Monthly Archives: May 2022

Sleep well, little ones

“There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, Son.  I wish I could keep ‘em all away from you.”  Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

Many moons ago, a few weeks after my move to Phoenix, September 11th happened.  My then-young children and I joined our new neighbors in a candlelight vigil.  It gave us a chance to get to know and grieve with them.  After awhile one of my kids asked if it was time to blow out the candles.  I said they could but only after they sent out a wish to those affected by the violence.

My son in the second grade said “I hope they catch the bad guys who did this.”

My daughter in the seventh grade said “I hope there will be no war over this.”

My youngest, a kindergartner, thought about this for a bit and said “I wish that the mommies and daddies who died can come back for one more night to tuck in their kids and kiss them Good Night.”  And then blew out his candle, spreading his profound request into the universe. 

Decades later, and I am still moved by those words because, at the end of the day, that’s all any of us want is to be loved and protected and tucked safely into our sleep.  

While I am so incredibly proud of my adult children, and I am grateful that they are continuing to find love and awe in this world, I am also fully aware that there’s an edge of cynicism and fatalism to them. Maybe it’s simply in our DNA and the way mankind has always had to be, but, in part, I think it’s because we have failed them. There is what we teach our young: play nice, do the right thing, be honest, be kind, respect others, resolve your issues. And then there’s what we model: point fingers, play dirty to win, resort to violence, refuse to compromise, fuck ‘their’ feelings or ideals or rights, etc. etc.

We cannot expect our children to grow into the problem solvers we need them to be if we do not practice what we preach.  

I woke to the news that yet another mass school shooting took the lives of too many.  I dread the thread of debates and platitudes that will once again ensue — more arguing, more finger pointing, more blaming. 

While acts of violence and hate happen all over the word, the shooting up of children (by children) at school has become as American as our red stripes. How did we get to this point?  Why are we at this point?  Why can’t we get beyond this point?

This will again become political when our issues are not politics.  Politics are theories of governance that influence our decision making connected to what rules us.   We need to take a long, hard look at what we’ve let rule us because it aint working.  Oh, I have so much more to say, but I need to focus on doing the teacherly thing at work, which sadly is also political, but that’s a whole other conversation.

Tonight, when I go home, I will once again light a candle and make my youngest son’s wish — in reverse. And, while I know we cannot bring the dead back to life, nor change the horror of the last minutes of those young souls, I do hope the positive of what we have to offer will one day blow out the flame of this nasty reality in our communities.

Ahoy matey!

Well, I’ve made it another year among the living, and Joe stepped up our game when it comes to birthday gifts. He planned a surprise weekend trip to Rotterdam, where we spent our nights sleeping on the SS Rotterdam, a retired cruise ship that now serves as a hotel and meeting/celebration venue.

We loved it. The ship was a stunner in its day, and an affordable way for us to experience what high living would have been like in the 1960s (fittingly enough, the decade I was born). It also seems to be a hit among the Dutch because we didn’t run into any other native English speakers like we usually do when vacationing. That’s A-ok by me because in my next life I’d like to be born in the Netherlands. I just love everything about it. And the Dutch speak better English than most of us do.

Since the ship isn’t in the city center, it’s easy to drive to on a Friday night (and it has plenty of parking next to it). Best part is it has a water taxi stop, so still super easy (and fun) to tour the rest of Rotterdam, which is always a fun city to visit. In typical Netherlands style, it owns its vibe — a combination of old, modern, and a whole lot of quirky “let’s try it this way.”

A view of the ship from our water taxi, a must-do when touring Rotterdam

We mostly strolled, sipped and checked out touristy things (which are worth it) like Markthal, the cube houses, city streets and the little red ship that’s a bar restaurant (shame on me; it has a name, but I can’t remember it).

As you can see I posted several pics of the little red ship because I just liked it so much. Joe dropped the ball on NOT reserving the floating hot tub for us because hello? that so is my style. We got a kick out of the floating bus, which we also passed while it was driving on the street.

So, yep another fun weekend was had. Next up is Nice. We’re packing in our trips while packing up our pad. I don’t yet have my orders, but our next move is official. I imagine I’ll receive my orders sometime this week, which means I can schedule our furniture pickup, car shipment, etc. Our goal is to have it all done by early July, and then find ourselves in our new location sometime before my start date of August 1. I’m finally at peace with saying goodbye to all that here has to offer, and I’m totally excited to begin our new adventure. Which will be in…

Guam! Can you believe?

Image nabbed from https://www.istockphoto.com/fr/photos/guam-sunset

Oh, and I finally broke down and bought a new phone that can actually take pics, sooooooo cannot wait to see the photos Guam will bless me with. But, before then, I’ll be sure to snap plenty more of the gifts Europe continues to share with us.

Art!

So we’re filling our days appreciating nature-made and man-made art. We spent a night at a quaint seaside town in the Netherlands just so we could finally visit Keukenhof, an amusement park for flowers, mostly tulips.

Although a seaside town in April is still cold — beautiful but chilly.

The one-night trip was exactly what we needed, and the park did not disappoint (although after awhile you’re exhausted from all that color). I nabbed Joe’s phone and snapped way too many photos.

Get ready to feast your eyes on some flower power

I paint flowers so they will not die.” Frida Kahlo

Sadly all those blooms will be gone soon, and visitors will have to wait until Spring 2023 to see their offspring. But, that’s okay because there’s always plenty else to see. This past weekend we hopped on a train after work and spent the weekend in Paris, just so I could finally visit Musee d’ Orsay.

I didn’t snap too many pictures because I was getting lost in all the art. Of course I love the Impressionist wing, but it was also packed with rude folk. I totally get that people want their selfies in front of a famous piece of work, and I have no beef with that. But, there are also people who are there to actually look at those paintings. I try my best to not obstruct someone’s view; I wait my turn, and then I like to get lost in whatever I’m looking at. I’m cool with others standing next to me to do the same. Other folk actually know about the paint strokes and the craft, and they too like to look at it. And, then we’re bumped or pushed out of the way so people can do their Insta thing. It happens at all the big museums that allow photography, so there’s my rant for the day. Take your pics, but for the love of art take a moment to appreciate it too (and allow others to do the same). There are also plenty of rooms the crowds don’t flock to, and I treasured those. Plus, I bought a book loaded with pics of the museum’s collection — way better photos than I would have been able to take.

If you do get to go, don’t miss out on the top floor cafe/bar before entering the Impressionist wing. It is beautiful and totally worth the extra euros you’ll pay for your sip of wine or beer.

We were also lucky that the weather was great, so we did lots of strolling and sipping (and nibbling), which is the absolute best way to enjoy Paris (or any place for that matter).

Basically I’m winding down this school year taking in all that is near me. I’m also stressed because we’re in the beginning phase of getting things ready for our big move. I try to balance it out with planning more trips, so the next two months are going to be a see saw of “why is this so difficult” and “why is that so amazing.”

As always it will all work out in the end. Today I’m grateful that it’s Friday. There’s a beer festival and ‘street party’ going on at the Grand Place this weekend, so I’m sure we’ll find some other versions of art to enjoy in just a few hours. Bonne Weekend!

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