Showing posts from June, 2010

Ridin' the Storm

I thank the LORD for other believers and their G-d given talent that speaks to my spirit in times of trouble.

Baruch HaShem!

Lessons from the Bedside

I suppose there should be many lessons to be learned by sitting beside someone so close to passing. To be honest, it is an intensity that is duplicated in few other circumstances. Perhaps the only way to internalize the lessons, as it were, is to let them sink in for a while.

For over two years my best friend and I have invested our time and hearts into caring for a dear woman in our congregation who is afflicted with colon cancer. We have had the honor of taking her to appointments, chemo and radiation treatments, pharmacies, grocery stores and anywhere else she wanted or needed to go. The only thing we weren't able to do was to take her to the beach...something I wanted to do, but time slipped away and she became too ill. As I sit here beside her bed and listen to her raspy breathing, I am mindful again that the time to do the things you want to do is now, not later or when things are more convenient.

I greatly admire all the devoted and trained staff that we met along this journ…

Saying Goodbye

I've never been good at goodbyes. Some refuse to say goodbye, but chose to say 'see ya later' or some other evasive euphemism. Yet we all have to face departure and every parting holds the possibility of being the last. It is only by G-d's grace that most of the time we don't have an inkling that it will be the last time we get to see or talk to that special one. However, it is the most final of goodbyes, the known ones, that cost. They require a piece of your heart and in exchange leave a memory.

It's those memories that I pray never fade, and I hate it when they do...oh G-d, how I hate it when they inevitably fade.

In my efforts to verbalize a farewell, I look to others who have struggled before me. No one is immune to the heartbreak of a final goodbye, it is true.

Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends.
~Richard Bach

Man's …

ps. The Wrap-Up

During our trip I kept a small spiral-bound notebook handy to jot down notes, menu orders, address or anything else that popped into my mind that needed remembering. Just for fun, and to record things for the sake of my reading pleasure later, here are some bits of wisdom, tidbits, lists and random factoids...just because.
While waiting our turn to get into the Sequoia Nat'l Park, I had a whole thought tangent on life. I know...strange.
Rarely are you first in line. There will always be someone earlier or better than you. There will always be more talented than you, as well. But, don't despair, you will always be better than someone else simultaneously.

Perhaps you can persist long enough to be first.
I love lighthouses. I'm not quite sure why, however. It's like 'really liking' very large trees and the tiniest of rocks. Go figure. I'm happy to say that we got to see many lighthouses on this trip that I hadn't seen or visited before...

ps. The Perfect Accommodations

So, hotel owner/managers, in case you ever wondered what travelers (especially those with families) would like to have in hotel accommodations, let me enlighten you!

We stayed in 22 different hotels over the month. I think we have pretty much narrowed down what we would like to see in the perfect accommodations:
Helpful staff that speaks and understands English fluentlyA good breakfast that offers real food, not just pre-packaged pastries and hotel coffeeVending machines - munchies and drinks would be goodHeated, indoor pools are wonderful!Fast, easy internet access; an ethernet cable provided in the room is so convenientAir conditioning unit with a control that is easy to understandHairdryer, the newer the betterExtra towels, blankets and pillowsPillow-top mattresses are the best!Fitness room with enough room to do yoga, more than one machine is good, tooA sink/vanity separate from the toilet/shower makes getting ready easierA fan in the toilet/shower area is a MUSTWindows that open m…

ps. Food Next Exit

A month of eating at restaurants...yeah. Think what you like, it's not all that great even if you like the food. Processed foods, high sodium and the kids always ordering soda is enough to make anyones blood pressure rise. Since it was not feasible to prepare food along the way, we decided to eat breakfast at the free fare offered at our hotels, a quickie lunch (fast food, Subway) and a sit-down dinner in the evening. We budgeted about $100/day for food and that was about right most of the time.

I'm not much of a foodie and don't particularly like taking pics of always kinda makes me sick at my stomach, to be honest. Not that I don't like the food, it's just how it looks in pics that doesn't set too well. Well, for my foodie friends, I tried to take a few... *shrug*...although, I forgot a good portion of the time.

Along the way, we tried to rate the restaurants we visited, giving them a rating from 0 (the worst, don't ever go there) to 5 (the …

End of a Journey

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.

~Don Williams, Jr.

Yes, we made it home safe and sound. We made every attempt to enjoy the last leg of our journey by stopping in Cannon Beach for the most excellent pizza in the whole country, Pizza A'fetta, and then topped it off with some imported Italian Gelato from the sweet little coffee shop right next door. After delaying as long as I could, we started north towards Astoria.

It doesn't take long to get from Cannon Beach to Astoria, and once there we enjoyed visiting the Columbia River Maritime Museum - which was very well done. We all learned a lot about the maritime activities one of the most dangerous waterways in the world, the mouth of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean. There was information about tug and tow boats, barges and commercial fishing boats, both old and new. There was military boats, models of frigate…

Beachcombin' & Boxin' on Day 30

Not much to say about the last full day of the Road Trip Redux, except that this was an absolute wonderful way to end our month-long journey. Thanks for coming along with us...we have learned a lot along the way and have had some challenges, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I will be writing more about 'lessons learned', etc., but not until I get home and get all the laundry washed and put away.

Here's a few shots from today; we letterboxed and in between looking for non-existent boxes we stopped at beaches and just enjoyed. When we started the day it was cloudy and spitting rain a bit, but it soon cleared up to our surprise and it was gloriously sunny the rest of the day. We couldn't have asked for a more relaxing, sunny, fun day. Baruch HaShem!

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel
until he comes home and rests his head
on his old, familiar pillow.
~Lin Yutang

A Simply Wonderful Day on the Oregon Coast...Day 29

What a treat to be on the Oregon Coast when the sun is shining!

We did all the things you are supposed to do on the Oregon Coast...

Eat breakfast at Pig'n Pancake (the best one is in Cannon Beach).

Drive along the coast and pull out erratically to take random coastal photos.

Let the attendant pump your gas in Seaside.

Buy salt water taffy only after giving them the 'freshness' test.

Stroll and shop through Cannon Beach - buy a cool scarf just because.

Try on silly hats and make fools of yourselves.

Step into the bakery and buy pastries that you would never think of at home.

Drool at the smell of the best pizza coming from Pizza a'fetta.

Take pics of the beautiful flowers all through Cannon Beach proper.

Get sand between your toes and let the wind give you beach hair.

Stop and buy cheese curds at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Watch the Yaquina Head lighthouse until the light flashes.

Grab a great latte in Manzanita.

Breath in the cool, wonderfully clean ocean air and feel the wind in …

My Favorite State of All...Day 28

Oregon is my favorite state of all - perhaps you can see why...

Before we entered the beautiful state of Oregon, we greatly enjoyed the Redwoods. Honestly, I didn't think I'd like these majestic giants more than any other huge trees, but there is something about them...something indescribable. They are the tallest trees, even taller than the Giant Sequoias we saw just a few days ago. It was so incredible just to walk through groves of them, quietly padding along the trail covered in needles, meandering among the giants. Unforgettable.

We now have a "vacation from our vacation"; two full days to enjoy the Oregon Coast and re-acclimate to the PNW. We want to letterbox a bit, walk the beach, visit favorite places and find new ones. And sleep in - that's on the agenda for tomorrow; we are not getting up until 7:30 am! Haha!

So today's stats:
Conversations with a 'friendly' CHP Officer: 1*
Distance hiked: about 2.5 miles, I'm guessin'
Lighthouses visited…

Twisty-Turny Hwy 1...Day 27

Yesterday I didn't have internet access and I was not happy about it. It was such a long driving day, though, it was probably Providence that I couldn't blog last night. I really needed to sleep.

We started off leaving San Francisco by way of the Golden Gate Bridge and headed happily into Marin County. Twisty-turny, hairpin-windy roads started out our trip up California Hwy 1, then Hwy 101, and didn't let up until 327 miles later at Crescent City, at the very north of California. I was pretty wiped from all the heavy concentration driving, so Lisa was kind enough to take the wheel for the last leg of the the dark. We didn't check into our hotel for the night until close to midnight. Yeah.

For all the twisty, turny driving, we were rewarded with some of the most stunning views in all the continental US. The beautiful turquoise blue Pacific was at her best yesterday, basking in the California sunshine. No photograph can adequately portray the breathtaking bea…

Day 26, it is.

Today was full of highlights, no doubt about it.

We started off at the Presidio and tracked down Lucas Film and their Digital Arts offices. All I can say is "wow!" For this die-hard Star Wars fan, it was a real treat to be close to where it all happens. Yoda greeted us and posed for a quick pic, then it was into the lobby to see some of the wonderful replica collectibles on display. The lobby is really put together for the fans, with a wonderful seating area, coffee table books to look through and life-sized statues of Boba Fett and Darth Vader, ready for ogling. And ogle we did, then took pics.

After grabbing a Starbuck's and heading out of the Presidio, we made our way to Golden Gate Park. This park is stunningly beautiful and houses a few things we wanted to see. The first was the Conservatory, absolutely stuffed with tropical plants, trees and flowers. So many things to photograph...

I'm not so sure Jacob is enjoying it as much as us adults...y'think?

Next, it wa…

The Golden Gate...Day 25

"California is all about the Gold Rush."

~Al, our tour guide

We made it to San Francisco. Surprisingly, it was a pretty easy drive to our hotel through the city traffic. We have a terrific view of the Golden Gate Bridge from our hotel window...too bad we cannot take a pic through the rather untidy 6th floor window. Oh well.

We arrived pretty early in the day since it was only 4-ish hours from Oakhurst. So, we got checked in and settled at our hotel, then set out to explore Fisherman's Wharf. What a throng of humanity! We enjoyed walking along the streets and taking in all the sounds, people, shops, tourist paraphernalia, sea lions and seagulls, bakeries and Alcatraz (in the distance). We marveled at the street entertainers and hobos. We ate sourdough bread and Ghirardelli chocolate. We took a "motorized street car" tour and I enjoyed having someone else drive for a bit! It really was too much fun.

Tomorrow we are planning on spending time in the Golden Gate Park an…