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Category Archives: Paris

Horsies and Duckies At The Louvre

When I started this blog to record what I am learning about France, it seemed like I had such a long time to read all the books on my list, to watch the DVD’s and to create a detailed itinerary of what I want to see.  However,  the urgency of busyness and my health problems caused a lot of my plans to be shelved. Presently,  I feel like I am a student cramming for exams as I watch lectures on the Louvre, skim through guidebooks, read a few more memoirs of people living in France and watch just a few more French movies.  However, I am becoming increasingly aware that my objective to be really knowledgeable and informed needs to become more realistic as I only have three weeks before departure.

My frustration that I didn’t absorb as much about France as I would have liked stems from my ignorance when Greg and I went on an European bus tour when we were in our twenties.   It’s embarrassing to admit that I had no desire to go to the Louvre as I didn’t even  understand its significance.  At any rate, Greg and I chose to walk along the Seine River while friends of ours went to the Louvre.   Ironically, we had a really relaxing time and they returned despondent since it was closed.  It must have been a Tuesday!!  Anyways, I thought I should be a little more culturally astute this time!

Besides knowledge, I am aware that some travellers also have epiphanies about themselves as they interact with their new surroundings.  I finished reading  Traveling With Pomegranates which is a memoir by mother and daughter who described their travels to Greece and France and how each one of these women explored themes of identity.  Sue Monk Kidd reflected  on aging and looked closely at all paintings that included Anne the Virgin Mary’s mother.  Ann Kidd examined her lack of self-worth and had the epiphany that she wanted to be a writer as she reflected on paintings and icons of Mary, Athena and Joan of Arc.  Their intense journal reflections made me think of an old Charlie Brown Comic Strip that I found in its entirety on the following web-site:

Van Pelt: Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton. I could just lie here all day and watch them drift by. If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud’s formations. What do you think you see, Linus?

Linus Van Pelt: Well, those clouds up there look to me look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. [points up]  That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins,  the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there… [points]  …gives me the impression of the Stoning of Stephen. I can see the Apostle Paul standing there to one side.

Lucy Van Pelt: Uh huh. That’s very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?

Charlie Brown: Well… I was going to say I saw a duckie and a horsie, but I changed my mind.

In other words, my reflections as I travel are not always that serious or that personal or that revelatory.   Does this mean that my holiday will not be as significant or as meaningful?  Does it mean that because my knowledge of the history of France is very elementary and my knowledge of the French language is that of a preschooler my appreciation for France is lessened?    Well, undoubtedly the answer is yes.  However, as I read the dialogue from the Charlie Brown comic strip, Charlie Brown still saw something in the clouds, didn’t he?  He may not have been able to see what the more intellectually informed could see, but had he not been intimidated by them, he could still have appreciated those clouds and the images that he saw in them.  It’s like watching a basketball game.  Greg understands all the complexities of the game and I only understand that the object is to get the ball in the basket.  My enjoyment may be more “child-like”  but it still exists.

 Therefore, when I go into  a famous building like the Louvre,  I know that my appreciation for its many paintings  will  be limited since I don’t understand those fundamentals of art such as its composition, colour distribution or the author’s manipulation of pictorial space.  And yet, like Charlie Brown, I can look at the image before me and still see something that may give me pleasure.  And fortunately for me, I have guidebooks that may also point me toward a more intellectual response so that when I gaze at the “Fete Champetre,” I will see more than two well dressed men and two naked ladies sitting outside on the grass. As I have begun watching the lectures about the Louvre through Teaching Company, I need to embrace what Professor Richard Brettell says about our tour of the Louvre and for me my tour of all of France:   “Relax, you can never know it all.”

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Books, France, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized

 

ZIGZAGGING MY WAY TO FRANCE

I may be “Bound for France” but it sure  hasn’t been in a straight line.  I’m not sure why I write that in surprise since Greg and I were not sure even when we purchased the airline tickets if we would definitely be sitting on that Air Canada airplane preparing for lift off to Paris.  My constant health problems has made our decision to go on this trip really  difficult. Besides dealing with constant fatigue due to Fibromyalgia, I have been coughing for 9 months that has been diagnosed as asthma.  This cough has greatly improved but  hopefully, when I see the lung specialist at the end of October, he will suggest something that will get it under complete control.

Why then am I a little discouraged since I haven’t been walking those miles every day to become physically stronger?  Part of the problem is that  I have a rather naive optimism that no matter how often I have setbacks they  surprise me.  For example, for the past 15 years, my body temperature is always warmer than other people’s and when I am exposed to great heat my body just “melts” and I turn into a lifeless rag doll whose legs aren’t strong enough to walk  on her own.  And yet, as Greg and I sat in a stifling room that had only ceiling fans to circulate the hot air, I still hoped that I would be able to withstand the heat and stay at least long enough to hear the wedding speeches after the dinner.  Surprise!!!  Greg had to drive me home early.  Two days later,  my body is still in the recovery stage.

To continue my rant, since a car accident in 1978, I have had constant neck pain that can flare so that my mobility becomes more limited and my headaches become a vice where I think if I could just poke a hole in my head, some of the pressure would ooze out.  Since the new year, I have aggressively been trying to stabilize the pain by getting massages, acupuncture, laser and presently, intra-muscualr stimulation.

And no, I haven’t finishing lamenting as I think about the torture I receive every night since I seldom  get into a deep rem sleep.  A good night’s sleep is around 5 hours.

And yet, I also know that I have much to be grateful for.  There have been years of health symptoms where we couldn’t even consider this kind of holiday. We did go on a lovely trip to Greece with our daughter but there was still too much emphasis on, “Okay Gayle, you can do this.  Put one foot forward and now the next.”    My heart’s desire is to be fully present on a holiday or for that matter anywhere!!   And that is where I am very hopeful for this trip since one of my doctors has really helped me come out of what we Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Sufferers  call a “brain fog.”

I do not succumb to self-pity very often since I have never found it particularly helpful to me and it certainly isn’t enjoyable for others to witness.  I think it has occurred today since we are 27 days away from heading to France and that destructive emotion called fear has surfaced.  And yet, I know I should rebuke this fear and recall how far I have come since the day that  Greg and I began spending  thousands of dollars looking for answers for all of my health symptoms.  Some of those dollars we have lost, other dollars at least gave us hope when we needed it, and still others actually strengthened my body.  For that I am grateful.

Interestingly, fear slithers away when I put my attention on my progress.  I am particularly thankful  that last week after  yet another CT scan, my oncologist tells me that I am doing well.  She wants me to continue seeing her every four months especially since I have had two bouts of cancer in one year and the probability of its return is then higher.  I am not as afraid of its return as I am afraid that I will not have experienced fully all the abundance and goodness that this world offers to each one of us.  And as I close my eyes recalling how ill I was last summer and fall due to the radiotherapy, and then how the new year began with an extremely debilitating and exhausting cough,  I know that this setback shall also pass.   I may not be that eagle soaring in a straight line to its destination but even zigzagging gets me eventually to where I want to be and presently that is to France!

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in France, Paris, Travel

 

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NO MASK FOR ME ON THE AIRPLANE!!

My immune system has been severely weakened after years of of fibromyalgia plus last year’s radiotherapy treatments.  Therefore, I get colds and flus very easily and they last forever.  Literally!!  I got a cold in December and I am still coughing 6 months later.  Recently, I learned that that was due to my having Cough Variant Asthma and guess what is one of its triggers?  Yes indeed,  a Cold!  Why do I share this with you?  Well, I am trying to discover some strategies that will keep me healthy on this trip in the fall.  The first important question is how do I avoid contracting a cold while sitting in a viral and bacterial infested airplane?

And if I am so fortunate to walk off that airplane with my immune system still fighting its hardest for me, how do I minimize amy multiple chemical reactions  when I walk into very old buildings- that will most likely include our apartment?  Certainly, those reactions have greatly improved since I can now venture into stores without that “adventure” tossing me back into bed for awhile.  I am hoping gone are the days when Greg, bless his heart, would go into a hotel by himself and request to see the room.  Really, he was “smelling” the room trying to determine whether there were any recent cleaning products that had been used that could negatively impact our holiday.  What will we do in France when I will most likely be bombarded by smells that emanate from older buildings?

Well, those questions have lead me to search for solutions.  My dentist’s wife has a special necklace where she can insert specific aromatherapy oils that she swears help her multiple chemical sensitivities.  The only drawback she said is that people sitting near her don’t always like the strong smell emanating from her “necklace”!

My doctor wants me to wear a filtered mask, but I have resisted that strategy.  Greg was frustrated with me when I refused this solution  since he thinks my health is more important than vanity!  However, since I am usually warm on the airplane I can’t imagine anything less comfortable than my sweating under this ugly contraption!

Obviously, another solution is necessary which is why I became quite excited when I stumbled onto this device called  Ultra-Miniature Air Supply.  It may help me not just on the airplane but wherever there may be increased demands on my immune system and on these frustrating multiple chemical sensitivities and can help prevent an asthmatic attack!  I feel rather confident by its effectiveness since the reviews all seem so positive.  World Travel Guide writes, “Air Supply, the world’s first wearable air purifier, draws in contaminated air and directs purified, germ-free air upward at about the same rate as human breathing. A terrific product for asthma and allergy sufferers.”  http://www.worldtravelguide.com/travel-gear/

I also felt quite encouraged when I read an article by the former editor of Fodor’s and  present assistant editor to Frommers  as he evaluated whether air purifiers work on plane trips.  He writes, ” It’s not scientific proof, but, for example, I think my purifier, Air Supply, works. I don’t believe it’s just a coincidence that the number of plain old ordinary head colds I suffer after flying somewhere has dropped from about half the time to around a fourth of the time, a 50% decrease.”  http://www.frommers.com/articles/4856.html

 There may also be some scientific proof that this “does reduce pollutants, dust, smoke, pollens, bacteria, perfumes orders and allergen particles floating in the air”  Apparently, the manufacturers, Wein Products, performed two year tests at UCLA School of Microbiology, “resulting in 90% reduction in germ colon growth.” www.weinproducts.com

As I was writing this blog, I received a call from my sister-in-law who lives out of town and she is coming for a visit this afternoon. When I told Greg that she had a cold, he immediately questioned whether she should come to see me!  Then he suggested that we sit outside hoping that will decrease my probability of contracting a virus. That was when I told him about this device that I was debating about. Rather than asking, “How much?”  he just responded, “How soon can you get it?”  Apparently, that is my cue to go on the following Canadian site and purchase my own Air Purifier while it is presently on sale for $99.00:  http://www.healthyenvironments.ca/

Photo:   www.weinproducts.com

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in France, Paris, Travel

 

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YOU WON’T FIND US IN THE CEMETERY

I would think that cemeteries would be sad places to walk when we don’t believe in God.  I watched a documentary about Pere Lachaise, a cemetery in Paris, that has the remains of many famous people. The people interviewed who visit regularly never professed any belief in God, although some commented that it would be nice if these people existed someplace else.

 And yet, there was such a respect for the dead as so many volunteers  filled  large bottles of water from the outdoor water tap on the grounds, poured it over the stones and using a cloth  cleaned and shone them.  Often, flowers were left on top of the tombstones.  Sometimes, if it was an artist, a bottle of paint or a paintbrush was left.  If he was a famous writer, a pen would be left. Unfortunately, the best cared for tombstones were those of famous people such  as Chopin, Proust, Maria Callas and Yves Montand. Therefore, there war many tombstones that were not so well kept.

And yet, many family members and friends paid their respects to their loved ones by visiting their tombstones.  Some came every week and even daily to shine the stones and to talk to their loved ones.  I wondered if I should feel any guilt that I  don’t go visit my  parents, but I wondered if I would be more apt to go there  if the cemetery wasn’t so far away.  I have memories as a young girl of my family going to the cemetery every Mother’s Day to visit my paternal Grandma.

I liked it when one tour guide interviewed said  that he has his tourists spend more time with people they  don’t know rather than the famous.  He said he wanted them to “feel a connection not just with famous people but also with people you don’t know.”  Perhaps we have even greater connections to the ordinary men and women since few of us have experienced fame. If those stones could talk, we would hear stories of love, anger, jealousy, betrayal, hard work, sickness, and sadness.  I suppose those same stories are true of the famous.  In fact, one volunteer cleaning a tombstone of a young Italian artist told the story of how this artist’s model and lover jumped out of the window and died and joined him the day after his death!

Certainly I connected to a mother’s love for her daughter who died at 21 years old.  She had all of her young daughter’s poems inscribed on her tombstone.  Sadly, since it hasn’t been taken care of, only a small portion of a poem can presently be seen.  I was moved by the tour guide’s compassion when he told this story and how he was touched when he saw that a flower had been left in memory of her.  When I go there, I would like to find Elisa Mercouer’s tombstone, but the tour guide said that it is difficult to find since so much of the stone is worn and her stone isn’t even mentioned in the booklet that tourists receive.

As the documentary continued, I watched a young pianist become emotional when she discussed her connection to Chopin.  However, the connection was particularly deep since her father loved Chopin and whenever she played this composer’s music, she sensed her dad’s presence and felt that she was playing for him.  So often our connections are held together by some common experience, some memory, or some emotion  and that is why I felt a connection to a young singer who died at 28 years old from cancer.  For some reason I thought of her story when I received today’s e-mail about praying for a cure for cancer:  ” “You can go along for years in remission and then one day it pops its head up again.  If you ever have it you will never be free of it.”  I didn’t find that particularly encouraging since I have had cancer two years in a row.  This young singer had been  living passionately and was following her dreams of becoming a well known singer until she became ill. No matter our age, that is all that we can ever hope to achieve in this life.  My connection with her through this devastating disease inspired me and challenged me to do the same.

As a Christian, I believe that my loved ones are in heaven so that I don’t believe I have a greater connection to my Mom and Dad when I sit by their tombstone.  Yet, there was something lovely to watch all of these people coming by showing their respect to the dead.

Therefore, with Father’s Day  approaching, perhaps I will suggest to my family that we go and pay our respect to my parents. I may even leave two roses on their shared tombstone. And in honour of those many people I don’t know at our cemetery, I will stop at a few and pay my respects.    And when I go to Paris, I will do my best to find  Elisa Mercouer and leave a flower on her tombstone and tell her that she has been remembered.

However, as I walk through these two cemeteries, I know that I will be grateful for my Christian beliefs.  I am confident that my Mom and Dad are spending eternity in heaven and that I will someday see them again.  I am grateful that when I think about how their bodies have returned to dust that I believe that they have souls and that those souls have left their bodies.  Ironically, as I walk through these cemeteries and possibly sense all of our humanity,  I might even sense more particularly the presence of Mom and Dad.  However, I suspect what I might see is the  shaking of their heads when they ask one another,  “Doesn’t she know that we aren’t here?”

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in France, Paris, Travel

 

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IT’S IMPORTANT EVEN IF IT’S INSIGNIFICANT

Why don’t Greg and I start looking for places to stay in France this fall?  We have been told that we should book at least several months ahead and yet we keep getting distracted.  First, Greg was working really hard transplanting some shrubs, mowing the grass, planting some new perennials since last year’s efforts didn’t survive.  And me, well all I’ve been doing these past 6 months is cough incessantly which has really worn me down since it has totally disrupted my sleep.  Greg finally convinced me that this was no ordinary cold and I went to the doctor.  She looked at me in disbelief when I told her how long I’ve had this cough.  Apparently, she too thought it wasn’t normal.  In fact, I have asthma.  Unfortunately, since I have waited so long, it is now taking quite a while to get it under control.

Because I was so exhausted from my fibromyalgia that worsens from lack of sleep and from the constant coughing, I decided to do something mindless during the day but that would make me feel like I was accomplishing something.  One of my goals is to reduce the paper in our house and I have begun scanning papers in our filing cabinet and in binders so that eventually I will need less filing cabinets and less shelves.

Rather than scanning or watching French movies, why didn’t I just prop my I-Pad on my lap and look for places to stay?  Well, part of the problem is that I prefer reading books about France and watching French movies  rather than doing the practical necessities of actually planning our trip!  It’s so much easier to find a quiet and comfortable spot in my house and with a cup of tea in my hand read a mystery like Murder In The Latin Quarter by Cara Black.

And I intend to continue this practice but hopefully I will also begin searching on the internet for some nice apartments to stay in while we are in France.  I also know that I must get back to blogging about what I read and watch in DVD’s.  I have a habit of starting projects but not completing them since I find another one that looks more interesting.

For example, my daughter mentioned that she would like to develop a list of activities to do with her little toddler every day.  Well, when I used to be a teacher,  I really enjoyed writing curriculum and  preparing lesson plans.  I quickly offered to help her with this.  I have just completed 4 weeks of activities that include activities in music, building blocks, crafts, playing with magnets and stickers and puzzles.  I have included physical activities, outdoor activities,  a new concept for each week, and a list of appropriate board books to read.   Today I sent her my plans and told her to try them out so that we can improve them for the next month!

In the meantime, I haven’t been writing any blogs about France.  That may not be so bad, but I think it is important that I finish this project.  I get so many ideas that I want to pursue and what my health doesn’t hinder,  my ability to get distracted by wanting to start another project does. Recently, I read that it is important to finish what you start.  Apparently, incompleteness represent instability to our brain!  Therefore, my project to read books mostly about France until we leave should be honoured even if it isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in France, Paris, Travel

 

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WHO ARE YOU PRETENDING TO BE ON YOUR TRIP?

At the beginning of the film The Closet, a photo is being taken of all the people working at this firm and the photographer keeps asking everyone to move in more tightly in order to get everyone in the picture.  Eventually, one man , Francois, just steps out of the picture, revealing his ” non-existent” personality,  and the photo is taken.  Shortly after, we learn that this man whose personality is incredibly bland,  will be fired.  Not only is he ignored by the employees and management, his son refuses to see him also.   Extremely depressed, he considers suicide.    However,  a psychologist who lives in the same building,  interrupted his suicidal attempt and told him how to get his job back:  he must pretend he is homosexual.

When a photo of him dressed for a homosexual party is mysteriously passed around the office,  the employees are soon regarding him no longer as a boring person but someone who has been leading a rather daring, private life.  And he is employed again since the boss didn’t want to look politically incorrect and fire a homosexual!

There were many humorous situations as one of the employees who was “homophobic” has been ordered to befriend this “homosexual” so that now he won’t be fired!

What I found fascinating was how  this timid man became more assertive even approaching the boss  to defend his manager.  He became more mentally tough since he didn’t step out of his homosexual role even after he was beaten by some men because they thought he was gay.  His son wanted to see him again because he began thinking his father was a more interesting person than he thought!

After I watched this film, I began to wonder if many people like to travel because they can pretend to be someone other than what they are at home.  Is it possible to be quiet and shy at home and be gregarious and verbose when travelling?  I speculate that this is possible only if we are travelling alone and not with people we know since we would be hindered by what others typically expect us to do.

And yet, if we follow life coachs’ instructions to make a list of the type of character qualities we would like to possess, travelling may still be a perfect opportunity to practice those qualities.  Where else would you be placed in a variety of situations in a short period of time to practice character-building qualities?  A typical list of qualities would probably include being assertive, patient, observant, relaxed, adaptable, and happy.    It just takes one day of being jet lagged, hungry and lost to necessitate applying those qualities!

Unfortunately, rather than allowing travelling to transform us, too many people allow traveling merely to reveal their weaknesses.  If a person is already impatient, you can assume she is the person losing her temper with a sales lady  who has been too slow  serving her.  If she is intolerant, she is the one insisting that her salad be served first rather than after her entree.  If she is not flexible, she is the one shouting at the hotel clerk when she discovers that her room only has a shower and not a bath.

In the movie The Closet, the film concludes with the yearly photo outside.  This time when the photographer is trying to get everyone into his frame, our hero does not allow himself to be pushed out of the photo.  Our hero must have embraced Cary Grant’s comment about transformation:  “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person. Or he became me.”

Perhaps, whenever we travel, we need to ask ourselves, “Who do I want to pretend to be on this trip?”  I know I am not like Cary Grant whose comment infers that he met his goal of becoming the person he pretended to be. The problem is that age and circumstances continually challenge my transformation.  My husband and I have been discussing how we keep seeing people as they get older become  intolerant,  impatient and quick to anger.  As we are now becoming that older person, I need to challenge myself on our trip to practice tolerance, patience and humour!

I know that my greatest weakness is requiring a very clean and presentable place to stay in when I am traveling.  Can I pretend to be adaptable in this area and respond accordingly if I am disappointed by our rented apartment.  I imagine myself entering  our  rented apartment taken aback by how small it is.  I walk into this bachelor suite and notice  that our kitchen table must be unfolded each time we use it,  that any bread crumbs that  slip onto the floor is  right beside our bed so that quickly we will have bread crumbs inside our sheets. I walk into the bathroom and gasp as I see black mold in the shower.  As I look at this dreary room,  I wonder what we missed when we saw these photos on the internet.  However, rather than cast blame on anyone or cry and wish I was back home, I remember that traveling is an opportunity to develop character and so I swallow hard  and begin to laugh!  And as I imagine this scenario, my inner voice is saying, “Please don’t let this really happen!!”  Apparently, I need a lot more practice pretending to be someone different than me!!

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in DVDs, France, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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COCO CHANEL’S GOSPEL SUCKS WHEN YOU GET OLD!

Karen Karbo attempts to demonstrate in her book The Gospel According To Coco Chanel how Coco Chanel’s life is a template for you and me to learn  “life lessons from the world’s most elegant woman.”

We usually associate the word gospel with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  But there is another more generic definition of gospel:  It is something, such as an idea or principle, accepted as unquestionably true.   Both definitions suggest that you have embraced a truth so big that it impacts everythng you think, say and do.

Karen Karbo focuses more on life lessons than clarify exactly what Chanel’s principle is that guides most of her life.    However, from all the stories she includes of Chanel’s life,  her main principle is demonstrated and that is you must be a survivor no matter what the cost may be.  As a survivor, she couldn’t care what others thought of her.  Therefore, if she needed to become a mistress to get ahead, so be it.  If she needed to lie, then prevaricate as much as necessary.  If she wanted to live with a Nazi during the French occupation, let the public reaction be damned.

As a survivor, she left France for almost ten years when she was spared going to jail for having a Nazi lover.  Then she returned to Paris and had a fashion show on February 5. 1954.  It failed miserably.  Undaunted, she continued and of course made a terrific comeback until her death in 1970 at 87 years old.  In other words, her survivor mentality made her strong and gave her terrific tenacity and determination.  And there is no question that each one of us must have some survivor mentality or we would never be able to overcome our tough circumstances.  However, in order to be superior to the rest of the animal world, don’t we also need to include morality and integrity in our life changing gospel?

As Karen Karbo nears the end of her book, I wondered if she too began to realize that Chanel’s life principle was inadequate since it seemed rather shallow how she concluded that Chanel’s important gospel was her truths for fashion:

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.  Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
“But Coco said fashion fades, only style remains, and I am style.”

“When I speak of elegance I am speaking of luxury.  Luxury must remain invisible, but it must be felt.  Luxury is simple; it is the opposite of complication.”
“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty.  It is not.  It is the opposite of vulgarity.  Luxury is the opposite of status.  It is the ability to make a living by being oneself.  It is the freedom to refuse to live by habit.  Luxury is liberty.  Luxury is elegance.”

As much as many of her statements about fashion may still be true, do they convey a gospel that can sustain a person when she  gets older?  I don’t thnk so when we read about Chanel’s increasing anger as she got old.   As Karbo writes, “She was snarlier than ever.  She disparaged everyone.  . .. She said all of her old friends were witless and diabolical and merely out to use her.  She was lonely. Her comment in her interview for The New Yorker  reveals rather clearly why she lost her joy:  She could no longer look younger and therefore feel more joyous.

“Fashion is always of the time in which you live.  It is not something standing alone. But the grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women.  To make women look young.  Then their outlook on life changes.  They feel more joyous.” . .. I am not young, but I feel young.  The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there.  J’aime la vie!  I feel that to live is a wonderful thing.

 Life was no longer a wonderful thng when she could no longer hide the wrinkles, could no longer take away the pain of her arthritis, could no longer sustain her when so many of her peers were dying.  It takes a much deeper and more profound gospel to be able to say that “to live is a wonderful thing” when all those things are affecting the joy in your day.  And her underlying principle to survive could no longer sustain her as she got older since she knew that that instinct could not prevent her death!

And yet, right to the end, she stubbornly held onto the belief that being fashionable was not just an important component but the only component to bring joy and fulfillment.  Therefore, very much alone   “she ascended into her small room, which was in the hotel that was the Ritz, . .. she laid down upon the bed in her suit, in her blouse and pearls, and removed her two-tone pumps, and placed them beside her bed, and then understanding that her hour had come, called out and said, “This is what it is like to die,” thereby dying as elegantly as she had lived.”

 Last night I was watching a movie where one of the characters said, “You have to find something bigger than yourself” in order to live a full life.  Some may say that she found something bigger than herself by pursuing fashion, but I think we need to find something bigger than ourselves that also carries us through old age and death.

Photo:  discounttravelcover.com
 
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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Books, France, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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