Monthly Articles

Summer Solstice

 

 

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Stonehenge – Photo Courtesy of C-Dolly

We Dollies decided to throw a low-key boating excursion to celebrate the 2017 summer solstice a.k.a. Litha a.k.a. Midsummer’s Eve. We live in ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ so for us, that fell on Tuesday, June 20 at 9:24 pm. Low-key, for The Dollies, was a whopping four people and it was perfect. The word “solstice” is from the Latin solstitium from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop) because the sun appears to stand still on the solstice as it reaches it’s highest point in the sky. The summer solstice is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the year.

I had the opportunity to travel to Europe when my girls were little. A friend called me up and asked if I wanted to go with her. Ummm…let me think abo…FUCK YES!!!!!! My husband is not a museum lover, so he happily stayed home which meant more travel money for me. My awesome second mom and dad came and stayed with him to look after the girls while I was gone. We signed up for a Contiki tour and went to London and Paris with day trips to Scotland, Bath and Stonehenge.

Guess what the fuck was in the British Museum??? Bog Bodies!!!

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Tollund Man

I’m the weird Dolly who is in love with horror and weird shit so I’ve learned a lot about bog bodies since that trip. Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies have retained their skin, hair and internal organs due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area including: highly acidic water, low temperature, and a lack of oxygen. These conditions work together to preserve and severely tan their skin. While the skin is well-preserved, the bones are generally not, due to the acid in the peat dissolving the calcium phosphate of bone. I spent a lot of time inspecting the bog body of the Lindow Man/Lindow Man ll and the oldest mummy ever found: a 5400 year old Egyptian body originally named “Ginger” because of his still visible red hair. “Ginger” is now known as “EA 32751” because of recent ethical policies for human remains. Sensitive bitches unite! So, anyhow, poor “EA 32751” (who would probably prefer to be called “Ginger” because it’s more humanizing than a number) was found naturally preserved in a shallow gravesite with pots and flints surrounding him. One theory about how the bodies ended up in a bog is: “Celts do appear to have performed human sacrifice as part of their religious rituals. And, since the Druids were the religious/scholar/priestly social class, they almost certainly would have participated in human sacrifices, and probably officiated at them.” – Celtic Studies Resources

 

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“EA 32751” a.k.a. “Ginger” – Photo Courtesy of C-Dolly

This made me question what I would like to be buried with. I’m going to choose my most prized possession and be buried with my husband so I can be clutching his mummified penis. Upon further reflection, said penis is going to have to be taxidermied first so that it doesn’t shrivel down into a dried flattened piece of raisin-textured skin. I want to be gripping that shit in all it’s glory if we are ever exhumed for research or to prove that I didn’t poison him.

Plus, how awesome would it have been to live near a bog? Your husband pisses you off? You send him towards the bog to retrieve the flint tool that accidentally fell out of your hand and onto the material floating on the bog. He lovingly goes to retrieve it and WHOOOOOPS….another bog body!

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One of the highlights of the trip was going to Stonehenge. It was truly, mind-fuckingly amazing. I can’t even explain the feeling you get when you approach the massive stones. I don’t think anyone could accurately put into words how that feels. It’s massive and the history is fascinating.

Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site which has been a place of worship and celebration for the summer solstice for thousands of years. It is considered by many as a sacred site which clearly marks the summer solstice. If you stand at just the right spot inside Stonehenge on the day of the summer solstice, facing northeast through the entrance towards the rough hewn stone outside the circle – known as the Heel Stone- you’ll see the sun rise above the Heel Stone.

The summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge attracts hundreds of druids, pagans, wiccans and spectators who gather to celebrate the Sun God from dawn until dusk. Litha is the pagan name for Midsummer’s Day, or summer solstice, and is traditionally marked with yoga taking place at the break of sunrise and sunset. Other rituals that are followed at Stonehenge on this significant day are: fire rituals; meditating in nature; magic, chants and prayers; dancing and music; and setting up Litha altars around the bonfire.

The Dollies decided to celebrate the summer solstice in style! We chose to worship the sun god while on the water. We had our cocktails and dessert made before starting our homemade pizzas with a delicious homemade marinara sauce. Check out our Top 10 Plants for the Modern Mixolologist’s Garden which we picked fresh for our recipes.

We loaded up the flat-deck party boat with our food, drinks and dessert and headed out to the middle of the lake to take in the solstice at 9:24 p.m. It was relaxing, fun and even inspired a little karaoke (I haven’t sang in front of anyone other than my husband and children.) Thankfully, it was dark by that time because voices carry a long fucking way over water. We’ll just blame it on the power of the summer solstice. 

Take a look at “Wood, Glorious Wood” for an unconventional guide to choosing a staff.

Summer Solstice Menu

We created summer solstice headbands and also made the beautiful Dolly her own little Tu-Tu.

~C. Dolly~

Top 10

Top 10 Items to Pack in Your Carry-On

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Most airlines allow you to have 2 carry-on items such as a small bag and a purse or back pack. Make sure you check the size dimensions allowed and limitations on articles you can bring prior to flying. If you are flying with young children/strollers, there are often exceptions to how many items you can bring as well.

Here is our list of Top 10 Essential Items to Have in Your Carry On.

  1. Medications and legal pharmaceuticals (including gravol, tums, your travel sized first aid kit, Benadryl, epi-pen, etc…)
  2. All of your important papers such as passports, travel insurance, cash, flight information, consulate contact information, and final destination information. On the plane, you are often asked to fill out a form stating your final destination (address, phone number,   etc… ) I always keep this information with my passport. I also have a photocopy of my fellow travelers’ passports, etc… in case they lose theirs. If you happen to know someone who speaks the language fluently, have their number so you can contact them if needed to help you out of any tricky situations. Double points if they’re actually a lawyer! I also leave a copy of this information with a trusted person (such as my mommy) back home.
  3. Extra change of clothes (bathing suit, flip flops (even I know that it is inappropriate to call them thongs now), shorts, underwear, pajamas and a dress shirt/dress). I actually have about a week’s worth of clothes shrunken down in an air compressed bag (I purchased mine at WalMart). If my luggage gets lost, I’m good. You can usually spot the poor people who had delayed or lost luggage. They are often wearing sweat pants in sweltering heat and have a slightly unwashed appearance. It’s like they just gave up on showering since they have no clean clothes to change into anyway.
  4. Food. Check your airline prior to flying. Sometimes your airline will offer you a complimentary bag of pretzels, but that will hardly hold you over for 5 hours. You can buy a sandwich or a piece of pizza for the price of your first born child if you wish, but I prefer to have a few granola bars on hand. You can also stop at the restaurant of your choice prior to boarding and take your meal/sandwich with you. All purchases need to be made with a credit card.
  5. Stay hydrated! Although you cannot pack bottles of water with you, you can buy them after you pass through security.
  6. You can either have your own headphones to watch movies, or you can buy them for around $10 from the airline if you forget.
  7. Blow up neck pillow for comfort (doesn’t take up space in your carry on)
  8. Gum. Helps pop your ears for take-off and landing. If you have small children, having them suck from their bottle during these times helps as well.
  9. Book/magazines to occupy your time if you don’t want to watch movies the whole flight (make sure you check your flight number to see if you need to download an app prior to takeoff. Some airlines do not have screens and you need their app to watch movies on your own device.)
  10. Electronic devices such as cell phone chargers, power adaptor, cameras. We always travel with a white noise machine as well that we can plug in at our hotel to drown out the sound of screaming kids and drunken adults. We also take our luggage weigh scale to make sure that our luggage is not overweight. You will often pay more for overweight luggage than you will for an extra bag.

img_5819.jpgMy carry on is 15″ long, 11″ high and 10″ deep. I fit every thing mentioned above into my one carry on. Just for interest, I am showing you the clothes that I also fit into my compressed bag: 5 dresses, flip flops, a cardigan, bathing suit, 1 pair of shorts, 1 tank top, nightgown and underwear (which I chose not to put in the picture). Note that I keep my shoes in a ziploc bag inside of the bag. In case there is dog poop residue on the bottoms, I don’t want it touching my clothes! The amount of clothing/shoes that I can fit in my carry on will hold me quite comfortably if my equally tiny luggage under the plane gets delayed or lost.

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What are your essential carry on items? Share them with us in the comments section. Also, feel free to share any interesting body cavity search experiences you have had. Airport/MileHigh Club stories only! – perverts…. 🙂 – The Dollies

Monthly Articles

The All Inclusive

mexico2It’s the last day of our all-inclusive vacation in the Punta de Mita region of Mexico, and I would literally kill a bitch for some herb tea.  Is it just me, or is anything non-alcoholic only available during breakfast? Maybe I didn’t look into this enough. I know I have water in my fridge in the room, but it seems to be an insurmountable task to order anything other than alcoholic bevvies after 11am. Why would I even want to, you ask? Because I fear that my liver is shutting the fuck down, that’s why!

We stayed at the Iberostar, which I adore, but we usually go at the beginning of November when it’s quieter. This time, we timed our vacation to our daughter’s reading break at University-which is precisely when every ass hat in North America wants to go as well.  I have been looking forward to this trip for weeks. I planned every detail; flights, hotel, packing lists for my family and me (check out our Top 10 list for what to pack in your carry on). I obsessed -because that is what I do. My angst started in the line-up for security. There seemed to be an abnormally large amount of baby strollers and #basicwhitegirls. Apparently there was going to be a wedding of epic proportions and it would be the happiest day of their lives. Fingers crossed it was not happening at our resort.  Sadly, this was not to be the case. On a side note, is it wrong to tell a child that the reason the plane can’t land is because the pilot can’t concentrate and they need to S.T.F.U.? If it is, then I was a bad parent-a parent of blissfully silent children.  Don’t get me wrong, I love children and I understand that flying is difficult for them. I get it. I really do. I totally understand when they cry and I feel for the parents. What I don’t go for are the parents who totally ignore their twisting, screaming, red in the face child for the whole flight.

I am hardly what can be considered a worldly traveller, but I feel there is one basic rule to follow while on vacation. That rule is, ‘Don’t be a douche.’ Under this one rule, there are a myriad of other small rules, that you would think would be common sense, but as my grandpa has always said, common sense, isn’t all that common.  Here are some of the basics though:

  1. Learn the laws of the country you are visiting. Taking your medical marijuana prescription with you? You may just find yourself in a foreign jail for drug trafficking. Love showing a little PDA (you people gross me out, btw) you can also be arrested if you are in a country like Dubai which is not super fond of holding hands in public.
  2. Learn the proper tipping etiquette. In Mexico for instance, most of the workers earn a minimal base wage and rely heavily on their tips. We were told by one of our guides that the daily wage of a cab driver is around $6/day and they still have to pay for their fuel, the cost of which has skyrocketed in Mexico. I am always surprised at the amount of tourists who are super surprised to see us tip. They will ask us why we’re tipping since they are under the impression that tipping is included at an all-inclusive. Whether it is or it isn’t, I would not feel like a very good person to have someone waiting on me for twelve hours straight in the hot sun without showing my appreciation for all that they’re doing. Don’t wait until the last day you leave to tip. It can be the day off for the lady who was cleaning your room all week. I also find a nice tip gets you nice additional items stocked in your beer fridge and fancy towel people/animals. But, on the flip side, there are also countries where they would find it rude for you to tip such as French Polynesia and Japan.
  3. Learn how to say a few phrases in the local language. You don’t have to be fluent, but by knowing a few basics, it shows that you put in some effort.
  4. Learn the septic system. What? Why? Did you not know that in many places people wipe their butts and put it in the wastebasket? If there is a sign on the wall (horrifying, I know) that instructs you to put your shit paper in the garbage can, at least be a dear and wrap it up in some more paper to camo that shit. Literally.

So, if you’re ever on vacation and you find yourself questioning, “is this a douche move?” it probably is. Don’t do it. I know you want to have fun, but wheeling your kids into the late night show and having them scream through the whole thing is a fucking distraction. And we all want to throat punch you. We do not think your child is cute at this point. We feel sorry for them. They want to be in bed. You are now the equivalent of, ‘The People of Walmart’ who have their kids ‘shopping’ with them at 11 o’clock so they can take advantage of the extended Christmas hours. Just because you’re rocking your vacation braids, doesn’t mean that general parenting rules don’t apply.

Excursions: Research that shit! Many excursions are remote. Did you see a picture of a beautiful quarter horse running through the foaming ocean waves? Do you see yourself astride your noble steed with your hair flying in the wind while your love of the moment is capturing the best Instagram photos? Let me just start off by saying that if you’re horse looks anything like the ones in the pictures, you have really lucked out. I have had a literal donkey and an emaciated horse that looked like I would kill it if I jumped on. I have been in a mishmash of animals that are all kicking each other (and the leg of one poor person who paid an awful lot to ride said horse)  I have swam with dolphins in a green pool that made me itch. It didn’t look anything like the pictures either. I just left feeling sad and empty. I was sitting by the pool beside a lady who just broke her ankle the day before on a waterslide that had the third steepest drop in the world. That’s where I was going the very next day. And I’m terrified of heights. I may or may not have shit my pants a little, which in turn made me think that if other spontaneous shitters were here, I could be contracting Hep A to top it all off. I now travel super prepared wherever I go. I would consider your travel first aid kit a minimum. Even though no tour operator wants bad press, no one else loves you like you do.

I have been on both good and bad excursions, and I have never blamed anyone else for my experience other than myself. It’s my job to make sure that I am comfortable with whatever I sign up for and that I have thought through all possible outcomes. I have seen amazing things with my children while in other countries and met great people. I have learned the history of the area from passionate guides. I have seen blue boobies (the bird, not the body part) and swam in protected waters all while hearing my son dry heaving and trying to hold back my own vomit because we were all  so motion sick. But it was still a good memory believe it or not. Part of being in a foreign country is not taking anything for granted.  I love travelling. I love meeting new people and learning (and being respectful) of different cultures. It’s part of the human experience and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every time you leave your house, you should be prepared and avoid potentially bad situations. Being on vacation doesn’t mean that you leave your brain at home.

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Skills!