Monday, May 27, 2019

Old Tech

After too many unruly morning ride-shares to Newark, I called a taxi for this morning’s ride.

I've had to wait 20 minutes for a Lyft I'd scheduled the night before, and I'd watched drivers disappear en route and another one be scheduled...and have to wait another 20 minutes. I'm not sure why—I guess leaving super-early is a problem from Bergen-Lafayette.

The taxi driver showed up early, the dispatch office called to let me know he was out front, and I didn’t have to make small talk or worry about how I was going to be rated. He also knew the difference between the drop-off points and nimbly navigated the airport.

I never take taxis FROM the airport cuz that’s at least fifty bucks, but I have had a lot of problems with that as well. Last time I found myself swearing to grab the bus on future rides, no matter what time of day I arrive.

I think I’m switching back to taxis for crack of dawn rides to Newark. This was so much more predictable than a Lyft or Uber. 

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.