The Bernie Meme

Can we talk about how Bernie Sanders has become internet gold this week?

In case you missed it, a photographer captured this basic image of Bernie at the inauguration. It was cold and Bernie had come prepared to stay warm in a heavy coat and handmade mittens that were a gift from a New Jersey school teacher.

He looks crabby here but the photographer says he really just looked cold. He also stood out, appearing surprisingly casual and comfortable in a sea of more formally dressed attendees.

Nonetheless, the internet got ahold of the image and generated something completely unexpected. He has been photoshopped into every imaginable scenario from sea to shining sea. He’s been spotted at Niagara Falls, at the the Grand Canton and at the Rutherford B. Hayes historic site here in Ohio. The pop culture references have been fabulous as he’s popped up in everything from Mayberry to a Bob Ross painting with his “happy little mittens.”

Even local businesses like antique stores and book shops have their own version of the Bernie.

Joann Fabrics had a fabulous take on it too as they hock their supplies to those wishing to make their own mittens.

But none are as perfect as this Big Bang Theory reference.

It’s funny. Right?

But it’s more than just funny pictures on the internet.

Hear me out.

My Facebook feed is packed with a bizarre combination of people who believe a vast array fact and fiction. From the left to the far right, I can point to people who don’t agree on even the most basic concepts like who won the election and whether the insurrectionists are heroes or criminals.

But they’re all sharing the Bernie memes!

The Bernie meme has become some kind of weird unifier.

And why not? We all have that cranky grandpa or uncle who wears his thirty year old jacket and looks cranky everywhere he goes.

We all know a Bernie!!!

(I hope you read that in a Bernie yell!)

And we can all get behind the silliness because we just need something to make us laugh.

Scout even got in on the action.

Who knew that we just needed a practical New Englander to don some homemade mittens and slump on a metal folding chair to curb the feuds as we all giggle over the ridiculous?

And it is ridiculous but that’s what makes it fun.

In case you’re interested, Bernie is selling a commemorative sweatshirt and all the proceeds will benefit Vermont Meals On Wheels, an excellent cause. Click here to see that or to order.

Deep Breath

It has been a rough week here in America.

A roller coaster has had nothing on our politics for the last few years but never more so than this week. We clearly are witnessing history so I have labored to balance my desire to stay informed with my need for peace of mind.

Today, sanity needs to win. It’s Saturday. Let’s try to have a good weekend.

Turn off the news. Shut down Facebook. Stop listening to the rantings of conspiracy theorists.

We can’t fix the world and if arguing politics with your neighbor for the last five years hasn’t changed them yet, today won’t matter either. You can, however, help yourself. So go do that.

Take a deep breath.

Go outside


The forecast today is for thirties and maybe some sun. Good enough for me. I’m going to find a place to walk or take a hike in the woods.

Afterward, maybe I’ll clean out a closet or curl up in my new chair with a book and hot chocolate. Maybe I’ll listen to vintage records while making pancakes to freeze for some other morning. Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” is in my LP collection somewhere and reminds me of this image above. It’s from a walk at a local park last month.

I could play with the watercolors I got for Christmas or make some sweet potato chips and have a movie marathon with the cat. The shower needs cleaned and it wouldn’t hurt to clean out the fridge.

I know I won’t be shopping and spending money as this is just day nine of my No Spend Challenge. Luckily, the list of possibilities for a winter Saturday around home is endless!

Take care and enjoy this day. Our problems can wait till tomorrow.

A Patriotic Shadow

This is from last Saturday’s adventure through Ross and Highland counties. The flag is fabulous but so is the tree’s shadow.

This week has been a bumpy one, stressful even, as our country has lived under a shadow of uncertainty. Our modern world has made us more impatient than ever and has shortened our memory too. Many years we haven’t known the outcome on election night. Although I’m not sure how long it has been since we were left hanging in the balance for this many days.

I’m guessing the Pony Express was involved.

I have a lot of thoughts on this topic – not on the subject of politics so much as observances on human behavior.

My own Facebook feed is full of people who do not understand that election laws differ by state or that counting every legal vote is, indeed, the patriotic thing to do. The Electoral College also seems a mystery to some and the conspiracy theories are running rampant.

It’s an indictment of the average American’s grasp of their own government.

I’m hopeful for many things this morning.

I’m hopeful that we’ll have an answer today and that we can begin to move forward and prepare for the next four years. I’m hopeful that we can begin to heal from the trauma of late.

And honestly, I’m hopeful that a few of those swing states that have held us up will learn a thing or two from their neighbors and be better prepared in four years.

Meanwhile, we are expecting a beautiful seventy degree fall day here in Ohio. Despite the problems our nation faces, the sun will rise and set again today. The days aren’t as long as we would like so let’s make the best of the sunshine we have available.

Take a deep breath, relax those shoulders, turn off the news and go find something else to do. This could be one of the last beautiful fair weather days of the season and you don’t want to waste it.

Here We Go Again

This space has been quiet for a few days as I’ve been wrestling with a decision about Make the Journey Fun and whether or not to continue publishing here.

I started this blog a little over two years ago. At the time, it was part travel guide for friends and part therapy for me. Along the way, it has introduced me to new friends, has given me a daily responsibility to publish something, and has evolved into broader topics and a larger collection of pictures and ideas that basically cover all the random things about the world that I enjoy.

It will never be a business and I’m good with that. In fact, everything I do here flies in the face of all the blogging experts who say that you should only publish what helps the reader or that posts should have headlines like “Five things to do before a road trip.”

I do none of this, instead opting to write the kind of stories that I enjoy reading. And oddly enough, I’ve found a loyal following of people who seem to enjoy the purely random things that I pull out of my hat each day.

I won’t claim that what I do here is work. It’s more or less a quick, down and dirty exercise in storytelling that forces me to respect a deadline and to not obsess over the finer points of what I’m doing. It’s fun.

Sadly, the world seems like an extraordinarily dark place right now as people prefer strife and controversy to happy stories and pretty pictures. They opt for a thirty second video over a two minute read or, worse yet, to just read a headline or comments before forming an opinion and moving on. It’s starting to feel like no one wants to read, think or even be happy.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but all of the bickering and the destruction of social constructs that I hold dear are enough to make me want to slit my wrists with a rusty razor blade. The ugliness is exhausting and it isn’t going away.

It makes me wonder if there’s still a call for those pretty pictures and random stories that I enjoy sharing. Maybe not. Maybe I just write for me and hope that the positive influence helps at least one person.

Maybe it’s time to close up shop, delete the blog and spend more time alone and offline.

The answer isn’t clear to me just yet.

However, an email from a friend who liked a picture and a message from Christine thanking me for a book recommendation bolstered my spirits, at least a little. Perhaps there is still a desire for something light in this sea of negativity that consumes us. The best I can do at this point is to be me and hope it’s good enough.

So here we go again.

Have a good weekend, friends. It’s a long weekend for some of us. Turn off social media, breathe some fresh air, move your body, embrace the light and do something fun.