Monday, May 25, 2009

This Will Be The Norm

I had a flight at 10:14 from Flagstaff to Phoenix, then home from there.  Too bad US Airways overbooked my flight and the new girl who checked me in neglected to assign me a I was the lucky one who didn't have a spot on the plane.  They kept making the announcement that they'd give you a voucher, etc, if you volunteered, but apparently everyone wanted to get home as much as I did.  So I waited.  The lady originally said that I would be there until the next morning.  And since there was one gate at the Flagstaff airport, she was one of the only people working, and had to get people on the plane before helping me.  By the time she came back, yes I was pissed, but hiding it pretty well ;-).  After asking her to check the other airline partners they have for a flight, she said "I can't look at their inventory on the computer."  To which I replied, "well can you call them?!"  "yes, I guess I could" was her answer.  Wow.  It's so sad that if you're polite and respectful they try to screw you over.  They DID make it right though.  The only option to get me home the same day was to take a taxi to Phoenix and then fly Northwest back to MLPS.  The taxi ride would be 3 hours.  Yikes.  I was a little fearful of this, having been in many taxis that make me want to jump out of the moving vehicle.  However my driver, Uriah, was a great driver and very nice.  We talked the entire way about the environment and faith and humanity and well...everything.  We were very like souls at different places in our lives and had a very good conversation!  So I got to Phoenix feeling very blessed and happy, met only nice people on the way to the plane, and eventually got home!  Plus I did get a voucher for a free ticket.  Who wants to come visit?? :-)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Arizona Adventures

Driving I-40 in the pouring rain was a small price to pay to discover Flagstaff.  I parked at the Amtrak station and walked down San Francisco Street, as it seemed to house the most activity.  The Historic Old Town area was exactly that.  It had all the charm I was expecting: old buildings, small cafes, and art galleries.  I must say that I am quite done with Native American kitsch, as that's all I've seen lately in Arizona and BC.  There was

 plenty of leather tomahawks and dream catchers...but then I found a gallery that actually had interesting contemporary art in it!  Fancy that! :-)  The Grandon Gallery had a variety of paintings that covered the spectrum of...taste.  The artist, Grandon, paints/engraves furniture with Native American (mostly) themes, but in an unique style.  There were a few other local artists, their names I did not record unfortunately, with paintings on display.  I can't say enough how much I enjoyed meeting Mr. Grandon and looking through this great gallery!  It made me realize that all an artist must do is find a community in which they are embraced and then selling is not an issue with some exposure.  Other Flagstaff highlights would be the record store Rock-It, where I picked up the new Decemberists' album "The Hazards of Love."  I could write a whole blog on how much I am in love with that album (concept and execution).  I also stopped in to a convenience store/cafe, Pay and Take, when the rain really started coming down.  Their ATM only charged me $1 service fee!  Since I can't find Wells Fargo banks ANYWHERE, this was amazing.  THEN, their drinks were SO cheap and GOOD.  I got a large Chai for under $2.  Un-heard of!  The atmosphere in there was so friendly and chill, it seemed like a wonderful place to become a regular at.  Shockingly, Flagstaff is the kind of town I could see myself settling down in.  I have been so completely surprised by Arizona.  I know that it's because I'm up North, at 7,000 feet, but it's not the sunshine-yuppie place I thought it would be at all!  The altitude is rough (I almost passed out working out the other day!) but the landscape is almost lush with forests and it's about 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix, which makes it very pleasant.  The towns are just a bit too small for my taste, but I can definitely see the attractiveness of such a place! 

After my Flagstaff adventure, I had to work :-( I must say that waking up in the morning to my little 3 year old nephew, Cooper, singing Happy Birthday to me was the best start a person can have!  So the birthday wasn't too bad.  A co-worker even bought me a cake!  The 6 of us who are working here together went to a nice dinner in Williams as well.  The Red Raven, which is the ONLY place you can have a nice dinner in Williams, was very good.  The service was left much to be desired, but that seems about the norm here.  

All that was left to explore in the Williams area was, of course, the Grand Canyon.  Asia and I drove there this morning, and got in for free (don't ask for our secrets, we will not divulge)!  After wandering around looking for this elusive canyon, we finally found some dirt paths that whiteness.  That's right kids, the canyon was filled with clouds.  We walked around (very carefully) for at least 10 minutes before we saw the first hint of canyon-ness.  For an hour or so, we played this game with the clouds...we'd get to an outlook spot, wait for the clouds to move enough so we could see the canyon, jump in and snap a picture, and watch it dissolve into clouds again.  It was pretty surreal.  Finally around 12, the clouds gave up.  Unfortunately, we had to get going at 12:30, so once visibility was good, we didn't have much time.  It was still such a great experience to walk around in that crazy terrain and see the HUGE hole in the ground.  It was hard to believe that it was almost looked just like a painted backdrop for a theatre production.  Of course I got sunburned as well...even though we only had sun for a little while.  Curse of the redhead.  

We were starving by the time we got to Williams, so we went to Taco Bell, obviously.  They ran out of chicken apparently.  This puzzled me because it was a Taco Bell/KFC.  Couldn't they just cut up a thigh or something and put it in my burrito?  Needless to say, because they hire 14 year olds, need to take extra time to cook their fake meat, and never get an order right...I actually went through the drive-thru twice and then backed up into it after I started to leave.  So worth the 3 hour stomach ache after as well.  

Arizona has been a nice week long trip.  I've met some really cool people and seen great sites!  I'm definitely ready to go back to civilization tomorrow though!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Slow Dancing in a Burning Room

I realized I haven't posted in a while and that's because I've been fortunate enough to be home for 6 days!  A luxury that I was never expecting and it was great.  It was extremely awkward to be home and then leave again.  I got into a routine with going over to my sister's every day and spending time with her while Jesse was working and then going back to his place and either spending time with him or with friends.  Seeing the little ones and Kat every day was such a delight, it made me feel like really being HOME again, and it's been a while since I had that feeling.  It was great to be able to spend time with everyone who was able, and to be able to go to Art-A-Whirl (I even miss NE Minneapolis!).  It is, however, really hard to realize that relationships don't stay the same when you're gone all the time.  Communication is key in keeping this going, but even when communication is there, you're missing so much more.  I feel such a distance from EVERYONE (even my cat...) and don't like it.  As much as I'm sure it's not personal, I believe that people, myself included, get in a routine which does not include someone who is not there.  So even though you're still talking or facebooking or whatever, that person isn't a part of your real life anymore.  Depressing.  Since starting this job, I've realized that there is SO much downtime and when you're the kind of person who can't switch off the brain like I am, this is dangerous.  My main goal has been to distract myself at all times.  Which, is not good either.  After a much needed emotional coffee time with Ellen this past week, she challenged me to BE.  Going through life distracting myself from reality is no life at all.  This change of perspective has caused a lot of confusion in my interpersonal life, which doesn't help with the whole thinking myself crazy thing...  And since there's nothing to do in this teeeny town, I'm spending my time reading, working out, and trying TRYING to work on those relationships (it's hard when communication is only 1-sided, there's not much I can do).  I'm trying to step at a time I guess.  Thanks to those who have really been there for me through all of this.  I love you.

Switching gears: There's not much to say about Williams, Arizona.  While taking 30 minutes to walk around town today (yes, it only took 30 minutes to walk the from one side to the other and back) I got whistled at 3 times.  This doesn't happen I'm guessing they really have a lack of variety here...  Route 66 runs right through town, as well as the Rail Road, which is why I'm here.  The hotel depends on the train that goes daily to the Grand Canyon.  There's literally no other reason to come here.  The have a dog kennel here as well, so I got to pet some pooches yesterday which was wonderfully uplifting.  Walking through town I had to stop at the one thrift store in town which not only had Beanie Babies and VHS's galore, but also 2 books written by Ethan Hawke.  Who knew he was an author?  Wiliams is so ahead of it's time I guess...  

Sunday, May 10, 2009


The Strathcona Hotel in Victoria, BC, really is a one of a kind property.  It is a 70 room hotel with 9 bars and 3 restaurants attached.  Holy moly.  Talk about multi-tasking!  The hotel is old...and you can tell, but it is well kept and has good cable ;-) The staff was fantastic, and I really had a great time working there with them!  The internet in the room didn't work, so I spent a lot of time out on the town as opposed to sitting in my room on facebook (I did finally finish Sex & the City Season 6 though...).  As far as work goes, I did the night audit shift support which, because of all their bars, they didn't run audit until 5 am or so (most hotels do it at 12 or 1).  So I stayed up...LAAAATE. Haha.  We had a fun time though, and I was actually really proud of myself for staying up that late and then getting up at a decent hour and not sleeping my day away.  The lead installer there was fantastic and I learned a lot about the "attitude" to have on the road from him.  He makes friends with EVERYONE...and while I'm not that great at that, I think I might be getting better... ;-)

I'm really impressed with Canada.  It seems like the young people just have their own style and do their own thing.  This is true of everyone around my age that I've met from Canada.  They're so much more independent than Americans.  Their priorities seem to be more in check, and they're more laid back, but also have a great work ethic (which we lovely Americans do not, in my opinion).  There were so many wonderful boutiques and vintage stores in Victoria, which, had I more money, I would've splurged at!  I walked down to the beach through this beautiful park, Beacon Hill.  The birds and animals were crazy, the trees beautiful, and the wind nasty.  I could see the Olympic Mountains from the tip of the peninsula.  The park/beach was full of plaque and stone memorials for the dead who were either lost at sea there or who loved that place.  

I also walked down Fort Street a couple miles to Craigdarroch Castle.  It was pretty awesome sitting on top of a hill, and the views from inside were FANTASTIC!  However, it wasn't a castle...I'm sorry, Canada.  It was kind of like a taller James J. Hill House in St Paul.  I used my student ID so I got a discount, though, so it was definitely worth it.  

I hope to get back to Canada soon.  I would love to see Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Prince Edward Island, and also somewhere in the fricking middle of nowhere...possibly where Wolverine is hiding?  Haha but next time, I'm getting something for my phone so I can use it while I'm away.  On my way home! :-)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I always knew that I would love British Columbia.  Partially because the word "British" is in it, yes, I'll admit to that.  Victoria is the capitol city of BC, located just West of Vancouver, just North of Seattle.  It's gorgeous!  The Parliament building is what's pictured here.  Beautiful old Victorian style architecture is very present here.  However, there are also many more modern buildings because this city is more than governmental, but it's a definite vacation spot.  It's smaller, slower, calmer than many big cities.  It rained all day, but that never stops me from exploring.  Victoria is a lot like if you took San Francisco and mixed it with Brighton, England...then shrunk it.  Does that make sense?  It's very unique and adorable.

Getting here was fun...haha  My flight to Seattle was awesome--smooth, snack included, I even slept a bit :-)  The Sea-Tac airport is kind of a mess.  I was SO confused...and it took 3 cycles of Asian languages on the loud speaker to get to English (haha, not used to that), I had to take 3 different trams to get to my right gate without much signage, mostly on instinct.  The flight from Seattle to Victoria was really crappy.  Small little 50 seater plane going through clouds for fun, I think.  Good thing it was only a 30 minute flight!  Right when I got my luggage and got through customs (it was surprisingly almost a hassle...they didn't quite believe what my occupation was, it made me so nervous that my response wasn't very articulate, so maybe that's why :-P) I saw outside, all the green!!!  Huge tree groves, mountains, hills, trees, trees, and more trees.  Then I had to take a super-shuttle-like bus to the hotel, took an hour because of all the stops and finally I was at Strathcona Hotel.  It's charming but the rooms are super small and outdated.  There was a silver fish in my bathtub.  Not cool.  I have yet to find an iron...and I start work in an hour, so I should try to remedy that or I'll be wrinkly...  The staff and restaurant are great, and they have a cd release party on the roof (in the rain--doesn't seem to stop Canadians) tonight and it sounds pretty cool, hopefully I'll be able to listen from work!  

That's all for now.  I think I'm going to make the 3 mile walk to a castle tomorrow.  Rain or shine :-)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why it's good to be home...

I've been working at Mystic for a week, sandwiched by 2 weekends at home.  It was completely unexpected and wonderful.  I was super busy AND lost my cell phone, so a night of being able to see a lot of friends turned into a more intimate gathering (which was really great, but I missed a lot of folks).  I got to spend time with my little niece Lyra and got to be present at her baptism.  SO happy I could be home for that!  Basically I'm just thankful for wonderful friends and fantastic family for supporting me.  Life is good.  And I am getting really excited for when I can move home again.  Although...I'm equally excited to go to Canada today :-)