Sometimes I write little blurbs in my head, things I think I should post here, but either the moment passes or I forget the phrasing I'd come up with.
Such is the case now. We just got home from a week in New York City, and I'd come up with a clever way to mention it here. Except I forgot. I know it had something to do with food. And walking. And [insert gushing words about New York City here].
I keep a little notebook with me, not that I remember to use it. Because I really need to write this stuff down.
Anyway, um, hi. *blows away the cobwebs*
OK, I know I said I wasn't blogging, but my kids are asleep, and this is something I wanted to post last week while I was in France. However, I didn't have the USB cable for my phone with me, and the e-mail setup didn't work (this photo is floating around in the ether right now), so it had to wait.
Here's what I posted at Flickr:
I couldn't believe what I saw as I sat at a stoplight in my former hometown in France: a University of Kentucky bumper sticker on a car in front of me. First of all, the French don't do bumper stickers. Second, The University of Kentucky, located in Lexington, Kentucky? The place I now live represented in the place I used to live?
If the light hadn't been about to change, I'd have gotten out of my car and knocked on the driver's window. As it was, I was lucky to get this shot.
Click on the photo to see the note I placed on it, and view it large here.
Lunch at Shoney's in Huntington, West Virginia.
Dinner at Seviche in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Today Allan and I went to Seattle to meet up with a couple of friends from Radio Paradise. I also have a couple of blog friends from Seattle: Margaret and Sizz, and I don't think Karan is too far away either.
I really thought about contacting my blog buddies while we were in the area. But then I thought about why we were here. And I didn't want any stress in planning*. Today was easy because Tommy isn't working at the moment, and Saundrah just met us for lunch at a tasty place she suggested. Tommy took us around the city, as much as you can do in a few short hours.
Today was a great day. And it's been a great week. This is a gorgeous area of the country. We'll be back. And you can see some photos of our trip here and here, although as I write this, most of the Seattle photos have not been uploaded to Flickr.
*Forgive me, blog friends.
Everything was fine until we got to the Cincinnati airport. Our flight to Lexington was delayed. We figured it was normal, because there had been delays at other airports. So we sat and watched the flight
bored board. Every so often the flight time would be moved back by ten minutes. We started grumbling a bit, as did the other passengers around us.
There were announcements from all different gates, and they all said the same thing: "We're missing crew members; as soon as they arrive, we'll board you on the plane."
We joked about where all the crew members must be. I guessed they were all in the lounge, bitching about us passengers. Ha ha.
Our flight got its pilots, so we expected to board. And it didn't happen, and didn't happen, and yep, it didn't happen. Then we heard that the flight attendant hadn't shown up. The woman sitting across from us raised her hand and said "I'll do it!" and we all laughed, because, yeah, it's a 20-minute flight. I mean, really.
I'm really tired and this is getting boring, so let me just say that they found a new flight attendant, we got on the plane, the cabin door was shut, and the safety procedures were explained. The flight attendant then said, "We're sorry for the delay; we just had word that we're waiting for a passenger from a connecting flight."
A pilot got on the plane and sat in the first row. THAT was the "passenger."
Can you see me rolling my eyes?
We got into Lexington two hours behind schedule. That's all I'm sayin'.
Tomorrow morning we're leaving for Pennsylvania, in the car this time. And before you ask why we didn't just go to Pittsburgh from New York, let me say that due to matters of timing, it just didn't work out that way.
Hope you all had a great holiday, and continue to have a great week. Stay tuned for the recap of Christmas dinner...
The alarm on my cell phone is set for 3:45 am. Yeah, I know. But we have a flight to catch at 6, and we have to pick up Allan's sister Jo Ann, and you do the math.
The three of us are flying to New York City for Christmas. We're meeting Allan and Jo Ann's brother Mike and his daughter Justine there; Mike's other daughter Briar is a pastry chef here, and couldn't get enough time off for a trip home, so we're all going there. On Saturday, Mike's son LittleMike and his wife will join us.
I've been to New York twice in my life, each time for just one day. The first time I was 13, the second, 19. I'm pretty excited about this trip!
Friday we're going to meet up with an old friend of Allan's, and on Sunday we'll spend part of the day with my aunt and uncle, my cousin, and her husband. And guess what else? We're taking the cameras, but not the laptops.
This is a pretty dry entry. Sorry about that. I'm wiped out, yet I'm wired, and I can't think of anything to say except the facts. But now you know why Allan and I exchanged gifts last night.
We'll be back on Tuesday evening, and because we're a little nuts, we're driving to Pennsylvania on Wednesday morning to spend some time with my family. The only missing elements right now are a lovely preteen and her handsome younger brother.
And with that, let me wish all of you a very happy Festivus! Whatever holiday you are celebrating right around now, may it be full of joy and light and warmth.
I don't know what to say. My brain is out due to jetlag.
Go read Allan.
SoaP, or Snakes On A Plane. Dish. Heh heh. I kill me.
Yeah, so we saw SoaP last night, just because. I mean, how could you not want to go see a movie with such a campy title? Really, the internet buzz about it was almost secondary.
The worst thing was the complacency of our fellow movie-goers. How could they not cheer at the infamous line, the one that got added to the script because of some internet fans? After the film was over, we decided that all the internet geeks had gone to see the movie last weekend, when it opened.
At least we got to see it before it leaves the theaters.
I'm sitting here chuckling because I can't believe we went to see this movie. It was better than I expected. Go see it, if you are up for some laughs (and a few tense moments). Go see it, if you heart Samuel L. Jackson -- and how could you not?
The movie capped off a great day spent with some friends from Radio Paradise. They know who they are.
SoaP was just the icing on the cake.
We're on the road again, this time to Philadelphia to see some friends and family.
I'll probably blog some more details later. Suffice it to say that the impetus for the trip is unconventional at best. The icing on the cake, of course, is seeing loved ones, like my cousin. (archive alert!)
Phooey. I'm writing this ahead of time, and I need to go to bed. We'll probably be out of Kentucky by the time you read this. Bon weekend!
In the summer of 1992, I was a fresh-faced -- I think -- college graduate who had a big decision to make. For almost my entire senior year, I had dated the French teaching assistant, and had spent the two and a half months following graduation with him in France. I came home to the States for my brother's wedding; otherwise I might have tried to stay in France, hard as it would have been to get a work visa.
I can't remember if this was before or after the wedding, but I visited the magical place where I'd worked the two previous summers. Chautauqua Institution is an indescribable place. You just can't explain it to someone who's never been there. My job in the independent, arty cinema there was one of the best jobs I have ever had in my life.
I also can't remember who was with me at Chautauqua that day. I'm inclined to think it was my parents. We went there to see the Democratic nominee for President. I speak, of course, of Bill Clinton. He came to Chautauqua with his wife Hillary, his running mate Al Gore, and Gore's wife Tipper (for whom I didn't have much respect at the time, because all I knew about her was her lobbying to have warning labels put on album covers when I was a teenager, and I was a serious music fan, even back then).
I already knew then that I would most likely vote for Mr. Clinton, but seeing him speak (and then Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and Tipper Gore afterwards) banished any doubts I might have had. I even forgave Tipper for her PMRC crap.
All this is a preface to this past weekend. Six of us saw An Inconvenient Truth last night. I'd wanted to see it; I was interested in seeing Al Gore now that he has no office to run for. The six of us agreed that the audience for this documentary is people who already are concerned about global warming. People with a liberal bent, perhaps. People who have respect for Al Gore.
Well, I don't really care about your politics right now, or what you think of Mr. Gore. I'm just going to recommend this film to everyone. If you care about humankind, see it. If you have children, see it. If you are an educator, see it (and when it comes out on DVD, show it to your students).
Any attempt I could make at describing the film would fall short right now, just as I would fall short in describing the Chautauqua Institution to you.
Speaking of which, a few of us are going to Chautauqua tomorrow to hear Mr. Gore speak. Perhaps we will hear the same things we heard last night. It doesn't matter. It will be good to hear it again. And I'm especially looking forward to visiting Chautauqua again. I've racked my brain, and I'm pretty sure that the last time I was there was the summer of 1992, not long before I decided to move to France to marry that teaching assistant.
Edit, Tuesday, July 25th: We are back in Kentucky, and I wanted to add that Mr. Gore's presentation in the Chautauqua Amphitheater yesterday was standing room only. And we had no seats. We listened to his introduction, then when he started the slideshow, which we'd essentially seen two nights before, I went for a walk with Allan, my (impatient) kids, and my nephew. It was wonderful to be back there, even for just a short time.
On Thursday we were supposed to meet my friend Denise for lunch, but she had to cancel at the last minute. Faced with a day when everyone else we know in the Pittsburgh area had plans, we decided to drive north to my family's ancestral home. One of my brothers lives there in our grandparents' old house, and the other was staying at our family's house on an adjacent property. The houses are about 600 feet apart as the crow flies. A dirt road leads from one to the other, or you can walk through the woods and across the creek. It is home to me.
It's a two-hour trip up there from the 'Burgh, but the kids were excited with the prospect of seeing cousins. And I was excited about seeing my own cousin, who was visiting there, and whom I didn't expect to see at all.
It was a great day, filled with creek-and-woods exploring, pool splashing, beer drinking, fire building, meat grilling, and story telling. We got back to the hotel at 1:30 in the morning. The kids didn't want to come back (since we are going back up there tomorrow for a week -- are you confused yet?), but yesterday we had a date with my dad at Kennywood. And that's a subject for another blog entry.
That's what my sister said when I told her we were leaving for Pennsylvania at midnight.
Maybe we are crazy. Maybe I just don't feel like hearing my kids complain about being bored and asking "when are we there?" in their French-influenced syntax. Maybe I think Ohio will be better in the dark. Less wide. Less flat. Less boring. Less likely to spark the desire to commit a crime.
Yeah, so. We're off to
Yinzerville Pittsburgh tonight. Allan has more.
I've been awake for 45 minutes. It's 6:30 in the blessed morning. I'm trying to stream some music here, but it just ain't workin', and I'm thinking I should just go back.to.bed.
Nope. There's the music. RealPlayer. Who knew it actually worked?
So. I arrived safely, but I'll tell you, getting here was quite the series of bumbles and comic events. I can't remember a single damn thing, either, except the mess of chewing gum on my wallet. Caterpillar-gut green chewing gum, stuck to my wallet, because I'd placed the wad of it in my luggage tag from the flight. I wrapped it up, stuck it in my purse, because hello, this is France; good luck finding a garbage can when you need one. Well, my wallet fell on top of the tag in just the right position to "open" the fold I'd made in it. Gum. All over the corner of the wallet. 32° heat. Sticky!
The good news is that Hertz gave me a really hott car to drive. I'm the proud renter of a Peugeot 1007. (Entre parenthèses, why did Google default to a search in Brazilian Portuguese? Um, whaaaa?). This car was designed for apes and creatures with superperipheral vision. I kid you not, to put on the seat belt, I have to turn around, get on my knees, and reach back for the strap. I can reach the gears okay, but that drink I put in the cup-holder? Not. (I know, I know -- it's more important to shift than to drink). And the windshield? Has these things in the corners that make it hard to see. Unless you're an ape with super-peripheral vision.
Oh, remember the bumbling and comic part? I remembered another thing: at the toll-booth, I couldn't see how to open the window. So I opened the space-age sliding door and took my ticket. Fortunately, no one saw me, ass. Unfortunately, the surveillance cemeras probably did. Fortunately, I figured out how to put down the window before I got to the next tollbooth.
But I made it here in one piece, and have had a lovely weekend with my friends. I hope you are having a good one, too.
Yesterday my friend Anne called me up, invited herself down here, and said "We'll go to IKEA."
I love Anne.
We headed down to Bordeaux quite late in the afternoon. It was after five. But IKEA doesn't close until 8 p.m. so we had enough time. It's only 95 kilometers away.
Except that the Pont d'Aquitaine, THE bridge you have to go over to get to IKEA, was closed. Let me make a comparison to a city I know: It's like the Fort Pitt Bridge in Pittsburgh being closed (which of course, it recently was). Be sure to click on those links just there. There are some great photos.
Yikes. Three hungry kids in the back seat didn't help. We had to drive toward Spain (tapas, anyone?), then circle back around the other side of Bordeaux. We got to IKEA about 45 minutes after we'd planned to, and had just about an hour to shop.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know how much I love IKEA. I was thinking about this today, trying to think of a reason why I love IKEA. I mean, it's just a store. I came up with one reason:
Cool stuff at affordable prices.
See, you can't get nice things for cheap in France. You just can't. If you're a student, chances are you have a fold-out couch like this or this, and isn't that just the ugliest shite you've ever seen? If you're not a student, you're most likely not earning much money anyway, because we all know that it's impossible to make money in "Capitalism Is Evil" France. But I digress. Point is, you're probably not going to be able to afford this, this, or this.
So you salivate over all things IKEA, especially since there isn't one right near where you live. (And no, I didn't choose this town just because it's closer to IKEA. It's just a cute little town with a medieval prison in it).
Anyway, I had enough time to buy a few necessities. My bum is now parked in this chair. I got one of these, so that my living room wouldn't be so dark. I also got a few other sundry items. I need more to make this place my home, and not all of it will come from IKEA.
Going there yesterday was exactly what I needed, though.