1. Travel and Quiet Weeks at Work
When I get back from a trip I'm not one to say "I'm never getting on plane / staying in a hotel ever again!" No, I immediately start rooting about on the interwebs trying to figure out the next place I can go and how long before I can afford to go there. One of my friends and I spent some time on the flight back from Vegas perusing the Southwest Airlines cocktail napkin that had a map of all of their airports printed on it (we were bored and did not want to watch Twilight again on the other friend's iPhone). This same friend and I have also talked about going to Peru so when I got to work on Monday - with only a three day week and not much to do, here's what I discovered:
- Peru? I could spend a pretty cool week in Peru for about $1,500. Not too shabby.
- Italy? I'd go there once a year if I could afford to. Cheapest city to fly into right now - Rome. But even that was $900+. Ouch.
- Good ole US of A? I priced flying to Chicago and taking a train from there to Spokane or Seattle and stopping mid-way-ish at Glacier National Park for a couple of days. Six words: More. Than. A. Week. In. Peru. Granted, if I wanted to sleep sitting in a chair on the train instead of reserving a sleeper car, then it would have been cheaper. Something has to be done about the convenience and affordability of train travel in this country, people! Anyway - another rant for another post...
- Cheaper alternative? Fly to Denver, rent a car and drive to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks. Could probably do two weeks for the same - or less! - than the train trip.
2. My Grandmother
She recently moved to an assisted living facility here in Nashville and has been less than pleased. She also has a way with words. Many of them are not quotable here in blogland. We ate lunch with her at her new home this week and here was my favorite quote: "Roger [my dad/her son] took away my car. Said I wasn't allowed to drive anymore. I drive okay. Just have to keep one eye closed." Good times.
3. Non-Traditional Thanksgivings
I have a love-hate relationship with traditions. Generally speaking, I love them, but over the years many of the traditions I've grown to dislike revolve around certain "family" holidays. Where you're supposed to sit around the table with various relations and pretend that you're not all bat-shit crazy simply for the sake of tradition. I'm over it. And I think if Norman Rockwell were alive today, he'd be over it too. In fact, I think his next cover of the Saturday Evening Post could very easily have been of my Thanksgiving dinner this year. The meal: a beautiful array of all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Seated around the dining room table: six people - none of whom were related except those that were married to each other. Most of us had already participated in our "traditional" Thanksgiving meals earlier in the day or week that ranged from mildly annoying to really sucky. This one, however, was filled with good conversation, laughter, friendship and good ole fashioned merriment. No passive-aggressive behavior, snide remarks or years of pent-up hostility. Not to be all smug, but I think this is more of what Thanksgiving was intended to be. The lemon martini thingies we had didn't hurt either.
4. A Good Season
I know I go on and on about my beloved Boys in Orange, but I do need to give thanks for them. They've had a hard few years and this season was no exception - a new coaching staff, problems on the field, problems off the field, problems with other coaches. The list goes on. We end our regular season 7-5. On paper that's not the greatest, but I couldn't be more thrilled. They tried hard, they played smart, they learned from their mistakes and they never gave up. They could be 5-7 and I would still be as happy. This past Saturday in their win over Kentucky they did give me a flash-back to two years ago (speaking of Granny), but we all survived. So, for that game and every other game this year, I thank you. Hope you get to go to Tampa for your bowl game. But, if you should end up playing here in Nashville, I will be there with bells on. Orange bells at that.
5. Digital Cameras and Our Beautiful Country
I remember the days of non-digital cameras when I was (briefly) a photography minor and a photographer for our school paper. And I remember the anguish of ruining roll after roll of film while trying to process them in a dark room. And I remember the disappointment in crappy photo after crappy photo on those rolls that I didn't ruin. But no more! Go ahead - take a hundred pictures! Delete the ones that suck! Take more! Upload them to Flickr! Life is good!
So behold - vacation picture highlights! I did not include pictures of Las Vegas - only of Red Rock Canyon. I didn't actually take that many pictures of Las Vegas for some reason (no, I was not drunk) and the ones I did take are mostly of people's faces. And I have a pact with those people. It isn't "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," but rather, "My picture shows up on your damn Facebook page - your picture goes on my blog." So, unless someone violates that pact, I give you only pictures of beautiful rocks and desert plants.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!