Because Chelsea and Sacha are home for a long weekend, they decided to go canyoning, which sounded like canoeing to me, well the way French Husband said canyoning that is. French Husband begged me to go, "...you will have fun, you will be with us, I will watch out for you, it is not hard, ten years olds do it..."
But I am not so stupid after 27 years of being married to this Frenchman I have learned the hard way that his easy means, "Scary as $é!§è"é§(&#à" for me.
The three of them left this morning for the Gorge de Verdon, a stunningly beautiful canyon less than two hours from our home. Right before they left French Husband pleaded again, "Come on Corey, you can take pictures, you will be with us, I will watch out for you, ten year olds do it... there are only a few ropes and you will have a helmet and a wet suit..."
"ROPES...?" I asked, "Why does one need a rope to go canoeing?"
But when I said canoeing French Husband heard canyoning.
He shrugged, "You should come, and be with us."
I felt guilty. I wished my fear did not control my decision. I thought to myself, "I can take emotional risks, but not physical ones."
They happily went without me.
I went to church and prayed in the calm silent womb, the safe place I feel when I am there. I prayed for their safety, with the word rope coming in between my Hail Marys and Our Fathers.
Early afternoon Chelsea called to reassure me that they were fine.
I could tell they were in hog heaven of over abundant glory. I asked, "Did you take any photos?" Chelsea laughed, "Mom, how could I?"
I was utterly confused, "Couldn't you stop rowing to take one souvenir photo?"
"Rowing" she laughed then clarified, in her perfect accent, "Mom we went canyoning not canoeing."
"Could I have done it?"
"Oh God NO way! We all agreed, that you would have HATED every single second of it."
in which I replied, "Thank God," and under my breath, "I am so gonna bop you dad."
Photos from the professional organization to come.
photos via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canyoning
"According to the legend, during the crusades the knight Bozon de Blacas was held prisoner by the Saracens; he vowed to hang a star over his village of he was able to return. No one knows how the star was originally hung there." via wiki
"Above the town, between those two rocky mountains, a gold-painted star hangs on a 225m-long chain suspended between two cliffs. Its origin, according to a legend popularised by Provençal poet Frédéric Mistral, lies in the 10th century; the original star and chain have been replaced several times since then. The current star is about 50 years old. Ten years ago it fell after the chain snapped, and was rehung using a helicopter." via wiki.
A golden star,
thousands of years later,
it is the first thing you see,
and the first question you ask,
"How did they get it there?"
Where does my golden star hang?
Does it inspire others, as the one Moustiers inspired me?
Those were the questions I thought about...
Finding meaning in my everyday, listening to the symbols that present themselves to find my way.
How do you find your way?
Li Hongbo's mesmerizing sculptures are currently on view at Klein Sun Gallery in New York. After years of trial and error, he's perfected his method of layering thousands of sheets of paper and carving them into busts, replicas of nature and human forms.
Produced by Alana Kakoyiannis. Additional camera by Justin Gmoser.
"If you've ever received newsletters or brochures in the mail, chances are they were held together by wafer seals. They are are self-adhesive paper disks used to prepare self-mailing materials for delivery or to seal envelopes securely without glue. Some wafer seals are perforated to prevent damage while opening, while others may be serrated for decoration or embossed for personalization. Many stamp collectors also have an interest in certain vintage or historic seals."
a 1500s square wafer seal.
"The use of wafer seals for envelopes and self-mailing documents was most likely derived from the earlier practice of using wax seals. Official wafer seals could also be commissioned in order to verify the authenticity of a decree or military order. Any hint of tampering or unauthorized reading could be detected by examining the seals. It is these elaborate versions that most interest stamp collectors today. As other forms of document protection, such as the self-sealing envelope, became more common, the use of official wafer seals declined. The practice is now mostly used during ceremonies or as official seals on formal invitations." Via WiseGeek
French pastel wafer seals.
"In the 19th century, sealing wax was a material made by the melting of lac or rosin with turpentine and pigments. In it's earliest forms it would have been made of beeswax and resin. The sealing wax was used to "seal" the letters or envelopes, with or without a wafer. During the early to mid 19th century the use of the wafer became popular in less formal correspondence. Often times people would imprint their sealing wax with initials, coat of arms, or other insignia as their personal mark on the sealing wax. With the onset of gummed envelopes, however, sealing wax and wafers eventually took a brief repose. By the 1870s few were using sealing wax, wafers and folded letters without envelopes. In the 1880's sealing wax was confined to those courtly correspondences, express parcels containing valuables for security, money parcels sent by express or foreign dispatches. However, you also always had those who of the "old school" still used it in all formal letters and notes. It was seen that sealing wax in the 1880s was more commonly used in Great Britain than in America. But it began to gain acceptance and popularity again, especially in America, in the 1880s and 1890s." via A Victorian Passage "
"How Wafers Were Made
These are sort of like a predecessor to a sticker. Wafers were made from wheat flour which was mixed with water so as to form a thin smooth paste. The paste was then pressed between two thin polished iron plates, so joined as to form, when closed, a pair of "wafer tongs". The plates didn't quite touch each other but are separated by a space as thick as the wafers are required. The iron plates when used are slightly warmed and greased, filled with the paste, closed and held for a few moments over a charcoal fire. The heat sets the paste and on separating the tongs a thin sheet of polished dry brittle wafer will come out. Several of these are stacked and then cut into small circular wafers by means of a punch. If made only with flour then they are white, but they are oftentimes colored by mixing lamp black, gamboge, Indigo, Vermilion, and Red Lead. Transparent wafers were made of fine glue, or isinglass. After the introduction of gumming, some fancy wafers were cut from gilt or silver paper, gummed on the lower surface and usually embossed. (SOURCE A VICTORIAN PASSAGE)
How to Apply A Wafer
To use a wafer to fasten papers and letters depends on the wafer becoming soft and adhesive when it is moistened. In this state it is placed between two pieces of paper, and the latter pressed together. The wafer adheres to both pieces of paper and when it dries unites them the same way as glue would." via A Victorian Passage
"They are an early form of birth control. Hold one between the knees, don't let go for anything!!"
Rebecca who NEVER disappoints (Diogenes and Franca Bolla either, the three in the pod)
"Corey, which flavor of the Body of Christ would you like today, my dear?"
Violet Cadburry wrote:
"Early LSD tablets."
These are poker chips from a dwarf casino. The dwarfs nibbled on the chips out of excitement even though Snow White had told them that this is bad manners.
And Debra Please thank your children for their efforts!
The Creative Winner:
Stella.... Barbie Coasters!
Oh la la!
So far the answer has not been found.
I think this could be the first time that I stumped you.
It certainly stumped me.
Guesses so far have been:
Felt protective disc
What do you think it could be???
A French Antique Guessing Game.
It has been awhile since I have seen or found a French antique that has stumped me that is why it has been awhile since I have added a French Antique Guessing Game. The other day Judy, Bill and Elena (some American friends of mine) asked me if I knew what these little circle shaped things were that they found while in France at the brocante. I was clueless as I had never even seen them before. Though I admired the circular box. I put my finger over the description, cause I didn't want the answer starring you in the face.
After Judy, Bill and Elena told me what they learned about these round things I told them how lucky they were to have a little French history in their possession. Going to the brocante is finding a bit of history, discovering a story, having it shape the way one sees tomorrow. It is a gift of the past live on because you noticed it.
Varied pastel colors circles roughly cut.
All the same size.
Turn of the century.
Though they were around before... and now?
In a darling box.
Do they taste good?
Are they bonbons?
What are they?
Do you know?
Off the subject:
French Anitque Guessing Game:
Guess as many times as you want in the comment section, or by email.
The first person to guess correctly with the French Name will win a prize (something similar to it but new.)
And the person who I deem has the most creative answer will have a treat too.
Diogenes, Francabolla, and Rebecca it has nothing to do with Roaches :) But I know you will think of something to tease me.
My friend Ruth from Rubanesque has a shop this summer in Lacoste which features her handmade one of a kind jewelry using antique silk ribbons from her family's historical silk ribbon company, plus treasures she has collected from the brocante.
The delightful combination of Ruth, her craft and creativity, plus Lacoste made me jump with excitement. The opening was more than I imagined, and my imagination is off the charts. Ruth's shop is in the town square next to a cafe, a church, lavender and in the shadow of the Marquise de Sade's castle... dream land made real. A perfect place to be reborn without every leaving ones soul or shoes.
Inspiring roots. Blooming without end.
Ribbons, lace, fabric made with gold and silver is notably: "noble" thread.
Cotton and linen threads were consider common used for practical purposes like work shirts and aprons. Noble threads were only for the wealthy and used for finery, pleasure...
I love how Ruth used old French black and white postcards throughout her shop to highlight her jewelry. The above French postcard depicts a young woman a field worker. In her hand is a sickle used to cut lavender. She is wearing a cotton dress with a provencal scarf. Tucked within her straw hat she has layered ribbons and flowers to resemble a crown.
Ruth combined several pieces of antique ribbons, sequins and bobs to create this choker piece. Hand sewn, can I say noble workmanship?
Dressed in white air thin muslin, sitting uncomfortably on mistletoe the maiden waits to be kissed.
Pure silver thread on wooden spools.
Each marked with its weight and thickness.
Old things waiting in line to become reborn.
Mourning bits and bobs.
Museum pieces. Gold thread lace.
Ruth's creation is next to a postcard of a young woman creating her art.
Now and then.
Today and tomorrow.
Forever creating, dreaming becoming,
living an artful life.
The cardboard holds samples of different colored, tinted silver and gold threads.
Hair do please don't.
My mother use to "fix" my hair everyday when I was a child.
I wasn't keen on it.
I preferred the -- come what may look.
My mother use to say, "You have to suffer to look beautiful." In which I woud respond, "I do not want to look beautiful." One of my favorite memories is saying that exact same thing to Chelsea when she was a little girl... though her response is what I have held true:
"I am already beautiful!"
Where are you unfolding your beauty today?
The parade with the Provencal marching band passed by our town today.
Afterwards there was an aperitif at the town square.
I went to Annie's house.
Opened her window. She leaned over the window sill to hear the music, and to listen to the mayor speak.
Annie is home! That is the reason for my celebrating this holiday!
Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts!
And the beat goes on!
In France the World Cup is a big deal. Every bar, and I daresay I am not exaggerating, had a TV, and some had more than one. In our little town four screens were set up. Food and drinks served. Tables popped up and a party began.
From the cheers and groans I don' think one team or the other was favored.
Two TV screens, one on each side of the road.
I loved how the bar across the street was called
We watched the game at the other bar caused it served Paella and Crepes.
World Cup ends and the Tour de France fills in.
Yellow Jersey will ride by my Belle Mere's place in the Alps.
Motorcycle trip might be in order to watch it live.
Chelsea came home for the weekend. Driving home from Marseille we traced along the foothills of Saint Baume. The Super Moon rose to greet us. It was as a glowing ball of wonder and took our breath away.
Without stopping, we watched the super moon dance, weave, then it peeked in and out behind the mountains.
How did that enormous surprise hide itself behind the foothills?
Wonder and awe.
Something old, something new.
I took a photo claiming it, "Ying and Yang."
The trees became a paint brush, dipping in the faded light, then splashing what it had against the sky as we rushed by.
With my daughter.
My friend Allison, who is twenty years younger than me, and whom I have known since she was seven, leaves tomorrow. I am going to be a lost duck, I mean cigalle without her!
The other day while we were driving around Provence Allison asked French Husband If there was a leader of the cigalles that told them when to sing?
French Husband responded, "No. They sing when they are hot."
Allison was hoping for a more elaborate answer, or at least a tad bit of conversation since I was fast asleep in the car, so she continued,
"Okay, but how do they know when to all sing at the same time?"
French Husband looked at her oddly, as if the answer was so obvious, or should I say his expression seemed to say, "Duh," when he added,
"Because they are all hot."
Since that moment that has been the "EXPRESSION" we go to, the memory that has circled our conversations, the one thing we say over and over again,
"Duh, they are all hot."
All at once.
A matter of fact.
Why do cigalles sing?
Because the are hot.
Why do we drink wine?
Why do we go shopping?
Why do we go to the beach?
Facts about Cigalles:
"It's the males who make the noise to attract females to the tree where they are sitting (they are remarkably adept at camouflage). They produce the sound by contracting and relaxing tymbals, ribbed membranes inside their stomachs."
But actually, as French Husband would say:
"They are hot. Period."
"The cicada is the one of the world's loudest insects, recording sounds of up to 120 decibels. The males have to "switch off" their hearing organs while they sing, in order to avoid going deaf. Below 22 degrees Centigrade, the resounding sections of the diaphragm lose their elasticity."
Again, they sing because they are
I must admit I like the sound of the cigalle sometimes, but not all day long.
Small doses yes, all day long no.
"Provençal myth has it that the cicada was sent by God to disrupt the peasants' endless siestas and stop them from growing too lazy."
"The Ancient Greeks were equally keen on the cicada, which they regarded as a symbol of Apollo, the god of music and of the sun." Via www.marvellous-provence
Nevertheless, French Husband speedy response fits here too..
"SUN equals HOT.
They are all hot."
"Apart from Xenophon, writers who celebrated the cicada include Homer, in the Iliad and Plato, in Phaedra's, which relates that cicadas were once men who became so enthralled with music that they forgot to eat and drink and their bodies wasted away." via www.marvellous-provence
Yeah, well that certainly isn't cool.
Looking out from the top of Lacoste. Do you see the lavender fields in the distance?
A fountain once of practical importance, now simply admired.
Whenever I see a cat I think of my niece Marie. Today was no exception.
Quaint corners. Stone paths. Flowers pots galore. Picturesque. But few locals.
Once upon a time in France there was an extra tax for each and every window in your home. To avoid extra cost, the French stoned in some of their windows.
The original, "Must Dash", I mean
Hand forged iron hinge.
Lacoste in Provence is a hillside village. Cars are not allowed inside the village.
France in the early summer is a royal feast for the senses. And though it is old, it never grows old for me. The color of the season surprises me over and over again. Oh that Provencal blue sky against the golden wheat! It is the first time isn't it? Do I smell baked bread? I know I do.
The earth soaks in Provence: Thyme, lavender, rosemary, fennel and certainly the Mistral stirs it... then with ease, pass the rocky clay soil the vines send their roots down... and wine flows with the scent of it all.
Pleasure under my feet and above my head.
French Country wealth.
How is your summer unfolding?
Will always be
A day of love, of happiness, of beauty.
It will be a day I will never forget, a day I witnessed from deep within,
A day that shaped my being. A day that created what I would always hold true.
On this day long ago,
My parents were married. In a small town on a scorching hot day.
July seventh was a day celebrated extraordinary love, devotion and faith that never ended.
Thank you Mom and Dad for showing me a love like yours!
My friend Allison,
celebrating the fourth of July with us...
Pink was the closest to red, and Allison's ring had some blue with white sparkles.
It was the best we could do. The details aren't important just the fact of celebrating.
Happy Fourth of July.
What are you doing today?
Chelsea's best friends (since junior high) spent the night last night. I was giddy to see them.
Lea is finishing up her master's in humanitarian law, and will spend six months in Nepal starting in August. Of course Chelsea and I have our fingers crossed that we can visit her. Domi is an emergency care nurse working in Belgium, but is leaving to go work and live in Guyane (Brazil). The three of them have remained friends throughout their studies, travels and work.
As them three of them crashed in Chelsea bedroom, Domi and Lea plopped on the bed pronouncing it fluffy. Then they asked what the difference was between the words:
Clouds are fluffy?
Marshmallows are fluffy?
Pillows are puffy?
Curtains are puffy?
A bed is fluffy?
Try describing the difference between the two words!?
This morning after seeing myself in the bathroom mirror I moaned, "Oh my eyes are so puffy!" Domi hearing this leans towards Chelsea and asks, "Why does your mom says her ass is puffy?"
You see if you say eyes with a French accent it sounds like ass. If you say eyes in English it can sound like ass to a French person. This is my world, puffy eyes that sounds like puffy ass. Though all I heard was, "...her ass is puffy?" Which I said, "Thanks alot you got that right."
Never a dull moment when it comes to living with two languages spoken at once with a heavy accents.
Yesterday while we were happy go lucky in the lavender fields in Provence, French Husband noticed something that I had not seen. He pointed to the ground with a funny look on his face, the kind he gets when he is going to say something he thinks is funny. He said,
"Look he was so excited to see the lavender fields he dropped his underwear."
I looked at him puzzled. It was funny I must admit to see underwear wadded up on the ground. But French Husband's expression "... that he was so excited... he dropped his shorts...?"
Later and for a long time he tried to explain French expressions that have to do with being so happy you lose (drop) something.
I was confused. But not as confused as the person who lost his underwear in the lavender fields.
Or maybe his happiness had more to do than just seeing purple?
Later French Husband remembered the French expression:
"Les bras m'en tombent."
Which means when you are so excited your arms fall off, and well, French Husband changed it to underwear. That is how it rolls around here.
The Lavender Fields in Provence are incredibly intoxicating. Over the years, we have made the hour and a half drive many many times, hoping to hit the lavender fields at their fullest bloom, at the right moment of utter glory.
Today we did it.
I could not stop inhaling the perfume and literally my eyes hurt from the overload of color.
I am teasing sort of.
Today was the day I have been dreaming about.
We went to Mousiters Saint Marie and hiked to the chapel. Of course we took the rough, rugged, hardest trail up. Of course! Of course I was in a dress with sandals, so not dressed for the occassion. Of course I held on to French Husband's arm as if I would die any minute if I did not. The fear of falling is my problem these days.
Our friend Allison was with us. She soaked in every detail. Such a trooper on the slippery slick stone path. Even when a bee stung her, she still smiled and carried on!
The trail down is easier, and as we found out the better trail to go up next time.
So if you are in Moustiers Saint Marie follow the trail on the right, not the left. Unless you like rough rugged adventure.
The view is worth ever inch of the climb.
Tiled rooftops below of Moustiers Saint Marie. Charming out of a movie set though a reality so true in France. I will never grow tired of it. Never.
Do you know back in the day the roof tiles were made on a woman's thigh? The curve and form created like that. When I look at those tiles, and they are everywhere in the south of France, I cannot help thinking that is alot of leg.
The French lavender fields in Provence.
Always in bloom the first part of July.
This year the lavender is in full bloom, hearty, thick, rich.... I daresay the best every!
Field after field, row after row. Incredibly beautiful. Ask French Husband how many times Allison and I shouted, "Stop the car!" then gasped, "Oh my God!"
A couple thousand at least.
Where to stay:
More information about Where to go and what to do...
Have you ever cooked with Lavender?
My friend Allison is staying with us. Allison is a friend from way back when I lived in San Francisco (years ago we went to Lourdes with Annie to celebrate the miracle of Allison's little nephew...)
Anyway, last night we had dinner at Thierry's house. Before dinner an aperitif was served. I took a cracker, a TUC offering it to Allison, and asked if she had ever had a French verision on a Ritz cracker before? We dipped them into Tarama. It struck me funny that I recalled a Ritz cracker at that moment, and that a TUC so familiar is unknown in the States and visa versa.
Small cultural difference of little importance.
TUC is the French cousin to the Ritz cracker. I loved your comments yesterday! Who knew one could have a good laugh over a cracker's name.
As Allison is from San Francisco French Husband asked her if she had ever heard or seen the "Blue House"? Allison did not, either did I. As French Husband told us the story I thought to myself I have been married to this guy for 26 years, met him in San Francisco and he never told me of the "Blue House"?
Small cultural differences are important.
La Maison Bleu by Maxime Le Forestier have you ever heard of this Blue House? I have heard this song many times in France, and never knew the connection until yesterday....
Yet it might surprise the average American to know that other people - even the French - do the same thing. Originally from Paris, I grew up singing in the shower a French song about San Francisco called "La Maison Bleue (The Blue House)." It was written in the 1970s by famous French singer Maxime le Forestier and told of a painted house set aside a San Francisco hill:
Can you name a song with a City's name in it?
La Maison Bleu by Maxime Le Forestier song sings about San Francisco.
On a scorching summer day, water, ice cold water smooths the dry spot.
My mother who disapproves of soda pop and bottled water, has a way with serving ice cold water to the many grandchildren that gather at her home.
My Mother takes out her large glass water fountain, layers it with ice, sliced lemons, chopped cucumbers, and fresh mint from her garden and sets it outside. Sometimes she adds halved strawberries to it as well.
Outside under the tree, on a rickety wooden table sets the water fountain.
Sacha's rooster, (or is it a chicken?) pecks at the grass.
Cups are stacked on the bottom shelf for easy serving.
Glasses can be used, but as some of the grandchildren are little, plastic is often used.
A white linen with lace is used to spruce up the everyday occasion of thirst, and to add a touch of old fashion sweetness to the day.
My mother's way with seeing that no detail is overlooked, and how she can appreciate beauty in everyday moments, has wrapped my memories of childhood in a bundle of joy.
A new twist to the lemonade stand.
Did you ever have a lemonade stand?
In a five gallon infusion jar layer it with:
Add ice, about five inches thick,
Then lightly cover the ice with whole mint leaves, chopped cucumbers, sliced lemons and strawberries.
Repeat the layers until you reach the top. Then add water until the half way mark. Let it sit for an hour or more. Add water as needed.
This is a repost from 2011...
simply because when Summer comes
I miss being back home the most.
Thank you for your comments regarding migraines. Who knew so many of us suffered with such. I read and re read each comment, and will take heed of the advice given. Those of us who have migraines understand that it is a tricky thing to treat. With drugs or no drugs it isn't easy to manage or live with. Whenever I wish for something, after I wish good health and happiness for my family and friends, I sneak in no more migraines please.
On another note, as you know there were some problems with the server I use to write my blog. Those issues have been resolved. The weird ad that appeared randomly when some of you clicked on my blog, is gone. It seems the comment section is working right for most of you, and soon my blog will have a facelift and with that the old wrinkles will be made smooth.
After much frustrations with the email subscription not working properly, and trying BLOGLOVIN' only to find out that it sent my blog out sometimes, but not all the time I have decided to pay for FEEDBLITZ'S help. And instantly I was impressed. So on the top right hand corner of my blog you will see FEEDBLITZ email subscription. It costs nothing to you. But my blog will come to you whenever I update which is daily. Plus you can add it to Pinterest, Facebook or whatever social media that you would like to share it.
Annie is coming home! The cast is off! Annie comes home Monday.
Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts. I believe in the energy of love, of holding someone in your heart, thank you for giving that to Annie.
Now that all is good, I want to thank you for being such loving faithful and generous readers of my blog. Chelsea said the other day when she greeted a renter of our apartment in Paris, "Mom, everyone who rents the apartment from your blog, I feel I have known them forever, they are so loving and kind! It is as if your blog is a magnate for good people."
Ah gee! Who could ask for anything more!