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Thursday, July 17, 2014


“Beginnings are usually scary, and endings are usually sad, but it is everything in between that makes it all worth living.” Bob Marley

I hate to travel… I hate everything about it… I hate planning, packing, figuring out how much money I need (probably a part of planning) getting my airline tickets, getting to the airport…  The reality is- I am not safe, nor happy until I am at my airline gate. (And generally it helps if I have a cocktail in my hand)
Now getting from my house to the airline gate is the tricky and stressful part… first of all, there is something genetically abnormal with me in regards to preparing for a trip. As soon as I start to plan packing my suitcase, my mind and body decide that I need to super clean my house, starting with the garage.  It is as if the warning from my mom about making sure I had clean underwear on everyday, just in case I was in an accident, has been taken to a whole new screwed up level…So, yeah, there is that craziness to combat…
And then, just the packing…what do I take?  What do I need? How much does my suit case weigh? In my mind, there is no reason to put myself through that stress until the very last minute… so, yes, I pack starting generally around 11 p.m. the night before I am leaving for a trip… unless we are driving.  If we are making a trip by car, my packing starts much closer to 2 hours before the designated time of departure. And no, I have never missed a plane… nor have I made anyone wait on me to pack my suitcase before we could load the car for a road trip. Somehow it all works out. How? It’s a mystery!!
As I was packing on Monday night, my sweet husband was trying to keep the panic to a low simmer by watching all of our Monday night shows… which includes “24”. That show stresses me out on a normal day…I blame that show for the fact that I put 3 tank tops in the dryer with the full intention of packing them in my suitcase, only to realize sometime during the trip that my tank top supply was extremely low, because three of them had been left in the dryer. In my house. In Texas.
I received an e-mail with my shuttle confirmation and I knew that we would have to go by the shop on our way to the airport so that I could print that and have it with me when I landed at LAX in order to get a ride to my brother and sister-in-law’s house. I went over the details of how to find the shuttle with Cody so many times that I am pretty sure Cody was scared to even let me travel alone. It was obvious my mental capacity to retain information had some sort of a glitch in it.
Finally after the 50th question, and the deep breathing exercises I was practicing, Cody said, “Panic setting in?” I just nodded my head.  I was about to leave him for 13 days. I was certain my bag weighed well over the 50 lb. limit. I was leaving my grandkids for 13 days. What if Cody had a heart attack? What if I could not find my shuttle? What if they took me to the wrong house and my cell phone was dead and I could not figure out how to find Michelle and Brandon? What if something happened to my mother-in-law? What if Brandon and Michelle’s friends did not like me very much, after all I was about to be spending 10 days with them!!  YES!! IWASINFULLPANICMODE!!!
Before I knew it, we were at the American Airlines entrance!  I kissed a sleeping Hudson goodbye. (Yeah- that’s right- one more thing to worry about…Hudson was spending the day and night with Cody alone part of the “keep Hudson while his parents are in Mexico” schedule)My husband unloaded my 75 lb. suitcase, and I hitched up my back pack.  I kissed and hugged him bye, knowing I would miss him every step of the way. I took a deep breath and walked the long walk into the airport.
Retrieving the boarding pass was a breeze.  Next step finding out how much my overweight luggage was actually going to cost. After I heaved it onto the scales, I held my breath as the numbers jumbled around in all sorts of order,( much like they do on “Biggest Loser” something that always bugs me on that show because you know it is just for effect) and yet  they stopped, miraculously on the number 50!! “Fifty pounds! No more no less!” the luggage mad said to me and I wanted to jump up and down!  I made it through security and found my gate in no time!  I soon had a Bloody Mary, a good book on my Kindle and I was waiting patiently for my plane!
Before boarding the plane, I bought my brother a Bar-b-Que sandwich from Salt Lick, and I tried to figure out how to keep it together without losing control of my back pack during the 3 hour flight.
Getting to Brandon and Michelle’s house went off without a hitch!  My luggage arrived at the same time as I did.  I found my shuttle and received the confirmation text message.  Only problem I had was the intense hunger and only one sandwich that I had bought for my brother. The sandwich that I began to eat while standing in the heat waiting for my shuttle… Oh- and the fear of my phone going dead became a reality- however, the shuttle driver overheard me tell my sister-in-law that my phone was going to die, and he gladly offered to charge it for me while we were driving to Pasedena!
Key was in the mail box as promised, and soon I was on the back porch, fishing an ice cold Modello out of the cooler, sitting by the pool waiting for my niece and nephew to come spend what was left of the afternoon with me…I had arrived and I was in one of my favorite place in the world- my brother and sister-in-law’s back yard.  As I sipped my cold beer and looked at the beautiful palm trees and the mountains around me, I felt all of the tension I had built up start to drain…I was on vacation.  

“Beginnings are usually scary
 Cody and Hudson driving me to the airport!
 Hard to say goodbye to this sleeping boy...

 Safe at my gate...enjoying a relaxing cocktail!!

 Brandon and Michelle's backyard!!

Backyard pool time with the older two... Let vacation begin!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Running Away...

I, for all intents and purposes, ran away…for thirteen blissful days I was absent from my real life and immersed in a dream vacation…a dream vacation that started at a house with a pool and hot tub (and a cooler with iced down beer)… a dinner delivery and an early morning wake- up call that enabled me to get in my ride at dawn and watch the sun rise in beautiful California as I began to make the coastal journey from Pasadena to San Francisco… a dream vacation which has taken me from my real life in Temple, TX to California where I spent time in Pasadena, San Francisco, Humboldt Red Woods, Yosemite National Park and once again returned to the private house in Pasadena with a pool, hot tub, fire pit…and the cooler of beer…
I shared this adventure (or in all reality they shared their adventure with me seeing as how I was tagging along on their vacation)with a  4 year old, a 5 year old, two 8 year olds (one of which turned 8 on the trip), a 10 year old and 4 other adults. But I was not responsible for any of them, and each and every one of them showed me so much love, grace and hospitality that I was saddened to say goodbye at the end, and I miss them terribly, still today.
The trip, which was planned by my incredible sister-in-law, Michelle and her friends, Windy and Erin, was an invitation that I received on Sunday, May 4, via text message, while I was in church… it said, “Wanna take a trip with me and kids? Coastal red woods and maybe Yosemite? XOXO Leave on June 19 from our house and get back 27 or 28? Would LOVE for u to come with. And you could stay thru Brandon’s bday and u could hang with us on the 4th of July??? Tempted yet?” When I read it, I started crying…Tempted? Darn right I was tempted!!  In fact, I had been dreaming about running away for several weeks…but knew that I really had no place to go.
Then I received this amazing invitation… I was so tempted it scared me.  But I knew that there was really no way I could go. Even when I told my best friend, Karen,  about the invitation and she said, “You should go!”  It would never happen… Even when Cody asked me if I had looked into the cost of plane tickets… there was no hope that I would actually be able to make the trip…
But, even though I held very little hope- I looked into the cost of plane tickets. I looked up information on the Humboldt Redwoods.  I looked at the dates on my calendar.  I day dreamed about it…pictured myself making it and then gave myself a mental scolding for being so selfish. 
A trip by myself to California?  I would miss my husband…I hate to go anywhere without him! Even though I smart off about running away all of the time, I really want him to run with me. What if he had another heart attack?!  I can’t go that far for that long… why was I even dreaming about it??? What about Jean? (My mother-in-law) Her health is precarious… How selfish was I to think about going on a vacation, out of state, for several days… precious vacation days that I should be using to make the most of the time I have left with my incredible mother-in-law.  How could I even consider leaving the state and my husband…what if something happened to my mother-in-law? S.E.L.F.I.S.H. thinking.  I can not even think about leaving.
But then, Mother’s Day rolled around.  Cody and I spent the weekend in Lubbock celebrating the great mother that Jean Crittenden is… we had Mother’s Day lunch with most of Cody’s family…and then we had to load up and make the trip back home.
Cody always does Mother’s Day for me in an amazing way. He cooks an awesome meal, and works with the kids to make sure that I feel special.  This year was no different. We had a great lunch on Mother’s Day in Lubbock with Cody’s awesome family- his mom and dad, his sisters, brother-in-laws and nieces and nephew.  He hid a card in my Kindle which I found on the way home and we ate dinner at the Lone Star Steak House in Temple with David. I had received “Happy Mother’s Day” messages from all of my children.  And I had been able to spend the day with my mother-in-law, who deserves a celebration everyday… AND I was able to talk to my own mother (also deserving of a daily celebration!) who was spending her special day in California with my brother, sister-in-law and nieces and nephew.   My Mother’s Day was complete… except for the fact that apparently, it wasn’t.

Lynnsay and Katherine kept wanting to know when we were going to celebrate Mother’s Day as a family…and so we came up with a plan to celebrate it on Tuesday at a restaurant in Temple (funny story- my first choice turned out to be a bar instead of a restaurant now… so we had to make a second choice- Old Jody’s for beer and fried food!!!) At the end of our dinner, I was presented with a gift bag… it contained two mini bottles of wine and a homemade boarding pass for a flight from Austin to LAX… my family bought me tickets for a trip that I could not imagine taking…for Mother’s Day my family was giving me permission to run away… and I did.