Week 223 July 7, 2018

Happy Belated Heat-Waving-242nd-Birthday USA! From the east coast to the midwest, I have encountered potentially record setting temperatures and humidity. As well, I drove through deluges of rain, saw streaks of lightning and exciting fireworks, all while or on my way to visiting with very special family members and friends.

Loren enjoyed a hike with some long term friends in California, and otherwise has been visiting and helping care for his Mom this week.

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I began the week still in Pennsylvania, thoroughly enjoying seeing my good friend and her daughter, eating her incomparably delicious homemade eggplant and catching up on seeing movies, like Shrek, Into the Wild, and Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller comedies. 

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Then, in making my way closer toward California, I stopped next in Ohio where I spent a wonderful overnight with dear friends. Our memorable visit included a walk in their neighborhood, delicious dinner, a game of Canasta in which lady luck visited me, and, a great breakfast, all affording memorable and meaningful conversations.

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Driving further west from there, I camped where I witnessed a beautiful sunset. My site’s picnic table also faced an RV named the same as one of my favorite songs, Imagine.

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Now I am at Loren’s cousin’s in Nebraska. I arrived in time to join her for a potluck dinner and fireworks display at a neighbor’s on night of the the 4th. It has been so fun to see her,  

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one of her daughters, her brother, her son-in-law,

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and her granddaughter and grandson, during my short visit. And, she has adopted her granddaughter’s bottle-fed kitten, who is a mischievous hoot!

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Along the drive so far, I snapped a few shots – *v*e*r*y* carefully so not my best – of favorite roadie entertainment: one among several heat=wave warnings, a couple of many moose and peace sign images on the windows of other vehicles,

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a unique, uplifting sign on an 18 wheeler, a city with a most important name, and, finally, on July 4th, a red cab and a white cab being towed by – what else? a blue cab!

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To finish this week here are my newest favorite quotes:
From Papa Francesco, aka Pope Francis’’ Happiness audio book:
   There is no future without peace.
And, three from Into the Wild, two of them from the main character Chris:
   The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences, and
   Happiness is only real when shared.
the other from the character played by Hal Holbrook,
   When you forgive you love, and when you love God’s light shines on you.

Tomorrow I head west again, to stop overnight in Colorado…

Week 169 June 24, 2017

Hello Dear Family members and Friends, thank you for checking in with us on our blog. Loren and I so appreciate you doing so and/or hearing from you by email or phone when you reach out to us!
We began this week still in the Ohio Amish country – mainly looking around Millersburg, Sugar Creek, and Walnut Creek, which this last one is identical in name to a SF Bay city…
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Then, we were off to Canton to see William McKinley’s Presidential Memorial and museum. This was a most special place to me, as I am a distant relative of this President with similar ancestral ties to Scotland. I had not remembered that Theodore Roosevelt had been his VP. I am also related to two other presidents, but this was the first of the three tributes that we plan to see. 
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We visited the First Ladies National Historic Site here too, which is partially housed in President McKinley’s wife Ida – nee Saxton’s home.
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In Canton, I noticed that we were driving on the Lincoln Highway again. We attended a UU Sunday service here, focused on the Summer Solstice, and, I was so touched to see an image that I have seen so many – hundreds? possibly thousands? of times at our home congregation. It piqued my interest to learn more about the artist and the meaning of the broader two images that I found in Canton.
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Then, on our way to Cleveland we found another Peter “Wolf” Toth Whispering Giants Trail statue, this one was in Akron. 
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We enjoyed the Cleveland area for four nights, and attended Bikram Yoga classes at an appealing studio each day. I was able to teach another class – my 112th one since I attended training when we first left home.
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Loren and I visited charming Chagrin Falls one evening and had a memorable dinner in the front window table at a small restaurant where the food is so excellent that reservations are recommended any night. We also had nice walks around the town beforehand and afterwards.
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One evening we were surprised to discover a home town brew from our own city served here in Ohio. We had never seen it before, and we now can recommend it!
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We spent one entire day – on the one day that includes being open in the evening hours – at the Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It was thoroughly entertaining. Highlights include seeing a video about making each of the Beatles’ albums, a 30 minute review of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, and, a special U2 concert film shown in 3D in one of the theaters of the museum. It was also fun to visit the interactive booths where we could select tunes to listen to from our youth – there were so many bands whose music we remember – The Lovin’ Spoonful, Sly & The Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, The Young Rascals, Buffalo Springfield, so many more. I enjoyed seeing clips of Diana Ross and The Mamas and The Papas, while Loren was impressed to learn more about Elvis, who was most popular before our time.
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We spent the good part of a day then driving toward Lebanon, Pennsylvania to visit a dear friend and her daughter. Can you tell that it would have rained on us off and on? We were once again on the Lincoln Highway memorialized on the side of this big barn,
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as we made our way to the remote farm field near Shanksville to pay our respects at the Flight 93 National Memorial, a moving tribute to one of the many heroic sacrifices made on 9/11/01.
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It is wonderful now to visit with these dear friends again. I have known my friend since we were 13… I just realized now how – with both my parents gone, she is among the people who I have known for the longest period of time in my life, even longer than my brother! And at 22 years old, her daughter challenges me with her ideas about the world in ways that enrich my own thinking. Thank you two for your love and this special time!

Week 168 June 17, 2017

Last week I had meant to mention that Loren and I saw a lot of waterfowl near the Bays of Lake Michigan: pelican, gull, geese, duck, and we heard innumerable spring song birds. We saw and heard more this week. I have had to keep reminding myself that these gulls are simply gulls, not sea-gulls, though the vast Lake appears ocean-like. One new friend at Bikram Yoga Toledo, Ohio, mentioned how the Wisconsinites, Michiganites, and Ohioans talk of coast to coast as being from one side of Lake Michigan – or Lakes Erie or Huron, to the other, and not the Atlantic to the Pacific… An example of one’s perception!
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Loren and I were still in Toledo at the beginning of this week, visiting with two of my Bikram Yoga Teacher Training Littermates, a couple who attended training together. I learned that in addition to being in my training group #16, they are now Studio Owners. Congratulations friends! And, what a wonderful mentor peeking over our shoulders – Paramahansa Yogananda, who’s birth name was Mukunda Lal Ghosh. He is the author of Autobiography of a Yogi – an amazing book that George Harrison of The Beatles would recommend and even give away to anyone who was looking for spiritual insight. Yogananda is also older brother of Bikram Choudhury’s guru, Bishnu Charan Ghosh.
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By coincidence, I met at this studio another instructor – who’s name I recognized as a new teacher at my home studio since Loren and I left home in 2014. It was nice that I was able to take his class for the first time. What a small Bikram yoga world!
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While in Toledo, Loren and I visited their Museum of Art. My favorite painting there among so many of interest was The Discovery of Adam by William Holbrook Beard. It satirically pays tribute – and is still currently apropos – to disparate views over a hundred years since he created his art.
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On the walk back to our AirBnB we were treated to street art,
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and vibrant blooms in the neighborhood.
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I taught and took a few other Bikram classes while we were here. Loren took a couple of classes, but one afternoon he attended a Multifaith Lecture at the local Unitarian church, and, one morning he enjoyed a bike ride around Maumee Bay State Park where we had camped overnight.
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On our last night in Toledo we stayed at my Littermates’ home, enjoying their beautiful dogs, the one cat who did not hide from us while the other one we never saw, and, the bird who has recently adopted them. We ate a delicious take out gourmet Chinese dinner from QQ Kitchen, and my fortune cookie said, “Focus in on the color yellow tomorrow for good luck!” Incredible, since the studio carpet and ceiling are a lovely yellow… Then we had the privilege to watch the last Cavaliers vs. Warriors game of the finals, because, the Warriors came back to win at home, 4 games to 1. YAY DUBS! It felt like Bikram family to hang out with my friends in Toledo, how wonderful to see you both!
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Then, Loren and I were off to see Rutherford B. Hayes Home and Presidential Library, which was as rewarding educationally as the other Presidential museums we have visited. We camped that night in the rain, but awoke to find a Disc Golf course right in front of our campsite! The grass was nearly dry enough for us to play all 9 holes. Loren “won” by throwing 33, and I am proud of my not too much higher score of 39 throws. And we both had a little exercise in the process. After removing our wet sneakers and socks, we set off for Warren G. Harding’s home. This is soon due to be thoroughly remodeled and reopened in 2020 for the 100th anniversary of his Presidency…
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Still in Ohio, we met friends for dinner at Mohican Lodge, with a beautiful view of Pleasant Hill Lake to entertain us. We spent the night with them in their lovely home, had a delicious brunch together, then, as we were about to leave we all realized that we had not yet played Canasta! We stayed and spent the next several hours, with a brief break for lunch, playing what we called a Memorial Canasta Tournament in honor of our dear departed friend, Gary, who is this friend’s brother. We reminisced a lot about how Gary would have played during our game together. As well, the four of us found several connections including New York roots and half Italian heritage, for example… as is the word Namaste so often said at the end of a Bikram class – another connection for us all with Gary a la Ram Das’ version of the word’s meaning. A most memorable and fun visit.
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Now we are in Ohio’s Amish country, where we have seen a few small horse-drawn black buggies. A friend of Loren’s from their Castro Valley Toastmaster Club days who is also on extended travels with his wife emailed,
   “There have been so many spectacular things that have happened to us and most
    were because we were in the right place at the perfect moment. Then again, 
    maybe it’s more about appreciating each moment that was special anyway.”
So true!
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Tomorrow we are off to see another of Ohio’s Presidential museums, that of William McKinley. We learned that Ohio provided 8 of our 45 United States Presidents. How impressive Ohio! 
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And, we wish a Happy Father’s Day to all our family members and friends who celebrate this special day this year!

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.

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