Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I love travel.  I also hate travel.  Do you ever feel this way?

I love to be places and I get excited about experiencing new cultures, sights, history and especially foods.  What I hate is getting there, especially if I am traveling alone.  I don't like flying to be specific.  It's like voluntarily loading onto a flying cattle car, paying to pack ourselves tightly in with germy, snotty, farty humans with no health screening.  And me. I'm the grumpy cat of flying.  I look bored, unamused and ready to bite at a moment's notice. I will too.  Thank goodness for Dramamine- I tend to sleep the entire way.  I was on a plane for 7 hours each way and lost an entire day in traveling.

Driving is a different story.  I love driving, especially across the country.  I love the changing landscapes, the wild open expanses of fields and hills and the bustling cities I zoom around on my way to somewhere else.  I'm all like "out of the way, I have important stuff do to!" and I beep beep my way on into the sunrise.  It's awesome.

I had a presentation proposal accepted for the National Council of Teachers of English this year in Boston, Ma.  I love doing teaching presentations, and I really love doing the national ones. It's a great way to meet people and talk about teaching English. At NCTE I get to reconnect with my old grad school friends and this year, both of my dissertation advisers.  My friend Kimberly Stormer let me crash at her hotel because I was poorly funded by my university this year.
At Boston Common

We took almost all of our classes together in doctor college, wrote our general exams together and have remained pretty good friends through the years.  I appreciate her for her wit and silliness and also for her passionate care of students who need to learn to read and write in order to have a chance at success in life.  She's pretty awesome.

I got to hang out with Cathy and Jackie too. I'm sure you know all about my friend Cathy- she and Charlotte pretty much threw my wedding.  She read a Shakespearean sonnet at my wedding and currently lives in our house in Oklahoma.  She picked the house out for me in 2005.  I started planting an orchard in 2006. She brought me six apples from the trees. Four made it home.  What a kind gesture!
Here we are at a pub having dinner.  The bouncer- a huge man with a handlebar mustache- waxed philosophical about the virtues of teachers in a thick Boston accent. 

Jackie (On left) is seven months pregnant- what an adventurous soul! She teaches Social Studies with Cathy and they did a presentation on cross-curriculum collaboration.  It was us four for the most part all through the conference.  

My advisers, Baines and Angelotti, have always been close to me.  Baines was Kimberly and mys copresenter (along with Anthony Kunkel) and he came up with the proposal.
Me and Baines

Me and Angelotti. He's my academic dad.
It wasn't all work and no play though.  There were dinners and a trip with my amigas to Little Italy in Boston to see Paul Revere's house, to eat at Legal Seafood and to visit Mike's Pastries.  Mike's was packed but we managed to find one of the 6 tables in the joint.  Next to us was an older man with a raincoat and hat, placidly eating a pastry and watching the tourists.  He found out we were English teachers and recited Shakespearean sonnets- including the one Cathy read at my wedding- from memory.  I sort of felling love with him on the spot and told him that's what Cathy had read.  When we left, I thanked him and he shook my hand and told me to tell my husband that he has excellent taste. It was a little surreal, but hey, Boston right? 

There were other sights: 
Flying into JFK on my first flight 

Decorations outside of Hynds Convention Center

I love NWP!

Jackie, Cathy and Johanna presenting

Boston Public Library

Close up of Trinity Church


Paul Revere's House

Boston Terriers in Boston

George Washington wearing a Red Sox jersey


A tree in Boston Common

And a Willow

The Frog Pond

Library statue

Trinity Chapel 

These are all doors at Trinity 

Trinity from afar

A seeker of knowledge outside of the Library 

I think this is Franklin's grave

John Hancock's grave

Paul Revere's grave.  He's a big deal.

I can't remember the name of this church. 

I got to see Temple Grandin speak at the conference.  I video'd the first 8 minutes and put it up on Youtube.  She has Asperger's Syndrome and is so brilliant. I was blown away.  She may not have social graces but she is an engaging, enlightening and hilarious public speaker.  Here is the link. Sorry for the poor quality, but it's my iphone. And I was excited!

I made it home just fine; left the hotel at 3:30 a.m. and got into Seattle at 1 p.m. local time- so 4 p.m. Boston time. I slept on the plane a lot.  I was freezing on my last flight. I put on my hat, coat and scarf and was still shivering. But I was being quiet and trying to sleep.  We were in the exit row, and the middle seat was the only one not taken on the plane.  The man sitting opposite me obviously took pity on me.  He called over the flight attendant and quietly asked her (presumably so I wouldn't hear) to turn up the heat so that I didn't freeze to death.  She did and it got much better.  He's a good example of what a small kindness can do for someone's soul.

I'm glad to be home with G and Eleanor.  I guess they got along nicely, though I was told of an...incident. G was sleeping when he suddenly had a dream of dogs biting his chin.  He woke to a small kitty gently but firmly pressing her claws into his chin to get him to wake up.  I guess it was time to snuggle/play/eat/wake up!  In any case, I think that was the worst consequence.  We are off tomorrow for adventures in Thanksgiving.  Wish us luck!


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  2. Loved it! Happy Thanksgiving, Mindie!

  3. I have often wished I could just zap myself somewhere because I don't like plane travel. (Driving would be preferable if the scenery is nice, and sometimes faster, but of course that wouldn't be the case going cross-country.) Looks as though you had a great time in Boston. What a cool city, and you had such fun meeting up with your friends. Love the pics of the trees and you with Baines. Your hair looks great!
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. My parents told me that when I was a baby I would cry on our vacations until we stopped driving, but I'd start crying again once we got back in our vehicle and started driving again. I don't cry anymore, but I do get anxious and irritable when driving on long trips, especially when there are long stretches of visual drudgery.