In March I visited my parents in Pennsylvania, the northeast part of the US. It wasn’t spring yet, but you could tell that spring was, as they say “just around the corner”!
For Christmas I got my parents an indoor/outdoor thermometer. The outdoor thermometer makes a wireless connection to the indoor device, and the indoor device displays both the indoor and outdoor temperature. This is both practical and, if you are into weather, fun!
I would have simply hung the outdoor thermometer outside, on a nail. My father wanted to make a home for it, to protect it from the elements. So the outdoor thermometer is nestled in its own little house. Isn’t it cute?
The picture has some glare from the blinds, because I shot it from inside the house, and I didn’t open the window.
Winter can be cold and dreary in the northeast, where my parents live. Sure, there are some sunny days, but much of the time the weather is cold and cloudy. I’m not much of a winter person – I love the California coastal weather. As the years pass, my parents are, less and less, winter people. They love the weather in California.
Decades ago my parents closed in their back porch. The room is not large, but it’s wonderfully cosy, There is space for a small dining area, comfortable couches, stereo speakers, and many plants filling the large windows. It’s like a solarium. They spent a lot of time there, particularly in winter. It makes you remember that there are still growing things in the world – memories of California, Italy and Hawaii.
Here are three plants, nestled comfortably against the window, getting some sun. The left one is a rosemary bush (I think ) with a few purple oxalis that managed to sneak their way into the pot. The center plant is a miniature rose. The right plant is unknown. It was blooming outside in the snow and my mother dug it up – she thought it deserved to live. My mother can grown anything.
Here’s a view of the marina, at night, from my hotel room. It was magical. I had a wonderful time.
I have always wanted to be one of those plucky, purposeful “road warrior” type travelers. For those of you who don’t recognize the term, “road warrior” refers to a particular type of business traveler – one who travels a lot, mostly on planes, knows what to carry, and makes the best use of technology.
I take a lot of technology stuff with me, but I’m not a quick or elegant traveler, one who knows where everything is, someone who can whip out that laptop at the last minute, and then quickly put it away.
Here is the story from my last airport venture, a couple of days ago.
1. Troll the gates (past security) looking for a working electrical outlet. We all do this. Airports are slow to recognize that we’d be a lot happier if we could just plug in.
2. Find what looks like a working electrical outlet, on the floor, next to a window. Sit on the floor (ick), pull out laptop from the rolling backpack – only have to dislodge two packets of stuff in my bag. Pull out cord. Snake the power cord on the floor, and plug into the outlet and the laptop. Fire up laptop, resting it awkwardly on my knees. Discover that the outlet is not working, and it’s so sunny (back to a window) that I cannot see the screen anyway. Pack up and move on.
3. Find what looks like another working outlet – the floor, but close to a row of real seats. Pull out laptop, power cord, headphones and mouse – 3 cases, counting laptop case. Rolling backpack tips over but I right it. Plug in power cord. Perch laptop on knees. Rest laptop on seat next to me, plug in headphones (no need to turn off speaker), wireless mouse (not a big fan of the track pad), and power cord. Fire up laptop.
4. Little tricky using the mouse. It works better if I mouse over myself, oddly enough – not enough room on the seat for the mouse and the laptop. Use a combo of touch screen and mouse to access laptop.
5. Look for a free working wireless connection. If I was a real road warrior, my company would pay for airport wireless access. Find a couple of wireless networks, but you have to pay for all of them – not my thing.
6. Pull out my Smartphone – Motorola Q – admittedly “last year’s” model (Windows Mobile 5), but I like it a lot. The pricey data plan I pay for is going to get some use. I have to find a place to rest my Smartphone, as I have to connect it to a USB port with its cable. The connection software works well, and I’ve memorized the sequence of what you hook up first – very road warrior of me! I’m online. I download email, also check out a game web forum. Not all that “road warrior” of me, but hey, it’s my time.
7. Cool thing to try – might as well see if Guild Wars, an online multiplayer game, will play on the laptop using my Smartphone data plan. My network is not 3G, so it’s faster than dialup, but slower than broadband DSL. Surprise – Guild Wars plays great! I’m a little too distracted for actual playing, so I move around a bit in Guild Wars, and then close the program.
8. Shut everything down, pack everything up in their cases, push everything back in rolling backpack (have to rearrange) and move on.
I do feel like a road warrior when I do the data thing on my cell phone. I get great reception at the airport, and my Smartphone has a full, though small keyboard. Reading email and accessing the web is oddly fun.
Here’s a picture for you – a plane (one of my flights from a couple of years ago) in the air. You can see all the lovely blue out the window. A digital camera (better than my Smartphone camera) is another thing I bring with me.
All for now,