I am walking across the ballroom at the Monastery at Melk. You can imagine all the monks waltzing with each other in their dark robes: "No I want to take the male position this time; I was the female last time." Monk spats.
Actually, the Monastery at Melk hosted the royalty of Europe. The Empress Maria Theresa had had her own room and rooms for all her entourage. The cathedral is one of my all time favorites. I wanted to fall to my knees and praise God. Not many places have that effect on me.
The last time we were here, Sue Howe married us at the alter. She faced us and said to me, "Do you?" and I said, "I do." Then she turned to Tom and said, "Do you?" and he said "I do." She then pronounced us husband and wife. A tasteful and short ceremony.
Charles, Erica and Anne arrived this week. We hadn't seen Anne for nine months and she has become--what? A raving beauty? Highly competent in German? Independent? Grown up?
All of the above.
I feel like the soppy Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof." I may break into warbling "Sunrise, Sunset, quickly go the days . . ." at any moment and break into choking sobs at the quick passage of time. I may flail my limbs and weep.
We needed a headshot for a Segullah interview and came up with this. As usual, we are dressed exactly alike, blue and khaki. I wish my collar covered my sagging, wrinkled neck as well as Tom's covers his, but "Oh vel."
This might be the time to mention that Tom and I are shrinking at the same rate, which means I'm shrinking faster, because I'm younger than he is. We have both lost an inch and a half over the last decade. My ankle surgery may have put me on speed shrink, since one leg is now an inch shorter than the other, but I try to stand on the tall leg when Dr. Westermann's nurse, Laura, measures me. Frankly, I think Laura is reading the measurement from her low height--she is shorter than we are--and is getting it WRONG. Or she might have height envy. Some people do.
Sam, my youngest son, said she miss measured him by inches. He claims to be six foot, two inches. She said he was five, eleven or something. See, I think Laura has issues. Not me. Not Tom. Not Sam. LAURA HAS ISSUES.
I haven't been five, eight since seventh grade.
I hope I'm not moving backwards. That would mean I'd have to eat at Chuckie Cheeses again.
And go to the Golden Green Ball at age 12 with Link Bailey and dance in one large circle with my elbow folded in awkwardly on his shoulder, mashing my corsage. Junior Gold and Green Ball for ages 12 and 13. We danced cheek to cheek in 1954.
I must be standing on my short leg in the photo. Look How much shorter than Tom I am. I should only be a half inch shorter than he.
WE walked from our apartment down the Porzellangasse this evening to the Palais Liechtenstein, which has this lovely statue in the midst of a pond. The water runs from her jar at this angle, but in the back, the water comes out of a fish's mouth. The park surrounding the palace has giant old sycamore and blooming chestnut trees. There are two songbirds that hang out in the sycamores with the most musical, but distinct songs. I have no idea what they are. Not robins. I want one of them to be a lark. Remember, "Greet the day with a song"? I can't see them. I may have to get some binoculars.
A duck and six tiny ducklings swam by. Why are all babies so attractive?
Six little ducklings swimming in a pond,
Five were brown and one was blonde.
Oh excuse me, for a second I thought I was Rick Walton.
If I WERE Rick Walton, I'd have that published by five in the afternoon tomorrow.
I don't like grocery shopping at home, but I could hardly breathe at the BILLA down the street. First of all, mayonnaise comes in a tube like toothpaste. I pick up that tube and think, doesn't anyone here eat potato salad? Milk comes in one litre boxes and is whole milk. Butter comes in a square. What part of a pound is a square? Bread is uncut. I haven't really seen a classic loaf of bread. It is all rounded, covered with pumpkin seed or some other nut or seed. White bread is twisted into odd shapes. No packaged "grated" cheese. I bought some cheddar for a recipe. It must be like a fourth of a pounds. More leeks than onions.
"People shop every day. They don't store up for three weeks like Americans do," Tom tells me.
I like that, actually. I don't plan well for more than one day at a time, anyway. The store is just down the street, a three minute walk. I can adjust to the small packaging of flour, sugar, almost everything. Its like buying a cup at a time. It's like living in Miniature Land.
In America, they're always trying to sell you more than you need. Packaged hamburger, for example is always a little more than a pound, never less.