Back in Paris

I’m back in Paris with the usual jet lag and a sore throat to boot. It’s so beautiful today in Paris that I’d love to get out but I will probably have an emergency nap instead. Here are a few photos taken in the States while visiting.

The bluebonnets were in bloom in Texas so I went out into the countryside to have a look.

A nice lady there said, “Are you alone? Let me take a photo of you with the bluebonnets.”

Then, as I struggled to my feet she took about ten more.

I saw some beautiful cactus flowers in Arizona while visiting my Mom.

And I took a ton of photos of family. This is one of my grandsons, Micah, who dressed for charcoal fire. Made me laugh.

And Finally

And finally, the year ended with a long visit to the States.

We spent a lot of time in Austin, Texas. One of our favorite things to do was walk around Town Lake.

We visited old haunts. This was the Oasis with fabulous views.

We made a trip to New Orleans, always a great place to visit.

We visited with family in Colorado for Thanksgiving.

We spent Christmas in Arizona and spent time with my mother.

The best part, of course, was connecting with friends and family, especially grandchildren.

And today, as I post this, I am on my way back to Paris so I hope to have some photos of Paris next week if I can get over my jet lag enough to get out and explore.

Happy Thanksgiving

I am sitting in our warm, beautiful room in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It was snowing earlier this morning but has now stopped. We celebrated Thanksgiving early with family in order not to have leftovers that would have to be thrown out when we leave on Saturday. We have been plowing through ham, dressing and apple pie since Tuesday. We watched the silly but heart warming movie, Elf, sure to increase your Christmas spirit. I haven’t written about what happened in Paris. I’m still trying to process it I guess. I know life will slowly get back to normal and that those who cancelled their trips to Paris will make it to the City of Light one day soon. Something like this makes you thankful for each day, for family and friends, for the magic of life. Facebook has been sending out old postings of this day four or five years in the past and I had one today of a posting by Lisa Taylor Huff, my friend who recently died. We had gone to the Christmas market on the Champs Elysees and she bought spice bread that her family loved. She would only have one more Christmas after that. Happenings like that certainly wake you up and appreciate what is in your life. I won’t be back in Paris until January and I expect it will seem unchanged by then. I just read that one of the terrorists who escaped had been tracked not only going back to the theater after the attack but also to Nation, the metro stop by our apartment. You never know. Life is such a fragile thing.

The beautiful full moon seen last night.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends. May your turkey be moist, your desserts perfect, your friends and family there to share love and a life full of happiness and health.

Town Lake

One of our favorite things to do in Austin is walk around what is called Town Lake which is actually part of a dammed up river, done to control flooding. I see that they have renamed it Lady Bird Lake, the wife of President Johnson years back, but it will always be Town Lake to us. They had horrible flooding in Austin and the surrounding area a few months ago but it hasn’t rained since and the trail is very dusty, coating my dark running shoes when I walk there. I love being there early in the morning when the light is good.

I especially liked the light on this tree with the water in the background.

This was under one of the bridges.

The same bridge with a nice reflection and a boat being rowed under it.

Of course, I am seeing family while here. This is my son, Jason, with his five boys. They certainly were interested in whatever he had on his phone-I forget what it was now.

A Late Christmas Party

Everyone in Maurice’s family was out of town during Christmas so his daughter threw a late party at her place. Maurice’s ex was even there which could have been uncomfortable but, amazingly, she was friendly, we talked a bit and everything went well.

One of those half balls on the wall that, though distorted, shows how large the salon is. It’s a great place for a party.

It was cold enough for a fire in the lovely fireplace with twinkly lights on the mantle.

We had all sorts of food, like this cheese platter. Love the knife.

These were good. One of Maurice’s nieces made some amazing hors d’ouvres.

The dog, Gaston, was dressed for the occasion.

A Typical Day

I am in Arizona helping my Mother with my Father who has recently come home from the hospital. He has Parkinson’s and as the disease progresses, is getting more and more shaky on his feet and he falls easily. From what I read on the Internet, in time he won’t be able to get out of bed or even eat. One of the components of Parkinson’s is often dementia which my Father has developed. That means he can never be left alone because he sees things and even sometimes heads outside.

I am going to be here for several months to get things all worked out and I’ve developed a routine of sorts. I am usually up at 4:30 or so. At first it was because of jet lag but now it is so I can get up and check on Dad. He’s an early riser and I want to make sure he hasn’t tried to get out of bed and fallen. Once he is up, we go into the kitchen-sometimes he can walk and sometimes we have to use a wheel chair-and I get him breakfast. Right now he is eating really well. After Mom is up and dressed and has joined us which is usally around 6:30, I head out for a walk/run on the many paved paths that they have around the neighborhood trying to keep in shape and to keep my energy up. Often when I get back, Dad is back in bed asleep. The hospice nurse tells us that as the disease progresses those with Parkinson’s will sleep more and more, sometimes up to 20 hours a day.

Mom and Dad eat lunch early, usually at 11 AM. They have something light like sandwiches or soup. I try to eat healthy, like a steak, chicken or shrimp. I’m amazed at the amount of processed food that my parents eat and that I see at the grocery store. It makes it easier and faster to eat but I’m trying to eat fresh which involves cooking for myself. Dad then heads back to bed for a nap. Mom and I usually do too. When you get up so early, a nap feels good.
I spend a lot of time watching TV, all of those shows that I can’t see in France or that are dubbed in French. I surf the net too of course. Dinner is at 4:30 or 5 PM, something that puts Maurice into shock when he is here as he seldom wants to eat before 8 PM. I’ve gotten the same way but once I get here, I sort of fall into the schedule of my parents.

By 7 PM, my Dad is ready for bed. Mom and I watch TV, read the paper and relax. We both are usually in bed by 10 PM. And then the next day, we start again. We never know what the day will hold. Will Dad be weak and mild or more full of energy and sort of aggressive? When he is, I have some medicine that I slip him so he calms down. It’s an up and down disease with a gradual downhill slope. I’m working on getting Mom help when I’m not here. I’m not sure if a nursing home will be needed eventually. We will just have to wait and see. It could be a long process or he could go quickly-like a fading sunset or a lamp being turned off.