Inside the Angkor Temple, Cambodia

Beautiful pictures of our next upcoming trip to Cambodia this fall. Temples and Tea Bike Tour Vietnam and Cambodia. Can’t wait.


Sweatshop Tenement Tour


I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Tenement Museum in Manhattan’s lower east side.  This is an absolute jewel of a museum!!  The mission of the Tenement Museum is to preserve and interpret the history of immigration through the “lens” of generations that have lived in this neighborhood, and particularly this tenement building.


For an hour we were completely immersed in the turn of the century lives and struggles of garment working immigrants.  We were in the spaces where they lived and worked and died.  We learned about the intersection of commerce, religious barriers and compromises and striving for the American dream.


The stewards of this museum have done a fabulous job of providing a vehicle to teach living social history. 7000 people lived in this tenement at 97 Orchard Street between 1863 and 1935.  The building was shuttered up in the 30’s because mandated renovations could not be afforded.  50 years later the building represented a time capsule because of it undisturbed contents.  The curators claimed it was like everyone just up and left.  Today, we learn the stories of the lives and struggles of some of these residents.


In light of recent tragedies for garment workers in Bangladesh and India it is good to remember our own experiences with sweatshop workers.  Next time you are in Manhattan, take a trip down to the lower east side and visit the Tenement Museum.

Brooklyn Bounty

I’m just back from a weekend in Brooklyn visiting my daughter.  I left Denver in a snowstorm and found myself in a green, fresh spring Brooklyn.  Who knew that I could feel more nature in Brooklyn than in Colorado?


As I walked around the neighborhood I noticed lots of color in the form of petunias in pots, pansies in window boxes, tulips and daffodils in clusters around the base of trees.  The trees were all in bloom with big tulip shaped flowers and some of the smaller blossoms fell like snow in the breeze.  The air was crisp and the streets lively with people, babies and dogs enjoying the promise of spring.


We wandered through the Brooklyn flea (best flea market ever).  We enjoyed a huge donut from the local bakery “Dough” and bought an odd collection of stuff.  You can buy just about anything at the flea.  Good selection of second hand stuff and local artisans.   I came home with quite a few treasures, of which my cobbler form for a man’s shoe is my most favorite.

Brooklyn yarn

We had breakfast at the Clinton Hill Café, and dinner at the General Greene.  Dinner was just an excuse to get to the best part of the meal, which is their salted caramel ice cream sundae – complete with cake and salted pretzels.

Pratt trees


The more we walked around, the more I had a sense of community.  I felt I had become a part of something.  On this spring morning, no one was pushing and hustling.  No one wanted or needed to be somewhere else.  Everyone wanted to be there, in Brooklyn on this beautiful warm spring Saturday morning.  It was a real treat to see this side of Brooklyn.

5 Reasons to Take a Healing Holiday


There is no better reason to take a holiday than your own mortality.  Vacations are one of the best ways to step out of your daily routine, recharge your batteries and see things from a different perspective.  If you are still living, below are 5 reasons you need a holiday now!

  1. It is therapeutic to get away from your daily routines of life and be exposed to different environments.  Being away from home you can step “out of character”.  Your responsibilities lessen on vacation and you can develop or rely on different aspects of your personality.  Vacations can be life-altering experiences.
  2. Scientific studies support the healthy aspects of vacations.  In a twenty-year study of women The Framingham Heart Study found a higher likelihood of heart attack and death in those women who took infrequent vacations.[1]   Homemakers who reported that they had a vacation once every 6 years or less had almost twice the risk of developing myocardial infarction or coronary death as homemakers who took vacation two or more times per year.
  3. Other studies have found a positive relationship between vacations and intellectual functioning [2] and increases in life satisfaction after a vacation. [3]  Employee burnout decreases and efficiency increases post vacation.
  4. Getting away might save money in the long run.  It might be cheaper to improve your marriage or prevent job burnout by taking a vacation rather than pay for psychotherapy or prescription mood altering drugs.
  5. Vacations are an investment in life (your life) rather than investments you bank away and only enjoy on paper. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


The decision to travel is a matter of priorities.  Don’t wait until it is too late to take a break from your life and enjoy a healing holiday.

[1] [1] Eaker ED, Pinsky J, Castelli WP. Myocardial infarction and coronary death among women: psychosocial predictors from a 20-year follow-up of women in the Framingham Study. Am J Epidemiol 1992; 135: 854–64.


[2]  Sands D. The relationship of stressful life events to intellectual functioning in women over 65.  Int J Aging Human Dev 1981;14(1):11-22


[3] Hoopes L., Lounsbury J. An investigation of life satisfaction follwing a vacation:  a domain-specific approach. J Community Psychol 1989; 17:129-40.

A list to happiness……22 things happy people do

This article is from Chiara Fucarino. – As a list maker I love this one……..

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.


The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.



Bath: The perfect mix of Rome and Tea


Roman Baths. Lots of signs not to touch the water……got the feeling it would melt your skin off…..

On a one-day excursion from London to Bath on a frigid winters day you don’t get to see much, but what I did I truly enjoyed.  I ran off the bus, got my token to enter the Roman Bath museum and was transported to ancient Roman times.  I am such a sucker for a good audio guide and I was not disappointed.  I have been to the town of Bath 3 or 4 times since childhood, but they have done a superb job of renovating and making the visitor’s center interactive, I saw the “Baths” with fresh eyes.  I spent most of my allotted time “soaking” up the idealized version of the baths.  I still get a chill walking on the stones thinking that ancient Romans walked here (even though I know that there is a better chance that one of Jane Austen’s characters walked on the current pavers).


After wandering around the town for a few minutes (did I mention how cold it was) I decided to have a proper cream tea.  I ducked into a local teashop with rough hewn floors, creaky steps, low ceiling and a distinct smell of decay.  I enjoyed a pot of tea with a scone and real Devon cream.  Yummy!!  This was my true Jane Austen moment.


I liked this ladies hair……


So for my 2 hours in the town of Bath I entered two fantasy worlds.  After tea, I jumped on the bus, in which we did a quick tour of some beautiful Georgian Terrace houses and drove back to London with the sun at our back.  No time for cocktails, but did I mention it was warm in the bus……