Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Olive gray

I find peace in plenty while walking through an olive grove...

...and I know I am not the only one.

Yes, I am well aware that these trees have been declared a simplistic symbol, the Provence of Provence...

...but I breathe them in and love them now with time and understanding, just like our varying sky. 

For the leaves twist with the seasons, dipping into a palette...

... that soothes yet is vibrant enough to inspire a shout or a joyful run...

...while the trunks, raising raides sometimes a hundred years, twist inward with still solidity.

It is my Japanese garden. Ordered and quiet...

...with just enough rustle to sweep away the gray.

*Update: Oooh, I am so excited to be guest-posting today, Thursday, over at the absolutely amazing D. A. Wolf's blog "Daily Plate of Crazy": 
I hope that you will enjoy and stop over to say hello!*

Monday, February 25, 2013

Paper wings

Paper wings, seeming translucent, written strong with words to catch the wind.

Acts of kindness, acts of faith. Shooting like stars to make a heart, mine, open to the sky.

Un merci, a good job, a bravo, an I appreciate you. We all can use one from time to time. 

I fold my head like a fanning flower, grateful...

...blow-kissing pollen, hopefully, spreading good will.

*warning: what follows is crazy long, feel free to take a run for it while no one else is looking*

So I have to say that I was quite surprised and touched to have been given several blog awards this past week. Isn't that lovely? I know there is no gold little man for me to clutch while wiping away shaky tears on the back of my glove but all the better! Just a simple curtsy will do.

It started with Marg Hogan of Destination Here and Now, who gave me The Addictive Blog Award. Merci beaucoup, Margaret and for those of you that might need a graphic designer in NSW, Australia, take a look at her portfolio here. 

Me oh my-oh Cinco de Mayo and then teamgloria came a knocking. Ah, tg she is my chou chou. When the inordinately talented Author of the blog was diagnosed with three tumours in her neck, she created teamgloria as a means to document her team of "glorious people, places & things" that helped her get through and move shining forward from that dark time. Quite simply, both the narrative of the blog and the woman behind it are amazing. Actually, she didn't even have to come knocking as I can nearly always be found there, loitering. So that she chose Lost in Arles for the Liebster Blog Award, I blushed (I did). But then, a bit of a chain reaction was set in motion! 

Tg had nominated the lovely, lovely Julia from Three Times Yes (an actress!), who decided what the hay she didn't care about rules and would nominate me as well. And then another of Julia's nominees, beautycalypse, also threw me the award and I have only just discovered her blog! Boomerang. But you have to love a woman who refers to her readers as her fellow "adventurers"--I know I do. Let alone that she feels that real beauty can knock her sideways, she quotes Bowie and loved the poem "If" by...Kipling (that is Rudyard, sillies, not our new pupper.)

Now, what has been fun is a volley of exchange and turns of phrases that could give Houdini whiplash. As I have mentioned, there are normally rules. Such as thanking the person that nominated you, telling eleven things about yourself, answering the eleven questions asked of you and passing on the award to eleven more. Well, happily, I have already been given this award (thank you again Natalie!) so I am going to throw most of them out the window but I will answer teamgloria's questions here and in a hurry as I have been waiting to read the other responses for fear of being "influenced" by their brilliance (Julia and bc I will answer yours with gusto on your blogs, just give me a moment to catch my breath).

But first for those of you that are just about ready to sign off on this long post my list of ten blogs for the Addictive Blog Award. These are the ones that I go "Oh, goody" when they arrive in my inbox. Well, some of them. You are all so talented, it is amazing!

1) Of course, teamgloria
2) and Three Times Yes
3) and beautycalypse
4) and Destination Here and Now
but also
5) French Essence -
7) Glamour Drops -
9) Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome -
10) Subliminal coffee. -

Thank you all so much for oodles of inspiration. 

Are you still here? Really? It certainly is understandable if you have nodded off, a bit like me trying my best to see the red carpet yesterday evening (oh how me loves that particular awards ceremony, dreams of lives past still swirl about me like fairy dust). The envelope please, teamgloria's questions, as promised:

1) candles or spotlights? 
While my hearth is full of candles and perhaps their light is the most consistent point of my existence (see final question), I do indeed know how to work a spot or two and yes, jazz hands are usually involved.
2) how many books do you have next to the bed? 
Well, let me go see...eight plus a back issue of National Geographic from 1984.
3) when did you last read in a café and what did you eat?
While I try to just be present when I am dining alone, a rarity in itself, I could not resist the temptation to break out a newly arrived American Vogue, expat gold, the last time that I did. I had an excellent gazpacho (a hint as to the season) plus a tartine rubbed with potent garlic and topped with ratatouille, serrano and emmenthal straight out from under the broiler. And a glass of wine. Then an espresso.
4) when did you set up your blog and why?
Here we go: As a professional travel writer, I missed creating once the press started to tank. I had no idea that I would come to love taking the photographs as much as writing or that I would come into contact with such exceptional people in the process.
5) what was the last film/movie you saw?
An enlightening refresher course for question 8, one that I have a sneaking suspicion just might have been chosen with me in mind? Or is that pure ego taking the reins?
6) what was the first single you bought?
Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
7) chocolate or cheese? Discuss.
I live in France, a land where there are enough varieties of cheese so as to discover a new one every day of the year, hence there is no discussion. 
8) do you identify with any of the characters in Pretty in Pink? If so, which one? And--still?
Apparently I still identify thoroughly with all on the non "ritchies," all of them. Ode to the Duckman. And yes, still. Iona especially took on whole other shades for me that I am the now normal too. But once an outsider, always an outsider. It brands you from the inside. It was quite a lovely experience watching that film again (and enjoying the soundtrack, the finest of that time), so thank you for the homework.
9) Maria Callas or Madonna Ciccone? 
Dinah Washington.
10) you've been invited to (where?) for supper--name the 11 other guests (alive/passed on/haunting you still):
I believe that we have already established that I detest parties. One on one. Or family. But no more. And please don't make it a theme.
11) Is there a meaning to life? Do you need one?
While it certainly isn't up to me to make a mass statement for the planet, I know that my personal answers are "no" and "no". I am trying to live happy and do no harm as I go, hopefully do a bit of good. So bandage up those paper cuts, fold out your wings and...

One more for the road?

Friday, February 22, 2013


Going for a walk wasn't my idea. Remi had coaxed me into it. The wind was whipping on the hills above Les Baux but there was sun to soak and vistas to gaze on. The act of opening to look out untangled all of the crossed-wires that had bundled up in my nerve box and short-cut hopped the haze of too much thinking.

We took to the paths...

...bent into details...

...and let the dogs run free.

No noise, no encumberments. Best to roll my arms in the air and toss my head back... let it all evaporate into the air or cobweb the trees but get it gone good.

And it did. I came back breathing soft and slow.

Wishing you all a change of scenery as well as just a simply wonderful weekend ahead...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Patience, patience

Tie my dreams upon a string, lift my arms high in hopes that they will sing...

All right, down to the brass and tacks for those who have been asking: Kipling is doing just fine. The massive smile on Claire's face on Monday night at the check-up said it all but she exclaimed, "Bravo!" Even though the drain had popped out on Sunday (!), it had done its job. So with a snip came the end of the stitches and the cone was banished to the back of the closet. None to soon for Mr. Ben who was getting mighty tired of being chased around with it, I can tell you. So see that leftover Valentine above that seems to thump in the twilight? It is. Good news is good news.

And yet I am seeking patience. It is dead quiet in these parts. Just take a look at the neighbourhood kids who have set up in the middle of the Place du Forum. Might as well. Nearly all of the cafés are closed with the owners sunning themselves in the Seychelles. With Kipling recovering, we have not been able to dive into our normal discoveries and are quite Arles-bound for the moment.

In the meantime, I hope that you will be patient with me. And I will try to not overwhelm those of you that are not as animal-oriented while we welcome a new member to our family, an understandably important event. 

I am asking patience of me too. That me sitting worrying in the near dark in the photo above. How I want all to be running so smoothly but what an unrealistic wish. There are too many variables up in the air. 

It will all happen with time, that same that builds and tears down and puts up again.

Patience. It is required in negotiating and there is a lot of that going on right now in this household that even with a joyous addition feels topsy-turvy like the sea.

I need to be more quiet and just see and breathe. I am trying.

And doing...

...but what a masculine household this has suddenly become!

Well, I have my flowers and multi-fold sweetness just not when expected, not to mention the joy of discovering a new being. That too requires patience, especially in this delicate circumstance but it will be rewarded ten-fold.

Wishing you all well. So grateful you are here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Scratching at the surfaces

We are still in winter, this much I know despite the light beginning to whisper me otherwise. For I find myself still nombril-gazing, shuffling, wearing that strange perfume, a miasma of this year and that. So I go out searching, scratching the surfaces. Looking for the colors of the past that will stick to the soles of my shoes this spring and those which will fade with my tread as I keep on walking, quietly, for it is that time of year.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Update from the couch

Hello there! This will be just a little update, yes, one from the couch where I have been spending quite a bit of time with two wonderful furry creatures, Kipling and Ben. How are they getting along? Now, now don't be silly, just take a look at the above photo. Ben who is less of a snuggler than one might think, initially resisted but slooowly his head fell down, down, down onto Kipling until he was sleeping with his eyes half-open as he is want to do. It was a first but as you will see, not the last...

Now, I have to say that we have had a little setback with Kip's recovery. He has developed an inflammation on his abdominal wall, which is producing quite a bit of liquid and blood that are forming in pockets under the skin. Claire, who is our vet and is also a very dear friend, has been taking excellent care of Kip, including putting in a drain yesterday that we hope will do the trick. Already, Remi and I see quite a big difference and hope to get this boy out of any pain as soon as possible!

But, as it is being treated and he is back on antibiotics, it should not develop into a dangerous situation--just in case you might be a worrier as I am. And that doesn't prevent us from taking him on his walks along the Rhone in the morning and to the Arena at night (for now, I am not varying them as I want to reassure him as much as possible). But we are taking it easy.

And so much sleeping is involved, provoked with "Radio Spa" which Remi has realized has a very soothing action on both puppers. Yes, he often has to wear the dreaded "Cone of Shame" as fellow dog owners will call it so as to be sure that he doesn't pull out the drain but he is getting used to it. Slowly but surely.

And even with the cone, the couch is not such a terrible place to be when we have such friends to lean on, n'est-ce pas

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend everyone...