Tuesday, May 31, 2011

oh là là, oh là là: Part 1

"I love my wine and it loves me" - Maybelline

Such a weekend, it's hard to know where to begin (Aidan, her family, and some friends descended upon Le Petit Village for two days of madness). So many happenings. So much to report. Let's be logical and start with Friday, shall we? Aidan and her brood (her husband, Oldest, Middlest, and Littlest) found there way to Le Petit Village just before 6pm (perfectly timed for l'heure de l'apéro, don't you think?).

Aidan and I got them settled into the gîte, fixed ourselves a little walnut wine roadie and took a tour through the village. The mistral was out playing so it was a quick tour. Plus we had dinner reservations at Lupin Blanc. The creamy truffle and Calvados ravioli was awaiting, couldn't be late for that. But we did bump into Vicky. It was Aidan's first 'real life' Le Petit Village sighting. (I'm thinking of hosting tours... 'visit Le Petit Village; where the blog comes to life'... or maybe I'll just dump this idea into my delusional bucket, who knows.)

Oldest and Middlest rode with The Husband and I to the restaurant. The Husband kept trying to play some music with questionable lyrics and I'd quickly turn it down and remind him that children were in the car. He still wasn't grasping so I pulled the stereo face off and turned to have a conversation with my two little bilingual friends. And you know what happened because of that conversing? Middlest said the sweetest thing;

"I like this."

"What's that Sweetie?" I asked.

"All this talking and stuff."

Heart. Melt.

The kids had Orangina (which they ordered themselves, in their perfect French), while we had a bottle of Vacqueyras which comes with that Châteauneuf-du-Pape emblem of the crossed keys on it. Aidan and her husband questioned the significance of the keys. The Husband tried to explain but I poo-pooed his explanation with my own... the crossed keys signify the two keys to the hotel rooms in Châteauneuf-du-Pape we'll be staying in when they get a babysitter, and meet us  for a weekend full of wine tasting fun (yep, it's true, that's what those keys mean). I think they preferred my explanation to The Husbands. Wouldn't you?

Moving on.

After dinner we headed back to their gîte for a nightcap and a little Penny Can. The Husband actually rocked this game. But because he can be shy, he would get the penny in the can, and instead of triumphantly shouting "PENNY CAN!" he would just turn around with a smile on his face and say that he made one (so un-penny can like, somewhere Bobby Kyle is crying).

And sometime during the Penny Can (or Penny Cooler if you play the Aidan way), nightcap hour(s), The Canadians (friends of Aidan) arrived with their three children. That makes six kids from two - nine, six 'adults', and Fifty.

That's a whole lot of chaos.

To be continued...


P.S. Maybelline is Aidan by the way.... sssssshhhhhhh!
P.P.S. And for even-stevens, my Texas trash name is Lori Al. Classy isn't it?
P.P.P.S. To read Aidan's version of our weekend click here
P.P.P.P.S. And don't forget to enter my summer read giveaway here 
P.P.P.P.P.S. I think I may have just set some sort of post script record.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

lots of sheep = lots of flies

When thinking of Provence, there are certain romantic images that swim through the  head... lavender, Rosé, the beautiful works of Cézanne, and the glamour of the Côte d'Azur. One image that probably doesn't make the cut are flies. Lots and lots of pesky flies. But trust me, they are as Provencal as Pastis. As soon as the temperature rises, they appear, in abundance, ready to get their annoying on. 

Where normally we have loads, right now we have sh*t loads thanks to the flock of sheep grazing outside the village. With their stinky wool coats, come the flies, and I lose my mind a little bit. So as Fifty and I battle the little buggers (me armed with a dishtowel, and Fifty bare-pawed) please enjoy this fly post from last summer. (originally posted 21st July 2010)

Thank you. 

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 cool though). Flies. As in those little annoying winged flying things.

{fly on holiday}                                        

Our house doesn't have screens on the windows. Whenever a window is open, a new fleet of little flying a-holes 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. But 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. Those nunchucks and Chinese Stars never did make it to Le Petit Village. I'm blaming that one on La Poste. 

P.S.S. don't forget to enter my summer read giveaway here 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm Giving Away the Secrets of Love...

(disclaimer: I'm not really)
(clarification: I'm giving away some books, not any actual secrets of love)
(author's note: I don't have any 'love secrets')

I should have done this giveaway months ago, but you know how March wasn't the best month in the history of my life which totally jacked up April, and well it was almost mid-May before I really started to feel like me again. So here we are, almost June and I'm finally getting around to tell you about Hector and the Secrets of Love and to see if anyone would like a copy because I've got three copies to giveaway.

Written by François Lelord, Hector and the Secrets of Love is the follow up to Hector and the Search for Happiness.  Hector is a young psychiatrist who sets off to track down a rogue scientist who has fled a pharmaceutical company with their love potion. Naturally,  Hector has a few adventures along the way and stumbles upon a bit of love himself (no potion required).

It was a sweet, lovey-dovey, easy read with enough doses of real-life relationship drama to keep it grounded and my eye-rolling at bay (I'm an eye roller... give me a sappy scene and my eyes look straight to heaven, and that may or may not be followed by a finger jabbed into the mouth tongue stuck out kind of look... I'm very mature, I know).  In short, it's perfect for these summer days; a little sun, and a little Hector, and you're all set.

There are four chances to win... 1. If you'd like to enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me your favorite summertime book and you'll have one entry (and I'll have a book to add to my ever growing amazon basket). 2. For an additional entry, follow my blog and leave another comment letting me know that you do. 3. If you'd like another chance at Hector, 'like' me on Facebook, and leave a comment. 4. And, if you really really want to win, follow me on Twitter (but be sure to let me know, in a comment).

Giveaway closes Thursday, 2nd June.



Monday, May 23, 2011

la fête du fromage

{from Billy, with love}

I like cheese. I feel blessed to have ended up in France, home of about 400 different types of cheese (St. Nectaire, and Roquefort, and Cantal, oh my!). And, I'm lucky enough to live only a few miles down the road from Banon. Besides being the name of the village, Banon is also the name of the creamy fromage de chèvre (goats cheese to you and me) that it produces.

{cheese lovers}

Banon hosts an annual fête du fromage to celebrate it's creamy, cheesy, deliciousness and this year, I got to go. Which was kind of weird. Like why was The Husband so OK with going to something like a fête du fromage all of a sudden? Very suspicious. And why were all of his friends going to la fête du fromage too? (Can you tell I like writing 'fête du fromage'? It's feels festive). Could it possibly be because the bar was serving €1 Pastis all day long? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's why.

Can you guess which one is mine?

Doesn't The Husband look happy celebrating la fête du fromage?  

WOO-HOO! We love la fête du fromage! Love it! Give me more cheese!

Did you know that it's possible to love cheese so much that you just plain tucker yourself out? Like this guy. He overcheesed. 

But because I do love my cheese, I snuck away from all the 'cheese loving' the boys were doing to have a quiet lunch where I got to celebrate la fête du fromage the way it should be celebrated...

with actual cheese.



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Move Over Indiana Jones...

{The Priory: 12th - 16th Centuries}

So, you know how my life here in Le Petit Village can be a little strange? Well check this out; last night The Husband phoned me on his way home from work (all normal so far, he always does) and tells me that Brother-in-Law just dug up some old bones. Huh? What? So not normal.

The back story: Brother-in-Law is a mason, and he is the go-to guy in the village for the restoration of all the old facades. Currently he's working on the 12th century Priory (which is such a coincidence for me having just read Pillars of the Earth and all). See, the Priory, ceased being an actual Priory hundreds of years ago and it was recently bought by (try to follow me here) Child Bride's friend's Belgian mother. The Belgian mother only lives here part time, but I guess when she does, she now wants to live in an old monk house. But get this, not only did she buy the Priory, she bought the ruins of the old church next door... you know... this one...

{maybe we'll turn it into a nightclub}

So not only is Brother-in-Law restoring the outside of the Priory, but he's smoothing the surface of the small, medieval cemetery. And that's how he found the bones (say it with me... C R E E P Y). Now immediately upon The Husband's arrival home last night, and finding out what actually happened, as in Brother-in-Law actually found some medieval bones, my nerdy little mind went into overdrive as I pictured National Geographic descending upon us, and the fame that would follow, which would then enable me to begin the annual Medieval Knights Fair that Le Petit Village is destined to host, but now it would be the World Famous Medieval Knights Fair hosted by yours truly, as I reign in my pink satin cone hat with the silk scarf flowing from it's tip, with Fifty next to me in a little monk habit (sometimes my brain wanders). But no, it was not to be, there was no one to call. Apparently, some French historical society was here years ago, found all the remains, and left them (As it should be really, I mean I don't want somebody digging me up 900 years from now... note to self: cremation). No fanfare. No Medieval Knights Fair. Nothing. Boo. (Note to Historical Society: next time you may want to rebury the bones a tad deeper).


{please wash your hands}

Looks like somebody found himself a new girlfriend.


P.S. Brother-in-Law reburied the remains and I said a little prayer. I've already got Nazi Ghost Zombies on my back, I really don't need some Medieval Banshee chasing after me too.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

je voudrais une machine de temps

After a two month hiatus, I have resumed my French lessons with the fantastic Professeur. With the French lessons back in my life (which is funny, because my life is like one long, rambling, never ending French lesson) I've found myself quite interested in finding out who it is that invented the French language. Like who was the person who actually sat down and made all this stuff up? Because I really want to hop in a time machine, travel back in time, hunt them down, and hit them over the head with a shovel.

That's pretty much it. 

A time machine and a shovel, 

that's all I need.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

this award could save your life

I've been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award by Kara at Scattered Joy. Thank you Kara. But today, (or whatever day you read this) we should all give thanks to Kara because my seven secrets are going to be seven things that you need to know if you ever find yourself in Le Petit Village for an extended period of time, which could totally happen, because you never know. You know?

1. You must have a stocked refrigerator. The little local épicerie is only open from 8am until noon and closed altogether on Wednesdays. Plus, there isn't anything good in there anyway. And don't count on Le Petit Bar serving you food... that is completely on the whim of The Parisian. Case in point... Saturday afternoon, I headed over to read my book and have a beer in the sun (I'm reading Pillars of the Earth if you're interested). It was a little after 1pm and a couple of tourists approached. I bonjoured them as they walked into the bar looking for lunch (see, Le Petit Bar, is actually a restaurant). They were turned away and told that lunch was not being served. That would have been kind of fine if The Parisian, his mother, sister and Mrs Parisian weren't all sitting there dining themselves. Oh well, another customer lost, way to go Le Petit Bar. No gold star for you. So basically what I'm saying is, if you have an empty fridge and are hungry, you're S.O.L.

2. Get yourself some Wifi (or weefee en français). Trust me on this one.

3. Muster up some patience because 1) it takes forever to get anywhere, 2) we're on South of France time (basically that means everybody here is late, except for me), and 3) check out number 1 above.

4. Learn French, or befriend the local English speaker (that would be me). Knowing French will enable you to yell at The Parisian when he tells you that he has run out of Heineken, Rosé, or Coke (I am not joking... homeboy has actually run out of all three of these at one time or another, and we can add Leffe, Whiskey and white wine to that list as well).

5. You must be able to entertain yourself. See numbers 2, and 3 above. And number 4 does turn into a bit of a hobby (albeit a boring, frustrating one). So actually, see numbers 2 - 4 above.

6. Develop a tolerance for high winds. The Mistral has been shaking my house for the past 24 hours. It's like the big bad wolf is parked outside and every time I bring Fifty for a walk in this, I'm scared he's going to get swept up and fly away (although watching Fifty fly would help with number 5).

7. Make sure to bring your camera, you don't want to miss any of this:


Glorious, isn't it? 

And a bonus: if you see a Nazi Ghost Zombie, run (this probably should have been number 1).

Do you have any versatile thoughts? 



Thursday, May 12, 2011

ouefs en cocotte (with a poshy-posh accent)

On our last visit to French Maman's, French Nana gave me some darling little red ramekins. They look like miniature cooking pots, like what keebler elves would cook with if they were more into stews than cookies. Since we've been home, I've stared at them, trying to picture what I could possibly cook inside of them. They're so tiny and cute, could they possibly contain enough sustenance for my food whore husband? Oh, yes, yes they can.

Allow me to introduce you to my ouefs en cocotte. Or more precisely, Nigella Lawson's ouefs en cocotte, that of course I bungled by overcooking the eggs. Which I kind of did on purpose. But not really. Like I didn't want them runny (I can't do runny... no no no) but I didn't want them hard either. It's a slippery slope these ouefs en cocotte so not wanting to cook them for only ten minutes, I did fourteen, and that was definitely too much. Next time I'll be all about the twelve minutes (Which I should have been in the first place. Like who jumps from ten to fourteen skipping twelve? Me is who).

Behold... my combination of bad food photography and overcooked eggness...

{I'm adorably small, and red}

We sat down to eat the overcooked ouefs (but of course we didn't know that they were overcooked yet) along with a salad, courtesy of lettuce from Brother-in-Law's garden, and I looked at The Husband and said "Bon Appetit" all Julia Child-like even though he hates when I do this (it's definitely up there on his Sara Louise pet peeve list). He hates my Julia Child voice. And let it be known that The Husband didn't even know who Julia Child was until I made him sit through Julie & Julia. And he can pretend he didn't like it all he wants, but I know he loved it in all of it's scrumptious food porn glory.

So even though those overcooked ouefs didn't look that pretty (through no fault of French Nana's adorable elf ramekins) they were still delicious and here's why... if something is swimming in cream and truffle oil it's pretty much going to be delicious no matter what.

And that's a fact.


P.S. You can watch Nigella make ouefs en cocotte (and not bungle them) here. Feel free to cook along adding your own poshy-posh accent.  I do.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Real Housewives of the South of France

I can't believe it. A whole afternoon, night, and morning with Conjugating Irregular Verbs  Aidan and we didn't take any pictures... except one...

{shrink me}

And the only reason for this one was because we thought that we would tweet a pic of us making Skinny Girl Margaritas to Bethenny Frankel (except we refer to her only as Bethenny and not as Bethenny Frankel because we're totally close like that) and tell her how we're the Real Housewives of the South of France and of course she would love us and then we'd all become BFFs for real (it's nice to know that Aidan can be as delusional as I am). And also let her know that The Real Housewives of the South of France call her Skinny Girl Margaritas,  'Skinny Ladies' thanks to The Husband re-christening them after his fabulous faux pas.

So since we didn't take any pictures I'll just have to tell you all about it... The Husband and I arrived at Aidan's early Saturday afternoon and were greeted outside by the whole family; Aidan, her husband, and Oldest, Middlest, and Littlest. That's quite the warm welcome (The Husband's biological clock was sent into overdrive, I swear I can still hear it ticking).

We sat outside and sipped mango margaritas and Skinny Ladies and chatted. Texas accent chatted. It was heaven. Aidan's husband and I could have a whole conversation based on facial expressions and two words...  'dude' and 'really(?)' and totally understand each other. It was like their house was the Texas Embassy and The Husband was the foreigner. Dude! It was that cool.

And then after we stayed up way past our bedtimes and slept soundly, we woke up to fresh breakfast from the boulangerie and some of Honey Jr's delicious honey (that boy makes some G O O D honey... I call it Honey honey). The kids were chatty and so cute that we tried to broker a deal with Aidan... we'd send her Fifty for a few days and she'd send us one of hers. Pretty good deal, huh? But then Littlest started squirming because he was itchy and Aidan asked us if we've ever had the chicken pox, and then we noticed Middlest's eye was pink and Aidan said, "I hope you're not getting conjunctivitis" and I scooted my chair a little farther away from that adorable pink eyed boy. So that settled it for us really, we'll trade Fifty for Oldest.

I just hope he doesn't come back with chicken pox.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

why not?

I wasn't planning on posting this morning, there still isn't much happening here (B O R I N G). But then the fates intervened and put something in my path that I could not ignore... did you know that there's speculation that a dog was part of the Bin Laden mission? Uh huh, it's true. And the funny thing is that the morning when we woke up to all the Bin Laden brewhaha, The Husband looked at Fifty and said, "and what were you doing last night?" Because we're both pretty sure that Fifty has a secret life which probably comes along with a secret identity. And now that we know that dogs can be commandos, well, I'm looking at Fifty a little differently.

And it's about damn time he started earning his keep... all of his tick medicine and anti-tick stuff cost €47, and that's a lot of kibble. So if anyone knows where I can pick up a Doggy Commando application, please let me know.

So that's all I got; Fifty may or may not be, (or possibly one day soon if we get that application) a super secret canine assassin (as in he's the canine, not that he assassinates them).
And because it's Friday, and you know, why not, here's a gratuitous photo of a shirtless Honey Jr...

See, not only is he adorable, but he helps little old ladies with their gardening. 

Let the brewhaha begin... 


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Style: New Things I've Done in France

Thank heavens for this Stylish Blogger Award from Laura at Everyday Life of a Young American Girl in France because absolutely zero has been happening around here and I have nothing at all to blog about (case in point: I was skyping with my mother yesterday and she told me that she was disappointed that I hadn't written a new post, and I told her that that's because I don't have anything to write about so there you go... the proof is in the Skype). Back to business...  thank you Laura for giving me something to blog about.

For this blogger award and the prerequisite seven secrets about me, how about a list of seven things that I've done since living in France? Like things I hadn't, or probably wouldn't have done before. Sound good? Fantastic.
Let's do this.

1. I had never spoken French before. Kind of. Like I'm kind of speaking it now and I kind of didn't before. I had French class in kindergarten but since that was a L O N G  L O N G time ago, I don't remember any of it. But I'm pretty sure I sound like I'm in kindergarten to any French person that's lucky enough to get stuck conversing with me (but good news... next week I resume my French lessons with the marvelous Professeur).

2. Even though I'm from Texas,  I had never seen a single episode of Walker Texas Ranger (and I'm pretty sure most Texans have never seen an episode either). Now I watch it in French. The Chuck Norris masterpiece is on Sunday afternoons about 2pm. When we finish Sunday lunch at Papa's house, he puts the show on and promptly falls asleep while the rest of us suffer through it. Thanks Papa. 

3. Before a trip to Olympique Marseille's stadium, I had never walked into a ladies room and found a hole in the ground instead of a toilet. I held it. 

4. I'm lucky enough to be able to drive to Italy just for some gelato. That's one of my favorites, and it's even better when you get caught in a sunshower...

{pink it's my favorite color}

5. And here's the deal with the beef tongue... I've tried it. And I'll admit, I like the flavor, and if it was all chopped up in pieces and was more stew-like instead of a large tongue slapped on a plate, and if French Nana lied to me and told me it was just regular ol' beef, I'd eat it. 

6. I've made wild boar pâté and have not eaten much since. I prefer to remain ignorant on some matters. Like how pâté is made (or whether the beef I'm eating is beef or beef tongue).

7. And of course, there's that whole Nazi Ghost Zombie thing I have to deal with. 

Samantha @ Samantha Sans Dosage

Candace @ Point of View

Jessika @ Wellness Through Wisdom

Would you kindly accept this Stylish Blogger Award 

and tell us seven secrets?  


Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Royal Wedding at Chez Moi

The wedding of the century did not go unnoticed here in Le Petit Village. Well, it didn't go unnoticed at Chez Moi anyway. I'm not sure if the rest of the village cared much. But it's OK, Fifty and I made up for their lack of excitement in style... B E H O L D... my very own Prince Charming...

{I hate my mom}

And I put on my English garden finest...

{I'm a laaaaaady}

Sorry for the self-portrait. Fifty's lack of thumbs makes him a horrible photographer (although we are trying). But do you notice I'm curtsying? Or, better yet, do you notice I'm trying to curtsy? (Not easy curtsying and self-portraiting at the same time... I'm sure Kate never had this problem). I thought it was appropriate since I had a Prince in the house. But now Prince Fifty expects me to curtsy whenever he walks into the room and I really don't have that kind of time.


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