The Adventure of Writing Poetry

Just this past week, I received notice that one of my poems had been included in a new anthology published by Poets Choice.  The anthology is called CLOSE FRIENDS AND RELATIVES.  

I ordered the book and when I got it and saw my poem right there on page 53, I cried tears of joy.  My poems have appeared in various magazines and on-line journals, but never in a printed book!  There is something magical about a solid book that you can hold in your hands, pass on to your friends and family, put on the nightstand when you fall asleep, or next to your computer when you need a break.  

It’s filled with various kinds of poetry and fun to read.  I see poems as word pictures, as a way of expressing ourselves, showing others a thought or message in short form.  A blending of sight, sound and thought.  

Here’s the poem.  Let me know what you think.  It’s also on my Facebook page.


 Good Friends


Good friends are precious, priceless commodities.    

Not connected through parents, siblings, or birth, 

they have no obligation but love.    


Good friends are like blue sky, buttered popcorn and sweet 

chicken roasting in the oven on a cold winter afternoon.  

They are

the book we read over and over again, our favorite bottle of 

cabernet and 

sometimes a Texaco station when the gas tank flashes 



They are laughter at midnight, early morning telephone 


hugs of understanding and a quick winks in a crowded 


They last a lifetime, forgiving mistakes, laughing at twice-

told tales, encouraging us, scolding us, rejoicing with us 

when times are good and weeping with us when we mourn.  


They endue separations and misunderstandings, and stand 

beside us in the 

ceremonies of our lives.  They are our bridesmaids and 

groomsmen, godparents to our children, and fellow-

mourners in our grief.  When we are feeble, they help us 

across the street and up the stairs.  When we die, they carry 

us into the beyond.    

My First 24 Hour Fast

I’d been thinking about trying a 24 hour fast for several weeks. My daughter Cora, who owns a
gym in Richmond, VA, does it regularly because of its benefits. I read several articles about how
fasting helps with weight loss, digestive tract health, and cognitive enhancement.

Sounds good to me! I think I’ll try it. Here’s how it went:

4:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 1. I cook dinner for myself and save some for my sweet husband Gene.
We usually eat around 7:30, but since most of the articles advised me to eat my last meal late in
the afternoon, that’s what I did.

4:30 p.m.: Dinner consists of sliced ham, a sweet potato, cucumbers and onions in a Balsamic
vinaigrette. Sliced strawberries for dessert. Iced tea. All too soon, I’m done, my stomach is full,
but can I last until 5:00 tomorrow afternoon, consuming only water and clear tea?

7:30 p.m.: I drink unsweetened iced tea while my husband eats his dinner. I watch enviously
when he pours himself a glass of Chardonnay. Oh well, suck it up, Elsa. You can do this!
I read my book, watch the news, and a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. Finally, at 10:30, I’m
ready for bed. I put a bottle of water next to me.

I sleep like a rock. A couple of pit stops, then back to sleep immediately.

Alarm sounds at 6:45. It’s time to get up and walk the dog (Roxie, a large husky mix rescue).
I’m determined to perform my normal activities today, make no changes except for not eating. I drink more water before I go. I’m amazed, I’ve had nothing to eat since 5:00 and I’m not hungry.

As I walk Roxie, it’s raining, but warm. I notice that colors are brighter this morning. Is it the rain or my clearing mind? Everything is clear and happy and distinct. I love it.

When I get back, I make big pot of English Breakfast Tea. The day goes well. Whenever I feel hungry, I sip water or tea. I do my exercises and Yoga-stretches, I do household chores and I work at my computer, editing a few chapters of my friend’s book.

At noon, I fix lunch for my husband: sausages and eggs and an English Muffin. I sit across from him and sip my tea. I tell him how great I feel, how alive, how energetic. How everything around me is bright and beautiful.

I will get through the rest of day until 5:00! No food, not even a cracker or piece of cheese, not
mints or even gum. I’m determined to finish what I started!

The afternoon rolls on. More editing, making appointments on the phone, talking to the men
who are fixing my sprinkler system outside. I go for my usual power walk at 4:00. That will be
my last physical task of the day.

I walk my usual mile and a half and my stomach growls a couple of times. I’m really hungry
now and the deadline looms ahead. I will finish what I started.

Finally, it’s 5:00. I pour myself a glass of cranberry juice and it tastes great. Several articles
strongly suggested not eating a big meal immediately after the fast and that’s what I’m doing.
Fruit juice and an orange will hold me until dinner at 7:30.

I did it! I feel terrific. I may do this again. Stay tuned!

CCU Sports Weekends Are Fun!

This past weekend was excellent! We have seasons tickets to Coastal Carolina University baseball games and they won a three-day tournament!

On Friday afternoon, the Chants played Bryant and won that game handily 8-1. On Saturday, they played West Virginia and had a relatively easy win, 10-5.

The situation changed in the finals on Sunday when they faced undefeated Kennesaw State.

Guess what? After all that good baseball in the first two games, they were losing 9-1 at the bottom of the 3rd. Gene and I briefly thought about leaving and going out to an early dinner, but decided to stay.

Boy, are we glad we did! The Chants came back and scored again and again, defeating the Owls 13-11!

There were thrills and chills, brilliant catches in the outfield, bases-clearing home runs, strike-outs, walks and errors. Those three games had everything imaginable in the world of baseball. I couldn’t write a better script.

And that’s exactly why Gene and I love college sports. We both went to Syracuse University and attended many sporting events. They were free to students. Since we didn’t have a lot of spending money, we went to football, basketball, baseball, soccer and lacrosse games. We attended swim meets, wrestling matches and gymnastics events.

Everything was fresh and new. The competitors were students like us, not professionals who make millions of dollars a year. Many were on scholarships, some were walk-ons, but it was fun, fun, fun and I learned a lot about athletics.

After graduation, we lived in New Jersey and it was easy to drive up to Syracuse for an athletic event. When we moved to Brunswick County, North Carolina, it was just too far to travel.
We were sad. Something vital was missing in our lives.

Then we discovered Coastal Carolina University, located in Conway, South Carolina, just 45 minutes from our house. We started going to baseball and football games there and we loved it!

Their mascot is Chauncy the Chanticleer, a large teal-colored rooster who is present at many sporting events.

Coastal Carolina has a beautiful campus, just minutes west of Myrtle Beach on Highway 501. They have wonderful sports programs. Their baseball team won the National Championship in 2015. Dustin Johnson played on their golf team before turning pro. I could go on and on about their sterling athletic department but you can look it up yourself and be amazed

So, if you live in the Grand Strand, go to a Coastal Carolina Baseball or Football or Basketball game. You’ll love it! They have a brand-new football and baseball stadium and many pristine sporting arenas with plenty of parking and a great staff.

Wherever you reside, I’m sure you can find a college or junior college campus nearby with a sports program. Try it, you’ll like it!

For more information about Coastal Carolina University sports programs, go to See you there!

99th Floor


The 99th Floor

by Elsa Bonstein


(I wrote this article several years ago for the Brunswick Beacon on a 9/11 anniversary) 


It was Camelot, Cinderella’s Castle, and the Land of Oz all rolled up together.  It rose 107 stories into the heady skyline of New York City.  

My husband worked there for 8 years from 1980 to 1988.  His office was on the 99th floor of the North Tower.     

But the World Trade Center was more than a set of office buildings.  It was a place where people gathered.  Some came to work in offices, to make important decisions, to climb the corporate ladder.  Others came to cook and clean.  Thousands came just to look at the wonder of it all.       

Our kids were small back then and on Saturdays when my husband had to work, we often drove to the City with him.  

My children knew the grand open spaces, the dizzying heights, the whooshing, clanging elevators like other children know their back yards.  

They stood on the observation deck looking down, down at the streets.  They stared out and around at New Jersey, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Queens.  The Statue of Liberty was a small green toy and great ships were tiny models trailing v-shaped wakes in the blue-green waters of the Hudson River.  

I was a fledgling writer in those days and in 1986 I wrote a poem for my children about the wonderland we so often visited.  It went like this:  

My father works on the 99th floor

Of a building so tall, 

You can’t see it all.  

It’s too far to walk

All the way to the top.  

The elevator ride

Makes my tummy flip flop.  

The windows of his office 

Are the most fun for me. 

If I stand by his desk 

I can look out and see…..

Buildings of glass 

Of stone and concrete

Places to work 

And places to sleep, 

Boats on the rivers

Cars on the bridges

Way off the distance, 

Mountains with ridges, 

Cars like fingernails, 

People like ants!

Oh!  I’m ever so glad

That I had the chance

To visit my Dad on the 99th Floor!

And what’s more?  


It is all gone now, taking 2,8039 lives with it.  Countless families were decimated, lives ruined.  Businesses were in rubble, confidence in our system was shaken.  

But more than that, we lost our wide-eyed idealism, our core belief that things will come out alright in the long run if we try very, very hard. 

The Twin Towers were a symbol of what humans living in a free society could accomplish.  

We must not forget that dream.  

It may take another form.  It may happen in another time, but the dream must remain.    




The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 45

The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 45

HOUSES: Use your imagination!

During this Covid Crisis, my husband and I have been going for drives every afternoon. It’s been great! We take our dog Roxie and we get out of the house and into the fresh air and explore the area around us.

We live in Brunswick County, North Carolina, so there are beaches and golf courses, historical old homes and plantations, parks and tree farms. There are cornfields and cows, luxurious vacation homes and trailer parks. Single-wides, double-wides and abandoned old shacks.

The sheer variety of homes in this area is staggering. And, even within each community, there are great variations. A tiny single-wide might have junk cars littering its perimeter. Next door, the same size house may have beautiful plantings, with birdhouses and blooming flowers. A large two-story might be austere with perfectly round-cut shrubs, the home across the street will be a crazy riot of color and texture with winding walkways and fountains.

What about abandoned houses? Why are they abandoned? What happened? Did the resident grow older, unable to care for the house? Were there no living relatives to help and intercede? Did the county take it over for non-payment of taxes? Why wasn’t it listed and sold?

There’s a story in every house and I’m especially intrigued by these abandoned ones. There it sits, a rusty old trailer, half-covered with vines, grass knee high, broken swing set in the back yard.

What happened?

Another home is buried in the woods. This one is large, two stories with the chimneys showing above the encroaching trees and bushes. It was a big home, obviously the owner had money or he (she, they) wouldn’t have built this house.

What’s the story?

How about a big field, overgrown with weeds? A line of old oaks marks a defunct road that leads to a grove of large old trees with the remains of fireplaces and chimneys in the middle.

Another story.

When I see these sights, my imagination is stirred. Was it a simple aging process and neglect that led to the abandoned home? What about murder? Abuse? A malignant divorce? A romantic triangle that led to chaos? Children who were abused and neglected and later abused and neglected their aging parents?

Did someone go bankrupt? Or suffer a financial reverse? Are those people now homeless or living in shelters? Or with their grown children? Or in a senior community?

Wait! I see an open window, a cracked doorway!
Is a homeless person living in the abandoned house?

What’s their story?

The journalist in me is always inquisitive, wanting to ask questions, to discover the story behind a house whether it’s occupied or not. I want to go to the hall of records and trace the history of that home. I want to interview the people who lived there.

There’s always something to write about, always something to explore.

My advice? Never feel tired or burnt-out. Go for a ride through different areas in your county. Explore unknown paths. Walk past an old, neglected hulk of a house. There’s a story there.
Drive through a trailer park. See the variety of homes. There are many stories around us.

Find them. Use them. Write that book!

The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 44

The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 44

Mother’s Day Tribute to My Mother-in-law

One of the best things in my life was the pure fortune of having a fabulous mother-in-law.
Her name was Ruth Irene Bonstein (known as Irene), a terrific woman in many, many ways.

First of all, she loved and accepted me from the start. Here I was, a chicken farmer’s daughter from rural Maryland. My parents were immigrants from Finland. I had met her son on a blind date at Syracuse University.

My husband’s family traced their family line back to a couple of Hessian brothers who came over and fought in the Revolutionary War. My father-in-law had a great job with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, covering the whole east coast heavy equipment sales. Irene played the piano beautifully, everything from Beethoven to the 12th Street Rag. She could read music and also play by ear. I had had music lessons and this gift was amazing to me. I once asked her how she did it. “Oh, I hear the tune and it somehow comes out through my fingers,” she said modestly.

Despite the differences in our family backgrounds, she welcomed me with open arms and we became good friends as well as in-laws.

Holidays and family gatherings were fun. She played the piano and we had loud noisy sing-a-longs. You could hum a tune and she would pick it up and play along. Irene had special recipes that were devoured by the grandchildren. I have most of them in my personal cooking file.

Best of all, she was a lot of fun, loving jokes and telling them. Regaling us with stories of past family adventures and poignant moments.

Irene was kind and loving and I still miss her.

In fact, I wrote a humorous article for New Jersey Woman (magazine) years ago called Wives and Mothers (in law). It recounted what a curse it was to have a terrific mother-in-law. I had nothing to talk about with my friends, in fact, they had a hard time believing that I really liked and respected my mother-in-law.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to you, Irene. You were an inspiration to me. I only hope I can be half as close to my four sons-in-law.

The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 43 

The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 43

For 14 years, I wrote a weekly golf column for the Brunswick Beacon, a weekly newspaper in Brunswick County, North Carolina, with a circulation of over 15,000. I mostly wrote about golf in the Coastal Carolinas, but once in awhile, I wrote about other things. This article is as relevant today as it was then.

Golf Gab for September 15, 2011

Retrospective of 9/11
My family had an intimate knowledge of the World Trade Center in the years prior to 9/11.  My husband’s firm, Deloitte & Touche (then Deloitte, Haskins & Sells), took up five floors of the North Tower starting in 1980.  We have many happy memories of the World Trade Center: dinners at Windows on the World Restaurant; the whooshing express elevator that brought you from the lobby to the 110th floor in a matter of seconds; the views of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, New Jersey, the Hudson River, the Battery, and the Statue of Liberty.
To look straight down from the 99th floor, where my husband’s office was located, took an act of will for someone like me who does not like to climb a six-foot ladder.  The cars far below were smaller than a paper clip; the people were almost invisible, tiny ants crawling on the thin ribbons of sidewalk far below.
We lived in New Jersey at the time.  Our four kids were little during the early years and I took them into “the city” as often as I could.  We toured the museums (Natural History was the favorite), visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, went to the Central Park Zoo and the Bronx Zoo and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  We visited the Cloisters, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and went shopping at Bloomingdales (Saks was too expensive).
We had Afternoon Tea at the Plaza and when the Crocodile Dundee movie came out, we felt like sophisticated New Yorkers.  “Ahh, yes.  We have tea there when we’re in the city.”
There were certain small things that we, as insiders to the towers, knew.  All skyscrapers are built with a certain amount of sway and when there was a high wind, the water in the toilets literally sloshed back and forth.  It was a bit disorienting and sometimes made me feel a bit squeamish.
For several years, I was the youth group leader at our Presbyterian Church.  Each year, I scheduled a trip to New York with the teens and other advisors.  I often brought them to my husband’s office to look out the windows.  Why pay to go up to the Observation Deck when we could see the same stuff for free?
As the kids got older and I began to do more free lance writing, I often went to the North Tower with Gene when he had to work on Saturday.  I would sit at his secretary’s desk and work on my articles while he worked in his office.  We’d finish late in the day and then have dinner before beginning the 1 ½ hour commute back to Holmdel.
After the 1993 bombing in the basement of the North Tower’s parking garage, the lease on the five floors came up for renewal.  The managing partner of the New York office made the decision to move the Deloitte offices to the World Financial Center, a smaller building across the street.
Cantor-Fitzgerald took over the vacated office space.  In 1988, Gene was transferred to the New Jersey offices of Deloitte, and eight years later, he retired.
When the attacks occurred in 2001, we were devastated.  Many of our friends lost family and friends in the disaster, and while Deloitte employees were spared, it was a crushing blow to everyone.  The buildings had been so vibrant, so much a part of our lives, so strong and impregnable.  They symbolized the very heart and bravery and innovation of our country.
And that’s why the cowardly terrorists drove those planes into them.  They wanted to rip out the heart and soul of our nation.  They wanted to humble us, to make us afraid.
When I saw the first plane go into the North Tower, it felt like a stake had been driven into my own heart.  The plane went right into where my husband’s office had been.  I knew that space so well, the desks, the partitions, the bathrooms, the corridors, the sounds of computers and murmur of voices, the sway of the building, the walls of glass that drew you to see the world from a bird’s eye view.
I stared in horror at the television as the second plane went into the South Tower, then another to the Pentagon, then the crash into a field in Pennsylvania (that could have been into the Capitol Building or the White House).  It was unbelievable, horrific, ghastly, hurtful.
This is America, a beacon of freedom in the world, a country that sends aid and assistance to famine-ravaged lands in the far corners of the globe, a country that landed troops on the beaches of Normandy when freedom’s light was dying under Hitler’s onslaught.
Why?  How could this happen?
Gene and I sat in front of our television set for days, watching the horror again and again, the collapse of the towers, the rescue attempts, the faces of the firefighters and other first responders who gave their own lives to save others.
Ten years have passed and we can still feel the pain and the loss and empathy for those who lost loved ones in that American Holocaust.
But I can say this with clarity and conviction:  It did not work.
They tried to bring us to our knees, to make us afraid, to make us give up the beacon of freedom that we raise for the rest of the world.  This is the country other people flee to, the place where they sneak, swim, tunnel, and raft to.
Why?  Not because we have jobs or Walmarts, but because we have freedom.
We have freedom to worship or not.  Freedom to disagree with the President and the Congress, freedom to march, to sing protest songs, freedom to travel where we want, when we want, freedom to vote, to wear a bikini if we so choose, to show our faces to strangers.  To meet and greet people of all races; to watch and participate in sports.
And that’s what the terrorists hate most about us.
On Sunday, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the NFL played football in packed stadiums all over the country with cheerleaders tumbling and shouting and gyrating in front of thousands.  In the finals of the US Open, Serena Williams lost to Sam Stosur.  The LPGA played in Arkansas, women played college soccer and golf.  Professional baseball continued.  NASCAR Sprint Cup took place in Richmond.
In the United States, women can play golf and tennis and soccer.  They can drive in car races and vote and own property.  They can show their faces and be proud of who they are:  the other half of the human race, partners of the human spirit.
Not chattel, not subservient, oppressed, covered and cosseted lesser beings.
The principal of freedom will endure, because it is embedded in the hearts and minds of men and women.  No one can take that away.


The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 42

The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 42

Tragedies Help the Writer

Bad things happen to all of us. No one’s life is perfect and if your life is wonderful today, trust me, it won’t last forever. We, as human beings living in an imperfect word, will experience illness, loss, betrayal, accidents, and death.

How we deal with these set-backs and tragedies is important. Often, we survive and become stronger. We accept and move forward. We become wiser.

Tragedies on the road of life are a blessing to writers. They open doors to empathy and understanding. We know what something feels like, because we’ve been there.

Let me tell you about one of these awful moments that grew me as a person and a writer.

My mother was the dearest, sweetest, most caring woman in the world. I grew up on a chicken farm on the end of dirt road in North East, Maryland, the only child of Finnish immigrants. We didn’t have much money, but my mother did her best to give me the finer things in life. She sold cracked eggs to pay for my piano and voice lessons. She taught me now to cook and clean and to be a responsible, hard-working citizen. She made birthdays and holidays special for everyone around her.

After my father died and she was in her late 70’s, she moved to a senior residence about 10 minutes from where my husband and I lived in New Jersey. One of her favorite things was to go for a ride with me, particularly along the Jersey Shore. She really liked the Atlantic Highlands and the wonderful views of the ocean there.

One Tuesday afternoon, planned to pick up my new car, a wonderful little aqua-colored convertible. I called my mother the night before and invited her to go for a ride with me the next day. She was very excited.

I picked up my fabulous little car the next afternoon and drove to my mother’s apartment, planning which scenic routes we would take.

I rang the doorbell. No answer. I rang again, several times.

My mother was never late for anything and I had just spoken with her the night before. Something was terribly wrong. I felt a chill.

At my request, the superintendent of the building, unlocked the door. She was lying there, unmoving, seemingly asleep. I touched her shoulder. It was cold and hard. She had been dead for several hours.

The emotions that ran through me are hard to describe, even for a writer. Horror, grief, sadness, regret, nostalgia, love. Memories of a warm kitchen and her pulling out a fresh-baked apple pie made with apples I had picked myself. Her wonderful flower gardens with gladiolas and tulips and daffodils. Her voice, singing old Finnish folk songs as she gathered eggs. She and my father dancing the polka at a Scandinavian dance party.

Taking care of me when I was sick. Cheering me on when my grades were good or I won an award in school.

All of it gone.

I got over it and moved on with my life, raising four daughters and writing magazine and newspaper article, children’s stories, poetry and novels. But this (and other sad and terrible moments) have impacted my thoughts and how I put words on paper.

I don’t have to imagine sadness and loss. I’ve been there. And today, I am a caring and empathetic person because of my experiences with loss and tragedy.

The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 41

Writers bloc?  Get a Dog!

One of the true blessing in my life is my sweet dog Roxie.  She’s a rescue, as were all but one of our previous dogs.  She weighs 70 pounds, is a husky mix, and has the most adorable face.

Energetic is the best word to describe Roxie, and the thing she loves best is going for a walk.  We live in a gated community with strict leash laws so I can’t just turn her loose.  I must put a leash on her, grab a poopy bag, jacket and/or raincoat and umbrella (if needed) and go out the door.

Roxie and I usually walk a mile or more each morning and another mile or more in the afternoon and WE BOTH LOVE IT!

Walking Roxie gets me away from my computer and outdoors at least twice a day.  I feel energetic most of the time and don’t have any weight or back problems because I walk regularly.  Owning a dog is better than joining Weight Watchers or a gym.

Sometimes, I’m busy with a project and just don’t feel like walking, but then Roxie prances into my office.  She pants, nudges me, waggles her whole body and before I know it, I’m out the door.

Sometimes when I walk, new perspectives and ideas come to me.  Sometimes, the walk simply refreshes me, calms me down, relaxes both my body and my brain.  It’s a real catharsis.

Most mornings at 7:30, I walk with my friend Cathy and her husky, Codie.  Somedays we talk a lot, other times, we stroll and simply enjoy the fresh sea air, the beautiful sky and blossoming flowers.  We greet other walkers and enjoy our beautiful neighborhood.

If you’re alone and would like to meet new friends, get a dog!  It’s one of the best ways to meet other people.

If you’re a writer and suffer from writer’s bloc, get a dog!  It’s a sure cure.

The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 40

Stimulation Through Travel

I love to write and can easily spend 8 hours or more each day, creating stories on my computer.  Time flies when I write.  I’m never bored and thus far, I have never experienced writer’s block. On the contrary, I probably suffer from writer’s release.

I am fortunate to work at something I love.  Writing a 350-page book is more like fun than work.

Despite the fact that I love what I do (newspaper articles, novels, children’s stories, and poetry) it is important to get away once in a while and do something totally different, to have an adventure that immerses me in a new world.


My husband and I did just that last month.  He had always wanted to see the Panama Canal and, by God, we did.  We took our very first big boat cruise on a Holland-Ameica ship to the Caribbean.  We left Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and in 10 days, visited several islands and Panama.  We saw Half Moon Cay, Curacao, Cartagena, and Costa Rica.

The trip through the Panama Canal and up to Lake Gatun (the middle point before turning back to Colon) was amazing.  We marveled at the effort that it took to build the locks that take the big ships up and over the mountain range that runs through the middle of Central America.  Our cruise only went half-way through, other cruise ships will take you all the way to the Pacific. It was astonishing and the views were breathtaking.


The second most exciting part of the trip was going through the rain forest of Costa Rica.  We took a bus ride to the top, toured around for a while with a guide, and took the elevated tram ride back.  It was so beautiful, that (even as a writer) words fail me.  Leaves a big as me, hundreds of different kinds of plants.  Butterflies as big as my hand.  The Costa Rican Rain Forest has more different plants and animals than any other place in the world. Scientists from all over the world come there to do research.

Now I’m back at my computer, totally energized and feeling very creative!  I truly believe that getting away once in a while is important for everyone, whether you ae a teacher, a CPA, a nurse, a lawyer, or a stay-at-home mom.  You can sit on a beach, hike a mountain trail, camp in Yellowstone Park or go to New York City and see a play.  It doesn’t have to be 10 days; it doesn’t have be a cruise.

It just needs to be different from your everyday life.  If it’s educational and you learn something new about our world, all the better!