Sunday, July 16, 2017

MUPGT...Maybe We're Buds?

I have a long time client who has developed pancreatic cancer and we're having to scramble to put in place a program that will ensure the company's continuity and financial security for the owner's wife. The wife who has not been involved with the business needed to be brought into the process and the only time I could get up to Chicago was Saturday. With my schedule already tight, I booked the last flight from Albuquerque I could through Denver that got me into Chicago at Midnight so I could have all day Saturday if necessary with the wife and come home Sunday morning.

I was getting into my car to go to the airport when I saw a text from United Airlines. My first flight was going to take off an hour later than scheduled which would only leave me with 10 minutes to make my connection. Since they shut the plane doors 10 minutes before departure, that was clearly not going to work. Uh oh, Magical Unicorn Pony God of Travel throwing down the gauntlet again. You think you might be forgotten not being the road warrior but you're not.

So I got out of the car and called the airline. As I've said many times in the past, these are the times you cherish having your frequent flyer status. They were able to book me on a flight that left at 6 AM went through Denver and got me to Chicago at 11:30. I got a decent seat on the Denver flight but was going to have to sit in the middle to Chicago. So here is what transpired from that point on.
  • Called the client's wife who was relieved we would be meeting later and said she would pick me up at the airport.
  • Called my hotel (where I have minor status), told them of my flight issue. They saved my room and said they would not charge me for the first night.
  • Got my new flight information. Went to check-in online and decided to check seat availability. A window seat in an exit row had opened up. Sweet! Grabbed it.
  • Got an email telling me I was upgraded to First for my return flight. Really? Sweet!
  • Went to airport for ridiculously early 6 AM flight and went through the TSA Pre line in literally 3 minutes.
  • As I was boarding the plane, the gate agent said, "Oh you've been upgraded to First. Really? Sweet!
  • Although my connection in Denver was tight, the inbound flight was on time and the flights were only five gates apart.
  • Got on the plane and was settling into my window seat when a gate agent swam through the  boarding passengers and said, "Mr. Palohdalny you want your upgrade?" "Uh sure." Sweet!
  • Going back home I whizzed through the TSA Pre line again in just minutes.
 As I'm driving home, I'm thinking, "Come on, this isn't like the pointy headed equine godlet at all." It was almost as if he (or maybe its a she) was just joking with me for old times sake. Or as Wife thought maybe he/she is just setting me up for some epic battle to come. I prefer to think of the Unicorn demi-god and I as old adversaries just getting together to talk about the good old times.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Living The Dream - The Transitioned State

Just over a year ago I wrote a post on what I perceived was the conditions that created the post-balls-to-the-wall career state. I called it the Transitioned State and talked about creating new buckets of interests that employed your now reduced energy in a more full and enjoyable way.

Since we came back from Asia and had the post trip buzz, life has just been one wonderful ride. Work is great. I have just about the perfect client load and I'm bringing money to pay for travel (I REALLY like making money...sorry...probably genetic) plus just about every client I'm working with I'm getting to do things that use the skills I enjoy with very little stress.

I am busy planning with Wife our next big trip. We are such a good team. I do the basic research. She reviews and adds a different viewpoint on each potential decision. We end up with pretty good itineraries. I find now that after so much time being back home that I'm hungry again for that travel experience.

I continue my exercise, spiritual, and writing activities. My cooking creativity goes into what we do on a daily basis and if not wildly grandiose is constantly focused on little creative things to change up what we eat on a daily basis. For example today I had some leftover tomato sauce so I sauteed zucchini, onions, tomatoes (all separately) layered them in casserole, put a layer of sauteed sausage (also leftover), a layer of tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves and some grated cheese. Put the whole thing in the oven for 20 minutes. Nice, balanced, not too much food. Tasty.

Wrapped around all of this is a state of extreme gratitude - an understanding that none of this is deserved, that you are blessed to have it and need to give thanks for that blessing. And finally an understanding that it is going to end. Not might. It is. Something is going to happen. Most likely health related. It's only a matter of time. So that gives the incentive to not just milk the joy out of each moment but to be fully aware of the joy that is coming from each moment.

Life is a long hard grind but when you are blessed and you get to be in the Transitioned State you sure the heck should be fully aware of it!

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Three times recently I have had conversations with others who like to travel that go something like this.

"Yes we are planning a trip to so and so and somewhere. But you know we just like to do XYZ. We're not crazy like you and Wife."

This is always said in a matter the fact tone. "We're not crazy like you are." Like it is just a fact of life. when it comes to travel, there are those that are normal then there is Wife and I.

I happen to mention this to daughter #1 during our regular weekend Skype call. She said,

"I don't think of you as crazy. I think you have a passion for travel experiences."

EXACTLY. So for all you out there, Wife and I are not crazy. WE HAVE A PASSION FOR TRAVEL EXPERIENCES...

...that just happens to manifest itself as looking like we're crazy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Why Is Finding A Hotel So Difficult

You would think that with all the online tools available to find accommodation that one could find a single place to stay wouldn't you. Wife is planning a three day swing to do some photo shooting. She gave me a list of the ten or so towns that we are going to be visiting. I duly began to check my various tools for finding a place to stay. Agoda, Booking, Orbiz, Trivago, HomeAway, Airbnb. Nothing, nada, zip. How could that be?

I went back to Wife to register my frustration.

"Dear, these are the ghost towns we are visiting. Not the places where we would want to stay."


So is there some kind of psychic Trivago I missed? A seance version of Booking I'm supposed to use?  Do you have to be a ghost to stay in a ghost town accommodation? Clearly more research will be needed.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Encounters With Endangered Species

I am on one of my infrequent trips for business and flew to Chicago yesterday. While in transit, I ran into that rarest of creatures. I was so amazed I had to take pictures.

Yes! The Rare and Endangered Empty Middle Row Seat!!!

I luxuriated during the flight. Putting up the arm rest, crossing my legs into the space next to me. Putting my drink on the table of the seat next to me while I worked on my computer on mine.

As an additional reward, while there were thunder storms,  we managed to beat them with our flight arriving early. In fact just as we finished landing and taxiing to the gate, the skies broke open.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Golden Grey Photos

So channeling still the spirit of my muse and photo master*, Wife, I ruthlessly culled pictures and tried to get only those that had some kind of artistic merit. This has been VERY DIFFICULT because I have NO SENSE OF ARTISTIC LOOK whatsoever. But for better or worse here we go.

*(So since Wife is female is the term 'photo master' incorrect? Should I use 'photo mistress'? I think that creates all kinds of bad connotations. Maybe 'photo guru' that's more gender neutral?)

Embracing the Shadow

Focus on Color

I love this because I think it captures the intensity that Wife brings to her photography
First every Black and White attempts

Capturing those few moments where we had the 'magical golden light'

Using our workshop leader in Tokyo's idea on diagonal lines


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Chasing The Golden Gray

Golden's what the photographer craves. At least that's what Wife tells me. When last year we were in Bryce Canyon National Park Utah, Wife bemoaned the fact that we did not have a chance to take pictures during the sunset period when the light is supposed to be the best. Coming on a separate trajectory, Wife and I have been saying for years that we really need to do more short trips around our own area which is just filled with natural beauty. I noted that because I tend to go right into work mode after we return from our big trips, that my schedule doesn't allow easily to do this type of thing on an impromptu basis. Therefore, the answer was to start scheduling things. I threw out the idea of running up to Bryce Canyon to do that shoot she wanted. It was booked into our calendar.

So on Friday we tootled up the 550 miles/9 hours to get to Bryce Canyon. This morning we went out to scope the various places where we wanted to take pictures. We also took a lot of pictures; I in particular as I wanted Wife's critique on my composition. After a break in the afternoon, we set out again at 6 PM. Having watched the sun setting on the drive in yesterday, we knew that we had about 2 hours from 6:30 to 8:30.

We got to our first stop at 6:15. It was still really bright but one could see the changes taking place. Then as we made to go to our second stop, in came the clouds. Soon there was no setting sun to speak of. Bummer. But we continued on and found that while we were not favored by the 'golden light' at least the scenes were not bleached out by the high midday sun. I haven't looked at the pictures yet from this evening but I'm hoping that the level of color and detail will be much better than the ones from this morning because of the lack of bleaching bright light.

Tomorrow we tootle on back the 550 miles/9 hours back to Albuquerque. AND I DON'T WANT TO HEAR any snide remarks from various offspring that Wife and I are not slowing down! We are slowing down. We're just slowing down very...well slowly.