Bordeaux – a Bit More –

Bordeaux, evening & I found a decent & busy cafe – facing the Arch at Gambetta in the historic part of the city – the old city.

Watching, while waiting for my glass of wine. A couple sits nearby; she young-literally a girl- 17 or so, perhaps, peut etre She’s a young Marion Coitilliard, very long hair- down her back with a hair=clip catching it up and letting it cascade still with style.

The young man- 20- perhaps (at most), confident – reminds me a bit of the actor who played Moliere, Romain Duris, a man-bun – & wire-rimmed glasses, blue eyes- a bit of a beard. It looks like a date. I think they’re perfect together.

She’s smoking – & talking – He’s leaning in – not noticeably- but enough. Enough- for me to see he’s interested.

She’s wearing an off-the-shoulder white diagonal scarf short dress–sneakers. He’s got washed black jeans & faded reddish short sleeve shirt. They both have tattoos. Good for them.

Longing for youth again & to be more reckless and more adventurous. Well, truth be told, I was adventurous. I travelled and lived a few blocks up from Harvard Square and lived a life that would be envied by many. I think, being introspective, now, I wish I’d been more in the moment.

Looking at them – I think about myself at that age & wish -= oh so wish someone had told me – “These are the days- these are the best days. Fall in love & say with the guy- make a life. Love each other. Connect & have an intimate history.

The slender body and firm supple bodies – all slip away with age. The wide-eyed innocence with intelligence behind the eyes – changes.  It changes to a skepticism about life-for most.  Some hold on to that joie de vivre and joy of life…but only few.

Life is fluid- not sure if this couple are students. Somehow I “feel” they’re in hospitality and just spreading their wings- assuming they’re older than 18. Sweet.

Venue- Eminem Music- loud – four guys drinking beer and laughing and a few young women- with two old guys & me…watching & listening and trying to sip my wine & enjoy the evening. I think about being back in Boston; more specifically – Cambridge at my own digs. My own comfortable place.

I wonder why I’m here – traveling alone and taking the train from Paris to Bordeaux. Paris has some familiarity and although the idea of travel and actually seeing other cities in France held a fascination; I’m not sure as I sit and wile away the hours of evening. I would like to be back at the hotel by ‘night-time’ having zero ability to speak the language and in this locale, the people have zero interest in communicating with me. Thirty years ago, I’d be that young, slim, innocent woman and it would be so much easier.

Aging, aging women, in particular, disappear. At home, it’s true. However, in France, unlike the hype – it is palatable. Invisible. This is a reality check; too cruel and very concrete. Old and a woman traveling alone is one of the most challenging times; being real in another language. Ahhh…there’s the rub.

Bon Soir!

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Bordeaux. Sunday, July 10, 2018 #jkcosmos

My room is more comfortable – air- ahhhh.  I have zero clue on what  to do or see here.  Did not do much “due diligence” and am having a late start – going to the river – but really need to organize myself and have a coffee – the coffe in France is ‘terrible for my palate’!  Too strong – too muddy.  Guess, I’m actually – discriminating on my coffee.

I’m at a cafe just a short of the river- a few more blocks to see the River.  (I do not know the name of the river, but appreciate it’s a big deal- here).

The best advise was from Guillieme – yesterday.  The pedestrian walks are fabulous-families, young lovers and old – people, enjoying and I think that’s why they’re slimmer and more attractive – as they slide-walk by.  Fluid – I see the tourists – less fluid and thicker, fatter – less attractive – slow moving.

And then there’s the smoking – wow – everywhere – smoking and the art of smoking – the gadgets – to get the tobacco – not sure what it is – but they do it with such panache.

Listening to workers at the next table – the young woman is fast-talking, smoking -thin, wearing all black -pout and very sensual. Three guys at table – all wearing black – a bit more low-key – quieter.  Well, should finish the cafe – the water and get to the River-see the sights and boats.

The studnt told me this is a safe city – no crime – in particular. Interesting. Is it one person’s perspective or is it truly the case – ahhhh – ‘A safe city.’

1:30 wlaking all around the city since 10:45 – a bit worn out and not!

People float along – rather than step-step.  Just saw a couple walk by – & it is that carried the day.  A fluffy, yellow tone Alaskan breed – tall & gorgeous.  But really it was the jaunt – the dog actually was on ‘tip-toe’ – paw and pranced by.  Lots of dogs and quietly – strolling along with their owners.

A little girl just did a piroet and is in a light pink dress – her father carrying her pink bike over his shoulder – as she dances and spins.

I’m not seeing the MiddleEast population as I did in Paris.  It may be nonsensical, but it feels safer and more French.  There are Afrikans walking – not Middle-east or Asians.

This is a very calm environment.  A family just strolled by – two kids – mother holding toddler to her chest.  Father with one hand – pushing a small stroller – the little girl – with cotton short light brown coffee-coloured straight skirt and top, same material, square cut – top – a burnt orange – long hair held back with a barrett.  Absolutely lovely family – parents similarly relaxed posturing.

Oops – thye came back – peach top – deep rose dress underneath..one piece.  Mother in white jeans- father in black jeans and t-shirt – stroller now has baby in it and brightly coloured, long scarf on top sunscreen – of carriage.

Not seeing many tourists – very few.

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Paris – June 8, 2018 #jkcosmos

Jardin – Lovely, petit dejeuner – long walk to gardens – photos & more.  Changed money; dollars to euros and young, Indian fellow – so pleasant- complimented my limited French.  Haha!  Wonder if he says that to everyone.  Pleasant enough.

I can sit here for an hour – museum- Pont Neuf – love locks – & the Seine.  Could I live here for a few months a year.  I’d like to try.

Hazy, hot and humid – but not raining.  I’m happy.

Recalling these moments, the part that wasn’t said was the aloofness of the French and the total isolation as an American in Paris.  Language barriers- absolutely- limited the pleasure of being there.  I recall as a young woman, language wasn’t as challenging.  I recall as a young woman, being able to communicate and people trying to help me.  So, yes, youth matters and aging is for the strong, courageous & totally brave.  Age has limited the experience; adventure remains, but the actual engagement with others has diminished.

I am saddened by this realization.  I am also glad to have the time, space and wherewithall to be introspective.  I am introspective.

 

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Irish Pub in Aix Provence

June. World Cup – futbol on flatscreens everywhere. No ones paying attention. What? I am.

Guys, smoking & talking, not once glancing at the game. What’s going on with the French? Amazingly blaze & oh so cool.

Wonder if the Final game between France & Croatia will bring about a new energy & interest.

Looks like France took to the games for the Final Match. #AllezLesBleu

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MFA Boston. Pastels

Having just returned from France, visiting this Boston exhibit would be a bit of culture shift. One thing so evident, Americans are loud. Very!

In France, people us a hushed, lower voice to speak with each other. So, yikes, people “Inside voices!” Remember the low tone & volume of libraries -that!

Of course, Americans are also loud in libraries. It must be a new okay bit. I’d say generational, but I’m watching two old fart ladies in their fifties -and I can hear every word, all too distinctly, as they walk & critique each piece. Wowza! Even head shakes & finger pointing.

The positive is it’s not crowded. It’s also not hot, humid with oppressive no air venue. It’s quite computable. There’s benches to rest and take in the art. Ahhh-American sensibility.

The loud ones have passed by and so, I will continue my time with Pastels from the greats of another time.

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So It Goes –

So It Goes –

The vibe of political discourse – perhaps, brawling is more accurate.  The attempt to live – to just take in the moments and savor the day!  The grizzle of the push-pull of job, family and friends.

So It Goes –

The daily-ness adding to life and aging us.  The fast movement toward the grave.  The seemingly care and empathetic folk on social media.  The reality!  The reality is quite differnt.

So It Goes –

Trying to stay present.  Trying to not have my mind wander into the past.  Past mistakes.  Past mis-steps.  Past hurts.  Past resentments.

Trying to stay present and future and hopeful.  How does one do that?  Really, how does one take in the personal history, society’s disfunction and history & move forward.

 

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Wandering –

June 7, 2018  #jkcosmos

My I-Phone battery ran out —it’s just past 1:00 and I found the most lush cafe. at end of Jardin Du Tuillierres.  It’s shady and not so busy, as to feel rushed.

Every point of view is phenomenal.  I’m facing the Louvre- which is a bit too far for me to actually see.  What do I see?

I see the green-garden, metal chairs that I know so well through pictures!

I see the back of the chairs, as they’re positioned to ‘see’ the view.

The people sitting, relaxing are under the shade of small, 30′-40′ perfectly shaped, lined-up trees.

Two of these trees frame the sunny view.  The manicured, lush green grass.  A lawn not too formal to dissuade children from running and playing on it.

Interspersed are gardens with delicate, wispy varieties of soft, pastel colours.  The flower beds are low and albeit ‘pretty’ not intrusive in the view or welcome.

People walking by relaxed.  Lots of people sitting, which surprises me.  Doesn’t anyone work?  Besides the waiters, that is?

I wish Peter and Phillip were with me.  This is so very lovely – and I’m alone. Not sure how I feel about that!  Sad – yes — a little.

To the left of the gardens are historic, architectually interesting buildings – all.  Fountains everwhere – mostly to my left.

To my right and a bit behind me seems to be neighborhood plots of land for vegetables. I actually stopped to rest there a bit – and yes, in a green metal chair.

There’s a dirt path abutting and runners – joggers dashing by.

The fountain I’m seeing is in the center of statues.  Since my I-Phone is out of juice; I really hope to return tomorrow for the visuals.

 

 

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Ra Ra – I’m with YOU!

Seeing so many of my friends have husbands/significant others & I see the complaining! Geez, you really have no clue what it is to have zero back-up! No clue to be on the precipice and no net/no one there to really care about you. I am seeing this & that about my ‘husband’ and wonder if these people understand/truly the courage it takes to move one foot in front of the other daily.
I think not! I am amazed at commentary from those so comfortable financially. Yeah yeah – go You! Quite honestly, you don’t know. You don’t wake up in a cold sweat! You don’t find it challenging to get to sleep- with the $$$ issues going round & round in your head. Spinning – constantly, always spinnning! No relief! NONE! Not ever, not one fucking day of relief and breathe. So, while you are ‘in solidarity’ with this & that – I would like you to think about the reality- NOT just the concept of being poor and smiling & all that – but not knowing if next week you’ll have the $$$ for milk for your coffee – or the coffee – let alone electricity and gas in the tank. It’s the reality of the USA & that is why I did not, could not celebrate the 4th of July. It’s just too damn selective in what is Freedom and what is the Good Life in the America of 2018! I’m worn out and worn down.

Oh, you say – but you went to France – how could you do that! The Answer my friends – is truly that I was compelled to go – if not I was dying and dying and my spirit spent. I was compelled to go & by hook or crook – I went. Now, the piper! Now, the shit-show! So, those of you married or w/ partners- Good for you! Cheers to you! Please do NOT presume to know what it is to teach as Adjunct Faculty & take chump change for a job well-done! It’s a never-ending cycle of despair and hope! You truly have no Idea! NONE!

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Oppressive, no air.
Is this what we face on Monday for Summer II?
Forget it next summer.

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Introspection in a Cathedral

Icons- a multitude of icons! Pastel, baby blue & dusty pink flowers borders of flowers – joyful!

I lit a candle by the Virgin Mary & Baby Jesus – for all of us – intercession.  The icon was trimmed with ornate silver and delicate, fragile silver filigree.  The balance of Orthodox crosses on each wall – the exterior walls with blue on the right and silver on the left.

Looking upwards and up, the height dizzingly- higher and higher, I see azure blue at a narrow top with gold metalic stars bursting within the blue.  There is blue-blue ceiling elongated and narrow windows beneath the tip-top, letting in light, a diffused light from the narrow and long windows at the top of the domed ceiling.  The windows and light framed in cheery off-white, yellow beneath are Orthodox Crosses in the aisles and then underneath is the magnificent dome – sunbursts.  Energy!

Sunbursts – sun-rays – licking out, not too bold.  I do not see the scary Saints on the dome; like the ones from my childhood, who stared down at me – as a child, I looked up and saw harsh, stern saints – dour.

This has none of that – It’s powerful and beautiful.  The church is darker than outside; the windows at the top-sunshine- surrounding dome..sunshine. Windows on the ground level are stained glass & so the lihgt is diffused.  It’s more of a warm, golden glow.

Around the room at corners & borders are the floweres – pale pink- yellow and blue & vines – detailed, intricate vines dancing up the wall or border or corner – connecting the designs; allowing me to see the cohesiveness of the artist and the family, who built this in honor of their son, who died too soon.

Plain, wood floors and clean.  Few seats in the Russian Churches – benches around each of the two columns.  In front of the alter – incons on the stands – candles!  The doors – framed with gold- a rough, dark gold- rubbed antique look.

Virgin Mary is above the Alter – St. Nicholas is to her right.  Angels and seraphim surround her- also sweet, joyful and angles and small clouds-frames the edges.

I’m breathless.

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Love

          He met me at the airport, greeting me as I stepped off and into his arms.  Harris was the most passionate man and lover.  How could I not love him?  How could any woman refuse him? I met him in a cafe in Athens on a boulevard near King George Hotel, at a time of upheaval in Greece.  The conversation turned to love and life and the ‘what ifs?’.  I fell hard and most of my plans were rearranged to be with him.  Greatist love?  Certainly greatest passion.
          Stepping off the plane, I felt something else, and certainly not love.  Looking at his smiling eyes, and admiring his handsome face, masculine face; masculine everything.  I was embarrassed and turned to Mario and turned to my true and beautiful romantic love.  The man I met on Skathios in the airport and the one where there was such a magnetic and compelling pull; an energy and total understanding.  Love is more than the passion, isn’t it?  I knew that physicality was important and held his tender, generous love close to my heart.  I said ‘Yes.’ when he asked me to marry him; Harris – that is.  Yes, after three brief weeks of being together, he brought me to his family; to meet his family and it was all quite wonderful; a happy, joyous time. Harris was kind, hmm, I said that, didn’t I?
          Mario, the guy, the love, the one that held the world and life in such a similar way, that I truly and totally fell in love.  Love, a concept about more than one or another level of affection?  Of passion?  What, exactly, is that one true love?  I have considered so many variables, so many features and definitions of love.  He, too, had large brown eyes, and curly, soft long brown hair; dark brown, mahogany brown with tendrils falling beyond his collar. Beyond, his broad shoulders and most amazing energy, beyond his tall and slender build, Mario had a warmth and kindness and gentleness that was magic.  He was very intelligent and talking with him went beyond a conversation; it was a knowing and a similar view of what is important. He was gorgeous!
          What can I do about Harris?  And how to let Harris know that I will not be marrying him? It’s not possible to marry and live a life together, when I have fallen in love with someone else. It’s unimaginable to love this lovely man, when my soul and very being must be with Mario.
          And so, I kissed Harris and I knew it was over between us.  I kissed Harris, and I felt Mario’s gaze upon me, a gaze of understanding and of love.  I kissed Harris and we left the airport; it was the beginning of an unraveling between us.  Harris knew, or should have known.  I wonder still if that kiss betrayed my change of heart.  Harris and I continued and we went along together for a few days only. I decided to return to the States and I promised to plan a meeting with Mario. And yet, I  hadn’t altogether broken it off with Harris.
          Mario had been open and insistent; both – at the same time and I knew that I would be making plans to visit him in Swaziland, South Africa – his home.  I also knew and felt a secure and laid-back energy, a warmth of love that was between us.  I was confident that we would marry and welcomed being with him for the rest of my life.
          Home, and my closest and most lovely and loved confidant, my father, agreed that I must go and visit Mario in Swaziland.  Relief and a renewed knowing of gong to him and being with him; and my father had been open to that possibility and approved.  There was no impediment; I started to plan my transfer of business to someone else, so I could leave.  I spoke with Mario, long and yes, expensive conversations.  We were in agreement.  We were in love.
         And then, my father died.  He suddenly and quite unexpectedly had a heart attack and died.  He was not old, he was my best friend in the world.  He was my co-conspirator, supporting my leaving to go to my love, my Mario.
          My father’s death most certainly delayed my plans to reunite with Mario.  And, then, as people say – life goes on.  I never made that trip.  I spoke with Mario often enough for the following few months and then I married someone else.  Mario called, sometimes, and we spoke for hours.  I knew that I had made a most terrible mistake.
          When my marriage ended, Mario offered to come to the States, to be with me and my sons.  To renew our love, in person, in real life and real time and without any illusions.  I wanted him to come and to be with me and my young sons.  I cried so many days and nights about the loss of our chance to be together.  I was already in the fight of my life, a custody battle with my former husband that took over any chance of happiness.  After, most likely, too much thought, I asked Mario not to come to the States as I might lose my children.  He deferred his trip, he agreed to my request.  I loved him even more.
          He married after meeting a Dutch woman on a cruise.  They have twin daughters and Mario and I lost touch.  I think of him and I love him.  I regret not letting him come to help me, to love me and to heal my soul with his love.
          I think of Harris, the man I had agreed to marry and wonder if he thinks of me.  Does he think of me as someone who betrayed him or someone that truly let him go for reasons beyond both of us?  I wonder even more so about Mario and if he’s had a joyful, loving life.  I hope so and I sometimes think that I should plan a trip to Swaziland and go there to see.  I should go to see his life in a country too foreign, but so beautiful, a country that my father told me to experience before he died.  One that I should experience before I die.
          I am now beyond middle-aged.  I am now nearer the end of my life than the beginning or the middle and I am trying to think about what makes me happy and where my love is.  I have loving sons and I love them dearly; but not that long ago, I had a choice to go to Swaziland and marry a man who loved me and to a life that would have been quite different than the one I have lived.

There was a moment in time, when I fell in love with a man with brown eyes and a gentle soul and I am grateful; very grateful to know love.

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