Tuesday, July 31, 2012

le baptême

{a fairy tale christening}
I have failed you my friends. La Petite was christened and I was without a camera to capture all of The LPV goodness (and trust me, there was loads) so I will do my utmost to describe it as best as I can.

By the way, me not having my camera can be blamed on wardrobe malfunctions... first Gregory's and then mine; Gregory slipped his foot into his suede loafer and the stitching split like he was the Incredible Hulk or something. Monumental huffing and puffing ensued as I desperately attempted to safety pin it together without the pin showing. And all the while I was doing that, (with an Incredible Hulk huffing puffing monster freaking out about his shoe) I was frantically trying to find a bra that worked under my dress (the dress was a brilliant blue color, lined on the bottom, but ever so slightly sheer on top. I have know idea why I didn't suss that out before the morning of the Christening, but I didn't).

So there I was, changing in and out of my dress over and over again, switching bras, and in between each change, running over to Gregory, trying to pin his shoe together. Add 30°C (90°F) and no AC and you get the drift. It was the opposite of calm.

And now you know why I forgot my camera, but be happy in the knowledge that I eventually found an appropriate undergarment and was victorious over the safety pin and the shoe so Gregory did not go to the church looking like a hobo.

But here's the irony of the situation... even if I was wearing a bra that wasn't quite right, and Gregory looked like a hobo due to a split seam in his suede loafer, we still would have been the most appropriately dressed pair there (besides Papa and Papa's Wife, they both looked lovely). Some of the inappropriateness was G L O R I O U S.

Child Bride's grandmother (not the one who used to own the Epicerie, the other one) wore a blue t-shirt with silver stars on it and capri jeans... a t-shirt and jeans to her great-grandchild's christening in a Catholic Church (at least she didn't wear the leopard print fedora she wore to Child Bride's wedding). However, Child Bride's other grandmother (the one who did use to own the Epicerie) was wearing a beautiful white pantsuit, but she failed to actually go into the church. She and her sisters sat outside the bar across the square having coffee during the ceremony. Color me aghast.

And then my favorite... Child Bride's sixteen year old cousin walked into the church wearing a sheer black, strapless mini dress, with a neon green slip under it that matched her six inch neon green heels (that's right... six inch). When I saw her I thought for a moment that I had been magically transported to either 1) a nightclub in Essex or 2) a Gypsy wedding. But no, I was in a Catholic Church and a sixteen year old girl had walked in like she was doing the walk of shame. Say it with me... G L O R I O U S.

Clearly, my pearls were wasted on the day.

But La Petite was too cute for words in her white Broderie Anglaise romper and little white Mary Janes. I just wanted to eat her up she was so cute, especially when she kept shouting; "NO NO NO" like a child possessed every time the priest tried to get near her, so naturally, I desperately wanted to shout, "Out Ye Devil!". But I didn't because that would have been inappropriate.

And that's pretty much all I wanted to tell you about the day... La Petite's soul is safe, Great-Grandmothers do not always know best, a little black dress is not always a classic, and sometimes at a Christening's after-after party, this can happen...

{you're welcome}



P.S. Thank you Sarah B. for capturing Brother-in-Law in all of his glory

Saturday, July 28, 2012

the way we were

++ Honey Jr and Honey's Honey came over for l'apéro Thursday evening. Fifty was so excited when I told him and as soon as he heard their car driving up, he started F R E A K I N G  out. His tail was moving so fast I thought he was going to take off. 

++ Last weekend, Sarah B. and her husband were visiting from London, I haven't gotten around to posting about it yet but she has. If you would like to read about The LPV from someone who has visited and lived to tell the tale, you can do so here

++ I sent Gregory to pick up four items at the store. I wrote a list. I even wrote the list in French. One of the items on the list was 'céleri', which doesn't take a linguistics expert to deduce is 'celery' in English. It's even pronounced similar. Somehow he came home with a leek. One single leek. If someone could explain to me how that happened, I would really appreciate it.

++ I came across this article about Buffalo Soldiers on Slate the other day and got a little misty eyed. My grandmother's grandfather was in the 9th cavalry and reading about it made my chest puff out a little so I knew that I had to share it with somebody. That somebody happens to be you.

++ Last night Papa and I shelled peas and drank Rosé. And let me tell you, shelling two kilos of peas, gives you lots of time to bond.

++ Today I'm off to a BBQ at Kirsty's house. Aidan is coming too. It's going to be great. Sunny 31°C (that's 92!), sitting poolside sipping Rosé with nonstop English chatter... H E A V E N. At Aidan's request, I'm making my macaroni salad (tastes like America) and Aidan is making some sort of blueberry dessert for us and brownies for the kids so they don't get blueberries all over themselves. So then I told her to make enough brownies for Gregory too because I don't want him covered in blueberries either (it would happen... trust me) but then we remembered that we can just throw him in the pool, so it will be OK. But I bet he eats both anyway.  


Thursday, July 26, 2012

let the photos do the talking

I'm all jumbled. Between the Brazil Day, Louisette's 90th birthday, Suzy-Q being here, then Sarah from Texpats Abroad and her husband visiting, plus La Petite's christening (all in the space of three weeks), I'm a little overwhelmed and don't even know where to begin to tell you all about everything. So, I'm going to let some photos from the last few weeks do most of the talking, and give my tired wee brain a break.

++ See this bottle of Cairanne... this is the reason that I'm OK with Gatz being Gregory's hetero life partner (Gregory is The Husband... remember?). He buys me really nice bottles of wine to keep me happy and the nagging at bay. He also bought me that extra large wine glass (plus five others). Gatz knows what mama likes. I opened that bottle up the night before Suzy-Q arrived (a treat during the calm before the storm).

++ And then the morning she arrived, I spotted this sign at Marseille airport. It looks like Santa Claus and the Baby Jesus are finally getting around to answering my prayers.Thanks guys.

++ We brought Suzy-Q straight to Avignon from the airport and straight into my second favorite wine bar (first favorite in Avignon though). Suzy-Q was a little concerned about drinking Rosé at 11a.m but I assured her it was OK; 'when in Provence...'
(You are probably wondering what the above photo has to do with anything that I am talking about, well in July, the Avignon Theatre Festival is on, and performers walk around the city during the day advertising their shows. There you go.)

++ Because it wouldn't be fair to bring Suzy-Q to my second favorite wine bar and not my first, we popped into le bar au vin for dinner the next night. That's her having a chat with my buddy, The Sommelier.

++ Bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning (well me anyway, poor Suzy-Q had to deal with a stalking Fifty all through the night... somebody had a little crush) we set out for Gordes and Roussillon.

++ As beautiful as Gordes is, and as amazing as Roussillon is, I was left with two regrets; 1) I didn't steal the baby blue Vespa, and 2) I didn't buy that bag. 

++ The view from Gordes is the only one I have found so far that rivals the view from The O.G. LPV (true story) but that door in Roussillon simply cannot be beat. Imagine walking through that every day. One would feel very grand indeed. 

++ On the left is the ochre colored church in Roussillon with French banners for La Fête Nationale, and on the right, there's Suzy-Q and me, in front of the remains of the Renaissance castle in La Tour-d'Aigues. If you look closely you'll see that I'm actually wearing a romper, which I have discovered is the absolute best way to beat the summer heat. The downside... I look like a large version of La Petite. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

agence tous risques

Has anyone been watching the new Dallas?

I have. And watching that old rascal J.R. get up to his dirty tricks again, reminded me of a post I did awhile back comparing the American opening credits of Dallas (i.e.; the normal theme song) to the French version, which I think we can all agree is just plain wrong.

So I started to think that it's about time for another round of us vs. them, and with that lightbulb over the head moment, I bring you; The A-Team.... the U.S.A. version (re: normal) vs. the French version (re: weird)...

um yeah... 

I'm going to have to go with the original one.

Bringing the current score to...

France:1, USA: 2


Friday, July 20, 2012

the cat is out of the bag

ta da!

The Husband's name is Gregory (not the French version, Grégoire) and he's a Cancer.
He likes wrestling with Fifty, eating raw meat, sipping Rosé on the beach with Mr. London, and if he had been born a girl, he would have been named, Elodie, so I like to call him that from time to time even though he really doesn't like it when I do (but I love it!).

Since we're here, and I'm outing my husband, I'll tell you some other stuff about him; he's a great babysitter, there isn't a kid in the world who doesn't love him (if you don't believe me you can ask Aidan and Kirsty and they'll tell you all about 'The Manny'). He insists on eating his cereal out of the beautiful chocolat chaud mugs that French Mommy gave us for Christmas (this drives me batty), and he  makes me 'do the frog' on a daily basis. ('The Frog' is when I jump off the last three steps of the stairs and he catches me. According to Gregory, I look like a frog when I do this, hence the name, 'the frog'.)

Why am I telling you this? I don't know. I guess I kind of feel like maybe two and a half years of referring to my husband as The Husband, has kind of been wearing on me (I did ask his permission first). And I'm making his 'coming out' be in honor of my 600 followers (OK, it's 599, but whatever... 599 people have felt compelled to click that blue box on the right and make my day and that's something worth celebrating).

So anyway, that's all I wanted to tell you today.

The Husband is named Gregory.

And now you know.


P.S. Out of curiosity, what did you think The Husband's name could have been? 
P.P.S. Gregory might be a great babysitter, but check out who was watching over La Petite last year.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

prepare yourself, you know it's a must

{La Petite taking her Tonton for a walk}

Not wanting my memory and thus my blog post to go the way of Brazil Day, at Papa's Wife's mother's 90th birthday lunch, I frantically scrawled bits of information on a red napkin, prompting The German to ask me if I was writing my memoirs, to which I replied, "oui" (or ja, or yes - we're very multilingual around these parts) because after all, isn't a blog a memoir just told in parts?

Why yes, yes it is.

And with that I bring you another part of my memoir...

First off I'm going to let you in on a secret, Papa's Wife's mother's name is Louisette. I'm telling you this for two reasons, 1) typing Papa's Wife's mother is a pain in the petunia and 2) Louisette is a lovely name and ever so close to Louise which makes me feel like Louisette and I are kindred spirits of sorts (just go with me on this one please).

There were forty of us in the village salle de fête for Sunday lunch and it quickly became clear that we were the country cousins (we being; Brother-in-Law, Child Bride, The Husband, and me). The Parisians to our right had barely touched their bread basket (ours was empty), had barely sipped their wine (E M P T Y) and their paper tablecloth looked like no one was dining on it, while ours looked like a band of monkeys had been fed. We need an Emily Post intervention (or possibly, a few weeks in Paris).

{All About Louisette}
After lunch, there was a quiz all about Louisette. Two teams of three grandchildren were brought up on stage to answer questions about her in a game show format. It was awfully sweet because The Husband was chosen as one of the six, and since he is a 'step-grandchild' and there were actual grandchildren, grandchildren there, it gave me the warm and fuzzies, and I know it gave The Husband warm and fuzzies too (Louisette LOVES The Husband... I think he actually might be her favorite... shhh).

Around 3p.m., Louisette had had enough. She shouted "merci à tous", stood up, and left (sometimes 90 year olds need a sieste you know), so we took that as our cue to head outside and play Pétanque. 

{behold the expert concentration and skill}

There were six teams of three playing tournament style. And even though Papa's Wife's brother, and her brother-in-law, let out a little huff and puff when they found out I was on their team, we won anyway because guess what... this Irish Texan New Yorker, can throw around the metal balls with the best of them. Ce n'est pas sorcier! (that means, it's not rocket science).

And that mes amies concludes part 455 of my memoir.

So if I wrote an actual memoir, would you read it? 

(more importantly, would you buy it?)


P.S. Two years ago we had another celebration in The LPV (we're always celebrating something, aren't we?!)

Monday, July 16, 2012

itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikinis

We didn't actually wear itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikinis but that would have been fun. I also don't know what that has to do with Brazil Day but it's out there now, so there you go.

Honey Jr's and Brother-in-Law's, Brazil Day, was held last week in a village even smaller than The LPV. It's so small, it's an itsy bitsy teenie weenie village (or The IBTWV as it should really be called).

All throughout the day, funny things would happen, and I would laugh and say to myself, "oh man, that's going to be so great to blog about" but even though I drank more Perrier than beer, I can't remember. I'm going to blame that on the sun and my age. So since I can't remember all of the funny bits, I'll show you some photos and tell you any little tidbit that I can remember from the day. OK? Sorted.

This is how it looked at 6:30 in the morning when Honey Jr and Brother-in-Law arrived to set up Brazil Day.
And this is what it looked like only a few hours later...

(Please note that I'm talking about only a few hours from 6:30am....  l'apéro can start mighty early here in the south of France.)

If you look closely you can see me standing in the back there. I'm in the white top next to The Cousin in the blue shorts who was probably telling the same story for about the fifth time (The Cousin did not drink more Perrier than beer). 

The sand didn't turn your feet orange like it did last year, but it was so hot that that one guy insisted on playing in socks (I guess he has super sensitive tootsies, or maybe he has like, Hobbit feet or something and he didn't want anyone to see them... we'll never know). 

See that hay around the sand? When The Husband was playing he tripped over it and fell right down on his bum-bum. It was priceless. But falling on his bum-bum did not prevent his team from winning the tournament (his team being him, Honey Jr, and The Croupier's fiance). 

Maybe The Husband's team won because of his size advantage over the other players (see above), or maybe they won because not only was Honey Jr playing, but he was the Ref too... another mystery we'll never solve I guess. 

After the soccer (or, 'le foot' as it's known around these parts), there was a volleyball tournament. 

Child Bride and her sister Angel played (bickering the whole way through) as well as Honey's Honey and Honey Jr who happened to win that tournament too.


P.S. This past Saturday was  La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) here in France and while last year we celebrated it with a long weekend at French Mommy's house, this year we went on a staycation with my friend, Suzy-Q. It was a doozy and I'm going to tell you all about it real soon, right after my couch-cation. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

talk to you in awhile crocodile

{photo: Honey's Honey}

FYI... I'm going to be missing for a few days, but it's not like the last time when it was because something bad happened. This time it's because something really good is happening... my friend, Suzy-Q, is visiting from London for a few days (well actually she's coming from Dublin, even though she lives in London now, but she was back in Dublin for a few days, and Dublin is where she's from and where we met, so she's coming from Dublin/ London).

We haven't seen each other for almost three years, and in that three years, she moved to London (right after I moved to The LPV), I got married, and she got engaged, so we have a whole lot to catch up on in the next few days. Plus we need to visit Avignon, the Wine Bar (of course we do), the market in Apt, see Gordes and Roussillon, and drink our weight in Rosé, so I'm going to be pretty busy.

But it's a good busy.

See you later alligator.


P.S.  This very weekend three years ago, I visited The LPV on holiday for the first time. My how time has flown! And just in case you feel like taking a trip down memory lane... two years ago I was writing rules for tourists, and last year, I introduced you to Honey's Honey. Remember that?!

P.P.S. The trip down memory lane was Ella Coquine's idea. If you don't know Ella, you really should. Off you go now to tales from the chambre donne. Tell Ella I sent you! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I had some dreams there were clouds in my coffee

The title of this post has absolutely nothing to do with anything. I've had Carly Simon stuck in my head for days, I'm hoping this might exorcise her.

++ As I packed up our hotel room on the Sunday morning in Avignon, The Husband was watching X-Men First Class and refusing to get up and get moving. He turned to me and said, "This movie looks good, I'd like to see how it turns out", so I said, "well that's good since you saw how it turns out when we bought the DVD and watched it a couple of months ago."

++ The Circus Gods clearly hate me. The circus came to The LPV and for the second year in a row, I've missed it. I didn't get to see the two llamas, two horses, and a goat, this time due to Papa's Wife's mother's 90th birthday party. I'd be mad, but it would be kind of silly to start a feud with a 90 year old. 

++ Want to know what I did on the 4th of July? I made pompoms, a whole bunch of Martha Stewart pompoms while watching Friday Night Lights (the movie not the series). The pompoms were for that party I had to go to when I should have been at the circus. 

++ I did one other thing on the 4th... I watched a fireworks display on my laptop but to make it more authentic like, I lay on my back and held the laptop over my face. I would love to say that it was just like I was there, but I'd be lying. 

++ Last Thursday after a stressful day dealing with some residual stuff from the little family emergency we had, I unwound by sipping Bordeaux and watching Wall-E with Papa. I truly believe a little wine and Pixar can go a long way. Plus, Papa had never seen Wall-E so that was a bonus.

++ Here's a fun fact about me;  I have four mothers (my mom, The Husband's mom, Papa's Wife, and my father's wife) but since my dear Dad passed away last year, I'm down to only one father and that's Papa. So I'll take wine and Pixar with him any chance I get.

++ Remember Brazil Day last year? Well check out this insanity... Brother-in-Law and Honey Jr. actually got another village to PAY THEM to host a Brazil Day there. You never know, you may have a Brazil Day coming to a village near you soon.

++ Want to know something that Texas and Provence have in common (besides the hunting and shooting and stuff)? Scorpions. I found two on my staircase last Friday. Not cool Provence, not cool.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Escape From LPV Mountain

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That's a fact you know. 
Last week when the going was really tough (due to the life hiccup we experienced) The Husband and I decided that we needed to get going... right out of town. We wanted to relax, just the two of us, no Gatz. That was my number one requirement. (Not that I don't love The Husband's brother from another mother, but heaven knows, sometimes a girl needs a break, and by girl, I mean me.)

We decided on Sète because The Husband used to work next to Sète and loves it and I've never been. Plus he has been telling me all about some 'meat restaurant' that's there for ages (apparently all The Husband needs is the beach and a big slab of meat). I found a hotel with a rooftop pool that overlooks the Mediterranean. Heaven. And then The Husband exclaimed, "I'm going to lie by that pool all day" and I said, "me too" and then I thought to myself, "Wait a second, why are we going to drive three hours, just to lie by a pool, surely we could have a relaxing time, just the two of us, lying by a pool closer?"

And that my friends, is how we decided to go to Avignon instead.

After dropping Fifty off at camp, we arrived in Avignon at 11a.m. and in an attempt to distract me from Zara, The Husband took me to a wine bar for a glass of Rosé (vin blanc for him) and the sweetest little man came over and asked if he had heard correctly; were we indeed speaking English. We told him that yes, we were indeed speaking English. He was surprised because the wine bar is tucked away in a small side street and not many tourists find it. I explained that I wasn't a tourist, I lived there, well not too far from there anyway and then we transitioned back into French and he told us all about how he was from India but had lived in France since he was eighteen (so I'm guessing for at least fifty years) but now he has prostate cancer and he inquired how old The Husband was, and then told him that as soon as he turns forty, he is to go straight to the hospital for a full body scan to make sure that he is completely healthy.

The point of all of this information about the conversation is this.... I understood everything that this little old man said perfectly. His accent was crystal clear to my non-French ears. So obviously, Indians in France are my people and I need to find an Indian expat group to hang with immediately.

A short while later we were exiting the walls of Avignon and checking into the hotel, and by 2p.m., I was lying poolside with a stack of magazines. It was perfect, it was exactly what we needed.

Later that night, when I was getting ready for dinner and thinking that I had reached the pinnacle point of relaxation (thanks in part to a ridiculously long bubble bath which for me, who hasn't had a bathtub for almost three years, is the bees knees) and feeling almost delirious with happiness, I made the terrible mistake of saying it. I actually said; "I don't think I could possibly be any happier at this moment, today has been perfect." 

And that's when the universe decided that this all was poppycock, no one has the right to be that happy. So my hair got sucked up by the hairdryer motor and I had to cut a big ol' chunk of it off.

True story. 


Friday, July 6, 2012

let the sunshine in

Everyone loves sunshine, especially me. To this day I have no idea how I managed to live in Dublin for  six years (in six years I think we got like, maybe thirty days of sunshine) without developing a serious vitamin D deficiency and a penchant for Emo-ness. And since sunshine is the cat's meow, I was stoked when Jacqui at French Village Diaries, Lee I at Traveling Sardine Class, and Michel at Our House in Provence passed on this sunshine award to me within days of each other (how lucky am I?). I'll take a little sunshine any which way I can get it. 

This particular sunshine comes with a set of questions to answer and it's to be passed along to ten bloggers. Well you know me, I never follow the rules, except today, I'm going to break my own rule of breaking rules, by following the rules (see what I did there... I outsmarted myself).

Favourite Color? That depends on for what. For instance if we're talking cars, I like black, for clothing, I tend to like neutrals because I'm boring, and in the home, I've been obsessed with pops of chartreuse. That said I'm going to say blue. I like the color blue.

Favorite Animal? I feel like if I answered anything other than, dog, Fifty would be cross and spend the weekend pouting and trust me, nobody wants a pouting doggy so, dog (but I really really love horses and zebras and elephants)

Favorite Number? I want to say seven, but that's such a cliché isn't it? And here's a question, what's the deal with seven? Why do we like it? Since I don't want to be a cliché, and I don't really have a favorite number, I'm going to go with 14, The Husband's old rugby number.

Favorite Drink? W I N E (but I am partial to a Grey Goose martini)

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook for the simple fact that I like to see photos of my friends and their children. I swear Facebook and Skype are an expat's best friends. But, I do like to tweet (oh and Fifty wanted me to tell you that he likes Facebook the best and he really wants to be friends with all of you and if you want to be friends with him too, click here).

Your Passion? – Food and wine... learning about it, reading about it, enjoying it. Am I in the right country or what?

Giving or getting presents? Giving because seeing someone you love open a present that you just know will surprise them and that they'll love gives me the warm and fuzzies.

Favourite Day? Before I moved to France I would have said Saturday, but here it's definitely Sunday. There are no errands to run since everything is closed and we usually have lunch at Papa's house that stretches about four hours (this directly corresponds with my passion above).

Favourite Flowers? Hydrangeas, peonies, and whatever wildflowers The Husband picks for me.

And now it's my turn to spread a little sunshine:

Provence in Ann Arbor

Yummy Laura

Footprints in the Sand

Our New Life in Bordeaux

Lacey in the City

A Story of Us Together

Heather Goes to Deutshland

A Tale of Two Cities

Up Up and Awayz

Samantha Sans Dosage


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

birthday blowout

It's been almost two weeks already since The Husband turned thirty and we celebrated in the most obvious fashion... with a barbecue (of course we did) at Papa's house.

 {La Petite and her Papi}

But it wasn't just any old normal LPV barbecue... Aidan brought bacon wrapped jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese and some Ranch dip so the French people can find out what Texas tastes like. 

And you know what? They loved the taste of Texas. Loved it. Especially the Ranch, which really shocked us. I mean, who would have thought the French would fall in love with the Hidden Valley? Next thing you know, they'll be looking for sweet tea and corn bread.

The birthday boy was a wee bit tired. The night before, he and Honey Jr drove through the night transporting bees. The Husband only had two hours of sleep and somewhere between 15 and 20 bee stings. But at least he hadn't been stung on the tenders like Honey Jr. had. That's right; the tenders.

The eyes say it all. Look at how tired he is.

(Sidenote: When The Husband says, 'tired' it sounds like 'tiwed'. Aidan and I recently discovered that The Husband and her littlest pronounce their 'R's exactly the same. For example, they both pronounce my name like, 'Sawa'. Bless.)

And do you see those cupcakes? I made them. Papa's Wife volunteered to buy the dessert but I said, no way Jose, birthdays need homemade treats. Even if they weren't particularly pretty, they were delicious. And oh my heavens, making butter cream frosting without a mixer is dang hard. 

But they were indeed delicious. See, here's Honey's Honey and Honey Jr. enjoying the chocolaty, butter creamy deliciousness: 

Notice how she is sitting on his lap? They are A L W A Y S  on each other like that. Blech.

After cupcakes we played Pétanque (well everyone else played, Aidan and I took that as our opportunity to sneak away for a glass of Rosé à deux). 

There's Brother-in-Law and Papa inspecting the boules before the game (it was hot, hence the reason Papa and La Petite ditched the shirts ... they like to be twinkies).

And after Pétanque it was time to hit up The LPV fête which of course, featured cool carnie rides for the kids. There's The Husband's mini-me (Aidan's Littlest) and La Petite cruising around. 

Good friends, BBQ, cupcakes, Pétanque, and a fête... it was close to perfect. The only thing that could have possibly made it anymore perfect, would have been if The Husband hadn't been told he was too big for the rides. 

He's all grown up now.

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