Posts Tagged ‘Loneliness’

Dear Readers,

I apologize for my radio silence. I have writer’s block. Well, it’s not a block as much as it is a bad case of self-censorship. I assure you I’m not “wasting time,” George R.R. Martin style.

Until I post a new letter (read: decide to stop worrying about offending someone), here is a fun matching game for you to play.

Match the comment with the person who said it to me. Answers at the bottom.

  1. “Will you make time for my funeral?”
  2. “If you swallow your gum, you can just poop it out.”
  3. “Can we go to Lowe’s? I need some red tape.”
  4. “You’re quiet. Are you upset? Are you mad at me?”
  5. “Something is wrong with you.”

A. My 11-year-old son
B. My 9-year-old son
C. My father
D. My boss
E. My husband

Note: Void where prohibited. Action figures sold separately. Results may vary. Contents under pressure. Consult your physician if fever persists for more than three days or if pain continues for more than five days. All sales final.

See you here soon (I hope),

Your life sucks without me.

1. C, 2. B, 3. A, 4. D, 5. E


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Last year, Eddie and I made a big production out of Halloween. Three families got together to form the cast of the “Wizard of Oz.”

This year, I am sans family. Instead of being part of a big themed costume event, I wore brown, stuck a stick in the buttonhole of my sweater, and called myself a  — wait for it — Stick in the Mud.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t have the Halloween spirit or participate in a celebration.

The college I work for introduced the American concept of Halloween to the small medieval village in the South of France where the study-abroad program is located. If today’s turnout is any indication, the French folks in this area have really embraced the tradition. I think every French family within a 30 km radius came to celebrate with us.

Here’s a slideshow of photos from the event:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It may not have been my usual Halloween, but it was unusually fun!

(And maybe now I can forgive the students for making me watch “Hocus Pocus” last night!)

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Foyer, doux foyer

Home, sweet home.

This is my temporary home in Lacoste, France:

My street and apartment

I left my real home on Sunday with tissues stuffed in my bra to help me through the emotional experience of leaving Eddie and the kids. After many hours breathing recycled airplane air (three planes), wrangling suitcases (one large, three small), and enduring the wrath of Sue Sylvester serving as flight attendant on the longest flight, I made it to my final destination in the south of France.

It has been an action-packed 20 hours since I arrived. I’ll spare you the play-by-play. Here are the highlights:

  1. I live 10 feet away from the clock tower. It chimes twice per hour.
  2. It is scorpion mating season. Here’s one that won’t mate again.
  3. It is harvest season. Carl, another professor here, shows off the goods.
  4. The village’s hills will be assets as I whip my own assets into shape.
  5. The place has interesting little cubbies everywhere. Here’s a cool hobbit potty, for example.

One of the best parts of the town tour today was an impromptu peek into Tom Stoppard‘s former residence. I’ll share the photos later.

For now, though, je suis fatigué!

À bientôt!


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In one week, this village will be my new home:

It’s only temporary, though.

The university that employs me has a study-abroad campus in the South of France. I was lucky enough to be selected to teach writing courses there in the fall.

Here are the answers to the Top Five questions I’m asked:

  1. No, Eddie is not going. He and the kids will join me later in the quarter.
  2. Because the boys have school and he has work events planned.
  3. Yes, of course I will miss them. Skype will save us.
  4. Yes, I’m excited, mainly for the chance to gorge myself on wine and cheese and a variety of other treats for which the Luberon Valley is known.
  5. No, I don’t speak French fluently. I will be able to carry on conversations with French toddlers based on what I remember from two years of the language in high school. And I can inquire as to the whereabouts of my sunglasses.

Although I’ll still post images of grammar mistakes in the wild, this blog will change focus a bit.

Perhaps a temporary blog title is appropriate.

Perhaps “A Redneck in Provence.”


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Behind the smiles

We all look so happy in the Halloween photos, but we were hiding some supreme sadness. I felt like Mr. Roarke from “Fantasy Island,” who used to command, “Smiles, Everyone. Smiles!”

Maggie the Dog, Beloved Boxer and Killer of Chickens, died peacefully on the operating table at the vet’s office Saturday afternoon.

It was very unexpected.

Over the past week, Eddie and I were finding little pee spots on the carpet. It wasn’t like either Mona or Maggie to pee in the house, and we weren’t sure who was the culprit. During a costume dress rehearsal, I found a new spot, leading to this Facebook post:

Later that day, we found another fresh spot, but Mona was outside. So we knew it was Maggie. I figured she had a bladder infection, so I made an appointment with the vet for Saturday morning.

During the exam, the vet noticed something off in Maggie’s abdomen, and recommended an X-ray. This is what she found:

See that football-shaped mass? Yeah, that’s not good. And whatever it was grew to that size over just four months — since June when Maggie got the cancer all-clear after the removal of  lumps she had on her leg and side.

The vet thought it was either a splenic hematoma or hemangiosarcoma and recommended emergency surgery. With the hematoma, the vet could remove it and the prognosis was good. With the other, she could remove it and the prognosis was not good — likely a few months to live. Either way, I thought I’d have time left with Maggie.

I got the call during the boys’ soccer game that afternoon. The mass was a cancerous lymph node. A lymph node had grown to that size! There was nothing the vet could do.

Maggie passed peacefully while under anesthesia. I hate that I didn’t say goodbye, but it probably would have stressed her out to see me so upset.

We buried her Sunday next to her friends Tommy and Stanley.

Rest in Peace, Mag-a-Pie.

2002 (?) - Oct. 30, 2010


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Convicted serial killer accused of fifth slaying

From Staff Reports

BLOOMINGDALE, Ga. — Convicted serial killer Maggie The Dog is the only suspect in the murder of Shelly The Chicken. Shelly’s father, Eddie Concepción, found the bird’s body Sunday night in the back yard of the family home. Maggie’s younger sister, Mona The Dog is listed as an accomplice.

“I knew the dogs were a little too anxious to go outside,” he said. “Mona was not returning to the house, so I got the flashlight and started shining it around. I saw the two legs and knew.”

Warning: Graphic image

Concepción reported that Shelly must have left the side yard while the family was at a birthday party at Monkey Joe’s. When the family came home, it was dark. According to Concepción, they did not know of Shelly’s escape when they let Maggie and Mona outside.

Shelly’s mother, Beth Concepción, was clearly distressed. “We had a breakthrough yesterday,” she said. “She finally came up to me and wanted to be petted. We were making such progress on her socialization!”

According to the family, neither Shelly nor her sister Jeanne had ever left the side yard. However, sources close to the investigation reveal that Beth had said both chickens were about due for a wing clipping.

Beth reports that Jeanne, who shared a coop with Shelly, is holding up well under the circumstances.

“She just seems really sad and lonely,” she said. “I’m afraid this tragedy also will push back egg production.” Neither chicken had produced an egg yet.

Maggie had been convicted of the March 2010 murder of Trish La Gallina and the April 2009 murders of Trish’s three sisters. She had done time inside the house and outside on a leash before being released on parole.

On behalf of his delinquent dogs, Eddie is asking for understanding and forgiveness.

“I don’t think we should have chickens. Either train them to be guard chickens or get rid of the dogs. Chickens and dogs cannot coexist,” he said. “Apparently, there is some kind of code we don’t know about that Maggie is forced to enforce.”

Eddie’s son Dominic took additional steps to ensure peace in the Concepción household.

“Dominic had a talk with Maggie and he said that she’s not going to [kill] again,” Eddie said.

The family held a private service in conjunction with trash pickup.

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The chickens hate me. Or they are completely terrified of me. Or both.

It makes me sad, because Trish loved me. And I’ve done all the same things with them that I did with her, like talking and petting.

There’s nothing worse than ungrateful poultry. It’s foul fowl behavior.

But I guess I should expect it. Shelly and Jeanne are in that ugly teenager phase. All gangly with feathers sticking up all over. They probably have acne. And don’t all teenagers hate their parents at that age?

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