Pre-flight jitters

I love traveling, but I hate traveling. The whole infrastructure for international travel is laden with bureaucracy, delays, and confusion in the best of times. (Post) Pandemic times are not the best of times. You may have heard about the mayhem at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam over the summer. Five hour security lines, delayed…

FIRIE: Financial independence, retire in Europe

My husband and I are considering buying a house in Portugal. This still sounds insanely unrealistic when I say/ type it. I’ve never had the financial means to buy a house, much less a second house. Thanks to my husband’s equity from his condo, we were able to buy the townhome we now inhabit. On…

Harm reduction on vacation

As I’ve changed my relationship with alcohol over the past several years, one of my challenges has been how to go on vacation without over-drinking. Ever since I started traveling internationally about 20 years ago, vacation has been a time to drink as much as I want…which is usually too much. How much is too…

Senza Glutine: Gluten-Free in Italy

When I first landed on Italy as the destination for my 50th birthday trip, I had not yet determined that gluten is my dietary nemesis. I’m not sure it would have been my first choice if I was envisioning a gluten-free vacation. The pasta! The pizza! Can you enjoy a trip to Italy without eating…

Sober in Vegas

It was my fourth visit to Las Vegas, but this one was a bit different. This time, I stayed sober. Vegas is not the first place you might think about for a teetotaling weekend. I associate the city with unlimited drinking. No one really cares if you’re walking down the street with a giant cocktail…

Taking the Waters in Calistoga, California

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve never had to go far to find some volcanic activity. I was about ten the first time my grandparents took me to a hot springs resort somewhere in Western Montana, probably not too far from Yellowstone. It was a shabby roadside motor inn with a rustic wood sign…

Going Gluten-Free in the Bay Area

Disclaimer! The establishments mentioned in this article are by and large not catering specifically to gluten-free diners. This post is an honest assessment of my attempt to avoid gluten while dining out. It is not an endorsement of any of these as gluten-free-friendly establishments. Except for Mariposa Bakery and Bota. When I stopped eating gluten…