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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

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Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

'Tis my birthday, ladidadi

Ah, the day is nearly done, but it has been a good one. A birthday, my sister Mary told me a few years ago, is a time to think about yourself. She always spends the day doing something she really wants to do. Some years it is a big thing, involving a trip somewhere, and other years it means driving to a park and listening to Mozart. She has a large family, so taking a day for herself if very wise, I think, but also often very difficult.

A red birthday flower


This is my birthday and I did have some obligations that I had to consider, but otherwise I managed to do a few things for me.

We are awestruck

The first was to go to a garden center, Schilliger, in Gland, and wander around for two hours. You have to be my age and female to appreciate this, I suspect.

Wee rabbits on display (about 6 inches/15cm long)

The flowers were magnificent, the peacefulness wonderful and there was a magic touch: rabbits. For Easter, Schilliger invited a neighbor who raises beautiful pet rabbits of many sorts, to set up cages around the rows of flowers and plants. They were nestled in and under clean piles of straw. Parents and grandparents trying to decide on plants were left in some peace by their children who were enchanted by the rabbits.

I bought some lovely new plants for the veranda and the garden. It's far too early to put them out, up in the mountains, so I will have to nurture them indoors for a while.

I also planned to bake a lime meringue pie, but the day was too short. One rule about birthdays is that nothing is obligatory. The pie will have to wait until tomoorow.

The contractual part of the day involved teaching a writing class. I decided to hold off on the part I find less interesting, which is insisting that the students follow a set of rules to edit their work. I said we would do some creative writing. Groans. I gave each of them a photo, harvested from my large crop of personal ones, and asked them to write 3-4 sentences describing a character who was sstanding nearby when the picture was taken. I then gathered up the character descriptions and handed them out to other students, who had to write a short story about the character, somehow including the photo. The point of the exercise was to try to use action verbs. It was tough. Verbs like "was", "had" and "said" overpopulated the stories, and exciting verbs were hard to find. So we worked on that a bit.

This evening I announced to the family that I intended to find a good book on the shelves, one I had not yet read, and retreat to a quiet corner with the book and a glass of wine.

"I can't wait to be yur age," moaned my 17 year old. "What excitement on a birthday!"

"Mmmm," said my husband, because the semi-finals of the European football (soccer to some of you) cup were starting soon.

The best way to get a bit of peace is to be so boring that no one notices you have sneaked off. Believe me, this is a good thing.

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