Thursday 13: Favorite places

Today I’ve been grilled, screened, scanned, patted, shuttled and scuttled. I know without a doubt: The airport is not my favorite place on earth… especially not when I see it before dawn and leave it well into the night in the same 24-hour period. Such is the life of roaming grad student, right?

For this Thursday 13 (and thanks to Mr. T’s suggestion), I’ll focus on a few places I do like. Favorites in fact.

1. Regional/executive/general aviation airports.
In marked contrast to vast commercial enterprises, I delight in visiting small airports. I love flying into teeny tiny places like Woodward, Oklahoma where the airport manager will lend you his Caddie to drive into town for a burger. Or regional airports like the one on Lake Havasu where they give you *free* slushies (with the purchase of fuel, naturally). It pleases me to no end to drop into airports like those in Santa Fe or Yellowstone, and be able to cart in all the liquids and gels I can carry. (Not to mention extremely sharp objects and maybe even fireworks!)

At our home airport, Sacramento Executive. Engagement photo courtesy of Beth Baugher. Thanks again to whomever left the Albatross as the perfect backdrop.

2. The classroom.
Oh, how I miss teaching! One of my favorite places on earth is the classroom. While I do enjoy graduate classes–especially those like tonight where we constructed models and played around with research ideas–I’m particularly fond of leading classes, too. I’m so looking forward to stepping back into my teacherly shoes come January for a section of Interpersonal Communication.

The coolest parts of teaching? Watching creativity and consternation and fun emerge, helping people grapple with complicated ideas, and seeing people “get it” (whatever “it” may be) time after time.

3. The Nook.
Me: “What should I write about for this week’s Thursday 13?”
Mr. T: “Hmm. What about your airplane post?” (referring to the in-progress photo essay about the 13 general aviation planes I’ve flown in thus far)
Me: “Too complicated. I need to sit down with you this weekend and get stats on all the aircraft.”
Mr. T: “Hmm. What about your favorite places?”
Me: “Ooo, good idea!”
Me: “Can you please send me a picture of your armpit?”
Mr. T: …

For the record, he totally “got it” and then laughed. Most nights when we snuggle up to sleep, I find my way into The Nook, that great place just north of the armpit and south of the shoulder, perfectly sized for Shawna-shaped heads. I plant my face in the nook and drape all over T for approximately 35 seconds until his arm falls asleep and I get overheated. Routinely I tell him it’s my favorite place on earth because it feels like love.

Take a gander at that right shoulder… Nook territory there. (Trivia, this picture was take less than 10 minutes before we took off on the Hopscotch Honeymoon aka the most tired we have ever been ever!)

4. Monterey.
Land of my birth, keeper of my heart… Monterey is an enchanting spot on the coast of California and one of my favorite places on earth. There’s something for everyone in this charming town… fine dining, excellent holes-in-the-wall, tourist traps, outdoor activities, Cannery Row, fishing, golf, spas, THE OCEAN.

Pebble Beach.

5. The stage.
Dance recitals, drama festivals, college productions… I adore being on stage. Have you ever received a standing ovation? They kind of rock. Of course, I haven’t graced a stage in eons, but I still remember the thrill of opening night, connecting to an audience, using my talents to bring joy, laughter, tears, what have you. Although the closest I get to performing these days is at academic conferences and in the classroom, I still remember my production days fondly. Sigh.

Oh look, a picture of me from TWENTY YEARS AGO. Shudder. I be the one in the purple leo and pink tutu. I’m certain we got a standing O at Rio Linda Park & Rec.

6. Family time.
Okay, so maybe it’s trite, but I love places that have my family in ’em.

Marm, B and T in line for the ferry at Ellis Island.

7. The Big Apple.
I confess, I knew the city before I knew the city. Years of watching Seinfeld, Friends, Law & Order and Sex & The City made New York seem so familiar when I finally visited a few years ago. With three trips under my belt, it’s safe to say I’m in love. The energy, the intriguing people, the food, the sights, the roasted nuts on every corner… Sigh. It also helps that my sister and my favorite band live there. (Have you listened to North Highlands’ new album yet?!)

View from the Empire State Building, of course.

8. Flying the friendly skies.
By far the coolest place I visit on a fairly regular basis is 3,000 feet up. I love hopping into the back of an RV for a jaunt to breakfast, or taking the Stearman out for a spin. Few things are more fun that the freedom of flight, especially for a photo junky like me! I hope to check out one of T’s precision formation flights some time soon.

My first ride in the RV-8A.

9. My own private dirt patch.
If you’ve kept track of Project Green Thumbs Seasons I-III, it may come as no surprise that my garden is a favorite locale. Even though my plot is postage stamp-sized, I find peace tilling and weeding and planting and harvesting.

I’m holding onto the tomatoes until the bitter end, but I’m afraid frost is coming soon and I’ll have to actually start my winter garden!

10. Our kitchen (antics).
I probably spend the majority of my free time at home puttering around the kitchen. In addition to trying new recipes (which make it impossible to lose weight), I adore the me-n-T time. Whether it’s catching up about our respective days while chopping veggies or T chasing me around the counter with cold things (as you see below), our kitchen continues to be a place of sustenance both physically and emotionally.

I was actually running in terror from an ice cube attack here. Don’t ask me how I had time to take a self-portrait.

11. Mackinac Island
A tiny island situated between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, Mackinac is pure magic. Transportation is bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. Most of the island is national forest. The downtown is quaint and filled with fudge shops (can’t complain there!). This was definitely the highlight of our honeymoon adventure for me! To prove it, you can find a zillion pictures of the island by clicking here.

“Somewhere in Time” junkies take note… the Grand Hotel is even more dreamy in real life than in the movie.

12. With friends.
Whether it’s on vacation, suffering through class or enjoying a celebratory dinner, my favorite places usually include friends. Thanks to all the lovely ladies and gents in my life!

Cactus Land ladies.


Jesuit Crab Feed, 2011. Boys will be boys, yes?

13. Napa Valley.
If you ever get the chance, visit the Napa Valley in Northern California. I’m hard pressed to think of a more charming location (when it’s not high tourist season anyway!). Despite it’s fame, Napa retains a small time feel, but is filled to the brim with picturesque vineyards and parks, art galleries and incredible restaurants. Plan a trip, fill a picnic basket and enjoy! (Golf and spa retreats are also pretty popular in this neck of the woods.)

What are some of your favorite places?


P/S Do you burning questions or suggestions for posts? Let me know! Comment below or shoot me an email at: bluestmuse (at) gmail (dot) com.

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