Stuff and Nonsense: travel

Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts


Last Year We Were In Maine #TBT

Throwback to this time last year when we were in Maine, eating ice cream twice a day and repeatedly forgetting to apply sunscreen.


#WordlessWednesday: Vessel

Vessel, a massive ouroboros of stairs in Hudson Yards, NYC.


#WordlessWednesday: Silent Agitator

"Silent Agitator," clock sculpture by Ruth Ewan located on the High Line near 24th Street.



Wordless Wednesday: Fancy Queen Anne's Lace

Never seen so much red in Queen Anne's Lace. Wonder what variety it is.


Ostomy: Travel Kit & Accidental Poopage

We were on vacation recently and so I thought it'd be a good time to talk a little about what it's like to travel as an ostomate. I don't know about you but, for me, traveling as an ostomate can be a bit nerve-racking. While I actually love flying, I am always slightly terrified I will develop some catastrophic pouch or faceplate failure on the plane and be stuck changing it in the tiny, tiny airplane toilet. During some delightful turbulence, no doubt.

Happily, I've flown many times since my surgery and this nightmare-scenario has yet to happen. It's probably just luck, but I like to pretend these actions help:

  1. Changing my appliance the morning of my flight so it's at maximum freshness and hold
  2. Eating very lightly before and during the flight so there's not a lot of gas or poop to pass
  3. Drinking lots of water (avoiding sticky poo pileup)

I do pack an "ostomy kit" in my carry-on when I travel, as well as an indentical kit in my checked luggage because I'd rather have too many medical supplies than not enough. I've never had a problem getting my kit through the checkpoints, although I've occasionally had to explain the contents. Given a choice, I go through the line for families and travelers with disabilities/medical conditions and I think that makes it a bit easier for everyone.

I do always get my pouch area patted down and my hands checked for explosives, but the screeners have been very fairly discreet and impersonal about it (unlike some of my rubbernecking fellow travelers) and it doesn't bother me. (I'm also quite sure that the smoothness of screening is helped by the fact I'm a completely innocuous-looking and pleasantly-mannered middle-aged white lady and, god help me, I will play that privilege hard to make my travel experience as comfortable and easy as possible).

So what's in my carry-on kit?

  • 4 faceplates
  • 4 pouches
  • 1 tube stomehesive
  • 4 skin cleansing wipes
  • 8 hand wipes
  • 1 pair of blunt-tipped nail scissors

You might think that's a lot of stuff, but it's enough to cover us both supposing we both fail twice during travel ... or our checked luggage is temporarily misplaced. Again, I'd rather too many medical supplies than not enough!

And it's all zipped up into an unattractive transparent plastic storage bag. I keep my work kit in a cute batik cosmetics bag, because it's much more unobtrusive when tucked under my arm and carried across the reference floor, but the travel stuff ... it's just easier to have "out in the open" for when I have to explain it to the screeners, etc.

Incidentally, the worst thing that ever happened to me while traveling happened on this most recent trip. I drank rather heavily one night (I think we can all guess which night that was) and, sunk in a deep sleep, did not waken as my bag reached capacity due to a combination of poop and gas. Indeed, I only woke up after I had rolled over in my sleep and the bag popped right off the faceplate, spreading poop all over me and the beautiful king-sized hotel room bed (but none on The Husband, lucky bastard).

Unsurprisingly, there was some screaming. Then I showered, stripped the bed, rolled everything up into a horrible bedding burrito, and pushed it into a corner. I called housekeeping and asked for a new set of linens, mostly remade the bed, and went back to sleep. In the morning, I left the housekeeper a twenty dollar bill on the burrito along with an extremely apologetic note. (And, of course, I also left a good tip when we checked out. My mother, grandmother, and aunts have worked as hotel chambermaids/housekeepers and I've heard all their horror stories, so I try to be a respectful guest ... but poop happens).


Wordless Wednesday: La Virgen de Guadalupe

Image of the Virgin of Guadalupe carved into a cottonwood tree at
San Felipe de Neri, Albuquerque.


Visiting The Comic Store in Nashua, NH

Up in northern Massachusetts/southern New Hampshire last week on a one-day mini-break in which I hoped to eat some good ice cream, acquire bargain-priced quality flannel shirts, and maybe get some new comics. Unfortunately, I over-planned my day (what can I say? The L.L. Bean outlet was a huge time sink) and only made it to one comic book shop -- The Comic Store in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Happily, it was a good choice. A big shop pretty evenly split between comics and tabletop gaming materials. It has a very large and broad assortment of trades, which thrilled me because I am not a fan of single issues. Also a decent amount of shojo and yuri manga mixed in amongst the usual shonen stuff. Staff person I encountered was super-friendly without being unctuous and left me alone once I made it clear I was having a perfectly fine time browsing.

  • Girl Friends: The Complete Collection, Volume 2 by Milk Morinaga. Absolutely scrummy yuri manga about the continuing adventures of two sweet high school girls in love set against a backdrop of the usual friendship and school dramas.
  • I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young. Promises to be a horrifically and hilariously violent take on the usual "seemingly ordinary child wishes herself to fairyland and has marvelous adventures before returning home."
  • The Ancient Magus' Bride, Volume 1 by Kore Yamazaki. Fantasy shojo manga about an orphaned 15-year-old Japanese girl with strange gifts who sells herself into slavery and comes to be owned by (and affianced to) by an inhuman magician. I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic about this manga – the child slavery and the probable May-December pairing worry me a bit.

I could have bought more, but I was feeling a bit guilty about all the graphics I already own and haven’t read! What can I say? I have a terrible book-collecting habit.


Wordless Wednesday: Church Tower

Looking up at the Arlington Street Church (Boston) steeple with its four-faced clock and bells.


Wordless Wednesday: Fire in the Hearth

It's beautiful to look upon, but I prefer central heating ;)


Wordless Wednesday: Fountain

Lincoln Center's iconic Revson Fountain. Of course, I had to take a photo.


Wordless Wednesday: Medieval Manor House

Samlesbury Hall, Preston, built in 1325.

Samlesbury Hall is purported to be one of the most haunted locations in Britain ...


Buying all the Things at Hammergirl Anime

We've been in Rochester this week for work (The Husband) and leisure (me). I definitely got the better deal what with all the nice green spaces, delicious foods, and fun museums I've enjoyed. To keep the Husband from getting too jealous, I've arranged little after work excursions, one of which took us to Hammergirl Anime.

From the outside, sandwiched as it is between a storefront church and an Indian restaurant in yet another strip mall, the store doesn't look like much. But inside ... oh, inside! It is a manga-lovin' girl's paradise. Many of the comic book shops I visit have a token manga shelf or two, but (other than at The Comix Zone in North Syracuse, New York) I've never seen so much manga in one place before. Seriously, so much manga. So. Many. Kinds. And so much anime! And so much related merch with which to decorate your person or home. It was reallyreallyREALLY hard not to just hand over my wallet at the door and ask for one of everything.

I tried to be "good" and picked up only the first volumes of a bunch of new to me series like What Did You Eat Yesterday? (gays + cooking = AWESOMESAUCE), Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries ("a spot of Jane Austen with a dash of Agatha Christie") and Milkyway Hitchhiking (about a cat who travels through time and space). I also bought the standalone Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova, she of the fantastic Dramacon and Nightschool. The Husband bought an individually-wrapped Japanese cheesecake, which was soft as cotton and just melted in our mouths. Yummm.

I can really only hope The Husband has a conference in Rochester next year, too!


Wordless Wednesday: Statue

Spring, one of four pieces installed in the Italian Gardens
at Stanley Park in 2014 to replace stolen statuary.


Wordless Wednesday: Stanley Park

Grecian temple-style bandstand and amphitheatre with Cocker clock tower in the distance.

Swan has no time for wannabes.

More swans. No doubt wondering why we haven't brought them tribute.


Wordless Wednesday: Holiday Snaps

Central Pier and Blackpool Tower

Looking toward Blackpool Tower from North Pier

Looking toward Central Pier


Delightful, Decadent Chip Butty

Way back when The Husband was still just The Sexy Spod I Gave Up Sleep to Chat With, I used to visit him on summer break. He had a job, so I was largely left to my own devices during the weekday. Namely, this meant visiting libraries and book shops for reading materials and then settling down for a good read in a sunny public garden or park somewhere. (In retrospect, it's clear these visits set the style for all my later adult holidays -- I just want to sit around in the sun, looking at nature, reading books and eating tasty things).

Anyway, it was during my first summer visit that Future The Husband introduced me to chip butties. A chip butty or chip barm is a delectable sandwich made from a liberally buttered floury bap ("large soft white roll") and fresh, hot chips ("french fries"). Imho, the chips should be liberally salted and drizzled with malt vinegar, but The Husband must put ketchup on it. Regardless, it is a delicious, decadent treat I now look forward to eating once every trip.

Somedays, there's nothing in the world so good as a chip butty.
This chip butty, from Seniors Fish & Chip Shop at Lytham, was a pretty good example of its kind. The bap was as floury and soft as a this woman could want and the chips, hot from the fryer, were all crispy goodness on the outside and soft fluffy potato on the inside. The Husband felt the bap needed more butter and, from a purist's point of view, he was right but what with the bap soaking up all the chip grease, vinegar, and ketchup I was a happy nommer.

Holiday Books

We're on our hols in England through the 12th as The Brother-In-Law is getting married. Aside from showing up for his Big Day, we haven't had much planned and have basically spent most of our time schlepping from tea cake to tea cake. With a brief stoppage for book shopping, of course.

While I am participating in the No Book Buying Challenge and am meant to abstain from the purchase of books through 2015, when I signed on I'd already decided that books bought on holiday wouldn't count against the challenge ... just as all the cream cakes we've eaten (and cider I've drunk) don't count against the healthy living standards I'm supposed to embrace.

Anyway, feel I've been very good as I only purchased two books, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont and Our Spoons Came From Woolworth's:

Mrs. Palfrey is a Virago Modern Classic Designer Collection hardback and just so pretty it makes me want to squee. The Waterstone's I found it at also had VMC editions of Barbara Pym's Excellent Women, but I reckoned I'd buy just the one and then pick up more volumes from Book Depository.

Spoons is a very pretty Virago Modern Classic paperback by an author I've been interested in since I read the Guardian review of The Vet's Daughter, a book on my Back to the Classics Challenge list ("forgotten classic" selection). Vet's wasn't in stock, but I was willing to take a risk on Spoons.


Disappointing Fish & Chips

I can't visit the In-Law's without stopping at the chippy for fish and chips or a freshly made chip butty! Alas, the chippy of The Husband's childhood -- the chippy he's taken me to whenever we visited his family -- is gone. When the In-Laws took us to Freeport Fleetwood outlet center (so we could fill our carry on bag with discount Thornton's and Cadbury chocolates), we stopped at the Ferry Cafe in Fleetwood for fish and chips and I ate this:

It looks good, doesn't it? And it was a beautiful fry -- the batter was very crisp and light with no greasiness and the chips were as good as any I've had this visit. But. But it didn't taste of anything. The fish, which was just listed as "fish" on the menu, was tasteless. Ditto the chips. I ended up liberally seasoning them both with lemon, malt vinegar, and salt just to get some flavor beyond "crunchy" (and I'm well aware crunchy is a texture, not a flavor).

I can only presume there was something wrong with my taste buds, because the cafe was filled with a steady stream of customers ordering (and happily eating) fish and chips. Also, The Husband had no complaints about his steamed pudding and chips and cleaned his plate. So, ymmv, I guess.