Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Translation Follies

I don't feel like going anywhere today. I don't.

I could go to Whole Foods, get some soup and a couple of things I need for dinner and sit down with Teddy for a nice sidewalk lunch and pretend that I'm already in France. I could take Teddy to Marymoor after that so he can run with his kind. We love going to Marymoor, watching dogs of different sizes and shapes leaping through the grass. I could go pay for my international driver's license because I am going to be tooling around in France, Switzerland, and Spain very soon and I want to be the cool sister/aunt who has one in case we get tired of schlepping our stuff and want to rent a car for a couple of days. It turns out that all I have to do to get an international driver's license is to show up at an AAA office and pay fifteen dollars for one. I love being the cool sister/aunt.

Did I tell you that I can't wait until I go to Europe? Did I? Did I tell you that I've been telling total strangers that I meet that I'm finally going to eat at a sidewalk cafe in France in just a little more than a week? Did I tell you that I'm a little nervous about speaking such bad French?

I picked up a couple of bilingual books of poetry, one in Spanish and one in French and am struggling to read them. I'm telling you that my favorite translator is Stephen Mitchell. He's a poet, reflecting both Neruda and Rilke. I love reading aloud from 'Full Woman, Fleshy Apple, Hot Moon' by Neruda. Anyone who can write a good poem about socks is a hit in my book. In it, Mitchell's translation sings. It really does. The English of some of other translations I've found seem like they're written in concrete by comparison. Really.

The book of French poetry I bought is clunky in some places and lyrical in others. I don't know whether to blame the poet or the translation because I'm so bad at reading French. Oh, my adventures in reading in French and Spanish are funny. I have only a very basic vocabulary in either language, so when I begin, say, on a French poem, it is hysterical what I think the poem is about until I get too lost and look to the opposite page to see its real meaning.

From my book of 'Modern French Poets,' I like Paul Eluard. So, here's one of my foibles:

Tu vois le feu du soir qui sort de sa coquille
Et tu vois la foret enfouie dans la fraicheur

Forgive my lack of the little carrots on top of some e's and i's. I thought it said:

You see the fire of the night quite coqueteishly
And you are the leaves on top of the strawberry.

Terrible poetry, right? Well, it would be terrible, but that's not at all what it said. It acutally said:

You see the evening fire coming out from its shell
And you see the buried forest in its coolness.

Now, I like that. I can feel the temperature of it on my skin. Last week, when a young friend of mine caught me reading my book of French poets, she said, "Poetry sucks."

"No it doesn't," I said. "I like poetry." Good argument, huh? I didn't have my copy of Neruda's book to read 'Ode to Lemons' to her or Lucille Clifton's poem about 'Wishes for Sons' in which she wishes her sons to have the experience of going to a gynecologist or getting the dreaded period unexpectedly while wearing thin white shorts. Oh, I love Lucille Clifton. And there's Mary Oliver and Jane Kenyan and Billy Collins. And the book 'The Light that Whispers Morning' by Kevin Miller. I love that book. Even the title makes me breathe more deeply.

The only way I was going to catch this girls opinion and turn it around is if I can get her to laugh or to cry over one of those poems. And she had this look on her face that to do that would be torture, the sheer hell of 'Dante's Inferno.'

Well, then.

I guess I'll leave her alone to her own kind of reading. But tomorrow, when I go to the library where she will mostly likely dance in front of the big library desk before she flutters off with her friends to chatter, I am going to be reading Pablo Neruda. So there. Pththpththpth.

And I'm going to be enjoying the way my mind can totally bunch up the translation of a poem and how Stephen Mitchell can smooth it all back into place.

Thank you for listening, jb

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


There's a new baby robin on my deck.

How do I know it's a baby? I watched as the mom fluttered around this guy last week. He's bigger than his mom, but much less focused and organized. At about this time of day, the mom comes and bathes in a shallow bowl of water I put on the back deck to replace the bird bath that rusted and left the water a strange color that the birds avoided. The mother robin is efficient and throws that water around like a pro.

The baby came to take a bath the other day and he just sat in the water. It was like I was serving him for dinner, his wings spread over the edges and tufts of fluff floating around him. Kids can spend an inordinate amount of time in the bathtub, can't they? He was no exception. He sat there for a good fifteen minutes while I watched. His mouth opened. And then it closed. He tilted his head. And then he tilted it the other direction. He fluffed up the water. And then he sat still. I just loved the dorky look on his face as he looked at my cat watching him through the glass.


It was adorable.

And no, I do not let my cat out to stalk the birds on the deck. Seth is strictly an indoor guy, primarily because we live right along the highway. When a cat goes up against a highway, the highway always wins. This way, the birds win too. The cat and I have watched at least eight fledglings stand on our deck and look back at us as if we're as normal a part of the scenery as the Western red cedar they nested in. We've hosted Stellar's jays, robins, thrushes, and hummingbirds. Apparently the hummingbirds are in love with my fuchsia this year. In past years, I'd cut back my salmon berry and I'd lose them. The robins like the salmon berries too. And to think I didn't even plant that thing. I just let the weeds go wild and there they were. At least the fuchsia will bloom all summer. Hummingbirds all summer would be nice.

And that baby robin?

Even when he becomes sleek like his mother, I'll know him by his sense of ownership of my deck. When I sit on my deck, he'll fly in for a bath, forgetting that the big predators sometimes use it, but never as often as he does. Really, he will say as he flies away in a huff over my presence, "This really is my spot. I've been coming here my whole life."

And, if I'm nearly done with my book or I'm tired of squinting at it in the bright sunshine, I'll gather my tea and my book and lumber back inside the house so the baby can take his bath in peace.

Thank you for listening, jb

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Limitations of Our Sense of Time

As I sat at my computer today, Mike pointed out of my dirty, second-floor window. "Look, it's a hummingbird flying between my Japanese maple and the western redcedar!" It wasn't flying back and forth between the trees the way most birds would, but it was it was hovering, backing up, flying sideways, and hovering again. When it was hovering, I could barely tell that it was tiny, about three inches long, a pale green, and had a black beak and a red patch at its throat. Mike looked at me squinting at the bird.

"You might be able to see it better if you took a picture. The camera's already out," Mike said. I hadn't thought of that. I'd have to wash the window then. Now, that's a good reason to wash a window, though I'd hate to disturb the hummingbird if it had a nest in the area. Maybe it wouldn't mind.

I tell you, Mike and I had to stare intently because even though the hummingbird hung in midair, it stopped for the briefest of moments so that it was hard to tell what it looked like once my eyes located it again. Some things in this life happen in a different sense of time and a hummingbird's life is one. It's not like a tree, whose growth is so slow as to seem static, but it was so close to what I could see, that it frustrated my eye.

I love when I realize that time moves differently for other creatures on this earth. Shoot, time moves in a vastly different way for the universe. Try to imagine a light year. Just try.

You can't do it, can you? Not really.

Think about it, life could be folded into these different senses of time that we can't perceive, like the hummingbirds and the trees. Our universe just might be teeming with life and we're too myopic within time to see. 

Thank you for listening, jb

Throwing Fish and Sticking Gum to the Wall

I get to go into Pike Place Market and get the fish guys to throw a fish, a Copper river salmon, to be exact. Every year, when the Copper River salmon come into season, Mike asks me to go into Seattle to get one. I love when I get to do that. If you've ever been to Pike Place Market, one of the activities that are always going on there is the show the fish guys make of throwing a fifteen pound salmon from the display case back to the guys who wrap them. I love being able to start the process. It's like putting money into the tin man's cup. It makes him start his robot dance.

I also want to go to the gum wall. I'll need to stop and buy some gum on my way. Can you believe that I've never been to the gum wall?

I only have to be back to Redmond in time for Nick's karate lesson at 5:00. Maybe I should ask Rachel to come with me on Monday instead. Or maybe Nick should invite his friends and we could go Saturday afternoon before their sleepover.


I just realized that you can't take three boys to the gum wall if they all have braces. Bummer!

But I still want to see the gum wall. I don't know why. All the closeup pictures I've seen of it are pretty disgusting. I've heard it's really bad when it gets hot in the summer, yet whenever one of my friends goes, I find that I want to go too. I intend to chew my gum, two or three pieces, at least, for a half an hour before I find the place. I assume I can search for it using the map on my iPhone. Then, I'll stand there, looking at the wall for a few more minutes while I make sure that all the sweet has been chewed out. As I stare at the Jackson Pollock effect of the different colors of gum, I want to make a promise to myself and stick it up there on that wall with my wad of green gum. Can't you picture that?

There it will be, for all to see, my sticky promise to myself, hanging with all the other promises that people make when they use the gum wall. The site seems like a ritual wall, like the wailing wall or the Blarney stone. Seattle has the gum wall where you can renew vows, make a resolution, or just seal a friendship using a hunk of mostly chewed gum.

Don't you just love going into Seattle?

Thank you for listening, jb

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hairy Moles, Spittle, and Fat Ankles

I freaked a little kid out at the Boy Scout meeting last night. Oh, I've known this kid since he was a toddler look-alike to his big brother. I should have known that it didn't mean that he has known me that long. See, there is always a big group of adults and, more importantly, a bunch of kids around whenever this boy and I have been in the same place. I may never actually spoke to him before last night.

In my defense, his dad goes to Boy Scout meetings almost every Tuesday and he sometimes chats about his boy there. I used to be in charge of awards for the Cub Scout pack and I saw the kid's name over and over while I worked. I'm friends with his mom on Facebook, so I see pictures of him on vacations and birthdays. I even took a six week hunter's safety class with Nick and he and his dad were there too. I just happen to walk with his best friend's mom and I hear about him then. That best friend has even come along with Nick on a couple of outings and talked about him. All in all, I've heard a lot about this boy. And when he's at a Boy Scout event, I'm usually there, along with two or three dozen other adults and kids.

Last night, his mom had told him to straighten chairs after the meeting was over. I was standing there and saw him struggling to get one chair in the right position. I thought of how much fun Nick had with his best friend when we went to the renaissance faire with us last summer. I wanted to help this kid with his chairs, but I knew he needed to get it figured out himself.

"Hey Griffin, I can't wait until you and Jake are in the troop next year."

And there was dead silence. He didn't even look up at me, just moved in the opposite direction to straighten the next chair.

"It's going to be a lot of fun having you there," I went on, a little lamely. He still didn't say anything or even look up. I had blocked him in. There was no escape and there were no other chairs to straighten. He shuffled his feet, still silently looking down. As I moved out of his way, a picture popped into my mind.

I remember going to our annual family reunion in the social hall of some church I'd never visited. I was probably in grade school, maybe fourth grade. It smelled funny in there, like cabbage and dentures. I had had a good time because there were kids I didn't get to see all that often, second cousins. There were at least thirty or forty people at those reunions, but I only paid attention to the kids and my own grandparents. For the most part, I even ignored my parents and my brother and sister.

Then, out of nowhere, some ugly old lady would corner me. I usually knew that she was my grandma's sister or cousin. She might have had a hairy mole on her upper lip and fat wrinkles. A lot of those ladies did. I would have looked down as she tried to talk to me.

"I heard you got straight A's on your report card again this year. You keep up the good work, child," she might have said. How did she know that? I would have stared at her thick ankles where taupe-colored tights were starting to sag. I would have studied her sturdy black orthopedic shoes as she talked on an on about me, my teacher, and my grades. How did she know all this stuff?

"I also heard about that boy Tommy that you have a crush on," she might say. "You just be your sweet self and he'll come around." By then, I could never make myself look up. My face would have been bright pink and I'd be able to hear my heart in my ears. Plus, that hairy mole was coming closer. She might have grunted as she leaned over a little. And I would be able to smell her old lady breath.

"How about a kiss for your old Aunt Shirley, honey? Just a little kiss and a hug." And since I'd been taught to obey my elders, I would have let that hairy mole touch my cheek. I would have felt a little spittle that she left there when she straightened up. Then, she would have squeezed me into her large chest and I would have wondered if I were going to suffocate before she let me go. When she released me, I would have run outside to get back to the safety of the group of cousins playing freeze tag in the grass.

Crap! I have become the ugly-old-lady-hug stalker. May God forgive me.

Thank you for listening, jb

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Laundry Woman

I used to dream that I could fly. It was always hard work for me, but I could do it, just barely making it above the trees and out of reach of whatever was chasing me. I used to wake up after one of those dreams and be grateful that there was something that felt true about it. It felt like a superpower I kept hidden to myself. I felt myself taking off over those trees again when I graduated from college and, ready or not, I knew that I was going to move out of state. I was going to explore.

Years later, my son was born and at that moment, I felt a surge of power again, a different superpower. It was what I imagined a grizzly felt when someone got between her and her cubs. I am grateful that it felt so true and that no one really tried to mess with my cub.

Then, when my son turned four, he started to dream about having superpowers. We had long conversations about what power he would want if he could choose a power for himself. There was invisibility, super strength, flames. Yeah, flames were cool. Nick wanted to pick a power for his dad, but Mike wanted to choose his own superpower. Those were the days when we had to teach Nick that he couldn't choose who other people got to be, that they chose for themselves, but one day, I was curious.

"Nick, what superpower should I have?" I asked him.

"Momma, you can kill people with your voice." It was awful. It was wonderful. It was true. I had used my voice to try to get his attention, to try to motivate him to get ready, to demand that he follow the rules of safety, of courtesy, and of justice, all with my voice. Plus, I can sing really really loudly.

Lately, I've felt that grizzly bear mom isn't so necessary any more. My boy is getting his own power and doesn't need as much protection.

My voice doesn't need to be as strident any more either. I'm working to use it on Nick less and less every day. Tonight, I didn't even have to tell him to get ready for bed. What is that? Do I feel a little bit weaker than I was when Nick was four?


Today, I decided it was time for a new superpower. Oh, I'll always want to fly over the trees and I'll always protect my family if they need me. And that voice - it's not totally retired from service when Nick needs a shove in the right direction. Plus, I can still sing really really loudly.

I figured it out today. I've decided that I wish my superpower was to be able to carry a whole load of laundry from the dryer to the bedroom and fold it without dropping a single sock on the floor.

Would that be too much to ask?

Thank you for listening, jb

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Perfect Solution to a Visit from His Mother-In-Law

Mike and I have been going through files in his office in preparation for getting new flooring. It's mostly a drudgery. Mostly. It had gotten out of control in there, papers lying everywhere. For my part, I'm recycling old calendars. I mean, who wants to know when I got my teeth cleaned in the year 2007, really? But Mike managed to find his great grandfather's birth certificate among his grandma's papers. It was a really cool moment. We have relatives in Dundee, Scotland. Ay that.

I think this whole thing is becoming the perfect storm. First, both my neck and back hurt. Right now, they hurt. I've only hauled about twenty boxes. I still have two bookshelves to go, not to mention all the furniture. I'm a fifty-four year old woman who's had one back surgery, people. I'm not the go-to person for moving furniture.

Then, I'm going to be gone for eleven days between now and then. Okay, that part will probably be lots of fun. I'm going to Zurich, Nancy, and Barcelona. I'll come back exhausted, in the very least. I'm hoping my bad tooth doesn't go south on me then. My doctor has given me prescriptions for antibiotics and pain. 

Then, there are the nightmares I read about on the internet about installers who came in, took a month, and botched the job. We don't have time for a botched job and months of work. My mother is coming in July. Can't we just wait? We've lived with this floor for twenty-three years. We can live with it for another two months and a visit from my mother.

I never realized that Mike is afraid of what she thinks of him. It was easier to go visit her in her house and find other in-laws hiding out in the living room or on the back steps. He's the one who keeps insisting that we do it before she comes.

I think everything has the potential for going completely wrong and we won't even have access to our house while she's here. Is that what he wants? Is it?

Yeah, it probably is the perfect solution.

Thank you for listening, jb

What I'll Look Like in Europe

I just spent a couple hours sweating through a walk at Marymoor park. It's hot and humid out. I hate that. This is the Pacific Northwest, folks. It's supposed to be cold and drizzly. I like cold and drizzly. My car said it was 83 degrees. At home, the thermometer said it was 86. Either way, I sweated and kept looping back along the water access where a breeze over the slough and extra shade cooled me off a little. Just a little.

I stayed out at the park for a while as I tried out another set of clothes I plan to wear in Europe. I wore a lightweight Bermuda shirt, Capri jeans, quick-dry ankle socks, and tennis shoes. I'm happy to say that I feel like a total dork in these clothes but imagine they'll work for my trip. So what if I'm dressed like a retiree on vacation? All I need to add to my attire is a white visor and wrap-around sun glasses, and I've got the look down.

While I watched dogs playing, I tried to imagine if I could walk this way all day. I wasn't wearing my pack because my neck still hurts from swinging a friend's baby on a walk two days ago. With breaks for meals, I think I could have walked forever. Plus, the Internet told me that it should be cooler in Europe while I'm there. Boy, I hope so.

Now, I've been told I should pack light. Got it. I'll bring two sets of clothes not including extra layers. Then, I'll bring laundry soap and wash things out at night. The question I still have is whether stuff will dry in eight hours. I'll bring some line to string my stuff up in the hotel room, but will my underwear really dry overnight? If it doesn't, can I rig something up so it can hang from my backpack while walk? Maybe I should bring a net bag so it won't be so obvious. A net bag won't look too strange hanging from my backpack but a flag of pink old-lady underwear would. Don't picture that. Just don't. Okay?

It may be time to pack a bag and see what it's going to feel like hauling this crap all over kingdom come. Pack light, pack light, pack light. I just have to remember that I'm a middle-aged married woman. Except for being respectful in the cathedrals, I don't care what people think of my clothes and whether or not I wore the same thing the day before yesterday.

Thank you for listening, jb

Friday, May 9, 2014

We Are the Champions

So, Mike left a few hours ago with four men and twelve boys for a camp-out at Fort Flagler. I would have liked to go on this trip. Mike devised a mission for the boys to run through the World War II bunkers there. I tell you, that place is like the setting for a video game. There are magazine rooms, shell rooms, powder rooms and not the kind of powder rooms that polite women ask about when they have to pee. There are hoists and platforms with tie-downs for large guns.  There are ramparts and keyhole ports. There are schematics on the descriptive placards. There are things I could not explain. The place is seriously cool. It's cool the way Gasworks Park is cool.

Since I'm not included on this trip, how do I know this? I went there with Mike last weekend for a reconnaissance trip. While we were there, he mapped out an orienteering course. It's a requirement the boys won't even realize they're completing. Fort Flagler is going to deserve at least one other trip there, one with Nick, who happened to go to a friend's house last Sunday. Mike, the dog, and I had a great time exploring on our own. I actually felt sad for Nick having missed this place. Plus, he didn't sign up for the trip in time and missed his chance to go this weekend. This summer, we'll go back. I can picture him running through the bunkers with flashlights and camouflage gear, totally into his internal story.

So Mike left a bit ago without me. Sometimes I hate that. Mostly, I hate it when he goes anywhere near water, lakes, rivers, and the beach, especially when he's canoeing. This time he left me and my imagination behind. Crap!

All week, he's been marking up maps and folding them into envelopes marked 'Top Secret.' He's devised challenges at each station for the boys. There will be a First Aid rescue, a slingshot challenge, and I don't know what else. It seemed to be on a need-to-know basis. Can't you picture how much fun that's going to be?

Today, he asked me to fill up a five gallon bucket with charged water balloons. Yes, it was 56 degrees outside and my plan was to put on shorts and flip flops and go out to the hose and fill water balloons until that bucket was full. I waited until afternoon when it was a tiny bit warmer.

The thing was that it was actually a little bit nice. Birds were singing. The sun shone on my shoulders now and then. Fat grey clouds lumbered low across the sky, letting patches of blue show through. These are the days of intense and varied greens and the light was beautiful. These are also the days of early mosquitoes. I came back inside, sprayed my legs and put on my Columbia insect-repellant shirt. I love that shirt. I don't usually buy orange, but I think I look good in it. I layered with a fleece vest and went back outside to finish my work.

When I had the bucket about three-quarters full, Nick and a neighbor got off the bus. Before they could see me and what I was doing, I lobbed three pink grenades over the shrub that blocked their view of me and they exploded at their feet.

It was war.

It's funny how long it takes to set up for water-balloon war. They stationed themselves in the driveway by my car, putting up barricades, plywood they found in the garage and using the recycle and yard waste bins for cover. I methodically filled the rest of the pink water balloons until I had my own bucket filled with them. In the meantime, they stole a bunch of green ones and a spigot and were filling them. I was much quicker at tying them off and filled Mike's bucket while the boys caught up with me. I was even so kind as to show them how to tie them off more easily, though it was fun to watch their mistakes splash their legs as they failed.

I was waiting and watching for the war to begin when I got a great idea. I quietly walked into the garage and found a spray nozzle for the hose. I could win this war. I was sure of it. Then, I went into the house and found my knee-length rain jacket, zipped it up to my chin, and raised the hood. I was armed and ready.

The boys saw that I was serious about this war and went inside to find rain jackets themselves. Just then, it decided to hail and we all stood around and watched. Teddy, the dog, looked pitiful until it stopped. But when it stopped, he knew a battle was brewing and he danced back and forth between us.

Suddenly, before I felt quite prepared, they were on me. Three balloons smacked me in the face and didn't even pop.

"Hey, don't aim for my face, okay?" I yelled as I lobbed my pink balloons at their backs. They responded by throwing two more and breaking them against my shoulders and chest. Ow! Nick made a point of dodging most of my grenades, letting them smash at his feet. I consoled myself that his feet and knees were getting wet.

In minutes, our ammunition was gone. They shocked me by pulling out squirt bottles set for straight streams. We use these things in the house to persecute the cat when he's walking across a table where we eat or threatening to knock a candle off the mantle. I could not get away from their barrage. I quietly turned my back and walked back up to my balloon-filling station.

A cheer rose behind me.

"We won! We beat her down!" they yelled.

I pulled the nozzle out of my pocket, surreptitiously screwed it onto the hose, and walked back up to the spigot to turn the pressure up.

"We are the champions," Nick screamed. He did a victory dance, a premature victory dance. I grabbed a couple of extra balloons out of Mike's bucket and walked with the hose closer to their bunker. Nick came out from behind a barricade to shoot me right in the glasses with the water bottle. That water was cold and I couldn't see a thing.

I feigned a throw with Mike's balloon grenades and pulled out the nozzle.

It was a massacre, nuclear annihilation. I aimed above knees, soaking their jeans until I was sure that wetness could wick up toward their underwear. I aimed for the open necks of rain jackets. I aimed for exposed ears. I was evil and unrelenting. I played dirty.

It was great!

Eventually, mom-mode set in and I stopped, offering to make hot chocolate for all of us. I was freezing. As I turned to go into the house, I pulled down the hood of my jacket. Just then, Nick squirted me right in the ear with his water bottle. Oh man, I hate that.

"We won!" He screamed. "We won the battle. You retreated!" All afternoon, he's been walking around singing, "We are the champions, my friend, and we'll keep on fighting to the end. We are the champions. We are the champions. No time for losing for we are the champions..."

"... of the world."

Thank you for listening, jb

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Dreading Home Improvements

Today, I finally packed up a bunch of boxes so that I can get new flooring in half my house. The other half will be a mess to try to redo, but for now, we're getting new floors in the areas we don't use as often and where the furniture is less substantial. No piano, no heavy couch, and no recliner.

Oh, who am I kidding? It's going to be a pain in the butt to move the rest of the crap we have in there. Literally. That means that by the time I've moved forty boxes of books, a fouton, three bookshelves, two filing cabinets, a large non-flat screen television, an oven, a freezer, a queen-sized bed and two desks, my lower back is going to be completely miserable. Crap! My back already hurts and I've only moved fifteen boxes into our new storage unit. Plus, I'm having to move a lot of junk we're throwing out. Last week, I donated two truckloads of stuff to the thrift store. Those people love me.

Am I complaining too much?


I'm not even looking forward to getting the new flooring. You might wonder why not. Well, I have a problem. People who do work on my house always seem to come and damage something else when they're doing the work, or they cut corners and I don't like cut corners. If I'm paying for it to look like the photos they sent, I want it to look like the photos they sent when they leave. If I get a new roof and they've destroyed a retaining wall in the process, that pisses me off. I'm getting used to it, but it still pisses me off. That retaining wall was busted twenty years ago and it still pisses me off when I think about it. They tried to tell me it was an old wall, but my husband had built the wall the year before. Moss grows very quickly around here. It does. So, I'm stuck with the problem that everybody wants to get paid, but they don't want to do the work.

And I hate having to negotiate with these guys when they screw up. Notice I said 'when' not 'if.' I hate it. I do it because I have to do it, but it's like fingernails on a blackboard, like sitting in a new car dealer's showroom when your car just smoked, like getting a root canal without enough Novocaine.

I just wish I could get people to do the flooring that I can trust. I'll look at the reviews, but I'll still run into trouble. I just know it.

Hell, it will look better when they're done, even when they do screw it up. Maybe that will be a consolation.

I'll write funner stuff next time. I promise. Notice, I didn't send you any pictures and I didn't sign a contract. I'm not likely to knock down your retaining wall while I'm doing crappy work though, huh?

Thank you for listening, jb

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Can't Wait

I'm going to Zurich! I'm also going to Barcelona! In between, I'll eat in France, look at castles and cathedrals, hang about at the town my ancestors hail from, Kallstadt, look at the Alps, and go to Barcelona, where time slows down even more, there may be siestas, and I can see the amazing architecture of Antoni Gaudi. It's time for me to dance around my living room for a bit.

I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait.

I have to read more French. At the library today, I picked up a book that was just my speed, conversational French at a middle school level. Well, I can tell you that I actually remembered some of the words and phrases from stuff I learned earlier. I'm going to become proficient with please and thank you to start. The question I have, since I've seldom even heard a French person speak French, will be how I am to understand the answers to all these questions I am learning to ask. There's the problem in a nutshell. It's not like I can turn the television onto a French station and see if I can understand them. I wonder if the Internet can help me with that too? I'll have to try.

And German. I know about three words in German. Well, I'm really hoping that my sister and my niece will be there in Zurich when I arrive. Aside from being exhausted and disoriented from flying all night, I'll be illiterate and practically mute, well, as mute as a chatty person like me can be.

I can't wait, I can't wait, Ican'twait, Ican'twait!

Can you actually hear me dreaming out loud?

Thank you for listening, jb