Tag Archives: travel

My Frienemy


This afternoon, I made the aquaintance of Walter the caterpillar.  He is a year long resident of Maine, who arrives sometime during July through October and then winters over and like all caterpillars, transform themselves into a moth the following spring.  It’s one of those pretty amazing magical events.  I saw him just kind of moseying along the railing near our room and we caught one another’s glance and there we were, just hanging out, getting to know one another.  It’s good when a local and a tourist communicate.  I actually think he was the one to tell me his name first, and I’m not actually sure if I told him my name.  We didn’t actually speak out loud, because that just causes others to question one’s sanity, but somehow I knew that Walter was his name.  I was off and running to catch up to my FHB because we were on our way to see the town of Belfast so I couldn’t really exchange too much information.  So, I said to Walter “see you later!” and headed off, but not before I took his picture.

I didn’t think much about Walter as our day progressed, but I did take a moment to find out a little more about him.  So, nowadays, as we all know, finding out information about someone is not that difficult anymore.  Just google “Maine caterpillar” and you can find out much more than you expect and sometimes, things turn dark and destructive.  Yes, Walter is not all he seems.  Looked kind of cute and furry with these black and white hairs sticking out.  Turns out he can create havoc and an allergic reaction and itching and I am just not even going to give you more information, because I am itching already and didn’t even touch him.  His real name is Walter the Hickory Tussock Moth.  He hangs around trees and eats leaves and give people a rash.

I’ve always been a bit naive about things that appear to be nice and cute, and I like finding out (or imagining) their names.  Makes you less scared of bugs, spiders, snakes and the like.

But cute critter status aside, there’s a reason why the Swiss German word for caterpillar (teufelskatz) translates to “devil’s cat.” Caterpillars have a dark side, one that justifies entomophobia, the fear of caterpillars.

We have another two days to spend in Maine.  It has been a good trip, albeit hot and humid (two of my least favorite weather experiences).  We read, drove around and ate some good food and talked to few people, which is pretty much what we like.  We are somewhat ninja tourists.  We like the quiet and solitude of our own company and try to stay out of sight.  Vacations are interesting pathways to recognizing that the longer you stay somewhere, the likelihood is that you will find a routine that makes you feel like you are in a temporary home till it’s time to go back to where you came from.  The locals like it that way, as do the tourists, and probably even the caterpillars.  Well, Walter, no need to keep in touch.  If I see a moth close by next spring, I won’t even remember your name.


T minus and counting

siamese cat

So, Paka the cat actually refused to pose for the suitcase picture, so this is her understudy.  For those who are owned by cats (and we know that is a correct statement, don’t we?), packing and leaving becomes challenging.  I have made arrangements for her care, bought her favorite (as of recently) food, treats, litter and catnip, and before we leave, my FHB will put her favorite video channel, which shows hours and hours of birds landing and feeding at feeders.  We will quietly sneak out of the loft and hope that when return, she will allow us re-entry and that our couch will be intact.

Beyond, that, I have spent the better part of the day, preparing for our vacation.  Laundry is done, refrigerator is cleaned out, dishes are washed and put away and I have packed some food for the road trip.  That probably sounds pretty straightforward, and yet, I always ruminate about whether where we travel to has supermarkets, restaurants and drug stores.  I pack, just in case, Maine has closed all of the above and we will be in the wilderness, hungry and itchy.  It is completely ridiculous but I was a girl scout a long, long, time ago and the motto was “Be Prepared” which I have interpreted to mean, bring most of your household items because you just never know.

I have made a sincere effort to be a minimalist, which really means one large and one small suitcase, whereas normally it would be two large suitcases.  That is, in addition, to the cooler and insulated bag with oatmeal, crackers, peanut butter and some cooking utensils.  I just realized that I  had better put the can opener in.  You never know.   We will forage for fruit on the roadsides. Blueberries are big in Maine.  Actually they are small in Maine and taste so sweet.  That will sustain us and I have brought wipes when our fingers get all blue.

Map, check!  Compass, check!  Flashlight, check!  And off we go.  Wish us luck….and have a good week.

10,000 Words

The physical world has so much beauty. Travel away from our home, our culture and our comfort zone, allows us the opportunity to experience not only the breathtaking parts of our earth, but engages us in a dialogue with strangers who become acquaintances in a short time.  To share the experience of travel with others with a common goal of connecting through beautiful sights, makes a trip filled with depth and breadth on many levels.

Jet lag has been setting in.  We are home safe in the loft.  While we were gone, we were sheltered from the barrage of news from home.  There are a lot of thoughts swirling through my brain about the dichotomy of vacation versus real life.  Re-entry is a bit like getting caught in a storm with little to hang on to but your wits.

My FHB and I had the most spectacular adventures in Norway and Denmark.  So many things to share but for now, we are going to be quiet with our recent memories, to allow them to settle in and unpack them into  our mental files.  A picture is supposedly worth a thousand words.  I thought I would share ten of them to cover the best of what we saw.  Don’t worry, no home  movies will be found on the blog at any time in the near future.

Enjoy your weekend. See you back here on Monday with some details and funny moments.


Hei There!


“To travel is to live”…Hans Christian Anderson

“Once a year go somewhere you’ve never been” …Dalai Lama

August is our travelling month.  This is the time of the year that we don’t necessarily go see anyone we know but rather get to know one another again through an adventure of our choosing, although some adventures choose us!  This year, after some medical ups and downs,  seemed like a great time to set sail, or airplane (not personal but rather commercial) and see what we can see.  About a month ago, or less than that, when I realized that time was approaching school daze, I asked my FHB where he would like to go. The question barely left my lovely lips (his words) and he said “Norway”.  Without missing a beat, I said “absolutely!”.  We had a limited window of opportunity to plan this trip but with a bit of finagling and faith in people who know travel, the plans were made and the itinerary set.  I learned quite a bit about the dynamic of setting a wishlist at the  last minute.  It is somewhat like watching the home renovation/buy a new mansion shows where the host asks the prospective client what they “must have” and then you watch as it unfolds into the what you can afford and what is realistic.  I actually think we were much more reasonable within our time constraints and the plan unfolded.  My only request, was that since Norway was really close to Denmark (about an inch away from Oslo to Copenhagen in my wonderful world atlas), that we could  go and see the Little Mermaid and the Tivoli Gardens.  And so among other places with names I have only seen as I pored over the maps and guidebooks, we will spend a few days in Copenhagen, after we visit the land of Thor Hyerdahl, Sonja Henie, and Roald Amundsen.  We will eat herring ad nauseum.  We will see the sunset later than we have ever experienced and I am told it never truly gets dark, but rather dusky.

I am trying to learn a few words in Norwegian and pack efficiently.  I have a feeling I will be better at one and not so good at the other.  The reality that we have our minds mostly intact, our spirits still strong, and our senses of humor which can carry us through customs and misadventures, makes me aware that there is a lot of world I want to see and now seems like the best time to start.  You can follow me on Instagram @bblueiris13.  I will possibly blog while we are travelling, but if not, please know that I will be back in touch with tales of Scandinavia @thoughtswhilewaitingfortheelevator/wordpress.

Have a great week.  God kveld!




Hot Fun in the Summertime


Nine days and counting…to the last day of school, not including the weekends.  As folks in my circle, both students and staff would say…but who’s counting?….WE ALL ARE!  Love my job but knowing that it’s almost time to call it feels so good.  I have this ritual as the weeks count down. I keep a list on my nightstand of the things I want to attempt, places I want to visit, and experiences I want to experience between the last day of school and the first day back.  I still have some leftovers from last year but they actually don’t go bad and I roll them into this year’s list and my success rate of accomplishing is usually +/- 80%.

Most of the list involve solitary pursuits.  It’s not to be unfriendly, as I consider myself to be social most of the time, but part of recharging my own batteries, is knowing that doing things on my own will make me far more pleasant to be around overall.  In a helping profession, this is considered the “me first” remedy.  Some of the things under consideration might seem off beat, but that is for others to judge and me to find out.  I thought I would share some of them.  Here goes and they are in no particular order:

  1. Find foods to turn into dyes to paint.  I am curious about condiments and whether doing this will be disgusting or interesting. Dijon vs yellow?
  2. Try to find my pen pal from when I was ten. Elizabeth Feijoo of Manila, The Phillipines….if you’re reading this, you’ll save me a lot of research. Please write back.
  3. Getting my German Passport, since my parents were both born there and had to leave before WWII, I am entitled to have dual citizenship and my sister and I have decided to look into this as it is something we can pass down to our children.  Unclear if my FHB would be able to access this through me.  Could raise some interesting conversations.
  4. Read Moby Dick.  Have avoided this for many years.  Can’t live in New Bedford where it was written and not say you’ve read it.  It’s time.
  5. Go to the JFK Presidential Library in Boston to celebrate his 100th birthday. You can go online and sign a card.  Did that. Want to remember the good and not the tragedy.
  6. Want to go and see the St. Lawrence River and Seaway and see how the locks work. It’s probably dorky but I’ve been curious so time for a road trip.
  7. Try grilled tuna and/or swordfish.  I’ve had swordfish a few times and I didn’t like it but something tells me it was supposed to taste better than it was.  Never had tuna other than out of a can.  Seems like an adult food to consider.
  8. See if my FHB  and I can try a week of vegan clean eating.  Not sure if that will be before or after #7.
  9. Try doing shibori, the Japanese art of tie dying.  (hold over from last summer). Bought the supplies and they stare at me.
  10. Get my car detailed.  Never buy a light color interior. Even water stains.
  11. Swim in the ocean.  It has been too long and I want to remember how much I love to swim.  Planning not to drown.
  12. Visit Lizzie Borden’s house.  Fall River is just down the road.  I want to see if I get creeped out.
  13. See a couple of sunrises.

I’ll keep you all in the loop.  Enjoy your weekend.  Make your own list.





Leaping Lizards


If you didn’t already know this, people are weird.  Airports are filled with people, ergo, airports are weird places.  However, this allows for my overactive imagination to be on the constant look-out for new and strange goings on that you may have missed.  My FHB and I are sitting patiently waiting for our next flight south to San Francisco.  Scanning the other passengers in the terminal, I have the best view of “Young Narcissistic Couple”.  They are taking turns doing pushups from their seats as well as obstructing traffic as other travelers are walking around them on their way to their gates.  They are videoing one another doing all sorts of gyrations while doing push ups.  He is doing one handed, one legged push ups and she is  recording him from various angles.  He appears to be directing and explaining what he is doing.  He suddenly yells “Cut!” and gets up and walks away, shakes himself off and returns for another round of airport aerobics.  Perhaps if I choose to do a Youtube search, I will see the stars of this display.  Just not sure what I would look for.

We are told that we are unfortunately going to be delayed in boarding because of an air traffic control management issue related to ground fog in San Francisco.  I don’t know what that means exactly but I understand the concept of delay.  I look for my next observation and it doesn’t take long to be witness to the laughing and braying of a group of young millennials who are seated directly behind us.  The “brayer” is sitting directly behind me and he is so enchanted by his own stories that he laughs and bodyslams his back into the seat which creates a chain reaction that propels me forward with a cardiac rhythm regularity mixed with a chacha beat.  I switch seats and hope that when we board that we don’t sit near one another.  I look toward the push up couple and now he is placing his feet through the seat back and doing some sideways push ups.  It amazes me that the travelers walk around him and after a while, it appears that this is now part of the show at Gate 4 and no one seems bothered by any of it.

It doesn’t seem as though we are leaving Portland any time soon.  I decide it is time to have my third cup of coffee for the morning and I have been awake for about four hours.  I wonder  if that is contributing to my inability to sit still.  I reject that theory and head for one of the coffee brewing concessions.  It gives me an excuse to walk around and see what intrigue is happening around us.  As I approach the vendor,  I overhear two older women (older than me but hardly doddering) having a discussion about what size coffee woman #1 should order and whether woman #2 should consider decaf but she really wants the real thing.  Woman #1 says to the barista ” I would like a 16 ounce coffee but only fill it halfway.”  The barista says ” I could give you a 12 ounce cup and it would cost less and fill it up three quarters”.  Woman #1 “Do you think I can’t afford the 16 ounce?”  The barista ” No, not at all, I just figured if you wanted half of the 16 ounce, it made sense”.  Woman #1 to woman #2 “This one thinks I need an accountant to order coffee!” Turns to barista “I want the 16 ounce filled to the top!  I’ll pour out the part I don’t want”. Woman #2 to second barista ” I want a large coffee and make sure you don’t give me decaf. I can taste the difference!”.  I decide I have had enough coffee for the morning.  I head back to the gate.

My FHB is sitting quietly assessing whether or not all the rest of the travelers are lining up prematurely in their designated group.  He is the last one sitting.  I suggest that perhaps now might be the time to head to our line.  We are in the last group to be called and now there is a kerfuffle about getting the flight going a bit earlier (as we are almost forty-five minutes past our scheduled departure time) and having people “volunteer” to surrender their carry-on luggage at the gate and it will be at no charge and will help herd the passengers more quickly onto the plane.  I am not paying much attention as I am eavsdropping on a family with a very precocious 8 or 9 year old child with a lovely British accent asking her mother whether she thought that the grandmother who was getting divorced (and presumably who they were visiting) was more devastated than the  “new” grandmother who was marrying the old grandfather.  I had to pay close attention to hear what the reaction is, as the mother (who did not have an accent nor did her husband) indicated that the old grandmother was probably more devastated because the new grandmother was getting the old grandfather and it was not the old grandmother’s idea. The child seemed to process this information and looked knowingly at her parents. I was impressed by the level of discussion and the use of the word devastated.  Then the mother turned to the child and said “Lily, when you see your grandmother, you must not ask her about this.”  Lily responded ” Maybe I will and maybe I won’t.  Will you buy me a present to make sure I don’t?”  An 8 year old extortionist. Lovely Lily.  My FHB prodded me along toward the ticketing agent.

It was somewhat like changing channels and seeing slices of programs that you were interested in for just a minute and then you switched again.  I often wonder if we are ever the subject of someone’s boredom.  The airport, a million people, a million stories.