Author Archives: "GVS"

About "GVS"

I am retired and am wanting to write a book. This blog is to help me polish my writing skills and to find topics that interest me.

Making the Plan

Tartuffe Festival.

I love to travel.  Each year Camillo and I take at least one major trip.  By major, I mean outside of the country in which we live and to a city where we have never been before.  To a city where we have never been before usually means where I have never been before.  Camillo, who has traveled so far in his life, has usually been to the new city and is eager to re-visit, to show me his favorite places, from restaurants to hill-top views.

    Our trip this year will be to Turin (Torino) Italy.  Nestled in the area of  Piemonte, to the north and  west of Milan.  Torino has, of course, castles, churches,  food, wine and mountain views.   Camillo lived in this area briefly as a child (70 years ago) and spent time as a young soldier on a base right after WWII.  The primary objective of this visit is to spend four days in Alba, to the north and east of Torino, enjoying the Tartuffe Festival.  I am loosing 5 pound as my part of the plan for this trip.  If I start 5 pounds down I won’t once say…. “I can’t eat that.”   Camillo has made a complex spreadsheet as his part of the plan.

Sometimes it is hard for me to believe how well we travel together.  Camillo’s idea of a trip is getting there, arriving, and my focus is often the journey.  His spreadsheet has all the information as he sees as ‘the trip’.  Plane take off and landing times, train schedules, ticket costs, hotel names and reservation information when available.  He has also listed the particular sites he wants to show me, and any restaurants or even special dishes of the area he wants me to try.  As you can tell he has spent many hours making the plan.

My (other) part of the plan is to make suggestions like, “once in Italy,  let’s travel solely by train and bus, lets spend some days in Milan, will we be close enough to the Alps to take a train ride up a mountain pass (?), can we stop to visit Wendy?”  And to accommodate me, he builds my vision of the trip into his vision of the destination.  He only requires of me that I fit 30 days of cloths into one small suitcase, easy to load on and off the trains, and to do that I must make a complex plan, usually in my head, of what I will need to wear in between stops that are long enough to do laundry.   But that is part of the journey, right?

So this years plan is to fly from Rio to Lisbon on September 25th and will return Rome – Rio on October 25th.  We are flying TAP so we stop in Lisbon anyway and we will use the opportunity to spend 3 days walking in the old city.  Then on to Piemonte, Turin, Alba, Milan, Bagno di Lucca, back to Lucca to catch the train to Rome.   Once in Rome, there will be a week of short drives with his sister and train rides up into the Umbria area.  Maybe this is another trip, another plan, but Camillo is flirting with the idea of a small apartment in an ancient town, on a distant mountain top.  This year’s trip not started and our next journey already in the making.



Last night my sleep was restless and dream filled.  In one there were shadows and people I didn’t know, lurking, watching.  I was helping a few people clean up a restaurant maybe.  I put my purse over the back of a chair while I worked.  When I do this I think ‘don’t forget it.’  It was a nice time even with the shadows.  In another there was a ride in a car. I was in the back with someone and a women, I don’t think I know, is driving.  I know the others in the car.  They are all women. The driver who has thick curly hair is laughing and enjoying herself, but driving too fast.  Then the road is covered in snow and I become frightened.  We are flagged to slow down.  The person, a woman, flagging us yells there is ice under the snow and we come to a full, adrupt stop.  Everyone gets out of the car except me.  I don’t have my shoes on.  I can’t find my purse.  I left it in the restaurant of the first dream.  I am sure I did and am embarrassed to tell everyone that we must go back.

These two dreams are at least three hours apart.  They can’t be the same dream.  If they aren’t the same dream what is the connection that my purse is in both dreams?  I have always understood that your dreams are about sorting through things that happen; impressions that you have had during the period of time since the last dream.  That the underlying feelings you have in the dream are an emotional gauge; how you are feeling at the time.  Your mind weaves the impressions together with the feelings and you have a seeming cohesive dream.

Eating in restaurants, having many strangers around me, fear of forgetting my purse and having almost daily close calls while driving are common themes for my days here.  So for them to be a part of my dream I can readily understand.  To look to all the feelings, for me, is the interesting part of this dream.  While in the restaurant helping I felt hungry and happy.  Hungry because I am trying to loose another kilo (2.2 pounds) and am always hungry, probably while sleeping also.  Happy, I was helping someone and it felt satisfying to be useful.  I am on my way to Patty’s this next week and I love being useful to her while there.  The anxiety in the car is the same anxiety that follows me around the week before I travel.  Every time.

You all know I travel a lot.  I fly most trips.  JarieLyn asked me today if I fear flying.  I don’t think that is it as I have the same anxiety when we go by train.  I fear being late to the airport.  I fear forgetting something I need.  I fear not being able to find space in the overhead bins.   I fear my bags won’t arrive.  I am just anxious.  Then the moment I am walking onto the plane it is gone.  Where does it come from, where does it go.  Every time.

The Child’s Joy

You all have heard the terms ‘the joy of a child’ or ‘a child’s joy’.  We’re talking about that head thrown back, wide open mouth, eyes sparkling with exuberant joy.   I can remember my daughter Patty, about three years old, on a crisp cool fall morning  running in the wind.  Her white blond hair wispy around her face, flying in the breeze and her laughter light, crystalline floating past me as I watched from in the kitchen; a child’s joy at just being.  It is Christmas morning, I can smell coffee and hot sugar, maybe it is sweet rolls heating as Mom prepares breakfast.  The memory includes fingers to the lips to warn the younger one to be quiet as we tiptoe past the kitchen, a sneak peek at the Christmas tree to see if Santa came to our house is the goal and joy, an instant of happiness as we see the piles of presents under the tree; a child’s pure joy that the world is as we think it should be.

Whether experienced as a child or an adult, joy is usually a feeling that washes over us instantaneously. Although joy is associated with happiness, the two emotions vary slightly.  Happiness resides within us and is more of a conscious emotion. Either we choose to be happy or we don’t. Happiness is a state of contentment that lives within our soul.  Joy, on the other hand is experienced more spontaneously.  Joy occurs in specific moments of time and can be unexpected and spontaneous.  So, although G was describing her child running in the wind and experiencing joy at just being, what she was also describing was the joy she felt in watching her child from that kitchen window.  As humans, we are fortunate enough to be given the gift of joy just by seeing someone else experience it. An outburst of laughter, eyes widening with delightful surprise, a smile that reaches from ear to ear; these are all contagious and is called joy.  What a great gift to receive and to give to someone else.

These gifts can happen in the amount of time it takes to breath in and  breath out.  It seems inevitable that as we age, as our place in life changes, what triggers these mere breaths of joy will change.  There is even a place between the time the children are born, are growing and changing; through the time when they are adult and acting in adult ways that we no longer find any particular joy in their behavior.  Maybe this is natures way of sending us in a direction away from parenting and into our mid-life.  It would be very easy to let this place of no feelings of joy stay in control of us, but it is also easy to find ways into new places, new moments of joy.  At the age of thirty-eight I learned to dance; tango, cumbia, merengue,  ah the joy of music and dance.  At 42, I started using a camera finding, not just seconds but full minutes of joy and, finally, by 45 I was a grandmother and had come full circle learning once again what it means to watch a new life take flight.

For me, I will never know the joy of being pregnant, or watching my own child run past the kitchen window.  I will never know the joy of being a mother and sometimes, but rarely, I do feel a twinge of envy when I see a young mother with a toddler.  But I am not unhappy.  I find moments of joy in the simplest of things; a kiss from my husband, a hug from a friend, a postcard or letter in the mail, a smile from a stranger, spending time with my sister.  When I’m out on the dance floor moving my body to the beat of the music, joy permeates through to my soul. It is the only time I truly feel free and that feeling of freedom is the purest form of joy I have ever known.

Yes, that joy of a child can come to us in many forms.  Even as an adult we can feel it, never being limited in the possible moments,  that we can feel.  What we find harder is recognizing those moments, reveling in them, letting them flow and finally in remembering.  As an adult it is harder to remember to throw back our heads, open our mouths wide and smile, eyes sparkling with exuberance, letting the world share in our mere moment of joy.  Try it in that next moment. Show us your child’s joy.

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