Monday, July 25, 2011

Birthdays and longevity

My Dad's 69th birthday cake had little plastic golfers and a stick with a triangular flag, a miniature of those they stick in the holes on greens. He had shot his best round of golf ever the day of his birthday party filled with friends and surprises.

Even the birthday party was wonderful for him. Born right after Christmas, one of ten children in a poor family his birthday got lost. Even as an adult, his birthday was a non event after the holiday rush, except for his 69th year.

Although I wasn't there in Florida to celebrate with him, I have a photo of the cake, shot over his bald head. I've been told it was one of the happiest days of his life in a life with many happy days.

The next night I received a call from my uncle? "Are you sitting down?"

I said yes, although I was standing. I've no idea why I lied: maybe because my uncle was a jokester and I thought a joke was coming. No joke. I fell to my knees. A few hours later I was on a plane to Florida.

Sunday I turned 69 and walked in the mountains, admired the snow and spent the afternoon tucked cozily in the chalet watching Hitchcock films with a good, good friend. It too was a wonderful day in a series of wonderful days.

Yesterday, I did ordinary things, worked on the newsletter, did a bit of paperwork, got nuked, took a photo of the flowers outside the door, enjoyed the beautiful, but cool, Geneva summer.

And today, I woke up having outlived my father by one day and aiming for years more of days. I owe it to him to make the most of each moment as he would have done had he been allowed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The vitamins have arrived

A friend's mother used to be the queen of taping, but my friend R. has inherited the crown. Bless her heart, she answered my plea for calcium pills.

They are one of those things that just aren't as good over here. With airline regulations being so hard on weight, I hesitate to ask anyone coming over to bring them, so I asked her if she could mail me some...I was willing to promise my first born child (unbeknowst to Llara of course) and would have understood if my friend had said no.

But she said yes. Today they arrived and I had to giggle when I saw that every inch of the package was taped. Our OCD postmaster mentioned what a great taping job it was. I suspect the two of them in competition with tape would make an interesting contest, although I've never seen a package from the postmaster, but since he inspects the writing on an envelope to make sure its clear and has customers write it over if it doesn't meet inspection, his complement to her taping was a gigantic complement.

And I love my friend's packing putting the pills in paper towels and baggies to reduce the weight.

Mostly though, I love our friendship which over the years despite an ocean apart has been built by a great bunch of memories, laughter, and a tear or two.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Washing Machine Saga

GULP! The washing machine door wouldn't open. My wet wash looked out including what I wanted to wear that evening.

I tried shutting the machine off, turning it on. It growled.

I tried prying the door open.


I went next door for help and my nice neighbour tried.


As much as I didn't want to bother my housemate on holiday in California, I emailed her. She Skyped me back. "It's probably the filter, bottom left hand corner. You'll need a 20 centime piece to open it.

All I saw was four Phillips screws and I couldn't find a screw driver.

I went back to my room and Skyped her back. "Doesn't look anything like you said."

"I must have been thinking of the old machine."

Let me show you. I carried my laptop downstairs and had to turn it upside down so the webcam could see the filter thingiemabob.

"Turn and pull," my housemate said.

In a moment of great wisdom I put the laptop on top of the machine BEFORE turning the thingiemabob. It came off, followed by a flood. If my laptop could talk, I'm sure it would have thanked all the laptop saints that it didn't end up swimming.

I hit the open door button.

It opened.

We are back to normal in the laundry room.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Cell "+*ç%&/() Phones

Granted, I'm in and out of France regularly and every time I change countries my cell phone company lets me know about roaming charges.

I am NOT a fan of cell phones except when lost or late, although I do like listening to other people's conversations.

Did Maria give in and go on the vacation her mate wanted?

What happened to Tom and Elaina and why was Elaina upset about Tom finding another women when everyone knew what a bitch she was to him.

Will Pierre remember tomatoes, wine and steak?

I don't want to take pictures or surf the net with my phone (I do that enough on my beloved silver laptop with the filigree back).

The phone did not endear itself to me at 3:08 this morning when it rang. Middle of the night phone calls usually mean bad news from the States. My daughter was staying home on the holiday weekend, so she might be safe? My Mom? A Jordan? What?

The phone was in my a bag in my backpack in my closet. By the time I found it, it had stopped croaking (I set it to a croak so it won't remind me of a telephone).

I checked the messages.

"Roaming charges in France ..."

I wasn't in France. I was in Switzerland.

The phone is still in one piece. I was too sleepy to chuck it out the open window.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Three non nuke days in a row

I have three no nukes days ahead of me. I decided this would be a good time to get my hair cut and act like a human being that wasn't being nuked four times a week. Normalcy is getting my hair cut. My hairdresser also uses his salon as a gallery. This is the exhibition after a vernisage by an art school that were doing collages based on Klimt's work.

Changing Flags on the Quai Mont Blanc. All kinds of flags fly depending on events, but I never thought about how they were changed. Two men come along with a basket with the new flags, pull up the flagpoles straight, switch the flags, then bend the poles back over the water.

Who says the Swiss don't have a sense of humour? Just look at their new disposal units for plastic bottles?

And as a final treat I decided to eat at Little India, the best Indian restaurant I've found in Geneva if I don't include home cooked meals at my Indian friends. However half way through the meal, exhaustion hit. I did finish every bite made it home, staggered into bed where I slept as if my eyes were closed with super glue.