Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Old Man Returns to Paris. . .

Paris, September 2008

Strolling through the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, we noticed many couples (of many varieties) enjoying the fall weather by falling all over each other. They seemed oblivious to the crowds around them, wrapped up in their own activities, as they were.

Dee suddenly said, "That grass looks so inviting!" Thinking his inner Frenchman had been awakened by the romance of the day, I was interested to see what he had in mind.

Paris, September 2008

♫ "There's something in the air of France..."♫

He wasn't above a little voyeurism, however.

Jardin des Tuileries, September 2008


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Judgement Call

When I heard Paul Newman died, I immediately thought how happy my mom must be to have him in her realm again. She loved Paul Newman. Then the eternal question started rolling through my head. Do we get to see our loved ones after death?

Not our real loved ones. I know we get to see them. I'm sure heaven is like a giant family reunion, where we first greet our parents, or husband, or whoever went before us, and then we get introduced to all the grands and greats and we hang out and talk over the family history of all the generations and analyze who we take after. But eventually, don't you think we'll want to cut out for a while, and go see a good movie?

Do you think there's satellite TV or loudspeakers or something in heaven to announce when someone arrives? I'm hoping I have a big group assembled, but how will everyone know to come? Will they get invitations? Does Mom even know Butch Cassity is in town?

And another thing--I'm planning on taking my knowledge and talents with me so I can continue to develop them in the hereafter. Don't you just assume Handel is conducting the Messiah, while Rembrandt is painting cherubs? Doesn't that mean John Denver could be up there giving concerts? Has Charleton Heston met Moses? Is there any collaboration going on?

Sure, I want to spend eternity doing good works, but the point of getting to heaven is being able to enjoy life--or death, I guess--and do heavenly things. Like going to a good movie. Do we get to see our pretend loved ones again?

That's one of the eternal questions. What's the verdict?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Ballgame

Pete, 1984

The election is only a few weeks away. I wrote about last season here.
We've got a whole new ballgame!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Than Books

Although I've always loved books,
I realized I was illiterate.
Click here to

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Was Sick

It wasn't just the Hong Kong flu that made me sick.
It was losing the letters.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Dee in Salzburg Shop,
March, 2008

Hope I'm not boaring you! We're still "across the pond" so I've set up links to a few of my old posts. Friends Through Time and Space is about a sweet aspect of blogging. I wrote this a couple of years ago, and it's even truer now.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trip Plans

Cesky Krumlav, 2008

"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list."
Susan Sonntag

Planning a trip is almost as much fun as going on one.
I call it Tripping Out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Opening Doors

Vienna Doors, 2008

Doors were opening for me in 1969, and at the same time I realized some people were living behind iron curtains. Budapest was one of those places.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Book Bag

Tabor, Czech Republic, 2008

Travel ideal: sitting in a cafe, watching a foreign world go by while reading a book that takes place in that very locale. Book It is a post I wrote with ways to find just the right book. You'll have to find the cafe.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Traveling Shoes

Joseph Farrelly, 1926

The best time to get away is when you start looking like your passport picture!

I'm off to Europe for a couple of weeks. We're doing some research in France and Poland and I'll have a bunch of new stories and insights when I get back. In the meantime, I've scheduled some posts for the days I'm gone, with links from my olden days of blogging. (You might even see your old comments.) Since I didn't even recognize the posts, they'll probably seem new to you, too. Take care!

"A trip is what you take when you can't take any more of what you've been taking."
...Adeline Ainsworth

Check out Searching for Ghosts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Big Girl Now

She just turned five.

Said euphorically: I'm so glad I'm five. I've always wanted to be five. I can't tell if I'm taller. This dress still fit me yesterday. Then I was four. Now I'm five. I love to be five! Hey...can I play with that?

Mom: No, that's just for little kids.

Said dismally: Oh--I wish I was still a little kid!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Secrets of a Happy Marriage

The Stars of Our Marriage

"There are many things, I'm sure,"
she said, "without which we could not live...
But love is the only one I can think of."

Some secrets for staying in love, so you never have to live without it:
  1. Recall why you fell in love in the first place.
  2. Count your together blessings, together.
  3. Tell private jokes, and laugh often.
  4. Think about the problems you used to have and how you solved them together.
  5. Anticipate doing something you both love to do.
  6. Watch your favorite old movie.
  7. Take a long drive and listen to the music of your olden days.
  8. Pray for each other.
  9. Decide that unity is more important than being right.
  10. Remember that love is not something you get, it's something you do.
Art by Warren Davis

My marriage is 39 years old today,
and I count my lucky stars!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Roots Phenomenon

Where are your roots?

After Alex Haley published the book Roots, he said, "My hope is that Roots will start a ground swell of longing for people everywhere to go digging for their own roots, to discover a heritage to make them proud..."

My husband Dee is a gardener who digs for roots on family trees. He plows through crumbling letters, diaries written in fading pencil, disintegrating scrapbooks, and boxes from under somebody's bed. He interviews grandfathers, uncles and second-cousins searching for specifics to illuminate the life-style and character of a family.

The roots he's excavating now are in Poland. Armed with names, dates and locations we're leaving this week to gather history in the Malopolska region near Cracow, close to Ukraine and Slovakia. I've studied a lot of maps and learned some new geography while preparing for this trip. It's a part of Europe we're totally unfamiliar with, and the language is a complete mystery, but we've got our shovels and we're ready to dig.

We're also doing some research in France. It's funny: this week I drove through the neighborhood where I grew up. Forty years ago I went to the grand opening of a shopping mall that is now being demolished and rebuilt because it's so old. Yet we fully expect to find and photograph a tiny bakery established in France over two hundred years ago. A farmhouse in Poland may have survived the Communists and two world wars--we're hoping, anyway.

Although we've burrowed around other family trees, we haven't done much digging on our own roots. (A paying client takes precedence.) But as I get older I feel a yearning to know my history. Referring to someone famous, a reporter said, "He's from an old family," as if the rest of us just popped up from nowhere in recent generations. We each descend from "an old family" with heroines, rogues, villains and champions, and tales of tragedy and valor that could encourage us.

Dee has noticed that every family has a self-appointed historian with a passion for keeping the records and photographs. Alex Haley discovered oral historians called griots in Africa. He said, "They are men trained from boyhood to memorize, preserve and recite the centuries-old histories of villages, clans, families, and heroes. Some are keepers of family stories so long that they can talk for three days without ever repeating themselves."

Who is your family's griot? Do you know who to call for information about your ancestors? Have you written something for your kids and grandkids? Where are the photos of your grandparents? Which family legend intrigues you?

The last sentence in the Old Testament talks about the Roots phenomenon. In Malachi 4:6 it says, "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers..."

Has your heart been turned toward your roots?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Life Lessons of a Forty-Niner

Magazine Cover, Unknown

Today I start my 60th year. I'm a 1949-er, born in the first half of the last century...how old does that sound?? Having just spent some time with a newborn baby, I realize I've acquired awesome skills, knowledge and wisdom over these many years. I wouldn't want to start over!

Think about what you've learned in life while I count the blessings of being 59.

I can:
  1. Feel a sense of peace
  2. Identify hundreds of individual voices
  3. Crawl (that takes coordination!), roll, balance and walk
  4. Distinguish colors and hues (think of all the shades of green in the woods)
  5. Follow a sound to it's source
  6. Identify emotions in other people
  7. Differentiate numbers, letters, symbols
  8. Know when something is upside down
  9. Perceive danger
  10. Appreciate lovely scents
  11. Feel the mood of the crowd
  12. Anticipate cold
  13. Steel myself for pain
  14. Wait for food
  15. Smell fire
  16. Read
  17. Entertain myself with my thoughts
  18. Plan ahead to accomplish tasks
  19. Organize my surroundings
  20. Drive to a new address
  21. Feed myself without getting it in my hair
  22. Clean up a kitchen quickly
  23. Follow directions
  24. Wait without having a tantrum
  25. Sense a need for quiet
  26. Make unpleasant phone calls
  27. Talk to strangers
  28. Create a pleasant atmosphere
  29. Face a crisis
  30. Eat something that looks yukky
  31. Smile when I've been insulted
  32. Hold my head up when I'm embarrassed
  33. Tackle a job I don't know how to do
  34. Look calm when my knees are shaking
  35. Pretend I'm having a good time
  36. Say no to someone asking for a favor
  37. Turn on the computer
  38. Understand why old people rant about changes in the world
  39. Remember why young people think they invented the world
  40. Recall the poetic lyrics to classic songs
  41. Watch black and white movies without whining
  42. Wait out a bad mood
  43. Accept a compliment
  44. Expect respect
  45. Laugh at irreverence
  46. Put financial problems in perspective
  47. Love others with no expectations
  48. Let my kids make decisions
  49. Follow a football game
  50. Value another opinion
  51. Discern when a person is genuine
  52. Choose which traditions I'll follow
  53. Trust my intuition
  54. Appreciate old friends, even if I never see them
  55. Pray with total faith that I'm heard
  56. Accept that I'm not always right
  57. Not try to top everyone's story
  58. Tell the difference between Coke, Diet Coke and Pepsi
  59. Cry for joy
Knowing how to do something is an accomplishment. Doing it at the right time is a different thing. For that I'll need a few more birthdays!

Make a list of the things you've learned in life. Then cheer yourself on.

Go Forty-niners!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

What I'd Give Pete

Pete 1980

♬ "If I had a million dollars (if I had a million dollars...") ♬

I'd give Pete some cool stuff for his birthday:

  1. A bright red porsche.
  2. A year's Eurailpass for two.
  3. A ranch in Canada.
  4. An acre of garden.
  5. An old VW bus.
  6. A lot of old VW bus parts.
  7. A garage.
  8. A million tiny computer pieces.
  9. Recycling bins scattered across the valley.
  10. A saxaphone.

"I don't have a million dollars...
"I don't have a million dollars...
"I don't have a million do-ol-lars...
"But I'm RICH!"

Cause for my 30th birthday I got Pete!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Before You Grow Up

Art by Eulalie, 1953

Important things to do before you turn 5:
  1. Taste dirt.
  2. Suck on a wet, warm washcloth while you're in the tub.
  3. Eat sand.
  4. Twirl around until you fall down.
  5. Roll down a hill.
Don't you know exactly what a wet washcloth tastes like? Have you sucked on one lately?  I figure we get a lot of our experience before we know better.  Go babies!

(What did you learn long ago that you still remember?)

Did You Hear?

Baby Benji is home and doing well! 
 Oma and Opa checked him out and he's absolutely perfect!
(No worries, anymore.)