Tiny Pineapple

ananas comosus (L.) minimus

Ho’ Down

I saw this sign outside a local church yesterday:

Ho' Down Sign

I do hope they meant hoedown…as opposed to, “Monique, I’ve fallen off my four-inch heels and I can’t get up!”

Love Actually

Love Actually (One Sheet)

I saw Love Actually last night for the second time. Contrary to what you might assume from my serial attendance, it is not a great movie. It is, in fact, a mess. But it’s a charming, affecting, lovable mess. Kind of like me.

Besides, it has Emma Thompson, who has been woefully absent from films for the past few years, and Keira Knightley, who, unfortunately, has nothing to do in this film but sit there looking beautiful…which she does beautifully. Either one would be worth a repeat visit, but with both of them in the same film I’ll probably go a third time.

Before I went into the theater I stopped at a little burger stand they have in the lobby to order a Diet Coke with vanilla and, as I was sitting on the stool waiting for my drink, I noticed someone approaching on my left.

I turned and saw a girl, 19…maybe 20 years old, saying goodbye to some friends. She was walking backwards as she was finishing her conversation and based on her trajectory I could tell she was going to run into me, so I swiveled to my left and reached out to grab her shoulders to cushion the impact. Just then, she turned and, seeing me out of the corner of her eye, took a step sideways to avoid the collision, but lost her footing and started to fall.

Since I was already poised to grab her shoulders, I was able to catch her and ease her down so that she landed right in my lap, the back of her head brushing lightly against my cheek. As I helped her to her feet, she turned around, her face flushed with embarrassment and, as she laughed and apologized and thanked me again and again, she reached out and touched my arm…at which point my brain stopped functioning entirely.

It was too much to process all at once. The body in my arms, the soft, dark hair against my cheek, that fragrant winter combination of shampoo and perfume with just a hint of the wool, the beautiful face beaming at me, the touch of her hand… Too much, I tell you!

I muttered something along the lines of, “Oh, it was nothing…don’t mention it…not at all…,” but before I could really get my wits about me she was gone.

I got my drink, wandered into the theater, and took my seat. But I’m definitely going to have to see the film a third time because I spent the duration of that screening in a total fog. I kept replaying things in my head, trying to figure out what I should have said or done to…to…oh, I don’t know…keep her in my arms, I guess. Keep the body and the hair and the smell and the face and the hand and the touch and the smile and the moment. Because, for just that moment, I remembered what love actually felt like.

Disneyland 2003, Day Seven: In Praise Of My Daughters

We got home late, late Friday night…or early, early Saturday morning, depending on whether your a “glass half full” or “glass half empty” kind of person. (Personally, I’m a “if that’s all the water you wanted you should have just stooped down and drunk straight from the tap” kind of guy.)

Our drive time was extended because of a detour caused by the San Bernardino fires and just as we caught in the flood of gamblers returning from their Fabulous Las Vegas™ Weekends on the way down, we got caught in the flood of gamblers heading off on their Fabulous Las Vegas™ Weekends on the way back.

The girls held up remarkably well given all the delays. They are good little travellers. In fact…can I just take a moment to gush about my daughters?

The older they get and the more their personalities emerge, the more I love them. They’re not only great kids, they’re great people. People I would choose to spend time with even if I didn’t have to.

But I was honestly a little worried about this trip. We’d taken plenty of trips as a family of four, but this was our first as a new family of three. I was afraid that, with no real opportunities to take a break from each other, by day two they were going to be sick to death of me, tired, and homesick. Even the best little kids can get out of sorts when they’re out of their element for an extended period of time.

But I underestimated them. They were delightful companions from beginning to end and we had an absolute blast. And even when adults around them were losing their heads, the girls kept their cool.

Late one hot afternoon we were in the stand-by line for Soarin’ Over Calfornia when they started having problems with the whole center section of seats on the ride, cutting their capacity by one third.

Progress in the stand-by line slowed considerably while people with Fast Passes, which have priority, were flowing past us onto the ride. After about half an hour of moving very little, a lot of the adults in the stand-by line started getting surly. The people immediately in front of us and behind us were especially vocal.

After listening to all of the complaining going on around her, Emma looked up at me and said, “The line isn’t moving very fast, is it, Dad?”

“No, Emma. It’s not.”

She thought about it for a moment and then said, “That’s OK. It’ll be worth it.”

“Yeah,” Zoë concurred.

I could have kissed them…and, in fact, I did.

Disneyland 2003, Day Six: Jasmine at Last

Today was Disneyland’s Greatest Hits day. Everyone got to choose their favorite rides and we did them all again.

Zoë was denied a 7th ride on it’s a small world, since they’ve shut it down for a few weeks to put the Christmas version of the ride together. And we ended up missing Splash Mountain altogether this trip. It has been closed for renovations the whole time we’ve been here, but it was supposed to reopen today. Unfortunately, they didn’t finish the renovations in time, so it looks like we’ve missed it completely.

Once again, Zoë shocked everyone by suddenly deciding to go on The Haunted Mansion and, once again, ended up loving it.

But the highlight of our day was finally meeting Jasmine, from Disney’s Aladdin. Jasmine is Emma’s favorite Disney princess, and we were starting to worry that we’d never have a chance to meet her.

We’d already met Zoë’s favorite, Belle, on Tuesday.

Zoë Meets Belle
Zoë Meets Belle

But late in the afternoon, as we were coming back from Emma’s second ride on Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, there she was.

Jasmine at Last
Jasmine at Last

And, yes, Aladdin was wearing more makeup than Jasmine…and, yes, it was a little disconcerting.