Monthly Archives: September 2014

Old Friends and New Friendships

Facebook categorized this as a ‘Life-changing Event’. That is an understatement at best. But the best IS that this has totally changed our lives. One of my big fears was the possibility that I would feel as if I were on a trip rather than a lifestyle, and easily yearn for getting off the road. There is definitely a trade-off in such a condensed ‘soup can’ of a home (luxury by RV standards, as validated by the stares and inspections we attract on any campground arrival, yet sparse compared to our previous 4k sf space, filled with all the things we loved). Surprisingly, controlling how much water we use, constantly monitoring our simplest of systems, repeatedly cleaning, recycling trash by item, have provided a small but satisfactory contribution toward appreciating everyday living. As well as leaving us free to explore, enjoy the history and magnificence that is the pride of the land we call home. It is a lot to ask family and friends to keep us in their everyday lives when we aren’t often physically there. The advent of social media has helped bridge this extremely difficult ambition to be everywhere. Traveling around often as we have been still provides a routine to set up our home on arrival. Hook ups of utilities if available, 2 slides out, anything in the interior that isn’t safely bolted, velcro’d or otherwise tightly secured, gets rearranged. The small things that now

To Friendships,  old and new

To Friendships,
old and new

make up our humble home also include any opportunity to utilize the special pieces we were able to salvage from our purging carnage. Brian, putting out the hand-made ‘Castellano’ welcomes Sheila every time. We have only sparse wall space to hang anything, saving what we can for making our home more homey. Our coveted ‘Peggy originals’ found a perfect spot on our LR wall, thank you Peggy Dembicer, for sharing your repurposing talent with us!
Our exposure to America and its hidden agendas, gems and beauty is truly, to steal an overused metaphor, priceless! I have learned that although we hear and know about economic hard times, there is an enormous wealth evident everywhere we go, contrasted only by the extreme poverty. A shift in class separation? I hope not, we are on the cusp and could tip either way, dependent as we are on the government and stock market. Same rule on the road, no politics and no religion and we can all be friends.
The whole ‘leaving family and friends’ dilemma is really just the adjustment to out of sight but NOT out of mind. We remain intensely interested in what and how everyone is doing and enjoy sharing where and whatever we are doing, either through Brian’s select, unabridged email distribution or this Odyssey blog I am striving to keep up with and remain informative, for our loved ones and fellow nomads.
The dust settles (usually right in our home), the true friendships survive and continue with the fervor of distance making your hearts stronger. But the interesting phenomenon for me, is the time constraint of being on the road bringing out our years of experience and intuition, allowing us to make ‘fast friends’ with our new ‘neighbors’. Quickly sharing our stories, tips and creating a bond that will surely be resurrected when we meet again down the road. In the condensed time we seem to shed the introductory stage and don’t have the constraints of busy lives that often don’t leave enough time to let new people in. We are more open to the variety of people who now cross our paths and the interesting perspectives, stories and advice they bring to the table.

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Brian’s Outtake’s

Who knew there was this suburban, semi-rural little outpost just 11 miles from the Walt Whitman bridge into downtown Philly?

But first, let me backtrack a little. We finally arrived in Danbury, CT on Friday, the destination on our eastbound journey. The wedding on Saturday was a blast.

 

Picture 1: We had lunch with the groom’s dad Saturday before the wedding – he’s the one laughing with the Hooker I ordered.

Jeff/Hooker

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fat Jew

 

Picture 2: During the wedding ceremony, I managed to catch a picture of one of the groom’s friends, Fabrizio Goldstein, the dude with the ‘erection’ (self-description) coiffure who is a cable TV personality known as The Fat Jew. You could look it up.

(Brian doesn’t’t know about hyperlinks in blogs, so:

http://nypost.com/2014/06/24/meet-instagram-sensation-the-fat-jew/

Picture 3 – huh?: We stayed at the Ethan Allen Inn, furniture book in every room. Cute little map in our goody bag. Had to buy something from Utz. We lived in York, Pa. for 6 months after we were first married and at some point went through a little town where there’s an Utz chip factory. Smelled like you were driving through a giant bag of potato chips. Living there would ruin chips for me.   I love opening a bag of Lays and getting that first.                                    whif. And that brings up the battle of potato chips.

UtzIf you live west of Pennsylvania you’ve probably never heard of Wise Potato Chips (unless you’ve seen ads on outfield walls in eastern stadiums). When we moved to Colorado in 2001 we missed Wise Potato Chips. We missed the browned and burnt ones.Lays were too perfect. But now we’ve come back, compared, and concluded that we like the taste of Lays more. Go figure.

 

Enough of the ancient past. That was last weekend. Tuesday night we had dinner with Andrea’s sister, husband and kids in the best Italian restaurant in Philadelphia, Villa D’Roma. That’s just my opinion and admittedly I haven’t eaten in any other Italian restaurant in Philly, but, we ate there earlier this year and loved it so much I asked to go back. Classic Italian. No fancy-schmancy stuff. Excellent again.

We’re staying at a nice, reasonably priced campground just 25 minutes from downtown Philly, Timberlane Campground in Clarksboro, NJ. Sites are really small. We’re surrounded by behemoths like ours. But, great location for a big city (with tiny little streets). For you RVer’s, a little advice: DO NOT TRY TO BRING A BIG RIG INTO SOUTH PHILLY. Trust me on this.

And, if you find yourself in need of fabric Fleishman’s Supplies is The Place to go. Friendly, expert service with the best smiles and they can really give you a deal.

 

749 S 4th St Philadelphia, PA 19147

749 S 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

 

 

 

 

AC in AC

AC in AC

 

 

Pic 5: Today, Thursday, 9/11, we went to Atlantic City. What a disappointment it’s become. Four casinos have closed this year, Trump Plaza next week and the Trump Taj Mahal will shut down in November. They have casinos in Philly now. The food was bad, drinks were ridiculously priced ($12 for a martini in a plastic cup filled with ice – WTF?), and service was so bad in two places that we walked out. The good news was that we’re in the midst of the Miss America pageant preliminary rounds. Big show Sunday night. We happened to be on the boardwalk outside Trump Plaza when the doors opened for ticket holders of tonight’s preliminaries. On the boardwalk we passed several of the obvious (in contrast to the tourists and local dirt bags) contenders with fans and family on their way in. Miss Mississippi was wearing her state banner. We thought about buying a ticket for about 2 seconds.

That’s all for now.

New Yorker on New Yorkers

Today was what we came here for. Andrea noted that the 2 mile path around the lovely little lake was my perfect hike: scenic, enough elevation changes but not too strenuous, mostly wooded (and shaded), and just far enough to spur an appetite. I know, a putsy little walk for most of you, but just fine for me. Check out the pictures. Pretty damn nice.

We did have a very unusual occurrence as we had our picnic lunch. When Andrea went over to say hello to the flying saucer occupants, they closed the door and took off. Maybe they thought we were New Yorkers.

Andrea and the Aliens

Andrea and the Aliens

That’s a bone I have to pick with New Yorkers, at least some of you. And I have some authority to pick a bone with you. You know, we were both

born in NYC and brought up on Long Island. Lived there 50 years and both of us worked in the madness of Manhattan. So we know about the impersonalization that happens to you, especially if you work in “the city”, the rule being “keep your head down or the nuts will talk to you”. But, after living in Colorado for 14 years (not counting Clear Lake, TX as that was really a major vacation), and how everyone lifts up their eyes to greet you as you walk past and say hi, and how drivers and pedestrians wave at each other, perfect strangers, I have to say that New Yorkers in general are the rudest assholes we’ve come across so far. Granted there are exceptions to that generalization so apologies to the many friendly people we said hi to during our hike in beautiful Minnewaska State Park. In our first months in Colorado we were freaked out when drivers stopped

Lake Minnewaska

Lake Minnewaska

Hiking Lake Minnewaska

Hiking Lake Minnewaska

for us to let us walk in supermarket parking lots – what’s with them? Then we realized we were the assholes. So, all you guarded New Yorkers, and everyone else, when you’re walking down the street or hiking trail and cross paths with someone else, lift up your eyes, look at the other person and say HI. It doesn’t hurt and they won’t hurt you. And if you engage a nut on the streets of NYC, good luck. I know, been there.

 

Tomorrow we arrive at the original destination of this trip east, Danbury, CT. The wedding is Saturday. Woo-hoo.