Once again, WordPress is offering to rehome us to not one, but the two cities of our choice. This is easy for me. I’ll take Jerusalem, golden Jerusalem of my heart … and my home town, New York, New York (it IS a wonderful town).

Where I used to live.

Where I used to live.

I assume you’ll be offering a package which includes  attractive housing options as well as first-class plane fare on demand. I expect appropriate home furnishings and a fashionable, yet comfortable wardrobe along with a generous stipend.


That would work for me and my husband. You are paying his way too, correct? All my good friends and close family are coming too. Not leaving them behind a second time. Once was more than enough to last this entire lifetime.

Naturally, suitable transportation will be provided at each location. You know … cars, taxis, limos as needed? And support personnel? Cleaning staff, cooks, personal assistants? Dog walkers?

 (AP Photo/Preston Stroup)

(AP Photo/Preston Stroup)

This is going to be our reward for a long life of hard work and challenges no one should have to face, so I’m expecting great things.


Thanks for your kind offer. I’m won’t bother to pack my bags. Your people will be in touch with my people. They can make all the necessary arrangements. Have a good day and thank you again.

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.


As a passing thought, would you consider a third option? Perhaps a charming Caribbean Island state? St. Martin? Aruba? One of the Virgin Islands? Plus an occasional jaunt to Europe. I’m not greedy, but if you’re paying …


I’ve read a lot of posts that wax nostalgic about the old days, of trips down country roads at a slower pace. Driving through little towns. Past farms, fields, woods, and streams. No super highways with their sterile rest stops and fast food outlets. Driving through the real America.

Leaving Jackman, Maine on Route 201

Leaving Jackman, Maine on Route 201

Those were the days, we say. The good old days which we remember from the back seat. Where we were pinching and pummeling our siblings while nagging our parents to stop for ice cream. Or asking the deathless question: “Are we there yet?”

Everyone who ever waxed poetic about the good old days of travel should take the drive from Jackman, Maine to Danville, Vermont.

road to skowhegan Rt-201

It’s 231 miles from Jackman to Danville unless you travel through Canada, which we did not want to do. Just going through the customs checkpoints would have added hours to the journey. Unless you go through Canada, there’s only one route. Take 201 from Jackman to Skowhegan. Hook a right on route 2. Drive. Keep driving. Behind pickup trucks and aging SUVs veering erratically while never exceeding 28 miles per hour … the exact point at which the car changes gears. The engine lugging relentlessly as it tries to find the spot.

There is food to eat and gasoline to be pumped as you pass through all those little towns. There’s always someplace selling pizza, baked goods, sandwiches, and cold drinks. Usually a toilet, too. You will get a chance to visit every little town in the mountains between Maine and Vermont. I found myself staring at the map, hoping a faster road would magically appear.


Talk about ambivalence. In the middle of October the trees look as if they are lit from within. The mountains are covered in autumnal glory so magnificent it looks surreal. Reconcile that with an overwhelming urge to blow those pokey drivers off the road. Cognitive dissonance, here we come.

“Wow,” I say, “That’s incredibly beautiful” as we loop around a breathtaking curve in the road. I’m trying to control my peevish aggravation with the current slow driver riding his brakes in front of us.

72-Rt-201_054They must lie in wait for us. As we are about to pass, they pull out in front of us, then slow to a crawl. The beauty of the mountains, lakes, streams, trees, sky, clouds, villages, farms, towns morph into a seamless continuity as we crawl down the mountains behind drivers whose feet never leave the brakes.

It’s a religious experience, but not in a good way. Aggravation wars with admiration for nature and a mounting need to drive at a normal speed. Garry is exhausted, irritable, frustrated. I’m empathizing, even offering to drive.

It took most of a day to make the trip. We crawled through Maine. Crept through New Hampshire. Limped into Vermont.

Autumn road to home

Our most startling moment was looking up and seeing a sign — a huge, brightly painted sign — that said: “WELCOME TO MEXICO.” Mexico, Maine. There were no Mexican restaurants, or at least none we could find. Lots of Chinese, though. After we drove out of Mexico, we came upon another huge, bright sign. “WELCOME TO MEXICO,” it said.

“Didn’t we just leave Mexico?”

“Maybe,” says Garry, “this is the village and that was the town?”

“Or something.” I wondered where the rest of North America had gone. Never mind. It was time to face the inevitable. Garry and I had to fill the gas tank. Ourselves.

Me, Garry, the road and an atlas

Me, Garry, the road and an atlas

Back home — a town which had seemed rural and quaint, but now seemed sophisticated and metropolitan — gas stations provide service. Not the case in very rural New England. Together, Garry and I pondered the problem. We had to remove the gas cap, which was stuck. Garry looked at me. I would manage the gas cap.

I pressed. Twisted. It was the child-proof lid from Hell. Eventually, it came off. Whooping in triumph, I fed our bank card into the pump’s reader and selected the grade of gasoline. Garry, feeling his moment had come, removed the pump from its hook, stuck it in the hole and pressed. Gasoline started feeding into the tank. When it snapped loose, Garry looked at me.

“Does this mean it’s full?”

“Yes,” I exalted. “We did it. We put gas in our  car!”

We gave each other a high-five and continued our journey.  We have developed a deep appreciation for the interstate highway system. And lost every trace of nostalgia for the old days of travel.


It was just luck. Nothing more, nothing less.

Twenty-six years ago, moments before game three of the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, fans were thrown from their seats at Candlestick Park as an earthquake shook the Bay Area. The earth trembled for 15 seconds and brought Alameda county to its knees.

The San Francisco–Oakland earthquake registered 6.9 on the Richter scale. It seriously damaged the roads in the Bay Area, causing the collapse of the Nimitz Freeway and a piece of the Bay Bridge. It cost more than sixty lives and injured thousands.

collapsed expwy SF 1989

I was working remotely from our apartment in Boston that year. I had a great contract. It paid enough money so I didn’t need to do any other work. Just as well because Garry and I were getting married and planning a wedding. Which really meant I was planning a wedding. Garry was planning to show up.

Working remotely left me free to get the rest of my life sorted out and our apartment was big, enough room for me to have a spacious office. I loved working remotely and never was happy working a regular office job again. But I digress.


Before I could get started on the project, I had to go to Berkeley and interview the people who used the software for which I was writing the manuals. They were paying for the trip and I’d only been to California once before, to interview for the contract. I was glad to go.


Everything went smoothly until I came down with the flu. In just a few hours, I went from feeling fine to having a heavy cough, high fever, and being utterly miserable. I cancelled the remainder of the trip — three days — and flew back to Boston.

The earthquake occurred the following day. If I had stayed on my original schedule, traveling back and forth on the expressway from Berkeley to Oakland, I’d have been one of the people trapped by the collapsing expressway.

It was a most fortuitous case of the flu. It probably saved my life.



It’s hard for me to accept that there are just 12 weeks remaining in 2015. I am so unready to deal with the holidays and winter and everything. Life doesn’t wait until we are ready for it.

If you have been to a foreign country name those you have been to.

I lived in Israel for 9 years. I’ve spent weeks or months in England, Ireland, and Canada. I’ve vacationed in Saint Martin and the Bahamas, spent a day each in Jamaica and Haiti. In transit, I’ve touched down in a bunch of others, but they don’t really count.

Is the glass half empty or half full? What type of glass is it and what is in the glass?


It depends. Usually half full, but I’m moody. I think a regular drinking glass will do just fine.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

Fresh seafood. Including shellfish, but not clams.

List at least five places worth shopping. For the purposes of this post, all shopping is online. I doubt any of you are coming to Uxbridge to buy groceries:

Amazon, because they deliver in two days and I can shop from the comfort of my laptop. They also have the world’s best customer service.

Land’s End, LL Bean, and JJill because they make simple, attractive clothing that is flattering to real, live women. And men.

Zappos because they always have my favorite shoes in the right size. Delivery and returns are free and fast. Service is great.

Dell because I have been buying their computers for more than 20 years and never gotten a dud. Do get a warranty, however. Just in case.


23 September 2015: SUMMER’S HARVEST

It’s Frisbee Wednesday again. Late September. And today is the Autumnal Equinox, when the length of the day and night is the same. At least it is almost the same. Actually, it is never exactly the same, but today it is as close as it will get this season. From this day on and for three lovely months, it’s Fall.

So what did we do on our summer vacation?


First, we went to Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the birthplace of America’s first best-selling author, James Fenimore Cooper.

The museum wasn’t quite the heartwarming experience we expected. This was my third visit and Garry’s second, so we thought we knew what to expect. We wuz wrong.


Someone decided the museum needed to be redesigned. A fine example of fixing something that wasn’t broke. Garry will have more to say on the subject, so I will merely say that I liked it a lot better before.


Of course, Cooperstown isn’t just about baseball. It’s about souvenir shops and tee shirts. Old baseball cards and signed bats. It has become (it was not always) a classic tourist town. It could be Edgartown, Carmel, or Gettysburg (minus the graveyards and zombies). It’s a certain “look” one gets to recognize.

72-Garry-Baseball-HOF-new_074If you have seen one tourist mecca, you will always recognize one. Not a bad thing. Such towns are always quaint, neat, clean, and customer service oriented. No surprises — good or bad — lurk in a tourist town.

Outside of town, it’s all about farms. Fields of hay, barley, and oats. Cows. Harvest time in the rolling foothills of the Adirondacks. We took pictures. You knew that, right?


We found a beaver dam, complete with ducks. And the occasional beaver.


Logic said we should go from Cooperstown to Peacham, Vermont … the next stop on our journey. Except it’s the punchline to a joke. You know, the one where you ask the old farmer how to get somewhere in New England. He stops, thinks a long time, then says: “You can’t get theah from heah.”


The roads in the north land … New England, upstate New York … all points north of Massachusetts? The major roads — anything that isn’t just two lanes, one in each direction — travel north-south. Local roads go every which way. Which means if you want to travel more or less northeast, it’s not such a long drive in miles, but it’s at least seven to eight hours driving on local roads.

72-Lake Otsego_14

We did that last October when we drove 10 hours from Jackman to Peacham. It was gorgeous. The mountains, the glowing trees. Endless twisting roads. Very slow drivers. Old pickup trucks. Weaving cars. Maddening.

The idea of repeating this was enough to make poor Garry froth at the mouth. It was as quick to go home for the night, then drive to Vermont the following morning.

So, that’s what we did. Went home. Then drove to Vermont, which was every bit as beautiful this year as last.


The first day, they came and harvested the corn.


From first light to late shadows, it was surpassingly lovely. There may be other places on earth as beautiful, but none more so.


Long shadows as the evening draws on.


And then, suddenly, too soon … it was time to go home. Reality. Ouch. Don’t you hate when that happens?


We got back from Vermont and Cooperstown the day before yesterday. The leaves look just like they did when we left, as if everything just stopped and waited for us.

Should you decide to accept “the challenge,” you may use any picture — and this week, you have some great choices — or use one of your own pictures. Write something about the picture or make something up using a picture as your jumping off point.

I maintain this is the easiest prompt in the world.

Happy Autumn to you all!


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge:
2015 Week #36

Welcome everyone to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge. This challenge’s subject is the roads, walks, trails, rails, by which we move from place to place. You can walk them, climb them, drive them, ride them — as long as the way is visible. Any angle of a bridge is acceptable, as are any signs.


deck steps stairway june 2015

me martha's vineyard stairs

canal and river in may


Two summer ago, we drove into Gettysburg on a return trip from Williamsburg. It was late afternoon, so we asked Richard, our faithful GPS, to take us to the nearest motel. We followed his directions since we were in a town we’d never visited. Finally, Richard announced “You have reached your destination!”

old cemetary in uxbridge

Indeed we had, though not the one we had it mind for that night’s repose. As far as the eye could see, Richard had brought us to what must have been Gettysburg’s largest non-war related cemetery. It seemed to stretch for miles. Who knew our GPS had a sense of humor? We didn’t stop laughing until we finally found the motel.


I’m a great traveler. I don’t like airports and hauling luggage, but I love everything else. It’s like a book I’ve just begun to read. Anything can happen and the surprises are what makes it fun.


I habitually engage strangers in conversation. So does Garry. He does it because 40 years working as a reporter makes it natural for him to talk to people he’s just met. Me, because strangers are only strangers until you get to know them. After that, they may be odd, but they aren’t strangers.

I will talk to strangers on a grocery line, on the ferry, or in a waiting lounge. Not so much on a train or plane, though. Too much noise to make conversation comfortable.


Otherwise, I love meeting people — weird and otherwise. If you ask the right questions, they will tell you about their town, their family, their jobs. How they feel about the government, music, art and if you are lucky, will offer you useful information about great places to eat and visit.

Afternoon walk - Tombstone

I love learning about local sights, customs, legends. I don’t care if no one speaks real English. As long as they don’t point a gun at me or physically assault me, I’m up for any kind of conversation. Especially if it might lead me to a good photograph.

Gettysburg Lane

You never learn anything about a new place if you only talk to the companions you’ve brought with you. If you don’t want to meet new people, to have encounters with those who are different from you, why travel?