Sunday, May 29, 2011

Another Try

Last Wednesday all was set for Maddie's operation. But at the very last minute it was cancelled--due to Maddie having a cough. After a long and not always calm (according to Mimi) drive back to Burbank the next day, life went on.

For me, still up in Palo Alto visiting with the Feinsteins, it meant a calm breakfast outside in the sunshine,

a shopping expedition with Lea to find an outfit for Noah's August wedding,

and other outfits as well.

I got to Burbank in time to catch Max in his "apres-le-bain"outfit.

Friday, the start of the Memorial Day weekend, the grand kids ramped up into their weekend activities: butterfly outfits, bike riding and hockey playing.

Maddie, in a quite motherly mood, rode her baby doll around on the back of her bike (a doll Mimi gave her with a hand-made dress that matches one she gave Maddie--nice to have a grandmother that really knows how to sew).

A surprise for me: that reluctant artichoke plant in the garden finally growing up and blooming!

A yummy early brunch out on Saturday morning with a visit to the pet store next door. Two very energetic kittens roughhousing--2 Ms fascinated.

Then time for a pull-up or two,

a Max cuddle,

and a shot of the Kender/Page toothbrushes before I went to catch my plane back to Providence.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Things, Old Things

Goodbye to my trusty old camera which was taking increasingly pink-toned photos.
Hello to my new, nifty orange Elf!

And a few days ago we officially celebrated Tulip's 14th birthday (said to be somewhere between June 9th and 12th). We'd thought she was 14 for a few years, but at her annual check-up her vet said she'd just turned 14. Better than being 16!

Tulip's birthday wish? "Kibble, kibble, I wish you'd give me that kibble!"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Home Time in Gamboa

Rachel and David, Wren and Simon live in a quiet little town halfway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It was built to house engineers working on the Panama Canal. The houses are all elevated with the first floor where a normal second floor is to let in any breeze that happens by. There are ceiling fans and air vents and big overhanging eaves, all to keep things cool. I wish I'd taken more pictures of the inside of R&D's house because it's very charming, full of fun fabrics, rugs, quilts, pictures, Panamanian arts and crafts.

Here's the kitchen, David and Toby chatting, a picture by Linda on the wall. Out the window are hummingbirds at the bird feeder and agoutis running over the lawn, like very short-haired, tailless squirrels.

Rachel wanted to liven up the patio walls, so we got lots of bougainvillea in Panama City and brought back ceramic pots from El Valle, and had a big planting day just before we left, including some packets of seeds I brought from the US. The arugula sprouted two days after it was planted--that's fast!

Gwen would like to show her LA cousins how adept she is at eating pasta, her favorite (and just about only) dish.

And show too how much she loves her baby brother.

We visited Rachel's and David's offices just a few blocks from their home (very convenient). The father of Gwen's good friend Freya has painted wonderful pictures on the walls--here are bats, one looking like it's echo locating those tiny Tungara frogs. The black wiggy-looking things on the front of David's desk are mist nets used to catch bats.

And the great mustard yellow bathroom with a lizard on the floor and a frog foot (is it?) on the seat.

So we left peaceful Gamboa after a wonderful almost two weeks there--so cozy to be with Rachel and David. We fell in love with Simon Orion, a very sweet and wise little person, just beginning to smile and learning to coo.

And fell in love again with Gwen Wren, the girl of many curls, bright eyes, funny faces and wonderful thoughts. Oh, and a few really well-learned songs (Baa, Baa Black Sheep.....)

Bye-bye. See you in Chocorua!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

El Valle

Another of the great places Rachel and David took us in Panama was El Valle,
a small artistic town in the mountains, not too far from Gamboa.

The inn where we stayed had all sorts of attractions for Gwen--lazy fish and turtles eager for a kibble in a meandering pond.

A fierce-looking horned goat that did not intimidate Gwen.

Furry friendly rabbits,

and ducks watching us watch the rabbits.

It's the rainy season in Panama, meaning you take umbrellas wherever you go. But it's quite pleasant as the rain doesn't last too long and it cools things off.

We found horses to ride--again, a fearless Gwen (she has much in common with her cousin Maddie)--very disappointed to dismount and say good-by to her horse Droopy.

El Valle has a great market place full of Panamanian crafts.

I especially love the Molas--fabric designs sewn on fabric by the Kuna Indians of the San Blas Islands. The patterns and colors are fabulous!

And at the end of our stay, a short walk through the jungle, over several hanging bridges to see a waterfall. David tests out the bridge--

and we make it safely back to our car and then home to Gamboa.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Our first adventure in Panama was taking Gwendolyn to the zoo--nearby, but I had to drive the big New Car over the scary bridge (a one lane rumply old railroad bridge over the Chagres River). It turned out to be easier than our Prius because we were up high and could see out the back.

The foxes starred at the zoo--especially this young one. And the Harpy Eagle too--looking gothically Harry Potter.

On Mother's Day David drove us up past Colon and along the coast towards Isla Grande. A short, choppy boat ride took us out to the "Bananas" resort on the far side of the island where we luxuriated in a soft island breeze, swam for many hours in the curvy swimming pool with Gwen, watched the sunset and ate good meals.

We hiked across the island the next day

into the island's small town, full of vividly painted houses, boats with palm fronds,
with a small church and statue of a black Christ out in the water.

Gwen found a flock of tame parakeets to get very close to,

Toby found a mural of Bob Marley to stand next to,

and we all found a wonderful calm beach with deliciously warm water to swim in.
Then back to Gamboa in the early evening with very sleepy children and happily adventured grown-ups.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Coming to PANAMA
(We're really here!)

David met us at the airport on Wednesday night. We settled into a nifty B&B just around the block from R&D's house, then were greeted early on Thursday morning

by proud big sister Gwen Wren and not-so-small-anymore little brother Simon Orion.

Gwen is an accomplished Simon-holder,
and Simon a stoic and uncomplaining holdee.

Then a flurry of Wren activities:

Meeting Gwen's friends at playgroup.

Her school locker-I wondered where that nickname came from.

Indulging in Brownie batter.

Lacing up Toby's boots.

Simon's activities seem to consist mainly of naps and nursing.

It's fabulous to be here, connecting with the Page Bethels, escorting Gwen to class or the pool or the zoo, not only holding Simon but gazing into his wise blue eyes, eating yummy fish curry at the new dining room table.
So cozy with Rachel and David, Gwen and Simon.
Yeah for kids! Yeah for grand kids!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring in Barrington

We arrived back in Rhode Island just in time for spring--
so that meant yard clean-up and flower planting.

Tulip sighted another sign of spring--little rabbits!

She stealthily stalked this rabbit, grazing in the back yard.
But the rabbit didn't bat an ear. Tulip stopped, sat, then--finally deciding that either she was too old for the chase or maybe life was more about enjoying nature than destroying it--she lay down and just gazed at the rabbit, who continued eating without a worry.

Ahhh-the wisdom of growing old!