Savannah, GA…

… beautiful city, the deep shade of the public squares in the Historic District, the history and historic buildings… then we sought lunch and things went south fast… popular restaurant with hostess that wasn’t being honest… name on list… wait a long time before discovering that two large groups are being seated before us occupying all the outside tables which are the only tables that would accommodate us and our 2 dogs, we leave our phone number and go exploring… Forsythe park with bathroom in sight, H trips on a raised slab of concrete and smashes up their face… no serious damage but our Savannah day has come to an end… the restaurant calls to let us know they set up an extra table for us… my wife has smashed up her face in the park i tell them… hope we see you next time you are in Savannah… not likely i think… we start to make our way slowly back to the car… we find lunch at Parker’s Market which is really a high end convenience store… we return to car and then to motel… all the while we are checking for signs of concussion…

First notes…

… 11 hours on the road yesterday… another interminable amount of time unloading car, procuring food and beer… i don’t know when i have been more tired…

… we are outside of Savannah… food was found at Cracker Barrel… a curious place… we stopped in one or two on our trip to Illinois to get Fiona… they consist of gift shop and restaurant and seem designed to lead to lots of waiting in the gift shop to get access to food… the gift shop is filled with stuff, practical and whimsical related to “country culture” of the place they are located in… here in Georgia Harry Potter and the sitcom Friends seem to be on the list, along with cast iron pans chicken paraphernalia and moonpies…

… as i waited for my food i noted big bellied white men and their generally more trim women as the bulk of patronage, some Blacks and Spanish and Aisians too… no signs of racial animosity… this being Georgia i somehow expected tensions to be massive and visible… everybody seemed to mingle comfortably… and that is the thing… the impressions we get of places through national news is enormously skewed to the tensions of the country as manifested by shenanigans of a few… the bulk of the population just wants to get on with their lives and that is what they do…

… the more i think about politics and the difficulty of conversations the more i think one should not speak about candidates or parties, one should talk around issues only… what do you think about immigration, abortion rights, the best way to secure prosperity for the majority of the population, gun rights, voting rights, not what does your party think, what do you think?…

… i found a municipal parking garage on the edge of the historic district in Savannah so we know where we can park now… we point our car to the garage and move out from there… now we need to figure out bathrooms…

First Notes

227.2 lbs

… the traditional overeating happened yesterday without much weight gain… we made a lovely dinner of crab meat strudel, roast rack of lamb and roasted root veggies… we played a yule log on the TV all day, went for a nice walk with dogs, had nice chats with M… i feel sad to be turning around and leaving so soon… H and i agree, we would structure our trip differently if we did it again…

… Christmas isn’t as noticeable in Naples… not as much decoration… not cold and gray… hard to think Christmas when it is beach weather… still, the world did stop for 24 hours…

… learned a little sadness about D… we had a nasty exchange years ago… it was entirely their fault… M tells me that over the years it morphed into my abuse of them in their mind… they were so angry with me… to the point of hatred it sounds… they’er dead now but still casting a shadow on my life… not sorry i wasn’t present when they died… there are some positive reverberations of D’s being… i have a coat, a sweatshirt of theirs… when i put them on i find myself feeling them as the warm embrace i never could have got from them when they were alive…

… M put out a couple of small Christmas Tree scenes D bought… the kind of thing i considered getting for H and me to travel with… these gave me the sense of D being present in a good way… i connected with them…

… when M told me about the morphing of D’s perception of “the incident” i wanted to tell them my theory of the case, that D was jealous of me because of my close relationship with them… Oedepal, i know… i was a rival for the affections of the person they cared most about in the world… my goose was cooked a long time ago all the way back to when i was in my 20s…

… M liked the portable twinkle lights we brought so we left them…

Morning walk, Christmas, Naples, FL…

First Notes

227 lbs

… Christmas eve with M, H and Dogs… we are told about an extremely poisonous toad that inhabits bushes in Florida… now we will keep dogs away from bushes and i will have night and daymares about the dogs getting hold of one until we clear the lands of poisonous toads… dogs behaved pretty well yesterday… M seemed to like them well enough…

… we watched Love Actually together last night… today it is breakfast, presents such as they are… the prep and consumption of Christmas dinner… rack of lamb, roasted root vegetables…

… starting to think about logistics for the return trip… not as well prepared on the food front… not sure how to get prepared… need to get some wine for sure…

… research into Savannah Historic District… looks like a fun day will be had…

… still looks like weather will be good…

… it’s been a little sad being here… i get the feeling M is not sure what to live for… i have my own struggles with that… what do we live for?… especially as we get older and less relevant to the people we live amongst…

Naples, FL, Christmas Eve…

Christmas Journey

… three days of longer, harder driving than expected… we learned that whatever the map app says about travel time, add two hours… we had no time to enjoy any sights along the way… we are in Naples now… will be able to walk around a little…

First Notes

225.7 lbs

… i knew my weight would be down but almost 3 lbs is amazing!… next two days will add some of that back but nice work me!…

… the drive from Savannah to Naples was, in its own way, easier than either of two days before, but, the rule of add two hours to what the map app says held… i am convinced that this trip should have three overnights, not just 2… we will do that on way back, stopping two nights in Savannah… it won’t make a difference in time spent on the road driving each day, but at least we will see something… will be a busy couple of days and then we will head back… this trip will have to be configured differently if we do it again…

… H and dogs sleeping…

… i was so exhausted last night… couldn’t put two thoughts together towards end of dinner…

First notes…

… the first two days of travel have been brutally long… yesterday, it wasn’t completely clear why other than some slow spots of traffic… on Tuesday, the trip was 2 hours longer than indicated by google maps when we started out… yesterday it was three hours longer… and this was the indication as we started the trips!… what we had planned to be 7 hr days of travel were, in fact, 9 and 10 hours respectively… we are at 19 hours of a trip that was supposed to take 21-22 hours total… it’s going to be closer to 30 hours… we have been going from point to point with no time to explore along the way… the only thing we have experienced off the beaten track was the result of detours through the countryside… one such detour took us through what looked like poor, sharecropper farmland in South Carolina… … we are told by friends who travel the route frequently that today will not be much better…

… i am going for a 6:30 AM start in hopes that we will miss some of the predicted awful traffic… we have a choice of three routes… two travel highways and are projected to take about 7 hours… one does not use highways and is projected to take closer to 9 hours… we are tempted to do the 9 hour one in the hope that it will be more interesting and with fewer delays…

… one of the thoughts i keep having is how inefficient it all is… when so much of the nation’s goods and workforce flow over the apparently inadequate roads of the nation, so much time is lost…

First notes…

… we started our journey to Florida yesterday and the first leg of the trip was a bear… we got a late start which put us at DC near rush hour… DC rush Hour traffic is legendary… the traffic was weird too… car with flashing lights moving too slow on I95… in the fast lane!… a brush fire by the side of the road… accidents we never saw because we were rerouted through suburbs and farm land to avoid… the vehicular arteries around DC as metaphor for the arteries of government… what should have been 7 hours of driving turned into 9 with only 2 brief stops!… we will get an earlier start today… hoping the worst is behind us…

… we seem to have landed in the land of national chain retailers… big box stores everywhere…

First Notes

228.2 lbs

… departure day… will leave a little later than hoped, but, there is no ferry to catch, so we should be good…

… FB friend of Holly’s told her to beware I95 corridor gas stations… seems to be a spreading vector for COVID… i do an internest search, don’t find any new articles but find one from 2020 citing research of spread along the corridor so it makes sense that it would be a vector for Omicron… i have packed latex gloves and disinfectant wipes which i have not been using lately but will start using on the trip…

… did watch The Ice Harvest last night… slept through most of it… H says it was good… i guess we will add it to the roster…

… did a lot yesterday… not quite enough, but a lot… there is no absolute departure time today, so we should be fine… at least all our Christmas gifts got sent off and delivered…

… check utility bill, had been thinking automatic pay didn’t work… i was right… set up payment… one more thing off my mind…

Keep Christ in Christmas?

… it appears than in the United States, the Puritans were the biggest humbuggers of all…

While today’s hand-wringing about the supposed war on Christmas centers on imagined attacks on American Christianity, there is a rich irony in the fact that the longest and most sustained critique of Christmas—including its banning—came from those who were claiming to be the truest and purest defenders of the reason for the season.1

… read more here


  1. When Christmas Was Really Under Attack, Daniel N. Gullotta, The Bulwark, December 20, 2021 [return]

First notes…

227.8 lbs

… 24 hrs till departure… things are more or less on track… a few more dangling ends than i would like, but they should be tied up by end of day…

… we watched A Very Murray Christmas last night… it was generally good except for the patriarchal configuration which was generally pretty traditional and maybe more than a little outdated?… it contained the song Baby, It’s Cold Outside, which has come to be known in some quarters as the “date rape song”… as i was listening to it the only thing that stood out to me was the “what’s in this drink” line, which suggests to some in present day audiences that the woman is being drugged… i get that, but, as usual the situation seems more nuanced… it’s worth reading this wikipedia article which outlines the controversy over the song… it is interesting that as contexts change, meanings change too… i generally like the song and the most significant thing to me is that the woman, while resisting, essentially consents… at no time in any performance of the song does she seem out of control… the “what’s in this drink?” line did hang me up a bit… the wikipedia article explains that this line essentially quotes “a common idiom of the period used to sidestep social expectations by blaming one’s actions on the influence of alcohol.”…

… we also watched Chocolat, which was a great movie with a wonderful cast, Jonny Depp, Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin… it was a Babbette’s Feast movie except it’s more direct target was the Catholic Church entrenched Patriarchy of a small town… i look up Babbette’s Feast and just reading the Wikipedia article explaining the plot i am in tears… what a beautiful film and story… i discover it is based on a short story by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)… i find a pdf of the story and save it to Evernote… i want to read it…

… i’ve gone down a rabbit hole, one thing leading to the next… what bliss…

Omicron, However You Pronounce It, Is Out of Control Right Now… the state of COVID in my neck of the woods… glad that we are vaccinated and boosted… still, as the article says, this sucks, and the bit about rapid tests being expensive?!!… bah! humbug!

First notes…

… week 52, last week of the year/Fall… but then i wonder, am i out of sync, is this actually week 51?… it could be… yup, it is… argh!!! ok then, week 51 it is… still the last week of fall, last few days… we are setting out on our trip on the winter solstice… hmmm… we need some sort of celebratory something to mark it… as i contemplate this, i find myself hoping that something magical will be the result of setting out on the solstice…

… in two days we set out for Florida… much to do between now and then… i did manage to get Christmas packages off to R and J, still don’t have a gift for M to speak of… some little things… what sort of anything does M need/Want?…

… H in a bad mood yesterday… temporarily lost their watch band, which i later found, then their mood started to pick up… i also think they have the pre-traveling bad mood… it seems to be a thing with them…

… today we drive up to Hudson to see S and B, pick up the fruitcakes…

… i have been thinking about a number of things that i/we have that really work… my current shoulder bag, which i have had for a long time but which i recently started using again and discovered, wow, it really is just about the perfect bag… then there is the new electric kettle we just bought that has a coffee temperature setting and we both swear it has made a big difference in the taste of our coffee in the morning… we specualte on the absence of lime scale and the lower temperature when poured over the grounds make a difference… and finally, my upright mouse which seems to have solved my shoulder pain problems entirely and is a dream to use… so comfortable… it’s so nice when things work well…

… we watched a new Netflix movie, A Boy Named Christmas, that was very good… then i read another 10 or so pages of A Christmas Story out loud to H… we are going to make it a nightly ritual while we are traveling… hoping to finish up Christmas Eve… or maybe Christmas morning would be appropriate…

… been thinking a good deal about how this journaling/photography/reading/writing effort proceeds in the new year… part of me has always concluded that one just needs to do it as they feel compelled to do it… that there is no ultimate goal to it… but then another part of me wants something more solid to come of it… wants it to be more useful to others that might encounter it… i had signs of that, one of the Micro.blog community commented that i had shared something useful… i don’t need the aprobations of others, but i don’t mind getting it once in a while…

First notes…

… the great cookie bake is done… L came and joined H in baking an extravaganza of cookies and stollen… we have so many cookies… time to start giving them away!…

… watched The Shop Around the Corner, or rather H watched it while i slept through the middle… i had to give a report on it to B which i did, but it was H’s appraisal…

… i am drinking too much… i don’t feel bad, but falling asleep during movies and less than optimal sleep at night are the result of that… also, not getting the kitchen cleaned up…

… Fiona escaped again yesterday… turned my back for a minute and she was on the other side of the fence rolling in something smelly… when i went after her calling she went in the opposite direction… i finally caught up with her on the street behind our house… had to call H to bring me a leash so i could lead her back… i have no idea how she did it and we are worried she is able to leap the fence… she is very agile…

… i finished a difficult part of the stair construction, fitting a board to notch around the cmu wall that steps down beside the stair stringer so i can close the gap between stair and wall which lets the weather in… made a template from 1/4” thick plywood… it worked beautifully… now it needs a railing and in the spring, staining, and we will be done… it’s much more solid than the old stair ever was…

… i will be making soup stocks today… chicken and maybe beef stock… i also have to wrap presents and prepare for shipping…

… just did a search for the best multivitamin for men… found one brand twice as either first or second pick… it includes probiotics so i can forgo my separate probiotic and may actually save money…

… five days to beginning of trip to Florida…

First notes…

228.4 lbs

… we are now exactly one week away from our departure to Florida… dark sky is now predicting wall to wall sunshine for next Tuesday, a change from the 1” of snow that was predicted yesterday… hopefully that will stay the forecast…

… ran into headwinds from M yesterday on the planning of Christmas Eve dinner, or so it seemed to me… they had determined that dogs would not be allowed on the terrace of the restaurant and canceled reservations and said firmly they weren’t interested in the seven fishes dinner… it all began to feel that i was headed for a situation where M was going to be unhappy whatever we did… this all prompted us to investigate dog daycare and we found some… it’s a shame dinner reservations got canceled because there would have been a place to park the dogs… called M to talk directly with them about the situation… they said nothing was wrong with the way things were turning out… i was not entirely convinced but let it go…

… i am feeling generally happy the odd tension of H over baking and finding accommodations for the dog not withstanding…

… our friend B is in for knee surgery this morning…

… we watched Die Hard last night, which is many people’s favorite Christmas Movie… it’s not my first choice given the mayhem of it all, but it will be kept in the rotation because it is pretty good for what it is…

… still puzzling over a gift for M… she doesn’t really need anything…

… want to get H a little something too…

… bought a copy of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Story to read to H while we are traveling… also bought a set of battery powered LED lights to provide Christmas Cheer in our hotel rooms as we go… my happy anticipation of the trip grows… still lots to do…

… headphones and Bach Cello Suites…

First thoughts…

228.2 lbs

… awake at 1:30 AM, back to sleep, up at 3:40 AM… two beers last night, the extent of my drinking… seems to have lead to better sleep and feeling better this morning… my weight has returned to a downward trend… as i write that, i have a debate in my head about bringing the scale on our trip… stepping on the scale every morning helps keep me from overeating in general… on some level i must have internalized what overeating is by now… time to fly solo?… then again, maybe not…

… yesterday a bit broken and frustrating… H’s holiday baking effort threatening to melt down… i try to help them with decorating the cookies but their instructions were poor while making it clear they did not invite freelancing… i gave up trying to help… they accused me of not listening… no dear, i love you but you suck at giving direction… i gave the dogs a bath as they had been rolling in smelly shit…

… today i need to be more focused on what i want to get done…

… M being a little irritating about the food menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas… was hoping they would get all the shopping done before i got down there, but it’s clear they won’t…

… we are cash poor at the moment… struggling to put the finishing touches on Christmas as a result…

… the forecast is calling for snow the day we are to leave… oh joy… this was always going to be the danger of traveling this time of year… it doesn’t look like it will be too bad and we will stick to major highways which are generally good at keeping the roads safe to drive on… it should get better the further south we go… plus, we have an all wheel drive car now…