cellar door

9 11 2009


Cellar door.  Cellar door.  Cellar door.

How apropo that  J.R.R. Tolken was the first to draw our attention to the beauty of those two words and how they sound (phonaesthetics).  If he were still alive today, I’d beg him to invent a new word or two in those wonderful fantasy languages he created that combined good phonaesthetics and functionality.

Cellar door.  Cellar door.  Cellar door.  Grandma.  Granny.  It’s the G-R combo that gets me.  My skin doesn’t even crawl as much hearing abuelita.

I am not reacting to the idea – just the sound.  It grates on me.  I fully embrace and am proud of my gray hair and the age it represents. What’s not to love about having enough experience to handle whatever an 8 lb. wonder can throw at me?  I can easily tuck him under my arm and still make lunch.  Changing diapers, regardless of how frightening they may seem…I’ve seen it ALL.  But the name thing?  In our family all the best ones are already taken…these roll easily off the tongue.  Yaya.  Nana.

Shop Girl and I have deliberated long and hard behind closed doors over this one.  It has to sound right.  It has to feel right.  If the Kid could call me Cellar Door – I’d let him.  Fact is, he can’t call me anything at this point.  But we are going with Momo.

It just so happens that one of Shop Girl’s favorite books by Michael Ende is Momo.  Widely read by school children in Europe (wanna get me started again on another rant??), it seems be scarce in these parts.  Maybe that is all part of it too.  There are hundreds of variations and nicknames for my new role…but how many Momo’s do you know?

p.s.  The photo is as close as I could come today for the theme.  Truth is, it’s the door to a lighthouse in Sagres, Portugal (if I remember correctly)…but we can all imagine that somewhere in the world – there might be a cellar door with such a great looking latch, right?

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.

home again, home again, jiggety-jig…

16 11 2008


Four hours a week, traveling back and forth between two places known as “home”,  I get to spend time quietly listening to lots of NPR.  Weekend America is doing a Thanksgiving special about the meaning of home.  It’s gotten me thinking and I sent them an email this morning.  I’m all talked out right now so I thought you’d like to see some pictures of a place we once called “home”.