Mar 31, 2008

The Lonely Cart – March 2008

Note to Reader: I believe that baggage handlers have one of the toughest jobs on the planet. I mean aside from brain surgeons, and rocket scientists, and doctors, and lawyers, and parents… Well maybe one of the toughest non pilot jobs at the airport. They are responsible for making sure that everyone’s bags get where they need to go. And it would be a huge amount of pressure to know that if they don’t do their job correctly then someone goes naked. And just in case you have never been to San Diego, CA and stumbled upon Black’s Beach, not everyone looks good naked!

I make a habit of being early to just about everything. I make a point to try to arrive about 15 min early. On this day however, due to car problems and the fact that my husband has to be at the hospital to round at 5:30am, I arrived not at the suggested arrival time of 7:00am, which would have been 2 hrs prior to boarding,. I arrived at 5:00am, for a 9:50am flight. So that makes me 3 hrs early and 4 ½ hrs before boarding. This gave me the unique experience of literally watching the airport wake-up which brings me to the point of this blog.

My gate was located just above what I believe to be baggage truck central. I wish I’d gotten a picture of all of the sleeping trucks and carts, but alas, that early in the morning my ability to have forethought was not all there.

I literally sat in that airport terminal for 5 hours and this poor cart had to sit and watch all the other carts get coupled together and made into little trains and never once was he selected to take part. He sat there all by himself. At one point I knocked on the glass as the men were debating on which carts to select in order to put in a good word for this lonely little cart, but because the glass at the airport is bullet proof, which also means it is knocking proof, and the fact that these guys wear giaganormous head phones to protect their ears from the loud airplane engine noises, my efforts went un-noticed and they actually ended up taking the set of three on the right side of this picture rather than him.

So, since I had nothing better to do I made up a whole story in my head about how this little cart never got the chance to be part of a train and because of that never got the chance to prove how great of a baggage cart he could be. Then one day, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, (The busiest travel day of the year!!!) all of the other carts were out as part of cart trains and their was a need to have a VERY important bag that needed to make a very tight connection so that it could get to a little girl that was traveling by herself to her grandmother’s house. The little cart said to the baggage handler “Please pick me! Pick me!!! I will be the best little luggage cart you’ve ever toated!” Well the man hemmed and hawed and finally, because there were no other carts, except a very old and cranky cart that squeaked and bumped and pulled a little to the left, kind of like the grocery carts that I somehow ALWAYS manage to select, he backed his toating truck up to the little lonely cart and settled the coupling pin into place and off they went.

Well without making a short story long, this little cart did an AWESOME job. They raced away to pick up a little pink princess suitcase and the did a quick U Turn and sped down the tarmac and got there just in time to gently deposit the case onto the conveyer belt to the airplane’s belly just before they closed the door. As the truck and cart pulled slowly away from the airplane and were stopped for just a moment by the ground crew to let the airplane pull out and get on it’s way, the driver turned in his seat and whispered to the little cart, “you did a great job little cart! Thank you for not being old and grumpy and for not pulling a little to the left”.

From that day on the man only chose that cart and they were a great team. The man and little cart were always chosen first to take care of the tight connecting bags. They carried luggage for movie stars, and politicians, and even a few famous country music singers. The man and little cart had a wonderfully long and successful career and they lived happily ever after!

The End

Till Next time,
Bon Voyage

Mar 22, 2008

A Michigan Left - Detroit, MI - March 2008

A Michigan Left is sometimes known as a Median U-Turn. describes this turn as “an automobile traffic maneuver in which a unidirectional U-turn and a right turn replace a prohibited left turn. The term comes from the fact that the arrangement is quite common along Michigan roads and highways and is extremely rare anywhere else in the United States. (See photo to the left of Michigan left for ref.)

Note to Self: Thank goodness you decided NOT to rent a car when you were in Detroit this week! Riding in a car with someone participating in this ridiculous traffic pattern practice was quite enough!

Note to Reader: CAUTION!!! - This is the WORST idea but the longer you spend in Michigan the more your mind becomes tainted into thinking that this might work in your home town. Please be advised that it wouldn’t! It doesn’t work there; they really are just in denial. A left turn signal and a dedicated turn lane are completely sufficient.

I think to get the full effect of this civil engineering retardation you’ve got to experience it, but if you have no plans in the near future to go to the big MI keeper of the infamous “8 mile” and home of the former K-Mart headquarters then buckle your imaginary seat belt and close your eyes, (shoot!!! Don’t do that cause you can’t read if you do that, but imagine you are.) and I’ll take you on the ride of your life.

Additional Note to Reader: Riding with me in general is somewhat of a Grandma experience because I drive … the speed limit, but hey I get there. OK all strapped into my brand new white 2008 Mercedes Benz ML 350 SUV with tan leather interior a rockin’ stereo system and a baby seat in the back (see picture)… Hey this is my imaginary road trip, I can drive what ever I want and no, I am not pregnant, I just know that by the time I can afford this car I’d better have at least one baby in the back seat!!! Ready? Let’s go!

So there we are cruising down Gratiot (which is actually pronounced “GRASH-IT”… don’t ask me?) We’ve just left the AutoZone Regional Office (I guess we were there to show them how cute my new car and baby in that baby seat are because if Jeremy and I can afford the Car the baby and the baby seat in back, then maybe I’m a successful novelist by now =)… hehe I love my imagination!) and we’re heading to get a bite to eat at National Coney Island. (They have great Coney dogs and even better French fries! YUMMMMMMM!) So to get there we’ll have to make a left on 10th and it’s a straight shot from there, or is it?

In order to go the correct direction on 10th you actually have to go through the light at Gratiot and 10th and drive a half a mile past it and then pull the U-turn and then come back. (Hummmmm… on second thought maybe this was designed by the oil companies so you use more gas.) So you roll through the light at 10th and about a half a mile up on the left you ease into a left turn lane that will feed you into a two lane U-Turn space in the median that is controlled by a traffic light, but it is also important to note that turning left on red (i.e. hurling your car into 4 lanes of speeding traffic with the intent of making it to the far right hand lane in now less than a half of a mile so that you can make a right on 10th instead of the left you would have, should have made a half mile ago, is completely acceptable. (EEEH Gads!!! This just gets more and more ridiculous. You might as well just close your eyes and hit the gas!)

So if we take the safe way and wait until the light turns green with 95 people honking behind us because we have not risked our lives and the lives of everyone that we may encounter while running that red light, we slowly accelerate looking to our right to make sure no one is going to run their red light and to the left to be sure no one is going the wrong way, and ease to the right hand side of the road. In the half a mile drive from the U-turn and the right turn on 10th we can see out the right side windows any multitude of drug dealers, homeless people crack houses, run down buildings and not a police officer in sight. A minute and a half later we have eased into the right hand turn lane and successfully made the right onto 10th and are on our way to Detroit’s finest coney restaurant. All in all this has been a successful trip, but really, is all of the stress, all of the anxiety and heart pounding terror worth it? I think not.

Even if for some reason this did save time or aid in the flow of traffic during rush hour, which I sincerely doubt it does, because between the hours of 4 and 6 every major thoroughfare in this city is basically a parking lot, the idea of having cars actually pass their desired street and make a U-Turn which is an action that is illegal in over half of the 50 states, and “technically” is a left turn that just forgot to stop turning when it should have, just makes no since to me.

So here’s my theory… The Michigan Left may just be a gift from God, because I did more praying in traffic for myself, my driver, and those around us then I think I have ever done in my life!

Haha! I forgot to mention, Detroit, MI has started experimenting with the European style round about. Good luck with that!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Mar 14, 2008

Road Reads - March 2008

I must start by saying I LOVE LOVE LOVE TO READ!!! I am never caught without a book in my bag or an audio book loaded on my iPod. One of the draws to accepting my job is that I would have all that travel time to be able to do more reading! YEAH!

Note to Reader: If you haven’t tried audio books you should at least listen to one. You don’t have to make a cold turkey switch to only listening to books, but it really is a thrilling experience when you can listen to that book you have been trying to read for months but haven’t been able to find the time. On top of that it allows you to multi task. One time, when my husband was on overnight call while he was in his pediatrics rotation, I listened to an entire novel while I cleaned our entire house (this includes dusting, cleaning the windows and mirrors, toilets tubs, counter tops, floors I even cleaned behind the appliances and polished the wood furniture!) and did a week’s worth of laundry.

Additional Note to Reader: If you are friends with me long enough you will be converted to an audio book fan I have already change ten people from maybe one paperback a year to avid audio book listeners. So don’t resist!

So what do I read? Well, I mostly like silly stuff like Sophie Kinsella ( She is the author of the Shopaholic series and one of my all time favorites, The Undomestic Goddess. I have read this book about six times and I still crack up every time she burns the chick peas! I am also a fan of Jodi Picoult ( who's book My Sister’s Keeper has mooved me to tears every time I’ve read it (I think it’s four and a half times) She writes about stuff that people avoid talking about at parties due to the fact that people’s passion about these issues often bring them to blows (School Shootings. Contrivercial medical treatments, the death penalty, religion, and more. She also wrote Ninteen Minutes and Change of Hart, her newest novel that is debuting on the New York Times list at Number ONE! I am also a BIG fan of Jennifer Weiner ( My favorite novel of hers is Little Earthquakes. My brother gave it to me in Audio book about three years ago for Christmas and I have listened to it about 5 times. I loved Goodnight Nobody. However my favorite is her collection of short stories The Guy Not Taken. They are really great stories about a girls coming of age. The movie In Her Shoes was based on one of those short stories. I just LOVE her writing!

My most recent triumpth is Stephen King’s Duma Key ( great reead and one that will keep me turning back to Mr. King when ever I need a bone Chilling suspencefull thriller. I also read Cell, (the cell phone crazies!) but one of my favorite Steven King novels is Bag of Bones. I listened to it as an Audio book and Stephen king actually read it himself. (I owe a shout out to my good frend Andy who turned me on to Stephen King with this book.) There is nothing better than listening to an author read his own work because you know as the listener, that you are hearing it exactly as he intended it. It has one of the Best Steven King endings I’ve ever encountered.

So what’s next, hummm. You tell me. I’m always hunting for a new author so suggestions are welcome. The only rule is that it has to make me feel something, otherwise it’s a waste of time. Happy Reading!!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Mar 13, 2008

Thank Heavens for Little Girls! – Indianapolis, IN and Knoxville, TN – February and March 2008

I must first say that this road warrior story did not come from a business trip.
This entry is dedicated to three very special little girls whose birthdays have yet to be celebrated. Their names are Haylee Grace, Rachael Louise, and Megan Grace. If you are the praying kind, please pray they enter this world healthy and happy! Love you all and your mommies very very much. See you when you get here!

Note to Reader: You can sing along if you know the words

“1… 2… 1, 2, 3, 4…!”

“Each time I see a little girl
of 5 or 6 or 7
I can't resist a joyous urge to smile and say,
"thank heaven for little girls
For little girls, get bigger, every day
thank heaven for little girls
they grow up in the most delightful way
those little eyes so helpless and appealing
one day we will flash and send you crashing through the ceiling
thank heaven for little girls
thank heaven for them all
no matter where, no matter who
without them, what would little boys do
thank heaven, thank heaven,
thank heaven for little girls
those little eyes, so helpless, and appealing
one day will flash and send you crashing through the ceiling
thank heaven for little girls
thank heaven for them all
no matter where, no matter who
without them, what would little boys do
thank heaven,
thank heaven,
thank heaven for little girls
thank heaven for little girls”

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Bribing a federal agent– Milwaukee, WI - February 2008

Just in case you aren’t sure of who is included under that “FEDERAL AGENT” umbrella, just about any job with “department of…” in the title. (Usually there is a cute 3 or 4, sometimes 7 letter acronym.) There are a gazillion of these agencies but one in particular has become near and dear to my heart, the T.S.A. or the Transportation Security Administration. A dead giveaway that you are in contact with a TSA agent is their spiffy outfits.

Women wear these maroon polyester sweater vests – see photo.
(I know you are now wondering if they have this one in your size). The gents sport neck ties. Everyone gets to wear these stripped things that button to their shoulders and the letters TSA are stamped on the backs of all of their clothing.

Before my recent trip to Milwaukee, I could have honestly said that in my adult life my criminal activity has been limited to the occasional wrong way down a one way street, cutting the do not remove tag off of my pillows and mattresses, a right turn on red ticket, and sneaking my niece and nephew C-A-N-D-Y when their mother, my sister, isn’t looking.

Note to Self: when the TSA says no liquids can pass through the security check point, they mean it

Additional Note to Self: You are not an exception!

So there I was, thinking that now after three trips in two weeks I am the all knowing road warrior, I don’t even have to think about crossing the security check point. In fact, people should watch and model my actions as I am an example of airport check point efficiency. HA!!!

Not only did they 86 my 4.5 oz toothpaste, my hair dryer that looked as though it could be concealing a weapon, and my VERY EXPENSIVE face wash, It was discovered that I had been concealing three 12 oz cans of Coke, a standard 16 oz bottle of water, and hand sanitizer.

If you’re not quite with me on the dilemma here, and/or you haven’t traveled by air since 9/11, before you enter the airport security experience their about 72 posters, pamphlets, key chains, book marks, recorded messages, instructional videos, people doing sign language and Braille manuals telling you what you are and are not to take through the check point. In addition to that there is a man at the ‘in’ end of the conveyor asking to confirm that you indeed have read the signage and that you are abiding by the TSA regulations and not carrying any liquids, pastes, and/or gels through the check point. And what do you imagine I told this man, yep you are right, I told him, “No sir, not that I am aware of”.

So you can imagine my surprise when I get to the end of that same conveyor after a pat down by a she man, and being given what could only compare to a field sobriety test (touch your nose, touch your toes, stand on one foot, you get the idea) and finally am allowed to exit this machine that they call a explosive device detector, that shoots air at you from about fifty different directions (ensuring that your good hair day is non-recoverable, and they have my contraband beverage set out like a police line up and a funny grin on their faces. “These yours?” they ask me. And ever the comedian what do I say back? Well… (little giggle) yes they are, but I brought them for you guys… (big smile) Hope ya’ll are thirsty!” “Ma’am” they say as their faces turn from sweet to stone, “you do know that it is illegal to attempt to bribe a federal agent?”

For a moment my life in a petty crime prison sharing a cell with Britney flashed before my eyes (we were BFF’s, we shared beauty secrets, and she confessed to me that her marriage was a truth or dare game gone VERY wrong, and she confided in me that they were going to let Brad and Angelina adopt their children.) Then their faces broke into smiles and they waved me through. (Oh and they kept my liquids.) Since then I have flown twice and successfully made it through security without any problems. Promise I will not let it go to my head.

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Pizza party for one – Dallas, TX - February 2008

In a marriage you must make compromises. What color to paint the living room, how to fold the towels who gets the shower first and which is more important to record on the DVR, Tracks Across Africa or the season ender of Gray’s Anatomy because there’s no way American Idol is getting bumped. One of the casualties of compromise in my marriage has been delivery pizza. I have willingly given up my love of thin crust pizza for the privilege to choose the toppings (pepperoni, mushrooms and black olives).

I must confess, I was recently in Dallas and reunited with my long lost love of Pizza and found that it had only grown stronger with time

.…So there I was cross-legged in my PJ’s on the living room floor of my completely upgraded for free hotel suite indulging myself on my very own medium thin crust Domino's pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives, a 20oz coke, and watching Gossip Girl with a hot fire going in the fire place (remember the earlier mentioned completely upgraded for free hotel suite).

I wouldn't trade any part of my merriage, and pray that we continue to be blessed. That being said it really is nice, every once in a while, to have a pizza party for one.

Until next time,
Bon voyage!

Girl vs. Steak - Dallas, TX - February 2008

Once upon a time there was a little bitty girl that let her eyes get as big as the state she was in... and the steak won.

Note to reader: As small as I am, it has been said that as far as eating is concerned, I can hold my own with the big boys.

If you are ever in Dallas, TX you must must must go to Salt Grass Steak House. I love red meat and this was one of the best places I've ever been. From the killer salad all the way to the chocolate cheese cake that really should not be legal, this place gets top marks.

I am now an advocate of restaurants of this caliber having some sort of action plan for those that eat all of what they are given. A new pair of pants with an elastic waste band would have been great, but I could have settled for a new (larger) belt. In addition to that, a wheel chair to get my self back to my rental car, a bottle of Tums, and a shoe horn to wedge myself into the above mentioned car. I honestly ate until there was nothing left to eat.

Looking back, I can only ask myself "why didn’t you just stop eating?" and the answer I give myself is, that would have been more of a crime. I don’t know how healthy this sort of eating is, but it definitely could be considered an exercise in thriftiness. That dinner was on a Wednesday and I don’t think I ate my next real meal until Fridays lunch!

Until next time,
Bon voyage