Monday, January 26, 2015

Please send me

Here's a list of personal documents I'd like everyone who thinks if they have nothing to hideand it is okay for the government to snoop to send me. If you don't care if the government looks at it, you shouldn't care if I look at all aspects of your life.

1. All your bank statements for the last ten years
2. All your tax forms for the last ten years, state and federal
3. A recording of every conversation on your telephone (mobile and land)
4. A copy of all your Skype transmissions addresses and exchanges
5. A copy of all your texts
6. Movies of you moving around your home in range of the webcam of your computer
7. A copy of every search you did on any search engine
8. A copy of all your job reviews
9. A list of everything you bought on your credit card
10. A copy of all your pay stubs including overtime and bonuses.

Please attach a tracker to your car so I will be able to tell where you are every minute.

It might give me some ideas for a novel.

Thanking you in advance...

Degrees of beautiful

I thought my street, rue Vermeille was beautiful. It has been named the most beautiful street in Argelès and rightfully so...




My friend KB sent me photos of 15 of the most beautiful streets in the world

What magic to look on them on a chilly morning. 

Most beautiful isn't a contest but a pleasure.

Multi tasking

I was sitting in the doctor's office and there was a delivery of 48 rolls of toilet paper. Now that's real security against sitting on the John (we've renamed it Jim) that we'll never be without. Of course, I wasn't about to steal the toilet paper.

What was I doing in the doctor's office? Waiting for my writing pal, the one I meet regularly to free write on some mutually agreed up on trigger.

She had hurt her hand and the local system is to show up in the office/surgery (to my Brit friends) and wait. We had scheduled the same time for writing.

Thus we sat in the waiting room and wrote for ten minutes starting with the line, "Ruby and I knew about Frankie's basement." Then she was called.

I would say it was multi-tasking except the receptionist in the same time handled at least 15 phone calls while signing in 6  patients. That's real multi-tasking.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Scooby II caught his father on television as I was flipping channels. He jumped up to give him a kiss, even though he knew that it was only a film image.

In the other room I could hear Scooby II's mother complaining about unpaid puppy support to Herr Hare and Honey Bunny.

Robert Burns goes international

It wasn't my first Burns night dinner, but it was one of the best. 

The reason?

A celebration of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns' (1759-1796) birthday. 

As a literature major I knew his work, but I learned a bit more about his life including his politics (like mine) his love for Jean, but also his ability to father children with gay (old sense of the word) abandon, although many did not survive into adulthood.

Of course, Burns was never at the restaurant in Villelongue dels Monts, France where the celebration was held, although with his love of France's trends in his time, I'm sure he would have approved.

We were greeted by the music for "Red Rose" and a single Red rose and baby breath on the bar (photo above).

The host and hostess dressed in proper kilt and tartan skirt respectively, plus the decorations including the special place cards left no doubt of the theme for the evening.

The haggis (a savoury pudding containing sheep parts mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, stock and simmered in an animals stomach or now a sausage casing) was brought forth with all due respect for the traditional dish.

Nary a morsel was left when toasts were given, poems were read and songs were sung.

And why was it so international? Besides the true Scots in attendance there were:
  • Americans
  • Belgians
  • Brits
  • Danes
  • Swedish
  • Swiss
The evening ended with the Burn's song "Auld Lang Syne".
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

It was more than a cup of kindness, and like old acquaintances the evening will not be forgotten.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The search for SII

Herr Hare and Honey Bunny keep a look out for Scooby II who has disappeared. I think Petite Cougar needs glasses because there's a lump under the bed spread that is distinctly bad puppy shape.
A single bloom falls
On our cold patio floor
Where does it come from?

It's a WHAT????

"It's made from a firehose," my friend said when her pocketbook (purse)* was admired.

She then told us the story of Elvis and Kresse who discovered that old firehoses after years of service saving lives ended up as landfill. 

The couple rescued them and working with designers gave this heroic piece of equipment new life as fashion and home accessories.

I love the idea of recycling. I love the idea of having something that I take for granted that has probably hundreds of stories to tell if only it was more verbal.

Their story is best told in their video but here's  photos.

*What I've called a pocketbook for years, Rick informed me is purse. A quick survey showed me that my vocabulary is sometimes stuck in old fashioned New Englandese.

The beauty of parts of buildings

I love the decorations on some of the buildings in Perpignan. The city was once described as the "armpit of France" but certainly has improved over the last couple of decades. Amazing what happens when infrastructure receives funding.

Friday, January 23, 2015


We saw Mr. Turner, the beautifully filmed and acted Mike Leigh movie about the eccentric English painter William Turner (1775–1851).

Although the story was true to Turner's life including his dying words, I found it needed grounding. Locales changed. We weren't sure what city of even what country we were in. I still want to know why the housekeeper had skin problems. Why did Turner lie so much about things like his name and having children?

There's a brilliant piece of body acting. Turner learns about the death of his daughter. Turner has his hands clasped behind his back and his fingers show his agitation, although he says nothing.

Turner also had the habit of grunting when someone said something to him.

When we got home I said to Rick, "Don't start to grunt."

"Get out of my mind," he replied. Still he couldn't resist. This morning, there was a clear "Grunt" as good as anything Turner did in the movie.

Two can play at the game.

Walking through the marché he asked me something.

My reply?


Less is more

Writing courses encourage the concept of less is more. But few people simplify finding the best one word rather than a raft of words. Here's some overwritten sentences with the simple version below.

 1. When a tear appears in clothing you have two choices: fix it immediately or let it go longer which means that you probably will have to do much more work with your thread and needle.

2. Having enough sleep by retiring into one's sleeping spot does much to improve one's health and gives them the fortitude to think better.

3. The genetic make up of a paternal person is often replicated in the male offspring.

4. If you want an example not to follow, think of a feline who is hungry and can see a fish, which would solve his hunger, but prefers for reasons of comfort to not dip his paw into the liquid where the fish is swimming.

5. You never know what will happen when you meet someone new. It is possible, given time and concurrent interests that a mutually beneficial relationship might happen.

6. I don't require a lot from someone who cared deeply for me, but if you really do care, you will have a similar affection for my canine companion.

Now the simple version.

1. A stitch in time saves nine.

2. Early to bed, early to wise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

3. Like father like son.

4. Do not be like the cat who wanted a fish but was afraid to get his paws wet.

5. Strangers are just friends waiting to happen. 

6. Love me, love my dog.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mamie update

I've written before about my favorite many of the old Catalan women in the village she has never travelled, walks around in an apron and could be part of a Peter Mayle book (my complaint with his A year in Provence, is that it makes fun of the natives who have their own dignity.)

I don't feel superior at all to this Mamie. She writes, she takes photos, knits and crochets. She tries to make beauty wherever she goes with as little as she has. She cares, as evidenced by her excitement that on Thursdays at 10:30 I could attend an English Mass. I did spread the word to my Catholic anglo friends, and may even go once so she will not worry about my soul.

This is her front door.

Today I was walking by and I heard her singing through an open window "Kombucha my Lord, Kombucha."

She has a lovely voice too.

That airplane is going so slow

We were driving away from the Perpignan airport when Rick noticed the plane. It looked suspended in the air.

Finally it angled itself to land on the runway.

"It's  Beluga Airbus." Rick was excited. As an airline journalist, he's like a little boy with anything having to do with planes.

The plane is a version of the A300-600 modified to carry over-sized cargo. Originally named the Super Transporter the name Beluga, because of its resemblance to the whale became popular. Bending to its popularity, the company made it the official name.

We saw our attorney and coming out there was a second.

By the time we reached Perpignan there was a third.

We parked the car, and there was a fourth.

We aren't sure if there were 4 separate planes or if Airbus, which is based in nearby Toulouse was using Perpignan as a training ground.
I found it cute, even if Airbus didn't hire me years ago.

You can't park there

The man at the Perpignan airport opened the window at the FedEx office. "You have to park at the airport."

Rick had taken Llara's suitcase out of the car. She had not been allowed to take it with her when she was deported from Spain. My daughter admits she doesn't know how to pack light. My suitcase for over a month was about half the size of hers for a week, although Christmas  presents were involved.

We had checked out prices on shipping it back and FedEx was the best choice.

"But we are clients."

"You still need to go to the airport."

"But was want to ship something today," I said.

He apologized.

Not so fast.

They won't accept a suitcase.

They didn't have a box big enough to put the suitcase. Llara never travels light and we'd added the Christmas presents we didn't get a chance to give her.

"Can we put it in other boxes?"

The man smiled. "Bien sûre."

Only FedEx has no boxes.

We felt we needed to go on a carton search. Then walking home from La Noisette after a writing session with Lydia, a man stepped out of his front door, the perfect carton in hand.

My life has always been like this, when I need something it seems to appear.

We can take the suitcase to Montreal when we meet up in the fall.


It's a chicken and egg thingie.
  • I make lots of typos
  • I am a terrible proof reader

So I can type a mistake, not see it, and reread it and not see the error and proof it and not see it and maybe do a bit of a rewrite and not see the original typo or the new one.

But I'm kind to anmials er animals. Kind to chickens too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Petite Cougar finds a solution

Petite Cougar has found a solution to keep bad boy Scoob II from running away by taking matters into her own paws.. She's tied his paw to hers.

The neo medieval age

"We are entering the neo medieval age," Rick said.

I put my porridge spoon back into my dish without eating. "I don't understand."

"Think about it. During medieval times there were a few really rich people who lived in castles with minions to protect them."

"Now 1% of the population of the earth own more than the 99%. They have protected mansions and gated communities."

I was unfaithful

No, I wasn't unfaithful to Rick, but to Jean-Pierre, my hair dresser, the only professional stylist who has touched my hair in 15 years.

When he styles, he cuts almost hair by hair, dry, wet, dry. His head massages are enough to relax me for the week.

When it grows out it keeps its shape long after anyone would imagine possible.

He has clients who come from Holland, Japan, Austria and the US (the last one being my daughter).

However, my roots were growing. I know I'm not a natural redhead, but I hate even two centimeters of roots showing. It makes me feel slovenly and slutty at best and the worst goes from there.

I was out of hair colour.

I knew I wouldn't have time to have my hair cut before I go to Geneva, Einseideln and Basel next month and probably wouldn't even have time to take care of those roots.

Thus I booked into an Argelès hair salon recommended by a Swiss friend who waits to come to Argelès to have her hair done.

I chose the color very close to my own, but the mixture was pumpkin orange. I know color darkens, but it was a worrisome short period. The color came out wonderfully.

I also had my hair trimmed leaving more than enough for Jean-Pierre to correct. She cut in about 25% of the time than he takes. It looks fine.

My heart still belongs to Jean-Pierre, but it is nice to know I have a hair backup.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Reason 1,985

Reason 1,985 why I adore Rick.

He can create such fun in bed making, never mind his imagination with our animals.

I doubt if he can top this, but he doesn't have to.

His dueling blog on how he did it is at