I’ve been sitting on thoughts of posting to this blog for over a week now. PJ and I returned from our Canada adventure two weeks ago tomorrow, and I have postponed (procrastinated, lol) writing here as I have just not been sure what strategy to take in summing the adventure up, especially from a gluten-free (and sugar and yeast-free) perspective!
A lot happened in three weeks that was very, very good. I had a lot of worries about whether or not the food and snacks I packed for the journey from Paris to Detroit and then north to Cumming Lake would make it through airport security and customs/immigration — I’m glad to report that everything did. I’m happy that I made it though security, customs and immigration, too, both into the States and Canada! All went well on that end.
I am also happy to report that I was able to stick to gluten-free, low-sugar, and yeast-free foods while I was in remote Ontario, thanks to the help from PJ’s mom and sister. They were great blessings in helping me to do this.
I did have ill health while I was there, though, and still had flare-ups of symptoms, including getting a virus that started in my sinuses and went straight to my bronchial tubes. I also struggled (still) with my chronic yeast infection. My immune system was definitely challenged by the trip. The challenge with this was so great that I came to a deep resolution that I have to quit smoking. (“Duh!” you say. I know, I know. But knowing with one’s head what is good for him or her is different than really feeling it to the ground and knowing that deep change needs to arrive. It was the same with me and resolving to be gluten- and sugar-free. These things sometimes take time to really go “Ding!” in our heads, you know?)
Anyways, since coming home to Paris (without a hitch, I’m also glad to report), I have been working on cutting way back from being a pack-a-day smoker to on average 6-7 a day. I have set the 21st of September as a final “Quit Day.” I’m using the same mental strategies to put smoking away in my life just as I did gluten and sugar.
I am uploading photos to Flickr as I type, and I welcome you to visit those photos via my Flickr widget here on this page! I have not added descriptions there yet, but hope to.
On one of the social networks I belong to and also blog at, one of my good friends there was writing about how she would like to live a simpler life. She wrote the following:
Part of me wishes I could run away to a place like that [a remote, simple place]. I think everyone has those moments of fantasy when going to an extreme feels like the most amazing thing that could happen. There’s something inside me that wishes I could live in a small house that used mud and straw for insulation, where my daughter would play outside with views of a mountain range rather than a 6 foot wooden fence. As much as I love TV, part of me wishes I could throw the damn machine out the window and rediscover the joys inside old novels, crossword puzzle books, and my own notebooks full of ideas. At night, I want to hear crickets and wind and nothing else–no cars, no trains, no creaks that lead my mind to thinking someone outside is breaking in to rape and kill me. It would be liberating to give away everything I own and be free of all material attachments. Buddha said, “You only lose what you cling to,” and that quote has been in my mind for weeks. I cling to so much, so many things that are so unimportant in the grand scheme.
Her words sum up a lot of what spending time at the cottage at Cumming Lake is like. It is simple in terms of a way of being. Most things to distract are removed there, and there is the fun of rowing a canoe, doing a crossword or a 1,000 piece puzzle, or taking time out to journal in an actual notebook, with handwriting (imagine that!!). Yes, it is hard work to keep everything going smoothly, from buying food in the closest town, Thessalon, and getting it to the cottage, to making sure the boats have gasoline, to keeping everything in good working order at the cottage. But there is satisfaction in doing tasks to support the fun and relaxation in being “away from it all” and I see why PJ’s family keeps it as a precious part of their lives each summer and have done so for the past 41 years.
Now my life in Paris has resumed, along with school for youth here in France and other parts of the world. It feels to me like a new year has come — the beginning of a school year, the change in the weather, which feels more like autumn, with passing into a time where this time last year I was in Paris, and I now have Paris memories in my past instead of everything being new. I can now say, “This time last year, I was doing X in Paris,” or “I remember Y in Paris from last year…” It is a strange sensation to have fully moved into my second year here and it has become more like home, even while I still, most days, feel like an Alien.
I already have some more Parisian adventures on which to blog! I recently made gluten-free lentil pancakes, successfully. The batter is essentially soaked and processed lentils and rice. I also went out with my friend Tess to an oxygen bar in the 2nd arrondissement, and had a pigeon jump up and sit on my knee in the Jardin des Tuileries! This past Sunday I went, with Parisians and tourists alike to the Louvre on Free Sunday (the first Sunday of the month offers free admission to many of Paris’ museums). Now that I am past the writer’s block of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” I hope to share these and more adventures as I have them here.
Until then, be well. I leave you with one of my favorite photos I took this summer.
Sunrise, Lake Cumming (with what I believe is Venus up in the early morning sky)