Posts Tagged ‘travel

19
Oct
08

Chicago… is MY kind of town… Chicago is

What a weekend!  I feel so fortunate to have quite an amazing friend.  My girl Ayelet rocks.  If you are a worthy single man, you need to pay attention… this gal is the complete package.

Ayelet paid beaucoup dinero to attend the Women’s Leadership Conference supporting the Democratic Party.  I just feel lucky that Ayelet likes me enough to invite me to tag along. 

I truly thought that the Cubbies would still be in the playoffs and that I could catch a playoff game at Wrigley, that was what sealed the deal for me.  Of course, we all know that did NOT come to fruition but I knew I would have a great time anyways.  It was truly an amazing weekend.

While Ayelet was learning and becoming truly inspired about topics like equal pay for women executives, solving the Healthcare situation, generating new jobs in light of the current economic landscape and MORE… I cruised around downtown Chicago checking out the Touristy spots like Millenium Park, The John Hancock Observatory, The Miracle Mile and more.

I got even luckier on Saturday because some women we met Friday night had a friend who had donated an undisclosed amount of money (LOTS!), thus they were able to get me added to the registration list… so I made it for the closing speech by our next President of the United States…. boy was he great!

Here is my Yelp! review of our fun dinner on Saturday night at Carnivale, http://tinyurl.com/68jfcp

Here are some pictures of our experience.  Oh, also, I have decided I WILL sign up and complete at least another Marathon in my lifetime.  45k runners participated in the Chicago Marathon, I got inspired watching the start of the race on Sunday morning.

Thanks again, Ayelet!

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14
Jul
08

Itching for what’s next

I am itching to put something on the calendar… a trip. I like having something to look forward to.

I am thinking about someplace warm in the winter. Santa Fe? Albuquerque? Cabo again? Maybe I could persuade Pete that we need to visit his nephew in Phoenix? Vegas is always fun bet.

Drat that I can’t win the lottery and be able to travel anytime I want!

19
Mar
08

Madness in Maui

What is it about the mother daughter relationship that is so…. um, special? I am certainly not an expert on the subject, but it always fascinates me that when I’m around my mother I am a completely different person than I am around my husband and friends.

I recently took a trip with my mother and my sister to my favorite destination : Maui, Hawaii.

Reflecting on the trip now, I feel very fortunate that we got to do this. It was a great trip and I have no regrets. There were some moments however…

I won a trip to Maui (my funny boss calls it the “Presidents Club” — the reality is in a 4 person company, it doesn’t quite hold the same meaning as it does when you win the Presidents Club at AT&T for example). Pete could not join me due to lack of vacation time and project demands. It has been COLD in the Bay Area. Thus, the decision was made…. Mom, Laura, we’re going to Maui!

Laura and I started off quite nicely at the airport where we enjoyed two bloody mary’s apiece — at 10am to boot. What a fine way to start the trip.

I love flying to Maui cause everyone on the plane is in such great spirits and I really enjoy all of the conversations: “where are you staying?”, “what’s your favorite restaurant?”, etc, etc. I love the energy. Laura and I sat next to two men who proceeded to DRINK (I counted 10 abolut vodka bottles before I lost count!) Turns out one of the men had just proposed to his girlfriend 15 hours prior. The girlfriend was seated up at the front with the other man’s wife and a whole group of family members and friends traveling to Maui together from Wisconsin of all places (That is a LONG flight people but I get it – it is crazy cold in Wisconsin). They ended up buying Laura and I a couple of drinks and we got to know each other a bit. At one point, one of the women from the front came back to “inform” the groom the wedding had been fast-forwarded to a beach wedding in Maui! The guys drunkenly invited us to attend. We exchanged numbers and left the plane with promises to attend the wedding and act as witnesses. Btw, they never called!

Aaaaaahhhh…. Maui. Just love it. Mom had arrived two hours earlier and greeted us with lei’s so we could get right into the spirit of the island. Mom is a sweetie.

By the time we settled in, it was well after 7pm and we were starving (or at least I was). We decided to eat at the restaurant at the resort and before too long we were seated at a perfect table overlooking the koi pond. This is when the “fun” begins. I have to say I haven’t met a woman without food issues of some form…. but my family takes the cake. Backtrack 5 hours at the airport: we greet my mom and ask if she’d eaten lunch yet. Her response: “no, but that is good cause I will lose weight” WTF?!?! We are on VACATION, lady. As another side note, Laura is a bit sensitive at the moment cause she’s put on some weight. So fast forward to dinner, Laura and I are pushing food on my mom like you won’t believe, “appetizers immediately, Mom!” Mom pushes back saying, “oh, I’ll just eat some oysters”. It all pretty much went downhill from here. I love my mom but she just doesn’t get it sometimes. The biggest buzzkill is when you order fatty fatty, greasy food and your dining companion orders a green salad. I’m exaggerating a bit, but #1. we are on vacation and #2. that just ain’t cool. We managed to order some apps that we could all agree on thank god and dinner progressed. It gets worse. At one point, my mom says to Laura, “is your back pain due to the car accident you had 5 years ago, or is it…. (fill in the blanks, you KNOW what she was thinking). Again, clueless. Needless to say, Laura stormed off, my mom didn’t want to eat and I became piggy wiggy eating the remnants of the food on the table. Not a good start to our girls trip.

Next morning, everyone seemed to have forgiven and forgotten. It was a gorgeous morning in Maui. We all went for walks along the beach (true peace), then decided to head to Whaler’s Village for some shopping — gotta get cute sundresses for the trip right? After a couple of hours of damage to our credit cards, we realized it was noon and we were hungry. We settled in at the Rusty Harpoon (this place always brings back awesome memories from our honeymoon). the second we sat down, I realized we were in trouble again. Laura looked at the menu and decided to order a cup of soup. Meanwhile, my mom orders a salad. I’m eying the pork sandwich with french fries. HELP ME! I gently ask them, “aren’t you hungry?” Tears stream down Laura’s face and she manages to say that she “can’t eat” around mom. Yikes. At that moment I got really mad. What the hell?!? I chose these people to accompany me on the trip cause my husband couldn’t. I was really starting to regret not inviting my favorite girlfriends instead. The rest of lunch was silent and after lunch, I opted to walk along the beach back to our resort rather than take the shuttle. As I walked along the sand (peace) many thoughts crossed me head, “should I go home and spend the week on excursions with Lucy instead?”, “should I ship them home and make my friends fly out?”, “should I get my own room and have a peaceful vacation all by myself?” I decided to clear my head and do my own thing at least for the afternoon.

I went to the pool bar, watched some basketball and enjoyed a tasty sugary Hawaiian cocktail. Later that afternoon, I came back to the hotel and gave them a piece of my mind. I have always been the agreeable daughter who nods her head and goes with the flow. It’s funny how easy it is for us, even as grown adults, to revert back to our childhood comfort zones. I felt that last night and again this morning, I had become that quiet child who blends into the background, as I had been as a child. Meanwhile, Laura became the emotional, dramatic, ubersensitive child while my mom bent over backwards and did somersaults to smooth things over, trying at all costs to make amends with Laura, leaving me feeling empty and disconnected.

As like much of my childhood, I had begun to feel invisible on MY vacation. Unfortunately it is what it is. Those are the dynamics of this threesome. No matter how much we all try, the force lurks below the surface.

After an afternoon clearing my head and getting a grip on the fact that I’m a successful, mature adult, I realized I needed to stand up for myself. It worked wonders. Both of them apologized profusely and swore to me that the rest of the trip would be smooth. We all put the events of the first two days behind us.

From that point on, the trip was a major blast. That night at dinner mom even drank two Lava Flow drinks (of course she had no idea of the caloric count involved!)
The next day we went for a drive up north to see the beautiful beaches above Kaanapali. I realized that day that Laura and mom have much more in common than I’d thought. The two of them bonded in their own way over the beautiful flowers we encountered at every juncture. They decided to take pictures of the exotic flowers and create a screensaver slideshow to remember the trip. Very cute. To be honest, I was terribly bored during that process! We had a fabulous lunch at the Plantation House (note to self, must yelp). We all agreed that everything we tasted was the best we’d ever had: spicy pepper bloody mary (made with Absolut peppar), the grilled romaine caesar salad (heavenly), mango flavored ice tea. Their selection was not great. They had mahi mahi ONLY for their fish. You could get ahi but it was only available as part of a tuna melt. We then drove up the coast and hiked over to the Blowhole. The highlight was on the way back we passed a couple of locals hanging out in a pickup truck and they offered us marijuana for sale. After a bit of shopping in Lahaina (oh yes, there was an episode there, ask the lady who works at the ice cream shop – it’s a secret so unfortunately I can’t reveal what happened!) we ended the day with a fabulous sushi feast at the Hyatt Regency. I still have dreams about their amaebi, the best I’ve ever had.

Day 4. We had planned to drive to Hana. The concierge suggested we leave between 7 and 8am. Because we are freaks, we woke up at 5am and left the resort at 5:30. We made great time, and true to word, there were some beautiful sights along the drive. But I have to say, Hana itself? No. Complete waste of time. I am guessing we missed some turn off that would have led us to the fabulousness that Hana is known for, but we got to the end called, “Hana Beach” and it was a dinky, rocky beach that featured a dilapidated looking snack shack where a big Hawaiian mama dished out items like spam sandwiches and ice cream bars. Luckily we got there so early that we were able to bust outta there quickly, completely avoiding all of the tourists and bad traffic. We managed to drive back to the West side by noon — just in time for lunch in Lahaina! Yipeee! We also made reservations to come back to the area for dinner at the Lahaina Grill (formerly called David Paul’s) — I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant, it was hands down the best meal we had in Maui. My mom, the foodie, could not stop raving. She must have informed us “this meal is FABULOUS, I tell you” 10 times (yes alcohol was involved).

Day 5. We decided that for our last full day, we should take advantage of our great resort and stay local. Laura and I had talked about possibly going snorkeling, but the day got away from us. After more shopping in Lahaina for those last minute gifts and souvenirs, we ended up lounging by the pool…. that’s the life!

For our final dinner, we dined at The Hula Grill — another favorite from our Honeymoon. What a perfect ending to our trip. The sunset photo shown at the start of this entry was taken from the Hula Grill. I will miss the sunset at Kaanapali Beach. Our dinner was fabulous and the service was perfect. They did screw up my beef order (I had asked for medium rare and it arrived quite overcooked). Our waitress took one look at my steak, whisked the plate away and promised to replace it. Unfortunately, they were out of that particular cut, so they brought me an even nicer steak cut for dinner. It was delicious.

The next morning, up at the crack of dawn. I don’t think any of us ever quite adjusted to the Hawaiian time zone. We got to the airport at 8:30am, crazy early. Laura and I were supposed to leave at 11:30am and mom to leave at 1:30pm. Well….. first we found out that our flight on ATA would be delayed 13 hours! (I immediately started to make mental plans for myself to stay another night and leave the next day, cause I would not have minded one bit!) The folks at the counter told us they were researching alternative flights and the good news is that since we were the very first in line, we would get first choice. So, we waited. Fortunately (unfortunately?) there was a handy dandy airport gift shop right across from where we had to wait in line. So Laura and I took turns going in and we each got suckered in to buying all the stuff that we’d avoided buying during our trip up until that point (macadamia nuts, flower leis, soap that smells like pineapple) — dang that sales girl was good! Finally we learned that we’d been placed on a flight on Aloha Airlines leaving at 1:30, perfect.

Meanwhile, mom had gone to the United counter, smiled and batted her eyelashes at a sweet elderly Japanese man and gotten herself switched to a flight leaving at 12:30pm. Go mom!

We decided to head through the security gate and wait upstairs. At this point, things do get a bit, shall we say…. interesting…. but yet again, it’s a secret and I’m not allowed to talk about it on a public forum. Needless to say, we had a very extraordinary lunch at the upstairs bar & grill. Ok, so we almost got kicked out of the restaurant…. but now I’m saying way too much and must end this blog entry very very soon. Email me privately and I’ll fill you in. : )

We did get home safe and sound to our wonderful families.

I can’t speak for Laura or mom, but as for me, I have simply the best memories of our trip to Maui. Truly an unforgettable experience.