Category Archives: Travel

Back in Seattle Again

Laura Wedding 2

The Bride and Groom

Well with all this horrifying hoop de la going with that shooting at the navy yard in Washington my life somehow seems trivial in comparison. And that my friends is why I think watching the news is bad for the psyche!

So anyway, back to my life. As I mentioned what seemed like eons ago but was actually only a couple of weeks, Mr. Husband and I went to Seattle to attend a cousin’s wedding and visit a friend who lives on an island a short ferry ride from the city.

The wedding turned out to be a wonderful and joyous event as weddings often do, but it was a comedy of errors getting there in the first place. The groom chose a location way out in the boonies, a Christmas tree farm owned by a friend of his father. The whole wedding party and prep team moved out there the Wednesday before the Saturday wedding day.

It quickly turned into a temporary mini city with campers, people down by the lake in tents and the whole shebang, almost another Woodstock. Their family is a good fit with ours because that sounds like something we would do. AFTER they got down there it occurred to them that there is no cell phone coverage so people coming in from out-of-town had no way to reach them.

The only way to reach anyone at the farm was to leave a message at the main house which had a land line. Then they had to leave the property and drive up the hill near the town to return calls and check text messages. They gave out the wrong number, oopsie, then finally figured it out and gave out the right one the day before the wedding. To make it even more comical, the wife of the owner of the property decided, right at this crucial, time to go on a telephone blab-fest with her girlfriends and ignore call waiting in the process so no one could get through.

But it all worked out and we figured out how to get there on our own. It was a good 2 hour drive southeast of Seattle. We had an interesting talk with the owner of the farm. The property is 20 miles South West of Mount St. Helens and when she blew their farm was covered with 6 inches of volcanic ash. Good fertilizer eventually, but it did kill off all the Christmas trees and they had to start over.

In the end a good time was had by all. I wish the happy couple a long and loving life together.

 

How to Accidently Write a Book

write the bookYesterday when I published my post about stress WordPress popped up a little window announcing that it was my 450th post. Wow, I didn’t realize how prolific I have been these past few years. Then I got to doing some math. Hmm, I’ll say my average post is 500 words. They are usually longer, but I’m using a conservative estimate here. Multiply that by 450 and I get 225,000 words. The average fiction book is between 80,000 to 120,000 words. So I’ve written the equivalent of 2 books since I started this blog. A rather interesting factiod, if I do say so myself.

So all the stuff the experts say about book writing is starting to ring true for me. To not the let the size of the project overwhelm me, but rather just do a little writing on it every day, not matter what, and eventually voila, I have the first draft. I know I have a book in me somewhere and I work on it sometimes in spurts. But the doing it in spurts methods makes it much harder. If I put it down for months and come back to it, I’ve completely forgotten what I was aiming at and practically have to start over. Sheesh, I have trouble remembering what I ate for breakfast yesterday.

Another reason I know I have a book in me is because I’m told by friends and relatives, freakishly often, when listening to some wacky adventure I had way back when, tell me flat-out “You should write a book! This stuff needs to be in writing.”

So this morning I’m re-inspired. I finally accept at a gut level that it doesn’t have to be a herculean task. Just chip away a little every day. Doing a little everyday will keep the whole thing fresh in my head. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

I’m having temporary technical difficulties accessing my stored snippets. The external storage device I store the draft on has decided not to speak to my new network after getting AT&T Uverse installed. But this is a minor problem and one that I can probably solve in a few minutes with only a medium level of cursing to add to the melodrama. It’s just another excuse though. And I swear I’ll get right on it…as soon as I get back from our trip to Seattle, (we leave tomorrow). The Pacific Northwest and a wedding…life just doesn’t get any better. Booyaa!

 

 

Gotta Leave This Place – Got to Get Away

I’m going up the country Babe, don’t you wanna go?
I’m going up the country Babe, don’t you wanna go?
I’m going to some place where I’ve never been before
Lyrics, Going up to the Country, Canned Heat

Well the dog days of this Texas Summer are almost over and I got the itch. Want to go somewhere, get on the road, in a car, board a plane. It’s time to start packing. Mr. Husband and I are heading to Seattle in a week or so and I can’t wait. We are attending my cousin’s wedding. That’s my excuse anyway, not that I’m not looking forward to her wedding.

I Love the Pacific Northwest, it’s so green and lush and laid back. If money was no object I would have a summer house up there. Texas winters can be a bit on the nasty side, but it’s the wicked summers that really do me in. A hundred degrees in the shade every day, where’s the fun in that? I’m hoping that the Hubman falls in love with the area like I am and wants to go back frequently.

With Hubman holding my hand to draw strength from, maybe I’ll finally go up in the Space Needle. It’s a major tourist attraction in Seattle that I’ve avoided like the plague, mainly because I don’t handle heights well. I get dizzy on a step stool.

Furthermore with travel plans, I’ve decided that’s it my turn this year to spend Thanksgiving with my family in New Orleans. I’ve done the last 3 here in Texas with Mr. Husband’s family and it’s always a fine and sumptuous feast, but I miss my family, even if they do drive me bat shit crazy on a regular basis.

My sister is going to China about the same time we will be in Seattle. She’s going with her dad to visit her extended family in Beijing. Her father is a Hawaiian Chinese mix and he had children prior to meeting my mother, so she has a half-brother, his wife and children there. They have plans to visit the Great Wall and all kinds of exotic adventures. I can’t wait to experience it vicariously through pictures.

She asked me if I had any advice for her about traveling to China. I’ve been to Hong Kong, Kowloon, and Macau, but never mainland China. I told her that the most important thing to bring was an open mind and a sense of humor. Although a voltage converter plug, lots of stomach medicine, and her favorite brand of contact lens solution would be an asset.

I also warned her that men treat women entirely different there. There is no concept of chivalry as we know it here in the deep south of the U.S.A. A man will not only not hold a door for a woman at any time, but will knock her down in his attempt to get through the door before her. They will even swarm and bash into you in a rush to beat you to board a plane. I never did understand that. The seats are assigned and no matter whether you board first or last, you’re all leaving at the same time when the plane takes off. It must be a cultural thing.

I’m also contemplating squeezing a trip to Tucson, New Mexico in October to visit an old friend there. I haven’t visited with her in almost 9 years. She is in her late 70’s so I think it’s high time to get my butt out there for a visit.

Life is good. I love to travel and I have 3 trips stored in my hopper of imagination already. Tally Ho!

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Jet

Private Jet – OO la la

Last week I was offered the unprecedented opportunity to hitch a ride on a friend’s private jet heading to Seattle. My response was “hell yeah, count me in!” It was quite luxurious, but I’m afraid it sort of ruined me for regular commercial air travel.

Mr. Hubman dropped me off at the friend’s house to ride with him and his girlfriend to the local private airport. Holy Cow, this guy in full driver gear including a chauffer’s hat shows up in a limo, loads our bags in the car, held our hand while we entered the vehicle and delivers us to the tarmac right at the foot of the stairs to the plane.

Cruzing in the Jet

Happy Me

Then another bevy of men surrounded us, helped us out of the car and escorted us onto the plane. Some of them took our baggage out of the car and loaded it directly into the cargo hold of the plane. We didn’t have to lift a finger. The jet was an eight seater which consisted of 8 leather captain’s chairs, which swiveled so we could sit around and face each other like we were in a living room just hanging out.

We did not have to haul our luggage into the airport, stand in line for an hour to check bags, stand in line for another hour just to get violated by overzealous TSA scrutiny or any of the other facts of life when flying via commercial transportation. From the time we entered the airport until the time we were in the air was a grand total of 15 minutes.

As I sat there sipping wine and enjoying cheese, crackers and fruit, I thought “I could get used to this. What a life.” This is probably not going to be a regular part of my life, but I sure enjoyed every minute of it while we were traveling.

Mt Rainier

Mt. Rainier From the Air

When we took off it wasn’t like a commercial plane where the plane lumbers, rattles and lurches its way up into the air and takes 30 minutes to get to a cruising altitude. This jet took off and went straight up. It was a good thing we were wearing a 3 point harness instead of the usual pitiful excuse for a seat-belt. In about 5 minutes we were up at a cruising altitude of somewhere above 40,000 feet, which is well above commercial air traffic.

Being up that high there is pretty much no turbulence at all. The little monitor that the copilot set up for us indicated that we were traveling at almost 600 mph, which equates to .88 of Mach speed. It was an interesting tidbit of knowledge to know that we were almost at the sound barrier. I was tempted to yell “faster, faster!”

The trip to Seattle took less than 3 hours as opposed to the 8 hours it took me to get home yesterday via Southwest Airlines, with a plane delay and a layover in Albuquerque, New Mexico – an airport which apparently rolls up the sidewalks at 8:00 pm. There was nothing open except a tiny bar where they were announcing last call. I grabbed a quickie gin and tonic before the final leg of the trip.

So I’m spoiled now to commercial flying, but so what? I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to do something that may be a once in a life time event just because it may never happen to me again. That would just be downright silly.

Sunset = Beer O’clock

Room with a view

Room With a View

Our Chick Trip 2013 turned out to be even more wonderful than I had hoped for. There only just 3 women this time.  (last year were 5 of us) It turned out to be a magic number and a good personality mix. Every day we slept late, snacked around until the noonish hour and then hit the beach.

One gal made her fabulous signature peach Jello shots and we hauled those down to the beach with us. I also brought along a small personal cooler for my stash of elixir of life, also know as beer. We parked our chairs right at the water’s edge so we could cool our feet in the ocean.

We gossiped, baked in the sun, and sad awful catty things about the people who wandered by. The usual parade of ginormous bellies and banana hammocks were on display, of course. It really reminded me of the obesity epidemic in America. I am old enough to remember when large persons where the exception at the beach, rather than the rule. But everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, so it’s all good.

The variety of tattoos we viewed was rather amazing. And not all of them were even remotely attractive. We spent the better part of an hour at the pool one day going back and forth between Jello shots and speculating as to what the large tattoo was on the calf of one woman. We couldn’t decide if it was supposed to be Jerry Garcia or Charles Manson. We didn’t have the nerve to ask.

Last year we all brought one piece bathing suits because we did not want to inflict our middle-aged bodies on fellow sun worshipers. It only took one afternoon of staring at beached whales to make us decide if that if they could get away with it then so could we. We went shopping, bought 2 pieces and flopped in the sand in all our glory. At the tender age of 58 I have a bit of cellulite here and there. So what? I tanned it anyway!

sunset

In the evening we sat out on the balcony and watched the beautiful sunset over the water. It’s so peaceful, you forget that there was ever anything to be stressed about.

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