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Burgos, Spain…today!

That's how I'm ending my long travel day and 10kms walking all around Burgos. Simple dining alfresco from my hotel room now…

Buen Camino and goodnight!


Getting to ONE’s next Camino…

1 day away…then here!

Love those relaxing Saturday mornings at home.

This Saturday was special.

Coffee. Cool weather. Cereal. No humidity. Yogurt with honey, blueberries, strawberries, and granola. More coffee. No TV. Chocolate chip pancakes. NYTimes. A sweet morning for 4, 2 boys and 2 parents. Mom goes for a run. Dad goes to Kinko's too anally retentively copy his passport, credit cards, and other id documents.

Sweet last hour of lunch on our patio and customizing messages on stones.

Prayers too. Then, we load up for the airport.

We are there 2 hours before my fight. One hour less than recommended. It was fine.

Hugs. Kisses. Love you's. Texts of well wishes and Love. All good. Really. Great.

Breeze through security and I'm roaming around my gate and concourse.

Then, my Camino officially began. Tap. Tap. And, two nice gents, long-time pals, just stopped me in international concourse to ask about my Camino out of the blue. They noticed my backpack shell. It begins here, it seems. Unbridled friendliness, curiosity, and quick fellowship, before we all 3 take on our Camino's (theirs from St. Jean in France). That wonderful tap on my shoulder ended with handshakes and, of course, "Buen Camino!"

I can almost taste Spain after that.

Suffice it to say, this flight is not Air France. Delta is fine. Just enough. Adequate. Our last trip to Spain went through Paris and it showed. This one went through Atlanta and it shows. Even sleeping on this flight lacks in potential for recharge, relative to the French. C'est la vie.

On our plane, a lovely college girl named Jessica plops down beside me. She's heading to Madrid to intern with disabled kids. Good for her. Plans to graduate on a six year plan after changing majors. She's young. Plenty of time to figure that out. She reminds me of our
girls, especially when she curls up on the two seats reserved for both of us , as I gave up mine to cross the aisle for more room for both of us. Much to the displeasure of a young man who thought that he could make a sofa out of three mid-plane seats. Sorry, Charlie. You might just have to sleep upright or leaning into the middle seat like a grown-up flying to Spain. FYI. It's not even 6pm, my friend.

Even after cocktails, I'm jazzed, finished a Doc about stand-up comedians, and I'm blogging. And dinner is on it's way. Smells good, but we shall see.

Before and after the big reveal….

Okay. Delta veg lasagna tastes good. The rest. Ick. Cheesy lasagna is just fine.

Back to #MyComfyCamino …it's here. Nighttime over the Atlantic. Delta folks just killed the cabin lights. I guess mom said that we are all supposed to sleep now. Hmmmmm… nope. Not me. Watching or listening to another stand-up comedian and I'm fine. Just sayin'. Okay. Okay. Mom, I'm just blogging again!!!! And falling asleep. Never was good at all-nighters.

Made it to Burgos…next post will just let my pictures and videos do the talking, from walking into Burgos from the nearby bus station to my AC Hotel by Marriott, to my walking tour and 3 tapas & wine stops for under €15 combined. Pulpo (€3), seafood combo (€2), and 3-course (€7)…all three with vino tinto.

Can't you just taste Spain????


The speech I never want to deliver.

Here goes. I’m practicing. It’s my newest era of evolution.

Oldest girl called the other night to “finalize plans” with our little guys about a wedding that’s over a year away.

If I were asked, here’s what I would offer.

“You know, obviously you two are in love. We’ve all been there. Planning your nuptials should be fun. That day, even more fun. Your reception…even better. Your honeymoon…best of all fun. No doubt.

Enjoy this time and, as Gin advised, delegate often. You two will be busy with work and/or school over the next year. Your many parents can help, but you are in control.

God brought you two together and you both should lean on Him for guidance, more than any of us flawed humans. He’s much more qualified to help.

Just remember. Your honeymoon will end. But, you can always go back. God knows that Maui will always make me feel 26 again.

You two will enjoy great times of young love, with fellow couples, and with us, as your busy schedules allow.

However, your individual egos & goals will inevitably clash. It’s normal, but heightened by the fact that you are now an official couple.
Who cares about that? You should not. Life is about daily results. Not pleasing your parents. Not keeping up with any Joneses.

Just doing your best for those closest to you is what matters most. Thus, you have a happy family of 2 and you are laying the groundwork for decades to come.

Life is rarely fair. You must make choices. Always choose your collective sanity and immediate family needs. Think. Choose. Enjoy. Repeat.”

That is all.



Growing up vs. Giving up

(Here’s my 2nd attempt to publish this post. My first was lost, in spite of drafts auto-saving. Thanks, WordPress! )


You gotta love a great sunset. The metaphors abound in my mind.

At our middle age, sunsets take on very different meanings. Our parents sunsets. Our kids’ childhood sunsets. Our professional & personal friendship sunsets. If you’re as reflective as I am, you see sunsets as our new normal.

Every month, it seems, we experience one or more personal sunsets of friends marriages. It’s a generational thing. Our folks persevered. Same careers. Same home. Same friends. Same vacations. Same & predictable. But, they made it through decades of triumphs & maybe tragedy.

Our GenX is different. The 7 year itch seems to be stretched a bit to a decade or two. Careers get stagnant. Organized religion loses its luster. Healthy relationships grow fewer. And love is shared more sparingly with those who matter the most. I know. I’m a poster boy for all of the above.


Hemingway was spot-on. I do find most people far less interesting though a sober filter. There, I said it…but, I digress.

Fortunately, at my age, I’m more than a little obsessed about where we are & where we are going as a family over the next few decades. It seems that my success & struggles of my 20’s & very lucrative & excessive 30’s & leaner, meaner, and healthier 40’s have tee’d me and our family up for a killer 50’s and beyond. That forward obsession is my largest time & energy ROI for the time I have remaining in this realm.

My Love, Ginny Lee, is healthy. Our four kids are relatively healthy. Two are globe-trotters and two will be someday. And, I’m literally collecting volumes of research about cultures & destinations for our family to visit, play, work, & live someday. Think about a triangle between St. Pete, Florida & Tortola, BVI & Lake Champlain, Vermont. That’s how & where we need to grow up as a family. That’s The Plan.


Keep the good fire burning.


Surround yourself with beauty.


Stay weird.


Hug those you love…a lot.


And share the many journeys, from sunrise to sunset, with all of those who matter most.


Above, our 9yr old daughter’s vision for me…in 2001. No joke.

Family love & very close friends.

All that really matters, while we sail this big, blue wet thing.

Cheers & happy sailing, all.


What America do you want to take back?


Men of a certain age. It’s complicated.

We’ve had our young couple years with like couples. We’ve enjoyed and are still enjoying raising two very different pairs of kids. And, now, these middle years bring us wave after wave of friends and acquaintances changing course in thier respective journeys.

Most of the time, it seems to be guys behaving badly. Not always. Just most of the time. Again, it’s complicated. What motivates a guy to go beyond everyday flirting to crossing a line with little to no return. I’m guessing that it’s perceived leverage.

Think about it. How many businessmen leave thier wives for a younger associates?  Doctors with thier staff?  Anyone with anyone seeking “greener grass”?  It’s all about leverage, at the workplace and at home.  Bosses have it with staff. Bread-winners have it with so-called home-makers. Put the two together in environs of privilege…well…uber-leverage happens.

You know who I’m talking about. We all do, if your GenX or older. Perceived leverage in cushy places can be financially mitigated by a really good attorney, but you can’t buy a return to better times and whole relationships.

Men of a certain age have tough changes to face, manage, and accept.  A few of us just make middle-age much harder than it should be by losing focus on a very short list of top priorities…not to mention those little vows to God and others.

Dads (especially of girls), if you do nothing else, leave your empowered kids the valuable lessons of leverage and how to use it wisely or not at all.

Most of all, good times and not so, future adults are watching, listening, and learning from every big decision we make through our middle years.

God’s speed getting through them well, fellow guys, and here’s to growing very old with that one true love you never lost.

Emancipation….no, really….

Emancipation. That word has almost a singular meaning to most  Americans. You know. That part of our history that we don’t want to think about. That part where President Lincoln emancipated a group of people that shoulda been free to begin with.  This week, that word took on a totally new meaning for me.  A new meaning that almost motivates this guy to drive all the way to a particular state capital and kiss a particular old governor on the lips….but, I digress. 

We really should be free. This country was billed as the “land of the free”.  This week, according to our current vice president, we are headed back to slavery in one form or another if the wrong guy is elected to the White House.  Politics is a really funny thing sometimes. 

To what extent it can be controlled, the election is not about tax returns, who’s better in the White House, who’s more American, etc…this election is truly about who’s facing reality and who’s not. 

Politicians are quick to condemn those who don’t live within their means over the last few years yet will not to face the fact that the government has not lived within its means for 15 years.  Typical politics and hypocrisy go hand in hand right off the fiscal cliff that everyone’s talking about today. 

Mitt Romney doesn’t have to release his tax returns to prove what kind of successful businessman or shrewd ROI guy he is. We all know that. We also know the real hope and change is really hard to come by. So the President has no credibility with his record of little change and very little hope.

In the words of Joe Biden himself, we need to “unchain!!!” America in more ways than one and believe in people to do what they can do to make their lives better… better for their family, better for the community, and better for the country, as a whole.  

As individuals in this country, we need to unchain ourselves from stuff. Stuff.  You never own stuff. Stuff owns you.  That is a fact. 

If we can eventually elect the right people who actually balance rugged individualism with a level of government  only for the most basic safety nets & promises fulfilled… well, we will have a future for this country that’s promising, hopeful, and delivers real change we really need.

That’s the emancipation that every man, woman, child, and business needs in this country very soon.  Alas, I think we’re 4 to 8 years away before any reality check really hits Washington DC. That’s why Panama, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Belize seem so darn attractive to me. 

As for this election in 2012, I’m not holding my breath and you shouldn’t either.  

Find your own emancipation! 

Bedwetters unite! Brilliant.

“The Bedwetter Caucus” via WSJ editorial page today

“That didn’t take long. Much as we predicted last week, the Republican Party’s Bedwetter Caucus has emerged on schedule to explain why Mitt Romney can’t possibly win the election with Paul Ryan on the ticket.

“GOP pros fret over Paul Ryan,” reported Politico, the website with perfect Beltway pitch, on Tuesday: “In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives—old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike—the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election.”

Mr. Romney’s catastrophic blunder, it seems, is that he chose a running mate who does more than talk about reforming government. He’s really tried to do it, and this is simply not done in Presidential politics.

“I think it’s a very bold choice. And an exciting and interesting pick. It’s going to elevate the campaign into a debate over big ideas. It means Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party. And probably lose. Maybe big,” said one of the “pros,” Mark McKinnon.

Since advising George W. Bush, Mr. McKinnon has moved on to co-found “No Labels,” an outfit that claims to promote the Golden Mean in politics. A better name for the group is No Principles, so it’s understandable he’d be uncomfortable with a conviction politician like Mr. Ryan. But give Mr. McKinnon credit for at least going on the record, unlike the other worry-warts.

Republicans who believe in something can console themselves in knowing that these “pros” are reflecting the Washington conventional wisdom. Nearly everyone in the Beltway thinks it’s impossible to reform entitlements like Medicare, and or even to restrain the size of government, so why would a candidate be foolish enough to try?

This crowd is good at forecasting the political future as a repetition of the past and present, but as Irving Kristol used to say, they aren’t very good at predicting the turns. We’ll see if this year is one of those turns.

Meantime, the “pros” willing to shoot their candidate in the back are one more reason that voters have contempt for the political class, and why most Republicans who don’t live in Washington are delighted with the choice of Mr. Ryan.”

A version of this article appeared August 15, 2012, on page A12 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Journal

The war to end all wars…

We watched “The War” from Ken Burns last night on PBS.  The last in the series only he could deliver.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “the greatest generation”, as Tom Brokaw would put it.  That descriptor has offended me.  Not so much anymore.   Honestly, I do think of that generation as the last great generation of America.  No other generation since has sacrificed, suffered, loved, hated, and driven America to be better than any country in the world!  None!  Google it! 

That generation fought world wars, rationed their food, did jobs they never thought they would do, lived and died for America, did things that we cannot imagine today, et cetera et cetera…

That generation also offered a better life for those living in poor houses, protected senior citizens from dying with no dignity at all,  and engineered minimal social welfare for those who needed it the most.  FDR knew what he was doing. 
It was only future generations that screwed the whole thing up. Just a few generations removed and we have a bloated social security tab, a medicare funding nightmare, and every juicy entitlement and nation-building program known under the sun…plus, half of America pays $0 and/or profits from federal taxes each year.

This is not about one President, any Congress, any election, any new law, or a half a dozen of any of those.  It’s simply about the greatest shift from a great generation long gone to the lesser generations, the generations that cannot handle it, the generations of materialism and “what’s in it for me?”

The new war is on. The war to end all wars.  Think about the last 25 years.  One entire generation ago, back in 1996, our unusual President was working with a difficult Congress to balance the budget and even create a surplus for America.  Ahhh, those were the days. 

Since then, we’ve had 2 presidents create wars, fight secret wars, do whatever they wanted to do….wars,  wars,  wars…foreign and domestic…adding trillions of dollars to our national debt that we will never, ever, recover!   Pick Prez Obama or pick Mitt this November and you’ll still have $25,000,000,000,000 in debt by the time his term is up. And, China thanks you.

It’s a new war on liberty that neither the White House, nor CNN,  nor Fox News,  nor MSNBC wants to talk about.   This extreme partisanship that’s crumbling our national infrastructure, totally annihilating any fair tax base, and bloating our entitlement programs beyond belief…the new war is now!

Who are our new generals to fight this war?  My simple, educated guess would be the GenY and latter generations.  No other generations have been victims of the me-generations, divorce epidemics, and “if it feels good, do it” mentality to realize what’s really important in life.  Maybe these generations are America’s salvation?  We shall see. 

I sincerely hope so. God’s speed, young ones. 

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