Friday, January 29, 2010

Blog...another word for lunacy

My kitchen is torn apart right now. And it’s all because I started a blog.

The first thing on my list of things to do after returning to France after my 3 1/2 week Christmas trip to the states, was to start a blog. I was reticent to do it but it seems to be a necessary portal on the pathway to writing a book. I’m reluctant for many reasons. First and foremost…. I barely know what a blog is!  Secondly, a blog is so….public. Writing for the not-so-big population of Wittenberg and a few friends on Facebook is completely different than having your life exposed for all the world to see (okay, maybe not all the world but they could read it if they wanted to!) But, in fact, a book really lays one wide open so I suppose I need to get used to it.

So I began the process of learning about blogs, learning how to blog, trying to wrap my mind around links and SOS and code and monetizing. This in itself took days and I found myself sitting on my little, supremely uncomfortable, yellow chair for hours at a time, staring at my computer, periodically stretching my back, looking out the window and realizing I was missing the one sunny day this week and wondering what the hell it was all for.

I finally felt comfortable enough with it all to jump in. I designed my page (if you can call it design), entered article number one, sent an email to everyone I know, published the address on Facebook…and waited.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Aix en Provence at night

I went to the cinema last night to see the film Avatar. I loved the film, in spite of the 3 hour struggle with blue people speaking French, but even more than that, I loved the opportunity to walk home late at night.

As much as I love the bustle of the streets in Aix en Provence during the day, there is something extraordinarily beautiful about this city at night. And last night was special. It was a cool evening, just after a rain, and the light and it's reflection on the streets was....well.....I'll just show you.

The Fountain of Hot Water-Cour Mirabeau

Perhaps these photos will offer  a little bit of an explanation as to why I just couldn't leave this town after the first year. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kick Him to the Curb

I couldn’t suppress the giggle as I put the finishing touches on my Thrift Sale advertisement and the giggle erupted into a full-fledged belly laugh as I re-read the copy.

“Threw my husband to the curb and now I’m selling his stuff”.  I do believe I’m a marketing genius! This is not just any advertisement. This is the title page to the next chapter of my life!

It is May 2008 and I have been officially divorced for 8 months… now separated from my ex-husband for almost 2 years. Twenty-five years is a very long time to invest in another person and the life you build together. It's a very long time from the dating/mating dance to birthing and raising babies, from struggles with teenagers and his alcoholism ... to, ultimately, infidelity, abandonment, and divorce.

Anybody who has been through a similar situation understands the excruciating pain, both physical and mental that such a situation causes. It invades your waking moments and saps your strength and your health. It creeps into and hijacks your dreams…a place where you once felt safe. It mugs you, by surprise and in the dark, and you wonder if you’ll ever be yourself again and not the victim of what feels like a violent crime. It causes you to question everything you have always known to be true and to wonder if truth, in fact, really exists at all.

Yes, 25 years is a very long time… on the other hand, 25 years is not all that long. If we live to be a hundred, it's only a quarter of our life… Yikes! A quarter of my life! If you add that to the first quarter, that means half of my life is gone and we’re still working on the premise that I’ll actually get to that 100-year-old mark. I’ve got to get over this nonsense because I’m sure that girl I left 25 years ago is still in there somewhere and she’s got a life to lead!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Got some explainin' to do

The problem with setting up a blog and writing about your life is when you spend all of your time in front of the computer, you're not living your life! This had got to stop!

This is my second post and before I start this fabulous Friday I'm going to try to explain a little bit about how I hope this whole thing is going to work.

I began writing articles about a year ago for the Wittenberg Press, a weekly newspaper in Wittenberg, Wisconsin. My old friend Miriam had just recently bought the paper and she asked me to write a few articles about this new life of mine. That was 38 articles ago and I'm still rambling on every week. I have posted those articles to my Facebook page as well but many people who have not been sucked into "social networking" have asked if they can view them elsewhere. I've also been toying with the idea of writing a book. This is sort of a test...perhaps a see if anyone at all (besides those who are required to be interested like family and friends) is in the least bit interested.

So the plan is to post last year's articles once each week and spend the rest of the week on....well....I don't know yet. I'm really not a good planner!

So enough of explanations. It's Friday morning, the sky is blue, I'm living in the south of France.....and it's market day. I have a new camera. I think I'll go take some pictures!

Bonne Journée

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Gift

Two years ago, during a telephone conversation with a friend that involved a lot of discussion about the twists and turns both of our lives had taken during the previous year, he said, in frustration, “Screw it…let’s just move to France!” Yeah, wouldn’t that be great? We’ll begin every day with a tiny cup of espresso and a croissant, we’ll finish each glorious day with a bottle of Bordeaux and some fabulous stinky cheese and bask in the absolute beauty of the language that will land on our ears like music. We will spend our days exploring the countryside, learning the history and reveling in our good fortune. We will……we will….we will…..! Don’t you just love a good pipe dream?

Our conversational game was very similar to another familiar sport we all play called “What Would I Do If I Won the Lottery?”. 

This morning I opened my terrace doors to find, once again, the amazing blue of the Mediterranean sky and sat down to a tiny cup of espresso and a baguette (no, not a croissant…too many of those and the terrace won’t hold me). Last night I finished the glorious day with a bottle of Cotes du Rhone (not Bordeaux tonight) and a bit of Camembert as I listened to the passers-by below my window speaking in one of the world’s most delicious languages.

My friend remains in Minnesota, his life still twisting and turning, as lives tend to do. But I am here….YES, I AM HERE!.... in a city in the south of France called Aix en Provence. Living the pipe dream…on a shoestring… but living it nonetheless.  

I have always said that I am the luckiest person alive and always have been. I just keep getting presents; some beautifully wrapped in heavy paper with intricate bows and decorations, some wrapped in the comic section of the Sunday newspaper, and some wrapped in some smelly piece of paper that likely stored fish or liver and has come out of a dumpster that’s been sitting in the sun for at least a week. But all are gifts nonetheless. They just have to be unwrapped with a certain expectation. This is what I’ve learned.  

This dream began with one of those aforementioned gifts wrapped in putrid paper from the dumpster. It smelled of disappointment, broken promises, angst and anger. It was slimy and greasy and it held no promise of being anything good. But I opened it…because, heck, who doesn’t want a present? 

And now we get to continue opening it together.