Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Out Gardening

While all of France is caught up in the presidential elections, all I'm really concerned about are the goings-on in my garden.

I gathered wild garlic from a field in Salvetat and replanted them in a deep pot, hoping they'll thrive here in the Midi. For a good quarter-hour yesterday, I hand-picked the snails infesting my iris, then drowned the pests in vinegar, their punishment for daring harm the bearded beauties that are blooming so well this season. After much research, I've figured out what plants can survive the poor soil and the heat of where we live, so I've brought in ornamental grasses--Festuca glauca and Carex buchanani--as well as sempervivums and various sedums--acre, spectabile, monregalense, and reflexum. The Pampas grass we dug out of a nearby field and replanted here last autumn is currently testing its new home with a few tentative blades. Roses like sandy soil and lots of sun; they grow well here. So I've taken cuttings from Jeanette's profuse peach variety and pray that it's not too late for them to root. To give them a boost, I soaked the eight-inch long tips in weak tea made from split-open willow twigs. The oleander cuttings have received the same treat.

When I do wash my hands of soil and brush up on current events, I find myself drawn to the colorful first-round losing candidate José Bové, high-school kick-out, defender of sheep farmers, Roquefort cheese-maker, marijuana decriminalization adherent, one-time Rainbow Warrior passenger, organic farming proponent, genetically modified organisms enemy, and, in connection to this last and most famously, a McDonald's dismantler.

On top of all that, I have to admit, I am awfully attracted to his posters decorated with a giant coquelicot, my favorite spring flower.

Unsettling Moment

There I was, watching a documentary on a Palawan tribe, lost as to what the tribespeople were saying except for the occasional word shared with Tagalog--"babae," "lalaki," "oo"--reading the subtitles meant for the citizens of this foreign land to understand one of the languages of my own country.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Photograph, In Words

Strangely beautiful sight seen today: A half-naked young man--blue jeans holding on to a strip of brown leather belt, pale winter skin teased by spring sunshine--standing in the middle of a wide field, accompanied only by rows of grape vines just beginning to leaf, blowing on a golden trumpet, offering his music to the wind somewhere on that long, quiet road to Arles.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Scene from a Marriage

I was nagging my husband: "I've decided that I want a child. Now, I know you're not so hot on the idea of having one, but you better think about it again, because I know I want to have a baby, and I'm not going to stay with a guy who doesn't want to have one with me."

For a few days, he was being wishy-washy, trying to get me convinced that we should only consider having a child if we could be back in the Philippines the first few years of the baby's life, because then we could afford yayas, and having help really makes things easier during those difficult infant years. Then one evening he comes home, and goes all emotional on me.

"I have something to say," he began, his eyes tearing up. "Life is going well for us, and we're in love. In fact, we're the happiest couple I know. So I realized that this is really the best time for it. Yes, let's have a child. Let's have a child right now."

"Huh," went I. "Right now?"

"Yes," he affirmed.

"Uhm, you know, I didn't mean rrrrr-right now," I stuttered. "I just wanted to know that the option of having a child was open."

He only stared.

"Like, if I felt that I was ready to have one, we could. But I didn't mean right now. Maybe, in two years or four. Or maybe even later. Just so I know that the option is there, you get it?"

I know, I am an impossible wife.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lovely Weekend

I find that the best way to recover from an injury is to pretend that it's not there. So off we went to Salvetat, to stay at a house beside the lake. (That's me, limping but up and about!)

We brought along some wine, a bottle of pastis, and food enough to see us through a night and a day spent with really cool people.

I also packed my pearls and a bias-cut skirt. It was Karine's birthday, we were having a party in the evening, and the invitation said to come all sexy and glamorous. Now familiar with the quirky sense of humor of people in these parts, I really should have known better...

Sexy was interpreted by artist Emeline as giant boobs with the perkiest nipples made out of foam and resin for the girls.

And the guys decided that glamourous meant walking around half-naked all night wearing neckties and body hair.

Or maybe the nudity we can attribute to the twenty empty bottles of various types of alcohol we were throwing into the garbage by Sunday's end?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Skiing Lesson

Before the fall...

I am ready for anything, will try everything at least once, and if I really, really want something, I won't give up until I get it. My friends will tell you that my middle name is "Game!"

For the Easter weekend we decided to go skiing. A sport I had decided I adored, despite two factors that would have made anyone else think otherwise: I come from the tropics, where if it snowed it meant that the end of the world was nigh, and I'd only done it once before, and then just for two hours. This time I had three entire days! By day number three, gung-ho creature that I am, I felt I was ready to go up the steep red slopes. I glided down nice and easy. Once on the easier blue, however, I fell badly, hit my chin with a ski and got up feeling a throbbing in my right knee. I was determined, so despite that I felt my jaw going numb and my ears ringing, I pushed off. It took my husband noticing that my chin was dripping blood to make me stop.

Trips to the first-aid station for a band-aid and to the café for a Coke Light later, I was insisting that I was okay. Convincing myself that my knee was only mildly uncomfortable, I got on the lifts again. Bad move. Doing an easy turn, I felt the knee do a double clack and fold up on me. No amount of stubborn pushing myself could do anything--the knee had had enough of skiing.

These days I'm looking like the bride of Frankenstein, with a stitch on my chin and a hideous contraption on my right leg. I’m told that if I hadn’t forced it that second time, my knee would have been okay after a good night’s sleep. Instead the doctor has forbidden me sports for ten days. Quite an unnecessary reminder, really, as right now all I can manage to do is hobble from bedroom to kitchen with much difficulty.

Eastertime lesson: While “Game!” is good, one should also have the wisdom to know when to call a Time Out.