Sunday, April 30, 2006


For the second time this month, I've spent time in New York City. At the beginning of April, I went down with my sister's family for two days. They were playing with NEYE in Carnegie Hall and I went along to reacquaint myself with a former life, so to speak. It was a happy reunion, and I got to share it with my nephew. We spent Sunday morning wandering the area between 7th Avenue and 5th Avenue, between Rockefeller Plaza and Central Park until it was time for lunch and then the concert. Thirteen years ago I spent many a similar weekend, back when I played with NEYE at Carnegie Hall on a regular basis.

This time, I was experiencing my first spring meeting of the principals and superintendents of the Atlantic Union. Northeastern Conference hosted us and chose to put us up at the Millenium UN Plaza Hotel, right across the street from the United Nations. Wednesday, Southern New England and Northern New England personnel (including myself) packed into an Expedition for the trip south. After getting settled in our hotel, we ventured forth to explore our neighborhood. The three hour trek took us to Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, Time Square, and Broadway where we saw a Disney movie being filmed on top of a bus in the street.

Thursday, we had lunch in the UN dining room. The food was exquisitely presented and didn't taste half bad either! After eating, we took a tour of the UN. Our guide was French/ Argentinian...and excellent. The tour was fascinating. I wish I could remember all the things the guy told us...

Friday we spent the morning at the R.T. Hudson Elementary School where I helped out in the 3/4th grade room. A little girl drew a picture of me. You'll be interested to know she depicted me as a blond with long straight hair, dark tan skin and ear rings. An exact replica!!! This school was where Northeastern Academy was located when I visited it on a band tour in college. It's an old building but very well preserved.

Friday afternoon, we took a bus trip to Lancaster, PA where we attended an excellent presentation of "Behold the Lamb" at the Sight and Sound Christian Theater. We were amazed at the luxurious surroundings, but even more incredulous at the presentation itself. It traced Jesus' ministry through His resurrection in incredible detail. While some of the theology didn't match up with ours, it was an inspirational experience that caused me to consider how my own life is spent...and made me vow to refocus and reconfigure that life...

I got home Sabbath afternoon with about an hour to spare before going off to the memorial service for Elder Hammond, GBA's first principal. It lasted nearly three hours...hours that were filled with music and memories. Hearing all the tributes to this man who was known for his letters and phone calls and his concern about his student's relationship with Jesus, I wondered what my legacy will be whenever that last day arrives for me...and I realized that I can determine much of that by the way I live each day. It's just a matter of the choices I make about the way I treat those I deal with every day.

I have always hoped to make a difference. It's why I teach. And why I can't imagine doing anything else...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Aix-en-Provence, trois

Aix-en-Provence is located about 15 miles north of Marsailles which is on the south central coast of France. When I landed in Marsailles, I didn't know how I was going to get from the airport to my hotel. Luckily, people were very friendly and a kind lady steered me to the bus station which took me, coincidentally (or not) to within half a block of my hotel. For the next ten days, I walked everywhere, except for the two excursions I north to Loumarins (setting for the book A Year in Provence) and one south for a day in the picturesque harbor town of Cassis.

Aix sits in the shadow o
f Mt. St. Victoire, a mountain Cezanne painted over and over from many angles. One day I climbed up to Cezanne's studio and beyond to his main vantage point...on a high hill across the valley from the mountain. It was a hot afternoon, and I hadn't realized how far the hike was to the studio. By the time I arrived, I thought I was going to pass out from heat stroke! I walked into the gift shop to buy my ticket for the studio and the cashier took one look at me and went and got me a cold bottle of water. That kindness from a stranger overwhelmed me. She told me to go out and sit under some shade trees and cool off...which I did. After I enjoyed my tour through the studio, I rewarded her by buying a whole bunch of things from the shop. And she gave me a few things in return.

Thursday was the main market day. I got up early to take these photos before the heat wilted everything...and everyone.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Aix-en-Provence, deux

Aix is the birthplace and home of the great Impressionist Cezanne. You can still see many of the actual views he painted. Since I was taking a writing and drawing class, I attempted to capture what I saw, just as Cezanne did. Some attempts were more successful than others.

Of course I was just using pastel chalks and oil crayons...a far cry from oils or water colors... Someday, I want to take a real painting class. This was not a class to teach us to write or draw, but rather to find our inner selves through meditation, writing and drawing.

One of the women in my class was one of the executive producers of last year's Oscar-winning documentary "Born into Brothels." She lives nearby in Winchester. What an interesting coincidence to go all the way to Provence thinking I wouldn't know a soul and meet someone who lives in the town next to me and who knew the whole story about Boston Regional Medical Center (aka New England Memorial Hospital...)! I have yet to go anywhere in the world and not find someone I either know, or who knows me or my family, or who knows one of the places I'm connected to...

Aix is a "walking town," which means that you can literally get anywhere in the city on foot without much effort. Many of the streets are "walking streets," without the worry of cars or trucks or buses. Every day, I walked anywhere from five to ten miles (depending on the day's homework). That was a huge luxury for me, as I never have that kind of leisure time here at home (nor do I have the beauty to explore where I live either...).

There are no supermarkets here in this town. You have to go out early in the morning to the open air markets and buy your food for the day/week. For me, the flowers were the draw as I didn't have the means to cook, but the fresh veggies and fruits were very tempting. I'm not sure what they do in the winter...if they still operate that way. That would not be charming! But I suppose you'd have do to whatever was necessary if you lived there full time...

I was fascinated by the doors I saw and attempted to capture a few of them in this drawing. I am not an artist, but I like to play around and enjoyed this study of two doors and a passageway... I wrote above the entry way "Passage to Life" because I really felt like this ten days gave me not only new doors, but a new passage into a life much more my own...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Aix-en-Provence, France

Nearly two years ago, I spent an amazing 10 days in a city I had never heard of before, but want to return to over and over again now that I've been there. I was taking a writing/drawing workshop (which was a wonder-full experience in itself) that took me all over the city--on foot--so I feel that I got to know it fairly well. And what I came to know, I came to love.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

AUC Alumni Weekend

I went out to AUC for church yesterday. It was Alumni Weekend. It's always interesting to attend the church service to see who shows up and how many I recognize. The biggest surprise was running into Jack and Laura Ferneyhough on my way out after a very long service (it ended at 1:30). I almost didn't recognize either of them, but checking out my Cedar Lake yearbook for 1979 today, I saw the resemblance (he was the business manager and she was the assistant girls' dean. They actually look fairly similar except she has blonde straight hair (it used to be curly and reddish brown) and he is grayer. I wonder what resemblance they saw in me to the 23 year old beginning teacher I was when I worked with them. I know I've changed a lot as a person and a teacher since then. To me, the exterior change doesn't matter nearly as much as the interior ones do. And yet, the exterior is all we really have time for when we meet ever so briefly at such things as reunions. There really is no way to put character out there on the surface for people to see and know how different you are from a time long past...and yet surface is how we are judged too often...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I can't ignore the delightful fact that I have another cat. His name is Teddy (after Theodore Lawrence in Little Women. May's full name is Louisa May...see the connection?) and he's soft and fluffy and cuddly like a teddy bear. He's also very funny...and much more playful than May who is just too sophisticated for crazy play (like chasing a feather or batting a plastic ball all over the house). He loves to sit on the back of my rocking recliner while I watch TV or work at my laptop. He jumps up, gives me head butts, chews on my hair and purrs madly all the while. He and May are good friends and compliment each other nicely in this household of mine...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

New Blog

I decided to start this blog spot because I wanted to be able to insert pictures with my writing. The other place I use (multiply) has everything'm experimenting with this...

Pictured here is my boss, May. She wakes me up every morning, nipping my toes or fingers until I get up and feed her and her pal, Teddy. She is gentle every single other moment of the day, but when she wants me up, there is no denying her. Double-pawed, she was a birthday gift to me four years ago, now, from Kaitie and Christopher (my sister Martha's children). She was very tiny when they gave her to me, but she is quite a big kitty now. She's very elegant, though, in spite of her size. Teddy is a not-as-big Ragdoll with the softest fur and the sweetest personality. They are good friends to each other, and to me.