Archives for June 2011


I am sitting on the dock listening to the lapping of waves and groan and creak of boat against wood. The sun leaves a trail on each wave, and I feel myself beginning to unwind all the places that are bound by time and to-do’s and responsibility.

Busy-ness has released its grip and I find myself with more space to think. Space for words to travel from heart to head to fingertips. Activity tends to fill the space where words should be. It’s a relief, to think on things other than schedules and playdates, discipline and decisions. And I wonder if maybe all of my busy-busy thinking and doing actually takes away from the real thinking and doing.

Short of being on a perpetual vacation, how do you strike a balance?


Dandelion wishes

My little one loves to pluck dandelion seed heads. She carries them to me, tight fisted wishes on hollowed stems. I smile, close my eyes, and scatter seeds to the wind. She asks me if I made a wish, and I smile again without answering. The truth is, I never do.

A few days ago, as I was driving past an open field, a breeze blew sideways across my path. Caught on that breeze were hundreds of seed heads, floating gently against blue sky, green tree and black road. It was such a sweet surprise. A little extraordinary moment in my day that brought me back to my girl’s bright brown eyes waiting on wishes.

I slowed enough to watch them float for a few seconds and I thought about all of the wishes I would attach to them if I knew that for each request there would be an answer. Life doesn’t really work that way, but wouldn’t it be grand if it did?


In the stacks

We’ve been back in the States for just over a week now, and I am being slowly seduced by the ease and convenience of being here. It started with this overwhelming feeling of relief. One big, delicious sigh of understanding. I get this. I get the rules and the tenor and the general USA-ishness of it all.

I’ve found myself getting lost in other people’s conversations (some might call it eavesdropping, I prefer to call it overly acute hearing). I’m enjoying small talk and smiles and 24 hour convenience, because there are times that one may want to take three jet-lagged kids to the grocery store at 5am. Oh yes, there are.

I had once believed Target to be the greatest seductress of them all, but I was wrong. It’s the library, in all it’s florescent lighted, geriatric, hushed glory. Not having ready access to the written word, has been one of the most difficult things about living in Switzerland. The internet does a fine job of keeping me up to date with the latest releases and such, but there is nothing like walking among the rows and stacks to make me feel like I’m home.

Big, delicious sigh.


Five Minute Friday: Home

I thought I’d give the Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday another try. It’s more challenging than I expected, but this week’s prompt hit on a topic very close to my heart.

Here are the rules:

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.
Prompt: Home

It’s been many places over the years, and I think we’ve left a bit of ourselves in each place we’ve called home. I’m not exactly sure where home is anymore, but I do know this:

Home is where I understand the underlying meaning, where I can laugh at all the right places and nod to the cultural references.

Home is the terraced place in the middle of the big city where my son drew his first breath and fell asleep in his Mama’s arms.

Home is where I struggle to make sense of the crazy that is a foreign language, and where I wake up to an Alpine view that would make God weep for the beauty of it.

Home is where my husband mows the lawn and I make babies, and we build a life and a family.

Home is here, right here, on this blog where you and I meet over a word or two.

Home is….

Head on over to Lisa-Jo’s to read more.


Weekend Wanderings: A castle and a beer the size of my head

The kids had a few days off school recently and we decided to brave chilly weather and some rather unfortunate attitudes and take a road trip to Germany. Our first stop was Neuschwanstein Castle. After a long drive, we were all a bit desperate to find a toilet. Due to a ridiculously complex system of parking, paying, and castle transport, three of us were able to make it to the toilet before climbing on board this fairytale horse and buggy ride.

Two of us were not. Unfortunately, it was the two of us with the least bladder control: the youngest and the one who’s given birth three times. Let me tell you, that was no fairytale ride.

We arrived with 30 seconds to spare before our tour, prayed they had a working toilet (they did), and entered a fascinating world of color and storybook surprise. The kids decided to embrace the fairytale theme and brought their best impressions from the dark side. To which I was forced to channel my inner Wicked Witch, and say things like “You know, there are poor kids in Africa who would do anything to be in this castle right now”.

Because that’s what poor children wish for instead of a healthy meal…a castle in Germany with a cranky mother who needs to use the loo.

The castle is set like a jewel between evergreen and rock, and from every room the views made my breath catch. Stunning.

We had our fill of the castle, helped ourselves to bowls of goulash and fried cream cheese pastry balls, and piled back into the car for another hour’s drive to Munich.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, as so many of Germany’s cities were destroyed in the war, but Munich has been beautifully and faithfully restored.

We took the kids to the Hofbrauhaus, a world famous biergarten, where it takes two hands to lift the beer stein. When we arrived the place was in comfortable chaos. Tables filled with food and frothy mugs, men in leiderhosen bustling by, and a traditional German band complete with accordion. We ate to the slamming of steins on wood and music floating on pretzel tinged air.

The next day, there was more bad-itudeness, so we doled out punishment in the form of an art museum. No fun, just art. Old art. I think it may have been one of the best punishments ever because too often when I’m punishing the kids, I’m also punishing myself.  The kids managed to find a bit of fun anyway. There is nothing like splashing water on a chilly day to inspire brotherly and sisterly affection.

Next stop: the USA….to be continued….