Sunday, April 20, 2014

Switching channels

Easter morning...

I'm working on a list of emails to give to Rick for his thanks yous. We are side-by-side. I am working on the computer.

Cereal, melon, tea are in on the coffee table in front of us.

Rick is flipping through news channels.

France 24--Live coverage of released journalist hostages from Syria being greeted by Holland
CNN--sports
RT--Ukraine/Russian crisis from Russian point of view
Al Jazeera--Algeria power struggles
Cubavision--baseball
NHK--work uniforms
BBC--special program on sculpture
CCTV--interview of an Olympic winner Stephon Marbury

At almost any given time by checking international news stations we may get an idea of what is going on the world. Emphasis on different stories and different points of view are fascinating.

I'll never learn about the world by just one source and definitely not from just one country.




Saturday, April 19, 2014

I was ironing my pajamas when

Yes, okay, I admit it. I iron my pjs. They feel better. I also admit that I don't iron them carefully. 

Suddenly I wondered about the woman (and I'm sure it was a woman) who sewed them. 

How much was she paid? 

Did she have children and if so how many? 

How many hours did she work?

There's something about having clothing that has travelled the world from places where I never was to make me aware of a connection although very feeble with another person.

Unfortunately there's no way to check to see that the company who made my clothing is fair to the people it employees.

I'll never be able to sit down with that woman and have a cup of tea, compare our lives, talk about our children. If we did I would not want to say things that would show my privilege and I am privileged, because I can stand in a pretty flat, in a pretty place, with enough food and alternatives that I'm sure the woman who sewed my pjs will never have.







Friday, April 18, 2014

Her name was Florence

This was my grandmother, Florence Stockbridge Sargent, a name that reeks of New England Yankee, which she was. She could trace her family back to the Revolution. She lived like a Yankee with a strong moral code, made baked beans every Saturday night, was frugal. Torn sheets were mended, double sheets turned into singles, ironing board covers, rags. Sheet saving was only one example of her way of spending every penny twice.

When I met her some three decades after this picture was taken her face had changed. She never thought of herself as attractive, but I think she was quite pretty here.

She didn't like her name. When she was born in the 1880s it was a very popular name. Now in the US almost no one is named Florence. I don't know if she knew that it came from the Latin name Florentius or the feminine form Florentia, which were derived from florens "prosperous, flourishing". Florentius was borne by many early Christian saints. The name crops up often in France but with a different accent. Its popularity is increasing in Wales.

I christened her Dar, short for darling, and Dar she became to everyone including her childhood friends. She liked Dar.

If I had to name the most influential person in my life, it was Dar. Although she died on Good Friday 44 years ago, I would still love to be able to talk with her, listen to her wisdom, laugh with her...and eat some of her meals such as a good New England boiled dinner and the following red flannel hash.

What was her greatest lesson? She taught me how to love.


My name is Donna-Lane and I'm a computer game addict


Okay, so I've never found a computer game addict anonymous. 

I've loved games all my life from the tiddlywinks I played as a child, through the Saturday night games with my family (with the exception of Monopoly because I thought getting property and money boring).

My father's side of the family thought playing poker was the perfect activity after the Thanksgiving turkey or the Christmas roast beef before the apple pie.

Then came computer games. When I was first in Môtiers, that tiny Swiss village RB2 and I would go to the café where the kids hung out and play Tetris until our coins ran out. We were often the only adults. Then I bought my own game box.

Different games have come and gone. With Cubis I froze my shoulder the night I discovered it. Maybe if I had moved between 10 pm and 5 pm when I got up it wouldn't have happened.

The latest is the Letter Garden sorta a letter Tetris.

On a more serious note after playing, I'll dream the game such as S P I N  do I have an A, no but there's an E.

Maybe the game is affecting my brain. They say games keep you sharp. That's S H A R P. I wonder how many points.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

photos along the alleged river



Every summer for the last few years there has been wonderful photography exhibits along the beach...

This year along the river that runs through the village, there are photographs and information about the flora and fauna in the area. The information is in both French and English and the English is excellent.

Thus I learned about the love ant, the Massane, but I already knew that when the cork bark was harvested the tree itself looked as if it were bleeding.

Nice to see the village getting some attention.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I know it's stupid BUT


On Facebook there's a cartoon of a chocolate half eaten Easter bunny. His front half is dragging along and he's screaming in agony. 

I felt so sorry for the bunny that I'm not sure I will ever be able to eat another chocolate bunny again. 

Not rational because I eat real rabbit and I definitely can not imagine life without chocolate just not in bunny form.




Flowers with attitude

We had the copper pot in mind when we brought the daisies home from the marché des fleurs. Suddenly, there is a whole new row of buds and tiny flowers pushing themselves up. I can imagine buds saying "We can't see," and pushing themselves up higher and higher.

I've always been told that hibiscus flowers should only live a day. This flower is going its fourth. Maybe it's trying to be the oldest hibiscus in the world.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Point of view

As a writer point of view is in each sentence. It combines with descriptions, characters, actions, dialogue to make up the whole story no matter what the length. Each tiny piece has its own strength making its contributions to the completed work.

My computer screen background is a series of photos including the one taken on a beautifully warm day at the boatyard around the corner from where I live. In a way it is an analogy to writing of how examination of the different parts make up the whole.

That cat's contentment in the sun shows. The tree has not begun to bloom. Sadly no photo can capture the smell of the lake water or the feel of the slight breeze tickling my cheeks as I stood there hoping the cat wouldn't move. Those things need to be captured in words.

I loved the colours: the blues, the reds, the rusts, the browns...

I captured a moment in a photograph that made me happy. But if I continue with the analogy of this being a story I need a main character and that is the cat.

So by cropping the photo I focus in on the cat.
What if I came in even closer to the cat? If this were a movie there would be soft music.


Was he dreaming of a mouse? A bird? Did he think that maybe if the sun was any hotter he'd have to move? The lake, the table, the yard the environment around the cat has disappeared and it is just a cat sleeping in the sun on slab.

If the photo were a story focusing on the twigs takes a twist. Instead of a spring day, it could be a winter day. What about the shadows cast on the wall? Are the roots of the tree healthy or are they fighting being part of a closed in garden? But what about the cat's point of view. When the tree blooms, will he enjoy its shade?


Looking through the fence toward the lake, the cat is no longer a part of the story. Maybe the car is. There could be a driver that owns a boat that he doesn't want to sell, but he has too because he's getting a divorce. Maybe he has parked and is taking his boat across the lake to see his lover. Maybe it is a stolen car.


The new point of view is a rust-coloured building, a semi-grungy yard. There is no lake, no cat. There is a sense of being unable to get to the building. Except with the miracle of cropping, the house has moved closer. A person could yell loud enough to get the attention of anyone inside. If someone came out the person behind the three blue bars still has protection.


One photo can create many different scenarios, many different point of views. If I were teaching a writing class, I would ask my students to each choose one of the parts and do a story, and one student to do it as a whole.

But I'm not teaching, I'm playing with a photo before I start my day, that will include writing. And why not?

.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Marché des fleurs



 The coeur of the village was a mass of flowers as different florists and garden stores displayed their wares.

We were able to pick up a few plants to colour up the terrace.

Of course we ran into so many people we knew that it became a chat, look at flowers, chat, look at flowers chat, look at ... Many were dressed having been at Palm Sunday Mass. Others were in jeans or shorts.


Women decorated as plants paraded through the village then held a fashion show on the main street between the rows of flowers.


In one corner there were sheep, goats, rabbits and one adorable baby duck.

Not a flower merchant, but one vendor had all kinds of antiques posters. In the middle are the three great men of French music is Brel, Ferrer and Brassons. Rick gave into a 1902 photo of the Argelès route to the sea. One of the buildings is now our butcher.

The temperature was perfect.

Much better photos of the Marché des Fleurs on Rick's blog http://lovinglifeineurope.blogspot.fr/






Mores change


This is Annie Edison Taylor and she is a criminal. What was her crime. She wore this bathing suit, which covered her legs to the ankles on a beach. "Indecent," the authorities said.

Fast forward a century and prior to my breast cancer surgery I thought nothing of going topless on a French beach. Since other women were better endowed, I was sure they would be looked at and I wouldn't. For that matter of fact, probably the same would hold true that the scar, resembling an eyebrow over my nipple would go unobserved compared to the pretty, younger women.

Once there was a song
"A glimpse of stocking
was something shocking"

In the 60s crotch-length skirts were not uncommon.

At one point it was illegal for blacks and whites to marry. Now gays are getting married. I've always thought there were two kinds of marriage: legal and spiritual.

In a majority of countries one could marry in a church every day for 50 years and the marriage would have no legal standing except in the eyes of their god. The only marriage that counts is the government one which defines property rights and responsibilities.

My generation's parents bemoaned their sons long hair. Now they wonder what they did wrong when they see their own sons sport short, short hair or hair with strange patterns.

Is it part of being part of any generation to get one's knickers in a twist (love this expression brought to me by Brit friends) over some custom or behaviour that given a decade, a century or a couple of centuries will take a 180° degree turn?

Maybe it is time to untwist those knickers.