This is the truth. The more
time I spend without writing an entry for the blog, the harder it gets. Now at
least I have one sentence. What is going on? I sit at the computer and
automatically open a word game. I love playing word games. Writing is playing a
word game. Can I write enough words to fill a page and have them make sense and
be entertaining? That would be the challenge of the game. Here I begin. Ever
since spring sprang I have been getting lazier and lazier… no that is not true:
I have been doing other things. What? Working on two projects: learn French and
prepare for the Chemin de Saint Jacques.
This means, on one hand, taking courses in French and reading a novel in
French. I wish it were possible to say “studying very hard, doing exercises,
looking up all the new words in the novel using my French dictionary” but that would
be a lie. That is another angle of learning French that I am definitely
ignoring: studying, really studying, not just letting life put things in front
of me. So I am doing mostly the passive part of learning: taking the courses,
speaking when spoken  to, practicing with
the three or four words necessary to get what I want in town and that is it.
And the other project, well a bit more active: there is the personal trainer
with whom I do 1 hour of exercise over Skype twice a week (that’s good); then I
bought ten sessions in the gym at the Thèrmes
and have begun to go, and there is walking which I do every day and sometimes
in a disciplined way (today I have scheduled a walk at five with a friend with
whom I will speak French part of the way, the other part being the time
dedicated to talking to her in English so she can practice).

As this is written, I am realizing how easy it has become
to putter around, doing odd jobs, sweeping up crumbs, watering a flower box,
trotting to the market for an onion, making the bed (occasionally), watching a
movie, inviting someone over for tea (the neighbor, a friend) and then having
to prepare everything trying to imitate the French way (all perfect and placed

Yesterday I “gardened”
(which reminds me, I need to go for more earth), in other words: I removed four
petunias from their growing pots and placed them in a window-box I had bought a
few days ago. The space in which I have to do that is small and definitely
inside (unless I want to traipse up and down two flights of stairs with dirt,
shovel, window box and petunias) so that means organizing very well, getting
dirt all over the table and the floor, spilling water (ughh, mud) where there
is already dirt so that when finished with the “spring gardening” I have to
sweep, mop and clean for at least the length of time it took to transplant the
petunias. So with that, the afternoon is gone and I deserve a rest which means
playing at least one game of WordSlinger
on the computer, and then having dinner while watching a movie.

Oh yes, I was forgetting: there is Salomé who gets fed
twice a day and taken down for pee and poo at least four times. I usually
combine her downings with other chores like going to the post office, stopping
by Loic’s office for a chat, making a visit to the pharmacy for some vitamin or
another, or simply climbing the hill to pick wild flowers.

Did I mention that the mornings in Salies are a total
loss? No? Well they are. Nothing to be done even when I get up early, say 7:30.
As it is early, I give myself permission to check y e-mail, then do Chi Kung,
then make my smoothie for breakfast, take a shower, make up, dress and take
Salomé down for her morning outing. By this time, it is 9:45 and time to meet
my friend, Hugh, at the Café des Thèrmes
for coffee. Coffee inside during the winter with all the hubbub of the Salisiennes
and on the sidewalk beginning spring to watch the groups of tourists that
become a regular sight in Salies as of May and continue up until September, is
a delightful Bearnaise habit (perhaps the same in the rest of France, but never
discovered during my years of visiting Normandy) that I wouldn’t miss for the
world. By the time coffee is over and my friend and I have shared comments on
the weather, the occupations of the Salisienes, the latest restaurant
discovered on internet, the news (he reads the paper and informs me of what I
might find interesting) and the fascinating lives of his cats and my dog, it is
after eleven and there is barely time to trot home, feed Salomé and decide if I
will make myself some lunch or zip around the corner to Au Petit Béarn for the daily three-course menu. By the time that is
over it is afternoon and, of course, digestion is done while relaxing in front
of the computer and playing a few more games. After a while at the computer,
Salomé will come over with a ball and drop it on my foot letting me know she
has had enough of napping and is ready to play some indoor football up and down
the hall. So the morning is shot. No morning to speak of: gone to the dogs, so
to say.

Unfortunately the afternoon goes much the same way.
Outdoors is where I really want to be in this weather, walking up the hill,
breathing in the spring aromas and perfumes, strolling through town to see if
something stops me with a new experience, like an unknown person saying hello
to my dog, or a new store window, or a friend passing by, or the sudden need to
buy something that takes me into the supermarket; walking past the Toutou.net –Salomé’s salon- and making
an appointment for next week on Monday, the day before my son arrives for my
family’s first visit to my new home (I can hardly sit still awaiting the day),
or dropping in to have a cup of tea with the downstairs neighbor… And then the
afternoon is dribbled away too.

(And I have just interrupted this writing to stand and
clip a couple of flowers off the white chrysanthemum I planted yesterday in the
collective pot on my bar-cart, walked over to the kitchen to place them in the
bag for the compost, realized that my luncheon plates are still on the table
beside the computer when I had lunch while playing a game, picked them up, put
them  in the sink, put the remaining
chicken stew I made for lunch in a container and in the fridge, refilled the
nut dish with nuts, eaten a piece of cantaloupe that was so sweet I ate a
second piece,  walked to the window,
gazed out… Goodness! How in the world am I supposed to be productive when my
body rhythm has slowed to an almost catatonic level and all my energy is spent
in just being content, feeding myself and cleaning up, and generally making
life pleasant but only 24 hours a day?)

And now I must finish this because it is time to tidy up
the apartment before the cleaning girl comes, get out of the way taking a walk
with Salomé and going to the nursery for earth and maybe some more plants. Ho
hum… I love Salies.

3 thoughts on “DILEMMA

  1. When I read your blog, it’s like getting a letter from a friend. I wonder if it ever seems that way to you?

  2. Always enjoy your little stories! I have a tip for you! If you want to learn a language, learn some songs that call your attention in that language! It is fun and entertaining as you learn – in this case French – very well and understand its’ usage! B&A Moi ((*_*)

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