My Blackberry KeyOne's battery has been bulging uncomfortably for about 6 weeks now. I didn't feel right bringing it on our trip to Portland this past week... I remembered that Samsung Galaxy 7 phones had bulging batteries that would asplode randomly and were prohibited on planes, so I took my cue and tossed my SIM into my previous phone, my Blackberry Priv. 

I looooooooved my BB Priv. It's a slim phone, gorgeous screen, has a slide-out keyboard so you don't even have to use the keyboard if you don't want to (though I always want to). I stopped using it because the battery got shot and wouldn't hold a charge for longer than 5 hours or so, which isn't do-able in real life. Worse is that I dropped it one time with it plugged in and janked up the charging port, so the thing only charges wirelessly. This wouldn't be a problem if it held a charge for a decent amount of time.

Anyhoo, I brought my doesn't-hold-a-charge-long Priv with me to Portland and just kept it in airplane mode unless I actually needed it... and HOLY CRAP how liberating! How fabulous not to be constantly interrupted with bullshit! 

I don't have the self-discipline to not look at it (even with notifications turned off), but with the sucker actually in airplane mode I was able to be much more mindful about my phone usage. It was painless. 

Now that I'm home, I still keep the Priv in airplane mode unless I need it, and my bulging KeyOne (which is wifi only/sans SIM) is in a drawer, and I only use it if my Priv's battery is Bill.Bixby.dead.dead.dead. 

I made an appointment with a friendly local business guy to replace both "non-replaceable" batteries late next week... it'll take a week for the batteries to arrive. (Strange that he doesn't keep Blackberry Priv or KeyOne batteries in stock /s). 

Anyway, I'm really enjoying being more mindful about my phone use. My friends and family are puzzled as to why my usual speedy text reply-time is now delayed by half-days, but this was fine in 1995 and it's gonna be fine now. I shouldn't be that important to anyone. :-)

In other news, my iron levels are officially in the shitter. If I had more time, I'd explain how my iron was in the shittter 2 months ago but not quite shitty enough where insurance would justify an infusion, so we had to wait until I'm gasping for air like a goddamn guppy out of water like I finally am now. It's weird that I have to "look forward" to getting so shitty so I can get fucking treatment. I hate it.  With any luck I'll be ironed up before Beatlefest.  (Last year I did not get an infusion until after Beatlefest, which was a giant mistake.) Let us pray to the scheduling gods that they can fit me in within the next 2.5 weeks. 

In other other news, our trip to Portland to make music with Sunnyvale was amazing, inspirational, beautiful, and magical, and I'll tell y'all more about it soon. But now I must shower for I stink. 

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My iPhone 6s (shut up) battery started draining super quickly several months ago. I found that putting it in a battery-saver mode where it's not fetching my e-mails until I specifically tell it to do so was just what it needed. It doesn't miss text messages, though, in that mode, which is nice. Maybe you have a similar option on your phone? (Or maybe you don't want it!)

Hopefully I'll get another year out of the battery before I need to find someone to replace it. I like my phone a lot, but iObsolescence is really some of the worst obsolescence capitalism has ever seen.
Alas, battery saver mode isn't quite savey enough for my crappy batt'ry. Because we have such awful cell reception at my house, my phone (any phone) spends a silly amount of brain cycles saying "Cell signal, where are youuuuu? Oh! Look! I have some cell signal! Oh, and now I don't so I'll switch to wifi. But I better keep searching for cell signal!" Repeat and fade. So keeping it in airplane mode kills that off.

But if I lived in a world where Verizon fixed their cell towers after they got damaged in a hailstorm, then Battery Saver mode would be the perfect solution.

Yay for old phones! (No sarcasm-- that is an actual Yay.)
I miss my BlackBerry Curve 83xx so much, I took a photo of it and use it as my iPhone's wallpaper.
Okay, that made me chuckle out loud a little.
Generally good stuff, but...

>if my Priv's battery is Bill.Bixby.dead.dead.dead.

Too soon.
 
 

The Folio Society is having a 50% off sale on over 160 titles!  It ends on July 12th.

Thinking of you, Beth Adele!

I finally bought the book I have been vulturing around for over a year ...

African Folktales collected by Roger B. Abrahams.

When I was a kid, one of my teachers from kindergarten through first grade was a professional African Storyteller.  Her name was Linda Goss, and not only did she involve us in the interactive process of listening to her stories (call and response chants, answering questions), she also directed some of us in a performance of one of the trickster tales.  We performed it at the local childrens' museum (the Please Touch Museum). Ever since then, I have felt a particular attachment to African folk tales, particularly stories about Anansi the Spider, the trickster who'd put all tricksters to shame ... if only he'd been able to get out of his own way.

I don't remember where Linda's stories originated - if they were tied to a particular country or region.  I was a shy little kid and I was excited to play the Rabbit in the show.  My friend Jenny played the Monkey. I remember crouching on the floor covered in a brightly-colored print and being rabbity, and I remember Anansi.

I've been looking for books of Anansi stories or of just African Folk Tales for years, and they are surprisingly hard to find.  Or maybe not surprisingly.  Anyway, I found one, and the table of contents is maddeningly NOT on the website, but the description gives me hope that Anansi will be inside, eating himself sick and trying to pull one over on his animal friends.

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Oh that looks amazing! The book and the sale!
I LOVE THIS!
TIL : Founded in London in 1947, The Folio Society publishes carefully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature. We believe that great books deserve to be presented in a form worthy of their contents. For over 70 years we have celebrated the unique joy to be derived from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition.

Beautifully crafted, imaginative editions of the world’s great works of fiction and non-fiction, Folio Society books offer a rich literary experience to readers of all ages. The books we select for publication are timeless – we know they will be enjoyed and appreciated now and in the future. Because each book is considered as an individual object of value in its own right, there is a variety to our aesthetic – the only uniformity is in the quality of every single book.
This makes me want to Buy All The Books.
I loved reading this post. Really really.
 

I guess I haven't been keeping up to date with my cellular network protocol lingo. I just always thought that Verizon's network  was CDMA and everyone else was/is GSM. Since I've been on Verizon since my first work-issued on-call cell phone in '99, I just always remembered those four letters (CDMA) as the letters I needed to look for whilst phone-shopping, especially lately for phones bought off Amazon versus phones bought from Verizon directly.

But apparently I'm stupid and old, because CDMA I guess is the old shit, and LTE is the newer/current thing... and Verizon is shutting down its CDMA infrastructure soonish.

If I'm understanding things correctly (I read a whopping one article, so take this info with a giant salt lick), CDMA is what runs the 3G network, and that's what's going away. If you have a 3G-only phone, you will be required to get a new phone. If you live in a place with sketchy 4G/LTE service that falls back on 3G constantly, then you'll have also enable WiFi Calling after 3G/CDMA goes away. And if you're someplace without WiFi, I guess you'll have to eat a dick? 

Verizon's new thing is VoLTE, and it looks like new/current phones need to be able to handle VoLTE ("Voice over LTE"), which also delivers their HD Voice service featuring unicorns and rose-scented farts.  

(I'm so classy today!)

Of course, Verizon will not acknowledge that their cell tower got smashed during a freak 2014 hailstorm here, and within 20 minutes we North Wilmingtonians all went from 5 glorious bars of delicious 4G service to maybe one bar or the dreaded No Signal Triangle. Repeated calls to Verizon and coordinated efforts by neighbors have yielded no fixes, but Verizon is happy to sell you a signal booster/network extender. 


I'm all about no longer supporting ancient stuff, and eventually ripping off the Band-Aid and forcing people to upgrade (*cough* she writes from her physical keyboard phone *cough*).  But I'd rather not be forced to upgrade to something where the supporting infrastructure is broken. 


So maybe it's high time to jump to TMobile or something.  I'm forgetting why I thought staying with Verizon was important. 


Sources: 

https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/knowledge-base-218813/

https://www.fxtec.com/forums/topic/fxtec-on-verizon/#post-18556

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I am strangely relieved that eating them does not provide WiFi.
 

I sat and had tea with Roger's mother (and Roger) last night, and it was so reminiscent of sitting at the kitchen table with my grandmother, I felt a little teary inside. There's a bit of an age difference, so I didn't want to offend her by comparing her, my boyfriend's mom, to my grandmother, even though there's about 15 years difference. Past 80, I think it's fair to stop reminding people they're past 80.

Anyway, it was a cool night, and she likes to make tea, and I ended up awake til 5am but damn if it didn't feel so much like coming home after a long time away. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I guess most times we stop by there's a bunch of folks there, or it's mid-day and her shows are on, but yesterday ended up with just the three of us, and we sat at the old worn out kitchen table* that reminds me of mine, inherited from my own grandparents not that long ago, and had tea.

We talked about Leh's, and she showed us old glasses and bits of advertising on swizzle sticks of places around Allentown, PA that are long gone. She can be a funny lighthearted lady. She can tell a good dirty joke. But she can also be stern. Her grown kids don't cross her. She still runs her house with the long arm of a parent with Presence. She nursed her bedridden husband for four long years before he passed. Her boys are Pretty Good People and very devoted, but also kind and helpful to everyone in general.

And she talked about how she cleaned her floors every day, and dusted all her furniture, with six people in the house every day and that lit me up pretty good. It was my first time really finding a connection with her. I helped her clean her vent grates and we talked about how hard it was to see the quality of our cleaning go downhill for health reasons. It's funny because we had gone so Rog could spend time with her, and I ended up kinda getting this huge nostalgia hug, with bonus bonding.


I think the first time I spent any amount of time with her, almost two years ago, I was a little intimidated. Here I was blowing in off the heels of helping her son's best friend through cancer, and who knows what she thought about what had been going on (and we certainly didn't fill her in), but it didn't seem to matter, and there we sat, this time four of us: me, Rog, his sister Linda, and her, and played some Gin Rummy. I was rusty as hell, but I ended up winning the first game and she the second and all in all it was a good few hours of just sitting and talking and laying down cards. I can't sit for long in a chair, and this was before the second back surgery (though it's not any better now), but it was an easy feeling, one I hadn't been aware I'd missed until I was aware, you know?**


Oh, and the house has bits and bobs in every nook. A row of Scottie dog statues next to a ceramic garlic braid, one that's in everyone's house from a trip to Italy years ago, along with the daughter's amazing paintings, and pictures of weddings and growing kids, stuff crammed in everywhere. It's a home that's been the same family home for an entire lifetime, and it's amazing to me. I've been going there for 2 years, and while I knew right away his family was a good kind, I hadn't seen past to the heart of it, and that is that they were the old-fashioned, close, traditional family unit that somehow stayed together to the end.

In my life our childhood home disappeared at 10, and my closest parent (my dad) moved out of the house we maturated in in our 20s. My mom sold her home and moved states away. There's no childhood home for me. And no one took up the mantle. Not for long. We're all scattered. Trying, but spread thin and getting thinner. Still a family, just... different. Not as close. No bits and bobs.

But there they are, doing The Thing. And it's nice.

Sit down. Have some tea.


*Anne Mollo I'm thinking of you. :)

**My writing skills feel so rusty. I'm also feeling Penna Dutch-y as I'm writing, and I know it's from talking with my nextdoor neighbor awhile today.

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You are a *lovely* writer! I really enjoyed reading this.
Why thank you dear! That was so nice of you to share. :)
Karen 7/3edited
The closest thing I had to a childhood home was the haunted old Victorian we lived in when I was little. My parent spent more years living in the lake house, but I was already 8 when we moved there, and it was all new construction and kind of 70s-ugly. So whenever I think of a childhood home, I think of the Victorian. Or rural Vermont in general, as that was a constant at least.

The funny thing is, even though I wasn't so attached to the lake house, and even though I was living out in the world (in NYC), when they sold that house and moved—it was like a gut punch. I felt so homeless and sad. (And then when my mom died and we finally sold her condo, I felt that way again!)

I've also put my own kids through all kinds of home changes over the years, my oldest daughter living on the east coast and then the west and in a string of rentals until we bought a house and then back to the east coast into this house... She's also the one who still, at 22, gets horribly homesick at times. My other two are much younger and don't remember our house on the west coast very much anymore (though when they were very little, they used to miss the climbing trees in the yard of that house), so this place feels most like home to them. And very belatedly of course I've realized how much it can help kids if you stay put. With my own nomadic upbringing, I actually find that I get a little restless when I've lived in a place for very long. Even this house, now—and it's a wonderful house!—I sometimes fantasize about leaving and going somewhere new.

Thank you for thinking of me. :) Your comment made me actually go back and re-read my own post. I hadn't in fact looked at it as I was reworking it for storytelling, and although I knew I'd had to strip it down to a bare bones presentation, I hadn't realized just how much I'd left out!! Haha. (Also I was surprised that I wrote it way back in February.) Then this morning in the car on the way to my exercise class (ah, VT, where you have to drive everywhere, even to get or stay healthy), I started thinking about how I could turn it into a SciFi short story. I'd start it off with something like, "Growing up on Ganymede..."
I'm in a part of PA that requires driving everywhere as well. You're not alone!

I inadvertently ended up moving every three years from age 10 to 31, so I get the nomad thing, even if it started with my parents and then kept going with me. Where I am now is 12 years strong and the longest I've ever been everywhere. Up to two years ago I was grateful for the stability, but lately I've been feeling that urge to uproot and start over.

And I love this house, and I love the neighborhood (minus some new neighbors), but I get it. I totally get it.
Karen 7/3
"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."
Thank you for sharing that, and your writing is perfect just as it is.

That is a mighty fine compliment coming from you, Robert. Thank you kindly!
Karen 7/3
 

Today I'm editing a review of a microphone made specifically for podcasters. My supervisor wrote the article. The mic is called the Podcaster, and it's made by Rode. He opened the article with, "At our office, we have more Rodes than the Roman Empire." 

In the summary paragraph, I added, "It's a colossus among the podcasting-tool hegemony." 

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This is a reader-focused edit of the speech I recently gave as the capstone of the Dynamic Leadership path in Toastmasters. During the speech, I switched a few things up in response to audience reaction. I broke several of the common rules for Toastmasters speech struture and delivery, every transgression a choice I had deliberately made and weighed in advance.

As I said afterward to the fellow who'd roped me in to serving as the club's VP Education and proceeded to be unavailable to provide promised guidance, support, and backfill over much of the following year: it’s not the speech I wanted to give. It was the speech my audience needed to witness.


Thousands of books, millions of pages, have been written on public speaking. Each resource has a structure, but the number of tips and guidelines and exercises is overwhelming to someone just setting out. How many rules are there for giving a speech?

My friend Linda Carson says there are fewer rules than you think. Linda trains beginning artists to understand and follow rules of composition. In every lesson, she provides guidance to help artists improve in seeing, painting, drawing, sculpture. The rules are important to learn new skills and perspectives, but at some point the training wheels come off. More advanced artists consciously use fewer rules than beginners. If it’s true for visual art, is it also true for the performance art of public speaking? Come with me on a little journey.

Two years ago I was packing up my life and moving. From some perspectives, my plan for the future could have been written on a beer-soaked napkin. I have lifelong friends who are have used Toastmasters to build speaking, writing, and leadership skills. They all encouraged me to join Toastmasters and leverage it to improve my skills and my network in a new city.

At the end of the summer, I joined a Toastmasters club in the neighbourhood where I would live for much of the following year. The members were like a second family to one another. I saw some impressive skills from practiced speakers and leaders. Personal and professional development were actively encouraged through mentoring and effective critique.

When I got my speech craft and leadership manuals, I read them thoroughly. I hunted down guides from the Toastmasters International web site. I studied the rules, watched like a crow at meetings, and prepared. And prepared.

I was so keen on doing well out of the gate that it took me two months to give my Ice Breaker speech, the first prepared speech project in the programme. I would take my first meeting role, noting and reporting on the use of filler words, the following week. In my prepared speech I talked about my childhood. I went more than a minute over time even though I’d practiced. People didn’t seem to mind, but I recognized the need to change from my rambling storytelling to a more concise style.

The Pathways system came out and I decided to give it a spin. I delivered another Ice Breaker about being disabled for a year. I wasn’t too uncomfortable. I didn’t run as much over my allowed time. I kept showing up, taking formal roles every few weeks, volunteering for impromptu speaking when I didn’t have a role. I kept trying, watching, listening. I was slowly improving.

Then I cheated, singing the last 40 seconds of a speech about singing. When I presented the revised version, I stood on my writing and speaking skills alone. I needed to expand my comfort zone, not the audience’s.

I gave a technical talk next. It was loaded with acronyms and detail relevant to IT project managers. Most of the club members weren’t technology workers, so I got to watch people grow increasingly bored, confused, and disengaged. I needed to write and speak in easily understood terms.

The months passed. I kept watching other people’s performances and feedback, getting up on stage, receiving personalized feedback, making and acting on plans for incremental improvement. I was developing skills: learning many rules, mastering one and moving on to the next. Sometimes I connected with a lot of the audience, sometimes just one or two people. I needed to focus on speaking effectively to everyone in the room.

When I became the club’s Vice President of Education almost a year in, it was a huge set of new challenges and a chance to deliver speeches that could help people become better speakers and leaders. I was growing, blossoming. I was continuing to hide my identity in a group that had some fundamental differences from me: a group that has occasionally invited guests from demographics where people like me are not accepted with open minds and hearts.

I’ve lived with the tension between being honest and being despised for most of my life. Be yourself, but not that way. We’re taught from our earliest socialization that the one who is different, the outsider, is a good target for oppression. Sometimes it’s access to opportunity: we promoted or hired another candidate based on culture fit. Sometimes it’s ostracizing, shunning the different: you are not my kin. Sometimes it’s open threats and assault. Even in a nice suburban neighbourhood, fifty years after response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn started changing society.

I rely on layers of rules and guidelines to protect my well-being and that of my dearest loves. My heart hides behind an interlocking set of riddles. But when I get to know you, there are fewer rules than you think.

In her art classes, Linda taught all her students that rules can be broken. Not arbitrarily, but after you understand what the rule is and why it exists. Great works of art often break one or more rules. Linda had two inviolable rules in her studio. Don’t lick the brushes — some art supplies are poisonous. More importantly, don’t put down anyone’s work, especially your own. Every other rule she taught, there was a way around it once you developed enough skill and had a good reason.

Linda’s universal rule for creating art isn’t quite what we need for public speaking. Let’s expand to the broader principle and refocus. The universal rule that resonates best with me comes from Kurt Vonnegut in his book God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.

"Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’"

You’ve got to be kind.

When a man asks you for your coat, give him your cloak also.

What that looks like in public speaking is this inviolable rule: honour your audience. Every tip on drafting a speech, every presentation skill you have mastered and will go on to master, every morsel of feedback you receive comes down to this. What is best for my audience? Walk a mile in their shoes, another mile barefoot beside them. Pay them your full mind and meet their needs. Adapt to new audiences when you find them at work, in a speech contest, on a stage in front of hundreds of friends you haven’t met yet.

As Ted “Theodore” Logan III would say, Be excellent to each other.

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Amen.
It wouldn't be a half bad sermon with some editing, though I think it bears little resemblance to the evangelistic style I was exposed to in my childhood.
 

Ok, the previous Iceland post was all practical overview stuff. Now for some detailed recommendations  on things to do in Reykjavik

  1. Hallgrimskirkja - it's a newer catherdral (finished in the 1980s). Iconic building and on a clear day it's cool to take the elevator to the bell tower and look at everything. They ring the bells a lot. Especially on Witt Monday, when jet lagged tourists are trying to nap in a hostel next door.

  2. Walk around and shop and eat. In particular, on Laugavegur (which also has the supermarket Bonus) and Skolavordustigur (which deadends into the catherdral plaza) and their side streets are good for tourist shopping.

  3. IF YOU HAVE A CAT CRAZY CHILD (or if you are a cat fan yourself) there is a cat cafe called Kattakaffihusid. With good coffee and baked goods.

  4. There are public "swimming" pools which are really more lounging around in warm water pools. We went to the one called Sundhöllin. Very clean, and of course great for kids. But also if you just want to hang in the giant hot tub and experiance some local culture. It's like $8 to get in (kids are like $1), and they do rent towels if you forgot yours. But c'mon, didn't you read Hitchhikers? 

  5. You can take a boat tour to see Puffins or Whales. I'm scared of whales, so we did the 1-2hr puffin tour. Puffins are cool little birds, but not particularly impressive. Still, getting on the water for an hour or so was good fun. They told me whale cruises are 90% on spotting whales (NO THANK YOU), an even higher precentage of spotting dolphins. 

  6. There is a small natural history museum called Perlan with an ice cave a bit out of town. There is a free shuttle (though we didn't know that and took a city bus). The building has a enclosed rooftop cafe with great views of the city - and maybe the northern lights in the winter? Anyway, the cafe was just as good a reason to visit Perlan as the museum.

  7. There is this metal sculpture of boat ribs called 'Solfar' aka 'Sun Voyager' right on the harbor. There isn't much to do, but it does make for a great photo. Especially if you happen to catch a sunset sky.

  8. There is another iconic building called Harpa right on the harbor. It's the concert hall of everything from opera to rock concerts. There were nightly events and shows but we didn't catch any. You can go in and walk around. It's a brilliant architectural space.

I'm sure there are other things to do in Reykjavik. These are just the ones I experienced and recommend. I was traveling with my 8 year old, so I have nothing to report on nightlife/bars/fancy resturants. I'm sure they have them. These is a place called Chuck Norris Grill that I wish we would have eaten at. But you gotta save something for next time.

Some photos below. More photos in my google photo album here.

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WOOOOOOOOWWWWW.....
That top photo (I'm assuming that's the cathedral?) looks like it's made out of Legos. :)

Your photos are gorgeous!
 

I interupt my trip reports on Iceland to share this word cloud. I am involved with a regional burning man event. ~800 people gather in Central PA for this. I took a post event survey, which included a freeform answer field for the question of gender ID.

I then processed the answers through a free online word cloud generator. 

While word cloud is a far from perfect tool (e.g., the "damned" was really part of an entry of "none of your damned business. I don't do labels"), I still find the results cool and worth sharing.

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I want to meet the person who put "damned".
CM Adams 6/20
Scum, Fox, Pirate and Damned are my faves.
I have my gender listed on Facebook as "Maple." The result is that the ads I see are less painfully targeted. I still get weight-loss-product ads, but they're less offensive.
What's the Burning Man event in Central PA? I've wanted to go to one with a climate that doesn't scare me.
(edit) Playa del Fuego. It's in Tamaqua these days. Over memorial day weekend.
Ursula Sadiq 6/20edited
(scheming...)
 

I took my 8year old to Iceland for a week. Early June. In a nut shell, there was jaw dropping scenery and it is very easy to be an English speaking tourist there. Very recommended. I do expect I'll go back someday.

I'd never been to Iceland before, and I was overdue in adding a new country to my list. I've traveled a bunch so I'm not intimidated by international travel, especially not to Europe where I've been to lots. I did some research, brunched with some Icelanders before I left, booked a hostel, some bus tours and a puffin watching harbor cruise, and embraced the idea that I'm on vacation and vacation is not a the time to be too frugal.

Early June is before all the tourists arrive, but it's building. We were there June 10-16. Tourist season officially begins June 15. It never gets dark in Iceland in June. The sun goes down for a few hours, but it is still dusk lit.

Flights were affordable - direct from Philly even. We flew Icelandair. No complaints, a basic uneventful flight. Gone are the days of endless drinks and amenity packs for everyone I guess. The 8 year old did get free meal and a play pack, and Icelandair has reduced kids airfare which I had assumed were extinct. I guess just domestically extict (sigh). The 8 year old also got a number of comps this trip. Free use of the "pay to use" public toilets, free seats on some of the tours, free transfer to the airport, next to free entry to the swimming pool. So yay, bring your kid if you got one. These freebies dissipate by the time they are 11 from what I can tell.

Something to know about Iceland - the county is about the size of Pennsylvania or of New York State. The coast is habitable, the interior not so much. About 340,000 people live in the entire country, and 2/3rds of them live around Reykjavik. The whole country has less people than Cleveland. Or about 60,000 less people as we have in here in lower, slower Delaware. To this country of 340,000 come over 2 million tourists a year. Its been growing like crazy, up from 1 million in 2014, or 0.5 million in 2010 when that volcano erupted making everyone think: Cool! Let's go see Iceland! So yeah, tourism is big there. It is Iceland's largest industry these days, eclipsing fishing industries. And in some ways the infrastructure is struggling to keep up - for example our the tour bus planned stops around acceptable toilet facilities. And hotels and tours do fill up. 

Hotels were pricey so I got us a hostel, which was still over $150 a night. Nothing against the hostel, it was a decent one, but next time I'll pay the extra $300+ for a proper hotel. Or an airBNB. But I'm naturally a penny pincher, so I got us a hostel. I just poked around booking.com again, and yeah, for an extra $300 we could have gotten an apartment. Maybe next year. (Though next year I kinda want to go to Spain.) 

Food was also pricey, and a picky 8 year old means we didn't explore the options much. I'm the opposite of picky, which also means I'm not into exploring. If it's edible, I'll eat it.

For food, we did a bunch of supermarket sandwiches. We had lots of pop-tarts, chocolate, bread, chips, crackers, chocolate crackers, cheese, & ice cream. We also split one banana, labeled as grown in Ecuador. For local food, they have a yogurt like thing called skyr (which tastes like yogurt, but apparently is made differently) that we liked. I really liked the lamb soup - kinda like beef stew but with lamb, found at overpriced tourist restaurants all over Iceland. I had 3 bowls on our 6 day trip. We tried the smoked lamb on flatbread and both (!!!) loved it - it's really rich though, more an hors d’oeuvres than something I could do a meal. We drank a lot of water, straight from the tap, like apparently everyone does in Iceland.

It is super easy to get around as an English speaker in Iceland. Every last Icelander I met spoke perfect English. And they were all very friendly - not Irish friendly who want to talk life story - Nordic friendly. So cheerful and happy to stop and help when asked. Contributing to the good cheer I'm sure was the unusually splendid weather we were having. The Icelanders were saying how it doesn't get better that what we had: 60 Fahrenheit and sunny all week.

<to be continued. gotta do some work now>

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good lord. thanks for the heads up on the cost of lodging and food there. the airfares are so cheap that I've thought of going, but not for those sorts of rates on the ground.
CM Adams 6/18
I love this.