Pittsburg!

Yup, no “H.” And it’s in Kansas. Two and a half hours south of Kansas City. Why, you ask, would I go to Pittsburg?

I’d like to say purely for the experience of taking a city girl out of the beautiful city of Los Angeles and putting her into a small town just to see what would happen. But if you know me, you know there’s no way that’s true.

But I do like to make the best of every experience I have so I have compiled a (short) list of little-known facts about Pittsburg to save people the travel.

  • Pittsburg was featured on the Travel Channel’s food wars for fried chicken. As we drove down the road that is Pittsburg, I noticed the two conflicting signs for “Chicken Mary’s” and “Chicken Annie’s.” Little did I know that the feud between the two was featured on the Travel Channel.
  • Brian Williams of MSNBC fame started his career in Pittsburg.
  • Fireworks are legal. Firework Jack’s looks like a pretty promising establishment.
  • Pitsco is based here and appears to employ half of the people who live here.
  • There is a Pittsburg State University. So, technically it’s a college town.

I actually walked out onto the highway for this one.

Highway 69.

Chicken Mary's

Proof that I was there.

Touring the local Walmart

thoughts on travel

Just a few quick thoughts because I don’t like to disclose on the internet where I am when I travel. I will say, though, that I have traveled for a job so it is somewhat different that my usual “alone” trips. It’s also to a place I wouldn’t necessarily choose, but because I take everything as a learning experience…

Things I have learned in one day of (strange) travel:

  • I love traveling alone. Even more than that I appreciate being able to control my own itinerary.
  • Years ago my father told me that he admired my ability to just try things without fear. I realized today that I admire that in myself as well.
  • Contrary to my complaints when I call back home, I realized that I am a very patient and open-minded person.
  • I appreciate my own flexibility.
  • Mostly, I appreciate how much I have learned to truly experience rather than look for something.

And P.S. I truly love Los Angeles. And one of the best things about traveling is learning to re-appreciate something I love so much.

Step Two: The Brothers

Well, some of them. When I was driving home yesterday, I thought to myself (again!) how lucky I am to have brothers who will hang out with me. Part of me thought that I should stop feeling lucky. But then I stopped myself, and I thought I should feel lucky. It’s such a nice feeling!

So, I took the younger two to San Diego to complete my two-day tour of the southern coast of California. We went down to the see the Dodgers play the Padres. It was a beautiful, beautiful day and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive and the wonderful conversation. It’s funny how even though I “forget” how old my little brothers are, I simultaneously take full advantage of it. Our conversations are pretty amazing, and I’ve come to genuinely treasure them.

Our shaded seats made for a freezing 9 innings, but we withstood it right up until the end when I insisted on moving to the sun. If it weren’t for our “Beat LA” towels, I probably would have given up in the 3rd inning.

About 5 miles out of San Diego, I veered off the 5 just for entertainment purposes. My brothers were pretty quiet for awhile before I got the exclamation “Where the heck are we?!” We made our way through Del Mar and Solana Beach, and basically stared in silence and the sun had begun to set over the ocean.

It was another gorgeous day spent with wonderful people.

From San Diego
From San Diego
From San Diego
From San Diego
From San Diego

A dream!

A lot is up in the air right now. A whole lot.

Most of it centers around employment, but with that comes a lot of other factors. Money, of course. Direction as well. The other major thing is time.

I am hoping everything aligns in one very simple way. A way that will give me enough time and financial resources to accomplish this:

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I think it’s funny the things I think of when people are asking me where I’m going to be working and if I’ll be able to afford to live where I do now. If I do, I do is my attitude about it. If I don’t, oh well. As to where I’m working….I’ll end up exactly where I need to be.

In the meantime, I can continue on with my dreams!

All Things "S"

In honor of Saturday…..

SUN: I got plenty of it today! Tanaya and I took her new dog, Bella, to Griffith park for a pretty lengthy hike. It was a cool enough day to just enjoy the warm sun on my skin. It’s always nice to be outdoors!

SIDEWALK: We stopped on the way back for what supposed to be a hamburger for me. (I ended up with a chicken on ciabatta, but that’s not the point.) We ate at I believe it was called The Mustard Seed Cafe. We were able to sit out on the sidewalk with Bella and enjoy some more outdoor air.

SPEED: I took another drive out into the desert. Cabazon, to be exact. There was a lot of traffic getting out of Los Angeles, but it was a nice drive once I hit Beaumont.

SOUL: It was a pretty trying week. I think that’s why I was so excited to take a long drive. It was nice to be alone with my thoughts and loud music and to just let the week go. It gave me a great sense of peace. I think that sometimes, even though I do need to talk about what’s going on, I get to the point where I really don’t want to tell the story again.

SLOTS: I played at Morongo. I lost the least amount of money I’ve ever lost in a casino. That was largely due to the fact that I discovered 2-cent slot machines.

SUNSET: Oh my goodness, the sun was amazing. A huge orange ball in the sky. It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve been able to see it at that point in the sky. I was just about to pull over to take a picture, when I thought to myself that I should just remember. And I will.

Snippets

-It was nice to read this  morning that Shawn Estes had been cut from the major league roster.

-Me taking joy in Estes being cut does not make me a mean person. Just one who doesn’t forget.

-It was not so nice to read that Chad Billingsley had suffered a groin injury. Argh! That cannot be good.

-I feel kind of “off” right now physically.

-I love that Desperate Housewives is online for free.

-I need to start reading again. I’ve totally blown the 52 books in 52 weeks plan.

-Tanaya and I redid our 643photography.com website for the millionth time (ok not millionth, but it feels that way). I wonder how long we’ll like this version.

-I don’t get why people are mean. I really don’t. It’s tiring.

-I’m happy with the way my first wave of spring cleaning went. I love the space in my living room now.

-I want to paaaaint!

-Going back to teaching is simultaneously exciting and terrifying.

-I have a very strong desire to see stars in the desert sky.

-We devised this plan to circumvent paying the $15 parking fee at Dodger Stadium. It mostly involves Manny Ramirez and his car.

-I appreciate responses to job inquiries.

-I need to stop doing searches on the Century 21 website.

-The pastrami and jalapeno sandwich at the Yardhouse is positively amazing and well worth the gallon of grease I probably consumed.

-I’m on a super high caffeine intake plan right now and still sleepy as heck.

-I can’t wait until the sun is rising at 6 a.m.

-I’m a sneezy mess right now thanks to the wind, but I love the clear days so it’s a pretty fair trade.

-I found out that there’s a “Mary” at the Alameda post office, which is my home one. “Mary” at the Boyle Heights post office is one of my favorite people on the planet.

-I’m excited to get actual prints from Shutterfly.

-I’ve become a little addicted to stretching.

-I have realized that I jaywalk in front of the Hollenbeck police station far too much. It’s a wonder I haven’t been cited.

-I like Chris Matthews a lot more now that the election is over.

-I have a huge desire to get on an airplane and go somewhere. Like now.

-I don’t like falling asleep when I’m cold.

-I’m ready for something electric. Like electric blue.

My Dream, Revisited

For the past two years, I have been wanting to drive around the perimeter of the country for no reason other than, as my mother likes to say, I like to “flitter” around.

I fear that I will never have the financial capacity to do this. Not that that will really stop me, but this seems like the ideal way to do it without further incurring debt…..

Click this image to get to my dream assignment page and vote for me! It does take registration, but it’s quick! I promise!

Thanks for your support!

My Dream Assignment

I’ve had this idea for the past two years to drive around the perimeter of this great country of ours. It started when I flew out to DC two summers ago and took a mini blur of an East Coast road trip. How fun would it be, I thought, to do that around the entire perimiter of the country!

The ideal plan would be to have an RV and pack it up with photography equipment and my best friend, Tanaya and document whatever we feel like documenting as we journey around the country.

Now, it appears there might be opportunity to do this.  I came across the “Name Your Dream Assignment” contest and have entered in it to be able to make this dream come true.

The next step is getting votes! So here goes….vote for me here:

http://www.nameyourdreamassignment.com/the-ideas/jtsos/drawing-the-perimeter-of-the-united-states/

A Cactus Kind of League

Talk about dreams come true! I think I’d be equally excited to be a 20-year-old kid making the major league roster as I was to arrive at Camelback Stadium last weekend.

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The pure excitement of know that baseball is just around the corner was enough to drive me to get out of bed at 3 in the morning so Tanaya and I could be on the road at 4 a.m. For a few days before the trip, I doubted the sanity of leaving for anything at 4 a.m., but the rationale was that we’d make it to Joshua Tree in time for the sunrise. We were a little late, but it was just as beautiful as I could have wanted.

So while Tanaya was over in the cacti snapping some pictures, I got the brilliant idea to lie down in the middle of the empty highway and snap this shot….

I really think that I’m going to have to frame that one!

We also had some fun with the self-timer on this little stop:

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And, of course, we had to replicate my shooting of the road so there was proof that it actually happened:

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Even though, I had just returned from New Mexico, I was thrilled to be headed out to the desert yet again. The drive was absolutely beautiful, and I was thrilled with good company, music, and just blurring in with the desert outside my windows.

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If that wasn’t enough for me, our eventual stop was Camelback Stadium, the new home of the Dodgers. And this was the fulfillment of one of my lifelong dreams to see Dodger Spring training. I certainly was not disappointed as we came within touching distance of most of the players that I am absolutely in love with.

So, yes, that means Matt Kemp was literally three feet away from me. I stood next to Jeff Weaver for a picture. And I was able to see Clayton Kershaw pitch firsthand. All of the above, coupled with brilliant sunshine, made for an amazing weekend.

The Gila Cliff Dwellings

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Around the time, I started to plan this trip to New Mexico, I came across an article in the New York Times about the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Of course, you mix desert and hiking and things that are utterly cool like cliff dwellings, and it instantly must be added to the list of things I must do in life to make it complete.

Fortunately, my aunt and uncle are such awesome people that not only did they agree to the idea in the planning, but they actually arranged for us to get up to the Gila National forest three hours away from their home in Las Cruces, NM.

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So, we made the the 3-hour trek each way from their home. Everything about the day was absolutely awesome. The drive from Silver City to the trail-head for the dwellings was breathtaking. It was great to take in every single second of the view amidst about the teasing for my habit of “twittering.”

Once there, we put Cabot in the kennel that the National Park Service provides (a fabulous idea, I think, when you don’t want dogs out on the trail). We made the short hike up the side of the cliff. They warn that it is steep, but it wasn’t too bad.

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Along the way, there were several park guides who told some interesting stories about their experiences. And we learned about the per diem and space to stay that guides are given. It seems like it would be a good thing to do at some point in life.

The caves themselves are quite impressive when you consider that they were built in the 1200s. It was amazing to see how well thought-out these dwellings were.

The most moving thing to me was the view outside one of the rooms. The “window” hewn in the rock gave a

lascruces-28-of-461spectacular view of the canyon below.

The magic of the desert never ceases to amaze me. There is something so inherently beautiful about it that I completely understand why you would want to create your home there, even in rock, and commune with your soul.