It’s been quite some time since the last post! 😮

A lot of things happened during those three months, that were quite unexpected and not all pleasant or positive. And no, Sylvestre has nothing to do with that… not that I know of, anyway. :p

I won’t dwell on the worst and will just rejoice that as usual, good things came out of the less good ones.

I happened to find (put, also) myself in a situation where I finally had a lot of free time to spend as I deemed positive and profitable to my well-being: mainly physical activities (walking, cycling, swimming, gardening, fu–  er, I wish… 😉 ) and something I’ve been considering doing for quite some time but hadn’t yet found good enough conditions (a complex mix of free time, motivations of several kinds, favorable mindset, and a relatively quiet life pace and environment).

So, while sadly losing a couple of very pleasant and enriching activities,  I was given the opportunity to start using my newly-underemployed neurons for a much interesting activity where the oh-so obvious lack of the G(iant) entity up there in the toolbar spurred my competitive streak on. That, and I did promise myself to give a little back of what I received to those who sent me on The Path.  I’m not sure I’m making much sense, but I think some people who’ll read that will know I’m talking about them. Heck, even the G. bot will, I’m sure! :p

As you’ve noticed (or not), there’s a new page on this blog, called Frenglish, where I’ve decided to give full reign to my polyglot self, and that’s where you’ll find a certain number of translations, from English into French and from French into English. The EN-FR are mainly stories, not-for-the-kids stories. The FR-EN is meant to be more eclectic, though I still have not worked much to that effect.

I hope to be able to produce regularly some Frenglish stuff so that both the readers and the translator get their share of enjoyment.

Even the G Bot might enjoy! :p

Why someone would remove a review

Have I told you yet about Sylvestre, the Master of the Castle? You might have seen his portrait on the All my Children picture I posted last year.

Let me recount one of his misdeeds.

As I was working on my computer, browsing the Smashwords page of one of the books I reviewed and scrolling down to take a look at the other reviews (I know, it’s a bit weird to check what people have to say about a book you’ve liked and have taken the time to review ^ 😮 ), Sylvestre came meowing in my room and I invited him (actually, I couldn’t prevent him from leaping) onto the desk. Not one to disappoint me, he did his usual exploratory routine, and finally decided to sprawl down on the sheet of paper  I was previously taking notes on and which was currently serving as a mouse pad. He likes to disturb your working environment, just to make the point that you’re not going to ignore his presence. Ever.That’s why he always comes and sit on the newspaper when someone is reading it, and looks at you as if YOU were disturbing him.

But, let’s not digress from the story. I tried to take the mouse back from between his front paws, where the predator nonchalantly kept his prey, and that’s when he clicked, trying to hold onto what he thought was rightfully his.

The pointer was most probably on the remove link to my review when that happened, and no one noticed immediately the disappearance of said review. Well, maybe Sylvestre did, but he said nothing except his customary PFFF and Meow to let me know he was neither going to draw in his claws nor refrain from nipping if I insisted to take MY mouse back.
Not that it bothered me much, for I know how to control and operate the computer directly from the keyboard. 😛

So I decided to visit my reviews page on Amazon and check the other reviews there. Ctrl+n, alt+f, arrow keys, tab key, enter key, and various alphanumerical keys later, all my reviews were listed on the screen, and I made a face at Sylvestre, just so he knew I was the smarter. That’s when the phone rang and I had to get up and answer the call.

When I went back to the computer, Sylvestre was hovering above the keyboard, ready to make his point, once more. One of his hind paws was pressing a key while he put the front paw on another one, and finally lay down on the keyboard. The computer beeped continually, not understanding what it’s new master was asking. The Internet browser was displaying the 404 error page when I lifted Sylvestre off the keyboard and dropped him on the floor, getting an offended meow for my effort.

Hadn’t Patty addressed the question of reviews removal today, I might never have discovered that three of my reviews had disappeared nor would I have understood how it happened…! 😮

Thanks Patty for helping me solve that feline-misdeed induced  Mystery. 😀

My Independence Day

A little more than five years ago, as I stopped, out-of-breath, after climbing the Chemin du Calvaire, my favorite path up to the Phare de la Garoupe, I enjoyed the view (without the snow: pic was taken in Feb. this year) and took one of those figurative backward glances on my existence, and I remember thinking: “Oh shit! Is that really all you could do with your life?” and finished my thought in a fit of coughing and spitting (sorry :/ ).

Then, I told myself “Lilaine, you’re smoking your life away, you big dumbass!”. Actually, I was more virulent and used a much more ‘refined’ vocabulary. 🙂 😛

That’s when I decided to break that twenty-seven-year long relationship and reclaim my independence from that toxic, evil creature, aka cigarette. I tried to give myself a birthday present by quitting on July, 2 but I just couldn’t … Die hard habit, this one!

Lucky for me, the American People decided to kick the Brits butts out on a fourth of July, and it greatly inspired and motivated me to do the same with my cigs butts. Many thanks to them, and to Lafayette. 😀

Five years–and nine more kilograms(20 pounds)–later, I’m able to look forward to getting older and climbing whatever summit(lit. and fig.) I’ll set my mind to… 😉

Deep, full, cleansing breath…. and a loud, joyous shout: Yeehooo!! 😮

Still some work cut out for me on the ‘doing something with my life’ question, though… 😛

Tiger and Toaster

Many thanks to whoever had Tiger and Toaster delivered to my door tonight!

Not sure about the motive for these presents (though my birthday was Monday 2), but gladly and proudly accepting them anyway. 😀

Tiger is gorgeous(white and blue eyed, like my painting) though a little moth-eaten, and Toaster is …overused and burned out! 😛   I’ll take pics  tomorrow and add them to this post.

****** Edit July 4, morning : Here they are.

As I said, overused, burned out, dirty, rusty, greasy, out of order toaster. Just  a crappy joke as I like them. 🙂  Gonna try to fix it, and clean it at least so that I can pass it down to some deserving sister without her getting some undetermined substance on her hands… 😛

As for Tiger, she was not moth-eaten, finally. Just had some dust and dirt on her furry coat. She’s now cleaned up and lying on my couch 🙂

Toaster & Tiger

****  End edit.

I just hope the delivery girl, if she stayed (as I think I’ve noticed her) to make sure I got the present, hasn’t taken a pic and posted it on Facebook, for I was just out of bed and not really at my best–if I ever can be anymore… 😮 Serves me right to go out in this attire… 😛   😉

Heat Wave

“You know, Carol, I love Florida and I’m really glad that I’ve been seeing my grand children nearly each month since I’ve moved here, but Goddess, this scorching heat will kill me one day!” Maria said, huffing and puffing while she wriggled on the bed, struggling to strip off her light cotton nightgown. “I can’t even keep anything on my skin, it’s so hot. When are they going to get that darn AC to function properly?”

“I told you already, dear. Lilly said the guy’s coming on Monday. One more night and we’ll be back to the usual, unevenly regulated cool breezes those noisy old things have been exhaling for longer than I’ve lived here. It took me some time to get acclimated, too. Don’t worry, it gets better. In the meantime, taking lots of fluids and keeping clothes to a minimum works fine for me when the AC is out of order,” Carol advised, trying to soothe Maria’s distress clearly perceptible in her voice.

“Wait, wait, what did you say?” Maria asked, readjusting the device in her right ear—the one not completely deaf. “Sorry, my hearing aid went with the nightgown when I pulled it over my head.”

“I said, drinking a lot and sleeping naked works fine for me,” Carol summarized, an irresistible smirk showing the dimples on her still handsome, lightly wrinkled face, the ever-present sparkle in her lively hazel eyes shining brighter with the innuendo.

“Er… yes… of course, right.” Maria mumbled, a flush spreading on her already overheated skin, from her chest to the roots of her short, curly salt-and-copper hair. “I’ll gladly follow this obviously experienced advice, then.” After a moment to recover, she added, “Where can I find some ice in this cozy home? For my drink, I mean. I’m not sleepy yet.”
The smile in Maria’s voice was dazzling enough to make up for the absence of her perfectly aligned white teeth that were currently soaking in the glass on her nightstand.

Continue reading

How to screw up, my way

Still reading my stuff? Don’t you get fed up with my confused reasoning and interminable sentences? 😮

So, where did I fail in my past integration attempt?  (Click the link to refresh your memory)

0) I forgot the only valuable preliminary: Utopia does not exist.

1) As I was admitted into some Society, I took a circumspect and quite short exploratory time: wrong. It should have been a silent studious quarantine.

2) In my book, lack of participation feels like integration refusal, or just taking advantage, or even voyeurism. But it’s only my book:  in certain societies, all that is called lurking, and is commonly accepted (I know why now).

3) Upon seeing around some invitation for newcomers to introduce themselves (as is customary in other societies I used to visit), I readily did just that, in my usual, spontaneous way: truly, sincerely, some might call it bluntly, stating my motives to be there and even admitting to some flaws. Double wrong: I shouldn’t have assumed I was allowed to speak and introduce myself without being invited to, and never should have admitted to my ‘wrongdoings’.  I can see now, with some hindsight, that what was meant as an honest, heartfelt introduction might have been perceived as arrogance and defiance. So much for enthusiasm and spontaneity!

4) As enthusiasm and spontaneity are, alas, some of my many flaws, I didn’t wait to be ‘enlightened’ to share my own ‘substance’ & riches. Worked hard to create some pieces and offered them to the Society, as a thank you for accepting me among them and kind of a redemption for my previously admitted ‘wrongdoing’. Maybe I should have clearly stated that? My bad: obviously, it is not customary to offer some present upon arrival in this Society for  nobody acknowledged the gesture. That or I just received a dose of my own medicine, which is not a way a welcoming Society should behave (sounds petty from where I stand).

5) After being subjected to that ostentatious indifference (which in the same context would be considered rude, if not an insult, in my own culture) I didn’t feel secure enough to ask some necessary questions to the only person who deigned to acknowledge my existence upon my arrival. I therefore reverted to the one communication mode I thought was innocuous enough to be accepted and appreciated: humor. Not totally wrong on that one, although I really should stop cracking (really)crappy jokes:  humor is appreciated, along with subtlety, but there’s no room for crap and vulgarity. That way I can understand and readily comply to. The untamed, impenitent joker that I am just had to try and test the waters. My bad. 😉

6) I usually state my mind in a clear, direct, sometimes forceful way, and I can’t see how this way of mine is wrong. Or does it just come out as an aggressive behavior?

7) After a few-weeks-long stand-back-and-lurk  episode (I really tried to do it that way, but couldn’t keep it too long), I started participating again, though I might have chosen another occasion to do it. Then I made another offering  and some cultural sharing and not-so-crappy jokes that seemed to please some of the Society members. And then, a WWI Armistice day of all days, something happened in the Society that I’m certain made many members uneasy and weary.  Heck, even I was weary…for a little while!

8) After that unsettling episode, I should have stayed put and gone back to lurkdom, but I really could not do that. I had unfinished sharing and socializing to do. It’s not in my nature to quit before having tried long and hard. I might have been perceived as being insistent, annoying, or even harassing, though none was intended. Perseverance must be inconspicuous or not at all.

9) Neither is in my nature to hear merely-veiled insinuations or non targeted denunciations without reacting. Directly and forcefully, as usual: a bully I was, apparently (for reacting to a perceived aggression!), so I subsequently took a much necessary (for everyone) leave from that not so hospitable place.

Since then, I mainly lurk there, except when I feel like sharing a little inoffensive thing or two. I do not joke much anymore, they don’t seem to like my brand of humor. 😦

This personal failure assessment is just my way of stating  that some particular errors are hardly, if at all tolerated and can be seriously damaging to the whole integration process in certain societies.

It appears I made a bunch if not all of them. At least, I’m thorough. Through and through. 😛

Of Tolerance, Integration, Multiculturalism and Enrichment…

These past months, a personal experience (and failure, it seems) and some of the presidential election campaigns hot topics here in France led me to consider, not for the first time but with an added perspective (the referred to below as newcomer’s one), the concepts of Tolerance, Integration, Multiculturalism and Enrichment.

I came to the obvious conclusion that any Society (i.e. group of individuals who share some common values and ideas) open to foreign integration -thus accepting newcomers- should first and foremost be willing to acknowledge the very existence of said newcomers, with their inevitable differences, as the Society acknowledges its own individuals in their diversity (are we not all different?). In the next step, in the sole purpose of making integration easier, both Society and newcomers would establish and sustain some kind of communication/interaction, for evident practical reasons. On this basis, the Society would then share its ‘substance’ and principles, further facilitating the newcomers’ efforts to assimilate their new environment. Some ultimate, rewarding, enriching consequence of a successful integration would then be for the Society to integrate in return part(s) of the newcomers’ culture and usages. Where would we all be without this elementary, essential, historical, in one word ‘sine qua non’ principle?

Tolerance, individual diversity and time seem to be the  primary -and necessary- elements to build the richness of a Society. The patient and open combination of all distinctive features and components keeps building the whole, sometimes adopting a newly integrated element as a rule -for the sheer rightness of it-, sometimes restricting another (or suppressing it, for survival necessity) by using an adaptable set of rules guaranteeing that none of the components is damaging to each other and to the  Society as a whole.

During the integration process, the Society expects newcomers to ‘ingest’ and adapt to new, different ways/culture/principles, to abide by the law (and in doing so sometimes having to renounce to some of their ways) and eventually to participate in the Society’s activities. In return, the Society should clearly state its ways/culture/principles/laws and make them easily accessible, and provide a guide who’d patiently and skillfully explain them -sounds like Education, doesn’t it? This is particularly true when said Society is known (or claims) to master the Arts and means of communication* (basically language -in all its subtle uses and tones, and images with all the techno-stuff that conveys them both).

So far, doesn’t that sound a little like Utopia?

Some education and training methods, as well as simply ‘growing up’, are based on the trial-and-error approach. As far as integration endeavor is concerned, though, trying this method is clearly an error, and is potentially detrimental to the whole integration process. Before even thinking of participating to the Society’s activities, a newcomer often needs to acquire  at least the basics in communication skills (language included, of course) and codes, as well as some usages and behavioral rules that noticeably differ from his or her original ones*. An observant reserve  is  probably the safest  way to do that. Obviously, without those preliminary steps, the newcomer is likely to somehow ‘misbehave’.  On attempting to participate anyway (out of enthusiasm, eagerness or spontaneity), and making some mistakes, the newcomer should be ‘coached’ by  some guide who would step in to show (explain) the ways of the Society, or at least point out the inadequate behavior. Then, the initial problematic participation may evolve and  become an exchange as the ‘enlightened’ newcomer starts to share his or her own ‘substance’ and riches, thus making the ‘sine qua non’ principle effective. That’s when multiculturalism is supposed to become a really good experience and a mutual enrichment.

At least, in Utopia it would probably work that way. 🙂

So, now that I’ve objectively (er… I think) considered an ideal environment and a wise and efficient way to achieve integration, where did I fail, in my past  attempt?

To be continued……..

*  In some Societies (like cyber-groups, for example), as a wise person reminded me, the written word is the only interaction medium(no visual clue, no  tone of voice), which makes the communication that more tricky, and the integration attempt that more difficult. The same wise person added that because of  different cultures and interacting ways, what is commonly accepted by the ones can be considered offensive by the others. I got it, H. Thanks. 🙂

… And thank you  to Your Highness for Your wise editorial advice, that I didn’t follow on every point. Pigheaded Frog is my Squaw name. 😉