Sunday, July 04, 2010


It is with great sadness that I mention the death of our friend John Diebold Ph.D. of Lamont Doherty Earth Observaory (LDEO). John was a good friend to me over our years at Lamont and I always enjoyed being in his company. John was a special person, a fantastic Bluegrass musician, and a well known scientist.

Museo Nacional del Prado - July 3
On a visit to Madrid the Prado should not be missed and so we started our day viewing the works of Velazquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya and a Caravaggio (David victorius over Goliath). Yes, there was much more and one of my favorites was actually a sculpture titled, Isabell II Veiled by Camillo Torreggiani (1819-1896). This piece is beautiful and the viel over the face is so real.

We were home for lunch with Vicente who had been at his Tienda for the morning and then in true Spanish style a siesta before our evening out.

Yesterday was Gay Pride day and there was a parade along Gran Villa. A huge number of folks were out to watch with many more in the parade which lasted from six till ten in the evening. The numbers were down a little because of the football game but one smart float had a big screen television tuned into the game, as it passed us the score was still 0:0. Not long after the crowd roared when David Villa gave Spain its winning goal.

We looked for a quiet place for dinner and found an exceptional Crepe restaurant which was just perfect, light and simple.

The evening was capped with champagne after midnight when the guys toasted my birthday.

Siesta time - July 4 
My birthday and American Independence Day
Vicente suggested that we go by taxi and visit Glorieta San Antonio de la Florida in to see the frescos by Goya (his tomb is also there). Kees thought a different plan would work. Kees thought that we should pass by Plaza Mayor for desayuno (breakfast) and continue on by foot to the Glorieta San Antonio de la Florida. While at Plaza Mayor an SMS came in from Andrée so we called her for a chat as we had done with Dawn the day before. Kees is friends with both Dawn and Andrée so it was nice for him to have a chat with them. So, after a desayuno of pan con tomate, zumo naranja y café con leche we were off to San Antonio on foot and not by taxi. Kees is 6 foot 5 with long legs and fourteen years younger than me ... get it? By this time the temperature must have been in the low 30s C. and it was hot in the sun. The nice part of this, that Kees was correct he thought the walk took us past interesting sights of Madrid and it did, I was able to take lovely photographs.

The frescos are magnificent and were well worth a visit. There is also a nice statue of the artist opposite the Museo and for those who walk this way a cider bar on the other corner. From here we went by taxi (YEA!) to the Tienda. After closing time we went to a Gallego restaurante for a lunch of special Galician delights. Vicente mentioned to the waiter that were pilgrims and for that we were given a special delight at the end of the meal, a liquor from Santiago, the name I forget.

Now, as mentioned above it is siesta time and the guys are sleeping. I have been receiving telephone calls and SMS messages so the BlackBerry has been ringing, it is better that I am at the other end of the apartment.

Our night will continue with another game of Chinchon where I can try to redeem my scores.

Thank you to all for the messages and calls.


  1. Happy Birthday, Luiza! Have a wonderful day with Kees & Vicente. Love to all, Andrée

  2. Happy Birthday my friend! A (non-alcoholic, for now) toast to your health and happiness!

  3. Happy birthday my dear wife. I hope you have a great day celebrating in a magnificent city . . . how can your birthday be anything but magical. Cheers to all but a big birthday kiss to my Luiza X

  4. Thank you Andrée, Rebecca and Garry.

    Andrée you knew our day was going to be special when we called from Plaza Mayor. However, then I did not know that Kees was going to walk me across Madrid to see the special church, this I will write about on the Blog.

    Rebecca, I shall drink to your health and happiness but with Sangria of course, which as you know, reminds me of you.

    Garry, Yes, so far the day has been magical, hot but magical. I wish you a wonderful July 4 with the family in Kingwood.

    Enjoy all,

  5. Anonymous7:18 PM CDT

    Dear Luiza: I just wanted to say "Happy Birthday" in writing (as I have already spoken to you for you birthday), and to say how great it was to speak with Kees and get updated on his "adventures in life".....Hope you had a wonderful remaining evening and I hope you won at Chinchon!!!! Thanks to you and Kees for Reiki....much, much appreciated, and it seems to be helping the shop for sure. Please continue to have a wonderful time. We will speak again soon. Love, Dawn

  6. Thank you and your welcome Dawnie.

    Kees is off soon to Alicante. I will have a siesta before going to the station for the train to Santiago de Compostela.

    Vicente won Chinchon .....