Child Montage

Since being one, I have been plagued by them and had them follow me around mercilessly. I am defenseless to their contagious beings, I am left without defense in their amoeba-like multiplying, and no matter my immunity-strengthening techniques, they find me. No, I am not talking about head lice (although it would explain a lot if I were one in a past life), I am talking about CHILDREN. 

Children. The post-nasal drip torturous tears that keep, you, the parent up at night. The begging for more candies, cars, and giga pets at every store you walk into. And the hollow legs. Oh, the hollow legs, that require nonstop feeding, cleaning, feeding, cleaning. I don’t know how you parents do it/ did it… I suppose it helps ease the pain of your war wounds by always thinking your kid is better than Sue and Daniel’s, and Jean and Bob’s kids no matter how much of a little tart you’re raising.

The past two days, I have been privy to learning a lot of lessons from the very midget people that should be in school learning lessons themselves right now, but are instead roaming around the slopes of the Alps and playing with my head. Kids are a great way to teach you about the dichotomous nature of life, and the many facets that will give you an ego-splitting headache if you’re not forewarned.

1. Roses and Tears. Yesterday, on my bus back ride from the Farmer’s Market, there were these two cute little girls –sisters– sitting next to each other and causing nothing short of an eyeball poking raucous. Their father was trying to put a stop to it in his pseudo-British-quasi-Irish-Scottish-Armenian accent but to no avail. Finally, he separated the two spit fires and they went up in flames. Well, one of them. She started bawling tears that crocodiles only dream of, and pouting. I couldn’t exactly understand why, was it because her punching bag got removed from her possession? Maybe she had a rock in her ski boot? To ease her pain, out of my Mary Poppins shopping bag, I pull a spoonful of sugar, in the form of a rose and offer it to her. I feel like it probably made the tears worse, she snubbed my flower gift, and I drew a lot of unnessecary attention to myself. The great part was that the non-speaking-French father carried on with me in French and I got to for once pretend HIS accent was bad by looking at him funny and remaining silent!! Karma kicked my butt straight away for that one. Later in the day, we are attending a funeral and during the burial I watched the grandchildren (about the same age of the girl on the bus) of the deceased man carrying roses out in front of the casket. They were indeed shedding REAL tears. Tears with justice, and a purpose behind them. I wonder if that girl earlier had seen this children if she would have self-analyzed herself and found her crying to be petty. Anyway, the moral of the story contrasting brat with waterfall eyeball drama and truly torn and broken-hearted children: How many times have I cried when there isn’t even anything to be upset about, except that I am not getting my own way? 

2. Smiling Babies. Because this man knew everyone in the town, about a thousand people attended the funeral yesterday. The church was so full that most of us had to stand outside. During the procession, we were standing in a long line woven through the streets of the village, not able to see, nor hear what was happening at the cemetery at all for the actual burial. However, in the window of the house next to us, which we were tucked up closely to like sardines in the walls of their tin can homes, there was a little baby with the most Grand Canyon dimples I have ever seen and eyes brighter than a headlamp. He was so adorable and full of life, he reminded me of my cousin Parker John (PJ if you’re cool like he is and can give yourself a nickname). It was an interesting twist on the faces of those who saw this sparkling little boy…and a reminder of how even when life is ending, new life is always beginning. 

3. Dweeby Kids. I must admit, I was feeling pretty confident yesterday in my language skills. Weaving my way through stores, looking for dripless candles and various other items that I could ask for and hear the answer without drawing a blank. I even talked to this couple today on the ski lift that spoke Swiss French and I could understand (something about Jazz?) what they were saying. I soaked in some Spanish while eavesdropping on “Natalie” and “Isabel” on the bus ride. Then…leave it to a punk kid who I ACTUALLY HELPED UP INTO HIS SEAT to put me in my place. Way to bite the hand that feeds you, little child. I asked him what his stop was, and I KNOW I asked him what his stop was, not some question about the brand of his helmet, or where he goes to school. He looked at me like I had four heads and then sunk into his turtle-like, shy, sullen shell and would not talk to me. So, gradually, the bus began approaching my stop. Then, not so gradually it raced towards me needing to exit the bus NOW and this mean kid not budging out of his seat to let me. I was going to pick him up and throw him to show him WHY I was asking where his stop was, but we worked it out via a lot of lifting and twisting, pulling and popping and now that both of our spinal chords are subluxated, we’re both at the right bus stop and hopefully that rude little kid is in bed right now. Without supper. This didn’t really teach my any lessons, except that I’ve heard that talking to kids is one of the best ways to learn a new language, but this one clearly was uninterested in playing professor. 

You know, kids really have the right idea. Rather than spend half of their time enjoying life, and the other half cleaning windows and sweeping cobwebs off the ceiling, they pretty much get to enjoy the entire thing and then throw tantrums when they don’t enjoy it, and we all just consider it normal behavior. I suppose that is why school was invented, so they would have an ever-present ailment like adults do. I feel a little bit like a kid right now here in these mountains, sitting around doing nothing, responsibility-free, putting face masks on my face and cold cucumbers on my eyes. I even get a weekly allowance that is equivalent to my age in dollars, and sleep in a bunk bed.

Where did I put my Flinstones vitamins? I’m needing some Biotin. And I think I might just fall asleep at the next dinner party. With my head in my plate like I used to. Kids are so lucky. 

— Emily —

Snot You. It’s Me.

It all began with the first duvet my mom bought me to cleanly, crisply, and beautifully protect the first down comforter my Nana got me. All of the sudden, all previous bedding in this world seemed lesser and insignificant. I threw the Egyptian cotton sheets, the silk, the linen, all the fabrics of my past down the river in a hand basket, and out with the baby swimming in the bath water. This is what began my life as a snob.

Here in the chalet, due to the lack of washer and dryer, we are chained to using the guardian and his wife as our laundromat. You can walk your laundry to town, but the rumor is that it takes hours and a French lottery’s worth of Euros to accomplish the task.

Ask my mother if you need the proof — As soon as I could say enough to throw a temper tantrum about not having the most fashionable Osh Kosh Oh My Gosh overalls to wear, I wanted to do my own laundry. I wanted to be in control of my clothing. I wanted to fold it, hang it, meticulously iron every sock, color coordinate my entire closet with all the hangers the same way and buttons facing the East….I mean…no, I never did that. Since then, catastrophes have always happened when other people touch my laundry. Skirts shrinking, pants with pens in the pocket exploding over entire loads of laundry, floods reaking havoc on shirts I would have worn everyday if it was socially acceptable… I always just think it’s better as a human being to do things myself, then no one becomes my indentured slave, no one loses any fingers, and I am always the one responsible! Viola! Everyone stays happy.

Reluctantly, though I have given bags of my clothing into the hands of Jeff and his wife, I have no clue her name because she REFUSES to talk to me in English and pretends not to have a CLUE as to what I am saying even when I am speaking French to her. Next time I will try Japanese. When I knock on the door with laundry in tow, she shouts, “It’s the Julie Norman girl”. 

I’m a snob. Don’t be offended if I don’t add you to my list of only Facebook friends because I am strict about it staying at the number 143. I feel compelled to change my duvet cover every week, I am a little high maintenance when it comes to throwing the shirt with grey stripes and the khaki pants in the dryer, and I plunge into a dark, quiet hole if I don’t get organic veggies pumped into my blood stream at least once every 3 hours. I only ride Mercedes Benz buses (fortunately here that’s all there is). I sip water with lemons, and if it’s mineral water in a fancy glass bottle –all the better. I can’t stand when people put their feet on my pillow or stick their toes up my nose, and I really dislike touching other people’s dirty socks, shoes, hats, gloves, coats, undergarments, and bed sheets unless I have decided said item is “dirty-clean” or I am wearing an astronaut costume.

Snobbish pillow-arranging fetishes, snubbing those who tell me it will snow when it’s obviously going to rain. How did this happen to me? I was born Trailer Tart Trash Tina, not Princess Perfect Portia. Maybe it was because I didn’t drink the water as a kid? But most importantly, how can you prevent it from happening to you? Here are the hard fast rules.

How Not to Be A Snob

Commit to Not Washing Your Hair for an Extended Length of Time (No pun intended)
If you’re having trouble finding true friends, who will not fair weather you through the storms, this is a foolproof method for any snob to separate the wheat from the chaff. Are you finding that the only people who will be your friends have a bigger house than you, faster motorboat, and more pearl necklaces? Try approaching life as a person committed to smelling worse, and you may just find friends that are more true and loyal. If you don’t have enough hair for this method to work, garlic cloves, raw onions, and anchovies also work quite well for finding out who your real friends are. 

Hang out with Even Bigger Snobs
If you’re reading this, you’re already off to a great start considering I am probably more of a snob than you are and you’re reaching out for opportunities to say, “At least I am not as snobby as HER.” If we start hanging out, people will likely look at you as a humble, servant-hearted and lowly as Cinderella and maybe even forget you were snobby to begin with. When I am starting too feel a little too greater-than-thou even for myself, I just go down to the local Farmer’s market where I am sure to get the cold shoulder when I accidentally say, “Shove it in your piehole,” in French, instead of, “I’ll have two more please.” Today I wanted to tell the pretentious butcher, “Toss me a bone, I’m just learning!” But his snarky eye brow raises make me feel much better about my quiet, patient, gentle spirit with those not quite adroit at various activities as I am.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
I know it’s starting to sound impossible with this one added to the list, but trust me –it’s good for you! It may not feel healthy to have a pus-filled volcano on your face ready to burst because you don’t have your usual routine in place and they don’t let you bring your Lancome on the airplane, but in the end it’s the best thing for you.  

Bring Water to a Rolling Boil
Oops, this is for the next blog…how to cook a cup of tea.

Don’t Make Lists of Things People Should do To Become More or Less Like Who You Think They Should Be.
Self-explanatory. And the root of the matter. People are often snobby because they feel either they are doing things better than others and are the first to let you know, they  are completely floundering in their lack of self-esteem, or simply looking for various ways in which to set themselves apart, and seem “different” in a more elitist fashion. This is my reason for snobbery too. I try to outweigh my dignified ways with other tactics to make myself stand out such as having dirt under my fingernails and showing up everywhere either under or overdressed for the occasion. It’s all about balance, right?
The other person is YOU. They are born like you, they pick their nose when no one is looking like you do, and they puke when they have the flu, like YOU do. Understand with compassion and it’s impossible not to leave your snobbery by the wayside.

Thinking about snobs all began with my asking the question, “Who is coming to dinner?” Doesn’t it always start like that? Be it tales of youthful forest fires, stories of conquering, weeping and gnashing of teeth….in this case, the question launched a discussion of the high class snobs that will be joining us for dinner on Thursday night. I forget their names, which is good because they are probably reading this trying to figure out they can become friends with a bigger snob so as to appear less uppity than they truthfully are. I kind of can’t wait to meet them either and try Pop-Secret’s new Kettle Korn on them!!

Julie said they are not snobby when they are in the mountains, because it is where they feel their best. When we all just decide to make our lives our own, there is really no reason to tell anyone else how to do it! Doesn’t every concept just boil down to peace, love, and happiness.

Snot everyday I get to share the earth with such wonderful people,
—  Emily  —

Sparkles

First off, no I did not let Ken and Barbie choose the title. I don’t even have time to play with the Ken and Barbie that I brought with me. Because of my neglect, they’re not giving me a whole lot of input on things right now. Secondly, the disclaimer you receive prior to reading this blog is that I do not need you to locate a psychologist, psychiatrist, or any other form or therapeutic human being to help me overcome my current state. Trust me, I’ve already tried all the ones here and they’re all the crazy ones! Or maybe they just don’t speak my language….anyhow, for this situation, I think I just need some Pellegrino, a wad of cash, and a good old-fashioned shopping spree.

Oh wait, I did all of that yesterday, and it didn’t work. 

Yesterday, prior to my retail therapy, I had the most lovely walk. The snow was catching the sun in just the right way to make it look like those sparkles I used to glue onto paper with as a child, and as an adult (working at a daycare of course) ….ok, so I made a few of my own to bring home and hang on the refrigerator for my mom to admire. Unfortunately I could not capture the sparkles in the above picture, my camera was jealous thinking it was mini-flashes trying to steal it’s thunder, but it was a mesmerizing sight indeed. Those sparkles, reminiscent of the ones I put all over my eyes and hair when I was 13, had the ability to make any ol’ drawing with glue look like a Rembrandt; I remember how they used to transform me before every gymnastics meet into Mary Lou Retton herself. Have I digressed? I think that is my third middle name. Emily Catherine Grace Digression Maillet.

I followed the sparkly trail to the spa where I indulged in an hour of sauna-ing myself, laying in the sun pool side and having a massage. These events were necessary to hang onto any remaining bits of my sanity, and to make sure that I don’t come home in two months to my normally scheduled program, with muscles that are as tightly wound as my stomach gets whenever I try to pull off a clever new fashion piece while walking by Saks Fifth. My GLOWING day was topped off and made complete with spotting the only people I know here in the city and enjoying a lively ride back to my Chalet, a radiant phone call, and the sweetest of dreams!

Today, perhaps as the universe decided to see-saw, or pendulum, or “what goes up must come down” on me, was a very non-sparkly, low day. I felt like this:

And when asked what was my deal, my facial expression looked like this:

Despite the fact that I am constantly surrounded by this:


I suppose the reason for the “Why so glum chum?” and every cell in my body screaming is that I am not exactly seeing these sparkly things I was supposed to see while I am here at this moment in time. My eyes are open as big and bright as I can get them, through my sleep-deprived, self-inflicted quarter-life crisis craze. I cannot seem to meet my own expectations in coming here. Perhaps the entire idea was Fool’s Gold?

Why am I here? What on earth am I doing? What’s wrong with me? Can I wake up from this dream now? What on earth is going on and how do I get out? And where is my hug from the Universe!?

Looks like tomorrow is going to have to be TERRIFIC to make up for today. You know the worst part? Nothing entirely awful even happened today, although I will try to pretend it did: it was toilet cleaning day, I heard some really bad news, got some puddle splashed on me by a passing bus. Definitely not enough to throw off someone’s whole entire day. What happened to that positive quote I read yesterday? In one eyeball and out the other I suppose.

Anyway, I am done looking for gold and any associated amalgams. I’ve always been a silver kind of girl. Haven’t I already acknowledged that? Maybe I need to go buy some new expensive jewelry….that will cheer me up. Maybe I will do some sit ups instead.

There was supposed to be more interesting stuff in here; should I run off and get a tattoo and spice up my life a little? Eat a waffle and some crepes? Carve my name in this wall…. 

I guess I will just hang out with my books and my pet wishbone and hang on until tomorrow! Ah yes, I think Bon Jovi wrote a little tune that applies to this situation and running marathons. It could be worse, I could be giving love a bad name….

Sparing You of Yours,

— Emily —

 

No News is Good News. Life is a Carnival. Confetti.

I’m so bored right now I thought of not one but three titles for this entry.
If your head has not crashed onto your keyboard, if you’re not snoring, and if you’re not lying in a puddle of post-dream drool by the time you’re done reading this…I have not done my job of making you bored enough. This is going to be the most boring thing you ever read so I would advise you that if you enjoy being constantly entertained, never without a thing to do or a thought to think, if you have spent your life avoiding ever being left without a thumb or two to twiddle: This is not for you to be reading right now.

I started my day, like most others, by the battery falling out of my alarm clock, forcing time to stand still and become zero. Actually, the batteries just do not stay in unless the clock is juxtaposed between my pinky toe and bed end at night so I sleep with it precariously positioned. I also hate the ticking sound it makes all day. Do all clocks do that?

Today was the first day that I have been bored in as long as I can remember. Though I did hit my head on a rock last night and get amnesia so that is not saying much. I have spent days with nothing to do, wrapped in straight jackets half my size, and in deserts with just the mirages to keep me company. I can always entertain myself. Despite keeping myself extremely busy all day, I was bored and a little envious of all the people around me who were not bored.

Is boredom really the sign of an unchallenged mind? If so, I can explain myself. I had the intent of challenging myself today. I was going to call up my old buddy cross country ski-instructor, Richard, and ask if he could throw me over a cliff so I can practice my downhill skiing on some real mountainous terrain. Problems abound instantly. He doesn’t teach alpine skiing and he was booked. No worries, I can make my own fun. So, I walk to town. First to see if I can buy stamps. The post office (open weekdays 8-12 (lies!!)) is closed at 10am. I ring the bell, but the dark lights inside do not open the door for me and sell me any postage. Alas, Stephanie’s letter “T” must wait another day for me to send it off. Following the post office excursion, I mentally skiied through a perfect day. I decided to rent some skating cross country skies and give it a whirl on my own. Literal and metaphorical flop. Not in that I fell, but in that I kept going the wrong direction on the paths and everyone shot me looks of death like I may as well hang myself from the next tree. Not wishing to become victim of their anger, and not taking to heart their looks of grief at my folly, I exited the path after about an hour of feeling deceived by the term “skating”. I can do a triple axle, double lutz, backflip on the ice rink, and this was by no means “skating”. It wasn’t even fun, mostly just really aggravating.

Next task comes feeding the hungry wildebeest that lives in my abdomen. I tried to make lunch interesting –tofu, cauliflower, salad a fancy dressing I made up…I guess eating everything in the house doesn’t take the boredom out of it, it just makes it so that you ate a lot and have tree trunk legs. I sat in the sun while eating that was nice. And listened to the crickets of my brain chirping loudly.

Nap time, I think the first entertainment all day! I dream in action-packed Cinemagic form, so it kept me on the edge of my bunk bed the entire 2 HOUR nap!

When I awoke I had the urge to join the masses and downhill ski. So I strapped on my 80 pound gear and took off…

On the same route…

That I always go…

Because it’s all I know…

And I didn’t even have enough money to go anywhere else once I had arrived…

Because I forgot goggles…

And the lady made me pay 10 Euros to borrow sunglasses…

Which she gave back…

When I gave the shades de soleil, back…

Her favorite color was purple.

We both had on purple hats.

Are you sleeping yet?

Good.

Mission accomplished.

For those of you still awake..where was I?

Ah yes, downhill skiing! I was bored. I was legitamitely bored. Waiting in line consisted of HALF the experience. And the other half was the same old hill, knocking over the same old children that won’t move out of my way fast enough, and the same mountain goats that have become permanent lawn ornaments on the slope.

So I ditched the skiing idea like a bad sweater with pills in the wool, and shed 60 layers and took a long boiling walk. To return my ski rentals. It was an uneventful walk, besides the fact that there was CONFETTI ALL over town and people dressed up in weird costumes! It’s Carnival Week! Like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, only cooler because it’s in Europe. I guess I missed the memo. I was supposed to have spent the whole day drunk! Dang it! No wonder I was bored.

Altogether, I looked at people having fun with their friends and families, I saw a few crying kids who looked like they were less bored than I was. Maybe I should have thrown myself on the ground and complained about there being snow down my back? Not that I want to be annoying the locals or anything, but even my dragging my left leg and pretending to limp down the sidewalk and trying to give everyone “pity me” puppy dog eyes didn’t win me any new friends to talk to. I have always been gifted with the gift of subtlety.

Yes, I would venture to say my mind was unfortunately unchallenged today. Despite being active all day long. I’ve had more mind stimulating days lounging poolside and wishing on shooting stars during the day time. But at least it wasn’t a day cut from the same stone as a scene in a 60’s high school drama TV show and I am not telling you about the twirp down the street who stole my favorite purple eraser and put honey on my chair in history class. And I suppose everyday can’t be a total roller coaster ride. Even dinner is boring. It’s the ONLY dish I have made more than once here that bores me to tears: Coq au vin. Yawn. 

The highlight of my day was catching up with my friends, asking prying questions about skeletons in people’s closets, finding that ONE picture I just inserted into this, and sharing with you about how boring my day was. Oh ya, and on the walk home I had a really deep, intellectual, great existential thought. But I don’t want to wake you up by sharing it.

Everything hearts and confetti,

— Emily —

It’s Everything Personal

Yesterday, I finally had all I could take of the Chainsaw Massacre bubble bath times due to my razor blade; a brand name, which I will not disclose in order to protect the Bic, I mean the innocent. I tromped into the pharmacy, breezed past the Band-Aid section, which I have more recently become familiar with, and invested in a high quality Venus razor. Here is the thing about razors. Unless you’re some sort of female protestor who doesn’t shave or wash her hair, or you are a career-minded man (who makes way more money than me due to gender) and is entirely too busy selling real estate and abstaining from the beard topiary art form, you will likely employ the use of a razor at some point in your life. It’s a very personal item. And as with most things personal, it can really cut you to the deepest part of your core if you choose the wrong one, or you disclose the left leg to it too soon. Razors are the reason people “ooh and ahh” over you, or why grown men walk around with pieces of tissue stuck to their cheeks and chins.

We’ve all had these sorts of friends, the ones we share a little too much with and they slice us open like the very songs Cat Stevens writes. Isn’t it always that darn first cut that is the deepest? The ones that have no real interest in the give and take of friendship and would rather offer you a tutorial in bloodletting by being a friend leech, rather than pour wisdom and honesty on you, and help you look good in your favorite running shorts. Funny how the former are the ones that are labeled “disposable” and they are a dime a dozen. The best razors, er, I mean friends, will appreciate you as much as you appreciate them. You pay a higher price, but in the end, the relationship is magical. Yesterday I embarked on the start of a beautiful, less-painful, long-term razorationship.

It’s often easier not to make things personal. When someone tells you that if you “Just put a little makeup on and you would look JUST like so-and-so.” Or when someone hands you a pair of extra large men’s long underwear and says it looks like it would fit you perfectly. And, I don’t recommend thinking it’s “all about you” when someone inappropriately flashes you while you’re hiking…It’s best to spare your white pillowcase the mascara streaks by not taking these statements personally. People often just outwardly portray the inner reflections of themselves and their fellow humans happen to be witness to such events.

This morning, as I was dropping dishes around the kitchen floor because I love to spend my morning sweeping up ceramic, I could not help but eavesdrop on the breakfast conversation. The two munchers were smacking their lips on crepes and almond butter, and discussing a book in which a man is wrongly accused of a crime and thrown into a very uncomfortable prison. His bed his hard as a granite slab, the food is of course liver and porridge corn slop, and he only gets to see the sunlight every so often during a basketball match against someone who will pulverize him if he doesn’t let them win. The sentence was ten years, if my memory hasn’t shriveled up like a raisin, and I heard correctly after turning up my hearing aid. He walked around for a long time miserable and angry, blaming Who Sa Whats It and She Body Whose It. Then it dawned on him, that he had NO ONE to blame. His life had brought him to this point. It was not to judge, nor not to be angry about. It was nothing personal, perhaps it was free will, perhaps not. He did not know, nor need to know. It changed his entire perspective and he began doing his best (keeping up!) rather than taking it personally. It was this shift in his mindset, this awakening, that caused him to be kept up.

There are times however, when I am just dying for it to be and liking it to be personal. That’s when I either go out and invest in a new razor (although I have no need ever again for a new one!), or I begin to count the ways in which my soul and the soul of others connect. Things that could never be going on between two other human doings on this entire earth. Little symbols come my way that are strictly for my eyes only and I cherish them. When my fishing line catches a trout that I can speak the same language of, or I am finding that I can walk someone else’s road with them, and actually make sense of it all. It makes me wonder if, some things, some of the very best, most connected, and least painful things ARE personal and better that way. Goodness, I am getting all teary, looks like I will be the one with tissues stuck to my face all morning. Maybe there is a balance, and some things are little gifts just for YOU as an individual? Perhaps, it’s a very personal universe.

Personally, it’s all a mystery. But Dave Matthews seems to have the idea…he is not just singing to nobody. 
On a Personal Note,
— Emily —

A Week of the Unbirthdays

We began the session
With her asking the question,
“Madameoiselle, How do you want this to go?”
I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know.”
She made me stand tall and then said to me
“Let your shoulders frame your heart, keep your forearm like this, and turn your right knee.”

That was about the extent of my yoga practice with our latest guest, Jill Satterfield.
At first I couldn’t believe it, this was all? What about leap-through-balancing-dancing-seal asana and I-can-do-the-splts-better-than-you pose? With a few simple instructions to assist me in perfecting my standing posture as well as my downward dog, I was pretty much unable to come back to reality for a few minutes. A few little micro-adjustments here and some tweaks there, and I actually found out what some of those foreign yogic words like, “Mula banda” and “diaphragm” mean. The fact that I was so easily hypnotized, she said makes me a classic case of a “cheap date” energy-wise because all it took was telling me to move my hamstrings towards the wall and I was tying spoons together in the air with my eyeballs.

Jill Satterfield, Founder and Director of the School for Compassionate Action in NYC, is a bit like the Mad Hatter in Alice and Wonderland. Not that she has a strange or unusual obsession for tea or pouring it down her shirt, and she did not prance around the chalet singing obnoxious songs, and she doesn’t have crazy hair or a hat disorder. But she does remind us about the ever forgotten concept of the “Unbirthdays”. She told me, in the most beautifully cadenced way, that the subtle interactions in our everyday lives can be the ones that cause the biggest shifts. Internally and externally. 

She reminded me that EVERYDAY is to be celebrated. It’s new and fresh, and offers you the opportunity to ask yourself, “What do you need today?” Then when you have that mastered, “What do you need in this moment?” “How can I be my very best?” Sometimes you need someone to kick you in the butt and make you hit the trail running and only feed you an apple and a garden salad for fuel for three days. Other days, you need to nurse yourself back to health with lemons and tea, and a plethora of Chinese herbs, from your fever of scorching Farenheit degree. And still other days you need to dive headfirst into an ocean of lava just because it’s there and you’re bored.

When Jill came, I was little Miss Alice in Wonderland, hurrying on my way to find that darn rabbit to tell me what time it was and what the meaning of all this was, all the while trying to dodge the Queen of Hearts and the cricket-crying game of croquet. But my curiosity got the best of me, and after eavesdropping on a few healthy healing happy hippy conversations, I sneaked to the table and watched the celebration of the unbirthday take place. It’s amazing how much you grow between birthdays, isn’t it? And I always thought it was just May 13th that caused the onset of age and my forehead crinkles….

On the ski path here, they have signs that show you how much further you have until your destination. Not spelled out in mileage, kilometrage, or as we would do in NH, how many big rocks you will pass….they use TIME. This is the sign I passed today:
Les Bois 0h 20m
Chamonix 0h 50m

That really translates to Emily to Chamonix in 25 minutes, rather than 50. No matter how slow I try to power walk…

Today, on my walk to Chamonix. I did not want the moments to end. It seemed so short. The sun was washing over my face like magical pixie dust that will hopefully transform me into some highly-desired goddess. The clouds perfectly draped across the sky like lace tapestries that I hope to one day own and hang around my bed. And the mountains, it was as if they were holding up my very heartbeat itself. It was breath-taking, awe-inspiring, and all those other words people use before going off and writing some great philosophical work, finding themselves, or pursuing their lifelong dream.

Like most walks, due to the lack of glycogen supply in my muscles, and the fact that the trail ended and life goes on, it too eventually ended.

What made this walk seem so short as opposed to the other two hour treks I have taken on this same path? Why, of course it was something I enjoy doing and the conditions were perfect. I could have been running around in a tank top it was so warm, and my mind was completely and utterly focused on the moment and not any one of the five billion thoughts I can usually think to dwell on for two hours. That’s how Jill’s visit with us was, a ray of sunshine and positivity! Tea and crumpets for our every unbirthdays and an opportunity to see where just a little more space for change and growth can be made today. She helped Tom with his posture, did more yoga with Julie than a Buddhist monk would do in a lifetime at a monastery, linked me up with a contact in my next stomping grounds, and even let me exchange a half hour filled with some of her vast knowledge yogalostically, for a 1/4 of a decent massage.

Now I just need to figure out how to get the guests to massage ME….
My chance is here! The acupuncturist arrives in a few minutes!

Kept up and challenging you to keep up,
— Emily —

Favorite Things. Just a Few.

I grew up with enough frivolities and options to know that I preferred the real Rice Krispies as opposed to the no-name “Crispy Rice Cereal” that we dug out of the Charity Box at church. I knew I preferred scallops sauteed in white wine and lemon butter, over birthday cake, and that my pink jelly shoes were way cooler than my grey ones. It’s interesting how a child adopts quickly the art of choosing favorites in life. 

Grown-ups with no other ideas of how to connect with the miniature people, asking us constantly, “What’s your favorite color?” “What’s your favorite food?” “Who is your favorite brother?” The decisions we faced at such a young age are enough to chronically tie any tiny person’s intestines in knots. I still suffer debilitating stomach pains from the time I felt the need to sell my soul and ascribe to everything the color purple stood for, whilst throwing all other colors to the wind. Following the purple sponge-painted bedroom walls, came the purple sheets, purple pillows, purple ceiling, purple bathrobe, and purple hair.

It must be some sort of “survival of the fittest” test that kids put each other through as they choose favorites. If you don’t chose Gucci as your favorite name brand designer when you’re 5, it’s going to be a long hard road making friends. I always found myself standing friendlessly and alone by our comfortable cardboard box home saying, “Come back you guys, this is a Louis Vitton!” That’s when I decided in order to make friends, I would have to make hula hooping my favorite sport. 

There were also the times when my favorites were only useful for the purpose of fitting in and making myself look like my favorite best friend’s identical twin, like in the cases of choosing favorite outfits, styles, or activities. Choosing favorites was also a tried-and-true way to get some healthy competition going, “Yes, of course we both have the same favorite guy in school…let’s see who HIS favorite is.”

The thing about choosing favorites is that you first one must have options. So having the opportunity to choose favorites alone is a thing to be thankful for! It is certainly not a problem for those who have ever only had one kind of everything, or one of nothing. In order to make a favorite that is not based on some whim, you must have tried all of the cheese, bacon, wide leg pant brands, and meditation techniques that you are exposed to. Choosing favorites is a real commitment, you must be dedicated to remaining open-minded, knowing that your favorites could change, though still being loyal to your true self. Personally, knit caps have been my favorite since I was an infant. What a stress all this choosing, deciding, subscribing, and ascribing has caused me!

Living here has taken away many of my “options” while simultaneously offering me a multitude of new options. I no longer get to do my “favorite” long walk around the woods at my house, I don’t get to swim in my “favorite” place, see my “favorite” views, eat my “favorite” foods, or wear my “favorite” clothes. Instead I am forced to make some temporary favorites, while I do not have access to my standard go-to’s. It’s like learning a whole new language.

At first all wine was the same, all the ski slopes were steep, and all of the boulangeries sold the same stuff. I blindly selected things at the stores that I thought would do the trick on any given day, not knowing what was good, except assuming of course that my expensive tastes would not lead me astray as I chose the most costly items everywhere I went. Now, I have my favorite places to grocery shop, I already chose my favorite toothpaste, my favorite hat supply, and favorite postcard distributor. Strangely enough, what I love and what consists of my favorites are not that much different than the favorites I had back at home. They are the French equivalents serving to help me maintain my Emily-ness. It’s a nice feeling, to know that you always sort sink into what have always been destined to love. I stay warm at night knowing that the goal remains the same, when the circumstances change. And what a comfort it is that I’ve always been an 80-year old at heart, (although most 80 year old’s I know can’t do drowning-in-quicksand pose with one leg behind their head as eruditely as I can) telling everyone to watch out for pickpockets and eat their veggies. 

I suppose the best way to determine your favorites, (and to one day have a stockpile of them) is to stay open to what comes as it may, but always knowing that once you have found what is BEST for YOU, or come home to what has always BEEN best for you: no need to mess with a good thing. Did Einstein say that once?

Enjoying where you are, and balancing being in the moment where you are while allowing yourself to miss and stay connected to what you will one day march back to. For me, and I am sure for others, as there parents would agree, it’s been in there all along. I’ve always thrown meat products on the floor in attempts to avoid eating it, and I’ve always been a fanning the flames of warmth (demonstrated by my tendency to set fires in the woods and anywhere else I could put to use matches and sticks). I was always an entrepreneur from my “antique” railroad spike-selling booth to my dog-walking business, have always come out of the freezing cold ocean with purpleish-blue lips and more goosebumps than a horror flick, and I’ve always had my nose buried in a book, which I read while trying to balance in boat pose and talk on the phone. Sort of like this blog post….. which had a clear cut theme and then teetered here there and everywhere, I hope I managed to bring it back together in a clear and concise way as neat as my very sock drawer itself.

Still makes me wonder: Nature or Nuture? Free Will or None?

Always the same ends, and occasionally a slightly different means. Whatever that means…

Missing you ASTRONOMICALLY to Saturn, a few twirls around all of it’s rings, and back again!  

— Emily —