Archive for the ‘travel’ Category
This post is sponsored by Kimberly-Clark.
He had been up for hours. His every turn a new layer of protection. Time muffled any telltale sounds. He was dizzy with comfort.
And so it was that the man found his little boy in the bathroom, spinning himself in rolls of Cottonelle, and looking every bit the mummy. The man looked at the toilet, then back to the boy.
“Wipes,” said the mummy, and then he kept on spinning.
That story didn’t happen. It was a conversation about possibility and bums, Halloween and changing rolls. It took place with one of us sitting and the other one trying not to breathe. There was a knock on the door and it was far too early for tricks or treats.
“It’s probably just opportunity,” said my son.
It was the plumber. He had come to fix the sink.
Fortunately, plumbers knock twice.
This is the last week of the Cottonelle #LetsTalkBums campaign. We have five winners to show for it. This weekend we will pick two(2) more and your chances just doubled.
The contest is easy enough, all you need is a Twitter account, a mailing address in these United States, and 17 syllables you are willing to let go. Let them run. Let them breathe. A haiku is nothing but freedom.
And it is also a golden ticket. Tweet an original, family friendly haiku about bums and Cottonelle wipes (part of the Cottonelle Care Routine) with the hashtags #letstalkbums and #haiku, and you will be entered to win one of two remaining spots for a $200 gift card and a chance for a trip to the Dad 2.0 Summit in New Orleans. The details can be found at WipingPoetic.com.
Lots of people know what it’s like to miss New Orleans. You don’t have to be one of them. You want to go to Dad 2.0.
Below are the previous winners, all of which have won said $200 gift card and are in the drawing for the NOLA trip (trip includes flight, hotel, conference pass). That is a one in seven chance, and may the odds be always in your favor.
— Jason Sperber (@dad_strangeland) September 25, 2013
— Ryan Miller (@jesteram) October 3, 2013
— Dead Turkey (@DeadTurkeyBlog) October 6, 2013
— Ron Mattocks (@CK_Lunchbox) October 16, 2013
— and I’m the dad (@andimthedad) October 24, 2013
Do you have what it takes to haiku your way to New Orleans?
Apparently the United States government is going to start working again, and the Internet isn’t big enough for the jokes. However, I think there is plenty of space to show you some of the fun that tourists and tax-payers can once again enjoy without resorting to Night at the Museum 2 screenings.
My youngest son, Zane, and I were guests of the Hilton Garden Inn earlier this summer. It is located within walking distance of the White House and the National Mall, so we took advantage of our location, location, location, and saw some stuff (but first we took advantage of the omelet bar in the HGI lobby, because, hello, omelets!).
All photos taken on my iPhone. That’s right.
“You went where? To do what?” was the general response. “Did you say soy sauce? In Wisconsin?”
I did. I was invited by Kikkoman, a company centuries in the making, to be an ambassador for their brand, and their largest plant is in Walworth, Wisconsin, so I went there. I was joined by fellow ambassadors (pictured above left to right) Tessa, Rachel, and Erika, and together we learned more about soy sauce than I ever thought there was to know.
And I learned about the people.
The history, the philosophy, and all of the individual stories that have given life to the company of Kikkoman is downright inspiring. Who knew?
In fact, I was so impressed with the story of Kikkoman, which is wonderfully shared in this video (below), that I had a few friends over to watch it. By the time the credits rolled there wasn’t a dry eye in the house—from tears, not soy.
It turns out that sometimes corporations are people.
One of the most telling examples of how much the employees of Kikkoman love their jobs is that each year they all donate money to buy the company an anniversary gift. You read that right, the employees donate their own money to buy the company a present, among them classic clocks, original art, and this sign that we are blocking with our comedic stylings:
Give it a minute.
We were joined on the trip by a few fantastic employees from the PR firm representing Kikkoman and the amazing Chef Helen Roberts (she is the “i” in Kikkoman, also “team”), and they are all good people. It was a theme.
This look is all the rage with tour groups:
In addition to learning all things soy we also took in the splendors of Wisconsin, including a tour of Lake Geneva and its ritzy shores, not to mention the fancy halls of The Abbey Resort where we stayed. It was a truly enjoyable and informative trip, and I am honored to have been invited.
And you might want to thank Kikkoman, too. They are hosting a Kikkoman recipe contest on Facebook and you could win $1,000 if yours is chosen. Remember me!
This post is sponsored by Kikkoman, but the sincerity is all mine! I will be sharing some original(ish) family-friendly recipes in the coming months, stay tuned and stay hungry!
Part I: Getting There is Half the Fun
The train ride out of Dresden was pleasant enough. The scenery was green and lush. Prague waited at the end of the line—a line wrought with the romance and tragedy of other people’s history. So much had happened on those tracks, blood and love and metamorphosis.
In contrast to the old that engulfed us was the bright youth of our day. It was young, and so were we. I was traveling with two friends, D and M, and we were full of promise and adventure, our heads heavy with lust and liquor. We carried them high with the occasional nodding.
We met some American girls on the train and found comfort in their kinship while drinking lazily between sunbeams and darkened tunnels. There was much in the way of eyelashes and laughter, a tango of social graces that started at their smiles and drifted gently downward. We spun. We dipped. It was an afternoon on a dance card, and the songs were softly humming.
There were two stops in Prague and ours was the second, which appeared to be the case with all of the tourists. The car echoed with the heaving of countless backpacks, and the finishing of liquors that had got them this far.
A man appeared, then many more. They boarded at the first stop, and it was easy to see that this was their livelihood, the constant commute between two stations, rubbing against the wanderers of the world and selling their wares. In the case of our visitor, it was the goods of lodging.
It startled us to have someone offer us a room in a private flat, but a quick aside and we agreed to the terms. The previous unspoken plan had been to get off the train and track down one of the many hostels that filled our traveling books, and then to woo women. We had gone further on less.
The American girls, as women are prone to do, were already prepared and had a hotel room booked in advance. They were much more organized than we had ever considered being.
The apartment in question belonged to a jazz musician that was currently on tour. The room had three cots, one for each of us, and access to the kitchen, which we used as a place to sit beneath low-swinging lightbulbs while drinking midday beers out of old, glass jelly jars. There were good, long talkings there.
We decided to get something to eat and stepped outside with nowhere to go and all the time to get there. We took the first right and ran into the American girls stepping from their hotel. They smiled again. Our eyes wandered.
Together we ate some bland food, drank heavily, and made our way to the main square in old Prague. It breathed deeply of pain and fairy tales, not much different than what Kafka would have walked through, but with less bugs and slightly more neon.
There is a clock there, in that old square, that is the most beautiful timepiece I have ever seen. In fact, the story goes that upon its completion, the monarch that sanctioned it had taken the artist and cut his eyes out so that he could never create another clock that might surpass its grandeur.
I can’t help but think that the artist found his loss well worth it. Read the rest of this entry »
It had been a long day full of sunshine, sweat, and shoes soaked from the rapids of a raging theme park river. The boys were 20 minutes away from passing out with bellies full of pizza and the constant construction of lifelong memories being built inside their heads. We had said goodbyes to friends, taken last photos of the wondrous everything, and walked out of gates that are better rushed into. There was nothing left but a tram ride and the taking of it.
We walked across the bricks of the courtyard until we reached the one that we had purchased the week that Zane was born. That was over six years ago. It still rests where it always has, and until progress takes it away, always will. It is a tribute to trips taken, and it will one day serve as a memorial to the trips we had, our names etched beneath the feet of pending grandchildren and those that follow, but today it a big dot on the map of our existence announcing, “YOU ARE HERE,” and our happiness is greatly implied.
The man was old by most standards, though he seemed quite spry, and the twinkle in his eyes was as soothing as it was contagious. He stood beside Zane who was kneeling on his bare, tan knees in a sea of similar stones — an expanding forest of cement stumps with names carved upon them by those in various states of returning, and those that may never come again. The old man stood and watched with a smile both knowing and amused, and from time to time he glanced to me, my wife, and our older son, Atticus, who was watching Zane just as intently but twice as oblivious.
Finally, Zane looked up and noticed the man dressed in white as he stood leaning on a dustpan with a broom pressed tightly against it.
“Is that yours?” asked the man as he nodded toward the brick.
“Yes,” said Zane, and then he looked at the names once more. He traced each letter with his finger as he read them aloud.
“You know,” said the man, “they say that everything at Disneyland is magical.”
The boys didn’t move. My wife only nodded.
“These grounds are part of Disneyland. That means your brick is magic.”
We thought about that for a moment. Then the old man took something small and bright from the apron at his waist and held it between his thumb and forefinger for all to see.
“I found this new penny on these grounds. Right here. That makes it part of Disneyland, too. That makes it very magic.”
He bent down and held the penny in front of my son.
“Take a little bit of the magic home with you,” he said.
He handed the penny to Zane who took it without hesitation, that in itself a rarity for a little boy that always turns sheepish at the word of a stranger. We sat there for a minute and watched him roll the penny around with his fingers before squeezing it tight in his palm and burying it at the bottom of his pocket.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
The old man nodded and swept at something that only he could see.
We walked away a little lighter, somehow fresher and somewhat new. It never dawned on any of us to turn back around.
I suspect that if we had the old man would not have been there. Magic is full of tricks like that, and there is plenty enough for everyone.