June 22, 2012

We have moved boxes again, and this one is little.
Certainly there are worlds of people that live in less, or nothing at all, and with less and with nothing at all, tickytacky. Our stone box is one we are grateful for, so I’ll continue....
Piece a Vivre
Double click on any of the photos to see a full resolution version

There is nothing as despiriting as taking a pristine empty apartment and filling it with the detritus of life, our books, our art, our clothes, our pieces of wood, and all the “eye-candy” from 9 years of life in France. This smallish apartment with “too much storage” is all of a sudden full!  Too many shoes, too many cake pans, bread pans, charlotte pans, fruit cake molds, and enough ramequins to let them eat cake!  We are collectors extrordinaire!  We need help!

Kitchen at rest
Kitchen in action

The view from the windows,  Basilic St. Michel 

So after moving a fair amount of stuff from Martel to a 3rd floor apartment, and then again down and back up to this 4th floor apartment, we find ourself carrying it down again and off to the Emmaus (Goodwill) or worse, the bin on the corner.  It's a battle against clutter and it’s as if I’d grown up in the previous great depression, I'm hoarding. I have moved more pieces of wood from project to project, waiting for that perfect chance to use it.... just because its a 200 year old piece of Walnut. Well turns out few people want that stuff and it actually burns pretty well.
garbage and recycle
I was moving a highly lacquered piece of wood, actually a door from an Armoire, and as I paused in front of the apartment, an elderly man approached me and asked what I was going to do with it and would I like several others that he was hoarding too?  Seems I’m not the only person who gets attached to lumber.  I hated to explain that I didn’t even have any idea what I was going to do with the one in my possession!?  He wanted to give me his phone number in case I changed my mind and discovered a re-use.  I am sometimes just one step away from the person who actually opens the trash cans to see if there is anything of value inside....but I have my limits!
These doors were a reuse from a "recupeteur" now they await new  glass and two coats of paint, new hardware, and then they will be all that separates us from Oscar's room

This window was here, but got resized and raised up about 6"  The implied privacy of the bamboo forest makes brushing your teeth feel like a camping trip!
So we are in the apartment, sleeping well, losing our way in the middle of the night, searching for bowls and lids and spices that, unlike us, have not yet found a home. The cabinets still sport the protective film over the lacquered grey finish.  There are still shelves being built, or not, and occasionally as I search for, lets say the paprika, I come across a drawer that has nothing in it... what’s with that? We are reducing our wardrobes and getting used to shorter travel times from any place to any other, both inside the home and outside.   It turns out we are even more “hyper-central” than we were before, everything one could want, and a few others, are close at hand. It’s like living in a “piece a vivre” (a room for life), its the kitchen, dining, living room, all rolled into one, plus the office and the entry, with window seats, closets, a tiny desk, and a very expansive and efficient kitchen.
Books = Art
Raison d'etre
The Fete de la musique was last night and speaking of living “hyper centre”:  three stories down and acoustically IN our home there were two stages, with bands ranging from bad to better, but never quite approaching good. So I left and found some friends and some great music. Every town in France, and I suppose Europe celebrates the official start of summer by hitting the sidewalks and plying their musical talent, or lack thereof.  Martel did this with varying success over the years, from 5 stages to none, but what we have here in Bordeaux is beyond that beyond... I hear dumpsters being overturned as I type and its only 1:30 in the morning.  Fortunately the two stages below have disappeared in my absence and the rule is that it must all end at 2 am.  Its a great excuse for a party. I took a tour of the city on my way home and I was shocked, amazed and frightened at a few points.  The teens and 20-somethings are out in force, lots of alcohol, lots of music. There were the occasional homebrewed stages, clutches of kids sitting around strumming to a small starry eyed audience, even more dj’s spinning their imaginations to varying results, I saw a singer who reminded me of Blondie, another was channeling Bob Dylan, young and old alike and forthemostpart expressing a great appreciation of the music.  The most popular areas were the ones to avoid, the more off the beaten track, the more rewarding.  The idea of celebrating music is laudable, the excuse to drink copiously unfortunate.  In Martel I opened the window and practiced my accordion.  That was the closest Ill ever come to the spirit of this event, but it was great fun being a spectator last night, from the talent to the maddening crowds. Life is indeed a circus.
Oscar is extremely happy to have a real room
Today was the last day of school till the Brevet, their “exit exam”.  The last few days of school were filled with watching videos, class parties and gifts for the favorite professors, Oscar’s class gave their homeroom teacher a bottle of South African wine?  I’m not in Kansas anymore!  Oscar will study for a couple of days, and next week take this big test.  Its of mixed importance, he has already been accepted into the OIB for the international Baccalaureate program, so this test will simply be a note in his “permanent record”.  So the summer has arrived in this house.
This months endorsement is a French State Radio station which has web streaming available.  Its entirely music, with no Ad’s, and to call it ‘eclectic’ is a gross understatement.
You will find an opera piece sandwiched between a RAP tune and French ballad, then a piece of electronica and a Bach fugue.  The rhyme or reason is still lost on me, and occasionally it slips into esoterica, but I love a mixed tape and here mixed is king!
FIP Radio

Our landline has been disconnected, you can reach us on the same cell phones as before, and the address has changed to #1 Rue des Boucheries.  Our Skype moniker is PatOscarDaniel and our guest room will be finished in time for Christmas!