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The Adorable Teagan is Back!

July 8, 2012

She is two years and four months old.  The terrible two’s….. well, not terrible, but definitely opinionated!

“Hi Mommy!”


As we ride down the street on our bicycle, we spot a group of Harley bikers quaffing drinks at a street-side beer garden.
“Look Nana, pirates!  Where is their parrot?”


Riding the bike another day.
“Nana, I’m frustrated.”
With what?
“This bike.”
“My head itches under this helmet!”


Skyping with her Uncle Derek in California is a weekly event.  He likes to teach her how to make fake burp noises and he puts on silly faces for her.
“You are being ridiculous Uncle Dada.”


Teagan, it’s not nice to hit other children on the slide.  If you continue to do that, we will have to go home.
“No.  I want to hit them.”
“Because I want to.”


It’s time for bed Teagan.
“No.  I’m not ready yet.  One more book.  Pleeeaaase!?!?”
Who could resist?


Who is in this picture with you Teagan?
“My Princess Ariel.”


Who’s loud??


“Nana, are you home?  You’re home!”
Yes, Teagan, I’m home.
“I’m home too!”


Who are you today, Teagan?
“I’m an apple.”
“I’m estrellita.” (little star)
“I’m Super Reader!”
“I’m a frog.”
“I’m Cinderella.”
“I’m a princess.”
“I’m a BIG girl.”
“I’m a monkey.”
That’s for sure!!

Before My Rebirth

June 21, 2012

The Liquid Sparkled
Edmund Dulac
from The Little Mermaid

The thin grass strings of the ghost net were wrapped securely around my right wrist. As soon as I realized what had happened, I began to struggle. That only pulled it tighter. The lines were made strong to entrap the mahi mahi.  I had dropped the knife from my belt, swimming down to grab the immense oyster lying on the sand, under the net that I hadn’t noticed in my eagerness. The mollusk was the size of both of my hands spread out, and I could picture the pearl in the middle, as big as my thumb. In the center of that luminous pearl, a tiny grain of sand. This, my last pearl, had quickened my karma.

My knife lay next to a magnificent, lavender sponge.  Too far, I couldn’t even reach it with my foot. The needlefish nosing around it was of no danger to me now. I settled gently next to a huge fan coral that waved gracefully in the current.  A few small blue tang paused next to me.  Blue body, yellow fins, dark faces peering inquisitively. The school grew larger and encircled me. My wake.

Letting the last of the air out of my lungs, I watched the small silvery bubbles’ rushing and jostling ascent to the surface and the sun that wavered far above.  When I inhaled again, the water felt familiar in my lungs. I was back in my mother’s womb: part of the sea, the coral, and the tangs dancing around me. I found their dance and embraced it.

Cappuccino in Florence: It Doesn’t Get Better

September 6, 2011

The weather was gorgeous, the city was old and beautiful, and the lovely Sinead and I enjoyed cappuccino whenever the opportunity presented itself!

The Continued Tale of Das Boot

August 18, 2011

Das Boot made it to the top of the hill at Boboli Gardens!



Das Boot thought the view of Florence was grand from up there.



Having tried an Italian bus, Das Boot decided to ride the rails next.



To be continued…

A Day in the Life of Das Boot: Italia

August 14, 2011

Das Boot about to enter the Boboli Gardens in Florence



Das Boot riding the bus through the Tuscan countryside



Das Boot admiring the olive groves and the Siena countryside



Das Boot in reception at Palazzo di Valli, Siena



To be continued…..

British chap + Spanish explorer, sprinkle with rain and voila: Vancouver

August 4, 2011

The plan was: Amtrak train to Vancouver, Canada and then fly home a week later.  Cheapoair set up my return travel.

Rain! And more rain!  The tracks were flooded and the train was cancelled.  I stood at the check in counter at the train station with my mouth hanging open for a good sixty seconds. Who would have thought……  There was no way I was going to miss this long planned adventure, however.  I called Cheapoair as soon as I arrived back home, and had immediate success in getting a flight out the next day.

View from The Lookout

I quickly discovered that Vancouver is probably one of the most wonderful cities in North America.  Great weather… it was in the upper 60’s the whole week I was there, in late June.  A little rain early in the morning, and then sun.  Public transport was so easy to navigate and I could get wherever I wanted to go.  Food was fabulous.  You can choose from any ethnic menu imaginable, or go for an organic salad at the little corner bistro.  If you like good coffee, which is one of my favorite things, I found this was a great city to sit in a café and watch the world walk by.

Live volcano…. not spouting off today!

I didn’t get to half of the activities on my list, because every day my list grew. On my first afternoon in town, I saw floatplanes landing and taking off from the harbor. It looked like incredible fun, so I signed on and took a tour up the coastline, flying over mountains, glaciers and snow covered peaks.  That was exciting!  The next day I jumped on a shuttle bus from downtown to the southwest coast of Vancouver, and took a boat trip to watch killer whales.  Wow – incredible is an understatement!

View of Vancouver from a bike in Stanley Park

There were open-air markets, shopping, a comfortable and clean B & B, a wonderful public library, art and history museums, and gorgeous gardens. Everything and even more than I expected to find.

More stories to follow, but I am packing for Italy right now.  (Believe it or not, I broke my foot…. Frankenboot travels to Italy, too.)


They Used To Be Called Pen Pals

June 27, 2011

Long ago and far away, when I was a young girl, I loved to write letters. This was a time when there were no computers, no cell phones, and… gasp… long distance telephone calls were very, very expensive. I wrote letters to friends in the city I had moved away from.  I wrote letters to my grandparents.  I wrote notes to classmates…. (antique style texting under the table) in class!  I also had three pen pals.

I don’t remember how I acquired these pen pals.  Debbi lived in Massachusetts and owned a horse.  I had a horse too, so we had lots to talk/write about.  We even exchanged black and white photos taken with our matching, Kodak instamatic cameras.

I also had two pen pals who lived in Japan.  I think I may have made these two friends through Girl Scouts while earning one of the badges that got sewn on my sash.  Both of their names started with T, but I don’t remember anything else about them, or what we wrote about to each other.  All three of those relationships slowly fizzled out.  When I went away to college, I wrote to my parents, my friends, my grandparents.  Eventually long distance got cheaper and I did more calling than writing.

Then along came blogging.  Suddenly I found myself with all kinds of new, far away friends.  At first, I thought it was very strange to be writing back and forth with people all over the world whom I had never met.  Then I realized, it was just like having lots of pen pals!

A few weeks ago, a long discussed and organized plan coalesced.  I reserved three hotel rooms.  I purchased my Amtrak ticket.  I took a day off of work.  We exchanged phone numbers.  At noon on Friday, as I sat in Union Station in downtown Chicago, my phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID: Jeanie.  When I answered, she told me her train was sitting totally still, somewhere in South Chicago. I told her I didn’t mind waiting.  There’s plenty of people watching to be done in Union station!  After clicking off, I realized that although I’ve been communicating with Jeanie for something like three years, I had never heard her voice!  I was a little surprised at how she sounded, though I hadn’t had any expectations about it.  When she walked in to the Great Hall I recognized her immediately.  Jeanie is not shy about using her smiling face on her blog, The Marmalade Gypsy. Of course she figured out who I was when I walked up to her with my arms open.

We set off for our hotel, checked in, stowed our bags, and headed back to the lobby. There was a crowd waiting near the elevator when we stepped off, but I knew immediately that the woman standing in the middle was Diana. Otherwise known as Oh! of This Writing Life.

From that time Friday afternoon until Sunday morning after breakfast, we were off and running. We were happy to go anywhere, eat anything, walk, sit, talk, shop and nobody had a single complaint.  What we did have, was fun.

When I stepped out of the car at the train station Friday morning at the very beginning of this adventure, my youngest daughter rolled down the car window and yelled to me, “I’m telling you Mom, you’re going to meet some 40 year old creep with bodies in his basement. Be careful!” I just laughed. I knew exactly what I was going to meet: old friends.

Three Amigas photo by Jeanie


Good times in Chicago –

Shopping the Magnificent Mile


Onion Rings and French Fries and Stained Glass! on Navy Pier


After the Blues Festival in Grant Park


Photo of the “Bloggies” by the friendly waiter in the Elephant and Castle Pub