>> Saturday, November 1, 2008
Here's a post I'd been working on for awhile (er, 3 weeks) before life started going in every which way so I'm finally getting around posting - it is more for my own purposes than for you to feel obligated to follow along. Feel free though! Just don't let your head slam on your keyboard.
Earlier this month (it's been three weeks now), hubby dropped me off at the airport so I could spend a few days visiting my family in AZ.
It'd been quite awhile since I've flown anywhere, which means even though I was aware of the various security measures in place at all airports I had never experienced many of them until now. Actually, it was no biggie placing 3 oz. or less liquids in a quart-sized ziploc bag or taking off my shoes at each security check-point except they were just annoying. It's amazing how one person can ruin easy traveling for the rest of us (actually it's amazing how one person can spoil a lot of things for the rest of us...).
The part that got me was where I needed to go in each airport. I seriously needed someone to hold my hand and help me because apparently all intelligence was left at home or maybe that's by design of the airports. Seriously, where were the arrows pointing me in the right direction every step of the way? Gotta take a bus here or a train here or a train there...When hubby dropped me off I stepped in a very busy line marked for my airline noticing I was in self-check in - it was where all the cool kids were so it must be right, right? Except I wanted a real person to work with to make me feel reassured but didn't that sort of line. So when it became my turn I stepped up to the kiosk and instantly felt like an idiot. It's asking for info that I wasn't sure I had. I stood there looking at the screen feeling completely lost. I tried entering some numbers or codes I thought it was asking but getting nowhere and taking up time. Finally, after some time and picking up the customer service phone the woman who first directed me to this machine saw I was still at the kiosk and asked how she could help. She noticed that what I had in my hands were paper tickets. Ugh! How could I have been so clueless? So she got me in the right line to speak with a live person, not a computer. Once I had my boarding pass I felt confident again until I reached security. What? I really have to take off my shoes? But they're tied in a double knot! I'm trying to be cool and nonchalant like I've done this before but what ended up happening is I left my boarding pass in my bag which is now on one conveyor belt and my jacket they asked me to remove is on another then they ask for my boarding pass which of course isn't in my hands. Another UGH! So one security guard is yelling to another to check for my pass and ID while I'm trying to gather all my stuff from two lines and not hold anyone else up. I'm sure they sighed or rolled their eyes but finally I'm in the clear and on my way.
The flight to pit stop #1 (Denver) was uneventful. The way airplane rides should be. :) Do any of you know how BIG the Denver airport is??? Sheesh. Took a train to get to my gate for my next flight, which was in the deepest darkest farthest point of the airport. For plane ride #2, I was going to be taking a small plane. One I've never been on before. Should I be scared? All I can say is it's a good thing I'm not claustrophobic. What a shock it was to walk up those dinky steps and see how teeny the plane is inside. Okay, back up. Beep beep beep beep. I'm getting ahead of myself. While waiting for my next plane, which was supposed to leave at 2PM, it became apparent this wasn't to be. We were told there was no crew (ground crew? flight crew?) so we would probably take off at 3:10PM. Hmm...okay, so called my parents: I'll be late. Then 3:00 came and went. The next update was they had a pilot but we still had to wait. Another call to my folks: I'm still late. The guy sitting near me in the waiting area told me he had been waiting for this flight since 7PM the night BEFORE! Poor guy. I felt guilty for getting impatient at that point. This guy had to spend the night at the airport because nothing was open and he had no vouchers. Then he was supposed to be on the next flight at 11AM but they overbooked it then he was waiting for the same 2PM one, which was late. How maddening. I felt so sorry for him. Finally, at about 4PM we were able to board but because someone else took my assigned seat I got to sit at the exit. I was an important person now. In charge of tearing out the window in case of an emergency. They ask if you're okay sitting there and able to handle the responsibility. No, I don't mind sitting here - it just means I'm out first! ;) Once we were all boarded and belted in we taxied F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Not sure how long we taxied since I fell asleep waiting. It must've been 30-40 mins (or more?). I kept thinking we would run out of gas just idling. Well, and wouldn't you know it? It starts to rain. So I got to experience it all: a rainy commute in a small aircraft. I'm glad hubby got me some earplugs because it's so noisy on those planes plus it blocked out the rain beating the windows. Made for a bumpy ride. Only a couple times did my stomach meet my heart. Thankfully we landed at our destination (brief pit stop in NM) to drop off a few people and fuel up again to continue our last bit. For me, the next stop was my last stop but for a family on the same flight they were trying to make a connecting flight shortly after landing. However due to the storm and some FAA regulations (something to do with the amount of hours the pilots had already racked up) they canceled all flights leaving that tiny airport. Sad thing is these people were headed to a funeral the next day. Fortunately, everything worked out as they were able to rent a car to drive the 3+ hours to Phoenix. So yeah, we finally made it to our destination in one piece. A little bumpy and noisily but on the ground at last.
By the time I arrived inside the airport I was only three hours late. :| I noticed it was chilly when I stepped off the plane too - like Seattle cold. Big hugs from my parents and then off we went for home. My parents were so sweet to stop at the store on the way and pick up some goodies for me (lots of salad fixin's and fruit). It was dark out now so not much to see on the way home.
Pic of my parents' dog, Sofie. Now she's got the life. :D
The next day we visited and relaxed at home for the most part with a little drive around their neighborhood. It was still a little chilly out but I could see blue sky. That made me happy.
On Monday, my dad and I went on a little hike near their home to check out the petroglyphs. A lot of them are hard to read now but still there along with modern-day ones. hee hee! Hiking around this area is so cool because of the many rainbow colored rocks and many interesting ones too. And of course, the wildlife. My dad quickly spotted some petrified wood, which I took home. I'd show you a pic of it but unfortunately, towards the end of this trip my camera decided to quit working so it's in the shop as I type this. Anyway, if you're lucky and blessed with a sharp eye you'll find the petrified wood and possibly pieces of old pottery all over in those hills. My dad showed me his collections of both. They are amazing!
Can you believe that cactus pear grows wild here? It's everywhere.
And their backyard is a little zoo with all different kinds of birds, squirrels and skunks hanging around. Yes, skunks. Although, I only saw one as it was running across their patio. Fortunately no stinkies from him. I was entertained by the squirrels stuffing their mouths then burying their food I'm sure to only forget where they buried it.
There's also some crazy bugs (and leapin lizards!) hanging around:
Now, here's a funny story: my parents host a gathering at their home every Monday night with some of their church friends and dinner is a potluck. The week before I arrived their potluck consisted of all main dishes (i.e. casseroles) and no salads. The day I'm there for this potluck there was nothing but salads! No main dishes to be seen. ha ha! There was still plenty of desserts so no one went hungry or unhappy.
At this same dinner, I happened to meet a woman who is a certified midwife. It was so meant to be. This woman had never been to my parents' potlucks before so they didn't know her and of course, I happen to be visiting the day she decides to come over. She was helpful in answering some questions I had and giving me tips. Thanks to her I had nothing to fear when I returned home to go to my first appointment.
On Tuesday to start the day off, my dad and I went to a friend's house who was being overwhelmed with tomatoes (my dad and I both wished we had that problem in our own gardens). We must've walked off with several pounds of tomatoes, mostly cherry toms (that pic is actually of a couple tomatoes from our garden! Two of the three or four we got to pick - grr). They were so good! After, my family and I took in some local museums. History of the founding pioneers of this small town. Many of these men's descendants still call this town home so their names are everywhere. My parents took me to lunch at an organic cafe and shop there. It's so great they had one in this faraway place! I chose a non-vegan meal (sorry folks!); my mom had the same thing as me. And my dad and bro both had a cobb salad. My mom wasn't too keen on her sandwich but I loved it and my dad and bro loved their organic salad. My brother even finished off my mom's sandwich and quite happily I might add. I think mom left kind of hungry. :( But before we left we did browse around in their shop where my folks picked up a few items. They didn't carry many raw items but we did score some raw almonds.
Later that evening we watched the presidential debate. Not very interesting if you ask me. Typical debate of talking too much and insulting each other so it's rare I watch those. Told ya I'm not into politics. Can't wait for the election to be over!
The next morning, my parents took me to the airport where we said our goodbyes. Sniff. I'm very glad I was able to visit them and my brother for a few days and even share my good news. It was a good and relaxing time - hopefully for them too. I'll be back folks! Thank you so much for making it happen - I love you!
On the way home from Arizona I saw THREE rainbows. One from the plane (from the wing to the ground) and then two others when I was actually back in Seattle. Purty cool!
It was nice to be back home - I missed my husband! I got to finish out the week still on vacation plus it was my birthday weekend. Then the following week I was on JURY DUTY! I was even selected. Haven't decided if I'll blog about the specifics or not but I will say it was very interesting to be a juror. I lucked out being on a case that was fairly straightforward and not too long. I was seated on Monday morning and case closed by Wednesday afternoon. I thought we would've been out of there sooner than that but we didn't have a unanimous vote. If you've been through the process before you know what it's like. Frustrating.
Now that I've finally recapped my vacation I realize that October is over. How'd that happen?!
I do have more pics to share from this trip which I'll post separately. This post is more than long enough already.