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Embarking on a stevia-less adventure

This May my oldest is graduating college, so my girls and I wanted to take a trip for spring break. They would call me dramatic, but my thoughts were that there may not be too many more times when we can all get away together.

So we decided on Los Angeles, because she thinks she may want to move there after college. At first I thought a vacation in LA was a terrible idea, just because I had the preconceived thoughts I think many of us Okies may have about LA. Too much traffic, too expensive, too much crime, too many crazy people.

LA is all of those things. But my girl got to pick since it was her trip, and her sister and I were along for the ride. So we set out to get to know Los Angeles.

But first came the massive effort of getting out the door and to the airport.

I am one of those people who gets stressed out before I go on vacation. For the record, this was my first real vacation in three years. The last time I took this much time off from work I was in the hospital in a coma.

It's cool that I get to throw that out there at random times. But I digress ...

Anyway, the kids were also stressed: The week before spring break includes mid-terms, and my youngest especially had a massive workload to complete before coming home, as did I. By the time they both showed up at my work the night before we were to leave, they were in a tizzy and I couldn't feel my hands. There was that flurry of activity when we first get together again when three agendas need to merge into one. Thankfully, they went on their way, and when I finally got home late that night, they left me to my own packing and we all got it done.

We got up early the next morning to drive to the airport to fly to California. Checking in the luggage and getting the boarding passes are always a chaotic rush of energy as you push through the first hurdle of many when you walk into an airport. We were all concerned about baggage weight and loaded up with more than our fair share of carry-ons.

It was the shoes. And yes, we all packed too many clothes. Looking back, though, there are no regrets. In LA, the temperature varies according to the time of day and what block you're on, so material girls like us can conceivably wear three outfits in one day.

Which we did a few times.

Good mom that I am, I packed a few breakfast items. Unfortunately, the stevia sweetener I packed for my coffee "alarmed" the machine during the security checkpoint, so the female TSA agent and I got intimately acquainted as she gave me a pat-down like no other. When she told me she was going to touch me in my private areas she was not kidding.

What's weird is the stevia was in its original container, and my daughter had some vanilla protein powder in a plastic bag that could have passed for Columbia's finest, but they didn't even look at that.

They tested the stevia and ended up confiscating it ... which makes no sense. But when armed people are doing a full body search and you want to get on a plane, you don't argue. They finally let me go and I put my belt, my shoes and my dignity back on and we began the process up hurrying up and waiting for the plane.

Lesson learned there. Pack the food in the checked luggage. Alarming the machine is a bad thing.

So finally we got on the crowded plane and headed for sunny California. I'll share more of the trip with you next time.

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