Monday, March 31, 2014

AAM Monday: A Journey of 1000 Steps

A Journey of 1000 Steps always has an end. Eventually.

Sometimes that end can be a long time in the coming though. Last year, we spotted bargain prices of $800. RT from New York to Milan. The Emirates flight also left at 10pm which is a civilized time to cross the pond. Great we thought, and booked a trip. Ha! Just as there are no free lunches, and time is money, we learned that our bargain in $s ended up costing us a lot in time and exhaustion.

The going is never the biggest issue, it's the return even if it is a duplicate of the beginning. However this going itself involved a lot of hassle. Much to our consternation we learned that there were no convenient flights from BWI to JFK that did not include a 7hr layover til our Emirates flight left for Milan. Ok, then we'd take the train as we often did when we flew out of Newark. Hmmm...the train took us to Penn Station where we then took the Long Island Railway to the Jamaica stop and then took the AirTrain to the Emirates terminal for our 10pm flight to Milan.  Leave our home just before noon, and fly out at 10 - that layover didn't sound so bad by the time we got to the Emirates terminal.

Surprise surprise...there are no seats inside or outside the Emirates area. Ok, there were 6 on each side of the area just before you went through security. I snagged one (thank you God!) and my dh went on through to the security side. Did I mention that we'd had a laugh thinking we were flying to Italy on St. Patrick's Day? Did we both forget that New Yorkers like to celebrate the day in a truly liquid way? and that it snowed/rained on St. Patrick's Day this year on the east coast? Oh well.

Milan was a breeze in it's own Italian way upon arrival. As soon as you clear the things you need to clear, there is an escalator to the train into Milan and a ticket machine as well as a ticket booth. Done. The train takes you to the main train station in Milan and there you are. Up an escalator and you have arrived.

Coming home? The Economist has an article about what they call America's Awful Airports. It had been a while since I flew in or out of JFK. Now I know why that was. Even back in 1976, my xh and I chose to fly into Boston rather than JFK when we were arriving with our two sons and adopted daughter. Boston welcomed us and made the immigration paperwork for our Thai daughter a breeze.

I won't go into details of our return other than to say it took even longer, and it's the repeated little things that wear down your soul. e.g. at Malpensa, the Milan airport, the luggage carts are free. At JFK they cost $5. etc etc.  Oh did I mention there are seats outside the security area at Malpensa? Lots of seats? and that at JFK we waited in a line to scan our US passports at a terminal ourselves, have our photo taken at that terminal, got a printed 'receipt' with that photo and then waited in another line to have our passport and that receipt/photograph inspected? Eventually, the customs people took that receipt/photo so I can't show you how stunned I looked. We escaped from JFK around 8pm and eventually arrived at our own door at 02:45 the following morning.

$800. was not the bargain we thought it was. Live and learn.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: March 19, 2014

Ok, this could have been on St. Patrick's Day, but now you can think about making it for 2015.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Travel With Me Tuesday: Day 1 in Estepona

After our wonderful meal in Jaen, we had the long drive south to Estepona where we settled into our villa, and crashed. It had been a long day but in all a good day. The next day our time in the Costa del Sol began.

Monday, March 17, 2014

AAM Monday: Back in 1979, Not Quite Everyday

The layout has the short version of the story.  Here is the longer one.

My children and I had been evacuated from Iran the first week of December 1978. My then husband remained while I, our three children and two cats went to live with my mother and her ancient chihuahua in Maryland. In early February, we heard that my husband and some other men might be returning from Tehran after Valentine's Day.  My mother, who loved our house at the Delaware beach, said she would take the three children there for the long President's Day holiday. I stayed home in MD just in case.

When the blizzard hit, my mother eventually took the 3 children for a walk to the beach. The ocean was frozen, a sight my mother had never seen. Unfortunately, the camera was still back at the house and she knew there was no way they could repeat this trip for a photo. No cell phones much less portable phones with wonderful cameras.

When we have big storms as we did this winter, I sometimes think of that weekend. Them at the beach, me housebound with aluminum awnings over the front and side doors. Climbing up on a ladder in the snow to try and shovel off some of the snow from the front awning after the side one collapsed from the weight of the snow.  Reading, wondering if and when my husband would ever get out of Iran, and why he did not choose to return with the group that did come that weekend.

It was not quite like everday at all.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Five on Friday: March 14, 2014

Happy Pi day!  No I'm not a mathematician but my sil is.  I suspect they consider it a big holiday!

1. The sessions with the chiropractor are going quite well. I feel as if the bones in my knee have shifted. That's the clearest way I can describe it. Very different feeling.

2. When House of Cards, season 2, finished for me, I was a bit at sea. Lost without my fix. But then I found this. Is it just me or do these two presidents have irritating voices?

3. Sleep deprivation. That seems to be a common complaint round here after the way-too-early shift to daylight savings. I mean come on, it's early March! Not only am I having a hard time waking up but I'm having a hard time getting TO sleep also. Midnight is not the bedtime for me.

4. Something I saw online. A faux chocolaté éclair cake with a graham cracker bottom. Graham crackers???  That wouldn't fool me a bit. No, not one bit. I must say that it has had me thinking of real eclairs with real pastry cream and not vanilla pudding. Just thinking.

5. What's kept me really, really busy and productive lately? Making pages for the Spain&Portugal album. I'm up to page 32 which closes out the Spain part.  I've tried to do two pages a day during the week and it's not been that hard but it's been a lot of sitting. I'm not starting Portugal til April. I need a rest!

Have a great weekend and hopefully have some fun!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Project Life Week 10

With the incredible amount of snow we've had this winter as well as the alternating days which seem like spring, the days have kind of blended together. Very strange feeling this winter about the passage of time.  I do hope the eventual arrival of spring changes that.

But this was a week with, I hope, the last big snow. Oh I sure do hope it was!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Travel With Me Tuesday: Jaen Spain

This was a day with a lot of driving, a truly great meal at the Parador in Jaen, and then more driving to arrive in Estepona in the dark and learning about the back and forth way to get to our villa.

Monday, March 10, 2014

AAM Monday: On My Own

My car is a real joy to me and I love driving it. It's good solid German steel, drives well in snow even if I don't and it fits my body very well. I like changing gears, I like my sun/moon roof and there is just enough space to carry some things without giving me lots of space which might be encouragement to buy big stuff I don't have room for.

I also like going places in my car and it gets good mileage - it's a Golf diesel. Last month, I took myself to an oyster festival on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay, our Eastern Shore. It's a totally different world, mostly flat land that is farmed. It used to seem so boring to me as I was growing up because it was the last stretch of drive before we arrived at the beach and by the time we crossed the bay, I knew we were getting there but Not There yet.

Today I see it differently. I do my hospice volunteer work on the Shore and as I meet the people I am introduced to a life I've never lived. A life where a lot of families still are connected to the land or the water. Life can be a bit more real on the Shore and it's a good balance to the kind of life so many of us live 'over here'. We don't farm, we aren't watermen, and while many of us have jobs in ordinary fields like education or health, more of our focus is on government and its many branches. Many of us weren't born or raised here. It's where we came for the job and it may or may not become 'home'. Attitudes are different.

Last month, after a wonderful day eating those oysters and meeting some fun women to talk with, I stopped and talked with a few of my hospice folk. They seemed surprised that I drove all the way from my home in Annapolis over to Snow Hill myself. I went out for a day by myself. Almost to a woman, my peers and friends in Annapolis wouldn't give this a 2nd thought. You want to go somewhere, your spouse or partner isn't interested or you're single, so you go! Yes, just you, you go. But the women I spoke to at hospice said they never did this. They couldn't quite imagine 1. going some where on your own and 2. enjoying it. I thought if you wait for someone, especially a special someone, to go places or do things, you might wait a long time, and miss some great experiences.

I've driven to Canada with only a map challenged young teen and to Baton Rouge alone. I know I can eat alone, sleep in motel alone, and call AAA alone.  I can talk to strangers as I did yesterday and enjoy making new friends. Company is great but it's not always necessary nor is it right for some trips.

Do you go places on your own when your spouse isn't interested, doesn't exist, or don't have a tag along friend?  If so, why not? Really, why not?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Five on Friday: March 7, 2014

We're in a warming trend! Do you think the snow in my backyard will finally melt? I don't think so. The angle of the sun still does not get to the whole yard. Maybe by Easter?

1. I have always wondered why people now say 'wait on line'. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but at least when I went to the MVA to renew my car registration, I found that MD government agrees with me. It's wait IN line.

2. This week I had occasion to be the first one to comment on two blogs. Funny how little things like that give you a smile. Well, they give me a smile.

3. Despite the beautiful but inopportune time of Monday's snow, I managed to get to my follow up mammogram with my husband driving me in my car.  After the ultrasound, I was cleared as ok. PHEW! But the two of us do wonder why, with two German diesel cars, it is my Golf that is great in the snow while his ancient Mercedes is a sugar plum. Was that just a flaw of export models way back when?

4. The chiropractor finally gave me exercises to do at home. Pretty much what I was doing in both the Chair Yoga and Pilates.  I suppose when the new semester starts I will be up to speed again.

5.  There are only 3 episodes I haven't watched in House of Cards season 2. I'm at that point. Gobble them all down in one go or stretch it out to make it last as much as possible. That's about the biggest decision I have to make today. I'd say life is good.

Have a wonderful weekend and sigh...make sure to adjust your clocks. Yes, it's Spring Forward time.  More sunlight in the evening and darker mornings. I hope the farmers are happy.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Moving Along with Project Life - Week 9

Sometimes it seems as if these weeks have been the same...snow, melting snow, more snow. I know we technically haven't had that many actual snowfalls but with the serious cold, the snow has stayed and stayed. I swear our backyard has been covered for more than a month.  And yes, when the heat and humidity of summer comes, I will forget some of this unending cold. It's just like childbirth. If you didn't forget there would never be 2nd children.

I did have my wonderful Sunday at the Oyster Roast. A full day out by myself, 64 degrees!!!, and an unlimited amount of oysters to eat all afternoon. Pure heaven.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Travel with me Tuesday - Spain 2008

The pages for our 2008 trip to Spain and Portugal are coming along. It's taking me longer than I surprise there but it's still enjoyable.  I'll be glad to get just Spain done! Here are a few from the beginning of the trip. I think I am going to print out a lot of the non-included photos and have them in page protectors between some of the pages. We both took photos on this trip so I have a LOT I like.

There was a lot of fol de rol at the start of our trip but things smoothed out and the rest was smooth sailing south from Madrid to the Costa del Sol.

Monday, March 3, 2014

AAM Monday: When It Snows, Play

While I did this card before this latest snow, one that is coming down as I write, I'll share it today.

Birthday girl had a visit from me last week, but as I unloaded the car with the various things going to my family, including magazines that get passed on to them, I realized that one specific bag was not there. The birthday bag was still in my house...sigh. So there was a return trip yesterday and I think this granddaughter might just get my older version of PSE. She seems to have the patience to deal with the concept of layers and might just add this to her skill set.  I don't think she has a clue as how many layers ARE on the card, but that is the joy of a template. You just add the colored parts. Any tweaking beyond that is up to the creator.

I think today will be a good day to get more pages done for my Spain and Portugal album. I am now seeing that it's going to be a larger album than I imagined, but that's ok. It took me long enough to start this one so...

By the way, that snow outside is coming down fast and furious. The flakes are very tiny but I think we will get the 8-14 inches they are calling for. I'm not overjoyed, as I have two doctors appointments cancelled, including a follow up mammogram. It's not a lot of fun having those hanging over your head but 'it is what it is.' Play is better than worry.

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