Saturday, February 27, 2016


I love flowers and throughout the winter in particular usually have at least one if not more vases especially in the kitchen and living room. Not that I don’t also have the green plants living in the North corner of the living room in what was originally the plant “graveyard” until I discovered that with the mild light and warmth of the radiator they tended to flourish. Still call it the graveyard although it’s usually pretty lush looking.

As my kitchen is gray, black and white I use colored place mats, photos and some sort of decoration, usually floral, on the table as well.

Last week’s flowers although gorgeous when they were first put in the vase had all, but two, hung their heads and looked like they needed to be shipped out to the compost pile. That is until M got a hold of them. The transformation was stunning.




If by such a simple thing as cutting the stems, flowers can be transformed from ugly to beautiful, think of ways that we can also as humans change sad to happy, gray to light, problem to solution. I am sure that it’s not easy for all of us, but perhaps if we look at things, people and the world in general in another way or light, we can also achieve the just as stunning transformations.

Smile at someone today: not only will it change your face, it may just change their day.
Someone’s bag falls apart – offer them another.
A car cuts you off – wave them through (if nothing else they’ll wonder about your sanity).
Make that phone call that you have been putting off: someone may need the contact.
Just got a horrid letter – feel sorry for the person who wrote it – can’t touch me.
Raining? Just the sun watering the plants.
Heard some gossip: don’t pass it on, but if you know the person that it was about try perhaps gently (a key word here) to find out if they are hurting, what the truth might be, then return that to the gossiper.

Go on, I challenge you: take the ugly that you see and try and turn it into beauty.

Friday, February 26, 2016

White nights…

Unfortunately there were no white knights last night and the night was a wash.

("white night" is the direct translation from French for a night when one doesn't sleep, muc better than simply saying a sleepless night) 
I know that I didn’t sleep much, but when my FitBit report came back with the fact that I was awake 12 times and agitated 21 times with a sum total of 3 hours and 57 minutes I did concur. The funniest fact though was that in order to reach my goal I needed another four hours and three minutes – let’s not miss those three minutes!

No particular reason, but I did find out that tonight there’s a full moon… duh, it happens quite often that I have insomnia the night preceding (or even two before) a full moon. So have the explanation, now hope that today’s walking will help me have a good night.

Who knows maybe there will even be knights in my dreams or at least dreams in my night.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I love Google

But not for the reasons one might think. I don’t use them as my browser, unless I need some clip art for my blogs; I do have a gmail address as a back-up for those companies or persons to whom I don’t wish to give my “real” e-mail address; I block all the pop ads and have basically allowed them to only share minimal information on me; I do use them as my "address" for various other accounts, but again allowing them only my e-mail and name, so why do I love Google one might ask.

Simply because at some point I had opened up a calendar run under Google’s auspices (don’t remember if the family was trying to organize something, or a group of friends or whatever as it has been so long ago), but I still get my reminders of important events on said calendar in my inbox everyday – they all read

“you have no events scheduled today Wed Feb 24, 2016”.

Now my real calendar might have half a dozen events or appointments in barely legible writing – no trace of that will ever show up in my inbox. Probably time to unlink the calendar but there is something comforting about seeing that phrase every day – making it seem that in spite of my busy life I have a whole day free.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

“Comme d’habitude” or

As one has the habit of doing.

Sometimes there are phrases in one of the three languages that I use on a fairly regular basis that fit better than any translation that I could undertake in another: comme d’habitude is one of these. It can be either slightly pejorative as in “she didn’t get dressed until 10 – as was her habit”, “he showed up again late for work, as was his want”,  “they went to the movies yet again last Saturday night – never doing anything out of the mold”, etc.

It can also though denote stability or, in my current case, a wonderful state of affairs where one returns to one’s habits!

As I can finally dress myself on the days where I don’t need a shower or shampoo I am finally free to follow my normal (another way of expressing “comme d’habitude”) schedule. And today all the criteria were met for me to finally walk up to the village as was my want before the accident: I could dress myself in a timely manner (without waiting until 10 or later); it was warm enough for the cape that I have to envisage walking outside; it wasn’t raining although overcast and, most importantly, the phrase “comme d’habitude” ran through my head like a leitmotif. Habits can be wonderful.

It took me longer than it used to: what is it about a seemingly minor accident that affects one’s whole system? But oh the joy of walking into my local bakery on my own two feet, sit down to my usual table, see my coffee buddies and pick up my mail – as usual.

OK that was enough for the morning, if not perhaps for the day, and I didn’t refuse the offer of a lift home. Still comforting to know that soon “comme d’habitude” will be simply that – as usual or according to my normal pattern.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

I dressed myself or…


I would love to see all of your faces as you read that particular phrase “I dressed myself”.
Some will know recent history and realize what I am talking about; others will wonder.

This past week has seen tremendous progress concerning my broken arm: no pain meds during the day, but still a double dose at night – amazing how a different position can change so radically the level of pain – I had always heard that bones take awhile and are painful, but I never really believed it. I did learn what works currently so that was great progress.

Then came the day when I wasn’t dressed until almost 11 a.m. and they were back to undress me at shortly before 6 p.m. That, together with hitting the 4-week mark after surgery, had me making the bold move of deciding that perhaps I could do it on my own – at least for the weekend!

I first cancelled Sat. night’s undressing and Sunday’s dressing and undressing, then when the friend with whom I used to have coffee on Saturday mornings turned out to be free this morning I thought, o.k. it’s now or never,  and last night cancelled this morning’s nurse as well.

Remember when you were two or three and begging to not only chose your own clothes, but also to put them on? I remembered the feeling as I managed to do it all, ON MY OWN, this morning. Perhaps we all need that occasional reminder of how quickly our circumstances can change and of how difficult it can be to be even temporarily and mildly handicapped: gives us a better perspective and understanding for those who have permanent problems and helps us to be more tolerant.

The sense of pride and freedom have made this day a good day: for the space of some 60 hours I don’t have to wait for someone to come and help me – I CAN do it on my own.

Does this mean back to normal? Of course not, but it does give me a glimpse of a time in the not-too-far-distance when life will again run smoothly without the sling, when I will forget what it was like to have been so dependent upon others. When I will decide how, when and with which clothes to dress myself, freedom indeed!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Wigs & Frizzy hair = Sushi

Most women have a “thing” (or two or three) about their hair. My friend D-L had for many years just the perfect color of red hair for her (both her coloring and her personality): thanks to a second bout of breast cancer she currently wears a wig, one that is about the same color so very few of us actually realize that it is a wig.

I, thanks to having broken my right arm, am currently at the mercy of the nurses for shampooing my hair and certainly do not get it blown dry so have to live with frizzy hair – I who prefer dead straight (another well-known fact is that no woman wants the hair she has, or if so only a couple of days a year).

On top of many things that we have in common besides our current hair problems: a love of sushi!

For many months she has been unable to enjoy sushi as was taking chemo and couldn’t take the risk of any other type of infections (and trying to only eat vegetarian sushi wasn’t going to happen); I, without someone to eat them with and recently without being able to get around as well, had them only once during the whole time that she couldn’t so it was a great celebration when we could finally go together again. Her blog:

Bless her husband: they picked me up, he delivered us to the door and we had eyes bigger than our stomachs thoroughly enjoying re-connecting over one of our favorite foods (he went and had a kebab as, first of all sushi isn’t really his thing and secondly he is good about giving us time together).

Who would have thought though that we were going to also have to cooperate: it took two of us to get the coke bottle open! Ah, when one adds one strength to another all becomes possible.

We will enjoy many more sushi meals together I am sure, but this one had a particular flavor that will linger on in our memories.

not today's but another great one

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

35,523,986 minutes ago…

That, more or less, is thirty-five million, five hundred twenty-three thousand, nine hundred and eighty six minutes ago (after all is it only based on that day and today’s day, not on exact time born nor exact time today) there appeared yet another human being on this particular planet: me

The fun that one can get up to online is highly entertaining.

This “fact” came thanks to a friend’s sending me a link to a web-site that calculates what the favorite song was on the day that you were born. Of course once there, a number of other “important” calculations can be made, including how many minutes ago one was born.

Does this change the world? Change anything? Even slightly interesting?
Not really, but in the “good ‘ol days” one would actually have had to sit down and physically calculate it whereas here in seconds one knows, for better or for worse.
Continuing I clicked on the top radio songs of that year: Dinah Shore, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Mahalla Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Gene Autry, Al Jolson, Tommy Dorsey, and many I never heard of, including a wonderful title by Evelyn Knight: “Powder your face with Sunshine”

Ah… what a wonderful thought and especially as it is  currently still gray outside, think I’ll hold that thought – where can one wear sunshine (or good cheer or friendliness) better than on one’s face!

Google Images

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Friendship’s tidbits

Love and friendship come in many forms, big things, little things and all things in between.
They come in gestures, in telephone calls, in trips, in meetings, in letters or e-mails; they are sometimes conversations, sometimes gifts, sometimes tasks and errands. They are always appreciated.

My former housemate went to Bern today – last leg of her cancer journey and things are looking good. Bern is a place where we have gone to visit museums, gone on adventures, where she renounced her citizenship and now where she will finish making sure that there is not even one cancer cell lurking anywhere in her body.

Her husband just popped in with a “treat” – ah… memories come flooding back – all the pretzels we have hauled back for each other anytime one of us went through the train station and had even 5 minutes.

This one though is beyond big – and I am sure beyond good. The opposite of a tidbit as witness to a friendship that is ongoing through thick and thin. Such memories it evokes – here we are with Proust’s madeleine -
I will eat it to your health D-L!

Will look for this bakery when next I'm in Bern!

That's my cell phone! Gives one an idea of the size of this pretzel!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

364 + 1 days in a year or…

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I have always been a wee bit allergic to Valentine’s Day:
      as a child we had to make cards for everyone in the class so what was the point?
      As a teenager, I seemed to never get a card from anyone that I was currently interested in, if even vaguely and of course wouldn’t have dared send one to any of my crushes (hmmm… maybe it was the same for them?)
      As a young adult with no boyfriend, it was just another day
      As an engaged person – there was one before the wedding and I can’t say that I remember anything about it.
      As a married woman there were enough other important events – I mean Christmas wasn’t that far past, and after son number one we had just had his birthday; then there were all the upcoming birthdays – so that it didn’t get celebrated either unless we had ski holidays. That usually had me writing bad poetry (wonder if I will ever come across any of those – paper hoarder that I am).
      As a widow – well what interest would there be?

I have been fortunate enough in my life to have had friends and family who believed more in the Carpe Diem school of thought; presents or cards came any old time and even birthdays quite often got celebrated way later.

Love – and yes I know that Valentine’s Day is supposed to be only romantic love – can’t be confined to just one day and to celebrate it then and yet not be loving the rest of the 364 days of the year holds no interest for me. 

Also love comes in many shapes and forms and can no more be confined to just “romantic” love than water to just lakes and oceans: either one celebrates it in however small a way every day, or it simply doesn’t truly exist.

So Happy Let’s-all-be-in-love-with-each-other-and-Life Day. Let’s all be kind at least 364 days of the year: love will find a way and hearts come in all sizes, shapes and materials.

hand-made heart from Harmony, CA, USA

Swiss coffee cream cover

natural moss heart from a forest walk

Friday, February 12, 2016

Deliver Now … or not

Whatever suits your schedule.

One of my pet peeves (and I truly don’t have many) is delivery systems: the local postal system although one of the best in the world has sadly gone the way of many for-profit companies and if I have a two-week period where there isn’t a misplaced letter or paper in my post office box, it’s a good period.  After faithfully scanning all the mis-delivered letters and objects I actually got a written letter with their excuses – and enjoyed a whole three weeks without error before going back to same old, same old.

But delivery companies are even worse – I can’t think of one or even one time when they got it right the first time. I have chased UPS trucks around the neighborhood, made innumerable trips across town to pick up packages at the main centers of both UPS and DHL and in general had to put myself out to obtain a package sent to my address (note the nuance, these packages are rarely even for me, but one or the other of the inhabitants at number 15).

OK usually the gate is closed meaning that they need to ring the outside bell – and if someone is in the cellar or the attic that bell is often unheard, but even if noticed by the time one gets to the gate, the delivery truck and driver are long gone.

Since there is no mailbox – or rather the letter part of the mailbox is sealed leaving the “milk box” part available – they will stick the notice on the front of the box thus notifying the whole world that there is potentially no one at home.

As there has always been someone, the notice is seen within 24 hours – often illegible as fallen and dirty and or wet, but we at least know which company to contact to try and retrieve the package.

Today the gate was open (due to my being at home and the amount of persons to-ing and fro-ing currently in my life, it is simpler) leaving them only the necessity of ringing the door bell. I was here – they obviously just pushed it a half a second once. How they managed to miss my being in the kitchen and the two visitors around the same time I’ll never know, but yet again I had to go online to request another delivery date.  Monday.

The only advantage: I was able to transmit my cell phone number and hope that if they don’t get an immediate reply at the door that they will call.

Not to mention names but DHL has chosen nothing better in a country where English is not one of the national languages (we only have four!) of “dhl-delivernow”. Glad that I am not awaiting medication or anything horribly important, but was obligated to tell them to leave it on the bench outside (they allow “neighbor”, “front door” or “other” – at no point can one say “call me when you’re here”).  Now that I think of it… the slip was in French, but the website that popped up was in English. Surely I could have also had French, or German or Italian or Romansch?

So deliver it now if that’s your motto!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Unadorned, unexplained yet forever the subject of something or the other.

There are so many sayings such as “you are only as old as you feel”, Mark Twain’s “Age is an issue of mind over matter: if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”, Helen Hayes “Age isn’t important unless you’re a cheese” resonates just fine with me and I am also fond of Sophocles’ “A man growing old becomes a child again”  (the great thinker and philosopher didn’t say what happens to women so I’ll take Mark Twain’s “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been”.)
And of course there’s Dr. Seuss’s “Adults are obsolete children”.

Age is measured by how one looks, good or bad for “one’s age”; age is again measured by whether or not one has a gainful job; age is measured by one’s education; age is measured by many things – and never more so now than when we have access to quizzes via Facebook along the lines of “how does your taste indicate your age”; “what do your friends say about your age” and the like.

Recently a good friend sent me the latest in an e-mail.
Am giving you the link just in case and loved my own results, thus the blog even if it means
putting my real chronological age into the public sphere..

Monday, February 8, 2016

Breakfast reflections

Everyone is unique or…
The anomaly of a human being.                       

From the minute we’re born we depart the path of any one else in the world. Everyone’s experience is unique made up of family traditions, moves, chosen experiences or things that happen to us. Even twins no longer share every thing as they did in the womb – and they come closest to being similar.

Why this thought?

Breakfast this morning: there I was sitting in my kitchen in a French-speaking area of a country to which I possess the nationality even if I wasn’t born here.

The radio station – although Swiss – was tuned to a pop station and played mainly English songs, including one of my all-time favorites: “A Bridge over Troubled Waters” in its’ original version by Simon and Garfunkel. My table – bought locally but from a certain Swedish company, had place mats probably made in China and an old cut-glass vase from Germany holding tulips from Holland. I enjoyed peanut butter – so very American – and blueberry jam from the “Jam Lady” in the Swiss alps. I also had a slice of Italian Panetone received from good friends at Christmas (this is a wonder bread as it keeps) on a – for want of better words – sandwich board (flat wooden or plastic board that replaces a dish) bought in Germany. Coffee was “French press” Ethiopian – brought back from Addis Ababa by my older son just Friday.

Just that short 20-minute snippet of time belonged only to me – no one else in the world will ever exactly replicate it – the marvel of a human being and one in which we should all rejoice.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Christmas Lights? Or…

Winter lights?

This year whilst I was enjoying my River Cruise along the Danube, one of my friends bought and installed lights on the top of the tree next to the garage.

What a joy they were to see as I came home – a reminder of Christmas.

We entered January and still could think back to Christmas – at least through the Epiphany or Three Kings day Jan.6th.  I left them as it was still mostly dark and dreary and even on the sunny days night came all too quickly and the sun didn’t get up early either.

Then I broke my arm and taking them down became a moot question. At the end of January I did give it some thought – and started a discussion with friends instead: are they Christmas lights or simply lights making winter prettier? 

The consensus was about half-half with half considering them “Christmas” lights (although not colored) and thus to come down by Epiphany and the other half considering them simply a means to brighten winter’s gloom and subject to an open-ended removal.

I decided that I could simply be considered eccentric and am leaving them up until I feel like taking them down – perhaps the first day that the sun is up before 7 a.m.

On the other hand, I may tire of them and do it soon. Who cares? One thing is sure: next year I am getting more and doing at least half of the tree!

Thursday, February 4, 2016


So is there unco in my life?
In one sense not so much these days – after all when one isn’t out and about as much as usual, how could there be? In another – tons.

But there have been unco events especially with the weather: more the Ides of March than either January or February.

And unco, I have met so many new people, albeit all bent on one thing, either dressing me or undressing me as I have had the assistance of a fine institution “home care help”.
One doesn’t necessarily want to experience their fine care, but I am every so grateful to live in a country where such exists.

Give  up?

It was the word of the day a few days back and I just couldn’t resist: will it remain in my vocabulary? Probably not, but I did enjoy the fun of a weird sounding new word.

adjective: Unusual; remarkable; strange.
adverb: Remarkably; extremely.
noun: 1. A stranger. 2. News.

It also led me to a vocabulary site:
I aced the first two quizzes – yes – something to add to, but not replace, the Reader’s Digest vocabulary quizzes!