Friday, March 28, 2008

Northwest Review

I never did post the pictures from my interview tour to the Northwest. It was beautiful and we really lucked out on the weather. I would like to go back to the Portland, Seattle, Vancouver areas and explore more on my own when I don't feel like my every move is being scrutinized by potential employers. Even though that was the case, I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people.

First, it was a lot of fun because I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple people I knew on the tour. Brandon, who is a Texas native and toured with me in Alaska, showed up with his long johns on to keep warm in the 50 degree weather!

Trisha, from Miami, also was on the tour and she was in Alaska, too! She and I are in front of Mt. St. Helens.

I met a number of wonderful people. The great thing about tour directing is our varied backgrounds. There aren't many that set out on life's path to do this job. Everyone has such an interesting story. Here we are in front of the Vancouver, B.C. skyline.

Talk about varied backgrounds, this great lady, Jessica, was in the Army and her husband is still serving.

In Portland we visited the Rose Test Gardens and the Japanese Gardens. My favorite was the Japanese Gardens. It's a very simple, green arrangement and well manicured. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the rose garden more if they were in bloom. Notice the crane sculptures in the rocks by the pond.

While in Vancouver we visited the Capilano area, which has the Capilano suspension bridge. I believe Capilano is a name of one of the area's First Nations (what we call Native Americans). The bridge is built with cable and definitely wobbles. It was all I could do to not rock on the bridge!

Vancouver is a temperate rainforest, so the weather is quite mild year around, but it is also very wet. You can tell there's a lot of moss growing on the trees in the area.

We ended the tour in Seattle, and what's a stop there without the Space Needle? We didn't go up it, but I got a decent shot.

Friday, March 21, 2008

British Invasion

I'm back from my EF Smithsonian Tour, and it went smashingly! I had 24 British 17-year-olds and three teachers from a private girls school. It was so much fun! The girls really enjoyed the cities, and they were so very respectful. They knew a lot about American history already, and they were piecing it all together during the trip. They're a special group that I won't soon forget. I failed to take many pictures, and my one group photo didn't take ... Enjoy the photos I did manage to snap.

P.S. You'll be delighted to know that I was able to finally use my Civil War rap that I've been carrying around in my head since 5th grade as part of my tour. Now all I have to do is tour somewhere in Montana so I can use my Colonel Custer rap ...

"Top of the Rock" - I went to the top of Rockefeller Center the day I came in since I didn't have to pick up the girls until the following day. Pictures include Central Park, St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Empire State Building.

Chrysler Building from Grand Central Station

Macy's Annual Flower Show - The displays were amazing! The entire outfit is plant life.

George Washington's Mt. Vernon Estate. If you haven't been to Mt. Vernon in a while, you should make a point of going. They have a great new museum which answers any and every question you may have about the time period and Washington's hand in the development of America.

Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

U.S. Capitol

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Seven, sheep and song

All in one day, we had a 7th birthday party for my oldest nephew, Levi, we fed a sheep in the house because it somehow broke its leg (notice the duct tape ... and remember past blog posts with duct tape and a human foot) and Levi, Wyatt and I rocked out to guitar hero. I would post the pic of Mom rocking out, but I think she would kill me ... On second thought, she loves me too much to kill me, so I'll post it anyway ... Enjoy!

Levi posing with the cake Grandma Karla made.

Jimmy feeding the lamb in the kitchen.

Levi and Wyatt are very excited having the lamb in the house.

Levi, Wyatt and I rock out!

Mom doing her best Pat Benatar rendition! Sorry, Mom!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Birthed from Procrastination

The new blog header and color scheme is a result of my illness ... procrastination. I was looking for a photo, needing to work on my tour that's coming up next week, and voila, I have a new design. The photo was taken on my birthday in Denali National Park, Alaska. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Verdict is in ...

This past week I was on an interview tour with Collette Vacations, which was a wonderful experience in and of itself. (I'll post more about the trip and photos later.) There were 41 people interviewing, and I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the company. After much thought and mental torture, I made a decision. I declined the Collette offer in favor of GrandLuxe Rail Journeys.

Collette is a fantastic company, but I was not ready to exclude any other adult touring in order to work for them. I like the idea of working for the companies I want to work with, and I can still try to be an independent contractor for Collette. Also, there isn't any guarantee of how many tours you'll have in a year, and your calendar doesn't really fill up until year three.

That being said, I did accept the opportunity offered by GrandLuxe Rail Journeys. During the months of May and June I'll be traveling the parks of the West. In the months of August and September, the parks of the Northwest. I'm excited about seeing and experiencing all these different places.

My request from you: Years from now if I'm kicking myself because I didn't accept the job, remind me that I thoroughly weighed my options, and this was the best decision for me at this point in my life. (In case you haven't noticed, this is my attempt at self-therapy!)