Monday, January 23, 2017

Seeing



I always thought of myself as observant. As a writer I would listen to conversations and imagine stories. Once I even stayed on a train one more stop to see how a man and a woman resolved their holiday plans.

But I have never been as observant until I joined the Facebook page Flying Colours. It was started by a wonderfully creative woman who posted only photos where yellow was the prominent color for a week, than another and another color.

She opened it to others.

Every Saturday there is new theme. It doesn't have to be just color. Once it was grafetti. There has been a specific color combined with a number. Members take turns offering themes.

 Last week was copper.

Like most weeks, I start off thinking, not sure I can find much, but I go on photo safari and see things I would never have noticed. Yes, I would have seen the lamp in the photo above when I was in Montpelier, France, but I doubt if I would have noticed it was copper. Nor would I have looked as closely at the buildings on each side.

And in my search for copper stuff to photograph, I've seen things that I want to snap because,  just because.

My husband and I walk down the street and one of us will say, "Forest Green" or "Triangle" or whatever the week's theme is and the cameras will click. Usually, the person who spots it, gets to post it.

My former Swiss  housemate and a Long Island friend have joined. Often I see their photos and think ahhhh, I know that place. And I love the international connection because members are from all over the world.

This week the color is teal or turquoise.

The first photo was easy. It was my agenda. When it stops raining, let the next photo safari begin.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Enough!



This is a dueling blog with my husband journalist Rick Adams 
http://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.fr/
includes video

For almost 50 years I've been arguing for human rights, (emphasis on women) and peace via phone calls, letters and marches.

I've marched in Boston, Paris, Geneva, Bern and yesterday in Montpelier, France with my husband and a friend for women's rights, a battle that long ago should have been won.

It was a pro-march even if triggered by an anti-Trump reaction to his policies.

Argel├Ęs was raining when we left for the two-hour drive. By Narbonne, the sun was shining. When we reached Montpelier, it could have seem like a normal outing with a good lunch.

There was a certain thrill to see a statue of Jean Jaures, a spokesman for social justice and peace, assassinated 23 Nov. 1924.

We were early at the meeting place and thought, only a few hundred people but by the time the march began it was almost 2,000.


Black and red were the colors, but some were in costume. The demonstrators were French and American. I chatted with many from both countries. Some, including the French had made their pussy hats, reinforcing we live in a world as much as a town, state, country.

Ideas, hopes, dreams are international.

The messages were the same.

Reproductive, gender, civil rights not necessarily in that order. The order depended on the person.


My husband was given a white arm band and asked to be one of the people who marked the boundaries of the march.

There was a march song about no more acceptance of unequal status using the symbol of a cat.

We started. As far as we could tell, it went on for a minimum of five blocks thru the historic centre of the city, the 8th largest in France. March was the wrong word--amble or shuffle would be better because the street was sardine-crowded.

Back home at night I watched the news of the marches in my home city of Boston and elsewhere around the country and the world. Women (and men) who believe in rights and know I am not alone.

What next?

Keep the momentum going.











Friday, January 20, 2017

Aging

Thoughts on Aging




A high school friend emailed me to say one of our classmates, who is suffering from dementia, has now been placed in a good, caring place to live out his remaining days in comfort and safety.

He is in his mid 70s.

We've lost other classmates along the way to heart attacks, cancer and other diseases, but not to just age. One has his name on a long, black wall in Washington, D.C. while another was in an accident on an unfinished highway shortly after graduation.
 
I began to wonder. Why is that one person at 75 is old and one at 95 such as Betty White, who is still performing at that age, still active?

A neighbor in Geneva is teaching university in her mid 80s. She will rattle of the dates of treaties, battles, political struggles from the Greeks on, including major events in Africa and Asia and not just Europe and the Americas. Her knees give her some trouble, though.

I read on Facebook some of the things my former classmates are still doing. One woman drives from the Atlanta, GA to Alaska summers to work in a camp.

Why is it that I think of 75 as old when I remember my grandmother at 75 in her sensible shoes, hat and gloves, but I don't think of myself as old at almost 75.

There are signs that I am no longer in my 20s.

I sometimes forget a name, and it frightens me but I remember what I learned in "Old People's School" paid for by my company when I was retiring in my early 60s. That wasn't the workshop's real name. The leader said one shouldn't worry about dementia if you forget where you left your keys, you should worry if you don't know what a key is."

Not sure where my keys are at this moment, but I know what they are for.

At a high school reunion my classmates looked as if there were 20+ years differences in age. I have been blessed with slow wrinkling skin (thank you Mother). I am small. That makes people knock a few years when guessing my age. I want to dress well without being that mutton masquerading as lamb. It's fun.

There is so much I still want to do. I can't remember ever being bored. I did meet a fellow "old People's School" attendee, who complained there was nothing to do and "life is horrible" because of it. Between writing, a newsletter I'd started, places I wanted to go, books still left to read, write and a list that would take me thru age 150, boredom wasn't a problem. I still have that long to-do list. When one item is checked of, at least two more appear.

Does being newly and happily married make a difference? I doubt it, because I was happy before.

I'll admit that cancer and chemo caused a glitch but I'm almost back to normal.

Two of my grandparents lived into their 90s and one into her late 80s. If there is an anti-aging gene, hopefully they bequeathed it to me like my mother did with her good skin gene. I am hoping to reach at least one more if not two more decades, but I want to do it with, as John Kennedy would have said, "With Vigah."














Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"N... has done a Ted talk," my former neighbor said.

"Wow!" I looked it up on youtube and there she was -- this beautiful, articulate young woman.

I first met her when her baby teeth had just fallen out. Her family had just moved onto my flat floor.

Many a night, after dinner, she would appear. We would watch The Weakest Link together, voting along with the contestants. I was always amazed about the number of answers she had which the contestants didn't know.

More than once she gave her friends a tour of my apartment, pointing out my penguin collection and my prism.

A special memory will be of one Sunday morning. I was still in bed when the door bell rang. Two little girls stood there. When the tour stopped at the prism we began shooting rainbows at each other.

Over the years, I watched her develop.

We made cookies and brownies. She cared her first pumpkin with me, and when we couldn't decide between a happy or sad face, she suggested doing a two-face pumpkin.

She acted in little theatre, directed and starred in school productions, one of which went to Jordan.

She studied Indian dance and had an hour-long recital that was as close to perfect as possible.

She spoke to the UN about youth.

In school, her grades were good. One of her projects included creating an international gender game that reflected the differences of nationality.

And there was the time she went to Tanzania to help build a school.

Now she is a medical student in Scotland. 

Watch out world.



 



Monday, January 16, 2017

Cold

I remember this ad from the 80s.

If you pass my house (the one with the Geneva and Catalan flags to show we are in residence)  today you will hear me sniffling sneezing and coughing as I ache and have a stuffy head and fever,

Nyquil is not available.

Meanwhile I stretched myself to post my daily happiness.