Category Archives: Travel

Oh God – Please Don’t Pick Me Up From the Airport

I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. (Mark Twain)

Picking up someone up at the airport is a complex social endeavor, fraught with pit falls and cul de sacs. Some people think it is a huge favor, especially if it saves them money. The trade-off is that you are obligated to make small talk with your ride even if you’re mentally and physically exhausted.

Then there are those who view the pick up as just another item on their to-do list and run all kinds of errands on the way to taking you to your destination. Once I was even dragged along on a run to pick up some drugs. I waited in the car and prayed that it would be over soon. So far the record for the longest ride from the airport is 9 hours. The last 2 hours of the journey I had to drive through dark, foggy, and unfamiliar territory because my ride got too drunk to drive from all the stop offs on the way home.

“We don’t have any food in the house so we’re going to stop at the grocery store on the way home.” Oh goody, just what I was dying to do right after a long tedious journey – slog through a supermarket. Frankly I don’t care if there is food in the house. All I really want is a cold beer, a shower, and maybe a brief lie down. I’m perfectly fine with arranging to provide these items for myself. If it’s an issue of wanting me to pay for groceries, I’m also fine with that. Please just don’t make me do it on the way from the airport.

I’m one of those odd people who would much prefer to take a cab. No offense, but seriously? I truly enjoy the freedom to go to my destination directly and with the minimum of fuss and bother. No, I don’t want to meet your friends, drinking buddies, and entire extended family, go shopping, wash the car, tour a factory, pick up some smoke, or any of the other bizarre things I’ve been dragged along to on a ride from the airport. For crying out loud, give me a chance to freshen up first and then I’m game for just about anything.

Hmm, maybe I should re-brand myself as the crabby traveler?

 

Airlines are Big Fat Lying Liars!

large passengerI didn’t really like to fly, but I’m not afraid of it and it’s the best way to get from point A to point B, in my opinion. I like the train, but don’t always want to spend 3 – 6 days of my travel time on the train especially if said travel time is limited. Yea, I know they say getting there is part of the journey, but sometimes I want to get there in hurry and then begin my journey.

All the major American airlines have been sputtering and beating around the bush for years, claiming they are not shrinking the seats. I beg to differ, I may have put on a few pounds over the years, but my bones are the same size and my hip bones are getting closer to the arm rests. The last couple of times I flew I noticed that I could not get my elbows down by my side without getting squished by the arm rests. I refuse to believe that I have packed on enough armpit fat to cause this!

And now on to my backpack. It’s made out of inorganic rip stop nylon. It does not stretch or gain weight. I’ve been using the same pack for 10 years. It looks exactly the same as the day I bought it. I could stick it back on the shelf and call it new. A few days ago I boarded the plane to come home from New Orleans. I went to slip my backpack under the seat and chunk, it didn’t fit. I’m looking at it thinking “what the hell?” I finally managed to cram it up under there using my feet, but pulling it back out to remove any content during the flight was probably not an option. And I was left with basically no place to put my feet, which are attached to my body and cannot be placed in the overhead bin. “Hello? Airline People, are you listening?”

There are many theories as to why there is an increase in flight rage and unruly passengers on air planes. My theory is that if the airlines keep working their sleight of hand and cramming passengers into smaller and smaller spaces until it is physically painful to remain twisted like contortionists, the situation is only going to get worse. I hope to God that some idiot doesn’t manage to ban alcohol on airplanes. Sometimes having a good stiff drink is the only way I can tolerate spending hours upon hours with one leg wrapped around my head and the other crammed in between my carry on and the hairy bare-legged shorts wearing dude in the seat next to me. If anything they should ban shorts on planes. I really do not appreciate rubbing bare thighs with people with whom I have not been introduced.

What I did in New Orleans … This Time

What I did in New OrleansJust got back from a 10 day trip to New Orleans to visit  family and of course party my brains out. Below is a brief list of the things we did. More details to come in the following days.

What I Did in New Orleans:

  • Went to the dress rehearsal for the New Orleans Symphony’s performance of the Leningrad Suite. My nephew plays percussion. Mom, my brother the proud Papa, and I had the entire auditorium to ourselves. It was a mind blowing experience. There is nothing like a live symphony for breakfast.
  • Went to a 2nd line/Super Sunday all black block party. At the bar in the epicenter, Sidney’s, Sis and I were treated to a bucket of Corona Beers and one helluva good time.
  • Open mike night at Buffa’s Bar on Esplanade. Listened to brother and his guitar friend. They played 3 original songs “LSD and Weed” and “Train Wreck” and I forgot the 3rd.
  • Dinner at Italian Restaurant Mona Lisa’s.
  • Lunch at French Market restaurant. Mom and I had a dozen grilled oysters each and Abita Purple Haze beer.
  • After lunch we went to the flea market in the old French Market which was originally a farmer’s market. It got really touristy for a while, but actual fruits and vegies are starting to reappear.
  • Discovered a tasty local beer called LA31. Drank copious amounts of it.
  • Went on a telephone booth photo op session with Sis and Mom. We bar hopped our way to Fayhey’s Irish bar via the old Cosmos bar, on the way back stopped at the popular gay bar on Bourbon Street and went upstairs to the balcony to sip beer and people watch on the street.
  • Went to Mom’s mail box shop. They have a cute little gift shop. I bought a pot holder for my mom in the shape of a pot leaf. LOL
  • Walked in the Frenchmen street district of the Faubourg Marigny. The place is full to the rafters with people at night. Tons of Jazz, and other music venues. Big name musicians drop in frequently.
  • Went dress shopping at Italian Direct Shop. I had a belly full of red beans, rice and smoked sausage so I couldn’t find a dress that I liked that didn’t make me look like a barrel.
  • Went to the Avenue Bar on St. Charles Avenue. It’s famous for its beer selection. The bartender handed us a clip board with 8 pages of beers listed.
  • Perused the art shops on Royal Street. Bought a fabulous water color print for my Mom called “Coffee and Gossip.”
  • Attended an African music festival in Congo square at Armstrong Park. (named of course after Lois Armstrong.)
  • Went to The Abbey, a bar that’s been on Decatur Street for at least 60 years. It’s a dive that everyone checks at least once on a visit to the French Quarter. Not uncommon to see someone you haven’t seen in 20 years.
  • Visited the neighborhood bar by Mom’s house, Iggy’s. They tried to feed us. They always do and the food is always delicious. All it costs is the price of a beer.
  • Rented two Meryl Street movies at the old Royal Street pharmacy. Iron Lady, and Julie, Julia. Royal Pharmacy still has an original old fashioned style soda counter. We are still hoping that someday they will reopen it.
  • Stopped into Molly’s Irish Pub on Toulouse Street.
  • Had an afternoon beer at Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop on Bourbon Street
  • Listened to the Radio Station WWOZ and their pledge drive all week. The talking got a little old but a lot of musicians dropped in at the station and played live to help the fund raising.
  • Had breakfast at dear old La Paniche. It closed the next day after a 33 year run. ***sniffles***
  • Went into to Jimmy Buffets bar and restaurant, Margaritaville, on Decatur to get a picture of a dear friend’s art work – a huge sculpture of an airplane flying out of the wall. The artist, Jules, passed away last year, sad to say. He’s been a friend of the family since he was a little boy.
  • Bought a TV for Mom. We went to Walmart to get a new remote for her old humongous dinosaur TV and there it was…a 32 inch flat screen for only $178. Couldn’t pass it up.
  • Had a spinach quiche for breakfast at the Crescent Door. It’s an old timey French style pastry shop with lots of tile and mirrors and of course wonderful pastries.
  • Went to Mary’s hardware store and bought a bicycle pump so we could fix a flat on Mom’s rose cart, and picture hanging supplies to hang to watercolor print we got on Royal Street.
  • Had pulled pork eggs benedict at the Ruby Slipper in the Faubourg Marigny.
  • Bought Horse Liniment at a Feed Store in Metairie. It’s great for aches and pains. Mom managed to sprain her thumb somehow and hasn’t been able to play her guitar for almost a month.

Holiday Planning for the Emotionally Challenged

holiday breakdownSo we survived Halloween by keeping the shutters closed and the porch light off. Oh what a party pooper you may say, but hear me out. Mr. Husband and I are the babies in our neighborhood. The majority of our neighbors are elderly and the only time a house goes up for sale around here is when someone died. There are no houses with children near us.

Any kids that show up here are bused in from who knows where and swarm all over the block scaring us half to death when they dart out into the street from between parked cars. I don’t like it. When I’m in a cynical mood I wonder if the parents are hoping for the opportunity for a juicy lawsuit. I prefer children that I at least know in passing, as in I trip over their tricycle when walking my dog, they throw a Tonka truck at my head, etc.

The holidays are always a weird time for me. It is particularly stressful for me because I have in-laws who have entirely different expectations of when and how to celebrate holidays. After going through this for years I have developed a deep-seated resentment because my in-laws tend to ignore the fact that I have my own family with their own expectations and ways of doing things. This is mostly my fault because I haven’t put my foot down and explained that I have a right to celebrate my way occasionally. Instead I’ve piled up a humongous debris tower of resentment.

I have bowed out a few times over the years and gone to be with my family for Thanksgiving. I always have a lot of fun even though my family gatherings can get a bit wild and crazy. So… what to do…what to do?

I’m going try to plan a bit this year and decide what I am willing and capable of doing. I’m going to send out Christmas cards this year. I haven’t for a few years, partly because I received a snippy reply from one of the card recipient’s informing me that I was wasting the earth’s precious resources and killing trees by sending out Christmas cards. Well, how rude! I removed them from my list and in an attempt to take the high ground I refrained from calling them and sharing my opinion that they should take up residence next door to the Grinch who stole Christmas.

So here I am facing the holidays again. It occurred to me while ruminating about this subject for the last few days is that Mr. Husband our past 10 years together has not joined me with my family for a holiday even once. It’s been his way or the highway, year after year. I’m not quite sure why I put up with this, but it’s starting to piss me off. Why do I do this to myself? I’ll just grin and bear something for years or even decades and then suddenly it’s a Mt. Vesuvius eruption of anger and resentment. Then I decide that I’m not going take it anymore and Yee Haaa, here we go.

So it’s not too early to plan for the holidays. I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to do the Christmas card thing. But, for Thanksgiving I’m going to visit my family in New Orleans. What the heck, maybe I’ll just stay there for Christmas. I haven’t been with my family for Christmas in maybe 20 years. It’s high time to do something about that.

 

Bang Bang – Our Government Shot Us Down

The Battle of Gettysburg, by Thure de Thulstrup

The Battle of Gettysburg, by Thure de Thulstrup

I’ll be the first to admit that I just do not understand what is going on inside the talking heads up there in Washington. But I am at even more of a loss than usual these days. This ridiculous government shut down nonsense is simply beyond the pale. I would give me left arm to be a fly on the wall in the room where “they” decide what is essential and what is non–essential as far as government services are concerned.

I’ll bet good money that the government-funded barber shops, restaurants, and private health care for the bigwigs up there in Washington are buzzing along, business as usual. Yet our tax dollars are now spent to shut down national monuments that are just sitting there in the open air and not even manned to begin with. People have been arrested people for hiking in the Grand Canyon. I am shocked and appalled. How on earth or what kind of bizarre disconnect from reality, does it take for a government officials to decide they have the right to close a canyon, for God’s sake??? It is one of the wonders of the natural world. Our national parks, which people come from all over the world to see, are closed. What kind of message does this send to our neighbors on this planet?

I’m concerned that we are rapidly becoming the laughing-stock of the civilized world. As a rather cantankerous grandmother, sometimes I think that our elected officials up there in Washington all need a stern do better talk, a good spanking and all sent to bed without their supper until they stop bickering, learn to work together and do what it is that we hired them to do…which is run our government in an efficient, humane and prosperous way, as they solemnly promised to do when elected.

Right now it reminds me more of school yard shenanigans where boys get in a snit because everyone won’t play by their rules so they snatch up their toys and go home. We the people, who purchased their toys in the first place, are not getting our money’s worth by any stretch of the imagination.

I have to admit that I am more outraged than usual by the absurd twists and turns in our nation’s capital. It hit Mr. Husband and I personally because we had plans with a group of 10 to go to Gettysburg this week and receive a day and half private tour by the director of a documentary which will come out soon on the PBS television station. This came about because a friend of ours was one of the people to fund the documentary. But now we can’t do it and our trip is cancelled because the Gettysburg National Cemetery is CLOSED.

%d bloggers like this: