Thank you for your good wishes and notes of happiness for Chelsea and Martin. How wonderful I feel to have such news to share with you. I could hardly stand the waiting, but Chelsea and Martin wanted to tell the family personally, so I had to hold my sharing with you until I had the go ahead.
As I have written this blog for as long as I have I feel you are family too. Those of you who have commented over the years I feel like I know you, and your comments are daily reminders of friendship. Thank you for being the best part of my blogging experience.
When I started my blog Chelsea was fifteen years old and Sacha was twelve. I was younger too, and my hair was brown.
Some of you have been following my blog this entire time, how can I not feel like I know you? I am grateful for how your friendship has shaped my life.
Chelsea and Martin are in full wedding mode details and ideas swirl around like a new oxygen breathing life into something yet to be. A wedding has a full load of details to attend to. Since I come from a large family I have been to a wedding or two or over a hundred you could say I know the ropes. Though this is their wedding so the reins are in their hands with us giving guidance.
Chelsea asked each of us what we wanted to see and not to see at their wedding.
My advice was that whoever they invited that they spend time with each guest, I went on to say that it sounds easier said than done.
Yann said that he wanted them to enjoy their day, really enjoy their day.
Sacha said he wanted to see a massive chocolate fountain, a croquembouche (Invented by French pastry chef Antoine Careme (1783-1833) in the late 1700s, a croquembouche is a tower of cream-filled, puff-pastry balls (called choux in French) that are piled into a high pyramid and encircled with caramelized sugar. This sugar is what gives the dessert its name—croquembouche loosely translates to “crunch in the mouth.” via Paris Wedding (though they are not going to be married in Paris) and champagne glasses stacked up high with champagne cascading over them.
We stared at Sacha in disbelief as he was on a roll of ideas having to do with food, drinks, dancing and other sorts of merriment.
"A massive chocolate fountain so big you would want to dive into it."
What do's or don't would you suggest?
Yes, Chelsea and Mr. Espresso are engaged to be married next summer.
We are very happy for them!
All those wedding details are swirling around us:
Where, when, how... at least we know the Who and the Why.
Love, of course, is why and who...
Mr. Espresso's real name is Martin and now that he will become part of our family as Chelsea will become part of his family I thought it was the right time to share his real name with you.
In France the last drop of alcohol poured into a glass has a significant meaning. So much so that when someone is sitting at the table who isn't married, the last drop usually is reserved for their glass.
The last drop of Mumm's champagne, the cork popped loudly and shot straight into our neighbor's yard. The next morning he came over with a bag of croissants to question us, "A loud pop, a cork... laughter... What was the occasion?"
Half asleep, we ate the croissants around the kitchen table.
Chelsea was giddy all day.
Do you think it was because of the last drop from the evening before, or the croissants that gave her such joy?
My Grandmother Amaro's wedding shoes.
On my wedding day, I wore my Grandmother's wedding dress the fabric was fragile with age, how it stayed on me I will never know even when I danced it did not tatter.
If I had known about her shoes I would not have been able to wear them as my foot was larger than hers. I had new shoes that look old fashion. Though I did wear her gold bangle as did all my cousins on their wedding day. I wonder who was the last cousin to wear it, and who has it now?
Whenever Denise and Vlad are in Provence, which is every summer, we try to spend as much time as we can with one another, 'cause that is what friend's do. Luckily, for us, Denise loves to cook, and she has the right touch of sweet and spicy to match.
The moment we walk into their home we know a feast will be prepared and then a nap will have to follow by the pool. Such a luxury to be spoiled by friends.
The fig leaves became a tablecloth and foliage from their terrace filled an old jam jar, instant decor for the table.
There it is the richness in the everyday lifestyle of Provence.
Field to table freshly picked and served, grapes, figs, almonds, olives... the multitude of cheeses and baguettes with conversation flowing as easily as the wine, arms ready to pat on the back, laughter as music and a generous table that welcomes anyone who pops in. Provence is laid back, with a vast landscape that runs to the sea and let's nout forget that painter's trekked here to capture.
Provence is Denise and Vlad, happy am I when they come to France.
The last of the lavender, and a few roses from our garden.
Those delicate petals, just like that, perfection.
Letting the petals be.
A handwritten poetry book composed in beautiful script.
When I opened it, I could not believe my eyes. How did something this sweet, with over fifty pages become discarded?
Every day make life poetic.
"For a friend"
I want to write my last name with an A like that.
Take it slow, being and doing with meaning, awareness, gratitude...
A happiness resides in being present to the moment.
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The Theme: A Mother/ Daughter moment: (2008, Aix en Provence)
The Stage: The daughter's (Chelsea) studio.
First Scene: The Coffee Machine
Daughter shows Mother her new coffee machine. Mother does not like coffee, but drinks it to be with her daughter who does. Conversation full and delicious. Daughter tells Mother about the coffee machine.
Second Scene: Conversation and Coffee
Daughter: Tells Mother how she got the coffee machine and about the friend who gave it to her.
-Daughter chatters about the coffee machine, then comes back to original subject matter: "...Even though he doesn't drink coffee he knows I do and thought I would enjoy it. Isn't that sweet?"
Mother: Zeros in on one word and one word only: "He."
Mother: Who is wide-eyed, curious, and with an agenda...wants to know about that one word..."He."
Mother's First Line: "I'll have one spoon of sugar please and (as the Mother stirs the sugar into her coffee,) ...is the friend who gave you the coffee machine a Boyfriend, or just a Boy who is a friend?"
Daughter (who drinks her coffee straight black) says a boy who is a friend.
Daughter: Tells Mother that the boy and she are very best friends. How they study together. How he helps her since he is brilliant in Math, and that she helps him with his English.
Daughter continues deeper: "One evening while we were doing homework," she tells her Mother, "We both looked up at the same time, our faces were this close (daughter puts her face right up to her Mother's face...Mother wants to grab her daughter and kiss her like a baby and never let her go...but Mother resists and tries not to cry.) we leaned in to kiss but pulled back instantly."
Mother surprised and gasps, "Why? Why didn't you kiss each other?"
Daughter: Explains to Mother that it would change everything and that they value their friendship too much to risk losing it over being boyfriend and girlfriend with each other.
Mother: Scratches head, though understands and drinks the coffee that isn't that bad after all.
Chelsea and Mr. Espresso have been together since 2008. They both live and work in Paris.
This was the sugar bowl that shattered on the red tile floor when it fell from Mademoiselle Elise's hand back in 1916.
This was Mademoiselle Hoped-to-be-Husband, Pierre-Louis. Often she told her children how handsome their father looked the day she placed her necklace around his neck and whispered in his ear, "Come back to me, Come back to me..." as he left wearing his beret that day long ago.
This was Mademoiselle Elise's medal the one Pierre-Louis had on the day a bullet came aiming towards his heart.
Pierre-Louis liked to tell his grandchildren that it wasn't the medal that saved his life, it was their grandmother's Elise's words whispered in his ear that day so long ago.
As time went on Elise had the sugar bowl repaired by the man who walked along the streets playing the flute. The flute's music was a signal to housekeepers that the porcelain repair man was in town.
At the table in the kitchen, the porcelain repair man sat, gently drilling holes to wire the sugar bowl back together. He asked, "How did the sugar bowl break?"
"I was drying it when I received news that Pierre-Louis, my fiancé, had been shot. I didn't know then whether he was dead or alive. Months later, I found out that a medal I gave him had saved his life.
The sugar bowl you are working on... he gave it to me the day he left for the war, he told me it was to hold my sweet thoughts until he returned."
As he worked he couldn't help notice how her eyes glistened. Happiness is not easy to come by, he knew that by listening to the stories as he repaired their (broken heart) objects.
The shattered sugar bowl was restored, it had scars but they were no longer desperate wounds.
Seventeen months later Pierre-Louis returned.
Elise gave him the sugar bowl.
Pierre-Louis saw the cracks, he traced them with his finger, with hidden anticipation he opened the sugar bowl and saw that it was empty.
"Where are your sweet thoughts, I was hoping to read them when I returned." He didn't understand.
Elise told him, "Instead of sweet thoughts I prayed, I hoped, I cried, I longed, I waited... Instead, I kept my fear inside the sugar bowl. Knowing if ever you came back to me my fear would leave and we could fill it with a life together."
A few weeks later the medal slept in the sugar bowl.
Years later the grandchildren would open the sugar bowl lid, and unroll the notes of a life well lived.
A few years ago I found this medal at the brocante. When I asked the dealer about the hole she told me it was from a bullet during WWI. On the same stand, I found a sugar bowl, the dealer told me how a man would go around villages repairing broken china. "Often they sang or played a musical instrument to let people know they were in town."
The story revealed itself in that moment.
When the morning is running faster than your feet can manage,
When the day is fuller than your arms can carry,
When you know you should sit down and have something to eat, but the beast in you charges forward,
When life is not black and white,
When you want to do your best but that idea stays stuck behind autopilot,
Then that is when I have to put myself in the bathtub, yes the bathtub, you might say it is my best place to pray, think and breath.
A pile of old French religious books were scattered on the ground at the brocante, dumped out of a box that someone had probably collected from cleaning out an attic.
The fountain pen writing in the book was appealing, tagged 1786.
Its cover was missing, most of the books on the ground were in sad condition but given their age, older than the two of us standing there, their condition seemed impeccable to me.
I reached down thumbed through a few of them hoping to find engravings inside. No luck. But then, gee, I thought to myself, "You are too fussy, almost like wanting to have your cake and ice-cream too!" When I look at old books I always hope to find an engraving, a lovely thick leather embossed cover, a pressed flower, a silk ribbon and a love note tucked inside.
Cake, ice-cream and a glass of champagne.
Then I remind myself,
"Why hope to find more of a treasure? Why not see the treasure that it is."
I guess you could say the brocante makes me reflective at times. The brocante with the various old things gathered reminds me of the rich history that we have behind us, the many lives that have gone before us. The brocante makes the world wake up, come alive to me as if I have a chance to peek behind an unseen curtain to witness the play become real.
War and peace are written, felt and passed on amongst the bits and pieces found at the brocante. Objects that live on reminding us of another time.
They have survived.
The beauty of suffering is the song of solemn awareness that comes to our lips, hearts, touch, sight, perspective. Suffering offers us to be present to one another that most things do not. When someone is ill, for example, I tend to pray more for them, touch them, feel them differently, as if our time together is not caught up in what we are doing, but of who we are. Suffering breaks to the core of realness. And that I find beautiful, I suppose, it is a gift to tend to the ill, the weak... and not run away from it. Beautiful because it brings the rawness of life to the center stage.
The pages of the old French book had torn off velvet tabs that were used to mark the different chapters. Certainly, the velvet tabs use to be longer allowing one to fold back the pages to a certain chapter. I imagine the person caressing the velvet tab without awareness of doing so between their pointer finger and thumb as they read.
Like praying the rosary, each bead in its time, present only within the soul.
Maybe the tabs were worn off from reflection?
Maybe I am a poetic want to be?
Maybe a child in 1886, a hundred years later, cut them off with a scissor then giggled, and yet suddenly then worried he would be punished when found out?
The book owner's signature definitely had a poetic thing going on. Look at that swirly curly end! No quick signing that type of signature on one of those credit card machines that I do not like.
Poetry in motion seems to be fading fast in daily life.
A signature reduced to a scribbled initial.
I can hear my brother Mat saying, "Damn Sis, it is just an old book, get over it."
You know sometimes I wish I didn't see things as emotional elements of poetic beauty and symbolic meaning. Sometimes I wish I could love reproductions as much as I love old things. I think it must be easier to walk into a new store and buy something without feeling its history tagging alongside me. But then I would miss the old souls I meet at the brocante and the stories that tell they tell to my poetic being.
I bought the book. Ah holding an old book of life with chapters marked with velvet tabs that have been worn.
What is your chapter today called?
Our apartment is located at Rue du Chateau, 75014 in Paris.
The nearest metro line is two minutes away #13 Pernety, which is a direct line to the Champs Elysee, the Porte de Vanves brocante and St Ouen: The largest antique market in the world.
Our apartment is a one bedroom, one bath, with a large living/dining room and kitchen Total space: 650 square feet.
Our apartment is in a very family oriented, multi cultural neighborhood. Across the street there is a bakery, on the other side there is a cafe, and a restaurant on the other corner. Our building is small with three private apartments, ours being one of them. Our apartment is located on the third floor without an elevator, which means 44 steps from top to bottom.
Everything you might need is located within five minutes on foot from of our apartment: A grocery store, a fruit and vegetable shop, a flower shop, many restaurants, cafes, nightlife, bars, bookstore, wine shop, cheese shop, gift shops, pharmacy, tailor, dry cleaning, galleries, hair salon, cobblestone streets, hidden parks... it is a neighborhood that takes you to the center of real life as a Parisian.
We only rent it a few weeks out of the year. So if you are interested it is best to contact as early as you can.
A view of the bedroom
An antique map of Paris hangs on the wall in the bedroom.
Our one-bedroom apartment has a queen size bed, a closet, and a dresser.
Linens are provided.
View of the bedroom
Our apartment is furnished with personal items and antiques, it is our second home.
Most of the antiques that are in the apartment I bought at Porte Vanves brocante which is nearby.
If you ever need a guide to the brocantes-antique markets let me know, I will gladly show you around.
From the bedroom, there are two steps down into the entrance.
From this photo (above) the entrance (door) is to the right after the picture easel.
My Mother in Law and my husband bought the apartment over thirty years ago.
In 2013 we renovated it, what an adventure that was.
Andrea Waltzer Hames said, "Celebrated my 70th there! Wonderful apartment, with all the touches you know Corey is famous for. We also loved the location. Hope to get back."
The pieces of wood that you see (above) in the entrance, we discovered during the renovation. They are the "skeleton walls" as I call them. We chiseled layers upon layers of plaster, mortar and rocks to expose this section of wall. I had slivers from sanding them for days.
Worth every one of them.
Mary and Frank from Texas, "The apartment was much more than we expected. The only problem was we never wanted to leave. Oh and that bed! An ideal place to let go and be."
Our apartment has five long classic windows which allow it to be a sunny place.
The living area.
We now have a large rug under that round coffee table.
One of the corners of our apartment, a gathering of antiques.
A wooden centuries old statue, a console that I painted and a collection of worn loved books from the 1700s.
Diana Johannesen said,
"For once Corey Amaro's pictures of Art do not give you the FULL essence of your visit to her apartment. First, it is an experience, second, you do not get the sounds, you do not get the smell of the French Bakery across the street, you do observe the romance of people watching from your window with a cup of tea, or wine! Right downstairs, the unique owners of the Russian restaurant, that have you drink vodka with them and they share their story. They make you feel like community not tourists!
It is the safest area, and close to everything! Let me win my imaginary contest in my head, and I will be there tomorrow!"
The door on the right leads into the bathroom. Behind the bust on the pedestal is the kitchen.
The kitchen is fully equipped.
With many pieces being antiques, such as the dishes and silverware. Plenty of cupboards and counter space. Antiques that you can live with, love worn, useful, nearly practical always enchanting.
As we stay in our apartment often, we have created it to be like our home in Provence, comfortable, personal, inviting...
we hope others feel the same way, "At Home" in Paris.
We have silverware and pretty tabletop items for you to use to make dining feel extra special, or at least to let you know you are in France.
Michelle Buron-Homer said: "Trust me you will NEVER want to leave! "
A view of the kitchen.
The appliances are behind doors, and behind the counter as well, we did this to incorporate the kitchen into the living space, and not make it stand out as a kitchen, but blend in as a living space.
Note: There is a laundromat located across the single lane street.
Open until eight pm. Laundry soap can be purchased on site. A dry cleaner (across the street) is also available.
Basic supplies such as olive oil, vinegar, coffee, tea, sugar, pasta, spices, wine, toiletries, dish soap, etc. are included.
View of the dining room.
A marble top table with four chairs.
We gutted the apartment to create a larger airy space. We took down six walls. When you are walking up those 44 steps to our apartment image the debris we had to carry.
We often add things... this is last year's view, this year we added a new demi lune cupboard to the back corner.
A view of a corner in our apartment, an alcove we discovered when taking a wall down. The baluster is from one of the oldest light shops in Marseille. When the shop moved, the took the balusters that their great father had made and turned them into lamps. I bought this one before it was transformed and turned it into a vase.
The newest edition a demi lune cupboard with platters from the 1700s. I am constantly adding them. At last count, there were 13.
Sissy said, "Perfection. Nothing less."
One of the views from our apartment.
If you walk five minutes down rue Chateau you will see the Eiffel Tower.
It is a wonderful view especially in the evening when it sparkles!
The bathroom has a shower.
Linens, toiletries, a blow dryer and a curling iron are provided.
Susie Hamilton said: "I am happy to share what a beautiful and wonderful apartment it is. Longing to be there again."
Wifi and phone/plus long distance phone calls are free.
-We rent our apartment for a three-night minimum or longer.
-For one or two persons only.
-No smoking or animals allowed.
-A 300 Euros refundable deposit is required to reserve, and if everything is left in good order: No damage, missing items and or cancellations, we will return the deposit within three days of your departure.
For availability and price please contact me:
Thank you and please feel free to share our apartment information with others.
NOTE: Victoria Magazine published an article about our apartment in the MAY/JUNE issue 2016.
Me... I am preparing to open the door. To put on my best smile, and wave: "Have fun! I'll miss you! Be good! Be careful! I love you! Goodbye! See you later..."
The funny thing is as I sit here typing my blog at the kitchen table the thought occurred to me...
When I arrived in France I realized that this was it... That I was most likely going to be living here for the rest of my life. It was a fact I did not look at closely when I married Yann and followed him back to his home country. I was a jumper and asked questions later type of person. As the reality of my decision sank in that visiting a foreign country was one thing, that knowing you are on an extended visit is another, but it is quite another thing to know that this is your life, that this foreign country is going to be your home.
I did not take it in stride. Instead, I stumbled with my stubbornness, cried as I compared France to the States finding fault with everything. Making France my home was not as easy as falling in love. I was homesick. I felt that whatever power I had, whatever courage I had obtained, whatever notion of "I can do anything" had left me standing alone with a massive Eiffel Tower outside.
It took years for me to call France my home. It took becoming pregnant, having children, raising them as a bi-lingual family, it took sending them off to French schools, doing homework with them when I could not read the words properly, being told that parents do not volunteer in the classroom, nor bring cupcakes. It took birthday parties were singing, "APPY BERTDAY" with a French accent was the norm. It took me years of doing everything the French way (baguettes) with a twist of American (Peanut Butter) on the side for me to finally feel home in France.
Having a family made France my home.
That first morning when I arrived in France, as French Husband left for work at seven he kissed me goodbye and said he would be home around eight that evening. As soon as the door shut I was alone in France.
That first morning when I opened my time agenda book as if it could tell me what to do, or who to call. The blank page boldly stared at me. What an odd feeling it was to have time, and nowhere where I needed to go and no one to see. Nervously, I grabbed my orange metro pass, looked in the fridge made a mental note to pick up a few things for dinner, then wondered where the grocery store might be? I grabbed the enormous key to our studio (which was nearly as big as our apartment, and too big for my pocket.) stuffing it in my book "Les Miserables" and walked outside to my new life.
Soon I will be opening the door again to a new world, it feels so familiar in such an odd way.
What is love? That famous question that seeks an answer, over and over again.
And yet we know what love is.
The last time I saw my Grandmother Amaro, she stood behind me and embraced me. I laughed telling her it was a funny way to be hugged good bye? She hugged me tighter, and then holding back tears told me the reason why:
"This is how my Mother embraced me when I left the Azores to come to America. When I open my arms you are facing your destiny, your future, and I'm behind you letting you go. That is love, letting others be who they are, standing behind them, and loving them all the more.
When my Grandmother opened her arms I saw what she meant.
Love unconditionally, easy to say, harder to do.
Thank you Ellen for reminding me.
The family gathers, shares stories, enjoys each other's company while diving into lunch. A family where the core is at home at the table, where nourishment is more than the food they partake and the messages of loyalty and love run deeper than the disagreements or imperfections. A family that doesn't begin nor ends with one generation, where the voice that binds is heard from not only the oldest but full circle to the youngest.
A family where the lessons of love are shown by example. Where each link is valuable whether they are big or small, strong or gentle, carefree or thoughtful...
The role models. The give and the take. The sorting it out. The who, the what and the where. The knowledge that what you do or don't do truly does matter....
That little foot leaning on the back of the chair.
A family where life continues to continue.... Where everyone does what they can to keep the boat a float: One washes the dishes, another plays with the dish suds, two pair up to dry, while the others clear off the table and put the dishes away
We each have a role in life. Sometimes the roles change as we grow, and sometimes we want those roles to roll away.
The one playing who was playing with the suds kept everything going merrily, that is a real gift to have and often overlooked.
The one who was playing in the suds has become my mother's greatest sous chef in the kitchen, "A big helper Kate is now that she is older."
Back home in the States Sacha will find his place, it was never further away than his heart. I feel our circle expanding, I know how that goes, at first it is awkward, unbearable so the way I look at this "moving away" must change, I will look at Sacha's happiness, his joie de vivre, his new adventure become my focus point.
Nourishment for the soul,
late in the afternoon,
a cool breeze caresses while I
stand in the garden,
my toes wiggle in muddy silk,
I bite into the fresh tomato,
down my chin, down my neck, between my breasts...
Saute two yellow onions in olive oil, until their yellow turns golden.
Add some chopped celery let their leaves join the party.
A dash of salt,
and a couple of carrots washed but not naked.
Take the tomatoes in their tender red skin, slice them in half and add them to the soup pot.
Cover with water and a lid.
When you hear the soup talking, turn the volume down.
Let the ingredients share their story, let them slowly simmer.
A glass of white wine never hurt anyone, and fresh mint adds a dash of daring!
Blend, smooth and serve with a dollop of fresh cream.
Take a bowl, a spoon, a glass of white wine, the whole bottle if you are so inclined, a baguette and go outside, sit and eat on the garden step.
An eighteen-century wooden compass with intricate graphics.
I loved what my friend Teresa wrote in the comment section, she wrote:
"...Say the things you wanted to hear when you left for France..., and say the things you wish someone would have said to you."
What honest good advice, I will follow it.
The first step in accepting...
When Chelsea heard about Sacha's move she said,
"Oh no! I guess we will have to break his legs."
I said, "Or kidnap him."
A box came to mind.
You see we will be in denial for a few days, he leaves September the 13th.
The adult in me is happy for him, encouraging him, but the mother in me, well that is another story completely.
I am looking for a box before Chelsea gets to him.
Sacha bought his airline ticket to go to the U.S. today.
As in Seattle.
As in going to live in Seattle.
As in leaving France, as in leaving.
Leaving France, leaving us.
I tried not to cry when he told me. I am trying not to cry as I type this. But it is no use, I am sad. I never wanted to believe this would happen.
My Boy-Boy bought an airline ticket to go start his new life in Seattle.
I am a mess.
When my Grandmother Frances came to America from the Azores her trunk was filled with simple necessities: A linen towel, a few chemises, a hair brush, a dress in cotton for spring, and another in wool. Probably an apron and a needle and thread. Certainly a rosary, and a porcelain angel.
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable."
Traveling the spiritual journey. Taking the inner road. Following the path that leads from the heart, that echos the soul, that opens our eyes to seeing that which is longing to be seen.
A spiritual journey is not only about religion, nor is it a singular practice of faith, for me it is about listening, about taking time to be with ones emotions and thoughts. To listen not to the words but the song silently sung between the lines, and when heard to hold it as sacred.
To be comfortable with silence, to sit alongside of sadness, to rejoice in goodness, to yearn for beauty, to encourage, to cultivate holiness daily.
To find our way to the center of joy and claim it as our own.
May we find our path.
Two women walking around a very shabby and not so chic brocante in France.
Gina: An American woman who speaks some French, loves the brocante, knows what she likes and is happy to be brocanting in France. Enjoying the scenery-- but focused.
Corey: American woman who lives in France. Addicted to the brocante. Within a second realizes that Gina is her carbon copy when it comes to buying antiques. "Oh no," is her first thought. Her kinder thought comes fifteen seconds later.
Gina and Corey scoop up items, compare their hunt and prices like two hunters in the woods.
Wow, that's cool?
Lucky, that's great!
I want it! Was there anymore?
I like that, do you?
Whadya think, is it worth it?
The two split up: One goes to the left, the other goes to the right.
Corey comes upon a "bingo" of a stand and starts scooping up the wonderment in record speed. The dealer sees that Corey loves books and offers her two that are in her car. (One of the most important GOLDEN RULES OF BROCANTING: ALWAYS ASK THE DEALER IF THEY HAVE ANYMORE OR SIMILAR ITEMS.) Corey cannot believe her luck and looks around for Gina.
The books are dated 1774. Corey nearly faints.
Gina in the distance sees the scooper scooping and racing over to get her fill... Corey does not give her the elbow because she is on cloud nine over the books.
"Whadya find?" Corey asks... though cannot wait to show Gina the books... thinking she has the upper hand of the deal of the day.
Gina shows Corey her box of wonders, an entire box of paintings, old beautiful paintings. Corey's mouth hits the dirty ground, her manners follow suit. With her monastic years far behind her Corey says in a teasing way, "Shut up! How much?" When Gina announces it cost her the price of a pizza. Corey's nearly faints for the second time. They both laugh and then return to the hunt.
Corey and Gina gather up the bits and pieces that they have bought. Corey kneels down to pick up some of Gina's latest purchases. When she kneels down she sees the underside of a vase she has overlooked for the last thousand hours. She cannot believe her eyes. The vase has been front and center in their faces for the last thousand hours and neither of them saw it because they had only seen it from up above... and as it didn't seem like much from up above, they had not cared to take a closer look.
Another Golden Rule about Brocanting: Walk around the fair more than once, more than twice... you cannot possible seeing everything in one take let alone in three takes, AND look up, down, under and around.
Corey buys the vase for five euro. She thinks the brocante gods must be on her side since she brought a friend along to a favorite secret brocante spot. She proclaims her gratitude by vowing never to threaten to shove someone in the armoire or trunk again.
Just as Corey is about to kiss the vase and say Amen. Gina squeals: "Oh Corey! Look what I found! You walked right by it! Look at this mirror I bought!"
What do you think happened to Gina?
Did Corey keep her vow?
Did the Mirror ride in the front seat?
Do you hear a voice in the trunk?
The heat wave that had been raising havoc these last few weeks finally broke, bringing strong cool winds. At the brocante the usual conversation of what one has found and how much they paid for it, circled instead on the much needed change of weather. I thought out loud, "Isn't it funny how the last two weeks the conversation/prayer has been on how stifling the weather was, "pas d'aire". And now we have this forceful wind. It is as if the collective conscious with its unified plea for air was answered." Meanwhile, linens were blowing away, books pages been ruffled, tables overturned, dresses blowing up revealing fancy knickers... the wind was naughty, excessive but appreciated.
Nearly eighteen months ago we had major water damage upstairs in our home. The homes in centuries old villages, such as ours, have connecting tiled roof which when looking out over them from an attic window, makes for a spectacular landscape. Also, tempting certain youngsters to want to take a walk about around them.
When new "city" neighbors moved into the house next door, their teenagers did not yield to the temptation to go out their attic window, which gives way to our tiled roof, and have a party on "such a cool terrace view".
Hence, the first massive rainstorm had a freeway to come into our home. As we were not home, and other rainstorms followed, when we did come home we had an awful surprise waiting for us.
Fast forward through insurance negotiating, scheduling rendezvous, arranging details such as paint and flooring... On the hottest days since 1948 our renovation began upstairs on the third floor without air conditioning. 104 temperature, in which all I can say is hot as hell is an understatement.
We moved everything from the upstairs downstairs. As an antique dealer that means I have more stuff than the average person, maybe even more than ten average persons combined, plus add into that lot Chelsea and Sacha who had their things "stored" in their rooms for their "future homes". We are talking a lot of stuff. We're talking why didn't I lose weight from this effort?
I know that when the dust settles down, the light fixtures are in place, the paint is dry, the floors are sealed, the furniture moved back in, that our home will feel home again. But in the meantime it is CHAOS.
Adding to the fun we decided that since there was going to be dust, supplies, ladders, debris, etc. strewn over the entire house that we would go ahead and connect the two houses together by breaking through the six foot stone wall, allowing the house next door and our home to be one. Can you imagine the dust?
Rarely are there moments in renovation and/or construction that bother me.
The challenge and the creative aspects of renovating old houses is inspiring to me. But this time as we are living in the middle of it, and the workers are staying here too, I feel the dust sticking to me, the debris surrounding me, living in a home that has become a renovation site is more annoying than I led to believe. I am trying to curb my impatience cause I know it will be back to normal soon enough.
Meanwhile a bouquet of dead flowers on the table look too enchanting to throw away, and if I was going to rid of something, these flowers would not be my first choice.
Old, worn, lived, loved, wrinkles of time, and rebirth,
It is a always a choice to let it be, let it go, or help it along.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Paris, remember our apartment.
What I saw amongst the many antiques that caught my attention at the brocante today. A few sweet beauties that for one reason or another that I do not understand made me stop and take a photo.
An oil painting on canvas, peeling at the bottom, blooming on top.
Before it came home with me I had the dealer take the frame off, as I prefer paintings without frames.
A lovely pale blue dress for a little girl, with a silk velvet flower at the waist.
It enchanted me because it was blue instead of pink.
A carved bone cross with an angel's face adorning it. This sort of piece would be attached with a ribbon to a bassinet as a symbol of protection and faith. More often than not Godparents would offer this piece to their Godchild.
An oversized Napoleon the Third armchair with a silk painting of a fluffy cat.
Hidden under a bunch of old textiles I found this velvet pillow case with a hand stitched emblem.
Miniature wooden puppets and porcelain doll heads.
In a broken glassed frame, an 1800s tinted engraving.
A relic holder cross at the end of a rosary.
A five foot plus painting, depicting a classic French scene: A maiden and a shepherd boy...
It sold three times, carving a path from the fleamarket, to the brocante market, to the antique market, next stop someone's home.
An Aubusson covered chair.
A bunch of various wooden/metal stamps to use for printing on fabric for embroidery, monograms and stamping provencal fabric.
The sky at sunset in Cassis, photo by Chelsea.
Everyday it happens,
so much does.
If Chelsea hadn't sent me this photo I would not have known of
the glorious sunset. In the whole of my life, how few I have seen.
Am I carefree about the richness of the day? Do I take it for granted?
Ah I must remember the lesson of today.
Live a life of appreciation and gratitude:
For that over head, before my eyes, and underfoot.
The 1900s French letter starts out, Dear Uncle and Aunt...
Love letters such as these are hard to find. They were often on embossed paper with either small stickers or delicate paintings on the side.
Decorative embossed paper was used to express love and devotion to family, parents, husband, wives and relatives during holidays, the first of the year and at celebrations such as marriages.
At the brocante love letters are hard to find, and that is how it should be, sacredness is kept. When I am fortunate to find such beautiful testimonies of love and devotion I feel some of that good love ripple towards me. Objects have energy don't they?
Did you ever write a love letter to a child, or parent?
The way of love is a personal story that intertwines one with another, and another and another, taking us to places over yonder, taking us to places deep within ourselves. Loving is a journey rarely taken alone, nor should it be.
A love letter found in a book, used as a book marker?
A marker of time.
Isn't it best that the things we use daily should be things that remind us of beauty, joy, sharing, life?
A letter, a piece of paper soaked with words, describing feelings from the heart directed to another's heart. Years later, those inked words give way to a love that was.
Love notes hold various words depending on the depth of the relationship...
Love's Divine by Seal
Then the rainstorm came over me
And I felt my spirit break
I had lost all of my belief, you see
And realized my mistake
But time threw a prayer to me
And all around me became still
I need love, love's divine
Please forgive me, now I see that I've been blind
Give me love, love is what I need to help me know my name
Through the rainstorm came sanctuary
And I felt my spirit fly
I had found all of my reality
I realize what it takes
'Cause I need love, love's divine
Please forgive me, now I see that I've been blind
Give me love, love is what I need to help me know my name
Oh I, don't bend (don't bend), don't break (don't break)
Show me how to live and promise me you won't forsake
'Cause love can help me know my name
Well, I try to say there's nothing wrong
But inside I felt me lying all along
But the message here was plain to see
'Cause I need love, love's divine
Please forgive me, now I see that I've been blind
Give me love, love is what I need to help me know my name
Oh I, don't bend (don't bend), don't break (don't break)
Show me how to live and promise me you won't forsake
'Cause love can help me know my name
Love can help me know my name"
I grew up around cows, rice fields, home cooking, and motorcycles.
My father rode every kind of bike in every kind of race, my brothers followed suit. I remember his races at cycle-land, his enduro adventure in Nevada, his mountain climbs in Elk Creek, but mostly I remember him fixing bikes and talking shop with my brothers and cousins in his barn.
On any given day there were a ton of guys, mostly younger than my father, in his barn that was converted into a motorcycle shop. My father use to say to me, "Out of all the guys around here, you went and fell in love with a French Man?" I use to tease him back by saying, "Yeah, your shop kept them fixated on rims, chrome and speed... how could I compete?"
Yesterday, my brothers and cousins left for the annual Honda ninety ride (26th season) which brought motorcycle memories of my father to the surface. Memories of rides, races, accidents, shop talk, and him in full riding gear, I wish I had a photo of him in his chaps.
My father, standing with his hands on his hips is looking at me, reassuring me with his smile. My father rode often, and he had it down to a science. As the years have gone by since his death I have felt him by my side pointing to things, reminding me of things, encouraging me. At first the death of a loved one is unbearable, the constant reality of emptiness is haunting if not utter distraction as the days go into weeks, then months. Grief has a road map all of its own that we must follow to the end. Then it seems one day the pain of loss, the deep hole in our lives is covered with a bridge of understanding, and we can walk across it without crying, acceptance gives way. Then the spirit of the one we love speaks within us.
I feel my Dad today, and tears run down my face. God, he was a good dad, so easy going, emotional available, tender hearted, and full of life.
Ride on Brothers, ride on Cousins, Ride on Dad.
Yesterday was one of the hottest days in France since 1945.
But they say today might be hotter.
I do not care for the heat, I dream of air conditioning, a pool, a cook and the renovation in our house (Leaky roof caused damage) to be completed.
Summer heat zaps my energy.
How is your summer fairing?
It was 104 F in our town yesterday.
Don't most young people who love antiques start with a bottle collection?
I had a brown bottle when I was thirteen, I have misplaced it over the years, maybe it is in the closet back at my mother's house. I will have to check to find out. Did you collect antiques when you were younger? The first old thing I ever bought was a blue glass beaded bag and then the same day a brown jar and a hand mirror.
Oxidized bottles with zinnias.
Zinnias remind me of my mom, they were many different crowns, rarely are two alike, they come in various colors, they are beautiful without being fancy.
The Girl with a Pink Rose on her Hat-
A postcard found years ago at some little flea market in France.
I kept it.
It has followed me for years, sitting on my desk, wedged between the glass pane of the kitchen window, taped in my armoire, used as a book marker, and now adorning my blog.
It is something about her regard, the way her hat shadows her, the feeling of calm I take in when I see it... as if she is listening.
Funny how things can take on a life of their own, and seem to bring us something that we acknowledge useful, helpful or lucky.
Chelsea has a stuffed bunny that she has had since she was one or two.
French Husband has a navy sweatshirt that is nearly thirty years old.
Sacha has a cartouche .
What is something you have?