Week 245 December 8, 2018

This week was a whirlwind, with many more cherished memories made. At the beginning of the week we were still in New England, staying with a dear Bikram Yoga studio owner and her husband in their warm, inviting home. It is always fun to have a dinner date out together with them. During this visit to their house, one of their cute kittens climbed right up on my chest as I was working on my laptop…

IMG_9274.jpg IMG_9288.jpg IMG_9284.jpg

It is always heartwarming when Loren and I can introduce our friends to each other. This week, while having coffee with a Bikram Yoga teacher friend, we were even able to reconnect longtime friends who had lost touch. When we mentioned that we had stayed overnight in her same home town with friends who we had met in Italy, she asked with who…  and we had a nice telephone conversation to facilitate reviving their connection. Then Loren had a private Bikram Yoga lesson, picking up tips to improve his practice.

IMG_9294.jpg IMG_9295.jpg

We also had dinner with a dear friend, her husband and adult son. She had moved to New England some years ago now and it was good to catch up with her again. We had fun too with the family’s lively puppy.

IMG_9300.jpg

Then Loren and I drove to back to New York, stopping near Albany to stay overnight with good friends. They indulged us in my wish to visit Cherry Hill, an historic home that was showing a play about World War I called Dutch. I had no idea that the event would also include period snacks and tea sandwiches along with a complimentary historic WWI era cocktail. I chose the French 75 while Loren and our friends each had a Sidecar. In addition, we were treated to a Virtual Reality clip, a precursor part to the live play. While other audience members had their VR experiences, we toured the historic home. In the end, I believe our friends enjoyed the whole experience as much as I did!

IMG_9384.jpg IMG_9306.jpg

In the morning before our departure we joined them in attending their church service, which included celebrating the 1st Sunday of Advent, then we had a delicious brunch out afterwards. 

IMG_9324.jpg

From there we headed to Connecticut for an evening visit with cousins… it is so nice to be able to see and catch up with so many family members and friends who we do not get to see very often.

IMG_9340

The next day Loren and I returned to Albany where my younger niece is in her first semester of college. We had time to stop at the Capital Region Welcome Center before taking her for a lunch date, then stopping to see her dorm. I have no idea how she became such a mature 18 year old already? She was just celebrating her Sweet 16 yesterday and was a 6 year old soccer player the day before that, or so it seems…

IMG_9348.jpg IMG_9364.jpg

As if that is not enough, my older niece is now living in her own home! That evening we visited with her and her delightful beau, seeing their lovely home, decorated for the holidays. Then we enjoyed an evening together which included playing in a trivia quiz contest over dinner at a local restaurant, making more treasured memories to savor. We actually won one round which will give them a discount on their next meal there.

IMG_9371.jpg

On our last full day in New York Loren and I awoke to what became a gorgeous day.

IMG_9374.JPG

After we took a Bikram Yoga class, Loren joined me on a driving tour to a few of the places of my childhood memories. For example I drove on Buckout Road, which in my youth was a narrow, winding, hilly road where as a new driver I and my friends sometimes went for joy rides. It was not to be on Buckout Road so much this time, as it was to find the nearby property where the last farm in White Plains had been located. This has a special meaning because my grandfather, who was the estate attorney for the owner, had tended the farm for a brief time after his client died, so that it could be properly and judiciously closed down. It is now the site of a local community garden.

IMG_9378 2.jpg

I also drove by the house that my grandfather had built himself to sell to raise the cash to take my grandmother on their honeymoon. They bought a car, drove to California in 1928, then sold the car to take the train home to New York. One event they often recounted was how my grandfather was testing out how fast the car could go and was pulled over and given a speeding ticket in Pennsylvania. Aha! It is my grandfather who I inherited my lead foot from! The current owners of the house he built have it a lovely color, which is the same color that my grandparents home in a different neighborhood had been painted when I was a child. Then, we drove by the Washington Headquarters of my childhood. As we drove around the east coast, it dawned on me that while it is a familiar sight to me, it is not something we would see in California or other places west.

IMG_9380.jpg

That evening we enjoyed another wonderful dinner visit with my brother and his wife, just the 4 of us, which was extra special, though I regret not capturing the evening with a photo… Now Loren and I have returned to California, to stay in the same room in the AirBnB where we had been staying since June. We have already had a couple of visits with Loren’s Mom and sister, and especially enjoyed the remaining fall colors in their backyard.

IMG_9389.jpg

Loren and I spent our first full day back in California starting the day with a Bikram Yoga class, then paying a visit to the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens on a day with more gorgeous weather. Our docent guide pointed out that this is the only Botanical Garden in the world where on a clear day you can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the far distance.

IMG_9421.jpg IMG_9429.jpg IMG_9415.jpg

Even though the temperatures in northern California are in the 40’s and 50’s, we were still surprised to find that it felt cold out to us, given that we had just returned from weather in the teens, 20’s and 30’s. I hope you are keeping warm this winter!

 

Week 222 June 30, 2018

While Loren has spent each day of the past 2 weeks with his mother in California, taking her to sit by a local lake on several occasions and visiting with a few friends, for me there were several highlights while I have been on the east coast. I left New York for New England, stopping to see my older niece on her job in Connecticut. I was so proud to see how professional and personable she is with the elderly population who she works with. She invited me to join her in a rendition of Heart and Soul, the piece I taught her to plunk out on a piano when she was just a little one. We then switched places and I was also impressed with how much she has learned to embellish the top part!

IMG_6287.jpg Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 10.19.53 PM.jpg Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 10.21.48 PM IMG_6294.jpg

Next I drove off to have lunch with a cousin-in-law who lives father north in Connecticut. We had a nice visit and I met the newest addition to her household – a rescue basset hound, coincidentally named Cali! Then I arrived at my friend and Bikram Yoga studio owner’s home in Massachusetts. She and her husband were already off to Boston to celebrate their wedding anniversary, and as there were no other visiting teachers there that night, I enjoyed cooking my dinner alone that evening. I was up early to take the first morning class, then I made my way towards New Hampshire.

A dear cousin of mine has been diagnosed with cancer and had decided to downsize her home. But just a brief few weeks before the move her husband had unexpected open heart surgery to repair a faulty valve, and his doctor limited what he could do physically. Given the fortuitous timing of my visit, I was able to help in a small way with settling them in to their lovely new home.

IMG_6303.jpg IMG_6309.jpg IMG_6516.jpg

Her daughter was also supportive with caring for my cousin’s mother overnight and providing sumptuous dinners, twice at her nearby home nestled in the woods and once delivered to my cousin’s home. My cousin and I were both delighted to hear the call of the whippoorwill on two of the three nights of my visit, the first night they were either not active or at least not noticeable due to an overnight storm. And she, her husband and I shared great conversations over the several breakfasts and lunches that she prepared. 

IMG_6313 IMG_6308.jpgIMG_6301.jpg

One treasure for me while helping to unpack my cousin’s mother’s books was in finding a booklet of short stories and a few poems that our great-great-grandfather had written that I had never seen before. I was able to make photos for myself and other family members. I also found a meaningful travel quote on the front of one of her photo albums, as travel is a love that my cousin’s mother, my cousin, her husband, Loren and I all share. 

IMG_6311 IMG_6525.jpg IMG_6526.jpg

I returned to Massachusetts to take my studio owner friend’s class, which always has such inspiring images around the studio. We had a nice evening together though we missed her husband as he was out of town on business. I was up early to take the first class of the morning, then she and I also had a wonderful visit over breakfast.

IMG_6528.jpg IMG_6529.jpg IMG_6530.jpg

I drove to New York mostly through another storm in time for an appointment to have our van’s windshield replaced. Can you see the crack that developed over a harsh winter? I was unable to stop into the Apple store while they worked on it as I had planned.More importantly I was also in time to celebrate my brother’s birthday dinner out! We missed my older niece as she was at home, ill in bed. That night I found the moon that my cousin’s husband said would be full on the 28th was indeed full as it was beautifully reflected in the lake near where I was staying.

IMG_6177.jpg IMG_6536.jpg IMG_6539.jpg IMG_6551.jpg

At the beginning of this week I realized that the 2 mosquito bites on my arm, and the new ones that appeared above and below my lips – which I wondered how I had not felt the pests in those places – were not mosquito bites at all but another bout of poison ivy reaction, like I had 2 summers ago in New York. Everything I have read says that the blisters may develop as long as 72 hours after contact with the plant’s oil – meaning 3 days, however, I am so allergic that small spots still continue to appear at this point now 10 days later. However overall it is improving and diminishing….

After a morning yoga class, I spent a brief time planning for my cross country drive to California. Now I have driven 4 hours of it to visit a dear junior high school friend and her daughter who live in Pennsylvania. 

 

Week 171 July 8, 2017

This week has been one of  torrential rains, dropping an incredible amount of rain… and on the bright side making the growing things very green! We were fortunate to have clear skies when we drove south to Connecticut to visit cousins. The elder generation are now settled comfortably in assisted living, but, sadly, for the first time they were challenged to recall who we are, other than recalling their age cousin, Loren’s father.
pastedGraphic.png
We had a lovely visit with the cousin our age, their daughter, and stayed overnight in her newly reclaimed and gaily redecorated guest room. Loren even had a swim in the Atlantic ocean while we were there.
pastedGraphic_1.png pastedGraphic_2.png pastedGraphic_3.png
On July 4th Loren and I enjoyed being back at and on the lake in New York – first in our family’s paddleboat, then in their row boat. Maybe before we leave here we will have tried their standup paddle boat too. We were also entertained by booming and sparkling of fireworks displays around the lake, which occurred on many evenings this week.
pastedGraphic_4.png pastedGraphic_5.png
One day we had a leisurely lunch with a dear friend at a P.F. Chang’s, but where was my camera? When Loren and I returned to the lake I neglected to heed my brother and sister-in-law’s warnings and pruned back some of the vines that threatened to overtake the Pfitzer Junipers. However, I am now paying dearly for my indiscretion as I now have an extreme reaction on my right forearm to the poison ivy I encountered that they had told me was lurking there. It has been too many years since my last encounters with poison oak in California, and with poison ivy in New York many, many years before that, so this is a painful reminder that skin irritants can create such discomfort. I will spare you a photo, but think I will need to invest in some Benadryl and Calamine lotion so that I can sleep better tonight.
pastedGraphic_6
One morning I went to visit the Mausoleum which is the final resting place of my great-grandparents and a great uncle and aunt. On my way there though I had to pull over to capture photos of two unexpected but inspirational signposts. I later learned that they mark a neighborhood of 26 streets named for famed poets like Keats, and, Longfellow. 
IMG_8405.jpg IMG_8404.jpg
My great-grandmother Maude lived to be 100, I had the immense privilege to know her until I was 12 years old. Her only son, my grandmother’s brother was just shy of 100 when he died. I was impressed to learn that there are numerous famous people and their spouses laid to rest in this Cemetary too, for example Ed Sullivan, Joan Crawford, and Malcolm X, among others. Judy Garland was once here before being removed to California, and, Yul Brynner, John Lennon, Christopher Reeve, and Nelson Rockefeller, among other celebrities, were all cremated at this facility.
pastedGraphic_7.png pastedGraphic_8.png IMG_8419.jpg IMG_8414.jpg IMG_8421.jpg
Some of the inside walls are decorated with remembrances of what the Cemetary directors see as “individuals whose contribution to humanity will be remembered until the end of time.” I found them also inspiring.
IMG_8408.jpg IMG_8409.jpg IMG_8411.jpg IMG_8410.jpg
Otherwise, here in New York and one morning while in Connecticut Loren and I have taken Bikram Yoga classes, in between making travel plans for our next 3 months, while also taking care of routine car maintenance. We are staying indoors from the humidity, intermittent rain, thunder and lightening storms, and enjoying walks during periods of sunshine and comfortable days. I found this inspiring image on a neighbor’s trash pile.
IMG_9013.jpg pastedGraphic_9.png
This time next week we look forward to visiting with cousins in New Hampshire…

 

Week 139 November 26, 2016

We are very thankful this week for more memorable visits with several people who are so special and for the mainly moderate sunny fall weather, but with regrets again of not taking more photos…
Continuing this week in Massachusetts, we are thankful for friends and their family…
pastedGraphic.png pastedGraphic_1.png pastedGraphic_2
…for cousins in New Hampshire, and their family and friends for a special birthday…
IMG_9761.jpg IMG_9767.jpg IMG_9772.jpg IMG_9746.jpg pastedGraphic_7.png IMG_9797.jpg IMG_9751.jpg pastedGraphic_10.png
…for attending an especially touching Unitarian Universalist Sunday Service in New Hampshire for the week of Thanksgiving… for seeing the wonder of the first snowfall of the season while sharing two more memorable days with cousins in their lovely home…
pastedGraphic_11.png pastedGraphic_12.png
…for a meaningful visit with cousins in Massachusetts, including catching up on twenty years of joys and sorrows since we last visited together…
pastedGraphic_13.png
…and, a sweet visit with cousins – one our age, and age 90 and 93, in Connecticut…
IMG_9865.JPG pastedGraphic_15.png
…for more Bikram yoga classes in New York, and, for a fantastic Thanksgiving with precious family and their neighbors.
IMG_9868.jpg IMG_9870.jpg IMG_9873.jpg
Now, on the day following Thanksgiving, I must mention how very thankful I am for all the wonderful times we have enjoyed over these last few weeks in New York, New England, and New York again. As well, I have such deep gratitude for special visits with family members and friends old and new, on our more than two and a half years of travel in parts of the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and Central/Eastern Europe, so far. I just tallied the visits of our journey, and – depending on whose definition of countries you subscribe to, Loren and I have now visited 44 countries together over the 25 years that wehave been together. We feel so blessed to be realizing our extended travels dream!
pastedGraphic_19

REPOSTING in Progress: Weeks 2 to 109

This place holder is for the entries from our original blog to be added, eventually. Please check back – this re-creation is a labor of Love and will take a bit of  t-i-m-e- which, while still traveling, we do not always have a lot available to devote to this.

IMG_9308.jpg