We are vegetarians.
I gave up meat during lent when I was seventeen years old. It wasn't hard, except when I smelled bacon. But over time I didn't notice or crave it. My parents thought it was a teenage craze, or a phase of mine. But as days turned into months they were concerned though after awhile, like my craving for bacon their concerns faded away.
When I met French Husband he was a vegetarian too. I didn't know then how odd that was for a French person. Though his not eating meat scored big "like" points in my heart book.
Later when we married and I moved to France to be with him, I realized that being a vegetarian in France wasn't as easy as being so in California. Grocery stores, restaurants, menus, dinner parties, French meals... circled far from the tofu section that I was use to at the whole food co-op. Pasta was the adopted fast food... and "Californian Salads" became my trademark with our French friends who usually ate only "green salad" after each meal.
When our children were born I breastfed them. What seemed natural to me was offensive to most French people. A million stares, heads shaking no and comments such as, "...only women from poor countries breastfeed their babies!" didn't derail me from what I believed in.
When our children went to school they were consider "different"... Their mom was an American, they didn't have a TV, their house was full of old stuff and they were vegetarians.
French Husband and I started to have fish when we would go out, or if we were invited over to friend's home for a meal. The comment, "...I don't know what to cook when we invite you over!" Became too difficult to ignore. Living in a culture were food, talking about food, sharing a meal with others was crucial to being connected to family and community. We made the choice to include fish in our diet.
When Chelsea and Sacha were in school they heard from their science/health teachers that being a vegetarian meant you could not be physically or mentally strong. The other children looked at them knowing that wasn't true, because Chelsea and Sacha did not fit that description. Neither of our children cared to correct the false statement. Instead they sat back and trusted who they were.
In the exact same class the students had to record what they ate and calculated their protein intake. Chelsea and Sacha were told they had too much protein in their diets. Considering they ate dairy products and eggs, plus from everything I had ever read about being a vegetarian, such as we were meatless but not vegan, I never doubted their protein intake.
Over the years my habits and reasons for being a vegetarian have changed and deepen. I am not on a bandwagon about why I don't eat meat... My children and French Husband share my thoughts... we are this way period. Will any of us ever eat meat? I don't think so, but life is full of surprises, and eating or not eating meat is not one of them.
Chelsea has been asked, "Don't you miss not eating meat?" In which she has said, "How can I miss something I have never had?"
Sacha has tried meat two or three times, much to my brother's triumph, but he does not eat meat, and considers himself a vegetarian.
This morning while Sacha was doing his daily pull ups he said, "No steroids, no vitamins, no protein drinks, mostly greens, rarely junk food... thanks mom for showing me a healthy way."
I looked at that muscled arm and was pleased to know that I had given him something to honor.
"According to the legend, during the crusades the knight Bozon de Blacas was held prisoner by the Saracens; he vowed to hang a star over his village of he was able to return. No one knows how the star was originally hung there." via wiki
"Above the town, between those two rocky mountains, a gold-painted star hangs on a 225m-long chain suspended between two cliffs. Its origin, according to a legend popularised by Provençal poet Frédéric Mistral, lies in the 10th century; the original star and chain have been replaced several times since then. The current star is about 50 years old. Ten years ago it fell after the chain snapped, and was rehung using a helicopter." via wiki.
A golden star,
thousands of years later,
it is the first thing you see,
and the first question you ask,
"How did they get it there?"
Where does my golden star hang?
Does it inspire others, as the one Moustiers inspired me?
Those were the questions I thought about...
Finding meaning in my everyday, listening to the symbols that present themselves to find my way.
How do you find your way?
My friend Ruth from Rubanesque has a shop this summer in Lacoste which features her handmade one of a kind jewelry using antique silk ribbons from her family's historical silk ribbon company, plus treasures she has collected from the brocante.
The delightful combination of Ruth, her craft and creativity, plus Lacoste made me jump with excitement. The opening was more than I imagined, and my imagination is off the charts. Ruth's shop is in the town square next to a cafe, a church, lavender and in the shadow of the Marquise de Sade's castle... dream land made real. A perfect place to be reborn without every leaving ones soul or shoes.
Inspiring roots. Blooming without end.
Ribbons, lace, fabric made with gold and silver is notably: "noble" thread.
Cotton and linen threads were consider common used for practical purposes like work shirts and aprons. Noble threads were only for the wealthy and used for finery, pleasure...
I love how Ruth used old French black and white postcards throughout her shop to highlight her jewelry. The above French postcard depicts a young woman a field worker. In her hand is a sickle used to cut lavender. She is wearing a cotton dress with a provencal scarf. Tucked within her straw hat she has layered ribbons and flowers to resemble a crown.
Ruth combined several pieces of antique ribbons, sequins and bobs to create this choker piece. Hand sewn, can I say noble workmanship?
Dressed in white air thin muslin, sitting uncomfortably on mistletoe the maiden waits to be kissed.
Pure silver thread on wooden spools.
Each marked with its weight and thickness.
Old things waiting in line to become reborn.
Mourning bits and bobs.
Museum pieces. Gold thread lace.
Ruth's creation is next to a postcard of a young woman creating her art.
Now and then.
Today and tomorrow.
Forever creating, dreaming becoming,
living an artful life.
The cardboard holds samples of different colored, tinted silver and gold threads.
Hair do please don't.
My mother use to "fix" my hair everyday when I was a child.
I wasn't keen on it.
I preferred the -- come what may look.
My mother use to say, "You have to suffer to look beautiful." In which I woud respond, "I do not want to look beautiful." One of my favorite memories is saying that exact same thing to Chelsea when she was a little girl... though her response is what I have held true:
"I am already beautiful!"
Where are you unfolding your beauty today?
The parade with the Provencal marching band passed by our town today.
Afterwards there was an aperitif at the town square.
I went to Annie's house.
Opened her window. She leaned over the window sill to hear the music, and to listen to the mayor speak.
Annie is home! That is the reason for my celebrating this holiday!
Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts!
And the beat goes on!
In France the World Cup is a big deal. Every bar, and I daresay I am not exaggerating, had a TV, and some had more than one. In our little town four screens were set up. Food and drinks served. Tables popped up and a party began.
From the cheers and groans I don' think one team or the other was favored.
Two TV screens, one on each side of the road.
I loved how the bar across the street was called
We watched the game at the other bar caused it served Paella and Crepes.
World Cup ends and the Tour de France fills in.
Yellow Jersey will ride by my Belle Mere's place in the Alps.
Motorcycle trip might be in order to watch it live.
Chelsea came home for the weekend. Driving home from Marseille we traced along the foothills of Saint Baume. The Super Moon rose to greet us. It was as a glowing ball of wonder and took our breath away.
Without stopping, we watched the super moon dance, weave, then it peeked in and out behind the mountains.
How did that enormous surprise hide itself behind the foothills?
Wonder and awe.
Something old, something new.
I took a photo claiming it, "Ying and Yang."
The trees became a paint brush, dipping in the faded light, then splashing what it had against the sky as we rushed by.
With my daughter.
My friend Allison, who is twenty years younger than me, and whom I have known since she was seven, leaves tomorrow. I am going to be a lost duck, I mean cigalle without her!
The other day while we were driving around Provence Allison asked French Husband If there was a leader of the cigalles that told them when to sing?
French Husband responded, "No. They sing when they are hot."
Allison was hoping for a more elaborate answer, or at least a tad bit of conversation since I was fast asleep in the car, so she continued,
"Okay, but how do they know when to all sing at the same time?"
French Husband looked at her oddly, as if the answer was so obvious, or should I say his expression seemed to say, "Duh," when he added,
"Because they are all hot."
Since that moment that has been the "EXPRESSION" we go to, the memory that has circled our conversations, the one thing we say over and over again,
"Duh, they are all hot."
All at once.
A matter of fact.
Why do cigalles sing?
Because the are hot.
Why do we drink wine?
Why do we go shopping?
Why do we go to the beach?
Facts about Cigalles:
"It's the males who make the noise to attract females to the tree where they are sitting (they are remarkably adept at camouflage). They produce the sound by contracting and relaxing tymbals, ribbed membranes inside their stomachs."
But actually, as French Husband would say:
"They are hot. Period."
"The cicada is the one of the world's loudest insects, recording sounds of up to 120 decibels. The males have to "switch off" their hearing organs while they sing, in order to avoid going deaf. Below 22 degrees Centigrade, the resounding sections of the diaphragm lose their elasticity."
Again, they sing because they are
I must admit I like the sound of the cigalle sometimes, but not all day long.
Small doses yes, all day long no.
"Provençal myth has it that the cicada was sent by God to disrupt the peasants' endless siestas and stop them from growing too lazy."
"The Ancient Greeks were equally keen on the cicada, which they regarded as a symbol of Apollo, the god of music and of the sun." Via www.marvellous-provence
Nevertheless, French Husband speedy response fits here too..
"SUN equals HOT.
They are all hot."
"Apart from Xenophon, writers who celebrated the cicada include Homer, in the Iliad and Plato, in Phaedra's, which relates that cicadas were once men who became so enthralled with music that they forgot to eat and drink and their bodies wasted away." via www.marvellous-provence
Yeah, well that certainly isn't cool.