Sunday, December 26, 2010

Plans are forming

The first steps of our journey are planned and ready to go.

We leave from Fargo, ND on Wednesday morning, 1/12/10.  First stop is Minneapolis, and then non-stop to Tokyo where we'll be staying overnight, hopefully to sleep and get refreshed.  No time for any sight seeing there, because the next morning we'll be off to Kuala Lumpur, arriving at about 6:30 pm on Friday.

Sarah has booked us tickets to Jakarta, where she promised to meet us at the airport and drag us (we will surely be zombies by then - about 11:15pm) to an airport hotel where we can become human again. She is in charge of the plans, and has surprises up her sleeve!    She's not divulging much at this point but whatever we do, it will be different from being in northern Minnesota in January!!

It's getting exciting!  I think I'll go see how my packing is progressing!

Friday, December 3, 2010

More picture practice

Here are Dad and Mike in October.  We had lunch at this nice restaurant right on the water, can't remember the name of the place, it's near Tampa.  It's the only restaurant I've ever been to where the waiter advised "no, you really don't want to order that".  Can't remember the waiter's name, either.  Mike?  Help!

and here's a really different part of my world...right outside my door, there's David climbing up his new ham radio tower to fix a connector.  He's not supposed to go up there when he's home alone.
Both of these photos are uploaded from my camera card.  Much the easiest way to add photos to blog.  Just don't lose the camera or the card!

The arch in Summer

The arch in Summer
Originally uploaded by kditz

Greener days in Northern Minnesota. This picture is coming over from Flickr straight to my blog! "oh, fer cool!"

Picture of a quilt

This picture was upload from PhotoBucket.  I'm not really sure how to center it.  Ah.  That's how.  Okay, that was interesting and much clunkier than just throwing up the picture from the camera picture card.  Now to try the other photo website.

Practice with Pictures

Which is better, PhotoBucket or Flickr?   The Blackberry upload is really cool but I guess my Blackberry will be incapacitated overseas.  So I have some pictures on Flickr and some on PhotoBucket. I just tried uploading to the blog from PhotoBucket, was told it was a success, but I don't see anything yet.  I'll give it a few minutes, meanwhile I'll upload something from Flickr.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Here's what fell yesterday

Originally uploaded by kditz

The scene of the ouch

The scene of the ouch

Yesterday I went to the doctor...well, not the doctor but the PA...or no, it says she's an NP, whatever that is...but I no longer have a doctor because the one I'd had forever decided to move on and do I ever miss having a doctor who knows me and can answer my questions intelligently and knows what SHE is doing...well anyway, that's another issue.  I went for my vaccinations and pills.

Tetanus.  Typhoid.  Malaria.  Ciproflaxin.

First the nurse goes thru it all, getting my weight and blood pressure and all that.  She writes down the above.  We check and see I had my tetanus booster last year.  Yay, one less shot to take!  And then she tells me she thinks I might have to go to Grand Forks for the Typhoid and Malaria stuff.  I told her my husband had gotten it here last week.  Oh, okay then.

In comes the NP.  She looks over this stuff, we talk about it, she pulls up the CDC webpage and asks me to find what we're looking for.  Travelers' Health.  Indonesia.  Gets alarmed when she sees "Yellow Fever" because I had not asked for that vaccine, and I pointed out that they're just saying anyone coming to Indonesia from a country where Yellow Fever is present needs to follow those instructions...she's still hesitant.  I pointed out that the US is not one of those countries.   Then we find the list of malaria vaccines and she's a bit boggled by this.  She asked which one my husband got last week..."I don't know, should I call him?" I asked.   No, we can look it up.   So she pulls up his name in the clinic directory and gets his Rx for Mefloquine , hastily read the instructions.   Back to my Rx, she types in "1 tablet the week prior, 1 tablet during, 1 tablet 4 weeks after travel" and I told her it's supposed to be "1 tablet each week of travel and each week for 4 weeks after"...we're going to be gone 3 weeks, so I'd need.... (shh...the answer is 8)...she says "I'll just write it for 30".    So Sarah, if you're reading this, I can stay with you for a few months extra!!

And then the Rx for the Ciproflaxin, just in case.  That one went pretty smoothly, I think.  I haven't actually filled the Rx yet so maybe not.

And then the nurse comes in with the shot for Typhoid.  I hate shots.  But it went in real smoothly, no problemo!  Until a few hours later and I can barely move my arm!  OUCH no one told me this would hurt!  I guess they didn't know since they didn't even know we had the typhoid vaccine in-house.   One day later and still it hurts when I move my arm certain ways.  But I won't get typhoid!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ben's kitty

Ben's kitty

Testing of sending picture from my phone straight to the blog!  It works!  Nevermind the feet in the background.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another answer

The answer to the travel agent question.  I did call the boss of the travel agency and told him about my experience and how disappointed I was.  He apologized and explained how different agents have different styles and the one I was speaking with isn't the one if you want Warm Fuzzies.  I guess I wanted Warm Fuzzies.  So I did go back and talk to the right agent for me and we do have our tickets!!   And it was quite helpful to have an experienced travel agent plugging in the requests.  We're going to Indonesia in January for three weeks!  All we have to do is get ourselves there and Sarah will plan the rest of our itinerary.   I requested a visit to the orangutan refuge, David asked for snorkeling... And Sarah has sweet places she wants to show us in her adopted country. 

My intention now is to get used to posting on a regular basis, and get very familiar with uploading pictures so I can share this adventure with friends and family.  We'll see how I do.  

The answer is no

It's a chain guard and apparently they cannot be purchased from a bike shop unless you find one that has been salvaged.  I'm kind of bummed about that.  I mailed mine to Honest Paul at the Honest Bike Shop in Rochester, MN; he checked to see if he had a match and he doesn't.  Now we're communicating with voice messages and he says he doesn't know why I'd want this back... I do because it's mine and I still hope to find a replacement!  He did offer some suggestions, there's a bike shop in Grand Forks?  and there's a company in Wisconsin that owns the Schwinn Company?  He's very helpful, Paul is, but bottom line is that I don't have a chain guard and I liked having it. 

It's winter anyway.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What is this thing, and can I get a replacement?

It broke when I tipped over on my bike.   I didn't even know that it had broken until it clunked down and was interfering with the pedaling action.  It must have a name but I can't find one online to order.   Seems like not such a big deal, but it did prevent my leg from getting greasy when I ride, plus it seemed a bit of a protection from those pokey bits on the gear. 

Tipping over was just a dumb thing I did.  I don't even know what I was doing, I think I was trying to reach down and check my tire pressure on the front tire - while slowly riding on my driveway...or maybe I was feeling the front brake pad.  I don't know why I didn't stop and do whatever it was I was trying to do, silly.  And before I knew it I was falling, unable to stop it.  I was okay.  The bike thingy broke.

I'd like to replace it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thoughts While Pedaling

It was really windy today, which I didn't realize when I decided to ride my bike to town.  It's a ~6 mile ride, 3.5 miles east and 2 miles north, then usually less than a mile to wherever.  When I opened the door to take the bike out, I saw how windy it was.  The wind was straight out of the south, about 20 mph.  I decided to go for it.  Riding in was fine - a nice push on that northerly ride.  But coming home...well, it took about twice as long as it usually does.  My roads are straight and flat and fortunately there's not much traffic.  I thought the ride going south was hard and was relieved when I made the turn to the west but after I turned, I could hardly stay on the road!  I was buffeted around and sighed a "thank you" to every car that moved over to the other lane while passing me.  

When I ride, I ponder things.  I watch the speed on my little odometer, I watch the road and the scenery.  Sometimes I sing.  And I ponder things.  Today I was pondering the wind.  As I said, my road is flat.  Biking is kind of boring, til I get to town and I love to ride around the neighborhoods and look at people's houses and gardens.  The long straight stretch to town is easy because it's flat.  But today I was wondering how steep of a hill would correspond to the wind I was riding against.  I suppose someone has figured it out, you'd just have to know something like how fast you're going and how hard you're pedaling and somehow there must be a way to compare "up a hill" with "against the wind".  So I felt like I was riding "uphill" coming home.  The times when the wind would briefly die down were like a flattening of the hill.  And then the gusts were when the hill gets steeper.  But what's the correlation when the wind is coming from the side, trying to push me over?  That got a bit tricky at times!

No plane tickets yet.  No word from Indonesia pinning down the dates we should go.  But I did call the travel agent's boss and tell him about my less than desirable experience and why I'm not going back to the agent I had.  He apologized and explained and said that there's another agent who would be better for my situation.  Haven't decided yet if I will take him up on his offer to make an appointment with her.   So that's still up in the air.  Nothing to blog about in that area yet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What is a travel agent for, anyway?

So, we're going to Indonesia in January.  We've been looking at airfares and options for several months, the time is approaching. We'll soon know when we want to go and who's going.  It's mindboggling doing searches on Kayak, Expedia, Orbitz - all the favorite travel websites.  So I thought - this would be where a travel agent would come in handy, someone who can pull up the best options the quickest.  We can check for flights to and from multiple possible locations.  We want to consider travel time, number of stops and layovers, cost - all that good stuff that I've already spent hours looking at and feel like I'm just going around in circles.

So I decided to enlist the help of a travel agent.  I thought I'd walk in and spend we'd some time together checking things out. What did I expect?  I expected some enthusiasm!  This is a Big Deal!  This will be an Exotic Trip!  I expected some ideas!  I expected Agent to say "sit down!  Let's see what we can do!"  What did I get?  Agent said she'd email me.

Which she did. Okay, it was a start.  She gave me costs to fly from 3 different local airports to Jakarta. Told me where they fly through (Shanghai, Abu Dhabi).  And that's it!  So I asked her to check flying to Kuala Lumpur (I thought I'd said that in the office).  This time she emailed me only the costs.  I asked her about shots and vaccinations we might need, she referred me to the CDC web page.  She clearly does not want to share in this trip planning experience with me!

I was getting a bit irritated (I think the feeling was mutual).  I emailed her asking if she's only quoting me the "cheapest" flight and if she's taking into consideration travel times... I don't want any 24 hour layovers just to save $100.  I also asked her for a quote for my son to leave from Madison and meet up with us at whatever airport we leave the country from.

Her reponse was to "Ms Ditz" (I'm no longer Kim), here it is:
"We compare all airlines that fly to that destination to offer you the least expensive option.  Since your dates are up in the air I did not mention flight times, as they can change along with the prices from day to day.  I'm assuming you would like to travel from Fargo, as that was the least expensive price that I found on your orignial quote back in August.
Since you have been looking online, can you give me some specific dates for travel and I will tell you the flight times that I'm looking at."

Well gee, I could make multiple comments on this... like, obviously flight times change, so do prices, but she quoted me prices.  Did she expect me to go in and book from her first initial quote, without looking into various options?  I don't know.  Planning a trip is half the fun and Agent is not making it fun.  She doesn't want my business, obviously.  She must make more money booking cruises.  I'll have a talk with her boss when I have time...and it's back to Expedia and Kayak and Orbitz for me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The First Post

I was spending way too much time coming up with a name for my blog, hence the name.  I thought the url for the blog would be simple: first initial last name, there are no other K Ditzes... and someone has it!!  So, since it is my name and since I'm becoming more so the older I get... kditzy will have to do.

Why a blog?  The main reason for starting this is so I can post pictures when we travel to Asia in January.  But in looking over other people's blogs, I see quilters and knitters and gardeners (all of which I am) and maybe I'll post things about quilting and knitting and gardening... and reading and painting and other things.  Another good reason not to name the thing.

So this is my first experience with blogging.  And if I don't tell anyone it exists, no one will know.  But now it's late so things like my profile and deciding about the background and stuff... that will have to wait.