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Holy moly I have not blogged in a long time.  Ridiculous.  Gonna get back into it with a recent life experience.

A couple of weeks ago, I accompanied my Mom to Las Vegas for a conference.  It was really cold.  And expensive.  But, we had a blast.

At the airport on the way home, I made a pit stop into the ladies room.  Out of habit, I set my phone on top of the toilet paper dispenser thing.  I don’t keep it in my pocket anymore for fear that it might suffer the same fate as my keys once did (got flushed to the point of no return).  On par with my short term memory, I do my business, flush and peace out of the stall, forgetting my phone.

I stop at the Coffee Bean to buy a drink, then slowly waltz back to where my Mom and I had set up camp.  It’s when I sit down that I realize I don’t have my phone.  Panic sets in.  (This is the second time I’ve done this in a month… thank goodness for the FInd My Friends app).  I race back to the restroom to discover that out of all 20 stalls, the one I was in is the only one currently occupied.

I decide to wait it out, thinking it shouldn’t be more than a minute or two.  At this point, the bathroom attendant, who is mentally challenged, comes by.  I decide to ask her if she’s found a phone in the last 10 minutes, but she has not.  I told her I am going to wait until the lady comes out of the stall I was in to see if it was there, because I’m pretty sure I left it in there.  She’s not quite as patient as me, and goes up to the stall and knocks, “IS THERE A PHONE IN THERE?” (I use all caps because her tone of voice was comparable to shouting).  There’s a grumble from within the stall, and the attendant and I both take that as a “no”.

I wait around another 3-4 minutes, because I want a look for myself.  The lady in the stall doesn’t leave, so I realize this is a different kind of pit stop than the quick one I made earlier.  I leave the restroom and go ask the nearest ticket counter if they’ve found a phone.  They have not.  I go back to the restroom.

By this point, the attendant has become grossly annoyed that the lady has not left the stall yet.  I’m a little more patient (we had like 3 hours to kill before our flight).  She starts talking to the lady in the stall, “HELLO, WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG IN THERE?  ARE YOU GOING POO POO?”.  I’m not even kidding when I say that’s what she said.  Then, in hopes that the lady might need a little motivation, the attendant starts giving her a countdown.  “COME ON!  3, 2, 1 FLUSH!”.  There’s no response and I am starting to have a stroke from witnessing this much awkwardness.  Obviously the lady is going number two, but how embarrassing to have someone cheering you on from outside the stall.  I don’t know about anyone else, but my system doesn’t do well under pressure.

After a another 5 minutes, the lady emerges.  Headphones in, my iPhone in hand.  I’m immediately relieved to see my phone and the fact that she had headphones in during that whole ordeal.

But then it sets in that my phone spent the last 10-15 minutes in that stall with that lady doing that kind of business.  I gave it a good wipe down, but I’m afraid things will never be the same.

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During my recent trip to NYC/LBI, I had the pleasure of toting along my new camera, aka “The Rebel”.  I wasn’t the designated picture taker for the weekend, but decided I’d bring it along to play around with it a bit.  My favorite feature so far is the sports setting.  You can just hold down the clicker and it takes a ton of pictures really quickly.

I can’t show my favorite sequence, it involves a lighthouse and is a bit naughty, but I can show the sequence that produced the most amazing picture ever.

At first glance, we just thought it looked like a fun sequence of pictures.  But, upon second glance we realized we were sitting on a bid of gold.  Alyson had just taken a shower and clipped back part of her hair as it was drying.  Look a little closer…

That is one fine lookin’ mullet if I’ve ever seen one!  Of course, this inspired me to do a little photoshop action… clearly, I had a vision.  And it involved two words, four syllables.

El Camino.  The mullet of cars.  Business in the front, party in the back.  Rawr.

I’ve come to realize that a weekend in NYC is about as therapeutic as a week on the beach in Cabo.  Opposite ends on the relaxation spectrum of course.  I had never been to the city at Christmastime and decided to cross that off my to-do list for the year.  Luckily, 4Janks was accepting visitors.

When I arrived, I headed straight to meet Alyson and then we headed straight to the Red Lion.  Suitcase in tow.  It was Sarah’s birthday (the other half of apartment 4Janks).  Vodka, O Bomb, vodka, O Bomb, O Bomb, O Bomb… we’ll you get the picture.  It was a fun night and someone may or may not of lost a mole (mole, mole, mole) in the process.

Sexiest Birthday Girl Alive…

After the Red Lion, we headed to Automatic Slims.  Suitcase still in tow.  I’ve never had to roll through a dance floor before, literally.  I kept uttering out “excuse me”s for the hundreds of toes I rolled over.  Oops.  At least 4Janks knew the DJ so I got to request NKOTB’s “Please Don’t Go Girl”.  I was definitely the only one singing.  But, that’s what Cornell gets for having it on his playlist. 

The remaining birthday crew…

After leaving Slim’s around 3am, pizza just had to be ordered and I got to witness the most awesome display of Old Bay love (yes, the seasoning used for shrimp boils) I’ve ever seen.  And probably will ever see for that matter.  Old Bay on an avocado, Old Bay on pizza… the possibilities are clearly endless.

Friday had a bit of a slow start.  I was clearly on vacation, but who knew Alyson and Sarah were, too?  We ordered in breakfast around 11 am, and one of them went to work at about noon.  The other made the executive decision NOT to go into work around 1.  4Janks lives the good live. 

I spent the afternoon walking around and shopping.  That night we headed up to Columbus Circle for dinner and to see the pretty lights.

More lights…

Then, we went and saw Elf.  Our tickets were purchased at the last minute, so we had partial view seats.  Our seats were on the first row, halfway in the audience, halfway in the orchestra.  The stage was eye level, so if you wanted to see what was happening in the back of the stage, you better ask for a phonebook or booster seat.  The show was really good though.  Norm from “Cheers” played Santa.

Saturday was a bit more productive of a day.  We got up and headed to Chelsea Market.  Such cool decorations.  A tree made out of broken CD’s.

We then headed to see the Rockette’s. 

And finished the early evening with a walk by Rockefeller…

Along 5th Ave and up to the Plaza…

And a drink at the “World Renowned Plaza Hotel”.  A Hot Toddy to help bring my voice back.  No such luck.

And some sort of Christmassy, yet more summer like, drink for Alyson…

We ended the evening with dinner at Moustache…

Oh, but how could I forget?!?  We had a run in with the Chanukah Clown outside of the Plaza.  That’s a “honk, honk” from the clown on the left.

Thanks to 4Janks for showing me a good time!

My sister and I have been joking about how much more enjoyable of a world it is that my brother lives in compared to the one we live in. I’d say this is true 9 times out of 10. This past weekend I experienced the 1 time when it’s more enjoyable to be in my world witnessing his.

I spent the weekend in VA visiting the family. We went into the District on Saturday afternoon to check out the Newseum. Afterwards, we stopped at one of the nicer hotels near the White House for a cocktail before heading back out to Reston for dinner. Just to set the scene, below is a picture of the actual bar/lounge area, which you can see is pretty nice.

We sat down and before long the waiter came by to take our drink order. Gamma orders her usual Maker’s, Dad gets white wine, ESM orders a Cosmo and I get a Kettle One. Lance was the last to order, and we all expected him to ask for Coke, maybe a Dr. Pepper. With the seriousness of a crotchety old man who is about to order a Scotch, my brother says, “I’ll have a Buttery Nipple”. It took all I had not to spit out the handful of peanuts I just put in my mouth. I immediately put my hand over my eyes, because I couldn’t face seeing the reaction on the poor waiter’s face.

After a few minutes the waiter comes back with everyone’s drink, except Lance’s. To make matters worse, he has to ask Lance, “What exactly is in a Buttery Nipple”? I decide to take charge and overrule Lance’s order. I tell him to just bring a Bailey’s or White Russian. Lance’s ridiculous metabolism could pull off the habit of drinking either of those on a regular basis. So, why not go Dude style?

Unfortunately, Lance had no idea why the whole incident was so funny. He was actually a little perturbed that we were giving him such a hard time and that he couldn’t have his Buttery Nipple. I told him to save those for when the waiters/bartenders aren’t wearing suits.

We are about 4 days from take-off for Cabo and I’m starting to get a wee bit excited.  In my spare time at work, I’m trying to compile a good playlist for the beach.  If I get it done in time, I’ll share.  In the mean time I thought I’d share my two most favorite albums for beach napping. 

There comes a point when you’re so relaxed laying in the sun, that you begin dozing in and out of conciousness and maybe even begin to drool a little.  It’s like the best nap ever, even if it is a little embarrassing.  I usually can only reach this state of euphoria when I’m listening to music.  And time and time again, I’ve road tested these two albums while laying out.  They are my most favorite.  Try them.

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds – “Live at Luther College”

Eric Clapton – “Unplugged”

Last weekend was my trip to DC aka Reston, Virginia.  It was a good ol family reunion… minus Lance.  We had plenty of hangout time and got to celebrate mi padre and Uncle Bruce’s birthdays.  

Over the course of the weekend I had two brushes with fame. 

First was watching my Dad’s new HBO movie starring Claire Danes.  However, we only managed to watch the first 30 seconds of it.  Which we watched about 5 or 6 times trying to pause it just right so we could see our movie star…

It’s a movie about an autistic girl called Temple Grandin.  It looked like a really good movie and hopefully one day I’ll get to see the rest of it.

Next, I got to have lunch with the Gov’na!  I hadn’t seen Leah since college, so it was great to catch up.  Our friendship was formed in Jolly Old England.  She was my partner in crime in taking jacka$$ pictures.

Happy belated St. Patrick’s, by the way.  We ventured into the District one day to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at my favorite museum in DC.  The Phillips Collection, you should check it out next time.

It was a fun trip and I got to spend so much quality time with my favorite little monkey…

Today didn’t get off to the best start.  I’ve been fighting motivational issues from the moment my alarm went off this morning.  And, the fact that I feel the onset of a cold coming on doesn’t help.  However, a large envelope arrived on my desk about an hour ago.  It included to two tickets to a show I’ll be seeing in New York in May.  I am officially jazzed (insert Jazz Hands)…

Why is it that extremely sarcastic people make me happy?  Because they do.  And you have no idea how happy they make me.

P.S.  Don’t worry New Jersey beach beauties… I’m still planning on a shark and chard rendezvous this summer!

Hold your breath, I am back.  It was a busy December and since I’m low on time these days, I’m gonna quickly recap the last couple weeks. 

I already told you about Graceland.  And about the Elfing.  So after that, there was the White Rock Marathon Relay.  I ran with Robyn and some her of Speech Path peeps.  I had the last leg, which was 6.2 and slightly downhill most of the way.  Which is probably why I was able to set a 10K PR of 47:48.  The nervous energy had been bundling up all morning as I waited for my turn and so it’s no wonder I thought I was going to pass out at the 3 mile marker when my time was under 22 minutes.  I took about 3 ten second baby walk breaks but kept up my pace.  Originally, I was hoping I could keep us under the 4 hour mark, but when it got closer, I decided to shoot for under 3:45.  And we did just that… 3:44.  6th place in your division isn’t too shabby. 

That same weekend I also took my Audit final and (hopefully) became CPA eligible.  I’ve re-evaluated my transcript 15 times to make sure I meet the requirements, so unless there’s something dumb I  missed, I should be in.  And with that I made the plunge and purchased my CPA review course.  Holy Batman balls, that stuff ain’t cheap.  It costs about 3 times what it should, in my humble opinion.  FYI, come March when I plan to start studying, you might not see or hear from me for a while.  And it won’t be because your armpits stink.

Christmas came next and there are really only two things to say about that.

One, here are the tackiest Christmas decorations I’ve ever seen.  An inflatable Santa popping out of a NASCAR car with a polar bear waving a checkered flag?  Really, Texas?  And yes, I maneuvered my way on to these people’s lawn to get a close-up.

Two, what could be a better Christmas gift than matching his and her’s Snuggies?  I really don’t think it get’s any better than this.

I know I left out a lot, but there are a few highlights.  Stay tuned for an update on the Daniel Fast as well as my new ride…

Last weekend was the annual pilgrimmage to visit Graceland Dan’s parents.  We accomplished a lot this trip, including Corky’s, Graceland, the Lorraine Motel, Sun Studios and the Commissary.  I definitely came back full of Elvis and BBQ.  And I ain’t complainin’.

Christmas is a special time at Graceland.  The nativity scene is in the front yard.  Lights are strewn about.  There are many Christmas trees within the mansion.  It’s just a happy time of year.  And my favorite time for visiting.

The famous peacocks in the living room.  Remember these next time you visit my apartment.

My usual Jungle Room shot for Mary.  Still no trace of Marilyn!

Believe it or not, this is the 14th time I’ve paid my respects to Elvis.  My Mom, too.  Although something tells me she isn’t as proud of this fact as I am.  Thanks Mom, you’re such a trooper.

Once the tour was over, Suz and I schemed to get a shot of me on the webcam.  Yes, there is a Graceland webcam.  And yes, we are awesome.  The tour guides were probably wondering why we were farting around in front of the mansion for 15 minutes, but it was well worth it.  Do you see what I see?

Pretty much awesome.  Thanks for being a nerd with me, Suz.  Next stop was the Lorraine Motel where MLK was assassinated many years ago.

And what trip to Memphis would be complete without a stop by Sun Studios?  Where Rock and Roll was born.