Author: Bekah McNeel

Wanderlists: My Top 10

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t just make my blog a travel blog. I love to travel, I work in travel…

But my travel writing has always been pretty mundane. I’m not good at reflecting on places I’ve only been to once for a brief moment. On the other hand, keeping a diary of where we went and what we ate has just never appealed to me. Not to knock all the travel blogs out there (I consult them frequently for packing tips and restaurant suggestions), but I never get from writing the salty expansion of the soul I get from traveling. For me the world was meant to be seen.

That said, I love lists. Especially lists that inspire wanderlust.

So I’ve decided to list about travel, instead of writing about it. These are my wanderlists.

Wanderlist #1: The 10 Places I Love Most (besides home, of course)

It’s only fair to start out any series of list with the broadest, most general list. So here are my 10 favorite travel destinations. Anything goes: cities, states, parks, countries. There’s no real criteria; those lists will follow. This is just my love list.

1) London – I loved London even before grad school, though that’s definitely when I tucked it deep into my soul, never to be removed. And it’s a place I found I can go back to, with others. London definitely benefits from the good company I had while I was there on visits, but more so, it benefits from its own cosmopolitanism and love of order. London is orderly without forsaking charm, whimsy, and the element of surprise.

Mom Suit

Recently the internet has been all abuzz with post-baby mom bodies and how we need to celebrate them. I’m not that cool. I don’t have the moxie to flaunt it in my skivvies these days.

In fact, last weekend marked the first truly public debut of me wearing a mom swimsuit.

I’ve never had that rockin’ bikini hard-body that reeks of hours in the gym,or the effortless concave torso that reeks of good genes. But I have always been pretty comfortable in your standard tankini with traditional bottoms. Or a plunging halter.

So, while shopping (what was I thinking going swim suit shopping less than 3 months after giving birth???)  I grabbed some styles that have always worked for me in the past. I knew my stomach was still a little mushy, and my nursing breasts, well, they are ridiculously ginormous. So I told myself I wasn’t going to worry about the size.

But I was not prepared to see my thighs.

If I had known what that experience was going to be like I would have gone to one of those department stores where they will bring you alcoholic beverages in the dressing room.

Mom suit
The mom-suit. (Holding my little Dolphin Trainer…by far the cutest part of this picture)

Long story short, I walked out of there with a mom-suit. One of those tankinis with the ruffly bellies, and I found a basic black skirt bottom. I also got a more basic pink top with a built in bra, for times when I was willing to suck in my belly for the sake of fashion.

Let’s Not Make this Any Harder than it Needs to Be

I am convinced that if rearing children were easy, the internet would crumble for lack of wholesome content.

And thank goodness, because at the first whimper from Moira “World’s Easiest Baby” McNeel, and I am sprinting to my laptop, or whatever screen I can get to, to figure out what’s wrong, how to fix it, and how to keep it from EVER happening again.

 

So, expert first time mom that I am, I think the world needs to benefit from my profound wisdom, gleaned mostly from the internet and hearsay.

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Here’s the table of contents for my new book on parenting in the age of celebrity pediatricians, Web MD, media obsessions with obesity, internet mom-forums dedicated to gas and sleeping habits, and Amazon consumer reviews:

Title: Let’s Not Make this Harder than it Needs to Be

Chapter One: You are either pregnant, miscarrying, or you have cancer- why you should avoid the internet in your first trimester. …

Florence’s So-Called Life, Season 2, Ep 1

In which Florence regales what happened during the break

(read in the voice of Florence, which sounds uncannily like a 14-year-old Claire Danes)

Wow. Having this Little Hairless Pup around has changed…well, not much really.

I’m still not allowed to sleep on the furniture.

I’m still not allowed to eat off the table.

Wiley’s still scared of storms.

And Bekah still makes me “sit” before I get to do an-y-thing.

flo & moi 2

Moira Brings the News: Veterans Affairs

Anyone who watches Jon Stewart knows that the Veterans Affairs department is deeply mired in a beurocratic malaise that is only getting deeper.

Now they’ve fired Eric Shinseki, but analysts and law makers seem to agree that the long wait times covered up by lying and cheating is likely to continue. Our veterans are no closer to getting the kind of timely and thorough health care they deserve.

For astute analysis of this complex issue, we turn to Moira Sage, who brings a fresh set of eyes to the matter.

Moira, tell us what legislation and policy you would put in place to ensure that our veterans are taken care of when they return from defending our country overseas?

Veterans affairs

Mommy’s Little Helper

God gave us a laid back kid. I take no credit for the fact that my baby will patiently endure community meetings, board planning retreats, grocery shopping, baby yoga, dining out, and watching me work while she has tummy time. She’s just a good kid that way.

Mommy's little helper
Mommy’s little helper

Moira Brings the News: Secretary Castro

San Antonio’s Mayor Julián Castro is moving on up. We’re sad to see him go, as he has been a voice for progress in the city, ushering in the decade of downtown, SA202o, and other forward-thinking initiatives like Pre-K4SA.

Castro has been tapped for a position on President Obama’s cabinet as Housing and Urban Development Secretary. We’ll know he’ll do a fantastic job, and we hope to see him on another ballot someday so that we can, again cast our vote for him.

In the meantime, over to our junior correspondent, Moira Sage, who has some thoughts for the Mayor, as he joins Obama’s cabinet:

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Urban Baby: What we see on our walks

People told me that when I had a baby I would throw in the towel on the inner city, and head for the shady streets of suburbia. Good school districts. Safe strolling. Quiet nights.

I’m not going to lie, when my neighbor’s five pitbulls bark ALL NIGHT LONG, I do think about how nice it would be to have an HOA to tattle to, instead of just SAPD, which always feels extreme.

And yes, I have to stroll underneath 281 to get to our favorite walking path…but that walking path is the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River, and I can get there in 5 minutes on foot. We take this walk almost every day.

Plus, for my first Mother’s Day, Lewis bought me a membership to the San Antonio Museum of Art, where Moira and I can stroll and take in all the air-conditioning and art we want.

Along the way we have epic adventures passing animals, vagrants, fancy parties, kickball games, and running into friends.

Right now Moira sleeps through most of the walk, but when she looks around, she sees…

A bridge overlooking downtown, smattered with cyclists, yogi’s, and, soon, brewery-goers.

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Moira Brings the News: MERS

There’s a new health scare, this time coming from the Middle East. As though Americans needed one more reason to be scared of the Middle East.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) arrived onto US soil via a healthcare worker who had been in Saudi Arabia. According to this Reuters story, the man is improving and all exposed have been quarantined, but worldwide there have been 93 MERS-related deaths.

MERS is a virus-cousin of SARS, which came to us from China, another place Americans didn’t need another reason to fear. And just so you know, MERS is a coronavirus, and it’s spread through the air and through poop. So, two simple precautions for those taking the utmost care not to contract the deadly disease: don’t handle unfamiliar feces and don’t breathe.

For more on the precautions we should be taking to protect ourselves from MERS, we turn to Moira Sage:

Don't breathe on me

 

 

 

Something New and Good: We are Three

Moira is a month old. Five weeks, actually. It’s amazing how much each week of age matters at this point.

I’ve been hesitant to sit down and try to write anything meaningful, because life has not been marked by long stretches of uninterrupted thinking as of late.

It’s not actually entirely Moira’s doing. I often feel like she senses when we are about to have guests and decides to time her epic naps to avoid interaction. She’s an introvert. Or she obligingly naps through errands and restaurant meals. So I have lots of uninterrupted visits and meals…but that the time for reflecting and thinking is allotted to her 20 minute catnaps or 15 minute stretches of peaceful looking around. The rest of the time we are breastfeeding, changing diapers, and walking off my baby weight.

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And I’ll be perfectly honest. Sometimes I just use those catnaps and peaceful time to stare at her.

But, sometimes in the shower, or when we are driving (Moira is a champion car rider), I’ve given some thought to this first month. It’s in snippets, but in this case the form is the content.

So…in the first month of being a family of three, here were the things that surprised me. …