Monday, April 26, 2010

Test sleeping an afghan

I laid out the squares for the afghan that I knitted on the winter garden table to decide on the final arrangement. Munchkin decided to do a test sleep on it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

If anyone had told me Friday

That on Saturday I would be watching a cricket match and understanding it, I would have questioned their sanity. But that's just what happened at an unexpected sleepover at friends and I loved it.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

My tree

Okay, it really is the ILO/BITs tree, but today I found myself in my old stomping grounds and decided to walk back into town just in case the tree was in full blossom. When I used to work at IEC and the tree was in blossom, I would walk by it every day, even in the rain, because I loved the plethora of pink. Sometimes I would even stand under it just to be enveloped in the colour. And even when the peals fell to the ground,they made a thick, pink snow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Left or right

It has nothing to do with politics. Usually, when I head for the lake as a reward for a good writing day, I go right. I never knew there was a left (although those that know my politics, may be chocking at this point). I discovered a road that in the six years I've lived here I didn't know existed. Before you think I am totally stupid, the road is hidden behind the boatyard. I discovered among other things these beautiful dandelions, and even though most people think of them as weeds, I find that beautiful, not to mention how good the leaves are in salad.

I discovered a grassy bathing beach under the trees, that I must remember if I am here on a hot day.

I wonder what wife of this man is like to capture such an accolade? I assume the person who put up the sign is American, not just because the sign is in English, but because it so unSwiss.

I would love to meet the person who put the logo of a luxury watch on a beaten up old garbage can.

And I stumbled across a memorial to a pilot who had landed their. The monument is dated 1911????

There was this very strange mosaic fly outside a very normal house.

Meanwhile the birdsong was beautiful and the smell of flowers in old and new houses was florist shop strong.

Left is good.

on a home

I came across this in the latest Good Housekeeping quoting Oprah Winfrey.

"What makes a house a home...that it's a precious gift to give yourself daily. What can be more important than the space where you live and breathe and thrive, surrounded by memories and treasures that fill you up?"

Well I certainly feel that way about Argelès. There is nothing in there that I don't love and there's not even a paper clip that I don't want there. And in Geneva? In my space this is true, but I can also delight in the warmth of the rest of the house where my housemate has stored up her family memories.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Day Anniversary

Twenty years ago today we scattered my mother's ashes.

I put my two Japanese Chins in the car and stopped for my girl friend who was giving moral support. She was waiting for me on the stoop of her Boston townhouse and was dressed in sneakers and jeans. "Emily Post couldn't tell me what to wear to an illegal scattering of ashes of a women I didn't like on Earth Day."

I seldom write poetry, but that day produced this

Scattering Her Ashes

Clumps of sodden earth
cling to our boots.
The forest whispers,
A brook, too full,
falling over itself.
A bird,
trills a prayer for
no more rain.

My brother, carrying the
cardboard carton,
goes first.
As he pushes through brush
he forgets to hold a branch.
It hits me like another one
forty years ago
in a different wood.

We come to a meadow with
last year's grass
engraved in mus.
He lays the carton
on the ground.
Inside a plastic bag.
We each take a corner.
The wind catches the powder,
lifts and plays creating a mini cloud
too close to earth.

I think
how much power
that powder once held.
How little power now.
We walk back
in our ancient silences.

Monday, April 19, 2010

home again, home again

Home again, home again
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Okay, so last Thursday I couldn't get back to Genève from Argelès because of the train strike in the South east of France. Even had I wanted to drive it all rental cars were long gone. The option to have someone drive me to the border take a train to Barcelona then fly back to Genève also wasn't an option, thank you very much Iceland.

Now, I wouldn't dream of comparing my situation to those at an airport, with no room left on their charge cards and no idea how they will get home. I was cozy in my apartment, eating tapas at Les Flowers, sitting in a café, writing as normal. And compared to having to get to a sick relative fast missing some of the Visions du reel film festival doesn't even begin to register on the tragedy scale.

However, when a neighbour with a second home in Argelès let me ride with her to the train station in Mâcon, where the TGV comes through twice a day and is not on strike I jumped into the car and the 600 km. flew by as fast as the bright spring scenery.

The train was at 16:46. We arrived at the gare at 16:31.

There was a line but by 16:40 I had arrived at the window.

Fermé. The sales clerk closed the guichet.

The train pulled in.

My friend rushed from the car with my computer and suitcase. I ran up to the conductor.

"I don't have a ticket because the man closed the window. I got stuck in Argelès with the strike." I knew my French was perfect for once in my life. Glory! Glory!

"Do you have your old ticket."

My pocketbook has multi pockets, I fumbled and fumbled and fumpled some more. I think someone was adding pockets, but finally I found it.

The conductor took it and scribbled something on it. "There's a place in car 2. The train is full because of the volcano."

My friend followed me and we waved goodbye and I was on my way to Genève. At last.

Jiggerty jig.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

silver linings

I am leaving for Geneva. Although the trains in the South of France are still on greve, a neighbour here with a second home is heading for Macon. From there I have a chance to catch the TGV to Geneva. They are not on greve, although they may be crowded between the end of vacation and no planes flying.

The alternative of flying out of Barcelona is obviously not an option. Of course there are share a ride choices, which would have been the next alternative.

Compared to people stuck in airports and out of money, I have nothing to complain about. I suspect the airports who are saying they may open in half a day, tomorrow, etc. I wonder if they have looked at the volcano that it is still spewing ash. I wonder what would happen if like during the last eruption i8t goes on for two years how it will affect the world. It will change it as we know it.

Not being able to get to the States for family emergencies is admittedly uncomfortable, but the silver lining came from my friend Barbara--what if you were visiting the States and couldn't get home...?

Silver linings abound.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


If I believe in the value of workers' strikes then I must be prepared to put up with the inconvenience...

Thus I am in Argeles and not on a train to Geneva today, because of the train strike. I won't be going to the film festival...(hopefully will makeit by next week)

A neighbour is going to Macon on Saturday, and there's a chance I will be able to catch the TGV to Geneva Sunday or Monday in time for an Indian education fund raiser Monday night.

Am I upset...?

Not really... I will enjoy the extra time in Argeles, get caught up on my newsletter, do a bit on the novel...

And although I would prefer to be in Geneva, all I have to do is to think of the people who were killed in China, are homeless in Haiti, are unemployed and I realise that a greve is not a problem at all, maybe just a minor inconvenience.

Monday, April 12, 2010


On Meet the Press yesterday David Gregory asked why U.S. allies and friends are DEFYING us?

Defying? There are 190 countries give or take in the world. Why should any of them obey or defy us?

How arrogant.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Today I was overswept with feelings of contentment, almost a tsunami of contentment. And it is more than ignoring the S word (see blog below).

Maybe it was the wonderful lunch at Flowers of magret de canard in banyuls sauce... or the walk in the sunshine afterward past my favourite purple flowers.

Or maybe it was wandering around the marché talking to misc. friends or stopping in Barbara's store and seeing a happy Ptah II recovered from the removal of his cement hairball in his intestine surgery. Or talking with the two young Belgian girls who have fallen in love with Shakespeare...

Maybe is was gazing at the river (with water still), clothes outside the washing shed and the mountains. I have my usual I-don't-want-to-leave-Argelès-I-can-hardly- wait-to-get-to Geneva dichotomy. Living two wonderful lives in one is happiness plus.

or or or

Or maybe it doesn't matter and it is enough to be happy...

Friday, April 09, 2010

Things I'd rather to do than write a synopsis

OK. Murder in Argeles only needs a synopsis before I send it to my publisher Five Star. What I would rather do than write a synopsis.

1. Go to my dentist.
2. Go to my Gynie.
3. Wash the tile floor on my hands and knees without a pillow under my knees.
4. Drive in Paris at rush hour.
5. Go without chocolate for six months.
6. Recite French verbs for three hours.
7. Recite German verbs for three hours.
8. Get drenched in the rain.

I thought about saying spend the summer in Florida, but the synopsis wins out on that one.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Certain age??? Me???

“You women of a certain age do well,” Anja said.
We were sitting in the sun in a café: the Danish journalist who started the migration of Danes to Argelès, her daughter and husband and me. It was after Easter dinner, after theIR family had played miniature golf. We were all trying to see as many people as we could over this weekend when some of the summer crowd was here.
Although my daughter keeps saying “My Mom, retired? Hah!!!!” I find it hard to think of myself as a woman of a “certain age” but I am.
I look at my friends who vary from their 20s to 90s, but those in my bracket indeed do fit that term.
It is not derogatory at all. Most of us think this is the best time of our lives. Oh yes, there are aches and pains, but they were always there in some form: a cold. Flu, measles, a fall ice skating, etc.
My friends are busy painting, singing, learning new things. Two have walked a pilgrim trail, one is helping war victims in Bosnia.
I think of the time I have to write, to develop my business, the freedom to go where I want, when I want with only financial limitations, which were worse when I was younger.
And if there are problems helping my mother at the end of her life, it is also a privilege to pay her back for all the support she gave me (I must remember I wrote this when I am banging my head against a wall).
We women are lucky to live in a time that we can do so much. And we are lucky to be able to share it with each other. Certain age? Certainly!