Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pigs?

What would make anyone start a pig collection until they had 48,000 examples of pig art, antiques, skeletons, paintings, information on pig types, pigs' place in different cultures, pig ceremonies, etc.?

Red-headed Erika Wilhelmer did and then opened a private museum devoted to her treasures in Stuttgart, Germany. 

Rick had finished with his conference and we had the afternoon to explore together but all the ordinary type of museums didn't hit our fancy. Then he discovered the Schweinmuseum on line.

"Let's!" I said.

A couple of false starts to get to the right Strassenbahn station didn't dampen our desire to see what a pig museum would be like. Getting off at the correct stop and looking down the street we saw the world's biggest piggy bank, an entire bus.


The museum was in the building that once served as the admin building for the city slaughterhouse. I am not sure if that's good or bad from the point of view of pigs thinking they were about to meet their maker.


For the next two hours we saw every type of pig possible.

There were jokes such as this pearls before swine.

There were pigs in obscene poses, which I won't post.

A pig orchestra.



Even the curtains at the windows held the pig theme

All this without an oink to be heard.

We went to the café and resisted checking the menu for bacon opting for strawberries and cream and chocolate cake.

We also made a decision that when we visit a city we will look for museums that are unique. We probably won't go looking for one of the other five pig museums in the world. We've already been at the largest. What more could we hope for?

Rick has a dueling blog at http://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.de/

memories

For me it was the second most worst job I ever had, although compared to working in a cold mine or at slave labor it was fine. Part of the problem was I hated sales, although once I opened an account I loved working it.

My boss was the best and worst I ever had. Best because he was ethical and drew clear lines of expectation. Worse because of his demands. When I interviewed he had me talk to a previous employee who could warn me about him. That's ethics

I was living in Boston and desperate to move to Europe. I'd fly to Europe to get want ads. I used directories to send CVs (resumes). I would handwrite the cover letter where required. There were nibbles, but slightly after my 800th there was an ad in the IHT for a sales post in Switzerland, the land where working permits were next to impossible to get..."Someone who is familiar with Digital Equipment Corporation and speaks French and German. We'll get working permits."

Ok my French was barely at French-restaurant ordering level. My German was rusty. I sent a fax and within an hour I had a phone call.

A long phone interview followed. Then a reference check. One of my references became a company joke. The reference was glowing but when my referee was asked if he could say anything bad about me, he said, "She's not very tall."

The deal was the company would pay my expenses to fly me to Switzerland. If they turned me down or I turned down an offer, I would reimburse them.

I was on a plane as fast as I could book and after two days of intensive interviewing, I was offered the job and spent three years hating my job despite living where I loved and meeting people that I liked.



Last weekend, there was a 30th reunion of the company bringing together staff. Some of the people I worked closely with were going. Of the staff, I'd stayed in touch with only a couple.

I didn't want to miss it.

So glad I did. There was a lunch at the Grand Pin, which had been a gourmet restaurant next door to the office, which we toured. I almost felt if I should be on the phone arranging meetings as I stood by the desk in the place of my old desk and looked out the window. The kitchen where I brewed cups and cups of tea for the staff, for no one was exempt from these chores, had a more modern sink and fresh white paint.

The afternoon was on our own. We chose to go to Môtiers, where I'd lived in the company flat.

Changing from a city, Boston. to a village of 600 people and 6000 cows was a greater change than changing countries. But I loved village life and unlike threats I'd heard about the unfriendly Swiss, the owner of the building were I lived took me to village fêtes and invited me to dinner with other locals.


One of our stops in Môtiers was the cave in an old monastery that produced a local champagne although they could only call it method champagne. When I had dinner guests, we would go to the cave, sample and select the champagne to drink with dinner. It was also my duty to take champagne into the office for celebrations coming under the other duties as signed category.

If the cows were country, the villagers did not lack sophistication in their own right. Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived there for three years and was visited by Voltaire, an event acted out in a locally-produced play with the audience walking from place to place where they'd been.

The fabled absinthe that had been created there which had been illegal when I lived there was now legal. A distillery took the place of the former mini market.

I had been intrigued with the mystique of the blue fairy and the posters marking its end. The Swiss one was severe, but across the border, when absinthe was outlawed, the blue fairy was dainty and walked behind her coffin gracefully in the posters marking the end of absinthe (officially--it was made illegally constantly).

Our room at La Maison de Prussien, where dinner was to be held was in the 19th century former brewery, a combination of old and modern among trees and waterfalls.



The meal was a degustation, a few mouthfuls of delight after delight. 

The real delight was having the time to talk with those that I had once been so professionally close to.

It was also a chance to offer my condolences to the wife of the financial head who died much too young at 63. Even when he was behind a glass door I could tell if he was speaking French or English by the movements of his face.

My former co-workers looked like their older brothers and sisters. The most common phrase was "Do you remember...?"

Some of those memories were funny, some sad. Different people had information about other employees or contractors:
  • She has five sons now
  • She lives in Fiji
  • He is now working in the US
  • The time you checked his passport with his luggage and was he mad
My old boss, who I dreaded seeing, had mellowed in his old age. Life had been both bad and good to him. His voice no longer startled me. He has a few health problems, but his attitude is positive. 

I had always respected his ethics and his clear demarcation of how to handle any problem.
  1. The contractor
  2. The client company
  3. Our company
Say you followed the rules, and all would be forgiven, although why you didn't know a problem would occur required a secondary conversation. 

Even though I was midway through my working career, I learned things that I will use to this day in alleged retirement.

And when I had another job, they kept my working permit, allowing me six months of employment until my new company could get me a new permit.

And if because I was an immigrant at the mercy of my employer, I have sympathy for those immigrants with similar problems, although what bothered me, scared me was nothing like a Mexican tomato picker in Florida.

Because of this company, I am Swiss leading a wonderful life. Whatever bad there was, the good overrode it.

One of my memories of the reunion night was how many times I heard, "And then he said, 'she's not very tall.'" 

Is five one really that short? Yes if so many of your co-employees are all tall. But when I walked through the door for that interview so long ago, expectations were set--another thing that was stressed those three years of my life. Set realistic expectations.






Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Palestine

In 1967 driving from Boston to visit friends in Syracuse I listened to reports of the Israeli War. I  routed for the poor Israelis.

Two weeks later while student teaching I met a Palestinian woman and heard another side. When I researched what she said, it opened a whole new world of understanding. I also researched the history of the Zionist movement.

Years later, living in Geneva, I've made many Palestinian acquaintances and my sympathy is with them. I should add I have Jewish friends as well (not the I have a black-friend syndrome),

I continue to look at sources other than the U.S.'s and often they portray a totally different perspective on the conflict.

If I discredit the violence, I can see both sides.

Michelle Goldberg on the front page of the International New York Times (I still think of it as the IHT) called the events at the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem "spectacle of arrogance" and "grotesque." I assume by her name she is Jewish. I did a scan on the internet, but nothing allied her with any religion. Not that it is important. The words she chose were accurate in my opinion.

It wasn't just the carnage going on a few miles away but the concept of an anti-Jewish pastor being there.

I understand the way Israel is supported in the US why people side with it. Most are too busy to look at the other side. I do wonder when Israeli kills a thousand plus in a battle and only lose a couple of dozen people think that Israel has the right to protect itself but not those in Gaza.

I wonder that if say all NH residents were herded suddenly into concentration-camp like places and their property were given to the Indians, if they might look a little more generously on the plight of the Palestinians. Especially if the Indians continued to pour into the little land left were being settled by the Indians despite the UN and international community declaring them illegal. What if the Indians continued their raids on the homes and land with the concentration camp? How many times can

I wish everyone who supports the Israeli side without ever hearing the Palestinian side would find a Palestinian refugee or several to talk to--bring faces to the issue.

Then decide.






Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hotel breakfasts


An unusual timer where the sand went up. Three minutes for a good cup of tea.

I love, love, love hotel breakfasts, especially those in Germany. This morning's Frühstück lived up to my expectations. Because we'll be here three more mornings, I could concentrate on somethings and plan for the tomorrows.

Because Rick had left early for his conference, I was alone, which left me people watching. There was a black woman who spoke neither German or English, but was still able to get coffee. I couldn't determine the language, but I was jealous of her almost perfect body.

A German businessman with his glasses pushed to the tip of his nose planned a meeting. I could understand some of what he was saying, but not enough to take a quiz.

A middle-aged couple, seemingly on holiday because of their casual clothes,  were chatting and smiling at one another.

A group of four Americans, also in casual clothes, were in the back corner of the room. Their voices carried throughout the dining room.

I had brought a book to read as I sipped my tea after I scoffed down salmon, chesse, fruit, fresh-baked rolls. The timer to determine when my tea was brewed was unlike any I'd ever seen with the sane going up in liquid.

A truly pleasurable start to the day.

And off to enjoy a city where I loved living a lifetime ago.




Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day

Because we are an international family, I once suggested to my daughter we celebrate Mother's Day in Germany, France and Switzerland where we were living and she could throw in America as well. It isn't always celebrated the same day all over the world.

She didn't go for it.

I was kidding. My daughter treats me well every day and I don't need special recognition. She gives it to me often enough. I don't do well on forced holidays.

I think of my own mothers, yes plural.

My birth mother was both my good mother and my enemy. When I was growing up she was there for me, we did things together because we wanted to. There was the downside where she was a helicopter mother before the term was invented and over protection included not being allowed out of our yard (even it was 14 acres) until I was a teen. On the other hand she paid for driver education so I didn't have to wait a year.

When I was little we told double stories with each of us taking part. Like me, she was a writer.

On the other hand she tried to annul my marriage after having me arrested at 20 as a stubborn child for trying to elope. That the marriage failed had nothing to do with her. She tried to get custody of my daughter although social services found that I was an excellent mother. As the social worker said, "I wish all cases turned out like yours."

It took me many years to see beyond the later years to remember the good. A friend once said to me when I was whining about my mother, "She didn't ruin your life and you are stronger either in spite or because of her." It was then I began to let the good in. There were even some things I copied in raising my daughter, the good ones, not the bad.

On the other hand, my stepmom and I only had one cross word and that was when I put away a hot iron which was a no-no in her home. She never used "my children and yours" to my dad. They were "ours."  I loved being with her, although playing cards turned her into a shark. After my Dad died and before I moved to Europe she spend summers with me.

She visited me in Europe and left a hole when she went home.

Her dementia was extremely hard. Between her grandson and myself we were able to make sure she was taken care of. Her death was a relief combined with my sadness at the way she lost herself.

Despite her dementia she was always sweet. A few weeks before her death she was voted Queen of the Nursing Home.

Motherhood is a funny thing, a strange bond. I've seen it from both sides.





Saturday, May 12, 2018

Romance and a surprise

My husband is a romantic. When we walked to the lake today, we sat on a white stone bench.

"Give me some space, please," he said.

I slid over and he pulled out a split of champagne and chocolate-frosted, heart-shaped cookies.

We were celebrating his two-year Permis B taking him up to the five years for the Permis C.

We were also celebrating my successful appointment with my adorable oncologist who gave me a clean bill of health.


As we sat in the sun, nibbling and sipping, we also looked at the lake, clouds and Jura. A group of men, women and one boy had three dogs playing in the water. One broke away and ran out onto the dock. He didn't respond to calls. The woman raced behind him.

Because I have Sherlock dog biscuits in my pocket, I thought that might help capture him and I went after him too.

She retrieved the pooch. "He just flew in from Turkey today," she said.

In an international area like Geneva this is not quite as abnormal as it might sound some place else, but there was more to the story.

A local woman rescues Turkish dogs, brings them to Europe and finds them homes. The woman I was talking to him was fostering the dog until a home could be found.

I went back to my champagne, cookie and husband feeling so very, very lucky.



Friday, May 11, 2018

Cancer check up





I am always nervous before my routine cancer check ups. It has been three years now and they see me every three months.

I am in love with HUG, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genéve. Their treatment during both my cancers was exceptional. Chemo sessions were fun, a coven of women sharing.

Because it is a teaching hospital, I've had many doctors still in the residency stage. The most serious cases go to faculty. Had someone referred me to faculty, I would have been even more frightened. Despite changes, one of my oncologists and I still email and she will probably be visiting at some time in the future.

This was the second time I'd seen Dr. F. He remembered so many things about our visit three months before that wasn't in the record. Of Italian origin, he often sails by our house. He gave me the choice of French or English and because 98% of my treatment has been in French, I took the lazy way and we spoke in English/Franglais.

The best part of the exam? All is good. I was nervous for no reason and that is a very good thing.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

What to think

We are in Switzerland and Germany for the next 12 days. Sherlock is being taken care of by an Australian couple whom we chose from 33 applications thru Trusted Housesitters.

I wonder what they will think about us from our home. When we've house sat or house swapped whether or not we meet the owners, we can tell somethings about them and not judgmentally. It is more like learning about new friends only without words.

When you walk into our house you go directly to the clothes drying area. Certainly not pretty.

But then you come to a long galley way leading through to the next street. It covers Rick's office area, the living and dining area, kitchen, hall and bathroom.

There would be a good guess that we like art. Our walls are filled with paintings, most by local artists.

That we are readers are no doubt by the books. These are eclectic from a special edition with every document from the early American Massachusetts settlers to detective stories with a few political thrown in.

DVDs are often older US TV serials.

Hmm...anglophones live here.

Both the books and DVDs are more based on what is available in English in a francophone country. It is a see it, grab it mentality we have although we order books from other countries for our Kindles. Since mail delivery in France seems to be more a suggestion than anything else, we often are surprised when our order is delivered, but anyone house sitting wouldn't know that.

Our furniture is eclectic too, mostly bought from depot ventes, used furniture stores. A handmade desk, carved with a medieval craftsman workshop is certainly different.

There are many quilts. There were handmade by Rick's mom and my grandmother, but again a house sitter wouldn't know that.

They may be glad there's a washer and dishwasher but wish there was a dryer.

They may imagine a glass of wine on the patio.

The age of the house is only partially apparent in the stone walls and old beams.

Our bathroom lacks a bidet but it has a hose next to the toilet much like those used in Syria and other countries for hygeine.

They will learn about our friends and acquaintances when they walk down the street because Sherlock is talked to by almost everyone. I've even warned them about a teenage boy who will run up to Sherlock and pick him up an much face washing will go on.

Before we left we shared lunch and village tour with our house sitters to make sure they felt at home.

Our house sitters immediately developed a rapport with Sherlock, which is the most important thing. When we left Sherlock was on the man's lap.

Sherlock does care about possessions which he stores in the horde. After all an empty Coke bottle, several scraggly tennis balls, tug toys, a black stuffed animal and a rawhide bone. What can I tell about his character from it?

He's playful.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Our bum

Philippe is one of the men who sit on the street and beg. He is stick thin, has cataract blue eyes and is toothless. He is also clean. He is not homeless.

He used to sit with his very old dog during the marché, although his other haunts include outside the supermarket Contact (Formerly Carrefour and formerly Shoppi and whose name will probably change again) and the church when Mass is getting out.

He is not aggressive. A hat is in front of him, a NYPD baseball cap he wears, although this week he started sporting a fedora.

We started by giving him a Euro and his dog a biscuit. Then his dog disappeared during the cold. When I asked, he said she was "A la fin."  She reappeared on a few warmer days, but we suspect she has died since we haven't seen her for at least two months.

When it was really cold, we would buy him a coffee. Sometimes we chat with him, although I find him hard to understand. He always has a smile.

I would love to know his story, but I don't feel I have the right to ask him and I also would have to ask him. In a way we consider him "our bum."

Whenever I see a person that is down and out I think of the Christine Lavin's song:

I was standing on 6th Avenue at the corner of 53rd Street
Waiting for the bus
Token in my hand
Thinking about Dinner and what I would eat
That's when I saw him all dirty and ragged
Begging for nickles and dimes
I got on the bus
Rolled away
But one thing stayed in my mind

He once was Somebody's Baby
Someone bounced him on her knee
Do you think she has any idea
What her little boy's grown up to be?

I was walking through riverside park
On a beautiful afternoon
Telling my neighbor about the vacation
I planned to be taking soon
That's when I saw her all dirty and ragged
Drinking a bottle of wine
I turned my head
Walked right on by
But one thing stayed in my mind

She once was Somebody's Baby
Someone bounced her on his knee
Do you think he has any idea
What his little girl has turned out to be?

In the back of a checker cab stopped at a light
Heading toward Broadway
To see the latest critically acclaimed
Pulitzer Prize winning play
That's when I saw them outside the shelter
Forming a ragged line
We pulled away
I didn't look back
But one thought stayed in my mind

They once were somebody's babies
But somewhere their lives went all wrong
Next time you see them don't think the worse
Why not try to think of this song?

Monday, May 07, 2018

Channeling Leo

If I were to name the person who influenced my treatment of others most beside my grandmother, it would be Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998).

As hokey as it sounds he was known as Dr. Love and taught courses in love. I first heard of him when I was looking for a motivational tape to use for a staff meeting. I wanted to create a nurturing environment among the staff.

Later at an International Association of Business Communicators' major conference in Atlanta, he was one of the speakers. Prior to his speaking there was much posturing. After his speech, the tenor of the meeting changed, warmed, became helpful.

His speeches are on youtube. When I'm down, I listen even if I know the stories of how his father insisted they bring some knew knowledge to the dinner table, his mother's limits, how garlic was suppose to ward off colds. How he had his students go to an old age home or convincing someone to smile. I felt good.

I don't think of him constantly but last week we were in our bank. The line for the one customer service person was long and each person seemed to have a difficult problem. A man in his 20s kept barging in, complaining and she tried to juggle them all. Her face could have been in an advert for a product about stress.

We had several things to accomplish and were unhappy with how repeated efforts to correct them had failed. I suppose we could have, like that angry young man who berated her, but she hadn't created the problem.

I wanted to make her feel a bit better.

"Hard day and that line must be making you nervous," I said.

Her shoulders relaxed. "Oui."

I told her how at one job when we were often faced with unreasonable people we had a company voodoo doll and we would name and rename and twist its little arms. Since we weren't good at voodoo no one was really hurt, but we felt better.

She laughed "I need one of those."

She solved our problems (we hope). Her body seemed a little less tense as she called the next person in line after we wished her not the usual "bonne journée" but "courage."

It wasn't me so much me that wanted to reach out to the woman, but Leo had been channeled through me some 20 years after his death. That's love that lives on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJDFozK4zyY

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Who cooks?

Last night we had tapas including great guacamole next door with a delightful young Canadian couple and their three-month-old son. The family is using their nine-month maternity/paternity leaves to live in different places.

The guacamole was part of a tapas selection. The man had made it and the woman said he did a lot of the cooking. He admitted he loved cooking.

Once the role of only the wife, I know many families where the cooking is either shared or done totally by the man.

When I lived with another couple for years, we all took turns, although Bill was the most imaginative cook of us all. He could take any strange combinations of leftovers and whip up something lip- smacking good. We did have a rule. Whoever cooked didn't clean with the corollary, the person preparing the meal better cook neat.

In my marriage we alternate. I do Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sunday afternoons. Rick is responsible for Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sunday breakfasts. Admittedly both of us sometime announce we will be cooking at La Noisette, La Reserve, Gamette or some other local restaurant.

It has become a joke with the wait staff and when we eat lunch at any of the restaurants they'll ask whose day it is to cook. When we do cook we also have the cook-then-don't-clean rule carried over from what I think of as my Wigglesworth days. That was the name of the street we lived on in Boston. Many times though, both of us participate in the clean up and Rick often does more than his share.

I think of our Swedish friends, where the man does more of the cooking. In an American couple who go house sitting around the world, it is the man. We luck out because he's been known to show up with his homemade scones or invited us for any number of tasty dishes.

Does it really matter who does the cooking? Because eating is a pleasure, it only seems fair that the responsibility is shared unless one of the other loves doing it. In any case, I do love the eating part who ever puts the dishes on the table.





Thursday, May 03, 2018

Macron

The press seems to be making fun of the French President Macron calling the wife of the Australian Prime Minister Delicious. The word he probably meant was delightful.

His English is so superior to any of the U.S. politicians use of French that he should be allowed the slip.

As a person who has battled with French as a second language, I know how easy it is to make a mistake.

My worse one was when I was talking about the International Labour Organization. It's French acronym is BIT. Instead of giving the letters B-I-T in conversation I used the word "bit" and quickly saw I'd done something wrong. A friend whispered in French "bit" is slang for penis.


Tuesday, May 01, 2018

My imaginary farmhouse

I am not a shopper, but I see things I love usually in vide greniers.

For over 30 years I've had an imaginary farmhouse. It is near a stream and a rock ledge. Even though there are woods all around it, I can still bike into the nearest village in five minutes to get fresh baked bread.

To the left is a vegetable garden which never needs weeding (remember I wrote imaginary) and a strawberry patch.

Because it is imaginary, nothing ever goes wrong. All appliances and electronics work and the wifi never ever goes down.

Over the years, I've seen things I really like and "buy" them in my imagine for the house. Today at the vide grenier ( means empty attic and community flea market) that had hundreds of people selling things they no longer wanted. I decided to furnish a nursery. This is for visiting children because even in my imagination I do not want children. I had one wonderful daughter and now I'm too old.

However, the rocking chair and the desk would work with the alphabet wall paper in the nursery that is on the wall opposite the two bay windows. The other walls are baby blue and the curtains pick up the yellow in the alphabet.





Monday, April 30, 2018

Non Luddite

I have resisted a smart phone for years. I have a dumb phone that I usually have to search for if I need it which might be every few weeks.

I am not crazy about landlines either.

I DO NOT LIKE PHONES. They interrupt me.

Don't think that I'm anti-social. I will talk to anyone, anywhere, invite them places, etc.

I AM NOT ANTI-TECH! My laptop begs for a break from me being on it. I use various social media.

I see the advantage of a smart phone in emergencies, access to internet, email, bar codes for tickets, etc. The latter is only with a paper copy back up because systems can go down and I do want to have paid $1000+ for an airline ticket only to have the system crash and I can't prove I have a ticket.

I can see having the camera might be good when I've forgotten mine, although there's a greater chance of forgetting the phone.

I do want to be in contact with the world 24/7. Full stop.

If I am with other humans I want to talk with them not watch them work their phones. If the world were to end, I'd discover it without being on my phone. And the news through my many national and international sources keeps me apprised of all the activities of our scum bag leaders. When I am out of the house, I can forget they exist. I like that. It gives me time to see the world around me.

Slowly I'm learning how to use the phone. I accidentally called my former housemate. Nice chatting with her while she's in Italy and I'm in France. We had a chuckle over the whole phone thing.

I do not intend to give the number to many people. They can email me. And I've told friends if they see me using the phone when I am with them, they should slap me hard.




Saturday, April 28, 2018

Shopping Hell

Compared to those that are having bombs dropped on them, having to spend 2.5 hours in a shopping mall isn't awful.

I still consider the 2.5 hours I spent in one yesterday, stolen from my life. We went to buy smart phones which we needed after having continental and connectivity problems last week.

I did my usual shopping mall coping strategy.

1. Go straight to the store where the item I need to buy is located.
2. Don't look right.
3. Don't look left.
4. Pretend I'm somewhere else

Did I mention I hate shopping and am shopping phobic?

All that stuff. That awful stuff!

If I don't fight it, I imagine it coming out of the stores and smothering me. Worse, it might come home with me to clutter and destroy whatever simple harmony I've established.

I will say the SFR customer service woman was helpful.

And one good thing did happen. As we were leaving I saw a chair that was also a book exchange and had a nice chat with the woman sitting there.

There was a story I told my husband years ago when we first met about two little boys in a barn full of horse shit. One wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. The other was all excited because he thought with all that horse shit there had to be a pony in there somewhere. I was like a third little boy. I wanted to escape the horse shit of being there, but I could appreciate the pony.

One good thing came out of it. My husband is happy with our new phones.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Trump

First let me say I am no Trump fan. With a couple of exceptions, I disagree with almost everything he says. I question his mental capacity.

However, the way he is covered by the media (and to a certain extent other presidents) is not helpful.

Take North Korea...when he called the leader Rocket Man the media was all over him. Then he called Kim "Honorable." Equal attacks.

This is just one example.

The press spends far too much time on silly things (e.g. the color of Obama's suit) and not the real problems.

Sigh.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Should I or Shouldn't I?

It is time for my biannual physical to determine if I can continue to have a drivers license.

The last time I was still weak from chemo and told my doctor I would understand if he flunked me. He said he knew I wouldn't drive if I wasn't sure. He was right.

Driving and cars are not apart of me life. There was one period of 18 months I didn't even get in a car.

Since 1993 I may have been behind a wheel no more than 50 times. One of those trips was Geneva to Chamonix. The other trips were short errands.

I didn't have a car from 1993 to 2013 when Rick and I married and bought one. He doesn't like to be a passenger. Also when in France we can walk almost anywhere.

Before, where I lived in Geneva and even where we live now, public transportation is excellent.

I did drive from the car wash home, a five-minute trip last year. I don't remember when I drove before.

Since chemo, I can't comfortably feel my feet. My hands do not work at 100%.

I will probably pass the medical test which doesn't measure for my problems. I probably will not drive again out of choice.

There was a form with the notice about my needing the physical.

If I give up my license, I doubt I will ever be able to have another.

The only way I can see myself driving is in an emergency and if it were a choice of saving someone's life where driving without a license would be the lesser danger.

I still am not sure what I will do.








Saturday, April 21, 2018

Champagne glasses

As a minimalist I do not need three sets of champagne glasses. I have one in the Nest, one in the Warren. But I did own a third set.

The glasses in the photo did meet all three of my requirements to own something.
1. Useful
2. Beautiful
3. Has a memory

Useful and beautiful are evident. The set in the photo also had a memory.

That memory was a rainy day outside Grass above Nice tramping around with RB2, the man I describe as the brother I always wanted. We saw them in a shop and I caved.

When I used them I filled the vase with flowers. It is festive, but it is still a third set.

I put a notice on a Facebook to anyone who if anyone in the area wanted them. An English friend typed back "me" and I happily relinquished them to a good home. I must remember the next time we are all here in ASM to take a bottle of champagne to her place for a visit.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Home/alone

Rick's Facebook message said he was on this continent again and would be flying from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Toulouse then would do the 2.5 hour drive to ASM.

It has been an interesting week.

I often say I loved being single for the 41 years I was. I was more than content to have gentlemen friends but let's not do anything silly like live together. Thus when I produced this man my friends were shocked that I readily married him. He took a great life that I had and made it ever better.

Because we are both writers and we both work out of homes in Geneva and Argelès-sur-mer we are constantly together. My late anthropologist friend said couples shouldn't and can't do well in "each other's pocket."

Rick needed to go to Florida on business. Although I could have gone, I feel about Florida like I feel about shopping. Don't do it.

I was looking forward to a week alone. I was going to get some writing done, eat the things he doesn't like, leave the sink pristing 100% of the time, walk the dog etc.

Things didn't go quite the way I planned. The TV and internet went out. Almost a week later, they are still out, although I've done whatever needed to be done.

The dog was sick (he's alright now).

I am happy to know that I can enjoy alone time. I am happy to know I can solve problems that we usually would solve together. I also know that I much prefer doing things with him. And I definitely do not want, for the times we are separated, that we are out of communication.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Nest

I am writing this from my "Nest" the place where I wrote part or all of many of my novels.

I call it a nest, because that it what it was. Bought for my 45th birthday, I paid $18,000 for what I planned to be my retirement home. I knew I could (and still can) live here on $600 a month.

The Nest realized my dreams of having a studio loft in France. It was another goal to live as simply as possible, never having anything extra, but everything I needed and found beautiful. I had more than I needed.

As much as I love the Nest it is too small for Rick and I together so we divide our time between another flat and Geneva.

With our internet out, I reinstalled myself in the Nest until SFR can solve the problem, but I am reminded how this tiny place renews my soul and all the wonderful memories of writing, entertaining, reading, knitting and just being happy.









Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Love at first lick


Four months ago, it was love at first lick. The squiggly ball of fur named Sherlock has learned a lot as he develops into an adult dog, including which TV programs catch his interest (those with barking have priority) but there’s still room for improvement.

I had no worry about his comportment when I decided to have a cup of tea at La Noisette with Lydia even if it were marché day crowded. Not like a month ago in a Japanese restaurant in Geneva. He settled quietly at our feet, surrounded by…what was that green stuff all over the floor?

Sherlock was enjoying the spinach he had pulled from her shopping basket. We cleaned it up, not wanting the owner Amadine to have to deal with it. For the rest of the time I kept watching him as he watched my neighbors shopping basket with the sausage sticking out.

I still am not sure where he found the fork that he put in his horde, the place next to our bed where he stashes his toys and treasures. It might have been the dishwasher, but I thought I’d watched him every minute while he was in the kitchen.

Another mystery: Rick is in Florida. I went to sleep on my side of the bed and Sherlock was on the couch in the living room. In the morning, I was almost falling off Rick’s side of the bed.

Curled up next to my back was Sherlock. How does a six-kilo pup push a 60-kilo woman across a good side bed in the middle of the night?

Doesn't matter. He will continue to mature, and I will continue to adore him.