Sunday, August 26, 2012

The ugly hallway

The entrance in Argelès for a long time was ugly. Like most of the houses in the region unless the ground floor was heated, damp caused the walls to flake. Last year we had the walls treated and tiled. Great improvement.

But still as soon as you entered and went up the stairs there were two white doors hiding the electrical boxes.

Maybe not ugly but certainly boring.

Luckily, the British set designer Chris Floyd has a summer home down the street. The outside of his house (I'll get a photo later and post it) is alive with his murals. He agreed to paint a mural to hide the doors. The most clever part is the lamp post in this very Agelesian scen hides the wooden piece between the two doors.

Thank you Chris.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Waiting for reviews is always scarey. This one is more of a summary but the last sentence is a whew moment.

Kirkus Review 9/1/12
This title publishes OCT 2012
A young freelance writer who specializes in history must solve both a very old puzzle and a brand new murder. Multicultural Annie’s third (Murder in Argeles, 2011, etc.) presents a pretty puzzle on two levels, past and present.
Kirkus Reviews,

Author: Nelson, D-L

Review Issue Date: September 1, 2012
Online Publish Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher:Five Star
Pages: 348
Price ( Hardcover ): $25.95
Publication Date: October 19, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-4328-2616-1
Category: Fiction
Classification: Mystery
A young freelance writer who specializes in history must solve both a very old puzzle and a brand new murder.
Annie Young arrives in Geneva to find her friend Mireille pregnant by Dr. Urs Stoller, her brilliant but much disliked thesis advisor. No one is terribly upset when Stoller’s body washes up on the lakeshore. His wife, a chemist, is more concerned about problems with the blood thinner she’s working on and the fact that her lover is moving his family from England. Stoller, who was not above stealing work from his graduate students, has even given Mireille false information about some old drawings she’d asked him to appraise. Annie’s in town to work on a catalog for a big sale a local auction house is hosting, but she gladly takes on the task of tracking down the artist who executed Mireille’s drawings, a woman struggling to express herself in the restrictive Calvinist society of 16th-century Geneva. Annie’s fiancé, Roger Perret, a French police chief on an exchange program in Geneva, is at odds with the local police, who arrest Stoller’s wife for his murder. Also in Geneva are Annie’s American parents, who have taken in Stoller’s teenage son, a longtime pal of Annie’s, while their determined daughter works to help find a killer and uncover the fate of the talented young woman whose story so fascinates her.
Multicultural Annie’s third (Murder in Argeles, 2011, etc.) presents a pretty puzzle on two levels, past and present.


Rossi's toys hang out
to dry on the washing line
His little tail wags

Monday, August 06, 2012

When cards are not enough

A bird, wings outspread, flies into the clouds on the Swiss 1.90 CHF stamp, the one I use for airmail. I put it on a pink envelope to mail to my stepmom. The card has a photo of pink rose that was taken and made by my housemate. Yesterday I mailed a card with St. Bernard puppies, tomorrow it will be a grey kitten. I do this anywhere from three to five times a week.

Cards have flowers, animals, scenes of Geneva, Argelès, Valais. On them I write short messages reminding her of things in the past: her German Shepherds Duchess and Nikki, how she wiped me out at Gin Rummy, her visit to Switzerland, anything that might bring her back for a few minutes.

I don’t phone her, leaving me both guilt ridden and relieved. The last time she could not remember the word for flower. When I do call, she forgets I have telephoned or offers to come get me, forgetting she no longer has her car and it would not cross an ocean. Once she asked me to ask Donna-Lane to call if I saw her.

The cards are both a guilt-reliever and something I can still do for her.

She always loved cards, had an account at the Hallmark store near her house, found perfect messages to send for any occasion.

When her granddaughter sent her a card from Edinburgh where she’s in school, my stepmom showed it over and over to a neighbour. Her caretaker says that she carries my cards around with her.

The caretaker is now there daily but can’t be there the 24/7 as my mom needs. It has been two years since we asked the Veteran’s Administration for help and one year since we appealed their decision that her $1200 monthly income was much too high to warrant the assistance that could increase the caretaker’s hours. So far nothing.

She’s on the waiting list for three Veteran’s nursing homes. She was in the Navy, part of the Greatest Generation.

Thus I write the cheques for as much as I can afford and tell myself that she didn’t move here when I asked her ten years ago so I could take care of her in old age. At the time she understood that I’d never move to Florida and my options in helping her would be limited with an ocean between us. 

I remind myself I’ve earned my own old age. Sometimes, the guilt gets a little smaller, but the worry never does.

Geneva weather

I often thought Calvin believed in a capricious god because of the sudden changes from lovely to violent weather in Geneva. More than once I would leave the office to walk home on a drop-dead beautiful sunny day and before I finished the 20 minute walk would be soaked to the skin and praying the lightening did not put an end to my life. By the time I'd dried off the sky would be decorated with a rainbow or rainbows.

Last night was another example. Lightening split the sky, the wind caused the trees to almost bend in two and the rain was strong that at one point the lake, which can't be more than a tenth of a mile was hidden from view.

Julia's number 1 son, a great photographer in his own right was able to capture the lightening.

For more of his photos, check out his website.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


Black, yellow, red cows
Oversee the street below
It is a Swiss thing