Saturday, May 25, 2019


Want to hear me talking nonsense about travel?

Click here to my talk on Amazing Nomads, a feature on the World Nomads website.

It's less embarrassing than I anticipated. I frequently have to go before audiences at my job, and it's made public speaking much easier for me than it used to be.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Digging Up the Past

I headed over to the Jersey Room at the public library to see what I could find about Breadalbane Terrace.

That's the side of my JC house. I'd learned previously that the original developer of my block had descended from the Breadalbane branch of the Scottish Highlander Clan Campbell.

My block is so distinct with its tin bay windows. Surely there must be some info out there, I thought.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Backyard Social

My backyard in Jersey City gets more interesting to me every time I check the game camera my mom gave me.

I don't have the kind of camera where it sends the photos to my cell phone. I have to physically check the memory card. But this means I look forward to getting off the plane, grabbing a coffee from nearby Grind, and sitting down to look at what's been happening in my yard while I've been in Burbank.

A landscaper recently tried to talk me into fencing off my yard. No way, I said. The animals own it, not me.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Painted Cave, Channel Islands Day Trip

Do you remember when I went down to Catalina with BBF back in 2016? Or when I went whale watching off Ventura? (Oh, wait, I neglected to post photos of the latter, so how would you know anyway?)

Yeah, I know. I barely remember last week.

Anyway, Catalina is actually part of California's Channel Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. The northern five of these (not including Catalina) are part of a national park/national marine sanctuary. Not a lot of people get to the national park, and I'd been thinking about taking my tent and heading over sometime. Or even better, doing some kayaking.

But camping alone can be kind of scary (yeah, I'm not scared of much but camping alone always makes me a little paranoid) and kayaking is exhausting and I suck at it. So when I spotted a boat trip to Painted Cave on Santa Cruz, I jumped at it.

The boat leaves from Ventura, and there's a spot nearby to pick up lunch, but I really would have done better by bringing a lunch from Burbank. But it was a busy week at work (it always is) and I had to run over and rent the car the night before, so I ran out of time.

Here's how it works: You show up, check in, then eventually head over to Prisoners Harbor at Santa Cruz island. There were a lot of seasick people on the boat during this crossing. I'm glad I wasn't one of them, but watching other people be seasick made me start to feel queasy.

We dropped people off at Prisoners Harbor, then headed down the coast to Painted Cave.

The boat went into the sea cave as far as it could. I have no doubt kayaking would be a better experience, but this was still pretty cool.

After taking a look, we headed back Prisoners Harbor where we were dropped off to sit for 2.5 hours, and the last half-hour was lining up and boarding the ship again, then heading back to Ventura.

Three hours is a lot to hang out by yourself when you suddenly realize you forgot to bring a book. I ate my lunch, took a short hike, then finally put my head down on a picnic table and napped. There were long-drop toilets on the island.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Harder Than It Seems

I finished the frames I was making for my Haiti pieces.

Now I just have to figure out where to hang these paintings.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Marie's Project Waste Reduction Update: Part 1

I've been trying to be more aware of my own use of non-renewable waste.

I started carrying my own supermarket bags in 2001 after a month in Berlin during my first MariesWorldTour. This was not a conscious decision at first—it's just how things were done there. But it stuck, and I adopted this habit on a permanent basis within a year.

Other things I've been doing lately:

  • Using reusable produce bags.
  • Using reusable nylon bulk foods bags. New and different. These only work if you have access to bulk foods at a local supermarket. 
  • Regular patronage of local farmers market.
  • Experimenting with carrying my own utensils/straw.
  • Not having a car and using public transit.
  • Cutting way, way back on red meat. 
  • I even bought some silk dental floss, though I haven't tried it yet. 

Of course, my carbon footprint is a stain upon the earth given my number of airplane flights over the year, so while the above sounds good in theory, all it really does is improve my disposition.

To be fair, my disposition could use some improving, so Project Waste Reduction is a win for everyone around me.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

The African American Civil War Museum

My final panel ended at 2:45 today. I hurried out of the convention center and up 8th Street, and made it just in time to whirl through the African American Civil War Museum before it closed at 4.

This museum has been there for 20 years but I'd never heard of it before spotting it near the convention center on a map. (I grew up here but left a lot longer then 20 years ago.
"The mission of the African American Civil War Museum is to correct a great wrong in history that largely ignored the enormous contributions of the 209,145 members of the United States Colored Troops. It tells the stories and perserves for posterity the historic roles these brave men of African, European, and Hispanic descent played in ending slavery and keeping America united under one flag. The Museum uses a rich collection of artifacts, documents, primary sources and technology to create a meaningful learning experience for families, students, Civil War enthusiasts and historians about the period from the American Civil War to Civil Rights and beyond."

Saturday, April 27, 2019

A Look Back

I'm at Awesome Con this weekend, and I had something I wanted to check out near Dupont Circle, so I went over to Connecticut and M.

I had not been by this intersection in decades—why would I? Just a typical downtown corner with offices and stores.

But I wanted to see what it looked like, because this was where I'd go to my first office job, my first non-Roy Rogers job. Home to DC/101, a radio station where I was a high school intern in 1984.

It's been a while.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Fun Marie Fact

My mom found this in an old box or scrapbook, and wrote the following:

The time Marie got a scholarship to travel abroad from the Arlington Civitan club, 1983. They got her name wrong but she got to go to Finland!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Out Back

My mom gave me a battery-powered motion-activated game camera. I stuck it out in my Jersey City backyard a few nights ago and learned my yard has an active social life.