Saturday, November 26, 2016

Quick Trip to Tulsa to Run Route 66 Half Marathon Again

Three times! That's how many times I've now run this really iconic half marathon, the Route 66 Marathon/Half Marathon.

This time I flew into Tulsa. The other times I drove, but it's a long, boring drive and the airfare to fly in was very inexpensive, approaching break even for the cost of gas/vehicle wear-and-tear. My flight went smoothly and I scored a really nice cab driver from the airport who kindly gave me his business card and booked my return ride to the airport on Monday.

Packet pickup...not too crowded yet.

Entrance to expo and packet pickup at the Cox Center

My room was ready at the Holiday Inn - my favorite hotel when in Tulsa - and I dropped my things off in my room and then headed to the convention center to pick up my race packets for the 5K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. I stopped by the Brooks booth, thinking I'd take advantage of their 35% expo discount and buy a new pair of running shoes, but....I won a new pair!!

I won a free pair of Brooks running shoes!!

While out and about, I made sure to stop at Pinketzel Cupcakes to buy a post-race stash for later.

Cupcake shop


I had many friends coming into town for this race, but most were coming in on Saturday so had dinner by myself at the very nice hotel restaurant. I returned to my room, laid out my running gear for the 5K race the next morning and then settled in for the evening.

It was cold the next morning as I headed out of the hotel. My wardrobe included a fleece jacket that had originally been earmarked for the donation pile. I intended to wear it through the entire 5K and then wear it at the start of the half marathon a day later, before discarding it somewhere along the race route.

I met up with another 50 States Half Marathon club member as I departed, and we walked the mile to the start of the 5K. I didn't have too long to wait before the race began, and I was pleased with myself for running most of the distance. I'd not been running much, having settled into a race-walking pace these last 18 months or so. But I'd been running/walking my training runs for the last couple of months, so this was a nice turn-around to my racing.

5K finisher medal

At the finish line I met up with a half dozen fellow 50 Staters and we all went to breakfast at a cute little cafe called Brambles. Afterward I walked back to the hotel and surfed the internet for a bit before showering and dressing and then getting a late lunch at the hotel restaurant. Then it was football on TV in my room for the rest of the afternoon.

Our little group of 50 State Half Marathon Club members

Saturday evening we had a great turnout for a pre-race dinner at Baxter's Interurban Grill. We filled four big tables! I'd walked to the restaurant before it got dark, but when we were done, it was close to 8 PM and pitch dark out. One of the gals offered me a ride so I gladly accepted it. We got to within two blocks of my hotel and ran into road blocks as they prepared for the race the next morning. Hopefully she found her way to the freeway, since she was staying at a hotel near the airport.

Nice turnout for the pre-race dinner

Sunday morning - half marathon race day - I took my time getting ready, then heading out of the hotel just a few minutes before 8:00 AM. The race start line was just next to the hotel, so no need to head over there early. Add to this the fact that I was in the last corral - corral D - and I knew it would be at least 15 minutes before we started to move toward the start line. It was chilly and I wore that fleece jacket with the plan to discard it around mile 5 or so.

The race started, I crossed the start line, and then took advantage of all of the downhills by running and letting gravity take over. I was accumulating a pretty good pace until mile 5, when a series of long uphills ate away at my good time. But I expected this.

Half Marathon race route ....very hilly!


I passed lots of other runners in the first 10 miles

I continued to pass lots of runners in the last 3 miles

I plodded along, took advantage of the peanut butter-jelly sandwiches that someone was giving out of the back of their car at around mile 9. Another long, grueling uphill stretch, and then we were running out to the center of a bridge on the old historic Route 66, turning around, and heading back toward downtown. Just 2 more miles to the finish line!

Half Fanatics special half marathon finisher medal and the 5K finisher medal

At the finish, I collected my finisher medal and headed for the logo gear tent, where I collected my logo pint glass, swag for those who ran both the 5K and the half or full. My next stop was the Muscle Milk tent, where I filled my glass with strawberry creme milk - ohh! So creamy and delicious!

Route 66 Half Marathon finisher1

My last stop was at the Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics VIP area, where I exchanged my ordinary finisher medal for the special Half Fanatic finisher medal then entered the big event tent where they were serving hot pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw and other goodies for the finishers. Here I met up with my 50 States friends. We waited for one more person to finish, then walked to Brambles again for a post-race breakfast. It was so nice spending time with these running friends!

Post-half marathon breakfast at Brambles Cafe

We all went our separate ways after lunch, and I walked back to my hotel. I lolled for a little bit in my room, getting caught up on Facebook. Finally I made my way into the bathroom, showered, washed my hair, and then got dressed and dried my hair.

I had a free drink coupon for the hotel restaurant and I intended to cash it in! I had a wonderful dinner, a nice local draft beer and sat back and relaxed. It was a nice, if short, weekend, with two races finished, nice time spent with fellow runners. Monday morning I'd be flying back home.

Starbucks at the airport early Monday morning

My cab driver showed up exactly on time, got me to the airport in plenty of time, and I was upgraded to 1st class on my flight! All in all, a good day, a good race weekend. But I'm pretty sure this will be my last time doing this race. So many other great races out there to experience.

Next up, Thanksgiving weekend!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Four-Question Challenge - Game of Fours

The world is so much smaller now that we have social media, blogs, and Twitter. Remember way back when phones and TV and radio had that effect on our world? The pull of the internet has brought many friends from all over the country into my world. One of those people is Trobairitz. She's a fellow blogger who lives halfway across the country. But the miracle of this shrinking world is that I was able to finally meet her and her blogging husband in person after months and months of knowing each other only through the written word.

She nominated me along with three other of her blogger friends to participate in a Four Question Challenge in which the nominee must provide four answers for each question. Variants of this game circulate on Facebook and I usually don't "bite." But doing this in a blog is a new and different experience with more room to expand on the answers, so what the heck!

The four questions are:
1. What is your favorite food?
2. What is your favorite drink?
3. What places have you visited?
4. What names are you known by?

So...here goes!

Favorite Food
My favorite food is - drum roll please! - All of it! Any food! Anything edible!
Chocolate shop in Rome, Italy

No?? Well, if I must narrow it down, then okay...dark chocolate. I'm addicted to it. I'm forever on a quest to find the ultimate dark chocolate source, and have brought home stashes of it from all over the world.
A favorite of mine: SeƱor Murphy chile pistachio dark chocolate bark.


Homemade soup is tops on my list for comfort food. I begin to panic when my freezer stash dwindles. I mean, what is life if there aren't at least several containers of different soups in my freezer? Beef barley soup, chicken noodle soup, turkey rice with spinach soup, split pea and wild rice soup, navy bean soup.

I love how cozy it makes the kitchen feel when simmering on the stove, how it makes the house smell with those savory aromas wafting out of the kitchen and into the nearby rooms. I'll start the pot right after breakfast, sipping my morning coffee while I do the "sous chef" work to get the ingredients ready. That way, the soup will be done just in time to have a piping hot bowl for lunch. The rest gets portioned into 2-bowl servings and placed in the freezer for another day.


Smoked Salmon. On a trip to the U.K. with my husband, I probably ate my weight in smoked salmon, to the point where he told our waiter that I was going to grow gills if I ate any more. This was said as I ordered, for the umpteenth time, a smoked salmon appetizer with lemon wedge and capers (ohh, love capers!).

Don't laugh, now. I'm about to tell you another of my favorite foods: Green beans. You just laughed, didn't you?! It's true. I love green beans. When they're in season, I buy pounds and pounds of them, snap and blanch them, and then freeze them in serving portions. And along the way, dozens of them don't even make it into the pot or into the freezer. I love them raw. I love them blanched. I love them served in other dishes. I love them in soups.

Honorable mentions include pasta, anchovies, prosciutto, and candy corn.

Favorite Drink
Espresso-based drinks (de-caff) - Cappuccinos that are strong, with extra shots, prepared somewhat "dry" are my favorite and I treat myself to one a week at the nearby Starbucks when I'm home. I confess to Googling good coffee shops in towns of destination when I'm traveling.
I especially love sipping hot drinks out of a big ol' ceramic mug.

Other favorite espresso-based drinks include macchiatos with just a hint of froth dollop on top. And then there's pure, unadulterated espresso, rich and creamy, with a good ring of foam clinging to the edges of the tiny cup. In all of my travels, I've enjoyed a variety of "takes" on espresso-based beverages. I even got more than my money's worth out of the coffee card on a Princess cruise lines ship. The barista knew me by name by the time we returned to home port.

Sparkling wine, specifically Spanish cava. Once I open a bottle....well, suddenly it's empty. Goes down way too easy, which is a dangerous characteristic for any alcohol beverage. My local grocery store carries a wide assortment of different cavas, always something new to discover and try.

Sparkling water exists as a staple in my life. It's the tool I used to kick the diet Coke habit a long time ago, and is today a regular occupant of my pantry. I find the little bubbles refreshing and thirst-quenching and I don't need the additives, preservatives or the caffeine of diet coke.

Craft beer is a relatively new favorite of mine, first discovered when my late husband began home-brewing and more recently when my son took up the craft. I cultivated a further appreciation as I've done more travel around the U.S. in the past ten years or so. If it's locally brewed, with limited distribution, I'll try it. Always fun to discover the variety and the creativity of local craft breweries.

Places I've Visited
I've traveled a lot in my life. I was a military brat for the first 23 years of my life. As a grown-up I traveled extensively as a business professional visiting many U.S. cities and many countries in Europe. I've visited all of our own 50 U.S. states to run half marathons. And I've ridden 250,000 miles on a motorcycle, visiting National Parks and cities in all of the lower 48 states. That makes answering this question difficult. What to list? What have been the most meaningful or unique places I've visited? Giving this a lot of thought, I've decided to start with where my life began.

Four different homes I've lived in growing up as a child. This may not seem all that special to most people who live within an easy drive of where they grew up, but for a child who grew up in the military, moving as often as every 6 months, this is particularly meaningful.

The first childhood home I visited was in Madison WI while on a business trip back in the mid 80's. It had been 30 years since I'd lived there as a small child. We lived there for one year, from mid-1953 to mid-1954. I found the house easily. I didn't have a street address but I remembered it was up on a hill, above a golf course and in front of a large water tower. Find that water tower, and I knew I'd find the house. It was easily recognizable - had changed very little - and the neighborhood hadn't changed all that much. I visited my elementary school while there, meeting the school principal who, unbelievably, had been there as a teacher back in the year I attended.

House on Dean Street - 1954. That's me second from left, my little sister on my right,
older sister on my left.

House on Dean Street - 1984, 30 years later

A couple of years after that business trip to Madison, I had the urge to find more of the houses I'd lived in growing up. I took my mom on a trip to California where we visited the home in Venice CA where we lived when I was born. Mom said it hadn't changed at all. It was an apartment in a one story block of apartments, overlooking one of the canals.

Then we flew up to San Francisco, where we rented a car and drove down to Monterey to find the house in La Mesa Village where we lived when I was in the first, second and third grades. We then drove up to Hayward and visited the house we lived in when I was in the third, fourth, and fifth grades. That house hadn't changed much either, still the same color green it was when we bought it brand new in the post-WWII housing boom of the 50's.

Here's that Hayward house today (Google satellite street view)
and it's STILL painted green!
It was a significant and emotional "journey" to visit these homes. It was especially nice to be able to visit three of these homes with my mom while she was still healthy and able to share memories and detail about our lives in those homes.

Names I'm Known By
All of my life I've always been known as Barb. My dad called me that from my earliest memories. As I grew up, I always introduced myself that way and, on a number of occasions, corrected adults (teachers mostly) to call me Barb, not Barbara.

When I got into college I hung out with a group of friends who quickly assigned nicknames to everyone in my circle. I became known as "Blakey." Blake was my last name. I have no idea why this, but I do remember that others in our circle went by variations of their last names as well. That nickname is long gone, now that our circle has scattered to the four corners of the world.

Much later in my life, when I started running and participating in races, a circle of my riding friends began calling me Runner. Well, that stuck for years!

And now a variant of that, started more recently by a couple of my riding friends, is Iron Legs. It's a play on the term Iron Butt. I am an IBA member (Iron Butt Association), an organization which requires minimum qualifications to join. Specifically, it requires one to ride 1,000 miles in less than 24 hours and to get that ride certified by the organization. Receipts, witness forms, and odometer readings are required for that certification. So.... now my riding friends think it's cute to call me Iron Legs, a reference to both my IBA riding and my marathon running. It is kinda cute, come to think of it.

So there they are....my four-part answers to the four questions put to me.

I challenge the following blogger friends to continue this game. They are:
Nomad Willie at The Future is Not Today 
Mike at Mike's Touring Journal - here's Mike's post




Monday, November 7, 2016

One of Our Best Play Productions

Good job, CountryPlace Players!! This was one of our best play productions, definitely in the top 10 for staging, production quality, acting, set design, costumes/makeup/wigs. It's so satisfying to be a part of good volunteer works such as this.

My role, as always, was to work in the sound/light booth, designing the lighting, sourcing and preparing the sound effects, and putting it all together throughout the 6 weeks of rehearsals leading up to opening weekend.

The sheer number of sound effects required for this play put it in the top three all time busiest play productions...up there with our original productions of Black and White TV and The Carol Burnett Show.

I started working on assembling the sound effects as soon as I received my copy of the script. I got to work culling through the accumulated library of sound effects used in past productions and sourced what I didn't already have. Then I had to choose the music I'd used for the transitions, entr'acte, and start of the first and second acts. Finally, I needed to choose the music I'd use for the curtain call.

The play script called for music that was "dark and somber" for the scene openers and transitions. I chose to use Pictures At An Exhibition No. 8 "Catacombs" second part: Cum mortuis in lingua mortua (M. Mussorgsky), and found a particularly good passage that would work really well for the scene transitions in the second act. I used the first 30 seconds of this composition for the opener, and edited a nice 2 minute segment to use during the scene change in the first act.

That done, I got to work assembling all of the various "thunder" and "rain" sound effects from my sound effect library, chose a handgun shot sound effect from that library, and purchased a hand bell sound effect.

Then it was time to get to work on the playbill and the play poster. For years I'd been offering my professional graphic design skills to do these items but my offers were always turned down. Another resident had been doing them for a number of years. Her skills were "basic clip art" and resulted in very homemade efforts: 8x11 sheets of inkjet printer output glued onto a piece of poster board. It always saddened me to see these, knowing that I could produce professional quality posters for only the cost of a print vendor poster output. The same is true for the playbills.

But finally, The elderly woman who had been doing these for so many years had become too frail and infirm to continue and my opportunity came with our previous production, "Tuna Gets CountryPlace-ified." This established my reputation and credentials and now, for this production, I was again in charge of the poster and playbill.



I did a simpler, lower-res version of the poster for a hand bill, so that Publicity could share it around at the various clubs and other events.


Rehearsals got underway, the actors gradually learned their lines enough to go off-book, and I worked out the logistics of working the sound/light booth by myself. Usually there are two of us working the booth, but a series of circumstances led to my having no one to help in the booth. This was going to be a particularly "busy" play, sound/lights booth-wise, with the sheer number of sound effects, lighting changes, microphone cycling. But with practice and a heavily annotated script, I was able to work out the sequences to manage it all by myself.

They started building the set, and I went over there to consult with the team about some of the special effects - moonlight, lightning, "lit" fireplace. The crew were working hard creating a really effective and nicely designed set.





Dress rehearsal went surprisingly well. Usually it's a "clutch" moment, with actors being particularly forgetful of lines, and a number of glitches and mistakes are made, all considered to be good luck for the actual performance opening night. But this dress rehearsal was different, so we were all hoping it was not a bad omen.



I took a quick trip back stage before opening night, to capture some of the actors getting ready.

Jim playing the role of Bensonhurst the butler

Barbara G. playing the role of Culpepper the director..
and also the real life director of our play

Eddie playing the role of Fiona

Jan playing the role of Nancy the maid

Les playing the role of Starkweather

Barbara O. playing the role of Minerva the cook

View from the sound/light booth on opening night:



Really well done production!



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Vancouver is Gorgeous!

Many years ago - back in the early 1980's - I was attending a national sales meeting held by my employer. We were given the assignment to prepare a short speech about something not related to work. It was an exercise to improve our public speaking skills. One of my co-workers was from Vancouver BC and her speech was about that lovely city and why we should one day plan to visit.

Well, I remembered that speech, her photos of the city, the superlatives she used in describing it. I vowed that one day I would visit that city.

2016 was finally going to be the year. Rock n Roll Marathon Series holds a race in that city every October. Finally, now that my 50 States quest was complete, I could make plans to go to Vancouver to run in that race. I booked the race months in advance, reserved a room at the Hyatt Regency, and then, this past summer, went ahead and booked my flight. This was finally going to happen!

My flight out of Houston departed at 5:30 PM and arrived in Vancouver at 8:00 PM. My very pleasant cab driver got me to my hotel at around 9:30 PM, too late to grab a Starbucks, but plenty early enough to grab a light nosh and a glass of wine at their lovely bar, before returning to my room and getting a needed good night's sleep after a long travel day.

Vancouver convention center

Saturday morning I had breakfast at the hotel and then walked down to the harbor and to the fabulous convention center to get my race packet.
Antique totems preserved in the convention center lobby

Entrance to the fitness expo
race packet pickup at the expo

Afterward, I walked along the sea wall, taking photos of the beautiful mountains wreathed in light clouds across the harbor, and of the city skyline. It was an overcast cool day, just perfect light jacket weather and a welcome change.

Across the harbor to the north shore

Boardwalk along the seawall at the convention center

Vancouver harbor with a seaplane just taking off
Vancouver skyline from the port pier
As I walked back along the convention center pier toward the street, I decided spur of the moment to buy a ticket for the attraction, FlyOver Canada, which is next to the convention center. It was the best $20 CAD I've ever spent! For just $14.99 US, I took a virtual tour flying across beautiful Canada from East to West. It was spectacular! And it was fun, because it had a Halloween theme just for the month of October. I stood in line with a woman and her 9 year old granddaughter and we struck up a conversation and sat together on the "ride." The girl was so engaging and friendly! She never left my side the entire time.

Afterward, I continued on toward the historic Gastown district of the city. I found the unique, landmark steam clock and watched it for a bit, waiting for it to strike the 3/4 hour, playing Westminster chimes which is powered by steam, and sounded like a calliope.

Steam-driven clock in Gastown
Closer view of the steam clock

Quaint streets in Gastown

I stepped into a gift shop and bought some postcards for the grand-kids, a magnet for my fridge, and a package of delicious maple cookies then stepped into a nearby Starbucks and bought a cappuccino to enjoy as I walked back toward the hotel.

Returning to the hotel, I had a late lunch in the hotel bar cafe and then plopped onto the bed in my room to watch the rest of the Aggie football game on TV. It was a good opportunity to start laying out the things I'd need for the race the next morning.  I ordered room service that evening and got to bed fairly early. My body was still on CDT, two hours ahead, so 8:30 PM felt very much the 10:30 PM it was, according to my body. Just as well that I get to bed early, since I had an early wake-up the next morning.

Earlier in the week I'd received an email from the race organizers letting me know that my start corral will be given a 1/2 hour early start, ahead of all of the other corrals, due to road closure issues late in the race. I loved this news! It meant I'd get to start at 7:45 AM. The normal race start time was 8:15 AM and with my #16 corral assignment, meant I wouldn't have the usual nearly 1 hour wait before my corral crossed the start line. Awesome news!!

I left the hotel at 7:30 AM on race day, walked the short two blocks to the start line and squeezed my way into the corral to wait for the start. All of the other corrals were being staged one block west of the start line, and would be brought up to the start line after our corral was released. Again....awesome!!

It was still dark when we took off across the start line, and in the first mile we ran through Gastown, which was magical! The twinkling lights wrapped around the tree trunks, the old three-globe gas lamps softly glowing in the night...it was beautiful! The next three miles were through the harbor district and Chinatown district and then we ran for the next 3 miles along the north shore of False Creek, which was gorgeous! Beautiful greenscape along the edge of the water, and beautiful architecture - pricey condos and townhomes - on our right as we made our way along.

Then the last 5 miles were run in the absolutely gorgeous Stanley park, through old-growth rain forest canopies of Western Cedar, Douglas Fir, and Hemlock trees. The hardwoods were in full fall color and it was breathtaking! We ran past park features that I definitely wanted to get back to see the next day - the totem poles, rose garden, lighthouse. So much to see and so hard to see it when zipping past in a race.
Fabulous race route! Data from my Garmin GPS watch

The finish line was wonderful, with lots of cheering spectators, but I was pretty much ready to just head back to the hotel. I didn't even go in search of the tent where I could collect my World Rocker medal - earned by running a Rock n Roll race in both the US and another country in the same year. I already have one from last year's Montreal race. Not worth the extra effort to find that tent. So I headed back to the hotel, a 1.3 mile walk. It wasn't so bad, and before I knew it, I was turning onto Burrard St with just one block to go to get to the hotel.

Vancouver finisher medal

I stopped at the Starbucks in the lobby, bought myself a cappuccino and some cake pops and headed for my room. I was very pleased with my finish time for this race, given how hilly it was. But the overcast skies and cool temps really helped, after dealing with heat and humidity for so many months.

Sushi was on my radar screen for post-race food, so I did a little research and found a place just a couple of blocks from the hotel, so that's where I headed after getting showered and dressed. But when I got there, they were just closing up. So I walked back to the hotel and asked the concierge for a recommendation. She confirmed that, unfortunately, most of the Asian restaurants closed at 2:00-2:30 for a few hours, but she did recommend a place that she knew would be open a few blocks away. The idea of doing more walking was plenty distasteful, but the sushi craving won out over the physical discomfort. It was a very good menu and I placed my order to go, bringing it back to my room to enjoy.

Now I had the race behind me, got my sushi fix, a night's sleep, and had a whole day ahead of me - Monday - to see the city! Still waking up too early - darned time zone change! - I got up early enough to catch the first Hop On-Hop Off trolley tour, which stopped at the hotel at 9:20 AM. I went downstairs, bought a Starbucks, and bought a ticket from the concierge, then had just a short wait for the trolley to arrive.

The trolley makes a large, 2 1/2 hour circle through the city, duplicating a lot of what I'd run the day before in the half marathon. By getting it at the hotel, I would be able to skip the eastern half of the route and get off at the totems in Stanley Park, then hop onto the next trolley and continue on.

I had about 30 minutes to spend at the totems, taking photos, browsing the gift shop, and just enjoyin the spectacular views across the harbor to the city skyline.



I walked beyond the gift shop, through some of the park to the other side of the little peninsula to get a view of the harbor light and the coast beyond.

Pretty Stanley Park

view of Vancouver skyline from Stanley Park


Brockton light on the harbor
While I waited for the next trolley to come along, I enjoyed this horse-drawn trolley as it came through and stopped to let off its passengers.



The next Hop On-Hop Off trolley came along and I enjoyed the views as we took the road along the seawall road through the park. At one point the driver slowed down to give us a view of the Lions Gate Bridge, a suspension bridge built across the Burrard Inlet and guarded by two concrete lions, a nod to the two mountain peaks referred to as "the lions" north of the city.

Lions gate bridge
I hopped off at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre stop, where I caught the little ferry over to Granville Island. This was my lunch destination and the Market Place on Granville Island is just the ticket for something fresh and different.

The little ferry was so cute, getting me and just a couple of other passengers over to Granville Island. I immediately headed for the Market Place and browsed all of the luscious fresh fruit and produce, yummy pastries, before settling on a soup vendor for a steamy bowl of salmon risotto soup with a big hunk of fresh rosemary bread to go with.

Some wonderfully different soup choices from this vendor, The Stock Market

I stopped at a patisserie vendor and bought a half-dozen delicate little cookies to take back to the hotel for later. Then browsed a bit more, taking photos of all the great produce vendors. It was a feast for the eyes and hard not to buy, buy, buy!!

Interesting arrangement of carrots.


The biggest pomegranates I've ever seen!


Yummy pastries!

look at all of those luscious berries!!
Done having a light snack of soup and done browsing the Market Place, I wandered a bit outside, looking at some of the other shops on the island, and then headed back to the ferry landing to return to the other side of False Creek and to head back to the hotel.


Public Market on Granville Island

Granville Island in the rearview mirror...heading back to the city
It was a pleasant 1 mile walk back up Burrard Street to the hotel. I didn't mind and actually enjoyed stretching my legs a bit. I stopped in at the hotel bar and ordered a late lunch and then went to the hotel Starbucks for another cappuccino to bring back to my room.

My visit to this lovely city is nearly over! I started packing my things on my last evening in Vancouver, wishing I could stay a few more days. So much to do, so little time!

Early Tuesday morning, I took a taxi to the airport, passed through the nearly empty passport control area, and then enjoyed my last Canadian Starbucks while waiting for my flight. My return trip was not non-stop; it connects through Seattle. The plane to get from Vancouver to Seattle was a prop jet, something I'd not flown on for years and years!! But all went smoothly, my connection in Seattle went without a hitch, and I was back in Houston by 8:00 PM and pulling into my own driveway just a little after 9:00 PM.

Now I'm home for a few weeks, in rehearsals for our next CountryPlace Players production of Murder In the Heir.