Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Travel year in review -- in pictures

Travel year in review.

Miles flown --- 91K.
Miles flown on average the last seven years -- 150K.

Not bad, not good, but just enough.
Miles redeemed for awards --- 260K
Money saved by redeeming -- 30K

Best trip -- Southern France in March - landscape, food, company, weather
A trip I would rather not repeat - a six hour delay to Kauai in February which basically sucked the life blood out of a short trip
Most memorable trip - Greenland, as if.

Best Hotel stay -- Versailles - March - Marie Antoinette's sheep! Versailles by myself!
Second best -- Four Seasons Lanai - The Lodge -- croquet anyone?
Third Best -- Camp Eqi - facing the glacier - Greenland - glacier, glacier, glacier?

One that we would never wish to repeat -- November, Westin Seattle
Another one -- The Youth Hostel - Ilulissat Greenland

Best Flight -- BA F to London, CPH and back - definitely worth the price of admission
Crap Flight -- Hmm, let me count the ways --- waiting for Air Iceland Nuuk - Rekyavik, Seattle to Lihue with major delays, anything over two hours that wasn't in seat 1A.

Best food experiences -- too many here - New Orleans, lurchery breakfasts, Ducasse in France, Roman trattorias, anything that involved a ripe papaya, anything at home or with friends

Trips planned for 2009 -- nothing major so far -- babies, weddings, work, economy and what not.

Butte, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Boulder, Berkeley, Portland, Kailua-Kona, and Lanai are pretty much happening. Oh yeah, Paris at the end of February, thanks TH!

So, what are your favorite trips or travel experiences of 2008?

nm holder of various pieces of plastic that make me feel entitled

Sunday, December 28, 2008

All it takes is emptying your kitchen to do a remodeling job to realize that there are things you haven't seen in 17 years, but they have such sentimental value that you can't bear to get rid of them.

What do you do?

I guess you move them forward and enjoy them.

I will be drinking from venetian glass purchased in Rome ca. 1995 and supping on
plates from the 1930's and worth a mint for the next few months. Yesterday, I relived trips numerous trips to Italy; my last serious relationship and the ensuing breakup spending spree; TH's father's lovely Christmas gifts; cafe au lait bowls purchased in France and wrapping the Portmeirion pottery I purchased piece by piece as a starving student and brought back in my luggage from London.

Ernest is back, ringing, I have a pizza in the oven, TH has lamb chops from Oxboro to supp on.

Life, though packed in boxes and stacked in the main floor bathroom , is good.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


height of decadence

I can't say it enough.

May your days be cheery and bright.

TH and I spent the day making sure my parents had yogurt, bread and ham. The ham is something that is new to them. We'll see if we can get to it tomorrow. The plan is to meet at their house and try and do something festive with some friends and family.

If only the weather would cooperate.

Last night, a few of us gathered to feast. Bravely our guests trudged through rutted streets with varied tire gauges. It was a good and needed thing. Everyone had tired of their walls, their spouses and their freezers, we all needed a break.

Today driving around felt like we were taking a land rover through the Kalahari. I have never really had an appreciation for AWD until this week. Tonight, with all the water on top of the slush and ice proved to be challenging, but doable.

My parents have felt completely trapped this past week. I'm not sure if its lacking the confidence and sure footedness of their youth or twelve years in the 92037 that have made them so timid. All my mom wanted to do today was to go Christmas shopping and to see others excited. All her paranoid daughter could anticipate was her slipping on the slush in the parking lot or on the variable yet, urbanely planned slick surfaces of the pedestrianized retail experience.

As the weather abates, I will try and take her out, braving the crazed post-Christmas shoppers, but only if its dry and over 42 degrees.

Its been hard to watch the be cooped up, at least my mom has a sense of humor about the whole thing. My dad, as much as he's happy to be with his kids etc., misses the warmth of Southern California. I remind him of the wildfires, the smog and republicans and he nods and then sighs at the weather map.

At least he's regained his appreciation of polarfleece jackets and my mom has two new down vests on order, they are de rigeur for this climate.

According to the Norad reports, Santa just stopped by the 98105. I better wrap this up and make sure the milk is at a temperature to his liking. Things are a bit difficult since we removed the wood stove. He leaves his presents on the front porch and I better check that the dog gate is pulled back, I wouldn't want him to trip and hurt himself.

nm happier this holiday than many others

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

arrested delivery

Happy Christmas to me.

December 22, 2008 05:56:00 AM REDMOND WA US Arrival Scan
December 19, 2008 06:30:00 PM REDMOND WA US Arrival Scan
December 18, 2008 05:53:00 AM REDMOND WA US Arrival Scan
December 18, 2008 04:27:00 AM REDMOND WA US Arrival Scan
December 18, 2008 03:53:00 AM SEATTLE WA US Departure Scan
December 18, 2008 12:46:00 AM SEATTLE WA US Arrival Scan
December 17, 2008 06:36:00 PM PORTLAND OR US Departure Scan
December 17, 2008 03:04:00 PM PORTLAND OR US Arrival Scan
December 16, 2008 10:50:00 PM SPARKS NV US Departure Scan
December 16, 2008 05:00:02 PM US Shipment has left seller facility and
is in transit
December 16, 2008 04:33:00 PM SPARKS NV US Shipment received by carrier

On truck, returned to truck, never to be seen again.

On the other hand, I used B&N pick up in store option for later. Much more satisfying.

Local retailers are doing great thanks to the shit weather. A toy store and some twee furniture stores are the closest to us, so very little use to either of us. Maybe if we needed a recovered empire style chair or legos.

Alas and alack, I burned TH's croissants.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I have lots of very important things to say, but really, it is getting too late and I'm tired.

I have very little motivation to do the things that I need to feel like the holidays are complete. I have a few presents to wrap and those last minute things are not going to be here by Wednesday. I guess we'll be having 12 nights of giving chez nm.

So, after dinner we created the first of four things I have committed to make for Christmas. One recipe I followed to the T and the other I hacked.

Both look mighty tasty.

I'm waiting for sexy whipping pictures to upload to flickr.

Be patient.

Tomorrow is a work day, the roads are treacherous, but we're still to report in.

Should be tons of fun.

nm slip sliding away

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday wrap up

Cabin fever sets in
U vill for sheer entertainment and exercise
Green chile stew thanks to N, M and I
Eggy crumpets for breakfast a al Kerri
lots of snow shoveling
Incredible levels of sloth all around
Remembrances of last year's rudolph ramble in the same amount of snow and 16 F!
Negotiations for the release of Ernest for technology
Wondering if the snow will ever abate
Realizing that tomorrow is an adult snow day, but there are piles of work to be done
Wishing and hoping that friends make it home wherever that is
Stay warm and dry people

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Friday, December 19, 2008

A snowstorm paralyzes Seattle, however at our local grocery store yogurt cups, milk and string cheese is still on the shelves.

Have my friends' kids moved onto goat cheese, hummous, pita and beer?

I sit here with a nice cold courtesy oh the TH, a dentist appointment at 9 am, lunch at a lovely restaurant that I fear has a windy road or major hill as obstacles and a crap load of work to do.

Ernest is three mountain passes with traction devices required and a wind storm to contend with. Hold tight bud, you may be spending Xmas with your bio family.

Yeah, I am whining.

I have plenty of food, electricity, a warm house, clothing, the ability to drive a AWD vehicle if I choose to. I also have great restaurants and local diversions if I get really get bored.

Others are not so lucky. The merchants who had a crap last weekend because of the snow, those who have to be at work or do not have the option of telecommuting, or those who can't get adequate amounts of food or shelter..

Reach out to your circle of friends -- wait go even further and check with your neighbors and see if everyone is okay. Sweep or shovel past your house if you need a diversion, it is the neighborly thing to do.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Right where was I?

London, Brussels, selective amnesia about flying through JFK, flight delays, work issues while traveling and football hooligans on my Eurostar train.

Honestly, why can't I remember the good things ....

Staying at Tigh Gadhar and the love of the lurcher, meeting RedSnapper, TH finally meeting the SUMDs and Kerri, Pat and Brian.
A lovely short ride to Oxford and a nice visit with Heather. These are precious moments dear ones.
Watching the elegantly dressed entering the Dorchester, the Hilton and other lovely hotels on Park Lane on our way to our own hotel.
A nice suite waiting for us at the Park Lane with a view of St. James Park.
Finally finding dinner at a old favorite after being skunked at three places on Thursday night.
Provisioning for Christmas and having a great time doing it, before the crowds really started.
Walking from Park Lane to Westbourne Grove to lunch and walking by my brief childhood home.
Window shopping at the posh shops.
Buying my future niece/nephew their first bear (nom, nom, nom).
Dinner with the aunties - always a pleasure.
Realizing that in 2 and a half hours one can be in Brussels from London.
Chocolate shopping in Brussels.
Finding a new and cheap restaurant in Brussels that does not involve moules and frites.
The Galleries St. Hubert in all its glory.
Napping on the way home.
Seeing a childhood friend at JFK.
Knowing that our house was taken care of by our amazing neighbors who protected our plants from the exceedingly cold weather.

I'm happy to be home, no jet lag, back in the swing of things even at work -- probably more out of fear of deadlines than anything. No travel for two weeks and then it seems every two weeks after that for the next three months. As much as I try, it doesn't seem to abate -- weddings, vacation, work trips are part of the package. I am just learning to roll with the punches here.

As for the festive period -- We have a tree, lights, cookies, a pudding, egg nog, cards to write and something to be joyful about.

We hope to pick up the boy this weekend, cross your fingers the weather improves or we may not see him until after Christmas.


Friday, December 12, 2008


Christmas provisioning
Lunch at Hereford Road
Wandering around Westbourne grove
Dinner with the aunties
Chavs on the tube
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Thursday, December 11, 2008


Eggy crumpets
Fast train
Moules and fish pie
Catching up
Slow ride into london
Walking around window shopping
Skunked for dinner
Suitable substitution realized
Sleep not happening
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

When did travel become so bleah?

We have a nearly four hour layover in Chicago. Its really no big deal, but the last time I flew through Chicago was in January.

Its the first time I have flown on American since I self demoted to their mid tier. I am even putting these miles on my Alaska account to save me a flight in vain later this month.

For someone who used to calculate their status mileage to the last mile, things have changed.

With fewer expectations, I am less likely to be disappointed.

It will be the first time in over a year I have seen my aunties and TH's auntie. You don't get these chances all the time so we take them when we can.

We are also travelling in a time when the dollar is stronger. Fear not, I will not be hitting the boutiques on New Bond Street or Avenue Louise, but we are endeavouring to use cash we have on hand instead of paying international fees on our credit cards.

I will post as I can, don't get too excited. I am planning on hitting hamley's for a present for our new arrival and for me that is one of the coolest things that I get to do this year!

Lots of deicing going on here -- cross your fingers


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Monday, December 08, 2008

Hi bye

Leaving, busy, busy, busy.

See you all from somewhere else if I get packing done.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I need a pedicure.

Long day, emergency meeting with emergency managers, much driving, good conversations, good lecture, good dinner.

I'm pooped.

I cannot fathom that this time next week I'll be in London.

JK -- do some groundwork for me. I'm sorry that we are not there at the same time, pish posh on work travel restrictions.



Tuesday, December 02, 2008


JK wants me to spend some dosh to keep the economy going and make sure she can retire. While her job is not tied to the manufacturing sector or retail, she wants me to help her retirement account by making the consumer confidence index soar and make you all buy more stocks.


Imagine if we had this conversation last year.

I took her up on the challenge. I bought a new tv (first one in 25 years), some cables for the tv, two dvds, some dog food, a few Christmas odds and bobs and groceries. That alone wiped me out...not so much financially, but mentally.

Tonight I plopped my credit card down three times to buy gifts. Really peeps, I should have gone to the cash machine and taken out the cash, it would have made it more real. I don't think I would have spent any more or less, I just would have felt it sooner.

I was emailing a girlfriend today who bemoaned not having any money -- on one level she doesn't have the expendable income she had before, but on the other hand she drives a nice car and lives in a pretty magnificent house and has seen no cut in pay.

How long before her kids realize that things are not so hot out there?

I remember the recession of early 80s. For the first time my parents really cut things back. We turned the heat down in our house and bundled into one room (our rec room) for eating, showering and hanging out. My mom would get up and make dinner with a coat on and honestly, it was pretty pathetic if you think about it. We lived a very affluent lifestyle, but my parents were worried about high heat bills and not spending more than we needed to. To this day, I would rather put on a sweater than turn the heat up past 60 degrees.

While I'm hoping this downturn doesn't last too long and do worry about my friends who small businesses, I am hoping that a few kids out there will not walk past a penny, learn to put on a sweater and squeeze the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube from now on.

Monday, December 01, 2008

heart stopping

Jaw dropping -all in a days work.

The market needs some mood stabilizers. We need to get our heads out of asses, our troops out of Iraq and Bush should just resign right now.

pissed and no where done with it