Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Only 16 Months to Go!

Bear with me.  Sometimes it feels like a long time, other times, it's coming towards me at the speed of light.  Today, it feels far away.  I know, I know, I have to live in the moment.

All the same, every once in a while I get a glimpse of retirement and I like what I see.  In my crystal ball I see good health (of course), exercise with V., good food (it goes without saying), choosing part-time work that I would like to do. Travel, regular outings, energy, good sleep, creative endeavours...  Wait, is retirement another word for Heaven?

Here's the little bit of Heaven that I am living today:  wonderful colleagues, a great family that I love, looking forward to instead of dreading (the work entailed by) Christmas, mild weather, a good comfortable outfit, a comfortable office cubicle.  What more can a girl want?

Hope there's a little bit of Heaven in your day too.

Bonne journée,

Stella

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What a Guy!

I was at Costco today buying fruit, vegetables and stew meat for Boeuf Bourgignon and I moseyed over to the book section.  I couldn't resist.  I'm reading it now.  Will let you know how it goes. 

Bon dodo,

Stella

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wish List

I have a wish list on my computer desktop.  It gets added to, items get deleted, sometimes I get something, often, I don't.  My Mom used to say: "If you still want it after a week, then get it."  I still fall in love with all kinds of wonderful things and sometimes, no, often, just having it on my wish list is enough.
 Here are a few things I am lusting after...

1.  Pilluvuyt lion's head soup bowls:  The older, the better.  If I could find them at a brocante, I would  be over the moon.  If not, I can purchase them off ebay.  Either way, these are creamy, delicious looking crockery that would look great on my dining room table.  I am also sure that soup or Boeuf Bourguignon would taste better in these.

2. Montblanc fountain pen.  This wins the prize for longevity.  I mean, it's been on my list for over twenty years.  I even have a paper cut out of this standing in my pencil pot!

3. A new provençal table and chairs for our place in France.

4. A new wicker chest for my sweaters.  My old one is breaking apart.
5. A new handbag. The Root's French Café is cute isn't it?
6. Lose 50 lbs.  Can you have a negative wish list item?
7. A new throw for my bed.  I hear Santa's elves are working on this one!

8. A beautifully cut black or oyster trouser suit.
9. A renovated downstairs bathroom (this also may be in the works!)
10. A Kitchen Aid mixer.

Amen.
Bonne journée!
Stella

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sore Throat

I am sucking on Ricola Seaberry Herb Throat Drops and hoping against hope that this is just a little passing thing.  I fear that my hopes are for naught and that I will be hosting a cold in the up-coming days. Tis' the season I guess.

So here is my plan for this evening, when I get back from dinner with my friend Michelle:  warm bath, more throat lozenges, maybe get some zinc and vitamin C thingeys as they are known for allaying wicked colds.  Then, flannel pajamas, wool socks, novel and dreamland by 10pm.

What else can I do?  Do you have any suggestions?  Cold FX has never really done it for me...

Au secours!

Stella

P.S.  I am harbouring a serious crush on Michael Fassbender.  What an actor, what a cutie!
P.S.S. or is it P.P. S. ? Thank you Linda for your comments!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Dangerous Method

Oh!  I love Michael Fassbender! He is exquisite in A Dangerous Method!  He plays Carl Jung in the movie, Viggo Mortensen, another favorite actor, plays Sigmund Freud and Keira Knightly is brilliant as Sabina Speilrien, a psychiatric patient who is treated by Jung.

The movie is well cast and the story is fascinating.  Sabina teeters between madness and brilliance, Jung is brilliant, self-assured and talented and Freud, well Freud knows everything and has been celebrated for his foresight for so long that his ideas cannot be contested, even by his heir apparent, Jung.  Jung questions that the root cause of most people psychosis is sex.  Yet...
Michael Fassbender is believable as Jung.  He is handsome, smart, insightful and humane.  He has a beautiful, rich wife, children and his career is on the fast track. He undertakes Freud's revolutionary idea of the "talking cure": talking to psychiatric patients but mostly listening to them. He is very good at his work, however, as this true story reveals, he was only human...   But what a human being he was!

Jung believed that we should get to know who we are, what makes us tick, and what motivates us.  Then, would we be able to better understand others. To find out more about Carl Jung, click here for a short documentary on YouTube. 

I give this movie 4 stars out of 5 because of the great job it does of recreating the mores of the era and for representing two great men in such a discrete but powerful way. You quite forget that you are watching a movie and are easily transported to an era where the trailblazing work done by these two men was quite out of the ordinary.

Bonsoir,

Stella

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Goodnight Sweethearts

It's almost 8:30 as I write this post and I have done most of what I had intended this weekend.  Sewing place mats with D., check, laundry, check, groceries, check, lunch for tomorrow, check, dishes washed, check, bag to bring to work, check, clothes for tomorrow, not yet.

I often feel that the success of Monday hinges a fair bit on the preparation of the preceding Sunday, don't you?  If I have to get up on a Monday and reorganize my work world before I go to work, I find that I am not primed to have a good day.  In fact, going to bed by 10:30 is also a part of the preparation to go to work.  I find that good sleep hygiene is a must. Calm one hour before bedtime, no last minute: OMG I forgot to... these tend to get me stirred up and not prepared for a good night's sleep.

And so it is, that most Sundays after supper will find me on a mission to organize myself, my week to come, and visualize it.  I have to see myself getting ready for my reading circle, envisioning what I will need a few days in advance.  I start small piles on the dining room table or in tote bags, ready to go.


Here are a few good sleep hygiene tips from: http://heartofhealing.net/relaxation-wellness/sleep/7-tips-for-a-good-nights-sleep/
1 – Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Give yourself time to get ready for bed slowly. Savor the moments of winding down as you wash your face, brush your teeth, and change into your bed clothes. You can use aroma oils, soft music – be creative! If spirituality is important to you, include a prayer.
2 – Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark. (Usually a cool room promotes sleep, but you will have difficulty sleeping if you feel cold, so experiment. If your feet are cold in winter, warm them up before bed!)
3 – Drink a cup of warm milk. (you can add nutmeg for its sleep inducing properties) or a relaxing tea, like chamomile.
4 – Massage your feet, especially with warm oil, right before bed – it’s very relaxing.
5 – Stretch a bit before you lie down. You can literally stretch out some of the “kinks” and tension of the day. Stretching makes some people more energetic and some more sleepy, so experiment and find out what works for you. Don’t overdo it – stretch just enough to help you relax.
6 – Take a hot bath. If trying A hot bath can be extremely relaxing. Light some candles. Add a relaxing aroma oil, such as lavender oil, to the water. Luxuriate!
7 – Once you are in bed, listen to relaxing music or a relaxation or sleep CD to help you shift gears and relax into sleep.
Bonsoir. Dormez bien,

Stella

Friday, November 18, 2011

TGIF Hugs

Your happiness is not a frivolous, expendable luxury. Joy is your soul's purpose. Now here's a reason to be grateful!
                                                                                                                                           -Sarah Ban Breathnach

Friday is a special day isn't it?  I am writing this post from work.  Not something I will get into the habit of doing but because I wanted to talk about TGIF hugs.

I started this new job at the end of August and I already knew most of the people I now work with.  Friday, I give out hugs to those who want them.  You would be surprised to see the number of people who have bought it. 

A TGIF hug says:  I am happy to work with you, we've had a good week.  It's our last day of the week, here is some shared energy to keep us going.  Here is a testimony to the shared joy we experience today.

So here is a great big virtual HUG to all of you in keeping with the sixth Simple Abundance Principle:  JOY.

Bon weekend!

Stella

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good Read in a Storm

I got back late Saturday night.  Most of Sunday, I was in a daze then Monday, I had to fly to Calgary for work and got back at 8pm.  Tuesday, I got home at 6:30 and I have a massive report to submit tonight.  Tomorrow, I have my French reading circle for L'élégance du hérisson (see side bar) and Saturday afternoon, I'm making place mats with D. my sister.  Next week, I have my English reading circle and dinner with a friend.

Characteristically, I have nothing going on for a long while and then Whump!  I am whirling dervish for a fortnight (don't you love this particularly British expression?)

Anyhooooooo, just to keep my sanity, I inhaled a Gothic novel by Rose Tremain called:  Tresspass.  What a fantastic read!  The book is only 255 pages but it contains a lot of character development and suspense, not to mention that it is set in the south of France.  It's all intrigue and antiques and gardens and a lovely Mas.

Whether you are experiencing active weather or are aflutter with too much activity, I highly recommend Trespass for a keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-New-Farmhouse Style-chair (above) read.

Bonsoir,

Stella

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm Baaaack!

I got home quite late last night and tired but content after four full days of activity. My friend Mary owns a beautiful Bed and Breakfast facing south on the coast of the Pacific and looking on to Orcas Island.

I stayed in the Ocean Firs Suite.

The path between the main house and the suite I was staying in.
  
The tiny perfect deck...

Living area
 View from the door
 Mary has decorated all three suites with original art.


 I even had a kitchen.  That's an espresso machine in the corner... and below is my morning latte, in a china cup, no less.

 Love that sink.
 King size bed with Nikken magnetic technology.

 That's a Nikken air purifying system beside the dresser.

I am blessed with good friends in beautiful places. Guess which one is me?

Have a great Sunday!

À la prochaine,

Stella

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I've made it to Dancing Firs in White Rock. The flight is a short 1 hour and 17 minutes from Edmonton but I could be a world away.

I haven't brought the cord for downloading my pictures and am trying to figure out how to send photos to my iPad from my iPhone. It may take a while.

Today we are going to Vancouver to walk along the new sea wall and have lunch. Will try my hardest to get those photos posted. My suite is dreamy...


Bonne journée,


Stella

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Off

 Wednesday starts the fall break and I'm off for four days to my friend's house in White Rock.  Mary is a bed and breakfast owner.  Her house and grounds on the ocean are spectacular. 

We are going to knit, bake, eat, walk, do Qi Gong and sip our favorite libation.

I'll try to post from there.

Bonsoir,

Stella

P.S. Could you feed the fish while I'm gone? You just have to click with your mouse.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Day After the Night Before

My little cocktail affair was a success.  My friend N.'s jewellery was a hit and my sister D. and I have 17 orders for our special go-to-work place mats and cutlery.
About five months ago, I had an idea for a compact place mat and cutlery to use at work. My sister and I got down and designed it and are having a lot of fun coordinating fabrics. We make them for women, men and children.  My friend O. wants a set of 8 to use on her dining room table.



This place mat is made with linen.  It is a trial piece, we want to see how it creases and wears.  I love the coordinating fabrics.  The cutlery is about 6 inches long and the folded mat is about 7 inches long. It tucks into a regular nylon paper-bag-shaped lunch kit.

What I love most about this type of get together is the creative energy that fills the air.  Another friend of mine, Yvette, brought these home made chocolates.  Aren't they divine? Yvette has a full-fledged test kitchen in her basement where she creates these luscious chocolates.

My jewellery-making friend N. were in France together this summer. At a brocante, we bought a bunch of 19th century chandelier crystals.  We also got our hands on some antique medals.  Here is the necklace that we designed for me to wear at my niece's wedding next summer.


It's a little difficult to get the color right because I took these pictures in the evening but you can see the medal and smaller coin elements as well as the silver mesh-encased chandelier prisms.  This is the dress that I am wearing to the wedding next summer.

My cup runneth over and out.

Bonsoir,

Stella

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Night Before

It's getting close to bedtime for me and the furniture delivery people aren't here yet.  V. is patiently waiting in the bare living room and I am sitting in bed writing this.

It's been a hectic couple of days but it's the calm before the storm this evening.  Tomorrow, I just have to tweak the house and put everything out. Oh! and I have to sweep the leaves from the front entrance although, I kind of like the pretty rust and yellow leaves laying artfully here and there.  They soften the concrete and make it feel like Fall.

Happily, I've just received a lovely book that I ordered from The Book Depository.  I'm loving the photography and the vision of the author, Kathryn Ireland, a textile and design artist. This book reminds me of the movie Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960) with Doris Day.  Do you remember this film?  I love stories about buying old dilapidated houses and bringing them back to life.

If you get a chance, watch it.  I did about six months ago and I enjoyed it almost as much as the first time I saw it on TV as a little girl.  There is something about seeing a house and recognizing it on sight as your future home.  That is what happened to Kathryn Ireland, to Kay McKay and to me, when I saw our apartment in Provence for the first time.

If you listen to your gut, it will tell you who to trust, what to do and where home is.

The delivery men are here!

Bonsoir,
Stella

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Château de Moissac

This château is 22 kilometres from our apartment in France. Feast your eyes!

To Do List

This coming Friday, I am hosting a cocktail party for 25 to 30 women.  My friend N. will be showing her jewellery and me and my sister D. will be showing our sewing handiwork (more on this another time).  My to do list is long but is getting whittled down a little bit every day.

Here is what is left (it is less than half of the original list):

Buy:
olives (black and green)
roasted red peppers
palm hearts
radishes
fennel

Put out:
votives
candles
wine glasses
wine glass charms
small plates
napkins
toothpicks                                                                                      
bowls                                                                                      Invitation to the cocktail party made with Punchbowl
music
wood in fireplace (if necessary)
hand towels in washroom

Clean:
basement (because my husband V. promised to show someone Apple TV!  Grrrrr!)
entrance to house and add lights to small trees by door

Appointments:
doctor Thursday 5:30
love seats arrive after 6pm (They were supposed to arrive Nov. 22 but when they called to say they were ready, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give my old love seats away to make place for the new.)
go for blood tests Friday 9:30

On another note, I want to share a free online party organization tool.  It was easy to use to do my invitations and keep track of who accepted and who can't make it as well as who hasn't decided yet.  It even lets you know who hasn't read the invitation yet.  It's called Punchbowl and you can access it here.

I'll post photos of the affair later this week.

Bonsoir,

Stella