Month: December 2014

Top five news stories of 2014

 

This Scandal song pretty much sums up the way I feel about 2014. While it was surely not the worst year I have ever had, it certainly was not one of the best. I knew going in that it would be challenging since 2014 was the year of the horse in the Chinese zodiac and as someone born in the year of the rat that was not going to be a good combination. In fact, it was the worst one possible for fellow rat and consciously uncoupled famous person Gwyneth Paltrow and I. Neither of us were not going to escape 2014 unscathed but I do think she got the worst of it because at least I did not piss off Miss Martha Stewart.

Consciously coupled or not, that looks good

Consciously coupled or not, that looks good

This is the time of year when all the news channels, newspapers and magazines trot out their recaps of the biggest news stories of the year and let’s face it, most of them are not events we really want to revisit whether it is the still missing Malaysian Air flight MH370 or Ferguson or any number of other awfulness that bombards us daily. The stories listed below are totally worth remembering because they either made me laugh or cry but only in a good way.

5.) Matroskin: from cat burglar to professional hockey team mascot, the ultimate rehabilitation story.  We have all been there, trapped at the airport with nothing but time on our hands and feeling a little peckish. Matroskin the tabby found herself in a similar situation at the Vladivostok Airport and decided to taste test her way through some available for purchase seafood. Even though she had no monies she managed to eat over a grand worth of sushi yet in typical cat fashion did not finish any of it. Matroskin the sushi thief was probably trying to decide what she wanted to snack on next when she was nabbed by the man but instead of the man sending the tabby to kitty cat jail (this was probably a death penalty case in Russia) she was busted out of the brig by some cat loving hockey professionals who decided she would look pretty hot in their uniform and she does, blue is definitely her color.

Airport food, even the cats can't find anything they like

Airport food, even the cats can’t find anything they like

4.) Tara the hero cat. No one messes with a pissed off pussy’s friend. Tara (another dime a dozen tabby) showed the world that despite cats having the reputation of suffering from a bad case of  I-Don’t-Give-a-Fuck-itis when it comes to their humans, she obviously does not. This rescue kitty became an overnight sensation once this video of her seriously kicking some dog ass made the rounds and viola another internet cat star was born.

While some people acted surprised by her act of bravery, her actions did not surprise me in the least. I had two girl cats back in the day, one of which one totally adored the other but sadly that feeling was not mutual. It was more of a Regina George/Gretchen Weiners Mean Girls kind of relationship minus the Burn Book or high school. Once when said Regina George cat was starting to exhibit the tell-tale sign of imminent barfing, I went to pick her up and place her in an area better suited for clean up when next thing you know Gretchen Weiners cat starts biting me around the ankles because she thought I was hurting her Regina. So very not true but Gretchen did not care, she thought I was hurting her bestie and she did not like it just like Tara did not like the intentions of that bad dog towards her little boy friend.

 

3.) Buddy the ambulance hitching dog. Anyone who has ever loved a dog and had that dog love them back tenfold knows that dogs will do just about anything to be with their owners. Buddy the beagle proved that he was not going to let a little thing like not being taken in the ambulance with his owner stop him from being with his beloved old dude. Buddy just hopped onto the back-end and held on for dear life until he was discovered and brought inside for a safer ride to the hospital.

Buddy who is a bit, shall we say chunky, was recently outdone by a an unnamed little mutt-let in Brazil who ran after the ambulance his owner was taken away in. He/she ran their little heart out scarily weaving in and out of traffic until the crew finally stopped to let the little dog in. We don’t know whatever happened to these two but I hope they found a home together where they can live happily ever after because damn it, they deserve to.

 

2.) Monkey saves its monkey friend from imminent death. What do you do when one of your friends touches a live wire and knocks themselves out cold on tracks with trains buzzing all around you? Do you run away and leave them to face certain death ala Snideley Whiplash? Or do you stick around and spend twenty minutes doing the primate equivalent of CPR until your pal wakes up like this monkey did? If you are one of my friends I hope you chose option two.

We don’t know this monkey’s name, where he lives, what he does for a living (probably begging) and just what the heck he and his monkey posse was doing at the train station because you can bet none of them had a ticket to anywhere. What we do know though is that this little monkey knows monkey code. Monkey code is like girl code, wherein you don’t leave your friend behind, no matter how annoying they are or how many Long Island iced teas they may have drunk or even how many live wires they touched, you look out for and take care of even your stupid, drunk, partially electrocuted friends, always.

 

Best soap actress of 2014 award goes to Ai Hin

Best soap actress of 2014 award goes to Ai Hin

1.) Ai Hin, Fake pregnancy panda. First of all, who even knew pandas were even smart, let alone super cunningly so? They always seemed like cute but dumb bimbo types of animals to me until the world found out about Ai Hin, the Erica Kane-Martin-Brent-Cudahy -Chandler-Roy-Roy-Montgomery-Montgomery-Chandler-Marick-Marick-Montgomery of all bears panda. Ai Hin is not the typical soap opera fake pregnancy faker type though, she was not try to trap Tai Shan Quartermaine into marrying her six-year-old ass (wow, what a spinster), no Ai Hin faked her pregnancy for better food, accommodations (no more awful roommates for her) and air conditioning ( hmm, I don’t have that either…). She is without a doubt a grade A+ hustler with game and for that she hands down the best panda ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

So I am popular in th UK and Austria, who knew? Thanks to all who have visited, commented and been supportive, y’all rock!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 760 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 13 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Best Christmas present ever that wasn’t mine

When I was about five or six, there was one present that I remember wanting more than any other present in the world and that was the Kenner Easy Bake Oven. As a devoted watcher of Saturday morning cartoons and weekday afternoon reruns of Gilligan’s Island there was no way I could possibly avoid this clever plot by Kenner to turn me into a housewife. However my feminist flag was not yet flying back then so all I knew was that I wanted in on the land of tiny cake mixes and mixing bowls and I was blissfully unaware of their totally sexist marketing plan.

That oven was gorgeous. Two stories of turquoise blue/green baking magic and I just knew if I had that towering inferno of baking bliss my life would be utterly complete, or as complete as it could be without a driver’s license or any money or an education beyond first grade. With a Kenner Easy Bake Oven I could whip up not only multiple layer cakes and brownies but also adorable bite-sized cookies that I would surely not give to my faithful dog companion Cricket, at least not while anyone was looking, I could also make rolls and pies to share with my ever-growing collection of Madame Alexander dolls. Dolls so pretty that I of course never ever actually played with them, because well, that would be absurd.

too pretty to actually play with, but perfect for afternoon tea

Too pretty to actually play with, but perfect for a spot of afternoon tea, with tiny cakes of course

My obsession with the Kenner Easy Bake Oven was the girl equivalent of Ralphie Parker’s obsession in A Christmas Story with the “Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time”. I love that movie for lots of reasons but mostly because it brilliantly shows the single-minded hyper-focused determination that only young children have. Once you get past a certain age this type of crazy behavior can only lead to lots of credit card debt and retraining orders. And just like our mutual devotion to getting that ONE awesome sauce present, Ralphie Parker and I faced a similar roadblock, a disapproving mother. Jay Z might have 99 problem, but I had only one and it was a biggie.

To be fair, BB guns can shoot your eyes out. But what harm could possibly come from a two-story oven with tiny mixing pans and plastic spatulas? My mother thought Easy Bake Ovens were dangerous which was ridiculous and would be like saying lamps are dangerous because let’s be real, those ovens were nothing but a few pounds of plastic, a bit of metal and a couple of light bulbs. Hypocrite thy name is mother because just a couple of years later Santa (i.e. my Target shopping but not label removing mother) gave me the previously discussed Thingmaker replete with quite probably toxic goo and metal plates so hot they could have straightened Carole King’s hair back in her Tapestry days.

Chi's were not even invented back then

Chi’s were not even invented back then, what was a curly headed woman to do?

Nope, no matter how many times I wrote to Santa or even told the man himself in person there was very little chance that Easy Bake Oven was ever going to be mine. In my family Christmas Eve was always the bigger deal. Santa always made it to my house in record time, usually before we made it home from my grandparent’s or aunt’s. Even if Christmas Eve was at our house I always seemed to just miss him. One time I swear he came and went while I was brushing my teeth. My parent’s were raising their second set of children (me) and were obviously quite lazy at that point in their Santa duties.

The year I so desperately wanted the Kenner Easy Bake Oven was going to be different though. My cousins from California were coming so they could experience a white Christmas for the first time. I don’t remember very much about their visit, other than being informed that Santa was not going to be making his usual Christmas Eve appearance like he had every other year, this time he was going to be late, Christmas Day morning late. This was practically heresy in my book, but it was the way the visiting cousins did it so instead of going out skating or sliding or doing any of the normal stuff snow people do I had to sit around and wait for everyone else to get up and open their presents like I guess beach people do. Needless to say I was not very pleased, not very pleased at all.

Christmas, beach style

Christmas, beach style

I was never an early riser but since everything else in my life was all sorts of topsy-turvy I woke up Christmas morning before anyone else. I went into the living room to look and see what our friend from the north and his eight tiny reindeer brought me when out of the corner of my eye I saw the one thing that I wanted more than anything else in the world, the Kenner Easy Bake Oven. Oh, the cookies and layer cakes with frosting I was going to make were going to make this the best Christmas ever. My cousin Jane was going to be so jealous (her mom was also anti-lightbulb, it must have been genetic) and I could not wait to call her and slightly rub it in. Just like Robert Smith, I was in heaven.

But then I saw the name tag on the box of baking magic that I had wanted for so long and it was not mine, it was my visiting cousin’s Kenner Easy Bake Oven. How could this be? How could it be in my house under my tree and not be MINE? I had just been Punk’d by Santa, and Punk’d good, years before that show or even MTV had been invented.

Bad Santa indeed

Bad Santa indeed

All I know is for the rest of the day I put on an Oscar-worthy performance for which I was not nominated for an award. No one knew that I had ever thought that Kenner Easy Bake Oven was mine nor did they know how much it pained me to play with someone else’s gift that I had so greatly desired. I got over it, sort of, and there were lots of other toys and games and clothes that I desired greatly and received but nothing ever came close to the way I felt for those first few moments when I thought that damn oven was mine.

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t live if living is without you*

 

As someone who has no problem spending $90 on a cotton tee-shirt or $60 on hair conditioner, it is really nice for my checking account when I find something that I really like that is also a bargain. Here are a few products that are not only excellent but cheap as all get out and one of them is even kind of free, as along as you have internet service or your neighbors do and don’t have their WI-FI locked or you know their password because it is something dumb, like password. Really people, you need to step up your personal security game.

Rosebud Lip Salve: a few winters ago I had such a bad bout of dry eyelids that not only did it hurt like hell but also made it damn near impossible for me to wear any eye make-up. First world problems I know, but I reside there and work there and wearing some eye make up is part of my reality. Living for four months of the year in the real world version of Game of Throne’s  The Wall otherwise known as Minnesota, lots of body parts dry out but nothing had ever been this bad before. In the past if something (usually the bottoms of my feet) got super dry I would just apply a bunch of vaseline and sleep in socks and that would take care of the problem. Not this time though. Just when I thought I was going to have to go to the dermatologist I decided to try some of my Rosebud Lip Salve on my eyelids even though it’s made up of 99% vaseline and that had already disappointed me greatly like the very idea of Morrissey ever actually completing another world tour in our lifetime. Here’s a hint people, he won’t.

Buy this because it's probably the closest you will come to ever seeing him for real

Buy this because it’s probably the closest you will come to ever actually seeing him for real

This charming hand-made man aside, whatever the other one percent is in Rosebud Salve it is the Anne Sullivan of balms because it is a miracle worker. I woke up the next morning and not only did my eyelids no longer hurt but they were also no longer dry and therefore amenable to a little Urban Decay eye shadow, life was so worth living again. Ever since then anytime I get even the slightest hint of a dry spot anywhere I grab that little blue tin, it works really well on cuticles too which can also be a problem in the winter for me. I use it every night on my lips and maybe buy it twice a year so a little dab will certainly do ya. The mint version is great too, just not so good if you think you ever might want to use it anywhere near your eyes. Trust me, don’t do it, I can tell you from personal experience it is not a wise move. I usually pick mine up at Sephora since I go there a lot (don’t judge, it is fun there and I need to keep my VIB status) but you can get it here too.

Buy this, your lips will thank you for it

Buy this and kiss life on the lips

 

3M Lint Roller: Do you have animals? Do those animals have fur? Does that fur sometimes come out like all over your furniture? Does the fur match all your clothes? If it does not and you answered yes to all but the last question then you know how very valuable a good lint roller is in your life. I have one upstairs, one downstairs, one at work and one in my car if the car wash people did not get rid of it like they did my re-usable water jugs which was totally uncool unless they recycled them since I was going to do that eventually anyway. At this point in my animal-loving life I could probably own part of 3M considering how many of these I have purchased over the years. Anyone with a pet needs a bunch of these, even this guy:

 

Huggable Hangers: Those of us who live in older homes know what it is like to be closet-challenged. While my house has lots of closets for its era, none of them are particularly huge and the one in my bedroom is exceptionally small, factor in my clothes addiction and Houston, we have a major storage problem. I used to always use padded hangers because I thought they were better for my clothes but they were definitely space hogs. I could never use wire hangers because I had seen Mommie Dearest in my formative years and Joan Crawford and her weirdness about them scarred me for life.

Then one day while channel surfing I happened across the Huggable Hanger lady (Joy Mangano) on one of those home shopping channels and was intrigued. Could it really be true that by switching to her skinny-minny hangers I could gain some valuable space in my tiny closet and possibly get even more clothes in there? The answer was a resounding yes to both. It took me awhile and many trips to Target but I eventually switched everything over and can’t recommend them highly enough. Check them out here.

Buy these, unless you have a fancy walk-in closet the size of an apartment

Buy these, unless you have a fancy walk-in closet the size of an apartment or something

 

Maxwell House International Cafe: as a non-coffee drinker I will admit that my standards are pretty low but I have loved this tinned powdered flavored coffee product since I was a teen and my mom used to put it in my Christmas stocking. When I was a kid it was called General Foods International Coffee but sadly General Foods went the way of the Sony Walkman and cassette tapes and no longer exists. Thankfully the folks at Maxwell House saw the huge growth potential in the tinned powdered flavored coffee market and decided it was a product well worth keeping. As a teen my favorite flavor was Suisse Mocha, which I thought at the time was the height of coffee sophistication and made me feel worldly even though I had only ever been to Canada at that point. Starbucks, Dunn Brother or Caribou weren’t on every corner or in the public library like they are now. Back then people had to make their own damn coffee and we liked it that way, even if it was fake.

Buy this and rebel against coffee snobbery

Buy this and reject coffee snobbery

images-7

Now that I am a grown up I will drink “real” coffee occasionally (lots of cream and sugar and pretty much anything taste good), but I still don’t really like it. I do however still like the fake stuff, although now I am pretty devoted to French Vanilla Cafe as it is delicious. So go ahead and celebrate the moments of your life, not with some Pike’s Place blend from Starbucks but with something a little more elegant because every time you drink a cup of tinned powdered flavored coffee product another pretentious hipster loses their sense of irony and that really is worth commemorating.

 

YouTube how-to-videos: If you thought YouTube videos were just for watching cats and dogs do amusing things than you are mostly right but there are other more educational options to check out as well. While I am sure you can learn how to do a lot of bad things on the internet (not that I would check, mind you) you also can learn how to do a lot of good things and maybe even save yourself some money in the process. For example, in the last couple of years I have learned how to replace a pull chain light fixture in my laundry room despite the fact that I am petrified of all things electrical and learned how to clean out my tub drain with the help of a Zip it which was beyond gross and disgusting. I am not going to lie, fixing both of those fairly simple things myself without paying someone else to do it or asking for help made me feel all sorts of sister’s-are-doing-it-for-themselves kind of superior and I liked it, a lot.

The how-to videos that I really love though are the hair and make-up ones. As previously discussed, I am terrible at hair styling but I still like to watch others who are good at it just in case something eventually rubs off (umm, so far no). But the videos that intrigue me the most are the make-up tutorials. Just like Lay’s Potato Chips you can’t eat or watch just one and the next thing you know it is lunchtime and you have not moved off the couch for three hours and did not even notice.

photo

No matter which side of the make up equation you fall on personally, there is no denying that it is an art form and that there are many incredibly talented artists out there. The ability of these women to transform themselves in so many ways is both mind-blowing and inspiring and as long as they keep posting I will keep watching.

* of course I can live without all these things, but why would I want to?

Planes, trains and Lyft automobiles

Seeing as how everyone in my family lives in roughly the same suburban area of our city I have never had to experience holiday travel, unless you count going from one end of Lake Minnetonka to the other. For years I have seen the horror stories on the teevee news of huge lines at the airport and bad weather and all sorts of headaches and I was thankful we were all so boring and unadventurous with our living arrangements. That all changed this year when I found out my semi-favorite niece would not be coming home for Christmas and suggested my coming out to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving. Since I would do just about anything to escape Minnesota in November (or December, or January, or pretty much any month not named July) I said yes.

I booked an early flight out of the lesser terminal at MSP and hoped for the best. Because it was so very early I could not in good conscience ask anyone to take me to the airport, although I did drop lots of subtle hints which obviously were a tad too subtle since I ended up taking the Super Shuttle. As someone who grew up as an only child (even though I technically was not), I find other people more annoying than say the average human would and air travel can only exacerbate this. And even though I am not a morning person, let alone a middle of the night person, I was alert and ready to go when the van showed up promptly at 4:45 in the morning. There was one other passenger in the van and we silently waved hello to each other respecting the utter grossness of having to be awake and in a van when civilized people should be at home in their bed. The next person we went to pick up was SLEEPING in the lobby of his condo and the driver had to go wake him up. Annoying human number one has already been located and I have yet to leave my own zip code.

Thankfully the Liam Hemsworth of MSP’s airports is pretty quiet and the security lines practically non-existent. Things get even better when the TSA agent hands me a laminated card that says I do not have to remove my shoes or my jacket. Yay for me, it’s like I won the security lottery without even buying a ticket or knowing it existed! I am totally feeling the air travel love now so when I get to my gate and they ask for volunteers to check their carry-ons to help with the boarding process I figure why not? I am getting into LA super early and can afford to kill some time waiting for my suitcase. I am going to seriously regret this decision in approximately four hours but at that moment I was feeling good about it. I could go to the bathroom multiple times and wander about the terminal without having to worry about a suitcase. This travel day is going to be sweet.

For years on and off I have had issues with a fear of flying. The first time it happened after a plane I was on aborted a landing in Memphis due to a tornado. For forty minutes it was like a roller coaster ride from hell that no one could get off of and people were puking and crying and when we finally ended up being diverted to Little Rock I seriously thought about renting a car and driving the rest of the way home. I did not, but I also did not fly afterwards for about two years. Then I started flying again, but I had rules. One of them was no small planes, if I was going to die in a crash it was going to be in big numbers, it was going to be huge news and be on CNN for days. This philosophy lost me an interview with a band in Chicago that was kind of a thing for a hot minute or two in the nineties. When I found out the record company was sending me on a tiny plane out of the tiny downtown St. Paul airport to do the story I said nope, no way and no how. A few months later their lead singer killed himself and I sure hoped it wasn’t because I would not fly on a tiny plane from a tiny airport and write a story about them. (Am pretty sure it wasn’t.)

Eventually with the help of an ex-pilot/psychologist I was able to fly anxiety-free, although I do think just getting older helps. You finally realize you  are going to die someday and start power ranking the best ways to go and I will take quick and easy over slow and difficult any day of the week. LAX is one of the ugliest airports in the entire world and now it is under some sort of construction to make it even less appealing. I start to regret my Minnesota niceness in checking my luggage since the baggage area seems to be suffering the worst of the construction mess. It is now around 9:30 am LA time and the airport is busy but not crazily so. I begin to think all those Thanksgiving air travel teevee news stories are total exaggerations as I grab my bright blue carry-on at the carousel and head to ground transport.

Traffic around the airport is horrendous but anyone who has ever had the pleasure of visiting LA knows that the 405 is awful almost all the time let alone the busiest travel holiday of the year. It takes two hours to get to my hotel, which is only twenty miles away, but it is sunny and beautiful and I am not driving so I don’t really care. The hotel I’m staying at for one night has a huge pool and is in a funky neighborhood. I am so looking forward to checking in and ordering some lunch by the pool and basking in the gloriousness of not wearing three layers of clothing and socks that I can barely contain myself.

Just a typical day on the 405

Just a typical day on the 405

I get to the hotel and it is just as cool as Hotel Tonight promised me. You can’t always be too sure with these internet connections, sometimes they lie, just like the Doctor. I wasn’t positive I could check into my hotel room right away but the long airport ride must have helped because I got into my room pronto, pool food and flip-flops were now in my immediate future.

Mid-century style in a vintage Hollywood hotel. Love it!

Mid-century style in a vintage Hollywood hotel.

He really does, all the time

He really does, all the time

Even though I am operating on less than four hours sleep I am mere moments away from the largest pool in the valley with possibly a margarita and some nachos to keep me company until the niece gets off work. I open my suitcase to change and see a plastic Target bag where my flip flips should have been. That was the scary moment when I realized I did not have my blue Delsey carry-on but someone else’s. In a panic I run down to the front desk, not sure exactly why I thought they could help but I am freaking out and don’t have my flip-flops (or my underwear or clothes or anything like that) and now my valuable pool time is in grave danger, very grave danger indeed.

The front desk employee suggests I call the airline and see if they will switch out the bags, mine for whomever’s. Seems like an excellent plan to me. I go back up to my room to look up Sun Country’s phone number. After pressing all sorts of numbers to get to an actual live human being I tell them my story. The actual human I am pretty sure I do not like proceeds to tell me that there has already been a missing bag claim filed for the suitcase that I mistakenly took and that I will have to come back to the airport to switch them. All my warm fuzzy feelings about life are starting to give way to a wee bit of pissed offness. I realize I took the wrong bag but they are going to send this person their bag, does it matter if it is from my hotel or LAX? Not only that I did them a favor by checking my carry-on when they asked and now they are going to make me do all the work? 

So cute so blue and so much trouble

So cute so blue and so much trouble

I contact said niece to see if she would take me to the airport to do the switcheroo when she gets off work which she politely declines and instead offers me the use of her car which I politely decline so I call Super Shuttle who isn’t sure they can do it since it is the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING and apparently the world practically ends if you don’t have reservations for airport transport in advance. The niece says take Uber or Lyft, it will be faster and cheaper and I say I am an old, and don’t trust these modern methods of taxi-cabbing as I am convinced all the drivers are serial killers, rapists or some other kind of un-bonded and non-background checked criminals. But it is clear she is not willing to make the trip to LAX and back and I am not willing to drive there so I decide to Lyft it, since the people behind Uber are awful human beings who threaten lady journalists which is totally uncool and you should not support them one little bit.

I downloaded the app and the driver was there in less than three minutes. Three minutes, that is the least amount of time I have spent waiting for anything in a day of waiting around for everything! People who aren’t awake when the shuttle comes to pick them up, stupid snow at the airport so it takes 45 minutes to de-ice the plane, baggage claim (the less said about that the better) the list goes on and on. Lyft also sends you a photo of the driver and a description of the car just in case you are never seen or heard from again and the police need the info to help with the investigation into your disappearance. I am sure this is probably not the real reason but I am a deeply suspicious person by nature and immediately think of these things.

Alas, my car did not have the big pink fuzzy mustache

Alas, my car did not have the big pink fuzzy mustache

My driver and I spend the next two hours on the twenty-mile route to LAX chatting like long-lost friends and I am seriously starting to regret my previous bias against modern ride sharing apps. Like everyone else in LA, he is a multi-hyphenate, actor, voice-over artist, musician, singer, bartender and Lyft driver. Never change Los Angeles, never change. There is a slight problem though, due to some legal issues neither Lyft nor Uber can pick anyone up at the airport. They can take you but not pick you up. Since I need to get back to my hotel in Studio City we come up with a cunning plan to subvert the system. Trust me, it was cunning but I can’t say anything else about it or I will have to kill you and it is the holiday season and all.

Sun Country leaves me about five VMs telling me where to swap out my luggage none of which were helpful. When I finally find this super secret office that was located outside of the terminal behind an unmarked, locked door, the employee rolls my bag towards me, shakes his head and says “They don’t even look-alike”. Wow, major shade from an airline asshole, thanks Sun Country, only I am not going to let that side of snark even bother me. It is amazing what a little heat and sunshine can do to your attitude because had he said that to me back home I am pretty sure I would have told him to STFU and not at all in a Minnesota-nice way.

it was five degrees in MSP, even an airline asshat is not going to get me down

It was five degrees at home so not even an airline jerk is going to get me down today

The good news is that I finally have my own suitcase but the bad news is that it cost me over a hundred dollars and all my valuable pool time to retrieve it. I realize I took the wrong suitcase, but Sun Country could have at least met me half way and paid for part of the resulting inconvenience. So the moral of the story is this, don’t ever do the airline a favor and gate-check your luggage, but if you do make sure you have the correct bag before leaving the airport. And don’t be afraid of ride sharing apps, Lyft drivers can be fun and make spending hours in traffic go by way faster than they ever would have in a Super Shuttle van.

Next time largest pool in the valley, next time

Next time largest pool in the valley, next time

Sadly I never did get to spend any time at the lovely pool at the Sportsmens Lodge. But I did get to experience Thanksgiving in a box, thanks to Whole Foods and my niece, shopping at Ikea on black Friday with practically no one else in the store (how did that ever happen and will it ever happen to me again?), some fantastic food, quality time with a loved one and the sun, the lovely warm sun that I will not be feeling again for another six or seven months if I am lucky. When I get ready to leave late Saturday night it takes less than a half an hour to get to the airport.

Of course Sun Country being a tiny airline has the worst location at LAX, next to Aero Mexico and Air China, two airlines whose passengers have never heard of the idea of packing light. Imagine yourself running through a military gauntlet course full of tiny people with Paul Bunyan-sized luggage driving carts they can’t see over and you pretty much get the idea. Finding security at LAX was never easy and with the construction it is even less so. When I come across one of those pre-approved TSA check points I figure they can at least tell me which way to go. Only instead of giving me directions, I hit the security lottery yet again and get handed a green piece of paper which is the LAX  version of my MSP laminated get-out-of shoe-removal-hell-free card. However this small piece of green paper has even more magical qualities than my fancy laminated did so in addition to leaving my shoes and the jacket on I also don’t have to remove my ziplock bag full of potentially dangerous liquids or my possibly plastic explosives laden iPad from my suitcase. I find a spot and listen to a couple more episodes of Serial  (which by the way you really should check out), while waiting to head back home on my much delayed flight.

Technically speaking there was a train involved in this adventure just not the kind you ride on. It came courtesy of another passenger on my flight who attempted to bring a five-foot long model train in a giant plastic clamshell onto the plane. Thankfully the airline was having none of that foolishness and made them gate-check it. By the way, don’t you think that if the airlines really wanted to speed up the boarding process and make tons of money in the process that they should start charging people to bring their crap ON the plane, not to check it? Seems like a no-brainer to me.