Monday, April 30, 2018

Non Luddite

I have resisted a smart phone for years. I have a dumb phone that I usually have to search for if I need it which might be every few weeks.

I am not crazy about landlines either.

I DO NOT LIKE PHONES. They interrupt me.

Don't think that I'm anti-social. I will talk to anyone, anywhere, invite them places, etc.

I AM NOT ANTI-TECH! My laptop begs for a break from me being on it. I use various social media.

I see the advantage of a smart phone in emergencies, access to internet, email, bar codes for tickets, etc. The latter is only with a paper copy back up because systems can go down and I do want to have paid $1000+ for an airline ticket only to have the system crash and I can't prove I have a ticket.

I can see having the camera might be good when I've forgotten mine, although there's a greater chance of forgetting the phone.

I do want to be in contact with the world 24/7. Full stop.

If I am with other humans I want to talk with them not watch them work their phones. If the world were to end, I'd discover it without being on my phone. And the news through my many national and international sources keeps me apprised of all the activities of our scum bag leaders. When I am out of the house, I can forget they exist. I like that. It gives me time to see the world around me.

Slowly I'm learning how to use the phone. I accidentally called my former housemate. Nice chatting with her while she's in Italy and I'm in France. We had a chuckle over the whole phone thing.

I do not intend to give the number to many people. They can email me. And I've told friends if they see me using the phone when I am with them, they should slap me hard.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Shopping Hell

Compared to those that are having bombs dropped on them, having to spend 2.5 hours in a shopping mall isn't awful.

I still consider the 2.5 hours I spent in one yesterday, stolen from my life. We went to buy smart phones which we needed after having continental and connectivity problems last week.

I did my usual shopping mall coping strategy.

1. Go straight to the store where the item I need to buy is located.
2. Don't look right.
3. Don't look left.
4. Pretend I'm somewhere else

Did I mention I hate shopping and am shopping phobic?

All that stuff. That awful stuff!

If I don't fight it, I imagine it coming out of the stores and smothering me. Worse, it might come home with me to clutter and destroy whatever simple harmony I've established.

I will say the SFR customer service woman was helpful.

And one good thing did happen. As we were leaving I saw a chair that was also a book exchange and had a nice chat with the woman sitting there.

There was a story I told my husband years ago when we first met about two little boys in a barn full of horse shit. One wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. The other was all excited because he thought with all that horse shit there had to be a pony in there somewhere. I was like a third little boy. I wanted to escape the horse shit of being there, but I could appreciate the pony.

One good thing came out of it. My husband is happy with our new phones.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


First let me say I am no Trump fan. With a couple of exceptions, I disagree with almost everything he says. I question his mental capacity.

However, the way he is covered by the media (and to a certain extent other presidents) is not helpful.

Take North Korea...when he called the leader Rocket Man the media was all over him. Then he called Kim "Honorable." Equal attacks.

This is just one example.

The press spends far too much time on silly things (e.g. the color of Obama's suit) and not the real problems.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Should I or Shouldn't I?

It is time for my biannual physical to determine if I can continue to have a drivers license.

The last time I was still weak from chemo and told my doctor I would understand if he flunked me. He said he knew I wouldn't drive if I wasn't sure. He was right.

Driving and cars are not apart of me life. There was one period of 18 months I didn't even get in a car.

Since 1993 I may have been behind a wheel no more than 50 times. One of those trips was Geneva to Chamonix. The other trips were short errands.

I didn't have a car from 1993 to 2013 when Rick and I married and bought one. He doesn't like to be a passenger. Also when in France we can walk almost anywhere.

Before, where I lived in Geneva and even where we live now, public transportation is excellent.

I did drive from the car wash home, a five-minute trip last year. I don't remember when I drove before.

Since chemo, I can't comfortably feel my feet. My hands do not work at 100%.

I will probably pass the medical test which doesn't measure for my problems. I probably will not drive again out of choice.

There was a form with the notice about my needing the physical.

If I give up my license, I doubt I will ever be able to have another.

The only way I can see myself driving is in an emergency and if it were a choice of saving someone's life where driving without a license would be the lesser danger.

I still am not sure what I will do.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Champagne glasses

As a minimalist I do not need three sets of champagne glasses. I have one in the Nest, one in the Warren. But I did own a third set.

The glasses in the photo did meet all three of my requirements to own something.
1. Useful
2. Beautiful
3. Has a memory

Useful and beautiful are evident. The set in the photo also had a memory.

That memory was a rainy day outside Grass above Nice tramping around with RB2, the man I describe as the brother I always wanted. We saw them in a shop and I caved.

When I used them I filled the vase with flowers. It is festive, but it is still a third set.

I put a notice on a Facebook to anyone who if anyone in the area wanted them. An English friend typed back "me" and I happily relinquished them to a good home. I must remember the next time we are all here in ASM to take a bottle of champagne to her place for a visit.

Friday, April 20, 2018


Rick's Facebook message said he was on this continent again and would be flying from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Toulouse then would do the 2.5 hour drive to ASM.

It has been an interesting week.

I often say I loved being single for the 41 years I was. I was more than content to have gentlemen friends but let's not do anything silly like live together. Thus when I produced this man my friends were shocked that I readily married him. He took a great life that I had and made it ever better.

Because we are both writers and we both work out of homes in Geneva and Argelès-sur-mer we are constantly together. My late anthropologist friend said couples shouldn't and can't do well in "each other's pocket."

Rick needed to go to Florida on business. Although I could have gone, I feel about Florida like I feel about shopping. Don't do it.

I was looking forward to a week alone. I was going to get some writing done, eat the things he doesn't like, leave the sink pristing 100% of the time, walk the dog etc.

Things didn't go quite the way I planned. The TV and internet went out. Almost a week later, they are still out, although I've done whatever needed to be done.

The dog was sick (he's alright now).

I am happy to know that I can enjoy alone time. I am happy to know I can solve problems that we usually would solve together. I also know that I much prefer doing things with him. And I definitely do not want, for the times we are separated, that we are out of communication.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Nest

I am writing this from my "Nest" the place where I wrote part or all of many of my novels.

I call it a nest, because that it what it was. Bought for my 45th birthday, I paid $18,000 for what I planned to be my retirement home. I knew I could (and still can) live here on $600 a month.

The Nest realized my dreams of having a studio loft in France. It was another goal to live as simply as possible, never having anything extra, but everything I needed and found beautiful. I had more than I needed.

As much as I love the Nest it is too small for Rick and I together so we divide our time between another flat and Geneva.

With our internet out, I reinstalled myself in the Nest until SFR can solve the problem, but I am reminded how this tiny place renews my soul and all the wonderful memories of writing, entertaining, reading, knitting and just being happy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Love at first lick

Four months ago, it was love at first lick. The squiggly ball of fur named Sherlock has learned a lot as he develops into an adult dog, including which TV programs catch his interest (those with barking have priority) but there’s still room for improvement.

I had no worry about his comportment when I decided to have a cup of tea at La Noisette with Lydia even if it were marchĂ© day crowded. Not like a month ago in a Japanese restaurant in Geneva. He settled quietly at our feet, surrounded by…what was that green stuff all over the floor?

Sherlock was enjoying the spinach he had pulled from her shopping basket. We cleaned it up, not wanting the owner Amadine to have to deal with it. For the rest of the time I kept watching him as he watched my neighbors shopping basket with the sausage sticking out.

I still am not sure where he found the fork that he put in his horde, the place next to our bed where he stashes his toys and treasures. It might have been the dishwasher, but I thought I’d watched him every minute while he was in the kitchen.

Another mystery: Rick is in Florida. I went to sleep on my side of the bed and Sherlock was on the couch in the living room. In the morning, I was almost falling off Rick’s side of the bed.

Curled up next to my back was Sherlock. How does a six-kilo pup push a 60-kilo woman across a good side bed in the middle of the night?

Doesn't matter. He will continue to mature, and I will continue to adore him.

Off grid, BIG TIME!

Unexpected Sunday. The original goal was to watch some of the Sunday shows, read write and research on the internet. It didn't work out.

Here's what happened.

7:00 Walk Sherlock

7:30 back to bed and read The New Yorker

9:15 Up and make toast, shower and put on the TV. It isn’t working. I do everything they tell me to but nothing works. Almost like Scarlett, I’ll think of it later.

11:00 Walk to C’s and along with Sherlock we walk through the lotissements and check out their development. The path is full of puddles from the days of rain. Sherlock decides to jump in the creek next to the path and splashes happily.

12:00 We stop at Mille et Une for a cup of tea. We start sitting in the sun, but it is too hot, for the first time this year. I have the almond that they just introduced me to. Falco, the owners’ dog, is disappointed that I have none of the usual biscuits for her.

R. walks by. He is the young teenager, I would love to adopt and have missed him since his mother moved. He hugs me and then picks up Sherlock. He will be here during his school vacation. It is good to see that he is okay. I worry about him.

12:15 C takes the champagne glasses I want to go to a good home. After realizing that the TV, internet and phone all have problems, I walk to L’s. She is French, and hopefully will understand what I have missed.

For the next four hours we try just about everything imaginable including calling for help. Thank goodness L did it. I can get confused by technology, more so by French explanations never mind speed speaking. The person on the phone has a heavy accent plus mumbles. I am gratified that L has to keep asking for repetitions. It isn't just me.

We are told they have increased our power. The situation is complicated that my Swiss phone is almost out of money and our new landline needs to be reset so calls do not go directly to message. With Rick away, I have no idea where the instruction book is, Of course, the phone isn’t working anyway.

Finally, we are told, the problem has been sent to their experts and hopefully by Monday it might be fixed. If not, a technician will have to come to his house. Complicated communications are arranged. 

I know I can go to my studio for internet access Monday.

I give L the last piece of cinnamon gum as a thank you. We will find more for her when we are Geneva.

17:00 Realize, I haven’t had lunch and cook fresh peas, swiss chard and potatoes.

17:30 Feed Sherlock and take him for a walk and come home to settle in for the night with a good book…always a good book.

Although we go off grid one day a week, this is totally off grid. No way to go back on. I suppose I could go up to the studio, but I’m lazy.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

No way

"No way," I said to my husband. "And that's why." Our wifi just had gone out for about five minutes. I was explaining I would never ride in a pilotless plane nor a driverless car.

Yes, I know the technology is there. I also know all the things that go wrong regularly with technology never mind hackers. Just think, all the traffic lights are automatic and tuned to driverless cars. One hacker can throw an entire city off.

It isn't age. It's common sense.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Cold Cherry Soup

Yesterday we visited Ceret, one of the best cherry-growing areas in France. It reminded me of my mother's recipe for cold cherry soup.

  • 2 one-pound cans pitted tart cherries
  • Juice from a third can of cherries
  • 1 cherry can of water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 whole gloves
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 lemon slived
  • 1 two-inch cinnamon stick
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 1/2 bottle white wine such as Medoc
In a kettle combine the two 1-pound cans of cherries, the juice from the third can, 1 cherry can water, the sugar, cloves, allspice, sliced lemon, cinnamon and salt.

Bring to a boil.

Blend 1 tbsp. smoothly into the 3 cups light cream and stir the mixture into the cherry combination.

Add the 1/2 bottle white wine and bring to a boil stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and chill thorough.

Serve with 1 tbsp. whipped cream on each serving.

Will keep for 2 weeks refrigerated.

Makes 12 small servings.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Sprechen-vous Espanol?

I have many multi-lingual friends who speak up to seven languages fluently. I wish they weren't so nice or I would hate them. Call it jealousy.

In eighth grade I took Latin and happily switched to Spanish for my two-year high school graduation requirement.

As a bride we were stationed in Stuttgart Germany. I immediately enrolled in a three-week intensive course that left me functional on the economy, as soldiers referred to anything off base.

At university I took French. Our professor was a story teller. In two years we covered ten pages, and I definitely knew how to tell people that Paris was located on the Seine in French, should anyone ask.

No one has.

After three semesters I went into an advanced modern French drama course. Thanks to a girl friend I was able to do word for word translations on her notes and on the readings.

It went fine until the test.

"What are you doing in this class?" the teacher asked. I didn't want to say I couldn't face another hour with the my former idiot French professor who was her friend. I said, I was fascinated with modern French drama. She let me write in English and I got an A for knowledge. She told me not to take French again.

I also took a directed studio on Goethe although I'd forgotten much of my German.

There was no need for languages for a decade or two when I moved to Switzerland working for an anglophone company with anglophone clients. I wanted to be able to function outside the closed English environment.

My boss said I was too told to learn French.

I proved him wrong becoming competent enough to gain my Swiss nationality and have non-English speaking friends. I can read books and articles. Depending on the accent (anything but something from Marseilles) I can understand spoken French.

For 14 years I dated a Swiss man who spoke no English. When my daughter was with us, they spoke German, he and I spoke French, and she spoke and I spoke French. When his daughter-in-law with us, Spanish might be added to the mix.

I still dread speaking French on the telephone. Some say I speak French with a Boston accent, and a standard expression is "Ce n'st pas votre faute, c'est mon accent" when people don't understand my accent. It isn't their fault.

As for my German when I went to Bern for radiation, I dreaded that I'd have to speak Swiss German with the doctor. Turns out, he was one of those people fluent in seven languages and I suspect told a good joke in all, although he entertained me only in French and English.

Lately I've been trying to bring back my German working with tapes. Much is coming back. It is more of a problem to find the time to do it.

If I have another life after this one, I want to be born into a multi-lingual family.