October 10, 2019

Downton Abbey Exhibit

Did you watch the show? How about the movie? I am a big fan. I mean who doesn't love the Crawleys?! So, when I got caught in the rain in Boston I sought out indoor attractions. Low and behold, there was a limited engagement Exhibit featuring sets from the show, costumes and props.

Tickets were $30 and I had no problem purchasing last minute. Immediately, upon entering you are transported to post-Edwardian England, where the characters and the iconic house come to life. It was a great teaser to get reacquainted with the show while waiting on the film.

I applied for a position at the Crawley abode. It seems I'm well suited for Lady's Maid. Fingers crossed.

Your seat is waiting.

October 8, 2019

Wicked Good Times in Boston

We kicked off summer travels with a trip to Boston. Frank had flown out ahead of me for work. Just like my first visit over Labor Day weekend, last year, I took Spirit's red eye on a Friday evening. I opt for the exit row upgrade and sleep as much as possible. The flight arrives at 6AM and allows a full Saturday to take in the sights.

We've stayed at the InterContinental on the waterfront and the Hilton Back Bay most recently. Both are great hotels, near all sorts of attractions. The best part of Boston is that it is such a walkable city. Plus, I love how quiet it is in the heart of the city with so many green areas; thanks, to the Big Dig.

Last trip, we settled the great debate of Mike's or Modern - Neither, if you ask me. Harpoon Brewery and their killer pretzel was more my speed. For the record, Frank thinks the cannoli's at Caffe dello Sport (also on Hanover St) are superior.

We did a duck tour and familiarized ourselves with the typical tourist attractions.

Some sights are better experienced on foot like the Boston Public Library.

I easily walked six miles exploring the city. There is so much to see. You could spend a day in Boston Commons alone.

Acorn Street on Beacon Hill was particularly quaint. I had to stop for an obligatory selfie.

Lastly, for one of our final stops, I had Frank take me by the Paul Revere house since I kept missing it.

Then we strolled over to the oldest taverns, we ended up at the Green Dragon. Low and behold, bellied up to the bar next to a blast from the past. It seemed a fitting way to end the trip.

October 2, 2019

October is...

Crisp air. Open windows. Changing leaves. Cozy fires. Pumpkin everything (blech!). And a fresh start!!

There are seven days in a week. Someday is not one of them. How will you spend the last 90 days of 2019?

I am dedicated to growth and the pursuit of happiness. My plan began two months ago. After a trip to Chicago, I had lengthy flights and long drives, alone, that allowed me to clear my and focus on my wants and needs. Meeting with old friends and beloved family it became obvious what my next move should be.

It was time to quit my job. Yes, the one that is safe, secure and I've kept post at for more than 16 years. There was no plan for what comes next, but I knew if I stayed I would never find out. I was great at my job, I enjoyed the part I've played at shaping the city of Las Vegas and its landscape. I had just had the busiest year in the company's existence, it required me to run on all cylinders, I was able to shine. I was at the pinnacle, but it did not fill my cup. I was proud of my feats, but that pink puffy heart stuff that feeds the soul was lacking.

Frank came to pick me up from the airport after that Chicago trip. I told him I planned to quit my job. He was supportive just as he is of my every whim. Though, I don't know that he knew how serious I was. The next day, I gave my notice. Let me tell you, it has been a whirlwind 8 weeks! Interviewing my replacement, training, and maintaining my level of work while juggling trips all over the country, and time at home, supporting family. All coupled with a cough that lingered for a month (allergies) and sleepless nights (thanks to my sweet niece that thinks sleep is overrated), thankfully I was fueled by coffee and a finish line.

I made it. I am free to explore my many curiosities, travel and grow. I hope you join me for the adventure.

July 17, 2019

Summer is not the San Francisco Treat

About a week ago, we decided to switch things up and check out San Francisco during the summer. Typically, we wait until winter to take advantage of crab season. The White Sox were playing in Oakland and Spirit had flights dirt cheap so we figured why the heck not? We convinced our friend Chris (also originally from Chicago) to join us. There was little arm twisting, for the record. I snagged a good deal on Hotwire for Intercontinental one of our favorite hotels in San Francisco.

Even if there is that old quote, "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" (Mark Twain often gets credited with it, but I believe the author is unknown). Let's go! The forecast looked promising highs mid to upper 60s and lows in the 50s. I can deal.

I cannot deal. It is stinking cold. I went to Burlington Coat Factory immediately upon it opening so I could buy a warmer jacket than the one I packed. I have experienced the micro-climates before, but never with swings like these. Depending on your location it felt like a a sunny summer day but then a 5 minute uber ride could teleport you to a bleak wintry day. If not Mark Twain, whoever said it, got it right!

Fortunately it was warm and sunny in Oakland. So, the weather was beautiful for the baseball game. Unfortunately, it was a horrible showing for the Chicago White Sox. I've been to the coliseum for Raiders football, but this was a first for the A's. It's definitely in need of improvements, but the staff is very friendly. They have a huge area for family fun and I particularly enjoyed the Tree House. It was a good time despite our huge loss.

With the game out of the way we got down to business. The business of eating, of course. We filled up on favorites like the Crabhouse, Golden Boy Pizza, Hot Cookie, Saigon Sandwich and Salt & Straw. We also checked out Tony Gemignani's Chicago style pizza joint, Capo's. I mean where else would we go after a CWS game?

Don't let the giant Old Style mural fool you. They have a great booze selection and the food menu will have you salivating. It was hard to narrow down the options because it all sounded amazing. We did finally settle on the stuffed Old Chicago and a small order of spaghetti and meatballs to share. It was fantastic. Tony delivered yet again.

We were feeling a bit burned out on the crowds; summer brings hoards of visitors. Homelessness has always been predominant but it never posed concern before. It seems drug use was wider spread this visit and it was complete zombieland in parts of the city. We were harassed a good amount, we encountered many that were unpredictable and aggressive. Rather than spend another day in the city, we made the last minute decision to rent a car and visit Napa and Sonoma. It's been a few years since Frank and I have been and Chris had not been before.

The Golden Gate Bridge is usually hard to miss, but even when crossing it this time it could barely be seen. We made a pitstop at the viewpoint across the bridge. You'd never know that perspective often provides a stunning view of the skyline and the bridge. It was a complete white out.

Shortly after crossing into Sausalito the fog lifted and we had sunny blue skies the rest of the day.

Breakfast was at Sonoma's Sunflower Caffe. Eggs with farm fresh veggies was served up and they have lovely patio dining. Lunch was Palisades Saloon in Napa. The lamb burger and cheese curds are mighty tasty. The trip did not disappoint.

I learned summertime is not the best time in San Francisco. I'll stick to visiting during crab season. The weather is warmer and the crowds are thinner. Which is much more my speed. On the hand, summer is a beautiful time to visit Napa and Sonoma. The weather was perfect!