Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sick, sore, and tired

I've spent the last two days and nights sleeping, waking briefly every couple of hours or so with a circle of pain in my gut and rushing to the bathroom.... food poisoning, I'd guess. 

Though my energy is still low, I felt better this morning and wanted out in the sunshine so Rob and I drove to Gaillac, picked up sandwiches at the Patisserie (though I couldn't eat much) and wandered the streets of the old town and into the park to the Museum of Beaux Arts. We were the only visitors. Great fun, saying what we wanted about the paintings - as the one employee, the receptionist at the desk was too interested in talking on her cell phone than following us around. The exhibit featured Gaillac painters and sculptors from the 19th & 20th century.  I especially liked one scene of village life - a bit like a Bruegel - where the figures were almost cartoon characters, each one (or almost) had a bottle of wine in hand, faces animated, having a good old time while one crazy rogue was dancing on a table. 

This is not much of a blog I'm afraid but I'm not up to speed and will try to say more soon though I really haven't been doing too much. Rob wins the prize as far as writing goes. He found a program to organize and format his novel and he has over 65,000 words... I'm jealous.   

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Maggie's Birthday

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Indecision is the seedling of fear."

In case you don't know - if you double click on picture, it becomes large enough to read. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr. Young and I

The trouble with writing a blog is that if one misses one day, then two, then three, moments are lost and it's hard to catch up. For the past week, we've been trying to right ourselves time-wise, deal with house problems (another story) and enjoy the company of Penelope and Roy who arrived the day after us from Tunisia where a wild horse ride left Pen bruised and an exotic diet left Roy a little sick. So we have been recovering together and taking short trips to Cordes, Saint Antonin, Gaillac, Albi, and a few vineyards to give our friends a taste of the region. 


The pictures are from La Domaine de la Chanade, a small superior winery on the route to Cordes. When we arrived the owner, Christian (a charmer) was in the process of emptying the wine press. We learnt that the grape skins and seeds, and anything else left after the grapes have been squeezed dry are given to a government agency who, in turn, turn them into alcohol, and by "donating" such, Christian pays his taxes. 

Christian is proud of his wine and tells us that it is served at some of the finest hotels in France though 80% of his harvest is exported to the eastern United States. We sampled a number of varieties and left with 8 bottles. 

Today Rob, Pen, and Roy have gone to Toulouse and I remain to attend to our house problems and try to catch up with my blog. 

 Was it only a week ago...

that we stopped in Toronto for Patrick's "damn good party" - the party he requested instead of a funeral service? He told his wife that he would be there, glass in hand. On the "Change of Address Card" we were given at the door, we were told that "maudlin, morose or depressing sentiments are discouraged."

We entered a crowded room. I was afraid that I wouldn't recognize anyone. After all, it had been over 30 years since we left Toronto and this was Rob's world really - most of the people would be from the film and television industry. On the back wall a slide show played scenes from Patrick's life. I was happy to spot Audrey, Patrick's first wife who, to my surprise, looked much the same as I remembered her and who had inspired me greatly in the early years of my marriage. I told her that she had made a difference to my life - for instance, it was because of her that my children attended French Immersion. I rattled on about I'd done and asked questions about her. I have some more advice, she said. Live your life. Be wild, take chances, do what you please. (Rob said, I already do but I know that I still have a way to go, and I love being given permission. I asked Audrey to repeat her advice.)

The afternoon was a dream. I felt outside myself. Everyone was telling Patrick stories, laughing, drinking, eating, and only when Emma stood up to speak of her father did my tears start falling. 

Later I spoke to Mary, Patrick's second wife who said theirs was a 27 year romance. Didn't he drive you crazy at times, I asked. She laughed. "Of course. I can remember telling Patrick that he must tell me when I annoyed him as I would tell him when he bugged me. Well, it took four years for him to complain and when he did, I ran out, slamming the door. I was halfway down the block when I realized that he was only doing what I had asked him to. 

Mary told me about Patrick's last hours, that he decided that he had had enough. She had wanted to delay him, keep him close, but a nurse took her in hand and said "this isn't about you." 

It took a lot of energy to be Patrick, I said. Mary smiled. "That's a good way of putting it."

Patrick's death did affect me. Although I have my memories of this effervescent wonderful man - more after his wake - he is no longer. 

I think of loved ones who are here, who I can touch and want to touch more. 

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The night before

we left for France, Rob and I watched the American election at my sister's house in Toronto. At first, as the results came pouring in, we could not believe our eyes and ears. We did not want to be too cocky, too confident. Finally - when McCain conceded and Obama gave his victory speech - we believed: a vast number of Americans had come to their senses and elected the best man to lead their nation. 

Since the election, there's been a lot of fuss and applause from around the world because this 47-year-old first-term senator from Illinois, will become the first African-American president of the United States. I think this wonderful too but I am happier that Obama is smart, an intellectual even. Caroline Kennedy wrote that she feels Obama will be a president like her father.

"Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what is possible.

"We have that opportunity with Senator Obama...."



Friday, November 07, 2008