Someone once referred to my favorite pink fuzzy socks as the "no sex socks". Perhaps they are NOT sexy but they are warm and as I always have cold feet I have decided that trumps sexiness. Practicality isn't usually sexy. That's been proven.
So last night, even though the girls were going out for a drink, I decided to conserve my money and kick my own ass, put on the no sex socks and stay home to work on some art. Producing something I can show for all my free time here was the contingency for staying n Paris. The first year, I decided, was a wash of learning french, depression and recouperation but now I have to buckle down.
A friend sent me an article quantifying the number of hours one should spend on their art if they want to be successful and it's no less than 10,000 hours. I, personally, think it can be done in less with a lot of concentration but alas that is my problem, is it not? But when I think about it, when I was trying to find a job here I put virtually all my extra time and energy into it. I found a job (and a good one!) in six months. So I am capable of focusing. Now making the focus my art...
I did spend a few euros on a bottle of wine and some cigarettes (of which I consumed too much, ahem) but last night I actually produced some art. No, seriously.
And while it's not at all what I have in my mind for the finished works, it is a start. I sort of like it for what it is. So today I will take my paycheck to the art supply store, get the other things I need and try for version two. Or three. Or however long it takes.
Can I just say I'm a little proud of me? Not because the piece is that great, but because I actually did it. Oh, a person can always change can't they...
Friday, May 29, 2009
Someone once referred to my favorite pink fuzzy socks as the "no sex socks". Perhaps they are NOT sexy but they are warm and as I always have cold feet I have decided that trumps sexiness. Practicality isn't usually sexy. That's been proven.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I regularly check my blog statistics to see what kind of visitors I have and you know, generally find out what makes my readers tick. It's a good study in what you all like to read and when is the best time to post.
For instance, people mostly don't read on weekends and National Holidays I won't find you at the computer (good for you!). You hate it when I post too many sad things in a row (hey - me too!) and prefer when I post more than three times a week.
While understandably most of my readers are American (Hello Simi Valley, Chicago, Harrisburg, Warner Robins and Idaho Falls!) I have a regular reader from Singapore, one from Rockstock, Germany, and increasing readership in Canada and Australia. To say nothing of my lovely friends in France and the UK.
The most interesting thing, though, I think for any blogger is to see where their search engine traffic comes from. I have quite a few pervies who are here looking for "girls in short skirts", several fans of Gustav Klimt, and a few people searching for fossils. Sorry to disappoint, but I hope you stayed around for the complimentary wine.
Most frequently searched, however, are the following three for reasons I simply cannot figure out: "gyno game", "who was the first person to look at a cow and think they could milk it?" and most recently, the one I just cannot figure out, is "break up cake". Is this a new fad or something? I have had more hits from the search "break up cake" in the past week than ever before. Oh how I wish I understood.
Could be an interesting social experiment, no? I wish I knew you all better. So - where are YOU from?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I live at the bottom of the property. Not the very bottom, but downhill from the Big House and above another property. You know that phrase "Shit flows downhill"? Well it's apparently true. When it rains a lot (like today for example) the questionably old sump pump has to work over time, and some times it doesn't do it's job correctly. (Like today for example.)
Now I have been, on occasion, known to pass the kind of gas that could be bottled and sold as biological warfare to terrorists. I am lactose intolerant. It happens. But I swear I cannot conjure up the smell of rotting sewage from my body. I swear. And besides? It's coming from the drain of the sink.
Luckily I haven't had the pleasure of meeting any of the sewage first hand, just it's cousin "The Stink", but WOW. I am glad it is warm enough to leave my doors open. And that's all I will say about that.
Meanwhile, I am fairly certain that it is giving me A.D.D.. In the past three hours I have accomplished ZERO of the items on my "Important" and "Productive" lists but have - in no particular order - twittered, inquired about transportation in Spain, opened a story and edited one line, started this blog, checked my email, checked my facebook mail, check my twitter mail, made lunch, made tea and washed the dishes.
I am resisting turning on the T.V. because though I love channel 07 for the background noise, last night I found myself so enthralled by The Avengers (called the Melon Hat and the Leather Boots in France), followed the sad history of the Female Majungatholus on Jurassic Fight Club that by nightfall (around ten o'clock here) I had lost my motivation to do anything besides continue with channel 07 and le Quai des Brumes which put me straight to tears (Tu as de beaux yeux, tu sais?). And there? You see? I can't even focus long enough for a coma splice or proper periods. I'm not sure but I think I have lost my train of thought.
Other good distractions? (As if I need any more.) My favorite Puntabulous has posted a clever and delightful blog today in which I am featured as a wine gulping Trekky. I get to have a drink with Bossy which is just about as cool as it gets in my virtual world. (Follow the link to see me in the last panel!) Seriously brilliant, Craig is. If he weren't gay I would invite him to come to marry me in Germany, because apparently that's subconsciously my favorite place on earth. Alas, he is gay and I love Paris.
We were doomed from the beginning. At least I'm not in a red jumpsuit.
Monday, May 25, 2009
A Woman's soft watery perfume on the line 12. Her face is pleasant, freckled and framed in strawberry blonde waves. She smiles to me when I pass her to exit.
The strong scent of Tea Rose trailing behind someone with a red suitcase. The Musée D'Orsay never smelled so nice.
The cool spring time breeze blowing into my apartment as the sun sets. The damp garden infuses the air with the sweet smell of lily and grass; orange country roses and sage.
Burning lawn trimmings littered with various herbs. Rosemary, maybe mint.
The atmosphere is filled with millions of tiny wisps of cotton shed from the flowering trees. In the right light it looks like snow. It emits no fragrance but tickles my nose just the same.
Friday, May 22, 2009
So far in my nine months living in the suburbs of Paris one of the places I haven't explored (besides the Louvre - ahem) is my own Ville. I know my way to the Monoprix and la Poste and the Gare is quite possibly my best friend ever but outside of those streets that lead me to the places I regularly go, I don't know much about the place I live.
For instance, it wasn't until this week that I discovered an adorable cafe less than a block from my house. And at the end of my street? A BAR. All this time I had been feeling deprived and isolated from the comforts of big city living when I simply had not walked down the right Rue.
So yesterday, after "napping" until about 3 p.m., I wandered up the hill towards the Chateau* to see what else there was to see. I had forgotten the way actually. The first and last time I had been to the Chateau was on my very first day in Paris. Host dad had walked me up there to give me a tour of the town and I never went back.
I remember standing there as he tried to talk to me a bit in French, holding back tears of mixed emotions. I was exhausted. Jet lagged, homesick and excited all at once. There sprawled in front of me was Paris. The Eiffel Tower stood above everything. I had made it.
What I never forgot - even though it took me nine months to return - is that from the hilltop of my Village there is arguably one of the most magnificent views in all of Paris.
The park was empty except for one couple who wanted their privacy and so I sat on a wall and looked out on my city. My city, because yes, Paris belongs to me. When I decided I was too hungry to keep my balance where I was perched I wandered back towards centre ville gawking at the beautiful old homes I never knew existed. I didn't find Johnny Depp's house, but I definitely spied into the enormous gardens of the bourgeois imagining what it would be like to have a solarium looking out onto a veritable forest in your backyard.
I stumbled on Puerto Rico (right here in Meudon!)
and swooned over this old Land Rover. I think I would look good in this truck.
I ended my journey at the Chinese Restaurant because luckily for me they don't celebrate the Ascension. I bought the plentiful five euro menu and wandered back home to the watch the sunset from my window. Dare I say I like my Ville as much as Paris? Okay, it's a stretch, but not a big one.
I am one lucky duck.
*The old castle of Meudon was rebuilt in Renaissance style in the mid-sixteenth century. It was bought by Louis XIV as a residence for Louis, le Grand Dauphin, under whom Meudon became a center of aristocratic life. After the death of le Grand Dauphin in 1711 the château was neglected, emptied in the Revolutionary sales, and finally burned at the close of the Franco-Prussian War, 1871, while it was occupied by Prussian soldiers. (THANKS WIKI!)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Yesterday Sister L mentioned that she also wakes up around 3 a.m. every night.
"They say that spirits often visit between 3 and 4 a.m.," she said.
"Maybe we are being haunted by the same spirit?" I replied.
Of course we only have one person in common who has died - our Grandmother on my mom's side - and it is entirely possible that she visits us. I prefer to think it is her rather than some other spirit, although throughout my life I have experienced some pretty spooky shadowy visitors.
Though I've never had the impression that the Petite Maison (or the Big House for that reason) is particularly haunted, last night I fell asleep with the distinct feeling that something was with me. And then tonight, approaching 3 a.m....
I dreamt that Host Mom had cleaned out a room in the house I was sleeping in. All of the doors were locked and as the night time approached I went to turn on the lights only to find that the ones in the corner she had just arranged did not work. I tried to lay down to go to bed but as I was wrapped in the covers my body became washed with chills, as if something was laying down next to me. I got up and tried to turn on the lights, opened the door into the darkness to try to let in the cat but she would not come in. The night was pitch black and only frightened me more. The dream evolved and over the course of what felt like an hour I tried to sleep in a bed that was haunted. "Go away! You're not welcome here!" I shouted, to no avail. Every time I got up to try and turn on the lights and dispel the spirit I found more lights no longer worked. At one point I went into the room that had been newly cleans to discover that the moving out of the objects had revealed shiny oil painted walls with dark images of shadows and a large antique queen ann chair. These supposedly represented the spirits past.
I went searching for someone to help me install the new light bulbs and Matt, the dreams sole male, was meant to come help me but never showed up. Over a tall rock wall I tried to spy him and called out for him to come help. I woke myself up by doing so.
Sweating I looked at the clock. 2:30. An early visitor, perhaps? Or my subconscious trying to shake something from me. Either way I can't quite get back to sleep...
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
If I have learned anything about my life it is that I am enormously powerful. While once upon a time I was deluded into thinking I don't have any control over things, I have come to realize that all of my little problems eventually solve themselves quite nicely and I am usually the force that propels them to do so. It involves a lot of "throwing things out into the universe" and manifesting my destiny, and yes a great deal of prayer. I'm not the world's most religious girl but God to me equals The Universe equals a Greater Governing Force. And God's greater governing force allows us the free will to determine our path and when we are heading in the right direction there comes a gentle nudge to help you along.
Religion aside I believe that if you follow your passions you will ultimately succeed in life as long as you do it with your whole mind body and spirit. Worrying too much (which I excel at, normally) only hinders the process, and so it behooves us to "Let Go and Let God" as they say in AA, and to allow our path to find us. Often, I find, the answers don't come in the form you expect, but they are there plain as day if you are watching.
All this to say that after a few weeks of awful anxiety I finally followed my own advice and miraculously, magically, I had the answers as to how I would stay in Paris.
It is not at all how I expected it would be. In my head, I was going to stay in Paris. I was going to get a good job somewhere and I was going to find a cheap apartment in the city where I could take the cat. I was going to have a job that afforded me money for travel and space where I could work on my art. And then God, The Universe, snorted and laughed in my general direction.
Anyone who's tried to find a job in Paris can understand why. And anyone who's tried to find a job in today's marvelous economy is standing beside them trying not to cry from the humor of it. Adding into this equation that I do not have a college education, nor do I speak French fluently, pretty much everyone in the general public might be asking just what the hell I was drinking. (It wasn't the good vintage, let me say that."
Well, when I got over my hangover I was greeted immediately by Host Dad, still offering me another year with them. I had initially turned it down, but as the days wore on and my desire to really have a chance to work on my book and my art became stronger, I realized that what he was offering was exactly what I was looking for. Free room and board with money to spare. A million hours of free time which (when properly utilized) could actually bear the fruit of my creativity. A chance to become fluent in French. A Visa.
And so I accepted. Because there how lucky am I to have been given this opportunity to begin with and how stupid would I be if I turned down the chance to live comfortably in a place I love doing something I am passionate about for one more year? Turning up my nose at it came from that old spoiled brat in me who always thinks there is more out there. But sometime you have exactly what you need right there in front of you.
So I called my mom on Sunday to tell her the news.
"Are you sitting down? I have some news," I said seriously.
"Oh my God," she replied. "What?"
I paused for dramatic effect.
"Hahaha, no I just got my period I'm not pregnant. But that would suck wouldn't it? No, I have decided to stay with the family for another year," I rushed on, "and that means that I don't get to come home in September but they are going to buy me a ticket for Christmas."
"Oh. Well...I suppose that's a better idea. With the economy and everything."
I agreed and explained to her that I would have more time at Christmas anyhow and in the end she was immensely supportive. She has gotten used to me being away. It's not great but for now we are making it work. I will get to see them sooner, with a light heart and lots of gifts from Paris.
Of course I feel as if a weight has been lifted off me. Knowing where I will be next year makes me feel secure again, and knowing that I will be here makes me happy. And as if things couldn't get any better, the sun came out today. For the whole afternoon I basked in it reading back blogs to be added to the book. I listened to my music, sang along and got my first sunburn of the season.
With my pink face I smiled at the sun and said a Thank You to God, The Universe for all my millions of blessings.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
On a heavy and dark Saturday I stood in the rain saying my Adieu to Toad. The weather appropriately suited the moment. We were at the point of not knowing how to say good bye when the young one came out of the gate.
"Where you going," I asked him playfully, hoping he could not see my red eyes from across the street.
He made a mime of getting his hair cut and grinned.
"Pipelette has a broken leg and is missing," he said.
"What?" I replied. The tone in his voice was laughing and I couldn't tell if he was serious or not. "That's seriously not funny, don't joke about something like that!"
"I'm not!" he said, and kept walking.
"Is he serious?" I turned to Toad.
"Naw," He said, trying to reassure, "I know him by now and he is joking. You'll see."
Finally we said goodbye and he went on his way.
I entered the garden alone, only to be met by Host Dad.
"Did you find Pipelette?" He asked.
"Oh no, he was serious?" I replied, horrified.
"Yes, yes. She was here the other night crying at your door and when we looked we saw that she had a badly broken leg."
"Have you seen her since?" I asked, upset.
"No," he paused, uncertain what to say. "Sorry."
I went back to my apartment and burst into tears. My only thought was that I should have been there, and no my only company in that little house was gone. I called Toad because he was the only one I knew would understand, who reassured me that she would come back.
I went back out in the rain that day and looked for her for an hour. The scene resembled that of the final shot of Breakfast at Tiffany's, except I did not find my scraggly cat and no one even closely resembling George Peppard was there to wrap me in their trench coat.
For I week I held onto the idea that the cat had let herself into the neighbors basement and every day went to her house to ask, but with no response. She was on vacation. In the end I left a note asking her to call me if she had found Pipelette but when I finally saw she had returned I also saw that I had received no phone call. Pipelette was gone.
It's been nearly two weeks now and I still look for her when I turn onto my street, listen for her absurd meow when dusk falls. But I have had enough cats in my time to know that she has probably not made it. She was not strong and her fate as a street cat was probably laid out from the beginning, but I still miss her. She had become a part of my home, something to look forward to in the evenings when my space is too empty and too quiet. For all the trouble she caused, she was my cat. I only hope that she has found a warm lap to crawl into somewhere in kitty heaven.
Rest in Peace miss Pipelette.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Still in Update mode but I am going to assume that you all don't need to be told this Number Four and I'll just leave the clever bits in the title and the links to send you back to way back when. You know way back to when I got here before I had painted and made myself at home.
Those were the days when I preferred to sleep with books and I couldn't catch a good nights sleep to save my life. Those were the days before the Wake up Light, and the cat.
Now, even though I still sleep alone, I still have nightmares on the regular, and I still wake up almost every night at 3am, some things have changed. Like the position I sleep in, for instance. Once upon a time I told you that I slept on my stomach with my legs crossed like this:
And I still do, that hasn't changed either. But now sometimes I mix it up and throw in a few more bizarre positions. Because everybody knows that the "I'm a little teapot" is enormously comfortable.
As is the tree position.
Mixed with a bit of this:
And when all else fails, the hands on hips "Angry Mother" will rock a girl to sleep better than any lullaby.
It's nothing like spooning, but in the lieu of scrappy black cats and toads stretching oddly on my stomach across the bed will have to do.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I'm not the best student in the traditional sense. Perhaps I should rephrase that gross exaggeration. I am a terrible student. So throw learning another language at me in the form of traditional classroom exercises and I choke a bit. There were moments when I really thought I would never be able to communicate. It was more than the frustration of losing my personal colloquialisms, though. I was putting the horse before the cart with that worry. For the first six months it was about swimming through the muck to get to the point. Wandering around a new city hearing a din of what you know should be communication? It's a bit like wearing earplugs all day. You can hear the sound but you can't get the meaning.
And then, just as everyone predicted, I was sitting on the train one day and above my music I heard a commotion. I took off my headphones to see if I should be worried and I heard the man above me yelling. He was crazy, spouting off something about someone who was speaking English on the other end of the train. Infuriated, he explained why French was the language here and kept yelling after he got off and the train doors closed behind him.
I laughed quietly, keeping my secret American identity to myself. Then I laughed out loud because it hit me - I had understood everything he said. And OH what a magical feeling.
Not long after that I made the attempt to speak French in public. First it was for twenty minutes. Then a half an hour. Host Dad would come home each evening and speak for longer and longer in French. I could understand more and more. Lately, I have been known to have entire two hour conversations in this new language of mine.
I still speak like a six year old. But I love French. It's romantic to me. It brings color to the city and personality to the people around me. Even though I still travel with my music on I adore the occasion to eavesdrop on phone conversations. I love listening to little children, especially. Maybe it's because they're at my level but there is something impossibly cute about a four year old speaking French. I die every time I hear it.
And even though my vocabulary is still quite petite I am not afraid to speak. I stumble through Vous versus Tu and I end sentences regularly with "euhhhhh....comment dit on?" "Ummmm, how do we say that?" I can't conjugate passé compose to save my life (and have resigned to simply memorize rather than fuss with the formula) and so I frequently say things like "I was take the train and it stop to work. I angry!" Or when I ask for the menu I conjugate the second verb which illicits a "look" from the server followed by whatever they know in English. Usually something along the lines of "You can speak English, if it's easier for you."
I don't really care though. I know I am basically comprehensible and and also know that for me, personally, to improve I have to talk. Which, for those of you who know me, know is quite important. I'll talk to a wall if you tell me it has ears. Or even if it doesn't! I am not ashamed to say I talk to my inanimate household objects.
And now, I can do it in French.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Remember when I was a changed woman because the sun was shining? Do you remember that? No seriously, because I barely remember it. That is because for the past three weeks (and COUNTING!) the sun has made only fleeting appearances after the rain. It taunts me by coming out somewhere around nine o'clock, just as it is about to set leaving only clear blue skies and the stars coming out.
In Texas that would still mean warmth but here the nights are still cold (nearly warranting my wool coat) and the mornings are just as brisk. Every day I wake up to this:
GREY. Grey with DRIZZLE. This is not facilitating my motivation. Which, currently, is particularly distressing because at this very moment I am being forced to make a hugely important decision about next year and, even though the thought has not escaped my head for one moment in the past month, I was not yet prepared to actually decide.
I suspect that all the answers in the world would be wrapped up in a shiny pink ribbon (and probably showering rainbows and kittens) if only the sun would come out again. If only.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
It has been
six eight months since I have been in Paris. So much has changed, just since December. Those of you who have been reading for a long time remember, I'm sure, how hard it was for me to adjust and how deep in le merde I was. Between the Frenchman and mt depression I was a lost cause. Still, things were happening in my life. Surely some of you are wondering what the hell happened to....? Or maybe you aren't. But I will take a few blogs to revisit and update anyhow.
My first encounter with a human being in Meudon was the week after I arrived. She was the first kind face I knew outside of my still very small circle of friends. I think something in her mirrored my own fears, my loneliness at the time, and on that first sunny day I vowed to go back each and every Sunday to see her.
I haven't, of course. Depression happened, and sleeping past noon, staying in my pajamas till three on the weekends happened too. I was never again up early enough to go by there on my days off. For awhile I was too embarrassed. Too sad. What would I say? How could I explain to her that I hated it here and wanted to leave. I did everything possible to avoid her little Bio Store.
After Christmas - after the pills kicked in - I felt good again. Good enough to go in and buy from her, maybe have a conversation. I picked up my items and said hello but so many months had past.
"Don't you remember me?" I wanted to say. "I'm the American girl!"
But I didn't say anything. I left, feeling ashamed that I had let so many months pass. It wasn't until I was with Toady one day near spring that something finally clicked for her. The air was clear. I could even almost speak to her in her own language.
Now, we have a nice report when I go in to shop. I want to be her biggest supporter but I have to admit that I have a crush on the convenience and variety that is offered by the Naturalia by my school. I rarely go up the hill to her corner of the world. But somewhere I still want to tell her everything I know about Organic food and help her become successful. I want to figure out why the father of her children is never around, and why she always looks so sad. I want to, but I'm not sure I ever will. Some people, I have discovered, are only in your life for a moment. What you can learn from them is left up to you.
And anyhow, the story is never over.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Today, walking down Boulevard St. Michel under a grey springtime sky I was struck with a familiar longing.
"I miss my mom," I thought. "She is too far away today."
This thought was not at all connected to Mother's Day which, in France, doesn't occur until June. Unfortunately being detached from your country of origin causes a fallible memory for holidays once given great attention.
No, it wasn't Mother's Day that made me miss her, and to be honest I don't really know what it was that triggered it. Thoughts of my mother never seem to stem from one thing in particular. It could have been a woman with the same salt and pepper hair, or maybe it was in the soft eyes of the woman pushing by me on the bus. Sometimes it's something as simple as spying a book I know she would love or a line in a song.
I remember another rainy Sunday when I lived in Houston, sitting at my dining room table in my big, airy apartment drinking coffee. I had invited her over for breakfast and we ate warm brie with peach jam and fresh fruit with honey. I played some jazz and my new kitten scurried across the hardwood floors chasing shadows. The rain drenched the streets outside of my fourplex, wafting the scent of the neighbors morning glories into my drafty old windows.
She listened to me as I told her all about how moving to Austin would be a great change for me, how it wasn't just for this guy whom I was in love with, how I knew in my heart it was the right decision. She was almost sold on the idea, even though I knew how much she would miss me, and I her. We had grown accustomed to being able to see each other on the weekends, to having coffee or dinner or watching T.V. But I could see in her eyes how much she wanted to support me, knowing full well I was walking into a mistake.
In the end it wasn't Austin that was the problem, it was the sociopath I moved there with that drove us to screaming at each other one night while on vacation at my sister's house. I will never forget the sound of terror in her voice as I tried to justify his crazy actions. He had just ended our short engagement over the phone and yet I still wanted to go home to him. She was terrified for me.
Eventually it was that terror that I finally understood as he chased my cat around our dark house in Austin, trying to rip it's head off. And I understood that she had known all the time what was coming but also that there was no stopping me. She stood bravely by waiting for her daughter to fall, and to come crying home. She finally breathed again when I got my own apartment and moved on.
A few years later it was my mother who helped me pack the remainder of my belongings and my two cats into my Ford Focus the month before I left for Paris. That month was hard on us both and so we sat on the patio smoking cigarettes together, both saying we needed to quit but cherishing the little moments we had trying not to think about the distance. Even though she didn't want me to move so far away, she encouraged my plans to follow my heart. She reminded me why I was doing it when I began to panic.
She is just that way, my mother. She has always been the support for me that I have needed and even when I am sure she thinks I am crazy, even when her firm hand pushes me back on path, she is always on my side.
My mother taught me - without even knowing it (and maybe now with some smidge of regret!) - how to follow my dreams. She is the reason I write, she is the reason I am not afraid to cry, the reason I sing and cook and dance. Her fear that I will follow her battered path is what keeps me scrapping towards the top. She is the reason I continually try to grow and evolve out of my painful habits. She is the person who laughs with me about it. She is strong and beautiful and passionate. She is the woman who raised two children alone, the woman who never let us feel as poor as we were, the woman who gave up so many of her dreams to do what was best for us.
Tonight I wish I could cook her dinner. I wish that I could bake her a cake and give her a little something to unwrap, something to make her smile that same smile I wear from time to time. I want to watch Murder Mysteries with her and have hot chocolate. I want to kiss her goodnight. Today my mother is too far away. And I know that I am lucky to feel that way. I know that some people don't get to have the kind of relationship we have. It's because of her I know I am blessed.
Thank you mom, for being my shadow, my safety net, my rock. Thank you for believing in me enough to let me move 5,000 miles away. Thank you for letting me read over your shoulder while you wrote, for singing in the car, for forcing me to go to church. You have no idea how close you are to me every single day, and how much I miss you. Happy Mother's Day, mom. Someday I hope I can give back to you even just a little of what you have given to me. I love you.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Last night I dreamt that I had a bouquet of beautiful flowers on my table that needed arranging. It started out in hyacinths and lilies but as pulled each long stem from the bunch to wrap it in paper more and more appeared on my table. Sweet juliet roses, bright red peonies and pink iris' with thick green stalks kept being added to the bouquet until I almost couldn't wrap it any longer. It was half the size of me but still light and lovely. It felt overwhelming, but in a way that only an enormous bouquet of flowers can make you feel.
Meanwhile, when I'm awake, I am plagued by my biannual visit from the "What the F am I going to do with my life" Fairy. I have been suffering from regular anxiety attacks spurred by thoughts of "SHIT! I'm nearly thirty and don't have a job!" and "How am I ever going to make it as a writer/artist?" and most recently "I only have five more months left in Paris and I don't think I want to leave."
This last one puts me in a real tizzy. After the first incredibly hard, awful months and after I nearly went home because of the long, cold winter it is very strange for me to think about staying in France. I still miss my family. I am frustrated at not having the funds to fly in and give them hugs and be able to send them gifts on all the important and appropriate occasions. But...
I like it here. I have made so many friends here. I am never for lack of things to see or places to go. At each turn I encounter another way to get closer to my ultimate goals. Even though I will never be one hundred percent happy with anything - because I am a perfectly flawed human and that is how we are it seems - I am happy. I feel like I am finally on the path to becoming the person that I want to be.
This is so far from where I was last year. Last year I was constantly "in between jobs". Last year I couldn't support myself even when I tried, making just a smidge under 5,000 dollars in the space of eigth months. I was in love with a man who didn't love me, had lost the luster in my eyes and the bounce in my step, fighting with the demons of depression and losing, forgetting what it was that made me really happy with myself. I was weak.
I want to give the place a chance to manifest me. I know all the right people to put together a beautiful story, to finally do all the things I want in my life. The details are hazy, but I want to let time sharpen them. And I feel like five months isn't enough.
SO. I am having anxiety attacks. My chest tightens and my heart beats faster. I make list after list hoping to dump all of my spinning thoughts out but they just mount on eachother like dogs in heat. I dream about bouquets of flowers bigger than any of my vases can hold and think, "Well, maybe it's just time to make space for that."
In the meantime, I'll keep the flowers alive in the bathtub.
Monday, May 4, 2009
She is black and sassy, and over the past months I have grown quite attached to her. I've watched her plump up and her green eyes return to a lovely shine. She is the one who keeps me company when I return to the little house, locking the doors against the silence of a suburb, turning on some jazz and re-creating my comfort zone.
Alas, healthy equals feisty in a cat and therein lies the little problem. She is curious and friendly, which translates into she wanders into the big house when the doors are open.
Host Dad knows I keep her, and the kids are clued in as well but Host Mom - she is afraid of this petit chat. Afraid. And by afraid it means that she yells a lot when the cat wanders around the yard and thinks that the cat is responsible for every single poo in the yard.
Today the young one returned from school and told me "Mom yelled a lot at the cat this morning. That's how I woke up, she was screaming."
And though I want to keep her, though I want her to be my cat because she is my cat (we chose each other) I can see that in the very near future Host Mom might get so angry that she steps on her little black neck. Or, you know, calls the pound. Neither option is very great and so I have to find her a new home.
Who wants to love a LOUD (did I mention she is LOUD?) probably deaf, skinny black cat who will love you forever? She needs a farm, she needs a yard and no other stray cats to fight against. It sort of hurts my heart to even think about doing it, but the alternative is to feel the wrath.
...She so sweet when she sleeps...