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Today in My History

2000:  Baring My Sole
2001:  Stereotypes
2002:  Flotsam, Jetsam, Detritus and Stuff
2003:  On My Way to Nowhere
2004:  She Who Must Be Obeyed
2005:  Wouldn't You Know...?
2006:   24:  Season

Les Miserables
Music Circus (feature article)
The Maxfield Inn

Books Read in 2007

Updated 7/14:
"Maximum Ride--The Angel Experiment"


Cough! Cough!
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Mefeedia Video Archive

My Favorite Video Blogs

Desert Nut

(for others, see Links page)

Look at these videos!
Book Trailer for "Schuyler's Monster"
Cute Dog Video
Keith Olbermann on Libby Pardon
Britain's Got Talent - Dominic
Nessun Dorma
Britain's Got Talent

Family Stories Vlog
(updated 6/17/07)

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4th of July Barbeque

That's My Answer

Have you answered
the Question of the Day?


19 July 2007

Not the season, summertime, the 1955 movie.  Ever see it?  Middle-aged spinster Katharine Hepburn goes to Venice, hoping for an adventure, and she meets Rossano Brazzi (in his prime), who sweeps her off her feet.  They have a brief but torrid affair before she discovers he's not only married, but has a family.  There is an argument, but all is well by the time she leaves Venice, though she knows she will never see him again.

On one of the "Michele sent me" excursions (go to Michele, who is great for publicizing other people's blogs), I visited the blog of someone who calls him/herself Jean-Luc Picard.  The entry of the day was titled "Interesting People on Vacation" and it answered the following question:

Can you describe interesting or unusual people you have met on vacation in the past years. List as many as you wish.

I had to stop and think if I have met "interesting or unusual people" on any vacation.  Our usual experience is to run into people we know in totally unexpected places, like standing at the edge of Waimea Canyon on Kaui, looking down to the platform below us and seeing two friends from San Francisco;

or attending a play in London and discovering that the people sitting directly behind us were good Lamplighter friends.

Unlike our children, Walt and I are both fairly shy and don't tend to just walk up and introduce ourselves to someone or start talking to somebody sitting next to us in a pub or something, but the first "interesting character" that comes immediately to mind was "Southern Ireland." 

We met "Southern Ireland" (whom we later discovered was really named Sunny Nyland) in a pub in Mayo Abby on the west side of Ireland.  We were attending a fund-raiser for a man who had leukemia and needed expensive treatment.  That was a magical night that ended with our kids getting the entire pub to do some sort of circle dance. 

When the evening was over, "Southern Ireland" invited us to come to another pub, "The Squealing Pig," where he promised there would be music the next night.  It wasn't quite the magical night the first night had been, but the kids had a great time with the old Irishman, who was so drunk and whose brogue was so thick that they could never quite decipher his name--so he became forever "Southern Ireland."

Another guy we met in Ireland was a considerate man who tried to give us directions to Walt's family's farm and got so confused that he finally just got in his car and had us follow him.

I met lots of nice people in Australia, but I guess Claire stands out as the most memorable, perhaps because we had so much in common.  She's also a writer and has published two books of her poetry and put together children's books for her nieces and nephews (or is it a niece? or is it a nephew?).  She has illustrated the children's books with stuff she learned from PhotoShop, so our paths cross many times in things for which we share a passion.

In England we had a delightful lunch with the well-traveled Miriam Nadel, whom I had known from her journal.  This wasn't exactly a chance meeting, as we read each other's journals and knew of our respective plans to be in the same place at the same time.  But we met in the cafeteria in the crypt of the church of St. Martin in the Field and had a good time comparing notes on our respective experiences.

Miriam Nadel

A woman who owned a B&B in Scotland was quite a character.  Crusty old broad who had golden retrievers and who was a gourmet cook.  I never could figure out if she liked us or didn't like us.

There was the guy who was running the new D'Oyly Carte Theatre company (the company started by Gilbert & Sullivan and Richard D'Oyly Carte).  I made an appointment to visit his office and give him a copy of our newly-published Lamplighter history.  The guy was quite gracious, but didn't have a clue who we were or really why we were there.

There was also a composer we met at a Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England.  Donald Madgwick put together The Savoyards, which traced the story of Gilbert & Sullivan, using the music of Sullivan with rewritten lyrics.  I had corresponded with him after Gilbert's death, when I found correspondence between him and Gilbert.  I was looking forward to meeting him, and found him to be a real fuddy duddy with whom I didn't bond nearly as much as I expected to.

And then, more locally (and more recently) are the people we met at The Maxfield Inn last month.  It was very weird to meet people in backwater New York who had lived in backwater Davis (we're still convinced we had seen the wife before).  The people from Michigan were very helpful with our plans to visit Niagara, and the woman from Ohio (and her dog, Darby) was just downright fun to chat with.

We don't have a lot of quaint stories of meeting interesting people in strange, exotic places, mostly because we don't turn to the stranger sitting next to us in a pub or on the plane and say "so tell me all about yourself," but we have met a few interesting characters along the way.

(I won't talk about the politician that Walt met at the urinal in Dublin's Abbey Theatre!)



Next time you see rainbows
look closely, don't just glance
and you'll discover that butterflies
don't get the colour on their wings by chance
Look closely and you will be
one of the few who knows
that butterflies get their colours
from sliding down rainbows.

--by Claire Amy Atkins



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