Friday, August 31, 2012

TGIF


8:30 am Edmonton
It's Friday morning and I am completing my first week back at work.  Human nature is kind, every year I forget how trying the first week back can be.  Getting up, breakfasting, showering, dressing, putting on makeup, grabbing my lunch and driving 30 minutes to work.  Parking the car, walking the 5 minutes to my building in downtown Edmonton.  Sitting in a chair most of the day, yawning, sometimes feeling hungry, sometimes feeling squirrelly and often looking at my watch because time is not going by fast enough.

4:30pm is quittin' time, walking back to the parkade, driving home in rush hour traffic, getting home, changing into my loungewear and getting on with supper after which I usually deal with a few chores and then collapse only to wake too early and not be able to get back to sleep.

I miss V.  when he is there and I can't sleep, I lift his heavy arm and put it around me and it usually helps me get back to sleep before the alarm rings at 6:45.

After several weeks of sunshine, light clothing, bare feet or sandals, pool time or beach time, market time and brocante time, reading and knitting, visiting and drinking rosé, socializing and spending time with loved ones, the week back to work is an important shift in physical, psychological and emotional ways.
8:30 am Provence

BUT IT'S MY LAST YEAR SO IT'S ALL O.K.!

Bonne journée,

Stella

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oh! my Men I Love Them so...

V. in St. Maarten
 My man is in Anguilla with our eldest son who is studying medicine there.  He has been gone since Saturday and is coming back Monday.  I've just spoken to both of them on Skype and am elated at seeing them together.

V. landed in St. Maarten. He and our son spent two days there then took a 20 minute ferry ride to Anguilla. He says it is beautiful but hot.  Hotter than Provence where we spent almost six weeks this summer.  The humidity is what makes it more difficult to bear.

T. with the rented car
T. looks well.  He's a little heavier because he's not eating his vegetables.  He is in school from 8 to 5 and studying till 2 or 3 am.  He's passionate about medicine and is fully engaged.  It's a beautiful thing to see.

Look at that smile!
In the picture above, they are having dinner at Marigot Port, the French side of St. Martin. V. said that the meeting at the airport was quite emotional.  T. has been gone 8 months...

My heart is overflowing with gratitude for my two men and for the time that they are sharing.

Bonsoir,

Stella

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Solo Sunday

My guy is gone to visit our eldest son in Anguilla, my youngest is at work, I am home alone.  The weather outside is perfect, my house is a little messy and quite a bit dusty.  Laundry is not finished and I have a pile of ironing to do, not to mention that tomorrow is a work day and I have to make a lunch.

BUT

I have a copy of South Pacific (1958) and half a bottle of white wine.

 I have beads and silver wire to make a necklace for my sister's French antique medal of honor purchased at the brocante in Carpentras this summer.

I have to make buttonholes on the antique nightgown I received as a gift this past summer.  A nightgown that can be worn during the daytime on sunny days like today.

And there's that novel that I haven't finished reading...

BUT

I have to change the sheets on the bed and fertilize my flowers.

I have to make supper for myself and my son for when he gets back from work.

What would you do?

Bisous,

Stella

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to Work...


Me: painting the Juliet balcony in our bedroom this summer
 It's the beginning of a new year.  Like many educators, I feel like the end of August is the real beginning of a new year, not January 1st.
I am back to work this Friday.  It has been a glorious summer.  Great weather, travel, friends, a wedding, house projects begun...
My husband V. is leaving this Saturday to visit our son who is studying medicine in the Caribbean.  This is his retirement gift: one week with our boy whom we haven't seen since December 29, 2011.
I have started walking 30 minutes a day.  I am sliding into a weight loss project that will last at least a year.  I have 45 lbs to lose.  I had been mulling it over and Corey just propelled me forward with her invitation to do the same.
I am beginning my last year of full-time work.  This is a red-letter year and I intend to make it as good as it gets. I know that all kinds of not fun stuff will happen but I will just arrange the pieces I've been given to make the best of it.  This is an indirect quote from Wayne Dyer.  I saw the original on Pinterest but failed to pin it to my Well Said board (my iPad is great for all sorts of things but Pinterest and blogging are not among them).

What new year beginnings are you starting up soon?

Bisous,

Stella

Friday, August 17, 2012

Banff Wedding Part II



Just got home from a wonderful wedding... the best I've ever attended.  Small, very small, only 45 people including the wedding party.  Kids, smiles, visits to the candy store, laughing, crying, hugging, sitting in the sun, watching the whole thing take place in the gazebo in downtown Banff.  Strangers snapping shots of the flower girls and ring bearers, the glowing bride and her elated new husband.

My cup runneth over with love for these two who know how to love and to express it.  It was elegant yet homey, sophisticated yet family centred.  Look at the flower girls... they are 3 and 5 years old.  My sister D., mom of the bride sewed the dresses and made the flower circlets for the hair.  On the right are the ring bearers.  The beautiful woman on the left was the matron of honor and is mother to the flower girls and tallest ring bearer as well as the wife of the bride's brother.  The bride's other brother can be seen in the gazebo on the left.  He sang and played guitar accompanied by his wife.

So much talent in this wonderful family made this day an extra special one, a celebration of love and natural gifts.  "Two of Us" (above) by the Beatles was sung by the bride's brother and his wife after the ceremony was sealed with a kiss.

I am a lucky auntie.

Bisous,

Stella

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wedding in Banff

We arrived in Banff at about 2:30 after having lunch in Calgary.  We don't normally come to Banff in the summer so this was a new experience. We are ensconced in a large suite with my sister D. and her husband.  They are the parents of the bride.

Here is the view from our living area.

 Majestic is the appropriate word for our Rockies.  Banff is snuggled up between these giants.  The sun is strong, the air is fresh and the atmosphere, jubilant.

This afternoon, my niece is getting married in a gazebo.  Will share soon.

A bientot!

Stella

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Off to Banff!

Banff National Park, Alberta Canada
My niece Sacha is getting married in Banff tomorrow.  V. and I are heading out in a few hours for the 4-5 hour trip.  It will be a small wedding, less than 50 people.  Sacha is a very special girl and I wouldn't miss this for the world.

This is the gazebo where the ceremony will be take place.
Will try to share a few photos later.

 À la prochaine,

Stella

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Kale Chips Part II

 I have written about this preferred delicious little snack here.  Today, I want to share some serious how to's with you.
Yesterday, my sister brought me a big bag of kale from her garden.  Today, tada! three batches of kale chips.  Here is how I went about it.

1. Wash twice, spins lots.
2. Cut spines off using scissors.
3. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, tear off into bite-size pieces.
4. Sprinkle 2 T of olive oil liberally over the kale.  Sprinkle 2T of balsamic vinegar.  Massage well with your hands until most surfaces are covered.
5. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste and bake at 300 degrees til crisp.
6. Serve to your lucky friends/family with a smile.

Note:  The use of Maggi is an experiment.  I also made a batch with Parmesan cheese.  Both of them are really really good.  I used the same amount of Maggi and Parmesan 2T, as I did for the balsamic vinegar. NO EXTRA SALT required for Maggi and Parmesan as they are already quite salty.

Bonne journée,

Stella

Monday, August 13, 2012

Some people have a tooth fairy...

...I have a vegetable fairy.  My sister D. has just been over for a quick visit and look what she left behind.
Tonight we are having meat loaf and a "bouillie".  A bouillie is a mixture of fresh vegetables boiled together and then drained and served with a little butter, salt and pepper and parsley on top.  Our mother used to make this for us when vegetables from the garden were ready to eat.  My bouillie this evening will consist of new potatoes, carrots, half an onion peas and green beans.  Usually, a little cabbage thrown in gives a lot of flavour. Traditionally, salt pork is added or a piece of beef but I add a little vegetable or chicken bouillon in mine.

The toes are mine.  Leftover pedicure from France...

À la prochaine!

Stella

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We're Baaaack!

Bonjour Everyone!

The return trip, door to door to an whopping 24 hours!  We left our village at 3:30 am (8:30 MST) and got home from the airport at 8:30 pm MST. No wonder took me all of yesterday to get over it!

Even though I'd worn compression socks, my legs, ankles and feet were swollen and a Charley Horse woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me that my left leg muscle was seizing.  It lasted maybe a minute but man did it hurt!  Last time I had one, it was during my first pregnancy 23 years ago...  I have to change my flight plans in future.  Next time, we'll fly to Montréal for a direct flight to Marseille.  No more milk runs for me! As we live one hour away from Marseille, it should cut down our travel time by at least 5 or 6 hours.

On another more positive note, here is a picture of the new vintage table and chairs we bought for our apartment this summer.  Next year: knocking down the closet in the master bedroom and buying an armoire.
The aim is to replace most of the IKEA furniture that was in place when we bought the apartment. Some of it is worn, a lot of it outdated and a good part of it was not suitable for the space it was purchased for.  This part of owning an apartment in Provence is one of the most fun.

Our next trip is in about one year's time.  As I am retiring from full-time work at the end of June 2013, we are returning to Provence not in July but toward the end of August for about three months...

A thought to build a dream on!

À la prochaine,

Stella

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guest post at Corey's

Hi Everyone!

I' m Denise (aka WR aka Weenis Rubber).  I have been spending summers in a small village not far from Corey's. You see, four years ago, Vlad, my husband, and I made a dream come true and bought this charming apartment in a  refurbished 17th century olive oil mill.  My grandfather was from France and Vlad lived on th Côte d'Azur from the age of four to nine.

Picture this: Fall 2008, I am looking for Provençal fabric to decorate my dining room and kitchen, so I Google pictures, click on the one I love and fell on Corey's blog. I emailed Corey to introduce myself and to say that we would be living nearby.  We met, and I'm happy to say that she and FH are our dear friends.

Anyhow, this summer, Corey is working on a wedding project and I've gotten to spend a fair amount of time at her place. It has made me think about all the lessons Provence and Corey are teaching me.

The art of blogging, the art of blooming where you're planted, the art of making the old new again and the art of living fully in Provence to name a few. Brocanting, rummaging through second hand stores, how to use a four inch piece of ribbon that looks fit for the garbage can, repurposing centuries old thingamajiggies for something altogether different than what they were originally meant to be used for... These make up the table of contents of my summer curriculum in Provence with Corey.

This summer, we found the perfect table de ferme and chairs to replace the IKEA dining room table that came with the apartment. We added two lovely terra cotta tiles to the vignette on the wall of the staircase where a magnificent aged tapestry hangs.  This I found on my first outing with Corey where I was infected, happily, with a burgeoning brocante virus. My husband has been asking me to visit towns rather than antiques... (although towns around here ARE antiques...)  Anyway, Provence makes the artist in me come alive, makes my blood churn and my head spin with fantasies that involve trumeau mirrors, flax blankets and Andouze pottery.  I get all hot and bothered
 by the sight of a piece of Toile de Jouy...

Heaven help me I have fallen... in love with old things that me feel young again!

What old thing has given YOU a charge lately?


À la prochaine,

Bisous

Stella