Wednesday, September 02, 2015

What a week

This is NOT a normal week.


Hugged my beloved daughter farewell after two wonderful weeks. She is returning to the US and a new dream job. Although she is not in hugging distance, we still have Skype and cups of tea and coffee for chats.

Hugged my favorite mamie and left her the flowers that will still in bloom.

Loaded the car and said farewell to people on the street for the eight hour trip from my beloved Argelès to my beloved Genève. It is always harder when I don't know the date of return on either end.

On the route up we stopped in Avignon for lunch and quick look-see. Rick has wanted to do this each trip and we know it is worth a couple of nights and days of exploration when things are normal again.


First day of chemo. I'll report those adventures on http:/ as soon as I finish this one. Picked up stuff from one place to another. Came home, watched a Gary Grant-Audrey Hepburn movie and the new series Grace and Frankie.


Joy... no alarm clocks and a leisurely morning. Have an afternoon appointment to have my boob drained. I know it is painless. Hope to hit the library to change an individual membership to family. The library is a wonderful resource, especially for compulsive readers.


Nothing, nothing, nothing.


The judge in Dayton rules on the FATCA injunction. I'm one of seven plaintiffs suing the IRS to stop FATCA, the IRS rules that makes it impossible for 8.7Americans overseas to have a normal financial life. We are NOT talking fatcats. We are talking normal (there's that word again) middle class people.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Into the closet

I am a neat freak. Everything has to be in its place BUT my closets are a disaster. It is as much as your life is worth to open a door.

I regularly straighten my closets and my drawers. However, within a couple of days I look for something and dig it out leaving a mess in my wake. I am also happiest when my closets are almost empty.

Today, in preparing to go back to Geneva for several months, I not only went thru the closet I threw out everything I wasn't wearing. Some of my clothes went back 30 years and I felt as if I were deserting them for new friends, but surgery and pounds need a new look which I've developed over the past farewell my ancient companions.

I showed my daughter the new improved closet. "It will stay neat for months now."

"Sure it will," she said. "You'll be in Geneva."

She's right.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Patriomonial Pride

"The locals are proud of their patriomonie," I said to Rick.

It's true the locals celebrate their history.

We were at the Hostalet café over looking La Place de la Republique and enjoying the breeze after a too-hot day when a truck full of chairs pulled up. We knew no dance was scheduled.

We weren't sure what was happening, but Rick helped local historian Jean-Marc set up the chairs.

Many locals showed up to listen to a talk and slide show about the archaeological findings in the area going back to BC times.

Any village this proud of a heritage is a place that I'm proud to spend time even if it isn't my patrimonie.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Culture loss

I've always loved satire and that included reading Mad Magazine as a kid. Granted not as literary as Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, but clever for its own time and place.

Copies have been infrequent since moving to Europe...such as one a decade, but Rick is a Mad Magazine fan, so my daughter goes out of her way to make sure she sends him copies and always brings one when she visits from the States.

I still admire it, BUT, because I've been gone so long, I don't recognize a lot of what they are satirizing. But they still have spy vs. spy and the fold out and there are some things I do understand.

I can live with that.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Two gifts

Two people in the world make the best brownies. One is my housemate J and just the smell when the baking odors come up wafting up the stairs, makes Pavlov's dog saliva nothing in comparison to mine.

However, in Argelès we have a substitute--Catherine, The Brownie Lady. She is English and also offers a fine selection of savory tarts. Her stand on marché days is a must stop early on before she sells out of her wares.

I've often told her how much I love her crusts. We talked about how sometimes I baked leftover crust just to eat, although sometimes are rare because I seldom bake.

Yesterday, after our brownies were safely wrapped, she said, "I have a present for you."

She brought out a tinfoil packet. Inside were bits and pieces of baked crust. As I munched the crust, the doorbell rang. 

The pretty young blond from the florist down the street handed me this incredible flower arrangement. The card read from my recently rediscovered long-lost friends with whom we met up in Nice in April. They are the type of friends that even with decades in between there was no difference than had we met the day before. Well, maybe a few more pounds and a bit of gray in the hair, but the emotion was the same. 

I have to admit, my eyes were wet from happiness as I put the flowers in its place of honor.

One of the gifts was very small. One was spectacular and even that is an understatement. Both remind me of how lucky I am to know thoughtful, wonderful people.

Beach party

The sand was hot under our bare feet as we searched for the picnic party on Racou Plage.

Marina, my friend and language teacher waved us over to where students, former students and friends of students and former students, were seated on multi-colored towels.

We were from Japan, China, Switzerland, France and the US. Everyone had brought something.

As it grew dark, we had to leave because Rick had a phone interview thus missing the fireworks over the Med that we heard from our patio. As we walked to the car, the sand had cooled.

A fitting end to our shortened yet wonderful Argelès holiday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dumb, dumb, dumb

I woke at 3:30 by the itching of the bites from all the insects that find Rick and I delicious. He was not awake.

I decided to take my iPad into the snore room and listen to Max Keiser.

No matter how I stared at the screen I couldn't make out the percentage of space left. It was too dark and the symbol and letters could not be finger-enlarged.

Good God, not my eyesight going too?

Then I realised that instead of putting on my glasses that had been on the night table next to my bed, I had put on my dark glasses.

As soon as I took them off, the graphic and numbers were in perfect view.

Dumb, dumb, dumb!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Crescent safari

I am part of a 102 person group on Facebook With Flying Colours. Each week we take a colo(u)r and find items from our lives that fit the description such as:
  • Blue and white checks
  • Stripes
  • Orange and red
Sometimes when we get the week's assignment we wonder how we will ever fill it, but we do.

Orange crescents? Impossible, Rick and I thought, but between rain showers we strolled the almost deserted village to see what we would could find. 

As it turns out over 30 photos between the two of us although some were stretching it a bit. 

The most wonderful part of the exercise is how we see things we would never have noticed otherwise.

Besides meeting our mission, it was a fun date.

Friendship and circles

I think shared friendships are like concentric circles in wonderful colors.

I had an email from my housemate J raving about her evening with Marina, Yousef, Sally, Paul and D. 

The group included Syrians, Swiss, Americans and Brits. Table seating had some language considerations with Arabic, French, English and Italian. Only one attendee spoke all four, the others spoke two or three.

Marina was my friend and neighbor when I lived near the airport. She later moved to Paris but visited me in J's house where she became J's friend too.

Sally (and husband Paul) were J's friends, but became mine after lots of shared meals. 

Marina met S&P when she spent Christmas at J's house only J wasn't there. 

Yousef is the new kid on the block as Marina's husband. D is another neighbor, new to the group.

Thru Marina I've met her friends and family in Damascus both there and in Geneva. J has come to know some of Marina's Syrian friends as well.

I think I missed a wonderful evening, but I'm happy

Every new layer of friendship expands the rainbow of our lives.


It isn't just that Bartavelle has wonderful food where we ate last night.

They do. Each plate is a work of art and each mouthful is a culinary delight.

Stephanie and Thibault, the couple who run this small Argelès-sur-mer restaurant are more than chefs. They are passionate about what they do.

We asked Stephanie where she gets her ideas for the desserts, like the one above. She brought out her idea book with sketches and notes, fascinating in itself.

Can't wait for our next meal there.