And so it goes …

She said… Have spent the day with others in the class; walking this morning and this afternoon on a motor boat to Monaco. monoco1.jpg I confess to a little “mal de mer” but was well taken care of by my Swedish friend and a seasoned sailor. The sailor is in the Norwegian navy and one would never guess she dives to remove underwater mines. The most gentle woman.He said… Played 18 holes of golf this afternoon. I wasn’t good I wasn’t bad. Shot 93 not counting the shots I didn’t count. As I came up the driveway I thought of the first time I visited. You invited me over for soup. It was – as they same a dark and stormy night. I drove into the parking area and heard a dog – it was a big dog’s bark. Being a Jew the first thing I thought of was Doberman or Rottweiler. Turned out to be Privie, your very friendly Australian Shepard. I trudged up to the front door carrying 2 bottles of Kastania, Pinot Noir. You opened the door and I stepped in. You said I took one look at the real estate and decided this was the place for me. Well, the house was – is – spectacular but I want to believe – I DO believe - I took one look at you and decided you were the one place for me.Then I have this dream early this morning. I get a call from our doctor telling me that I have “the fetish disease.” He suggested we watch it and if it gets worse he’ll proscribe something.So now we know what ails me. I have “The Fetish Disease!” Don’t worry, I Googled it and it’s not catching.She said… Here it is the beginning of the second week and I face my “exposition personelle” on Wednesday. I’m terrified and horrified at once. I have thought of one of those “in your face” expositions but don’t know enough French to make it funny. On the other hand, reportage on my life sounds like primary school. Of course, that’s were I feel I am.What a comeuppance this is. I feel mentally challenged at every turn. Here I am having spent my life perfecting my language, my expression, and now at this ripe old age I am regressed to pre-kindergarten.I just found out tonight that we are to speak our native language at least for an hour after the school day since 8 hours in a foreign tongue is enough. What a relief. But I’m now sitting at a table with some diehards who won’t follow the rule. So I’m writing in English.I wish you were already in Paris and could drive down here to rescue me.I will tough this out. I’m sure I will feel better about it all at the end or certainly when I’m finished. But what a silly girl thought that after one month in residence at a language school she would speak fluently! I can imagine, once I forget the pain of this, having to return many times.My teacher is Cecile Ratié. She’s very good. Completely French femme; tough, smart, animated and very good at what she does. I’m in intermediate 2 and though I have a larger vocabulary than my comrades, I’m definitely not where it’s at with grammar. All this practice with the passe compose and future proche is very good for me. As they say, the structure is all and I had precious little skill at that. Yes, I could make myself understood and to Americans it sounded good but there’s no fooling the natives.More another time. I must return for my meager repas and mes devoirs.He said… As you can see, had a great lunch with Dan, Steve and Jim at Mirepoix. mirepoix5.jpg I forgot to take my camera and Steve took it with his cell phone. It’s fuzzy. I like it. Kind of looks like a French bistro … No? Only, I look a little crushed between Steve and Dan, C’est la vie. I brought one of Pierre-Yves Mersault’s, Dan brought 2 of his Pinots, Jim brought a bottle and we naturally ordered a French white. We ate for 3 and a half hours, food was great, wine excellent. On the whole we came as close from this side of the ocean to Manet’s le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, without being on the lawn with naked women.She said… I’m at chez betty having a bite and then home to prepare my expose. Kind of getting into it. A bit more relaxed now and feeling more comfortable with mes amies and the teacher. I like her very much as will you. Gave her a flower today and she was so pleased. She’s quite chic.He said… I wish I could be the fly on the wall of your exposé, a fly with a simultaneous translator.You’ll be great. You’ll knock them back on their croissants.She said… I bombed, simply bombed. I clutched, couldn’t think, couldn’t speak, tried to read from my computer what I had written and nothing worked. But the story was gripping. I used some of your suggestion as an opening “I have been married 4 times and each husband has successively taught me that it is more important to know myself then to try to figure them out.”I’m not a good performer in these situations and you would think someone who talks off the cuff as easily as I would have no trouble. Don’t know what it is. But so it goes.He said… And so it goes. It’s all a process. The fact that you could stand there is terrific.Remember you new motto: “Malgre tout…je chante!”He said… I am thinking about what to include in the blog. It seems to me that if we are to be us then we need to be us. Just walking and eating and dinning and studying is OK, but what we really are two people IN LOVE and I think we have to say what we feel. Two people who have reached – because of the unique experiences we have had – a certain understanding of life. Essentially the world is our stage and we can be free to BE. And as with all plays, the words (and pictures) speak for themselves and others can take from it what they chose.He said… And speaking of pictures: img_19.jpg Picked up our wines at KostaBrowne and had a taste with Dan and Michael. It was the first time I was at their new facility; immaculate and very slick. Gives you a good feeling the minute you walk in. As you know, we go back to the early 90s. All at John Ash together: I, starting my life in the wine business as the bartender, Dan as a busser and Michael on the grill. We’re still friends and we’ve all come a long way. They are the hottest producer of California Pinot Noir. They have 12,000 people just waiting to get on their mailing list. It was the Koplen, we tasted. Needlesss to say, excellent and it will be perfect by the time we get back from France.She said…Love the picture. Have showed it around. I think you should maybe slow up a bit on the pics. But then what’s the difference. It really doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s your outlet for writing. Why not? I’d probably not do as much nor say as much that’s personal. That’s my way but it’s not yours so go ahead.He said… Had dinner with Helen and Michael. img_0028.jpg As usual it was a work of art: “miroton” made in his Aga stove. He called it his peasant dish – layers of sautée onions and boiled beef. Drank some wine and realized I should have had the bottle facing the camera when I took the picture. I suppose it really didn’t matter; it was a red burdundy, but we both agreed that it was “rather awkard.” They are in great form and looking forward to spending time with us in France. He wants to make a pilgrimage to Sollies-Toucas to visit the grave of Richard Olney, his French cooking guru.I also realized that almost all my photos have me holding a glass of wine. I suppose that is the Bacchus in me. Although, I believe I am closer to Dionysus. Remember, it was part of the myth that he had gone to India and brought back the “religion of the grape.” Funny. Never drank wine in India.She said …Tonight we go to dinner, tomorrow a bit trip to Vence and the maeght which is closed and Sunday to the house of the nice Swedish couple for a randonne and after a lunch at their house.He said… So I was surfing for movies through Tivo and up came up (this will be considered a pun after you read the rest) “The Sun Also Rises.” And there in the first scene was Paris, Paris 1922 but Paris as we have always “imagined it.”I have always been gripped by this movie. Never knew why until tonight. Man’s greatest fantasy is not Superman, but Impotence. Jake Barnes was a nice man, a man women loved. He loved to be with women, and as handsome as he was (after all it was Tyrone Power), he could not make love to them, because of a war wound. (Was Hemingway masking his own fear?). This has to be man’s greatest fear. I suppose it’s right up there (another non-intended pun) with castration. But the difference is interesting. He said… I loved the book (The Sun Also Rises) long before there was a movie. The real story is that impotence did not keep him from loving a woman nor did it keep her (and it was Ava Gardner!) from loving him.She said… Impotence is a man’s great fear. You know, the old performance anxiety and then boom, one day it hits. Hard to imagine what that blow feels like. At least hard for a woman to imagine. It reminds me of the gulf between the sexes. The big things neither of them (us) can really imagine about the other.Wonderful conversation for later.He said… And of course the last 4/5ths of the movie, as well as the book, takes place in Spain leading to the bullring, the great pageant to the stirring (almost martial) sounds of the Paso Doble bringing the matadors into the ring where they will prove man’s potency by killing the totem of male strength. (After they have sufficiently wounded the bull to slow him down.)Perhaps this is the perfect movie to watch today. Hemingway defined the macho American male that came into the world between the wars and reached its height after 1945 and perhaps because of the inherent impotence - remember the argument of shame that Camille Paglia talked about - Hemingway that great symbol of the American male, eventually put a shotgun into his mouth and blew his head off. Interesting that it was a shotgun. In the Army they always made us say: “This is your rifle, it’s not your gun. Your rifle’s for firing, your gun’s for fun.”I’m off to bed.She said… Fabulous finish and insight. In fact it’s what America has done now. Put a shotgun to it’s head. No one forced it to take it’s own life, it simply failed at becoming it’s fantasy, the most powerful nation on earth without regard for anyone. The blindness to reality!

2 Responses to “And so it goes …”

  1. Our sister, Carolyn Short, is at school with you and told us about your blog which we just read and enjoyed. Would you please tell Carolyn that her two sisters (and dogs) are spending two nights at the Inn at Essex in Vermont — our version of her month in Nice! — and are wishing we were in France with her instead.

    Thank you so much.

    Carolyn Short’s sisters: Estelle and Randy

  2. Well, the Mirepoix crew looks like a motley bunch. How many bottles had been consumed by then?
    Hope you’re having as many good bottles over there.
    Has the transportation situation gotten any better?
    Hope all is well.
    Enjoy the holidays! We’ll talk in between.
    Is there another medium to write to you?
    Until later,
    Jim

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