Apr 28 2010

Down on the ground.

April 26th, 2010

Some people are avoiding air travel these days.  I don’t have that luxury, nor would I consider it if I did.  The sticky wicket for many:  logging more ground time than moments up in the air.

Growing up overseas meant LONG flights, such as Sydney to LA.  As a young working professional for Mapco,  I racked up travel hours well into five digits.  Now I spend at least two working days a month computing between Tulsa and Portland.  That doesn’t count the time to pack and unpack, to get to the airport and from the airport and to stand in line(s).  A puzzling piece of glass art in my carry-on tote this trip kept me at PDX security an extra 10 minutes.

“Why do you fly UPS?!” a colleague teased me in a text message he sent last month while I was in transit.  He was  indirectly marveling that I was traveling at roughly the warp speed of 100 MPH between cities.

And no, I don’t travel UPS.  Despite over two million miles with American (according to my Advantage account), I normally respond well to the cattle call of Southwest.  And “luv” them I do for on-time delivery, even if the comedic antics of the flight attendants get to be a bit much when replayed upon each take off of a multi-stop flight.

A Gallup Poll trainer I met last year shared the skinny on why SW can be on time: financial incentives for employees.  According to him,  SW pilots are rewarded for on-time arrivals and fuel economies.  Ever been on a plane that arrived early at the gate only to be held captive waiting for the ground crew to hook up the jet way? Apparently this is uncommon with  SW.  The minute the jet way is connected to the plane the crew can cut to half power – not before – thereby saving fuel. Consequently,  SW captains make sure the ground crew is prepared when tail winds prevail.

Another important variable in the time equation is layover time in your connecting city.  When booking today’s PDX-TUL route, 20 minutes in DFW seemed ideal, except for someone who checks luggage.  I sucked it up and booked a later DFW-TUL flight to improve the chances of all three of us  (myself and my two 50# travel companions traveling steerage) arrived in Tulsa together. As I write this I am somewhere over the Rockies.  I’ll report back later on the success of my logic.

What doesn’t seem to matter is what city I change plans journeying between Portland and Tulsa.  Regardless of whether it is Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, St Louis, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City or St Louis, the end result is the same.  When I study the map of the lower 48 in the back of the airline magazine, the straight distance I trace between my two cities appears to be PDX-DEN-TUL.  Had I gone through Denver on my last epic adventure I would have had time to learn to snow board.  As it was, I spent the day in DFW.

If you find yourself in this position, my best advise is to concentrate on the journey and not the destination.  Regardless of which gate you land at, hop the train to Terminal D.  It is newer, lighter, and more airy.  You might meander through the stain glass labyrinth, price your perfume in the duty-free shop… but eventually make your way to the exit.   Save dining on a cheeseburger for a time you can fulfill your carving with one from Goldie’s, Lucky’s in Tulsa or Blue Hour in Portland.  Get away from the crowds and head to the dining room in the Grand Hyatt for a respite!  If you hear an automated voice upon reading the words “Grand Hyatt,” you’ve been on the DFW train a time or two.  “Now leaving for D gates and the Grand Hyatt.”

After passing the security checkpoints, stop.  Look up and you’ll enjoy whimsical art. Suspended from the ceiling.  (Seeing my upward gaze prompted a fast walking flight attendant to stop and look skyward.  Her expression seemed to say, “Well, what do you know?!”).

Yes, with a little effort, a dreaded, long layover in DFW can refresh your spirit with art, exercise and good food.

And if you are ever delayed in Portland International Airport, don’t despair.  Though I haven’t a clue why PDX edged ahead to win the “Best Airport” moniker I think contributing factors must have been the live music, on-site spa, shopping that attracts even non-travelers from the city and burbs (really) and the two-way toilet flush mechanisms.  And did I mention no sales tax?

If you still are not sold on finding the up side to airport exploration, think back to the Valentine’s Day article published in Tulsa World.  Some travelers have found love down on the ground, across the crowded space of a bustling air terminal.

Bon Voyage!

Trix


Apr 21 2010

Social junkie.

I am in serious trouble.

It is approaching midnight in Portland.  Aside from a few dog walks and 15-minutes each for  lunch and dinner at nontraditional hours of the day, I’ve been at my computer with an iPhone ear bud in my right ear -ALL DAY. The skin on my face feels warm from the bright glare of the screen.  And I have another long night ahead after ending yesterday’s efforts somewhere close to three this morning.

I am woman hear me whine!

Clearly I’m not practicing good time management skills.  I am being too chatty, too social with client vendors and business colleagues.  And  thanks to facebook, I am in touch with people who otherwise would have been part of my past, people who are part of my present and people I am just getting to know who are sure to be pivotal in my future.  Social networks and technology may be the death of me but most days I cannot get enough of it.

Which would you rather say at the end of a day:  my files are pristine, my desk is neat or I yakked with a ton of interesting people today, creating some good will for my clients and it never seemed like work plus I reminded a handful of personal friends I was thinking of them?  Stopping to smell the roses is good advise.  Making the time to listen ranks right up there with it.

Enjoy the small talk!

xo, Trix

Here are some fun things I found in my net travels today:

http://www.pcpa.com Wonderful art event page.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGkz2qCkMZ4&feature=related

A song video sure to make you smile.

http://www.bookdaily.com/book/683650 A funny read by a talented, talented Broadway star.


Apr 19 2010

It’s okay to look.

April 19th, 2010

I have always intended to broach the subject of online dating services. I was going to round up the statistics, read accounts and opinions online and conduct interviews with those I knew to have had success with eHarmony and match.com.  Then one night a web banner ad caught my eye.

“It’s okay to look,” it beckoned ever so innocently.

Ha! I hope the ad copy person who thunk that one up made a mint.  I muttered out loud, “it’s okay, it’s okay” like a mantra as I clicked and clicked and clicked again.

My iPhone buzzed.  “Walk the Whippets in five?” queried my neighbor Kim.  “Give me 10,” I replied as I zipped through application questions.  For a marketing professional I won’t pretend I did my best work throwing together my own profile but I posted my facebook self-portrait, some basics and dashed for the elevator.

“GUESS what I did?” I told Kim as soon as our three Whippets finished their usual high-energy, over-the-top enthusiastic greeting for each other.  I don’t remember much about our following conversation.  I wanted to get home and look – again!

Ball caps, bikes and beards.  That’s how I’d sum up what I found.   “Of course.  That’s Portland,” a friend told me.  “Hmmm… Tulsa, too,” I answered.

I began to learn the vernacular and considered posting a comment that “winks” weren’t really welcome.  How does a girl my age respond to a wink from someone in North Caroline, Ohio, Minnesota, New Mexico, Tennessee, Florida … when she lives in Portland, Oregon? “Flirt back right away with a wink, or even better, an intriguing email. He picked you out of millions,” match.com urged.

I wasn’t buying it. I hit the delete button as swiftly as I did late one night last July when I changed my facebook relationship status and Jake popped up immediately asking, “Single?”

At the time, economics, logistics and a long-term, deep connection kept Joel and I from acting impulsively but in June we had turned the first corner, or two or three.  As I sat at my desk responding to emails I pondered my profile details. I didn’t feel “married.” The facebook relationship options were limiting.  “single” wasn’t accurate.   “It’s complicated” promised to invite too many questions and “divorced” would take some time.  Why wasn’t “separating” an option, as it is on match.com?

As I waded through match.com messages initially, I experienced the gambit of emotions: dread, fear, hopelessness, interest, and compassion.  Whatever their level of honesty or motivation, on my computer screen were the faces and messages of men seeking relationships, risking rejection but taking a chance.  As days passed I found it bit easier to delete the fellows with 3 cats, 5 kids at home, 50 extra pounds, four-digit incomes and no common interests but I bought into the process.  In a week over 700 chaps had viewed my profile.  I’ve asked the question before:  “It’s a big world out there.  When it comes to something as important as finding a life partner do you limit yourself to the haystack in your backyard?”

I had beginner’s luck.  The first person I wrote back to was Buz.  A sane voice with sage advice and a great sense of humor.  We arranged to have lunch at a restaurant in South Waterfront.  I texted Joel with my plan and timetable, caught a cab and spent a delightful afternoon getting to know a new friend in Portland.  I had planned to take a cab home (good advise) but didn’t.  Please don’t tell my mom; I’ll never hear the end of it.

Buz brought to my attention the challenge my two-city schedule created for anyone interested in me.  I also hadn’t given much thought to my in-transit status: separated but not officially divorced.  When a friend suggested eHarmony was a better choice I spent some time completing their questionnaire.  It was indeed a more impressive approach than that of match.com but they rejected me! Their message was crystal clear.  eHarmony is in the business of match making, claiming credit for 2% of marriages in the United States.  When I become officially available, it will be okay to look at their membership rolls.  Not before.

Expand your horizons, Trix

Visit these sites:

http://www.eharmony.com

http://www.match.com

http://chemistry.com

Consider this:

Online Dating Magazine estimates more than 20 million people visit at least one online dating service a month (2007) and that more than 120,000 marriages a year result from online dating (2007).


Apr 15 2010

Get out there.

April 15th, 2010

For the very reason some couples are madly enjoying being married (Nancy Hermann you know I mean you and Bill), others of us have our best shot at another chapter of bliss.

We are the tail end of the boomers. Our children have flown the coup.  We are fifty something and fit, perhaps less flush than we might have been two years ago but confident, comfortable and able to still grab life by the tail.

If you are in a relationship – great. If you aren’t – great, but don’t get lazy. Take a proactive role in finding happiness if a relationship is what you seek, as I do.  I view life has something meant to be shared.   Furthermore, the way I see it Marcello Angelini, artistic director of Tulsa Ballet, is auditioning over 1000 dancers to fill a few positions for the company’s 2010-11 season.  In looking for your Prince Charming (Princess, if you are a male reader) are you going to wait for friend Sally to call and suggest a pot roast dinner  to meet her brother’s squash partner, Delbert??

Sidebar:  “Delbert” was the term a high school art teacher who looked like Barbara Streisand used interchangeably with jerk, nut… basically a dufus.  Very clever lady.  Not only did she give me an A (for effort) but she also shared a fabulous relationship story.  She dated a fellow in the early 1970′s who had difficulty popping the question, aka committing.  What did Barbara do (yes, that was really her name AND yes, her last name started with a S)?  She began sending herself flowers and acting surprised when they arrived. “Oh, I cannot believe he sent me flowers.  We only met for lunch once,” and so on. Her Delbert got nervous about losing her to competition and proposed!  “Best $100 I ever spent,” she said with the sliest of smiles.

So today I confided to my very wise, caring Greek friend Voula that I had joined match.com.  Was it fitting perhaps that the restaurant we met at was called Veritable Quandary?! More about the online dating experience in “Beards, Ballcaps and Bikes.”

Sweet dreams, Trix


Apr 15 2010

Culinary scavenger hunt.

April 12, 2010

My last scavenger hunt was 40 years ago. Somehow I rigged the assignment process to ensure my partner was sixth grader Paul Egers.  He was a tall, blonde Dutch boy.   We were as much an item as two can be at 11 and 12 years old.

We lived in Sungei Gerong on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.  Our quaint ex-pat compound had no restaurants, no TV, no shops.  We entertained ourselves in much the same way as our parents, filling hours sharing meals (getting paid to eat frog legs), playing games (remember Twister, multiple solitaire?), listening to music (I swooned over Davy Jones and the Monkeys), reading books (below, above and at our grade level), bargaining with toucans (peddlers), swimming and drifting around the camp on foot or bicycle during the cooler hours of the day.  The Musi River separated us from villages, like Palembang, to the west.  The Stanvac refinery delineated residential blocks from work areas and the jungle stretched out beyond fence borders to the east and north.  Days were simple but full.

I fell back on that kind of resourcefulness Monday night last week in Tulsa and decided to make the evening with a friend a bit of a “culinary” scavenger hunt. We were hunting for something new, something familiar, good service, tasty food, good value…NOT frog legs.

Yelp suggested Tei Kei’s on Utica Avenue for happy hour.  We arrived at six o’clock and were offered our choice of almost any table in the exquisite, multi-million dollar Asian-inspired building.  My companion mumbled something about a not-so-recent food poisoning story that seemed blown out of portion.  I chalked it up to many food establishments hitting a bit of a lull between Easter Sunday and tax day, something I learned representing Polo Grill Restaurant in the 1990′s . “Happy hour prices ended at 6:00,” our waitress declared.  It was 6:05.  We ordered wine, deciding to save our appetites for the next stop.

We pointed the car north toward Trula in the recently reopened Mayo Hotel,   a Tulsa icon that fell to rack and ruin for over 20 years.  In September it opened as a mixed-use downtown destination after $40 million in renovations.  Part hotel, part residential, the stately building at 5th and Cheyenne Avenue hosts a restaurant, Topeca coffee bar, the historic Crystal Ballroom and a new rooftop bar, dining room and outdoor terrace.

The last day the hotel was open in the early 1980’s my parents treated my sister, her family and me to Sunday champagne brunch.  Stepping inside the lobby this week was almost like falling into a rabbit hole.  I could remember that January afternoon as clearly as brunch at Philbrook this past Sunday.  A small group was camped out in the bar, looking happy, but we shared the restaurant with only one other couple. Nonetheless, a waitress who lived nearby assured us, “Things are happening down here.”  The formula for rejuvenating a city’s core is the same town to town.   The risk taker, the visionary, the optimist establishs the order in which it all comes together – residents, retail, entertainment.  Thursday was proof of that when the new Driller stadium opened for its inaugural game to a sold out audience.  Cains Ballroom co-owner Alice Rodgers excitedly captured the community enthusiasm with the tone of her post on facebook, which read, “25,000 people were milling around downtown last night!”

After a salad course (the fried green tomatoes were both visually appealing and filling) we were off to the Chalkboard, an uptown boutique hotel restaurant developer Paul Coury brought back into existence about 11 years ago by enticing John Phillips to return to Tulsa .  Somehow fate smiled on both the Mayo Hotel and the Ambassador Hotel and spared both from the wrecking ball when floods, fires and rodents did their damnedest to accelerate the affects of years of neglect.

At the Chalkboard Restaurant we found fellow diners and many familiar faces.  Three generations of a local family toasted a grandfather’s birthday, couples leaned close, and businessmen plotted and planed, paged through text messages and the like.

For a night cap we traveled slightly south to Vintage 1840, a wine bar on Boston Avenue  for the home-like comfort of an overstuffed antique sofa and nostalgic, recorded music.  From there we followed the allure of live music across the street to Mercury Lounge where the crowd was friendly, the musicians engaging.

As we found on Monday,  life is a banquet.  Sample as much of what your city has to offer as you can and tell me what you find.  Maybe get a group together and each pick a destination.  VooDoo Doughnuts is on my list this week and I anticipate LOTS to share with you about that Portland icon!

Bon appetite and happy hunting, Trix

Check these out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayo_Hotel

http://www.themayohotel.com/

http://www.hotelambassador-tulsa.com/

http://voodoodoughnut.com/


Apr 14 2010

Up in the air.

April 13th, 2010

Been traveling and have much to share!  Glad to have two weeks on the ground to catch up with “ya all!” but what to tackle first??!  Trix