‘Z Summaries’ Category

 

Staying Alive And The Final Five

06 12 days of christmas treeLinda Burton posting from Annapolis, Maryland – Psychologically we love countdowns. We count down the twelve days till Christmas. We countdown rocket launches, till we arrive at blastoff, or the mission is scrubbed. We countdown the Final Four in basketball every spring, when the world of college sports reaches fever pitch. I counted down the days in the month before my 16th birthday; I was on pins and needles to get my driver license; something everyone in my little town did back in the 50s when all the cars had fins and all the girls wore bobby socks. The year I went to Antarctica – that was 2005 – I counted off the weeks till my Seattle departure at Pagliacci Pizza. I happened to go for a Friday 06 pizza logonight pizza at the 17-week point and noticed they had 17 pizzas on their menu. “Aha,” I thought, “if I begin with the Original, when I get to the Verde Primo it will be time to fly to South America.” I called for grandson help on big-meat pizza nights; Matthew for Spicy Pepperoni; Andrew for Extra Pepperoni; both of them on Grand Salami Primo night. The AGOG was my favorite – mushrooms, roasted garlic, Kalamata olives, goat cheese, Fontina, Mozzarella and parsley over olive oil; fresh tomato slices added after the bake. The journey through the Pagliacci menu 06 Alex on suitcasewas an experience; I developed new tastes, and learned some things I didn’t know before. I dealt with whatever came next; I adapted as needed. You know where I’m going with that thought. Annapolis finishes the countdown through the Final Five; the Journey Across America is 100% complete. This mission wasn’t scrubbed; we made it all the way (adapting as needed) – the Scion, the cats, and me. We’re travelworn and frazzled, but completely AGOG with success. » read more

 
 
 

Gravel Sucking Trucks

I met with Sandi in Providence. She visited all 50 state capitols before she was 25.
Now she’s going for 50 countries before she’s 50!
We celebrated as she returned from the 40th one.

Linda Burton posting from Providence, Rhode Island – Life is full of the unexpected. For instance, I didn’t plan to be working from the edge of the bathtub this Saturday morning. Yet here I sit, laptop on my lap, door closed to the outside world. Now, why is that? Because, just outside my window, just a few feet from my workdesk, is a gravel-sucking truck. And that truck is doing what it was designed to do. It is sucking gravel off the roof of my hotel. The manager explained. “I know it’s noisy, but we have to get the re-roofing done before winter sets in. We have to remove the gravel in order to put down a new layer of tar.” Well, I 26 CAVunderstand that. So I’ll spend the day exploring Providence, no prob. “You’ll be done soon?” was my plaintive question. Ah no, the work continues through next Wednesday. The gravel-sucking truck will be replaced by a tar-spreading truck. Swapping noise for the nose-burning smell of hot tar? I’d rather adjust life plans. Instead of spending another day with my friend Sandi; instead of leisurely wandering Water Place Park in downtown Providence; instead of having Sunday brunch at CAV as planned; I’ll shorten my Providence stay and move 26 water place 4ahead to Hartford. I’ll use today to pack, and I’ll use today to summarize. I have company in this tiny bathroom. Alex and Jack crouched in the tub, watching me. If the sound of gravel rattling through a giant metal tube before crashing into the metal truck bed is deafening to me, I can only imagine how excruiating it must be to the cat’s sensitive ears. Suddenly I realized – 90% of the Journey Across America is done! “So Alex,” I said, slipping into interview mode, “what’s your favorite part of the Journey so far?” » read more

 
 
 

Swimming Upstream

05 Alex Jack sleepingLinda Burton posting from Albany, New York – The cats are snoozing but I’m busy. Today I’m wrapping up 80% of the Journey Across America as we end our stay in the 40th capital city. For the last two months, I feel like I’ve been a salmon swimming upstream, going backwards in history. In Saint Paul, I learned about Pigs Eye Parrant and Lucien Galtier, two names that are part of the city’s beginnings. Pigs Eye moved west from Michigan; Father Galtier came from France by order of Rome and only stayed long enough to establish a church and push for the city name of Saint Paul instead of Pigs Eye. Remember them? In Madison, I learned about James Doty, who came from New York; he lived in Detroit before he bought the land that he platted into the city of Madison; then he 05 sailboats madisonworked for Wisconsin statehood. (Wisconsin is still miffed over the fact that a huge chunk of land to the north belongs to Michigan, even though it is not connected to Michigan, but is a part of Wisconsin’s geography.) From there I continued east to Michigan, and Lansing, (where that huge chunk of land is justified in the land divvy-up because “Ohio got the Toledo Strip, so we got the Upper Peninsula!”). Lansing was settled because in 1835 two slick-talkers scammed some folks in Lansing, New York, who then came and settled that part of Michigan and named their new city Lansing. Meanwhile, down in Ohio, 05 Schuyler houseColumbus was settled by miners and farmers and entrepreneurs coming in via the National Road from Maryland, and a lot of former New Yorkers. Now I’m in New York; here everybody talks about Henry Hudson; Dutch names such as Van Rensselaer and Schuyler are on every post; and events of the 1600s are common conversation. History is a long-running soap opera. And I love it! » read more

 
 
 

Smack Dab In The Middle

06 america tagLinda Burton posting from Des Moines, Iowa –The Journey Across America is 70% complete. I’m wrapping up my stay in Des Moines, my 35th capital city. This time last year I was in Olympia, Washington. This time next year I’ll be in Washington, DC. Right now, I’m smack dab in the middle of the country, the part we call “the heartland.” I’ve found a lot of heart here on the prairie, where people live with wide-open spaces and rich, productive farmland. The cities aren’t big, but the spirit is. Mother Nature commanded my attention as I drove between these last five 04 Wanda and Cocoacities – with floods and tornadoes and my personal favorite, lightning storms. But the people I’ve met overshadowed the weather inconveniences; and that’s what I’ll remember. Like Wanda, and the 4th of July party she put together for many of us in the hotel, bringing her homemade potato salad, and having husband Max grill the burgers (and bring Cocoa in for us to pet). Like Josh and Patrick in Lincoln who took care of my car, adding a special “rain protector” after the wash so I’d be safer in the storms, cheering on the Journey, and 06 guys car wash lincolnwishing they could tag along. Like Sheryl in Topeka, who stopped her work every morning to chat with me over breakfast, and wouldn’t let me leave without getting our picture together by the car. Like Robyn in Jefferson City, who helped me track down facts on Daniel Morgan Boone; and William, who thanked me for writing about the concert at the capitol where he sang a solo. Like the security guys Robert and Fred in Springfield, who were tippy-toed with excitement that I’d come to see their capitol, and followed me outside, still talking, wishing me a successful Journey. What is better than that? » read more

 
 
 

Love What You’ve Got

10 illinois signLinda Burton posting from Springfield, Illinois – I woke in Indianapolis today; from my room overlooking the city I watched the sun rise in the morning window-sparkle of downtown skyscrapers. I sleep tonight in Springfield; outside my room a single tree somewhat blocks my view of the long-haul trucks in the parking lot, waiting for daylight to hit the road. Though both cities are the center of government for their state, they are very different in style. Indianapolis (pop 829,718) thrives on the adrenalin of sports; speedways and stadiums dot the landscape, surrounded by the accoutrements that accommodate large crowds; restaurants of every ilk, high-rise hotels, taxi cabs. Stand and cheer! Springfield (pop 116,250) is Lincoln’s land; everywhere is evidence of the quiet reflective man who lived here, is buried here. In Springfield he practiced law; in Springfield he campaigned to become president of the land, though when he arrived he didn’t have money to even buy a bed. Inspiration of a different sort; such is the way of the Journey Across America, now 60% complete (stand and cheer!). Today I claim 30 capital cities as my home towns; for the last 443 days I’ve experienced life with big-city bustle, and small-town charm. I’ve seen mountains and 10 love brownvalleys and rivers and lakes, fishing and farming and mining and making things, fresh air and fresh food and history and her story, progress and dropping back and growth and decline, sun belts and bible belts and rust belts and no belts at all, just space. Or congestion. I knew capital cities would be interesting; I had no idea how such a mix of lifestyles and scenery and climate would affect my sensibilities, and begin to explain the world. It’s not what you’ve got that matters, I’ve discovered, it’s how much you love what you’ve got. » read more

 
 
 

Wherever You Go

07 all by car

My Southeast Family in Tampa.
Jason, Linda, Jeffrey, Kaitlyn, Mike, Brenda
plus Justin from the U of Florida, bottom right.

 Linda Burton posting from Raleigh, North Carolina – “Wherever you go, there you are.” That pithy quote came from Col Potter on an episode of MASH as the gang dealt with the intricacies of living in Korea in the middle of a war. You’re still you, he was saying, whatever your circumstances and surroundings may be. And the way you deal with life travels with you, wherever you go. I’ve given that theory a run for its money during this last year as the Journey Across America has taken me to twenty-five capital cities to live and to learn – yes, believe it or not, the Journey is now 50% complete! It’s been a whup-ass grand experience so far, exploring this country called the United States; discovering what holds us together and spotting those things that sometimes keep us apart. The good thing I’ve found is that we have more in common than we don’t, no matter the variety of choices we make from 07 Justin carstate to state. If our roots go back to Europe or Africa or Asia or either of the Americas, we, in time, adapt to what we find, wherever we may go. But along the way we put our spin on things; hey, that’s the spice of life, and I’m finding that the USA is one big spicy meatball; tasty, and so appealing to the senses, the spirit, and the mind! As I finish up my last day in Raleigh, I’ll bring you up to date. And pass along  “thumbs up” from my Southeast family. » read more

 
 
 

It’s Called Experience

Brenda and Judy and Nathan at Houma Plantation in Louisiana

Linda Burton posting from Pensacola, Florida traveling from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Tallahassee, Florida – Country music stars travel a lot; so do politicians. Social media and viral videos may add another dimension as to how we share information, but nothing replaces face-to-face. It’s called experience. This year’s political campaign is a good example of the benefits of “up close and personal.” Candidates racked up the miles and people flocked to their rallies, each wanting the experience of the other. (I tried to get into a Denver rally, but tickets were long gone.) Those music stars don’t hide out in palatial music-star homes watching sales of their albums tote up. They tour. They know that people want the experience of them, and they in turn find out how people respond to what they do. And consider the million miles that Hillary Clinton has covered during her tenure as Secretary of State. She has met with world leaders on their turf, in their environment; such efforts not only allow the visitor a better understanding of why the other fellow looks, feels, and acts as they do, it shows the visitor’s respect for the places, and people, visited. And so it is with the Journey Across America, now 40% complete. Twenty capital cities lived in during the last 309 days; twenty capital cities experienced. » read more

 
 
 

What a Country!

My Pierre Friends Mel and Jason

Linda Burton posting from Denver, Colorado – It’s my last day in Denver, a day I’ll use to summarize. The Journey Across America is now thirty percent complete! That’s right; fifteen capital cities visited, enjoyed, and lived in. I’ve encountered some surprises that didn’t match my plan, such as temperatures over a hundred degrees – I thought I’d be far enough north to avoid that in August! But the Dakotas did me in: Bismarck 105, Pierre 103. And I didn’t plan for Alex Cat to nearly die on me, or to get sick myself, but hey, our bodies falter, every now and then; we’re better now. I had an interesting thought as I came east across the Continental Divide into Helena, Montana, capital city number eleven. It occurred to me that only nine capital cities lie west of the Divide, and I’ve now been to all of them. I’ve lived in Phoenix, Sacramento, Carson City, Salt Lake City, Boise, Salem, Honolulu, Olympia, and Juneau. And I’m amazed that so much of the land, and the resources, that make up our country is found in a rather small number of states. Think of it. » read more

 
 
 

Behind Me Now

01 me and all at Scotts

My Northwest Family in Washington.
Back – Andrew, Matthew, Rick, Jake, Alec, Scott. Front – Kayla, Linda, Tami, Sam.

Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington traveling from Juneau, Alaska to Helena, Montana Twenty percent. That much of the Journey Across America is complete. Twenty percent! That amounts to ten capital cities, ten places on this earth that I have come to know. The hardest part of the trip is behind me now. I have done the flying part, visiting those states that refer to the contiguous 48 as the “mainland”, or the “lower 48.” I have boarded the cats for two-week sessions twice. (Awful for me; awful for them.) I had the joyful company of my two youngest grandkids in two cities, and the added advantage of two points of view. Kayla wrote some excellent posts from Honolulu, took and edited hundreds of photos, and verified anomalies (more people in Waikiki wear black than floral prints!). Sam interviewed everyone he met in Juneau, made friends with the homefolk, and described the far-off sights to me while peering through binoculars. I also had a two-day visit in Olympia from son Rick, grandson Andrew, and Kayla once again; we explored the capitol, the coffee-roasting place, the 17 Brett and carriver and the falls; they loved it all. And there was home and family – the gatherings at son Scott and Tami’s house, the food, the sit around and talk, a Kramer-dog to pet (and throw the ball a hundred times). There was friendly business too; the visits with three members of the Board – Jim and James and Bob, all sharing their ideas and showing their support. I’m ever grateful for it all. (I’m including Brett’s photo, right, from my Arizona stop in March, can’t leave a family member out!) Now, want to see the stats? » read more

 
 
 

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Journey Begins

Linda Burton posting from Boise, Idaho – “That sounds like a lot of work.” I heard that phrase nearly every time I told someone about the plans for the Journey Across America. In fact, I heard it so often I threatened to get a bumper sticker! Well, I’ve visited 5 out of 50 Capital Cities now; the Journey is 1/10th of the way done, and before I begin my focus on Boise, I’m going to summarize, analyze, theorize and maybe even criticize. How are things going so far? What is working particularly well, and what is not so hot in the way I’ve set things up? Like the pioneers on the Oregon Trail, what am I throwing in the ditch, and what have I learned that I cannot live without? I think of the little girl in the ill-fated Donner Party; as adults around her moved into survival mode she was told to leave her dolly behind. But that dolly was her survival mode, she hid it in her skirt; survival is a very personal thing. And so is work. One person’s work can be another’s adventure, no matter what the stats reveal! Let’s see. » read more