Elderly Parents Girl Talk Romance & Relationships Writing & Books: dealing with clutter dealing with elderly parents decluttering Girl Talk mother/daughter relationships Writing & Books
I’m back. Or at least I hope so. This is by far the longest I’ve gone without posting a blog since I started Bonjour Colorado in 2008. Even throughout the craziness of working as a ski instructor at Telluride Ski Resort during epic snow years, I’ve never let so much time pass without being in touch. But I can’t begin to explain how upended my life has been these past months.
I never imagined that the death of one parent might trigger a whole series of events that would make my brain feel like mush. Honestly. (The six months leading up to this life-changing event were extremely stress inducing, however, the last few months have been mind numbing.)
I’ve barely been able to keep up with emails let alone string two sentences together for a story. I had a deadline for Forbes Travel a few weeks ago that I just kept putting off. I’ve never blown off deadlines like that but I felt like I couldn’t compose a proper sentence. Finally, I forced myself to sit down and commit to the act of writing. What first sounded like an instruction manual ended up reading with more of a flourish after an hour of tweaking, so that experience helped me to regain confidence in myself as someone that has not become totally unhinged.
From that point on, I swore I would write at least a couple of hours every day. It has been a couple of weeks and I’m just sitting down now to jot off a few lines. So much for deadlines and goals.
What have I been doing? Well, I guess the best response is I’ve been juggling a ton of physical, emotional and mental clutter. I’ve been seeking some kind of normalcy, some kind of routine while everything around me has been shifting and transforming like an iceberg in the Arctic during the month of July.
My father passed away in March and since then, there has been an endless series of to-dos, none of which have had much to do with my own work. I spent a sweet period of mourning this spring with my mother in upstate New York, during which time we started to adjust to the idea of Dad no longer being around while writing thank you notes to the many people that sent flowers, goodies, donations and mass cards. I also accompanied Mom to a lot of her doctors’ appointments and attempted to gain better knowledge of what was happening in her world.
Then as if my father was upstairs pulling strings, we learned that there was a serious offer on our house at Lake George in the Adirondacks. After having been on the market for almost five years, it seemed as though it was now time to sell. Well, you know what they say about death and moving.
OK, time to get really personal. If you or anyone you know has experienced the pain and sadness of miscarriage, consider reading my new book, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France. Sure, this story is filled with lots of fun and adventure, food and wine, romance, travel and love. But to me, one of it’s most powerful messages is that there is life after miscarriage; there is hope.
People don’t talk about this “m” word much. They seem to more easily relate trials and tribulations surrounding infertility/in vitro issues rather than speak of miscarriage. But the truth is there are many women (and consequently their men, too) that suffer tremendously from both the physical and mental pain of miscarriage. There was little that could console me years ago after having experienced this myself—far too many times. I’m proud that I’ve written a book that I strongly believe brings comfort to women (and men) confronted by such disappointment, such despair. I noticed recently that amazon includes one of the more raw scenes that deals with this subject (at the end of the second chapter) in their excerpts from my book. I felt a big WOW on that one but hopefully in so doing, it will serve to get A Tour of the Heart into the hands of people it might help most. (Thank you to Deb Dion, my copy editor, who encouraged me to dig deeper in revealing my emotions around this most sensitive matter.)
Colorado Girl Talk Hotels & Lodging Mountain Living Restaurants Spas The Rockies Travel: Colorado Girl Talk Hotels & Lodging Mountain Living Restaurants Spas The Rockies Travel
I love travel. Yes, it can be terribly tiresome but it usually brings about some of the most unexpected and exciting happenings. Case in point: Last week I stayed at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain, one of my favorite properties in Colorado. It was to be a stopover with my friend, Mary Dawn, on our way back from combined promotions (for my new book and her delightful alpine goods) in Denver and Breckenridge as we made our way toward Telluride, Colorado, home base for us both. I was planning to just chill and recover from almost five weeks away, soaking up all the amenities of this first-class resort. But what an adventure it turned out to be!
The stay started out quietly enough. We had both settled into our luxurious digs replete with full kitchen and glorious beds piled high with comfy pillows in a variety of sizes, half of which we wanted to take home. I padded down to The Westin’s newly renovated fitness center the first morning to see how I could begin to restore myself after way too much time at my desk followed by extensive travel. This beehive of fitness fiefdom was still buzzing with activity at 11 a.m.—no wonder since it’s one of the preferred athletic clubs of the Vail Valley. I peeked into their fully-equipped pilates and spinning rooms before opting for the solitude of their yoga studio where I was thankfully in time for a much-needed class. Susan, the yoga director, took special care to address my needs, those of a weary travel writer that hadn’t devoted much time to being fit since last ski season ended. Thanks to her and the calming surroundings of this specially-designated yoga oasis, I felt one step closer to being whole again.
After chitchatting with the staff about all the doings at the hotel, I learned that the resort was in a flurry of activity largely due to the Audi FIS Birds of Prey World Cup Men’s Race that was taking place at Beaver Creek during that period. “Yes, I saw the gates and skis piled up in the lobby when I checked in last night,” I said. “I had totally overlooked the fact that that was going on. Then someone told me the Austrian team was staying here,” I added.
“Come back later in the afternoon to see the athletes working out,” a couple of the staffers exclaimed practically in unison. “It’s quite the show—with all those good looking guys lifting weights and swirling in their hula hoops,” one chuckled.
Sadly, my afternoon passed all too quickly up in my room at my laptop and by the time I sauntered down to the fitness area at 5:45p.m., all the studly dudes had left. Darn, I thought. There’s nothing like checking out world-class athletes in action and I missed it.
That evening, however, on the tail end of a most enjoyable dinner at Cima, the Westin’s signature restaurant and a Richard Sandoval creation, Mary Dawn wasted no time getting in on the World Cup fun. “Would you please tell those guys over there Grüß Gott?” she kindly asked the waiter. Already it was clear they were part of the Austrian ski team, so why not send the classic Austrian/Bavarian greeting from the Alps over to them? Why miss out on some Euro schmoozing? Three guys bopped over to our table and sidled into the curvilinear booth faster than you can say hooray. We enjoyed trading cross cultural stories and experiences until the wee hours of the morning. Since MD lived in Germany six years and is fluent in German, she particularly enjoyed the exchange. My French experience (eleven years in Paris) brought less to the table yet we were all in a bon vivant mood nonetheless. Fortunately our Austrian ski team companions were comprised of the director, a coach and a technician or else I can’t see how they would have been able to race the next day.
Art & Culture Cycling Food & Wine French Life French Provinces Girl Talk Hotels & Lodging Paris Restaurants Romance & Relationships Travel Writing & Books: Art & Culture Cycling Food & Wine French Life French Provinces Girl Talk Hotels & Lodging Paris Restaurants Romance & Relationships Travel Writing & Books
Last year around this time, I celebrated a milestone birthday. I was grateful that I was feeling healthy and well, the most fit I’d been in ages and ten pounds thinner (a rarity for me since my weight never fluctuates). Here I am a year later having perhaps gained back five of those pounds—I don’t really know since I stopped weighing myself (a good sign of maturity). And now I’m two days away from another b-day with something far more significant to celebrate—a new book!
Twelve years. Yes, twelve years. I can’t believe it myself. It was twelve years ago that I began to plan a trip that would forever change my life. I actually took that trip in the fall of 2000. We all have transformative events and travels in our lives. I just happen to take a lot of notes on mine. “A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France” is the fruit of all that note taking and so much more.” Click here to see a preview and download excerpts. I hope you’ll enjoy the read. Books are rolling into bookstores now; be sure to ask for it if you don’t readily see it on the shelf. You can also purchase it as a paperback through amazon now or as an eBook on kindle.
Since it’s KOTO fundraising time and I love my NPR-station here in Telluride, Colorado, you can receive a free e-book with every $20. donation and a free paperback with every $30. donation. Books sell for $8. and $20. respectively. Contact me directly through this site to make your donation. Also, if you enjoy Travel Fun, my talk radio show on travel, and the podcasts of those interviews I post here on this blog, please make a pledge or donation to KOTO as well. For that also, it’s best to contact me directly. Community radio is a rare breed in the U.S. and ours is almost entirely supported by caring people like you.
I will be talking about “A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France,” on Travel Fun tomorrow, August 21, at 6 p.m. mountain time. You can also tune in on the Internet at KOTO.org at the time of the broadcast. I hope to post that interview as a podcast on this blog within the upcoming week.
One more thing: Click here to become a fan of A Tour of the Heart on Facebook.
Colorado Denver Girl Talk Romance & Relationships: Colorado Denver Girl Talk Romance & Relationships
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Men. Women. Will we ever understand each other? Probably not. If we did, life would be boring. It’s best just to make fun of our missteps and miscommunication. That’s exactly what goes in in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” playing at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It’s been such a smashing hit that performances have been extended through October 14, 2012.
Fashion & Style Girl Talk Paris Shopping: Fashion & Style Girl Talk Paris Shopping
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I’ve been thinking tons about my friend, Victoria Wolff, lately. Perhaps it’s because with the change of seasons I brought out my marvelous collection of scarves and shawls. Silk, cashmere, wool and challis wonders that exude all the charm and sophistication of Paris. My collection of them grew throughout my eleven years in Paris and I know they will be an essential part of my wardrobe until I’m old and grey. Most of these jewel-toned creations come from Wolff & Descourtis, Victoria’s shop in the Galerie Vivienne, a highly-regarded, family-owned textile business dating back to 1875.
Art & Culture Girl Talk Hotels & Lodging New England Restaurants Shopping Travel: Art & Culture Girl Talk Hotels & Lodging New England Restaurants Shopping Travel
I was back east recently visiting my parents in upstate New York. Mom and I had on our agenda a “day out” to ourselves, one just like the old days. To us that meant planning a jaunt to a nearby destination such as the Hudson Valley region, southern Vermont or the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, all scenic and fairly rural destinations within about an hour’s drive of my parents’ house in Troy, New York. These were the places we would travel to throughout the years, especially when I was growing up. Together we would marvel at the pastoral landscapes while chitchatting the day away. Lunch, a bit of shopping and often a museum visit were all key components of a successful day trip, the perfect female bonding experience for two gals living in a house full of men. (I grew up with five brothers, a father and no sisters.)
It was during these joyous excursions that my love for unique places full of personality and charm emerged. I could hardly tolerate department stores or malls when I was a girl and still have a hard time with them today. Yes, these trips to soulful sites full of history and tradition planted the seeds for the shopping service I founded in Paris some years later and the four books I came to write on shopping and touring in Paris and the French provinces. My philosophy is and always will be about the whole shopping and touring experience—it’s not so much about what you buy, it’s about how and where you buy it and what you learn along the way. Truth is, I’m not even a big advocate of buying, but we all do, so why not have it be something special that you’ve procured in a memorable manner?
This special day to ourselves was more challenging to organize since we don’t leave my eighty-five-year-old Dad alone much any more. With a hearty, microwavable meal prepared in advance at the ready, cell phones listed in plain site and the reassurance that his Life-Alert was in working order, we said “Hasta la Vista,” knowing full well that we’d all appreciate the much-needed time away from each other.
Art & Culture Food & Wine French Life French Provinces Girl Talk Paris Podcasts Romance & Relationships Travel: Art & Culture Food & Wine French Life French Provinces Girl Talk Paris Podcasts Romance & Relationships Travel
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I don’t think there’s a woman out there that hasn’t dreamed about falling in love in Paris. C’mon, admit it to yourself. See, I told you—I’m sure you’ve allowed just a shred of this fantasy to play out in your head at least once in your life. Many women indulge themselves with full-blown visions of strolling hand-in-hand with a lover alongside the Seine or sharing a tête-à-tête in a cozy French bistrot over a savory coq au vin and a good Bordeaux with the man of her dreams. Others just allow a glimmer of a romance flash through their minds. I bet there are some men (those sensitive types!) that have thought wistfully about love in Paris as well. I may be biased but Paris is surely the most romantic city in the world.
What makes it so? Well, it would take a whole book to divulge that—the decor, the mood, the ambiance, the food and wine. Elizabeth Bard does just that in her book “Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes.” I found it to be a terrific read. And I know Paris, love and the whole bonne salade of it all. Elizabeth has done a wonderful job at describing the sights and tastes of the moveablefeast that is Paris. (I haven’t yet tried the recipes she shares, but they seem wonderful and quite easy which is actually what most French cooking is all about.) And of course, Elizabeth meets a love, a Frenchman, and we are swept into their lives like a tourist on a fourteen-day European tour. Fortunately she provides many opportunities for us to savor their moment as well.