Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"we've got a blogger down, I repeat, a blogger is down"

What I feared would happen, has happened. My wonderful Florence Nightingale performance with The Husband has left me with la grippe. But, France is in the middle of a flu epidemic after all, so maybe I was bound to get it.

So here I am, in bed, with a cup of tea (which of course I had to make myself... grumble grumble, growl growl, **insert other unhappy noises**), propped up on pillows with a head that feels like it's both floating and going to explode.

Can you tell I'm cranky?

I'm cranky.

On the bright side... Honey's Honey will be walking Fifty today. Yesterday I walked Fifty in my pyjamas (in France! Shock. Horror. Right?), because I only had the energy to either A. get dressed or B. walk the dog, not A + B, and since Fifty had to go pee pee, pyjama dog walking it was. I'm sure I'm the scandal of the village.

But that's nothing new really.

sicky icky bisou

P.S. QUICK! What's your favorite TV show? I'm looking to ease my insufferable lonely and sick boredom. 

P.P.S. As soon as I ditch the French germ factory that has taken up residence inside my body, I will be back to tell you all about Honey B's surprise party, and my trip to Aix last weekend. I'll miss you guys. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm loving...

++ that somehow, despite inheriting my mother's black thumb, I've managed to keep this orchid that The Husband bought me alive and thriving.

++ that it's finally warm enough to keep the windows open again. Oh hello fresh air and sunshine, It's so nice to welcome you into my home  (and just in the nick of time too... Fifty is not the best smelling pooch. It's not his fault though... you can take the dog out of the trash but apparently, you can't take the trash out of the dog).

++ this sandwich that I made, and then made again. I could probably eat it everyday.

++ going to what was most likely my last Raclette of the season (guess what kids, you can in fact eat too much cheese). See you next winter Raclette. I may miss you, but my thighs won't.

++ my kindle and the book I'm reading on it (you know what I really love the most about the kindle, your arms don't get tired holding it).

++ that my friend Aidan hit 100+ followers... who wants to make it 100++ ?

++ the box of Barry's tea that my cousin sent me. She also sent me a Galaxy bar and some Munchies but both were consumed within five minutes of arrival. It's true. And I may or may not have made a pig out of myself because I didn't want to share with The Husband (I never said I was a good wife - or good at sharing for that matter. In fact, let it be known... Sara Louise doesn't share food).

++ watching Ryan Atwood be a cop in Southland. Never has the uniform looked so adorable (although I do miss the wifebeater and the hoodie).

++ that Child Bride turned 20 this week and I no longer have a teenage sister-in-law (on my birthday she told me not to sweat getting older, because age is merely a number, you are only as old as you feel... why thank you teenage Yoda).

++ that I'm headed to Aix-en-Provence for 24 hours to hang with this lady, and this one, and we're letting this one come along too (and that The Husband has made enough of a recovery so that I can leave Fifty to take care of him).

++ knowing that change is looming. Change is a good thing people and it must be embraced and taken for a ride.

So what are you loving?


Thursday, February 23, 2012

And Starring as Florence Nightingale

{before sunrise}

I'm pretty much in a state of suspended animation over here. See, that's what happens when The Husband gets sick. All else stops. I wanted to write all about Honey B's big birthday surprise last weekend, but no, I can't. I can't think about anything other than The Husband and his flu.

It's started with some sniffles late last week, a bit of a head cold, and of course he ignored it (I'm pretty sure because he didn't want to miss Honey B's party) but then when he came home from work Monday he wasn't well at all, and by the time he came home Tuesday night, he was down right icky. And then when he kept me up all through the night with his coughing, wheezing and moaning, I put my foot down and decreed that he would be staying in bed for the day, and only leaving it to go to the doctor (sometimes, one has to put the foot down and issue a decree).

So he went to the doctor and sure enough, he's icky with la grippe and is to stay home from work until Monday.


Oh me oh my, that's a lot of time to be taking care of The Husband.

This was yesterday...

Every few minutes a sad face would look up at me and say, "I die soon".

And I'd smile at him and pat his head.

Then he'd look at Fifty, "I die soon".

Fifty would look up for a second before resuming play with his green ball.

Then he'd call my mother in Texas, "I die soon. Can you come? Can you come here?"

(No, my mother cannot fly to France from Texas because you have the flu.)

And of course there was this; "Skippy! I need juice Skippy"and "Skippy! Where do you go Skippy?"

"uh, to check the mail, is that OK?"

"Yes. I die soon".


Some I'm asking you, in hopes of preserving my sanity... 
when you have the flu, what makes you feel better? 


Monday, February 20, 2012

France vs. U.S.A.

Since I've run down all the ways I think the U. S. of A. kicks the croissants out of France, it's only fair that we turn the tables with my list of Ten Things I Like Better About France. Let's do this.

{a smidgen of the selection}

1. Wine (you aren't really surprised by this one are you?). The wine selection at the grocery store is greater than the selections of juice, soda, cereal... anything really (well maybe except for cheese). There are so many types to explore beyond Bordeaux, Merlot, and Sancerre and I'm definitely up to the challenge. When I'm back in the States, shopping for wine makes me want to cry. Now that I'm used to proper wine labels, as in labels that just state the name of the maker, like Château Blah-Blah, the type of grape, and where it's from, when I'm looking at wine in Texas I'm totally confused... Dashing Horse, Leaping Frog, and all the other critter labels.  They're cute and all, but how am I supposed to know what that tastes like???

2. C H E E S E (I don't think I need to say anything else about this one).

3. Sticking with cheese... whole parties devoted to cheese, i.e.; raclette and fondues. From now on to me, winter will forever be associated with melted cheese and that's awesome.

4. The pizza van. And I'm sure you're all like, "yeah we have food trucks too" and I know they are super trendy right now and everywhere peddling their yummy mobile goodness, but they aren't exactly trolling around rural areas now are they. But here, every village has a pizza night where a van provides delicious sustenance cooked by someone else and that's a big treat when you don't have fast food on every corner. And here's the thing that many of you may not know... pizza maybe Italian but is also somewhat of a speciality down here in the south of France (Marseille has a large Italian community, even The Husband's grandmother was from Italy) and it's so delicious that the reigning World Pizza Champion is French, has a pizzeria in Salon-de-Provence, and I have a date to eat there in a few weeks with La Professeur. Lucky me.

5. The weekly markets. Love them. Sure they aren't too much fun during the height of tourist season but hey, everyone should get to experience the wonder that is the Provencal market. Depending on the size of the market, you can buy anything from, cheese, saussion sec, tapenades, linens, rotisserie chickens, home wares, pottery, and the cute baskets to carry all your market finds in (I've had two of these cute baskets, Fifty has eaten both).

6. Only in rural Provence would you come across this...

{sun block}

7. Saying bonjour to everyone is a rule. You walk into a store or bank, and you say bonjour, it's considered rude if you don't. It's just plain polite and I like it. And of course there's, La Bise (the kissing). I love la bise, even though it confuses the bejeezus out of me. In Le Petit Village, we give two kisses, but in Avignon, only a little over an hour away, they give three. Where's the border? Is there like some kissing line we drive over (someone really should draw a map). And check this out, Saturday night we had a dinner at a friend's house and the friend and I exchanged two kisses, but then when I saw him the next day, at a party outside of Avignon, he gave me three! How am I supposed to know what the what is?  I think from now on I'm just going to outdo everyone and give four.

8. The ritual of the meal here, especially lunch (Aidan just wrote this post about the tradition of lunch in France). It's a big deal and not to be rushed. It's nice, drawn out and very relaxing, and it always begins with an apéro. Which brings us to...

9. L'apéro. L'apéro is designed to whet the appetite and you always have one before beginning a meal with friends whether at a restaurant or in a home. It's a drink such as Martini Blanc, Martini Rouge, a Kir Royale, a glass of Champagne, or a Pastis (or really any ol' thing you'd like to imbibe) as well as a snack like olives or nuts. There's something about it that feels old fashioned and decadent and it's probably one of my favorite things about life here.

10. And the thing I like the most about most France... it made this guy.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

U.S.A. vs. France

When I saw Megan at Suitcase and Stilettos post a list of things she prefers about life in the U.S. compared to Norway, I thought, huh, that's a good idea, and then when my friend Rachel at Rachel's Rantings in Rio de Janeiro, also did it, I was like, well if the other expats are doing it...
(so yeah, I guess if they jumped off a bridge I might too because I'm totally being a follower).

So without further ado, I give you Ten Things I Like Better About the U.S.A. (and don't worry you Francophiles... I'll do a list where France kicks the US's butt too).

1. Tex-Mex (duh). I'm pretty sure that this would be on most expat's lists (if they like Mexican food anyway) but if you're from like, Texas, or California or something... it's way worse. Sometimes I think my stomach and taste buds feel heartbroken. It's a sad feeling (this was also number 1 on Megan's and Rachel's lists as well, because yeah, that's how much we miss it).

2. Drive through banks, drive through pharmacies, drive through everything. It's not lazy kids, it's convenient.

3. Customer service. Not to generalize an entire population of people that work in the 'customer service' industry, but for the must part, what you have heard about France is true. Come to think of it, they really shouldn't even call it the customer service department over here, it should be called like the, 'I really don't give a cr*p about you and this is a colossal waste of your time' department.

4. Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Walmart, and Target. I spend a lot of my vacation time back in the States here. We're buddies.

5. American grocery stores. It should be noted that France does indeed also have some large grocery stores but it's just not the same... no place like home, you know?

6. Sticking to the shopping theme... stores that are open at insane hours. I'm an early bird, and I like getting stuff done early, so being able to go to Walmart at like 6:30am is hella convenient. Plus, do you have any idea how cool it is to basically have an entire Super Walmart to yourself? Well it's really cool. Kind of like that movie with Jennifer Connelly in it that nobody saw but me.

7. Big fat movie theatres. Last time I was back home in Texas, I got to visit this new monstrosity down the road from my Mom's house. Sure it's a blight on the landscape, but it does make for some super duper luxurious film viewing.

8. Extra large fountain drinks. I love pulling up to a gas station in Texas and running in for a H U G E  root beer or Dr Pepper with loads of crushed ice (I'm all about the crushed ice). And since I'm talking about extra large drinks, I just want to give a shout out to Sonic's 44oz Cherry Limeade... miss ya Boo.

9. American television. Sure I watch television in French, but it's kind of sucky. And it's not the French part, I don't have a problem with the French part, that helps me learn the language, I like the French part. I'm talking about the actual programming. Put it this way, since moving to France, I now watch Walker Texas Ranger and One Tree Hill (or Les Frères Scott as it is called) two shows that I NEVER would have watched back in the States, or even in Dublin for that matter. And don't even get me started on those Spectaculars (Spectacles) that are on some Saturday nights and holidays. They're spectacular alright... spectacularly sucky.

10. Bacon. Bacon. Bacon. And not that weird baconaisse or bacon milkshakes or any of that malarkey, just good old fashioned bacon. I can find something similar to bacon here, it's similar enough to make a BLT, but it's not full on bacon. It's like bacon light or something. It's not the same, it's just not the same (as a tear slowly trickles down my cheek...)


Monday, February 13, 2012

Oh, is it Valentine's Day?

I'm a little grouchy. Today is not Valentine's Day in my house. The Husband is working late tonight so we've postponed Valentine's Day to Friday, which I actually like, because Friday beats the crumpets out of Tuesday hands down, but still, it's all a little blah over here.

And, I wanted to write a post today, but felt like since it actually is Valentine's Day, even if not in my house, if I didn't post about Valentine's Day, the blogger police would come for me. And how could I write about Valentine's Day when it's very un-Valentine like over here?

So... what I'm going to do, is leave Le Petit Village behind, and take a trip to Hollywood to list some of my favorite couples who I'm sure if they really existed, would know how to do Valentine's Day... and wouldn't be lame like me and postpone it just because someone is working late #ImSoLame.

I'll start with these two, Robin Hood and Marian, my first favorite movie couple. I always did think that the fox made a much cuter Robin Hood than Kevin Costner any ol' day of the week.  

And for no other reason than I'm a Hobbit nerd, I give you Aragorn and Arwen. When they first met, he was twenty and she was over 2700, making Arwen the ultimate cougar. 
(now don't you go getting any ideas Madonna!)

My favorite spies...
Vaughn: How do you wanna play this? 
Sydney: You wanna be rough, or you want me to be rough? 
Vaughn: You're always rough. 
Sydney: No, I'm not. 
Vaughn: Yes, you are. 
Sydney: That's not true! 
Vaughn: Yes, it is. 
Sydney: Are you talking about at home, or on Ops? 
Vaughn: Both. Hey, I'm not complaining! 
Sydney: If I'm rough, it's because you like me to...  
Sydney: Are we on coms? 
Agent Jack Bristow: Yes, you're both on coms right now. 

* A W K W A R D *

Now, I realize that Diane is missing from this photo, but do we really want to see a photo of Diane and Llyod, or a photo of Llyod and the boom box? 

And finally, Noah and Allie,  because obviously.
"If you're a bird, I'm a bird"

And a little note about The Notebook... when Disco Gayle was visiting, I found out that she had never seen The Notebook (what?!), so naturally I put it on. When the movie was over, she turned to me, tears streaming down her face and said, "Why did you make me watch this?", followed by an insane amount of blubbering. I told her that it was OK, The Husband's reaction when he saw it for the first time, was pretty much the same.

heureuse Saint-Valentin!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

the debacle

Here's the thing... I like to stretch out my birthday for as long as possible (you're totally surprised by this, aren't you?), and this year, the bajiggityness of living in Le Petit Village made this very easy for me.

You know how my actual birthday was last Saturday? Well my original celebration plans went like this... Friday night romantic dinner à deux with The Husband, then watch Six Nations rugby on Saturday, followed by tapas at the wine bar with the whole Le Petit Village crew (Honey Jr., Honey's Honey, Child Bride... you know the crew).

The Perfect birthday plan.

Until we found out that; 1) Honey Jr and Honey's Honey were going to the theatre in Avignon on the Saturday (and on my birthday, the cheek of them!). 2) Apparently the wine bar is closed for winter. 3) One off the two restaurants remotely near us is currently closed because the couple that run it had a baby a few weeks ago (Did the baby not know that it was my birthday? So rude) and 4) the other restaurant is only open on Saturday nights at the moment because it's been cold (Seriously, that's the reason).

New perfect birthday plan... Six Nations rugby in the afternoon, followed by dinner à deux with The Husband at the one and only restaurant remotely near us, on the one day of the week that it is opened, and then a week later, return to the same restaurant with the whole Le Petit Village crew so everyone can partake in the joy that is my birthday.

Perfect, until I remembered that Ireland was playing against France that very night at 9pm and there was no way José that I'd miss it.

But then The Husband, in the most excellent demonstration of husbandy love did something magnificent... he called the one and only restaurant remotely near us that is open (on Saturdays) and asked if there was anyway on that very night that we would be dining there to celebrate my birthday, if they would be so kind as to put the match on the television for us, so I wouldn't miss it. And the sweet lady said she would, since it was my birthday and all.

And I was happy. I was so very happy.

Then The Husband, in another magnificent demonstration of husbandy love, surprised me with a birthday cake after dinner! The whole Le Petit Village crew sang happy birthday to me, in English, badly, but I didn't care because I was oh so happy. Delicious food and wine, great friends, bad singing, followed by Ireland vs. France rugby. Perfect.

But then, two minutes after the scheduled kickoff time, the match was cancelled, because it's so cold.

Seriously. Cancelled.


{Do they not read my blog? 
If they read my blog, they would know that it's been cold}


Friday, February 10, 2012

Merci RoRo

Not only is February my most wonderful time of the year, what with my birthday and Valentines day and all, but it is also when The Six Nations kicks off. And, it always begins on my birthday weekend (and fyi... the Superbowl is always that weekend too... it's very sporty my birthday).

This year it started on my actual birthday, so that was pretty cool. And in a full on case of bizarreness... not only did it start on my birthday, but it finishes on my wedding anniversary. Is that kooky or what? Clearly, this year's tournament is all being put on for my own personal amusement.

Thanks guys.

But because I've been wrapped up in freezing cold temperatures and freezing pipes, I completely forgot to tell you all about how France beat Italy for my birthday. It was a sweet present and much appreciated. This guy scored the first try...

Allow me to introduce you to The Husband's favorite, Aurélien Rougerie, aka RoRo. Now as much as I think RoRo is a cute nickname, can we take a moment to appreciate the greatness of the name Aurélien... it's very Lord of the Rings-esque isn't it? Not that I'm a Hobbit nerd or anything, but that one is definitely going on the future baby name list (OK, maybe I am a bit of a Hobbit nerd).

And let me apologize in advance, because my posts for the next six weeks will be peppered with tidbits of rugby here and there. So when I'm droning on and on about it... just try to remember that I'm talking about these guys...

you're welcome.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

le mistral... prepare to meet your match

Don't be fooled by this beautiful winter wonderland... it comes with a price... an icy, biting price. Yesterday morning I awoke  to -17 ºC.

Think about that for a second... -17 ºC (that's 1ºF in American), there is no proper way to explain -17 ºC other than to say, it's freaking freezing. 17 below freezing to be exact.

While Le Petit Village is already high up there, as we sit perched atop the Luberon, my house sits on one of the highest points in the village. It's a mistral sweet spot. It's no accident that I'm surrounded by the ruins of old windmills... it's been windy here forever.

The Mistral blows from the north, and guess which way my house faces? Yep, north. So basically, the front of my house, and the pipes, are directly in it's ferocious, icy, biting wake.

And while I have been super diligent in leaving the tap dripping through the night, I made the stupidest mistake ever and turned the tap off yesterday morning (obviously by accident). And sometime, between 6:30am and 7:30am, the pipes froze. One hour was all it took. So outside into that harsh winter wonderland (wonderland shmonderland) I had to go, all bundled up with my trusty hairdryer in hand and went to work. It took me three separate battles to finally get the pipes defrosted. Because twenty minutes crouched outside as the freezing mistral spat at me, was all I could take at a time. But I persevered and emerged victorious.

Freezing Mistral- 0
Sara Louise - 1


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

the birthday lowdown

After the whole frozen pipes debacle, I unwrapped my presents.. a Kindle from The Husband and Fifty, and from my mother; The Complete Works of Jane Austen in hardcover. There's something funny about receiving a kindle and a book that weighs five pounds on the same day. Alas, I love them both as well as the other present my mother sent...

That's right. Now I have my very own Mr.Darcy to swoon over (and not that poor man's Mr. Darcy in the Keira Knightley version, the real Mr. Darcy as he should be, as in Mr. Firth). This is the gift that keeps on giving because I get to make The Husband watch it while I shout, "Oh Mr. Darcy!" in a hoity toity accent. Fun.

We went out to dinner just the two of us and as I was getting ready, I had a truly horrible realization... The Husband and I hadn't been out to dinner alone since we were in Texas at the end of summer. Poppycock you say! But you know, January is January. December is Christmas and preparing for Christmas. In November we went out in Avignon with friends, and out to dinner in Dublin with Friends. Disco Gayle was here for a month between September and October, so no date night time there, and there you go, Texas in August.

The saddest thing... we can't even count our last dinner in Dallas at The Landmark because the manager of the hotel, who had some sort of man crush on The Husband, crashed it (oh, have I never told you about him - it was a wee strange, but he was very sweet, hung out with us the ENTIRE night, which meant we drank for free, but it also meant that we were not alone. Romantic it wasn't).

And there you have it, our last 'date night' turned out to be at Chilis in Texas. That's gross. If I had known that my hankering for southwestern egg rolls would turn into my last dinner out with The Husband for five months, I would have picked another restaurant.

So I was so excited about our little dinner date that I had not one, but two Kir Royales before dinner, which I think was totally allowed considering... as well as that oh so delicious bottle of Vacqueyras, and the génépi digestif.

Dinner was so wonderful that I didn't even care when I came home to find the pipes had frozen again.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

it's the most wonderful day of the year

Do you know what day it is? I'll give you a hint... it's the most wonderful day of the year... you may also know it as International Day of Awesomeness. Yes, it's my birthday (see, I told you it was the most wonderful day of the year - and I may be feeling a tad delusional this morning but just go with it please)

Here it's is, a little after 6:30am on my birthday morning (one should not waste a minute of the most wonderful day of the year you know), watching The Inbetweeners because Le Mistral is blowing about the satellite thingy something fierce again, and a dvd was really the only way to go (if you haven't see the Inbetweeners, do yourself a favor and check it out - it's seriously funny), and waiting for The Husband to defrost the pipes with my hairdryer. Because, the freezing cold mistral has blown the pipes frozen. But it's OK, the most wonderful day of the year usually happens to fall on the coldest day of the year as well, and I'm used to it. I have spent some birthdays in NYC where I actually thought my face would freeze right off.

But today being classified as the most wonderful day of the year is really contingent on whether or not those pipes get unfrozen. And that's all I have to say about that.

oh, and thanks mom.

you know for the whole labor and birth and stuff.

way to go.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

let there be snow

After a winter that never really felt like winter, (as in we had a flittering of snowfall last month and other than late, crisp autumn like weather, which does not a winter make) the snow finally arrived and in the most surprising fashion... as in I had no idea it was coming.

We woke up Tuesday to a snow blanketed Le Petit Village and the flurries kept on coming, so there was really only one thing to do, grab Fifty, Honey Jr, and Honey's Honey and head outside.

{Look Mom - I'm 4Wheelin!}


{my turn!}


{happy puppy}

{sled time is cuddle time}

 Fifty told me later that it was his best day ever.


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