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I Can Explain...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I've spent the entire day today wearing a knee-sock on one foot with no shoe and a flip-flop (no sock) on the other. I'm also sporting cut-off yoga pants, a mismatched Disney t-shirt, and a big floppy robe. Sometimes there was also a skirt involved - but don't ask me how.

So, obviously, I've been packing.

Here's the thing: I hate packing.

So that's the thing.

In related news, John and I are going on a cruise with our families tomorrow. We'll be gone five days. Our sanity, however, caught an early flight out sometime yesterday afternoon.

We have relations flying in from California, Texas, and Maine, plus my parents drove down from Virginia, and John had to organize pretty much all of it: the hotels, the flights, the how-much-luggage-can-fit-in-YOUR-trunk?, and, of course, the cruise itself. Afterward we're hosting Christmas morning here at our place, so there's also been that to plan/freak out over.

Now, because our trunk space driving back from the port is limited, John asked everyone to please try to pack light.

My mother - always one to take instructions seriously - showed up with one pair of pants. One. (Thankfully, she was wearing them.) In fact, the sum total of her luggage could have been contained in some of my larger purses.

Seriously.

Upon learning this yesterday, I gently explained to my mom that we were going on a cruise, not a 2-day stint in a war-zone foxhole, and that she would not, in fact, be required to carry all of her luggage on her person at all times. So off to Ross we went, where, after much cajoling, I was able to convince her to purchase a black skirt and a black pair of jeans.

Now, I know what you're thinking: they still make black jeans? Yes, my friends, they do. But more importantly, I clearly did not get my mom's sparse-packing jeans. I mean genes. I just need things when I leave home: shoes and hair creams and - for the love of sweet mercy - my tweezers.

Still, I did my best, and I think I've managed to condense my bare necessities down to a manageable amount.


I just hope I remembered to pack some pants.


Anyway, stay tuned for what I'm sure will be absolutely hysterical reports on our family vacation. And maybe some coded pleas for help. (If I start referring to myself as Inigo Montoya, call the Brute Squad, stat.)


UPDATE: Yes, I have my passport. More importantly: it's no longer expired. Less importantly: I'm never going to live that down, am I? ;)

Posted by Jen at 7:17 PM Labels:

70 comments:

  1. You have your passport, right?!?!?

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  2. Have fun! And for heaven's sake, I hope you have your passport! (I say that with love.)

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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  3. I hate packing too. I never know what to bring and I usually get to where I'm going, I remember I've forgotten something:)

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  4. ...snort... you said, "We have relations"...

    What am I, like 12?

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  5. Oooh, low blow, ang! ;) Fwiw, I *did* have it last time. Heh. This time it hasn't just expired, though. Plus John has called everyone in the family multiple times just to ask, "Do you have your passport?!?" At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if he glues mine to my forehead while I sleep tonight.

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  6. I sympathize. We are going to WDW in January and because we are flying a cheap airline, we are not checking bags (why do I want to pay more for the bag to fly than I paid for my seat?!), so I need to get a week's worth of stuff in my carry-on bag. Not really sure how that's going to work.

    Have fun on your cruise. Looking forward to the posts.

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  7. This is exactly how I used to feel when packing before my hyper-organized wife beat using lists into me. Now I have a baseline list of my toiletries so I don't forget important things like deodorant and I don't have to re-write the list every time. Anal? Yes. Does it mean I no longer have 4 things of deodorant lying around? Absolutely.

    I wish my mother had this spars packing issue, the last time we went on a cruise I had to have second bag that was just for my mother's stuff. She used the magic of Jewish Mother Guilt to make me carry it for her. "But what if I should want my other evening gown?! You don't want your mother to look ugly do you?! Why god did you curse me with children who want me to be ugly?!"

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  8. First thought was your passport - not only that you have it this time, but that it's valid ;).

    I tend to seriously overpacka s well, which drives Hubby to distraction. Of course, when I DO manage to pack light I'm always missing Very Important Things.

    Enjoy your cruise!

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  9. Your mom cracks me up; it's reassuring that mine isn't the only strange (?) one out there. Example:

    When asking my dad about gift ideas for my dear, loving mother, he mentions that the shower gel I got her last year was nearly out, and that she'd been thinning it down with water for months. A frugal fan of bars of soap, this woman refuses to purchase cleaning products that are more expensive and *gasp* water-based. Paying for something you can get from the tap?! The horror!!

    While my husband and I thought this to be funny, it dawned on me...we got her shower gel two christmases ago. Two. Years. It was a last-minute act of desperation after being unable to think of anything she'd appreciate. In my book, any woman who can make a single bottle of the stuff last 2 years (thanks to an insane amount of H2O) deserves a case of it this year!

    Hope this makes you smile as much as your mom and her pants made me :)

    (Wow, that came out kinda creepy...uh, sorry...)

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  10. @ Doktor - I'm a list person, too: I have "cruise," "non-cruise," and "book-tour" packing lists saved on my hard drive. I'd never remember it all otherwise! However, being female, I require at least 6 hours to painstakingly plan each outfit, down to the jewelry. It's exhausting, really, and makes me jealous of John and his throw-in-whatever packing style.

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  11. I remembered to pack pants on the last cruise I went on, but I did NOT remember to leave them out the night before we came home. I departed the ship wearing a nightgown, socks, and a sweater. Don't make the same mistake!

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  12. I also am incapable of packing light,and feel your pain! Even going three hours away for a weekend involves much angst of packing and re-packing etc.

    My husband says if I can't lift it myself, it's not going to get on the plane. :P Partially meaning that he's only going to carry it for me under duress, but mostly appealing to my cheap Scottish gene that doesn't want to pay overweight bag fees! :)

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  13. When I went on a cruise in 2008 I brought an entire suitcase full of shoes.

    I feel your packing pain.

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  14. Hey, that "sculpture" is the Sacramento airport!

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  15. @Kristi-- I completely get not wanting to pay more for the bag than your flight. One idea is to ship a package to yourself at the hotel you're staying at. :-) if you ship it a couple of days early (with tracking) it should be there when you arrive and might not cost nearly as much. (just an idea)

    LOL-- @Jen, glad to see I wasn't the only one whose first reaction was "did Jen get her passport updated?" ;-)

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  16. I hope you have a FABULOUS time that makes up for all the tears from last year.. . . and yes, when reading your post, my first thought was about your expired passport.

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  17. enjoy your cruise..and glad to hear you have your passport!

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  18. My dad wears black jeans. My mom buys him new pairs around the holidays from The Gap!

    Too funny:)

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  19. Just wanted to make sure you have your passport. And the big round thing on the first cake is EPCOT.

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  20. When my brother left for his first semester of college he managed to leave every pair of pants except the one he had on at home.

    Any time someone mentions packing and pants it makes me giggle.

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  21. "going on a cruise, not a 2-day stint in a war-zone foxhole.." Oh, that's great! I'm still laughing!

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  22. Oh, Jen, have the best, *best*, BEST time, you hear? I can't imagine anyone who more deserves a wonderful, perfect, relaxing vacation!

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  23. I'm so glad you'll have your valid passport this time! And I try very hard to pack light, but I don't succeed.

    Have a good vacation.

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  24. Since I see that tower of luggage (which actually holds up the roof) and it's twin every time I go to the airport, I've become much better at packing.

    The Container Store has some packing devices that can make you fit an insane amount of clothes into one carry-on. Three days at my parents followed by two at Disneyland? All in my carry-on thanks to The Container Store.

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  25. I know that this is TOTALLY not the point of your post, but the black jeans thing made me think of it.

    My family is planning a family photo session while we are all together for Christmas. The dress code (because that's what mothers do: create unnecessary rules for basic events) allows us to wear either "jeans or black jeans." My mother and I went multiple rounds over my desire to wear black pants that are not, in fact, denim.

    She apparently believes that we ALL still have black jeans in our closets.

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  26. Yes, I too was wondering "DO YOU HAVE YOUR PASSPORT AND IS IT CURRENT", so no, you're never going to live that down.

    Enjoy your cruise!

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  27. Jen-hope it goes better than last year! And SQUEEE-your luggage photo is a hometown landmark here...it's in the Sacramento Airport and I think it's called "Samson," when the artist put it together they asked for suitcase donations from we locals. And I pack the same way you do. :) You never know what you're gonna need, right?

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  28. Glad you're getting another shot at this, after the passport incident.

    Or would you rather not??? ;-)

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  29. Aww Jen, you know we wouldn't ask about your passport if we didn't love ya and want to make sure you could have fun this time!

    We are flying to see family for Christmas. Hubby said he didn't want to pay to check any bags if he didn't have to. So he took a box with the gifts to UPS to see if it would be cheaper to ship them. Even though it cost more, he went ahead and shipped the box, but he had to pay to have them repack it with all the stuff he brought that had been next to the box at home. Of course, none of that was supposed be in that box! And to top it off he has now announced that, of course, he will be checking a bag!

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  30. Have fun Jen! I can't wait to hear all about the cruise. And Pictures. please?

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  31. you can get more stuff in the bag if you roll the clothes tightly and snap a ponytail holder/rubber band around the items. lots more stuff. doing this I crammed 20 days worth of stuff in one suitcase with some room to spare (i have a big suitcase but it took up less room than folding) plus, no wrinkles this way

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  32. kef, that is a great way to pack; I will have to try it next time around. The first time we went to Ireland I overpacked a lot...too many shoes. By the time we got to Donegal I figured that I would ship some of my shoes home, along with a few 'worn' knickers. The post office was out of a stage set, the little old lady as postmistress, and a dog loose outside to watch over proceedings. We got the fee for the package set, after she consulted a brochure...she'd never shipped a parcel to the STATES before. AS we were leaving she came running after; the fee was a 'wee bit more' than she had charged me.
    We got home a week before Sept. 11, 2001. It took my package a month and a half to make it to me. In the meantime warnings went out that people should be on the lookout for any packages that seemed odd, shipped from overseas and maybe did not quite smell right.
    I was sure they had blown my poor shoes and knickers up in some secret military facility. The parcel finally did arrive, somewhat the worse for wear. Needless to say, I pack many fewer pairs of shoes and tend to throw any unwashed knickers away and buy new one in whatever place we are. Makes for a nice collection that is much more functional than postcards.
    Oh dear, I have gone on a little.
    Have a great trip, Jen, we are looking forward to your reports.

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  33. Ha ha--everyone seems to have had the same thoughts. I immediately went "OMG! I hope she has a passport!!" when I read the first mention of going on a cruise.

    You said that John asked everyone if they had their passports. Did he ask them if they were expired?

    Oh, and I always overpack, too. :)

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  34. As I was reading this in bed I giggled so much my husband made me read it to him ... Which somehow made it even funnier to me therefore making it difficult to read out loud with all the giggling and snickering. It took me much longer to read it than it should have, and I think he's still wondering why I found it so funny. Thanks for the great laugh before bed! Have fun and Merry Christmas!

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  35. Yeah, I don't pack light, but it's usually not that tough for me to pack, because most of the time I bring everything I have. Yep, every pair of pants, every pair of shorts, every shirt and every sweater and every piece of jewelry. I haven't learned how to pack light, but I have learned how to roll every piece of clothing I have tight like I'm going to put it into a backpack but I put it in my large suitcase instead. That rolling trick is like owning a magic packing wand!

    Have fun!! :-D

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  36. What, exactly, is wrong with black jeans?

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  37. I don't know if about living it down, we just know how unhappy you were the last time and we don't like a sad Jen : ) Oh, and too many times have I thought that I have packed everything and I double check and I did in fact forget to pack pants.

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  38. Good luck with it all, I hope it all goes smoothly and trouble free this year- you deserve it! :)

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  39. LOL several peeps beat me to the passport questions - and no you will not! :) Have fun.

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  40. I can completely relate. I packed way too much most of the time. I've finally learned to let my husband pack with a few requests.

    I bet you'll have fun on that cruise. I'm so jealous!

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  41. Hoping that you have smooth sailing and much fun!

    Here's a site with light packing tips: http://www.onebag.com/

    And here's a little geeky humor for your pre-cruise stress moments: http://images.ucomics.com/comics/ft/2010/ft101219.gif

    wv: grayse, as in the grayse was not as calm as the bluese, but the ship still sailed on. :-)

    - DB

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  42. Enjoy a cruise that you will actually be able to take!

    I was watching some show on TLC about the people on a cruise and there was someone with an expired passport not allowed on the ship... that wasn't you was it? Were there cameras that day? Or is this just a usual situation for a cruise???

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  43. Have a great trip! That luggage photo is priceless...

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  44. oh boy....I'm looking forward to this!

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  45. Oh the Sacramento Airport. Once you see it, you'll never forget it.

    Happy sailing, bon voyage, and Merry Christmas!

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  46. Have a wonderful cruise! My first thought was your passport, too, even before I got to your update at the bottom of the post. No, you never will live that down. I'm just glad you're going to be allowed on the boat this time!

    And I totally understand both the underpacking and overpacking thing. I'm an overpacker, my husband is an underpacker. He really CAN live for a week out of a small carry-on bag. We're going on a 12-day cruise in late January, and I'm already panicking about remembering to pack everything and condensing it down to only two bags. At least this time I don't have to bring 12 books along since I have a Kindle. If nothing else, it's a great space-saving device!

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  47. FYI: The picture, I believe, is from the Sacramento, CA airport. There are three, maybe four sculptures made from lost luggage. No, really don't know that. But they are cool.

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  48. The passport thing? nope, you won't be living that one down.

    I'm still confused though... what would possess you to wear such a strange mismatch of clothing while you're packing? Memory aides? Hunting for the "other one"? One foot got cold?

    I'm a list girl. I make a list a couple of days before I go, then add to it when I remember those things I would otherwise have forgotten. I do run into some trouble though when it comes to the actual packing.. "oh I might need an extra... whatever" or "I'll probably use this..." even though I never use that particular thing and there is no reason for me to start when I'm on vacation.

    My husband on the other hand has a "mental" list. And when I ask him if he's remembered something, he gets annoyed because its either "on his list" or gets him distracted (because yes, he forgot it). Regardless though, it is inevitable that he wants to buy new deodorants, toothpaste, liquid soap, or shampoo, even though we have plenty in our half-used bottles to see us through. Next travel accessory on my shopping list? Refillable travel containers for soap and shampoo. Those suckers are heavy, new or used!

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  49. Jen,
    I don't often comment, but ALWAYS read your posts. I have to say--and I mean this in the most non-creepy, non-stalker way--I love your sense of humor, and the way you make us all feel like close friends.

    I wish you and your family the very best Christmas and hope your cruise is filled with awesome, unforgettable (yet safe) moments. I know we will all be waiting to hear from you.
    Patti

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  50. First thing I thought of was the passport!

    And no, we are never letting you live that down. That and the fact that we were all so upset for you! I almost feel as if I lived that with you. I never want to live it again! ;)

    Have a blast! Hope you remembered underwear!

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  51. Jen, I call it closet separation anxiety. And I like to be prepared for it all. I am happy when I come home with clean clothes left over, cranky if I have to wear something twice.

    I hope the cakes on board are more sweet than wrecky...but enjoy your long overdue vacation!!!

    But, remember--the best part of forgetting something, is...shopping.

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  52. Have a nice trip!

    In the meantime, have you seen this???? Crazy cool!

    Star Wars Scroll Dress

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  53. I know I'm a little late on that, but same here, the forst thing I thought was "oh dear, does she have her passport?!?!"
    So as you do, have a merry christmas!

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  54. A little late on posting my Christmas decorations but here they are
    http://grammysgarden-grammy.blogspot.com/2010/12/making-house-festive-home.html?spref=fb
    where in Maine is John from?

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  55. i remember i actually cried last year when i read your post about missing your cruise! it was heartbreaking and i could imagine it happening to me...*shudder* we all ask about the passport because we would hate for that to happen to you again...we want you to have FUN and be with your family, you deserve it!

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  56. Have Fun! I was just on my second cruise about 2 months ago for my birthday and I can't wait to go on another one.
    I hate packing too - I'm always sweating at the airport when they go to weigh my bag(s)!

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  57. Yes! My first thought was your passport! And yes, the luggage sculpture is in our "local" Sacramento airport!
    And sorry - I'm a list person - all the time....I think I'm an event planner in a parallel universe :) My hubby and I did find it easier to just have a small bag always ready to go with shampoo, deodorant, razors, toothpaste, etc. that way even if we forgot other things we had the essentials.
    And hey - I own a pair of black jeans - they go with everything!
    Have a GREAT trip - we look forward to your stories when you return.

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  58. At least you're packed. I leave for New Orleans on Friday for a week and haven't the faintest what I'm bringing to wear.

    Mostly, I've been dreaming about not working and drinking copiously. I suppose you can't do that naked though...

    PS: Make a copy of your passport. I'm not saying you have the kind of luck that it will end up lost or something while on your cruise, but um... getting stuck in port would suck.

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  59. Hope you and yours are having a fantastic time! I had to laugh at your Mom showing up with only one pair of pants- few years ago my extended family went on an 8 day trip to Europe. I kept stressing to everyone that they must pack light because everyone would be responsible for carrying their own luggage- and this would mean on trains and walking from train station to dinky hotels and up flights of stairs in hotels with no elevators because we were traveling cheap.

    So both my aunt and grandmother independently came to the decision that they would just take one pair of black trousers. For EIGHT DAYS. Both of these women bring no less than 3 suitcases each when they come visit me for the weekend, and we only live 2 hours away. Fortunately these plans came up in discussion before we left and I was able to reason with them.

    Looking forward to hearing about your adventures!

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  60. My hubby two years in a row forgot to pack shirts on our annual vacation. As in he had pants for the 4 day trip, and only the shirt he was wearing. The first year it was funny, the second year I was about ready to kill him.

    And I just had him throw out a pair of black pants that he's owned since the 80s... I can't tell him that there in style.

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  61. Have a great cruise!
    Can I make you feel better about the passport thing? This year my sister-in-law went to Greece for a week...upon leaving, discovered she had lost her passport. Spent a lot of time & great expense getting emergency documentation at the British Embassy in Athens; went to even further expense getting a new passport rushed through in 3 days when they got home because they were going to France.
    A few weeks later, she had a headache & went to get tablets from her travel bag....and found the original passport stuck to the back of the pill pack by the baggage sticker. Heehee, we laughed....

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  62. Wow, the last time I went on a cruise - to USVI - we didn't need a passport. Although, I seem to remember some kind of last minute scramble for my boyfriend to find his birth certificate.

    I have a similar picture of that sculpture, except there aren't any people in mine because our flight was delayed and I didn't get in until 5am - instead of 7pm. That made for an interesting first day of training class!

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  63. Oh wow, I leave Jan 1 for a cruise with the (long-time) boyfriend + my mother, grandmother, uncle and brothers.

    It's the boyfriend's first cruise too, and it's drawing near enough that the excitement is really setting in.

    I hope you have fun, and hell I hope I have fun! Traveling with family cab be stressful, but I am going to try my darndest to just enjoy it.

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  64. One year when my two youngest children were small, we went to my parents' for a long weekend. I had packed bags for the youngest two, which ended up being left behind. Fortunately it's easy and relatively inexpensive to replace three days' worth of clothes for young children.

    I'm a notorious overpacker. Not only clothes, but books--I end up taking easily three times as many as I can possibly read. I need a Kindle, but I also need to be able to borrow books on it...and I would need two Kindles, because my daughter would never let me leave her out. She and I frequently wish that we had a purse like Hermione's.

    Have fun, and Merry Christmas!

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  65. I did a double-take at your picture of the stacked luggage art - it's at the Sacramento International Airport, and for a moment there, I thought you'd taken the pic while visiting my hometown! That luggage stack hides a support column and it's fun to look at the old suitcases while you're waiting for your own to come out the chute.

    Enjoy your trip, and thanks for the smile.

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  66. @Melinda (who posted Dec 23), I too wanted a kindle or such. But couldn't make up my mind which I wanted. Then I found software that allows you to read Kindle books on the pc (or laptop or netbook or iPad). It's free to dld the software, then you buy/borrow the books and magazines you want.

    There is also other software for other types of dldable books (Adobe Digital, etc) that are free-- and you can get other books.

    To me the neat thing about having the software and not the device is that I have my books, my music, my pictures and internet access on one gadget (a netbook) that fits in my larger purse or carry on bag.

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  67. Thanks for the awesome laugh! I needed that!

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  68. I hate to do this on here but I can't get into cake wrecks. It is asking me for an id and password. I hope it is just a maintenence thing.. oh and I hope you had a great trip!

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  69. Hey Jen, just saw this and thought you'd like it. 75 amazing sci-fi illustrations:

    http://www.designerterminal.com/inspiration/illustration/examples-sci-fi-illustration.html

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