Words, they were filing through my mind

Is the mind a mausoleum?

The last I remember, I saw them come right in, slowly, one after another. Some were polite, greeted me in the normal fashion, “Hello, Madam, how are you today?” they said, as they peered around nosily. Others pushed hard from behind, hurrying the laggards on, couldn’t tell if they were eager to arrive or desperate to leave. Nonetheless they made a jumbled mess. The ones in front turned right around and glared at their impatience, “Leave be” they said, “Leave be. We got here first and there’s a lot to see, so wait your turn.”

And I just wondered, “Dear me, dear me, will they ever leave?” Is the mind a mausoleum with waxed thoughts to visit on a dreary Sunday afternoon? Embalmed in a past, tinted with years of overuse, old weary thoughts, some so old they can hardly stand, decrepit and waiting now, waiting only for the release of death, is that my mind?

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The Gazebo darling?

The maintenance free vinyl gazebo. Buy one now!

Oh and please! Forgive me, but tell me what is the deal with all these screened in porches and faraway gazebos? I’m ever the romantic, have watched The Sound of Music hundreds of times, even sung the songs softly with my son (who was embarassingly loud) while in Salzburg. But I just don’t see the appeal of the gazebo placed a half mile away from the house. No air-conditioning there, no screened in windows to protect from the vicious mosquitos who torture all who venture out of air-conditioned doors. So what’s the deal? I stare at them in wonder, reminded of discarded Greek ruins that riddle the landscape with a sad feeling of a lost glory. Is it the jilted prom queen in every American woman who so yearns for these gazebos that it is the first thing she demands of her unwary husband, immediately after the Hawaii honeymoon? Little does he know. It’s serenades and unending devotion she is really asking for. She’s lost in a Gone with the Wind technocolor movie, the belle Scarlett dancing her toes away, while he is already rehearsing for that final line, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” But the gazebos still stand.

Next up on the request list is the screened-in porch. The one that a certain generation remembers as the fun place to be, since that’s where the children were sent to eat when the crowd became too large at the dinner table. But once again, as children, they no doubt lacked the extra bulge or two of fat that makes eating in any type of heat a most unpleasant experience, for I have yet to see these porches, screened-in or otherwise, blessed with the presence of any adult life form. Admittedly, winter cold and wind make half the year impossible while summer heat waves and humidity dash the best of intentions. Are all we Americans chasing a lost past while inventing a newer future, too different to recreate anything like the past we both seek and flee? Questions, questions. Never answers.

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Ode to the jog bra

Happiness is...

I’ve fallen madly in love. No, I’m not planning on leaving F. We’ve decided he’s a keeper. No, my budding love affair is with my new jog bra. Yes, I know, it is a sign of illness to develop intimate relationships with inanimate objects. But what can I do? She cares for me like no other ever has. When I put her on yesterday, I knew instantly that my life would never be the same again.
I’d been in the store for well over an hour. Buying undergarments is a long process and I hadn’t bought any since my last visit Stateside five years ago. The flimsy silken things the French call lingerie is fun for… well lets just say fun, but it doesn’t have that utilitarian quality, the durable stamp of the good ol’ cotton American brief that Grandma wore and your husband thinks should be outlawed.
So I was in this store completely mystified by the extreme variety of the selection. In the panties section you have the ones that ride up and the ones that don’t, each with apparent virtues that only those in the know understand. You have the bikini and the boys shorty. You have seemless, invisible and the soft waisteline. The selection goes on and on and on to infinity. The wall of panties is as long and tall as the Hall of Mirrors in the Versailles castle, only to be rivaled by the wall of bras.
Ah the bra section! Once I got to the bra section the true mystification began. Each row of bras touted a different service, promising to tame the totally untamable. I’d never thought of breasts in the way these people have obviously been thinking of breasts. We women may have different body shapes, pear or apple, big or flat bum, but it is the breasts that are truly our unique feature. And the American bra has got us handled.

There are bras to undo or updo cleavage, bras to maximize or minimize, bras to make you wonderful… The wonderbra has that magic quality of making even the flattest and saggiest resemble Wonderwoman with her bulletproof boobs of steel… There are bras with wire or bras without. No big deal there, we’ve got that in France too, but in America the without version comes with the terrifying tale of how the ones with cause breast cancer…. Ooh.. Even bra buying is like taking a ride through the haunted house of horrors. If you make the wrong choice you’ll end up buying future bras from the cancer care shop outside the hospital after you’ve had both breasts removed having paid a heavy price for that moment of frivolity when you bought the the pusher-upper with wire…

Beware! I joke not.
There was once a time when I would have indeed bowed to that fear and shunned all wire for good, but I was far too intrigued by all the other claims being made by our supporting friends. There were the ones which bragged “strange shapes solved” which intrigued me greatly. I wondered how an alien being might feel as she squeezed her third nipple into the shapely strange solver. Would she feel accepted and loved for the first time in her life? Because to me it seemed that that was what was being sold. And honestly it provoked a moment of compassion for that strange breasted woman who would wander over to the bra section, despondent and convinced she would never find her match, the one who would finally understand her… and low and behold, she discovers the “strange shapes solved” and her life is turned around forever. She leaves the shop with new bra on, as she will never take it off again. She’d surely meet the man of her dreams in the frozen youghurt shop across the street. They’d go on a couple of dates. He’d get to know the true her beyond the strange shape and third nipple. They’d marry, have triplets who would benefit greatly from the third nipple, you can imagine, and the world would be a better place in general.
Yes, thoughts of this nature do flit through my mind as I bra shop in America. How could they not? “Strange shapes solved” indeed!
But then again what if a woman comes in thinking her shape decidedly normal?No strangeness to be found, her boyfriend’s never let on to anything untoward after all, only to find the perfect bra fit is for the strange breasted woman?! I could well imagine the fighting that ensues when she goes home and accuses her man of hiding from her how very strange busted she really is. As we women know, this could well lead to divorce as she would obviously pester him incessantly to compare her to other women he has known “Was she like me? And her? Or her?” to such a nauseating extent that she would finally leave him, exclaiming that she can’t take it any more, his past is too present in their relationship.
Well I took the risk and I tried one on just to check and see if I am a strangely shaped woman too. I mean how else would I know? It is but through the label on the tag that I may discover who I am,  how I think, and most importantly, what I need. Yes, yes, I could go very far with that one, but we must get back to our bras. I have digressed too far already. Yes, yes, there is infinity in bra buying in America, but I shall end here with a moist intrigue. You see, there were several rows of a specific type of bra that piqued my curiosity. It was the “spillage solved” model. I would have understood this type of claim in the nursing bra section but I checked the the different openings of this particular bra and there is no way they were meant for lactating women. So spillage? I remain baffled… But as I said, I did leave the shop with the beloved jog bra, to whom this entire post is dedicated, despite the obvious digressions.  Do forgive!

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Well golly!

In honor of the 1001st visit to my blog I must, most definitely must, post just a bit of something, anything, in honor.  But time.  Where is it?  How can it be so slow and yet speed up the moment I sit to task?  Not fair, not fair at all, the time master.  I must admit I have things to post, lots and lots of things to post.  I did travel this summer.  Oh and I saw things and did things and wrote many many things. But being a disorganized one, I had hoped to organize before posting.  But given that time is all but sympathetic with my plight, I must, simply must, post random bits in a chaotic order of no intent. So as I do so, I’ll honor another, a writer that I find fascinating, David Foster Wallace and his Random Bits.  And why not?  I can do whatever I want. It’s my blog.  Then I’ll go with the extreme disorder in my mind, choosing random bitten off bits from a world I too observe sometimes and find amusement in, when I take the time, all to rare, to wander outside, the tunnels, tunnels everywhere.

I really really like this guy.  Sad he no longer is around, but all the more reason to honor I suppose.

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Animal rights protection groups… please forgive!

I must confess we’ve been poaching in the local park, me, Ta and Ra. It’s not the most discreet of places to go poaching but, hey, Paris is a big town with lots of parks but few isolated green spots. This is a gorgeous park with Rose gardens to rival those of the kings. It’s a lovely place to walk and explore the fancy names given to roses. It’s as if gardeners curl up inside the rose petals and sleep overnight amongst their softness before they name them. There’s no other way they could come up with such names. Now of course it’s totally out of the question to pick a rose. I wouldn’t dare touch a single petal although we smell each and every one religiously. However the ponds had such wildlife worth exploring! It was just too tempting to resist. We decided to adopt a tiny, rather insignificant portion of the luxurious pond fauna and take it home for keeps. We are now the proud owners of a small tadpole water farm. I say we, but I really mean Ta, as she, the impassioned animal lover, immediately declared them hers, all hers forever. She reasoned quite seriously that it was obvious they were hers because she feeds them and besides, they’re all girls. I asked her how she knew they were girls and she replied in a tone that allowed no discussion on the matter, as if I were the dullest mother on Earth, “Well they all have girls names now don’t they?” And then she went over the name list slowly, Fifi, Rose, Violetta, and others, pointing out each one specifically to make sure I understood well who was who. I humbly agreed that if they all had girls names they must indeed be girls. So Ta has been tending to the tiny tadpole farm for a couple of weeks now and just the other day, to her delight, she noticed the little creatures had sprung legs, four tiny little legs squiggling through the water with the tail rudder steering along the way. The sprouting of legs has prompted Ta to take a more active participation in the rearing of her little pets. After all, they’ve entered into the four-legged-animal category which puts them up there with dogs and cats as playmates as far as she’s concerned. So the past few days have been full of adventure for our tadpole guests. Ta has taken one out for a walk on her hand, strolling around the living room to show to all and sundry. To Ta’s dismay, the eager little creature unfortunately decided to do a flying leap onto the floor. Ta is positive she isn’t injured of course because of the presence of the legs. Legs are for jumping, aren’t they? Ra was scandalized that Ta had surely murdered the innocent creature. To which Ta’s eyes filled with tears as she adamantly denied, though obviously remained concerned about the well-being of her new pet. I’m happy to say that Fifi has survived and doesn’t seem too traumatized by her amazing free-fall. But the tadpole acrobatics don’t end here. Ta has taken an avid interest in educating her new friends, apparently preparing them for the tadpole olympics of 2012. I came home yesterday to a terribly excited Ta claiming proudly that she had put her tadpoles on her barbie slide and they absolutely adored it! It’s a virtual tadpole Disneyland now. And I must say they do seem to not only be alive and well, but thriving from the devoted attention. I did share these antics with F who smiled almost as much as I had, and slyly asked Ta how her little friends were faring. To which Ta proudly announced, “They’re doing great! I play with them all the time.”

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How do I build my fence?

Pausing in demure stillness

I want to put my mind out to pasture, to have it graze on soft smelling grass and not ruminate till the hard earth brings up stones and roots that worry the entrails…. To contain? Where then? In which pasture? Where do I up the fence? How do I build it? With wood and nails and criss crosses that decorate the space and delineate a soft border with a friendly land? Electrical? Where the slightest touch jolts to attention and pushes the humbled wanderer to a safe middle ground, a small circular patch that allows for little stretching? Where is my border? My fence? How will I build it? If seeing beyond is both freedom and terror… Does the prison of the mind return? A cloth fence then. A soft white gauze that alters and shields from sharp images and floats up with the breeze, dancing freely with gay clouds when they come, yet pausing in demure stillness when the sky becomes steel gray, clouds of prison wardens in unforgiving rows…. How do I build my fence? And where?

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Thoughts of memory lane

Can collective memory pave the wild untamable?

Memory lane – a well-worn path for some, familiar and friendly with happy sunny patches of wild flower fields. Littered with snares for others, long, dark and winding with thorns a-creeping. Cannot stroll or walk, keep the pace swift, brisk. Do not dally. Like Alice’s rabbit in his furry fury, “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.” “Get on, get on!” beyond the briars and tangled shadows, a-creeping.
Who is that? Long boney-armed mancrab, with pincher fingers and nails, a-lurking. In the tangled shadows. The taste, the smell, the feel — we stop there, no sound, no vision. The dark dank path strewn with exposed tree roots whose branches grasp and recede, grasp and recede.
Can we walk now? Will they calm? Can we join hands and wait for the crackling of beasts on branches to calm. Will the path widen? Our collective memory paving the wild untamable, till it becomes a civilised road where all can travel with ease of movement. Can we build a bridge between that past thorny path and the soft coloured nuances of the cobbled lane whose bricks we lay day by day for our children’s memories. Their path through the confines of brilliant hot house flowers that we tenderly nurture and grow. Will our well-planned gardens of thornless roses mutate into their barbed wired prisons? To be seen as futile protection from branches laden with wounded agonies that bend and sigh beyond the artificial beauty. Will the soft distant weeping waken them in trembling confusion before the odorless smiles of a folly of tulips dancing in an unknown breeze.
Merry Mary quite contrary how did your garden grow? 

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