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Friday, April 17, 2015

To Cultivate and Grow ~ A French Girl Friday Post

Learning how to cultivate and grow my inner French Girl , one page at a time. 

I will admit that I spend far too much time watching television. When you have the health issues that I have, it is not always easy to get out and about, and sitting all day is not easy either, as it can cause just as many pain issues for me, so I turn on the television and listen even if I am not watching. It also keeps me from going crazy within the four walls. I shall also admit I have quite the varied type of programs I enjoy watching, and not all of them are the type that help cultivate the mind, there are times to simply let my mind drift and not concentrate is the best type of relaxation I can get, though quite a few are indeed very educational, I love the Travel, Discovery and History channels . I also watch the national news most nights. So I did indeed find it hard to read this weeks chapter in Lessons from Madame Chic, written by Jennifer L. Scott , the chapter titled " Cultivate Your Mind" , as I am quite limited in my ability to follow the tips on how to do so. 

Getty Image from Time Life Magazine

As I read her accounts of her experiences living in Paris and how Madame Chic did not watch television, how because of all the wonderful things there are to do and experience in Paris Jennifer had little time and soon little interest in watching television and how once she was back in the states that she continued to do her best to limit the television programs she watched, I was green with envy that I have not had such experiences and though I try to limit my day time viewing, with taking walks, my daily chores and the moments of time I am on the computer ( no better really), I do not think I shall ever be able to achieve just an hour or two here and there.    

Richard Avedon Harpers Bazaar 1953
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Not all the suggestions are impossible or long shots for me however. I do love to read, obviously I am reading Jennifer' s book, and will read her others after this. I always have a book both on my kindle and on my bedside as well. I love books. I read mostly what is known as Cozy mysteries, not sure they cultivate my mind, but they do relax me and make my mind work at the same time trying to solve the mystery at hand.  I read self help books, but not serious ones, as you can gather from this series of posts, but I do believe that they help me cultivate my mind on some level. I like historic based fiction, at times I read non fiction travel books, such as A Year in Provence, living through the authors own experiences of living in another country and culture, not unlike Jennifer's books, but written in a much more story like manner. I also like to read newspapers, but will admit I can not recall the last time I did so... at least regular newspapers, I often read a local paper that profiles what is going on in the area to keep informed.  I do not read as much as I should or like, getting into a viscous addiction cycle of playing games on my kindle or phone and checking Pintrest, FB and now Instagram. It happened when I got my kindle as a gift , a thoughtful gift from my husband, he thinking I would use it simply as a reader, instead I have read less and less over the last two years and I feel I truly miss the reading at night, my favorite time, but find it hard to break my addiction to Monster Busters.  I think I need to work on that starting tonight! Jennifer wrote " the more you read, the more you will want to read..." I hope that becomes true. 

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Two other ways suggested for cultivating your mind are things I once enjoyed, such as attending the theater and going to see a film. I find it hard, as I mentioned to sit still for any length of time. Even writing this blog is difficult and this is the reason I have gone down from writing daily as I did five years ago to writing once a week, though I shall soon be adding at least one more day now and again as I have subjects to write about and to share that are not able to fall under the heading of a FGF post. Both movies and theater have been a long time love for me, and I hope one day to perhaps be able to enjoy them again, till that time arrives, I enjoy movies at home via pay per view and netflix.. sometimes even Youtube. When each year as has been the pattern the last two, a live play has been aired on television, I always tune in and enjoy it fully. I believe movies and theater are a wonderful way to cultivate our minds... ok maybe not such films as the latest action flick or horror sequel, but there are some truly wonderful films out there that can enrich ones mind, wake it up really and make us see the world in a different way. I love that about film, theater as well. 

I believe you can cultivate your mind through other means as well. Not one of the suggestions listed, such as learning a new word each day, going back to school, following the arts , or learning more about the subjects and people that interest you ( and no I do not mean by reading gossip mags and watching reality tv...though I do learn a lot through the Amazing Race!),  but perhaps through the foods we enjoy. I love going through cookbooks from regions of the world that I had once dreamed of visiting and learning to cook a dish from there. Right now my husband and I are cooking French food ( no big surprise) from time to time, but have also been known to do authentic Chinese, Italian and Mexican as well. When I was a girl I was in 4-H, I joined a cooking course. We each month that we met would cook from a different part of the world and learn about the place that the dishes came from. The one that I liked the most was actually Germany. My Grandma on my Father's side was pure German. I loved learning more about the foods from her parents country, and then preparing and of course eating them. It was a great way to cultivate within myself my own heritage, or at least part of it. I am a real mix of heritages and have yet to explore all of them meal wise, but I have time. YES! There is a very big chance, so my Aunt tells me, that I have a little bit of French in me...if not, then perhaps in a former life, since as I wrote in a post a while back I have always wanted to channel my inner French girl, even as a young is one way I can do that. 

Travel is one of the suggested ways to cultivate your mind. I obviously do not travel much. I have let go of dreams of traveling out of the United States. Now, now, don't feel bad for or be encouraging that it could still happen. I am ok with that fact. Planes are not my friends, neither are boats, and though I love the train, the furthest I could get is perhaps Canada? That may happen one day. Car travel is hit and miss, and I have seen other states, and would like to see more, and one day perhaps I shall. In the meantime my husband and myself have certainly taken a lot of daycations, and you can read all about them here on the blog under the same label in the archives. I have learned about the area I live in and it is fascinating. Because of the fibro fog I do not always remember what I have learned, but thank goodness for my blog and for the internet!! I do love to arm chair travel as well. I mentioned above that I watch the Travel Channel, though it seems less and less about travel and more about places to eat when you do. I also like Amazing Race to see bits and pieces of places around the world. I watch movies that take place in other parts of the world, and read books as I mentioned above that also take me away from the four walls of this cottage on the busy corner to anywhere I truly wish to go. Sometimes I watch live feeds from places I wanted to visit, did you know you can tour places in Paris this way? There is so many wonderful ways to travel, even if it is from your couch! 

There are so many ways to cultivate your mind
and channel your own inner French girl!

Reading this weeks chapter and doing this weeks blog made me realize that even though I many not be able to travel to France, and I might watch just a bit more, ok a lot more tv than that average French person ever will, and I am not able to follow a lot of the suggestions in Jennifer's book, I can still cultivate my mind and grow and channel just a little bit of my inner French girl, just in my own way. Even a casual conversation while sitting at the local cafe or at the nail salon can do the trick. I think I shall go order an arm chair travel book for some region of France I have not been to yet and soak in the culture.  Till next we chat, I hope you take the opportunity to both order Jennifer's book, Lessons From Madame Chic, and perhaps follow some of her suggestions or maybe even figure out a few of your own and channel your own inner French girl. 


  1. I like the lessons from madame chic, but I think she has not had much experience in the realities of other words she is a new mother, and seems to be very young, some of her ideas are applicable, but I like to read the ideas of someone with a little more experience! I am older (63) and live in the country so allot of her style seems to be very urban. your blog is more interesting to me because you have allot more life experience.

    1. I completely understand...I often find it hard to relate as well, but she does inspire me and challenges me to figure out how I can take her suggestions and mold them to my own life. Thank you for reading....I hope I inspire you.

  2. You surly do Ruby, I follow you on facebook, and I love this blog, your friend in Pennsylvania, Susan LaBadie.


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