Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Birthday Break

I'm home and pretty well caught up after a fun visit with Jan.  It didn't go without some excitement.  You may recall that I was flying out of Charleston as it was a direct flight at a very good price.  It didn't leave until 6PM, which gave me plenty of time to get to Charleston.  I was there well advance of the flight and was so relaxed that I texted Jan, telling her that the day had come together so well that I feared I'd forgotten something!   We were all assembled waiting to board the plane when they announced that the flight was cancelled!  We were all shocked as there were no indications that anything was wrong.  It was brought about by an extreme family emergency of a crew member, which everyone assumed to be the Captain or Co-captain.  At the same time, they announced that they would put us up for the night, provide food vouchers, provide transportation, put us on an 8AM flight the next day, and give us a $400 voucher for a future flight!!  It took them a little while to organize it, but they were so forthcoming that the passengers remained calm and cooperative, which was good.  We stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn near the airport that had its own restaurant, so once we were situated we could have dinner and hit the sack.  I didn't rest well that night but was up early to get the 8AM flight, which went off without a hitch.  

Jan met me at the airport around 11AM Seattle time and we spent the rest of the day catching up and settling in. The next day we had lunch at Stateside, which was the best food I've had in a long time.  It was Vietnamese cuisine but a caliber above most restaurants.  The flavors were so subtle, but distinct....delicious.  Seattle is a great city for food, especially vegetarian. So, through the week we enjoyed some very tasty food at restaurants like the Golden Beetle, Luc's, Bai Pai, and Poppy's.  We got a kick out of ordering pizza one night.  Jan ordered on-line.  We were notified when the pizza was ready and on-line we could track the pizza traveling from the Flying Squirrel to Jan's door.  There was a photo of the delivery person (Laura)....what a hoot!  I came home wanting to try Stir-frtied Eggplant, Muhamara, and several others, but knowing my skills could in no way reproduce the Vietnamese food of Stateside.

While it rained a lot, it never rained heavily. We did have three very mild, sunny afternoons, one of which we spent in Woodenville for wine tasting.  We had lunch on Sunday with Jan's friend, Mary Ellen, who was delightful. We then went to a Pulitzer Prize winning play titled Disgraced, which was powerful.  On one dark day we even managed a quiet, restful afternoon at home and, needless to say, there was lots of political venting all along the way.  

There were two "people moments" that I really enjoyed.  One occurred at the Airfield tasting room.  When we entered, the small bar was pretty well occupied by four younger women.  As we were putting our coats and bags on a table, one of the girls called to us to come on to the bar, they would make room.  It turned out be a very congenial group.  Two girls were friends who met in the military.  One was from Seattle but now working in Philadelphia (I think), but next year she would be stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC.  The other couple was a gay (married) couple.  It was an unusual combination of nice people, which is always enjoyable.

The second one was on my flight home. I had an aisle seat with empty seats beside me.  Across the aisle were two young men. The man by the window fell asleep right away and slept through most of the flight.  The young man on the aisle talked to  me almost the whole flight.  They were on their way to Charleston after visiting their father in Alaska.  He was in Special Operations in the military, which may or may not be true but he certainly looked like he could be!  He owns a landscape business in Charleston and also consults with the army, which takes him back to Iraq and Afghanistan. He told me about his parents unusual relationship and how close they were as a family and of his faltering relationship with his wife.  We talked everything from travel to pets - he even showed me pictures of his dog before I showed pictures of Rosie!!  It was totally enjoyable and made the flight seem much shorter.  In both instances, it was nice to be treated like a (still) viable person as opposed to an old (invisible) woman.  Everyone we met was welcoming and nice, but it was a pleasant surprise to be treated so well by younger people.

I'm sure I'm forgetting things (such as movies we saw, etc) but it was all enjoyable and Jan was a very gracious hostess.  It's always fun to spend time with friends from Aramco days.  I came home feeling relaxed and invigorated.  It was also a relief to see that Rosie seemed to do better staying at home than boarding someplace.  When I greeted her, she had her ears back and tail down, but with 15 minutes she was playing with her squeaky toys, chasing balls, and being her energetic self..  When David came by the next day to return my keys and garage door opener, she started jumping and yapping when she saw him, making me feel that he had treated her well.  

Our weather has been fantastic with several days being sunny and in the mid-70s.  Azaleas and roses are trying to bloom, which means nature is as confused as we are. My neighbor was out the other day power washing his driveway in shorts with no shoes or shirt!  I haven't quite gone that far but it has been warm for this time of year.  

Now I'm looking forward to spending time with another Aramco friend.  Eileen is planning to visit in early April, which gives me plenty of time to look for things to do and put down some wine. I'm excited to see her and I'm sure we won't run out of things to do.

And finally.......