Thursday, May 28, 2015

I know it is silly

This plant was here when we moved in two years ago. 

More than once it looked totally dead.

Then it came alive again and again, although it seems strange part of it looks dead.

I can't bring myself to throw it out, as long as it fights for its life. I think the flowers are saying "thank you."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans

Last January, the US senate voted that climate change was not caused by humans.

Maybe they should vote that the sky is green. 

Here's another suggestion for a vote.

The planet is square.

Or gravity doesn't exist.

We all know that a vote makes reality go away.

Grief and understanding

Years ago I worked with a woman, who I thought of as much older, although she was younger by a couple
of decades than I am now.

She was thin to the point of being haggard and she was in mourning, deep mourning, for her son who was killed in a car crash well over a year before.

Despite her pain, I found that she loved pinks, especially dusty rose shades, a sharp contrast to the idea of black and gray sad colors.

What I didn't understand at the time was that she couldn't seem to get over it. Other people had lost loved ones and moved on.

I would listen to my co-worker talk about her son with what I hoped I was a sympathetic ear. Probably today I would have much more empathy, but I'm not sure if she would have been able to tell the difference in what I was feeling.

I understand grief better now than before.

Since then, I've lost people I've loved, but not my child, who although she in her forties, is still my child,  the person I adore unconditionally. When my daughter was a baby, I doubted if I could have survived her loss. Now I don't know and I don't want to know one way or the other.

Friends, who have lost people they love and almost everyone I know has and as I age the losses mount, handle grief in different ways. Sometimes I find the worse the relationship, the harder the loss.

When I lost my adored father, it hurt, but we had nothing left unsaid between us. Bouncing back is the wrong phrase but acceptance came quickly and the sadness was put away. Even 33 years later there are things I'd like to tell him, and some I don't. I'm grateful I never had to tell him I gave up my nationality and took another, even though he had done the same thing.

I expected it to be easier to lose my mother, where everything was left unsaid. Someone told me it would be harder. I didn't believe them, but they were right.  It took ten years to let in the good memories.

With my beloved stepmom, the fact she was at peace left me grateful. I'd lost her twice. Once as her mind faded and once when her body followed.

Losing a good friend last year has been hard, although she would be angry at being mourned. It is more of the loss of sharing this or that along with appreciation that her death was so sudde.

I will lose other people I love, people who have been important me. That I understand grief better now than I did those many decades ago, is not really a consolation.

I don't want to get good at grief. 

Next challenge not much help

The next step on the 52 week savings challenge isn't much help. It is to buy diapers and wipes in bulk.

Well I'm not going to have/adopt a baby to need diapers full stop. I also used cloth diapers with my daughter even though they were hard to find.

As for wipes don't use them.

I will admit since being married to Rick, I've started using clink film, paper towels and aluminum foil. Would rather not, but the dishes I used in the nest for storage didn't require anything to seal them, but in the warren they do.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A trick

Ange:                     Scoob said to stay here until the others come. I'm lonely but I'll wait.

Petite Cougar: Where's Ange.

Scoob:                She said she had errands. We should go on without her.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Decisions, decisions

Yesterday, I finished the first draft of Murder in Edinburgh, Etc.

Now the real work begins, of the polishing, deleting, adding, rewriting.

Rick and I are heading to Andorra in early June where we will only work on our fiction. My goal was to have the MIEE first draft done in time for the trip.

However, I'm itching to get to the book.

I'd also promised myself when I finished the first draft of MIEE, I would start to market Murder in Ely, out this month. This involves social media, writing to independent bookstores, etc.

I've a third research project on a renunciation article I'm working on.

Both of these are tedious.

Then there's preparing The Nest, my studio, where my college friends will spend the next few days. 

What I really want to do is work on the rewrite.

I know the marketing is important.

Final decision?

One computer game then start polishing.

Today is a holiday?

"Enjoy the holiday," my housemate Skyped me.

Holiday? Holiday?

Okay it's Memorial Day in the US. What is it in France or Switzerland.

Aha. Pentecôte or Whit Monday to anglophones.

Now that I no longer work in a office holidays just kind of float by. No more looking forward to three- day or even four-day weekends.

In Argelès sometimes we can tell a three-day weekend by increased tourists wandering the streets. In Geneva, if we don't leave the house the holiday can sneak by unnoticed.

When I worked for Interskill, we were given ten holidays and we could take them whenever our clients had holidays so someone with a lot of German clients might not show up when those of us with English clients did or vice versa.

And then there's Mother's Day. There was one point my daughter and I had living or loving connections with the UK, Switzerland, France, Germany and the US.
  • UK Fourth Sunday in Lent
  • Germany, US Second Sunday in May
  • France Last Sunday in May
  • Switzerland Might or might not be moved if it falls on the same day as Pentecôte.
I suggested that my daughter give her beloved mother a present on each one of the dates. She wasn't impressed. This year however, she apologized for missing Mother's Day entirely and wished me a happy one. Only it wasn't any of the ones above.

In a way I miss the anticipation of a holiday, but then again, the way we work, we can declare any day we want as a holiday...and do!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Touching history again

Driving Geneva-Argelés via autoroute can be pretty routine even with regular stops for a bite to eat, potty and a leg-stretch. Many of the stops have good restaurants, places to picnic and of course, shops to buy snacks and souvenirs.

Rick and I decided, to get off for one of our breaks and investigate Nîmes as a change. As history buffs, we were well rewarded.

Although people have lived in the region since prehistoric times Nîmes was also a Roman colony from about 28 BC on with about 60,000 residents. Much of the construction still exists today including its arena. Today, it is still used, although I have little desire to witness a bullfight.

"I can't believe something 20 centuries old, is still standing," he said.

We admired the different sculptures, like this part of a fountain above.

We're told we were told old to ride the carousel.

Admired the posters but not the reason.

Ate ice cream that we watched made from the fruits and cream that we selected (mine were bananas, mangoes and vanilla cream).

Wandered through a marché.

The Visigoths who overthrew the Romans, did not leave as much of a mark on the city and they in turn were overthrown by the Muslims in 725 A.D. with another turnover power a couple of decades later followed by this or that invasion until today, when it is a peaceful city.

Nîmes is close enough to Argelès for either a day trip or an overnighter so we can take more time and check out the museums, explore what's left of the ancient gates and just revel in the combination of past and present.

Friday, May 22, 2015

4:44 a.m. phone call

Our first night back in Argelès, the land line rang at 4:44 a.m.

By the time we realized what it was and Rick had staggered to pick it up, no one was there.

Middle of the night phone calls usually signal a problem.

It was a little before nine in Texas where his daughter and grand kids live, a little before eleven in New York where his mom lives and in Boston where my daughter lives.

We checked emails and Facebook to see if there were any messages.


We fell back into restless sleep.

The next day we checked with all our loved ones.

No, they hadn't call. Yes, everything was fine.

Our second night back in Argelès, the land line rang at 4:44 a.m.

I made it to the phone. No one was there.

"Maybe," Rick said, "It was the alarm."

Our last morning in Argelés we were planning to leave before six. His smart phone, my dumb phone had both been set. He also had set the land line.

He thinks he has deactivated it.

We'll know tomorrow at 4:44 a.m.

All keyboards are not the same

(American, French and Swiss keyboards in descending order)

My mother never gave me a choice about learning to type. "Do it or be grounded," she said the summer between my sophomore and junior years. "If you can type you'll never go hungry."

Thus before I could do summer fun things, I practiced ghjf, ghjf and jfhg for hours along with the other combination of letters, until I was a good typist. She was right. More than once typing has provided me a salary and it was easy to go from typing to word processing.

Like most people who grew up in the US, I thought keyboards the world over were the same.


I moved to Toulouse. The keyboard I used there was a French one. Where did the W go? It is where the Z should be and vice versa. I also had my own DEC Rainbow PC with an American keyboard. On any day, I was switching between the two.

Then I went to work in Switzerland. Easy, I thought.  I already know the French keyboard.


Granted there were minor differences. For example on the French you need to use the Caps to get the numbers, but not on the Swiss. Some punctuation is reversed.

I had a Swiss keyboard at work. I'd bought a French Mac to save several hundred francs for my Geneva apartment and I used the DEC rainbow at my gentleman friend's home on weekends.  It meant in one day I could be writing on any three keyboards never mind the compatibility problems.

Where was that M again????

Finally, I ended up with Swiss keyboards at all three places, saving me the hour or so of adjustment when I switched from one to another. I was a happy typist, although I no longer had a ready-made excuse for typos.

Remy, our computer guru at work, came smiling into my office. He had hearing problems, was good looking and always walked with a spring in his step. "I've wonderful news," he said. "I can get you an American keyboard."

I didn't want to hurt his feelings so, I thanked him nicely and explained, I'd just co-ordinated all three of my computers, bought him a coffee and sent him on his way.

Now Rick is facing the change from American to French with some trepidation. I really want him to know it isn't that hard--not as hard as babying his geriatric laptop.

My laptop also could use replacement. At the moment the a, s, d, e, c, n keys are worn away. I'll probably buy it in Switzerland, not because it has a Swiss keyboard, but because I trust Marino, my computer guy there, to totally co-ordinate the old with the new.

Of course, the NSA will probably still be able to see me through the webcam. I wonder what keyboards they use.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ice cream while you wait

The idea of ice cream as we wandered around the ancient city of Nimes, France seemed like a good idea.

Then we saw this stand. Customers choose their fruit, type of cream, maybe nuts, cookies or candy.
The fruit is put on an ice round plate and chopped into tiny, tiny pits. The cream is added and as it freezes is mixed in.

I choose mangos, strawberries, vanilla cream. 

At the end it is flattened and rolled into tiny cigar shapes, put into a cup.

Voilà ice cream as you wait.

Note: Rick has a duelling blog with video.