Wanna Travel? Beware of Weather!

Posted on: Wednesday, June 26th, 2024
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Travelog | Leave a comment

IMG_9666.jpegWelcome to Okoboji (Iowa), a legendary chain of lakes known for deep blue water, relaxation, and (frankly), outsized fun. A terrible flood is happening there. But for these girls, the party must go on…

I’ve been taking BreakAways to Okoboji all my life, sometimes several times a year—and including living and working there some college summers. So my love for the place runs deep.

Unfortunately, so does this year’s flooding—the worst since 1993, or the worst ever? Doesn’t really matter; the destruction and stench defy historical comparisons, also due to the overbuilding that has happened there and everywhere. Which results in more ruin, more dock boards floating everywhere, and more million$ in damage and cleanup. I can’t even envision the rebuild that lies ahead.

Of course, my beloved Okoboji is just one of dozens (countless?) locations getting slammed in the Midwest. Places I’ve known, lived, loved. One tries not to get too bummed out. But, dang, floods are just such a sloooow-acting, cruel catastrophe.

All to say, although the US airports broke customer records over Memorial Day weekend, remember this warning: Travel at your own risk. Nature is angry and turning many getaway dream trips into nightmares. Not to mention laughing at my summer Okoboji escape plans.

So watch the weather. Pack and prepare for the unexpected. Have a Plan B.

And keep the faith.


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FOTOFRIDAY: A Little Frank Lloyd Wright

Posted on: Friday, May 10th, 2024
Posted in: Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

There it is, hiding center-right—one of the most famous houses in the world.

After a light winter—for both weather and travel—I recently escaped to San Fran and Carmel where some parties, friends, and even my son awaited. Yet one of the best reasons to visit Carmel is the ‘Mrs. Clinton Walker House.’ Mr. Wright built it at her request in 1948, aiming to mimic the rocks, sea, and waves, and look like a boat prow setting sail.

Mrs. Walker had requested a house “as durable as the rocks and as transparent as the sea.” The cherry? A Robert Howard mermaid sculpture resting atop the seawall, which was added in 1964. Stunningly beautiful, all of it. Yet the luminous flowers and greenery caught my eye and soothed my winter angst the most.

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FOTOFRIDAY: A Marvy Mini Music BreakAway

Posted on: Friday, April 19th, 2024
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

His name is Adam Weiner; his band is Low Cut Connie. And yes, I’m a shameless groupie who will go to great lengths (including Iowa) to see their shows.

Do you have bands or entertainers that you are so crazy about that you will do crazy things like drive to Des Moines for a quick over-nighter just to see them perform? I do, at least if their tour is skipping my city. Of course, this would fail to come off as weird if the star were Swift or Springsteen. But in this case, it’s Low Cut Connie—the best band most people have never heard of.

Best stage persona ever and fun-loving troupe ever? Probably! Creativity beyond measure? Absolutely—as their recent movie proves. And his (and their) live-stream performances during Covid were, frankly, far and away the best antidote for the pandemic blues. And live? A few hours with this electrifying ensemble keeps fans giddy and mystified for days.

In fact, just looking at the pictures makes me wanna jump in the car and cruise to wherever they’re rockin’ tonight…

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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
Posted in: Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

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
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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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