Help me. I have a tan.

Yesterday I went with The Fabulous B, her British boyfriend, and another friend S to hike up Mont Sainte Victoire, the famous mountain painted obsessively by Cezanne. I forgot my camera, which was both a blessing and a pity as I needed all my attention on the paths so as not to miss a step or a gorgeous rock formation. Also, the Mistral has been plaguing us since Tuesday. (It comes for 3 to 9 days, always in sets of three days.)

I’m taking some medication prescribed by Dr. K that is supposed to make me more sensitive to sunlight. So, I slathered on layers of sunblock, wore a big hat and a gauzy long-sleeved white shirt over my tank top and sports bra. Although my face has been spared, I’ve still managed to come back with a tan over my arms, chest and shoulders.

This is so not goth it makes me faintly queasy. On the other hand, I look kinda healthy.

We brought a picnic lunch and ate on a blanket under a couple of wobbly baby truffle oaks, somewhat out of the wind. Large black ants invaded our feast — not to steal cookie bits or bread crumbs, but big chunks of duck paté. Carnivorous little bastards. When we stopped at a small park refuge for a nap, we met two policemen on horseback. I called out “Bonjour!” to them, and one of them came over so that we could pet the horses. As we chatted, I understood everything he said! (The cop, not the horse.) That was kinda cool.

Later, we met up with some of B’s hiking group and went to what turned out to be someone’s incredible two-story mas on the park grounds. They forced good rosé on us from Côte de Provence, tasty olives and dried tomatoes soaked in olive oil served on fresh bread. A curly-haired dog named Salsa sat on the cliff overlooking the paths and woofed earnestly at everyone walking up to the house. I spoke to wealthy British expats and homey French mothers. One guy explained to me that he was searching for an old friend of his, an American James Joyce scholar named John Deeple who’d graduated from Princeton and lived in Ireland for a while. (The Deeple Dude has apparently disappeared from the face of the earth.) S and I talked about cats whilst I scrubbed love into Salsa’s ears.

For dinner, I made lamb with the fresh wild rosemary I picked on the mountainside, and served it with potatoes and green beans. I then called my mom, wrote for a while and finished Issue #3 of Buckaroo Banzai’s new adventure. I’m highly annoyed about a plot hole in Issue #2 that I thought would be resolved by Issue #3. Silly me! The story resolves, but not the plot hole. They have a female Cavalier now called Lady Gillette (heh) who kicketh much poot hole.

A thunder storm is brewing and The Frenchman will be home soon. That’s enough good news for the morning!