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French la Vie
Provence, France
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"A nativity scene without Jews, Arabs, Africans or refugees. Which made me ask, "Where would we be? Where are we now?" My friend Faith McLellan who I met through blogging posted this on her Facebook page. Continue reading
Posted 3 hours ago at French la Vie
Hello Elizabeth, The price for one week is 3500 Euros it includes lodging (your own room), all meals and drinks, airport transfers, all transport for the week and activities. AIrline fare and insurance not included.
Toggle Commented 3 hours ago on When You Come to Provence at French la Vie
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When you come to Provence take time to be, time to let Provence get under your skin and into your heart it won't take long. Provence is a place to aimlessly wander, to taste the countryside, to soak in the sounds and to follow your thoughts until they are just a mountain of softness and valleys of delight. Provence is spread out like a quilt of many colors starting with the sky and everything under it. The blue sea, the olive trees, vineyards, tiled roofs, confit pots, cigales, rosé, rows of lavender, stone walls, painted shutters, scented foothills of rosemary, thyme, pine, and oak. Let me lead the way, come on I will give you a key to open the source that is Provence. Opening hideaway places, visiting private homes and artist's studios. Discovering the history behind antiques, culture and the Provencal lifestyle. With time to wander to places worthy of painting, and writing poetry. Or simply weaving this way and that throughout villages. With time to sip champagne in the middle of the afternoon and have... Impromptu picnics, and moments to just be in the moment. To go to as many brocantes as you would want, without worry about how to take your purchases home. Sharing meals with friends, meals at restaurants and my home where I will cook for you a feast of friendship. To be inspired throughout every moment and to be surrounded by happy places. To allow you to feel home in a foreign land. History connecting you to a never-ending story. Under a tiled roof, comfy-cozy without a care in the world. Transportation provided, I wish it were this, with a linen canopy and fluffy chunky floral pillows to soften the bumps. Transportation so you can enjoy the scenery without reading a map, nor missing a turn or a sight to remember long after the days have gone by. May Poppies, June Lavender, September Grapes, October, pumpkins Everyday landscapes to discover. My favorite time of the year, May for flowers, Winter for calm, June for a touch of summer, October for the markets... The weekends for the brocantes. Today because it is what I have. The dates for the French la Vie 2020 Please join me on: April 7th - 14th Easter 2020 ... Two places remain April 28th - May 5th, 2020... SOLD OUT May 12th - 19th ... SOLD OUT September 8th to... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at French la Vie
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A star or an angel at the top of your Christmas tree? Mine is an angel, but it is still yet to be found as it is at the bottom of the Christmas ornament box. My friends have paperwhites instead of poinsettias. What do you have? Santa's little helper or an elf in disguise? Have you written your letter to Santa? Or are you Santa? Handmade lace ornaments that I bought but my friend does not make them anymore. Darn it. I have these in a bowl on the dining table in Paris that is the extent of Christmas decorations in our apartment that is rented over the holidays. An old wind up music piece that I bought years ago at the brocante. It is still one of my favorite pieces. Okay, I gotta get a moving I still have Christmas mostly in a box and that is just not going to cut it when Chelsea, Martin, Sacha, and Gabriel come home next week. I dread putting the Christmas tree lights on the tree. Really dread doing them until their up. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at French la Vie
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Finally, our home is beginning to feel like Christmas. 'Tis the season and what a season it will be having a grandchild to share it with. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at French la Vie
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Photo Via Buche de Noel Pierre Herme 1988 "Buche de Noel is my favorite cake!" Bright-eyed and hopeful was the response eagerly given by my French Husband, the newlywed. The flavor was a known fac; spread chocolate on anything and it was labeled Yann's. My mother had made jelly-roll cakes for my brothers and me when we were younger, was that the same thing as Buche de Noel? The only difference between the two cakes as I could see was that we could have a jelly cake any time of the year and in France during Christmas as it is a traditional Christmas dessert. Kind of like candy canes, you can eat them any time of the year but usually, they are out of sight until December. 30 some years ago, before the Internet and ex-pats were easy to find in France, anything in English was reduced to one word, "Hello." Peter Mayle was probably writing, "A Year in Provence," while I was struggling in Paris with only three words of French in my pocket of vocabulary. How was I going to find the recipe? Calling my Mom in California was out of the question given the ridiculous cost five dollars a minute plus the surcharge and tax. Which meant fast talk and no umm, let's see, I think it takes, oh no, just a minute, let me go check. To make a French Christmas cake, a Buche de Noel was going to be a challenge equal to anything Napoleon had to do. Napoleon is believed to have said, "The man who never makes mistakes never makes a war." Couldn't Yann have said brownies? His expectations were high as he asked me to make a Buche de Noel for his birthday which is in September, "Imagine a Buche de Noel in September!" Yann said like a child at Christmas. With Napoleon on my mind, I decided chocolate anything, even chocolate batter would be a hit. Down to the metro, direction Rue de Rivoli, destination: Brentano's, the bookshop in Paris (since 1895) with a large English section. Certainly, they would have a cookbook in English. On entering Brentano's in Paris there stood an American the size of a fortress. With a can of Coke in hand, he was carrying on like his world was coming to an end, demanding the saleslady, "... Don't you understand, E-N-G-L-I-S-H! I want a map of... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at French la Vie
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Finally, I caught a train home! Tomorrow the strike in Paris will intensify as if the other day wasn’t intense enough. The train station was a Ghost Town only a hand full of trains, most of the shops and vendors were located around and in the train station were closed. Usually, the train station is a hub of activity and thousands of people go every which way. But today it was completely opposite of that. On the other hand, the train staff was all smiles, asking if there was anything they could do to help, and going out of their way to say, "Bonjour, Bienvenue." That just seemed odd usually that is not the case and given that the strike has affected many people and businesses I was surprised that nobody called them out on it. But one thing I have learned in France is the French are very patience and usually respect others' right to protest. In the few metros, the lines were endless, and the train cars packed like sardines and yet everyone was respectfully tolerant. When the train staff said, "Hi Welcome!" to me I wanted to say, "REALLY!!!" But what would have that helped? As I rolled my heavy suitcase to my waiting train car. The Custom Officers (Police) were at my train car searching someone's bag, I have never seen that before on a train. A young man asked if I needed help carrying my bag upstairs (double-decker train) I thanked him and said please. As he lugged it upstairs he asked me what I had inside as it weighed a ton. I do not know why but I said, "A body." He looked at me like he believed me. I just grinned. Until I saw the Custom Officer eyeing me. Onward to Provence and waiting arms! Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at French la Vie
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A memory... I was seven years old the first and last time I ran away from home. I remember I was mad at my mother-- but at what I do not know. I put a few things in a brown paper bag, announced that I was leaving and walked towards the kitchen door. I do remember my mother saying, "Goodbye, and have fun." I was bothered by her casualness, didn't she realize that I was seriously leaving? I walked to the end of our graveled lane and since I didn't know which way to go. I sat down by the mailbox. Soon thereafter my brother Marty (who was five years old) came walking down the lane. He too had a brown paper bag. He sat down beside me. I assumed he didn't know which way to go either. He opened his brown paper bag and pulled out a chocolate chip cookie and ate it. I asked him for one. He said, "Mommy told me not to share them with you unless you decided to come home." I recall the sound of my brother opening that paper bag and the taste of love in those cookies. Did you ever run away from home? Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at French la Vie
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Still in Paris. Yes, I could fly home but I am too cheap to shell out the money (300 plus Euros). I could take a taxi to the train station and hope to find a train that might be going to Marseille and that I might be able to take if there is room, and if not take a taxi back to my apartment. The thought of it is draining as I have been feeling under the weather. Sacha suggested a bus home. After the long flight, I don't want to go on a bus for ten to twelve hours while sneezing and spreading my cold germs. I could hitchhike. Or I could wait it out. Life could be worse. Far worse than this hiccup. But it isn't thankfully. A man poorly dressed, disheveled with eyes that spoke of sadness stood outside of a grocery store, he wasn't begging, he wasn't saying anything. He just seemed to be lost in his own world. Another man walked up to him and gave him food which the man took and thanked the other one for and then ravenously ate it. I watched and felt ashamed that I was bothered about my unimportant issue with the train strike. I went over to him and asked him what I could do to help. He looked at me and with such kindness in his eyes said, "Just knowing you cared enough to ask helps." Wow. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at French la Vie
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The strike in Paris continues leaving those in Paris to figure out transportation routes normally available on strike for the next few days. Chelsea had a meeting she had to attend, so I happily watched Gabriel with the instructions to meet her at a certain point so she could breastfeed him. When the time arrived it was raining which seldom slows down anyone accustom to rain, nor first time babysitter’s who want to babysit again. I bundle the precious cargo into a burrito put him in the YoYo (most popular baby stroller in Paris) and put the plastic shield around it. But first I put on my coat, gloves, umbrella in hand and then proceeded to prepare Gabriel for the big adventure. As any parent knows the adult has to be ready first as it saves time. as soon as we were outside Gabriel looked up through the plastic shield with an odd expression that seemed to say, “What is this!” Of course I would add a swear word in there but as he is five months old he hasn’t heard it yet. We walked to meet Chelsea who wasn’t faraway, stopped at a cafe so she could breastfeed. Everything went well Chelsea had her meeting, I babysat, and Gabriel saw the rain and after a few minutes he fell asleep. Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2019 at French la Vie
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Christmas this year is going to be at our home. Chelsea, Martin, Baby, Martin's family, and Sacha is coming from Seattle, his Italian girlfriend will join us a few days after Christmas. I am gathering bits of sparkle from little antique pieces I have. My creative juices need to kick in so I can get a move on to how I will set up the Christmas tree and pray it doesn't fall over like it did one year. The menu too has to be planned. Chestnut soup is on the menu as well as a Christmas log cake. Everything in between will fall into place. Crystals, and gold thread church tassels. Simply pretty as is. No need to do much just tie the pieces here and there. Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2019 at French la Vie
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Over a year ago I found these fashion design examples from the late 1800s at a second-hand shop in Northern France while visiting a friend. The fashion designs were gathered in an old folder and appeared to be made by a teenager maybe for an art class or simply for her amusement. Each design was handmade on paper, the images were drawn then painted and then clothes were made for the "models" and stuffed to give a 3D effect. A true artist giving each page a distinct look with background design to match the "model's" attire. The detailing of each outfit is elaborate and well crafted. In the corner, you see a glimpse of my finger which thankfully as it gives you the viewer a sense of the size of these designs. I would have loved to meet this young person to hear why she created these. The fashion patterns are her own and hand sewn on to the paper. Note the variety of scraps she used and the umbrella handle. The "models" are not of one person but of many which allow me to believe the paintings were of her own imagination and not of a singular muse. Please note that the "model" on the right is drawn in pencil, her face is painted as well as a back of a chair and a plant in the background. With this, design, we can see a step or two on how she created them. The faces amaze me. As in any haute couture fashion show, there is a bride. Gone with the wind comes to mind. Notice the hand made embroidery? I love the color palette of this one. A close-up of a previous example. Aren't they lovely? Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2019 at French la Vie
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Saying goodbye to my family in California does not grow easier. How could it be? Instead of going down the rabbit hole of longing to have everyone I love in one place, the impossible dream. I remind myself how fortunate I am to have two worlds that I can call home and be grateful that I am able to travel back and forth, saying goodbye and living far away is not easy nor should it be. That is the bittersweet gift of long-distance love. Seeing my mom and sharing Gabriel with my family pulled every single heartstring at once. Instead of hearing that as a sad song, I am learning to move with the melody even if slowly. Coming back to France after being home takes me a few days to put my roots back into the soil of where I am, I suppose the surrealness of travel, the changing hours plus being jet-lagged gives way to my sensitivities about family and living abroad. Happiness does not change it is simply an adjustment period. Walking around Paris, beautiful Paris, was a far cry from Willows my home base of a different type of beauty. Gabriel was held nearly every minute of the day and somehow learned how to roll over and sit up. What a lucky little person to be born into such goodness. He was smothered in love and rolled up in sugar. If he was edible there would not have been a single crumb of him left. Such a good thing that he loved being passed around into one waiting arm after another. -After a three-hour car trip to the airport, -Arriving two hours before takeoff to go through customs, -Sitting for nine hours plus on an airplane, -Then going through customs again and taking a forty-five-minute taxi home. -With a nine-hour time difference, we arrived in Paris safely, without a single tear or problem. Of course, we held and played with Gabriel the entire way otherwise the narrative would have been vastly different, thankfully he slept more coming back then going over. Sleep is on the agenda and letting my roots settle in. Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2019 at French la Vie
I felt it, stopped right there letting it soak through me, absorbed my surroundings, took it in gulps, thanking the high heavens for such beauty, for such a life, for my family and for knowing the gift that it is. Leaning on that moment, with humble gratitude. I love those moments, that come with the day, no reason though not always received. How they affect each of us differently. Some see a field, some see a harvest, some see work, some see stress, and some see paradise. I see my homeland with praise. As my mother said to me, "This is your Homebase." I felt it, stopped right there and then letting it soak through me, absorbed my surroundings, took it in gulps, thanking the high heavens for such beauty, for such a life, for my family and for knowing the gift that it is. Leaning on that moment, with humble gratitude. I love those moments, that come with the day, no reason though not always received. How they affect each of us differently. Some see a field, some see a harvest, some see work, some see stress, and some see paradise. I see my homeland. The base of who I am. Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2019 at French la Vie
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As usual, my mom created her magic. Planned and made a lovely lunch for twenty-three of us. If only Yann and Martin had been here we would have been all together. The newest member baby Gabriel had attention galore and soaked up every ounce of it as he went from one person to another, some of my nieces and nephews had never held a baby before, but you could not tell. Chelsea and my niece Kate made my mom's traditional sugar cookies and used the pesky turkey cookie cutter to make them. As expected my brother Marty ate some of the heads, if he didn't we would think it wasn't Thanksgiving. Before lunch is served some of us step in to help my mom who guides and directs her band of sous chefs. Being my mom's sous chef is a breeze she knows what she wants and how she wants it the only pressure we have is to do it well as she says, "If you are going to help then do it 100 percent and nothing less." Three tables. What I found funny was without anyone saying anything or directing anyone to sit in any particular place, the younger set sat together, the young adults sat at another table and the oldies sat in the dining room. Sacha came home! The best treat. Homemade pumpkin and apricot pies, plus cookies and mud pie. The first cousin lineup plus the next generation at the end: Patti, Chelsea, Andy, Sacha, Sam, Jack, Joe, Gina, Marie, Maci, George, Molly, Kate, Warren, and Gabriel. Sacha took better photos, these are just snapshots from my cell. These five came to Paris with me a year and a half ago. My mom with my sister-in-laws and nieces. Some of the guys. I am eternally grateful for the family I was born into, for the love and faith I was taught, for the respect we have for another, for my parents who taught us by their example what love is. How fortunate I am, we are, to have such bounty. Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2019 at French la Vie
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As usual, my mom created her magic. Planned and made a lovely lunch for twenty-three of us. If only Yann and Martin had been here we would have been all together. The newest member baby Gabriel had attention galore and soaked up every ounce of it as he went from one person to another, some of my nieces and nephews had never held a baby before, but you could not tell. Chelsea and my niece Kate made my mom's traditional sugar cookies and used the pesky turkey cookie cutter to make them. As expected my brother Marty ate some of the heads, if he didn't we would think it wasn't Thanksgiving. Before lunch is served some of us step in to help my mom who guides and directs her band of sous chefs. Being my mom's sous chef is a breeze she knows what she wants and how she wants it the only pressure we have is to do it well as she says, "If you are going to help then do it 100 percent and nothing less." Three tables. What I found funny was without anyone saying anything or directing anyone to sit in any particular place, the younger set sat together, the young adults sat at another table and the oldies sat in the dining room. Sacha came home! The best treat. Homemade pumpkin and apricot pies, plus cookies and mud pie. The first cousin lineup plus the next generation at the end: Patti, Chelsea, Andy, Sacha, Sam, Jack, Joe, Gina, Marie, Maci, George, Molly, Kate, Warren, and Gabriel. Sacha took better photos, these are just snapshots from my cell. These five came to Paris with me a year and a half ago. My mom with my sister-in-laws and nieces. Some of the guys. I am eternally grateful for the family I was born into, for the love and faith I was taught, for the respect we have for another, for my parents who taught us by their example what love is. How fortunate I am, we are, to have such bounty. Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2019 at French la Vie
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Thanksgiving endless reasons to be. Happy Thanksgiving dear friends! I will post photos of my family's Thanksgiving day tomorrow. Note: I found the above poem but do not know who wrote it. Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2019 at French la Vie
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My Mom's kitchen. or the family's constant hang out. Being back home is being in the kitchen. Up at six, my mother's day begins Five thousand cookies, pies, cakes... and it is only nine in the morning. Yes, I have unbuttoned the top button on my pants. Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2019 at French la Vie
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Quinoa, small grains that look like seed pearls. Saute the quinoa until golden brown, then add boiling water (two parts to one,) cover allowing it time for it to become one. Dice red, green and yellow pepper saute them with olive oil and garlic. When the stiff peppers have surrendered to softness, add chopped almonds and saute until they change color. In a blender blend a clove of garlic, a handful of dried tomatoes and parsley, (or coriander) add small amounts of olive oil to help it become creamy. When the grains of quinoa are softened, toss the ingredients together. With a fork lightly fluff and delicately mix the dried tomato cream, sauteed peppers, and almonds. Serve at room temperature. Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2019 at French la Vie
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Salt and pepper shakers on a piece of checkered marble (tile) board. My mother keeps coming up with creative fun ideas for her home. A piece of marble checkered tile my mom smiles, "Isn't it a great piece, I use it for many things, usually cheese and crackers." That is so my mom: Mrs. Re-Purposing, a thinker outside of the box when it comes to decorating, "I get a lot of compliments on it too, a piece of tile that will never be used as a piece of tile." She laughs. Mom placed the heavy tile on the dining room table, then went around gathering her collection of salt and pepper shakers and put them on the marble checkered tile, "I had this idea to use it as a centerpiece with salt and pepper shakers. Using the pepper shakers as the black tokens and the salt shakers as the white tokens... and play checkers, a conversational piece." Original Mom! I imagined putting the checkered tile in my suitcase and taking it home. If it didn't weigh as much as a small child I might. Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2019 at French la Vie
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My oldest brother Marty and his wife Suzy. My cousin Joan's grandson Hank holding Gabriel. Hank gathered a bunch of his old "baby" toys for his younger cousin. My niece Molly and nephew Warren. Sacha's Budda-Mere meets Gabriel. My cousin Judy invited me to her home for lunch. My mom's sister, my Aunt Louie. My brother Mark with Penny. Yann in Vietnam Under the golden leaves is where we crack walnuts. A rare moment, a first, Gabriel fell asleep in the car seat! Oldest Niece, with the youngest in our family. George, my nephew after a motorcycle race. During Warren's basketball game. Baking up a storm. Cookie making. Some of the nieces. Pomegranates from my mother's garden. Maci making Chocolate Chip cookies. My brother Zane Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2019 at French la Vie
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