Crowdsourcing a Travel Itinerary

Do you ask questions? All the time? Like a 4-year-old riding a Skittles’ high? It’s a habit I developed at a young age, along with a rather unfortunate character descriptor: “Cathy? She’s like a dog with a bone.” However, this inquisitive tendency serves me well on the road. People respond to questions with generous amounts of information. Who doesn’t want to tell you where to go? Occasionally you feel like the locals are trying to take you for a ride, as if you’re a city slicker in an episode of “Green Acres“, but generally you’ll garner priceless insider tips.
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Going on a Treasure Hunt

Picture the ladies’ shoe department in Nordstrom on a busy Saturday afternoon. There’s a woman cooing, as she plucks pump after pump from the display rack, thrusting them into the face of the glummest-looking fellow in the world, her husband, who’s lolling on a leather settee, braiding peds.

I am that man. Continue reading

Oh No! Oh No! I Can’t Drive in the Snow! Or Can I?

The road trip is a beloved American phenomenon and something Europeans simply don’t understand. They muse, “Why, for the love of God, would you want to drive yourself around when you can hop on a high-speed train?” And they’re right. I’d never wedge my family, the dog and suitcases into a Citroën and then negotiate a stick shift. Continue reading

“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be… well, January.”

Thank you, Jim Gaffigan, for the pragmatic synopsis.

LOVE statue in PhiladelphiaThe herd is agitated. Our annual holiday for florists approacheth. There are sure to be a few happy engagements on the 14th, but they’ll be dramatically outnumbered by bad restaurant prix-fixes, droopy roses and Whitman’s Samplers, the Walgreen’s standby for procrastinators.

Shun the madness. Use a bit of creativity this Valentine’s Day. You don’t need to shell out a ton of moolah but you do have to think – just a bit – about your significant other. Here are a few ideas to engage your imagination. Continue reading

A Walk in the Woods

Solo hiker in NYS Rockefeller Preserve.

“Whose woods these are I think I know.” – Robert Frost

Learning to ski when I turned 40 was ambitious. And stupid. I’m sure others do it successfully, but I’m not one of them. We went to the right place  to learn – Breckenridge, Colorado – and I dutifully enrolled the kids and me in ski school. They took to it like penguins to ice. Me? I flipped and floundered and twisted and writhed. When I charged down the mountain, it was beautiful. When finesse was required (the lift, bumps, turns), I was lost. Continue reading