Hi -- obviously, yes, we made it back from our trip. I was going to write much more about it, but now I don't know quite what to say.
We had a good time with family, and I got to see Mom and Dad's lovely and awesome new house out in the outskirts of Chehalis, Wa.
I actually ended up speaking at Grandma's memorial service, which seemed to go fine. A number of people shared a number of touching stories about her, including the amusing tale of how she and I practically broke our necks during a really fast carriage ride (we weren't driving!) through the Siq at Petra, Jordan. I honestly don't know how I held on, let alone my then-82-year-old grandma. She was a tough old bird, to be sure. And a very kind lady. And a wonderful grandma. Someday, I'll miss her dreadfully.
(the photo at right is my mom, my grandma and me at the Dead Sea in Jan. 2001.)
CORRECTION -- that is not the Dead Sea. I cannot recall right now what it actually is -- the Mediterranean? Something like that -- but the Dea Sea does not have waves. Unless it's really really windy, I suppose. Sorry about misleading y'all. It is from that same trip, though.
I enjoyed reminiscing about her, but it kept niggling at my brain that it was such the type of gathering she would have enjoyed, she must be there somewhere. As I said when I spoke, it's still inconceivable to me that she's not on this earth any more. My mind can't quite grasp the reality of that. I was hoping that the funeral and memorial service -- and, hey, staying at her apartment while we visited, and even divvying up some of her possessions with my cousins and family -- would help. But it didn't seem to.
The actual trip there and back was a bit hairy, considering it was the two kiddos and me, but we made it. We forgot Lizzy's car seat, but it's just as well -- these days, your first checked bag costs $15 (on the airline we flew, but most of them charge something), so it was actually a hair cheaper to buy a $25 one when we got there (we'd have had to check it in both directions). Maddie was just about perfect on the whole trip, despite a couple of colossally poopy diapers before we got on planes; typical. Lizzy was not so great at times -- I had planned to rent a DVD player at the airport, but we didn't have time, so the first three-hour flight was quite a nightmare. I fail to see why my newborn should be so much less trouble than my almost-6-year-old; more on that later. I had splurged on a direct flight on the way back, and never regretted it. It also got us back in time to get home and breathe in and out a couple of times before we had to hop in bed for the night. And I've gotta hand it to United -- they've messed me over but good a couple of times in the past, but on this trip, everything went like clockwork. All flights on time; our last-minute seats were grouped together; everyone was very polite and helpful. Thank you for your prayers. They were answered, abundantly.
Overall, I've been quite a bit more tired since coming back to work -- the trip was no help, most likely -- and I find myself inadvertently falling mostly asleep on the metro on the way home. It's been a push -- an unsuccessful push, thus far -- to squeeze in an 8-hour work day and commute in and out in time to get the kids. Let's hope I figure this out before I get in lots of trouble here at work.
So, yeah, Lizzy's been full of 'tude lately. It's probably got a lot to do with being a big sister, and even more to do with the fact that I'm so much less patient and accommodating with her than I used to be. And a bit more to do with her having started first grade, and coming into contact with lots of new little 'tudes and their too-cool little ways. I have to confess, though -- there are times I want her to GO AWAY, and I'm not too bothered about for how long. In some ways, I wish there were a little island I could escape to with baby Maddie where I'm alone with her to soak her up, uninterrupted. I suspect that island was called "maternity leave," and it has since been destroyed. Ugh.
Don't tell Lizzy, but I just ordered her the dollhouse she's been longing for. That's pretty much going to be her Christmas. It'll be fun to see her freak out when she sees it.
I've probably got more to say, but it escapes me now. Also, it's time to shove off for home again.