FOTOFRIDAY: All You Need is…Tickets!

Posted on: Friday, March 29th, 2024
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LOVE is all you need—along with an outdoor escalator, some Roman architecture, and a couple of elevated sculpture repros.

Funny. The Beatles broke up nearly 60 years ago. Yet they show up often, probably more than they did in their heyday. I would LOVE to see Cirque de Soleil’s LOVE. But, unless you’re a VIP or BIG gambler, getting a ticket is nearly as impossible as a Beatles reunion. So I settled for this Fab Four photo while wandering the streets of Las Vegas a few months ago.

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FOTOFRIDAY: A View from Vegas

Posted on: Thursday, January 11th, 2024
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Just another front-row selfie from an NFL game.

That’s yours truly—hanging (almost literally) out in Allegiant Stadium watching a LV Raiders game, just like last year. I am afforded such suite luxuries because my son plays on the team. The absurdity of Vegas (more soon) never sleeps. The mania of the NFL slams like a Maxx Crosby tackle. And the people watching everywhere tops gambling as a star attraction.

The stadium really is—REALLY is—futuristic and brilliantly entertaining. (Who needs a game!?!) Watching from up-close really is different (and way better) than watching on TV. And much to the raucous delight of the proudly outlandish fans, the home team won the last game of the season.


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FOTOFRIDAY: Liberty is Not a B/W Issue

Posted on: Friday, December 8th, 2023
Posted in: SoulTrain, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

I stumbled on this pic from a fun week in NYNY in 2015 with my daughter, who was only 12 at the time. The statue looks stark, perhaps because Lady Liberty knows the world is ringing with divisiveness, war, extremism, and worse. It’s no fun for wide-eyed children and millions (billions?) of people all over the world.

Yet it’s the holiday season. So we continue to hope and pray for peace, love, and understanding. Nothing so funny about that, right? So as possible, please turn down the noise and enjoy your holiday rituals and festivities.

And of course, keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: So Far Away, Yet So Halloween

Posted on: Friday, October 27th, 2023
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

It’s the spooky season…Beware of wayward pirates!

St. Vincent gets flown over by most tourists, but maybe that’s one reason this mountainous Caribbean island has been on my mind lately. As winter begins to slam MN, seems like the myriad snowbirds flock (slam?) to…Florida. Or Mexico. Who even thinks about St. Vinny? Well, I do. Fun fact: There are steel drum jams, but no traffic jams there!

Maybe folks are afraid. Imagine how many people had to die—and then get dug up—to find all these coffins! In truth, they’re leftovers from the filming of “The Curse of the Black Pearl.” And probably long since rotted away, as pic comes from January 2009. But you could see a LOT of sets, scenes, and (of course) coffins, if you had the right…guidebook!

Hey if it’s good enough for Captain Jack Sparrow (and Johnny Depp), it’s good enough for me. Aaaaarrrgghh…

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FOTOFRIDAY: The Wondrous Sculptures of Lake Oswego

Posted on: Friday, October 20th, 2023
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They’re everywhere! So keep your eyes (and mind) open. (Shot 10-15-23.)

In a world of increasing wealth disparity, this well-to-do but welcoming suburb flashes a metaphorical COME IN! sign by hosting provocative, FREE art all over the place. The collection numbers nearly 90 now, some loaned and some permanent, and residents have a say in which ones become bought for the muni-owned collection.

The project goes by Gallery Without Walls.

This particular eye-catcher, The Watcher, stands by a Safeway lot and comes from a series by artist Scott Foster.  Don’t let the subtitle disturb your serendipity: “Watching slowly as the world dissolves.” It’s art, after all—there to challenge, create a memory, awaken your camera. Mother Nature’s autumnal colors seem to enjoy the collaboration.

I visit this ‘burb often—partly to see my daughter at her nearby college, and partly because the lake and village provide a calming respite (+ some great restaurants, pubs, and shops). The sculptures are a brilliant bonus.

BreakAways can feel more arduous as one ages. Yet moments like this remind the tired back and weary eyes why it’s great to get outa town. And in Lake Oswego, that coveted A-HA or WOW is just around the corner.

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FOTOFRIDAY: A Cool Day on St. Vincent (Island)

Posted on: Friday, October 6th, 2023
Posted in: Travelog, Work/Life Hacking, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

Yes, it’s October. But no, that’s not a Halloween display. Rather, that pic offers just another gravestone and view from another idyllic island.

15 years ago, my kids got a gift they’ll never forget…or regret. 69 days of island hopping through 5 islands in the Caribbean. They got HOME-SCHOOLED! “Hardest math teacher ever!” they both told me. Often. And (otherwise) had the splash of a lifetime.  My son kept an online blog…A+!

One stopover was St. Vincent, as described and photographed in that there MYBA link. St. Vinny is an oft-overlooked Grenadine isle rich with mountains, authenticity, and perhaps a bit too much crime and pot growing (on those fertile mountain slopes). That keeps it quiet and off the snowbird migration routes.

Scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed there. Prices stayed delightfully on the low side. And the organic F&V were so plentiful that St. Vincent provides for many islands around them; farmer’s markets are filled with aggressive peddlers who send you home with more edible booty than you can carry. For about $20.

This photo was from a high-point stopover; cemeteries are often small and neighborhoody. This gent certainly has a fine view to decompose in.

  • Every Autumn I fall back…

Fall has arrived in MN. After a long, luxurious summer, we now simmer in darkening daze, fleece everything, and the promise of, oh, 7 months of same or worse before we kick off boots and slip on flip-flops. Unless, of course, one finds a way to plan a warm, faraway getaway!

Would I return to St. Vincent? In a heartbeat, in an island-hopper plane, or even—if I could swing it—hidden in a coffin…if it came to that.

Stay warm. Dream an epic dream. And keep the faith…

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FOTOFRIDAY: The Art of Acquiring Travel Tokens

Posted on: Friday, July 14th, 2023
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

A beautiful blue eye (rather like mine) arrived from Greece to grace my window.

This lovely gift came from a friend who just did a BreakAway in Greece and scored this gem in an artisan’s small boutique. Many of my walls, spaces, and sauna are adorned with collections of such mementoes from around the world. Retail temptations abound when abroad, so here are a few guidelines I try—try—to apply when scoring souvenirs…

KEEP IT SMALL. So it’s easier to transport—and takes up less space back home.

THINK ABOUT THEMES. Could be glassworks, paintings, or pottery. Go for handmade. My fave: small faces.

WRITE THE DETAILS ON THE BACK. In the case of this pristine eye, maybe not! But usually, a simple “Mazatlan, 4-1-22” will do. You’ll be glad when the collection hits 100!

HANG IN GROUPS. A montage of these artworks tells so many stories. Guests will ask.

REARRANGE. Now and then, pull the collection down and start over. You’ll see things anew.

Oh sure, I’ve smuggled home some ginormous pieces in my day. And I love them all. (Consider a spacious suitcase—or even an extra roll-up simple softsider JIC!)

But anymore, my house, like my life, is getting full. So I think small.

Because I know that big memories will forever reside in these tiny treasures.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Forgotten Photos Fire Foggy Memories

Posted on: Friday, June 9th, 2023
Posted in: Travelog, Unplugging, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

Where? Vegas, of course. Why? Vegas, of course. (And…for the memories, thanks…)

A few nights ago, I found myself at home alone with the puter in my lap. A rarity, as I become ever-better at seeking real interaction and unplugging. A flash hit me: I’ve hardly looked at the 1,000s of photos I’ve taken since 1-1-23. And I’ve taken trips to picturesque places. This pic came up, from a fancy eatery in LV—and reminded me why we take the pics. The room, the dinner, the smells, the views, the company…all came back.

Note to self: Take more, better, remind-ful pix! (And don’t forget to look at them, even if it means screens…)

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FOTOFRIDAY: The many colors of Carmel

Posted on: Friday, May 12th, 2023
Posted in: Travelog, Unplugging, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

This young explorer seems delighted to be in magical Carmel. Who wouldn’t be?

I snuck away for a late winter vakay last week. To charming, colorful Carmel-by-the-Sea, on the coast of NoCal. The weather did NOT offer that tropical glaze that we Northerners crave when winter won’t end. But the stunning beauty of the place quieted any complaining. As did the unique boutiques, the friendly folks, and the laid-back vibe.

My tech tools and toys took an overdue unplugged break, too…except of course for some irresistible pictures like this one.

Oh, to be a carefree boy once more, like this lad lost beside the sea. Then again, one often feels forever young when ambling a pristine beach and observing a fearless, curious seeker. A future BreakAway artist? No doubt!

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What Happens in Vegas?

Posted on: Thursday, February 9th, 2023
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Las Vegas is a love/hate destination. A place I’m excited to visit, and also happy to leave. 

Could there be any city anywhere that’s as entertaining and bizarre? People flock there like wild geese. Ginormous casinos and other-worldly attractions and major-league sports teams keep popping up, bringing yet more reasons to go and more humans to fill the bottomless void. So what happens in Vegas? I’d say…pretty much anything and everything!

But I’ll limit this travelog to a mere ~5 teasers of what I experienced. For now, at least, that’s quite enough.

  • A son may show up!

Since my son plays football for the Las Vegas Raiders, I went to see HIM. And a game. Few feelings can compare to watching my little sportster perform on a stage like that with, oh, 80,000 of my best friends watching. Of course, the shock and awe of the violence hits me head-on, also—and he DID have a concussion this year, but was good-to-go for this game.

All to say, Daddies: Don’t let your babies grow up to be ballers. But if they do, keep cheering, coaching, and covering your eyes when necessary. As this was the last game, we had a blast for a few days after the season’s end. And indeed, we enjoyed both some touristy treats and some laid-back R&R.

  • Surrogate sons may show up

What’s better than having friends you’ve known since childhood? Nothing really, except maybe gathering as a gaggle to root for one of your own on a faraway sports field. I’ve known these ‘boys’ since, well, babyhood in some cases. My thanks to them for letting me join the gang for all the partying and craziness. Yes, boys, I’ve still got it! (Whatever IT is…)

  • You will see ostentatiousness that passeth all understanding

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? So out of respect for strangers I don’t know, I’ll admit I watched all, but will only tell some. Like…the dozens of beauty queens serving small ringside groups of rich fans nonstop treats (including these bottles of Dom). Like gussied-up groups emerging from larger-than-life limos to gamble their lives away. Like enough omnipresent security to trump the Secret Service.

Bright lights, big city? Blindingly so. Returning to a quiet hotel suite, thankfully, happens too, albeit at some absurdly late hours.

  • You’ll experience attractions that dazzle and bedazzle

Who comes up with this stuff? Seriously, I want that job! Casino-resorts painstakingly modeled after Paris, Italy, and New York New York are just the beginning. Because within these mammoth structures are endless top-notch eateries, exclusive boutiques, blow-your-mind bars, and live entertainment that never sleeps.

Warning: Your eyes…and your brain…may explode. With glittery fountains.

  • Cool stuff will surprise and delight

Stuff off the Strip happens in Vegas, too. And some of that may provide the best sight-seeing of all. The Freemont Street Experience—4 covered blocks of the original LV with a mind-blowing animation + light show on the ceiling—offers unique small(er) bars, limitless live entertainment (indoors and out), and a sense of history that’s an antidote to the sparkly new sprawl that has taken over.

Nearby, the Arts District brings a fresh, yet revitalized neighborhood packed with dozens of F&B establishments, thrift stories, galleries, boutiques, and buskers.

Also worth a mention: The uber-creative, hands-on attraction that comprises Area 15 (sampled in a recent post).

About Area 15: We cannot explain; you would not understand. So suffice it to say, when in Vegas…Go there! 

Would we say the same about Vegas…Go there? Hmmmm. I can think of, oh, 555 places I’d recommend first. Still, I know MANY folks who enjoy it, and fly there often. So yes, take that BreakAway and see for yourself.

You’ll have fun. Be wowed. And find yourself pondering did that just happen? for days to come.

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