Thursday, July 29, 2010

Get My Paint On

The summer is flying by.

It's already been a month since we've moved into our new home, and we're making progress. Slow progress, but progress.

Provence is so beautiful right now, and everyone is in such a festive holiday mood that there is always a BBQ to go to, a pool to swim in, or Mojitos at that bar to drink. Naturally, home improvements have not been the biggest priority.

But now, we're under a bit of pressure... 

In 15 days, Auntie J and Uncle E arrive, and in 16 days, my Mother.
Yes, they are arriving one day apart. They are all flying from Dublin, to Marseille, but arriving one day apart. How convenient.

(In the interest of avoiding a grating phone call later... my Mother bought her ticket first. And on the bright side, The Husband and I have an excuse to stay in a swish hotel in Marseille that Friday night).

So family is arriving soon, and the clock is ticking.

(It sort of feels like Darth Vader is standing behind me doing that heavy breathing thing).

Today, I'm tackling the world's ugliest bathroom.

This is what I'm up against...

{wallpaper on left, tile on right}

{and together}

This is horrideous.

(I know that's not a word, I made it up. A hybrid of horrible and hideous. Sometimes horrideous is the only word.)


I bet the same nutjob that painted the staircase in the old house had a hand in this horrideousness. (It's growing on you, isn't it?).

I'm off to get my paint on...

And then my pretty on...

 (The Cousin's wedding is tomorrow!)


P.S. Fifty has already eaten one paintbrush. He thinks they're tasty.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Papa's Wife made lunch for me on Sunday.

(OK, I wasn't the only person there, but the paella was made special for me).

Papa, Brother-in-Law, The German, and The Husband, all came along to eat paella with me.

And this guy was there too...

{Ruby, aka Prince Philip}

The paella is cooked outside in a gigantic pot...

And every once in awhile, someone has to go out and slowly rotate the gigantic pot.
(How much paella did she think I could eat? Really. Look at the size of that thing).

For the record, I was never asked to rotate the gigantic pot.

I think they looked at the ironing injury on my shoulder (who burns their shoulder while ironing?) and the random moving injury gashed across my shin and decided I may not be the best person to rotate a gigantic pot. I trust their judgement. 

This stuff is mmm mmm good...

Turns out Prince Philip is a bit of a paella aficionado...


He's not above begging for shrimps heads. 

And look how happy The Husband is...

{I love paella}

Stuffed, The Husband and I headed home with our doggy bags (we'll be eating paella for days) and came across a rather odd discovery in the back of Brother-in-Law's car...


Because we can be a bit of a gruesome twosome, we left a little present for Brother-in-Law...

We strapped the head to the headrest and tied a sweater around the seat. Looks like Brother-in-Law has a new girlfriend. Pretty, isn't she? I think I'll call her Melba.
(Melba looks like she could use a little Rogaine.)

{Sidebar - before strapping the head to the seat, The Husband and I had written all over Brother-in-Law with a marker while he was sleeping. That's what you get for being the first person to fall asleep after paella} 

Oh, and the sky was really beautiful Sunday night...

That is all. 



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shopping In Aix

Next Friday, The Cousin is marrying his lady who will thenceforth be known as Mrs. Cousin.

In honor of the blessed event (and me getting to rock some serious shoes) a new purse is needed, as well as a new shirt for The Husband (much less important obviously).

And it turned out that The Husband's friend (and hetero life partner), Gatz, needed a suit, and a whole lot of help (homeboy needs A LOT of help), so we invited him to join us on our shopping trip.

Gatz was delighted. Being single, he actually values my style counsel.

The Husband told Gatz that we would be shopping in Aix-en-Provence;

"But I don't want to go to Aix, I want to shop in Marseille".

And then The Husband phoned to let me know that Gatz wanted to go shopping in Marseille instead;

"So? And since when are you married to Gatz?"

That being settled, we went shopping in Aix.

Love Aix. 

(I'd love it more if there was a Starbucks there)



Turns out that bringing one of The Husband's friends shopping is a great idea. They went off and left me in peace. No huffing and puffing. It was a huffing and puffing free shopping environment as I strolled around Zara. 

Being in such a peaceful enviroment, I was able to find the clutch and some shorts and a tunic in record time. Less than thirty minutes into our shopping excursion I was finished. 

I'm a shopping rock star.

I pointed out how effective my shopping skills are minus Gallic huffing and puffing to The Husband. This was met with an international eye roll. 

Next, we found The Husband's shirt. A fitted light blue that makes his eyes pop. I swooned. Swooned, I did (he really is a handsome devil). 

And then, It took Gatz almost two hours to buy his suit. In one shop. Two hours, in one shop! He shops like an old woman. 
There was major huffing and puffing. This made me happy, especially when The Husband told me that shopping with me was easier. 

"See, aren't you glad you didn't marry Gatz?"

Gatz's beautiful Hugo Boss suit purchased (picked out by yours truly) and shopping finished, there was only one thing to do...

Nothing like having a Guinness in an Irish pub in France while watching Australian rules football. 

(I settled on a glass of Rosé after the waitress told me they couldn't make a Bloody Mary because they didn't have vodka. Cue international eye roll)

We met The Cousin and soon to be Mrs. Cousin for lunch...

The Cousin was carrying a man bag. 
(Loads of men in the south of France do this. The Husband does not.  Sometimes it's the little things in life that make me very happy. Like The Husband not carrying a purse).

And The Husband, The Cousin, and Gatz all ordered the same thing for lunch...

{raw meat and raw egg... gross}

And in this wonderful day of shopping, drinking in Irish pubs, and eating raw meat, I'm sure you are all thinking the same thing...

What about Fifty?

Fifty spent the day with Honey Jr.

Honey Jr took Fifty to the bar.

You just know he was using Fifty to try and pick up the ladies.



Friday, July 23, 2010

This Little Piglet...

My fellow expat, Piglet In France, has asked me a few questions and it's my duty to answer and yours to read.
(OK, not your duty, but would you read please? For me? Wittle bitty me?)

1. Why did you start a blog?
I was moving to France and didn't speak French which was giving me a career break whether I wanted one or not. I thought blogging would be a nice alternative to slowing losing my mind.
Honestly I didn't know what to expect from my blog but it fell into a rhythm and makes me happy.
Each comment makes me smile, and I go absolutely spastic when I get a new follower.
Blogging lets me communicate with the rest of the world in a way that Facebook doesn't. And even though non-blog people probably don't get it, I feel like I've made friends, actual friends with people which feels nice when an ocean separates you from your friends.
(I have French friends, but it's not the same).

2. Comfy shoes or killer heels?
Do you even need to ask? You know I love my footwear (see here and here), and not comfy footwear that looks like they may serve some sort of orthopedic function. I'm a hardcore shoe girl always have been always will be.
(This goes back to my Punky Brewster days when I would wear one pink converse with one baby blue and I had pulled out the regular laces and replaced with actual lace. That's right, hardcore.)

3. The funniest moment in the last week?
Honey Jr and I bonded over a joke. The joke wasn't even that funny, but someone (other than The Husband) here finally got me. I'm someone that you have to get. I love to talk and laugh and joke (sarcasm is like mother's milk to me) and living in a place where a language barrier means that people don't get me can be a bit soul destroying at times.
This question probably wanted a funny response. Sorry.

4. What would have been your dream job?
Ruler of the World. 
(The Husband calls me Skippie the Dictator. I'm not joking, that's my nickname).
But I'd settle for Secretary of State. If I could go back and do things differently...
(No disrespect to The Husband and Fifty, but we're talking about Secretary of State. It's ok, I'll just pin all my hopes and dreams on my future children. That will be healthy).

5. If you won the lottery tonight, what would be the first thing you’d do?
Setup base camp in a luxury hotel and start making my plans for world domination.

6. Most useless gadget you own?
{he's a lean, mean, licking machine}
Fifty. He's ok at killing flies (sometimes) but that's about it.

7. You’re waiting for someone and they’re late. How late is too late?
Anything more than 10 minutes because I'm hardcore about punctuality (ie; Skippie the Dictator).
But, if I have a newspaper and a glass of wine, I usually don't mind.

8. Are you a do it now person, or a It can wait until tomorrow person?

9. If you were a drink, what would you be?
A Grey Goose martini, a little dirty with an extra olive.
(Then I could sit around and lick myself all day... dirty)

10. What was the first thing you thought when you read these questions?
Thanks for thinking about me Piglet.

Would you be so kind as to answer some questions...


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sara Louise: Fly Assassin

I'm a ninja.

Since summer is on full blast in Le Petit Village (not complaining, that winter was a beyotch), besides the sock and sandal wearing tourists, another breed has arrived; the fly kind (no, not Superfly, that would be dope though).

{fly on holiday}                                        

Flies. As in those little annoying winged flying things.

Our house doesn't have screens on the windows. Whenever a window is open, a new fleet of little flying aholes arrive; ready to land on the table, the wall, me, and to really piss me off, something I'm eating.

The windows are always open. Every one of them, all the time. It's wicked hot here and there's no AC. I'm actually praying for Monsieur Mistral so I can get a little air in here.

I hate flies. Hate them. They all deserve to be destroyed.

There are a few methods to ensure mass destruction of those pesky buggars...

*That awful hanging tape where little fly corpses stick on display. No thank you. These just don't seem very hygienic to me. Little dead fly bodies decorating your living room. Gross.

*Bug spray. This is good. Although the smell gets me a little woozy because I have a tendency to get trigger happy (I'm like the end of Scarface). 

*Fifty. He loves trying to kill flies. But letting him loose is not that great of an idea. Although it is non-stop fun watching him bite at the air. I'm getting worried about the furniture that he's slamming his body into as he throws on the breaks and skids across the floor.

*A dish towel. This is my preferred method. I'm a ninja with that thing. One quick snap and game over (in a stealth like fashion... never even saw me coming... suckers).

*Nunchucks and Chinese Stars. (not yet, I'm still waiting for the ones I ordered on the internet). 

I'm beginning to worry about my sanity a bit. I get a lot of enjoyment from the death of these little fly aholes and do a lot of trash talking in the process....

"yeah, how you like me now?"

"that's right, tell your friends" 

"wax on wax off bitches"

In the immortal words of Vanilla Ice... 

"slice like a ninja cut like a razor blade"

I'm out.

Word to your mother.



P.S. I had a side of crazy with my lunch today.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekend Festival & Festivities

Quite the weekend of festivities in Le Petit Village. 

Every villager came out for the festival.

Like this guy...

He's all sleepy and cuddled up. I'm digging his necklace.

The festival was put on to display local artisan works. 
My favorite lavender honey farmers had a stand setup in front of Grandma Honey's house.

 (she was out patrolling the streets and keeping everyone in check)


Since Mr and Mrs Honey were away for the weekend, they left Honey Jr in charge of the honey stand...


Notice that Honey Jr was nowhere to be found.
He was in the bar flirting with tourists of the female persuasion. 

The busy bar ran out of regular beer glasses...

{best Coke I ever had}

I left Honey Jr and his wingman, aka The Husband, and took a stroll to check out stands that hadn't been abandoned...


And since I was getting my inner tourist on I decided to visit a house and look in the windows...

This is my friend M's house. 
Notice the closed shutters. M only lives here part time. M and her boyfriend are croupiers in St Tropez (how cool is that?). I miss M. She's my gossip buddy. 

Mourning my missing friend and girly gossip, I returned to Honey Jr and The Husband to salt Honey Jr's game. 
No ladies for Honey Jr on Saturday. 
You're welcome Honey Jr. 

There was a great party in the village that night, a band, some Cotton Eyed Joe (in Le Petit Village, seriously, Cotton Eyed Joe, I almost pissed myself when I heard it), €2 beers and €1 glasses of wine. 

At some point my camera got away from me so no pictures... except these two from Honey Jr's phone...

{Great night}

On fuzzy Sunday, Honey Jr abandoned by his parents (poor 25 year old baby) came over for lunch...


And after all that cooking, and festivities, and since Honey Jr had worked so hard at the festival (he only sold three jars of honey, somebody is going to be in trouble) some serious R&R was required...

Honey Jr enjoying his much deserved break.

And here's Brother-in-Law and his lady...

Notice The Husband in the background, cheating on this guy...


don't tell Fifty


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rules For Tourists

Today, Le Petit Village is hosting a small festival. It's small because Le Petit Village is small and small is all we can handle.

But even though it will be small, we are expecting an even greater number of tourists than normal (the parking lot was filled last night, with cars parked in the field next to it).

In an effort to help the tourists enjoy their time in Le Petit Village, I've come up with a few guidelines so we can all get along and play nice together...

1. Please keep your dog on the leash, unless you are a dog whisperer and I'm guessing that you are not. You don't know if your dog is going to play nice with the village dogs or perhaps, maybe one of the village dogs is in heat and you don't want to look like an idiot chasing your dog as it tries to get some while we all laugh at you (although that was very funny, thanks for the chuckle random tourist).

2. If you find a parking spot that is just too good to be true and the spot is outside someones front door, please use your noggin, and your manners. Don't park there. (And thank you random tourist, for all that exercise I got when you were in my parking spot and I was moving. All that lugging of bags and boxes to my far away parked car was a lot of fun for me.)

3. If you arrive in Le Petit Village before 9am on a Saturday or Sunday morning, please keep your voices down. Remember, there is no traffic and city noises to drown out your chatter and it's not our favorite way to wake up.

4. Please do not park your two camping vans in the middle of the public parking lot so no one else can park there, and then set up chairs so all fifteen of you can have your lunch (Belgians I'm looking at you). No one else can get in the parking lot and I could barely walk in to unload my recyclables. Why would you want to eat lunch three feet away from a recycling container anyway? Weirdos.

5. Please don't stare into house windows. That's just rude. I'm not doing anything quaint. You're not missing anything. Unless you would like to help me with the dishes and ironing, or perhaps walk Fifty, then by all means, knock on the door.

6. If I say bonjour, I'm being polite. It's polite to return the favor.

I will write these out on a large sign to hang around Grandma Honey. Grandma Honey is like the Sheriff of Le Petit Village and she knows everybody's business. She can wear it as she patrols the main street, using 'watering her flowers' or 'shooing cats away' as her excuse to be all up in everybody's grill.

Now, time for me to have my coffee, 

so I can play nice.


P.S. I'm feeling feisty this morning

P.S.S. But please notice how often I said please. I maybe feeling feisty, but I'm always polite.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Inspired Questions...

Debby Lee at Inspired Design has tagged me in a blog questions and answers round. I shall do my best to be honest and somewhat entertaining. Coffee should kick in and brain should turn on any minute now...

1) What is the most interesting trip you have taken?
This one is a toss up...
I spent Xmas in Bucharest three years ago. Landing at the snow covered airport  reminded me of Rocky 4 when they flew to Russia (I don't know what it says about me that at 30 years old, sitting on an airplane, I thought; "ooh, this is just like Rocky 4." I should probably keep some thoughts to myself). Bucharest still seems very cold war like and very foreign. When you travel to Spain, Italy, or France, they may speak a different language, but they are in Western Europe, and Western Europe and America share more similarities than differences. Eastern Europe is a whole other ballgame (and it's not baseball). On Christmas Eve, I was at a dinner party for twelve people, who were all smoking (everyone there smokes, and drinks, a lot). The room was thick and the hostess feeling sorry for my reddening eyes kept insisting on opening the window of the apartment, despite the objections of the other guests who would close it immediately. Here's a lesson... don't open a window in the middle of winter in Bucharest. We're talking a whole other realm of cold. We sat at that table for five hours as course after course of meats and pickled vegetables came out. I was in desperate need of vast quantities of wine to help wash the odd food down and numb my sore, red eyes. Have you ever had Romanian wine? Don't. Luckily a shot glass is set on the table next to your wine glass for vodka and homemade fruit brandy.
The other was a trip to Australia when I was eight. It's the last family holiday I remember taking (parents split when I was twelve). It was before the direct LA to Sydney flight and we flew from NYC to LA to Honolulu to Fiji and then on to Sydney. We spent the day on the beach in Honolulu and my dad bought flip flops at a drugstore. For some reason (and I maybe wrong in which I'm sure I'll get a call from my mother) but I think that day in Honolulu, was the day I had my first chicken McNugget (this was like 1985 and obviously a monumental day in the life of a child).
In Australia, I held a koala bear, and played with baby kangaroos at Andalucia Park. My brother held some sort of huge snake because he's crazy. We took an old rickety boat to the Great Barrier Reef and I threw up. As payback I stole some coral which I later used for a science fair project.
On the Gold Coast, my mother and I built a sand castle that we could see from the balcony of our hotel. It was there for two days until some bratty kid decided to play Godzilla and stomp on it. I hate that kid.

2) What is you favorite item of clothing? Why?
My fitted, black DKNY suit jacket. Hardly ever wear it.
For my 16th birthday, my step-father gave me a gift certificate to Saks. My friend Bun and I waited outside the store on 5th Avenue in the February cold until they opened (Bun was wearing her black motorcycle jacket, such a hooligan). We headed straight to the sales rack and found my jacket. It was originally $400, and I got it on sale for $200 . I will never part with it even though it hardly ever gets worn. Too many memories in that thing (and it still fits!).

3) What is the funniest thing that you have experienced?
The fact that I used to live in a bustling city and now live in Le Petit Village is pretty funny.

4) If you could speak to one type of animal what would it be?
Dogs; Fifty,  Ruby (Papa's hunting dog), and Python (Brother-in-Law's favorite Jack Russell)

5) What would you ask said animal?

Fifty: What's up with the abandonment issues? We're not going to leave you, so chillax. Oh, and we know that you love us, you can stop with all the licking. 

Ruby: Why are you so snobby and standoffish? Stop acting like Prince Phillip and get over yourself. You're a dog

Python: Why are you such an a**hole? Seriously. Does Brother-In-Law not give you enough cuddles or something? You weigh like 20lbs, I could punt you across the village, so learn your place or else I will.

6) Who has made the biggest impact on your life?
Probably The Husband, because I'm here, learning French, and surrounded by French things, and French people. It's all very French. And weird. I keep thinking I'll wake up one day, get dressed, and go back to work at that bank that's going under. And not have to speak French. Because it's all been like one big, weird, French dream.

7) What was your favorite childhood tradition?
We dressed for dinner on Sundays; china, crystal, and elbows off the table.

8) What was your biggest decorating faux pas?
I don't really have one yet because I've never owned my own home and The Husband and I aren't in a place yet where we will be decorating decorating. It's still a hodge podge of his and my (mostly my) stuff. But we could count The Husband's weight bench being in the living room as a faux pas. Thankfully, it is now in the garage where he and Honey Jr hang out. I might lock them both in there one day.

Would you be so kind as to indulge my curiosity? 

I'm dying to know your biggest decorating faux pas


Let Them Drink Rosé (and Pastis)

some guy named Monet painted this

Today we celebrate La Fête Nationale.

221 years ago (2010 - 1789 = 221, right?), the Bastille was stormed and some heads rolled (literally). 

In honor of the revolution, the guillotine, and all that storming, I will be doing my own storming...

right into The Honey's pool.


Monday, July 12, 2010


Remember that random moving injury I got?

What seemed like an innocent enough cut on my shin has grown angry, red and swollen over the past few days. It's hot and throbbing, and I can't jog. It's making me miserable. All the antiseptic and iodine in the world is not making it any better so tonight, the doctor is coming (house call!) to hopefully make it better and in turn, make me a happy camper.

In the meantime, to try to cheer me up and take my thoughts away from how ugly my leg looks and how ugly it will probably still look at The Cousin's wedding at the end of July (big ugly cut does not make a fab accessory) let's look at some happy summertime photos...

Strawberries. Bright, cheery, and delicious. What's not to like?

And how about this view from Le Petit Village...

Absolutely breathtaking.

And check out this guy on his moped...

It's hot, so naturally you would attach a garden umbrella to the back. I mean who wouldn't?

Because I have a huge boo-boo, The Husband is trying to take care of me...

This is The Husband's attempt to cook. He made a salad. Or should I say, a cheese salad. There is like three or four different types of cheese in that with a little bit of endive at the bottom. God knows he tries. Bless him. 

Lavender, lavender, and more lavender....

But be careful, lots of bees in that lavender. 

Sidebar - Mr. Honey and Honey Jr are basically immune to bee stings. Since their family has been honey farmers for generations, it's like their DNA has been mutated and bee stings do nothing to them. Mutant X-Men freaks. 

Kicking it on a mini-moped...

And no explanation required...


Or as I like to call it, 

Pain Go Bye Bye Juice.


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