Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lessons When You Least Expect Them

Today is the last full day of our "killing time as tourists" part of the trip. The little ones are sleeping in (thank goodness for blaackout curtains) and Stevie is exploring the hotel by going on errands for me that I make up. We need a lot of ice...So, I think we'll head on over to Gaitlinburg and then do the Riverwalk tonight.

But I think we're all having a great time just doing nothing and anything that's unplanned. Stevie asked that when I get directions to Gaitlinburg this morning if I could not take the Interstate and find the Scenic Route instead.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Um, why didn't anyone stop me from doing that? I thought you were my friends?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Where in the World Is Tracey?

Blogging from beautiful Knoxville, Tennessee..

Knoxville? You say. How did you end up in Knoxville, Trace?

Well, it's a funny story, really. In between sacraments (youngest nephew's Baptism) in akron, Ohio and Greenville, South Carolina, (Oldest niece's wedding) I found myself with a couple of days to kill with the kids, the car, and about 750 miles, so I closed my eyes and played Russian Roulette with Rand McNally and found myself in spitting distnce of Dollywood.

So that's where we'll be tomorrow.

(and since I already have my ticket to heaven, this will ensure the concierge floor when I get there.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Unescorted on the Highway

BTW, as an unescorted female on the road, I have unwittingly become the Christie Brinkley to every Clark Griswold on the Interstate system.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day 2

I have earned my direct ticket to heaven.

Or, rather, I purchased it at the Wal-Mart of the Interstate: Cracker Barrel.

In perhaps the worst meal I have ever almost eaten, I, and three kids in tow ate at a West Virginia Cracker Barrel on a Friday night. Big mistake.

However, it was worth the 14-hour drive day for the one moment when Matty was sitting in the front seat and we clasped hands in a Thelma and Louise move, and then sang our guts out to our theme song of the trip, Life is a Highway, by Rascal Flatts speeding down I-77.

We arrived in Ohio late last night and had a wonderful day today. Pleasantly exhausted, and looking forward to the festivities tomorrow.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

She's all loaded, and the more time I spend at home waiting on the furniture delivery before hitting the road, the more I pack. I think I'm going to call in surrogate signatory for the new kitchen table so I can make it to at least Orlando today...

So we're about to embark on a 2 week road trip north, but will be in touch along the way because I am sick, just plain sick I tell ya.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Packing up

The last homecooked meal for a long while is cooking in the oven. That's the one bad thing about a road trip--the horrific dining choices on the way.

And as the oven roasts the stuffed flank steak with spinach and prosciutto, baby red-skinned potatoes and asparagus, the washing machine churns the last load of laundry, and the suitcases fill rapidly, I'm starting to get a furrow in my brow.

I can't wait to see everyone and be in the thick of fun for these next two weeks, of course, but I can't help but worry about A-Dog, of course.

While Amy and I were shopping today for the last incidental car surprises to whip out at the perfect moment to thwart squabbles, time and boredom, I realized I was being watched.

Because we spend so much time at home alone together, the subtleties and complexities of our communication occur naturally now, and I don't think of how it must look to other people. (This happened over the weekend, too.) In some strange combination of homemade sign language, facial expression, precise finger movement and a healthy dose of ESP, I usually know exactly what she wants or needs at any given moment. There is an ad-hoc science to it, I assure you, and rarely do I have to guess. It's how we survive.

So, this woman is watching us, and I can tell she is wondering the source of the lack of speech; and I swear I almost answered her unspoken question because that's what we do all day--answer the unspoken.

But I didn't.

I didn't launch into my litany of doctors and hearing tests and speech therapists and diagnoses. I didn't give the game plan and I didn't make excuses and I didn't say what was next.

And it felt good.

And so I hope that next week with all of the well-intentioned advice, counsel, stories about friends of friends that had similar problems and did this or that...I hope all of that goes unspoken, too.

Because she is really amazing even when she doesn't say a word.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What Crawled Back Out of the Gulf

I have returned, albeit reluctantly.

The weekend was perfect—the Gulf seems to echo a siren’s call to me that is irresistible.

And in between Olympic Beach Combing Events, the kids enjoyed their breaks of independence, while Amy remained a barnacle, but a pliable one, enjoying sand, surf or pool.

Other events that will be added to the Palm Island Summer Olympics will be Golf Cart Derby, Sustained Drinking Relays, Underwater Grilling, Shades of Sunburning, Snake Wrestling, Diaper Sand Capacity and, of course, Beer Rationing and How Many People Can We Feed and Jam into One Condo Watching Other Sporting Events.

I think Sean medaled in all of these events with the exception of Kathy who can boast the highest SPF Suntan lotion of 70.


That’s called, “Staying inside a cave.”

OK, now leave me alone. I have to go pack for the 1000 mile drive to Ohio on Thursday.

And for some unknown nostalgic reason, I have just read through many months of my archives on this silly blog, and it struck me that I somewhere along the line stopped posting an idiotic Quote of the Day. I know you all must have missed this daily wisdom, so I am reinstituting this sage practice.

Unfortunately, Love in the Time of Cholera seems to have ruined me for all other books, so you're getting another one from there.

He did not dare to console her, knowing that it would have been like consoling a tiger run through by a spear...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gone Drinkin'

Checking out of the Blogosphere for a while; most of the readers of this will be on the beach with me, so we'll blog together over cocktails in person.

I'll be bookless, by the way. Unless I can make an unscheduled side trip to B&N on the highway...thanks for the suggestions.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Call Out

Okay, in a rare wrinkle in the space-time continuum; I have nothing to read.

I believe this absence is affecting much more than just my writer's block, but I cannot face 5 days on a beach with no thick tome in one hand, a cold cocktail in the other.

So dear readers, you have 24 hours in which to post your best suggestions. Make it racy, intriguing, and engaging--but make it fast.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

What the hell?

The first named storm of the season, Alberto, (again with the hurricanes named after Flamenco dancers) is heading toward Tampa just to mess with my vacation plans.

We've got a beach vacation planned starting Thursday, and I really would appreciate the beach still being there upon our arrival.

Oh well, I suppose my disaster plan can include the relocation of my drinking if need be.


The only other news in Divaland is that of no news. I mean I just can't write of any lately. I've got nothing. Nada. Zip. It's like a vacuum down here.

Maybe Alberto will blow in some much needed verbage.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tee Hee

Barnes and Noble has officially decided to stock my book in some of their stores.

Actual stores with actual shelves.


Friday, June 09, 2006

My first royalty check came today

It may not be for a big amount, but to me, it is priceless.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Our Shopping List for Palm Island Next Week

1. Beer
2. Wine
3. Margaritas
4. Beer
5. More Beer

Then we realized that we should probably pack something to soak up some of the alcohol.

6. Chips and salsa
7. Vodka punch

Then we thought we may pass out on the beach for hours on end...

8. Suntan lotion SPF 2
9. Skimpy suits (because we won't care what we look like in them)
10. Mimosas

Then we remembered our kids...

11. Juice boxes
12. Pop-tarts
13. Mojitos

Then realized that the sun would go down eventually and we would have to go in at night...

14. Poker chips
15. ice cream
16. Bailey's

And then we remembered we would have to return home on Monday...

17. Advil
18. First-Aid Kit
19. Beer again.

At least the planning dinner was fun.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Not only am I a poet, but a frugal environmentalist

Because the air conditioner has been dying a slow, painful, oozing death for months now, when it freezes up and leaks water from the return in the garage, I fill buckets from the freon-laced a/c bleed, and water the grass, the plants, the neighbor's lawn and re-fill the community retention ponds.

I figure it costs about $720 a bucket in wasted electricity to save the 22 cents a gallon in water.

Wax poetic

Yesterday, I was freaking Pablo Neruda with my "Ode to the Florida Rain" post--today I am regretting my romantic visions of the storm because every one of God's slimiest and most reptilian creatures must be poets too as they all came out in an amphibian symphony last night to enjoy the wet reprieve. Today, I am stepping over lizards, toads and frogs (my worst fear on Earth) and even a snake. I wouldn't be surprised to see an alligator sunning on the pool float with a margarita he stole from my fridge.

Freaking Florida.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rainy Days and Thursdays

I am watching the rain fall on the street as steam rises and that metallic scent of summer wafts up into the heavy air.

We have not had a drop of rain since February 3, when 10 inches fell in a single day. It has not rained since.

The grass is brown, the flowers are wilted, there are watering restrictions imposed because water is so scarce. Even the glossy leaves of the tropical plants have lost their luster. A film of dust months old now, coats everything.

And so when the afternoon threatened with a few gathering clouds on the horizon, I was not impressed. I was not convinced when a rogue breeze lifted my hair when Matty was in the pool. Even when I had to switch on a light in the middle of the afternoon, I thought for certain it would blow over. But now it comes down in earnest and it is one of the most welcome thunderstorms I have ever seen.


We have just logged in our last early morning (in principle anyway) of the school year. What a blessed relief. I have been looking forward to summer vacation with my boys for weeks.

I started my vacation a little earlier this week though, when I begged out of a basket party (Sorry!) and went to the movies instead. It was a Tuesday--the greatest day of the week--and we all know I haven't seen a movie over a G-rating in a theater since 1988. So we saw "The DaVinci Code" along with the rest of America. It wasn't bad--if your benchmark is how closely it followed the book, it was almost sentence by sentence, which as a reader I appreciate. It was also a good movie, I thought too, but then again my critical cinematic eye is something to be desired since I laughed out loud in "Over the Hedge," and can't wait to take Amy and the boys to "Cars," tomorrow.

And now I can because it's summer and we can go in the middle of the day if we want!