Browsing Posts published in November, 2011

A Fine Vintage

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Last weekend, for three nights in a row I was simultaneously fully dressed in real clothing (pants without an elastic waistband), nowhere near a computer and outside the confines of the housette, likely a new French record for me. My bon weekend wasn’t all about art and books but it was all about fine living. Sunday night we made the long trek across the street to chez Jean-Claude for an apéritif.

I’m telling you the people we meet here are endlessly fascinating. We sat in a large room connected to his office and I struggle with how to describe it. Let’s just call it a collector’s paradise. Pistols by the dozen, antique rifles from Afghanistan and Switzerland. Ancient knives, daggers and swords. Animal skins, fossilized shark teeth, giant African masks and statues carved by hand from huge trunks of ebony wood. Asian chests and armoires, jade figurines and antique pocket watches. Continue reading “A Fine Vintage” »

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The Art Of Living

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Even after all this time, after all the croissants and creative inspiration found here, after all that France has given me, there remains room for doubt. I’d say once a week I experience a cascade of misgivings about what the hell I’m doing cloistered in a medieval French town. It’s so tranquil and tucked away from it all which is part of the point of living here. But sometimes I wonder how long I can sustain an isolated existence. Perhaps peace and I are not meant to be in a long term relationship and are better suited for a one-year stand.

But the minute I start thinking this way the universe screams out my name. Last week I received a hand delivered invitation to a book launch. Then as I was seeking permission to use photos of a gallery for my blook, the owner invited us to another book launch. And despite being up to my eyeballs in editing I decided to shed the sweatpants and hit the local literary scene. Continue reading “The Art Of Living” »

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So I figure since I have a book coming out, this doodle writing now moves from hobby to ‘work’. So far it’s the best job I’ve ever had. Pajamas and bedhead, cocktails and copious amounts of chocolate, all ‘necessary’ for the creative process. Having a completely hysterical meltdown when you lose your entire manuscript within the bowels of your computer is appropriate and expected behaviour. And the promise of a miniscule and far-off income affords me the right to demand fair labour conditions. Let’s just say I wasn’t the only one with a toilet brush in my hand this week.

But the downside is that it’s a solitary endeavour. My last career was all about teamwork and not a day goes by when I don’t miss all the amazing professionals I worked with. Everyday I learned some thing valuable from every one of them (4 South and Crisis teams, I’m looking at you). But this week I’m thinking about three gals who made my days in the trenches worthwhile. Gals who have big brains and big hearts to match. Gals who save lives every day, world experts in their fields of study. They are respected, admired and win awards for their work. And they have kick ass clothes. Continue reading “To All The Shrinks I’ve Loved Before” »

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Ready Or Not

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Oh the horror or as they say here quelle horreur! ‘They say’ indeed, I can’t say horreur without bringing up a furball. The point is Neil had the winter tires put on the blue bubble car today. Oh very sad this. It’s coming. Just as it does every year. My denial is still strong, it’s 15 degrees and sunny making snow and ice seem a long way off. But last winter we were caught off guard, shameful for seasoned Canadians but I see putting the tires on early as insurance. The more extensive my preparations, the more likely it is that not a single snowflake will fall.

Also shameful for a shrinky gal like me is that I’m not mentally prepared. I was going through some photos this morning and I found that I’m already missing green leafy things and clay flower pots full of brightly coloured posies. I’m never satisfied. As soon as the splendour of autumn fades I want to see cherry blossoms. I came across these springtime shots I took in the village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain (say that fast three times), a small town not far from where I live.

Continue reading “Ready Or Not” »

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Last week was all about luck and lately it seems that I’ve got more luck than I know what to do with. I saw a flyer up in town advertising something to do with apples so I made sure to jot down the details. Now I’m not overly concerned with pommes but I live with someone who is quite fruity. And since it’s in my own best interest to support Neil’s ongoing culinary efforts, we set off to the town’s exposition hall to take in what we thought would be an apple market. I was suppressing a large yawn as we opened the door but one look inside and I knew my sweet and considerate behaviour was being rewarded.

Not apples. A brocante! A giant market of furniture …

Continue reading “An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Happy” »

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Luck Of The Draw

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My husband is a smart man. Annoyingly so. If I wasn’t so wrapped up in my own deficits I’d probably have time to feel insecure about it. Math, languages, finance, photography, computers, cooking, building shit, he knows a lot about a lot of things. He’s like a human compass and can use the sun to navigate a city as chaotic as Rome. I have yet to see a problem put before him that he couldn’t solve. He is as logical a creature as you could ever find. And I’m very fortunate to have him balance my general state of cluelessness.

But he does have one interesting gap in his rationality. Continue reading “Luck Of The Draw” »

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Vacation? What Vacation?

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But let me tell you more about my ‘week off’. Apart from day and night editing of the blog to book, hereinafter called the blook, I received a publishing contract. Now I’m no JK Rowling or that guy who wrote The Da Vinci Code. There’s no super agent pacing my living room while screaming in her phone, “She doesn’t get out of bed for less than that.” On the one hand, an extra 15% in my pocket, on the other hand, I had to go it alone with contract negotiation.

I did a lot of research and then reached out to friends and an incredibly generous published author who read the whole contract, sent me very specific suggestions and voilà, a mutually satisfying deal was struck. I have signed with a smaller Canadian press who likes my blook just as it is. This is important because it is, as they say, ‘unusual’. Well, people say I’m ‘unusual’ so what else could be expected? Continue reading “Vacation? What Vacation?” »

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Oh it’s nice to have some time off every now and then isn’t it? But when you are an obsessive overachiever like me it makes total sense to spend every moment of your week off from writing doing nothing but writing. Oh I did take a break here and there to think about writing and to talk about writing. But I say it was all worth it and let me tell you why.

A while back I made a pretty bold claim, I said that I had written a book. Of course I had. Everyone who moves to France, Italy or Spain writes a book. They won’t even let you over the border until you agree to do so. I sent my collection of doodles around to various helpful souls and I got a lot of interesting responses. But there was one response that especially caught my eye. Continue reading “Attention K-Mart Shoppers” »

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The Facts Of Life

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I get emails all the time with ‘funny’ lists and I often scratch my head as to why everybody in the world thinks they are worth expending the effort it takes to hit send. But this list has come to me a few times now and it always makes me smile. Maybe you’ve all seen it but tough beans. I’m lazy and my life is too boring to create anything remotely original today.

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font. Continue reading “The Facts Of Life” »

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Fiscal Responsibility

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What an exciting life I lead. Physiotherapy, a testosterone laden gym, laundry, verb conjugation but let’s not forget shopping. As winter fast approaches I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time trolling the internet looking for two things. One, a classic black coat to relieve the puffy silver North Face coat I wear every day from November to the end of March. I mean I can hardly show up at the opera (you never know) looking like an astronaut. And B, a black weatherproof purse that can withstand being tossed on the muddy car floor and dropped on the slushy street once or twice a day.

I approached the Minister of Finance with these requirements and he advised that I arrange a meeting with the Department of Chequing and Savings. I sat with the team and I reviewed the numbers. The proposed expenditures were presented, discussed and deemed to be of very low priority given the state of the current domestic holdings. I’m not sure but I suspect that I am the Director of the Welfare Department. Continue reading “Fiscal Responsibility” »

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