Well seven weeks, the construction-renovation is done. Now the creative fun can begin! Setting up the home away from nest.
Well seven weeks, the construction-renovation is done. Now the creative fun can begin! Setting up the home away from nest.
Dinner at La Cantine du Troquet never disappoints. A walk around the block (from our apartment) for a delightful meal. The zucchini soup was served in an ironstone bowl. Finely chopped zucchini lightly flavored, barely sauteed and served chilled, waited a pitcher full of chilled zucchini soup with slices of Parmesan.
Every bite I thought about how I could reproduce it... what is that taste that brings it altogether.
Usually it is served with slices of roasted meat, but I requested that to be set aside.
Pouring the soup....
Dinner with these two loves.
Of course Chels is making a face.
La Cantine Du Troquet
Years ago my brother Mark told me this story about his daughter, "Gina was four year old she was playing by my side while I was tinkering in my workshop. At one point I accidentally dropped something on my finger. I bit my tongue trying not to spill out the familiar swear words in front of my daughter. Instead I moaned and groaned, blabbering nonsense. My daughter trying to be helpful tugged at my sleeve and offered, "Daddy I think the word you are looking for is Damn-it. Say, "Damn-it," Daddy, and you'll feel better." My brother really groaned after that.
While working on the apartment, I have learned a few choice French expressions from the workers. The other day Regis cut his knee, he didn't need any coaxing to gush out some of those choice expressions. Later he apologized for what he blurted out. I waved my hand at him, "Oh Regis, I would have dropped a heavier bomb than the words you used."
Luckily none of them speak English.
Why is it that foreign swear words, or words of little importance are instantly memorized? As I child I learned "Dry Fart" in Portuguese. Why? Too bad I never learned, "Thank you"?!
Do you utter slang words, or are your a purist like Yann?
Photo: My niece covering her mouth.
Maybe change the name of my blog too!?
But I love the name: Rue du Chateau, Street of the Chateau.
The bathroom sink: Found the top part, a marble holy water font at a brocante in April. The base is a garden stand, new, made out of some modern fiber whatever. The lights I found at a second hand store in Paris. French Husband rewired them.
The arm to the man.
art in motion.
Large gilded oval frame with a charcoal drawing of a young girl.
It is sitting on the kitchen counter, a safe place. I bought it at an antique shop in Paris a few weeks ago. That is why it is hanging out instead of in a safe place.
The kitchen has a small counter with a stove top and large sink (no dishwasher).
Alongside of it there is an island.
Modern meets old. I surprised myself with the desire to renovate the apartment with a twist towards modern, masculine and dark.
Working in the bedroom on a makeshift table.
I begged to keep the old stone steps.
The patine ... years of glue, use, dirt, soiled.. not pretty, but I find them appealing, earthy, real. I am going to wax them. Like I said I pleaded to keep them.
Bathroom tiles meet the living room floor.
A sneak peek.
We have a hundred details to deal with.
Rue du Chateau, the workers house turned into a little dream.
The final stages of the Paris Apartment renovation before the "fun" part begins.
The final stage means details:
The crown molding
The plinthe ( molding around the floor).
The lights and plugs
The closet rail
Touch up paint.... Etc etc etc.
Little things that are time consuming and must be measured right or risk being off balanced.
I have an armoire and a bed to paint.
Will the final stage be complete this seventh week? My fingers are crossed, but my caculating self doubts.
Last night Yann and I drove from Marseille to Paris.
We wil have a busy week trying to complete the apartment for the next stage, interior design.
I am not 100 percent sure it is going to be done this week (seventh week), though my fingers and toes are crossed.
Tomorrow I will post photos of the unfolding. But today I desire sleep more than anything. So instead I am reposting an old post about Annie that I love:
While threading the needle to sew Sacha's worn jeans I asked Annie if she had any tender memories of living during World War II? If there was any light in that dark passage. Anything that reminded her of beauty when life around them was so unfair and off balance.
Annie keeping her eye on the thread and needle said, "Of course there were tender moments, we had each other. Our family moved from Marseilles (which was heavily bombed) to our country house. We were lucky to have a garden, my mother planted lentils. We had plenty to eat. We exchanged food from our garden for other things we needed.
Annie went on to say that during that time she was barely twenty andpregnant with her first child. "One of my activities was to walk down to the village and exchange some of our produce for whatever my family might have needed.
On the other side of the village, there was a man who grew watermelons. Whenever he saw me in the village he would race back to his garden to give me one. Can you imagine how wonderful it was to have a watermelon? It was such a rare treat. They were not very big, but they were sweet, and you know I have a thing for fruit. Mon Dieu, I prefer fruit over bonbons.
Whenever he would give me a watermelon he would say, "This is for your baby. Your baby needs to taste sweetness." I was surrounded by such generosity. I think being pregnant brought out the best in people around me. Seeing my big belly gave them hope, made them reflect on the wonders of life... or something like that... instead of the hardships of war."
I would lug that watermelon, the supplies I had exchanged from our produce, and my big belly to the river (The river is on the outskirt of the village, Annie's home was on the other side and up a steep hill.). Then I would sit by the plantain tree, you know the one at the end of your street, and I would crack that watermelon open and eat it. Funny, after all these years, I can recall the feeling of the juice running down my face. It didn't bother me in the least. It was a luxury that wasted, sweet juice running down my face.
Note: This is one of my favorite stories of Annie's. When Annie tells this story I feel transported to another time where her memory is living, and her body is young and ripe. It shows me Annie... how she is full, ripe, sweet and with many seeds of hope.
What is one of your goals this week?
We are heading back to Paris after a wonderful week with friends Christine and Patrice from Chico!
Last night our friend Thierry had us over to his house for dinner. He us feel better, THANK Y O U for your prayers and continued prayers.
Annie too us fine, I saw her this afternoon. She is such a lovely soulful friend.
Nine hours here we go!
Lucky Sacha has the house to himself!
Did you ever have a party when your parents left town?
Sacha wouldn't but I did when I was a teen.... That is another story for another dat!
Describe yourself... as an artist. In color, theme, poem, taste or between words.
Rustic or royal.
City or country.
Sugar or salt.
Fern or rose.
Straight line or curvy.
Hints or splash.
Water or Champagne.
Linen or silk.
French fry or Fois gras.
Sepia or Gilded.
Reflective or Mountain top roar.
Pencil or computer.
Solo or collective.
Who are you today?
The faraway home calls. The news is sad. Tears swell and stream. There is the urge to be home now, but the familiar echo reminds me it cannot be.
Living away from family is not easy. Though I have grown accustom to the constant bruise. I know how to guard myself from the reminders that can feel like punches to the tender spot. Yet at times the punches cannot be avoided. Especially when someone I love dies.
When you grow up in a big family as I have their is a constant arm to lean on, a familiar face which reminds you that you are loved, a monthly party to keep you dancing, a prayer to be said, a hand to hold when tears are shed. Happiness, sorrow, love and sadness go hand in hand. A time for everything under heaven (scripture) birth and death, a celebration of life.
When you grow up in the country as I did the seasons teach you: Tend the fertile ground faithfully, water with your heart abundantly, and surrender to the seasons that come and go.
My Godfather Craig is being buried today.
He gentle spirit moves between family, friend, heart, soul, earth, heaven...
I can see my family. I have stood in that cemetery by the canal. The tombstones hold family names and will hold family names. I was taught to bless myself as a sign of love and respect when we drove by that very cemetery that I grew up next to.
I blessed myself often.
My cousin Judy wrote that one of the last times she spoke with my Godfather he talked about the transformation from caterpillar to a butterfly: "The concept that what is a disaster to the caterpillar, is liberation to the butterfly. The caterpillar enters a dark time, then comes out on the other side transformed."
When I was a child, growing up Portuguese, I was taught that whenever I saw my Godfather I was to bow my head and ask him for his blessing:
"Padrinho sua benção?" = "Godfather may I have your blessing?"
He then would kiss his hand and touch my head, "Deus te abençoe." = "God bless you!"
Dear Godfather Craig, Gentle Soul,
Thank you for leading me with your blessings as I grew up, I in turn give you my blessing to follow love where it will lead you.
This is me without glasses, a double chin, or wrinkles.
It is amazing what one can do to a photo. Manipulation paradise. Creative waterfall. Powerful wrinkle removal tool. Why have a good camera when there is such a thing as Picmonkey? A fool proof, easy to use, photoshop for dummies sort of site. I love Picmonkey (Free or/and more advance for a small fee, for anyone with a computer.).
Taking photos is a pleasure for me. Adding them to my blog is something I have been doing steadily for over seven years. Many have asked if they can use a photo of mine for their screen saver, or for a magazine cover, or to use on their Facebook, or to print out for their personal use. I usually say, "Thank you for asking. Add my name and a link to the back. Go ahead."
Asking permission is the right thing to do, it is given credit to where it is due, it is taking the time to find out WHO took the photo and using it with proper credit and not for personal gain.
I am not someone who writes negatively on my blog. But today I have something to say.
I received an email from a blogging friend who asked:
"Hi Corey! I was sent a message to go check out a page called "trinka 5 designs" I was told that they were copying some of my designs. I went to check them out and while I was on their page - I saw this photo that I have attached. Isn't this your photo? They have put a slogan on it and watermarked their name on it."
I was surprised.
I should not have been.
But using my photo, manipulating it with a quote and adding THEIR watermark... Well that is too much!
Trinka 5 you should know better. If you are going to use someones photo at least give them credit, and DO NOT claim it as your own.
If you would like to use a photo of mine, ask me. Then write under the photo adding a link back to my blog.
Photo Source: Corey Amaro, http://www.willows95988.typepad.com.
Falling asleep at the wheel has few advantages. I can drive twenty minutes, and on a good day forty five minutes, before sleep starts creeping into my eyes. The only way I know that I am falling asleep at the wheel, is that my knees start to shake.
I beat you want to drive with me?
Sacha offered to be my chauffeur today, the only advantage of falling asleep at the wheel is having chauffeurs. Isn't it true that some of the best conversations are had in cars? A confessional of sorts. Not that Sacha had any sins to confess, or I had any I wanted to share. No, it was the simple pleasure of being one on one, intimate and endearing. We had some good laughs.
___________ A Story: 1996, Sacha and the Middle with Jesus __________________
"Sacha it is my turn to sit in the middle!" Chelsea hopelessly said to her brother. "Mommy, tell Sacha to move, it is not fair he ALWAYS sits in the middle."
In France children were not allowed to ride in the front seat of the car, until they were 14 or reached a certain height. The car battle zone was the middle seat, in which there was a straight-shot view out the front window. Having two children engaged me in peace talks each journey.
Sacha was a mastermind at claiming the strategic spot: He would either pitch a royal fit, or scream bloody murder. It worked. Chelsea and I let him have his way in order to have peace of mind. Peace talks seldom went pass the first word!
This day was an exception to that rule.
Dropping the bomb I said, "Sacha you need to share, it is Chelsea's turn. Please move."
He went ballistic. Oh how he could be dynamite! Sometimes NATO doesn't agree, single agent Sacha
stood sat for what he wanted against the odds.
"Sacha I am not in the mood for this behavior, either you move, or I will move you." Threatening wasn't my style unless facing a four year old with his red hot temper and a six year old who should have won a noble peace prize-- or at least a middle seat once in awhile.
As we drove off in our new positions, Sacha looked at me in the rear view mirror, "Mommy, I don't think Jesus would have responded in the same way. He would (have) hugged me and told me to have the middle."
With the force short of a miracle I didn't laugh, "Sacha, did you act like Jesus?"
"Oh! I didn't think about that."
And now the wheels are turned. Oh that Boy-Boy when did he became such a gentleman?
The battle zone is no longer a screaming child, but my inner child longing for the freedom to drive wherever my heart desires.
Can you drive for hours on end?
It wasn't half filled,
nor half empty.
and set aside at the brocante.
As I looked at its golden trim I thought,
"When it cannot be fixed, let it go."
Later as I walked away I thought,
"If only it were so simple.
Nothing really is."
What has made you reflective these days?
It was the last night that the chef would ever cook at my favorite restaurant in Carpentras. Luckily, I did not know that before I had my meal. How sad I would have been knowing I would never again taste the deliciousness that he prepared.
A tomato macaron with a chilled pesto filling, served with a roquette sorbet.
We had dinner outside, I grabbed my cell phone and took a photo, not caring that it would not turn out as clear as I would like... a photo for memory sake;
I wish I could say I invented this, taste buds kissed with perfection.
The rest of the meal was equally as good. But the tomato macaron took the gold star.
What is one of the best things you have had for dinner recently?
(PS. Thank you for you responses yesterday, I loved hearing about YOU and what you were up to. It is the best part about blogging, the contact, the friendship!!
We arrived home on Thursday, after a nine hour drive, from Paris to Provence.
This is a long weekend in France, August 15th is a holiday within a holiday month. If you are a tourist in France, you will note that the Parisians are in Provence and Provencecals are in the Alps, or as I see it on the road one way or another. Traffic jam with stuffed cars.
We will return to Paris next week for the last leg of renovating the apartment, traffic jams continue!
Yesterday I thought it was Saturday. Blame it on the holiday on Thrusday.
Last night I slept for 10 hours. Wow. I could take a nap right now.
I think I will blow out a candle on one end.
What are you up to?
Each Saturday I focus on a different artist that I admire. From potters to painters, chefs to collectors, seamstress to songwriters, lifestyle to lovers... anyone who set the paintbrush, pastry brush, hands and heart on fire to create.
Those who inspire art to flow where it may:
Lorna and her brother create new paper and global products with old ephemera. Lorna writes on her site:
"We're committed to providing unique, iconic & mobile travel stationery creations. Each item that we create is a little piece of our personal passion, enchantment, and artistic visions. Our designs are born out of our love for the arts, combined with history, our worldwide collections and photographic endeavors."
"While researching vintage ephemera, we came across a wealth of family genealogy data from Cambridge England. Some of the many passions of our family were bookstores, publishing and even a mobile library. In the 1740’s a large private library came up for auction. Our family purchased several books containing the personal bookplate of Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles of Wellbeck Abbey in Sherwood Forest. "
"Finchley was the last home of our Great Grandparents before their immigration to Canada in the early 1900’s, we thought it fitting to use the Finchley name to re-establish our family in the publishing industry."
Finchley products, paper arts: Laptop and phone skins, journals, scrapbook and collage papers, gift bags... check Finchley's site to find out more about their porducts and where you might purchase some.
Lorna & Doug Hankin (siblings)
We're always happy to hear from our clients; retailers, wholesalers and shoppers alike! If you're interested in contacting us at Finchley Paper Arts, there are a few tried and true ways of doing so:
Finchley Paper Arts Ltd.
PO Box 5430
Victoria BC V8R 6S4
(250) 598-1406 (cell)
I woke up early, mid August means a million brocantes:
Barjac: Wednesday throughout the week,
Isle sur la Sorgue: Thursday throughout the week,
Ville Neuve: Saturday
Lantern found last weekend. I was at the brocante early, and the dealer had not yet set it down. (You can see in the background, that the dealers hadn't yet set up.) I asked how much, negotiated, and walked away with an old lantern for ten Euros.
It will hang in the entrance of the Paris apartment. Of course it needs some TLC, but after it will give me TLHappiness!
Paris by Night photographs by my daughter Chelsea.
Paris by night,
around the Louvre,
& on the Ferris Wheel.
Today was exhausting. While putting the kitchen elements in place, we ran into some problems. As we have been working non stop for the last two weeks, we were tense and it wasn't a happy place. We had to regroup, re think, grumble until we felt better, then go out for an early dinner (9pm) and head to bed.
More tomorrow about today.
In the mean time I hope you enjoy my daughter's photos of Paris.
The countdown of our apartment renovation is in its final stages. The place is coming together. Walls torn down, lead pipes removed, electricity rewired, radiator pipes changed, the bathroom completely refurbished, the floors leveled and replaced, the walls painted...
It has been a ton of work. Mind-boggling amount of work.
My husband is NOT a handyman, nor is this his line of work, and yet he has been a superman! Impressive, handsomely strong and has not grumbled. Super sexy I must add.
I have been the Gopher (Go For Girl). I have learned many new French words regarding hardware. Don't know if I will use them again. But I have loved go for-ing this, that and the other. I have discovered our neighborhood in a new way by being the Gopher Girl.
Fireworks and champagne that is how we are going to celebrate.
Regis the boss. The Man who knows how to do every thing (cooks and loves the brocante too) and is fazed by nothing, he amazes me everyday. Calm, reflective, open to new ideas, creative, hardworking and fast, real fast, scary fast.
There is nothing he cannot do.
The project has had its hiccups (lead pipes) it has had its surprises (electricity not grounded, old building with clay pipes...) had its set backs: Uneven floors and the metal security front door that wouldn't shut properly... Regis takes it in stride, calls on his Gopher Girl and gets his team cracking.
He works with flip flops and no safety gear. Crazy scary, and nothing I can say will change his work habits.
I have learned several new slang words. It cracks him up when I utter them in the most appropriate moments. My favorite one of his is: "Un Grand Malade," which is "You're Sick!"
Tomorrow we start on the kitchen! I am so excited. The kitchen is something I can bite my teeth into.
What I have learned in this renovation experience is that rarely does anything go smoothly, a hiccup or bump in the road often appears. I guess when you are working in an apartment building that dates back a couple hundred years, and has materials that are sometimes older than that you can expect the unexpected.
The kitchen should go smoothly, the pipes, electricity, gas, water, etc. is completed. But who knows, maybe a cake will appear in the oven!
One of the words I have learned is, "Plinthe" which means, "baseboards". I painted 30 of them today.
If you would like to see what floor we are using click here: Arten Pecan.
Paint color for cupboard: Luxen Mammouth.
Window and door hardware: Languedoc / Nevers
More details to come.
Every Saturday I focus on a different artist that I admire. From potters to painters, chefs to collectors, seamstress to songwriters, lifestyle to lovers... anyone who set the paintbrush, pastry brush, hands and heart on fire to create.
Those who inspire art to flow where it may...
Bette Lee, a blog reader of Tongue in Cheek, sent me this poem by Stuart Dischell. Bette Lee thought I might enjoy it, and I did! I thought you might enjoy it too.
Stuart Dischell is an American poet and Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he teaches in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative writing.
She plans to be a writer one day and live in the City of Paris,
Where she will describe the sun as it rises over Buttes-Chaumont.
"Today the dawn began in small pieces, sharp wedges of light
Broke through the clouds." She plans to write better than this
And is critic enough to know "sharp wedges" sound like cheese.
She plans to live alone in a place that has a terrace
Where she will drink strong coffee at a round white table.
Her terrace will be her cafe and she will be recognized
By the blue-smocked workers of the neighborhood, the concierges,
The locals at the comptoir of the tabac down the block,
And the girl under the green cross of the apothecary shop.
She plans to love her apartment where she will keep
Just one flower in a blue vase. She already loves the word apart-
Ment, whose halves please her when she sees them breaking
The line in her journal. She plans to learn the roots
Of French and English words and will search them out
As if she were hunting skulls in the catacombs.
On her walls she'll hang a timetable of the great events
Of Western History. She will read the same twenty books
As Chaucer. Every morning she will make up stories....
She looks around her Brighton room, at the walls,
The ceiling, the round knob of the rectangular door.
She listens to the voices of the neighbor's children.
A toilet flushes, then the tamp of cigarette on steel,
The flint flash of her roommate's boyfriend's lighter.
When she leaves she plans to leave alone, and every
Article she will carry, each shoe, will be important.
Like an architect she will plan this life, as once
The fortune in a cookie told her: Picture what you wish
To become, if you wish to become that picture.
"Plans" by Stuart Dischell, from Good Hope Road. © Viking, 1993.
To learn more about Stuart Dischell and his other publications click on the "buy now" link above. It will take you to his Amazon Page.
Also the follow links:
The renovation of our apartment is moving into its last week. Hopefully by next weekend it will be ready for the interior decorating stage. I am antsy for that part, but I cannot get ahead of myself, first things first-- the structure.
When we started this renovation we had planned to tear down three walls. Creating a larger kitchen and a smaller second bedroom. But when we found the old wooden beam structure we decided to ditch the first plan, and renovate the wooden structure, by taking it back to its original skeleton. In France most buildings and homes are made with stone, or cement blocks. In the older buildings wooden structure like the one in our apartment can be found, stones and mortar where added in between the beams.
In keeping the old wooden structure we had to change our plan. Hence gave up the second bedroom and made it into a kitchen.
The wooden structure separates the entrance from the open kitchen living space.
Add to the excitment I found a pair of wooden panels at the Portes de Vanves brocante. They are about three meters long.
I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I knew something good would be figured out.
As soon as the panels were carried into the house my mother in law, had a brllant idea: To put them above the wooden structure, one on each side, boar.
One panel on each side of the structure.
We had to plaster the top part because there was a gap between ceiling and the structure. Tomorrow we will sand and paint the plaster part that we added.
For those of you who have read my blog for sometime you know I have a thing for wall papering and painting. My method is madness. Usually, I paint with a sock and fall off ladders. Not funny. Though the end result (broken wrist not included) pleases me.
The other day at a brocante shop not far from our apartment I found two small chandeliers, perfect for other side of the bathroom sink.
As they were a reddish horrible gold color I decided to paint them charcoal grey. I attached them to the barber stand that I found at Porte Vanves, because I had nothing else to hang them on.
I delicately painted around the crystals. Such a pleasure to paint... I feel silly saying I paint: It reminds me when people says they cook, but really they are just heating food. I guess I should say I add color, because painting imples much more than what I do.
The barber stand made for a dandy painting easel of sorts. I hooked the two chandeliers on the candlestick holders, and put the paint can on the shaving shelf that goes around the stand. The French dark grey paint is LUXENS brand, mat... I'll tell you the color tomorrow because the paint can is at the apartment, and I am at the hotel covered in a color I don't know the name of.
I should have done a before and after. But that is so not in the mind set of a spontaneous sock painter like me. French Husband obliged in taking photos for me.
I miss taking photos with my camera, I have been using the camera on my cell phone, not the same. Though the idea of lugging my camera in the dusty, crowded, work site has been something I have not been willing to deal with.
The pair of chandeliers are about fifteen inches by ten inches. I have not seen many of them around.
Do you remember the French trumeau fragment (Trumeau is a 18th century (or style of) mirror that is usually placed above a fireplace. The mirror is framed, and above the mirror is either a carved design or a painting.) that I found? Well I painted it too, and had it encased above the bathroom door though it isn't finished yet...
The apartment is starting to look more like I envisioned it and less like how it was when we first arrived five weeks ago.
We hope it will be done next week.
.... Regarding my tooth, my back molar, it chipped. The dentist was wonderful, shorts and tenny shoes included. I was covered in paint and very dusty. I thought, "Why change?" She is comfortable in shorts, and I am comfortable in my paint.
The young dentist completely fixed my tooth for 64 Euros! I love French medical care. So if you need a dentist while in France, I know of one!
I am a gopher with a chipped tooth.
I went to the pharmacy, a two minute walk from the apartment, and asked if they knew of a dentist in the neighborhood. They recommended one, and I walked another minute to the dentist office.
Luckily this is August, only tourists are in town. Dentists have time to see the likes of me. The receptionist gave me an appointment, and yesterday I went to have my tooth fixed.
The dentist said my name, I stood up and shook her hand. Though in my judgemental heart I thought, "Jean shorts, tennis shoes, sock-less, tee shirt (the kind teens were to bed) and the only thing that is missing is that she isn't chewing gum."
She was the dentist. Though she looked liked the summer replacement receptionist, who just came back from the beach volley ball game.
I guessed her to be 21 at most... but since she was the dentist that couldn't be true. Couldn't be true. I felt awful for judging her. Blame it on her shorts.
For a brief second I second guessed the pharmacy: "What is the worse that could happen?" I didn't answer myself as I sat in the chair.
As I leaned back in the chair, with the dentist (the one with the cut off shorts) hands in my mouth, I thought about my friend Bonnie when I lived in Paris twenty five years ago. Bonnie was in her early thirties, though she looked sixteen. She had a beautiful baby named Benjamin. Often on the metro people would stare at her and whisper, "Isn't it a shame, she is too young to have a baby!"
I looked at the Dentist and tried real hard to imagine she was as old as Bonnie was twenty five years ago.
After the dentist appointment I had to do buy some needed things for the apartment. The renovator Regis, and French Husband or Mr. OCD in certain things, asked me too.
I went to the hardware store: Four floors of nuts, bolts, and at least two hundred thousand electric screw gun. With list in hand I made my way through the aisles.
Nothing went right, or I should say I was playing charades in the dark. I couldn't find a thing. The salespeople were nowhere to be found, and worse I forgot the receipt to pick up the pre paid order. On top of it all I couldn't find my words. I stood in line with a man who talked to me for thirty three minutes, I didn't understand a word he was saying, and yet with my memorized French mannerisms and expressions of interest he thought I understood. Should I be ashamed? I wasn't. I listened that is what he needed. He didn't notice that I didn't understand because he talked in triangles. Triangles! When the salesperson asked him to write what he wanted, because she couldn't understand him, I felt better. Then I felt bad for feeling better.
It took me two hours to gather what I went for, it was exasperating.
To make a long story short, because it was an adventure beyond belief, a "chariot" cart was brought out with the things I had bought. I asked the receptionist if I could take the chariot outside since French Husband was waiting for me, illegally parked (yes for two hours).
Little did she know that French Husband was parked several blocks away.
There I was pushing my chariot down the streets of Paris, looking wiped out, dusty, hair pulled back ... I was looked at like I was an alien. It made me laugh.
Judgement worthy I was. I didn't fit the Paris picture and it didn't bother me in the least.
Then I saw French Husband: White socks pulled up, cut off 501, loading the truck... and I felt love bursting in air. It sure feels good to be a "Go For" with a chipped tooth"! To know that it didn't matter how I looked, or how he looked, or how anyone looked...
We are who we are regardless of the package we are given.
Tomorrow my tooth will be repaired by a beautiful bright cut off short wearing young dentist.
What was I to do when I saw the large chandelier dripping with crystals?
Only one thing came to mind: Lick it up.
I suppose that is how it is when you see something that goes straight to your heart, or as they say in France: "A coup de coeur"... A 'coup de coeur' is when you fall instantly in love with something and have to have it regardless if you need it, or have room. It is without hesitation that the person buys the dress because it sparks something within them that they cannot control.
I had a coup de coeur!
I asked the dealer if he could bring it to the aparment in Paris, he told me he could for a small fee and a cold bottle of water.
The deal was sealed.
Today I asked French Husband to hold up the chandelier so I could see if it would work where I had in mind.
Instantly Regis (the renovator) Yann (the French Husband) and my mother in law (Belle Mere) gave their biggest groans:
"Oh it is too big, for the small space!"
"The ceiling won't support it!"
"You're mad, its too long, people will be staring into it."
Then and there I realized at last what my cousin Doug tried to explain to me years ago when we bought our home and had big plans to renovate it: "Renovations are aggressive. That is why some people never renovate their homes."
Instead of listening to them, and stuffing the heavy chandelier back in its dusty box....
I blurted, "No, its staying and you will have to find a way that the ceiling will support it."
Renovating can be fun, and stressful, and aggressive. Today it wasn't fun.
The Chandelier is staying. I hope the ceiling does not fall in.
Early this morning we headed for Paris
with the truck loaded for the last part of the renovation.
Eight hours on the freeway, quiche, ice cream bars, the radio, French Husband and the handy iphone to blog from.
The next trip to Paris will have truck load of furniture... I can hardly wait for that moment!
Brocante finds verses shirt less men, hope you won't be disappointed in the brocante.
French Husband teasingly pushed his bicep up with his other hand? I looked at him as if to say, "What are you doing?"
He can be so goofy at times... I prefer goofy to serious.
Going back and forth from Marseille to Paris, Paris to Marseille as much as we have in these last few weeks gives ample room for reflection. Some trips seem to pass by quickly, and others seem endlessly long.
I have thought about friends, family, people I love, friends I miss... My mom, and dad, Shelley, Annie, Thierry... Willows.
And I have thought about these last twenty five years in France. Much has changed, Paris has changed, I have changed...
I always thought I would go back to Willows one day to live... but as my children create their lives and eventually add roots I find myself standing in the same place as I have stood for years... divided. As they say in France about expats: A foot in each land. Now I feel my heart and soul in two lands as well.
When marrying my husband and moving to France I expected it would be a challenge: The culture, language, distance... but I did not think about the long term consequences of my actions. Love has a way of blooming goodness, making anything sound possible.
I do not regret following love. But I can say homesickness has never left my side either.
The Paris apartment renovation has stirred the deep pot of memories, the long drive back and forth has given room for such memories to spread out.
We lived in Paris for the first few years of our married life. Chelsea was conceived in Paris. We have been back many times over the twenty five years... but living in Paris and visiting Paris, even though I live in France is not the same.
Memories stirred. Happiness bubbling, melancholy standing by my side, a free for all as emotions come to say hi and stick around.
Add endless fields of harvest... How could I not think about my family in Willows.
A seed planted.
Our seed planted in Paris years ago, comes to harvest.
I stand on fertile ground, I should rejoice, I am rejoicing... while my other foot makes patterns in the soil.
Love as you know has no limits, and where it will take us is on journey to wholeness-
The road ahead.
Where are you heading?