Wednesday, October 19, 2011


You know that quote that life is not measured by the breaths that we take but by the moments that take our breath away!? Well, granted, I firmly believe that our life is measure by our relationship with Christ, but I do believe that we are BLESSED with moments. I-for one-am blessed all the time….and these past two nights, were no exception.

I left San Francisco, after a solid 7 hour hang out time in the airport…..boooring, but a little productive, counting out my meager bills (Seriously, all excellents, but a ten spot for 8 days is NOT really okay….), and FINALLY we boarded for Deathrow. I do mean Deathrow. Some of you out there may call it Heathrow, but you clearly have never transferred there if you still refer to it by it’s given name. The airport is new, organized, and HUGE! Oh, along with ridiculous. So I have an hour and five minutes to make my connection! HA! And my flight from San Fran left 30 minutes late. The little desk agent, assured me I’d make it, even came over to me, to assure me that it would be no problem, there were tail winds, I’d not have immigration, OR security! HAHAHAH! The Flight Attendant said the SAME THING! I don’t know why I listen-the gate agent had clearly never been to Deathrow, or never had to connect, and the flight attendant has her own line for everything. Now, if I didn’t make that flight, my next option was just 9 hours later, I’m certain that Deathrow makes these ridiculous schedules on purpose, marketing and humor. So, we land, I crawl over people with my 30lb backpack, and RUN! There is an agent waiting with a sign for “ATHENS”-that’s me I say, she hands me my boarding pass, and tells me to RUN! Mind you, very little signs telling me where to go for Gate A, so praise God she was there! All that running made useless as I have to wait for a tram. Tram stops, running continues, and UP escalators (ALWAYS take the elevator by the way). Then we get to immigration, and I’m THAT person in line, sighing, looking impatient, then I say the excuse me’s, sorry, as I pass people on the next escalators, and I ask 3 different security mongrels if I can cut because my flight closes in 5 minutes, hmmm? No. So then the last one opens up a new line and I’m in the BACK of another, I say HELLO! Can I go over here!? He says…”Lemme see your boarding pass” In my head I was wondering if he had meant to say AGAIN!?? Tool. So, he lets me in, then I ask the whole line if I can cut, that my flight closes in 5 minutes, they look at me like, NO WAY WILL YOU MAKE THAT! And they all let me, with shouts of “You’d better run!” Kind of laughing, as they’ve done the same route. So I finally get out of security…..and RUN….again! Running into the gate agent that handed me my boarding pass and I was a little relieved to see her….except that SHE was running! HAHAHAH! So…we round the corner…? And there is a line of people waiting to board…..PHEW!!!! We both sigh and laugh….Ahhhhh….made it! God is good-all the time.

I slept the whole way, and awoke upon the double landing-again. Maybe it’s Greece!? Maybe there is a speed bump? And I grab my luggage, a treat, and a taxi! To the Intercontinental I say-knowing I’m spending way too much money on a taxi vs. the metro, but I’ve been up for too long, San Fran to a marathon on Deathrow to Athens. I’m ready for my 2 nights by myself! I’d booked the hotel on priceline, I got a decent deal, but the hotel isn’t altogether THAT expensive anyway. I arrive, it’s HUGE, and I get to the desk, and he checks me in, and I ask, any acropolis view rooms? He says yes, for a fee….I say how much? He tells me, I deem it WORTH IT! So then, for a bit more, I can upgrade to CLUB. Club? I’m not a club kid, because I’m cheap. BUT….CLUB is free breakfast, snacks in the afternoon, and at night, plus any drink I could imagine (hindsight, I never asked for a Frappe-what’s the matter with me?), oh and free wifi? What? Free food, free wifi, WITH acropolis view? THAT. Friends, is the DEFINITION of AcropoBLISS! So I say YES! NE! (Greek for YES!)

I get to my room, and it’s true, there is some sort of gingham going on, but I don’t care, because there she is, the Acropolis-and she’s all lit up, and I’m smiling. I then hit up the “Club Lounge”, to make snack time, dinner time. The next morning? SLEPT IN! Until it was time for breakfast-so for a brief moment, I left the view of the Acropolis-and arrived at breakfast, which was AWESOME, and sat down to continue my view of the Acropolis….AcropoBLISS!

Of course the bliss goes on and on, and I did take an afternoon “tour” of Cape Sounion-which I fell in love with wanting to see back in 2007 when it was an excursion on MSC. The “tour” was terrible. An hour ride out where she blurbed for a total of 5 minutes, I was all ready to take notes. BOO! We get to the site, she gives us 3 minutes of information, WIKI would have been embarrassed, and let us go. The pictures are stunning of course, despite her. The ride home of course was quiet, but stunning along the sparkling Aegean. Stunning. Arrival back at the hotel, and I tip her and the driver, more than the lady and her husband, from Georgia tipped me for the entire last week. C’est la vie. Back at the hotel, it’s time for “snacks”…aka…AcropoBLISS dinner….ahhhhh….

The rest of the story gets a little muddled with waking up too early and not being able to fall asleep, then of course falling asleep an hour before it’s AcropoBLISS breakfast time, and knowing I’d have to really say goodbye to my view, and head out and pay WAY too much for a car to take me 2 miles to my next hotel, since it was STRIKE day…..BUT….for those two days….AcropoBLISS….look for it in a dictionary near you! OR? Make it in YOURS! Book your ticket, and pay the upgrade! I mean maybe wait till things chill over here, but bucket list for sure. Ah-Maze-ing. Love me some Greece, Love me some AcropoBLISS!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

From Seattle to San Francisco...

As a "Tour Manager"...I freak out on a daily basis. You wouldn't notice per say...but I am. Why? Because I don't know every single thing. Seem silly? It is. But saying "I don't know" to something is this crushing blow to my self-esteem and I see it as over all incompetence for the tour. Harsh? PERHAPS!? Thankfully I have an inflated ego so that I'm able to deal with these common blows, thankfully I know some good jokes that I deflect with, thankfully my God protects me from a lot of them, and thankfully I'm a pretty good judge of people and know when I should duck around the corner or "make a phone call"! I adore my job, don't get me wrong, but every day is different....every tour is different, and from an adult tour perspective, I don't do the same route, every week, the entire year! HA! Sometimes I think that'd be nice, but MORE times I love the every day is NEW of my job! If I did the same thing? I'd know more things, I'd be able to rock out California's History, and the Missions, and say why we didn't see whales, and exactly what kind of tree that was, and how deep the Columbia River is, and what there is to do in Coos Bay...if anything! But...I don't do the same thing....and tomorrow I leave for Athens, not Georgia, to do another "Footsteps of Paul" tour, and may the freaking out begin again!

BUT I LOVE IT! I'm just setting the stage for you to tell you this. Every passenger is different, and that's how you deal with them. Some love you because they love everybody, some love you after you've proven yourself, some love you after you love them, some will NEVER love you, and some, you THINK don't love you, but then they blindside you and tell you they do! THAT is what this blog is about....because it warmed my heart.

I'm on a "Pacific Northwest & California" this tour, I have a group, they are travelers through and through, but from a smaller town. There are 40 of them...and I really like them....I'm really enjoying the tour. We've had some blah weather, like fog on our day to view Mt. St. Helens, and SNOW on our day to see Mt. Hood! There was also rumored to be an earthquake the night we were in Coos Bay! Finally there was sun on the coast, my driver is great, my passengers love her, I'm feeling "okay" about the tour, but I don't think I'm talking enough, granted, enough would be all the time, and nobody wants that. (Realize, if your tour manager is worth their salt, and it's quiet? They are wondering if they should talk! Or maybe that's just me....but that's what's happening in my brain, up front, and y'all are sleeping or looking out the window!)'s night 5, we're in Eureka, and my passengers want to do Alcatraz in San Francisco. I'm bitter at Alcatraz for this. It's ALWAYS booked too early, and people ALWAYS want to do it! It puts me in the position to help them, but if something goes wrong, and it's government run-so something ALWAYS goes wrong, well, then it's my fault. So, I'm in the lobby, on my computer, trying to book tickets. Tickets go WAY fast, and I have to book them 2 at a time, with their credit cards,( I've learned looooong ago to not put things like that on my card, though, I question myself every time, as it would be easier to buy 14 tickets at once vs. separately....) And it's quiet, I've got 10 people huddled around me....and my passenger that I was worried about the most, says "I've got something to say, and I'm just gonna say it...". I about die. He, is younger than the majority, very adventurous and he knows his stuff, and I have been feeling like I had to be more than at the top of my game so that he would get something out of this tour. He's smarter than me, and the only advantage I've felt like I've had with him is the fact that I know where the restaurant is in the hotel. I like him, but I'm a little intimidated. And so we are all ears. He says (please read with a southern drawl) "I just want you to know......that you are the most knowledgeable tour guide I have ever had. You know a lot of things about all of these places that we are visiting. Now I know a LOT of things, but you have taught me so many new things, and I think you are very good at what you do." My mouth drops a little, my tears start to well, I stop booking tickets, and I look at him, and I say thank you. Thank you very much, that means a LOT to me. And in my head I add "especially coming from you". He then says "And I mean it. I don't give out compliments, so it means something when I say it.". And I knew that to be true. And it warmed my heart. Everybody murmured in agreement, and I continued to book tickets, but I was filled, my cup runneth over! Awesome. Very great compliment. I'm not sure that the time spent stopping ticket booking was the right thing to do, as I was only able to book 12 of the 14 tickets as Alcatraz ran out....and guess who didn't get to go? HIM! ARGH!!!!! I was so mad. I tried all night, I called all my secret numbers for Alcatraz....I checked Craigslist, eBay, called my SF friends, looked at a bunch of other ticket sites, called the next day, continued to check, made friends with the girl at the Alcatraz office who talked to her manager who could still do NOTHING! In the end....they were more than fine with it, and I over worried, but still, it's what I do. There is no moral to this story, because I'm certain that another passenger still doesn't like me, doesn't think I'm doing enough, and his wife had the audacity to mark "good" not "excellent" for "Created a fun and enjoyable environment". ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? If nothing else that is ALL I know how to rock out! lol. Please, I bought the birthday girl a sash to wear around all day with glitter....she's 80. I'm fun. Like me. But, whatever, it's part of the job, and my heart was warmed by what my other passenger said, and meant. Oh if he only knew...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Once you go Mac...

I miss Steve Jobs like the rest of us. I heart Apple...and have since my grandpa first let me play with whatever "draw a picture" program they had back in like 1983! And I got my first mac as an adult....and love every drop of it. Thank you Steve Jobs for being more than a CEO! I hope you knew Jesus....and I hope you are in heaven! In honor...I love this picture that I stole from Autumn! AND? This article that I found from a year ago is kind of a riot! And since I laugh in sad tense situations....why change now!


Thank you Stephanie Weehawk!

Apple to turn NY’s Central Park into giant walled garden

New York, NY — How much does the Big Apple love Apple? Apparently, enough to turn over the reins to Central Park.

Enamored with Apple’s ability to create a happy environment by exerting totalitarian control — dubbed a “walled garden” by some — NY mayor Michael Bloomberg has enlisted the tech giant to turn Central Park into a real-world walled garden.

The new park, dubbed Apple Gardens, will open on January 1, 2011.

Keeping out the riff-raff will be a 6.2-mile, 16-foot glass wall that runs along the park’s perimeter. Visitors will be welcomed through the main gate by gleeful Apple employees — once they’ve paid the $99 annual subscription fee. (Family Pack: $149.)

“New Yorkers are going to fall in love with Apple Gardens,” said a jubilant Mayor Bloomberg, “as long as they follow the rules.”

Imagine: even the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park will become part of Apple Gardens

In Apple style, the rules will be plentiful. There will be a dress code, language code, behavior code and picnicking code. Footpaths and lawns that fail to meet Apple standards will be off-limits to visitors. And, of course, Apple reserves the right to eject any visitors it finds annoying.

“We’ll do everything we can to make sure people have an enjoyable day, whether they like it or not,” said an Apple spokesperson.

Developers are invited to create fee-based attractions and concessions for the park, providing that they can first endure a torturous inquisition. Apple will reward surviving developers by taking a 30% cut of their fees.

Apple Gardens will also feature a 200-foot-long Genius Bar where visitors can receive free advice, maps and basic treatment for corns and blisters, up to one year from their first park visit. An extended three-year GardenCare plan is available covering a range of podiatry issues.

Needless to say, Google will not sit idly by and watch Apple revolutionize our public parks. Negotiations are already underway to turn Golden Gate Park into Google Gate Park. In direct contrast to Apple’s walled-garden approach, Google’s park will extend a warm welcome to all — including muggers, pickpockets, drug dealers and rapists.