What is the opposite of multi-tasking? single-tasking?

Tuesday, June 30 2014

1:23 p.m. I must be in the right place at the right time. The kitchen is cool, a bit on the dark side with all of the curtains closed, but it’s got a cool feel to it, which helps. I don’t have too many rooms that I can sit and relax in without feeling guilty for all of the undone tasks. It’s already getting hard to walk around the kitchen since it’s been a day since I vacuumed, and if I don’t do this every day, it is a losing battle. Labs may not have long hair, but they have a lot of them and are constantly shedding. I think these guys shed more than Harold and Maude.

One of these days I’ll have to put a picture of the two of them in my blog. I don’t think I have ever done so. Great dogs once they grew up, and it took them years to get there. I tell people that when I went from Kahlua, the all-time best dog in the world, to the two pups, it was like going from a fine wine to sour grapes. And I had never had two puppies at the same time. I couldn’t even figure out who did what, and by that point it really didn’t matter. It was off of their memory etch-a-sketch; they were living in the now; I think that’s what I like about dogs. They put it all out on the table.dogs_playing_poker-1280x1024

Lucy is certainly living in the now as she snoozes, snoring so loudly that I have to turn the volume up on my piano music. I wouldn’t have been able to write these words if the television were on or rock music. Sometimes if I am feeling extra creative, I am able to listen to great classic rock music, but too many times the lyrics distract me and the beat makes me want to move around. The only time I dance is when I am alone in my house. That’s a sad statement, isn’t it? I’m trying to make it so I can sing while alone in the house. I do a great job while in my car, but not just at home. Sometimes I forget, and I do it anyway and I always feel better for doing it. It’s taken me how long to feel comfortable in my own skin? Guess it’s better late than never.

A thousand words seems like an eternity sometimes, though last night the K came way too quickly. I’m trying to recreate what I did yesterday since I had one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. Excluding the Europe trip; those almost three weeks can’t be topped by anything except for another trip.

As I listen to the piano work of Lorie Line. I think the song is called in the Looking Glass. I’ve never heard of her or the song. Some songs seem to help me type; it’s like I’m writing to the melody of the music. When Sylvia heard me type in the middle of the night, twenty-seven years ago, she thought I was playing the drums. House was itty bitty, just a few dog lengths between the bedroom and my little hole in the wall office. I’ve always loved little writing nooks. Writing and reading nooks.

I wonder why I didn’t want to take piano lessons when I was a child, but come to think of it, I may not have been asked. My parents may have picked up the gauntlet and opted to pick their battles wisely and piano playing wasn’t on the list. I wish ballroom dancing had not been on that list. I’m scarred for life after that experience. Actually, it only took a few years of treatment, and that was all behind me, but this probably why I am so skittish around a dance floor. Every so often, I find the courage to get up there even though I look like a moose on skates. Not graceful. Now give me the skates and a puck and a stick, and I’ll looking like Ginger Rogers. No, not really. The closest I ever came to having anything like Ginger was my cat Ginger. She was Fred’s sister.

I miss that cat. I wish I could have figured out how to encourage him to stay home. It’s been months since he would even answer to my call. When he stopped doing that, I knew it was over. Never thought I would be divorcing a cat or that he was divorcing me. Fred seems happy and content across the street. He works the field on the corner, though he doesn’t need a cardboard sign.

Speaking of working the fields, I didn’t mention that Ying brought me a present. She had already snuggled with me when she left in the middle of the night for some hunting. I don’t know what time it was, but sun was just creeping up. Birds. Roosters. Whatnot were moving about, and Ying started to meow. Since she wasn’t coming upstairs, and was just crying up to the loft from the middle floor; sound carries well in this house, I knew she was trying to tell me something.

And then the dogs went crazy. Chasing something. Ricky made it sound like he treed something, but he chases ghosts, and I don’t think ghosts climb trees. I didn’t get the tiny field mouse body until later in the morning. Poor little thing. I do feel guilty. A little guilty. I could never kill a mouse, but it no longer bothers me to see them dead. What I can’t take are the not dead ones, and then I try to rescue them or at least be with them when they take their last breath. Good thing I only have thirty words to go as this blog is making me sad, and I just may have to insert of a picture of me crying.

CAL CRYCan’t go wrong with Calvin. That is one of my favorite cartoons.. I could see them over and over. See, there’s nothing wrong with having imaginary best friends. Some of my closest allies don’t exist. But then again, there’s a good reason why I prefer dogs over humans.

I’m at my thousand word goal, which means it is time to shift to another activity. Did someone say clean?

More to multi-tasking than I expected

Monday,  June 29, 2015
Practicing multi-tasking. Not my strong suit.  I am on my exercise ball in the newly discovered living room; I have the Red Sox game on in my ears and sometimes eyes using my cell phone device. I’m writing this on my somewhat new tablet. Before starting this blog, I was re-reading Voyage woolf-books-pileOut by Virginia Woolf. I don’t remember if I were using the bigger or the older tablet.  I love V.W, but that is rather clear if you have read many of my blogs. I go in phases as to how much I am immersed in her writing. I’ve got her first novel, Voyage Out while reading the first volume of her Diary. I don’t know the difference between a diary and a journal. I prefer to say I keep a journal rather than a diary. Maybe it’s the silly little key that makes me think of a diary. No, I’m not saying that Virginia Woolf’s diary was silly. By no means. It’s not that I find her diary compelling reading, but it would be awesome if I could somehow crawl into her head and think the way she thought.  That’s where my fascination sits with her. It does take me longer than the average Joe to catch meanings of her text, but sometimes I feel connected because she was just trying to write about life, the every day life of people; such a simple premise that I feel somewhat ashamed, thinking that there has  to be something more complex. Whoever fed me this information was so wrong.


Back to my multitasking. I’ve already forgotten what those four items I was trying to do consecutively or would that be coinciding? I started on the exercise ball; it helps to stretch my back out by just lying on it. I tell myself that I’m exercising, and I tend to believe myself, especially when it comes to exercise. I have a much easier time talking myself into eating ice-cream if I had been exercising during the day. There must be something wrong with my scale.

I had the baseball game on the large tablet. No problems with these two things. Ax the gum as once the jaw starts moving, another task stops like writing.  I can type and chew gum at the same time, but I can’t roll on the ball, type, and chew gum. It doesn’t make any sense since I am able to write and chew gum.

I had gotten to five things that I was attempting to juggle: Ball. Writing. Gum chewing. Watching the baseball game. ‘I thought that had been five, but even four was only  possible if all cylinders were firing. That doesn’t happen very often. Maybe I just don’t notice.

I read somewhere that it’s common that “my” generation can’t multitask. I can write and listen to wordless music, instrumental stuff, but once words are introduced into the song, I can no longer write or read for that matter. It’s one or the other. If the television is on and I’m studying something, I can’t be near the TV. I find some place to hide. Sometimes it takes just a couple of ear buds and some classical or new age music, and I’m set. I have seen studies that shows that “this” generation can multi task, and teachers of my age,  don’t believe them, at least the small handful of teachers I have asked. When I allow students that I’m teaching use their cell phones, I become a Goddess to them. I don’t necessarily get called back, but I have seen kids proving that they can do worthy work while listening to music.  If I can’t do something, how can little Jonny do that? Just because I can’t do it, It doesn’t really matter that he can or can’t. The key is letting the kids find out if they can multitask. I would bet that not everyone can do it, but not everyone has distractibility issues. My generation and their generation have been raised in different worlds. Unless I am misremembering, I can think of only one device on at the same time. Sometimes I would try to watch television and play Gin Rummy with my Grandmother, but this would only

Gin rummy: winning hand
Gin rummy: winning hand

cause her to cheat more than she did when I was paying full attention. It used to drive her crazy when I  would just stare at the television. I didn’t have that problem when she insisted on watching Mr. Bubbles. They still broadcast his show, but I can’t think of his name. Someone help me out. Not linkletter. He had an accent. It will come to me when I least expect it…

It wasn’t little Jonnies  fault that he was raised in a multi-tasking world. All of his formative years, he was surrounded by different things going on at the same time: the television, the radio, the cell phone, the computer. There are probably more devices than I am thinking about.


In my generation, being all thumbs was a bad thing, but have you seen the speed that some kids can type with with just their thumbs. They can’t type for shit on a keyboard, but they’ve got the texting lingo down, so they don’t need all of the letters. Not me. I’m old school. I like to type out all of the letters. Sometimes I don’t even use contractions.

I’m not advocating people multi task while driving. That’s got to be my one pet peeve and I get peeved when I see people on their cell phones while driving. Makes me want to jump out and grab their phone out of their hands and toss it in front of an on-coming car or perhaps smash it with my own foot. The former would probably be less painful on my part.

For me, once the writing begins, the other balls start to fall and fall hard they do onto the ground.  I struggle to to keep just a pair in the air of activities going at the same time. I’ve never been able to juggle, though I haven’t given it much practice, and I’ll be the first to say that it’s all about practice to gain proficiency. Whatever I do that is. Some people are able to pull something off without practice. Once I stopped practicing bowling, my ability took a nose-dive. Every so often I bowl like I know what I’m doing, but most of the time, I’m clueless. It’s kind of sad when bowlers that I used to coach are now giving me pointers. Life does come full cycle. Full circle.


Last week I actually thought about practicing, but that thought only lasted perhaps a half an hour. My back would hate me for that. It’s already started to forgive me and thank me for not having a garden this year. I take that back. I do have a garden, but thistles and other weeds don’t make for a good productive garden. I’m just coming to the conclusion that not weeding is a good thing. There are plenty of local produce that will just as tasty as my crops. Close to as tasty. Can’t beat a cherry tomato that warm from the sun. Unfortunately with the thistles and thorns, It’s painful to go out there to dump the compost. I come back loaded with burrs. It’s that season.

Back to the experiment. I also noticed that when the game between the Boston Red Sox and … I want to say Rays, but that was last series. resumed after a commercial, it’s harder to get words  written down. I tell myself to take a commercial break so I can watch the game. I tend to watch more when the Sox are batting rather than fielding. I suppose some games are different. Maybe it’s because I have seen the pitching lose so many games, it’s hard for me to watch. But Buchholz is my favorite. He’s got my number after all. So many people have had Eleven.

The commentators were talking about  adding another MLB team from Canada, so that makes me think the Sox were playing Toronto. I think in Toronto, but I wouldn’t put any bets down on that factoid….One commentator had a good suggestion to bring two teams from Canada back. One for American League and one for National League. I’d go to a  Boston in Vancouver game. Have the Expos been gone that long? I better be careful as I’m aging myself quickly.

I should have been able to get more written during this baseball game since there really wasn’t much happening. I think Clay gave up a homer, but as I said, I really wasn’t paying attention. But when something is afoot, all of my cells in my body tune into the game, being able to stretch my back while focused on the game is a rather big-deal. I’ve had to practice combining these two things. Watching baseball and stretching are the only things that I can do at the same time. Don’t ask me to chew gum and do three things. I’d probably fall off the big exercise ball; the dogs would laugh at me, especially if I fell hard. No, the dogs aren’t mean; they would come  over and kiss me to death, all three at the same time. Abby is a great care-taking dog. She’s been trying to nurse my big left toe back to health, and the slightest touch is too painful.The Dome Gardians
I did not get one word written when the Sox drove in the first two runs, early in the game. I was praying that Papi and Panda could do more than make contact with the lumber.
Mookie Betts’ triple stole my attention, one hundred percent of it. Holt did his job and got Betts across The plate, though the double-play put my interest back into writing. I don’t even remember who hitting into the inning ending outs. My interest had shifted that quickly from baseball back to writing.

The tablet, aka The Pink Thing,  is not helping my hopes to be able to multi-task. Why it was making these stupid mistakes, I hadn’t a clue, but somehow I would skip lines or the cursor would bounce somewhere in the middle and catch me off-guard. If there are glaring typos, blame The device, not The writer. It must be possessed or something.

As I re-read this on my Air, I’m feeling relief that I haven’t needed too much clean up, but there have been some bad mistakes. I try to do some revision, but This doesn’t mean you won’t catch mistakes. Mistakes in writing make me think of my homemade chicken soup. Expect bones. I’m too lazy to pull them out. It’s a messy affair, but so much easier for me. Well, my writing is similar to that. Misspelled words and sentence miscues just mean I wrote it and didn’t run it through a lot of editing, though I  also lie. Not remembering things gives me that distinct possibility that I’ll make something up to fill in the holes. I should have a permanent asterisk that warns readers that some of what I write might not be true.

Back to baseball. My true love in this attempt to multi-task. The commentators were talking about a charity thing that Clay and his wife  does and my ears pricked up when I heard bowling.clay-buchholz
I would love to bowl wth Clay Buchholz. I bet I could beat him. Maybe I should see him bowl before I stir something up. I don’t have very good timing sometimes. In the very beginning of the season, the Sox could do no wrong. After such a dreadful year of 2014, Red Sox Nation were desperately looking to hook onto some good news. Red Sox were in first while THE Yankees lived in the basement. It didn’t matter that a couple of weeks into a baseball season means absolutely nothing. My Sox can attest to that.  Maybe the season was two to three weeks old, but that didn’t stop me from crowing and cawing; but just as I began to sing, the Sox fell apart as if it were my fault. You did notice I pulled out the pronoun. Maybe my gloating added fuel to the fire. The Yankees got hot, Jacoby was quiet, but all attention was on A-Rod and his record-setting year he’s having after being banned from baseball for a year. If it was my fault that the Red Sox  started playing horribly, does that mean I can take ownership for Alex busting the strings off the baseball? But for this present game, it wasn’t my fault that De Aza tried to stretch a single into a double and be put out by a half a mile. Sitting Duck. And I’m a Duck fan.
Abby is trying to tell me it is dinner time. I may have to publish now and finish on a different device…

Different device and different environment. I’m plugged into piano music. George Winston station on Pandora. I thought that by the time I re-read and edited, I’d be amped to writing about Mr and Mrs Ambrose from Voyage Out, but I”m a thousand words or characters over my goal, so maybe another time.2fecb3c547858ed8b70ff183fef97ef9

Concert in Park

Sunday,  June 28, 2015
Music in the park. Washburn Park. Sylvia’s New Horizons band is playing.
It. The yappy neighborhood have finally settled down. It to


ok three songs for the wood wind instruments to get the squeaks out. March for Moderns is being played. Moon River is the only song I recognize out of eleven.
Ammerland is being played now. I am not sure if or why it sounds familiar. I am enjoying it. Maybe it’s the snare, such a steady beat.
Rearranging for The Blue and the Grey. The director is quizzing the audience to see if we can guess which were Confederate or Union. We didn’t do such a great job. They must have gone through many drum and fife players.
Thec only song I recognized one the Blue and Grey was the one of yellow roses. I am remembering correctly, aren’t i?
I imagine those who died during the Civil War are on their feet saluting whatever flag they followed and protected with their lives. Young people throwing their lives away, but if one gets passionate for something you believe in whole heartedly, life and death take on a new meaning.


This is a great place to watch a concert. Rain was predicted, but the magic of New Horizon must have a good tincture to keep the rain at bay.


I don’t want to insult the rain and make it go away.  We need the rain. My Strawberries need the rain. I could use the rain. I don’t feel guilty for being inside when it rains, but the ought pester me when I am inside and the sun is out. I need Vitamin D, but I mostly need to find order in my home. I have this little voice in my head that  say
I will get a lot more accomplished in my life if my work space is tidied up. Perhaps I wouldn’t so scatter brained. Not as many tangents down odd rabbit holes, though I tend to find tangents very entertaining.
They did a great job with Moon River. Brand new players play along with experienced players. A good time is had by all, musicians and spectators.


To think like a 21-year-old

Sunday, June 28, 2015

If only I could get my head and my body on the same page when I play softball. My numbers may not match reality, so bear with me.

The last time my brain and my body were on the same page was when I was in my twenties. Whatever my brain imagined that my body could do, I could do it.  Maybe sometimes it was the other way around.

When I stepped onto the field, whether it was practice or a game, I owned short-stop. That was my territory. Same could be said for the soccer goal. It was nice owning real estate even if it were just in my mind.

The last time I remember being in sync with my body was when I  was 21. I was still somewhat healthy, though arthritis was starting to make an appearance. I was starting to fall a couple of paces behind my self. That’s like not being able to catch your own shadow anymore.

As the years start to click by, my body has been dusted by my brain. But sometimes I get that glimmer of hope that I can think like a 21-year-old again. My first game back from one of the best vacations I’ve ever experienced, I had a spring in my steps. I was happy to be playing short stop. I love that position more than anything. I held my own at the position. Even though I wasn’t able to throw anyone out, I was pleased that I fielded everything; this was a rare experience.

The second game was more of the usual. I was off. The first ball hit my feet, so instead of fielding it, I booted it. After the second one zoomed by me and I saw my life flash before my eyes, I pleaded with Emily to swap with me from left to short. She did, but then everything came my way. I must have held up a target or something. What an idiot I was out there, not being able to do anything but throw it to the cutoff.

If I had been thinking like a 21-year-old, I wouldn’t have begged the right-fielder to swamp with me. We were getting blown away in runs so I didn’t really think that breaking the rules would be a big deal. The player I wanted in left field was a player on loan. She told me that she could only play right field and catch, but as I said the score was a lot to not much. I didn’t want anything to do with the ball.

Usually my saving Grace is my batting. Usually. Not that game. Horrible is the only way to describe that experience, but the last time at bat, when there wasn’t much hope, I was able to connect. Why is that?

So, I ask myself how can I think more like a 21-year-older than a 55-year-older? I know that when I’m feeling confident about my abilities, I’m more focused. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

But that’s not how I think anymore. Not when I step on to the field at the short stop position. Instead of wanting the ball, I hope it’s hit somewhere else. That’s not the way it’s done. Self-doubt is the worst distracter from doing anything well. Once that voice of doubt creeps in, concentration goes out the window.

As I watched the end of the Red Sox game, I thought about the mental fortitude these guys have. Uehara walked around the mound confidently after he got the second out. Just one more out and the game’s over.Just one more out and that’s another save. What was Uehara thinking when he allowed the two out double by Sizemore. And what was he thinking when the ball skipped away from Swihart and Grady moves to third base. Was he chattering about those things or was he still thinking that there’s just one more out to go. Glass is three quarters full.

After 55 years, it shouldn’t amaze me how much mind chatter interferes with doing things. How often do I talk myself out of doing something because I don’t think it’s good enough. Maybe it’s not wanting to think like a 21-year-old again, as those weren’t my best years, but maybe it’s just believing in myself.

I didn’t hit my thousand word goal, but maybe next time. I do want to attack some of my house.meinahole

My Soul is Healed

Deepak Chopra chants to me while I’m sitting in the dark but chilled room. Must have been about letting go as I’ve been hearing that message almost continually. Maybe it’s time to stop running away from it and just answer the door.

Disappointment stood at the door when I answered the knock. A familiar face, but estranged long enough that I wasn’t exactly sure who he was.

I asked disappointment what he wanted; I had to stoop to look in his eyes. He needn’t say anything.the eyes, after all, are the windows of the soul. Not sure where I picked that up along the line. Doesn’t seem like something my dad would say to me.

I’m constantly picking up tidbits of philosophies. Philosophy of Life philosophies out number man kind. I was going to say living kind, but that might be a stretch. There are definitely more philosophies than are human beings on this planet.

Today has been a slow moving day. I have listened to a lot of different music. I’ve got my six-carassoul CD table ready for random play. This is my favorite way of listening to music since I don’t know what to expect.

In the darkness of the kitchen, I have been listening to heart meditations Radio. Michael Whalen. Deepak Chopra. It’s one of those nights. I find that if I don’t spend a little bit of time  in this place, my day doesn’t have as much significant. Looking through the eyes of kindness. At least this time I’m not getting jarred out of good thoughts and into an advertisement. They should outlaw stations from doing that: Getting you in a nice calm mood, but slam down a Carpet Company irritating commercial. New flooring. Time for some more music.

This blog was supposed to be about the lyrics that Skeeter Davis wrote about his love walking out on him. Old song. Maybe 1960something. Sixty-three? I must have been paying attention in my formative years. I was surprised that I did get the year correct. I was only three at the time, but so impressionable.

skeeterontvI didn’t know anything about Skeeter Davis before I read the Wikipedia page on her. Mary Frances Penek. I remember the hair from those days; that’s really what scared me from wanting to be a girl. That hair. My hair was more the skater’s hair. Dorothy. I want to say Hamel, but I don’t think I have the correct letters for the Gold medalist. It’s fuzzy and not coming to me.

dorthy-hammel-wedge.jpg.pagespeed.ic.qkmRmlcEEhDorothy Hammel. I wasn’t too far off. Everyone had their hair cut to match her wedge. I desperately wanted it short that I’ve not had my hair long ever since. Hair basically drives me crazy. If it weren’t for the strange looks I get from people, I’d wear my hair even shorter.If I don’t have to mess with it, our lives are so much simpler.

The Skeeter Davis song didn’t get me as many words as I thought would happen. I might as well call five hundred words a done deal and try again tomorrow.

Trio day

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Firs Bowl. It’s trio day. Francis, Larry, and I are taking on the world. I came in with a really great attitude. After all, I hadn’t bowled for a couple of months. Missing bowling hasn’t been a feeling I’ve experienced very often. It was nice change to arrive to the lanes all pumped up and excited. Eager for competition and chatting with people I only see once in a while.me6-14-15 at 8.47 AM

Unfortunately, after the first game, in a eight-game tournament, we’re really close to first place. On the wrong side of first. My first game was horrible; I couldn’t get any of the bowling balls to move. Rolling straight as an arrow isn’t$_1 good.

I started the day with two bowling balls. Hammer time. A long time ago, I fell in love with hammer bowling balls. Someone should have warned me that bowling can be addicting, and for my addictive personality it didn’t take long.

I remember switching from a purple plastic white dot. Columbia, to a blue hammer. Uerathane. That spelling doesn’t look right. Urethane. Maybe it’s the slight Boston accent that gets in the way of spelling things phonetically. I’m sure I could take the word a Urethanepart and find out the definition of Ure and then of thane. Instead I’ll throw in the chemical diagram of what makes Urethane. Why not. I’ve still got four games left to bowl, including the one I’m in the middle of now.

My first non-plastic ball was a blue hammer. Everyone had a blue hammer it seemed. blue hammerBy then the bowling bug had bit and  bit down hard. Bowling ball manufacturers picked up on this and started to make slight blue hammer insideadjustments, teasing bowlers with the notion that this one is even better, has a better overstock and better core.

I don’t know how long I used the blue hammer before I bought a burgundy Hammer.  Perhaps the chemicals got into my blood system; bowling became one of those have to activities. My goal was to get better every season, and I did everything humanly possible to achieve that goal. I practiced. I took classes. I studied the game. I bought more bowling balls. It astonished me that there was so much science involved. I don’t remember watching  a professional bowler unload her equipment. She had the same bowling ball multiple ti291-1mes. Each bowling ball was drilled differently, so they did different things on the lane. I had never heard of such a thing. Pin in. Pin out. Ray Anderson, the guy whoSym4layout drilled my equipment for many years, was such a patient man. He’d spend time mapping it out so that when I went to tournaments, my arsenal would be ready for any lane conditions.

I’ve been enjoying conversations with bowlers about their first bowling balls. Larry Thompson, the anchor of today’s trio team, mentioned the Rhino. I had forgotten all about my Rhino phasjpzQMqqXzfLy9e. Brunswick Teal Rhino was one of my favorites.

My computer is telling me it’s about to die from lack of battery life, and I realize that there’s really no end to this blog, so I better publish it now. I can always meander about my other bowling balls at a later date.

If you are a bowler reading this blog, tell me about your favorite bowling balls.

June 6th Part II

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It’s time to wrap up June 6th’s picture fest. I should be able to get it done on this go round; it just depends upon how many tangents I go on.

June 6th. 11:28 a.m. Today, so far, has been of detours. Got onto the subway, taking us just one stop. Got onto another, and the same thing happened. This was not the way Sylvia planned it. She wanted to go back and start again, but I was adamant that there was no going back on this trip; we were making progress regardless that it was just one stop at a time. I reminded her that the destination isn’t always about the journey or perhaps it’s the journey isn’t always about the destination. Something like that. It goes along the same premise that you can’t be lost if you don’t know where you are going.

While on the Tube, the underground rail system, I noticed a woman with her six-year-old sitting nearby, and I asked her if she was familiar with the Tube. Somewhat, she responded. I asked her if it were common for the routes to be changed on the weekends,  and she said they do maintenance on the weekends so they don’t mess up the commuters; I had noticed that the Tube was packed during the week, but not so much on the weekend.

George tubing it
George tubing it

Wouldn’t it be cool if the Tube was an independent thing like they had on the Jetsons? I wouldn’t have to deal with being crammed in like sardines. When I worked at  The Register-Guard newspaper, they used a tube to send stories from department to department. Before my tenure was up, that system had been replaced by the intranet.

It took us three tries to go four stops, but third time was the charm. Since we were at Hyde Park, I wanted to go to 22 Hyde Park to continue my Virginia Woolf pilgrimage, but Sylvia was anxious to see Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards22 Hyde park and said that we could come back to that later. We never did. Now 22 Hyde park is on my list of things to do when I return, especially if I devote more time to Virginia Woolf and other writers from England.
Sometimes no matter how carefully something is planned, it’s just not meant to be. Seeing Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards was not one of thopolice for paradese things. We weren’t very close to the palace when we noticed hordes of people gathering and Bobbies and police all over the place with blockades. What’s going on, I asked. Next week the Queen is celebrating her 90th birthday so this weekend they were doing a rehearsal. When the British do something, they really do it so they get it right. I’d never heard of having a practice parade. Word came our way that Prince Charles was rumored to be partaking in the run-through. Really? Most of the spectators had been there for a while and were already a few rows deep.

For just a practice parade, security was tight. Bobbies on motorcycles, on foot, and on horse were out. Every dozen of feet or so, there’d be a pair watching the crowds. mounted bobbiesOf course, I had to talk to them and greet the horses. One of the mounted Bobbies was a woman; she told me that the force was just about fifty-fifty in terms of male to female mounted police.

After waiting around in the crowd, and nothing was happening, I got bored. I grabbed a piece of park and sat, which is where I did most of this note taking. It wasn’t long before Sylvia got bored. No one really beautiful day for a parade060615knew if the parade was coming by; the route was a mystery.  Regardless, it was a beautiful day for a parade, and as I said earlier, people from all around had gathered for this non monumental affair.

This is where I admit that my knowledge of the royal family isn’t  all that great. I knew that Queen Elizabeth has been queen for many years, probably the longest of any queens. I want to say that she took the thrown in the early 1950s, before I was born. What I didn’t know was what number Elizabeth was she. I knew she was at least Queen Elizabeth II, but had there been more Elizabeths? The only Elizabeth II I knew was the QII, a cruise boat that my dad was on once. So, I stopped and asked the Bobbies. One told me that there wasn’t a number. Bobbies in action060615Another told me that he didn’t know. The third Bobby told me that she was the second. I told him about the first two Bobbies I talked to and he laughed. “It’s written right on our helmet, and he pointed to the badge with QII on it. The Bobbies don’t really know their own queen. One told me that she had been on the thrown for about twenty years. Maybe that’s because he was only twenty-something himself and twenty years seems like sixty or seventy.

We kept walking. I kept taking pictures of another nameless statue060615everything. Thought this statue was interesting. I’ve no clue what it was of. We were still within sight of Buckingham Palace. Sylvia spotted the guards and pointed them out to me, but we were so far away, they looked like red specks. We had already missed the changing as they only can be seen at 11:30, though that didn’t seem quite right, perhaps they have other ways of changing the guards that the public can’t see.

Even though the royal family are just figure heads and don’t really do much in terms ofBuckingham Palace gate060615 running the country, security seems to be much stricter than what we have at the White House. I can’t imagine a streaker ever getting on the Buckingham Palace premises. Their fence is not only more formidable, but it’s prettier than ours.

Looks like I’ll have to finish up the exciting run-down of June 6th another day as it is now time to go back out and weed more strawberries.

Time is of the essence

Infinity-Time1-1024x611I am not an early morning person. Being a teacher goes against the grain; being a substitute teacher is even worse as many times I’d get a call at six in the morning for a last minute assignment. In the ideal world, school would start around ten. I could even handle nine. Having to be at school at 7:30 is so hard for me.

While traveling around Europe just recently, I was extremely excited since it was my first time traveling, and being a homebody, this was an experience of a lifetime. At first I blamed jet lag for my troubles getting out of bed, but even after that, I still had a hard time getting out of bed. Nothing out of the norm. Sylvia, God Bless her patient soul, would get up, and then do her best to gently motivate me to get out of bed. The first week we had a tight schedule and had to get up somewhat early, but once we got to Germany, the schedule allowed me to resume sleeping in a little.

We flew back just this past Monday. I was so tempted to drive from Portland to Eugene, but once landing at my friend Heidee’s, I realized that it wasn’t wise to drive the two hours after flying all day and dealing with an eight hour time difference. I was so tired, I ended up taking a nap before dinner and after dinner.

Tuesday I was out of bed before seven o’clock. I was so excited to see my puffs, my grown up pups. Being away from my dogs was the only hard part of the trip, and I wanted to see them badly. I missed my dogs probably more than they missed me, though there’s a lot of me that thinks this isn’t true.

Yesterday I resumed my summer schedule and began weeding my strawberry patch. The garden has been neglected for the last month, and it is so overgrown. Unfortunately with the ninety degree temps, I wasn’t able to get that much done. I expected jet lag to kick me in the butt, but it never did.

This morning, I was out of bed before six o’clock. The look on Sylvia’s face as she saw me in the kitchen so early was priceless; her jaw practically hit the floor. I sure love clichés. I wanted to get more of the strawberries weeded and realized that I needed to get outside before the heat increased. The fifty something temperatures were delicious and very inviting.

Strawberries hiding in tall grass
Strawberries hiding in tall grass

I did make progress with the strawberries, though I have so much to do. I don’t mind weeding, but in this case, the grass roots are so wound around the roots of the strawberries that I basically have to dig the strawberry plant up and tease the roots apart; it doesn’t help that the ground is really hard and have to use a pick ax.

Once the sun heat up, I had to retreat inside. I’ve enjoyed time writing, reading, and even cleaning. I’m really jazzed to get things in order. Perhaps the vacation has refreshed, reset my attitude. If this is all that it takes, I’ll have to take another vacation!

I tried to go outside around six to do more weeding, but it is still too hot out there. I wonder if I’ll be motivated to get up early tomorrow and get at it?strawberries and grass061015

Playing tourist in London

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I’ve been back from touristing since Monday, and as time marches forward, being in Europe seems like a distant dream. A wonderful, spectacular dream that I hope to repeat.

When I didn’t have time to sit down and write a well-thought out blog, I did try to scribble down some notes. Now I get to go back and see what I wrote and see if there’s anything that makes sense. This also gives me a chance to compare the photos I took on June 6th. I didn’t remember half of the photos at least. When I first started this blog, or shall I say restarted the blog, I didn’t realize that I was going to be writing so much about cars, but that’s the direction my camera took on the morning of June 6th. I thought I was going to blog about Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, but I took quite a few pictures along the way, that I may just have to do a second part for June 6th to squeeze it all in. I’m trying to keep my blogs under a thousand words to help out my friends with short attention spans. Actually, mostly it helps me out since I have a very short attention span, and my stomach is telling me that it’s time to eat. Maybe I shouldn’t have written about food. Stay tuned for part II where I just may get around to writing about Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey…

Saturday, June 6, 2015
10:15 a.m.
Another full day of playing tourist in London. Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey are the first places on our list, but I sure did take a lot of pictures along the way.

Mini060615I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea of seeing drivers on the the right side and the cars on the opposite side of the road. I really had to pay attention to crossing roads roads. They really do drive like maniacs. There must be some bounty for picking off tourists.

I wonder how many pictures of Mini Coopers I took. I just couldn’t help myself. Sylvia was giving me a hard time, accusing me of taking a picture of the same Mini Cooper over and over. Was she really expecting me to keep track? Different day, same Mini, who cares? They are still the cutest cars in the entire world.

I’ve always been fascinated with cars, knowing different kinds. I saw quite a few in Europe that I had never seen before. Take this Mitsubishi for examcars I've never seen060615ple. This is a cute little car, but it’s probably not allowed in the States.

I saw a lot of expensive cars in Europe, though I suppose if they are imported to the States, that would jack the price up. I wonder if they still have that program where you can go to car factories and pick your car out, drive the car around Europe, and then have the car shipped home.  I don’t remember the last time I saw a expensive cars060615Ferari. I’m so unfamiliar with them that I can’t even spell it. Ferrari?

This next photo shows you how strange a duck I can be when I have a camera in my hands. Who do you know who takes pictures of pigeons? These guys were working on some bread and it caught my eye, so of course I had to take a picture. I suppose this way I can reach out to different interests. Some people get bored with pictures of cars; others like wildlife. Pigeons are city wildlife. I haPigeons060615d an opportunity or two to take pictures of squirrels, but I missed every time.

One of the things that I enjoyed about traveling was interacting with people. I talked to all sorts of people. While in Switzerland and Germany, I found myself initiating conversations with, “Do you speak English?” or “How good is your English. As we were walking towards the Tube station, I saw my first bobbies. Notice the KFC sign. I took pictures of McDonalds and Bobbies on patrol060615Burger King. They really seemed out of place. Americans have infected Europe with our greasy bad for you food, though I did eat some high caloric meals in European restaurants, especially the Pubs we’d stop by.

One of my main problems in playing with photos is that I will take a lot of pictures and then not have the slightest idea what I just shot. Technically, the photo sucks. I tend to do snapshots and so I use the automatic setting on my Canon. If I really were a professional photographer, I would have messed around with the aperture and whatnot, but I liked the idea of the jet plstatue and plane060615ane being such a small speck in the background of a magnificent statue. Maybe someone who reads this can tell me what it is.

It’s rather amazing that I actually made my way to Buckingham Palace. There were so many things to photograph along the way. This is another one of those Another statue060615statues that I have no clue what it is or where it is. Just like cars, I love statues. Maybe that’s why I like pigeons.

Sylvia gave me plenty of opportunity to take pictures. It seemed like every five minutes, she would tell me to stop so she could study the map and figure out which direction we were going. I don’t like maps. I would rather ask people; yes, there’s the risk of getting the wrong directions, which happened a few times, but with my attitude that there is no such thing as getting lost while on an adventure, it doesn’t really matter. There was so much going on that dSylvia studies map060615ay with the practice parade causing lots of detours. People lined the streets. Buckingham Palace was blocked off. No one really knew which course the parade was going to be. There was a rumor that Prince Charles was going to be taking part.

Well, I am past my goal for words; it is time to put this down and do more cleaning and organizing. My house is a total wreck…I had hoped the cleaning fairies would come by and magically make my house sparkle head to toe, but it looks as though the fairies had a party instead and didn’t pick up after themselves. I don’t remember leaving the house in such a state, but I don’t really remember.

Strawberry Fields Forever

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

While writing this, I’m listening to Strawberry Fields Forever. Seems appropriate. After being gone for almost three weeks, playing tourist, it almost feels as though I never went anywhere, but there’s an electricity within me that I’ve not felt in so long. Perhaps since we were on the go almost from the get-go, I’m still feeling that surge. There’s so much I want to do.

strawberries061015I can’t believe it, but I was actually out of bed before six this morning. I didn’t do this while in Europe, but I didn’t have to deal with ninety-degree temperatures, whatever that is in celsius. I began to chip away at the strawberry patch yesterday, but within fifteen minutes sweat stung my eyes. Now it’s only in the fifties, a suitable temperature for outdoor work. I had worked on the strawberries right before I left, so there was an easy part to work on that wasn’t too hard. The rest will be painfully slow as the strawberries are hidden in the grass. It doesn’t help that the ground is so hard. Perhaps I should soak the ground first.strawberries in tall grass061015

The rest of the garden is ridiculously full of weeds. I don’t think I have ever seen such a beautiful crops of weeds. I’ve got tall grass, daisies, thistles, and who knows what. Everything is about waist high. Since I have so much else to do, I’ll be chipping away at it. I’ve got writing, reading, and cleaning to do. Of course, I’ve got music to read. Hey Jude is now playing.

Now that I’ve been to Monk’s House, I feel a magnetic pull to immerse myself into DiariesWoolf’s world of writing. Since this is not the first time I’ve been drawn to Virginia, I’ve got quite a few of her books. I’m now looking at the first volume of her diaries. She  started journaling at 15. Like myself, keeping the focus on journaling or in her case “diarising” it takes a bit to refine the discipline.

I’ve got some high school oriented journals which is where I got my taste. I didn’t really begin to write on a regular basis until 1983 when I had a lot of life issues to sort out. My life was like my strawberry patch; weeds with their intricate roots entangled around my goals. Writing sorts my life out, helping me to see what’s working and what’s not working.

I began writing in spiral notebooks, gluing in stray pages from letters or whatnot. That system was too confining, so I shifted to using three-ring notebooks. My goal was to writing every day, and there were stretches when I accomplished this mission. Sometimes I would jump out of bed, alarmed at the fact that I had forgotten to write. My The notebooks allowed me to incorporate writing by hand with writing by computer. It took forever to print the journals, month by month. As my journal evolved, I even started to index the months, and this was extremely time-consuming. Because I was writing so much, I started to print my journals back-to-back manually. Again, this was time-consuming since Murphy kept popping in, jamming pages, causing me to have to repeat and print smaller chunks of pages. For many years, it took five-inch notebooks to contain my journal.

Life is time-consuming, so as I began graduate school, and then working full-time, I found less and less time to write. Instead of writing a couple hundred pages a month, it dwindled to double-digits. At least I have something. Now my goal is to beat the previous years. In order to achieve my goal, I have to write more than 163 pages, which is what I wrote last year. I need to change that verb since amongst my writing, I’ve got pages of what others have read since I do incorporate emails from others, and I do try to throw in pictures to give my eyes a break from lines and lines of text. It also gives me an excuse to take pictures to go along with my journal.

My main problem is that since I abandoned printing my journals, I’m dependent upon the computer. Paper is much more stable. I’ve had months of journaling get wiped out with a hard-drive crash. Now that I’m a multiple computer user, I have plenty of backup copies, and toggling from one year to another is so much easier.

After getting fired from Willamette Leadership Academy, my journal was my source for venting and evaluating. I’ve not quite reconciled my abrupt departure, but I’m almost convinced that getting canned was one of the best things that happened to my life. Complacency had set in. I was used to devoting sixty to eighty hours a week on teaching. It’s appropriate that the Beatles are singing Hard Day’s Night. Shifting back to substitute teaching, I found more time to journal.

weeds061015My break from gardening is over. Between my back and the heat, I’ll not be out there for very long. Somewhere in the tall grass are strawberries and raspberries and who knows what.

Back to my life

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

5:02 p.m.

We were spoiled while in Europe. I never did learn Celcius, but I knew delicious temperatures when I felt it and it didn’t matter if the temps were recorded in F or C. A few showers. Never needed to convert my pants to shorts, though I also never had to put long johns on. Now that we’re back in the Northwest where a heat wave is going on.

Greenhouse Effect
Greenhouse Effect

Hot. Hot. Hot. 90 degrees. I blamed the guy who brought the Kubota Tractor back today as he just moved from Texas where he was forced to sell his herd after a nine-year draft. He told me that they just couldn’t feed them and hoped Oregon would be better.

Strawberry patch, really my only crop planted, in a way, has enjoyed the shade the blackberries have provided.

I promised that I wouldn’t garden in June to preserve my back and mobility. And then I was gone for three weeks on top of that, and the blackberries have taken advantage of my absence.strawberries060915

But since it’s at least ninety degrees, out there, it didn’t take long before sweat was pouring in my face.

I managed to clip the blackberries and pull up a few weeds. It’s going to take me a while to tame the garden. I may have to start getting up early to get a jump start on the heat as there’s no sign of the high temps letting up in the near future. It’s probably too late to plant more strawberries, but

More weeds than strawberries
More weeds than strawberries

I’m hoping to get the rest of the garden started tomorrow.

Meanwhile, life’s back to the usual. I’ve not cooked in three weeks; that was a nice break, but I’m looking forward to my own cooking. If June is already scalding hot, it will be a summer of bbquing.

I never did take that nap I mentioned in an earlier blog. My goal is to make it to at least eight, but fatigue is creeping in; I don’t think I’ll be able to make it another hour and some. I had hoped to watch the Red Sox overcome the 1-0 deficit with the Orioles. It’s been a game of reverse calls. Dustin was ruled hit by pitch, though the Baltimore commentators thinks the umpire blew the call…

Homeward Bound

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
9:55 a.m.


Heading home after three weeks of galavanting about. (Did you notice the Mini Cooper in the picture? I feel a sense of being in the right time,  the right place,  kind of an omen. Perhaps this is why I captured so many picts of Minis in Europe.


Excitement isn’t quite the word to represent my thoughts as we travel the hundred and ten miles on I-5 South from Portland to Eugene.


I miss my dogs. Lovely Lucy, the big fat English Blocky Labrador. Ricky the Dufus, my velcro 75-pound lap dog. Abby The Labby Number Nine.  My four year old Baby who is so spoiled. While in London, I received a voicemail that a  woman, a neighbor, by the name of Cheryl, had found Abby wandering in the road. She never leaves the yard when I am home.  I could leave the gate wide open, and she and the others works not go very far, though greeting passers-by would be too irresistible for the very social Labradors.


I miss my cats,  though not as much as the dogs.  It may be egotistical to think that the dogs need me more than the cats. I probably need the dogs more than they need me.
10:18 a.m. Since Sylvia’s at the Subaru’s helm, I can write and enjoy the scenery.


Salem exits are approaching. Traffic was a bit congested on I-205, but now that we are on I-5, the three lanes are moving efficiently.
I miss my bed. I was pleasantly surprised as to how well I slept on hotel  beds, but by the time we touristed about,  exhaustion was my Ambien for the most part.
I miss my garden. Visiting Virginia Woolf’s vast gardens made me yearn to plant my vegetables. Typically I would have all if not half of it in.
There was a plant at Monk’s House that I have at my house. I never can


remember the name.  I even had one of the Village People, the people who tend to Monk’s House gardens,  it’s name,  and I have it written down somewhere. Maybe between Sweet Home and Eugene, the name will sprout in my brain.
10:48 a.m. We are at least half way home.  Lebanon and Corvallis, home of the  rival Oregon State University Beavers. We have been spoiled with wonderful weather in Europe, so not only do we have the none hour time change to acclimate to, but the oppressive ninety degree weather as well.


I tried to stay awake yesterday to help sync my internal clock, but being two in the morning in Europe and the stress and strain of traveling, of customs, of waiting, of queuing up like cattle, I fell asleep on Heidee’s couch before and after dinner.
Twenty-five miles to go,  though my reunion will be delayed with grocery shopping. Maybe. My heart is to go directly home and not dilly-dally.
Junction City. Familiar land marks intensifies my yearning for home.  Napping with the dogs is on the to-do list; aside from cooking dinner, and taking a cursory look about Blanton House, napping is probably the only thing on the to-do list.
I could refer to my residence as Sundial, the name Pauline, Sylvia’s mom, named her property. I don’t know why English folks named their homes.  I assume Monk’s House had something to do with the old Church neighboring the Woolf’s residence. To live next to a cemetery must have affected Virginia’s thoughts of life and death.

Cemetery adjoining Monk's House
Cemetery adjoining Monk’s House

11:23 a.m. Time to set this blog free as we are so close to home.

Finding Virginia Woolf

Friday, June 5, 2015

10:39 a.m. I’m beginning a journey to pay my respects to Virginia Woolf, starting at Earl’s court.

I’m not sure why I am so  fascinated by Virginia Woolf, but I came across her shortly after moving from Boston, Massachusetts to Eugene, Oregon. I knew I had moved three thousand miles away to try to figure out what direction my life was supposed to go. West was the only direction I knew. Thirty years later, and I’m still searching for more directions.

As I was researching for my adventure last night, I stumbled across a sight that planned out a six day Virginia Woolf tour. I added that to my bucket list. It may even have knocked Ellen DeGeneres down a peg.

22 Hyde Park
22 Hyde Park

We just passed Kensington station. Since I really don’t know my way around London, I don’t know if there are more than one Kensington. Virginia Woolf lived on Hyde Park. 22 Hyde Park. I’m not sure how she did it. Even back in her time, in the 1880’s, which also paralleled Jack the Ripper’s time, London was not a cheery place to live. Well, maybe on Hyde Park, the same street that Winston Churchill lived, was a happier place than the White Chapel area. (We did a Jack the Ripper tour yesterday, so this is why my brain is going in this direction.)

While I write this, I wish I had internet connection. I’m hopelessly lost without being able to check facts. Perhaps if I really want to follow Virginia Woolf’s footsteps, I may want to abandon electronics altogether and write by hand, but since I no longer print my journals, adding paper would add steps. Scanning seems like a pain in the butt. I’m also out of practice and my script looks as though I was taught to write by a doctor, not by Mrs. Tinker.

11:07 a.m. The train to Brighton is moving. An hour of seeing all sorts of interesting architecture has me on the edge of my seat. At least this document has me resisting taking dozens and dozens of pictures. I already have at least a zillion photos to sift through, especially pictures where my aim wasn’t so great or the endless photographs of Mini Coopers. Sylvia teases me about taking pictures of the same Mini Coopers over and over, especially the two that are near our hotel in London. I bet if Virginia Woolf were alive today, she’d drive a Mini Cooper. Even at 5’9″, she would have loved them, perhaps a convertible.

I wonder if Virginia Woolf would have embraced technology. Would she have been even more prolific than she was with her journals, letters, and novels? Would she have blogged, which would have been a cross between her journals and her letters. I imagine that it would have fueled her stream of consciousness writing. I know that my writing style drastically changes between writing my hand where I write slowly, methodically, almost like meditation, where the focus is so much more on the individual letter than the sentence, not wanting to make mistakes has me editing in my head. But when I am typing, especially on a keyboard, I let my fingers fly across the keys in a frenzy; I can always edit, though most of the time I don’t. I do have to be careful when I am writing on my Smart Ass phone to avoid some embarrassing word choices. Earlier today, I intended to write could, but it came out as coitus. I am not Sheldon. This is not a word in my vocabulary.

Being out in the country is a nice change from the bustling city. Chaos. Constant movement. At the train station, I’m a salmon swimming against the current; hordes of people rush my way as if I am going in the wrong direction. I pin balled my way around people who refused to get out of my way, dodging frenzied commuters and tourists. Manners? Not in this world.

11:56 a.m. Gorgeous weather. To think we packed long johns just in case, but I’ve not even been wearing my Red Sox coat for the past few days. A spot of rain had us briefly regretting our decision to ship the umbrella back home with some dirty laundry, but lightening the load for our last few days of our almost three-week adventure was worth abandoning it. The rain didn’t last long.

12:03 p.m. Paper and plastic are rustling as people begin to gather their belongings, suggesting that Brighton is near.

12:19 p.m. Now we’re on the train to Lewes. Took me a few times to learn how to pronounce that name. It’s not a city. Is it a suburb? Not really. A village? I hope I am remembering the route correctly. I would hate to go down any unintended rabbit holes, though if I were traveling solo, straying off path is part of the adventure.

I’m good about asking for directions when technology isn’t available and it hadn’t occurred to me to get a map. Catch the 123 bus to Mill Lane. A woman with an English Toy Terrier googled instructions for me. I don’t remember if she hadn’t heard of Virginia Woolf or hadn’t heard of Monk’s House. Quite a few Londoners hadn’t heard of Virginia Woolf. That’s kind of sad.

1:02 p.m. Waiting for the bus outside of the King’s Head pub. If the wait was longer, I would have suggested we grab a pint, or at least I grab one, but the bus comes in eight minutes.

4:56 p.m. The adventure to Monk’s House highlighted the trip to England. Everything from now on is icing on the cake. I could easily never return to London. Yes, Bex, you did warn me.

5:16 p.m. I finally got my pint and then some. Harvey’s Best Bitter at The Abergavenny. Right around the corner from the Monk’s House. Virginia and Leonard could easily have eaten there. It’s rather a strange mix to be in a building built in sixteen hundred and something, to be thousands of miles way from home, and to be listening to Tracy Chapman playing in the background while hanging out with Sylvia. Talk about being in heaven. This is the kind of life I would love to have. This makes me think about that movie, if you build it, they will come. Thanks Field of Dreams. It’s time to build it.

Walking around Virginia Woolf’s house caused me to fall in loved with her all over again. The house, the gardens, oh the gardens went on forever. The writing studio. The old church next door and the school next door to that. The wonderful trail to River Ouse with open fields and horses and splendid sceneries in the horizon.

horses060515Maybe now that I have had twenty or more years of life’s experiences since the last time I attempting to read Virginia Woolf, perhaps now I can understand more of what she was trying to say. Her journals and letters were my speed. Perhaps this summer I ought to immerse myself in re-reading Orlando and A Room of One’s Own. I have more Virginia Woolf books either written by her or about her than any other author. Thank you Marilyn Farwell for attempting to teach me literary deconstructionism, though I was able to catch your passion for Woolf’s essence.

I think about the difference between cooking food and then cooking fine food; this is also true for consuming food. I think Virginia Woolf wrote about fine dining, but I can’t seem to find the quote. Anyway, I have a choice to merely throw together a meal or I can embrace the finer ingredients. I did notice the lavender in Virginia’s gardens, and then I saw the vegetable gardens. I don’t know if she and Leonard had such a vast garden or whether the Village People, and that’s what the gardener referred to himself as, has expanded the grounds. There were enough artichokes to feed a village, which was funny as the gardener admitted that he hated them.

I could easily have stayed in the gardens, in her house for hours, but with a hundred and fifty people coming through the doors each day, I suspect the serenity would not have lasted too long; we just happened to catch the Monk’s House at a unusually quiet time. But I imagined writing there, breathing in the atmosphere. No wonder she escaped London to this beautiful setting. If I had been her I would have lived in Rodmell permanently even if all my friends lived in London.

7:10 p.m. What a wonderful journey this has been. While waiting for the bus to take us back to Lewes, we popped in to a pub right around the corner from Monk’s House. Harvey’s Bitter with some sort of cake. Victorian Cake? I typically don’t like cake, but this was especially good.cake and beer060515

Have you ever had an experience that caused colors to be more vivid? To cause life to have more texture? Maybe Virginia Woolf whispered in my ear as I walked around Monk’s House, looking at her books, though most of the 15,000 books were sold; admiring her vast gardens, though a hint of home sickness came through with the ideas that I still have a garden to plant when I return to the States; imagining what her life was like, though I was starting to reflect upon what my life could be like.

hit by train060515The train back to London was delayed because someone was hit by a train. A woman on the train presumed a woman had committed suicide, though nothing was mentioned about the gender or nature of the accident. Ironic. It doesn’t take much for me to imagine how easily the pendulum swings from Pure Euphoria to the Distressing Darkness of Despair.

9:54 p.m.

When I set out for Monk’s House, just about twelve hours ago, I thought I was just looking for Virginia Woolf, but I came away with so much more, I came away with finding more of my self.

How long will it take to get from Germany to London?

Wednesday,  June 3, 2015
9:49 a.m.


Another adventure begins as we wait at the train station to see if we can get a reservation to London. Magic number of 1270 just popped up. If you aren’t at the window within thirty seconds,  they go to the  next number.
Sylvia is at window number one as I watch the baggage…


Seven hours on the train to get from Düsseldorf to London, hopefully  with less than four stops.
Bad news. The train from Brussels to London is sold out. Sylvia suggested flying,  but that would be costly. I suggested we get as far as possible. Maybe we are supposed to stay a day in Brussels. Guess I better learn Dutch.
At least the train doesn’t leave for an hour as we wait in line again. 1298 is the next magic number. They are helping number 1287.


  1. image

I had hoped to blog every day, but by the time we ran around sightseeing, I was tuckered out. Four  more numbers.
10:24 a.m. on a train. I had asked a man how to get from Düsseldorf to Cologne. This train, he said. Even though it isn’t the train we were scheduled for, when Sylvia said it was my call, I said let’s get on. She regrets giving me that power as now we are on our way from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam before we get to Cologne.
Sylvia wants to go back to Düsseldorf and get on the correct train, but I think we can still get to London.  Adventures aren’t always planned. To continue to have a stress-free vacation, I hold strongly onto this philosophy.
10:38 a.m. next stop is Cologne. Is it possible I was right? Of course I won’t say anything, though I was looking forward to going to Amsterdam.


11:09 a.m. Köin. Half an hour wait. I was able to snap a few pictures from the train.


That horse statue looks like the statue from Düsseldorf. I will have to insert it later.
Not many seats,  and it isn’t customarily for youth to give up seats to elders.  The other day we were waiting at a train station and a young lad had blocked two seats with his bag,  but he was standing and stretching. He mixed the large hiking bag. His English caused me to think he was American as he said stated that he was still using the seat.
11:52 a.m. On the train to Brussels.  Luckily,  we had reservations as we were booted from the first seats we found, and getting to seats 91 and 93, was crazy. People going both ways. It seems as though I am not pushy enough as I let many go by. Add the motion of the train, and I almost sat in a man’s lap. Dog-eat-dog world.
While waiting for the train, I struck up a conversation with a retired teacher from Calgary, Canada. If I had been observent, I would have noticed that her husband was reading a paper in English, but I asked her if she spoke English. I am in the habit of saying this that I may ask when I very back to the states.
12:12 p.m. We have passed a lot of wind turbines, but every time I hold up my camera, I only get trees or junkyards or dark tunnels.
The men we share a table with were speaking English, so I asked them where they were from.  Tunsinia. They said they spoke several languages. In junior high, I struggled with French. In college I struggled with Spanish. The other day I downloaded an ap  to teach me different languages.  Ich bin eine Frau.


12:20 p.m. Some near Aachen. Please excuse the spelling, I may be missing a an accent.
12:32 p.m. Belgium. It seems like people just get on the train with or without reservations. Now the question is whether we just do that like the Calgary folks and hope we can find a seat or take the time to find a ticket information place.  We are told that the Brussels to London was sold out, but the Canadians were told they couldn’t make reservations. Standing for an hour would make this task impossible.
Caught another picture, though wires got in the way


12:43 p.m. Liëge-Guillemins. Very modern train station.
1:30 p.m. One more stop before we get off and test our luck. Since tickets ate not checked before departure, what will we do if the train is full. Meanwhile, I don’t know where we



2:19 p.m. Decisions made in haste doesn’t always come out well. We showed the ticket agent the Euro train pass and was told there were no more seats and to go today would cost €300. Tomorrow would have been cheaper, but my idea was trumped. It wasn’t until after we got through customs that the idea of showing the London rail pass. That may have saved us some money, but it is hard to say. I have always wanted to live a lifestyle that money does not weigh into decisions. Pretending will have to suffice for now.
2:33 p.m. Switching to French temporarily to get to through customs and to order my coffee, at least to say Merci. I was just getting used to saying  Danke schöen.
Two hours. Phone battery is dying so it is time to try to publish….no such luck.


5:50 p.m. I think I am on UK time. We made it to the hotel!