Monday, December 31, 2012

2012, I hardly knew ye

For me, 2012 feels like the fastest year that there ever was, and that scares me. They always say that the older you get, the faster time flies by, well that is certainly true and I'm certainly freaked out. I'd love to go back to being nine when every year seemed to inch by at a snail's pace... long stretches of time to count off between my birthday and then summer vacation before the long wait onto Christmas. Now, I barely have to blink before another year has gone (and another grey hair has arrived... what's that all about?!).

So since it's officially Veille du Jour de l'An, it's time to bid a proper farewell to 2012. May it rest in peace. 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2012 kicked off rather sadly for me, we were only a couple of days in when I found out that dear, sweet, stalking Vicky had passed away, leaving me rather sad and Fifty lonely for his friend. 

But life moves on and luckily I had somethings to distract me, like gloating over a rugby win in my jammies and Honey Jr saving me from my own stupidity. I regaled you with tales of my affinity for Gypsies (although I never did make it to that pilgrimage), how I cooked something that The Husband actually hated (omg... it turns out that there is something that The Food Whore actually doesn't like to eat!!!) and surprise... we ate more cheese

February began cold and covered in snow, which of course meant 4-wheelin and sledding with Fifty in tow. And then it was the most wonderful day of the year... my birthday, and it was so cold, I practically froze my hiney off while having to repeatedly, blow dry frozen pipes outside my house thanks to an icy mistral, but it was nothing that a little Pride & Prejudice and Kir Royals couldn't cure. 

My birthday was celebrated in the most uncoordinated, SNAFU sort of ways but it all worked out in the end and was made even extra special by a present given to me by RoRo and the French Rugby team

After my birthday, The Husband was struck down by the awful grippe that was making it's way around France and every five minutes he would declare, "I die soon" (I barely held onto my sanity through that one and what did I get for my trouble... my very own case of the flu).

We managed to shake off the germs in time to celebrate La Petite's first birthday and a Hotel California-like trip to Toulon

In April it seemed like everyone in Le Petit Village had a birthday, first, La Croupier had a surprise flashmob to celebrate her 30th and then Gatz turned thirty as well with not one, but two parties. To escape all of the birthday madness, I went to Aix to see Mrs. London and my friend, Zara. 

After Aix, there was one more birthday, Honey's Honey turned a whole 24 years old (I bet she doesn't have that grey hair problem) to distract us from all of the French presidential brouhaha that commenced in a Hunger Games-esque type fashion (no, they did not battle it out to the death, although that's an interesting idea... ).  

In May something big happened in The LPV, we left it. Sure we left it with what seemed like trip after trip to Toulon, but we really left it when we moved to the all new Le Petit Village (a whole six miles down the road and through the forest away).

Summer began with a pig roast (the most disgusting of disgusting pig roasts), and lots of unpacking and adjusting to my new surroundings (omg... my kitchen has drawers and cabinets!!!).

But even though we were happy in our new home, we still missed Le Petit Village and Les Villagers so we returned for a bbq and Pétanque at Honey Jr's followed by some hay bale rolling fun (if you have never rolled hay bales through a small mountain village in France well then you are definitely missing out... go ahead and add it to you Bucket List immediately). 

Lots of other marvelous things happened in June... The Husband turned thirty, we spent the weekend in Avignon to recuperate, Honey Jr and Brother-in-Law's 'Brazil Day' was exported to another village (one even smaller than The LPV), The Husband's step-grandma turned 90 (and I schooled some Marseillais in Pétanque), La Petite was baptized (with some of the congregation dressed as extras from My Big Fat Gyspy Wedding) and I let you in on a big, big secret.... The Husband's name is Gregory (and not in fact, Grégoire as some might think). 

As summer does tend to pass by in the blink of an eye, it wasn't long before it was the dog days of August, and another Brazil Day (this one back in the original LPV). August was so hot that I found a frog hanging out on my living room wall desperately trying to escape the heat. But thankfully as September rolled in, the heatwave broke just in time for la rentrée and the arrival of my mother & co for our staycation

And what a staycation it was, we were here, there, and everywhere (Avignon, Gordes, Cassis, Saint-Rémy and Les-Baux-de-Provence, and Aix). 

When the Staycation came to a close and my visitors returned to the States, Autumn arrived and with it more friends. Texan Sarah came for a weekend with her husband and we were back to Marseille and Cassis again and since heaven forbid we let the grass grow under our feet, off to Toulon we were for some more rugby and mischief, this time, bringing Mr & Mrs London home with us so they could attend Child Bride's 'F Halloween party'.

And then oh my heavens how in the name of Snooki did it turn into November so quickly?! November is full on hunting season in Le Petit Village so Papa's Wife, The Husband and me formed our own little anti-hunting club consisting of long Sunday lunches and afternoon movie sessions. But we did have to abandon Papa's Wife for a Thanksgiving weekend in Toulon, where Fifty met his cousin Napoleon, and I came face to face with the Grinch that stole Thanksgiving.

With December comes winter and in Le Petit Village, winter means one thing... Raclette. And for the first time ever, Le Raclette was hosted by Gatz in his spanking new apartment. Clearly impressed by his hosting skills, Gatz was adamant that we come over for a Tartiflette as well even though The Husband told him over and over again that we were staying home to decorate our Petit Sapin de Noël.

And that's basically it. December flew by with the arrival of my mother, another trip to Toulon for another Raclette and some rugby, we went to Aix to see the Christmas lights and I impersonated one of Santa's Little Helpers, we celebrated Christmas and St. Stephen's Day (haven't told you about those yet... ) and here I am... sitting in my new Christmas jammies, waiting for Mrs. London to let me know if she and Mr. London will be joining us this evening, and counting down the hours left in 2012. 

T-minus 12 hours and 56 minutes left to go.

P.S. Tonight I will be toasting to all of you dear friends. Cheers to each and everyone of you and may your 2013 be full of everything your heart desires, but mostly, may it be full of good health, happiness and love. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

this day last week...

...we were doing the shopping for our Christmas Eve dinner.

Oh how I wish I could go back there (even if that would mean battling the other shoppers at Hyper U and having my cart rammed repeatedly all over again). That sad 'end of Christmas feeling' is beginning to sink in, but thankfully, I have you to rehash my Christmas tales with. Let's pretend that the Spirit of Christmas is still swirling all around us, and I'll tell you about my Christmas Eve.

This year was the first year to celebrate the holiday at my house. Sure we would be going to Papa's for Christmas day lunch, but Christmas Eve dinner belonged to me, so when we were invited to go to The Husband's Uncle's house in Saint-Rémy for the 24th, we had to politely decline. There was no way I could possibly pass up the opportunity to have part of Christmas my way, at my house.

And my way, at my house meant a Champagne and fois gras apéro while listening to Christmas With the Rat Pack. (The Champagne was provided by Gatz who arrived with two bottles, and on his best behavior, my mother was quite impressed.)

L'apéro was followed by a dinner of bœuf bourguignon, brandied peaches, green beans and my killer mashed potatoes (my mother has named my mashed potatoes 'killer' because they taste so good... the irony of this is that there is so much butter and cream in them, they could possibly be 'killer' mashed potatoes), washed down with lots and lots of Saint-Emilion Grand Cru.

Both my table and Fifty were dressed up in their Christmas finest...

And with The Husband and Gatz on their best behavior, the evening ended up being quite the civilized affair (are you shocked, because I know I am).

We opened our stockings...

{Thank you Miss Vicki}
And unwrapped cheese...

Then we topped it all off with a Bûche de Noël (a Bûche chocolat à la fleur de sel-confiture de lait to be exact).

That like a real French woman, 
I had bought at Picard.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

the day after

{twas the night before Christmas}
Well hello there, how was your holiday? I hope it was full of mistletoe kisses and sugarplum dreams. Mine was as magical as magic can be and I'm over the moon, full to the brim with beef bourguignon, oysters, fois gras, and cheese (and lets not forget Les Treize Desserts de Noël... no no no, we wouldn't want to forget those), and happily exhausted from too many rounds of cards. But it's not over. We'll be spending St. Stephen's Day (Boxing Day to you English lot and the day after Christmas for my American friends) with Mr & Mrs London, so I've popped in quickly to say hello, all is wonderfully well in Le Petit Village and I haven't been abducted by any red-nosed reindeer. 

À bientôt mes amis!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Santa's Little Helpers

{photo: courtesy of Kirsty}
A few weeks ago, I met Kirsty (You Had Me at Bonjour, Kirsty) for dinner in Aix at a cozy place called, Hue Cocotte (we had let our husbands come along too and we all had a marvelous time... like a getting home at 2am kind of marvelous time). Well on that night, I saw Aix-en-Provence dressed up in it's Christmas finest for the very first time. I was in awe, Aix certainly knows how to impress when it comes to putting on the dazzle. I knew that I would have to go back with my mother in tow.

Fast forward to last weekend when we were in Toulon... I was telling Mrs. London how Christmassy Aix was looking and wouldn't it be lovely to stroll though the Christmas market, stopping for a Nutella crêpe or some mulled wine (them, not me, I don't do mulled wine). And that's when our holly, jolly, plan came together... we would meet in Aix one night during the week to take in some Christmas joy.

As for me, I couldn't have been more excited with the plan, I'd be free to take my time admiring all of the Santons and holiday candy on display under the twinkling lights of Cours Mirabeau, without the dreaded huff and puff of The Husband because he would be distracted with Guinness and Mr. London in an Irish pub somewhere.

Well we weren't counting on it being freaking freezing.

We met Mr & Mrs London at Le Belle Epoque for a drink, and since it was so warm inside, and so cold outside, we ended up staying put. Christmas market, what Christmas market? It was a holly, jolly, fail.

But besides still being able to see the festive lights from my warm spot inside, I was still able to partake in a little bit of Christmas magic involving a completely different holly, jolly, plan...

La Professeur (my good friend and French tutor) had contacted me awhile back, asking if I would be able to help her with a secret something that would spread some holiday cheer. Now, I'm all about the holiday cheer, so of course I told her to count me in. See, her husband is a life long Toulon fan, and La Professeur wanted to know if there was anyway I could get a rugby ball to Mr. London so he and maybe some other players could sign it for her husband for Christmas. The least I could do was try.

So last weekend I arrived in Toulon with a brand new ball, and handed it off to Mr. London. When that little Christmas angel gave it back to me there was barely a blank spot on it! He managed to get every player to sign it... everyone single one of them! I was so happy for La Professeur that I almost cried. The joy at her house on Christmas morning is going to be spectacular!

But here's the thing... I don't always have the fullest confidence in La Poste (for example; I'm waiting on a box that was sent from Dublin on the 13th, the last tracking notice has it leaving Heathrow early morning on the 14th... where is it La Poste, WHERE?!). And since La Professeur lives an hour and a half away from The LPV, but only thirty minutes from Aix, I called her up and said, "hey, do you want to meet in Aix, we'll have a drink, you can meet my mom, and I'll deliver the special holly, jolly package?" She thought that was a fantastic idea.

That's when a small snag threatened to ruin her Christmas surprise... her husband decided that he wanted to go to Aix too. La Professeur was worried... would he somehow see the ball... would he figure it all out... would all of that plotting and planning be for nothing.... dun dun dun...

Pas de problème, I assured her. We'd meet first without her husband, she'd hide the ball in some shopping bags, and he would be none the wiser. So that's what we did, and everything went off without a hitch, better even, because her husband wasn't expecting the pre-Christmas surprise he got that evening...

There La Professeur's husband was, sitting quietly, having a coffee, while we chattered all around him, when lo and behold, who should walk in but one of his rugby favorites, Mr. London! The look on his face was pure Christmas magic... like a kid on Christmas morning kind of Christmas magic. As far as Christmas cheer goes, it definitely beat strolling through the market freezing my tookus off. (And he hasn't even seen the ball yet!)

{Santa's Helpers}
This year, I am officially one of Santa's little helpers,

well thanks to Mr. London anyway.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Anatomy of a Christmas Tree

Now that you've seen Papa's Crèche (but I have to confess, and as shocking as it may sound since you saw both a hunter and a fisherman hanging out in that thing, that you didn't get to see all of it), lets take a closer look at mon petit sapin de Noël.

See how that Joyeux Noël hanging from the branches is blue and not red, or green. Well that's because our tree is pretty much blinged out in blue and yellow gold, ASM Clermont's colors. Now, whose idea might that have been... (I'll give you a hint, it wasn't me and it wasn't Fifty so.... ). So yeah, with the exception of a few random ornaments, I have a tree dedicated to a rugby team. How very festive.

But my tree isn't all blue and gold, I have a few Newbridge silver ornaments that have been gifted to me over the years. They're my little bit of Ireland shimmering brightly from the tree (even if the silver clashes with all the gold a tad bit). And I have another piece of Ireland...

When my mother was moving back to Texas from Dublin, her sister-in-law gave her this angel and then not too long after, passed away. My mother thought I'd like the angel for me tree and brought it over for me, so now I feel like I have a real angel (thanks Auntie Kay and say hi to my daddy for me - I have this great image of them having pints together in heaven). 

And I just realized that despite The Husband's Clermont Rugby theme, I've got a whole lot of Ireland on there too... there's the red Starbucks cup I bought in Dublin last year that's been waiting patiently to be hung up (if I can't get the real thing, I'll take a mini ceramic one. I like to pretend it's full of  Gingerbread Latte). 

Then of course there's my favorite Christmas ornament (it may look like nothing more than a beer mat that I swiped from a pub in Dublin but it is oh so much more than that).  

Now would you look at that... even though my favorite ornament is an Irish ornament, it's a rugby ornament too, which kind of goes hand in hand with The Husband's theme so it all works out in the end. A bit of me, a bit of him and it's all topped off by the sweetest, most golden angel of them all... 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake

I'm not talking about Santa, but man oh man, I wish I was. I'm talking about the guy that makes getting coal in your stocking look like a happy meal... the one, the only... Le Père Fouettard.

Don't know who he is? Pas de problème because I'm about to tell you. I learned about him three years ago right before my first French Christmas and just reading about him was enough to scare the bejeezus out of me. Since the countdown to Christmas is winding down, I thought now would be a good time to retell the tale of the man that shall not be named and give all of you fair warning... you've got six days to clean up your acts and be good for goodness sake! Originally posted 15th December 2009
. . . . . . . . . .

OK, this is weird. I was doing a little reading about French Christmas traditions. Figure since I'm here, might as well find out the happenings of the holiday, French style. And there is no use asking The Boyfriend, he is useless at relaying this kind of information.

So, in France, Santa Clause is Père Noël, nothing strange there, but Père Noël has a partner, and it's not Rudolph. It's an evil man named...dun dun dun.... Le Père Fouettard.

(I think the "dun dun dun" adds a nice dash of scary, don't you?).

According to my sources (the ever reliable Wikipedia),  Le Père Fouettard was a guy who kidnapped three little boys, robbed them, killed them, and then chopped them up and put them in a stew.

Holy Reindeer Droppings! How the Fudge does this guy end up having anything to do with Sugar Plums and Mistletoe? Apparently, Jolly Ol' St. Nick some how discovered the crime (maybe when Le Père Fouettard's name was flashing in red lights all over the naughty list) and magically resurrected the children (nice tie in to J.C. there with the resurrection - it is his birthday after all). Le Père Fouettard ends up feeling bad and becomes St. Nick's partner and goes around with him on Christmas.

But get this, Le Père Fouettard doesn't become all full of holiday cheer like Ebeneezer Scrooge did, he's still sinister, so instead of handing out pressies, he punishes all the naughty children instead. Usually with a good old fashioned flogging.

Nothing says Christmas like a flogging.

Safe to say, I'm usually a well behaved girl, but after reading about you know who (don't want to type his name again in case it has some sort of Beetlejuice effect) I'm going to be on my best behavior this holiday season.

Don't want you know who coming to town.


Monday, December 17, 2012

simply too good to give it a name

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for me in the Expat Blog Awards. Thanks to you, Sara in Le Petit Village was awarded with the Bronze! 
And thank you for reading and commenting. Each and everyone of you make me very happy indeed.(For a complete list of the winners, click here. They are all very talented bloggers and most definitely worth the read.) 

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, what a perfect weekend that was.

(I hope yours was good too because mine was almost as perfect as perfect can be.)

The perfect goodness started on Friday night when my mom made the most delicious salmon swimming in a creamy wine sauce that was pure heaven (having your mom cook for you is always such a treat), followed by the season finale of Downton (I'd seen it, my mom had seen it, but The Husband hadn't seen it and am I really going to complain about watching that cutie Branson twice? No, the answer is no). And then after a night of sweet full belly dreams of English Manors, we woke up and hit the road to Toulon.

We arrived a little after lunchtime, and with the whole day stretching before us, our only plan was for a little R&R... Rugby and Raclette.

The rugby kicked off with Toulouse vs. Ospreys (that to be honest, we didn't pay much attention to, sorry Toulouse and Ospreys), warming us up for the match of the day... Clermont vs. Leinster... The Husband's home team vs. mine. This match is always a big deal in our house but does tend to turn me into a bit of a schizo. Leinster is my team, the first team that I followed, so without question, they're my boys. But as much as I fell in love with The Husband, I fell in love with ASM Clermont too... RoRo, Morgan, Cudmore, and Pierre all have a teeny piece of my heart so watching my old boys play against my new boys tears me up something fierce.

Well my new boys beat my old boys but that's OK,  since last year my old boys won the Heineken Cup (and kicked my new boys out during the semi-finals), so this year it's my new boys' turn.

Rugby over, it was time for the next perfect part of the day... Le Raclette. I was so excited, not only had my mother never had it, but Mr &Mrs London hadn't either, and they were full of questions about how they should do it. Well that's the marvelous thing about Raclette, there is no wrong way to do it. All that matters is you get that cheesy melted goodness on your plate and you're good to go. Bon Appétit!

The perfect day of R&R was finished off with a round of Phase 10 (I lost) and then some Scatagories (I won).


The sun was shining and shimmering off the sea as we walked along the port of Toulon Sunday afternoon. Mr. London had already gone to the stadium to prepare for his match against Sale Sharks, while we passed the time with a long lunch. We didn't have a reservation but somehow still ended up with the most perfect banquette in the packed restaurant,  a nice big comfy round one. We settled in with our Rosé and got started on lunch and Mrs. London caught us up on the gossip...

One tidbit was the best, most salacious piece of gossip I've heard in ages. And as you know, The Husband loves a bit of scandal. I actually thought his head was going to burst right open he was smiling so wide as he leaned in to Mrs. London soaking up each and every word she uttered. It was that scandalous. (Unfortunately passing on this juicy piece of information wouldn't be very ladylike of me, so my lips are sealed... but just trust me.... it was royally good. Did you catch that hint?).

And after the perfect lunch of moules marinière avec des frites, blinis au saumon fumé, salade césar au poulet, crème brûlée, café gourmand et Rosé (beaucoup) we walked across to Stade Mayol to watch Mr. London do his thing, and boy did he.

Toulon: 62
Sale: 0


Not only was it perfect because one of Toulon's nine tries belonged to Mr. London (my mother did tell him that morning that he would score one by the way), but he was named Man of the Match to boot.  How's that for perfect?

C'est parfait!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

wrap it all up with a bow

++ Nicola from Growing Berries sent me this pillow. Isn't it the cutest thing? The LPV has been immortalized in the coziest way. I love my Le Petit Village pillow!

++ My mother arrived safe and sound yesterday. I was too lazy to cook (plus I figured that after a flight from Texas to Chicago to Paris and the the TGV to Aix and the car ride to Le Petit Village, she'd be too tired to care) and since Thursday night is Pizza Night in The LPV, pizza it was! Total daughter fail I know, but I am planning on making up my laziness to her... with cheese.

++ On Saturday night we're having a Raclette (tis the season you know). We're going to Toulon to watch Mr. London play on Sunday, so we all thought, why not go on Saturday night and hang out? (Actually, this was totally Mr. London and The Husband's idea, and in the interest of full disclosure, Mr. London really wanted us to come down today, but c'mon, I've got stuff to do for heavens sake). Not only will this be my mother's first Raclette, but it's Mr. & Mrs. London's as well. I'm super duper excited. I love spreading the joy of cheese. I'm like the Ambassador of Cheese.

++ When The Husband and I first met, it was the beginning of the holiday season (28th November to be exact) and before going on dates, we would meet up in front of the large Christmas tree on O'Connell Street in Dublin and then stroll hand in hand under all the festive lights that were strung about the city. Because of this memory, Christmas lights make me feel all warm and fuzzy. Just felt like sharing I guess.

++ Remember how The Husband had never seen Harry Potter until a couple of months ago? Well the other night, we watched the second one, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ('Harry Potter et la Chambre des Secrets'... that's not too strange at all). I'm pretty sure we'll be watching all of them over the holidays. Fine by me. Harry Potter is one of those things that feels Christmassy.

++ I can't stop listening to French pop songs from the 60's (like that Zou Bisou Bisou song that Megan sang on Mad Men) specifically Laisse Tomber Les Filles. I'm driving The Husband batty.

++ So now that we've passed 12/12/12, let me ask you a question, do you think the world is going to end on 21/12/12? Do you think anything will happen at all or do you think it will just be a day, like any other? (And yes, I wrote 21/12 and not 12/21 because I'm European like that.)

++ And one more thing... The 2012 Expats Blog Award will be announced tomorrow. With so many amazing expat in France bloggers out there, I barely stand a chance, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway, and maybe if I'm lucky, can end up in the top ten. If you would be so kind as to leave a little comment love (comments = votes), I would be ever so delighted. (To leave a comment you can either click here or on that blue button).
Moving to France
S'il vous plaît et merci.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Papa's Provençal Crèche

Big stuff is happening around here people, big stuff! My mother is arriving in Le Petit Village for the holidays tomorrow. T O M O R R O W !

Fifty and I have turned into headless chickens as we run around trying to get the house in order (the house is never quite clean enough for a visit from your mother).

So because I'm busy little bee, instead of my usual waffling on about Gatz, or hunting or whatever else is irritating me around here, today I thought I'd show you some festive photos of a traditional Provençal crèche and let that be that.

This one belongs to Papa's Wife and is full of Santons (Santons are the 'little saints' that decorate a creche. They are a speciality of Provence. The first ones were created in Marseilles during the French Revolution. History lesson... BOOM!)

Since no Nativity scene would be complete without the little guy, here he is... the baby Jesus... with an angel flying above, his mom and dad, a little drummer boy, a couple more angels, a donkey, a cat, and I think some guy playing a violin (???). I'm not sure, there's a whole lot going on there.

To the left is a moulin (perhaps used to produce wheat flour) with a few little bakers who are off to sell or make their bread (I'm not sure what they're doing). The rocks there in front of the bakers, are part of the rock wall that Papa works on every year (and if you remember from a couple of years ago doesn't let any of us touch).

Here's another wall that Papa built. I think this one is supposed to be a bergerie (shepherds hut) since I'm pretty sure that the guy with the lamb on his shoulders is a shepherd, plus because of all the other sheep hanging about. And I think that might be a goat with the horns next to the lady.

And not only did Papa build a shepherd's hut, but he made a river so that the little fisherman, has something to do, and the ducks have someplace to swim...

Next up is the Santon that I'm pretty sure is Papa's favorite...

Yes, no crèche is complete, without a wee hunter. Obviously.
And if you're wondering what the hunter is shooting at, well here they are...

Wild boars being chase by a hunting dog... in a crèche. 



Monday, December 10, 2012

Mon Petit Sapin de Noël

This is my fourth Christmas as a Le Petit Villager. The fourth! Me, I can hardly believe it.

But even though it's the fourth, it's the first one that we're staying put, and since we're finally staying put for the holiday, we finally got a tree.

(My first year here we got Fifty instead of a tree and went to French Mommy's in Auvergne, then the next year we went to Dublin, and last year we were back at French Mommy's... again, no tree)

Since I have been beyond excited for my first Sapin de Noël, I have wanted to spread the Christmas joy. I want everyone to be swept away with the spirit of sparkly lights and shiny ornaments. And since everyone includes my husband's husband, I had The Husband call Gatz to ask him if he would like to come over and help us decorate it;

The Husband: Come over on Saturday, we're getting the Christmas tree and you can decorate it with us, it will be nice. 

Gatz: But Toulon is playing on Saturday, we need to watch that.

The Husband: Oh you're right. Well come over and watch the match and then we'll decorate the tree. 

Gatz: I don't know. Maybe.

Then a couple days later Gatz called The Husband;

Gatz: I'm making a Tartiflette for Saturday and we can have it after the match. 

The Husband: So you're bringing the Tartiflette to my house? 

Gatz: No, we're having it at my house after we watch the rugby.

The Husband: But I told you that me and Skippy are decorating the tree. Come over and bring the Tartiflette if you want to make one. 

Gatz: {incomprehensible moaning and complaining}

On Friday, The Husband's phone rang;

Gatz: So I'm getting ready to make the Tartiflette for tomorrow. What time are you coming over?

The Husband: There is something wrong in your head. We aren't coming over. We want to decorate the Christmas tree tomorrow night. Are you coming over to watch the match or not?

Gatz: {incomprehensible moaning} Tartiflette {incomprehensible moaning} my house {incomprehensible moaning} Tartiflette. 

On Saturday morning the time had finally come. We were on our way to pick out our very first tree as a couple (a couple's very first tree is a big, big deal people, especially when that couple has already been married for two years). And because we wanted to make sure we got the most perfect tree, we drove all the way to Carpentras, to Honey B's wife's jardinerie (you know Honey B, he's Honey Jr's big brother... you went to his wedding and his 30th birthday party).

And on the way, The Husband's phone rang;

Gatz: I made the Tartiflette last night. 

The Husband: OK, then bring it to my house, we'll watch the match, decorate the tree, and eat the Tartiflette. 

Gatz: But it's too big to bring over, plus the roads are bad.

The Husband: The roads aren't that bad, I'm almost to Carpentras and they've been fine

Gatz: Still, I made the Tartiflette so you guys need to come over to my house if you want it.

The Husband: We're not coming over.

Gatz: But then I'm going to be at home all by myself.

The Husband: You don't have to be, you can come over to our house, and if the roads are bad, you can spend the night.

Gatz: {incomprehensible moaning} Tartiflette {incomprehensible moaning} my house {incomprehensible moaning} Tartiflette. 

Immediately after arriving at le jardinerie, we spotted our tree. It's vertically challenged, but perfect (since Fifty is scared of really tall people, I thought a really tall tree might not be the best idea). 

And then later that afternoon, we watched the rugby and after Mr. London and Toulon won, we turned on the Christmas music and decorated our first tree. 

As for Gatz and his Tartiflette, he ate it at home alone and has been pouting ever since. He'll be pouting all week, but I don't care, because I have the prettiest little tree in The LPV.

It smells like Christmas. 

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