Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Update From the Northwest

Yesterday I canoed with my two sisters, a few of their children, and Danielle in Sunriver. When the waterfront worker picked us up at the end of our 2 hour trip, I asked if he liked his job.

"Yeah, except a lot of people do stupid things and end up hurting themselves here," he replied. Recently, one teenager swung out far over the river on a rope swing, but forgot to let go and smashed back hard into the rock cliff wall. Another man injured himself falling out of a porta-potty, and when his young daughter saw his gashed leg, she fainted dead away. That was just the beginning... I'll bet the emergency room does good business this time of the year.

In other news: Trina of In the Buj posted about my brother, Dan, and his wife Tam. She wrote a nice tribute -- Dan and Tam just moved back to Oregon from Burundi, Africa.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Our Law-Abiding Neighbor

Olaf, our neighbor across the road, waves and says "Hallo!" whenever we see him. He's also the self-appointed "enforcer" of German laws in our neighborhood (given that many of us rent our rowhouses, so haven't lived here long enough to memorize the entire canon of South Germany rules ...).

Mike, an American who lived next door to us for two years, had a feud going with Olaf. Mike's daughter liked to play her rock music loudly with the windows open on Sunday afternoon. You may not realize, but Baden-Wurttemberg has quiet hours during the week from 1-3:00 in the afternoon, and all day on Sunday and holidays. This means: no lawn-mowers revving up then, no screaming and shouting, no loud car engines, and of course, no stereos blasting. But Mike didn't take kindly to Olaf's reminders about needing to be quieter. In fact, he may have encouraged his daughter to continue playing her music at an even higher volume. Maybe it's just as well that they're no longer living kitty-corner to each other.

But I had to chuckle at what my husband, Jeff, described seeing this morning--the neighbor directly across from us owns a huge golden retriever that barks its head off at random moments. Olaf walked over to their patio and leaned close to the fence. He whispered to the dog, "shhh, shhh," and held his finger to his lips. For several minutes, Olaf stayed there, making sure the retriever understood the importance of quiet hours. After he left, all was silent.

Now, if I still had cranky toddlers? I'd hire Olaf in an instant. Then I'd let him work his magic during nap-time. This man has a gift.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Oregon, Here I Come

In less than a week, I'll be setting foot in Oregon again. My folks are celebrating their 50th anniversary, and (miracle of miracles), all four of us kids plan to celebrate with them. Danielle's going too, on a separate flight. I'm gloating here: got the ten hour, straight shot Lufthansa flight! Last time, Anna and I had two LONG connections, and by the time we boarded the last plane headed towards the west coast, I came very close to using my handy "personal motion discomfort bag."

I won't be able to connect much with friends in Portland--most of the time is booked--a week in Sunriver with the entire clan, and a few days in Newport at the beach. So I guess that means I'll need to make a repeat trip soon...

What I can't wait for:
* The one-of-a-kind Sylvia Beach Hotel, a hotel for book lovers! This place is quirky and fun. A spot to meet intriguing people from all over the world. Check out some of the rooms.
* Walking along Nye Beach and listening to the waves. Picking up smooth rocks. Hearing the seagulls. Feeling the ocean mist on my face.
* Laughing with my family at the same old stories and silly jokes we bring up each time.
* Cycling along the trails at Sunriver. Sighting hawk, deer and maybe elk.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

For My Youngest Sister

Susan -- hope you had a wunderbar birthday celebration!

I'm bringing you a gift from Germany (just pray it doesn't break in the suitcase).

A few of your special qualities:
* You combine an artist's outlook with a down-to-earth business mind.
* You're always willing to try ethnic food--Thai, Mexican, Ethiopian, or any other triple chili pepper blend.
* You inspire me with your fitness walking.
* You have a knack for learning new things quickly.
* You care about your kids and take time for them.
* You make me laugh!
* You don't remind me too often that I'm the older sister.

Susan, I could write a lot more, but I mainly want you to know that I love you and you'll always be an important part of my life. I'm glad we got to spend time together in Italy last November and I'm looking forward to seeing you again in less than a week. Let's treat ourselves to espressos and tiramisu...

Sunday, August 05, 2007


If I hadn't started painting, I would have raised chickens. -- Grandma Moses

Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar. -- Pablo Picasso

I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could. -- Georgia O'Keefe

Art is never finished, only abandoned. -- Leonardo da Vinci

Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly? -- Frida Kahlo

I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me--like food or water. -- Ray Charles

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Waiting Game

Well, I'm feeling productive. Got a themed collection of thirty-five Africa poems off in the mail yesterday to a children's/young adult publishing house. Now, I'll wait a long time for their reply. Also, I have two children's picture book stories out at a different publishers, along with several poems submitted to Weavings journal.

Time to figure out what to focus on now. Should I work on chapter 3 of a young adult novel I started awhile back? Or pick up the thread of an old picture book that needs reworking? I could send out a few completed essays that came back with a "no..."last month. Choices, choices.