Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 2013

WELCOME TO 2013!!!

"The Calendar said JANUARY!"
Time continues to fly doesn’t it, like the pigs on this float!?  And the calendars haven’t even made it to the post office yet!  (At least they made it from the printer!)  At any rate….I vow to have a monthly post of the calendar photo….how about that?  I gave it a valiant effort last year, but something happened beyond August!  LIFE!  Life happened!!!

January’s Calendar photos come from the Rose Parade 2012, the 123rd Annual Rose Parade.  Which is ALWAYS a highlight of my year.  I don’t sleep, but I see many people that I love, make new friends, and get to watch these flowers float on passed me!  It’s awesome!  The theme for the parade in 2012 was “Just Imagine”….and La CaƱada Flintridge had “If Pigs Could Fly”!  It was adorable….and won the “Bob Hope Humor Award”.  Seeing these things go by us?  WOW!  Again, if it’s on your bucket list?  Do it soon…..and I stand by the fact that you should do it with Al Brooks.  They give the best tour, the prices are legit, AND?  The seats on parade day are PERFECT! (Fill out the "contact us" form, and tell them you WANNA GO!)

Now, after the parade, you can go to the Rose BOWL and see the football game, OR you may want to peruse the actual FLOATS from the parade!  It gives you a chance to get up close and personal with the floats!  Really look at them slowly!  (We DO go to the float barns BEFORE the parade, but they are still working on them, so it’s fun to see the PRE-Floats at the Barns, and the POST Floats in the street!!  Again.  Al Brooks.  This inch worm to the right is from the Rotary International Float, as seen from the “Post-Floats”.  JUST WAY COOL!

Last year…2012, the parade was on January 2, the rule of “never on a Sunday” had taken affect!  The Rose Parade is always on New Years Day, unless New Years falls on a Sunday, in which case the parade is done on that Monday!  Such as it was for the 123rd Tournament of Roses!  We expect to see you there for the 125th!  No pressure, but get booking.  (jay@albrooks.com) Easiest thing to strike off your bucket list!!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

How better to spend the day of one's birth than in the London Olympic spirit!

I wish there was a word that could sum up the last 30 days….but it wouldn’t be enough.  Surreal….if I had to pick one.  Living with people I’ve never met, in a city that I can’t get enough of, working a job I’ve never done, with more people I’ve never met, and all in the middle of a worldly event dating from Ancient Greece.  Just crazy.

I’m sitting here in the kitchen…wondering if I’ve put back the house properly, freaking out about how many bags I’m taking back-and what I’ll do with my Union Jack pillow, and wondering if I’ll get everything done by the time my mini-cab shows up.

Life is made up of moments….but some more grander than the next, or the one before.  This moment…has been just awesome….every single moment.  Okay…I take that back, there were some moments when I crossed my eyes, and some moments where I wanted to stick my tongue out at people, but other than that….loved it all.   I worked long weird hours, and stood all day, and slept in the  kitchen.  HOWEVER, didn’t matter…I worked with amazing people….some more amazing than others, but amazing none-the-less. 

For the general audience that still has no idea what I do for a living….and for the audience that THOUGHT they knew what I did for a living!  I was working for Coca-Cola and a “program” that they had for the Olympics.  They essentially took over the entire hotel, decorated it beyond measure for Coke, and created an atmosphere to the likes I’ve never been a part of.  I mean the signs that simply said which way to the toilets was totally “Coke-ified”!  It was cool.  Cool to see….but COOLER to be a part of….even if our Coke T-shirts weren’t really the most flattering thing going….

So I was working in the Transportation Department….and I was on the Dispatch team.  Which means, I parked buses in bays, loaded passengers, unloaded them, worked out schedules, drivers hours, etc.  It sounds simple and mayhaps a little trivial, but I assure you that there were days when we were just keeping our heads above water.  This sort of thing, if you’ve never done it, it’s pert near impossible to wrap your brain around it….and really….why should you.  Know that I did it, loved it, and THAT’s what I’ve been up to for the last month.  

I worked the late shift most nights….which was really great.  I could “sleep in” most mornings.  (Let’s back up and define “sleep in” as just “not set an alarm”….as sleeping in in the kitchen rarely happened…..many times thanks to the sun, or street noise, or my roommates making breakfast….but still….no alarm set.)  So then I could get up at my leisure, clean the kitchen-as it was my bedroom, and make my way to work….some days early so that I could be a tourist on the way in!  Museums, Shows, walks, shopping, Wenlock Stalking (One of the Olympic Mascots, and there were 80 of them all over the city, I had high hopes for finding them all, but alas, only about 20.) , to name a few, and then stroll into work.  Sure, most nights I got home at like 1 and 2am, but it was all good, and there were always stories to be told!  Like the one night when I met Anthony Daniels….just C3PO….just the ONLY character to be in all 6 Star Wars films!  Or when Will.i.am walked by me 3 times….never once did I ask for a picture tho….a twinge of regret, but to be fair, it was never the right time.  I made friends with the neighbors of the hotel, where we’d taken over with our buses, and they made me smile every day.  And then there was my late night crew….that made it all bearable.  Great people, and we laughed a lot, enjoyed Chaqwa Hot Cocoa’s-Thanks SB. 

So I was working on the streets behind the hotel for a month, but that’s not the Olympics….no, but it’s having to do with the Olympics.  AND?  I got to GO to the Olympics.  Out of this world experience.  For my birthday….I was given tickets to Beach Volleyball.  One week later?  To Athletics.  I can’t describe the energy of 80,000 people cheering in a stadium.  (Let’s not leave out my breakfast date at the world’s largest McDonald’s!)  And then, just 2 nights later, I was given the opportunity to go to a medal round of Athletics….and Bolt, maybe you’ve heard of him, was standing right in front of us, well, 16 rows down, but incredible.  We saw a world record happen, we listened to the Russian anthem a few times, and decided it was a lovely tune as well!  (Prepping us for Sochi!!!)  So I went to venues!  I went to the Olympics!!!!!!  Wow. 

I’m sure I’m leaving loads out, but you’d be bored, or green with envy, so just know that the Olympic experience with Coca-Cola was one of my great moments in my life.  I am beyond blessed, my cup runneth over, and I feel just grateful for the moments I’ve been blessed to have.  God is good, all the time, and if you don’t think so, I’m sorry.  It “must be nice”….and I’ll be honest.  It is.  Thanks for the support from home, liking my pictures, and moments, etc, I’m feeling the love.  I’m super sad to leave it, but bliss can’t last forever right?  So….I am headed home, and then quickly on for a proper vacation, and ticking off states I’ve never been to!  ALOHA!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Calendar said August 2012!

It's the month of my birth.....and honestly....you ALWAYS flip to your month to see which rad picture you have!  When I make my calendars though....I try to pick a photo from that month too....there IS a method to my madness!  Most of the time.  This picture is from my aunt's house in Washington State....post Alaska.  So I was coming off of a glorious Alaskan high....and it was AWESOME to be brought to reality slowly!  My Ant Anona (NOT A MISTAKE) and Unkle Carl live on some land way far from the world, and have amazing flowers, trees, berries, etc.  And this guy....well, I liked him, but then when I saw him on the screen?  I loved him.  And?  I have this dream of living on "Blueberry Lane"....sounds perfect.  White picket fence and all!  So, happy birthday month to me, and all you other August babies!!!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Calendar said July 2012!

I took this photo from a fixed wing airplane...as I'm posing with below.  I was with 6 other people and a pilot, all of which were strangers to me.  I was a little beyond spoiled to have taken this all in alone.  This little jaunt wasn't cheap, but it was worth every penny.  We landed on the "Ruth Glacier"....and I grew up knowing about "Mt. McKinley"...my grandma used to paint it when they lived in Alaska, but then?  Somewhere in my lifetime McKinley no longer existed and there was a new "tallest mountain in North America"!  Or...perhaps we just reverted to calling it "Denali" some where in the 80's!  The original name given to the mountain by the Athabascan people!  Ha!  (Oh....and for when you are next on Jeopardy?  Denali means "High One"!

Denali is the peak that crowns the Alaska Range.....and gives it's name to the National Park, established in 1980 by Carter.  So this Park?  Of stunning beauty and out of the world animal sightings?  Just like 6 million acres large.  And I LOVE the fact that it's larger than the state of Massachusetts.  Ha!  It's beyond majestic and certainly points to an Awesome Creator.

So by now, if you don't want to visit Alaska?  I can't help you...I'm not a photographer, I just happen to own a camera!  So what you see here, is what you'll see there!  Lovely lovely lovely!

The Calendar said June 2012!

I've already blogged about this...and the AMAZING experience that it was....so go back and read, August 2011, but THIS was the photo for the calendar's month of June.  Viva Alaska....a truly amazing place.  Haven't I said that like 8 blogs worth?  Oh...well...July's photo is Alaska too!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Calendar said May 2012!

Seriously.  Alaska.  Breathtaking.  I’ve only been once, so I can’t said for sure if everything was on their best behavior.  I mean the whales were out…wait for the June Calendar picture.  The bears….the otters, the WOLVES, Denali, and then?  Just perfect weather.  I realize it isn’t always like this….but I don’t know how it would matter.  The scenery is unreal.  The animals are to the likes of which we don’t see, save the zoo!  And the glaciers.  Oh.  The glaciers.  This particular one was in Glacier Bay….where we floated by.  WORTH EVERY PENNY for a balcony on the ship.  You’ve seen movies….you’ve heard the sound…it is EXACTLY like that.  Amazing.  Simply, truly, AWESOME!  And I don’t have a fancy schmancy camera, and I certainly don’t know the extent of how I can use the one I do have, and I still took this picture.  Pieces falling off, to their own creaky soundtrack and SPLASH!  Truly, breathtaking.  There is no way to properly capture the feeling, or the sight, so, you’ll just have to go yourself.  Alaska.  The AWESOME frontier!  Also, on a personal note?  Some of my besties live there, and they made treks to see me.  I mean a couple hours, all for the hang time of a couple hours.  So thank you to my Janelley Belly, Garg, Brands, and Whitey.  True friends.  Also, WAY fun to see some of my Tour Guide friends that spend the summers up with Holland America.  I’ve officially drank the Alaskan Kool-Aid….and can’t wait to get back!

The Calendar said April 2012

Good Morning St. Louis!

It's secretly fantastic.  Seriously…the arch is awesome….and it’s our tallest monument!  So SIT DOWN Washington!  The Arch is 630 feet tall and it’s just incredible!  So why is it there?  Extra metal laying around!? Nah…the Gateway Arch is intended to commemorates Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States…you’ve heard of those guys Lewis and Clark right!?  Great.  (If not…get reading!)  It’s a real treat to see, cooler than you thought.  And yes, you can go up into it…it’s not overly huge up at the top, but it’s overly SWEET!  You go through the normal bit of security of course, then load into these neat little “pods”?  They seat 5, and it’s like riding a ferris wheel I’d say.  Takes about 4 minutes to the top, and then you have a spectacular view of the Mississippi, the ball park, and the whole of St. Louis!  Plus?  Then you’ve officially been to the top of America’s tallest monument!  Ooooh! Book your trip.