Monday, October 20, 2008

Photo Blog: Pittsburgh through Photos

View of downtown Pittsburgh as seen across the Ohio River

This view looks amazing enlarged ~ the blog photo does not do it justice. :-/

Catholic Church as seen from our room.

The trees actually change color!

My Fellow Travelers

Dear Fellow Traveler,
I am in need of advice. Not just any advice but very specific advice about my next trip. Having recently returned from a trip to the East Coast, I am reminded of how arduous a task packing ones suitcase is. Make sure you have essentials, but don’t take anything you really don’t need. Wear your comfortable (and usually, heavy) shoes on the plan to conserve both space and weight. It is such a job! Now, as you may or may not know, on February 12, 2009 I embark on a thirteen day tour of Europe. Needless to say, I am very excited to finally see the many national landmarks that, up to now, I have only read about. However, I am a little concerned about one little aspect: packing. Per tour regulations, travelers are only allowed one (and I emphasize one) suitcase, plus your carry on and purse. This is unfortunate because I would happily pay the 2nd baggage fee just to have a little more room and have a specified place to stow souvenirs.

Do you have any packing suggestions that would benefit me? I know things like, buy travel size items, wear clothes more than once, etc, but anything else would be greatly appreciated. Traveling in February means it’s going to be cold, and sweaters certainly weigh more than tank tops. Any suggestions about what to carry on the plane so you don’t have to pack it?

Thank you in advance for your help in preparing me for my dream come true…a trip to Europe!

-Excited Traveler

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On the road again...

View similar to what we see from our room.
I love these bridges!
Greetings from Pittsburgh! Yes, I boarded yet another airplane this morning and spent my day traversing the country to ole' Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I must say, that from a 'room with a view' perspective, ours looks out over the Ohio River (we think!), and the landscape is dotted with glistening water and beautiful lights. While I'm on the east coast for business, I hope to spend some time sightseeing tomorrow night. It's getting rather late on this end of the continent, so I shall provide further updates at a later time. Auf Wiedersehen.

Travelers Note: Do not, under any circumstances, fly while you have a cold. The pressure on the ear drums is excruciating, and I DO NOT say this lightly. :-( I deplaned 3 hours ago and am still waiting for an ear to pop.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


On Thursday night I attended a Homecoming in an aircraft hanger. Number 244 to be specific. Not exactly a traditional "homecoming," but one filled with honored guests and special memories. For those of you who don't know, I am part of an oral history project documenting the history of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. I have been with the project since the very beginning and am currently working full-time as the Acting Director through the end of January. Thursday night the Orange County Great Park (funding behind the project) held the El Toro Homecoming for all of the project narrators (people who give their oral history). Over fifty narrators attended, many with family members and special guests, and it was wonderful to see these special people again or meet many for the first time. Having listened to or read scores of their interviews, it was a treasure to watch them interact, greet old friends, and share stories about their time in boot camp, Cherry Point, and, of course, tales about El Toro. The evening included bus tours of the base, a reception, group photograph, buffet dinner, and a display of donated artifacts and photographs of each narrator. To top it off, we even got some publicity. One of my first narrators, Faye Shumway, was interviewed by our local NBC affiliate for a news story!

This project is something I believe it, a reason to go to work each day. I feel like I am making a difference in someones life, insuring their memories live on. It's all about the people. They are the heart and soul of oral history. Having these amazing individuals welcome us into their homes, prepare delicious snacks, take us to lunch, serve tea in a tea cup their son brought back from Russia, barely remember anything about their past yet whistle when they see a picture of their wife saying, "Isn't she a beautiful girl?"and receiving a thank you note for our visit...these kind gestures make it worth it continue on. I may despise the corporate side and bureaucratic politics, but we can make a difference in our own little way. I can believe in the people and their legacy. Helping preserve their history truly gives meaning to my own life.

Here I am with Faye Shumway, one of my favorite narrators

Inside of hangar with guests milling about and catching up with old friends

Close-up of group photo

Group photograph taken in front of Hangar 244, the same hangar Faye
worked in while she was stationed at the base.

Ashtray made out of half of a missle (no kidding!) This was donated to the project.

Magnificent sunset, as seen from inside the hangar.
(Notice the Great Parks signature orange balloon.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My lunch break

Since my oral history interview was canceled this afternoon I decided to use my lunch break to buy more items for my graduation scrapbook! Of course, I found even more options since Michaels has an endless inventory of scrapbooking tools, and I happily spent more money on paper and decorations. Now, I just need to find time to put it together...hey, you only get a masters once!