My Philly Adventure

If you read my last post, you know that I was heading out-of-town last week and was stressed out over the impending snow storm. The day of that post, the snow storm was heading in and Amtrak did indeed cancel some trains. I was originally rebooked on a train for the next morning, but my wife suggested I go ahead and rebook for that night and pay for an extra night in the hotel to beat the storm. I was able to rebook and headed out Tuesday night. My train was an hour late, but I made it to my hotel around midnight. It was good I did that because several people did not make it to town the next day due to more canceled trains.  I was there for the Public Library Association Conference, but I will not go in too much detail on the actual conference because I made the decision years ago that this blog would not be a library blog.

Wednesday morning I woke up early because that’s what I do. My breakfast plans were ruined because Reading Terminal Market was closed for the storm so I headed across the street to the Dunkin Donuts. It was still a mix of precipitation at that point. I waited a little while for it to turn to snow and headed out for a walk. It was cold and snowy, but I enjoyed being out of the room. I walked to Rittenhouse Square and then down to City Hall and back to the hotel.img_0072img_0078

After the walk I met some friends and we walked over to Chinatown for lunch where I had soup dumplings for the first time.

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It was then time to hed to the convention center for the opening speaker, Sally Yates and then the opening of the exhibits where you can pick up a lot of free stuff. In between I was able to get my favorite photo of the trip – the convention center in the snow.

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The next day I had a little bit of time before my first session so I took another walk in the snow to see some of the historical area. I was able to see a little, but most of it was still closed off for snow removal. I was able to get a couple of pictures and then headed back to the conference.

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I made it to Reading Terminal Market for lunch which was a good thing because that was the last time I walked in and felt like the lines were not too long. The place was crazy the rest of the week. That night I had a ticket to a fundraiser called Throw and Axe for the Stacks. It was at a place called Urban Axes and it is all about throwing axes. I was a little nervous about this. Not because of the axes, but because I would know no one at the event and was riding up with people I would meet for the first time on the ride. I turned out to be a fun night and as my daughter said when she saw the video I was weirdly good at throwing axes.

On the way back i got a decent Philly at night photo

img_0114After another day of classes, I went to dinner with an old friend. Well, she’s not old, but makes me feel old. I’ve known her since she was in 6th grade and I was an adult already. She’s now an adult and living in Philadelphia with her husband. I did not get a picture with her. I did take the below picture of a tree from the seed that was taken to the moon that we passed as we walked to the restaurant. The walk was a very nice walk from my hotel through old city. The restaurant was Chloe Byob and was the best food I’ve had out in a long time. The company was also very good. Now the tree

img_0120A few more pictures – An art piece at the convention center, the view from the top floor of the hotel(my room looked out at an office building) and another general city shot:

The next day was the last day. Two classes and then the closing session. The closing session was Hasan Minhaj. A great way to end the week.

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I had a cheesesteak at Steve’s and then headed back to take the train home.

After the stress of getting there it was a good week. I was exhausted from all of the social interaction, but I learned a lot and feel good about stepping out of my comfort zone.

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Snow Stress

I’ve been wishing all winter for a snow day. I’ve posted about how much I needed a snow day. Tomorrow the library will likely get a snow day. Problem is, I am scheduled to be on a 9:30am train to Philadelphia tomorrow. Figures that we would finally get a snow day when I am not going to work and when it might disrupt my travel.

I already deal with travel stress. I was spending way too much time debating over taking the Septa from the train station to the hotel or calling an Uber. I even considered walking, though the weather will make that less likely. Now I’m all stressed out over the possibility that the snow will cancel my train. I have no idea how much snow it takes to cancel Amtrak trains. Maybe it will just be a delay. It might be on time. Thing is, I don’t know and I can’t control it. It’s going to snow tonight and tomorrow. It’s going to snow over the entire route the train will take. This may or may not delay or cancel my train. I can’t change the weather. I can’t control the train schedules. It really does me no good to stress and worry about it. So, why can’t I stop stressing and worrying about it?

This is something I deal with quite a bit. Stress and anxiety over things I can’t control. I need to figure out how to stop this. Meditation? Medicine? I don’t know what it will take, but I know I would be much happier if I could just learn to stop this. There is no major commitment for me in Philly tomorrow, so if I’m hours late it won’t really matter. I would miss some stuff if I had to leave Thursday and that would suck, but it is not the end of the world. Why am I so stressed?

I Hate Travel Day

I love being on vacation. I love heading out to visit family for the holidays. I’m not fond of a nine-hour drive, but that isn’t the main reason I hate travel day. I hate travel day because of the very different ways my wife and I feel travel day should go.

Me – Pack your suitcase with enough clothes and toiletries for the trip. Make sure you have a book for the car and enough books to last for the entire trip. Make sure you have your phone and your phone charger. Throw the luggage in the car. If Christmas, pack the gifts as well. Start driving.

Her – Wait until the last minute to pack. Decide we need to vacuum before we go. Possibly schedule a work conference call that morning. Pack clothes and phone as above. Also pack enough food for the car to ensure we don’t suffer the same fate as the Donner Party. Walk through the house and possibly decide more cleaning needs to be done before we can leave. Triple check doors and stove. Now we can hit the road.

Me – Let’s drop the dog at boarding the day before, pack the car that night and hen get up and leave early so we can drive mostly in daylight.

Her – Let’s drop the dog off the day we leave, pack the day we leave, sleep in and leave midday and drive at night.

Me – In the summer it might be fun to drive another route and maybe stop to see some sights on the way.

Her – The goal is to get there as fast as possible. Let’s take the same, shortest route and only stop if absolutely necessary.

Her way always wins. I’m still struggling with not being cranky about it.

 

Tater’s 2017

The first part of these posts is always hard because I can never remember what I did at the beginning of the year. I should start keeping note. I do think, though, that part  of it is that we really don’t do much in winter – that or I’m old and forgetful. Maybe both.

I can recall two things from January/February 2017 – I chaperoned a youth group weekend trip to a conference in Ocean City and I did my free food tour for my birthday. The conference was fun, but I can’t help comparing it to when I used to work regularly with a youth group.  In the olden days youth events were easy for me because I knew most of the kids and their families. I was a regular presence in their lives. Now, I’m just a random dad who pops up on occasion as a chaperone. I don’t know the kids. It makes a big difference. The free food tour is just me going to all of the places that give me free food for my birthday because I signed up for their email list or rewards program.

March 2017 had two major events – my daughter turned 17 and we held my Human Library event at the library. The Human Library is an event where people come to the library, but people are the books. We had people from a wide variety of backgrounds who acted as books. The customers could “check out” a book and have a conversation with them about their experiences. It was well received and we are planning another one for this coming March.

April/May – I went to see Bowling for Soup in concert again. I went alone because I have no friends. You should feel sorry for me here. It was once again a great show and I will be back the next time they come to town. In May I was once again the emcee for the library’s professional development day. I really don’t understand why they keep asking me to do it. There has to be multiple better choices. I also attended the Maryland Library Association Conference in May. It was at a swanky hotel in Cambridge this year so I booked an extra night and my wife met me for the weekend to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It rained most of the time I was there.  I also bought a new car around this time so I could give my daughter the old one. I make sacrifices like this all the time.

Summer was eventful. My daughter got her driver’s license and her first job. We went on college tours in the midwest, spent some time in St Louis(where we got the greatest family photo ever) and then spent time with family in Kentucky. While I was there I also attended my 30 year  high school reunion. I still don’t understand how everyone else got old and I’m still young and handsome. It is a mystery.

We had a fall full of travel. My wife had a conference in Manila, so we tagged along. You can read more about that here.img_2616

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In November we went to New York City. I love the city and I was happy to have time to walk around and enjoy the sites, but the main reason we went was to see Hamilton. I had purchased the tickets way back in March. It was a long wait to finally get to go, but it was so worth it. My son went with us and said that he might want to go see more shows now after seeing it. It was phenomenal. We also stopped at Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken on the way out of town. You can read more about the trip here.

So far in December the most exciting thing to happen is that my daughter received her first college acceptance letter. We are one step closer to an empty nest. I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

If anything exciting happens over my Christmas vacation I will be sure to post about it. I’m sure you are all so relieved to have that news.

All in all 2017 was a good year. It was much better than 2016. 2016 sucked and the worst part of 2017 was dealing with the depression caused by 2016. Did I mention 2016 sucked? It did. A lot.

My Busy Christmas Schedule

We had our holiday party at work yesterday. I’ve got one week left before I am on vacation until January 2.  Here is our busy schedule:

Friday – 9 hour drive to my mother-in-law’s house

Saturday – Bonus rest day since we are arriving a day early. Hoping to see Star Wars in the morning and then watching the UK basketball game in the afternoon. Downside – watching the game on a terrible TV.

Sunday – Christmas Eve with one side of my wife’s family. Gifts and food! It is at my mother-in-law’s house this year so no driving for us. Possibly another movie that morning.

Monday – Christmas morning at MIL’s house and when we open all of our immediate family gifts. Hour and a half drive to have lunch with my wife’s dad’s side of the family and then hour and a half drive back.

Tuesday – Two and a half hour drive to my brother’s house to have Christmas with my family. More gift exchanges and more food. Much noisier and chaotic than the previous day’s gatherings and I like it that way.

Wednesday/Thursday – undetermined. We used to go to my mom’s house each day but now that she’s gone we have to find other ways to spend the days.  Last year we did indoor mini-golf and ice skating.

Friday – back to MIL’s house. Still hoping to be surprised with tickets to the UK/UL basketball game.

Saturday/Sunday – one of these day will be the 9 hour drive back home. If we go back on Sunday, maybe a movie again on Saturday. New Year’s Eve will be at home watching TV.

Monday – probably a lazy day at home and then back to work.

A lot of driving, but it is a nice end of the year. Family, food, movies, reading. and no work. My kind of life.

ps. If you look at the left hand side of the blog you will now see a link to Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook link is to my Tater page that I created and abandoned. I am going to attempt to remember to post there more. Like it if you are so inclined and follow me on Twitter. I will try to be more interesting there.

Our New York Adventure

Everyone got a break from the month of Tater this weekend as my family embarked on a New York City adventure. I’m back!

We had to wait until Friday afternoon to leave as we were waiting for my son to arrive so he could go with us.  We got to the city around 7pm and checked in to our hotel. My wife saw the room and immediately said he was not spending the weekend there. She called the hotel we used last year, confirmed they had a room and then told the front desk to refund our money. I admit that I was really irritated during this. I was hungry and wanted a little time to explore before sleeping. I will also admit that it was a good decision. The person at the first hotel refused to answer questions about parking and the room was tiny. The people at the Chelsea Savoy were very helpful and the room was a good size and cheaper than the first hotel. They recommended a local diner(where they gave us free cookies as we left), we had dinner there and then it was time to sleep.

Saturday was a long, busy and faun day. We started the day walking the High Line, an elevated railway turned in to a park. It was a nice walk and a good way to start the day.

We then circled up to Macy’s and then to Times Square. We wandered around a bit, had lunch and then went to our reason for being in the city: Hamilton!

The show was great. I already knew I loved the music, but it is so much better when watching the show. Such a great experience and I was happy to be able to share it with both of my kids. We left the show, went to the Christmas village at Bryant Park, walked up to 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Center and then headed back to the hotel. It was a long day, it rained for a good portion of the walk after the show, but it was a great day.

Sunday we checked out of the hotel and drove up to Central Park to explore some before leaving the city.  It was a cold and windy morning, but we survived.

We left the park and headed out of the city. We stopped in Hoboken for lunch and some goodies at Carlo’s Bake Shop.

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It was a quick trip and we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to see, but it was a nice break from life and it was really good to have both of our kids with us again. I can’t wait to do it again.