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Poof Went My Frequent Flier Points

Using Points

Traveling on points is great…until it isn’t. 

Beware traveler, the American Airlines points you use for flights and for hotels are managed by two different entities and cancellations come at a cost.

Read more: Poof Went My Frequent Flier Points

Christmas Chillin' and Chocolate Fillin' in Berlin (video)

Berlin Weihnachtsmarkt and the World's Largest Chocolaterie

Weihnachtsmarkt, Alexanderplatz, Berlin  Photo Russ Johnson

I am not a feral shopper, a pack rat ripping through the carrion at Best Buy on Black Friday or maniacally pounding a keyboard on Cyber Monday. I like to take the holidays calmly...and slowly. I would gladly become a standard bearer for a Slow Christmas Movement.

I can do this in Europe thanks to a glass of hot mulled wine or chocolate, a juicy sausage, a gingerbread cookie huddled next to a firepit at a Christmas Market.

More: Christmas Chillin' and Chocolate Fillin' in Berlin (video)

4th of July in Sonoma, CA [Video]

4th of July Fireworks, Sonoma, CA
Photo (c) 2012 Russell Johnson

The 4th of July is a big deal in Sonoma, California, a tourist attraction that swells this town of ten thousand in California's wine country to bursting. This year it celebrated the 200th birthday of Augoston Haraszthy, who founded the California wine industry here. Watch for the marching grapevines and the rockets red glare as the moon rises.

Photo: Sebastapol, California 2012

4th of July, Sebastapol, CA
Photo (c) 2012 Russell Johnson

If you grew up in the mid-century US as I did, a hot summer afternoon meant a Dairy Queen or Foster's Freeze soft serve ice milk cone dipped in chocolate. The Dairy Queen across from my elementary school in Minneapolis is still there. Now, on a hot day, I fire up my GPS and go miles out of my way to get in my licks. I found this Foster's Freeze last weekend in Sebastapol, California. The flag is for real, hanging on a 4th of July fireworks stand.

Eight Tiny Reinyak

Santa in Nepal Christmas Card

A few years ago I took a night before the night before Christmas helicopter ride to where the spirits are high and the air is thin, Mt. Everest. This is a short excerpt from "Gone Astray" an audio book of my stories distributed by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange on iTunes and on CD.