Lima, Peru

It’s time for some trip blogs!

This trip both started and ended in Lima. We stayed for a day on both ends of the trip to get some of the city flavor. I liked Lima just fine, but one day would have been enough. It’s a huge place that’s crawling with people and traffic is straight crazy. No matter where we went, it always took us at least an hour to get back to the airport.

The taxis and Ubers we took to and from the airport were… an experience. The traffic was crowded and pretty lawless. After six near-miss accidents in the first ten minutes, I was able to relax a tiny bit. Our group of five is a tight squeeze, even for a “sedan grande,” so we tried to sing along to the radio as best we could and not look at the remaining minutes on the GPS.

The first day we spent time in the historic city center. Even early, there were people out walking around. We stumbled upon the filming of a movie (soap opera?) in the Plaza de Armas while we waited for stuff to open. Our first stop was a tour of the Casa de Aliaga. Sofia our guide filled us in on Peruvian history and politics as we wondered around a historic home that was kept in the same family for 17 generations with a lot of the original woodwork and furniture. She explained how Lima gets sticky with humidity, but it hasn’t rained there in almost 100 years (most of the precipitation there is mist) eventhough it’s pretty overcast year-round. 

(No, Josh and Will didn’t match the whole trip.)

We also toured the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace. Both offered tours in English to explain the Spanish introduction of Catholicism to the Quechua people. I loved learning about how the Jesuits used the local symbols to explain Catholic teachings. I had no idea how much it influenced the Church today. The Archbishop’s Palace hosted a big art display with lots of old carved figurines with hair from real people. It was as creepy as it sounds. We ducked into the Basilica de San Francisco since we were in the neighborhood. 

The last day of the trip we were back in Lima to explore Mira Flores. The ruins of Huaca Pucllana are right in the middle of the city. There was an ancient temple there that they rebuilt in the exact place every thirty years, leaving behind layers and layers of ruins.  We also shopped around in the local craft market and caught a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. 

baaaaack in the USA

We landed on Saturday morning and spent the rest of the day trying to be functioning humans after an overnight flight. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I waded through piles of dirty laundry and emptied all our bags. Josh went to the grocery store for pizza and bananas.

Coming home is both wonderful and miserable.

I treasure being back in a place where I can drink as much as I want of the (FREEE FREE FREE) tap water.  I missed the land of hovering waiters refilling my water cup all the time. My insides are readjusting to my normal diet. No alpaca, no guinea pig, no white bread, less avocados, etc.

Easing back into work today was alright. But I’d rather be planning the day’s activities and routing it out on google maps.

It’s nice, I guess, to pick clothes out of my closet instead of my suitcase, but that doesn’t really bother me. I do enjoy tossing dirties into a laundry basket instead of rearranging them in my backpack.

I miss waking up in a bunk bed in a room full of my siblings at 5am to hike.  Maybe Josh and I should look into some bunk beds for visitors and the overall hostel aesthetic?

Back here there’s an ease of pretty much every little thing from paying for purchases to asking for directions to not smothering my self in bug spray and sunscreen. It’s missing the thrill of waking up in a weird place to do and see new things. While unexpected things happen no matter where you are, it’s unlikely I’ll end up riding a horse today like we did last Thursday.

It’s good to be back. Now begins the process of wading through the hours of video footage and all the photos. I need another week off to get it done.

 

do whatever you want day

Someone asked me what I would do all day if I could get paid to do anything. I said read and internet creep, but I like to think my perfect day would be a little wilder.

I’d wake up naturally at 5am because my bladder would be hurting from having to go to the bathroom so bad. After relieving myself, I’d get back in bed and fall back asleep knowing that I still had beautiful pillow hours ahead of me.  Love that feeling.

At 8am I’d wake up for real. I’d lay in bed and read for a few minutes while Josh made me an omelet.  Thanks, Josh.

At 9, I’d do some light internet creeping and maybe work on one of the many projects on my plate that I do for funsies.

At 11, Oprah would text me asking if I wanted to go for a brisk walk. Well yes, I would! We’d meet up in matching velour track suits and hit the trail. During the walk, we’d swing our arms a lot and talk about our favorite books and podcasts, catch up on friendly gossip and swap stories on what it’s like being media moguls. She’d insist I join her for the Influential Women’s something-something dinner that night. Oh fine, O!

Light lunch, I’m not picky.

I’d kick off the afternoon with some reading on the patio, preferably in a hammock. Then a one-hour nap. Josh would wake me up singing Good Morning from Singing in the Rain and suggest we walk to Wendy’s for frostys. Naturally, I’m game.

We are somewhere near a lake, so Josh and I would jump off the dock and bob in the water sipping lake beer. Maybe some friends or family would join us. Look, I don’t know if we’re part of their best day plans?

At five I’d take a shower and get ready for the event that night. Julie would help me with hair and makeup. I can’t look like a complete oger, there might be cameras. Oprah would send a car to pick me up.

Oprah and Gayle are seated at my table, of course. Gayle and I are very friendly and not competitive for Oprah’s attention at all. Beyonce slides in right before salads begin. Gloria Steinem is telling stories, and Michelle Obama is checking her instagram. Lena Dunham invites me to a concert after the dinner with her, I say yes. She seems down to earth and the tickets are on her.

Turns out it’s a Bleachers concert, which makes sense. All my favorite dance floor friends happen to be there and we pretend like it’s Alley Bar during our prime. At 1am, the show is over and we all go home. I put on my softest nightgown and fall asleep.

four-year texaversary!

Can you believe it’s been four years since I moved to Texas? I have to celebrate this every year because it simultaneously feels like I’ve lived here a lifetime and a week.

This year in Texas…

I voted in Texas. Not that it really counted for much, but hey!

I ate mountains of queso and tacos. And Takis. And avocados. And the cucumber lime Gatorade that I love so much.

We hosted a bunch of friends on our air mat and couch. If you love Mexican food and warm weather, make your reservation today!

Some friends met us for wine walks, and we pretended to like wine.

We explored some suburbs (ok, like three of them, but we tried).

Josh and I visited Amarillo to hike Palo Duro Canyon. That felt very Texan.

I did spend some weekends in Dallas, at least I think I did?

dennis and michelle visit

Dennis and Michelle visited us this weekend and we ate and drank our way around Dallas. I think I now need a cleanse. Whenever Josh and I crossed the threshold of lapsing into our non-public weird selves, they would step up their game and raise their freak flags just a litttttle higher.

I’m not sure we stopped talking, laughing or singing the whole time they were in town. Josh and Dennis played some Tom Petty for us when we decided we’d rather hang out than pay to see him in concert. Both nights we stayed at our apartment and listened to music while catching up.  Sometimes the best use of time is hanging on the couch. We roughed out an idea for The 2016 Election: The Musical! (Dibs on the KellyAnne Conway bit part.) We showed them TopGolf and the JFK museum. Michelle and I swapped a bunch of book recommendations and we got caught up on each others’ travels.

On Saturday, we kicked off the taco crawl wish Josh’s homemade breakfast tacos. Then had Torcy’s for lunch and Taco Dinner for dinner. So much queso.

We finally figured out the shows when we met (I met Michelle in Hello Dolly and Dennis during Joseph, we think) and discussed our dream roles. Thank you, Whitecliff Summer Playhouse. It’s kinda great how we all knew each other as individuals before we became couples. Maybe that’s part of the reason we all get along so well? Or maybe we’re just nerds who might break out into the same song at any minute.

Some of the tacos from the great taco crawl of 2017. 

things i want to tell you at 5:40am

I get my best ideas late at night and first thing in the morning. It’s like my bed radiates some powerful energy- the closer I am, the better and clearer my ideas are. Pretty sure I’m on to something here.

Since I rise to greet the day at 5:15am these days, no one wants to chat. I save all the texts I want to send until 7:30 or 8. That’s a lifetime.

At bedtime, I lay there and tell Josh all my deepest, darkest hopes and dreams. Then he rolls over and lovingly says, “Are you done? I’m really tired.”

If you were awake with me, here’s what I’d tell you.

Just when I get into the nitty gritty trip details, I realize that a week is not a long enough time to spend in Peru. I would say the same thing if we were staying three months. There are so many things I’d like to cram in and who knows when or if I’ll ever get back? Will said the same thing last night, but it’s a little late to change our plans now.

Country music has been particularly rough lately. I used to be a casual listener, but woooooof. Occasionally I bop over to one of my country presets only to be disappointed. It’s always better in the summer, so maybe there are better tunes on the horizon?

I finally finished my little video for our trip to Cuba. It makes me laugh, we had a blast.

Last night as I finished my book and was ready to go to bed, my bedside lamp turned off. Either the bulb burned out at the EXACT right time or we have a ghost. We’re the first people to live in our unit, so the only reasonable explanation is that our building was constructed on an Indian burial ground.

Everyone keeps telling me about new podcasts that I really need to listen to. The problem is I have a huge backlog of old ones taking up precious space on my phone. So little time, so much listening. How do you keep up?

My hair is getting long. It’s getting heavy too. Whenever I put in a ponytail I have to find a sweet spot on my scalp that doesn’t hurt. This is the universe whipering in my ear, “Get a haircut.”

Happy *almost* weekend.

chase daniel golf tourney

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a golfer, but I’m a fan of the idea. I’m also a fan of volunteering at golf tournaments, I guess.

A couple Fridays ago, I spent a day doing photos and video for the Mizzou fundraiser in Dallas. Josh and Brandon played, while I bopped around on a golf cart drinking beer and filming on my GoPro.

Some former football players played the tournament. I was impressed with how nice and accommodating they were while I was filming. Some of them had douchey reputations, but that wasn’t the case.

I wish I could color balance it better. iMovie doesn’t give me a ton of options with that, or maybe I’m doing it wrong. Our GoPro doesn’t have a view finder or a screen, so filming is a little bit of a crap shoot. I’m getting better at figure out how close to get and how wide the picture is.

My computer is full of clips from Sanibel Island and Cuba, so those are next on my to do list. I need to find some time to get them done before Peru, not to mention the three new library books and training for a four day hike. If you don’t see me until May, you know why.

pile on

As an airline employee, it’s hard to miss the unfortunate story about the guy getting ejected from a United plane. It’s unfortunate for the guy who was bleeding and being yanked against his will. Working in social media, it’s equally unfortunate for the airline who was following procedure (offer comp and then call security) to deal with all the backlash.

No one is worried about the actual details after seeing the video.

We all know it’s not indicative of any company’s temperament or treatment of customers. This was one uncooperative person who was chosen after an unfortunate series of events, including the last-minute rerouting of a crew resulting in an oversell. This is an industry standard and happens all the time. This time one guy didn’t cooperate and security got involved. They shouldn’t have been so rough. That was bad.

It’s certainly not typical. We know that. We know that.

But thanks to 24-hour news and social media, we’re piling on. We share and comment and like and chirp. I’m guilty, heck, I’m writing about this on my blog.

It’s not just the internet though. This weekend I was at a wedding shower and someone voiced their concern about the risks of miscarriage and how she knew a lot of people lately that had one. Immediately everyone piled on, everyone knew someone or had one themselves.

While I’m all about any excuse for people, especially women, to share openly about taboo topics, are we truly supporting each other or just dogpiling? The person who was the center of the conversation was talking about a healthy pregnancy, so all the chatter felt negative and unnecessary considering the circumstances. I felt that at the time, but my sister put her finger on it during the drive home.

As I spend my time trudging through the unactionable responses and “me toos” at work, I’m reminding myself to not be part of the problem IRL.

Havana, Cuba

Working for an airline gives a gal the travel bug. It’s a big company full of passionate travelers, so it’s easy for me to get swept up in planning my next trip. We just started offering service to Cuba in December and some coworkers came back raving. I planned a trip with my work wives and our significant others to spend a weekend in Havana.

I know that seems like a really short trip, but we went 100mph, so it didn’t feel too short. Our group covered a lot of ground in 48 hours. Since Cuba is still developing its tourism infrastructure, we found the balance between not enough to do and missing out on stuff. Of course I could have spent a month there, I say that about every place we go (except Amarillo), but two days was great.

At the airport we changed some cash to cuban pesos and taxied to Hemingway’s Cuban house called Finca  La Vigia. The house was cool, but they had a tent set up with a Cuban band and a bartender that got our trip started on the right foot. Mike had been before and he was livid they didn’t make some sugar cane drink he liked, but we made do.

I managed to negotiate with our taxi driver to stay while we hung out and take us back to town for our dinner reservations. Don’t say those 7.5 years of Spanish were for nothing. I used my Spanish pretty often on the trip- it’s not pretty, but it gets the job done.  Also, the taxi driver slowed down three times to lean out the window to ask someone for directions. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary, I love that.

I read we needed reservations since the good, private restaurants were small and filled up fast. We didn’t run into that problem, but it didn’t hurt. Everything in Cuba is pretty small and old timey, especially the streets, bars and restaurants.  From what I read and saw, not much has been updated in the last sixty years. You can feel the charm and the sadness of a place that’s old and full of history but wasn’t well-kept. I don’t know enough about the political situation to have a strong opinion, but the people didn’t seem any more poor than any of the other Latin American countries I’ve seen. Besides two signs that said “Viva Fidel,” there weren’t any blatant signs   or propaganda that they didn’t live in a democracy.

One of the perks of Cuba’s isolation, if we can call it that, was the cars. I won’t pretend to know anything about what I saw except that they were painted in the most fun colors and kept in pristine condition. After dinner the first night we did a tour of Havana in old convertibles from 1950. Our drivers took us around town pointing out where the fort was, the hotel Beyonce and the Obamas stayed at and showed us the river where they practice religious rituals, which included smacking the believer with a dead chicken. They drove us along the Malecon, a long seawall that kept the ocean off the sidewalk and the highway. Every couple minutes a powerful wave would break over the top and soak anyone on the sidewalk. We ended with drinks at the touristy bar at Hotel National, where Al Capone used to stay.

We finally taxied to our Airbnb (half of us in a Hyundai and half of us in a Model T),  which was super fancy. The hotels are scant and expensive in Havana right now. When we arrived the woman who let us in and showed us around started in on a barrage of Spanish at a terrifying pace. My eyes widened and I forgot every verb tense and vocabulary word I’d ever heard. She read my face and slowed down, using a lot of hand motions. We figured it out.

They made us breakfast in the morning with all the delicious native fruit and what we now call Cuban toast. It crunched like a crouton, but wasn’t stale or burnt. Truly magic. We took a taxi (this time a pickup truck with a hard shell and two benches facing each other in the back) to the Museo de Revolucion.  The museum lived in the palace, which was my favorite part about it. They translated about half of the displays to English, but we didn’t know much about the revolution it’s self, so we all pledged to read up on Wikipedia when we got back.

From the Museo we found Juan, who gave us a walking tour of Old Havana. He lived in Miami and Montana for a bit, so his English was excellent and he loved showing us all the non-touristy places. He took us for mojitos at Hemingway’s favorite bar, Dos Hermanos. Juan showed us all the town squares, pointed out historical places, arranged a surprise carriage ride (free of charge) and filled us in on the culture from their love of women to the lack of internet. Eventually he found us a local lunch place and hooked us up with his friend who sold discount (but legit, he assured us) Cuban cigars.

We poked around the flea market and got pina colodas served in pinas at on the rooftop bar at Hotel Ambros Mundos.  After the full day, we taxied back to the airport (in boring cars) to spend our last pesos on warm canned beer and head back to the USA.

I don’t think photos do the color and the warmth of Cuba justice, but here goes.

 

 

making the most of your routine

This piece about morning routines in Lenny cracked me up this week.

The writer laughs at how hungry we are to improve. If I start my day just right or maximize my downtime, I can squeeze in just a liiiiiiiiiiittle more. Click bait lures us in with promises of our most productive year ever! more time for creative fun! healthy eating made easy!

But really, nothing like that is easy. And moreover, it’s not a competition.

Getting up early to exercise is rough. So is being healthy. Same goes for getting more work done-you have to do more work. There’s no simple secret to success.

Find out what works for you, then get comfortable saying no to things that don’t work for you.

If you’re not a morning person, why fight it? I’m not good at binge watching TV, it’s not for me. I know that seems inconsequential, but sometimes I feel left out.  I have to remember that I don’t need to keep up with every show ever. Instead, I enjoy the ones I like and quit watching ones that become a chore. No one is paying me to finish season two of Narcos, (if they were I would suck it up and watch it).

Being healthy and hygienic is important, but there are a million ways to do both. For example, you can brush your teeth or use mouthwash to get rid of germs and have minty fresh breath that your coworkers appreciate. You can run 15 miles a week or walk to work or you can go to zumba.

Do your thing.

Steve Jobs wore a black turtleneck every day. That’s not me and it’s okay. Taylor Swift goes to Soul Cycle. I do not. Pierce your eyebrow and get knuckle tattoos! I’ll pass. The best part is I don’t have to do that stuff. Turtlenecks, Soul Cycle and knuck tats don’t hurt anyone. They don’t discount anyone’s person, they are not there to make me feel unkempt, out of shape or uncool. Instead of learning to love something, I’m opting out and not feeling guilty.

I see people doing incredible things and sometimes I have to remember that it’s not a competition. Some of my friends run marathons and half marathons. They love the training and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing the finish line. I’m not great at running and 13+ miles doesn’t sound fun. That said, I can still celebrate those who love it. When friends talk about their mileage, I can congratulate and encourage instead of interjecting how I don’t like running more than 3 miles. No one is challenging me to race.

I love to read, but it’s ok if you don’t. I love to travel, but I get it if it stresses you out and you need a routine. I want to listen to Lemonade while I’m in the shower, it’s ok if you prefer 1989.

As my wise friend Amy says…