Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy 2010 - Pour Bella, Poor Bella

(A remnant from a site-specific installation I did at the Chatenay house, in the old stable, 10 years ago - a detail of a quote I painted around the room by Herve Guibert, author of Ghost Image)

Luckily, David passed his kidney stones before the x-ray, so no surgery was required. And all the kids' and David's cuts and bruises have healed. The kids' first day of school that we have all been anxiously awaiting was canceled today due to the blanket of snow. While gorgeous and quiet, it's a bit difficult to maneuver with the kids. David came home a bit early from work today and we ventured to the Parc Tete D'Or (Park of the Golden Head) and saw the most surreal black bear standing on his hind legs like a man in a costume and he kept sniffing the air in a funny nod. We all saw crazy cold flamingos in the chilly water and snow and some enormous salmon-colored pelicans.

(one of many beautiful details in the Chatenay house)

Our biggest adventure thus far was going to my friend Corinne's country house in Chatenay, a small village in Beajoulais country, for New Year's Eve. Ten years ago I did a big photo-art site-specific installation in the old stable. Corinne lived there with her partner, Christophe. It was Christophe's father's house and when he died, he left it to Christophe. Now he and Corinne are no longer a couple and they split the house in half - Corinne in the more feminine/domesticated half and Christophe in the rough/unfinished masculine half. We took long walks through goblin forests and fairy woods, down mossy and hilly paths, over soggy hills and through magical fog. It snowed a bit and we feasted on foie gras, slow-cooked lamb, divine wines and cheeses, croissants and champagne. Corinne's sweet 100% muscle whippet dog Bella was constantly by our happy sides and I even fell asleep with her for 15 minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve.

(Bella and her toy)

On New Years Day Christophe took Bella running for over 4 hours and when she lay down in exhaustion, he just kept running, returning home without her. He went out looking for much later, when it was too dark to see and after we had driven off back to Lyon in the most amazing fog and snow through narrow mountain roads. When he found her the next day, she was alone and dead. She was only 3. We all had a good cry and feel absolutely devastated for Corinne and angry at Christophe. Such a sad story.

Chatenay is overwhlemingly gorgeous, as you can see by these photographs:

(Corinne's house in Chatenay with my shadow, Harper at the rent-a-car and David)

(A cheese cage dangling from an outdoor patio with the hills beyond)

(Guthrie whittling on the patio with his new Christmas Opinel pocketknife.)

(the welcoming view from the front door)

(Guthrie and Harper walking in Beaujoulais heaven)

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