Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gone Cruisin' (Day 1)

While I was on my trip I decided to make some notes and write about my cruise so that when I was back, I could post about it. This will be spread out over several posting, otherwise this would be extremely long posting.
Without further ado, Cruise vacation, Day 1.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Starting point: Fox Lake, IL

Destination: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Saturday I awoke like anyone would do when they are going on vacation- full of anticipation and excitement. I checked my “list” of all of the things I needed to remember to pack or do before I left. My list included miscellaneous items that had nothing to do with my vacation whatsoever (like rearranging my kitchen cabinets). I decided to pass on that and sat back on my couch to wait.

Making it TO the airport was no problem. The trip was fast, easy. Even once AT the airport everything with smoothly. Then, my family and I saunter up to our gate, with several hours to spare, to collect our boarding passes, and wait. Problem. I had no boarding pass. I had been waitlisted. “Oh, sorry Stephanie. You are on our list. You don’t have a seat on the plane. We overbooked. So, you’ll have to wait and see if something opens up.” Just what every traveler with a destination in mind, and a definite departure time loves to hear. I decided to remain calm. I sat down, read my book, played a game, did a puzzle or two. My dad commenced his pacing at that moment. My brother started to panic. I just looked at John and said, “It’s okay bud, I’m going.” He sighed, “Oh, okay.” He was fine then, and went back to playing his game and waiting. I didn't feel QUITE as confident that I'd be on the plane, but I knew I would make it to the boat.

We were to be boarded and taxi-ing the run way at 4:15. That did not happen. The plane did not arrive until after 3:30. The attendants working the gate continued to ask for volunteers to give up their seat. Any passengers doing so would, of course, be reimbursed, receive a travel voucher and a hotel stay. There was always that option. As long as they got me to the boat on time, I had decided it might not be such a bad thing. I’d be flown to Nashville, and then to Fort Lauderdale, and then whisked to the ship. I continued to wait. It was around 3:45 when my name was called. I had a boarding pass. My family all breathed a collective sigh. I was on the plane.

We were in the air. The flight attendants reviewed their standard warning instructions, and how to operate oxygen masks and life jackets. “Fasten the oxygen mask around your face. The bag may not inflate, but you will.” Yes, he said that. The ride was rather bumpy. I slept, and dreamed of warm weather.

At the airport we collected our luggage rather quickly. Except for my dad. He stood watching the luggage go around and around, until the belt stopped. He had no suitcase. I decided, just to be safe, to check all the bags remaining on the belt. I walked up to the first one, read the name and pulled it off. “That’s not my bag,” my dad yelled across to me.

“Well,” I said, “it’s got your name on it.”

“No it doesn’t...Does it?”


He had been watching the same bag go around three or four times and each time never realized it was his.

We then had to get to the hotel. My mom had called for the shuttle to come and pick us up. She was told where to go wait. We hiked to the area and waited. We weren’t there long when someone from Holiday Inn pulled up with a rather large van and a trailer attached to the back. My dad walked up to him and asked him, “Holiday Inn Express, hotel airport?” The driver said, “No,” then, “Yes,” almost immediately, and grabbed my dad’s suitcase and tossed it in the trailer. His hesitation should have been a sign. We arrived at a lovely Holiday Inn. My dad stood in line waiting to check in to the hotel. A moment later he walked away from the desk. “This isn’t our hotel.” It wasn’t.

We waited for around thirty minutes for another van driver to come back and pick us up. We were then driven to the CORRECT hotel. In the completely opposite direction from the first hotel. (While we were waiting, I was dancing and skipping through the parking lot at the hotel. It was warm, there were palm trees, and I needed to stay awake until I got to the hotel!)

We were checked in rather quickly. We hauled our belongings up to the room on a cart. My dad tried the key. It didn’t work. He tried the other key. That one didn’t work either. I ran them downstairs and had them reprogrammed, and finally we were in.

The view outside my apartment the morning I left.

Me waiting.

My luggage waiting!

The boarding pass!

This is my rather creepy smile. This was taken midst me jumping around in the (wrong) hotel parking lot. I was excited, and the zoom was WAY to close. But, this is what I got! Did I mention I was excited!

Next up, Day 2.

And....I'm back (Kinda)

I arrived home last Monday, after having ridden in a taxi to my apartment from Midway, and then after hauling my luggage down all the stairs to my apartment, I realized my vacation from reality was over. I was smacked in the forehead with a wet cold wind (literally), snow flying around (also literally), my refrigerator empty, and the laundry pile twice the size as when I left (because as we all know even though we go on vacation, dirty clothes still happen).

I realized stepping into my apartment, which although in the Midwestish are of the US, it was home, and there is always something about coming home. At the same time, I felt this feeling of crashing and burning. The vacation (posts to come) was nice. And relaxing. And sadly over. With no new big events to look forward to, life looked as bleak as the dreary outside.

But, that's life isn't it? While there are big events, moments that we plan, and mark in pen in our day planner (okay, so I like writing all sorts of things like taking out the trash in my planner, I'm talking about other moments), life is generally made up of all sorts of other moments. Smaller moments. Quieter moments. The every day moments, that when you add them up and take a picture, and sit down on your couch and reflect, well those moments make life good. They make life, life.

Today is Sunday.
Tomorrow I'm looking at going to work, and it's going to be a long day. No vacations ahead in the near future. I didn't do my laundry. (It's cold outside and I don't want to go down the stairs.) I need to vacuum and dust.
Despite all that. Life is good. I am happy.

Now, maybe I should finally go unpack.

Psalm 81:16
But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you."

"There is some element of risk to living your dreams."

Monday, January 25, 2010

At the Airport...Again

This time, however, I was actually given a boarding pass. (More about that later)
I am sitting in the Fort Lauderdale Airport, about to leave the balmy weather behind.

Today we are heading home. I say we, meaning myself along with my family. We had to wake up early, and by early I mean 4:30 my time. I am not sure that 4:30 was ever created with the intent of anyone actually being awake at 4:30. For those of you who know me, and for those who don't, know that I am not a morning sunshine person. The people I work with have learned that as I walk in to the office, and they yell "Good morning, Stephanie," I'm more likely to grunt my response. Sometimes I will say "Morning." It's just the "GOOD" part. Catch me in the afternoon, or at least after 10:30 when I can start pretending to be awake.

Despite my lack of pleasure with waking up in the morning, I do like going home. How is it that it is always good to go, and always good to come back?

Tonight I will be sleeping in my bed. I will be in my apartment, which will seem like a mansion after the small cabin I've been sleeping in all week long. Once I get home I have a list of things to accomplish: laundry, cleaning, dusting, grocery shopping, studying (Back to school work!).

All for now. Next stop- Nashville

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tell me.... (Blog posting take 2)

I happened to be blog browsing in the hotel last night (as I was waiting to go to sleep before my final journey home tomorrow. I found a "copy this into your own blog and put the answers in" and I thought it might be fun.
Read, then post a comment, or post this one your blog! (with your answers of course)

Yourself: Waiting for plane ride
Your hair: Getting longer, below shoulders
Your mother: Gave me her strange sense of humor, love ya Ma
Your father: Gave me his eyes (or my eyes are like his eyes) Apparently I also have my Aunt Doris' nose (Love you too Father. Love Your Daughter- said with an accent)
Your favorite item: Bible and my laptop- it has ALL my pictures! But if friends and family can be thought of as items, I'm partial to them as well
Your dream last night: I dream every night, last night, I don't quite remember
Your favorite drink: Dr. Pepper
Your dream car: An ugly green Land Rover that I will never own, but think about owning
Your dream home: The one I will someday buy
The room you are in: hotel, Holiday Inn Express
Your fear: High places, or rather falling from those high places
Where you want to be in ten years: More like what I want to BE- Happy living every day, and teaching, and with a house
Who you hung out with last night: My family
What you're not: patient
Muffins: Blueberry
One of your wish list items: Not sure, I try to be content, and at the moment that's how I'm feeling. Although, if I could really have anything on my wish list, I'd wish that there were really such things as transporters, like they have on Star Trek, where you could be beamed from one location to another.
Time: Always could use more
The last thing you did: Read blogs
What you are wearing: PJs
Your favorite weather: Fall time weather
Your favorite book: Mmm....too many of those to count
Last thing you ate: Popcorn
Your life: Good, every day
Your mood: Relxaxed
Your best friends: Are my best friends for a reason
What are you thinking about right now: What is on my wishlist
Your car: is a Toyota Rav4
What are you doing at the moment: typing
Your summer: Won't be here for like, 6 months
What is on your tv: Some weird rented movie I never heard of before
What is the weather like: At this moment in Florida, BEAUTIFUL
When is the last time you laughed: Some point today

Another Day

I have been on a blogging sabbatical. Life it seems has taken over, and I have fallen to the side.

I have always written. Stories upon stories. Some of them absolutely ridiculous. Stories about dreams and Frisbees and mysteries. I have always been a writer. In a former life (namely high school, and in a writing course I took) I would keep a pen and paper with me at all times in case I had a thought that was worth being documented. There would be moments that I would wake up in the middle of the night, and would quickly write it down...ideas for stories. Thoughts. You name it and I would quickly make a note in my trusty writing pad.
Writing has always been a balm to my soul, but when life takes over, I forget. I forget how words on paper sort everything out. I have needed life to take a vacation, but it hasn't. And the trouble is, while I might pack to go away (which in fact I just did) life always seems to follow close behind, or more likely the true-er story, it spins in circles around me. Coming back from vacation, life is waiting and all the words I had planned to type, well, they are gone.

This is also an ONLINE venue- meaning it's not just a private world all on my own. Not that many people read this, but regardless, I am pretty sure that me dumping my life on an online journal is not what I am looking to do either. Then someone says to me, "you've not been writing." But, I have had no words. Then I realize, maybe it's not so much what I write but that I do.

So I will.

But for now, I am sitting in a hotel room in Florida. The air conditioning is on and Andy Roddick is playing tennis in the background. My mom is playing a game and my brother is sitting quietly. In a bit, I am going to take a nap, and repack my clothes for my final trip home tomorrow. (Look for pictures and notes about my CRUISE! Soon to come!)
Life is good.
God is good.