30 December 2019

A screw loose?

I would like to write more about my six-month stay in Aix-en-Provence. I have a lot of memories. But it takes a lot of time and concentration to piece it all back together and describe the experience coherently. At my age, the words just flow or they don't. Yesterday I sat and wrote what I wrote in some kind of stream of consciousness. The time in Aix, and how I got there, really was a pivotal point in my life.

There have been others, of course. Meeting Walt in Paris in 1981-82, and then both of us moving to Washington DC. Deciding around that time that I didn't want to be a teacher for the rest of my life, and then going to work with CHM in 1983, was another of those moments. Moving to California and working in the computer industry... and now, after more than 15 years here, retiring and moving to Saint-Aignan.

Meanwhile, we've run into a little snag in getting the new chest of drawers put together. Some of the screws that hold the rails the drawers are supposed to slide on are too short to do the job. Walt has to go out to the hardware store today to see if he can find some that will work.

I'm still processing that turkey we had for Christmas. Today: turkey-barley soup. I made the broth by simmering the carcass in the slow-cooker overnight from Saturday to Sunday. Yesterday I strained it and picked some meat off the bones. That meat and more, plus carrots, celery, green peas, onions, and barley will go into the soup. That's my life these days.

I guess I should go back to Aix-en-Provence one day and take some photos. That would really refresh my memory. The last time I was there was in pre-digital 1993, with Walt. I hardly recognized the suburban neighborhood where I lived in a room rented for me by Vanderbilt for those six months in 1970. But the neighborhood in central Aix where the Vanderbilt program was (and maybe still is) located, the Quartier Mazarin, looked the same. It was on the rue Cardinale, not far from the Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins, the Musée Granet, and the Eglise Saint-Jean-de Malte — and just a short distance off the Cours Mirabeau.


  1. Oh, no! I can't believe that the screws aren't long enough! What a mess. I hope that, by now, Walt has returned from the store, and you've been able to put this thing together :)

    Why not Google drive around some of those streets in Aix? :) That should give you some good memories-- and photos.

  2. The local hardware store — there used to be three, but only one is still in business — didn't have the type of screws we need. We've ordered some fron Amazon France, and might receive them by Saturday.

  3. >>the words just flow or they don't...
    That has always been my experience, even in high school. My subconscious has to work it all out first, I guess, and then the piece writes itself. It was even true for technical writing.

    1. I agree with you completely, Chris. I also admit that I'm not very disciplined at this point in my life. I don't think I have any great story to tell. I write things when they seem to have taken form on their own in my brain. I can't force it. I don't like it when people tell me I "ought to" write about this or that subject. I doesn't work that way for me, at least not now.


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