Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Just Got Taken For A Ride

I'm trying to do as much as I can before I lose my internet :)  I left my conch fritters and trapsed back to the ferry docks where we then proceeded to switch to what they call "island time" which means that, no one ever is on time here.  "We start boarding at 2:20" actually means, we'll board when we're good and ready - which then turns out to be like 2:45.  Ah well - I'm on vacation so - island time it is!

I got on the ferry to Tortolla and found a seat right by the open door.  The pict above was my view from my seat.  And oh, in case you hadn't noticed, I've now taken out my "big girl" camera :)  I'm going to try and use that a little more and give poor little IPhone a break for a while.

So right across from me there was this guy and his son seated.  The little boy was seriously the cutest kid I'd ever seen and he just sat there quietly leaning against his dad's leg or perched on his lap.  He was just looking around and observing life.  It was so hard no to stare at him because he was so dog gone cute!  I had to pick up a book to divert my attention - it worked for a while, but then they ended up getting on the taxi with me at the ferry.

Here's a shot of the Marriott that I stayed at last night.

And here we are pulling into BVI, Tortolla - I was through this port before when I went to Virgin Gourda.  I love all those brightly colored buildings.

So I had been instructed to take the ferry to West End and then take a taxi to the Beef Island airport (where I believe I'm now sitting, but I'm not 100% sure that its Beef Island).  Anyways, I got onto this open taxi with all these other people and he said he'd take me to the airport.  We drive and drive and he drops all these people off and we pass the Road Town ferry (which I could have taken as well but didn't as I was told to take the West Town one...) and then we pull into this parking lot and he tells me to get out that this other guy is going to finish taking me to the airport.  I'm like "what?" but I oblige and he asks for $10 and I look at him, but I give it to him.  And I get into this new can with this islander who is like in his 70s and he immediately starts telling me the history of the island and when the Queen came and made this road and where he yacht was moored and all this stuff and I'm not even listening but he's yammering on.  I kind of look over towards him and I do a double take as he's flashing his hands around - AYE!  He's got an enormous gold ring on EVERY finger and all but two fingers has a TWO INCH long nail with a pearl nail polish on it!  FREAKY!  Then we're driving and I see this sign with an arrow pointing to the airport and its at a fork and he starts to go the other way, still talking and he says something to the effect that "that way is the main road but he's taking me on the scenic route" and at that point I'm like "excuse me?  Am I paying extra for this scenic route as I didn't ask for it.  I wanted to go to the airport, not take a tour of the island."  and then he proceeds to tell me how much his fare is and I double take and I have suddenly learned - I am not getting into another islanders taxi without knowing exactly where I'm going and how much it costs to get there!  No more!

But, I'm putting my brain back on vacation and I'm going to chill and pretty soon, hopefully if I'm at the right airport, I'll be walking over to the boat and getting on and sailing away from Captain Creepy-Nails!

My Ten Day Experiment

First of all - sorry for the fog.... Its that thing about being in the tropics with the humidity and by the water.  You walk out of the air conditioning and everything that has a clear lens, from your eyes to the phone, fogs up instantly.

My ten day experiment.  I came up with it this morning.  This morning as I lay on a massage table with a woman pounding on my back telling me that she had never felt such huge knots.  This morning as a woman was pounding on my back and my mind was whirring with things that I had to do before I checked out of the hotel and then where I should go before I had to catch the ferry....  And then it hit me -- MY NAME IS ALISON AND I AM AN OBSESSIVE MULTI-TASKER!


My mind never sleeps.  I'm always thinking.  And not just thinking about life but how I need to organize things so that I make sure to get everything done and then when I finish those things in my head I come up with new things that I "need" to do --- this is how I came up with the "I should paint the bathroom" thing.  I only have three hours, but if I budget my time, I can knock out the bathroom, run the errands that I need, meet with a neglected friend for lunch and also finish weeding the garden.  WHY?!  Its the eternal WHY?!   Why do I do this to myself?  I can't sit still.  I have to do something while I'm doing something and then think of other things that I can do while I'm doing other things.  Is this what being crazy is?  Am I judgmental that I'm sitting here watching a guy in a ripped t-shirt and shorts, no shoes, with a scraggly beard down to his waist and greasy hair trying to hand out hand-made straw flowers to every woman who passes by thinking "what a crazy!"  Maybe I'm the crazy one!  Maybe I should try making straw flowers and handing them out to people (lets admit I'll probably never be up to the dirty shorts and hair and no shoes - I do have to have standards:)

So, I've come up with a little experiement for myself.  I will be on a boat.  I will be sailing.  We may occassionally stop at an island or two, but for the most part, I can't do anything for 7 days.  Its really driving me crazy thinking about the fact that I can't really work out, I can't run AT ALL for 7 days.  So, since I can't do anything or plan anything because there's nothing to do, I'm going to let my mind go blank.  I mean BLANK.  I am going to become the true proverbial blonde, and I plan on getting blonder!  Literally and mentally :)

I am going to refuse to let myself think about what I need to do when I get back and the trips that I need to plan.  I won't let myself obsess about how I'm wasting my time as I'm not accomplishing anything (I do that quite frequently).  I'm going to be in the moment and let it wash all over me!  I'm going to give my brain permission to take vacation!
So as I write this, I'm sitting here at a restaurant across from the Charlotte Amalie bay area enjoying some delicious conch fritters (I LOVE conch!  I always remember back to travelling around in the Bahamas when I nannied).  I'm allowing myself to enjoy them and not worry about time.  I'm just thinking about writing.  Thats the one thing I have given myself permission to do.  Writing is my outlet and I never seem to really get a chance to do it anymore - I throw pictures up for you all, but I really don't write.  So forgive me for the future onslaught of extensive prose you are about to receive sometime this week - whenever I can connect.  Because I can blog off-line now I know that I'll be sitting on the deck just telling you all kinds of little secrets about me.

I had a nice little drive over here in a cab.  The cabs here are all these big 16 passenger vans - it always feels funny to "grab a cab" and be by yourself in a van like that.  I had this older guy who drove really slow and he had this nice caribbean music blasting with steel drums and a entourage of women who backed up their lead male singer crooning "someone at the pah-tee pinched me on the rump-see".  My driver sang along like he was the lead in the group.  The other thing thats funny about the cab drivers here is they never tell you how much the fare is.  They just drop you off and then wait for you to give them money.  You never know - it could be 5 it could be 15 -- they just wait to see if you give them a 20 and say "keep the change".

And heres a perspecitve from travelling alone.  Especially when you're in a tropic place and walking around by yourself, men hit on you.  And not like "decent" guys, but old ones, drunk ones. perverted ones.  They say "hi", they say "how are you doing", they say other things when you walk past.   I don't know if I feed it, but I ignore them.  Sometimes they seem to make those really nasty comments when you shun them.  I guess its that they've been rejected and now they have to be all manly and act like they weren't really interested in you to begin with.  You know how they have that fake guy that you can put in your passenger seat when you drive around so people don't think you're alone.  I think I'm going to come up with something like that that you can walk around with and eat dinner with and all so people don't make comments and stare pitifully at you.  I don't mind doing anything alone, its just all the above that drives me crazy....  Oh - oh, I think I just added something to my brain battle for the week -- now I'm going to be whirring around in my head with ideas for this "faux friend".  Hmmm....

Well - I'm off to enjoy my fritters - the conch ones that are sitting here in front of me.  And then I must needs head off to catch the ferry for Tortola.

So begins the experiment!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Where In The World Is Alison Now?!

I was pretty dog gone good at my Philosophy and Logic class in college.  In fact, I quite excelled where others may have failed.

In fact, lets play a little game and see how good you are at syllogisms.  That means that we're going to use our reason and come to a conclusion from a general to a particular statement.

We start with
Premise 1:  Havana Blue is a restaurant on St Thomas in the Virgin Islands
Premise 2:  Alison is now sitting in Havana Blue

And this leads to our -
Conclusion:  Alison is in St Thomas in the Virgin Islands

YAY!  If you were able to come to that conclusion without the aid of this answer key -- you are as smart as I am!!!!  (thats not saying a lot...)  This actually may not be a syllogism as much as an inductive argument - but I'm not going to split hairs.  You can look it up and decide for yourself.  But since its my blog and my conclusion - I'm calling this a syllogism because it makes me sound ingenius - or as I like to call it - not blonde.

Yes - Alison is in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.  Tomorrow, Alison will be taking a ferry to Tortola which is in the British Virgin Islands.  There, I'll be boarding a little sailboat with about 6 other women and heading out to tool around the Virgin Islands for 7 days - NO CELL PHONE, NO TEXTING, EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!! NO INTERNET!!!!!!  I'm already going into early withdrawals...!

I did download this wonderful new app on my mac called MarsEdit which allows me to actually blog and then save drafts and, when I'm able to connect to internet, quickly and easily download my blogs.  So - you may not get my blogs on a daily basis, but you'll get my daily basis!

So, the picture I had above is the Havana Blue restaurant which is in the Frenchman's Reef Marriott Hotel on St Thomas.

Pat took me to the airport at like 6 this morning and then I hopped a plane to Charlotte and connected to another plane to St Thomas...

Saying goodbye to the old mainland, hum-drum U.S.A....
And HELLO to beautiful St Thomas, a territory of the U.S., but a vacation territory!!!!

Landing on St Thomas - I LOVE the feeling of landing here!  I love the way that they always seem to act surprised when we land by saying "well, it looks like we'll be deplaning via stairs onto the runway so please be careful!"  as if we could deplane any other way when the terminal is one level, about 10 feet below the door of the plane -- AND -- there are about 90 other planes on the tarmac that are all DEBOARDING WITH STAIRS.  Its no surprise!  Stop acting it!

So, I'm staying at my good old Marriott home before I head over to Tortola tomorrow.  I'm trying to decompress from some pretty crappy weeks of a lot of different things - especially work.  I checked in and then headed over to the Havana Blue restaurant where I asked to be seated by the rail that looks out right over the beach and then I promptly ordered a mango mojito!  Amazing!  I tried to just chill out and get the nasty off my face because it had been there for a while.  There's something about St Thomas people - they live on this wonderful tropical island but they all act like you're putting them out and they're angry at you.  From the way they talk to you to the way they drive (ok, not at the resorts, but in the normal world they do).  As soon as I got off the plane I got stuck with this taxi driver lady who promptly started yelling at me because I had gotten gum on her car seat because apparently I had put my backpack down in a wad of someone's disgusting chewing gum.   And then she dropped me off at the K Mart to pick up a few essentials that I hadn't packed so as to save my security line time :) and she parked in some remote location that when I came out I couldn't find her and panicked that she had taken off with my suitcase (oh, which my they way, I have this tiny little roller carry on duffle and a backpack - THATS ALL! :)).  I did start making friend with her when she saw I was on the verge of tears and then she started calling me "baby" and all these other cutesy little terms.  I had also bought her some stain remover in KMart for the gum and I think that helped as well.  It all blew over and by the time we got to the Marriott she was chatting with me brightly about the best places to eat on the island and where she likes to go for vacation herself.  We're doing to dinner when I get back next weekend.... not... :)

I digress... I ended up at the Havana Blue with a mango mojito and then, after dinner, in fact, I indulged in black cherry lime daquiri or something like that.  Dinner was all so good and I felt quite rosy just sitting there watching the waves come in.  I survived one of their little intermittent downpours that lasted all of like 5 minutes and blew in the side and drenched me.  Everyone was running around apologizing and trying to pull the canvas curtains closed and I was sitting there smiling saying "I don't care!  I'm on vacation!"  And I am going to do good to that this week if it kills me!  I am going to chill out and stop worrying about what other people think and the things I need to do and stop planning my strategy for getting that big stupid account - so what if I lose it and everyone hates me and the fact that I forgot to send a report or an e-mail.  Everyone can just understand - I'm not superwoman --- sorry, Rachel -- I am NOT superwoman!  At least, I'm trying to loose that stigma... Its a heavy burden to bear... And the uniform is little itchy - and tight...

Enjoy some more shots from the Marriott at Frenchman's Reef...

Catching You Up On What You Missed

I'm going to attempt to catch you up on the week that you lost in my life. That was the week before this past week. I don't even know what happened to that week as well. In fact, I don't even know what happened to July. It think its gone and I'm not liking that..... So - the week before last I was working in Columbia, SC which is about an hour and a half from Greenville so I stayed by fam. Aunt June is, at this point, in an assisted living place so she had me stay at her house. It was weird being their without her! I did get to spend a bit of time with her, though, in my off hours. I also had the chance to spend a lot of time with my nephew, Riley, as well. Riley and I did dinner most nights. Aunt June and I did every night, but one night she just didn't go out with me as I think I had exhausted her. I seem to have that affect on people :) Photo So, here are a few shots of the place Aunt June is living in. Its actually really nice. It doesn't look old and creepy and like people are waiting to die. In fact, I'm considering moving down! They have meals and the rooms and they do your laundry for you and people check in to see if you need anything -- its like better than being a gold member at the Marriott! Photo
 Its so southern with the big wrap around porch and the rockers on the front. Photo
 Aunt June has her own little room with its door and all her stuff in the room. Photo Photo Here's the dining room where she dines at table number one with Bob and Sophia and Betty (I made some of those names up, but she's told me about all of them and I met them - I'm just not good with names) Photo
 Here's the front sitting room. There are several little sitting rooms throughout the place where all the ladies hang out and gossip and there is a hair salon and a spa room and all this other stuff. Photo Here's Aunt June's room. They moved in some of her furniture and tv and all and the week I was there I brought in her DVD player for her. She's got her whole thing going on. How she looks - she's looking so good compared to how I saw her before at graduation! I was a little scared to go see her that week, but I was so happy that she was almost her old self. She has the walker because she has dropsy in her left foot and she can't really walk that well with it. Her hands and her feet have that thing that happens to most people I know after they have chemo - its hard to move them and they can't really feel. She's way more upbeat about things, though, and she scolds herself whenever she's negative about her situation. Its kind of cute. Photo This is something I think she's a little tickled about. About two doors down from her on the other side of the hall, theres a room with one of her good friends, Penny, and the other half of the room is Helen Jackson who happens to be Jesse Jackson's mother. Aunt June said that Jesse was in to see his mom the other week and they had him come and talk to a group of the ladies who were sitting around hanging out together and he prayed with them. Aunt June said he was pretty nice. All I know is that we went in and I met Mrs Jackson and she was extremely nice and so cute. I even saw some of her family pictures :) I saw these old ones of her dad and her Aunt. They were these really really old pictures - it was pretty cool. Photo I also got to hook up with Shelley and Pete - Riley came over with me and we spent "family" time together :) Photo One of the nights I brought Aunt June downtown to Hight Cotton for dinner -- I LOVE LOVE downtown Greenville! Its so adorable and SO many good places to eat and shop! Photo I thought I'd throw this in -- I always listen to my NPR :) I was headed to Columbia and, just so you'll always remember, Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 5:56 a.m., the very last space shuttle landed back on terra firma.... Never to go up again! Thats so weird! I remember exactly where I was when the Challenger blew up too -- I was in a school van on 94 headed downtown for a school field trip. Its all over now - no more space shuttles. I got home on Friday from SC and one of my friends in MN was kind of having a hard time with some stuff so I told her I'd come up by her for the weekend. I left on Saturday and then came back Sunday later. On 94, just past the Dells but before Madison while on the way home, there was this really bad accident. I've never seen one this bad. They had narrowed us all over to one lane and we were scooching past the accident - you could feel the intense heat as we went past. Right when I got up to the accident, the fire truck was just pulling up. I was just praying that all the people on that bus were ok and everyone survived. Photo Well - my next post will be even more exciting! You'll find out why within a day or two :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Big Blue Bunny...


This is me - from my waist down.... This is how I typically look when I work. Well, at this account, I'm blue, but usually I'm wearing a big white bunny suit. Yes, don't laugh. Its called a "bunny" suit. I'm not completely sure why, but thats what its called. It keeps me safe - and you safe when I come to see you. Wearing this suit protects me from picking up all those nasty viruses and bugs and all those other things that can make us sick. All of the yucky stuff that I work with that you can't see loves to live on clothes. And they love to live on the bottom of your shoes even more - hence, the blue shoe covers. If you could see my head, you'd see a nice blue cap up there as well because those bugs love my hair almost as much as I do :).... For the past two full days, I've lived as a big blue bunny. Whats funny is that when you go up in OR, I always always have a surgeon make some type of comment related to "you sure look stupid in that outfit". Surgeons can be so stupid themselves... But, for today, I'll keep on looking stupid and feeling hot (because these things DO NOT breathe!) because I want to stay safe and I want all of you that I come into contact with to stay safe and healthy as well. Love for the land of the bunny!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Oh The Changes A Week Can Bring!

This is the plane that took me from Akron, the land of Agony, to the wind-torn plains of Chicago. You have to love those little propellors.... After running back and forth between the Continental and United terminals in Cleveland trying to catch an earlier flight on standby (that tunnel walkway is FOREVER long - I was so exhausted by the time I landed on this flight).

I got home to find that the landscapers that I had hired had finished cleaning up the two front garden beds - beautifully! They mulched the heck out of both of the gardens and pulled all the weeds out. They looked really great and such a HUGE change!

Then there was all the wind damage that we had in the area. Our street was pretty bad with huge tree branches all over.

And then we have the two pretty new babies... Baby #1 was a new lease that just replaced my old lease. I really am liking the new drive - smooth.... Baby #2 is the newly groomed Mr Calvin Coolidge! Smells good and looks even better!
Then - there are the new gutters that we just got. They're Gutter Maxx and they're guaranteed to never clog! We'll see how these puppies do in our yard! If they do clog then they come back and clean them.

And last, every Wednesday evening we have game night for the international student workers at their hotel. This was the first Wednesday for the summer and I made it back in time to go over for a few hours just to meet up with some of the students. I learned a few new games myself including Farkle.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Everyone Give A Shout Out!

Today is my super brother's birthday so everyone give a big shout out to Karl!

Happy birthday, Karl!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So Tired... Help Me....

I have not slept.....

I have not slept since 9 a.m. yesterday....

I have not slept since 9 a.m. yesterday as I've been working....

I have not slept since 9 a.m. yesterday as I've been working, i.e. physically been in accounts non-stop, hit the running trail for an hour yesterday and then back in account from 9p.m. until this morning....

I am very tired...

I cannot think to blog....

Help me....

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Rains Have Followed Me

I'm back in Ohio again this week - cleaving to Cleveland - Acking in Akron - Selling in Salem... All of the above.

I was up at about 4 a.m. to get to the airport for a 7 a.m. flight. Got in and on the plane - we pushed away from the gate - and then we circled the airport a couple of times and about 45 minutes later, pulled over and the captain let us know that we were in a line to take off because of weather that was coming in. Apparently they were trying to get everyone out before the storm and our pilot was hoping that we would be one. I had actually nodded off during the whole circling escapade so when he made the announcement I opened my eyes and looked out the window and was greeted with this black sky billowing towards us.
As we sat there, little pellets of rain started to hit the window and the pilot came back on and said - it looked like we weren't going to beat the storm so we'd have to sit tight.
And then it REALLY came in... The rain was torrential and the plane started shaking - it felt like we were taking off. The pilot said the winds were registering at 49 mph. The scary thing is that we were in one of those smaller planes, not the big ones.
It started letting up a little after about 20 minutes and I looked out the window and saw this little thing. Ugh! Never in a million years would I be in one of those things - let alone on a day like today...
Finally the rain stopped and the sun started peaking out and the pilot came on and said that they would be releasing all planes on the runway - in another 30 minutes.... AHHH! After about 3 hours on the tarmac - FINALLY!
I got to Cleveland and the stupid thing is the rental car place is a big building now thats a bus ride away. So I had to go out and wait for the bus and then wait for it to load up and then wait while we rode over and then there was a line at the rental car place and I hadn't put my Blue Chip number in so I had to wait and then finally about an hour later I was in my car. Needless to say, I had to drive back out to Akron and I got there about 4 hours late so my day was totally shot. Its hard to start your work day at 3pm when everyone that you need to talk to finishes their day at 2:30 pm.

I stopped into two neighboring accounts and then decided to just get to a Starbucks and get some work down. Driving there, I could see those same nasty clouds rolling into OH and by the time I got to the Starbucks, I had to sit in my car waiting for the same storm to roll over.
Incidentally, all day I was trying to call into the office with no luck - calling home, no luck. Tried to download my e-mails - no luck. I found out that power everywhere was down - they had closed the company as they were running on an emergency generator. They don't know if they'll be open tomorrow as they're not sure how long they'll have to run and how well they can run on the emergency generator. Its nice they all got an unexpected day off - not for me :(

Oh - and thank goodness we had those big trees taken down in the yard as we'd probably be replacing a roof around now instead of just the gutters!

And of course, I must end with my precious puppy enjoying a drive in the breeze - there's nothing like the summer wind in your hair and your nose out the window!
Here's one little project that I'm finally finishing up. Its a postcard swap that I'm doing from another blog that I follow. Its an art thing - swap your art. We had to put our art on a postcard and then send five postcards to this woman along with 5 address labels with my name on it and postcard stamps. This means, that I'm going to be getting 5 postcards as well from other people I don't know. Its a cool way to "meet" new people and to see some cool art. I'm already feeling intimidated as Kat, the blog that I follow, posted a picture of some of the envelopes she received that had people's postcards in them. Totally artsy... I haven't sent mine yet and I may just take a few extra minutes tomorrow to snazz mine up -- who am I joking - I won't have time to do that! I have 4 accounts I have to visit and then I have to be a "moderator" for a pump installation at an account at 10:30 p.m., an install which will probably take at least 5 hours. Maybe I'll bring the envelope and decorate it during those 5 hours.... Hmmm.....

Just in case you want to check out Kat's blog and the Liberate Your Art swap...