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Holidays go by quickly, as if they don’t want to hang around. My life seems to be happening at warp speed.

Lisa and I start our two month summer fellowships tomorrow. It’s hard to believe it’s actually happening. Like most things in my life, this fellowship started as an obligation to my mom - shrouded in vague, emotional shadows - to perform the impossible.

I’d like to become a doctor but it’s no milk run. And while ambition is powerful, it isn’t magic. Yale has advisors to guide us but my mom, who has one Dr. daughter already and a son in med school  believes her every suggestion is sacrosanct. She’s usually right, but still (shrug), I’m here.

My mom did have one good idea - going to France over vacation. Peter got to meet my Grandmère and I got to visit with some of my cousins - those spoiled-rotten, monied members of “the fancy” - who have no ambitions, no goals and no self-worth other than their momentary possessions. By the time Peter and I left, I was itching to get back to work.

You only get one chance at life and if you’re lucky you’re good at something. Think of all the people who were born in the desert - who would have been the greatest swimmers or skiers ever - but never had the chance to try. I’m chanell.

Lisa and I are at my sister Annick’s 10th floor, 4-bedroom apartment, in Boston. I don't think she stays here anymore. She’s engaged, and my bet is that she’s living at his place. At first, she pretended that wasn’t true, that she was just thinking of staying there while Lisa and I are here.

Ok, I thought to myself, but why is everything in the fridge brand new?
“Where’s your cat?” I asked, like a detective reeling in a crook.
“Ok,” Annick admitted with a laugh, “you exposed my dishonesty."

Lisa and I’ll have this apartment to ourselves for two months. It’s a feeling that’s joyful, selfish and marvelous. We can see the hospital where Lisa and I will be working from Annick’s balcony - it’s that close. Annick bought this place because she’s a doctor in residence there.

I got in from Paris yesterday. I’m jet lagged and toey about tomorrow. I doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight. Even though I’m making a great display of calm, idle boredom, Annick knows better.
“Are you guys nervous?” She asked.
Lisa immediately declared “Hells, yes!”
I was thinking of holding strong, but after a second, I mumbled “Yeah.”

I’m really hoping I’ll be good at this fellowship business.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Sacrosanct: “sacred or holy”

the fancy = the very idle rich
chanell = lucky
toey = nervous, edgy
The Heraclee sky was a lurid, neon blue but the morning was surprisingly cool (at 54°). The antemeridian sun managed to cast sharp, surreal, black-hole shadows, giving the world a baroque art look, as if we were strolling through a Rembrandt painting, where everything is defined by shadows.

The lavish breeze, coming up off the Mediterranean Sea, seemed compressed and frantic, as if trying to flee the choppy, sapphire water. Tall marsh grasses waved back and forth, as if to unheard music, reminding me of 60-thousand swaying arms at the Taylor Swift concert.

Higher up, the wind played with feather-like clouds, making them seem to rise, fall and spill over each other in their race for the horizon. On the beach, there were ten or more colorful, elaborate kites - the French love their multi-wired stunt kites.

There was a dragon, a multi-color WWI biplane, there were bird kites, an octopus and a swooping butterfly. We watched them for a while, from a hill. “I’m going to get one of those,” Peter said, dreamily (for use on the Malibu beach his parents' modest home overlooks).

A little later, Peter and I decided to bike down to the beach from the hotel. The idea was valid but the bikes, seeming leftovers from World War 2, shook and rattled like percussion instruments as we made the death-defying plunge down the steep, uneven stone-laid path. We were laughing, screaming and half convinced we’d die by the time we reached the bottom.

Once there, a snooty concierge said, “That is NOT the bike path.” Which seemed hilarious. When Peter replied, dead faced, “We’re American,” as if that were an internationally understood pass for being stupid. It made us laugh so hard we couldn’t look at each other for a couple of minutes. I don’t know which hurt more, my bottom or my side.

As our guffaws were dying down, Charles arrived on the bike path.
“Why’d you do THAT?” (take the wrong path) he asked, with a tone of irritated censure.
“There was a sign,” I argued, gasping for air from my still doubled up laughing position, “that said ‘Bike Path?’" my voice rising like a sarcastic question.
“You didn’t notice the ten-inch tall, blue arrow under the words pointing to the bike path?”

Sometimes Charles can be extra over - as in overprotective and over-reactive.

As Cherles and I wrangled away, Peter stood patiently by, waiting. He doesn’t argue with Charles, he says he finds the 6-foot-3-inch, retired NYC policeman a little intimidating.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said, dismissively, “he’s a big ‘ol teddy bear.”
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Censure: a reprimand from an authority.

Heraclee = a lesser known beach about 11 miles from Saint-Tropez, France.

antemeridian = morning
Little upstart, young showboat
Lots of bluster full of gloat,
Been there minutes, thinks he knows,
Blind ambition and it shows.

They say he's bright and tough to boot,
Compared to me, now that's a hoot,
What's Yale and Harvard, simply names,
The constant ones he repeatedly proclaims.

As to the Navy, are we to be impressed,
He only served so he'd be thought best dressed;
The lawyer bit, now that brings on a shiver,
The very thought entwines my liver.

Now as to his wife,
I will admit she's rather nice,
But then let's pause to look at mine,
And tell me if she doesn't her outshine.

So there's no doubt whichever way you cut it,
I Trump this kid with character and wit,
He may be smart, but I'm the stable Genius,
Him all hot air, with me my smarts are intravenous.

As I ponder how I should react,
Knowing I’m the very best at tact,
I thought I'd stick to what I do so well,
While he drones on, I'll just my winning vision sell.

America needs me, not some kid wet behind the ears,
Whose monotone delivery brings us all to sleepy tears,
With me you get that vibrant lively spark
The choice quite clear, a Guppy or a Shark?
I've got a reading!
And the venue's all sold out.
It's an old phone booth,
that some company threw out.

It's standing room only,
but you can get in by arrangement.
I'll just hop out, for the term
of your engagement.

If you show up
you won't even need a mask,
'cause you'll be standing
on the other side of the glass.

My voice sounds muffled
in the sound-proof enclosure
so my poetry won't be getting
very much exposure.

For my fan base,
it's the ideal place to show.
See, I can do the reading,
and no one else will know.
I see you there grasshopper,
you're famous, don't you know,
Often when spied on thickets,
mistaken for crickets,
but no more,
you've made yourself quite clear,

You appear in dreams,
"Freedom, independence, enlightenment,
inability to settle down,
So it seems,

Your family's ancestors come from the early Triassic, roughly back 250 million years ago,

John the Baptist ate locusts,
wild honey too,
Still people denied you,
False claims,
A vegetarian food,
ignorant of truth,
Blinded to the fact that
ἀκρίδες means plenty of you,

So bask in the sun,
feeling heat,
acceleration of heart rate,
watching with your 5 eyes,
When a spider comes along,
you can be ready to run,
shall I say ready to lunge.

Author Ven J Arnold
( SacredInkedBlood
People attempted to explain that the locusts were in fact a suitably ascetic vegetarian food such as carob beans, notwithstanding the fact that the word ἀκρίδες means plainly grasshoppers.
Greek: "ἀκρίδες καὶ μέλι ἄγριον, akrídes kaì méli ágrion."
Anais Vionet May 17
Grandmère = Grandmother

Peter and I are in Paris, we arrived this morning. We’re staying at my Grandmère’s Champs de Mars residence - near the Eiffel Tower.

One of my Grandmère’s oldest and dearest friends is a Catholic Bishop. When I was little, he was ‘Monsignor Jean-Marc’ but now he’s ‘Bishop Jean-Marc.’ He’s been around so much of my life, he’s almost part of the family. I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that he has his own apartment somewhere in each of her houses.

Jean-Marc is old. I think that’s fair to say. He’s white haired and the kind of short that comes on slowly, with age. He’s a disciplined kind of thin and his deep wrinkles are tanned from years of gardening. His teeth, always visible in his salesmen’s smile, are as white as altar candles.

When I first glimpsed Jean-Marc from the hallway, he was sitting on a cream satin settee, in conversation with my Grandmère. I knew something was up because he was wearing his red trimmed cassock and red sash, instead of his usual black suit.

What I couldn’t see from the hall, was that the room was packed with matronly ladies, dressed in matronly dresses of glittering white, glittering beige, glittering yellow and glittering gold. Argh! I was wearing a white Polo tennis dress, Keds mini canvas sneakers and my hair was ponytailed. I wasn’t dressed for a social. I swiveled to give my Grandmère a sharp look, but she took that moment to be interested in the drapes.

As I’d come into the room, Jean-Marc stood and greeted me cordially saying, “AnnAAAas!” raising both hands up over his head as if he were channeling the pope. Ok, I thought to myself, this is happening. I offered my most innocent smile. “Bishop Jean-Marc,” I said, while performing an involuntary curtsy, conjured from somewhere deep in childhood reflex-memory.

I don’t like priests. Slam me, sue me, **** me. When I’m around a priest, I’m reminded that I’m a sinner and I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. It’s the worst kind of guilt for a Catholic, because we don’t earn any credit for it.

Opp! I just thought of Peter, so there’s lust, right on queue - that’s a sin. Unfortunately, Peter’s not here. He and Charles went on a chauffeured driving tour of Paris. Envy - there, another sin, I’m on the road to hell but I can’t seem to stop, one thought just follows the next. Where’s a priest when I need one? Just kidding, there’s one right in front of me.

The bishop began asking me a string of unimaginative questions, like an old friend catching up. “How’ve you been? How's university? As he grilled me, slowly, like a steak in a smoker, the herd of matrons ambled slowly our way, closing in to listen in. It was a scene straight out of the walking dead. I wanted to escape but my Grandmère held me in place, with the full wattage of her proud smile.

Ordinary boredom is an un-experience and all you need to free yourself is a phone. High society boredom is one of Dante’s circles of hell, because you have to interact with strangers when you could be doing something fun instead. The gathering finally broke up about 7pm and I was free to go. I was starving, my throat hurt from talking (about myself) and I hadn’t heard from Peter. When I checked “find my,” it showed him there, somewhere. So I went in search.

Peter was in his (our) room, on his back near the edge of the bed, one shoe off and one shoe on. He was as still as a corpse but a soft snoring suggested he wasn’t dead. I leaned over him, his black hair was somehow more disheveled than usual and his lips, moist and slightly parted, looked invitingly ready to kiss. I didn’t do it though, that would have been asking for trouble. Instead, I smelled his breath, slowly and deeply. Cognac. Charles had gotten him drunk. How helpful.

Once I tucked Peter in, I went looking for Charles, only to find him shooting billiards with Jean-Marc. He looked none the worse for wear and the gleam in his eyes told me he knew what he was doing - avoiding me with the bishop.

As I prowled the room, trying to decide what to do, while picking up objects and weighing them as objects to be thrown, a server brought in a tray with three bowls of cassoulet,* which smelled incredible, my stomach growled, and I remembered I was starving.

Charles, sensing a shift in the mood, said, “He (Peter) needed to reset his body clock. He’s young, he’ll be as good as new in the morning.” I just laughed. Charles knew I’d come looking for him and he’d ordered me dinner. I can’t stay mad at Charles; he knows me too well.

The cassoulet was to die for.
We’ll start our vacation, for reals, in the morning.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Cordial: “in a politely pleasant and friendly way.”

Champs de Mars = “The field if Mars” It’s the name of the Park (the ‘Central Park’ of Paris) where the Eiffel Tower is (my grandmothers house is across from it).

*cassoulet = a gumbo made of white beans, pork, bacon, duck, goose and toulouse sausage in a tomato stock of garlic, onions, herbs, and goose fat. A dreamy French comfort food I haven’t had since last summer.
Anais Vionet May 16
Edgar Alan Poe is dead. Seriously, I read it.
He died in October 1849 - or did he?
Do we really know?

Poe wrote about death a lot,
he teased with it, it was his favorite tool.
He kept death close and twisted it like a knife.

His profession was the macabre, the shadow,
the summoned dread and the gruesome aftermath.

He was a writer and a critic - what’s more dreadful than a critic?

They say he died from “unknown causes”
- how absolutely perfect.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Aftermath: the period after a destructive event.
Anais Vionet May 12
Chick-fil-a = the best place ever
jade = *****
brooke = gorgeous
mishin = the boss, as in “You aren’t the boss of me.”

We’re on vaycay. School is OVER, COVID is over. We’re in New York City and we’re doin’ the town this time. Lisa told me, “You showed me Paris last summer, now I’m going to show you New York City.” Her mom, Karen, smiled and gave a little sideways, “Yes, yes we ARE’ nod.

Leong and Sunny, two of my Yale roommates, and my BF Peter are staying in Lisa’s (parent’s) 50th floor Manhattan apartment for the week. The apartment is singularly stunning, with its all-glass views of Central Park and the city, but it only has five bedrooms - so we’re doubled up a bit.

One of the things that makes Manhattan chick-fil-a, is that the Broadway theaters are 15 minutes from Lisa’s door. You step out, whirl around Columbus Circle and you’re on Broadway! Minutes later, you’re in your seat, Oh, and don’t forget to get the cinnamon crusted almonds.

We saw ‘Bad Cinderella’ the night before last - that was only a ‘West End’ show (I’m learning to be a Broadway snob). Tonight, we’re going to see Hamilton. Last night, we saw ‘Hadestown.’ I didn’t know anything about ‘Hadestown,’ but Leeza (Lisa’s 13 year old sister) has seen it three times now.

We’d just finished lunch and Lisa started off a debate. “Is Orpheus (one of Hadestown’s leading characters, played by Reeve Carney) superhot - the hottest man alive - or is he the littlest jade ever?
“He’s brooke,” Leeza swooned dreamily, fanning her face as if it’s hot, “I’d definitely hit that.”
Lisa gasped, “shutUP, you aren’t “hitting” anyone.
Leeza’s been driving Lisa up-the-wall all morning. We had Pancakes and bacon for breakfast and Leeza’s been all rude and maple sugar buzzed ever since.
“You aren’t mushin,” Leeza snorted, and as Lisa gave her a threat-laden look, Leeza finished with, “that man can get it.”
I’ve seen this before - and these sisters are heading for it.

Leong adds “Orpheus sees a submissive woman in distress. What he thinks he sees, is a typically beautiful woman, by societal standards, who he knows nothing about - and he’s like, ‘I want to marry you.”
Sunny leaned into the conversation fiercely, saying, “He doesn’t KNOW her! Wouldn’t you just punch that guy in the face?”
“Probably,” I answered, laughing, “if he weren’t in a frigging MUSICAL!”

“Excuse me,” Lisa interrupts, “you’re telling me that this scene doesn’t perpetuate the idea that only looks matter?” As one of the most beautiful women in the WORLD, Lisa is sensitive to objectification.

Sunny adds, “One reason to cancel him - I assume we’re trying to cancel him now - is that he sees a woman in distress and says ‘that’s the one, the love of my life,’ - a beautiful woman who can’t survive on her own.”

“She didn’t need him,” I suggested, “he was a burden on her.”    
Peter, who’s been working away on his laptop, looked up and said, “I can’t tell if you’re joking.”

Leeza, snarked, “Then go back to your little coding.”
I think I gasped and Peter looked a little shocked.

When Lisa, who’d gotten up to get some ice, heard that comment from Leeza, she said, “THAT’S IT,” in a steely voice.

Leeza, who was sitting with her back to the kitchen on the huge white sectional, had a millisecond to look over before Lisa pounced on her. She came in from her backside rolling over onto Leeza, trying to cover her mouth.

Leong, and Sunny, who’d never seen these to wildcats at it before, squealed and flinched out of the way. Peter, an only child, found this delightful and hilarious. He burst out laughing with glee, as he too, cleared some space.

“You’re trying to silence me!” Leeza yelled, giggling and grabbing Lisa’s arms as they got into a full, sister wrestling, flailing ball of hair and arms. Rolling off the couch and onto the floor. “SHUT UP,” Lisa demanded at the top of her voice.
“She’s trying to silence me!” Leeza howled again, “I will not be silenced!” This match continued for a hot minute until Lisa got Leeza’s arms pinned with her knees.
“Apologize!” Lisa said, out of breath, as she began to ponytail her hair.

“Excuse me,” Leeza yelled, herself gasping for breath but trying to blow strands of her red hair out of her face and wiggle free. “I’d like my lawyer - get OFF me - you ******* Karen!”

When that doesn’t work Leeza starts yelling, “HELP, MOM, ****!!” at the top of her lungs.

Karen, on a laptop in a glass walled alcove just off the living room, had seen the whole everything. Folding down her laptop lid, she stuck her head out and said, “Girls.”

Then Michel, their dad, is in the doorway, “What are you two doing?” He asked softly.

The fight immediately broke up, Lisa and Leeza sheepishly disengaging. “Nothing,” they said, together in near perfect union. Lisa gave Leeza a wide-eyed, tilted head look and Leeza said, “I’m sorry Peter, I was only foolin’ around.”
“I know,” Peter replied, chuckling, “but it was worth it.”

Sunday - drum roll please - this Sunday (Mother’s day), we’re going to see Taylor Swift in concert.
On Monday, Peter and I jet off to Paris (and Saint-Tropez) for 10 days. He’ll get to meet my Grandmère and Uncle Remy - I’m SO hyped.

I’m squeezing a lot into the first three weeks of summer. My fellowship starts June 1st, and that’ll take all of June and July. I can’t wrap my head around being a junior next year. Where’s the time GONE?
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Laden: something heavily loaded with something, literally or figuratively.
Anais Vionet May 10
Ever snorted *******?
I watched some partiers snort ******* last night,
in a dark, Manhattan nightclub corner celebration.
But I’ve never crossed that line. The white line.

When offered some, with unctuous camaraderie,
I shrugged and said, “No, sorry, I’m allergic.”
What are you supposed to say, “Crack is whack,”
or “I prefer my coke with *** and ice?”
The white line. I don’t cross the line.

It’s not the first time, of course, I saw more drugs
in high school than I have at Yale. I’ve mostly seen
“study drugs,” there, like provigil, adderall and alza (concerta).
Do they give students an advantage? I don’t know, maybe.
Call me a boxcut or a squarepants, but my parents are doctors,
and I just don’t cross those lines - those little white lines.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Unctuous: “an obvious, fake friendliness”

Slang: ‘boxcut’ ot ‘squarepants’ = a square, a no fun party-pooper

*I use artistic license for colors: for instance, adderall can be a blue, orange or yellow pill.
Oh still-warm vision of my heart's delight,
Your crusty, crunchy skin and doughy heart,
Your sweet aroma with tears blurs my sight,
And makes me yearn to taste your every part.

My doctor says you'll be the death of me,
Blood sugar and triglycerides too high,
But I don't care, for my love sets me free,
And of one thing or other we must die.

Come, spend some time with me, bask in my love,
The simple pleasures are the best, one knows,
We're meant to be, we fit like hand in glove,
The more I have you, the more hunger grows.

Alas, I cannot live with only you,
Charcuterie and wine are vital too.
Yes, this is written with tongue in cheek. My least favorite British romantic poet is Lord Byron, but if he can in all seriousness write an ode to his dog, by golly I can write a sonnet with no seriousness at all to my love for French/Italian/peasant bread. As Spaniards say, "Cada loco con su tema, y yo con el mio" (each insane person has their theme and I have mine).
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