Sunday, December 27, 2020
Sunday, December 20, 2020
And sometimes I wonder how I managed to move from the 21st century to a place where most people don’t have clothes dryers.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
|Baa bass black sheep|
I chose a flat path that I could walk and as I rounded a corner, I heard the tinkling bells of sheep and a baa. I knew where they lived and walked around to the backyard to see two of them standing on an old concrete well.
|Mountains and a river|
|A closer look at that river, the Aude.|
The river continues to rush to its destination in spite of COVID-19 and confinement and curfews.
|The path not taken|
This path looks so welcoming but it leads up a mountain and the path is unsteady with lots of stones, not good for my knee, so I resisted.
|Here's my montage from four years ago.|
My life in France is very much changed from that Ohio life.
Monday, November 23, 2020
|My morning walk today, frost on the ground and the sun moving toward the mountains|
Today as I started my walk, I imagined sitting at the café in the main square and sipping coffee with friends. What a luxury that is. First, to gather with friends most mornings just to chat. Second, to have the time to linger over coffee and maybe a second one. To cross the square to the bakery and bring back a pain au raisin or a croissant abricot and break it apart, scattering the crumbs onto the sidewalk then shooing away the pigeons that eye the crumbs. How many mornings have I spent savoring coffee with friends? The pocket of my trench coat still holds three little chocolate squares that come with our morning coffees - just in case of emergency.
|Another morning walk, this one along the river on flat ground. |
|Stone built on stone|
|A glorious fountain|
I went on a hike with my friend Claudine
|Along El Camino de Santiago|
|Another day, another view of the mountains|
Monday, November 02, 2020
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Sunday, November 01, 2020
What choice do I have this month? It's November and France is on lockdown until December 1st. If ever there was a time to take part in NaNoWriMo, it's now.
How do you win it? By writing 50,000 words from November 1st through November 30th. Somehow, I've managed to publish five novels even without completing NaNoWriMo every year.
Since I moved to France, my writing has gone on a back burner. Four of my novels involve running away to France, so it's possible that since I ran away to France, I've lost the impetus to write about it. I think my social life is so busy now that I don't have time to write. Between working two jobs and meeting people for coffee, drinks, dinners, walks -- who has time to write?
And I always loved going to a coffee shop to write. It was such a great excuse to leave home and any chores that waited -- laundry, dishes, dinner -- and immerse myself in writing. That's not really a thing here in small town France. A few of the cafes have WIFI, but of course they're all closed now for the month anyway because it's lockdown, confinement, quarantine. I can't see anyone unless we arrange to go to the grocery store at the same time. I can spend my time dragging the cat on his leash as an excuse to get out, or I can sit down and write.
Now, the tough decision. What will I write?
I'm 35,000 words into a novel that I began three years ago. It's call The Wedding Dress Theory and it's about a mother-daughter road trip through the United States as they try to repair their relationship. I think it's pretty good, but I'm unsure about the next scene, so I have let it flounder for a few years. And I can't overlook the irony that I now live in France but would be writing about a road trip in the U.S. Still, I could plunge in again and another 50,000 words would help me complete the novel.
The next choice is that I've started to piece together stories about our move to France. I don't have a title for it. I know that lots of people have written about moving to France, but they are mostly Brits. Moving to France when you're British is like moving to Canada when you're American. You can be back home in a couple hours, and plenty of people do skip across the English channel monthly. So as an American who moved across the Atlantic, leaving behind children and parents, it's obviously a different experience. Any suggestions for a working title, that aren't "A Year in Provence," are welcome.
The other idea I've written a bit about is a hiking book, similar to Trail Mix, but this one is set in France and Spain on El Camino de Santiago, the famous hiking trail known as "The Way" in the movie with Martin Sheen. El Camino ends in Spain, but trails from around France, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany begin to connect to the trail. We've hiked two sections, and it couldn't be more different than hiking the Appalachian Trail and carrying all your belongings on your back, including a water filter, a camp stove, and a tent with a sleeping bag. Instead, we hike from one gite, B&B or hotel, to the next. It's not really wilderness most of the time because there are bars and restaurants nearby. But it is a challenge and can leave you with 3rd degree burns on the bottoms of your feet, as my husband found out.
So, three options, and one of them should end up being 50,000 words by the end of November. That's 1667 words each day. And if I skip a day, then I'm in the red, trying to catch up by writing 3333 words the next day.
So I'd better get going. I'm going to write 1667 words today about something, and this blog doesn't count.
If you're doing NaNoWriMo, friend me. My writing name is creatively Paulita Kincer.
Friday, October 30, 2020
|A small vineyard shows off its fall colors|
|A grocery cart is called a chariot in French. The couple in front of me must have been |
taking advantage of shopping together, which we aren't allowed to do
during confinement. Only one person per household.
Earl went on to fill the car up with gas. I had driven to the Mediterranean the day before and the gas light came on as I returned to town. Gas prices will probably go down, but I didn't like to have an empty car in case of an emergency.
|Every bike ride requires a stop at a cafe|
|Enjoying the sun|
|Photo interrupted by Olivier, the always charming waiter.|
Thursday, October 29, 2020
|The sea was so still yesterday|
|A view of the church and the crescent beach|
We decided to eat lunch first and found a place in the sun. It became almost too hot as the sun shone onto us, me with my Aperol Spritz and Tina, Jo and Melissa with their rose wine.
|My empty drink as we came to desert and our goofy poses for the cameras|
|Lots of laughter|
Around us, the world seemed normal, except for the masks that covered everyone's faces.
|The stairs and plants and colorful painting "The gate of solace."|
Then we drove to a more secluded beach. The plan was to swim and then to practice belly dancing on the beach.
|Two brave souls|
Tina and I stayed on the sand, but we enjoyed watching them swim.
|Tina and I on the beach, my bangs shrinking upward already in the moist air|
After Jo and Melissa dried off, we did some belly dancing on the beach. It was our promise to ourselves that we would practice since we didn't have belly dancing class on Wednesday.
|The scarves are swoopy in the wind. |
These three with the Sea in the background. What fun we had, even if we scared off many people on the beach.
|Belly dancing with the curve of the Mediterranean behind them. |
|But still dreaming of the smooth sea|
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
We're creeping along on improving the house. Some of the work that has to be done isn't really visible, not as visible as repainting the door and the shutters.
|I started sanding these shutters because they were low and easy for me to reach. |
Earl finished them, of course.
I'm so glad we finally choose a color.
|Our "front" door with a yellow rosebush that will be trained to curl across the top.|
Before, the doors were brown. I hated the doors and I sat and looked at them a lot in the kitchen. They were brown inside and out.
|You may be thinking, there's a lot that needs to be fixed. Yep, but we're getting there step by step. |
My husband is meticulous, of course. The doors and shutters must be taken down and sanded smooth, then painted. The doors need the window panes to be re-glazed. That all takes a long time.
|Black trim on the blue shutters.|
So we have one door and two shutters completed.
Then, the electrician came in last week to do some of that hidden work. The office I use is between our bedroom and the terrace. It has a concrete floor and walls that we haven't touched yet. But what it didn't have was a heater. We had some colds days in the past month, so we knew a heater was necessary.
Our heating source is the cast-iron radiators that were here in the house but were connected to an oil tank. We didn't want oil heating, so removed the giant tank. Now each radiator is filled with water and has its own heating unit, so we can turn each one on individually.
The "office" has only one outlet and that outlet is busy with my computer and the printer and the light I use for teaching. Plus, as Jay the electrician pointed out, a heater needs a line directly to the fuse box. So he had to drill a trench to run a line to where the heater will be.
|Jay framed in the doorway, kicked up a lot of dust last week.|
Knowing that the room would be filled with dust, Earl and I cleared out nearly everything. Once the dust settled two days later and the electrical outlet was in place, we decided we might as well paint the room and lay tile on the floor. But the floor takes a distinct dip from one end to the other and there is no way we'll be able to tile it. We're debating carpet (something you don't really see in France) or maybe just a big rug.
What color will we paint the walls? Some variation of white that we have in big tubs. One of our many good friends gave us a tub of "magnolia" paint. I think it came from some friends who are moving and clearing out their home. Magnolia sounds good for the office. It will make the walls look fresh and remove one of the many construction materials we are currently trying to store in what will one-day be the media room, but that we currently call the "cozy" room.
It may be a long winter, but we can hope that we'll get more work done and be warm in our first full year in our new home.
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