I’m recapturing summer with a 6-week+ trip east to see old friends and family. From Ithaca to Swan Lake to New York City to Margate NJ to Bryn Mawr to DC to Boston and finally Cape Cod.
  • Day44

    Coming Home

    September 4, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Heading home today after 6 weeks of friends, family, museums, gardens, swimming, hiking, and reconnecting with myself and getting to know who I am as a person without a job.

    I have loved every minute of my journey. I’m good.

    I’m also glad to be going home. I want to prepare my own food and sleep in my own bed. I want to see my Portland family of friends.

    I have much to mull over as I return. I think am ready for what is next.
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  • Day42

    Lake/Beach Time with the Ginenthals

    September 2, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    The week on Cape Cod with my family was a wonderful way to end my trip. There were ten of us: my cousin Leon and his wife Renate, Sylvie and Jules, their two kids, Jeanne, Jules’ wife and their son Oliver (Ollie), my sister Robin, brother Ron and Sheryl.

    I got a chance to spend some time with Jules and Jeanne who I had never met until this trip. We went on a ride with Ollie, their son, and my sister, Robin, on the Rail Trail on the Cape.

    Jeanne is the City Forester for Ithaca and is so terribly smart and warm. We talked about being managers and working for bureaucracies and how to keep sane through it.

    Ron got out for a couple motorcycle rides while we pedaled. I loved hanging with him. He was funny and is such a good-hearted person. It has been a long time since we spent quality time together.

    The house we rented was perfectly situated on Scargo Lake with a canoe and kayaks. The water was cool and clear. There were cormorants and a resident loon that visited each day. Morning swims started many of our days. We also were within walking distance to a candy store (to Ollie’s delight) and an ice cream shop for the rest of the of the crew.

    We visited Provincetown upon Sylvie’s request. It is never so clear to me how much of a difference it is to be in a place where there are seemingly more people like you than not like you. I saw men holding hands with men and women doing the same. It was lovely and so affirming.

    Half of us took a whale watching tour that was nothing short of amazing. We saw 13 individual whales and a baby humpback playing for about 45 minutes within a few feet of our boat. After getting a good shot of a whale tail, I stopped photographing and just looked. It was a really magical experience.

    We ate deliciously prepared meals from Renate having cleared out and brought her entire refrigerator contents. Jules and Jeanne brought veggies from their garden, and Robin and Ron made a fabulous tomato sauce from their own small plot.

    After a week together, I was sad to say goodbye, but I know that I will see these folks again before too long. No work schedules to juggle really helps.
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  • Day35

    On and around the Charles River

    August 26, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Boston weather was perfect for a paddle on the Charles River with Ron, Robin, and Frankie who wouldn’t quite get comfortable in the canoe. We also strolled through the arboretum.

    Of course, we went to the Boston Art Museum. Robin is a member so we got in for free. I’m finding that I have a much better understanding of the art I’m seeing having steeped myself in it for these 5 weeks.

    Sheryl arrived on Saturday morning to join me for a few days on Cape Cod with my family. It was nice to see her after so long.
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  • Day32

    Sister, Brother and Frankie Time

    August 23, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Got into Boston and have been gabbing ever since. When cell phones first became a thing, Robin and I would talk until one of our phone batteries would die - a good three hours. Now, with cell phones the way they are, we are in deep trouble. Ron has been working but we got to see Second City comedy last night and laughed our asses off. Frankie (and Robin and I) have gotten in a couple of nice hikes in some beautiful east coast parks around Boston. The terrain is just incredible. And so are the bugs. Ack! I do forget about that.

    The last time I was here Robin hadn’t moved in yet. Robin has done a lovely job decorating and making it a cozy home. The garden is shaping up nicely and the birds have discovered the feeder in the back window. Ron cooked a delicious tomato sauce for dinner my first night. Looking forward to some good weather (without the stifling humidity) over the next few days.
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  • Day29

    African Amer. Museum & More Old Friends

    August 20, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    It has been too long since I have spent time with three old friends: Mary Gill, Judy Nedrow and Chris Riddiough. Mary and I were co-workers at NARAL and good friends. She has battled breast cancer and then a brain tumor. She has been cancer-free for 9 years on an initial 3 years survival expectation for her diagnosis. She is mighty if a bit wobbly. It was good to hear about her progress on writing and publishing her book about her ordeal(s).

    Dinner with Chris and Judy was a fun romp. Swapping travel stories and kitchen remodeling woes. I am finding that having been the youngest in my circle of DC friends, everyone is still older. Yes, that is the way it works, but in my head, they’re all the age they were 25 years ago when I left DC.

    The National Museum of African American History and Culture was so well done and so terribly sad. First because of the brutality and dehumanizing of a whole people so that whites in America specifically could become wealthy and comfortable. Secondly because the issues continue with police brutality, white supremacy, and white Americans living off the cheap/free labor people of color are still doing. These are so alive and relevant today. It’s not nuanced or micro.

    It was wonderful to see so many intergenerational African American families in the museum. As should be expected, but I have gone to a dozen museums on this trip and people of color were always in the minority. It was fun to hear parents explaining things to their children.

    It was odd that the museum made an announcement about once an hour to remind folks not to run around and engage in horseplay in the museum. I’ve never been to a museum that did that. And everyone was behaving, well, like they were in a museum. Concerning.

    I went through most of the floors but wanted more time to absorb and read and process. I will need to return.
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  • Day28

    Hillwood House Visit

    August 19, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Another hidden gem in D.C. that I never visited before - Hillwood House. Marjorie Merriweather Post’s father started Post cereal and Postum (coffee substitute that my dad drank until it was discontinued). She bought this elegant Hillwood house and land in northwest Washington and lived their until the 1970s. She went to Russia in the late 30’s and purchased the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia. She also acquired an eighteenth-century French decorative art collection. The gardens are incredible with a Japanese, rose, and cutting gardens and greenhouse. After collecting all this exquisite arts, she donated it to the public to enjoy. Pretty spectacular. They also had a collection of Fabergé eggs on-site. Wonderful docent gave a great tour of the details of the place and special stories. The mid-century kitchen and “massage” room with the hair dryer and electric curler are just perfect 1950’s.

    I must say, this had a decidedly “gay” feel. Purple velvet drapes, opulence (or as Bob says - decorations up the wazoo), and my favorite, the entrance pins say “Fabulous”. Need I say more.
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  • Day27

    Touring around by Bike

    August 18, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Started the day on the terrace for breakfast with Bob and his building neighbors. Weather is sticky even at 10am. I still just sweat it out and took a BikeShare ride to the MLK Jr Memorial. It was, frankly, boring. Monotone color stone, several carved quotes, it just seemed unimaginative. I guess I expected something that would show the brilliance of the man.

    I biked back to the mall and had lunch at the National Art museum. Afterwards, I wandered over to the American Indian Museum. Great exhibition.

    I biked back to Bob’s for dinner and out again to stroll around the neighborhood. Gelato was involved.

    Tomorrow we have more fun, fun planned.
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  • Day26

    Library of Congress and ERA Friends

    August 17, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    I got a personal behind-the-scenes tour of the Library of Congress by Bob (a former staffer). This amazing book-lovers dream is a glorious architectural and art-filled wonder. I saw the stacks, the actual card catalogs, and the reading room. Not usually on the tourist list. But go.

    We stopped in at Representative Blumenauer’s and Senators Wyden and Merkley’s offices to lobby and say hello. They have PDX carpet! Non-Oregonian’s don’t get it.

    I had dinner with people I worked with from as early as1979! Barbara Helmick started the first canvassing operations in the country. I canvassed for Women’s Resources for Action to elect ERA-supporting women candidates. Today she works for DC statehood. Wyden is not a co-sponsor. Why? Two Democratic Senators, people!

    Mary Jean Collins ran the Illinois campaigns in 1980 and 1982 to try to pass the ERA. She has been one of the most influential women in my life. She taught me how to fight, be strategic, and enjoy the journey. And keep going. At 78 she is still as vital and fun as ever.

    Chris Riddiough, Judy Nedrow and I helped integrate the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club that was all white gay men back in the early 80’s. I met them both in Chicago in 1982 working and volunteering for NOW.

    It was a delightful evening sharing old stories and hearing about who was doing what now. Earlier in the day Bob and I went to the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. I got to see original banners and displays about the brutal fight for women’s suffrage. The British and American women were beaten, force-fed, and tortured in their quest for the vote - and still they persisted.
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  • Day25

    Walking, Portraits, & the Wizard of Oz

    August 16, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    It was a 24,000 steps day. We walked all over SW DC that was non-existent when I lived here. Whole neighborhoods have been created that were rather unsavory and where I would dance the night away at the gay clubs. Incredible transformation.

    Bob suggested the Portrait Gallery. Saw all the Presidents, Michelle, and the women Supremes. They spotlighted 1968 - a consequential year. The whole gallery was great.

    We capped off the night with an outdoor showing of Wizard of Oz. It is better on the big screen.
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  • Day24

    Bocce, Aquatic Gardens, & Burning Man

    August 15, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Bob’s bocce ball team, Joanie Loves Bocce, won their match on Tuesday night. I tried my hand at the game. It was kinda fun.

    We took the bus up to U Street. Crazy dude on the bus called Bob and I and the other white folks “crackers” and was quoting old tv shows. Very bizarre. One of the many reasons I never took the bus in DC when I lived here. Too much adventure for me.

    Today we went to one of my favorite hidden DC spots, the Aquatic Gardens, located on the other side of the Anacostia river. The lily pads and flowers were beautiful. Such a special treat.

    The Renwick Gallery had an amazing Burning Man exhibit. The interactive installations were great. We did a virtual reality tour on Black Rock City (Burning Man City). Cool.

    We walked tons making our way by the White House, Trump Hotel at the Old Post Office, sculpture garden, botanical garden, and lots of other sights. We found the statue of Mayor Marion Barry under wraps. Bob was able to get a good shot under the plywood.

    Dinner at the house. More fun for the whole week!
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