"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." --Rainer Maria Rilke Photo (Photo ©julenisse/Fotolia)

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Is Paris truly the City of Romance? It all depends on who you're with.


                                      (Washington Post Illustration/iStock images)

The first time I went to Paris, I was a newlywed. The last time, I was a mother. Both times, I was disabused of any notion that Paris is the most romantic city on earth.
When my husband John and I went to Paris two years into our marriage, I thought it would be like a “real” honeymoon, our first having been just two gray days in Chicago.
For weeks leading up to our departure, I hummed a calliope of French movie themes while slow motion pictures flickered through my mind: John and I strolling hand in hand along the Seine… gazing into each other’s eyes, whispering Je t’aime over romantic dinners in candlelit bistros… sipping champagne atop the Eiffel Tower as the sun set and the city lights twinkled below. In every scene, I wore a little black dress. My lips were pouty, plump and red, and my hair was swept into an elegant chignon. I weighed 15 pounds less and glided down the Champs Elysees in an ethereal cloud of Chanel No. 5.  
I awoke from my reverie when reality wacked the needle on the imaginary record player in my head. The theme from A Man and a Woman scratched to an abrupt halt and my fantasy film snapped and flopped round and round on the reel like a broken projector in a discount movie house. 
In my Paris directorial debut, I’d forgotten about a major character: I’d left my mother-in-law on the cutting room floor. 

This story also appeared in the Chicago Tribune June 1, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Eagle Lessons for an Empty Nest

As seen in

Lessons for a struggling empty nester, 
from a family of eagles

By Mary Novaria  May 22


They called it an “accidental fledge.” The 73-day-old bald eagle wasn’t expected to make his first flight for at least another week or two, but while hopping on branches around the nest and flapping his wings, the eaglet slipped, fell to the ground and sent thousands of online viewers into a panic.

Was he injured?
Would he be safe on his own?
Will he ever come back to the nest?
And, when nightfall came and he had yet to return, Was he alive?

These are the very same questions I asked when my depressed and anxious teenage daughter ran away from home and, later, when she moved out on her own. Even now that she is healthy, married and in her twenties, I am sometimes tempted to ask them because I am a fledgling when it comes to this empty nest thing.