A Hard Pill To Swallow

Eight days ‘til lift off and I am still mentally packing. (Tom says he could pack for this trip during the Super Bowl intermission.) Yesterday, while waiting for yoga class to begin, I wandered into the travel section of a Northampton store. They had lots of small items. On Sunday I had read a comment by Philippe Reines, Hilary Clinton’s senior adviser, who accompanied her to 111 countries. Reines said, “I spend as much time on Amazon trying to miniaturize commonly used travel items as some rogue nations do trying to miniaturize warheads.” A man after my own heart, I thought, as I prowled the aisle.

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Today we go to the travel medicine doctor right here in town, but, as I said before, I don’t hold out much hope. You know how you always get sicker after you see the doctor? Tom is sure we will come down with flu before we start our trip. (Some of my French pessimism has rubbed off on him.) Since he mentioned that this morning at breakfast, I feel a sore throat coming on, seriously. Actually, when I think about it, the throat thing is probably from not getting enough sleep.

This morning I woke up early worrying about our luggage…again. I focused on the unipod for my camera. Collapsed it’s not so big, about 18 inches long, but it is a sort of weapon-looking stick shape in an ominous black zipped case. So my new strategy is to get this travel medicine doctor to give me a prescription for the unipod. I do have an old injury, a ski accident when I was 17 left me with bolts in my ankle which is now swollen with arthritis. Obviously, I need that unipod just to walk. I might even try limping through the Homeland Security at the airport.

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Missing Home Already

Getting ready for the trip now occupies me daily. I have not yet laid everything we’re taking on the guest room bed, but I might as well have. In my mind that bed is loaded with hats, umbrellas, shorts, bathsuits, tops, boat shoes, sun block, wind breakers, underwear, sweat shirts, some of which I will have to eliminate. We really must have carry on for the first leg of the trip, as I explained in a previous blog. But there is another problem.

For my birthday Tom gave me a collapsible walking stick that coverts to a single leg camera pod, a weapon-like item the airlines might now allow me to carry on. My new camera boasts a HUGE telescoping lens, the kind that throws a pelican in the Yucatan into focus here in Massachusetts. If I am anywhere near the bird, say 200 feet away,

The pelican was there when I focused.

The pelican was there when I focused.

the view finder slips from rock outcropping to blue sky to aqua ocean so fast, I get seasick standing on the beach. So, although I might sway a teensy bit with the unipod, I will capture that pelican until, of course, it takes off. Then I ram that unipod leg into Tom’s head as I swing the camera that is screwed into the unipod up to capture the shot. I hope someone will have a video of my efforts, if only for purpose of defending myself in court.

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25 Pounts of Cheese, Two Gallons of Worry

This morning I opened the frig. My God, we have a lot of food to eat before we leave. And here I am after Christmas trying to lose a little weight. That won’t happen with 25 pounds of cheese, a full container of whipped cream cheese, a pound of bacon, two half gallons of eggnog, a half full can of chocolate frosting, two clear plastic containers of fudge, a quart of cranberry compote and four fruitcakes.

Why did I make so much fruitcake? Because, dear reader, I LOVE fruitcake, and wouldn’t they make great presents for Christmas?

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Reconfiguring Myself for Travel


Tourist camel in Jodhpur

Getting ready for a major trip is, for me, like reconfiguring myself. For foreign travel I become more mobile, walking miles each day. I shed possessions, paring down to the essentials: camera, iPad, asthma medicine, face cream. Clothes are reduced to, in my mother’s words, “Put on, take off, go without.”

First, of course, there are the lists: what to take (as little as possible, three tees and a pair of pants), what to do (stop mail and newspapers), things to remember (that pesky barrel in the cellar draining water from the dehumidifier).

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