Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer history

My blog functions more as a history book than an up to the minute blog....but what to do, i yam what i yam...
So randomly, here are some snapshots of the highlights of June, July and August 2010

Dad xox

Dad, dear ol' brave, wonderful Dad...For those of you who don't know, my incredibly courageous 82 year old father took a transatlantic flight, a Madrid to Barcelona commuter flight and a 4 hour less-than-smooth ride in our 1978 Deux Chevaux to arrive to our little village a mile high in the mountains. It turned out to be a challenging visit that involved two ambulance rides for Dad due to health issues but at the end of the day, all turned out all right and we had the wonderful opportunity and honor to share our new life here with Dad. Now Dad is home and doing well back in the US....From bottom up: 82 year old man attacked by abstract art; Guillaume naturally on his best behaviour with his father-in-law in town; My dad's sweet, tender smile; Guillaume behaving himself for real with Dad

Cousins, the other Generation

This summer Alex, my cousin Betsy's son, came to visit. A couple of days later my cousin Nancy's daughter Brooke arrived for a visit. Both visits were loads of fun and an opportunity to get to know two fantastic beings in the next generation. Somehow Alex snuck off without a photo, but here's Brooke (with a couple of Guillaume's paintings in the background) and her "make Martha jealous" salad....

Couzin fun

Just above: "Goat rock" just below our house was the hangout for the kids, neighbors and cousins this summer... Middle photos: Fearless leader takes bored, hormone-saturated adolescent boys hiking, Second from top photo, The wall...just outside our house where all group photos get taken.., Lastly, top photo, "No comment..." (;

After the rain

The day before the kids left, dramatic storms that suddenly lifted in the evening to an eerie light and a dramatic rainbow...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bowser and Pouf-Pouf

Here Bowser is demonstrating Pouf-Pouf's effectiveness as a matress...


Here's a close-up of either Heckyl or Jeckyl (frankly very hard to tell them apart) and Bowser

Kitty Pile

Here's Pouf-Pouf and Cookie in the foreground, Heckyl and Jeckyl in the middle and Bowser in the back.

Babies having babies

We had a pool going, the entire neighborhood had bet on how many kittens Camembert would have and what day. Everyone guessed various dates but the consensus was either 2 or 3 babies with the exception of my landlords' daughter Marine, who is 12 and has lived her whole life in the country here. She asked to see Camembert took a long look at her belly, the swagger of her hips and said quietly but definitely, "Cinq, le 20 juillet." Well, okay little neighborhood veternarian, 5 babies (NONE of us believed her) on the 20th. And voila, that's exactly how it was.
Congratulations, by the way, to my sister Carol and my neighbor Didier who also correctly guessed the 20th.
So yes, Camembert had her babies. Being only 7 months old herself, I really wasn't sure how my teen mom was going to do with it all.
I can only say then that I was exceedingly proud of her because she has been an incredibly devoted mom. Her waters broke and she woke me up for the birth. I carried her to the cardboard box I had prepared. She took a sniff or two, decided it wasn't the Ritz but it would do and settled in. Not long after the first arrived. Not breathing. She began to bite Cookie's hind legs (black and white one named by Marianne), which effectively stimulated movement and soon after breath. She licked Cookie very vigorously, gave birth to the placenta, yum-yum ate it up and then relaxed a short while until Heckyl and Jeckyl (the two black ones) arrived close together. Next came the fluffy grey one, which we named Pouf-Pouf and now affectionately have nicknamed Matela (means mattress) as he is large and soft and the others like to sleep on him. Last but not least Bowser (named by Matthieu in honor of Mario games) the grey, black, white striped one who curiously has a black "M" on his face.
After the birth, Camembert was incredibly devoted, leaving rarely to do the necessary or quickly eat, nursing nearly continually the first two days. The maternal instinct was just there, strong and fierce. On the other hand, it was curious and touching that being the little teen mom that she was, she seemed to feel a little overwhelmed about her new role and if I left her alone too long in the room she would come out and meow plaintively at me to come. Nothing was wrong with the babies, she just seemed to need her doula to spend a little postpartum time with her. So for the first two days, I spent most of my time laid out on a comforter on the floor by her birthing bed, stroking her and talking to her and making sure she had plenty of food and water (Almost immediately she was back to or probably below her pregnancy weight, another true sign she's a teen mom!!)
BTW, sadly my fotos and videos that I took the first few days after the birth mysteriously disappeared so these are about at 7 to 8 days old. They are probably about 4 times their birth size already here. In the beginning they really looked more like little scrawny mice!

Domestic Bliss--An after photo

Aerial view

She's a moving target but I tried to get a photo of Camembert's belly in the days just before she gave birth

Domestic Bliss --A before photo

Friday, August 6, 2010

Death to Lists (um, for now)

Last night I made the radical decision to call a moratorium on listmaking. For those of you who know me well, you know just how radical this is. I write to do lists for the day, week, month, season. Grocery lists. Things-to-remember-to-do-and-buy-when-I return-to-the-US lists. An Amazon wishlist. Write on my hand because "uh-oh i don't want to forget that" lists. Dreams and goals lists.
I'm exhausted.
So after a mostly glorious month (I say mostly because there were some uncomfortable adjustments to the sudden dawning of Matthieu's adolescence....), the kids left on Tuesday. And in the empty quiet of the house, I looked very deeply at how I was living my life.
And what I saw was that those lists were crushing the essence of my life energy. While, yes, they have an important function, to not forget important things, to be productive, to be efficient, they were so ruling me, I was so enslaved, that I had lost the creative flow of my own natural energy, my own beingness.
I decided that listmaking was a killjoy in my life. A pesticide that killed the wild growth of my soul.
So....I decided that today, for now, for the rest of this month of August, I will be a list-less(but hopefully not listless) fool surfing the waves of my own inspiration and intuition. Not to say that the health insurance forms don't need to get filed and the English classes prepped and the unemployment yaddah-yaddah yadded.
But I recognized my obsessive listmaking was based on a gaping fear. That there was no ground beneath me. That if I don't make the right decisions, on-time, in the right order, I will perish. A deep lack of trust in Life and Self.
So I am making a radical decision to Trust. And breathe.
And August, in a small town in the middle of nowhere, where they don't even sell calendars, when I'm only working 2 days a week, seems a pretty safe place and time to experiment with this.
Here's five things I feel about just kidding, really, kind of...