~this moment, now~

March 16th, 2008

These days I have been pondering the way one gets hooked into certain responses, particularly in the face of discomfort (a flat writing day, a lover’s spat, uncertainty about seeming pipe dreams, or just plain getting wait-listed for Yaddo–again!).
One could simply not tell oneself the same story, could make a choice to experiment with a different response.

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And so, above, my prize garlic bunch and my new prize robe–a deep purple silk Victorian kimono vined in hand-stitched cherry blossoms. It is a gift to my writer self, a properly inspired costume to while away long hours (sometimes begrudingly) spent at the laptop.
A new response to an old challenge: instead of berating, try lavish encouragement! And voilà! This week the writing has gone swimmingly!

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Oh no! Not a visual pun! Everybody out digging the sunshine. Love the feet.

We’ve had a weekend spent in Neuchâtel, planning for next weekend’s Easter escape to Vienna (which I am over the moon about). I have to say, this town is growing on me. Perhaps it is best to move to a new city in winter, so that as you warm to it, it is warming and opening up too.

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By the time we finished champagne and smoked salmon brunch many of the eggs were snapped up, but the flora/fauna silhouette of the brown egg above is common–a whole basket is just lovely.

The farmer’s market was fantastic this weekend. I bought a new salad green that looks like clover, oodles of lamb’s lettuce (to go with my first rack of lamb, sorry lamb!), gorgeous rose-golden shallots, dried bay leave and lavender from Provence, and two kinds of hand-made cheese–recommendations when my French failed me and I requested something ” avec umph!”

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Poultry Trompe d’oeil. You see this all over town–bunnies and cabbages, calico kitties, wandering ivy vines, fruit-loving chickens.

Ali brought incredibly tall yellow tulips to our long-standing Friday night date at the Cardinal. The lady does love a floral surprise…We haven’t been to our favorite dinner spot in some time, and they’ve changed to a Printemp Menu, pas de Angels on Horseback…Dommage! Désolé! But the herbed chicken tucked in very thin pastry shell is a new hit (sorry chicken!).

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I learned a homemade flower preservative recipe this week, with all a cut plant needs: 1 teaspoon sugar for nutrition, 1 teaspoon bleach to keep the water clear of bacteria, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice to acidify.

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Snow lingers on the hills, but not for long?

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The cafes are putting tables outside now, and hanging fairy lights in the streets…

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Here is a better image of the town square, as promised. This morning the cafes were spilling over with sun-soakers. There were stalls everywhere, fat with hand-cured olives and garlic, herbs, tarts, cheese, sausage, jam, and some very sexy produce. A scene with joyful energy, not unlike that first day in NY when you don’t have to wear a 80lb coat and suddenly the streets are flooded with over-zealous tank-toped roller-bladders.

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A very fancy joint we’ve yet to try, (the restaurant of) Hôtel DuPeyrou, built in 1770 by its namesake, an independent spirit who published in Neuchâtel one of the first autobiographies, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions.

Architecturally, the center of town is divided between these stately, Louis XIV buildings–all shuttered facades and turreted orioles–and narrow, cobble-stoned Medieval avenues. A strange and interesting mix, beating the pants off a view of the BQE. Like I said, growing on me…

Sunday was rainy again, and in the twilight we walked up the hill to “our” church, the early Gothic Collégiale that we see from our balcony. We got drenched!

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More images of this area forthcoming, when it’s not suddenly pouring…From the mewling, you’d think Ali was made of sugar.

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There is ivy everywhere up here, taking over trees and unsuspecting buildings alike.

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They have two massive organs, facing each other. We imagined a “dueling pipes” kind of event.
The celestial ceiling is discreetly heavenly.

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The need for good espresso, thyme tooth paste, fancy Chinese tea, Margeaux, Ali’s “Berliner” doughnuts–takes us to an insane shopping center once a month, where yesterday the lingerie store put out a catwalk and livened things up. I thought this a good image to close with. Men, women, no matter, but this was the only gal without a string in her tuckus.

Opposite they constructed a wooden corral for some very disinterested lop-eared bunnies. Something for everyone! I heart Europe. A man approached and trotted out what was no doubt a full-proof pick-up line involving hares and g-strings. Malheureusement, je ne parle qu’un petit peu de français! to the rescue! I double heart Europe!

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Like Mr. Wilde said,The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

2 Responses to “~this moment, now~”

  1. Noria says:

    “Avec umph!” is my new favorite catchphrase.

    Lovely to see everything waking up from the long winter’s nap, only to be eaten by you.

  2. kim says:

    Noria~ your comment made me “snortle”–another recently invented term–now i feel rather Fe! Fi! Fo! Fum!…

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