Monday, February 28, 2011

Fireworks in Paris~ Missing Paris Day

Happy Day-After-The-Oscars! 
A whole new list of movies to see
(for me in the foreign and documentary categories).
And in a few more months, 
we'll see what the French have to say in Cannes. 
Bon Semaine!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Day!

Just a little view of our winter wonderland today.
We don't get much snow here 
so, after trying twice to get down my hill to get to work
and losing control of the (4wd) vehicle both times,
I hightailed it back home
and took my camera for a walk.
Just thought I'd share. 

Be safe and cozy
wherever you are! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Thousand Days in Venice~ Teaser Tuesday

Hosted by MizB at shouldbereading.

Here's how to play:

*Grab your current read,
*Open to a random page,
*Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page,
*Please no spoilers!
*Share the title & author.

From Marlena De Blasi's "A Thousand Days in Venice":

"The forever barman at the Monaco is Paolo, dear Paolo, who had stuffed newspaper into my wet boots eight months before, when I'd missed my first rendezvous with Fernando. He herds us out onto the terrace into the luster of a slow-ripening evening. He brings us cold wine and says, "Guardate. Look," pointing with his chin at the mezzotint, the Canaletto, live before us in the rosy leavings of the sun. His everyday tableau delights him, surprises him. Paola can never be old in my eyes...
.....The promontory is raised up above the lagoon on a million wooden pilings, and at the summit of the building's stone tower twin Atlases bear up a great golden sphere, a perch for Fortuna, goddess of all fates. She is beautiful. A timid wind tries to dance with her now. And slim shards of light become her. "L'ultima luce. Last light," we say to each other like a prayer. "Promise me we'll always be together at last light," Fernando says, needing no promise at all.
If I could give Venice to you for a single hour, it would be this hour, and it would be in this chair that I would sit you, knowing Paolo would be close by, clucking about over your comfort, knowing that the night that comes to thieve that lush last light would also make off with your heartaches. That's how it would be." 

Not only is this wonderful writer's prose inspiring (she had me sobbing at the end at 7:30 in the morning), but once the romantic adventure with love and with Venice is over (for now), she includes recipes in the back from the couple's first few days together.  So tonight I made the very first recipe in the section called, "Food for a Stranger": A Gratin of Leeks made with mascarpone, nutmeg, 'just-cracked pepper', fine sea salt, vodka and Parmesan cheese. It was fabulous. I'm not a chef but I'm so excited to try a few more of her recipes. 

Reading and researching Venice for my WIP (love my hobby/job!), I found her descriptions of Venice dreamy, luscious, evocative and left me begging the angels to let it rub off on me. I'm going straight to her next book!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tough Winter

While the weather has been fairly mild here,
the climate has been more than a little sad this winter. 

Last month, I lost one of my elderly clients, 
a man I had seen, in his home weekly,
for the last year. 

While I knew Karl was not well,
I wasn't aware he was slowly leaving. 

In the last few weeks, 
a family member has undergone, not just chemo
but also the process of a bone marrow/stem cell transplant for blood cancer. 

And now, two young, beautiful souls,
a friend's 17 year old boy
and friend's of friends 18 year old son,
were whisked out to sea in an instant and drowned
while their friends tried to help them 
and could do nothing but helplessly watch it happen. 
Our community, and our teenagers, are reeling. 

One of the boy's uncles said to the throngs of high school students at his memorial service,
"Children are a parent's message to the future.
What I want you to do, right now today,
 is absorb as much of this as you possibly can
from what you hear today.
Figure out, really focus on, what that message to the future was in him
 and carry that message forward." 

Of the many beautiful, touching, heart-wrenching things I heard that day,
this was one of the most powerful.

Please say a prayer for these families
struggling with an incomprehensible loss. 
And for our family member
working to build back healthy cells after chemical destruction. 

And me, besides these prayers,
 I'm also praying for spring
and the promise of life 
to bring hope and beauty to winter's sadness.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Treasures: A Note from Mom

Had my mother lived, 
she would have turned 68 this month. This picture of her
(with my sister and I, one of whom had sense enough to keep her mouth closed)
was taken when she was barely twenty-five.

When my sister, Anne, was here recently for a wedding,
we went through some of mom's old boxes,
things we'd been threatening to sort through for years
but never got around to. 
(Always there are innumerable people for her to see, hometown things 
to eat, do and revisit while she is here.) 

Two days before she and I began sorting through boxes,
I'd been lamenting the fact that no one on this earth could now tell me 
where we'd lived in Anoka, Minnesota the summer I was six.
 No one was alive who could provide me with a physical address
in case someday I wanted to search it out. 
And while sifting through dusty reel-to-reel tapes of her old radio shows,
audition tapes and personality interviews,
I found an envelope with guess-what on it; 
our address-
in Anoka, Minnesota. 
(D'accord, Anoka. Someday I'm coming out there
in search of this here address,
hoping to find out if there's still a door, a window or a building left standing.
And maybe to do a little research on where ya'll got your name.) 

The other treasure in this box of things that was not letters,
was a note, addressed to me,
a simple little note
probably written when I was my niece's age
(a teenager). 

On the back was a very short shopping list, the two things on it crossed out
 (which you can nearly see in the lower right corner).
Even this little shopping list was special to me. 
The two items were stationery and env (for envelopes).

When I was 13 (probably around the time this note was written),
mom and I made dates to write cards and letters together. 
At our little house on Russian Hill in San Francisco,
we would get out our stationery and pens,
candles and incense, music and tea
and we would sit together at the kitchen table, 
writing friends and relatives.

A few months before she died,
while struggling with the pain and the terrifying
realization of the finality of terminal cancer,
she wrote me a note on the back of a postcard which she handed to me when I came in the door.
It was one of the beach-lined cards we'd bought for her in Hawaii,
a trip made in between chemo treatments a few months before,
to a place she'd always wanted to see.
Our last trip together.

She wrote:
"Let's make a letter-writing date.
You bring the incense,
I'll bring the candles."
She died not long after. 

 I've decided to frame the recently found note about the clothes
and hang it on the wall in my laundry room.
While looking for the right frame, I've kept it in my office
propped at eye level where I can see it from my desk chair. 
But as I sat in said chair the other day, the day of her birth 68 years ago,
I saw that the note was cut off by something in front of it
and all I could see was,
Please put..."

So, as I sat there, thinking of her on her birthday,
 I did a short writing exercise
asking what she would say to me now
and here is what went on the page:

Please put...

                                                              * my love for you in a safe, airy place.
                                                              *your love in my suitcase.
                                                              *your dreams down on paper.
                                                              *your ideas into action.
                                                              *your story out there.
                                                              *our lives together in perspective.
                                                              *your relationships in order.
                                                              *compassion at the top of your list.
                                                              *your fears away."

Happy Birthday Mom!
I love you
and you are missed.
And I'm going downstairs right now
to put my clothes away.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pont Grenelle~ Missing Paris Day

Today we're walking across the Seine,
from the 15th arrondissement to the 16th,
an area that was once rolling hill estates leading down to the water,
now mostly upscale apartments, shops and restaurants.

Over their heads rumbles the above-ground metro
(the 6 line if you'd care to hop on at Passy just across the Seine)...

And if you've seen the film "Inception",
you'll recognize Pont Grenelle as the one Leo DiCaprio and Ellen Page walked across
then watched/dreamed as it turned upon itself.
(A film with an extremely interesting idea
but 10 years might have been just a tad too long to work on this script!)

Down below, rocking with the Seine and nudging the cobblestone walkway,
are sleepy houseboats which in summer
sport deck chairs and tables for wining and dining
in view of La Tour Eiffel. 

Frequently we cross over into the 16th
to visit our favorite little Italian deli/shop
for these tangy, stuffed, roasted red peppers. 

Today I am home sick in bed 
(first time in a verrrry long time)
and what I wouldn't give to be walking the neighborhood
and snacking on just one of the many finds 
along this walk.

Happy week to you!

And Bon Anniversaire to Laura Ingalls Wilder
born on this day in Pepin, Wisconsin in 1867. 
Some of my favorite books when I was a kid.