It’s a Turkey

Turkey With Thanksgiving just over the horizon, you can almost taste the turkey. Thanks to my having lived and worked in several countries in the first part of my career, I have a bit of personal history with the word for that bird. Peru It began in 1971 in Brazil. On my first Thanksgiving there […]

Fire Can’t Shut Us Down! Sonoma Wine Country Is Still Open for Business

Sonoma County Wine Country (photo by Howard E. Daniel) Last week, I wrote about our escape from the Kincade Fire. Actually, our experience was more like an unplanned family gathering than a helter-skelter flight of refugees. But if you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably also seen that the fire triggered the evacuation of roughly […]

Safe, Home, Warm and Grateful

Three of the five thousand to whom we are grateful! (Courtesy: Facebook) Sandra and I are back home — safe, warm and grateful. For anyone reading this who may not know what we’re grateful for, it’s this: Despite what looked for a time like pretty unfavorable odds, Northern California’s Kincade Fire did NOT burn our […]

Want to Avoid Real Estate Agent Commissions? Not a Good Idea!

Over the years, I’ve met a number of people who, when they want to sell their home, try to do it without the help of a real estate agent. From personal experience, I’ve learned that this is not such a great idea. Good agents are worth every penny of the commissions they earn. Here’s how […]

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Former U.S. Consulate, Leningrad We had a mini-emergency a few days ago in our senior community/mobile home park in Santa Rosa, California. In the dead of night, the pump that supplies our homes with well water tripped a circuit breaker. In order to be on time to a 7 o’clock meeting the next morning, I […]

Streetcorner Blasphemy

Rosslyn’s most notable edifice. The Foreign Service Institute was housed in the glass-walled building at left. Trigger Warning: The following post may offend your religious sensibilities. In a little over two months, Sandra and I will be joining our son Adam and his family in the Washington, D.C., area for Thanksgiving. In beginning to think […]

A Soviet Citizen’s Reaction to a Western Department Store

Stockmann, Helsinki Here’s a vignette from the time I was posted to the U.S. consulate-general in Leningrad, 1976-78. Sasha, one of our Soviet-citizen drivers,* had just been granted a passport, a privilege that very few Soviet citizens enjoyed. This allowed him to drive the consulate’s truck (a vehicle very much like a UPS delivery van) […]

Cats!

Among the many criticisms leveled at Facebook and other social media is the amount of time so many of us spend watching cat videos. To human eyes (and brains), cats are wonderfully entertaining. Years ago I watched a feline performance, in person, that still makes me smile whenever I see a cat rub against someone’s […]

A Little-Heralded Footnote to Apollo 11

All the attention to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, reminds me of my own peculiar little footnote to this historic event. At the time, I was a Peace Corps volunteer living in the north-central Indian village of Rajnagar (rough translation: Kingston) where I was working, together with […]

From Bali to Timor — a Memorable Flight

A DC-3 With the 50th anniversary of mankind’s first landing on the moon just days away, I’m reminded of a somewhat more down-to-earth flight that I experienced only a year or so after Apollo 11. It was on my trip home to the United States from India, where I’d been serving in the Peace Corps. […]