Caren Ware's Blog

November 23, 2014

My Spring as Concierge at SPRING CREEK Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming

Before, during, and after Africa I made sure I had ‘those” resumes out. I heard so often that I ought to get a “real” job. I was chosen to interview for many recreation management positions, but knew three things: I was older than the hiring age they sought, I was an entrepreneur and feared as having too much experience in the private business sector, and I was used to running my own company and working for myself. The job search reminded be of Dallas airport when it got shut down in an electrical storm. It took through the next day to get the thousands of stranded passengers onto other flights and missed connections. People by the hundreds ran from counter to counter trying to get on lists for the few seats left. I had no idea how many people were queuing for jobs…any job despite the education and back ground experience. And trying to interview and be chosen in the pile of hundreds and hundreds of applications was…well, like Dallas Airport after an electrical storm. So while I took the time to soak in what I was going to do with all my projects, I took this coveted job as a concierge at a priceless piece of property with the billion dollar view, Spring Creek Ranch. I would be designing and booking people’s grandest experiences; a ‘to do’ list while vacationing in the Tetons and Yellowstone. I would do so while pulling together the scripts, journals, pictures, and projects of “FINDING FIT”, starting up an event production company, an adventure travel company, and putting in motion the non profit agency to help the needs I saw in my travels. Now, there is a lot of “to do’s”!!!

My good appetite for adventure was perfect for devoting to finding out what super things one could discover DOING in this Wyoming region. I found many fascinating things. Paragliding for one. Since the Tetons are a slip fault mountain range, there are no foothills. This is what makes them so awe posing and dynamic. They stand erect from the valley floor. They are perfect for thermal updrafts and perfect for paragliding. The guides take the guests by tram to the top of Jackson Hole Ski Resort at near 11,000 feet. They tether tandem for a jump, fluff out the chutes, run a short distance until the wind just lift all three, the guide, the guest, and the paraglide kite.

I ordered a girlfriend from So California to come test out these activities with me. Her great response.  In a heartbeat.  She arrived a few days later. If she could do these in her high heeled boots and tiny physique, than any of our guests could. Thank you, girlfriend, for being so game. Paragliding ended up being a surreal and pleasant surprise. It is not one hundred mile an hour winds in your face and terrifying free falls of parachute jumping. It is placid swirling and ebbing high in the sky with the sound of the flapping strings and the ruffling ballooning of the kite. Soaring! Peaceful. Until the pilot thinks to thrill you with an upside down 360 degrees. I was impressed with the athleticism and caliber of the guides that loved this sport of kiting. They seemed fit, enthused, very knowledgeable  , yet easy going. Patient to wait out the proper weather and winds. http://www.jhparagliding.com/IMAG0447 - Copy IMAG0449 - Copy IMAG0453 - Copy IMAG0455 IMAG0461 IMAG0463 IMAG0467 IMAG0468 Paragliding requires pretty much the same training as being a pilot of an airplane. They call them ‘pilots’ and the ‘pilots’ I met in Jackson impressed me as masters of their craft.

April 3, 2014

There are top of the worlds

Filed under: hiking,Marathon Running,traveling,Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 7:52 am

Climbing right up the ridgeline of a volcano in the middle of the night above 15,000 feet is not something one does everyday. The lack of sleep. The lack of oxygen. The task was to keep going…uphill. Plod. Plod. Deep, noisy breath. It is windy. Very windy. It sucks precious air away. It is cold. Very cold. Skin has to be covered in warm layers. But we are sweating. It is a dangerous combination that does require the right kinds of layers and materials. Here, the products gleaned from living in Jackson, Wyoming are made for just this. An Icebreaker wool base layer. A Patagonia fleece hoodie. A Northface down jacket. A Marmot Gortez expedition jacket. (I left my beloved STIO down jacket and wool sweater in the states, reserved for the ski slopes, not the trudge up Kilimanjaro) The designed hood of the Gortex expedition jacket became my saving friend. It let me hide from the wind and choose when to face the lung freezing air. The beloved jacket was earned working a running event for Teton Mountaineering in Jackson.
The stars are out. On all sides of us. It is very hard to describe, but we were stepping through the galaxy. The stars were all around. It was so dark you couldn’t see the ground. All you could see was within the beam of the headlamp. There were many climbing the mountain and you could not distinguish which were far off headlamps, or glittering stars. Plod. Plod. Breath slow and steady. Every once in a while the body would just gasp, or sigh, or grimace. The little stuffed monkey dangling from the pack in front of me was the only thing illuminated by my headlamp beam. I tried to bubble out a few sentences of encouragement, but no one could hear. The wind, one; but more so, we had fallen into a chain gang progression of altitude endurance and we had retreated into our own little survival worlds. Awake. Moving. But in a disturbing dream state.
My world wandered to some woes. The condo I tried to buy and didn’t get a bank in Wyoming to venture a loan. They wanted a year’s resident history and a full time job in town. I blindly thought getting a year round full time job in a seasonal resort town would be no problem. Plop. Plop. Suck in air. Breath it out. I started being constructive, tackled great ideas for new events, rolling through my mind like catching a great set of waves.
Our guides were moving among us constantly checking on our well being. I could tell they were concerned with me. I was the amped one that could have a breathing attack. I was the one that my lungs were starting to gurgle. But they also knew I was the one that competitive, athletic determination was going to dogmatically summit and shut out the wisdom to respond to what my body was doing in elevation. That is why the guides have to be given the final judgment calls, but thankfully they know that it will only be called if seriously threatening. It was tough on everyone, no matter and we all just had to push past. That is what is so rewarding about tackling Kilimanjaro. It is doable and we were doing it.
My mom came to mind. And there I memorialized Kilimanjaro to a great hearted woman who always reached out for the underdog as she was one. I twinge as my steps climbed higher. She had lost her life to cancer in her fifties and asked me to explore the world for her…to not wait until retirement years. She looked me in the eye, reached up and pulled a hand full of hair and laid it on her hospital bed. The first round of chemo. She weakly smiled an affirmation of acceptance. A tear of love dripped out of her eye. And than she turned and gazed far off and silent. Without looking back, she said, “explore the rest of this intricate world for me, dear daughter. Retirement years are not guaranteed to ever get. You can only take the lines that you wrote on other people. Nothing else.” So, dear mom, who taught me to see life in angles, and hues, and expressions, and improv moments through the lens of a camera, I dedicate this climb to you. You, who, also, as a child was abandoned in a boarding home most your life ,taught me to feel the needs of others.
Joel our guide is humming. It is as melodical as his accented voice. He is humming a hymn to a beat that is African. A guide down the line on the mountain joins in. Than does our other guides. A guide above us starts to add to the symphony of voices. I hadn’t even noticed the wind had died. Stilled. And the still night was lullabied by IMG_4922

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IMG_4951these beautiful men with husky, flowing, beautiful voices. Their song hugs us in a way that you could not feel until you have meet the grace of these Tanzanians.

March 27, 2014

FINIDNG FIT and PEAK EXPERIENCES

Filed under: Marathon Running,trail running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 11:45 pm

And there was a third thing, I was irritating the group. I had certain footage I had to come home with. Kathy had offered to go in halves on the expense of a camera guy. She suggested someone she knew would make the summit. He had put together media footage of their first trek ten years earlier. My constant, “Hey, let’s shoot a snatch of this” was sometimes ( maybe a lot of times) counter to the vacation agenda. Also, I already know I do not interview people well. I interrogate. I am a police officer’s daughter. I gather information by hammering out questions that are really not for an answer, but to get you to say what I need to hear. Obnoxious. Edgy. Defintely, not invitingly relaxed. But I also knew I would not be using my voice and interview in my final footage. I have in the works an outside commentator that would dress up the project in a very real and professional way. My actions, her calm narration. That is if I could get impressive enough footage and information. I had to be in some of the frames looking like I was gathering information. And to push an idea, you definitely have to self promote; somewhat inflate your own balloon. Proverbs says ,”to seek one’s own glory is not glory.” Prov. 25:26 and “let another man praise you, and not our own mouth.” Prov. 27:2. Why? Because it rubs people the wrong way when you amp up your own importance. And to get the footage for the real story, you have to grab and fabricate a story line that will show the actual story line. You round up the herd you need and choral them for a filming.
The mood the little dinky camera cast (a camera that was not really getting the footage or quality we would need) did something to the dynamics. And my mood and mode of operation did not help. I rubbed our tour group the wrong way, as if I was trying to boast something unattainable or unreal. As if I was trying to do something covert and wrong. It went home unspoken, but I could feel the noose. I knew I was being tried and convicted internally; and that this would have to be worked out after the fact. We were tired, worn out from an incredible feat of tackling a 19,320 foot mountain. The success of that needed to be celebrated, and lasting, and of this moment, not the pressure of camera footage or agendas.
I knew I would need to return to Kilimanjaro with a crew that would have the story line. And I knew I could not ignore a real need here. I saw those that climbed the mountain with a cause got to summit more than one mountain. And I saw a very real way we needed to give back. This was an experience you would wish on anyone to accomplish. And to come back with a name of a porter and his exact boot size would be a gift of a lifetime. Thus is born, PEAK EXPERIENCE. I will explain what I know a PEAK EXPERIENCE will be after I get you blogged through the actual Kilimanjaro climb. The climb is real. And it is real hard but that is what makes it triumphant.
Go to http://www.strongtofinish.com and watch the trailer. This will give you a better jest of what I am trying to do. That was the camera idea we had in mine before I left for Africa. We wanted to ‘capture’ the needs of this area in a real way about real people. Strongtofinish is a guy, a quest, and a determination to run the over 1,000 miles across Mongolia to bring awareness to the needs of that nation. My quest by combing the continents is to bring awareness to the needs of people…and figure out ways we can REALLY help REAL people. Starting with my Hispanic boys and their need for proper papers in the USA. To the aborigines in the Outback who feel western civilization will steal their children and really cares less about them. To a Syberian descendent from Japan that had to raise her child in Hawaii because the kids of her own country kicked and spit at her, in their minds, different and unaccepted daughter. To the Quechuas in the Andes that would carry our belongings across the Andes for the chance to make $5 dollars. To the Galapians on the islands that were so excited to share their new book knowledge as naturalists ,but wanting this single womanIMG_4660

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IMG_5084n to marry their uncle so they could buy a hotel on the beach. “You can be HAPPY, like the confused penguins here that chose not to migrate any more”. The boy points as two penguins are mating. To taking the time to meet the Russian crew in the belly of the ship in Antarctica. Helping fold laundry at midnight so we could practice English and learn about each other. I told them about my Russian neighbor in Lake Arrowhead. Aleksandr Zaitsev is the pair skating partner of the figure skating legend Irina Rodnina. They won every competition they entered. They won gold at the 1976 Winter Olympics. They were pleased to hear first hand of his living habits. I gave pictures on flash drives to the crew. They did not get to go ashore or interact with the passengers. They have ship visas and would be out to sea up to 9 months at a time. I literally bumped into a crew member in the stair well. He was in obvious shape and one of Russia’s Greco wrestlers. His deep eyes spoke intelligence and hard work. He had taught himself English, but had never been able to practice with an English speaking person. I stood there on the steps gripping the rail as he stood shyly rolling his cap in his hands. I introduced myself. He said he knew of me. I was the one that put a bikini on and ran around the deck (Antarctica) at 20 below zero for a picture and slipped at hit my head. Yes, that would be me. I was impressed with his command of the language and determination. Something exchanged there in that spark of a moment. It was very much about mutual respect and a hope to just get to know someone…different and from a world so far apart, but internally, on that stair well, we were the same. We finally figured out how to skype with the hope someday to really get to meet each other and spend time despite the hardship of getting visas in remote parts of Russia, praying that he get another chance to work aboard ships to help pay for his simple farmstead and his future. These Russians may not have much, but they have strength, fortitude, discipline, amazing work ethics, and humor. I am attracted.
What a vastness. The ship captain and pilots are Russian and incredible seaman on a different level. They take ‘American” vacations and their careers open the world to them. The owner of the Antarctica Expedition, One Oceans, was one of gentlest looks I have ever been lured by. I got a ridiculous girly crush that only made words stick in my mouth and made me act like a fool in his very presence. He had already owned and sold a fleet and I was described the wooded home he owned on a lake in Whistler. NOt only a wealth of experience, but a keen business man with the highest of quality of equipment and experience. You cannot go wrong on a ONE OCEANS EXPEDITION with Andrew Possin. In Jackson, I had the privilege to introduced to the wonders and awe of young golfing fame, Keegan Bradley through his pro dad, Mark whom also is a pro golfer and a pro skier… and quite the country dancer. His son is becoming a world phenomenon as he excels in almost every PGA golf tournament and is currently ranked 10th in the world. His agents know his image has to parallel his talent, so this young, focused man now lives in Jupiter, Florida across from Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. He trains and plays with the best. It doesn’t get much richer than that. And yet, we are all the same. Keegan is most in love with his family…his sister’s new babies and takes special care of his girlfriend and his gang of guys that hang out in his golf world. He seems more interested in bettering a golf swing that the sports car in the front driveway, or the yacht tied to the moorings in the backyard.
It has been a year of vastness, in the worlds of the rich… to the world of the rich in heart… to worlds rich in need. Grace. Meaning. Connection. Appreciation. I have to admit in the long run, I be the very one that needs..hugs to wringing heart ache. I have reverence when eating a great meal next to a warm fireplace in a ski lodge with great company and quiet conversation. I realize what we have. And in circumstances I thought never possible, I realize how quickly it can all vanish…in a mudslide, a tsunami, a divorce, or bad economy. It would all begin to mean something as I became in need myself. It was a quant idea to help when I had so much in reserve. It becomes another when you are the one who has used up the reserves.
So , here I am in Africa and there are the Tanzanians. A gentleman that toured with us in Antarctica was from South Africa. Africa was the one continent I had reservations about and I voiced it to him. I perceived it to be ,in my inexperience, tattered and evasive. I had a bad and boding attitude. I really did not want to go to dusty, down Africa. He raised his eyebrows. “Oh, but don’t judge Africa until you have seen Africa. I love my Africa.” He warned me I would love Africa because of the Africans. He was so right. Rory Storyn was Nelson Mandela’s personal body guide. A book just came out about his first hand life with this world changing man. Yes, Rory, I was to be taken by the grace, personalities, personable demeanor of almost everyone I met in Tanzanians. I will forever esteem Bahiti, the Wild Frontiers guide and our three guides up Kilimanjaro: Joel, Epa, and Dawson. What can I say other them. They seemed of Biblical character. They don’t have to be instructed to, they just are. “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. “Romans 12:10-13. These men were of that strength and that character, despite the needs of themselves and their country. They were pouring themselves into the one viable opportunity…to guide Kilimanjaro, to be gentle and loving to the people who came to visit it.

My personality has to FIND. FIND out about people- who you are, situations-what are you up against, and most of all.. activity-what are you doing? Out of this, a very firm theme has formed, FINDING FIT. Wherever and everywhere I go, whether in the states or abroad, or parking a rental car on the last road in Tasmanian with my son…to hike the rest of the way to the very furthest tip of that Australian island just to stand on the end of that point where there is nothing ,but the ocean and Antarctic out there… to visiting a yoga studio in Florida that helps disable kids… to learning to skin up mountains just to ski down… to meeting a lady in LA FITNESS that is working out her body for the first time in her life at age sixty, there is a story. I have a website forming of stories and you are all about to meet each other through it. FINDING FIT will be a live reality series with trailers, documentaries, travel episodes, and it will be about who we find and what fit things we are all about. Fitness is just the enhancer…its the FINIDNG that is the lesson.
And PEAK EXPERIENCES will be what we do about the needs we come across. I, for one, cannot walk by a person in need of a shirt and not give them one, when I have fifty. And the giving is somehow gifted back in getting to know the PERSON who needs your gift, person to person. To reach out and embrace each other, isn’t that something EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE needs!

March 26, 2014

Let me catch MY BREATH!

Filed under: hiking,traveling,Uncategorized,Women Running — Caren Ware @ 12:25 am

IMG_4845There is wisdom in the choices to settle on camps. There are two days hovering at 12,000 to 13,500 before the base camp of 15,500. Things change here. The temperatures, the severity of storm patterns, and how your body handles the thin air. I discovered two scary things at this base camp. One, I had been thinking I was putting purifying tablets in my drinking water and they ended up being pills that make the water ‘taste’ good. They were in the same size and shade bottle as purifying tablets. Everyone got a good laugh and said if I was going to get sick I would have by than. Luckily, all other drinking water I had put in my bottles had come from the boiled hot water they were serving. I had done that to be doubly safe. Good thing. But days after the return to the states, my ingestion was to rebel at some amoebas I ingested. I would have to take the travel pills and antibiotics to combat my untreated water sips. I lost some more precious pounds in the battle of getting through that huge mistake. Be forewarned to read the fine print on the tablet bottles! There are ones that purify, and ones that make the water taste good.
And “pole, pole”. This is something my hyped energy level does not naturally do. So I would forget. Like a ferret, I would see a group come into camp and I would have to bounce up and meet them. Try doing that at 15, 500 feet. Bound, bound, fast step and, ugggghhh. I can’t greet you. In fact, I can’t even talk to you. Gasp. Gasp. Gurgle. Bend over and near collapse, like I had just run an Olympic 400 meter all out race. Embarrassing. Humbling. I took off to my tent once and had a near full blown panic attack because I couldn’t catch my breath. Joel, the guide walked by and gently squeezed my arm. “Pole, pole, dear.”
So summit round up just prior to midnight required headlamps and packs and very layered clothing. I forgot the neck buff and went ‘running’ back to my tent to get it and ‘running’ back up to the group to get going on our 4,000 foot ascent. And than, I realized I was being drowned without any water. I could not breath. I could not get air just as if I was under water. I started to panic, which induced my very rare athlete’s asthma. Seriously?! Was I really having an asthma attack or just a panic attack. Both, I decided. Because I couldn’t catch my breath from running I was starting to panic. I threw my pack off and put my head on my knees and commanded my body to calm down. It took a few minutes. And those few minutes I thought, what if this does not let up and I am not able to climb this beast of a mountain after all…the travel, the expense, the time, the tales. I am sure it has happened to the fit and best of them. I am sharing this, just so you know not to ‘run’ around a mountain above 15,000 feet. And if you do, try not to panic when you do fall short of breath. It makes it worse.

March 17, 2014

The FACES of the Porter’s of Kilimanjaro

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,hiking,Marathon Running,trail running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 10:24 am

I would rather you read the faces of the porter’s before we climbed the mountain than read my feeble words to describe them. These faces had no names. Just men lined up to do a job. Men hopeful they would not be cut because they did not have the required clothing or equipment. Men that knew what they were getting into. Men that knew they were about to go into a battle with physical demands. Men that knew this was their one way to be fed.
They were my Hispanic boys orphaned in Southern Mexico, who would run half the night collecting cows just to get a sip of milk and chunk of cheese. I was determined to get to know these faces. Trek with me and let these faces became names, and stories, and laughter and sharing. They will become people who have to do what they can do to eat, to bring something home. They have children, and wives, and elder parents. They have determination. They are strong. They, right now, have no other opportunity, but what Kilimanjaro treks bring. IMG_4479

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March 7, 2014

A flight, a landing, and a drive from Arusha to Moshi

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 7:03 am

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IMG_4354A flight, a landing. Grabbed the bags right out of the side compartment from the airplane. I was looking out the windows, listening to the pilots speak easy in Swahili, and reading a few pages over the shoulder of the gal next to me. She was reading, Second Chance, a book about a gal in mid life who ran a marathon on every continent. I read with her the first few pages how she missed the start of her first international marathon with her boyfriend. They thought they had casually given themselves enough time, but had the wrong start time. They jumped in as the runners ran past. My third continent marathon was quite the same way. I flew to Japan to find that my registration had not been processed. After half a day of trying to request my way in, I got escorted to a military building and got a military answer. “NO” was stamped on my request. In a land where there are more people than opportunities, people queued a often having to accept they did not get into…the movie, or get the latest game after waiting in line, or even get into the marathon. There were 335,000 Japanese that applied to run in the Tokyo marathon that could only host 30,000. But for us foreigners, they allowed 3,000 entrants. My registration had been FEDEX in time, but reached the desk of the processor on a Japanese holiday thus coming to the headquarters a day after the deadline. I will have to confess someday what only any race timer would do to run after coming all that way. To be honest, my only interest in running any marathon is its a means to get to a place and look around from the inside out. I have to admit I felt overwhelmed in Toyota in that endless ,spotless, tidy, very populated maze of cement. It was a very foreign place to me. I would feel less lost in the jungle of the Amazon or the vast Alaska range than standing on the Landing seeing an ocean of endless man made. I was awed and eeried. I never thought I would find a casting of lots in Japan . Such, to me, all the people seemed so uniform. But Japan ended up being a surprise chapter in itself as I home stayed a few days with what we would term a ‘hoarder” .
Bounce, air pocket, and I was jarred back to where I was. I WAS flying over the Serengeti into the clouds of a volcanic looking region. All of a sudden I was interested in what was below me. This land had character I was interested to meet.
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March 5, 2014

What’s for lunch?

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 9:21 pm

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June 6, 2013

Running all over the place!

How’s this for hill repeats!  Bryce Canyon is 8300 feet.  Touched the valley floor than did 44, 72, and 94 second sprints back up till I reached the top.  This is  travel and training at 100 percent.b4 b5 b7 b9 IMAG0002_COVER IMAG0664 IMAG0665 IMAG0673 IMAG0684

April 29, 2013

The seas were man, the weather was woman. The DRAKE PASSAGE.

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 10:19 pm

IMG_0766IMG_0772We were ushered to the boat where they took our passports….hmmm, wonder why?  But they quickly assigned bunks, and allowed us to ‘move on and move in’.  IMG_1404To my delight, it wasn’t a rusty, old Russian cargo ship. The Akademik VAVILOU was a white, well-built vessel suited for scientific research.  A Russian captain and his crew sailed the ship.  One Ocean Expeditions ,www.oneoceanexpeditions.com, operates the ship, and One Ocean crew enlightened us through lectures and film, tending the bar, bridge, and reception. They would be the faithful leaders on kayak and Zodiac excursions for the 100 marathoners. 41 Russian crew members lived in the belly of this ship, manning the engines, unlashing the moorings, hoisting the gang way, and serving in the galley. To my other delight, we were given cuisine meals by meticulous chefs and attentive servers despite the weather.  It was almost routine to hear glass breaking when hit by a rogue wave, but atmospheric to the care they were giving to cruise in style despite the demanding elements beating against the ship’s thick metal sides. In due time, we would pit our legs, lungs, and determination against those elements. But for now, we were learning to make ship life cozy.  The life vest drill on deck and seeing that the life boats were covered craft were reminders of where we were going and that it and the temperatures were to be respected. But we felt safe nestled in our solid, cozy, floating cocoon.IMG_0791

Runners and expedition crew from all walks of life and ages engaged in sharing; snatching nuggets of what the whole world is in need of… acceptance, allowance of immerging personalities, human love, mutual respect, and pure fun and friendship. Within days we were family.  We were the ship. And THIS became the priceless point of the journey.  The expedition company One Ocean Expeditions sums it.  It’s all one ocean.  Even the human race.  The journey would be about the people. It would be about the place and the animal life and the weathers.  And the sunsets, and the hues, and the sometimes angry seas, but other times moody, and at times sexy.  The seas seemed man, but the weather seemed woman.  We were out of the bay and into the DRAKE PASSAGE.IMG_0798

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April 1, 2013

Now this is talking English

Filed under: A Runner's Story,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 9:07 pm

It took 8 straight hours on the phone to get South American Lan airlines and Expedia to respond to changing airline tickets and it still did not happen.  Round and round I went in the system that sent me to India to talk to someone in trained English, but not trained to change my situation.  I’d appeal and get transferred to the same non comprehending, accented voice.  Until, finally, I got a gal in the Philippines.  For some horrible reason as I was trying this trying experience, Sprint decided to have a bout with dropped calls.  I would get hours into the process than get dropped on my cell phone.  If I did not change these flights by midnight I would have to eat the cost of the entire South American tickets and buy a new one at, now, twice the cost.  Ouch.

So minutes before midnight, I get this sweet voice. I gave her my cell number first up in case we got dropped.  She said she would freeze the ticket to not lose it since we only had two minutes before it expired.  She got all my anguish on what I needed to do…and then a recording by Sprint service came on to apologize for the technical difficulties they were experiencing and the sweet voice and my ticket were gone. I do not give up easy.  I had not given up.  I just ran out of time trying to resolve it.  I crawled onto the couch and pulled a blanket over my head.  Now, what was I going to do.  At 2pm, my cell phone rang. “ I wrote your number down and WE decided to help you,” said the sweet voice. I heard a bunch of giggling in the background. “ We are phone workers in the Philipines and I knew if I did not hold your ticket you would lose it.  I had to wait until we were off our shift.  We are calling on our cell phone.  I set up new flights for you.  Write these confirmation numbers down.”  Wow.  Thank you, sweet voice. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated her going that needed extra step for some unknown person who hadn’t been the most patient with accents that day.  After done with the confirmations, she asked in a giggle.  “Can you tell me and my friends what Hollywood is like.  You are from Los Angeles?”  And, so I did…all about the vast juggle it is.  They were thrilled to get to have an extended conversation with a real person about a real place.  She giggled, “now, this is talking English.”

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