Monday, September 25, 2006

Times flies. After my last "sick" entry, I thought I should write briefly.

I moved in first gear for several days, after my "cleanse." Food had little appeal. Neither did leaving the house so I lay around and did little. Yesterday, I felt almost normal. I drove to St. Antonine de Noble Val with Bedding and her house guest. I was surprised to find that Sunday market was as crowded as in summer though it was a summer-like day - the sun was shining and I was too warm in my long-sleeved cotton pullover. We separated at market and so I wandered alone picking up several varietes of olives, a half dozen white nectarines, perfect petite zucchini and red peppers, lettuce, and several bunches of purple grapes. We met for lunch and then drove back to Montmiral by Penn and Bruniquel - other hilltop fortress towns, through a landscape of varigated greens on rolling hills. Once again, I sighed and thought about how much I love this place.

I threw together a lentil stew for dinner as Susan and David were joining me. Today, I am cleaning and preparing two bedrooms - the two bedrooms - for two couples from Vancouver who will stay for several days. I shall move into the attic and brave the bats. A week today, Rob arrives.

I have been thinking about me and the voice inside my head that is eternally dissatisfied with me. I know this to be a cruel voice that expects me to be something beyond human. I wonder if I will ever make peace with it. Time is running out.

A couple of days ago, a friend who Rob and I recently had dinner with in Vancouver had a stroke. It scared me so. (He's fine at the moment. Sensation is moving back into his left side.) And I thought to myself that I, we, are now reaching a certain age when we will lose friends or perhaps even the other.

A wiser voice says - oh, I know it is common - do what you want to do now. Don't knock yourself about. Enjoy.

The phone is ringing. It's Susan who is trying to find some good reads for me. "Do you like Henry James? I have a book that describes his agony...." We finish the conversation and I put down the phone. The sun is shining on the small cafe table in the attic. I look out the window over the slopping speckled roof tiles to the fields beyond. Nothing urgent has to be done. I close my eyes and listen to my breathing.

The thing about writing these blogs is that I expose myself and ever since I was a little girl, I have been guarding myself - though I imagine some don't think so - but I hated English as a subject, especially when asked to write about my life. I didn't want anyone to know too much about me. I am still finding it an effort though I know I have come a long way since I decided to try and write for a public.

And these are my small thoughts on this amazingly beautiful day.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I am in our little house in France. Alone. My body gave up on me an evening ago. Whether it was something I ate or pure exhaustion, I woke in the middle of the night in pain, my stomach heaving. I ran to the washroom, knelt by the bowl, and a fountain of partially digested food shot from my mouth. How does this happen? Not often in my life have I vomited and it always surprises me. What force in the gut takes over and has the power to push all out the way it entered?

I washed my face and stumbled back to bed. I awoke twice more during the night and the same thing happened - only less violently. Even water wasn't allowed to stay put. I slept till two the next afternoon and had just enough energy to put some clothes on and walk carefully down to the store at the foot of the town to buy bread sticks, chicken noodle soup, and coca cola - the only three things that I know are good for a rebellious stomach.

After eating, I slept till eleven the next day, or today rather - a miracle as six hours is usually my max. I feel a little light headed and look a little rough but my stomach is calm so soon I will shower and drive into town for groceries.

The highlight of this low time is that I began reading "Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing" by Helene Cixous. She uses language in such a unique way that I found myself whispering yes, yes, yes and immediately want to attack my manuscript and let my pen fly without letting that damn censor cut me down, make me doubt my lust, my love of words...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Today I'm catching my breath, packing my suitcase once again, and this evening, flying to France. It's been a crazy few days here in Toronto, visiting my family who don't live close enough to each other for casual drop-ins. So I've been on the run...
on highways, cities streets, and country roads, in cars and trucks and subway trains.

I was going to copy out a play by play of my going-ons from my journal but I think it would bore you and I'm still digesting those moments with family that call forth so many emotions and memories. (I will do this in France. By tomorrow evening, I will be tucked into my bed in our ancient village. Hopefully there I will dream and remember my dreams... )

At the moment, I am overwhelmed by my family - they have been so fantastic to me that I want to hug them again and write all sorts of mushy things about each and every one of them and sing their praises to the heavens - but again it would bore you so I won't. I have seen my mother and father, my middle son and his love (and met her father), my sister Gael, her husband, and daughters - who win the gold medal for their generosity, my Alice-in-Wonderland daughter and her room-mates, my older sister, Stephanie and her husband , my brother and his daughter (who drove over 1 1/2 hours each way to my parents to surprise me) and my preacher uncle, Jim.

So many personalities, so many conversations... is it any wonder that I'm overwhelmed... on the first dreary rainy day since I arrived?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Handsome Dude
Originally uploaded by Barbara Y.

So why did I post this picture? I don't know. Nice arms. Big hands. Charming smile. Looks like the man has depth...

I should be showering and finishing packing and I will have to soon force myself to complete these last few chores before leaving on a jet plane. I have been so busy that I haven't even written in my journal. I finish one task and another one calls. And so the last week has disappeared with an outing here and there to visit dear friends.

This week Toronto. Next France. I'll try to write more soon.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Originally uploaded by Barbara Y.

Today I will meet with a woman who doesn't know what I've been up to all summer and so I decided to show, not tell.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What to write about? It's been a week since I last blogged and yet, when I look back on my week, I can't think what I have been up to that's worth relaying.

But I have a friend who stopped blogging for a month. Every day I would check if she had published a new post but no, no, no all month long. Until yesterday. And I sigh with relief. I like reading my friends. I feel a part of their life even when I am too far or too busy to get together.

I think of police interrogations on tv shows where a cop asks a suspect "what were you doing on the night of August 28th, 2006" and the suspect immediately replys "that was the night that I went to The King's Head with my pal Joey. We drank a couple of beer and then I went home and watched the Twilight Zone.

I have to look at a calendar - preferably one where I have noted my appointments - and so I check the past week.

On Sunday, Rob and I took Gill and our eldest son out to a restaurant to celebrate his birthday. On Monday, Rob left, with a large suitcase, to shoot a week in mission and Gill and I went shopping at London Drugs. Tuesday night - Gill's last night in Vancouver - she invited a bunch of friends over and we ate salad and pizza. It blew me away to see her friends who I have known since grade school, standing around, wine glasses in hands, chatting like adults. Oops, they are adults.

Wednesday morning, I drove my fair daughter to the airport and off she flew to Toronto to begin her second year of university. It wasn't so difficult seeing her off as I will join in her Toronto in less than two weeks. In the evening, I went to dinner at a petite French restaurant with my friend Helen and then on to Bard on the Beach to see Troilus and Cressida, a little known play about men and war. The director chose to set the play in the deep south during the civil war and I for one, disliked this. I know it worked on the movie Romeo and Juliet but I found the cast of many characters - some actors playing more than one role - speaking old English, with southern accents, confusing. And the womens' roles- not minor characters usually (for example, Helen of Troy and Cassandra) - made minor. If I were Shakespeare, I would have given the women more lines, more influence over the men but, as I write this, I see that I am unrealistic. Even with the war raging at the moment, women have next to no influence or say.

Thursday and Friday are a blur. Friday, I didn't dress till five when I had to run out and get groceries. For two days, I organized paper - changed most of our monthly bills, on the internet, to paperless accounts so we will receive notice anywhere in the world. I also made appointments for the car to be overhauled, for the carpets to be cleaned, for Rob for a chiropractic session and held several meeting for potential work... and cleaned the house and did mountains of laundry. I know myself well and, if I don't do all this now, it will not be complete before I leave for Toronto on the 12th.

Oops, I also began sending out invitations for Rob's 60th birthday in October in Greece. And still, I have much to do.

This recounting of my week, to my mind, is drab. Didn't you have an interesting thought, I ask myself. A few. When all seemed too much, when I was filled with angst, when I wanted to lambast myself for not revelling in my extraordinary life, I thought of Joanna Field, how in A Life of One's Own, she explores happiness and speaks of - I cannot remember her terms - of something like wide and narrow vision - how to zero in on what is in front of oneself - how to focus on it so nothing else exists. For me, when I am on top of things, this works. Narrow your focus, I tell myself. Narrow it, so those nagging voices in your head, have no room. Nothing is important except the task, the sight, the person, in front of you. Listen hard...

I have also been thinking about change, just how difficult it is to change, to alter one's way of doing things. And yet it is possible, I know, because I have changed over the years. Sometimes it happened slowly - through thinking, thinking, thinking - until one day I woke, and saw that something had shifted without me realizing the process. I was where I wanted to be.

And sometimes change happened with an epiphany, that felt like a flash of light entering my body. (The image I see here, is a painting of the Virgin being impregnated by the Holy Spirit.) Oh, such a wondrous liberating experience. I want more epiphanies. I would like to break old habits and feel strong and free. I want to put into effect what I intellectually think is necessary for my well-being but can't cope with emotionally. I am speaking about trusting myself and doing what I feel is good for me, no matter that no one else understands. I want to feel tough enough not to mind negative feedback. And yet I am still too fearful. Be patient, I tell myself...

And so my week has passed...