Tuesday, February 23, 2016

TV, music, old postcards and photos of Paris ... and more

This will be an eclectic post as it has been a busy time for me and I was unable to prepare a post.  I re-read the comments on my last post and thank you all heartily for your good wishes for my recovery.  I think the pneumonia is gone - I'm seeing the doctor next week for my 6-month check-up and feel sure that he will tell me I'm OK.  Even feeling weak in early January I made sure to watch the first episode of the final season of Downton Abbey on TV.  As my blogging friend, Shammickite, guessed, the ending photo on my last post was from a book on Downton Abbey.

I also read "Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey" my second book by Fiona, the current Countess of Carnarvon.  I read it in two evenings as it brought to life such a fascinating look at the events in Highclere Castle during the 1920s and 1930s.  I was surprised to read on a French site that this show is not as popular in France as it is in England and here.  The article "Why the French don't like Downton Abbey" was in the news site 20 Minutes.  You can read the article here, if you speak French, or can use Goodle Translate if not.  The article explained that for the French, their modern history starts at their revolution of 1789 - when they guillotined a large number of the aristocracy as well as their queen, Marie-Antoinette, and her husband.  For fun though I checked French aristocracy on the web and was surprised to find out that there is a current head to the former Imperial House of France.  He's the great-great-great-grandnephew of Emperor Napoleon I of France, who had not direct heirs.  His name is Jean-Christophe, Prince Napoleon Bonaparte, and he is quite handsome (and not married yet...)

Jean-Christophe, Prince Napoleon Bonaparte, born July 11, 1986

Frankly, I had not heard of him before as the French have no interest in their aristocracy.  I found more information concerning him on British sites as Prince Napoleon Bonaparte was invited by the British in June 2015 to take part in the bicentennial celebration of the Battle of Waterloo (lost by Napoleon I.)  In top middle photo below you can see his tall figure at the battle ceremony (like his father, Jean-Christophe is tall, about 6 ft 6 (2 meters.)  On top left photo is Jean-Christophe next to his sister, Princess Caroline, and his mother, Princess Beatrice de Bourbon-Sicile.  On top right photo he is talking with King Philippe of Belgium and Queen Mathilde.  In bottom left photo Jean-Christophe is standing next to his grandmother, Princess Alix Bonaparte, at the Dome des Invalides in Paris (which contains Napoleon I's tomb.)  (Click on collage to enlarge.)

In early February we drove to Brentwood, TN, to celebrate my husband's birthday with our younger daughter and family.  Our daughter who had been in Paris and India with her family during the Christmas-New Year holidays was very upset to hear about my pneumonia.  She, and our son-in-law, insisted that we move to Nashville soon.  We did buy a house in Nashville a while back but thought we would rent it while we take our time to move there.  It will be difficult for me to clean out our house here (by myself,) in which we have lived in for 40 years, because of all our accumulation in it.  Our house in Nashville is a 1930 craftsman bungalow, in an historic district of Nashville, very close to Vanderbilt University, and a bit bigger than our current house in Georgia, but with a small yard (here we have an acre.)  It has fewer rooms than here but they are larger with 10-feet tall ceiling.  Here are some of the rooms below.

We won't move all at once, as this would be too hard.  We may move most of the furniture but keep some in Georgia and then live in both places for a while.  It won't be easy and it will be very time consuming.  This is the reason I can't visit blogs or write posts as often as I would like.  I'm sorry that in the last several weeks I have not checked my dear readers' blogs.  Taking care of my husband who needs help with all day living tasks because of his Alzheimer, as well as 24/7 supervision, is tiring and stressful.  His care is not difficult, it is just constant, with little free time.  We had a good visit in Tennessee and enjoyed the grandchildren.  I was given my Christmas gift of items bought in Paris - my current favorite perfume, Lancome's "La vie est belle" (which means life is beautiful) and a French Godiva box of chocolate (I say French because I found out that Godiva Belgian Chocolates (!) had been bought out by a Turkish corporation and that the chocolates were no longer made in Belgium but made in each country where sold, to the palate of that country's taste - in the US that means more milk, sugar and caramels and no liquor flavoring.)  My special French mustard was welcome as I use it often in my vinaigrette.

With the strain of being a care-giver, cleaning out the house toward a move is a challenge.  Some days I feel pushed to the limit, exhausted and a bit down.  I read that the emotional, physical and psychological toll on caregivers is soul destroying - but it won't destroy mine.  I am pleased that I have inherited the national French trait of "joie de vivre."  The French invented this expression which means joy of life.  "Happiness" is different from "Joy."  Happiness is something that is temporary and transitory.  One can be unhappy but still find moments of joys.  Joy is a belief, or attitude, which erases even the most sorrowful of situations.  Joy comes from within, it is something that lasts within you - joy is an inner, conscious belief.  Happiness is external.  It is not easy for me to explain it, so I call it my joie de vivre.  For me, joie de vivre, is a mindset that makes me look at my daily life events in a positive light - a victory over gloom, if you wish.  I enjoy living in the present, and finding some joyful moments in the present.  Because what is the alternative?  Being embittered and resentful of the past, complaining and being depressed of the present and anxious or scared of the future?  If one drags its past misfortunes and its future anxieties, it is too heavy - it become impossible to rejoice.  By coincidence I found out that the museum Palaix des Beaux-Arts in Lille (a town in northern France) just ended an exhibit entitled "Joie de Vivre."

Brochure of Joie de Vivre exhibit with Two women running on the beach by Picasso (1881-1973.)

One hundred and twenty works by Veronese, Boucher, Fragonard, Renoir, Rodin, Picasso and many other artists were selected because they showed the joyful pleasures of life - leisure, friendship, sun, family, party, laughter, play and anything that recalls the reasons we have to rejoice.  Because la joie de vivre is expressed through countless "small" transient pleasures it requires an acceptance of life, as it is, in the present.  I think, personally, that joie de vivre is simply to be happy "to be alive."  The sculpture below, by Richard MacDonald (American born in 1946) and entitled "Joie de Vivre" represents this sentiment very well; this feeling that sallies from within.

The Lille museum brochure explained "joie de vivre" thus - (I'll translate it below)
« la joie de vivre est la capacité à jouir du simple fait d’être au monde, d’apprécier certains instants agréables, qu’on les ait suscités ou qu’ils s’offrent à nous. La joie de vivre est vécue ici et maintenant. Elle peut être indépendante des conditions extérieures, et même s’éprouver au cœur de la plus terrible noirceur. Elle est plus attachée à l’être qu’à l’avoir, à l’être ensemble qu’à la possession ou la consommation de richesses.  »

"The joie de vivre (joy of life) is the ability to enjoy the simple fact of being alive in the world, to enjoy some pleasant moments, whether we made them happen or they came to us. The joie de vivre is to be lived here and now.  It can be independent of external conditions, and even be felt during times of most terrible darkness.  It is more committed to the notion of "to be" than "to have," to the total person than to the possession or consumption of wealth."  Below are some paintings from this exhibit illustrating la joie de vivre - joy of life.  Top left, Coco playing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French 1841-1919.  Below is La Nana jaune of Niki de Saint Phalle, French 1930-2002.  Top right is Repas de Noces by Albert Fourie, French 1854-1937.  Center is September evening by Maurice Denis, French 1870-1943 and Loisirs (leisure) is at the bottom, by Fernand Leger, French 1881-1955.

I'll give you some examples of joyful pleasures I have had in the last couple of weeks.  Our eldest daughter is moving to Pittsburgh, PA, and wished to pick-up her large desk from her former bedroom in our house.  This is an antique British roll-top desk, very large and heavy.  It took me about a week to clean up all the various items on it and in its drawers, and that was quite tiring.  When the desk was moved several CDs which had fallen behind it were found.  One was a CD I bought in 1999 by a French "musette" group called Les Primitifs du Futur.   Musette is the accordion genre music played in France.  I usually do not listen to that type of music often, but finding this CD after almost 17 years made me very joyful - it sounded like Paris.  I played it while cleaning the rest of the room and I was smiling, no longer tired.  I found one of the cuts on YouTube - here it is below.

      
Another unexpected joy was when I was almost finished cleaning up the floor to ceiling shelving cabinet in my daughter's room and saw a very large box.  I opened the box and to my surprise, oh joy, it contained hundreds of vintage postcards.  I must have placed it there, decades ago, at least in the late 1980s, before sorting them out, and totally forgot about it.  What a gift!

I spent two evenings happily looking at these postcards - the box even contained postcards sent to my grandpa during World War I.  Like these 3 postcards of the castle of Crevecoeur where his father and mother, my great-grand parents, lived for many years.

There was such a variety of postcards - landscapes, international cities, flowers, monuments, people, etc.  I selected several to give you an idea.  Click on the collages twice so you can read the titles on the postcards.

The only postcard without a title above, top right, is the Hotel St. Gellert Szallo in Budapest, in 1916-18.  I found a current photo of the hotel - which is still in business - on Wikipedia, see below.  It mentions that this hotel, built in the Art Nouveau style, and renovated in 1962 and 1973, is one of the most beautiful hotels in Budapest.

Some of the postcards have stamps and writing on their back, others are blank.  Speaking of hotels, one of the postcards is of Hotel Regina in Nice.  I was surprised to read on the back of the colored postcard below, top right, long loving phrases by a woman, covering the entire back of the postcard, writing to her lover I guess, and telling him to be careful around her husband and to make sure that he never finds out that she had slept with him (her lover) - at this hotel ... Oh la la!  The Excelsior Hotel Regina built at the top of Blvd de Cimiez in Nice on the Riviera, is a splendid Belle Epoque building.  It was especially built in 1897 so that Queen Victoria could stay there, in style, while in Nice.  She travelled with a staff of 100 and took over the whole west wing.  In 1912, a statue of the Queen was erected in front of the hotel.  It is now a luxurious and very upscale apartment building.

Some of the postcards were quite old, as far back as 1899.

The postcard on the left is a coffee seller in Zanzibar.

But one of the greatest joys happened last Friday, February 19th.  I have a French friend I have known since the late 1950s.  She now lives in Iowa and I see her once in a while when she visits Atlanta.  Last Friday I received several emails from her containing old photographs.  She said that she was looking at some old photos and thought I might like them.  I was totally speechless when I saw them.  They were photographs that I had never seen.  She had photos of the dining room of my parents' apartment in Paris.  I had no photograph of this room. This is the Paris apartment where I grew up and went back to until I was in my mid-thirties.  Just imagine if suddenly you saw a dining room of your former home - a room you had not seen in 45 years!  As you can see my father liked antiques and the furniture was too large for the room.

The photo below shows part of the piano in my room where my father played Chopin.  The armchair next to the piano was made of leather and not very comfortable.

This friend, Marika, sent me several emails with pictures.  The last ones delighted me the most - again, I had never seen these photographs, and here I was in Normandie in August 1971 with my eldest daughter, Celine, who was about 2 years old then.  Marika had visited us in France in the early 1970s when I went on vacation to my parents' summer home in Normandie.  Here are the photos below - some with my mother at the market in Dieppe, I think, or Mers-les-Bains.  I cannot describe the joy of looking at the pictures of my mother, photos that were unknown to me.

My philosophy of joie de vivre might sound a bit simplistic, but the little moments of joy in my life keep me optimistic and able to go through the moments that are more difficult and stressful.  I'll end this post with a painting from the exhibit in Lille, showing an example of joy - "The Laughing Boy" painted in 1625 by Frans Hals, Dutch, 1580-1660.  The artist has captured the wonderful sparkling eyes and cheerful smile of this boy - he radiates joy.


 Looking at him makes one feel good and able to understand the ...


-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

Note: top photo was taken on the Alameda shore, California, in July 2015 with San Francisco in the background, and the last picture I took off the coast of Martinique.




40 comments:

DJan said...

Such a wonderful and uplifting post, VB! All those postcards and pictures that came to you from different places -- and at a time when your need for them was somehow broadcast out to several friends and family. I especially love the pictures of you and your mother. I am glad you will be moving, if not right away, at least in part, to be near your daughter. And I'm glad you are better! :-)

BeachGypsy said...

Beautiful post and so glad you are feeling better! My favorite s were the lovely old postcards! What a treasure! And to have stumbled upon them the way you did...! The pictures your dear friend sent are a treasure as well and how special to be transported back in time...back to your childhood....via the photographs! Just so neat and such a nice story. Thank you for sharing this with us! Sure enjoyed reading it. Also---moving---mercy! Hate it so much but the new house looks lovely and i would be so excited to get re-settled and decorate the new home! Gosh--wish you the best of luck with the awful task of clearing out and packing up and boxing belongings. Being able to do it a little at a time will surely make it easier. Let us know how your doctor appt.goes okay? Any spring weather there?

ELFI said...

une vraie joie de vivre qui se dégage de ton billet..les photos anciennes me rendent aussi nostalgique.. hélas , il n'y avait pas encore d'appareil photo dans ma famille...courage ..bises

Nadezda said...

I love that you're optimist Vagabonde. This phrase 'joie de vivre' is typical for French people, I suppose. I'm glad you're better and though you have to care Jim are full of new plans for next moving and living in Nashville. These old post cards remind me old films, so interesting. What a treat and joy to find things that you thought were lost forever. Love your collage and I saw Petergof park on one, how interesting!

Frances said...

Dear Vagabonde, thank you for this beautifully written post, and for all the pictures that embrace your words very well.

Having had the great pleasure of spending time with you, I can confirm that you have la joie de vivre and are able to share it with others.

It is a delight to see the old postcards and photographs, but also good to see the interior views of your new Nashville home. I detect a very warm and kind spirit there.

I won't write a long comment here, but want you to know that you and yours are very much in my thoughts. Love to you, dear friend. xo.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vagabonde - don't worry about us - you need to look after you and your hubby - sounds like you have a lot on your plate. Loved seeing the photos and postcards .. and hearing the stories ...

All the very best with sorting things out - cheers Hilary

David said...

Vagabonde, You must attract a lot more readers than I do as I just don't have a spam problem...maybe one every 3 months...

While I don't understand the addiction to Downton Abbey, my better half certainly does! She never misses an episode and she's going to miss it when it's done.

When I read the bit about Jean-Christophe...a pretender to the French throne, out of curiosity I did a little checking. There are actually 3 or 4 pretenders to the French 'throne'. There is a dispute within the Bonaparte loyalists as to whether Jean-Christophe or his father, Prince Charles is the legitimate heir. The Bourbons, with Prince Louis, the Duke of Anjou and the House of Orleans with Prince Henri, the Count of Paris, also claim the French throne. In all, counting these 4 in France, there are 23 Royal "Pretenders" in Europe...some from existing countries such as Bulgaria and Poland and others from states that are no longer on the map.

I agree with your family... You need to move closer to them and sooner will be better than later. With your husband's Alzheimer's and advancing age, (for all of us), support is very important. FYI...I love the look of your 'new' Craftsman style home in Nashville! I've always loved the style...

I didn't know about Godiva's purchase, much less the country specific recipes for their chocolates... Interesting!

Despite not having any French heritage, I do enjoy life day by day and even on the bad days, there is almost always a moment or two that can be appreciated or which brings joy. Heck, every day that I wake up and can still see the sky and my wife, its a victory! The accordian genre music reminded my of my Scottish stepfather...who wasn't exactly my buddy... But he was a talented artist and he also played the 'squeeze box' and he knew lots of entertaining little ditties and traditional songs. Good memories...

Love your old photos and postcards! I collect postcards...mostly 1910 or earlier...ships, trains, important landmarks, historical, etc. I also collect stamps from around the world. Some of my favorites are from former French colonies...interesting and classy too.

Old family photos are indeed a treasure. I have a fair collection from my family dating back to the early 1900's. My big gap however is that my Dad was KIA in WWII a couple of months before I turned 3. I have a few photos of us but didn't have much else until some cousins from his side of the family 'discovered' my blog site. Two of them and 1 of their children got together with us just before Christmas and they delivered a big wooden trunk full of my Dad's papers, school books, etc., including his burial flag from France where he was buried. There was a bit of 'joie de vivre' with that gathering and discovery, that's for sure!

Great blog as usual! Despite the stress, for your own long term well being, get that move done as soon as you can.

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Down by the sea said...

You always pack so much into your posts. i am glad to hear that you are feeling better and sorry you now have the house move to do on your own.It will be good for you to both be much closer to your family.

I love all your items of joy. It must have been amazing finding all those postcards after so long and also being sent those photographs!

Take care and I hope you don't wear yourself out. I know from experience how hard it can be being a carer. Sarahx

Carol Crump Bryner said...

This was such a wonderful post, Vagabonde. I hadn't realized that you were dealing with a role as a caretaker. How great that you have that joie de vivre, as it adds so much to enjoying every day. I'm so thrilled for you to have found and received these scenes from the past. And I loved seeing the photo of you and your daughter and mother in Paris. Good luck with your move, or half-move as it seems to be. We also live in two places while we make up our minds where we really belong. But as we get older, I think the place to belong is near our children and families.

JudyMac said...

I can only ditto a lot of the comments posted above. The postcards are divine .... and what a find! My first trip to Paris was in 2012, and a few months after returning I found a vintage Paris postcard on line which featured the Hotel de Ville, right in the heart of Paris. The apartment where I stayed with friends was in a building across the street from the HdV (which could also be seen on the card) and I could actually pinpoint the windows of our apartment. Needless to say, that is a postcard I treasure.

Once you get settled in, I hope you will enjoy your new home in Nashville. I hear it's a great town. Best of all, you will be close to at least one of your daughters, which should relieve some of her worries about you and your husband. Many years ago, I moved my mother to Atlanta to be close to me, an only child. At the time, I was raising a teenage daughter and could not leave a job I loved which was supporting us both to move to where my mom lived. She grew to be quite happy here and lived to be 97 years old. I have a first cousin whose husband has Alzheimer's, she's an only child as well, but unfortunately she lives in WNC, which means I'm not close enough to be of much help to her. But I'm trying to stay in close touch and lend her the most moral support I can under the circumstances.

Hope you will not discontinue your blog just because of your impending move. Nothing says you can't write it from Nashville, right? I only discovered it in the past few months, but I certainly find it a very lovely and entertaining read. Glad you are feeling better and admire your joie de vivre and stamina in taking care of your husband. He is truly blessed to have you as his caregiver. Take care.

Pixel Peeper said...

Isn't it wonderful to stumble upon old treasures and memories while going through things? I have a feeling this will happen over and over again as you are preparing for your move.

Glad you are feeling better! I can relate to what you said about joie de vivre...it's the little things in life.

And what a small world it is - I stayed in the Hotel Gellert in Budapest a few nights in 1977/1978 (over the New Year's holidays).

claude said...

Coucou !
Qu'est-ce qu'il est bel homme le Prince !
Je te souhaite beaucoup de courage pour ton déménagement.
Je ne connais pas le parfum que tu préfères, moi, c'est Giorgio de Beverly Hills et le 5 de chez Chanel.
Les pots de moutarde me font penser à notre ami allemand Ronald qui en achète toujours quand il vient en France, il l'a préfère à celle un peu sucrée qu'on trouve en Allemagne.
Je continuerai la lecture de ta publication cet après-midi, me faut un certain temps pour tout essayer de comprendre en anglais.
Bises

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Oh my gosh, I am completely behind the times with your news. First I hope the pneumonia has gone and you're fully recovered. It can really be dangerous. I know you must be anxious to be near family and the home you've chosen looks lovely. Take your time and don't wear yourself out with the move. I know because I did and it's just not worth it. You and your husband will be in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry I didn't know or I would have written you right away.
xxoo
Sam

PS We are both addicted to Downtown. I would love to read some of the books you mentioned. And your postcards are quite a find. I know they will bring you great joy. It is the little things that are special in life.

Jeanie said...

Well first of all, what incredible discoveries -- that wonderful collection such personal photographs from your friend. I would have simply cried with joy. To see pictures of my family I'd not seen before and the spot where I had lived -- it would be like stepping back into a time machine. And of course if you don't have photos of that yourself, all the more precious.

And you know I would be quite insane by the postcard box! Talk about a joyful discovery! (I wonder what other amazing things you will unearth as you prepare for your move!). I've recently pulled out my (much smaller) collection. It's great fun to take a look back.

Your new home looks lovely and I suspect your daughter is quite right about moving as soon as it is physically and emotionally possible. Cleaning out 40 years is a tough one. I try periodically to do it now while I feel good but it's such an unpleasant chore -- and when caregiving, all the more difficult. But it will be good for you to be closer to her. I am somewhat familiar with your new neighborhood. When I was at a conference several years ago, we were right across from Vanderbilt. My blogger friend Rosemary picked me up and we did the tour of the neighborhoods near the university along with the city. I think you'll enjoy Nashville. We hope to get back there again someday.

Thinking of you as you negotiate the caregiving waters. They are indeed difficult, all the more so because of the years of love.

Magic Love Crow said...

You are a brilliant person and I am sending you lots of blessings! I'm happy you are feeling better! Your new home is beautiful! I am continuing to send prayers for your husband! What you said about Joy, makes so much sense to me! I wrote some of your words down, to keep with me always! I love the postcards you found and the pictures of your parent's apartment! The pictures of your mom are so special! Big Hugs and Much Love my friend!

NotesFromAbroad said...

So much to comment on :)
I understand , a little , how much of a strain and tiring life is for you lately .. we had a family member with Alzheimer's and for as long as possible, she stayed home and family shared chores and helped her elderly husband who was not that strong either. someone called it the Long Goodbye .. it is and I am sorry you are going through it.

Last time we were in Paris, on an anniversary, my husband bought the Two Women Running on the Beach at the Picasso Museum .. a small lithograph . I love it ... Joie de Vivre indeed ,

Does your husband enjoy music ? my mother in law used to sit still and peaceful for hours, when we put headphones on her and she listened to music .. It helped quite a lot .

Wishing you peace .. C

sweffling said...

Hi Vagabonde, I have been catching up on your two last posts and have sent you an email. Fingers crossed for an improving year for you both:)

Jono said...

What wonderful pictures. You are so lucky to have gotten them! I should experience joie de vivre from just waking up everyday. I am learning to make it a point.

Jojo said...

I was sitting on the edge of my seat reading this post as I have my morning coffee, feeling as if I was joining you for a visit. What a wonderful post about life, its struggles and joie de vivre. I'm so glad to hear that your health has improved. In the past several months I've been so behind on my blog posts that I sometimes don't notice when my favorite bloggers have gaps in their posts. The email with photos of your home growing up and pictures of you and your family are a treasure and I can't imagine how much fun you must have had going through the postcards. Cleaning and sorting when contemplating a move is a miserable task but if you combine it with the joy of finding treasures like music and postcards, you are in for a treat.

Mae Travels said...

Your moments of joie de vivre in life as well as in art are inspiring. I enjoyed every bit of this post, especially the joys in art and antique post cards.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Vicki Lane said...

A wonderful post, Vagabonde!Your joie de vivre is wonderful and what treasures you found! The house you bought in Nashville looks beautiful. I hope that the move can be accomplished without too much trouble. xox - Vicki

Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

Thank you so much for popping into A Bit About Britain! Wow - that certainly was an eclectic post, as you said at the outset. I feel as though I have been on a fascinating journey, uplifted by your joie de vivre (loved the statue) and latterly with the background of Les Primitifs du Futur - they even had a saw, which you don't often see played these days, though, coincidentally, someone was playing one in a London park when we visited last weekend. Loved the old photos and the stories behind them and can only imagine what it must have been like to see those photographs of your old home and self.

Carola Bartz said...

What a wonderful post!!! I love love love your description of Joie de vivre and I think you nailed it!!!
Your moments of joy are wonderful. Those photos - the ones of your mom and yourself with your daughter as well as the dinning room in the Paris appartement - are such a treasure for you! Postcards from World War I - these are the things one really wants to keep.
Moving is always a big deal. Cleaning out an entire house all on your own is huge - I get tired just thinking of it. Please don't do too much, take your time. Are you looking forward to living in Nashville? I've never been there.

Pat said...

A very interesting and varied post. I managed to spot the Duke of Kent. I am so glad you are feeling better but I implore you Vagabonde
to really take care of yourself. Even with perfect health the drain on a carer's resources are immense. Allow your family to help you.
The move sounds a good idea but you can't do all that work yourself.
Sorry to be a nag. Excusez moi s'il vous plait.

claude said...

Dis moi, les photos de chez tes parents de ton amie te font un bon souvenir. Je me rappelle vaguement de ce qui meublait notre appartement de l'avenue Parmentier.
Bises

joared said...

What a delightful post! Loved all your visuals and enjoyed listening to the music. Finding those postcards was a real treasure and thank you for sharing them, along with some interesting history. Also, I appreciated the Godiva information describing the difference with the American product.

Certainly you will be busy preparing for your move. Sorting, discarding I would find to be challenging. I wish you well in your move. Living closer to family can be beneficial for all. Glad you've recovered from pneumonia. I trust you know of or have had the recommended pneumonia medical shot if appropriate.

"My philosophy of joie de vivre might sound a bit simplistic..." reminds me simple is often the best in this complicated world. I've always believed the language we tell ourselves mediates how we feel and our actions. Caregivers must find ways to take good care of themselves physically, mentally and spiritually or they won’t be any good to those they want to help. Hope you’re able to have assistance as needed.

Ginnie said...

I love how you have described "joie de vivre" here in this post, Vagabonde, and have distinguished it from happiness. YES YES YES. Joy is so much better than happiness. Thank you for the JOY you have expressed in this post and how it drives you throughout the Life you live these days. Please continue to pace yourself...and feel the Joy.

Al said...

Definitely a lot of interesting things here. Good luck with the move, and I do agree with your comment on my post - skies with clouds can be much more interesting than clear blue skies, especially around sunrise and sunset.

Fun60 said...

Glad to hear your recovery is well on its way but no wonder you have been so ill with the difficulties involved with being a full time carer. Maybe life will be easier when you move but I can understand the reluctance to undertake such an upheaval. Those photos from the past are so interesting especially ones of your previous home. I don't think I have ever taken a photo of my home from the inside. Maybe I should!

Denise inVA said...

Always learn a lot visiting here. Your blog is a wonderful fountain of knowledge and always so interesting. I am glad you are over your pneumonia. I wish you smooth sailing with your move. Being nearer one's children is a joy in itself. Your home in Nashville is very pretty. Love those high ceilings. A special gift to see the old photos and everything you found in your daughter's desk. You have a lot on your plate but have the most amazing attitude. I wish you and your husband the very best.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What a lovely post!

The huge plus in moving after so many years in the same house is you're bound to find lots more forgotten treasures in the process. Like gifts from the past... or maybe parting gifts from your home, they'll give you many moments of joy and rekindled memories.

Finding those postcards and receiving those photographs are cause for celebration, but I can't help but wonder why the current Napoleonic heir would want to "celebrate" Waterloo...?

I understand "joie de vivre." I used to think of myself as a pathological optimist, but it's more than that. It IS joy, a sustained feeling that emanates from within, and imparts strength and good humor through adversity. There's a Ziggy cartoon on the side of my fridge that has been there for years. It shows him looking skyward with his arms lifted, saying, "I love life. Thank you for giving me one." Yep. Life is good.

Take care.

Tamago said...

What a lovely surprise you found a box of old postcards. How wonderful you even got postcards sent to your grandpa. How special!
Thank you for your comment. I got my honeysuckle toy online. I think they put powder from honeysuckle wood. My kitties love the scent :-)

bayou said...

Dear Vagabonde, this joie de vivre, I think that was the first I could detect in you when I started reading your blogs. So much wisdom in it, so delightful to read. Very much my cup of tea, as always. Of course, I knew about Godiva (with a pronounciation on the A ;-) ) but had no clue whatsoever that the French are not into Downton, whereas the German are certainly! I can very much understand how tiresome it will be for you to move house and go through 40 years of collections - I feel in the same situation but luckily, we are both very well now. But the situation before told me that we must not wait too long to pack up and sell and move. Your children are certainly right to push it and your new/old home looks so good and what a great opportunity you have there, not needing to sell before you can move. Just in your own pace and don't forget to put a musette on when you are on this task :-). The lady from the blog 'A Brit in Tennessee' (she is born in the same area than my husband) just wrote that she went to Nashville for the surgery, funny always these coincidences. I hope that the discovery of so many beautiful old witnesses of former times teach you to look forward to discover more treasures once you clear your house. Love the old photos you were able to rediscover! Take good care my dear and try to recharge your batteries as much as you can, love from Belgium, Anke

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

This was a wonderful post and I love the way you see life. I admire how dedicated you are to your husband. The pictures of the house in Nashville are very promising and I bet once you're settled there, you'll be happy. Don't forget to pack your "joie de vivre" to bring it with you!

Cynthia said...

I think it is so wonderful your friend sent you the old photos, especially of your home in Psris that you had no photos of. I truly understand your excitement as something similar happened to me. I got back together with a friend from the 1970s and he had photos of where we used to live that I hadn't seen for all those years. I burst into tears, happy tears, when I saw them!

Linda P said...

Dear Vagabonde, I'm glad to know that your health has improved as you were very ill during Christmas. I can imagine how tiring it must be to pack up at the same time as being a carer. I'm sure finding the large collection of postcards cheered you. The ones you have shared are fascinating. I do hope the joie de vivre that you describe continues to keep you in good spirit in the coming days.

Marja said...

I admire your strength and as you say your joy de vivre. A great joy to experience. My neighbor's husband has Alzheimer and I know it is hard.
What a niece surprise to find the CD's and the postcards are absolutely gorgeous. Also great your friend had these photos. You house looks good I wish you lots of luck with moving houses.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I loved this joyful post Vagabonde. And learned from it. Thank you. And Oh those postcards are wonderful and the previous photos even more so.

I am sorry I missed knowing you had been ill ... I have gotten behind in my blog visits .. But I am glad you are better. Don't overdo,,. I know from experience that pneumonia can sneak back if you don't give it plenty of recovery time.

Cergie said...

Un message très personnel comme toujours, qui nous entraîne au fil de ta pensée et de tes rencontres vers une fin inattendue...
J'ai constaté plus d'une fois que rien ne s'arrête du passé et qu'il peut nous "rattraper". On vit avec quelques clichés bien connus qui entretiennent notre mémoire mais en voir resurgir de nouveaux fait resurgir aussi d'autres moments enfuis comme si nous pouvions les toucher du doigt...

Déménager est toujours un crève-coeur mais par ailleurs c'est si stimulant de faire le tri dans les choses superflues qui nous plombent et dont on peut se passer. Il est agréable d'aller de l'avant et de changer de cadre de vie, d'environnement, même s'il est dur de renoncer à nos habitudes.

Je ne sais ce que nous ferons lorsque mon mari sera à la retraite, nos enfants sont éparpillés au trois coins de la France mais par ailleurs notre fils aîné est tout proche puisqu'il habite avec sa famille dans le 19ème et que nous avons un petit appartement dans le 20ème qui est à 5 minutes à pied de chez eux où nous nous rendons souvent... Cependant nous voudrions être plus disponibles pour notre fille... Dur dilemme qu'il nous faudra bientôt résoudre....

Prenons ce que la vie nous apporte de bons, les petites choses notamment, tu as raison....

Kay said...

Amazing! So this current handsome Napoleon is at least a whole foot taller than his ancestor.

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