other links to my photos and poetry

It's your world. I just live in it.


Italy at last

Florence, Italy

We've been skirting Italy for the last year and saw Roman's ruins and its influence everywhere, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, England, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, I mean Czechia. Just yesterday the Czech Republic officially announced their country's new name, Czechia. And when people say Roman, they are referring to Italy in the overall, aren't they? Italian art, sculpture, architecture. At least as influence. So finally we are in Italy. In spite of the fact that I had great expectations about this place, in spite of the fact that we've been working up it it for the last year, it has not disappointed me.

Door from, or it is to, the past?
Yes, around the Mediterranean giant palaces and cathedrals remain that were built when Rome was the center of the Western world, isolated grandeurs, World Heritage sites, but here in Italy that style was a way of life. But I've said enough. I'm not a historian and I don't have the time to research every word I write so ... enough. Florence is amazing ... but the internet here, or at least in our neighborhood, sucks.

Even Project Fi, Google's international phone network, is weak in our neighborhood. Project Fi worked even in Czechia's tiny Český Krumlov, but not here. In spite of its great past, seems Florence Italy is a technological backwater. It's maddening.

Also, it's been hard to find oatmeal at a decent price. That, of course, drove M. Lee (the oatmeal fanatic) to look up the history of oatmeal in Italy. Seems you could easily get it 30,000 years ago. The first evidence of humans eating oatmeal was discovered in a cave in Italy. I hope I'm wrong but, at least so far, Italy seems like an oatmeal backwater as well.

Italy also sucks when it comes to getting a big giant American cup of coffee. Europe in general doesn't do coffee like we do coffee so no suprize that even in this lovely airbnb place the "big" cups hold about two sips. I say big but only compared to the other regular size cups, the thimble size espresso cups.

I don't complain. I just report. All in all, Florence is fabulous.

My morning cup of coffee


Time past, time present, time future


The not blue Danube

If you saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz is almost sure to conjure up scenes from the film but, ever since I was a kid, mention of the Blue Danube Waltz always brought to my mind the image of a gloriously blue river, blue as the bluest ever summer blue sky. So, when we got to Regensburg yesterday, a town situated on the banks of the River Danube, the first thing I wanted to do was visit the blue Danube. Sadly, I must report that, at least on that cloudy day, the river was not blue. It was gray.

Also, the town's famous medieval stone bridge was covered for repairs and even the one medieval carving on the bridge that M. Lee wanted to see had been removed for cleaning. But I'm not saying Regensburg is a bust. It's an intriguing town that's been around since the Stone Age.

In 179, Regensburg marked the northern most reach of the Roman empire though when they abandoned the city they removed it from their maps. No matter. Regensburg continued to thrive and remains a vital center to this day. For example, what is perhaps the oldest restaurant in the world is located in Regensburg. The place has been continuously open to the public for the last 500 years. And it stands on the site of a building from the 12th century that was also a restaurant, the "Garkueche auf dem Kranchen", or 'cookshop near the crane'.

Regensburg today

In 2006, Regensburg was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, trust me, the town has an excellent historical museum that makes it clear why it qualifies. This morning we spent five hours there seeing some of the archeological treasures from Regensburg’s last 7000 years before again exploring the city of today.


Aunt Jane

At some point, ready or not, one may be called on to send off the dead. Aunt Jane was the last of her generation so this time the task fell to us.

Ashes to ashes

She died in December. My cousins hosted a nice, low-key party celebrating her life on the Spring Equinox. My daughter and I went to Sonoma for the weekend, stayed with them at her house and helped out.

Dust to dust

The following morning, Monday, it rained lightly as cousins Cathleen and Margaret, my daughter and I took her to the cemetery. Chairs, an awning and the niche beside Uncle Phil were waiting, as was the fellow who would close their door after we left. We didn't sit. Cathleen and Margret put her ashes next to their Dad, Cathleen read a piece she wrote for the occasion and that was it. Aunt Jane would have liked that.

"We all go somewhere...into the sea, into the sky,
into another story, or into a heaven of our understanding." ~ Cathleen V.



Sweetness personified

We're leaving on Monday for a couple of months and, as usual, first we'll go to Portland to spend a little time with family. To their credit, the parents keep us supplied with photos but things there change fast.

The Gang

For example, Chance is taking full advantage of having two older brothers to learn from. Looks like he might be ready for a little one on one time.

Batter up!

expanding his worldview.

Then there's Thea. I hear she's become a graphic novel worm.  I suspect she might be up for an afternoon at Powell's Books, lunch included, gma's treat.

Graphic novel worm

And I hear Leo wants to be an artist so there's a easy trip to the art museum, lunch included. I'm not sure what special thing Frank might want to do. Last time he and I really enjoyed our special walk and lunch together. Maybe that's still good. We'll see. And, of course, there's an afternoon with gpa and gma at OMSI and/or the Portland Children's Museum. I'm pretty sure this time Chance will want in on that and the hikes.

Then, at the beginning of April we leave for Europe, first stop Germany.

Photos courtesy of Kristiana and A.B.


John Oliver brillant MURDERSLAY of Donald Trump de Drumpf

John Oliver has a refreshing, hilarious reality check for those of us who are sick, I mean really fucking sick of Trump's bullshit.


Trump Unbound

"Trump found the flaw in the American Death Star. It doesn't know how to turn the cameras off, even when it's filming its own demise." — Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi's article Trump Unbound in this month's Rolling Stone is longish but you won't want it to end. It's very entertaining. And insightful. Really. It's a must read. Go! Now! Read it — though surely, it's already too late.


In her own words

From the time Chrissy was a young woman she attended the Center for Adaptive Learning in Concord, CA. It changed her life. She was high functioning on the autistic spectrum and really bloomed in the company of others and the support she found there.

Included below is a unedited paper Chrissy once wrote at The WooWoo Club, one of C.A.L.'s social/study groups she very much enjoyed. Her enthusiasm and achievements are on a level I can only aspire to. She really lived it in full.

Life Achievements by Chrissy

I am more independent. My goal is to be less co-dependent. Don't worry about what other people think. I have learned that in relationships everyone needs their space. I realize you don't have to be a victim, work through it and keep going on, move forward.

I have acceptance of my highest capacity and what I can handle with my disability. I see my disability as a positive.

I feel good about the direction I'm going in my life and seeing how far I've come. I'm able to take care of my cat I'm exercising at Curves you feel fabulous after a workout. It's taught me to live a healthier lifestyle.

The woo-woo group helps me relate to my life's situations, and learn about natural elements. I keep a daily gratude journal. Live in the present.

I am an independent woman and treasure my adult separate life and living off-site. We all have to stand on our own in our life.


Nexus farewell

We're in Concord for the weekend to participate in a memorial for Chrissy, M. Lee's sister. She passed away just before Christmas after an abrupt decline beginning in 2010. We didn't know what was happening at first but eventually it became clear that she was suffering from early onset dementia.

Today began with a more or less traditional religious service, followed by a luncheon for her friends and tonight a dinner with family and a few close friends. Chrissy's dear friend Patrick, too nervous to read his tender memorial during the church service, read it to us after dinner, on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. His words were sweet perfect closure and so it is done. Probably we will not see most of these people again. Chrissy drew us together and now we leave with our separate memories.



The GOP is not about politics anymore. It's about reality TV.