Saturday, June 30, 2007

After the Packing comes the UN!

You will have to pardon me as my blog continues to be hijacked by the hijinks of moving.

After getting to the ‘Burgh at about 3:30 pm on Thursday, I promptly took a nap until Chris got home from work. We went to dinner, he got a haircut, and I went to bed early.

Up at 7:15 on Friday morning. I got dressed (must have been tired … I walked around for the first four hours of my day with my gym shorts on backwards. *sigh*) then Chris dropped me off at Eisenhower (our house … that’s kinda weird) where my car was parked. I emptied said car of all the crap that you have seen in there for the last week or so. Then I went to get a haircut.

When I got back, the Verizon guy was deep in the woods pulling the cables for our FiOS internet. Woo-Hoo! We have official non-stolen wireless at home. Fire up! While he finished doing what he needed to do, I started chipping away at the kitchen, then came back to my parents house and took a nap.

I didn’t take any photos yesterday, so here are some “getting started” photos from this morning

Here’s the stack-o-boxes when we started today. RT in the foreground. Chris trying to hide in the back.

The whole back third of the living room was empty boxes. Chris spent all day getting this stuff wrangled and everything was broken down by the end of the day.

This is RT hangin’ in the chandelier in the dining room. Personally, I like it. Mom and Chris have both floated the idea of taking it out and replacing with box lights in the ceiling. Opinions? Fire away!

Another dining room shot. This room was empty by the end of the day.

Here was an early-day shot of the kitchen. We got some Cascade from my parents house and ran the dishwasher, then went to look for washer/dryers. Mom gave away the dryer when they moved out. So now we need at least a dryer and will probably just buy a pair of something. This was right after the shopping (shopping, no buying yet) expedition.

I’ve been drinking out of this cup ever since I unpacked it. There are probably two people still in my life who will recognize this cup. Unfortunately, I don’t think either of them reads the blog. Oh well. RT and I thought it was funny. Plus, I remember that night, and it was FUN!!! Three cheers for Sub-Pub!

And here’s RT listening to RTv1. We got into vol. 2 later in the day, but the computer is it for music source right now. Of course, I need to get that music onto my iPod, but that requires the other laptop, which is at Eisenhower and I’m at my parents house still. Maybe tomorrow.

These cabinets were pretty much the first thing I got finished. Hubster just shook his head at me when he noticed what I was doing. Hey, I thought it was funny. There is a third set of glass-front cabinets to the left of what is pictured, but there’s almost nothing in there right now.

And here’s the kitchen at the end of the day. Now we just need food!

We have been wrangled into filling two empty seats at a fundraiser dinner tomorrow night, so it will be a short unpacking day. Don’t know if I’ll have much of a blog update for a few days, since I’m stuck sitting on a golf course all day Monday (not playing. Working. Not that I play golf. I don’t)

Might get to the Lake in time for the 4th. I haven’t really decided what I want to do about that yet. Still have some time. Be patient with the lack of knitting and quilting content. Until I’m living in the same house as my stuff, I’m not convinced there will be a lot of either knitting or quilting. Since most of you have asked for pics of the new digs, hopefully this will satisfy.

PS, Bill, if you're still reading, I wore the new short-sleeve OM t-shirt today. Love it! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day 6: Lexington, Ky., to Pittsburgh, Pa!

The day started with my friend John taking me out for breakfast in Lexington. Yummy! I hit the interstate around 9:30 am.

Driving out of Lexington, I drove past the exit for the Kentucky Horse Park almost as soon as I got on I-75. I competed there at least once for USPC nationals. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to go to KHP in April for the Rolex three-day event. I think I can go this year! The only problem is that it's the same weekend as the AQS show in Paducah. *sigh*

Ohio didn’t have a sign for either the Ohio river or for entering Ohio, but watching Cincinnati's skyline as I headed into town was OK. RT had to console himself with a picture of the Bungles home stadium.

We got a chuckle out of the fact that before we exited the city limits, we saw an overpass with “Who Dey” graffitti’d on it. Who Dey? In case you forgot, WE DEY!

I had thought about stopping at the glass house at Oglebay Park on my way through Wheeling, but I-70 is closed through W.Va., and I’m mostly just familiar with getting to Oglebay going in the other direction. Plus, the skies were getting dark and I actually had an attention span, so we forged on.

West Virginia had a pretty sign. I don’t get it, but it looked good. It’s too dangerous to put RT in a photo with a state sign if said sign is above the highway instead of on the side of the road. He understands.

Within minutes of going past the Pennsylvania sign, the rain that SJ predicted showed up with a vengeance. It was raining, at times pretty damn hard, for the rest of the drive to Eisenhower

Bear was happy to hold my shades while I didn’t need them. I think he took a nap for the last hour or so. Jerk.

I took this several days ago. Since it won’t be the default view in my rear view mirror any more, I thought I’d post it. Baxter was very good at giving me a smile every time I needed it.

* Roaming Tigger 1
* Remainder of the first act of Wicked with repeats of the “best” songs. I needed to sing along and/or occupy my brain. Boredom set in fast and hard today.
* A little bit of the first act of Les Mis, but that couldn’t keep me focused either.
* The last two episodes of Wait Wait. Should have saved more for the last day, but I didn’t anticipate this big of a crash.
* The first few hours of Pride and Prejudice. That finally kept my attention enough to keep me in the middle of my preferred lane for the remainder of the drive.

Today: 4 states (Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania) 370.2 miles, 6 hours, 33 minutes

Trip: 11 states (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania), 2,874.5 miles

Today (7 states, 1 district): Washington, D.C., New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Washington, Iowa
Trip (42 states, 1 district): Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Washington D.C.
Missing (8 states): Alaska*, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont

I saw a perfect “true” Alaska plate on the back of a cab of a semi, but the rules disqualified that plate.

Thanks for playing along with my game, and for reading about and commenting on my trip. I look forward to accumulating new east coast friends, but I know I have friends for life on the left coast. I hope you have enjoyed the story of my drive. I’m glad to be home.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day 5: Oxford, Miss. To Lexington, Ky.

I left Oxford a little later than I had planned this morning, but it turned out to be perfect timing all around.

Bill and his mom needed to get some stuff around the house taken care of in quick fashion and I was able to help out. Least I could do after having such a great stay!

On the way out of Oxford, I tried, unsuccessfully, to snap a pic of John Grisham’s house. This is his land. Pathetic, I know, but driving was more important than photography. There’s a big yellow house on that lot. I promise!

Apparently, I-55 is allergic to signs at the Miss-Tenn border. There wasn’t a Tennessee sign on the northbound side, same as there wasn’t a Mississippi sign on the southbound side. RT was not pleased.

After several hours on the road, I made it to Jackson, Tenn., and the home of the AA West Tennessee Diamond Jacks. I mostly took this pic because Bill had specifically mentioned this park as I was getting my act together this morning. (hi, Bill! Thanks for the hospitality!)

RT and I were able to catch the welcome sign into Kentucky. I haven’t been in this state since I was here for men’s soccer with Akron, I think in 1997. Oh, and I competed at Kentucky Horse Park twice. That’s about it.

There were some rainstorms as I drove through the Commonwealth, and even a rainbow!

Since I grew up riding horses, there was some stuff that was extra interesting to me that normal people wouldn’t get excited about.

I couldn’t get a decent photo of the grandstand, but here was an entrance to Keenland Race Course. Nifty!

Once I got to Lexington, I had a very nice surprise … John had run into the one other UK employee that I know … a former weight coach at UCLA who know lords over all things strength and conditioning for the Wildcats. Johnnie and I went to dinner with Steph and her husband. Great fun.

My wonderful host gets bonus points … my first host who has HAND SOAP in the bathroom! (Jon and Bill, I love you guys, but it’s nice to be able to wash your hands after doing your business!)

So that’s about it. Tomorrow is a six-hour haul to Pittsburgh. Can’t believe I’ll be home by tomorrow night. Wow.

* The last two songs of Avenue Q that I didn’t finish on Monday
* Roaming Tigger, volumes 1, 2 and 3 (CDs that Bill made for me)
* Two episodes of Wait Wait
* Half the first act of Wicked

Today: 3 states (Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky). 511 miles (on the nose!). 8 hours, 5 minutes
Trip: 8 states (CA, AZ, NM, TX, AK, TN, MS, KY … OK, so I accidentally skipped Arkansas on the recap from Day 3. Oops!). 2,506.5 miles.

Note: I’m a little bitter … the trip odometer on my car reset itself after 1,999.9 miles. Bummer.

Today (5 states): North Carolina, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, West Virginia
Total (37 states … anyone who took the OVER gets the win!): Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Fla., Ga., Hawaii, Idaho, Ill., Ind., Kan., Ken., La., Md., Mich., Miss., Mont., Mo., N.C., N.H., N.M., Neb., Nev., Ohio, Ore., Okla, Pa., S. Car., Tenn., Texas, Va., Wisc., W.Va., Wyo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 4: Oxford, Mississippi

Best. Day. Ever.

RT and I got a full tour of campus, but this is the only picture we took.

This is Jackson (and Bill ... I haven't gotten a good pic of him with his dogs yet, so I'll let him hide for now) :)

This is Delta

I wanna stay. :)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Day 3: Dallas to Oxford, Miss.

Today wasn’t so bad. Both because I only drove for eight hours and because there was a lot more civilization on the drive today.

My wonderful host last night, Jon, was quite helpful again this morning, then we went along on our separate ways in the rain

I got a good photo of the Texarkana water tower, then had a camera malfunction on the “official” sign for Arkansas. It was over the left lane instead of on the right-hand side of the road like normal. I missed it.

We drove past a little town called Hope

Got a crappy long-distance picture of downtown Little Rock, since I took the bypass around downtown.

As I left the greater Little Rock area, I saw this freeway sign for Jacksonville, Ark. I know people who grew up there. I could tell you who they are, but then I’d have to kill you.

This looked like an intentionally set fire of some sort. You could see it for miles and miles.

Since I biffed on getting the Arkansas sign going into the state and there was a traffic jam crossing the un-labeled river exiting the state (Yes, I know it's the Mississippi. I'm just saying that it was the only river I've crossed on the trip that was completely un-labeled), I took this in my side-view mirror

Same traffic jam allowed me to take this well-framed photo of the Tennessee sign. By the way, the I-55 route into Memphis is worthy of Los Angeles … in the fine spirit of the 405-101 interchange. This is not a compliment.

I was irritated that there was no sign coming into Mississippi. Bill, my host for this evening and tomorrow, insists that it was there, but I was specifically looking for it and didn’t see it. But I needed to use the facilities, so I stopped at the Welcome Center

And found the official-looking sign there.

Because it was a short day of driving, I got to Bill’s house around 4 pm. That includes a little directions mix-up. When I walked into the house, Bill’s mom immediately informed me that her son is directionally challenged, but I’ll keep him around anyway. I found it on the second try, to no worries.

No driving tomorrow. Hooray! I’m looking forward to seeing Oxford and spending a day with my best friend. We’re currently doing dueling laptops on the couch with Jackson, one of his two dogs, asleep between us. It’s a good day.

* Remainder of “A Walk in the Woods” Made me want to hike the AT.
* I tried to start listening to 1776 but couldn’t do it
* Hit shuffle on the iPod for a while but that didn’t work for me either
* Listened to The Producers, then Avenue Q

Today: 3 states (Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi), 537.5 miles, 8 hours, 6 minutes
Trip: 6 states (CA, AZ, NM, TX, TN, MS), 1,995 miles


Today (11 states): Illinois, Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, New Hampshire (Live Free or Die!), Nebraska, Georgia, Ohio
Total (32 states): Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Fla., Ga., Hawaii, Idaho, Ill., Ind., Kan., Ken., La., Md., Mich., Miss., Mont., Mo., N.H., N.M., Neb., Nev., Ohio, Ore., Okla., S. Car., Tenn., Texas, Va.

On a side note, early in the day today, the Hubster wanted to know which would be higher: the number of state plates I would see on this trip or the highest number of cars we counted for sale on Inglewood on a weekend in California (street near our house). Since the Inglewood number was 33, I took the over in a heartbeat. I’m gonna crush that number. Notice I don't even have New York, West Virginia or Pennsylvania on the list yet! :)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day 2: El Paso to Allen (Dallas)

All Texas, all the time!

Another day on the road. We started in El Paso. My who weren’t pictured yesterday got their photo ops this morning

Joe (left) and Derf (right) have watched the country go by through the backseat window on the drivers side.

Baxter smiles at me every time I look in the rear-view mirror. I at least see his ears in the center of the backseat every time I check my mirror. Boy, that's a terrible picture. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

About an hour out of El Paso, we had to pull over for a Border Patrol inspection station. I was stopped instead of waved through, but all the guy wanted to know was if I was a U.S. citizen. I guess a woman with four teddy bears, an obviously American accent and a packed-to-the-gills car doesn’t look much like a potential immigrant.

I-10 wasn’t so bad, but lemme tell you … I-20 is boring as all crap. I’m really glad I had books on tape on my iPod, or I might have given into the temptation to jump out of the car while it was still moving. Yes, I was that bored.

No interesting photos. I drove through Odessa and realized why my very favorite soccer player at Akron had nothing particularly flattering to say about his hometown. It’s the home of Permian High School, the school upon which Friday Night Lights is based, but Erik (sorry, I can’t remember his last name) never had much good to say about Odessa.

I also passed through Midland, Texas, and wasn’t quick enough on the draw to take a picture of the sign on the side of the road denoting the hometown of George W. and Laura Bush. Oh well.

There literally was NOTHING exciting on the drive until I got to Fort Worth.

Where I saw Six Flags over Texas. I also drove past the Ballpark at Arlington, but couldn’t get a decent pic of that.

The route Jon, my host for this evening, gave me was also the tourist/sightseeing route. I got the view of downtown Dallas that was straight from the TV show. I took this photo in a mini-traffic jam while changing highways.

At the end of that freeway change, I noticed a sign off to my left. For El Fenix, a restaurant that Chris and Jon enjoyed the last time Chris was here. I tried to take a picture, but got a little screened at the last second …

Sorry, Chris! I tried! :)

I thought this was a little over the top, but hey, it’s Texas after all!

Saw this at a stop light on the way to Jon’s house. Thought it was fun/cute.

Jon and I drove by the South Fork ranch from the TV show Dallas, then went out to dinner for some yummy barbecue. Sorry. No camera at dinner. I’ll try to get a pic in the AM when he’s all spiffed up for work.

* The end of the BNL concert in Santa Monica from December 2005
* Two episodes of Wait Wait
* The first four hours of “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson
* A little more BNL as I had to pay attention to directions getting to Jon’s house

Today: One state (Texas), 651.6 miles, 9 hours, 25 minutes
Total: Four states (CA, AZ, NM, TX) 1,453.5 miles

Today: Seven new states- Alabama, Oregon, Louisiana, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma
Total: 21 states (Ala., Ariz., Calif., Col., Fla., Hawaii, Idaho, Ind., Kan., La., Mich., Mont., N.M., Nev., Ore., Okla., S. Car., Texas, Va., Wash.)

Allen, Texas, to Oxford Mississippi for Monday, then a day off with my friend Bill on Tuesday. Woo-Hoo! :)

Day 1: Pasadena to El Paso

I'm pretty beat, so this might be a little short. I was totally fine until the last 20 minutes of the drive, then I was just really glad that I was in Texas and less than half an hour away from my hotel.

As I had previously mentioned, I'm extremely lucky that I had family in Pasadena for the eight years I was working at UCLA. Ab and Janet graciously put me up last night.

After a yummy dinner at Outback with Carol, we zipped by Quilters Dream for a visit, then I got to Ab and Janet's at about 7:30. We caught up for about an hour, then watched Breach (which was pretty good), then went to bed.

Ab made me an offer I couldn't refuse ... pancakes for breakfast to send me off on the right foot. It was a wonderful special treat and a great way to start the morning. Wanna see the chef in action?

Like I said, very yummy! :)

I was on the road shortly after 8 am Pacific Time, which was on par with my "master plan." After a quick jaunt from the 210 to the 57, I got on I-10, where I will spend the next large chunk of my life.

We made a quick stop in Palm Springs. 15 minutes at the outlet mall to get a second pair of my favorite jeans. (Levi's outlet. Woo-Hoo!). The one thing that has always freaked me out about driving to Palm Springs is the field of windmills. It's ginormous and very distracting. Roaming Tigger was fascinated!

(It's quite easy to snap a quick pic with the digital camera. I promise, I was really careful while taking all of the in-motion pictures ... basically propped up RT, got something that looked about right in the large LCD screen on my camera, then snapped off a few frames. If it came out, great, if not, that was OK.)

It felt like it took a dog's age to get out of California, but at about noontime, it finally happened:

Arizona wasn't particularly exciting. There was plenty of scenery, so it was light years better than the drive on I-80 through Nebraska when I took the UCLA job. Once I hit Phoenix, it got slightly nostalgic. Remembering all of my trips to Arizona and ASU with softball. The day I backed into a classic car in the parking lot of our Tempe hotel after we were rained out and heading to Tucson early. The trips where we lost in some goofy way in Tucson then drove up to Phoenix at 10 pm. The year (2001) where we got to Phoenix, then had a 90-minute team meeting at the hotel that started at 1 am, etc.

I really thought about stopping at one of the Dairy Queens between Phoenix and Tucson in honor of my softball team. After we beat Arizona this year, we tried to stop on the way up to Phoenix, but they closed 15 minutes before we got there. I decided that I didn't need ice cream and since I was on a roll, it was better to just keep moving.

I knew that there was going to be construction in Tucson, but everything I had read said that I-10 would be open, but all of the Tucson exits would be closed. LIARS! The freeway was entirely closed for the entire stretch of the construction. Booooo!! It took forever to get through Tucson, but the good news is that once I got back on I-10, I was able to find an NPR feed and listen to the bulk of APHC. Roy Blount, Jr., was one of the guests, as were the Carolina Chocolate Drops. A fantastic broadcast, as usual!

My co-pilot enjoyed the drive as well.

He wants everyone to know that he was wearing sunscreen and that the AC vent kept him nice and comfy on the drive. He's a very good traveling companion, as are his brothers.

Here we are entering New Mexico. I was surprised at how "narrow" New Mexico is. Just over 160 miles of I-10 from border to border. No photo of the Texas entrance sign. It was dark and I didn't want to mess with it.

*The current episode of "This American Life" which I caught on about 5 different NPR stations
* Three episodes of Wait Wait from my iPod. I hadn't realized how far behind I was. Yikes! Thank goodness for Podcasts!
* The recording of the BNL concert I went to last December with Bill at Gibson Ampitheater
* The BNL concert from December 2005 at the Santa Monica Civic Center

* Four states (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas)
* Just over 800 miles (yikes!)

OK, so everyone plays this a little differently. My rules are that a state's plates don't count if you're in that state, and trucks don't count either.
14 states down. In the order in which they were spotted: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Montana, Hawaii (enter Arizona), California, Texas, Nevada, Florida, Washington, Virginia, New Mexico, Idaho (enter New Mexico) Colorado

Didn't get any new states while driving the first 25 miles into Texas.

Also "got" two Mexican plates: Sonora and Chihuaua.

Off to bed. I'll be checking in from outside of Dallas tomorrow night. All Texas, all the time!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Farewell Tour

Well, the anticipated FO didn't get F'd and won't until I get to Pittsburgh.

Instead, RT and I will entertain you with our final few exploits here in LaLaLand.

On Tuesday, we were invited to dinner at the home of a very good friend in Seal Beach. She made spaghetti and meatballs, complete with garlic bread that had actual garlic on it. RT managed to not get any of the tomato sauce in his fur, which is a good thing.

After dinner, we took a walk down to the water while said friend did a little work.

RT liked the beach. The water was the perfect temperature for a swim, but we just got our paws (and jeans) a little wet standing on the edge of the surf.

Talk about a great location. Friend's digs are indicated by the yellow arrow. Awesome!

Yesterday (Wednesday), we took another field trip with Lori, who took us to the Zoo on Monday. This time, Lori and I went to the Huntington Library and I took her to lunch at the Tea Room. Partly because it is awesome and partly because I'm a rotten friend and forgot her birthday. Even when she parked herself in my office THAT DAY and complained that she was having a lousy day. I suck.

Tigger started wearing his sticker on his nose, but it started to itch, so he let me wear it instead.

After we enjoyed tea, we went over to check out my favorite part of the Huntington grounds, the Japanese Garden. Isn't it awesome?

That's it for our Los Angeles field trips. After this blogging break, I'm going to do the bulk of car packing, then do a little laundry and get to bed. Tomorrow, it's one final stop at Beach Knitting, a trip to the office to turn in my keys, etc., and then off to see some quilting friends one last time before I crash at my aunt's house. for the night. I have been very lucky to have family in the area while living in Los Angeles. Thanks, Janet! :)

I managed to get rid of both the desk and the couch. Three cheers for CraigsList!

A side note:
I just called the last credit card company to change my address and notify them of my impending cross-country drive. While the guy on the other end of the line did recognize that my new/old street is named after a former President of the United States, he did ask the following questions:

I mention that I will be driving for approximately the next week:
Q: Will you be driving your automobile on this trip?
A: That's usually what I drive!

I tell him that I'll be driving from California to Pennsylvania:
Q: When will you return to the United States?
A: I wasn't planning to leave the United States!

I mean, I know he's probably working off of a script, but COME ON!!!

I hope to blog the drive. Wish me luck! :)