Showing posts from 2011

Staycation vs. vacation

Save money. Complete my "to do" list. Clear the house of clutter.  Reorganize the kitchen. Visit the tourist sites and museums that I never made time for before. Home makeover projects. Catch up on my reading. Get to bed early and sleep for eight hours. Take a few day trips.

Those were all of the things on the agenda for what was supposed to be a relaxing stay-at-home vacation.

But as it turns out, almost nothing on the list was accomplished. I did finish the  first book in the very dark "Hunger Games"  trilogy (here's a review) which I'd started several months earlier during my last vacation. And I did read "Barrel Child," a novel published by a colleague. And I made a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner. But most of the time was spent longingly looking at places I could have gone and mindlessly watching every episode of  "Criminal Minds."

Monumental Meaning of MLK Memorial

My mother asked me to take pictures of the newest memorial on the National Mall. It seemed like a silly thing -- until I thought about why she was asking.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was to be dedicated on Sunday -- the anniversary of his Aug. 28, 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at a massive march on Washington.

And I had planned to be among the crowd for the official dedication of the first monument on the Mall honoring a black American.

But the public  ceremony was postponed as Hurricane Irene churned up the East Coast, threatening to bring torrential rain and strong winds to Washington.  King's Alpha Psi Alpha fraternity -- the driving force behind the monument -- held a private dedication on Friday and reading about it reminded me of my mother's request and why it's  important to get there  for her.

An Alpha,  who grew up in Montgomery, Alabama told The Washington Post that he was honoring his mother'…

Journey to Istanbul

Thanks to my expat friends in Istanbul and their welcoming community of like-minded souls, Summer Vacation 2011 was more adventure-filled than I could have dreamed.
I'm ready for a return trip, but until that happens I'll just have to relive it all through memories. And the photos. Here are just a few (more)

Photos by JAllen on Flickr.

Nights and Days in Istanbul

In keeping with my "great life" theme of one fabulous vacation every year, in 2011 the destination was Istanbul.

In the immediate days preceding my departure in late June, I grew a little anxious. News about Syrian refugees flooding across the border;  Turkish Prime Minister  Recep Tayyip Erdogan's domestic problems and concern about my comfort zone in a culture totally foreign to me combined to give me the jitters.

But once I settled-in on my non-stop Turkish Airlines flight to the Turkish capital, I felt just fine. And when I stepped off the plane at Ataturk Airport and found my friends waiting for me with the biggest (and most artistic) "welcome" sign I'd ever seen -- I embarked on the most fun vacation I've had yet.

It'll be hard to beat this one, but I'm already planning for my next great adventure in 2012.

Here are a few vacation snapshots:

Vacation, 2011

How to be a writer... or not

The one topic I'd like to write about - I can't because I'd have to be open and honest and share way too much detail about my life and way too much personal information. Well not exactly personal  but just thoughts I have that would give strangers  a far more intimate portrait of who I am than what I want anyone to see. So I guess I'm not a real writer.


That leaves me with very little to write about except my fears, food, clothing, my garden (this year I really will plan and be more realistic -- tomatoes will not grow on my shaded balcony), my occasional forays into adventure, my vacations and that's pretty much it.
my fears -- too boring and who caresfood -- good photo ops, but maybe too overdone clothing -- would have to pick an anglemy garden --  grows slowly but good opportunity for other media vacations -- first trip to Turkey; that could be informative Focus

I need to find something on which to focus -- the year-and-a-half 2012 presidential campaign could …

Road Trip and Rites of Spring

Two things in my life are a sure sign that Spring is really, really here -- the trek to the Philadelphia Flower Show and the switch to Daylight Savings Time (why?). I can't be certain -- but I think that 2011 marks the first time the two have coincided. Maybe that's why the van ride with five friends felt so special this time.

Even though it's always the same.
We meet at  someone's home at 8am for breakfast, pack food and reading material into the van for the drive north, stop at a Delaware welcome center for bathroom break and coffee, arrive at the Philadelphia Convention Center just before noon, tour the show, spend time in the cramped Reading Terminal Market and then lunch at Maggianos. And then drive south. (I-95 is a wonderful thing)

But this year felt different -- last year we were all in a sad state -- but trying hard to be cheerful --  because of the organizer's pancreatic cancer diagnosis. This year we were celebrating that she's still with us, a  happy…

Romney Still Mum on 2012 Presidential Run

By the time Mitt Romney's "the door's still open" (and "No Apology" book promotion) tour landed at CNN Tuesday evening, the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate had swapped the proverbial door for an option.

And he still was  not answering THE question, the only thing inquiring minds political junkies want to know:  Are you going to make another run for the White House?

"I don't have an answer for you yet because there are a lot of things you have to consider before you make that final decision. Clearly I'm doing the things like other folks are doing to keep to the option open," the former Massachusetts governor said in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan.

Romney -- one of John McCain's primary opponents in 2008 -- began the day with a sit-down chat on ABC's morning show and capped it with a stand-up act, a good-sport reading of the "Top Ten" list on David Letterman's Late Night show. 

All the whil…

Smiles Always Make Me Want To Smile

Just a Little something to make me smile on this dreary, snowy evening. Alone, with just the thoughts running through my head, I feel the need for a lift.Thanks guys!