Sunday, December 30, 2012


 A few nights ago, I went with my guys to see Skyfall, the third James Bond movie performed by Daniel Craig.  We agreed a few years back, that Craig after Sean Connery, was the best James Bond.  We especially liked Casino Royal, less so  Quantum of Solace.  With this last movie, we were tickled because of the numerous references to past James Bond movies.

My son T. called the references: Easter Eggs.  I'll give you only a couple: the movie goes to Scotland (nudge, nudge, wink, wink Sean) and Moneypenny resurfaces.  Need I say more?  We liked this more- sedate-than-usual Bond thriller because of its sentimentality:  filial loyalty towards M, the non existent love interest and the good job of directing us backwards to the past are all aspects of the movie that we appreciated.  We walked out more touched than shaken and stirred if you know what I mean.

If you have a chance this holiday season, see it.  With the men or the women in your lives.  Those who have liked JB will like this one.



P.S.  I enjoyed Looper.  Bruce Willis is a little less his movie self and a little more himelf at the same time.  I like seeing him with the grey hair, wrinkles and a still-fit body.  Clearly, aging doesn't seem to bother Bruce.  I first liked him in Moonlighting 1985-1989 with Cybill Shepherd.  Remember?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Post Christmas Post

One week into the holidays and I am already feeling it.  It, the need to stop, to slow down, to have a blank agenda for a day or three.  With T. in the house, we are whipped up into a frenzy getting him to the doctor, the dentist, the masseur, the clothes store, his favorite restaurant, the movies, etc., etc.
Now that most of the have tos have been looked after, this second week will bring time to get back in touch with the self.  Since November, I've been doing a little lot of knitting.  I have 5 pairs of Toast in my gift-giving drawer.  The yarn used is Classic Elite's Portland Tweed, a mixture of virgin wool and alpaca with a little viscose.  It knits up beautifully and I love the colors.  Here is a shot of the pile.  I just have to weave in a bunch of ends and they are ready to go.

I also made two of this lovely Marian cowl by Jane Richmond using Rowan's Splash (no longer available but you can try to get it on ebay or Ravelry). This colorway is called Seascape and I love the muted tones that remind me of the beach in Florence, Oregon.  One cowl for me, one for the darling girl who does my hair.

Once I get a pattern down, then I am not too stressed to make it for someone else.  I just have to get it down perfect pat  before I dare to offer it as a gift. I remember too many times I wanted my Mom to knit me this or that and she would always do her best but sometimes... it didn't turn out well for me and I felt guilty that I had her do all the hours of knitting required to get the thing done and badly about the money spent on the yarn.  That's the rub with all things hand made.  They CAN turn out not-so-good despite one's best efforts.

I am looking at making this caplet with a ball of yarn that has been hiding in the window seat for a couple of years.  The pattern is versatile, it can make a caplet or an infinity scarf, so popular nowadays.  This knitting thing, it's really good for me. It's a hobby that travels well and calms me.  I usually knit before I go to sleep, thus avoiding the ever present screen (TV, computer) that can sometimes overstimulate the mind and make sleeping even more of a challenge than it already is.

That being said, my three guys are waiting for me to watch a movie on Apple TV called Looper, starring Bruce Willis... 

...I am definitely bringing my knitting.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Joyeux Noël

I want to wish everyone who passes by the merriest of Christmases.  Let me qualify that:  I wish you peace, I wish you love, I wish you serenity, I wish you joy, I wish you quietude, I wish you good sleeps, I wish you hugs and kisses, I wish you good food and good movies, I wish you long walks, good drink, fire in the fireplace or on TV, I wish you loving family and loved seniors and babes.  I wish you a full heart.



Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'll be Home for Christmas...

T. and D. at the airport early this morning
Our boy is home.  I should say our man.  He is so grown up and in charge and sweet and smart and witty and fun all rolled into one.

We had to bundle him into a winter coat and boots as the difference in temperature with Anguilla was 50 degrees at 1 am this morning.  So we did, we bundled and coddled and cooed and took our treasure home where we unbundled him and coddled and cooed some more, all three of us, until we were sure that he was for real and that we could let him go for a bit.

Listening to him I wonder what V. and I did to give birth to such a force of nature.  He is so passionate about medicine, about people, about poverty, about racism about humanity.  I love his ethic, his ideals, his view of life.

Needless to say, I am overwhelmed with love and am trying hard not to: hover, question, meddle, kiss, hug...  But he is the one making the first move. Every few hours, he opens his arms and holds us tight.

I'll be home for Christmas, you can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree

I am a sappy, happy sentimentalist.  I asked for one thing for Christmas, and I got it.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Tonight, tonight
The world is full of light
With suns and moons all over the place
                                                            - excerpt from West Side Story

My boy comes home tonight.  How will he be?  Will he weep, shall I? I'll take my camera and catch his brother hop into his arms.

We are tightly knit this family of mine.



Monday, December 17, 2012

Snowman Humor

Via Pinterest

Two More Sleeps

The last week has been frenetic.  Yes, frenetic just about sums it up.



Fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way: "a frenetic pace of activity".

Although the «uncontrolled» is not quite right.  I did have one foot on the ground. 

So here's the rub:  Why do people insist on adding Christmas activities at the last minute during the two weeks before the start of holidays?  Last week I had three social events in a row, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Saturday found me completely out of commission, flat on my back, silent and recharging a dangerously low battery, what with going to work AND socializing and all.

Why didn't I say no?  Because in the first case, I was leading the activity, in the second, I was the first in a long list of invitees (not a good reason, I know)and in the third, I had already said no to said person the last time I was invited.

So, after spending Saturday in semi-comatose state, Sunday I was up and at it and had a lot of catching up to do.  We put up the tree and decorations, I still have to do the railings.  I did laundry, still have a load to fold, made supper and  knit on the scarf I want to offer my beautiful fantastic yoga teacher.

Still to do:
  1. Railings as aforementioned
  2. Tourtières with my sons
  3. Lee Valley Tools for some stocking stuffers
  4. A couple of Christmas cards for my colleagues
  5. Finish work on a necklace
  6. Put a few things away in T's room that has almost become a dumping ground
  7. Put wreath and garland on front door
  8. Get boys to wash cars
  9. Get boys to pick up fondue meat
  10. Get boys to buy Maman a great big gift for being such a pearl (well, it sounds like a good idea)
Talk to you later,



Monday, December 10, 2012

10 More Sleeps

Our big boy is coming home for Christmas.  We haven't seen him since January 5th.  In 10 sleeps, I can hold him in my arms and give him a big hug.  I can kiss his cheeks and squeeze his arm.  I can cook for him and laugh at his jokes.  I can share a glass of red wine and talk by the fire.  I can go for a walk when it's dark outside and talk about life. I can roll my eyes at his less funny jokes.  I can wake him up by tousling his hair and kissing his forehead.  I can smell where his neck meets his shoulder.  I can weep with joy. 

I can watch he and his father back slap.  I can watch him put his arm around his brother.  I can watch them wrestle.  I will see him talk passionately with his godfather. I will watch him watch the little children.  I will receive compliments for the good food.  I will be asked for advice.  I will be full of love and wonderment at this person who shared a sacred space with me for 9 months and is now, completely an adult.

Bonne journée,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Boob Scare

Two weeks ago, my left breast had a thickened mass in it.  It hurt.  I was afraid.  I had an appointment with my doctor within five days and she sent me straight to the Breast Center.  Five days after my appointment with my doctor, I was lying on the table for an ultrasound after my mammogram.  All clear.

Bless our health system.  Bless my friends and family. I love life and I get more of it.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fleet Foxes

My boy T. introduced me to the Fleet Foxes a few years back.  I am listening to them as I write this and still find them good.

Listen to their White Winter Hymnal.

Avec amour,


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Solstice by Windham Hill

It's a tradition now. Every December 1st, I dig through the bins in my crawl space and retrieve my Winter Solstice music.  O.k. it is not technically winter, that arrives on December 21st somewhere in the world but not in Canada. Here, winter has been comfortably ensconced since somewhere around the beginning of November.  We had that blizzard on November 7th dumping 20+ centimetres of snow and it (winter) has been here to stay since then.

So anyways, back to my favorite going into winter music. It is a series of yearly CDs released by Windham Hill , one per year since 1989.  I think that there are at least 6 CDs in all.  The music, provided by various artists,  can be lyrical and sad, evoking the frozen landscape and the return to darkness and tug at your soul or  festive and joyful and make you want to dance a jig. Before Christmas, I like the mournful tunes best.  It's the darkness before the light when the air is pensive and anticipatory.

 The collection is still available at Amazon here or you can purchase it on iTunes.  

For me, the start of winter and preparation for the Christmas season always starts with this music.  None of my men complain about it so I guess they might even like it too.

Try it, you'll like it.

Here is a taste from YouTube.


Bon dimanche,


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coco Chanel

I have just finished reading Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie.  It was an easy read, full of pictures of people, places and things.  What's not to like about this self-made legend.

Born to poor parents, orphaned at 12, essentially abandoned by her father to a convent, she learned her craft of sewing and handiwork very young.  It would serve her well at 18 when she had to leave the convent and had to find work.

Enter the first of many well-known, prosperous and/or talented men into her life: Étienne Balsan.  He would be the first to give her the time and space she needed to break through to her creative talent.  Her second man Boy Capel would help launch the Chanel house on rue Cambon that is still in place today in Paris.

Not an exceptionally beautiful woman, Coco had an abundance of dark curly hair and a gamine body, a kind of clothes-horse frame that looked good in most clothes. She was well dressed and lady-like and athletic and very hard-working. She had very strong opinions and did not hesitate to voice them.  She liked men but never married.  This book hints that she was lonely in old-age and regretted her single life.

This is a great rags to riches story of a force of nature who single single-handedly revolutionized fashion and built an empire. (300 stores world wide and a 3 billion dollar a year industry) This was a fascinating look into an amazingly powerful and visionary woman and it is worth reading if not for her life story then for a look at the cast of friends, lovers and houses that entered and exited it.

Four stars out of five.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Testing and Trying... Food

My little repertoire is getting boring.  I have to spruce it up with new, different recipes. I'm talking appetizers, main dishes, side dishes...  I have purchased several old cookbooks reputed to be excellent sources for French cooking but I have a hankering to try other people's favorite best recipes.  No need to be French, just a winner. Can you help?

In the meantime, here a a few delightful and delicious discoveries I have made over the last weeks.
St-Germain liqueur.  It is made with elderberry flowers and is a surprising, fruity-candy taste for grownups.  It's light and perfect for an after dinner treat.  It can be served as a cocktail when mixed with champagne or white wine.  I have yet to try this but sense that the combo with champagne will be a winner.The bottle is gorgeous, I am going to use mine as a dish soap dispenser when it's empty and it won't be long now.  This, I know, will be a holiday favorite with my family.  V. and D. have already stamped their approval and T., when he gets home December 20th is going to taste it and see if he joins the ranks of the sold on this solid gold liqueur...

If you live in the Edmonton area, we have two lovely French bakeries:  Duchess Bakery and Dauphine Bistro and Bakery.   When I have people over for dinner, I am not averse to purchasing a dessert and Duchess has been my usual choice for something luscious like Duchess cake or lemon tart but recently, having been to Dauphine and spoken to the owner, the former «Queen of Tarts»I will have to try their Buche de Noel for my Christmas eve dinner this year.

Dauphine is also offering French pastry classes every Sunday in January.  Wouldn't that make a great «With Love From Me to Me» Christmas present?

Bonne journée,


Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I first learned the power of gratitude through Sarah Ban Breathnach.  This short film is a magnificent tribute to something as simple as «thank you».



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas

It's the time of year where, if you haven't already thought of something to buy, your housekeeper, your friend, something for the office gift exchange, you may be thinking hard... Here are a few items that I will be giving out this year.

Chai du Grand Vaudasnière Cremant de Vouvray, my new favorite (affordable) sparkling white wine... does great in lieu of champagne and the label is beautiful.

These felt crown Christmas ornaments are a cute gift for your co-worker girlfriends.  They are from Restauration Hardware and are on sale right now.

I think that the gift of reading is always an excellent choice.  My Dad is getting these Canadian biographies this year.

I bought a couple pair of these scissors at Fabricland the other day, one for me and one for a dear one.  I think they are cute to keep in your night stand or your knitting basket.

My guy is recently retired and needs comfy cozy things to wear at home this winter season.  I got him a few pair of these Serious Sweats at Land's End. They are everything they advertise and more.  So cuddly...

For a home-made gift option, I'll be giving a few pairs of these away this season. Get the free pattern here.

Photo source: Leslie Friend (A Friend to Knit With Blog)
And finally, for the younger men in my house, these Calvin Kleins 365's are just the thing for a stocking filler.

Happy hunting and gathering!


Wellington Reads

I am doing a reading circle for Wellington Garden Center in Edmonton.  If you are in the region, why don't you participate?  I would love to meet you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dealing With Change

A long time ago, I invested much time and effort into bettering myself.  I was at a crossroads you see and I had to choose a path.

After many months working and working at myself, I came to a realization that there was nothing I could do about it and I had to let go.

Letting go was one of the biggest lessons life had to teach me and it has served me well in all kinds of life situations.

Today, I read a book that reinforced this life lesson and put into words what I have been experiencing in different areas of my life. Who Moved My Cheese?  is a very short but powerful analogy, mice and little people are called to action, or inaction, when the supply of cheese runs out in one section of the labyrinth they live in.

I found it on the Internet in pdf format here while researching it.  It takes maybe 20 minutes to read but it is so profoundly true that it is inspiring.

So get moving and shake hands with Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw and think about what you would do if you were not afraid.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Faraway One

This video has been around for a long time.  The 45,000,000 hits it got on Youtube attest to that.  Today, I post this for my boy T. who is my faraway one.

Je t'aime.


Friday, November 16, 2012

November Weekend

We've had a pretty grey week thus far in Sunny Alberta. As I write this, I see a patch of almost blue sky between the buildings outside my office window.

The usual Friday buzz: «What are you doing this weekend?» is going to start after lunch so I'm thinking about it now. Saturday: sleep in, play with my new old skeleton keys just received from France; I'm going to try to get the rust off and make: key rings, necklaces and maybe frame some?  They are the real thing, so lovely I could just display them in a bowl.  I have little ones too, to make jewelry with. After that, I'll work in a walk with my loved-one.
After that, I'll do some reading, make a nice supper and go out to see the new James Bond movie with V. and D.  On Sunday, I have to start working on a report that will take me several hours, do laundry, make supper, get ready for work and read.

What are YOU doing this weekend?



Monday, November 12, 2012

Home Again

After a whirlwind four days in White Rock with my sister D. at my friend Mary's, I'm back!  Phew!  Do you know that feeling you have that you just might have imagined the whole thing?  This trip was packed with fun and good company and good eats.

We hit the ground running on Thursday when we landed later than scheduled.  Picked up our car and headed for Dancing Firs, dropped our bags, hugged Mary and headed for the grocery store.  Later, around a meal of wild salmon, asparagus and roasted baby potatoes with Mary's rosemary from the garden, we sipped on Chai du Grand Vaudasnière (my new favorite sparkling wine) and just heaved a giant sigh of relief.
Friday, D. and I headed out to Bellingham where we did some shopping and I purchased Etienne Aigner boots similar to the ones pictured below.  The trip to the US was an adventure in itself and after a delicious late waterside lunch we headed home.  In our minds, we thought we would have time to make a beer ham and have a quiet supper in our suite.  As it happened, we got lost on the way home and beer ham turned into Chinese food from Fong's Eatery in Surrey.

Saturday was our Reading Circle day around the book: Portrait of an Artist  on Georgia O'Keeffe, lunch and an art lesson with Lucan, a gentle, lovely artist who guided us through a two hour lesson using one of O'Keeffe's work as inspiration.
You get the general idea...
Sunday, D. and I headed to a fabric store to buy trims and ribbons and then, with Mary, our guide extraordinaire, we went for a car ride in Vancouver, my favorite part of every trip I take to White Rock.  This time, we visited, Southlands, Terra Breads and Granville Street where we stopped at Williams Sonoma and Eileen Fisher. Here are the Striped Rib Glovelettes in Merino wool that I didn't buy at Eileen Fisher.  If I want them, I'll just have to learn to knit with  size 1 needles! E.F. has the most gorgeous clothes.  The cuts and fabrics are superb.  If I could, I would have a closet full of Sympli and Eileen Fisher.
Eileen Fisher Striped Rib Glovelettes

After the car ride, we had quick dinner at our friend Debbie and Mark's new condo and headed home to repack and hit the hay early for an early departure this morning.

My cup runneth over.  I am inspired to:

1. read more biographies
2. knit with finer yarns
3. have another painting lesson
4. go back to W. R. in Febuary
5. work on my garden next spring
6. go out on more four-day artist's dates

I've unpacked, had a bath, put in some clothes to wash, had supper and with your permission, am now going to pass out!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blizzard Conditions in Edmonton

1 hour and 40 minutes to come to work today!  The upside is that it is my last day this week because I am off to see my friend Mary at Dancing Firs in White Rock!  Yeah!  We will be having a reading circle on the Georgia O'Keeffe biography I read recently, then, we will have a large scale flower painting lesson, then a trip to an artist who also paints in this style. We are capping off the evening with a the biopic on Georgia starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons.

In the plans are also hot-tubbing with a view on the Pacific ocean, hot-footing it to Vancouver to do some sight seeing and maybe hit a few bijoux stores we don't have here.  I heard that the  Gourmet Warhouse there is incredible!

On another note, during lunch, I am going to Zumba with my friend Lizette!  Watch out world, the rockin' granny is in the room!  NOT.

I'll tell you one thing though, all of this snow is not boding well for our French Bijoux show at Wellington this evening... Hmmm.

Stay warm, or cool, whatever the case may be!



Monday, November 5, 2012

Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life

I'm so excited!

I will be starting a reading group at Wellington Garden Center in Edmonton!  It's such and inspiring place to meet and explore French style and culture.

We are having a first meeting on December 12th  from 7 to 9 pm at Wellington.  The book, as seen in the title of this blog looks really interesting and explores the life of this fashion icon. From the book description on Amazon:

The story of Chanel begins with an abandoned child, as lost as a girl in a dark fairy tale. Unveiling remarkable new details about Gabrielle Chanel’s early years in a convent orphanage and her flight into unconventional adulthood, Justine Picardie explores what lies beneath the glossy surface of a mythic fashion icon.
 If you live in the area of Edmonton, you may want to join in.  Books are available at Wellington at  13648 - 142 Street.  You can call them at (780) 455.2281 to sign up.  If you do not live in the area, why not read it anyway and comment on the post I will write after the circle!

Photos from:

I'm at a time in my life where I am fascinated with strong, talented women.  From  Emily Carr to Georgia O'Keeffe, I have learned so much about the strong talent and will that runs in these women who have given their lives over to their art.

So if you want to know more about Coco, please join us, in person or virtually,  to share your reading experience!



Friday, November 2, 2012

Paris: The Apartment that Time Forgot

Buried treasure.  Buried in the middle of Paris. In the 9th arrondissement, not far from Pigalle to be precise.  This is the apartment that was shut down and forgotten for 70 years "with the rent faithfully paid".  I wish I were the one who discovered it!

 This place is brimming with antique treasures.  Anyone the least bit interested would snap these up!  Corey taught me that unlike IKEA, antiques hold their value.  If you find something you love and you can afford, it's a good idea to buy it because your children will get something for it...

Just look at the bergère chair on the right, and the paintings and ooohhh!  The pretty dishes.  That coffered ceiling isn't too bad either...  I could live with that chandelier too!

Now the ostrich doesn't do anything for me but I would love the shawl that he is wearing and Mickey must be worth a fortune!   The faux panelling behind the ostrich, I have in my bedroom already... Check!  But I don't have a vanity table and mirror like this... The damask paper and gold curtains are not a bit dated don't you think?  What about those ivory vanity pieces eh?
And the mystery woman who owned all of this loveliness and decided to stay safe in Provence is: The granddaughter of Marthe de Florian painted above by Boldoni in 1898 when she was 24.  The starting price for the painting was 300,000 euros and it sold for over 2,000,000.  This article says that Miss de Florian lived in the apartment all of her life and that beribboned letters from fervent admirers were found...

Now, who was the granddaughter and why oh why was she so neglectful? Did she not know about it, or did the decades of dust in the apartment hide some sordid details?

Woudn't this make a great novel or movie? If I were a gifted writer, I would fly to Paris right now and research the story.  Then I would leisurely write it in Provence as a retirement project.

What do you think of that?

Bon weekend!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Ahhhhh! That Feels Goooooood Lloyd!

 I went for a massage today after work.  It had been months since my last visit and my neck and shoulders were tighter than a fiddle string.

Lloyd, all 6 feet 2" of him, solid muscle and a smile that makes your heart beat faster, is my masseur.  Yep!  I know how to pick 'em and Lloyd is the best. What that man does with his fingers and palms and elbows is nothing short of a miracle.  Lloyd is a Rolfer.  According to Wiki:

Rolfing is a therapy system created by The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (also referred to as "RISI")[1], founded by Ida Pauline Rolf in 1971.[2] The Institute states that Rolfing is a "holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organize(s) the whole body in gravity".[3] Manipulation of the muscle fasciae is believed to yield therapeutic benefits...

Lloyd can manipulate my muscle fasciae anytime he wants!

I was reminded about going back for a visit with Lloyd when reading Georgia O'Keeffe's biography last month.  She was a rolfing enthusiast, knew Ida Rolf and practiced some rolfing exercises taught to her by Ida and son of a gun, if it was good for Georgia (who lived to the ripe old age of near 99), it's good for me!
I always walk out of a massage standing straighter and feeling taller.  The movement in my neck, shoulders and upper back is so much easier, loosey goosey kind of...

I am booked for another appointment soon as this technique requires repetitive visits.  Sitting in front of a computer most of the days is a killer for posture but Lloyd will set me straight, all 5' 1 1/2" of me!



Friday, October 26, 2012

On my Kobo

I have just purchased Going Gray: What I Learned About Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters. 

Indeed, I have been thinking for some time now, that I might be ready for this embracing my crowning glory au natruel.  My hairdresser is the one encouraging me to do it and as retirement and living on a pension and the odd contract are looming, I have embarked on the journey to apparently white hair.

Here is a photo of me with my new ash blond color.  My hairdresser is helping me along with a certainly painless hopefully seamless road to my natural state.

Bonne journée,


P.S. Check out Anne Kreamer's website here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Season of Oxblood

I had an extraordinarily good day today.  The kind that makes you stop and count your blessings. 

It was a series of fortunate events that ended with me coming home late and finding the outdoor lights on, the fireplace ablaze and dinner made with a bottle of red wine sitting in the carafe, aerated.

First time for V. who has been retired since end June this year. 

At my lovely hairdresser's when I came to pay for my cut and color, she said no, not this time.  Why? Because I did some translating of the descriptions of her 20 odd paintings for her opening this coming November 3rd.  I also got a new nail polish on the house in the new fall color: Bordeaux which pleases me to no end because dark red is a favorite color that I have not worn in a long time.

I'm all fired up about this color.  Am looking for a pair of shoes and maybe a purse to go with.  A royal treat because finally there is a color out there that I really love.

Claret, Bordeaux, Oxblood, all versions of deep dark red seen in everything from sweaters to boots.

I'm not the world's most ardent fashionista, but when I hear my song playing, I'm all in.  This season's Oxblood is going to be the punctuation in my fall/winter essay, a great way to thumb your nose at the cold weather...

Bonne nuit,