Archive for October, 2009
This Thursday, I have to share with you a very very important lesson – please PLEASE! figure out how to reset your camera to factory settings if you ever let your friends mess with your camera settings. Sadly, I learned this lesson the hard way.
My story: This summer, a couple different friends of mine took pictures with my DSLR. They like to play with the settings, so they did so. In September, I happily set off to see and photograph Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Gydnia/Malbork Castle, and Oslo. I carefully took thousands of photos, expecting them to look as nice as the ones I took on our trip to Europe in May. When I returned home, I eagerly checked out my pictures… and cried. They’re all blurry! Then I looked up how to reset my camera and went on to take some nice pictures on my JetBlue trip.
Oh, and no, I don’t blame my friends. I can’t; it’s not their fault I don’t know how to properly use my own camera. I just hope this tip saves you from making the same mistake. No, I can’t post my blurry pics; they still make me cry.
TTT: Travel Tip Tuesday/Thursday
Interested in Antarctica? Follow Kelly here! She’s heading to the Amery Ice Shelf with the Australian Antarctic Division
As my regular readers are aware, I returned just one week ago from using my All You Can Jet pass on JetBlue. I flew 12 legs (more flights than that – probably close to 20) over the course of 23 days. I think I’m now a pretty good authority on flying JetBlue. Of all these flights, I received excellent service on all but one flight. All but one of the flights were either on time or early, and the pilot on the one that was late called ahead to make sure those of us on another flight would make the connection. So their record on my watch is far superior to any other airline I’ve flown more than a couple times. Why else is JetBlue a great choice?
- There’s more leg room – really. It’s noticeably more than the other carriers.
- The leather seats are actually comfortable. The head portion doesn’t make your head jut forward, and the upright position isn’t actually leaning forward.
- The DirectTV at each seat is sooo nice. I caught lots of shows I normally watch; I just wish they had ABC.
- The snacks, which are unlimited, are actually pretty good. My favorites are the Doritos Munchies Mix and Chocobillys chocolate chunk cookies.
- Your first checked bag is free, which is definitely not standard these days.
I swear they are not paying me to post this – I really am a fan. If the price is comparable and the route is tolerable (the second part i’s kind of a big if since I can get direct flights to lots of places JetBlue flies that I visit so I wouldn’t have to go through JFK like flying JetBlue requires), I’ll be jetting with JetBlue. I recommend you do the same.
TTT: Travel Tip Thursday (Yes, I usually post my tips on Tuesday, but I’m still recovering from my trip!)
Thursday, October 8, was the last day of the All You Can Jet passes, so I headed on home. My friend M drove me to the Portland airport, and I flew to JFK from there. I had a few hours’ layover, so I settled in at one of the Revive areas, long tables with stools that have plugs for charging and touch screens for ordering food delivered to your seat. I watched some tv using JetBlue’s free WiFi and edited my pictures. A guy sitting nearby got some really yummy smelling food, so I headed over to New York Sports Grill. I got a Hoegaarden ($10! Oh my gosh!!) and fried mac and cheese bites ($7 and delish!). Then it was time to catch my very last flight.
My husband picked me up at the airport, and, yes, I recognized him. The kitties greeted me with lots of purrs when I walked in. Yay! The next couple days were spent catching up – errands, cleaning, laundry, tv watching, and job searching. On Saturday night, some of my local friends came over for a welcome home dinner. Although I had an incredible time visiting my friends around the country, I really missed them! They’re good buddies. My husband got a little crazy with the camera remote, so we got some silly pictures.
Remember how a lot of the friends I visited are online friends who I hadn’t met before? Turns out my JetBlue tour wasn’t quite the end of it! I got to meet a couple more of my online friends today for lunch at Uno’s. One of them is from Canada!
10/8: $21 beer and snack.
Totals: $470.12 for the whole trip. 23 days for less than $500 isn’t too bad, eh?
Thank you again to all my friends who made this possible – for picking me up and taking me to the airport/train station, letting me sleep at your place, cooking for me, treating me to lunch/beer/whatev, introducing me to some of the most important people (including animals!) in your lives, and letting me be a part of your home lives for a little while. You’re all so beautiful and generally awesome, and you made what could’ve been just an okay experience into 23 of the best days of my life. I love you, and you are all welcome to visit me anytime!
My red-eye from Salt Lake to JFK was MISERABLE! There were two babies kicking me the whole time – one sprawling on her mom’s lap (and onto mine) in the seat next to me and one behind me. ACK!!! I know the moms were doing the best they could; it’s just that 1.5 people don’t fit very well into even JetBlue’s relatively spacious seats. I tried to catch a nap in my secret spot in T5, but a shrieking mom parked nearby. Ack again! No, the kid wasn’t misbehaving. The mom just doesn’t know how to speak at a normal volume. There were a couple empty rows on my flight to Portland, ME, and the kind flight attendant said it was fine for me to hop into one of them. I ended up sharing it with a nice man who, fortunately, didn’t mind that I curled up on 2 seats for a nap. He was so cute – he scooted into the middle seat as we were descending so we could both admire the fall colors below.
My friend M and her hubs, P, picked me up at the Portland, ME airport. We stopped at the Portland Lighthouse at Fort Williams Park and did a driving tour of Portland. Which pic of the lighthouse do you like best? (I prefer the first; my husband prefers the second.)
Next up – Freeport. We saw the 50′ tall Indian, which is affectionately referred to as BFI, which stands for either Big Freeport Indian or Big F***ing Indian. *snort* Then we had a nice lunch at Gritty McDuff’s, Freeport’s Original Brewpub. I got a pizza made with their homemade beer dough – yum. The beer wasn’t bad either. Then we headed across the street to Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections for brownies. I got the Need Him, which had Needham frosting. Needham frosting is a Maine thing, coconut, potato, vanilla, and plenty of sugar, so I felt I *had* to try it. It was so yummy!!! If my husband liked coconut stuff, I’d totally make this frosting for brownies myself.
I arrived in Salt Lake City at about 10:30p Sunday, October 4, day 19. I was so scared I wasn’t going to make it on that flight. My flight from Las Vegas to Long Beach was delayed a bit due to the strong headwinds the pilots encountered on the way there from JFK, and I only had a 31 minute layover to begin with. There were several of us on the Vegas flight heading for the SLC flight, so I think that helped. The flight attendant was super nice keeping us apprised of what she’d heard from the pilots about the timing. As we were taxiing in Long Beach, the pilot came over the intercom and asked everyone not on the SLC flight to remain seated until we’d all gotten out of the way since our connection was so tight. Then almost everyone did! There was one guy who pushed into me, trying to get ahead of me. Since he hadn’t hopped right up, I knew he wasn’t on the SLC flight. So I hip checked him right back into his row. He tried again after me, and the flight attendant made him sit back down. Way to go! Anyway, we made the flight. I guess they were running about 15 minutes late too, so we rolled right into line. Both flights were uneventful except that I chatted with a super nice couple returning from a Carnival cruise on the second flight.
My friend G picked me up at the airport and drove me to her place near Park City. She and her husband dragged out some beer, and we got to chatting. Whew boy, G and I stayed up until 3am! Geez! Good times.
Got up in the morning, had a yummy breakfast (who knew the secret to delicious bacon was to bake it in the oven??), and then we headed for Park City. So, there’s this pass, Guardsman Pass, and it’s pretty up there and there’s a nice view. During the winter, it’s for snowmobiles only. Okay, well, it’s supposed to be for snowmobiles only. More on that in a minute. So, the pass was open, and it looked like there was just a little snow on the road. We started heading up, but then we saw some cars stopped a little way up, so we were thinking maybe we should turn around. And then we slipped a little. G started to back down, and we slipped some more! Ack! We sat there for a couple minutes, trying to figure out what to do. Luckily a police officer crept by and said there was a plow coming with salt/sand in just a couple minutes. G then backed us down without a problem.
I landed in Vegas at 6:30 – just in time for dinner! My friend Megan and her husband picked me up, and we headed to Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza. I got the 5 cheese pizza, which was ridiculously good. It’s now one of my favorite pizzas ever. Yep, it’s even up there with Chicago pizza! After dinner, we headed back to their place. We chatted for a bit, and then I fell into bed.
Saturday morning, we got up “bright and early” (8am for me) and headed over to a Mary Kay class. Yep, Megan sells Mary Kay. I had used Mary Kay products before – specifically, the skin care set several years ago. I liked it but got something cheaper when I ran out because I was a college student. I’d also tried the Satin Hands set when my friend got it for Christmas one year, and that was pretty cool. Then I forgot about Mary Kay. I had a blast trying stuff out at this facial and makeover class, and it’s definitely high quality stuff. The mascara is what impressed me most. I have VERY sensitive eyes, and I’ve only been able to stand Chanel mascara. I was pretty nervous about trying the Mary Kay mascara, especially since it’s only $10-15 v. $28 for Chanel. 8 hours later, my eyes were still functioning normally – no irritation from mascara flakes! It was only at about 10 hours that I had even the slightest irritation, and that was incredibly minor and momentary. I’m so sold on the mascara (and the other gentle, sensitive skin friendly products) that I’m thinking about signing up to sell the stuff. Before and after photos under the cut… (more…)
On Wednesday (September 30), I flew from Seattle to Long Beach, CA, where my friend E picked me up. She drove us to the Queen Mary, an old Cunard ship that’s now a hotel. We had drinks and apps for dinner at the Observation Bar. The view was great, and the ship was pretty interesting. We were surprised at how dead it was though. On our way to E’s place, we stopped in at *drumroll* PINKBERRY! I looove the tart fro yo but hadn’t been to Pinkberry before. My friend told them I was a Pinkberry virgin, so they applauded as I came in and gave me samples of everything. lol Anyway, I got my usual (tart + Cap’n Crunch), which was really good. Better than the fro yo I got at Berry Chill in Chicago.
I landed in Seattle at about 3p on Monday, September 28, day 13 of the trip. I hopped on the bus and took it in to town. I was so excited to see the skyline! I hopped out at University Street, met my friend, and took a different bus to her place. Her place is so great – right on the bus route and just 2 miles from EVERYTHING. Way cool. So, she made this fancy dinner – chicken with peach chutney, rice, and green beans. Then she made this awesome baked pear for dessert. We just spent the evening chatting and enjoying some wine.
On Tuesday morning, I took the bus from my friend’s place to the Space Needle. I would’ve gone up, but the view was no good so it wasn’t worth it to go. After taking a bunch of pictures, I strolled around town, popping in cute little shops on the way to Pike Place Market.
My friends dropped me off at ORD Sunday (September 27) morning, and I flew to Boston. The flight was fine, which was a relief. Oh, I don’t think I mentioned that my flight from JFK->ORD was bad. Someone had spilled coffee (I hope, anyway) on the flight before me at my seat, and the floor was totally soaked. My sock got all wet and gross, as did my bag. It took me more than 5 minutes and pushing the flight attendant button a couple times to get someone to come see me. And then she wasn’t too interested – first she tried to say I spilled something, and then she tried to say something in my bag exploded. No, hon, you didn’t do your job too well; it has nothing to do with me. She grudgingly brought me a couple sanitizing wipes and some napkins. And she never checked back with me either. It was totally gross. I thought I was going to “smuke.” Anyway, on to Boston.
My friend C picked me up from the airport, and we drove out of town to meet our friend E and her son for lunch at Flatbread. Flatbread is this funky wood fired pizza place where a lot of the ingredients are organic. We shared a mushroom pepperoni flatbread and gingerbread cake with pumpkin ice cream; it was delish! Also, I had a Greary’s Autumn Ale, which was really good. We had a great visit. I wish I had a pic of all of us, but that’s on E’s camera (my camera is a beast, so I don’t like to ask people to deal with it if there’s another option; E is working on her dissertation, so she hasn’t had a chance to email me her pics yet). You’ll have to do with a couple pics I do have. What a cute little one, right?