Mar 22

My Perfect Holiday!

Today is known as International Goof Off Day.  It is a day to relax, enjoy and goof off.  Do something fun and leave the work until tomorrow.

Even though I have 5 (yes, five!) part-time jobs, I seem to be able to do them all and manage to have lots of nap time.  Except for teaching piano, these other jobs can (mostly) be done on the computer, sitting on my sofa, where it’s a short movement to get into nap position.


Other than napping as a way to goof off, I also have several other things I like to do. I’ll list these right after…


Happy Holiday!





Mar 20

Happy Spring!


Spring has sprung, the grass has riz,
I wonder where the birdies is.
Some say the birds is on the wing,
but that’s absurd, the wing is on the bird.


That’s how I learned this little ditty.  A quick internet search shows that some wonder where the flowers is and other variations.




Mar 17

Saint Patrick’s Day / Riverdance



Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.


When I was a child, my dad, a Scottish person, had me wear orange to school, as a minor form of protest.  All that did was have the kids make fun of me even more than usual.


As my own form of protest, I later married an Irish Roman Catholic, but that’s a topic for another post.


Quite a while later, a friend of my husband’s friends lent him a copy of something called “Riverdance”.  I took one look and figured I would never be interested in some kind of Irish dancing.  WRONG!


It turned out I loved Riverdance and we have seen the video, I have my own DVDs, we have seen it at Wolftrap whenever it’s been here, I have 2 copies of piano transcriptions, own the Tshirt…  One weekend, we even saw it twice.

One weekend, we even saw it twice.  We had seen it at Wolftrap on a Friday night.  Our son came home on a Saturday and we were telling him about it.  We went directly from the train station back to Wolftrap.

As luck would have it, there was a bus driver there who had brought a bunch of people on a tour from a retirement home.  Three people hadn’t come and he had 3 tickets to get rid of, right in the front section.

Were we lucky, or what?




One of my favorite dances:



And another favorite:



And, of course, that finale!



Just for fun, there was a flashmob, bringing us back to St. Patrick’s Day…




Needless to say, I was quite sorry to see that Riverdance is coming to the East Coast in April but not down to our area.



Mar 16

It All Started With a Train

I was reading this great article at and saw that the header image was a train we were on in 2007, the White Pass & Yukon Route out of Skagway, Alaska.

The Thrillist folks said “As you cruise along the side of frighteningly sheer cliff-drops on this narrow-gauge railway, you can’t help but wonder who in their right mind actually built this thing during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. The train departs from Skagway on three different excursions, all of which take you up 3,000ft in 20 miles, past glaciers, mountain lakes, and thunderous waterfalls. The signature trip travels the original miners’ supply route to Carcross, Yukon, and stops at a restored station house in Lake Bennett. Or you can take the train past Bridal Veil Falls and Dead Horse Gulch to White Pass Summit, a 40-mile round trip that traverses massive trusses that are not for those with a fear of heights.


My DH is a major train person.  Even in Grad School at the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee, he worked for the now-defunct Milwaukee Road.  They even gave him a company car!

Our time in Milwaukee might be the starter of another post but it was how I got my interest in trains.

Somehow, along the way, I learned about the Soo Line and I’d take a picture whenever I saw one.  The very last one I saw, I was on a Cushing’s trip to Chicago.  When we went by a railroad yard, I got a glimpse of a Soo and whipped around to get a picture.  This isn’t that one but another example.


After Milwaukee, there has always been an involvement with trains – including taking vacations looking at spikes and tie plates.

Fun times!

So, when we found ourselves at Skagway, we just had to go on this train.

I wanted to post some about this trip, so I searched my travel blog.  When nothing came up, I thought all my notes were gone.  I looked at the one measly post about Alaska and found a link to more info.  I had completely forgotten that I had saved all my travel memories on a website in the days before blogs.  Most of my info is here, except for some images I had stored on the now-defunct Posterous.

So, from (I’ll have to check around and see what else is here!

Monday June 25, 2007, Sunrise 3:45 AM

Skagway Official Skagway info from

A place exists in Alaska where the past lives on, where the cries of “gold in the Yukon” still echo from steep canyon walls, where the sounds of barroom pianos and boomtown crowds ring out in the night. A place where the romance and excitement of yesteryear linger around every street corner, every bend in the trail.

Skagway! The wide Pacific lying at it’s door, the historic little community, known as the “Gateway to the Klondike,” occupies a lovely site with snow-capped and glaciated peaks as a backdrop. A port of call on south east Alaska’s Inside Passage route , this waterfront town, with it’s pervasive frontier flavour, attracts thousands of visitors annually via road, rail and seaway.

Designated a historic district by the US National Park Service, the area along Broadway from First to Seventh Avenues contains forty to fifty turn-of-the-century wooden structures, housing hotels, saloons and shops restored to evoke the days of the Gold Rush. The former railroad depot, a handsome 1898 building, serves as the Park Service visitor centre and departure point for walking tours conducted by park rangers.

So, join us in celebrating our Gold Rush past as we begin our second century being the gateway to the Klondike. Spend some time in our historical city, visit the surrounding wilderness areas or take in some of our events!

I woke up again sometime around 3AM when it was light again but managed to sleep a bit more. The plan had been to get up at 6 so we could have breakfast before we set out for the day. We missed breakfast. We were to meet our tour at 7:15 AM. Amazingly, we were first on the bus. I don’t think we’ve ever been first for anything!

Our bus driver was a very good driver who told us all about the history of Skagway and the surrounding areas. Our first stop was Liarsville (, a tent village for gold miners. It was called Liarsville because many newspaper reporters were there publishing tales of how “easy” it was to find gold and become rich. No Way! The locals did a show for us and let us pan for gold. Of course, most everyone found some little gold flakes. A very hard way to make a living!

White PassWe made our way up the White Pass on the Klondike Highway to a 3,000 ft waterfall, Dead Horse Gulch (a lot of pack horses couldn’t make it the whole way), the Moore Bridge, Yukon Suspension Bridge at Tutshi Canyon and up over the West White Pass into Fraser British Columbia Canda, the same way that the miners had to walk or go with pack animal and 2,000 pounds of supplies. Much easier by heated bus! It was very scenic and we took lots of pictures.

White PassAt the summit of that, in Fraser, British Columbia, we got on the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) Railroad train.

White PassThe WP&YR was originally built to help those miners who were hauling the ton of supplies up the pass but they finished building the railroad a year after the gold rush had ended. There’s more info about this railroad at We went over trestle bridges, through tunnels, over glaciers. Definitely a worthwhile trip.

WP&YR webcam:

Here’s a bit of our train trip. Tom took this from the platform between the cars:


Back in Skagway we stopped in the train shop but all I got was coffee, my first of the day. Another Alaskan T-Shirt Company for yet more fleece and stuff and hiked back to the ship.

Tom took a little nap and I read for a while. Then buffet lunch time.

Tom went out to a meeting and I napped for a while. He came back and I started typing this again – and he napped. What old fuddy-duddies!

Time to get dressed for tonight’s show – dual acrobatics, Jean-Claude and Gaby – followed by “casual” dinner. Any dinner that requires anything more than jeans is hardly casual to me!

Sunset 10:23. Hubbard Glacier is 300 nautical miles.


That Thrillist had a couple other trains of interest – 1 that we took and one that we always wanted to take.  I’ll save those for another post.


Mar 15

Ides of March


Everyone knows we’re supposed to beware the Ides of March and may even remember they’re from William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” but what exactly do they mean?


The Ides of March marked the day the Julius Caesar was assassinated by members of the Roman Senate in 44 B.C.E.

A soothsayer, or psychic, warned Caesar to beware the day, but Caesar doesn’t heed him.

He was then stabbed 23 times by about 60 conspirators, including his friend Marcus Brutus, as immortalised by Shakespeare’s “Et tu Brute?”

I remember learning all about this in Latin class in High School.



I remember another movie, probably Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, discussing the Ides of March and someone asked why a month would need an “idea”.



We found Bill and Ted purely by accident.  We were looking at videos for rent in a grocery store and one of the bag boys (remember them?) recommended this one.

I’ve seen this several times over the years…


Mar 14

Happy Pi Day!



Mar 12

Don’t Forget


Daylight Saving Time is currently the second Sunday in March in the USA.  The practice is designed to give people an extra hour of sunlight in the evening hours.

The time change officially takes place at 2 a.m., so change your microwave and old-school clocks before you head to bed Saturday night. The change is automatic for most smartphones, computers, tablets and other digital devices.


Mar 10

It’s Also International Bagpipe Day!




Mar 10

Happy Mary O’Day!


Even though the day is really for Mario, I like to think of it as MaryO day.  Since I’m Scottish, how about MaryO’Day?


So, I bring you the new holiday…










Mar 06

Found on Facebook


From My Heart Will Always be in Scotland

Wha’s like us?

The average Englishman, in the home he calls his castle, slips into his national costume, a shabby raincoat, patented by chemist Charles Macintosh from Glasgow, Scotland.

En route to his office he strides along the English lane, surfaced by John Macadam of Ayr, Scotland.

He drives an English car fitted with tyres invented by John Boyd Dunlop of Dreghorn, Scotland.

At the train station he boards a train, the forerunner of which was a steam engine, invented by James Watt of Greenock, Scotland.

He then pours himself a cup of coffee from a thermos flask, the latter invented by James Dewar, a Scotsman from Kincardine-on-Forth.

At the office he receives the mail bearing adhesive stamps invented by James Chalmers of Dundee, Scotland.

During the day he uses the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

At home in the evening his daughter pedals her bicycle invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, blacksmith of Dumfries, Scotland.

He watches the news on his television, an invention of John Logie Baird of Helensburgh, Scotland,

And an item about the U.S. Navy, founded by John Paul Jones of Kirkbean, Scotland.

He has by now been reminded too much of Scotland and in desperation he picks up the Bible only to find that the first man mentioned in the good book is a Scot, King James VI, who authorised its translation.

Nowhere can an Englishman turn to escape the ingenuity of the Scots.

He could take to drink, but the Scots make the best in the world.

He could take a rifle and end it all but the breech-loading rifle was invented by Captain Patrick Ferguson of Pitfours, Scotland.

If he escapes death, he might then find himself on an operating table injected with penicillin, which was discovered by Alexander Fleming of Darvel, Scotland.

Or under anaesthetic, which was discovered by Sir James Young Simpson of Bathgate, Scotland.

Out of the anaesthetic, he would find no comfort in learning he was as safe as the Bank of England founded by William Paterson of Dumfries, Scotland.

Perhaps his only remaining hope would be to get a transfusion of guid Scottish blood, which would entitle him to ask… “Wha’s Like Us!”



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