The Change

Dear children,


Last week, on Friday the thirteenth, of November 2015, terrible attacks on the people of Paris took place.


What can I tell you about this surreal time? This time of uncertainty? Parisians are a people of resilience. They’ve recovered from many things, including terrorist attacks twenty odd years ago, and they are stepping up now. They claim they are, anyway.


I don’t really feel so brave. I grew up in the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind of southern California. Not that it was the safest place on earth, but nothing, and I mean nothing, compared to these horrific acts that have taken place in November and in 2015 in France.


I don’t much feel like going out into Paris, although I still do it when I need to. But many people fought back by defiantly sitting on the terrasse of cafes, and that’s something I can live without for the moment.


I’ve loved Paris for as long as I can remember. I’ve loved Parisian cafes for as long as that. This was an attack on things that Paris stands for. Freedom of creative expression, freedom to meet and talk and drink and flirt and hear music and cheer soccer, on a Friday night.


It really hit in the gut. I love most (not all) of those things, and they were all attacked.


And it leaves me wondering, what now? Paris has changed. Paris is not what it once was. I have always, in the fourteen years I’ve lived here, felt safe here. It’s one of the things I appreciated about this city. Petty crime has always existed, of course, but besides annoying hands on my posterior during rush hour on the metro, I’ve never felt like my safety was threatened. I certainly could never say the same thing about my home town.


But now, it will be a long while before we feel completely safe in Paris. I dream of the day. But, and this is what gives me my heavy heart today, I think that day will come long after your childhoods.


And that makes me sad. We had gang violence in my home town, but it was generally relegated to neighborhoods that could be avoided. The next ten or fifteen years will see the two of you begin to develop social lives. Still a ways off, of course, but in the not too distant future, you will be going to see shows and hear music, meeting friends for a drink on a café terrasse. All the things that make life in this city, and in general, great.


And now I think that will be tainted by fear. Certainly, I believe that my parenting style will be affected. I don’t know what I will decide when the time comes for you to take the metro into Paris by yourselves. What about school trips, vacation camps? I would like to be a brave Parisian, but I do not feel it right now. Perhaps it will come.


Your childhoods have been shifted by certain events. My mother dying very early on during my time as a mother, when Son was under two years old. This event shifted everything. I know that in a parallel universe, there exists another timeline where this didn’t happen, and where I was different as a mother, and your childhoods were experienced differently.


And this too, shifts everything.


I suppose there is nothing to do but live.


Autumn 2015 recap

Dear kids,

Whoa! It’s been quite a while since I’ve sat down to write to you. Not since the beginning of summer.

I never told you how the classe de mer turned out. Son, you had an amazing time. I can still remember the proud, smiling look on your face on the Friday evening as you and your class walked down the street from the bus to the front of the school where all the parents were waiting. You were so proud, you had a wonderful time, you became more independent, you were proud of going even though it scared you a bit. And you have not stopped talking about it for six months. You tell us how you would love to go back one day.

You did many things. You stayed in the colonie de vacances where you guys had lots of different activities everyday. You had to sleep on the bottom bunk because you were not yet six and the law says that children under age six are not allowed to sleep on the top bunk. You shared your room with three other boys.

You took walks on the beach, collected crabs and shells from the tidepools for your classroom aquarium.

Painted your faces with clay from the cliffs.

Took a day trip to the Ocearium du Croisic and had a picnic on the port.

Built a huge “mur de chine” out of sand.

The cantine at the colonie served you a seafood platter. You also had crepes, fish, frites.

Played outside on the swing set.


It was really a wonderful experience for you and a bonding experience for your classmates and the maitresse, who we still see from time to time because she does etude at the primary school now.

I remember the day after you got back, I had signed you up for a Lego workshop. I took you there by myself, and I could see how you’d gotten bigger, more confident. I am very glad you had a good time.


And then we had a busy summer, and then Son, you started CP at the local primary school. You were so excited about starting CP that during the final weeks of summer, you slept with your brand new Tann’s cartable. I bought you a few books about starting CP.


On the first day of school, you just ran into your new class with your new maître, and waved happily from the window. It has gone well so far, you’ve had a couple of field trips that I’ve accompanied on, one to the forest of Montmorency, and one for apple picking. You also go to the pool every Friday.


The teacher told me that you are doing well, and that you have a good standing with your classmates. I’m glad to hear this and I hope it continues. Son, to be honest with you, I was a very shy kid, and I found primary school to be very challenging, to say the least. I was bullied in the last year and it was a painful experience, and I have to be very mindful of not passing on those painful insinuations that I have. The truth is that I have a far better outlook on learning now, having gone through university, and that is what I encourage your to focus on.


I also have to be mindful that you and your sister are not me, and are different, and will experience the world in a different way than me.


In CP at age six, in France kids learn to read. You have ten minutes or so of homework every evening that so far is going well. I am happy about the decision to send you to the local public French school. There is a lot of pressure from the Anglophone community to do bilingual schools and private schools, but I have faith in Education Nationale, even while people in the US have lost faith in public schools, and it’s so nice to have school be a two minute walk away, to know classmates in the neighborhood, to go to the local park and see friends after school.


Daughter, you are in your second year of maternelle! Moyenne Section, the equivalent of Pre-K. You never complain about going to school. You have learned to write your name although you are still a bit hesitant on the “Z”. I try to pick you both up for lunch once a week, although Son asks more and more to eat lunch at school with his friends. It shows how fleeting this time is, when kids want to be with their parents, so I will do this as long you would like to.


Daughter, you have a maître this year, which is funny for maternelle. In fact, both you and Son have maîtres. I think it’s a nice change. I think maternelle is quite packed for you but you never say you don’t want to go to school, so I think you enjoy it. You are still very into Elsa, and in a very girly phase right now of barrettes (which you don’t keep on, you just play with in school) and dresses and tights. I hope you find a balance and enjoy school.


Of course, you are only four, so you still have time!


We had a little birthday celebration for you a few weeks ago. Very simple, we just invited three school friends over to play, and we baked a chocolate yogurt cake. You also had cake at school.


Life is busier than ever this year. Son, you are back at the orthophoniste this year, we found a bilingual French-American one. I hope this will encourage you to speak more English. You also have swimming, music, and sports on Saturday mornings. Daughter, you are doing dance again, and swimming as well. I try to go to the park after school once or twice a week.


Yes, life is very busy and school is certainly intense for you Son. There is a lot of talk about how kids are doing more in school than earlier generations.


To that end, I see how much we need a break. During the Toussaint vacation last week, our neighbor invited us to spend a week with them down in the region of Les Landes. We stayed in an old farmhouse that belonged to an 18th century manor. It was renovated a few years ago. The house was entirely heated by wood burning stove, which needed to be filled up every few hours. It was amazing to be alone in the middle of the woods, with a huge expanse of space for you all to run and explore. We explored the region a bit as well.



I find both of you to be extremely adorable at this moment. Daughter, you are so sweet, cuddly and smiley, and you are prone at the moment to suddenly exclaim “I love you!” several times a day. It is so, so sweet! I wish I could take a mental photo of you at this age. In the house where we stayed, there was a dog and you just loved sitting next to the dog and talking to him. When he would jump on you, you would have a huge belly laugh.

I wish I could bottle up four year olds’ belly laughs. I believe they are fairy dust.


And Son, well, six year olds are so delightful. The stories you come up with! Talking with wonder about your day and all the things you are doing at school. Talking about school friends. You lost your two front teeth at the beginning of September and so you have that wonderful gappy mischievous grin that first graders have.


You two make your mama’s heart happy.

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Boys and girls come out to play

Dear kids,


The first time I experienced the Fête de la Musique was 2002. The first year I was in France. I didn’t even know what it was when a friend of the family invited me to come out with her. We wandered around the Marais until 1 in the morning. The streets in the Marais were packed, musicians were set up on every street corner. People were lining up at the ice cream parlours, and there wasn’t a free café seat in all of Paris that night.


I was enchanted. It was an amazing atmosphere, like throwing off the shackles of winter and embracing summer with everything you’ve got.


It remains one of the thing that I really do love about the French. Even though it was a weeknight, nobody cared. The celebrating of summer and of music in the street was far more important.


I had a few more enchanting Fêtes de la Musique, but in the mid 2000s something changed. Perhaps it was because I was thirty and not as interested in consuming loads of alcohol, not that that’s by any means what the Fête is about to me, but it seemed like that is what it became to many people. Especially young lycéens who had just finished their Bac and were looking to celebrate. Which of course they should, but a few Fêtes that we did around that time just left me disappointed. People were just smashed and not very convivial. And then we started having children, so we couldn’t really stay out all night anyway, and so we gave up on it for a few years.


Last year, I went out to dinner with a friend and walked back home from Paris to our village. The main square in our town had set up a stage and there were musicians playing. It was a different ambiance though. There were lots of children around, playing. People were in the outdoor café on the square. It was more like what I had in my imagination.


And so, last night, we spent the day bicycling, and then went home and had a bath, and had dinner. And then, and this is I believe the first time we have ever done this, we all went back outside. We stopped at the gelato shop for ice cream and then went down to main square to listen to music.


We are usually stickers for the 8pm bedtime. But now you are 3.5 and 6, and I decided that, this was the time when we can start breaking rules every once in a while. The day before, Son you’d had your piano recital, and Daughter you’d had your dance recital, which happened to take place at the local theatre. It had started at 8:30pm which is half an hour past your normal bed time. Both events were so fun, and so you had a weekend of staying up late.


I haven’t experienced as nice a Fête de la Musique since 2002 I don’t think. We listened by the stage for a while, and you both started seeing little friends from your school. So we decided to snag a table on the terrasse. I had a bière à la menthe and your Papa ordered an omelettes frites. You children were running free all over the huge place, playing with your friends. There were a few more parents at the café, and you all kept coming to everyone’s table, depending on who had the most French fries at the moment, and eating fries and stealing pieces of baguette from the bread basket. Papa ordered more fries to attract more children. We sat there for quite a while, listening to the music, watching you run and play enjoying the summer weather.


It made me feel something. It’s the feeling of how I want you all to experience summer. I remember my own childhood in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Even though it was not the safest place to be, we ran all over the neighborhood until it got dark and then came home for dinner. That just no longer seems to be possible, I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the times, maybe it’s because we live in a town with tall apartment buildings rather than houses and a few smaller complexes, so we know people more. But it did give you that free feeling, of going to bed a bit later, and running around free for a few hours.


Which is what summer should be all about.


Let’s aim for that, kids.


Boys and girls come out to play

The moon doth shine as bright as day

Leave your supper and leave your sleep

And join your playfellows in the street

Come with a whoop and come with a call

Come with a good will or not at all

Up the ladder and down the wall

A tuppenny loaf will serve us all

You bring milk and I’ll bring flour

And we’ll have a pudding in half an hour


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Dear kids,


I struggle over my working life. I work part time teaching English, and it’s not very lucrative. This bothers me and I go back and forth over whether I should attempt to pursue something else that would pay a little better. I sometimes feel that, at 40, I may not have much longer to switch, especially in a country like France where it’s extremely difficult to change fields, and most people don’t do it.


On the other hand, the thing is that I truly love what I do. I love what I do and I’m good at it. I enjoy going to different companies to teach people. It’s stress-free and for the most part enjoyable, and rewarding. I’ve learned quite a bit about business, and I’ve had the opportunity to work in some very large global corporations, including, most recently, some luxury conglomerates. Last week I taught a few days at the largest luxury group in the world, at their offices in the avenue Montaigne. As I left work at 3:30pm to go pick you up from school, and walked out onto the Champs-Elysées to catch the metro home, LV Speedy in the crook of my arm, I couldn’t help but feel like I was the most fortunate person in the world.


And as great as it is to teach at major luxury and cosmetic firms, what’s even better is that many days, I’m at companies within a ten minute walk from home. Which means I can often drop you at preschool, work a couple hours, get you for lunch, drop you back in the afternoon, teach another couple of hours, and pick you up with your afternoon snack and take you to the park. I do this every Monday, and other days if I can swing it.


It’s the first time in my life that I feel like I really enjoy going to work, that I’m good at it and appreciated (except financially). Most of the French business people I teach are very pleasant and appreciate their lessons. I enjoy seeking out new material, using technology such as online news articles, TED talks, using gadgets like my laptop and iPad, and bringing a modern spin on lessons.


It’s an ideal job for having young children. The hours are extremely flexible, I can make my schedule. I only have to spend one hour every month doing administrative salary sheets. My company finds clients for me. It’s just that I wish I made a bit more money, but then again, don’t we always wish that? I already feel I am extremely fortunate to be able to work, to have you both in local preschool right down the street and to be able to pick you up from school and sometimes even for lunch.


Today was a lovely example of why I appreciate the flexibility of my job.


The forecast said it was going to be a scorcher today. And indeed it has been. 33 degrees right now at 17h. Yesterday evening, my Friday morning group sent me an email to cancel. If students cancel less than 48 hours before the lesson, I still get paid, so it means the lesson was paid for.


Since I didn’t have any morning lessons, I decided to pick you both up for lunch. And I decided we’d have a picnic in the park, followed by a trip to the pool.


I dropped you off in the morning, came home, folded some laundry, drank a coffee, and did some yoga. Then I packed a picnic lunch and our pool bag, and went to pick you up at 11h30.


The pool opened at noon, so we had our lunch under a shady tree in the park adjacent to the pool. Sandwiches, cherry tomatoes and apricots. Then we went to the pool. It was empty except for a few heavily pregnant women with their toddlers. We splashed around in the pool for about half an hour, which was very refreshing in the hot heat.


Then we showered, stopped back at home for a popsicle and so I could pick up my work bag, and I dropped you back off at school. I then walked across the street to the company that I teach at on Friday afternoons. It’s just next to the pool. I had an enjoyable lesson, and then picked you up from school. Normally we’d go the park, but today is just too hot, so we’ve been lounging around the house with the shades drawn.


I really enjoy throwing these special little events at you. Taking a step out of the ordinary. Being able to go to the pool during lunch break is so wonderful. IT won’t happen all the time. But today on this hot day, it was a nice little treat.

Classe de mer

Dear Son,


The big news lately, is that you are going on a “classe de mer”.


A classe de mer falls under the category of “classes découvertes”, that are a big part of the French education system, apparently, even from a very young age. There are vacation centers all over France called “colonie de vacances”, where children are sent during school holidays. They are on the sea, up in the mountains, in old castles, on farms, and have different themes like the sea, a week of horseback riding, or skiing.


These colonie des vacances are then used for classe vertes during school terms. They are well secured and made especially for children ages 4 to adolescent. The center where you are going is right on the sea, in Brittany. It’s in a small village. The center has an outdoors area, a cantine for the children, and classrooms, since the classes vertes are not vacation, they are proper school, meant to complement school lessons. Each room has a toilet and sleeps 4 to 6, with bunk beds. The law states that only children over the age of 6 can sleep on the top bunk, so that eliminates you.


There is a full time nurse at the center, and various “animateurs” that lead activities such a sailing, which is for older classes so you won’t be doing that. You and your class will be exploring the tide pools, looking for mussels and little crabs and sea urchins. You will also visit a nearby aquarium.


You will take a TGV in a few days from Gare Montparnasse to Bretagne and then a bus to the center. And you are staying for four nights.


This blows my mind. I still have such mixed feelings about it. The first time I heard you’d be doing this, was way back in September on Parent’s night. The teacher explained to us that she had done this last year with her Grande Section class, and she was applying to do it again, although she didn’t think she would be chosen again since only one maternelle class in all of our town has the funding to go.


But it turns out she was chosen again. She explained that many teachers didn’t request to go because they had families and couldn’t leave for a week at a time, and it’s not yet the case for her.


These classes are not at all required for teachers. These Education Nationale teachers do these classes, because they want to. They don’t get paid extra for it. They do it because they want to offer their students enriching experiences. This blows my mind.


And so, that’s how I find myself, letting you go.


At first when I heard about it, I was like, no way. I remembered myself at kindergarten. I was barely going to school a few mornings a week. No way was I going to let you go away for four days with your school.


But then, we had several meetings about it. We had a meeting at the town hall where the animateurs were sent in for the day to meet the parents, and then went home that night. We saw photos of the center, met the director, heard about all the things that the classes would be doing.


And so, even though I’m still very unsure, I decided that if you were going to go, these were the conditions to do it. I have 110 percent confidence in your teacher. She is someone who got into her bathing suit every week during the winter to get in the pool with you all. She is truly passionate and exceptional.


And I also thought, the thing is that we have chosen the French public education system for our children’s education, and that maybe means going along with it, even if it seems very different from what I’m used to.


You were very hesitant for long time, but now, you are looking forward to going. You said for months that you didn’t want to go. But then you told me the things you were worried about:


-you were worried about crabs crawling into your rain boots


-you were worried that you’d be forced to pick up a big crab if you didn’t want to


-you were worried about night time


We talked to the maitresse about the first two. She was able to reassure you that you didn’t have to touch anything you didn’t want to, and that the crabs were far more afraid of you than you are of them.


But we’re all still worried about night time.


I’m trying not to project, but I was someone who hated spending the night at friends house. My parents always had to come get me in the middle of the night. Much like you, we didn’t have nearby grandparents so I never had the opportunity to sleep away from my parents. This is the same with you, in fact, this will be the first time you are sleeping away from both of us.


This really has the potential to go terribly wrong. Especially as I still remember the feeling of missing my parents at night. It could go terribly wrong, or it could just be difficult but doable. Impossible to say, but I guess we have decided to find out.


If it does go wrong, I hope it is not too terribly traumatizing for you.


We packed your suitcase a few days ago. We were given a list of what to pack. A windbreaker/rain jacket, rubber wellies, towels, toiletries, tennis shoes, hats and sunscreen. Also a lovey, but they said not to send THE lovey in case it gets lost. We are supposed to label absolutely everything. Apparently it’s going to be gorgeous weather this week, so you are really lucky about that, as Brittany is known for its rain.


We gave the suitcase yesterday because they send it ahead of you, so that you don’t have to carry it with you, which is smart. We are sending you with a backpack with a picnic lunch for the train, along with a photo of us. I wrote you a letter this week and sent it along , according the maitresse’s instructions, so that you would have it when you got there.


I got you a book about a classe de mer a few weeks ago. The maitresse asked me if she could borrow it to read to the whole class.


This also has the potential to be a wonderful enriching experience with you, but it will be hard, very hard. I did want to blog about this before the trip itself, so that I can then blog about it afterwards, and how it all went.


Maybe this is also more of the separation, that is so terribly hard. Many French people say that their children came back from classe vertes a bit more independent. But I hope you won’t be too independent when you come back. You are still my baby boy.

The Louvre is our playground

Dear Son,

What a wonderful day we had today. Today I took you to the Louvre for the very first time. I had signed you up for a morning atelier, Poils et Plumes, for 4-6 year olds, that they run during the school holidays. We arrived at 10am to one heck of a line to get into the museum. Luckily I had the ticket for your atelier and so we got to jump ahead.

You happily put on your little green Louvre vest that they give participants so that they don’t get lost and went off to your atelier. The first part of the atelier was taking the children into the museum to study various Dutch and Flemish still life paintings, and the animals in them. You also got to visit other parts of the museum such as the medieval foundations and the Hercules sculpture in the Cour Puget. Then the children went back to the atelier room to do some coloring of the paintings you had studied.

You really enjoyed it. I wandered the museum a bit while you were in the atelier and did a bit of sketching. I picked you up at noon and we took the lunch I had packed for us to the cafeteria. I wanted to avoid spending a ton of money on mediocre food. I got myself a cup of tea and you told me about the atelier and showed me the little carnet of what you had done.

After lunch we went back into the museum. You wanted to show me the old castle foundations. They are a favorite part of the museum so I obliged. Then, I wanted to show you a few of the most famous treasures: the Venus de Milo, the Victory of Samothrace, and of course, La Joconde herself. You were less enthusiastic because you wanted to draw, but you obliged me. Thank you for that Son.

I decided to let you be my guide, rather than the other way around. AT first I was trying to direct you to see all these things, but the wonderful thing about the Louvre is that you can wander aimlessly, turn a corner, and be standing in front of Delacroix’s Liberty Leading The People. So I was happy to follow you.

Then we spent an hour or so just sketching in the Cour Puget and the Cour Marly. How lovely it was to see you studying these sculptures so intently Son, and then sketching what you saw. You drew four sculptures. It really made my heart sing to see you enjoying this activity.

Dare I hope that this will be something you will continue to enjoy?

Then, you wanted to show me the Dutch and Flemish paintings you had studied earlier that day. I let you lead the way to try to remember where they were, and the next thing I knew, you were pointing out turtles, peacocks, and fox studies in paintings that I had never seen before.

Then we noticed that the Cafe Richelieu served Angelina hot chocolate and there was no line, so we decided to indulge.

By then it was already five thirty. We’d spent the whole day there.

I bow in gratitude for this day, for having been able to show you this wonderful, special place, as I described it to you this morning. I hope you will always find joy and astonishment in art.

The house I’ve known

Dear Kids,

I’ve been meaning to tell you about a house that I’ve considered a second home for most of my life. The house of my aunt and uncle in Germany. I’ve been coming to this house since I was a teenager. Once or twice a year. I’ve slept up in the loft, under the skylights and the wooden roof, although this past visit, I decided to sleep with you in the lower bedroom, on mattresses on the floor.

Who knows how much longer we will be able to do that.

Anyway, the house has a lovely garden which turns into a beautiful snow garden in winter, and where we eat breakfast barefoot in the summer. There’s an apple tree which my aunt and uncle collect apples and take them to be pressed for juice which lasts all year long. There’s a red currant bush which both of you have eaten from since you were small babies. I too have eaten from that bush for as long as I can remember, juicy sour red currants popped into your mouth, or a handful picked and thrown into some organic whole milk yogurt and sugar for dessert.

There are also raspberry bushes and blackberry bushes where we pick berries and get occasional thorns in our fingers.

The house is made of wood, has an aforementioned sleeping loft where I’ve been sleeping since I was allowed to climb the winding ladder that leads up to it. You can see snow drift down as you lay in bed, or rain sleeting down in summer thunderstorms. There is a fireplace and worn down green velvet couches that I have napped on since a young age. Sometimes when I’m restless, I picture myself napping on that green couch, with the fireplace crackling and the wool tartan throw that is stored underneath the couch for impromptu siestas.

My aunt uses a Provence woven basket to bring out the breakfast things to the side stone porch or the grassy back garden, depending on where we decide. There is always good black tea with milk, and homemade jams, always homemade jams: currant, plum, citrus, raspberry, cherry, etc.

The house has wood floors covered with antique rugs, and an antique writing desk in the living room, and a wooden table in the kitchen that I have enjoyed many relaxing moments at. My aunt took up sculpting full-time after retiring as a pharmacist and the house and garden are filled with her wood and stone sculptures. In summer she attaches a swing to one of her outside metal arch sculptures in the garden and you both swing on it.

There are tiles in the bathroom that have been there since the late 80s but still manage to look elegant. The bathtub is surrounded by river rocks collected over the years. The downstairs bathroom also has windows covered in coloured glass, and crystals and stones decorating the window sill.

There is a big park nearby with two playgrounds, one of them a wonderful eco-playground made out of natural materials: a wooden tree house, a climbing maze made of tree trunks, a double rope swing, a lion tunnel, etc. There’s a plum tree that drops sweet plums on you as you enter the park in summer.

My aunt and uncle both have their own rooms and then a sleeping room that they share. My aunt’s room is filled with books and artwork, much of it her own. She has her tarot cards, candles, art supplies, photos of family, paper, pens, and little toys for her grandkids. She also keeps a shelf of children’s books for her grandchildren.

They do all their shopping at the local bakery and the local organic supermarket. They always have wonderful cheeses, sweet butter, good quality milk, and many other basics in their small fridge. They also have a wine cellar and as the cellar is stone and therefore cool, they keep much of their food down there to stay fresh.

My aunt has an admirable “lebensfreude”, one that I strive for. At nearly 80 years old, both her and my uncle are very fit. They ski, they take week long bike trips across Germany and Austria. They go every spring to Greece and do a sculpting workshop in France in autumn. They walk and bike a lot, and swim in the summer.

My aunt has always been a role model for me for quality of life. The way she brings beauty into every moment of the day. For her, things don’t have to be perfect. Their house is very clean, but there are pockets that aren’t tidy, her room is an artistic clutter. They aren’t always on time. So things don’t have to be perfect, but for her, it’s important that things are beautiful. Beautiful outings, even a simple cup of tea. Importance is placed on beauty and this brings an oasis of calm to their house.

My aunt has an artistic yet classic sense of style. She wears earth tones and has a small collection of artisan jewelry, simple and tasteful. She gets her hair done every seven weeks and does it herself the rest of the time. She wears Camper shoes as they are comfortable and stylish. She takes pride in her appearance. She has a collection of perfume in the bathroom that I remember sampling from when I was a teenager.

She has been a great influence on me. When I was a teenager and would come to visit, she would always take me to the ballet, and to art museums in Munich. She also taught me about tarot. We started doing yearly tarot readings together when I was around 17 years old, and it is this influence that has helped me with my own self-reflection.

Now that my own mother is gone from this plane, I am grateful to have them, grateful that my own children are able to know them a little bit. I hope we have more time to spend with them in their lovely world.