Life is too busy to write

except as necessary to make a living putting up Web articles and editing stuff. My daughter came to Austin on business end of March, staying with me part time, partly in a hotel to be closer to work. A week later, we flew separately to Amsterdam, where we celebrated my 60th and her 30th birthdays, in between the two actual dates. The trip was fantastic from beginning to end. The people, food, art, dogs, cats, houseboats, canals, poldors, bicycles, opera, cafes, everything was marvelous. E put us up at the Amstel Hotel International, a 5 star beaut that catered to our every whim. Within 24 hours, all the staff knew why we were there, and gave us extra special service--comped a massage, a 20 yr. old jiniver, l'accutaine toiletries for everyone, a pound of coffee to take home, a monogrammed umbrella to take to the countryside to see the windmills...

400? Moi? was the theme for Rembrandt's 400th birthday. A comparative exhibit of his work with Caravaggio. The Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum were unbelievable. The Dutch do revere their painters. They stand enraptured for hours in groups, the love palpable as they drink the paintings in with their eyes. Understandably so. I did the same, but sat where I could. The impasto was so rich that you could swear that the subjects were actually wearing jewelry. The still lifes were so realistic that you impulsively reached out to pick up a goblet, an oyster.

Everyone, young and old, rides bicycles. The week I returned I heard a C&W song about Amsterdam, with bikes featured prominently in the lyrics. Yepper...not the 10 speed ones, either, plain old fashioned pedal ones. With trailers, baskets, rear seats, baby carriers, stickers, beat-up, new, every color imaginable. We saw one completely covered in banana stickers.

Not too long after, I lost my supervisor and good friend at work. She was an editor par extraordinaire, worked in the publishing business for many years. She will be sorely missed. A wonderful intellectual person who shared my love of literature. Taught me the art of writing snappy headlines.

So now our information and Web design team is slightly adrift, dealing with the sadness and loss of a friend and colleague.

It's been a bad two weeks for losing people. Daughter's boyfriend's father passed away four days later, then our admin person's mother the next day. I can only practice and pass along the lessons I've learned from many losses along the way: never let an opportunity go by to tell someone how much you love and / or appreciate them--you may not get another chance. Don't sweat the small stuff--half the stuff that stresses you out is not important--let it go and concentrate on what is most important to you, what makes you feel good or what you can do to make someone else feel good.
Photo: Town Hall, Edam, The Netherlands