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May 25 more or less, 2009

Written June 3

Friends and Families ,


Now that our traveling to see kids in America and my work trip to Tokyo are over, we looked forward to settling into our home routine. This diary is mostly a picture album of that settling in.

In fact, no sooner had I gotten off the plane from Japan than Marianne and I got on the train for Paris. I had a couple of days of business meetings and we thought we'd enjoy a bit of travel time together. The train provides a relaxing way to travel and we even found a special deal on first class. The seats were comfortable and we even enjoyed seeing the flat French countryside - good for high-speed trains.

In Paris, we settled in our small hotel room. All Paris hotel rooms are small, but, compared to Tokyo, they look generous. Tuesday, Marianne rode out on the subway with me to the La Defence are where Areva's big, black, tower is. After that, I worked while Marianne wandered around La Defence, parks, museums, shops, etc. In a short couple of days, we were back to the Gar de lEst train station and heading home. A nice trip, but we are really tired of travel at this point.



On the weekend, we had our third annual Barbeque, mostly for folks from my work. As usual, it was a fun bunch of people and we ate, drank, and talked for hours. Late in the afternoon, balloons from a Garden Fest next door flew over for a unique addition to our 'Merican BBQ.


Of course Marianne and I had to see the garden show too so we had headed over there on opening day. This is our third or fourth visit to this annual show and it was fun to see the regular displays, spread out in the wonderful palace setting. As for purchases, we seem to be slowing down. The major addition for our garden was just a Japanese maple to replace one we had killed two years ago. This time, we got good planting instructions and we are hoping for the best.



To finish out our weekend, we went up to Bamberg, where our architect Axel had invited us to a show his choir was putting on. The weather was beautiful and, with its rivers, canals, and old buildings, Bamberg remains one our favorite Bavarian cities. The concert, featuring a history of French songs, was in one of the old buildings, a school auditorium. The setting was grand and the singing matched. We hope this too becomes an annual event for us.


Meanwhile, here's what's happening back at home. One wall is rotting from salts in the stones but the patio remains a greta place for a meal and the backyard view is particularly pleasant this time of year.

Unfortunately, my week was not in this pleasant surroundings, but up in a hotel room in Offenbach, near Frankfurt. Work was OK but the drive back home on Friday was a mess! The Autobahn A3 is one of my LEAST favorite places!
The next weekend, we were invited to dinner at Marylin and Dieters, always a pleasant occasion.  

So, that finishes the first half of 2009. I hope the next half is a bit more settled, but I'm not so sure that will be.


John (and Marianne)


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