Instant Magic

Can it be that eight weeks and four days has passed so quickly, so slowly?  That the summer  is past is what’s shocking.  And now, here I am, back in Delhi sharing with you a few highlights of my travels and my beautiful re-entry into India.

What made it so beautiful was an act of kindness that I will remember every time I spray myself with a new perfume that marks my second season in Delhi.  I love perfume – it’s one of my indulgences.   When I was in Houston in June, I discovered an intoxicating scent by Geurlain and I have spent the summer searching for it in every high-end department store from coast to coast. Even Bergdorf’s in NYC didn’t have it.  It was there that I learned that this particular item isn’t sold in the U.S.

When I left immigration yesterday at the aiport in Delhi, I made one last whirl through duty free to see if, by the smallest chance, they sold “L’Instant Magic”. AND THEY DID!  It made me laugh to know that in the place where I want for so many little luxuries, I found the one thing that eluded me in the States.

So, there I was, happily holding my find and waiting to pay, when I coulnd’t find my bank card in my wallet.  Anxiety washed over me but I let it go when I realized that I had probably left it in an ATM  in NY – inconvenient but easily fixed.  When it was my turn to pay, I gave the cashier my AMEX instead.  “Sorry Madame, we don’t accept this card.”  My heart sank.  Here was the perfume that I so wanted, that I had expended such energy to find, and that in one final act would escape me.

Enter into this scene a sweet and generous Indian man who witnessed my fluster and who insisted on buying me the perfume.  There was a flurry of descent and flying hands on my part, kind and insistent smiles on his, and before I knew it, there was my perfume, packaged and payed for and sitting in my hands.  He would not take what little cash I had and insisted that this was a serendipitous gift that made him as happy as he hoped it would make me.

I don’t know if I already did something to deserve his kindness, but I can’t let go the desire to remember to pass on one magic instant when the time suites. I’ll let you know when it happens.  And to my sweet professor in the airport, Thank You! I’ve got a feeling that this is going to be a good, good year for the Yardleys in India.


Summer Highlights:

Houston:  I’ve had many laughs this summer but Rhonda, you get the prize for telling me that we know we’ve done our job as parents if our kids grow up and can pay for their own therapy!

And Todd, dear friend and doctor-extraordinaire, you went to great lengths to send me, on ice, a year’s supply of your own instant magic so that I don’t have a mid-life baby-crisis.   Thank You!

Judith and Gary – You are a rock to my family.  What joy to know that we will celebrate so many milestones together as our parallel families grow in the global village.

And Diane – my lips to your cheek and my smile to your eyes.  You still teach me how to be a good mom….


The moment of my summer though, was this…

….running the San Francisco half marathon.  Ah, to ascend the Golden Gate Bridge and run across it – to approach the finish with my kids and best friend yelling for me.  Every one of the 13 miles was sublime.   The run wasn’t easy and I was mildly unprepared for the hills after a summer of flat runs and too much wine in each of my numerous stops across the country.  Still, I finished with strong stats for an aging body:

Overall: 610 out of 8428
Women: 139 out of 5006
F 40-49: 22 out of 1069
Age/Grade: 65.36% Place: 198
Finish: 1:49:03 Pace: 8:20

SF style, I celebrated at the finish with a strong Irish Coffee:

The Golden Gate Bridge on my approach:

There are several official photos from the race that you can view if you are so inclined:



Probably the best words delivered to me this summer:  “Done!  Getting on the plane in five hours. Just sent down 139,773 words….”  That would be from Jim to Me about The Book.  Enough Said.  (Except this:  I’m really thrilled for him.)


If I knew that I wouldn’t feel miserably guilty I might have smacked Lala the other day when she announced that “It’s such a privilege to have you as my mother…” delivered with histrionic eye-roll and adolescent sigh.  She’s lucky she’s so cute:


Long drives always deliver interesting conversation.  I loved this particular exchange when Eddie asked how God makes people:

George:  “He births them, you idiot!”

Ok, so maybe George isn’t the brightest Yardley in the car – but he, too is cute:


In Washington, I took the kids for the first time to my father’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery.  They were very sweet, asking lots of questions and looking for rocks to put on top of the gravestone.


North Carolina:

Finally,  my amazing Patti:  Friend, Confidante, Sister, Conscience, Role Model… and willing partner who snuck away with me to watch the other cable series:

It’s good to be home.

14 thoughts on “Instant Magic”

  1. Just read this as I’m closing the laptop and heading into the Colorado for a 6 day trek with John. Congrats on the marathon – that’s amazing. Wish you’d come and hike with me!

    1. NEXT SUMMER, jane… i call it the alternative summer, where i get to do all of the things that i’ve missed for far too long, like walking with you and watching the sun set from your office…

  2. Congratulations dear friend on your marathon!
    We are still in Zagreb and dreading going back to Houston……. xo

  3. Sorry to have missed you this summer, but so glad you’re back to writing your blog. Love and hugs, Vivian

  4. can’t wait to get a whiff of that intoxicating smell today. so thankful your magic is back in delhi! xx

  5. What a beautiful story of kindness. I’m sure you will have a great second year in India. Congratulation on your SF Half Marathon! KD

  6. I loved reading about your airport story. Well done on your SF half-marathon. I did a half a few weeks ago, the first time in the next age category. The run was OK, but not thrilled about the age! Richard and I are heading to Chicago in October for the big race there. He is looking forward to the day when we can go somewhere new and NOT run a race!

    1. margaret – enjoy chicago – the weather should be perfect for running in october. yes, the age thing is humbling. it’s strange for me to feel categorized by the inherent limits of my body when my brain is still telling me that i can do anything…. and when in fact, this is what gets me through the hard stuff.

  7. Congrats on your marathon! Happy to see you are back to writing. Cheers to an even better season in Delhi this fall! Your little gentleman at the airport surely kicked it off to a great start. What a sweetheart he was! Looking forward to seeing you around.

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