Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Bucket Lists and Contests

I received an email from American Airlines enticing me with a come-on that says, "Been there. Done that." It's a chance to win one of three trips I have on my bucket list. I know this because they said that after I win it, I can cross the trip off my bucket list. (American Airlines: We read minds!)

All I'd have to do to win one of these experiences (after I register and read the small print and select which trip I desire, making sure to follow the exact instructions provided), is to then, before March 19 of this year, book an airline trip through American Airlines. To enter. And then, if they pick me out of the hundreds of thousands of entries (or however many), VOILA!

Although their trips are, for many, undoubtedly already on your bucket list, I wasn't hugely interested in any of them. Once you check out the link, you might wonder what is wrong with me that I neither crave a Napa Valley Excursion, a Paris Fashion Immersion, or an opening day Baseball Experience in NYC. If I even had a bucket list, my travel wishes would skew more toward ALASKA again! Or what about IRELAND! We have so many old friends in Florida now! Wouldn't it be nice to putter around and visit them before we're all dead? But that's just me. I'm not a huge wine fan (whiskey, please), I'm definitely not into fashion, and although I do love baseball, unless one of the NYC teams is playing the Cubs ... (Why do I torture myself?)

In order to win, you have to have an AA Advantage #, be 21 years of age, and make sure you use the same email to both register and order tickets.You must have somewhere you need to fly, and buy those tickets by the deadline. You also might want to read the entire list of official rules (link located on the choices page), barring you're not already running out of time to achieve your bucket list--especially if you want to allow time to read the privacy statements about what they can do with your information. Prizes are worth $17,000 each (they will award one of each), so you also have to be able to afford to pay the taxes. It says so in those rules.

I supposed you have to be nuts not to register, because, hey, it's free, and it could be fun. All trips, even to your local Denny's, can be filled with adventure and frivolity if you're with the right people, correct? They're all four-day trips, and they are for two. It doesn't say you have to take your spouse or even your significant other. In fact, from what I can tell, you don't even have to be one of the two. But then again, I didn't read all that fine print because I'm now too busy working on my bucket list, since even AA thinks I have one.

In the process of full disclosure, I did register. I plan on taking up a collection to pay those taxes, should I win--and I am, seriously, the luckiest person I've ever met. I'm in for the NYC baseball experience. By the time I read that I'd get to spend time with "a baseball legend," receive a tour of NYC (I do love the energy of that place!), a "spa experience," (okay, they started getting my serious attention), a $2500 MasterCard gift card (to procure a few items on my shiny new bucket list), and dine at Red Rooster Harlem (I'm definitely in now: there's FOOD!), I found myself seriously HOPING to win, this after my whatever beginnings.

But my problem is this: I have no airline reservations to make, which is their motivation for offering the prizes: FLY US. But just in case a surprise journey should pop up by mid-March, when I'll be doing a little book touring, albeit driving, you can bet I'll try to fly AA, just to have a shot at winning. I can already taste those mm-mm ballpark dogs. With my MC gift certificate, I'll be able to afford them.

**I can't imagine why I wrote about this! My personal advertising might cause you to enter, thereby lowering my odds. Then again, maybe if you win, you'll take ME!**

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Negotiating Life's Speed Bumps (take heed)

Feel it?
Sometimes, we temporarily need to let go of a few Good Things in order to handle the rest of the Good Things—and a few rocky ones as well. 

Alas, my TravelingLaughs blog posts fell among the “backburnered for a spell”.  (My apparent definition of “a spell”:   Basically since May 2010. Where does time go?!)  Too many deadlines, too much stress, not enough of me to go around. Yada-yada.

But the main reason I had to temporarily uncurl my fingers from a few ongoing due dates:  too many compiling health issues. 

Need a break?
Not surprisingly, the health issues were induced/exacerbated by the deadlines and stress and … you get the picture.  Maybe you’ve been there.  Maybe you ARE there. (I pause here and fire up a prayer for those currently living in those crazed trenches.) Add in a heart monitor, a biopsy, endless medical tests, a high-rise worth of worry and insurance papers, and … fast-forward to this brief explanation about my absence.

The Good News:  I’m ba-ack (at least once in awhile) because after a steep learning curve, I’m wiser (do not ask my husband about this), better paced (for a slow person), and for the most part, pretty well mended. I’m also old, getting wrinklier, but still considering myself fascinating.

It seems not one of the numerous health issues I have--and I “have” several wonky ones, including a rare benign tumor--is going to kill me. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! There is a time for coping, a time for sucking it up, a time for stopping or at least slowing down, and a time to resume one’s New Normal. Welcome to my world!

As for travel, I no longer board many airplanes, for which I am grateful. This coming May, we’ll be attending a family wedding in Albuquerque. George and I have already decided we’re going to drive, a plan that used to make my nose hairs curl. But these days, Post Physical Meltdown, there is something lovely about the pace of driving, the ability to “Take that back road, George!”,  to stop at local cafes and see a bit more of this great country through something other than a Martian’s-eye view--although sometimes that view is breathtaking. Perhaps driving will even help me adjust more normally to Albuquerque’s elevation. The last few times we flew in, it took at least two days for the headache to subside.

In accordance with my new dedication to living wiser, I herewith proclaim: the mother of the groom should not have a headache throughout the festivities, just because she was in a flying hurry to get to the wedding. (EXCITING! However, due to the casualness of the wedding--but mostly for the continuing betterment of my health--I am totally NOT reading the stressful information on that mother of the groom link!) We shall take our time, see the sites along the way, arrive a couple days ahead of schedule, press through the adjustment, and, as a result, be in our finest shape to witness and enjoy the miracle and blessing of Love.

Perhaps it’s a good day for you to check your schedule, see if you can’t find at least one upcoming road-warrioring trip that allows you a little breathing room. Maybe a tweek here, an extra four hours there before you have to fly out or home. Maybe you can even skip one of those trips. For Real.

These are pretty cool.
They're made out of 100% recyclable
materials, and can be moved--to where you
need speed bumps the MOST!
Get the metaphor?!?!?!

Once you’ve experienced burnout and helped crash-land your own health, you feel it’s your responsibility to at least suggest a few speed bumps in the traveling lives of others.

The Voice of Experience