Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Rick and I are trying to use less plastic.

It ain't easy.

We can switch from plastic soda bottles to canned only to have six packs wrapped in plastic.

Finding bottle juice is often more expensive, although when locally produced healthier, I suspect.

We wanted bamboo toothbrushes to find recyclable ones at the bio store.

We did find bar shampoo (see photo of what looks like a do-nut above), but not the conditioner. YET! I tried it today and my hair is clean. I've always felt by shampoo is like shopping in the fruit section of the grocery store and much of the publicity is just hype.

Detergent comes in powder and boxes.

We already do not use plastic containers but mason jars and beewax wrapping paper. I never liked or used cling film if I could help it.

I doubt if the oceans will automatically empty of plastic just because I use less, but maybe others will be doing the same. No matter what we will be producing less trash to carry out.

Saturday, December 15, 2018


K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple Stupid

My lovely husband bought me a food processor for Geneva. We have one for Argelès. Only it didn't work.

Today we took it back to exchange it.



The client service woman was probably in her mid twenties, long black hair and very attractive. "Pas de problème," she said.

She took out a pamphlet with a number to call to get a code. Once we had the code we could either exchange the food processor or get a refund.

Rick's mobile wouldn't connect.

She tried her phone.

No answer.

She explained if it wasn't broken, we could have exchanged it. I admired the way she kept her cool. I wasn't going to harass her.

"Forget," we said. "I know it isn't your fault, it's the process dur," the phrase the French use to explain the many steps one has to go through to accomplish even the simplest task.

"I know it isn't your fault," I said. "Please tell your manager, you've lost a customer forever because of the process dur.

The food processor is back home with us.We will probably just throw it out.

Friday, December 14, 2018


EMC has nothing to do with Einstein. It stands for Early Morning Cuddle.

When my daughter was little mornings could be stressful, but there were those mornings when we danced to "The Candy Man" didn't argue about what to wear and were out of the house in a non-stress way.

Those mornings were made for EMCs. My roommate and I would be on each side of my daughter and we'd give her big hmmmmmmmmmmmm kisses. I don't know if she remembers them or not, but it meant chatting on the way to day care and her rushing off to join her friends with nary a wave.

Fast forward almost a half a decade.

Rick and I enjoy tea, a book, and cuddle before starting our day. Since getting Sherlock we will wake to find him with his head on the pillow, his body under the covers. We read less, cuddle less but he gets EMCs from both of us, rubbing his proffered tummy and telling him what a good boy he is.

Like my daughter, he eats up the affection.

I only wish he could learn to read.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Best Beggar

I've met the best beggar ever.

Place: Rive, downtown Geneva.

A young man with short hair, well-trimmed beard, clean clothes came up and asked if I spoke English or Spanish?


"I'm from Barcelona," he said.

"Catalan?" I asked.

"I don't believe in borders. I'm traveling the world. So far I've been to 46 countries." He handed me his card (photo) above.

He explained he got by with the help of others. Sometimes for a meal, a bed. Something always comes through.

"You would like some money?"


I looked in my wallet. "Are Euros okay?"

"Whatever you want to do."

I wish I'd had more time. I would have bought him coffee and maybe a sandwich. But I didn't.

Maybe it was a sham. There was a woman in Boston who begged with the story that her car broke down and she had to get back to Connecticut with her kids." The first time I gave her money. Over the years, she approached me at least a half a dozen times. I would remind her, and we'd laughed. One time I gave her money just because she was such a good actress.

"You are the best beggar, I've ever met," I told him.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

No divorce

Rick and I won't be getting a divorce despite going grocery shopping together. For those of you know how well we get along doing almost everything, you will be surprised to know grocery shopping isn't anywhere on the list.

In Geneva we can't avoid the supermarkets. Gone are the friendly chats with the green grocery, the teasing about my accent, a recipe from the butcher, catching up on local news, the smell of bread fresh from the oven at the bakery. In its place are aisles and aisles of stuff, stuff we don't need.

He and I have very different methods when we go into a supermarket. He wanders up and down the aisles in case we might need something not on the list. It has a practicality to it.

I have my list and go straight to the item and feel a failure if I buy much other than what is on the list.

There is one exception -- an Italian grocery store on Long Island where each aisle is more glorious than the previous one. Unfortunately, I am never there long enough to sample all the goodies.

Today we crossed the border to shop in France. Because we are heading south on Sunday, Gilets Jaunes permitting, we were buying not a great deal, but more stuff to have when we come back.

We are also trying not to buy stuff in plastic, which is a challenge.

It wasn't all bad. No arguments over how soft the toilet paper should be.

He accepted I didn't mean to hit him when I pointed at the shampoo aisle. I didn't mean to. Honest.

He didn't mention that I needed a lesson on how to pack groceries to carry them to car (maybe when I pointed out the time he did, that I'd been packing groceries well over a half a century without the lesson he knew it was better not to mention it a second time). I let him pack.

I am grateful that Rick does most of the grocery store shopping. He is grateful I don't go with him.

We left smiling and went into the beautiful clear air. The snow-covered mountains were a reward for having to have shopped. However, most times, we will go individually. For the sake of our marriage.

Monday, December 10, 2018


One year ago today, we were at the Perpignan Spa looking for a rescue dog named Mila. We were planning to offer her to our favorite homeless man who had just lost his beloved dog. The dog wasn't there.

"But we have other dogs," the pony-tailed worker said. She went behind the counter and pulled out one wiggly multi-breed three month old puppy and put him in my arms. As the French say, "It was a coup de foudre.

The past year has been full of laughter, loves and licks, snuggles and silliness, sometimes frustration and joy as this bundle of fur was growing.

I didn't mind so much the sox chewed, the shoes found in his horde, Kleenex ripped apart. I did mind when he chewed the quilt my grandmother gave me (photo above).

Like all puppies he took a lot of time and work repeating commands, teaching limits. He's almost there. His heeling is non existent and his down means a look that says, "You don't really mean that, do you?"

Overall it has been a wonderful year. And our homeless man has found a new dog, too.

Happy Anniversary Sherlock. We will treat you to a special meal today!

Sunday, December 09, 2018

The perfect pen

I am not a shopper. I don't want more than one of anything with an exception of pens, which I collect, but only when I find an exceptional one. Thus I have a silver pen with a green plume and an all-glass pen. And of course, there is the special fountain pen given to us by the village of Corsier when we married.

I only use fountain pens, all special.

We were at a Christmas Market in Ferney-Voltaire, France just across from Geneva. One of the vendors had hand-made fountain pens. Since I didn't have the money with me, I took the people's card and web information intending to order one as soon as I was home.

Instead, my wonderful husband, decided it would be an early Christmas present. The pen maker added a small piece of the stone from which the pen was made.

It writes beautifully, although I won't use it until after Christmas. And it fits all of my three criteria before I bring anything into my home.

1. It is useful.
2. It is beautiful
3. It has a memory of being with people I love and don't see often enough, a memory of the Christmas market, and another memory of the generosity of the man I adore.