Friday was that terrible shooting and I cried and cried. Then I made dozens upon dozens of lemon bars (my lemon tree is super generous this year). I put the lemon bars in pretty paper bags and gave them to everyone that crossed my path: neighbors, people my husband works with, friends. I just wanted to give, and share, and feel connected to the human race, at least the part of the human race that doesn't SUCK.
And then I decorated my house for the holidays: Please notice below my Sapin de Noël is in good company between my buddha and my menora.
Also, I'm giving away free copies of my novel Hidden in Paris, thanks to the smart and talented Véronique.
Véronique is one of those impressive women able to turn a challenging life (moving from country to country with her two young daughters because of her husband's work) into a positive: helping other expats and writing books about the expatriate life.
How would you feel about not being able to set roots, or know for sure how much of your heart you can invest in any given country? I would have a very hard time with this, personally. Véronique recently published Finding your Feet in Chicago. If you're moving to Chicago or know someone who does, this is the book you absolutely need.
See what I mean about humanity that doesn't suck?
If you read French, check out Véronique's blog. She has recently started over (again!) In Shanghai. I'm not sure she is enjoying her new Chinese life as much as I'm enjoying reading about it. She comments on her Carrefour shopping (the equivalent of Vons or Ralphs in the U.S.), and explains that buying your fish involves having to catch it yourself armed with a fishnet as it swims inside a large aquarium. Or how picking your meat at the meat counter really means picking it: going at it with bare hands. Or how eggs are never refrigerated in Shanghai so every time she plans an omelet she wonders if she might find a baby chick while cracking the eggs over her pan. She tells of a couple and their two children entering the store on a moped and with helmets on their heads and shopping for their groceries like this while no one else seems surprised.
I can't wait to read that book!
All right, I hope you're like these images of Noël. Why do I not call it Christmas this year? Out of respect for the people who want to keep 'Christ in Christmas.' Yes. I finally found a loophole around my guilt! (and more guilt here and here.)
For picture credit please go to my holiday pinterest page here. The first two are mine.
I'm leaving you with a quote from The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller. It resonated with me, the idea of the heart bursting. Especially after the terrible tragedy of Thursday. Do we even notice when our hearts are filled with love, or do we overlook it? Until something happens and we see what is lost.
" I mean I felt my heart might just burst. Bursting is different than breaking. Like there is no way to contain how beautiful. Not it either, not just beauty. Something about how I fit..."
Have a wonderful end of the year, everyone.