Ah yes, I Remember it Well

Most of us have more time on our hands now than we’ve had in a long time.  My mind has enjoyed a few trips down Memory Lane.  It might be out of boredom or just what aging minds like to do when there’s nothing else keeping them occupied.

15 years old.  Running across a beach into the wind,  laughing with a best friend, holding up a beach towel behind us.  We’re on a high school field trip at Ocean Beach Park in New London, Conn. We felt like we were flying.  Do you remember , Margie Healy?

30 years old. So nervous while performing on stage I wondered what would happen if I stopped dancing because of a heart attack. Would the dance go on around me or would someone dressed in black grab me by the leg and pull me offstage so the dance could go on?stagehand

9 years old.  Getting ready for a recital, changing into my costume  in a jr. high school classroom.I had a solo to do, tapping on toe on a stair box, all the rage then. in Holyoke.  My mom pulls out my toes shoes which she had to dye red (remember the Red Shoes?) only to discover they had shrunken and there was no way I could get into them.  I had to go onstage and perform the dance in my regular tap shoes.  This was a huge embarrassment because I was already an accomplished tapper.  The tap dance for toe was a very much simplified version of what I could do. Of course I’m sure I was the only one who knew the difference.Or who cared.to tap




16 years old.  Driving in a late summer hurricane with my Mom at the wheel on a beach road in Connecticut, trying to get away from the storm.  Were we nuts? She obviously didn’t feel safe at home a block and a half from the ocean.   Trees falling behind us, it’s a miracle we weren’t felled too.  When we did return safely home, there were boats in our front yard.

11 years old.  Stopping at a farm stand with my mother to bring a large bunch of gladiolas to my grandmother.  They were every brilliant color of the rainbow.  $2. a dozen.


30 years.  Waiting for the OB to arrive while in the delivery room.  The nurses told me not to push until the doc arrived.  I decided to ignore them and push the little creature O U T.  It was ok!

31 year.  A pink hedge of peonies in June, lining the driveway of a rented house.  Spectacular.

A neighbor’s great dane galloping towards me as I walked home from school.  At the very last moment, he swerved away.  Terrifying.great dane

12 years old.  Playing the part of Curly in the camp production of Oklahoma!  I already knew all the lyrics, of course.

12 years old.  Buying my first “training” bra.  Did I have puppies growing on my chest?

images bra

For many years.  Loving a strawberry ice cream soda with strawberry ice cream.  Best from Friendly’s.download ice cream

16 years old.  Driving by the house of a teacher I had a crush on.  This went on for too many years!

8 years old.  Coming back to 3rd grade class as a champion after winning a radio contest about books( most of which I’d never read.)

12 years old.  The day my dog Rexie was hit by a car and ran away until the wee hours of the night.  I went to bed sobbing. My Mom woke me up to tell me he was back, battered but alive!

8 years old.  Driving to school with my father.  The door of the station wagon swung open and deposited me in a snowbank just as he made a turn to go over the South Hadley bridge.  As he pulled me up, looking shaken, the first thing he said to me was, “Don’t tell your mother!”  ‘YOU’re ok!” and I was.

7 years old.  The excitement of getting a new puppy.  A white collie.  He was in a cardboard box, sliding from one side to the other, as I watched him as we drove him home.

Being so homesick, I thought it would tear me apart, first summer at Camp Sandy Neck in Barnstable, Mass.  Dreams of running away, walking across the bay at low tide and then hitch hiking to Western Mass.  I saved up a few peanut butter sandwiches for the trip.  One that I never attempted, fortunately!

Sandy Neck on Cape Cod

For many years.  Getting my dance costumes each spring before the dance recitals.  They were always items of beauty in my mind.  If my mother hadn’t given them all away, they’d probably be in glass cases permanently attached to my bedroom walls.  I remember the bluebird number particularly well.

12 years old.  Dad was holding down the fort as my mother vacationed in Fla.  It was the night of the Academy awards and he asked me to go to bed well before the Awards began.  I tried to argue that Mom would always allow me to stay up late. No use.  He was strangely not moved in the least.  I was VERY disappointed.  Angry too.




Acknowledging My Own Ignorance



It’s nice to feel confident about one’s own ability to complete a task.  It can be an easy  deceit to believe you’re well-informed.  This summer I’ve been struck down on both accounts.  The Black Lives Matter movement taught me some much needed lessons about the extent of racism in our country.  This automatically translated into a Big Reveal about my own level of willful ignorance concerning black lives.  My ignorance equaled disinterest, which I could stupidly justify by my ignorance of the truth. It was all too easy to pretend that overt racism in the USA was a thing of the past.  I will now try to make up for the egregious oversights of my lack of knowledge. There is no way to justify ignorance about the suffering of my fellow men and women.

ignorance 2

I had an intimidating 8th grade social studies teacher who liked to say, almost on a daily basis, “Ignorance of the law is NO excuse.”  She LOVED to say this. In an authentic Irish accent.   I think she meant that it was incumbent upon us students to know what the law was. Now, decades later, thinking about her warning, I realize that my own ignorance about Black Lives stemmed from somehow believing I had no need to Know. Believing everything was ok, removed my responsibility to help make things right. Read More

#@$#ed Up!

Well my little experiment didn’t work out so well.  to say the least.  It bombed.  I was way in over my head.  So sorry.  I just took it down.

I’m getting help next week, but I had to take down the bleepedup blog before I trashed any more of my self respect.

Please hang in there with me, it will get better!!

it’s done!


In case you thought Dianne Vapnek was totally dithering around since covid hit, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially correct. Well, mostly correct.  The one redeeming activity I can share with you is that I’ve been writing. Periodically.   I’ve enjoyed it too.  Ok, perhaps I’ve been too sedentary, no argument there.  But I just might have helped some number of people have a more meaningful journey when they travel to Kyoto, Japan.

poodle cuteness

After spending too much time, let’s just say a few months, attempting to decide the best format for a Kyoto travel guide I intended to write, I did write it and I finally decided it was a wrap.  Everything I thought I could do easily proved to be far more complicated than I’d been led to believe.  This meant revising my plans several times, as I went back and forth between one plan and another.  I also vacillated on titles for my masterpiece.  Finally decided on Lovekyoto.

sanzen in temple garden, Ohara

An E book publication was my original idea.  Whoa.  I’d need computer skills that are far more serious than mine to do that .  I followed that yellow brick road for a while, thinking I’d learn some new skills, only to finally throw up my hands in frustration and despair, once I was able to acknowledge I was way in over my head.

IMG_1446 (1)
reflections in a garden pond, Kyoto

“Do the easiest thing, “counseled my academic daughter. Wise.  I went back to  creating a pdf file, and completed the text, for the most part.  Now it sits on my desktop just waiting for someone’s request.  Now that no one is traveling anymore.


The idea for this book arose out of the fact that I’d received many inquiries about how to structure a few days in Kyoto.  Figuring out what to include and what to leave out for any travel adventure to a new destination is a complicated endeavor.  After responding to several requests, I saw that there might be a need for an alternative kind of guide to Kyoto, other than those that currently exist.

just another perfect water lily.

There’s tons of stuff out there now.  All fairly traditional.  All fine, but mostly boilerplate.  The guides contain information overload for most travelers.

Kyo-maki tea cup celebrating sakura.

I decided to write something that was more personal. The guide represents what I like to do when in Kyoto.   Just in the few years we’ve been visiting, the tourist numbers in Kyoto visitors have exploded. Not for the better.  I believe there are many fine alternatives to the traditional tourist suggestions that will lead the newbie towards a more enjoyable trip.  There are a great many alternative options to investigate rather than just the oldie goldies.  It’s not difficult to get away from the crowds and the selfies if you want to, but some guidance is needed.

am not sure of this one! It might be in Koyasan.
summertime parfaits!

Kyoto is a fascinating city.  But not all of it.  I stay away from attempting an in depth guide to restaurants and hotels.  I leave that to others. My hope is that if you are traveling to Kyoto, you’ll ask me for the guide.  Just email me, and I’ll send the link. Free!IMG_7191.jpeg It will always be somewhat of a work-in-progress.  That will keep it timely and give me the flexibility to add or subtract items. I can’t wait to get back there for more investigation.

The Summer That Wasn’t

Let’s face it.  This is not like any other summer I’ve known. For you either, I suspect.  It doesn’t have that carefree summer feel at all.  There’s a deadly killer lurking. If I just look out my bedroom window it looks ok, but that’s about the beginning and end of it.  I’m hard pressed to say exactly what’s missing, but it’s something big and maybe undefinable?

I can easily remember the joyful  feeling of anticipation I got from summers past. It’s baked in our psyches!  Sum sum summertime!The songs that surfaced every year about  the end of the school year are imprinted as well.  The annual bathing suit decisions were sort of fun  until they weren’t.  Lizzo flies the flag for body positivity as she hits the beach in ... Usually, every summer, there was a getaway or small vacation planned.  This year it’s a big zip. We briefly considered two road trips, one to Yosemite and another to discover the ancient wonders of the old Route 66.  We quickly thought better of both.  I’m going to put route 66 on a back burner.

In the meantime, the only difference from one day to another comes in the evening when we chose our streamed movie.  They’re usually good . The number of choices is almost overwhelming.  Last night, it was Farley Granger, playing tennis from Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.  

I’ve started a few projects weeks ago that I’ve yet to complete. I ordered an embroidery kit online from London that’s a retro flower arrangement, thinking I might still enjoy doing some needlework in my abundant spare time.  The kit remains unopened. I’m just not that thrilled by these projects, although in normal times they would have been completed long ago.

Yesterday, I woke up with a scratchy throat.  I felt compelled to cancel the only social engagement I’ve had in weeks, and then contemplated life and death for a while as I repeatedly and neurotically kept swallowing to test the amount of soreness I had.  Today, I’m fine!  Life and death contemplation will go on a back burner until I feel a symptom again, which could resurface  at anytime.

My youngest grandchild swims in our pool quite often and I enjoy watching her skills improve by the day and envy the great pleasure she takes from this activity. My swimming ability leaves a lot to be desired.  She’s learned to surf this summer and I’ve enjoyed watching her at a local beach, taking delight in her new skill.

Workbooks for studying Japanese remain open, just where I left them on the dining room table 132 days ago. I don’t remove them, because there’s still plenty of time to study and it’s another sad sign that I failed to complete something that was once of importance to me. It’s still important, but not essential at the moment.

Two of my own kids are close by.  They believe they’re keeping us safe by not coming inside our house and making sure their children don’t get too close to us.  I appreciate their concern but miss the closeness and interactions.  I get quickly scolded if I overlook the distancing requirements.

I probably could come to life with a trip to Japan, but that’s not possible yet.  It’s just plain weird to be unable to plan, isn’t it?  I’m not a big planner as it is, but I did manage to look a bit ahead, which I enjoyed.

I don’t feel depressed, although I realize I sure as hell sound depressed. Maybe there are different names and symptoms for covid related depression.  The activity/non activity that’s remained consistently appealing is nap taking in the mid- afternoon.

corn.jpegThe first sweet corn on the cob made its first appearance at our dinner table last night. I enjoyed it, but it somehow lacked the significance of years past.  As a kid, we waited all year for this moment.  It was celebrated.  Of course, times were simpler then.  Just an endless cold war going on.

I am most grateful for our well being now.  Too many others are suffering.  My problems are little piffles(made up word) but they make it an abnormal and distressing year.  Patience, my dear.

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