Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday French Inspiration

In Our Economic Turmoil Seriously Amber Lynae (re)Presents:
From the archives of Seriously Amber Lynae

My husband loves to shop around. He is always looking for a bargain. Whether we are vacationing in France or living in Virginia, he wants the best deal in town. Personally, I think it is great that I've married a man who doesn't want to throw away his money. But as his aunt and I learned from letting him and his uncle book a hotel.... Frugality can go TOO far.

For the equivalent $40 we stayed at Premiere Classe. (Just in case the name is deceiving you, it wasn't first class.) The room was barely big enough to fit the double bed with the luggage shelf above it. And the bathroom (pictured above) was more of a pod than a room.  It was so small that you can shower, poop, and shave all at the same time without moving an inch.

Overall, it was a laughing experience. The small size of the room really wasn't enough to rate Premiere Classe at the bottom of our list. The rooms which were non-smoking (in France??) definitely had been smoked in (there is a headache for me), some sort of mold looked to be growing over the door, and the two bath towels the provide were scaled down to fit the room and were more like hand towels.

Have you had any money saving experiences go awry?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday French Inspiration

Before visiting the Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris, I was completely unaware that Claude Monet's Water Lilies was  a series of approximately 250 oil paintings or various sizes.  I thought it was one painting. This May, it was announced that today, June 23rd, the 1906 Nympheas work would be auctioned in London. (I wish I could afford the estimated price of between £30 and £40 million).

In two oval rooms house within l'Orangerie, eight large paintings are now available under direct diffused light as was originally intended by Monet. The paintings depict Monet's flower garden at Giverny.  Many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts
It is romantic and almost magical when you stand surrounded by these magnificent works of art.  I felt all twitterpatted with a desire to be spun around the room or to be wooed by poetry.  The imagery really does evoke strong emotion.  Just like a good book artfully crafted, these works have the ability to transport you into a different world.

What has the power to to evoke strong emotions within you? 
Have you ever felt like you walked into a fairytale?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday French Inspiration

Crypte archéologique du parvis Notre-Dame 

Beneath Notre-Dame cathedral square is an archaeological crypt which preserves the foundations and vestiges of buildings which were constructed between the Gallo-Roman period and the 18th century.   There are remnants of bath houses, shops, hospitals, and house.  It is interesting to see this crypt of Paris's past.

It reminds me that our past is a part of today.  Our ancestors have paved the way for us to be what we are today.  We must learn from their successes, learn from their failures, and take those lessons to build our present.  I am grateful for the struggles and accomplishments that my ancestors.  I am grateful for all they have made possible for me today.I hope that we all can build upon our past in a way that would please our ancestors and allows them to know that we cherish all that they have made possible.

How do you build about the past to make a better future?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday French Inspiration

Lady Lamp post outside of the Paris Opera House

"Landscapes exercise a strange power over you.
As if each of us has an internal landscape, embedded in us during childhood
and which lies in wait until the point of recognition. 
Ah, there it is, you think. 
Or rather, there I am." 
-  Lucy Wadham The Secret Life of France

 I agree completely with Lucy's thoughts.  I felt this way as I walked through various parts of France.   I think we all have a place, whether we have been there or not, that we know is our own little heaven.  There is not one place on earth that I would be completely happy, because I would always long for the closeness of all my friends and family. 

I grew up in the foothills of West Virginia. The turning of the trees in the fall boasts colors that artists would struggle to capture.  It is breathtaking.  Those landscapes will always be a part of me.  

Yet there is a connection for me to Paris.  With her (Paris is nothing if not feminine) intricate ironwork, casual cafes, grandiose statues, cobblestone streets, and the glorious gardens, she beckons me.  This is my internal landscape.  The aromas, the sounds, and sights leave you longing for more around every corner.  You are seduced into a relationship.  While you eat your pastries or culinary art,  roam through the leafy boulevards, or hunt bargains at the weekly markets; you are charmed by her arrogance and coquette manner. She all but demands you love her; and you helplessly obey.

Describe to me your internal landscape and why you love it so much.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dream Sequence Blogfest

So very last minute over at Elizabeth Mueller's blog, I find out about a Dream Sequence Blogfest being hosted by Amalia T.  
I don't think I have ever participated in a blogfest.  But dream sequences are part of what my current work in progress is about.  
The following scene is very raw example of the 'condition' that my MC--Damien deals with daily.

The queasiness in my stomach told me that I was lost in someone else’s dream again. It had been happening for months and I still hadn’t gotten used to it.
The night of my sixteenth birthday, it happened for the first time.  When I woke up my head felt like someone had used it for batting practice.  After I figured out that these dreams weren’t my own it became easy to distinguish when I wasn’t dreaming.
Gives a whole new meaning to “pinch me I must be dreaming.”    
In someone else’s dream, everything outside the dreamers mental focus appears in black and white.  Landscapes further from the dream center appeared vague and blurred as if I were walking around without my glasses.  Even the sounds of the dream becomes muddled the further I am from the dream center. 
I always felt a little bit safer being out of the dreamer’s focus, because sometimes people would remember seeing me in their dreams if I didn’t.  If I could, I would stay in the blurry outskirts of the dreams but it is only when I get closer to the vivid colors and crisp objects that the sickness in my stomach eases. 

My lack of focus, the gurgling of my stomach and grayish hue of my skin let me know I was far from of the dreamer’s focus.   Bile burned my throat, so—I headed toward the vivid colors. 
Unmarked gravestones surrounded me.  I figured names were just something that this dreamer’s mind just hadn’t generated.  Across the cemetery, there was a ceremony taking place near a short casket in color.
I began to walk with purpose forgetting that I cover ground much quicker in the dream state.  It only took seconds to reach the congregated group.  You could taste the sadness in the air.  I know that sounds weird, but emotions were very different in dreams. 
A young mother in the front row hugged an infant to her chest as she sobbed on the shoulder of her husband.  No one could even look up at the pastor as he spoke about loss and tragedy.  There were subtle glances at the tiny casket, but other than that everyone cast their eyes to the ground.
In fact, I think I was the only one that noticed the lady walking toward the group.  She proceeded slowly with her white dress draping the ground.  Her face was veiled.  Cradled in her arms was a swaddled infant.  With slow precision, she made her way closer to the group.  She started to gain the crowd’s attention, when she approached the mourning couple. Everyone was silenced and waiting.
The white lady bowed her head toward her swaddled child and hugged the bundle to her chest.  Her shoulders shook in a sob. 
“I can’t...  I can’t live like this any longer,” said the voice beneath the veil.  She handed the baby to the man who had been comforting his mourning wife.  He glanced down at the baby he had just been gifted and then to his wife.  While I stood confused they seemed to comprehend exactly what had happened.
The white lady then proceeded to the closed casket.  She clasped her hands over her chest. From beneath her hands black flamed over the white flowing fabric of her dress as if her despair singed the white dress completely blackening it with grief.  But when her veil vanished I felt as if the breath had been sucked from my lungs.  She was my mother.
I stood there stunned and staring.  I knew dreams could be disjointed and complete nonsense, but this dream and the emotions were so thick.  I guess the fact that I hadn’t been close to my mother in weeks made seeing her in this dream now hit me that much harder.
The funeral party vanished.  Only she, I, and the casket remained at the graveside.  This was her dream. 
There was my mother, the same woman who could no longer look at me—her son.  I felt like that baby she had just abandoned so easily when it would need her the most.  The fire was burning within me and my heart pounding.  She was giving up just the way she had on me.
In a low voice, somewhere between a plead and a demand, I said “Mom?”   She seemed unaware of my presence as she crumpled to the ground next to the small casket and opened it.
“Mom,” I said louder more forceful.  The lump in my throat was growing.  I couldn’t swallow the pain back.  My eyes were burning; my breathing deepened and I clenched my teeth.  Then, I exploded.  “Mother, look at me now!” 
She looked up at me. “Damien,” she said. It was nice to hear her say my name to have her look at me.  Yet there was nothing but sadness in her eyes.  She returned her attention to the casket and removed the corpse of an infant.  She hugged it to her and sobbed.
As I watched her pain, my anger melted.  I knelt beside her.  I wanted to comfort her the way she had always comforted me in the past.  I wanted to look in her eyes again.  Somehow, I knew that if only she would look at me she would stay here with me and fix my problems.  “Mom, I need you.”
     For a moment, she looked at me.  I could feel her love the emotional barrier separating us was fading.  I reached for her.  The movement reawakened her previous resolve. She closed her eyes, her head hung and she sobbed harder. “I can’t. I can’t live like this.” Tears washed down her cheeks, and our surroundings changed to a mausoleum.
A large stone casket lay open in the center of the tomb.  She rose with the infant in her arms.  My eyes bore into her back as she stood there frozen for a long moment.  She glanced over her shoulder to look at me once more.  She levitated above the casket.
     I was losing her for good.  “Please stay?”  My words brought her instantly before me.
 She raised her hand to my cheek and tucked my hair back.  “Sweet boy, it is too late.  My baby is dead.” 
I wanted to object to tell her no, I was her boy and I was living right here.  But she had faded like smoke before me.  She was in the stone coffin holding the small corpse. 
The sound of the stone grinding closed filled the crypt.  A chill ran up my spine.  With all my strength I struggled to stop the stone.  It was useless. 
A deafening echo boomed.  My mother was sealed in a house of death.  All was black and I was back in my room—awake with another migraine.

There you have it my first Blogfest.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday French Inspiration

 Some of my new readers wonder why French Inspiration?
So I am taking you back to the beginning
From the archives of Seriously Amber Lynae

 I love my husband a little more now than I did before.  I have more reasons to love him the longer I know him. He is a wonderful man. But why have I decided that I love him more now? why am I telling you in my post? "Because he gave me the world. Not really, but he gave me a stamp in my passport." He took me to Paris (and various other beautiful parts of France.)

It is strange to go somewhere you have never been and feel so at home. I could only understand about 80% of what was being said; could respond at the level of a 15 month old (maybe); a wallet was stolen; and my feet ached from walking ALL day. I LOVED IT. Paris is always a good idea. I can't wait to go back. The beauty and grace of the country is undeniable.

And the pastries..... oh I miss them very much. We had a wonderful boulangerie at the corner from our apartment with wonderful selection. I think I ate more chocolate during my stay in France than I have in the past 4 months combined. How can you not love a place when you are doped up on chocolate? Seriously I would go back tomorrow if I had the opportunity. Any takers? Who wants to take me to France? I must admit that this is the first time I've travel off of the American continent. I am certain there is a lot of the world that I would love.  Paris has held my heart since childhood and part of my heart shall always remain in Paris.

So there you have it in order to relive Paris and France
every week I relate some of the thousands of photos 
to my life and writing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Seriously in Real Utah Life and Storymakers Photo Evidence

Debbie, Jenn, Jenni, Yours Truly, and Meagan

 I think it may be time that I finally put up some photos from my Olive Garden Luncheon.  It was a small gathering that took place April 17th at Olive Garden.  A lot of last minute plans, and sickness kept the group from being bigger.  There is always next time for those of you who missed it.  IT was a lot of fun. And I even brought a treat for everyone.  This group was so much fun. You should have seen Jenn's face when she thought I very casually talked about my baby's fatal fall. (Mentioned halfway through the linked post.)  She may or may not have heard the whole conversation.  I will have to make sure to have some more bloggers' luncheons when I'm in Utah again.

I also was lucky enough to attend LDS Storymakers the following Friday were I met a lot of people in real life.  Like Elizabeth, LT Elliot, Terresa, Melanie J, Kym, Alexes, CK Bryant, and Carolyn V.

I may or may not have done some of the following:

Attended a class by Bree and said a quick hello to her.

Heard Howard from writing excuses talking and knew it was
him before I saw him. Then proceed to tell him so.

Stopped James in the corridor to tell him I LOVED The Maze Runner.
And demand he keep writing.

Forced Aprilynn to stop and take a picture with me.  And told her I love Spells and Wings.

It was great visiting Utah.  There were a lot of people I would have loved to meet that I didn't So it only proves that I must come back again.