5.12.2014

giverny, plus tablet and ptsd updates

Keyboard

I love my Nexus 7. I hate the Minisuit keyboard, although the problem might be Bluetooth.

To blog, I need a keyboard, and I need to use Blogger via the website, as the Android app is too limited. (That seems silly, since Blogger is a Google product.) Using Blogger online with the onscreen keyboard is very inconvenient. I can't select, can't easily make links, and can barely see where I'm typing. 

I've adjusted to the tiny Minisuit keyboard. I dislike typing with two fingers, but I can do it. But I will never adjust to the cursor suddenly moving into a different paragraph, or characters not appearing onscreen for two minutes, then appearing all at once. 

What to do?

PTSD

This afternoon my mother confessed that the reason she didn't sleep last night is because she was worried about the strange noises I was making in my sleep. She won't say what she thought was happening (superstition) but I think she was worried that I was having a heart attack or some other medical emergency. Strangely, she never thought to wake me or to seek help. 

I told her the noises she heard were the sounds of PTSD. My mother and I never talk about my issues. I learned early on that she runs away from them (as she does from anything painful or scary), and since I found her denial painful in itself, I didn't talk about stuff, which suited her fine. So it was a bit strange to talk about my PTSD and night terrors, now, with my Mom. But we did, a bit. I feel really bad that she was worried and that I disturbed her sleep!

And now back to our show

So Connie and I both had crappy nights, for reasons known and unknown. I think she is getting anxious as the end of the trip nears.

The bright side of insomnia is that it was no problem getting out very early. By 6:30 a.m., we were in a cab bound for Gare St. Lazare; we had a coffee at the station, and took the 7:20 train for Vernon. I arranged our tickets in advance, but no one ever asked to see them!

In Vernon, only 40 minutes from Paris, we caught another cab to Giverny. We expected to stow our bags and settle in later, but some guests had cancelled their booking, so our room was ready despite the early hour. 

Les Jardins d'Helene is a beautiful B&B, a lovely mix of traditional and contemporary. In order to get a room with two beds, I booked a family suite both here in Giverny and tomorrow outside Rouen. Our suite door opens on a long hallway. At one end, there is a bedroom with a double bed (Connie's), and at the other, a room with two single beds for me. In the middle is the bath and toilette. It's so spacious, and the same price as our Paris room. 

Our host brought us coffee and we hung out in a funky sitting area while guests from the previous night had breakfast. (What we really need is breakfast-and-bed, rather than the usual order.) The sitting room has a vintage radio and record player, a collection of vintage cameras and light meters, and a collection of photography books, books about jazz, and jazz LPs. My room, meant for kids, has a huge selection of Asterix, Tintin, and Gaston graphic novels.

Connie and I set off down Rue Claude Monet, the main drag, such as it is, of Giverny. The road is narrow and rutted, and lined with stone walls and stone houses, many of which are B&Bs. Flowers are in bloom everywhere, often spilling over the stone walls. Rue Claude Monet is flat, but both above and below it are steep hills.

We bought tickets for the Monet house and gardens, then, still without breakfast, waited for a cafe to open. When it did, they weren't serving breakfast, which seems strange at 10 a.m. They were willing to serve us anything cold on the menu, so we had salads with egg and cheese in them. It was our first mediocre and overpriced meal of the trip. Which is pretty good, considering how much we've been eating!

After our funky breakfast, we went back to the Monet house. We are super lucky to be here on a Monday. Until this year, the house and gardens were closed Mondays, and the tour groups have not made the adjustment - that is, Monday is the only day without enormous crowds of day-trippers from Paris. I have heard that the crowds can be so thick that you can barely move! The moderate numbers of people there today were enough for me.

The gardens themselves are beautiful, but I guess I am just not that interested in gardens. I have heard such raves about this place; many people told me it is a must-see. Meh. Not that I'm sorry we came, but I was pretty underwhelmed. There are lots and lots and lots of flowers, in a huge array of colours and varieties, and the lily ponds where all those famous paintings were created. Monet's house is filled with his furniture and photographs, and his studio is filled with copies of his paintings.  I do enjoy taking close-up photos, so I took a lot of photos of flowers. The most important thing is that my mom loved it. This was her second or possibly third time here, and she very much wanted to visit again. So it's all good.

We had little sandwiches for lunch, and talked about why Connie had trouble sleeping. On the walk back to the B&B, we made a dinner reservation, which our host said was important. Then we got caught in a huge downpour. We had umbrellas this time but it hardly mattered. The rain and wind were torrential. I spotted some kind of shelter - like a bus shelter built by Theodoric of York - and we waited it out there. A few minutes later, the sun was shining. The whole trip, the weather has alternated between gorgeous and miserable.

Now we are relaxing in the B&B, writing and gabbing.

Photos of Giverny and Monet's gardens are here.

7 comments:

allan said...

I know she can't help being nervous about the end of the trip, but (a) it's still several days away and (b) she'll just be sitting there. She's not flying the plane!

allan said...

Hey, look! My comment is dated six hours from now!

laura k said...

You're right, she can't help it. Anxiety is just not rational. I think it's helping to be around me. I have some return-to-work anxiety, but I keep it at a distance and I don't talk about it!

Amy said...

Just want you to know I've been reading along, just haven't had a chance to comment. It sounds like you two are having an interesting and memorable time. I am sorry about your sleep disturbances and your mother's anxiety. Sounds like it as an appropriate Mother's Day conversation, actually.

Enjoy the remaining days!

the salamander said...

mmn.. this is about ?
no hard feelimgs, but this is stream of conciousness
experience.. description of foreign travel I sure can't afford

There's a political or cultural connection here..?
Not to say your recounting not interesting or valid
but.. ..

You post travels, travails here because.. ?


laura k said...

Amy, thanks for reading! The sleep issues and anxiety are, fortunately, minor, relative to the whole. And it was good that we talked about it. I hope your Mother's Day was nice, too.

laura k said...

The Salamander, perhaps you have a mistaken impression of this blog. Wmtc is my personal blog where i post whatever is on my mind and whatever I am experiencing that I want to write about.

I am a political person, so the posts are sometimes political in nature, but I have no mandate or requirement to write political posts.

When I travel, wmtc is my travel journal. I've kept a travel journal on every trip I've taken since 1983, and since 2004 I've done that here at wmtc.

Shorter answer to your inappropriate question: because I want to.

About this and every other bit of information you find online, if you don't want to read it, DON'T.