Friday, July 20, 2018

Travel Wardrobe Recap

 It's been over two months since Pater and I embarked on our five weeks/one carry-on (each!) travel through France, Germany, and Croatia, and somehow I have yet to properly share my travel wardrobe here. Nowhere near as organized a packer as Sue/Une Femme, I have no photos of my packed case for you. Instead, I've gone through the travel photos and extracted the Outfit-Of-The-Day posts which give an idea of which garments got the most play.
Here I am, just before our flight mid-May -- I'm wearing a navy t-shirt under this indigo linen jumpsuit (Eileen Fisher) and I've layered a long-sleeved navy shirt, left unbuttoned, over top -- and then added a scarf. I always try to wear as much as I can, within comfort limits of course, on the plane, to stretch my luggage allowance a bit. . . ;-)

This approach, though, means many photos, so I'll split this post in two -- and put Part II up next week.

First of all, here's a page from the Moleskine notebook dedicated to this trip.

In case you can't read my handwriting, the page is headed "What I've Packed for," and then I follow with: 7 days in Paris, 3 in Lyon, 2 in Munich, a poolside week on a Croatian island, and a vagabond car trip for 10 days in Croatia (as it happened, SNCF had different plans for us, so we only had 2 days in Lyon and added 1 in Strasbourg)

That list is the result of crossings-out on several earlier lists, and even so, I ended up crossing off both the jeans and the raincoat. But I'm getting ahead of myself -- let me transcribe the list for you first.
1. Sage-green linen dress
2. Indigo-white linen dress
3. Olive linen skirt
4. Olive cotton cargo pants
5. Slim Madewell jeans These were left behind. . .  and I used the spot to include my Navy cashmere v-neck pullover, lightweight
6. Navy linen top
7. Olive linen top
8. White linen tank
9. Purple linen mesh pullover
10. Navy button-down shirt 
11. Navy cotton T
12. White cotton T

I also tucked a taupe cashmere wrap/scarf in the small backpack that's my other allowable piece of carry-on. The backpack fits my purse, my MacBook Air, my iPad Mini (for reading), and my bag of liquids/gels* -- usually, once we're through Security, I take a minute to squeeze the laptop and the liquids bag back into my suitcase so the wheels do more of the work than my shoulders. . .

As you might be able to decipher from my scrawl on that page above, I also brought a portable yoga mat (Manduka, very lightweight, decent traction and shock absorption--my daughter, who completed her first level of yoga teacher training several months ago, had offered to give us a class or two during our week together) and exercise gear. I brought two swimsuits for our week on Hvar.  PJ bottoms and underwear and yes, I could still zip the case closed ;-)

*I always decant products for my liquids-and-gels carry-on plastic bag, and I always remind myself that there are plenty of products I'm happy to purchase and try where I'm going -- my must-brings are my Curls Rock (the Curls Amplifier is the only product that really works for my curls), Aveda shampoo and conditioner travel size go a long way -- I wash every 3rd or 4th day and hadn't emptied the bottles by the end of our trip.

On est arrivé -- we're in Paris, and I'm happy to change into this easy linen dress (Eileen Fisher)

The weather for our four Paris days at the beginning of our trip ranged from 20 to 23 Celsius, so it could be warm enough in the sunshine that I'd take that scarf off and tuck it in my bag, but cool enough in the shade that I was happy to tie the scarf back on -- this photo's taken at the charming garden-restaurant of Le Petit Palais.

We had one day in Paris when we had to shelter from a downpour -- and luckily found that shelter in a very pleasant café where we enjoyed a glass or two -- and considerable camaraderie -- before daring to venture outside again. Even that day, however, I wouldn't have wanted to bother with a raincoat which would have been a nuisance to carry in the day's humid pre-rain heat. The mini, ultra-light umbrella was as much raingear as I needed, overall.

And in Lyon,  we had one day with a few sprinkles, but otherwise needed clothes for staying cool in the heat -- my linen jumpsuit was perfect.

I also broke out my navy linen tunic and my olive linen skirt as heat-busters here -- you can check out that outfit getting some play at the Lyon market here.

The weather in Strasbourg was cooler again, similar to those first days in Paris -- we huddled in a doorway through one cloudburst. I have no photos of me in that city, but I think I might have worn my olive cargo pants and the cashmere V . . . Still no regrets about a raincoat. . .

Similar conditions prevailed in Munich where Pater took this photo of me (below) wearing that olive linen skirt (J Crew) and the olive linen top (Vince) -- My feet swell easily in the heat, so if we're doing much walking at all, my Birkenstock Arizonas are my footwear of choice (I brought three pairs altogether -- the Birks, those metallic gold Onitsuka Tiger sneakers shown above in the Paris photo, and a pair of black cross-trainers.

Once we got to Croatia, the weather was rarely below 25 Celsius, often in the low 30s. Needless to say, my cashmere languished in my bag and the linen garments were the stars. . .

I wore the cotton cargo pants a few times, especially if I wanted to keep the bugs off my legs or wanted more ease/modesty for hiking or climbing than my dresses or skirt provided. Below, for example, I wore it to walk to Vrboska, the small town nearest our rental villa. . . I was tempted to wear my Birks that day, I remember, but talked out of it by Paul, who'd already done the walk and thought it a bit too rocky for sandals -- I think he was right, but the Birks would have been cooler ;-)

You can't see the Birks with this outfit -- can I call it an "outfit" when it's simply a dress with sandals? -- unless you pop over here to see the other pictures. What a hot day that was for walking up to the top of Jelsa. . . but this loose linen dress was the perfect way to stay comfortable.

And for those of you who wonder about linen and packing and wrinkles -- Generally, when I packed the case, I laid out the big pieces -- dresses, then tunics, then folded them in layers over smaller pieces placed in the centre. This seemed to minimize wrinkles somewhat, but the most useful trick I used was one I learned from a commenter on Une Femme's blog who suggested bringing along a small spray bottle to mist the garment with water before hanging it to dry.

Perhaps the best trick, though, is simple acceptance of linen's attributes and surrender to the beauty of wrinkles. . . . (it's the approach I'm trying to take with my skin as well, don't you know?!)

Above, another photo you've seen before, in this post from Zadar. . .

I'll finish up next week with a post comprising travel "outfits" from the last two weeks of our trip, perhaps including what I left behind to make room for a Paris purchases -- which perhaps you're curious about as well. If you have any packing or travel wardrobe questions between now and that post, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I'll see if I can include my answers in Travel Wardrobe Recap, Part II.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go "fold" my Fermented Sourdough Bread-in-the-making before I head out to meet a good friend for lunch. . .
Happy Friday! Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Few Wrinkles in the Bedroom . . .

A-ha! That title got your attention, did it?

Not sure what you thought it might signal in a post; hope you enjoy (instead) these photos of the delicious new linens I just ordered from a new Canadian company, Maison Tess, that I read about on Garance Doré's Atelier Doré.

I've been wanting new bedding since we moved into this condo, September 2016, but other rooms took priority, never mind all the travel. I did try shopping for linens back in January, but gave up in frustration at department store offerings--too many choices, none that really grabbed me.

In the comments on that post though, a reader, Mundi, mentioned a small American company Rough Linen, and I was smitten at first click on that website.
I'd mentally committed to an order, in fact, and had resolved to put that together once we got back from this latest trip. Still, I kept calculating the distance between the Canadian dollar and the American dollar -- pretty significant! And the additional cost of the international shipping. And the potential extra charges at the border, the possibility of customs duty complicating delivery . . . .
I'd looked on line a few times, wishing we had a Canadian company with a similar aesthetic and ethics. . . .
I'd never managed to find anything, but just as I'd rationalized the full cost of ordering the Rough Linen package, shipping, border hassles and all -- after all, they're beautiful linens and we'd be enjoying them for the decades we have left -- just as I was almost ready to pay for that "shopping cart," that Atelier Doré post introduced me to Maison Tess.
I'll admit to feeling some loss letting go of the vision that included Rough Linen's sweet, sweet Aqua duvet cover -- I love that colour! But Maison Tess has a range of subtly rich neutrals that mix effectively. . . (there's also a cool mix of olive and dusty rose in their "Gender Neutral" collection)
I love the way they make the room, and the bed, so calming, so inviting. Just what we need in our very urban location, the city bustling just beyond those (Ikea, linen) sheers . . .

Here's what I wrote for the requested review, currently posted on Maison Tess's website (and you should know, I have not received a penny, nor any discount, nor any free product, in compensation -- this is simply my enthusiasm for a good product and good service bubbling over):

Sumptuous bedding

I’m so pleased with these delicious linens, perfect in this summer heat, such a comforting texture, weight, and drape. Love that this is a Canadian company (no hassle with customs charges) and the service was brilliant! Canada Post delivery—great tracking, here within a week of ordering, and I love the fabric drawstring bags the bedding was tucked into, plus the sweet little hand-written note. Highly recommend this very well-priced product!
Almost 44 years ago, Pater and I amused (or horrified?) family as we began our marriage sharing the twin bed I'd bought when I first moved into my own place -- we were 21 and 23, and happy enough with the proximity. We hadn't even known each other a year, and there had been limited opportunities to spend whole nights together -- it seemed a luxury, to be honest, that closeness.

But consultations apparently took place, and we soon inherited "Great-Aunt Winnie's double bed." I scarcely remember Great-Aunt Winnie, who must have died in the ensuing decade, but we surely didn't replace her bed until she was long gone -- we were directing funds, instead, to beds for one, two, three, and then four children. . . .

You'll be relieved to know that we eventually did replace that bed, even "upgrading" to a queen-sized bed . . .
Even better now, on linen. . . 

Not the wrinkles you were expecting, from the title, perhaps, but I hope you enjoyed the post anyway. Any bedroom stories you'd care to share? (Oh, I hope that doesn't bring the spam!) Anyone else converted to linen bedding? Or always slept in it? Share a tale of the worst bed you ever slept in? (We had to request a repair, once, in a rented Paris apartment, and the fellow who came to repair the bed's broken slats was appalled, called the company for us and insisted a new bed be delivered immediately). Anyone considering a shift to separate beds? or separate bedrooms? (my mother went that route the last several years of their marriage; the caregiving Dad required because of cancer left her craving rest and solitude by days' end) -- we really liked the twin-beds-pushed-together-but-made-up-separately approach we see in many European hotels (much less transfer of shifting movement and the separate bedding means no one gets uncovered when she wants to stay covered or vice versa).

The mic's yours. . . let's chat. . . 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Eclectic Decor, Nana-Style!

Do you think it's safe to assume that not so many 2-bedroom condos make room for both a grand piano AND a 2-person tent? Let me quickly assure you that the tent was a temporary experiment -- it didn't work, this time at least, as a sleeping space, but it was fun for playing in, and a certain Nine assures us that she wants it set up for her next sleepover here. 

Instead, the visiting Three slept in the walk-through closet/hallway in her Nana and Granddad's room, and Mama, Papa, and Baby Brother slumbered in the guest room. We may all sleep more soundly back in our regular accommodations this evening, but we truly enjoyed all the family shenanigans this weekend (oh, and three little cousins -- Five, Three, and Three -- successfully snoozed together for ten hours on Saturday night, all in one room, although there might have been some sweet story-telling before the dreams began. . . )

We've been gone from our island home just over two years now, and I do miss it sometimes, but I'm so happy that we've managed the shift into this new urban life. More sustainable in ways that seem important to us now (although I won't pretend I don't occasionally wish for a big Volume Control knob). . .

Happy Monday! How's your week shaping up?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Weekend Plans and A Travel Journal Page

My son and daughter-in-law arrive this afternoon to stay for the weekend with our 3-year-old granddaughter and 3-month-old grandson.  Times like this we really miss our waterfront home with a tiny guest cottage in the garden, the beach for a playground -- an idyllic place for summer visits with kids, for sure, and much easier to accommodate everyone than in a 2-bedroom condo. . .

Yes, AirBnB is an option, but we have a plan that involves some living-room camping for a little girl -- we'll see if it works.  A cousins' sleepover is in the works as well.

I reconcile myself to the limited space by thinking of how many folk manage(d) tight quarters in other places and other times. My English aunts, for example, used to tell me about escaping wartime London with the kids, heading up to my grandparents' house where they'd sleep "tops and tails." The cousins' sleepover will perhaps channel some of that spirit, as the Visiting Three bunks down in a bedroom her Five and Three cousins share. (Indeed, the two-bedroom urban condo the Five and Three share with their parents manifests a modern, creative twist to that old "needs must" squeezing in -- this Vancouver family featured on Cup of Jo last week is a great example of a joyous approach to living with less space.

Dinner for 8 of us here tonight and a weekend houseful, so Pater and I squeezed in our weekly date (a recent couple commitment, instituted by yours truly); his turn to plan, and he got us out up and early to bike the Stanley Park Seawall, stopping on the way home for breakfast. . . 

And, of course, I need some time to read and think about and respond briefly to the thoughtful comments on my post about authenticity. I'm hoping the conversation will continue, but there's already much there to consider.

So I'm off to rustle up some bed linens and do some dinner prep, but first, I'll transcribe this page from my Travel Journal for you. I sketched the statue in Lyon, then painted it at my dining table here last week, another way of integrating There with Here, Then with Now. . .

As I've written to the right (top) of the sketch, this statue Le Joueur de Flûte (The Flute Player) was sculpted by Jean Delorme (1831-1905 -- and as I've noted at the bottom of the page, it's in the
Cloistered Garden of Musée des Beaux-arts de Lyon, Le Jardin du Palais Saint-Pierre

To the right, middle, I've written It had rained as we walked to the Place des Terreaux to visit this garden. The ground was muddy -- even that French gravel -- and the benches were wet. But we each found a statue to sketch, a bench to sketch from, and we settled in. Paul, I think, chose the Rodin, but this little flautist got my attention. . . 

And top left, writing on the perpendicular A verdant canopy of fragrant leaves and blooms held sounds of chatter while it cooled us all. A grandfather spoke his erudite wisdom engagingly enough that his 4 young charges listened intently.

And that's it, the last of my Lyon pages for this year's Travel Journal, at least, although I do hope we'll be back someday. In the meantime, I'm following the Instagram account of Joanna Morgan, a jewelry designer who recently closed up her Seattle atelier/shop to embark on a new adventure -- which currently involves moving into a gorgeous apartment in Lyon. . . Ah, for Vicarious Travel!!

Okay, I'm off, but will look forward to reading your comments when I get a minute (you have no idea how much those comments power the blog -- they're so sustaining, and I thank you for them!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Still Talking about Authenticity, At a Certain Age. . .

Before we went travelling, I wrote a post on Authenticity at a Certain Age, particularly as that authenticity pertained to friendship. Some of you question the word itself, "authenticity" being so elusive and/or problematic to establish, nigh impossible to test. But as I said in the post and in some of the comments, I used the word because I'd been struck by having had it pop up coincidentally in several conversations, and I was curious about its resonance, about the phenomenon of its repetition. .

And despite the reservations about the word itself, the concept seems to be something many can relate to, particularly in regards to friendship. As K.Line (who says she "call[s] it realness") comments, "it's the thing I value most about my friendships." I love her qualifier -- "everyone's authenticity is unique" -- and even more, her insistence that despite the different ways authenticity manifests, "you know it when you see it."

The entire thread is worth reading, I think. So many rich comments.

And some of those comments lead right into what I'd promised to talk about in a second post on the topic of Authenticity at a Certain Age (that second post being this one, right here, right now ;-) Comments such as Lisa's, for example, when she speaks about "relationships across generations", saying that when her "mother and stepfather first started really ailing, I realized I wanted to make all all my relationships more authentic now, because otherwise I would have to use capacity to keep up a front in my old age and I didn't want to waste it on that. Second, it is now my priority to make my relationships with my children as authentic as possible, because if I don't work to have them know me from an adult perspective it won't happen" . . . and (another) Frances's comment that as she thought about the authenticity she wanted in friendships, she questioned whether she was living up to that ideal herself.

Perhaps it's Suz's comment that best echoes the way that word "authentic" arose in the second conversation that struck me this past spring. Suz from Vancouver says that it's important we find time for ourselves so that our authentic selves can be revealed. It's this determination to be authentic that my friend Carol spoke of when we sat together over coffee back in March or so, even before I wrote here about her wonderful memoir of love and loss and grief. As you might have gathered from that post, I've never ever doubted Carol's authenticity, her willingness to be "real," to be as rigorous and honest in her thinking as a situation demands (her ability to discern a situation's demands is pretty stellar as well). I wasn't surprised, then, to hear her say that this authenticity is perhaps our most important task at this end of life, but I was a bit startled to have the word echoed so quickly after it had played a central part in my discussion with a friend just the day before. 

As well, I suppose, given the work that Carol had already been doing in writing her memoir, I might  be forgiven for taking her "authenticity" for granted, for assuming she didn't need to work at it. But as I continued to think about our conversation over the next few days, to wonder about why "that word" was cropping up, I thought of the many ways we are called to respond -- to people, to news, to retail advertising, to social media, to books, to film, etc. So many, many layers of stimuli,  always and everywhere -- more, surely, than our hard-wiring was ever designed to cope with. Would it be surprising if our own values and preferences and goals and hopes got buried or compromised or forgotten? What does it mean to be authentic to ourselves? And how then does that authenticity play out in the world?

You can see my friend Carol working at that in her new blog. She doesn't hesitate to examine social and political issues, but she does this in her particular, erudite, very personal -- I don't think she'll mind my saying "idiosyncratic -- way. 

And I'm trying to sort my own way to figuring out what's authentic to and for me. On this blog, yes, but also in my social relationships -- family and friends -- and in how I want to spend my time. What really matters to me now and how much of that am I going to be able to manage in the time I have left? How will I prioritize? Should I be saying "No" more often, or "Yes"? Do I really want to travel so much or am I being unduly influenced by a variety of factors? What do I most want to accomplish with my writing, and why, and for whom? How do I distinguish between the "shoulds" and the "musts," and then do I prioritize the latter or default to doing what I "should"?

 Perhaps you can see why I've procrastinated for so long on this post -- far more questions than answers, my thinking still inchoate on the topic. But I have been trying to clear more time for noticing what I like, trying to leave more space for discernment. The morning pages help, as does walking and looking, as does talking with an insightful friend. . . Simple observation and reflection. . . And I'm hoping that chatting with you might help as well.

Do you find any resonance at all in that call to explore or reveal or make room for your authentic self at this "certain age"? (I'm assuming the majority of my readers are nearing my level of maturity, shall we say, although I know there are also a number of you who are just observing, from over the fence). If you're retired, do you find that you're able to pay more attention to a congruence between your deepest values and the way you spend your days? If you're not yet retired, do you hope to be able to do so? And how much does awareness of mortality's nearing presence affect your efforts to "be authentic"? (If this term just doesn't work for you, feel free to suggest another that does.)

And one last question: my friend Carol, emphasizing the importance of authenticity at this stage of her life, and for her this stage is, as she subtitles her book, "the bereavement phase of my marriage." How much have changes in your relationship status affected your motivation or ability to be whatever you see as authentic to yourself? I find that the luxury of more free time together post retirement also brings some challenges in this regard -- acquiescences or compromises that didn't seem such a big deal when I had an entirely separate sphere to move in for so much of my time can grate when they threaten to form a dominating pattern I didn't necessarily vote for. . . And my quest to "be authentic" has to be balanced with my partner's happiness and the state of my marriage -- keeping in mind that said happiness and marriage will not last if they depend overly on my maintenance of an ill-fitting persona. 

Okay, that's enough for now -- feel free to add and answer any questions you think relevant.  

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Saturday Seven . . . Delivering Happiness and Books and Film . . .

Feeling a bit scattered right now. A few too many ambitions and projects and commitments, and I haven't quite figured how to get my head above it all long enough to achieve some coherence.

1. I did download a meditation app this morning and breathed for five minutes while a very pleasant, steady voice instructed me on breathing and convinced me that this could be a good habit (if it doesn't simply become one more commitment on a long list!).

2. I'm reading Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass. The subtitle is Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, and the book offers brilliant narratives of plant life based on all the science you could hope for from a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at SUNY. Fascinating stuff about the ways that pecan trees manage to synchronize their irregular fruiting, about the marriage of algae and fungi that is lichen, about the surprising discovery that some plants -- sweetgrass is her prime example -- do better for being harvested. . . But it's the book's rich spirituality that keeps me turning pages, the "indigenous wisdom" she draws from to lament what's been lost, yes, but also to point to harmonious ways of being in the world, ways that humans can (and do!) play a positive ecological role. Ways that helping Nature (and admitting that we're part of it) helps us. . . .

3. So much of what I've been reading in her essays over the last week resonated even more forcefully yesterday as my husband and I watched Leave No Trace, a beautiful, moving, and powerful film directed by Debra Granik (who last brought us A Winter's Bone).  Superb acting by a new sure-to-be-star Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and Ben Foster, but the implicit commentary about home and homelessness in America is given a rich emotional weight, arouses (in me, at least) such a nostalgia, an atavistic longing for a "natural" home in the world. . . The forests of the Pacific Northwest might read differently to me, as they did to Paul last evening, because we have spent some time in them, although we haven't camped for decades. But the contrast between the world that humanity, our indigenous selves, was once born into, and what we've made of it. . .  That's me, though. The film's nowhere near as heavy or preachy as those last sentences might suggest, and I highly recommend you see it -- and the lush gravity of the forest scenes really deserve a big screen and good sound system.

4. That big screen and good sound system were part of my plan for Paul and me to bring some of the couple time we enjoyed in Europe back here to Vancouver. It's all too easy to slip into some comfortable habits at home, content with our parallel pursuits during the day and then in the evening enjoying dinner in front of some Netflix. . . To counteract that tendency, I've started us off alternating responsibility for least one "date" outing a week, with the flexible requirement that the date be planned and put on the calendar at least three days' ahead of time. And since I've found, in the past, that an intention to see a movie on Friday night can sometimes dissolve in the face of Friday afternoon fatigue, I actually bought the tickets for Leave No Trace online four days earlier. We'll see how the follow-through goes on this one -- how much do you plan for your shared social life, whether with life/love partner or good friends? Do you prefer to leave dates or get-togethers or outings to chance? Do you want/need them less often as you/we become "more mature"? (#kiddingnotkidding)

 I spotted this charming delivery system outside a Paris door this past May -- Livreur de Bonheur -- Yes, please, what number do I dial to have my Happiness delivered? Could I get a double order?
A bit of research reveals that the service provides healthy and delicious meals, delivered to your Paris address.  . .

I can't do that, but

6. I think you'll find some Bonheur in reading Liam Callanan's Paris by the Book.  Love, romance, Paris, a mysterious disappearance, Paris, a 40-something mother re-building her life by managing a(n English language) bookshop in Paris, a 30-something gallant courting said mother, two adolescent daughters who quickly acquire texting/SMS skills in a second language, numerous well-drawn and quirky characters, and um, did I mention Paris?! The book is satisfyingly but not ponderously rife with literary and filmic allusions -- fans of Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline books and of Pascal Lamorisse's brilliant film The Red Balloon will be pleased. Let me know if you read this one.

7.  Happiness was also delivered to my post featuring cartoons by a number of international cartoonists reflecting on the importance of books for World Book Day. I discovered these cartoons while walking through a park in Lyon this past May, thought they were brilliant, and took photos of them, hanging on the line strung 'round the park, so that I could share them here.  I was happy enough that many of you expressed your enjoyment of them in the comments at that post. I was even happier -- rather thrilled, in fact -- that the French cartoonist Bernard Bouton (also the organizer of that Lyon event) has added his comment to that thread. He's very gracious in thanking me for the exposure and he notes that "it's very important for the cartoonists to receive comments about their work." As well, he was good enough to let the Brazilian cartoonist Silvano Mello know how many of us had enjoyed Mello's clever and evocative cartoon, and Mello has left a number of comments throughout the thread, responding to every one who chose his work as a favourite. Silvano's comments echo what Bernard said, both of them indicating that our feedback on their work matters. I find that hugely gratifying, to think that I can encourage an artist. . .
   If you haven't browsed these cartoons yet, go have a peek. And it's not too late to leave a comment or choose a favourite or two.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

More Lyon: A Page from my Travel Journal

The frustration involved in sketching this page -- which I'm now quite pleased with -- doesn't show, unless you notice the murky marks of erasure, the dirt that's adhered to hand oils after too much handling. . . . But I remember beginning with, then rejecting several subjects as too difficult or not of proper scale. Paul was with me, ready just to sit and read wherever I decided to settle in to some sketching, but I was beginning to find his presence a bit of a weight. A weight onto which I was projecting some judgemental inner voices. . . .

Eventually, though, instead of simply getting cross and giving up, I made myself sit on a bench in a green space not far from our AirBnB rental. I can't tell you how many times I began and erased, drew and erased, eye-pencil-measured and marked, then erased. But finally, I gave myself some credit for getting enough details that I could recognize lamp-post as lamp-post and I forgave myself for proportions that weren't accurate.

Next, I added that window, taken from a building across the road in the adjoining block -- I was trying, here, to find something that would speak to me later, bring me back to that bench, but I also wanted to address a composition error I'd made by too quickly adding the text without thinking about placement. Afterward, back in the apartment, I drew in the woman whose elegant figure had compelled me to snap her photo at the market. I'm relatively happy with the overall composition of the page, but I'm learning to slow down a bit and think for a moment about placement of the various elements before I start scribbling in ink.

Top of the page -- A graceful figure at Marché de la Croix Rousse, Friday morning
Right side of the page -- Lyon details, sitting on a park bench with Paul, sky has clouded over and it's a bit muggy. Screeching of hirondelles, slight smell of sewage wafting up from a nearby grate. Schoolboy of about 11 or 12 just whizzed down the hill [on trotinette/sidewalk scooter] past us with enough momentum to get him halfway up the hill opposite
Right side of the page, bottom, perpendicular -- Finishing off these sketches back in our AirBnB, Rue Pierre Blanc
Lower left -- I wonder if she brought home as many fat asparagus as we did, or ripe tomatoes. Did she also buy olives? haricots verts?

All that was back then, travelling; I hope you're not wearying of my travel posts as I go over photos and notes and memories, integrating the experience into my life back home. Next post will be more firmly rooted in the present where I'm reading some very good books, picking up my knitting again, tending the garden, and planning a bit of local travel.  .  .  Until then, I hope you'll leave a comment, even if it's just a quick wave. . . And having just celebrated Canada Day here, I wish all my American readers a Happy Fourth of July!

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