So: Verde Camp

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photo by Simone

I’m getting ready to head back on the road again (this time for a business trip) so I thought I’d share a few photos of Verde Camp, the wonderful place where Simone and I stayed in Austin. It’s a grouping of little houses that were built in the 1930s and lovingly refurbished by a husband and wife team.

Bruce and I discovered Verde Camp in 2010 when we wanted to get away from the Big D for the weekend and see Austin. We also wanted to bring Guinness and Godiva along since we had heard Austin was super dog friendly (it is!) and thought it would be a fun trip for all of us.

We liked that it was dog-friendly and eco-friendly, plus we’d have our own little cottage with a kitchen so we could have breakfast, cocktails, and snacks. It’s in easy walking distance to lots of fun stuff: Town Lake, South Congress, the Continental Club, Homeslice Pizza, the University of Texas, the downtown area, Zilker Park, and the Capitol. It’s certainly better than a hotel in my opinion—it feels more like a vacation home or cottage up in Ontario.

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Since then we’ve been down a number of times with Guinness and Godiva, then Guinness, Godiva and George (Gidget has not made the trip yet). One time we even brought some human friends along and had a blast. I’ve always thought it would be really awesome to get a big group of friends together and rent a bunch of cottages so we could all hang out during the day but have our own spaces at night. Maybe one day—seems like it could be a fun way to celebrate a birthday….

This time Simone and I stayed in Cicada House. It’s super cute with a nice little porch and has a great loft (that’s where I slept).

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cute Cicada House • photo by Simone

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the loft and the loft dweller • photo by Simone

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the cute planter

Check out the website when you get a chance and you can see a bunch more photos and get all the details about the amenities. And if you’re ever planning a trip to Austin, definitely consider staying there. And tell ’em who sent you!

Today’s gratuitous dog photo is from our very first visit in May 2010:

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Guinness and Godiva at Verde Camp in  May 2010 • photo by Bruce

 

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So: different welcome

IMG_3905If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I was born and raised in the US, moved to Canada when I was 26, became a Canadian citizen after living there for 5 years, and then I moved back to the US 6.5 years ago. And you know that pretty much any time have the opportunity to go to Toronto for work, family or friends, I go.

Here’s a little story that might explain why:

Last Thursday I hopped on a American Airlines flight at DFW to YYZ (Toronto’s Pearson Airport). It was uneventful and perfect for working since the miracle of a row with 2 empty seats happened. When we landed I grabbed my stuff and made the longish trek to Customs and Immigration. With a Canadian passport, you can now go through a automated line  which lets you check out faster. As you walk out of the section with the automated lineup, there is a line up of Customs and Immigration officers and each person speaks to one of them and shows them their receipt from the machine that scanned their customs form and passport.

I did not know the customs agent nor had I ever been in his line in the past. He greeted me with a hearty, “Welcome home!” and proceeded to ask me what I would be doing on my trip. I mentioned that I was having a girls’ weekend in cottage country with two dear friends. His next comment was, “Well, then, when are you coming home to stay? Your friends and family miss you and Canada wants you to come back.” I was a little shocked by his comments (you’ll understand why in a minute), but I laughed and thanked him. He wished me a wonderful weekend and I was on my way. I really wanted to hug him.

The weekend was wonderful, the weather was perfect, company excellent, everything you’d hope a fall colours weekend with your girls would be.

Late Sunday afternoon, I was back at YYZ. I got my boarding pass and took my completed US customs form and headed for the US Customs and Immigration line (flights to the US are often processed in Canada). After standing in line for 30 minutes, I reached the officer. He took one look at me and one look at my passport and asked me if I was going home to Arizona. I told him no, that I was born in Arizona but I now live in Texas. Maybe he was trying to stump me. Next he asked the purpose of my visit. I said, I was visited my friends and had a girls’ weekend. He said, “why would you come here for that?” to which I replied that we were at my friends’ cottage and left the husbands, kids and pets at home. He then asked me if I ever lived in Canada. Of course, I said yes, and mentioned that I lived in Toronto for 12 years. After that he grunted at me and chucked my passport at me. I took that as I was free to go and headed towards Security which ended up taking over an hour.

I boarded my plane, grumpy and hot from rushing to the gate. And while the miracle of the a row with two empty seats happened again (perfect for working on the way home), it took me a little while to feel cheerful. I was glad to that I was going to see Bruce and the Gs in three hours and a bit, but that’s because home is wherever they are.

Of course, everyone came to DFW to pick me up. There were lots of tailwags and kisses, then Gidget insisted on sitting in my lap for part of the way home.

Here’s your gratuitous G photo for tonight:

Gidget really likes to be in the car, even when it's in the garage.

Gidget really likes to be in the car, even when it’s in the garage.

So: out of shape (extra long post)

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I worked 62.5 hours last week. I know that, because in advertising, creative folk like me must complete timesheets (we do it via web portal these days, not paper or clock punching). In this photo, taken by Bruce on Friday night, you can probably tell that it was a tough week. (He also has video because apparently my snoring was so impressive. My whole body moved with each snore. Pretty.)Don’t worry: George was just being an opportunist for a human pillow and a sleeping snuggler.

The week consisted of important meetings in small rooms. Plane rides galore, mostly in the commuter jet kind of plane. Hotel beds, some better than others. Late nights. Early mornings. Lots of writing at the ends of already long days.

Needless to say, after last week, I recognize that I’m painfully out of shape for that kind of marathon. At one time in my career, weeks like that were fairly  normal. And it was exhilarating. Exhausting. Exciting.

There were definitely parts of last week that I loved. I did some solid work. I got to tap dance and sell my little heart out. I did my best to educate and entertain.

Like anything else, unless you use it, you lose it. And I must have lost my stamina and ability to keep that pace for 5 days straight or more about 5 years ago. By the time I arrived home on Thursday night, I was done.

But the week wasn’t over.

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It was so nice to get home and see how much had grown on the Urban Farm. Okra, sweet 100s cherry tomatoes and Anaheim chiles that were marked as poblano transplants were harvested. Good thing they are also delicious. The okra and tomatoes were rehomed since Bruce had been picking tomatoes diligently while I was gone. Several friends and neighbors have been enjoying this spring tomato crop — certainly our most successful so far, despite the weather issues.

And I didn’t want to disappoint this week’s canine coworker:

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Last Friday was Guinness’ turn to go to work. During the summer, we have Summer Hours which means that if you work your 40 hours before noon on Friday, you can head out and enjoy your afternoon. I like to bring a dog along because often I’m one of the last people in the office because it’s nice and quiet, making it the perfect time to get caught up.

Of the three Gs, Guinness is the best office dog because he’s a great listener (Sit. Down. Stay.) and he’s very chill. Plus, he makes every single person he sees feel like a million bucks. He wags his huge puffy tail for everyone like they’re his long lost best friends, sits on feet to keep people from leaving, demands to be petted by putting his big noggin in naps, and lies down on command during meetings, staying put through the whole thing, though he’s very bored. My boss, who isn’t the biggest fan of our dog-friendly office policy (it’s one of the reasons I chose to come to the company), loves Guinness’ well-behaved, laid-back vibe. Although she’d never admit it, she’d be cool if I brought him to work every day.

Friday was actually National Take Your Dog to Work Day in the U.S. I had no idea, honestly. I just planned to bring the Gs into the office one by one this summer and see how they did so I’d know if I’d bring them in again.

The photo above was sent in to a contest that The Three Dog Bakery was having — you just needed to show your dog at work and you could be chosen to win a gift card (the Gs love TDB so it would be awesome to win). I like that Guinness blends in with the office carpet, like he’s in camouflage. He slept under my desk when I wasn’t in meetings. I only knew he was there because I’d hear his soft snores every so often.

Godiva was very put out that again, she wasn’t the office dog, but she’ll be going next. I promise. When she was an only dog, she started coming to work as soon as she was potty trained pup. She had a travel crate, a bed, lots of toys. People bought treats and kept them at their desks just for her. And they bought her fun toys and balls. They had Godiva breaks. Then Guinness came along and separating those two wasn’t a good thing at all.

You already know what I did on Friday night. It’s also what I did on Saturday night. And Sunday night. I can’t remember being that tired in I don’t know when. It reminded me of times in high school when I had to pull all nighters to get the school paper out and study for an exam. Or when I had two finals on the same day in college because of my poor planning. On the plus side, three days later, I now feel back to normal.

Never fear that I rested all weekend. Saturday we needed to get countertops ordered for all of those cabinets. This photo kind of shows what we’re getting, although the photo is too dark. Ice snow is the name of the color:

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It’s whiter but this photo shows all of the flecks in it. The substrate is called caesarstone—it’s quartz and reminds me of travertine which was a popular flooring choice in mid-century homes. The installer will be coming out to do final measurements next week and hopefully it will be installed by mid-July.

It wouldn’t be a weekend without time digging in the dirt. I found out about this cool plant on Saturday morning while I was drinking coffee and reading gardening blogs:

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It’s not really spinach, but a juicy leafed plant that is grown in India and Africa for it’s spinach-like qualities. You see, salad isn’t really a summer food and leafy greens don’t grow very well in the North Texas surface of the sun heat. But apparently this stuff does. I’ve eaten a leaf and it’s delicious. A little citrusy in addition to spinach’s green iron-y taste. And it is a vine so it can climb the trellises that Bruce picked up for me. The photos of it are gorgeous and it would bring lots of visual interest to the months where not much is happy to grow (except okra). Stay tuned for further details.

photo[6]By Sunday I was feeling much better rested. Although it was very hot (98°F), I spent some time outside and did another big beet harvest, which I promptly roasted. We had lots of yummy tomatoes and some additional okra. I peeled, chopped, and froze the remainder of the peaches, although I saw a few in the tree up fairly high this morning. I guess it’s time to get the ladder out again. The jam will get made when it’s cooler.

I’m also thinking about making some pepper jams. Down here in the South, people pour pepper jam over cream cheese (or baked brie) and serve it with crackers or baguette slices. Since I couldn’t make plum jam, it might be nice for gifts.

Bruce made dinner (and extra dinners) on Sunday night. We’ve been enjoying the okra grilled. It’s very yummy and a quick side to just about anything.

photo[4]If we get enough okra, I’d love to pickle it, but we’ll have to see how it grows.

Last night I also ordered the fall seeds: beets, spinach, lettuce, collards, mustard, bok choi, snow peas, kale, chard, arugula, carrots, radishes. It’s funny to think about fall when it’s finally summer and it’s predicted to be over 100°F this week.

Yes, it’s back to “normal” for me. Get ready for more “sow” posts.

And I have something exciting to look forward too. Bruce and I will be starting a stay-cation on Friday (through the entire July 4/Canada Day week). Between now and then I have the usual work, plus a day trip to NC on Thursday.

I must rest up since we are going to use the time to get more of our projects completed. I want to break out the sewing machines. And plant the fall tomato crop. Don’t worry, I’ll post photos.

So: travel light

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Over the past 6 and a bit years, I’ve learned that traveling light is truly the way to go. Thanks to my former neighbor and friend Jeanette, I learned about a wonderful carry on suitcase that can hold up to 10 days stuff for me.

My Heys X case is turquoise, one of my favorite colors. (Bruce’s is orange, his favorite color.) It makes people in airports smile and it’s an instant conversation starter. Business travelers always want to know how much I can cram in it.

I always answer: “enough to go to Spain for 10 days and still have room for souvenirs.” And usually it’s not crammed full. Bruce and I have gone to Hawaii for a week, Barcelona and Madrid for 10 days, and made countless personal trips between Dallas and Toronto, all with these tiny bags.

Bruce and I use them whenever we travel. For work I usually put clothes and personal stuff in one side and then use the other for work paraphernalia that I don’t want to schlep in my computer bag.

Today, I have multiple costume changes in one half and a metal cookie box filled with alfajores (delicious lemon sandwich cookies with dulce de leche in the middle and sprinkled with coconut–our contribution to tonight’s dinner party), an umbrella, and two hardback books (gifts). It will either be empty on the way home or filled with Canadian delicacies. Although not Kraft Peanut Butter because you know what happened the last time I tried to import a jar into the US. Maybe one of my dear Canadian friends will mail me some (hint, hint).

My X Case looks a little dirty. That’s because I take a lot of regional jets where they gate check your bag. The conveyer belts get the hard plastic shell dirty. But a Magic Eraser or even a paper towel and some kind of cleaner gets everything off. I was just lazy last night.

My carry on bag is a backpack. Right now it’s holding birthday presents for my lovely friend Reesa. They are all from Brazil, a place she really wants to visit. I’ve also got my purse in there, the required quart ziploc bag of tiny toiletries, a sweater, a convertable scarf (it can turn into a poncho, a bolero jacket, a shrug), and my trusty iPad. I will probably fold the backpack up and put it in my suitcase on the way back. Unless shopping happens.

It’s almost time to board. And start plowing through that humongous pile of magazines Bruce is hauling in his backpack. It too may be empty on the way home. Unless shopping happens…

So: to do list

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My oldest friends won’t be surprised that I still am a slave to my lists. In high school and college, they kept me on schedule and made me feel like I was in control. To this date, I have home to do lists and work to do lists. And despite my love of technology and constant grip on my iphone, they are on paper. Written in pen. In my handwriting. Usually with a brightly colored Sharpie.

One college friend pointed out to me that I don’t usually cross out. I like to check the box next to the completed task with a big mark. Because I am goal-oriented!

Today, nothing made me happier than to blow through my work to-do list. Yes, I was motivated because I promised myself if I dotted my eyes, crossed my ts and made it through my meetings with no new immediate to-dos, I would be leaving early. And I did at, wait for it, 3:20 pm. I know, not that much early, but trust me, I made my goal happen. And I was grateful (those of you in the ad biz know exactly what I mean).

Unfortunately, my next to-do list was waiting: my errands before I got home list. Luckily, that all got completed pretty quickly and now I don’t have a birthday gift rattling around in the back of my car and my dear old dad will get his Father’s Day gift on time. Whooohooo!

Now, I’m officially on vacation. Dinner has been eaten and Gs have been walked. Now, it’s time to pack, x a few household things off my list, and hopefully grab a great night’s sleep to fuel up for the fun ahead.

Truthfully I’ve never been a great “night before” sleeper, whether it was a big test, a job interview, a family vacation, a monumental occasion, etc. So, I’m in no hurry to plow through my list. I’ll need something to do later when George and I are up at 3 am.

My ipad is loaded up with several books plus lots of samples to enjoy. Yes, perhaps for tonight, if I can’t sleep. It’s my contingency plan to read at least one. Although I definitely do NOT want to sleep on the plane. Why? Because my newest, most favorite place to read, other than outside on the patio, is high above the earth in one of those Coors Light cans* in the sky.

Why? On the plane, especially in the fancy class I’ve cashed our hard-earned points for, it’s lovely and quiet. Best of all, your needs are taken care of. Warm nuts, ma’am? Another glass of wine, ma’am? Would you like a blanket, ma’am? A pillow, ma’am? A glass of water, ma’am? A freshly baked cookie, ma’am? Would you like a mint, ma’am? Believe me, I take advantage of the offers. And I enjoy every minute. At home, Bruce will hook me up with drinks and bedding, but he draws the line at cookies. He’s not a baker, you see.

As you’ve probably gathered, I fly a lot for my job and it really is a special treat to have legroom (remember I’m only 5’2″ so that’s really unbelievable that I’d mention it), not being elbowed by the person in the middle seat who is usually a lot bigger than me, and having someone being super nice to me because I might be the manager of a washed up musical act, a captain of industry (ha!), or just a lowly ad hack who enjoys gardening and hoarding points is kind of cool. The flight attendants just know that I’m up there in the “special section”. I sure wouldn’t pay the prices that it costs in dollars with my own hard earned cash, although I’m sure I’ve “paid” for it in some other way. Nothing is free these days, except for produce from the Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm (yes, that is a little commercial for my local pals—I may be setting up a u-pick situation if things get too out of control).

Don’t worry. Bruce is getting a fancy seat too, even though he’ll probably get bored with the stash of magazines we’ve saved up and watch the movie or chat with the person across the aisle from him. You know, another captain of industry!

We’re also lucky because we’re going to be horsing around at DFW with our pal Mike. He’s headed to Toronto and will be at the same dinner party we’re attending on Friday night. He’s been in Austin for the past couple of days for work and it just made a lot of sense for all of us to be on the same flight. You really don’t realize how much you enjoy spending time with your friends until those time are really few and far between because you all live so far apart now. Thank goodness for Facebook, cell phones, and the internet so you can keep up and keep in touch. And long weekends.

Ok, I’ve procrastinated enough. Produce is harvested. The forecast for the next four days is rainy/stormy so the Urban Farm will be fine. The Gs are going to have a wonderful time playing with their pals while we’re gone. Packing and my to do list are calling. And then a glass of wine reward.

Hope you’re enjoying your Thursday, the Gateway to the Weekend(TM) and that you have a fabulous weekend.

*I can’t take credit for nicknaming American Airlines’ planes. That credit goes to my Canadian pal Scott who was appalled the very first time he “enjoyed” a flight on AA from DFW to Las Vegas. They are my airline of necessity (hub is DFW) and every time I get on a plane, I hear his voice saying “flying Coors Light can”. If nothing else, it puts me in a better mood to be elbowed by the 6’4″ business man built like a linebacker crammed into the middle seat next to me.

So: excuses excuses

Yesterday, I was traveling and I was supposed to arrive back in Dallas at 8:30 pm. Plenty of time to write my post. Or so I thought.

Our flight was delayed over an hour due to weather (storms in the midwest). It was turbulent. My fellow passengers were cranky and inconsiderate to each other. I finally arrived at home around 10:45 pm, much too tired to write anything coherent.

That’s why yesterday I broke my “rule” about writing every day. I could give you all of my excuses: I was traveling with a colleague (my boss) and wanted to talk with her so I couldn’t write in the airport when we were delayed (like I usually do), the plane was too small to have wifi, my laptop battery was dead, I was tired. All of those things were true. And pretty weak excuses.

In the past, none of that would have stopped me. I would have found a way somehow…or stayed up a bit later to write. I would have pushed myself just to do what I was supposed to do. But I just didn’t have it in me. There was nothing to push through, no energy reserves. And unlike some of my blogging pals, I don’t have a stockpile of awesomely entertaining posts waiting in the wings ready to go. (Perhaps now I’ve learned and I’ll create some to keep handy.)

My point of writing this blog was to be daily. I wanted it to be like hearing from a friend, catching up, checking in. Conversational. Last night, I wouldn’t have been a friend you’d want to hear from. Trust me, if you saw my number light up your cell phone last night, you should have hit “ignore”.

I was exhausted. Spent. Tapped out. I dozed off on the plane for a while and I never am able to sleep on the plane. Turbulence woke me up. Hopefully I didn’t snore as I usually do when I’m worn out. Or grind my teeth. I was almost too tired to drive myself home from the airport. I barely managed 30 minutes of niceties with Bruce while petting each of those needy Gs and making sure everyone felt enough love so that they were not jealous that someone else got a belly rub when they only got a ear scratch.

I was out cold as soon as I hit the pillow.

It was hard to wake up and motivate. Even today, I’m not exactly a sparkling conversationalist. And certainly not filled with writing prowess or creativity (a slight problem given my line of work). I’ve been dragging all day and I don’t know when I’ve been this tired after a business trip. It wasn’t even the usual cram-packed meeting-a-rama marathon I usually have. And although it’s Friday afternoon, I’m not thinking about our exciting weekend full of projects, the Urban Farm’s weekend harvesting, going for a walk with the Gs, sitting on the patio relaxing, errands, friends I might see, my to-do list, what’s for dinner. None of that.

I’m thinking about pajamas, a pillow and a solid 8 hours of glorious shut eye.

And so, I’ll conclude this excuse-ridden post with a gratuitous dog photo of the Mortroski Midcentury’s favorite patient:

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Guinness is feeling much better.            Apparently he chewed on a bone last night.

Hope you have a relaxing weekend. I’m going to do my best to start it well-rested.

Sow: Earth Day delay

Have to say that after being gone from home for a week, I’m craving digging in the dirt, picking stuff, seeing baby fruits, buds and flowers, watching for new seedlings. As much as I love living out of a suitcase, airports, airline travel, hotels with closed kitchens, famous djs and forestry professors, and tons of meetings, nothing really beats the walking around the urban farm and seeing what’s going on.

Except this:

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the sensitive one

This:

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the strong and silent type, unless there’s someone in the front yard

This:

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the big mouthed goof

And of course, this:

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the handy romantic with a sore back

I’m really looking forward to the canine greeting committee since they’re really not all that fond of FaceTime, texts and cell phones, although I hope I don’t get knocked over. Apparently George has been a little mopey since he is not as used to me being gone as the others in the household. Hopefully they’ll be so happy to see me they’ll decide to forego sleeping on my side of the bed tonight. I could really use a solid eight hours of rest tonight. And some tail wags and snuggles.

And although Bruce’s jar of Kraft Peanut Butter was confiscated at the border (the nice Air Canada worker said she will use the offending “gel” and not throw it away unlike those a-holes in Canada’s version of the TSA were going to), I have a few treats and some nice gifts that I’m sure he’ll like, especially since they’re not available in the U.S.

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A nice light snack, anyone?

I think Bruce may have missed me just a little bit, especially this weekend as he moved 5,000 pounds of bamboo into our house to acclimatize. Apparently there’s quite a “honey-do” list waiting for me that involves relocating all of our furniture in the non-bamboo rooms to the two bamboo-ed rooms and the garage. Hopefully work cooperates this week and there no late nights. The rest of the rooms will be bamboo-ed (by the same professional crew who did the living/dining room) on May 4. After the dust settles, we’re done projects for 2013, well, except for finishing the others we’ve already started.

But I digress. While I’m zooming to Dallas from 10,000 feet or more above the earth and we’re not going to be delayed landing (shouldn’t say it, I’ll probably jinx myself), I’m not getting home until way after dark. And while I don’t want to wait, I’d like to see the urban farm for the first time in a week in daylight and not by headlamp.

So my personal Earth Day celebration will have to be postponed a day. I will celebrate the bounty and marvel at a week’s progress. Maybe I’ll pick something. Hopefully the beans and peas are higher up on their trellises and the tomatoes have moved up to the next level of their cages. I’ll inspect the peaches and plums. See if Lisa’s transplants are doing their thing. Learn if okra is taking over the entire farm. Perhaps join Guinness, Godiva, and George for a good roll in the grass.

You better believe that as soon as the Gs are walked and the sun comes up tomorrow morning, the urban farm will be my first stop. I feel a lunch salad that needs to be picked.

Happy Earth Day, y’all.

So: Mr. Rogers

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I have to be honest: I don’t feel like writing tonight. At all.

Today’s events in Boston have shaken me up. I’m sad for Boston, for the families directly affected, and for the world.

I’m about to spend the next 7 days on the road. In planes. In major North American cities. I’m going to see friends, clients, and colleagues, people that inspire me and make me better. Friends that I don’t get to see very often that I miss desperately. I’m still excited about all of these wonderful opportunities despite my unease.

So tomorrow I’ll remember what Fred Rogers taught me when I was little. I’ll be kind. I’ll be patient. And while I’ll look for the helpers, I’ll be a helper too and spread a little love when it’s clear that the world needs it most.

Hug your dear ones a little tighter tonight and send light and love Boston’s way.

So: glamorous travel

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Today was another Murphy’s law type day. Despite doing everything possible to be in Raleigh, North Carolina for an 11:30 am ET meeting, I didn’t make it.

Everything was prepared the night before.
I woke up on time.
I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare.
I found my seat on the plane and waited for the door to shut.

Only it didn’t.

There was an equipment failure so after about an hour of messing around with the plane, they took us off. Told us to head to another gate to get on another plane. And that flight would land about 15 minutes before my meeting would end.

Ugh.

Such a first world problem.

Everything in the end is fine. I’m where the second leg of today’s travels was supposed to take me (from the photo you may have guessed Washington DC because that’s the Jefferson Memorial as viewed from a speeding cab). The presentation that I missed went well, thanks to the team. I made the dinner I needed to go to.

I rarely experience travel issues. And, as you may have gathered from my posts, I’m a frequent traveler. So it’s just the odds catching up to me finally. But that doesn’t mean I like it.

Tomorrow will be a much better day.

So: California dreaming

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palm trees and ocean. sigh.

A long weekend that feels like a vacation is a wonderful thing. Seeing loved ones, visiting beautiful places, getting out of the same-old-same old, is exhilarating.

Except in my case, it’s leading to brain freeze and procrastination. Even as I was heading for the airport yesterday, I casually remarked to Bruce that I wished I could have just stayed there for a week or so.

I kept my writing schedule while I was away. But this morning, I could not write. It’s taken me approximately 6 hours to warm up to something that resembles worthwhile writing. Luckily, I had several conference calls to wake me out of my stupor and force my protesting brain to function.

Maybe it was the Southern California weather. It so foreign to me now, but there was a time in my life that I took it for granted. Sunny and gorgeous with towering palm trees swaying ever so slightly in the breeze was just how every day went when I was 12. The twins are lucky to grow up in such a pretty place especially since their parents are outdoorsy. They’ll take full advantage of being able to do all kinds of sports—and see snow and ocean on the same day.

Or maybe it was the flight back. There was something vaguely vacation-y about it. So many people snoozing, listening to music, or working in their ever-so compact spot. They all seemed so carefree. Oh wait, they’re probably Californians, or at least others who have adopted a Californian’s attitude, despite being from somewhere else.

Unlike my recent flights to such exotic East Coast destinations as Philadelphia, LaGuardia, and Raleigh-Durham, there was no pushing. There was no line-jumping. There didn’t seem to be much stealing of extra overhead bin space. No chewing out of the flight attendants or gate staff. No exasperated looks. No snide comments. Everyone seemed pretty chilled out and ok that they were going to spend three hours doing whatever until we arrived in Dallas.

Perhaps that’s what I am longing for today. A bit of bliss. Calm serenity. Maybe that’s what my brain is fighting for. Or maybe just a view of the ocean and a palm tree or two. Methinks it’s a good day to organize my photos.

more palm trees and ocean

more palm trees and ocean