Monday, September 30, 2019

Mural Monday 13th and Locust in Philadelphia

Grand scale and wonderful detail.  Great restaurant, Bud and Marilyn's across the street.  

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday Five Harry Potter

A year or so, after the first Harry Potter book came out, I was driving to Florida to visit my parents.  I stopped at a hotel someplace in South Carolina for the night, in the lobby was a book case full of books, the sign said, take it with you, read it, leave it behind at another hotel.  I looked over the selection, pulled the Sorcerer's Stone and stuffed it in my bag.  I started to read it, and could hardly put it down.  I ended up reading all of the books, seeing all of the movies.  

1: Did you read the Harry Potter books? 
2: Have you seen all of the movies? 
3: What character are you most like? 
4: What class would you most like to take at Hogwarts?  
5: If Polyjuice potion was real, who would you want to impersonate for a couple of hours? 

My Answers: 
1: Did you read the Harry Potter Books? Yes, all of them. 
2: Have you seen all of the movies? At least twice. 
3: What character are you most like? Neville Longbottom, kind of a nerdy late bloomer. 
4: What class would you most like to take at Hogwarts?  Potions 
5: If Polyjuice potion was real, who would you want to impersonate for a couple of hours? He Who Must Not be Named at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave - boy could I have some fun with his Twitter account.  

Your answers in the comments, please! 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

From That First Moment

There is a ritual about it, settling into the seat, buckling the seat belt, listening to the engines start and the plane start to move, the slow taxi out, waiting clearance and then turning onto the active runway.  Throttling up, you accelerate like a dragster and then the magic moment when lift exceeds drag, you start to lift off.  From the first time I experienced it, it is a moment I have loved.  Most takeoffs are at a gentle rate, once in a while you experience something special.  

I was about 10 the first time I saw a business jet takeoff.  I was at the local airport in Lapeer, Michigan with my father, a small jet owned by Valassic, the pickle people landed and half a dozen people got off.  Rather then get in the waiting cars to leave, they stood around in front of the office watching, one of them said, you want to watch this, the flight crew is going to show us what it will do.  The plane was flying to another airport for fuel, jet fuel was not available at the local, the jet had come in from nearly 1,000 miles away and was low on fuel. Only the pilot and first officer were on board, meaning the jet was about as light in weight as it could be.  It taxied down to the end of the runway, locked the brakes and spooled up the engines so the acceleration was much faster than normal, about half way down the runway the plane started to climb, not at the normal 2-3,000 foot per minute rate, but at about 10,000 feet per minute.  It wasn't exactly standing on its tail and going straight up, but as close as the pilot could make it go. Grown men smiled, young boys were moved to tears.  

From that first moment I was hooked.  

Friday, September 27, 2019

Keep Snapping Away

This was taken last spring, in final approach into Regan Washington National Airport, it is the best of about 20 shots, taken in rapid sequence.  Digital makes the cost of multiple exposures basically zero.  For those who grew up on film, it is an adjustment to shooting multiple exposures, is the key to getting the best image from an opportunity like this.  Keep snapping, until you get what you want, a lot of things in life are like that. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Most Expensive Hotel Room

I set a record this summer for the most expensive hotel room, I have ever paid for, $388 plus tax for a total of $425, for one night at the Lake Quinault Lodge in Olympic National Park.  This may not be the most expensive hotel I have stayed in, I have had a few nights in rather over the top places like the Langham Hotel in Chicago  and Fairmont in San Francisco, but someone else was paying for those directly, and I never knew how much they spent (lots! - Medical societies nest at the best places.) 

So what did we get for $388, a modest room in a 100+ year old, stone and timber hotel.  The room was small by todays standards and comfortably furnished.  The bathroom was funky, the sink was a wall-hung ceramic sink like my grandparents put in the farmhouse in an early 1950's remodel, and that was in the corner of the room, the bath was tiny, with a stall shower and toilet.  There was no air conditioning, but there was a ceiling fan and windows with screens that opened to let in the mountain air. The room was on the second floor, with no elevators. Up one of two grand staircases from a spectacular lobby.  

What you get for that price is an experience, charm, a view, fresh air, a feeling for what staying in that hotel was like 100 years ago. The view of the mountain lake was spectacular. The hotel offered more modern rooms, in additions built in my lifetime, that look like a nice 1980's nameless, faceless hotel rooms.  The newer rooms have sliding glass doors overlooking the lake, undoubtedly with stickers reminding you to close and lock them for your security.  Rooms that look like countless millions of others.  

I opted for the old Lodge, maybe even paid a premium for the experience.  While not for everyone, it was worth it.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday

Walt Disney World opened October 1, 1971, my family visited for the first time in February 1972.  I was in my early teens.  I snapped this image with a Kodak Instamatic from the tramway between Frontier Land and Tomorrow Land.  As I recall the ticket were around $10 per person, my father was appalled at the cost.  I don't think any of us truly understood the long term cultural impact that WDW would have on central Florida. Orlando went from a sleepy little citrus town, to home for millions of people. (I spent 15 years tearing out orange groves and building houses in the Orlando area.)  

Six years later my middle brother went to work for Disney, he still works there.  

I have been there at least 100 times over the years. I bought an annual pass for several years, I have been there for private after hours parties, I have been backstage to photograph the rehearsal areas with John Williams conducting and orchestra, and Rock Hudson narrating (I should see if I can find the negatives from that experience,) I have been down the length of the tunnel that runs under Main Street. 

To some extent, WDW is a "been there, done that" experience for me.  But still the place has a magic about it.  I went with my brother last March, I am glad I made reservations for lunch, the food was good and the service was great.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tips for A Happy Hotel Stay

I have a journal recording every hotel stay back to 2005, 507 nights and counting. With that number of nights spent in hotels, I have learned a few key tips for a happy hotel stay. 

  • Make reservations - if you just show up you may find no room at the inn, and even if you do, you almost always pay a premium price.  Even if it is only an hour or two ahead, call or go online and make a reservation. I have the apps for my two most commonly used hotel chains on my phone, I have made reservations from the car, in the parking lot of the hotel.  
  • Ask for the placement that you like best.  I find higher floors, farthest from the elevator to be quietest, and I ask, most often I get what I ask for. 
  • Check the room when you arrive, and if something is not working, ask for it to be fixed or to change rooms.  In Seattle we had a room with warm air-conditioning.  The hotel sent up service, we went to lunch, came back and it was still warm, so I asked to be moved to another room, we did and it was so much more pleasant. 
  • Don't go bottom fishing, spend a little more to get something reliable.  On one of the driving trips to the other house, I decided to save $20 and stay at a national chain budget hotel, rather than the reliable Hampton Inn, one bed-bug was all it took for me to never do that again.  
  • Tip the housekeeper.  I leave $5 to $10 per night.  Tip each day, on a multi day stay, the housekeepers will go out of their way to assure your room is nice and sometimes slip in extra amenities. Housekeepers work very hard, and are often underpaid.  A little something goes a long way for them, and the kindness is repaid. 
  • If you arrive before your room is ready, or need to check out before you leave for the airport or train station, check your bag.  I am surprised by people dragging their luggage to meetings and conferences, or out to lunch, tip the bellman a couple of dollars per bag and they will be take very good care of your bags. I have checked bags at hotels I wasn't staying in, a $5 bill and no question was asked about "what room are you in?" Bellman survive on tips (some of them very-very well,) treat them well and they will do anything that is legal to help you enjoy your stay. 
Notice anything odd about the locking tip box above?  

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday Five - Random Happiness

1: What music brings a smile to your face? 
2: When you order a new Rolls Royce, they will paint it any color you want, what color would you order? 
3: What do you wear to lighten the mood, if you are having a really bad week? 
4: What animal would you like to have as a house pet if it was possible? 
5: What is the best book you have read, so far this year? 

My Answers:
1: What music brings a smile to your face? Strong instrumentals, I am listening to hammer dulcimer as I write this.  
2: When you order a new Rolls Royce, they will paint it any color you want, what color would you order?  A nice rich Bronze. 
3: What do you wear to lighten the mood, if you are having a really bad week?  Well I have a Mickey-Mouse cap, with a propeller on top, I have been known to wear it to the office.  
4: What animal would you like to have as a house pet if it was possible? A sheep. 
5: What is the best book you have read, so far this year? Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichel

Your answers in the comments, please? 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Cities that Never Sleep

I love exploring real cities, cities that have people living in them, 24 hours a day.  All to many American cities are filled with offices, businesses, and shops, but most of the people live outside the city core and commute in and out.  If is easy to tell a living city, a city that never sleeps, because the things that people need like markets are still located in the city and are busy.  The Spruce Food Market is on Spruce Street in Philadelphia just a few blocks from city hall.  It is alive, it serves a population that lives and works within the city core. The streets of the city don't go to sleep when the workers go home for the night the streets remain awake with the locals in the neighborhood.  

Here in Washington DC, we are seeing apartments and condos being built back in the city, and markets are returning to the city.  

We love New York, and Chicago, cities that remained alive at the core with people living there and the businesses that serve them remaining in the city.  

Friday, September 20, 2019

Fiat Lux

Opps, two postings this morning, enjoy both! 
The motto of tiny Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, the place where I spent the better part of a decade completing a four year college degree is Fiat Lux, or Let There Be Light. My first semester there I was assigned to a class that was an introduction to the interdisciplinary humanities - the topic was the struggle between logic and emotion - it was approached through literature, philosophy, history, art (including film) culture, anthropology, and science.  To say the class was enlightening is an understatement, it opened my eyes and stretched my mind in ways I never dreamed possible.  The class challenged my perception and understanding of the world and life.  It helped ignite my desire for adventure, exploring and learning.  At times I need to be reminded of the value of exploring new things, of challenging my views and understanding of the world.  I wish more of life was as effective as that class in opening my world and allowing the light to shine.  

 Describe a class where you learned, how to learn. 

Box Full of Full of Brains

I had heard about Paul Aravich, but this was the first time I had heard him speak.  He is a professor at a medical school, and he lectures on dementia and brain health. His reputation precedes him, because he travels with a plastic box full of human brains.  Normal brains, the brain of a person who had dementia, half of the brain of a person who died from a massive stroke (in the very core of her brain) and the brain of a person who died from a traumatic brain injury clearly showing the bleeding into the brain tissue.  When he puts on the rubber gloves, and reaches into that box, everyone in the room looks up from their phone, or pulls their phone out to take pictures.  Forget the PowerPoints, this man knows the power of a visual aid in speaking.  

Over the past 20 years understanding of dementia has vastly expanded, but there are still so many mysteries.  

He also had a spinal cord.  I had never seen one. I was fascinated by the branches that come out of the sides, at each vertebra.  On the right side, at T-9, that branch no longer connects to anything on my spine.  I knew there was no longer a connection at that point, I had never seen what that connection might look like. 

He had a table outside of the ballroom, with gloves, he would hand you a brain.  I declined, I am slightly weirded out by the idea.  

Would you hold the brain?  

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Shower fun

We are about to have Jay's bathroom remodeled.  We had bids from several contractors, and visited two of them.  The winner started out with, shower fun, what his firm does that is different than all the rest.  Now there are a lot of things that can make a shower different, nozzles for this and that,  benches, grab bars.  What he offered that was different, was a superior waterproofing system.  If we are going to do it, let's make it last, and this system should make it outlast both of us.  

Not what you expected from that headline?  

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday

I am old, but I was not at the signing of the declaration of independence or the adoption of the US Constitution, but I have been to the place it happened.  In this relatively modest sized room, in what was once the seat of government for the colony of Pennsylvania.  The date of July 4th, is the date of the last draft of the declaration of independence, the vote was a few days later, the signing a month later. I know that, not because I was there in 1776 (though I am old, I am not that old) but because I listened to the presentation when we visited a couple of weeks ago.  One thing that struck me was the size of the room.  I have been in private living rooms that were larger.  The presence of great names in American history, I have become somewhat immune to, after all George Washington had dinner in a house, in what is now our front parking lot, a week before he died.  

What is the most historic site you have visited this year? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tiny Airports

This is TRI Cities Airport, in Kingsport Tennessee. This is the entire concourse, six gates not all of them in use,  two baggage claims, no pre-check lane for security.  I have a love-hate relationship with small airports.  While small airports are easy and efficient, they lack services and amenities, and with the limited number of flights it can be more difficult when things go awry. This was the only commercial airport within 100 miles of the program site.  It was pricey to fly in and out of - $488, but the rental car was cheap - $56 total with tax for two days, and the car was new - it had 250 miles on it. 

TRI has a nice modern terminal.  And you are always Number 1 for takeoff at a small airport.  

When I lived in Lexington, my home airport was small, about 8 gates when we first moved there, then later about 12.  Two baggage claims.  It seemed tiny after Orlando.  Here in DC I fly in and out of Washington National Airport,  40 plus gates, over a dozen baggage claims,  lots of airlines, lots of flights, lots of traffic, and a subway station.  

What is your local airport like?  

Monday, September 16, 2019

Mural Monday

Theme days make daily blogging a little easier.  I have been doing the Sunday five for a couple of years, and the Way We Were Wednesday for a year or so.  I have seen a couple of people doing Mural Monday.  Let's see if I can sustain this one.  

This one is in the lobby of the Curtis Publishing building in Philadelphia, we stumbled across it going in to have lunch at P.J. Clarks (a very-very good lunch.) It is one of the largest works by Maxfield Parrish,  a mosaic done with glass from Tiffany.  Amazing! 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Five - Is It Art?

I stopped to take a photo of the wonderful cast subway sign in Philadelphia, and noticed the words above, a rubber stamping, saying "this is not a work of art."  

This weeks five questions, 
1: Is the sign alone, without the words above, art? 
2: How do the words change the meaning of this? 
3: Is graffiti art or a crime? 
4: What would you say or do, if you saw a person stamping "this is not a word of art" in public places? 
5: Would you put the "Subway" sign on the wall in your home? 

My answers? 
1: Is the sign alone, without the words above, art?  I love industrial design, well done it is art, this is well done. 
2: How do the words change the meaning of this? The words provoke thought, adding the artistry of this. 
3: Is graffiti art or a crime?  I struggle with this, some of it is art, most of it is ugly and meaningless.  
4: What would you say or do, if you saw a person stamping "this is not a word of art" in public places?  Smile and walk past. 
5: Would you put the "Subway" sign on the wall in your home?  Yes, I have the perfect place on one of the brick walls in the terrace.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Why Not!

Why not put the top down? 

Why not enjoy life? 

The rational arguments are always there, urging restraint.  The challenges of life will always be with us.  If we let all of those things rule our lives, we will never enjoy what we have.  

For one day: 
Don't act your age, 
Don't worry about what you don't have,
Don't obsess over living longer, 
Eat what tastes good, 
Drink the cool water, with plenty of ice,  
Breath deeply, 
Love without conditions,
Laugh without restraint, 
Ignore the opposition, 
Forgive evil, not for them, but to free yourself from carrying the burden of hate, 
Live the adventure around you, 
Bloom where you are planted, 

If we can do it for a day, why not forever? 

Friday, September 13, 2019


I was surprised to see this horse standing with one foot turned up, the carriage driver said, "he is just resting, shifting his weight from four feet to three, kind of like you shift from two to one."  I've not spent a lot of time around horses, they don't rest on a race course.  (At least I don't think they do?) Thinking about it, it seems logical, it would be even easier to balance on three out of four legs, than on one of two.  

It is Friday, I know what day of the month it is, remember bad luck can happen any day, it is all a matter of how you respond to it, not what is thrown at you.  Friday is becoming my telecommute day.  I started doing this over the summer to minimize the commute from hell.  I found that if I plan to work on writing projects at home, the days can be very productive.  I usually have a few writing projects in the works, at the moment, an issue brief,  a book review, and a journal article on ethics.  Working at home, is also relaxing. My commute is from one end of my bedroom to the other, there is no dress code, starting time is early, meaning I can be done early, and when I am done the gym is across the back parking area.  I avoid taking naps, but I might get laundry done while working today.  

How's your Friday? 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Black Sheep of the Family

The back-sheep of the family, refers to the family member who never quite fit in, who maybe everyone loved, but who no one wanted to really talk about. 

My paternal grandfather had a couple of brothers who were the black-sheep of the family.  The bartender whose two wives showed up to his funeral (his nickname was Dutch,) and then there was the gambler and pool hustler who lived very well and seldom had a real job (Bud.) My father's generation was tiny, just him and his sister, both of them fit well; my mother was an only child.  My maternal grandmother was an odd duck, there were many members of her family who didn't talk to or about other members of the family.  

My generation is a bit more complicated.  I am the youngest of four.  I was the first to finish college, the first to get a divorce, the only one to come out of the closet.  That probably qualifies me as a black-sheep - I treasure the role of the underdog.  One of my brothers has spent most of his adult life isolating himself from the family.  My middle brother is just himself, he has made his way in the world largely as a solo act. Both of my brothers likely fall into the black-sheep category. My sister is the only one who took the traditional route of marriage and children. 

Who is the underdog in your family?  

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday- September 11, 2001

I was speaking at a conference on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Lexington, Kentucky, leading a session on elder abuse. I was scheduled to do the same program in the morning and repeated in the afternoon.  We were interrupted in the morning, with reports that things were happening in New York, by lunch time it was obvious that the situation was serious. We organizers gathered to confer on what to do with the afternoon agenda, many people left, we had speakers from out of town who realized they were stranded in town with closed airports and rental cars sold out.  We tried doing the afternoon workshops, things were very strange, one speaker refused to leave his hotel room, I entertained his audience, but I was really not a master of his subject.  We adjourned a couple of hours early.  

The days that followed were very unusual, we didn't officially close the office, but people came and went kind of at random. Stunned and grieving would be the best description.  

There are only a couple of "historical" events that I recall where I was and what I was doing when they happened, September 11th is one of them. 

I was processing honey on the farm when Elvis died. I was working in a department store when the OJ Simpson criminal trial not-guilty verdicts were announced - the news feed was played over the PA system in the store.

What historical events stand out in your memory?   

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Anne Marie is Real

I knew she was real, I had met her once before, though I almost didn't recognize her, her hair was somewhat different than the first time I met her.  We were in Philadelphia Labor Day weekend and Anne Marie and her husband Todd came into the city to join us for lunch.  If you have read her blog, or had comments from her, she is just as much fun in person as she is online.  Strong, and fearless, she has faced down lives dragons and sent them packing.  She is much more vocal about being political than I am, and I love her for it.  

I have met several blogger in the flesh, and hope to have the opportunity to meet several more.  Most of them are very nice people, even of they are not all well of four feet tall.  

What blogger would you most like to have lunch with next Saturday?   

Monday, September 09, 2019

I Could Be Happy There

Reports are that the man who had this built, was never really happy with it, or anything else.  I suspect he was just not happy with life, and he tried to make himself happy by building castles, and surrounding himself with nice things.  But deep down inside, he was troubled.  Things and places don't make you happy.  Happy comes from inside.  I could be happy in this castle, and I am happy in the much smaller castle I live in.  

Are you happy today? 

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Sunday Five - Five Random and Slightly Strange Questions

Five random questions, have fun, be silly in your answers!

1: If you had a castle, what would you name it? 
2: If invited to lunch with the Pope, what would you talk about? 
3: Where is the best place to hide something? 
4: What language do you wish you could read and speak? 
5: When did you start to feel like an adult? 

My answers!
1: If you had a castle, what would you name it? Keep Out! 
2: If invited to lunch with the Pope, what would you talk about? Why not allow women and married people in the priesthood?  
3: Where is the best place to hide something? In plain sight. 
4: What language do you wish you could read and speak? Spanish would be most useful, French is what I have long tried to learn.
5: When did you start to feel like an adult? I'll let you know when I get there. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Instagram - Google Map Fodder

I have a seldom used Instagram account, every once in a while an image like the one above will stand out, and get posted.  I have mentioned that Google maps tracks every move of my phone, they even send me a monthly summary of everyplace my phone has been.  I also get requests from Google to post photos, reviews and to answer questions.  I enjoy doing it, so it if it not invasive I will.  

Someplace in western Washington state, we stopped at a local organic market, a farm stand morphed into a small grocery store.  We wanted something cold to drink, and a bathroom.  It had both, the people were warm and welcoming, and the fresh local produce made me wish I had access to a kitchen.  As I recall we bought cherries and blueberries to snack on in the car. I posted this to Instagram, I have since had a request to post photos and a review to Google Maps, I was glad to do so, it is nice being nice to a business that was nice to us.  

Do you post random pictures online?   

Friday, September 06, 2019

If all Goes To Plan

If all goes to plan, this is the last day of my "alternate" commute.  I moved to the DC area in large part because I longed to live in a place where I could depend on public transit, and more specifically on a train or subway system.  When I bought the condo, a critical criteria was access to a subway station, just a 10 minute walk from my front door.  The 4th of May, 2015 was the last time I drove to the office, I like it that way. I like working in the office, I don't like spending time in rush hour traffic.  

The DC subway system opened in the mid 1970s the station closest to me was in an early expansion opening in the mid 1980s.  The system has not been well maintained over the years. The decision was made to rebuild all of the stations south of National Airport, I am at the end of one of those two lines, six stations were closed for 13 weeks.  

Starting the first week in June, rather than hop a train in my local station, change trains and pop out 8 floors below my office and doing the opposite in the afternoon; I have been driving to the station, the buses are more efficient from the far end of the station closest to what has been free parking for the summer, taking a bus to the Pentagon, boarding a train there, depending on what train came in, either coming up two blocks south of the office, or making a change and coming up below my desk.  My return home has been more complicated, take the subway train across DC to Union Station, change to a local Commuter Train (VRE), take that to King Street, then wait in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes for a local shuttle bus that then sometimes got stuck in rush hour traffic for half an hour.  My commute went from 45-60 minutes in each direction, to at least an hour in the morning, and at least 1.5 hours in the afternoon.  To avoid the worst of the congestion, I have been going in early, the least crowded VRE train home leaves Union Station at 3:25 (I have taken the 3:10 most days,) to get in a full days work I needed to be at my desk by 7:30 AM.  

The Pain should be over, Metro Rail should be back working on Monday.  I expect there will be some minor issues as they get all of the rebuilt infrastructure working,and restart systems that have been out of service for over three months. It will be so nice to slide back into my favorite seat on Monday morning.  

I haven't written about it, I try not to fill the blog with debbie-downer, or negative-nancy postings.  It has been a summer of pain, going to bed early, getting up early. I have grown to really enjoy the VRE trains, the service is very comfortable and reliable and the Conductors have become welcome and comforting at the end of the day.  If I never ride another bus, that will be just fine. I took some time off over the summer, and I have started working from home one day per week, something I may continue to do.  

Anything strike you as strange about the shuttle bus sign? 

Thursday, September 05, 2019

I Need Silliness in My Life

I need silliness in my life.  Much of what I do is serious. I spend time thinking and talking about illness, abuse and end of life.  If I allowed it to do so, it would dominate my life.  But life is so much more than bad things and ending.  Sometimes silliness reminds me of that. Entertainment aimed just at being entertaining.  

Would you join me for this show? 

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - Returning Things

Dale, my oldest brother, bought this in Asia on his first tour of duty in the Navy, on an aircraft carrier. He came home on leave, and the camera went to my father.  To be fair, Dale had "borrowed" money from dad, it was never clear to me if Dale thought the camera was to repay dad, or if dad kind of seized it in payment. 

It was the first 35-mm SLR I used. It has one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used.  Sometime in the past 25 years, mom sent it home with me, along with another camera that had been hers. Her camera I gave to my nephew. I held onto the Cannon.  It didn't get used, the shutter started to stick.  I came across it last year when I was sorting out the house in Lexington.  I snapped this image and emailed Dale and asked if he would like to have it. He responded in an unusually fast response with a YES! 

I returned it to him last March when I visited Florida.  Back where it belonged.  I don't care what Dale does with it, for me it was closure on a strange chapter in family history. 

Have you returned anything to where it belonged?  

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Blog Aversary!

14 years ago today, Travel posted his first picture and first blog posting.  For several years, the blog was about the little penguin (who is still resident in my bag.) Then it shifted to me.  In 2015 I decided to post at least once a day, as I recall I have missed one day since then.  This becomes a habit, like breathing, it is hard to stop.  The more I blog, the easier it becomes.  Though far from perfect, forcing myself to write seven postings a week, has improved my writing.  Yes I know a few typos slip through, without an editor they always will, that is how my brain is wired.  

A friend got me started with blogging, I guest blogged for him for a couple of weeks during the summer of 2005.  His original blog is long gone, but he is back sporadically blogging at

Over the years I have met several dear friends through blogging.  People I traveled out of my way so see.  There are a few bloggers who have dropped off of blogging over the years that I miss.  I have stopped reading a handful of bloggers, I don't need to invite rudeness into my life.  As blogs drop away, I look for new ones. The statistics tell us, that there are about 10 readers, for every person who comments.   

My morning starts with a list of a dozen blogs that I check for updates everyday.  On the weekend there are a bunch more that I check once a week or so.  Some like Dr. Spo, Mitchell and John Gray, I almost always comment on, others like Ken and Walt, I seldom - if ever comment on, but I read everyday. (No real reason, but Ken is the first blog on my daily list.) All of You are an important part of my life, thank you for creating content that informs and entertains.  You matter! Please keep doing this. 

If you are in Washington DC, and want to meet the guy-behind the penguin, I am often available.   

I plan to keep doing this.  I hope you keep visiting and reading. 

Monday, September 02, 2019

Labor Day

It is Labor Day in the USA.  Our version of the end of summer bank holiday.  It marks the end of the summer vacation and travel season, the start of school, the return to work.  On the farm is signalled about one-month left to go in the harvest, time to get down to finishing up the years work.  

I had a conference presentation in extreme southwest Virginia on Friday, I left home on Thursday.  On Saturday I flew to Philly, for a weekend of visited friends (if all went to plan, I had lunch with Anne Marie and hubby yesterday.) Today we are playing tourist in central Philadelphia.  Tuesday we take the train home.  

How was weekend? 

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Out and About in Philly

Guess who was out and about in Philadelphia today?  We had a nice lunch with Anne Marie and Todd.  A great time was had, smooches.

Sunday Five - Ferries

On the July trip in Washington State, our ride included two ferry crossings.  The first time I had driven onto a big car ferry.  Hence this weeks Sunday Five. 

1:  Have you driven onto a Ferry?
2:  Have you boarded a Ferry as a foot passenger? 
3:  If the crossing was 20 minutes, would you sit in the car or get out and walk about? 
4:  What Color should the Ferry be Painted? 
5:  What would you name your Ferry? 

My answers:
1:  Have you driven onto a Ferry? Yes, see above 
2:  Have you boarded a Ferry as a foot passenger? A few times, I took a ferry from France to England once. 
3:  If the crossing was 20 minutes, would you sit in the car or get out and walk about?  Get out and walk about. 
4:  What Color should the Ferry be Painted? Depends on skin tone. 
5:  What would you name your Ferry?  MeMi. 

Your answers in the comments, have fun on the last couple of questions!