My Review of “Mademoiselle Benoir”, by Christine Conrad


“It’s not just the incredible gift of physical love at a time in my life when I thought I had to give up any dream of it, but also the gift of a ‘sweet love’, a love without tyranny, from either his side or mine.

I am even grateful for my years alone… I grew stronger in myself and came to know I could survive as a woman alone. There was a kind of cleansing, a taking away of my youthful ‘neediness’, which pollutes relationships when we are young.” (p. 186)

Mademoiselle Benoir: A Novel

Except for the initial fumble with the fact that the novel was set in 1998, when there was supposed to be the Internet already and I wondered why they still wrote letters to each other — but which later on I found to be believable if they were a very cultured, letter-writing family and the character Tim Reinhart was writing from a very very remote village in Southwestern rural France, when there couldn’t have been good dial-up networking then — I found the novel deep in its understanding of human character and the ways of relationships.

I also liked the epistolary style as it draws the reader in to the story as if they were part of it.

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Car Wash Surprise on a Sleepy Sunday Afternoon


As soon as I got home from the facial salon last Sunday, I had to ask Thea (my 20-year-old daughter), “I don’t give off the aura of a stalking cougar type, do I?”

My dear Thea promptly said, “No, of course not! Why, what happened?”

And I had to tell her about this attractive younger (mid- to late-20s) man who befriended me at the car wash earlier in the afternoon and coaxed me out of the book I was reading.

photo credits to The Bacolod Food Hunters
(but this wasn’t the exact car wash I’m blogging about here ๐Ÿ™‚ )

It happened again, a stranger chats me up at some public place, but this time, instead of me getting them to spill the beans on their lives, this man gets ME to spill the beans on my life by his gentle, curious questioning!

I was reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” and underlining and marking with my pencil the words and lines I liked, and from out of the blue, this male voice asks, “Mind if I ask why you’re doing that?” and I turn to see that the voice’s owner has seated himself next to me. So I explained briefly why I do it and got back to my book, and it took 3 pages more of my reading and his friendly asking that it occurred to me that he wanted to talk to me!

It went on like that and I felt like I was the younger one clumsily answering his curious, interested questions, not quite getting the subtle hints at more-than-passing interest on cue, while he looked upon me amusedly and gently, and all the while at the back of my mind I was asking my self if I gave off anything the least bit cougar-ly! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

And all the while, I was thinking too, “Gaaaad! I’m so rusty at this now!” (And then a second voice in my head pipes up, “When were you ever smooth at this, huh?”) ย : I

Things To Do With Sudden Alone Time and Space


Nurture your own garden;

Nourish your own soul.

photo credits to Mobile Toones

1. Sleep longer, uninterrupted
2. Wake up at dawn & take long walks around Nature
3. Take longer, slower showers
4. Read for pleasure
5. Write longer on journal
6. Clean, reorganize stuff
7. Walk around the house naked, barefooted, to let the body fully breathe
8. Turn up the volume on favorite classical/instrumental music
9. Dance if you feel like it
10. Meditate
11. Treat self to beauty salon pampering
12. Treat self to spa massage
13. Cook for self, for pleasure
14. Sketch, doodle, color
15. If outside, people-watch
16. Pray
17. Refresh Vision Board
18. Update Gratitude List
19. Update To Do List
20. Once refreshed and re-energized (and only WHEN refreshed and re-energized!), work on papers and other work-related reading, thinking & writing stuff

P.S. ย It’s interesting how, when I searched Google for “alone” images, most that came up were the sad/ lonely kinds of images. ย ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ย I never believed nor experienced alone-ness as that!

photo credits to Emmanuel Dagher