Working on it

We managed to return our car to Dijon last Thursday. Whatever we paid to return it to a different location was worth it to not drive back to Paris. There’s a bus at the train station (number 119) that travels through the back roads to Semur. It takes about 75 minutes and costs 1.5 Euros. It’s a wonderful ride through villages, fields with white cows and that day, impressive storm clouds.

It got cool in the evening and then this happened. It was a spectacular moment of light, crisp cold air and loveliness.

We continue to talk about the adventure of living in France for a few years. I like the challenge of learning, or at least trying to learn, a new language. Time feels different here. The break in the afternoon, how long it takes to buy bread at the patisserie, the closing days of various shops, all feels slower and easier. I am challenged by food shopping. I puzzle over whether I am buying a familiar product or making a leap into Vegan yogurt territory. It can feel exhausting but if you time things right, that is allow enough time for the puzzling, it’s quite nice.


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Week Two

My bag arrived. After a week-long vacation to unknown places. Its keeping mum about its experiences. I can only speculate about how life on the road felt to my clothes and toiletries. There was a lot of confusion about where and when one bag was to be delivered. Then the second bag entered the mix and the mix became messier. But the arrival of both bags on the same day was like Christmas and a birthday rolled into one. Even R, who has been contained about our lost luggage did a little dance of joy at having his own razor, socks, and trouser choices. Today we bask in sartorial bliss.

My bag after a week away.

I have a suggestion for BA. Never get between a curly haired woman and her hair products.

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Getting to France

We made it to O’hare on time – but then left late due to the weather.  Arriving on time (how do they do that?) to Heathrow but unable to land we missed our flight to Paris.

When we deplaned there was a nice gentleman standing at a table with tickets booked on the 3:50 flight to Paris.  We got our tickets feeling happily cared for by British Airways.  Ah, but then …. we were bused by two different buses to Terminal 4 which feels like the back of beyond.  Once there we had a coffee, put sim cards into our phones and waited for the gate to be announced for our flight.  It was a closely held secret until 5 minutes before the boarding call. We found our gate – where there is already a long line of pissed off people waiting to board.  We are told that while they booked us on the flight there was no guarantee of a seat if we did not go to the Air France desk.  Huh?  No one said we needed to do that.   We were only told to wait for the gate number.  We missed our flight.  Our luggage was not loaded. We take the bus back to Terminal 3 while I try talking to BA by phone to figure out what is going on.  I’m on hold.  For 15 minutes and then disconnected.
We arrive at the desk and I am snarkily met by a young woman who tells me over and over again that if I didn’t check in it was my fault. But they never said we had to check in, they simply said that we should wait for the gate and then go to the desk.  Alright, we are rebooked, I am pissed and we have now missed our train to Montbard where we are to be picked up.
We finally arrive in Paris – wait for 45 minutes in the passport line – go to get our bags, no bags. Not even a hint of a bag.  So I put in a report.  More snark.  Official bits of paper with no guarantee of anything good ever happening again.
We look for a hotel at the airport.  $673.00.  $830.00.  $523.00.  Okay, that’s not happening.
We’ve missed the last train.  We find a car rental desk.  We rent a car.  Sweet Katie Hopwood makes a reservation for us at a hotel 65 kms from Charles de Gaulle.  We are in a Fiat 500.  About the size of an American phone booth.  If we still had phone booths. I’m driving because I cannot bear to navigate.  Takes us three tries to get out of the airport.  Oh, and two tries to get out of the car rental parking lot.
It’s dark.  It’s raining.  It’s a challenge for me to see at night.  We begin.  Traffic is horrendous.  Motorcycles speed past us on the dividing line between one lane and the other.   One grazes my mirror.  Or at least I think he does. The bikes have their hazard lights blinking and that makes it okay.  They are traveling at twice the speed limit. Or perhaps the speed of light.  It is terrifying.
We drive.  And drive.  But finally, the traffic thins out.  The road is wet but we are not being chased by demon motorbikes.
There are tolls on this road out of Paris.  We stop to get a ticket.  And slap our hands all over the doors, the window, even the roof.  Neither one of us can find the button or handle to open our phone booth windows.  Robert steps out, walks around the car – it takes two steps, grabs the ticket and manages not to get skinned by any passing vehicles.
We arrive at the hotel, have a glass of wine and a beer and climb into bed.  Exhaustion does not lead to a peaceful sleep.
A great breakfast.  Off to Semur.  Katie meets us.  The apartment is lovely.  Really comfortable and pretty and sweet.  We go to the equivalent Walgreens – the Intermarche and buy some basics.  Underwear.  Pajamas.  A clean shirt for me, t shirts for R.  We get them home.  They smell like fish.  Yes, nasty fish.  I hang the flannels bottoms out the window and wash the other stuff and hope it dries overnight.  It does.
R’s bag is found.  Mine is not.
I got a text a while ago that says my bag is on its way from Bremen, Germany to Charles de Gaulle.  And after its lovely vacation should arrive around 7:50 this evening.  It then, once customs has pawed through them both and taken what they’d like to own, the bags will be sent down to Semur.  Sometime.  Someday.  We do not know when.
We drive to Germany tomorrow to visit friends.  We will be home on Friday night.  We may or may not have luggage.
Our first 48 hours.
We are fine.
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Edible vs. amuse bouche

I grew up in the 60’s.  Graduated from high school in 1970 so I’d be hard pressed to say I didn’t do my share of drug experiments.  But I’m not current on these things.  It took me awhile to figure out that “edibles” was not the equivalent of an amuse bouche.  I know, I know – I didn’t know what an amuse bouche was until I went to an incredibly pretentious restaurant on the Capitol Square a few years ago and was handed a tiny little porcelain spoon with an elegantly named but not so much tasting, soup. The waiter’s sneer was classic 50’s French though I’d guess he was from Stoughton.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was having breakfast with my friend in yet another cool and trendy diner type place on Pearl Street Mall.  We were talking about Boulder and the culture of drugs.  I knew what an edible was by then – you just do if you spend any time in Boulder.  In my day it was brownies.  Grassy tasting, cud like, chocolate squares that stuck with you – and stuck with you – and stuck with you.  My friend handed me a little packet, hermetically sealed with a square shaped red jelly bit inside.  She told me it wouldn’t help me sleep so not to take eat it at night.  These days I’m always looking for ways to get a full night’s sleep.

I tucked it into my bag.  And forgot about it.  Until I was in the Green Ride to DIA a week later to return home. edibles I was tired and barely listening to the chatty driver. In the illogic of public transportation we spent 25 minutes picking up another passenger on the other side of town before stopping at a hub and getting on a different bus.  The two were happy chatting to each other which allowed me to daze out and not be rude.  The driver was talking about the tourists  who are reminded by signs in their rooms that  the drugs they buy in Boulder are not supposed to leave Boulder.  It appears that maids and other hotel employees are cleaning up (yeah, I know a pun) because of all the purchased goodies that have to be left behind when tourists go home.

Something penetrated my foggy brain.  “Oh, shit!”  I began to dig around in my bag.  The other two characters began to laugh.  I found the packet and held it up.  The driver stuck his hand back between the seats, saying, “I’ll help you out with that”.  I passed it forward.

I was imagining being stopped at the always long and mildly intimidating line that snakes through the security check point- the one with the German Shepherds tacking back and forth, sniffing at pant cuffs, tote bags and pockets, led by TSA guards in mirrored sunglasses herding us into single file lines.  Triggers something in me.  Some visceral, atavistic angst that makes me more law abiding than one would think.


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April 21, 2016

I turned 64 today, right around the time that I was testing an electric bike at Lenny’s E-bikes. The bike ride was grand; whooshing along, up little hills, around curves. Enough fun for me to think about selling my beautiful Electra for one of these babies. I have to remember it’s bicycles that I like not simply the Electra.

It’s been an interesting year. I’ve said goodbye to some friends and missed the opportunity to say goodbye to others. I’m struggling with my usual mess about institutions – their purpose, value and integrity. It doesn’t escape me that the struggle is as much about my own purpose and integrity as it is about the institution but, hey, it’s my birthday, give me a break.

Birthdays awaken my desire to assess what I do with my time and energy.  It’s been clear to me for a while that I need to shift my attention a bit, spend more time doing creative work, refocus my attention on ways to teach movement work, explore some new ways of being. That’s my focus this next year.  That and reconnecting with friends and loved ones.

While it was really fun and touched me deeply to get all those facebook birthday greetings nothing is better than seeing, hugging, laughing with friends and you can’t do that on social media…yet.


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Winter is nigh …

We’ve been at the farm for about 12 weeks.  I’ve managed to paint the upstairs, closets included, and the room downstairs I’m using as an office.  But I’ve reached a stopping point – in order to continue I’d have to move everything out of the guest room and dance around it for two days while I did the painting.  Small complaint.

We’ve deconstructed the bathroom and dumped it all into the biggest dumpster in the world which was temporarily planted in our front yard.  Now that it’s gone the real work – replacing the bathroom has begun.  It’s the perfect time to leave.

The guest room has been used!  I’m trying to entice people to come up though we may shortly have only one working bathroom, well 3/4’s of a working bathroom as the shower upstairs is being measured for glass as we speak.  Every time we use it we have to mop up the floor and wipe down the walls.  While it makes for a clean bathroom it’s a pain.

As usual I’m ambivalent about living up north.  We are isolated, 17 miles from Merrill – that teeming metropolis and 24 miles from Rhinelander – land of lakes.  There are compensations.  The sunrises are sometimes breathtaking,IMG_0174 the sunsets shades of pink and blue and white.  I can hear coyotes carrying on in the woods on an evening walk.  The quiet is soothing and I don’t really mind the cold.  That’s just a matter of dressing properly.

I don’t get to see friends enough.  Leaving R without a vehicle at the farm for more than an overnight or two makes me uncomfortable though he says he’s fine.  In order to see people in town I’d have to stay a bit longer than I usually do and when the road looks like this DSC01200I think it might be better to have a car around.

I leave this coming Saturday for Boulder to teach for 8 weeks.  I feel like a slug – R is left with all of the bathroom redo to manage.  Arggghhhhhhhh!

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Up North

I finished with class in Boulder on October 9th and drove back to the farm in Gleason over the next day and a half – taking and extra five hours because I was going north rather than to Madison.  Our neighbor, Jerry King, who so often steps in to help us out when we need it was waiting for me in the driveway.  I gave him a hug and we inspected the house.  I’m sparing you the pictures, really.  While we can say there were no holes in the walls and all of the fixtures and appliances that were there when we rented it 6 years ago were still there they also had the added charm of 6 years of dust-grease-smoke and god knows what else all over them.

U-Haul @ Farm

Before we opened the door …

On October 15th I picked R up in Chicago where we stayed overnight.  Once we were back in Madison I arranged for a U-Haul for Friday morning, we cleaned out our storage shed in about 1 1/2 hours and took off for the farm.  We had to make a stop at Slumberland because we have no furniture – not even a bed.  The guy who helped us put his shoulder to the mattress and stuffed it into the truck with a grunt.  When we pulled the door open at the farm it nearly popped out flattening Jerry, R and me.

Mario & Cressidea

Cressida and Marius


The Pacific roiling behind us

We were home for a few days then took off for Half Moon Bay for the lovely, lovely wedding of Cressida and Marius.

Once we got back I delayed beginning the painting – I was afflicted by a faintness of heart – but finally got my will going and have managed to finish the upstairs room – huge as it is – and all of the closets.  I’m covered in white spots that may become part a permanent part of my “look” as I’ve decided to paint the entire inside of the house white.  Everything.  Absolutely everything.  We’ll see how long that lasts.


Compensations such as this sunrise.

While I’m ambivalent about living “up north” – I miss easy access to friends, coffee shops, entertainment, restaurants – every time I take the time to look at the sky or the trees I find myself saying, “it’s beautiful, so beautiful.”  There are compensations.


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And still going …

I spent two weeks in Madison which when I made the plan felt like it would be a long time but I found that there simply was not enough time to do and see everyone while I was there.  My friend Maggie did the road trip with me out to Boulder IMG_0942and we got to spend a few days together once here.

We found a jazz festival up in Niwot that was great fun with good music and free!  There’s a really nice restaurant called Colterra.  If you’re ever in Niwot, Colorado stop in.

Class is hurtling along. This is our class – incognito.IMG_0951 I can’t believe that we have only three weeks left.  This group is remarkable in their preparation and in their attention and that makes me happy that I’m teaching again. It’s also no surprise that some rough edges are beginning to show.  They’ve been getting two sessions a week from each other along with sitting much of the day in a classroom and trying to negotiate their real lives while doing this training.

R is in Dubai with Michelle and Nigel and will be coming home on October 15th.  I’ll pick him up at O’Hare and we’ll make our way up to the farm to see what needs to be done.  The idea of R being in Dubai while I worked here in Boulder  felt like a good plan until I realized that while I paid little attention to him while teaching he paid attention to me – and I miss that now.

Today, Friday, I’m off from class and I usually try to catch up on laundry, paperwork and cleaning.  I’ve also been known to sit in a movie theatre for a couple of hours – depends on what’s playing.



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Home again, home again

I’d like to claim that I was away long enough and that my language skills became good enough that I now hesitate and look for words in English in order to communicate here at home.  It wouldn’t be true.  If I hesitate it’s because I have to pay attention a little differently than I did.  People are actually talking to me, having conversations, expecting complex answers.

R and I spent two days in Frankfurt with a previously unmet family member (my  mother’s half brother – 12 years her junior) and his very sweet, funny wife.  Frankfurt is like any large city.  Crowded, loud, commerce driven.  I was so happy that we had spent our time in Dresden – such a fair city comparatively and on its own.  The visit was interesting as my uncle looks a bit like my mother and brother and the resemblance triggered some longings.

Time zones always confuse me.  Even daylight savings time has wreaked havoc . Friends who’ve gotten telephone calls from me reminding them to change their clocks –  the wrong direction and two weeks earlier than the rest of the world can attest to this.  So I don’t really know how long it took to get home though it felt endless.  Frankfurt airport is enormous.  Packed with travelers, suitcases, carts.  R was at one terminal and I at another, so our goodbye was a quick hug and a kiss and a dash in different directions.  It took me 30 minutes to get to my gate and that was with a terminal train doing the hard part.

I had a plane change in Copenhagen and my confusion became surreal.  I trekked along to my new gate and found myself in the middle of a high end department store.  Boss, Armani – other names I don’t know much about.  Perfume counter.  Jewelry counter, stationary counter.  The rarefied silence that seems to go with expensive stores.  Turns out you need to walk through the store to get to the terminal that leads to your gate.  Really.

I’m happy to be home – staying with my friend Rachel, having dinner and lunch with friends I haven’t seen in nearly a year, preparing for Boulder.  I’m looking forward to teaching this summer/fall and to implementing plan b and not wearing the same clothes I’ve been wearing for the past 10 months.

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Serendipity and plan b

Toward the end of our stay in Rovinj I announced one morning that I missed teaching.  Kind of out of the blue.  When I checked my e-mail later in the day – this is true – my colleague Thomas from the Rolf Institute had sent me a note saying, “Are you sure you won’t assist in August?” It felt like it was meant to be and so I said yes.


Farm house in Gleason

Also, during the course of the winter as R and I talked about our long term plans we both realized that our northern farm was probably due for some serious rehab after 6 years of being a rental property.  The two events have come together to help us form plan b and there is nothing I like better than a plan.  With notes, estimates, files and a todo list.

While this trip – it will be nearly a year long – has been great, I realized that I really want a home base, a place where we can drop our bags and not have to start all over again.  And of course, you can’t leave a house empty  for long – especially when you have winters like this.


Deershiners Drive

I’ll be leaving Dresden for Madison on July 30th, where I’ll be until August 15th or so when I’ll make my way to Boulder to begin teaching until mid-October.  R leaves on the same day for Dubai, where he’ll visit with Michelle until I pick him up at O’Hare on my way back from teaching.  We’ll move back up to the farm and begin working the farm house plan.  In there some where is a new free standing garage with an apartment on the second floor – that would be home base.


There’s a deck outside of that door these days.

The farm house is in pretty good shape.  We finished the second floor bathroom and the deck off of the upstairs before we left.The outdoor wood furnace keeps the house wonderfully warm.  Our hope is that friends and family will come to visit while we are in the process – maybe even set up a few home trades – you at the farm for a weekend, week or month – us at your place – where ever that may be.  Our goal is to get the house ready to rent again while creating a separate space for us to live when we are back home.   That’s plan b.






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