Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Bit Much?

We are collecting ideas for a kitchen remodel.  The kitchen in the condo is interior, no windows, so I am thinking about a gray-oak floor, white cabinets, maybe glass doors on the uppers, dark stone or composite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a nice tile or glass-tile back splash.  We are going to do a modest redesign, adding additional storage and moving the oven(s).  We need something to add an element of color to the room.

Is this a bit much? 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Seeing in natural light

I took these in the mid-70's with my father's camera.  He was not happy with them, he thought they were too dark, he didn't understand why I didn't move the people out into the sun, or use a flash.  I love these images, they show the people in the light that we normally saw the people.  

The top image is my sister and my maternal grandmother, the bottom image is my paternal grandparents.  

I am still a huge fan of natural light photography, one of the first things I do when I start using a new camera or phone, if figure out how to turn the flash off.  So far my only grump on the new Nikon, is I have to turn the auto-flash off, every time I turn the camera on.  If there is a setting for the default to be flash off, I have not found it yet (you do need an engineering degree to figure out all of the menus on the camera.) 

So what do you think, to dark, or the way we really see people? 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sometimes The Space is as Spectacular as the Collection

When you take factory delivery on a new Mercedes, you get two free tickets to the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart.  The Museum has a spectacular collection, the collection would be impressive in a Sear's store.  The Museum is in a spectacular building, the tour route is circular, moving from floor to floor, around the central atrium.  The building without the collection, would be worth the visit.  

Have you ever been in a museum where the building was better than the collection? 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Welcome to my Therapy Session

I continue to scan my father's slide collection.  Most of what I have done so far are from the 1950's to mid 1960's.  This picture would have been taken in late 1958, my parent's family complete with me on my mother's knee.  I don't think I have ever seen this image before.  This is the earliest image of me that I have found.  

I am finding scanning the slides a very therapeutic exercise. There are a few tender moments, but I feel better after than before.  I am sharing a dozen or so images a day on Facebook, the comments and feedback help me to understand what I am going through, and I feel better. Sharing these images here, makes me feel better.  Welcome to my therapy session.  

For much more see 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Birthday Five

The first picture is me on my paternal grandmother's lap, surrounded by my siblings. It is earliest picture of me, that we have found so far in Mom & Dad's collection.  My guess is this was taken at Thanksgiving, I would have been about 3 months old. 

So, today I have made it another time around the sun - yes it is my birthday.  Before Facebook reminded the world people needed to remember such things. This year I will be in Florida on my birthday.  This was booked as a trip to visit with dad, but he didn't make it.  The trip morphed into a trip to put the house up for sale.  My middle brother is going to take me out to lunch, if he lets me choose the place we will likely go to a place called CrackerJacks, also known as the Troll place, it is located on under a bridge (what lives under a bridge - Trolls.) 

So my Sunday five, on birthdays? 

1: Do you do anything special on your birthday? 
2: Do you look your age? 
3: Have you ever wanted to forget your birthday?
4: Do you know anyone who does not celebrate birthdays? 
5: Do you want anything special for those decennial birthdays?

My answers: 
1: Do you do anything special on your birthday?  I try not to work on my birthday - I was fired on my birthday one year - that will make you want to avoid being in the office on your birthday. 

2: Do you look your age? A lot of my contemporaries look older than I do, but I have aged, a lot in the past 10 years. If I look younger it is good genetics, I certainly haven't take good care of myself. 

3: Have you ever wanted to forget your birthday? Not really, well there was that one year mentioned above. 

4: Do you know anyone who does not celebrate birthdays? I have a colleague who does not recognize birthdays. 

5: Do you want anything special for those decennial birthdays? I have one of those coming up next year - and I am conflicted on wanting to let it pass silently - or doing something memorable.  The day I turned 30 I ran my first Triathlon. 

Your answers? 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Dreaming of Far Away Places

I dream of far away places, of long days exploring, of quiet moments observing, of soaking in the place, the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feel of the place.  

What do you dream about? 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Seat of the Pants Flying

These two images are likely older than I am, my father took the top one on final approach to a grass runway, covered in snow.  I don't know who took the second one, that is my father at the controls, the engine is running, but the plane is still tied down.  I think this is a Luscome - if I looked back through his log books I could probably pinpoint the date.  I think the plane was owned by a friend of my father.  

Learning to fly in little planes like this, when my father learned to fly in the early 1950's was learning to fly by feel.  The instrumentation was basic, there no such thing as an auto pilot.  You learned to feel when the plane was flying, and even more important, when it was not. To qualify in the 1950's you had to master stalls and spins, in essence when the plane quit flying and how to recover from them.  These are the basics of aerobatics.  Flying by the numbers came later.  Back in the 50's and 60's when you climbed in a plane like this you were more likely to find a AAA road map, than an aeronautical chart - today you would be looking for a glass panel, GPS, and an I-Pad mount.  

I am glad I had a chance to grow up around little airplanes, seat of the pants pilots, flying in an out of little airports.  It gives me a real feel for flying.  

Have you ever flown in anything like this?     

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Birthdays Past

I was born on my Grandfather's birthday, and my grandparents had gotten married on his birthday.  My guess is I was about 16 or 17 when this was taken.  The end of summer, and it shows that I had been out in the sun for the summer.  

This was taken in my grandparent's big kitchen in the farm house in Michigan.  The door behind me went into my great-grandmother's bedroom, the door to my left went out onto a front porch.  

At my grandparent's 50th Anniversary party someone asked about them getting married on my grandfather's birthday.  My grandmother remarked, "I though that way he would remember our anniversary, it didn't work, most year's he didn't remember his own birthday."  

Do you do anything special on your birthday? 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


I seldom pull of a surprise, I am not very good at coming up with ideas and not sharing them.  Back in 2008 I pulled it off.  

I booked a behind the scenes tour and "penguin encounter" for J's birthday.  I didn't tell him where we were going or what we were doing, only that we would be out for the afternoon and evening for his birthday.  You can tell from the grin on his face that it was a smashing idea.  

I have a plan for his birthday / our anniversary this year, time will tell if I can pull this one off. 

Are you able to pull off a surprise? 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


I had a post that was a bit of a political rant, but I have already been called a moron once this month, so I deleted it. Enough of this crap, I don't need to engage the crazies, there is enough stress in my life.  
I don't like Trump - 
I don't like Mitch McConnell 
I think Paul Ryan is dangerous
I fear that this Presidency is going to end in disaster 
The 20189 elections are going to be a lot of fun.  


Monday, August 21, 2017

Mini Me

The top picture was taken the spring I finished the 8th grade, look at the hair, the face, the tiny waist.  The middle picture was taken in Florida when I was about 2 1/2 years old, I am the one in the red pants.  I still stand like that, with my hands kind of awkwardly held in front or behind me. What great fashion sense at that young age. This last picture was taken when I was about 16 months old, I am on the sofa, I am not sure if that was my doll, or my sister's.  

Looking back at the evidence, it is hard to believe that anyone was surprised when I married J.  (My middle brother was.) 

What do the pictures of your mini me reveal? 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Rational or Not - the Sunday Five

The rational and irrational parts of my brain have been warring recently.  Being from very orderly, prim and proper Midwestern roots, the rational side of my brain almost always wins.  In times of stress, the struggle between logic and emotion becomes quite rapacious. 

So are these rational or not?
1: A desire to have dad's 50 year old watch rebuilt? 
2: Spending nearly $400 to have dad's slides and movie film shipped home? 
3: A desire to hop the next plane to Vegas, with a $100 limit on gambling money? 
4: Staying with a bank that is unresponsive to my needs?  
5: Wondering if I am doing the right thing? 

My justifications: 
1: A desire to have dad's 50 year old watch rebuilt?  -  I can remember when dad bought it from a flying buddy in about 1970 for $100, my mother tutted for days over the extravagance, he put it away 20 years ago - deciding it was cheaper to wear cheap watches than have the good one fixed.  
2: Spending nearly $400 to have dad's slides and movie film shipped home? - someone needed to archive this part of the family history and it was either ship them or drive to Florida and pick them up. 
3: A desire to hop the next plane to Vegas, with a $100 limit on gambling money? - normal to want a physical escape from all that is going on - I will resist this one - at least for a couple of months. 
4: Staying with a bank that is unresponsive to my needs?  Hmm, I have been with them 22 years, they have branches in all of the states that I touch in my life. The basics work well, but when I ask for anything outside of the box, they are little help.   
5: Wondering if I am doing the right thing? I am doing things you only do once in a lifetime.  But I am doing them efficiently and making the best decisions I can.  

What do you think, am I being rational or irrational? 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

I Gotta Do that Again

Twice I have taken trips on float planes, adventures to see mountains, glaciers and the back country and bush.  Simply put, I gotta do that again! 

What do you want to do again? 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Half a Dozen Mixed Memories

I updated this post, and took out an image I had not reviewed carefully enough, it is referred to in the comments.  I apologize if it offended anyone.  I will try to be more awake when I am selecting images. I added two images of New York, one I took last summer and on my father took in 1961.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

He Didn't Really Say That, Did He?

I know I shouldn't do this, but I watch the national news on TV while eating dinner.  

I just listened to Trump say "there were good people on both side" in reference to the clash with Neo-Nazi White Supremacists last weekend.  Umm, did he really say that?  I can't conceive of a White Supremacist being a "good" person.  Misguided, maybe well behaved, but certainly not someone I would classify as "good." 

Is anyone willing to admit that voting for this clown was a bad idea?  I am glad I voted against him, I really don't care about her emails.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bright Lights of the Big City

Digging out the real camera was not something I could do from the window seat, so I took this with my phone.  Not bad, but not nearly as good as what a real camera would have done.  I seldom sit in window seats, I am an aisle seat person, but I was late booking, and elected to let the airline select my seat, rather than pay extra for a middle seat. I was happy with the window and an empty middle seat.  

What is you favorite seat? 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tourists on the Subway at Rush Hour

Tourists on the subway at peak rush hour frequently get in the way.  They are not sure which way to go, where to stand, or even where to walk.  Then one stands next to me wearing the perfect snarky T-shirt and I forgive them all, especially if they say yes to, "may I take a picture of your shirt?"  

Do you encounter tourists in your daily commute? 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Lots Going On

What is happening? 
I am back in the office, getting caught up, trying to finish a project that is months behind, pulling together the details on a national conference for the end of October, writing materials for said conference, writing materials for a conference in November in California (with a stop in Phoenix on the way out there.)  

I am headed back to Florida later this month, the trip is on my calendar as "check on dad," it is actually going to be get the house on the market, transfer the car to my brother, and chase loose ends. 

I am headed to Florida again a couple of weeks after that.  I have hired an estate sale firm to clean out and sell the contents of the house, anything the four of us kids want, we have to have out of the house by September 3rd, they sell everything that is not nailed down.  I am flying in for the last day of the sale and the clean up that follows.  

I have made plans for early October, we are going to Michigan for graveside services and internment of Mom and Dad.  

I am starting to sort through the complicated parts of settling the estate, I succeeded at getting a bank account opened in the name of the estate.  Now to run the gauntlet of stock registry services.  

I am taking a little time along the way to work through the loss. I thought that dad's death would be harder than mom, both of them in less than six months - well is it harder than I expected. My differed mourning for mom, is now stacked with dad. Acknowledging that is a good sign. 

What's happening in your world? 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Five Media

1: What is playing on your television on as you read this? 
2: What music or other sound is playing while you read this? 
3: What was the last picture you took? 
4: When was the last time you read a book? 
5: Do you have a working VHS player? 

My answers: 
1: What is playing on your television on as you read this? Nothing, it is off.
2: What music or other sound is playing while you read this? The Jimmy Buffet channel on Amazon Prime streaming music service.
3: What was the last picture you took? A picture of an NSA recruiting poster on the subway. 
4: When was the last time you read a book? Friday afternoon, on the subway on my way home. 
5: Do you have a working VHS player?  Nope, found two of them in dad's house. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dreaming of Distant Adventures

It has been a physically and emotionally exhausting three weeks.  At times I found myself lost and confused in my own mind, at other times busy beyond the point of distraction, too busy at times to truly understand the gravity and reality of all that was happening.  I have been shouted at, and lectured, offered good advice, and left to make hard decisions on my own.  I could really use a few days off to recharge the batteries.  But, work calls, and there is still work to be done on settling the estate. 

At times like this, I let thoughts of adventures past and future, divert my mind.  When I think about it, I have been to a lot of amazing places (and a few not so amazing ones!)  I have lived a lifetime of adventures, and I am not done.  The recent events, coupled with changes to come over the next two years will leave me even more able to exploit the adventures of life.  In less than 18 months, the condo in the DC burbs, my home for an indefinite period of time, will be paid for and Jay will be free to travel whenever he wants.  Those two changes will open the door for seizing new opportunities and adventures. 

What adventure are you dreaming of?    

Friday, August 11, 2017

What's in Your Wallet?

You can tell a lot about what people value, by looking at what they keep in their wallet.  My father kept this picture in his wallet from the early 1960's to the end of his life.  This is the last airplane he owned.  It is a 1948 Fairchild model 24.  He and a friend bought it in the early 1960's and rebuilt it.  He flew it from early 1962 to early 1964 when it was sold.  According the FAA records, it was last registered in 2013, and the plane was subsequently sold to someone in Connecticut. 

One of my earliest memories, is my father recovering the wings of this plane, in our garage.  The smell of lacquer paint, brings back a memory of me scooting under the wings and getting sticky stuff in my hair.  I remember flying to St Helen, Michigan in this plane to visit my grandparents on my mother's side one summer.   

I hope the new owners hold it as dear to their hearts as my father did.  

What's in your wallet? 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hi Woolsey

They say, insanity is inherited, you get it from your kids.  You don't have to be crazy to keep house sheep, but it makes others wonder if you are.  

One year when I drove to Florida for Thanksgiving I took a couple of members of the flock along on the trip.  They like to get out of the house and they are good company when I am traveling alone.  My mother enjoyed having them around.  

So the following lambing season, I found Woolsey and packed him up and sent him to mom.  He nestled down in the living room, and was there ever since.  He stayed on after Mom died, keeping the dog in check.  After Dad died - someone had to take him in, so I stuffed him in my carry on bag and brought him home to join the flock here in DC.  When the flight was delayed, I offered him to the ladies in the row behind me to cuddle - they really didn't seem to know how to respond to that - it is fun to keep them guessing! 

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Slow Down, you move to fast!

Here we are rushing onward, what is the rush?  Stop and smell the roses, slow down and enjoy life along the way.  

When was the last time you slowed down? 

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Praise for an Airline?

I have yet to find the perfect airline, all of them have flaws and frustrations.  I do most of my business with two, allowing me to concentrate frequent flyer miles, and the more business you do with an airline, the more accommodating they can be. Also because of credit card deals I get free checked bags on Delta and American Airlines.  I buy all non-refundable tickets, I have tossed a few tickets over the years when last minute changes made it cheaper to buy a new ticket, than to pay the change fee.  I plan well, so this seldom happens, but it does.  

So praise for an Airline?  Yes. 

When my sister let me know dad was in really bad shape, I booked a round trip going down on Thursday and back on Monday.  I arrived late Thursday afternoon, and he died early Friday morning. It quickly became apparent that the list of things I needed to do was longer than the time available, so Friday evening I looked up the cost of buying a new return ticket for Wednesday evening.  Before I pressed buy, I called American customer service on the special number for members of their frequent flyer program.  Most airlines give preferred service to frequently flyers, some have dedicated service center staff for frequent flyer members.  

I explained what had happened and asked if there was anyway that changing the ticket would be cheaper than buying a new one.  The customer service agent asked a few question, and then explained, that she would call the funeral home to verify what I had told her, and ask a supervisor for approval to waive the change fee of of $200 (buy a new ticket was on the website at $169.)  She put me on hold for a few minutes and came back with good news, she was able to verify with the funeral director and get approval to waive the change fee.  It looked like the price was the same, so this would be done at no charge and I would receive a confirmation email.  

The next morning I realized that I hadn't received the email, so I checked my pending reservations online and the date had been changed to Wednesday for the return flight.  Good.  Tuesday evening I went to check-in and couldn't. The reservation was still showing as ticket pending, so I called back.  A nice young man answered, I gave him the basic information to pull up the reservation.  I said I can give you the history on this, he said that is okay, I just read the notes, "sorry for your loss, and I apologize it is our mistake the computer flagged this for review and no one looked at it, hang on I will be right back."  A moment later he was back, apparently the computer decided that the new ticket was $20 cheaper than what I had paid, and the computer needed a person to authorize crediting me the $20.  He had done that.  A few minutes later I was able to check in. 

Now this was not automatic, the airline needed to verify that there was a death in the family, but they waived the change fee.  Saving me the price of a new ticket.  Bravo!  Good service.  

Of course on Wednesday the weather didn't cooperate, and the gate was occupied, and the gate agent was on break, overall I was 3-hours late getting in.  No airline can control the weather, when the schedules are messed up, staff are run thin and likely screamed at all day.  

American Airlines did what they could, to accommodate my needs.  Good work  

What is your best experience with an airline?    

Monday, August 07, 2017

A certain Style

The moment I walked into the gallery at the museum I instantly knew this was a Monet.  It has a distinct style - once you have seen a billion-dollars-worth of his work (all in one room in Paris), you can instantly tell it is his, or a good copy.  

I wonder what my personal style is.  I'd like to think comfortable, comfortable with who I am, comfortable in my skin, with my station in life.  I do little to impress anyone, I don't care to anymore.  Like me for who I am, or not, I'll be fine for the most part either way.  My secret fear, is that my style is perceived as slob, and I am probably okay with that.  

What is your personal style? 

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Sunday Five Questions - the dearly departed

My, oh my, I am running short of blog posts.  I must put out, or my fans will go without.  Being out of town for an unplanned week kind of threw me off schedule.  So I will let death inspire this weeks Sunday five. 

1: Have you ever been the first to find the body? 
2: Are you comfortable touching a dead person? 
3: Have you ever made funeral arrangements? 
4: Burial, cremation, crypt - what is your preference? 
5: Have you ever been visited by the dearly departed - other than at a Disney park? 

My answers: 
1: Have you ever been the first to find the body? Just once, my sister checked on dad at 6:30 AM, I checked at 7:00 AM and he was still and silent. 
2: Are you comfortable touching a dead person? I was surprised that I was, I don't think I could do that for a living.  
3: Have you ever made funeral arrangements? Twice this years. 
4: Burial, cremation, crypt - what is your preference? Being cremated is my last chance for a smoking hot body. 
5: Have you ever been visited by the dearly departed? When I say something that sounds like my mother, or my father, or my late mother in law, I refer to it as channeling. 

Friday, August 04, 2017

Ten Things I Just Don't Get

Special thanks to Anne Marie for the inspiration

Ten things I just don't get:

1: Neck and hand tattoos - they always make me wonder, "what where you thinking?" 
2: Trump and his evil spawn.
3: Twitter - social media with ADHD.
4: Spending money prosecuting drug crimes and locking people up, and not spending money on substance abuse and addiction treatment. 
5: People complaining about paying taxes.  
6: Worrying about the cost of health insurance, and not about the cost of medical care. 
7: People who try to impose their religious practices on other people. 
8: Walmart  
9: Bobby Flay
10: People who want to live past 100 years of age. 

Your ten things? 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

More Goodies

O -My-God these are good.  They are chocolate with a liquid center.  Sugarfina also sells a dirty martini version, shaped like an olive, I will try those next. A few weeks ago, I tried their bourbon gummy bears, the bears are good, but I thought a little mild in flavor.  They have a Rose' gummy,nice flavor.  

If you get a chance to try Sugarfina product, do so! 

What is your latest discovery on potent potables? 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Go Do What Scares You

I have to admit I was apprehensive about traveling to Greece.  I found  the spoken language impenetrable - not even starting to look at the written language in a different alphabet.  I knew Greece would be about as far from my cultural comfort zone as I had ever been. Simply put the trip scared me a little. 

Then it got stranger, I was traveling on frequent flyer miles, and Jay was traveling on a ticket the University had paid for.  So his flights and mine where not the same.  Then his schedule was changed, and mine was not.  As a result I arrived in Athens at 9:00 AM, he came in at 5 PM, having changed planes in London and Rome on the way. I would need to find my way from the airport, into Athens, to the hotel and check in without him, and his modest understanding of Greek.  I also had several free hours in Athens on my own, I would need to find lunch on my own. A new level of adventure.  

 The Train from the airport was fairly easy to find, and it only runs one way.  I bought a ticket and away I went.  I had looked at Google earth and I had some idea of there I was going.  I knew what subway station was closest to the hotel, and based on my Google street exploration knew which way to go and what to look for.  I found the hotel.  Check in was easy.  I collapsed, rested for a short while then went out to explore.  I succeeded at ordering lunch, not real sure what it was, but it was good.  I headed a couple of blocks down the the Central Market, only to find it was the end of the market day.  I wandered around a few blocks, did a little shopping and made my way back to the hotel. I drifted off for a late afternoon, and Jay arrived, exhausted and famished.  

Greece was WONDERFUL, the people were warm and welcoming, the food fresh and filling, and the sights like few others in the world.  In the end I am so glad I ignored my fears and went.  Now to tackle Asia some day.   

What place scares you, and yet you would like to visit?