Posts filed under ‘TheStates’
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?
On Friday (September 25) morning, my friend C dropped me off at the Houston/Hobby airport bright and early. I had to fly through JFK to get to Chicago – what a pain! Oh well. The flights were uneventful, and I made full use of the unlimited free snacks for breakfast and lunch. This worked especially well since my appetite wasn’t totally back yet. I landed in ORD at about 3:30, and my friend S picked me up and took me back to his and Elizabeth‘s place. We just relaxed – watched tv, played on the ‘net, and chatted until E got home. Their adorable doggy got home not long after, so we decided to just get take out for dinner from Portillo’s. Portillo’s is known for its hot dogs and chocolate cake shake. I didn’t get a hot dog since I MUST put ketchup on a hot dog and it’s basically illegal to put ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago. I did, however, indulge in the chocolate cake shake, and YUM! E had a particularly busy week, so we just had a good time catching up with each other and some bad tv.
I finally arrived in Houston about 11pm on Wednesday, September 23. My friend C picked me up and took me to her house, where I had a great night’s sleep. I *finally* rolled out of bed at, like, 10am the next morning. I had a yummy cinnamon roll C had made for breakfast, and we spent the rest of the morning chatting and playing with her adorable little girl. After some good baked spaghetti for lunch (I really ought to make that sometime; it’s great for leftovers), we headed into Houston.
We spent a nice couple of hours at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts. I thought it was great. It’s not the walk through an art appreciation book like Chicago’s Art Institute, but it’s definitely a nice collection. I enjoyed getting to see some pieces I hadn’t seen before by artists I love (Monet, Matisse, Caillebotte, Degas, etc.). One of my favorite things was an animation called “City Glow” by Chiho Aoshima. It’s an animated panoramic video. It’s 7 minutes long and definitely worth the time.
Monday, September 21 – Wednesday, September 23 are getting lumped together in one post because they were somewhat uneventful… At least, most of what happened isn’t worth sharing. Okay, I’ll explain.
As I mentioned in my last post, I took the red-eye from Denver into JFK Sunday night (well, Monday morning really). I think I got one of the last seats on that flight, so my seat was in the row right in front of the exit row. Those seats don’t recline. Now, sometimes that’s not a big deal. But the 2 guys in the row ahead of me both reclined their seats back as far as they could. AND the guy next to me was so tall that his legs simply wouldn’t fit behind the seat in front of him, so one of his knees stuck into my space. It’s a good thing I’m not claustrophobic because I got pretty freaked out by how little space I had on that flight. Needless to say, I got zero sleep.
My friend in Connecticut who I stayed with worked part of the day on Monday, so I wasn’t in a big hurry to head her way once I landed. So… *BE PREPARED – THIS IS ONE OF THE GROSSEST THINGS I’VE EVER DONE* I took a nap on the floor at JFK. I scouted T5 (that’s Terminal 5, which is all JetBlue all the time for those of you non-AYCJers) and found a quiet corner where I was basically blocked in on three sides. I put my head on my bookbag, held my purse tight to my chest, and placed my legs so that no one could take my carry-on without waking me up. I think I got about 30 minutes’ sleep. I could’ve slept longer, but the ick factor was too much. LOL So I got online for a couple hours (the charging stations in T5 are so nice! ) and then headed towards Connecticut.
I took the AirTrain from JFK to the metro and the metro to Penn Station. I’d decided it would be really fun to walk from Penn Station to Grand Central, where I caught MetroNorth to New Haven. Well, it was cool to see stuff – I saw tons of people, department stores, the NY public library, and the Empire State Building. It wasn’t cool dealing with having that rolling bag though. People always managed to avoid walking into me, but several managed to kick my bag or stick their foot under it or something. Yeah, I rolled it right over some lady’s foot. Oops! I couldn’t have known she was going to try to dart that close behind me. I made it safely to Grand Central, got my ticket to New Haven, and got on the train. I napped a bit and played with my phone some on the way.
My friend was waiting for me when I got there, and it was so super to see her! Finally! I’ve been talking to her online for YEARS, so it was cool to finally see her in person and hear her voice and everything. We had a great time just chatting at her place – and I got to meet her little boy. He’s such a cutie! She made us a yummy dinner, and then we watched some bad tv before I crashed on her couch with her super sweet kitty. Yeah, he slept by my head all night. I loved it.
I felt a little funky Tuesday morning but just figured I was tired. Um… No. It turns out that the little boy I’d hung out with in Denver had a stomach bug, and he passed it along to me and most of the other folks I hung out with in Denver. Ack! My friend and I made it to IHOP for breakfast (it’s so nice to be able to go on a weekday; it’s impossible to get in during the weekend without waiting for ages), and then she had to take me back to her place. I pretty much napped off and on the rest of the day while half-watching Gilmore Girls. *sigh* I felt a lot better in the evening, and another online friend came over to hang out and have pizza. She was really fun to meet too. They were both so sweet to me! I hope I’ll get to come back to visit again sometime when I’m not sick! There are tons of cool things to do in Hartford – Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Mark Twain House, Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Library, and, of course, soak up Gilmore Girl-iness.
Wednesday morning I got up super early (6am), feeling MUCH better. My friend dropped me off at the train station in New Haven, and I took the train to the metro to AirTrain. And even with all that time, I arrived at T5 just shy of 10:30am, the cutoff to making my 11a flight to Houston. If I’d printed out my boarding pass, I would’ve been fine – would’ve just headed straight to security and easily made the flight. But I hadn’t printed out my pass. I went to the machine to print it out since there was no line for that, but it gave me an error message. (That’s the second time I’ve tried and failed at using the machines to check myself in on this trip! Maybe it’s something to do with the AYCJ pass?) I got in line REALLY just before 10:30, but I didn’t make it to the front of the line until 10:45! By then the flight had closed and they wouldn’t print a boarding pass for me. Ugh! The guy put me on standby for the next flight to Houston – 8:30pm. Ugh. He was nice though – got me a big bottle of water and later came by and offered me coffee.
So… I spent the day surfing the ‘net at JFK. I took AirTrain over to Terminal 4 since I’d read that’s the nicest one in terms of things to do. There’s an area before security there that has restaurants and shops, so it was worth the visit.
Four hours before the 8:30p flight, I went to the counter to check in. The lady was all puzzled as to why I was on standby since AYCJ pass holders shouldn’t be on standby. Then she tried to say I’d no-showed for the earlier flight and would have to pay the $100 penalty. I explained how I’d been there and ready to get on my flight but had been refused a boarding pass. So she printed a pass for me, and I went through security (what a pain that was; there were line jumpers and some TSA disorganization). Oh, one of the guys gave me an AYCJ pin and the lady gave me an AYCJ luggage tag! Exciting. Once I got settled, I just surfed the ‘net, worked on the blog, and waited to get my seat assignment.
I’m looking forward to spending the day in Houston tomorrow - I’ll meet two friends and an adorable little girl, have fabulous food, and hopefully visit the MFAH.
9-21: $7.25 AirTrain + metro, $3 ice cream, $14 train = $24.25
9-22: $10 tummy meds
9-23: $18.50 train + $7.25 AirTrain + $4.02 lunch + $1.19 postcard =$30.96
Total for 8 days: $173.67