Pascale, who is French, and a chef came to my home the other day to prepare a meal for my family.
I sat at my kitchen table and thanked every lucky star and speck of wonder about me. Blogging has introduced me to many amazing adventures and glorious calories.
This morning when I could not button my pants I thought, "Ten thousand glorious calories will do this to you..." and then I went downstairs, and had another dozen potato blinis... with cream fraiche and honey mustard. Discipline is not a gift of mine.
Pascale's Recipe for Marinated Cured Salmon (for 12)
1 side of salmon filleted and de-boned-about 5 and half LB
500 gr of salt
150 gr of sugar
10 gr of white pepper
1 bunch of chervil or dill
4 tablespoon olive olive oil
Put the salmon in a stainless steel tray skin side down and cover with the mix of salt, sugar and pepper.
Keep in the fridge to cure for 48 or 36h then rinse abundantly then dry with paper towel or a cloth.
Move the salmon on to a cutting board and slice finely at a 25 degree angle
Sprinkle the salmon with olive oil, lemon zest and chervil
Serve with blinis, capers and crème fraiche
Pascale's Yukon Gold Potato Blinis (recipe for 24 small blinis so for 6 pers.)
• 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes or Idaho potatoes
• 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 to 3 tablespoons creme fraiche, or 35% wiping cream
• 3 egg yolk
• Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
• Freshly Grated nutmeg
• 2 tbs of butter
• 2 tbs of sunflower oil
• Cook the potatoes unpeeled in a pot with simmering water, let them cool off on a tray then peel and pass through a food mill.
• In a bowl add the eggs, the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and the flour at the end and mix well together after verifying the seasoning.
• Heat up a tbs of butter and oil in a non stick frying pan then cook small dollops of blinis on medium heat 30 second on each side until golden brown
• Serve the blinis warm with the cured salmon topped with crème fraiche, honey mustard dressing and capers.
• Honey mustard Dressing
• Mix in a bowl with a whisk same proportion of honey and French Dijon mustard then drizzle on the salmon
Potato blinis, cured salmon, cream fraiche, honey mustard, capers, wonderful mouthful of delicious-ness, heaven on earth divinity, worth every button impossible to button on my pants glory. Who needs chocolate?
Pascale...err..um...I know I shouldn't be greedy.... but what is for dessert?
Thank you Pascale and Laurie for a wonderful dayi
Yesterday a blogging friend came to visit. They came to prepare me a meal in my kitchen.
The bread basket with potatoes for the blinis.
The chef explains the process... my mouth was watering.
The turn of the century measuring cup.
Bowl of rock salt and spoon.
The Chef's hands slicing the cured salmon.
Olive oil in a water spritzer bottle and seasoning the cured salmon.
The set table,
The champagne bucket found at the brocante the other day, and the birthday champagne.
The Chef following his passion.
More to follow, recipes too.
Blogging makes the world fit in a nutshell.
Susanna, a blogging buddy who I have never met, but feel like she is a childhood friend (we started blogging around the same time (four years ago) introduced me (by email) to a friend of hers. Pascale and Laurie, chefs from Canada, who are coming to my home this morning. I met them recently and we seemed to be separated at birth. Why my mother never told me I will never know. They are going to give me a cooking lesson (I hope they know recipes and me do not mix?)
Lately I have met more people from blogging than I have in my day to day life. I use to meet people in the market and invite them over for dinner. That alone I could write a book about: How I Came to Know the World Through the French Market
Though it seems with blogging I meet people who come over and cook me dinner.
They cook and I do the dishes. It doesn't get better than that... well unless it involves brocante too.
When you come over to my house to cook, what recipe will you share?
The entire morning long Ladelle helped me pack the purchases bought from my online Brocante. During lunch I asked her what she would like to do this afternoon... I suggested: St Tropez, Hike St. Victorie, visit Les Arch were there is a wonderful mosaic of Chagall, drive along the Riviera, maybe visit a winery or two? With a coy look she said," Let's go to the brocante!"
I wanted to wave my hands in the air and chant, "ALLELUIA!" Instead I looked at her regretfully shook my head and said, "I am so sorry I have given you the brocante bug... you poor, poor, girl!" Then I made a mad dash for my coat while hollering, "First dibs, let's go."
I received an email that said that lately my blog seemed to be depressing and that I needed to lighten up.
I spoke to French Husband about it.
He said it was good that the person who sent me the email felt she could be honest and tell me what she thought. He went on to remind me of the time my Brother Mathew wrote that I needed to stop talking about the Brocante... or as my brother Mathew inferred, "Brocante Hell."
This morning while we were in the kitchen making breakfast and discussing my depressing blog....
Happy Birthday Ladelle, and thanks for your enlightenment.
There is a silver lining to everything. It doesn't necessarily make the package it comes in better, but it does help.
During the time I had chemotherapy years ago, I never had a migraine. It was the silver lining in the package called cancer that was given to me. Sure I thought I would rather have the migraines than the cancer. But when given a box of assorted chaos it is the silver lining that helps one focus on the good and not the bad.
Ladelle sees the silver lining everyday. I am constantly amazed at her determination to focus on the beauty of the day and not the haunting beast.
When we suffer from losing someone to death it is easy to feel guilty in the daily moments of joy. It is easy to feel guilty if we survive cancer when many don't. It is easy to feel guilty when in the midst of pain and suffering a silver lining reaches out to you leading you towards living.
Small victories, life triumphs begging us to see the silver lining as a gift of goodness, to believe even when we care not.
Ladelle and I drove along the route de Crete... to sit on top of the cliffs and have a picnic.
The wind, oh the wind had another idea and it did not include picnic. Ladelle saw the Mistral in full force. It threaten to blow us off the cliff.
We had our picnic inside the car, and took in the view calmly.
We drove down the cliff into the center of Cassis. The village has restaurants that line the port.
Pastel colored facades at nightfall.
We stopped into one of the small restaurants and had a kir royal.
When the waiters started to stack the chairs we realized it was time to go.
We walked along the seaside and collected stones.
and watched a little girl play with her dog.
and then cast our goodbyes into the blue.
When someone you love dies it feels like part of you dies too. The world as you know it changes. Living with lost, seeing the world through the eyes of grief it is hard to describe, the world keeps moving and yet you feel you are motionless.
It takes time to gather the pieces left behind and put them in place. The pieces do not fit the same way, it gives a different perspective. We might not want to face the change. So we re-shift the pieces until they fit.
when the one we love has died,
is not easy.
My friend Ladelle is staying with us as she mourns the loss of her husband.
We sit. Sometimes we talk, often we do not. Though listening is ever present.
As I listen to her I hear the echo of distant sadness within me. I recall the time I was in the monastery and barely twenty years old. My Grandmother had died, sadness was my new best friend. A Sister, Miriam pulled me aside, asking me to tell her about my Grandmother. I talked and talked and talked, and in doing so watched Miriam hold my suffering. Sharing grief can help ease the pain, allowed me to breathe.
Ladelle is tender to the bone. Her faith and her love allow her to breathe.
I ask myself what can I do to make this moment healing.
As I watch her I recall my mother. When my father died my mother put on a brave face, though there was a distant look in her eyes.
Grief unfolds at its own pace. Though it seems unbearable to let it take its course in a world that is rushing by unaware of the monumental, earth-shattering event that has taken place within the one who is left alone.
Ladelle and I sit. Tears well up. We talk, we drink, we walkabout. She grieves. I try to give her a safe place to be.
In the midst of grieving, we see things differently. Symbolically. We place the banner of our sadness here and there... and carry on waiting for spring to come again.
The never-ending cycle of life and death. The never-ending search for meaning and love.
It is who we are.
Have you ever lost someone you loved? How did you carry on.....
I am not French and after twenty some years of living here I still do not drink coffee.
Though the crossiants and baguettes cut into tartines had me from the get go.
Every morning there is a pot on the burner, heating milk for my French Husband's cafe au lait. Every morning all over France the baker is baking his bread. Every morning the farmer is milking his cows.
Heating milk is the easy part...
See the thickness of the wall, imagine three feet of stone. Just thought I shared that with you. Breakfast is about waking up and letting your mind wander in one million directions. Heating milk and thinking of the stone wall, made me run upstairs to grab the camera.
French Breakfast chez moi.
I prefer a glass of water to coffee or tea.
Butter comes in thick slabs. The one I buy is a chunky monkey which quickly dwindles down to something like miss shaped art.
What do you have for breakfast?
The sun was up, the morning was cold and wet. Chelsea was still sleeping (she is home during a school break).
A peep of a knock sounded on the door: Tap, tap......tap.
Opening the door I did not expect to see Mr. Espresso, but there he was with a sack in hand.
After saying hello, in barely a whisper he asked, "Is Chelsea awake?"
I replied that she wasn't, but that I would go upstairs and wake her. Certainly she would be happy to see him.
Mr. Espresso had a better idea. He asked, "If you do not mind, I have brought everything I need to make Chelsea breakfast in bed. May I use your kitchen?"
How could I say no to that?! Gee I think I fell in love today.
He went into the kitchen and prepared my daughter's breakfast, he even cleaned up.
Holy Moley, I guess Prince Charming does exist.
Lately I have met several people through my blog who have cancer. There is a bond of compassion that goes between people when they share something that you have experienced. When you share something that has carved a path within you, there is a silent understanding of knowing that unites one to the other.
Most of the people who write to me want to know what I did to beat the odds, how did I survive, how did I heal, what miracle was I given... I am not certain I did anything differently than anyone else who has this disease.
I cried. I prayed and I wanted to live.
Whenever I am asked I recall that time of panic, of fear, of everything becoming precious and dear... having cancer makes life, the small and mundane, that which we take for granted and every moment breathing, appear in technicolor. Life suddenly, becomes richer when you are branded with the reality of death on your doorstep.
I remember the joy of washing dishes, the wondrous hot water, the suds looking like diamonds... I remember thinking that washing dishes was such a gift! Yes having cancer made each step of living richer, beautiful, holy....
In retrospect cancer made me wake up, made me "see" life...
What did I do to survive cancer? If I had an answer I would be a very rich woman and so would many many others. I wish I had the answer so others could be healed... but I don't.
What I didn't do is this.... I never gave up believing that the only moment I had was the one right where I stood. I was alive and living, cancer did not rob my soul.
I also did not say or like to hear the words Battling Cancer, or Put up a good fight... those words made me feel I was in battle against myself. I couldn't stand that idea.
So instead I changed the vocabulary.
That is not a cure to cancer. Nor is it the only thing I did to try to heal myself. Most of all I felt I was lucky and it took years to accept that without feeling guilty.
The words fight and battle
just did not set well with me. I did not like the meaning of those words.
It felt like I was in a war zone with myself. I knew cancer was not
good, that I had to think positive but "Fight" and "Battle" I could not
imagine that. Everyday, whether in the shower, or right before bed, or
while waiting in the grocery store line, or in a traffic jam... I would
close my eyes and imagine coming face to face with the cancer cells within me. I imagine
I was inside myself facing the cancer cells that had gone awry. I would
see them like round dark circles I would tell them that I wanted them
to be well. I needed them to be well. I would ask them (myself) what
made them go awry? How did I let part of me down? Then I would say they
had to come into the light and live, right, normal, healthy so that we
Then I would hug them. I hugged and loved the cancer cells within me instead of "fighting the battle." I did not love cancer, but I used it as a tool for healing.
If you have any stories or thoughts of encouragement to share please do..... I know a few friends who will be reading.
My thoughts are with you J's daughter, E, SM, J, L, S's mother, Mmd. T.
There use to be a time that depression would kick in around Valentine's. All that talk about romance, roses, candlelight dinners and the slew of images of beautiful people, happy together plastered on billboards and on TV... Yes Valentine's got my goat, showed me that I didn't have a Valentine, made me feel depressed...
Until I met my French Husband that is.
I remember waking up that first Valentine's morning in France. I could hardly contain my excitement. My head was full of wishful thinking. I leaned over to my newlywed husband and said, "Happy Valentine's Valentine!"
By the look of his face I knew he hadn't a clue about what I was saying.
After I explained what Valentine's meant to me, I learned that Valentine's wasn't celebrated in France.
I was so surprised I pushed him off the bed.
That was over twenty years ago....
Valentine's has never been the same. Sometimes we remember to mark the day, sometimes we don't. It doesn't matter if I receive roses, or a candlelight dinner or sweet trinkets of affection. I am happy even if my boys decide to go skiing on Valentine's day and leave me home alone.
But.... I did manage to say as the walked out the door.... "Happy Valentine's My Lovely Dear Handymen to be!"
They quickly turned around giving me a smirky look and a grunt.
"Just teasing," I said, "Though if a handyman shows up in a red overalls...."
"What is red overalls?" asked French Husband.
"Sexy hot," I laughed.
May love lead you this Valentine's Day.
When you are seventeen a dance is more about who than what. My son dressed and redressed and stood in front of the mirror for half a century. A dance is more about what you wear than what type of music you will hear. Every hair on his head was counted for, but that doesn't mean that it did what he wanted it to do. Curly hair is stubborn like that. He left with a song in his eye that caused his feet to skip out the door... I knew that this dance was about someone, yet when you are the mom of a teenage boy those secrets are not easily shared.
As I flipped pancakes this morning, I anxiously awaited news about the dance. I could tell by the sound of his feet on the stairs that it wasn't what he hoped for.
I watched him as he buttered his pancakes, and wondered how I could ask without added salt to the injury. But since my wanting to know over took my patience I asked him, "Are you sad because of a girl?" He shook his head yes without looking up, he said, "I waited too long. She danced with another boy all night long."
Love songs at a dance can either make or break a heart.
"Oh no I am sorry," is all I could say. He ate his pancakes slowly... offering me tidbits of his evening. He noticed everything about her... even the song that played when she kissed.
Antiquing in France where flea markets and antiques are as plentiful as the stars in the sky, it is not difficult to be a collector. One can collect an array of antiques, big and small, furniture, porcelain, rustic art, books, fabric, silver, and ephemera in lightening speed. If you like antiques do not come to France because you will go crazy the moment your foot touches the flea market ground.
At the French flea markets where history lays out before you as easy as any major chain store does in the USA, it is not a question of what will you find? The real question is: What do you want to find. If you want to find ribbon you will--- but if you want to find a certain shade of mauve, or aubergine, or maybe a certain tint of grey and in silk.. than that is another thing. Pink ribbons are the most common.
Common is not a word I usually attach to antiques. Nevertheless there are many French antiques that are common: Items that are a given to any flea market. Let me say it like this.. Certain brocante items are as common as apples and oranges in a grocery store. Where apples and oranges are available every single day. We assume they will always be there, expect them and do not consider buying them unless we are hungry for them. It is the same with certain antiques in France.... but if you are looking for a certain type of apple other than a Granny Smith you might have to look a bit harder and pay more.
Take postcards for example. Post cards are plentiful in France, but a bundle of postcards with beautiful handwriting, stamped, and with a lovely image on the opposite side-- that is another question. Linens, dishes, books, mirrors, sconces... are plentiful and a given to any French antique/brocante market. The question is price. You can find it, but how much are you willing to pay for that one special piece verse the ordinary.
I have been going to the antique/brocante markets for over twenty years. Sometimes just to be inspired, often for the cultural/historical lesson to learn, and mainly because I have the *brocanting bug badly". (Brocante: Is a noun to say Antique Market. I am using the word as a verb for my own pleasure. Or as my French Husband would say butchering a perfectly good French word into Franglais.).
When is the best time to go antiquing in France?
Anytime. Antique markets are year round. When in France ask at the local Tourist Office for the nearest: Brocante (antique market), Marche aux Puces (Flea Market), or Vides des Grenier (garage sale like market).
Though I find May and September to be very good months for antiquing.
What should you bring?
Cash, since credit cards and foreign checks are not accepted. A large backpack or push cart to carry your purchases. A small notebook to write down what you bought, newspaper or bubble wrap to protect the items that you find and hand sanitizer because your hands will get dirty.
How do I ship my goods back home?
1) Post your purchases from the post office. You can purchase a pre paid box that holds 14 pound. It costs $61. Or you can box your goods yourself in a box up to (but it can be smaller) three feet by three feet, not weighing more than 60 pounds. Cost: $279.
2) If you are a passenger going or coming from France to the USA, or the USA to France. You can cargo frieght your goods home. You need to package your own goods and take them to the airport. Size and weight are unlimited. Though all items must be boxed and ready for shipping. Your purchases will be sent by cargo freight, door to door. Check out Bagages du Monde on the internet. The cost is per pound.
3) Or you can pack your purchases in your suitcases. Check your airlines for size and weight limitations. Usually an extra suitcase cost around $80 for 50 pounds.
4) Contact Fed EX and have your items picked up wherever you are staying.
5) LTC or "Less Than Container" you can use an international transporter (most antique shops can lead you to one) a cubic meter can cost up to $1000. Delivery is up to eight weeks and often your will have a custom entry charge. If you buy items at a local antique/brocante fair you will need to take your goods to an international transporter. If you buy your goods at an international fair or at an Antique shop, the international transporters will pick up directly for you. International transporters can be found on the internet, or at most French antique shops,
Flash back 1988:
Staring at the menu, I sat in a cafe in Paris. French Husband translated the menu, but not word for word. He read, "Chicken no. Lamb no. Bunny certainly not. The liver of a duck.... Oh I love the liver of the duck... mais no."
We were vegetarians in a world of meat eaters. Slim pickings' with a whole lot of desserts.
The waiter came to our table, pencil in hand, no smile upon his face, dressed in his black coat and long white apron. Food is serious business in France and I felt like a small potato on a kitchen counter.
Pretending I knew how to speak French I blurted that I did not eat meat, and could he suggest something for us. Beaming with pride that my broken, heavily accented French had caused the waiter's left side of his mouth to turn up, I thought he smiled and waited for his response. Instead he simply clicked his heels and said, "Alors?"
French Husband leaned across the table, grabbed my hand as if the moment were intimate and holy, I felt a rush inside... but my bubble burst when he said, "Corey, you told the waiter, that you do not eat food."
My red face did not match my lipstick. I looked up at the waiter with an awkward smile.
You see the word Beef which is pronounced: Bouef, and the word eat is Bouffee. Looking at those two words you can see the difference is not extraordinary.
The waiter smiled, briefly.
And I learned how to say vegetarian right then and there.
A few favorite restaurants in France (please feel free to add to the list):
(Also if you see a sign on the door that says Pudlo then you can trust that the restaurant is going to be a favorite too!
If you are after a bit of history...the oldest restaurant in Paris is:
If you are into a good view while you sip your wine:
If you are looking for old fashion taste, something from by gone days, a place where I have to go each and every time I am in Paris:
Chez Robert and Louise (A MUST SEE VIDEO) Since I do not eat meat... I always ask them to make me an omelet. Louise throws in home fried potatoes and sauteed mushrooms. (My dear friend Shannon referred to this restaurant yesterday in the comment section.)
A favorite hang out of ours when we lived in Paris years ago and it still remains a treat:
If you are into the decor and food and atmosphere and need a dinner date (take me to...)
And a wonderful blog about Paris. Another must see, fantastic photos and information.
Restaurants in Provence:
La Mirande... when I die this is what heaven will be like. A beautiful place to wander from room to glorious room. Amazing views, cooking classes, wonderful food, and flawless decor.
Yes this is heaven... in this life too.
If you are after simplicity, a waterfront view, and a taste of the true blue...
Nestled in a small town famous for santons and Marcel Pagnol is a wonderful new restaurant that tops my list for their impeccable service, and perfectly prepared, full flavored meals.
4) Another little secret restaurant amongst the locals, is a restaurant up in the hills: Where it is said that Marie Magdalene lived and prayed in the Grotto of Saint Baume.
The restaurants decor is very casual, with outdoor seating. They also have a small hotel... but the food is the main attraction.
5) Another favorite of mine, is a restaurant that sits right on the water. Above the restaurant are four rooms to rent as well. There is a special priced menu at noon as well that is unbeatable. Fish soup baked in a puff pastry shell is my favorite.
Chez Etienne... if you have been to Marseille and did not have a meal at this pizzeria then you cannot say you have been to Marseille. It is a institution with anyone who is from Marseille; Though with that said I must warn you ... the menu is not priced. The owner declares how much you will pay at the end. You better be nice!
Of course, you can, and I hope you will, go to the open markets (ask the tour office in each town for a listing of markets in the area). At the open market you can find many prepared foods, cheese, wine, fresh fruit, olives, pate, tapanade, and bread to create your own picnic.
If you have any favorite places that you would like to share please do so in the comment section.
Tomorrow a little tour of the Brocante.
You know the saying, "If I had a penny for every time someone asked me.... I would be a very rich person."
Well if I had a penny for every time someone asked me information about France: The best Brocante, Where to Stay, What to do, What to eat.... I would be richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined.
Although the pennies have not follow, friendship and the delivery of chocolate chips have. I consider myself very rich nonetheless. The next time someone wants information about France: What brocante to go to, or where to stay, I am going to send them to today's post.
Below you will find information links about France. If you have any ideas, thoughts, tips, addresses, links, posts or a secret or two that you would like to share regarding: Where to stay in France, where it eat, where to stay, what to see...or whatever regarding France, please leave your suggestions in the comment section.
Part One: Where to Stay in France:
Where to stay in France:
Tomorrow I will link restaurants, and brocantes.
Food and antiques it is the only way to go.
If you have a favorite or a good tip on where to stay in France (and not just Paris or the Provence... please add the link or information in the comment section.)
My calm little life has gone into overdrive, I must get organized.
I am not complaining just contemplating how to manage myself.
The first step was to move into my daughter's bedroom, transforming it into an office.
I closed my eyes and took her stuff down. Putting her memories into the closet. It was sad. The room looked bare and my crowded bedroom downstairs looks a mess... neither made me smile.
Did you ever read the book to your children: "When you give your mouse a cookie?" Well yesterday's move was like that. I moved Chelsea's bed into the guest room. The guest room bed into Sacha's room. Sacha's bunk beds into the garage, which is not close by. Then I moved a ton of my boxes into Chelsea's room. Only to realize that I need shelves or something...
Later I heard Sacha say, "Mom, my feet still hang off the bed... I am too tall for this bed too!"
I hollered downstairs, "Tie a brick to your head, and add a stool to the end of your bed."
He didn't think I was funny.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.... When Chelsea comes home she will need a bed. SO I went back to the garage and took the twin mattress and will find a single frame for the mattress to sit on.
I had to barter with Sacha for his services. I am glad he needs a taxi driver. Bartering rides for moving beds back and forth is a good trading tool to have.
Meanwhile the mattress on the floor is a catch all.... I need shelves, I hadn't thought of that. Chelsea's closet is full of pink pigs and one red ladybug... and a whole bunch of sweet things that make me think I should have stayed in my bed, my office bed with an escargot pincher.
My bedroom looks like a bedroom once again... but Chelsea's bedroom well... that is another story.
Do you have any good trade secrets on how to set on a functional office to someone who is more about "how it looks" than how it works?
A month or so ago I opened a Brocante Shop online. Never in my wildest dreams, and I do have wild dreams, did I think it would be as well received as it has been. I guess I am not the only one with a thing for French antiques... or small charming brocante things that talk cute. I am pleased that I am not alone with my thing for the brocante. But I am certainly glad you do not live here otherwise (as I have said a million times before) I would have to lock you in the trunk of my car...or at least call dibs... because you guys like the same things I like... which is fantastic for me in regards to my online brocante shop.
All this is to say that after four years of blogging, and creating an online brocante shop I am going to make myself an office space... a room without a view and certainly not my own... but it beats sitting on my bed. My bedroom, or I should say the room I share with a million boxes, papers, brocante bits and pieces, books, bed and my husband, is tad bit crowded. Last night I rolled over to find an escargot holder pinching my bottom!
My new space to do my thing is going to be in Chelsea's bedroom. Chelsea told me to go for it and so I am. Chelsea do you know what an escargot holder feels like?
I'll show you photos of my new space tomorrow... I am telling you this so that I will get my rear in gear and set it up. I work best under pressure.
Chelsea came home this weekend.
I met her at the train station we talked in the car about how things were going, and what was new, and about that boy she likes. Right before we got home I asked her what her plans were for the weekend.
... Let's just say I saw a blur, some brown curly hair blowing in and out the door. I know she was her by the chocolate chips cookies she made... or I should say by the crumbs of chocolate chip cookies she made.
Moral of the story:
If they are happy then you are happier, even with their crumbs.
My friend Lisa, another California who lives in France, invited me to her pied-à-terre for lunch. I had not been to her bird's nest apartment and I knew I was in for a treat. Lisa is full of surprises... she is an interior designer, living in France... Lisa buys old apartments fixes them up and they rents them as vacation rentals. Each of her pied-a-terres that I have seen I have wanted to leave my home and move in.
Her kitchen. God I love her kitchen! But I especially love the view out her kitchen window...
But this one, oh this one tops the cake, or I should say it is the bird's nest I could fly too.
The kitchen window has a view that over looks the clay tile roof tops of Aix en Provence.
Lisa loves the brocante too. Her fave thing to collect is dishes. She is the master or mix and match. Old with new. Black with white. Bold and understated. She gets the prize for keeping it fresh and having her friends mouths drop each and every she invites them over for a meal time.
She also is a good cook.
If I were a guy I think I would fall in love with her.
Ah this view, out her window over Aix en Provence
I could just stay at her kitchen counter all day licking bowls.
Lisa told me we were going to eat outside, "Follow me the garden terrace is upstairs."
"I am so jealous..." I started, but before I could complete my sentence she said, "Hey Corey can you grab the forks and knives under the kitchen lamp on the counter."
I turned around, went downstairs to get the silverware.
Kitchen lamp, a pair, one on each side of the stove. Clever. The kitchen vanity. I love it. The lamps she later told me she found at the brocante and had them refitted.
The French have the best silverware. I love opening their silverware drawer. Always a feast for the eyes. French silverware is larger than the American pieces. Lisa had the French touch down pat. I drooled over these beauties.
Later she told me she collects them too at the brocante. I should have guessed. I am going to have to tie her up in the broom closet this Sunday.... "No more brocanting for you!"
After lunch we had ice cream in the living room.
Look how cute this is! Simply feast.
...and while she sat the table I snapped a photo of her looking into her bedroom mirror.
Isn't she clever? The bold colors, the mixing of old and new!
I think I am going to paint my white walls red!
Yesterday was my birthday.
In the early, way to early morning, I drove French Husband to the train station, he will be away for several days on business.
When French Husband asked (over the last several weeks) what I wanted for my birthday I said:
1) That I wanted to go clothes shopping for him since that last time he went clothes shopping was 1969.
2) And I wanted a handy man... for the house.
We he balked, "I have clothes. I can fix what needs to be fixed..." I kissed him, ran to the car and waved goodbye saying, "Shopping for you when you come home. Happy Birthday to me."
Very happy, to be happy, for the want of nothing....except a handyman for the house.... and in the end if French Husband doesn't want to go shopping he can run around naked and I won't mind.
Thank you for your birthday wishes I am going to wear them all year long.
I heard over and over throughout your comments the truth of happiness. When asked "What was one of your fondest birthday memories?" Many of you did not say it was "something" but more it was "someone": The gift of feeling loved.
Those loving memories that your shared are indeed the best gift, and a gift that gives forth.
Thank you for sharing your happiness with the readers of Tongue in Cheek and with me.
The out of the hat winner is: Mmd. Tortoise
"A favourite birthday happens to be my 53rd. It involves a boyfriend from 32 years previous and red french silk beret.
I was 20 when he rode his motorcycle into the side of the hospital where I was a student nurse. He sustained serious injuries to his shoulder, and fortunately I was able to ensure he received extra special care.
It seems he never forgot that, even though we only saw each other a few times once he left the hospital.
Thirty two years later, he heard I was undergoing chemotherapy and he managed to find me via email. Shortly after, from San Francisco he came because he wanted to be a part of the group who were caring for me. He arrived on my 53rd birthday bearing the gift of not only himself, but also that of the most beautiful red French silk beret for my bald head. On it went, and off we went to the home of dear friends for a celebration of my 53rd"
Today is my birthday.
I am 52 years old.
Lee was my middle name.
Godmother Mary and Godfather Craig. My Mom is taking the photo, while my Dad looks on. Father McGoldrick nearly dropped the cruet on my head when he heard I did not have a Christian name.
My middle name is Ann.
My hand print. I have the same lines, and a few more on my face.
My Mother notes in my baby book that I blew a whistle at five months all, and that I took my first steps at sixteen months....
But I knew how to blow out my birthday candle at one.
My hair (if you care to note) is the same from when I was two until forever!
Its my birthday and I happy about it.
When is your birthday and if you dare how old will you be?
Note: Thank you for your comments about your "signature" yesterday.
An 18th century document is going to be made into a paper plane and sail straight to:
Patty Cole: Who wrote her signature is: "Men's plaid pajamas and checkered shirts from the goodwill."
And keeping in tune with the gift giveaway this entire birthday week today's giveaway is a set of these:
If you are interested in being a lucky winner here is the question:
What was one of your fondest birthday memories?
I was bone thin, ate like a ten little pigs but could not keep any weight on. I weighed 88 pounds that day.
Ellen and Erika decided I needed fattening up; so on that day, that wonderful birthday day were they watched my children and held Yann up for weeks on end, made me Burritos!! Homemade shells!! Flatten with their loving hands! Mexican food, more so tortilla you could not find in the south of France.... they made them for me. I love the memory of that day.
When you are expecting a child you automatically start thinking of names. Well at least I did. My list was short but defined I knew the names I liked and I did not think my French Husband would object. I was about six weeks pregnant when I mentioned to French Husband about my list of names...
"I like the name Ella for a girl..." but before I could end my sentence I noticed a horrific look on French Husband's face... I looked around the room thinking something awful must be happening somewhere, somehow to provoke such a response.
"What? What's wrong?" I questioned.
"Ella? Elle a! You do know that 'Elle a' means, 'She has' in French? You do know that? How can we name our baby 'She has'? Can you imagine what it would be like to be named: She has?"
Well to say the least Ella was tossed aside. France scored another "BOO" point in my book of Boos of France.
I went on with my list of names... and I suppose somewhere in my childhood I must have learned French and confused it with first names. Because every name I mentioned was a word in French.
"Rue," I offered.
"Rue! Rue is a street." He replied.
"Beau," I thought hopefully only to see my French Husband close his eyes... "Beautiful," he said.
"Oh, you like it!?" I was thrilled. But thrilled lasted two seconds.
"No. Beau means beautiful." he shook his head as if I had said poop or something disgusting like that.
"What about Savon?"
"Are you doing this on porpoise?"
"You mean on PURPOSE? No I am not."
"Savon is soap in French."
He got up and mumbled something under his breath.
The middle name question yesterday provoked many a stories and I enjoyed them all.
Does anyone like their middle name? My daughter Chelsea's is Marie after my Grandmother. My son Sacha's is Alain after French Husband Father who died before Sacha was born.
Your comments often inspire what I write about. Jend'isère's and Linda N.'s comments provoked today's post when they wrote about their middle names:
jend'isère had this to say about her name: "Like most, I hated my middle name. Never sure why, until hearing French pronunciation years later. "Beth" sounds like bete, meaning stupid or beast."
Linda N. "My middle
name is Yuki. It means snow in Japanese. I was born in Canada to
immigrant parents, so they gave me an English first name to help me
integrate here, and a Japanese middle name. I actually am more
comfortable with Yuki, since my family and all my Japanese friends call
me by that name. Even my french boyfriend calls me Yuki saying it has
more character :) As much as I like the name, I understand why my
mother gave me Linda as a first name instead. Y-U-K-I spelled out can
easily be mispronounced as yucky, so growing up my classmates would
call me "yucky yuki" when they found out my middle name, and I would
often counter with "it's not yucky, it means snow which is pretty!".
You see French Husband darling I could have said "Beth" instead of "Chelsea", which many a French pronounce, "Gel-C."
Paula S. in New Mexico you are the name out of the hat winner of yesterday's question.
(Love Can Help Me Know My Name. I love this song by Seal.)
Which brings me to today's post and another giveaway... leading up to my birthday where I am not 53 but 52.
In France a child learns to write in cursive in kindergarten. When their hand writing is "good enough" they are allowed or graduate to use a fountain pen. It is a big deal, and usually happens in the first grade or better known as: "C.P.".
Soon there after the teachers start encouraging the children to find their signature. Usually a signature is their first initial and their last name. It doesn't have to resemble their mane; Or at least that is what I think when I see the amazing signatures my French friends have.
What is your signature? Not your name signature but something(s) that signifies you.
What is one thing that if someone you knew saw it would think of you... It might be a perfume, or something you bake or do, or wear....
Something that signifies me... well my Brother Marty once told me when he sees Hub Caps he thinks of me. My daughter told me when she smells Dune perfume she is reminding of me. But I think most people I know think of me when they see "old things"... at least that is what they say when they bring me something they wanted to get rid of, "Corey I thought you might like this since you like old things."
I will randomly pick a comment tomorrow, the gift is: An old handwritten document.
Grand Magasins - Ete 1899... Large Store - Summer 1899
On the cover of this 1899 Summer catalog that I found recently at the brocante, is a woman dressed as if it were anything but summertime: Long sleeves, full skirt, jacket, hat, boots, gloved hands and her friend, a dog holds up her umbrella for her to take.
I wonder if the editor of this catalog confused the cover of the summer edition with another season?
I am bringing this to your attention for one simple reason... I am not going to be 53 years old in a few days... I made a mistake. I am going to be 52. Call me crazy, call me a ding dong, call me dyslexic all the above are true... Thank God a few readers pointed me in the right direction!
The catalog editor and I have something in common.
Goof Balls in our beetle.
The catalog has images of clothing for men, women and children and a section of home furnishings.
Corsets in satin or plain cotton for 3,90 French Francs (less than a dollar).
A wide selection of straw hats. The catalog is after all for summer...
I like the Toque model the best. Though I probably would buy the Chapeau next to it, it is less fancy.
How are straw hats made? Mind you the video starts with curling one's hair. Because in the world of thinking one thing and meaning another this is how it is.
"How to Make Straw Hats by showing electrical hair curlers and then showing an electrical hat machine." It makes senses. I understand things that are not in a straight line. I thought I was going to be 53 and instead I am going to be 52. My mind follows loops, holes and curly Qs easily.
Yesterday Amy Kortuem's comment made me laugh out loud. I could so see those green silky bottoms as a hat.
Amy wrote: "...When I was 4 years old, I begged my Mom to cut my long hair into a shag cut (it was the 70s). I hated my haircut immediately. So I walked around with my green silky pajama bottoms on my head for a year, pretending the legs hanging down were long hair. My parents even took me out wearing them, they were so used to seeing me with them on my head!"
Amy send me your address and I will send you a child's quilted shirt from Chipoupine.
Chaise Longue - Long Chair
For the first seven years in France I did not drive because I did not have a French driver's license. You might say if I added up all the miles I walked in those early years I could have circled the world ten times.
When Chelsea and Sacha were babies I pushed them in a stroller. (I had muscular arms for the first time in my life.) On one of our joints to the grocery store Chelsea (3 years old) suggested in French that I flatten the stroller's seat so we could put more groceries around Sacha (six months old).
At three she had more organizational skills than I do at soon-to-be-52.
Though since she said the verb "stretch" in French I was clueless and asked her to repeat what she said in English. Since she didn't know the verb in English she said, "I'll show you," and she laid the stroller's seat flat and started to put the groceries around Sacha.
I am a visual person when it comes to learning.
Baby stroller as a long chair makes for a great grocery cart. Baby must be carried or squished by the sack of potatoes.
Today's giveaway is the Section of the Summer Catalog 1899
If you would like to win it put your name in the comment section and if you want answer this question..... drum roll please...........
What is your middle name?
My middle name is Lee.
But when I was going to be baptized, right before the priest poured the holy water on my head, he asked my parents for my baptismal name. My Mom said, "Lee." The priest nearly dropped the holy water cruet when he exclaimed, "Lee is not a Christian name!" My Mother a darling 24 year old blushed. The priest waited for my Mother to give him a Christian name. My mom shyly offered, "Ann?"
My middle name became Ann.
So you see it started from the very beginning.... confusion works for me.
I'll pick a winner tomorrow.
Medals. We all deserve one.
For waking up in the morning and putting our best foot forward.
For stopping and listening to a child, when we are in a hurry.
For loving one another even when we would rather turn our backs.
For believing that darkness never conquers.
Your comments yesterday were fantastic. Isn't it impressive how a simple question can conjure up memories? I love reading the comments, it is as if we are gathered around a big table talking non stop. One thought leading into another, someone going off on a tangent, another person laughing, another with a tear in her eye... The comments create a feeling that we are in this together and it is good.
Thank you for sharing your stories with me.
Some of the comments:
"I came about this medal in an unusual way. About a month and a half after my mother passed away, I was in my bedroom pinning something with a straight pin, when I dropped the pin. When I bent down to pick it up, right next to it was a beautiful little medal of Saint Teresa. I had never seen this medal in my life. Saint Teresa was my mother's favorite saint, because her mother's name was Teresa. This was a much needed heart-touch in my grief, and I still have no explanation for it's appearance."
Genevieve's comment about the host press which made her remember this:
"...I could tell you a great story about naughty school girls getting into unconsecrated hosts and squirting cheeze whiz on them for appetizers, as they waited for after school choir practice to begin. I could go on to tell you about the nun who tried to keep a straight face when those same little Catholic school girls were caught with chipmunk cheeks, frantically trying to dispose of the evidence. I could continue on to tell you how long it takes little girls to scrub and polish each pew in a very, very large church."
The winners are:
"I ate my medal......Twenty years ago my children gave me a large chocolate medal for "The Best Mum in the world" obviously I no longer have it!
and the correct answer:
"The item is tongs for baking hosts. The large pattern is for the host for the Celebrant and the small patterns are for the wafers for communicants...."
Please send me your addresses and I will send you a medal!
My friends over at CHIPOUINE have sent me a child's quilted shirt for a giveaway on my blog. (photo above Chipoupine.)
If you are interested in winning one here is the newest question to respond to in the comment section:
What was one of your favorite article of clothing when you were a child?
I loved Halloween. My mom made all our costumes. I remember this one... it was made out of a burlap sack and it itched more than ten million mosquito bites!.
Aren't those shoes too cute!
I am going to be giving prizes away all this week... Why? Because it is my birthday soon, and 53 has been my lucky number since I was a wee one!
So let me know in the comment section about a memory have regarding an article of clothing you had as a child.
I'll pick a winner tomorrow for the cute little quilted shirt that Cipoupine sent me.