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Live blogging the travel crisis!

24 Dec

I was just interviewed for Channel 6 news. They wanted a first-hand account of travel misery and I have been stranded in Moline for 2 days. When I was approached, it was 12:30, my second flight had just been canceled, I had not yet had coffee or food, and I had been standing in line for 3 hours. I must have looked particularly haggard. Or perhaps they just couldn’t resist my enormous hoop earrings. For two days, all the TVs in the airport have been tuned to OMG WEATHER CANCELS CHRISTMAS OVERTURNED TRUCK AMBULANCE BODIES PILING UP!!!

1.) I did not want to be part of the circus. What’s one circle deeper than being stranded in an airport that does not serve coffee post-security? Being forced to watch dramatically narrated footage of other people stranded in airports. One circle deeper than that is watching awkward footage of yourself being stranded in an airport while stranded in an airport.

And 2.) I thought, if Heidi ever sees this footage I will never live it down.

So while too polite to say no, I tried to be as uninteresting as possible, neither pissed off nor distraught, and with any luck I will not make the cut.

And actually I’m not really suffering. Yesterday all flights to Chicago were canceled early in the day, so I checked into a hotel and wandered around the local mall. I bought a smoothie. And actual presents for my family, rather than what I had been planning to give them, which were my best intentions to craft them something but probably not before Christmas morning. It was a nice day.

Today has been less pleasant. They officially closed the airport for a while because a plane skidded off the runway. The kind Midwestern airport employees are getting a little punchy. In a few hours I might fly to Chicago where I will probably spend the night. I don’t really care, as long as no one tries to turn the experience into a sitcom in which a Christmas tree is constructed out of styrfoam cups, spontaneous caroling ensues, and we all discover the true meaning of Christmas.


Drunk bar pictures prove we’re still fun

31 Oct

A few weeks ago I dragged W east for a wedding. Remember? I know it’s old news, and he already blogged about it. But it was such a magical trip, I need to share it with you.


Purpose of journey: To serve as a bridesmaid, with W as my date.

Length of stay: 72 hours.

Goals: Don’t disappoint the bride.

The highlights:

1. Mighty Taco.

I’m considering changing my tagline to GUACAMOLE HAS ARRIVED. I’m not sure if this was really a highlight for me because the sad fact is they don’t put a lot of love into their vegetarian options.


3. Breakfast scrabble.

4. The wedding/reception. I think he’s making fun of Tommy in this picture.

5. Seeing Michelle for the first time since May 2006. It almost didn’t happen. Like me, she barely made her flight, but her backstory is more solid than mine. She’s an equine vet, she’d been at the clinic for days, and she was covered in blood and goat semen when she arrived at the ticket counter, begging to be put on the plane. They let her right through. Really. Probably because she’s so adorable and her southern accent comes out when she’s tired.

6. Whitney’s swim in the cold, swift Niagara River. I have a great video of him jumping in but I’m not supposed to show it to you.


Purpose of journey: To rekindle our relationship in the city where it all began.

Length of stay: 13 hours.

Goals: Smell a baby’s head. Have a circuitous conversation with PHiL. Put Lisa in my pocket. Touch Seelander.

The hightlights:

1. W’s playlist on the drive. When we called Little Lisa Paladino to give her an update on our progress, W warned her that there would be no hugging. But that fell apart. There was a lot of hugging. We were like hobbits in a mead hall.

2. The first round of canal jumping.

3. Frozen beers at Seelander’s house. He owns it. He is the landlord. Such a tyrant.

4. Will’s house. I met baby Dawson and I was talked into buying a Genesee Rowing shirt in a ladies’ small.

5. Dinner somewhere. It was good, but I forget. I think we had coffee. This is when Lisa started to wear Whitney down.

A hug! Success.

Sadly this is the last we saw of her because she had to go to work, where sometimes she has to touch dead bodies. This inspired more hugging.

6. I think next was Boulder Coffee for Canadian coffees (bourbon, coffee, espresso, maple syrup, whipped cream, awesome). I also think this was the only thing I paid for all night. I’m sorry. After a few drinks, everything just seems free. Does that happen to you?

This is where the thoughtful political discussion began. People tell me they have no idea what that post is about. Just know that W’s now classic strategy when sparring with self-identifying libertarians is to confront them about community services like trash collection. It’s not sexy, but that’s kind of the point.

7. The Old Toad. I lost at least one thumb war and ACCIDENTALLY threw Whitney’s camera on the floor twice. It’s cute how sad he gets when his camera dies. Like it’s not inevitable. Fortunately it didn’t stay broken. In fact, maybe I’m the one who fixed it. I don’t remember. Can you tell he still loves me?

PHiL’s eyelashes kill me.

8. Intense car dancing. I know I had a leg out the window. Then we chatted with a police officer for a few minutes. For a short while there we were all libertarians. This was followed by even more highly spirited car dancing. (If W’s playcount of Alicia Keys – No One hasn’t shot way up since that night, he’s lying.)

9. The Elmwood. At least two more pots of coffee were consumed.

PHiL and I abstained from a shot of something so I talked us into a spoonful of ketchup instead.

And I’m not eager to include this picture, but check me out not paying for something.

10. Driving down the treacherous driveway of the old Crittenden Blvd homestead. We even got out to look at the spot on the house W used to smash into with his minivan. We never did pay for those missing shingles, even though his van had a house-colored stripe. Here’s a picture of the inside of it from five years ago (stolen from W).

11. More canal jumping. So cold. Not pictured.

12. Seelander’s house “for the night.” He made us hot chocolate to stave off hypothermia and I spilled it. Snuggling. Twenty minutes later, I put on canal-wet pants and W and I left to catch our early morning flights from Buffalo. I made mine with seven minutes to spare.

I cashed out my Karma

10 Oct

I landed in BUF last night. I’m here for a wedding this weekend, in which I play a bridesmaid and The Cheese Rind plays my date. I’m sure it will be well-documented on both blogs, so you have that to look forward to.

Does it surprise anyone that I made my flight with seventy-two seconds to spare? You’d think I would have learned my lesson, but I got the flight time wrong again. After a harrowing drive, I ran to the ticket counter and a very kind lady got special permission to put me back on the very last seat of the flight, the last one of the day, even though the computer said I was too late, because I asked nicely. And a guy hand delivered my checked bag to the plane. You cannot beat the Moline airport. Seventy-two seconds after I began this transaction, another woman came running to the counter begging to be let on the now-full flight and she was turned away. As I hustled to the gate, I could hear her cries of But I have a reservation! There are still ten minutes left to board! How dare you give my seat away!

I felt so alive. In fact I think the residual adrenaline (plus a diet coke and a coffee) is why I am apparently up for the day and blogging before 6 EST. Having stayed up til 2 to do homework. But I am never doing that again.

I need to hug it out

4 Sep

Hey. I’m packing for an east coast wedding. Well, I opened the suitcase. I’ve been grumpy all day.  And part of yesterday, too. Why am I in this funk and when will it end? I don’t really know, but I’ve made some estimates and I’m totally going to draw you a pie chart.

It’s so hideous! I know it’s ridiculous that I’m attributing 50% of my poisonous mood to politics. You know I am Team Obama, but both conventions left me pretty cold. So much bombasting. Sometimes I couldn’t tell if I was listening to actual speeches or unconvincing parodies. I don’t want to talk about it. Just, must the rhetoric be so tacky? Cloying? And so punitive? It’s like Ice cream dripping in battery acid. Do we really have to snap on the fanny packs and puff up our chests? Nevermind. I don’t want to make sense and I don’t want to talk about it.

So, the 40%. This morning at 6am I woke to a crashing sound and someone saying “hello” and I was very sure that someone was in my apartment. I let my heart pound for a while and then I armed myself with a curtain rod and proved myself wrong. You think there can never be too many closets in your new apartment until they are hiding places.

Okay, while not a great start to the day, not a great trauma either, but I have a heightened fear of intruders ever since that one time it kind of happened for real. You know this one – I was alone, sleeping naked? I woke up to the sound of the chain lock hitting the floor? There was a guy staring at me? I hate telling the rest because it’s actually a lame story with an exciting beginning. He was a building management lackey, come to free some poor couple who got stuck in their bedroom in the middle of the night (weird), only they didn’t live in my apartment. Or my building. And he didn’t explain himself when he realized he had the wrong place. He just ran. It ended with a barely legible handwritten apology, no crime. But still, scary. I do remember that M and I were good friends that summer, and before I thought to call the police, my first instinct was to just drive to his house. It’s his east coast wedding I am still not packed for. I’m sure I don’t have to tell his bride that if she keeps a baseball bat under the bed, I bet he will totally smash someone’s skull for her. I think she has his back, too. She has a pretty good gazerbeam. My friends are making good choices.

I’m going to pack now to reduce my grump by 10%, but I am counting on three things to get me over the rest.

1. Driving to the airport in the morning. It might work. I like driving when the sun is just up. I like the ceremony of coffee. I like getting on the plane when everyone still smells like soap. Last time I had to catch an early flight, it was such a pretty day I started taking pictures from the car. I swerved all over the road.

2. A visit with The Mad Nerdess. In fact, a few nights ago I woke myself up laughing because she was cracking me up in my dream. It was weird.

3. Sweater weather. Just around the river bend.

Like a fox

13 Aug

This has been my craftiest summer. I got my sewing machine fixed at a repair shop that chose to demonstrate modern machine embroidery with a framed embroidered portrait of Burt Reynolds. I think it was that perfectly rendered mustache that inspired me to actually finish some projects. Check me out over here. I have also sewed a bikini and worn it. I was calling it my prairie bikini because it looks homemade and I thought I honored God by wearing it, but Darcy told me what I was really honoring was that noble beast the camel, particularly its toe. You have to take good care of friends like that. Or you may find yourself wandering the streets in nothing but uggs and back fat. So I will only wear it in the dark.

Now I’m in the middle of a purple polyester mini-dress. I have to hurry before my next vacation starts. Behold, from my most recent travels to Maine: sweater tourism.

friends in sweaters hugging

Glorious lakes!

18 Jul

I picked this one up because I liked the picture and the unfortunate name of the lake. And the casual reference to death.

(June 22, 1954)
Dear kids,
This shows the lake we’re staying at. (Birch) Also the lake Emil died in. (Leech) We went to Walker Sat. and went across some of it. It’s about ten miles from here. It’s sure big. Thought you’d like to have it. The boys are going to Leech Lake to fish tomorrow. Wish you were here. Know you’d enjoy it. Tell Hank + Mary “hello.”
Love, Pauline + William

If I had to choose a favorite geological feature, it would probably be the lake. And though I am partial to all the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario is my favorite. Here are some shots I took while sailing home from Toronto with my dad a few weeks ago.

Toronto at night.

Coffee in the morning.

Boat parts during the sail home.

I did go swimming, but he didn’t want to put the sails down so I had to swim 1.5 knots/hr to keep up. Faster than I thought it would be.

Post swim, nap, and sunburn.

Old news

8 Apr

I’ve been meaning to post more stuff from my spring break in Madison with the cheese, the nerd, and lucia which happened weeks ago. Back when it was still snowing outside. Now it’s all sunshine and songbirds all the time.

1. Balderdash. You are familiar with the game. Someone reads an obscure word, everyone makes up a definition, and then you have to try to choose the correct one. I saved some of my favorite definitions. Which definition is real?

sny – the underbelly of an amphibian

sny – the house of worship of a heretical organization

sny – secretly unkind

noop – the sharp point of the elbow

boluliform – having one bulbous end

wallygowdy – one’s condition after overindulging in food and drink

2. Breakfast scrabble.

Whitney says RELAX

Believe it or not, this was my first experience with Breakfast Scrabble. You don’t keep score and you can play dubious words that might start a fight in a regular game. I will never be the same again. Here you can see my off the board play, JUICE. (And my noop in the corner.)


Apparently I went too far, even for breakfast rules. After it was documented, I was forced to remove it. Also notice the upside down plays in the northwest corner. The best part of this game was when an attractive young waitress stopped by to say she loved Scrabble, too, and to see if we had played any good words. And Whitney immediately said, “Well, there’s FLOATER, that’s always a classic.” And she seemed vaguely uncomfortable and walked away.

3. Easter eggs. Here’s a creepy one Whitney did. If you want to see what inspired it, google goddess bunny. But don’t really. Don’t!

bunny egg

Here is my best egg.

best egg

Darcy’s best can be seen here.

4. Glorious cheese from Fromagination. Forgive them their name, they are generous with samples.

cheese and mustard