The price of no vacations

I have not been ‘inspired’ to write anything these last many months as they have been tumultuous and heartbreaking; a fractured nose complete with concussion, the passing of my father (leaving me an orphan), my 9 year relationship dissolved, and facing the holidays for the first time without parents.

It is time to heal, push forward and grasp the limited time I have here – so no more sadness, time for the vacation updates….

It is no surprise to any one who knows me that I love to travel. I am proud to say that I am not a ‘tourist’ but rather a ‘traveler’ blending in with the locals as best I can by researching the area and culture, food and fun. The latest and greatest was a 10-day Christmas extravaGANZA to Paris with Goose.

We had both been to Paris before, me with my parents just out of high school and she with her high school french class, but this trip together was amazing.


We did hit the hot spots, Eiffel Tower (where we had our Christmas dinner complete with an out of this world bottle of Champagne! Merry Christmas to us!) Arc d’Triumph, and Notre Dame (where I lost my phone on the bus and had to spend half the afternoon tracking it down and explaining that the case that holds the phone says “don’t touch my phone” could be considered ironic…let’s ask Alanis…)


The Louvre was a bit disappointing as it was overcrowded with pushy souvenir sales people. They are hard to ignore and completely take away from the magic that surrounded us. We also walked to the Moulin Rouge – did not attend a performance as there was much more interesting things to do, see, and eat!


YUM – Charcuterie at Le Chat Noir – made a meal of it! and dessert oh my!


Have to get the selfies in – in front of Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame.      

Simply an amazing trip to add to the collection of travels and adventures we have had together… and always more to come, much more.

So to get to the title of this post – the price of no vacations — it is the stolen memories… the laughs, the adventures, the awkward conversations in broken languages, the bond created during the fantastic experience… this is the price of no vacations because it never happened.

Mother Mary was in labor for almost a month?

nativitysceneWill someone please tell me why the nativity scenes are now placed at the beginning of the month? I am talking full blown Mary, Joseph, 3 Kings and baby Jesus! And at the churches no less! They are the ones telling us the story, they know the timeline, WTH…I have a meltdown every time I have passed a church this month.

I am not a very religious person, but I do know the story; loosely stated…Mary and Joseph are escaping their land to keep their child safe (excellent parenting skills), no hotels or Motels 6 available in the town they land in, so they settle for a barn and bam (with no pain killers whatsoever), the Baby is born and we now celebrate the event on December 25 (See? Not a month of labor, not a few weeks, it is the plain and simple giving birth deal we still have today).

Growing up in a very Catholic family, we were not allowed to display the crèche too early, and there was NO WAY my mother would have allowed baby Jesus to be placed in the makeshift cradle before the 25th. No.way.

So why all of a sudden have the churches decided to place a full nativity so early? Someone please explain. I still have lots of presents to buy and will inevitably pass several churches. I don’t have time to go to jail because I am being arrested for trespassing in what would look like a crazed Baby-stealing incident only to have every intention to replace him on his actual birth date (and not a moment sooner).

And for that matter, the wise men don’t show up until January 6!!

Make the madness stop PLEASE!

The new sea monkeys: Jellyfish

No joke.  This is actually a real gift. Three live jellyfish and full kit to feed them, air pump, color-changing LED…I must have been living under a rock (or a coral bed) because I have never heard of such a thing.

What happened to the sea monkeys of yesteryear and the cloud of dried krill that would entertain kids for, oh about 15 mins…??

Who is this gift geared toward? The boss who has everything? As if he wants the burden of keeping something alive so he doesn’t offend you. Little kids will just poke the poor innocent bundles of jelly and dead within 24 hrs… so who is buying these and keeping the company in business?

I had to share because I am just completely astounded at the things you can buy online these days.

I am sure many of you are doing Christmas/holiday shopping online… what bizarro items have you seen??

The Ho-Ho-Ho-liday Meltdown

Key West Turkey

Key West Turkey

Thanksgiving = thrown into a cement mixer with larger boulders, add desert dry turkey, brain-dead family members that even a zombie would pass up, set mixer on high, pour, and be instantly ready for Christmas shopping… sound familiar?

My holiday has been quiet thus far; simple dinner with my dad, daughter and her boyfriend, (my hot guy was busy saving the town)…after all it’s about the people you care about not forced family fun (for me anyway).

After this somewhat restful holiday, how could it be that I would sit up in bed as though I had been given a defibrillation? The thought of Christmas shopping had set in. What to buy and who to buy for is as difficult as trigonometry or calculus for me (pretty much adding and subtraction puts me over the edge who am I kidding?!).

  1. Make a list of recipients
  2. Cut out half of those people because, seriously, I feel guilty about not buying them a gift, not because I really like them
  3. Make a list of ‘others’ who won’t receive gifts (and then cut that list down to 12) and mail card with lots of glitter, just to be annoying.

Down to about 5 actual gifts to be wrapped…seemingly doable.

The parent: At this point, dad is just two eyeballs and a hat, looking through a mound of 85 years’ worth of gifts consisting of sweaters, shirts, turtlenecks, ties, socks, slippers, puzzle pieces, and smells like Old Spice. (I happen to love Old Spice so that’s the upside)

The daughter: The last two years I have been successful with tickets to shows (Kathy Griffin = HILARIOUS!) but actually opening a gift is a tough one. Clothes? Jewlery? Shoes? Meh. I keep scouring the ‘net for inspiration.  She is always happy and thankful for the smallest thing, especially spending time together, which is why I like to put every neuron into a good gift. As you have seen we do activities year round, bigger trips a la Canada, St. Martin, and cruises, indoor skydiving, glass blowing, schooner sailing, etc. so coming up with gifts because it’s a holiday is much more difficult-the pressure is on. She asks for a pony at every opportunity, but a pony would be bigger than her car (so no room), take up all the room in the apartment (still no room), and would be forced to live on Ramen noodles and blue cheese pasta (that’s just priming the poor thing for the glue factory).

The hot boyfriend: God help me please. I have tried everything and it’s never right. It is not that he is ungrateful; I know he appreciates my time and effort; it is just a poor choice of gifts on my part. For his birthday last year I purchased an airplane lesson, complete with flying time in this cool little prop plane for two. Although he is quick to show friends the pictures, it took 8 months and lots of nagging to make the reservation, so it loses something in the gift.  A few years ago I bought him an automatic starter for his truck; I returned it because the installation would cause too much interior damage of sorts. Clothes and gift certificates typically don’t get worn or used… he doesn’t have any hobbies… I am at a loss.  And I don’t want any lame-o ideas of a ‘coupon book good for hugs, kisses, date night, or massage by yours truly’….put some effort into it please.

Any and all suggestions from my readers will be paid in gummy bears if you can help me not have a HO-HO-HO-liday meltdown (gummy bears will be paid in virtual thanks only).