Posted tagged ‘travel’

Nothing To Do But Write

March 6, 2017

It’s 1:45 in the afternoon and here I sit, in the Dallas Fort Worth Airport, American Airlines Terminal B, to be specific.   Back in the days when I was a regular business traveler, I was a member of the Admirals Club, a private lounge for American Airlines travelers willing to pay a hefty fee … in dollars or miles.  The Club has comfortable seating, private working areas, and snacks … plus sandwiches and drinks for a price.  If I was stuck with a three hour layover … like I have today … it was better than sitting at the gate.   Quieter, for one, at least until business travelers starting bringing their kids along.  Today, I am sitting at a counter with USB ports in the Gate B5 waiting area.   I have no special attachment to gate B5 but there are no flight scheduled for the next several hours so it is relatively quiet.   For about ten minutes, the alarm on an employees-only door kept going off, a high pitched squeal that leaves my teeth vibrating.   Desperate for power for my laptop, I waited it out.  A speaker on the ceiling over my head is prattling on about the madhouse that has become our national government.  It is only slightly less annoying than the alarm.   Terminal B mostly serves American Airlines secondary routes … like those to Huntsville, where I’m headed, so in front of me passengers trickle by in ones and twos, hunting for their departure gates or talking quietly.  Even with occasional gate change announcements, it’s not a bad place to write, especially when there’s nothing else to do.  It’s not the Admirals Club, for sure, but it’s better than the madhouse in terminal A, where I arrived from Socal.

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Leaving Arizona

May 14, 2016

azThe refrigerator is empty.  So are the closets.  The cable and internet will turn off Sunday.   Our personal items and a few decorator items we’ll keep are boxed and waiting to be loaded into the car.  Our realtor, Kay, stopped by yesterday to tell us that based on the inspection report, the buyer has accepted the house as is … and the closing has been moved up to may 31.  Without the personal items and with our grandkids in Utah, the house doesn’t really feel like the place we called our Little House in the Desert.  Tomorrow, we will be Leaving Arizona. (more…)

Information Content

March 18, 2016

DELTAIt’s Friday and I’m flying again.  There was a time that meant business, very likely in Washington, D.C.  At this stage of my life, flying usually means vacation or visiting family.  Today, the destination is Salt Lake City to see our grandkids (and their parents … it’s a package deal).  If you’ve been a reader for a while,  you know air travel is a challenge for my Inner Curmudgeon.   It has three of the things he hates: waiting (especially in lines) and confined spaces packed with people and their cell phones.  And the worst thing, small cadres of business folks traveling together, compelled to have loud business meetings in the airport lounges … or worse, in the row behind me on the aircraft. (more…)

Throwback Thursday – Following Instructions

January 14, 2016

I discovered this old post, originally posted in 2010, by accident as I was reviewing the similar posts WordPress inserted at the bottom of yesterday’s post, Yakkers.   It is the perfect combination of common sense and curmudgeon for a Throwback Thursday.

instructionsThis morning, waiting in the aisle of Southwest Flight 931 to choose my seat, I was talking with a man from San Antonio I’d met in the boarding area.   We were both experienced business travelers exchanging … as experienced business travelers do … stories of cities visited and flights endured.  The flight attendant, who appeared to be almost as old as I am … remember when they were all young and glamorous? …  probably not … was giving her full flight speech.   Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very full flight.  There is limited overhead space for carry-on luggage, so please place any  items such as computer bags, cameras, coats or hats under the seat in front of you. As she was finishing, the man in front of me stuffed his computer bag into a partially full bin and farther down the aisle, a woman was doing the same with her coat and purse.   My temporary traveling companion and I just looked at each other and laughed. (more…)

Monday Smiles – Airborne Edition

November 16, 2015

image I am flyng again.  At the moment, the interactive map on the video screen at my seat tells me I am over Juarez, New Mexico.  I am bound to the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, hoping to catch a tight connection to Huntville AL for a two day business meeting.   It looks like I land in one terminal and depart from another, so I may have some running through the airport to do.  Truth:  at my age, it will be fast walking, especially with my computer bag over my shoulder.   I’m on the aisle in the 13th row, not First Class but not the worst seat on the plane either.  Most of the passengers are reading or playing whatever on their assorted electronic devices, which is good … no loud talkers.   The only annoyance is the very large guy in front of me who keeps shifting  in his seat and pushing against the backrest so hard that he almost spills my Diet Coke.  Me?  I’m writing and listening to my jazz playlist in shuffle mode … Keiko Matsui Walls of Akendora, at the moment.   The Captain just said, We are beginning our descent into Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.  Please return to your seats and be sure your seatbelts are fastened, which means 40 more minutes in the air.   He says there are storms in the area so the descent could be bumpy.

I used to travel once or twice a month and I liked being in touch with my professional community.  I enjoyed working on teams addressing real technical problems and I enjoyed giving presentations on our work. image These days, the work is still interesting but I don’t need to be a shaker and a mover anymore.  It makes my bones rattle and my joints hurt.  But here I am at 34,000 feet, listening to the music I love, posting on my blog.  I’ll text Muri when I land and hook up with my colleagues for the flight to Huntsville.   We’ll finally get to see what our customer thinks of our work.  If I had my druthers, I would be at home.   As my wife Muri and I have grown older, we like to be in shouting distance of each other, not that we do much shouting.  We do occasionally text each other from or respective enclaves, hers the love seat in our bedroom and me in my recliner downstairs.  Yes, I’d rather be doing that.  But for a couple days I can pretend to move and shake like I used to.  I can even smile about it.  It is, after all, Monday.

Being (or Not Being) a Photographer

October 27, 2015

slide ruleFor  years, I was an engineer that wanted to be a writer, which means … wishing I was a writer instead.  This in spite of the fact that one of thewriting pen skills my employers always valued was my ability to write about the complex systems we were developing. So, I bought books on writing.  I took classes and got a certificate in creative writing.  I published a short story.  I wrote an (unpublished) novel.  I started this and several other blogs.  But I didn’t become a writer in my own mind until I said, I am a writer.  I still sometimes feel that I have to say it’s my avocation, not my vocation.  Old habits die hard.

cameraI have a similar issue with being an artist and in particular with Being (or Not Being) a Photographer.  I have a nephew, Bryan, who has studied photography and posts beautiful pictures on Facebook, as well as on his website.  He is trying to make a go of it as a professional photographer.   He probably knows more about cameras, composition and things like depth of field than I will ever know.  I use a camera that makes most decisions for me and my work depends on eye for interesting scenes and what I believe is a natural sense of composition.  So, am I a photographer?  Am I a photographer if I say it’s an avocation?**

On Tuesdays, at least for the time being, I am since I post one of my photos.  This one was taken a the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, Italy, home of the famous leaning tower.  Not being a traveler or a history buff, I expected the tower to stand alone in the middle of a large square, not be part of a magnificent cathedral and baptistery.    I snapped this shot of the cathedral and tower against the bright blue sky filled with cumulus clouds.  It is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.

pisa

** If you struggle with calling yourself an artist, there is no better place to address it than Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

Wednesday? Cleveland

October 21, 2015

clevelandMy wife, Muri, and I are in the midst of a two city coast-to-coast trip to visit our families.  We both come from small families that don’t maintain much contact with cousins, so at our age, visiting family means siblings, siblings-in-law, and their offspring.  Oh, yeah, and at our age, their offspring’s offspring.   Most of Muri’s family is concentrated within driving distance of Boston, so that was our first stop.  We spent last weekend there.  Monday, we flew to Cleveland, where my tribe lives these days.  We are the outliers, having lived in California for 44 years, and while there have been a few West Coast visitors, for the most part if we wanted to see family, we flew East.  Both Muri and I have a brother and a sister and in both cases, the middle child is the brother.  Muri is the youngest of her siblings and I am the oldest.  In an odd bit of symmetry, my kid sister and Muri’s older sister are both dealing with significant dementia, which was one of the reasons we decided to visit at this time. (more…)