Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Toy

My birthday isn't for about six weeks but The Girl bought me a new toy and begged me to open the box this week. She told me it was something I could use on vacation. Well the box wasn't big enough for a plastic surgeon with a liposuction kit and it was too light to be an invisible head to toe body suit that gives the impression I am without varicous veins, cellulite and am as toned and skinny as I was twenty plus years ago (twenty years ago I was preggers so that doesn't count). I thought it was a new rain jacket because she said it would come in handy this trip and then in June when we go to Angor Wat. My rain coat is fine and dandy for fall/spring rain but it's too hot for tropical showers and June is the beginning of the rainy season so a rain jacket would be just the ticket for The Year We Travel and Avoid Home Improvement. At her insistance, I opened it up and found to my utter amazement a new camera! Wheee! It's a beaut, too: a Canon Rebel with all the bells and whistles. I've made it to chapter 4 in the manual and think this is a huge achievement because I don't usually read the manuals for anything. Digital photography is so forgiving. I've taken 250 pictures today playing with the settings and have saved four of them.

I didn't really need a camera so I'm guessing she gave this to me so she can have a chance with the other camera because I am a camera hog.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting The Facts Straight

image from Creative Commons by jag64551 "Peek-a-boo"


I pride myself on telling the truth on my blog so of course getting facts wrong calls for an immediate correction. I received an email from Dad this morning, it was beautiful note and one I will treasure always. He told me how much he had enjoyed reading my blog from start to finish but he did have a bone to pick with me. It seems I had always had the story of how M and Mom had become friends all wrong like my whole life. I have included a cut and paste of the truth, names have been shortened to protect my family's privacy:

One critique....M didn't stand with us at our wedding. That was R and RK, who have long ago divorced and gone their separate ways. . .M's husband R and I also worked together at ---- and played sports together. Your mother and I met M the day before we got married. Both ladies had to have blood test and physicals before we could get a marriage license. R and I were spared that because we were in the AF....We met M while waiting in the Doctor's office. We were married on April 2 and they were married on April 5. We were immediately "adopted" by M's family. Her mother was a jewel, and had the greatest sense of humor. She loved to tease me.

Ok, so they didn't witness one another's weddings so I guess I can use that detail in a future novel because it didn't really happen. But you have to admit it's still very dear how my mother became life long friends with a woman she met in a doctor's waiting room.

Counting down to taking off

I think this old Pearls Before Swine strip sums up my general feeling about life. Fortunately, I have a job and can manage a few days a year at the beach. Hopefully someday I'll be spending more days at the beach than I do at a job.

I'm busy this week getting ready for our vacation, putting the final touches on packing and finishing projects along with cramming as many shifts as I can possibly manage before leaving town next week. But despite the excitement of going to one of my favorite places on Earth (Spring in Texas Hill Country rates a close second) I'm in a weird funk. I think it's just January which has been cold and unusually gray here. I'm growing increasingly impatient with weird behavior from patients and their families and my skin is growing more and more thin to the point I'm not sure I can take another complaint or any more whining about the state the majority of my patients have created for themselves through physical and emotional negleself inflicted physical and pyschic neglect. There is a place deep in my soul that feels a little overcooked to the point of burnt and I am hoping and praying my vacation is a soothing balm. But if I stop and think about it I have received more compliments over the last week than I have complaints and I should probably concentrate on remembering those first. I need to remember the tears in my patient's eyes when she told me: "I wish I could hug all of you for helping me feel so very safe." and the other patient: "Thank you for listening, I do feel less anxious now." I need to make those voices shout in my head over the condescending and entitled whinging.

I love this poem and Rita Dove sums up the final moments before taking off for faraway places better than I ever could.

I love the hour before takeoff,
that stretch of no time, no home
but the gray vinyl seats linked like
unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall
be summoned to the gate, soon enough
there'll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers
and perforated stubs--but for now
I can look at these ragtag nuclear families
with their cooing and bickering
or the heeled bachelorette trying
to ignore a baby's wail and the baby's
exhausted mother waiting to be called up early
while the athlete, one monstrous hand
asleep on his duffel bag, listens,
perched like a seal trained for the plunge.
Even the lone executive
who has wandered this far into summer
with his lasered itinerary, briefcase
knocking his knees--even he
has worked for the pleasure of bearing
no more than a scrap of himself
into this hall. He'll dine out, she'll sleep late,
they'll let the sun burn them happy all morning
--a little hope, a little whimsy
before the loudspeaker blurts
and we leap up to become
Flight 828, now boarding at Gate 17.

Next Wednesday we will be sitting in the eighth row so just stop and say hey if you see us. I'll be the one weeping quietly, like an over excited five year old on her way to Disney World. The Girl will be the calm one, head buried in a crossword puzzle because she's smart and cool and collected like that.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


this image from eddiecz @ Creative Commons
Main Entry: 1win·now
Pronunciation: \ˈwi-(ˌ)nō\
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English winewen, from Old English windwian to fan, winnow; akin to Old High German wintōn to fan, Latin vannus winnowing fan, ventus wind — more at wind
Date: before 12th century
transitive verb 1 a (1) : to remove (as chaff) by a current of air (2) : to get rid of (something undesirable or unwanted) : remove —often used with out b (1) : separate, sift (2) : select
2 a : to treat (as grain) by exposure to a current of air so that waste matter is eliminated b : to free of unwanted or inferior elements : pare c : narrow, reduce
3 : to blow on : fan intransitive verb 1 : to separate chaff from grain by fanning
2 : to separate desirable and undesirable elements
3: according to edgyjunecleaver: throw shit out
— win·now·er \ˈwi-nə-wər\ noun

(Merriam-Webster online dictionary

I suppose I’m a victim of 20th-21st century marketing conditioning. You know what I mean: It’s January so it’s necessary to start Anew! Afresh! Declutter! Organize! Because every print magazine, web ’zine home keeping/lifestyle blog is I lay my eyes on is urging me to do this. Because really? I have too much stuff. I think everyone except maybe homeless people have too much stuff and I bet with all this marketing to organize and purge some homeless guy is rooting through his shopping cart and trash bags muttering to himself: “y’know I’m not even sure why I keep this anymore. . .” I love to organize things. I really really love to throw things away. In fact, I love throwing things away so much I have--in the not so distant past--thrown away important things which necessitated a trip to the county courthouse (almost as much fun as the DMV) as well as the Social Security Office which is as fun as a root canal at the DMV. So I’m a little more careful now with my papers. And in this day and age of shredders, I couldn’t even pick through my trash because I had shred my social security card. Shred. It. I suppose I could have pieced it together. Good thing I was gainfully employed and had a passport.

Although I am Madison Avenue’s bitch this week I didn’t go so far as buying $2500 worth of organizing products: bins and such, just ten bucks worth for photographs which were slowly rotting and fading. The Girl is slow to get on this band wagon but we are moving through it one closet at a time. Some of us are savers and some of us are winnowers. She’s a saver. Once upon a time savers drove me crazy. OMG do you really NEED that piece of paper your first grade sweetheart touched in 1965? But as I’ve gotten a little older I’m a bit of a saver myself. I’ve developed the odd--for me--habit of saving all the cards I receive and creating yearly scrapbooks. The scrapbooks are simple, I just paste them through out my yearly planner. But what the hell am I doing with them now? Do I routinely take out the 2005 planner and fondly remember the Christmas card Trixie gave me? Nope. What’s the purpose? My biographer will be interested? What biographer? My sons? Oh yeah, cuz Mama’s Sweet Boys are all about looking at my old photos and memorabilia. So I’ll keep these little books and make a decision about them when we leave this house. I think it’s becoming harder for me to toss stuff because I tossed almost a decade’s worth of photos and now regret I don’t have them. I did it because those years were hard and once I was finished in Lubbock and fled, I tossed all things that reminded me of the place. I sold most of my furniture almost all of my clothing and burned photos. Burned them. If it didn’t fit into my 1984 Nissan Sentra it didn’t move with me. Somehow my journals from those years excaped the pyre and I found them about a year ago when I was looking for my high school yearbook. I’ve yet to read them. Had I found them a few years ago, I would have thrown them away or better yet burned them. God forbid my stupid ass meandering words and angst end up here. Can you imagine? Ack ack ack with a side of ack. Let’s hope if that ever happens I’m dead and only my loved ones will be humiliated.

Winnowing makes me feel lighter and god knows I need to feel lighter because I have fifteen stubborn pounds that won’t leave my body so I’m thinking if I symbolically lose fifteen pounds of crap-I-don’t-need-love-use then I can step out of this frumpy middle-aged lady suit and into a Hot 40-something suit.

I have a plan to go through the house systematically and get rid of things. Thus far, I’ve done the coat closet where I found a coat I bought on sale in--oh I don’t know--July which I had forgotten about and was convinced for DAYS I had stumbled onto a Birthday present until I looked at the tag and the crazy low price reminded me I purchased it off the 70% off rack on take an additional 20% with a coupon at Macy’s. This is a definite sign I have too much stuff. After the coat closet I tackled the dresser serving as buffet and figured out we never ever EVER need to buy teaspoons. Ever again. Ever. Next up, I cleaned out the cedar closet in the basement and sorted a large bin of antique linens we have both inherited from our respective families. All of them handmade, lots of old lace. If we opened a Victorian style Bed and Breakfast we would have just enough dollies for the eleventy tea tables and sideboards scattered throughout our charming but over decorated inn. This was a difficult task because I love old linens but they aren’t doing anything but rotting so I’ve started the process of careful laundering and we are going to repurpose the lace, dollies, dish towels and such over the next few months. My mine sweeping is continuing through my craft things and I’m doing small projects I’ve had the bits and pieces necessary but just haven’t done. And buttons! OMG do I have buttons and trim and ribbon and lace. Why haven’t I used them? I’m hanging onto them and I’m not sure why. It’s ridiculous. Because, again, it’s not like I take my old buttons out and look at them when I’m perusing my 2006 scrapbook! Why not make something out of them? Like jewelry, embellish frames, flower pots…the list goes on and on. So much so I probably should get more buttons. . .

I have lovely bits of vintage jewelry I’ve been amassing for years. But I don’t know how to solder nor do we have a soldering iron in the vast collection of tools. So I need a soldering iron to reuse the lovely bits of jewelry.


Isn’t that defeating my purpose of winnowing?

Yes. But I love old things.

So I make deals with myself: get rid of all those clothes that don’t fit, throw out all those old files, shred the ten year old pay stubs, salvage the old computers, radios, stereos, microwave, espresso maker, donate the pile of Useful Decorating Objects (UDOs) and then I can buy and learn to use a soldering iron.

I sometimes imagine getting rid of everything I own except what I use everyday without fail. It makes me giddy in a good way. But then I start to just mindless pitch things and I can’t seem to part with the little plastic dinosaur and the rubber gold fish that decorate my desk in the studio. Or the sweet old sewing basket that houses a few pens and some stationary, all things which could live someplace else. Those are just three of the many things I have which don’t do anything but make me grin a little when my gaze meanders to them while I write or collage.

My attempts to live more deliberately and consciously is going well but truly I think the more important exercise is shaking the cobwebs off my body is way more important than piling my worldly possessions on the curb. Clearing the cobwebs out of my head is feeling good too and I’m looking forward to this signing rather than staying at home watching House Hunters International and chatting online.

Maybe once the cobwebs are gone I will have the courage to read those journals and throw them out or just throw them out without cracking the cover.

I doubt it.

The curiosity would kill me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Road Trip Top Ten

I love road trips and because my dear old Mitz has 103K on it and the other car is fifteen years old we haven’t taken any for a year or so and I was looking forward to driving home from San Antonio last Thursday. The original plan was to spend the night in Amarillo but Wally and I rocked it home in eighteen hours. I didn’t have my camera with me which was probably a good thing because I would probably still be somewhere between Kerrville and Sweetwater taking pictures of cows and trees and old buildings and people. But trust me, there are places and things we saw which will be there and I’m hoping to talk TG into taking a few days off in April and making the trip with me. We’ll do it over two days so we can stop, look and snap.

Road Trip Discoveries:
1. I discovered a part of Texas I hadn’t seen before and love the brashness of the hills and scrub near Bourne. No wonder people are growing lavender and grapes, it looks like Provence. I know the people are nicer than the French.

2. I love Texans. I was pumping gas in Eden when all the sudden I heard someone say “Well Hello there!” I looked over and a guy in a cammo snow suit thing was grinning and speaking to me. At first I sort of bristled and then I remembered my manners and belted out a brisk good morning. I say belted because it was windier than Lubbock on an April afternoon and about as cold as Amarillo at midnight in November.
“Please tell me you aren’t here to hunt in the cold and wind!”
“Ah no, worse ‘n that I’m out feedin’ the cows”
“You don’t need to bring them in? ‘sposed to be in th’ teens tonight.” (remember my Texas accent returns the second I enter the state)
“They’ll be alright, ‘sides I’m feedin’ ‘em their favorite cotton seeds.”
“Mmmmm, you must grow tasty beef. Who you grow for?”
“Whoever ‘l buy ‘em.”
“I don’t envy you; hope you keep warm!”
“You have a real nice day young lady!”
Yeah, he earned points with the “young lady” because he was about my age.

Later, I wasn’t sure where to turn in Dumas and asked the young woman at the counter in the Taco Bell. She bellows out to everyone in the store: “Any y’all know where the turn off to Hartley is?” Four people looked up from their meals to offer directions and when we left they wished us a safe trip.

3. I like that the town signs display their populations. Eden is population 320 and mostly populated with llamas and pretty little goats along with thick groves of Pecan trees. Most of the business signs are in Spanish which tells me it’s become a migrant farm workers community during Pecan season. I hope they are treated well by the farmers and ranchers.

4. The huge wind farms north of Sweetwater are beautiful in their own 21st century elegance. The cows neither looked scared or anxious and the birds continued to fly around them. My state needs to pull the environmentalist’s heads out of their asses and build a few more of these farms. (I’m looking at you Huerfeno county).

5. Lubbock is still sad. The landscape to the south of the city can only be described as desperate and south of Lubbock county has a strung out meth head vibration to it. The scrub always looks dead no matter the season, the fields are unkempt and littered with left over cotton stalks and haphazard bits of equipment and debris. Going through Lubbock was hard because I didn’t leave Lubbock in 1987, it was more like I fled a refugee and driving through it called up all sorts of bad and wincingly painful memories. I’m just glad Wally was awake so I didn’t cry about it and instead pointed out places and shared astonishment over an oil derrick in the middle of the college campus.

6. The vib I get from Hill Country is similar to the one I feel in NoNM which is cool and inspiring. I plotted another novel early Thursday morning.

7. It’s freakin’ dark in the NE corner of New Mexico. If the moon had come up while we were there it probably would have scared us and for a few seconds channeled distant native Indian relatives in our fear the world had ended and the moon was a monster about to eat us. I turned New Age Space music on as we drove through the dark to add to the surreal factor. I resisted the urge to pull off the side of the road and turn off all the lights so I could experience the complete void of darkness. (I did that about ten years ago and it was exhilarating) It was like a drug trip without taking the drugs. Too bad it was -4 outside with a big wind blowing. Wally remembered years ago, I pulled off the road so we could get out and they saw the Milky Way for the first tme, an incredible site on that mesa. We agreed it was too bad the night was too cold to lay on the top of the car and watch the stars (we did that a couple of times when he was little, too).

8. On the subject of Wally: My metalhead banging son who has a taste for morose ballads possesses an irrational adoration for certain disco hits. I discovered this when “Funky Town” came on the radio and he shouted: “OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS!!! I LOVE THIS AS MUCH AS ‘SAFTEY DANCE!‘ IF I HEAR ‘ELECTRIC AVENUE I MIGHT HAVE MYSELF’! This uncharacteristic display of ebullence was followed with a confession: He and his best friend are known to publicly break into spontaneous dance if he hears Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance”. His BF has done this while in his Army uniform. That is just made of awesome and something I Must See. The Girl is also prone to spontaneous and public dancing. I love this sort of joy and frivolity. The world is short on spontaneous acts of joy and whimsy. We must all work on this as a global community. I believe this is where flash mobs come into play.

9. Wally struggles with the same sort of self saboutage I did as a young adult and it’s hard for me to watch him repeat my mistakes. I’m yearning for a way to fix him. We processed it for a long time. I hope I was able to help him without being to much of a harpy and too much of a friend.

10. I love traveling and if I didn’t have the boys and a dog we would probably live in our crack shack rent house or a tiny apartment so we could spend all our money on trips and adventures. Despite my wanderlust I am always happy to return to my house. It was great to walk in the door early Friday morning after a 900 mile day on the road and as I type this I am filled with a deep and abiding happiness to be home coupled with anticipation for our annual adventures in Mexico in a few short weeks.

Guess I need to start packing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Going Home For The Second Time

Looks like this entry will be all over the map, much like I’ve been the last 50 hours or so. Beav and left for the airport at the lazy hour of 0530 to meet a bus to catch a plane to jet off to see my dad and meet our new family in San Antonio. I call them “my” new family now but 50 hours ago, they were just his new family and I was a part of his other family. (sheesh, I sound like a ten year old going to meet Daddy‘s new wife and their new baby, don’t I?) Anyhow, we left one cold and foggy place for another cold and foggy place (I know, I know WTF is up with this, twenty degrees in San Antonio, Hell-O Al Gore?. . .) I was pretty nervous about meeting my father’s special someone and her family. I wanted her to like me; and maybe love me someday. I’ve met her before when I was much younger and remembered her as a beautiful and sweet friend of my mother‘s. I knew who was who in her family and the victories and their losses over the years. My dad’s beloved was my mother’s Maid of Honor 58 years ago and my mother in turn witnessed her simple ceremony that same week when she married my dad‘s Air Force battle buddy. My mom and M were confidantes over the years and shared a special bond only women who have weathered the same things at the same time forge. I remember my mother calling me when M’s oldest daughter died after a brief but valiant fight with breast cancer. Mom could barely speak for her own anguish. Mom treasured the jewelry Daughter had made and spoke with pride (as if she were her own child) when M and Daughter went to France to sell her pieces. It wasn’t any surprise that M opened her heart to Dad immediately after Mom died and helped through those first difficult months from her own experience of grief and loss. M’s daughter (just about my sister’s age) died a few years ago and M lost her husband about ten years ago. So much grief to weather in one life but M loved my mother very much and helping Dad probably helped her, too. As the year has passed, their friendship has turned to love. I am terribly sentimental and this turn of events and their shared history makes me sigh, smile and believe this Universe is benevolent. The two of them are building a life together and my father “impetuously” moved to San Antonio. I say “impetuously” because my dad isn’t one of these people who would rush home from work on Friday and announce: “Honey! Load up the kids! We’re taking a trip!!” No, my dad is very methodical and a planner. So when he asked me (why he asked, I’ll never fully understand!) if I would mind if he moved to San Antonio to be closer to her I knew this wasn’t some half-assed idea like I would have (and have had. Lubbock, I’m looking at you). So he did it and he bought a project house in a delightful mid-century neighborhood. I thought I was in love with my folks house in NoTX but I really see the potential in this one and can’t wait to see the transformation. I’ve already planned the flower beds with things that only bloom indoors at my house and are invasive in SoTX. (when it’s not part of the artic circle) I told M if The Girl had come with us she would have been chomping at the bit to get started on some of the projects. I saw a couple I wanted to tackle, too. M and her daughter L arranged furniture and the UDO (useful decorating objects) for him and it was lovely and in many ways looked as if my mom had done it. M had been in the NoTX house a few times and must have a photographic memory because the guest room I was in had many of the same pictures and such as before. It was touching she had included my mother’s old family photographs.

Anne Lamott says that grief is like a lazy susan, some days it turns and you get rage, other days you turn it and it’s just a fact of life, this loss. I had discounted that summation as not applying to me, I felt like I had reached a point in my own grief for the loss of my mother where it lived deep inside and it was just something that happened to me. Mother died. Of course she did, she was old and she was unwell. She was also miserable with pain and depressed because of her failing mental status. Her death was a blessing for her in many ways and much harder on the rest of us. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I noticed I was feeling a free floating sadness and it took a day or two to figure out what was wrong. It was grief. Christmas was important to my mother and I think I was still in a state of shock last Christmas so I felt her absence keenly this year. So I was already had the seed of revisiting grief and loss in my mind. I was prepared to love these people based only on the evidence of the way they had swept my father into their circle and helped him through his own tremendous loss in ways I couldn't because this is my first time with grief so close to my heart. On Wednesday, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about my own experience of grief as I was reintroduced to M and her delightful family who all welcomed Beav and me like we had just come home from a long trip and my own raw insecurity makes such warmth from strangers a little overwhelming. Which is probably why I cried for about two hours yesterday as I drove through the unspeakably beautiful western edge of Hill Country? My tears came from relief because I experienced the same people my father did and I understood his affection and love for them. I was so afraid my father’s new life would exclude his daughters. This morning I thought back to a dream I had last week. It was one of those lucid dreams which I believe is a visitation from those we love. Dad, me and Mom were standing in the kitchen of our old house and she was packing things in paper and putting them in a box. She was talking to me and unfortunately I don’t remember what she was saying which had troubled me last week. But this morning when I flashed on the dream, I remembered she was happy and animated: excited to be packing the kitchen. And again, I cried. I cried tears of joy and relief for my father. Tears of joy for me. I can’t wait to get to know my new family in South Texas. Dad showed me a letter M’s son wrote and it was so tender and sweet as he described the “light returning to his mother’s eye” and how he had been afraid she would spend the rest of her life alone. I knew that fear, I didn’t want Dad to be alone, either. I had also seen the light C described his mother having. It lives in my Dad’s eyes.

So now I have a new home and a new family special gifts for the new year. L, who is near my age with a son almost exactly Beav's age, is a funny, intelligent and a strong woman, M’s sister C is just as smart and capable with a deliciously wicked sense of fun, and M's grand daughter--Violet Bella--who’s photography I’ve gushed over at etsy (lovely serendipity) after following links of newly listed items is someone I'm hoping to meet in person this spring whom I getting to know through her own art and words. M herself who is tranquil and thoughtful in ways I only hope to be.

No accident I met them on The Twelfth Day of Christmas because that’s just how grace works.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weather Whining

"Minnesota Snowy Road" jmagnus at

I’m cold and I'm sick of it. I’m sick of wearing my big Irish sweaters, turtle necks and long pants. I wouldn’t mind if I could just wear jeans and a light weight cardigan but this constant bundling up is wearing me the hell out. I’m tired of looking like Ellen Degeneres’s not so talented little sister. I want to look girly and cute ALL YEAR ROUND not just four months out of the year. If I wanted a wardrobe of Sorels and flannel I would live in Portland. Right? I haven’t bothered to Google our weather stats because I’m afraid to find out it really isn’t any colder this year and all I’m suffering from is a diminished tolerance for winter. The Girl is tired of it too. And she’s from almost Canada where its cold and wet plus she went to college in Chicago. That takes serious weather tolerance. I have friends who live across western Canada and their temperature reports from Edmonton (-15 F) and Regina (-25F with high winds!) leave me quivering and weeping in a corner. On the bright side: it’s almost five pm and there is still light in the west plus it was in the forty’s today which makes it probably the warmest day in about a month. (don’t tell me I’m wrong and actually it was 40 a week ago Thursday because you’ll just harsh my weather whine) I thought I was getting a respite this week in Texas but it’s actually going to be colder there on Friday than it will be here. What. The. Hell? I have to lug my stupid sweaters and a big coat with me to Texas? Fortunately, relief is on the way and in twenty-nine days I’ll be thawing out on a beach. I picture us getting off the airplane and slowly melting --like Frosty the Snowman--until there wasn‘t anything but a pile of wet wool, fleece and polypro. Two years ago, one of the caretakers where we stay was helping us with our luggage and I had my big ass puffy down jacket looped under my duffle bag straps. He pointed at it, looking at me like it was the most bizarre thing he had ever seen. It turns out he didn’t realize it was cold enough where we live to warrant a down jacket because his employers live much further north and don’t bring such things with them. Probably because they are accustomed to the cold.

Whatever. I’m not nor will I ever be.

Drastic times call for drastic measures and God bless the Internets. In fact, I think finding the Akumal beach cam was an act of God because it happened by shear chance. And such serendipity has saved our sanity. Or has it? Because now I’m obsessed. And horrors of horrors, I popped on to the beach and to my dismay, the camera had been moved and was directed not out towards the water but straight down so some delinquent or Frat Rat could write in the sand: “Hi Mom from the Mayan Rivera”. Well isn’t that sweet but I don’t give a flying F through a rolling donut about “Mom” , I need to see some dappled, gentle ebbing water and half dressed people basking in the sun! People who get to take off their Irish and expose their pale sickly white winter skin to the glorious rays of the dangerous and deadly sun. Bastards, moving the camera like that. I goaded The Girl into emailing the Akumal restaurant where the web cam lives to explain the paramount importance of fixing the camera as an effort to maintain our sanity over the next 696 hours before we are basking in the sun and writing messages to people in the sand. They fixed it.

The web cam madness doesn’t stop at Akumal. Nope. I visit Castaway Island (NOT the one at Disney Land) and watch the very lucky (and wealthy--because ho boy it’s spendy to just get there from Auckland!) sun worshippers. After dark at my house, I can visit Phuket and watch a live stream of the Indian Ocean from a beach. I considered emailing that hotel to explain the importance of cleaning the salt tang off the lens so I can have a clearer view of the surf and sand. A mic would be nice, too. But then I could just download ocean sounds to go with my viewing. Beach viewing 24/7 at my house.

The Girl will probably come home from work next week and find me splayed out in a lawn chair in the middle of the living room, Mai-Tai in hand, Paulina Rubio blasting as I watch my tiny screen shot of perfect blue water kissing perfect white sand. But I’ll keep a coat over my bathing suit.

I’m not that crazy because it would cost eleventh thousand dollars to heat our house to a balmy 80 degrees.

See ya’ at the beach!