Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All I really wanted was some iced tea

Checked into my hotel in Seattle, hungry, and mostly thirsty, after traveling all day. Nothing sounded all that great to me but I really wanted a glass of iced tea so I called room service and ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, feeling like it was kinda silly to just order a drink. I asked if they had rye bread and the guy said yes. I asked if they had iced tea and he said yes. I asked if it was brewed or from the fountain and he said from the fountain. I asked if I could have a cup of hot tea, a glass of ice and a lemon. He said yes.

Soon I had a knock on my door and room service was delivered. I had a glass of ice, a straw and two lemons. No tea. The delivery dude realized it at the same time I did and offered to go back and get it. I knew I should tell him it was okay, don't bother, but you know that's what I really wanted so I couldn't bring myself to blow it off. He came back shortly with a little pot of tea and I gave him a nice little tip. I lifted off the plate cover and tasted the worst soggy-white-bread with-American-cheese grilled cheese sandwich ever. Where's my rye? Where's my good cheese?

At least I had my tea. I pulled out my bag of wheat crackers, string cheese and grapes that I'd been carrying in my backpack since yesterday. They tasted great and I am sorry I wasted money on that damned grilled cheese. Next time I will just order a drink and not worry about making such a small purchase!

So today was another little adventure. I called the airport about 9:30 and asked if I should come down at 10 with everyone else or just keep my seat on the 1:05 plane. I was told I might as well keep my 1:05 flight because they were still working on the plane with mechanical problems and it might not go anywhere. However, I was told to come between 10:30 and 11:00 to check in for the afternoon flight. Rich picked me up and I just had my suitcase with me, thinking that I was not going to stay at the airport that early. As we were getting into the car, I said, "it would be just my luck that they would tell me I can go on the earlier flight and I won't have my carry on stuff." We even considered throwing it in the car "just in case," but decided against it. We arrived at the airport and were told that I could go on the 11 AM after all. Rich ran back home to get my backpack, jacket and blanket while I checked in. I could get out of Anchorage earlier but still could not make it to Dallas in one day. I decided to go ahead and take the earlier flights just to get on my way. Poor Rich--I was just frustrated and annoyed with everything and being very petty. I was upset because I was no longer on the aisle for the later flights and was going to have to sit between people. I hate the middle seat!! I was annoyed because now I would have to pick up my suitcase in Seattle instead of checking it all the way through to Dallas. Rich was trying to get me to look on the bright side--at least I was getting to Seattle early enough to go to a hotel and get some sleep instead of staying in the airport for several hours overnight. I don't know, maybe it's my menopausal hormones but I was just a big ole baby. I did sidle back up to the counter after everyone was taken care of and asked if they would switch me to the aisle for my other two flights, which they kindly did, and I felt a little better. :)

We didn't leave till 11:30, got to ANC and had to hurry up to catch my flight to Seattle, but the Security line was a mile long and very slow...only one worker who was in slo-mo the whole time. I eventually cleared through and got to my gate at 2:45 where the plane was in final boarding mode and an Alaska Air employee was yelling at a man in front of me, "SIR, get off your phone and BOARD RIGHT NOW if you want to be on this plane." He and I were the last two on the packed plane. So thankful for my aisle seat as we were crammed in like that sardine cliche. The guy in the middle was big and overflowing into my space (I heard him say he was a personal trainer so I mean big in a good way) and I know he was uncomfortable. At one point, all three of us in our row got up for the restroom so he and I were waiting for Mr. Window Seat to return while lamenting the middle seat. He said, "But you are small!" I think he wanted me to offer to trade him but I did not. I just smiled and said, "But I still hate the middle seat." That's probably more bad karma for me.

Got to SEA-TAC at 7:35 PM, got my luggage and tried to priceline a room but it was apparently too late to do that for tonight. Found one on cheaptickets and the shuttle came right away and I called my sweet hubby and checked my emails and saw the end of American Idol (a show I never used to watch or care about and suddenly the last two seasons I am into it! ADAM had better win!) and now we are back to the part about the iced tea.

I have to get up at 5 AM so guess I will get myself to bed. By the time I get to Dallas, I will just have to wait at the airport for my flight to Amarillo; Sarah and Elle will have to meet me at the gate instead of having time to run around and visit. We heard from Bonnie that the regional track meet has been cancelled due to swine flu fears in Texas. I feel bad for the kids who won't get to run but at least we will have the whole weekend with Bonnie and David instead of traveling to Lubbock for the meet. I'm not sure what to think about this swine flu thing. Hopefully we will all stay healthy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where is my good travel karma?

Okay, I have run through the Midland-Odessa airport too late to even check my bag and made it onto the plane right before they closed the doors. I have ended up on the wrong flight, had to abandon my luggage in Seattle on the way to DC and had the luggage actually show up with no trouble a few hours later.   I have stood in the security line forever or  arrived late for a connection and the plane was still sitting there.  Even after moving here, I have never (and I am sure this will jinx me) flown all the way from Anchorage to Unalaska and had to turn around and fly all the way back to Anchorage because of weather or visibility or any other reason.  Yes, I have had a few minor issues over the years but mostly have had really good travel karma. Things just seem to fall into place for me.   But lately, I don't know what's going on!   I have used up all my good karma for some reason.  First we had the major volcano delays and cancellations in Anchorage a few weeks back.  What a nightmare!  

Today I was scheduled to fly to Anchorage at 4 PM, catch a plane to Seattle at 10:30 PM, spend most of the night in the SEA-TAC airport (not my favorite thing to do, but why rent a hotel room for a few hours?) and travel on to Dallas, arriving at 1:15 PM tomorrow.   On Thursday, Sarah, Elle and I are supposed to fly to Amarillo to see Bonnie and Dave.   

Around 2 PM today, I called the airport to make sure the 4 PM flight was still on and there weren't any complications.  It was a gorgeous day in Unalaska, sunny and warm (for us).  In what now appears to be foreshadowing, I even said, "I know that weather is not an issue, but just wanted to make sure there aren't any mechanical problems holding any planes back or anything like that!"   I was assured that, while the planes were running a little late (what else is new?), everything was fine and we should be going.   Rich took me to check in early, then we came back home for awhile and stopped by the store to get some snacks for my trip, returning to the airport at 3:45  since the plane was not supposed to arrive from ANC till 4.  Rich went back to work and the plane landed and I watched the luggage get loaded and our flight was announced and we all traipsed across the runway and said hi to the flight attendant and found our seats.   While I was watching the luggage being loaded, I noticed that the guys were really cramming stuff in and, in fact, couldn't fit everything.  Then our seat assignments were rearranged for weight and balance, which always kinda worries me.  How do they know for sure where to put everyone?  I suppose there is a science to it and some sort of formula  and it's all good, but still.    Then the flight attendant told some people in the back that they needed to move forward to some empty seats but there weren't enough empty seats and one guy ended up in a back seat anyway, even after the flight attendant said they didn't want anyone in the last row.  That sorta worried me, too.  So they decided it would be okay after all?  I hate to admit it but I always envision news stories reported in a creepy voice like that dude from To Catch a Predator,  "And what went wrooonnnnngggg  on Flight Number 3279 on a bright and sunny Alaska day?"

A few minutes later, the pilot came out and said there was a mechanical problem that they needed to address.   We sat there a little longer and he came back to say it wasn't anything major but we would probably be more comfortable sitting in the terminal.  I called Rich to tell him we hadn't left but it still looked like we were going.   Another plane landed. Time passed.  We watched the ground crew unload all of the baggage, but the guy across from me said that they were putting it on the other plane so I wasn't worried.   Then came the announcement that our flight was cancelled, we could pick up our bags and come back at 10 tomorrow morning.   No. freaking. way.

I went to the counter to find out about my connections and express my worry about having to be in Dallas in time to catch that Amarillo flight.   I was put on a 1:05 PM flight tomorrow but still can't get to Dallas till 1:15 PM on Thursday.   I was (and still am!) so annoyed.   They put a few people on the later flight today but couldn't fit me in, saying they were taking the international passengers instead.   Rich was most surprised when I called to say he needed to come and get me!   He took me out to Amelia's for dinner so I would quit being bitchy.  LOL

Talked with Sarah and she was sweet enough to say that she would rather we be safe.   Now she will have to meet me at DFW all ready to go and we will hope that I get in in time to make the Amarillo flight.  So much for spending the first night in Dallas and getting a little rest after the 24 hour trip.

As I have said before, stay tuned for more travel adventures.   Sweet dreams, everyone.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If it's Saturday, it must be time to make some cookies and go to a Coffee House

The Aleutian Arts Council's Coffee House is always a great event showcasing lots of local talent. Rich and I decided to make some "glittery" lemon sandwich cookies to take with us. Here's Rich zesting some lemon.

I'm rolling cookies in sprinkles.

Ready to go into the oven.

Piping lemon frosting between the two halves.

The finished product.

Sharon and Kristine were our MC's at the Coffee House. These two should take their act on the road!

We had a packed house, and in fact, people had to be turned away at the door because we were "at capacity." My friend Donna was meeting us there and she never got in! Rich and I learned last year that the event would be full so we went early and got good seats right up front. Above, you see part of "Our Band." It's always fun to see how much talent we have right here in our own little community. We took a lot of photos but I am annoyed that our small camera does not do well inside with variable lighting. I am including just a sampling but wish the pictures had been better.

Chris is also part of "Our Band."

Shawna and Wendy

Some of our teens, Ryan and Samuel, show off their musical talents. Prestan is back there on the drums.

Vinnie James, musician and recording artist, blew the crowd away. You can definitely tell he's a pro.

Another talented teenager, Kyle.

The house was still rockin' at nearly 11 PM. I think we are going to have to expand to two nights and a bigger venue next time!

I went to the eye doctor on Friday and ordered new glasses, but they won't be here till I get back from Texas. The good news is that my eyes haven't changed much and the bad news is that new glasses cost a fortune in Unalaska! The other good news is that Rich's insurance paid most of the bill. How do people make it if they don't have insurance?? That's a topic for another day.

I also went back to Story Corps on Friday afternoon and recorded another 40 minutes with Anne about social action and social justice work. Oh, my gosh, you know I am a talker when I still did not say everything I could have said. It's so funny to me that some people (Richard Bye included) think they have nothing interesting to say and won't go record their stories. Maybe I am just a narcissist. :) P.S. Susan, now the Abilene Peace and Justice Center and our Peace Camp will be immortalized in the Library of Congress. Who would have thought?!

Saturday I got a haircut and a touch-up on my highlights. It was a little bit of a comedy with a language barrier and someone other than my hairstylist taking my appointment on the phone earlier in the week. The gist of it is that no one seemed to know I was coming, but they worked me in anyway. Now I need to get busy preparing for my trip out on Tuesday! I have lots to do today, a planning meeting for several hours at work tomorrow, and then off to Texas. It is looking like another whirlwind trip with seeing my three girls and families in three different towns, traveling to Bonnie's regional track meet, attending my friend Karen's MSW graduation, and squeezing in visits with lots of friends. I will love every hectic minute of it and am hoping for WARM, if not HOT, weather. Can't wait to see those grandkids!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

I remember the first Earth Day in 1970, when I was a teenager living in New Jersey and a bunch of us decided we would walk to school that day instead of riding the bus. It was not a short walk since we lived on an Air Force base and our high school was a good little stroll out into the countryside. We were fairly politically active already and understood the meaning of the day, but it still seemed like more of a party than anything else. And we got to show up for school late.

Although I try to be cognizant of my "footprint," I have to admit that I have never been the most environmentally conscious person around. I am always finding things that I could do differently and should be more diligent about, and living in the beautiful Aleutians makes me think of all that we have to lose if we don't take better care of our planet. And yet, we go about our days and don't put much thought into the damage caused by our presence and our habits. Sometimes I think we are just blind and deaf to the ramifications of our lifestyle and we are in denial that anything truly terrible will ever happen.

Our location also makes it harder in some ways to be environmentally strong--we have no recycling, we have no local farmer's market for fresh food, getting in and out in most cases requires airplane fuel. But there are still lots of things that we can do, even in a remote location, to take better care of our home. Turn off the lights, keep the thermostat at a reasonable level, don't leave the water running, take a canvas bag to the Eagle store instead of bringing home more paper or plastic, take care of your vehicle, walk, ride a bike, catch your own food, pick berries, reduce your waste. I am always amazed at how much trash just Rich and I seem to generate, and I am the world's worst at getting a "to-go" cup of tea instead of carrying my own re-usable container. I think I am always looking forward to "someday" when we might live somewhere with public transit or where we will recycle or go to farmer's markets or have our own garden but I need to be thinking about what I can do in the present instead! It's Earth Day.

On a related note, we had some wild weather yesterday. In the morning, it was raining and blowing like crazy and by afternoon, the sun was out again. I was soaking wet and nearly knocked over by the wind just walking from the parking lot to the door at work. It reminded me of Rich's comment in the past that winds like this would be given a name anywhere else. I heard Daniel say something funny on the radio along those same lines, "In Florida, they call this a hurricane; in Unalaska, we call it Tuesday."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Book Club

Monthly book club is a great time to get together with friends and talk about books and life. This month, we read Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer by Patrick French. Unfortunately, most of us had not had time to finish the book! What does that tell you about our busy lives?! Shawn, seated on the left, was the only one who completed it and she gave us some interesting morsels to look forward to reading. I have had a little bit of trouble getting into it, but I do like biographies and I am now more motivated to finish. Judi and Steve round out the photo with Shawn. It is always interesting to hear everyone's interpretation of the same reading and I appreciate insights that I might not have necessarily picked up.

My fabulous husband volunteered to make some food for our gathering. This after working late last night and getting up super early this morning, working Brunch, and then spending the afternoon on these little items. Am I spoiled or what? Above, we have several treats--a grilled zucchini roll-up with French chevre, mint and Japanese mustard leaf, harissa and red bell pepper; Spanish piquillo red peppers with rosemary, basil leaf, fresh mozzarella and a balsamic reduction; and a little skewer of tomato, cucumber, olive, and cheese. Delicious! I failed to get a photo before we dug in. :)

A lovely mini salad of greens and Japanese mizuna, asian brown pears, candied pecans, dried black mission figs, Danish bleu, and a raspberry walnut vinaigrette.

Here are Sonia and Anne talking about imperialism, trying to kill a sibling, hovercraft v. boat, moving to Antarctica or something along one of those lines. :) Our conversations may start with the book but we get pretty far afield at times. Which makes it all the more fun.

Though we tried to have healthy food for the vegetarian, the gluten intolerant, and the Biggest Winner members, I just couldn't resist a little dessert parfait to top off the veggies. I know, I know, it kinda cancels everything out, doesn't it? Starting from the bottom of the glass, we have a ginger snap, banana pudding, chunks of fudge cream cake, whipped cream, ligonberry sauce, bavarian cream and a candied walnut. Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm. Thanks, Rich!

We only have one more meeting of Book Club and that's at Steve's house before we take the summer off. It's looking like spring and everyone is itching to spend more time outside than inside. Then in August, we will meet again to choose books for the next year and start all over again.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Convention and Visitors' Bureau annual Wine Tasting Event

Rich has been working long hours and had to be in the kitchen tonight so Anne and Jeannette agreed to be my dates.

Each wine was paired with a scrumptious bit of food appropriate for the characteristics of the wine. Here are some of our fancy servers.

Look! It's Alaska Steve and Goldfish! Don't they look nice?

My favorite--an heirloom tomato tart.

Some of our lovely servers.

The busy and tired chef at the end of the night. Many compliments to Rich and his hard working crew!

That's Brenda, our new CVB Director, who recently moved here from Texas. And the beautiful Hilary.
Melanie was serving champagne.

Guess who won the big grand prize! Yep, I am on a roll with prize-winning lately. A great basket of wine related items (kind of ironic for the not-much-of-a-drinker, huh?) and a gift certificate for the Sunday Brunch. LOL

It was a fun night. I was there mostly for the food and conversation but did try some of the wines and Rich drove us home, just in case. I am always paranoid if I have even one drink! Rides were also provided tonight so the next Dutch Harbor Fisherman would not be full of DUI arrests, though it seemed like a well behaved crowd. :)

Otherwise, I spent most of the day cleaning my house for book club tomorrow and trying to get the second bedroom ready for Aidan's visit, since it is largely used for storage. What a mess!! We need more closet space or something! I don't know where to put everything. I did take a couple of loads to the dumpster and have a box for the church clothes closet. But it's still crowded in there. Hopefully a 6 year old won't really notice.

Although I should be finishing my book club book, I have been more interested in one of my bargain books that just came from Barnes and Noble online. Called The Brain that Changes Itself, it's an intriguing exploration of research in the area of brain plasticity, how our brains adapt and change, how we can keep our brains alert and active as we age, improved methods of working with stroke patients, individuals with phantom limb pain, people with learning disabilities and mental health issues and more. I am fascinated with all of the potential we have within us.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Flash! Unalaska

One of the most fun things about "Funalaska" is hosting our weekly community news show on Channel 8 TV. Anyone can come in and get trained to host Flash! Unalaska on Wednesday nights. One person covers "hard" news in the first segment, followed by two people discussing the many local activities and events. Above, Daniel and James get the camera and teleprompter set up.

James counting us down to "on the air."

Judi and I shared hosting duties tonight. Though we used to work together and we participate in lots of the same activities, this was the first time we'd ever done Flash together. We had a great time.

I didn't get a photo of Bryan, our Board Chair, who was on the "switcher." Thanks to all three of the guys and Judi for all of their good work!

If you'd like to join in the fun, give me a call at 581-1888 and we will find a place for you! If TV's not your thing, we have opportunities on the radio, behind the scenes, or at special events.

We're in for another busy weekend with the Convention and Visitors' Bureau wine tasting event on Saturday (with Rich and crew preparing food pairings for the wines) and book club on Sunday night. Speaking of, I need to get back to my book!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Who knew Bunco was so much fun? A very nice Easter Brunch. And good news for Gigi and Grandpa Rich.

Melanie, aka Cookie Dough, and hostess Erin, with "Unalaska Newbie" Sonia in the background.

I have heard of Bunco for many years and have never played the game. In fact, I don't think I've ever been invited before. Seems like it was a big teacher's game in Texas, not sure if that is common or not. Anyhoo, Erin invited me to be a sub at Saturday night's game and I thought, "why not?" Ended up having a blast with 11 other fun and funny women--I get the feeling that the game is mostly an excuse to get together to talk and laugh, which is fine with me!

Roll those dice, ladies!

I didn't win first place, didn't win second place, didn't win third place, didn't get a prize for LOWEST score, but I DID win the "roll-off" among those of us in the middle (with a 4!) a very cool angel figurine--thanks, Erin!

Rich has been keeping early hours and long hours lately with preparations for special events and Sunday Brunch on Easter is one of the biggest. The restaurant was packed this morning and everyone went away very happy.

Since Rich was going to be working, I invited Regina and Donna to join me for Brunch. Zach took good care of us and kept that iced tea glass filled. :)

Funny how we tend to have more pictures of dessert than anything else!

Jeff and Jack getting ready to cook some omelettes.

Donna and Regina displaying their dessert choices.

After Brunch, I actually caught all three of my girls on the phone and was happy to talk with them, as well as with my Mom. Wishing we could all be together! However, I am very excited to report that Susan and Corey decided they would let Aidan come back with me when I return from Texas in May (I am going for a visit April 28-May 13) and stay with us till we go to Jersey in June! It just made my day! I know we will have so much fun with him and he will love visiting Gigi and Grandpa Rich in Alaska. We will have him for about three weeks here and another week at the Jersey shore before he goes back home to Texas. I hope we will get to have lots of time with all of the grandkids in the upcoming years. Rich reminded me that if we want them to take care of us when we are in our decline, we need to butter them up now. LOL

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lots going on, as usual

We have lots of very talented local artists, many of whom are participating in the annual Community Art Show which opened at the hotel tonight. I am always impressed with the quality of their work, whether paintings, photography, sculpture or quilting.

Char signing in. She has had a cast on her foot for the longest time but is now in a walking boot. Hopefully she will be all healed up soon.

Darlene, one of the servers in the Chart Room. Thanks, Darlene!

Rich has been up since 4 AM, bless his little heart, but went with me to the opening anyway. Not everyone got his "Shrute Farms Beets" reference (it's from The Office, in case you didn't get it either!)

We are teasing Bailey about being an Unalaska model since her photo keeps popping up on various blogs. She's being a good sport. I am holding my never-ending glass of iced tea.

Last night, we had a little cheese tasting party, but I forgot my camera so you will just have to imagine how good it was. One of the Food and Beverage managers, Laurie, discovered some great bleu cheese while she was down south and had the company send some samples to the restaurant. Rich put together a nice selection of items to be paired with the cheeses and Lisa, the other F&B manager, chose some appropriate wines. Joining us were the General Manager, Tom, his lovely wife Erin, and Michelle from HR. We had a great time tasting, talking and laughing. Erin invited me to come to her bunco party as a sub on Saturday night--in all of these many years, I have never played bunco and told her I didn't want anyone making fun of me if I don't know what I am doing. She asked, "can you roll dice and can you count?!" so I guess I am good to go. As long as I don't have to count too high. LOL Then later I found out that fellow blogger Cookie Dough and her new best friend Sonia will also be there. Looking forward to hanging out with the gals and having some of my husband's special chocolate bread pudding that Erin always requests for her parties.

This morning I met my friends and former coworkers, Darcel, Donna and Judi, for breakfast. We had fun catching up on all the news; I miss them but I have to say I am happy that I am no longer working there! I had lunch with the new Convention and Visitors Bureau Director, who just moved here from Texas. My gosh, I need to quit eating so much! Does every gathering have to revolve around food?? (Yes!) The CVB is hosting its annual wine tasting in a couple of weeks; Rich will be working so Anne and Jeannette are going to be my dates for the evening. Tomorrow morning the Lions Club is having its yearly Pancake Breakfast. My head is spinning with everything happening!

Work has been going great--I love, love, love my new job! I have fun there every day. How refreshing! Watch for a blog and a facebook page for the station in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Home! And what we've learned on our travels.

Man, I just HATE getting up really early in the morning to catch a plane!    I don't like that groggy, interrupted-sleep feeling, rushing to get showered and dressed, finishing the last bit of packing and hauling our over-stuffed bags to the front desk of the hotel.  I usually underestimate how much time I need and there's always some last minute issue.   Luckily, even when we are a little irritable, we manage to keep a sense of humor.    :)    MOST of the time.

Our original plan was to stay in a hotel near SEA-TAC the night before flying home, but someone (who shall remain nameless) made a mistake when bidding on priceline and used the wrong date.  If you are a priceline novice, let me explain that once you have sealed the deal, there are no changes allowed and you lose your money if you don't show up.   Yes, we learned that one the hard way once when we got stranded and couldn't get to our destination in time. The big savings on priceline does not seem quite so nice when you lose all your money.   Ever since, we don't make our reservations till we are OUT of Unalaska!  But I digress.  So we were downtown and  had a rental car needing to be returned, both of which meant we needed to get up earlier than expected.   But, no worries, we like staying downtown and we've had to get up early before.  

A little sidebar:  we enjoy walking around wherever we are, but we decided to keep our rental car so we could drive to some different parts of Seattle.   Let me just complain that parking at downtown hotels is OUTRAGEOUS.   $33??    Each night??  

We always do the thing where we are supposed to fill the car up with gas before we return it. When we were stuck in Anchorage, we rented cars on two different days and NEITHER one of them was completely full when we got it.  What's up with that?   But, of course, we had to fill them up or be charged.  No fair.

We are halfway hoping that the volcano has blown again and our flight is cancelled so we can go back to sleep.  LOL   We check the internet to discover that Redoubt seems quiet and our flight is on time.  We leave the hotel at 5:30 AM (right on schedule, I might add) and remind ourselves that we have to stop and get gas.    (Okay, at least once we have driven up to the car rental return in some city, popped out of the car, and realized that we had forgotten the gas. We have turned around, driven for a good little while to find a gas station and returned with little time to spare.)  The hotel clerk gives us directions to the airport, which we follow to a "T." Unfortunately, our car is rented from an off-airport agency.   We figure we can find the road but the highway exit takes us right to the airport, so we have to do that drive-through thing.  I am digging for the contract to get the address when I find the nice little brochure that they'd given us, which states,  "DO NOT RETURN THE CAR TO THE AIRPORT," with directions to their location.  And, even better, I now have a distinct memory of  reading the darned thing out loud to Rich when we picked up the car, saying, "okay, let's be sure to remember this!"   I ask, "how come we didn't get all this stuff out last night?"   

As we are driving, I remind Rich that we still need to get gas.  He laughs and admits that he has already forgotten about that.   He asks what makes us think that we will be able to  do a lot of traveling when we are old and retired?   We decide we will have to pay one of the grandkids to come with us and keep us in line.  We can hear them fighting over which one has to go with Gigi and Grandpa THIS time.   

Allrighty, we get some gas and find the car return.  Relief.   It's not even that late.   Rich is wearing his "More Cowbell" Tshirt and the young guy checking us in says, "I've been getting sick and I know the only thing that will cure me is MORE COWBELL!"    Cracked me up. 

We ride the shuttle to SEA-TAC with a full contingent of fellow travelers.  We check in easily at a kiosk (I love this self service stuff.)   We check our bags--neither overweight nor even close, which might be a first.   We get to Security and the line is long and slow.   Mind you, we have been up since 4:30 AM and it is now 7:00 AM.  I am ready for a nap.  We locate our gate, grab a quick breakfast and return to the gate to find that, yes, everyone has boarded but us.   So much for a quick potty stop.  

It's a beautiful sunny day in Seattle and we have a nice, smooth flight to Anchorage.  I sleep a good part of the way.   Anchorage is gorgeous as well, Redoubt does not seem to be causing any trouble and our flight to Unalaska is on time (well, as close to on time as these flights get.)   After all of the chaos of last week, we find it a little amusing that there are three people on our flight home--ourselves and another pilot.   How crazy is that?  Think of all the people who were begging for a seat not long ago.  It's an easy flight home, other than some bumps as we approach.

It's good to be home.   We go to the store and run into quite a few people who seem to know that we've been gone and that we got stranded.  Funny.  I attribute it to the internet and all of the locals either blogging or on facebook or both.   Our kitties are happy to see  us and I am doing a huge amount of laundry.   We are getting our fix of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.  What's up with all these hotels that don't carry Comedy Central?  We were in withdrawal.  :)

Okay, let's review:
Lesson #1:    Check the date twice before you finalize a bid on priceline.
Lesson #2:    If parking is $33 a night, it might be better to turn in the car and take the bus around town.   (In which case, you will need to follow #3 and #4 below)
Lesson #3:   Remember where you rented your car, and look at your paperwork the night before you turn it in.   If they give you a handy-dandy little sign to hang on your rearview mirror stating "DO NOT RETURN THIS CAR TO THE AIRPORT," it might be good to actually hang it on the rearview mirror because you are bound to forget what it said when it is stashed in the glove compartment.
Lesson #4:    Don't forget the gas.
Lesson #5:   Be nice to your grandkids because you will probably need them when you are a doddering old fool.
Lesson #6:   If you don't want the whole town to know your business, stay off the internet.
Lesson #7:   Note to self:  remember to buy some gingko biloba.
Lesson #8:  More cowbell cures just about anything.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sun and Fun

What a gorgeous day in Seattle! For some reason, we were both awake at 5 AM. Maybe we were practicing for tomorrow, when we have to be at the airport super early. After showering, checking emails and finishing off the rest of the cookies from Two Tarts, we decided to check out of the hotel and take a look at the Fremont and Ballard sections of town. We also wanted to drive through the Queen Anne area, which is where we went first, but got a little lost and confused and didn't really see a lot there. Eventually we found our way to Fremont and they were having a big outdoor market. Hurray, one of our favorite things!

We also walked down several streets near the market and saw this store.

Why, you ask, would a statue of Lenin be standing in Seattle, WA? Hmmmm, good question. Maybe you would like to do a google search. Very interesting story.

One of the booths had some very tasty Mexican food. We started out with a snack as we walked through, then went back and ate our lunch there, too.

Lots of people enjoying the sunshine and the shopping.

We were excited to see Full Circle Farms represented! We stopped to chat with Peter about receiving our weekly box of produce in Unalaska. A guy who writes the blog for the market took down our names so he could mention our visit. I was wearing my Polar Bear Run hoodie, which has the words "City of Unalaska" on it--several people asked me what that "meant." They were amused/surprised to learn that there really is a place called Unalaska, Alaska.

These young ladies had great singing voices; one was playing the accordion and the other a saw with some sort of electric bow. Very cool.

Then to the Ballard section, where there was ANOTHER market, even bigger and more crowded!

Some drummers in the park. (See the attached video as well)

Funky art work.

We strolled the streets and had some mini cupcakes at a bakery before driving back to the center of the city. Here are a couple of shots of the Space Needle from the car.

We checked into the Edgewater, which looks more like a lodge than a city hotel. Rich says the Beatles stayed here once upon a time. :) We have a cute little balcony where we can sit and read a book. It got downright hot today, probably in the 70's. LOVE IT!! I hope we got enough Vitamin D to help us stay healthy.

We missed the barbeque cook-off, which apparently ended at 4 PM. We have a dinner reservation here at the hotel at 6. I checked on our flights and everything appears to be on schedule for tomorrow. We fly out at 8 and should get all the way home by late afternoon if all goes well.