Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here's my teaser ...

"This is a misfortune," Barakat said.  Then, "There's more than one way to ...I don't know the word...flay?Flay a cat?"

"Skin a cat," Cappy said.  "What you got in mind."

Page 260 from Storm Prey by John Sandford.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Travel Day 2: Newport, RI – The Mansions and Lunch

When we left off last time, Addison was snuggled into bed and it was up in the air if she was going to get up or not.

Well, she didn’t get up. I finally prodded her awake enough to brush her teeth and wash her face, then back to sleep. The next morning she didn’t even remember doing those things. She was out!

So I finally roused her the next morning and out we went. We had to stop at one of the thousands of Dunkin’ Donuts that are around up here. Literally THOUSANDS. I’ve never seen so many donut shops. And they have sucky coffee! But, I digress. We got our package of Munchkin’s and off we went.

First on the agenda: The Mansions.  First up was The Breakers. WOW! What an amazing “summer cottage.” Beautiful house and grounds. It amazes me to think of the Vanderbilts roaming around in the same halls as we were walking in. Craftsmanship is a lost art as is the way they used to entertain and party back in the day. I just wish they would let you take photos inside – but no go.

Next up was Marble House. Fabulous. Followed by The Elms and Rosecliff.

After those tours we decided to head to the Brick / Thames Street area for some food and shopping.  We finally find a parking lot (I swear parking spaces are like gold up here). We find a cool restaurant, The Barking Crab.

I order the Lobster Roll and Addison gets the Crab and Corn Chowder (so proud of her for trying something a bit out of her comfort zone, even though I couldn’t get her to go for the fried oysters). My Lobster Roll was awesome. Addison picked out a couple of bites of the lobster but said it was too “fishy.” AGH. How can you not like lobster?!?

So, she continues to eat her soup, and then came THE HAIR. Yes, she found a hair in her soup. ICK. We called the waiter over and showed him and he took the bowl away, apologizing profusely. The manager came over and took it off the check (duh!) and apologized again. Heck, they could have at least offered her a free t-shirt!

to be continued ...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Travel Day 1 (cont’d): Raleigh to New York – Connecticut – Rhode Island

When we left off last, Addison and I were flying from Raleigh, NC to New York. After I put up my lap top, Addison points out that we are flying over the Statue of Liberty. That was cool!

We offload, grab our bags and head over to call the rental car place to get a shuttle. BAM it’s there in less than 5 minutes. On the short shuttle ride from the airport to the rental car place (to be named AFTER our vacation for privacy reasons) I realized that my reservation was for the location at JFK not La Guardia … uh oh. We make our way through the line and our hearts have sunk a bit hearing them announce that they are only dealing with online reservations as they are sold out of cars. GULP. There are three people (2 women and a man) working the counter and they are booking it. The man seems to be the friendliest of the group and Addison and I are individually praying that the man helps us … he does. Then he realizes that he can’t find my reservation since I’m basically at the wrong location. We start chatting with him, asking him pretty please … he gets us in a car. Whew, again. We get in our little Ford Focus, hook up the GPS, get out the map (just in case) and off we go. No issues driving and getting out of NY. I was quite taken aback when we went over the bridge and the toll was $5.50!!

We drove to New Haven, CT and got off the highway to check out Yale (I mean, really, after all of those years watching The Gilmore Girls…). I had the address saved in the GPS and we drove around for 30 minutes and as much as it saddens me to admit … we couldn’t find Yale! We were in the ‘hood. It was not good. I swear we saw a prostitute going out for work as we were high-tailing it out of that area. By this time we have major headaches and are starving so we decide to shelve the Yale plans until later – off we head to Rhode Island. We finally find this little diner and stop for a bite, poor Addison, she is so tired and so hungry at this point she’s almost comatose. We eat and jump back in the car.

Along the way we keep seeing McDonald's EVERYWHERE.  Then we start seeing them right across the highway from each other ... crazy looking, it's like the war of the arches:

We find our hotel (outside of Newport – again, name withheld until after we leave this location). I was happy to find that the hotel was nice and quiet. Free Wi-Fi. Free breakfast. And our room is a really good size.

As you can see Addison fell right into bed for a little nap ... we'll see if she makes it up and out tonight or if we are IN.

To be continued ...

Travel Day 1: Dallas to Raleigh, NC

We officially started our Mommy / Daughter vacation today. I’m so excited. Addison and I have not traveled together (alone … does that make sense) since she was 5. She’s 13 now and I’m just happy that she wants to spend some time just with me.

We started our morning out very early, 3:37am to be exact (as when setting my alarm, it only goes back in time (not forward) so when I was trying for 3:45am – I ended up with 3:37am – like you needed to know this huh?). At least I went to bed around 9ish last night (with a little help from half a trazadone) in preparation for the early morning. My dearest daughter on the other hand decided it would be best to not sleep at all last night. She was annoyingly chipper on the way to the airport, then a little sleep deprived grumpiness kicked in.

Don’t you just love flying? And airports? And airport personnel? Gone are the days when people dressed for flying, all personnel were friendly and happy to see you and courtesy was the norm, not the exception.

We already had our boarding passes but we needed to check in one bag due to the whole toiletry issue with the airlines – thank you terrorists! (and of course fork over $25 to American Airlines for that “service”). We were the only ones near the line, we walked up to the counter and I placed my large red suitcase on the scale and was greeted with “are you checking any bags?” In my head I’m thinking, “oh no, not us. I just thought we’d stop by and say hi and weigh our big bag here for the hell of it.” But of course, I don’t say that. I smiled, said hello and stated that yes, we were indeed needing to check one bag. Our helpful counter person then proceeds to reprimand me for getting to the airport late and basically yelling at me to give her my credit card so that she can TRY to get my bag checked in before the cutoff. Cutoff? I’m there 1 hour and 10 minutes PRIOR to my plane departing. The rule is that all checked baggage must be checked in 1 hour before departure or so I’m told several times by counter lady. I was thinking that the cutoff was 30 minutes before take-off, but even at the hour mark … I can figure out in my little blond head that we have a whole 10 minutes to dilly dally if we so desire. While all of this is going through my mind the counter chic is still ranting that she only has 1 minute to swipe my card. She does and then she stands there staring at the machine. Finally she says, “well, you just made it, you had one minute (I’m still not sure how she is figuring the time, she must have a special clock … although you’d never know it since airports are now like casinos – there aren’t any clocks anywhere).” She then tells me for about the 4th time about how important it is to be at the airport at least 1 hour prior to flights (please revisit the sentence above regarding the clock issue). Oh well, I just smiled and told her thank you for getting our bag in and that I hope she has a wonderful day. I think she was slightly taken aback my politeness. Imagine.

It was during this little ordeal that I realized I had forgotten my watch! Ooh, the irony. I feel completely naked at this point … I guess I’ll just HAVE to buy one when we are shopping .

Once inside the sacred place of the airport (after we cleared security, whew), I did find a somewhat friendly lady working the station outside of our gate. She was able to reassign us different seats on the plane (as when I booked the flight, it only showed 2 MIDDLE seats on different rows-yuck). So YAY.

In our newly found state of travel euphoria, we decided to go get a quick drink at McDonald’s – so off we go. There was a line from hell, and yes, you guessed it – one person working one register. After 10 minutes we get up to the front to ordered our drinks (and of course, they are not running the special, any size drink for $1). We ordered a large diet Dr Pepper and a large iced tea, unsweetened, with equal ( I really wish McDonald’s would start having sweet n low, but that’s another rant). The woman taking our order turns the other woman that is preparing our drinks and said, “she wants 1 equal.” (they have these cool little pump machines behind the counter so they put the sweetener in for you) The woman preparing the drinks responds by asking, “in what?” Humm, do people usually ask for equal in their diet Dr Peppers?

Well, we board the plane (they actually board from the back to the front so we get to board in one of the first groups). We find that we are sitting on the 2 seat side of the aisle right behind the little hub where the flight attendants sit and serve drinks from – SCORE. Tons of leg room – I could actually sit and cross my legs. WOO HOO the day is looking up. The flight attendants were super nice too. I look up the aisle to see where the “alternate us-es” would have been sitting … one of us would have been between two rather large, balding men; the other in between two ladies each of who had a small child in their lap (a baby and a 2 year old). Oh, thank God we got new seats. Dodged that bullet.

We land in Raleigh. Nice airport (yet quite chilly and of course my jacket is in my checked bag). Addison complains the entire time we sit there that she is cold (she’s in shorts). Feeling pretty confident of my recent success of getting new seats on the first leg of the trip, I head up to the guy working our new gate and asked if we could have similar seats again. SCORE. He moves us up to row 3 right behind the bulk overhead thing. I’m sitting on the plane right now typing this (to be uploaded later tonight) with my legs crossed! With that being said, this is the smallest plane that I have ever been on. It has one single seat, an aisle and then two seats. Crazy!

Time to put up all electronics … to be continued.