Thursday, April 26, 2012

elections: how France does it

Disclaimer: I do not pretend to be an expert on French elections, nor do I know exactly or anything really about what I'm talking about, so if you want the real skinny on the French election, maybe you should look here, here, and/or here


While normally I abstain from talking about politics, religion, or any other hot button topics on my blog, mostly because I believe in keeping this a warm fuzzy kind of place and that there is a time and a place for such things, today we're going to talk about the French elections a little bit, mostly because I think it's interesting (and important) to learn how other governments work, and what other countries are up to, and thought I'd share a little about what's been happening over here in the land of wine and cheese.

Late last week The Husband received a large brown envelope in the post. Inside were brochures for the ten Presidential candidates and individual slips of paper for each with their names printed on them (and I apologize because I had planned on laying them all out and taking pictures but sometimes laziness gets the better of me).

{the original ten candidates from left to right above}

There is Nicolas Sarkozy, the reigning President of France since 2007 (French presidents sit for five years instead of four), and member of the Union for Popular Movement Party. Nicolas is also married to former model Carla Bruni (well done there Nicolas).

Next up we have François Hollande representing the Socialist Party who stepped in for Dominique Strauss-Kahn who remains firmly on the naughty list.

There's Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Left Front (does anyone remember that old General Foods International Coffee commercial from forever and day ago where two girls are reminiscing about a trip to Paris and one of them shouts, "Jean-Luc!", well every time I hear this guy's name on the news, that's what I think about.) This guy is a 'militant socialist'. I think he should wear a red shirt à la Hugo Chavez and call it a day.

That blonde stern looking lady is Marine Le Pen of the National Front party. She's managed to sugarcoat her anti-immigration stance with this slogan, "French citizenship should be either inherited or merited". Basically Madame Le Pen wants to keep France French, and I get that, but we don't need to be such a Nazi about it, do we? (pun intended). And on a side note, The Husband, Gatz, and I had a chuckle the other day about the fact that out of the three of us, I'm the only one with a French last name (Gatz's is Italian, The Husband's is Swedish, and mine is from Normandy), so I say we kick those two bozos out and hand me my French citizenship card stat.

Under Sarkozy is François Bayrou from the Democratic Movement party. He's considered the 'great centrist' of French politics, so his views put him somewhere between Sarkozy and Hollande.

Next is Nicolas Dupont-Aignan who represents Arise the Republic, a party that he founded himself (I like that initiative Nicolas).

Then we have Eva Joly of the Green Party who is very easy to remember because normally she wears these horrid bright green glasses making her look as Kristin said, like something out of Harry Potter.

And finally, the last three; Nathalie Arthaud of Workers' Struggle, Jacques Cheminade of Solidarity and Progress, and Philippe Poutou from the New Anti-capitalist Party (frankly I think some of these party names could use a little work, a little magical PR touch if you will).

So last Sunday was voting day, and the way it works is, you go to your local mairie (town hall) and put one of the slips of paper that you received in the post into the ballot box. C'est tout!

After voting, we all had lunch at Papa's house and discussed. Everyone sitting at the table had voted for someone else (except for La Petite because she's only one, and me because although I am married to a Frenchman, and am a EU citizen thanks to Ireland, I haven't looked into all the hullabaloo into becoming a French citizen because this being the nation of red tape, I can't even begin to fathom the hullabaloo involved).

One voted for Sarkozy but admitted that originally they were voting for François Bayrou but switched because they didn't think Francois Bayrou had a hope in hell (imagine if everyone thought that way).

One did actually vote for François Bayrou.

One voted for François Hollande.

One voted for Marine Le Pen (maybe I should look into that French citizen hullabaloo in case this person wants to kick my American, Irish, non-French butt out of the country... although I should remind them, that my name does hail from Normandy so back the F off).

And one did a vote blanc which means that they were choosing, none of the above.

Now, if one of the ten candidates had received over 50% of the vote, they would have won the whole kit and kaboodle and game over, but since that didn't happen, the two candidates with the most votes, in this case Sarkozy and Hollande, will now face off in a final vote on the 6th of May and that will be that.

I hope you have all enjoyed your French civics lesson.
There will be a quiz.

(no there won't be)

bisou
 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

distr-Aix-tion

The absolute best way for me to wonder the streets (shops) of Aix-en-Provence without the dreaded huff and puff of The Husband in my ears is to keep him occupied. And what's the best way to keep him occupied (besides food)? With his new man crush, Mr. London.

We met Mr. & Mrs. London in Aix last week for an afternoon (hour drive for them, hour drive for us, the perfect meet in the middle), and as soon as we said hello, Mrs.London and I went our way, and The Husband and Mr.London went theirs.

First stop; Sephora for some summer nail polish. And let it be said, Mrs.London is way better at picking out nail polish colors than The Husband.


From Sephora we were only a hop, skip, and barely a jump from my friend, Zara, so it would have been rude not to pop in for a quick looksy. As in, looksy what I got...


Are they jeans, are they pants? I don't really care, they're fabulous.
And take a look at the shoes Mrs.London picked up...

You know what she said when she saw them, "I don't know if they're high enough" (she's a girl after my own heart, my cousin is), but I told her not to be silly, of course they were. For the record I would have loved to have bought the very same shoe but 1. I live in The LPV, so let's be realistic, and 2. I'm not a WAG, thanks to a shattered ankle anyway (that would be The Husband's, not mine). 

Since we're punctual, we quickly abandoned our shopping to meet the boys for lunch, who it turns out are not so punctual, so we waited, and because the waiters chose to ignore us, we waited without l'apéro, so we had to occupy ourselves with some people watching... mainly the sweet old man dining alone at the table next to ours. He couldn't figure out how to work his cell phone. Bless. Although he had no problem finding the volume button... loudest. ringtone. ever. 

When The Husband and Mr. London finally showed up, they both ordered the all you can eat Beef Carpaccio (of course they did) and got to work while Mrs. London and I looked on in awe. But there was something wrong, it was like  The Husband had lost his mojo. Both him and Mr. London only had five plates and they kept saying how full they were... it just didn't make sense... until I found out that they had been sampling pints of Guinness at all the different Irish pubs in Aix. So I guess that's what they do when we shop, mystery solved. (And isn't it funny how no matter what city you are in, all the world over, you can always find an Irish pub? It's something to ponder). 

Soon it was time to say goodbye, but we didn't really, only à bientôt instead because we planned to visit them over the weekend to watch Mr.London play rugby, and have a BBQ, and that was the plan, but as it turned out, we should have said goodbye and not à bientôt after all, because The Husband ended up having to work over the weekend (work schmirk) so we missed Mr.London's match. But you know who didn't miss Mr.London's match? Prince Albert. Allow me to repeat myself... PRINCE ALBERT of MONACO was there and I wasn't.

*sniffle*

*tear*

bisou

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gatz turns thirty and a day

{drink me}
It was 11:30, the morning after Gatz's birthday dinner extravaganza, and I was having a perfectly lovely morning... sipping Barrys Tea, reading celebrity gossip, contemplating doing some on-line shopping and maybe my nails and not much else for the day when The Husband walked into the room...

"Gatz wants to go out tonight in Aix, do you want to go?"

"No, I'm fine, you go", as delightful images of a quiet night in alone danced through my head.

"OK"

And then a few seconds later The Husband returned...

"But I don't want to go."

"Alright, then tell Gatz that you don't want to go."

"OK"

And then a few minutes later he walked back in again...

"Gatz wants to know if he can come over for dinner tonight"

Huff and puff from me as I began to prepare to kiss my day of relaxation goodbye.

"And he wants to know if some other people can come too"

Huge huff and puff as I squared off against The Husband... "You mean Gatz wants me to throw him a dinner party, tonight?"

"Yes"

"And I'm guessing you have already told him yes"

"Yes"

Oh H - E - D O U B L E  H O C K E Y S T I C K S !

So my day of relaxation went right down the pooper as I scrambled to throw together a dinner party in a few hours. What to cook... what to cook? I turned to Chow, my go to food source, and decided to channel my inner Betty Draper when I came across, recipes for your Mad Men party.


With only a few hours, a broken oven, and a stove top so tiny I can only cook one thing on it at a time, I whipped up deviled eggs with tarragon, tomato bruschetta, caesar salad (like the real one, with eggs and anchovies), and swedish meatballs. It was all very retro, but perfect because dinner parties are my forté (my modesty is astounding, isn't it?).  

There we were at l'heure de l'apéro, The Croupier, her fiance, Honey Jr, Honey's Honey, The Husband, Fifty and me, all waiting for the guest of honor to arrive to celebrate his birthday plus one day, and he finally did, L A T E,  but when he did, he had a bottle of La Chablisienne Chablis with him, the very same bottle that I had been ogling the night before at the bar au vin, but had decided was a little too pricey. But Gatz had remembered and brought it for me, and that's why he's my buddy and his tardiness  forgiven.

And that my friends, is the story of how Gatz turned thirty and one day.
bisou

Friday, April 20, 2012

oh, the places we will go

{my little pony}
Coucou mes amis!

Today I'm blogging over at Oh, the places we will go. Why don't you pop on over and see me play a game of I Spy, and then stick around and visit fellow Texan, Selena, and see what type of adventures she gets up to in her new city, London.

And in case you are wondering... the photo above is here for no other reason than The Husband is on a mini plastic pink pony. Moments like these... like seeing your husband attempt to ride a plastic mini pink pony must be cherished, documented, and then shared with the world.

Don't you think?

bisou
 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gatz turns thirty


The Croupier isn't the only one that turned thirty this month, Gatz rounded the corner into my decade as well (now if The Husband could hurry up and turn thirty too, maybe I won't feel so weird). Whereas The Croupier was content with a big party in The LPV, Gatz had dreams of traveling abroad to celebrate and naturally wanted The Husband to go with him, and then he even decided that he wanted me to go too (I don't think the term 'third wheel' means much here in France).

First there was talks of Malta, and Palma, and then Madrid, and then maybe even a short Mediterranean cruise (although it's kind of blasé when Marseille is one of the ports that the cruise stops along) but I had to constantly remind The Husband that he also turns thirty in a few months and does he really want to blow his birthday budget going away for Gatz's birthday, and why couldn't they just do a joint celebration halfway in between (because that would make too much sense, that's why).

Then somehow the months of travel talk seem to go poof into thin air, and The Husband felt bad and asked Gatz if he wanted to go to Barcelona for the weekend just the two of them (oh so romantic) but Gatz said no, he didn't feel like celebrating, but I wasn't having any of that, so last Friday, on his birthday, I phoned him up and told him that we were all going out to dinner and he just needed to name the place. And you know where he picked? The wine bar (Boohoo for me right? Wrong. That place is like my Disneyland).

And that's the story of how we went to the bar au vin for the greatest birthday dinner of all time (at least the greatest birthday dinner of Gatz's time anyway).

We got the evening started with a bottle of Ruinart Brut Rosé.
Ruinart Brut Rosé makes me feel like je suis aux anges.

{Merci Mr.London}

And then we gave Gatz his birthday present... a Toulon practice jersey signed by Mr. London, which was definitely the highlight for Gatz, but the best part of my night came when the Sommelier called me his 'little expert' because I knew where all the different wines came from.
A+ for Sara Louise.

(once an apple polisher, 
always an apple polisher)

bisou

Sunday, April 15, 2012

run it down


++ On Easter Sunday, Gatz, The Husband's hetero life partner, made me a proud Mama (sometimes I feel responsible for him because he's like a lost puppy). He was coming with The Husband and me to Papa's for lunch and showed up dressed beautifully (like one of those really beautifully dressed men you see in Paris or Rome) and not only did he have a bottle of Rasteau for Papa's Wife, he had a bottle of Cairanne for me. Gold star for Gatz.

++ It's been raining on and off for over a week. So not cool. And our perfect late March temperatures of 20°C (70°F) have cooled to 15°C (60°F). It's all very annoying.

++ The mint (la menthe) is blooming in my back garden... that means one thing... Mojitos! And once the sun comes back out to play, I'll be drinking those Mojitos outside (I wonder where I can buy those little cocktail umbella thingys...)

++ The Husband and Honey Jr went to Avignon to play football (soccer) with Baby Cousin on Wednesday night (driving over an hour for a play date mid-week seems a little weird to me but whatever)  but that meant I had an evening to myself... back to back episodes of Tabatha's Salon Takeover (I have no idea why I like that show but I do) and that bottle of Cairanne Gatz gave me. Score.

++ And I may or may not have just watched every episode of Russian Dolls. Please don't judge me.

++ British Airways ruined my plans to see The Hunger Games. You see, I was supposed to meet Mrs. London in Aix-en-Provence on a Wednesday afternoon to see it, and her house guests were due to fly out on Tuesday night, but British Airways cancelled their flight, her guests had to stay put and that left me dateless for The Hunger Games. Boo. British Airways... your uppance will come.

++ Rumor has it The Parisian is looking to sell Le Petit Bar in September. I guess he wants to wait one more summer season to see how many tourists he can disappoint first.

bisou

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm so boring

I was trying to post about my Easter this morning, but honestly, it wasn't that exciting. Don't get me wrong, it was nice and all but it was what it was and that was, wasn't particularly post worthy.

That said, being that I've got nothing (again! I've had a whole lot of nothing lately haven't I?) I'm going to answer a bunch of questions (I'm so boring, I'm so sorry) this time, from some I've borrowed from a Cod a Bean and Everything in Between . Bear with me please and thank you.

If there could only be one season year round which would you choose?
Summer, hands down. (at least that's my answer today, who knows, if I answered tomorrow, I could say Autumn, but I doubt it). I love eating outside, barbecuing with friends, and wearing shorts and summer dresses. Plus warm sunny weather is much more conducive for day trips to places like Cassis and Monaco.

You get to spend a month in Europe, and can only go to one place... is it Italy or France? 

{about a million years ago}

Gee, I don't know. I'm going to have to go with Italy on this one. And it's not just because I'm already in France, I genuinely like Italy. OK, so I've only been to Rome, but I really liked it. I like Italian food (who doesn't?) Italian wine (sshh!) and I'd love to see Florence and Milan too so yeah, I'm going with Italy on this one. Plus I really like the idea of cruising around on a Vespa shouting, "ciao bella!" at every turn.

Red wine, white wine or champagne?
Hmmm... it has to be red. White is normally my third choice after rosé and red (but don't get me wrong, if you hand me a glass of white I'll drink it), and while Champagne is wonderful, it's also my kryptonite. After glass two and I'm entering the dancing on tables danger zone.

Dogs or cats?
I'm going to let you in on a little secret... I'm kind of scared of cats. I don't know what it is, but I don't entirely trust them, they freak me out a little.

One job you haven't had that would be a dream job.
Secretary of State (I've talked about this before). I like diplomacy. And speaking of Secretary of State, have any of you seen the blog Texts From Hillary? So clever.


One famous person you would love to meet.
Would it be superficial for me to say Ryan Gosling? Yes? Bummer.


One movie that you could watch again and again...
Giant. I love this movie, and even though it was made over fifty years ago, I still find it's social commentary relevant. Plus, you get to stare at Rock Hudson and James Dean for over two hours. #oldschooleyecandy


You are given a plane ticket to fly anywhere in the world this weekend, where are you going?
It's funny, because I just answered this question a couple of weeks ago and my answer is the same, NYC, which I guess means, I really need a trip to the Big Apple (But, if we're talking more than a weekend, than my answer is Melbourne. I'd visit Bec, her new baby, and The Pink Leopard, and sample every bit of culinary delights that the city has to offer. Melbourne is hopping in the foodosphere at the moment and I want to taste it).


One decade you wish you could have lived in (including this one).
Oh I don't know, maybe the 1960s. It would be pretty amazing to witness all that change and maybe be a part of it, and of course the fashion was pretty swish. Or, the 12th Century so I could see Le Petit Village when all the buildings were still brand new. That would be weird.


If you had to change your name, what would you name yourself?
I never liked Sara when I was a kid, it just seemed so blah, but now I think it suits me. Although, I think Kate would suit me too, or since I'm in France now, maybe something like Amélie or Anaïs. 

What do you think?
Name me please.

bisou

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

party rock is in the house tonight


The Husband's childhood sweetheart, The Croupier, turned 30 on Saturday and Le Petit Village's town hall was filled with balloons, banners, friends, and family all for her.

In France, celebrations tend to run late in the night. Like L A T E. As in the cake comes out after midnight, and in this case, 2a.m. So after I stuffed myself full of birthday macarons, I called it a night and crawled into bed at 3a.m., plenty late for me, but that meant I missed the 3:30a.m. arrival of Brother-in-Law and Child Bride (there needs to be a new term for fashionably late, maybe we'll call that, unfashionably late). The Husband made it home a little after 5a.m. which didn't bode too well for Easter lunch the next day but that's a story for another time.

Back to the party.

The birthday girl was surprised by a flash mob that we performed to ♫ Party Rock is in the House Tonight ♫.

{everybody just have a good time}
{shake that}

But The Croupier couldn't stand to be left out and jumped on the dance floor to join in on the fun (that's her on the left). You know, because everyday she's shuffling (that's funny on so many levels).

bisou

Saturday, April 7, 2012

good friday


Want to know why my Good Friday was a good Friday?

1. It stopped raining yesterday long enough for The Husband, Honey Jr., Honey's Honey and me to have l'apéro outside (April showers and all), even though it was kind of cold. OK, it was really freaking cold. Honey's Honey and I were bundled up in cardies and coats asking why we were still outside. I guess Honey Jr. and The Husband figured that since it's 'spring', l'apéro should be had outside. To this I say hogwash.

2. Honey's Honey introduced me to these cute little suits called one piece. If feetie pyjamas and an old school sweat suit had a baby, it would be a one piece. They have a hood and pockets and are actually meant to be worn outside the house (for €140 I should think so) and look super comfy but I can say without a doubt, that you will never ever see me wear one. While Honey Jr. and Honey's Honey could pull off the look (both being so petite and cute and all), The Husband and I would look utterly ridiculous. I'll be spending that €140 at Zara instead thank you very much.

3. Toulon was playing Harlequins in the quarter-final of the European Cup (we're talking rugby here my American friends) and since Toulon is Gatz's favorite team, he decided to come and watch it with us (Toulon is not The Husband's and my favorite team but since Mr. London plays for them, we cheer them on). So why was I happy about The Husband's hetero life partner, Gatz, coming over you ask?  Because he was buying the pizza.

4. That's right, Friday night is pizza night in Le Petit Village and the new pizza man does not disappoint. We had four pizzas... Bayonne: jambon cru (it's a cured ham, kind of like prosciutto), mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and pistou (a French sauce of garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil), Forestier: fresh mushrooms, crème fraîche, smoked lardons (kind of like bacon), and mozzarella, Armenienne: ground beef, onions, and peppers, and La Kebab: (which was delicious but I can't really figure out what's on it. Sometimes you just have to go with it and enjoy).
D E L I C I O U S.

5. And then not only did Toulon win, but Mr. London was named Man of the Match. How you like them apples?!

It was a Good Friday indeed. 

See, it doesn't take much to make me happy does it?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

how La Petite celebrates

La Petite celebrated her first birthday last weekend 
with a fabulous new pair of shoes
(floral... very Spring 2012),
some playtime with a new toy,  
and having her cake and eating it too 
(she is the birthday girl after all).
But since no party is complete without a little dancing, 
La Petite knows there is no better place 
to shake her groove thing than atop the table 
(I've taught her well), 
before calling it a night and falling asleep 
in the arms of one that she loves
(Nanas give the best cuddles).

bisou

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

it's what's been happening


+ Fifty has a new girlfriend. She comes around every morning to give him kisses. It's pretty cute. But whereas Vicky always came to the front door, this little one sneaks around to the back.

+ I made spaghetti and bacon meatballs for dinner the other night. Now don't get too excited, they aren't meatballs that are 100% bacon (although that does sound delicious) they are beef meatballs, with bacon ground up in them. Yeah, I'll make these again.

+ I'm a bit scared that my cookbooks are jealous of Pinterest because I've totally been neglecting them and giving all of my attention to my delish dish board. I can't help it, it's called 'delish' for a reason you know.

+ Spring has truly arrived as I've been to three BBQs in the last two weeks, was invited to another that we had to turn down, and have one on the books for Friday. Spring time is BBQ time.

+ My French dentist calls me the little cat because he says I sound like a cat when he's working on me. I'm not too sure how I feel about that.

+ I've got the moving bug again. I love The LPV but you know, it's really freaking small (hence the name Le Petit Village) and although it is probably the most beautiful place I will ever live in my life (and the weirdest), it's also the most inconvenient.

+ I have now finished reading The Hunger Games series as I turned the last page on Mocking Jay last night. I'm super excited because tomorrow I'm going to see the movie in Aix with Mrs. London, but am also totally bummed because I've finished the books. What should I read now? Suggestions please.

+ And speaking of books...
are any of you on Shelfari

bisou
 

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