Archive for the 'vacation' Category

Camp Gulliver, Pine Hill, NY

July 19, 2014

Well, who knew Gulliver was known for an SDS convention?  I don’t think I did when I went there.  I think I was 9 at the time, summer of 1967, when I went.  I was in the youngest girls’ bunk, I had an older sister, 2 older cousins, and a number of family friends’ children (also older than I) who were also there that summer.

I wonder if my father knew about the convention.  It had been held a couple of years before.  I vaguely remember that the camp had a new owner when we went, and perhaps I had a sense that the camp had been more controversial in the past.  Maybe the new ownership was part of the explanation for why we were allowed to go.  The camp song still talked about the original owner, though.

In any event, I only found out about this SDS convention business because I googled Camp Gulliver after thinking about it after I got an invitation the other day to help crowd-fund a CD project called The Pine Hill Project, which is being recorded near Pine Hill, NY, but is not named for it.

Maybe my family knew about the SDS convention — Camp Gulliver connection and I was just too young to take it in.

Here’s a picture of the main house at Gulliver:


The CD project can be found on  It sounds like it will be a great record.  Having been induced to help other people with projects under much murkier terms, I kind of enjoyed that the terms of participation are so clearly spelled out in this case.  That was part of what got me over the hump of hesitancy to engage with the technology and contribute.


Cardboard tubes

September 13, 2013

I was putting a cardboard tube from a roll of paper towel into the recycling bin and I realized that I hadn’t thought in a long time about how we used to turn it into a treat for our dog:  we’d stick a treat inside it and twist the ends closed and then toss it and he’d spend a few minutes happily ripping it apart until he got the treat out.  He ate only the treat, not the cardboard.

He died in the fall, in 2008, around the time the stock market tanked, so it’s been five years.  I found one of his rawhide chew flips underneath some furniture when I was emptying a room for re-plastering this summer.  I was surprised.  I had thought all his effects had been either thrown out or put away.

I was looking for a photo to illustrate the treat-in-the-tube.  I came across this first.  It’s from down along the Palisades in New Jersey, I think, on the grounds of an historic house museum.  I suspect the dog had been jumping around in excitement and Willy had grabbed him so the photo could be taken by my dad, but I like that he became a focal point in the picture:



May 8, 2013

My parents had friends we used to see socially, our families even vacationed together.  They had three daughters, one my sister’s age, one mine, and one a few years younger.  My dad and Mr. F. loved classical music, especially Mahler, and they had known each other since college, I think, and were both engineers.

The other day I was looking up how to pronounce “dhyana,” a word for deep meditation associated with Hinduism.  And the way I heard it pronounced is the way Mrs. F. always pronounced my name Diana, which she did with great volume and drama.

This is an illustration of a phenomenon I have encountered before.  The similarity between my name and a word for deep meditation indicates quite a lot more to me than a seemingly idiosyncratic pronunciation of my name; it’s as if something has come into better focus, as if the energy now shows up in a more accessible form, the piece of the puzzle has found its place.

I’ve known for a while that I have been filling in a stage of spiritual development, for someone who feared they would bottom out in it, that is penultimate.  Being able to put a name to it helps me move to another phase, either of this same project or of my own work.

Experience and explanation

February 12, 2013

I’ve got a bunch of Daily Meditations open in my browser.  I’m not sure I’m going to comment on each of them directly, but I wanted to write something about spiritual experience and explanations of spiritual experiences — just to say that some people do one, some people do both, some people do neither.

I take “mystics” to be those who have the experiences, regardless of whether they explain them or not.

People who teach about them without having them I think take great risks.

And people who have them but don’t explain them may be trying to increase in some other way the likelihood that more people actually have such experiences.

People who do both I think must have tremendous patience and a firm sense of self, in order to go back and forth between the two states and not get disoriented.

People who do neither I think are sort of en vacances.


November 22, 2012

I wrote in a parenthetical aside at the end of a comment to another comment to a column on the NYTimes website that I tend to translate “gratitude” into something like active appreciation.

Sometimes that appreciation includes a sense of wonder, sometimes a sense of joy, sometimes grudging respect — it varies.  I wrote in the parenthetical aside that I get impeded by (my sense of) the connotations of “gratitude.”  I think one part of my sense of its dynamic is that people who feel grateful often express it as passive partners in the whatever it is for which they are grateful.  I am suspicious of passivity of that sort.  While I’m all for active passivity in having willingness to go along with what serves my greater good and the greater good, passivity in terms of social action or personal spiritual progress, or just in general, I think can lead to paralysis or implosion of the person.  I like an emotional posture that keeps me moving.  My sense of “gratitude” is that we sit around feeling it, appreciation that it inspires our own activity.

On the occasion of the Thanksgiving holiday, I will say that I am appreciative of how everybody plays their role, so bravely, it seems to me.  On a more mundane level, I am appreciative of the help I got in cooking the turkey giblets so that they came out just the way I like them, and for the food itself.  And for someone encouraging me to celebrate this holiday this year in a way that I want to, with whom I feel comfortable, and doing things I enjoy — kind of like the vacation I find hard to find an opportunity to take, kind of like going on holiday.


January 2, 2012

It occurred to me this morning that our dogs didn’t necessarily connect “c-a-r” with “car” so much as with getting into that thing that moved.  But they did connect both forms of reference with that thing and with coming along and going for a ride.

Here’s Exhibit A for how the poodle enjoyed the experience:

That’s him with his head out the sunroof while we were on vacation.  Perhaps someone can let Mitt Romney know that this is how we treat our dogs on vacation.

Vacations and anniversaries

July 29, 2011

We used to go on vacation the week of our wedding anniversary, I think because in both cases we found the third week in August or so about when we could get sufficiently organized to do something outside our regular routine — in other words, it wasn’t really intentional, but it also wasn’t altogether a coincidence that they happened the same week.

And Willy’s death two days after our anniversary isn’t so surprising either — the pattern of people dying around a date significant to them (birthdays, holidays, or just past an event they were looking forward to) is known (and in Willy’s case, he kept asking me when our anniversary was coming).

But that confluence of memories may explain why I was thinking earlier this evening about how both after a vacation and after a death I have felt so ready to live my life differently, to stop being stuck in certain behaviors or attitudes, to maintain a healthier perspective — and how difficult I have found it to maintain that stance.  Kind of like New Year’s resolutions, maybe, but with vacations, we get a real interruption to our normal patterns and regular routines, and with deaths we get an interruption to our normal emotional patterns and routines.

Maybe the thing to do is to take those experiences as giving us some kind of awareness of how things could be different, and then work towards that vision with sustainable small increments until we get there.