For this Thanksgiving, I find myself in a very unusual, unpleasant, and unexpected situation, where as much as I wish I was anywhere but where I actually am, I am also filled with gratitude for so much of what I am experiencing. I am in a French hospital. Although I am not yet prepared to share all détails -- so if you ask questions I might not reply -- I can say that there is a serious situation with one of my kidneys. There is pain. There are still some unknowns although more pieces are falling into place, and I am very happy with the care I am receiving. It began a week ago when, out of nowhere, I experienced debilitating pain in my right side, followed by uncontrollable vomiting and blood in my urine. My gall bladder is long gone and the pain was too high to be the appendixes. An hour later I was on my way to the ER with Georges at my side. Tests there seemed to indicate kidney stones. I left the ER at 2:30am with prescriptions for some meds and for a sonogram and more lab work. Sonogram, next day, showed a rather sizable... Read more →
Yesterday was the 8th anniversary of my move to Paris! I got caught up in other things yesterday, and though I intended to blog about it, at the end of the day it just didn't happen. Ironically, it's been very fresh in my mind of late, what it felt like to arrive here in Paris and to know I wasn't only staying for a few short days. I've been editing the hell out of my memoir (pleased to say I'm right on track to get it all done by the end of the month!) and just finished the "arrival" chapter a couple of days ago. So help you refresh your own memories (or if this is the first time you're going that far back in blog history), here's what happened: First, I found a great apartment in the suburb of Vincennes. Then, I booked a flight and got to use my frequent flyer miles, so it was FREE. Then the apartment fell through, and I had to figure out another plan. I had to tell people close to me that I was moving to Paris. I had to figure out what to pack and what to do with everything else... Read more →
It has been no secret that I have struggled with my weight for... well, pretty much forever. Being overweight and the fact that you are someone who uses food as a coping mechanism is one of those problems you can't hide from the world; it literally just OUT there, in the physical form of your muffin-top or your flabby thighs, for everyone to see. There are many reasons I am overweight, ranging from the habitual (bad habits ingrained over a lifetime) to the emotional/psychological (let's not even open that Pandora's box, you don't really want to go there and who has that kind of time, anyway?) to the logistical (I love eating but pretty much hate everything to do with cooking from the food shopping to the planning and preparation to the actual cooking). Now, understand me: I'm not talking about all this so that you can send me all your great tips for changing my behaviors. I know the tips. I've had lots of great advice and coaching on this. And all I can say is, I'm still working on it. No, the reason I'm bringing this up is because I had an interesting "a-ha!" moment the other day... Read more →
I've really been enjoying my time in New Jersey with my family and friends. So far, my family and I have steered clear of politics as a conversational topic, and that has cut WAY down on tension and arguments. (When you think about it, how stupid is it to waste valuable family time fighting about politics? It serves no useful purpose especially when we only get to spend a few weeks a year together.) My mom is aging and having some memory issues, but otherwise she's actually in pretty good shape for someone who will turn 79 in just a few weeks, and I'm grateful she is doing as well as she is, and that my sister is nearby to help her when she needs help. I've been getting together with friends as often as possible, and that totally rejuvenates my soul because my friends are just AWESOME women. And this weekend I'm going up to Amherst, Mass with all my family, to see my niece who is STARRING in a musical at her university. I haven't seen her perform live in anything in the past three years, and never thought I'd get the timing right to visit her school... Read more →
My best friend, Wendy, graduated with her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) this week. She decided to change careers after her 4th child was born, and felt drawn to nursing. So, she started nursing school. That was 11 years ago. After she finished her first year, the youngest child was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 22 months. Wendy's husband and I both encouraged Wendy to try and continue with her studies because it would give her something positive to focus on, even while she was coping with her daughter's chemo treatments. Wendy finished her 2nd year on schedule, and became a Registered Nurse. I still don't know how she did it - but she did. And her daughter is a healthy, happy cancer survivor! Wendy got a job as a nurse, and began her career. Over the years, she changed jobs and the types of nursing she was doing as she looked for what interested her most, eventually feeling compelled to do hospice nursing. I told her I thought she'd be brilliant at that, and she is. She decided to continue her studies to get her bachelor's degree so that she would later have the option of... Read more →
Yesterday, I got to have an experience in Paris that I really hoped I'd never have anywhere: I was nearly (stressing NEARLY) mugged at a bank ATM machine. [Pause for reaction.] I was around the block from our new apartment near Place de Clichy, and there is one section of the Place where there are about 5 or 6 banks all grouped together, and cash machines galore. One of these banks has been Georges' bank branch for decades and now also houses our joint bank account, and across the street is a branch of another bank where I have an account, and I just got done switching to their branch because I hate my current branch anyway. I was on my way home after stopping by the new apartment to take measurements of, well, everything (finding out our oven won't fit in the space provided, by the way, but that's another story). It was about 6:30pm so I called Georges to ask if I should bring home some Chinese take-out for dinner and he agreed, so I was walking down this street toward all the banks because I'd seen a Chinese restaurant there and because it was on the way... Read more →
It's official! There have been a HALF MILLION visitors to The Bold SoulTM blog since February 25, 2005! That completely blows my mind, to be honest. A half a million... can I even count that high? Well, maybe not in French. Whether you've been with me since the beginning or you just got here today, whether your best friend told you to check out my blog or you stumbled upon it while searching for something or other... I'm grateful and humbled by your interest and participation over the years. After all, is a writer still a writer if no one is out there to read what she's written? So here's to the past 7 years and 500,000+ bold souls, to someday soon hitting that 1 MILLION mark (wow!) -- and to the next 7 years, and to more bold adventures in all our lives. Merci mille fois, and cheers, mes amis! Read more →
Hey! I'm celebrating the SIXTH blogiversary of The Bold Soul™ today! Six years. Nearly 1,700 posts and over 5,300 comments. Pushing 700,000 lifetime pageviews and averaging about 8,000 visitors monthly. Readers in more than 80 countries. All that, and I even get fan mail each month from readers around the world, most recently from a reader in Israel! That's you and me, kids; that's how far we've come from that first day. Wow. It still seems a little surreal that I am sitting here in beautiful Paris, six years after writing that first post back in New Jersey, writing not only this blog but my second book. And that every single day since I arrived here -- and particularly since the day I met my Georges -- I have had something to be happy about and grateful for. I couldn't say that six years ago; I couldn't say that I felt genuinely happy for at least part of every day, the way I do now. When I reflect back on what my life was like in February of 2005, how bored and frustrated I was, and how much I longed to change what wasn't working for me, it's almost like... Read more →
I don't "do" New Year's resolutions; I haven't in years. For one thing, they don't work, usually because they're too broad and not specific enough, and for another thing, you end up feeling like crap after you've totally failed at keeping those resolutions within the first month (week?) of the New Year. How many people do you know who can claim they made and actually followed through on those resolutions to "lose weight", "get a better job", "make more money", "fall in love with Mr./Ms. Wonderful"? Exactly my point. But I DO set specific intentions for my year, and THAT seems to work out a whole lot better. The difference between resolutions and intentions is INTENT, and being specific about that intent. Intent is much more than making a vague promise to yourself; it involves a conscious shift in your energy, and a serious internal commitment to achieve that which you intend to accomplish. And of course, you have to back up those intentions with action... sometimes lots of action. When I reflected on what I wanted to accomplish in 2011 -- especially with the realization that I will be turning (choke, cough, gasp) 50 in a little more than... Read more →
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