Friday, June 25, 2010
From Perfume to My Antonia I have had such grand adventures with The No Guilt Book Club.
No guilt for sitting on the sofa and being served like a queen, no guilt that husbands have been left at home to help the children get their homework done. Or worse yet, that the entire household of the hostess has been banished to entertain themselves for the evening so that the girls can meet in peace. Peace among wine indulging women being a relative thing.
The husbands and families are shooed away, because we don’t want to reveal our shameless lack of attention to guilt. There is no guilt for a little extra wine tonight. No guilt that the noise level of our chatter is about to raise the roof. And, to those who may not have actually read the book, no guilt from the righteous few that just might have. There is no guilt for not finding elegant words to describe why you liked or disliked the book. And mostly no guilt for the fact that with such great cooks in this group we eat way too much tonight.
We could be called the Really Great Cooks Group. But that would cut out the experiences gained through books. Where the authors transport us emotionally, physically or historically. We may not talk about them much during the evening, but these books are a shared world that we journey through.
Maybe in the next year or two we’ll write our own adventure story. We’ll call it No Guilt in France. (Assuring our abandoned families that the guilt will arise from any especially untoward behavior.)
Maybe others of you want to join in on that one. Keep tuned in for opportunities to be had in the small village of Bourdeilles. I plan to be organizing week-long adventures in our region of France for women’s groups (whether well-read or not).
Monday, June 21, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
If you’ve got it flaunt it. That is a statement Tom said to me many years ago. I don’t remember the exact context, but let’s just say that it’s not my style to flaunt.
Yet once a year I bask in flaunting. Flaunting the peonies that come in waves from our garden. I luxuriate in the early morning collection of peonies. Also the collecting of other flowers or greens ripe for mixing into lush bouquets. It’s the one time a year when I can understand Tom’s love of getting up early, doing his work while the world is quiet and fresh. The cool damp air gives me time to handle the flowers without the need for water. They sit out on the porch while I wander around looking for more filler, something spiky, just two more stems of blue or chartreuse. Just thinking the word chartreuse as I wander around makes me happy.
All this and the best part is yet to come. Imagine the great sense of satisfaction to be had as I go around the neighborhood delivering these grand bouquets.
I’ll never bake cookies, and rarely remember the actual date of their birthdays, but once a year I get to delight my neighbors and friends as I indulge myself in flaunting The Great Abundance. This is one of the sweetest rewards born of our years of work in this amazing garden.
PS If you are a peony, chances are that you are raised in either the American Midwest or in France. (This must be peony’s attraction to Tom). We already know of two amazing peony farms in France. This fall we will begin the passionate pursuit of replacing our collection. Next fall we will head over to the holy grail of Rivoire Peonies. If you are a French peony chances are you were created here. Chasing peonies and traveling in France. Now there is something to look forward to!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I am sitting down to write about the peonies and suddenly find myself wordless. At first I panic that I am afraid to talk about something that I am so involved with. Reluctant to explore myself. Then I realize that indeed I am reluctant to find words. There is no need for them. What a waste of energy when I can be out there with them.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
For someone that is a visual person and sees everything, Tom has been able to create beautiful art in an atmosphere of complete and utter chaos. Well at least to the eyes of the occasional visitor that is allowed into the inner sanctum. Even for business meetings Jolie and I enter in one door and Tom enters The Studio Door.
There are to be no interruptions. No comments or conversations made in this space. Only a teenager’s room is more closely guarded, organized in a way only they can understand. Perhaps artists are teenagers that never grew up.
With all other spaces of our home pretty much cleaned out and organized for the great move – only one domain was left. The studio. Only Tom can do this. And get to it he did. No one wants to hear or know about what went to the massive burn pile. No one wants to see the trashcans full of slides, photos, calendar pages, old paintbrushes, tubes of dried up watercolors, oil paints gone amok and years of ‘you’re the best teacher’ gifts.
Only Tom can handle every item. Remember its usefulness – either for his head or his technique. Why a poster of nearly-unknown blues singer Billy Price? With Billy’s fist clenched and cocked, what words of strength is he sending out? Why the photos with Hoke, Rick and various cats? Music is obviously important.
There are hundreds of music CDs, multiple ipods, and lyrics scrawled on the doors (“No guru, no method, no teacher” – Van Morrison). Music is the wall that blocks out any chance of thought except for the reaction of arm to brush to paint.
How could anyone think straight in here!? Who knows, but in a beautiful and happy way, Tom does.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
It’s a lovely early summer evening. We’ve just returned from a reconnaissance trip to Bourdeilles. We’re like young lovers making plans for all the new things happening in life. About half way through dinner Tom drops a bomb. “The love of my life. She’s breaking my heart.”
Now that drops a fork!
Every time we have a stay in Bourdeilles there has been another marriage crashed on the rocks of extra-marital affairs. The village is too small to sneak around in so everyone is sure to know sooner or later. Often one of the spouses is the last to know, but indeed they do find out fairly quickly. It’s not always a good idea to return home unexpectedly in this village.
Could this part of French village life be seeping into my blissful world?
“Haven’t you noticed how unhappy I have been? How I am just not up to my usual performance? Things just don’t seem to be working out.”
Do you hear something crashing on the rocks?
“She seems to have one blade running higher than the other, her starter is a bit tricky and I’m not sure what it will cost to get her engine up to par for the new owners.”
And, voila!, here is my true competition – the lawn mowers. Yes, mowers. Many of them. All in various states of working order. But all loved for their particular habits, curves and demanding temperaments. What else could a man ask for? And, given the messy disasters of adultery in Bourdeilles, what better mistress could a wife wish for?
Mow on, my lover of the bent blade, the slipping belt and the exploding engine. And keep your pecker in your pants.