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Yeah, yeah, it's supposed to be Alpennia day. Consider yourselves all reminded to buy, read, and review my books. Now let's talk about New Orleans.

So this was my unprogrammed day for sightseeing (the conference doesn't start until mid-day tomorrow). I hadn't managed to connect with any of the GCLS folks about sightseeing in the morning, so I just took off on foot (the Hilton is right at the base of Canal Street, and so on the edge of the French Quarter). Picked up a couple of walking tour guidebooks and then settled in for coffee and beignets at Cafe Beignet (which is recommended as the place to go if you don't want to deal with the crowds at Cafe du Monde). I spend half the day wandering up and down most of the streets on the river side of Bourbon Street (which itself is not all that interesting in terms of historic features during the day). You can check out some photos if you're one of my fb friends.

Just around the time I was ready for a break (with the heat and humidity rising steadily) I got a text from Lauri that her plane was on the ground, so I headed back to the hotel and settled in with a cold lemonade and air conditioning to wait for her to show up.

Not even quite unpacked, I dragged her off for more meandering along with a couple of GCLS buddies and then we took in a Segway tour (my first time on one). While we were getting our tour briefing and getting used to the equipment, there was a brief intense rain shower, which made the temperature much pleasanter for the tour. We had a delightfully knowledgable guide and took in a larger scope of sights than I would have made it to on foot.

After a brief rest back a the hotel, Lauri and I headed out to dinner. I think we only have one other "unprogrammed" dinner during the conference, and I had my heart set on dining on a second floor balcony eating traditional dishes. So we ended up at an upstairs eatery on Bourbon Street (which is a much more happening place after dark), sharing a Cajun/Creole sampler platter and watching the people go by in the street below. (Alas, the most audible music was from the restaurant sound system rather than the random live musicians along the street, but you can't have everything.)

Tired now.
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I'm feeling a little like Lucy just yanked the football out from in front of me. The other half of the family gathering got stuck in New England, due to a combination of weather delays, missed connections, no available rebookings, and the logistical difficulties of widening the travel options. So it'll continue to be just the California half hanging out, watching football, playing card and board games, and indulging in food designed for a somewhat larger crowd. The original modified schedule (designate New Year's Eve as the official Holiday Dinner and New Year's Day as the gift exchange plus Open House) continues as planned. But it isn't the same as it would be with all of us here. I guess we'll add a ceremonial Packing of the UPS Box to the activities.

I think I may need to scare up a couple more dinner guests for the NYE roast beef.

On the up side, I still have 6 sewing days until 12th night and I'm well ahead of schedule. I'm doing two 16th century men's outfits comprising shirt, breeches, doublet, and coat. Of those, both shirts are done, both pairs of breeches are done except for lacing eyelets, one doublet is virtually done except for lacing eyelets and buttonholes/buttons, the other is cut out, one coat is completely done and the other is cut out. No time for slacking but I have no doubts of finishing it all.
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I can reconstruct the convention from the schedule on the back of my tent card. They kept me quite busy. GFiNY and I dodged around the Macys crowds Thursday morning to catch our train at Penn Station and discovered that a "reserved seat" on Amtrak doesn't necessarily mean you'll _find_ a seat without walking from one end of the train to the other. We settled into the cafe car because it offered the first available pair. Don Sakers picked us up in Baltimore (Penn station again --we passed through an additional Penn station going through New Jersey) and delivered us to the hotel. Then it was dinner at the hotel buffet with the usual pre-convention crowd and then hanging out socializing in Judy's room until bedtime.My forestalled cold was definitely back, determined to progress through all the usual stages, so I got snifflier as the weekend went on and skipped out on late-night activities. Friday I three panels, the usual one on "researching historic details for fiction and why do people love medieval fantasy so much anyway?" Next was a very energetic and (I think) successful panel on "Do/Should minorities get a 'pass'?" in the sense of "Should authors avoid making minority characters into villains/victims?" I'm told by an audience member that watching the body language of the panelists was as much fun as listening to what was being said. Last up was an alt-history panel on "what would have happened if famous people had been of the opposite gender?" On which my position was the largely boring "mostly they would never have had the opportunity to do what they became famous for."
We'd had dinner before my third panel with [ profile] the_cheese_lady and her husband, but afterward bumped into GoH Nalo Hopkinson who was about to have dinner alone and joined her for company. (One of the secrets of Darkovercon is that it's a great opportunity to snag GoHs for cozy chats around meals.)
Saturday I had a solo panel on designing names for use in fiction which had a small but enthusiastic audience. The afternoon panel "Making it real" (how to use details to create realistic settings) covered ground from how to research and use expert consultants to writing techniques for how to insert those details into your story smoothly. I went to the all-authors autograph session but no one dredged out any old copies of Sword & Sorceress or "Baby Names for Dummies" this year, so I mostly took notes for the panel I'd be moderating later. The post dinner panel was "Alien Romance", which had a prompt suggesting how laws and ethics might handle relationships with sentient non-human beings, although the discussion covered a fair amount of speculation on mechanics as well. (For actual alien species I have a hard time getting past how much groundwork you'd have to do after first contact before something like "informed consensuality" could reasonably be discussed.) I skipped the midnight Hallelujah Chorus for the first time in years because I was still fighting through the cold and sleep seemed more important.
I had a reading scheduled for 11am on Sunday but my only listener was the GFiNY, so rather than reading from Daughter of Mystery (which she's read) I read the prequel short story "Three Nights at the Opera" (its debut). I was a little disappointed to not have a bigger audience, but I did spend all weekend being allowed to squee about the novel sale. My last panel was to moderate "Reinventing Religion" on various topics relating to fictional religions and the uses I'd theology in world-building. The day finished up with the all-author Q&A session which was more lively than some have been in the past. It also allowed me to line up a ride to the train station for the trip back to NY, which is where I'm typing this at the moment.

NYC Day 2

Nov. 21st, 2012 08:42 pm
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After dinner yesterday, we went out to see Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. It was visually striking and clever and the aerial work was breathtaking, although I have to say that the music was, for the most part, forgettable. A romp, though not a classic.

Last night, alas, my winter cold decided to manifest itself again and I'm dealing with a minor sore throat. So much for the theory that I could head it off entirely.

Today we nattered around a bit in the morning then went out to meet people for lunch (various textile-geek friends and their relations). In the middle of lunch I had to step out to take the pre-scheduled call from Bella Books, mentioned in the previous post. (I'd gotten an initial e-mail from them last Thursday saying they wanted to talk to me, but I didn't want to make any public announcements until I'd actually confirmed the substance of that talk.) Then there was a stroll along the Macy's parade set-up route, watching them blow up balloons. Later there was dinner with a small crowd of GFiNY's theater friends, after which I got a whirlwind pre-performance tour of several of the most gorgeously restored theaters, slipping out of the last one just as the doors were opening. I felt deliciously "inside".

Now it's a dose of cold medicine to help me sleep and then up in the morning to take the train down to Baltimore for Darkovercon. There was a brief panic when we heard that a switching problem had shut down Penn Station in NY tonight (it's a bit confusing since our trip is from Penn Station in NY to Penn STation in Baltimore) but by the time I'd gone online to check it out, they say the power was restored and things were operating almost normally.

NYC Day 1

Nov. 20th, 2012 05:33 pm
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If I don't post a trip report as I go along, I won't remember to do it at all.

Uneventful flight to Kennedy airport, at which I was met by my Girlfriend in New York, hereafter to be referred to in usual LJ pseudonymy as "GFiNY". We took an assortment of public transit to get back to her apartment, which is literally half a block from Central Part (and just across the street from the Dakota of John Lennon fame). I feel a bit like I've fallen into some sort of archetypal Old New York experience. I don't believe I've ever previously visited someone where you get let into the building by an actual doorman. The building was originally build as a hotel, so the kitchen-like-object literally started out as a closet, but the first-floor lobby is all glitzed up with stone tiles and ceiling ornaments and whatnot. We went out to dinner at an Italian place in Grenwich Village and then did a bit of a walking tour all around that area afterwards before toddling off back home.

This morning we started out with a stroll across Central Park, followed by wandering around a tiny snippet of the Met (mostly the Egyptian, Roman, and Medieval rooms) and lunch. Then more walking tour of downtown architecture (I love the little narrow old buildings squashed between later additions), a stop for coffee, then a look at a private textile exhibit (which was supposed to be a meetup with one of GFiNY's friends but she didn't show), more walking tour plus subway back. There will be sending out for Chinese and then we're off to a show. (Spiderman.)

I still have no holistic understanding of the subway system, but so far I haven't needed to.
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Once again I will be live-blogging the sessions I attend at the Kalamazoo medieval congress. Just for fun, this time I'll be doing it by iPad. (Up side: less intrusive; longer battery life. Down side: to avoid the annoyance of significant amounts of screen typing, I picked up a new case with integral bluetooth keyboard. Oh, wait. New hardware isn't a down side.) Oh how I missed my 'Zoo last year when I was busy selling and buying houses!
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It's not that I haven't had anything to say -- far from it! But I'm still spending a lot of time settling in to the new house and the new routine. And part of that new routine is that most of my LJ reading is done on the iPhone on BART, which is not conducive to posting long thoughtful essays. So as a way of getting back into posting, how about I review my new daily routine? This is a composite and, to some extent, an ideal (especially with regard to gym activities).

6 am - The alarm goes off. I get up, am thankful for having laid out my clothes the night before, get dressed, feed the cat, and verify that all the essentials are in my bike bag. (purse, keys, transit card, work ID, glasses case with the pair that aren't on my head, phone, and depending on other activities lunch bag, gym bag, and shopping backpack) If I've been very good and gotten to bed on time and therefore feel up to it, I've gotten dressed in my gym clothes and have the work clothes in the gym bag.

6:30 am -- Into the garage; door up; bag onto bike; helmet on; wheel out to the driveway; click the door-closer and make sure it closes; check for traffic and away we go. My ride to BART is about half on either lightly traveled residential streets or recreational paths and half on Concord Ave which has nice wide margins and not terribly heavy traffic. I get to ride past backyard roosters crowing and delinquent bunny rabbits on their way home from foraging and families of urban waterfowl swimming in the canal by the trail. The ride has one slightly hairy cut left across three lanes of traffic to make a left turn followed immediately by waiting at an intersection with a major artery (Clayton Rd) that only cycles the cross traffic every five minutes or so. (At least that's what it feels like.) Then I'm at BART, folding the bike up and waving my Clipper Card at the turnstile. I cannot say how delighted I am with the Clipper Card (eletronic transit debit card). I can remember back when I first moved to the Bay Area thinking someone should invent something like this. Especially the bit about setting it up online to auto-load when the balance gets down below a certain point.

7ish -- By now I'm on BART. The timing gets a bit loose from this point because a lot depends on the precise timing of my connections. The BART leg of the trip takes about 20 minutes, at which point I've worked my way through e-mail, facebook, and LJ. Off at MacArthur Station and switch to the Emery-go-round shuttle. In theory, at this point I've moved on to reading a magazine or book, but more often than not it's just solitaire games. The streets for this leg are a bit rough and I normally sit in the back of the shuttle to keep my bike out of people's way, so the ride is pretty bumpy.

7:30-ish -- If it's a gym day, I ride the block from the shuttle stop to the gym and spend about half an hour doing weights, showering, and changing to work clothes. (If it's not a gym day, I probably lazed in bed an extra 20 minutes or so and haven't really gotten any further ahead in the schedule.) Then ride the 3 blocks from the gym to work.

8-ish -- At work.

Lunch -- On Mon, Wed, & Fri I bike down to the Emeryville Post Office at lunch to check my PO Box (which I'm still using to transition mail from the old house to the new one). So far there's always been at least one piece of mail every time I check. On the day the box is empty, I'll go down to only checking one or two times a week. On PO Box days I often swing by Berkeley Bowl on my way back to work and pick up a few groceries (since I can keep them in the break-room fridge at work until the end of the day -- no frozen foods, though).

5-ish -- Off work. If I didn't hit the gym in the morning and I don't have to rush home for something in the evening, it does here. Otherwise, bike the few blocks to the shuttle stop, shuttle to BART, BART to Concord, repeating the "read e-mail, FB, and LJ" part as necessary. Home by 6pm if nothing else intervenes. The trickiest part of planning the commute is chosing clothing for the day: warm enough for Berkeley fog, not too warm for the afternoon bike ride home, not involving carrying multiple changes of clothing that take up too much space in the bike bag. I haven't yet mastered the trick of hitting the garage door remote while still on approach so that I can just ride up into the garage. Park the bike, put away any groceries and mail, take care of the cat, make sure stuff (clothes, food, etc.) is organized for the next morning.

Thursdays I swing by the farmers market on the way home. Wednesdays, unless I'm feeling overbooked, I'll generally go to fighter practice (odd to call it that when there isn't necessarily any fighting going on any given week). Alternate Thursdays is a sewing group. Enough other less-regular evening social events that it seems like more than half my evenings are booked. If I'm not going out for anything, I'll cook a nice meal and sit down to relax over it and try to catch up with anything online that's too awkward to do on a phone. And just about the time I'm thinking about getting some more unpacking and organization done, it's ...

10pm -- Bedtime. The computer is scheduled to automatically go to sleep. I'm less automatic about it. The later after 10pm I get to sleep, the less likely I'll get to the gym before work. If I do the gym after work, I get home proportionately later, everything gets pushed a bit later in the evening, and I'm more likely to not be in bed by 10pm. She is a vicious cycle.

And that's what my weekdays are like at the moment. The rhythms are still settling in. I've stopped worrying that I'll forget something essential, but I'm still trying to optimize what I haul around with me. Next post: the state of the unpacking.
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I've come around to the philosophy that any all-day travel day where you arrive at your destination on the same calendar day as planned is a good day. I think I missed the goal if you count it by Kalamazoo time, but not if you count it by California time. The connection out of Phoenix was only 2.5 hours late, which got me into Chicago ca. 8pm and on the road with the rental car ca. 9pm. What with losing an hour crossing into Eastern Time that made it early Thursday morning by the time I checked into my dorm.

The trip was, on the whole, very pleasant, despite not having any chunk of time to sit and have a nice birthday meal at any point. (What the heck, I'm going to be going out to dinner with the gang every night, so it's not like I'm deprived.) I did have a celebratory airplane-bottle of Glenlivet on the second leg and celebrated further by buying a drink for my seatmate (because the credit-card processor hated his Canadian credit card and I was feeling in the mood to do something of the sort -- made the obligatory joke about it not being a come-on). We had a delightful conversation for about an hour after which I attempted a sleep-like substance.

Thunder and lightning all night and awake way too early in the morning. Hit the bookroom for the first crack at David Brown/Oxbow. (They always have a few things they've only brought one copy of, so it's worth hitting it first thing.) But I think in general I'm going to leave the book shopping for tomorrow, since I have all my responsibilities to take care of today (paper and the session I'm presider for).

For those who are new to my LJ as of this year, I've gotten in the habit of live-blogging the paper sessions I attend, partly as a way of sharing the conference with all my friends, but also partly as a way of helping me to focus more on the papers. (I'm one of those people who needs to fidget when I listen to lectures.) So this will be my completely subjective and impressionistic, often stream-of-consciousness notes on the papers I listen to (and the books I buy).
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My return travel adventures are still on-going at this point. The blow-by-blow saga has been / is being posted on Facebook and will not be repeated here. Suffice it to say that, rather than being on a plane between Newark and San Francisco at the moment (as I was originally scheduled to be), I'm on a bus between Portland and Boston. But with any luck I'll be flying out of Boston in the morning, and in the mean time Continental AIrlines is paying for all sorts of things like taxis and buses and meals and hotel rooms.

I even managed to get in some work on the novel (here on the bus ... which has wi-fi). I'm still doing a few little fill-in scenes that needed more background work. I did succeed in getting all the name work done by the end of the year, although I haven't quite completed a thrice-revised complete draft of Part I. The fill-in scenes and the detailed complete review-pass ended up needing more concentrated attention that I was able to give during holiday visiting. (The name work was quite convenient to do when I was constantly picking it up and putting it down among other activities.)

I think I'll spend the weekend recovering from my vacation.
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It is the ultimate judgement on how discombobulated this Christmas holiday has been. Normally, it is required that there be two (2) pecan pies. This ensures that everyone who wants some gets a piece. This year, we baked only one (1) pecan pie. It sat untouched until two days after Christmas. The final sliver was not consumed until last evening.

2009 still has one more opportunity to bite me: the de-icing delays at Newark (my transfer point) are currently 3 hours and climbing. And keep in mind that de-icing delays are experienced in the plane. This means that the deicing delays do not decrease the possibility that I will miss my (half-hour-window) connection entirely. Fortunately, they were able to double-book us onto the next flight out just in case. But at the moment I'm not betting on arriving in SFO this year. (Note: currently I'm posting from Portland, and Continental is still claiming that our Portland-Newark flight will be on time, so all of the delays are still potential at this point.)

Home Again

Dec. 2nd, 2009 01:53 am
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... and looking forward to some decompression time before it's back to the family whirl. I'll know in a few days whether I'm correct that my stress levels are way back down in the green zone again. It's really hard to tell when I'm not in my own native environment.
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I got the call this afternoon saying "come now", so my original Thanksgiving travel plans have been changed to flying out tonight (instead of Wednesday) to Augusta ME (instead of BWI). Those of you who were expecting to see me at Darkovercon (or who might have been surprised to have seen me at Darkovercon, knowing what was going on) -- sorry to miss you. Next year for certain.

This totally validates my decision to pack my suitcase yesterday.
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Some time ago, I briefly toyed with the idea of popping out to Maine for a weekend to get a chance to see the middle brother performing musical theater (Cabaret) and celebrate my Dad's 80th birthday. But I'd just done a bunch of traveling, and the calendar was a little full. But then I got an email from my Dad this morning saying "[ profile] cryptocosm is taking the red-eye out for my birthday party, would you like to come?". And after about 15 minutes of pondering the logistics, I decided, sure, why not?

Well, "why not" includes the question of how to e-mail my boss to ask/tell him I'm taking two days of unanticipated vacation. I have the vacation. I don't have any major deadlines pending. And if I'd simply gotten unexpectedly sick, everyone would cope and cover. But I still feel guilty. At least my boss is very understanding about family stuff.

I'm still very much in "Ack!" mode.
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Not only do I have all my travel arrangements made for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the brothers and I have succeeded in all being on the same flight to Maine for Christmas. Someone on the other end will be thankful for only needing to make one incoming airport pickup. (Although two outgoing ones.)
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I called the concession group that runs most of the Yellowstone campgrounds and got reservations for Monday through Friday. (Two days at Madison, three days at Bridge Bay. Sorry, [ profile] cryptocosm -- I considered following your suggestion to try for a night at the Old Faithful Inn with a geyser-view room, but although the same concession company runs both the Inn and the campgrounds, they're handled by different reservations operators, and I didn't feel like dealing with the added complication of juggling options.) I was worried that there would be major availability problems on this late notice and still (barely) within the season, but it turns out that camping out of the Element means they can fit me into sites that don't work for either full-size RVs or serous tent-campers, so they had plenty of spots I could use.

The general plan was to spend Saturday and Sunday driving there, and (ideally) sleep at a rest area those two nights, then set up at Madison (near the West Entrance) Monday and spend Monday and Tuesday doing the sites between Madison and Old Faithful. I figure one day of biking between the two and doing all the little side sights and trails, then one day driving to some of the longer hikes on that route (like Fairy Falls). Then Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I move to the Bridge Bay campground. (I'd originally thought about doing even more moving about -- since camping out of the Element means I pretty much pack everything up every day anyway -- but one of the campgrounds I'd been thinking of they don't do reservations, and a couple others were already closed for the season.)

So I was figuring for the next three days, I'd spend one hiking the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone area, one doing things around the lake, and one left unscheduled. It occurred to me that "doing things around the lake" might be improved by doing things on the lake, so I went online and turned up an outfit that does half-day guided kayak tours in the Grant Village area. So I called them up for a reservation -- it seems they require a 4-person minimum to do a tour, so my first choice of Thursday was out because they didn't have anyone else signed up for that day, but they already had a 4-person group reserved for Wednesday morning, so I went with that one. (I briefly contemplated simply seeing if I could rent a kayak, but with only that one day's lesson I've had, I'd rather be in company.) This means that Wednesday morning I need to pack up early enough to drive from Madison to Grant Village by 9:30, but I figure I'll cope. So Wednesday will be Lake Stuff Day, then Thursday will be Canyon Day. And Friday? Who knows, maybe Friday I'll just hang out in camp and do nothing.

So Saturday I'll start with a nice leisurely exit via Grand Teton Park and get as far as is reasonable, then Sunday's all about getting home.

I have a packing list. I have most of my preparatory shopping done. I have the cat and the CSA box taken care of. I have ... *ACK* Cal Shakes is this Thursday ... I have one less evening to prepare in than I thought. (Ok, that last was for dramatic effect. I actually noticed about Cal Shakes yesterday.)
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Having gotten a delightfully full night's sleep (the biggest sleep aid being the knowledge that the project was DONE), I showed up all bright and perky at work at my usual 8am this morning. My boss greeted me with the equivalent of "What the heck are you doing here?" but I figured today I'd have the biggest leverage for my comp time request. I probably needn't have bothered -- he agreed to my request for all next week (i.e., the 4 non-holiday days in addition to Labor Day, which I get anyway) so quickly that I probably could have gotten more if I'd pushed it. But it's all good. Then around about lunchtime he comes into the office and says, "You have an appointment with a chair massage at 1:30 and then I don't want to see you again until tomorrow." Do I have the bestest boss or what?

So ... I had a nice leisurely afternoon to start the logistics for my surprise vacation. Scheduled the Element for its 10,000 mile service (which will be about 400 miles early, but better that than later) and decided to take the opportunity to get a trailer hitch receiver installed because .... went to REI and picked up the bike carrier I've had my eye on. It attaches via a trailer hitch socket and has a hinged arm to swing the bike(s) out of the way to the side for access to the rear doors without having to remove the rack -- or even the bike(s) from the rack. (It still makes more sense to put the bike inside the vehicle for long drives to improve mileage, but the carrier will be more convenient in other circumstances.)

When I was thinking in terms of adding a couple of days to the long weekend, I was thinking of hitting the redwoods and up to Crater Lake. But with a whole week, it occurred to me that I should go a bit farther afield, so I decided on Yellowstone. It isn't an ideal bicycling area (although people do ride there) but there are lots of shortish day hikes and I can mix things up nicely.

So the basic plan is to spend Saturday and Sunday driving out. Then spend the week spread across two or three home bases in the park, taking side trips. Then the second weekend driving back. I've been perusing maps, hiking guides, and the list of the (relatively few) bike-oriented trails to get a sense of where I want to spend how much time, but I figure I'll leave the specifics for when I phone the campground reservation folks tomorrow and see what's available.

Given how hard it is to justify a purely kick-back vacation to myself, it's rather nice to have the time off on such short notice that kicking back makes the most sense. (The comp time policy is pretty much "take it now" -- they don't want people treating it as "bankable" vacation time.) Getting away will be far more relaxing than hanging around the house would have been. I've missed this sort of trip.

Back home

Aug. 17th, 2009 08:19 pm
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TIred. Hungry. Glad there wasn't a BART strike after all. (When we landed, the flight crew told us there was a strike and I was all set to start calling Bayporter from the plane when they came on again and said, "Oops, false alarm.") I'm definitely not staying up for a regular Pacific Time bedtime, so maybe I can get back solidly on my morning-gym routine again. (The motel had an exercise room. Three pieces of equipment. Only one worked: the treadmill. It adjusted speed, but not elevation, and the automatic stats-tracking didn't work. Ah well, better than nothing.)
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The main event of the weekend was celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my mom's brother (and his wife, needless to say). They had come to my parents' 50th (the Maine iteration of the moveable party) but it's entirely possible that the last time I saw anyone else from that branch of the family was at my grandparents' 50th, back in '76. There are pictures behind the cut. )

There was a barbeque on Friday evening and then the formal afternoon dinner-party on Saturday. Given that pretty much none of the non-family guests had ever met my gang, the convenient default topic of conversation for both events was "who are you and what is your relationship to the guests of honor?" Although for some reason it only seemed to be at the BBQ that I spent the first half hour explaining repeatedly that no, I was not in fact married to any of the men I had arrived with.

There were a couple of amusing culture-shock moments for me. One was when, after I had explained that, no, I wasn't married to any of my brothers, and in fact wasn't married at all, my interlocutor said, "Oh, then you must have a career -- tell me about what you do." Because, of course, if I were married, I wouldn't have a career? The second was more of a repeated motif: chatting with people about families and where they live, and hearing over and over about multiple generations all living within the same local community. One person mentioned the offspring who had moved two hours' drive away who had then discovered that two hours was too far to expect people to come visiting and always had to drive "back home" to see anyone. There were all totally astounded that some of us had flown out from California just to attend the party.

My family was all staying at the Cortland Days Inn, about a quarter hour drive down the highway from the various party events ... and also the site of the New York Jets summer training camp. Of which we were reminded by signage every time we turned around. Non party time was filled with hanging out and playing games (the sacred rituals of my tribe). This morning, folks started peeling off to go home: [ profile] cryptocosm took the youngest brother off to the Syracuse airport for a 6am flight, getting back just in time to wave goodbye to the Maine contingent driving off. Since my flight isn't until tomorrow morning (partly due to the schedule restrictions on my free airline ticket redemption -- I did this trip on my free ticket from volunteering to get bumped after Kalamazoo), [ profile] cryptocosm and I did a little sight-seeing. The initial leg was to go to Ithaca to see if we could find the house our parents lived in right after they got married, when my dad was working at Cornell, and where they were when [ profile] cryptocosm was born. It turns out the house is still there, and still renting rooms out to university folk (it being located literally across the street from campus). Picture behind cut. )

Then we wandered around campus for a while, taking in the cool neo-gothic architechture ...

You know the drill by now. More pix on facebook. )

And then did a loop up and around Lake Cayuga. (Still chuckling at the "two hours is too far to drive" concept.) It's all very lovely and green, and it would have been great to do some sailing on the lake. I can see the attraction in aspiring to own a lakefront house some place like this. And it's been lovely having an unprogrammed day to just relax.

More culture shock time: we ended up having dinner at a restaurant that was suffering from failed air conditioning. Prospective diners were turning around and leaving when told this. Me -- I just enjoyed being indoors somewhere I wasn't freezing to death. I can understand wanting to take the edge off the heat, but I can't understand spending all the energy necessary to take the temperature from "uncomfortably hot" all the way to "uncomfortably cold" rather than simply to "just right". Well, time to calculate when to set the alarm in the morning. My flight doesn't leave Syracuse until 10:30, but one must calculate backwards through security, driving, check-out, breakfast, packing, and getting up.
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(posted when I get reception -- and I have discovered that the iPhone lj app can only keep one off-line composition in memory at a time)

Given that "setting up camp" is simply a matter of parking the car, by 3pm I was all set up and ready to do some hiking.

pix and trip report Day 1 )

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I love my iPhone packing list app. I think I've finally gotten the hang of how to bend it to my own personal quirks. (It wasn't originally designed for intensive camping gear organization or packing for gourmet cooking or for handling costuming issues ... but it can learn.) They key seems to be applying the principle of modularity to the list templates. So, for example, the template for packing for an SCA campout includes a single item "clothing module", but then there are separate list templates for all the standard time/place/gender outfits I wear. Similarly, the main packing list includes the item "pavilion module", where the separate "pavilion module" template includes everything necessary for setting up the pavilion. (Because there are times when I might want to include the pavilion module in a day-trip packing list without including all the other standard weekend-event items, such as the camp kitchen.) This may mean that a specific trip may include half a dozen packing list modules, but each module involves minimal customization for any particular event. The true usage test will come when I use it for an event when I'm not still setting up the templates and modules. As usual, the process is almost more fun than the actual functionality.


hrj: (Default)

June 2017

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