Unimited Funds and Instant Travel….

A year in quarantine has squashed my poor travel bug which is as antsy as a jumping bean right now. Reminiscing/Lamenting past travels brought good conversation and a good question.


If you had unlimited funds, and instant travelling with you and anyone you want to bring along at your disposal, what would your perfect day (24 hours, live it up) look like?

My Response:

Teleportation and some serious Red Bull/5 Hour Power would be likely needed, but I would bounce around the world.

This is a rough estimate timeline as I have no idea of sunrise/sunset times are for most of the places listed and would have to adjust my schedule accordingly.

* 9am – Breakfast on the Nile, with a tour of the Pyramids and camel riding included.

* Noon – Zip over to Antarctica for an hour of up close wildlife watching because I just have to step foot on that continent, not just see it from a cruise ship.

* 1pm – Warm up on Ireland and Scotland coasts mid-afternoon; I want to personally see the beautiful vistas and at least one of the ancient castles I’ve only seen in movies.

* 3pm – since we’re so close, a quickie bite at the Eiffel Tower (and perhaps a different sort of quickie afterward should I have a S/O by then).

* 5pm – New Zealand, The amazing forest shown in Lord of the Rings I believe was shot there.

* 6pm – Machu Picchu – for the amazing history.

* 7pm – Rio, Brazil, Statue of Jesus and the divers – self explanatory.

* 8pm – Sunset dinner in the Potala Palace is in Lhasa, Tibet. Can you imagine how glorious a sunset that must be at one of the most amazing architecturally impressive structures and at one of the highest points in the world!

* 10pm – Tokyo, Japan – Just to see the only place brighter than Vegas at night – lol.

* Midnight – Tromsø, Norway, Aurora Borealis – self-explanatory.

* 2am – Dubai (UAE) – for some serious late-night night life in an unexpected place, gotta get my partay on!

* Twilight/Dawn – Tonga Island – one of the closest places to the International Date Line – to be on the cusp of yesterday and tomorrow simultaneously.

* 5am – Sunrise on Uluru (Ayers Rock) Australia. For the sheer beauty and reverence of the place.

* 8am – New York, New York – because There’s No Place Like Home.

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Slice of Life – Tuesday Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Simple Joys

It is scheduled to rain this afternoon. It was overcast by my home when I got on the train early this morning to come to work. Thus, I was delighted to see El Sol was out and about when I came up from the subway near my job.

It’s the little things that bring simple joys.

El Sol giving me giraffe legs.

The Commons around my job have wonderful landscapers. There are seasonal plantings: various florals in summer and autumn, lights for the December holidays. Yesterday afternoon when I left work this plant box still held winter evergreens. This morning I am greeted by this unofficial but oh so important harbinger of spring: tulip bulbs! So come on rain and help out. I now look forward to seeing this and other plant boxes throughout The Commons ablaze in colorful tulips n a couple of weeks.

It’s the little things that bring simple joys.

It is Day 6 of the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge for 2020. Stop in and see how others are slicing it up today!

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Temple of My Familiar

One of the gazillion things I love bout my hometown is its museums. There are many, but there is one in particular I can only let but so much time go by without visiting, and that is The Metropolitan Museum of Art. And even then, regardless of what else new may be there, I must always visit one exhibit. The Temple of Dendur, a real Egyptian temple, is completely open to the public. I remember the first time stepped into the wing and laid eyes upon it I was enthralled. I remember wishing the entire wing were a part of my back yard. Even now, in the nearly two decades since, I still love to visit the temple, walk through its limestone doors and hallways, imaging the temple as it was used way, way, way back when.

The Temple of Dendur dates to 15 BC, in the Roman period. Over the temple gate and over the entrance to the temple itself, the winged sun disk of the sky god Horus is depicted. The temple is partly decorated with reliefs: the temple base is decorated with carvings of papyrus and lotus plants growing out of the water of the Nile. The middle room, used for offerings, and the sanctuary of Isis at the rear of the temple are surprisingly undecorated except for the reliefs on the door frame and rear wall of the sanctuary which show Pihor and Pedesi, as young gods worshiping Isis and Osiris respectively.

Each time I walk through it I am amazed at how something so massive was dismantled, shipped overseas from Alexandria, Egypt and rebuilt in the magnificent wide open Sacker Wing at The Met. That it only took a decade to do so is a feat within itself. The temple was dismantled and removed from its original location in 1963 in order to save the site from being submerged by Lake Nasser, following construction of a dam. It was a gift to America for the nations assistance in saving Dendur and a few other sites that were also in danger with the dam’s construction.

What a lot of people don’t know, or forget, is that the Temple of Dendur is not a tomb. No pharaoh or queen is honored here. It is a temple that honors the various gods and myth of the ancient Egypt. The temple was built to honor Isis, but Horus, Osiris, Thoth, Hapy, and Sekhment are also represented in its walls. And because kings, respect kinds, there is even a rendering of Augustus Cesar, dressed in the Egyptian robes of a pharaoh for kings respect kings, making offerings to Egyptian gods.

Another tidbit unbeknownst to most: Most of the walls of the ancient temples were originally painted in vibrant colors. It’s the erosion of time in the desert sun and the occasion flooding of the Nile, that leaves us with the beauty of the bas relief in sandstone. There are is very little documentation on this, but few examples found and from looking at other temples in the area, indicate there was color on the temple walls. Last year the Met had the Color the Temple project. A light installation using digital technology which projected the colors of the painted detail to the temple without altering the surface itself. The artists chose the scene of August Ceasar giving offerings as it was the most intact scene and in an ideal location in which to project. Alas, that was early last year and is now gone, but I am sure you can find pictures and articles of it somewhere in Googleland.

And with all things beautiful, to quote a certain Country and Pop star people throw rocks at things that shine. You can actually find graffiti carved into the walls of the temple. One dates as far back to the BC times, a few scant years after the temple was built through to another carved in the late 1800s. Leonardo 1820 is the one easily remembered, but my favorite – to my delight and yes, I presume it’s a male, his shame is one carved by a “L. BRAD—” the rest of the name is unreadable, “1821 OF NY US”. Here, nearly 200 years later, in New York City sits the tag of a fellow resident of my state, hey, for all I know, he may even be a fellow resident of the City itself. Now wouldn’t that be ironic and delicious?

The Sacker Wing which houses the temple was designed in a way to mimic the temple’s location in Egypt. The reflecting pool in front of the temple represents the Nile river and the wall behind it represents the cliffs of the original location. The frosted glass ceiling of the wing and the massive glass wall facing Central Park is stippled to diffuse the light coming in and resemble the lighting in Egypt. The view in spring and summer, when the trees are in bloom are beautiful. I myself am most enamored with the view in autumn, where the colors of fall complement the warm limestone walls of the temple. Even now in the midst of the stark contrast of gray winter days is its own beauty. So yes, the views of the temple and its outside environs are stunning regardless of season. I have whiled away many, many hours sitting, reading, contemplating life and simply enjoying the natural light that pours through the windows. Even in inclement weather it is beautiful to pass the time watching a rain storm through those windows.

The Temple of Dendur is also considered one of the most romantic places in NYC. Many proposals have happened in these hallowed halls as well as wedding receptions as the Temple of Dendur can be rented for events by museum members, with the monies for such of course. I must admit when the room is closed for a private event and I cannot have my time there, I am perturbed for days. It is a gorgeous atmosphere that is historically fascinating surrounded by natural beauty outside and over a couple of millennium of art in the inside. Is there really any wonder I continually return?

Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 5
A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.

And A House Is Not A Home…

“But a chair is not a house, and a house is not a home…”
– Burt Bacharach and Hal David

Also with a respectful nod to both Dionne Warwick and Luther Vandross of course, I have to say – yes.

Until the age of twenty-three when I moved-out for good, I lived with my parents, more or less – that’s a very long story that can be summed up in a poem I wrote here.  It was my parents’ home yes, but not mine. I lived there as a child as all children do because, I had no choice.  Until I could afford to be on my own, I had no choice.  Most parents, at some point, will explain the finer points of home ownership. It almost always comes first in some form of My house. My Rules.  I had my bedroom, yes, but I never felt at home in my parents’ house. A stanza from the  above referenced poem…

Where do I go
This was my shelter
It was all I’ve ever known
I’m taught never to be where I’m not wanted
But what do I do when I’m a child
And where I’m not wanted is home

It was an intangible difference, but one I innately, if not completely, understood even as a young child.

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
― Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye

When I moved out of my parent’s house, I moved into Bill’s parent’s house. They were both retired and aging, still for the first couple of years very much with us. Yes, it was technically the parents’ house and there was definite clashing of heads twixt all four of us adults from time-to-time, but there was a mutual respect companionship and love throughout those walls.  As his step-father’s health rapidly declining and his mother was showing the very first hints of Alzheimer’s I found myself in the role of partial caretaker of the elderly parents. Living with them taught me that home and family is are relative terms less defined by blood, more defined by relationships. Bill has cousins, the family of his mother’s best friend. People he was not related to by blood, but were very much his family. That was the first place I felt at home.

“When I think of home I think of a place where there’s love overflowing…”
Home – The Wiz Soundtrack

Whether in an apartment, but especially when we actually owned our own house I learned home was more than my four walls and the roof over my head. Home is an environment. It was my dog I could hear happily barking and doing what we dubbed the happy-happy-joy-joy dance as soon she sensed my approach to the door. It was the feeling that greeted me when I walked through the door. It was my sons and husband who waited for me to get home. It extended out of the walls and windows of my actual abode to those we welcomed within. My sons’ friends who knew they better “greet an adult first when coming through my door” before going to play video games in their bedroom. Our friends and family coming over for barbecue and the annual Superbowl party.   At long last I had found home.

And then I lost it.

“Home is where somebody notices when you are no longer there.”
― Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project

Through a series of events I’m not going into here, when my husband died I was no longer able to keep living in our home and long story-short I wound up moving in with the one person who always had my back, and opened her home to me when I needed one, my best friend. Coming from a life of being an only child, living with Bill who was estranged from his living sibling and myself having the two boys, I had lived in relatively quiet homes. The realities of living with a large family was foreign to me. It was one thing to know, or rather know of, a string of siblings and nieces and nephews of her family, but I had very little interaction with them over the years. I understood them in the Hallmark card concept of everyone was around for Thanksgiving dinner in which we showed up for an hour or so and then left to visit elsewhere. Still very much walking the Path of Grieving at the time, plus a series of other mayhem that befell, I was grateful, to have a roof over my head. I was grateful it was with my best friend, whom I love dearly. After a twenty years of finally having a true feeling of home in my life, being in a home not my own again was especially stinging. The day-to-day of always having people who were not my family, always around, and as I felt in my business, was something to which I had much trouble adjusting. I quickly understood that none of them would ever really understand how I could be in my room, reading a book not wanting any interaction just as I would never understand the sound and fury and a constant stream of people coming and going that was their norm. Over time I was definitely more at home there. A couple of her siblings have claimed me as I have claimed her as my sister on all legal forms. Still, for all of that, I could never really make the apartment we shared feel like my home. Because I knew from the onset, no matter how long I stayed there, it was always a temporary thing and she would likely be the only person to miss my presence when I finally left.

“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there anymore.” – Robin Hobb, Fool’s Fate

Twice times I rode the train and went back to my old block, to “casually” pass by my old home. The first time was maybe a year or so after the boys and I left. The house was empty of tenants, the fence needed repair, the yard was overrun with weeds.  The second time was perhaps around the third year mark when I saw it in passing from a train.  The yard was cut, a car was in the driveway, the house was occupied by a family not my own. Both times I was still in grief, so all I saw in my heart were how the Christmas decorations would hang from the awning. The football shaped balloons we attached to the fence for Superbowl, where the grill stood in the yard. I saw it while passing by in a car a couple of summers ago. The building was almost out of my sight before I even realized where we were. I understood I would have been immediately in tune with it before, it did not register because it was no longer home to me anymore.

If there is one thing we humans all have in common, it is that we all want a place to call home.

After several years of living with my best friend I am under my own roof again. I am on totally on my own, no children, no romantic partners, just me, but I feel it. I still have some furniture I need to purchase, some décor I need to work out, deal with a host of other changes, big and small, in my life because of it, but I feel it. The views are very different than before, how I move around is very different than before, it is a very different feeling than before, but I feel it nonetheless.  And oh when I climb the stair and turn the key in the front door at the end of the day, yeah I feel it…

“Home is where the heart is.”
Gaius Plinius Secundus


Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 3
A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.

And let’s see how others are slicing this week:
Slice of Life Writing Challenge|Two Writing Teachers


Tale Weaver # 96: The Front Door

There is very little sound at this time of day. The slight wind brushing against the brick my building. The clicks of the changing traffic lights at the corner. The wheels of the passing car on the asphalt. I can even hear the intake of my own breath through my nose before I audibly exhale in a yawn. I look outside again.

The gabled and hip roofs of the Victorian and mini-colonial style houses across the street are all but dwarfed by the raised turrets that mark the roof of the cathedral at one corner of the long street and the flat squat roof line of the multi-storied tenement at the other. It is all but one dark shadowed mass as I peer through glass window of the front door of my building. In this very early dawn there is very little difference in shade between the dark concrete of the sidewalk and the blacktop of the asphalt streets save for the intermittent pools of light from street lamps. The sepia light, a dull gleam off the chrome and glass of the parked cars lining the curb. The lumens providing just enough visibility to guide you from one glowing sphere to the next giving only the simplest of details to keep one from tripping over a crack, or slipping off the curb. It has a film noir vibe. I feel as though I should be in a trench coat, instead of a winter one. The red, yellow, green of the stop light at the near corner is almost garish in comparison. The bright headlight of the sole car passing by, whose owner dares to be up and about even earlier than I, is near blinding in turn.

But this is the block on which I live; I know this block well. Even in the early morning dark I know the car in the driveway of the second Victorian from the left is maroon in color and has not moved in years from the rust I’ve seen on it. On the first floor in the colonial nearest to the corner a light turns on as someone wakes. Standing just inside the front door of the vestibule of my building I am warm in my favorite winter coat. I adjust my hat, scarf and gloves in preparation as I peer through the window yet again, on watch for one light in particular. As I spy the glowing marquee coming forth I open the door to the non-silence that is my street on an early winter’s dawn to catch my bus and head to work.

My day begins.


Written for Mindlovemisery Menagerie’s Tale Weaver

Tale Weaver # 96 – December 15th – What you see out your front door.

Decked Out

After eight years of living with a roommate I am under my own roof again. It was a long hard climb to get myself back into a solid enough financial stability to do so and I am so happy! It was almost like Christmas as I unearthed the things from storage that I had not seen in all that time.

Some of it was bittersweet: The clock with the traditional wedding vows and our wedding date – a wedding gift from my best-friend. The shadow box containing last flowers and card he sent me, that were received after he was gone (you can read that story here). My late-husband’s folded flag in its wood case. Of those three items, only the flag is out to be seen. I decided other than a picture, it was the only other physical reminder of him that was needed – even the kitchen magnets agreed.

My eldest was placing kitchen magnets of our astrological signs on the new refrigerator the way they were on the old one. When he placed Aquarius, Bill’s sign, on the door it fell to the floor and broke. He looked crestfallen showing it to me, worried about my reaction. I shrugged and explained, it’s been ten years and this is a new space. He was not supposed to be here prominently like this. My sign and my sons’ respective signs were the only ones needed.

Most of the unpacking was long, but happy: getting my king-sized bed back after years of sleeping on a full-size. My barely used pots & pans before everything happened just soap and water away from use again. Seeing my favorite books back on shelves and seeing the artwork I loved displayed again – squeeeee! What brought a huge smile to my face was uncovering all of my holiday decorations. I now have a closet that is full of nothing but holiday cheer. I was determined that my place would be free of any unnecessary boxes by Thanksgiving so I can spread that cheer.

For being back on my own meant I could return to doing what I could not do for eight years. My annual tradition of putting up the Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving was back and I could not wait! I have a lot of decor. Enough that I can do color various themes. Oh, what to choose! I literally opened boxes and whatever three colors captured my eyes first were what went up.

Now, I am not going to lie, 2016 has been one doozey of year. Still, with journeys to Dubai & Abu Dhabi, Cuba and Italy now under my belt, I cannot claim it was all bad when I can walk in MY door and for the next few weeks I get see this:




!! Happy Holidays !!



Slice of Life Tuesday Writing Challenge  – Two Writing Teachers

Where? There!

As I run amok in my home town I am wont to randomly photograph any architecture and various works of art, that capture my attention. On occasion they are easily recognizable icons of New York City – the Empire State Building, the Prometheus sculpture at Rockefeller Center. Mostly, I like to capture items the even fellow denizens may not be aware exist unless they frequent the area.

The rules, such they’re not, are simple enough. Anything under “Where’s Raivenne?” is somewhere in New York City. I post the picture and you guess the location.  The first person to guess the correct location generally wins. A more exact location, even if it appears after a correct response, will trump a more generic description.  For example this photo:

Where's Raivenne

Click for larger image

The person who responded with the lyrics to the song “Downtown” was technically correct. I was in downtown NYC. She won my heart because I do love that song, but “downtown” is too vague to win the game.  Two people responded with the correct answer – City hall Park. the person who responded first “won”. The only answer that would have trumped it is if someone had said answered something like”The fountain at City Hall Park facing Park Row”.

The rules are very loose and winners receive nothing more than the accolade of knowing they’ve guessed correctly.

Some guess more than others, some get them right more than others, some of my of fellow denizens get none of them right.  I also give extra points for creative answers, that are blatantly wrong, but make me laugh. Sometimes I even stump myself. Such as when I once  I posted a picture while I was drunk and had no idea where I was the next day. It took two years and pure happenstance that I walked past the exact place again to answer my own query.

Every now and then I toss out technicalities just to mess with people. Hey, my games – my rules, but it’s all in fun.

I post them on my Facebook page under the heading of “Where’s Raivenne?” The tagline to the album states:

You may not know where I’m going, but you might know where I’ve been…


Let’s see where my fellow slicers are taking us today in the challenge:


Slice of Life Writing Challenge – Day 16 – Two Writing Teachers


I’ve a problem people…


I’ve got the travel bug.

No, really it’s bad.

I have one vacation set for the end of July, another vacation set for mid October.  For the past couple of weeks I have perusing travel sites to plot a weekend in London this year. I’ve also been laying out a plan to visit a couple of far off  lands for 2017. And because -why the hell not? – I’m plotting flights, for a grand excursion in 2018 for my 55th birthday.

I mean seriously, people – we’re not even out of March of 2016!!!!

I’ve held a baby crocodile in the Bayou, wrapped my self with a constrictor in the Caribbean, rode a camel in the desert of Dubai (trust me that last is not as impressive as it sounds, but I did it, so it counts). And yet all I can think is – what’s next?

The 52 year old me finds myself in a position the fifteen year old me could never have fathomed –  I have friends and acquaintances in several countries – and I want to visit all of them!

Hell, the only reason I’m not  going anywhere between now and July is time and money.  Actually, it’s just money. I have plenty of vacation time, in which to feed the travel bug, just not the funds to satiate it’s hunger. I mean have given up my Starbucks from time to time for travel. Put back that oh-so-fab suit for an extra hotel night, and really I can Netflix tonight to real life another night – right? Right!

But a girl can only deal with so much ramen noodles and there’s no Netflix without electricity – so priorities.

* spies a travel deal online * Hey, that bed-and-breakfast weekend in….

* spies utility bill on table * Le sigh….

Oh this travel bug has sunk its teeth in DEEP.


Let’s see how other’s are slicing through this 14th day of the challenge.


Slice of Life Writing Challenge – Day 14 – Two Writing Teachers


Spaces and Places: Firefly Squid – Toyama Bay, Japan

I don’t care how long one lives on this planet we will never be able to imagine all of its wonders. I learned about one such this morning.

If, like I, you have never seen or heard of this before, let me introduce you to the marvel of…

Firefly Squid



The Firefly Squid is a bioluminescent squid growing to a length of only three inches. The squid is equipped with special light-producing organs called photophores that emit a deep blue light. Large photophores can be found on the tips of the tentacles as well as around the eyes. Thousands of tiny photophores can be found throughout the squid’s body, giving it the ability to emit light along its entire form. In the Toyama Bay, in the central Japan Sea, the squid are found in fantastic abundance. Normally living at 1200 feet underwater, waves in the Toyama bay pushes the squid to the surface in massive numbers where they are fished by tons from March to June.

And as I stated on my Facebook page this morning. I must see this with my own eyes someday.  Periodically, as I learn and/or am reminded of the wonders of this home terraform we call Earth – if it is someplace I would like to visit, even if only in my imagination, I will add to this new section I’m calling Spaces and Places.  Well, once I have more than one entry that is….

As I plot, plan, and with fingers tightly crossed, take these jaunts from my To-Do to DONE lists, and of course post pictures, I hope you can travel along with me here.

Slice of Life Weekly Story Challenge

Slice of Life Weekly Story Challenge – Two Writing Teachers