Three for the road / by Susie Lubell

At Disneyland!

We are nearing the halfway point of our big summer adventure and America does not disappoint. It is a potpourri of sparkly and dazzling and comfortable and weird. Do you know how wide the highways are here? They are unbelievably wide. As are the parking lots. Like you could actually drive in a parking lot without folding in your side view mirrors. And Americans are so friendly that it is startling to me. It also turns out that I have become a very aggressive driver in the year and a half that I have lived in Israel and so I have had to keep myself from honking at people and power merging. And I am often caught off guard when everyone at the four way stop is waving for the other three to go.

It took us a full week just to recover from the twenty-four hours of travel and the ten hour time difference. It didn't help that we flew Alitalia via Rome at 5 am which meant that the entire flight was daylight and more daylight followed by some daylight. There was not much sleeping and I had my three kids solo. Again. And our seats were all messed up. The four of us were assigned four different rows until I offered that maybe the baby should fly the effing plane because that was about as logical as sitting him by himself in 37F. But the thirteen hour flight from Rome to Los Angeles is a very expensive form of torture no matter how you slice it because seven hours into the ride you still have another six hours. I mean, that's just math people. And no matter how long you stare at the little moving plane icon on the flight tracker screen, it stays on eastern Canada for a very long time.

But the worst was only yet to come. A ten hour jet lag means that your kids wake up at 2:00 am three mornings in a row and you have to wait until 4:00 am to go to Starbucks. And by 9:00 am you are ready for a glass of wine. Days that start at 2:00 am are very long and lethargic days. So we did very little our first week here besides destroy Grandma's house and wake her up at all hours of the night with our musical beds and wee hour breakfasts. And we watched a lot of the Disney channel which I considered research for our upcoming trip to Disneyland. We also swam at the community pool where one family was having a big birthday and the grandma brought cake over for my kids (I guess she figured out that my baby screaming OOGA meant he wanted cake). We went to my favorite art festival by the beach for a short twirl. We went to a science museum. One day we even took the train to Olvera Street in LA and bought slime and worry dolls and Mexican paper flags and burritos. Did you know that slime can totally remove varnish from a wooden dining room table when left there by a two year old? After a week of functioning in the correct time zone we attempted Disneyland where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. We were there for twelve hours of rides and lines powered by coffee, peanut butter and jelly, baby carrots, cotton candy and joy. My almost nine year old spent much of the day asking me about the corporate partnership between Lucas Films and Disney (#AlexPKeaton) and pointing out how everything that looks real is just an image projected on a screen (this from a boy who still believes in Elijah the Prophet). The baby was out of his mind watching the parade and all of the characters dancing around and he went on most of the rides with us save for Space Mountain and the Matterhorn which I braved with only the big kids. I figured this was probably my thirtieth visit to the Magic Kingdom (you go a lot when you grow up in socal), but it was as spectacular as ever especially since we didn't lose my daughter this time.

And the last few days I have spent with my two oldest girlfriends, one of whom is getting married in a few weeks. The three of us went out dancing to a gay bar in downtown Santa Ana that we never knew existed and we marveled at all of the adorable, hard bodied, cutie pies. The next day her mom treated us to facials at Bloomingdales that she'd won in some auction and the lovely ladies at the Clarins counter did our make-up. And that's when I discovered navy eyeliner which may just change my life. And then today we went to her wedding shower which was a very traditional tea party complete with scones, finger sandwiches, tiny desserts and, yes, tea.

And that brings us to right now. In between the festivities and outings I have made stops at my regular haunts, namely Old Navy, Target, Loehmans, Trader Joes, Wholefoods and Michaels. There is still more shopping to be done. Being here makes me feel like I need more of everything because it's all so cheap. Even gas, which is insanely high priced right now and is still HALF what it is in Israel.  Today we are going to the beach and tomorrow we head up to Santa Cruz where we will meet up with Mr. Rosen who will happily deal with the baby at 6 am in the morning since he will have already been awake since 2 am.

More good times ahead.