Monday, November 18, 2013

The surprise of Chablis

Yes, there is wine aplenty in Chablis. Fine wines to make the heart swoon.

And Remi should know, as his family had vineyards in the area up until the Second World War. But more of the wine another time...

You see there is also a certain charm, un charme fou...

...with each corner more picturesque than the next. 

We took it in with eager eyes.

But then again...ah, you see there is more to this Burgundian story than that...

...but then again, isn't there always?

For once the main streets have been forsaken for the twist of back alleys...

...the surprise of Chablis is revealed.


The bustle muffled and faded. In the ensuing silence we could hear many a damsel calling out to be rescued.

Of course, we listened...for that is what we do!

Yes, all of the elements pleased us to no end. Such elegant bones and a fleur de lis emblazoned crest daring all to knock at the front door...

... with extremely elegant neighbors en face... well as peals of church chimes floating directly over head. 

Precisely at that moment.

For once, we let ourselves dream big, caught up in the delight of a very famous village that goes far beyond what it seems. Whoever said beauty is only skin deep?

Have a lovely week everyone...

Sunday, November 17, 2013


The sky has turned to powder, sifting through my hands. The year is fading and I am left swathed in baby blues and little chick if the sun was tired and the world was lit by lamplight.

Softness and sweetening, a whisper in my ear and a light caress on the back of my hand. I have felt this before. And written it too.

November. I realize it more by the lack of than the have to, the early to bed and not so eager to rise.

This is the time of quiet goodbyes...before the confetti blossom shakes bright, a catapult into the year ahead.

And so let me rest a bit, at home in the knowledge that I will always find my way back, guided by the flicker of life's lamp.

Have a lovely week ahead. We are going to the Luberon for some of the afore-mentioned rest so I may not be responding as much as usual to comments (have you noticed that when we go, we go to where we are unreachable? Hard to imagine such places still exist but they do) but know that I adore them nonetheless...

And oh, ok, here it is...David Terry's praying mantis!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Helping from the shadows

We are still in the Upper Luberon but not so far away as to not be deeply saddened by the utter devastation created by the typhoon in the Philippines and beyond. Please see the following if you would like to help:

I have scrapped the rest of this weeks posts as they would be inappropriate in the shadows of such a tragedy. We are sending our Very Best out to the other side of the world and to all that have been touched by this disaster. 

My thanks to Vickie Lester at Beguiling Hollywood for the link. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dream collectors

Those of you that have been reading along here for any length of time know that my companion, Remi and I are both inveterate dreamers. We can't help it. It is a glowing ribbon in the bind that links us together. Perhaps because we are both nomads who grew up with a foggy sense of home for varying reasons, one of our favorite dreams is of the "We Could Live Here" variety. We do it all the time. The games people play (kind of like my favorite "What would you choose to eat if you could only have three ingredients?" Avocado, chickpeas and roasted chicken is today's answer)...

And so I didn't bat an eye when Remi got that far-away look after finishing off a recent picnic in a vineyard on the outskirts of Uzes.

I followed his gaze to the ruin in front of us and knew what he was thinking before he said a word.

I watched him dreaming with all of the internal fervor as our puppers do when they run in their sleep.

Yes, we could open up that doorway. What is it? Renaissance period? Possibly.

And then that rather large window too, big enough to make a doorway, perhaps a little balcony could be added, a beacon over a sea of vines.

Of course, the roof would need to be redone...always a pricy affair...

Tick, tock, tick until his imaginings pulled him up from our comfortable perch in the shade and drew him like a magnet to make a closer inspection.

The dogs followed. Nosing the ground as they padded along behind.

I stayed where I was for the longest time. Watching Remi stroll with a glass of wine in hand.

King of his imaginary domain.

Until I too was bewitched enough to wander.

Delight swelled, blurred my vision, then stilled it.

The surprise of happiness.

It might never be where you expect it but a little dreaming is fine fire to the flame. 

Isn't it?

Wishing that your weekend ahead is filled with good.

And speaking of, to read Laurie Anderson's moving and very beautiful tribute to her late Husband, Lou Reed, please click here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Being true, La Contessa takes Paris!

Today, I am thrilled to share with you my very first guest post, written by La Contessa (or Elizabeth Kirkpatrick as she is known in everyday parlance) as part of this month's By Invitation Only theme. Looking back, I can't recall how she found my blog but I most certainly do know that she has been a faithful reader and friend since the beginning! She has always been incredibly supportive and kind to both Remi and myself...quite simply, she is an exceptional woman. Her recent adventure with the amazingly talented Carla Coulson is one of the most perfect examples of "being true" that I have ever seen. The story gives me goosebumps and so now, I turn Lost in Arles over to La Contessa...


A little background on me--I have had a black and white photo taken of my sons and myself for the last 21 years for my husband for FATHER'S DAY. I had decided early on that I would stop when the boys became 21 because after that I wouldn't be able to have them come home for the photo shoot the first of April, plus we would run out of wall space to hang the photos………So, I had the problem of deciding when to stop! When the first son was 21 or the second son!!! I chose the latter……………A few years have passed now with no photo and that was hard for me at first. Now, I have to come up with a gift for the Italian husband for Father's Day! The beauty of the photo, he always knew what he was getting! A photo in black and white with a plain black frame to hang in his study. My idea then was to watch me age and watch the boys grow up!

I love to snap photos, mind you I have no idea what I am doing with the camera but I love to take snap shots! I found CARLA's blog and became a subscriber………Her eye and detail always made my mouth drop. I ADORED HER STORY. Not happy with her life in AUSTRALIA, she decides to up and move to Florence, Italy enrolls in photography school, meets the man of her dreams and moves up to Paris.What a tale……….

So, as I said I am a subscriber and well she does these photo shoots with couples. Loved that idea but it would be difficult to get THE ITALIAN to FRANCE! So, I had a DREAM…………REALLY! I awoke one morning thinking okay I will take my SONS to PARIS! They both have FALL birthdays, they both have never been to PARIS, this will be the last HOORAH, before they head out into the world………..something I will cherish and hopefully they will too. We will have our photo taken by CARLA.

So,we met by the Medici fountain on a Tuesday at 5:00pm in the Luxembourg Gardens. We chatted, we indulged in a KIR ROYAL………..(MY FIRST! THANKS TO LOST IN ARLES!!) and made plans to meet later in the week for THE SHOOT! Carla arrives with VERO, the hair and make-up lady, with her rolling suitcase and goodies from a boulangeire. We began the day that will be one of the most EXQUISITE days of my life. Paris, my SONS, Chickens and the LOUVRE……………….

Thank ~ you CARLA for performing your magic with me and my boys! I HAVE MEMORIES……..FABULOUS MEMORIES. I cannot thank ~ you enough.XXX


See? I told you it was amazing! But what is that you say? Chickens? The Louvre? Well, I do hope that you will brace yourself then take the hop over to Carla's blog to see the a few of the finished portraits. They are...they beautiful and inspirational as La Contessa herself!

To see Carla Coulson's fantastic portraits of La Contessa and please just trust me, go:

To read Carla's recent post "How to bring about true change" please click here.

According to La Contessa: "I do not have a blog…………I like to think of it as a blog but it's NOT REALLY 'tis a website made by a man that made the comment section a NIGHTMARE!" Nonetheless, if you would like to see more of her world and travels, please visit

Join the party! To read the guest posts of the international roster of wonderbloggers, please click here!

A big thank you to Elizabeth's sons, Kristopher and Nicholas for the use of their "behind the scenes" photos, as well as to Véronique Marot, Carla's brilliant hair and makeup artist, who took the top group shot.

And finally, un grand merci to La Contessa for being here and being true...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ode to an Hermes scarf

I tuck my chin in towards my chest and squint against the dust swirling around me. The Mistral winds have arrived out of nowhere. They sneak and slide, having all but pushed Summer, that swanning girl, out the door. Instinctively, I reach up and pull my scarf tighter around my ears.

It is my old Hermes scarf, my favorite that has travelled with me all over the world. Objects come into our lives, some disappear mysteriously, others stay. I try not to be too attached but there are pieces that give comfort. They tell me of who I once was and remind me of where I am now.

No one wanted this particular scarf, bought on ebay for 50 Euros. Already, it was trouée, a whole in one corner and touched by a slight ink stain. It was exactly what I was searching. Something I could wear hard without the guilt of ruination. Nothing precious and yet appreciated. A little glamour, linking back to another life before of glorious Manhattan to carry into the desert of the unknown.

I held it over my mouth during a sandstorm in Mali. Covered my head with it in Samarkand, folded the worn parts under to look chic in Udaipur. And in one of my favorite moments des mes voyages, I wrapped it over my hat with a firm bow under my chin while crossing the Serengeti, clinging to my sweetheart on the top of a barreling truck, exposed to the wind. Smiling so hard it hurt from the excitement of being.

The Mistral carries a different tune but flaps my scarf with the same song. The dogs run out ahead along the quay of the Rhone and I follow quietly in my quiet life. So soundless with nothing but the howl of the wind that I could wonder if I really did have those adventures or only dreamed them. My hand reaches up instinctively again to be sure, to secure this object, now frayed, luxury lost but memory-filled. A talisman.

PS. Thank you to all who responded so honestly and thoughtfully regarding my previous post.
I have a very exciting follow-up to it, coming soon...
PPS. - Thank you for all of your amazing responses! We are out of town and I will respond correctly next week...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Being true

I am putting aside what was ready for today as I have been thinking about Lou Reed's passing. And I can't say that I was a fan. I don't own any of his records and we couldn't afford the tickets to his concert in Arles' Antique Theatre a few years back. But I am an admirer. Because I know enough about him to have seen that he was true, to himself and to what he wanted to create. He was...a word that I tend to dance around gingerly these days...authentic. 

Let's see how that word is defined... well, there are actually quite a few options in Merriam-Webster but I'll choose what suits me: "Authentic: real or genuine, not copied of false. True and accurate. True to one's own personality, spirit or character." And interestingly, as related to music: "of a cadence: progressing from the dominant chord to the tonic." My musicians friends, is that appropriate for his music? Tell me, I am curious.

I am ambling towards a question and feel free to answer or not as it suits you. I know that there is talk in the popular parlance of "living an authentic life" but there seems to be so much space around that idea that I am not sure what to make of it. Or maybe I have put upon it a sticky veneer that is ready to be wiped away. Mr. Reed might have shredded such a feel-good cliché on his guitar while imperceptibly nodding his head in time.

And yet, we all need comfort. Reassurance. So often we look outwards for it but if I can remember, I will tell you along with myself that it is there within, that diamond bright of true. Real or genuine, not copied or false. 

What does authenticity mean to you? Does it mean the same thing as "being true"? Is it something that matters in your conscious thoughts or efforts? If I am being honest, really honest, I don't have an easy answer myself or at least not one that I could explain quickly. But I have a feeling that it is not in the absolute nor in the gigantic. Not all of us can soar through a life but we do, each of us, have our  wings.

I am going to read Ben Ratliff's article on Lou Reed this afternoon. If you would like to join me, you can find the link here.

And I will close by saying that I did wait on Lou Reed once in New York, while he was dining outside on a warm summer evening, leaning in closely to his companion, Laurie Anderson. I am no gossip but I find it worth mentioning that while Lou Reed will remain acclaimed in music history as a "punk poet" the man I saw that evening was every inch a gentleman. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sometimes cloudy days

Sometimes cloudy days are best.

For seeing.

For thinking.

For being quiet.

Have a lovely weekend...

And if you need permission to go take a nap or read or watch an old movie? Well, I give it to you!