Sunday, January 31, 2016

Meme of the Week - Let's get moving

What do we really know about one another, we read each other's blogs, but there is more to each of us than our blog content.  So this year I am going to try to create a meme, or list of questions of the week. If you like the questions, feel free to copy and paste the questions onto your blog, and please link back to  Let me know in the comments how to find your blog and your answers. 

1) If an anonymous stranger was going to buy you a car, what would you ask for?
              A red Ferrari convertible
2) What is the most expensive restaurant meal you have ever had?
              Christmas Dinner at Altitude 95 on the Eiffel Tower
3) Ever damaged a rental car?
              Had a windshield broken by a rock in Montana
4) The closest you have ever come to missing a flight, but made it on board?
              One night in Memphis, back in the worst days of North West, about 12 minutes between flights, they reopened the door to let the last three of us on board.
5) Ever had your bags lost by the airlines?
              I have had bags, arrive a day after I did, but never lost never to be seen again. As long as this happens on the way home, I really don't care.  I almost always, check a bag.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Swim Time?


There are some big things around Washington DC.  The at 555 feet the Washington Monument is the tallest thing around, in fact, if the condo association would cut down all of the trees, I could see it from my living room about 8 miles away.  The US Capital Building is about 288 feet tall, without the scaffolding that it is currently wrapped in.

The statues of dead presidents tend to be large, Lincoln and Jefferson are both big, Rosevelt - featured a couple of days ago, is only about 1.5 times normal size.  Just north of the Mall there is a jumbo Einstein.  Above is George Washington at about 30 feet tall, inside the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria.

Friday, January 29, 2016

I bet you can't read her screen!

I have a love hate relationships with my Kindle.  It is wonderful, light, easy to carry, it holds a ton of books, it holds a charge for hours of reading, it saves bookmarks that move across platforms, I can change the font size so I can always read without my glasses.  There are a couple of design issues with my current Kindle.  The power switch sticks out from the bottom and is a push button, if it bumps into something in my bag it will run the battery down, or even worse, advance pages - sometimes to the end of the book.  It also does not have an option to return to the last bookmark.  I have had a bag full of Kindles, I have broken a couple of them, had a software failure and had the battery go bad on one.  I liked the earlier design better than this one.  But I still love it and will buy another one when the time comes.

Now I bet you can't read the screen on the one in the picture, not because of the picture quality, or image size, the screen is in Mandarin.  Amazing technology.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Things I need Less of in My Life

Political extremists on both sides - we need to focus on the common ground for the common good

Crazy people with guns, not all people with guns are crazy,

Pointless and meaningless meetings, if you have to hold a meeting to figure out if you have anything to talk about at the meeting, you don't need to hold the meeting.


People who are afraid to make a decision and do something,

People in a hurry to get to pointless, meaningless meetings

Religious extremists,  religion is a very personal thing, I won't impost mine (or the lack there of) please don't impose yours on me


Urgent and breaking news, if it isn't nuclear war, I can wait until later to hear about it, in fact, don't tell me about nuclear war - I'll know it when I feel it

Over hyped security, seriously, one of our offices just did an "active shooter" exercise - my chances of an earthquake happening while I am in the office are greater and we have not practiced the safety plan for an earthquake (and the directions are about the same, hide under my desk.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What that I need in my life

Monumental beauty

Movement, I need to be out and about,

Great ingredients to have fun cooking

A place to cook, I miss this when I travel

Music, jazz, great vocals, instrumental, some classical

My sweet bear!

Independance, I don't like to be micromanaged, or tied down

Honesty, I may not like the answer, but I'd sooner people tell me the truth

Being near water,  one thing I really missed in my most recent sojourn in the mid-West was being near real lakes and the Ocean, in DC I can smell the water being nearby


Quiet, the Condo is the quietest place I have lived in my adult life - I sleep so well here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Snow Job!

This is the view from the treadmills in the Condo fitness center.  I live on the other side of the big brick building (third floor.) There are a couple of exits out the back side of the building, one is about 150 feet from the door to the Community Center.  The Community Center gives me access to the fitness center, an indoor pool, a hair salon (that I have not used,) a private bowling alley (that I have not used) pool tables, a card room, a couple of meeting rooms, a convenience store (that has drop off service for dry-cleaning), and a private bar and restaurant.  At times like this, when I really don't want to go out, it is very nice.  While snowed in, I have made it to the gym everyday and had lunch in the restaurant a couple of times.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gym Bunny Days

A few months after turning 29, I decided I needed to take charge of my eating and activity level, or I might not be able to move when I turned 39.  And I did, I first took control of what I was eating,  I dropped 15 pounds in a month (probably too much, too fast.)  Then I joined a gym, Bally Health and Racket Club.  It cost me a couple-hundred-dollars and being a cheapskate at heart I decided I needed to get my money's worth by going five days a week.  Over the course of a year I lost about 50 pounds, on my 30th birthday I finished a sprint triathlon at Sea World in Orlando.  I was hooked, I was running 20-30 miles a week, swimming 2 miles a week, riding bikes 100 miles per week, and lifting weights 5-6 hours per week.  Wow, I have never looked so good.  I did three seasons of triathlons,   8 running seasons including finishing two half marathons. When I was at the peak of my gym bunny days, I even made a cameo appearance in a "Ben Gay Active America Video"- someplace I have the check stub - I was paid for it something silly like $25 (I wonder if I reported that to the IRS?)

By the time I turned 39 I was in law school, I had slowed down, but was still well under 200 pounds.  Turning 49 found me even more sedentary, and the weight slowly coming back. The last two years were ugly, with mobility challenges the weight started to pile on.

Since getting back on my feet, I am glad to be back walking and riding bikes.  I have once again taken control of what I eat.  Only I can do that, it is important to me.  The middle of January the Condo complex opened our new $1.4-million dollar fitness center.  It as much needed, the old fitness space was in the locker rooms, so when I was walking on the treadmill, the saggy asses would be going back and forth in front of me going to the showers.  Nothing worth seeing!  The new space is larger, has all new equipment and has a million dollar view.  The re-do included remodeling the locker rooms and adding the space above.  The addition is on columns, over a ravine, with views of the tree filled ravine and hillside.  My commitment is to go at least four times per week, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.  I started two weeks ago in the temporary fitness room, and am carrying on in the new space.  It is nice, it is starting to feel like what I should be doing, I feel strange without it.  I doubt that I will ever be back to the gym bunny days, but it would be nice to get back into the next size or two sizes smaller clothes that are still in the closet.  Actually a couple of years ago I ordered an American Giant sweatshirt.  American Giant is entirely made in the USA with a focus on top quality materials and workmanship.  It was on all kinds of top ten lists a couple of years ago. I ordered it and waited four months for it to arrive.  It is an XXL - their largest size, and it has always been too snug.  I would like to fit into it.  I don't care what the scale says, I want to be able to zip the American Giant XXL zip up sweatshirt and be comfortable.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

When the End Is Near, what will you think?

What do we really know about one another, we read each other's blogs, but there is more to each of us than our blog content.  So this year I am going to try to create a meme, or list of questions of the week. If you like the questions, feel free to copy and paste the questions onto your blog, and please link back to  Let me know in the comments how to find your blog and your answers. 

This is a tough one, if you don't want to publish the answers - but have worked out the answers in your mind, just leave a comment saying thanks for the questions. 

This week is a challenging meme.  Complicated issues, I have worked for decades in aging and end of life, triggered by a class in college on the legal and ethical issues of death and dying.  Last year, I faced personal challenges that have brought the questions home - I am doing well, nothing life threatening.  But these are questions we should all think about, they impact what we do in the time we have remaining on this earth. 

So, On your deathbed, 

1) What will you wish you had done more of? 
Played - done things without a meaningful purpose - but merely for the pleasure of doing them.  

2) What will you wish you had done less of? 
Worried about what others thought of me.  

3) What do you hope people will remember you for? 
That I was an adventurer - who tried to make a difference in the lives of others. 

4) What will you wish you had said to whom? 
The truth to my grandmother the last time I saw her.  

5) Who will you wish you had reached out to? 
Lots of people, social interaction is not my strength. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

It is all About the Attitude

Franklin Roosevelt was was elected President in the depths of a massive economic crisis, one-third of Americans were unemployed and living in poverty.  His opponent in the election couldn't see beyond the doom and gloom, FDR could see a country full of possibilities.  Our country is resource rich, our people well educated by world standard.  He refused to let the challenges stand in his way - this was only natural when you look at his life.

He didn't let his personal challenges stand in his way.  He contracted Polio in his 30's, unusual for a man of that age.  It left him with very limited control over the muscles in his legs.  He didn't let that stand in his way, he designed a better wheel chair - that was smaller and more maneuverable. He wore stiff braces to stand and walk short distances, he campaigned from the back seat of an open car and the rear platform of trains. Elevators were installed in Presidential Aircraft, so he could be lifted in and out - his boarding always happened in a closed hanger - I never found a photograph of it.

He came from a wealthy family.  He didn't need to work, and yet he did, he worked very very hard and he didn't let his challenges get in his way.  He focused on what could be done, it was all about the attitude.

Friday, January 22, 2016


I didn't take this picture, I am not getting that close to a food store today 
I am home awaiting as Fred Sanford would say "the Big One!"  Washington DC is expecting a major blizzard, forecasts range from 18 to 30 inches of snow.  At the moment it is overcast, and I can see bare pavement in most of the parking lot, but the storm is on it's way.  The radar shows is 50-miles or so south of here and moving this way.

This area does not cope well with heavy snow.  We don't get it that often, once every five to ten years we will get this kind of snow, the last time was seven years ago (the weekend after I moved into the Condo.)  Places that receive this kind of snow every winter, have heavier snow removal equipment.  Seven years ago, the state of Virginia admitted that it had fewer than ten pieces of snow removal equipment capable of handling more than 10 inches of snow - for the entire state.  If the build up was deeper than that, they had to move it one scoop at a time with bucket loaders, a process so slow that the snow generally melts before they can get to it. I dare say the bankrupt City of Detroit has more heavy snow removal equipment than the entire state of Virginia, because they deal with this kind of snow nearly every winter and sometimes several times in a winter. I don't think the District of Columbia has a single heavy snow plow.  

My office closed today.  A very wise move as the storm is forecast to move in mid-day.  Your Federal government, was open today, closing at noon.  Meaning that 300,000 federal employees will be trying to get home, just as the storm is setting in, so they can die in traffic gridlock trying to get home.  I was proud of my office for breaking with Feds and saying, don't come in and then turn around and leave three hours later.

Wednesday evening, we had a little snow, the first quarter of an inch froze as ice, covered in about an inch of snow.  No one was prepared, and the streets became impassable.  It took me over an hour to drive home from the subway station, less than a mile away, and I ended up parking off the side of the street on a steep hill a quarter mile from the house and walking the rest of the way.  I had driven to the station because I had late meeting in the city and it should have been the easiest way to get home.

I tried to explain to one of my student interns what a snowbird is.  A snowbird is a person (or family) that lives in the north and spends the winters in the south.  When I was in the 8th grade, my parents became snowbirds.  We started spending winters in Florida.  I would start school in Michigan in September, the first of November we would go to Florida and I would go to school there, in mid to late March we would go back to Michigan and I would finish the school year there.  She thought it was impossible, no one could do that, how would you finish school?  I did.  It probably explains parts of who I am , why I am who I am today.

The Details

I was crossing a bridge built about 100 years ago, back when city bridges were works of public art, and noticed the two drinking fountains, no longer working.  I snapped a quick shot of the bronze work in them, impressed the attention to detail that was incorporated into the design  Now I sit here looking at the image and can't help but wonder, whose face is in the details?  Was it the bridge designer, the person the bridge was to be named in honor of, or is the devil in the details?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Show me a sign

This information sign is outside of a DC Memorial, instructing visitors on what they should not do when visiting, so
No Smoking
No Running
No Skateboarding
No Bicycling
No Food or Drink
And No Walking on Water?

I didn't know we had an issue with people walking on water in DC.  If the Rump is elected I am sure he will try, but even with the current politicians in town I have yet to see any of them wandering across the Potomac or the Tidal Basin.

(Actually it is no wading in the fountains.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lots to do again

All of a sudden I am back dwarfed by the tasks at hand.  Unexpectedly a major funder asked for a concept paper on a new project, a very-very large project, like five times the size of the one I am currently responsible for.  I was starting into a busy cycle with a relatively full calendar, and now I have two weeks to write a 50 page proposal for a potentially $5,000,000 project.  Wow!  I got started today, finished a rough outline and the first couple of pages of text.  Parts of it will go together easily, an hour here and an hour there and I will get through it.  I have a couple of 5 hour flights soon, I can get 20 pages written on those flights.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Oh My!

Need I say more?  It takes a lot of work to have arms, shoulders and a chest like that - No I didn't notice the thin legs - Who cares?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Watch Your head

To get in and out of the nearest metro station, I pass through a parking garage. Over the past year I have noticed engineers looking at it, marking columns, and spots in the concrete ceilings that have started to break loose and fall  - watch your head.  A few months ago metro closed about half of the parking spaces, apparently the structure has started swaying when full loaded and cars are driving in and out.  Not a big sway, but enough to crack loose chunks of concrete that then fall on people and cars.  Watch your head!

When I lived in Orlando, a new office tower went up downtown with a copper colored glass exterior, except the glue holding the windows in didn't cope well with Florida heat and humidity, you had to look up as you walked by to keep from being hit by falling glass panels, the locals nicknamed it the Giant Copper Whopper Dropper.

So what should we call our unfriendly neighborhood parking garage?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Been there, done that

What do we really know about one another, we read each other's blogs, but there is more to each of us than our blog content.  So this year I am going to try to create a meme, or list of questions of the week. If you like the questions, feel free to copy and paste the questions onto your blog, and please link back to  Let me know in the comments how to find your blog and your answers. 

Five Questions about where you have been:

1) If a private jet was waiting at the nearest airport to whisk you away for a week in the finest hotel suite at someone else's expense, what state would you leave for in the morning and why?

               Hawaii, it is winter, it has turned cold here in DC and I keep having flashbacks to my week in paradise last winter.

2) What state have you been to, are glad you have been there, and don't really care if you ever return to and why?

               North Dakota, the vastness of the landscape, the seemingly never ending plains have to be seen to be truly understood, but I see no reason to see it a second time.

3) What state have you been to, would prefer not to go back to, and why?
              Mississippi, it is not the most interesting of southern landscapes and it is Mississippi.

4) What state that you have not lived in, have you visited the most times, and why?
               Ohio, I passed through it a bunch of times as a teenager, Jay's family is from there so we visited a good number of times and Cincinnati was a get away trip when I lived in Kentucky.

5) State you have not been to, that you would most like to visit?
              With only two left to visit, this is not easy, both!  Seriously I think Wyoming has more to see and if I had to do just one of them I would try Wyoming.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Take Responsibility

A posting on Facebook, sent me into a mini rant and brought back horrible memories from 32 years ago.  The posting was about dead dogs.  A sad subject under any circumstances. The poster had - had two full sized Boxers, beautiful dogs from the pictures.  She was not careful, her dogs got out, running loose in the neighborhood, frightening much smaller dogs including  a Yorkie who found himself surrounded by the two barking Boxers several times his size.  The owner of Yorkie, and I am not saying he did the right thing, came to the defense of his little dog with a shot gun, in the end the Yorkie is hiding under the bed and the two Boxers are both dead.  Very sad.  The owner of the Boxers is screaming for the head of the owner of the Yorkie on a platter, saying it is all his fault, and demanding that the police take action.  Ummm - mmmm, she is not taking an ounce of responsibility for her large and potentially intimidating dogs getting loose.  This takes me back 32 years ago, shortly after I built my first home.  I woke up one morning and there was a large dog lying on the ground in my back yard, I shouted and clapped and it didn't move.  It was dead, it had been hit by a car and crawled off into my yard to die. I was very upset by this, thinking about how horrible the dogs last minutes must have been (he was 75 feet from the nearest street.) I paid my lawn guy to bury the dog that afternoon.  The next day I get a screaming crying call from the owner of the dog, accusing me of depriving her of burying her dog, she let him out for a walk late at night, a walk he never came home from, and she tried to make his death sound like it was my fault.  She took no responsibility for opening the door and letting her sweet family dog out to run in front of a car. I was not kind to her on the phone - not my best moment.

There is a responsibility in owning a dog, cat or other pet.  A responsibility not just to provide a good home, feed it, love it and take care of it, but also to safeguard it.  Letting a dog run loose in an uncontrolled environment, is endangering the dog.  If you are not 100% sure of the fenced yard, don't leave the dogs unattended, never let them run free where there is a risk of them chasing a shadow into traffic or intimidating a stranger, some of strangers are armed.  I still think of how lonely and painful the last minutes of the dogs life must have been 32 years ago, I hope the woman never owned another dog.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Winning the Lottery

North Shore of Oahu, February 2015 

I didn't win the Power Ball Lottery, if I had, I'd be on my way to someplace that looks like this, instead of the office.  Yes I bought a ticket or five, and will probably buy them again.  I know the odds are greater that I will wake up dead in the morning than waking up as a Power Ball winner, but hey.

In a way, I am glad I haven't won.  Don't get me wrong, the economic security of a billion-dollars would be nice, I would only go back to the office once, and get out of the winter, but the changes would not end there.  That kind of money, especially as a windfall would change a lot of things I probably don't want to change.  I like having a home (or two) that I can find my way around without a map. I don't worry about security, or people trying to exploit me, with that kind of money these become a part of daily life.  I could really use a housekeeper, but I don't really want to deal with a household staff. One car is enough of a headache to deal with (though I would look good in a red Ferrari convertible.)

What color Ferrari would you drive?

Thursday, January 14, 2016


A few days ago I said I would post something creepy about George Washington.  He died, somewhat unexpectedly, his plans for a family Mausoleum were just that plans.  He was interred in a temporary crypt (that is still there, just past the Mansion on the bluff overlooking the river) in a leather covered wood casket.  A couple of years later when the Mausoleum was finished, he was moved to a stone sarcophagus.  The cup above was turned from the wood of the original casket.  I wouldn't drink from it - would you?  I think it is really creepy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Jones Point Lighthouse

Great picture of the light house at Jones Point, it's there, look again, the little white wood frame building, if you look closely has a cupola on the roof, that is the light.   It is on a point, in the Potomac, just south of Old Town Alexandria.  It was the original southern point of the District of Columbia.  It is currently the boarder between Maryland and Virginia, just to the right of the Light House you cross into Maryland for a few feet before you fall into the water. It was an active light house through World War II, there was also a ship yard on the Point during WWII that built liberty ships.

The Light House is a special spot for Us/Me, it is where we got married last October.  We were in Virginia, some of the guests may have been standing in Maryland.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Annual State of the Blog Address

Welcome to my second annual state of the blog address.  I am glad to report that the state of the blog is stronger than it has been in years.  With over 400 postings, and only one day shy of posting everyday, the blog told the wild and winding story of my year.  I put out the content and you are reading it, I average about 40 visitors per day, and 2-3 comments per day.

The blogger community continues to evolve, we lost a couple of people this year, we gained a couple of people this year.  Blogs may be web 1.0, but they are not dead yet.  There is something we can do on a blog that we can't do in the more limited forum of FB and others.

I have mastered the art of scheduling postings -giving me control for busy or travel days.  I have recently moved my posting time back from 6:00 AM to midnight.

In the coming year, I look forward to the adventure, hopefully with fewer bumps in the road, and I look forward to feeding the blog feed.  Please keep reading.

Monday, January 11, 2016


I was in Lansing Michigan a couple of years ago and made a remark about being back in the state I was born in.  The guy across the table asked me where in Michigan and I described my birthplace in the thumb area of Michigan, about 70 miles north of Detroit, in the lower peninsula, out in the middle of nowhere.  He promptly called me a troll.  I was taken slightly aback, he went on to explain that being from the lower peninsula of Michigan, I was born below the bridge, the Mackinac Bridge that is a couple hundred miles farther north, and trolls come from under a bridge.  He was a proud Upper, born and raised in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

The majority of the population in Iceland believes in trolls, elves or fairies.  You look at the landscape there, and the very long winters and think about it, you might also.  While we were having lunch on our last day, I noticed people going in and out of a cave on the other side of the harbor.  After lunch I drove around, walked out and was surprised to see this troll sitting there, rocking back and forth and snoring.  The things you see when you take a minute to look

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I hate Winter, what about you?

What do we really know about one another, we read each other's blogs, but there is more to each of us than our blog content.  So this year I am going to try to create a meme, or list of questions of the week. If you like the questions, feel free to copy and paste the questions onto your blog, and please link back to  Let me know in the comments how to find your blog and your answers. 

This week is about seasons.  
  1. What season of the year where you born?
    1. Late summer, a hot an stormy night near the end of August
  2. What is your favorite thing about 
    1. Winter?  The silence of the first snow 
    2. Spring?   More sunlight and the warmer days 
    3. Summer?  Not needing a sweater or coat for months 
    4. Fall?    The colors of early fall, the fall harvest 
  3. What climate would you live in year around, if you could? Early fall 
  4. What is your sure fire way of knowing spring has arrived?  
    1. When the leaves on the oak trees are as big as a squirrels ear, we are free of frost (that only let my grandfather down once in 50 years of gardening.) 
  5. What is your least favorite season and why? 
    1. Winter - I don't like the dark and cold.  

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Great Misadventures in Travel

I have had a few crazy adventures in travel over the years.

A few months after I got my first drivers license, I was sent to help my Grandmother drive from Florida to Michigan.  Someplace in Tennessee I made a wrong turn, got on the wrong expressway and drove for about 75 miles before we figured it out and turned around - opps!

The first time I went to London, I thought like an American tourist, and rented a car to drive from Gatwick to the hotel in Hammersmith.  Driving on the opposite side of the street, shifting with my left hand, and utterly lost.  I have driven past the landmarks of London.  This is on the all time list of the ten-stupidest things I have ever done.

The first time I went to Rome, I missed a connection in Atlanta, due to a weather delay, and ended up in Frankfurt instead.  We made it to Rome a couple of hours behind schedule.

After flying overnight from Alaska to Charlotte, with a change of planes in the middle of the night in Las Vegas, I boarded a plane for the last leg of the trip home, and we backed into another airplane, pulled forward and backed into it again.  Oh, well, not the last leg of the trip.

Shortly after I was seated on a flight out of Atlanta one Thanksgiving weekend, the baggage conveyor ran into the side of the airplane - hard enough to leave a dent.  We offloaded, and waited, customer service was saying that everything was overbooked for three days.  The Pilot came off the plane and picked up the PA microphone.  He said, "we have consulted with the engineers at Boeing and they have certified that the plane is safe to fly with the dent. We understand if you prefer to fly on another plane, but if you want to go, get back on board we are leaving in 20 minutes."  I got back on.

Last summer I missed a turn, and we ended up in France for three minutes until I could make a U-Turn and go back across the river to Germany.

What is your greatest misadventure in travel?

Friday, January 08, 2016

Just One

My birthday at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich 

The look on my face!  Oh My!  I was having fun, but seriously I only had one beer.  I was simply having a great time.  Oh, and it was a large beer.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Frozen in Time

10:20 PM December 14, 1799

Shortly after George Washington died, one of his doctors, and a personal friend of his cut the cable connecting the movement to this clock that was in George Washington's bedroom, effectively freezing the clock, freezing the time.  The clock is in the museum at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.  
George Washington was a founding member and Master of the Masonic Lodge in Alexandria.  When the Memorial was built, the clock and other artifacts were transferred to the museum.  

When George died, he left directions for a family mausoleum to be built at Mt Vernon.  He was placed in a temporary tomb, while the mausoleum was built.  I will post a creepy artifact from that sometime soon. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

I Should Ask Myself Everyday

Temple of Delphi, May 2006
* What have I done today to help someone else?
* Have I done the best I can, with what I have to work with today?
* Have I said thank you to someone today?
* Have I taken advantage of my stage today?
* Did I do at least one thing, for myself today?
* Did I keep it all in perspective today?
* Did I forgive others today?
* Is there anyone I need to apologize to for what I did or said today?
* Did I help someone find happiness or humor today?

We get back what we give off, if I want others to help me, I need to help others everyday, even when it is "not my job." All that the world can ask, is that we make the most of the gifts we have - all to often we do "good enough" and not the best we can. Thank you, is so simple and can mean so much - a simple habit to form.  We all have a stage, our blogs, our work, our family or faith - it is my responsibility to use my stage to spread the word about things I think are important.  If I don't take care of myself, who will, I need a few minutes of me time each day. It is easy to let the petty frustration of life dominate my thinking, if in the end it does not make a big difference, why waste my time and energy on it.  I forgive, because it frees my mind from carrying negative feelings toward others.  I do or say things I regret, if I don't let others know I am sorry for not thinking before doing or saying, they will think less of me.  If I can make one person smile each day, the world will be a brighter place.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

7000 Series

Metro Rail, the DC subway system is starting to roll out new rail cars, the 7000 series. This is the first major redesign in the history of the system.  The outside of the cars is stainless steel, the previous cars were aluminum with a painted brown stripe. Inside the cars are radically different, new design and finish on the seats, hard surface floors instead of carpet, and modern electronic signage that shows the location on the line, the next station even what side the doors will open on at the next station.  The announcements use an electronic voice.  The first of them came into service over the summer, about 50 are in service.  I have seen them go by, but last Wednesday on my way home was the first time I rode in them.  Nice ride, quiet, comfortable.

The cars are built by Kawasaki, in Kansas. Delivery is way behind schedule.  There are issues with the seat covers coming lose, and bolts sheering off in the door mechanisms.  The old cars are in pairs of two, with an operators cabin at each end of each pairing, the new cars are in sets of four, with an operators cab at each end.  The new cars, can't be mixed with the old cars in the same train.  All 6 of the previous car series were interchangeable - could be mixed in the same train.  Metro runs a mix of 6 and 8 car trains.  With the new cars being in sets of 4, and not mixable with the older rolling stock, they are currently only being run in 8 car trains.  Because of power supply limitations, Metro can't run all 8 car trains.  I wonder if Metro will recognize the wisdom of 4 car trains on off hours.

Come to DC, I'll show you the subway.

Monday, January 04, 2016


The program I work in has a resource and advisory board.  One of our board members died just before Christmas. Patty's death came as a big shock to pretty much everyone.  There was never an indication that she was ill, but apparently she had been for a couple of years. Some time ago, she had mentioned to a couple of people a diagnosis, then the next week said, oh that was wrong, I am going to be fine. Nothing more.  Those who knew watched, and maybe even pried a little, but she showed few outward signs of changing health, and quickly changed the subject when asked. I last saw her at our board meeting in October. October is the first meeting for new members so we did an ice-breaker introduction question to add to your normal bio, something people might not know if you didn't tell them. I talked about the 800 pound gorilla in the room, my health, Patty talked about having snow tires put on her bike so she could commute to the office for the 20th winter in a row (she lived in a very cold and snowy climate.)  No mention of fighting for her life. 

The difference is disclosure. We all choose what we want to disclose, or not disclose.  Patty choose to not talk about her illness.  I choose to do so.  The first person I told about my test results last May, was my boss, a few minutes later, he advised me to think about who I wanted to tell, or not tell, and how much I wanted to say.  I decided to be transparent.  There have only been a couple of times when I have regretted that.  I am more than my health, I don't want it to be the focus of every conversation. When I made that decision, I didn't know what the diagnosis and prognosis would be. Looking back, maybe I should have waited. Patty choose not to disclose. She want focus on her life, her work, her passions and not let concerns about her health distract or dominate the conversation.  It was her choice, as it was my choice, neither is better than the other.  I can understand why she made the choice she did, I hope others can understand why I made the choice that I did.  

Patty is missed and will be remembered. She will be remembered for what she was passionate about, not for the illness that shortened her life (she was only five years older than I am.)    

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Fearsome Questions

Spo – (the dear) posted this meme, it looks like a good end of the year, first of the year examination, thanks to Fearsome for inspiration for this one.

What did I do this past year?
               Worked a lot, traveled a lot – 44 hotel nights this year in 12 time zones, had my spine fixed, got married.

What didn’t I do?
                See enough of my parents, friends.

Did I forget something?
                 To not let the daily obstacles turn into mountains.

What was unexpected?
                 11 weeks off from work

What did I accomplish?
                 Lots, visited 12 time zones, regained the ability to walk, another year of funding at work, 163 registered attendees at National Aging and Law Conference.

Where did I go?
                 Kauai to Salzburg, with a stop in Iceland.

What was learned?
                  Listen to my body, that I can push my body farther than I thought, and emotional healing takes longer than physical healing.

Any regrets?
                 Not seeing a doctor sooner.

Do I owe an amends that I may have missed?
                 Not that I can think of – I should think of this more often

Have I properly expressed gratitude?
                 No, I will keep trying to be better

Have I forgiven?
                Yes, for what it does for me.

Did I love?
               Yes! Maybe more than in years.   

Did I laugh?
               Yes, but not enough   

Where do I want to go?  
                Idaho and Wyoming, Japan and South Korea, forward.   

What do I wish to accomplish?
                I need to exploit my time on this stage.

With whom do I need to spend time?
                Hubby and my parents

Whom do I want to meet?
                A couple of bloggers, John Gray and Fearsome

How can I best invest my time?
                Finding solutions, inspiring others, doing good.

What do I need?
               To make the most of what I have to work with

What do I want?
               To make a difference, for others to notice what I have done 

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Travels for Travel

Iceland August 2015

With a name like Travel Penguin, it is only natural that I like to travel, and the blog should talk about traveling.  So you ask, what is in the plans for 2016?

In January we are headed to Newport / Huntington Beach California for a couple of days.  I have a board meeting, I am flying out a day early and spending a day sightseeing with a friend. Unfortunately I will be arriving, a couple of days after Ron and Pat are returning home.  It will be nice to get away from the winter in DC for a couple of days.

In April, I have another board meeting, this one in Denver.  I like Denver, the mile high city.  I have not made travel plans for that one yet.  I will get to that soon.

In May, I am speaking at a conference in Chicago, at the Palmer House Hilton. I have never stayed at that hotel - I understand it is very nice.  I have been in the conference rooms there, for the toy show at IML, kind of a different crowd from the legal aid types I will see this may.

Later in May we are going to Rome.  I am trilled by this one.  I have the airline tickets, so I know when I am going and returning.  The Sweet Hubby is speaking at a conference there.  We are waiting to hear on hotels provided by the conference, then I will plan and schedule the rest of that.  I look forward to the food, the art and the light of Rome.

I will have a third board meeting in September, I don't know where this year.  I am headed to the other house in Kentucky in February - weather permitting.  I need to go to Florida a couple of times to see family.  I have another project that should bring a couple more work trips.

So, where are you going this year?

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year!  
May your year be filled with health, happiness and great adventures of life!