I love my garden!

One of my favorite things to do, as you know, is sitting in the warmth of the sun in my garden, but today i found that even more than that, i love working in my garden – clearing out dead leaves around the plants, weeding, re-arranging the rocks etc. i filled a large garbage bag full of leaves and weeds within a couple of hours. It felt so good! There is a LOT more to be done, but i feel like even the little i did today made a nice difference.

In reflecting on my life in santa monica, i realize how disconnected i really was, especially from my environment. I was running around so much, i didn’t want to spend what little free time i had doing things like housework and cooking, so i had a cleaning woman and i mostly ate out in restaurants. I never had to do yard work because, even tho he wasn’t the nicest man, my landlord made sure that the apartment building was very well maintained, so there were always guys watering and trimming the plants and sweeping the courtyard.

Here in collioure i do all my own house cleaning and if i don’t sweep the stairs it doesn’t get done. I find that doing these mundane activities (which i avoided like the plague in santa monica) actually grounds and connects me to my surroundings in a very profound way, and i find so much pleasure in looking at the clean stairs, or the areas that i’ve cleared in the garden! The big difference that is making these changes possible is now i have the luxury of TIME. Oh how i appreciate having this very special gift!

Another “side effect” of doing these everyday activities is that i’m so much more in touch with nature, as in the wind, the sun, the rain, etc. For example, when the strong tramontaine winds start up, one of the first things i think about is the sweeping i’ll have to do because the stairs will be full of leaves. I’m very aware of the times that the sun is strongest in my garden (9:30 – 2:30 approx) and i’m always checking to see what the clouds are doing, since they can block the sun if there are too many of them hanging out in the sky. I plan my “laundry days” when the weather reports say there will be at least two days of sun, because i have a washing machine but no dryer, so i have to hang my clothes outside. In santa monica there were washers and dryers in the apt building where i lived, so i could do my laundry whether it rained or not, and i never had to think about the weather.

And working in the garden is the best because i sit on the ground with my hands in the dirt – heaven!! Who knew?!?!

field trip to perpignan!!

i spent a really pleasant day in perpignan with my buddy louis.  he fixed me an amazing salad with all kinds of exotic stuff and his dressing was delicious!  i’m always in awe of people who can just “whip up” an incredible, delicious meal seemingly effortlessly.  i’m pretty far from that level of culinary achievement.  i did make a good soup yesterday, tho!  🙂

after lunch we went to an optical shop because louis wanted me to help him choose some new eyeglass frames. we had a lot of fun as he tried on all the different styles they had available. i took some photos of him so he could send it to his friend for his opinion, too.  actually, it was a good idea to do that b/c then he could kind of look at the different styles of frames a bit more objectively. he finally narrowed it down to 4 different styles and tomorrow he’s going to another shop before he makes his final decision. i’m glad i don’t wear glasses – it would be agony for me to choose the frames and besides, i don’t look good in glasses anyway!

oh, the best part of the day was when louis showed me a health food store very close to the train station. yay!!! that’s one thing i miss and i’m so happy to have a place to buy some organic stuff!  it’s a pretty large store so they carry a wide variety of organic products. Goody! i can just take the train or bus to perpignan, walk to the health food store, do my shopping, and take another train back to collioure (it takes me 6 minutes to walk to the train station in collioure with my new short cut!), all within a couple of hours.  slowly, slowly i’m getting my life organized here!

My latest visitor!

I had a short but sweet visit visit from my friend jose, who lives in l.a. We were in the same class in villefranche last year, and we’ve stayed in touch since then. He and his partner have been in barcelona so he went to visit another friend in montpellier and stopped in to see me on his way back to barcelona.

He arrived on a beautiful day, so taking advantage of the nice weather, I dragged him all over collioure ! to his credit, he was a great sport about it. We walked by the beach and even tho the weather was calm, the waves were much bigger than usual, so he got to see a pretty dramatic water show. He has a great camera and got some really good photos of collioure. My camera mysteriously disappeared and i only found it after he left. I remember putting it away, thinking it was a great spot for it, only to completely forget where that “great spot” was! Oy… He’s posted his photos onto facebook but there is no way i could figure out how to transfer some of them over to this blog. If anyone knows how to do, that let me know!

I wanted to take him, of course, to le 5eme peche, but it’s closed for (i hope) just a month, so we had to find another place. We did have a great lunch and that evening we went to the annual beaujolais festival (when the new beaujolais wine comes out). It was at cafe sola, very close to my house, so we went and tasted the new wine, listened to some music, and then found another restaurant for dinner, which jose kindly treated me to. I had offered to make some soup for dinner but he wisely declined. Who told him about my (lack of) culinary skills?!! 🙂

But the next morning i made my famous tortilla de patates (i think they’re getting better, maybe?). Couldn’t miss the opportunity to practice some more!

We then rushed to the train station so jose could get the 9:55 train to perpignan, where he would then transfer to the speed train to barcelona. We made it to the station with about 10 or 15 minutes to spare and as soon as we got there he suddenly asked me if he was supposed to take the 9:55 or the 10:55 train and we both remembered that it was the 10:55 train he was supposed to take! And i was the one who had looked at the schedule and recommended that one! But since we were already there he decided to take the early train anyway, so off he went!

It’s really fun for me to share collioure with people who come to visit, and i get to appreciate my life here even more in the process! Next!!

my little celebration

today i took myself out to lunch to celebrate my online connection!  as usual, the food was delicious and the weather was nice and warm as i sat in the sun. i could see the water from where i was sitting and it was so beautiful and peaceful.  i kept smiling to myself every time i remembered that there was an internet connected computer waiting for me at home! 

i’m really not exaggerating the importance of being able to be online consistently – it’s my lifeline to all of you and also for practical things like checking my bank balance and now (hopefully) i’ll be able to skype and use facetime without getting disconnected every few minutes!

life is gooooood!!!!!

Finally!! I can post photos again!!

These photos didn’t come out in the order i posted them but finally you get to see my home and my little garden sanctuary. I love living here!!

The rose room, guest room #1

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My olive tree

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