Week 295 November 23, 2019

Loren and I began this week taking leave of our AirBnB in Ohio, where reminders of the Arctic Blast decorated unharvested corn fields. We drove further east to see a dear friend of ours who lives near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We thoroughly enjoyed a few rounds of the rummy game, May I, with each of us reigning as champion in the end, though point-wise our friend was the ultimate winner, while devouring her wonderful homemade eggplant parmegiano.


While visiting with her we went to Lancaster to see President James Buchanan’s Wheatland estate. We learned that he reluctantly served just one term in the White House after a successful career as a Representative, Senator and Ambassador, but his legacy as our 15th President serving just before Abraham Lincoln, was second to that of his niece Harriet Lane, who competently and confidently stood in as his “Hostess,” or First Lady. During Buchanan’s term, seven southern states seceded from the union.


From Pennsylvania, Loren and I drove to near Albany, New York, to visit special friends. We saw the new home of our friends son and his wife, then enjoyed a delicious dinner together. The next day we celebrated our friend’s retirement over a memorable lunch. That evening Loren and I had a meaningful conversation over dinner with our niece who is in collage at SUNY-Albany, but I neglected to take a photo. Loren and I stayed overnight nearby in Colonie and awoke to a thick, wet, heavy coating of snow over our car, the roads, trees, everything. But it didn’t deter us from heading further north to Canajoharie, said Cana-(as in Canada)-jah-hairy. In native Mohawk language that means “The pot that washes itself,” referring to a gush of Canajoharie Creek that circles in a Boiling Pot before it cascades into Mohawk River.


IMG_4722.jpeg IMG_4723.jpeg

I visited Canajoharie’s village records office to see if I could learn more about the great-grandfather on my father’s side whose name and birth location I had discovered the last time Loren and I were in New York. I am still hopeful the clerk will uncover his records… While I was in the office, Loren discovered the village history of a 2006 flood, and learned that the massive abandoned plant we saw across the street was formerly used by the Beechnut company. At the suggestion of the town clerk we visited their library, where a section of reference books related to local history proved interesting – I found listed a few names of ancestors on my mother’s side with whom I’d previously been familiar.

IMG_4730.jpeg IMG_4732.jpeg IMG_4735.jpeg

We stopped back to have a fun lunch with our friend near Albany at the farm store where she manages the kitchen. A surprising exchange occurred when Loren was practicing his Spanish language with one of her coworkers who is originally from Mexico. I usually follow along a little with his Spanish, and was smiling as I tried to understand the pleasant conversation. I realized I didn’t follow at all when she kindly said something about palabra mala, which means bad word. Our friend and I could hardly control our laughter when Loren then explained to us that in trying to say he would like to someday come back to “pick” apples at the farm, he actually said he would want to come back to fxxx the apples, where fxxx rhymes with pluck…

That evening Loren and I arrived at my brother’s lake house where we will stay with much gratitude through Thanksgiving weekend. The next day we were off again in search of my ancestry, this time a great-grandmothers who was born in High Falls, New York — wife of the man from Canajoharie. We had no luck with the town clerk as their records only go back to 1881, but, we made a stop anyway at the local cemetery where her maiden name is well represented, I just an unsure which, if any, are my ancestors. 


From there we returned to Walden where I had been successful last time we were here and thanks to the Canajoharie village clerk making a couple of phone calls, I now knew that Walden’s Clerk has the record of one of my great-grandfather’s death, which record has given me names of my father’s ancestors still further back – all the way to one of my 5th degree great-grandparents.

IMG_4754.jpeg IMG_4762.jpeg

This week we also enjoyed a day with another special friend. From having brunch together, we visited the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers. What attracted us was the exhibit of artist James McElhinney: Discover the Hudson Anew.

IMG_4825.jpeg IMG_4835.jpeg

We also enjoyed the rest of the museum, including a tour of the Glenview Mansion all decked out for the holiday season, a permanent children’s display, as well as

IMG_4794.jpeg IMG_4799.jpeg 

an exhibit of photos from lunar landings.

IMG_4801.jpeg IMG_4807.jpeg IMG_4813.jpeg

One showcase especially caught my attention – it is of photos from Lick Observatory which is in the San Francisco Bay Area. My story is that I made a point to visit this site in 1991, because it was 100 years after the one great-grandmother who I had the privilege to know until I was 12 years old had visited this same place in 1891 with her parents.


Other than my joy at seeing loved ones and researching about ancestry in New York, I have not enjoyed the early cold we have experienced from as far back as Nevada, that causes static electricity, dry skin, finger chapped and raw, with tiny cuts so that they feel like sandpaper… Ok, enough complaining. I’ll conclude with my further reflection that as Loren and I have traveled east across the country I have been disappointed to have had to pass by so many appealing brown signs along highways and interstates that advertise historic sites, local parks and recreation areas, nature preserves, points of interest, and other venues that I would like to visit, but cannot, because we need to push on to arrive when we are scheduled to be someplace. Such is the yin and the yang of life, huh?

IMG_4850.jpeg IMG_4771.jpeg

Week 294 November 16, 2019

When Loren and I left our cousins’ farm in Nebraska at the beginning of this week, it was sad to see how much devastation has occurred from the major flooding earlier this year. Route 80 is detoured from roads that are still underwater, as alternative roads are being built.


We drove through Iowa to our destination of Madison, Wisconsin to arrive at what our friend there said was “between record snows and record temperatures.” We checked in at our AirBnB, then headed off for a Friday fish dinner with our friend, before we all attended a performance of University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Wisconsin Singers. The finale piece included an appearance of their Badgers football team’s mascot, the Badger.

IMG_4599.jpg IMG_4600.JPG IMG_1825.JPG

The next day Loren joined our friend for a walk around the Capital Farmer’s Market before they went to a Badgers’ game. Loren was especially impressed with the marching band. Me? I shopped for a warm coat because the zipper on my North-Face knockoff that I had bought in Nepal had opened, then the zipper pull came off in my hand…

IMG_1831.JPG IMG_1842.JPG

That evening we three attended an Arlo Guthrie concert at the Barrymore Theater. Guthrie’s son and two of his daughters participated with him on-stage. Their last piece comprised lyrics that his father Woody had composed.

IMG_1847.JPG IMG_1850.JPG IMG_1853.JPG IMG_1858.JPG

The next morning Loren and I drove to Green Bay, which had been the main reason we visited Wisconsin this time — our friend had sold us two tickets to see the Packers at Lambeau Field. This was on par with our visit to Wrigley Field in Chicago a few years ago, as both are iconic stadiums that Loren has especially wanted to visit. We arrived early enough to take in all of the extensive Packers’ Hall of Fame museum’s displays at the park.

IMG_4626.JPG IMG_4628.JPG IMG_4630.JPG

Our seats were in a great location for the mid-afternoon kickoff against the Carolina Panthers. It seemed that there was not an empty seat to watch this fan-owned community team play — the attendance was recorded to be 78,000 and we were impressed with the devotion of Green Bay’s fans. We remained in our seats through near the end of the 4th quarter for a home team win, despite a consistent flurry of snow that had begun about half way through the game. The announcers at the stadium labeled it “ideal Lambeau conditions.”

IMG_4638.JPG IMG_4649.JPG

That evening Loren and I traveled an hour further south-eastward to stay overnight at an AirBnB in Manitowoc. We drove through the continued light snow which began to accumulate before we arrived at our destination. I dared to take a photo as I drove but the white that was intensely visible across my windshield was barely caught by my camera. 


The snow stopped overnight though resumed the next morning. That day, it took us 12 hours over what is normally an eight hour distance, in consistent light snow from the “Arctic blast” that then hit the area. Usually on a long drive day we fill the gas tank at half empty. This day it was strange when, based on how long I’d been driving and would want a break, I would expect to find the tank half empty, but each time it was still 3/4 full. We saw many “disabled” cars, most of which had skidded or jackknifed into ditches and guardrails. At one point I too skidded on an on ramp. Thankfully my years driving in winter conditions helped me navigate and we simply came to a standstill in the shoulder, facing backwards. We know we were lucky and in the future would not venture out in such a storm. In the evening we returned from a short break to find our windshield had frosted over.


The entire next day we holed up at another AirBnB in Ohio, that we had reserved for three nights. The sun was shining on the new snow, making for a pleasant view. Early the next morning, we were treated to a moonset view over the white landscape. 

IMG_4686.JPG IMG_4695.JPG

We spent this last full day here with a lunch date with special friends at a State Park’s welcoming lodge, where we also spent the afternoon thoroughly enjoying catching up over a game of canasta.


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.


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. 

IMG_6561.jpg IMG_6590.jpg

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.


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.

IMG_6607.jpg IMG_6608.jpg IMG_6620.jpg

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,  

IMG_6628.jpg IMG_6626.jpg IMG_6809 4

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

IMG_6903 3.JPG IMG_6841 4.JPG IMG_6876 2.jpg

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

IMG_6857 4.JPG IMG_6859 4.JPG

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,

IMG_6594.jpg IMG_6597.jpg IMG_6603

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!

IMG_6624.jpg IMG_6625.jpg

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…
pastedGraphic.png pastedGraphic_1.png
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. 
pastedGraphic_2.png pastedGraphic_3.png pastedGraphic_4.png
We visited the First Ladies National Historic Site here too, which is partially housed in President McKinley’s wife Ida – nee Saxton’s home.
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.
Then, on our way to Cleveland we found another Peter “Wolf” Toth Whispering Giants Trail statue, this one was in Akron. 
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.
IMG_7634.jpg IMG_7645.jpg
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.
pastedGraphic_7.png pastedGraphic_8.png
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!
IMG_7635.jpg IMG_7636.jpg
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.
pastedGraphic_11.png pastedGraphic_9.png pastedGraphic_10.png
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,
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.
pastedGraphic_13.png pastedGraphic_14.png
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!
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.
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!
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.
On the walk back to our AirBnB we were treated to street art,
and vibrant blooms in the neighborhood.
pastedGraphic_5.png IMG_7326.jpg
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.
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!
IMG_7374.jpg IMG_8428.jpg
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…
pastedGraphic_10.png IMG_7394.jpg pastedGraphic_11.png IMG_7471
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.
IMG_7486.jpg FullSizeRender.jpg FullSizeRender 2.jpg
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!
pastedGraphic_16.png pastedGraphic_17.png
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! 
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.