Friday, October 31, 2014

Cheeses Explained by Laura Calder

Laura Calder of French Cooking at Home fame has launched a series of videos from Paris.  The one above explains the different categories of cheeses very well. Although she doesn't go into the sheep/cow's milk cheese difference at all, this is a good video to help you put together a cheese course.

Bon appetit!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Venice Eye Candy

Lower picture is of a door knocker. The little fellow looks like he is bobbing up out of the water doesn't he?



Days are shorter, the cold is setting in, everything in our yard has frozen.  Time to go inside, literally, and do some gardening there. Fall and winter are ideal seasons to cultivate our internal garden.

As I was reminding myself to call my meditation teacher to enroll in the advanced meditation course in November, I learned on FB that Deepak Chopra and Oprah are offering a 21-day Meditation Challenge.

Paolo Coelho says: "When you want something, the Universe conspires to give it to you."  I took this as a sign to sign up... to both courses! And when you sign up to the Chopra meditation course, you get a cute door hanger template to print out.

Do it!
Did you do it?
Let me know in the comments section if you're in!  Please.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

You Know When a Song Won't Leave You Alone?

I have my friend Corey to thank for the fact that this song has been firmly planted in my head since October 21st.  Fun to watch this catchy tune and irresistable visuals.  Meaghan is only 20... Wow!

Got-that-song-in-my-head Stella

Monday, October 27, 2014

Venice Shops and Gorgeousness


Love paper too, here at Il Papiro

Venetians like Parisians, do luxury items very well...

Venetia Studium
Image via Google

Image via Google

When it was sure that we were visiting Venice, I researched fabric stores because there's nothing I like better than gorgeous fabrics for the home or for making into clothes.  Venice seemed like THE place to get beautiful fabrics.
Bevilacqua and Studium seemed to be the go-to places.  Go to them we did but were stopped in our tracks by prices.
Still, we could afford to take pictures, and when I said they were for my blog, I was allowed to take more than one.
In my town, I believe Fabricland is the major source of fabrics and gorgeousness is not readily available.
Where do you get gorgeous fabrics?

Bonne journée,


Sunday, October 26, 2014

44 Hours

To get home.  From the door to our appartment in Provence to the door of our home. This is me at the Frankfurt airport taking it on the chin and doing what the locals do.
This photo was taken after 13.5 hours in transit.  I won't show you a picture of what I looked like getting home.  Suffice it to say that my boy said: "Wow Mman! You look a bit tired..."

Home.  Respite, fallen apples, crisp fall air, yellow and red leaves, a large kitchen (compared to our other one), space to live, to breath, to be but mostly, quiet.

We spent about 11 hours in line-ups waiting to be rerouted, waiting to have our passport checked, rechecked, and checked again, to board, to deboard.

During all this waiting, we had a lot of very good talks with other stranded strangers about the state of the world in general.

Arriving in Canada, we are asked if we heard about the shootings in Ottawa, in Québec, people are a little cautious, careful as they measure out their days in between events.

We are fortunate to live where we live where freedom and fundamental rights are taken for granted. Line-ups and long talks with people from the four corners of the world emphasized this and reminded us how we have a lot more in common with eachother than we think.  44 hours well spent.

Horizontal Stella

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stranded in Frankfurt

We have been in a queue at Frankfort airport for almost four hours now, waiting to be re-routed. Fog in northern Europe is wreaking havock on air travel today.

Sister D. and her husband had previously had their travel plans changed and must sleep in Toronto tonight. At this point, a room at the Sheraton Flughafen would be much appreciated...

If only wishing made it so.

Am reading: The Heist by Daniel Silva, this, a recommendation from Sister D. And brother-in-law, both die-hard fans of the adventures of Israeli spy Gabriel Allon. The reading is helping pass time very nicely.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Countdown Begins

Five sleeps before we lock the door to our cozy little home in Provence and head home to our normal life. This is always a trying time. Cleaning and readying our apartment for renters, saying goodbye to friends...

We came home from Venice on Friday early evening after a small accident on the highway left us shaken.  

Last chance to... buy old things: We went to a vide-grenier (village-wide garage sale) in a neighboring town and said goodbye to our friend Nelly. Nelly deals in antiques and when you make a purchase from her, you also get a story about the history of the piece.  We kissed and made a promise to share a meal together next year.

Last chance to see the waterfall: Later, we hiked the 1.5 kilometers along our town's river to the waterfall.  Halfway through our walked I heaved a heavy sigh and realized how tense I had been.

This enchanted forest is like a setting from a child's storybook.

Brother-in-law T. walking ahead of me.

At the end of the walk the lovely waterfall is both dramatic and symbolic.  The waters rushing down are like tears releasing tension, washing away preoccupations.
Nature reminded me to slow down and to live in the moment, not to anticipate too much.  The tug-of-war between enjoying the moment and organizing the departure keeps me on my toes. Life's just like that isn't it? It's a dance that demands strength and control as well as fluidity.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

In Venice

In order to do Venice justice, you have to walk and walk to appreciate all of her facades.
Late morning view.

Pigeons seem tame.

Even some small streets are chic.

Vistas from the opposite side are just as breathtaking.

Gondoliers cry: Gondolaaaaa!

Ventians garden however they can.

Some streets belie every day life.

Gondolieri are very chummy and chatty with each other.

You park your boat.

Moorish windows abound.

Postcard beauty at every turn. Late afternoon view.

The view from the bridge is a privileged one.
Stella la turista

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

La Serenissima

After an eight hour drive in torrential rains, we made it to Venice.  Four of us, united in our worry and our determination.  At one point, we looked for bridges to take cover during the hailstorm that accompanied the torrential rains.

Upon our arrival in the city, it's like a giant hand reached out and turned off the tap. Venice opened her arms and heart to us and lead us safely home in minutes.

Today, it was 22 degrees and dry.

This pigeon posed, literally, for this picture.    
Venice is a truly glorious city, meant to be walked and enjoyed at a slow pace.  The spaghetti vongole lunch was simple and delicious, the company delightful.

Although it's easy to be distracted by the too numerous shops carrying all manner of venitian goods from China, every street, bridge and around every corner is a feast for the eyes.  It's aqua alta time but no aqua is flooding St. Mark's square for the time being. 

As I write this, a man is singing O Sole Mio from somewhere in the labyrinth that is Venice. We've decided to let Venice lead us where she might for the rest of our sojourn.

Life is very good.

Stella et compagnie

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Echoes from Alberta

Today, we are having a heavenly October day, 25 degrees with mild winds which are drying my whites on the deck as I write this. Brilliant white flags in the sunshine.

In Alberta, it's a little cooler.  Here are two loved-ones, the smallest, our godson.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

An Afternoon in Sillans... and a Misfortune

They used to live in our building.  We stayed in touch.  Every season in Cotignac, we invite them for lunch and then they invite us for lunch.  It works.  We talk and talk and laugh and share dreams and opinions, we widen our horizons then we kiss kiss until next year.

They happen to live in the town known for it's 45 meter (about 150 feet) waterfall. 
Our friends have done a lot of work around their property and they live a
beautiful, peaceful life in the woods.
Off to the waterfall after lunch, before coffee and dessert.
This is Gary, he is a well-looked-after-beloved and content little dog.

After a delicious three-course-lunch, we took a 25 minute hike to the waterfall.  I had seen it before but I was gobsmacked when we arrived at the "belvedere".  So speechless that I lifted my camera to take a picture and my Gucci prescription sunglasses went bing, bang and plop into the lake below.

Those who know me, know that this is not a first for me.  When will I learn not to place my sunglasses on my head!  Though I must say, the first time it happened, some 20 years ago, they fell into the hole in an outhouse as I bent over to help my little boy off the pot, so to speak... No one wanted to help fish them out... Today, I had three men trying to think of ways to get down there but other than scaling a cliff, it was impossible.

I'll be heading off to Venice sunglassless unless of course I see some nice ones there. Hehehe, sounds like a plan.