Tuesday, December 29, 2015

On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again...

Yesterday, I left the house for the practically the first time in a week.  Was slowed down by dead battery, but neighbor/friend Travis galloped over on his white horse and jumped my car with his newfangled QVC-purchased battery pack.  What is it about getting on the road that makes me crank up Adele and sing like I have a voice and risk lives photographing my joy in Houston traffic? 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The pictures from France did it.  Before viewing them, really seeing them, for the first time, I’d thought I understood.  I’d thought I understood my parents and their relationship.  Their story.  Their truth.  But, I didn’t.  Not by a long shot.  Not until my brother, Donny, had the family slides made into a CD and I viewed them, wallowed in them, for hours, on my laptop, in bed, did I realize that there was something I’d missed.  The photos stunned me. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

More than a high school reunion: the Two Shawns and more

The happy scheduling coincidence that put the PBS interview on the same weekend as the First Colonial High School reunion made it possible for me to see family, family friends, and childhood friends all in one evening.  Two such friends, Sean and Shone, whom I've collectively dubbed, in the chaotic portion of my brain in which I store childhood memories, The Two Shawns, will be the resounding impression of the evening.

This is my sister, Mary, far left, and brother, Michael, far right, flanking Sean Mulligan and me.  Sean may have been taken aback by the enthusiasm with which the Dentons greeted him.  He was probably blissfully unaware of the elevated place of esteem that he and his family hold in the minds and hearts of we sentimental slobs.  (My dad used to make charmingly affectionate use of the word "slob."  It was a compliment. As in, "You poor slobs." when he saw us eating from seemingly endless bowls of freshly steamed shrimp at his round kitchen table.) My siblings and I cherish the place family friends held in our lives as we grew up in our unusual circumstances.  When the family friends grew up in the same unusual circumstances - in passel of kids (Sean was one of six brothers) and we had seven kids in our family) growing up with a father across the world in a POW camp - well, we latch on to that pretty tightly.  And, so it was when we saw Sean at the reunion.

I very much want to compare notes with Sean, but am not sure he is ready for the Let's Explore Our Childhood Experience and Talk About Our Feelings session that it would involve.

(Hi, Johnny Robbins, peeking out from behind Sean and me!  He's no doubt looking for his wife, Judie, who was everyone's long lost best friend that night.)

Capt. Mulligan, left, and my dad at a press conference after their Feb. 1973 release
That's my Dad's Mona Lisa photo - his intense gaze pierces me.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Europe 2015 - First Stop - Paris

Bon voyage

My son, David's, adult life has begun in earnest.  He lives and works in El Paso now and, next year, will be even farther away, in San Francisco.  We felt that we needed to grab this opportunity to take a trip together before his life gets busier and more full.  We went to Europe for two weeks and I'll remember the special time with him forever and forever.  

We looked up from the window of our room to see the sky and look down and see this.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


The night we arrived in Florence, I got out of the taxi and took a picture of Hotel Loggiato Dei Serviti before I realized it was our hotel.  It sat on a shadowy square dominated by man on horseback statue - the scene felt like one from the past. 

Chink-way Tare-Ray

Having read the name of the five fishing villages on the Italian Riviera before hearing it pronounced, I can't say the name properly.  I'm sparing you that fate by giving you the pronunciation first.  I'm not even sure that's correct.  It is spelled Cinque Terre and destined to be mispronounced Sink Tare for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My first home

David and I stayed in Cap Ferrat, just down the hill from Villefranche and Beaulieu-sur-Mer, where my family had lived when I was born.  An email to my older brothers resulted in a stream of memories that allowed me to see it all through their eyes.  Jimmy, who's visited the area, I think, nearly every year of his adult life, even sent me a handy hand drawn map.  It's got a pirate-like look to it, missing only the big X to mark the treasure.

David and I walked up to Beaulieu via an incomparably lovely path along the Mediterranean Sea, so we could see...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Trainy in Training

Barbara and I agree on everything.

Before my trip, I went to dinner with one of my very closest friends, Barbara.  She lit up at the mention of Barcelona.  She said, "I love Barcelona!" and so I knew I would, too, because Barbara and I agree about everything.

For me to feel comfortable enough to have dispensed with my cardigan and walked the crowded streets of Barcelona sleeveless says something about the relaxed and accepting atmosphere.  I'm aware that my wearing of a cotton shield says something about me as well.  

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Cautionary Tale

I'm publishing this halfway written post, because I want neither to complete nor trash it...  Jeanne Julie Éléanore de Lespinasse deserves to be heard more loudly than this post will project.  If you're so inclined, the full story and her letters can be read HERE.  

It's been said that Mademoiselle Julie de Lespinasse's letters to the Comte de Guibert illustrate Sainte-Beuve's observation that "Rousseau was like a meteor which fired the heads and hearts of women, and kindled their imagination."  But, Rousseau and the dawning of sentimentalism, are only partial explanation for the amount of passion, some would call it obsession, that pour from her letters. That kind of emotion isn't the result of outside influence.  No trend toward romantic expression and love of nature could unleash such a flood of love and adoration.  Mademoiselle de Lespinasse had "a lot of feelings," as my daughter would say.