Monday’s Blog, Here I sit

Here I sit with my left foot bound up in an Ace bandage home from a visit to the ER. Boy does my foot hurt. Returning to the Highland Hospital in Rochester (BTW excellent facility) just four days after Paul occupied the same examining room for a kidney stone and in great pain that comes and goes, I “come down” with a sore foot. It isn’t broken or fractured thank goodness, but it is something I “earned.” Self Inflicted; I can’t learn to say still. We have been back in our cherished apartment for 6 days and I’ve been my usual whirling dervish every waking minute. Not surprising that I injured something. Our fabulous summer tour of Newfoundland and south eastern Canada was also a whirlwind, walking miles and miles every day. I wouldn’t give up the travel for the world and bless our luck that we can seek such adventures. No worries, we are fine.

I look back years and years, It seems that my loving mother was constantly wrapping my foot or ankle or wrist with an Ace Bandage. She had Red Cross training from the world war 2 years and later as a pediatric nurse at Highland for years. She was proud of her skills and I was the benefactory of her wrapping techniques. So, as I wrap and unwrap, ice and wrap again, I savor the memory of her smile and love. My boys benefitted as well because I know I applied many aces and other bandages to their injuries or made many visits to emergency as they grew. Heck, we all do that but I felt helpful and loving from the legacy of my childhood. 

Knowing I won’t stop, slow down or sit down any more than in the past, I remember the wonderful travels of the summer of 2017, the warm and incredible people of Newfoundland and the joys of travel. Just for lightness and humor, I’ve attach a couple of favorite travel photos of the island of newfoundland and the bonus “gift” I have from ER, the no-slip socks.

beautiful silver sock

Not stylish but safe. So tread carefully, sit and smell the roses and I will try to practice what I preach. 

We visited at least 2 dozen Newfoundland lighthouses. There are 56 total

Learning the Lingo

Through my many years, I have learned from Oregonian friends that the preferred pronunciation of the lovely state of Oregon is OREgin with a softening of the final syllable not the emphasis on the on (said as an ah) of the final syllable that I have mistakenly practiced for many years. Now that I have traveled through the equally lovely Canadian Province of Newfoundland, I know that Newfoundland is pronounced with the emphasis on the end–as in NewfoundLAND.  Labrador as well is said with the emphasis on the end syllable as in LabraDOR and drawn out a bit sometimes with a slight “curling” of the R as if harboring a reluctance to finish saying the name of this Canadian Province.

How enlightening it is to realize, after my visit, how charming, warm and welcoming the Newfoundlanders are. They stop on the spot in response to one’s hello with so much interest and sharing that you want to become life long friends with most every native you meet. There is no meaning to a short conversation with Newfoundlanders met along the way. They are proud and eager to share their stories and adventures and maybe just short of inviting you to their home for some hospitality their arms are open to you.  My expectations were so inaccurate, thinking that such harsh, hard working, tough daily lives would produce a culture of self centeredness, self pity and grumpy people.

Even though I have departed Newfoundland leaving it behind, I think daily of our adventures and visit and revel at the extraordinary memories I will savor for the rest of my life. To keep this to my promised message in a minute, I will simply share several photos serving I hope, to lure you to

Facsimile of a Viking ship–Lief Ericson era
A typical seaside town

visit soon and see and hear for yourself.

Victorian house, now a museum

Hello Puffin 

one of 56 Newfoundland lighthouses

Lighthouse museum docent and long time local with Paul

Ballet teacher memories revisited

Sometime in the year 2009 I posted a blog focused on my early childhood days growing up on Edgerton Street in Rochester, NY.  The topic was, at age 4, and my first glorious ballet teacher, Katherine Raphael. The lessons were held in her dining room just 5 houses up the street at Milburn st, the opposite corner from my house. I remembered the first try on point, my pink, used but beautiful toe shoes and how it felt to rise up on my toes padded in lambs wool and reach to the skies en point. My self description; a bit pudgy, frizzy hair, full cheeks and a love for dance that has lasted a lifetime. 
In response to that blog, a dear friend connected me to Ann Raphael Berndt, the older of the two Raphael daughters and a year younger than myself and her sister Judy a couple of years younger than Ann. Ann and I have been sporadically connected via email and I PROMISED that someday soon we would meet in person to share our love and reverence for Mrs. Raphael. That promise was fulfilled last week on our visit to Boston. Paul and I joined Ann and her husband David and were pampered and peppered with family memories and stories and brought up to date both in memories of Edgerton St to the present. 
We departed with promises of staying in touch but Ann blessed me with copies of photos from dance classes, a recital program from 1952 and a copy of Katherine’s biography. 
I am sharing 2 of the photos for giggles and memories. 

an attempt to copy an early portrait of Mrs. Raphael; Beautiful


Top photo, I am on the left, bottom photo I am on the right

How devoted she was to ballet and sought in so many ways to improve her own wonderful dance skills. She did meet Anna Pavlova in person. How incredible.  I have been processing those days ever since the visit with Ann. What incredible lives we have all lived, The Berndts and their beautiful 3 sons, daughter’s in laws from around the globe, and 3 granddaughters and 3 grandsons. 
Dance has never ceased to be a large part of my life, continuing lessons throughout my 20’s and 30’s, appearing in many musical productions, even doing some rep theatre in Buffalo while attending Suny at Buffalo and as a young mom in Rochester. Currently my dance includes lots of Zumba, Latin Dance, Line dancing and Paul and I are lucky to be able to dance every jitterbug, rock and roll, waltz and more at the beautiful dinner/dance parties when on our RV site in Jojoba, in California.
from Seafoam campground heading to Sydney, NS

Seafoam along River John happy to be in Canada

Paul and I are in Sydney, Nova Scotia awaiting our ferry ride to Newfoundland on Wednesday (16 hours) to the Rock. I can’t wait for the new adventures while savoring the old. 

what a sunset, massive cloud bank

Message In a Minute; Strip tease

Off again with our wheeled house on our backs and heading East seeking more adventure. After a day in Syracuse with Paul’s wonderful Uncle Joshua, we headed to Jersey City, NJ and the Liberty Harbor RV Park situated across the Hudson from Freedom tower in lower Manhattan and with in sight of the Statue of Liberty. It is the adjacent ferries to desired places that make this (expensive) campground a jewel. 

As I write, our 14 year old grandson Corey is on his flight to Newark airport for nine days of travel together. We are visiting family in West Orange. After our arrival on Friday we were too late to join our family for a get together and Kabbalat Shabbat service so we stayed in Jersey City. Leaving the Jeep in the campground we walked for 25 minutes to the town square decidedly the of the place to be; lots of people, lots of restaurants and excitement galore. We strolled for a bit and picked a restaurant that turned out to be wonderful. It is called Skinners Loft and offered tables on their roof top. We climbed the many stairs, (blessing our luck that we could do so easily) and took a table at the brink of the roof. The food was delicious with excellent vegan choices. 

As usual, we can’t just sit still but enjoy engaging others in conversation. At the next table were two lovely young ladies mid to upper 20’s I believe. They looked like sisters and were sitting together with their backs at the edge. They both turned to look over the brink and I wished I could click my camera at that moment for a lovely portrait. I asked if they were sisters and they replied just good friends. We talked and talked about their families, dreams and wishes and shared so much. One girl wants to start a business buying older Air Stream trailers and redoing them inexpensively but in good taste to sell. She asked our advice.  We directed her to a campground web site in Solvang, CA that features refurbished and tastefully done airstreams for rent for a night or longer and learned that her family is in construction and have skilled workers that would be able to help with the projects. They both were delighted with our life style and we laughed and joked and actually did offer some requested advice. 

What a delight the evening was. But we had to stop at a nearby pharmacy and then head back to the rig. Exit we did into a rainstorm with a vengeance. We stayed under cover for a bit having no umbrellas or raincoats as we had left the rig in blue skies and hot temps. We dashed in the direction of the camp ground and stopped to try Uber, but everyone else had beaten us to it. So walk it was to be. But as we are drip dry, wet it would be. After 30 minutes we arrived at the rig (wrong turn). We entered the rig and did a spectacular strip tease in the entrance. (if we were 50 years younger it may have been enhancing) but dry off we did, threw our clothing into the dryer and laughed our heads off. But we were upstaged.

We have heard from good friends on the way to Nova Scotia for a travel adventure and our soaking story paled in light of theirs. A particular airline left the luggage on the tarmac as passengers boarded. Their first night in the hotel was spent with all of the soaked items hung to dry. Their comment was at least no one was forcefully carried off the plane. 

Message in a Minute; swingin’ and rockin through Life

After our truly memorable winter adventures RVing westward and then reversing our direction to cross the rest of the continent to fly even further east for a memorable tour of three of the Stan countries Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and the historic Ancient Silk Road. Upon our return to the USA, we began high-tailing it eastward to Rochester for the 16th annual Rochester International Jazz Festival. Meeting all expectations the Jazz Festival was incredible. Paul in his blog posts has shared our day to day venues and encounters during the 2017 festival. I do not need to repeat. the link to his blog is on this page. 

Great Jazz group  featuring Bobby Millitello

The day after the Jazz festival we traditionally wonder “what do we do now?”  It is usually a day of R and R and sorely needed. Attending the jazz fest takes LOTS of energy and study of the schedule to make choices and to build the preliminary evening’s itinerary.  We follow up by hitting the sidewalks at 3:30pm or so trekking from venue to venue to cram in as much as humanly possible (and what our age will tolerate–which is pretty intense, for which we are grateful.)  

Ukrainian folk group with artful cello 

But, this year we decided to buy Sunday matinee tickets for the musical, Million Dollar Quartet, playing at Geva theatre in Rochester.  This musical treasure depicts the history of the Sun Recording Studio in memphis; a museum that we cherish having visited. 

So, the breakneck pace continued today, even after the jazz fest as we tried to catch up on so many days out of our usual daily routine. You know, laundry, cleaning and tidying up, mail, phone calls, bilIs, contacting family and friends. In the course of the 10 days, I believe I actually built up bone mass even though I did not follow my daily hour or so of intense exercise. I even lost weight “walking at neck breaking paces,” bouncin’ and swinging” in my seats or rockin’ on my feet to the beat. Who can stay still to such rhythms.  

Geva’s Signboard

The Set Pre performance

I remain So grateful to have all of this energy and able to top off 9 days of Jazz with a the vigorous production of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, over two hours listening to great music, dance, song, narration and story telling, relating the story of the Sun recording studio in Memphis in the mid 50’s unfolds. How fond I was of the musicians nurtured and and loved by Sam Phillips the guru behind Sun Studios and the likes of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. I remember living through the growth of these artists and rock and roll. An so many ill directed prophets said in those days, rock and roll will never last. Well, What a Lota Shaking is Still “Goin On.”

Monday’s Blog; Central Asia here we come

It is the happy wanderer, having traversed most of the USA via motorhome beginning May 5 from our Jojoba Hills RV park site to Kansas City, MO arriving on May 16th after many adventures camping in the desert in Quartzsite, AZ boondocking in the desert, then to Phoenix AZ, staying in Desert’s Edge CG, and hearing Anat Cohen’s jazz concert at MIM, (Musical Instrument Museum.) The  next day off to popular Sedona, AZ to boondock on BLM land for 3 nights on Park road 525.

Red Rock State Park, Sedona, AZ

 How beautiful it is to visit the towns of Sedona, Cottonwood and Jerome (a mile high town) Red Rock Park and so much more. Next on to Flagstaff, AZ and the Woody Mountain CG. The event; our grandson JOSH’S GRADUATION. How proud we are of this superb honor student and wish him the very best. 

The scholar

Next overnight stop–Boondocking on a fellow RVers home driveway in Edgewood, NM. How beautiful their view and how welcoming their hospitality. the next day, another 8 hours drive to LIBERAL, KS camping overnight in the Mid USA Air museum parking lot near Dorothys House Museum (devoted to an re enactment and facsimile) of the Wizard of Oz tales. In the evening, we suffered through a horrendous hail storm, both of us sure that our Motorhome and Jeep would be destroyed and we would not be flying out tomorrow for our Central Asian adventures. 

Visit Liberal KS for many adventures and an occasional storm

When assessing the results the next morning, we discovered no damage whatsoever, except a broken wire tie holding our Escapees oval on the ladder of the rig. Lucky folks for sure! the next day, we endured another 8 hours to KANSAS CITY, MO to stay at the Elks lodge in Blue Springs Mo, to pack for the trip, to meet wonderful friends from our early days in Rochester and to store our rig for the duration of our overseas adventure. 

Every Elks Lodge has its mascot, this one is lovely, 

Yo Yo Ma was so inpired that he created a legacy devoted to that heritage in his golden Cello tones and dance. I hope to be so inspired in my own realm and highly anticipate this tour. So, here we come Central Asia, following the Ancient Silk road trade route. I wonder if in the modern age, the road could be traversed via RV? We shall see. The road may be rough and bumpy, but our rig is somewhat like a mountain goat, it could perhaps handle almost anything along the way. About the transport across the oceans, I am not so sure.

I know this entry is very different from my usual edited and careful writing but I just wanted to share these adventures and send hugs and best wishes to all. Happy adventures to you and we hope to share life’s adventures for years to come. 

Rig Over New Mexico

Monday’s Blog; no one here

Yes, we are back on the road for the next 6 months. Our new life in California on site 801 at the Escapees Co-op (a jewel among jewels) Jojoba Hills RV Park Resort in Aguanga, CA nestled in the Palomar mountains of SoCal was glorious. Indeed, we have learned to stay put for weeks at a time countering our first decade and a half of RVing and rolling the wheels every 2-4 days at a time. Today we departed for points east, north and beyond. We stayed true in our intentions to boondock our first night on the BLM land in Quartzsite, AZ. 

It is a favorite long term winter location for tons of RV’s during the winter months. It is all about gem markets, flea markets, RV dealers, sellers of everything and anything for travel vehicles and anything else you can conjure up in your mind. The crowds begin to thin out in late January and finding a suitable boondocking site becomes a no brainer. 

Our overnight stop was rewarded with a warming planet, temperatures at 107F and upward, dust, some blowing sand, no traffic, and empty land on which to perch for the night, run our generator (therefore, running AC) and the real reward, a glorious sunset, moonshine 

Glorious glow

Ahh, sunset


No one there

Empty space

and no disturbing noise except our singing generator and the screeching and famous sounds of Coyotes somewhere in the distance. Tonight, we are connected to the world electronically but are awaiting the temperature to drop to at least 95F before we venture outside to walk and take in the quiet, peaceful atmosphere surrounding us and relax before taking to the road once again in the morning toward Phoenix and our 4th or 5th visit to the Musical Instrument Museum. We will attend a concert featuring Anat Cohen, Jazz Saxophonist and a favorite of ours through the years. Then head toward Flagstaff, AZ for our first grandson’s graduation. How proud we are of this bright, intelligent and unique young man and how lucky we are to lead the lives we lead. These are lots of words but I really wanted to share some quick snapshots of tonight’s stay.  Please scroll downward if you wish to read some newer blog posts that I haven’t pointed to in email or on Facebook and there will be more to come. 

Monday’s Blog; The year of the Octopus

The octopus. How long have these winsome and powerful creatures captured our attention but how little most of us really know about their history, intellect and very specialized abilities?  The last few months have produced many books and sources of research, it seems to be the Year of the Octopus. to learn more, refer to the following books on the topic;

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. Octopuses are intelligent and aware, but how much of that is centrally located in their “brain?” Is it possible that they have a “distributed mind” with each arm having a mind of its own?:

go to

Another book about the incredible Octopus;  Other Minds

The Octopus, The Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
The author is an academic philosopher and a diver. Read what he has learned about the great and fascinating species we call the Octopus. They have 3 hearts, the 8 arms each powered to special skills and so much more.
–Search for the book by title or author.

Don’t have time to read the books? Go to the candy store site about books covering everything and anything that is fascinating and sign on to receive their email messages. Because of
time, I pick some to read and delete others of diminished interest to me. 
That does not happen often.

Cutie pie Clipart special!

A thought, If you have you seen the film ARRIVALS, I truly believe that the writer(s) chose to design their aliens with some of the attributes noted in the research surrounding the Octopus. How many times do we wish we had more arms attached?

Monday’s Blog; There Came a Man

Early one sunny morning, I drove north on california HWY 79 reputed for its mountain-terrain serpentine nature. As I rounded one of the many curves and there was a man, walking, slowly, purposefully but with a male version of a Mona Lisa smile on his face, eyes in a narrow squint against the golden glare, seemingly lost in his deep thoughts.  He was somewhat slumped, hunching over a bit but not surprising as he bore the weight of a blue/green mass of fabric spread across his upper body. I would call it a bed roll, but it probably encased his worldly possessions . He moved along pensively, carefully, along the opposite edge of the road.  The encounter was brief, as I passed him by. Being curious, I tried to take notice of his features, his clothing and facial expression while staying focussed on the quirks of staying on the curving road.

I pondered his situation for awhile, how long and how far had he traveled? Did he have a destination? Is he a stranger to this area or is this area familiar to him, a hangout? Where is he from, how long has he been a “hobo” traversing pathways in remote terrain in mountains and plains, along beach shores, cities, towns, suburbs, farm lands, forests? Where does he spend most of his time. Does he find food, does he sleep anywhere he may be at dusk.  Where is he going, is he alone in the world? I soon reached my destination and became focussed on many other things, not giving him any more thought. 

Come late afternoon I drove south on HWY 79 returning home. Surprisingly, I spotted him one more time, again on the opposite side of the road, walking northward, towards the town of Temecula. He maintained the same pace and attitude, but lost the squint and glare. Hopefully he had a destination that would give him some shelter from the frigid mountain temperatures with some nourishment to keep him going. What is in that bedroll?  He reminding me of the mighty Atlas holding the world, in this case his own private wooly world. Again, upon reaching home and our rig, I became engrossed in other matters at hand, lucky to be warm, with good company, able to anticipate food in plenty, sharing talk and our day’s adventures with my husband. There was no more time to conjecture about the man that night. 

Two days later, I returned to town, for an appointment and several errands to pursue. As I turned into a large parking lot (featuring a Sprout’s Market, several restaurants, shops and a Walmart-a site for dumpster diving perhaps), I’ll be darned if I did not see him walking toward me, with his usual burden, his gentle pace and his colorful and heavy wool bedroll. This time, I could take in more of his features, get a closer look. I formed a new concept of a the man–a man with wings, an angel of sorts. What would he possibly make of that vision if he knew?  

A very rough sketch of my angel man

Would I have another sighting or are 3 sightings the magic number. Perhaps he is always on the move, never staying put, always moving on. How much of the area, the state, the country, the hemisphere has he covered? Has he climbed high mountains, through dense forests, marshy, soggy farm fields, places of danger, snake filled lands, encountered wild animals, gone places into which most of us would not venture, unknown territory.  Do people talk to him, help him, become rude, nasty or belligerent? Does he beg for food or money or just keep his eyes straight ahead does he have living family members, know anyone here or there?  

 He was clothed in well worn brown pants, plain shoes, not sneakers, not sandals, not hiking boots, but well worn, somewhat shapeless shoes, moccasin-like. The expression on his face, remained rather sweet in a way, not sour, angry and somewhat aware not a vacant stare or tuned out. Does his face truly express his thoughts, his mood?  If so, what was he thinking, feeling, hoping or expecting.  All of us have had encounters with homeless people through the years. It feels good when I can help someone with an offering of food, or occasionally buying food for them, reaching out to them, saddened by their fate, but helpless to relieve their burden. Who knows if I will ever see him again?

I have learned of a project started in some cities and towns where neighbors have built storage boxes in strategic areas to be stocked with food, clothing, shoes, blankets, toiletries and more. The homeless learn that the items are theirs for the taking to use and share with others and to spread the word. How I long to be part of that project, but we live on the move, unable to fully participate. Perhaps, someday, down the road I take, an opportunity will arise so that I can give more than an occasional take-home box of food (always stocked with utensils and napkins or apples and a couple of PBJ sandwiches carried in my tote bag), a kind word or two and a smile. I can choose to contribute to legitimate homeless programs and shelters More than that is not now in my power. 

Monday’s Blog; Applauding Diane Rehm

 Diane Rehm has been one of my highly revered heroins.  I have been her devoted fan for years tuning into the Diane Rehm NPR radio news talk show, privy to her public and private thoughts, her knowledge, wisdom and incredible talent as a thorough and persistent interviewer. How many hours were spent researching each topic or interviewee (staff aided I am sure, but Diane always in charge.) I bring up her name because I have just finished reading her autobiography, On My Own

As Diane appears on the cover of her book, Photographer Matt McClain

It is intensely written, highly personable and personal and read in a day or two, leaving the reader breathless and full of wonder and admiration at her long career, the multitude of health problems including spasmodic dysphonia, a vocal hardship for one depending so deeply upon her voice and her husband John (Scoop) and his long and difficult bout with Parkinson’s disease. She deals with the intense feelings after John’s death of disbelief, guilt, and facing grief and her long road to starting anew, facing the world and carrying on. As a result, Euthanasia as a controversial option has become a big cause in her life. 

I mourn the day she retired from the radio broadcast and can not help relating my belief that Diane had been highly educated with at least 3 Ph.D’s. Not so, she fell into the job as an NPR volunteer and slid into her valuable career thus enriching all of the lives of her large and devoted audience. 

In response to both her interviewees and her callers, she could be polite and warm, cold and swift, short and coarse but mostly open and understanding; in my mind an effective attitude when facing so many diverse opinions.  I can not possibly count the thousands of hours her voice accompanied me in my dark room, in my studio, driving in the car, returning home and running to turn on the radio so as not to miss much of the show.  I was always left with new dimensions to contemplate or research about issues and ideas. She often spoke of her travels to other places, other NPR stations, universities and the like speaking or sharing as she gathered information, experiences and wisdom to share with her audience. In her absence, there were wonderful substitutes, but I missed Diane’s voice, style and approach, waiting for her to return to the air. 

In her book, Diane talks insightfully,  fondly and whole-heartedly about how other NPR talents affected her life and as they grew into their own careers and handled their own family matters. These are names we all know and revere, Roger Mudd, Susan Stamberg, Eleanor Clift and so many more. 

One last thought before I end, I was privileged to meet Diane twice while volunteering in Rochester, NY’s wonderful NPR station, WXXI-1370. I served as a reader for Reachout Radio for years, reading newspaper articles, obits, shopping coupons, stories and such to a vision-impaired audience, hearing our voices on a special radio unit given to each listener. Now that I have been RVing on the road for so many years, I cannot volunteer in this way and I miss it tremendously. 

The first time I met Diane, I had just finished my microphone time as she walked into the studio area. I knew she was in town as she often came to Rochester to speak and share but never expected “face time” with Diane. Wonder of wonders, she spent at least a good 20 minutes with me. We crammed a lot of talk into that time, never glancing at a clock but willing to stay and chat. I will never forget that day.  I met her again 2 or 3 years later. She said she remembered me, astounded,  I certainly gave her a big hug. 

Diane Rehm I send you many hugs again as I write this from deep in my heart that is so devoted to you and your rich contributions to my life.