Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dealing with it.

There are “those” days, you know, the ones where nothing seems to go quite right. Maybe nothing disastrous happens, but nothing great happens either and what little is scheduled or that one tries to do just doesn’t. Yesterday is a good example.

It, of course, started when I didn’t get to bed on time – funny how a lack of sleep or not enough sleep colors the day thereafter: one would think that I would have already learned that lesson, but no, I still have to sometimes confirm the fact. The reason for the late night wasn’t even worthy: watched a Romcom that I could have turned off at any point, one that rather mirrored Mama Mia, albeit less interesting and no catchy music either.

So of course when I finally did make it and turned out the lights I was wide awake. The night passed.

Then in the morning the few things that were on the schedule got totally changed: a 9:30 meeting turned into a 12 noon arrival (o.k. the technician had called to change 9:30 to 11:30 but still). I also spent almost an hour on the phone calling every two-five minutes a number at the hospital to check on an appointment when I realized that they had programmed a doctor’s visit without the exams that I had requested! Seeing a doctor when you have no new exams is a total waste of their time as well as mine, never mind the cost to the insurance and then we wonder why medical expenses keep going up.

At 12:30 upon the departure of the technician – at least my installation conforms to current standards – I gave up and decided that I should go with the flow. Somehow that worked a lot better. Took the bus (current mode of transportation) into town and was able to book my flights for an upcoming trip then as the weather had improved decided that my mood would benefit from a trip to the Botanical Gardens. It did. Had a lovely time in what they label and open-air museum and there was even some apricity at the new kiosk. Took it a step further as well when I wandered awhile along the lake front then caught the small little “gull” (no translation whatsoever for these boats, but they are part of our local public transportation system with three spots criss-crossing the lower part of the lake) boat across the lake and to my home bus line.

Mood temporarily mollified: tomorrow is another day.

my knowledge of flowers is sadly lacking

Rhododendron partially opened

many fun sculptures throughout
close-up of a beauty

Rhodes were starting to bloom

nothing used to stabilize... pours from a split in the tree


not sure but it was pretty

Flamingos in Geneva ?

a couple of black swans are in the "bird" enclosure

even deer Then the battery in my camera went dead...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


It isn’t the first time – and it won’t be the last – that I mention my love of words and my fondness for the website  In a recent e-mail (yes one can sign up to receive them every day!) they mentioned that of the some half a million words in the English language only about 5% are known to most of us and we don’t use even that! So this particular week is dedicated to words that exist, but that we usually have never heard of, never mind used in our daily language.

This one however, apricity (even spell check thinks that it isn’t a word), would be very welcome right now, meaning as it does the “warmth of the sun”, “basking in the sun”.
I really shouldn’t complain as we haven’t had that much snow or rain this winter, nor these few days so far of Spring, but when the Easter weekend had only one pretty day, one feels a wee bit put upon!

So I would also welcome some clarigation or a demand for restitution of a wrong. I can’t go to war with the universe never mind the weather obviously, but just knowing the words somewhat mitigates (one I do know and use) the lack of apricity as well as clarigation.

Sunrise one morning, but a half hour later all was again gray

Saturday, March 19, 2016




So an acrostic – and they said “remember when you were a child…” – is when one starts each sentence or phrase with a letter which in turn spells out a word. What do they mean “as a child” – I regularly used this method to make birthday messages, to write short notes to both husband and kids and even today I still use the technic more often than not. Does that mean that I have retained some youthfulness or simply that I find writing something profound on a card difficult and choose the easy way out?


Are sentences using each letter of the alphabet, the classic example being “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog”. Now this interests me less so will not take the trouble to think up my own.

But words, their meanings, their combinations, their lives are ever so interesting: I could play all day!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Story lines

A year ago I was sitting in a coffee shop in Southern France, privileged to participate in a writing exercise with two writer friends. One of us would pick a person passing by then the three of us would invent a story based upon what we saw, felt or imagined – a lot of fun!

Thanks to them, and another group called “With Flying Colors” where once a week a color or combination thereof is picked and the whole next week we look for pictures to take of that color – opening our eyes and making us more aware of that particular color, I have not only looked at things, but actually “seen” them.

Thanks to my accident (yes I did say “thanks”) I have had to purchase a bus pass so am also out in the public more and today’s return reminded me of both subjects: writing and photography – the color this week is red.

In Southern France I took a photo of an elderly woman sitting outside the coffee shop and although I have never written a story about her, she continues to intrigue me: she looks content with her world, happy to just be sitting in the sun outside.

 Earlier this week, whilst having lunch in my “stamm” restaurant (there is truly no translation for that one other than you would say this about the chair in the library that you always use, the stool in the bar upon which you always sit, the table in a restaurant that is “your” table), I noticed in the middle of the room one table with four grandparent-type people and one teenager. One supposes that he was invited by one or the other of the grandparents, but throughout the entire meal I never saw him remove his head phones, nor observed any interaction with the four adults other than when he left – presumably to return to the Junior High in the neighborhood – when he did say goodbye.

I didn’t have my camera on the return bus – much to my regret – as a young man got off at one of the stops. So I will have to settle for a description:  he had a small cross earring in his right ear, a black ski bonnet with a very predominant “DEATH” patch across the front, a t-shirt on top of which a black crop-top jacket, dark jeans and red shoes!

Ah the world is an interesting place – the stories to be told – the things to be observed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

“Sunshine came softly”…

Some phrases are just too good to not be noticed: this one was the subject line on an e-mail sent to me this morning by a friend and obviously concerned the fact that although there had been rain, this one morning as he was off to work, the sunshine slowly worked its way through the moisture.

The sunshine came softly where I live as well: it had been fairly clear throughout the night so there was frost on the fields and vineyards, but the earth being still warm from our preceding sunny days meant that the fogs were rising leaving a slight filter for the sun to pierce through.

If I take the phrase as an allegory, I would think of my life so far this year – although side-tracked and waylaid by my broken arm, it is now firmly in the past: no sling, but also no driving yet. Physical therapy to recuperate range and movement but hey, no matter as there too the sunshine is coming softly.

March 15, 2016
same vineyard Dec. 2015

Monday, March 14, 2016

A language for all seasons and reasons

« To know another language is to have a second soul ». -Charlemagne, King of the Franks (742-814)

It also makes one slightly schizophrenic as well as a wee bit lazy!

When I switch in between I take on not only a slightly different voice (I have been told that when I speak French my voice goes down: this totally makes sense as 95% of the time when someone I don’t know calls on the telephone they take me for a man, a fact that I often use to my advantage) but also a somewhat changed persona. In French I tend to use more hand and body gestures, in German I am more even and goodness only knows what’s going to happen if I ever learn enough Italian to make it a viable language in my daily life.

If I mostly write, read and think in English during the day, I speak and dream more often in French: the German comes in handy for letting out the anger, swearing when I hit something or simply want to let of steam and not have the whole entourage know automatically what I am saying: so although not quite sure about the second or third soul I am definitely mixed up.

Then there is the laziness that comes with being able to express oneself completely by relying on several languages: if what I want to say doesn’t come readily in English I can always throw in a French phrase and if the French word isn’t adequate (there is only one verb for like/love – one has to use qualifying words to define whether one is talking about liking someone, appreciating someone or romantic love) then one can use the English and if both fail switch to the German.

There is a richness to one’s life when one can understand another language: the news is presented differently; local life is more understandable; one can get several takes on the same event; one can interact culturally better; one has greater access to understanding on many levels, not just the language one. In short I cannot imagine my life today, were I stuck with just one language.

So it’s on to learning Italian – one of those things that has been in the back of my mind for the past twenty years as each time that I travel to Italy I can understand part of what is going on; can order food and drink (and pay the bills, for some reason numbers in any language don’t phase me), but can’t get into a discussion – very frustrating for someone as verbose as I.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Whiteboard wisdom

A phrase I read recently made its way onto the white board:
“Just because you can’t dance,
doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dance”.

My former housemate added the lower phrase when she and her husband were here picking up the last of her belongings.

Hey, can’t and shouldn’t might sound negative written alone, but taken in this context are totally possible. Not only does it apply to singing, dear friends, it can apply to many other activities as well: reading, writing, photography, in fact most anything that one might want to do, but perhaps thinks one doesn’t do well.

And why is it that we think we have to be professional before we do something? Isn’t there a certain pleasure just in the doing, well or not?

Also if one is truly passionate about something, one can turn that “can’t” into a passable “can”; maybe you won’t become a pop singer with a following; maybe none of your pictures will make it into contests or books of photography (I simply make my own albums!); maybe you won’t write anything profound, be published or acclaimed in whatever thing it is that you “can’t” do, but oh the fun of doing them anyway.

So go ahead – if it makes you happy (and there’s no one else around to cringe) – do it!

just cause I could and did

Monday, March 7, 2016

Out walking

Two of my favorite words: add “mountain” to them and I really don’t need many more, o.k. Love could also join the group.

So many possible combinations:
Love being out walking… in the mountains.
Walking out in the mountains.
Love the mountains
Love walking
Love walking outside!

And yesterday finally managed it – a walk outside that is. And if not in the mountains, I could see glimpses of Mont Blanc and the Jura’s when the clouds lifted and the light shifted.

It has been some two months since I have had the necessary combination to have a medium-length walk, i.e. not too cold; not raining or snowing; able to wear my contacts (better stability than tri-focals whilst walking); time and energy. Was wearing my sling, but this time it didn’t stop me.

A lovely Sunday walk is a precious thing!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

My life is an open book, except…

On some social media.

In the interests of protecting my friends, family and any other innocent parties, I have set my information on Facebook to the absolute minimum. If I use another app or Facebook as a login partner for anything I again allow only my public profile composed of my name and the e-mail address used for public things.

I highly encourage anyone using public media to occasionally check their privacy settings: in Facebook fairly easy: on the upper bar to the far right in Firefox at least you will see a small arrow, which will give you a pull-down menu. Choose “settings”, which will pop up a whole list on the right hand side. Review, make changes and save.

Now, I know that using a search engine, anyone in the world can access more information about me than I would perhaps like - the price we pay for living in a world that is "connected". Mostly I don't look as it is rather depressing sometimes to see that jobs from years ago are still mentioned, that one's address is easily found and that if one is willing to pay, one can basically serach an entire life relatively easy. Anonymity has become a very rare commodity.

I have personally chosen to ignore Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn (although I do have accounts I have mainly forgotten the ID I used and the passwords)  and probably many others, but have maintained Facebook as a link to friends and family.

Due to my security settings though I don’t have access to everything as some apps simply want to know too much and I, for one, don’t believe that every app in the world should have access to my friends list nor all the other bits and pieces. If this means that I sometimes can’t take a quiz or see a video, so be it: we all make our choices.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fine Food, Fine Friends

I may have had a bit of bad luck in breaking my arm; a bit of a slow-down-and-take-it-easy forced on me by circumstances beyond my control (you don’t really think that I did it on purpose do you?); have had to learn patience, yet again, but in my “malheur” (bad luck) I have been extremely lucky.

I have been taken out, accompanied out, taken others out (they drove), had food delivered on a regular basis, even had a friend cook an entire meal and bring it to me so that we could enjoy it together – and she had to travel by bus across town!

I have not lacked for food – some days had three offers to take me grocery shopping and other days it was who is available or whom haven’t I “let” help me yet.

To say that I am blessed doesn’t cover it, especially when one considers that this has been going on since mid-January.

The latest in a long line of wonderful support, chocolate covered almonds from one particular store’s line of “Fine Food”.

My friends are not only fine (Forever Inventing New Events), but wonderful beyond what one could reasonably expect!