Quality of Life

Endings and new beginnings

My vacation is coming to an end, in just a few hours I will board the plane and start making my way back to Europe, Scandinavia, home. It’s not only my vacation that ends, it’s also the month of September, and in some ways it feels like October is for fresh slates.

My old managers will have left the company and a new one awaits, with that I’ll hopefully see my last three months in the current job filled with meaningful tasks. Maybe that will bring some normal into my Monday through Friday life, time will tell as I make my way into the office on Tuesday.

October also come with the two challenges, the one from Miss T and the one from myself, that should keep me busy trough the month together with my studying. I took the decision to let this vacation be vacation from studying as well so now I have some catching up to do when I get back home, guess that my social life will have to suffer a bit (am sure my friends will forgive me though).

I’m also hoping that my Favorite Latte-mum is ready to head back to the gym, I really miss my Bodybalance classes, and I am old enough to go by myself, it is nicer when you are two though. I hope that I might be able to get stating with the weekend yoga classes as well, but for some reason yoga classes are always early in the morning and I’m still not a morning person. Lets see what happens.

October evenings are dark and cold, autumn arrives for real, thus movie season time – lets see if I can go see one movie a week. It’s one of my favorite pastimes that I just don’t get around to doing. Any volunteers to join me, just let me know and any good movie suggestions are welcome!

What’s your plans for October?

7 Things · Travels · US 2012

How to board a freaking plane!

This is for everyone that will ever transport themselves from one place to another in something we call an airplane.

There are quite often plenty of people who are getting on the same plane as you, and to be honest there are smart ways to board a plane and there are less smarter ways to board a plane. So when the nice ground staff calls out that it is time to start boarding and that anyone with small children are welcome first, we all sit there crossing our fingers that no one will show up, as we all want children free flights.

After that, or at the same time as that we have first class, business and all those with flashy frequent flyer cards – no, none of us like them. It’s we against them, of course the day we are them then it’s we against the other them, you know the them that used to be us.

And then, after all that it is the rest of us and here come the best part:

CHAOS!

Unless you are flying with some cheap 5th class airline, you will have a numbered seat. If you are at the gate on time the aircraft will not depart without you. If for some reason you are the last person to board the flight and there’s no place for your carry-on, the crew will not make you leave it they will sort things out for you. So when the ground staff announce boarding for the last ten rows, you aren’t doing anyone a favour by thinking you are smart sneaking in early when you are sitting in the first ten rows of economy class.

Firstly, everyone will notice because you will stop in the middle of the aisle, take forever to get your bag up in the overhead locker and then still stand there while you are taking our jacket off. In the mean time, all the people who are actually sitting in the last ten rows of the plane is standing behind you waiting to get past and seated.

At the same time the staff at the gate figure that the people for the back of the plane has now made it so far back that they can let on the people for the middle part of the plane. Unfortunately some smart person delayed the first ten rows so now the second group of ten rows is also delayed and if one is really lucky there’s some smart arse with the second batch as well and thus the line is stuck outside the plane and the boarding take forever.

So how do you board the plane?

  1. Be on time at the airport so you don’t have to piss of your fellow travellers by getting ahead in security (pay for business or become a frequent flyer for this kind of behaviour).
  2. Be on time at the gate. If the bar you are in doesn’t have speakers, set your alarm for when boarding is about to start. If you want to shop, take the stores that are in the same direction as your gate, this to save yourself from being on the other side of the very large airport when it’s time to board.
  3. When boarding starts, wait for your turn to board. Don’t start lining up before the boarding call is made, this will just annoy you when so many other people get to board ahead of you and suddenly you feel entitled to sneak on early.
  4. Once on the plane, try to move away from the aisle towards the windows, this way the people behind you can get past you and further into the plane.
  5. Don’t bring a carry-on that is heavier than what you can lift. If you have to stand in the middle of the plane looking sad and small to get someone to lift the bag up for you, then you packed too much and are probably in the way.
  6. If you have the outer seat, there are two empty seats next to you, plenty of people on the plane, then don’t sit down, put your seatbelt on and fall asleep until those two seats are filled and boarding completed. Waking up strangers are never fun.
  7. Just don’t be in the way.

It was nice to get all that frustration out, thank you for reading and have a happy boarding the next time you are flying.

How about being nice to the environment? · Spending with Care

Stuff and their impact on the environment

I like stuff, I like therapy shopping, you always feel better when you come home with something new. May it be a new laundry bin, notebook, pair of pants or an iPad (not yet on the last one). As I’m sitting on a plane somewhere between Charlotte and Atlanta I realize that I didn’t shop as much as expected during my stay in Charlotte (that also means that two things that my friends put on the wish list for shopping haven’t been purchased, sorry for that). I also realize that it’s oki because I don’t really need anything, well reaching Miami I might need a pair of shorts or a skirt but that’s because I forgot to pack them before I left hom, go figure! How can one forget to pack that when you are going to Miami?

It’s also this iPad thingy. I was under the impression that iPads were cheaper in the big Americas compared to home, and thus decided to purchase one on this trip. Doing some research before hitting the store I had something to compare with and realized that the difference was minimal, so why go through the trouble of getting one whilst on vacation when I might as well when it at home?

That brings me to the stuff! I’m sitting on a plane right now, writing this in my (very nice looking) notebook using a very real pen, and thinking;

Do I really need an iPad? I me an, I have a smartphone (that might not be that smart), I have a laptop at home and one at work and sometimes they are both at home. So what do I need an iPad for?

That brought me to think about all my other stuff that I have at home. I’m probably what you can call a hoarded (not as bad as the ones you see on tv)and I have a lot of stuff, one way or another I always manage to find more things that I just have to have.

And now I want to point out that we are starting our decent towards Atlanta so if this was an iPad/pc/phone, I would have had to turn it of and take a break in my ramblings, however since it is old-fashioned pen and paper I can keep writing! Now we’re was I?

That brings me to think about my attempts to be nicer to the environment. Being a consumer of unnecessary things is not being nice to the environment, thus I need to cut down on the same. Here I figure that I can kill two birds with one stone, I.e. cut down on my compulsive shopping as well as being nicer to the environment.

So, I know I already have one challenge for October, I’ll still give myself another one. Everything I purchase in October shall have supporting documents justifying the need for the same.

This should do wonders both for me, my budget and the environment!

(Btw this post was written on an Ipad)

Travels · US 2012

I guess what you can call an American castle

Saturday morning I find myself waking up in the big Americas, Charlotte to be more precise, and I know I have an exciting day in front of me as it is road trip day! We started the day with something that I have had cravings for since the last time I was here; breakfast at Cracker Barrel! I just love their food, and I would say I pretty much devoured it (that’s what a full day on airplane food does to you);

 

 

 

 

 

It tasted as good as it did the last time!

As we hit the road, we do it in style like all ladies do, and yes the top was down during large parts of the trip, why? Because I’m no longer in cold Scandinavia where you need shoes, socks, jackets and hats to not freeze, oh why can’t life always be like vacation?The destination of the day was a place called Asheville (not to confuse with CastleVille) about two hours drive from Charlotte and a large house called Biltmore.

The Biltmore was built by George W. Vanderbilt from the very rich Vanderbilt family (here I will now attempt to give some facts about the same, please correct me if I’m wrong) that managed to make loads of money on mainly steamboats and railroads. He decided to use some of all the money that his family made on building a very large house called the Biltmore, which is the largest home in the USA and was completed in 1895.

We went on what was called the architectural tour, which takes you up on the roof where we got to see some more of the amazing view from the building. Seeing the house and it’s surroundings I seriously wish that I was rich! These are some of the pictures, I might publish some more later on.

After the guided tour we walked around in the building, in the parts open for public, and of course you are not allowed to take any pictures. The place is amazing though with all the different bedrooms and living areas, libraries and gym. In the basement there is even a pool. Since I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures I am now on the hunt for a book that contains good pictures from inside the building, not the guide book that they sell at the house but more of a photo book, so if anyone heard of a good let me know.

Rather than driving back down to Charlotte in the evening, we spent the night at a hotel in Asheville. A small tip, if a hotel states that they have an inside pool, check what time they close it! This one closed at seven pm, we didn’t even have time to go check it out. What the hotel did have that was good, was the shuttle service to downtown Asheville, so after getting acquainted with the hotel room we left for downtown dinner, shopping and maybe a drink or two.

 

We started with walking around looking for a restaurant and stumbled over a really nice tapas place called Zambra, and seriously if you ever pass by this part of the world, go there for dinner. Their tapas were to die for and both of us wished we could eat more than we did. Below you can see the Turnip soup and the Sesame crusted scallops, unfortunately the pictures of the spring rolls didn’t come out, they were the best thing of all the items we tried.

 

 

 

 

 

When we left the restaurant I managed to find a shop that was still open so I accidentally happened to buy a couple of pairs of shoes, a hat and two tops – oops!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening ended in a place called the Asheville Yacht Club, membership required but oh so worth it. Nice staff, nice drinks and fun people, good thing that the hotel had a shuttle service, we needed it!

Reading

50 Shades of what is the fuss all about

Last night I finished the 50 shades trilogy, and I will admit without fuss that the only reason I read it was to find out what all the fuss was about.I will admit that the first book do contain some explicit sex scenes and it will be interesting to see how they sort those parts out when making the movie. Already here the story and the language sound very much like the Historical Romance books that I have an addiction to (I have no issue admitting to that, they are awesome because you know the basics and how they will end). The main points in the Historical Romance is usually a very handsome, very rich, very troubled man and a not so rich, beautiful without knowing it, younger woman. For those who read 50 shades know exactly what I am talking about.The major difference between classical romance books and 50 shades is the three books rather than one. I feel that three books is just sticking to the times where pretty much everything have to be a series of a minimum three. Thus the second book is boring and without meaning, it’s just a fill between book one and three to make sure that there were three books. As I read in one of the reviews on Goodreads, even the main character Ana is so bored that she goes playing in the play room. However, the same review states that one can not change a mans lifelong sexual habits in five weeks, and I just want to point out that this is what we call fiction! It’s a love story and it doesn’t have to be realistic in any way.I understand that several people stop reading after the second book, their mistake as the third book is better than the second. If you only read the books for the sex, then you can skip book two completely. It does develop more into a pure love story in the third and last book, and a sweet one as such. And of course (**spoiler alert**) there is the required happy ending.

I can see that the explicit sex scenes can be alluring for some people, however any reader of what I call dirty books, i.e. romance books, will not be that surprised really. If you are expecting a story about a BDSM relationship and think that you will get an insight in how that works, then this is not the book to read. It’s a love story fair and square!

Travels · US 2012

It happened a Friday

At 6am Friday morning my flight was due to leave from Copenhagen airport, the flight did and I was on it. I have to admit that I was nervous about making the flight with the whole have to be at the airport at 5am, that was the 4:33 train from home. I decided against going to sleep at all and choose to spend the night with some nice generous Danish dudes that bought me beer and declared their undying love to me.

I had a quick nap at the gate, and the moment I sat down in my chair on the plane I fell asleep and didn’t wake up again until we touched down in Amsterdam, the best way of flying ever.

I do like the airport in Amsterdam, there is so much to do there, loads of stores and what we smokers call “heaven” i.e. the smoking rooms. Outside one of them I ran in to a very familiar face as Miss America was returning to Copenhagen from my destination, even if it was short meeting not long before I had to board my next flight, it’s always nice with some company. The guy checking my passport was also nice enough to give me a stamp in it, after I asked with the comment that it is new and kind of empty.

The boarding procedure for a flight to the big Americas is kind of crazy, standing in line waiting for some guy asking me five million questions and a second ID. I have a feeling that the second ID question will be asked more times with this passport as the Swedish passport authorities have managed to make the picture in my passport look nothing like me. It’s funny that they ask all these questions before you get on the plane, knowing that I will have to answer them all again when I reach the other side.

Because of all the additional security the boarding starts way before the flight is due to leave, which give you a long wait in a limited space with loads of people and not much to do. I’m at this point still very tired due to the lack of sleep, I still manage to read without falling asleep and made progress on my 50 shades book (more on that one later).

Finally on the plane, I end up to one of those people who doesn’t really get that headphones, a book and on and off sleeping mean that you aren’t really interested in talking to the person next to you, thus he continued to talk to me through out the trip. Well it was more bragging about all the places that he had been to, and he did made me smile because whenever I mentioned that I been there to or that I had been to places that he hadn’t; he changed the subject. I think I managed to sleep during most of the eight-hour trip and in between re-watched The Hunger games and some crappy TV shows.

Reaching Detroit it was time for immigration and customs. Immigration was easy, they ask all the standard questions and then let me in, the good thing about being Swedish. Customs however was a bit strange, the guy sent me down to where the check your declared goods, which I had none. I don’t know why he sent me down there, neither did the three guys that checked my bag. They did flirt with me tough so good for my ego.

At this time I was very happy that I only brought a carry on as not having to wait for my luggage in order to check it back in gave me enough time to sneak outside for a smoke before going through security and jump on the next flight that would take me to my final destination. Doing this took me to my gate pretty much on time for boarding and now there was only one hour and twenty minutes left until I was there.

The flight wasn’t very full so I got to have an empty space next to me, and the lady sitting at the outer seat wasn’t to keen on talking, so nice and peaceful. Until this point in time all the flights have departed on time and arrived on time, a very smooth trip with just about right amount of times in the airports. Reaching Charlotte, the plane landed on time however there was another plane still at our gate. Sitting in a parked plane just outside the airport where you know a good friend is waiting for you, for 30 minutes is not that much fun.

We did make it in the end, and after a very long day I finally arrived at my destination. I left Copenhagen at 6am in the morning and arrived in Charlotte at 6pm local time, midnight in Copenhagen. Guess that’s what you call a long day, but hey it’s worth it!

Quality of Life

This blog is currently on vacation

Please do not be to disapointed over the lack of updates, I am to busy enjoying my time off 🙂