Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Even in France, Life's Ups and Downs . . .

In all fairness, I must tell you that all is not wine and cycling and long walks in the sunshine here. Gloom has prevailed the last couple of days, and more is predicted. Above, Pater holds an inadequate umbrella as he walks along a sad-looking Rue Ste Catherine. We stuff one pair of soaked shoes with scrunched up pages from yesterday's Le Monde, and hope it dries before the other pair gets soaked through. . . We saw a couple about our age the other day, huddled under their umbrellas, and noticed that he was wearing light, bright runners and she was wearing beach sandals. And we knew from the mismatch with the rest of their outfits that they each had a soaked-through pair of shoes back in their hotel rooms, and that they had not imagined so many days of rain. We nodded sagely at each other: They had mal packé!

But we survived a long and exhausting day Monday after suffering a breakdown of our brand new rented Peugot on a scarily fast Autoroute. Pater says that at least I will get a blogpost out of the incident, so I'll save that story. Right now, we are comforting ourselves with tea after giving in to some retail therapy this morning. A disheartening email extending the family disharmony added internal storms to the external ones. We are trying to take the high road by not responding, but the hurt is deep. Anger might be healthier, truly, but I don't want to go there. Instead, the retail therapy is soon to be augmented by some French cinema therapy.

Above is a photo of the 12-screen theatre. Inside is the usual range of candy and popcorn and fast food options associated with "the movies" but the building? "Quelle difference" . . .

Other little cheer-ups:

I bought a purse-sized tube of verveine-scented hand cream at Les Oliviers, my favourite hand cream, even above the l'Occitane I usually treat myself to at home . . . Luxe of the quotidian . . .

Lovely conversation with the friendly vendeuse who helped me find my size at Nice Things. My French does much better with talking style, franchement than it does talking politics. . . .

And you, writing to you about my adventures, that cheers me up as well. So tell me, what's up? What's lifting your spirits today? Or dragging them down, for that matter . . . Dîtes-moi. . ..

 

11 comments:

  1. The word that your post brings to mind is "la grisaille". French has some vocabulary that is so descriptive. The lupines are blooming on the Point where I walk and I finally got a new camera to improve my photos on my blog. Doesn't it make you happy when you find yourself having an adult conversation in French? La luxe quotidienne me fait plaisir. Don't let the grey or the disharmony get to you. All things do pass.

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    1. Exactly! It's the perfect word!
      I saw some lupine-like flowers in the country the other (they turned out not to be, just suggested it from the distance) and wondered if ours were blooming.
      Thanks for the encouragement, and have fun with your new camera!

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  2. Hello Mater, sorry to hear that the family drama is continuing. I'm sure the car breaking down took your mind off that for a while!

    I hear that other parts of Europe - Germany and Hungary for example - are enjoying high temps and sunny days, perhaps that weather will make it's way to you soon. Not much going on with us, I'm afraid - oh, we are going to a jazz concert tomorrow, the Toronto Jazz Festival starts soon and a group of military members and guests are being hosted by local business people (or something like that, not quite sure). Should be fun.

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    1. Ha! Yes, new challenges let others fade out of sight temmporarily.
      We did have three lovely hot days in a row, and there are moments now when the rain stops . . . and plenty to do when it doesn't.
      Enjoy your jazz concert -- sounds like fun!

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  3. Dans la grisaille il est difficile voir la lumière. Courage, Mater, le soleil brillera fort demain.

    J'ai le nez dans le guidon cette semaine avec un projet de peindre des chaises d'occasion pour la salle à manger. Demain je vais à Nanaimo avec mon mari. Il travaillera et je jouerai le rôle de touriste. Dommage que tu n'est pas là.

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    1. Oh, what a shame we won't connect -- this time. I'll look to see if you blog about our little city. And about the new dining room chairs. Thanks for the kind words. . .

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  4. Oh dear; e-mail is probably the worst way to unravel this tangle of emotion and history. I hope you can enjoy the time as best you can, wet shoes notwithstanding.

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    1. There is no will to untangle, at the moment, simply to prove a point. Recognizing this, I'm no longer responding, and I'll simply have to hope that perhaps in the future there can be a reconciliation. I have always held that families mustn't allow breaches to harden, mustn't go for years without speaking to each other and completely lose contact, but at the moment this seems to be what may happen.

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  5. I think I'd look at this statistically, since that's how I cope with difficulty.

    You are in France for a long time. There was bound to be rain.

    But for the family stuff, that's not about the law of averages. That's an outlier. I'm so sorry.

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    1. Yes, and luckily I'm very well acquainted with rain. No one is better equipped to handle protracted periods of rain than a Vancouver-ite. . . . but this spell is historically notable, according to everyone we speak of here. So that besides the rain itself, there is a certain shared gloom which makes some difference. Also, though, an instant exuberance when half an hour of sunshine appears.
      And yes, the family stuff is a complete outlier, and my skills and my will seem absolutely inadequate to the problem. So, as Paul says, we must simply focus on enjoying our time here and each other's company as fully as we can, because we can do nothing right now about the other. I do like his wisdom.

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  6. Maybe the retail therapy includes another backup pair of shoes? So sorry the weather's been less than optimal, and I hope you get some sunny days soon.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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