Friday, June 29, 2012

ninety nine

Coucou mes amies. Things are settling down here a bit and a sense of normalcy feels like it might be around the corner. I'm a bit drained though, but I miss you and I miss being here. Since writing an actual blog post is completely out of the question, I thought I'd answer the ninety nine questions that were floating around the blogosphere awhile back. Seems easy enough for my drained brain.

{Rules: bold what you've done}

1. Started your own blog Really? 
2. Slept under the stars I'm guessing that camping falls under this one, and since I've camped about a whole three times in my life, yes, I've slept under the stars (Me and camping are not friends, if God had wanted us to sleep outdoors, he wouldn't have invented houses)
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii Here's a fun fact: I ate my very first chicken mcnugget ever in Hawaii back in the 80's
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity 
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain Since The LPV is located atop a mountain, I kinda climb one everyday. 
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris But oddly enough, not once since I've lived in France
13. Watched a lightening storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child Does Gatz count? 
16. Had food poisoning I had food poisoning on the first night of my first trip to Paris. There was nothing romantic about it. 
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty I lived in New York yet I don't think I ever did this, I can't remember. Mom, help me out on this one? Update: confirmation from Mother - I have
18. Grown your own vegetables I grew tomatoes for a brief second in Texas. I'd love to grow something now but with Papa's garden and Brother-in-Law's garden, we've already got courgettes, tomatoes and such coming out of our ears. 
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France Here's another fun fact about me: I'm not a fan of the Louvre, now the grounds of the Palace I love, but the museum itself didn't really do it for me. 
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight I have pillow fights with Fifty. I usually win. 
22. Hitch hiked During summers in Wexford, Ireland a long time ago I did. Everybody did. It was the only way to get from the town back to the caravan park.
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill Everyone needs a Ferris Bueller day every once in awhile. Life would be dull without them.  
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping You know what's embarrassing? Going skinny dipping with a bunch of friends but when you all jump in the creek, you find out that it's run pretty dry thanks to a hot Texas summer and the water only comes up to your knees and you all stand there awkwardly for a second before racing back to your clothes. 
 27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse I feel like a might have when I was little. Mom, can I get a ruling? Update: confirmation from Mother - I have
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset 
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise I'm a cruise girl. Love a cruise. 
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community And I've seen the movie, Witness, so I feel like I get two points for this one. 
36. Taught yourself a new language every. freaking. day.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke I hate karaoke, like loathe it, but I have done it once, and that was enough
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing Does it count if I was on the boat while others around me did the deep sea fishing? I was there, I just didn't hold the pole. 
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person I wrote a little bit about it here.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain Probably, because it's like always raining in Dublin so kissing someone in the rain is bound to happen at some point. But, if we're talking about Nicolas Sparks style kissing in the rain, then the answer is no. That's just dumb. 
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason The Husband picks me flowers almost everyday, but he always tells me that Fifty does it. I don't really believe him, due to Fifty's lack of thumbs and all. 
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt I never have but I'd like to learn. You know who can piece the hell out of a quilt? Kirsty
73. Stood in Times Square And I did a New Year's Eve there too. That should be on everyone's bucket list. 
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone knock on wood. 
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year's Eve 
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox 
89. Saved someone's life Does Fifty count? 
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone When were these questions put together???
99. Been stung by a bee And I didn't like it. Not one bit. 

The Husband and I are headed out of town this weekend. 

It's time to get the hell out of dodge.

à bientôt et bisou

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


We've had a minor family emergency here in The LPV; not enough that anyone needs to be worried about me, but enough of one for me to be absent for a bit. So with that my friends, passez une bonne semaine et à bientôt.

gros bisous

P.S. That last bit means, have a good week and I'll see you soon.
P.P.S. Awesome Alyx has been fiddling with my blog again. I was feeling very French and she helped me express that. If you'd like Alyx to fiddle with your blog too, click here

Friday, June 22, 2012

like sands through the hourglass

++ This is how Papa's father's day present was wrapped (Rio Bravo and The Dirty Dozen DVDs if you'd like to know). Try not to be jealous of my superior artistic talents, I'm like Basquiat, Harding, and Warhol all rolled into one.

++ Every morning around 4:00, there is a cat outside my bedroom window that judging by the noises it makes, is either dying or in heat. 4am EVERY MORNING.

++ And besides the cat dying/ in heat, there also seems to be some sort of cat gang war being waged on my terrace. I don't know what they're fighting about but they sure seem angry. As you can only imagine, a cat gang war being waged on his terrace is driving Fifty a little batty, so in turn, I'm going a little batty #timetobreakouttheBBgun

++ Last Saturday evening, two of Papa's dogs got out and did a runner, Leo, the Jack Russell, and Rita, the Border Terrier. Leo came back, Rita didn't, and she still hasn't. Papa's Wife thinks that with the heat and Rita's chubby little body, she went off and had a heart attack somewhere. Papa and The Husband have gone out looking for her with no luck. Rita was a seasoned hunter, she knows the village and she knows where she lives, If she hasn't come back, then it doesn't look like she's coming back. I hate to think of her dying alone so I'm going to pretend that she ran away and joined the circus instead.

++ The village fête is this weekend! I saw the bumper cars being set up when I went to the boulangerie yesterday. I was so happy, I did a little skip, and then was totally embarrassed because all the people sitting outside the bar having their coffee saw me, but then I didn't care. (I want to get a bell, and run around the village ringing it while I shout, "THE BUMPER CARS ARE HERE, THE BUMPER CARS ARE HERE"... that's normal, isn't it?)

++ Pretty Little Liars... let's discuss... does nobody care that Ariana is like 17 and Mr. Fitz is like 27? And what about the young doctor and Spencer in the first season? HELLO! I'm pretty sure this is illegal (although it does remind me of a certain relationship in my family that I won't mention...)

++ Brother-in-Law and Child Bride went to Corsica last week and sent us a postcard which was super nice (I heart postcards) but they spelled The Husband's name wrong. Did they just meet???

++ Aidan & Co. are coming tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited. Besides seeing Aidan who I haven't seen for two months, I'm happy for Fifty to see Clementine. He's been having a hard time adjusting to the new village, and the dogs here have been having a hard time adjusting to him (he was attacked twice last Saturday!) and I can tell he's depressed. I think he misses his friends back in the old LPV so I'm excited that he's going to get some playtime in with lil' Miss Clementine, even if she is a kleptomaniac.

++ The reason Aidan & Co are coming is because of this... The Husband turns thirty tomorrow... T H I R T Y #itsaboutdamntime #youcanallstopthecougarjokesnow


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Welcome to The LPV B****

Up top if you got the OC reference. While we're on the OC, lets take a moment to think about Ryan Atwood and his wife beaters... mmm... that's nice. Unless you're more of a Seth, in that case, insert sweater vest thought here... yes Mom, I'm looking at you.

Today, I'd like to take you on a tour through The LPV version 2.0. Since the first thing you would see if you came to visit would be me (obviously), this is my front door. Please ignore the sad puppy in the window, he's still looking for Honey Jr.

That there on the right is my back garden. It's a bit of a wild mess, but we'll get there. 

The new LPV has statues, pretty paths and interesting looking doors (the hay costs extra). 

The church has an interesting looking door too...

Can't you picture Robin Hood busting out of it, sword drawn? 
(If Robin Hood was French, actually existed and hadn't been dead for like, six hundred years.)

And how deliciously creepy is this building?

It's been swallowed by a tree. That's not normal at all. 

Just in case you think I've escaped the Nazi Ghost Zombies, I think I've found another one of their hideouts...

But I'm pretty sure kind and gentle faeries 
live in this windmill, so it all evens out.


Monday, June 18, 2012

recipe for a bbq

How to have a successful BBQ in The LPV in eight easy steps:

Step 1: take one, shirtless Honey Jr. on a warm, sunny day

Step 2: grill an assortment of meats like; Merguez, Andouillette, Chipolata, and Toulouse sausages

Step 3: try not to gag when looking at or smelling the Andouillette

Step 4: add lots of friends

Step 5: and beer

Step 6: then have some cheese, because it's France

Step 7: play Pétanque because it's the south of France

Step 8: and make sure The Husband gets in plenty of quality time with his husband, Gatz.

et voila!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Sunday Lunch for Papa's Wife

I love dinner parties... going to them, throwing them. They're like little projects and heaven knows, I love a project (implementation plans and all). Plus with the new house and proper kitchen I was dying to give one a whirl and Papa's Wife was the perfect excuse for a whirl. 

Papa's Wife works hard, she has a full time job then comes home and cooks for her husband and takes care of her ninety year old mother. She does the bookkeeping for Brother-in-Law's business, watches La Petite every other weekend, and hosts the family every Sunday for lunch. Plus, she's always been really nice to me so I thought it would be nice to serve her Sunday lunch for once.  

I've only cooked Sunday lunch for Papa's Wife twice, the first time I had been living in Le Petit Village for a little over a month and was wracked with nerves, and then there was the time I made fajitas and everyone kept referring to the tortillas as crêpes (weirdos).  This time, I wasn't nearly as nervous and new exactly what I wanted...

Like little nibbles for an appetizer, they're so much more fun. 
See these cucumbers topped with herbed cream cheese... 

... fun!

I stirred chopped basilic and ciboulette (basil and chives) into France's answer to Philly Cream Cheese, St Môret, and topped cucumbers with it. C'est tout!

And because they're so damn good, I made the Mad Men deviled eggs that I had made for Gatz's birthday again. 

I think it's the capers that make them so good. I love a caper.  

(And in case you couldn't tell, the photos aren't mine. I don't take photos of my food because I'm terrible at it)

Besides little nibbles, I knew that I wanted to make something that I could prepare a couple hours ahead and since Chicken Piccata can be prepared a couple hours ahead, and has capers in it, it seemed like a solid choice. Throw it on top of some linguine and voila (I can't seem to find an appetizing photo of chicken piccata so please use your imagination for this one).

Dessert was the best part though. On Friday night, Papa's Wife had handed me a large, round, green, ripe fruit and told me to use it on Sunday before it went bad. I took the large, round, green fruit and decided that it was a very ripe mango and instead of just serving up slices of it (RE: boring) I googled, mango desserts, and came upon this bowl of heaven... 


Mangoes in Cinnamon Custard. Yes please. Saturday I went out and bought another mango (just in case, you know) and later that night made the custard.

The next morning, a few hours before lunch, I began to cut the mango and made the oddest discovery... that large, round, ball of fruit that Papa's Wife had given me wasn't a mango, it was a giant freaking avocado! An avocado the size of a softball! Now maybe mangoes don't come in that size but neither do avocados. Color me shocked. Good thing I had my 'just in case' mango to save the day (ABP... always be prepared... take that freakish softball avocado).

But, if it wasn't for that weird and freaky, softball sized avocado, I never would have made the most delicious dessert there ever was.
Thank you avocado. 

P.S. all of the recipes can be found on my Pinterest boards; delish dish and sweets for my sweet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

tell me about yourself

My friend Jen, who really loves margaritas by the way... on the rocks, no salt, and blogs at A Little About Everything and Nothing (whom you might remember from this guest post) has passed on the Tell Me About Yourself Award. Well I don't mind if I do Jen, thank you.

This one gets passed on to five other bloggers and like it says on the tin, I'm to tell you something about myself. I'll go with five things about me... five bloggers, five things, it seems nice and neat doesn't it? Lets wrap it up in a big red bow and do this thing:

F I V E  B L O G G E R S
1. Megan @ A Suitcase and Stilettos lives in Norway but manages to get around Europe a lot and blogs all about it.
2. Nicole Marie @ La Mia Vita has recently returned to California after a stint in Barcelona.
3. Daryl @ Roots, Wings, and Other Things lives in Germany and takes the most fantastic photos.
4. Ksam @ Totally Frenched Out is an American who has actually conquered the red tape to become a French citizen.
5. Kristen @ Un Homme et Une Femme is a recent American transplant to Paris and calls her husband Sir Lanclelot which is so much cooler than, 'The Husband'.

F I V E  T H I N G S
1. I threw out my back yesterday for the very first time ever and holy balls it hurts. I'm supposed to stay lying down to let it rest but I do not do well with being still (a cousin used to tell me that I had a bee up my bottom and I think he might be right, sitting still is torture). So I guess it's official... I'm old.

2. When I was little I had a pony named Rainy Day. Even though I haven't seen Rainy Day for a long, long time (I'm very old; please note number one above), I still think of him often and now that I'm living in what used to be a barn, I wish Rainy Day was with me here, even in stuffed form (yes, I wish I had taxidermied my childhood pony). He could sit by the front door and take coats.

3. I have never been to Barcelona which is a travesty because it's only a little over five hours from here, and I haven't been to Paris once since moving to France. I vow that 2012 is the year of Barcelona and Paris especially since a Chipotle recently opened up in Paris. I want to get my burrito on. (What type of crazy person goes to Paris to eat burritos??? Now you know.)

4. I love my new house (OK, love might be a bit strong, I still don't have a bathtub... like, I really like my new house) but I do miss the original LPV. I haven't found my groove here yet but I know I will, these things take time.

5. Papa's Wife's mother is turning ninety next month and of course we will be celebrating with a party (you know how we love a party). I've been put in charge of decorations so I will be introducing my inner Martha Stewart to The LPV... Martha meet The LPV... LPV, meet Martha. Now get out of my way, I have pompoms to make.

Monday, June 11, 2012

welcome to the jungle

++ The Husband spent Saturday with a giant weed wacker clearing a path into the garden as he whacked along. It's nowhere near finished yet but at least we can actually see what's what now. For example, we have a wine barrel. Why is there a wine barrel in my back garden? I have no idea, but it's mine now. We also found a huge bone of some kind. We're thinking maybe cow and that the people that used to live here had a really large dog, or perhaps a pet lion.

++ Every single box has been unpacked. Now if I can only find places to put everything, I'll be all set.

++ Despite his best effort Mr. London did not win the French rugby championship over the weekend but he played his little heart out right to the very end and I'm proud of him. I'm even more proud of him though, for heading to Corsica today to walk across the island to raise money for sick children. If you're feeling in anyway generous and would like to help Mr. London and a bunch of other rugby players raise money for children in need, you can do so, by clicking here (and if you do, and you have a problem understanding the website in French email me at, and I'll help you out... anything for the kids)

++ It turns out that my house was a barn hundreds of years ago. If you would have told me that one day I would be living in a barn in France, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have believed you.

++ Papa has announced that he is taking Fifty hunting for wild boar next fall, and to this I say: OVER. MY. DEAD. BODY. Can you really see Fifty hunting wild boar? I can't either.

++ Living in the new LPV may be detrimental to my figure. Everyday when I pick up the baguette at the Boulangerie, I pick up a chocolate chip cookie too (yes, I choose the cookie over the pain au chocolate because I'm 100% pure Americana like that).

++ The Husband turns thirty in twelve days and I have no idea what to get him but am taking suggestions. 



Friday, June 8, 2012

le porcelet

Here's a little story about a not so fun time had by yours truly, because it's not always all sunshine and lollipops here in The LPV you know.

Picture this... I was in the car with The Husband and Gatz, headed down to Toulon, a tad cranky about not moving (yeah, it was that trip) but slightly perked up with the new handbag, shirt and jeans I had scored at Zara (I hadn't told you about the shirt and jeans, had I? That's because I'm sneaky) when The Husband's phone rang. It was Papa.

The Husband turned to me and said that Papa was roasting a pig on Monday (yet another holiday here, Lundi de Pentecôte) and did I want to go. Once again I found myself completely astounded by The Husband's total lack of understanding of what moving entails.

Me: Let me get this straight, Papa is roasting a pig on Monday and you want to go?

The Husband: Oui

Me: You know we're moving right?

The Husband: OK, we won't go. This was said with a full on pout followed by, le huff and puff.

Me: Fine, we'll go, but I'm not going to be able to stay long because we're MOVING.

(I caved for two reasons; 1. I hate a pouting husband, it's like having a very large two year old stomping about and 2. even though a pig on a spit would be involved, it was still only lunch at Papa's so I figured no big deal)

But it turned out that Papa wasn't the one actually doing the pig roasting and it wasn't even at Papa's house. I only found out this vital piece of information when Gatz arrived on Monday to accompany us (he is with us all the time, like A L L  T H E  T I M E) and I mentioned that I had to run out to buy a bottle of wine to bring, Gatz asked why, and I said because it was polite, and then he said that we weren't going to Papa's house.

Hold up. What?

It was the butcher who was having the pig roast, out in a field somewhere, and he wasn't roasting one pig, he was roasting four pigs for like, a hundred people.

I turned to The Husband who gave me the, 'oh did I forget to mention all that' look.

We arrived at the field and sure enough, there were the pigs and the hundred people drinking rosé and beer (not the pigs, the people). But I decided to embrace the experience, grabbed a rosé and turned my frown upside down until... I saw one man going off to go number one, but instead of going off far, or hiding behind a tree or something, he just walked about twenty feet away from everybody, turned his back to us and whizzed, right there, then other guys followed suit. Gross. Do you think any of these guys happen to carry antibacterial gel around in their pockets? I doubt it.

After a couple of hours of apéro, a few large bowls of salad were put out on a table. I grabbed my plate and got in line, but the butcher had forgot to bring spoons for the salad so he dropped a plastic cup in each one.

As I looked at the fingers of the lady in front of me get all up in the salad as she tried to spoon it out with the cup, I thought about all the men that were peeing, and not washing there hands. No thank you. I left the line and the pee pee salad to everyone else.

I was starving, and ready for the pig. Thankfully Papa's BFF, The Portuguese, shouted that the first one would be ready in a few minutes as he and Brother-in-Law pulled it off of the spit and carried it over to a table.

Now here's a question... why would The Portuguese be in charge of carving the pig instead of the actual butcher who would be some what of an expert at carving things? Who knows but that poor pig was hacked to pieces in the most disgusting way.

I walked up to the table to find The Portuguese standing behind the hacked carcass, smiling, totally chuffed with himself, and I looked down to see the head of the pig sitting up straight up, staring at the sky, blood spilling all over the place, and flies, everywhere. Like E V E R Y W H E R E. The whole thing looked like one big, scary, health code violation, so I turned around and left.

See that photo above, that was by far the best part of the day; spoon feeding my buddy La Petite, even if she was completely disinterested with my awesome airplane technique.
P.S. If you would like to see a photo of the pigs, check out my Facebook page

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

where it's at

my house courtesy of: you had me at bonjour

++ OMG I have a dishwasher! A dishwasher! Do you have any idea how long it's been since I've had a dishwasher?! Since I lived in Dublin and roomed with my cousin Bibbie in Chapelizod like four years ago. Four years is a long time to go with dishpan hands.

++ There are actual cabinets in the kitchen. I'm sure loads of you, are thinking, "so what, cabinets in kitchens are completely normal", well I'm here to tell you, not necessarily in Europe they aren't.

++ But while I have loads of kitchen cabinets (nine and four drawers to be exact) there is not a single closet in this house, not a one, not even in the bedroom. Ikea here I come.

++ Whereas the house in the original LPV had loads and loads of mint growing in the back garden, my new house has strawberry bushes. And as soon as I tame the jungle that is the garden (correction; as soon as The Husband tames the jungle), I'm going to walk back there and pick me some.

++ Brother-in-Law switched the refrigerator doors around so it opens on the right side, but naturally I keep trying to pry it open from the left. D'oh!

++ Fifty is not adjusting all too well yet. The church bells toll every hour (please note the proximity of those bells to my house in the photo above) and they drive him crazy. The normal ones are OK, but for the extra special ringings at noon and 7p.m., Fifty uses his extra special barking. Between the both, I'm expecting early onset deafness.  

++ The other day I treated myself to a break from the unpacking with a glass of Rosé in the sun at the little place around the corner (74 steps door to door... I counted) and not only did they actually have Rosé, but they actually serve food too.

Take that Le Petit Bar.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

slowly but surely

Isn't my new rose bush pretty?

I love it. What I'm not loving however is all the work that is going to have to go on around that rose bush. I mean look at it. It's a jungle out there. I'm even scared to let Fifty out in it because the garden might swallow him up whole, never to be heard of again.

Inside, the new house is fairing a bit better. I'm about 90% unpacked at the moment (total guesstimate obviously) but keep getting sidetracked by things like a pig roast (an actual pig on a spit, outside roast), a trip to the market with Papa and Papa's Wife, French rugby (semi-finals are on this weekend which of course means Gatz & Co camped out at chez moi, but at least it didn't mean a trip to Toulouse as Mr. London suggested - and yes, I said Toulouse, not Toulon because that is where it's all going down), and today is La fête des Mères, as in, Mother's Day. (Here's a question for you... why oh why is Mother's Day on a different day in Ireland, France and the U.S.? Do you have any idea how confused I am?)

And since today is La fête des Mères, I'm a little short on time because I need to pop on over to Papa's and help Papa's Wife get ready to host lunch for ten people (we're having Dorado, it' gonna be G O O D ). Papa has decided to do a runner and spend the day with his hunting crew at a party because get this... he said it was OK not to be there for lunch because his wife isn't his mother, and his mother is deceased, so he doesn't need to do anything for La fête des Mères. So yeah, I'm going to go help Papa's Wife out and probably give her some hugs too.

All of this is by way of saying that I'm not really back yet, by that I mean, back to the blog. Hopefully in a few more days I can resume my regular scheduled programming with an unpacked house and a garden that doesn't threaten to swallow up dogs.

So with that, I leave you with this video clip of The Husband's favorite song of the moment which means; 1) it's the soundtrack to the daily dance he performs for me and 2) it's the song that was responsible for his podium dancing in Toulon. Enjoy and feel free to dance along (podium not required).


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