Redneck Mommy Does New York

Why did the redneck cross the New York City road?

She saw a Tim Hortons on the other side. True story. Yay for traveling across the continent and into another country just to eat Timbits!

New York was awesome. Which I hadn't really expected. As much as I love to travel, I never honestly wanted to go see New York. The sheer size of the city and the volume of it scared my small city, country bumpkin heart and I would have been happy living out my days never having set foot in the Big Apple.

I'd have missed out. I had a blast.

It helps that I went prepared, thanks to all of y'all. I had proper walking shoes, I was armed with interesting places to go visit and I had an extraordinary travel partner.

What I didn't have was a personal air-conditioner on wheels following me around as I tramped about the city. Holy heck, New York City in the summer is hot. As in hawt. Like boob sweat, ear sweat and every other extremely unsexy sweat imaginable. The heat bounced off all the concrete and my poor Canadian winter loving body just about melted like Frosty the Snowman.

A little boob sweat should never stop a good tourist though and so we walked.

And walked.

And walked some more.

The view from the Empire State Building

Times Square and me. Along with thousands of other snap-happy slightly lost tourists.

Times Square rather disappointed me. Although I did enjoy me some Naked Cowboy shaking his thang in front of me. However, I kept wanting to throw a blanket around him and tell him he's bringing shame to real cowboys everywhere. I mean, please. A straw cowboy hat? Invest in a Stetson and take some pride in your panhandling.

My kids wouldn't let me post the picture of me copping a feel of Liberty's boob. They're fuddy duddies.

My friend and I found the first of the fake Lady Liberty statues dotted around the tourist areas and in a moment of silliness we posed for pictures. Just as my buddy was snapping my picture a clearly concerned homeless man ventured up to us and whispered, "You do know that's not the real Statue of Liberty, right?"

And they say New Yorkers are unfriendly. Please. That bearded dude totally earned a dollar with that tip.

Waiting for a ferry to see the Real Statue of Liberty, thanks to my new tour guide director.

Since I had absolutely no reason to be in New York other than to enjoy myself, my girlfriend and I happily strapped on our tourist hats and toured. We hit all the big tourist attractions, and a lot of the smaller ones. We rode the subway, which smelled very similar to what I imagine a sewer pipe would. In fact, I'm pretty sure if someone urinated in the corner of one of the subway stations that may actually have made it cleaner.

We spent more time wandering off the beaten path, getting hopeless lost and enjoying every minute of it.

It occurred to us half way through our little adventure that the only animals we had seen in our travels was the odd dog on a leash. Right about then is when a pigeon pooped on us, I spilled my drink down my dress and a squirrel started to stalk us. City wildlife makes me twitch and walk around looking like I peed myself.

Crazy eyes. I swear it wanted to jump on my face and rip off my nose.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or the chick on her back.

After stumbling upon a little art gallery, I found the souvenir I wanted to take home with me. Never mind it cost almost as much as my car. However, when I sent a picture of the little statue to my husband he immediately called back and yelled, "Are you on crack? What is wrong with you?"

I bet if I had sent him a picture of the Bloggess's big metal chicken statue he'd have been all over that and have asked if I could get two so he could plant one on each side of the driveway to pretend they were his personal gargoyles.

There may be a reason the two of us have never invested in any real art.

This is why cell phones and cameras shouldn't be allowed near slightly inebriated people. Dorkiness ensues.

There was food, (oh my god, the food. Amazing.) There may have been some wine. And perhaps a mojito. Or three. But in my defense, we had just spent two hours getting hopelessly lost while wandering about looking for an interesting place to eat. What we found in two hours was a steady stream of Irish Bar and Grills. It was as though all the restaurants in the greater Manhattan area had been transported to the moon and replaced with Irish pubs and maybe the occasional questionable looking noodle house.

I was about to give up on ever sitting down in a non-pub type restaurant when a NYPD officer took pity on us and pointed us in the direction we wanted to be. After asking if he could join us after his shift. It was too bad he was like 12, and I'm like, married with four kids and old. Otherwise, I'd have totally accepted his offer.


So I can officially cross visiting New York off my bucket list, even if it was never really on it. And the best souvenir I brought home with me? The 7 blisters I managed to accumulate on my feet, even after wearing sneakers and old lady walking sandals.

Thank goodness for the Walgreens across the street. Sorry about cleaning out your blister Band-Aid supply. You may want to restock for the next tourist who isn't really prepared for the concrete jungle.

*A big thanks to Isabel, Neil, Barry, James and Jason for going out of their way to take two little tourists under their wings and make our trip memorable. Also, you were missed D.*










A Snapshot of Happy

I have just discovered no one has taken our trash to our local garbage transfer station in weeks, possibly months and no matter how many stars you wish upon, trash bags will not grow legs and march itself to the dump.

The trash will, however, get ripped open and spread itself around your yard in what can only be called as Redneck chic.

Guess what I'm going to be doing today?

Hint: It involves wearing rubber gloves, swearing at cats, dogs, wildlife and husbands all while carrying a new garbage bag.

So while I'm outside picking up trash, I thought I'd share a few of my favourite memories from our trip. Because y'all haven't heard enough about it as it is.

I'm such a giver.

Capela dos Ossos

In Evora, Portugal, stands the Church of St. Francis and next to it you will find the Chapel of Bones. It's a small chapel, built with the remains of over 5000 humans. Or so they say. I personally didn't count. That would have seemed weird. Weirder than posing with my daughter in front of a wall of human heads while saying Cheese! for the camera.

This room brings a whole other layer of meaning to the phrase Dead Heads.

Camel riding: It's harder than it looks.

Taking the ferry to Africa to spend some time in Morocco was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I didn't get enough time to explore the treasures of Morocco, instead only getting a small taste of what life in Tetouan is like. I fell in love with Morocco and its culture and I will be back to see it again in leisure at some point in my life. It's on my bucket list.

My daughter's highlight of the trip was when I decided to be a traditional tourist and climb atop a camel. And them promptly almost fall off.

Because camel riding is hard when one has rods in her spine.

SMARTEST MOVE EVER. The screams of my neurosurgeon are ringing in my ears.

But. I rode a freaking camel. And then it spit on me. Awesome.

The interior of one of the restaurants we dined in while in Tetouan. Also the inspiration to my living room makeover when I decide to stop dragging my feet and try to redecorate around my giant oversized, over-stuffed Godzilla-poop coloured sectional couch I stupidly agreed to let my husband purchase.


La Alhambra. Also known as a buffet of eye candy.

Granada, Spain was my favourite Spanish city. I don't know why. Every where we went was lovely but there was magic in the air in Granada. Perhaps it was spending the day inside La Alhambra. Perhaps it was getting stuck in a public washroom and having to impersonate a spider monkey to find my way out of it. While wearing a skirt. Whatever it was, Granada, you are the awesome.

Granada: The place where Fric officially had enough of me sticking a camera in her face every other second of the day.

Tasting my very first and very last anchovy.

It turns out it doesn't matter what continent I am on, I will never develop a taste for fresh olives or anchovies. Especially when they aren't adorning a pizza.

Also fun? Drinking European beer while playing pictionary with a Spanish bartender because neither of you speaks a lick of the other's language.

Valencia Coliseum, the place where blood is spilled.

One afternoon Fric and I had the opportunity to tour the Coliseum in Valencia and learn more about bull fighting. It was here I learned my daughter is a blood thirsty matador in training and I am more squeamish than I gave myself credit for. The coolest part of our time in the Coliseum was having the opportunity to watch the bull fighters train for their sport.

Those are boys who really know all about poking the bull and getting the horn.

Wait. That didn't come out quite right...

I love a good walrus.

Here's a random Tanis fact for you all: When I was in grade five I had to write a school report on an aquatic creature of my choice. I chose the beluga whale. It was inside the aquarium in Valencia that I finally got to see my very first, in person, live beluga whale. It was a very cool personal moment for me and my inner ten year old self. I may have been hopping up and down with excitement, even if I told others around me it was because I had to pee.

Also? A dork at aged ten will likely remain a dork at aged 35.

There may be a wee parking problem on the streets of Barcelona.

It was in Barcelona that I had the pleasure of taking my daughter on her very first subway ride. It was here that she announced to everyone on our subway car that she really enjoyed twirling around a pole.

I have never felt prouder as a mother.

Silence is golden. Especially when you are traveling with a 14 year old who likes to talk.

I love you kid, no matter what continent we are on.

I Have No Idea Where I Am

So far on this travel adventure with my daughter I have learned several things:

American teens are JUST as irritating as the Canadian kind. And by irritating I mean completely sweet. Ya. That's what I mean. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

Any teenaged girl, regardless of origin and nationality, will lose any and all capacity for reason upon walking into a cafeteria filled with teenaged European football players still in uniform.

Tour guides named Alberrrrrrrrrto make me smile.

Family politics will follow you across the planet and you will find yourself flipping off your brother-in-law on occasion and wondering what the penalty would be for smothering him with a travel pillow.

14 year old cousins will find a way to squabble no matter the country they are in. But just when you think you are about to lose your mind and your patience with them, you will find the two of them laughing and splashing together in the Atlantic ocean like they hadn't just tried to rip each others faces off hours earlier.

A church made out of the remains of thousands of human skeletons is only slightly less creepy than one might think yet slightly mustier than one would suppose.

When home alone with his sons, Boo will rise to the challenge by not only replacing Frac's entire wardrobe but by also shearing his youngest son's hair so the Jumbster no longer resembles a shaggy homeless child. Well done Boo.

I have also learned how precious free wifi is, how irritating blogging on an iPhone is and how important it is to pack a travel hair dryer or you will spend a lot of time walking around in Europe looking like a stringy haired rat.



Picture above taken at Ponta da Piedade, Portugal.

*I take no responsibility for any spelling or grammatical errors. Damn you Autocorrect. Damn youuuuu.*