Sunday, December 04, 2016

Dinner mystery

What fun!

A mystery performed in the middle of dinner. It was all centered around the death of Marilyn Monroe with the actors chatting to the dinners, always staying in character as someone Marilyn really knew. Great improv...when a man at our table sniffed the actor's drink, the actor sniffed the dinner's.

Each table had part to play as they ate their starters and beef dinner. One man was even tapped to be Frank Sinatra as the audience sang "New York New York" with help from a distributed word sheet. And each table had information to read about Marilyn's death. 

But the murder came at the end and we had to vote. Those who voted correctly were in a drawer for a prize.

The troop was from Quebec and mingled with the crowd as themselves during coffee.

The program was run by Carpe Diem (a great philosophy for living), a village group that sponsors activities. Can't wait until the next.

Friday, December 02, 2016


I've been a news junkie for years.

However, I've just unfriended a number of news and faux news sites on Facebook.

I can't take the vitriol on either side, the immediate labeling cutting off all chances of a solution.

After the election fiasco, I trust none of them.

This doesn't mean I won't read news or listen to news.

My preferred sites are:
  • Al Jazeeera
  • France 24
  • BBC
  • The Guardian
  • Le Monde
  • Washington Post less now after the Amazon guy took over
  • Tribune de Genève
And I will go into other nationality sites in Israel, Palestine, India, China, Japan, etc. depending on the issue. I just need them in French or English, and if desperate I will fight with the German.

I think I need cute kitten and puppy articles for a while. Maybe I'll be able to reduce my blood pressure medicine.

Thursday, December 01, 2016


J and I tried for four "adventures" a year. We've done some great ones and some silly ones including:
  • Nine days in Iceland where we tasted an iceberg
  • A night in a château with only the servants
  • A trip to concentration camp
But life intervened and this past weekend we took our first in over a year. This was to Freiburg, Germany.

Our adventures always start with breakfast at the local bakery.

We pay for our  adventures from the pouch. We throw money in it when we decide not to go to lunch or out for coffee for example. When we can't decide who owes what it goes into the pouch...
The objective was the Christmas market. The architecture, the buzz of things like a giant bubble blower were all part of the enjoyment.

Our BnB was on the Strassenbahn line and a day pass and ten minutes travel into the city center eliminated all parking place problems.

As always I lit a candle for my beloved stepmom in the Cathedral. Then I set down and while I watched the flickering I felt such a sense of peace. The next day we went back for the organ concert.

Good food and wine served in the typical green-stemmed glasses were a must along with the obligatory afternoon Coffee and Kuchen. Ours was a Himbeere Crumble.

I don't know we accidentally crossed the border back into Switzerland but a hotel hunt turned into another adventure within our adventure and we ended up at a great.

The next day our goal was an antique fair at the Paul Klee Museum in Bern.
Both of us were amused to find a bronze baby shoe and explain to the dealer that in the 40s and 50s in the US it was normal to bronze your baby's first shoes. Usually it was the first baby. I no longer have mine.

And then it was home to Geneva along the lake with oh and ah views of the Alps.

Now for the next adventure we will. . .

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


"Can you explain this?" I asked the antique dealer after determining French would be the best language. I held out the framed whatever it was.

He was bald and pudgy. He wore his name ticket on a navy blue sweater and sported a big smile.

J and I were winding up our weekend adventure at an antique fair held in the Paul Klee Museum in Bern.

Inside the frame was a tribute to Delphine Chammartin née Berset who died 8 October, 1904 and her sister, Theodorette Berset, who died September 15 the same year.  The memorial was from the daughter and niece. It wasn't clear if they were one or two people, but the calligraphy was delicately beautiful.

Tiny wires were twisted into flowers with lightly-colored centers. Tiny petals were marked Maman and Tante.

"At the turn of the 20th century this was a common way to memorialized lost loved ones in the canton of Fribourg." He had others but none as pretty.

"Is 190 your best price?"

He smiled. "I could do 150," he said. I felt I was as good a bargainer as any I'd seen on the British antique shows.

Problem: He didn't take credit or debit cards. I didn't have enough francs nor Euros. 

J came to my rescue loaning me the money (she's been paid back) and I have a very unusual piece for my wall in ASM.

Most of all it meets two of my three criteria for buying something.
1. It's beautiful
2. It holds a memory

I don't care that it doesn't meet the third of usefulness.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

the bus ride

I was carry a poster of dinosaurs on the E bus into Geneva for the son of my "French Daughter" whom I was meeting for lunch.

The man across from me was trying to see it so I turned it around. He smiled.

Next to him was a man in a nice suit, raincoat, short blond hair in a perfect cut. He was talking to the older woman who sat next to me.

He was saying how much he liked President Regan. "He was a much better manager than say President Carter who micro managed everything."

He spoke with a perfect Swiss French accent but he carried a paper cup of coffee making me wonder if he were American. Carrying food and drink on the streets and on buses isn't all that common for the Swiss.

His knowledge of American politics was in-depth and so was his knowledge of the current French elections.

At Eaux Vives the woman started to get off, but her coat jacket string was caught between the seat and the wall. By the time she freed herself, the bus had moved on.

I couldn't resist. I asked the man's nationality. He was Swiss with an American wife. He asked if I was American and I said ex.

"Impots!" said another man.

"Les Banques," I said.

"Ah Fatca," the man said knowing how American expats are being shut out of financial services because of American pressure.

Then the subject switched to the dinosaurs and the exhibition at Palexpo. The man was planning to see one in Paris tomorrow.

Another woman joined the conversation.

The bus arrived at the destination five people who were no longer strangers got off the bus and went their separate ways. Who says bus rides are boring?

Monday, November 28, 2016



It is wonderful when things go smoothly in our lives.

but then some catastrophe strikes and we find ourselves struggling to get thru it.

Rick and I have made a video sharing a coping mechanism: journaling. It allows the journaler* a chance to unload any time, anywhere.

The video has hints to help those who have never journaled to get started and maybe even gives hints to those who already journal such as the No-Rule Rule.

A journal is a psychiatrist, clergyman, friend, relative at the other end of a pen or keyboard 24 hours a day.

Please listen to Journaling thru Crisis and pass it on to any person who is dealing with a problem or any support group that helps people deal with problems. 

*note: one doesn't need to have a crisis to journal.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


M, my Syrian friend and sister-of-choice, and I were on the Paris metro on the way to meet a group of her friends. Close to our stop there were greetings as other attendees got on and we walked to the hostess's flat together.

The friends meet monthly. They are all:
  • Syrian
  • Professional (doctors, pharmacists, engineers)
  • Represent three generations
The subject of this month's discussion was liberty: personal, economic, political.

I have only respect for the Syrians I have met over the last years. They are highly intelligent and highly educated. Equally my several trips to Damascus leaves me nothing but admiration for the Syrian history and culture.

As they talked, I thought that in many ways their lives were in a box where clothing and contact with the opposite sex were restricted. Fear of neighbor's opinions and family honor were important.

Growing up in the 50s in New England, I too lived in a box, a bigger box maybe the size of a moving crate, but modesty, decorum with the opposite sex and what the neighbors thought were all considerations, not for family honor but for my own reputation.

Some lived in cities, some in small towns.

The youngest, a pharmacist, still lived with her mother in Paris. However, she has the same restrictions in France as she would have had in Syria. She made the statement if she wants liberty she will have to marry.

That produced guffaws from every older, married woman.

Another woman said that when she was growing up even her studies were controlled. She added as a mother, she understands her parents more.

What all the women said, that they were Daddy Girls, and their father's encouraged them in their studies, even with the social restrictions. Was this the reason they were all professionals? That could be the subject of a Ph.D thesis.

The talk was mostly in Arabic and I was getting French and English summaries. I wish I could have understood it all.

At all times I am aware that all the countries I have lived in are not going thru a civil war with friends and family dying as part of a proxy war as well as the civil.

How did I feel as M and I headed back to the metro?