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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pluck Me Out of the Hand Basket to Hell



Growing up Roman Catholic in the 1970’s, I don’t feel I was as exposed to “hard core” religion as the kids raised in other denominations. We carried our Bibles to catechism but didn’t necessarily read them; it was only in 1969 that the Catholic Mass had been translated into English. The official language of the church is Latin and each new Missal is still recited in that tongue, so we Catholics have always been used to not being able to understand what the Priests were saying anyway. The one main thing we did learn as Catholics is how to love and be good to one other, and for that I will be forever grateful.

A few months before my twenty-first birthday I moved south of the Mason-Dixon Line to Atlanta, which unbeknownst to me was in the heart of the Bible belt. I was frequently asked by complete strangers if I was a Christian and if I had been saved. When I replied, “Of course I am a Christian, I was raised Catholic and baptized as an infant,” they looked like they were going to pass out. “I do proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior…that makes me a Christian, right?” Not necessarily to everybody, I soon learned.

While attending Chiropractic school in Marietta, I picked up a part-time job at an on campus cafĂ© and during slow periods I would slip off to play the piano in a side room. One day, as I was playing and singing a Melissa Etheridge song, a gentleman knocked on the door and asked if he could kneel down and pray for me. “Sure,” I said innocently as he knelt beside the piano bench, placing his hand on my shoulder. The next few moments were filled with a style of preaching I had never experienced: speaking in tongues, eyeball rolling, raising of voices in prayer, and hand gestures swirling over my head. It ended with, “Lord please release the demon from inside this young woman’s body for she doesn’t know what she is doing.” He then turned and looked directly at me.

“Do you realize that by living your lifestyle you are going to have to walk through the gates of hell?” he asked me. “Homosexuality is a sin and your soul will rot in hell for all eternity if you do not change your ways. I can help you, just ask Jesus to be your Lord and savior.”

“Jesus already is my Lord and savior,” I curtly replied. He looked stunned. By this point I was a little annoyed that this man had overheard my singing, interrupted my practice session, claimed I was possessed by a demon, and was going to try to remove it for me. “But I appreciate your passion for your belief system and trying to save me.”

“Young lady, it is not about my belief, it is about your soul for all of eternity. You will be going to hell with the other sinners.”

“Sir, pardon me if I offend you, but I believe that if God didn’t want me to be this way then he would not have created me this way. Homosexuality is not a choice, like what color socks you are going to wear that day or what you plan on cooking for dinner. No one would choose to be different. No one intentionally wants to be the outcast or the deviant, sometimes we just are. I didn’t choose to be a homosexual, I just am.”

I gave my voice a moment’s rest, I felt like I was being attacked and was becoming emotional. “I never understood why Christians are so judgmental. Doesn’t it say in the scripture, “Thou shall not judge?”

“But you can change your ways and still be saved,” he said passionately, his voice trailing as he rose up and placed his right palm on my forehead. I politely removed his hand from my face.

“Look, none of us really know all of the answers, we are just guessing in hopes of getting it right. What I do know is that Jesus wants us all to emulate him: by loving, by giving, by serving others. I don’t believe that he cares who we love, just that we love. I don’t believe he cares what we give, just that we give, and I don’t believe that he cares who or what we serve, the important thing is that we do it.” I was stunned at the words coming out of my mouth, not sure exactly where they were coming from. “I cannot believe that a God who loves is going to banish me for loving someone else, no matter who it is. I spend my life giving and serving others out of my own abundance, which is my way of serving the Lord.”

“It says in the bible that homosexuality is an abomination.” He wasn’t going to back down.

“If what you are saying is true, and I don’t necessarily believe that it is, than I am just going to have to risk it because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life on Earth living a lie. Would it be fair for me to marry a man I couldn’t love with all of my heart, just because the church told me to? I believe lying is a sin and I try to live my life as real and true as possible. Can we just agree to disagree?”

Eventually the man gave me one final blessing, turned around and left the room. That was the first of many times I have had to defend my “lifestyle choice” to a religious zealot who felt it important to try to “save” me without my permission or particular interest.

Twenty years later I am in a committed relationship with the love of my life. We are now allowed to legally marry in Georgia and we are raising our seven year-old daughter together. I volunteer my time playing drums in the Praise Band at the Bethel United Methodist Church, where they accept our family as we are and do not try to change us.

Whenever I hear the phrase, ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin,” I shudder. I am not saying that I don’t sin. In my forty-three years I have fallen victim to lust, pride, and envy. I have felt jealous and I have told lies. I have sinned and hopefully I am forgiven, but my life is not God’s mistake… and the love I feel for my wife… that is not my sin. I just can’t believe that.




Thursday, November 30, 2017

Positive Parenting? What Comes Out of Your Mouth?

It's always shocking to hear any stern disciplinary words coming from the mouth of my tenderhearted daughter, especially since they are usually connected to a string of words that just left my lips. If you ever wonder how your parenting style sounds, hide in the bushes and give a listen to how your little ones talk to their own kids. It might surprise you.

Last night I walked around the perimeter of the house to close the gate to the chicken coop. This corner of the house is closest to Senia Mae's bedroom and even though our home is made of sturdy brick, it is hardly soundproof. I overheard her reprimanding her cat, Tulip.

I could hear Senia Mae grunting, "Tulip, NOW!" in a seriously irritated voice. Even though I usually save that particular threat as the fourth and final warning, I realized then that I was going to have to be a little more aware of any uncensored words that escaped my mouth. Who knew that my parenting was going to be the primary model for her role playing. AARG! Back in the house I noticed her looking at herself in the bathroom mirror.

"How'd you get that red spot above your eye?" I asked

"Tulip scratched me," she said.

"Why did she scratch you?"

"Well I was trying to get her tucked into bed and she was growling at me."
"And..."

"So then I put her in time out," Senia Mae said, "And she scratched me."

"Hmmm," I said. "I think when cats growl that means they don't want to be touched anymore."

"But Mama, she WASN'T listening!" Senia Mae pivoted around and pranced out of the bathroom knowing full well that not listening always has negative repercussions.

I sat there for a moment trying to come up with an appropriate response... but none came. Maybe I'll just take this one back to the drawing board and think about it overnight. Hopefully after a thorough rest I can reformat my parenting skills so my child's innocent cat doesn't suffer the consequences!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Holiday Stress: Something to be Thankful For

Even though this is the time of year we are all supposed to be listing what we are truly thankful for, I find myself burdened with stress as I try to get everything done before the holiday. We will be spending it with family after watching our lovely niece walk down the wedding aisle. I am truly thankful that she has found love and can't wait to see her in her white gown, even though in my mind it still feels like she is eight years old. Once again I'm stumped with the eternal question of the ages: how does the time fly by so quickly when you are old but so slowly when you are young and waiting for life to begin?

Because our southern dogs aren't used to the weather in Delaware, I tried to get them matching fleece cover-ups so they don't have to warm up by lying on top of the heater vents.
Luna was thankful for her festive jacket after her beautifully flowing Cocker spaniel coat had to be completely shaved off after a romp in the sticky burr bush. Birdie, on the other hand, acted like she was being punished, giving us the poor pitiful me face as she imagines herself confined in a full body cast.

Who would have imagined a power outage right in the middle of baking the holiday cookies? Although they will probably turn out looking more like chocolate chip crepes, or sweet Thanksgiving nuggets, if I am truly thankful I can be gracious enough to realize that we have enough food to make cookies, perfectly baked or however they come out.

I am thankful for everything in this last picture. God has provided me a life of abundance with everything I need to thrive, whether I realize it or not. I have the love and support of my wonderful family to share the holidays and the normal days. And finally, after the stress I put on myself trying to make everything perfect, I am thankful for being able to sit in my hot tub with a glass of red wine. Life is good.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Oh, For the Love of Lipstick...

I've always said that when Senia Mae was born she appeared with a poof of glitter. That's not exactly true, it was actually an emergency c-section, but even then it seemed that right after her first bath she was already wearing a tutu. Much to my chagrin, the tutu talk has now flip-flopped into in-depth discussions of bras and makeup.

"Tons of girls in my class are wearing bras," Senia Mae says nonchalantly as we stand next to each other brushing our teeth over the bathroom sink.

"What?" I gasp. "You're seven... girls in the second grade should not need to wear a bra unless they are having a severe hormonal imbalance!" I view my reflection in the mirror and am not sure if the foaming at my mouth is excess toothpaste or my body's appalled reaction to my daughter wanting to grow up too fast.

"Well everyone else is wearing one," she says.

"We don't always do what everyone else does," I say. "By the way, I noticed you've been into my lipsticks."

"How could you tell?" she asks as her face flushes a bright crimson.

"You have to twist the lipstick back down before you put the cover back on."

"Oh," she says. "I was going to talk to you about them anyway."

"About my lipsticks?" I ask.

"Yes, Momma, you have way to many of the same color."

"What do you mean? These are all different colors. There's Tobago, Rain, which is a moisturizing gloss, and this one, custard, is actually a concealer even though it's shaped like a lipstick."

"What's a concealer?"

"It hides the dark circles under my eyes when I don't get enough sleep."

"Oh, like when I come into your bed in the middle of the night and keep you awake by sleeping sideways."

"Exactly," I say.

"Well, since we're both not getting much sleep... maybe I need to use concealer, too."


Friday, October 13, 2017

This, That, and the Other

Most of the time, with the modern advances in digital photo-shopping, I am able to disguise the fact that I am indeed a child of the seventies. That is until my mother comes on the scene.

Before my parents headed south, Senia Mae and I flew up to the Beantown one last time to help them clean out the attic, which looked strikingly similar to an episode of "Hoarders."

"Mom, why are you saving all of this crap?" I asked.

"You never known when your children are going to want a piece of their childhood...," she said as she held up a Smurfs mini deck of cards key ring. "Remember this?" Mom asked. "This was your first key to our old house. You demanded to have your own key when you were only in kindergarten!"

The Smurfs key ring was not something I was particularly interested in but come to think of it I wouldn't have minded uncovering my old Pigs in Space lunchbox. I remember strutting into the cafeteria of the Shawsheen School feeling like I was the coolest kid on the block (believe me, I wasn't) just because I was toting that square metal lunchbox.

For some reason, my clouded memory seems to think I might have had an incident at the bus stop where I pounded my beloved lunchbox over the head of Richie Gardner, the street bully, and then shamefully threw it away to hide the evidence. No, I must have dreamed up that terrible story. I urged Senia Mae to keep looking.

After the last box was finally cleared, the old attic looked amazingly empty. I was reminded of how enormous the space was.
"Mom, there is so much room you could have a whole bowling alley up here! Why didn't we think of that before?" I laughed as the three of us walked down the creaky attic stairs and closed the door for the last time. There was no sight of my old lunchbox, I knew it was gone.

On the plane ride back to Atlanta I asked Senia Mae if she found any great treasures in Grammy's attic. "Oh yes," she said as she pulled out a dusty coloring book that Grammy has secretly slid into her bag. Senia Mae beamed proudly as she displayed the yellowed pages of what obviously was once my Disco Girl coloring book.
Of all of the discarded pieces of my childhood, Disco girl was what she chose. And that is why there's no real way to hide my age because there's always evidence hiding somewhere in my mother's house!

By the time we had gotten home, Kim had heard all about our adventures in the attic and my disappointment over not finding my Pigs in Space lunchbox. One of the great benefits of our modern computer age is that if you can't find what you long for in your mom's old attic, you can usually find it on Ebay! Thank you, Kim!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Please subscribe to my new online fiction series Meeting Mr. Wright on Channillo

Please subscribe to my new fiction series on Chanillo
https://channillo.com/series/meeting-mr-wright/

Series Description:

A down and out divorcee feels like she has hit rock bottom when out of desperation she has to move both herself and her two kids into her mother's basement. Unemployed, uninspired, and feeling completely underappreciated, she spends her days hacking her ex-husband's email account as she bitterly watches him move on with a woman half his age. Life feels like it can't get any worse when she accidentally runs her car into a mailbox and meets Mr. Wright.

I am so excited to be part of Channillo's online publishing. The series will be updated with new chapters monthly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mom's Nightmare...Don't Say The Washing Machine is Broken!

The past few times I have showered downstairs after my morning workout I have felt a tingling sensation run up my arm as I turned on the hot water. "That must have been an electrifying workout," I would kid to myself without much more thought. That was until I stepped out of the shower and looked up, noticing the ceiling light fixture half-full of water. My workout wasn't any more intense than usual, I was just unknowingly electrocuting myself.

Water in the downstairs light fixture usually means the washing machine is leaking upstairs. If you don't know so already, our lovely abode is a 1957 lake cabin that slants downhill towards the lake. Any stray water runs down the wall, through the ceiling, then uses the bathroom light fixture as a collection bucket.

In this house, saying the washing machine is broken is almost as severe as saying Christmas has been canceled. Kim was the oldest of six kids, so she grew up washing the few sets of clothes they had on a daily basis.

Even though our family of three creates much less dirty laundry than what she is used to, Kim still has that old mindset and is now what I call a "constant launderer." Even though our washer is only a few years old, because it is constantly running it probably gets the use of a washer five to ten years older.

I like to consider myself a diva of diagnosis. It's what I do in practice to help people heal from the inside out... I see no reason why I can't help the washing machine do the same. The LG help line sent me a text of the six most common front loader leak areas, I should be able to check those locations and be done with it. Nope. After cleaning all six areas and running the empty tub clean cycle three times in a row, warm suds are still spewing from underneath the machine. Of course I declined the extended warranty,guess I'll have to suck it up and call the 800 number!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Significance of Having Curly Hair: Butt paste... not only for sore bottoms!

The Significance of Having Curly Hair: Butt paste... not only for sore bottoms!: Here in Georgia, it seems as the first school bell rings into session, so do the back to school sniffles. I am always surprised that after a...

Butt paste... not only for sore bottoms!

Here in Georgia, it seems as the first school bell rings into session, so do the back to school sniffles. I am always surprised that after a full summer of fresh air and immune-boosting sunshine... seven hours of a packed classroom can bring on the bright red, inflamed upper lip from a runny nose.

It used to be that I could run to the white bathroom cabinet, grab the salve, and have it applied to her face without any fight or fury. This particular evening we were tired and sitting on the couch. Nonchalantly Kim asked if Senia Mae could run into the bathroom and grab the green tube of cream on the bottom shelf so we could address her sore upper lip before bedtime.

Every mom knows that most household items have multiple uses, much more than what is printed on the label. Forgetting that our child can now read, we burst out laughing as Senia Mae returned to the living room with a completely appalled expression on her face.
"But Momma, THIS is butt paste!"

"Oh, that's the stuff, it's just called butt paste, but its really good for any type of skin rash or irritation."

"Are you sure?" she asked skeptically holding it up to her nose as if it might actually smell like a butt.
.
"Yes, its the same stuff we put on last night... you just didn't know. Sometimes I forget you can read!" LOL.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why I Hate To Admit That I NOW Understand The Concept For Mom Jeans

Even though all of the text books say I am in the prime of my life, some days I just want to stick up my middle finger to the mid-forties. My metabolism has come to a screeching halt, I am pretty sure my thyroid function is non-existent, and I really don't know why I am saving any of my pre-pregnancy tops that once looked good around my midriff because those days are apparently long gone too.

I remember the days when I would look at my body in the mirror and like what I saw; granted it was my "just out of high school" running body, but once upon a time had chiseled abs and a rear end that would make a truck stop. Nowadays it doesn't seem to matter how many miles I put on the treadmill, if I nix sugar for the zero calorie monk fruit packets, or dine on a salad and hard boiled egg instead of lasagna, my body is clearly NOT THE SAME.

There is part of me that is still determined to shop in the trendy juniors section. I find myself huffing over the racks silently saying, "Why don't they carry this in an extra-large?" And everybody knows all of the cutest tops are made out of 100% rayon. For some reason, even if the label says machine wash cold then line dry, my rayon shirts seem to have the "Incredible Shrinking Woman" problem, where the vertical coverage decreases with every wash.

Since birthing a child at thirty-six, midriff exposed shirts are no longer a good look for me. That baby pouch just never seems to go away even when I give us this day our daily planks...hence my new appreciation of mom jeans. Once I couldn't understand why anyone would wear any pant higher that their hip but now I'll take a little height around the waist.

My Conclusion?

Mom Jeans: It's not about the camel toe...it's about hiding and preserving what once was!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Tired Kisser - What Does Your Child Do When They Are Exhausted?

Some kids have meltdowns, some kids get grumpy, some get sleepy, others get hyperactive when life has pushed them past the time when they should really be in bed. Fortunately for us, Senia Mae has never been a fit thrower or tantrum raiser. She is, however, a tired kisser.

When Senia Mae stays awake and dips into the bewitching hours, her reaction has always been to cuddle up to us, covering our faces with gentle kisses. I remember riding the tram back to the parking lot after an exhausting day at The Magic Kingdom. Many of the other younger children were screaming or acting belligerent, making their parents' memory of the happiest place on Earth a little less than magical. Senia Mae draped herself over my shoulder planting little pecks on my neck as she nuzzled her face into my hair. Although these tired kisses can get a little wet and drippy, if this is the worst behavior we get, we'll take it.

Now that she's a little older she doesn't require as much cuddling and caressing from me. She wants to be independent and do things herself. It saddens me that she's too heavy for me to carry her tired little body in from the car, but our tired kisses are not all lost. Instead of me holding her, she hunts me down in the only place a Mama can get any privacy, the bathroom.

The other night she poked her head around the white, six-paneled door that separated me momentarily from the chaos of my daily life.
"Mama, can we kiss on the toilet?" she asked, trying to delay getting into bed.

"Yes," I say, because I realize that part of her still needs my comfort even while I'm temporarily indisposed!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bless Her Heart, There's No Cooking That Compares to Mama's


As parents, we all want our children to remember us in some special way. It may be that super ability to make the hurt spot feel better with just a little kiss or being the protector from the scary monsters during the darkest of nights.

I show my love in the kitchen and would love my daughter to remember the food I made for her as a labor of love and devotion, one that provides happiness and comfort, like being wrapped up in a warm fuzzy blanket. More often than I would like to admit, my labors of love feel unappreciated because Senia Mae is a picky eater. Sometimes I make things especially for her, using ingredients I know she likes, and still my vittles can go untouched. I try not to take it personally, she is only seven.

The other day when I picked her up from school her eyes were red, like she had just stopped crying.

"Senia Mae, what's wrong?" I asked, alarmed that my happy go lucky child got in the car with sad, watery eyes.

"I had a terrible day," she said. "I'd call it a zero." We have her rank every day at school between 1 and 10. It's a way for us to get a better idea of how her day went rather than asking," How was your day?" and getting the standard, non-descriptive response of "fine."

"A zero? Why?" I asked as I pulled the car into the breakdown lane and turned around to face her in the back seat. Her lower lip poked out, just like it had when she was a toddler, as she held back tears. "Honey, what is it? Was someone mean to you?"

"Carson poked me in the eye by accident during parent pick up," she said, looking down. I tried to keep my face serious.

"I bet that hurt."

"It did," she said. "And I got kicked during recess."

"Who kicked you?"

"Some boys that were playing soccer and running by."

"Oh, that's terrible. Did they apologize?" I asked.

"Yes, she said. But what made everything worse was that I spent the whole day hungry and still am." A few tears rolled out of the corner of her eyes and landed gently on her sleeve. Obviously to her being hungry was much worse than I could have imagined.

"Why were you hungry? Didn't you eat at lunch today?" I asked remembering how I urged her to diversify her palate and try the school lunch instead of just another peanut butter and jelly. "They had meatball subs... you love meatballs."

"Mama," she moaned as if I should already know what she is about to say, "those meatballs were all hard and dark. Plus they were really burnt, not soft and moist. I wouldn't even touch them. Yick."

I do remember disgusting school lunches from my day, but from what I had observed at her school, the food was actually decent.

"So you didn't even try them?"

"No, I just ate the bread and sauce."

"Well you should at least try them, don't you think?" I ask, feeling like Sam I Am. Would you eat them near or far? Would you eat them in a car?

"Mama, they weren't good like your meatballs... "
And there... there it was... the little gem I had been waiting seven years to hear. My face lit up with joy over my fussy child's sudden appreciation of my cooking. If I had the ability to record that sentence I would have played that tape over and over.

"Well of course their not going to be like Mama's," I say with one of the biggest, proudest smiles my face has ever produced. "Let's go get you something good to eat."

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Discovery of Valentine's Day Costumes

"Mama, can we go to Target?" Senia Mae asks as we pull out of the elementary school's parent pick up.

"What do you need there?"

"Some Valentine's decorations for my American Girl dollhouse. You know my girls need to be ready."

"Of course they do," I say with sarcasm, "Um, Target is twenty minutes away. How about if we run through Walmart real quick? We are low on milk and we also need to pick up some cat food."

"OK, Mama," she says, sitting happily in the back seat.

We enter Walmart not on the grocery side but through the retail door because the "seasonal" promotions and pet sections are equally close.

"Mama, look at THOSE costumes," Senia Mae excitedly shouts as she points to the rack that held the children's Halloween costumes a few months before.

"Ahhh, those aren't really costumes," I say nervously as two other women overhear our conversation and choke back laughter.

Walmart O Walmart... how I love thee. When I'm in my mad dash to get my list completed in thirty minutes, you provide everything I require in a quick one stop shop: groceries, first-aid, lawn care, arts and crafts, and now even chintzy Valentine's lingerie! Watch out Frederick's of Hollywood!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Why Meal Planning is NOT on My List of Goals For the Year


In case you missed it, here's the link to my latest article on Red Tricycle, Why Meal Planning is NOT on my List of Goals For the Year http://redtri.com/why-meal-planning-is-not-on-my-list-of-goals-for-the-year/#

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What to do when your child no longer NEEDS you...


I secretly fret over when that day will come. The day when Senia Mae chooses to soother herself or even scarier yet, finds comfort in the company of a boyfriend. I realize this is inevitable... but I just need a few more years to get ready.

Click on the link below to read my most recent article in Red Tricycle about my dreaded fear.
http://redtri.com/just-when-i-thought-she-no-longer-needed-me/

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Please Celebrate Me Home

As another crazy holiday season wraps up, Facebook Time Hop reminded me of a time a few years ago when the holidays were even a little bit more chaotic. But who doesn't love a twenty hour road trip to kick off the holiday celebrations? I've always considered the season not completely over until I'm utterly exhausted, red numbers in bank account broke, and crammed in the car with all the excessive trimmings and trappings.

This picture was from our road trip in 2012. Those days we used to travel up the East Coast, stay a few days with Kim's family in Delaware, then spend Christmas Eve and day with my parents in Massachusetts. Even though those trips took up most of my vacation time for the year and we usually came home sick and tired, they were so much fun and I actually miss taking them.

On the twenty hour drive back to Georgia, we would sometimes stop in Delaware again and pick up Aunt Katie and cousin Olivia. Adding a few more people to the Christmas load always meant the last twelve hours of the trip the car was stuffed to the max, giving new meaning to that old Grinch saying, "We rode with our load."

During the every few hour body rotation, Aunt Katie got transferred to the tiny third row seat. Out of courtesy and politeness I asked, "Do you have enough space back there, Katie?" Her sarcastic reply, "Um, yeah... TONS" is still told with laughter at the Christmas dinner table. And isn't that what a family Christmas all about?

In 2012 Senia Mae was two and a half years old. That particular trip, besides being sardined in the car for twelve hours, we experienced an employee brawl at a roadside Waffle House. The manager and the cook started throwing punches at each other right in front of the grill as we ducked under our booth in horror.

At another pit stop one of the dogs escaped from the car and was rapidly heading towards the highway. All of the adults blanketed the parking lot and we eventually trapped our feisty canine. As we were pulling the reluctant dog back to the car, a certain toddler with a limited few-word vocabulary, realized that our plans involved returning to the crammed car. She locked her knees and halted right in the middle of the parking lot like a stubborn old mule.

"Poopie Diaper, poopie Diaper," she pleaded.

"Senia Mae, I know you don't have a poopie diaper because we just changed you in the rest room," I said. Her saucer shaped eyes had the most pitiful look as she peered up at me.

"Poopie diaper?" she asked now, hoping she could at least get a few more moments of freedom.

"We'll be home soon, ok?" I reassured her and we finally got back on the road. The little one completely understood why the dog tried to escape the confines of the overcrowded vehicle.

It's been several years since we've made the Christmas trip up the East Coast and Santa now visits us at our home. Even though it is much more relaxing to not have to make the great drive, I am surprised that my fondest memories are not actually of the family celebrations, but the humorous two-day road trip that always ended up being the highlight of my holiday. The best part is not always the destination, but the journey. I told Kim this year that I actually wished we were making the trip again.

Perry Como was so right in Home For The Holidays when he sang, "Take a bus, take a train, go and hop an aeroplane, put the wife an' kiddies in the family car! For the pleasure that you bring when you make that doorbell ring, no trip could be too far!"