What A Trip (And a Tease)!

I took my first real vacation in a couple of years this last week. The hubby and I flew out to Arizona to visit my in-laws, but not until after I finished the first draft on my first full sized book. (YAY!)

As a military brat I’ve been on many flights– some fun (me on a plane with an entire college football team just after I’d become legal–and they were flirting), some boring (standard flight with no excitement or turbulence), some a tad bit crazy (the guy who stunk of pot and B.O. and told me he spoke a rare language from a country most people didn’t know which turned out to be Danish/Denmark, then proceeded to tell me that the Philippines would rule the world someday when he found out I spoke Tagalog)….but nothing like the flight my heroine took when she moved to Nashville. (I’ll share what I mean in a moment.)

Our flight to Arizona would’ve been fairly uneventful except that on the layover flight from Atlanta to Tucson, I wound up sitting beside a man with a horrible case of silent but violent gas. Hubby was stuck behind him. It was bad.

The flight home couldn’t have been worse, right? Wrong. From Tucson to Atlanta I was trapped between a French dude who was polite, but didn’t speak much English, and a Russian lady who was still breastfeeding her adorable toddler and didn’t have much by way of courtesy. When I tried to get to my seat, instead of getting up with her child so I didn’t have to worry about smacking someone in the face with my backpack, she just slid her legs to the side–mind you, she had an aisle seat. Fortunately, the Frenchman was kind enough to offer to take my bag so I wouldn’t hit anyone and I squeezed my way in.

Throughout the flight, the child was a trooper, but her mom didn’t pay attention or try to preserve my personal space as the little girl stretched and kicked. The whole shoving her little one under her shirt every few minutes didn’t really phase me because I figured it was her way to try to keep the child soothed and occupied so she wouldn’t get cranky.

Once we reached Atlanta we stopped at Bobby Flay’s cheeseburger place where I promptly had my glass full of Coke Zero shatter, dousing me completely (pants and top) in soda. Ugh. Do you know how uncomfortable it is to walk through an airport all wet and stained? It couldn’t get worse, right?

Wrong. The final leg of the flight had hubby and I sitting together, but the guy in front of us smelled like sour sweat and also had a huge gas problem. I really was kind of hoping by that point that the oxygen masks might fall down and save us from the odors. And the landing? Major turbulence that had some of the people around us freaking out. An old flyer like me? Felt like she’d just gotten a fun roller coaster ride.

I really was wishing my flight had been more like the one my heroine, Kalina Santos, experienced in my upcoming release, A Way With Words. Here’s an unedited excerpt:

“What are we doing here, sweetheart?” The desire darkened his eyes to a golden brown, but concern was there, too. “Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to do this with you, but I don’t want you to regret it. Tell me now if you’re not into this. There’s nothing wrong with getting caught in the moment. It’s a judgment free zone, right here.”
She pulled back; looked away from the temptation of those cat eyes (well, what else do you call eyes that are sometimes green, sometimes yellow, and seem to see into your soul?) and considered his words. His thoughtful generosity touched her as much as the thick erection under the soft cotton of his jeans aroused her. The irony wasn’t lost on her that he showed more concern for her and her feelings than the evil ex she’d been with for years and refused to allow to taint this moment with any more space in her brain.
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to join the mile-high club.” She leaned in and caught his earlobe between her teeth. “Somehow I think this bucket list item works better with a partner. What do you think?”

So what about you? What was your most memorable plane ride? Ever join the mile high club? Tell me all about it!

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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This is the gorgeous view from directly outside my hotel. See what I mean about gorgeous mountains? El Paso is beautiful. So far everyone has been amazing. They’ve been kind, welcoming and generally just bone deep nice!

Tonight, I’m chillaxing by my hotel bar with a glass of Malbec and feeling inspired. Last night was my first good, full night of sleep since I arrived. It wasn’t overly crazy so I had the opportunity to relax and catch up on some of my favorite passions. I’m enjoying Sophie Oak’s Siren Unleashed and read some of the amazing people whose blogs I follow. In fact, Crazy Train To Tinky Town wrote a really cool blog about airports and people watching. It inspired me.

I’ve spent a lot of my life in or around airports. This trip would be no different. In fact, I’m about two or three miles from the airport right now. As fun as people watching in an airport can be, I’ve found that the people you meet on the plane can be even more intriguing.

So my question…do you remember your most interesting travel seat mate? Tell me about them…and what made them so memorable. If you don’t have a memorable seat mate, maybe share your most intriguing conversation that happened during travel…

My cousin says I’m a magnet for “interesting”. Over the years I’ve come to realize that it’s not that I’m a magnet…it’s that I interact! I talk. I listen. And then I’m constantly entertained…which always translates to storytelling.

I’ll start with the most interesting interaction I had in an airport. A few years ago, hubby and I were heading to Dallas for a Cowboy game. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it…it was our honeymoon! Usually we catch a flight from our nearby airport, but this time we headed out of Tampa. As we sat in the airport, John Gruden came walking up. Apparently, he was also going to be on our flight. He was working for ESPN at the time and doing the show. I spotted him, then pointed him out to hubby. He walked up and shook Mr Gruden’s hand and told him how much we enjoyed him. The guy was very cool. In fact, he found us when we landed at DFW and told us to find him at the event and ask questions. He was absolutely great. He treated us like new friends. We loved it.

My most interesting “on the plane” interaction? The June I graduated from high school, my biological grandfather died. I knew the news was not going to be good when my cousin called at 6am. No one calls that late in my family in less there is an emergency.

I was going to be flying alone to Michigan… I was 18, so it wasn’t a huge deal. When I boarded, I noticed an elderly couple toward the front of the plane, but otherwise it was just me. Seated by a window on the center of the aircraft, I was just settling in when a group of tall, large, strong men walked onto the plane. As they took their seats, I noticed I was surrounded. Two of the giants (I’m only 5’3″…and back then was only 105 lbs) were sitting behind me, two in front & 2 more across the aisle, plus the rest of the guys on the plane. The guy in front of me was the sociable sort and turned around.

Kneeling on his seat in my direction our conversation went something like this:

Him: Hi there!
Me: (tilting my head to make better eye contact) Hello…
Him: How are you?
Me: Fine.
Him: Are you from Detroit?
Me: Nope. Going to Michigan for a family emergency.
Him: I’m sorry. (Pauses) Soooo…. How old are you?
Me: (Realized he was hitting on me and checking my status as jail bait…Rob Lowe had just recently gotten busted) I turn 19 tomorrow.
Him: Really? Got any proof?
Me: My military brat ID.
Him: Can I see?
Me: Sure.
Him: (smiles down at me) Happy birthday! (Turns to his other buddies) Hey guys…can you believe she’s 18?

I laughed. He had just waved the “go” flag for himself and his friends. I was also right…I was on a flight with a college football team. Suddenly I found myself under a microscope as they all peered over the chairs at me and said hello. I laughed. Then the guy continued:

Him: So, how long are you going to be in town?
Me: A few days.
Him: You should give me your number. I’ll take you out and show you the city.
Me: (laughing and a bit coy…and not nearly as naive as he thought) My mama told me not to give my number to strangers.
Him: I introduced myself. We’re not strangers anymore.
Me: Why don’t you give me YOUR number. If I want you, I’ll call you.

After a bit of playful debate, he gave me his number. As we got of the plane, he and five of his friends insisted on escorting me “safely” to my family. The look on my relatives’ faces were priceless! Their eyes were huge as the boys all said goodbye, each stooping down to give me a hug.

I never did call the guy back…but is it any wonder why I so enjoy ménage stories? Does this not help to explain my interest with the Mile High Club?

Your turn!

Getting the Flock Outa Here!

Today is a mad rush of final cleanings and packing as I prepare to head to Dallas to feed my love affair with the Dallas Cowboys. As a few of you may remember, my passion for the Cowboys started when I moved back into the country from the Philippines after living abroad most of my young life.  So at 10 years old, the first thing about football I remember was watching Tony Dorsett break for that 99 yard run…and I was in love!

A few years ago, my boyfriend (hubby, now) booked us a trip through Maximum Sports to see our Cowboys play.  (Thank Goodness he’s a Cowboys fan, too…or there may have been problems). On that trip we got the opportunity to see the Cowboys play the Houston Texans (we won!) as well as meet Jason Witten, Tony Romo (2 weeks before he became the starter) and Chris Canty (his rookie year…before he became one of the hated Giants). After we booked our trip, the only thing we had to worry about was the occassional lunch and sometimes, drinks.  This cemented us as permanent customers of Maximum Sports. The icing on the cake is that the owner of the company, Ronni Sokol, is a fantastic person and a huge advocate for breast cancer awareness…she’s also a survivor.  I’m lucky enough to call this wonderful woman my personal friend.

Since meeting her, I’ve gotten the opportunity to shake Emmitt Smith’s hand at the luncheon following his induction into the Hall Of Fame, not to mention watch him get the honor he so richly deserved. We’ve also gotten to hang out with some of our favorite Cowboys in the Bahamas!  How many people can say they get a chance to do that?

In fact, this is a picture of my favorite nose tackle, Jay Ratliff, wearing a children’s play helmet at the dinner in the Bahamas the night before we left.  He’s one of my all time favorite people…and players!

And here’s a picture of me with Bill Bates, holding one of his 3 Superbowl rings! Pretty cool, right? And he’s a really nice guy.

But my all time favorite guy is probably Everson Walls. For those of you who don’t know who he is…this wonderfully generous man actually donated a kidney for his former teammate when diabetes took it’s toll and began to slowly kill him.  Later he co-wrote a book about his experience called A Gift For Ron. Since I heard he will be at the tailgate party, I’ll be buying the book and plan on getting him to autograph it.  I’m telling you, he and his wife are such wonderful human beings…I was glad to get the opportunity to get to know them in such a different venue.  Here’s a picture of me & hubby with both Everson and Bill, along with Kenny “The Shark” Gant.

Can you guys tell I’m excited?  Outside of writing…what are you passionate about? What kinds of celebrities would you like to meet or spend time with? Which celebrities have moved you? Have you met any?  If so, who? I love to hear about this stuff…

As you can tell, hubby and I are well matched.  And if none of those apply…or even if they do…what travelling songs do you enjoy?  Here’s what I’m leaving you with…Ha!  You had to KNOW I’d be leaving some music.

When in Dallas…. 😉

Oh yeah… (Michael Clark Duncan will be missed)