Monday, January 30, 2017


A tsunami of happiness was how I would describe a day last week.

After three days of rain, we both had cabin fever. I suggested we go to the beach.

The wind was blowing, the sun was shining, the water was a teal blue with white caps.

A musician was playing a jazz soprano sax on the beach, providing a musical background as we strolled along.

A few other people were there, a little boy with a skate board.

A woman walking along the sand alone.

Couples letting their dogs run.

Unlike the summer when the beach is sea-to-promenade blankets and baking bodies, there was a sense of peace, a chance to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and the sound of the sea.

Rick captured the moments in video.


Friday, January 27, 2017


To say it has been rainy in Argelès the last few days, is an understatement. We have had patches of sun, just enough to spark hope.

Even the river, which is usually so dry that the circus tethers its camels and other animals there, was full, shutting off roads into the village.

Today, I thought I would walk to a friend's to return her Jonathan Creek videos and we'd go to the local offices to pick up our dump card. Yup, there was the sun.

Nope the sun was gone.

Change of plans.

Stay in and write.

"There must be a lot rain songs," I yelled to Rick as we ate lunch. Our table is under the skylight and the noise from the rain made it hard for even normal conversation.

"I don't need more rain sounds," he said.

"Songs, songs."

I checked youtube for rain songs. Here's what I found:
  • Singing in the Rain
  • Stormy Weather
  • Five feet high and Rising
  • A hard Rain is Gonna fall
  • Rain HQ
  • Rainy Night in Georgia
  • Who'll Stop the Rain
  • Rainy Days and Mondays
  • Fells Like Rain
  • Why Does It Always Rain on Me?
  • November Rain
  • Only Happy When it Rains
  • The Day the Rains Came Down
We are slated to go to the movies tonight. The theatre is about 75 steps from the house. I will wear my water wings.

Rick has taken to talking to the rain. He is has a dueling blog at

Mary Tyler Moore

Saturday nights.

I was a single mom living with two other adults. After weeks, crammed too full of work and life, there was a joy in staying home.

Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart and Carol Burnett on the TV and if we weren't too tired Yahtzee and the Golden Oldies on the radio.

We were trying to break thru glass ceilings and find meaningful, interesting work. We had doors closed to us because we were women, and here was this woman "who could turn the world on with her smile." 

The line "you are going to make it after all" gave us hope. We were going to make it.

And we did.

Thank you Mary.

Love is

As someone who had been happily single for 41 years, finding my soul mate and marrying not only shocked my friends, it shocked me.

I'd looked at unhappily married couples AND happily married couples and thought, "Thank God it isn't me."

Now it is thank God it is me.

My husband does the normal romantic things: chocolate, a kiss at a surprise moment, a treat brought from the grocery store but one of the most romantic things he does is to make sure my towel and robe are warmed on our towel warmer each morning.

And when I get out of the shower, engulfed in the comfort of a warm towel and robe, I make sure that his robe and towel are on the warmer.

I am loved. I love.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Legend of the needles

FOR the first time since Christmas, the sun had melted some of the snow that had fallen almost daily.

Hild poked the fire in the middle of the room. She needed to cook the wheat soup that her husband, Leofric, expected when he returned from the hunt. She hoped he would bring back a rabbit she could roast. It's skin would make a scarf to keep Wulfstan, her four month old son's, neck warm.

Today was a month since they celebrated the winter solstice with drums and flutes. The priests from the church suspected music of being evil. They were so sour, disparaging the old ways that her family believed in.

As the days had grown shorter, the villagers brought more and more trees into their homes and decorated them with berries to convince Balder, the God of Immortality and Frigg, the Goddess of Love,  to change the course of the sun and to bring back the light. Then they could plant rye, wheat and barley. The apples and nuts would again be plentiful.

The door opened. She always breathed in quickly when she saw Leofric with his blond hair, blue eyes. How she had such a beautiful husband, she would never understand. Not only was he beautiful, he was a loving husband.

He took her in his arms. "It's time."

The two of them rushed around the small house, picking up the branches and sweeping the needles into a basket.

She put on her cloak and bundled the baby in furs. 

She carried the baby. Leofric carried the basket to the river at the north end of the village.

The river, which had been frozen, now had a small stream flowing in the middle. Other villagers were there with baskets of needles. Oswin played his flute and Paega beat on his drum.

One by one the villagers threw their needles into the flowing water with a prayer that by returning the needles to nature, the crops would flourish in the spring that was sure to come.

Today Rick and I took our Christmas tree needles to the river and threw them into the water. We've returned them to nature as we have done before.

Rick challenged me to produce a Legend of the Needles blog. 
He is doing a dueling blog at

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Today there is so much rush to judgment, the latest being Mrs. Trump as an abused wife, something none of us can know outside their marriage.

In Facebook arguments, everything becomes black and white, no room for nuance.

It is so easy to judge, to see a situation thru eyes that let in part of the story, or none of the story because our own views block out the reality.

It happened to both Rick and today. We were on the way to the beach. The truck in the photo was ahead of us.

He came to a rotary/roundabout. Instead of entering by turning right as he should have, the driver went left, skirting the rotary/roundabout.

"What is that idiot doing?" I thought. Rick had a similar reaction.

As we approached the rotary/roundabout we saw the driver had no choice. The right was blocked.

Had we stopped before we could see what the problem was, we would have continued to believe that the driver was an idiot. And even now he may be an idiot. We have no way of judging other than to see in that one situation he took the alternative available to him.

It was a good reminder to look deeper and to keep an open mind.

Rick has a dueling blog. 


We use my old studio (The Nest) more as a guest room.We live in The Warren, a flat two doors down. .
Because we bought a lot of the furnishings when we bought the flat that were already there are things we never use.

In the Nest I selected everything for a reason with almost nothing extra.

"What you think of switching dishes," Rick asked. The set in The Nest had been selected over 30 years ago and colors of furniture, tile and everything else had been matched as close as the eye can detect. I love those dishes. The ones in The Warren are clear glass, nice but boring.

At first it seemed like a good idea, until I remembered the color matching. I also remembered that the tableware in The Warren was okay, a kinda hodgepodge BUT there was a double set belonging to my late mother in The Nest.

"I've an idea," I said to Rick. Let's switch knives, forks, etc. Then we can go dishware shopping at the vide greniers in the spring."

I'd been meaning to sort out the extra stuff in the silverware drawer for months, and it would be good chance to get rid of duplicated. I also wanted to get rid of the pizza cutter and ice cream scoop because scissors and a spoon work as well, but Rick loves both.

Rick went to The Nest and brought down the basket of tableware and the pewter pitcher I kept the cooking utensils in.

This is where memories come in. Every meal of my childhood that pitcher was water-filled on the table except for the spring where my mother and I picked so many violets that dotted the hillside on the way to the garden that it overlapped the edges. 

It will never be used for a pitcher again. A teeny hole is in the bottom. But it is still useful.

Now both places will be totally equipped but only The Warren will have a pizza cutter and ice cream scoop.

Monday, January 23, 2017


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


This is a dueling blog with my husband journalist Rick Adams
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.

Argelès 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


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


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.