Showing posts from 2011

Lucky Woman

On two occasions I've had the rare -- but oh so wonderful -- experience of being on safari with no other folks sharing the safari vehicle.  This may not sound like such a big deal so first let me explain the best and the worst of strangers in closed spaces.

The best of stranger safari companions come from Australia.  I've experienced this ilk twice -- once at Chief's Camp in Botswana (more about those folks in a bit) and once at Serengeti under Canvas in Tanzania last year.  Julia (my niece) and I had just landed at a bush airstrip where we shared cookies and cakes while waiting for our Aussie jeep mates.  Trevor, Louise, and Liz arrived and we were off to the camp in a burst of dust.  Given the prevalence of rather large guns at the airstrip (something about the government picking up taxes?!?!), I was quite glad to get going.  We chatted amiably as our driver took the leisurely route back to the camp.  Treating us to cheetahs, vultures, and assorted small sightings on a …

Short Burst: Fall in Central Park

It's been an odd fall here in the North East weather wise.  There was a freak snowstorm the last weekend of October and the weather has been unseasonably warm these last couple of weeks.  We seem to have finally turned the corner into crisper weather -- the kind of weather that invites curling up in an overheated apartment (this is NYC after all) with a good book and a cup of tea.

Despite the up and down weather, the colors in the park have been nothing short of spectacular, drawing out the leaf peeping paparazzi in droves.   Cameras and cell phones of all sizes have been clicking away as we each sought to capture that perfect fall picture.

I don't know if these are perfect fall pictures but they remind me of some lovely 2011 walks in my back yard.




Island of Misfit Toys

Recently, I changed my blogger moniker to Moonracer and that is not because of Moon Racer the transformer (who only appeared once in the animated series and then underwent a name change due to some trademark issues when she got to the toy stage).  Think small female warrior for that character.

No, the inspiration came from a book by Brad Thor (Full Black) where one of the characters (a spy who is also a dwarf) asked for Moonracer to be his code name because of King Moonracer on the Island of Misfit Toys.  Kudos to Brad Thor for a brilliant code name that suited the character (as an aside, the book is a good, fast read if you like spy novels).  The name resonated and when it come to blogging (since I am not building a brand here given that I've done just about everything wrong on that front), it seemed like a good choice -- at least for the time being.

I am currently home on a rainy night that follows a period of excessively warm weather for this time of year.  For once, I remembe…

Final Resting Spots

I just spent the day on an expedition to put plants on the graves of my grandparents, aunt, and father.  They are buried in Washington, CT in a lovely cemetery just before you hit the Washington, Depot.  Their graves  look out over the rolling hills of Litchfield county and it's a quiet spot to lay one's weary head after a life well-lived.

It's always a little jarring to see my father's headstone.  For three reasons.  First, my mother -- ever the thrifty one -- had her name and birth date engraved on the headstone when it was carved for my father.  But there she was, sitting in the front seat of the big Dodge SUV that I had rented, alive and kicking.  The second reason is that on the back of the headstone she engraved the names of the kids that they had brought into this world.  There we are -- my sister Mary, my brothers JT and Peter, and me Nancy.  And then, at the very top of the list is Baby Boy -- my still born older brother.  I know she put us in birth order bu…

Short Burst: Golden Ginkgoes

The ginkgoes of New York have turned to gold -- right on schedule despite the freak snow storm that painted the city white at the end of October.  

Ginkgoes have been around for 7 million years -- surviving the ice age and more recently the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.  Legend has it that Buddhist monks in China saved them from extinction and that ginkgoes were a favorite tree of Frank Lloyd Wright.   There are those who hate the smell of the female ginkgo (yes, there are male and female ginkgoes) -- it emanates from the seed shells and has caused some cities to eradicate  their ginkgo trees or spray the trees as Washington, DC did this past spring in order to reduce the odor.

It's sad to think that we've chopped down trees because we don't like the way they smell.  That stands in stark contrast to those monks who nourished and planted the species in their gardens.  Says something about our disposable culture.  
Fall is a magical time of year in New York -- a city th…

Short Burst: October Snow

There was a rare snowstorm on October 29th -- a nor'easter with lots of wet snow.  Enough wet snow to take out 1,000 trees in New York's Central Park and leave swaths of the northeast without power for days.  In Farmington, CT -- where my Mom now lives -- the power is still out.  Her assisted living facility has two generators going and reports that all residents are doing OK.

I took a short stroll in Central Park during the height of the storm.  I could hear the crack of the trees as branches big and small snapped off.  It felt a bit like I was a storm chaser -- you know those people who chase tornadoes across the mid-West -- except there was no speeding car or fancy equipment.  Just me, other walkers, and some intrepid runners making our way through a quiet Central Park.  Good to know I wasn't the only idiot who thought a jaunt in the park as branches were falling was a good thing.
The storm didn't pile much snow on the Park (about 3 inches I think) but it was a wet…

Short Burst: Beach Umbrellas

On the morning after the October 2011 N'Easter, it only seems fitting to be thinking about warmer climes and more specifically about beach umbrellas and the endless search for shade.  I love the beach but I am of a certain complexion (fair) and shade ranks high on my list of requirements when traveling to the beach or sitting by the pool.  Things can get pretty ugly on the shade circuit.  Particularly when there is a distinct lack of umbrellas -- NONE -- as was the case at the large pool at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii.   The resort has umbrellas and shade chaises by its man-made lagoon but get there VERY early if you want to score one of those.   For such a large resort -- clearly not enough shade to go around.

Fortunately, the resort will run you over to the Marriott which sits on the Anaeho'omalu Bay beach. A lovely, quiet spot with chaises, a gentle surf (at least in June), and enough shade to go around.  A great place to relax, read a book, and…

Short Burst: Mad about Fall Ginkgoes

I love writing and sinking my teeth into a post and letting the words carry me where they may.  This results in longer posts (it's like I'm channeling Charles Dickens and getting paid by the word).   For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to try writing in short bursts about something that's on my mind.

It's the last week in October and I'm aflutter with anticipation -- the ginkgos that dot the streets of NY and Central Park have already begun to turn and these next two weekends should mark that glorious time of year when green turns to yellow and leaves start to flutter gently to the ground.  It's among my favorite times of year in NYC.  Looking forward to a ramble in Central Park with my camera on Sunday -- one among many who are stalking the vibrant colors.  The only snag in the plan may be the wet snow and rain forecast for Saturday.  
A smattering from Octobers past.