You ever have that feeling that you want to drop everything and go a completely different direction? That is the standard mode of operations in our family as we just pop a little ol’ thought in our head and run away with it. It may not have been inherent for me, but it’s definitely rubbed off on me from friends who've done the same. I never thought of leaving Houston, but in 1994, three weeks after visiting Miami I was in a moving truck. Since then I have gone from San Diego to Tampa and finally Orlando, adding three kids along the way. So, throw in a few years with a Subway franchise (don’t even think about it), and a hard-earned bachelor’s degree, I think I have a pretty good list of adventures to speak of.
This is just a very brief illustration of the ease in which I am ready to make a change in my life. I mention all this because recently a friend decided to give up the corporate world to pursue a rather zany idea, but apparently not in Vegas. He, along with his partner James Cass, dreamed up Las Vegas’ first mobile wedding service. The Las Vegas Wedding Wagon may be kitschy, but it’s definitely proving to be innovative. What he didn’t plan for is the whirlwind of media attention the wedding service has received just in the first week of business. Not only has it gone national, hitting every media outlet in the states, it has gone global with attention in Europe, Russia, and even an interview from South Korea.
Andy, like me, has made many changes in his life, sliding into one new adventure after another over the years. However, I’m pretty sure the Las Vegas Wedding Wagon is his most exiting one yet and we couldn’t be more proud of him. The media coverage has been tremendous and seeing Andy’s face on national television because he had the courage to take the leap is more than exciting, it’s inspiring.
So, it seems I was a little overambitious with my list of “things to see” while here in Washington, D.C. with the kids. Our first full day started a little slow, not surprising considering the drive. I let the younger two sleep-in, resisting the urge to shake them into consciousness – I had a list, ya know. We headed to the U.S. Capitol for our afternoon tour (thanks again, Marco Rubio) and it was exciting, at least for me. The tour begins with an emotionally charged video titled E Pluribus Unum. I was already overwhelmed with patriotism in the first minute, however the oldest had to interrupt my moment of awe with, “How long is the video going to last?” Really? I came to realize the highlights for them were the headphones we wore to listen to our tour guide (who was amazing, by the way), the potential for getting grub at the restaurant, and spending their very last dime in the gift shop. I’m sure you can guess their response to my wanting to take the tunnel to the Library of Congress…brats.
The rest of our afternoon was spent walking, walking and more walking. My list of must see museums went from three to one, the Air and Space Museum – and only because I knew they wouldn’t let me pick American History. I’ll save my few readers from the pain of hearing about the walk to the monument and my insistence on trekking further to the Lincoln Memorial. I must admit that even the walk up those stairs to see Lincoln sitting comfortably in his chair left me more than exhausted. It was when my daughter asked why my face was so red that I knew my own personal limitations had been reached.
Elephant Exhibit Restrooms
We kept it light today and visited the National Zoo for just a few morning hours. I didn’t mind so much that the kids wanted to peruse the merchandise in the air conditioned gift shops. After leaving I got lost trying to get a close drive-by view of the Pentagon, which I did find eventually - but not because it’s the 12th largest building in the world. It was totally by accident, but consequently, we got to see Arlington National Cemetery and the Reagan National Airport. So, I got to scratch those off my list.
Well, tomorrow we check-out of the apartment we rented, which is unfortunate considering I have so much more we (perhaps just I) want to see. Maybe planning more than two weeks out next time will lend itself to obtaining more budget friendly accommodations. I intend to fit one more museum in tomorrow to fill time while The Husband concludes his business, but I can’t promise which one yet. Let’s see if we can find parking first. I’ll keep you posted.
Driving down Constitution Boulevard here in Washington, D.C. has left me in a complete state of amazement. We had just spent many hours in the car with the kids (more than I care to mention) and were at wits end with the traffic as we approached our fair nation’s capital. However, once we saw the Washington Monument standing in all its glory, any thoughts I had of planning my next trip without my offspring completely disappeared.
As we exited over the 14th Street Bridge we all became one of those many tourists we see in Florida with camera in hand and fingers pointing at everything in sight. I don’t care which side of the political spectrum you land on, you instantly feel like a kid amongst all the historic buildings as you approach the Capitol Building – which, by the way, I’m convinced was literally floating in the horizon. I look forward to exploring all the museums and monuments with the kids and have already received my tour pass for the Capitol Building from our Florida senator - who ignored the fact I disregarded the three month tour request requisite. When you fly by the seat of your pants, you just don't make plans that early. Definitely more to come…
Tortilla-Maker by Diego Rivera
While driving home this morning from an appointment, I heard NPR’s Allison Aubrey share her Pie-Making 101 story. She talked about the tradition in which grandmothers made homemade pies and its lost art in subsequent generations. It seems once mothers abandoned the kitchen to either go to work out of necessity or for their own personal liberation, they didn’t have time or really want to make pies from scratch.
I started thinking about my own grandmother and the one special item she would make. It wasn’t a pie, but something that could just as easily be made at home - tortillas. Like pie crusts, tortillas call for essentially the same ingredients: flour, vegetable shortening and water. And, then there's the one other key ingredient, the grandmother. They simply have a special voodoo that they do so well, making everything taste better. I wonder why that is?
Allison’s story refers to the forces of the universe giving grandmothers the special ability to make everything taste unequivocally delicious. My mom wasn’t in the kitchen making tortillas from scratch, she was at work. But, I did go through my own handmade tortilla phase when I became a stay-at-home mom. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how much better a handmade tortilla is compared to anything you can buy at the grocery store. But, no matter how much I tried to channel my grandmother, it wasn’t even close to hers.
So, I’m coming up with a plan to create my own signature homemade item. However, I have a sneaky suspicion that the special mojo won’t kick in until my grandkids are born.
My photo adventures in Florida