Friday, October 5, 2012

Paint peels like old habits, and life goes on. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Urban Diversity in Lausanne

Thursday, June 14, 2012

come out to play, if you please

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I came upon a pond in desert place
where sounds for ears
and sights for eyes are plentiful. Yes.
Sounds and Sights
The buzzing of insects droning over the water
dropping their sylphlike legs in perfect circles, hovering.
Bodies light as air they alight,
and wait

The dragonfly passes
and sings her breath upon my neck;
caves of fish mouths hunting the unsuspecting
water spiders, calling me to come
and play,
to die.

Overhead, the groaning arms of trees
holding tiny flags toward me, dropping
benedictions on occasion,
one to catch my hair, they laugh.
I see light through leaf in this heart, thank God -
He has come.

There is the feel of cool water edging upon my ankles,
lapping its tongues upon me, higher
with every step.
Sunlight in water drop on lily pad
reflects bare skin back to me, calling

Pour out on me
gift and goodness
I come to feel fingers,
running down my head,
my skin,
my heart
; my grief.

There is only yielding now, as sunbeam pierces branch,
and You come upon me,


and take the desert vastness of a heart.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We knocked down the old fireplace, which was deemed hazardous, and discovered this behind. Color and texture in the hardware.

The contractors told me I can't keep it this way, but I think it's grand just like it is.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Three angels paid a visit this Saturday to lend the muscle power of their youth to my Russian. Look at how happy he looks!

Before and after ...

"You should have seen them... they came in like a tornado and it took 'em a matter of minutes to rip the ceiling down and get the kitchen out. It was all I could do to keep up!"

Hugs all around, and THANK YOU BOYS!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In the box with Grandfather's Bible was Great-grandmother's clock.

It had been a wedding present in her youth, and chimed the hours of her lifetime until she took her final leave.

My Russian - who works in the watchmaking industry - was swift to take it in his hands, carefully studying the movement before attempting to bring it back to life. And as I watched him working with a patience I personally know not of, I couldn't help but think that this clock, my Swiss great-grandmother's treasure when she espoused my Swiss great-grandfather, had found its way back to the vaterland and into the care of watchmakers, the keepers of its very soul.

Perhaps in years to come it will chime my own final breath.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My grandfather was a practical man.

I didn't know him well, but in my mind is a long tale of how I imagine he might have been. I shall keep it that way, for I want to believe he was grand.

I was recently given the treasure of a lifetime - his Bible! It arrived in the mail yesterday, duct taped, scotch taped, stapled together with years of use. As I pulled it from its wrappings, the scent of mystery embraced me and I was eager to open its pages and hunt for hints of what the man I have longed to love was like.

Throughout are markings, dates, of what I can only assume are readings. He must have read it at least five times as far as I can tell. Nearly every page is dated with some erased memory that was important to him.

I saw my name and birth date, my sisters' and brothers' names and birth dates; I touched them with my finger as my hand rested where his would have when he wrote them in. I imagined his brow furrowing as he tried to remember how to spell "Allison"...which ultimately he spelled with a "y" rather than an "i". My son was quick to point that out as he peered over my shoulder, but I shooed him away with my hand. "He was an immigrant! How could he have known?"

And then, as I reached and groped for his presence in the ancient book, I came upon the last page scribbled with meaningful Bible verses, but also a short list. A list much more akin to the granddaughter searching for him two generations later; a common thread that made me laugh out loud in my tiny kitchen.

Dry Gas in Oil Barrel
Take off Snow Tires
Fix Tail Pipe

Each crossed off as undoubtedly he had accomplished them later on.

Grandpa... you were not paying attention to the message! We were not so different after all! For in my heart, religion is not about duty or emotion or protocol. In my heart it is about life; and in the midst of worshiping a Holy God, there is the grunt and sweat of reality. God, I have no doubt, understands the human plight.

I am my grandfather's granddaughter, indeed.

A bit of someone's hair, actually three bits of hair in different places: two blond, one brown. I wonder...

And as I close the pages, I sigh a happy sigh. The man I was looking for was more thoughtful and quirkier than I could have hoped - and what I had wished for, that link that would prove my lineage, I found.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I was pedaling up a hill when his hand pressed against my back. Earlier in my marriage I might have been warmed by his show of devotion and willingness to help me up the hard climb, but instead I found myself annoyed.

"I can do it!" I quipped through my effort.

And his hand dropped away, and my back grew cold, and the climb was harder than I had thought.

Standing in a roomful of men I noticed that his hair had grayed; his strong shoulders were thin and bent in a kind of fog; his kind eyes sad and tired. I slipped my hand in his but rather than quipping a declaration of self-sufficiency, he stood a little straighter and spoke a little clearer.

Next time I will surely wish his hand back.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And the thought emerges like so many dim and distant sounds of traffic hurrying through the city, ever closer until it stops, blaring, where I stand on the grey, cold sidewalk:

Sharp and thoughtless words always hurt whether one is comfortably settled in a luxurious place or walking barefoot along the roadside. And you can never pull them back to you, can never gather them up again; you can not pour a drink that will soothe their sting or blow a kiss for them to blush under. Once they are said the virginity of friendship is lost and thoughtful choices are made - and it happens that when you look up after having wiped your brow with a gesture of shame you find the person gone... 

At the end of our new cul de sac,  two doors down, is a field that stretches far and wide. The girls slip notes to eachother with instructions to meet at the "Le Grand Arbre" or "Big Tree" down by the creek for hours of imagination. If by chance we can't find them anywhere...this is where we look.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A natural energy is beginning to pool in the deep places outdoors, and I can feel that it will burst at any moment. Spring is on my doorstep ... and my camera is in the shop.

Until it returns, I'll be outdoors looking but not snapping. Perhaps there is some wisdom in that for me. :)

Missing you...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

break that which is acceptable down ... or reconcile yourself to their road blocks

Really only you can choose.

What will you do?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

No matter where he is, he never forgets to write!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Morning walk to Jane.

Ambiance par excellence but double espresso with a bitter kick that'll wake you up in a microsecond.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Early mornings, after a lemon poppy seed muffin and enough American coffee to equal four European espressos (might as well have drunk it right out of the pot ;), I walked out the door to this:

regal edifice bathed in western light.

And the former Californian was appeased.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

But as I walked through these streets, I couldn't help but stop every few yards to take snapshots of the buildings, so alive with un-faked creativity. This city breathes decadence with an epicurean flair. In culture, sport, intellectualism and diversity it lives freely.

The only other city I've ever been in that I felt had a heart that beat on its own and lungs that breathe of their own free will was Seville, Spain.

Surely there are others, but San Francisco pulsates; its unabashed passion for all things beautiful is unparalleled.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The window you look through makes all the difference.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Seven days in a dream city and I didn't ride once. All the more reason to go back, I'm thinking...

Friday, March 2, 2012

San Francisco Bay Bridge

You come and you go again, others come and go again, and I will come but then go again.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I took a trip west ... far, far west to the land of copious architecture and violent sunsets. For the first time in nearly twenty years my eyes scanned the blue, western horizon I once called home, and the sounds and smells I experienced overcame me in waves of familiarity. I had thought this place was no longer a part of me - only to realize that it always will be.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ring at my door and I may not be home. Ring at my heart and I always am.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

At l'Eglise de Compesières even the door leading to the powder room is enchanting...

You pull open the heavy wooden portal only to enter a stone floor room, pitch black, with two doors leading off to the right. If you're lucky, you pick the powder room door; if you're not so lucky, you greet the Mayor in his office.

But the minute you wrap your freezing fingers around this ancient handle, imagination begins to spin and dance - and the music you hear groping its haunting fingers toward you lures you back to the holy sanctuary...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I've been gone ... I know.

But the doors through which I entered were so magical and astonishing, so lovely and dreamlike that I have wondered how I could bring just a bit of the fairy dust that showered me your way.

Last week I was invited to a concert in Geneva, with Mozart that would melt your heart. It did mine.

Would you like to see pictures of the ancient church in the country that gave agonizing birth to luscious strains of music on a cold and snowy night?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking out or looking in? Perhaps the out of doors is actually the inside where we belong, and huddling in our houses puts us on the outside of where we were meant to be.

It is still grey out, and I am still inside. Coffee anyone?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weeks and weeks and weeks of drizzly grey; snow holds off but so does the sun, and it grows increasingly challenging to maintain the optimistic mood.

So I bought myself a hyacinth, guaranteed spring the minute you walk in the door, and set it on the sideboard without thinking. And then I saw friendship nestled under its generous arch ... and then I saw what friendship does to that which is grey and dreary and in need of spring.

Hyacinths are spring - they are laughter and complicity and the promise of all that is copious. I've been watching the frozen ground for my own garden to grow...


Monday, January 23, 2012

bit of beauty - drop of peace

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday afternoons along the quay. I'm reading by the bank - won't you come sit beside me? Water trickles and splashes against rusted moorings, icy wind chills and chaps a winter face.

But there are rosy smiles to be had and furtive glances from a mysterious parallel-world accomplice. Where has your mind taken you today? Do tell!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I lit a candle of friendship for you twenty years ago - and still it burns.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are you still moving forward - or have your heart-wheels screeched to a stop? Listen closely... I am sounding the whistle for you.

Come with me and ride the rails! No one ever said it was going to be a rose garden, but no one said it had to be dreary, either. There are lovelier pastures to chug through yet, with less trash and less noise and less clutter.

Go find them!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Driving home from the train station we happened upon a pair of red shutters unceremoniously cast aside for the trash truck. Can you believe the Russian had pedaled by on his bike for at least two weeks straight, hoping beyond hope that I wouldn't see them and bring them home?

The mini-van was full of kids and friends, but we found room for them anyway, Sam huddling down in the back seat so they could pass over his head. And now my Sweet says they're beautiful and he's so happy I found them. Good grief!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Waiting to have a cavity filled, she stared out into a city dripping with weeks of rain.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

But I hadn't wanted my destination to be foreign - I was just passing through, voyons! And yet, as a friend was explaining to me the reasons why she couldn't possibly live in Europe, the reasons to which I once subscribed myself, words crossed my lips and cut deep into my conscience; words so unlike what I had heretofore been proclaiming.

"I do believe this is the first time I've ever heard you speak in favor of the foreign," she said, slightly amused.

I am walking toward a place, living in a place, weaving existence in a place I thought I could not love.

Destination: most definitely unknown.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

i'm in my workshop of the mind

Monday, January 9, 2012

January astounds with fields of spring green.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What do you do when you get coal in your stocking?

Why, eat it, of course!

I'm thinking this is Trader Joe's way of making lemonade out of lemons, and as the snow falls from a sky that has been grey for weeks, I can't say that I blame them. I ate it all up yesterday while getting back into work after the holidays, wondering all the while if candy cane coal might be responsible for a nation-wide rise in bad behavior.

Thanks mom!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Love comes knocking at my door - in a shape and form I did not expect.

Foreign arms reach out and encircle me - and though I am embarrassed, I feel I have waited for them all my life.

Eyes I might once have misunderstood pierce my heart - and I find myself inextricably connected to something I was wont to disdain.

Snow falls and ice melts - love falls and heart melts.

I have learned there are no guard rails on love. There is only risk.

Some have asked what word I would pick to start 2012, and I stutter under my breath, "A single word for an entire year? I couldn't pick one for this minute!" And the icicle begins to drip; drip, drip, dripping on me. And I find my hands reaching out to fingers of trust and confidence. I daresay it is risk.

And I daresay I shall take it.

And it will either lead me out of my own fears once and for all, or bind me to them forever; but the time, I think, has finally come.