If You’d Been There: Just Write

June 4, 2013

Buzzbuzzbuzz…can you hear the drone in the background? I’m pretty sure you can, because I sensed you readers sitting, like flies on the wall, the entire time the T. family was in Mexico. Every joy and giggle, every wrinkle and calamity that unfolded, I felt your presence–but in a good way–not in a gross, annoying, I-need to whack-the-shit-outta-those-flies kind of way.

Does that make any sense at all?

Probably not, but I am in no position to offer apologies. Post-vacation re-entry is Hell and I’m just happy to be typing away here in any possible form. I’m going to warn you now not to expect excellence or even coherence, folks, so please lower your standards immediately.  Gracias.

Several weeks of almost complete scarcity from the Land of Internet has left me feeling wretched and out of touch. I find myself stumbling for a way to begin, as if I need to re-introduce myself or something.

So, hi. I’m Dana. I’ve missed you. And lest you think there’s been some kind of seismic shift over the past weeks, let me assure you: I am still foul and flawed and snarky and the #1 specialist in all matters relating to vomit and shit.

And yes, as per requirement, the latter two played supporting roles in the T. family vacation. Some things just don’t change.

What has changed, or at least it feels like it, is my confidence in this space. I’m scrounging for purpose and I have no freaking idea what kind of blog this is, because I’m all over the place. I used to write about food. I still want to do that, but I haven’t for a while. I’ve written a buttload about puberty and parenting lately, which I still want to do. I’ve written about murdering pets and my devotion to Judy Blume and other random things, which lands me smack-dab in the category of NutjobQuirkBlog but I don’t know what to do about it. For now, I’ll just ask for your kindness and patience while I wrestle with my identity crisis.

As if anyone ever wants to hear about someone else’s identity crisis. Gah. I’ll move on now.

But the Swear Jar is not invited along for the ride today.

*awkward segue*

If You’d Been a Fly on My Vacation Wall: Snippets, Quotes and Calamities

~ Please feel free to admire my charming family photos from the trip. Oh wait. We forgot the friggin’ camera. But that’s okay because we have an iPhone! Total pictures taken on the iPhone in one week: 3.

~ Delay of outgoing flight: 1 hour, 15 minutes. Number of times Miss M. cried out of frustration re: delayed flight: 2. Although she was on the edge an additional two times and was only calmed via chocolate intervention.

~ Weather forecast (10-day) for Quintana Roo, Mexico: Showers/Thunderstorms, chance of precipitation 60%.

~Accuracy of weather forecast: 100%.  However. We only had one full day of rain; mornings would dawn cloudy and stormy, but by 1 pm, the blustery stuff cleared out and gave way to sun and blue skies. Total blessing.

~Not a total blessing? Minx wake-up calls every morning at 6am. How many hours total did they spend waiting/wailing/complaining of boredom until 1pm sunshine broke through? You do the math. And then triple it because it felt like that much longer.

~ First beach frolic of the vacation with Daddy (Miss M. version): *splashing in aquamarine waves and rockin’ the gap-toothed grin*–“Daddy, is this real?”

~ It is.

~ Unexpected appearances by a pubescent menstrual cycle: 1.

~ Ensuing correspondence re: unexpected pubescent menstrual cycle:

“Mom, my stomach hurts.”

“You just have to poop, dude. No biggie.”

Text message to husband later that afternoon: “Eww! D. got her period and didn’t tell me! Just found a pair of fatal undies crumpled in a corner.”

Text: “You are getting the emergency supplies. I already braved the Superama once this vacation and I’m not f-ing doing it again.”

Text: “While you are out, procure alcohol.”

Poolside conversation: “Your older daughter just ruthlessly turned her back and shunned her sister in front of all those kids. What the Hell? She’s seven kinds of horrid today.”

“Relax. It’s just Hormones.”

*hollering for poolside ears everywhere* “Hormones, my fat ass! It doesn’t give her the right to be a stinkbag, vicious monster!”

1 hour later (hubs): “Honey, you’re too tense. Let’s go to the swim-up bar. D. can watch M. for 30 minutes.”

“Are you mental? Have you seen how awful D. is being to her sister? I’m not leaving Miss M. in the care of Mary, Queen of Scots.”

~ Number of minutes it took us to kill annihilate the buzz of the snuggly, just-married couple sitting next to us at the pool: 5.

~ Number of days before children whined that they wanted to go home: 4

~Scale of motherly rage at above request: Richter.

~ Age at which a child decides that the awesome Westin Kid’s Club is not so awesome anymore: 6

~ Buckets of mommy tears cried after this announcement: 500,000.

~ Plates of ceviche eaten in 7 days: 5.

~ Don’t even ask about the bathroom visits. Ceviche is the ultimate system cleaner, y’all. But absolutely worth it.

~ Morning of departure from Mexico (Miss M.): “Part of me wants to stay here but part of me wants to go home.”

~ Number of minutes between the announcement from D that, “Mom, I think I’m going to barf” and actual projectile hurl: 0.0.

~ Some things never change.


All in all, it could have been worse. By far. We had enough sunshine and beach time to come home sporting tan lines, and the girls never actually came to fisticuffs. One barf only, and it was just as we were sliding into our driveway (whew). No la tourista (whew). Everyone is still on speaking terms. It’s all good.

This weekend I’m catering a New Orleans-style feast (for–gulp–18 people) for a charity event, so I’ll be scarce the next few days, but I hope to get back in the groove sometime after that. Thanks for putting up with all of my antics and whining. You guys are the coolest cats on the fence.

Happy Summer, Readers! Let the mayhem (and summer cocktail recipes) begin.



{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Katybeth June 4, 2013 at 4:54 am

Whoa that trip has a little something for everyone! Welcome home! I’m glad the light is back on!


Abby June 4, 2013 at 5:04 am

And yet you guys continue to travel ;) I’m kidding, but you guys do seem to have the worst luck. It makes me glad I can’t afford to go on vacation.

Anyway, glad you’re back. If it makes you feel any better–which it won’t–I go through an identity crisis about every day and am currently trying not to delete my blog/new book/existence from the Internet myself due to frustration and lack of…something. A break is good though, and you know we’re all here reading regardless of if you write about dead hamsters, puke or Judy Blume.


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:36 am


Hey, at least you have two BOOKS to show for it! That’s got to be a comfort to you.


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon June 4, 2013 at 6:26 am

Another memorable T. family vacation!


Alison June 4, 2013 at 6:43 am

A vacation without vomit, shit, blood and tears – is not a real family vacation. So yay for real!

Welcome back and good luck with the catering. See you soon-ish!


ayala June 4, 2013 at 7:26 am

I missed you Dana. Love the pictures on Facebook :) Welcome back :) Good luck with the catering..I’m sure it’s going to be amazing!


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:38 am


Originally the job was to cater the meal for 8-10 people but by the time I got home from Mexico, the head count had ballooned to 18! And yes, I did have a hysterical freak out about it!


Shannon June 4, 2013 at 7:30 am

Wait. So you mean “NutjobQuirkblog” is not a category?
I struggle with the same thing. When people ask me what my blog is about, I sound something like “Uhhhhh… I just like to write.”
Maybe we don’t need an “identity” or “category.” How does that song go? Don’t fence me in….
I’m glad you enjoyed most of your vacation.


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:39 am


I like the way you think. Nobody likes fences, anyways!


Jamie June 4, 2013 at 7:59 am

FATAL UNDIES. I have so many pairs of those in my drawer. Stealing this phrase, my apologies. Also, I love your “NutjobQuirkBlog.” Themes are over rated!


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:48 am


How did I know that you’d be in favor of “NutJobQuirkBlog?”


Jen @ Momalom June 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

I find it so very interesting that so many of my bloggy BFFs also are feeling kind of flounder-y in their blogging pursuits. I think we’ve all hit a kind of blogging pubescence. And though I’m sorry you’re feeling the same way I am, I’m glad we’re in this together. xo


Naptimewriting June 5, 2013 at 12:10 am

Make that three founderers…


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:48 am

I’m glad I’m in such good company!


Killian June 4, 2013 at 10:35 am

I’d been waiting to hear how everything went! Those hormones are nasty little buggers, aren’t they? But I’m glad no one beat the snot out of each other, and the only yarf was contained.

And next year, just take ME with you to Mexico instead of them! =)


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:50 am


Only if you promise not to vomit! :)


Killian June 5, 2013 at 6:47 am

I promise! I almost never vomit. I can also snorkel, scuba dive, and drink with you!


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri June 4, 2013 at 11:54 am

So relate to the identity crisis regarding the blog. I am turning 40 in a few months so it seems all parts of my life are having the same crisis.

If you keep writing, I will keep reading. Your words make me laugh, cry and offer comfort.

Good luck with the charity event. I am certain you will rock it.


Ami June 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Family vacations always make me think of Jerry Seinfeld when he says, “There is no such thing as fun for the entire family.” Which is so true on so many levels. But you all survived in one piece, which says much about your strength of mind. Now’s the hard part: the aftermath of vacation. I call this the ‘Vacation Hangover’ because it is physically painful. Good luck readjusting.


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:53 am


Jerry spoke no truer words! Better to focus on activities that everyone can tolerate rather than try to make everyone happy. No such thing as everyone happy!


Rob June 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Poor Miss D. While she was on vacation! And…Oh, the things you must shop for on vacation. Hehehe!

I am so glad you are back. Totally missed you :)

I understand the blog identity crisis. All of us who read here love your stories and your recipes. It works, so you can just keep things the way they are…or…do what I just did…

When I started my C&L blog, that was what I planned to write about – crime, literature, and maybe some court stuff. But, then I started writing about all these other things that had nothing to do with my original intent. So, I started blog #2…the one that I am not going to let my mother in on – that means the rest of my family won’t know either. They wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret or they would slip. Anyway, blog #1 is back to its original intent, and blog #2 is for everything and anything I feel like writing.

Now my identity crisis is different. I am never certain which blog to use when I leave a comment.


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:54 am


You can use any blog you want; I just love that you take the time to comment!


Camille Brightsmith June 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm

we miss you when you are gone


sam June 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm

For the love of God/Allah/Buddha, don’t for one second change your NutjobQuirkBlog ways. It’s what entertains me the most. I never know what I’m going to get when I open you up. It’s the bestest. I mean, your food blogs are awesome since you always include fun stories, but how much can one write about food?

Sounds like the vacay was overall successful. Less the inevitable vomiting and the nasty premenstrual cycle. Did Judy Blume write a book about that ruining a beach vacation?

Welcome back to the reality of the internet.


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:55 am


Thanks for such kind words! You made me smile. And it’s funny, I DID wonder if Judy ever wrote about the trials of the “vacation saboteur!”


Naptimewriting June 5, 2013 at 12:11 am

I can’t believe there was only one barf. I really, really can’t believe there was only one barf.

Awkward seque…I don’t know what to do with my blog either. Or whether to do it at all. 2013. The Year of Blog Meh.


TKW June 5, 2013 at 5:56 am


Blog Meh, indeed. Is there a cure for that?


SuziCate June 5, 2013 at 5:16 am

Oh, the bloggentity crisis…we could start a club, lol!
Glad you had highlights for a funny post, and still had great fun, AND GOOD DRINKS! As for the new married couple who overheard the convos…it’s good for them to take off those rose colored glasses early in marriage, staring reality in the face gives the marriage strength.
Queen of Scots…I’m surprised your snark didn’t call her Queen of Snots, but I’m sure you were in desperate need of another drink!
I’d love to tag along and film one of your vacays. But seriously, you’ve got to remember the camera next time.
Glad there are all survivors in the T household.


Sherri June 5, 2013 at 6:20 am

Ah …. traveling with kids. With you in the awesomeness of it all (cough cough ;).


Arnebya June 5, 2013 at 6:50 am

I has misseded you. And is it just me, or does everyone with a sibling imagine (totally unrealistically, but don’t tell us that) that their kids’ relationship will be smooth sailing because we’ve been through it and we CARE SO VERY MUCH TO MAKE THEIR EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT/BETTER? Just me? Damn.

And hidden drawers. Yup.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes June 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Same identity – crisis here. To Foodblog or Not to Foodblog that is the question…
An unexpected period is always a great way to liven up any vacation. Mine happened in Finland, my father did not know yet that his little girl was “a woman” *wink wink*, his is still traumatized by the emergency tampon-shopping experience.
You’ll totally rock that catering job! Go you!


S in AK June 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm

This may not be helpful, but you *could* break your blog into categories: ready-or-refined recipes; holiday hi/los; my loving family -or- rantings of a real mom; in my mind’s eye. :D


Tiffany June 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm

That was not bad for a T vacation!!! Glad you had some fun. :)


Justine June 6, 2013 at 7:36 am

I’m planning a trip to Mexico some time too, but your post here is making me think twice about that :-) Funny stuff though.

Anyway, it’s so damn good to read your words again. Identity crisis and all. Hell, you can even make a crisis sound cool.


TKW June 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm


My girls love Mexico. We have had some great experiences there and if you need any input, I’m always here. I know things will run in a smoother fashion if you go. xoxo


Contemporary Troubadour June 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm

You know, while you were gone, I almost e-mailed you to ask permission to use the phrase “Freakshow Circus” to describe *my* blog, which has become something it so did not start out as since O. arrived. NutJobQuirkBlog — rock it, Kitch!

Identity crises indicate that you write about real life. If you were hitting the same note week after week, the gatherings here wouldn’t be nearly as fun — or full of heart.

Glad the vacation on the T scale was relatively good. On a related note, thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea, we just got *out* of a vacation that was looking to be insane for attempting (we agreed to do it out of obligations to family, not for our enjoyment). I promise I did not go out and do a rain dance before this weather problem developed, but seriously, right now, I’m supposed to be halfway to Tampa with baby and pump in tow, both needing to be fed. I’ve never been more relieved to have travel plans scrambled.


TKW June 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm


After all of the magic ( :) ) and kindness you have sent my way, don’t worry for a second that I’d feel territorial about “Freakshow Circus.” Take it and run with it, my friend. The circus is gonna be your life for a while, and just when you think it’s over, puberty arrives.

This is my primary reason for advocating vodka, which is gluten free and won’t turn your intestines into Chernobyl.

Still waiting for an updated pic of that gremlin, my sweet. I love you.


Contemporary Troubadour June 7, 2013 at 8:54 am

The picture I posted of him with the swaddle he managed to WRAP AROUND HIS HEAD WHILE ASLEEP *heart attack* didn’t really count, I suppose, since you can’t see his face :). I’ll send some cuteness shortly. I love you too.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me June 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm

If this is a duplicate, I apologize. I entered the captcha correctly. It told me I didn’t (I really did) and to try again. I tried again. It told me I already made that comment and wouldn’t let me try again. Clearly, it’s time for me to shut down the machine and go to bed.

First, welcome back – missed you! Sounds like a winner trip. Pretty sure this is why my crew just stays home. All of that vacation shitstorm would make ME cry about wanting to go home.

Next, I for one love the NutjobQuirkBlog category. Notice my blog has a disclaimer to that effect – I have no idea what the blog is about so please do not ask me to define it just leave a comment thanks I love you. Keeps me from slipping into category fail, maybe. :)

Vacation periods – horrible. Not that any period is a bag of laughs, but vacation/wedding/holiday/whatever other major event ones just plain suck. Give her a “way to go, girl” for me.


TKW June 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm

FUCKING SHIT! (sorry)– No way, no way should there be any captcha anything on my blog because I hate that stuff. Crap! Thank you for letting me know–I have to fix this.

Gaa! Now I’m so mad! Thank you, Lisa–I would never have known.


Papa Guy June 6, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Pictures, pictures, pictures. Then I can vicariously enjoy a vaca that we could never afford….Thank You


Mary Lee June 7, 2013 at 6:28 am

I salute you! Not many people select a resort in Mexico as a site for practicing survival skills. Kudos for the excellent performance.

How many times did you think, “Are we having fun yet?” or was there no need to pose the question.


Biz June 9, 2013 at 7:58 am

I always love your vacation recaps Dana! Glad for the most part it was a good time. Wow, catering for 18 people? Sending good vibes your way – just don’t forget to have a cocktail! :D


Biz June 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hey Dana – this was in our local paper today – thought you’d be interested in the article!



Dawn June 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm

OMG. Now I feel like I should apologize to my folks for all the trips they took us on and we were miserably awful. To each other and to them. Sigh. Hope you all can laugh about it someday. Like maybe tomorrow. :)


TKW June 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm

My Bizzy,

You are the best. I would have missed this and I’m so glad you sent it my way–honestly, I’m in the weeds and am missing all of the Blume-ery. It chaps my ass, because I want to be sitting in the catbird seat, looking at the scenery, while Judy drives. Hey. A girl can dream.


Jennifer June 13, 2013 at 11:54 am

I saw one of the three photos on Facebook (you guys are beautiful, btw), and all I could think is that I could not wait for you to get home so I could “hear” the story. I’m not sitting here disappointed.


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