Category Archives: Seattle

Choosing My Religion

Well, if anyone was expecting something Halloween related today, you’re going to be disappointed. Thats because today, thanks to a friend telling me, its the 500th anniversary of the day when Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Well supposedly is, there is some feeling that it didnt actually happen, but 500 years on, proving it, or disproving it is nigh impossible, so lets just accept it for now. But yes, regardless of how it was done, it happened, and the Roman Catholic Church, which had reigned supreme in Europe until then, got a nasty surprise! Yes, the Reformation era had begun.

I’m not going to go through the whole history of everything, my knowledge isnt all that great, and Wikipedia can tell you all you need to know in truth, far better than I can. Equally, lets just say he wasnt perfect. He was anti Semitic, no fans of Muslim people either, but of course, 500 years on, trying to define on what led to those feelings, who knows?

My religious upbringing was a complex one. My Father was of Irish, Roman Catholic ancestry, my Mother came from Irish, Protestant ancestry! How they got together, who knows? All I know is that my Mother had to become Catholic to allow them to be married, but whether matters have changed in the 70 years (nearly) since then, I have no idea. All it meant was that for the first 10 years of my life, I went to a Catholic Church, and indeed, as I was trying to be a boy back then, I even served as an altar boy. Then my father left my mother, and I stopped going to a Catholic Church, and ‘changed teams’ lol. Then somewhere around 16, I left school, and slowly, but steadily, I stopped going to church every week. For a few years, I still went from time to time, but by the time I moved to Somerset in 1983, I’d stopped altogether. I was still Christian, you understand, just not a church going one!

And in truth, thats pretty much where I’ve stayed from that day, until then. I went a few times at Christmas in the past, but other than that, no. And yes, they were all definitely Church of England, not Roman Catholic. The last time I went to church, for a service, was at a Reformed Church, in Albany, to hear said friend preach, and to enjoy the whole service. Since then…

No, I have no time for those ‘fire and brimstone’, so called Christian Preachers in the US. Not that they would have any time for a bi, trans woman anyway, but thats beside the point. I did actually, when in Seattle in 2003, get invited to a service, not realizing it was going to be one of that type of preacher. I had to stifle several giggles, as he proceeded to say terrible things about Gay people during his sermon, I must say. No, the person who invited me didnt know at the time, nor did I tell him afterwards. The amusing thing was, that this preacher was quite keen to help me find a job over there, and that as far as he was concerned, the immigration issues could soon be got around, by his friends. No, I never did take up that offer, never saw him again. In fact I was offered other jobs while out there, but I said no, thinking I wanted to come back to the UK. What would have happened if I’d accepted, I will now never know.

But yes, October 31st may be famous for being Halloween, but its also Reformation Day, and this year, even more so, its 500 years since that incredible moment, for Luther, and history.

The video, yes, I spent at least 15 seconds choosing this one lol. Though my blog title might be more apt today?

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Handle With Care

When it comes to holiday planning, I’ve always been one of those deadly boring people who plan out their travel details, and where they are going to stay months in advance! Its not even just a recent thing, because back in the 70’s, when my idea of a holiday was a week travelling by train, on a nationwide Rail rover, and staying at hotels each night, I was much the same then. I would plan the route, and book the hotels in the depth of winter, and then do the travel the next summer.

In a sense, to a major degree, nothing has changed. Well, my travel plans tend to be further afield than the UK, but as to having things thought through, well in advance, guilty as charged. Yes, if I’m being honest, assuming (as seems likely after next year) I only plan on 1 trip a year, I pretty much have my destinations sorted out through to 2024, and my planned retirement year trip to Alaska. Obviously now, given the state of my back, I’m not sure if I will still be able to do that sort of travel at that point, but we will see.

So I guess it will surprise no one if I say that the Seattle trip, for next May is pretty well settled on already. Got the flight plan sorted, got the hotel picked out, and I have the money saved up, so I could book it, but…it comes back to my back, and hotel stays. Did you realize, my last hotel stay in the US, that I booked, was April 2015? 3 trips since then, and the only hotels I have stayed in, was booked by somebody else (1 night in Boston, 3 in Mahopac, NY)! Yes, since then, all places that I’ve booked, have been rented out houses/apartments to stay, not at hotels.

Hotels have advantages for ‘old crocks’ like me. You dont need to go out for provisions, you have a coffee machine in the room, and lets face it, thats always a good starting point for me. Also, the one I’m planning to stay at has a breakfast included in the price. Basic, but in truth, all I need is there. There is also the advantage that the room gets cleaned, and made up for me, which will be a blessing too.

But actually, in that comment, is the biggest snag for me with hotels. Yes, the cleaning staff, quite reasonably expect the guests to go out for the day, so they can get in the room, and do their thing. In the past, thats been fine, I was active, and did so anyway. However, on both the last 2 LA trips (yes, I’ve been getting old for a while, in truth), and the Cape Cod stay, one of the big pluses for me was the fact that I didnt have to get out each day. Oh fine, Kate and I barely went anywhere, but that was perfect for me, because that was what I needed, and probably would still need to some degree.

Equally, apartments (and thats what I would rent, on my own, studio ones probably) do mean that if you dont want to, or feel unable to go out for a while, then fine, thats all you have to do. Relax, let your body heal a bit, and… Snag is, unless its very close to facilities, you have to provide for yourself, which means getting provisions on arrival. Last time in LA, I knew there was a supermarket very nearby, so not an issue, but that doesnt always happen!

So, swings and roundabouts…?

So being practical, its all picked out, no more looking for a hotel at least, but I wont be booking just yet! I’m planning to wait until January, or February, then see how the body is, and make the call. If, as I hope, I feel I can get out for a few hours minimum each day, I’ll book the hotel. All provided, no need to carry provisions, and so forth. But yes, if I know the body is going to need ‘long breaks’ between trips, I guess I’ll have to look at an apartment, so that if I need to stay in, one or two days, I can, but…

Yes, it hurts getting old lol!

The video, one of those Super Groups from the late 80’s. Sadly we recently lost another member of this group, and now, out of 5, we have just 2 left. Ah well, we all get old, I guess?

If I can remember what a holiday actually is?

Yes, I am joking on that front, because the last holiday I had, nearly a year ago now, is pretty near unforgettable. I’m not sure when I’m going to actually forget those 4 glorious weeks, if ever, but as things stand, its still my last holiday, and its going to be at least spring (unless something amazing happens) before I have another one. But yes, I’ve had to start thinking about that, for a very good reason. Besides which, I’m hopeful something as cheery, and non political as this might do better than last nights blog, which seems to have generally sunk like a lead balloon!

The reason I’ve started thinking about this, is not because I’ve come into copious amounts of money just yet, though hopefully things will start to look up on that front soon, but because where I’m now working offers you a priority choice of 2 holiday weeks for next year. Thing is, those dates have to be in this week, so…

I know, I dont have to think of locations at this point, just more work out a suitable date, but hey, this is me, and they tend to get related. So, priority one was contacting Kate, seeing when (and if) she fancied putting up with me again for a week, and it seems she does. Given it will be 2 years by next September, she’s had plenty of time to recover, anyway! I’ve got a week to work on for then, so thats one sorted. New England, if you were curious to know. With chance, I might even get to my hypnotist again, in New Hampshire, and he can ‘force’ Clara Johnson to give up a few more secrets about herself!

The other, me alone, takes a bit more planning. Firstly, the date, given Easter is late next year, which means a late April getaway, between UK Bank Holidays, becomes a bit of a challenge. So yes, I’m thinking May, either the week after the first Bank Holiday of the month, or the week after look good dates to me.

Next question was to myself, or more correctly, my body, as to whether it can stand another trip to the West Coast? Given it will be 18 months, my inclination is yes! In that case, it comes down pretty much to 3 choices, one of which is LA, though I’m sure it would be a hotel, if only for a week. Apartment (as I mentioned recently) is no longer available, so all in all…

The other 2 (less recently visited) options are a shade north of there, either San Francisco, or Seattle, both cities I love, and havent been to in a while. In truth, I’m pretty sure that I wont make any plans on that front until I know what week I’ve got, and how the baseball schedules look! Yes, I have to have my dates in by the 10th, next years schedule is announced on the 13th! In truth, that probably favours either of Seattle, or Los Angeles, as my preferred teams, and who has a home fixture to suit, or a home fixture at all! I love the park in San Francisco, but the Giants, and the A’s (over in Oakland) really arent teams I should be rooting for lol!

But yes, at last, I can start dreaming of US holidays again, a lovely thought. Especially as it will be my first trip on a female passport, something I’m really, really looking forward to!

The video is something I found by chance. Very early Village People, nearly 40 years old!

The issues of chocolate, across the oceans

So fine, as we’re building up to Easter, lets focus on something that will be popular with many this weekend, chocolate! As to why hollow, chocolate eggs are so popular at this time of year, no idea. I guess its a spring, and creation thing, but anyway? I know, they usually include bars, or single chocolates within the packaging, but the thing that gets all the attention is the egg.

Yes, I know, nowadays we have those ‘creme egg’ things, but as you can gather from my comment there, I’m not a fan! Too sickly for me, I guess, a subject that I’m leading to on this, sweetness. Others love them, I know, and each to our own, I guess?

By the time I became an adult, I realised that all chocolate was not the same. The difference in quality between say, British chocolate, and Swiss, or Belgian chocolate, quite something! No, I’m not a connoisseur, and will eat most qualities of the stuff, quite happily, regardless. Fine, if you’re offering, I prefer decent quality, dark chocolate, but at the moment, I cant afford to be fussy. So yes, cheap and cheerful will do me fine at present. But if you’re offering Lindt, or the like, I wont say no!

The one thing I didnt discover until 2003, was how different to UK chocolate, that the US type was. I found out one day, in Seattle, when I saw a Twix on sale, in one of those supermarket type stores, and thought to myself, that would be nice. Even more so, when I discovered a dark chocolate version of a Mars bar too. Great I thought, until I bit into one, so sweet, and slightly gritty!

It was after that I found out that thought they said they were the UK brand names, they werent the same thing, these were made in the US, so…I was robbed! No, not literally, but they werent what I was expecting. I went on to discover that they are made differently, for a reason. Summer in parts of the US is far hotter than it ever gets in the UK, and if they used our making method, most of it would melt. Fine, in some parts, even in October (and I now know), our type of chocolate would melt in no time flat over there.

So, over the years, the only chocolate I’ve tended to buy over there (very occasionally) are brands like Lindt, made to a different recipe to standard US stuff. And yes, usually dark chocolate, so that is bitter, even if it is made a little sweeter for US tastes. All this is why, unsurprisingly, when I’ve been going to the US in the past, taking a gift of our chocolate could prove very popular.

Besides which, now I know what to expect, I can sometimes take US chocolate, though generally of the dark kind. The one I found at the supermarket in Hollywood, near my apartment, was cheapish, but not too bad to eat. Mind, it had to spend its time in the fridge, when not being eaten, even in October! I know, Southern California, but…ours would have melted quickly, when taken out of the fridge all the same!

Right, the video. I went on a hunt for a live version of this, as I’m pretty sure I’ve used the original before. Given the fact that this guy didnt sing the original record version, I’m impressed. Yes, he was the front man on TV, but someone else originally sang the song. But quite clearly, this isnt mimed!

Wherever I lay my dress, thats my home?

A funny thing happened during my job hunting this week. Normally, when you apply for a job, the start is going to be (relatively) soon, exactly how soon depending on the whims, and needs of your potential employers. But the job that I should have registered for on Monday, and been assessed on Tuesday, but for events mentioned earlier in the week, wouldnt actually start until November. Why, because it would be working at the brand spanking new shopping centre in Bradford, which only actually opens to the public on the 5th November. Yes, the Westfield shopping centre, only a “few” years late is finally going to open for business! Guess what, they are looking for concierge agents already, well in advance.

Good news, on Thursday, when I got there, seems there are still vacancies. And there will be an assessment day, for those roles on the 20th. And if you pass, you hear soon after, great stuff. The thing is, thats quite a gap between getting the job, and starting work, and getting paid. I know, I could look for something temporary in the meanwhile, and maybe I would, and should. Though as mentioned before, finding anything at present, for someone of my age, quite challenging! And as an ex workmate has already discovered, our ‘Dear Leader PM’ has decided that for whatever reason you’re not genuinely job hunting, you’re not going to get paid benefits. Lovely chap, so glad I didnt vote for him (yes, sarcasm alert there). So they might get equally feisty with me, probably would, such a ghastly bunch!

In the mean while, I’m carrying on the search for more current jobs, though I’m beginning to get to that ghastly window where employers arent going to be so keen on me, given I’m going away on holiday in 6 weeks time, and those with longer training periods arent going to be interested. Already had one, agency enquired this week, no holidays in first 8 weeks, and I havent even started the process yet!

So, as is my way, I started thinking laterally. Dangerous thing I know, but all the same. No, I dont mean thinking, but if anyone wants to solve that problem, offering me a position, I wouldnt say no! No, I meant the lateral thinking bit lol. Suppose I know I’ve got a job at the end of August, which doesnt start till the beginning of November, what options does it open up? Well, given the fact I’ve been pretty miserly with my redundancy money, one idea came to me. A month away, in the US, in my own rented apartment somewhere, living like a local, with a local address (of sorts). And yes, Hollywood did come to mind, though a couple of other West Coast cities also came to mind (Seattle, San Francisco) because lets face it, for a week, they are a lot of travelling. But for 4 weeks, hmm… And before you say that I’ve only recently spent 10 days in Hollywood, believe me when I say I barely scraped the LA area in that time. Long Beach, Anaheim, Burbank, most of down town…not at all.

Friends have even found me a couple of sites, with plenty of suitable places to rest my head wherever I choose to. But given how badly this job hunt has gone, can you seriously see this playing out as I’m planning it? I wish! Mind, if I could find a call centre that was prepared to interview me now, offer me a job to start in November, that would be handy! Its not like these places dont recruit all the time, but I suspect ‘regulations’ wouldnt permit it.

But yes, I must admit, it didnt take long (a matter of hours, in all honesty) for the idea to grow on me, if I could work it. Yes, even if its not truly my place, the idea of having a Hollywood address of my own, even for just 4 weeks, would be wonderful.

OK, I’ll wake up to the reality now, its not going to happen, I’m sure, but I can wish, and plot…No, I’m sure the dream wont go as far as finding a job in LA lol, but again…! If someone wants me to dress up as Iron Man (girl) or something, and have photos taken, I wouldnt say no. Not sure the Jean Harlow look would be popular enough nowadays.

OK, to the video. Well, the blog title is a play on this, as a dress is more apt for me than a hat

I’d love you to take me

As some of my regular readers know, I do occasionally, when the chance arises, dabble in a little story writing. Given the popularity of Amazon (plus the fact 1 book is exclusive to them at present, here’s a link to my stuff

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_hi_2?rh=n%3A133140011%2Cp_27%3AMerry+Brooks&bbn=133140011&sort=relevancerank&ie=UTF8&qid=1437587127

The author name will also work at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and a couple of other smaller places, though the latest one wont be there until September, when the 90 day Kindle Unlimited thing runs out. Yes, I do it for fun, though admittedly it can be frustrating at times, when nothing seems to sell, but anyway…

Something I discovered on Twitter (see, there are benefits to being there lol) is that some wonderfully generous places offer writer residences, generally in beautiful, and inspiring places. One of those became a contact with me on Twitter, a residence named Hedgebrook, on Whidbey Island, near Seattle, which just happens to be one of my favourite cities anyway.

Get out 1
Me, this is for serious writers, not people who write short ebooks. Answer, not necessarily, we consider anyone who writes in a good inspiring manner, and oh, who is female.

Get out 2
It costs money to apply, and given my personally perceived chance of making the grade, given I’m out of work currently, I shouldnt be throwing money away on something like this. Answer, when there is a good reason for not paying the fee, like being unemployed, the fee might be waived.

So at this point, with this information, and nothing to lose, I’ve gone for it. Well, its all set up to go for it, anyway. At this moment I’m waiting to hear how I apply, without paying $30 off my credit card, so that I can complete it, and submit my application.

Yes, it would be amazing in so many ways. Not only would I have no excuse not to write, in fact just the opposite, I’d get to meet other writers, get the chance to discuss so many things, and I suspect, learn to write a whole lot better! And yes, fine, living in my own little cottage (if only for 2 or 3 weeks), writing, walking, and generally being inspired by everything would be heaven. I suspect the networking would be fascinating for me too. I have requested 3 weeks (2 books in that time, maybe?), but if they offered me 2, I’d snatch their hands off.

My initial plan would be to write a much extended version of one of my short stories, actually, one of those on sale at Amazon, “No Place Like Nome”. Other possibles would be to develop, and extend “A Hollywood Happening”, or to do a Jean Harlow biography, and try and put a few things right, that were so awfully wrong in the early ones. Mind, 2 or 3 weeks, if I got as inspired as I suspect I would, I might get more than one done!

No, seriously, its not likely to happen. I’m told this is a very cherished spot to be, and there will be far superior writers to me looking for one of those delightful cottages to work in. But I guess you never know?

OK, to the video. What I’m saying to those nice decision makers, though I’m not sure how closely they will listen?

Fast food, and eating out wasn’t always so dull!

Lets face it, nowadays its pretty hard to tell one McDonalds (with very few exceptions) from another, and you can pretty much say the same for KFC, Burger King and the like, but its not always been that way. Mind, it seems a disease far more prevalent over here, than in the US, where a few fun places still exist. And no, I dont mean Denny’s, IHOP and the like, in a sense, they are just as bad!

But at least over there, you find the odd gem that will take you back to a different era, and the last time I was in the Seattle area, I was fortunate enough to find one.

http://davesdiner.us/

The first time I saw the place, it looked like an outpost from the 1950’s, and I knew I had to eat there. And yes, beyond the prices, it was like being taken back to the 1950’s, and was so much fun, I ate there twice more that week! It seemed to focus on Route 66, and thankfully that road just about runs through Kansas (about a dozen miles), so I could sit in what I jokingly called the Kansas section while there.

But it was fun, it was different, and not an identikit place a la the chain diners. Not that there is anything wrong with the 2 I mentioned above, or others like the Cheesecake Factory, but you know what they are going to look like, and what will be offered, before you enter the door, this place was fun to go into. No, sadly back then I wasnt so into vintage, but agreed, going in, dressed in a 50’s outfit would have been fun. Not sure if anyone would have blinked, who knows? Well, maybe then I would have, it was before full transitioning, so…but now, hmm?

I’m sure there are many similar gems in the US, hopefully in the KC, or Albany areas, for later this year, but we shall see. I’m sure that if there is, in the KC area, and Kate finds out about it, we will end up there, with me dressed as a 30’s babe, I’ve no doubt.

But fine, you’re right, thats not the reason for this blog, fond memory that it is. No, one of my twitter contacts posted about this place, that used to be in Los Angeles

http://www.retronaut.com/2012/10/the-zep-diner-los-angeles/

Fine, its no longer there, in fact it didnt survive the 30’s, let alone till now. Ironically now, the site is a McDonalds, and car park, aargh! But hey, even at modern prices, that would be such a fun place to eat at. If someone can invent time travel…

One of these days, I really must go to Los Angeles, though the thing that concerns me is something I was told a few years ago, its a lousy place to go, for a non driver like me, but not sure if that’s true? But yes, it would be nice to go and see Harlow’s star, I have to say. No, Louise Brooks never got one, too naughty a girl for that lol! And that house that Harlow allegedly haunts, hmm, unless as I say, she wants a quick trip to KC to see me! And yes, obviously, if Glendale is reachable for a non driver, it would be nice to pay my respects, as I did with Louise.

But fine, the video, the most famous 50’s diner I could think of. Oh happy days!

Happy New Year?

Yes, I know technically its a couple of days early, but I dont know how much time I’ll have on Monday, so lets play it safe and do it now.

Actually because of events, a couple of things which have became the norm for me didnt happen. Nothing critical, and both sports related. For the first time in quite a number of years, I didnt get to a Baseball game this year. It was always going to be a ‘one off’ in Seattle in April, but then thanks to a marathon delay from American Airlines, combined with there only being the one game in town on the Sunday the week I was there, it never happened. Funnily enough, unless I have a major change in plans next year, I’ll make it 2 in a row, as neither Wichita, or Rochester have a MLB team. I might get a game of baseball though, of the college kind in Wichita next April, lets see how things play out though, so much depends on other influences for that.

The other, due to Euro 2012, the Olympics, and a few other things was not getting to see Ireland play cricket live, and in the flesh. I did see some of the virtual washout against the Aussies on Sky, but only at work. This is something I definitely intend to correct next year, if only so I can see Trent Johnston play once more before his expected retirement at the end of next season.

So what did happen beyond 2 wonderful US holidays? Well, I got to see my first Louise Brooks film in full, a real delight. And yes, as is well known, I wore a dress to the Works Christmas Dinner, and then again for the house Christmas Dinner too! That may have been a first, but somehow I suspect now, it wont be the last. First wearing of a skirt to work too, but that was slightly less sensational lol!

Seattle, my solo trip in April was lovely, after the initial flight delay, so lovely to see it again before easing off dramatically on West Coast trips, its just getting a bit much for the old body to do it regularly now. September was wonderful, back to New England (and New York State) to meet up again with Kate for a wonderful week, and James for a wonderful day in Albany.

Next year, I go ‘state bagging’ in the US, adding Kansas to my list, and taking the total up to 22. There is a possibility of making it 23, with Oklahoma, but a few things have to fall into place for that. I have a sort of target of 25, but not sure how I get there to be honest. No, I dont expect to get very close to 50 lol! The ‘Louise Brooks memorial tour’ will be fun, even if there is so no great anniversary in her life, it will be special for me all the same. Yes, Wichita, Kansas, where she lived for a few years in 2 splits, and then Rochester, New York, where she died, and is buried.

Beyond that, I dont expect to pick the winner of the Grand National (my only bet of the year nowadays), its been a few years, and I cant see my luck changing lol! Other than that, no idea, will just have to wait and see what 2013 brings, other than my 55th birthday, which God permitting will happen in March. Oh my, I’m getting older lol!

Right, enough words, lets get to the video, and yes, back to form, its the obvious one!

They think its all over…it is now!

The holiday that is, if anyone was in any doubt! And hopefully the flights back will be considerably easier than the flights getting here. I cant say smoother, because both flights, when they happened, were very smooth. But…

The week itself has been very enjoyable, have revisited a few ‘old friends’, made a few new ones, and was sorry to see a few landmarks from past visits are no more, closed down I assume by the economic crisis, but dont quote me on that.

Little did I know that when I went up the Space Needle on Monday, I’d missed its 50th birthday, by 2 days, had actually happened on the Saturday. And just to prove the visit

 No, the picture background is a digitised add on, but that is really me. You get your photo taken as you start the visit, and then there’s a place to see it on the observation desk, and select your preferred background. Most amazingly, to get the picture by email, is free! Thats right, I couldnt believe it either, especially over here!

Then a first, at the science museum, I got to see a film in 3D, so weird! Not the film, it was about the Arctic, but the effect. They did this thing with the titles, so they turned to ice, broke up, and seemed to fly towards you. And yes, at one point, I moved out the way, lol. Well, I am blonde… Other than that, I’ve been to a lot better science museums in all honesty.

The Aquarium the next day was quite good though, as was the harbour cruise, all 4 of those things done on the City Pass, good value at $69 considering. Much of the rest of the next 2 days was spent walking around, shopping, drinking coffee, but a lot of it just walking, seeing sights, old and new. Was sorry to see the Online Coffee House gone, but I guess progress has overtaken places like that in the last 9 years, PC’s are no longer the only way to get on the net of course. But the place where my back was introduced to the pleasure of a massage 9 years ago is still there, though I’m not sure if its the same lady, my memory isnt that good.

Today I went to Tacoma, definitely the poor relation of the 2 linked in name by the airport I shall fly out of tomorrow at least. Tomorrow, I shall combine the 2, and go to SeaTac Airport, and fly home, well presumably I will, looks nervously at American Airlines for all this! I trust someone will check the flight before leaving home to collect me, lol!

I wouldnt say the weather has been perfect over here, but it hasnt been too bad. Seemingly a lot, lot better than at home, thats for sure!

Sorry, no video. Nothing personal and all that, but all the same… Primarily, I have internet here, and its a decent enough feed for most things. But trying to watch music videos on You Tube…you get my drift?

So, this is Stevie Lou, closing for now from Seattle, saying I’ll see you again back in England…God willing!

Cant you hear me…SOS

No, its not really been that dramatic a weekend, though it might have felt it at times. Facebook contacts already should know the basic details, but… The frightening thing is, this isnt the worst trip to the US, or maybe technically it is, because the other time I didnt get here!

Now, to be fair to American Airlines, I knew there were problems of a major kind, even before I left home Saturday morning. What I didnt know was the exact details. And given that I had to be at the airport for 8.40 (2 hours before flight), and their customer services dont open till 8.30 on a Saturday…

I’ll admit it, we didnt get there for 8.40, even though we left in plenty of time, because in all her panic, some daft blonde, namely me, forgot her handbag, with all the important stuff in it! Got there for 8.50, hoping I was going to get an alternate routing, but no. Long and short of it, case is booked in, and then I have a choice, 11 hours of boredom at the airport (given the battery life is about an hour on the laptop), or pay up, and come home for 5 hours or so. Yes, I did the latter, and glad I did, when I found out in the evening that you now only get half an hour of free internet at the airport, unlike before!

We finally take off about 9.30pm, instead of 10.40 am, and arrive in Chicago about 11.45 their time. Immigration are fine, once they decide everyone goes through in one line, instead of the usual separation for US citizens, which put us in the wrong queue. But itwas so short, that by about 12.10, I’m picking up baggage, plus hotel vouchers, and my flight ticket for this morning.

So yes, I finally got here today, arrived at the hotel about midday, after a short delay for baggage, and waiting for the shuttle bus. Sadly plans for the afternoon Mariners game therefore get wiped out, given it was a 1.10 start, and I’m at least 45 minutes from town! Did contemplate a late start as its the only game I could get to this week, but then the shuttle bus had vanished by the time I’d unpacked, so…they lost anyway, shock horror, not!

Oh, did I mention its been in the 70’s over here today, and just walking around in a light top this afternoon, showing off the cleavage and all that. Same tomorrow, but then the weather is forecast to go downhill, ah well…Will have to go up Space Needle tomorrow before all you can see from the top is rain, lol! Ironically, the area I plan to be in next April is being forecast for 5-8 inches of snow! And no, that isnt Alaska either!

And in case anyone was wondering, TSA were right, just went straight through security absolutely fine both times! Mind, that wasnt the body scanner, might have been different if it had been, but should still have been fine after a pat down, so they tell me.

So yes, you can understand the choice of music, in an ironic wayl

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvChjHcABPA&ob=av2n