My Dad

On May 17th my dad died peacefully in his sleep. When I was in fifth grade he brought me a load of candy to my read-a-thon. I first saw the Little Mermaid and Evita and Sense and Sensibility with him (and also the Truth about Cats and Dogs, but I'm trying to forget that). He paid for the damage when I drove into my friends' garage door. I talked him into buying a ferret for himself, which I don't think he ever really liked. He took me on my first real trip to Disneyland. He told me I should be a librarian -- which made me laugh. He slipped me money every once in a while. He bought me a really ugly and expensive sweater. He rode the brake whenever he drove. He paid for college. He enjoyed shopping and paperwork.
I'm happy for him because now he isn't sick anymore. He can be who he always wanted to be, without the barriers of his body. I'm really going to miss him.

Trip to Europe

A few weeks ago I returned from my much-anticipated holiday to Germany, Austria, and France. 
We began in my mission stomping grounds in Frankfurt. We met up with Anni and Hannu (left), wonderful friends who happened to be in town from Finland, to tour Palmengarten and hang out at 
Römer.We shopped on Frankfurt's Ziel (right) and traipsed around Mainz and Mainz-Kastel, where I spent the first three months of my mission. 
Next we journeyed to Würzburg taking in the fortress and local Residenz (below). We loved the hotel there, Abs in Postkurcherl, 
and would recommend it to everyone. We stayed just one night in Middle-of-Nowhere, Germany -- aka Oberammergau  --  a couple hours outside of Munich. When the black plague stopped just short of Oberammergau the citizens, in gratitude to God, staged a 5-hour (yes, 5 hours! with a dinner break) passion play. It is now performed every ten years -next in 2010. In the meantime the city houses numerous tourists and woodcarvers. 
We wandered around and also toured Schloss Lindorf (right)-- a sister palace to Neuschwanstein, aka Sleeping Beauty's castle. That night I became addicted to Germany's version of Top Model a la Heidi Klum. 
We traveled then to the most musical city of all, Salzburg in Austria, meeting up with Hannah. First item of business -- Sound of Music Tour (below at Mirabell palace, where some of the Do-Re-Mi shots were filmed). 
We also toured the famous Fortress, the Mozart cites, the beautiful old city, Schloss Hellbrunn with it's trick fountains, and even happened upon an international music festival. 
After an overnight train with two interesting bedfellows we made it to Paris. In a whirlwind tour, we saw all the major sites -- Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the river Seine, Montmantre, the Louvre, and the inside of the d'Orsay museum.
I love the greeness of the area, the mustard fields, the gaudy beauty of the castles, the escape from "real" life, all of it made for a great trip.  



The kid was a perpetual liar. Everything he said was unbelievable. But he just would not confess that none of it was true -- perhaps because he actually did believe the stories. He was from LA and talked about wrestling alligators. When boasting of his awesome Mexican cooking skills, I asked him if he could make Swedish meatballs. "Of course," he said and I wondered if he had heard me say "Swedish." He told us about how he got ran over by a car -- sometime in between the story about working construction and being manager at a hotel -- and I just couldn't take it any more. "I got ran over too... by a jumbo jet... it was the Concord at LaGuardia airport! After which I jumped on a train trestle and was subsequently run over." "But you're not dead," another kid --who just didn't get it -- piped up. "I know," I said with false sincerity, "That's the miracle of it." The kids just laughed as if I had made a joke we all understood. No, I was mocking the liar.
I hadn't read As You Like It but I was very excited to be seeing it at our local theatre. A little nervous too. It is Shakespeare after all, and I tend to understand it not based on the dialogue but rather on the action, as if watching a cartoon in Urdu. We stood in line to get our will-call tickets and there he was. He wore khaki pants, a blue sweater, and a baseball cap. Not as tall as I had imagined. Holy Hannah Montana, it was Edward Herrmann, aka Richard Gilmore. I had to move so I could respectfully "freak out" away from his celebrity glare. I watched him throughout the evening and contemplated and chickened out several times about approaching him. He was there alone but must have known someone in the cast because he was pulled into the action with Audrey (a character) doing a very silly dance that he seemed to already know. Frankly I was surprised his body was so agile -- he isn't a young buck, you know. The baseball cap was an odd accessory to the outfit so I can only guess he did not really want attention. The man must be recognized everywhere -- if not by Gilmore fans then by fans of something he's done in his nearly 40 years of acting. I did not approach. But I do have a good story.