The view today from 30,000 feet.

IMG_0822It was raining when we left Seattle, this winter it seems as if it has done little else but rain, but up here above the clouds the sun shines, as it always does. The temptation is to wax philosophically using the clouds and the sun as metaphors encouraging perseverance and hope. But today I am just grateful for so many things that this amazing view is just one more blessing in my blessed life.

This last weekend I was in my happy place, doing things with Tricia. Friday and Saturday were consumed with carpentry and basement restoration/remodeling. Yet, as is our style, we ended each day with food, wine and conversation. Friday night we watched “Youth”, a Michael Cain movie about not confusing age with growing old — my sore back presented a convincing contrary point of view. Saturday we re-re-watched a few episodes of the BBC’s “As Time Goes By”.

Sunday we saw friends at church, went to a couple of open houses, then grilled an eye-of-round, crisp potatoes, and a salad with blue cheese and walnuts; a perfect ending to a far too short weekend.

Just now I am at 30,000 feet, sipping red wine while eating cheese and fruit. I have friends who don’t understand how I can actually like to fly, but I do. Right now I don’t have to be doing anything except sit, sip, and write — life is good.

There is so much more I am thankful for. That God has provided the funds to remodel and repair, Tricia is an amazing budgeter, but it seems the money has stretched.

I am thankful we get a road trip to Oregon this week, I am looking forward to spending Easter with Alexis, Joe, Aaron, Kris, Macey, Dad, and Jean — at Alexis’s house.

This world, this country, is crazy. I do fight the sucking sound of being drawn into despair as presidential politics has elevated a name calling, xenophobic, sexist, candidate. But I refuse to let that happen.

The sun is shining, I am happy, God is in control. Thank you for another day, friends, family, food, and wine. I am blessed.

Getting through the chaos-food, wine, friends, and Tricia

Taking a break this morning to reflect on the things that get me through the challenges. I have been on over 20 flights in the last 11 weeks, thankfully none this last week. On the week-ends we pretend to be contractors, doing the repair work left us by our anniversary week-end flood in December – Wainscoting, painting, repairing sheetrock, installing a cabinet, ceramic tile, etc.

IMG_1947Two weeks ago I was in the Holiday Inn next to Disney, in Anaheim. It is a short walk to Downtown Disney, and Catal Restaurant. Upstairs at Catal is a quiet oasis in the chaos. A glass of wine, bacon wrapped dates, calamari, and of course pen, ink, and paint, made for a nice break from the travel.
IMG_1948The next week I had Asian Meatballs and broccoli, in Sirachi sauce at Niki and Joe’s in Newberg. We finished the evening with a we dram of Laphroaig, and my first game of Catan. I slept well on the hide-a-bed, visited by Nuli, their way too cute kitten.

Last weekend Tim came up, a good excuse to put the construction on hold, and instead too much food, some good discussions, and a bit of guitars and singing.

Thursday night of this week Tricia and I went to Daniels for Happy Hour. Just what we needed before this weekend of the final push in the basement.

These breaks make it possible to go on, food and friends have always been part of what we humans need for rejuvenation in the midst of challenges. I am so grateful.

Five Days on the Road, Day 3

Up again a bit after 5.00am, nothing new there. Another cup of Earl Gray tea in my ceramic cup with an elephant trunk for the handle. I got the cup a couple of years ago on a trip with Tricia and my mother to La Conner. There is a little shop there that has intriguing things from India and the surrounding countries, thus the elephant motif.

Spent most of morning reading and watching the Presidential race, I should tire of it yet it is addicting. Still not sure what to make of it all, but the people are speaking, for good or bad, we are seeing reflections of the populace in the candidates, a bit of a mirror on our society – that is sobering at times.

A good day at Starbuck’s a free drink on my iPhone app, so I had a short Latte Macchiato with an extra shot, in a real glass cup – yes I do have a thing about paper cups, its just not the same. Then I am off to do day two of the project management training I started yesterday, get to dance around management issues to a group that probably needs to hear them. I am looking forward to traveling to Anaheim tonight.

Made it through the seminar, great evaluations, yet glad to be at the airport. Turned in the rental car, rode the shuttle bus to the terminal. Now I am having a beverage and I already sent in an invoice, I do like getting paid.

It is 4.30pm, my flight for Anaheim boards in 2 hours. I am B33 for boarding on Southwest, that still gets me an aisle seat and overhead for my roller, so life is good. 

In Anaheim I am at the Holiday Inn next to Disney, a much happier place on earth than West Sacramento for sure. May walk tomorrow to Downtown Disney just for the diversion, and for a better meal.

Five Days on the Road, Day 2

Woke up in the Rodeway Inn just a bit after 5.00am, pretty normal. It is Super Tuesday in the 2016 presidential primary circus, so I spent a lot of time reading the news while sipping Earl Grey tea out of a cup I carry with me so as to avoid paper cups in hotel rooms; a bit of normalcy makes for easier travel.

Stopped off at Starbucks, a place I have a love-hate relationship with. The coffee is not what I really like, but there is the convenience factor that wins out on the road. Read a bit more news, watched the morning parade of coffee drinkers in West Sacramento.

West Sacramento is not much like its namesake to the East. Frankly it is a bit dodgy, not really a bad place but like my yard after a windstorm, lots of branches and leaves that need to be picked up, deck and driveway in need of sweeping – the yard looks unkempt until we rake and sweep. In West Sacramento no one seems to clean and polish, so it looks unkempt.

I am off to teach Project Management to an association of school boards. Same organization as last week, different group of people. I am still trying to get my mind around how they plan to implement it all, but I don’t get to be involved in that process. Good news is that they have lunch brought in, I love free food. I was told this morning that they were uncomfortable having me talk about management principle while non-managers were in room; the employees might criticize the manager for not doing it right. First time I have heard that one. Walked 6,143 steps wandering around while doing the seminar.

Changed into my jeans, and changed a flight for next week, then I walked .8 miles to O’Mally’s Irish Pub in the heart of Old Sacramento. The colcannon is calling my name, cabbage and mashed, how good is that.

I am so predictable, I ordered the banger dog – a British Banger, locally made with sauerkraut. Needing greens, I got the coleslaw instead of the fries, health food for sure.

Best part of the meal, the coleslaw, no really, it was great. I am pretty prejudice in thinking I make the best coleslaw but this was so good. The sausage was OK but nothing special and the Sierra Nevada, way over priced, last night $4, tonight $6.50. Not impressed.

Walked back to my hotel over the Tower Bridge, a pathetic attempt to build a bridge similar to its namesake in London, but that is about as far as the similarity goes. This one is painted a gaudy metallic gold, and in need of a new paint job at that. I always thought that the Steel Bridge in Portland was not a very pretty bridge, well it is wonderful compared to this. (London on the left, Sacramento on the right)

Back in the room, comfortable, and ready to wind the day down watching a bit of Netflix while keeping an eye on the primary elections.

Five Days on the Road, Day 1

It’s turbulent at 30,000 feet today, Monday afternoon, on the way to Sacramento. Surrounded by Alaska Air navy blue, with complimentary MVP Gold  white wine in a plastic cup. Seat 6C, the bulkhead, is good, as much leg room as in first class, and you get your wine right away, quick deplaning.

After 22 years on the road, travel for work, any travel is different. My life has three venues, home with Tricia, Travel with Tricia, travel alone. Home and travel with Tricia are the best, travel alone is where I spend too much time.

It is a quick flight, already we are beginning to descend, the turbulence reminds me we are actually up in the air. I use the scuba divers technique to release the pressure on my ears, flight attendants are scurrying to pick up the “remaining service items.”

After 840 steps, one train, and one shuttle-bus I get to the National car rental. A silver Chevy, the exact same one I drove last week. Then 13 miles into town. Staying at the Rodeway Inn just a few blocks from the Sacramento Rivercats baseball stadium, too bad there is no game. No Hilton hotel tonight.

My room is small, but clean and it looks recently remodeled, I have stayed in worse. I stayed here because the management responded to every comment on the website, even though it is not a fancy place they seem to be making an effort to do it as well as they can.

2016-02-29 17.44.02Across the street is a bowling alley and Cap’s Bar & Grill. Its close, and the only thing I see within walking distance except a Subway and some Chinese place. One difference between Tricia Time and my Vagabond Life is that I would not be eating here with her. In my Vagabond world I hit dive bars and drive-ins far too much.

My view is the bowling lanes, only three are being used, one looks like a dad and his little girl, cute. There is a family with a few kids, and a couple that spends more time talking than bowling. I order a Patty Melt, and a Sierra Nevada on Happy Hour. At the bar there are regulars.

Thanks to Wi-fi I watch soccer on my iPad while I eat. The sandwich is fine, it is new to the menu they tell me, it could use more salt or a savory sauce, but its not bad. I pay, then walk back to the hotel. I started to watch a documentary on Winston Churchill, but it was demanding too much thinking, will finish it later. So watched a couple of episodes of MASH, then went to bed, read a bit and lights out by about 8.00PM.