The Battle of Vicksburg… Monday Morning in a Central Texas Town Version

So. It’s EFFING cold in this house. Worse than last year? Maybe. I have cold weather plastic over the windows in the baby’s room- and that is JUST about the only thing getting us through. That and the belief that this is fleeting and is therefore romantic in an “Oh it’s cold, let’s all cuddle up” type of way.

So therefore know, when I told my middle daughter that “I need you to bundle up and go play outside.” I wasn’t being cruel… hell, it’s probably warmer outside. Besides. Character building.  But how was I to know THIS was the hill I was to die on? Did Johnny Reb know the Battle of Vicksburg was the turning point in the war when it happened? Did they know it was a slow, inexorable slide from that point to defeat? Because I can sure as hell tell you I knew the SECOND she replied with a not impolitely phrased: “That sounds like a want more than a need” and walked out of the room- that this war was lost.

They’ve won. Oh lord. The children have won.


Business Travel: Occasional Distractions from Melancholy

It sounds cool: traveling for work. I promise I am WELL aware of that. And that the following will sound so entitled- but traveling the country for work sucks. Big ones. I travel to Portland. Indianapolis. Denver. Salt Lake City. Dallas. Pittsburg. I have to travel to Canada regularly too. Know what I get to see more than anything? The inside of Marriot hotels. Airports. Conference rooms at engineering firms, which all seem to have the same tables and chairs. And it’s just excruciating to be away from my family. All I ever want to do is get back to them.

But every once in a while… I can carve out just a tiny bit of time and literally force myself to look up and enjoy the places I visit. So occasionally I can eat lunch and walk in an old growth forest in Washington (honestly? I felt like bear bait on that one.) I get to go to an awesome bookstore in Portland. Once I stayed in an AMAZING Bed and Breakfast in Seattle because the entire city’s hotel rooms were sold out. And this last trip… I got to carve an hour and a half from the afternoon and went to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. It’s an Art Museum! It’s a Natural History Museum! Here are some pics.


Van Goghe


Another Van Goghe


From the Colonial Era Room…


Cezanne (my favorite painting from the entire museum)


…And then there is the Modern Art Wing




*Eyeroll* Heavy Sigh…”Art”

But my FAVORITE part of the museum was the Natural History Museum. I took more videos in that wing, so I don’t have pictures of the T-Rexs or Brachiosaurs, but here are a few of the pics.





And my favorite thing in the ENTIRE place- a two foot fossil of a prehistoric flower. Amazing! And that’s more art than a tire in pantyhose- Fo’ SHO’.



Well sure it does.

Thing I learned this week: The Ross Dress for Less in Denver reeks of weed.

I just got back from a trip to Denver and Salt Lake City- and it was yet another one of my stellar planning jobs for business trips. Why is that you say? Oh just the fact that I seem incapable of remembering that just because it is 70 degrees here DOES NOT MEAN IT WILL BE IN DENVER JESUS PACK A JACKET FOR ONCE!!! (second time this has happened)

So, there I was in a Ross on Tuesday night, getting a fleece jacket so I don’t absolutely freeze to death on this trip. (Good thing I did- it snowed in SLC) And it reeked of weed… in the baby section. I don’t know what else I expected. I really don’t.

But I seem to have a real trend going of forgetting important items on business trips. Like the one before this where I got to ride around with the Marriot shuttle driver at 11pm trying to find some contact solution (a gas station didn’t have any, but we finally found a Walgreens I could run into). He was from Jamacia and had been in the US 6 years. When I asked him how he liked it here he seemed terrified to answer but stuttered out an  “It’s GREAT!” Though it was obvious the subtext was: “Oh god what is the right answer here..what the hell!” You’re in Dallas, TX dude, I get it. Back to general platitudes and small talk.

I’ve forgotten toothpaste on trips. Tooth brushes. Often forget a hairbrush. Never seem to remember hair ties. Or socks. ALWAYS forget Q-tips… the list goes on.

But I must tell you NOTHING beats the time I wore my cowboy boots on the plane (they’re a pain to get off to get through security, but needed the space in my carry-on)… and forgot to pack my boot jack. And I of course forgot that feet and ankles swell on planes. I was THIS close to walking down to the front desk and having the kid behind the counter pull my boot off for me later that night. I was stuck in boots for about 20 minutes, furiously hopping around my hotel room trying to get them off. I would have done it too, but I did finally get them off. Can you imagine? I would have just been doing my part to reinforce the national perceptions of Texans as total jackasses.

“Well ‘schuse me there, Buddy- mind helping’ me outta these here shitkickers? I’d me mighty ‘bliged.” *Ptew!*

That last bit was me spitting into a spittoon.

In case that wasn’t clear.