December 31, 2008


Here are the final 3 photos that capture my interpretation of the December theme.

December 28, 2008

Circle of Life

Have seen herds of deer while here in A2 - don't see them so much in our yard anymore. On my walk this morning saw this sad sight - poor deer must have been hit by a car, and the scavengers have already started with the cleanup.

December 27, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • I spent some time in an indie bookstore this afternoon. As much as I love Amazon, there is nothing quite like spending time in a little indie store. Too bad that they are endangered.
  • There seem to be many people out returning xmas presents - would really hate to be doing that.
  • People watching can be such fun. Many families already seem tired of spending time together.
  • It's an incredibly warm day here in A2 - in the 60s - all the ice has melted and the fog is lovely.
  • Have played several games of Cranium - a game that is such fun. If you have never played, give a try and see if your brain does not tingle.
  • Got in some reading and sketching today - nice to take a little me time in the midst of company.
  • Am still a little stunned that 2008 is almost over - where the heck did the year go?!!

December 26, 2008


It should not be a surprise that my idea of heaven is a large library with wood paneled walls, huge fireplaces, comfy chairs, teapots and several lounging cats. Well, I do hope that a place like Hollander's is next door.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved paper - in all forms - sheets, rolls, stacks, bound in journals, books, etc. I love the feel, the smell, the texture, the colors .... oh I could go on and on. Spent a wonderful couple of hours this afternoon at Hollander's in Ann Arbor. I do think that I was in a trance for most of that time. I could use one of everything they carry. And I did actually carry out bookbinding supplies - boards, thread, book cloth, etc. A soul nourishing experience.

December 25, 2008


Photo theme of the month is "discarded". Below are a couple of photos that show my interpretation of the theme.


I am always interested in learning about how different families celebrate holidays and the traditions that have lasted over the years. One of our traditions is that we collect ornaments from places visited. These do not have to look like traditional ornaments - they can be key chains converted to an ornament, coins no longer in circulation, etc. Every year when the tree goes up, it is a great way to revisit trip memories as we trim the tree. Since the plan was to be in Thailand for the holidays, did not get a tree this year, so am really enjoying the tree here in Ann Arbor. Here are some of the ornaments on the tree.


Here is the new blonde in my life - Cody. He's got bells attached to his collar, so it sounds like Santa's sleigh is around - lovely.

December 24, 2008

2009 Book Club Reading List

Selections for the first half of the new year.

1-Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee(2003 Nobel Prize)
2-The Little Book of Atheist Sprituality, Andre Comet-Sponville

February: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (2008 Politzer Prize)

March: Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

April: White Tiger, Aravind Adiga (2008 Man Booker Prize)

1-A Mercy, Tony Morrison
2-From the book "Proust Was a Neuroscientist" sections about: Walt Whitman, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, and Virginia Woolf

June: Queen's Fool, Philippa Gregory

Santa Claus is coming ....

In Ann Arbor, Michigan for the holidays. Drove out yesterday - the only day with a good weather window - but ran into snow and it was a messy drive for the last 5 hours. Saw lots of cars spun out and am glad to have made it safe and sound. Am a little bummed out that it's raining here today - I love long walks in the snow.

Happy holidays. Hope you are surrounded by loved ones and are well.

December 22, 2008

Updated layout

In between shoveling and snacking, decided to update my blog this morning. I like the new layout - let me know what you think.

December 21, 2008

Let is snow

As a kid who grew up on the equator, sledding is just not something that I did - making up for lost time. What fun. You can see more pics from the afternoon here.

December 19, 2008

Snow Day

Hunkered inside watching the snow fall. We are expecting around 8 to 12 inches, and it's really quite beautiful. And there is another equally strong storm expected on Sunday - am looking forward to playing in it - hope it stays light and fluffy. Meanwhile am sipping hot tea, listening to carols and I say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

December 18, 2008

Recent Reads

1. Mistress of the Vatican
Loved this non-fiction book. Olimpia decides that she wants a different life than the one her father wants for her and makes it happen in such an incredible way using her intelligence and talents. An interesting read that describes the social/political/religious norms of life in Rome and the Vatican in her day. A marvelous read.

2. Skinny Dip
One of the books I took with me to Mexico, and the first book I've read by the author. Guess it's not a bad beach read, but unless you love his style, would not recommend the book. It's simply way too trite and junior high-ish for my tastes. If I had not been on an island with not a book store in sight, I would have ditched this after the first couple of chapters. Donated it to the book exchange at one of the hotels.

3. Mexico
Now, this is more like it. Am currently about a third through this one (love other books by the author) and am loving it. Have started to slow down my reading so as not to get through it too quickly (don't you simply love books like that?)

December 17, 2008

Calling home

After escaping to the sunny beaches of Cancun and several margaritas later, the bad elf is sorry and calls Santa collect from the airport.

December 14, 2008

Last night in Tulum

Hard to believe that my time in Mexico is almost at a close. Lots seems to be happening in Tulum tonight - am going to have to go check it out. Highlights - incredible beaches (seems like I say that everywhere I go - but these are really the best on the trip so far); excellent homemade ice-cream; I´ve been on friendly terms with lime daiquiris - where have these been all my life?

December 9, 2008

Siesta Time

Last night got my first glimpse of the large pyramid in Chichen Itza - simply takes ones breath away in the moonlight. It gets a little cooler at night here and took advantage of the moon to explore. The bungalow has mosquito nets - think it,s rather more for effect than need - there have been none that I can see. And I could write an ode to the water pressure in the shower - what a treat.

This morning explored Chichen Itza - able to get in at 8am when they first open - cooler and no tourists. I am blown away - the complex is way larger than I expected and in really good shape considering it dates back from as early at 700AD. Does the idea of a plummed snake not sparkle the imagination - sure it was not fun for those sacrified - but what imagery. My only disappointment is that people can no longer climb to the top of the structures - somebody slipped and died in 2005, so no climbing. And I can see why - many of the tourists who get dropped off in large groups are wearing flip flops! Still, have seen photos of the views and carvings at the top of most of the structures and would have loved to have seen them for myself.

Back in the hotel for siesta - after all only Englishmen and mad dogs stay out in the noon-day sun. Am enjoying my Mayan martini and watching the resident peacocks strut their stuff. Life is good.

December 8, 2008

Chichen Itza

Spent 3 nights in wonderful Isla Mujeres. Highlights include beautiful beaches, snorkeling, lovely sunsets and sunrises. Pace is much calmer than Cancun - could see living here - or at least visiting for a longer duration. Got onto island time - nothing better.

Today´s travel involved a ferry, bus and taxi. I highly recommend bus travel - especially first class buses run by ADO. They are comfy, fast and cheap. The next 3 nights will be at Mayaland Hotel in Chichen Itza - a world heritage site (yes, this is another list I´m working my way through). Am so excited to explore the Mayan world. And if you ever feel like a splurge, you gotta stay here at Mayaland. We got upgraded to a bungalow - beautiful grounds, very private pools, next door to the ruins - actually have their own entrance, peacocks roaming about ... oh I could go on and on - but then would be missing out on this soft tropical night - so adios!

December 5, 2008

Day 4 in the Yucatan

Leaving Cancun today - headed to Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) - with a name like that how could I not visit. Also, this gets me one island closer to my life goal of visting all the islands on the planet - yup it´s a big dream, but if you're gonna dream, why not dream big?

Weather continues to be fantastic. Spent the day yesterday in a Beach Cabana, lazing about and being waited on. I could get used to this life. Now, off to catch a bus, to catch a ferry to the isla.

December 4, 2008

Hola from Cancun

Not a bad rebound trip. It´s sunny, not too warm and simply delightful. My first time in Cancun, and once you get away from the Hotel Zone, into downtown, it´s quite charming. Public transport is easy and cheap. After realizing that it would cost almost $75/day to rent a car (there are taxes on insurance!), opted to simply take public transport around. It´s green, and a nice way to rub elbows with locals. I´ve got the basic phrases in Spanish down and have even had entire conversations - granted these were not more than 5 sentences, but a cause for celebration none-the-less.

December 1, 2008

Books to Read

There is something really fun and daring about selecting just a couple of books to take along on a trip. What if you hate the books? And are stranded on a desert island with no book store in sight? I used to travel with about 4 books at all times - I read fast, and can get through a book in a day or two. I'm tempted by the Kindle - just thinking of all those books always on hand is enough to make me swoon - but have yet to break down and buy it.

So on this 2 week trip I have selected 2 books to take along (gulp). This one I went out and bought yesterday. I have enjoyed other books by the author and hope this one does not disappoint. This one I picked up at the local library book sale. Have yet to read a book by this author - mainly because the covers are so goofy. And this is the guide book I've bought to take along for the trip. Yup that does make 3 books, but a guide book does not count.

Yes I'm aware that there are book stores on the Yucatan - but I've heard that English books (and I am limited to those) can run about $30 each! To quote my sister: "I need fat books".

November 30, 2008

Rebound Trip

After a couple of days in a funk caused by my canceled Thailand trip, decided to look into other warm places that I've wanted to visit - essentially a "rebound trip". Why not? My bags were already packed and 6 weeks suddenly opened up in front of me. I love to travel and have the time. If not now, when?

So heading off to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico for 2 weeks. Great beaches, Mayan ruins, excellent snorkeling. Never been - wanna go (remember the jingle about Mexico?). Onward.

November 29, 2008


This completes my 5 photos on this months theme. I find it interesting that all of my photos for this theme capture details.

Dreams of Thailand go Poof

I'm not even sure where to begin. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. The situation in Bangkok continues to escalate with no real end in sight. Called the airlines yesterday (since we were scheduled to leave tomorrow) only to find that the flight was canceled. On the positive side, they gave us a full refund, and I can always re-book for later this winter.

Needless to say, all the books I've been reading for the past 2 months have been about Thailand - travel guides, travelers tales, etc. At least I'll be ready for the next time we book a ticket - I so want to go.

November 27, 2008


We are celebrating Thanksgiving here in the States - a day to get together with loved ones, eat till you are stuffed, watch some football and be grateful for the things (never really things are they?) for which one is grateful.

It is so easy to take everyday miracles for granted. For example, when was the last time that I was truly awed that fresh, potable water came out of a turned tap? So many millions of people do not have access to clean water - something so essential to life. Yes, I have much to be grateful for.

It's sad to hear the news from Mumbai. And the folks stranded trying to get in and out of Bangkok. And all the other tragedies, global and personal in the world today. In the midst of all the suffering, I try to hold on to how very lucky I am, and send peace and love to all.

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 24, 2008

Tradegy in NJ

Tragically, stories of victims of domestic violence on the news are common. Today's news story stunned my family - the victim is my fathers cousins daughter. Our grandmothers were sisters.
Reshma was only 24.

2 others were shot trying to help her; one died today. The thoughts and prayers of the entire community are with their families.

You can read the articles here and here.

November 23, 2008


Often we are in such a hurry that we miss the details. When did life get so hectic? Everything seems to simply fly by. I try to remind myself to slow down and notice the little details - moments are what we remember.

November 22, 2008


My buddy Pam invited me to join a group that creates themed photos each month. This month's theme is "uniformity".

November 21, 2008

November 19, 2008

Thailand on my mind

Inching closer to getting the tix - hope to have that done tonight - am rather crossed eyed from comparing all the options out there in cyberspace. Might bring up the departure date by 2 weeks - yikes - there is much to do to get ready. Am so excited - barely got 3 hours of sleep last night.

November 17, 2008

Recent Reads

1. The Art of Pilgrimage
Loved this book. I'm going to have to go out and buy me a copy - there are just so many gems in it. If you like to travel, you simply have to read this book.

2. Meridon
Another 600 pager that I wolfed down in less than 24 hours. This is the final book in the Wideacre trilogy - a set of books that I really enjoyed.

November 14, 2008


When one thinks of pilgrimages, a religious site often springs to mind. However pilgrimages can also be made to secular, literary places. While exploring Walden Pond, I came across offerings that pilgrims had left behind.

November 12, 2008


Luke and Jonah dressed as Mario and Pikachu.

November 10, 2008

Recent Reads

1. Book of Lies
A quick read that got rave reviews, but in the end, did not really like the book - empty calories. Set up as a thriller - but the story does not really hold together well. Maybe good for middle school readers.

2. Galileo's Daughter
If there is one book I would highly recommend from my recent reading list, this would be it. Talk about history coming alive - the story is based on letters his daughter wrote - and though you think you know the ending, there is a delicious twist. The book reads like a thriller and I simply loved it.

3. Peony in Love
My book club selection for the month, this was not as good a read as Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Interesting story line and characters. Did love the historical context, but in the end, not a book I would recommend.

4. Note to Self
As an avid journaler, I'm always interested in why/how/what others write about. I do like the glimpse into the authors life, and there are some gems, but on the whole was disappointed by the book. Then again, the author is so young, and this might have more of an impact for people in their 20s or those who have never journaled before.

November 6, 2008

History - it's alive

I was simply blown away at the MFA today - I went in to see the special exhibit: Art and Empire - Treasures from Assyria. If you have not seen this exhibit yet, you have gotta go. It simply takes my breath away - how is it even possible that this art has survived 3000 years? I loved all of it, but what blew my socks off was the actual VI tablet of the Epic of Gilamesh.

How is that history is often taught to us as such a boring subject in school. It's captivating, fascinating and such a thriller of a ride. Remember learning about Mesopotamia and Cuniform writings? I was surrounded by art of that time and was filled with wonder.

November 5, 2008


What an incredible moment in our history. I've not had enough sleep and have been on an emotional ride - but what a day.
  • We have the first person of color in the white house (not a woman, but still pretty amazing)
  • States that have historically been red turned blue
  • Record voter turn out
  • MA and other states said no to eliminating the state tax (where exactly would these funds come from if we did?)
  • Greyhounds everywhere can breathe easier now that we have banned dog racing in MA
  • Possession of less than an ounce of pot is no longer a criminal offense in MA (about dang time)
  • OR passed doctor assisted deaths (about time we cared more about a person's dignity and right to choose)
  • CA banned same-sex marriage (sigh - what does that mean for those who did get married?)
  • Kenya declared today a national holiday (shout out to my peeps)
Obama has created a movement - yes we can.

November 2, 2008


We went to a Diwali celebration at the Revolving Museum. You can see more pics of the afternoon here.

October 29, 2008

October 27, 2008

Recent Reads

1. You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination
Love maps - have always loved maps - so had fun looking through this book. I've also got my nephews into maps - we draw them - we go exploring using them - what fun.

2. Suite Francaise
My book club selection for this month - really good writing for the first draft (the author dies in Auschwitz). You get a good sense of what happened to ordinary people during the years leading up to the war. I liked how she wrote, but overall did not love the book.

October 24, 2008

October 20, 2008


Got to see my 4th Cirque du Soleil show this past weekend - Kooza. Absolutely loved it.

The problem I've always had with going to the circus, is that they usually involve animals doing tricks. Cirque showcases people doing tricks - much more interesting to me. I've seen 2 permanent and 2 traveling shows - where they put up the tent. I have never seen shows that amaze, astound and awe me like the ones Cirque put on. If you have never seen one, you have to go. It's worth every penny.

October 17, 2008

New Dollar Bill

I don't know about you, but I for one cannot even look at my statements. Why bother? It's not like I'm going to do anything anyway. All it would do is stress me out. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

October 16, 2008


This is little Rachel - my cousin's daugher - ain't she simply adorable?

October 13, 2008

October 8, 2008

Quote of The Day

"We are not the center of the universe. The immobility of our world is an illusion. We spin. We speed through space. We circle the Sun. We live on a wandering star."

Am loving reading Galileo's Daughter - great insight into the man and the times he lived in.

October 7, 2008

Window or Aisle?

No one is a middle seat flier - so are you a window or aisle person? I used to be exclusively a window person - look at all the wonders that we fly over - how could I be anything else? Then I started flying 3 times a week for work, and I quickly forgot about the beauty below me. I became an aisle person - easy to get in and out, easy to get up and stretch, etc. About a decade flew (pun intended) by in this manner, and I suddenly find myself back in the window seat again. Yes it's a pain to make everyone get up when you gotta go, but oh the views - I had forgotten how spectacular the Earth is seen from above.

October 2, 2008

Recent Reads

1. Beegu
Am always on the look out for books to read with my ns - this one is delightful. The boys cannot wait to read it.

2. Fingerprint
Great book for creative ideas. It's so cool to see what talented people come up with.

3. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Really wanted to like this book. Got to about page 300 and simply could not get into it. So in the spirit that life is too short for bad books, ditched it - something that is hard for me to do - I feel guilty somehow.

October 1, 2008


I am always inspired by Eve Ensler, and this talk does not disappoint.

Shout it out

Sometimes you just need a bigger car.

September 30, 2008

Race for 08

Is it just me or is Sarah Palin simply not prepared for her interviews? This honestly surprises me. In the past the republican party has always impressed me with their organizational skills - it does tend to be easier to rally people around black and white (no pun intended) issues. Liberals tend to go along to get along, and it's harder to get people excited about all the shades of grey. But does Ms. Palin really think that she is going to wow anyone with her experience - I think not. Why not take the high road - talk about what she has learned and how she can parlay that in this new role. Admit to not being the expert and talk about how she plans on surrounding herself with bright, knowledgeable advisers. etc, etc, etc. I really do not get what the strategy is on this one.

September 29, 2008

Quote of The Day

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Library Book Sale

I enjoy local community events - always interesting to see who turns up. This past weekend was the local library book sale - it's a way to raise funds for the library as well as circulate books in the community. Our household donated about 30 boxes of books and came home with one box of new books to read. Cannot beat the deal at $5/box.

September 26, 2008

And so it goes

Why is it again that we continue to bail out corporations that make bad business decisions? What's the lesson learned? No worries mate, the American tax payer will foot the bill. I don't see congress rushing to help out individuals who make bad financial decisions - oh but right, we hold individuals to a higher standard than we do corporations. Free markets my ass.

September 25, 2008

Recent Reads

1. 1000 Journals Project
Love the idea - hand out journals, people pass them on, see what comes back. There is also a website where people can scan and send in pages of journals that have stopped to visit.

2. Lost on Planet China
Finished this book last weekend. If you enjoy travel writing, or planning visit, you gotta read this book.

September 23, 2008

Night at the movies

I admit that I do not know the bad guys - joker? two-face? huh? I thought that they were all the same character played by different actors in various outfits. Yup, did not read the comics as a wee one, so give me a break on this. We went to watch The Dark Knight recently, and I enjoyed it - some really cool special effects. Heath Ledger absolutely stole the show - he was actually a little too realistic. Love when I feel like I got my money's worth of entertainment at the movies - a rather rare event these days.

September 22, 2008

Latest Audio Book

Since my commute has gotten shorter, I have not had the chance to listen to many audio books. Mind you, I am not complaining about the shortened commute, simply saying that it's hard to listen to a book 10 to 15 mins at a time - just when you get into the story, it's time to turn it off. Recently finished The Last Lecture. The book is chunked into little stories that pack quite the punch. Really enjoyed it, and agree with much of Randy's values, in particular:
  1. We cannot give kids self-esteem, they have to earn it
  2. People are way more important than stuff
  3. Are you a Tigger or Eeyore - you gotta pick
I could go on - give this book a read - I'd be interested in your thoughts.

September 19, 2008

Boston Harbor

Sailing is Boston Harbor is always quite the experience. On an given day, there are planes landing overhead, barges, tug boats, jet skis, fishing boats, lobster boats pulling in their catch, folks learning to sail, huge container ships, cruise ships, etc, etc, etc.

You can see additional pics from our sail last weekend here.