The train

3 Jan

Let me start here by saying you can get really messed up taking the train in a foreign country. Even if you are with someone that speaks the language…that’s you Enrique… things can go bad quickly. Case in point, our trip to the monastery in El Escorial. As Maxwell Smart would say, “Missed it by that much.” We did get there, but what a comedy of errors.

Now, that we have that out of the way, the trains in Spain are a great way to go. The high speed ones are the best. Anytime you can walk around while traveling 150 mph on a track, that’s pretty amazing to me. I wish we had a better rail system in the US. So, many times in my life I would rather take a train than a plane. It’s just a lot of easier. Oh, gotta go. My train is pulling into the Madrid station. There’s two of them, by the way. If we had just known that sooner. Oh well…

Open mic night

3 Jan

It was a surreal kind of evening. After a great dinner, one of our friends suggested we go to a flamenco show. Now, in my mind, a flamenco show is something you go to with the hopes of seeing people in costume dancing. Not here. Not this night. As best I can describe it was “open mic night at a flamenco club.” Musicians on stage for anyone wanting to sing or dance. Now, there were some very good ones. I would say a few even looked professional. Then, let’s just say, if I had wanted to do flamenco, I would have been just as good. That said, it was fun. No one judged anyone’s talent. Everyone had a shot. We are rounding the bend to our last days here. All that stuff we had planned to do and have not, is being crammed into today. Flamenco lessons are not on my list. Ole! Okay?

One more day to party

2 Jan

So, in Spain, the New Year’s Eve party continues into New Year’s Day. I did not know this. We left our hotel around mid-day. The streets were deserted. Stores closed. Restaurants open, but moving slowly. Our waiter proudly said to us, “I’m still high.” When asked what he was going to do about that, he said, “When I get off work, I’m going back to the party.” As the day wore on, the party resumed. We spent hours at a food hall. One of the restaurants had only olives. Glorious olives cut in half to make sandwiches with ham and cheese and anchovies. Amazing desserts to. Champagne was flowing. I love the attitude here. Not sure I can do it 365 days a year, but very nice for a couple of weeks. I’m just about ready to go home and face real life again. Miss the dogs terribly. But for a couple more days, I’m living like a Spaniard. My new friend said to me last night, “In Spain, we eat and drink. Then, do it again.” I can do that a few more days. I’ll fix it when I get back home.

And Happy New Year

1 Jan

2018. It’s here. We rang it in in Madrid. What a beautiful city. What a great place to party! I think I get it why they say the first day of the new year is a day to contemplate. It’s because that’s about all you have the energy to do! That said, I am hopeful about 2018. 2017 was one I would rather move on from. Not that it was bad, it was just unsettled. I hope we can all get our footing and move on. The fighting. The bickering. The politicking. Let’s just take a breath and find some common ground. Let’s try and not be so mad all the time. I’m resolved to make things better in 2018. I’ll start with myself. Then, I’ll change the world. Wanna help me? There’s lots to do. Happy New Year, by the way.


29 Dec

We came to Madrid on Christmas Day. What a beautiful trip. It’s cold, but not too cold. Cold enough though to feel like Christmas. Madrid is a bustling city. Lots to do. Lots to see. Lots and lots to eat. I’ve done lots of that. There is a gym in our hotel. I decided that it’s not a great gym. Just treadmills and free weights. Clearly, not enough equipment for working out. Hahaha! That’s going to be my excuse. Also, 2018 is coming. I can see it on the calendar. I’ll fix it in the new year. The Madrid trip is a nice way to close out 2017. An interesting year. A strange one. Politically. Professionally. I’m feeling the need for change. In both areas. The politics, I think, will take care of itself. The professional part is up to me. I think I’m there. Time to change things up. Change ’em big. What’s the new buzzword? Disruption. So, here’s to Madrid. Here’s to 2018. Let’s have some fun. Let’s give ’em something to talk about!

Hurricane Irma

13 Sep

As long as I have lived in Florida, I never get used to hurricanes. True, most of them pass us by with little or no impact. Just minor inconveniences for living here. Then came Irma. Thanks to better science, we had days to watch this thing develop. The devastation in the Caribbean. The changing track of the storm. First one direction, then another. Finally, the horrible reality that it was headed to Tampa Bay. It was scary. Getting the house ready. Evacuating. Being separated from my family. They went to safer ground. I went to the TV station for the dreaded “12 on 12 off.” That’s twelve hours on television, twelve hours off for as long as needed. Sunday morning starting at 2am. There we sat. Watching our meteorologists predict the storm. Had Cuba taken some of the punch out of Irma? How badly would it hit the Florida Keys? Then what? Tampa Bay? As what? A category 4? Please no! Then the news that it was headed toward Naples. That it would come east of us. We were getting a hurricane, but a much weaker one. It hit. It hit hard. Not as hard as we feared, but hard enough. At the end of it, Tampa Bay is luckier than most of the rest of Florida. The Keys. Naples. Marco Island. Miami. Jacksonville. It will take years to fix this. We will do it, but it will take a lot of money and patience. I love living here. I won’t leave. Maybe I would have before Irma, but not now. The storm made me proud to be here. We made it through this together. Together, we will make this state better.

Dear Phoebe…

14 May

It’s Mother’s Day. I miss you so much. I know you are with me all the time, but I could really use a hug. Thank you for always being there. I miss you!