Sunday, April 22, 2007


When I was a kid,
my dad took me on vacations. I had the first airplane ride of my memory with him...and the second, third, and fourth. Actually, my mother never ventured outside of New Jersey in my memory until I became an adult and she went to San Francisco on a sort of work convention. I don't know how she got there.

With my dad and wife number 2, I went to Expo '68, Bermuda, and Aruba and Curacao. He explained the workings of the wings, gave me chewing gum for the air pressure, and introduced me to Eastern Airlines version of food. We didn't know about terrorists blowing up airplanes back then. I don't remember if we knew about airplanes getting hijacked-- well if we did, they were getting hijacked from far away places to other far away places. We did know about the Bermuda triangle though and his rational explanations countered the rather irrational ones which were popular among the fearful maternal relations.

Flying became no big deal.

I do remember the seven suitcases that my dad and wife #2 packed for seven days in Bermuda and his willingness to pay the extra surcharges. The suitcases were full of clothes [not books, as husband's and mine tend toward] and there was no way possible that those clothes could be thinned out.

Here I sit in a fancy hotel in the financial district of San Francisco [my ex travel agent hates me and I hate her] with my singular pair of pants that zip off into shorts, two sets of undies, the zip-up outer shirt, the long-sleeve shirt and the short-sleeve shirt drip drying in the bathroom. Oh yes, and two out of three pairs of socks. These particular clothes supposedly dry within four hours. Some of them do. For the rest, there is always the blow dryer in the morning.

The two bathing suits and the nightshirt/cover up have not had to be washed yet. And I keep sending home the souvenirs. I've already mailed home one jacket [weather is too hot here], a bunch of rocks from Illinois, a railroad fan magazine, a couple of tee shirts from Lou's Diner in Chicago. I have one paperback acquired in Denver and another railroad fan magazine and the Amtrak hat and the scarf with the trains on it set aside for the next package home.

Big Ed told me "That doesn't sound like enough clothes" when I told him what I was planning to do about clothing. Every time I am lugging my singular suitcase and singular bag containing my c-pap machine, I am glad glad glad that I didn't take any more clothing than I did.

When I get to Phoenix, I can buy some nice cotton clothing for my five days there and then mail them back home too. And before I leave Sedona for the Phoenix airport, I will be mailing home my water sandals, bathing suits, and my supposedly dries in four hours clothes too. Now that is traveling light.

sapphoq on life

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I had a rocking horse. It was brown [plastic like material] and set with springs on a frame.
I liked it.

sapphoq on life

Monday, April 09, 2007


My mother insisted that the living room ceiling be painted black. I have no idea why. She had a thing for "smoked glass" also and installed some of the stick-on variety.

All of the ceilings [except for that one] I have known have been painted white if they were painted.

We recently had the attic refinished and had a drop ceiling installed-- also white.

I've never known a ceiling fan in any of the places I have lived but that is about to change. I'm getting one installed on the front porch.

sapphoq on life

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


When I was a little kid, I had a red trike. I never got one of them plastic Hot Wheelies nor would I have wanted to. [What I wanted was a wooden race car that I built myself but I never did convince any of the parents that girls did that sort of thing. When I got older though, my dad took me to the public model car tracks where we raced a sky blue jalopy against the model cars of other kids there]. The red trike served me well enough. I liked to ride it from the back fender, pushing with one foot. That red tricycle rusted out in the middle with the help of a severe rainstorm one Friday night.

I graduated to a red scooter, roller skates, and one of them bikes with the banana seats and the zouped up handle bars-- the thing was mango and white--, and ice skating lessons. Unlike here, kids didn't ride their bikes downhill in the middle of snowstorms in my neighborhood.

In the winter, we would head for the pond or ice skating rink. Thanks to the lessons provided by my dad, I was able to do crossovers, skate backwards three ways, and "shoot the duck." Ice skating lessons transferred into solid performance on the wooden roller skating rink. I was good enough at ice skating and at roller skating to have fun. I was not self-conscious when I got out there with the crowds and the organ music and the swirling lights.

And I didn't have to depend upon the grownups for rides to and from. Although usually provided by a parent of some friend or another, I was capable of boarding a bus if the place I wanted to get to was too far to walk to or bike to. My friends weren't familiar with the ins and outs of public transportation. That left them in the position of begging for rides. I didn't have to beg. If I wanted to go somewhere and no one was around to take me, I went anyway.

As winter weather broke every year, out came the bicycle, street skates, scooter, and new sneakers. I liked the feeling of movement and the slickness of wheels against the broken-up slate sidewalk up the block. Copying the older kids, I quickly taught myself how to ride the bicycle with "no hands." I rode [and walked] all over. I could walk for five miles for the sheer joy of it, stop for a snack, and then turn around and walk home. A bike was faster and got me to places that I could not walk to and to where there were no buses or subways.

I could ride for miles and frequently did. The scooter and the roller skates did not lend themselves to long distances, but the bike [and my feet] did. I discovered that my mother and step-father were not terribly observant people. I didn't always tell them where I was off to, especially if I knew they would object. They assumed I was riding or walking around the neighborhood instead of setting off for someplace five miles away. I was real good at knowing how to get places.

My mother was willing for me to take a bus because then she didn't have to drive me all over. My dad took it to the next level. Dad paid a bit more attention to my doings. He provided the experiences necessary so I could develop self-efficacy. Dad took me to fancy restaurants and taught me how to eat with finesse. Dad made sure I got ice skating lessons. Trouble in spelling got me an extra workbook and time learning the whys behind the spelling rules of words. When a gym semester spent bowling was quickly proving itself to be a personal disaster, Dad took me to the bowling alley and I did improve.
When the high school driver's education instructor proved herself not to have what it took to teach me how to drive, Dad arranged for the loaners of various sizes of cars and taught me himself.

My dad also had the joy of motion. He recognized in me that I had it too. He also knew I had a certain streak of independence and fostered it. Dad spent his own time alone, comfortable in his own company. He went on vacations alone and downhill skiing alone. He encouraged me to strike out on my own when traveling companions could not be found. I learned from him how to savor the delight of my own company, how to plan a trip, how to be alone in public places, how to strike up a light conversation with an interesting stranger, how to do my own thing. I learned that I could be happy seeing a movie alone or going out to dinner alone.

It was my dad and only my dad who proclaimed to me that I was [and still am] "stubborn like the Calabrese." He demonstrated the art of sociability while still permitting me to keep my own counsel and opinions about what other people were doing and why. Dad didn't hesitate to tell me when what someone was doing [including when what I was doing] was wrong. There was no "subjective" wishy-washy, fake version of reality to exist in. He taught me to take pride in my authentic self, family, and country. We visited the cemetery where his parents are buried, visited family, visited historical sites and museums that told the story of our great country.

Dad also taught me survival rules. Within that collection of rules were things like, "If you are in the water and do not know which way is up, put your hands over your head," and, "If the house you are in is burning, get out." Later on, he added other things like how to get away from an irritating stranger in a bar and how to carry money safely. He was and is very astute. He exposed me to lots of different people, places, and things. I learned what interested me and what I liked. Like my dad, I became self-directed and a life-long learner.

The love of motion stayed with me through the years. When I decided to move down south and my mother was moaning about not ever getting to see the grandchildren [that I never presented her with], my dad told me, "Maybe something really good will happen there too! You won't know if you don't go!" Risk-taking is risky. If I want something different, I gotta do something different. And yes, sometimes even now, when I gotta go I gotta go. A former bartender described me as a butterfly that needs to be free. My p.c. doc informed my fiance who was about-to-turn-husband some years ago that I "certainly [do] march to the beat of [my] own drum." And there is something in all of that. I am me. I am a traveler at heart. I have a cross-country trip planned, tickets bought and reservations made. I am excited about it, confident that I will be able to negotiate around new places with the same facility I've always had.

Go for the gusto! sapphoq on life

P.S. Brain damage [or the more sterile sounding "traumatic brain injury"] is no excuse to sit home and not have a life. Neither is any other condition or lack of condition an excuse not to have a life.