Friday, June 30, 2006
The view from the top of the mountain was worth the slip-and-slide path we took to get up there.
It's raining today, so we'll probably go into Lake Placid instead of parasailing.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
I TRIED to blog the following from the plane yesterday, but after typing it all into my phone, "it" wouldn't let me send more than a sentence or two. ERRGGG!!!
Anyway, just before boarding in Chicago, Jenni and I each received calls from Orbitz telling us that all flights to the East Coast would be delayed in landing, but take off schedules would remain the same. The delay was due to weather conditions between Chicago and the East Coast.
We started boarding, and ten minutes before we were due to push back from the gate, we were advised of the weather delay of an hour and twenty minutes. BUT, we could not leave the plane. In fact, the plane would be leaving the gate at the normal time to make room for another plane. BS! That was so they could go on record as leaving on time.
So we sat for an hour and a half. Jenni at first worked Sudoku on her PalmPilot until she got bored. She explained that she's now beyond that. She now does Kakuro.
Time passed quickly and we landed in LaGuardia about 2 hours late. A word about LaGuardia. WHAT?!!?!? Was it the first airport built and hasn't been renovated since? At least that was the impression we got from the "D" concourse. Ceiling tile falling, rain through ceiling, etc.
An hour later, we were in our rental car and heading to Upstate New York. Oh. Except for the sitting in traffic part. I let Jenni drive and it was an eyue-opener for her. It's not like driving in Maryville, Missouri!
After we FINALLY got to the nice relaxing drive on the Palisades Parkway and the rest of our trip north, there were some road closures due to flooding. Fortunately, we didn't have many problems with that. We got up here about 10:30 last night, got to hug Meghan a lot, got a quick tour of the place in the dark, and she told us that today was "Breakfast in Bed." Sounded nice after our trip.
Oh. The "Breakfast in Bed" was for the campers, and the breakfast was to be made by the adult visitors. So, we were up this morning, reporting for duty in the kitchen and making egg McMuffin things with the others. It was actually fun. I worked frying eggs with a corporate attorney and an attorney with the DOJ.
I just can't escape attorneys.
Anyway, this is these are views from our cabin porch.
Meghan has the day off today, and we're getting ready to hike up Panther Mountain.
Wish me luck.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Sunday, June 25, 2006
My Inner Gladys Kravitz has been screaming to get out, so this post is her release.
First of all, I covet my neighbor's porch. Last summer, he worked very hard on remodeling it, and this summer, he's working on the landscaping.
The privet fence surrounding his property had been quite tall and blocked my view. This spring, he was courteous enough to tear all of that out and is currently replacing it with some shrubbery of a much smaller size.
The yard chores at my place are the responsibility of my neighbor in my duplex, J. The landlord had offered him a reduction in rent if he took care of the landscaping. They are currently having a difference of opinion on the translation of "taking care of the landscaping". The landlord's interpretation is mowing it when it needs it, and weed-eating. J's interpretation is mowing it once a month whether it needs it or not, and he chooses not to eat weeds.
My other neighbors mow at least once a week, and bag the clippings. Trust me, "bagging the clippings" is not in J's vocabulary. So, the grass in our yard is either quite long, or is lying about the lawn in need of being baled. We are the neighborhood eyesore.
Please note the tuft of long grass in the first photo (not the one of Gladys). I don't know why, but that particular spot does not get mowed. Nor does it get hit with the weed-whacker.
One time last year, I saw him mow around a newspaper. After the newspaper was removed, the long grass stayed there (until I pulled it out by hand). I wasn't here yesterday, but apparently he must have at least kicked the newspaper out of the way several times when he mowed. I thought I had picked up all of the newspapers, but he apparently thinks that one is mine.
So, since today is a nice cool day and since I've been complaining to you all about this, I'll spend this afternoon sweeping the sidewalk and pulling weeds. Am I being an enabler? I don't care; I'm tired of being the neighborhood eyesore.
However, I am NOT going to rake the grass clippings. Mainly because I don't have a rake.
I have an ulterior motive for doing this, however.
My son-in-law, Tim, is at this moment, playing in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the area. And by "in the area", I mean, over an hour away in Troy, Missouri. Every summer, he and his buddies compete in the Gus Macker Tournaments. During yesterday's events, we determined that Gus Macker is the patron saint of basketball being played on asphalt on a hot summer day. I'm not there today because, well, I overslept.
Anyway, I didn't have my real camera with me yesterday, but had my camera phone. I've asked Tim to send the pictures taken with his camera, and as an incentive, I'm posting these bad shots to inspire him to send the good ones.
Yesterday's earlier performances were less than stellar, but the guys (Tim, Travis, Dave and Bill) improved the last game they played. I honestly thought they were going to win that one, but they ended up losing 11-15. Oh well. The game was tied at 11-11 for quite some time. A nail biter.
See? I usually have beautifully manicured nails.
And here is the album of crappy pictures.
Wade was there playing basketball and I have photographic proof. If you squint real hard, you can see him in his jersey underneath the tree and above that girl's head. Or you will just have to take my word for it.
You will also have to take my word for it that somewhere out there is a basketball game going on. The girl in the ponytail with her back to us is Jenni. She's wearing the t-shirt I bought her at BB King's when I was in Memphis a couple of months ago. She's wearing it because she has the kind of Mommy who goes someplace neat and buys her kids lousy t-shirts to give to them. Tim has a matching one. Meghan.... I think I have a coffee cup for her, actually.
During a break in the action, while we were eating lunch, I caught the tail end of a conversation. One of Tim's friends, Bill, was talking about seeing Sonya Kitchell performing. The way he talked about her, I thought he knew her. Later, some other friends showed up, and I thought they said their names were Jeff and Sonya. A celebrity amongst us? I hadn't seen Sonya Kitchell, so I didn't know if she was as blonde as her name sounds. But that is "Sonya" sitting next to Jenni. I later found out that is Sarah, and her husband Jeff. So, no celebrity sightings.
Well, other than the Wade sighting. Have you found him yet? Remember, squint.
And here is another fine picture of Jenni and Sonya/Sarah's backs.
And for your viewing enjoyment, here is a video taken with my camera phone. I did not know it recorded sound as well, so this has a soundtrack, courtesey of the public address system.
I just previewed the video after uploading it, and I gotta tell you --- lousy. When I viewed it on my hard drive, it was just OK. But during the uploading, the quality dropped to less than a convenience store surveillance video. And the sound disappeared. This is my first attempt at linking to a video and obviously, I need to study up on this.
But not today. There is capuccino to be consumed and kids to visit. The last game should be over in a few minutes and they will be returning to shower and pack before heading back home.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Previews of upcoming posts: The staining and varnishing weekend(s) and Jenni's and Tim's new house; the new addition to our family, Little Miss Annarae; and an update from the files of my inner Gladys Kravitz. Then there's the upcoming trip to New York, and Jenni and Tim's move into their new house.
Yup. I just may need to take the laptop on the bus.
In the meantime, I leave you with this shot of newborn loveliness; my new grand-niece, Annarae.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
1. Update on my flight last weekend. I had the "B" ticket. I was told, probably not a problem, especially if I got there fairly early and was towards the head of the "B" line. Wellllllllllllllll, there's this problem I have with TSA agents. They hate me. The first time I flew after 9/11 was the second weekend that planes were allowed in the air. I was told to send my cardigan through the machine since it had metal buttons. The TSA agents gathered around the screen to look at the bag that was on the conveyor belt behind my sweater. Conferences were held over the bag. Supervisors were called over. But because the conveyor belt was halted, my sweater was still on the conveyor belt out of reach.
Me: Can I have my sweater, please?
Agent: (glances my way and says nothing)
Me: (To another TSA agent): May I have my sweater, please? It's stuck on the conveyor belt.
Agent: (Glances my way and says nothing)
Me: (To YET ANOTHER TSA agent): My sweater is stranded on the conveyor belt. Could you get it for me, please?
Pimply-Faced Agent Who Hit Puberty on 9/12: Ma'am! We are all fighting terrorism here. You will have to be patient.
TSA Agent Who Overheard This and takes my sweater off the conveyor belt and puts it on a table behind him. Calls over a supervisor.
Agent: Could you check out her sweater? She seems to be a little too anxious to get it.
Supervisor: (pause while looking at the now 5 TSA agents grouped around the screen looking at the bag on the conveyor belt): Seriously?
Supervisor: (gets sweater off table and hands to me): Thank you for your patience, Ma'am. (To agents) We CAN do our jobs without pissing off the public.
But ever since that trip, I've made it through security without being stopped three times. And I traveled a lot during that time. Honestly, I think I must have been put on some sort of "list". A friend of mine calls it the "Global threatening Soccer Moms of Kirkwood List".
I was flying to St. Thomas and was stopped in the security gate. Also stopped was a little old lady in a wheel chair and a 12-year old girl. I am so serious about that. A little old lady in a wheelchair, a 12-year old girl and a middle-aged soccer mom. The three of us were being searched for weapons of mass destruction and I SWEAR I saw the Shoe Bomber's brother walk through with a bazooka on his shoulder without any problem.
OK, it wasn't a bazooka. It was some PVC piping, 6 feet long, but he DID look too much like the Shoe Bomber for my tastes. The PVC piping went through the x-ray machine with no problem. AND I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIM FIT THAT INTO THE LITTLE "IF YOUR LUGGAGE FITS IN HERE, IT'S CARRY ON" BOX, BECAUSE, I DON'T THINK SO!!!!
Where was I?
Oh, yeah. Security. Anyway, this past weekend was no different. I had taken all potential metal-containing objects off me and put them in my purse. My eensy teensy cutesy strappy sandals were put into the bin, because I've learned that my shoes drive metal detectors absofreakinglutely nuts. I took off as much as I could without getting a citation for indecency. I successfully went through the metal detector.
My purse did not.
TSA agents pounced upon it. First, they took the little coffee-filter thing and wiped it down. Then they put the coffee filter thing into some sort of apparatus, punched buttons, waited for it to do whatever it does, it went "Ding" and a light went on which told them, correctly I might add, that my purse did NOT contain any explosives. As if.
Then they dumped it out in front of God and everyone and began to paw through it. Cellphone. iPod. PalmPilot. Wallet. Keys. Meds. An impossible tangled mess of earphones for cellphone and iPod. Makeup.
"What, exactly, had you concerned?" I asked.
"Your keys," I was told.
Excuse me, but doesn't everyone have keys? I didn't want to ask them because I had the feeling that if I asked, I'd be spending the night at Gitmo.
My keys were sent through the x-ray machine and it was determined, correctly I might add, that they WERE keys. Duh.
I grabbed everything, shoved my feet into my eensy teensy cutesy strappy sandals and clip-clopped off to my gate. To find out I was at the end of the "B" line.
I got a middle seat towards the back of the plane. THANKFULLY, I was not in the live-stock section.
As I was standing in the back of the "B" line, I saw a guy emerge from the security gate with a belt looped around his neck, feet shoved into untied tennis shoes and clutching the waist-band of his pants as he dashed down the concourse towards his gate.
Meanwhile, a PVC-Pipe-carrying Shoe Bomber sauntered through the metal detector.
OK, maybe not.
2. Plantar fasciitis sucks. I got nailed with it when I woke up around 2:00 to go potty.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. I could not stand on my foot at all. Not even on tippytoe. I considered hopping down the hallway to the bathroom. I could hop. OK, I was really sleepy, it was 2 AM and I had quite the full bladder. Hopping? Don't think so.
So..... I laid down on my back and scooted down the hallway to the bathroom, all the while, thinking "thank heaven no one can see me."
Then I blog about it for all the world to know.
Heel pain is doing somewhat better now, by the way.
3. I had more, but I'm tired and I'm going to bed.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Most of my travel in the last few years has been through work, and the flights were all on the major airlines. Due to all of that travel, I had frequent flier miles built up, so when I traveled for vacations, I used up those miles on those major airlines.
Today, I’m flying for the first time on Southwest. I’m feeling extremely intimidated by this due to that quirky “first come, first served” seat assignment rule they have. I’ll admit it, I’ve been spoiled by the other airlines. You know, the ones that let you log onto their websites so you can pick your own seat. And wouldn’t you rather I do that than pick my seat in public? (rimshot).
Little by little, I’m finding out more about how this whole thing really works. It seems that if I REALLY believed it was “first come, first served” I’d be quite the fool. Conceivably, I could get to the airport before anyone else on my flight and end up with a seat in steerage, holding a live chicken on my lap. The secret all seems to be in those alphabetical boarding passes: A, B or C.
So, “First come” actually means “First to log onto your computer and check in online”, which you can start doing 24 hours before your flight. Those “A” boarding passes are so coveted that a website is now available to help you get them. For a $5.00 charge per passenger, you can have Boardfirst.com get you your golden ticket. If they fail to get an “A”, there is no charge and they supply the live chicken.
Being a Southwest novice, I was totally unaware of these intricacies. It was all explained to me ten hours before my flight at which time I rushed to my computer to get my boarding pass. I have a “B” boarding pass.
I know that’s not good, but is it at least OK, or am I kinda screwed, seatwise? I e-mailed my daughter and son-in-law to ask them since they’ve flown on Southwest before BUT NEGLECTED TO CLUE ME IN ON THE SECRET OF THE “A” TICKET.
Basically, they were not helpful. Jenni’s response was to “suck it up” as it is a fairly short flight (St. Louis to Kansas City) and if I get a middle seat, I can deal with it. I pointed out to her that I was more concerned about getting my carry-on luggage in an overhead compartment without any hassle. To save time, I don’t want to check it. But being short, I have a tendency to knock people on the noggin when I’m trying to get my luggage into the overhead compartment on crowded flights.
That’s when the short jokes started – lead off by Tim who is 6’4” or something like that. Now, is that nice? I’m flying up there to help them stain and varnish the wood in their new house and I get short jokes?!?!?
(Just kidding, kids. Sort of)
For my return flight, I’ve registered with Boardfirst.com and will hopefully get the coveted “A” boarding pass. But for my flight today, I’ll just have to “suck it up.”
I also heard that Southwest is going to start assigning seats. But that’s scheduled for the year 2007; not before my 6:30 pm flight this evening.