the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Northern Exposure

After telling the whole world on my last post that I was going to New York for a month and staying with my mother, I forgot to tell one person — my mother. She sent me an email complaining that she was the last person to know, and had to read about it on my blog.

“Sorry about that, Mom. I was going to tell you. But, it should be fun. We can do things together.”

“Actually, the first weekend you are here, I’m going to a Mah Jongg tournament in Atlantic City with Shirley.”

“Well, then… when you come back.”

“Don’t you remember. I’m going on that eight day cruise to… Alaska.”

“Alaska?! What are you going to do there?”

“To see the glaciers.”

“Oh, and hey, even better… fresh Alaskan lox!”

“Exactly. I’ll bring the bagels with me. In case there are no Jews up there.”

“There’s that guy from Northern Exposure. Did you know he was supposed to be from Flushing? He went to Columbia, too.”

“Yeah, but unlike you, he was a doctor.”

“What a Jewish mother cliche, Mom. You know, doctors don’t do as well as they used to. All the HMOs.”

“Still better than blogging, right?”


Truth Quotient: 89%  — 1)  I already knew that she was going to Alaska.   2)  I made up my mother’s last comment about blogging.   Maybe I should have just ended it after the “doctor” line.    3)  Oh, she didn’t really say that “doctor” line, either.

Everything else was true.


  1. Caron

    Sounds like a little serendipity for your trip – some actual time for yourself. If that’s not enough how about a MacDowell retreat? A little cabin to yourself. An ever so thoughtful and quiet person brings you lunch. Time to write, time to reflect.

  2. better safe than sorry

    my mother did that Alaskan cruise a few years back and loved it. they had gambling on her cruise ship and she wound up winning more than the cruise cost her, so while she didn’t come back with a doctor, she also didn’t come back empty handed.
    maybe you could use your down time while your mother is away to drop off your resume to AMC?

  3. brettdl

    Now your trip to NY makes sense. Alone time!

  4. Memarie Lane

    When I was in 7th grade I had a friend who had moved recently from Israel. Her family had en entire chest freezer full of bagels. I guess now I know why?

  5. Not Fainthearted

    So, you can watch her apartment and water her plants while she’s gone. And you can wander the apartment in your underwear. What’s not to like?

  6. teahouseblossom

    Hahaha, the doctor comment was priceless. I agree with the others – you’ll have plenty of alone time to explore New York!

  7. Finn

    Now you can invite chicks over…

  8. Nat

    Tell your mom they have bagels on the boat. (Honestly some of the best lox, I’ve ever had were on a cruise ship.)

  9. Lynda

    I hope the trip is a good one for you. I also get in trouble with my mom for blogging stuff before I tell her. 😉

  10. Sara

    Hey, cool. Maybe I’ll see your mom as I’m going on an Alaskan cruise too! Tell her I’ll be the one chowing on the mounds of crab claws. When I’m not chewing the seafood I’ll be sipping the champagne.

    Bon Voyage, Mrs. Neilochka!

  11. sizzle

    Like the part where you didn’t tell your mom you were coming to stay with her for a month?

    You’re too funny.

  12. Jane

    If she’s half the mother I think she is, she’s going to have other mothers in her building checking on you frequently, bringing you food, and talking about their single niece, who really has a great personality.

    Bolt the doors, Neilochka, and don’t let them in no matter how good the potato latkes smell.

  13. John

    hehheh. I think this went pretty well…you know, considering the whole Mother’s Day incident and all.

  14. churlita

    A free place to stay by yourself in New York? It sounds perfect.

  15. Neil

    John — Oops, I still haven’t mailed that mother’s day card. I suck.

    Finn — You love NY, right? At least this won’t happen with my mother away —

    Nat — I once went on one of these cruises down to Mexico. I don’t remember Mexico. But I remember the food on the cruise. I just hope she gets one of the ships where they don’t poison everyone.

  16. 180/360

    You should go with her to Alaska and hang out with me! 🙂

    PS. Tell her to pack her bagels. There are only like 3 jews there.

  17. Neil

    180 — Oh right, you are from alaska. Should my mother stop by your mother and say hello?

  18. 180/360

    I’m leaving on Thursday! She can say hi to me. I don’t know if she is going up that far North though.

    I could totally see you on a cruise- hanging out with a bunch of geriatrics, telling jokes and making all the ladies laugh.

  19. Noelle

    Lying on your blog doesn’t make you the next James Frey, you know. You have to wait for The Smoking Gun to expose you.

  20. Annie

    Oh, I think this is better! You will be forced to be alone and get yourself together a bit.

  21. tiff

    Real bagels…how I miss them.

    Enjoy the alone time – it can be vastly restorative.

  22. mp

    I think it’s special you tell the blogworld BEFORE her..that’s nice 🙂

    I forgot that Joel was Jewish.. Don’t tell your mom though that they didn’t have a temple in town…

  23. Pants

    I love creative freedom.

  24. Avitable

    I’m lucky I don’t put the truth quotient on my blog!

  25. cruisin-mom

    The mom is always the last to know…
    Neil, I hope you find the peace and tranquility and soul searching you are hoping for.

  26. sa_scully

    Yes… what she didn’t say about MDs is true. Sad, but true. I wonder what the real value of our work is…

  27. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Northern Exposure. Favorite television show of all time.

  28. Dagny

    This is why I don’t give my mom the URL to my blog. Well, actually I would get in trouble with her over many more things before I got in trouble for showing up at her house uninvited. And speaking of which, I would have told you to just head north to my mom’s house but she’ll be back in a couple of weeks. But she didn’t see that offer here…

  29. anna

    In Juneau, off the path all the cruisers take, there is an excellent bagel bakery, the Silver Bow Inn. They even boil the bagels.

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