Archive | August, 2011

Out of action

22 Aug

The computer is broken. It has been taken apart by my brother. That, I imagine, is the end of it. Two more weeks with no computer. Think of me as I slowly go insane.
Normal service will be resumed when I get home.


Bearing witness

8 Aug

You’d better stop right there, sir. You’ve brought Chance home. You’re his witness now. Without a witness, they just disappear.                 Taking Chance (2009)

The flight from L.A. to Philadelphia also carried the remains of a fallen Marine home to his family.

The flight was full, and the Air stewards looked for volunteers to give up their seats, so that he could be brought home as quickly as possible. Just like in the movie.

You never think about how those who die fighting for their country get home. But it is nice to think that they are brought with as much dignity and respect as is humanly possible.

But, still you cry. For the life lost. For the family waiting. For the man in the belly of the plane, with the random detritus of life that people choose to stuff into suitcases and bring half way around the world with them.

Tears flow. But you have a small boy to entertain. And you need to keep him quiet for the minute of silence. So you bite back the tears as best you can. Only for the tears to start again at random points throughout the flight.

Journeys like this happen everyday. Without note.

As the film shows and I witnessed, people do take note. They cry for the fallen. They stop. They show their respect in whatever way they can.

I wanted to go up to the Marine sitting near us and thank him for chaperoning his fallen comrade on his way home to his family, but I couldn’t. My voice wouldn’t work.

My voice wouldn’t work.

But there needs to be witnesses.

And we do need to think of these things.

Or wars will continue to be started willy nilly.

And those who have sacrificed will have done so for nothing.



Shared with Sleep is for the Weak‘s Writing Workshop

The flight

8 Aug

So, you know how I was a bit panicked? Well, more than a bit. It turns out I shouldn’t have worried. Sending my husband out at ten o clock at night to find a portable dvd player in L.A. when we discovered the one we had brought was broken, was overkill Don’t get me wrong, I was glad to have it, but hindsight now tells me I could have done without it.

We got to the airport early. More than 2 hours before the flight. Panic, you see. I visited the loo at least 3 times in the space of five minutes. Panic, you see. Then I insisted that we go straight through security. Panic, you see. They had to x-ray my backpack twice. As the man said, “It’s full of stuff.” Well, yes. Travelling by myself with a 3 year old. Panic, you see.

Once we found our gate, some of the panic dissipated. And we went for a wander. There wasn’t really anywhere to let a small boy roam free. There were, however landscaped areas with palm trees and whatnot. “I need to go in the jungle Mammy.” Explanations of why we couldn’t go in there fell on deaf ears when a small boy-sized opening was found. It was only luck that I caught him.

Time for a bribe. “Would you like some chocolate milk?” “Ooooh, chocolate milk. Yes.” So we found a cafe place. A cafe that didn’t serve chocolate milk. I told him and he said “But I need a apple, a nana and milk.” Wholesome looking guy in front of us pipes up “What good choices” as I look like a loon trying to force chocolate milk on a small boy who doesn’t want it. By the time he had taken a few bites out of his apple, made a ship out of the banana, and drank the milk, it was almost time to board the plane.

We did take advantage of the pre-boarding option. Just because people tend to get a bit antsy when you don’t board a plane as quickly as is humanly possible, for some reason. So we got settled in peace. He played with the seat belt, wile I sat hoping he wouldn’t figure out how to open it. I got out the lollipop for take off. He spotted it and had it chewed before the engines had even fired up.

He was kept occupied during the flight by a new ‘Big Barn Farm’ book. A tube of dinosaurs. And one of those magnetic sketch things. “My magic writer.” Usually it’s like pulling teeth trying to get him to draw anything, but he had great fun with that, scribbling away, asking me what he had drawn, correcting me and erasing it, to start all over again. About 2 hours into the flight it was coming up on naptime, so I brought him to the toilet, then sat him on my lap and sang him a song. He was out, then until we were about to begin our descent, when he woke up, needing the loo again. We couldn’t get up, so I put a nappy on him and told him he could use that. The nappy was dry when we got to the toilets in the airport!!!

Philadelphia is an awesome airport. We had just landed when there was a service announcement, listing all of the play areas in the airport. Happily, there was one on the way to our gate! We stopped first to get some food. A small boy said he needed some pasta and cheese. And that is what he had. Then an hour in the play area and it was time to head to our gate again. There was some protest, but not too much.

We had another ‘Big Barn Farm’ book to occupy us while they sorted out the plane (technical difficulties). And the “magic writer”. And snacks. The plane finally took off, an hour late. Once we got in the air, I broke out the dvd player. More because I was tired, than him. He watched bit of “The Little Engine that Could”, then it was time for dinner. “I don’t like plane food.” Fair enough. He wouldn’t even eat the cookie.

I turned the movie on again. And he watched it, quite happily, earphones and all until the lights went down for ‘rest time’. There wasn’t much protest when I said it was time to sleep “Us is going to sleep on the plane? Oh no! When is us going to see Granny?” And off he went to sleep. He was still sleeping when we landed. I had to wake him up to put on his jacket. I thought it would be cold. It wasn’t that bad.

The only problem we had, was when I stood at the wrong blooming luggage carousel. Of course our suitcase never came out. Over half an hour I stood there, before I looked up at the carousel number. I found the suitcase easily enough, sitting in the lost luggage area. And we were off!


5 Aug

We leave for Ireland TOMORROW! The two of us. Alone. We’re going to surprise Mam.

I think I may have been in denial. Or something. An inordinately long flight (well 2 of them) with a newly potty-trained 3 year old. On. My. Own. What was I thinking????? And now that I have my drivers license, we could have stayed here by ourselves, eating ramen and beans while the Hubby went off to Colorado to learn something, perhaps about space.

It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. I have M&Ms, and stickers and a portable DVD player and all kinds of things. But there’s still a knot in my stomach. A BIG one.

The Turtle is super excited. I didn’t tell him until Wednesday, when there was “3 more sleeps”. He has laid out a plan for us. Apparently Uncle Norman will be bringing us all over the place. And we will see Granny and all of her friends. “And we will have fun. And Daddy will be working.”

“What is Ireland anyway? Is it a place to live?”

“Yes it is”

“And Granny lives there?….And they have a zoo in Ireland. And Norman will bring us. And we’ll laugh and laugh and laugh.”

Assuming we survive the flight……………


3 Aug

I took my driving test on Friday. And passed! I am now fully licensed to drive by the state of California. The lunatics!

There was one hairy moment at the beginning of the test. One where the tester was roaring “STOP! STOP!”, but it wasn’t my fault. Not entirely. He mixed up his left and his right and, well there was a bit of confusion. Still, no one died. Ahem.

My problem areas are apparently traffic checks. I need to look at every intersection I come to. Even if I can see. I need to LOOK. Even if I have the right of way, am in the middle lane and can see that there is no one there. There is one street here where that would mean that I never actually look at the road I am driving on. Still.I asked the Hubby if he did this and he said “Yes, of course”. He doesn’t. I pointed out the street. He said “What? Here? No.” So rest assured, I am looking.

I can’t believe the freedom it brings. Yesterday we went to our usual church playgroup, yes, I drove the mile and a half. The Turtle refused to cycle. Anyway, when we got into the car afterwards I asked him what he wanted to do “Go to the park. Us can’t go to the beach. It’s too far.” We went to the beach. It was awesome.

I am going to be one of those people who can never find their keys, frets over whether the car is locked, and takes 3 years to load up the car. I was utterly perplexed in the supermarket car park, groceries loaded, small boy in cart. Do I put him in the car? Do I bring him with me to put the cart away, or just abandon the cart in the middle of the car park like everyone else? I brought him with me to leave it back, couldn’t be entirely sure that I wouldn’t hit it as I backed out. But how do people with more than one child manage? My mind is boggled. But, now that I can go by myself, well, I will.

Because I have FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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