Are you a regular at any of your local restaurants or cafes? What is that relationship like?

happy woman baristas working in modern cafe kitchen
Photo by Tim Douglas on

This is an odd question to answer in the days of the pandemic, but I can certainly answer it as from the before times*. And that answer is an unqualified yes.

I’m reminded of Sandra Bullock’s character in Speed (1994). At the beginning of the film, she gets on the bus because her car is in the shop and her conversation with the driver is one of familiarity and comfortable ease. When I first watched this, my initial reaction was bullshit. Not that she couldn’t have that kind of a relationship with a driver, but that a) she had the same driver several days in a row and b) that the relationship would develop that quickly. Continue reading “Are you a regular at any of your local restaurants or cafes? What is that relationship like?”

So I Went to Alaska…

DSC_0096.jpgWay back in 2007, just before my 40th birthday, I had planned an epic road trip on my motorcycle. Originally, the intent was to leave from Vegas and head up the coast, visiting places and taking my time, exploring the scenery. I wanted to take the Canadian highway and head up to Alaska and then maybe put the bike on a ferry and see how far I could get out into the Aleutian Islands. Continue reading “So I Went to Alaska…”

The Postcard Dilemma

resize_400x400_seniI love postcards. I’m a fan in general of souvenirs but nine times out of ten or even 99/100 if I buy anything at all, it’s postcards. When I travel, I tend to get postcards everywhere then spend my time in the evenings at local bars or coffee shops (or on trains or busses) writing them out and sending them from my next stop.  Continue reading “The Postcard Dilemma”

Visiting Friends – 2017 Summer Holiday

Wednesday-Friday July 5-7

Dad and MonkiThe next three days were a blur of seeing friends and doing things around the house with the parents.

Wednesday, I got up early to go shopping with dad. We hit several different stores, including Walmart. I ended up getting a few more things than I originally intended to and got gently ribbed for it. I can’t help it! Continue reading “Visiting Friends – 2017 Summer Holiday”

Magic – Live and otherwise

14095822_10154399304143665_5366482407314087398_nSo… A few months back, say around May or June, I got an offer to cover Magic Live for Magic Magazine. The problem of course was that the baby, who had yet to be born, was due July 1st and going off to Vegas for a magic convention with a 6 week old at home didn’t particularly strike me as the best idea in the world. But I really wanted to go. But 6 week old baby.  Continue reading “Magic – Live and otherwise”

Belgium 2016 Day 6/7 – In Brugge, Brussels and Back Home

BruggeBelgian timing is not my strong suit. It really doesn’t take long to get from city to city in this small country. So while I got up early and took time to actually take advantage of the free breakfast at Hostel Uppelink and didn’t rush to get the train, I was still in Brugge before 10 am which is when everything actually opens. Okay, not exactly true. The central square was packed with the weekly Wednesday market and some of the souvenir shops, restaurants and their version of a Belfry were open, but the tourist information office, not so much.  Continue reading “Belgium 2016 Day 6/7 – In Brugge, Brussels and Back Home”

2014 – The Year That Was!

New yearSo here it is, the end of 2014.  I know this is an arbitrary date and every tomorrow is the start of a new year, but it’s a nice time to take stock and look around. To see where you are and check in from that place. So here goes.

I’ve written 115,000 words or so – fiction and non-fiction (and a good deal of that has actually been published). I also got back to some roots by writing a script (and a big thank you to Matthew for kicking may ass into gear on this one). This year I want to write more. Specifically more fiction but I’m setting a few goals for myself. I’m going to have regular updates here on the blog. Mondays will be Movie Mondays and I’ll post reviews of the films I’ve seen. Thursdays will be for books, and I’ll get in a review every Thursday of some piece of literature or other. There will also be personal updates and travel pieces and whatever else I think of, but those two things, for sure, will happen weekly.

I won several awards. I got one for writing the Best Local Column-Magazine by the Nevada Press Association. I also won best foreign teacher and best teacher in the department at the university.

I read some books (74 to be precise). For the next year, I discovered an interesting reading 2015 Reading Challengechallenge. I’ll see how far I get on that – the books will be tagged as 2015 Reading Challenge on Goodreads. Of course, if you’re not already my friend there, please join me.

I traveled. Aside from trips around Lithuania, I went to London for science fiction, Paris for Disneyland, Riga for the day, Helsinki for fun and Vaasa for a wedding. Oh yeah, and Vegas for my eldest niece’s Bat Mitzvah. Hoping to get some much needed travel in the coming year, particularly to Los Angeles for JR and Natasha‘s wedding.

I was the MC/Auctioneer for a charity event to raise money for breast cancer screenings.

I reconnected with old friends this year and made new ones. I hope this trend continues.

I’ve seen friends go through amazing amounts of personal growth and deal with horrendous personal tragedies. I’ve been there when I could be, emotionally or physically. I’ve been a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, an idea sounding board. And I’ve had friends be all of these things for me.

Thank you all for being here. You make my world a brighter place.

Continue reading “2014 – The Year That Was!”

“It doesn’t have to be good, it only has to be finished.”

Typewriter - logo (color)Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in quite a while – I finished an original script (first draft) for a TV pilot. 60 pages written in 23 days, from starting the outline to typing “Fade Out.” In those 23 days, I wrote a total of 16,514 words – in addition to the script, I wrote two lengthy blog posts, an original short story for David Magazine (which will be out on September 1) and a book review.

Now, the blogs and reviews, I do those with regularity, so no need to mention them in any detail but the other two, that’s what I want to talk about, for my own sake, not necessarily for any one else’s.  Continue reading ““It doesn’t have to be good, it only has to be finished.””

Thoughts of Lithuania and its place in the global culture

Calling LithuaniaA week or two ago, I was talking to my friend AAron. We try to keep up on a semi-weekly basis and this time there other people with him and his family and one of these other people, upon finding out I lived in Lithuania, had a question for me.

“Do you know any left-handed, redhead dentists?” she asked. Puzzled, I asked her why. She said when she needs to explain something as rare, the phrase which has become second nature to her is “rare as a left handed, red haired Lithuanian dentist.” I acknowledged that I did not know anyone who fit that particular description and we chuckled, but it started me thinking.

Then, a couple of days ago, AAron sent me the above ad from a magazine and those thoughts came back. Continue reading “Thoughts of Lithuania and its place in the global culture”

Pay it Forward

Coffee InnA few weeks ago I decided to try something.

I’d been hearing about the various “pay it forward” events which had been happening all over America, people buying coffee for the people in line behind them, paying off layaway Christmas presents for families in need at Target, covering the toll for another car… all these kinds of things.

Continue reading “Pay it Forward”

Happy Anniversary to me…

IMG_0058Today, August 22, 2013, marks the third anniversary of my life as an Ex-Pat.

In 2010, on this date, I packed up some of my belongings into one too many suitcases, loaded a dog into the hold of an airplane and headed off for a small town in Hungary, with absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. Now, I’m one year past my original expiration date – my original contract being for a single year with a one year extension option. I didn’t exercise it and instead, headed north to Lithuania (I didn’t know where it was, either) to take up my new life as a university docent (associate professor). I’ve been in Lithuania now for a little over two years, having moved to Vilnius for a few months in June of 2011 and into my flat at the beginning of August that year. I’m also a few days away from beginning my 3rd year at VDU. Continue reading “Happy Anniversary to me…”