Thursday, December 22, 2011

where my mother went

Jane H. Heltman
1/21/30 - 12/22/10

today is the one year anniversary of my mother's death.  many of you who read this blog regularly know that my mother was an avid traveler.  she came by it genetically from her father.  so now being a third generation traveler it made sense for me to agree to take my mother's ashes to countries she had not been to during her lifetime. 

she was well traveled for someone of her generation- had seen pretty much all of Europe (parts of it numerous times) including the Baltic countries and eastern Europe - and China (in 1987!)  lots of the western hemisphere including Panama - and a good amount of Africa (Egypt, Morocco, Kenya and Tanzania) but there were still places left on her list.  so years ago we had made an agreement that when she was gone I would scatter her ashes in the Lagoon in Venice, Italy but the idea evolved.  in the final few years of her life we hit upon the plan to take some of her ashes with me on my travels to places she had not yet gone and that way we could "share" the experience and she could "see" the new places.

so this year, her first year of traveling in a different "format" LOL - she visited the following places - in celebration of her life and of our travels together:

first stop was her old "stomping ground" as my dad would have said- Anna Maria Island in Florida- where we had a memorial service for her with her closest friends last February.

Then on to Tunisia in April:

in the Sahara under the stars

 at the Roman Ruins in Dougga 

overlooking the Mediterranean at Monastir

then on to other parts of Africa:
 on Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa (views in two directions)

 at the Indian Ocean near Knysna, South Africa

 In Botswana in the Okavanga Delta

 In Zambia along the Lufupa and Kafue Rivers

in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls

then later in the year- on to the Balkans (she had been to Croatia and Montenegro) but not Bosnia or Slovenia.

 at the foot of the Mostar bridge in Bosnia

along the river in Ljubljana, Slovenia

So it was an eventful year for my mother's ashes- seven new countries!  And five new ones (Bolivia, Cuba, Colombia, New Zealand & Australia) coming up in 2012 - she has already been to Turkey and Greece... well actually so have we but we are planning a return trip there in October for a Greek Islands exploration along with Ephesus and Meteora.  Some new places...  time flies- I can't believe it is a whole year but then again I kept thinking the whole time we were in the Balkan countries this fall - it was already six years since my mom, my aunt and I and were there in 2005. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where is the sun?

I looked out the window this afternoon and it was already dark at 4:20. What is wrong with this picture? I have long lobbied for daylight savings time year round. I see no reason to waste my little December 21st daylight on early morning hours. It is too cold to get up early anyway...

this kind of weather and lack of sun really puts me in a mood- so a photo to bring some light into things- taken by a work colleague Judd Johnson- this is my favorite photo of his many many good sports related (mostly swimming) photos:

Judd's original is much sharper - I just did some artistic stuff with it to make it more like a painting... I love the compostion and the colors- the aqua and turquoise always look like summer to me...

outta here!

yuck again snow- not today but just a couple of days ago- bad photo is evidence-

so we decided to get out of town sooner rather than later-  and so I am starting to pack the car and get things ready to head south for some warmth and sunshine!  River Cottage here we come!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The General

so I mentioned that our friends Duke and Cathie were in last week for four days of fun and too much eating.  We basically did nothing but catch up with each others lives and talk travel and wine and food and real estate and retirement and well- lots and lots of talking.

when we weren't talking we actually did little beside go to fun places to eat.  we had superb meals at Anteprima and Hot Chocolate and Kiki's Bistro. but one fun thing Duke and I did was to visit the Pritzker Military Museum.  just a week or so earlier I heard about this place from my buddy Tom and I asked Duke (who in a prior life went by the title General Deegan) if he would be interested in seeing what they had.

so off we went, dropping Cathie on Michigan Avenue to do some shopping.  we arrived at the renovated Monroe Tower, the new home of the Pritzker Military Library and Museum and found a sign that said they were closing for the holiday party at noon.  we had roughly and hour and twenty minutes.  the man at reception gave us a spiel about the collections and the exhibition and as we were about to start our exploration I mentioned that I was there that day with General Deegan (I knew he would never tell them who he was...)

they fell all over themselves to thank him for his service and they gave him some kind of secret society medallion (apparently this is something the vets know about that us civilians do not) and the director came out to introduce himself.

we toured the interesting exhibit of AP photos from WWII and enjoyed the library like ambiance even in the face of holiday party preparations and then were off to the Historical Society because we were done much earlier than Cathie would be ready.

we grabbed chopped salads for lunch at the Historical Society Museum Cafe and toured the collection there and then picked up Cathie and returned home for the continuation of the champagne tasting we had been doing since the beginning of the week.

so here are some pics of stuff from the exhibit that The General and I toured

the world is a funny place, Duke and I traveled together for a decade and I know him well - I don't usually remember that he spent all that time in the Army and that he was the highest ranking officer in the Dental Corps (or some such title) because he is my friend of 20 years but this reminded me that each of us is many faceted and all of us are the sum of our individual experiences.