Monday, June 30, 2008

Alaska: Kid tested, ShallowGal approved: Part 2

Lordy SG loves that pathetic title.

Anyway before Blogger had it's little nervous breakdown last week (1), we were talking about what the kids enjoyed most about Alaska.

Noa's highlights:

On the cruise, they made this dessert called the love boat dream and it was so yummy. I had it every night.

The love boat dream was a heart shaped brownie covered with chocolate mousse, served with raspberry coulis and a mint leaf which Noa generously shared. The mint leaf, I mean. She was more than happy to let you have her mint leaf.

One night I ordered my own love boat dream just to see what all the fuss was about and it tasted like a sponge. But my kids aren't known for their sensitive palate. On our last cruise Jake ordered jello every night.

Noa also enjoyed the flight-seeing. In fact she helped move the plane.

I can't get this child to put away her socks and all of a sudden she's willing to help move the plane.

Noa decided she wants to fly a little plane around Alaska when she grows up and has generously offered me a $5 discount. (Good only in the off season.) (2)

Ask Jake about Super Mario Galaxy and you'll get eleven straight hours of commentary, but this is all he'll say about Alaska:

I liked the flightseeing and I liked camp.
Flightseeing we covered. Camp was a large room filled with other 10 year old boys who played xbox.

In summary my kids enjoyed Alaska but also would have apparently enjoyed equally a trip to a strip mall that had a Best Buy and a mediocre bakery. But then we wouldn't have seen stuff like this.

Early June is waterfall season. Who knew?

Or this:

FYI, bring your own diet coke to the Yukon.

And definitely not this:

Even ShallowGal isn't going to ruin that picture with a flippant caption.

Bottom line: Alaska. Worth traveling 30 hours with three kids. (3)

1) Blogger is possibly even more unstable than I am. All this WARNING ! UNABLE TO CONTACT BLOGGER ! Very stressful.
2) I should probably get it in writing.
3) For real. We left Monday at 8 am and got home 2pm Tuesday.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A very Shallow expose

ShallowGal has been working day and night on her essay about VUBOQ. (1) As part of her research, SG re-read months and months of old VUBOQ and has made a startling discovery.

ShallowGal thinks Vuboq might be gay. (2)

SG Evidence #1) VUBOQ talks a lot about doing secks with someone named Y. I don't know what secks is but I think it's some kind of new age pilates. No straight guy would do pilates.

SG Evidence #2) If you rearrange the letters in his name it spells Divas, never stale. But if you re-arrange the letters in Straight Man you get Gnat As Mirth and Gnash Arm Tit (3)

SG Evidence #3) VUBOQ stands for Vicious. Unrepentant. Bitter. Old. Queen. Straight guys never refer to themselves as old. They get all "I'm in the prime of my life" or "I'm in better shape than I was in college" or "bald is the new black." Honestly I'm wondering why his parents named him that. Wasn't he young when he was born?

Bottom line: ShallowGal is sorry to push VUBOQ out of the closet but it's probably for the best. He was pretty supportive of Gay Pride month so I think he'll be okay about it. And now SG has a new friend to help her shop for shoes.

As always, this was ShallowGal and I'm here to help. (4)

1) SG really needs the prize money.
2) Not that there's anything wrong with that.
3) But you also get "Shag Martin" so this may not be the most effective gaydar.
4) And win the prize money. Or at least the jellybean pooping reindeer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alaska: Kid tested, ShallowGal approved

ShallowGal had a plan. She was going to journal her way thru Alaska and then make each day a separate blog entry, complete with photographs and interesting facts about that day's port. (1)

Wouldn't it be funny if I were really like that? Please. We've been home eight days and are still only half unpacked. Journal schmirnl.

Exactly eleven words were written on the first flight from DC to Chicago. (2) Then one of the kids lost my pen. Hey at $25 a suitcase, how many pens would you suggest I pack? I thought so.

Had ShallowGal not become obsessed with this (very trite) title, that would probably be that for Alaska. But alas, SG has a title, now we need an entry that matches.

So let's see what ShallowGal's kids liked about Alaska.

Eli's highlights:

"I saw a showgirl but her not wear her pink hat. Also I saw a bear climb down a tree. And I love Johanna the violinist. Can she come play blocks with me in my room? But not Noa, just Johanna the violinist."

Smile now Showgirl cause without that hat your days at #1 are limited.

Fact: The only reason to take your three year old to Alaska is if you lack the photoshop skills to add him into the pictures later and you want to avoid the therapist bills. Because honestly? He'd be just as happy going to the instrument store and listening to a 21 year old Austrian play the violin.

He's a real music lover, that one.

Eli was quite the on board sensation. Johanna the violinist (3) even told us that she didn't even want kids until she met Eli. Like I want that on my head.

(Of course it's nicer than what the neighborhood moms say, which is that they love for their daughters to babysit Eli because it's the best birth control ever. Nice.)

ShallowGal has much more to say (surprise!) but Blogger is being funky so let's post this and continue tomorrow. See you then !

1) Like the fact that sunrise was 3:48 am when we were in Skagway.
2) Really good words too like ambidextrous and omniscient.
3) Which according to Eli is her full legal name.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Just when ShallowGal thought she couldn't get any prouder

An added bonus to being swimmer of the week is increased protection from being
accidentally shot while hunting with Dick Cheney.

As predicted, Noa DQ'd on both her breast stroke and her butterfly. Actually the exact words the stroke and turn judge used was " there isn't enough room on this sheet to write all the ways Noa DQ'd on her fly."

When the girls all lined up to swim, Noa was a full foot and a half smaller than the girls on either side of her. You could hear people talking; looking at the meet sheet, trying to figure out why the girl in lane 5 was so short.

But bless her little heart, she finished that race. It took almost 100 seconds and it was none too pretty but she touched that wall with the biggest smile I've ever seen. And the crowd went wild.

Over the next six weeks, ShallowGal will have much to say about the politics that take place on Northern Virginia swim teams.
(2) But for today, all is good.

1) Luckily the meet sheet lists the swimmers ages, since it doesn't indicate if they're midgets.
2) Or maybe not since SG wants her readers to stay readers. No more swim team talk !

Friday, June 20, 2008

Swimming Up

First off, let me apologize. Today's planned topic was an informative, yet hilarious (I wish) description of the wildlife we encountered in Alaska. Unfortunately someone who shall remain nameless (1) accidentally erased all my Alaska pictures off the computer when he loaded his own.

Yes. The man who is singlehandedly responsible for supporting our entire family with his job in the computer industry actually gave me this explanation: "The iMac cannot physically support two sets of Alaska pictures. It gets too confused."

Note to self: Check out adding google ads to blog.

So until we get this straightened out, I'm afraid you will have to learn all about competitive swimming in Northern Virginia and a scary practice known as "swimming up."

Swimming up is when a swim team has a plethora of one age group (like 8 and under girls) and practically no kids in the next age group (in this example 9-10 girls) Every Saturday meet has one heat of each age group / sex / stroke. So for example each team sends their 3 strongest 9-10 girl backstrokers to that heat. (2)

With me so far?

But to keep things fair (and more kids involved) each swimmer is limited to 2 races. So sometimes a team only has three swimmers in an age group and cannot physically fill all their lanes for all 4 strokes. Rather than leave a lane empty, a younger swimmer fills in.

The logic is that maybe the other team will have a strep throat epidemic or a community-wide camping trip or maybe just get really really lost and they will leave lanes empty. And then the younger swimmer might even place and win points for their team. It happened to Jake last year; at 9 he swam 13/14 boys breaststroke. One kid didn't show up, one kid DQ'd (3) and Jake swam his fastest and placed third.

(Jake's entire swimming career is actually based on a willingness to swim wherever needed. He is one hell of a team player. )

Tomorrow Noa will swim in her first A meet. After two summers in the minors, Noa is going big time. Her first event is the 8 and under girl breaststroke. And then my 42 pound seven year old will be swimming up. 11/12 girls butterfly. 50 meters of butterfly. Can you do 50 meters of butterfly? Cause I sure as hell can't.

This is from Noa's last meet of last season.
Please note the unusual dive technique where she stays mostly vertical to the ground.

1) But I'm married to him and his initials are PCSguy.
2) Swim meets typically take about eleven years start to finish.
3) Disqualified

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stunning, exciting and other words that describe Alaska

When Jake was in the first grade he had to make a journal entry every Friday telling what he'd learned that week. They generally went along the lines of this:

I learned about fractions. It was fun.


I learned about Squanto. It was fun.

Every week I'd ask why he limited himself to this one adjective. I'd pull out a thesaurus and show him all the words that he could use instead. But Jake insisted that fun was the only choice to adequately describe his activities.

Why do I tell you this? (1) I've been sitting at this computer for an hour today trying to describe our vacation, a ten day extravaganza that included sights like this:

ShallowGal actually took this picture.

and this:

I was afraid you were going to ask. I'm pretty sure they're sea lions. Or harbor seals.

and this:

And all I could come up with is this:

We went to Alaska. It was fun.

1) Why do I tell you anything?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

ShallowGal (1) is back from Alaska and pleased to say that
this is the closest she came to any kind of bear attack.

1) Along with her family, 742 digital pictures and eleven loads of laundry. Much to tell internet !

Friday, June 6, 2008

Guest blogger: ShallowGal's Mother

June 6, 2008

Dear Internet:

Please excuse ShallowGal from writing her blog these past few days. She's been unbelievably busy throwing an end of the year Luau for 48 first graders and packing for her Alaska trip. Please don't dock her pay.

What? She doesn't get paid for this? Huh. What about benefits? Really?

Anyway, just when ShallowGal thought that things couldn't get any more hectic, this storm blew through Northern Virginia. It was half hurricane and half tornado with some hail and possibly even a solar flare thrown in. And after it was over ShallowGal had no electricity and her children were all being sheltered in place at their schools.

Leaving her with nothing to do but sit on her front porch and drink the red wine before it spoiled and survey the wreckage.

This tree is a stand-in, being as all ShallowGal's trees already fell
for no reason whatsoever.

Luckily last week was Hurricane Preparedness Week and all flashlights, batteries and bottled water were on sale and tax free at Target. And by luckily, of course I mean totally inconsequentially because, please. ShallowGal walked into Target, saw the sign but then got distracted by the bright lights and pretty colors. And I think we've already established that her existing emergency kit covers little more than an international oatmeal shortage.

Fact: The more one spends on flashlights and dry ice, the faster the electricity will come back. ShallowGal spent about $50 so the power was back on within twelve hours. Not even enough time to rationalize eating all the ice cream before it melted.

Anyway, please don't lower her grade, it wasn't her fault. What? For real?

So what you're telling me here is that ShallowGal spends hours a day writing to exercise her "creativity" and hopefully amuse a few dozen readers. (1) And all she asks is that you not forget about her while she's in Alaska? (2) You can do that, right? Excellent. She'll sleep better tonight knowing that.

Barring any additional acts of God, ShallowGal will return from Alaska on June 17th.

1) Most of whom arrive here accidentally while searching for a review of the croc cyprus or Wildfire restaurant.

2) Or rob her house, but the dog sitter is a big guy and there's nothing worth stealing there anyway.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Twelve Years

Yesterday ShallowGal and PCSguy celebrated their twelfth wedding anniversary. The traditional gift is silk. ShallowGal got a dishwasher. (1)

These past twelve years have flown by. In all seriousness, it doesn't feel like a day over eleven years and nine months.

Despite the fact that ShallowGal has been married so long that Maggie was just in middle school on that fateful day, ShallowGal remembers lots of details from her wedding day. And not just the bad stuff like who was late for the pictures (Allison!) (2) or the kooky stuff (Alzheimer Grandma hoarding bottles of beer in her purse at last call) She remembers the silly stuff like how PCSguy and ShallowGal stayed up all night the night before watching Small Wonder re-runs. And the annoying stuff like the photographer who took like seventeen million cake cutting pictures when by that time, ShallowGal was so over the photographer.

Fact: If you have a Jewish wedding three weeks before the summer solstice , the ceremony will not start until 9:30 pm, pushing dinner to midnight and the cake cutting until 1 am.

Fortunately all of PCSguy and ShallowGal's friends and family are functioning alcoholics who kept the festivities going until way past 2 am. It was one hell of a party. Twelve years later it still is.

Only now the party ends long before 9:30.

The next morning ShallowGal and PCSguy left on their honeymoon, a New York- Bermuda cruise.

This picture makes ShallowGal sad
and not because she misses PCSguy's hair.

Happy Anniversary PCSguy. Halfway there.

1) and 2 dozen red roses. In return ShallowGal is giving PCSguy what he wants most in this world; she is going to try to stop referring to him as her "first husband" or "the father of my three kids."
2) Like you didn't know I hold grudges.