Normalcy

It was this week a year ago that Tony and I and our dear friends were in Hawaii looking forward to a vacation we planned a year before. I was on crutches but felt that this vacation would not be dampened by my handicap. Little did I know that would be the least of my worries. While the broadcast news announced closures of businesses, borders and any form of social contact, we looked at each other thinking we might be in the Twilight Zone. Idealistically, we believed this would be over soon. We just had to get home, back to Kansas you might say, and the great and powerful Oz would set things right. Then came the lockdown.

I could not think of the future because there was only today. I took up nesting habits like frequently cleaning closets, doing Google searches of what I don’t know and cooking recipes I saved but never made. Yet, we have come a long way. A year ago, I couldn’t find toilet paper or cleaning supplies. A year ago, I was skeptical of leaving the house to go food shopping yet it was my only diversion from my isolated life. I saw my kids and grandkids through weekly Zoom happy hours. The summer brought temporary relief which made it even harder to accept the second wave and to hibernate again this time in the darkness and cold of winter.

Now, as this isolation is peeling back layer by layer, I realize how I’ve come to be more in touch with myself. Having spent most of my adult life running from one task to another, I learned to slow down and take in what is right in front of me. I am lucky to have been able to spend sometime with my children and grandkids. I am so grateful to my daughter who cared for me during a difficult health stage (not COVID related). My sons also had a big part in my recovery taking time from their work to be with me. And I can’t forget Tony. They are my number one nucleus.

I also have a nucleus of good friends. They have kept me sane when I had down moments where I retreated into my cocoon. They have pulled me out and made me realized how much I really do want to belong. I’m lucky and delighted they are in my life. I have become more patient with waiting on lines, ordering in advance and losing my arrogant New York City attitude.

Having survived a sub-cold winter skiing, snowshoeing and x-country skiing, I want to be able to shed my coat and visit my daughter in Florida. I want to see people’s faces and smiles without a mask. I want to go to a concert or Broadway play. And above all, I want to travel internationally without quarantining.

Next week, Tony and I will be getting our second vaccine. I am seeing my family for Easter. I am cautiously dreaming about that trip to the lake district of Italy that was postponed from last year. To make up for lost time, I may be traveling every month as soon as they open the borders. I know the vaccine does not make us invincible , but I am cautiously optimistic. The good I have learned I will keep as my new normal and shed what doesn’t feel right anymore. I feel better already.

Christmas Past, Present and Future

MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL

My family celebrated Christmas Day. My memories of Christmas Eve was that it was a work day for the main event. My mother would cook be up all night in preparation for our guests. Christmas day started out with my father offering our company a “high ball” cocktail. I have no idea what that concoction was but it seemed to be the drink of the time. Then came the appetizer portion which was usually an array of Armenian goodies that were always made on special occasions and took half a day to prepare. Grapeleaves, spinach pies, lahmajun (meat pies) and homemade string cheese appeared along with dried fruit and pistachios. Somehow, we managed to find room for the main meal which most likely was a stuffed turkey and sides. I still don’t know how my mother managed to cook everything all by herself. The men of the house were not required to help. I might have been too young but maybe she, like her daughter, was a control freak who would not ask for help. I’m guessing the later.

Truthfully, I can’t recall exactly what we ate as all my brother and I cared about was opening our gifts. My father had this rule that gifts were not to be opened until after Christmas dinner was done and dishes were cleared. That was around 5 pm. Christmas was almost over. I would just stare at the gifts under the tree, not caring about what I was eating just hoping the guests would have pity on me and eat fast.

It wasn’t until I met my husband that I realized that everyone in the world opened their gifts either Christmas Eve after midnight or Christmas morning. That revelation comes under the heading of what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you. The scene at Tony’s house was very different. It was a festive holiday that lasted two days with people coming Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There were five children in the house so they were never invited anywhere else. In the years when Tony’s grandmother was alive, she would make the dinner. After she passed, the task was left to my mother-in-law. She and my father-in-law worked nights at the printing plant and couldn’t leave the job on Christmas Eve until around 6 pm. The meal didn’t even start being prepared until 7 pm and would be served at around 11 pm. Their meal consisted of a pasta dish and fish – you know that seven fishes thing. But they would be opening gifts as early as 12:01 am on Christmas Eve.

The traditions were merged after Tony and I married. First it was Christmas Eve with his family and Christmas Day with mine. We opened gifts Christmas Eve and the children on Christmas Day. The Eve was celebrated at a friend’s home and Christmas Day at our house with family. Then my youngest son was born Christmas Eve. An early Christmas gift for sure. He was suppose to be born in February but this kid wasn’t missing Christmas so he came eight weeks earlier. Luckily he didn’t have to be incubated and after three weeks, came home. He grew to be a healthy, strong man turning 30 this year.

Happy 30th Thomas

This year, I decided the Christmas decorations I collected during their childhood belong to them. Their first Christmas balls, Hallmark decorations depicting their interests – Anthony – hockey & baseball figures, Thomas – his football career and Star Wars, Christine – dance interest and Barbie. I gave it to them this year to adorn their own trees and remind them of their Christmases gone by.

Now, I look forward to decorated our tree with memorabilia of trips I have taken and hopefully to be taken. So for now, we will look forward to a year where vaccinations overcome the fear we have struggled with all year long.

Merry Christmas One and All

If Only it was 1969

It is July and we are still going through restrictions. I realized early on that this pandemic would not go away too soon. But after 5+ months the reality is I have lost a full year of my life at a point of my existence where my time is precious.

I try not to be melodramatic. I lived with parents who went through persecution at the hands of the Ottoman Turks who committed genocide during and after World War I. I wish there was a campaign that “Armenian lives mattered” then.  Europeans went through World War II suffering at the hands of the Nazis for over five years. I am complaining that 5 months of standing 6 feet away from anyone and wearing a mask that fogs up my glasses is unbearable.

My parents were young when they went through their ordeal. My father was 16, my mother at 5. They were forced to leave their homes to find a new life in a place they did not know and with nothing.  I have been conditioned to remember their plight and should feel lucky that I am still in my comfortable home, not hungry and not sick.

I am one year away from turning 70 and my plans for this year are completely in the toilet. No travel, no concerts, no sports games, no social gatherings. This is the worst experience I’ve ever gone through yet it doesn’t compare to what my parents went through and for a lot longer. I try and be reasonable but truthfully, I’m not.

I feel for the kids who are deprived of the special events of their senior year – no prom, no field trips, no project graduation, no graduation ceremony.  Yet they are young and they have their major years of life ahead of them. This will be a piece of conversation in their life like 9/11 was for me.

If I wasn’t 69, I don’t think I would feel like my biological clock was ticking my best years away. I don’t want to be the one who constantly complains when I have more than most. Yet if I was not 69, I would say I had recovery time. I can only hope I remain healthy and outlast this virus.

Some good things:

I have found enjoyment in the new normal. I saved a bunch of money not going out to dinner or traveling. This will only add to my reserve for next year’s budget. I returned to bicycling around the neighborhood and found some beautiful spots to hike.  I learned and love playing pickle ball. I’m not daring but this old dog has learned some new tricks.

I have a small group of friends that I have socialized with since the beginning of this pandemic. We do not go inside each other’s homes so they don’t know that I still have some Christmas decorations up. We keep socially distance when we are together. I introduced a game. Before we get together, we submit to one of us a playlist of 5 songs with a theme – five songs from our favorite album, or five songs from our favorite concerts,  or five songs with a state or country name, etc. Then we play the list and guess who picked the song. It gets you talking about something other than coronavirus.

Zoom has allowed me to participate in meetings that use to require me to be away from home too long and go on even longer. I have become a germaphobic cleaning shopping carts with antiseptic and  washing fruit and vegetables with Dawn dishwashing liquid as soon as I bring them home. I wash my hands while singing Happy Birthday.

It is hard to bring back what life was like before all this. I know I have developed new standards of cleanliness and socialization. There has to be a new normalcy that incorporates the good part of the new along with some of the old. I worry what will happen when November comes and it is too cold to sit outside. I hope restaurants will invest in heating lamps like they did tents.

After their ordeal, my parents found a new normal. They came to America had me and my brother and bought a house. They were not persecuted or had bombs flying above them. They lived a comfortable life.

I expect the rest of 2020 is not what I planned but I hope me and my loved ones will be comfortable and find a new normalcy.

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Sheltered in Place or How to Win the War

IMG_1154Upon completing the third week of Sheltering in Place  I’m remembering what it felt like after 9/11 (I was in the building connected to Tower 1). The attack came on a Tuesday and I spent the rest of the week home unable to think of my job or anything that involved a normal routine. I exchanged escape stories with my co-workers by phone. “The terrorist will strike again”, I was told, “so be afraid, be very afraid”. I was afraid for a time. Little by little, we came to trust the city again and ventured into our everyday lives but with more caution and more aware of our surroundings. If I see something, I say something.

I know this pandemic will pass. It will leave behind a change in our lifestyle. Maybe simpler or I may always wipe down my groceries. But I am encouraged. I’ve noticed people being friendlier. I walk around the neighborhood and pass people I don’t know and am greeted with a smile, a wave or conversations with six degrees of separation.

Nevertheless, Tony and I have accept our humble way of life looking forward to one day feeling safe again.  Here are some of the popular ways we entertain ourselves with commentary:

  • Cooking. I made Matzo Ball Soup – Although I am not Jewish, this soup is rumored to indiscriminately cure all illnesses. I believe.
  • File drawer cleaning – I keep everything for better or worse. Looking back on receipts of past furniture purchases, I can’t believe I paid for things that ended up at my garage sales for a fraction of the price I paid.
  • TV Series  – I’ve been looking for a series that engages me as Game of Thrones did. It has been a challenge unfulfilled. Here are some of the ones we tried. Don’t expect any “Little House on the Prairie” types.
    • Breaking Bad – Everyone told me it was great. The story of a middle class schnook who goes to the dark side when he finds out he is terminally ill. He uses his chemistry skills to develop his version of an estate plan by partnering up with a drug dealer. Story and acting are A+ if you are willing to deal with the drug scene. Personally, I’m not.
    • Tiger King. An ugly, real life series about Joe Exotic (self-named), a psychotic tiger lover who runs a tiger zoo in Oklahoma and his controversial brawl with Carol Baskin whose life’s ambition is to shut Exotic down and destroy his zoo. In the first episode he is shooting mannequins he calls Carol. At this time, Exotic is in jail for attempting to hire a hit man to kill Baskin. The big question is did Baskin kill her first husband. It is menacingly deranged but entertaining in a weird way. I only saw episode one but may go back.
    • Killing Eve About a sociopathic, ruthless Russian assassin who is hunted by Eve, a British spy (played by Sandra Oh). The characters are physiologically engaging with sarcastic humor. I liked it. Season 3 starts this Sunday, April 12.

Chain emails have resurfaced. Lately, I have received several emails from people who have asked me to pass along to at least eight others a recipe, a poem or some form of inspiration. Please note, I am truly flattered to be included on your list but I have nothing that could inspire anyone let alone come up with eight people. You do not want me on your list.

I do, though appreciate the emails with positive thoughts and videos. I don’t know where you find these sentiments but if they do not require me to do anything other than read them, I’m good.

As 9/11 taught us to be more aware of our surroundings, maybe this catastrophe has taught us to adapted to a simpler way of life. My county is number five in the state of NY of coronavirus cases. The safety net is broken. We truly are all in this together and this is a war I intend to win.

Life Then and Now

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Empty flight from Hawaii makes for happy us

We are all under the same mandate. Don’t go out, keep your social distance, wash, wash wash your hands. It is a different yet strange world and for sure a different life. I am adapting. So far, it isn’t that hard when you are on crutches with a fractured pelvis – I fell skiing the beginning of March and have limited mobility.  I don’t mean to be insensitive, but I may be the only person on the planet whose timing of this injury in conjunction with the pandemic may have worked in my favor. I am forced to do what I am mandated to do – stay home, suck it up and dream of better times in the future (whenever that may be).

Life before pandemic –  On March 12, I boarded a plane for a 12 day vacation in Hawaii that was planned way before anyone knew what a pandemic or coronavirus was. I  must now refer to our as National Lampoon’s Hawaii Vacation. Lousy weather was only part of it. News of the coronavirus hung over our every waking thought and that of our adult children whose phone calls reduced us to adolescents on spring break. Since, as they claimed, were raised by irresponsible baby-booming hippies, they now understand why they have such emotional instability (they do?).  We did succumbed to the warnings and left 5 days earlier than planned. I leave behind the memory of Hawaii’s supposed beautiful landscape (which I never saw due to the terrible weather) and its national cuisine of fish tacos that I hope never to experience again, Mahalo.

I have succumbed to stealing from hotels – I apologize Marriott, I stole all the extra rolls of toilet paper from the condo in Kauai hoping that the TSA inspector would not steal them from my luggage. They didn’t.

Food shopping reminds me of my youth – When we landed, we immediately headed to the grocery store, not knowing what I would find but hoping it would not be something out of a basket from the Food Network show “Chopped”. What I found was aisles full of fresh veggies and fruit but nothing in the frozen foods or cleaning supply sections. I’m thinking I should have paid more attention when in 6th grade I was told to go to the basement and cover my head and that will protect me under a nuclear attack. Everyone had their list of supplies that were stored in the basement shelter that was supposed to last until the fallout siren sounded that it was all clear. I believe that would have been within a week of the blast. I may never see bleach or hand sanitizer again.

It makes me laugh – I have been entertained by people putting up posts that make me laugh while reminding me of what life before hand sanitizers was like. Such as, if you have ever been in the bathroom of CBGB, you are immune to the coronavirus:

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If only I knew – I wish I had bought stock in companies manufacturing bleach, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer. It is most likely the only stock that has seen a rise in the last two months. I wonder if I should apply for a job at Amazon.

TV sucks – My husband and I have spent the last two weeks surfing channels and have come up with nothing worth passing on. We are definitely paying too much for cable when our go-to shows are reruns of Seinfeld and The Honeymooners.

I have come to realize that at some point, the unsung are the heroes. All those healthcare professionals, grocery store workers, delivery people and anyone else on the frontline of this pandemic. I pray for your health and commend you for being brave. Be safe.

 

 

 

 

 

Woodstock then and now

Woodstock posterI was 18 years old and had just finished high school. I worked part-time at this handbag company in a New Jersey town as their afternoon receptionist. That was all I did at 18 – school, work. I had two very close friends and both of who moved out of the state at the end of their junior year. Who moves before senior year! At that point, everyone already had their established group of friends.  Being on the shy side, it was a lonely time for me but I did make one friend at work, Linda. She was maybe two years older than me and we connected. And then she said, “Do you want to go with me to this concert in upstate NY in August?” And I said sure. And my mother and father said sure. I always thought they didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing, but I think they let me go because they knew I wasn’t doing anything else with anyone else. And they liked Linda.

The rest as they say is history. Fifty years ago, Linda and I rode up with a guy friend she knew in his VW van with two other girls. We drove on, stuck in traffic but got to the concert site and realized quickly that we were spending the weekend in the van. We had a hotel room but never got to it. Unprepared with food, people camping out gave us what they could spare to eat and somehow we managed not to starve. I was a bit of a princess then (okay I still am) so I was afraid of eating anything I didn’t know from where it came. Somehow I didn’t die of malnutrition or of the cold nights of upstate NY. I thanked my mother that whole weekend for secretly stuffing that ski sweater in my bag.

Music? Not sure who I saw the first two days as I just heard singing, guitars and drumming and announcements for people to get off the scaffolding. It was dark and I wasn’t paying attention. It rained a lot – not the best conditions for an outdoor concert which kept getting delayed because of the rain. But then Sunday morning came and we had high hopes of finally seeing the concert. The day opened with sun and Joe Cocker. But the concert gods were not with us. After his act, the heavens opened up again and the fans commenced with their mudslide races. We gave up and decided to pack it in and head home.

Now, 50 years later my reflection of that weekend was not all about the music at all. It might have been if I had spent more time at the venue, but I didn’t. My recollections were mostly about being with people I didn’t know who were kind and helped us out. As I said, I was a shy kid with very few friends. Woodstock made me feel like I belonged somewhere. In later years, it was the thing that made me cool to my kids and their friends. I was the mother who went to Woodstock.

My memories were not recorded on film or video or with souvenir sweatshirts or other apparel.  There wasn’t anything like that then. The world wasn’t smart enough in 1969 to realize the potential of making money with marketing gimmicks. I held on to the only items that reminded me of my attending Woodstock – two of my three-day tickets and the ski sweater that my mother packed to  keep me warm when I most needed it.

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The Modern Side of Packing

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

I know it has been a while since my last post. I’d like to say I have been busy but the truth is, I couldn’t find much that inspired me to write or find a topic that would interest anyone. I blame it on winter. It is getting harder and harder to wake up in the mornings to the expectation of another cold, bleak day. It freezes the brain or at least it does mine. The only redemption I felt was that in checking out the sites of my other bloggers I realized many of them also suffered a dry spell this winter. Like pushing a button, we all awoke from hibernation almost simultaneously.

So today I am writing about my preparation for an upcoming trip to France. It will start in Paris (of course) after which we hop a plane to Marseille where we board a cruise along the Rhone. Exciting, yes but the packing part still has me befuddled. My preparations always result in packing more for evening wear with too many shoes that are pretty but not comfortable to wear for touring or they are of a color other than black which works with an outfit that I only wear once. But now in light of the heavy fees associated with baggage, I am forced to control my impulse to travel with all my favorite footwear. I should consider Birkenstocks but I just can’t.

As I look through my closet for appropriate travel wear, I get that the problem is that my wardrobe is based on every day living – not for plane rides, sightseeing, bus trips, and living out of a suitcase. It is hard to minimize my life even for a week in a 28″ Samsonite. But then I saw a movie that made me realize that NASA inspired me to condense my luggage.

I recently saw the movie “First Man” about Neil Armstrong and the first space mission to the moon. While the mission itself was historical, I noticed something that made me understand the importance of the space program.

The astronauts were communicating from their space ship light years from earth to the command center at the Kennedy Space Center. That was 50 years ago and at least 25 years before cell phones. There wasn’t much room in those space capsules so these brilliant engineers developed equipment that fit. Hence personal computers were invented as was the microwave, freeze drying foods and a host of other modern conveniences.

If NASA can fit all this in a tiny space capsule, it is embarrassing to think I can’t pack for a one week vacation without paying extra for overweight luggage. So I am tackling the luggage with a new sense of direction. I am checking weather forecasts and believing them. No colored shoes, no summery dresses, no wear-it-only-once outfits. I have wasted enough money on trips buying clothes because I was freezing (San Francisco), or carrying too many outfits that were not worn (Sicily). I will also curtail the impulse to buy clothes in the country I am in which look great there but out of place everywhere else (Norway). I’ll let you know how this goes.

Christmas Traditions Old and New

My Decembers were always filled with shopping for the perfect gift, enjoying local parties and sites of New York and creating the perfect Christmas card. I often say, I don’t know how I worked full time and did all of the above plus cooked Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinner. While I objected to hosting both holidays, I recently found out my kids have fond memories of those dinners and have created their own tradition by replicated mine. They cut down the tree, cook fish on the eve and play Christmas songs by Mitch Miller (not one of my favorite singers but never the less, it is a memory).

This year, I am turning the reign of Christmas day to my son Anthony and his family to host the dinner. I am thrilled. That leaves only the tasks of finding the perfect gift, creating the card, taking trips to NY and seeing my friends at parties. Shopping trips usually ends up with me buying things for myself. I always finding the perfect gift for me. Online shopping is very specific. You have to know what you want before you start. I never do

Then there is the fun stuff – going to the parties and New York City.  Christmas is the time to see the neighbors before they either hibernate for the winter or take off to warmer weather. I love the community parties as they do not require a long drive and I’m home safe within minutes.

It’s not Christmas without going to NYC. Whether it is just to see the tree or take on a new experience, it is required. I’m proud that this year’s tree came from Newburgh in my Orange County, NY. It should be mandated that the tree always come from some where in NY State.

This year’s new NY experience was on a self-invented pub crawl. Not to be confuse with that sophomoric, drunken incident called SantaCon, my pub crawl has purpose and is a finer way of touring Christmas in the city. It started downtown at Fraunces Tavern, the oldest tavern in NYC and where Washington said goodby to his troops. Every Sunday, a trio play Irish music. I’m a sucker for the fiddle. Next stop was Oscar Wilde’s Tavern. Fittingly located on the former site of  NYC’s Bureau of Prohibition, the bar made the cut because of its extensive Victorian Christmas decor. The crawl ended at one of my favorite places, the Bryant Park Grill. Not to be missed is the Christmas market in the park. The trick to a pub crawl is to have just one drink at each place and walk a lot in-between.

And finally, my tradition of writing cards. I agonize over having the perfect photo of the whole family. This year, I was lucky that my daughter Christine came up from Florida and I was able to get us all together for the shot. The second challenge was getting my two-year old grandson to a) sit still for the picture and b) smile. His father, Anthony, came up with the idea of putting a silly toy on top of the camera which made us all smile – brilliant! Thanks to my son Thomas for his photography talent and behold the 2018 Christmas Card!

Family 2018

Merry Christmas to all with peace love and happiness in 2019!!

Time and Money

Back when I first started blogging, I had a full time job, was in college studying for my degree, living with my patient and wonderful husband and three adult children which, and they will not argue this, was a crazy sometimes and hair raising others. Parenting never ends. Now I am retired and you would think I would have all the time in the world. Strangely, I find that my time is more limited than it was then.

My husband and I had dinner last week with dear friends who announced they were retiring in six months. The husband, however is fearing the day he wakes up without the structure of the job. I get it. The unknown is frightening, however I reminded him of how nice it is going to feel when next year the snow storm we had last Thursday where commutes were in the double digits will just mean he can sit by the fire longer with his glass of wine.

Aside from watching the morning news from my nice warm bed with reports on the daily accidents on Rte 80 with a 5 mile backup , I had to really think, just what do I do with my time. I go to the gym, play mahjong, and cook. Occasionally, I am a lady who lunches. While that sounds like my days are spent in fuzzy slippers and an oversized bathrobe, I truly do have a job albeit not a salaried one but I have the convenience of working from home.

I manage our fixed income budget to insure I can afford those clothes, shoes and most of all, our trips. Gone are the days where I must seek approval for additional funds from a penny pinching manager when a project went over-budget. Now I (and my husband) are the pinchers of pennies.

I am the technical support specialist for all our computers, iPhones and printer. Last week when installing an update on my Mac, the screen went black and would not restart. After a brief but very emotional hissy fit, I called Apple who told me to press “shift” and the power button and miraculously, the screen came to life. I have learned to fix these technological issues by the seat of my pants and some googling.

And I am the travel agent for our weekday getaways, long cruises and all other trips. It was nice having a travel agent both at work and personally who found the hotels, booked the flights and recommended tours. Now I open credit cards as often as I can with bonus points so I don’t have to pay for flights and hotels. Most recently, I booked a hotel stay in Paris and round trip flights to Greece all with points. There is a whole industry of people who work these credit cards with millions of points under their belt. Start with the Points Guy. It’s a good beginners site.

While there is no paycheck coming every week, I have made it my mission to look for ways of doing what I want within my budget. More savings, more trips, another dress. It’s my job, and I love it. Life is good.

Autumn Hikes in NY State

Retirement has been good to me. I have found very little time to ponder any regrets or short comings even though they exist somewhere in the back of my mind. I do not have a bucket or a list for the bucket. My actions are somewhat calculated based on opportunities. It seems to work as I have trips planned through 2019 and two-day sprints planned for the coming months. You can do that when you don’t have to plan around your co-works or beg for an additional day to recover from jet lag.

So now I can finally enjoy each season doing whatever I want wherever I want or can afford. It is autumn, my favorite season. I voted it my favorite for these reasons: I don’t have to suck in my stomach in a bathing suit, I look best in fall colors, and I love cooking soups and stews. Plus, I live in upstate New York which is built for autumn with lots of hiking trails with beautiful scenery and, if I time it right, with pretty colored trees.

In the last months, I’ve experienced some great trails that have challenged my sure-footedness and given me back some great vistas. The first hike this season was called Undercliff/Overcliff. Don’t get scared by the photo in the link showing someone climbing up a rocky incline. That is not what you will do. The trail is easy with a straight run along the edge of the cliff. It’s about 5 miles of level ground.

Next is a trail my friend turned me on to within the Schunnemunk State Park. (Don’t you want to know Mr. Schunnemunk to find out who this guy with such a funny name.) Not far from Woodbury Common, it is a great trail with challenging sections that take you up a rocky slope. I have to admit, I chickened out on the last 10 feet before reaching the summit at the top and headed back down. I somewhat regret it but not like I regret turning down concert tickets to see George Harrison in the concert for Bangladash.

A few days later, I enjoyed a hike in Bergen County, NJ near where I use to live and work for many years yet never hiked it.  It helped that it was a sunny day, yet windy, which made the Ramapo Valley Reservation look picturesque and the cold wind made it challenging.

Tomorrow, Tony and I (by the way, he has been with me on all these hikes) are going up to Hunter Mountain. The quest is to conquer Kaaterskills Falls. There are two options: the lower trailhead is only two miles but two rocky miles. The upper trailhead is almost five miles. The falls are renown as a setting for Hudson Valley artists, however there are true dangers associated with this site. As reported as recently as August 2018 in the NY Times, at least 8 people have died at the falls because they disregarded the caution signs or went off trail.

Do not worry about me. Please refer to paragraph 4 of this post where I refer to myself as a chicken. I am not an Instragram fanatic where I will tread into dangerous territory. I just want to hike and live for another.