Why You Should Vacation in a College Town This Summer

Ithaca gorge waterfall

I discovered a new waterfall each day during my morning walks in Ithaca.

America has many beautiful college campuses. Featuring ivy-draped academic buildings clustered on a quad and a community dedicated to learning, thinking, and drinking, they are outstanding places to visit with your teenage son or daughter who is immersed in the college application process.

But what if you’re a senior without a junior? Don’t let that stop you. America’s college towns are terrific vacation destinations. Continue reading

For Me? Gifts For The Gal Who Wants Nothing

I may be the world’s worst gift recipient. My first unspoken reaction is “Aww. This is nice but what I really wanted was (insert anything but the given gift).” My second? “You shouldn’t have. Really. I mean it.” My not-big-to-begin-with house continues to shrink because of stuff accumulation. I’m purging not purchasing. Anyone who rings the doorbell is greeted with a take-away offer. Yesterday the solar panel guy refused 2 table lamps, a dartboard and a George Foreman grill. The nerve. But that’s okay. It’s almost Girl Scout cookie season and they’re trained to be polite, right?

Birthday cake with candles via shutterstock\Santhosh Varghese Continue reading

Vacant Sty

A seagull wandered into my parents’ backyard on Tuesday. It couldn’t fly away; it was stuck with a fishing lure and tangled in the line. Wildlife control advised that seagulls are docile and suggested we wrap it in a blanket, put it in a box and drive it to the animal hospital. I stated firmly that they could come and get it. They did.

Birds terrify me so I hate the term “empty nest”.  Warm, loving and cuddly are not adjectives that spring to mind when I think of birds. They find worms, drop them down their babies’ gullets and then push them out of a tree.

But pigs I like. Rooting around in the mud. Snuggling together for warmth. Fighting together against the big bad wolf. That’s a family to me.

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“They are the we of me.”

About a year ago I started walking. Leave the car somewhere and wander. Ramble. Meander. In warm weather. Cold. I simply walk. It’s helped to improve my Vitamin D levels, lose weight, stimulate my frontal lobe, and generally improve my disposition.

One of the things I do now is notice those historical markers planted in street easements. Some time ago – if I had to guess I’d say 1957 – the US government must have gifted bazillions of dollars to historical societies in towns across America to designate points of interest – historical, literary, and odd.

Yesterday, on a street I’ve walked many, many times, I noticed this one tucked in a hedge:

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Goodbye, Hilton. Hello, Couch?

During my semester abroad I was shocked when the doorbell rang. It was early afternoon and the flat was quiet. The only visitors we had received were the neighbors complaining when there was a noisy, late-night party. I opened the door tentatively and was surprised to find one of my roommate’s fraternity brothers standing in the hallway.  He explained that he was awarded a Watson fellowship to study the dinosaur exhibits in European natural history museums. To extend his meager budget, he asked if he could crash with us and save his hostel money. Nuestra casa es su casa; I ushered him in. We enjoyed his company and he enjoyed our sofa and shower for a couple of weeks.

Would you consider staying on a friend’s couch while vacationing?

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