Back to the future...back to life, back to reality...
Well, you get the point. I'm back in Arkansas after a 10 day furlough, during which I conquered the New England, LA, San Diego, multiple airports and seared sesame tuna. It was a good trip!
Day 2 in San Diego consisted of a self-guided tour of the USS Midway Museum, which I enjoyed tremendously. I'm not sure why, but I've always found the world of the military fascinating, even before my future sister-in-law/Navy officer came onto the scene. The highlight, for me, was seeing (and walking in!) the helicopter that picked up the Apollo astronauts. And I couldn't stop thinking about that NCIS episode when the agents visit an aircraft carrier and get hopelessly lost. I'm sure it would happen to me; I'd get confused, wander into the Master Chief's quarters and wind up in the brig.
San Diego was having a "heat wave" while I was there - it was over 80 degrees. That's just funny. But by day 2 it had cooled off, and so my visit to Balboa Park was lovely, though I arrived too late to enjoy much of the museum scene. Headed over to Coronado Island again to walk the beach and shops, then drove back through the Old Town and turned in for the night. Would have been a perfect lazy night except that my neighbors in the hotel blasted loud music until 4 am or so. What, is the Courtyard Marriott a college dorm now? Sheesh.
Then it was back to LA for a day, where I spent some quality time with a friend and we went to see a movie "Hollywood Style", which meant people-watching and chatting about "the industry" in a mall (no roofs on California malls, you know). I was one of a few females in the theater for The Expendables, which was predictably ridiculous, though I enjoyed the gratuitous explosions and smack downs as much as the next person. The best part of the movie was Jet Li, whom we didn't see nearly enough of. As my friend said, The Expendables is for people who thought Ocean's Eleven was too cerebral.
The big news of the evening was that, if you live in a big city, you can get food of all ethnicities delivered to your door! We had vegan Thai food. It was tasty. A Vegan Thai restaurant that delivers? We have Thai restaurants here in Arkansas. The pizza places deliver. And that's about it. I'm seriously jealous.
We had an "early brunch" (my breakfast wrap had to have avocado in it, right?) and then it was off to the airport for more hurry up and wait. I'm happy to report that I had a lovely conversation with one of my seat mates on the flight from LAX to IAH - turns out he manages a band that played at the venue across the street from my venue here in Arkansas. Luckily, someone sat between us and so they chewed the fat for the entire flight, which is good because I don't think I could have kept it up. So the verdict on my "plane chatting" gene is that I have it, but it's clearly dominated by the "I'm reading and/or sleeping on a plane" gene. And get this! I was so focused on the book I was reading on my Kindle as we were leaving the gate that I forgot to turn the Kindle off, and the 1st mate busted me over the loudspeaker! Me and several others blackberry/I-Phone delinquents, of course, but he specifically identified a Kindle that needed to be turned off. Cool.
However, I also learned, officially, that the turning off electronics thing is a crock, because the guy behind me on the final leg of my trip played his rap music long after the rest of us had put our headphones away. I mean, seriously, what's the point of headphones if we all can hear the lyrics (swears and all) of your music through them?
And now it's time to go back to work. Being away, and marginally unplugged, has clarified a few things for me. When I would check email from road, and come across something that made me mad or stressed, I'd just ignore it and or decide not to let it bother me. I think it's going to be very important, for my mental health, to keep doing that even when I'm on the clock. I like myself a lot more when I'm not getting irritated or stressed, and I can imagine other people feel the same. So the big lesson of this trip is trying to maintain a vacation mentality while also doing my job and being responsible to my boss and staff. No problem, right? :)