Monday, June 15, 2009

Say ahhhhh.....

In so many ways, saying ahhhhh right now is so precisely right. The opening of the yap and the sigh of relief for the outcome.

I was a smoker, on and off, for many years. It has been a little over 12 years since I quit smoking for good. I watched my mother die of lung cancer. I held her hand as she passed. Very recently, I have been worried about what was going on with my body, convinced that cigarettes have finally caught up with me. That funny looking spot on my lip that wasn't going away. But, that's not the cause... this is from too much sun exposure.

I am lily white. I never tanned, I burned and peeled. I have had sun poisoning more than once. I finally gave it all up at the age of 28. I had spent a long day at the beach with friends. It was fun, but the after effects were not. Our family trips to the beach afterwards were spent slathered in sunscreen or covered up, and definitely not outdoors during peak hours. Still... last Saturday afternoon I was at the dermatologist's office having a minor procedure done to remove a precancerous growth from the right half of my lower lip. Right now, it ain't fun and it sure ain't pretty, but it beats the alternatives. Time marches on.

My son reminded me yesterday that he will be 18 this October. I'm having a hard time taking that in. I knew it would happen. When I was pregnant I used to think... when he's 18, I'll be 51... it was such a long way off back then. But, here we are. I actually had to think out loud the other day, 'how old am I?'... I am still 50. For another 2 months or so, I am still 50. I find my memory banks to be a little harder to tap into.... maybe the mental Rolodex needs a bit of WD-40? WTF?

Seriously, WTF???

So, to combat some of this (what's the word I want?...) ennui? laissez-faire? (why can I come up with FRENCH and not ENGLISH words now?) I am planning some adventures for the next few weeks.

Some friends from Lyon will be in town the weekend of June 27 for the Gay Pride Parade. We have plans to meet up for lunch at Pooja, but we'll play it by ear. If you haven't been to a Gay Pride Parade in Paris, you are truly missing something... music, costumes, a lot of fun! (Guy, where are you??)

If you happen to be in Paris on July 5, meet me and a few other summer stragglers at the Eiffel Tower for a big sing-a-long. This is a Facebook event... the song is still being decided upon. Hopefully, it will be something everyone can sing. The big favorites being debated so far? "La Vie en Rose" (meh) and "We Will Rock You" (barf). How about "Imagine" or "All You Need is Love"? Something with meaning that everyone can sing... "Three Little Birds"? In any case, a friend is coming over from NYC and we will be spending July 4th at the Olympia with CSN. "Find the Cost of Freedom" would be a great song, but it's too short, and besides, how many French young-uns know the words to that? Hope to see you there. Here's one we can all relate to:

I will survive...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

There are places I remember...

I was there in 2002, the era of Bush, Chirac and Colin Powell. It was the first Memorial Day following September 11. We had invitations from the US Embassy to attend and a group of us drove up for the day. Our driver (a friend with the biggest van) picked us up bright and early and we hit the autoroute... we had a great time enjoying the camaraderie and rare moment of being together for something that wasn't office related.

As we approached Colleville, the streets were lined with French and American flags and military "checkpoints". We had to show our invitations and passports several times along the way. We arrived early as told, which gave us plenty of time to park and get good seats.

Going into the cemetery took my breath away. Knowing the events which took place there, and the enormity of the loss of life, I couldn't help but be moved by the vast number, row after row after row... of grave markers. The sea in the background and the decorated veterans who survived...

I am a military brat. I have written about this before. "Taps" starts the tears. Fly-bys do me in. Once the ceremonies were over, I pulled myself together and we finally had the opportunity to walk around and visit the grounds. I found myself standing and chatting with U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Larry Poe, overlooking the beach. Lots of stars and bars for a Navy brat like me.

If you have not yet been to Normandy, put it on the list of must-see places to visit in France. It is such an awe-inspiring place to be. The museums and sites will stay with you forever. To have been there for a special ceremony was a privilege, but I need to go back and spend a day there. It's a peaceful place to be.

Some have gone and some remain.