Get out of town

Or head to Canada. Our northern town is only an hour and a half from Montreal and now that the international borders are open again, it is our go to city, for concerts, museums and good food. Even one night away shakes things up. I highly recommend it.

This was a short trip but we explored the Biopshére and Habitat 67, where we had never been before. Both were constructed for the 1967 Exposition or World’s Fair. Here’s a link to an aerial view of the Jean Drapeau Parc and the Biosphére, which was the US exhibit but now houses a museum on climate change. Alas, the museum was closed on Mondays, so we shuffled along the snowy, icy walks instead.

There was a photography exhibit by Hua Jin that fit in perfectly with the landscape.

Habitat 67 was less astounding and looking a little worn for wear. My opinion may be colored by the fact that a guard chased us off the property, while waving a slice of pizza at us.

While it looks like a jumble of blocks, the buildings are actually all symmetrical. Both sides offer a view of the River.

We found a weary traveler on our return home. This little black capped chickadee must have flown into our front door. When we got home, it was sitting there looking a little dazed. After dropping our stuff inside, I opened the door and took its photo.

Happily, the next time I checked, it had flown off. Probably taking a trip someplace to shake things up.

If it’s Tues, where am I

It has been a whirlwind of travel. I drove to and fro home for 8 hours each way to work two days. Around hour six, I forget what I occupied myself with at hour two.

I caught up with friends and new fawns.

I’m not sure if one of these two got lost, but this is what I heard for an hour at 0200, my second night home.

Not for the feint of heart

Then it was back home for a day of work at the lighthouse before I flew from Bar Harbor to Washington, DC.

Although I never saw Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse from the air, I spotted Seguin Island off the mouth of the Kennebec River. I find it fun to see a place I know so well from the air.

I stayed in Chinatown where there is a diagonal crosswalk, how does that work? I tried it and made it to the opposite corner unscathed.

I saw this rooftop garden from my room. Landscaped hills on the roof! It turned out to be a building affiliated with landscape design.

I relied on public bikes for transportation and visited the Portrait gallery, where my favorite painting was not a portrait.

Ryder’s House by Edward Hopper
Courtyard cafe at the Portrait Gallery

I rode around the Mall and visited the African American Museum and the Museum of the Native American. The exhibits often brought me to tears but the food at the cafes soothed me.

African American Museum
Ceiling of Native American Museum

Of course, best of all and the purpose of this visit was to see my daughter in her hometown.

On Edge in NY

Tim and I took a 24 hour trip to Manhattan, so I could visit my best friends from medical school, who were in town, and Tim could visit and dine with his son at the Oyster bar.under Grand Central Station.

Not as crazy as it sounds since we took Amtrak from Albany. On our way down we received the news report that there had been a mass shooting in a subway station. Probably the safest day to ride the subways. And we did. We explored the new Moynihan Train Hall, which is a vast improvement over the old Penn Station I used to know.

Moynihan Train Station from on high

You can see the three atrium domed roofs set within the open courtyard of the old Post Office. The round building at the top is Madison Square Garden.

Tim and I parted ways and I headed to the Edge with Liz.

Reportedly the tallest observation deck on the continent, it offered fabulous 360 degree views of Manhattan, its waterways and bridges, and the outlying areas.

I took the obligatory photo on plexiglass, very strong I hope, 100 stories high. The elevator ride was deceivingly pleasant because a slow motion video of the city played on the walls while my ears popped.

New to look old?

While I visited my doctor in the Flatiron District, my cell phone screamed an alert. Every smart phone in NYC received a notice they were hunting the man from the shooting the day before.

Apparently it worked. He called the police with a tip and they found him !


It’s winter in the north country. So naturally, we headed further north, for our first trip to Canada, in two years.

Are we moving?

After completing paperwork and Covid testing, we arrived in Lévis, a ferry ride away from Quebec City. The St. Lawrence River still had plenty of commercial and ice traffic to watch and we took a few ferry rides back and forth.

Most of our activities took place outdoors and when we had to venture inside, proof of vaccination was required.

So real

But there was plenty to do outdoors and we were prepared for cold weather. We spent hours walking around the city, visiting the outdoor German Christmas Market and tucking in to warm up periodically.

We visited an interesting exhibit in the Musée de Civilisation about merde, more commonly known as shit! It actually was very informative although we skipped the aroma exhibit. Too much of the world lacks access to clean water and sanitation.

Musée de civilisation

Back in Lévis, there was a light show in a park just next to our AirBNB, complete with ice sculptures.

On our way home we skated in the magical Domain du Foret Perdu, or the lost forest, where there were 15 km of ice skating trails through the woods. They even have a Zamboni, so the ice was smooth.

Not smooth enough for me however. I took a face plant where I truly landed flat on my face, luckily in a snow back. No broken bones.

Once home, we enjoyed a quiet holiday. The evergreens were decorated, inside and out, and the geraniums are blooming, despite the snow outside.

Putting my toe in the water

Just as the Omicron variant arrived, I was packing my bags for a once in a lifetime trip to Iceland, with my daughter. My first real trip since 2019!

Covid tests were scheduled for home and in Iceland. Then the CDC classified Iceland as very high risk for Covid. But I live in a place at very high risk. Our adventures would be focused on outdoor activities, during the six hours of daylight (10:45 to 4:45). We were both fully vaccinated and boosted so there was no time like the present. Off we went. As I wait for my post travel final Covid test, it was totally worth it.

First of all, just to spend this time with my adult daughter was a gift. In my opinion, we are excellent travel companions. She may think otherwise because I do spend an inordinate amount of time searching my pockets for keys, masks, credit cards, etc. But, in my defense, there were too many pockets because we always wore two layers of pants, and a few jackets to be able to enjoy the outdoors.

We took a red eye and our first stop upon arrival was the Blue Lagoon, thermal pools fed with warm water from the nearby geothermal plant. Although this is a popular tourist destination, it was a fun introduction to Iceland. We applied various concoctions to our faces and enjoyed a glass of Prosecco while soaking.

We stayed nearby for a couple of nights and took day trips to lighthouses, volcanoes, waterfalls, and hot springs while we slept beneath the glow and steam (and sulphuric odor) of the geothermal plant. We soaked in hot springs, including one fed by a geysir behind a fence, nearly every day and had the raisin fingers to show for it.

There were plenty of working lighthouses scattered around the country. This one was on a huge massif with a beautiful view of a stretch of black sand beach. The one below was open and we climbed to the top where a fresnel lens turned.

There is frequent seismic activity in the land of fire and ice, hence the volcanoes and hot springs. This volcano erupted in March 2021 and the lava field has fissures that are still steaming.

We explored a few waterfalls including one we were able to walk under. We also crossed a bridge between two continental plates that are moving apart. We tried to see what would happen to the bridge as that occurs but looks like they will have to dismantle part of it. The movement is a few centimeters a year!

Every village had a church. Sometimes, we couldn’t tell where the congregation would possibly come from.

The real goal of the trip, besides spending time with my daughter and soaking our cares away, was to try to glimpse the northern lights. We had apps with predictions the lights and clear skies. One night, conditions looked good, but not where we were at the moment. So we hopped in the car and drove south to clear skies without ambient light. We saw a faint streak of green in the sky and couldn’t believe our luck. There were the northern lights on our second night. The trip was complete. Hotels offer northern light wakeup calls. We were called once at about 1:30 am but they were gone by the time I got outside and I couldn’t find my glasses anyway. Then we slept in. Easy to do when sunrise is 10:45.

The plot thickened when US international guidelines were tightened mid-week. Luckily we had our departure test within a day anyway. Free, painless with rapid results. And done in a circle of 10 strangers.

The worst weather came on our last day as we explored Reykavik, as much as we could with 70 mph wind gusts and walkways of sheer ice. We checked out the flea market and one of the most unusual museums in the world. Nuf said.

It was such a beautiful country and an easy place to visit even though I never learned a word of the language other than thank you. Takk fryir Iceland for reintroducing me to adventure.


The island’s apple trees are loaded with fruit but located on a ledge, surrounded by poison ivy. Tim loves apple pie and may be immune to poison ivy so he set off and gathered several.

I decided to make a small “pie” as a test. It was pretty delicious.

The summer garden still has lots of basil, mint and yellow squash.

Perhaps tonight we will have escargot!

Winter break

Winter came early this year. We have already had two significant snowfalls while it is still officially fall. The weather has hindered our bridge replacement but at least we can drive to and fro without difficulty for the moment.

Just before the first snow

We ventured north for a concert in Montreal and enjoyed some of the lights and delicious food.

But Montreal is north of home and even colder.

I jumped at the chance to attend a conference in Arizona and to my sheer joy, my daughter joined me there. It was wonderful to spend some time in temperate weather. We enjoyed spa treatments, hiking, southwestern food, a butterfly museum and a night exhibit in the desert.

We certainly left the rattlesnakes alone. The butterfly camouflage is astounding.

Just the boost I needed to soldier through the holiday season.

Oh, Canada

We had a last minute vacation when a caretaking stint fell through and we had already booked the time off. We headed north to Quebec and experienced urban living and wilderness within two hours of each other.

First stop, Old Quebec City. We walked for hours, ate dinner out every night and joined the other tourists admiring the St. Lawrence River. One night, there was a live piano player (so much better than a dead one) who accompanied silent films on a large outdoor screen. Charlie Chaplin was more funny than I imagined.

I admired the old buildings and use of stone. And surprisingly, the lights.

When we had our fill of city life, we headed further northeast to the Saguenay Fjord. We hiked and went on a whale watching tour in Tadoussac at the mouth of the Fjord.

It delivered! Although we did not see any of the renowned Beluga Whales, we saw lots of Minke and Humpbacks, diving, doing the whale tale thing. I didn’t even try to get any photos. I did get photos of other boats watching the whales.

When the tour company told us, due to the south wind, we were bound to get wet and the temperature was in the low 60’s, we opted for the Big Boat. I took this photo while I was down below enjoying a cuppa.

The fjord and the St. Lawrence seaway are magnificent. The fjord is 300 meters deep in many places and is a perfect meeting and eating place for several species of whales and seals (as our guide yelled phoque). Cliffs rise on either side and sunrises and sunsets were stunning.

Tim spotted this jewel of a spot on our way to Tadoussac and we returned for a short hike the next day. This statue was out a viewing platform overlooking Rose du Nord, the pearl of Saguenay. Perhaps she is Rose. It’s a beautiful fishing and farming village tucked into its own cove on the fjord.

After a few days on the north side of the fjord, we headed south to the national Parc Saguenay at Riviere Eternite. We had the cutest little Echo Chalet. We were glamping! All we brought were our sleeping bags and towels.

We stretched our legs and took a few hikes.

I almost opted out of getting the view from the top. We met a woman on our way up. As we approached the summit, she had abruptly turned around and was headed back down because she had seen a bear.

So what did we do? We banded together and kept walking. To Tim’s annoyance (because he wanted nothing more than to see a bear) I made as much noise as I could. Subsequent research confirmed black bear attacks are very rare – only about 20 in the past 20 years – but the most recent occurred September 5 in …Canada. Oh my!

We made it home to find geese flying west? And a stunning view right from my porch.

It’s always good to come home to the Adirondacks, which no longer feels like wilderness. French lessons begin today.

I love surprises

The flight from Honolulu to Sydney was outstanding. The plane was relatively empty and Tim slept in his own row. I had a bulkhead to myself. Best of all they gave us a cute little goodie bag with an eye mask, ear plugs, toothbrush and chap stick.

This time we were somewhere over a rainbow.

I knit for at least six hours while I power watched the Great British Baking Show and finished a pair of lined mittens just in time for 98 degrees f in Hobart.

But I can not complain about traveling into summer.


Some things are easier to get used to than others.

The shift from sub-zero temperatures, with snow and ice, to balmy and sunny was easy peasy, even if I still need to wear a wool sweater after swimming.

The time zone is a little tougher. It is five hours earlier here, but I think I have adjusted…for now. I go to bed my usual time and wake up before dawn. Today we fly to Sydney and the easy way to think about it is we lose another 3 hours. But in reality we cross the international date line and gain a day. So we actually gain 21 hours for a net change of 16 hours ahead of NY. Got it? Thank goodness for Apple’s world clock.

And then there’s the wind. It seems to howl all day and night. Nothing close to what we will experience on Deal Island, but it’s a good reminder. Lots of hair ties and hold on to your hat. Tim thought jets were landing nearby while he slept.

We’ve only explored a small bit of Oahu, by bus, and it is stunning. From the deck the other day I saw two very different rainbows. One low, one high. You know what they say.

This Yellow Billed Cardinal was introduced to Hawaii from South America. It is a real chatter box and hard for me to catch a good photo.

The beaches are stunning. We are on the southeast side of Oahu and despite the wind, the coves were protected and we could easily swim.

We found a collection of heart shaped coral at Sandy Beach. Very sweet.

And now we are off to another ten hour flight, same seats.