Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Go West Old Woman

We moved to California a few years ago. This still seems like an unlikely sentence, but we actually picked up sticks and moved from Cape Cod, in the extreme eastern edge of the continent to southern California. We discussed it just before Thanksgiving, and left Massachusetts the first week of February.  Including selling a house. Then we moved over the mountains to Palm Springs. We went from the beach to the desert in two hops. Maybe not quite a hop. The picture above is my morning view when I step off of my porch. It looks different every day, depending on the light and the weather. One big plus is that it protects us from the winds and sand that come across the area from the San Gorgonio Pass. One's first clue if that the pass is full of windmills! That wind hits the desert and the blowing sand closes roads and slips into every crevice of every house. I love Palm Springs, but the jury is still out on the desert. So far it looks pretty bare and uninteresting to me but maybe this year some hiking to get a better look. Lots of tourists go hiking here unprepared. I see the rescue helicopters heading up to the Ramp every day all summer. I may fall, but I won't go up there in summer in flip flops, tank tops and no water in the dead of summer, with regular highs over 110. 

We shipped one car, drove the other, and made a pilgrimage across the country, visiting family and friends on the way with our Mitzi crying and griping the whole way. She wanted to hang out of the window.  I actually knew someone who had seen a dog fall out of a car window on the highway. (hello Harold Price) no way. It was something of a bucket list experience for me, and something I may never do again. 

In the past few years I have fallen in and out of love with Twitter. Elon is the last straw. I miss it so much for breaking news and political analysis/gossip/perspective, but maybe it's best to leave before the party is over. I miss the cleverness  and humor of it, and the ease of hopping on in a free minute to see what's up and the fun of live tweeting TV programs with others watching. I heard an interesting take this morning: that people will return to their neglected blogs or start new ones. I am coming back to it, although the interface has changed a bit and it will surely be ugly (more ugly then usual) until i get comfortable again. I'll have to check all of my links because I know for a fact some are defunct, my apologies in the meantime.


Are We the Hostages?

As a middle aged person (I might mention that The Little Woman says I am too old to call myself middle aged) I have watched and read a lot of news in my life. I’ve seen a lot said and written about working people. One quality that seems to be much prized is a “work ethic”. I’ve admired and appreciated this quality myself, even as a business owner I prized this quality. As a business owner I loved this quality, especially in someone who valued his work and his employer’s regard above all things as evidenced by showing up on time no matter what the weather and never putting his social or entertainment interests above his job. I loved people who took such pride in their work that they needed little encouragement, not even a living wage. This job was not vital to the health and welfare of the public, did not provide important services to hospitals, the armed forces, or the saving of souls.

These days I am reexamining this position. A work ethic is an important thing. It boosts pride in the worker, and encourages a team spirit among team members that makes workers want to perform with little input from management. My question these days is: how does this WE compare to Stockholm Syndrome? Absent the physical captivity feature, it’s pretty similar. Payment for most workers is inadequate, and even then begrudged by business owners. Complaining, organizing and demonstrating is firmly discouraged, enforced by lower management who is also under compensated.  Right to Work legislation codifies this control. Tax “reform” legislation emphasizes the same “trickle down” effect that we already know does not trickle down. We see how it works, why are we allowing it? Why are labor unions not forming and growing? Why are people not taking their work ethic and putting it to work on their gardens and homes instead of making it possible for corporations to employ fewer and fewer people at lower and lower wages?

This state of affairs is unsustainable. As automation takes over more and more jobs, more people must drop out of the workforce. Should they literally starve? Will we move to a guaranteed income? What will happen? This is coming, no mistake. Can we continue to attack social programs including Social Security and not build a rebellion from the bottom?

The photo it from the lobby of the Mount Washington Hotel in Breton Woods New Hampshire. of course in the modern manner it is now the Omni Mount Washington Hotel, reflecting the new way of frankly and publicly announcing that the ownership matters more than the thing itself. I do recommend the hotel itself.  We went for a few Thanksgiving weekends when we lived on the coast. It's a splurge, but a memorable place.  The lobby alone is a beauty in itself. 

Friday, September 30, 2022

Florida Memories

The Little Woman and I vacationed in Southwest Florida every summer for about 20 years. Marco Island was our paradise. Usually we flew into Fort Myers, which at that time was an adorable little airport, and our preferred start to our trip. Occasionally we had to come in via Miami, driving across the Tamiami Trail.  I can say with confidence that I don’t recommend it at night. Any time we passed that way in daylight we stopped at the Miccosukee Restaurant, which was either the best or the worst restaurant in ever, depending on the trip. For sure it was the only one for miles in any direction. The last time we passed through I enjoyed my stop so much I picked up my favorite mug. I hear these days they have a nice travel plaza which seems to be thriving. I’m glad to hear they are doing well, and think of them every time I pick up my mug, picture to appear in a second post because Blogger. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Adventure Close to Home

I have the good fortune to live on Beautiful Cape Cod. It's an unusual place to live. As a tourist destination the year round population of 220,000 supports 4-5 million visitors, most arriving in July and August. The fall shoulder season is also becoming much more popular. September used to be our best kept secret - the best time to go to the beaches, shops and restaurants with very few tourists. Sadly, our secret is gradually getting out. Once you get past mid October things start to close for the season, and the winter season is very quiet indeed.

Because nearly all the activities: festivals, parades, etc. happen "in season" we do have to venture out occasionally among the tourists and "summer people". Yesterday was one of those days. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution operates year round, doing all kinds of research in concert with all kinds of universities and the U.S. Navy, but it's in August that they have their "Science Stroll". The Science Stroll is comprised of all kinds of exhibits, from films to tours of the ocean research vessel Atlantis.  Due to a generous friend we were able to tour the Atlantis and it was fascinating.
Once off the ship we were able to visit with actual scientists, and see the actual equipment used in oceanic research. These are the instruments and ships that looked for Maylasia 3.0,  map the floor of the ocean, trace ocean currents and temperatures - nearly everything you hear about the ocean comes from here. You should check out the link to their site for even more. The most exciting thing to me is that most research is private for a couple of years so the scientists have time to publish, then it's all available to the public. What a treasure trove of information!

 Aside from all the science fun, Woods Hole is a charming town and worth a visit on its own merits. Just don't expect to have a lot of available parking!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A (Slight) Change of Direction

I think it's pretty clear that I enjoy cruising, but maybe not that I REALLY like it. No, I'm not going to work on a cruise ship, but I CAN now book cruises! I've trained as a travel agent, specializing currently in cruises from Carnival and my personal favorite Royal Caribbean. I'm working from my home with Avoya Travel as my home agency - which means they provide a range of services for me to be able to book cruises with some exclusive discounts with the support of a sophisticated operation. I'm excited about it! August is a low volume month for travel agents, but I'm using that to my advantage while I learn to operate their excellent system at a normal human pace. Feel free to contact me at Two Gals Travel L.L.C. 508.289.1301 any time! The name is kind of funny. The Little Woman is an entrepreneurial sort; her mother owned a travel agency and her first job was working in the agency. Since our first trip together we have joked that we would operate tours under the name Two Gals Travel - now it's a reality.

Other than that, my summer is flying by at a crazy speed. We have enjoyed quite a bit of beach time, but haven't managed to work in any kayaking or camping. The Little Woman thinks my flower gardens are out of control; I like the look of a vegetal shoving match, and neither one of us is pleased with our well breathing its last. After a nice wet spring we are in the middle of summer with no outdoor water. Quite annoying, and of course a First World Problem because we do have indoor plumbing. I'm going to have to get a plumber to connect my town water to an outdoor faucet, which should be super easy because the original plumbing to the faucet is still in place, just one copper pipe is capped off. Or pray for rain - which is what I am mainly doing!

 Pictures today are from San Juan, Puerto Rico, which we visited last February. We were cruising the Eastern Caribbean, and caught our ship in San Juan. We left Boston a day earlier than we intended because of an incoming blizzard that was already canceling flights and spent two days there before our cruise. What a lovely place! It's beautiful. There is a lot of public art, gardens, music, delicious food - everything you want in a vacation. Puerto Rico also has wonderful beaches. American Dollars is the currency, English is spoken (almost) everywhere. Really it has everything a person could want in a tropical vacation and more. So convenient, so close! I plan to come back sometime soon for a longer stay. One more thing - El Moro, the famous fort, is  part of the American National Parks System, so your senior pass can be used for admission.  That's not a big savings - admission is only $5.00, but still, why not save a little if you can?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Not Quite Spring

This month has seen a lot of gorgeous pictures of spring in various (other) places of the world. Here in New England some people are experiencing the beginning of mud season (punishment for wishing for spring) or just continued winter. Our temperatures here on Cape Cod have stayed cold, but in a yoyo sort of way - sometimes up into the 50's and other days high temperatures in the 30's. We have had very little snow, which is nice for me, but maybe not so good for the garden. I need to get out in the yard and get to work, but as the cold weather wimp that I am I cannot make myself do it.

Part of the problem may be that last month I was lucky enough to be cruising in the southern Caribbean on Adventure of the Seas. We spent a few days in beautiful San Juan Puerto Rico, then on to Bonaire, Aruba, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. It's easy to think that this is the kind of scenery and temperatures I deserve! We had so much fun and saw so many beautiful things! Pictures from the trip suggest I would do well to get my bangs drastically trimmed.

Since we got back I have been keeping busy in the house. I completed a crochet afghan and a growing pile of knitted dishcloths.  Nothing in the way of garments, although I always seem to be knitting on the same old pair of socks. I've had trouble getting a stitch count that would stripe properly and not be too big for my foot. I'm on the third knitting so far of the first sock, but since I do have other socks to wear I am not in a hurry.   I drove up to Northampton to visit Webs as a birthday celebration for a friend. That did involve leaving home, but there is so much yarn there I was well insulated from the cold. They have so many beautiful yarns there that I am always overwhelmed by the choice. This time I just bought a few skeins to knit a baby blanket for a coming great granddaughter (buried the lede, didn't I?). She's due in June, and if she knows what's good for her she will make her entrance while I am visiting Atlanta!

One thing that happened while we were gone is the brand new GE range hood we had installed in January failed. Our appliance store sent someone out to look at it right away, but could not repair it without a (back ordered) part. At that time the part was back ordered to March 15, but when I checked on it this week it won't arrive at the manufacturer until April 7. I am pretty bummed about it. The service department at the appliance store is following up on it, and a tweet from me yesterday got an instant response from GE. I'll be emailing them the particulars today to see if we can't shake something loose. I am discouraged - the old ratty hood we replaced at least functioned. It's First World Problems of course.

Every morning I read the news and get a stomach ache, and I can't watch Rachel at night because it ruins my sleep. Whatever happens will be awful, so I feel hopeless. My elected representatives are pretty liberal Democrats, so I don't even have the pleasure of calling them to nag. I know they will do the right thing. Anyone who is not registered to vote needs to get on the stick and make sure they are ready when the next  elections come around.

Friday, February 24, 2017

I Seem to Have Taken a Year Off

It was not my intention, exactly, but there it is. Because I took all that time off the blog missed a Caribbean cruise, Thanksgiving in New Hampshire, my best friend's wedding, and loads of other things.

Of all the things I hoped to do in 2016, hardly any got done. I did knit a vest for Shana but I am not happy with it and will be ripping the whole thing out to start over. It's both too short AND too wide. I moved the uke out of a closet but that was all. My volunteer gig is going OK, but my church attendance sucks. 

Most of my attention went to politics last year and that was not good. I am assaulted daily by the horrible things that are happening. The only hope is that there won't be too many things ruined beyond saving. 

Oh well. Back from another cruise, intending to pick up the reins of my blog. I am considering changing direction a bit because my weeks are not always interesting even to me - and I am very hard to bore.