Tag Archives: travel

this train of thought will make all local stops. transfers are inevitable at most stations.

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my fingers are positively giddy. oh how i’ve missed this space, this screen. my life and mind have been occupied and preoccupied with work and sick and health and wealth and love. that’s a lot of occupation, and with all the preoccupying going on, it may last some time. (incidentally, i did not use the word “occupation” simply to drive search results hits to my blog…though now that i think about it, i admit i’m curious.)

i’m all for a thought draw-down right about now…critical systems only, like daily survival and some infrastructure. and daydreams. can’t forget those. i’m nothing without my daydreams. someone like me is far more likely to see daydreams come true than to fully execute any long term plan…which is why i intentionally broke the  pattern of posting regularly, which was one of my famous Original Plans. (yeah…let’s go with it’s a purposeful rebellion against restrictive plans my rational mind had placed on my inner artiste.)

ahem. so. here i am and i’m SO done with the illness theme, both in my writing and in my daily experience. it’s suh-hoe retirement village. instead i will keep it brief and ponder two completely disparate things, as i revel and giggle at both:

Reiki – holy crap. and i mean that seriously, that epithet couldn’t be a more appropriate descriptor. i approached the session with hope, i dove in fully and gave it it’s best chance.  result: it exceeded every expectation i had, and showed me that what i thought might be crap was instead something downright holy. again, i’ll go ahead and self report the “i was abducted by aliens” equivalent right here in print…call me, well, call me what ever you want…(i like “enlightened” if you are having trouble)…but i had what i would define as an out-of-body experience. it was not a death kinda thing, nor did i follow any ghosts around in a foggy version of This is Your Life. but i definitely tapped what scientists refer to as the God Brain and it was really cool. i connected with, became part of, a truly greater presence that carried an energy of infinite calm and knowledge. bitchin’.

my dude did a lot more than pass his hands around me. there was a lot of release, some physical manipulation of tight spots and a beautiful guided journey built of all my “stuff.”  the next day i got up and exercised. i craved, made and ate a brown-rice breakfast bowl, then fixed one for my daughter. i meditated for more than eleven minutes…(it was supposed to be five but i set my timer for five hours instead. it took me a while to catch just how zen i was becoming and give myself permission to glance at the Ohm Timer of Peace, aka my smartphone).

i’ve not exactly made these into habits, but the benefits of that remarkable session are resonating through every day. i highly recommend a session with someone great…it’s health-promoting and potentially mystical if you can find it in yourself to go there.

Frequent Flyer Miles – i opened my kid’s first frequent flyer account today…and then lamented all the flights she’s taken already without accruing miles. it’s enough to lament. she’s two and a half. it makes me happy to give her this young life, and she seems so happy to accept it. i try to be careful not to push a personality on my kid…but it’s hard to imagine my offspring hating to travel. wanderlust is part of my DNA, like brown hair and hilarious finishing times in foot races.

well, i’m posting this late because the day has only allowed me to string a few moments together at a time…with breaks just long enough for trains of thought to make their switches and move on to other outposts. i’ve laid so much track up there lately, so many places i could wander. for now though, i’m enjoying this stop, the sound of keys and of me cursing fat fingers. they are slow for this nimble and spastic and fantastic mind, the one that often speaks before thinking…my fingers are better gatekeepers than this mouth. admittedly, neither are very effective in the long run.

happy thursday. persist, perceive, progress and peace out. all will be well and unwell…go with what you got.

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you brought that bathrobe in a spacebag? how clever. i’m stuck with this running su…jacket.

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i just want to see if i can do it. uh oh, how many times has that one burned me? didn’t i already write a post about learning things the hard way?

ahem. anyway. i want to see if i can squeak in a blog post on the road. i know, risky stuff, heart-stopping intrigue for my readers. the deal is that i fell asleep in this cute little town by about 8pm last night…a whole half inning or so into World Series Game 1. i stayed asleep all night having adventure dreams and relaxing the on-call mommy-hearing. i woke up at 4am. what am i? my dad? anyway…

i’ve got some rockin’ road plans tonight, so last night was quiet time. i strolled on into my chain hotel and unpacked, ready to make myself comfy in the kingsize. i was disoriented at first…i forgot to bring pajama pants. really? never. no way. ah well. no ice machine runs for me. thank god i have a mini-fridge in here. how many of you actually use ice machines in a hotel anyway? i mean, i think i’ve used them all of twice in 15 years of travel. most of my ice-machine usage occurred in high school and college…the bathtubs full of…shudder…wine coolers and beer, as shown in the trailer for Soccer Parties Gone Wild XXXVII. (i have a vague memory of a classmate rinsing her toothpaste out with the last bathtub beer after a righteous round of 5am puking. she was so cool and pretty. i bet she’s got good rehab recommendations.)

so i’m here this morning wearing inadequate pajamas, but alert and drinking my in-room coffee. (it’s a unique feature of road life to see myself get excited about maxwell house coffee in the little kit instead of some no-brand filterpack. go with the evil you know, right?) and since i’m on the road again (soundtrack please, willie) here are even more travel observations. (and i’m sorry if the nerd flag obstructs your view of this humor. for the record, the view is better from inside nerd stadium than from the too-cool-for-this observation platform.)

my “Guest Directory” is one of the pathetic ones…hand typed and updated once every 11 years until they stopped delivering the mimeograph ink.  in the back are “helpful travel tips.” they are all fairly obvious to a seasoned traveler…some safety stuff that’s fun like what to do if you think someone is following you to your room. it tells a solo patron to turn to a random door in the hallway, knock and say, “i forgot my key.” if the person opens the door, explain what you are doing. even if they don’t answer, it will confuse the follower. my favorite part is that it comes right after the directions to never open your hotel room door to a stranger and to call security immediately if anyone suspicious knocks or tries to enter your room. i suppose having security show up isn’t the worst thing if you are being followed, but i’ve seen too many sitcoms to see a neat outcome from this advice.

and this advice really made my humor hackles cackle: “instead of packing a bathrobe, which can be bulky, bring a jogging suit which can be used both for lounging in the room and stepping out into the hall for ice, etc.” all i can picture are the “jogging suits” from The Royal Tennenbaums and all of those american dads in line at the ice machine. that and some random travelers spacebagging bathrobes.

ah, sleep. and blogging. i still hate that word, but the act itself is like breathing salty air. mmmm.

hmmm…i can think of a few other words like that…but i’ll leave them to your imagination. these disorganized words and thoughts have cost me my morning and probably an on-time arrival for class. yikes. always the hard way, trish, always the hard way. if at all.

fist at the sky, belly full of laughter…what is up with mondays lately?

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it’s a ridiculously quick stop by here to let anyone who might wonder my whereabouts or general well-being that i’m struggling to post regularly because i’m laughing too hard at life’s most dependable practical joke. consistency. HA! my outrageous life laughs threateningly with a shaking fist at all my attempts to fit myself into the routines i think i must if i’m to live well and avoid raising a sociopath. that little sociopath now has the flu. did i say HA!?**

so she’s lethargic and needy, resting comfortably and a regular two-year old in a spastic rotating circle of you’ll-never-get-close-to-a-normal-day speeds.  i’m now off to rustle up some sick food…define and select the bare minimums at my 9-5er…eek out as much work as i can on my first commercial copywriting project under HardHeadpress (HardHeadpress.com is under construction…tacky mention but i’m starting somewhere)…prepare the family, home and workplace for two more days of rather unexpected travel (not far, just far enough to be travel thanks to the twice-daily impassable monolith that is the DC area traffic spike)…and whatever else decides to join the joke.

riveting i know. oh, and i’ll squeeze in a hockey game somehow tomorrow night. it’s outrageous when i put it all on paper (screen, whatever). i’m not as lazy or as much of a slacker as i feel like i am. it’s like reading about someone else’s busier, cooler life. eye-opening. heart-opening. you should try it sometime.

so til something like a more reasonable morning, i wish you all happy, heart-filled living. and i’m not bailing…i’m not talking “haitus”…i’ve not yet earned a vacation hour at this new writing gig. i’m just announcing a high probability of an irregular smattering of thoughts and words, just enough to feed me (and maybe your curiosity)…definitely with less regularity than the irregularity i’ve already established.

there…the pressure is off…freedom on. discipline is a funny thing. maybe my best discipline is just pressing on. pressing…ha…HardHeadpress…ha again. man, i love a happy semantic accident.

** flu? no way, mundane! further inspection reveals suspected hand, foot & mouth disease or her first herpes outbreak. ah, childhood.

a pain in the latitude, same ol’ attitude…my plastic cocktail cup is half full…bartender?

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let’s stretch these rip van winkle fingers and get a few words tapped out on this typing box today. man o man i lost some time again. don’t let your kidneys fool ya, they aren’t just good martial arts targets or models for beans…apparently we really need those things. and like a passive-aggressive (ex)spouse, they wait until they are over-the-top, freakin’ out, foaming at the mouth mad before they speak up.

so, i took my daughter on a little family vacation to san diego. all appropriate elements culminated in a stereotype i hardly have to explain…long flights, lost luggage pieces, shamu splashes, zoo tantrums, toddler vomit, pandas stuffed and real, a hot tub, an ocean, lots of romance, some fuzzy robes and little washclothes folded into special resort shapes. seriously, that washcloth folding thing is an art. no swans at this joint, more functional designs…clearly there are varying schools of thought on towel sculpture. i also learned why they sell really strong margaritas at food stands at the zoo, and why they fall under the “shut up and eat some animal crackers” kids meal selections on the walk up menus. my lisa-simpson voiced bartender at the pool also taught me about something called a “changes in latitude” which delivers in two drinks or less all of the change of attitude one can handle as a “responsible adult” caring for a small child. i watched a ripple of orders rounding the pool as mothers the resort over glommed onto the recommendation. we all smiled knowingly at each other through three kinds of liquor and splash of pineapple juice, mixed so lightly even Mr. Kool-aid is sitting still by the deep end sipping his own.

coming home i had a special brand of layover. my daughter and myself both thank our wonderful travel companion who tirelessly listened to me grunt, shiver and moan my way through Denver International…and helplessly watched me grow pale and slide down the jetway in flames. it could have been worse. my passive-aggressive kidneys held back a lot in the argument…chomping under their breath with me as we muttered to each other, not here, not in public…can we deal with this when we get home? 

a few medical professionals, iv bags and prescriptions later and i’m stretching these fingers, this foggy brain and my to-do list of doom to see where i stand, to get my breath back and my bags unpacked. the thursday clouds outside are packed so tightly with deadlines that they squeeze them out as raindrops and howling tractor-trailer thunder claps. my littlebean is stirring, work is blowing up my blackberry and my morning pill regimen is calling me like a life-alert beacon portending older bones and a 7-day pill organizer.

but here i am, back from the west coast, back from “holiday” and back from the dead. oh yeah…with a kickass new tattoo from Buju in San Diego. never boring, never plain, never perfect, always me. next travel on my horizon is planned for january. we’ll see. the rest of my bones have a pool going to see when my travelin’ bone will scratch out another itinerary. i do have some holidaze coming on…maybe some of my loved ones will head this way instead…anyone wanna try out trish’s guest quarters? if yer scared say yer scared.

sparklers as fire hazard, an old catty cat, and the proper care of scapegoats and peruvian donkeys

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i just don’t know where to go with this today. first of all it’s friday. secondly the playoffs start tonight (MLB), thirdly i leave for a san diego vacation/biz trip tomorrow, fourthly i’m going there with my hot guy and my baby girl, fifthly i’ve got a telecon with my mentor and coach later before she heads off to pet her donkey in peru (that is not a joke) as i’m cruising beaches and a killer tattoo shop, sixthly i’m just really happy and motivated, perhaps even energetically annoying to those less cheerful. and i’ve had exactly one cup of coffee. zoiks. even my horrorscope tells me that i can have it all…every exciting thing i see in front of me. so i’ll just shut up, soak it up and put the cheerleader in me back into the “pom poms, yeah right” closet.

so i went searching for a story to play with. not much there, frankly (or bradley or ashley or sara lee). scanning headlines, i found only the most vaguely humorous or interesting stories…some brilliant thing Rick Perry mentioned about a mythical love-child GOP front runner named Newtman Caingrich…PETA’s upset over chicken porn…the record for the longest living two-faced cat has been broken (18 lives? he(s) always nice to your face but so catty behind your back?)…the Red Sox Nation found this year’s scapegoat for their total and completely predictable implosion (one comment from announcer Dan Shaughnessy during a 7th inning rain delay in the last game of the season jinxed Boston for the rest of the game, and retroactively, for the entire month of their 7-20 september – hey, if it makes you feel better and keeps you from setting cars on fire, it works for me)…and i learned 9 facts about my ears, including that our ears help us taste. that is just so freakin’ weird i don’t know even know where to file that in my head (behind the eustachian tubes?).

that’s the run down and way too much cheesy humor. you can read more headlines on your own about war, the attack of the e. coli melons, some political romper room fights and lots of sad deportation threats. the rest of my thoughts and plans involve a lot of happy, happy, joy, joy and running around all day wielding my master to-do list, sporting sparklers in my hair (as opposed to fire…though – BIG WARNING: i have set my best friend’s hair on fire with a sparkler…sheepish grin.) people tell me i’m allowed to be this happy, that life doesn’t necessarily come along and smack the grin off of shining faces like mine just because it can. i’m a little skeptical, a touch guarded, a few of my wounds of the past couple years still a tad seepy. but neither simple nor severe injuries ever kept me off the playing field for long…my bench time is over for now…and this sports metaphor is making me tired.

happy friday, readers. take some of my smiles if you find yourself short. i will, this time, forewarn you of the dearth of posts you will likely experience in the next week. any and all words from vacation road will be my bonus, and your onus to read should you miss me. (i’m hoping “onus” really isn’t the word you’d use to describe reading my blog…the “onus” is only on my dear friends and/or family who are required to provide constant reassurance and convincing compliments).

so…for the moment, it’s good-bye. but we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies…  – j. kerouac.

 

 

 

banner air-conditioner harvest this year…the almanac says it’s almost time!

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well, i played like a rockstar and ended up driving last Wednesday in nighttime rain and fog and glare and not much traffic at all. i did just fine. turns out that working my procrastination muscles pumped up my eye muscles until no strain or weather could stop me! i forget the power of procrastination sometimes…its mysteries are endless.

the neighborhood in Portsmouth, VA where i stayed was way sketchier than any road i took to get there. this whole gig quickly began to feel like an indie movie or stephen king novel…for so many different reasons.

i stayed in a historic Olde Towne Portsmouth hotel, right at the intersection of High street and Heroin road, down a couple of blocks from Hooker’s Corner, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and the oft-photographed, colonial era Going-Out-of-Business district, according to my in-room tourist map. i arrived late night, dragging luggage and expensive equipment from my rental car in the alley behind the hotel, over the broken glass and gravel path, onto a single patch of concrete sidewalk, through the front doors, up the stairs (with desk guy blandly watching my struggle the whole time), across the baroque Lobby of Grandeur, all the way up the elevators to my 3rd floor room with a view and a broken deadbolt. comforting.

i wedged my suitcase under the door handle and strolled over to the two curtained windows overlooking the steeples and historic brick apartment buildings of Portsmouth. The floodlight outside the window next to my bed made it a little tough to see the night skyline, but really illuminated the beauty of the rooftop air conditioner garden planted in tidy rows, already waist high at the end of a hot, damp summer. i could tell it was recently watered and well-tended…each row of equipment with its own irrigation pond. it’s clearly been a fruitful year for the air conditioner growers in the tidewater area.

as i added up the odd details of this little American locale, i felt more and more removed from the eastern seaboard i’ve come to know and closer to the strange new england towns that so often open odd, foggy, quirky tales of horror and intrigue. there was little i could do but laugh and start taking notes. for all my best intentions heading down south with workout clothes, there was no gym at the hotel…drat! (yay!). despite all the words i planned on posting, the internet was down, always reported by the front desk as “up in a few more hours.” power surge? empty promise? a cover for false advertising?

just for effect, there was an almost complete lack of cel phone coverage in my DeadZone of a room. i had better contact with the mainland when i was in Japan than in this hazy little harbor town. then there was the 350lb half-naked, cigarette-smoking, staring man hanging out of a 5th floor apartment window across the rusty way, the young morning desk clerk with her proud 4-toothed smile, the dusty fake plants in my room that coordinated nicely with the maroon, light-blue and gold bedspread from a 1985 overstock sale, the randomly selected bathroom amenities like shower gel and conditioner (but no soap or shampoo), the booklet in my room featuring ads for a hotel restaurant that no longer exists (or that perhaps is only visible through the eyes of the criminally insane)….the fact that one of my students reminded me of Brick Tamlin but with less humorous non-sequiturs…the ice-spitting air conditioners in the conference room taking aim at students and expensive laptops…i’m sure there’s more that will make it into my novels and novelties one day.

but i want to be clear that i’m not complaining. i didn’t get any Hilton Honors points for this stay, but it made Portsmouth far more interesting to my quirk-seeking eyes than a free USA Today or Crabtree & Evelyn soaps ever could. i’ve stayed in worse, even when worse just means boring. i can easily say i was less impressed by the hotel room i booked in the parking lot of an outlet shopping mall in Charleston, NC, even with its free hot-breakfast buffet and immediate access to chick-fil-a and lightly discounted lucky brand jeans.

of course, as always, the people i taught and who hosted my stay down there helped make the whole thing terribly delightful and funny. we quickly established a sarcastic rapport, found a beir garten to wash down some hilarious observations after class, and stumbled to the perfect spot to watch my saints lose their NFL opener. on day two, we all laughed heartily, after grinding our teeth a bit, when the lunch cafe we frequented began a brick-drilling project during our final meal together. in two days this group of 9 already had inside jokes enough to call us a clique (a funny one, not a bitchy one).

so once again for me, it’s the interesting, the unusual, the out of place, the unexpected, the unnatural, the unanticipated, that make the colors and scents and sensations of a place mark a spot in my memory, my heart. there is romance in crappy maid service, hilarity in irregularity, a story in every strange character’s face…especially the ones who don’t wear chain-brand name tags, the ones still holding on to more glorious times, the ones without much to lose who will converse with a traveler and give her a taste of this beautiful patchwork of people, perspectives and purpose…the taste of portsmouths and pittsburgs and point lomas and patuxents…a proper portion of all places, each perfect with imperfect personality.

my travelin’ bone is tired, but resting comfortably, next to my alliteration bone…they will both be up for more itchin’ and walkin’ and talkin’ in a few short weeks. san diego, here i come, boring and bland be gone!

i’m squinting over a four-leaf clover…of brake lights and rain glare…man i’m gettin’ older

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my night vision, at least in rain like we have here on the east coast right now, is getting crappy. i’m actually taking eye strain and safety into account in decisions about my potential departure time today. i’ll be driving, probably three hours or so. on the route i’m traveling, the length of time it takes depends largely on factors that involve traffic…rush hours, rain volume, tractor trailer stability, mercury’s position, sun glare and/or extra-interesting tire-changing displays can make the traffic here into tremendous traffic. so i want to miss said traffic as much as possible, which is easier to do at night than in the afternoon. i’d also love to see my daughter one more time before i leave. but then…(big sigh)…i catch myself concerned, ticking off the safety checks in my head, the tirednesses in my brain…i tell myself i have to work early in the morning tomorrow, there could be night construction traffic too, seeing my daughter would probably upset us more than comfort…but really, if i’m honest, i just don’t feel like driving with my crappy wet-road night-vision the whole time.

i’ve driven some incalculable number of miles, in every conceivable driving condition, beautiful and extreme. i’ve ridden shotgun for as many miles as that. i’ve put more than 300,000 miles on the cars i’ve actually ow(n)ed. lord knows how many on some rentals and friends’ cars. and then there were my parents’ cars. surprise, mom and dad! except that i’m sure you noticed the odometer, didn’t you? i thought i was so slick. you’d think after the 45th play of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, it might have occurred to me that my parents probably noticed i’d driven 60 miles when i said 6. but i was so much smarter than everyone. mind meld, mind meld.

so at 39 my driving habits are changing. i’ve slowed down a little, mellowed out quite a bit, and cut down on risk-taking a LOT (at least on purpose). that’s all happened in the last couple of years, corresponding predictably with the insertion of another legal liability in the vehicle. that whole “baby on board” thing has some merit…not the little signs…but for the driver and new mom, it does feel a little weightier emotionally to chance a risky right on red. so yeah, i still wish i was driving a station wagon-cloaked indy car sometimes…but that’s what those rentals are for…hehe.

that’s what those rentals were for…until i noticed how much i can’t freakin’ see if it’s raining at night. it’s real. damn. my whole body wants to delete this post, deny this entire observation. i can say i like getting older as much as i want, but i can see (though it’s blurry), that some of it will suck. i can make it suck hilariously at least. and i can look at the bright side of everything right through some cataracts if i have to. i can take it with grace and make things easier on myself, make choices that mean i don’t have to push and push, just because i can…until i can’t. if i sit here writing this post instead of getting ready to go, i will be forced to test my residual rain driving skills and vision. the real test then, of my concern and of the death of my prideful obstinance, is how much more i write.