Daily Nolan

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Le Clos d’Elle is in Murka, y’all!

Wine wine wine!!!

As you know, we found an importer this year in Cleveland, allowing us finally (and legally!) to sell our wine, Le Clos d’Elle, in the United States! For the moment, we are offering three wines: the Rosé, a blend of Cinsault and Shiraz, and the straight Syrah. All are excellent. You can buy online through the link below! 🙂

Le Clos d’Elle: Vin de Pays d’Oc

Phillipines Independence Day

Two years ago today, I was working as a glassblower on the Solstice in the Mediterranean; it was Phillipines Independence Day, and since something like 20 percent of the crew is Filipino, the ship had closed off one of the guest lounges, Sky Lounge on Deck 14, for an after hours party. I put on my skinny jeans and heels and went up to have a look. At one point, I was sitting by the wall watching the dancing when a boy sat next to me. I paid not the slightest attention.

As I’ve said before, there’s a nine-to-one male to female gender ratio among the crew of cruise ships, so you learn quickly that, to avoid being misunderstood, it’s best not to throw out misconstrued signs of interest. I’ve seriously had men on cruise ships get angry at me and tell me off for “sending mixed signals” when, after saying hello and smiling every day to certain coworkers I’d see frequently in crew areas, they found out I wasn’t at all interested. What I considered as being polite and greeting, they saw as me sending out “interested” signals. Making a joke, continuing to sit at a table after I was joined by a male crew member, and making a piece of glass as a thank you for my room cleaner all ultimately got interpreted wrongly, and there was anger and hurt feelings. There are people from a lot of different cultures and countries on board, and I think, too, that sometimes behavior just gets interpreted differently in different places.

And then remember, once all THAT drama goes down, you then have to CONTINUE to see the person multiple times every day, off work and on, for the remaining months of your contract. There is NO getting away. So to avoid this, I learned to be more careful about making eye contact, talking to, or being alone with male crew members on the ship, at least those that were outside my smaller Entertainment department. It worked fine if you kept people at arm’s length…unfortunate, in that you then got accused of being “cold” or “bitchy”, or “thinking you’re better”… but better than being accused of misleading people.

I did wind up talking to this guy, though, and found out he was on the cruise director’s staff, helping to lead activities on board. He went and got a couple of the weak crappy beers they were giving away for free, and we stood on the furniture to see over the crowd when they started doing traditional dancing. I barely looked at him, to be honest. I was tired, and grumpy…not in a party mood… and left fairly early, leaving him sitting with the beers unopened on the table. I asked my friend as we took the elevator down who he was.

“His name is Mathieu. He’s French,” she replied.

The ship photographer, a guy from Vancouver named Peter (though we called him Scorcese) apparently snapped a photo of us standing on the furniture. I don’t remember it being taken, but it stands as the only photo from the night I met the guy I was going to marry. 🙂

Kind of an anniversary! So happy Phillipines Independence Day to all of you! It’s been an incredible two years with the most wonderful man, and it’s crazy to think – it was a kind of nothing night, with just another person, and yet, looking at this photo, I didn’t even know that my life was about to irrevocably change.

I’m glad that I’m giving two thumbs up, though.

Hold On

I’m hitting that level of exhaustion I was told about.

Not because the baby is colicky or excessively grumpy…not any more than you’d expect from someone for whom the world is so new and confusing! But at this point it’s just been a while since I’ve enjoyed uninterrupted sleep…so that cumulation is resulting in a kind of zombie state…

Probably I just need an Alka Seltzer!

It’s not as bad as i thought it would be. The tiredness is tempered by compassion and gentleness towards the little unhappy creature who seems so bewildered by the hunger pains and the trumpeting sounds his nether regions are emitting. His bicycling legs and waving arms manage to be sweet even in the middle of his crying…and really, he’s easy enough at the moment to calm.

Crying (actually starts more like sniffing) triggers me to run through the checklist:

-Hungry? (Usually I can figure this one out by asking a second question – is he attempting to stuff his entire fist in his mouth?)

-Wet? (For example, this morning we managed to soak through pajamas, sheets, mattress…it’s too pitiful to make you mad. And the feeling once you get him dry and warm in clean pajamas, laying in his cushion and contentedly sucking his pacifier is enough to make you feel like a super hero.)

-Gassy? (This is the hardest one, since it’s going to come out when it does, and hurt him UNTIL it does, so you try different positions (on the belly, supported by your arm, massaging his tummy and pushing his knees to his chest seems to be the most effective position to pop those farts out. I feel like I’m wielding a weapon.)


If it’s not one of those things, we go through the “Needy” list. Holding, bouncing on a yoga ball, singing, and cuddling all are tried. We see if he wants to look at his flags (he continues to be passionately fascinated by the bright simple colorful geometry of the St Kitts and Puerto Rican flags, and very often will become so interested that he forgets he’s supposed to be crying.) My last resort in the “Needy” list is to tuck him into the infant insert and strap him into my Ergo baby carrier, where almost always he will tuck down looking at me crossly, arms akimbo and pacifier furiously sucked…for about thirty seconds, until the warmth and secure feeling makes him fall asleep.

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Louise just left yesterday. We had a nice visit but I was exhausted and distracted the whole time. Thank God Louise is mellow and knows me well enough to be accommodating when my flag is flying half-mast! I’m not used to entertaining people anymore I guess; or maybe it’s just that the exhaustion from not sleeping is making me lose the plot. But it was great to see her, and she was just coming off a semester of uni so I think she was happy to keep it mellow, cook in the kitchen w the window open listening to tori Amos and eating melon and mango slices. She goes to school in Sunderland near Newcastle and it sounds like it was grey and cold and rainy so getting some Mediterranean sunshine and tomatoes that actually taste like sugar and sunshine…gotta be nice. We cooked simple fresh meals and poached eggs and worked out every day and she even said it felt a little bit like a detox in the end.

I took her to a cave I hike to sometimes. It’s the former wellspring of the Coulazou river, which is now dried up…I guess it used to be a geyser in the spring. Now it’s a deep hidden hole going into the earth. It’s hidden in a stand of trees and a bowl of boulders and most people don’t know it’s there. There are quartz crystals set into the rock. It’s a weird unsettling place…thinking about that geyser…like a doorway to the underworld.

We hiked in to Aumelas Castle the next day which is a castle ruins off in the hills. It dates back to the 9th c. One time my little sister in law Coralie found a heavy silver ring there w a black sapphire and the fleur-de-lys which was the insignia of French royalty. It was very old. The last time it was used was in the 14th c when the Protestants used it as a refuge during the religious wars. It’s very high on a hill overlooking vineyards.

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We went into montpellier that night, Friday, and it’s a cool city…because there’s a university, there are a lot of young people and bars and open squares. We walked around…there’s an aqueduct and an arc de triomphe and a plaza with unicorn statues and an ancient medical school w an anatomy theater that Nostradamus went to, in the time of the plague, with a huge ancient medicinal plant garden. We went to a cheese bar that had wine too…sat outside. The baby actually became fascinated with a sunbeam. Really. Totally charming. He was happy to be outside and sat quietly on my lap looking around. (Maybe, mostly looking at Louise? Well, he IS French!)

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And then the next day we went to Palavas on the sea, to get ice cream and wade in the sea. There’s a huge old cathedral on an island there called Villeneuve-de-Maguelone, just stone and tombs, no decoration, carvings in the walls and weird statues over the tombs that are kind of crude and worn away…and there was a woman in white jeans playing the cello in the stone domed apse. It was minor key and simple and kind of haunting.

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There were white peacocks outside.

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Mostly though, we enjoyed good conversation and, best of all, the chance to introduce the baby to one of my best friends. The very last night, I staggered to bed early and the baby fell asleep on Louise’s chest. It’s the best feeling in the world, to have this tiny creature cuddled under your chin, blissful and dreaming, rising and falling with your breathing. I’m so glad she got to experience that! And the next time she comes, the baby will be walking and laughing and getting into things…it’s nice to enjoy a baby at this age. It seems like it all changes so quickly.

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And in the end, during the sleepless nights, sitting on my couch nursing, my eyes half swollen shut with sleep, the grey light of dawn behind the shutters, I think of that impermanence often. These precious moments with my baby in the wee hours of morning will pass, and I’ll never get them back. So through the tiredness, I remind myself to enjoy the silence and dark in the house, the sleepy grumpy baby and his gas, the spit up on my pink night robe, the sight of Mathieu sleeping across the room…the indescribable essence of the scene that embodies the tenderness of being a new parent.