Category: United States

On The Erie Canal 3: The Saints That Guided Us

Posted August 26th, 2017
On The Erie Canal 3: The Saints That Guided Us

The more we travel, the longer our list of patron saints becomes. When our divinities—not all of whom, we believe, have made themselves known– bestow grace, we appreciate our good fortune. When they are cranky or generally feeling punitive, appeasement is not an option. Prominent among them are: Saint Accomode (not to be confused with…

On the Erie Canal 2: Not Quite As Expected

Posted August 22nd, 2017
On the Erie Canal 2: Not Quite As Expected

I don’t know, because I have never used a dating site, but this must be what it feels like when you show up for that introductory coffee and the person waiting for you has only the vaguest (and not in a good way) resemblance to the picture that originally caught your eye. According to the…

On The Erie Canal 1: History, Boats and Changes

Posted August 21st, 2017
On The Erie Canal 1: History, Boats and Changes

I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal Fifteen years on the Erie Canal She’s a good old worker and a good old pal Fifteen years on the Erie Canal … Low bridge, everybody down Low bridge cause we’re coming to a town And you’ll always know your neighbor And you’ll always know…

Texas Break 1: The River Runs Through It

Posted March 20th, 2017
Texas Break 1: The River Runs Through It

San Antonio is famed for two things: The Alamo and the Riverwalk. Decades ago My Dear One paused at San Antonio, while on route to California, to see them. He was disappointed. Apparently, the Alamo site was barely a building or two, including the chapel, and primarily intrusive hawkers of cheesy souvenirs. The Riverwalk was a short…

Christmas Letter 2016

Posted December 13th, 2016
Christmas Letter 2016

Dearest all, I made the pilgrimage on my own, from our moorage on the Danube in Passau, Germany, up the Wallfahrtsstiege, the 321 steps to the Mariahilf.  I counted off the Stations of the Cross and contemplated the gifts people had left, pleas for help and expressions of gratitude. No one else was there, no…

I-35: Minneapolis

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Minneapolis

The Mall of America is… just…horrible. My Dear One suggested we visit. We weren’t in the mood to shop but we were curious about this place that is a destination for visitors from around the world. Parking was well-nigh impossible. There were lots outside and multilevel structures under cover. Having no idea as to how…

I-35: Mason City

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Mason City

There is sculpture everywhere. Sofas, side tables and chairs in the park, children playing, bears looking confused, a marching band worth of horns, welded dinosaurs, silvery dancers, and even Frank Lloyd Wright looking approvingly at his hotel and bank downtown. Realism, abstraction, high art and humor. Who knew. And who knew that Mason City, a…

I-35: Des Moines

Posted October 12th, 2016
I-35: Des Moines

There were dropped jaws and more polite phrasings like, “What has persuaded you to make this move?” when I told people that I was moving to Iowa, in 1985 for a job as curator of education at the Des Moines Art Center. “Big careers are made in smaller museums,” I often answered. But the truth…

Listen and Follow Directions

Posted March 13th, 2016
Listen and Follow Directions

The most common comment on any report card I received in elementary school was, “Ellen would do well if she would just learn to follow directions.” Teachers stopped saying that as I got older but only because the grading system was about the mark and not about any insight into my approach to learning and…

La Jolla 2: In the Flight Path Above the City

Posted January 12th, 2016
La Jolla 2: In the Flight Path Above the City

Planes roar down from the west, above Balboa Park and I-5, to the runways at Lindbergh Field about every minute or so during the day. The first plane seemed loud but in a familiar way—I did, after all, live here in the 1980s. We woke to a pearly Monday sunrise and the promise of a…