benefit our our family, our friends, the world in general.

But Yoda has me stumped.

Since birth she has been obsessed with necks. It is especially prevalent when she is sleepy, sick , or daydreaming. Sounds relatively harmless right? And I suppose it was when her little hands were the size of a Kennedy half-dollar, but now  - my god, I'm lucky to be alive.

Imagine sleeping peacefully in your bed. It's still dark outside, you're still warm under the covers. You feel a little something move at the foot of the bed. You roll over, assuming it's just the dog looking for a fluffy spot to snuggle. Ninety seconds later you're being asphyxiated by a tiny hand constricting around your throat.  But it's all good, because the entire time your jugular is being cut off, and your airway is being obstructed, a small voice is whispering in your ear "I love you so much."

It's like setting your alarm clock to Boston Strangler mode. And this happens every morning!!! Rico thinks it's funny. Ha ha ha.

When she gets into her lighting matches phase, we're flipping the bed around.



long week

It's been a long week.

Aside from the usual round of craziness, we've gone through two tests for whooping cough, one round of antibotics, three trips to the doctor, one set of crutches, an entire bottle of ibuprofin, two bags of cough drops and half a dozen Vicodin.

And aside from a bit of walking pnemonia we still have no idea what's wrong with any of us.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

stupid

I am stupid.

After 10 years of being sooooooooooooooo careful, after nearly a decade of watching where I step, how I step, where I dance, which direction I dance . . . I blew it.

I was working on a show last night, and jumped off the stage.  Not a big jump, just enough that I could get out of the kids way and see how they looked. This is a new stage to me, and I misjudged the jump. I knew before I landed that it wouldn't end well.

I won't see the doctor until tomorrow, but for now the knee that only had half of an ACL to start with, is swollen, basically immobile, and useless without crutches.

Thank God for Kooka.  Again this kid comes to my rescue.

I fell about 30 minutes into a 3 hour rehearsal, and I talked her through all of the choreography and she demonstrated.  Between the two of us, we got it done.

I am hoping it's just a strain, a sprain - but since it was already unstable, I am worried about what this means for the rest of my season.

I am so stupid.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

middle child

  I have always admired my second child. All three of our kids are unique, wonderful, loved beyond measure, but there is something about the middle one - she is solid, dependable, works for what she wants, and never seems to give up.

Lately, she has decided that she wants to be a performer - a triple threat to be exact. She is aware with a maturity beyond her ten years, that she is not the only kid in the world who has ever wanted to be on stage and she is willing to work her 85-pound-tail off to get there.

Her schedule today went like this: 

6:00 wake up 
7:00 percussion/band practice
8:00-2:50 school
3:00-3:45 piano lesson
4:00 -5:00 vocal/dance class
5:00 -5:30 dance technique lesson
5:30-6:00 homework/dinner
6:30-9:30 theater rehearsal

She always manages to find time in between, to wrestle the dog, read a book to her little sister, listen to her brother's jokes, give Rico a playful punch or hug and kiss her mom. And what's more, her teacher says she is actually thriving in class - doing better than ever.

Kooka has amazed me the past few weeks.  Add to this schedule the fact that she kept busy campaigning for her favorite presidential candidate, going to church classes, doing her homework, and volunteering to help teach a class of younger dancers and spends every-other weekend in a different state, it's amazing that she hasn't dropped over from pure exhaustion. But she has never once said she does not want to go to any of her classes, never complained that she is tired, never said that anything was a waste of time - never - not once.

I am so proud of her. She knows that there might be a better actor out there - but she is going to practice until she can give her a run for her money. She knows that she's not the next Taylor Swift - YET. She doesn't have her splits flat yet, but not a day goes by that she isnt pushing herself a centimeter closer to the ground.  

I'm sure she'll change interests at some point, but with an attitude like this, she'll bea hard act to follow no matter what he decides to do.

This kid inspires me to do more, see more, try more, live more - and sleep hard.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

halloween

Even Wednesday night Halloweens are parties where we live.

Photos below - video to come.






Monday, October 29, 2012

we got the beat

Kooka had her first band concert tonight.

Drums.

Yeah - that's right, my girly girl plays the drums.  Despite the fact that she barely weighs 75 pounds, prefers ballet to baseball, loves lip gloss more than ice cream and was told by absolutely everyone she knows that she "looks like a flute player" (which I am loathe to admit is true) - my baby girl chose percussion. 

Thank God.

Not only am I spared the torturous squeaks of a woodwind practicing in my basement, or the constant bleating of beginning brass player - but there's the added benefit of drummer swag. Girls look cool on the drums. As one of the only chicks in her section, Kooka feels powerful, unique, a bit like a 5th grade rock star. She's not lost in a sea of (and yes I counted) 79 sparkly, girl flutes.

Not that there is anything wrong with flutes, or clarinets or piccolos or any other instrument at all. But when I saw my somewhat reserved Goldilocks twirl her drumsticks a-la Tommy Lee, and flash her little sister the international hand symbol for "rock on dudes" - I knew it was her way of saying "no worries - I got this."

And she did. She was secure, confident in what she brought to the table. Willing to carry the beat, provide a backbone for her entire team.

But maybe she should save the hand gestures for something a bit more hardcore than Old McDonald.

Monday, October 22, 2012

do it yourself




I am not sure if HALF of this stuff works - I'm not sure if ANY of it works, but since I live with a guy who thinks we can do EVERYTHING ourselves, I think I'm willing to try ALL of it.

Apparently:

If you put a sheet of fabric softener in your back pocket, it repels mosquitos.

If you place a wooden spoon on top of a pot of boiling water, it won't boil over.

Pinning a saftey pin to your slip totally eliminates static cling.

When you make deviled eggs, just put the yolks and stuff in a ziplock bag -save yourself the bowl. Mash it all up, squirt it into the egg white and toss the bag when you are done.

Cornmeal will get rid of ants and is safe for kids and pets.

Want to check out more? Visit this blog: diy home sweet home

Thursday, October 11, 2012

sworn

I've sworn off of facebook for the past week.  Actually, sworn is probably the wrong word - I didn't make a vow, or promise or anything at all. It's just that I actually feel nauseous at the mere thought of going to that site.  I can't stand the vitriolic words that people are using.

I suppose I will have to back for work eventually - but for now, it feels wonderful to be out of the loop.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

35 years

35 years today.
Just one year for Rico.

I keep thinking that one of these years it will pass me by, that I will just forget - but I never do.

ryan's petition

If you believe that teaching your kid to do the right thing is important, no matter what - please sign this mother's petition.  This kid spent 12 years working towards his Eagle Scout Award - now it is being denied to him.

He worked for most of his life learning lifelong skills of cooperation, leadership, public service and respect for others.  Now, simply because he admitted he was gay (while standing up for a fellow scout who was being bullied), he is being denied this award.

The Boy Scouts are entitled to have their rules, and we are entitled to ask them to change  - please do.

Ryan's petition




Friday, October 5, 2012

i don't think

I don't think I can do it anymore.

Today I saw photos posted on facebook by a site called "Obama Makes Me Puke."

I get sick every time I see that crap. 

I think I may have to swear off facebook until mid-November.

Ironically, I can handle everyone's blow-by-blow of what they coughed up this morning, what color underwear they have on or what their kid ate out of the dog dish - but I just can't handle the rest.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

my not-so-private rant

Seriously.

I am going to vomit if I see one more facebook post about why liberals are 100% right and conservatives are the spawn of Satan.  I am going to drown myself in Ben and Jerry's Clusterfluff if I hear one more person say that liberals are stupid and conservatives know everything.

Didn't ANYBODY watch the debate?  Doesn't anybody really care? Both sides have valid points on different issues - and full credit to the Lorax here:  "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot - nothing is going to get better - it's not."  Why don't people care enough to work together?  They care enough to repost mean spirited-one sided propaganda.  Why not care enough to run for office, to work on a campaign, to call your city council person?  Which brings me to:

In our little city, the council recently passed a resolution stating that they believe the marriage proposal violates the anti-discrimination portion of the city constitution.

Basically, they are saying "vote no to the marriage amendment."

And I'll just put it out there - I intend to.  Anybody who wants to should be able to get married - period, end of story.  It's none of my business who you date, who you marry, what you eat, what you watch, what you read, what you think.  That's why humans are given the gift of free will.

BUT. . . . the only council person I really agree with is the lone woman who abstained from this vote.  Not because she opposes the rest of the council - but because THAT IS THE WAY THE LAW WORKS.  Her words in a nutshell were: "Hey, we live in America and we are supposed to let the people vote and not spend taxpayer money just to tout our personal opinions, or the opinions of a very vocal group in our community."  She basically said, "I'm not piping in here, because the people haven't piped in and it's my job to represent them."  Even the mayor backed her up  and said -  she's right, we can't actually spend any more money or resources on this - and we've already done it.

I get why things are worth speaking out about - and this issue is one of them.  There are lots of issues I feel passionate about - health care, this particular amendment, unemployment the environment. But I also live in America, and am willing to work with other people to change things - to make things better - and nothing gets better by cramming a one-sided opinion down somebody's throat.

So for everyone who is concerned about your personal freedoms - and the freedoms of others, just give some thought about the people you choose for public office.  They are supposed to be thoughtful, open-minded people. They are not supposed to be so entrenched in their own dogma and popular hoopla that they don't even give the people a democratic voice. Give some thought about the "open minded and fair" things you repost - they never sound educated - they sound intolerant - no matter what side you're on. Nothing in life is that black and white - nothing.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

because I wasn't dumb enough last time

Right?

I said it was crazy to have two different kids in two different plays at two different theaters this fall.

So it's happened again - but this time it's two different kids in two different plays, in two different theaters, in two different TOWNS! Yeah - you heard right - I am officially an imbecile.

However, they both have been clamoring for more opportunities to perform and Rico and I said we would do ANYTHING in our power to help.  So here we are.

Punk will be featured as (among other things) "Blindfolded Chorus Boy" in the Arts Guild Theater priduction of White Christmas.

Kooka will be playing the role of Matilda (a featured singing role/schoolmate of Charlie's) in the Paradise theater's production of Willy Wonka.

Yoda will be playing the role of pissed-off toddler who never gets to sleep on time and eats chicken nuggets for a month and a half while being neglected by her older siblings.

Enjoy.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

interview with a two year old


Friday, September 14, 2012

what she said

I am not usually the biggest Hilary Clinton fan - but she is, quite possibily, the only person who's made any sense about things the past couple of days.  So now I am completely in the "yeah - what she said" camp.


In her remarks, Clinton repeated much of what she's said in the last two days. Namely that the Benghazi attack was carried out by a "small and savage group," and that the United States completely rejects what she called the "inflammable and despicable" anti-Muslim film circulating the Internet. However, Clinton pointed out all religions have faced insults and denigration, but that's no justification for violence. The response to such insults is what separates people of true faith from those who would use religion as an excuse to commit violent acts, she said.
"When Christians are subject to insults to their faith, and that certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence. When Hindus or Buddhists are subjected to insults to their faiths, and that also certainly happens, we expect them not to resort to violence," said Clinton. "The same goes for all faiths, including Islam."
She spoke movingly about her own personal beliefs as a way of re-enforcing her point.
"I so strongly believe that the great religions of the world are stronger than any insults. They have withstood offense for centuries," said Clinton."Refraining from violence, then, is not a sign of weakness in one's faith; it is absolutely the opposite, a sign that one's faith is unshakable."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

what i wish

I love that I get to create my own art every single day - but sometimes, I wish I had created somebody else's.
Right now, these are my favorites:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnguqsMQmg4&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xi7ECbyP5k
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgh5A7Nkp5E

Sunday, September 9, 2012

back to reality

Kooka loves that her stage makeup won't come off easily

Kooka's show ended it's run last night, she spend four hours striking the set, putting away hats and costumes, cleaning dressing rooms, cleaning her face (or at least attempting to) and saying goodbye to her castmates at the after party.

Punk finished his run today, and spent most of it the same way.

So now it's back to reality.  Confirmation starts this week, so does dance, Over The Top class, Honor Choir, early morning band practice, piano lessons and Yoda's ECFE class.

I miss summer already.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

a little something for the groupies

Punk and Kooka are both opening on stage tonight.
Here are some shots from both dress rehearsals.
Two different plays.
Two different theaters.
Same subject material.
Funny that they both play sleazy pick up-artists.

But boy they look cute:





Wednesday, September 5, 2012

boo-hoo


So Punk started 8th grade this week. Kooka started 5th.

No no no no no no no no no.

I hate how the years slip by.  I hate how the long days turn into short weeks, then shorter months, and before I know it the years have flown by in a nanosecond.

While I do realize that it is completely normal for children this age to go to school - I really wish they wouldn't.

It's not because I don't like the school system - I do. I truly believe that both Punk and Kooka are gathering terrific, life-long skills and a wonderful education. Punk is in the WEB program, which allows him to help mentor a group of 6th grade students throughout the entire year. Kooka is already working on her first thesis project. I like their teachers, love their friends, they both scored where I wanted them to on the standardized tests.  So WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?!

I just miss them - terribly.

Maybe more so this week than most.  Aside from school starting back up, they are both in separate plays, that coincidentally both open on Thursday.  We spend every night running between two different theaters, prepping two different hair and make-ups, with two different rehearsal schedules, and two different pick-up times.  Ironically, the shows are all at the exact same time, so I'm stuck in a bad episode of the Brady Bunch, trying to pick which kid I love best on opening night.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

election time homeschooling

Just because I'm sending the older two off to public school in a few weeks, doesn't mean I've completely thrown in the homeschooling towel. There are certain things I've had to relegate to the public school system - who to vote for ain't one of 'em.

My deal with both kids was this: they can stay up all night and watch the election returns if they volunteer on a campaign that means something to them. I thought this could get sticky.  I really didn't want to push my political agenda on either of them, and wanted them to make their own decisions. Turns out - it wasn't sticky at all, because I'm not gung-ho about either major party candidate, and have decided that I am going to do a lot of research on the independents before casting my vote.

In an effort to make informed decisions, we each took this quiz: select smart.  By answering 24 questions, we were each given a list of which candidates were closest to our ideals. It was an incredible opportunity to talk with the kids about the issues, and how difficult it is to support just one guy, when there are so many different opinions on so many different subjects.

Our house came away with major party candidates as our front runners, and lots of independents close behind. One member of our family was completely, totally, absolutely gobsmacked at the results.  Not only the front runner, but the 8 people underneath him. Apparently, who you think you agree with - and who you should vote for - are not always the same person.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

what we'll miss

It's that time of year again.  Three weeks until school starts, and the kids are not the only ones dreading it. I loathe the start of school - we homeschooled for a reason (several actually) and this was one of them.

I hate the early mornings, the passing of another year, missing such a big piece of Punk and Kooka's life, packing lunches, evenings full of homework - ugh. Yoda will probably be homeschooled through college simply to spare me from ever having to make another wonderbread and turkey sandwich.

But instead of dwelling on the upcoming doom and gloom, I thought it might make all of us feel better to focus on the bright spots of summer - the things we'll miss.

• fresh blueberries
• kids in the pool every day
• late nights full of warm brownies and reality tv
• family hot tub nights
• fireflies
• road trips
• camps - pinnacle, ewac and olaf
• juicy watermelon
• the fountain in bridge square
• doing laundry when we feel like it - not because we need it
• the smell of Kooka's hair after a summer day outside
• no snow
• freedom

I don't know who I'm kidding - that just made me feel worse.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the great american road trip take 4: missourri to iowa



The road home is always more subdued for us, not because we're worn out, but because we've travelled through the same areas so many times in an attempt to leave Minnesota. Today is no different. Knowing we'd end up in Des Moines eventually, we decided to detour through Missourri.

Our first stop was the Crown Center in Kansas City (KC is the home of Hallmark Cards). We had a chance to visit the Crayola Store - with a giant wheel of crayons in every color ever made, an incredible children's theater, Chip's Chocolate Factory, and a pretty cool Dinosaur Explore Area (on loan from our own science museum in MN).



But we were hungry and had some ground to cover, so we headed to Rico and my new favorite fast food joint, Taco Beuno. We had chicken tortilla soup, empanadas, brisket tacos, and enchiladas. I was terribly depressed to find that there are no Taco Beunos within 350 miles of our home. If Rico attempts a new business venture, expect to see Kooka in a sombrero and Punk frying up empanadas.

We hit the highway toward St. Joseph, MO. Part of Punk's history final this year was a two page portion on the Defeat of Jesse James, so we couldn't take this route without stopping to see his house. The needlepoint picture he was adjusting was still hanging askew on the wall, right next to the bullet hole where he was shot. The house was small, and took us maybe 15 minutes to tour, which was all we had planned anyway. 




But things don't always go as planned on a road trip and we soon found ourselves next door in the Patee House Museum. Another crazy mix of stuff from here and there - this 1858 hotel, also served as home base for the pony express, a courthouse for the Union when they overtook St. Joseph, and a boarding home for the Studebaker brothers while they developed their famous car. The kids had a blast in here. One of our favorite parts was the "Where's Waldo" type game that they've set up throughout the museum. For 25 cents we bought a scorecard and traipsed through every exhibit looking for the one item that was out of place in the 1800's recreation (for example, we noticed a digital camera chip in the photography studio). 






We were surprised by the sheer number of museums in St. Joseph. Rico and I really wanted to hit the Glore Psychiatic Museum, but Yoda was exhausted, so we drove by and headed toward DesMoines.

We wanted to end this trip with a bang (at least the biggest bang we could find in Iowa), so we booked a room at the Ramada Tropics Hotel in DesMoines. Our poolside room, cute little waterpark, two giant, room service pizzas and Dr. Peppers all-around made for some wonderfully happy memories and very sleepy kids. It's another Friends marathon for us tonight (I swear Punk is Chandler, and it's possible that Kooka will become Monica). Tomorrow we'll be home.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

the great american road trip take 4: kansas to missourri



Wichita was our fist rainy morning of the entire trip. Of course, being a dark and dreary day, Rico had to resort to dumping the big kids out of bed. Punk landed in the remains of yesterday's pizza, while Kooka managed to hang on somehow. Thirty minutes later we were on our way to downtown Wichita.



The Museum of World Treasures was a great way to spend a couple of hours.  A cross between Chicago's Field Museum and Ripley's Believe It Or Not, this three-story Kansas gem has an eclectic mix of everything. From fully reconstructed t-Rex skeletons, to a lock of George Washington's hair, a piece of the Berlin Wall to Hitler's personal family photographs, a crucifiction nail from the time of Jesus' death to a room full of shrunken heads and mummies.  There was even a generous play space for Yoda (she could only "rawr" at the dinosaurs so many times).



The highlights for us were probably the world war exhibits, the copy of the resolution desk, and the real pitchfork the scarecrow used in the Wizard of Oz. Kooka and I were also taken with the Berlin Wall exhibit, but Yoda kept climbing into East Germany and rattling the soldier's fully sharpened bayonet, so we were forced to move on.





The Monroe School was next on our list. This elementary school in Topeka is home of Brown vs. The Board of Education. I must admit to being a little disappointed. We really wanted the kids to see this part of history and be able to think about what part we all play in affecting change in society, but I don't think they got that here.  If anything, they got it during our discussion in the car, or when we first walked in and saw the "white" and "colored" signs, but the rest of the museum was just filled with written presentations, and video clips. There was no recreation of the rooms, or real delineation between the difference in the local elementary schools. I'm glad we went, but wouldn't drag everyone back again.

As much as Wichita was a pleasant surprise, Topeka was a turn in the opposite direction. Run down, and dirty, we decided to keep moving, and headed toward Kansas City, Missouri. 


We had ribs and burnt end sandwiches at Gates BBQ. Rico loved the ribs, but I preferred the ribs we had in OK City. We discussed why this was true and concluded that I really like the dry-rubbed, deep-smoked, fall-off-the-bone type of ribs.  Rico's fave is more along the lines of tying some beef jerky to a bone, bathing it in a gallon of sauce and burrying your face in it in a vain attempt to scrape off some meat. Tonight, he was in heaven.  Punk and I had the burnt-end sandwich -good, but I'd go back to OK City in a heartbeat.

the great american road trip take 4: oklahoma to kansas



When we started this 50 states adventure, our focus was to make sure we made a truckload (or vanload) of memories before the kids were grown, but we also had a larger goal in mind. We wanted to make sure that the kids had a broad range of experiences to draw upon, a sense of adventure, and knowledge of the best parts of America, and the not-so-great parts as well.

Taking that into consideration, I guess our day was a success.

A quarter mile walk from our hotel was the Oklahoma City Memorial.  I expected that our walk through the outdoor memorial would spur some discussion about militia, politics, gun control - much the way it did the night before, when I told the kids we were going.

But it didn't. 

There was no discussion whatsoever. It was just quiet, and teary and unbelievable. 


I've been to several memorials in my day, but nothing has ever hit me like this. We stood between the 9:01 entry gate and 9:03 exit gate. There amongst the field of empty chairs and the reflecting pool, we stood in the moment of 9:02 - the moment the explosion took 168 souls, the moment 800 people were injured, the moment our history changed forever. 


The memorial is so thoughtfully laid out, 9 rows of chairs representing which floor each person was on during the moment of the attack. Most of the second row is filled with tiny chairs - babies under the age of six. Even little Yoda was quiet when she followed us through the rows. She stopped at one of the small chairs, it belonged to a little girl named Ashley. I couldn't stop the tears.


The memorial wall was filled with mementos and notes from friends and families of the victims, the children's wall covered with tiles from young well-wishes from around the country. Our whole family was absolutely morose by the time we reached the front of the museum. Punk could not bring himself to write or draw anything on the slate bricks leading to the door (there is colored chalk available to leave a note, a prayer, or whatever you'd like as a temporary addition to the memorial).  We couldn't go into the museum - we just couldn't. If we had, we would have heard the blast, visited a room that recreates what one of the rooms was like seconds after the blast, seen photos in a mausoleum type tribute to all of the victims. We were already heartbroken, so we decided on turn back to the hotel.


We packed up the van, and headed to our next stop. 

We'd planned ahead. After a rough morning, we took off towards the happiest stuff on earth - at least if you're Punk. Our oldest child is absolutely in love with soda of all types. So we took a slight detour to Arcadia, OK, home of POPS restaurant and store. 



We didn't stop for lunch, just for drinks, but it still took us quite awhile. Pops has over 600 varieties of soda for sale - including some you can't imagine ever letting pass your lips (like cat urine and swamp water). We each selected a bottle and toasted outside the store. Yoda insisted on tasting them all and promptly spit each one out.


Two hours later we were in Witchita, Kansas. 

I am starting to feel slighty guilty for making these towns an afterthought to our cross country ventures. 





First Oklahoma City, now funky little Wichita. We ordered pizza from Picassos, with slices bigger than our heads, went for a walk in charming Old Town Marketplace where we nabbed gellatos from Cafe Moderne, and played in the neon-lit fountains until the sun set behind us. Kooka danced in the fountains and threatened us all with soggy hugs, Punk dove right in as well, and Yoda let us swing her feet through the fountains. Maybe next year she'll be braver.

Monday, August 13, 2012

the great american road trip take 4: texas to oklahoma



I am beginning to think, that the secret to a good road trip, is to not listen to anybody else before you go. 

If we had listened to all of the advice we'd heard about the best route back from Taos, we would have missed three of our favorite stops: Albuquerque, Cadilac Ranch in Amarillo, TX, and perhaps the biggest surprise of all - Oklahoma City.

We woke up in Amarillo. Our brand-new Comfort Suites hotel had a free breakfast, which included omlettes, sauasage and Texas-shaped waffles. After packing up, gassing up, and a brief stop at Michaels craft store for paint, we were ready to hit Cadilac Ranch. Unfortunately, the late hours, limited wi-fi, and the breakneck pace of our trip with three kids, doesn't allow me to go into the history of the place, but I can tell you this - it was cool.  






Grafitti is not only legal at Cadilac Ranch, but enouraged, and there is no escaping the feeling that you are a part of Americana. Punk loved making his mark on all of the cars, Kooka took her time creating a masterpiece, Yoda had a great time painting with her brush. Despite the high winds, and swallowing enough red dirt to qualify as lunch, it was difficult to leave. We knew our artwork wouldn't last, and even if we ever venture this way again, the place would never be the same. Maybe that's why we took over 40 pictures.

Lunch was a McStop in Clover, Texas. It took an extra large tea to wash the grit from our teeth, and a chile' cheeseburger to wash down the tea (they serve them with jalapeƱos down here). We also stopped at the old-fashioned Clover gas station, just because it was so cool.


We knocked another state off the list when we hit Oklahoma, and much to our surprise, Oklahoma City is so cool, we wish we had more time.



It was a short walk from our hotel to Earl's Rib Palace in Brickown. The ribs were huge, tender, smoked to perfection and accompanied by loaded baked potatoes, sweet tea and grilled corn on the cob. No wonder the food was delectable - according to locals, and the info at the restaurant, Earl was the personal chef to one Mr. Elvis Presley. If we had to pick three of our too restaurants on this trip - this would be one of them. 



Our tour of Bricktown continued with a sunset water taxi ride down the canal. Apparently the route used to be a street, and the city decided to dig it up, add water, and viola' - instant tourist attraction. Our captain, Brian shared stories of city history,the land rush, the sooners, and the boat ride was landscaped with gorgeous mosaics, larger than life statues, and plenty of ducks for Yoda to admire. All five of us agreed that it was the best part of the day, and a perfect way to cap off our first night in Oklahoma.



I just have to add - I almost feel guilty for blogging on the road. It seems that my thoughts are so scattered, my writing incoherent, and that all I am managing are the barebones details, so that we don't forget them later. Hopefully whe I get back, I'll have more time, and gett back to my "real" writing.