Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

410-844-5516 Unsafe Caller

I’ve grown cautious; I do not answer a phone number any longer that I do not recognize. People who know me are good about leaving a message; I am good at returning those calls.

Today I got a call from 410-844-5516.  I checked it on my computer; several people have listed it as an “unsafe caller.”

We have little power against intrusions on my privacy, but it makes me feel good to publish this number reported as unsafe.

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Adrift in Anacortes

Totally by accident, we fell into one of the very best meals of our trip, and that is saying a lot, because Seattle is full of great food.

We were hungry. AdventureMan thought he had spotted an Italian restaurant, but it turned out to be Mexican – and closed. Across the street, though, we saw a continuous line of people heading into a restaurant called Adrift – Swell Food for Salty Dogs. We decided to take a look.



I want you to note the garbage can – another tip of the hat to Anacortes past as a canning town, an effort led by the same artist from the previous post, Bill Mitchell, who created more than 150 murals in the town. There are also several of these garbage cans, done to resemble classic canned fish from Anacortes. They are eye-catching.

One look at the menu – it is extensive – and we knew we could find something to like. Once inside, I was wow’ed by the copper-top bar, being kind of a copper fan. But could we even be seated?? It is Mother’s Day, we have no reservation, but we are happy to sit at the bar.



It isn’t easy to choose what to eat. There is so much on the menu, and we were in the perfect place to see it all coming out.



AdventureMan settled on their Salmon and Corn Chowder, and their Troller Tuna sandwich. The chowder was superior, awesome, and the tuna had little, if any mayonnaise, it was tasty and perfect.





I ordered the Steamers; little clams in a “drunken” sauce of white wine and garlic and parsley. It was DIVINE, served with foccaccia bread to sop up the clammy, garlicky wine broth. I haven’t been so delighted in years.


Because it was Mother’s Day, AdventureMan ordered a Blueberry Meringue pie. Well, as an Alaska girl, I really do love blueberries, but he really really loves meringue. We shared it, and we were both happy. They gave us so much of the real whipped cream that we shared it with our neighbors at the bar, a group of bikers (of the bicycling sort) enjoying their food as much as we enjoyed ours.


If you get to Anacortes, find Adrift, on Commercial Avenue, and eat there. It is purely fabulous.

May 9, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SuperMoon, Lunar Eclipse This Weekend

By: The Weather Channel

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Most all of North America, South America and Africa will have a chance to see something truly amazing on Sunday when three celestial events – a full moon, a supermoon, and a lunar eclipse – will coincide for a few hours.

The majority of the viewing area will see the full eclipse for about an hour, but where you are in the world will determine just how late you need stay awake (or how early you need to get up) to take it all in.

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According to USA Today, the West Coast of the United States and Canada have the best timeframe. Folks in Vancouver and Los Angeles can enjoy the sight over dinner with the full eclipse happening around 7:11 p.m. It will last one hour and 12 minutes.

Eastern U.S. cities, including New York and Atlanta, will have to wait until 10:11 p.m., and South American cities such as Rio will have to wait a further hour.

Viewers in Europe and Africa will have to get up early on the morning of the 28th, with the full eclipse peaking at around 3:11 a.m. in London and Tangier and about 4:11 a.m. for Madrid and Cape Town.

September 26, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

When Will Ramadan Start in 2015?

You know I am a planner. When it comes to travel, it pays to know the dates well ahead of time. Vacation spots fill up, flights in and out of a country are fully booked. Ramadan comes earlier every year – it’s time to start thinking about your Ramadan travel plans yesterday!

The following is from “When Is?” a site with national and civil dates from all over the world.

Ramadan in 2015 will start on Thursday, the 18th of June and will continue for 30 days until Friday, the 17th of July.

Note that in the Muslim calander, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Muslims will celebrate Ramadan on the sunset of Wednesday, the 17th of June.

Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.

The dates provided here are based on the dates adopted by the Fiqh Council of North America for the celebration of Ramadan. Note that these dates are based on astronomical calculations to affirm each date, and not on the actual sighting of the moon with the naked eyes. This approach is accepted by many, but is still being hotly debated.

December 11, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Famous Foods in Lake Charles, Louisiana

Here’s the problem. We really like good food, and we know there are a lot of good places to eat in Lake Charles, but we are starting to feel a little fooded-out, a little stuffed. We decide on a nice plain BBQ for this night, and the desk clerk at our hotel knows just the place, Famous Foods.


When we get to Famous Foods, it is self serve, and there are three lines full of people. Some people are ordering to eat in, but others are ordering food to take out, and others are ordering bulk food – they sell prepared food, but they also sell Cajun meats, boudin, sausages, all kinds of foods. It is a learning experience for us, but we finally get in the right line and order.

I order chicken, and ask if I need to choose sides, and the cashier just laughs and says “Oh no, all the sides come with it!”




When they call our name, we get our food, served in fast-food containers, nothing fancy or pretentious about this place, it’s all focused on the food. So much food. Again. This time, I make a mistake, I try the rice. It is rich. It has a spicy sausage in it; it is absolutely delicious. No, I don’t eat it all, but I probably eat more than I should. I only have a bite or two of the potato salad, it’s not my weakness. The baked beans have a peculiar taste, not bad, but I am guessing, as we are in cane country, they are sweetened with cane sugar instead of molasses, as I am used to. I can pass on the beans; so I stick to the chicken (delicious) with a sneaky bite of this fabulous rice now and then.


AdventureMan has the smoked brisket and pulled pork, and again, all the sides just come with it. He says it is pretty good.


Many of the folks coming in and out as we are eating are buying Cracklin’s, which I think are made with deep fried pig skin, and I just can’t even give it a try. I might even like the taste, but the whole idea is just so repugnant to me.

The food at Famous Foods is GOOD!

October 30, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Death and the Expat

After four years, this settling down thing still chafes. As one fellow expat says “it’s like being squeezed into a box that’s too small” and she is talking about returning to her own community after several years abroad.

I think I wasn’t wired for settling down.

Even changing the furniture around, which I start doing after a couple years in one place, doesn’t really satisfy that urge for new challenges, new ways of thinking, a need to be on your toes, to be observant of all around you because nothing is the same as where you came from.

But one thing about settling down is a huge challenge – death.

When you are living in Expat World, death barely touches you. For one thing, you’re in a working environment, which implies you are young enough and healthy enough to be working. If someone dies, you fly back home and grieve the person, then fly back to where you are working and life goes on. That person isn’t missing from your daily life. You are distracted from grieving by the differences; there are not so many things around to remind you that the person is no longer there.

Being settled, it is an entirely different story. You get used to people, and then, often suddenly, that person is no longer around. You’re still going to all the places you used to see that person, but that person is not there, and never will be again. You think “I’ll just call so-and-so” and then you realize she’ll never answer your call again.

This is all new. Sure, expats move away, but there is always that chance you will run into them again – happens all the time in Expat World. You can call and make plans to meet up somewhere, you can gather for kids weddings. In settled-down world, death puts a big stop to that. It’s a screeching, endless dead-end.

I lost a friend this week, a woman who has been kind to me since the day I walked into the church. She made me feel welcome and she made me feel loved, and like I belonged there. It wasn’t just me, she was kind and welcoming to everyone, and a lot of fun to be around. I hugged her the day before she died as we had a quick greeting in the Parish Hall. I adored her, and I admired her, and she leaves a big hole in my heart.

I don’t wish her alive again; she lost her husband just months ago, and I know in my heart that my grief is my own, that she is happy to be with her departed husband. But this death stuff is painful. It makes me want to run get on a plane and go somewhere else, to go away from this infinite feeling of loss. To my chagrin, I also think this is a piece of growing up that I ran away from for a long time, and am learning later in life than most people.

We are still grieving the loss of Pete. He is buried in the butterfly garden, so he is nearby. We second-guess ourselves all the time, going over our choices, regretting having caused him any pain and anguish as he lived his last week. I hear the tinkle of his little name tag and forget it can’t be Pete; my husband steps over where he would lie in the hallway, equidistant between our offices. This death stuff is hard.

July 31, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Distressed Travellers?

We had never heard this term before, but yes, yes, we are the ‘distressed travellers’ sent to this hotel in which we have never stayed while our room in Juneau goes unused, even though paid for.

They are so kind. We don’t have our luggage with us. Thanks to a previous trip, so many years ago my son was a small child, I always carry something to sleep in (I don’t what to sleep in my clothes, and the thought of sleeping in underwear and having to wear it the next day gives me the creeps) and a fresh pair of undies, my brush, make up and any medications I might need. We are both recovering from bad colds. They give us toothbrushes and toothpaste, give AdventureMan a tiny deodorant, enough, wonderful.

Although it is only ten in Seattle, it is midnight our time and we have been waiting for flights for hours. It’s just one of those things, severe weather hanging over Dallas, the sweet, patient airline counter woman re-did our tickets several times until we just ran out of connections at the end of the day, and she put us in a hotel for the night.

When we got to the room, it was even better. They gave us a suite, a beautiful suite, on the quiet floor. The atmosphere in the suite was very zen. AdventureMan took a shower, I took a long bath, and we tumbled into bed – not for all that long; we were on the first flight out in the morning,.

With the time change, we arrived in Juneau in time for breakfast and a hike around Eagle River before we collapsed until dinner with an old friend of my Mother’s who still lives in Juneau.

June 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FitBit Gone Wild

Today this showed up on my dashboard:

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No, that is not 54 stairs, that is 54 flights of stairs. I got a badge for it.

I don’t know what is going on with FitBit, but I did not climb 54 flights of stairs. I cannot imagine what FitBit is thinking. I did get on and off a bus a few times, but no, there were no where near 50 flights of steps in my life today.

What I am enjoying with the FitBit (the healthy activity nanny thing just doesn’t work for me) is that it tells me I sleep better than I thought I did, and even just thinking I am sleeping better than I thought helps me to sleep better.

March 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Qatar World Cup Will Not Be Held in Summer

LOL, it took them three years to figure out how hot it gets in Qatar in the summer??? From AOL News:

(Reuters) – The 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar will not be played in the summer months, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday.

“The dates of the World Cup will not be in June or July. I think it will be played between November 15 and January 15 the latest,” he told France Inter Radio.

“If you play between November 15 and, let’s say, the end of December, it’s the time when the weather is the most favorable,” Valcke added.

“You play with a temperature equivalent to that of a rather hot spring in Europe, you play with a temperature of 25 degrees (Celsius), which is perfect to play football.”

In October, FIFA delayed making a decision on whether to play the tournament in the winter saying it was setting up a consultation process to decide when the finals should be held.

At the time, soccer’s world governing body announced it would reach a conclusion sometime after this year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Valcke’s surprise announcement on Wednesday comes more than three years after Qatar was originally awarded the tournament in December 2010.

The average temperature in the summer months in Qatar can be around 35C (95 Fahrenheit) and 45C (113F).

January 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving on the Beach

An assortment of photos from Panama City Beach:

Walking off Thanksgiving dinners . . .


“They Must Not Be From Around Here . . . ” kids playing in the surf while all the rest of us are in long sleeve shirts and jeans, LOL!




Round 2 “They must not be from around here” these kayakers caused a lot of comment, LOL
















December 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment