When work calls me north…

I seem to have landed well, post acquisition. A good team, a good boss, able to fit in enough that the ways I differ are viewed as additive not problematic. 

If there’s one thing I don’t love about it,  though, it’s that the rest of my team is based in NYC. Which means periodically I have to go to NYC. 

In theory, I love the energy and the diversity and the culture. In theory, it’s fabulous.  

In reality, it’s loud and overwhelming and exhausting

For me, anyway. Your mileage may vary. 

The Christmasy gold-and-silver lining to that, however, is that trips to NYC means drive-time calls and evenings in NJ seeing friends I’ve missed Very Much Indeed.  

Nice to spend my commute catching up with S. Fun to watch home movies with V. and L. and V. and M. Great to spend an evening with L. and A. and little S. 

So much for me to be thankful for!

Here comes the sun (final hours in Puerto Rico)

It’s just a partial day remaining, and since there isn’t sufficient time to catch a puddle jumper over to Vieques, I opt to just drive and explore for the morning.  

Bright, sunny and beautiful


Driving is a bit more challenging since I can’t really read the signs. But I enjoy it anyway, and there’s no rush because my flight is leisurely hours away. 

It’s a lovely day, but too short. 

Well worth a return visit

Old San Juan (or, When It Rains, It Pours)

The plan for my only full day here includes a walking tour of Old San Juan. I’m up early, knowing I will fight rush hour into the city on my way and not sure where I’ll find parking. As it turns out, there’s a paid lot just 2 blocks from the meeting point. I have time for a macchiato and a small pastry. 

Puerto Rican coffee is so strong that it needs the doctoring. But it’s good.  

Flavors of San Juan puts on a good tour, including an exploration of rum (and piña colada to start the day right). We sample a variety of local cuisines as we walk through the city. It rains in and off (and a magic jacket with bug spray makes me some new friends) as we cross cross the city. Afterward, I trek back to the far side to El Morro….

While the sky just absolutely opens over me. 

Soaked to the skin and resembling a drowned rat, I nevertheless get a photo before trekking back again. 

A rain soaked fortress

Seasonably warm

There’s a Christmas tree in the lobby of the hotel, decked out in white, and White Christmas playing softly in the background. Of course Christmas is Christmas, even in climates that stay consistently 80ish. To me it feels like I’ve stepped into summer, so the tree and music feel incongruous. 


But whatever the weather, soon we celebrate the newborn King. Hallelujah. 

It rains the kind of passing warm deluge that the tropics are known for in the brief window between my check in and my plan-making for tomorrow. I head out to get dinner and GPS says walking is more efficient. 

It is, if you discount walking past a club that advertises cock fights. Ugh. Cruel much?

So. Wrong.


Still, a delicious mofongo de pollo later, I am thoroughly enjoying Puerto Rico. 

Of course, that might also be the Pinot Gris. 

Rainy and a cold

It’s raining along the eastern seaboard, at least between NYC down to Baltimore. NYC Edison Wilmington and home. All the places I monitor regularly on my weather app, all the places I find myself with frequency. 

And of course,  at BWI airport, where cold meds and cough drops are masking the plague I’ve been fighting for over a week. The airport is coming to life on a Monday morning. The meds are working, because I can tell that the air is thick with cinnamon and sugar.

 Cinnabon is next to my gate. 

One hour to boarding. 5 hours to arrival.

This is the only day this week it’s expected to stay above freezing but that only makes it sweeter that I found the fare sale when I did. 

Also, I’ve never been to Puerto Rico before. 

Halfway down the frigid air starts to turn warm and pleasant. Breaks in clouds reveal small islands surrounded by jewel tone seas. 

I feel warmer already


And then I am in Puerto Rico, making my way to my hotel, getting checked in and squared away before I start my first explorations. 

Good things to come, I’m sure

Nightmares

I think NyQuil changed their formula again.  I suspect this because I recall beautiful, technicolor dreams in the past,but now I’m consistently having nightmares.  The first night, lost already, the second something to do with my Mom (fuzzy, but anyway she’s ok in real life), then an issue with renting and apartment in a rush, and last night…

Well last night was almost familiar.  I have the dream periodically that I am alone at home (or house sitting).  I sweep through to check that everything is locked and something isn’t. Usually it’s just the uncertainty- how long has this been unlocked and could someone have accessed it/be in the house with me? 

But last night the window had been closed when I went through, and was now open. I would not have opened a window. 

The scream produced no sound.

 I dialed 911, already second guessing myself when I haven’t seen anyone but knowing someone must be there, backing myself to a wall so no one could come up behind.  On tv they always come up behind….

I should get out.  I should text my BIL, my dad, while I call the police.  

I should have a code that tells them whether to come, or to call 911 for me in case I can’t, or both. 

I wake up, which is better still. 

What’s to come

There’s been plenty over the last few days – weeks – months to cause anxiety. Read more of this post

Goodbye for now

All the jumbled feelings of losing someone, even when it’s expected. She was younger than me, with teen kids and a husband and friends without number who will feel her absence sharply. She was sicker than sick at the end, having fought the evil that is cancer with all that she had. 

My memories are a mixed bag, full of all the complexities and challenges that come with such sharply different personalities, and also with all the warmth of familiarity that comes with having been in each others lives, though mostly at the periphery in our adult lives, for – well, forever from our small perspectives. All her life, all but a year of mine. Certainly as far back as we’d remember. 

Sometimes we found each other challenging, but there was still always love. 

I am sad, even more so for closer family and friends. Also I am relieved for her, and the end of pain and sickness. Touched to see how many she inspired in her battle. Thankful to know true perfect healing is hers now. Hopeful that we will see each other again, by grace, when we are both made perfect and are full and joyful in His presence. Happy for her, that she is there today. 

Have fun with Jesus, Lora. Say hi to Mommom and Poppop for me. Give Kelly a hug. Love you. 

And amid this, because there is not quite enough emotion in the day, my parents closed on their new home. It’s great and exciting and happy and feels so strange amid the other news. And even this happiness comes with just a hint of gray, that it means the days of having them here with me, sharing my place, are numbered. 

It’s a day of feelings. Quite the range of them, actually. 

And then there were none

I’m at the hotel at the airport for my last night, so I’m up and out early for my flight. Flights. Which will take all day, when you factor in the time zones. 

been there, loved that


In all, I saw 3 states, 2 that were new to me, and thereby completed all 50 states. In the process I drove 2156 miles. Filled the tank (or let someone fill it for me, thank you Oregon) 8-9 times, and saw more beautiful things than I can even say. 

And I’m thankful. 

Final full day

I’m not a big breakfast person. I wouldn’t have said I was a B&B person. But Karen at the Carlton Inn makes me a convert. 

i dont eat eggs, so Karen plans a menu of homemade yogurt, homemade graniola, fresh fruit, fresh OJ, lemion pancakes and crisp local bacon. all this and a comfirtable night’s sleep too!

As pretty as it is, I have distance to cover today, bypassing Portland in this trip (the only part of my original itinerary that I cut) to see the Columbia River Gorge.  

Horsetail Falls

memaloose

Multinomah Falls


I consider trying to trek back to Mt Hood before heading to my hotel, but by that time it’s rush hour in Portland. Just another thing I’ll have to come back to see up close.