Sunday, June 18, 2017

Watching the Wheels Go Round . . .

Although I feel like all I ever do is gleefully pull weeds and clear brush and slay bittersweet -- seriously, I am a bittersweet-slaying super hero -- all the photos I have are still-life. Peaceful, sedentary, non-moving, non-shoulder-wrenching sitting.

I guess it makes sense -- I mean, you can't really take photos when you're wresting snake-size bittersweet roots from the depths of the Earth -- but still. We really need to put down the lopper and pick up the camera every once in a while.

But in the meantime, according to my peaceful, sedentary, non-toiling photos, I'm just sittin' here . . .

. . . on the beach . . .

. . . hanging with Big Cac . . . 


. . .  watching the rain pour down from our bedroom window . . .

. . . at a bar.

Hey, wait, that photo reminds me of something . . . 


I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go 'round and 'round.

I've been at it for years.

Friday, June 16, 2017

quest

It's been a mighty big week around here!

Look who arrived on my deck last Sunday:


To celebrate this guy:


And celebrate we did, and are in fact still doing. More comprehensive documentation of the visit and the celebrating will surely follow, but for now let's take a peek at our kick off activity way back a million years ago last Sunday, when we still had our innocence:

Where should I stick these probes, Beth? 
Now let me get back to the celebrating, would ya?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mr. Peanut

I was in the deep south last week. Southern Georgia to be more precise. I went east for a training, which was held in the lovely small town of Sylvester, Georgia, claimed to be the Peanut Capital of the World due to its peanut production. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that there was a crock-pot like device full of boiled peanuts in the gas station convenience store when I filled up - I wasn't in Kansas anymore. Or California.

Actually, though, I saw a lot more pecans than I did peanuts. There were various pecan farms dotting my 25-minute rural drive from hotel to training site each morning. But I opted for the easier mega Adock Pecans joint in Tifton to peruse my pecans, and wow, they didn't disappoint. Truckloads of pecans was right.


My people ended up with less than a handful. But if you've got peaches and pecans, you've got a little slice of Southern Georgia.


Because I am who I am, these are the only two photos I took all week. No lovely countryside, no smiling faces of my fellow trainees, no evidence of the amazing crab cakes or catfish or lightly fried green beans I ordered. You'll just have to trust me that it was all quite lovely, and a nice change of pace from chaotic Southern California. I don't know if I could live there, but I would happily go back to visit. And the next time I do, I'm going to see me the world's largest peanut....


Monday, June 12, 2017

Carnage

I am not clumsy, I do not fall, I do not break my body apart. I mean, typically I don't. There are exceptions, sure. But I haven't tripped over my own feet since I was a kid, when my feet grew before my body did and I stumbled over them walking across an empty room and boyohboy did Mom and Dad think that was funny.

This weekend, though? Yesterday I sliced up my fingah tips. I'm FINE. I'm totally fine. But I was bleeding everywhere so I band-aided up and then I couldn't type. And even though I always wear gloves out in the Field, I have some class of poison-ness on my wrist. And even though I always wear shoes -- wait, I never wear shoes -- no wonder I smashed my toe on the curb.

There were broken glasses and broken olive buckets and oh, there was blood. But still. It was the first beautiful weekend of the Season and we had ourselves a Time.

On Friday we had a drink-poo with Rachie-Rach, as per, and the next thing we knew a parade of lovelies marched into our Field. Unexpected, unplanned, unprecedented.

One day I'll tell you.

Saturday I showed off my golf swing.

No, I do not golf.

. . . and I photo-bombed the Madohme . . .

. . . and Kelly worked the rice paddies.

Earlier in the day adorable children ran amok out there . . .

. . . oh they're adorable . . .

. . . and nothing makes them happier than when their brother Ben runs amok with them.

Oh, wait, the weekend actually began on Thursday, back when it was still winter. (I saw somebody post, "We went from Seattle to Orlando in a weekend.") The Connecticut Keys, baby.

So, okay, there were broken glasses . . .

. . . but not before we gleefully drank from them . . .

. . . and at least the peonies survived.

Oooh a Field Shot!

And if friends and bubbly and beer* . . .

*beer

. . . and munchkins and gardening and peonies and shrimp and family and air golfing and blood weren't enough . . . 

. . . the Quote Book got some new additions. Have I blogged about our quote book? Have I? I will soon. Because the Quote Book is utterly the best.

If only, Mistah. If only . . . 

Plus? Blood.

Friday, June 9, 2017

wow.

The opportunity to take this trip had been in the works for years, with a false start the first time due to my generally unstable home/work/life situation.  When the announcement rolled around for 2017, I felt like things were harmonious enough in most areas, so I jumped on it. I booked the work park and as soon as the deadline to cancel had passed, the shit hit the fan at work. Nevertheless, I persisted. The deadline had passed! We are not barbarians.

I agonized over the travel planning. I wanted to add time on one or both ends of this work opportunity to explore the parts of the world that I’ve only ever glimpsed. I penciled myself out for the week before and after, and had fun playing around with ideas for where I would go while over there way far away. Then I accidentally went to Hawaii. Twice. And people in my life seemed suddenly less enthusiastic about the idea of me being gone for 3 weeks on the cusp of summer. 
Whatever. I shortened the span, and set about booking.

It all boiled down to good travel options. I wanted to fly direct for the long haul, then spend a night or two somewhere cool and book an easy flight into Scotland to be whisked into the organized arms of the study tour team.  I asked for suggestions and narrowed down my options based on flights, cost, and cities where fun could be had within a million miles of their international airports. The top contenders were Amsterdam, Dublin, London, and Keflavik. I eliminated Amsterdam and Dublin pretty quickly because the flights were sucky and complicated. I decided on London about 50 times because I could fly direct there from San Diego and I have family there who were willing to show me the town! But then when I went to book the flights, it looked great getting there with an overnight stay, but I would have a really chopped up journey home that would add a whole extra day to my itinerary. Keflavik was a ridiculous option because I would have to get myself to and from LA before the 9 hour flights, and although the fare was dirt cheap, it was on WOW airlines which sounded terrifying. Plus, Iceland? Ice Land? Come on.  So I booked it. 

I reserved a hotel room based on some random person’s comprehensive trip advisor review, and slowly built in the details for getting around the Ice Land. It was really easy, those peeps are primed and ready for visitors. I even finalized the details of my last night in Scotland and had everything nicely organized in a green file folder, so I was clearly ready to go. There was just one thing – getting to LAX on a Friday afternoon. I had already worked out the return, I’d be getting in at 8pm after a full 24 hours of travel, so I hired a guy to walk right into the airport with my name on a sign and carry me to my door. But how to get to LA?

I left it open til the last minute, it’s not that far and I had the whole day off, maybe someone would want to drive me! Surprise. No one did. I sucked it up and booked a trip on good ol’ Amtrak. The train to the bus to the plane to the Iceland. I left myself an absurdly large window for inevitable mishaps and delays. I was mostly worried about the bus because although the distance from union station to LAX is only 20 miles, I’d be traversing it at 5pm on a Friday like a moron.  I booked myself on the 1:30 train and figured the 4:20 arrival would give me an even wider margin of error to ensure that I would be the first geek in line at the WOW gate when it opened the recommended 3 hours prior to departure. 

And right on schedule, I set off. I was nervous and excited and all of the things. 

You can't tell, but one of those overburdened bottom wheels is getting ready to disintegrate into a lump of useless matter, which will be super fun to drag around the nether regions of this fool world.

So there I was, prompt and prepped, waiting on the platform for my train. 

And waiting.

And waiting.

There was a block of time when I refused communication with anyone who didn't work for Amtrak. I was too stressed to discuss the delay, and certainly in no condition to open up and share my feelings when I learned that the train was, in fact, not coming.

I started to think about a plan B, while I watched with my own two eyes as the traffic on northbound 5 began its inevitable slowing on a Friday afternoon at 2. Also at 3. 

Eventually, the next train came. I found a seat and enlisted some poor dumb bastard to hoist that atrocious bag into the luggage bin. I didn't know how I would be expected to get it down when/if we ever got to LA, but I figured gravity and the gods would be helpful. The train took ages. We had to keep pulling over - is that what trains do when they stop to let other, more prompt trains pass? As we entered downtown, I frantically continued obsessing over my best shot at a quick trip to the airport. Should I uber or run to the flybus? Considering traffic and reviews and express bus-only carpool lanes, I opted for the bus. I dragged that atrocious bag down 2 flights then back up 2 flights to street level, and ran for it. 

When I arrived with my phone outstretched to show my purchased bus ticket, the guy loading bags told me to get in the ticket line. I possibly screeched a little about this in my effort to relay the critical information that I had, in fact, already purchased said ticket. He persisted in his insistence that I go to the line for some sort of verification. I did so, then came back to try and get on his good side so he'd put my atrocious bag on board and drive me really fast to the airport. He suggested that I - and I quote - "STOP FREAKING OUT." 

So I did. 


and off we went

We flew like the wind

I got through check in and security and thought it would be fine that I didn't have time to eat, even on a budget airline that wouldn't provide food. I had nuts and berries and a full water bottle and was determined to sleep through the flight anyway. I rushed straight to the gate




But then...


Wow.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Miles for Meemer

We had the unique and inspiring privilege on Saturday morning to be part of the send-off for two lovely, earnest, ambitious, adorable and loyal siblings who are bicycling across-the-country in honor of their Mom, who died unbearably young, and to raise money for her hospice, Hope Hospice and Palliative Care.

Sounds heavy, I know. It wasn't. It was inspiring. And beautiful. And lovely.

Ann and Jonny dipped their rear wheels in the Atlantic Ocean at Misquamicut on Saturday morning, and hope to dip their front wheels in the Pacific Ocean a few months from now.

The eastern edge of the continent

 
After Jonny pushed his bike up off the beach someone said, "Where's Ann? Shouldn't she be pushing her bike up the sand?"

I said, "Ann has people."

Plus she was busy.

Before the push-off, Jonny and Annie each spoke briefly about their lovely Meem, and about how thankful they were to have everyone there with them that morning, and about how they were going to carry our good thoughts and support and love with them during their long journey West . . .

. . . it was moving and lovely and heartfelt and perfect.

Thankfully I'm stoic and never cry.

And then it was time to hop on our bikes to help escort them out of town.

Here's what we rode . . . 

. . . in my dreams.

It was utterly awesome to be a part of that pack . . .

. . . the last time I had that much fun on a bike was the Asheville bicycle pub crawl the day after Julie and JK's wedding.

This time, though, we didn't stop at any pubs.

Annie and Jonny have a long journey ahead of them, but they have great spirit, and great hearts, and great strength, and great support like Long Tall Kevin here, and also their bicycling buddies who race ahead and stop traffic magically along the way.

Team Wish

My favorite part was biking through beautiful Westerly . . . 


. . . that Mistah is kind of an awesome bicycling videogrophist, isn't he? My favorite part is when he rides up on the sidewalk.

We hit Mystic Cycle Center 12 miles later, where it was time for us to say so long to our lovely, intrepid friends.

hair by Jennie

"We're going to miss you guys!"

"Happy Trails!"

We saw the Wishes off to points west and Oregon, and we headed back east to Rhode Island.

And after a ride like that? There is only one thing to do.

Have luncheon . . .

. . . and Narrys . . .

 . . . at The Andrea.

 . . . where all the clouds all the day were magnificent.

The Pleasant View Inn, where Mistah and I spent my memorable 50th, was never out of sight.

 There was Fun With Photography . . .

 . . . and there was photo-bombing . . .

 . . . but mostly we talked about the Wishes and their epic journey and wished those crazy kids all kinds of good luck on their 3000 mile bike ride, while we were enjoying a gorgeous respite after our modest 25-miler.

So. Then. Now what? What do you do after all that?

Well, you drive over the Gold Star Bridge back to New London . . .

Oh those clouds . . .


... and head straight to Ocean Beach for more clouds and more love ...

 . . . and then you go to Captain Scott's for even more clouds and more love and more food and more friends and music and camaraderie and dancing and revelry and beauty . . .

 . . . oh the beauty . . .

. . . and then you watch the sun go down on Day One, and think about your Wish friends camping out there at Rocky Neck, and wish them all the best luck and love and safety and health on their epic journey west.

#milesformeemer