Jet Lag: A Study in Sleep, Patterns, and Resets

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Before I completely leave England (or make my own personal Brexit … cause everyone is making that joke … even Iceland), I thought I would throw one last part of it with you.  Many of you faithful Bear Feeders aren’t the world travelers – either by choice, by lack of opportunity, or by happenstance – the one thing you definitely aren’t missing out on is the Jet Lag.  Regardless of the distance you travel, it is the beast of annoyance that makes such trips shorter on the good parts and longer on the bad parts.

Jet lag is quite simply your body adjusting to new time zones & sleeping patterns.  We as humans, for whatever reason we need to sleep, want to sleep at night time & assumes that night time is exactly at the same time it was yesterday.  So when you get off of a plane and the sun is blazing, but your body thinks it’s 2AM – it gets a little wonky.  Jet lag affects everyone on a trip to different degrees and in different ways, but regardless it is something that has to be addressed.

I write about it now, because five days after returning home from England, I am still gripping the jet lag bug.

I should state that there are two sides of jet lag when it comes to “short” trips like the one I was just on.  Going over – regardless of whatever distance I went over to get there – is always easier to me.  I thought it was just a European thing (I’ll get into that in a bit) but I seemed to have the same reaction when I went to Asia back in my old Cessna days.  The Coming Back was always the problem, and still remains so.

For going over, I follow certain rules that always seem to work for me.  Whenever you do travel overseas, most flights regardless of the destination are overnight.  That means, I try to sleep on the plane.  Now, I hear a lot of people say “I can’t sleep on planes” … and I am going to call BS on that one.  People said I sleep planes easy because I slept in buses in my band and drum corps days.  To me, if you can fall asleep on a couch, a chair, a movie theater, anywhere where you are sitting up … then you can sleep on a plane; you just don’t think you can sleep on a plane so you fulfill your own thoughts.  Regardless, sleeping on the plane isn’t manditory, it just makes it easier.  The real trick when going over is much harder:  Don’t Fall Asleep when you get there.  As long as the sun is up, stay awake.  No Naps.  No resting your eyes.  In fact, avoid sitting around for long periods of time.  I am not saying go be super active, I am saying act as though you are making a good day of it as long as the sun is up.  Then when you hit a reasonable (if not a little early) time to go to sleep, then settle in for a good night sleep with an alarm ready to get you up bright and early.

The point of all this is using your sleep deprived confused body to make the time zone switch it needs.  Yes you feel tired, but it’s not a tired that says “this is bedtime”.  Your body wants to be awake when the sun is up, so let it – and when the sun goes down and it’s time to sleep let it.

This all works if your travel plans match this schedule.  That’s why Europe is easier to do than Asia.  When your overnight flight arrives in Europe, it’s usually morning – and you can treat that day as your ‘jet lag’ day.  Going to Asia is tough because you usually arrive late afternoon or early evening (or when I went to Singapore, Midnight).  The flights are way longer to Asia, so that alone will make you more tired, but it’s easier for your body to say “stay awake at nigh time” than it is to “go to bed when it is dark”.

Coming back is a pain because all of this only seems to work in one direction.  I don’t get why really.  I usually joke that my body is saying: “Wait … I just made this big shift and now you want me to make another the following week?  Are you some sort of jerk?”

I had every reason to meet the same process.  Last week (in Boston time), I was up at 11PM Wednesday, dragged my bags across half of London, ran the gauntlet of security, found my plane seat at 6AM, successfully stayed awake until I arrived in NYC at 3PM, ran the customs gauntlet, was delayed, touched down at BOS & in my car by 7PM, ordered pizza, sipped a glass of wine, and finally found sleep at around 10PM.  In theory, I should be tired enough to sleep until 7 or 8.

I was up at 3am.

Saturday became a day of trying to stay awake and failing.  I hung with the pup and watched soccer, but seemed to only see about an hour of it between naps.  So come bedtime, I was not all that tired … but tired enough to fall asleep.  Until 4AM again.

Sunday I made myself be very active, and come 9PM I was worn out and asleep.  By 11PM I Was up.  It was 2:30PM when I fell back to sleep.  It was 5AM when I got up,

There is no pattern.  It is a frickin mess.

Except for one thing.  I’ve done one of those things that seems impossible sometimes, I shifted my waking hours.  In the last few months of working at home, I would get up around 6:30 and with only time for a cup of coffee dive into work for the next 10 hours.  Arising at 5AM yesterday meant I rolled out of bed, made it to the gym, stopped off for two hours of work at a Starbucks, and made it home dodging the rush hour traffic.  Today, same schedule but shifted to a second Starbucks to not look weird sitting in one place for 4 hours while stinking of post-gym sweat.  Jet lag may suck, but it means I can reset my internal clock to a new set-up.  It puts me a bit more head of the game, and gets me out of the house in the morning.

Of course, I know the schedule ahead of me the next two months … so I can only hope this will last.

Last Night In Town

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It’s time for one of Mitch’s random theories or principles or cocepts he feels obligated to name / share / go on about.  I thought about calling it the Memphis Belle theory but that is getting too obscure for most people these days.  Instead I go for the generic “Last Night in Town” approach (or theory or something … I don’t know, it’s just the last night in town).  But let me start it up by explaining the other name.

There’s a film from 1990 called Memphis Belle based on the true story of the title B-17 bomber who during WWII became the first such bomber to complete all 25 of its tour of duty.  At a key point when the Belle drops its bombs and the crew realizes that their mission allows them to flight back to base the pilot says: “We’ve done our duty for our country boys, now we are flying for us.”  Going back to my auditing days when it seemed my work schedule remained hectic, there would always come that critical time when I step out of that last meeting and think “I’ve done my job for this trip, now I am flying for me.”

That came today as the last meeting closed up and a long and tough 10 days of work wrapped up.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself over here, but between balancing critical developments and knowledge learned over here; the nightly dinner meetings with colleagues and customers; and the issues coming in from 5, 6 or 8 time zones away; I had much less time off than I am used to on these trips (including over 4 hours on a Sunday just banging out emails).  Come 2:30 this afternoon when the last of them finished – I was done done done, and ready to fly for myself.

So that lead to the “Last Night in Town”.  I never want to leave a place on a down note, even if it’s a bad place (example: Cleveland … see also France … see also Tucson … see also Cleveland).  So during the week I check out the things to do and places to eat.  If something stands out I trigger it as a place or thing for my last night in town.  

In a way it’s a remembrance of a cool Ben Folds Five song called “Steven’s Last Night In Town”.  That song tells the story of an exchange student that is heading home so in his last night they have a great party.  Then a couple days later he is still around and another great party happens.  Then again.  After a while they realize that he really has no idea when he is going home but he keeps saying and partying like every night is his last night in town.

Well I know when I am going home, it’s tomorrow, but I want that last night in town.  That great time.

Originally, I planned to tick off a minor bucket list item – attend a cricket match. But the weather stopped me.  Instead I am having a pint (or two) as I write this at a pub before a nice dinner.  Then it is off to a theatre for a highly acclaimed play: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” (thank you aunt Virigina for turning me on to this story). 

Back at my hotel, the bags are packed and the alarm set.  My flight is in late morning, and I will be home by evening.  Before then I am flying for myself and I look to enjoy my last night in town.

Cheers England!

A Walk in the Park

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Some of my most satisfying memories about visiting London feel like it was just yesterday; in part because it kinda was yesterday … and kinda not.  Nearly every trip to England that includes any downtime in London seems to have included time I spent in Hyde Park, the major public park near Central London that is the equivalent to NYC’s Central Park.  When combined with the Kensington Gardens (which basically is continuous to the point where you can’t tell where one starts and one ends) the 625 acre greenspace is a massive location deep in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world.  Yet it is this juxtaposition of the metro and the quiet that is the lure to many; and the start of what can be what turns a good day into a great day in London.

I say that it seems like I spend time in Hyde Park on every visit, because I am no longer quite sure when I haven’t visited Hyde Park on a London stay.  It seems as well that all those stays begin to run together to the point where I can’t quite tell if what I experience in my visit in 2011 was any different than the one in 2005 or the one in 2002 or the one in 2016.  The park changes, but it’s not something I particularly look for – or for that matter care about.  It is a place I just experience.

What does seem to happen is there is a typical approach I take; mostly because I only seem to remember a couple tube stops that lets you out at the park by name (I mean, how can I not remember ‘Hyde Park Corner’ is where I go for ‘Hyde Park’, right?).  From there, it is a mix of beauty, serenity, and life itself experienced as you cross the place.  The variety is part of what makes it so outstanding.  There are the rose gardens that flourish in one corner of the park.  The Serpentine Lake full of boats and lined with runners, walkers, and skaters.  There are the horse paths with rides going by slowly on their four-legged beasts.  Artwork and statues popping up in different places, including the famous Peter Pan statue to commemorate that this place was part of the inspiration for the stories.  There are the old trees, some old as England itself, with their knowing branches overlooking generations of royalty.  And of course a lawn so grand that it’s name “Grand Lawn” couldn’t be more apt as it takes up nearly half the length of the park up to Kensington Palace, home to members of the royal family still today.

This park is as such because of it’s connections to the royalty.  First purchased in 1536 by Henry VIII for hunting, it was slowly over the generations opened up more and more to the public.  Because it was so tied to the royalty, keeping it intact was a priority even against the challenges of the public.  In fact, it’s just as well known for public debate as anything.  One place called “Speakers Corner” has been the site designated since 1872 as a place for anyone to have a ‘Right to Speak’.  Since that time, every Sunday, people wanting to speak out on something came to the corner where they presented their case (including names like Karl Marx, Lenin, and George Orwell just to name a few).  Speakers chose to find platforms that would allow them to stand above the people to be heard (and in case they felt they could be damning, to make sure they were not standing directly on ‘Royal soil”); and because they were cheap and easily available and nearby shops the main choice was boxes that soap was shipped in — or in other words, to make a point they would “Get Up on a Soapbox”.

For me, there is something meditative about this place.  I tend to arrive and walk, just walk, and wander about the different paths and sidewalks.  Occasionally I will stop and sit on a bench or on the grass or on a hill.  Usually, I would have my headphones on and listen to some music – there are some albums I love that this was the place of my first deep listen too, and I still use to go back to that ‘meditative’ feeling Hyde Park gives me.  I also found this place to be rich with life – and catch myself people watching. Yesterday, I spent an hour watching families playing in an oval shaped fountain dedicated to Princess Diana.  Once I spent just as long watching someone practice their in-line skating next to Serpentine Lake, and as I sat in that memory yesterday, there was someone doing that exact same thing in the same place – right next to another giving a lesson to four kids who were skating for the first time.  On a sunny day like yesterday, you can see people throughout the park with lunches on blankets, laying out having a nap, or just in a space playing with their dog.  Trees were hiding places.  Squirrels were well fed.  Feet dangled in ponds.  Yet with the thousands if not tens of thousands of people who were visiting the park on this day – it remained immaculately clean, and as natural, well managed, and lush as if it was still a private estate for the King.

From that first time I spent an afternoon on English soil walking among the green grass of Hyde Park in 2002, up until yesterday, this place still remains one of my favorite places to be – a place where I can just put all the world behind me for a walk in the park.

British Bland

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My third day in England, and it’s been quite hectic.  Two really long, but productive days in Manchester now followed by a short weekend in London before long days of meetings to come.  Honestly, the first couple of days, the time was so short there wasn’t much room to sample what makes Britain British.  Well maybe I rode a train.  Discussed temperatures in Celsius.  Got rained on.  I guess those count.  I mean, it wasn’t until lunch today before I found a proper British Pub.

Well … of course I ate English food.  In fact, the first evening I was in the country, no more than a few hours after the plane arrived, I had The Quintessential English Meals.  The meal so popular in England and Scotland that is said to be the most ordered food at restaurants & take-outs in the last few years.  Of course I am talking about that famous of famous British food … Chicken Curry (that’s an Indian dish for those of you who don’t know) .. and I know who specifically wouldn’t know what Chicken Curry is, and to that specific person … Happy Fathers Day).

Curry is just an example to me of one of the biggest misnomers about England.  It seems so many people believe that British food is bland and flavorless.  I’ve been coming her for nearly 15 years, and never really considered the food here to be bland or flavorless – in fact, quite the opposite.  Those more traditional English foods jump out as items packed full of flavor.  Think about the old standard “Fish & Chips” – or fried fish with fries.  It’s hard to make anything fried flavorless:  A little batter, a lot of salt, and some yummy fish flavored greasy oil dripping and it is got yummers written all over it.  Toss on some malt vinager over top of everything and you are in flavor town baby!

But I am a much bigger fan of a good pie.  These are the meat pies that you can find in any traditional pub around the country.  Similar to an American “Pot Pie”, these are steak & ale, or chicken & veg, or other great mixes of goopy yums baked inside of a pie pastry.  Put some gravy over top and a side of mushy peas (think mashed potatoes except with cooked peas) and you got yourself a halftime delight during the football.  It’s cousin, and an absolute personal favorite since my years as a kinda-yooper at Michigan Tech, is a Cornish pasty – the same concept as a meat pie, but in a hand-held envelope with more potatoes or turnips or dryer veg.

It’s really all screams ‘comfort food’ to me.  Even with my new stomach, I don’t find any of it disagreeable – except the portion size is very American so much of it gets left on the plate.  I think the bad rap that British food gets is that it isn’t as sophisticated as French cuisine or dynamic as Italian or uniquely German as Germany, so it is lost to it’s European cousins.  To call it bland is, though, unfair

And it can’t be blamed on the people that’s for sure.  I mean, look at their love for Curry.  No dish, to me, is as complex in common food than curry.  Chicken Curry (or Chicken Tikka Marsala) is chunks of chicken cooked in a slathering sauce of gravy consistancy.  It assaults your nose with it’s spices.  It’s a unique smell, but defines ‘Curry’ from the curry powder in use – a smell that can be so strong that it lingers in your home for days.  I should explain, it’s spicy, but not “Spicy”.  I mean – It’s not like spicy Mexican dish where you have a single type of pepper that burns your taste buds – Curry as loads of different spices that when made well hits you at different moments as it enters your mouth.  But that’s not it.  The sauce uses coconut milk (which is a sweet flavor that doesn’t taste like shaved or toasted coconut for those who squirmed on that).  So just as you feel that overwhelming curry spice hit your mouth, it is rewarded with that sweetness of the coconut milk behind it – like getting a bit of sweets after a more spicy dish.  A great side of rice, and naan (a flat herb filled bread) to help scoop it all up, and a good curry can fill you up and warm you up in one sitting.  More than anything, curry is a burst of flavors and spices.  If the Brits love this dish this much, then you have to respect that they enjoy what isn’t bland.

So lay off the bland jokes, mate.

Cynically Freedom Trailed

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In Boston, there is a 2-1/2 mile long line that weaves through the downtown made of red brick and bronze plaques.  While easily missed if you are driving around, and sometimes just tripped over if on foot; it is also the most frequented tourist attraction in the city … whether they know it or not.  Of course, it mostly because it tags itself onto all the other tourist attractions, but that’s not the point.  It’s not the point that all the key restaurants and bars in downtown Boston tag themselves to it as well.  It’s not the point that it’s free either.  None of that matters, so quit asking.

What I am talking about here is The Freedom Trail.

If you’ve been a tourist, visitor, or random individual whom got a parking ticket in Boston at some time, you probably heard of the Freedom Trail.  A wandering, meandering, strangely indirect path that heads through the heart of Downtown Boston, to the North End, then across the Charles River before finishing in Charlestown.  Yeah, that’s still only 2-1/2 miles, it ain’t a big place, alright?  What makes the trail so popular is that it is placed so that someone on the trail will hit most of the big historical spots in Boston.  Developed in 1951, it is a simple line of red bricks heading you from site to site with an occasional bronze disc, weathered sign, or tour guide dressed in period clothing to point you to what you should be looking at.  The stops include the Old South Meeting House (where the famous Tea Party was planned), the Old State House (where the Boston Massacre happened), the Old North Church (as in ‘one if by land, two if by sea, three if by lost count’), Bunker Hill (site of a community college, or something), the USS Constitution (the only active US Navy Commissioned Vessel to have sunk an enemy ship – last during the War of 1812), and the most famous of stops … Ye Old Chipotle (seriously, there was a plaque in the ground that pointed me to go inside).

Today, in an effort to avoid doing work on a Sunday, I walked most of the trail — Charlestown was a long way from the subways.  It was a short subway ride from my home to the start in the Boston Common, and as the sun was out with a mix of warm moments and cold air from the ocean, it was a great day for a walk.

Now if you are taking the Freedom Trail, there are a few (cynical) rules you need to follow — be warned, this list may include sarcasm:

  • Don’t be surprised if someone tries to cross a street when the light says not to.  Those people are called “Locals”.  They are immune to getting run over, and are deaf to car horns.  As a Tourist, your job is to wait until the light turns green, and then open your map and look lost.
  • The guy who comes up to you and says that he needs a couple bucks to buy a Charlie Card on the T … no he doesn’t.
  • Don’t get slowed down by the Starbucks, 7-Elevens, and Burrito joints early in your hike.  Seriously, just walk on, Poutine Awaits.
  • Taking pictures of buildings is frowned upon.  Instead, you are recommended to take a video … without narration … you know, motion video of a building with no additional sound thus ruining the shot … because it may do something if you take a normal picture, or who knows, whatever, just stand there and take a damn video of a building.
  • If you think the uneven pavement and the broken cement is hard to walk on, don’t let it get to you.  There’s a hell of a lot of cobblestone later on to let get to you.
  • When in a crowded section of narrow sidewalk, you are to do one of those things.  Either stop suddenly, or slow over a short period of time as you move towards a wall blocking in someone behind you.  Conversely, it is acceptable to walk directly into someone coming the other way.
  • Selfie sticks are only to be used as a weapon unintentionally.
  • If you are from a foreign country, yes that set of flowers hanging over the edge of window planter will kill you – the more you over react and jump away from it the better the chance the world will be saved by your actions.

All kidding aside, it really is an interesting experience and a great cross-section of Boston history and culture.  There is no other place in the world that I can think of that so juxtaposes history with modern.  In the massive steel jungle of the high finance world of Boston, a building of red brick that has stood nearly 300 years stands getting the attention that it deserves.  Nearly every famous restaurant or bar in Boston is along the trail, and usually right at a location that becomes the only excuse you need to make a stop.  It’s a simple little concept with a simple little execution.  While there are a number of great ways to see the sites, this little path is a nice way for anyone to get a real taste of Boston.

If that ain’t enough, I’ll have someone give you a parking ticket.  That should round out the whole experience for you.

 

Pond Hopping

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Ever do something so regularly that you just begin to accept it as part of your life … And then it disappears … And then it comes back and you forgot how difficult / special it is?

Next Tuesday I leave for 10 days in England.  It includes a pretty aggressive work schedule including bench-marking plants & practices in my company and attended a Nadcap meeting (that’s an Aerospace Quality thing).  Part of it will be in Manchester but mostly in London.  There is a weekend in he middle there but with my current backlog it is way too likely I will spend it doing work.  This will be the seventh time I visited England, all of which for work purposes, going back to 2002, and including what I still call the most incredible trip of my life.

The thing is, it’s been since 2011 since I last spent time there.

Not only that, this is the first time I left the country since 2012.

Think of something you used to do but haven’t done in five years – like riding a bike, right?  Or like falling off a bike?

It’s almost eerie to me how low my attention is being put on this trip.  To know me is to know I travel a lot for work, and it should go without saying that I am used to it.  It’s pretty typical that I don’t do much to prepare.  I usually don’t pack until the morning of a trip, unless I have an early morning flight and don’t want to take a chance on oversleeping.  I have a second of everything I take with me (a second razor, a second hair brush, a second charger … and a third, forth, fifth, and whatever number I am sure to forget at a hotel).  Prep work is minimal and pushed to the last minute.

But this is international.  I mean, all those international things are done – like my passport is still good for six years, I don’t need a visa, and it only took a quick visit to Target to stock up on plug adapters.  International travel is still Different (with a capital D).

Yet in my head, I got to what I expect – more specifically the weekend in London.  Of the literally hundreds of buisness trips I have taken, if you to ask me what my favorite trip was – it would be the 2005 UK visit which included Birmingham, London, Sheffield, Almost getting blown up on the tube, meeting Brian Dennehy, catching the Eurostar to Paris for the Tour de France, the jack the ripper tour, getting kicked into a bar, Phantom of the Opera & Le Miserable live, tours of Stonehenge & Bath, ‘To the Wives’, and that is just to name a few.  If you were to ask me my second favorite trip – 2002 UK in Derby and London.  If I ever made a top ten (which don’t make me, cause you know I would), England would show up an awful lot there.

I don’t have exact plans for my downtown yet.  In part because I haven’t worked on them yet being … well, lazy.  Part of it though is that I want to see what the weather is like.  Nearly every trip that included any time in London during the summer, I ended up in Hyde Park – the Central Park of London (or I guess you could say Central Park is the Hyde Park of NYC).  There are just some places in the world where you go that makes you feel good – Hyde Park does that for me.  So you can expect that will happen sooner or later.

I don’t know if I will have many blogs about my experience over there – cause it sure doesn’t seem I do a good job of keeping up with this blog does it?  Still if I get the chance to, be sure to look for my little hop across the pond soon.

Buying Happiness

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Weird Al Yankovick in the Johnny Dangerously theme song coined the phrase:  “They say that money can’t buy you happiness, so I guess I’ll have to rent it”.  Arguably, and maybe a little unintentionally, I put that to the test.

You can say the time since my return to Boston hasn’t gone very well.  Part of it is fairly bad luck, or ‘the usual luck I have when in Boston’.  I caught a cold, I blew out a knee, my one year old heating & air conditioning unit stopped working in 80 degree humid heat, and I’ve averaged one parking ticket every four days in town just for finding the only spot to put my car in the entire frickin’ neighborhood.  That’s just the time I spent at “Home” since it was a little over a week before I needed to be in Connecticut for a week and a half.  I had the dread of what I knew was going to be a difficult working July & August, but it seemed every couple of days I was getting word of things that made the dreaded East Region Summer of Hell just that extra ring downwards.  By the first part of last week, I was stretched thin and wound tight with more stress than I really needed.

So my friends the Creeds suggested I come stay at their place for the weekend.

In Temecula.

California.

3500 miles away.

You know … with about 4 days notice.

It was kinda insane.  Kinda stupid.  Kinda not possible.

And that should be the end of the story.

So … there I was last Friday sitting on a plane landing at San Diego and ready for a couple of days in the Temecula Valley wine country.  What you think would be an insane plane fare.  Ironically, the parking at Boston Logan for the weekend was nearly half the price of the plane fare (that is not a statement in favor of airfare, that is a statement against the cost of parking … and before you ask, I would have been towed if I left it at home, because … Boston, that’s why).  Still, I freed up money for this weekend just so I can make a change, any change, something to my mind off of what was getting to me.

With that ‘freed up’ in mind, I extended my plans even more.  For one thing, part of the visit included attending a member’s event at one of the wineries there in Temecula.  Temecula, situated in an inland valley between Los Angeles and San Diego, is home to about 40 wineries, sizable enough to be a good day trip to any of the two big cities or a better overnight for them as well.   So, to be honest, most of the weekend plans included drinking wine … a LOT of wine.  But this one event was a specific winery called Doffo.  Chances are, you haven’t heard of it.  It’s small, small, mostly selling to people who visit.  It’s small enough that some locals haven’t even heard of it.  Yet going to this even meant more than just a chance to enjoy their wines, it meant seeing if I could join as a member myself.  With such a membership, you get deals on their wines, and they ship you a couple bottles monthly.  If you ever joined a winery, it’s probably no different than you are used to.  What’s exciting is that Massachusetts just shifted their laws, where before a couple months ago, I could not get wine shipped to me … now I can … so with the screaming of my credit card of the pressure of my introductory shipment; I can now say I am a member of a winery.

So … to get ahead of the Judgy Judgersons out there … this wine is worth it. Granted I got called a wine snob this weekend … twice … and by people who know what wine snobs are (so I have that going for me). But it’s not like I am joining up wineries left or right.  What makes Doffo special is that they trigger the two sides of my brain that seems to be what normally makes me happy.  Without rambling, I can just say Doffo is the kind of wine that if you don’t know wines you will love them (even if you prefer wines) – and if you know wines you appreciate them.

Then on another night, we went to a small benefit concert including bands from the 80’s (The Motels, BowWowWow).  Between groups they ran a little auction.  Most of it was music related or 80’s related.  Then came up a poster from Star Wars VII: Force Awakens (the one that just came out).  It was signed by all the principal cast (Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hammel, and more importantly Daisy Ridley … just to name a few), as well as JJ Abrams, George Lucas, and John Williams — WITH A certificate of authenticity.  In other words, it had everything.  They said it was worth around $2200 and put an opening bid little more than a third of that.  I just thought “I’m never going to get it, but it’s worth that price at least .. and I can cover that opening bid”.  So my hand shot up … and no one else’s did.  So, it’s mine now.

So in short – I spent a lot of money this weekend.  Lots of money.  Arguably all in the pursuit of buying happiness.  Heck, because I shipped both the wine and the poster you could even say that I didn’t even return home with anything to show for it all.  Yet, the money was spent anyway … and I am happy.  While you could say I didn’t really buy happiness, I just bought stuff, I do feel I at least rented it for a little while.

And renting happiness works for me.

POST SCRIPT — I thought about calling this blog “renting happiness”, but I think there is at least one escort service with that same name … or y’all would have just assumed that was where I was going to go with it.