Coronavirus Crisis: Carefully Flying Across The Ocean As The World Shuts Down

We are social distancing. Just not the way I thought we would be.

Me, Big Daddy & Easy E, Salt Lake City, Utah

I think it was twenty-four hours ago, but it has probably been more. We lost a day. On Friday afternoon, son #2 and I drove to our local WalMart. He was mad at me because of something I said the day before. We stood in the frozen food section talking it through until a person strolled up and son #2 impatiently said,

“Mom, let’s keep this moving.”

Until that moment I had not noticed the empty shelves and carts filled with items such as twelve bottles of Lysol disinfecting spray, shrink wrapped thick pieces of beef, and Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese. I will assume that son #2 also saw the cart filled with Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese, because he said something like, 

“Mom, I really want some Velveeta.” 

I was like, “you might as well; it is the end of the world.”

Once convinced I would actually buy him “synthetic cheese,” son #2 proclaimed, “Mom, the Velveeta is not in the refrigerator section.” I laughed and said something like, “Oh, so you are going like 1980s Apocalypse?”

I felt some relief and resolve when he laughed in response. 

We asked the kind, short-haired WalMart employee taking inventory, if she could help us find the Velveeta. Is it really cheese? She stood up, put both of her hands in the air and said, 

“See where I am standing.”

We looked at where she was standing and acknowledged her. She responded, now pointing with both arms,

“It is on the other side of where we are.”

We thanked her and commented about the empty-shelf-Armageddon-situation. Somberly, she replied, 

“This all makes me want to cry.”

Compassionately, we thanked her and said, “hey, hang in there. We are in this together.”


I am not sure the world is going to end tomorrow. Nevertheless, she was correct. The Velveeta was on the other side and on a shelf. It is one of the things still left (or at least left on Friday). Son #2 laughed again and said, 

“This stuff is expensive, or I would have bought it myself the other day.”

I laughed too and said, “Good thing your mom loves you and wants to keep you safe during the end of the world.”

At that, son #’s mood improved and he laughed too. I was hopeful that his positive mood shift signaled that he had forgiven my blunder, or at least, was on his way. And before we could pick up the next items, we noticed what turned out to be a brother and sister cleaning out every last box of pasta. I eavesdropped into their conversation as I watched them pack their arms full of boxes of Barilla pasta,

“I can’t believe her. She is nuts. Mom asked us to buy all the pasta. This is insane.”

I looked at  them. They looked back at me.

“Our mom is crazy. I am so sorry.”

“I get it.” I said. 

I couldn’t help myself and I wanted to help them (even if they didn’t want my help).

As they walked away I asked, “Hey, can I have one of those boxes?”

The girl sweetly turned around and said, “Here. You want two? My mom won’t miss it.”

“Sure. Thank you.”

She handed me the boxes. I told her I really didn’t need the pasta, and we talked about the end of the world.

Then, son #2 and I both acknowledged feeling overwhelmed and marginally freaked out. I took one more run through the store in hopes of finding hand soap and Clorox Wipes (I know. Foolish). 

Empty-ish Plane: SFO – AKL

We stood in the check-out line shocked at it all. Neither one of us realized it was so insane until we stepped into WalMart. It was almost our turn to check out when a woman approached me. She said something about how she needed one dollar and that if I gave her one dollar now so she could pay that we could go to customer service and she would give me my dollar back. I handed her a dollar and said, “It’s ok. You keep it.”

As we drove home, son #2 said, “Mom, that was traumatic.” Honestly, it kind of was. 

And it was only going to get crazier.


See, my husband, Dave and I were booked to fly to New Zealand on Friday. Son #1 is studying at NYU’s Sydney center. He has been having a hard time, and has been counting on us to meet him during his spring break. Nevertheless, with borders shutting down and schools closing, we were not certain if we should really go. Son #1 was panicked. He continued to be pulled in all sorts of directions. I kept having a feeling that I needed to be there with him long enough for him to catch his breath. I wanted to show him that he did not have to quit or settle just because other people want him to settle. I wanted him to see that we believe in him so much that we would travel halfway around the world. Dave and I want son #1 to know he is worth it.

I know. It sounds a little crazy. What we moms do for our kids. Anyway, I think we are a little nuts. I also worry about my children. I am also a person who totally follows her gut. My gut kept telling me to press forward, which was all fine and good until my mom called.

SFO United Lounge

It was 5:24pm, Friday, March 13. Dave and I were leaving for the airport at 6:15pm. Son #2 is planning to meet us in Sydney next week. (I know. I know. That probably will not happen.)

“Beth. Did you hear?”

“Hi Mom. Did I hear what?”

“Governor Herbert closed all schools across the state starting Monday.”

“What? Wait. Mom. I can’t talk. I need to go. I have to call you back.”

Son #2 was already packed. We only had minutes to decide. I wrangled Dave into our room for a pow wow.


We decided to tell son #2 he needed to get ready to go. Ok. In truth, I asked Dave to tell him. Remember, it was only minutes ago that son #2 and I made peace.

Within minutes, Dave was back in the room looking forlorn.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Son #2 is beside himself.”

Dave and I panic-talked for then next three minutes. We were about to cancel the trip. In fact, earlier in the day, Son #1 told us he wanted to come home. We almost canceled the trip then. I cannot explain my weird mom feelings, because instead of canceling, we pressed forward. And I felt totally calm.

I was on the fence regarding son #2. It was 6:00pm.

I went into the kitchen where son #2 and I talked. I was like, 

“Son #2, I don’t have time to say everything perfectly. I don’t want to piss you off. I probably will. I think you can stay home, but I need you to keep it together. And by keep it together, I mean, not how you think you should, but how I want you to keep it together. No excuses. No, “I don’t feel like it.” We don’t have time to throw down. We just need to decide. Can you keep it together with a good attitude?”

“Yes.” Son #2 calmly said.

 Then I looked him in the eye and said, “Oh, and no girls in your bedroom—for real. And no girlfriends spending the night.”


I could feel son #2’s relief. We have a great network in place. I also think this is a good adulting opportunity for son #2. Again, I was weirdly calm.

I asked son #2 if he was ok.

“He said, I need to go downstairs for a minute and decompress. That was a lot.”

I totally agreed.

By 6:24pm our Lyft arrived. son #2 gave me the best, lift-your-mom-off-the-ground hug. We reminded him we may be back home in an hour, or we may be quarantined in another country. I told son #2 I loved him. We all agreed to take it in stride. I told him I loved him again. Then he obliged to take some pictures, gave me another big hug, and has been checking in regularly ever since. 

Friday’s Lyft driver is a mother of five. Her oldest is nine. She assured us her car was Lysoled and that she wipes her car down with Clorox Wipes after every ride. We talked about schools being closed, about homeschooling and the end of the world. 

The airport was way more crowded than I expected. Every service worker was wearing latex gloves. Our ticket agent was extremely careful about our hands not touching her hands. Our first flight was delayed, which was potentially going to make us miss our flight to New Zealand. Luckily, the 6pm flight to San Francisco hadn’t left yet, having been delayed by 90 minutes, and was boarding as we walked by the gate, so we asked if we could get on that flight. It was only half full.

Somehow we found ourselves in half empty airport lounges, staring at people wearing masks on their faces and pulling them down to eat, and making jokes with people in bathrooms concerning all the bloodied hands from all the extra handwashing. A woman even asked me if I had seen the “Terminator Wash your hands Coronavirus” meme. I have not and will have to find it. About half the people were wiping down their airplane seats. I Clorox-wiped my phone like fifty-seven times. I don’t understand all the people who wear their face masks around their necks. And I have mad respect  for the folks who used their elbows to open the airplane bathroom doors. United Airlines somehow managed to get my gluten free meal. (I only get it about 30% of the time so that was like a total coronavirus-bonus). The flight was uneventful. A nice New Zealand woman explained the New Zealand food import restrictions. (Don’t leave fruit in your bag, or they’ll hit you with a $400 fine). And I didn’t even mind know-it-all budget-Kylo-Ren and his know-it-all girlfriend who were seated behind us, correcting me, Dave, the nice New Zealand lady, and each other while the plane was loading.

Us, Auckland, New Zealand

By the time we landed in Auckland, we were inundated with news. First, we heard misinformation about New Zealand’s borders being closed. Then we heard that all people arriving in New Zealand will have to self quarantine for the next fourteen days. I asked a staff member at the immigration line and she set me straight. We both laughed a sigh of relief when I realized that son #1 would arrive before the quarantine deadline. 

“You all are fine.” She said.

“But what about my son? He doesn’t arrive until 2:30PM.” I respond.

“He is good. He arrives 9 hours before the self quarantine requirement begins.”

Auckland, New Zealand

I thanked her. We laughed again. I thanked her again. We did not touch because no one is touching. In the past I probably would have given her a high five. I texted son #1, who was about to get on his flight to Queenstown from Sydney. As I texted him, Dave and I walked about to the New Zealand immigration agent, who asked me to put my phone away. Then she gave us the third, fourth and fifth degree about where we had been in the past 15 days, and where we’d been in the United States. When we asked if we were visiting New Zealand “on holiday,” she gave us a disapproving look. We explained our mission to help our son, and she softened somewhat, but still eyed us as suspicious disease vectors. Finally she stamped our passports and let us in. 

Landing in Queenstown, New Zealand

After washing my hands like six more times, and using hand sanitizer at least four more times, we exited customs and searched for the domestic terminal. Luckily, Mia, a nice New Zealander who had been sitting near us on our flight, walked us literally like one half a mile from International flights to Domestic flights, and we made it to our next flight. What a gift. In all this world-is-ending chaos, the flight from Auckland to Queenstown is heavenly. It took my breath away. We flew so close to the mountain tops. I felt calm. I felt loved.

Landing in Queenstown, New Zealand

Alas, Dave and I are so jetlagged. When we landed in Queenstown we were bitchy tired. My phone lit up.

“Where are you? I hope Sydney and not NZ. What was travel like? What are your plans? I bet son #1 will be or was so relieved to see you. How can we help son #2?”

That is when I thought I should look up the news and see what was going on. I did and I also got some clarification. Then I responded to my texts. 

Landing in Queenstown, New Zealand

“We are in New Zealand. All is well. We have talked to officials. It’s actually quite bustling here. The restrictions go into effect until midnight tonight. Son #1 will be here in 2 hours. So starting midnight is when the self quarantine for arriving people begins. News is a little crazy. I am guessing this is what you are referring to? We made it under the deadline and do not have to self-quarantine.” I texted back. 

“Yes the quarantine was what I was referring to.”

I paused and thought of my sweet mom. I’d better let her know we are ok. I tried to call her. She did not answer so I called son #2. I filled son #2 in and counseled him regarding how to share this information with Wawa (my mom). Son #2 is super cool and grown up. (son #2, we are very proud of you!) He also took my mom to buy toilet paper today. Unfortunately, they were not able to find any. (Anyway, I am also sure he would love dinner while we are away. Thank you kind souls.)

Us, Queenstown, New Zealand

Then Dave and I retrieved our luggage, rented our car, then we both melted down in the rental car lot when we saw the unsanitary condition of the car we were assigned. We exchanged our dirty car that had a booger on the touch screen (true story). Yes. Of course we washed our hands like seven more times. 

We made our way to the Countdown grocery store. Dave hummed to himself, “It’s the final countdown!” (*note Dave’s awesome edit here.) They still had toilet paper in stock. There were people shopping and they were calm. 

Me & son #1, Queenstown, New Zealand

We made it back in time to find son #1 waiting outside for us. We hugged hard and then son #1 showed us the “Wuhan foot shake.” In the past few hours we have learned that anyone arriving in Australia after midnight tonight will have to self quarantine for fourteen days. All of son #1’s belongings are currently in Sydney. He could go home. It is possible that school will have the students self quarantine for fourteen days and then go back to regular classes. I am proud of him for sticking it out this far. I know he has a lot of voices in his head pulling him all the directions. I don’t want to make this choice for him. I want to create a space where he can finish his assignments, get some rest and clear his head. I am amazed by both of my sons. They are rad. And yes, you can tell us we are crazy. You would not be the first. Alas, before you get all judge-y, I would gently caution you to first ask us why? Or talk to us. Or walk try walking in our shoes and we sincerely promise to do the same for you. I know there is always more to it. Like my grandma used to say,

“Bethy, you just don’t know what is going on in their hearts.”

Great advice! (Man, I miss my grandma. She would totally have the toilet paper situation under control.)

son #1, Countdown Supermarket, Queenstown, New Zealand

We will keep you updated. If we get trapped in New Zealand, will you guys keep in eye on son #2? He is amazing and very self-sufficient. I just want him to know how much his mama loves him too. 

PS We went to the grocery store later on. The toilet paper section was substantially more depleted since it had been this morning: nearly sold out. I compulsively grabbed a package. Dave protested. He even went as far as to pull me aside and demand that “we have a serious talk.” Then insisting that there is no way the toilet paper will fit into our luggage. Well, after our “serious talk,” and after resisting the urge to bluff and say that I was getting it for son #1, I bought a four pack.  

son #1, Rammy and our new toilet paper, Queenstown, New Zealand
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Europe Summer 2015: Our Day in Bruges


Bruges, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium

Ok. Hello there. Here is the deal. Blogging on this particular trip has not been the easiest. We are offline more than we are on (which is not such a bad thing, by the way). Anyway, today, I decided I would start sharing the notes I take along the way. Let me know how you like them. Do they make sense? Or, are they too crazy to follow?

Right now Dave is telling us that it is time for bed. It is 12:51 PM. I think he is correct. We are spending our last night in Belgium. Tomorrow we head to Amsterdam. Our trip began in London. Then we headed to Paris, Brussels, and today we spent our time in Bruges. Train travel is new this time around. (We usually rent a car.) Eli and I also agree that we miss visiting random grocery stores and seeing little towns along the way. For the most part, however, I would say we have all really enjoyed the trains.

Notes from Bruges PAGE ONE
Notes from Bruges PAGE ONE

The Lovely Lady who tripped into Eli on the Train (See Page One)
The Lovely Lady who tripped into Eli on the Train (See Page One)

Bruges, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium

Our Day in Bruges, Belgium PAGE TWO
Our Day in Bruges, Belgium PAGE TWO

The Dark Chocolate Skull Candy I am obsessed with
The Dark Chocolate Skull Candy I am obsessed with

The Chocolate Line, Bruges, Belgium
The Chocolate Line, Bruges, Belgium

Us in Bruges, Belgium
Us in Bruges, Belgium


    • As I was Googling The Chocolate Line (you know the chocolate skull candy store) I learned they have an Antwerp location. My heart be still. Before we leave Antwerp in the morning, I will track down those skull candies. Cross your fingers!
    • Here is my Ellis Gourmet Burger review I wrote on my phone while sitting in their restaurant: “Be aware. As adorable as the city is, Bruges is a tourist town and they are in the business of fleecing tourists. This restaurant is no different. So technically because everyone in Bruges is fleecing tourists, in context, this restaurant is good. This being said, we are annoyed that they can only leave ketchup or mayo OFF the burger when they deem it not to be “too busy.” Oh and the 10€ pitcher of lemonade is the size of a large glass. Seriously, the pitcher is the size of a 20 oz glass.
      Don’t order the chicken sandwich. The grilled vegetables consisted on green pepper and onions. Gross!. And the piece of chicken I was given was tiny and overlooked. The burgers were actually quite good, and if the lemonade would have been larger, or refilled for free, we would be much happier and more satisfied. Our waitress was very nice. Best part of the restaurant is the FREE bathrooms! Everyone else charges 50 cents. Oh, and to use the FREE wi-fi you MUST check in to their Facebook page. When I checked in to the FB page. the review for me to fill in popped up. Well, burger people, you asked for it…” (In Bruges, everyone charges 50 cents to use the bathroom).
    • Ok. I know the reviews for the Pita House are good. My issue was the non-English menu. I imagine it is time I learn Dutch. Aside from the fight Dave and I had in the Pita House, it was really our inability to translate the menu, the 2 euro small bottles of water, and the unhelpful wait staff that made this place a place to leave. Sorry pita house. As soon as I learn me some Dutch, and learn your cultural direct, yet non-emotive-ness, I will be back.
    • In Bruges, we highly recommend the canal tour. I wish I could remember our guy’s name. Any tour will do. They are friendly, and we were so delighted that they spoke French, English and Dutch. What a treat.
    • Dave mentioned Little Sebastian from “Parks and Recreation” earlier and the day, and then Little Sebastian became the theme of the day. Yay, Little Sebastian!
    • If you are in Belgium and you know you will be in both Bruges and Belgium, buy the waffles in Brussels. They are cooked and made fresh while you wait. The are less expensive and they taste better. Don’t bother with the waffles in Bruges. Instead spend your time walking around and enjoying this beautiful city.
    • Final thoughts on Bruges: 1. Bring a picnic lunch. The food os overpriced and the restaurants are not accommodating. 2. Take a canal tour. 3. Walk off the beaten path. Bruges is such a beautiful town. Get away from the tourists. Find the secret parks, and walk as far as you can along the waterways. 5. Whatever you do, DO NOT FORGET TO BUY YOURSELF SOME CHOCOLATE! The town is famous for it, and the do it right! PS. Ask for Britt (yes, two t’s). She is lovely, speaks fluent English, and will help you find your favorite treat!
    • Oh oh I forgot to mention Elizabeth Bishop again. “In the Waiting Room,” is the poem I mentioned.
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Our Day in Dublin, Ireland

Us, Dublin and the River

We are winding down our Europe portion of this trip. My brain seems to have been left somewhere along the way. Jetlag and sleep schedules are all aflutter and I have discovered the best Gluten Free cookies. Tesco Brand “digestive” Ginger cookies. I have no idea what the “digestive” is for, yet I truly love to ingest then digest them. I can’t stay focused on one subject, moving from jetlag to digestive cookies. I am feeling happy and blessed. I like my family and feel blessed to be a part of their crew.  Craziest best part of the day is when we were at the Irish Archeology and History Museum. Kyle came and found Eli and me.

“You guys. You have to see this exhibit. Go down the hall, then off to your right. Once you are in the room, go into the white circle things.”

My son knows me and knows I like a surprise. Lo and behold the Bog People, or as they call them, “The Bog Bodies,” are the coolest thing ever. I hesitate to post a picture here, however.  I’ll ask Dave and see what he thinks.

Bog Body. Irish National History Museum, Dublin, Ireland
Bog Body. Irish National History Museum, Dublin, Ireland

We are trying to go to be early and it is already 10:45 PM. Tomorrow we leave Dublin. I wish we could stay a little longer.

Here is the daily breakdown.

    • Hello Wawa (my mom). Thanks for checking in!
    • Best breakfast. After all the breakfasts, Irish Black and White Puddings, Sausages, and beans, I would have to say this morning’s super awesome breakfast buffet was the best. Sure, I ate bacon. The boys enjoyed yummy waffles. We had delicious fruit that was not soft apple slices (ew, btw).  There was Soy Milk, Soy Yogurt (kind of gross, but at least they had it), and chocolate croissants. We all left pleased and promised to come earlier tomorrow. Kyle suggested we go to breakfast when the buffet opens and stay for four hours until it closes. “We could have both breakfast and lunch that way.” If only they would let us and if only we had the time.
    • Dave, the boys and I spent today walking around Dublin.

      Dublin, Ireland
      Dublin, Ireland
    • Our first stop was the lovely Starbucks just off of Grafton Street. The boys quickly went upstairs, found some comfy chairs and logged onto the free wi-fi. They did not want to leave, which I supported as soon as Lionel Richie’s, “Once, Twice, Three Times A Lady,” hit the airwaves. It was fun to finally just be. And I was done just being as soon as Elton John’s, “That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” cycled through.
    • We were on our way and soon standing in the middle of Trinity College. We wanted to see Book of Kells, but as we stood there the already long line precipitously grew.
    • At least where we were standing, Trinity College is not as handsome as I imagined. I was picturing a sort of Tom-Hanks-starring-in-the-Da-Vinci-Code atmosphere. Sadly, no.
    • So many tourists standing there is what I observed. There were several touring groups of teenagers. I kept trying to figure out where the teens carrying the yellow plastic satchels were from. Finally after earnestly and repeatedly listening to their leader, Dave and I decided they were from Italy.

Irish National History Museum, Dublin, Ireland
Irish National History Museum, Dublin, Ireland – a taxidermist’s dream

  • The awesome Irish Natural History museum is a taxidermist’s paradise. We weren’t going to stop. I am so glad we did. It is an oddly cool mall of specimens. The human skeleton next to the horse Skelton was crazy weird. I spent a long time on the first floor with Kyle looking at bugs under glass covered by leather sheets you lift up. It was great seeing all these specimens through his eyes. I learned a lot from that kid.

    National History Museum of Ireland
    National History Museum of Ireland
  • Next off to the Irish Archeology and History Museum.
  • On our way there we ran into Grandma on the street. She pulled out her old school paper map, and Dave showed her how to get to the art museum. She is having a grandma day, which means we will not make her walk all over the place for hours and hours and hours, or rush her through the pre-Raphaelite art exhibits.
  • Loved the gold 1st century BC boat. Kyle came and found Eli and I and suggested we go see the white circle areas in the room down the hall, on the right. Each little circle room was filled with a very old and preserved person, that had been found in peat bogs. Crazy and cool.
  • Eli and I are now waiting in the cafe for dad and Kyle.
  • Kids keep talking about the next leg of our journey, the leg where we take it down a notch. I think they have officially hit burn-out. I get it. This has been an high paced action packed adventure.
  • Kyle offered to find the name of the gold boat. I took him up on his offer.
  • He’s back.
  • The gold boat is part of the Broighter Hoard.
  • The Temple Bar area is cool, and I am glad we walked through it.
  • River that goes through Dublin. What is it called? Shoot. Now I need to go and look it up.
  • Yes, I looked it up, and it is called the River Liffey.
  • We walked to the river, took our family picture, and made our way around the city.
  • Somehow we found our way into the Dublin Castle. I would call that a happy accident.
  • Back at the hotel we dropped the boys off, Dave and I took three suitcases down a 500 meter journey to do laundry.
  • The Laundrette was open, but it was too late to do a load.
  • Re-adjust.
  • Dave and I took the laundry back to the hotel, and went shopping for underwear. We decided it was cheaper to buy.

    Dublin, Ireland
    Dublin, Ireland
  • Yay, we bought underwear at TK Maxx, and yes, TK Maxx is most definitely and for real, TJ Maxx’s European counterpart.
  • Burritos for the boys from the Lucha Libre Burrito place.
  • Eli was not happy with his burrito at first and quickly changed his mind. He would have preferred I left the wrapper on instead of ripping it off to see whose burrito was whose. Good point, Eli.
  • Dave’s mountain biking friend, who lives part-time in Dublin, met us at the hotel, walked us through Dublin to a cool, organic restaurant. Dave and I cannot remember the name. Dave says, “It was like three letters. Something like J. LO, or something like that.” It was lovely.
  • Good Karma goes to the supermarket employee who let us buy our Cornetto and pack of gum even though we were seven cents short. Until tomorrow.


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England and Ireland: Day 13 Written on July 17



Time flies and so does this trip. We only have a few days left of our Europe portion. On Monday we fly to Los Angeles, where Dave leaves us and flies to San Francisco.  He will fly back on Friday so we can have a good family decompress until he flies back to San Francisco and we fly home.

Today we dialed it down a few notches, but still managed to hike all over Killarney National Park.  People were swimming, which was something I did not expect, and of course there was an abbey on site. Yes, it was spectacular. The abbeys always are so cool. Tomorrow we hit the road for Dublin, and I am trying to think of something cool to see between here and there. Thoughts?

 Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park

Oh and about yesterday, I am feeling better. Davy and I had a talk-it-out session while the boys found really awesome caves and through stones into the lake. We connected, and that is all it took. I am simple like that. Wait, the last thing Dave would call me is simple.

Aside from Kyle’s whiny-teenage-meltdown, today was good. He and I pulled through. Sure, I swore and then walked out of a Thai restaurant. Nevertheless, we maid it through, bought candy, and he ate. Once  you feed a teenage boy, even ones who persistently insist that they are NOT hungry (got to love defiance), once fed, all is right in the world.


Dave, Killarney National Park, Ireland
Dave, Killarney National Park, Ireland

Onto today’s highlights (in the form of bullet points, of course.

  • Loud not particularly good hair dryer. I am writing this while drying my hair, by the way. As I type, Davy is lying on the bed with a pillow wrapped around his head.
  • Brown towels in our B&B seem out of place.
  • Good breakfast accompanied by some good breakfast indigestion.
  • Pink soccer ball/(football). The Innkeeper’s daughter was mortified to share her pink soccer ball. She thought boys would be traumatized and embarrassed. After a lengthy discussing on how American boys have embraced the color pink, especially hot pink, she started to believe. I even told her about Kyle and his pink hair, to which the innkeeper responded, “If her went to my girls’ school with pink hair, they would hold him down and cut off this eyebrows.” When I relayed the story to Kyle I could see his eyes light up and feel him take the eyebrow cutting as a dare. That’s my boy!
  • I keep trying upload photos and my laptop is not liking this. (hours later I figured it out and have successfully uploaded my iphone trip photos). I was motivated to upload my photos because (1.) Dave thinks it would be fun to see some trip photos online, and (2.) I had maxed the space on my iPhone.
  • Today I sat in the front seat of the car. In total I believe I have logged in about thirty minutes in the front (that is a generous estimate). I grabbed my USB cable, plugged my phone into the car, and turned the music on.  As we drove into Killarney National Park the boys and I were singing the cheesy, “Sail,” by AWOLNATION. It was a great moment.
  • Once in the park we went all European-picnic-y and had PBJ out the back of the car.
  • My grocery list: Soap, Pepcid, Stevia
  • Finding understanding with Dave (goal). And I found it along the lake, or at least I think I did 😉
  • As Kyle, Eli and I walked the streets of Killarney, we hear the following,

    [insert little Irish boy screaming voice here], “The balloon is on my road. The balloon is on my road.”

  • Kyle had a meltdown and I stomped out of a Thai restaurant.
  • Eli has been great and I love walking around with him.
  • After Kyle’s whiny teenage meltdown I took my boys to the candy store and bought us all some candy, because that is good parenting. And in the interest of full disclosure the candy store was promised to Eli, the non-melting down child.  Follow through, you know what I mean?
  • Today is Killarney Race Day. We discovered a new species: The Trampy Young Irish Girl. Note. Must be wearing extensive make-up, very short dress, and extremely high heeled shoes. An old Irish dude and I had a collective laugh when he yelled to one of these ladies, “You are not going to be able to walk tomorrow.” Indeed.
  • Dave dropped Kyle, Eli and I off in Killarney so we could kill time and get something to eat. As the boys and I were walking back to the Bed and Breakfast these words left Eli’s mouth, “Mom if I’m ever homeless…”
  • Dave found us on the road. He turned around and order Chinese. It was the weirdest Chinese Food I have ever seen. And of course, he had Chips on the side.
  • After listening to John Legend’s, “All of Me,” while waiting for Dave’ Chinese food,

    Eli says, “I don’t know why people like these songs (pause) I mean girls. Girls. Why do they like these kinds of songs?”

    Love that kid and wanted to share with him my teenage love for Journey’s, “Open Arms.” Nothing is better than that song. Really! 😉

  • Eli wanted everyone to play a game and everyone bailed. I feel bad for him. When I asked him what I could do he responded, “I just need to say it. I just need a minute to talk about why I am upset.” I love this kid, (and yes, I love Dave and Kyle too, but this was Eli’s cool moment and it was very cool indeed)!

    Horses at our Killarney, Ireland Bed and Breakfast. I won't name the B &B because the owner went a little crazy!
    Horses at our Killarney, Ireland Bed and Breakfast. I won’t name the B &B because the owner went a little crazy!


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Spring in Southern California

Southern California - Copyright
Southern California – Copyright

Southern California - Copyright
Southern California – Copyright

I am feeling a little sea-sick today. I think I picked up some stomach funk on the plane.

Somehow and after spending four hours at Kyle’s school this morning, I found the time to take inventory of my gazillion trip photos. I am completely frustrated because I think my camera’s Exposure Compensation is still messed up, but that is a whole other issue.

Southern California - Copyright
Southern California – Copyright

Alas and please don’t worry, fore I present to you my trip photos. Please enjoy all one-hundred and three photos. (Yes, this is the trimmed down version.) So turn off the lights, pop some popcorn and no, I won’t be offended at all if you need to take a few breaks. And for all you flickr People, please now that I will upload them to my account soon. For right now, this was a lot easier and faster.

Southern California - Copyright
Southern California – Copyright

Southern California - Copyright
Southern California – Copyright

Southern California - Copyright
Southern California – Copyright

Oh and Y, I am really bummed. I would have loved to taste some of your awesome Mexican recipes. Next time.

Oh, Oh and Wilmer updates coming tomorrow or after my stomach settles.

Southern California - Copyright
Southern California – Copyright

Southern California - Copyright
Southern California – Copyright

Southern California - Copyright
Southern California – Copyright

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VW Eurovan Camper Travel: Eureka, Nevada

Eureka, Nevada
Eureka, Nevada

Eureka, Nevada
Eureka, Nevada

“Well, there were sure a lot of people sitting there at the bar at 3:30 in the afternoon,”Dave says as we drive out of this middle of nowhere, middle of Nevada town. “Home of the Vandals,” he remarks as Coldplay’s “The Scientist” plays in the background (accompanied by Eli’s cries).

“You don’t have a tethered pacifier?”

“No, I can not find it.” I blurt out.

“I am trying to write,” I think.

“What”  Dave asks and I pause and take a deep breath, “a remote little town.” Dave continues,

“Think about how far Eureka is from anywhere. At least there is a road going through it. Though it has been a long time since anyone has used Route 50 as their main way of getting across Nevada.” I say.

Eli’s cries have thankfully turned to bursts of laughter. Kyle is hooked up to our traveling DVD player watching his scary Dinosaur movie, “Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water.”

Eureka, Nevada
Eureka, Nevada

Eureka, Nevada
Eureka, Nevada

We are headed eastward.

It was several years ago when I last drove through these dust-filled parts. I was invited for Thanksgiving to a college friend’s home in Yerrington, NV, a sleepy town much like Eureka. At the time I arrived in Yerrington they were just installing the town’s first stop light, a much needed and talked about improvement. Like Eureka, the locals were hanging out at the bar in mid-afternoon, smoking their cigarettes, playing the slots, and sipping their drinks with the big screen TV playing sports and news in the background.

We drove up to my friend’s parents’ home (a half complete trailer park trailer), which was plunked down amidst a scrubby dirt patch. I walked into the door of their half-completed home as I saw my friend’s father sitting in the bare, unfinished room, cigarette in mouth, watching the only item in the room, the television.

“Dad, this is my friend, Beth.”

There was no response. As my vision blurred and my sweat glands overloaded I thought to myself,

“What the hell am I doing here?”

I was eighteen. I had just moved from lush, populated Minneapolis to go to college in the west, and now I was in the middle of nowhere; nowhere in a cold, smoke-filled, and partially complete trailer home.

“Dad, are you going to answer me? This is my friend Beth.”
With that, he briefly turned his greasy head towards me and said, “Hi.”

Then she gave me a tour of her home. When we reached the bedroom where I would be sleeping, I said,

“Do you mind if I take a nap? After all that driving I am exhausted.”

I could see that my request gave her relief, because I could see that she was embarrassed about her surroundings. Mostly, I realized that in my inconsiderate haste and worn-on-my-face panic I had made her feel that way.

See when I was eighteen, I really felt like I not only came from the right place (Minneapolis, Minnesota), but because I came from a city that somehow I was more sophisticated or enlightened (not true). Now I realize that my projected “sophisticating” was simply disguising my needs-medication-styled homesickness and separation anxiety.

I had not been napping long when my friend and her Mom came running to my room. Because I was asleep I did not realize I was screaming,

“Mom, Help me.”

I know. Not only was I wearing my uncomfortable feelings on my face, I was screaming them in my sleep.

The rest of my Yerington, Nevada weekend is a blur. I do remember that my friend took me with some of our other friends to the local bar. At the bar, my friend’s boyfriend gave me a roll of nickels for the slots, which I burned through in about ten minutes. My friend and I also the trip to the big city of Fallon, Nevada to see a movie at the local sticky shoe movie theater. I loved it. And then there was the car accident we saw as we drove back to Utah on Interstate 80. A man driving a big old truck had gone over the embankment. When we drove by we saw smoke and then his truck over the edge. We pulled over and hiked down to see if he was ok. Remember none of us had cellphones. We had to go old school and stand at the edge of the interstate in an attempt to wave an oncoming vehicle down. We waved down a semi. He pulled over. We told him about the accident, and he immediately radioed for help.

The man, who was thrown from his truck, was disoriented (of course), and was bleeding heavily. As I watched the blood gush from his head, all I could think about were the brand new bath towels. My mom new I needed new towels and had just bought them for me. I never had such nice towels and cherished them so much I brought them along. They were packed away and sitting in my friend’s car. At that, I took a deep breath, hiked back to my friend’s car and got the towels. I put the towels in my arms and walked them back down the steep embankment. I handed them to the man. And someone (I can’t remember now) wrapped them around his bloody head. The ambulance arrived. I don’t know his name. I don’t know if he lived or died. I do not know what happened to my towels. We just drove a way.

Today on Highway 50 I drive across all those memories. I see the white crosses and flowers of roadside memorials zipping by. I wonder if there is one for the man. Then we stop in dusty, lonely Eureka. I am reminded of that Thanksgiving. This time I am with my husband and sons. This time Kyle and I take a walk and pick up pinecones. This time we laugh at the fun we are having. This time I am a mom, and this time I do not scream.

Eureka, Nevada
Eureka, Nevada


  • Best Driving in a camper van advice ever:  when we were driving on this same Nevada Highway 50, I took over the wheel. I asked Dave what I should do if I saw a deer in the road. He said, “whatever you do, DO NOT SWERVE!” (True Story) Moments later a Jurassic-Park sized jack rabbit (jack-a-lope I am certain) ran into the road and immediately stopped when it saw me. I did not swerve. I promise. I would have. Instead the jack rabbit lost his life and I saved ours. High fives to Dave and his most awesome camper van advice!
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