I am the oldest, and only girl in a family of four boys:
Marty, Mathew, Mark and Zane (Sounds like Mathew, Mark, Luke and John... I guess that would make me Mary.)
Happy Birthday Mathew (49) and Mark (47)!
I am the oldest, and only girl in a family of four boys:
Marty, Mathew, Mark and Zane (Sounds like Mathew, Mark, Luke and John... I guess that would make me Mary.)
Happy Birthday Mathew (49) and Mark (47)!
We are off... two nights in Paris.
Then to Thailand, where we will stay for three weeks.
Then to Hong Kong for a few days, where we are invited by a fellow blogger, Irina.
Next we will fly to Yangshou for five day, before going to Shanghai, to see Chelsea.
At the end of the week the three of us will go to Beijing.
I hope to post daily... though in China it might prove impossible.
Maybe less possible than Sophie (our house-sitter) letting Stinky Cat inside our house!
One back pack holding my computer and camera.
One empty suitcase to carry back treasures.
Hope you will follow along with us on our happy trails!
Views from the TGV train's window.
The French countryside flashed by.
Castles, bridges, towers, ....landscape that changes with the seasons.
As we rode along from the south of France to Paris the sun light poured through the clouds, giving us a spectacular show.
Dark to light, grey to bright.
The land toiled, the trees beginning to bud, a hint of green, spring was calling in the air.
Thank you for the many imaginative "how I met you" stories. Holy cow are you guys good. Weaving in bits of blogs passed: I-beam, Dumpster Diving, Youth Group, the Monastery, Willows, Brocantes, Dancing.... impressive bunch you are. And again why do I do this to myself, picking one nugget is not as easy task when the pot is full of gold.
Jackie's story was utterly amazing. A scarf will come your way from China.
My cousin Angela wrote on her Facebook How she would like her "friends" to comment on her page about: How they met her. But she wanted them to make up a story, a **LIE**. She added, "That's right, just make it up."
I found that so funny, and knew I had to do it on my blog too. So tell me a "lie" about how you met me, inventive, creative, teasing, outragous, simply stated... let your creative tales unwind.
Tomorrow I will pick a winner or two and send the winner a scarf from China. Because after all I met you while hitchhiking on the silk road.
My friend Annie makes weed salad.
She gathers the weeds in a field.
She eats them.
And tells me, "..they are good for you, high in vitamins."
Weeds that I walk on without given them a thought.
Weeds with names such as:
Salade de Chasseur, or Hunter's Greens in English.
Fenouil, or Fennel's first shots. Not to be confused with older, later in the season's more substantial growth.
Pissanli (I won't tell you what that sounds like in French... oh dang I have to tell you... It sounds like Peeing in the Bed!) better known as: Dandelion! Bitter is what it is!
And the fourth cutie weed... Much to my shame, I forgot its name.
I went over to Annie's yesterday to cut her hair.
Entering her kitchen there was an overwhelming garlicky aroma.
Annie told me she had made her Weed Salad. I tasted her weeds before without seasoning, and it was not my favorite. Annie reassured me, "...I know you don't like my wild salad...."
"You mean weed salad?""
"Yes, but you should taste it with my vinaigrette!"
"Is garlic the main ingredient?"
She laughed, "Can you smell it?"
Annie collects the weeds, then trims, washes and seasons them:
Olive oil, salt, apple vinegar and a fist full of crushed garlic.
I love garlic. I have heard the the reason escargot tastes good is because of the butter and garlic. Weed salad falls in the same catagory. The garlic won me over.
Annie was happy that I am now a fan of her weed salad. I'll never walk on a weed again without my tastebuds watering.... well, that is if garlic dressing is close behind.
French Husband informed me that we are taking one suitcase for our trip to China. One as in, one dinky shared suitcase. I informed him that we were not on a motorcycle.
He held up one finger. He has a thing for traveling lightly. And somehow even though deep down I would like to travel with ten suitcases, or at least more than two pairs of shoes... the challenge he draws is a fun game.
One suitcase for six weeks.
Traveling light has its benefits, and two pairs of shoes is more than enough. French Husband will wear sandals the entire time. I told him that this is the rainy season in China, and that maybe he should reconsider the sandals.
(Photo Source Miuccia Prada.)
He told me he would manage with socks and sacs (The French word for plastic bags.)
Oh the joys of traveling with a man who isn't fashion conscious.
I looked-up "socks and sandals" in the Urban Dictionary and read it to him:
"A footwear combination worn only by the fashion-challenged."
"If it's hot enough for sandals, it's too hot to wear socks. If it's cold enough to wear socks, it's too cold for sandals."
Favorite places to go antiquing coming, and photos of Stinky Cat when I see him and have my camera at the same time.
Where to go antiquing in France? If only I had a dime for everytime someone asked me that question! There is a site on the internet that I use to find out about antique fairs in France. It is in French, so I thought today I would break it down for you. Most French antique fairs happen on Saturday or Sunday. Though others do happen during the week as well.
Below you will find the link and how to undertand it below.
First - Click on the link below:
- On the "Where to go antiquing in France website", the first thing you need to do is click on the sign that says:
- When you click on it, it will open up and look like this:
The first three words are MONTHS. Starting with the present month. The last series of words says: Mois Suivants which means = Following Months. Click on the month that you will be in France or the month you want to go antiquing.
Choisissez votre région
When clicking on the month (mois) you will come to the page above. Next click on the region of France where you will be, and or want to go antiquing.
Paris is in "Ile de France".
When you click on the region of your choice a slew of towns, cities with fairs, brocantes and antique markets will appear in order according to date.
An example of what that will look like is below:
First it will have the week day (I have listed each item in red alongside of the French text so you can see where and understand the listing better.)
Then the area code number of each region of France, 04 is the area number of Cereste. Then it will have the town or city's name, in this case: Cereste (when a town is small it often will say which two larger towns it is in between.) which is in between Manosque and Apt.
GRAND VIDE-GRENIERS BROCANTE (Description of what type of antique market.) Large Garage Type like sale literally Grand Vide-Greniers Brocante means: Large Empty out the Attic Brocante (please do not let me explain that word, God I hope you know me by know.) - sur les Places de Village (Where it is located. Usually in the center of town, or large parking lot, or nearby field.) - 8h à 18h (The time of the market. It always starts earlier then listed.) - Extérieur (If it is outside or inside.) - Entrée gratuite (How much, if anything, it costs to enter.)
80 exp. (Professionnels + Particuliers + Habitants + Association (This part means: How many dealers are signed up, and what type of dealers will be at the fair. In this case every type of dealer will be there, Professional, plus small weekend dealers, and people from the town, since everybody is allowed to sale at a vide de greniers if it is in their hometown.)
Tel : 04-92-76-66-55 - 06-79-83-12-55 (The phone number in case you need to call.)
ORG: "LIFRAT" (The organizer of the fair.)
Now do you want to know: My favorite antique markets in France?
A dime please! Well, I will list them.... but first we've gotta strike a deal....let's see now what can I ask for such delicious information???
OR would you rather that I take a photo of Stinky Cat?
Woke up not so early, that is what happens when one goes to bed far too late.
That was the first strike against going to the brocante two hours away.
Second strike came when the sky was grey outside when it was suppose to be a bright blue... Well at least in my books it was suppose to be blue.
But when one has the brocante bug biting, and one knows the bug will not be satisfied because one is going away for awhile.... Getting up late and a grey sky cannot detour the desire.
Was not promising. It had the air of a disappointing brocante day.
Though the unexpected beauty of the trees casting shadows on a foggy canvas kept us driving on in awe, and wonder.
When we arrived, a light rain did not stop me from getting out of the car. Vendors were packing up, I hunted at record speed. And found a toile de jouy panel that made my wet wool coat feel nice and warm.
Fifteen minute fortune so very worth the long drive and lack of sleep.
I called Sophie to see how her brocante day had gone... She was at one three hours away, though closer to her home. She said, "I arrived at six in the morning to find the brocante was replaced by a circus/carnival.... school holiday's delight."
I didn't dare say I find a toile du jouey panel. Well not yet that is.
Oh the trials of the passionate brocanteurs.
How was your weekend?
Take it slow.
Find something good in everything.
Hold it close, while honoring the joy you receive from it.
The color of friendship what is it?
Petals in soft shades of light, with hints of character in the raw earthy toned roots.
When I met French Husband years ago he asked me, "How can you love so many people?"
His question struck me as odd... "How?" I asked, "I suppose that is a result of growing up in a large family in a small town. I never knew any differently."
Often when I write my blog I think of my family, my friends... those I love. They are no longer nearby.... an ocean separates us.
Blogging keeps me in touch. Over the years the circle of friendship grew. I am daily amazed by the power of blogging. How connected it makes me feel. How the circle grows, connecting, caring, bringing together... the world is small and the heart is large.
Yesterday Kate wrote this comment (below) it struck me.... not only because of the infamous orange armoire but because we are all looking for the connection, the dot to dot, the symbols, the color of friendship, the key to loving. Life is full of messages, and today I am thankful for hearing one of them.
"My heart stopped for a moment when I read this post! Paint the orange armoire?! NO! Perhaps I should explain myself. Let's go back a few years ago when I, flipping through an issue of Victoria magazine, literally swooned at the sight of an amazing orange armoire in the midst of a beautifully simple (yet elegant) kitchen.
I immediately tore that page out of the magazine (don't worry, it was my own copy) and put it in my LOVE IT file. I would add to and edit that file periodically, but my love for that orange armoire never wavered. It wasn't just the armoire, it was the whole composition of the room. Somehow over the years my LOVE IT file got misplaced, but I never forgot my favorites.
Fast forward to this past November, my beloved father had just died two weeks before after suffering through a long illness for five years, and I had just returned to work (I work part time at an antiques store). I was pretty raw at this point, but needed to get out of the house and try to think of something other than how sad I was. As I was wandering through the store to see what treasures the owner had unearthed, I saw a stack of old magazines. I picked up the one on the top of the stack, casually flipped through it, and there it was. MY orange armoire. I sat. I smiled. Then I read the accompanying article and........Wait! I know this woman! She's a friend of mine!
Every morning, while I drink my coffee, she tells me a little bit about her life. She shows me photos, she makes me laugh. I've even purchased a couple of her brocante finds. What do you know, all this time that orange armoire was living with her! With YOU! Such a seemingly small discovery (my long lost orange armoire and the fact that it's yours) brought me a little joy at such a sad time in my life. This time I didn't tear the page out of the magazine. Instead, I'm keeping the entire issue, for there is far less chance of me misplacing a whole magazine.
So, paint it? Obviously, I love the orange. I really do. If, however, an aubergine armoire would make you smile, then why not? I'm pretty sure I would tear out a picture of that one, too. Thank you for making me smile."
The color of friendship what is it to you?
- Sophie brought in the Stinky Cat (which is the neighbor's cat.)
- Then she told me to re-paint my antique armoire that I love and painted years ago.
- Which lead me to re think the color of the armoire.
- Then Sacha told me he liked the orange armoire, when I thought he didn't like antiques. In fact last year he asked me, "Mom what is the most valuable thing in our house?" I thought it a strange question and told him so. He gave me the sideways look one does when being sneaky and teasing all at once, "Because if you and dad die before Chelsea and me, I want to pick the good stuff, to resale it you know. So I want to be one up on Chelsea." Then he laughed at his own joke.
Later I asked Chelsea, if she knew what the most valuable thing was in our house. She looked at me oddly and said, "No. Why?" So I gave her that sideways look that Sacha gave me and said, "Because Sacha knows. And he isn't even studying for a masters in business. He is calculating what to scoop on to resale if we die before him." Chelsea laughed and then said, "...And what should I scoop up first?"
Well considering most the stuff is our house is old, peeling, chipped, cracked, faded, worn... and only valuable to one person's eyes (mine!) I told them to take the orange armoire 'cause it has the chocolate inside. And is a son of a gun to lift.
- Repainting old furniture doesn't necessarily devalue it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But repainting certain antique furniture does. The orange armoire use to be green, and before that grey. When I bought the armoire it was peeling, faded and beyond hope of saving either of those colors that I adore. I painted it red terra which looks burnt orange.
- Like usually I read everyone's reponses, yesterday's post was not exception...interesting and good advice. The desk: Now that is a hot topic! I am leaning on painting it..... yikes... and I never thought I would. Lisa's response to painting the armoire, Aubergine truly intrigued me. And that is the biggest first ever.
- The second biggest first... I will wait until after we return from China to make a decision (many of you advised me too.) Unless, Sophie of courses paints it while I am gone.
This is part of our kitchen.
The terra cotta floor tiles are classic old ones from Provence. They are a burnt orange color.
The wallpapered wall is to the left of the armoire.
Two of the walls are taupe, the other two are a lighter shade. The stairwell is now papered.
Here is the question: Should I paint the armoire another color?
The kitchen counter (opposite wall) has a Charcoal granite counter that is "antique" textured.
Sophie, says I should paint the armoire a super mat black, and the desk a grey green.
What do you think?
Sacha said, "What! You're gonna paint the armoire? The orange armoire!"
Made me smiled, I didn't think he cared for old things.
French Husband said, "What's for dinner."
This is one of our kitchen walls before I went on a crazy wallpapering frenzy. One door leads to a small pantry, the other is a cupboard. The holes are for wine bottles, and the two black iron doors are old wood burning oven doors that the previous owner built as cupboards as well. You cannot really see in this photo, but there are two iron doors per cupboard and the open.
The walls are a greyish white. The stairwell is open as you can see, and there is a painted stone lion on one of the steps.
The doors I repainted, the difference is bearly noticable in the photo. The shade is one step darker. More taupe than grey.
I am not sure that I like the after look better than the before. But it is interesting to look at. I am thinking to paint the desk. And certainly will move the clock. Doesn't it drive you bonkers when someone moves the clock?
Yesterday, Sophie came by (our friend who is going to house sit our home while we are gone) she went upstairs to put some of her things away. When she came down she had Stinky Cat in her arms. I nearly threw the paintbrush at her. Instead I sighed,"Where did you find that cat!!! That is the cat the peed all over our house, and fell down the chimney the last time we were gone."
"Oh, it was purring outside the bedroom window, just sitting on the ledge purring, welcoming me. I opened the window and he came right to me." she smiled, carressing the Stinky Cat, "We are going to be good, good friends, I can tell! Isn't he so cute? You never told me that you had a cat?"
Lord help me. The Stinky Cat has now befriended Sophie.
Stinky Cat is my affectionate name for it. I got the name from my eleven year old niece Marie.
When I learn something new, or dip my foot into an old pleasure, or start something that I have been meaning to do but haven't done it... well once I get into it, I am on a roll. I want to keep on doing what I am doing, and not stop. Call it mad inspiration, manic, or simply passion... it is a driving force to reckon with. Are you like this too? Once I start something that inspires me I usually don't want to stop... even if it is passed midnight.
When Chelsea and Sacha were little I stopped reading. I am by nature a night owl who doesn't need much sleep. When the children went to bed, I would read. I loved to read. The problem was "one more page" turned into late nights... Topped that with babies that didn't sleep through the night and who were up at six. No sleep was not enough.
Well, something had to give, I stopped reading at night, so I could be a better mom during the day.
Anyway, that is just to say that when I do something I love I don't want to stop, unless babies are waking me up at two, three, four in the morning.
After wallpapering the bathroom. I was itching to get my hands in glue again. The kitchen wall was crying my name... and so yesterday I dove back into it.
First, I copied a bunch of old papers I had. Then I covered the wall with neutral colored tones copied old hand-written letters. Next, I collaged images I had (copied) over the neutral toned letters, to add color and depth.
I collaged an eight meter square of wall with copied old papers. The wall, was a stairwell with two doors under it. Can you imagine the ton of angles! After glueing the truckload of papers, the doors didn't match. I am painting them today.
Of course I will show you the results tomorrow. I'll let you know my next adventure into wallpapering. Our home didn't have a single wallpapered wall until this weekend... at this rate I fear it might say the opposite by next weekend.
The Water Closet (W.C.) is often located in its own separate room in France. The bathroom is where you shower or bath, and the W.C. is the toilet room. Therefore when you are in France and need to go to the bathroom, one must say, "Where is the toilet?" Because if you ask for the "Bathroom" chances are you will be taken to the room where there isn't one.
My niece and I wallpapered the "toilet" room. It is the smallest room in our home.
I had never wall papered before, though thankfully my niece, knew the tricks of the trade, and offered to help me.
My goal was to take the taupe/beige wallpaper samples that I had creating a patchwork, or collage on three of the toilet room walls. Juliette papered, while I glued. Juliette had the tools, I had the crazy idea. We were a good team.
Right away what I thought would be a simple project turned out to be a very time consuming one. Juliette is a perfectionist, while I am a glue and go girl. Juliette calculated, measured, cut off the excess paper, matching seam to seam. While I would have simply over-lapped the layers.
I put the glue on the paper, told Juliette where I wanted it, Juliette then fixed it to the walls with precision. She had the hard part and did it with ease.
We got along. I quickly caught on that wallpapering is more math than I care for. Fortunately, Juliette had this fancy tool that made straight guidelines on the wall. It simplified calculating.
The outcome is exactly what I hoped for! Unfortunately, the photos do not do it justice, though if you click on them, then enlarge, you can see more details. I added some old papers, which added a new twist to "writing on the walls", and gives one something to read when in there.
French Husband liked it too, teasingly he added, "Now everyone will know where we poop." Lovely thought on Valentine's isn't that!
Happy Valentine's !
What project are you up too?
And more fun ideas for wallpapering.
Wallpapering the W.C. (Water Closet).
My niece Juliette, the Queen of wallpapering is helping me, or I should say I am helping her, help me. I thought I would start the "collage wallpapering" in a safe place.... the W.C. before the kitchen. If I don't like it, well I can close the door and close my eyes when I go to the ... well you know what I mean, instead of crying every time I am in the kitchen cooking.
I'll show you how it turns out tomorrow... or if it doesn't turn out I'll show you a closed door.
Grabbing the plastic bag that I had prepared the night before, I left early in the morning to my friend Annie's house. (Annie is my friend who is 91, though says she is 92 because she is closer to 92 than 91.) Annie told me to come early, and what to bring to make Bugnes. Bugnes, like oreillettes are similar to beignets, or dough-nuts, though without yeast or any self rising agents... other than eggs.
Annie is a wonderful cook, as Sacha has reminded me many times over, "...Women Annie's age really know how to cook. Honestly mom, they can take a plain head of lettuce, put it on a plate and it taste like a million bucks." I always feel so reassured about my cooking skills after a conversation like that. Once, he went on and on about how Annie's "green beans" were the best he ever had in his life. I asked him if they were so different from the ones I made. But before he could answer I said, "...shhhhhht, forget about it, I don't want to know."
I put the plastic bag full of flour, sugar, eggs, and oil on Annie's table. She had her apron on and handed me one. Annie placed a big bowl on the table, open the flour sack, pouring half of it into the mixing bowl. Quickly her hands moved at lightening speed as she whipped the other ingredients into the bowl.
Clearing my throat, I said, "Annie, Annie remember I want to LEARN how to make Bugnes, can you tell me your recipe first?" She pointed, then wiggled her floured finger towards the kitchen drawer, "There! Over there... yes that drawer, see it?"
Looking through her stack, of neatly printed scratch pieces of papers, I found it.
Glancing at the list of ingredients and looking at what she was mixing in the bowl, I said, "Annie it says here, Two soup spoons of sugar..." but before I could finish my sentence, she added, "Yes, I know, but my way is better."
Annie knew the recipe by heart... had twink-ed it by heart too, and knew it well. I grabbed a pen and started to scribble down what she was doing:
I kneaded the dough. While it was rising she talked about what it was like living in France during WWII. I love her stories about her past. Two hours later the dough was double in size.
Annie handed me an empty wine bottle. "Inventive rolling pin, isn't it?"
I rolled out the dough, as thin as paper.
In her earlier years, Annie was a hat-maker, she has a good eye for detail. She sliced the rolled out dough into a perfect rectangle. Then Annie cut long strips down the rectangle, two inch wide. She then cut each strip into diamond like shape, and slit each diamond shape down the middle. (Why, oh why didn't I take my camera, it would have been so easy to show you instead of trying to describe it!) Then she tucked the top of the diamond into the slit and pulled it through.
Annie made four to my one. Then she stopped, and said, "Okay you need to learn, go ahead and do the rest." She watched me with an eagle eye. Letting me pretend I could do it as well as she did. Though after making several of them I did get the swing of it.
We deep fried the Bugnes (they fry quickly, several seconds on each side.) Then we let them drain on a paper towel, and sprinkled powered sugar to them.
Photos: Bugnes: A French classic during February.
Note: : A re-post due to a technical problem with my bloghost, TYPEPAD. But at least I was able to post something, at last, and not break my ongoing record of blogging everyday.
A French friend of ours, Sophie, is here with us. She will be staying at our home while we are in China.
Yesterday, Sophie helped me pack items that I'd sold on my online shop. Somewhere between the old papers, ribbons and silver she said, "How can you let this stuff go, it is all so sweet, so French, so... je ne sais pas quoi!"
Sophie is an artist, she prefers to make things like jewelry, or paint... rather than go to the brocante. Though she likes to "see" what I have found and tease me about it.
I told her that I like to chiner (go antique hunting) more than keeping things, "I like the rush I have when I am at an antique fair, the thrill of finding something, the conversations/negotiations with the dealers, especially the negotiating! The atmosphere, the history lessons without having to studying for it... I do keep things, plenty. But that is not why I love going to the brocante."
Sophie shook her head, then winked, "Oui, oui, bien sur tu aimes la brocante, plus pour chiner que garder, donc si je prends certaines choses pour moi, elles ne te manqueront pas?"
(... Sophie thinks while I am in China she can take what she wants from my house since I prefer the hunt more than the actual objects I have collected.)
"Oh la la," I said, tossing a stack of linens at her, "I might have to keep you in my house with a leash. Of course I'll put out some wine, chocolate, and a baguette or two out on the table for you."
Sophie came right back, "As long as the wine glass is crystal, the chocolates are on a silver tray, and the baguette is wrapped in a monogram linen, I don't mind. I could paint on the old linen you have!"
She is one tough cookie. I think I'll leave crumbs in between the sheets...
Marie-Noelle, my French friend who I met while blogging years ago, sent me this old TV commercial about dusting.
French Husband look out, here I come, ready or not!
But then again, after watching the above video... I noticed she doesn't have a chandelier....
Then again I think her yellow pinafore isn't a appealing as a white pinafore with black stockings.
Maybe her husband isn't fooled by her ploy.
What part of housework do you detest, and what part do you not mind?
As for me ironing is not my favorite. Though I do not mind doing dishes by hand. And I wouldn't mind dusting a go-go like the French maid.
A nineteen century feather duster once danced through the parlour in the hand of maiden wearing a white pinafore and thick black stockings.
Then there is me, with an old sock in hand and jeans.
Dusting is dusting, only the atmosphere has changed.
A nineteen century nutcracker. Obviously, not for a family of six. It could never produce cracked nuts fast enough. Instead, the dainty nutcracker was created for one of those long ago evenings where a couple would sit by the fire: Comfy-cozy, rosy cheeks, bottle of wine, soft music flaming the mood, and hands slightly touching when reaching for a cracked nut.
"Sacha? Do tell! Are you spittin' sunflower seeds while hanging out with the Homecoming Queen?" Desperate-Old-Fashion-Mother-Wants-to-Hear-You-Say-No.
A pulley. Oh the pulley. I won't even go there....
I have sold a few. I love finding these-- especially the ones with a soft worn patina.
I have one, it sits in the shed collecting dust. French Husband is going to suspend it from the ceiling so "we" can hang the chandelier from it. Though he sees no reason to change the practical hook for a charming pulley. I beg to deaf ears. I threaten, I will do it myself. But as you know every couple has their codes, unspoken agreements and commitments. One of ours is: I can do whatever I want in the way of decorating. French Husband likes my taste as long as I do not drill holes in the walls, or add chunky-monkey hooks to suspend lighting. He wants to do that, when he wants to do that and that equals me waiting for a long time.
Maybe I should wear a pinafore with black stockings, "Honey do you need some dusting?" That might get him up the ladder ready to drill that little hole for me in the ceiling. I'll let you know if my ploy works.
My friend Nance who I met at Marburger Antique show last September came to France on a buying trip. How fun does that sound? On an antique buying trip in France? Going from one antique fair, market, shop... and best of all private homes shopping for antiques. Doesn't that sound like a dream job? Can you imagine when someone asks, "What do you do for a living?" saying,
"Oh, I hunt for French antiques in France. And while there take in the sites, drink alittle wine, have a meal or two, say, "Oh la la often" and wear a beret."
Mind you every job has pitfalls, drudgery and stress. The job of antiquing in France does too. But when it comes to wearing hats, a beret is not too bad.
I knew Nance was going to be in France, I invited her to come and stay with us. I had to twist her arm. She didn't want to bother us. "Really," I teased, "Bother us, please!" Nance is the one who lent me her computer with internet access when I was in Marburger. Basically, gave me her computer, just because she read my blog and didn't want me to miss a day blogging.
And she didn't want to bother us when she was in France. Really!!
Eventually, she came and we went antique hunting together.
We went to visit my friend Melanie's, and while at her dad's shop Nance found this castle door. I had walked by that door several times, didn't even notice it. I guess, you can say that just because an antique in right in front of you doesn't mean you will see it. Or, you could say my attention was divided between gilded carved wood, peeling grey paint, and a mercury glass mirror. Or maybe I missed it because I was busy chewing gum trying to master blowing a bubble.
Nance took the measurements of the door, and some photos for a client she had in mind
The door had iron studs penetrating through it, with thick, rounded nail heads on the both sides. No chopping this door down. The forged iron hinges looked like artwork in themselves.
The iron lock worked and had its key. Not your ordinary key. It was nearly the size of a garden shovel! It would be hard to lose, let alone carry around. I think it weighed hundred pounds.
The door weighed a couple tons, and to think those hinges allowed it to open and close as if it were as light as a ribbon blowing in the breeze.
I guess you could say, "They don't make doors like that anymore."
In the end we found out that what we thought was a castle door, was a convent door.
The convent was being transformed into a retirement home, and this door didn't meet the building code requirments.
Sad but true.
A door that has endured two world wars, many comings and goings, and a whole lot of life is being replaced by something that won't last, nor have value, and in my opinion not as beautiful as this door.
Funny isn't it were value is placed.
In the end Nance's client didn't want the door. And we left it hoping it would find a home soon.
-Nance Harper's Antiques can be found here.
-Nance took the photos above.
-And, I lost my self imposed bet with my brother Mat. And my brother Mat can close his eyes if he wants to when I write about BROCANTE.
-Also, yesterday when I wrote Mat's house was old, I hope you didn't think old as ugly, but it is old as in beautiful!! I think you know I love old, but I wanted to clarify that.
Since I cannot say the "B" word...
Let me just say this:
I went somewhere this weekend, and found many things of interest.
Not writing about this thing that interests me is like saying to someone I love:
"You interest me."
Not real exciting, not real passionate.
But I plan to win this bet. So if you want to hear about the "B" word you might want to check out "my things of interest on my site where I sale those things of interest...",
'cause nobody said I couldn't write about the things of interest over there.
Do you know my brother lives in an old house, and has a few things of interest of mine in his house? Yeah isn't that interesting for someone who doesn't like "interesting things".
Have you ever made a bet? What was it about? Did you win? Was it worth it?
I made a bet with my cousins Sheba and Francabolla in 1987 about who could lose the most weight. I won. I had the most to lose, and the most to gain..... I was leaving San Francisco to France to visit French soon to be Husband.
Francabolla lost. In fact she hadn't nothing to lose. I think she made the bet just to see me give her my chocolate and wine. Do you remember that Franca?
French Husband and I are planning to visit Thailand and China, well small parts of it at least, we leave at the end of the month. Small back packs for a big adventure. Today we spoke to Chelsea about Beijing, we hope to travel together to the Great Wall. I am so excited.
An insanely cool lunch was had at one of my favorite restaurants.
Where the sea laps the plates.
Where one dares to drink red even though fish was served.
Where we had scallops in a pepper, polenta crust, on a bed of braised endives.
(That was the glorious menu's description... I love reading menus just to hear how they spice up the plate.)
The second course... Cod in a foam coconut sauce with hints of lemon grass, and Jerusalem artichoke puree.
Dessert: A trilogy of chocolate.
With this guy who ....
...after lunch danced a jig on the slippery path along the sea.
I hollered, "You're a goober!"
He stopped and asked, "What is a goober?"
"It is a peanut, " Our friend who shared lunch with us replied.
His dancing stopped. He looked so surprised, "It's not a Corey-word? I thought it was a Corey-word. I bet Chelsea and Sacha think so too. You mean, I am a peanut?" He asked disappointingly.
I hollered, "Yeah kinda like a slang word for peanut, but it also means, An insanely cool person who tends to do ding-dong things." He starred at me like I was making things up, "It's true I looked it up online."
He continued dancing.
My friend leaned in whispering, "If you had left it at peanut he would have stopped."
I smiled as my Goober danced.
Thank you for your birthday wishes I am very lucky and I appreciate each and everyone of you!
Please: Star, Deb., Alan, Jeanne, and Merisi can you send me your addresses. Thanks!
The sun came up,
a sugar bun and a glass of grapefruit juice awaited me on the kitchen table.
I got dressed: a black dress, hair tied back, red lipstick.
Annie made me a tarte. I am born on the same day as her daughter, funny isn't it?
Star won the hand knocker, Alan was a close second.
Nothing special planned today, all is good, and that is a gift in itself.
French Husband is making lunch, I bet it will be pasta with olive oil and garlic.
The phone rings, my friend Frances says, "Happy Birthday! What are you doing special today?"
I say, "Oh nothing much."
She says, "Maybe there will be a surprise!"
And I laugh, "Now, that would be a surprise!" then we both laugh.
Life is good. If fifty-three wasn't my favorite number I would think it meant I was older, but since it is I believe it means it is going to be a very good year.
Thank you for your responses yesterday. I love this blog community on Tongue in Cheek, all of you are the best gift of friendship ever.
What do you do on your birthday? My mother use to make a dessert of my wanting, she made Portugeese beignets. I usually do not celebrate my birthday... but I do think about it all day long.
Yesterday, was going to be a busy day, so I thought I'd post a photo on my blog and have you my readers tell me a story. For me that is the easiest post ever. And if you must know, when a day is going to be extra busy I usually add that sort of post to my blog... a guessing game, a give away, a gift for a story or thought. Yesterday, like I said was going to be that kind of day.
The thing is I always, and I mean always, forget that the day after such a post is going to be a tough choice day. I day where I read the lovely responses and hear myself saying, "Gee, why did I do this! Dang this is no sweet potato. I can't decide. Gee Ding Dong why do you do this. Who are you gonna pick when all the responses are soooooooooo tender, genuine and good?"
This morning I read the responses wishing I wasn't the one who had to pick. Even picking a few for you to decide wasn't easy. Do you ever get yourself in this sort of pickle? Where you do one thing thinking it will be easier, only to find out you made it more difficult?
Yes, I know picking a few comments is not as tough as a choice as deciding on something critical, or having something devastating happening. I am not a Drama Queen, nor do I exaggerate.... but picking a few comments is not a piece of cake when the whole apple pie is tasty.
Most of yesterday's responses spoke about going back to a moment in childhood or youth. Beautiful stories, about innocence, saying good bye, holding on to someone they loved for one last time. I had tears in my eyes, my emotions were stirred and with a few made me laughed out loud. But mainly the responses talked about moments of love, and how over time that moment of love became a cornerstone in their being. One that they leaned on, and went back to as they gathered wisdom and age.
Listed below are the five responses that I selected from the responses to yesterday's post. Please read them, then selected one that you think deserves the old Fatima's hand door knocker. I will then send the winner the old Fatima's hand door knocker and the other winners an old key.
Thank you for your responses yesterday, everyday actually. They were amazingly beautiful, giving this blog such wonderful depth, I love reading what you have to say, and I know I am not the only one.
By the way I have enabled the comment section of my blog to be interactive. Below each comment you will see a button that says, "Reply", if you click on it you can reply directly to the commenter and they can reply directly to you.
Please select one from the list, or one that you like best from the list in yesterday's comments. You all deserve to win!! (And by the way Happy Birthday Susan!)
In 1975 I was twenty five years old. I could read a newspaper from a hundred yards away. I smoked cigarettes, and never coughed. The idea that it was unhealthy never crossed my mind. I could still run back then without my knees screaming in pain, and my feet could carry me dozens of miles without barking. I had sex, a lot. My dad was still alive, I had long hair, and driving a car was fun. The one thing I'd love to re-enter my life is youth. Of course the more I think about it, I made poor decisions back then. I quit my job and moved to California, where I spent every dime I had. I fell in love with the wrong people. I smoked too much pot. I drank too much. Oh, and I had sex, a lot.
A glorious day in April one year in Rome, early morning, on my way to school, walking through Villa Borghese, smelling and hearing spring all around me, and there it was, a large, pristine white magnolia blossom, fallen from the tree. I'd like to relive that moment, when I bent down to pick it up.
I'd like to bring back swinging and singing into my life. When I was a child, we had a swing set in our yard (we lived on a small acreage). During the warmer months, I used to love to go out after supper and swing until the dews came as the sun set and it became too cool to be out. While I was swinging, I would sing...just about anything. There were songs that my mother taught me (songs that were popular when she was growing up) that we used to sing as we did the dishes after meals. There were folk songs. I even sang commercial jingles from the radio or television. It seemed like I was in my own little world out there, singing and swinging away, and I felt so relaxed and ready for bed when I came indoors at nightfall.
When my father was progressing through the stages of Alzheimer, my mother shared with me that my father sometimes would sit on the steps between the kitchen and the back door and listen to my singing through the screen door. I'd never known until then.
This triggered an old memory and prompts an answer that surprises even me. I would like to walk into a Brocante today and find a metal wind up toy of Dino (from the Flintstones) of my youth.I was given the toy the day my mom entered the hospital for an extended stay. I found such comfort lying on the floor winding it up and watching it go in circles over and over and over. The loud mechanical noise drowning out the medical terms I couldn't understand and the words I didn't want to hear.In the car and in my bed I still wound it, holding it with wheels spinning freely so that sound would keep my focus--be my barrier. I miss the ability to self-sufficiently and single-mindedly center on something that blocks the confusion and turmoil of life's difficulties.In writing this now I guess I realize what I miss isn't the toy as much as the simplicity of childhood.But, I'd still take the toy as tribute to that time.
I used to sing out loud just because until one day in the 4th grade I overheard some other kids taking about my singing and they weren't very flattering. It broke my heart and my spirit for awhile. I continued to sing in groups, but I still am self-conscious even singing in the shower. I would love to feel the freedom that I felt as a child before that day.
French door handles, or should I say French door knockers depicting Fatima's hand. They are one of my favorite things. The knockers are made of iron. The classic design of Fatima's hand has a ring on the right hand, a lacy cuff which sometimes has a bracelet, or bow as an adoring detail. In the palm of the knocker is an apple. There is a flat decorative disc that is attached to the door under the hand. When knocking the Fatima's hand taps on the disc. The sound is deafening. When Annie knocks on our door, it is like thunder running under our skin: Bang, Bang, Bang.... I wonder if my children miss that sound?
The knocker was created over a hundred years ago, and is still around at hardware stores. Though bien sur (of course) I prefer the old ones (but I can't talk about that....).
Today I will offer a nineteen century one as a gift to one of you. If you want to win one here are the rules:
Write in the comment section a story, or idea, or thought, or memory about something you would like to enter or re-enter into your life.
Tomorrow I will pick a few for you to choose a winner.
I spoke with Sacha yesterday, he is nine hours behind us. He told me that he is going to be the school mascot. And that he went to the Winter Ball. I asked him, was there anything I could send him? He replied, "Yeah, could you stuff our home and village in a box, and send it to me? And Annie's stuffed grape leaves too?"
(Photo: Sacha dressed as Santa's Elf, on the senior class float.)
Earlier in the day I spoke with Chelsea, who is eight hours ahead of us. She said, "It is so cold the river froze over, I am frozen over too. A group of us went to Guilin, the ricefields and landscape was beautiful!"
Lucky duck! I told her to buy insulated socks, warmer gloves and snow boots. She has a hat. Chelsea sighed, "I am terrible at shopping. You know mom you're my personal shopper....for life."
Words spoken by my children such as these make me happy. Simple thoughts, that speak volumes, that they are okay... but also that they are thinking of us.
Grandoise sweeping praise repeated over and over has less impact.
But one word, or a few spoken words, go in deep.
A compliment that doesn't mean to be a compliment, words just spoken that feel like hugs and kisses that make one feel soft inside. Tender happiness.
He was sitting in his favorite chair back home, I walked in and saw him. He looked up at me, and instantly I knew I was dreaming...I said to myself, "Do not wake up, focus on his face."
He looked right at me and smiled, "Corey you are doing very well, I am so proud of you."
I told him, "Thank you, I am." Then I walked slowly towards him, I wanted to hug him... But I woke up.
Have you had anyone say something to you recently, that made you happy inside?