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French la Vie
Provence, France
Recent Activity
My daily walks continue. During the last several weeks I’ve been waking up earlier than I usually do around six so that I can have a lead beating the heat. I am not a morning person I literally have to push myself out of bed and dress with my eyes close. You might be thinking that since I go to the flea markets I must be a morning person. Yeah no. The flea markets are once a week that I can do especially since I don’t have to leave here until seven. There is an ocean of difference between 6 AM and 7 AM. Certainly, there are more hours between those two numbers. Walking the Provençal hillside is very different than walking around the rice fields in the Sacramento Valley. The landscape, the earth’s texture under my feet, the scent of the surrounding, also the energy circling around me propelling me onward. Mostly the Sacramento valley is not an upward curvaceous challenge as the hillside around my town. When I arrived here I thought I was a decent walker pumping out six miles in an hour and a half... though I learned quickly when I came back home to France that the French pump out miles in their sleep they pass me by speeding up the hills like hungry wild goats. I am not ready for Saint Jean de Compostelle I have more, a lot more muscles to develop. Meanwhile, I continued walking up to Saint Claire above our village and return home taking the trail on the other side of the hill. This morning as two walkers passed me by as if I was tied to a boulder their dog walked alongside me, you know I am slowly getting over my fear of dogs, its eyes were gentle and I swear I heard it say, “Come along you are doing fine.” Every day whether I like it or not I will walk. Whether it is too hot, too cold, too windy, or raining. It doesn't matter if I walk to slow, or too fast, or get up early or not. What matters is that I do it in faith, is a symbolic gesture for my brother, to be with him in spirit, to use my walking as a prayer, to believe that my energy is helping him, that I am with him in spirit and I am in every... Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at French la Vie
If only I could have taken a photo this evening of the little boy (who was between three and four years old,) galloping around the village fountain in only bright yellow underwear and a homemade cape attached with a red ribbon tied around his neck. His smile was megawatt, his eyes glowing with glee as he raised both arms in the air leaping towards outer planets and fighting off evil! When we walked by he posed with his arms on his hips as his cape folded around his feet and exclaimed in a triumphant cheer, "I am all the superheroes in one!" I saluted him. As I walked on I thought I want Gabriel to believe that he too can be all the superheroes at once. A few steps further I wished we could all believe we are superheroes. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at French la Vie
Months have gone by with my brocante diet fasting. I put something I had online and helped a friend sell some pieces, and well fasting no more. As far as diets go- Green salad is healthy. Green beans with ginger. Apples, meet the need for the crunch. But not when someone else is eating them. Melon softens the sweet tooth. Home grown tomatoes stand miles apart from store-bought in flavor. Toast with homegrown tomato and salt. Best lunch. Strawberries, are a quick fix for a snack. But nothing can compare to the brocante diet. Nothing in my opinion. The Brocante Diet: Makes the heart pitter-patter which equals exercise. I can have big doses, unmeasurable amounts, any day, anytime. Doesn't matter the size, shape, color, taste... all of it is good. Soothing. Filling. Unsatiable appetite, bottomless pit, it is a diet that allows ample room to grow. What is your diet other than family and friends because I am talking about thing(s). Whatever it is hold it close and thank it for feeding you. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at French la Vie
Thank you to High Anxiety’s Instagram account for the above images and quotes. Returning to France this time has not been as smooth as the times before. After spending months self isolating with my mother barely seen anyone, rarely going out, and amongst other self isolating habits I did not even hug my family goodbye. The first shock of returning was simply getting on the plane, then a taxi, and then on to a very packed train. I wore my mask without taking it off over 24 hours straight... I am not a anxious person yet I felt such crippling anxiety and that has taken time to drain away from me. As much as I’m happy to be home with my husband, daughter, son-in-law and baby Gabriel I am not used to being around people coming in and out and maybe not being as careful as I would be if I were going in and out. It is hard to adjust to coronavirus in a different household and country… In the end the best words of advice I received are from my mother: Do the best you can, you can only control yourself and the rest place in Gods hands. Please stay safe, take care. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at French la Vie
In the stillness. In the darkness. In the forgotten places. In the daily steps. While washing the dishes and taking out the trash. In the emptiness and the fullness and especially at the end of the day, find beauty. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at French la Vie
Voltaire's Theater Volume two. Pink paperback. Worn, though I do not believe this book was ever read. Most likely it sat on a shelf, eventually, it was put into a box and stuffed in an attic. Years later an antique dealer bought the belongings of the house. Discovering the book(s) he found them interesting, decorative, valuable enough to sell. I bought three. I haven't read them, they sit as decorative objects on my shelf. Stories, dreams, hopes... Are they sitting on a shelf? Or are they in an undiscovered box in a faraway attic? What do I need to take out of my box, dust off, and let it unfold? What part of ourselves have we put into a box out of sight? Where do our stories take us? What chapter are we on? Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2020 at French la Vie
Being so close to someone you hear their heartbeat. Planting a seed and watching it bear fruit. The subtle change of one season to the next. Hearing silence. Birth. Witnessing courage. Hearing your own inner voice soothe yourself. Hugging. Stories like Annie's ... the watermelon juice. Being forgiven. Having faith without reason. Beginner's luck. Having taste for life where we can drink it in gulps. Falling stars. Memories that hold us together. Not fearing change. Human touch. Longing. Ice cold beer on a hot day. Singing. An unexpected love letter. Taste. Falling asleep on a beach with sounds rushing together calmly. A miraculous split-second decision Breathing. What are some of yours? Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2020 at French la Vie
The morning walk that I have done every day since I heard about my brother's illness. Walking has become a prayer, and also time to reflect. To be thankful for what I have to be mindful, and to plant peace with each step. The photos above are all within a mile radius of my house. I know each of these spots well; The river, the center of the village, along the cemetery wall, doors that I like, facades that are so Provençal that they sing up to the blue sky, the 16 fountains in our town where I dip my hands in to cool off, and in the back of my mind the not so distant memory of doing the same thing in Willows… Walking with my thoughts and prayers, hope, a few wild dreams, and frustrations... where kicking stones is a good release. Stay strong Marty. Merci Diogenes for the message and quote xxx Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2020 at French la Vie
"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." Alexander Graham Bell But what if the door only opens half-way? Lately, life seems to be pulling out all sorts of tricks, the world's "door" seems to be half-opened like the photo above. Concerns, questions, more questions, answers that take time to unveil, unrest surfacing yet the root begging us to look deeper. Do I see the door half-open or half-closed? Is life asking me to trust? Change? To look deeper? Most definitely all of the above. Unprecedented. Challenging. Facts, fiction, and fears mingle amongst us. I long for the time where I counted the days to the next brocante. I long for the days where I never saw life as full of germs. I long for the time where I never measured the distance between myself and others. I long for the pleasure where hugging and kissing was a common greeting. Yet I long more for a world where we truly believe in one another. Where we live in a community that honors everyone and strives to be whole. Where love is more than pretty pictures. "What is you could love yourself fully, including your imperfections? What if you could love others in the same way? With mindfulness, you can become the love you have sought. And with this love you are also returned to yourself." Jack Kornfield Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2020 at French la Vie
Chelsea calls him "Love Love" and he is and we do. Chelsea was washing the dishes, I was preparing something and Gabriel sat at the kitchen counter angle between us. When I saw the light, and those silk ribbon tied rolls I grabbed my cell phone to take a photo of him. It is times like that I wish my camera was as near as my phone. We are deeply in love with this little person. Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2020 at French la Vie
Antique paper love drool But I cannot get attached that is the downside to being a buyer. Desire.Hoarding.Sentimental. are not qualities to have if you are a buyer to resale. (Wait a sec is hoarding a quality? Insert laughing face.) Taking the steps to reopen my online business. Though all I want to do is hold the baby. Plus the idea of going to a brocante makes me anxious given the situation we are facing. How does one social distance when one wants to dive in and dig? Will my passion for finding old things push me back into the saddle? Of course, if I am honest I have stock since I haven't been here to do anything with it. So I could start with what I have and maybe go to the brocante later. Cotton wad paper 1700s or was it 1600s Antique paper is fascinating given how frail it is, how easy it is to discard, how it survived wars... Royal seals. Mice detailing adds to the charm right? Favorite. Thank you for wanting to see baby photos. It is a good thing because I cannot get enough of him. Someone asked about his necklace, it is amber which is said to help with teething pain. Another person asked if his first word are going to be in English? Well, time will tell Chelsea and I talk to him in English. But I think his first word will be in French. Chelsea's first words were in French though that ended rather quickly speaking given I didn't recognize the words, mind you Chelsea tried calling me "Maman", as I didn't respond she called me, "Corey". Okay, back to the saddle of sorting and gearing up to work again. Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2020 at French la Vie
I promise I won't (though I that is all I want to do) post baby photos every day. Chelsea and her little family stayed with us for a few days. I am amazed I didn't gobble Gabriel up in one bite. He is a healing balm, an adorable joy, a cautious little boyboy and almost as big as me. My brother Marty asked that I send a photo of Gabriel and me, which was sweet. He said he wanted to see us together. Chelsea took this photo. It takes every muscle in my body to lift this chunk a lunk. What is funny is when we are sitting on the ground and he wants to get up, meaning me lifting him from a sitting position well yeah that is not going to happen. I gotta stay in shape if I want to keep up with him. Being a grandmother ( I want to be called what I called my grandmothers and what my children call my mother which is Vavie coming from the Portuguese word Avo.) is such a pleasure! I thought to be a mother was the ultimate, but being a grandmother is the icing on the cake without any of the parenting and dirty diapers. So I will try to hold back on posting baby photos seven days a week. Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2020 at French la Vie
Back in early March when I started to feel the delicate balance of our world as we know it and COVID 19 gaining ground I began to post a flower photo a day to my Facebook account to offer a sign of hope, cheer, serenity... As of today, there are 119 photos here a few of them for a Sunday Bouquet. Flowers from my sister in law. During a walk in my village Flowers for peace of heart In a shop window in Paris. On a walk while in Paris Outside a flower shop in Paris In a garden pot Gabriel in our garden. Chelsea sent me this photo. On the way to my mom's house. In my mother's garden Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2020 at French la Vie
The healing grace of living and walking in the countryside. These photos are from my village which sits at the base of the Saint Baume Mountain. The ancient stone bridges are at the Source du Nans natural park about a mile from our home. Chelsea and I strolled Gabriel there to put his feet in the ice-cold natural spring which is said to be the tears of Mary Magdelena (read more below). My form of physical exercise is walking. I started walking several years ago but when I went to California I picked up my pace trying to do 10,000 steps an hour and a half, by the end of my stay I could do 12,000 steps in an hour and a half though I knew when I returned to my home in France the flat land of the Sacramento valley would be replaced by the Provencal foothills. It took me a few days to reach 12,000 steps in an hour and a half. Stopping to take photos or pick flowers or admire the scenery comes after my walk. Thank you for the comments regarding my post a few days ago. I feel good and walking in nature has helped me feel this way. I haven't lost weight as some of you mentioned I am more toned and am not wearing oversized babby clothes. We live at the base of a truly enchanted forest one with a rich history of spirituality and folklore. I found this blog post and it speaks perfectly of what I know to be true of this area. The following text is from: Cherry Chapman's A Psychotherapist in Paris Blog Reflections, thoughts, and insights of being a therapist in the city of light and love. "Sunday, July 22, many gathered in Saint-Maximin la Sainte Baume in southern France, to honor Mary Magdalene, as they have for ages. I was unfortunately not one of them this year for several reasons. For me, July the 22 nd has been a special day for a long time because it is the feast day of my favourite saint, Mary Magdalene. I learned the hard way that going to the south of France during July and August is to be avoided, unless you want to fight crowds, be stuck in traffic jams and pay inflated travel costs. Nevertheless, as the feast day approached, I found myself considering going, but decided, in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2020 at French la Vie
On the trail, I spotted a small blackberry patch its pink petals waved me over, the blackberries are weeks away from ripeness. As I walked on I thought, "What is it with blackberries this year?" It is as if it is my symbolic message guide or something. Thinking that struck me funny as Covid 19 has changed me... Today a large black beetle was crossing the road I assumed it would be flattened before it could cross safely. Before Covid 19 I would have been too afraid to pick it up but not today, I scooped it up and carried it across the road to safety. Okay picking up a large black beetle might not be the best example of how I have changed... Though the layers of changes are varied and are starting to take root inside me. But I feel the change, we all have changed, haven't we? The blackberry patch I saw today wasn't ripe just like me; I am home, back in France, far from my family in California that I reconnected with for five months not quite back in place as my inner world juggles the time, distance, COVID 19 and finding my way around my surroundings my brain keeps saying "Thank you" instead of "Merci" and "Hello" instead of "Bonjour". Even though I am home, and very happy to be back, there is a time of adjustment or "nesting the nest" as Chelsea reminds me. When I left California I was in the groove the blackberries were plentiful, big, juicy, and very ripe we celebrated with a blackberry-theme-dessert-evening-farewell. Shortly after I arrived in California I wrote a post about, "Blackberry Faith" never did I expect that I would be there to see them ripen. When I left California I was in the groove the blackberries were plentiful, big, juicy, and very ripe we celebrated with a blackberry-theme-dessert-evening-farewell and now the wild French blackberries in the hills around our home are beginning to ripen... Symbolically so am I. Life continues in ways beyond my imagination often speaking with the most eloquent symbols intertwined with the cycle of nature, with its seasons, and mingling with hearts, souls, and minds. Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2020 at French la Vie
As I was doing my morning walk I flashed back to the rice fields that I toured for the last five months where I witnessed three seasons unfold. Though where I live in France I would never use the word pancake or the word crepe to describe the landscape around my Provencal village, though in the Sacramento Valley where my family lives the landscape is as flat as a pancake. My goal is to conquer these hills as if they were flat as pancakes. I am walking a tad slower due to the hills and stopping for cars that think the small mountain road is the Indy 500. As I was coming downhill I took off my long-sleeved shirt tying it around my waist, I had a tank top on underneath and I was wearing my walking shorts. I was listening to some be-bop music when I heard yet another car approach, I walked as close as I could on the narrow shoulder when the car stopped and an older woman rolled down her window she smiled saying, "We women think we are 15 years old inside! We don't want to grow old." I nodded not necessarily agree with her but that nod that says I am listening. She went on, "15 yes we think we are 15!" She giggled, "And look at you dressed like you are a young girl though when you turned around I knew you were not. Women these days we are alike trying to be as young as we feel. But we certainly aren't fifteen anymore." She laughed, waved, and drove on. I know I am not fifteen. I wasn't dressed young I do not know any fifteen-year-old that would wear the shorts I had on. Gee, I was out walking before the day's heat was to set in. I don't believe she was ridiculing me, her expression wasn't Grumplina nor taunting, though writing this it feels like it was. AND she was at least in her mid-seventies and she presumed I was that age too. After all these years of others presuming I am 10 to 15 years older than I am, I should be accustom to it. I guess you can say I am back in the saddle again, back in France were walking in the hills in a small village one is to dress fashionable, appropriately and their age. Nah, tomorrow I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2020 at French la Vie