June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Summer Vacation

June 26, 2010

Digital Mama in Europe

Getting my mother a digital camera for her first trip to Europe was my good deed.  She got it early so she could practice shooting pictures and deleting the goofy or overexposed shots.  Being a very cautious lady she was concerned about running out of room on her memory stick. 

Even though we went through an exercise of calculating the average size image and how many would fit on her memory stick, her verbal panic on the phone and general worry of space after being in Europe for three weeks convinced me to buy her a second memory stick.  Clearly she didn't need it but if it made her happy and cost me less than $20, it was a small price to help her focus more on her sight seeing.

Recently I got a postcard from my sister describing her joy at being in Paris and how AWESOME it all was.  She made no mention of my mom or anyone else on the trip for that matter.  Now I have two postcards from my mother.  One is digital that my brother produced off of an iPhone App and the other a traditional card from a Paris gift shop.

She sounds like she is having a good time.  They will "van" to Normandy soon and they had a great river cruise on the Seine.  My religious mother who had many alcoholic family members even went wine tasting.  That is HUGE because she has a clear position on drinking and alcohol of any kind.  I thought she'd keel over in a faint at Thanksgiving several years ago while I had a martini.  

Wine tasting, taking lots of photos and feeling empowered to delete the worst ones - this sounds like my mother really committed to having a good time on the trip.  I can't wait to hear more when they return next week.  In person is always better.

P.S.  Here is my mother SMILING in the gardens at Versailles in France.  Notice her outfit?  Do you think she looks uncomfortable as my sister-in-law implied she would?  Her outfit looks pretty cute & neutral for an over 75 lady. Reminds me of older Japanese ladies I'd see traveling.]

June 24, 2010

Paris is Awesome - My Sister's First Postcard From Europe

My older sister is already half way through her first trip to Europe. After her eye rolling when I saw her last, it was weighing on my mind that she might be not having as good a time as she expected and hoped. Fortunately for me, and you, I have hard evidence now that she is having an AWESOME time.

If you can't read this scan, my sister is clearly EXCITED about Paris.  She climbed the the bell tower in the Notre Dame Cathedral and in Versailles.  She loved seeing the Louve, the Musee d'Orsay and Eiffel Tower.

Her joy at being in Paris and in France period is palpable from this postcard.  I love that she sent this postcard so early in her trip too. She arrived only three days earlier so jet lag must not have been a problem for her.

Want to know what made me really happy too?  She took my advice and printed labels for her postcards.  I knew her handwriting wasn't the most legible so it was a little selfish on my end - hey I wanted to be sure the handlers on that end knew where to send the postcard.  It's happened before where my stepmother addressed a postcard that took months to arrive domestically.  It was returned to her twice because the postmaster could not read the address.

My suggestion for the labels was also so she could be confident that she had all of her friends & co-workers addresses ready and that this stuff wouldn't take up any space.  Remember my sister-in-law in charge of this trip had their packing list stripped to the essentials so they wouldn't check any bags while flying coach.

I did get a phone call on Father's Day from a few members of the group and heard that my sister is also being bold and trying every form of protein in France.  Not sure what she loved but she tried all sorts of meats and even frogs legs.  I'm so proud.  The cutest thing and something that made me love my sister a little more is her closing "Au Revoir!"  If this means she is a little more open-minded and the next time I try to expose my sister to tasty dim sum she tastes it before ordering sweet and sour pork - this was a successful trip and I owe my brother and sister-in-law.

June 15, 2010

Family Travels #5 Bon jour Paris!

How cute do they look? Here are my mom and my sister (cropped because I never asked them if they cared about my showing their faces) in my brother's living room. Want to know how excited they are? My sister asked me to take their photo and my mother smiled in the photo! I know! I wish I could have shared that rare smiling image but you'll have to believe me.

At first I was surprised at these happy faces since my sister was rolling her eyes pretty hard when I arrived an hour earlier.  I wonder.

So here is the first funny part - see the blue tote bag? The initials ZF.  Dig this, my mother - as a form of caution and identity theft I think - used one of our dogs initials!  Yes our dog! Who passed away 30 years ago.  His name was Zorro.

Part of me thinks that she's brilliant, the other part of me thinks she is a little bit crazy - a 1950s, unspoken/suppressed, Cold War style of crazy.  That perspective should make for some interesting comments overheard in Normandy and probably Paris too, if my sister takes notes.

What made me happy more than anything here are the guidebooks in my sister's hands. They are the ones I bought her to keep as mementos - and she brought them with her!

Now the other funny thing here, my sister-in-law claims my mom refused to pack her suitcase "properly".  This means according to my sister-in-law that my mom is only able to take half the amount of clothes as my sister-in-law, because my mom bunched her stuff up and is taking sneakers that are too big.  Hmm. I didn't get a chance to see the inside of her suitcase, so I can't really comment on that judgement.  Also again, my mom has an unusual thought process and comfort level.  She may come out of this with only very happy memories about her wardrobe.  I will find out the gory details at the end of the trip when I see my mom's suitcase then and hear her recap.

My sister-in-law also criticized my mom's beige suit in the photo, and how dirty it will become.  Again I can't comment because in reality, it could go either way - I can't call that one definitively. No point given to either side.

Today is Tuesday, June 15 and they are in Paris due to leave first thing tomorrow Wednesday to Normandy. Since they are a party of six my brother decided to hire a car to take them from Paris and to ferry them all around the sights of Normandy, France.  They leave Friday night on a train from Lille to London.

I can't wait to get my first email or e-card.  My brother made my mom leave her cell phone here with me - I guess I shouldn't expect any late night calls from her starting with "Guess where I am?"
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