Monday, May 30, 2022

Minneapolis to Celebrate Annelies

I flew to Minneapolis to celebrate my baby turning 20. What? How did that happen? I think I said that about Paradis' birthday as well. It felt so good to be back in the air. 

For this visit, I kept it a secret from both girls. It was so stressful. I felt as if I was living the "Big Lie". I had to create a lie that one of my government customers put an app on my phone shutting off my location services, so they couldn't see I was in Minneapolis. Annelies said that made her suspicious. But she was so happy I was there. 

I just love this kid. She requests her cake each year and this year it was "Congratulations you beat teen pregnancy". Brilliant. 

On my last visit, I didn't schedule many activities. But this visit was longer and therefore I got to see some friends. 

I spent a day with my girls at Paradis' pool, which is where I lived for three years. It was fun to be back. Annelies grilled and we had a traditional Minnesota Memorial Day meal. 

I also attended the Minnesota State Fairs Kick-off to Summer event. The State Fair started the event during COVID and I am glad it has continued. 

I also placed a couple hundred flags at Fort Snelling with Flags for Fort Snelling. I have done this event for a couple years and find it rewarding. 

I was scheduled to fly out Monday evening, but there is a pilot shortage right now and mixed with a storm my flight was getting delayed every hour. So I rescheduled for the following day and stayed overnight with Anna. I love that my job gives me that flexibility. 

My next return to Minneapolis will be over Labor Day, to attend the Great Minnesota Get Together (aka State Fair). It will be nice to get back and attend one of my favorite activities.  

I hope you are doing something nice in your life. - Rae Ann

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Minneapolis to Celebrate Paradis

I flew to Minneapolis to celebrate Paradis, as she turned 23. Yikes, how did that happen? It was my first visit since moving to California. 

It was a miracle, but Annelies and I managed to keep it a secret. She was so surprised when we woke her with our birthday cake and song tradition. 

It was a short visit, and I worked during the day, but I was able to squeeze in some fun. 

I miss my girls, friends, and many things about Minneapolis, but it felt right getting on that return flight back home to California. Life is an adventure. I hope you are doing something adventurous today. 

- Rae Ann

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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Bainbridge Island

I burned up the last of my COVID credits with a trip to Bainbridge Island. Henry and I flew to Seattle Friday night and returned Sunday. It was lovely. 

We caught a late ferry from Seattle to the island. I will never tire of this view of the skyline and Ferris wheel. 

We stayed at Marshall suites, where I stayed years earlier on a trip to my favorite knitting store. I also visited with my girls when we had taken a cruise to Alaska. Much has changed since those visits. The knitting store is closed. My girls are grown and out of my home. But the island remains charming. Bainbridge is a pretty sleepy town. Most everything closes at 9pm. No Lyfts. But it is very walkable and everyone is so friendly. 

Saturday was a mellow day. We grabbed lunch at a grocery store and broke a few rules with our wine (check out the sign in the window). We visited the Historical Museum and learned about the Japanese internments that occurred during WWII. Another sad part of our history. 

We had dinner at Restaurant Marche’ and wonderful cocktails at Hitchcocks. 

Sunday we hopped back on the ferry and back to SEA-TAC.  

Spring had sprung and the flora was all waking up after winter. It was just beautiful. 

I hope you are enjoying some beauty around you as well. - Rae Ann

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Saturday, April 23, 2022

San Diego

I took my first PTO of the year and flew to San Diego this weekend. Last year I took five (5) days of PTO. Five days. There is a story behind why but this year my goal is four weeks. I have an unconventional work-life balance but the flexibility to travel is very important to me and I am committed to making that happen in 2022.

This trip started when my friend Henry asked if I wanted to go to San Diego. Yes, you are seeing a pattern. More about Henry later. I found a $92 RT ticket with Southwest and the planning began. I had COVID credits I needed to burn up and this was my virgin voyage with them. I was super impressed! Nice prices. Free cancellations. Free bags. Nice seats. Free snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. The staff was amazing. The flight attendants gave me this heart as a thank you for the goody bag I gave them (which I later learned was from a coffee stir stick). 

Heart from Southwest Flight Attendants

We started our adventure at the SJC airport lounge. There is something about imbibing in a bloody mary pre-flight that makes me smile.

Pre-Flight Bloody Marys

We landed in SAN and took the bus and trolley (aka light rail) to our Airbnb. I am on a year-long journey of using public transit only and that includes when I travel. 

We grabbed some lunch, took a nap (I love naps), and went on a food tour of Little Italy. We were the only two on the tour, which felt a little weird, but the food was great and the recommendations we received for the weekend were spot on. We landed at Kettner Exchange and it was one of the highlights of the weekend. The drinks were amazing and the people watching was worth the price of the overpriced drinks. 

Afterward, we went dancing at Camino Riviera, which was below the path of planes landing at SAN. I spent way too much time simply looking up and watching those planes. Yes I was a bit drunk, but I love planes. 

Friday we took the light rail and bus to La Jolla ($2.50 ticket). We walked along the beach and had a great lunch at George's at the Cove

Next, we went kayaking in the ocean. I've been kayaking several times and I will tell you my friends getting out beyond those waves in a two-person kayak was tough. I was in front and had saltwater in every orifice of my head. As with previous water activities, I was instructed over and over again about how I shouldn't take my phone. But the plastic bag I dug out of the garbage and the fanny pack I strapped to my body worked just fine. We ended the night having dinner and drinks in La Jolla, which is a fun beach town I would like to return to. 

We stayed at an Airbnb in downtown San Diego, in the East Village, and the location was perfect. Everything was within walking distance or easy access to the light rail. Saturday morning we walked to the ferry that took us to Coronado. We grabbed lunch and later a bus that took us to Chicano Park, located in the Barrio Logan neighborhood where a highway project pierced the heart in the 70's. The Chicano Park story is a sad one that is not a proud part of our progressive history (good info here) that I read about more and more. But the murals that came from that history are amazing. 

On the Bus
On the Ferry to Coronado
Murals in Chicano Park

Saturday night we went to a Flamenco dancing event that will remain one of our best travel stories because we paid a ridiculous amount to watch unattractive people dance in not enough clothing. The best part of the evening was the sangria and paella. 

San Diego has a beautiful downtown and very active nightlife. I will return.  

Inquiring minds want to know, who is this Henry guy? My friend Michelle introduced us and I'm happy to say...he makes me happy. I'm trying not to overthink it since he wasn't in my plan. But you may see more of Henry on this blog. 

I hope you are doing something to make you happy today! Rae Ann

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Sunday, February 20, 2022

Lake Tahoe

My friend Henry has a passion for snow boarding. I dropped enough hints I wanted to visit Tahoe that he offered to be my tour guide. It is a four hour drive from San Jose which feels very similar to a “trip to the north shore” while in Minnesota. 

I picked up some boots from Salvation Army and borrowed winter wear from a friend. It had been nearly a year since I had seen snow and confirmed I did not miss it one bit. But Lake Tahoe…beautiful. Breathtaking really. When I first saw it I said “is that a photo”? 

I convinced Henry I’m no fun pretending to be athletic so he stopped asking if I would snow board. But I rode with him to the top of Palisades Tahoe so I could visit the Olympic Museum, which is where the 1960 Olympics were held. 

That evening we returned for the sunset tram at the resort which was spectacular! 

We stayed at an Airbnb in Alpine, near Tahoe City, which has a small town feel. On Sunday we drove to South Lake Tahoe stopping along the way to take in the view. 

The two areas are very different. South Lake Tahoe is a bit more big city and bougie. If I were to return, it would be near Tahoe City. 

Lake Tahoe is split between California and Nevada. It was fun to stand by this state line. I cannot believe I live here. I pinch myself almost daily. 

Another great “staycation” in my home state.