Hanging above the antique buffet in the dining room, was an oval frame with a black and white photo of a lovely young woman.
When I asked who she was French Husband's Uncle told me it was his mother.
"You mean Yann's grandmother?" I asked with embarrassment as I had never seen a photo of his grandmother before. And with that French Husband's Uncle told me the story of his mother.... his gentle, sweet, loving mother he was one of seven children, his mother was an artist.
On top of French Husband's Uncle's armoire was a demi John that his Grandmother had painted.
She was sixteen.
Self taught, a natural.
Seeing the demi John, and knowing her needlework (I have two linen marriage bed linens that she made, not for me, but for Yann's mother.) made me wish more than ever that I and our children could have met her.
French Husband's grandmother also painted this oil painting when she was sixteen years old.
A winter's day along the river.
I asked to take a photo to pass on to our children.
An artist. A gentle sweet grandmother. A link to the my husband's past.
Above the fireplace I saw a charcoal portrait, I teasingly asked, "Is he a family relation too?"
French Husband didn't know.
His Uncle smiled shyly, "Yes, it is your Great Grand Father."
The stories continued... French Husband's Great Grand Father was an architect.
I looked at my husband as if for the first time... one never knows everything about anyone. French Huband's Uncle had plenty of stories to tell.
The impasse that we live on does not have a street sign, though it is has a name that nobody in our village knows of. Instead they refer to it as, "Where Monsieur Dupont use to live." To complicate the matter the post man did not know our street, and yet the postal service insisted that we use it.
After living here for as long as we have, we are known, we do not use our street address, and the street sign is still missing.
Yesterday at the antique fair French Husband spotted an old street sign that read: Avenue des Papillions or Avenue of the Butterflies. I had to have it. French Husband doubtfully added, "But there are no butterflies by our house, and we do not live on an Avenue.
You see the French in general, or maybe just my husband, are oriented towards things being exact. They are mindful to details. Lunch at 12:30, coffee at 2:00, cigarette after a meal, sugar and salt don't mix.
Avenue des Papillons isn't meant to be an impasse without butterflies, because that would be another name.
I had to remind him that our impasse has a name that isn't French, and that nobody knows how to spell, "I think it was made up. It isn't even listed on the city chart at the city hall!" I begged with made up reason.
French Husband countered with, "No that is not true. But we cannot just stick the sign on our impasse, and claim it Avenue des Papillons."
"Why not?" I tilted my head for stubborn measure.
"Because we are French, and it doesn't work like that." He shook his head to remind me that I am not French.
"Pooh. We can put the sign up, like we can put a pot of flowers outside on our step... it doesn't mean we are going to change the name or start using it as our address." I weaved my way, "... it is just something sweet, a little note of sweetness on our impasse that is all."
"Cute." He teased.
"Yeah Cute." I nodded.
We bought it.
If you could change the name of your street what would you call it?
Our apartment is in a neighborhood that is not touristic. My most favorite brocante is literally fifteen minutes away on foot. At the turn of the centtury, the neighborhood was were many artists had their studios, Monet and Renoir to name a few.
The only thing that has changed at the restaurant on the corner is the name and clientale. The inside is the same, a rare treat in a town where chic is mode.
This neighborhood reminds me of Paris twenty years ago, and that feels like home.
A restaurant in the neighborhood that we like.
Called Les Frangines. For starters I had pumpkin soup with chestnuts and spice bread croutons. Delicious.
I woke up this morning hoping that the tossing, turning and moaning of last night meant he wasn't feeling good...
No song and dance routine of happiness here. I mean I am happy, really happy, honestly happy that he is feeling well. But that means skiing is on again. Oh how does one sing "Happy" with frozen toes and a red nose?
I leaned over the pillow and asked, "How do you feel this morning?"
His faint smile meant, we are going.
Sacha has been packed since time began.
He LOVES to ski. Fast.
Chelsea is ready but has a nine page thingy to do for school, so someone will be sitting with me by the fire... for a moment or two.
The plan was to wake up early and get a head start.
I made a face as if to say, "Oh that is going to happen."
In which French Husband reacted, "Don't you want to go?"
"Not really..." and then I saw my family looking at me like I was a party pooper.
I am a party pooper when it comes to snow that is.
My family skis, up high, fast with no fear. I rather sit by the fire or wait for the snow to melt then risk sore muscles and frost bite.
"Okay I'll go." I gave in to my family's desire and not my own. Though inside I wished I did not have to go. I wished they, my family wouldn't look so disappointingly at me. Ugh. I resigned and mentally started making a list: Long underwear, a hat, gloves...
Our family is not known for getting up early, rather we are known for going to bed too late.
Last night was not an exception.
This morning French Husband woke up looking rather pasty and funny. I looked at him closely, and couldn't decide if it was his beard or the bushy hair or something else taking away his good looks. I asked him if he was okay? And he said, "We are going are you ready?"
So while I rushed around getting ready I felt something in the air that made me think my desire not to go was being answered...
Chelsea, My Mother in Law, Sacha and his Girlfriend Célia asked me at different times where French Husband was. I didn't know but I assume either, outside, inside or upstairs.
Nobody knew and assumed he was getting the car or something.
Until I went into the bedroom and saw a lump in the bed.
French Husband has the flu.
And sadly the first thing I thought of was, "YAHOO we aren't going skiing!" And my second thought was equally tall telling, "OH God I don't want to get his bug!!"
I am so bad,
and happy we aren't going skiing, not today that is.
The other day I found an old book, the pages were barely hanging on, I asked the dealer how much? French Husband looked at the book, looked at me, looked at the dealer and shrugged.
He doesn't get the attraction to things on their last leg.
He doesn't understand that kind of reckless beauty.
His knees don't buckle at the sight of old junky stuff with a price tag...
BUT he does get me. He shrugged, then said, "I am certain it is going to look better the moment you take it home."
French Husband lets me do what I want with our home. He likes how I do what I do. Sure sometimes he pitches a fit about some little thing, like why he can't put a hammock in the living room, or why there isn't a comfortable chair in the house, or have post its on the refrigerator door.
Like I have said a million times to that guy of mine: We both have our passions, we both have our different hobbies that make us who we are... He likes to bungy cord off bridges, go down caves, ride with the wind and fly in the sky... And I like to create a home with falling apart old things from the brocante.
He gets his toys.
I get the house.
I get to hear his adventures without getting dirty or bruised.
He gets to come home, sit on a rickety chair, eat off a chipped plate and sleep with me between heavy linen sheets.
Harmony comes with give and take..... and a few odds and ends.
°Twenty five years living in France because I married a Frenchman, that I met while dancing in San Francisco° Two children, now in their twenties, amour et joie° I have the "Brocante Bug" which means antiquing is my cure, France can do me no wrong when it comes to treatment ° I'm related to half the population in Willows, California ° Likes to travel on a moments notice. ° Writes whatever strikes a cord, and has taken photos for this blog everyday for the last several years° Merci for following me°