Monday, December 26, 2005

Surving Another Christmas

Funny to be blogging this minutes before I board my flight to Portland. This Christmas came and went so fast, I thought I'd better blog it before I forgot.

Christmas for me started out, very much like an Amazing Race episode. The one where my Project Manager tells me our flight was delayed 3 hours. My right hand was on my desktop keyboard confirming that, indeed, the Alaska flight was delayed, while my left hand was on my laptop furiously looking for any available flights to Burbank. I was in luck. There was one flight left, that had one stop - in Oakland - and I was on the phone and booked it while my PM was just trying to reserve another flight on United. A few minutes I printed out my boarding pass. Group C. It'll have to do. I packed up another 5 minutes later and wished everyone at my client a very, Merry Christmas!

When I arrived at the airport, I put on dancing shoes. As soon as I arrived, I picked up my car from valet (yes, my one little luxury during my weekly commute up north) and drove straight to Pasadena to catch my favorite swing/blues singer, Barbara Morrison! She was fantasitic that night, and I got to dance all my favorite songs she croons oh-so-well!!

My first and probably the best present of the night came from my friend, Jason, who hand-built me his competition winning robot ornament - and out of Legos, mind you! For those who know me, there is nothing more I love at Christmas than hand made ornaments. (Thank you!)

No fancy decorations or holiday mingle parties this year. Everything was low-key sharing Christmas moments with Family and close friends. The highlight would be my little nephew, Aidan, who was the official gift opener at the family secret Santa exchange. At four years old, he’s ripe for the holiday spirit and eagerly ripped open presents for us. We just had to remind him who the presents where for.

My only, constant worry over the holidays is for my grandmother - who is only visited by less than half of our family because the other half, well, don’t really care or harbors too much ill will from the past against her. It’s really sad. We’re not here to tell them their business, but the reality is a poor, old woman in nursing home desperate for her kin to visit. I do my best each weekend, but it’s emotionally and logistically hard to bear at times.

With all that, it was still a very nice Christmas. I am reminded of how blessed I am with my family and friends. I look forward to a year of new friends, never before been-to swing camps, awesome dancers, better health, traveling to another, hopefully new, country and poker wins!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Journey to Oz

Well… I started off pretty rocky. Cindy visited from Colorado and was tooling around L.A. I offered her my cell phone to make her get-togethers more efficient. It was a bad decision on my part because I need to make so many calls while I was at LAX. When I checked in, the folks at the counter informed me that I didn’t have a visa. I almost fainted and started to panic. They offered to apply online for me. It’s a new service that was just started a few months ago. I told Anna about this when I got to Sydney and she laughed and forgot to tell me I needed a visa.

Anyway, like I said, it was off to a bad start. Since the LAX to Sydney flight was sold out for award tickets, I was forced to go through SFO. I missed my flight to SFO. It’s just to embarrassing to put down what for, email me and I’ll tell you. I made it on the next flight, thanks to a 3-hour layover at SFO.

I liked 747s and upgraded to on Economy plus seat. I shared a row with an Aussie returning home from his sister’s wedding in Florida. Poor guy, this was flight #3 of 4 to get back to his home town. We chatted for a while and he when he’d smile and say “Cheers!” it was the cutest thing! There was no one in the middle seat which made the flight that much better. Since I was recovering form bronchitis right before this trip, I had some extra cough syrup with Codine which helped me sleep through most of this 14-hour flight.

Sydney from the air looked a like a combination of L.A., Seattle and Florida. It was flat with a lot of waterways. The Opera House, so white against a gray landscape stood out, even from 20,000 feet. We landed safe and sound, got through Security with a stern warning that I should have marked the “food” checkbox with all the goodies and chocolates I was brining for Anna and Eduaord.

I was early and saw them running through the crowd at the terminal. It was good to see happy and familiar faces. It was easy getting out of the airport and passed the big Krispee Kreme store with drive through on the way. I had to laugh because among all the Starbucks and KFCs along the way, it felt like I never left home. Their apartment was in a small town called Mosman, a few miles north of Sydney, across the famous Sydney bridge. It really did look like L.A., but felt like England. Everyone drove on the left side of the street and all the signs reminded me of London.

It was a long travel day and was happy to get some rest my first night there. Anna and Eduaord’s secret shame is all the American reality TV they watched. I myself have never seen Top Model, but sat through my first one. Quite shameful and entertaining at the same time… TO BE CONTINUED. (Dang it.. I unpacked and misplaced my journal... I'll keep looking...)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Freezing my @$$ off in Denver!

Yipee, I get to spend a couple of days here for work. It's supposed to snow tomorrow and on Wednesday, it's only going to be in the single digits.

I still feel like crap, spending most of the weekend in bed sick with a bad cold/mini-flu. I was able to organize a bit, so that felt good. I was able to visit my grandma at the nursing home. On the way there.. this guy in a van sped up next two me and honked his horn twice. I finally looked over (because I never do.. right Rich)and he smiled and gave me a thumbs up. What the hell?? Whatever...

Anyway, am homesick and want to be back in Southern Cal.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Post Australia

OK, OK, I know I owe you guys a blog! Just know that I am bit under the weather and over worked. As soon as I got back, I got assigned to a new assignment and it's taken off faster than a speeding bullet. I'm back on the road and traveling to several states now. Hopefully, it's just for the first few weeks/months.

Australia was amazing. Yes, it practically rained the whole time...but it was still fun. If you haven't gotten the email with links to the photos, just email me.

Hang in there... I'll write soon!