I Don’t Speak English

“Melancholy” was the word they used. As much as I like hearing the word melancholy (mostly because it gives me the mental image of a collie made entirely of watermelons), it concerns me that people find my blog depressing. I’d like to assure my readers that although my writing is admittedly melodramatic, I am by no means depressed (I’m having rather a laugh, as Pastor P might say).

My stories just acknowledge that life can be a lot like that guy who sticks out his leg and trips you. It’s horrible at the time but is pretty funny afterwards – especially if you’re not the one being tripped. So if it’s on the blog, it’s because I’ve made peace with whatever I’ve just tripped over and I want to share the story.

I have a story I want to share. It’s about yesterday.

Continue reading

Age is a Communist

With a twinkle in his eye and a broom in his hand, Jerry leaned in and imparted to me words I may never forget.

“You know, Mary, you only need two things to run a Vacation Bible School: the Bible and water balloons.”

When I think about this last week a number of mental images come to mind. Most of them involve the sound of herding cats through prickly pear cactuses or re-written scenes from a Poe novel where helpless Americans are bricked into a wall using cotton balls, glue and paper-mache butterflies. Something about that age difference really put a barrier between our attempts at international relations long about two o’clock every day. I just don’t have as much energy as I used to. Even sweeping up the hallway with Jerry in the aftermath of the last day I could feel places in my back decaying with the swiftness of a wheel chair rolling down a hill in San Francisco without brakes.

Continue reading


Trail marker near the top of a mountain that took forever to climb.

Trail marker near the top of a mountain that took forever to climb.

Most people seem to know that I tend to get lost. I’m not going to blame Google maps, but I refuse to be the bigger person and say that it’s all my fault. Anyone can miss a turn and wind up alone on streets that are probably owned by Mexican drug lords or find themselves driving backwards into a Drive-Thru. Life happens. And when it happens to me I have always called my Dad. It’s like the first thing I do.

But long-distance calls from Prague are expensive, I’m told. So I have been doing a lot of getting lost and staying lost for a very long time.

There’s basically no feeling worse in the entire world, I promise.

But while Prague’s antiquated street signs could be a little less confusing, hiking trails in the Czech Republic are amazing. There is an intricate pattern of routes through mountains, meadows and little villages that all look like the one in the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast. Each path is marked by a different color and each color is painted in between two white stripes on trees or rocks or other very obvious markers. Follow the colors, find your way home. Very easy.

Unless you’re colorblind.

Continue reading