Archive for Work and Adventure

Travel is Like Chocolate Mousse…

It might have been Treasure Island or Mutiny on the Bounty that sparked my interest, but islands have always exerted a magnetic pull on me. Small. Romantic. Isolated. Surrounded by water. Their attraction is galvanic.

I first heard about the Balearic Islands when I was in college.  Dots in the Mediterranean Sea, ruled successively by Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Moors, and Catalans. Spain, but not quite Spanish – Mallorquin. Exotic.

The archipelago has four major islands – Mallorca, the largest, with Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera in descending order. My first visit was to Formentera a few years before its first hotel was built. Then, a windless sailing trip took me to Ibiza, the party island, where we repaired the blown engine that left us becalmed in Mediterranean shipping lanes at night. Mallorca was last in the sequence but not least in its appeal. read more

You Can’t Beat Haydn…

Once upon a time, in what seems like a galaxy faraway, I was living the perfect life. Perfect wife. Three perfect children. East Coast boarding schools. A mountain house near Sun Valley. A large manicured lawn. My own tennis court. A large clear-redwood deck. Flying for Pan Am. Commuting to Europe. A month on.  A month off. Berlin-based. In and out of European capitals. A classic high-ceilinged Alt-Bau apartment on the edge of the Grunewald. Training for marathons.

And then one day the perfect life ended… I came down with a neuromuscular disease. Symptoms included double vision, drooping eyelids, legs too weak to climb into a van, and jaw muscles too weak to bite into an apple. Then my sick pay ran out, income went to half, Pan Am went bankrupt, income went to zero, and I lost most of my pension. read more

C’mon, Stop Pimping Your Elders…

I have an abiding dislike for people who make fun of others. I never liked Don Rickles whose act was an avalanche of insults, or Donald Trump who chooses to demean or slander those he disagrees with rather than engage them in debate. Remember Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, Sleepy Joe, Crazy Megyn, Pocahontas, or the disabled New York Times journalist he mocked.

Lately it’s Stephen Colbert, one of my favorite comedians, who is getting under my skin. He does an impersonation of Joe Biden that’s not about his politics. He’s mocking Joe’s affect as an out of touch old person. read more

Some of it’s Magic…

Yes, today’s the day, and I’ve been getting happy birthday emails, text messages, phone calls and cards from all over the world. I’m grateful to have shared time with so many interesting people over the years. We’ve enjoyed books, music, good food, long runs, wooded walks, powder turns, bike trips, sunny beaches, funny stories, and much, much more over the years. It feels great to have such good friends and memories.

I’m happy to be alive and well, even though the world is a mess and smart people who should know better are bickering over insignificant things while the planet is melting down, burning up, and blowing away under the pressure of climate change, Covid-19 is ravaging its population, billionaires are flaunting their wealth in space, grinding poverty is endemic, and there are tribal wars, insurrectionists, and racists in mainstream politics. In 2016 I characterized myself as an optimist. Today, I’m less sure. I worry for for my children and grandchildren. What kind of a world will they have? read more

Baseball Memories…

When I was a kid, cameras had become common and affordable. Brownie box cameras were the rage. My parents bought one, but rarely took pictures. There are a few of me as a baby, a gap of a few years, and a few more from my elementary school days.
 
When my mother died, I inherited the scuffed leather photo albums, pictures yellowing under acetate, that had been gathering dust in her bookcase. Now, they’re in a box under my desk along with more personal history – journals, notebooks, old letters, and other memorabilia.
 
As an only child, I’m always alone in those early pictures. Most were taken behind our house on Capitol Hill and might be seen as a posed series because of their similarity – all taken against the hedge backdrop in a corner of our backyard.
 
In one photo I’m dressed as a cowboy with chaps and sheepskin vest, six-guns, boots, and a cowboy hat. In another I’m a soldier with a helmet and rifle and yet another shows me in a baseball uniform with long socks and a choked-up bat. read more