Sunday, June 21, 2009

Now That's High-Class

Yep, that's right. The Charlotte airport men's room has an attendant. For real! He'll hand you a fresh paper towel (from the automatic paper towel dispenser) and wish you a good day. On your way out, you can grab a tiny cup of mouthwash and drop a single in his tip jar. You heard it here first: Charlotte airport is like the freakin' Rodeo Drive of airports.

Down South

I'm heading down to Raleigh, NC, for another fun-filled week of troubleshooting routers and whipping recalcitrant traffic emulators into shape. Should be good times. At least there's tons of great barbecue in the area.

By the way, sitting in the Charlotte, NC, airport right now. When I stepped off the flight from Boston, I was slapped in the face by the hot, stickiness of 90+ degree weather. I guess the South finally recognizes that it is, in fact, summer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pics from Puerto Rico

It's only been 3 months, but our pictures from Puerto Rico are up. Did we ever mention that we went to Puerto Rico in March?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sometimes I Wish I'd Just Dialed In

I've been traveling for business every week since mid-April. Last week I was in Colorado Springs for a one-day meeting. Let me just say that traveling to Colorado for a one-day meeting is NOT worth it. First, it takes a whole day of travel from Boston on either end, since there is no such thing as a red-eye out of Denver or Colorado Springs. Second, there is no such thing as a direct flight from Boston to Colorado Springs and back. Third, and finally, a spate of "tornadic activity", while cool from the ground, makes attempting to fly through or around it a complete pain in the ass.

So the facts are these: My flight from Boston to Denver was delayed a mere 20 minutes, but once airborne those 20 minutes stretched to two-and-a-half hours as we were re-routed up over Canada (twice!) to avoid heavy thunderstorms over the Midwest. I was sitting in the middle seat in the back of the coach cabin, which means there's only 2 inches between your nose and the back of the seat in front of you (less when the asshole in front of you leans his seat all the back), with a tremendously obese woman to my right and a young woman with her 18-month-old son to my left.

Upon finally reaching Denver, I'd missed my connecting flight to Colorado Springs. And then had to deal with United's inept customer service reps as they tried to rebook me. Unfortunately, most of this alleged rebooking involved me running back and forth from gate to gate, being told by the gate agents that the flight was closed or delayed and that I would need to talk to customer service. Their excuse was along the lines of "the weather forced us to cancel a bunch of flights and, of course, the best option for us was to fly all of these passengers to Colorado Springs and make it someone else's problem."

So here I am with a standby ticket for the last flight (already oversold) to Colorado Springs and I have to be at the meeting at 8:30 the next morning. And I do the only rational thing left: I call United, cancel my leg to Colorado Springs, rent a car and drive. In the end, I arrived at my hotel 5 minutes after my rebooked standby flight was supposed to have taken off from Denver.

The moral of the story is twofold: 1) Never fly United, and 2) Denver is close enough to anything in Colorado to make connecting flights not worth the hassle.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Samosa for Breakfast

One year ago today arrived in India on an early morning flight from Colombo. To celebrate the memory, we had samosa for breakfast this morning.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In Case You Hadn't Guessed...

...Lizzi went to Washington, D.C., and braved the frigid cold to witness first-hand the inauguration of President Barack Obama. She tweeted about the event a little bit, and those tweets are over in the right sidebar. Hopefully, she'll be back in Boston tomorrow, but for tonight, she's going to kick up her heels with the President at the Home States Ball. Enjoy, sweets!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Long Goodbye

I have been thinking about today for 15 years. Along the way I've thought of many other things, and I've had days and weeks and months of not thinking about today at all. But it didn't sneak up on me, not even for a moment. No, today has been with me every day since January 9, 1994.

"It's over," I wrote in my journal that day, my 15-year-old self every bit as dramatic and heartbroken as the 30-year-old who writes this. I was talking about the hell of watching my mother die. I was talking about the exhaustion of doing my homework from a chair next to her hospital bed, and the fear of giving her the seizure medication too late, and the desperate attempts to be a normal teenager while balancing a schedule that included spending all of my free time at Albert Einstein Medical Center. I don't know what I thought would be different after she died, but I did know that I was ready to release myself from all of those things, from the hospital and the pills and the balancing act.

But the fact remained that my mother was dead. And that unlike so many of my friends who were just starting to realize that their parents were real people, I was faced with the reality that my mother could only live on in my memory. Starting tomorrow, then, my memory of mother outlives her presence in my life. Tomorrow, my mother will have been dead for fifteen years and a day, and I only knew her for a mere fifteen years.

I picture myself at the bow of a big ship, holding my arms out to the world, titanic-style. I see myself surrounded by white light, offering my outstretched palms to the sky. There is a freedom that comes with today, with letting the past be the past, and the future be the future. I cannot put it into better words, and that is good, because I feel terribly terribly guilty about the freedom. And I also feel terribly terribly sad.

There are so many memories in the last fifteen years, memories that I wish my mother could have been in. I wish I could picture her at my college graduation, taking pictures and meeting my friend's parents. I wish I could remember the excitement in her voice when I called from Mexico to tell of my engagement. I wish I could remember that funny time in the wedding dress shop when she got angry and walked out of the store because I couldn't decide between an ivory-colored veil or a champagne-colored veil. I wish we could reminisce about those horrible mornings spent doing my hair as a kid, or those car rides to and from ballet. I wish she knew Matt, and Julie, and Evan. I wish she knew me.

And that's the thing: I think that she does. I do, I really do. I think of my mother as a continuous presence in my life, a fact that today doesn't erase. But today does change something. In my head, there's a difference between today and tomorrow.

I woke at 4:40am today as I do every year on this date. I didn't think I would this year, I thought that it would start off differently. But no, I woke at 4:40, just about the same time that we got the phone call fifteen years ago. I don't have to think too hard to hear my father or Andy crying. Or picture our house full of our friends and family. Or visualize the funeral home. I am moments away from those memories. And yet they were fifteen years ago.

But I have to work to remember those mornings spent doing my hair, and those car rides to ballet. I have to work to remember them because I can't reminisce about them. My mother and I have no stories that we have told so many times that we can finish them for each other. I have only the stories I that I have told, over and over again, creating a lifetime of memories with my mother from ten good years of conscious thinking with her in my life. It is amazing what ten good years can give you.

I think that I know my mother, that I know who she was and what she was like, how she viewed the world. I worry that I put her into a mold that would feel uncomfortable for her to actually inhabit, that I have made her larger than my own life just so I can keep her in it. But the worry doesn't keep me up at night. I love the mother that my mother is for me.

I have been experiencing this day in my head for so long that I needed to experience it out loud. I was fifteen when I realized that I would still be so young when today came around. And at the other end, at thirty, as I re-read my journal entries written in my fifteen-year-old voice, I think to myself that we never really change. I have spent fifteen years - half of my life - thinking about today. And as when I was fifteen, now that it's here, I just want to spend today thinking about today, assured in the knowledge that tomorrow is tomorrow.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Well Hello There!

And Happy New Year to you, too! It's been a while since I've said hello, and even though I'm still composing posts in my head, still saying things like, "oh, we totally have to write about that on the blog," I'm not doing much actual blogging. I've started posts, loads of them, but I haven't had the energy to put them out there for our little world to see.

But here it is, a brand new year, and it seems like a good time to write. I've spent a lot of time over the course of the last few weeks thinking about where we were this time last year. I've felt nostalgic for it, missing our adventures, wishing we were somewhere different doing something new. But I've also been content to experience the adventures we've had right here at home. And I mean the little adventures like watching a friend's baby learn to walk with confidence, meeting my father's new and important friend, talking with Matt about our future. I mean sure, we've pinned a map up on our living room wall and are hard at work "planning" our next big trip. But we're also working hard to balance our home budget, organize our kitchen, and make more time for the things that are important to us. As with everything, it's a juggle.

There are a host of scary and exciting possibilities in store for 2009. But I feel surprisingly prepared for them and anxious to move forward. For those of you out there who still check in every so often, I hope that the start of your new year finds you happy and healthy, excited and nervous for whatever the year has in store. I hope that any reflection you've engaged in has been positive, and that your new year's resolutions are attainable. As always, from over here at populationtwo, we're sending out good thoughts and good cheer, and wishes for another year of adventure.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gotta Fly

I love taking pictures at airports. It probably stems, like so many things, from my love for Star Wars. Ever since I first watched Obi-Wan and Luke weave that beat-up speeder through the Mos Eisley spaceport, airports have always been a source of magic and adventure for me. Unfortunately, too often I forget to take my camera out of my bag, but every once in a while I do. So here are a couple of my favorites from my recent business trip to Washington D.C.

logan international

reagan international

These photos also reminded me of a stack of pictures I took while waiting for the shuttle bus at Logan a couple of years ago. This one of the woman waiting for her ride is still one of my faves.

waiting to go home

Thursday, January 1, 2009

One Year Ago

Hard to believe it's been a whole year...