Not bad for a fat girl


My Real Fear of Flying

(Originally published June 3, 2015)

I’m going on vacation in a few weeks, and I’m very excited about it. I’ll see friends and family, and I’ll go to the beach and a couple of parties. I’ll celebrate my birthday and the Fourth of July and generally have a great time. I know all of this. But I’m dreading going.FEA040


The flight.

The last time I was on a plane was back in January, on my way home from London. It was a glorious trip, but the flying was not fun. I was squished, and I’m sure I squished my sweet, ever-patient son, who was stuck next to me. He will once again be stuck next to me, and we will both, once again, be squished, but this time it’s not just the discomfort that has me worried. It’s the seatbelt.

I’m afraid, that for the first time ever, I won’t be able to buckle it.

I was hardly skinny back in January, and I’m even less so now. What if it doesn’t fit? What if I have to request an extender? Will I die of embarrassment? Will my son?

I have a couple of weeks. Maybe there’s time to make a dent. It’s worth a try.


Road Trip!

hollywood-1600x1200My boy and I took off over spring break. Just the two of us. We hit the road, and stayed in a posh “old” Hollywood Hotel that stretched the limits of my budget, but you know what? I didn’t care.

On the way there, we stopped at the Patton Museum out in the California desert. It’s a cool little museum with a massive topographical map of the region and an impressive display of tanks and other military vehicles. My son loved it as much as his father does. I sent his dad some pictures, and he was thrilled that I took him. I’m glad we stopped there. It was informative, and a nice break along the way.

Once in Los Angeles, we spent a day at Universal Studios. We were surprised when we got a sneak peek at the whole Harry Potter section, which isn’t scheduled to open until next month. Boy was it fun! Hogwarts Castle is fantastic, and even though I was too fat to actually ride the roller coaster (yes, it’s true) I still LOVED going through the castle (designed to accommodate a long line, but we zipped through it – in fact we zipped through all the lines).

I felt bad for my son about the fat thing, but he didn’t want to ride without me so he missed a few rides (two in Harry Potter land and the Mummy). We had a blast on just about everything else though, even if I did feel a little squished in most of them. Lucky for me he’s a good sport, and didn’t make me feel bad at all about my fatness. He’s a keeper.

We also did the tourist thing at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and had a ball posing with the wax figures. It was fun to be with him and let our hair down. Superheroes? Got ’em. Pop stars? Yep. Sports figures? Politicians? Actors? They’re all there. AudreyHepburnAtMadameTussaudsHollywoodI had breakfast with Audrey Hepburn and he putted with Tiger Woods. We sent home photos of Forrest Gump and Lawrence of Arabia. I even shelled out for the silly green screen photos they took of us escaping a dinosaur attack.

We also ate on our trip. Boy did we eat. I had a voucher for the hotel, and we ate one “fancy” meal there. Striped bass with vegetables and fried stuffed squash blossoms. Delish. We also had the most delicious burgers at a place that was so good we went twice. And then there was the sundae. Oh. My. Gawd. The Ghiardelli chocolate people have an ice cream parlor right on Hollywood Boulevard, and they have the most heavenly concoctions imaginable. The ingredients are top notch, and the whole experience is a lot of fun. Just thinking about it has me craving another sea salt caramel hot fudge sundae.

doheny-memorial-library-uscThe good news is that we got some exercise too. We hoofed it around the LaBrea Tar Pits, the LA Farmer’s Market, and USC’s campus, not to mention all the miles at Universal Studio and along the Walk of Fame. I even swam laps in the post hotel pool (sight of a Marilyn Monroe photo shoot long ago, I’m told).

I don’t know if it’s the last trip my son and I will get to take together as he prepares to fly the nest, but it was certainly a good one. I’m so glad we splurged and spent a few days living the high life. In the end I won’t remember the cost, just the time spent with my son enjoying each other’s company.

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One More Week

welcomebackI have one week left of summer vacation before I head back to school for meetings and planning and classroom setup. One week left to get to the doctor and the dentist. One week left to attend to all the things I was going to do over the summer, but didn’t. One short week.

Maybe instead of focusing on what didn’t get done I should instead take a look at what I have accomplished.


First of all, I managed to have a wonderful vacation that really felt like two vacations, since I was in two separate locations. I spent a good amount of time with my family and I got to see several friends. I walked the beach, I ate s’mores, and I swam in several different pools. I laughed until my cheeks hurt and I explored the area where the Pilgrims landed in the new world. I played mini-golf and I went to the movies and I drank wine and ate salsa with jicima and blueberries. I listened to live music and ate from a food truck and buried my toes in the sand. I saw where the Kennedy’s played football on the lawn and I ate peanut butter cup pancakes and I watched fireworks from the beach. I showed my son my university and goofed off with him in a way that just isn’t possible at home. Maybe that was enough. Maybe I didn’t have to do anything else, but I did.


AibKpyGETI took care of my car, which was an unpleasant task, but what can I do? I need a car. I waited out the air conditioner’s coy way of fooling the repair guys, and restored some cool to our indoor space. I cleared out some items that we no longer need or love and donated them to charity. I also started cooking a little bit more, and began relying on going out a little bit less. Of course that means more trips to the grocery store, more meal prep, and more cleaning up. Oh, and laundry. I must have washed a zillion loads of laundry (that’s a lie… I’m actually boycotting laundry because I’m simply not in the mood for it).

Social Butterfly

If you know me in person and you choked on this heading I apologize. Let me clarify: I was a social butterfly to my way of thinking. I went to a baseball game with my son, I went to a painting party with a couple of friends, and I had a few lunches with friends. It all counts!


I read quite a bit this summer. Some of the books I loved, others I was less enthusiastic about, but I felt good about reading. In reverse order, I read:

The Outsiders by SE Hinton

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan

A Dog’s Purpose by W Bruce Cameron

The Noticer by Andy Andrews

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The bolded titles were the ones that really stood out. They were the ones I most hated to put down and the ones that gave me the most to puzzle over. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the others. I did. In fact I enjoyed them all.


Oh yes, I did four weeks of teaching youth, I can’t forget about that. It was an enjoyable four weeks, and I would definitely do it again, should the opportunity arise. Spending my mornings with kids who enjoy creating stories and narratives is a pleasure. Helping them to refine their ideas and turn them into words on a page is remarkable. Being involved in that story telling process is quite an honor.


I admit it, I slept. I slept in, I took naps, and I went to bed when I felt tired. My body thanks me, but I’m a little bit worried about going back to work. No more nap time!

I’m okay with going back to work. A new school year is always exciting for me. I love meeting my new students and helping them to form a cohesive community of learners. We become a family of sorts, and that’s a beautiful thing. I also love seeing my former students, a few months older, a summer wiser, as they enter the fifth grade. The change in some of them is truly remarkable, and it’s so rewarding to watch those kids as they mature.

Yes, I’m about ready to go back, but before I do I’m going to enjoy one last week of r & r, there’s no need to rush it.