Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday in Seattle

Dinner in the room last night. Excellent chicken noodle soup. Shared a steak sandwich.

Slept well. We both really needed it. Breakfast at Bella's - a French pastry place attached to the hotel. You can't beat a good chocolate croissant and caffe latte.

Took a Duck Tour of the city this morning. It was a little chilly; but they provided wool blankets. Very energetic, entertaining driver. Saw the house where much of Sleepless In Seattle was filmed. And, we heard many stories about Seattle history. As usual, it was an interesting 90 minute tour.

Then, we went to the aquarium. It was a good option for a brief activity. It was packed with families. We were both pooped by the time we finished the aquarium. We had planned on eating in the aquarium area; but, we just took a taxi back to the hotel.

When we got back to the hotel, we went to the Terrace where they could get Jill a cup of the chicken noodle soup that I liked last night (even though it wasn't on their menu) and I had very good clam chowder. With the bread and crackers, it was a good lunch for us.

Now it's time for a nap. We have almost adjusted to the time difference. But all that morning activity and walking has worn us out. I think we'll go back to Shuckers for dinner.

We board the ship tomorrow. Since our room tonight is compliments of Holland America, we have instructions for luggage handling and shuttle to the ship. They will take our luggage from our hotel room to our cabin on the ship. So, we don't need handle all the big luggage. If all goes well, we'll be on the ship mid-day tomorrow. Can't wait.
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Adjusting to local time after a grueling travel day. Yesterday started with a huge problem. Our limo didn't show up for a 4:15AM pickup. It was already bad enough that we needed to leave in the middle of the night. Being forced at the last minute to cram luggage into our own car and drive to the airport later than planned. We had never been to the new airport on our own. It was very hectic/stressful since we had to figure it out while we knew we were late.

I dropped Jill off at curb side luggage service. The AirTran guy saw that we clearly needed help. He helped take all 5 bags from our car to the check stand and gave me directions to parking. He also sent a wheelchair attendant to meet me along the walk from parking. This attendant pushed us both through security - allowing us to bypass the long line at security. By the time we got to the gate, the plane was already half boarded. The wheelchair attendant took Jill to the plane and helped her get her carryon into the overhead. He then pushed me to the plane. I was one of the last to board. The doors were closed for departure very shortly after I got into my seat.

This was way too close!! Damn near missed the flight. Not a good way to start a vacation.

The flights were uneventful - Indy to Atlanta and Atlanta to Seattle. About 6 hours flying plus a layover in Atlanta. We landed in Seattle about 12:20PM - about 20 minutes early. Our driver found us at baggage claim, got us to the curb and brought the car to us.

Seattle weather was very cloudy and only 51 - quite chilly.

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel is very nice, very classy. Starting with the Bell Captain, we were treated very well. Everyone at Reception and the Concierge was very friendly and helpful.

Our lunch at Shuckers (in the hotel) was excellent. Apparently, this is one of the top-rated seafood restaurants in Seattle.
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Monday, May 17, 2010


We flew to Philadelphia yesterday. Brett & Arielle took us to dinner at Warm Daddy's - a Southern food place. Luckily, Arielle's brother joined us. Lots of leftovers for them to take home. I got jambalaya. Jill got huge beef ribs. Of course, Brett got fish - a large sampler. David had catfish and Arielle got ?? - don't remember. Excellent cornbread, black-eyed peas/rice, sweet potatoes, collards w/ bacon. Service wasn't the best. But, they were already very busy even though we went at 5:30.

This morning we went to Reading Terminal Market for breakfast. Unfortunately, my breakfast at the diner was just mediocre. Corned beef hash was only average. Potatoes were not good - something like sliced, rubbery boiled potatoes. Eggs were over easy rather than over medium as I ordered. At least they had cold whole milk.

Mid-day we went to Arielle's graduation ceremony. Typical long event with speakers and reading names of the graduates - only those in attendance. We only went to the separate, smaller ceremony for the Masters/PhD grads in the Arts & Sciences dept. Full school event was at the Penn football stadium and had around 6,000 grads.

They had a reception lunch in another tent next to the ceremony. As usual, I don't particularly care for that kind of meal.

Tonight, we went back to the Reading Terminal Market for a Philly steak sandwich - no cheese. Good sandwich. Huge. But, we enjoyed it. As far as I'm concerned, it was our best meal here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Penn Grad

We will be attending the grad of Brett's wife, Arielle. She has completed her Phd in Sociology and Demography. We will fly over the day before. Have plans to eat dinner with the kids.  We're staying at a downtown Philly hotel because we think it will easier to get from the hotel to the grad on the Penn campus and back via taxi. Not renting a car. We will be going to the afternoon ceremony about 1pm. The early grad ceremony will be at the Penn football stadium with many thousands of people. That would be physically difficult for both of us. The smaller ceremony should be better for us to handle. I hope things go well. This will likely be the last time we see them in Philly since they are moving to NC late summer.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

lots of driving but eyes good

Yesterday, I had a very typical day at the office - email, meetings, stuff. When the final meeting ended about 5:30 EST, I hit the road and drove to Joliet (about 3 1/2 hours drive time) to see the eye doc for a follow-up. Just north of Indy, I had to go through a patch of monsoon rain and lightning. Got to Jill's Mom's place about 9PM CST. She has been very kind to let us/me stay with her during all the trips for my eyes. This morning I sat around and responded to emails. My appt was in the afternoon and went very well. Dr Z confirmed that both eyes are 20/20 - which is considered normal vision. He told me that I can go back to normal activities (bending over, lifting something over 20 lbs, etc) and I don't need to wear the patch any longer. I will still have a regimen of drops in both eyes for four more weeks.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

McD's on Saturday

Well, Jill didn't want to go to lunch. So...I got to pick and I picked McDonalds. I haven't been there for lunch for a very long time. OMG!! I certainly found out where all the grandparents and grandkids are hanging out on Saturday. The place was packed with moms, dads, grandparents and kids of all ages. I looked around for signs saying it was "discount for families" day. I got a Big Mac meal - with fries and root beer. It's nice that I don't need to worry about calories or fat. I lucked into a table close/facing the counter and enjoyed the people-watching. Grandparents trying to figure out what the grandkids wanted. Parents telling the kids what they could have. Kids smiling about their Happy Meal toy. All in all, it was a fun and interesting lunch. Who would have thought I could enjoy just going to McD's?