Monday, May 28, 2012

Ouf!

I have just had an exciting few days... you know when a lot of lovely little things happen and people around you are happy and you get positive feedback and you are fairly floating off the ground?

Saturday afternoon I was shopping for a summer outfit to wear to a few «functions» I have coming up.  I met Micheline, my friend C.'s sister.  C. is dying of cancer and I have been visiting with her regularly over the last few months.  Micheline said that my visits uplift C. and cheer her up. I was humbled.  I had not thought that my little visits could ellicit such a response.

Saturday night I went to listen to a french comedian with my husband and younger son. The theatre was full, over 600 seats.  At the end of a hilarious show, during which I laughed until I cried, he mentioned that if it had not been for a fortuitous meeting with two guys two years ago, he would not have come to Edmonton.

 He said that he was in town to catch another stand up comedian's act and there were these two guys who recognized him from a few movies he was in, told him he should do a show in Edmonton because there are a lot of French-speaking people here.  Alas!  He was talking about my two sons!  Happily, D. was with us and waved at him.  It was one of those tingly exciting moments in life for him and I was so proud/happy for my boy.

On another note, I recently broke a veneer on my front tooth.  I had the piece bonded back on but as I will be in France for 40 days this summer (kind of the opposite of Lent), I felt that the veneer should be replaced.  As it turns out, if I get one veneer replaced, I may as well do the other.  So, I'm getting new front teeth in time for my trip.

I was in the dentist's chair (my friend Colette from university days) for 1 1/2 hours this morning and came away with some awesome temporary veneers, custom-shaped for the new me!  Gone are the rabbitty veneers I have been sporting these last 18 years!

Later, on the same day, I attended a charity lunch where words of inspiration were uttered and promises made to help children in need.  This is the kind of cause that I want to be involved in.

My cup runneth over.  I am buoyed by the good things that just happen in life, in this case, a pearl necklace string of lovely things that lift you out of the year-end doldrums into another sphere.  A sphere of connectedness and joy where you forget the insignificant things that otherwise bother you and look outside of yourself to see/help others.

I am grateful for these moments as I am grateful for my tooth incident as I am  for the tender moments I spend with my dying friend and for the opportunity to do something for children in need.  Life is good even when it's not because there is beauty even in the most unattractive things.  I revere these moments of shared human kindness and wish for all the world to awaken to the power of sharing and the energy of joy.

Amen.

Bonne journée,

Stella

Monday, May 21, 2012

Reunion

Rosenthal from post WWII

The cake plate on the left is a legacy from V.'s European grandparents.  They fled Romania, Czechoslovakia and settled in Germany.  V's parents settled for a while in France and then off to Montreal and then Edmonton.  The plate made it's way to us, the third generation.  I have always treasured this piece as I find it beautiful and cheerful.

When I was in White Rock with my friend Mary last year, to my surprise, I saw that she had a piece of the same pattern.  This piece comes from her husband's grandparents (premier Robson) who lived in the Vancouver area from the turn of the century.

Before I left White Rock, there was a plastic bag on the counter and I asked her what it was, she told me to look.  My eyes teared up and I gave my friend a firm hug, one that says how happy I am to have her in my inner circle.

Tomorrow, my reading circle is hosted in my home, I will use the pair for the first time.  I'm serving banana bread, made today, watermelon and pineapple and Greek yogurt with berries. The book is The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht, a story that takes place in the country where my friend Mary was born.

It never ceases to amaze me how the world is not such a big place.  How we are linked inextricably to one another and how, across the ocean or the mountains, we find like-minded people.

Bonne journée,

Stella


Monday, May 14, 2012

V.

I am a person who has not slept full nights since I was pregnant with my first child at age 31.  Invariably, I wake up for one hundred known and unknown reasons.  Last night, it was acid reflux.  I knew I should not have had any cream puffs with the champagne my youngest son bought me for Mother's Day.

Luckily, my night table is stocked with a variety of medicinal and non medicinal paraphernalia to help me try get back to sleep. However, one of my most successful go-back-to-sleep strategies that cannot be found in the night table, is to cuddle up to V. and get him to put his arm around me. His weighty calm can sometimes lull me back like he used to do with the boys as little ones.

I am grateful for my husband and partner of almost 30 years.  He sleeps like the dead, roars like a tractor and heats up our bed like a furnace.  Nice... in the winter time.  But best of all, he is always a happy camper on this journey we are sharing which is called Life.  He is always there, solid, dependable, funny, kind, loving and extra specially cuddly.

I can't wait to see what the future brings after the next seven weeks when he finally retires after 45 years of full time work!  You see, V. has the equivalent of almost 9 years of university, 2 of which he did in the daytime!

Thank you Minou, you are the best!

bisous,

ta Stella

Thursday, May 10, 2012

White Rock and Vancouver


View from Dancing Firs Executive Suites

I've had my little spring triplet to the Vancouver and as always, it does not disappoint.  How could it?  The lushness of the abundant greenery, the ocean, the views, beaches, quaint streets, art, and so much more.

 Amongst the many things that we did, we read Emily Carr's Growing Pains, an autobiography.  We had a reading circle around it then, we visited the Vancouver Art Gallery to see some of her works.  Emily Carr is one of Canada's most renowned artists.  Unfortunately, she was in her late sixties before she got any recognition.  She was an original, a visionary.  Her paintings were far ahead of their time.  I didn't expect to enjoy this biography as much as I did.  For a real taste of Canadian spirit, landscape and art, Growing Pains is an excellent read.  My intention is to have my future European guests read it before they come to visit!




This is my friend Mary, owner of Dancing Firs Executive Suites


After that, we went to a Japanese garden: Nitobe, on the UBC campus.  A calm oasis in the middle of a city.  Inspiring!  Mary has been a resident of the area for 50 years.  She makes and excellent guide.  We toured streets full of the pinkness of cherry trees and made a pit stop to Banyen Books.  And there is so much more to do/see.

Good thing I'm going back in the fall!

Have a great day!

Stella

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kale Chips

 I have taken a liking to Kale Chips.  They are a fun snack, they don't hurt my tummy, are easy to digest and are good for you.  What else can you ask for from a snack?

Monday night our friend Michelle the vegetarian was over for supper as she is going to be staying at our apartment in Provence for two weeks this month.  It was a sort of handing over of the keys event.  I served salads, cheeses, a wonderful tapenade made with figs (recipe here) and... kale chips.

Appetizers served with Proseco as M. is also
going to Italy for a few days.
Kale chips are easy to make and are relatively inexpensive.  They even made a hit with my meat and potatoes man, François last month.  Here is the recipe.  I am going to experiment with different seasonings and let you know.

Ciao!

Stella