Saturday, March 19, 2011


around like a mad woman... although I am not really sure they race but maybe they do since Charlie Sheen is clearly mad and he has epitomized "racing" of late.  this coming week is so incredibly full that I have already begun to pack for my Thursday departure.  two days of board meetings, a planning session/dinner and then dinner Wednesday with a friend from London (met through business but segued into personal friend.) then Thursday- at last- off to Tunisia.

why do I say "at last" ?  well I actually booked this trip in very early 2008 for departure in March of 2009. so it has really been about three years in the making.  the payment for the spring 2009 trip was due in late fall 2008.  remember the late fall 2008? I certainly do.  we were in the Dordogne with our Danish friend Aase having a wonderful vacation except that whenever we got on the Internet the stock market was in free fall... absolute free fall- in the span of the week we rented our lovely apartment in Sarlat the market dropped precipitously and in the month of October 2008 lost about 4000 points on the DJIA. 

so I called the travel company and told them I had to cancel the trip as it made no sense whatsoever to sell anything when the market had tanked (of course it only got worse finally seeing the most recent bottom in March 2009 - the month I had planned on being in Tunisia) anyway- back to the point.  it took a long time for my schedule to open up again since my sister got sick in March 2009 and my mother got sicker in April 2009 and I spent the last week of April 2009 shuttling between hospitals 35 miles apart where they each were being cared for.

we got my mom stabilized and into a nursing home and my sister out of ICU and into rehab and then my mom into assisted living and my sister to home health care and we thought we had passed the crises.  but I was spending a lot of time traveling back and forth between my then full time job and home in Chicago and my families' homes in Cincinnati. 

it was around this time that my mom and I made the deal about scattering her ashes.  she was so very close to dying and somehow pulled through. I think she did it for my sister, to see her through her illness. I thought perhaps my mother was going to "go to Israel" with us in December of 2009 but she soldiered on.

the day we were headed off to Paris for my birthday trip - in late February 2010 I learned of my sister's diagnosis.  no need to revisit the same territory over again that I have delved into in earlier posts - she only made it to mid June 2010 and my mom until December 2010.  and that is pretty much the same time I changed my plans to go to Tunisia. 

along the way I had re-booked the trip for December 2011 but after my mom died I knew my travel schedule would be lighter during the spring of the year when Phil was most busy so I rescheduled for departure March 24th.  and then, when Jennifer came in December to visit, I mentioned to her that I was finally going, she asked the date.

about a week later she told me she had been able to book for the same trip.  now we are about ready to head to Tunisia where in December and January the Jasmine Revolution started an amazing process in the middle east of citizens banding together to create (mostly) peaceful transitions to more open government in Tunisia and Egypt.  the process is - of course - ongoing.  the world watches to see what "democracy" will bring these nations - both under the thumb of long standing regimes that were dictatorships in all but name.

so I have charged all my camera batteries and wiped all my memory cards of old photos and readied my travel meds for "in case, in case" and started my packing.  in my bag is a jar containing my "mom" for the first of her foreign trips to new countries!  some people have found this weird but I get joy in just typing those words.  finally, after her long battle and restricted life of the last few years she is "back on the road"!

so I thought a few Dordogne photos would be a good choice for today because it was my mother's favorite segment of our 1996 trip to France and also because as I mentioned, we were in the Dordogne when I had to cancel my first scheduling of the Tunisia trip. 

Rocamadour - a stop on the Route de Santiago de Compostela
 Moulin de L'Abbaye in Brantome (the room my mother and I shared is the blue shuttered corner room)
a view of the Dordogne River from the village of Domme
a stunning village tucked under the rocks along the Dordogne- La Roque Gageac (my best guess)
 a beautiful doorway in Sarlat the town where we stayed on both trips

the Dordogne has the distinction of being the one trip I have taken a second time and liked just as much as the first time.  I worried that in the 12 years between visits it would have been over-run with tourists and franchises but it remained lovely, charming and unspoiled.

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