Monthly Archives: June 2010

Day 21: Homeward Bound – part 2

I did not finish yesterday’s post. What I mean is there is another part to the Homeward Bound and that is Julie getting home. I last saw her disappearing into the Terminal 2 security checkpoint at O’Hare and headed home. I had checked the weather Thursday night before going to bed that the forecast Friday for Chicago was thunderstorms and I checked when we landed and the National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm watch, as the conditions were good for bad storms. It was hot, 90° F, humid, and it made it being outside, no fun. The storms were forecast to hit the Chicago area in early afternoon. I was concerned Julie’s scheduled flight home to Memphis would be affected. Continue reading Day 21: Homeward Bound – part 2

Day 21: Homeward Bound

It is never easy returning to America from Paris. I got up early in the morning, after staying up too late the night before and arrive at the airport by 7:30. It is going to be a long day, I doubt it will be a million and six times better than yesterday, but I am on my way home to Beth, William, Olivia, and Ivy and that is wonderful. I am excited to see them and I know they will have questions about the trip, though they have been following along and reading the blog. Traveling from east to west is always difficult because when you arrive it is only a couple of hours later than when you left and it is a nine-hour flight.  I leave at 10:30 AM Paris time and arrive in Chicago at 12:35 PM. Put in relative terms; my body thinks it is 7:35 PM and I am ready for dinner and bed, soon. Continue reading Day 21: Homeward Bound

Day 20: My last day in Paris

Chateau de Versailles, France

The last day the Watkins brothers would be together in Paris.  It was also the twentieth of summer vacation and I to make it count – it was going to possibly be the best day ever. Warren, Julie, and I leave to go home tomorrow morning; Julie and I will be flying together and Warren by himself. David and Trisha are staying an extra day. It was going to be a great day.

We got up early and met for breakfast and coffee in the basement dining room. Bruno was meeting Julie and taking her home for lunch with his wife and afterwards Julie would be spending time with Ritva. I am glad she was able to connect with friends of dad and her while she was here. I know it has not been an easy trip for her from getting around do being in a place that had been special for her and dad. The three brothers and Trish planned to go Versailles and have dinner – somewhere; but that was it. We headed out. Navigating the Metro was a lesson I wanted Trish to learn today as she and David are on their own Friday. I shared with her my secrets: look for connections, figure out where you want to go and backtrack, look at the endpoint – it is the direction you are headed, and lastly – do not be afraid to ask directions. We said to good-bye to Julie, walked to the Metro at Republique, and got rolling toward Invalides where we would interchange to RER C and get out to Versailles Rive Gauche and the Chateau de Versailles. Continue reading Day 20: My last day in Paris

Day 19: Father’s Day comes early

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
From “in Flanders Field” by John McCrea

Today was the day. We drove dad’s cremains to the place where he wanted to spend eternity. The logistics of getting all of us to France at the same time made it difficult and explain how almost eleven months after he passed away, dad finally came home. Julie, Warren, David, Trish, and I came together and came across the Atlantic to bring dad home. Julie had contacted as many of dad’s friends who she had remained in contact since he had retired 1998. Almost immediately a very close friend of dad and Julie’s who lived in Paris, Ritva, said she wanted to join us. There was no discussion; it was a great idea. Ritva would join us. As the trip came closer to happening, Ritva offered to arrange transportation to the area. Two other friends of dad’s also wanted to come; it was wonderful that old friends wanted to be part of dad’s final trip. Continue reading Day 19: Father’s Day comes early

Day 18: Musee D’Orsay and the Tuilleries

The labor protest assembles outside our hotel, the view from my room to the Place de Republique

What I planned for the day did not happen, but the day was well spent. It is difficult to make each day ‘a million and six times better’ than the day before, but I try.

We got a late start Tuesday, but we were all tired from Monday’s late night. We all slept late and therefore we started late. Warren had a lunch date with a client and took off early. David and Trish decided to visit Sacre Coeur in Montmartre and Julie and I took the metro to Opera to cash Travelers Checks at the American Express office. There was quite a commotion along Rue de San Martin and into Place de Republique. Before Warren left, he told me about a labor rally that was organizing in front of the hotel French labor unions are upset over a proposal to increase the retirement age from 60 to 65 and they held a march to share their concerns today. The tail end of the protest organized in front of the hotel and we watched it organize and go from a few people to many.  It clogged the streets and brought traffic to a standstill in the area. Warren reported the traffic getting back into the city was difficult as he returned from his lunch meeting. Continue reading Day 18: Musee D’Orsay and the Tuilleries

Day 17: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Seine

Me in 1966 on the Champs de Mars

The ringing was my phone alarm and it woke me up. The windows were open, it was light outside, and I could hear the sounds of Paris coming alive. The trip across the Atlantic and the day before had taken a toll on me and, I was sertain, the others in our group. I had slept well during the night and I was ready for the new day. I cleaned up and got dressed.

Monday, June 14th would be our first full day in Paris. I wanted to make it count, really remember it. I remembered the song that got all of this started and re-read and listened….

This could possibility be the best day ever!
(This could possibility be the best day ever,)
And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be a million and six times better.
So make every minute count, jump up, jump in, and seize the day,
And let’s make sure that in every single possible way,
Today is gonna be a great day!

How can a day in Paris not be a great day?

We met for breakfast and discussed what we wanted to do. We agreed on the Eiffel Tower and decided to meet in the lobby at 10:30 to get going. We got a late start because of me – I held the group back – because I was late finishing what I was working on – the day 15 and 16 post. Continue reading Day 17: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Seine

Day 15 and 16: Takeoff and Landing – Day 1 in Paris

Day 15 – sixty-seven remaining – Saturday, June 12 began early. The next week will count. June 12. Julie had arrived the night before and was sleeping in the guest bedroom. William had a boy scout CPR training beginning at 8:00 AM, Olivia had a softball game, and we had to be at O’Hare to catch our flight to Paris by 3:00 PM. It would be a busy day as the kids met and shared some time with Grandma J. Continue reading Day 15 and 16: Takeoff and Landing – Day 1 in Paris

Day 14: Why am I going to Paris?

The past week or rather the past year has been in anticipation of today, tomorrow, and next week. Tomorrow I am going to Paris, yes, Paris, France, the place with the Eiffel Tower. I will be travelling with Julie, my stepmother, and the cremains of my dad who passed away last year. My dad was born in 1933 and lived a happy life he had many accomplishments three of whom will be in Paris together to celebrate their father’s life.  Continue reading Day 14: Why am I going to Paris?

Day 12 and 13: Downs and Ups

Wednesday, June 9th: originally, this post was to be a daily post – but the events of the day were over shadowed with worry about Ivy, our Brittany.

Ivy's the one! We had four puppies from Ivy's litter to choose from and Olivia and William look them over in the back of the car.

We had gotten Ivy when she was almost eight-weeks old on somewhat of a lark. In early April, on our return trip home from the cottage in Michigan, we had made a detour to shop and in the parking lot, there were local dog breeders selling puppies. Does this sound suspicious or odd? It did not at the time but when I retell it I feel, well, rather silly. I bought a dog on the side of the road from someone I did not know and drove home with a puppy the day before Easter. There was no planning, nor did we have an idea what we had in store for our family. Yet, this misadventure has turned into a something wonderful for our family.

Continue reading Day 12 and 13: Downs and Ups

Days 10 and 11: the first official day of summer

Olivia and Ivy wait for the bus on the last day of school, June 7, 2010

Monday, June 7: The first official day of summer began when Olivia stepped off the bus! There are many definitions of summer – meteorological, astronomical or celestial, and educational. Of course, for those not still in school or working in education there are the first two. Meteorological is June 1 to August 31. Astronomical is from the solstice to the equinox. The solstice this year will be on Monday, June 21 at 6:28 AM. It marks the longest day in terms of sunlight in the northern hemisphere. I will be home from Paris by then. Experts measure Educational Summer from the last day of school until the first day of the next school year. Phineas and Ferb had it wrong there are not 104, but 82 for me and 77 for my kids. Monday was the last day of school for William and Olivia. It was also traditional the neighborhood party for all kids it is organized by the moms in the neighborhood. I do not attend; instead, I worked on cleaning my office downstairs, organized my planner, worked on writing the blog, looked ahead to the Paris trip, and worked on a few odds and ends. Continue reading Days 10 and 11: the first official day of summer