Saturday, March 31, 2012

hotel toulon

I'm a lucky girl. Not only do I get to live in The LPV (I love calling Le Petit Village The LPV, makes me feel like a gangsta), one of the most beautiful places on the planet, get to drink delicious wines as cheap as soda, and sample all the cheese I can stand, but now, as if life couldn't get any sweeter, one of my cousins has moved to Toulon, only two hours south of here. How freaking lucky is that? It's lucky.

So last Saturday, The Husband and I made a trip down Toulon way to say hi. It was going to be an extra special day because besides getting to hang out with my cousin (who for the purposes of this blog I have christened, Mrs. London), one of my favorite uncles was visiting as well. Except Mrs. London and I decided that we would surprise him and not tell him I was coming. Fun.

The surprise worked a little too well because when I walked into the house, my Uncle gave me a look like he kind of knew who I was, but wasn't 100% sure, stood up, and introduced himself to me. But in fairness, he is 79, wasn't wearing his glasses, and I'm sure wasn't expecting one of his nieces to just happen to be in Toulon. So there you go.

I could have happily sat in Mrs. London's living room all day, chatting and catching up, but we had lunch reservations to get to. Unfortunately, Mrs. London's Westie puppy, Napoleon, was none too pleased that he wasn't invited and refused to stay on the inside of the gate and be left behind.
It took one Irishman, one Englishman, and one Frenchman to hold back Napoleon, but eventually, he was captured and locked inside, exiled, to his own little Saint Helena.

Since Mrs. London's husband, Mr. London, was working, he wasn't able to join us for lunch, so we thought it would be nice to visit him at his office afterwords and say hi...
And that should have been it. See Mrs. London. Check. Surprise Uncle. Check. Visit Mr. London at work. Check. and go home. Except what Mrs. London and I weren't counting on was Mr. London and The Husband developing a man crush on each other and refusing to say goodbye (they even snuck off to the beach to drink Rosé alone together).
We finally got home on Monday afternoon.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

pink is so not my favorite color

(at least not today anyway)

I'm a moron. And here's why... you know how a few weeks ago I was all icky and what not with la grippe and conjunctivitis? Well, I convinced myself that my beloved mascara would still be ok since I hadn't worn it for a couple of days before the onset of the gooey eye pinkness and of course hadn't worn it during, so naturally it'd be ok. But it's not ok. And now my eyes are once again, not ok. 

moron moron moron

(But give me a break, do you have any idea how far I have to drive to pick up a tube of Yves Saint Laurent mascara? Far. Far is the answer)

So here's the deal, since I'm super duper cranky and totally irritated with myself for being such a moron (I mean really, how dumb am I?!) I'm cheating today and posting something I wrote back in July for my friend Ami over at Fit With Flash. Pretty please forgive me guys (and Aidan, you don't get to say "I told you so", no you don't).   

I never used to be much of a jogger, but since moving to France, my day doesn't kick off right without a jog out of my village. I started jogging for a couple of reasons; 1) I'm currently a housewife and am blessed with time in the morning. Now instead of jogging in heels to catch the bus, I'm jogging in shoes that aren't conducive to twisting my ankle. And 2) because although 'French Women Don't Get Fat' (according to that book) women who move to France do (well I do anyway). I blame it on the baguettes, and croissants, and the cheese, and the wine... that damn delicious, inexpensive wine. So since I'm not willing to sacrifice my baguette, and my croissant, my cheese, and my delicious, inexpensive wine, I jog. Because really, what would be the point of living in France without all of that French goodness?

Every morning (ok, almost every morning) me and my dog head out and catch the rising sun. It's completely quiet; just me and my dog, Fifty. It's my favorite part of the day.

This is what we see as we bounce along...

Which, I have to admit, makes me love jogging in my little village almost as much as I love all the baguettes, croissants, cheese, and wine.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

bon baisers

Sini from Bon Baisers de France has tagged me with some questions, which is perfect, because after a weekend that should have only consisted of a day trip to Toulon, but turned into 48 hours in Toulon, I'm shattered tired, and answering questions is about all I have in me. 

As directed by 'the rules' I'm to 1) post a photo of myself (Check. Please see above, but FYI, this is last lavender season, this year's hasn't sprouted yet) 2) answer Sini's questions 3) come up with 11 questions to pass on (but I'm going to go with ten because 11 is a weird number and I don't like it).

Here we go. 

1. What makes you happy? Those first few moments after I've cleaned the house when everything is perfect (i.e; before The Husband and Fifty mess it up).
2. Are you worried about getting older? Yes and no. I'm not worried in an aging sense, but I am sort of worried with a running out of time kind of feeling.
3. Where you would like to travel and why? At this very moment, I wouldn't mind a trip to NYC and a stay at the St Regis. I'd like a week to walk around a city, visiting some museums and speaking English.
4. Winter or summer? Summer. Bare legs and sandals with brightly painted toe nails makes me cheery.
5. Your favourite artist/band? Beastie Boys.
6. Sweet or salty? Salty. I'll always take the bag of chips over a chocolate bar.
7. What is your favourite sport activity? Rugby to watch, Pétanque to play (not competitively mind you, in an after Sunday lunch kind of way to play)
8. What do you like about yourself? I like how much more relaxed about things I am as I get older. I think with age you learn how to accept the things that you can't control, take a deep breath, and move on. It's a pretty liberating feeling (however my superficial answer to this question is my tookus. It's pretty fantastic. You can call me J.Lo Jr).
9. What is the most important thing in your life? A sense of security.
10. What languages do you speak? English obviously and Franglais but I'm hoping that Franglais turns to French soon.
11. After a busy day, what is the best way to relax and forget the hectic life? A nice glass of wine, and a good book.

And now some questions for...

Ashley @ Run With Me

1. What is your favorite book?
2. What would you choose for your last meal? 
3. If you could invite three people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be?
4. And what would you cook for them? 
5. What TV show can you absolutely not miss?
6. What is your dream vacation destination? 
7. If you were given a check for $10,000, what would you spend it on (and you can't stick it in savings or pay off debt with it)? 
8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 
9. If you could go back in time and choose a different career (or career path) would you, and what would it be?
10. What's your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

I'm out.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

and so it begins

How do I know that spring has officially sprung?

These pretty little flowers have sprouted,

and the first camping car has been spotted.

Let the 2012 tourist season begin!

(that was said in my Hunger Games voice by the way)


Thursday, March 22, 2012

one year of sweetness

La Petite came into this world at the perfect time for me; she was born the day after my father passed away. Returning to Le Petit Village after my father's funeral to this sweet little bundle definitely helped the healing process and reminded me that life is a circle that keeps on spinning.

Happy birthday baby girl. 
Tata loves you.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Today we're talking about bullying.

(My friends Sarah and Samantha have recently blogged about this also, but I feel that with a topic this important, the more that the word spreads, the better.) 

This is what's happening in a nutshell.... A film that documents the epidemic of bullying in schools has been made, it's called Bully.  Unfortunately, due to language the Motion Picture Association of America has given the film an 'R' rating. That 'R' rating means that children under the age of 17 will not be able to see the film. This also means that Bully will not be able to be shown to students at schools across America where it has the potential to have a large impact in helping students.  

There is currently a petition to give Bully a PG-13 rating, if the MPAA accepts it and changes it's rating, Bully has the potential to do some real good. 

Bullying isn't just about a few bad days at school, it can have a lasting effect on some one's life. If you think of school as preparation for college and future, what happens if a child or teenager doesn't want to go to school, because every day that they go, they are tormented, made fun of, laughed at, and ridiculed. What type of effect is that going to have on their grades? Their chances of getting into college? According to the bully project, three million students are absent from school each month, because they don't want to go to class and face their tormentors. That doesn't bode well for their future does it?

I was bullied for years. Most people don't know this because it's not something I talk about, but I was. In sixth grade I left private school and started at public school and I was bullied, made fun of everyday because I was ugly. I didn't have any friends and everyday I ate lunch with my teacher. Now I loved Mrs. Post, but children should be out playing with other children, not inside eating lunch with their 50 year old teacher (although it could explain why I've always gotten along better with people that are much older than me). 

And then the next year when I moved to Texas, I was bullied some more, but I started to defend myself by adopting a tough New York attitude and was then mostly left alone. It wasn't really until high school when the bullying stopped. And thank heavens, because I honestly don't know if I would have been able to handle it, what would have happened to me, and how very different my life could have turned out.

So please, take a moment and sign the petition


Sunday, March 18, 2012

my green heart

{get off me}

Disclaimer: this is a day late, I should have written this yesterday but I was too busy enjoying the day. Apologies.

On the 17th March, 461, not yet Saint, Patrick died. Five hundred years later, people in Ireland began observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, but more importantly (to me anyway), 1549 years later, The Husband and I got married, in a little chapel in Lenox, Massachusetts (where my great-grandparents had been married like a 100+ years before, but probably not on St Patrick's Day).

So whereas St. Patrick's Day might mean the wearing of the green for others, for me, it's now the day I wear my heart on my sleeve. That said, today is all about The Husband, and what I love oh so much about him (just a few things though, none of us have that kind of time).

+ Sometimes, he decides that a Saturday might be Skippy Day. Which is basically a day where I am to be treated like a princess while The Husband and Fifty wait on me (this never turns out as wonderful as it sounds, but God love him, he tries... you can read about past Princess Skippy Day disasters here and here).

+ I can usually, like 99% of the time, pick out what we watch on TV.

+ Whenever we go out to dinner, and I can't finish my plate, we switch plates and he finishes mine (I don't know why this makes me happy but it does). 

+ He is a super easy going, go with the flow kind of guy (so I'm basically the yin to his yang) and when he hasn't done something that makes me want to rip his head right off, he keeps me pretty chill.

+ He would lasso the moon, wrap it up in a bow, and give it to me if he could.

+ When I discovered that he had never heard of Dr. Seuss (and was horrified) he curled up on the couch while Aidan's daughter read some to him. A D O R A B L E.

+ Back in Dublin, when we had only been together a couple of months, I got sick. Like really sick. The doctors said it was a viral infection and sent me home to my mother's.  I was in bed for days with a high fever not really able to walk around, or eat or anything (it was one of those lose six pounds kind of sicknesses) and everyday, The Husband would come over and sick next to my bed while I slept. And everyday my mother would ask me why he was there. I think that's when she figured out that he was going to be different.

+ He loves what he calls 'the funk' (think Kool & the Gang and Barry White) and will dance around the house and sing badly to it (this is very entertaining for Fifty and me).

+ He loves me and I love him.
It's pretty much a mutual appreciation society over here.


Thursday, March 15, 2012


{my glasses and me in happier times}

It was Saturday morning. I was standing in H&M, shopping with Aidan, when I reached for my glasses, best to put them on in case we got separated in the store (people become furry blurry when they are more than twenty feet away from me), but they weren't in my purse. No biggie, because I remembered that I left them on the breakfast table that morning before we headed out for some girl time at Odysseum (Montpellier's outside shopping mall... I wish Le Petit Village had an outside shopping mall but that would be silly). 

Shopped out and full of sushi we returned to Aidan's and I went straight to the breakfast table to grab my glasses, only they weren't there.

Where oh where could my glasses be?

I tore apart my room (yes, I have a room at Aidan's house) emptied my bag, and purse, over and over, but no glasses.

We scoured the house, the terrace, the trash, but still, no glasses.

Aidan said that she had hoped that Clementine hadn't taken them. I laughed at this. There is no way that a sweet dog like Clementine Mirabel Petals could do such a thing. Right?

{don't let the sweet face fool you}


Of course she did.

We found my glasses in the back garden. The lenses gnawed on, one popped out altogether, and an arm mangled to bits. It was a sad sight.

Obviously Clementine's golden sweetness is hiding a terrible secret. She's a kleptomaniac with a penchant for torture.

RIP Ray Bans


P.S. At least Clementine didn't throw a window through my shower like someone else did.
Yeah Bec, I'm looking at you. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Honey B

{Mrs Honey, Honey B and one extra large birthday candle}

Almost a month ago now, on a Sunday, The Honey's, The Husband, Gatz and me all headed out of Le Petit Village, west towards Avignon and Honey B's surprise birthday party (Honey Jr's older brother... remember him?)

There was lunch for 70 people (that's a whole lot of people to keep a surprise a secret but somehow we did) and after we ate, the boys played Pétanque...

while the girls danced the afternoon away...

because there was a DJ (crazy, right?!)

And from now on, 
Sunday lunch just won't be Sunday lunch 
without a DJ.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

escape to Aix

{happy girl}

Do you see this smiling face?

Aidan is smiling because she managed to escape to Aix-en-Provence sans husband, children, and dog to meet up with the girls (not an easy feat let me tell you), and since it's not often that we get to see each other without husbands, children, and dogs, we decided to celebrate with lunch in the sunshine.


As soon as we finished our lunch we met up with Delana for a stroll around the city. But it was only going to be a quick stroll because Ireland was playing Italy in rugby. Priorities, you know.
(p.s. please remember that I did warn you that there would be rugby talk).

And then Delana took it upon herself to guide us to the pub where they would be showing the match, but she guided us to the wrong pub. Let it be known, that Sara Louise never needs to be guided to the pub. I always know where the pub is. In every city. Anywhere.

So I got us there but we missed the Italian national anthem, which was kind of a bummer, because it's so pretty, and all the Italian rugby players stand there singing with tears in their eyes, and call me a weirdo, but I find it touching. But then Ireland won and that's all that really matters about that.

And then before we knew it, it was l'apéro time (isn't that always the way) so we went back to Delana's to sip wine, nibble on olives and meet up with Kirsty.

Of course we could have sat on Delana's terrace pretending it was apéro all night but we had dinner reservations to get to (good thing too, because we totally would have sat on the terrace pretending it was apéro all night and olives do not a dinner make).

So off to dinner we went for traditional French fare at Chez Grand-Mere.  It was delicious, and lively, and we could have sat there all night (do you notice how if you plop us down somewhere with wine we could stay there forever?) but while the other girls were in for a sleepover at Delana's I was returning to Le Petit Village and had to go. La grippe was coming for me, getting closer and closer, and of course we all know how that turned out
And that's the story of my day in Aix. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

getting to know you

{I saw this little getting to know you piece on Our Transatlantic Love and thought to myself, ooh, what a nice way to ease back into blogging as I ease back into life after la grippe. Indulge me please}

Age: thirty-something.
Bedsize: queen.
Chores that you hate: making the bed (but I hate not having the bed made more, so I suffer through).
Dogs: Fifty (and in case you are new here, no, I do not have 50 dogs, I have one, named Fifty, but he kinda smells like I have 50 dogs).
Essential start to your day: it used to be coffee, coffee, and more coffee, but now that I've been cutting that out of my life, it's hot water & lemon (Isn't that the saddest thing you've ever heard? But, my skin does look all glowy).
Favorite color: apple green .
Gold or Silver:  I love gold but it looks horrendous with my skin tone, but rose gold doesn't, so rose gold.
Height: taller than 5'7'' but not quite 5'8''.
Instruments you play: the radio, but I do regret quitting the piano. I really, really do.
Job title: Well The Husband refers to me as, the chef, but I know that he is actually trying to say, the chief, so I guess that makes me, the boss.
Kids: see Dogs above.
Live: The L.P.V. (insert gang sign here).
Mother's Name: The one we call Eilo (that's not her real name, but it's what I call her).
Nicknames: Skippy.
Overnight hospital stays: yes.
Pet peeves:  Rude people.
Quote from a movie or tv show: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it - Ferris Bueller.
Right or Lefty:  Righty.
Siblings: yes.
Time you wake up: early (have you seen what time my blog posts?)
Underwear: usually, yes. 
Vegetable you hate: cooked carrots. I love them raw but once they are cooked, I'm like, ugh.
What makes you run late: I don't do late.
X-Rays You've Had: too many to count.
Yummy food you make: since everything I make is yummy (tis true), I'll just say what I made last night and be done with it, spinach risotto, and it was scrumptious.
Zoo Animal: giraffes. 

ta da


Saturday, March 3, 2012

waiting for spring

Because I am still icky (like icky icky, red gooey eyes icky) and don't have the energy for much of anything, I'm posting this snippet that I wrote for Misadventures with Andi about this same time last year. And since it's never been posted over here, it's kinda new, and kinda not cheating {originally posted April 3, 2011}.
The dichotomy of my life in Le Petit Village goes like this… you see I love it and hate it, but the things I love, and the things I hate are pretty much one in the same. (Let me preface this by saying that ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are very strong words but they sound better than ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ so I’m going with ‘love’ and ‘hate’). And because I’m thinking in opposite terms of love and hate, I’ll write in opposite terms of summer and winter, but I’m going to start with winter.

During the winter months, Le Petit Village and it’s 250 habitants practically hibernates. Many of the houses here are holiday homes that sit empty, shutters closed to the cold winds and snow, waiting for their Parisian and Belgian owners to come back and fill them. It can lend a bit of a ghost town vibe for the rest of us year-round inhabitants, and in those winter months, we tend to huddle close, so as to make us feel like we are not so alone in this wintry, mountain village.

There is one bar/ cafe/ restaurant here, and on those cold Friday nights, when the roads are too icy to navigate down the mountain, the same group of us descend upon it. It is always; my brother-in-law, his young wife, her parents, my next door neighbor/ husband’s best friend, my husband, father-in-law, a couple of local farmers, and me. We huddle around a kerosene heater set up in the middle of the room, chatting, and laughing, sharing plates of saucisson, homemade pâté, and bowls of olives. It feels much more like someone’s cozy living room than a bar.

Now for a city girl me, at times I’m screaming inside, yearning to put on my heels instead of winter muddy snow covered boots, and have a vodka martini in my hand instead of the hearty Leffe, while sitting back in a plush banquette in some decadent bar and not in this old bar, with chipped paint, mismatched furniture, and the same old handful of people every Friday night. But as much as I may want to be in that city bar, I’ve never felt as at home and comforted by the super luxe ‘it’ bar as I do on those dark winter nights surrounded by French villagers and wrapped in the warmth of the kerosene heater.

Then as the months pass, and the sun begins to rise earlier and earlier and shine warmer and brighter, Le Petit Village slowly awakens. And with the sun comes the tourists.

During those beautiful warmer months, when the lavender blooms, our winter population of 250, increases to 1000. Where normally I would go for long walks with my dog and not see a single soul, our tiny streets are buzzing with chatter and traffic and there are people everywhere. That same cozy winter bar becomes packed and any chance of finding a table or a bar stool is practically non-existent.

I complain about the tourists; how they take all the parking spaces in front of our homes, they peer in our windows, and buy up all the baguettes, but secretly I love them. I love that when they are here Le Petit Village is at it’s best and most welcoming. We have small festivals with bumper cars and fireworks, a circus, and parties, all to say, “Bienvenue! Aren’t we quaint and charming? Please come back soon, we love the company”, and everyday feels like a holiday, a snap shot into a Peter Mayle dream.

But just when I think I’m tired of the incessant early Sunday morning chatter of stranger’s voices outside my windows and fighting for my parking spot and my baguette, they are gone, and the cold and solitude comes back. Along with those wintry, kerosene cozy Friday nights. And we settle in and wait for spring.

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