Texan Will Travel

Friday, November 21, 2008

Once upon a time...

Every so often, someone mentions the non-active state of my blog. I could give you all kids of excuses, I suppose. I could even tell you that blogging is apparently not my passion. But, instead, I will tell you a story:
Once upon a time, Kristine met Phil. He lives in Medford, Oregon. If you’ve met Kristine, you probably know where she’s from.
They liked each other. A lot. And so they started dating.

Things went well. A few months later, they drove to Texas at Christmas, a marathon road trip – and being stuck in a moving vehicle for hours on end another didn’t dim their enthusiasm.

Phil got to see the Palo Duro Canyon and learn how to play dominoes, Elliston-style. He won.They used a mountain of cell phone minutes while Kristine worked in Tennessee. And when Kristine finished her job in there, Phil helped her drive back. They even stopped in Arkansas to play dominoes with family. It wouldn’t be polite to say who won that round.

Sometimes, Kristine is serious.
(When she isn’t laughing.)

Sometimes Phil is serious.
(When he isn’t smiling.)

But right now, they’re pretty happy,
because Phil and Kristine are engaged.
October 19, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Summertime in Alaska...

Since I'm on a bit of a season kick...spring, summer, winter, fall...thought I'd share a random photo from Alaska a couple years ago. For those of you who don't know, my mom was born and raised in southern Alaska, so we've got a great excuse to head up that way once every blue moon. The "glacier tours" from Juneau are always fun - can you believe this is in June? And whatcha think of those braided pigtails??? :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thinking of spring...

It's that sort of blah time of year - winter is not quite over, spring is not quite here...at least where I am. It's a good time to remember what beautiful colors we'll see in just a little while:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Blast from the Past or, How We Helped Win the Cold War

OK, so that may be a BIT of an exaggeration. I mean, the Cold War ended in the late 80's or early 90's depending on your viewpoint. But in 1996, our college octet, Witness, did a mission trip of the vocal variety - we sang our way through the Northwest Territories and Alaska with the ultimate destination being Providenya, Russia.

I can still see the runway in my mind: a tiny, bumpy strip of asphalt with mountains looming on either side. Our 10-seater Beechcraft approached over the Bering Sea, whitecaps looming periously close - at least it felt like it at the time!

Even though officials didn't let our plane or pilots stay while we were in the country, we spent a wonderful couple of days putting on concerts and getting to know the locals. When we left, a few officers posed for a picture with Heidi and I - let me tell you, at the time I thought those boots and that passport pouch were so totally perfect for my Arctic Circle adventure. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Baby Boom...

Ah, Gabe and Lora, it seems like just yesterday you were about to get married...and by "yesterday," I mean the summer of 2004. Anyhoo, congratulations on the new member of the family, scheduled to arrive this fall!

Friday, February 15, 2008

So it's been awhile...

...not that anyone has really missed my scintillating tales. :) No, I'm not fishing for compliments or anything like that. I'm realistic: some people have a passion for writing. I apparently write only when I am willfully unemployed!

So that's the first update: I have a short-term contract to help a school with a campaign to build a new facility, an interesting challenge. Yea, me!

And I'm still traveling - a lot. I was at my sister's house near McMinnville, Oregon. And last October I started dating a great guy that lives in southern Oregon, so there was lots of driving back and forth on the weekends. Somewhere in there, I snuck down to Sacramento to visit friends there. And on December 23, Phil and I did a road trip back to Amarillo for Christmas. So the western loop of the road trip was completed:

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In January, I drove my car to Tennessee:

View Larger Map

And then I fly back and forth to Oregon every month:

View Larger Map

And that's the short version of what I've been doing with my winter! :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

No longer a Light Traveler...

It’s 4:30 am and I’m awake, getting ready to leave for the airport at 5:30 am. Since I am not a morning person, my brain is slightly stunned at the indignity of this early awakening. But there’s another part of my brain that is grumbling - I’ve got a bone to pick with the rules that are making it more difficult for me to travel light these days.

I know, I know, it’s not patriotic to grumble. I’m an upstanding citizen, so you won’t actually hear me complain when I get to the airport. But, over the years, I worked hard to pare down my packing, which has been ruined by rules about 3 ounce bottles and quart-size baggies.

I realized the need to streamline during my first work-related international trip. We were heading to Kenya, Ethiopia and Madagascar and I was completely out of control. I had the basics down, like taking clothes that coordinate. (I think my color palette for that trip was black, white and red – as if you needed to know that essential information!) But I took way too much, ending up with this HUGE suitcase and another bag to check, PLUS a small rolling suitcase and my 35mm camera case. It was not pretty, especially when you take into consideration the trinkets I picked up along the way – and the fact that international carriers often have weight restrictions that are lighter than domestic airlines.

Anyway, when I got back I rid myself of the large suitcase and decided that if I couldn’t take what I needed in a more reasonable-sized checked bag – if I checked a bag at all – then I needed to find a way to make it fit, no matter how long the trip. I’ve taken a domestic-size carry-on suitcase and a backpack on a 3-week international trip (and many other shorter trips) and fared just fine…

But with the new restrictions on liquids, all of my paring down is in danger of disappearing. I’m all for making the airways a safer place to be, but that’s countered by a personal need to have my own shampoo and conditioner. Add in some hair product, a little makeup, toothpaste, contact lens cleaning solutions and it’s almost impossible to fit all those things – even if I’m using small bottles – into one quart-sized baggie, especially if you’re on a trip that is more than a week long.

Eventually, I reach a tipping point in packing where it’s more hassle to think about buying travel-sized EVERYTHING each time I take a trip - and to put my personal hygiene regimen on display in a clear plastic baggie - than it is to break down and check a bag, only to have to wait at baggage claim for my luggage. My need for Sebastian’s Potion 9 is apparently worth the wait. The thing is, if I check a bag I give up on paring down:

Scented lotion? Absolutely!
Almond-scented facial scrub? Too tempting to leave behind!
Small bottle of aromatherapy oil? Can’t live without it!
Extra book I will devour in 3 hours and then haul around for the rest of the trip? Why not!
Sweater I love but will probably not wear? Take me with you!

The essentials are overtaken by the frivolous – which is how I ended up at the airport this morning with a bag that weighed 48 pounds. And only 2 pairs of shoes in the suitcase. This all seems counter-intuitive in an era where the airlines are trying to impose tighter restrictions on the amount of baggage we with bring with us. But at least I had room for the cuticle crème…