From Sea to Shining Sea

What? Why are you looking at me that way? You had to know it would be a while between blog posts since I explained in my last post that I was going to be traveling...besides, you actually have to be home to write a blog (unless you take your computer with you, which I didn't). I am not being defensive!

So, I'm back at it after a whirlwind week-and-a-half of travel. From Chicago and back, to Portland and back, with an overnight in Saratoga Springs thrown in there there for good measure. Boy, am I sick of packing and unpacking. I don't know how truly frequent travelers do it. One of my colleagues and good friend, Josh, recruits for SU's MBA program, and he's gone probably more than 75% of the time, on the road at recruitment fairs and college and visits and such. It's really hard on him, but to his credit he's only 30 and doesn't have any kids. He probably has a little more stamina than I do. Anyway...
In spite of the travel fatigue, both trips were great. This was my second time to Chicago, and my impression of that city gets better and better with every visit. This time I stayed near the lakefront (Lake Michigan), and it was absolutely beautiful - the scenery and the weather, both. I stayed in a lovely old hotel downtown called The Palmer House, and it was located near a lot of the colleges, The Chicago Institute of Art, and the funky/artsy section of the city. I spent some time walking along the lakefront, and nearby was the Buckingham Fountain, made famous in the opening scene of Fox's '90s hit "Married with Children." The architecture in Chicago is absolutely amazing, and I would love to spend more time there in the near future. The trip from Rochester is a manageable hour-and-a-half, so it's definitely a possibility for a family weekend getaway.

After spending the weekend in Chicago, I unpacked and repacked for my trip to Portland. I left at the ungodly hour of 6:10am, but that allowed me to get in mid-day. Mark's cousin, Kara, picked me up at the airport, and, after a brief stop at her house, we grabbed some lunch and did some sight seeing. It was so nice spending time with Kara. We tried to determine the last time we had seen each other, and figured it may have been as many as 20 years ago at her brother's wedding. Thanks to the magic of Facebook, though, we've been able to reconnect and get to know each other again.

Kara has lived in the Portland area for some 15 years, and she shares a 5-year old daughter, Piper, with her former partner, Heather. Lucky for us (me) we got a chance to spend a lot of time with Piper, who is incredibly cute and very smart. She's a little firecracker! On Thursday, before I had to head to Portland State University for the grad fair, Kara, Piper, Kara's roommate, Jessica, and I started out early and headed up Mt. Hood to the Timberline Lodge, the exterior of which was used for Stephen King's (Stanley Kubrick's version) The Shining. That was an extremely cool experience, considering that Mark and I had visited the real hotel that The Shining was based on two years ago during our trip to Colorado.

Actually, it was not only a cool experience, it was a COLD experience as Mt. Hood was experiencing a snow storm during our visit. I could not wait to get down the mountain as I am definitely not ready for dark, cold, wet, snow just yet! But, it was a lot of fun just the same!! On the way back to Portland we meandered back by a beautiful scenic route through the mountains, and stopped in the really cute little town of Hood River for a coffee break and some shopping. Amazingly, just over the Columbia River, a stone's throw away, was Washington State. Pretty cool!

After a long day of travel, I arrived home on Friday night to once again unpack and repack for our overnight to Saratoga for the Head of the Fish Regatta. THANK GOD THE WEATHER WAS NICE THIS YEAR. Sure, it was cold, but that I can take. I'm not great at math, but I do know this:

Cold+Rain+Snow=FROZEN HELL

So we piled on the layers and made the best of it. The kids didn't make out too well...Annalisse would not even discuss how she did, and apparently Cam's boat came in 4th out of about 15, which was not too bad. I feel very bad for Cameron as he's displayed great persistence and sportsmanship this fall, but has not wSave as Drafton a medal. We have one more regatta for this season: Sunday's "Pull the Plug" regatta in Pittsford. Maybe they'll pull off a win, yet.
Last night was the first night in recent memory that I got into my PJs and hung around the house. It was heaven! I was even inspired to bake cookies. I suppose it takes a couple of weeks like I've had lately to help me appreciate the quiet time at home.


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