Why this blog?

To understand why this blog was created and where it got its name, start here

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Salon du Chocolat

Now that I'm back, I've been busy unpacking and trying to make my apartment seem more like home. I've been buying plants for both indoors and outdoors. Did I mention that I have a balcony? I'll post photos soon.

In the meantime, I've also been out exploring again. I saw a poster announcing the Salon du Chocolat and decided to visit.

There were demonstrations of all types.

And a Chocolate Masters contest with famous judges:

One of the judges was Jean Charles Rochoux. You may remember his shop

I liked the sculptures:

The show also had displays of non-edible uses of chocolate - such as skin care:

But the show wasn't just about displays, there was plenty to eat!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Jim Fluckey

I lost two very special people during the month of October. My dad on October 15th, and a special mentor, Jim Fluckey, on October 7th. Mr. Fluckey (as we called him in high school) was my first French teacher. I had him for three years of French at West High School in Denver. Mr. Fluckey was also the music teacher and director of the concert choir. I was fortunate to be accepted to the concert choir which meant I got to sing in West High's Singing Christmas Tree for two years. Those were some of the best years of my life.

I also participated in two of the three "alumni" Christmas Tree concerts in 1982 and 2004. Furthermore, I was a French major in college, and when it came time to do my student teaching, I went back to West High and served as student teacher in French under Mr. Fluckey. Following that year, I moved to Paris and stayed for six years. I think Mr. Fluckey finally forgave me for having a better accent in French than he did.

We stayed in touch ever since I graduated from West High in 1967 - most recently when we talked via Skype from my apartment in Paris to his room at the Hospice of St. John in Lakewood. Jim Fluckey passed away on October 7th. He was 88 years old. I arrived in Denver in time to attend a memorial service for him on October 17th. I met his children and grandchildren for the first time, and also reconnected with many old friends - both students and teachers from West High. I'll miss Jim Fluckey. He was my mentor, and a big reason that I live in France.

Here is a short video that you can watch on YouTube commemorating our final alumni concert in 2004:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Dad, part 2

I've just returned to Paris after a 15 day visit back home in Colorado. My days were filled with both joy and sadness as I spent many hours at my father's bedside as he slipped away from this earthly life. The sadness is evident. And the joy? Spending hours with sister, mother, nieces and other members of the family who paid their respects and sat around reminiscing about happier times. I was able to reconnect with aunts, uncles, and cousins whom I hadn't seen for decades.

The last three years of my dad's life were difficult for him and everyone around him. He took a bad fall in May 2008 and was ever after mostly paralyzed, confined to bed, unable to stand, to walk, and at first, even to feed himself. It was like talking care of a baby all over again, but one who was completely lucid and quite demanding, often summoning help with a whistle.

My dad was typical of his generation in that he believed in the traditional role of the father - concerned with earning a living and leaving the nurturing to my mother. He didn't change diapers or read us stories or share his feelings, but we always knew that he was proud of us and our achievements.

We saw a whole new side of him when the grandchildren and later the great grandchildren came along. He softened and became much more affectionate.

I like to think he's in a better place now. I try not to think about the last three years of his life and have chosen some photos of him during his happier, younger days.

He loved golf and fishing and he loved my mom. They were married for 61 years. The fishing was great near their second home in Fort Garland in southern Colorado.

My parents took only one major trip abroad during their life together, and that was a trip to Iran where my dad worked as a consultant from 1969-71. Here they are in Greece on their way to Iran:

Charlie and I went to visit my parents in Teheran in 1970. They always had fond memories of the Iranian adventure.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Dad

My Dad passed away peacefully on Friday evening. He was surrounded by family. I am glad I was there to say goodbye and to support my mother, sister, and brothers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back in Colorado - temporarily

My father is gravely ill and I have returned to Colorado to be with my family. I will update my blog when possible. Thank you for your support during this trying time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Internet connection

Hello friends,
I'm still here and have a backlog of posts to share:
- more stories and photos from Lucca
- my new apartment
- a visit to Paris by my friend Cindy
- a visit with my son Eric

However, I'm currently staying in a borrowed apartment with a terrible internet connection and I haven't had the time or the patience to write properly. Please check back for more updates..