Archive for the ‘Autumn Back East 2012’ Category

Full Circle

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

We started this year of travel in April after all the cancer stuff was over; it was like a New Year’s celebration to head to Phoenix on our way to Colorado. One of the first photos I included in my blog was a saguaro cactus (they look like people to me), and here I am back in Arizona finishing up 2012’s travels.

It’s been totally awesome to think back at our time with Focus on Family, a European riverboat cruise, England friends and memories, family reunion on the Jersey shore. Disneyworld and Daytona, a retirement celebration, forever friends, DC Marathon, Hurricane Sandy, voting absentee on the road, a noreaster, humidity, wind, rain, snow, icicle-cold, and desert hot!

While at the family reunion at the shore, we fondly remembered cousin Sandy, who lost her cancer battle.I am so glad we had gotten closer over the last couple years. It seems like she might have had her hand in protecting her family’s beach house when her namesake hurricane came through and didn’t do any harm.

And while visiting Barnoldswick, England, we joined friends still mourning the death of my special friend Gail Usher. Some of her ashes are hidden in a crevice on the south side of the Grand Canyon because this was a special spot for her! We end our travels by way of this majestic natural wonder to be near and reflect on the gift of her friendship.

This journey, all of 2012, has shown us the glory of God in the sights, sounds, and tastes we have experienced, but most of all the people. It’s always good to come home, but if your heart is with God then it ALL feels like home.


No Luck This Time Either

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

As you well may know, my bucket list mentions seeing a moose in the wild. I’m not sure why but for the fact that I have been many places where they should be and they haven’t been.

This trip causes me to ponder the wonderful things and people I did see this time around but there is that void…no moose! Vermont and New Hampshire even had moose-killing season the week before we were there and they bagged 203 in northern Vermont alone, to thin the populace. But could I find one? Noooo

I guess I’m dealing with some pretty “Alert” critters.

Cheers from Boston

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Winding down on our East Coast Tour. It is perfect weather in Boston and we arrive for Veterans Day. Because of our military ID’s, our Hop-On, Hop-Off  Trolley is FREE!  While Steve works his Liver Convention, I get to tour the city.

My game plan is usually to take the trolley for the whole circuit and then decide where I want to Hop Off.  The Tea Party Museum (new, and fabulous), Beacon Hill for lunch, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market were my choices.

At night we journeyed to the North End, which is 95% Italian! What an experience we had the first night at Daily Catch Restaurant for dinner. The place  holds, maybe, 16 and the kitchen and one chef is right there doing his thing. You sit with others, help pass things, interact and are truly amazed at what can be done in such a dinky space (my bathroom and closet are bigger).

The line snakes out in front of the door and hungry faces gaze in and bet which diner is closest to finishing. It is worth the wait. I dined on fettuccine and shrimp in white sauce and Steve had squid ink pasta al freddo. And then a stop at Mike’s Pastry for jumbo Cannoli!   Mama Mia!!

Good thing we had a decent walk to get to the subway. Past the Meeting house and Fannueil Hall, in front of John Adams, cross to the underground. Take the Greenline Heath spur and off at the Prudential stop for the Sheraton Hotel. Just like a native!

Angel Quest

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Newburyport, MA is the most picturesque and typical New England town! We got to catch up with brother-in-law Art and wife Phyllis Levine here and were totally charmed by this place and our walks to the Merrimac River and brick-sidewalked streets.

I found out they are famous for a particular angel. There is a weather vane in town that was originally created for the First Universalist Church of Newburyport. It later became immortalized in a painting illustrating folkart, and then became a postage stamp! The painting is in the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and the original angel is in the Smithsonian. A replica has been moved to the Peoples’ Methodist Church just outside of downtown.

After some sleuthing, we found the Angel Gabriel!

Spit All The Way To Canada

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

West Point to Albany and then go north, way north and you’ll come to the prettiest of states: Vermont!

We hid out in Barton, Vermont with friends and former choir members, Steve and Nancy Tanner at their family compound on Lake Willowby. SNOW and temperatures in the teens!! They are a fraction of an inch from the border and are in a quiet, isolated, friendly, cozy part of the country.

Water from their own rushing stream (with a beautiful waterfall) and heat from the cast iron stove, the Tanners are becoming full time residents here after being snowbirds to San Marcos each year.

We spent a wonderful evening at their church with musical friends who came together to play instruments and sing and just enjoy being together and creating music. No audience to speak of, just a handful who got word and bundled up and came. Everyone brought a casserole or dessert and we took a dinner break, then back to the music. They even put up with me on the piano!

West Point

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Another beautiful location for higher learning as well as military training.

We were privileged to stay on the hallowed grounds where the great soldiers of the past took their training and became truly legendary. Most of the generals of the Civil War came out of the early Classes of the 1820’s, including Robt.E.Lee. 

I was amazed how isolated this location on the Hudson is. Steve did have some angst being Navy (beat Army).

There is some damage from the hurricane, but mostly just blowing the autumn color off the trees.  A few beautiful scenes still lingered.


Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Princeton in a fabulous town!

We loved walking the main street and the campus of Princeton, one of the  most beautiful I have ever seen. It was full of fall color, squirrels hiding nuts, young men and women hustling around, and a few drunk kids gearing up for the afternoon football game. Nothing but the best of college life!

This was the home for Albert Einstein, a professor here for the last couple decades of his life.  

This is not Einstein.

Jersey Chaos

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Hurricane Sandy hit this state pretty hard. Though the storm has moved on, a lot of neighborhoods still have no power (and it’s COLD here) and the gas stations have either no electricity to pump the gas, or no gas. The lines are humongous at the stations that are rumored to have petrol, and thousands stayed in their cars all night in hopes of a visit by the gasoline fairy.

Likewise, insurance companies and individuals have booked every hotel, B & B , vrbo in most of the state, leaving us stranded! We raced all over the state after rumors of a “room at the Inn” to no avail, and with an eye to our own gas gauge.

We travel cheaply so we can travel more and the rewards are time with friends and family and a chance to utilize military accommodations. But this time we had to resort to sleeping in our rental car in the parking lot of a Marriott here in Princeton, New Jersey. Thirt ynine degrees and cold toes, but we snuggled and slept and will always remember my b’day dinner with my honey, and deluxe abode we shared. Brrrrr


Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

I’m a California girl, but truth be told, I had my start in New Jersey. Little would I have ever guessed, that on my birthday, I would have the opportunity to stand in front of my first home, swing by the hospital of my birth, and reconnect with one of my cousins who hasn’t strayed far from home. Pretty cool.

My mom and dad and all their family came from these northeast jersey parts, but World War II and the Marine Corp gave them the bug to move to San Diego when I was a 4 year old. Up and left family and friends and moved to the land of opportunity. We lived in Bird Rock, and then the Muirlands of La Jolla so I haven’t strayed far.

So I am back to my roots, and ever so glad to reconnect but even more glad to be in the land of sunshine!

Waiting for Sandy

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Waiting for a hurricane is like watching paint dry: it will happen but not soon enough. But in the mean time we wait and watch the news and learn more about tidal surges and barometric isobars. Yes it is raining and it is windy but it is the tides that are doing the damage.

I am with my cousins in DC, whose New Jersey coastal town home is under water. It has been in the family for several generations and was the site of this past summer’s Family Reunion. It holds many of my mothers’ paintings and other family records. BUT, if you live at 6 inches above sea level and the sea is now 9 feet above normal, then something is gonna wash away.  All of those outer banks and barrier islands are mainly sandbars protecting the mainland and could just crumble and wash away. This is the storm that happens every 75 years and reconfigures the terrain.

So we wait, and watch as long as we have power, and pray.