“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”

This has been the most leisurely of mornings. When I woke up, I stayed in bed and finished my book then I came downstairs, got the papers and my coffee and read each paper from front to back. I then checked my e-mail and turned on MSNBC. That held my attention until the screen went black. That held my attention even more. The TV was on but the cable had disappeared. I checked on-line, and the Comcast page said problems in my area. I called my friend who lives in my area, down the street, and she has TV. I started a chat with Comcast but it disappeared so here I am.

Today is simply lovely. It is 40˚so the snow is melting. I am surrounded by the sounds of constant drips from the roof. I had my front door open to the sun for a long while until the sun started moving around my house on its way to the back, to the west.

Today is one of those quiet days I love. It’s a book day, a get cozy on the couch and read day. It’s a stay in the house and look at the world through the window day.

One of my prized travel possessions is a small book called JUST POINT! I bought it when I went to Russia in 1972 as I had no hope of pronouncing words I couldn’t read. The book is filled with pictures divided into categories. In the gifts section are pictures of leiderhosen, clocks, fans, lighters and statues, none of which I have ever bought, but it’s nice to know they’re handy just in case. There is a tobacco section should I ever feel the need for a cigar or a pipe. Ice is pictured in a bucket, and the phone still has a dial. Even the parts of a cow has its own page should I desire a specific cut of meat. I can travel by train, ship or airplane and point to what I need. A toilet seems to a prominent picture on several pages. For that I’m glad. In most of the pictures, people seem to be having a really great time. I especially like the smiling couple atop the elephant in the transportation section. He has a cigar and she’s wearing a hat. In that section, I get to point at the elephant, a rowboat, a canoe, a gondola, a sleigh, horses, a mountain tram or a camel. The automobile has its own section.

The emergency section is my favorite and it covers just about every contingency. A hand is being burned, hit by a nail and caught in a door. There’s a dog biting that same hand and some bees stinging it as well. I love the picture of a huge rock hitting a foot clad in high heels. Luckily for me there’s a picture of someone falling. I keep a sticky on that page. I can point to a sunburn, something in my eye and a traffic accident. Two pages are devoted to emergencies resulting from crime. There’s a pickpocket, a mugger, a camera snatcher and a suitcase thief. The last picture proves crime doesn’t pay as it is a policeman hauling away a criminal.

When I go where English is most decidedly a foreign language seldom spoken, this handy book will be safely packed in my carry-on. I can hardly wait to be in a place where I have to open a page and point. Page 19, however, will be skipped. It’s the one with the smiling beets and the Lima beans.

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16 Comments on ““Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.””

  1. Caryn O'Keefe Says:

    Hi Kat,
    For the last week I have been unable to send outgoing email because, my computer says, the outgoing server is offline. I was reluctant to call Comcast on this particular issue because I had just previously had a very fraught conversation with customer service and was still too p’d off to talk politely to anyone there. But I got fed up with my computer continuously and desperately warning me that a particular piece of mail had not been sent HELP!HELP!HELP! so I did call. And that’s when Comcast allegedly found out that they are having trouble with their servers but they know about it now and they’re right on it. Right.

    Smiling beets and lima beans. Hmm. Page 19 would not be on my frequent user list either.

    Up here the sun is mostly shining and the wind is blowing nippily. I had an appointment early this morning and almost froze running from the car to the building (no coat). Then I went to the pet store for pet friendly ice melt and to the grocery store for human friendly Brigham’s Outta the Park coffee ice cream. These things are important. I did buy beet greens to offset the ice cream. I think that works. 🙂

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I was about to chat with Comcast as I had refreshed my box twice and nothing had happened. I was watching MSNBC on my computer. All of a sudden I saw it was trying to boot. It did that 3 times, then it loaded the channels then finally the TV came back. My friend had TV so I was stymied when I first saw the Infinity page said problems in my area. Comcast drives me crazy!!

      I chuckle at what was chosen as pictures for this book. I can’t imagine eating many of the vegetables. The beets were cute though!

      We have no wind. I am amazed. Now you have me salivating for ice cream!!

      Have a great afternoon.

      • Caryn O'Keefe Says:

        I still can’t send outgoing mail on my Comcast account. Nevertheless Anita from Comcast sent me an email about the previous fraught conversation and asked me to contact her by Replying to her email. And I would do that except…. 😀

      • katry Says:

        Hahaha, I am still laughing. She has obviously understood the intricacies of your situation.

  2. olof1 Says:

    Springwinter has started here I think, nasty cold nights but warmish days and that gives me a problem because all the melt water is now making my path down to the gate slippery as he.. I try to find less slippery snow to walk on but after a while that too will become slippery 🙂 still it is a nice problem since it shows we are moving in the right direction, at least for now.

    That is a very handy book to have and if I ever will travel abroad again I’ll try and find a similar one too.

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      We seem also to be heading towards spring with all the melting today. Like yours, our nights do get cold.Today my heat has been quiet so the house is warm.

      The book is great to have especially in countries where I don’t even know a word of the language. I do try and learn please and thank-you,but that is all.

      Have a great afternoon!

  3. Hedley Says:

    The wanderlust has become almost unbearable. Its consuming my thoughts and activities. I have been on the move throughout this year and have plenty ahead. In a fizz of the moment I added a few days in the old country and now am tearing apart everything that I need to achieve in 6 nights. I plan everything, every moment, there is little room for spontaneity – as someone once told me “you plan the fun out of everything”

    The Stones will be appearing but I am bored with them, there are two really cool exhibitions, Picasso and Monet, the theatre has 10 new offerings starting in April so I have to hold off.

    It is occurring to me that I am finally transitioning from a ridiculous work ethic/obligation in to some form or retirement

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I understand suffering with wanderlust. It has long been a condition of mine. Now, however, it is affected by finances. My trips have to be by car. I really wouldn’t mind a long one but in far better weather.

      I think there must always be room for serendipity.

      I usually see plays when I go to London. In a week, I’ll see at least three. That is one of the joys of the visit.

      I know you have been most reluctant to entertain retirement so this sentence is a surprise,but I am curious as to what some other form might be.

      • Hedley Says:

        Semi retirement, shedding guilt of not being in the office all the time, changing the habit of 40 years

      • katry Says:

        I liken semi-retired to being semi-pregnant.

        I had 35 years of habits to change. It took about a month, maybe less. I was ready!

  4. Coleen Says:

    That last sentence in this post made me laugh. 🙂



  5. Bob Says:

    Your picture book can be replaced by Google translate on a cell phone. Of course you have to have an Internet connection and a fully charged battery. The book can be the backup. 🙁

    I will be spending next week working in Phoenix. They don’t go on daylight time so it’s the same time there as it is in Los Angeles.

    A partly cloudy day with gusty winds and a high in the mid 70s.

    • katry Says:

      I also need a global SIM card so I can call the US. We bought one in Ghana and replaced the SIM card in the phone until we got to Kennedy and put the original one back.

      I didn’t like Phoenix all that much, but I liked the area outside the city.

      It is really getting cold.

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