Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Wednesday W's, end of November edition

What have I been up to?  Four days off for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Daily walks, lots of relaxing time. 

Who have I seen?  My sister was here for Thanksgiving dinner.  She stayed with late husband's brother and his family.  I drove her back to Patrick's place and talked with him for a few minutes.  His office is only three blocks from mine. 

What have I been cooking?  Turkey, salmon, and more turkey. 

Where have I been? It was cold so I walked in the MGM Casino across the river over the weekend. 

What am I thinking about? Getting everything finished for the end of the year at work. 

What am I planning?  A fun year of office travel year. 

Who have I been in contact with?  Spo and Sharon - planning a January adventure, and a Professor friend who is in Germany this semester - I ran across a YouTube video of a photographer working near where he stays that reminded me of him. 

What have I been reading? Bono's biography, and I have several lighter works stacked up after that.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Travel Tuesday : The View From The Train


One of the joys of train travel is passing through the backyards of the world.  Our world is designed to face the streets, to face forward. Train tracks pass through rural areas, forests, and backyards.  Not the side of the world that people plan to be seen, but the real side of the world.  

I love to grab a seat by the window, I can watch the world roll by for hours.  

Monday, November 28, 2022

You Tube Monday: On the Road Again

Between my parents first retirement, and second retirement, they bought a motorhome. It was huge, cranky, unreliable, and I only ever traveled with them in it once. They met up with a dozen friends in a parking lot, the group leader played this song at full volume, and we set off.  My one and only trip to Key West.  And the fuel pump failed on the way around Miami, shutting down the generator and the air conditioning. A couple of years later my parents were driving across a bridge in Tennessee in the motorhome when a tire blew.  My father described it as follows, "your mother told me in words I didn't think she knew, that she hated traveling in the motorhome and she was done." They stopped to have the tire replaced at an RV dealer, and my mother sold it to the dealer and they drove the tow car home. 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

The Sunday Five: Phone Home

 1: What is your earliest memory of a phone booth / phone box? 

2: Can you remember the last time you used a phone booth/phone box? 

3: Did the cell phone/mobile phone kill the payphone? 

4: What can we reuse them for?

5: Who will you call this weekend? 

My answers: 

1: What is your earliest memory of a phone booth / phone box? When I was about  five years old my family spent a winter living in Phoenix, Arizona.  I remember my parents driving to a phone booth at a gas station to phone family over the holidays.  (We didn't have a phone in the house until I was about 10.) 

2: Can you remember the last time you used a phone booth/phone box? When we were moving from Orlando, in 1995, my pager went off (remember pagers) and I needed to call the moving company immediately, they were trying to deliver before we would own the house in Lexington.  I called from a phone both at a gas station at SR 436 and Aloma, and was rather rude to the dispatcher (I was wound a bit to tight at that point in life.) 

3: Did the cell phone/mobile phone kill the payphone? Sadly, yes. 

4: What can we reuse them for? Museum pieces, little libraries, 

5: Who will you call this weekend? I don't know. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Saturday Morning Post: Finding Joy

Back in the Go-Go 1980's I participated in a lot of training in sales, marketing, and business development.  The motto of one the trainers was, "You Must Do The Most Important Thing Possible At Every Given Moment." Then if you listened to the rest of the statement, he would say, "and at times the most important thing possible is relaxing on the beach with a tropical drink." His point was be productive during work time, but balance that with down time, family time, me time, time with no agenda. Time to recharge.  

All to often our time away from work is filled with must do's. And yes the laundry must be done, but if you put it off for a few days you are unlikely to go naked and unwashed.  *** 

It is easy for work to take over our lives.  I have let mission creep take over my life a few times in my life.  Part of the reason leaving Florida and starting over back in 1995 was so easy for me, was my work was consuming every waking moment. A major factor in my seeking the job in DC, was that I was working everyday, even taking the laptop on vacation, most of the Kentucky legal service capacity assessment was written at my parents house in Florida over Thanksgiving week, when I should have been sitting in the sand listening to the waves and the birds.  

My grandfather used to say, "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."  He worked a lot, but also had a lot of me time to play pool, hunt, fish, play cards, or just nap in his chair.  

I worry, that my work is taking over too much of my life.  I succeed at taking most weekends off, but I wake up thinking about work, occasionally I lose sleep over work. I will admit it here, that it is not as much fun as it once was.  I need to change that.  Either find the fun, or move on.  I will be able to retire sometime this coming year.  I have some mixed feelings about it.  I am making a good living, but I am not finding the joy in what I am doing as often as I have in the past.

The most important thing possible, is something that brings me joy, something I find value in. That may be nothing, or it may be new opportunities.    

Maybe I am approaching time to start the next chapter in life, a chapter sure to be filled with joy. 

*** This post did not go where I expected it to go.  I started out to talk about the importance of making time with no agenda, and ended up talking about my state of burn out.  Probably another symptom of my burn out.  

Friday, November 25, 2022

Fabulous Friday: Zoom-Zoom

This followed me out the front gate a couple of weeks ago on my way to the Saturday morning farmers market. There has been a market on King street since 1753, back when King Street was named for THE KING.  

This is a new Mclaren, by the time we got to the first stoplight, he was ahead of me.  In city traffic, all of that horsepower gets you to the next stop faster than anyone else.  And it makes a nice noise.  As my father used to say, if you have to ask how much you can't afford it. And even if I had the money, there are other cars I'd be more comfortable in, my little VW convertible for example. 

It is fun living a place where neighbors show up driving silly things like this. 


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thursday Thankful Ramble

For my readers in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving.  

We are the lucky ones with so much to be thankful for. 

If you are reading this, you have access to electricity and the internet, you are one of the most fortunate in the world. Not that life doesn't exist without those, but being able to turn the switch and the lights go on and off is a marvel.  Access to the internet gives us instant access to the shared knowledge, wisdom and entertainment of the world.  It is like having a library, a theater and a concert hall in the palm of your hand.  In my lifetime I never dreamed it would be this instant and portable.  

If you can read this, you can do something that 13% of the world's population can't do.  If it is not in your language, Google has a free and instant solution to that. 

I am thankful that I am over nourished, most of us are.  The world produces enough to feed the population, we suffer from distribution failures that leave many among us without. 

I am thankful that I have instant access to drinkable water, water that is unlikely to kill me.  An estimated 10% of the world's population lacks access to safe drinking water, including some here in the United States.  

I am thankful that I am loved, and there are people I love.  Human connection is hardwired into our psyche, we are lucky to have it.  

I am thankful to live where I do. As imperfect as our government can be, it is the envy of many in the world, and I can make it better, I can vote.  

We have a community of Bloggers, people to connect with.  

I am thankful that I can walk, I live in a place with good health care, and I have good insurance, or I wouldn't be able to.  (See May and June of 2015 if you want the gory details.) 

I am thankful each morning, when I awake, and the sun rises, and I have a fresh start. Statistically 150,000 people worldwide will not see tomorrow. 

In a way, everyday should be Thanksgiving Day.  We get busy and we forget how much we have to be thankful for.  Try to find a moment today, between family and food, parades and football, to think about how thankful we are to be a part of this adventure for another day.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Wednesday W's: Thanksgiving Edition

Where have I been?  Philadelphia to have lunch with Professor Higgs, her teaching career started at the same time and place as my Sweet Bear's. 

Who am I seeing?  My sister will be here for Thanksgiving. I haven't seen her since her husband's funeral in September.  

What am I cooking?  Turkey, stuffing, roast brussel sprouts, I try to keep it a meal of celebration, not a festival of gluttony. And I will cut into this years 100-proof fruitcake. 

What am I reading? Surrender, by Bono.  A biography, coming of age at about the same time I did. 

Where am I going? A work / pleasure trip to Arizona in late January. I will see a couple of bloggers/friends and spend a couple of hours presenting some of my favorite material.  

What was I asked about? My boss cornered me and asked for answers about my remarks about plans to retire.   I promised to give 90 notice and start mentoring a replacement.  

Who am I thinking about? My dear sister, she had to make the agonizing decision to have Blitz the Wonder Dog euthanized.  He had gotten to the point that he had to be helped to his feet, and was falling often because of joint deterioration. 

What am I spending money on? I have agreed to buy a garage parking space from the person we have been renting from.  Now I agreed to do this three years ago and she decided not to sell.  More money for a garage parking space than my parents ever paid for a house.   

Who deserves and ata-boy!  The condo shuttle bus driver. The condo provides shuttle bus service to and from the local subway station.  Our train was late on Friday night, and we had just missed her last pick up at the station.  She saw me walking towards home, stopped along the way and waited for us, saving us a 10 minute walk in the cold at the end of a very long day.  

What is on top of my mind? My mind is always a messy place to go. There is a bunch of end of the year work to do, we have a December adventure to work around, the administrative side of work has sucked a lot of the joy out of work, I need to find the joy, restore the sense of mission.  Working on it, I am working on it.  

What exciting adventure might be on the horizon? There are possible plans afoot for three days work in Hawaii next summer, and a promise of not making it a forced march through paradise this time.  I need to get some work done on that this week.  



Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Travel Tuesday: Thanksgiving Week


I don't miss traveling over the holidays.  We have done a lot of it.  Florida for my family, Cleveland for Jay's family.  It eased a little after Jay's mother died.  I settled into a pattern of going to Florida for Thanksgiving, it was not a good time for Jay to travel when he was teaching.  I would fly down, rent a car for a week. A few times he went with me for Christmas, then we settled into my going to Florida for Thanksgiving and staying home for Christmas.  That was in part sparked by an offhand remark from my mother that I came for Christmas but I didn't stay long.  That year we were running from airport to airport trying to see my family, his family and go to a professional conference in San Francisco. The next year we went to Paris for Christmas and made plans after that - that were less manic for us.  

After I moved to DC, I would drive to Florida for Thanksgiving, and he would come here for Christmas and New Years.  

Jay had two professional conferences that often happened around the holidays, the American Academy of Religion met around Thanksgiving, and the American Philological Association met just after New Years. If the conferences were in nice places, and the University had travel money, we went, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and DC.  

This year we are home for the holidays, with a little adventure in between the two.   

Monday, November 21, 2022

Monday Mourning - Not Again

Another mass murder in an LGBTQ gathering place, Colorado Springs this time.

Immediately people are saying we have a mental health problem. The rest of the world has mental health needs also, but the rest of the world very rarely has a mass murder with guns.  Yes we need to improve access to mental health care, but we also need to address the elephant in the room. 

In the United States we have a gun problem.

There are too many guns, guns are too easy to get, people who are suffering or angry find it too easy grab a gun and murder others.  

This mass GUN murder is personal, as a gay man I feel a connection with those gathered in a nightclub that welcomes LGBTQ patrons.  There was a time in my life, when I spent two or three evenings a month in places like this. Connecting with others who accepted me for who I am. Doing so should not place me at risk.  A gathering in a synagogue should not place people at risk, a prayer group in a Charleston Church should not place people at risk. EASY ACCESS TO GUNS PLACES ALL OF US AT RISK. 

More people are killed by a bad guy with a gun, then bad guys are stopped by a good guy with a gun. A good guy with a gun is a myth.  

I was unable to find what kind of a gun was used in Colorado, but that really does not matter, the gun was too easily available, because overall guns are too easily available. 

Realistically, most handguns are only designed for one thing, MURDER.  (Yes they have a limited use in controlling rats, and scaring off bears, but there are not that many bears.) 

A political climate that promotes hate to motivate voters, makes it sound okay to strike out against those who are different.  The hate mongers have blood on their hands.  Congress failing to address gun violence have blood on their hands.  

I tried and I can't find the right YouTube video for this post. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sunday Five: Train Rides

Friday we took the train to Philadelphia to meet an old friend for lunch, a long and diverting day out.  

1: When was the last time you rode a passenger train? 

2: How close is the nearest passenger rail station? 

3: Have you ever overnighted on a train? 

4: Would you ride trains more, if they were easier/closer/faster? 

5: When was the last time you had a diverting day out? 

My Answers: 

1: When was the last time you rode a passenger train? Friday 

2: How close is the nearest passenger rail station? As the eagle flies about a mile, and the subway runs from close to home to next to the train station. 

3: Have you ever overnighted on a train? No, I have had some late arrivals. 

4: Would you ride trains more, if they were easier/closer/faster? Access is good from here, I wish the train went more places, and faster. 

5: When was the last time I had a diverting day out?  Friday, I needed that.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Saturday Morning Post: It is really all about attitude

Life is going well for me at the moment, time for me to be grateful, happy, content, thankful. Time to savor all that is good. 

There have been, and there will be times when life will not be good for me.  Time for me to grateful, happy, content, thankful.  Time to experience the downs in life, so I can better appreciate the good times. 

There are times when I am angry at the world, at life.  What a gigantic waste of energy.  The world could care less that I am angry, anger is an inside deal.  Happiness is also an inside deal, the sooner I switch from one to the other, the better my life will be. 

There are times when I am frightened.  Most of what we worry about either already has happened, or never will happen.  What a waste of energy, I can't change what has happened.  Much of what we worry about happening in the future is beyond our ability to control, and most likely won't happen anyway.  

Life is not about what happens to us, it is about he respond to it. It is all about attitude.  


Friday, November 18, 2022

Fabulous Friday: From the Archive

This photo has been hanging around for a while, since 2016.  
The law school that I went to was supported at one time by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.  His remains are buried under the front porch, he arranged for the library to be a repository for original legal briefs submitted to the Court. During the depression in the 1930's he paid the power bill to keep the place open.  

There was a celebration of his legacy in 2016, as a fundraiser for the law school, hosted by Ruth Bader-Ginsburg at the Supreme Court.  After a program in the Courtroom, there was a reception in the conference rooms of the Supreme Court.  A Fabulous experience, worth every penny.  This photo was taken as I walked back the subway that night.  


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Thursday Ramble: Mid November Edition

Well we are more than half way through November, it seems like the year has flown past.  We survived the election. Georgia still needs to decide between intelligence and stupidity - a long term struggle in that corner of the country.  That is more politics than I want to think about. 

I am swamped at the office, with projects that need to be finished, and with bureaucracy and paperwork that seems to take forever to work through the system.  Some seem to be intent on making my work as difficult as possible.  One of my colleagues is leaving, someone new will start just after the first of the year.  

I have never understood Twitter, I see it as social media with ADHD. I am glad to see it kind of imploding.  There was an article in the Atlantic recently on the death of social media being a good thing.  Social media gives people an instant voice, but is not very social.  I haven't made friends on FB, if anything I have lost a few who shared their stupidity one to many times.  All of the real friends I have on FB, were people I knew before FB.  Most of the friend requests I get on FB or Instagram are from ladies looking for a boyfriend.  Talk about barking up the wrong tree.  

Is blogging social media? Not in the same sense as FB, Twitter, Instagram, in that blogging take a little more time to create content, and there is no home page - feed, newsfeed.  I have had a much better experience with blogs.  I have met some wonderful people, and I knew  a lot more about them before I met them from reading their posts.  There is a lot less shared viral crap on bloggs, and it is much easier for me to decide a blog is not of interest to me and to never see it again.  

I am not a Zuckerberg hater, I do hope he has set aside a billion or so that is not tied to Meta, so he can live well when the empire collapses.  There is a story early on of him saying FB "could be the next million dollar idea" and his advisor responding "you know what is cooler is the next billion dollar idea." He needs to be careful with his vision of the metaverse that he does not spend billions pursuing the next million dollar idea. If I were his advisor, I would urge him to look at the Edsel, or for that matter Saturn, million dollar results from billion dollar investments (for Edsel adjusted for inflation.) Richard Branson is quoted as saying the fastest way to become a millionaire, is to take a billion and found an airline.  I do wish that Zuck would go back to posting for the Beast, his dogs FB feed.   

When I bought a new phone last year, my old phone was so short on memory that something had to be deleted to load the software to move the files to the new phone.  The phone store guy, with my permission, deleted Facebook and Instagram.  My phone remains a meta free zone. And I think life is richer for that.  


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Wednesday Ws: Well What Happened

What happened?  I must have closed without saving, I lost my first attempt at this post.  That is a rare occurrence for me. 

What have I been up to? Mostly work, weekend chores.  

Where are we going? Philly to have lunch with an old friend who is in Philly for a conference.  Old friend, we have known her 30+ years, and as a result we have all gotten old. 

Who have I seen?  We did an LGBTQ sort of happy hour in the condo watering hole Friday evening, a couple of our neighbors showed up.  There are 1,000 plus units here, there are many more of us here. 

What is new? Sweet bear got a new phone for his birthday, and has it set up and working. 

Who deserves an atta-boy! Every American who voted in the recent election, turn out is still dismal, every vote counts and turn out is the key. 

What am I reading? Headlands, by Neil Theasby, who blogs as Yorkshire Pudding.  Available on Amazon, and well worth the read.  

What have I been listening to?  Willie Nelson on YouTube. 

What's cooking?  Fall stuff, I figured out how to do bacon in the upper oven. 

Will I make it to my reading goal for the year? Close, I have hit a couple of longer or slower books and may be a few short of one a week. Quality or quantity is sometimes the question.  

What have I seen? A pair of bald eagles in a tree along the GW Parkway last weekend, I always get a little chill at the sight.  


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Travel Tuesday: Airport Food

We had lunch at La Guardia while changing planes last month, I try to schedule leisurely time for a connection so I don't obsess about being late or missing a connection.  We had a little over two hours.  

It was an okay burger and fries, not enough cheese too much salad on the burger, the chocolate milkshake was delish.  I have been known to grumble as I am pulling the lettuce, tomato, and other assorted vegetation off of a burger or a sandwich, if I wanted a salad, I would order a salad.  And you would think cheese cost $100 a pound, with the one tiny little thin slice of processed cheese food that most places put on a burger.  I know that is what McDonalds does, but McDs is not the standard for quality. 

The thing that surprised me was the cost, make sure you are sitting down, $42 for a cheese burger, fries and a milkshake.  I know costs are high, and inside security at an airport is a captive audience, but I still think that is a bit expensive and it was not a sex burger.  Actually sex burger is Essex Burger, but when you come around the corner and first see that sign - the mind wanders.  

Monday, November 14, 2022

You Tube Monday: the Adventures of Billy

There are some amazing content creators on YouTube.  People who create content, largely for the fun of doing so, sharing their lives often in first person and very personal, and they earn a little along the way.  Far from what Hollywood demands to be paid, but as one put it, enough to pay the rent.  One of my regulars is The Pethericks  Some background to save you watching hours of videos.  Billy is engaged to Gwen, and Gwen has a trust fund. Many of their combined family are involved.  They have largely restored a chateau, and are not taking on renovating a convent (the video below is the day they committed to buying the convent.) There are several channels, but I like this one best. They post at least weekly, often daily.  I love his attitude, his outlook on life, and the challenges.  These are not idle rich, they are people with money working hard to preserve and bring new life to amazing spaces.  And life in rural France  is a bit of a fantasy for me.  

Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Sunday Five: Exotic

1: We came out of a restaurant in Montreal and this was parked on the street, the friend we had met for dinner had never seen one on the wheel.  Have you? 

2: Would you drive one? 

3: What color would you want? 

4: Would you ride in one? 

5: Who would own one? 

My answers: 

1: We came out of a restaurant in Montreal and this was parked on the street, the friend we had met had never seen one on the wheel.  Have you?  Well yes, a few times.

2: Would you drive one? Probably not, first time drivers crash often. 

3: What color would you want? It should be red. 

4: Would you ride in one? If the driver was really talented, and if there was a crane to help me get in and out. 

5: Who would own one? More money than brains. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Saturday Morning Post: Writing about Writing

Writing - helps me to crystalize what I am thinking, to organize my sometimes disorganized thoughts. Writing helps me feel better about life and about myself.  

Looking back I realize how little I learned about writing in school.  I remember the first time a school assignment asked for my thoughts on something, not what I knew, but what I thought, how and why I thought that.  I was lost.  It was a transition from telling the reader what I had been told, to telling what I thought.  I was angry that someone finally was asking.  Little did I know that I would spend a large part of my adult life, listening and reading, and trying to figure out how to explain to the world what I think of it.  

When I was at Rollins College, I encountered my first really good writing class.  Our topic was education theory, we read original sources, wrote, re-read sources, re-wrote, reviewed, edited, re-read more sources and did more editing.  By the end of the semester, we had produced something that was original, and good.  

Over the years I have learned if I am writing about something I know a lot about, to write it, and do the research and fill in the footnotes later.  The first step for me is getting a complete draft, one book described it as fast and dirty, just get the draft done.  Then let it set, at least overnight.  Reread, edit, change, add to it, take away from it.  No matter how much I edit, errors slip through.  My brain is not wired to see some of the errors, it never has been, it never will be.  It took a long time for me to understand that it is part of how my brain works, it is different, but it works for me.  If I let perfection stand in my way, I would never finish anything.  Perfect is the enemy of done.  I need done. 

I almost never write fiction.  I wonder if I should.  Who would read it?  

Both for work and for pleasure, I am writing more than I ever have.  I think the more I write, the easier it is.  I can't always say the better it gets - that is for others to determine. 

What are your tips for writing?  

Friday, November 11, 2022

Fabulous Friday - Painting

 I don't know what I would do with it, but I should have bought one of this guys tiny paintings.  They are only about 5 by 7 inches, finely detailed, wonderfully colored, and done by hand.  We are running out of wall space.  Come here and admire a painting, and you likely to find it in the backseat of your car when you leave.  

I enjoy playing around with canvas and paint. Nothing like what this guy is doing, but stuff that makes me happy to do. Is it art?  Hard to say.  Does it relax me and make me happy, definitely.  

On one the squares in the old part of Montreal there were half a dozen shipping containers, converted to artist spaces.  The side opened to make a storage, work, and gallery space.  This guy was the only one working when we were there, a couple of the others were selling prints.  

Every community needs arts, and artists.  Offer space like this allows an artist to run a small business.  I imagine he can only paint a couple of pieces a day, and he was selling them for $50 (Canadian).  Still $500, if it is supplement to an income and something he enjoys doing, will make a difference.  

More communities need to do this, 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Thursday Ramble: Fleeting Moments

Autumn, and trees in color, usually lasts a month so here in northern Virginia.  A little less if there is a hard freeze, or a heavy rainstorm, a little longer if the weather remains mild.  It is an amazingly pretty time of the year here, and it passes in the blink of an eye.  

I lived in Florida for several years before I learned to see the change of seasons in the landscape.  There were fewer deciduous trees, but there were a few.  The evergreen trees, that included live oaks, changed in color from season to season, brighter green in the spring, deep olive green in the summer, a more brownish green in the fall, and a blackish green in winter. The differences were subtle, and fleeting.  The grasses, and flowers also changed with the weather. There are four distinct seasons in Florida, you have to be aware of the signs. Those who live there and never notice, have never really lived there, they have occupied controlled space hiding from the real place they are in.  Even the beach changes from season to season, not just changes in the surf temperature, but changes in what washes up on the beach, changes in the color and texture of the sand underfoot.  Spring is when you see alligators up on the bank, sunning themself out of the cooler water.   

There have been a lot of clear days recently, days to put the top down, turn the music up and drive slowly.  Days to get away and go for an afternoon walk.  I need to do more than that, these days are fleeting. Before I know it will be cold and dark outside.  And I will be holding out hope for spring.  

Time flies when life is happening, a little fun along the way, but in the blink of an eye the seasons pass.  

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Wednesday Ws: November 9th

What caught my eye?  As we sat for a few minutes on Boston Common, a group of young people settled into a table across from us, with bags from Burger King. This little squirrel scampered over and one of the guys handed him a french-fry.  The squirrel seemed to stare at me, as I took photo after photo of him munching down the treat. A fat and well fed little friend.  

Where have I been?  We are home for about a month, I have been to the dentist, the office, the farmers market, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  It is National Symphony Orchestra Season.  

Who have I been talking with? Mostly work related, a director from the Alzheimer's Association, the new federal lobbyist for a trade group.  Friday evening we tried a happy hour for LGBTQ residents in our condo community at the condo watering hole. One neighbor showed up, we had a delightful time, a couple of drinks and dinner at the bar. We all work too much, some are shy about being seen in public. 

What have I been watching?  YouTube, Gold Rush, and Deadliest Catch.  And the local PBS station is replaying Landscape Artist of the Year, nice British production.  

Where am I going? TO VOTE! And back to the dentist, for a little work. Replacing a filling that has been rough since the day it went in.  

What mystified me this week?  A poor customer service response from the contractor that installed our kitchen.  Three days and two emails to get a message back about a problem they need to fix. If it doesn't get better they may be a candidate for slaps. 

What amazed me this week? A couple of nice foggy mornings. 

What's cooking?  Soups, stews, and slow braises.  In the summer we are often trying to get things cooked fast, at this time of year letting things simmer for hours is kind of comforting.  

What is stacking up around me?  Books, books I have read and don't really want to part with, books I will read - I promise someday my lovies I will get to all of you. 

What am I looking forward to? The adventure that each day brings.  

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Travel Tuesday: Public Transit

Recent news from the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Silver Line Extension on Metro Rail (subway) to Dulles International Airport, should open by Thanksgiving (the last Thursday in November.) Dulles is way out west of the city, it is closer to West Virginia than it is to Washington DC, at long last it will be connected to the public transit system. It will be a 45 minute ride into the city center, but it will make the airport a much more user friendly option.  It will increase the options for international travel as National Airport does not have customs and immigration, limiting international flights to pre-clearance or making a connection someplace else.  

On both of our recent trips we used public transit to get around.  In Montreal we used taxis to and from the airport.  The trains don't run all the way to the airport (yet they are working on that) and I have had mixed experiences with local shuttle buses.  In the city the subway system is the way way to get around.  Fast, comfortable and relatively inexpensive.  Boston has some of the oldest subway lines in the country.  The connection to the airport is by "Bus Rapid Transit" not my favorite, but it is free and connects you into the train system in the city, and street traffic in and out of the airport in Boston is horrendous.  

In many ways subways, are the best way to get around when visiting cities.  What is you favorite subway system? 

Monday, November 07, 2022

Music Monday: Last Mango In Paris

On a recent Saturday morning drive the farmers market, with the top down on the car, this song came on the CD player, I turned the volume way up, and sang along.  I love the sentiment of a life well lived, a life full of adventure.  My understanding is it is last mango, because tango was trademarked.  I look forward to being the old man, the legend telling stories, 
What stories do you have to tell? 

Sunday, November 06, 2022

The Sunday Five: On Writing

Doc Spo, the dear, recently posted an essay on writing.*  And posts like that get me to thinking and I ask myself questions, and I can share those questions and you can share your answers. 

1: Does writing for a blog, qualify as writing? 

2: Will I ever publish a book? 

3: Does my name on a by-line matter?

4: Professional journal articles, love them, like them, hate them? 

5: What motivates you to write? 

My answers: 

1: Does writing for a blog, qualify as writing?  Yes, words organized in somewhat grammatical order, that convey a meaning is writing. 

2: Will I ever publish a book? Doubtful, I think about writing a book about food, I have no remaining interest in a book about my work (another sign it is time for me to retire when I can.) Few photo books make money and my photographs seldom rise the level of what gets published.  

3: Does my name on a by-line matter? I should think no, but honestly, YES.  I try to write things that I would like others to think were my ideas.  

4: Professional journal articles, love them, like them, hate them? Hate them, most start with the history of the issue from the big bang, and by the time they get to the point of WHAT IS NEW, the reader has lost all interest.  I don't like reading them, and I loath writing them.  I am done with them. (I have two book chapters coming out this year, one on LGBTQ health care decision making and one on drafting oversight and safety into legal documents, those are more fun to write.) 

5: What motivates you to write? I promised myself I would write 365 blog posts a year, and I do, and I plan to continue to do so.  On my professional writing it is either something I need to do, or something I want to do because I think people need to read it.  The latter are often easier to write.  

Please share your answers in the comments, you can be shorter or longer than I was. 

* If you are going to be in Phoenix you should make arrangements to buy him dinner, he is well over four-feet tall and very engaging to talk with.  


Saturday, November 05, 2022

Saturday Morning Post - The Travel Bucket List

Doc Spo, recently posted about his bucket list, or bucket lists in general. This started me thinking about my bucket list, or rather my lack of a list.  I don't have this written down anyplace.  

We have most of the things we could ever want or need.  So this is more about experiences. 

I want to ride in a hot air balloon, and if commercial supersonic flight comes back before I die, I want to do that. At that point I will have flown about everything that flies. Not bad, my father was born the year Lindbergh flew the Atlantic.    

I want to go to:

Asia more specifically Japan and South Korea. 


Northern and Southern Italy, I have seen the middle of the country, I want to see a little more. 



Idaho and Wyoming - the only two states I have not been to.  

I would like to return to Hawaii, Alaska, and Iceland.  It looks like I may have a work trip to Hawaii this year.  

I will always seize the opportunity to return to Great Britain, France, Italy, Greece, and Germany. 

I would like to ride a slow train across the USA. 

I would like to drive across the country. 

I would like to see more of Canada.  The maritimes,  BC, the prairie provinces.  (Maybe tie that in with long train rides.)   

Let's face it I have wanderlust and will seldom turn down an opportunity to travel.  

There are places I don't care to return to.  Much of the deep south in the USA, Alabama to Texas, and as far north as Arkansas and Tennessee. I have been there, seen that and don't need to see it again.  

There are places I don't care to travel to.  South America, China, India, the middle east, and Russia.  My interest in seeing things there is more than outweighed by the challenges of going there. 

It would be fun to see more of the caribbean, maybe a few cruises, if Cuba reopens I would go.  

We have no idea how long until we kick the bucket, but as long as I can, whenever the opportunity presents itself, I will go.  Even the most miserable place I have ever been (Fayetteville, North Carolina) was a rewarding trip and I have no regrets (wonderful people in a dreadful place.) 


Friday, November 04, 2022

Fabulous Friday : Good Stuff

Each stitch is perfectly placed, every thread end tied off to perfection.  The selection of leather, is the finest and only the finest, someone else can use the rest.  The fittings are cast, filed, sanded, polished and sealed.  The design and craftsmanship is Fabulous.  Guys, we are missing out by not having a tradition of carrying quality leather bags.  My messenger bag is bespoke, and well made and finished, and durable, but it will never have the look and feel of what we reserve for the ladies.  Not that they don't deserve the best, but there could be enough to go around, and then we would all look fabulous.  

Then there are the amazing colors.* 

 * I accidently changed a setting and took a dozen of so shots in black and white, I went back to get the LV colors.  Is it better in color? 

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Thursday Ramble : Travel Makes It To Harvard

Travel Penguin and I finally made it to Harvard.  I had tried once before, planning and organizing only to be foiled by nasty weather, 38 degrees (F) and pissing down rain. This time it was clear skies, comfortably cool, and an easy ride on the T (subway.) There is something about the place, part of it is the reputation of being a center of knowledge, research, teaching and learning.  But deeper than that it is a setting that is calm and reflective.  Most modern college campuses have all of the charm of an office park - they are places you want to get into - do the work you have to do - and get out (walk to work and run away from it.) Harvard feels like a place you want to set and read, and think, and talk, and live (come sit a spell.) And people do live there.  The residence halls are mixed into the campus, not pushed off the periferia of the campus in hopes that the students will disappear into the town, but giving a feel that they might congregate among on the University grounds, and join in understanding and learning. It is an old fashioned model that makes me very comfortable. 

Growing up I never even dreamed of attending Harvard or anyplace like it.  My mother finished high school during World War II with a graduating class of about 12, she had the most education of anyone in my immediate family.  College was not really talked about.  Most of the people I knew who had college degrees were school teachers, and even back 50 years ago they were so poorly paid that they rented houses and apartments from the local butcher or funeral director (fortunately in my small town, those two were not the same person.) There were conversations about people going off to college to major in partying and "chasing skirts," only to end up as school teachers struggling to pay the bills.  

When I finished high school, my parents suggested I try the local community college in Florida, I couldn't figure out why, and didn't.  After a couple of years of working, I started to realize what I was missing, and that if I ever wanted to get ahead, I needed to get more education.  I also came the realization that if I worked at it, I could do almost anything.  I started at a community college that I was driving by everyday on my way to and from the office.   

After a couple of years, I needed to transfer to finish a real degree and I looked around.  One of the options was a small private liberal arts college that was kind of based on the Harvard model.  To some extent Rollins College was where the sons and daughters of Harvard Alumni who were not sharp enough to get into the Ivy League schools went.  Though less regimented in layout, the campus had that colony of learning feel.  I worked, went to college part time, and spent the better part of 10 years finishing a four year degree.  It was paid for when I finished, and I paid for it. 

Then there was a pause, and an opportunity for law school, and I seized it. 

Looking back at it, coming from where I came from, with my life experience at the time, a place like Harvard would have probably eaten me alive.  I would have been culturally unprepared.  Today, I would thrive in that environment.  

I am so glad I finally had the opportunity to visit Harvard, oh and Penguins are great scholars and always dressed in their finest feathers.   

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Wednesday W's - Boston Edition

Where have I been?  Boston for a conference with a little free time to explore in glorious autumn weather. 

What have I been up to?  Mostly work, I did take a few walks, a dental cleaning, taking lots of photos (almost 1,000 this month,) grocery shopping.  

What made me happy this week? The weather in Boston was delightful, clear and dry, cool, but not cold.  And I received news of funding on a project that I had been warned was being cut by $41,000, and the cut was only $11,000.  

What made me grateful this week?  The incredible generosity of donors supporting my office's work.  Thank you! And it is not too late, the site remains open through the end of this week 

Who frustrated me this week?  Someone who reacted, rather than responding to a challenge - a loss for all sides. 

What am I reading? The Quiet Art of Influence, by Jocelyn Davis. Notbad, more eastern philosophy than I would prefer.   

What am I watching?  YouTube, Foxes Afloat are back posing weekly. 

Who deserves an atta boy?  Delta Airlines, we were spontaneously upgraded to Comfort Plus on the return trip.  No explanation was offered, none was asked for. It was my fifth flight on Delta in 5 weeks.  

Who have I been talking with?  Thursday and Friday were hobnobbing with my fellow wizards, mostly older attorneys. A couple of people I might be able to collaborate with. A nice dinner Friday evening with an old grad-school friend of J's and her husband, a retired commercial photographer. 

What was my great realization this week?  In retirement, I need to have a plan for getting out of the house every day.  

What was the good news over the past couple of weeks? The Condo association put in electric car charging points.  There had been debate about them for a few years, and we finally have them.  While we were Canada a new national law went into effect banning the sale or transfer of handguns.  If you own, you can keep it, but you can't buy one, sell one, or give one away. It is time to realize that many more people are shot by criminals than crimes prevented by someone having a handgun.  And almost all gun crimes, are committed with handguns.  

What have I been eating?  Some good italian food, and seafood.  Legal Seafoods Test Kitchen in Boston Logan airport is good, worth the rather high price. 

What surprised me?  Sleeping 10+ hours Friday night.  I am usually up early, I slept until 8:40 AM.  

Where to next?  We are home for a few weeks.  Then Philly to have lunch with an old friend who is coming from British Columbia for a conference, that is just a day trip.  


Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Travel Tuesday : Future Travels or The Future of Traveling

A couple of week ago on my Sunday Five I asked what people wanted me to write about.  Among the suggestions was either future travel, or the future of travel.  I write about my adventures, often after the fact.  I am also fascinated by the future of travel, and here are my ideas on the future of travel.  

Electric cars are the future.  I am not saying I won't be able to drive my gas guzzling little convertible until I die, but that electric cars will become the norm, rather than the exception.  We can generate electricity from solar, and wind; storage is becoming better every year.  It is the future.  For longer distances, the first step is hybrid that recharges itself, these have been around for 20 years.  I am hearing about testing for continuous wireless charging, a charging field built into the roadway, that will touchlessly recharge an electric car or truck while it is being driven.  If that works, it is the future. 

Self driving cars will be here within my lifetime.  The technology is moving along, and despite the challenges, will ultimately be safer than most of the distracted drivers on the road today. 

Airlines are with us. They are working on alternate fuels.  There are already contracts to buy hybrid commuter planes.  

General or Private aviation is nearing a cross roads.  The basic designs being sold today, are largely unchanged in 50 plus years.  The EPA just announced it is looking at lead in aviation fuel, one of the last exceptions.  That change would force a change in engine design for the first time since the 1950's. The industry needs to change or go extinct.  There are rechargeable electrics flying.  Range is the current challenge.  

I think we will see a revolution in general aviation based on drones.  Autonomous vertical takeoff and landing technology is probably the wave of the future.  Drones are nearly impossible for a human to control, they require computer technology.  With that comes a change in the training that is needed, and a huge leap forward in safety.  

Public transit will always be a urban option.  The train technology of most subway systems is largely unchanged in over 100 years.  It is time for change. I don't know what it will look like.  But it is the key to moving people dense population centers.

While much of world has jumped forward with high speed passenger trains, the US suffers from an infrastructure limitation.  We need to build dedicated tracks for high speed passenger transit, and that takes a commitment that few people have.  In the meantime, train travel in the USA is little changed since the 1950s. 

Cruise ships seem to be coming back.  Covid scrapped the oldest and nastiest of the ships.  The new one's coming online are more comfortable and hopefully healthier.  I have a few good cruises left in me.