A No Sun Sunday

The perfect Sunday. The illusion that there is nothing to be done, but of course there is, my winter clothes need to be carried from their basement storage up two flights of stairs to my bedroom closet, reading and writing to be completed, phone calls to be returned. For some unknown reason, maybe Grace, maybe my attempt to stay in the moment, I remain in the illusion and have a lovely Sunday.


Even my trip to the gym, followed by a quick stop at the grocery store, is not pressured by the clock or a to do list.


Around two o’clock we decide it might be a good time to watch a DVD a friend suggested, Adventureland. She said it was a sweet movie. Seemed like a good day for a sweet movie. Shortly into the movie I realized I had seen it, I seldom remember a movie by it’s title, but I often recognize the story line. (This costs us a few extra dollars a year in repeat rentals. Oh well.)


So we both fell asleep on the couch, a fire blazing in the fireplace, Clea, (short for Cleopatra because we knew as soon as we met her she was a queen,) my cat of unknown age who we adopted when she found her way to my son’s lap during a bonfire party twelve years ago, who is in the process of dying from kidney failure, asleep with us on my belly. It was one of those great naps because in this day there is nothing else to do but nap. My whole body let go into the couch, letting the couch have all of me. Clea letting me have all of her.


Beans and greens for dinner, the beans have been soaking since last night, the organic kale we grabbed yesterday at the co op is beautiful. I feel healthy just looking at it. I know I will feel better eating it. It is the perfect no sun Sunday in November meal.



Maybe an extra hour is responsible for this leisurely day. Having more time always seems to slow me down. I relax when I believe there is enough time to do nothing.

Wish You Were Here

I know I left you hanging…desperate for pictures of Toronto from our airport hotel window. I even took some for you to see, but for some technological reason that is waaayyyy beyond me, I was unable to post them. Until now.

But now I have a new, better, wonderful view to show you. The one that comes with the house we are renting in Gabian France.

Pretty amazing huh?

When Tom and I travel we like to bring some tradition back with us to keep that trip alive. When we went to Paris we loved the hand held shower heads. It felt so luxurious to have the shower head directly washing our toes we decided to install one in our shower at home. When we went to Mexico we brought home our love of Mexican food. Now we cook, a couple times a month, as traditionally Mexican as we can-in Pittsburgh. So what tradition do we want to bring back from the south of France?

Morning and evening swims.

Yeah, yeah, I know, minor detail, we don’t have a pool. But we didn’t have a hand held shower head 3 years ago either….


Here are a few more pictures I’d like to share with you.


We finally got our welcome to Barcelona sangria…They were huge and very good!!!

The guy rubbing his head? That is a couple from Essex England. They were visiting for the week and taking the bus tour of Barcelona the next day. They have been to the US, to California, they liked it a lot. I could tell you more but I won’t…


This picture is in the medieval village of Pezenas. There is a great street market there every Saturday. They have  food, wine, baskets, clothes, soaps and jewelry from vendors that speak very little to no English-in fact we have found that to be mainly true here- so our patched together French/Spanish is useless. Pezenas also has shops along narrow castle-like ancient passageways. We bought lots of stuff. I love stuff.

Not quite sure how I will get it home though.


Since I have been doing more traveling I have noticed I am drawn to windows and doors in other cities/countries. I made Tom stop the car for this one. I may frame this for our living room.

I wonder who lives there? What are their hopes and dreams? What is their favorite food? Are they happy?

I really hope so.


SO I will end here. It is late and we are headed to Provence tomorrow.

Hope you all are well.

xo Patricia





Schooch down and put your feet in the stirrups

I always do. Seemingly willingly, as gracefully as I can, I schooch down the table and put my feet in the stirrups.  I don’t want to, I hate to, I know what iscoming…but I do as I am told,  I am  cooperative. A good girl??? I hear my mothers voice, “Patti”, she’d say, “be a good girl.” Or if I did something she liked , “Patti, you a such a good girl.” She also said this to our dog as she forced worm medication down the dogs throat, “Noowwww, beeee a gooood girrrrl”.  The dog always swallowed the pill. She was a good girl, too.                                                        

This fall, friends invited us to join them at the local Renaissance faire. The invitation included attending in costume.  Tim and Lisa were members of a well known acting troupe when they lived in California. They have racks of costumes, handmade by Tim, that are exquisitely authentic. I was thrilled with the invitation; I love Renaissance Faire’s. I love the language, the clothes, the castles, the knights in shining armor. Me thinks I was a poorly wench in a past life or mayhaps the queen. I felt like I had manifested a personal fantasy, dressed and playing the part.What fun, I couldn’t wait!!

So, prior to the scheduled event, Tom and I went over to Tim and Lisa’s. We went into the basement room, not closet, of costumes. Now, I don’t know what size Lisa wears, I thought we seemed somewhat close, but each ensemble she unwrapped looked extremely tiny. I held them up to my hips, my chest and would say, “Oh this is too small, this will never fit.” Lisa explained, “We will be corseted, so they will fit.” Oh good, I was getting worried I wouldn’t fit into one of these amazing costumes.

We gathered the bodices, shirts, skirts and corsets, and traipsed upstairs to their bedroom to try them on. First the corset. As we struggled; Lisa- loosening the lacing, me -trying to fasten hooks, not quite sure what to do with my breasts, and both of us trying to be respectful of the intimacy of the moment;  I am  catapulted to the  scene from Gone With the Wind when Mame is corseting Scarlett.  Scarlet is holding onto the the four poster bed as Mame yanks her into a 24 inch waist. Just then Lisa says, “Hold onto the the bed posts.” I look and there in the center of the room is a huge four poster bed. I take hold and Lisa yanks….HARD. When I am fully corseted in I can’t bend, can barely breathe and I think I may have a broken rib. Next comes the loose blouse, then the skirt, which by the way now fits my cinched in waist and finally the outer corset. Seriously, another corset. Okay, this is the one that will make my breasts look really big, like the Queen Elizabeth movies, so I say to Lisa, “Lets go for it.” I take hold of the bed post once again. When I am completely tucked into this amazingly accurate and beautiful Elizabethan costume I look like I have been transported to another era, another life time, but  I feel like I am about to pass out!

I carefully walk down the stairs to show myself off to Tom and Tim. They like what they see. I can’t really sit to join them-since I can’t bend, I don’t dare grab a piece of the delicious bread and cheese LIsa has put out- I don’t think I can swallow, so I stand there, feeling what now may be internal injuries. I ask Tom what he has picked out to wear, and he holds up a luscious jacket of velvet tapestries. Tim says, “Yeah, he’ll be comfortable in this.”  I am not sure I can make it back up the stairs to get this outfit off, “Oh” I say, “Are we supposed to be comfortable?”

When I am finally unhooked, unlaced, and un-doubled corseted, I take my first full breath of air. I notice my lungs don’t quite fully inflate-it hurts to breath. I make a mental note to take a smaller breath the next time. I think of my yoga class tomorrow and wonder if I should skip it. I slip into my Victoria Secrets bra, now more comfortable than it has ever been and my panties that tend to crawl up my butt, but who is complaining. On the ride home I feel my sadness. I image all the women of the castles, the Victorian mansions, the Southern belles, cinched in, unable to breathe, bend, eat, be comfortable. I speak into the darkness of the car, “It is in my genes to tolerate the the intolerable, to make good of bad. My ancestors did.” I was so moved by the physical brutality women endured to wear the fashion of the day. I hurt, literally and emotionally.

I think about the ways I am good,  nice so I get along, cooperative. I am not saying this is wrong or bad, but it is sometimes a pain in the ass-like when we slide down the table and put our feet in the stirrups. We know what is coming, and without complaint we do it. Now, in the event of a gynecological exam (or ridding oneself of worms), it is probably medically smart to schooch down. But the corset heightened my awareness of the many ways and places I schooch when I it is not smart to do so. When I accept the unacceptable or at least tolerate it in order to be loved, fit in, not left, or not make anyone mad at me. I corset myself. I yank myself into a shape that is unnatural and I keep smiling.

I know I am not alone in this. As women we have learned to sub-optimize. A concept I learned while attending the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. I was a member of the Institutes first, and the last, exclusively female class. As a class we were taught to sub-optimize; which means to put personal wants and needs in the background so to move the “others” needs and wants to the foreground. Well, I knew I excelled at this and I suspected my class mates were equally as talented. The problems ensued because we were tired of sub-optimizing. Amazingly, this all women class of therapists, doctors, nurses, and social workers wanted the floor, all 18 of us, at the same time. We had stopped caring so much about each other and more about ourselves. There was chaos. And pain.

I think, ladies, we have some questions to consider. When do I choose myself and when do to I choose the other? What do I choose to tolerate and what do I choose to refuse? And how do I make these decisions in our relationship with one another?  Not easy questions and ofttimes hard to answer.  But…the next time you are schooching down the table, headed for the stirrups, it is something to think about.

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