for the birds

31 03 2009

dsc_0001You can move from one world to the other in a matter of hours but it often takes longer for the soul to catch up.  I am still incapable of getting to that writing place in my head.  There is too much noise.  I must need to be really really bored to write anything at all.

I went to the funeral for a friend’s mom today.  I didn’t really know her personally but I know her son. My barely seven month old scar of Billy’s funeral was surprisingly tender. The tears flowed easily – the music was familiar.  While I sat there thinking about death, I knew friends were at a doctor’s office hearing the heartbeat of their first baby. Life doesn’t quit.  

I’m pretty much toast for the rest of the day. I wouldn’t mind being back in that park, sitting on that bench just watching the pigeons do their pigeon thing all afternoon long – just like I was doing a week and a day ago.  Another eight days and I’ll be in a different place emotionally…maybe better, maybe worse.  I won’t know till I get there.

I’m trying to remember how it felt watching the traffic zip by while I had nowhere better to be and no greater dilemma than deciding in which café to have our afternoon coffee.  That brain space was very much appreciated.  Right now, I will go downstairs to get my coffee but I might hurt my cat first.  She’s laying at my head and thinks it is bath time.  That incessant licking is going to get her locked in the basement. I’m not very zen right now.

virtual vacay

28 03 2009

dsc_0078The only option Best Boy had was a virtual vacation. I got to join him for the last couple of days exploring Bowerstone and other environs. I like spotting gargoyles, silver keys and treasure chests.  If I were in charge of the controller, Sparrow would be walking in circles for 10 years instead of defending the Tattered Spire against Lucien’s evil intents.  The Universe is a safer place tonight even with Best Boy on vacation. There is never an end to the things a 50+year old monkeema can learn.

quick turns

26 03 2009

dsc_0105My propensity for pre-dawn wanderings is irrespective of time zone.  Just 48 hours ago, I grabbed book 4 of 4 I had taken on the adventure and quietly found my way down to the lobby.  I love being the only one awake in my house and I love being in quiet hotel lobbies with the occasional third shift housekeeping staff to say “hello” to.

I finished the book in those early morning hours of our last day in Madrid. Good thing too.  Arriving back home in the Great North at midnight, you’d think we’d fall into bed and sleep for a day or so to catch up.  But still functioning in hotel mode, we had a quick turn.

A “quick turn” is when a hotel is at capacity and the same number of people checking out is the about the same number of rooms you need ready for check-in a few hours later.  Thus, the staff is stretched and stressed trying to work as fast and efficiently as possible to keep everyone happy.

That was our day yesterday.  I had about 5 hours to stretch out in MY bed – the one that is right on so many levels – before I was up doing two weeks worth of laundry that had to be put back in the Dr.’s suitcase within a few hours before his next departure.  A few appointments, a few trips to restock depleted travel sized toiletries – and by pre-dawn this morning we were back at the airport.

I will probably enjoy this vacation as much now that I am home as I did when I was there.  Pictures will be savored and shared.  I will now begin to engage my brain and get back spending my pre-dawn wanderings with you.  dsc_0082

(1 – (U/c)2)1/2

19 03 2009

dsc_0009Einstein – time/space physics-and lots of other things I will never understand.  Oh, and one more…the weird thing is that nothing feels weird.  You step back into a space where you just know things and you don’t know how you know.  Maybe your brain was just hybernating.  On a mini-road trip you see the barrels stacked beside the road.

dsc_00081Here is where you will get things that taste just as they should.

dsc_0011Coca-Cola is sweeter even if you are drinking it beside a busy national highway heavy with truck traffic.  But that is part of what you already know.  The food is home made and it will be good.

dsc_0012And there will always be lentejas (lentil stew).  And you will eat and eat and eat and be happy.

dsc_00131And when a bus of jubilado day-trippers (retirees) spills it’s contents out on the sidewalk – the priority for some is to get today’s lottery tickets before they stand in the line at the bathroom and gossip about Fulana. But I knew that too. “Es para hoy!”


yellow and blue

16 03 2009


We stopped in a grocery store that was perched on the edge of the world two days ago.  There is a place where Europe runs out of land – called Land’s End (or actually Sagres, Portugal).  To be in a place where explorers turned their backs on all the familiar for the unknown – and find one of our (me, the Dr., Best Boy and Shop Girl’s) favorite comfort foods – was a little uncanny.

A little square 3 bite (or 4 if you’re not in a hurry as I was) cupcake / muffin – with the flavor of a lemony pound cake but with the consistency of a well made moist, light cake…with a bit of sugar baked into the top. These little yummies are a dime a dozen in Spain and I was happiest popping the most common grocery store variety into my mouth.


With a great café con leche and a few dozen magdalenas (I didn’t eat that many!) and a view like this…what’s not to love?



13 03 2009






Sometimes what we need the most is just over the cliff – but we can’t get there from here.


be still

12 03 2009

dsc_0013I sincerely apologize for the delay.  Day one has been very busy!  (shame on me)  We have spent a good deal of the day talking about downtime…what it means…when it is deserved…what it is worth…and how it is to be spent.  I’m not even sure I can formulate many thoughts yet and will blame that on jet lag or my brain beginning to grind to a halt.  We thought of hopping into the rental car tomorrow for more discovery and decided that we would be giving into a “need for speed” – like we are doing something to account for our time.  

We will NOT.  We will be still.  It is harder and harder to be still in today’s world with the voices in my head taunting me for privilege of allowing us this extraordinary break.  I will gladly fall back into my ratty old couch at home and never look at another Pottery Barn / Restoration Hardware catalogue with lust in my eyes.  


i want to go to there…

7 03 2009

sc00054653Tina Fey was on Jimmy Fallon the other night.  I love Tina Fey and I love Jimmy Fallon so it was a win win for me.  She was telling how she is beginning to steal lines from her 3 1/2 year old daughter and they are finding their way into scripts for 30Rock.  One I’ve heard and now know the back story is , “I want to go to there” (her daughter had just seen a great Disney World commercial on TV).  I’m feeling it – not for Disney but the place where Europe and Africa can wave to each other.

The way we vacation probably started out as an accident that turned into an adventure in the dark ages when Google was just a glimmer in someone’s imagination.  We would often have a very general idea of where we were headed, pack the car and go – not knowing where we’d spend the night or how far we’d get. Now I can instantly pull up a satellite view and actually see which hotels are set on the beach and not across that noisy roadway that runs along the beach.

When we’d had all we could take, the search would begin.  The Dr. would pull up outside a place with a modicum of potential, grab Shop Girl and the scout would begin.  Sometimes it would take a time or two before they’d come out smiling. We found some of the most idyllic places on earth (or at least in Southern Europe) that way.  So with the exception of the fact that Shop Girl won’t be with us for the first part of the trip – we’re headed to do the same.

Hear the waves, eat fresh fish and sit and read in the sunshine.  That’s all.  Very simple.  No conga lines, no drinks with little umbrellas in them, no forced entertainment.  Just the sea and me.

But today I’m stuck.  I remember this place.  The one between the expectations of where I hope to be and where I am.  My brain is a swirl of a million details.  I spent yesterday with the Mrs. trying to get things put in her suitcase that might stay there till she leaves mid-week.  She kept forgetting what we’d already put in – so I made lists – and maybe we need lists to remember where the lists are.  You should have seen me trying to explain TSA regulations to her and why she needed to put her tubes of lipstick in a plastic bag to be x-rayed.

“I want to go to there, I want to go to there…” is my mantra while I spin in place trying to pull this all together.   I’ve planned it all in my head and today is pack day.  I travel light.  Real light.  Too light according to most. It never fails that I will suddenly be in need of a few new things though.  Things I’d never go out and buy if I was staying put for the next two weeks.  There is added pressure when I’m headed back to Spain and seeing people I know.  What will they think?  Do I look too American?  Is there any sense of style at all?  How could she possibly be wearing that and thinking she could walk the streets of Madrid – let alone attend a wedding?

As I was running (almost literally) through a grocery store late yesterday afternoon for some things for the Mrs. fridge, I stopped at the deli counter and while waiting for that chicken salad started to laugh out loud as I realized Muzak was playing my song of the day from a few entries ago.

I will spend this very cold, gray, rainy day trying to teleport myself to a place where that boat will be pulled up on the shore having just delivered my very fresh fish lunch.  I will go dig out clothes that I haven’t seen in months and throw them in a carry-on.  I can do this.

sometimes cowgirls…

4 03 2009

dsc_0006I cannot plan ahead for hair appointments or grooming for the dog for that matter. In the fullness of time – I wait till the last minute and am always surprised that things are booked out weeks in advance.  So, it is panic time for me, the Mrs. and the dog who stinks but is going to be ignored a while longer.

Like I’ve dialed up the winning lotto numbers, I find there has been a 2 p.m. cancellation – can I make it?  Of course!  The words on the salon wall make me laugh – these places always make me laugh.  I am NOT a girlie girl – but you probably knew that.  All the ambience is lost on me.  Maybe next time I’ll just make an appointment for myself at the kennel.  dsc_00054

Not only was I trying to get my own mane in order but I wanted the Mrs. to be properly coiffed before her trek South next week. It gets a bit more complicated with her since driving to and from an appointment where any pressure has been put on her neck with a shampoo bowl, comb outs, tugging and rolling can put her into a tail spin thanks to the delicate nature of the tangle of nerves and bones and narrowing of the spinal cord.  So I needed to be there.

There were no appointments to be had in the time frame that worked.  I remembered another girl from their church who has a salon.  On the off chance she might have something available,  I called.  She was thrilled to have the opportunity to help out. I explained the situation and the reason I needed to be there for transportation but it wasn’t working with what time slots were blank in her schedule until she offered a solution.  Since they home school their kids and her husband worked from home on Wednesdays while she was at the salon – why couldn’t he be a chauffer for the Mrs.?

I couldn’t get over the excitement in C’s as she anticipated pampering the Mrs. There had been a conversation between the two of them on Sunday where the Mrs. said she felt like a rich old person going south for the “winter” – (had that been the case – this trip would have been months ago!!!).  Nonetheless, she is excited for her change of scenery and to enjoy seeing a son, daughter-in-law, two grandkids and their spouses and two great-grandkids.

So yesterday I felt like alot got accomplished.  I got some of my hair whacked off and today, 150 miles away, the Mrs. will get permed and prissy without me. There are still good people in the world.  People who love to love on others who they aren’t even related to.  People doing kind things and going out of their way to dote on others.  Maybe it’s just the nature of the salon/spa business.

Meanwhile, I’ll take another day before I head to her place to make sure she has her bags packed and is ready for the Lone Star State before I mount my pony for the country that put Texas on the map.  So here’s to cowgirls gettin’ purdy.mi

a monday morning in march

2 03 2009