About Me

Arizona, United States
I'm a work-at-home mom who enjoys the beautiful sunsets here in the high desert.

My Designs

For the free patterns for these afghan squares I designed for My Reading Afghan, click here.

My Recently Completed Projects

On The Hook

Ravelry CAL Afghan 1 in progress
Ravelry CAL Afghan 1

Ravelry CAL Afghan 2 in progress
Ravelry CAL Afghan 2

Ravelry CAL Afghan 3 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 3 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan 3

Ravelry CAL Afghan 4 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 4 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan 4

Ravelry CAL Afghan 5 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 5 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan 5

Ravelry CAL Afghan 6 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 6 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan 6

Ravelry CAL Afghan 7 in progress (squares 1-4)Ravelry CAL Afghan 7 in progress (squares 5-8)
Ravelry CAL Afghan--Flower Burst 7ARavelry CAL Afghan--Flower Burst 7B
Ravelry CAL Afghan 7

Ravelry CAL Afghan 8 in progress
Ravelry CAL Afghan 8

Ravelry CAL Afghan Blocks:
Dream Catcher
Cross My Heart
Chocolate Delight
Flower Burst

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ten On Tuesday--Vacation Moments

Click on the button here or in the sidebar to participate.

Some of these are obviously not favorite vacation moments, but they are certainly among the most memorable:

1. Backing into a tree while camping in Sequoia National Park.

My parents had borrowed my grandparents' Suburban for this camping trip, so my stepfather was not used to driving it. When we got to the campground, he told us kids to get in the very back and watch out the rear window as he was backing into the campsite because there was a huge tree there. When we got close to the tree, we kids started yelling, "Stop! Stop!! Stop!!!", and for some reason he kept going and BAM! hit the tree. We asked him why he didn't stop when we were yelling "Stop!" over and over again, and he admitted that he figured he still had plenty of room because we were just kids and probably would think the car was close when it wasn't. Huh? Then why'd he ask us to be the look-outs if he didn't trust our judgment?

2. Backing into a Mercedes in Paris.

Yes, he did it again for exactly the same reason as before--didn't trust that we kids knew when it was time to stop. This time it we were in a VW bus, and he drove into an entrance to an underground parking garage, but with all our luggage on the roof rack, we couldn't clear the opening, so he had to back out with a bunch of traffic piled up behind us. Again, we kids went to the back of the vehicle, and with our eyes glued on the car behind us, we yelled "Stop! Stop!! Stop!!!" at the appropriate time, only to continue to more frantically and loudly yell "Stop!" until he hit the front grill of the Mercedes. The lady driver only spoke French, so it was quite a spectacle.

3. Detained in Munich.

On this same Europe trip, for some reason our parents would let us scatter when we'd go places with the plan of meeting back at a certain spot at a certain time. Mostly it was my older stepsister (14) and I (12) who would go off together to explore. In Munich we went shopping in a big mall, and after going through a bin of earrings, we found some we liked and purchased them. However, as we were exiting the store, a woman with a huge hulking man in tow stopped us, and she started grilling us in German, which we didn't understand, while The Hulk held up two earring cards, each with an earring missing. Eventually she started speaking enough English for us to understand that they suspected us of stealing those cheap-o earrings! We immediately showed our little bags and receipts with the earrings we had purchased, but that didn't satisfy them, and they insisted on searching our purses. We were scared to death and had no idea where our parents were or what would happen to us. We kept insisting that we only purchased earrings and didn't steal any, and after they were through searching us, they finally decided to let us go. The main thing I remember about the woman (who was obviously the one in charge) was that she had about 3 layers of false eyelashes on with Tammy Faye-esque eye makeup. She was scary.

4. Detained in East Berlin.

As if the Munich episode wasn't scary enough, when we got to East Berlin (this was in 1970 when the Iron Curtain was still firmly in place), I got detained AGAIN! We traveled through East Germany, where you dared not have car trouble or go off the main highway or anything, so that was scary enough. Then we got to West Berlin, went to museums and stuff, and then, despite our pointing out to the parents all the gun towers along the Berlin Wall, barbed wire, barricades, soldiers, etc., they decided we were going to walk through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin. We got as far as the guard station on the East Berlin side, where we were detained. I was taken into a room by myself, separated from my entire family, and grilled by East German soldiers in German. Somehow I managed to figure out that they were asking me my age because I understood "zwolf", so I kept saying, "Zwolf, ja, zwolf" ("12, yes, 12") . We had a family passport, so the passport picture was of all of us, and they apparently thought I was an adult impersonating a 12 year old and maybe using this family as my spy front? I could only imagine, but again I was scared to death and just kept insisting that I was 12. They eventually brought in a Russian soldier, who seemed to be the big boss, and he grilled me in German and Russian and broken English until he was finally satisfied that I was telling the truth, or at least not a threat, I guess, and subsequently let us proceed with our walking tour of East Berlin.

5. Mom risking us getting into more trouble with the Communists.

You'd think having her 12-year-old child grilled by the Communists would be enough to keep my mom in line, but nooooo! We were only supposed to go to specified sites in East Berlin and could only take pictures of these approved sites, which I remember being various monuments. But my mother decided she wanted pictures of the people and the soldiers that were everywhere guarding everything and the gun towers and all the stuff you were not supposed to take pictures of. We kept begging her to stop, but she just kept doing it, apparently getting a thrill out of getting away with it. She was pretty giddy when her film hadn't gotten confiscated so that she was able to send it back home via air mail from West Berlin. Then, as if that whole time in East Berlin wasn't bad enough, when we made our return trip through East Germany and finally got to the border, there was a long line of cars because they inspected the cars very thoroughly as the East German people were apparently sometimes smuggled over the border into West Germany in hidden compartments in or under cars. While we were waiting in this long line of cars, my stepfather left us sitting in the car while he and my 16-year-old stepbrother went looking for a bathroom. Shortly after that, the line of cars in front of us started moving, but we were driverless, and my mother just sat there in the front passenger seat knitting while we begged her to move the car forward so we wouldn't come under yet more scrutiny by the Communists. Her only answer, while not dropping a stitch, was "I only drive automatics." The VW bus had a manual transmission with a stickshift, so we had to wait for my stepfather to return. I was so happy when we finally made it back over the border.

6. Waiting at the Coliseum in Rome.

After we had toured the Coliseum, my stepfather decided that he and my stepbrother would go get the VW bus and drive over to pick the rest of us up, so there we were waiting across the street from the Coliseum. My 14-year-old stepsister was swinging on a lamp post while the rest of us were sitting on boulders next to the sidewalk watching all the cars circling the Coliseum. After a while, a car pulled over and stopped next to the lamp post where my stepsister was, and the driver opened the passenger door of his car and beckoned to her in Italian, whereupon she turned to my mom and asked, "Should I get in?" My mom jumped up, yelling "No!" while she yanked her back to the boulders and away from the street. We've never let my stepsister live down this "Should I get in?" story.

7. Stalked in Venice.

My stepsister had red hair, and I had blonde hair, and this seemed to attract a lot of male attention when we were in Italy. Again, our parents let us go off by ourselves to see the sights, and men kept following us and touching our hair. Finally, while waiting for our parents in St. Mark's square, a French sailor decided to try some English on my stepsister and said, "Come wis me, baby, and we can spend ze night togezzer." By this time she had had enough of the stalking and propositioning that had been going on all day (and she was probably still trying to recover from the "Should I get in?" episode back in Rome), and she let loose with the most colorful string of curse words I'd ever heard her put together up to that point. The French sailor and all the others in the vicinity laughed and were even more enamored of her after they saw her angry side. Thankfully our parents came along shortly after that, and we stayed with them the rest of the time we were in Venice. The stalking didn't end, though. The next day, my mom caught a guy walking behind us trying to put his hand up my dress!

8. Trying not to see the Grand Canyon.

On one of our annual car trips back to Arkansas and Missouri from California with my dad and stepmother, I decided to opt out of the viewing of the Grand Canyon. My dad was in disbelief about this, but I was 14 and had seen it numerous times by then, but at the bottom of it was that I was afraid of heights and didn't want to admit it, so I just kept playing it off nonchalantly how I'd already seen it enough and didn't need to see it anymore and acted as much like a blase teenager as I could. My dad (AKA Clark Griswold) was not about to accept this and kept making appeals to me as I lay in the back of the station wagon, saying things like, "It's one of the seven wonders of the world. You can't possibly not see one of the seven wonders of the world!" My dad had me laughing so hard from all his silly appeals that I finally got out and stood there next to him looking out at the expanse of the Grand Canyon for about 2 seconds before saying, "Okay, I did it" and jumped back into the car. When the movie Vacation came out several years later, it had a similar 2-second Grand Canyon viewing scene, and my dad and I loved how it reminded us of that summer when I didn't want to see the Grand Canyon.

9. Dad and the park rangers.

When I was growing up, we did a lot of camping in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, and we still did after I had kids of my own. All three generations would go on these summer camping trips, and we had a lot of fun going on the ranger-led tours and to the campfire programs, and my dad's constant refrain throughout these vacations was, "I want to be a Park Ranger when I grow up." This always made us laugh because my dad was a research scientist with 40-some-odd patents and not someone easily pictured as a park ranger, but he really loved those camping trips and probably did wish he could be a park ranger at least some of the time. I sure do miss my dad. He was the funnest person ever to go on vacations with.

10. Grandma and cars.

This vacation moment is from before I was born, but I've always loved hearing the story. My grandparents moved to the West Coast from Missouri during the depression. On one of their family car trips back to Missouri to visit family, they had car trouble, and while attempting to get the car going again, one of my uncles decided they were probably out of gas. My grandma then asked, "Does it hurt the car to run it without gas?" I miss my grandma, too.

Happy vacation days, everybody!


Sheeshintx said...

Those were wonderful, I really enjoyed reading them! Thanks for stopping by. Happy Tuesday

MyJourneyBack said...

Great stories. I don't know if I can say funny because some are kinda scary but they were fun to read. Do you have plans to go back to Germay? Your stories reminded me of my husbands story I'll have to post it sometime.
BTW thanks for coming over and visiting me yesterday. Please come back. Oh and thanks for commenting. I love comments.
BTW I love your knitting projects. Wish I could do that.
I hope you have a wonderful week and like I said come back by and see me.
p.s BTW check out my Sunday post. If you want pass the joy on to one of your friends.

YellowRose said...

Oh my these are fabulous!!! You have some great memories. You and your sister remind me of me and mine!

Mike said...

Those are certainly memorable. I don't know if you should go back to Europe. You seem to have bad luck there. :)

Shannon H. said...

I also enjoyed reading your post today. Awesome knitting projects you have...I would love to be able to knit.

Teena in Toronto said...

You've had some adventures!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Florinda said...

These are awesome stories! But I have to wonder whether you've been back to Europe since that ill-fated trip. The Communists are mostly gone, so that would be an improvement, anyway :-).

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

pjd said...

What a terrific list. I thoroughly enjoyed being voyeur to your escapades in Europe. But I love the comment from your grandmother. Do you have any of the photos from that East Berlin trip?

lovesmukiwa said...

It's crazy how most memorable moments are not always the most "fun" moments.
I wish I were closer in age to my siblings. I always envy memories of adventures people have with siblings

Tuppence said...

I haven't been back to Europe since that 1970 trip. Nothing against Europe, but if I ever have enough funds for international travel, I'd rather go to places I haven't been to yet.

It would be great to be able to post that family passport photo that the Communist soldiers kept shoving in my face. I'll have to ask my sister if she came across it when she dealt with all of our mother's stuff after her death.

(BTW, the lady I've referred to as my mother in posts about the present is actually my stepmother, but since my mother died in 2006, there was no further need for differentiation, and my stepmother has definitely earned the 'mom' title. On the Europe trip, though, that was my bio mom.)

Robin said...

I loved your stories. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Michelle said...

Those are great!! Great memories of Europe!! LOL I bet you and your stepsister laugh about it even more now!!


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