Category Archives: travel

GPS-free Driving, or “It’s a long way home.”

Real Blonde is on the road, having dropped her husband off for a flight.

“Hope flight was good. Before I left the airport, I had my first pee at the Atlantic Jet Center. All was well as I proudly found the route to 888 North. This is a woman who knows her way!!!!
Real Blonde with a purpose

Sitting there watching the scenery go by I miss the 280 exit…… OK… I keep on going and I see that in another 150 miles there is a turn-off for 85…. This is good because I know I’ll have to pee again. I do take 95 and I am waiting for the 280 turn-off, which I realize is there just as I pass it. I now really have to pee. I look for an exit sign that will ring some sort of a bell since nothing else in my head is ringing.

Finally, El Camino!!!! Yeah! I know that one. Take the turn-off, find a gas station. I am now in one of those towns with strange-looking people milling around. Bad bathroom but picky is one thing I’m not at this time. Not sure I’m on El Camino. Leave the gas station, street names still not ringing my bells.

I drive on, now I have to pee again…. I finally decide to ask where I am and there’s a store that looks nice. Turns out to be Whole Foods and I am in Los Altos and have driven for miles and miles already on El Camino!

I pee again and buy some Arnica for bruising. Not related to this car trip. I get to Stanford around 11. Tell Tina I am joining her 5-mile-radius group. Not venturing out anymore. Oh, I had to pee again at Stanford.

By the way, it’s freezing here but the sun is finally coming through. Say hello to all.

Love, Inky”


Mohair Sweaters: Fashion Statement, Medieval Hairshirt or Terrorist Plot?

Last month, I went to Amsterdam on an annual business trip. Mid-November in North Sea countries usually means cold rain or damp blustery days. It’s pretty chilly there, (even for a cold-hardened, former Midwesterner), setting up perfect conditions for sweater shopping.

This year, mohair seemed to be everywhere. Amsterdam was wrapped in the stuff.

“You’d have to be stoned (a reasonable possibility in Holland) or clueless to miss the message: if you’re on-trend, you’d better be in an earth-toned longish, bulky-knit mohair blend sweater.”

I endorse shopping while straight, having made a few serious purchase mistakes in the past when not-entirely-alert. It was easy to succumb to the pull of Euro-style. Sweater-y shops were on every street. Continue reading Mohair Sweaters: Fashion Statement, Medieval Hairshirt or Terrorist Plot?

To Pee Wee or Not

When my daughter was a pre-schooler, her dad and I were pretty picky about what we allowed her to watch on TV.  Especially on Saturday mornings, when kids’ programs were mainly poorly-produced cartoons that didn’t even pretend to be anything other than pitches for the cartoons’ licensed toys.  As a creative director at an ad agency and media producer,  Julie’s dad had especially high standards for what he called “production value.” In his view, production value included the quality of content. (This also applied to books, so minimally artistic, cheaply produced books … e.g., the Berenstain Bears series, Disney-derived paperbacks… were off limits).

Dad’s intent was straightforward: he wanted our daughter to grow up with an appreciation for quality creative work. He believed in encouraging an expansive imagination, especially during childrens’ early years …. before school teachers introduced and rewarded logical, pragmatic thinking at the expense of fantasy.

On Saturday mornings, Pee Wee’s Playhouse reigned supreme. Great production value! Humor for kids and parents! Creative sets! Real actors, not sketchily drawn cartoons! Skits that played to kids’ still-loosely-defined ideas of “the real world.”

Pee Wee’s Playhouse’s run ended at about the same time Julie lost interest in Saturday morning television. But over the years when we watched it together, I became a crazed fan.

A few days ago, the Pee Wee Herman Show opened on Broadway. I’ve been thinking about buying tickets ever since I first heard about it last spring.  Now, I’m wondering whether the TV show will succeed as a live musical. It’s an unabashed trip back in time for hard-core Pee Wee’s fans, but in a very different medium and context.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse was innovative and wacky. Its “production value” stood out in relief from other kids programs in the eighties. The live-on-stage Pee Wee Herman Show  may have revived the wackiness, but on Broadway, the production value is nothing new.

I always jump on a reason to go to New York, but this time, I’m not sure it’s worth the trip.

Pre-tox. Detox. Re-tox.

We’re about to go to a 5-day wedding celebration in Wyoming. The detailed schedule of events arrived a few days ago. There’s a non-stop party planned for every day, starting with outdoor fun in the Tetons like hiking, biking, kayaking and fishing.  As the days move towards evenings, the fun moves to rodeos, bowling, cowboy bars, bbq joints and bonfires ’till the morning hours. And these are just the run-ups to the Main Event on Saturday. Which promises more and better of the same.

I’m currently in pre-tox. It’s that state of mind where you just know you’re going to feel not-quite-whole for a few days after the partying. It’s a mix of anticipation and dread, a shouting match between the college-age call to party-like-mad and the stern voice of restraint. Pre-tox, for me, means I’m for sure in with the partying. but I also have anxious, spoil-sport, self-scolding thoughts about  the mandatory detox: the recovery program that will start as soon as we’ve come home and unpacked our bags.

A good friend just sent this picture from his iPhone. His wife  came home from a few days at Tahoe with her sisters. The story is that one of her sisters called her out for staying in pre-tox mode far too long. If you’re in full pre-tox, it just isn’t nice to drag your pals there, too. It kinda messes up the party if you’re awash with aftermath-anxiety while still ordering beers with the gang.

The party's still going...

Pre-tox leads to detox. Swearing off booze. Cold-turkey, too, on the satisfying, greasy, salty stuff that is the natural pairing with party-level drinking. For some of us, detox includes dessert and carb avoidance, with maybe some non-fat frozen yogurt permitted if you stick with the program for more than 48 hours.

How long can man or woman survive on undressed salads, mineral water, green tea…while saying “no” to carbs, cupcakes, cookies, beer, wine and cocktails? Not long, if any of these conditions apply:

  • it’s summer
  • you’re on vacation
  • you have house guests
  • you are a houseguest
  • it’s holiday time
  • you’re celebrating a rite of passage:  e.g., birthdays, weddings, new babies, finalized divorces, etc.

Which leads us to the next state-of-being: RE-TOX.

I can hardly wait to get it on in Wyoming.