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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's On Your List?

I need to do a Christmas update, and I will get to that perhaps tomorrow, but today i wanted to touch base with those of you out there who read. I've been trying to plan out some reading for the beginning of the new year. Maybe it's just the clean slate a new year gives us, but I like to start the year with a new book -- which usually leaves me reading frantically at the end of the year to finish what I'm currently reading, which this year is Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith. In the new year I intend to read Red Square and Gorky Park, also by Smith . I think all three will be the start of a new bag of books to sell at Half Price. On Friday, however, I am planning to start Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman, and then will move onto his other four books: The World Is Flat, Longitudes and Attitudes, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, and From Beirut to Jerusalem. And since I got the new Dan Brown book for Christmas, I'll also read all five of his books this year. It's only a start, so far, but setting out books to read is kind of like making a pact with yourself to get through the list. So I ask anyone reading this, what's on your list?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thank you, Tales and Tails!

I was out and about all day yesterday with a friend at the Chicago Christkindlmarkets, and then spent today taking my friend to the airport after watching numerous weather reports and then getting myself ready to fly out tomorrow. So I finally had a chance to start surfing around to read all the blogs. I checked out my somewhat local friendly neighborhood greyhounds at Tales and Tails ( if you don't know them, go give them a visit ). I found they gave me an award! I am grateful and humbled.

I'm supposed to give this to 15 blogs, and there are so very many blogger friends I've found over the past several months, so I'm passing this award to:

The Daily Puglet
Through the eyes of Tweedles
Brutus the Frenchie
Little Miss Pearl
Hank and Molly
Stella, Gunther and Betty
Yoda and Brutus
Sophie and Dixie
Mister Bean
Jemima Jones

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Travel

Sunday night I returned from my Thanksgiving trip to Florida. My drive back was uneventful, even though I had to plan a bit to make sure I hit certain cities at certain times. Whenever I drive to and from Florida I normally do it on a weekend, travelling on Saturday and Sunday with a night over stop in northern Georgia. Traffic is lighter, there's not as many trucks, you don't have to worry about rush hour traffic. There is, however, one drawback to that strategy in the fall/winter: football. Since I don't really follow college football much, I didn't realize that the Georgia Dome in Atlanta was hosting the Alabama / Florida game on Saturday. And, oh, yes, my hotel for the night was about an hour north of Atlanta! But the game started at 4:00 and I made my way right through the city on Interstate 75 at 4:45 -- with everyone already at the game! Traffic was thankfully light. The next day I knew I would be hitting some NFL cities: Nashville, Indianapolis, Chicago...... The Titans played the Colts in Indianapolis, so going through Nashville was no problem, and I managed to arrive in Indy just about at half time (I was listening to the game on the radio), so once again everyone was already at the game! Arriving back in Chicago around 5:00, the Bears' game was well over so football traffic wasn't an issue. I just ran into the regular city traffic through downtown that is always crazy no matter the time or day. I do learn a lot, however, in my holiday travels. As soon as you hit northern Florida, you can buy oranges and tickets to the Florida attractions; there are a lot of hand-made pecans for sale signs along the roadside in Georgia; once you get a certain distance south, there are a lot a lot of fireworks signs; McDonalds and Starbucks are your friend -- clean bathrooms and coffee, all in one stop; it helps to remember to pick up napkins with your beverage, especially if you don't have any in your car; singing along to loud, enthusiastic music gets you strange looks from other drivers but sure keeps you awake and passes the time; mileage signs are a rough guesstamit - I somehow gained and then lost 4 miles somewhere in Tennessee or Kentucky just like magic; no matter how hard I try, it still takes me a half hour to unload the car when I get home; and I learned something new this time when I stopped for milk and salad before going home (my philosophy has always been if I have to go home and out again, it's just not going to happen) -- Sunday night grocery shopping in my new neighborhood is a very bad idea because everyone, yes everyone, is doing the same thing.

Thanksgiving 2009: 9 stops for gas, 2 quarter pounder meals, one roast beef sandwich, 2 dollar menu sundaes, 2 Mccafes, 4 Starbucks, 6 states, 4 days camping, 3 dogs camping, 4 days of turkey leftovers, 3 college football games, one day at Disney, one trip to the beach, one day at Ikea, 3 Christmas concerts, two nights at Comfort Inn, spending time with crazy family -- priceless!