Week 297 December 7, 2019

Sometimes people must leave a place and return to it to learn about it… at least this is true for me this past week as I pursued genealogical records of one of my great-grandfathers in my home town. As you might surmise, Loren and I were still in New York at the start of this week. After I filled out the necessary paperwork, I noticed the pen I was using had an image of the city logo attached, which made me curious about what the years on it meant. The city was incorporated in 1917, but its earlier history includes 1683 when the land for the city was purchased from the local Native Americans, and, 1776 when the State of New York – renamed from the Colony of New York, ratified the Constitution. Therefore, my home town is known as the Birth City of the State of New York. I am duly impressed by this history.


While downtown, I was also moved to take photos of a few remaining older buildings so familiar from the first half of my life. One is of City Hall where my grandfather took me as a child to watch parades from its balcony, another is where my grandfather had his office, and the other, just down the street, is where I worked for my first full time job.

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Our last visit this week with my brother and his family was going to see the movie Ford vs. Ferrari which was as outstanding as some Loren’s and my other favorite uplifting movies — like Seabiscuit for one. Then we went to dinner afterwards and bade these dear ones our fond farewells.


The next day the predicted heavy snow and sleet storm arrived. My plan to attend It’s A Wonderful Life Radio Show featuring a fellow yogi in the performance was canceled. The snow finally stopped but with the cold temperatures creating icy conditions it was a good day to stay put inside. The next morning more snow had fallen over the ice, so we canceled our plans to drive to New Hampshire to have lunch with friends and dinner with other friends there. The question remained, should we stay put in New York and wait out the prediction of more snow or would we brave it to keep our AirBnB commitment that night in New Hampshire to be closer to my cousins and our intended visit the next day? 

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With my success driving through Wisconsin’s and Ohio’s Arctic Blast, we chose to drive at a cautious pace during the warmest hours of the day when the plows, sanders and salters would provide the best driving conditions. We made it just before dark, and just as the AirBnB host was using a snow blower to carve out a parking space for us. We had conversations with a couple of other AirBnB guests from Arizona about the storm. They were supporting a Democratic Presidential candidate who was also in town. In the morning we awoke to find “Winter Storm Ezekiel” that had been predicted to “keep hammering parts of New England” had dumped a lot more snow overnight. 


Our AirBnB host — with his snow blower — was nowhere to be found at checkout time, but Loren shoveled and I helped scrape the car, and we slip-slid our van onto the plowed street to make our way to my cousin and her husband’s home nearby, as planned.


The next day there was no further precipitation and we four spent a good part of it visiting New Hampshire’s State House in the capitol city of in Concord. A cornerstone commemorates the history of the building, which now turns out to be 100 years. And my cousin found a portrait of one of her ancestors on her mother’s side. That evening another cousin joined us for dinner and it was nice to catch up with her too.

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I was delighted to learn the history of the eagle that adorns the cupola was redesigned from facing left — signifying for war, to now facing right, signifying for peace. 

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The next morning while our cousins kept an appointment, Loren and I walked around the neighborhood. It was more than a little surprising to find one neighbor’s political signage include a different sort of request…


That afternoon it was most meaningful to experience helping to make homemade ravioli. The dinner included meeting neighbors of our cousins to share in the wonderful meal.

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After another sad farewell to people we are so fond of, Loren and I have now driven on to Washington DC. It is the first time we have driven through Delaware on our Journey…

Week 276 July 13, 2019

At the start of this week, Loren and I were still in Ipswich, where our AirBnB host – who taught us about microwavable pancakes – took us for a kayak ride in Plum Island Sound. Fortunately she knew the water patterns and it was an enjoyable day, though we could see how easily it could have been grueling if instead we had been fighting the currents. We finished the evening playing a game of Scrabble together. 

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The next morning Loren and I took a stroll around Strawberry Hill. Unlike the trek we took on Poon ‘Hill’ in the Himalaya, this ‘hill’ is a flat walk on a mowed path to the water’s edge. Then we returned to the house for the Women’s Soccer Finals, where we watched the US defeat the Netherlands.

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We also went on an historic town walking tour. Ipswich boasts several homes and buildings still standing from the 1600’s, 1700’s, 1800’s, reminding me how and where parts of early America was settled and claimed its independence. And everywhere tiger lilies are blooming.

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Then we were off to New York. We first stopped in for a final — for now — Bikram yoga class in North Andover.


Once in New York we drove through Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia neighborhood which we had seen last Thanksgiving, again in appreciation of his unmistakable home designs. Afterwards we read how UNESCO World Heritage thinks his works are extraordinary too, adding these eight of his innovations to their official list:
     . Fallingwater in Pennsylvania
. the Guggenheim Museum in New York
. the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles
. the Jacobs House in Wisconsin
     . the Robie House in Chicago
. Taliesin in Wisconsin
. Taliesin West in Arizona, and
     . the Unity Temple in Illinois
We finished our day with a wonderful evening with my brother, his wife and younger daughter, then spent the night at an AirBnB in the Battle Hill neighborhood of White Plains, named for one of the sites led by George Washington in the Revolutionary War.

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Our connecting flight the next day took us through Detroit, then we were on our way to Omaha. Dear cousins from Denver picked us up, and as we drove south, we were in Iowa for about one mile, which their new car’s navigation system loudly announced upon our brief departure and reentry into Nebraska. Along the drive we stopped for a lovely dinner together. Then we arrived at the precious farm where Loren’s first cousin lives. 


We had a lovely first day at the farm, then while this cousin was attending to the needs opening the County Fair which she oversees, another cousin took us on a tour of rural cemeteries in nearby Rulo and Falls City to find family plots. Here I noticed markers proclaiming certain headstones as “G.A.R.” I came to learn that these denoted the soldiers who served in the “Grand Army of the Republic” during the Civil War. Over dinner with these cousins we toasted with “Bloody Beer,” a drink of tomato juice mixed in with beer. 

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In the morning we helped a cousin with a small part of his home remodel, holding up a mantel piece for him to bolt in place. Then we reminisced about the history of this home, which was beautifully preserved for the ages through paint on an old saw.


This is also where Loren remembers 50 years ago this month watching the old black and white television in this living room when Neil Armstrong said his famous quote heard over the airwaves on being the first person to land on the moon on July 20, 1969:

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

He also proudly showed us the buckets of trophy home run balls his daughter has earned over the last few years, as she approaches her junior year in High School this fall. 


We bade our Denver cousins a safe drive home before we headed off to see the goat showing competition at the County Fair… please read more on this in next week’s post.


Week 275 July 6, 2019

Loren and I spent most of this week in Massachusetts, still staying in North Andover at the start of the week. After taking a Bikram yoga class, we had an enjoyable breakfast date with the yoga studio’s venerable 83 year old practitioner. She is featured in the studio owner’s book for Bikram Yoga teachers, where she is quoted as one who takes daily yoga class instead of daily prescription drugs, unlike most of her friends. Afterwards I went to the local Red Cross office to complete a CPR course, then Loren and I enjoyed watching A Star Is Born at our AirBnB home.


That evening we had a delicious dinner and meaningful visit at the home of a dear friend who moved back to Massachusetts from California some years ago. She and her family commented on how their dog was so comfortable with me, as this only happens with those who are family members.


The next morning our AirBnB host fixed us a yummy breakfast, and I appreciated a walk in her yard just as light rain began. Loren and I then went to the yoga studio for a Yoga Talk but, with it now hailing, the only other attendee was our 83 year old friend. So it was half yoga talk and half social, or perhaps more social than yoga. Loren and I decided to stay for the 4pm class, then we drove on to our next AirBnB on the Atlantic coast in Ipswich.

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We arrived before our host had returned home, and we delighted in seeing so much of the inspirational quotes, artwork, and imagery around her house that she has collected. Then we were treated to a beautiful sunset outside her window.

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A friend from New York had previously suggested we visit Cape Ann, north of Cape Cod, and as it turns out, Ipswich is just next to Cape Ann. So far we have taken a long walk with our AirBnB host and a friend of hers at Crane Beach, which boasts six miles of undeveloped sand and dunes. We encountered numerous shore birds, as well as starfish and remnants of horseshoe crab along the coast. 

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That evening we four attended a talk in Rockport at the point of Cape Ann, that was given by our AirBnB host’s renter, an ecological expert and accomplished author. His talk was arranged for the local garden club. Earlier in the week some of the gardeners had created floral impressions of the art on display. It was also fascinating to see some of the pieces that were still on hand.

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Afterwards we walked around the quaint streets of Rockport, then out to the wharf to snap photos of Motif #1, a building thought to be the one most often painted in all the world.  


The next morning Loren and I were up early to travel to Maine to see more friends who have relocated from California to a senior living community in Topsham, said top-sum. We were surprised at the large size of their new home, impressed with the tour they gave us of nearby Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and, appreciated spending time with them and some of their neighbors who were also interested in seeing the Women’s FIFA semifinals that ended up ensuring the US a place over England in the finals.

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That evening Loren and I continued on to see BoothBay Harbor – a place Loren had been thwarted in seeing the grandeur of 40 years ago due to overcast skies. We were fortunate to have clear skies this time. This allowed us to share clam chowder, scallops and lobster outdoors, while being treated to a view of the harbor, before our return drive to Ipswich.

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The next day Loren and I watched the other soccer semifinals match, resulting in it being the Netherlands who will face our US team on Sunday. That evening we attended the opening event of a month-long art show in Ipswich titled, “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” We were tickled to find our AirBnB renter among those being recognized. We followed up the event with a stroll on the Ipswich RiverWalk, where we encountered an enormous mural depicting aspects of our country’s early history. 

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By coincidence, the next day was Independence Day. Loren and I hope you too had a wonderful 4th of July, celebrating a Happy Birthday to us in the US. We spent the day by taking a Bikram yoga class, then heading out of town to visit yet more special friends – another couple who have moved to Massachusetts from California. We were treated to a delicious lunch, a dip in a nearby pond, and a tasty BBQ dinner, all while catching up on each others’ lives. We learned a new word from them to add to our vocabulary – Loren and I are peripatetics, because we travel from place to place. 


We have just a couple more nights in Massachusetts. It is claimed that “Everyone in Ipswich is Buddhist,” or so said the long term renter/award winning writer at our AirBnB. At the least our AirBnB host practices a form of Buddhism. In honor of Ipswich, Buddhism, and, us being peripatetic, I will include this inspirational quote that Loren came across a couple of months ago:

On an ancient wall in China, where a brooding Buddha blinks
Deeply graven is the message, “It is later than you think”
The clock of life is wound but once and no one has the power
To know just when the hands will stop at late or early hour.
Now is all the time you own, the past a golden link.
Go cruising now my brother, it is later than you think.
– Anonymous

Week 274 June 29, 2019

It was more than a full week, spent in memorable times with my cousins, and with me taking a robust Bikram Yoga seminar. Hence this post is more than a little late…

Loren and I began our week still in New Hampshire, where the state license plates proclaim: Live Free Or Die. We had another good visit with my cousin and her husband, this time including their children and grandchildren, and her mother. I found a photo of my great-grandfather holding my mother’s cousin – my cousin’s father, on display in her mother’s room. We also helped setup for the big family party to celebrate my cousin’s husband’s 65th birthday.


Later that afternoon Loren and I took a drive around Lake Sunapee, where I had hoped to be able to spot the cabin I had visited a few times with a dear friend some years ago. Alas, without the address and directions, it turned out to be simply a nice drive around a large New Hampshire lake.


That evening our AirBnB hosts offered us a ride around the smaller Lake Horace in their motor boat, something they often do with their dog. It was a nice way to finish our day.

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The next day was the big party. It was awesome to have more chances to visit with each of them, their children and spouses, see the grandchildren play, and spend time with their extended family members, neighbors and friends.

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We enjoyed lots of good food and games, and the next day we returned for a delicious brunch, thoroughly enjoying more time to visit together.

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Then Loren and I were off to Massachusetts, where the state license plates proclaim: The Spirit of America. Loren had a mostly relaxing week at another AirBnB, while I attended the seminar each day, well into each evening. I have now taught over 250 Bikram Yoga classes – of those I taught well over 100 just in the past year, so it was time to take my experience and skills to the next level. It was also great to see three of my teacher training Littermates from our 9 weeks spent together in 2014.

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Another teacher brought her family along for the week. It was fun to see her studio’s advertisement for Bikram Yoga on her son’s t-shirt. On one of the days, Loren had the opportunity to participate in a private lesson demonstration for us, and he actually took several classes with us this week.  

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Our week ended with a fun visit to nearby Hampton beach,


followed by a delicious “lobstah” dinner, ice cream desert, and, my first viewing of the The Princess Bride from 1987 with Peter Falk, Billy Crystal, Andre the Giant, and others.

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Not only did we have a fulfilling week, I expanded my knowledge for future classes and Loren and I met and got to know more wonderful world-wide Bikram Yoga teachers. 

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…

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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.

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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.


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!

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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. 


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.


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…

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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.


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


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.

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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.


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.


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.

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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 244 December 1, 2018

Loren and I started this week in New York at the lake house, graciously offered to us by my brother and sister-in-law for our stay. The day was clear and chill, with ‘Ol Jack leaving frosty reminders of his overnight escapades, until Ageless Sol – or Helios, or simply Sun, melted his doomed icy sparkles into droplets of water, to soon disappear.

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Meanwhile, from inside her own home, my sister-in-law texted how she was enjoying her coffee with my Thanksgiving gift of macaroons…


We then spent a day in the financial district of Lower Manhattan with her, my brother and their younger daughter.


We opted not to visit the top of the Freedom Tower, as the weather was too cold and the views would be too limited. My sister-in-law and I did briefly go inside to see the spectacular new building next door, which turned out to be a stunning entrance to the subway station that includes an abundance of glitzy shops.

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We spent the bulk of our day at the 9/11 Museum & Memorial. It was quite moving. Sadly, the photos of the events seemed all too familiar even though it has been over 17 years already since that tragic day. To put it in perspective, my younger niece was just an infant.


This wall represents the color of blue that the people of New York chose for how they remembered the sky on that particular morning before the first plane struck the South Tower. Behind the wall the remains of many of the deceased repose. The Virgil quote honors their deaths with:

   No day shall erase you from the memory of time.


We finished our great day together with a delicious meal out, in time to reach home before the predicted major rainstorm was to arrive. New York has had an excessive amount of rain this fall, and we have noticed overflowing ponds and fields that attest to their recent presence.


The next day Loren and I drove north to New Hampshire to visit a couple who we had met while awaiting a train in Italy a couple of years ago. The weather warmed up to 38 degrees outside which seriously felt warm to us – in other words, we did not need our coats between our car and their home, even later into the evening when we retrieved our luggage from the trunk! The next morning we delighted at the magnolia buds outside our bedroom window, though, we felt the cold when we went outside again…

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After a leisurely breakfast with these delightful friends, we were off to visit near Concord with my wonderful cousin! Unfortunately her husband was away on business, but we throughly enjoyed our visit with her and her mother in their beautiful home.

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The weather app on my phone gave no notice of the 1-3 inches of snow that she was certain from her local weather report would arrive overnight. How right she was!

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Remarkably, the birds seemed not to mind the cold or snow as they continued to visit her generous feeders.


My cousin later toured us with a drive around the area. In Henniker we lunched overlooking the Contoocook River which feeds into the Merrimack, the lower end of which is familiar to us from previous visits in Massachusetts. Later, in nearby Concord, the capital city of New Hampshire, we stopped outside the State House, as well as at some of the shops recommended by our friends. We too can now endorse the bakery and bookstore on S Main! It was another wonderful visit, for which we are most grateful.

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From New Hampshire we worked our way south to visit the gracious owner of a Bikram Yoga studio and her husband. Before we reached their home though, we enjoyed a wonderful catchup visit with another special friend who met us nearby for a good hike on Osgood Hill. Then, Loren and I attended the 4pm Bikram Yoga class. 


We finished our week with a morning Bikram Yoga class, followed by a luxuriously long coffee date with a fellow yogi. At 82 she is a remarkable woman, seeming more to be a vibrant 42 than her actual age. I am disappointed that I neglected to capture the occasion with a photo to share. I will remember next time! 


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!

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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 174 July 29, 2017

This week’s highlights began with my teaching a Bikram yoga class in Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts. That evening Loren and I watched the 1937 movie Snow White with our hosts and studio owner, their two beautiful young nieces, and another visiting yoga teacher houseguest. It was endearing to see it together. I always enjoy catching up with familiar other instructors when I visit, both those who are local and other traveling teachers, one who I first met when taking class in Edinburgh Scotland, as well as meeting others new to me each time that I come to visit.
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Another day I “did a double” – I took 2 90 minute yoga classes in one day while Loren visited a coffee shop during the second class. I do love this Bikram style of yoga! After our last class at this studio for now, our dear owner friend led a half hour long meditation group which was also delightful. At her suggestion – knowing we were heading to Springfield, Massachusetts – we visited the brand new Dr. Seuss Museum and its Memorial Sculpture Garden. What a trip down memory lane for us, with a little inspirational quote for our ongoing travels!
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Afterwards we sought out another Peter “Wolf” Toth Whispering Giants Trail statue, making it another of several we have seen in different states. Loren and I spent this night at an AirBnB where we had a lovely evening talking with the home owner. One thing we learned is how the name Mohammad spelled with “ad” at the end is the Pakistani version of this name. 
What had brought us to Springfield was to see the Basketball Hall of Fame, where we spent several hours the next day immersing ourselves in its history and glory.

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Then, we drove to Mount Holyoke College. My father’s uncle had made a generous donation in 1951 when he died. So, Loren indulged me in looking over the lecture rooms in Cleveland Hall, which was built from his gift at this impressive campus.
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After we returned to New York State, we stopped at the Albany Rural Cemetary to see the graves of my great-great-grandparents and their family plot. For the first time, I also found the graves of my great-great-great-grandparents nearby. And, for the first time too, we stopped to see President Chester Arthur’s grave, in the same cemetery.
Many small towns surround the cemetery that I had heard my grandmother mention so many times – Loudonville where she was born, Menands, Niskayuna where her grandmother was born, Renssalaer, Watervliet – such familiar names yet at the same time such foreign places to me.
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Then Loren and I spent another full day at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. I kept looking for but did not find my favorite NY Yankees from my young adulthood – Thurman Munson, Lou Piniella, Bucky Dent, Willie Randolph, and others from their memorable team – who should all be honored, in my opinion! Who I did find were “Goose” Gossage, Rickey Henderson, and some of my father’s heroes. What we also found was the complete video of Abbott and Costello’s hilarious Who’s on First routine…
On the way between our campground and Cooperstown, which are both in and among rural farmland and lush rolling hills, Loren decided we should stop at the middle-of- nowhere yet impressive Opera house to see what was playing. It was incredible that the opera I have been most interested in seeing – Porgy and Bess, was playing that evening. What a treat it was to see it, making another most memorable time. This troupe of actors sang their hearts out. Rain had chased away all the other campers, leaving our entire loop of the campground all to us that night. then in the morning we were able to convey our appreciation for the performance directly to a few of the actors as we all ate breakfast at one of only two local cafes in the rural area.
Now we are near Albany, visiting dear friends and their newly summer-shorn West Highland White Terrier, as well as their son and new daughter-in-law. Whenever we visit, our friend – a culinary school trained Jill of many Trades, outdoes herself in making appetizing meals. It is such a pleasure to spend more time with all of them again.
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Week 173 July 22, 2017

Our biggest highlight this week was seeing my cousin again in New Hampshire. She and her husband treated us to another wonderful stay at their home, and, we had a delightful time together. From delicious meals, great conversations, gardening, a dunk in the pool, a dinner out,

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to celebrating a sibling cousin’s birthday with their sibling – my cousin and cousin-in-law, and, their Mom too,
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and, a potluck dinner with my cousin’s friends to talk about Portugal travels,
to just hanging out in their comfy home and yard. All wonderful times!
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In addition, Loren and I attended Sunday service at their neighborhood UU church. Later Loren and my cousin’s husband had a hike up Mount Major with grand-dog, Sully while my cousin and I had a great visit together. A meaningful memorable long weekend in all!
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Afterwards, Loren and I camped a couple of nights on Lake Winnipesaukee. We stopped to see another of Peter “Wolf” Toth’s Whispering Giants Trail statue at Opechee Park in Laconia. Then the weather was perfect for a boat ride on Squam Lake, where On Golden Pond was filmed, and, where we saw nesting loons. Then we went for a hike up West Rattlesnake mountain for a different view of the lake. Another gorgeous day made for a fun half day kayak ride on the lake, with a picnic lunch on one of the islands. Here we learned the name Winnipesaukee means “Smile of the Great Spirit,” to Native Americans.
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Before leaving New Hampshire, Loren and I visited The Loon Center, where we learned more about this protected species. Also, we had a good hike out to see another of their nests. I must mention how during our nights camping and a few times during the days we were fortunate to hear their unique seeming doleful calls. Very special treats!
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Last week ended and this one began with me reciting the wildlife we had seen in New York, and I am surprised at the list I can now share about the different wildlife we saw while in New Hampshire: loon, wild turkey, what we had thought was a wolf crossing the road in the dark of night but later learned from our Massachusetts friends was more likely a Fisher when I described how much more like a hyena it had seemed in my bright headlights because of its hunched back – another learning on this amazing journey of ours, and, three deer – who had long white tails that stuck straight up as they ran, looking almost like the tails were wagging on tall, graceful dogs…
Now we are in Massachusetts, taking yoga with our dear studio owner friend and her fabulous community. It feels good to be back in the hot room since I had not taken a yoga class since my extreme reaction to the poison ivy…




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…
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…for cousins in New Hampshire, and their family and friends for a special birthday…
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…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…
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…for a meaningful visit with cousins in Massachusetts, including catching up on twenty years of joys and sorrows since we last visited together…
…and, a sweet visit with cousins – one our age, and age 90 and 93, in Connecticut…
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…for more Bikram yoga classes in New York, and, for a fantastic Thanksgiving with precious family and their neighbors.
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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!