Saturday, May 27, 2017

Random Pictures

Western Maryland Scenic Railway is back running a full schedule and back with steam this year.


The sort of scaffolding is the rail for a round glass elevator to the top, it is quite a ride. 

Pike Place Market in Seattle. 

I wonder where he is going? 

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Fountain of Old Age

How ironic that Juan Ponce de Leon came to Florida in search of the fountain of youth, what he found turned out to be the opposite, the place old people come to get older, waiting for an inevitable death - the waiting room for heaven or hell.  I was in Florida recently, checking on my terminally ill father, who moved there 35 years ago, figuring he'd be dead in 20 years, and to visit other assorted family and friends and hear about their assorted ailments and illnesses. Their illnesses and treatments are enough to make you think the state should be quarantined. I don't think there is a healthy person in the state.  There is one I am worried about, he is pissing blood and no one seems to know why.  He is concerned about the video camera they are going to use to "go in for a look see" and I am thinking I'd be more worried about what is coming out, than what is going in. The camera is only a couple of millimeters wide, the other three inches are just his fears.  

I went to dinner at Cracker Barrel, because it was withing easy walking distance of the hotel I was staying in, and sat there watching the walkers (walking frames), canes and wheelchairs roll in and out, filled with frail people, eating what might well be there last meal, at Cracker Barrel. Think about it, if you thought you might be dead in the morning, would you really want to order the frozen meatloaf and overcooked green beans (actually the beans are kind of tan the way they cook them) as your last meal?  Lobster and caviar should sell much better than they do in Florida.  

Don't get me wrong, I love the climate in Florida, I like 90 degrees, and 90% humidity, 9 months out of the year - well I liked not having snow - well I did get snowed on twice in my 20 years of living in Florida - but it didn't stick.  I grew to love the flora and fauna of Florida, I grew to appreciate the landscape and rhythm of the southern seasons. But seriously, all of these old people in Florida are on deaths' door. Don't move to Florida unless you are ready to die. 

Would you move to Florida? 


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blitz

I had never been too sure of dogs, before Blitz the wonder dog.  I never really trusted them, most are poorly behaved.  Some of the little ones are vicious.  Blitz is different, he is very well behaved.  He can be fun and funny.  The last thing that I heard my mother say that entirely made sense, was shouting at Blitz to be quiet, there was someone unfamiliar at the door.  

He is my sisters youngest child.  At 120 pounds the lightest of her kids.  

Is there a special dog in your life? 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Panhandlers


Part of the challenge of living and working in an urban environment is people asking for money.  If I gave a dollar to every person who asked, I'd need to get a second job.  You learn to ignore most of them, panhandlers say that people treat them like they are invisible, and that is really how city dwellers treat most of them.  

I will give a dollar or two to a musician, they don't even have to be good.  There is one, in DC who plays the ukulele, not very well, if I won the Power-Ball lottery, I'd give him a million-dollars if he would agree to never play in public again. I like the drummers on their 5-gallon-plastic-buckets or upturned garbage cans. There is a brass band here in DC, that plays on a corner in front of an office building filled with lawyers.  The law firm has offered the band a significant amount of money to move away, and the band has refused - I bet when that story ran in the Washington Post, money dropped in the bucket in front of the band went up.   

I passed a young guy sitting on the sidewalk with a sign asking for money, and a guitar case sitting closed next to him.  I was tempted to stop and tell him to take out the guitar and play some music, - but you learn to not engage street people - some of them a few bricks short of a balanced load.  

How to you respond to people asking for money? 





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hotel Adventures


I have kept a written record, sort of a travel log book, of all of the hotels I have stayed in since 2005.  I have spent 435 nights in hotels, since I started keeping track, 14.5 months.  

Most of them are forgettable.  A nice place to stay, but nothing that I will remember afterward.  A few stand out as particularly bad, a handful wonderfully good.  

You don't forget the hotel where you killed the bedbug, or had to haul your luggage over the roll of carpeting in the hallway, or the rooms that smell so strongly of smoke that they keep you awake. 

You also don't forget the room you arrived at late at night, and woke up the next morning to a spectacular view of a lake.  In Honolulu I had a balcony with a spectacular view of the Pacific.  Occasionally I end up with a stand out room, a large corner room in a high rise in Philly -  an apology from the front desk that lost track of the fact that I was waiting for a room to be cleaned and sat working on my laptop for almost 3-hours.  The Fairmont in San Francisco, the Langham in Chicago, the Pan Pacific in Seattle are rooms that stood out for being over the top elegant.  Occassionally something old and special like the Ferme de le Ranconniere in Crepon, France - in Normandy near the D-Day beaches - a converted farm and castle. Then there was the converted Monastery in western France. 

I tend to book brand names, newer hotels. Places that are very predictable - meaning hard to remember.  I need to remember to book the interesting smaller hotels when I can. 

Do you keep track of the hotels you stay in or otherwise keep a travel log?  


Monday, May 22, 2017

Glimpses of the Adventures

Paris at Christmas


Virginia underground 

Keeping the Classics Steaming 

Woodford County, Kentucky - what are the stories of the hands that have gripped that handle? 

Spring in DC

Each of these images has a story behind it, a place I have been, an adventure I have had, a quiet afternoon, a trip dreamed about and planned, or a spur of the moment wander.  

What do all five images have in common? 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Five - Food


1: Have you introduced anyone to a food they didn't think they liked, and they did like it? 

2: Strawberries, I was raised in a culture that ALWAYS sugared strawberries - Jay was not.  Sugar or no Sugar added to your strawberries? (The local berries are in season right now.)  

3: What food do people assume you like, because you will eat it, but in truth you only tolerate it? 

4: What is your favorite cookie (what you Brits call a biscuit?) 

5: Have you ever ordered room service in a hotel? 

My answers: 
1: Have you introduced anyone to a food they didn't think they liked, and they did like it? 
I few years ago I made potato salad one evening, Tim tried and liked it. He explained his mothers was always this funny orange color and he never had the nerve to try it, she was dusting it with paprika as a spice causing the odd color.  

2: Strawberries, I was raised in a culture that ALWAYS sugared strawberries - Jay was not.  Sugar or no Sugar added to your strawberries? (The local berries are in season right now.)  Sugar for me, my grandfather liked them mashed and sugared.  

3: What food do people assume you like, because you will eat it, but in truth you only tolerate it? 
Broccoli, I will eat - but I really don't understand why. 

4: What is your favorite cookie (what you Brits call a biscuit?) 
Chocolate chip, soft ones.  

5: Have you ever ordered room service in a hotel? 
I seldom do, but I have ordered pizza and beer a couple of times.  I know a lot of people who will order room service when traveling alone to avoid going out to dinner alone.  I sometimes grad take out and eat in my room (hence the Sushi above.)