Monday, August 31, 2009

243/365 Back of the Bus

My first class ticket turned into a last row seat (37 F) which means sitting on top of the loud, vibrating engine on the MD80, but it was worthwhile. I jumped on an earlier departure to the Richmond area and I was able to visit BJNR and crew. I saw those boys in July, yet they looked HUGE today. I was greeted by a big, running hug. Four games of tic-tac-toe on the kids' menu ended up a draw with a little artful rule-making by the little one. We had some fries, burgers, fries, and fries, as the kids watched tennis and commented on the "sweet serve," by the pros. A short visit, but very sweet. And worth hopping a ride on the back of the bus.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

242/365 Walking faster than Goofy Drives

Feet hurt. In preparation for next weeks Disneyland 1/2 marathon, we tried to put in a good distance today. 8+ miles of walking is pure torture. Granted, at our running pace it isn't all that much slower than we used to go in our "running" days. Ev's doc gave a lukewarm recommendation to put off the running for a full year, but I don't know how scientific it was. I mean, walking jars the body almost as much, right? Walking is miserable and hurts the knees, back, hips, and feet in horrible ways that running never did. It keeps us out in the sun and heat longer than running, and worst of all - it's longer to Starbucks for our coffee break. We won't enter more races until we can resume our former schlep-along tempo, but we must complete the Disney. Doing both Disneys in the same year (see post) means we get special bling for the medals shelf at home. We just have to maintain a pace faster than the bus for slow-pokes, which we assume is driven by Goofy.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

241/365 Trucks or Seagulls?

Yep, it may not happen any time soon. Hubby's commute would be killer from there, but I'm tired of muting my music or podcast for a passing truck, as much as I appreciate the trail we have here on Fleming Island. I'd prefer to run or walk along the firm sands of Northeast Florida's beaches. Tonight we watched the surf until the sun had fallen way out of sight, hidden by the sun-bleached roofs of the beach houses behind us. IMG and her bff belted show tunes into the surf while collecting all the sand they could by reclining on the water's edge. The time will come.

Friday, August 28, 2009

240/365 Everything Old is New...

We purchased the "catbeds" about 2 years ago, and they were a hit. One with a pink interior and one with blue, these were soft, fuzzy, and the perfect fit for a curled-up kitty's nap. Soon they fell out of favor with our fickle cats, and they were relegated to the floor of the closet. This morning, EJG spied Gretel going into his closet. Fearing that she had ulterior motives (a little "showing off" outside the box) he checked in on her. She was sitting comfortably on top of an inverted catbed.

He moved the bed out to the favored spot, in front of the sliding doors in the bedroom, and left for work. I returned to find Gretel enjoying her "new" sleeping spot.

Of course, upside-down, it doesn't really support her. Maybe it feels more like a hammock. "Gretel was here," this dent says.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

239/365 New Attitude?

When she forgot her student i.d. this morning, she was genuinely concerned. The agenda book was completed in all classes, and the B day homework was completed tonight, even though it isn't due until Monday. As I write this, the somewhat tuneful sounds of piano practicing are happening in the next room. The smile stayed on her face, even through 2 pages of Math and one page of Music Theory. This could be the start of something big.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

238/365 I Love Toys

It took me 7 hours to get to Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, and 10 hours to get home (thank you, US Airways).

My presentation was only 2 1/2 hours.
So I had a little time on my hands to play with the MacBook. Photo booth is pretty cool, I think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

237/365 Unemployable...That's what you are

My next communication said "The committee has recommended an individual whose skills are more specific to the needs of this position." While I'm not even certain I would've taken the job, it would have been nice to have an offer. Besides, I can't imagine an individual whose skills are more specific to the needs of this position. The consulting is dwindling, the classrooms are full, and I'm going to have a little bit of time on my hands. I guess I'll try filling it with more play and less work. Singing, theater, working out and writing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

236/365 Where's my baby?

She started the night in our bed last night, saying, "I always sleep the best with my Mommy." I rubbed her back until she was still. I slept fitfully, imagining her lost in the melee of magnet buses at unfamiliar high schools. It all went fine. She woke at 5:30 and was through glamorizing before 6. That left plenty of time for her "Baby Bagel" with cream cheese and sips of orange juice. She texted all the way to the high school, having little to say to me. When the time came to get out, she wanted me to wait with her and see that she found the right bus. I even helped her introduce herself to a nice girl, Kaitlyn, a visual arts major. They both like the front of the bus, they agreed, so let's sit together. The buses started pulling in, and she spotted #595 as it came around the corner. Boys with facial hair boarded that bus! She allowed me the picture, and even waved through the window as I walked off. I waited until I got to the car to cry.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

235/365 Yep. I'm Old

The bags are packed. The lunch is made. The bus route and locker number are committed to memory. Tomorrow my daughter begins high school. It well may be that our little family unit only has 4 more years...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

234/365 I would've posted this yesterday, but I was digesting

The Chicago Hot Dog:

Vienna Beef dog on a steamed poppy seed bun. Mustard, green, green relish, sport peppers, celery salt, tomato slices, and onions.

Earlier this week I took in some Skyline Chili (Cincinnati's Famous). And I nabbed some Garrett's Caramel Corn at O'Hare. Taking in the local fare is one benefit of my crazy job!

Friday, August 21, 2009

233/365 Preposting

Friday is a 7 hour presentation, hour drive to O'Hare, 2 flights and then, if lucky, back to Jax at 12:15 AM. Doubtful I'll find a time to post, this is a preventative post-dated post.

Thanks to Facebook, friends, chat, and Scrabble for making the last 5 days tolerable. Being on the road from Sunday to Saturday this week has been very difficult. Earlier this summer I learned a lesson in a very, very hard way. Nothing is more precious than time with the people you love. I have to travel to work. But the blog and the 'book, and my friends keep me close to home.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

232/365 I'm Mall Alone

The school recommended to put me up at a Fairfield Inn right on the outer loop of the Gurnee Mills Outlet Mall, so I was obliged to investigate. Underwhelming. I don't want to shop. I did enjoy the show put on by four little girls, tow-headed and dolled up in summer sundresses, dancing and singing at full volume in front of the dressing room mirrors at the Saks Off Fifth Outlet. What untethered joy! They created a delightful racket and their mother did nothing to stop them. Some other shoppers gave disparaging looks, but nobody said anything. I would've stepped up on behalf of the noisy quartet. Too much time away from home has me feeling lonely, but their happiness was infectious.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

231/365 Turbulent Times

Quick flight from Cleveland to Chicago turned into major headache. 2 plus hour delay and some of the worst turbulence I've experienced. Big storm front near O'Hare meant a really bumpy ride. I was lifted out of my seat!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

230/365 Long Day Ahead

The "navigatrix" is cued up and ready to go. After I present a writing workshop to teachers from 8 AM to 4 PM today, I have a 4 1/2 hour drive across the great state of Ohio. I'll likely stop for dinner and at least a couple of tinkle breaks, so posting this evening is unlikely. Out on the road, chasing the dollar, I'm missing a lot this week. High School orientation is this afternoon, and the debrief is never quite as detailed over the phone. Tomorrow EG returns to the brain surgeon's office. Checking on his healing and talking about the future, these are conversations I regret having to miss. But with things as they are these days, I'll take the work when I can get it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

229/365 My Treat

In a workshop session today I had teachers tackle the "What I did over summer vacation" topic in search of specificity. Slept. Traveled. Swam. Generic and non-specific. Round 2 they tried for more specific topics. That's how I ended up at Flub's Dari-ette. Homemade soft serve and sherbets. My pick was toasted coconut soft serve, real hot fudge, and whipped cream, hold the nuts and cherry. The perfect treat after a long day of presenting/teaching/tap dancing, and whatever else it is I do in this crazy but wonderful job of mine. Besides, stopping off at Flub's kept me from running back to the hotel to check for the Schultz Center email. No word yet on interview results...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

228/365 Not a wild woman?

My little sister, my daughter, and I went for the pedi/waxing yesterday. It was nice to have the massage, but I was mainly motivated by a need to repair the chipped polish on the tootsies. Sis and daughter went for fluorescent colors with white polka dots. When requesting a crazy pattern, the 18 year old nail tech said she didn't know that I was such a wild woman. She couldn't tell? Then I guess she hasn't been paying attention.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

227/365 Packed and Ready

54 hours after returning home it's back out again. Chasing the dollars while I can. Soon the work becomes quiet again and I can concentrate on the life I love: family, friends, music, theater, running... Focusing on coming home helps me get through the time away.

Friday, August 14, 2009

226/265 Meant to be

Laughing, crying, parenting, laughing, running, directing, worrying, singing, struggling, soaring, living, loving, loving, loving. 21 years passed in minutes. Bescherte.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

225/365 Not-so-distressed traveler

Rain on the tarmac and no plane at my gate. People are furious. 90 minute delay, missed connections, been there, done that. I refuse to stress. I may miss the connection home and have to spend a night in Atlanta. I may not make it for the interview and presentation tomorrow morning, I may have to run around Atlanta at 10 PM trying to find a shuttle and a hotel room. But I'm really not bothered too much. I'm safe and healthy. My family is too. And I have a home to come home too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

224/365 Excuses, excuses

It's 10:41 PM, I'm in the hotel room, pooped, and I have no photo to document my day. I'm still wearing my presenter's uniform (professional dress that says I-teach-teachers-but-I'm-still-one- of-you) because I've been busy since the workday ended. I retrieved my email when I arrived back here and learned that I was chosen for a second interview for a local position that involves training teachers. I have been called in for 8:30 Friday morning for a panel interview and I was asked to deliver a 5 minute presentation on the topic of my choice. Now, I've been presenting FOR MY JOB for the last 9 years, but I was suddenly without a clue. I had nothing to present! Not in 5 minutes anyhow. And I'm not going to be daisy-fresh on Friday morning. If the Gods of Delta, Atlanta, and Air Traffic Control like me tomorrow, I'll be brushing my teeth and scratching the cat's neck by 1:30 AM. My date at the Schultz Center will be a mere 7 hours hence.

In short, the cat ate my homework, I lost it on the way to school, and that's why I don't have a good picture for today.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

223/365 Good Morning, Sun

Somewhere along PA Route 45

In the Allegheny Valley
Lined up and waiting with bright, eager faces
The sun was late for work today

Monday, August 10, 2009

222/365 "Rode" Weary - Warning to Male Readers - Female Issues in Post

Somehow, in my 42nd year, my body decided that it must shout about the visitation of "Aunt Flo(w)" each month, announced with sleeplessness, the pain of a knife turning in the gut, and a potential that would impress the hydroelectric power generators of the Hoover Dam. And today was the perfect day for it too. My 9:25 A.M. flight was delayed to 11:45 because the incoming plane couldn't land. Jacksonville International Airport was built on a swampy, fog-gathering marsh, and even with one hour of circling the visibility was too poor for it to land, so they diverted to Daytona. Of course, the connecting commuter flight from Atlanta to Harrisburg, PA was long gone. The next Harrisburg flight was at 6:15 so I took a rebook to Allentown, increasing my after-flight drive time from 60 minutes to 140. After a 2 hour wait I boarded the CRJ and we sat for 45 minutes while the technician supposedly attempted to fix the inoperative air conditioning. It worked on the right side of the plane only. Guess where I was sitting? It couldn't be fixed but the flight attendant decided (really, she made the decision) we'd go anyway. Two hour and fifteen minute flight. In Allentown the escalators were all out so I carried my luggage up and down stairs. I asked the Budget Car Rental guy for a car with satellite radio to ease the drive. He said the car had XM, but I discovered (after I was already on the Penn Turnpike) that it had NO radio. Hormones called for food (and it was nearly 6 PM) so I had a Wawa (gas station) sandwich and enough diet Pepsi to sink a ship. Approaching my destination I realized that I'd need to wash this "travel" outfit because I was planning to wear it home. A stop in Walmart is never a good idea on frazzled nerves, and the Amish folk were walking through the store just as slowly as their horse carts drive down the road. Fortunately, my day was saved. The Country Inn and Suites has milk and cookies, chocolate milk and cookies for weary travelers like me.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

221/365 In My Day


Notebook computer, iPod touch, iHome with remote, printer, scanner, digital camera, printer/scanner/copier, touch screen, web-enabled QWERTY keyboard wireless phone, cordless land line.
Clock radio. Record player.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

220/365 The bear and the boy

All in a day's work.

Friday, August 7, 2009

219/365 I went over to the dark side

My girl and the new toy.
'Nuff said.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

218/365 Another lonely post

The wifi at the Doubletree in downtown Omaha gave another one of the presenters a virus, so I dare not log on in my room. Alas, I will give up the comfort of my pjs for the integrity of my hard drive, though the trojan would've been the last little push to get me to the Apple store ($100 rebate, fee iPod touch and 3 in 1 printer with notebook purchase). I must blog, Facebook Scrabble and check email somewhere else. Besides, I have to check to see if Omaha Starbucks have the blue architectural cityscape coffee mugs so I can add to my collection (they don't, so at least Jacksonville outranks Omaha in status). Here I sit outside a Starbucks in a chair just like the one I sweat in midrun at home. I sit alone, without my sweaty (running)mate, without the familiar faces. Grateful for the work and income, struggling with the alone time. I guess I've seen how much there is to lose.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

217/365 The Show in Memphis

Photos may be blurry - taken clandestinely on phone camera...

My layover in Memphis was about 1 1/2 hours. There's no way to get from Oklahoma City to Omaha without spending a little time in another airport. Normally I occupy this time with a book, magazine, iTouch movie, or some Facebook Scrabble, but today I was thoroughly entertained with people-watching.

This family was returning from Walt Disney World as indicated by the telltale shopping bags. Also, the nine-year old daughter had a baby Simba stuffed animal wrapped in a blankie that she held like a baby. This was the whitest white Omaha family ever. Mom was clad in Mommy Jeans, Dad in Levis and polo with a "World's Greatest Dad" baseball cap. The towheaded, freckled boy broke out the Star Wars playset and his sister joined in play, er, arguing. The Darth Vaders and Luke Skywalkers fought and the kids did too. I could hardly contain my laughter when the mom did the "whisper-yell" at the kids to keep it down. She nearly blew out the veins on her neck with the intensity. Truthfully, the kids were fine, but Mom was clearly obsessed with blending in.

There were at least 3 generations represented in this group, including a cane-using grandmother and a 4 year old with pierced, dangly earrings, a denim mini-skirt and strappy rainbow sandals. Adorable. They had a 7 course meal as they waited to board the plane. Rubbermaid containers popped open with soup. Bakery boxes came out of shopping bags for meat buns, and the kids held chicken parts and munched happily. Their crowd took an entire row of seats in the boarding area, and they seemed oblivious to their surroundings as they took on the lunchtime feast.

Maybe these groups interested me so much because I'm just getting back into traveling alone. Maybe I should be wondering what they think of me, the tall lady with the funny hairdo and the shiny eyeglasses, sipping a venti Starbucks and people-watching in the airport.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

216/365 Poor Company

A dating show for "big girls, " 2 channels of scripture scrolling over scenery, a pregnant teen on MTV, some squeaky teen attempting to sing on Disney, Congress standing around, John minus Kate, micropeel infomercials, or a CBS show with a bunch of sweaty twenty-somethings voting someone out of the house. I've watched Maddow and Olbermann, and Larry King puts me to sleep. I need background TV noise when I'm in a strange hotel room. What to do? Finally, something. Mike Seidel in the throes of flooding in Louisville, KY. Thanks, Mother Nature.

Monday, August 3, 2009

215/365 On the road...Not on the wagon

I thought that the picture of the day would be the oil diggers, right along the runways at the airport. Or maybe the fields full of cattle. Then I photographed the 75 MPH speed limit sign, an indicator of the out-in-the-sticks locales I visit. But then I arrived at the Holiday Inn Express, Chickasha, Oklahoma. With 2 nights here, I took a few minutes to scope out the accommodations. Reasonably clean, continental breakfast, business center for boarding pass printing - check, check, check. Fitness center, yes. Two treadmills, one recumbent bicycle, all out of order. Outside it's a creepy highway and 102 degrees. Despite my best intentions, it looks like the sedentary life is mine for the next couple of days. Sigh.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

214/365 Mai Tai , What time?

Mai tais to say Aloha:
9 PM Hawaii time, 12AM Pacific time, 2 AM Central Time, 3 AM Eastern time.
Connecting flight #1 (Seattle):
7 AM Pacific time, 9 AM Central time, 10 AM Eastern time, 4 AM Hawaii time.
Connecting flight #2 (Minneappolis):
1 PM Central time, 2 PM Eastern time, 11 AM Pacific time 8 AM Hawaii time.
Arrival in Jacksonville:
5:30 PM Eastern time, 4:30 PM Central time, 2:30 PM Pacific time, 11:30 AM Hawaii time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

213/365, Mahalo, Hawai'i

We walked the tourist strip in Waikiki today, strolling among the boutiques and eateries until it was departure time. Mahalo. Thank you, Hawai'i. Other than the school, we had a wonderful time!