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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

I only know that it has to do with women,” Mr. Gaetz said. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/01/us/politics/matt-gaetz-justice-department.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

We just cannot look away from the scandal of a certain Florida Panhandle Republican. Last year, while we were vacationing on 30A, we learned that Gaetz was living with a young man he alternately introduced as his aide, his pool boy and sometimes his “son.” Although he never adopted a child, ever. But today, it looks like payments for sex thru certain Apps, to women as young as 17, is bound to catch up with him.

Winning the prize for Most Vile Republican (still in office) is now a toss-up, Matt Gaetz or Ted Cruz?

The Bride has been making plans for another trip to the lower Panhandle on 30A. Bookings in Florida are few and far between because most people want to travel by car during our pre and post pandemic transition. And I understand, being in an airport for the first time in a year was frightening. My only requirements for another getaway? A golf cart and a heated pool! Also, I’ve decided to only live in caftans from now on!

Bob was missing his hot tub last night as temps dropped down below freezing. Here in Nashville, Spring has arrived with a vengeance. The daffodils Ms Berdelle spread around town have finally opened, the ground is carpeted with cherry blossoms, and the recent flooding is receding. Doves coo and perform mating rituals outside my window; robins and squirrels remind me to refill the bird feeder.

We seem to be emerging from a long, dark pandemic winter – taking baby steps, not sure what this new, vaccinated normal will look like.

Human mating rituals have never been easy, even pre-Covid and before dating Apps. I’m feeling sorry for single people now, will they put a giant V on their profile picture to prove they’ve been vaccinated? Where will they go on a first date? Is it OK to do inside dining? What was Gaetz thinking when he arranged these liaisons?

“One person said that the men also paid in cash, sometimes withdrawn from a hotel ATM.

Some of the men and women took ecstasy, an illegal mood-altering drug, before having sex, including Mr. Gaetz, two people familiar with the encounters said.”

Imagine that, we are hearing about the drug habits of two very different men simultaneously – one was Black from Minnesota, the other is still alive, and White.

After a week of quarantine, and one sleepover, the Grands have returned to school, smiling inside their Happy Masks. And the Rocker and his Bride have resumed house hunting in LA. It’s a sellers market with very few homes available, but we’re confident the right property will pop up. And when it does, our designing, Daughter-in-Love will transform its bones into the perfect abode, complete with a separate music studio. Fingers crossed.

This week in Nashville we had our first dinner guests – aside from the small family pod. I actually put on real shoes and make-up. They came inside our house… bearing a salad… and we hugged… no masks. Small talk felt big at first, then we settled into a delightful evening. The crepe shop around the corner has reopened. Passover has passed and Easter is on the horizon.

Will Gaetz resign before the Resurrection?

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Bob and I are home, with the Bride’s family in Nashville. The Rocker and Aunt KiKi are back in LA. Between airports and airplanes we’ve spent about 15 hours traveling and not sleeping, so let the jet lag begin! I never thought I’d be so happily punch/drunk/sleep/deprived in my life. But hey, who thought 2020 was going to happen?

We wore our masks everywhere – and an N95 to boot in the airports. Delta is still keeping that middle seat empty, so if you’re ready to book a trip, this airline is taking social distancing seriously. But pack some food, because meal service can be spotty. We were on our own from LA to The Big Island, but we flew home through Atlanta and actually had our choice of chicken or ravioli. Of course it wasn’t Pop Bob’s ravioli, but it wasn’t bad.

If a lava landscape looked like a delicious pan of brownies, coming out of the clouds over Tennessee looked like an explosion of Spring. I wasn’t used to that much greenery, or driving, or car alarms going off in the airport parking lot. Great Grandma Ada always talked about transitions, and how we need to re-enter the real world slowly after a vacation. We need to be kind to ourselves; and after this past year we all need to be extra kind.

I called my brother Dr Jim just to check in, the way I’d always call Ada.

We’re going to Zoom in a few minutes with my big sister Kay and our brother. Being the youngest of six, and now only three, we need to keep each other up to date. I wonder if the Flapper knows we are keeping track of each other? MN, NY and TN. She would be happy to hear that the baby she lost has become the one who keeps us together, via email and social media now. But soon, very soon, in real life too! The Groom wants to develop an App about “In Real Life.” But I can’t spoil the surprise.

It’s funny, only the the tippy top of my feet were burned in Hawaii. Guess I thought the sun couldn’t shine through my sandals. But Spring is here and the sun is shining and my beautiful tulip magnolia is in full bloom. Can you feel the warmth?

The Grands have to quarantine for the next week… so no school. We have a date for some Nutella crepes at the newly reopened Red Bicycle! Tornado schormado – French crepes will survive! We have faced an active volcano, a tornado and this pandemic. Nothing can stop us now!

Hope you have all got your vaccines scheduled and you’re ready to rumble!

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Let’s face it, I miss Target.

Ever since a friend back in NJ told me to call it “Tar-jay” I’ve been addicted. It’s lost the French cachet long ago, yet I’m still drawn to the red bullseye. It’s kind of a happy place, is that the appeal? The friendly salespeople and cashiers, the Starbucks right at the entrance, the great selection of toys for the Grands? It’s been almost a year since I stepped foot in a Target.

Two years ago, when we moved Great Grandma Ada down to Nashville after she broke her hip, we had a little “incident” at Target. It was our first outing together and we were both looking forward to it since Target provides huge, red, motorized Smart Shoppers (electric carts with big baskets) for people with mobility issues. I knew that Ada had used these carts back in NJ at Costco, and I thought this shopping expedition would help her to feel more independent.

Unfortunately, she accidentally went forward instead of back, and rammed me into the men’s shorts I was scanning for Great Grandpa Hudson. It must have been forceful since I ended up in her lap with two broken ribs. I’d never seen so many red shirts appear at once and it didn’t help that one young woman said, “Don’t worry, this happens all the time!”

Ada didn’t want to go near Target again, and would carefully avoid me at the Nashville Zoo on a motorized cart. But that wasn’t my first rodeo with the discount chain.

I was a newly transplanted Yankee who was surprised to see signs on stores and restaurants in Virginia about allowing or NOT allowing guns into their premises. I’d never seen so many signs about guns in my life. And right after I started my wedding blog to inform friends and family about the Bride and Groom’s wedding plans in the Blue Ridge, there was a big social media push to ban guns from shops like Starbucks and Target.

Naturally, I got involved because Target was slow to buy into the idea of not letting guys in camo roam freely with their rifles slung over their shoulders like so many Rambos. I joined the boycott of Target, writing #Target! I missed it then too. It was before one would even think of buying something online after all.

When did Target become a bastion of Liberal ideology? Is it so wrong to not want a child to reach into his mother’s handbag, while she’s looking at shorts, and pull a trigger? When did Democrats decide that this was the one and only place to shop for paper products, or dog food? It is one of America’s largest Publicly Traded Companies that started out as a high-end private department store named Dayton’s:

“Target Corp. engages in owning and operating of general merchandise stores. It offers curated general merchandise and food assortments including perishables, dry grocery, dairy, and frozen items at discounted prices. The company was founded by George Draper Dayton in 1902 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN.”

https://www.forbes.com/companies/target/?sh=64e6650e5274

I double-downed on my commitment to Target once they saw the light and decided to ban guns from all their stores. And here in Nashville, there are two Targets within a 5 mile radius!

Now I know I could’ve used Shipt to deliver things from Target, like we do with Publix groceries, but that’s not the point after all. It’s more of an experience, like the time I spotted Reese Witherspoon in a Draper James dress and sunhat!

After hugs from the Bug and Pumpkin, will Target be my very first post-pandemic trip? Here we are in a Bateau Mouche on the Seine; we were visiting the Bride in Paris for the Millennium.

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In order to grow, we humans must face our fears and jump into the unknown, like the deep end of the pool. We need to cross barriers and borders in order to learn from one another, to understand the world, both the wild and the human side, in all its glory. It can be exhilarating and scary at the same time.

Otherwise, we would all be experiencing a life of quiet desperation.

The famous Henry David Thoreau quote always terrified me, even as a young girl. I remember riding along the NJ Parkway on family trips, looking at people in their cars as they passed by and wondering if they’d given up. Were their dreams a mere memory?

When Thoreau wrote “Walden; or Life in the Woods,” I thought he was telling us that we must become monks, and live in a hermitage far from civility in order to avoid the trap of conformity. Maybe that’s why we started our married life on a mountain in the Berkshires. And ended up building our first house together in the Blue Ridge. Living here in a city, has taught me that we actually do need people at times.

“The book describes an interesting experiment Thoreau made with his own life when he moved to live in a cabin in a forested area by Walden Pond, Massachusetts. Among many other things, the book advocates solitude, self-reliance, contemplation, proximity to nature, and renouncing luxuries as means of overcoming human emotional and cultural difficulties. Thus, Thoreau in fact suggests in the book that people can stop leading lives of desperation and can improve their condition. The Walden experiment was initiated by the conviction that there is no need to go on living in desperation, quiet or not.” Psychology Today 

This year has been so (insert overused word, like “unprecedented”). And like most things that we cannot control, we have all been trying to find ways around our semi-quarantine world. We have learned to Zoom, have groceries “Shipted,” to have plants curbside delivered, to visit grandparents through glass in a vestibule. Our vacations are put off. Some of us have lost jobs. Americans, in a communal way, have been quietly desperate for about 25 weeks now. And we’re getting bone tired.

Is it September yet?

Today, Bob and I are going to look at some RVs. In the past, I was never one to “renounce luxuries” and sleep on the ground in a tent. Now that I’m older, I’m still not! But the thought of traveling around with your bed in the back of a camper sounds mighty appealing. And not just for us, sales of RVs nationally have risen over 40% compared to last summer. https://www.forbes.com/sites/edgarsten/2020/08/03/rv-sales-rev-as-vacationers-avoid-hotels-air-travel/#29e7cd2a254bn

Granted, I have no idea what to expect.

Just as remote school has begun, and BIG news – today pedal taverns are allowed back on Broadway?? – this may be the moment to try something new!

The Rocker went camping last weekend in California, in a tent. But they couldn’t light a fire for obvious reasons. Still they loved it and brought their dog along. What if we packed up Ms Bean and headed west, escaped all the city noise, the hammering and digging and nail guns and leaf blowers, and stepped into the unknown world of recreational vehicles?

My Granddaughter had a virtual sleepover to celebrate her 8th birthday this weekend with her friends! Each kid has an iPad for school, and they were allowed to Zoom late into the night from the comfort of their own beds. Here is the Love Bug on her new wheels!

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Is there some food you seem to be craving more during this pandemic lockdown? For me it’s bacon. I never used to buy bacon – even in the old days I’d buy turkey bacon, which wasn’t fooling my family at all. Now you will always find maple flavored or honey smoked bourbon bacon or just plain ole bacon bacon in my refrigerator.

In fact, we just had BLTs for lunch.

We celebrated the Rocker’s Leo birthday by sending him a Postmates gift card. Guess what he’s craving? Sushi! Then while he and Aunt Kiki were on a Left Coast dog beach, we Zoomed with the whole family, from Nashville to LA via a quarantined garage apartment. Remind me to buy the Groom a plant for his real Zoom background, or maybe he could find a good virtual background?

Celebrations can be strange in the Time of Coronavirus. Appropriately enough, I posted a picture to the Rocker’s Facebook timeline for his birthday that shows him sitting on top of Chicago. Literally. He and KiKi are seemingly floating on the Ledge of Willis Tower. I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly how I’m feeling… like I’m floating in time and space..

Like that time we went up over Charlottesville in a hot air ballon and I found out the pilot had no idea where we would land! Drifting up towards the treetops was exhilarating at first, then it quickly turned terrifying. No one had bothered to tell me that this was normal, that our landing was dependent on the wind and the nearest farmer’s field.

So I thought I would listen to another Martha Beck Insta-something this morning. She reeled me in with this topic: “The Secret to Feeling Better;” who doesn’t want to feel better??

Beck tells us that, “What we resist, persists.” Maybe this is why I can’t stop buying bacon? She is talking about emotional trauma, or the muscle pain of some new exercise. Go with the flow y’all. Now anybody who ever dropped into a yoga class has heard that one, but did you know the opposite is true?

When good things happen, and we try to grasp and hold onto them for dear life, they slip away. But more and more good things will happen if we can just detach from that overwhelming feeling of joy. We are supposed to simply meditate and find that calm center, between the extremes, because good and bad things happen all the time.

So when we resist the bad things they stay, and when we embrace the good things they leave? Beck is insisting that we get stuck when we hold on too tight. Well sorry Martha, but I’m holding onto the good things right now.

Tomorrow the Bride and the Grands will be tested for the virus, and I’m sure they will test negative. After all, they have excellent immune systems! I’m baking banana bread with chocolate chips, because I can’t let Bob win the bread-baking championship. And yesterday I did some online shopping for Great Grandma Ada, and I accept my addiction to Amazon.

While I’m grasping for good news, I’m proud to call myself a RESISTER. The Flapper always described herself as a REBEL, so it must be in my genes. I resist our plodding towards autocracy, and I resist the Trumpers who feel as if WE are the tyrants for wanting them to wear masks. The sheer audacity of their selfish, insipid belief system is staggering.

Yes, I’m supremely attached to my children and grandchildren, I admit it! Why try to detach or deny my overwhelming love for these people? I know they don’t really need me anymore; they are all tax-paying adults, who know how to order by InstaCart and cook. But do they put bacon on their turkey meatloaf?

This is me holding onto the Rocker’s Cleo for his work on Dunkirk a few years ago.

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I’ve never been a morning person, I’m more of a late afternoon type.

But having babies that woke with the birds and school buses showing up before dawn turned me into one. I always thought that once the nest was empty I could sleep until noon, but my biological clock just doesn’t permit it. And now living in a city, the sounds of trucks compete with birdsong to get me up early; and hearing the ding of a text from the Bride punctuates what always threatens to be another ground hog day of cleaning and cooking.

She asked about bringing the Grands over for “Lunch in the Garden.” Of course I immediately said, “Yes!”

Bob and I got the corn hole set out of the shed and put the finishing touches on a lovey who had required stitches. I found the book I’ve been reading to them about authors when they were children. Today they chose a chapter on C S Lewis, who was born Clive Staples, but changed his name to “Jack” after his dog Jackie was hit by a car.

I told them that I once had a dog that was hit by a car, and it’s absolutely the saddest thing in the world. The Bug looked at me as if to figure out what that might feel like, so I quickly moved on. Their dog Guiness is the same age as Ms Bean, so we have a few years left.

After lunch, we set off for a masked walk in our neighborhood, the Love Bug was looking for a certain flower. We found trees to climb, a fountain of freezing cold water, but not the particular purple flower she was thinking of, although we found some red roses and pink dahlias.

When we returned, the mailman (in a mask) had delivered a present for them – it was the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. The Bride seemed intrigued and I’m pretty sure tonight’s menu will include a special English pudding. The Groom has been reading Harry Potter at bedtime, if he’s not On Call at the Covid ICU.

I have a funny feeling we may want to plan our first trip after quarantine to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Hollywood. That way we can visit the Rocker and Aunt KiKi too. Day dreaming about travel is a good use of my time.

This morning with the onset of sunny, summer temperatures, the wind seemed tropical. I could close my eyes and think about our favorite island in the French West Indies. We would always shower after the beach and the pool, after the heat of the day, around 4pm. Then we would dress for dinner. Dinner on a French island can take hours, and Bob never complains about the time. I live with someone who cannot wait in a line, except on this island.

Because on vacation we all slow down, and now we have the opportunity to slow down in real time. There is no hurry to accomplish anything on our 9th week of lock down. We were supposed to have a little FL beach vacation with the kids on 30A next month. We were hoping we could isolate for a week or two, and then be able to vacation together, to really hug the Love Bug and my Pumpkin. But right now, that’s looking very unlikely.

Bob is baking sourdough bread and I am mending corduroy pants. My first attempt at Japanese embroidery has been frustrating, but I have all the time in the world to pull out stitches and try again.

How about you? Are you doing time, marking time, are you crossing the days off your calendar? Or can you appreciate how this Great Pause is changing us for the better? Here are the Grands right before I asked them if they could do a tree pose on a tree limb.

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Coronavirus is the bug; and the boat, harbored in the Japanese port of Yokohoma, is the Diamond Princess. This would be my idea of a living hell.

I’ve already suffered from a mosquito bite that infected me with West Nile, another dainty little virus that blossomed into a severe case of encephalitis. It was the worst headache I’d ever had, for a week, and it left me with a significant visual loss. Having to endure something similar, on a cruise ship, in a foreign country…

Also, Bob and I have never really wanted to set sail with thousands of strangers on one of those multi-level behemoths. Maybe it was that first outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease? I must admit I’ve become a bit hypochondriacal in my later years – if someone sneezes I will immediately turn and walk away, I’ll take the next elevator, I may even start wearing a mask!

Bob’s more about action and adventure, he told me that all you do on a cruise is “Eat,” but that was purely anecdotal. Maybe he’s afraid of gaining a pound or two? He’s certainly not afraid of a little virus, he loves to tell me how many teensy tiny organisms live on our bodies all the time! “It’s a cesspool!”

Yesterday, 99 new people have tested positive for the Coronavirus on the Diamond Princess, with nearly 400 Americans onboard. So far, only 46 Yanks have tested positive and they were promptly sent to a Tokyo hospital. I guess we should feel good that at least our government has started to evacuate its citizens back to the US, where they will have to be quarantined for another two weeks.

But what if your spouse tests positive? Would you return home without them?

There are now 542 sick patients on the boat because somehow or another their attempt at a quarantine failed miserably. Some blame it on the crew who ate together with their masks off. But really, no one knows. The Diamond Princess has the largest number of infected people outside of China.

Last week a pilot-friend of Bob’s called him from Colorado. He’d been at an IT conference in California with many Pan-Asian participants. After he returned home, he received a letter from the conference organizers saying an attendee traveling on his airline (though, luckily, not his flight) had tested positive, and if he exhibited any symptoms he should promptly go to the nearest ER. Since he didn’t want to be quarantined and wrapped up in a bubble, he thought he’d call my husband.

“Have you had any fever?” Bob said. Luckily the answer was no.

We are considering another river cruise. We really enjoyed our trip down the Danube on a Viking ship with slightly less than 200 passengers. The only bad thing that happened was a woman falling, she broke her leg on a slippery hill in a small town. Sadly, we had to leave her behind in an Austrian hospital.

Travel is risky. But now is the time to do it according to AARP, while we can still hike and change currency with the best of them. We need to keep expanding our minds, learning new things before the inevitable losses of old age. So we’re putting together another trip this year with our Italian chefs, Marco and Claudio for the Fall. This is my idea of heaven, laughing, trekking and cooking, absorbing a different culture, with a group of friends.

Next stop, Corsica!

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Yesterday, a crocus pushed its shiny, new green leaves up in our garden. I remember always being surprised to see the little flower in the midst of snow and ice in the Berkshire Mountains. It is the harbinger of spring, just as sure as a robin jumping around in the grass. But this time, it’s too early; the first week of a new year should find us deep into winter with hats and scarves and gloves. Instead, today it will be 60 degrees.

“In addition to Crocus’ merit as a beautiful and cheerful winter bloomer, one species, C. sativus, is the source of the spice saffron. Henry Beston describes C. sativus in Herbs and the Earth (1935, D.R. Godine, Publisher, Inc.): “An autumn Crocus with a long history as a drug, a flavoring powder, and a pigment, only the golden stigma of the flower being used… May not overwinter.”  True enough, although many Crocus are perennial in Tennessee, as a USDA Hardiness Zone 8 plant C. sativus may not overwinter for many Tennesseans. If that doesn’t deter you from growing your own saffron, Steven Still writes that “about 7000 flowers are required to produce 3 ounces of saffron.”  https://ag.tennessee.edu/news/Pages/POM-2016-02.aspx

I had no idea the costliest spice in the world comes from a crocus!

Makes me want to dig up my old, Julia Child paella recipe. I was thinking about my younger, newly married self in the car the other day; living in Cambridge, MA and spotting Julia herself at the small green grocers’.  NPR was interviewing a chef about his “…worst kitchen disasters.” Of course, it was slicing off the tip of a finger with a mandolin his first time on live TV!

I’ve managed to avoid the dreaded mandolin injury – I use mine to slice whisper thin vegetables into my veggie lasagna. But one of my very first attempts at the fine art of cuisine in Cambridge does come to mind. I almost torched my kitchen when I tried making Julia’s recipe for Coq au Vin! Since then, I’ve left anything flambeed to the experts. Even resisting the urge to buy a tiny blowtorch to crinkle-brown creme brulee – my favorite dessert!

I wish my keyboard did l’accent aigu“Getting your (French) accents right is the difference between being a pêcheur (fisherman) and a pécheur (sinner). Which one would you rather have on your résumé?”

Parsley and rosemary are still growing in the garden, even some of Bob’s winter kale seems hardy and ready to be harvested. The Bride and her family are returning soon from Hawaii and I’d like to cook them something for their first night back. Maybe I’ll buy some red wine and make a big pot of Boeuf Bourguignon! Like every good semi-Southern cook I’ve got some bacon in the fridge and I know the L’il Pumpkin loves this dish.

Although, after hearing about their first Kalua Pig in a Pit, where the Love Bug definitely did not like the idea of unearthing the body of a full-on, dead, roasted pig, I may have to get creative with vegetables and her old stand-by, pasta. Maybe we’ll roast some marshmallows on the fire pit, and pretend it’s still winter! Here they are on a lava rock.

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Since Bob has retired, I’ve found our roles have reversed. I was always the one in the know, collecting local news and crafting interesting stories that would eventually help light up the wood stove. Newspapers still sell, but mostly online today. Without my deadline, I write whenever I please about whatever I want, and I’m no longer constantly on the hunt for tidbits of local lore.

Bob, on the other hand, has been picking up garbage once a month with a dedicated group of neighbors, and has joined a few Nashville associations; he’s become a regular social activist!

Aside from catching up on all the development going on in North Nashville, including going to those dreaded zoning committee meetings, he’s signed us up for something called “The Villages.” And no, it’s not that place in Florida.  https://www.aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/info-04-2011/villages-real-social-network.html

This is a national aging-in-place movement that started in the Back Bay area of Boston – which is strangely enough where I started my college career at Emerson in 1966. We have a core group of people dedicated to keeping our community informed and helping our neighbors; almost like co-housing. Our weekly ride to T’ai Chi with a 93 year old friend, who stopped driving at 90, is one small part of this plan, which also includes pot-luck suppers. Mostly, it’s a way to stay connected, stay in our homes, and combat loneliness.

I’ve mentioned many times that our generation was going to age differently. After all, we brought you the Women’s Movement and the Civil Right’s Movement, so it’s only fair we bring you the Old Geezer Movement too.

Anyway, our Village has organized a day trip this weekend to Alabama. Why, one might ask would I want to go to Alabama just when the weather has dipped below freezing? The state that just might elect Jeff Sessions again to the Senate. The state with probably more Confederate flags flying than any other state in the union.

Because it’s the site of one of the prettiest Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the country and I LOVE Frank Lloyd Wright – and it’s in FLORENCE, AL! https://www.wrightinalabama.com/

“A genuine work of art—from the floors to the furnishings to the faucets—the Rosenbaum House grows naturally from its surroundings, cascading down a 2-acre lot facing the Tennessee River. It is one of the purest examples of Usonian design (named for the USA) with open floor plans and rooms that naturally flow from one to another. Built in 1939, the same year Wright delivered his treatise on organic architecture, this significant structure is cypress, glass, and brick and still has original hardware and furnishings designed by Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright freed Americans from Victorian “boxes” and revolutionized art and architecture. He was born just two years after the Civil War and died two years after the launching of the satellite Sputnik and is considered to be America’s greatest architect. Originally built for $12,000 as an affordable, middle-class home, the house is the only Wright design open to the public in the southeastern United States.”

Call me excited! People fly in from all over the world to see this house! Our Rumson house had his Usonian style, and our home on a mountain in the Blue Ridge was designed with clean white oak floors and trim with lots of windows. I’ve been an Art Deco fan girl since forever and yet only managed to look from the outside at one of Wright’s homes in Minnesota once. Or was that St Louis?

Somehow, in all my trips from VA to TN, I never stopped at Falling Water in PA, and that’s something I’ll have to add to my bucket list now.

Note to self, don’t forget to Facetime with Aunt KiKi (my Daughter-in-Love) from Alabama since she is one super talented designer in California and working on many renovations of this vintage.

Happy Weekend Y’All! Oh and here’s an old pic of our VA not/so/big house. I do miss my little 3rd floor aviary.

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The big move was done in little pieces. We ferried small things over in our car piece by piece, the ubiquitous Pod was delivered and emptied by a team of BellHops, then finally Music City Movers emptied our townhouse. Ten days later I threw a Seder for family and friends – 17 altogether. To say I’m exhausted would be missing the point; I’m feeling like I got hit by a truck and I don’t have the flu….

Remember that book we all read years ago, required reading in every high school English class, “The Things They Carried.”

Twenty years ago, writer Tim O’Brien released a book of stories about young men and war, his war, Vietnam. Among many other things, he listed the weight of each soldier’s clothes, canteens and can openers. From the book: Every third or fourth man carried a claymore antipersonnel mine, 3.5 pounds with its firing device. They all carried fragmentation grenades, 14 ounces each. They all carried at least one M-18 colored smoke grenade, 24 ounces. Some carried CS or tear gas grenades. Some carried white phosphorous grenades. They carried all they could bear and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125128156

I’ve been reevaluating all the things I’ve carried around with me from my glory days as a new wife and mother in Massachusetts, to moving back to NJ when the Rocker was just 2 and unpacking was almost impossible, to building our small house overlooking the Blue Ridge in Virginia. Then finally the fantastical move to Nashville, leaving Bob to sell most of our furniture to the new owners of our house, while I stayed here on Nana duty.

Unlike Great Grandma Ada, who cocooned in her home for fifty years collecting the things her two sisters left behind, I’ve had ample opportunity to prune and shed the things that were weighing me down.

I still carry: some of the school papers from my children; the Bride’s baby dresses; a big, antique French cupboard; the heron and guinea hen prints, the kilt I was wearing when I first met Bob; my 1960s avocado green mixer; my 60s blue Dutch oven, the one I found in a store in Cambridge, MA, the same store I’d see Julia Child shopping in from time to time, it’s a heavy workhouse of a pot that found its way back into my heart during Seder prep; the oil painting the Bride did of us on Windsor Pond; the Rocker’s self-portrait from high school. All the old photographs.

And my beautiful desk, the one I’m writing on just now. I’ve missed it for 2 years.

I’ve carried all I can bear, but still the Bride insisted on “Marie Kondoizing” me. She dumped piles of clothes on my bed and asked me, one by one, if they sparked joy?! “Mom, you have two similar black Eileen Fisher dresses, which ONE do you want?”

I was resistant at first, but then I saw how my style, me weight, my essence had changed over the years. No woman wants to be stuck in the same hair style their whole life, and I could finally see that “Pittsfield-me” was too Laura Ashley, “Rumson-me” was too Lilly Pulitzer, and “Nashville-me” is something entirely different. I thanked my dated clothes for their faithful service and bid them farewell.

Bob has always traveled light, and so he was happy to see the Big Purge, but to my surprise he kept a few sentimental things of his own.

We are ready to tackle the garden now, to plant and transplant, to install the fairy house. I hope y’all had a wonderful Passover and Easter weekend and you’re looking ahead to blue skies and warmer days. Ms Bean has her favorite sunny spot on the porch, and I just might join her!

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