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[sticky post] Feb. 1st, 2016

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Istanbul, Update 33 - That really happened.

[personal profile] gridlore and I are home again, after an amazing week in an amazing city. There will be stories and photos to follow, but at the moment I have been awake for 24 hours, and need to stuff food in my mouth before I crash and burn.

Thank you all, again, for making this dream come true.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1351375.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

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We interrupt this vacation...

...to mourn Prince's passing in the only appropriate way.



This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1351012.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

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"There comes a point past panic," a friend of a friend once said, "where all you can do is turn the ignition." They were talking about BurningMan prep, but it seems equally apropos here.

Our bags are packed, inventoried, and ready to be locked down for transit. Tomorrow's outfits are picked out and ready to go. We're both freshly shorn; I even had time to get my nails done.

The author"s hand, holding a passport, modeling a fresh set of Jamberry nail wraps
Jamberry nail wraps in Boysenberry and Passport[retired].

We are less than 24 hours from our scheduled departure time.

Let's do this.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1350815.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

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The subject of journal-versaries came up elsewhere this morning, reminding me "Oh, yeah, I started mine in March, didn't I?" So off I went to look it up.

Created on 5 March 2001 (#69080)


Fifteen years. That's ONE-THIRD of my life. And considering how ephemeral things on the net so often are, rather miraculous to consider.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1350383.html. Feel free to comment in either location.


An excellent overview with minimal voiceover (not least because half the video was shot on the sly). His comments about the lack of adjustments on the seat are things I've heard before; he's got nothing nice to say about the food, but this is still better than anything I've ever had set in front of me at 30,000ft. (And hallelujah, he showed us the lavatory. That was one of my biggest concerns, no pun intended.)

I'm still trying to decide whether or not the forward/down camera on the video display is helping with the panic dreams I've started to have. I'd really like my pre-9/11 love of flying back now, kthxbai.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1349418.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

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I took Friday off from work so [personal profile] gridlore and I could run some travel-related errands during business hours. Our first stop was the travel desk of our local AAA office, where we were able to book a 7-day tourist pass that covers a good 2/3 of the things we wanted to do, including the Big Bus Tour, a hammam visit (Galatasaray, rather than Hurrem Sultan, but that's a minor quibble), a Bosphorus dinner cruise, and admission to both the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace. We also booked our transportation from the airport to our hotel and a day trip to the Princes' Islands. Anything else we want to do on the trip we can probably leave in the hands of the hotel concierge at this point.

From there, it was up to SFO; I'd found an ad on FB that was offering a "summer pass" for Clear, and we needed to go do our biometric scanning to complete the registration process. It took a while to figure out where we actually needed to be - the Info Desk was less than helpful, and we initially wound up at the TSA Pre-Check office, not realizing (as is apparently true for most folks) that they are separate programs - but once we were there, the process was simple, and the staffer we worked with was great. (As an added bonus, Clear also operates at AT&T Park, and our passes will cover the one Giants game we're going to make it to this year.)

Once we were done with that, we headed over to the ticketing counter for Turkish Airlines; the one thing I hadn't been able to do online was book our seat assignments, and since we were in the building anyway, I figured doing it f2f wasn't going to hurt matters any. We have the same seats for both flights: 7A-B, which don't get great reviews on SeatGuru, but even a bad seat in Business Class will be better than anything in Economy. (And as Doug noted on FB, we live next to a railroad track, so it can't be any worse than that.)

Five weeks. Now is a perfectly good time to panic. ;-)

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1349337.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

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Istanbul, Update 29 - Flying While Fat

There were many reasons [personal profile] gridlore and I budgeted for business class seats when we set up this campaign. While others were more important, this was definitely on the list.

https://medium.com/@thefatshadow/what-it-s-like-to-be-that-fat-person-sitting-next-to-you-on-the-plane-85006e263778#.3v7yh1uw2

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1348715.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

Technology is thwarting me.

As some of you may have seen elsewhere, [personal profile] gridlore and I bought a Kindle Fire HD6 last month (for the trip, for his inevitable next hospital stay, etc.). We have a LOT of ebooks already that I've converted to the appropriate format(s) using Calibre. But no matter what transfer method I use - sideloading them from Windows Explorer or syncing with Calibre - the files ONLY show up in whichever profile is open on the Fire at the time. Exceptionally maddening: I used the Send to Kindle option to email myself a book as a test, confirmed receipt in my profile, then switched to Doug's profile and WATCHED IT DISAPPEAR from the corresponding location.

Anybody have suggestions for what I might try?

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1348606.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

Just how I wanted to spend my afternoon.

I already had one parent blocked entirely on Facebook. I just unfriended the other.

Comments disabled. Please do not reach out to me by other methods.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1348258.html. Comments disabled in both locations.

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I placed an order with our bank for a supply of Turkish Lira - we'll be charging most of our purchases to the debit card, but having cash on hand for tipping housekeeping at the hotel, etc. is always a good thing. They called this afternoon, and I'll be able to pick it up tomorrow.

EDIT: I found out from the bank when I went to pick up the money that there's a 3.8% surcharge on foreign-currency debit transactions, vs. a $5 flat fee for using a foreign-currency ATM. Looks like I'll be getting to know where the nearest bancomat is.

Stock photo of Turkish Lira, showing a fan of bills in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 denominations, plus coins in .05, .10, .25, .50, and 1 denominations.

"We need to visit more places with pretty money," says [personal profile] gridlore.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1348094.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

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Istanbul at sunset, as seen from the water, with Galata Tower in the distance

A generous benefactor has made up the last not-quite-$300 to get us to our $12,500 goal (the $8,500 you see on the site, plus the $4,000 contribution from my employer).

Our flight leaves in 81 days.

This is really happening, and I will NEVER have the words to thank you all.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1347004.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

Hearing hoofbeats and looking for zebras

Several days on, [personal profile] gridlore has begun to think that perhaps the latest unpleasantness wasn't a pancreatitis flare, after all...

As those who follow me elsewhere on social media saw, I came home from work on the 14th to find Doug running a fever of 102. I sighed, figured it was time for another case of pneumonia, and started packing a hospital bag. (With his extensive medical history, 103 is our "grab your coat and a book, we're going to the ER" marker.) We're both so accustomed to things going all the way wrong at once, I'm amazed it actually occurred to me to try OTC meds, but it did, and he dropped three points in as many hours. Crisis averted, we set an alarm for the middle of the damn night so he could take a second dose at EXACTLY the six-hour mark to make sure the trend continued in the right direction, and otherwise got on with our lives.

While the bullet was mostly dodged, Doug has spent the ensuing week with a deep, bronchial cough. Round about lunchtime yesterday, he suggested that maybe he'd simply strained his diaphragm/esophagus from all the exertion. Perhaps the biggest point in favor of this theory is the fact that he never lost his appetite (some of you may recall just how big an issue that was last summer when he was diagnosed).

I'm still looking at the rest of that 6-pack of Kaliber with an incredibly wary eye, though.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1346791.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

And the stars look very different today...



I remember watching this live, and how completely shattered I was as Bowie dropped to one knee in the middle of his set and recited the Lord's Prayer.

If there is a hereafter, I can only imagine that Freddie was waiting at the gates with a drink and a smoke.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1346290.html. Feel free to comment in either location.
Folks, this is it. The last time we're going to bug you about our trip to Istanbul. We've decided to make December 31st the day we stop pimping the trip, and start focusing on going.

Thanks to your amazing generosity, and with the boost from EarthBaby, we've raised a stunning $11,640. We're just $860 from reaching a goal that frankly scared the hell out of us when we started this thing. Because of you, we have already purchased:



In the coming weeks, we'll be booking tours and dinner cruise reservations, getting our visas, and doing the eight million last-second things that this trip requires. [personal profile] gridlore is actually upset that 2016 is a leap year, because it means waiting one more day.

But we want to end this year's fundraising with a bang. If everyone reading this gives just a little - ten bucks, five, even a dollar - we can meet the goal and be secure in the knowledge that we are paid for.

So ring that bell a few more times before we ring in the new year.

Thanks again to all of you for making this happen. Doug is getting to see a place he's dreamed of since childhood, we're both getting an amazing 25th anniversary trip, and you will get a ton of photos.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1345949.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

Blah humbug

There are a bunch of half-started posts in my head - seeing SW:TFA twice in a week, winning tickets for Brian Setzer on Christmas Eve, all the lovely things I got for the holiday (including fic!) - but one of the UNlovely things I got for the holiday was a nasty-ass bronchial thing, so my rattling lungs and I are going to go back to bed, instead.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1345560.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

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FYI

I'm currently experiencing a significant amount of bad brain weather. The various stressors of the past four months finally imploded at lunch today, and I was actively in crisis for several long, scary minutes. ([personal profile] gridlore told me in so many words that I was freaking him out; he wasn't the only one.)

I've emailed my former therapist, as I've decided the benefit of working with someone I already know outweighs the literal and figurative cost of having to drive back up to SF to see her. But I may be circling the wagons for a bit until that comes together.

Comments disabled.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1345459.html. Comments disabled in both locations.

The Mane Event (pun intended)

I've been terrible about keeping this thing updated lately, and I want to get better about it, because my life hasn't just been dead cars and fundraising, I swear.

[tumblr.com profile] myrkrida posted to the Book of Face a few weeks back, asking if anyone was interested in seeing Odysseo, as it was totally not her housemate's thing, and she wanted someone there to ooh and ahh at all the pretty with her. I blanched a little at the ticket prices, but she insisted upon calling it a Yule present.

The show was last Thursday, and BOY, was there a lot of pretty. 70 horses and 45 performers worth of pretty.



Due to the way the Grand Chapiteau Blanc is set up, accessible seating is in the front row. We were less than ten feet away from the edge of the ring. That bit in the video with the horses running through the water? Is an actual portion of the show - they flood the front half of the ring for the finale, and we got splashed as the horses ran by. They come so close at curtain call that we both had to sit on our hands to keep from reaching out to pet them. (Kimmi resisted the urge to splash out for the VIP tickets, which include a post-show stable tour, but it was a very near thing to hear her tell it. ;-) )

It was also just good to spend some time hanging out with Kimmi; this past autumn hasn't been very easy on either of us, so having a few hours where we could both just forget about Real Life was emotionally nourishing.
The only sour note of the night was the travel portion of the arrangements. All of the advertising I'd been seeing had said the show was at AT&T Park, so I'd been expecting to go through the gate at Willie Mays Plaza and see something set up out on the green; instead, it was set up in the parking lots south of the park, meaning a half-mile walk between the venue and the train station. (I perhaps should have known better, having seen the original Cavalia tour set up here in SJ and knowing what it looked like, but I've also been to other non-baseball events at the park before, including one with an ice rink set up just past the pitcher's mound, so it wasn't an unreasonable assumption from where I sit.) I also misremembered the CalTrain schedule, and thought there was a southbound train that left at 2300; it actually left at 2240, which was just as we were getting out of the show, and I wound up having to wait for the last train at midnight instead. (Adding insult to injury was the realization that for the cost of what I spent on a round-trip train ticket and parking at the station, I could have driven to SF, parked at the venue, and gotten home two hours earlier at the end of the night.)

I made a valiant attempt at going to work the next day, but I was utterly fried; I left at lunch and promptly slept for three hours upon getting home. It was absolutely worth it, though.

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1344977.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

Istanbul, Update 25 - Finding Suleiman

The Süleymaniye Mosque (as featured in our cover photo) has been near the top of our to-see list for as long as we've been planning this trip. But while this may have been the final resting place of Suleiman the Magnificent, it was not his only resting place. Though his body was returned to Constantinople, historians believe that his heart and other internal organs were buried at the site of the battle where he was killed, in a tomb erected on the site where his tent had stood.

And now, there is evidence that the lost tomb of Suleiman has been found. (No, we will not be planning a second trip to Hungary, much to [personal profile] gridlore's disappointment.)

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/dec/09/suleiman-the-magnificent-tomb-hungary

This entry was originally posted at http://kshandra.dreamwidth.org/1344488.html. Feel free to comment in either location.

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We're flat broke, but hey - we do it in style....

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