Divorce–the “gift” that keeps on giving.

The painting on the left is called  Transluscent Fragments of a Broken Family.  The painter is Kenneth Agnello.  Click here for information on buying the original.  I find the painting both haunting and beautiful.  Perhaps that’s a good thing.  It makes me feel hopeful on some indefinable level.

I recently declared myself finished with divorce (on this site).  Okay, I didn’t say that to you, but I whispered it to myself.  I thought I could no longer be hurt by it.  I discovered last weekend that even though the divorce no longer has power over me, that is, power to hurt me as it once did, still I hurt when a child or a grandchild is hurting as a result of the actions of other parties involved.

On Saturday, my ex-husband D and his lady-love got married.  That’s fine.  I wish them happiness.  Really, I do.  Here’s the thing–they chose not to invite one of his stepdaughters to the wedding.  The other two were invited.  That meant that one young teenage granddaughter who would have liked going and being there with her cousins could not attend because her little segment of the family was excluded.  She reacted with anger, but it was not anger she was feeling.  The show of anger was a cover for the inner pain she was suffering.

I cannot begin to imagine what sort of thinking went into their decision; I can only conclude that the D I lived with and loved those many years would never have imposed that sort of punishment on an innocent child.  How I wish I could have protected her.

Tonight I am sad.  Once again I have a tear in my eye.  I thought I had shed them all.


A tribute to Doc Watson.

The world has lost a shining star.  Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson, May 3, 1923-May 29, 2012.

I grew up listening to the flat-picking strains of Doc’s guitar and his plaintive mountain folk-music voice.  That was before he acquired the label  “folk artist.”  After he became famous and was playing Carnegie Hall and other well-known venues all over the globe, he made it perfectly clear that he was not ashamed of playing on the streets of Boone, NC, with a tin cup at his side.  His marvelous talent was the one thing he had to sell in order to support his young family.  You see, Doc Watson was blind from infancy.

I had the good fortune to see and hear him in person several times over the years.  The last time, when he was 83 years old, I was able to wait in line for a chance to speak with him.  I introduced myself and told him I, too, was from Boone; and I thanked him for all the years he had entertained me.  Ever the gentleman, he took my hand in his, kissed it, and then thanked me.

Rest in peace, Arthel “Doc” Watson.  The angels are rejoicing!!  And so is Merle.

I leave you with my favorite Doc Watson song.  Click here.

Click here if you would like to learn more about this fascinating man and his long career.

Starting in Cuzco.

We arrived at the Lima airport the evening of May 16, 2012.  I found it interesting that we were able to walk directly to our hotel from the baggage claim area.  In the US, when someone says they are staying in an airport hotel, it means they will have to go by taxi or limo or bus to the hotel.  This Ramada Inn is an almost-attachment to the airport.  It was very convenient to spend our first night there and walk over to our flight to Cuzco the next morning.

When we arrived in the city of Cuzco, the ancient Incan capital, we signed in at the Hotel Ruinas and then hit the streets to check it out.  The photo above shows an indigenous woman setting up her wares near the Plaza de Armas in the hope she will be able to sell them to tourists.

On the left is the Plaza de Armas  in Cuzco.  Along the outer edges of the plaza one can see vendors of all stripes.  There are even shoe-shine men who zero in on leather shoes like a moth to flame.  I have a very old pair of leather loafers, black and extraordinarily comfortable, whose dusty surfaces kept calling their attention.  I turned them away and vowed to my friends to wear sandals the rest of the time there.  And that’s what I did.

Legend has it that the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco was designed by Manco Capac.  Click here to read more about him.  Was he legend?  Was he real?  You decide.  It was in this plaza that Francisco Pizarro proclaimed that he had conquered Cuzco.  On the right, note the fountain in the plaza.

Here’s another view of the fountain; following are more views of or from the plaza.

This post feels rather disjointed to me because my computer is not behaving.  It’s very, very slow and I’m think I may have to take it to Apple Spa for a massage and maybe a mani and a pedi.  Not very good timing, Mac.  I spent all my money in Peru.  I hope you readers can make sense of it.

More about Cuzco later.

Home from Peru.

I’m home as of about 3:00 this afternoon.  I’m exhausted.  I haven’t slept since 5:00 yesterday morning.  Here you see my very own photo of Machu Picchu taken with a little point-and-shoot Sony digital.  I have one expression that I used over and over:  “Wow!  Look at that!”  I will share more of my trip later.  Now I’m going to bed.

Leaving on a jet plane.

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.  ~ Maya Angelou

Here’s to Peruvian friends, present and future!

I couldn’t resist this photo of an Eastern Airlines version of the Boeing 757 which I found on Wikipedia.  I know that Eastern is now defunct, but I have many fond memories of the company as I worked for them in my youthful working years before I became a teacher.  A  part of our journey will be on the 757 so it seemed appropriate to post a picture of it.

If you like, listen to the song written by John Denver and performed by Peter, Paul and Mary here.  I also have many fond memories of the music of John Denver and P, P and M.  If you’re my age you can sing along.  If you’re much younger than I, you can take a little musical-history journey through the Folk Era Hall of Fame.  🙂  Enjoy.

I hope to be able to post a photo from time to time while I’m gone.  I learned to do so by phone a few days ago, and I understand that many hotels in Peru have wi-fi.

A fun day at the Mint Museum.

A museum is a place where one should lose one’s head.                    ~ Renzo Piano

F (age 10) and I had an entertaining  day at the Mint Museum Uptown.  You can see him in silhouette here in front of the entrance to the Craft and Design wing of the building.  I wish I could explain to you what this colorful piece is, but I can’t.  In fact, even if you and I were standing in front of it, I still wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what it is or how it was designed and constructed.  F watched a good bit of the video about its construction; I was busy examining the piece and snapping photos.  I did hear the artist/craftsman say one thing that impressed me.  He said he would get it to a certain stage and then ask people what they thought, what they would add or take away, etc.  I may be wrong, but I don’t think artists typically do that.  It’s a beautiful, interesting, and eye-catching piece, whatever it is.

We enjoyed the hands-on room.  Above right F is picking up a pail to feed the chickens.  His action caused the rooster to rise up and announce the day.  There are several sections in this room and each section gets its inspiration from the work of a particular artist.  The daily life on a farm takes its inspiration from Romare Bearden’s paintings.  Bearden was born in Charlotte (We claim him!) but soon moved with his family to New York City.  His connection to his southern rural roots apparently never left him, as his early works show.  Many of his paintings are depictions of African-Americans as they lived their lives.  I am powerfully attracted to his use of vivid color.  Read more about Romare Bearden here.  Charlotte is fortunate to house the largest collection of his vast body of work here at the Mint Museum Uptown.

You may have guessed by now that the Mint Museum of Charlotte has more than one site.  The other, and original, site is the Mint Museum Randolph.  Randolph is simply the name of the street where that branch resides.   The oldest section of the Randolph building was the first branch of the United States Mint.  Many people don’t know that Charlotte had a mint right in downtown Charlotte in the 1800s.  There was actually a gold mine near here and the U.S. Mint operated here from 1836 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.  You can learn more about the Museum’s history here.

This post is fast becoming too long.  Now that I’m retired I have time to become really excited about local attractions and history, and so I could go on and on.  I get even more excited about spending a day out with a ten-year-old boy.  If you should have the opportunity to accompany a child this age (or thereabout) on a trip to almost anywhere, do it.  The conversation is stimulating and fascinating.  We talked about racial prejudice, the class bully and how happy he will be when school is out for the summer.  I was thrilled to learn how he felt about these important topics.  Kudos to his parents for a job well done.

Observations on hospitalization.

  • I’m not going to the hospital.  People die there.  ~ Uncle Bob Honeycutt

Note:  Uncle Bob died years ago.  I’m pretty sure he was in a hospital at the time.

  •  You can go into a hospital with no known allergies, but  come out with an allergy diagnosis (latex), which the hospital staff  aggravated and exacerbated with their machinations and manipulations.  Now I’m taking an allergy pill a day in an effort to get rid of the itching and angry red hives.  It’s improving .
  • Only in a hospital (or maybe a court of law) would you tell the what-happened story so many times that you start to think it’s some kind of trick question, and if you don’t get it right they might throw you in jail.  (The actual doctor assigned to me was #8, and yes, I was counting!  How else was I to stay sane?)
  • I couldn’t help noticing that the hospital is a huge distributor of styrofoam cups and water pitchers.  Have they not heard how environmentally unsound that practice is, and how bad it can be for our health?  Read about it here.
  • Apparently NO ONE in coronary care (Don’t worry, my heart is terrific.) can have salt.  They brought me vegetable and barley soup.  It looked wonderful.  I tasted.  Ugh.  Mrs. Dash and pepper cannot cover for the absence of salt.  Understand, I’m a very minimal partaker of salt, but if I ever go to the hospital again I will take some with me.  I mean it!  Though I have no plans to go back.  I am hereby giving my family and neighbors permission to call an ambulance if I’m unconscious.  Otherwise, I’m sticking with Uncle Bob’s take on hospitals.

I guess a little explanation is in order.  I’ll keep it short.  On Sunday morning, I was ready for church when I had some sudden, unexplainable pains which could have been heart-related.  I decided to play it safe and had my daughter drive me to the ER.  They, also playing it safe, kept me over night. On Monday morning I had a stress test and aced it.  All that walking for exercise is serving me well. 🙂

I learned some things about hospitals and myself.  The statements above are a small sampling of things I could tell you about my short stay in the care of my hospitalist and her fine staff.  They were kind and caring–every one of them.  And I’m sure they were glad to see me go.  I learned that I am not a patient patient.  I asked about a thousand questions.  Why do I need a shot in my stomach?  What is it?  I don’t need a blood-thinner.  I won’t get a blood clot because I’m not lying in bed, I’m getting up and walking in place every thirty minutes.  Do you offer ear protection?  (They did.)  I’ll never go to sleep with those monitors in constant beep-mode.  I did my stress test at 8:00 this morning.  It’s four o’clock, when can I expect the results?  I don’t intend to spend another night here.  As I was leaving I could just imagine what they were thinking:  “Thank God the Q&A bitch is finally gone.”

Here’s the deal as I see it.  Sometimes it’s good to be alone.  There’s much to like about it.  BUT–I believe that a patient needs an advocate.  I had to be my advocate.  That’s scary.  This trip I was lucid and able to advocate for myself.  There were times when I wished I had been more tactful and less adversarial.  As I said above, they were kind people.  But I needed my questions and concerns addressed, so I’m not sorry I took the time to ask.  This experience taught me that sometimes it’s nice to have a spouse or life partner to lean on.  Ah, but life goes on and mostly it’s good.

Note:  I have not read the book pictured above.  I might look it up.