Sunday, January 31, 2010

Live at Le Jungle...

A quick trip to the butchers to pick up something for dinner and I was doing my best to avoid joining the conversation between the butcher, The Boyfriend, and the other man in the shop (everyone talks to each other here, small town charm). I looked around for something to distract me and lo and behold...



Woohoo!!! A poster for Chippendales right there in the butchers. What a strange place to advertise the oiled up gyrating, banana hammock wearing man revue.
I was just about to make a tasteless joke (I'll let you use your imagination) but thought better of it. I apologise.

And how much are you loving the name of the club...

'Le Jungle'.

Awesome 80's goodness. Chippendales live at Le Jungle!

And it's not even my birthday (yet!).

bisou


P.S.
Sorry the picture is not better quality. I was trying to snap the photo as quickly as possible. The butcher and The Boyfriend were staring at me like I have some sort of mental illness.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I didn't get to go. Not that I'd want to. I'm just saying.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Windblown

image: wikimedia

I now know the meaning of windblown.

Yesterday the winds in Le Petit Village were whipped into a frenzy. A frenzy being one of winds so hard and forceful that you walked at a slant and had to shout to be heard. And if you want to know who I was shouting at it was Fifty, telling him to hurry up and get on with it so we could get back inside.

I don't know if I met the famous Mistral or not but the harsh winds that blew through here yesterday turned the village into an old ghost town. The shutters on all the houses were closed and in the five (super duper quick) walks I took with Fifty, I never saw one single villager. Not one.

At one point a group of about twenty hikers walked by my window but they don't count. They were tourists, faces red and weather beaten, and obviously not smart enough to know that you shouldn't hike through mountain villages when it's so windy your face is getting pelted with bits of ice and gravel and at any moment you expect a tree branch to break off and impale you. And those little metal walking spikes you're carrying aren't going to save you.

So there you have it.

The only people stupid enough to be outside were me and the tourists.

At least I can blame Fifty.

bisou


P.S.
On a completely unrelated note, I made chicken fajitas for dinner last night and they were Texas good. Just wanted to toot toot my own horn.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Should Have Bought The Dyson

I wanted this...

image: www.dyson.fr

I got this...


I begged for the Dyson but The Boyfriend wouldn't hear it,

"€3oo?! For a vaccuum?"

"Yes, but it's worth it. They last forever and nothing cleans like a Dyson."

This is the conversation we had in July when I was visiting Le Petit Village before moving. We were making a list of things that we needed to have when I arrived in September. It was a short list because I wanted us to buy most things together after I arrived, (The Boyfriend needs to be supervised while shopping. He's been known to go rogue. One time he tried to buy a 3D Mohammed Ali poster for our living room). But there were somethings that couldn't wait like a washer, dryer, and a vacuum.

The washer dryer, oh the washerdryer!

Our house does not have a place for both a washer and a dryer. If we had a back garden to hang the clothes out, I would be happy, drying the clothes and being kind to the environment at the same time. Fantastic! But we don't have a back garden. So as crappy as they can be sometimes, an all in one washer and dryer was required. I said this to The Boyfriend. Of course I got the normal male response,

"But they're so expensive".

Yes, they are about €150 more than a straight washer but what choice did we have? We need the washer dryer. I didn't want our house looking like an old Chinese Laundry with wet clothes drying over every radiator and chair.

He obviously didn't get the point and why would he? I'm the one that would be doing the laundry. And this is not a sexist Suzy Homemaker thing. I like doing the laundry. When I do the laundry I know that the clothes get washed and ironed, and then lovingly folded and put in their proper designated place in wardrobe, dresser, or closet.

The Boyfriend does not do laundry. Only when there is literally nothing else for him to wear and he can no longer locate a bed, chair or couch underneath dirty clothes. Then, he will find someone to do laundry for him.

Case in point - The Boyfriend was visiting me in Dublin. I met him at the airport and hugged him. At this point I noticed that his white shirt seemed a bit grey around the edges. The rest of the clothes he brought with him were also dirty. We had to go shopping for new clothes. Who packs dirty clothes? Now you know the answer.

A month before I moved, The Boyfriend phoned me very pleased with himself,

"I got a washing machine."

"Oh, that's great" I was thrilled to be able to cross something off the list.

"But where are you going to dry the clothes?"

(Sometimes The Boyfriend's memory is not the best; rugby damage).

Huge sigh from my end. And then a few deep breaths. And then I used my colorful vocabulary reserved for special occassions.

Now when I do laundry, I have to hoof it to Boyfriend's Brother's house and hang the clothes on his line. This is a pain in my petunia.

As far as the vacuum goes, needless to say I didn't get the Dyson. I arrived in September to a little red vacuum bought on sale for €40. And I got about €40 worth of cleaning out of it. It died this morning, only four months old, making the most pitiful sound on it's way out. I think I'm going to throw a party. Me, the little red vacuum, and a baseball bat. I have some emotions I would like to share with the little red vacuum.

As soon as The Boyfriend arrives home tonight as much as I try to hide it, I'm sure my face will be plastered with it's I told you so smirk.

Sidebar - I swear, I am not as high maintenance as I seem. I'm just a little anal, a tad controlling, with a healthy dash of OCD.

It's a soft and cuddly mix.

bisou




Monday, January 25, 2010

Multiplication, The Serial Killer, and Some Champagne

The Boyfriend and I popped into the Honey house. We had a bottle of Baileys from Dublin for Mr Honey that had to be delivered. Mr Honey loves Baileys, he thinks it's candy, but unless Mrs Honey is watching him carefully, he'll finish the whole bottle.

Normally when we get to The Honeys, it's just a quick knock on the door, and then we walk in. Doors are rarely locked in Le Petit Village, except mine, mine is double bolted, best to keep out the Nazi soldier ghost zombies. But when we opened the door we heard some pretty loud voices shouting back and forth.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I think foreign languages can sound a little scary. Not all the time, just when spoken loudly. As soon as the decibel level of a foreign language is raised, I want to duck for cover because it sounds like someone is pissed off and I best be getting out of the way. Years ago I had a Romanian boyfriend, and every time he spoke on the phone to his mother I thought they were having an argument. Nope, just their normal weekly chat, probably talking about sunshine and rainbows, but in Romanian, sunshine and rainbows can sound like death and destruction.

Hearing the shouting, we quickly stepped back and quietly closed the door. The Boyfriend and I looked at each other, not too sure what to do. He knocked again louder. No response. The Boyfriend searched for the doorbell, and used it for the first time. Mrs Honey answered the door laughing and shaking her head. We walked into the kitchen and there was Mr Honey still shouting and waving his arms around like a lunatic. Thinking that something was terribly wrong at the Honey house, I asked The Boyfriend what Mr Honey was going on about. Mr and Mrs Honey were having a very heated argument about multiplication. What???

This is what happens when children leave the nest and parents don't have anything to do to occupy themselves. They argue about multiplication.

You see, when multiplying amounts with a zero on the end, Mrs Honey likes to do the whole thing like; 600 x 10, but Mr Honey likes to do it like; 6 x 1 and then add the zeros on after.

Mr Honey was leaning over me with a pink post it and a pen frantically writing multiplication problems desperately willing me to understand and support his argument that the way he does it was easier.

This is what the shouting was about.

We gave him the bottle of Baileys and the multiplication was forgotten. But then somehow, the subject moved to a story about some old French serial killer, hundreds of years ago, who had like 20 wives that he killed. And after he killed them, would chop them up and put them in the oven. Mr Honey informed me that he needed a bigger oven.

"Would you like some champagne?" Mrs Honey asked.

Yes please.

bisou





Friday, January 22, 2010

My New Hobby

I have a new hobby.

I would love to say that it's yoga, or painting, or decoupage (never did start that) but it's slightly more neurotic.

I've been tracking the sunrise times in Le Petit Village (actually not specifically, Le Petit Village is too small to have it's own weather page, but the closest larger village's sunrise).

I am so desperate for my early sunny mornings to come back that each morning I log on and check the sunrise time. It's always a minute earlier than the day before. Today, 8:04.
At this rate, it'll be the end of February before a 7:30 sunrise, much more suitable for an early bird like me.

There is a reason for this that is embarrassing to admit. It all goes back to me being a scaredy cat. Fifty has to be walked as soon as he wakes up in the morning. There is about a five minute window, just enough time for me to get dressed, but that's it. He's awake, it's pee pee time. And dawn can be a very eerie time in Le Petit Village. Some mornings are fine, but on other mornings, thick fog descends on the mountain and you can walk ten feet, turn around and not see where you just came from. I'm not exaggerating, nothing but dense fog. The only visible light is from the bell tower on the old church, glowing orange, and just when I pass, the birds that live in it fly away, wings flapping loudly. So picture a dark medieval village with a centuries old church bell tower, glowing orange in the fog, and fleeing birds. No traffic, no people, no noise. Just a girl and her puppy. CREEPY.

Anyhoo... I like to wait until at least thirty minutes before sunrise to take Fifty for his walk, by then, a hint of light begins, and I can pretend I'm not a big old chicken. This is all by way of saying that my normal early bird routine is being disturbed by Fifty's pee pee breaks and the lazy sunrise. Relaxed, normal people would not have a problem with this. But I am the opposite of relaxed. Xanax should have been named Sara.

That's all I really have to say.

I'm tracking the sunrise. Sorry for the fine example of nerdom.

Please tell me you do something equally strange.

bisou

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Deep Thoughts... With Fifty



Why won't that crazy schedule lady just leave me alone? Really, can't I just have five minutes of peace. I bet when I turn around she'll be standing there staring at me...


Yep. Of course she is.

Is it really necessary for me to be bilingual? Just pick a language and go with it. I'm confused enough already.


Vicky or Leah, Leah or Vicky? So hard to decide. Leah is cute and a lot of fun, but Vicky has that whole sexy cougar thing going on...




Why am I named after a rapper? I don't even like rap.

And what the hell is happening at NBC?

À bientôt

Fifty


Monday, January 18, 2010

That's Not Toothpaste

My Mother tried to poison The Boyfriend.

OK, that may have been a bit over an overstatement, but she almost did.

We took a quick trip to visit my Mother for her birthday. It was the weekend, I was in Dublin, and it was my Mother's birthday, so naturally I woke up with gooey wine mouth (gross).

I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth and found The Boyfriend in mid brush. I grabbed the tube that was located just where toothpaste would be located in any normal persons home. But this is my Mothers home. Sometimes, it defies reason. Have you ever read Amelia Bedelia? That's all I'm saying.

I looked at the tube, and looked at The Boyfriend.

"Did you use this?"

"Oui."

"That's not toothpaste."


Never a dull moment.

But we all had a good laugh about it down the pub.

bisou


P.S.
To any of my friends who may read this:
I was in Dublin, but just for 36 hours. In and out. Don't kill me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Love Tuesdays

Pizza Night, Pizza Night, Oh how I love Pizza Night!

The above needs to be sung while doing jazz hands, with your head shaking, eyes closed, and letting your hips have a little spazz attack. I'd show you a how to video but that would be embarrassing.

The Skippie Team loves pizza night. Not so much Fifty, because he doesn't get any but the rest of us (me and The Boyfriend) loves it.

Living in a metropolitan city before, I took for granted all the restaurants and food deliveries I had at my disposal. Between lunch breaks from work and random night outs, I spent a hefty chunk of my paycheck for someone else to prepare my meals. Life here is very different.

Le Petit Village has one bistro, where we have never eaten a meal. During the summer we'd sit outside for a drink or an ice cream but at night the Belgian and German tourists would descend and take up all the tables. And the owner seems to like it that way. He moved here from Paris two years ago and he doesn't seem very 'locals' friendly. One day The Boyfriend stopped by and wanted a bowl of ice cream, the bistro man told him to go away, he was too busy. Not smart. Especially since the last owner wasn't very locals friendly either. The story goes...

The previous owner and his wife moved to Le Petit Village from up North. On their bistro's first weekend open some local hunters came in wanting a few glasses of Pastis (Provencal hunters drink Pastis like water. That scares the hell out of me. They're heavily armed and drunk). The owner refused to serve them, he said he didn't want dirty hunters in his bar. A few weeks later the owner's car had been burnt out and the bistro had been set fire to. I'm not saying there's a connection but I'm real friendly to all the local villagers.

Anyhoo, I heard the new bistro owner is looking to sell and move back to Paris.

Back to my love of pizza night (Pizza Night, Pizza Night, oh how I love Pizza Night!)

Our closest restaurant other than the bistro where we don't eat is over twenty minutes away (and with snow and ice, almost an hour). No deliveries, no fast food, no delis. If you're hungry, your making the food yourself. Except for Tuesdays.

Tuesday nights, the pizza man comes to Le Petit Village and parks his van in front of Le Petit Notre Dame. For one evening a week, I get to pretend that I don't live in a teeny village with 250 other arsonists... oops... I meant people.

Allow me to share my joy with you. Feel free to sing the pizza night anthem as you peruse...

Heino for me, Carlsberg for him.

Olives come on the pizzas whether you want them or not.

My current favorite, the Norvégienne; smoked salmon, shrimp, mozzarella and creme fraîche


Méli-Mélo (awesome name); goats cheese, honey and serrano ham

round one

bisou


P.S.

The Spaniard showed up just in time for pizza night.

Supposedly he was just driving by and happened to hear The Boyfriend's voice while he was ordering at the pizza van. Yeah right (RE: lo-jack).

He said he'd be back next Tuesday. Yippee.




Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Date Night

Last weekend my date night dinner was cancelled because the restaurant decided to close for no reason, and this past Saturday, Monsieur Snowman and his buckets of snow ruined another night out.

I refused to let staying in ruin our long overdue date night. But we'd have to settle for old reliable, Saturday night dinner and a DVD.

Feeling bad that we haven't been out to dinner in ages, The Boyfriend offered to cook, God love him, but date night was not the time for him to learn. Although that does give me an idea for another night; cooking lessons with Sara Louise. That has disaster written all over it.

I cooked steak with blue cheese sauce, pomme frites, and baked parmesan tomatoes. Not to toot toot my horn, but it came out really well, restaurant style even. I'd show you a picture but I have zero food photography skills. You'll just have to believe me when I say it was G O O D. And so was the bottle of Brouilly we had to go with it.

Dinner conversation became, what DVD should we watch? That same old struggle of man and woman over DVD.

He's seen most of my DVD collection that moved over with me. It's down to a few that he is determined he won't like. The Boyfriend has a classic case of judging a book by it's cover. He thinks he knows if he is going to like the movie or not by the picture on the cover. Case in point, never having heard of Johnny Cash, he didn't want to watch Walk The Line because he thought it was purely a romance and according to him, The Boyfriend doesn't do romance (this coming from a boy who loved The Notebook).

(Funny story about movies, me and The Boyfriend - we were going to the cinema around Christmas last year and trying to decide what movie to see. Twilight was out and I wanted to see that. The Boyfriend wanted to see Transporter 3. I told him I couldn't because I hadn't seen Transporter 1 or 2. It worked. True story. God love him.)

Back to our dinner and DVD date night...

Looking through the collection, he pulled out a few; Good Will Hunting, Heat, and 50 First Dates.

I pulled out The Breakfast Club. Being a child of the Brat Pack era (child, not teenager), it's one of my all time favorites and I've been wanting The Boyfriend to see it forever. But judging by the cover, The Boyfriend determined that the movie was 1. a love story (???) and 2. old (if he thinks that's old than I hate to think what he thinks about me).

I begged and pleaded and promised that he would love it and reminded him that I've never steered him wrong before (hello.... The Notebook!).

He finally relented, because he's good like that. And we moved to the couch for a little of this...


Image: Google

And a little more of this...

Image: Google


I knew he liked it when he wanted to know if I was more like Molly Ringwald or Ally Sheedy. He looked a little disappointed when I told him I was a mixture of both.

All in all a pretty good Saturday date night.
Big steak, a bottle of Brouilly, and The Breakfast Club.

bisou


P.S. I'm going to be in so much trouble for telling you about The Notebook

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow Day

I spent my childhood in upstate New York, a place where we had all four seasons to their fullest. In Spring, blossoms bloomed, Summer was hot and sticky, Fall was an actual autumn, and Winter was freaking freezing. But the one thing that made those winter months bearable was the promise of a snow day.

On snowy mornings, my brother and I would huddle in front of the radio, fingers crossed as they went through the long list of cancellations and delays, waiting to hear the five best words ever uttered on the radio,

"Wappingers Central School District - Closed"

These days would cause us great joy, my father not so much. I now understand his distress.

Friday, The Boyfriend had a snow day. A large chunk of Provence was being blanketed by snow and it was decided, that navigating down a snowy, icy mountain on a Friday just wasn't worth it.

He was very excited about his day off, "What should we do today?"

"Well I don't know what you're going to do, but I'm going to do the laundry, some ironing, and vacuum the floor."

I'm a routine kind of girl, and homeboy was messing with my Monday - Friday routine.

He looked like a sad child so I decided to bake him brownies. Baking seemed like a snow day kind of thing to do.

But every twenty seconds, "Can I eat now, can I eat now, can I eat now?"

This unexpected day off threw The Boyfriend for a loop. He didn't know what to do with himself except not sit still.

Instead of just having Fifty following me around the house, I had The Boyfriend too. I moved, they moved. They followed and paced the floor.

I was getting dangerously close to googling "indoor activities for children."

The Boyfriend wanted to play chess but he had to settle with playing against the computer. He keeps begging me to learn but as I have some serious competitive issues I need to work on (like if I don't win, all hell breaks loose) I think it's best if I don't.

Playing chess on the computer can only keep one occupied for so long.

He walked, circling the living room and began to say absurd things like, "Halle Berry wants me. Don't be jealous". This confirmed his spiral into cabin fever induced lunacy.

"Why don't you go outside? Maybe you can play rugby in the snow?"

He couldn't find anyone to play with, but luckily he bumped into some of the local old ladies and they asked him to join their card game. For the record, I don't believe this 'bumped into' story one bit. I think he stuck his head in the door of the community centre and invited himself, but however it happened, don't care, he was getting out of my hair and I encouraged him to take his furry little friend with him.

"Yes, please go. Keep the old ladies company."

So off he went to play cards with the senior citizens in the mini community centre next door. He likes to go because all the old ladies bring him cookies. The Boyfriend is a sucker for a cookie (Re: food whore).

An hour later they returned. I made some hot chocolate and put on a DVD.

I guess all that pacing, following, and card playing tuckered them out, because a few minutes after the hot chocolate and brownies...



And I got a break.

bisou


Friday, January 8, 2010

The Boyfriend's Favorite (maybe)

According to French Nana it's her beef tongue.

According to Papa's Wife it's her couscous.

According to Mrs Honey it's her squash gratin.

The Boyfriend is a food whore.

Before I came along, there weren't any serious girlfriends, so all the other women in his life cooked for him. And they all like to think that they were the 'one'.

Well Madames, there's a new cook in town and I know what his favorite really is...

MY couscous with merguez sausage.

I first had merguez at the Honey house over the summer. Loved it. Spicy, similar to a chorizo but not as greasy. Remembering the tastiness I picked up a few links at a trip to the boucherie. Not sure what to do with them, I turned to google and found this recipe:


Looked easy enough.

Tastes better than it looks...

Delicious!

And according to The Boyfriend, his new favorite.

And now when I go to French Nana's, Papa's Wife's, our the Honey house, they like to parade their dishes in front of me, trying to make me jealous. But it's ok, I know what dish he likes best.

Ok, so sometimes he says my mushroom risotto is his favorite.

Told you... food whore.

bisou

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Not So Relaxing Evening

Papa's Wife invited us over for dinner, she was cooking The Boyfriend's 'favorite' her couscous.

The Boyfriend was looking forward to the meal, I was looking forward to a nice relaxing evening that I didn't have to prepare and clean up after.

Getting ready to leave, The Boyfriend grabbed the car keys and Fifty.

I wanted to leave Fifty at home but The Boyfriend insisted we bring him so he could play with Leo (Leah the jack russell's more hyperactive brother).

Fine, but I made him promise that he would keep an eye on him. Fifty has a habit of jumping on, and almost knocking over the 88 year old grandmother and I really didn't want to spend the evening with one eye on the wine and one eye on the puppy.

And to let you know... besides Ruby, Papa's favorite hunting dog, and Leo, the hyperactive jack russell, there is also 15 year old knocking on death's door dog named Callie, and some wiry little dog, I can never remember the name of. So they've got four dogs, and three very fat cats. That's a lot of Purina.

We arrived at Papa's and as we approached the gates to the garden I heard a lot of barking. With four dogs this isn't uncommon, but it just seemed like more. Papa's Wife greeted us at the gate, looked at Fifty and sighed. Strange considering she loves Fifty (even got him a Christmas present). The sigh became understandable when we walked in and I saw two other dogs; Leah, and her and Leo's sire, Pitain. The Boyfriend's Brother had gone skiing and left his two dogs at Papa's house for the week. So before adding our puppy to the mix, there were already six dogs and Fifty made it lucky number seven, and three fat cats.

I bid adieu to my relaxing evening.

It was anything but relaxing.

The barking did not stop.

Callie, the old dog decided she wasn't happy and barked for the hell of it, even though her cataracts meant she was pretty much just barking at the air. And every time she barked, Papa would respond with a loud, "arrêt!" (stop).

Bark. Arrêt! Bark. Arrêt! Bark. Arrêt!

You get the picture.

The wiry dog was picking fights with any dog that crossed his path. Probably angry that no one ever remembers his name.

The fat cats looked like they were on the verge of having kitty strokes as they perched on any surface out of reach of the dogs.

Fifty decided to torment the placid Ruby, just to try to get a rise out of him. He succeeded.

The three jack russells were barking in unison. I think they may have even been trying to harmonize.

And then just for fun, Fifty peed twice and pooped once, in the living room.

During a rare two minutes of quiet when we were all actually seated at the table and not chasing and yelling at dogs, and pulling them off fat cats and 88 year old grandmothers, I finally noticed the lovely centerpiece of roses;

"What beautiful roses"

Papa's Wife smiled, "Thank you, they were for my birthday."

"Oh, when was your birthday?"

"Today."

I gave the Boyfriend my best 'just wait until we get home' look and shrank into my chair.

At least Fifty had been kind enough to leave all those presents in the living room.

bisou

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stinky & Freezing

Woke up to this...


... more snow.



And no hot water.

Did I mention it's freezing?

If the hot water doesn't get fixed soon I'm going to have to change my name to
Stinky in Le Petit Village.

But guess who loves it...



I really want to take a shower. And not a freezing cold one.

bisou



Monday, January 4, 2010

The Last Saturday

There was something sad about Saturday.

Sure it was the weekend, but it heralded the beginning of the end of the holiday season. With New Years over and work looming on Monday, Saturday sort of felt just like a regular Saturday, but being the 2nd of January, I guess it was.

We decided to take a little trip to Avignon because gee, I guess we just don't go there enough.

I was hoping for a vomit-free car ride so I begged the Boyfriend to leave Fifty at home. The Boyfriend and Fifty have grown very attached to each other. I love the little guy too, but sometimes, you have to cut the cord.

We arranged a puppy play date with Fifty's girlfriend Leah, the jack russell and got on the way.

Leaving just before 11:30, I planned on arriving around 12:30 (because I am The Planner), just in time for a nice long lunch somewhere in the city. I was already mentally picturing my meal; maybe something light like a tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad followed by some seafood risotto, and of course, a glass of Rosé. Nice, light, and with nothing being deep fried, I could convince myself it was all very healthy.

Naturally the Boyfriend had other thoughts...

"We stop at my friends for a quick coffee on the way?"

If you've read my posts before, you now know as well as I do that in Provence there is always someone to stop and see on the way anywhere. It's all very exhausting.

"What friend?"

"You know, he was in the house with a few other friends one night."

Yes, that narrows it down.

"Which one?"

"You know, the Gypsy" (that's not a nickname).

So we stop at the Gypsy's on the way to Avignon. I wanted to get in and get out. I had a glass of Rosé waiting for me somewhere. But the Gypsy put on the coffee and I went and sat on the couch. He had the TV on, and when I looked up, I saw the most surprising thing.... an NBA game! The Gypsy had been watching an NBA game! While the Boyfriend and the Gypsy gossiped (boys gossip too you know), I got to catch the last quarter and overtime of the Knicks/ Hawks game (obviously not live) and wondered why I didn't have that channel. I was having so much fun (missing basketball as I do) that I was able to ignore the fact that I was drinking what may have been the worst cup of coffee ever. Seriously, the Gypsy really needs to take a class or get a girlfriend or something.

It was now close to 1pm and I was hungry.

"Where do you want to go to lunch?"

"Not sure. I just want to see my Cousin first."

Yes, no trip to Avignon is complete without a visit to see the Cousin. But oh no, the Cousin wasn't at home, bummer, guess that would mean that we could go to lunch. But wait,no. Since the Boyfriend and his cousins, brother and friends all have lo-jacks on each other, we found the Cousin having a coffee at his local bar.

Salut. Bonne Année. Ça va? Yes, Christmas was lovely. A bientôt.

That was more or less it in a nutshell except it seemed to take forever.

2pm, starving and regretting skipping breakfast.

"We go to lunch?" The Boyfriend finally on board with original plan.

"Yes, at that McDonalds that's right there." I said goodbye to my Rosé and risotto and hello to a Big Mac and coke. That patience and restraint thing hasn't kicked in yet.

After a quick meal that I regretted even quicker, we finally headed into the city and to Baby Cousin's clothing shop. Baby Cousin already is quite the little entrepreneur which is very impressive, because as the name implies, he's the baby. We met up with N & Honey B there (this was not planned, once again, Re: lo-jack) and sat in the back and had some Moroccan tea.

image: Google

Baby Cousin told us that he had pots of it delivered all day long. Isn't he the sophisticate?

Did some looking around and decided to treat myself (aka let the Boyfriend treat me) to a new hat for walking Fifty on those bad hair mornings. It came with a hefty discount. Big props to Baby Cousin. He's my favorite you know.

Headed back to Le Petit Village and decided that since we didn't get the nice lunch with the Rosé, it was only right that we go out for dinner. The Boyfriend suggested we pick up Chinese food, obviously missing the point of us 'going out'.

After sweetly explaining the differences of us going out for dinner, and picking up dinner, the Boyfriend agreed to take me out on a date. This was exciting. We hadn't been out to dinner since we brought Fifty home.

We decided on our favorite restaurant in St. Michel. Quick retouch of the makeup (mine, not the Boyfriend's) and we were back out the door.

And then big freaking bummer...

The restaurant was closed!

Sometimes they just do that here. You can find your épicerie, boulangerie, boucherie, or restaurant closed at any time, without any notice. That's life in Le Petit Village for you.

I immediately regretted not picking up that Chinese food.

So what did you do last Saturday?

bisou






Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Very Grown Up NYE

New Years Eve at N & Honey B's house in Avignon. N & Honey B are one of those fabulously grown up couples who make me feel like I am a teenager even though I'm a couple of years older than they are.

They have a grown up house, perfectly designed and decorated. Everything bought with careful consideration, no random scattered purchases like I would make in a haste because of lacking a gene called patience (example - I needed a soap dish for the bathroom, I knew what type I should buy but couldn't find it so the other day I came home with a plastic transparent orange soap dish. Who has a transparent orange soap dish? Well apparently I do. N & Honey B would never have a transparent orange soap dish. New Years resolution - must show patience and restraint.)

Back to New Years...

Because N & Honey B are a fabulously grown up couple, well mostly N, Honey B is a boy so he is as grown up as can be expected (oh - and Honey B is a Honey, he is the older brother of Honey Jr.) they weren't just having a big crazy party, they were hosting a small, intimate, New Years dinner party for M and her fiance, the Boyfriend, and me. Oh and Honey Jr too, he got to be the seventh wheel.

It would be a very elegant soiree. I saw it as an opportunity to break out my city clothes. An elegant soiree on New Years Eve definitely called for my black leather leggings and some serious stilettos. This made me very happy indeed, the Boyfriend not so much. He can get a little talibanish when it comes to my wardrobe. But I'm an American, so I don't let the Taliban stand in my way.

We arrived just before 9 and N greeted us at the door looking stunning and sophisticated in that way that only French woman can, all in black of course. N also has very sophisticated hair, a shiny long black bob with perfect bangs. Grown up hair that my unruly curls will never let me have.

Putting aside my hair envy... we had Champagne and pain surprise (obviously a French holiday staple) and chatted about our Christmases. All very civilized.


We moved into the dining room and our Champagne was replaced with this...


And dinner started with smoked salmon, and Fois Gras topped with truffles...


Followed by roast turkey, potatoes dauphinoise, and some of that marron stuff I don't like (mine went right onto the Boyfriend's plate). And then of course a cheese plate, and for dessert, chocolate gateau and nougat ice cream.

We were stuffed and heading into a food coma when we noticed it was almost midnight. We stayed sitting at the table, continuing our grown up conversation and waited for the countdown...

...MIDNIGHT!




And then something happened...

I don't know who started it or how it began or where all the marbles came from, but somehow I found myself smack dab in the middle of a marble fight. All sense of grown-upness had been abandoned and we were running around the perfect table in the perfect dining room in the perfect grown up house chasing each other throwing marbles.

Honey Jr and M's fiance in marble battle mode


I guess we can only keep up the grown up facade for so long...


Honey Jr

Honey Jr and friend

yours truly

Happy New Years from Le Petit Village

bisou


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Holiday Highlights

La Bourboule... try and say it I dare you!

It feels funny and makes your lips and tongue do something pretty strange, something American mouths are not used to doing. French mouths have no problem, they have rather talented lips and tongues.

But I digress, La Bourboule (I just wanted to type it again because every time I do, I say it, and then I laugh, and then the Boyfriend laughs, and Fifty gets excited so it's a fun time for the Skippie Team).

Back to business - La Bourboule (hee hee) in the Auvergne region is where French Mommy lives and that's where we drove six hours to spend Christmas.

Because the holidays have already come and gone and I'm a bad blogger who hasn't been keeping up to date, I'm just going to run through some highlights of my first French holiday. I'll do my best to remember, there was of course the usual merriment...

Christmas Eve on the road at 11:15 stopped at Papa's to deliver bonbons. Still haven't seen postman to give him his or collect any of my missing post... thoroughly convinced at this point that he hates me and is avoiding me but convinced Christmas bonbons will change all that.

(Update - have since given Postman bonbons, he said I was very nice, I have had one package delivered but still have six to go!)

Less than a half hour after leaving Papa's and Fifty threw up twice. I guess he likes the topsy turvy mountainside even less than I do. He looked queasy until we got on the motorway outside of Avignon. Not a good look on a puppy.

Arrived at 6pm, much quicker than the back roads as I suspected, although the Boyfriend still disputes this.

It took French Mommy and French Nana awhile to warm to Fifty. They kept eyeing him waiting for him to chew something or get something dirty. Uncle G liked him right away. I like Uncle G.

Aperitif time before dinner, we had Champagne and pain surprise. I've never seen pain surprise before. It's a loaf of bread, made into about four different type of small triangle sandwiches and put back together. I was too busy sipping and eating so I forgot to take a picture, but thanks to google...

Image: Google

I realized that in French Mommy's house, Christmas Eve is the big night and we would be exchanging presents. I was happy to unwrap gifts but sad that nothing exciting would be happening Christmas morning. At least the Boyfriend and I are still waiting on our internet presents that we ordered. Something to look forward to after the holidays.

For dinner Uncle G opened a bottle of Bordeaux from his cellar, 1985, almost as old as the Boyfriend. I knew I liked Uncle G.

Dinner had the required Fois Gras and escargot. Fois Gras is so important to the French at Christmas that almost every news segment I saw in the week leading up to the holidays had a bit about Fois Gras production, purchasing, and consumption. They take their food very seriously.

After, we had smoked salmon, roast chicken, and marron (like a chestnut and sauteed - I'm not a fan). All followed of course by cheese, cheese, and more cheese, and a cake, shaped like a yuletide log called, Buche de Noel. Once again I was too busy stuffing my face to take a photo...

Image: Google


We woke up early on Christmas morning and I was sad that I had no more presents to unwrap, but I happily thought about staying the day on the couch by the fire watching holiday movies on television, even if they were in French. But nope, that was not to be. Uncle G wanted to take the Boyfriend and I for a drive farther up into the mountains. He seemed very excited about this. The Boyfriend and I not so much. One of the reasons I love the Boyfriend is that he is the same as me, we don't walk, hike, or drive unless we have a destination. That's for the Belgian and German tourists, not for us. But in the spirit of Christmas, we abandoned our comfy clothes and couch and ventured out into the cold...


Looks freezing doesn't it? That's because it was!

The next and last day in La Bourboule (haven't gotten to say it for awhile) we took Fifty to the park and the Skippie Team had a grand old time...


I rediscovered the joys of a slide...


But was sad that the big slides were closed. I guess without proper supervision some kid might hurt themselves. Stupid kids, ruining my fun. But then I found this thing and got on...


I'm a little too big but I wouldn't let that stop me. And no reason for Fifty not to have a little fun too...


I'd show you the photos of the Boyfriend on the swing but I'd get in trouble.

And after the park we went to French Nana's bar where Fifty earned his keep...


That was pretty much my Christmas holiday in La Bourboule (hee hee).

Next up, a very grown up New Year's Eve...

bisou



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