Hodge Podge


Oranges on the tree at Janet’s house in Antibes, France, February 2010.

I just read a post by blogger extraordinaire David Lebovitz about his making “Compost Cookies,” or “Amnesty Cookies” as he called them. He ties together the concept of having an “Email Amnesty Day” whereby a person deletes all of his or her inbox in an attempt to lighten his or her load with the idea of making Compost Cookies, which entails going through one’s cupboards and putting a hodge podge of ingredients in the dough in order to lighten the contents of the cupboards, if not one’s waistline. It’s a post written with his usual light humor and aplomb, but it also gave me an idea.

I have Chrome Open Tab Disorder right now, which is the condition by which one has a bajillion tabs open in his or her browser, so many that the top bar of the browser looks like this:

browser open tabs

(I made this image “private” in Flickr, so you can’t click on it to see it any bigger, but it gives you the idea that that’s what my Google Chrome browser looks like right now: a bar of salmon pink open tabs where I cannot even tell which tab is which anymore! I have to play “Hunt the Website” by clicking on various tabs to see which page is attached to it in order to find anything.)

I decided that the only cure for this disease, which exists because I have Blogstipation too often, is to purge here on the page about all the tabs I have open about which I have something to say or make note of. I am going to do the same as David has done, except instead of bake cookies with ingredients piling up in cupboards, I am going to cook up a blog of odds and ends which have interested me in recent days.

[Author’s note: I started this post on Monday, March 8, 2010, so when I write stuff like “yesterday” or “last night,” it is referring to Sunday, March 7, 2010. I got about 90% through this post on Monday until it was time to go to yoga. Then Paul was on doing his writing, so I am completing this post on Tuesday, March 9, 2010.]

Photo Contest

First up, Flickr and the Château de Versailles website are having a photo contest. I discovered this not long after returning to Paris from Antibes a couple of weeks ago in a post on the website Hôtels Paris Rive Gauche blog, whose updates I check regularly. The contest is in coordination with the exhibit Versailles photographed 1850-2010, a photo exhibition at the Château de Versailles until 25th April 2010. The photo contest information in English at the Château de Versailles website is at this link here. You can see the photos that have been submitted to Flickr at the Flickr Pool page here: Reflections of Versailles photo competition. There are some spectacular submissions, all of which were to have followed these basic rules (there are some who clearly did not read the rules and submitted anyways):

  • Your photograph will highlight the play of light, the colours of the water and reflections of the Château and its estate.
  • It will be only in landscape format.
  • It will be as natural as possible (high quality pictures). Avoid big retouches (they won’t be eligible).

(Rules copied from the Flickr page.)

I entered five of my photos, following the guidelines for submitting only photos in landscape format. I do not feel they were my best photos of Versailles nor the best photos following the theme of the contest, but I realized I took a lot of portrait photos instead of landscape ones when I went to try to find photos to submit. Drat.

Anyways, here you go:

Versailles Collage

Individually, these photos are located

Seriously, if you really want to see some stunning photos of Versailles, go check out the Flickr link. Now! Dooo eeeeet!! (lol) You will be glad you did. I ooohed and ahhhhed quite a lot at them. In fact, most of them make my photos kind of look like crap, hahaha, but that’s okay. I did my best with the equipment I have, and I am not expecting to win anything at all. I did want to give my Flickr photo page some exposure, though, which is why I entered. I know I have been clicking on quite a few people’s pages to check out more of their photos, and I am sure that some folks have done the same with mine.

The Oscars (maybe I am supposed to add “TM” or ® here?)

They may have been televised here, but if they were, I did not see them. Last night, I was busy watching old episodes of “The 4400” and “CSI: Vegas” on our Free video-on-demand subscription and the French channel TF1. Come to think of it, though, the Oscars (TM? ®?) were on from about 2 or 3 in the morning  until about 6 am here, but there is no way I would have woken up that early to watch any of it, anyways. I just went to the Oscars website a couple of hours ago to see who won. I kind of missed seeing who was wearing what, but then there is the good old Interwebz for that, too, now, isn’t there.

Jeff Bridges as The Big Lebowski

Jeff Bridges as The Big Lebowski

Duuuude! I was thrilled to see that Jeff Bridges won for “Crazy Heart,” which Paul and I just saw last week. I loved the movie, I thought it was very well-done, and I am pleased that Mr. Bridges took home an award for his performance. I was equally pleased to see that Christoph Waltz won for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in “Inglorious Basterds.” Paul and I were stunned at his performance in the film and he very-much deserved the award, in my opinion.

Surprises? Well, the movie “The Blind Side” did not make it to this side of the pond, yet, as far as I know (and Paul and I usually keep up on this kind of thing) so I have not seen the Oscar® winning performance by Sandra Bullock, although we did see her in “The Proposal” last year. Sounds like I should be glad I did not see her in “All About Steve,” though!

I was also glad to see that “The Hurt Locker” won the Best Picture award. It really was a very intense film and I liked it a  lot.  I think that I would have voted for “Inglorious Basterds,” but I am glad that a woman, Katheryn Bigelow, won Best Director and that her direction was supported by a Best Picture award. All of the films that were nominated were worthy nominees, I felt, although I have not yet seen “The Blind Side” nor “Precious” (although I may see that one this week). There were also a couple that I had hoped to see, but which I will have to catch on DVD or by some other means, one of which was “The Young Victoria,” which won an award for Best Costume Design.

Watching the Academy Awards was one thing I *never* missed when I lived in the States. Kind of like the Olympics — I never missed watching them, either. Now that I am in France, and it is harder for me to watch these things (I found that the televised coverage of the Winter Olympics was a *lot* less here than on NBC in the States, and also, it is in French, which is understandable — duh — but hard for me to understand. The Academy Awards? I’ve already discussed that).

I guess I am feeling really grateful for the internet, though, which makes it possible to catch up on the highlights, at any rate.

Moving on to…

This Awesome Video

I ran into this on dooce.com last week.

Right click on the picture and then open in a new tab/window to see the video.

It is of a Rube Goldberg-inspired machine to go along with OK Go’s song “This Too Shall Pass.” It’s brilliant, and brought a huge smile to my face! I keep watching and listening to remind myself “this too shall pass,” and to get a good laugh. Please watch! You will have fun. I command it.

Mwah hah hah!

(That was evil overlord laughter, in case you were wondering.)

On Writing

On Writing

(Photo from teensygreen.com Wednesday Twitter Links – On Writing)

I feel walls closing in on me in my life. There are a few situations in my life over which I have little real control. For example, I do not have much control with the foods I can and cannot eat successfully (by successfully, I mean foods that will not give me constant noxious gas and diarrhea or constipation, and/or extreme irritability and/or depression, and/or headaches, joint pain, swollen glands, and blah blah blah blah. In general, “successful eating” means I eat and have no negative “feedback” from my mind and body). Sure, I can decide what I put into my mouth, there are food options that won’t make me feel bad, but the sense of freedom of *choice* is not really with me these days. It does not seem like much of a choice to decide if I would rather eat fish or fava beans. Sometimes, I want cake. Or bread. But no go. Impossible! (Said with a French accent.)

There are other walls closing in about me, too. My life has handed me a hardhat and shovel and told me to “Dig here.” If someone did not understand  how I was handed the hardhat and shovel, they might look in on me after-the-fact and say something to the effect of, “Well, you dug that hole all by yourself, so now you have to sit in it.”

Similarly, life handed me a clean sheet set and a bed, and said, “Please make this bed and then get into it.” So I made the bed, I climbed in. While I know I was handed the sheets and presented with the bed, I hear judgmental voices saying, “You made your bed, now lie in it!”

I get it. On the surface of things, I dug the hole, I made the bed. I’m not trying to deny there is a hole and there is a bed, and I had a hand in digging and making each of them. But I will say that when I was presented with the shovel and the sheets, first, I really felt that life’s telling me to dig and assemble meant that this was the path to go on; walk on it, and everything would be okay. Second, I suppose there was the option to say “No” as there is always an option (I am thinking of the concept of “infinite choice” here I tried to find something online about this, and the closest I came was this, but it made my head spin and then get a headache. I guess I just mean that there are always options, even though some of the options may be choosing the lesser of two evils). But life so very clearly handed me the shovel and the sheets that saying “No” was not really possible. I’m hoping that some of you perhaps have had similar experiences.

Thing is, I’m not there, yet. Wherever “there” is supposed to be. I don’t know if I know exactly where “it” is, I just have the feeling I have not yet arrived.

The digging and the assembling have led to this sensation of the walls closing in and overtaking me. I’m trying to be brave, I have some walking companions in this dark forest where my path has gone, so I am not completely alone, and I just keep putting one foot in front of the other in order to make progress towards… something. I keep hoping it is the bright, sunshiny meadow that in all the stories lies at the end of the dark and scary forest, but honestly? I don’t know. There may just be more dark and scary forest ahead. At this point, however, all I can do is keep placing foot in front of foot and forge on.

Sometimes I think that maybe writing will save me, that what I write is the light in the meadow. I can’t tell you how many people I have read about online who have written books about their experiences overseas, or written novels or cookbooks, or even a combination thereof. One woman, Elizabeth Bard, just had her story published: Lunch in Paris. Elizabeth’s blog is here. Her book is getting great press and I am excited for her! I am planning to go to her book signing at WH Smith here in Paris on Thursday. If you read this, and live in Paris and want to go check it out, it’s at 7 pm in the bookstore. An RSVP to the bookstore is required, and instructions on doing so are here.

Sometimes I think that maybe writing some kind of story out of all that has been my life so far (almost 42 years!) will be that knight in shining armor that rescues me — that something I write might carry me in good steed [sic, intended] towards the meadow of sunshine and fresh air.

Thing is, I have to figure out what to write. I have no idea what, yet. And so I do this.

Meanwhile, I also collect things like these two links, passed on to me by my dear friend Janet:

Ten Rules for Writing Fiction, Part One and Part Two, including tips from notable writers such as Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, and Neil Gaiman.

Links like that are kind of the “just-in-case” ones — you never know when they might come in handy.


I have had an interesting life. How I got here (to Paris, which I have written about in various blog posts here and there, but I am not going to hunt them down to link them in just at the moment) is an interesting story. I have been thinking that it might be a tale to address here and then link into my About page, eventually. As for a couple of basic facts, I’ve been married twice, have two kids who do not live with me, and lived in places like England and China. I’ve traveled. I now live in Paris. Yeah, it sounds pretty cool and all, but it ain’t always all that, you know? I have been unemployed for 21 months now. This has led to some complications in my life (some of those walls up there…). I don’t even know if I am going to be capable of holding a job here in France, if it ever happens that I do get working papers, which is slow to get into the works as it involves so much hoop-jumping, and it feels like the hoops go all the way up the side of Mount Everest.

In my internet journeys, I run into people like this, and I feel a little bit of envy creep in. Heather’s “About” page is here, and I read it with envy. I envy her. She kind of seems like she has her shit together, you know? And here I am, in what feels like my third incarnation of adult life at almost-42 and I think, “WTF? How did I get here?” Unemployed. Far from my kids. Eating weird and limited foods. Feeling those walls closing in… I want to shout to the Universe, “WHATTUP, buttercup? Answers please!” And then I think of Job. You know, the dude in the bible. I really liked the movie “A Serious Man” as it was not only by the Coen Brothers, but it had these Job-like leanings in the tale. Job had shit happen after he was the top man of the heap, and he had to sit and ask himself, “Why?” a lot, too, before G-d basically said, “Because I said so” and then Job said, “Okay,” and then after Job accepted this, he was given replacement kids and stuff. It’s kind of a messed-up story, really, and frustrates me, but there you go. I feel a little like Job in the portion of the story where he is sitting in the dirt, scratching with pieces of broken pottery at sores the devil was allowed to inflict upon him.

Then I do stuff like go back to that video “This Too Shall Pass” and laugh again. Thank YHWH for the internet, is I guess what I can say about that.

Things I Did Not Know

Chicory Root - photo source linked to photo (Wikipedia)

I bought some soluble chicory root as a coffee substitute over the weekend. I like it! I have a feeling it may be giving me really bad gas, though, as I am beginning to suspect I may have a fructose malabsorption issue. I knowwwwwww!! I feel like such a spazz to be constantly coming on here and saying “this and that and the other is making me sick.” Look, all I know is that it is a good thing I am alone in the house right now and can fart with impunity. It’s horrid. I’m trying to work it all out of my system before I go to yoga tonight. Also, I should probably burn some incense before Paul gets home from work, too. I keep thinking of myself as “Walter.”

It has been a gaseous nightmare around me for the past couple of weeks.

Anyways, two things before I explain about the fructose malabsorption part:

One — chicory is ENDIVE! Who knew?? (Not me. I learned this today.)

Two — chicory contains high levels of inulin, which is a really good prebiotic (that’s PRE, not pro — probiotic being this), stuff that can heal the digestive system by encouraging the good bacteria in the gut to proliferate. It is basically fiber.

The bad news is, chicory is very high in fructans, which, if one does not digest fructose very well, leads to lots and lots and lots of gas and upset in the stomach.

Raisins, something I have been eating daily for the past couple of weeks, are also high in fructose.

I’m beginning to suspect that I have a bit of this malabsorption issue, especially since I had no raisins today, but did have two big mugs of chicory, naturally caffeine-free coffee substitute. It tasted *super* going down (“Finally” I thought, “Something I can drink that is a bit like coffee, but potentially really healthy for me!”), but I have to say that if the result is what is coming out the other end in gaseous form, I really, really, really cannot drink it. Really.


Anyways, that’s what I have learned today.

Another Video

What English Sounds Like to Foreigners

(Right click on the picture and open in a new tab/window to see the video. There is also a YouTube version here.)

This one is from another online friend of mine in the social networking world of Multiply.com. I saw this and laughed a lot!

It is called “Prisencolinensinainciusol” and was written by Italian artist Adriano Celentano in 1972. As this blog states,

Recorded by Celentano and Raffaella Carrà in an American accent, it sounds like it should be English, but the lyrics are pure gibberish.

Amusing! It helps me be empathetic to people learning English. Now I want one that helps French people be more empathetic to people learning French. 🙂

Defaced Presidents

Flickr Pool - Defaced Presidents

My eldest son and I keep in touch via weekly phone calls and Facebook. Recently, he posted a link to this Flickr Pool: Defaced Presidents.

More humor to lighten one’s load! Check them out. I laughed a lot.

Depression’s Upside

Apparently, there is one. This link to The New York Times article “Depression’s Upside,” is also from my friend Janet.

I’m Almost Finished

C’mon, I had, like, forty tabs open or something! Hahaha! Just let me get it all off my chest, eh? Let me see if I can at least list the rest here. I would like a clean slate! Browser. Whatever.

Claude Debussy

Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies by Claude Monet, 1899

Today I also learned that Claude Debussy was buried at Passy Cemetery here in Paris. I looked it up as a friend, Lila, on Facebook had put up this version of Clair de Lune in a note, and I was listening and reflecting on the music, and then reading about Debussy. She had asked us to write in her comments what the music made us think of while we listened. I wrote the following:

I think because it is Debussy and Clair de Lune, I think of France, I think of Paris. I see an old 1940s movie, black and white, in my mind’s eye. Men and women walking up and down the Seine, in spring or summer. It must be late at night, for the sky to be dark and the moon to be showing, it has to be late.

The music also makes me think of one of Monet’s paintings in the garden, near a small brook.

Anyways, this is a lovely, dreamlike piece and thinking about it brought me un petit bonheur this morning, Lila. Thank you.

How about you? What does the music recall for you?

Le Bon Marché

From Wikipedia - Au Bonheur des Dames manuscript

Bonjour Paris sent me an updated newsletter today. Featured was this article, “Our Favorite Shops in Paris” by Doni Belau and Amy Thomas. I read it through, realized that most of the shops were a bit too chi-chi for me, but was interested in this link in the article to a piece about Le Bon Marché department store by Sylvia Sabes on Girls Guide to Paris. It gives a little bit of the history of what is the world’s first department store (which I did not know). I also learned from the article that the novel The Ladies’ Paradise (Au Bonheur des Dames in French) by Emile Zola recounts the birth of a department store in Paris.

I would really like to read Zola. Paul has. All twenty novels in the Rougon-Macquart cycle. In French. See “Envy” in previous part of blog.

I’ll start with the English version, methinks. Of just the one novel.

Which leads me to…

Learning French

Zelda Fitzgerald

(Photo found at this blog.)

Thanks to Paris (im)Perfect’s blog at this post here, I have learned about French Word-A-Day, a blog dedicated to learning the French language. I really liked a recent post about the word désaxé, which is an adjective meaning “unhinged; unbalanced.” Hahaha! Oh, that is a good word for me. In all of my envy and questioning, in all my observations of the “seem-to-have-it-all-together” people I read about in Paris, I was thinking the other day about trying to research and write about all the nut-jobs and unsuccessful people that Paris has housed. One whom I thought I could look into is Zelda Fitzgerald.

Yeah, I feel like her a lot of days, lol.

I also discovered this really cool link at French Word-A -Day: French Yabla. It looks really fun, at I am going to sign up for the free email lessons.

Another blog I check in with regularly for French language information is Laura’s French Language Blog at About.com. I have gotten a lot of helpful language information on her site.

Now if I could just get my butt into more action on this whole language-learning thing, I might be able to scale some of those walls I am facing.


It’s Tuesday now. I have been checking out my email, looking in on a couple of blogs, and yes, I opened some new tabs. *sigh*

I read a little more about Fructose Malabsorption today and ran into this site all about bananas: Banana.com. Did you know that banana plants are not trees but the world’s largest herb? Me, either.

I read up on a couple of new (to me) blogs about Paris, this one from Misplaced Texan and another by The Armchair Parisian. More glimpses into others’ perspectives about the City of Light (which I learned from this article is *singular* — “light” not “lights.” The nickname has to do with Paris’ being a city of the Enlightenment, not with how many street lamps it has. Careful! If you read it, you may find thereafter that you will become highly annoyed when you see the expression misused  in the plural. Heh.).

Finally, there is this inspiring guest blog by Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, more popularly known as artist SARK, at the Crazy Sexy Life website. The basics of the post are that we should allow ourselves to do more things badly. Our perfectionist ways, she writes, often inhibit our joy. That is so true.

With comparing myself to others — others in Paris who seem to be doing it better than me, others who are more advantaged, or seem to have fewer barriers — I am robbing myself of more joy. I want more freedom and joy in my life, and the best way to get a start on that is believing that it can be mine, believing that it is possible for me, too.

So there you go. My Monday-bleeding-into-Tuesday “mind/browser dump” here on my blog. I only have 11 tabs open now, and two of them are related to this post. One is my email and another is Flickr. I think there are six tabs dedicated to a blog post I am long-overdue in writing: about Peter Olson’s and my journey through the area in the 19th arrondissement on rue Mouzaïa last December. The other open tab is Google Reader.

I feel… relieved. You, perhaps, may feel more burdened. Sorry! Sorta. I guess it is your turn to have some open tabs now, haha!

Be well, everyone, and I shall do my best to return very soon.

Adios! Uhhh, I mean, au revoir!

Karin (an alien parisienne)

Categories: Food Intolerances, Karin Brain Miscellany, Language Learning, Movies in Paris, Paris Blogging, Personal Life, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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19 thoughts on “Hodge Podge

  1. Karin! I have a similar problem – too many open tabs at all times. However, I think you definitely win. What quantity (and quality)! Thanks for giving us a run-down. And thanks for linking to my blog! Good luck with the French. Um, I mean, ‘bon courage’ ! 🙂

    • Thanks, Sion. 🙂 I don’t know if Open Tabs is a game I want to win — it gives me a kind of brain damage, I think, haha! Still, I am glad I wrote this post! I am re-reading it for myself, and thoroughly re-enjoying that OK Go video just one more time. I love it. 🙂

      Mercy buckets for the bonny courage on the language learning. Merci beaucoup, mon amie. You are very welcome for the link. I hope you get some reads from it! (Reminds me it is time for an update of my blogroll. I need to add you in there!)

      • Oh! And thanks for letting me know about the Elizabeth Bard reading on Thursday. I think I might come! That would be fun to see you there 🙂

      • I hope to see you there! I need to hop back over to your site to see that one pic of you so I know kind of what you look like! If you see me and recognize me, first, come and say hi, please.

  2. I’ve got the tab problem too. I combat it (not entirely successfully, I might add) by creating a category in my bookmarks titled ‘Interestingness’. When I’m on top of things, I link to these from the top right of my website, but as I type this, I realize that I haven’t updated those links in awhile.

    We actually watched the Oscars, which I never do. I was so glad that Jeff Bridges won because he’s adorable. You can tell he’s a good person from all the smile crinkles he’s got at his eyes. I was cheering for The Hurt Locker (even though I haven’t seen it) only because I think Avatar is way overrated (and it was great for her to beat out her ex). Haven’t seen Avatar either. But I could tell. 😉 The only movie we’d seen was Inglourious Basterds, which was hilarious and awful at the same time.

    • I love the category of “Interestingness,” lol!! I have done something similar in the past, and even have a page at Read It Later (http://readitlaterlist.com/) which I really like the idea of, but I seem to have lots of problems with executing the whole principle of reading it later. I flirted with delicious (http://delicious.com) but never could seem to organize things the way I like… Keeping tabs open until I decide what to do with them has worked the best, lol. And then posting massive blogs about it all! 🙂

      I am with you in Kathryn’s beating out her ex! Go girl! I dunno about you, but everything I have read about James Cameron makes him sound like a giant ass, too, so I am even more glad she beat him out. He sounds like a jerk! You cracked me up with this:

      I think Avatar is way overrated (and it was great for her to beat out her ex). Haven’t seen Avatar either. But I could tell.

      Hahaha! You also described “Inglorious Basterds” perfectly! I think that describes a lot of Tarantino movies well.

      Thank you for your input, Wendy, and I hope all is well in your world.

  3. Do you think that maybe you should be writing in more detail, at least for yourself, not for us, about that shovel, that hole, and that bed? I don’t know, don’t want to be the devil’s advocate, but I imagine there is lots of “material,” lurking there under the soil and between those sheets.
    While I don’t claim to be a French speaker, just yet, I have become a very good French listener, reader, and even movie watcher. I attribute much of this to the podcasts I download from this site: http://learnfrenchwithalexa.com/

    First 20 or so lessons for free, then you need to subscribe.

    • Do you think that maybe you should be writing in more detail, at least for yourself, not for us, about that shovel, that hole, and that bed? I don’t know, don’t want to be the devil’s advocate, but I imagine there is lots of “material,” lurking there under the soil and between those sheets.

      Nicely put! 😀 And yes, I think that writing about this in detail would be a very good thing, at the very least for myself. Actually, I have thought about opening an anonymous blog out there just for this. Anonymous as I know that sometimes the dirt has been really dirty and what lay between the sheets probably needs to stay there, but at the same time, to know that it is being read mostly, especially, by people I do not know, seems to be a helpful concept to me. Plus, I like knowing it is in a place where I can always access what I have written. I have been through too many hard drive wipes to feel secure with putting anything on one. I know of people having had blogs hacked, too, and almost lost their whole kit and caboodle, but I still think it is a good way to go. I will give this some serious though, Betsy. Thank you.

      Ohhhh, thank you for the link to Learn French With Alexa! That is one groovilicious site. It looks like it is organized in a way that I could make sense of. I have been plotting a blog in my mind for a little while about why speaking a new language is so hard. It’s so funny that everything I had to learn in grad school about teaching English to speakers of other languages I am having to apply to myself now. I mean, I had some experience as a learner in China, but I was still so young then, the challenge of it escaped me. Ah, youth. Wasted on the young, eh? 😉

      Thank you for coming by, Betsy. I always like it when you visit. 🙂

  4. When I first started volunteering for habitat restoration, there was a park ranger in charge of the saturday program that would bring a bag of homemade cookies to share for break. I would call them “everything in the kitchen cookies” because it looked like he threw in everything that was in his kitchen that day. It worked and was delicious.

    The favorites in my tool bar is empty right now, but I may put the most used or maybe tools I use when on other pages (like tiny url) later. My favorites are on the tab in many folders within folders to keep them organized.

    A question occures to me. I’m able to be extravegant once a year due to getting my taxes back. Does France have such an income tax ritual as the American one? (I guess this would be a question for Paul until you get in the game).

    I’ve never entered a Flickr contest, but have submited several times on Fotki (I’ve an album dedicated to these submissions and in the attached to each photo is the contest I submitted to and how I did). Sometimes the comments have really helped me improve my photography, but yeah, looking at the winners, I can see how I didn’t have a chance.

    Funny thing about the movie Precious, everyone raves that it is an intense and well made movie with stunning performances, but no one recommend seeing it because it is such a downer. Dunno if that counts as a spoiler or simply a “heads up”.

    “Sometimes I think that maybe writing some kind of story out of all that has been my life so far (almost 42 years!) will be that knight in shining armor that rescues me ” I’ve often started these epic self conceptualisations and have gotten bogged down in remembering enough details to explain why things are relevent or getting the time line in proper order. In the end I’ve always given up in frustration. Should anyone really care for my explanation as to the journey here, they can volunteer to be my ghost writter and I will write via interview. As for my own self expression, I have gone back to see how others have done it and discovered that they don’t tell the whole story, but some signifigant episode or combination there of that gets across a point. This then follows the age old formula of story telling, to tell a morality tale or something with a point/message. Amie did a fine job of spelling out the various formulas once when airing out her frustrations in deciding which to follow and sticking with it.

    Everytime you or Paul describe A Serious Man, I think of the Michael Douglas film Falling Down. How close would you say those stories are?

    In any of these eating disorders, are there things you can take to deal with the unwanted side effects that would allow you to partake or does nothing work for you?

    I had one though that Enlish was the hardest language to master for a non speaker not just because of the gramer inconsistancies, but because in other languages one word can mean many things depending on how it is used, but in english, many words can mean one thing but one still has to watch context when choosing which, but then I happened to look into one of my ex-gf’s German books and one word will have nine different several different tenses and you have to choose the correct one when speaking (it is male, female, nutural, past present, future or a combination there-of?).

    Coincidence? Debussy is one of my favorite composers and I love clair de lune and so when I started P@P again I downloaded Debussy’s complete piano works.They are using this for a HMO commercial that is so cool. They talk about going paperless and how it will save lives and , oh yes, trees. So they have a city with redwood growing up amongst the buildings with traffic weaving through the forrest and deer grazing downtown. I’ll look for a link. Here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7TEUoNBgFE . For the longest time I thought their voice actor was Katy Siegal (you know-married with children), but I searched and found it was Allison Janney http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005049/

    Clair de Lune evokes for me a spring rain where the air is warm and a light rain falls from the sky. Instant streams appear where there were none washing past wild flowers in tall grass and forming little waterfalls (or there is the techno version done by Tomita that evokes the depth and quiet beauty of space http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF4UmgQxzpM )

    I think I face the same wall that you do in that there are many avenues open to me and yet I simply lack motivation (not that the doors another language will open isn’t motivating, but it is far easier to claim it is impossible and not try)

    If you were to talk to the creators of many masterpieces, many would tell you of their dissatisfaction with the “finnished” product, but should the world have waited until the artist was satisfied, then we would have no art.

    • Hi Ken! Oh where to start on your blomment? 🙂

      Re: Organization of web surfing. Folders do very much work to help sort things out. I am in love with Google reader; now I would like a Google app that could help me organize even better than Google Bookmarks, which I think is kind of lame by comparison. Oh hang onnnnnnn!! I guess I never had logged into the actual Google Bookmarks page; I had always just viewed them from iGoogle. Heeyyyyyy, they are organized fairly well there! Who KNEW? I am so glad I checked that out! Go Google! I keep saying it: Google is God. I really do need to switch to gmail, now. *sigh*

      Re: Taxes. No idea. I don’t think there is much a refund thing once a year, though. As far as I know, they are done quarterly and involve more payments than refunds, kind of like a small business in the States. I found this link at a source I often check for other things, AngloInfo, http://www.angloinfo.com/countries/france/intax.asp.

      Re: Photos. Fotki looks cool! I was also checking out SmugMug. http://www.smugmug.com/ In fact, it was one of the open tabs I decided to just close, lol. I will also have you all know that I am quickly opening many NEW tabs with all of this information! Heh.

      Re: Precious. Thank you for the heads up. I don’t think anything could depress me more than “A Single Man” or the film earlier this year, “The Road,” so I am ready to take it on. I’m glad to know, though. One of Paul’s co-workers also said that the book was WAY more intense than the movie. I’d like to check the book out.

      Re: Telling our own stories.

      This then follows the age old formula of story telling, to tell a morality tale or something with a point/message.

      I think you are right. I think that my story really closely parallels Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” and she was able to frame her story with a story arc, just like you write. I don’t even feel like with my story that I have ascended fully up Conflict Mountain, much less had a climax or denouement, so I have a lot of trouble deciding what part of the story to tell, when the ending doesn’t even feel clear to me. Perhaps I will write a story about the present some time in the future. Meanwhile, I definitely could focus on the past elements and how I got here. Or, I may have a flash of insight about how to organize the story so far, just like Gilbert seemed to have.

      Re: Falling Down. I have not seen it, so I don’t know how to compare them…

      Re: Food Stuff. I have read about certain vitamins and foods that may help healing, but some of the things conflict (for example, most people say take a probiotic, however, if one is fructose intolerant, then FOS, which is often the carrier of probiotics, will make one sicker). The thing I have read the most is that one just has to stay away from the foods that cause one to react, and hope the body can heal itself. There is no magic pill or vitamin or enzyme, although research is looking into possibilities. I just have to buck up and wing this on my own (and with my best friend Janet’s help, I have to add — she has been wonderful in researching these things for herself and sharing with me) until maybe something or someone crosses my path that shows me differently.

      Re: Languages. I think you are right — English is not easy, as my students through the years communicated. I am of the mind that there is no such thing as an easy language to learn. They are all hard in one way or another, and it is something that is relative to one’s mother tongue. I would venture to say that because of their mutual Latin roots, French speakers would have an easier time learning Spanish. I think individual aptitude plays a huge role, too. There are all kinds of factors that come into play with language learning.

      Re: Debussy and “Clair de Lune.” Thanks for the link — that was a cool commercial! I was on KP before moving here. They were pretty good. I liked reading what the music made you think of. Thanks for responding about that. Was it just me, but on the album cover of the Tomita electronic version on YouTube, does that look like Spock, minus the pointy ears, or what? It’s a very “synth-y” version, huh.

      Re: Motivation. As they say in French, “oui, mais non.” Yes, but no. I definitely see what you are saying, and yes, motivation is very much a part of the choices we make or don’t make, no doubt. And I see that you are saying in your own sitch is it motivation that is the issue. But the thing is for me, I am *hugely* motivated to push against those walls, but life does not seem to want me to. I keep coming back to The Hanged Man in Tarot: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/meanings/hangedman.shtml

      The only thing that is different for me from that card is that I don’t feel I have come to the grand insight that is alluded to in that description. I am still in suspension between worlds — the world I left behind in Colorado and the world that is here in Paris, and one can only hang in suspension before it gets old. However, struggling against it, no matter how motivated I have been, nor how much positive thinking and belief I put into creating a new place for myself, the answer is continually, “Not yet” and so any struggle against being in the hanged place is futile. I really do feel the universe wants me here in this suspended place for some reason, so I am continually having to relax into the discomfort of the suspension until I feel that I am set loose and ready/able to move. I am really hoping this is just a fallow period before a stage of huge new growth. That, in fact, the roots are growing deeper and deeper even though on the top side, there is not much to show for it right now. the suspension has been for what feels like too-long time, though.

      What you say, though, about art is also true. Works of art, such as pieces of writing, are never complete, just abandoned, a professor of mine used to say.

      I hope in your own situation that you can find the motivation you desire to overcome those walls.

      Thanks for your thorough response, Ken!

  5. Just found your great blog via one of your comments at Paris Breakfasts. Being an American expat in Paris, I’ve really enjoyed reading through some of your posts. Especailly the one about learning French, I’ve been ere about 3 1/2 years and i think my French manguage ‘skills’ have gotten worse – is that possible?

    I understand perfectly about feeling like an alien. I also applaud your decision to go gluten-free, I need to learn more about Celiac Disease.

    I’ve signed up to recive email updates and look forward to reading about more of your Parisienne adventures.

    A bientôt

    • Bonjour, Bonjour Romance! 😀 I am so glad you stopped by, and I am going to check out your blog in a sec’, too. I’m glad you enjoyed the posts so far. If I can get my act together today, I will post about meeting Carol of Paris Breakfasts and also Elizabeth Bard and Sion, too, of Paris (Im)perfect at Elizabeth’s book signing. I have a Monoprix run to do still, and some laundry to take care of, and heck, I am still in my jammies at 2:30 pm so, ehhhhh, my goals may be too ambitious, lol. I’ll see what I can do, though.

      Thank you for signing up for the updates and we’ll see you back here soon. 🙂

  6. Great post…I had to come back 4 times to finally finish it because I love reading word by word what you write. You definitely have a special talent.

    OK, so if you want, I can mail you a copy of The Blind Side…a friend of mine burned it for me.

    Second, thanks for the learning French links….. that will come in handy.
    Third, yes Job is a good example at keeping the Faith when we cannot neccessarily make sense of the obstacles in our lives. I think the toughest thing to do is to give up the “control” and just live and appreciate what does exist. The food thing would drive me insane and as a mom I feel your pain about being far away from your kids. And I will pray that you get a job soon…this economy is killing so many people out here too. It’s a trying time and an opportunity for a lot of us to really discover our passions and pursue them. Good luck on the photo contest, your work is beautiful 🙂 And no I did not know that banana tree is an herb…

    For now just know that you enlighten many with your blog through your words, images, friendship, and sharing a diet issue that I know others too struggle with. Hang in there.

    Sorry, I guess my response is just as long, but I only send you the best of wishes 🙂 Hope you have a lovely weekend with little to no “gas”. LOL!

    • Hi Corine! Thank you for all those return visits!! LOL! I am glad to know it is fun to read and thank you for the props on the writing, m’dear.

      As for “The Blind Side” — I can get it here, too, so you don’t need to trouble yourself to send it, but thank you for offering! 🙂

      I think the toughest thing to do is to give up the “control” and just live and appreciate what does exist.

      Very, very well-put. It is true that to be in a bit of limbo means to be very present in the present, and to relax into things. Thank you for your good thoughts for me with all that is going on. It is much-appreciated!

      This meant a lot to read, Corine:

      For now just know that you enlighten many with your blog through your words, images, friendship, and sharing a diet issue that I know others too struggle with. Hang in there.

      I think that the major reason I do “this” (write, blog, ruminate…) is that I hope to make that connection with others, to share in the human struggle, to be a part of keeping one another afloat, as well as be inspired by one another to greater joy in living. I’m glad that I have this outlet, this “made-up job” for myself to keep me going! If it helps others do the same, then BOOYAH!! 😀

      And thank you — I did have a relatively gas-free weekend! 😀 Wheeee!

  7. Carole

    Don’t forget that for some being envied is what they live for therefore their public face is that they appear to be doing it better in Paris than you. 🙂

    ” . . .we should allow ourselves to do more things badly. Our perfectionist ways, she writes, often inhibit our joy.” Oh crap! I’ve been doing it backwards!

    • Hi Carole —

      …therefore their public face is that they appear to be doing it better in Paris than you.

      Paul said something similar to me the other day when I was reading up on a yoga instructor at the place where I do yoga once a week and lamenting about her marvelousness to Paul. She sounded like Wonder Woman in her bio, and she even has six-pack abs according to her photo! She is a mom and a fashion photographer in Paris. Then he said “Okay, but a fashion photographer could be *anything* — like she could just take photos for ads or something.” Anyway, his point was that a bio like that is meant to shine a great light on a person, and that is is also manufactured to be that way. It’s true that some people are superstars. But it is also true that some people create a kind of glow around themselves so that they appear to be doing it better, huh. All smoke and mirrors, lol.

      Oh crap! I’ve been doing it backwards!

      HAHAHAHAHA!! 😀 Yeah, me, too, methinks, lol!

      Be well, Carole, and thanks for checking in!

  8. Pingback: Meeting Elizabeth Bard of LUNCH IN PARIS « An Alien Parisienne

  9. frogsandmen

    ah you should read nana if you get around to zola. prostitution!

    a bientot
    the paris food blague

    • Hi there, frogsandmen! Ohh, I have not visited your blog in a while. I need to do that! Thanks for coming here… I’ll be to yours in a bit.

      Absolutely, Nana would be a good one; I have heard from Paul it is, too. Zola covers a lot of aspects of French life in those times, huh. Prostitution, too, heh! Sounds pretty interesting to me. 😀

      See you later!

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