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Posts Tagged ‘French’

Yesterday was my day to drive home, just in time to kick off 2015 with Bob and a few friends. And what did I return to last night after two weeks away? Just a totally revamped linen closet; it seems he has expanded his organizational skills beyond the pantry. I better not stay away any longer.

On my last day in Nashville, the weather continued its the cold and rainy trend. But inside, we were warm and cozy living La Vie Jolie. We’d been invited to brunch by a friend of the Brides, another physician, who is a French Canadian, who married a Floridian… Yes, after so many days with a toddler you begin to sound like Dr Seuss himself.

So we were two Grandmeres, two Mamans, and two toddlers, and of course one two month old baby boy. Mimi made crepes. I watched with enthusiasm and saw that it’s all in the wrist. There were fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries along with Nutella and whipped cream. They were delicious, n’est ce pas!

Crepes are soul food for the Bride, like the quesadilla is for the Love Bug! But the creme de la creme of this delightful morning was the unexpected topping. We drizzled maple syrup over our crepes; because they are Canadian, and the Bride was born in the Berkshires (pretty close to Vermont), and because we love maple syrup, and maple cream and maple sugar candies and anything mapley really. Bien sur!

That afternoon, our little household napped, et bien, le petit prince fell asleep on my shoulder. Make no mistake about it, though you may not want a toddler to take a car nap, since everyone knows these are not as good as a big/girl/bed nap, a two month old can nap anywhere, at anytime! While they were dreaming, I was watching a mischievous girl change slippers in an old man’s apartment and a gnome travel around the world.

Can you guess the French movie? A neighbor, who paints like Renoir, saves the day.

Aujourd’hui Bob has installed Rosetta Stone on his new computer, which took some work. I can hear him speaking French into his headset. I think the world must be telling me something. May this New Year bring you all great health and happiness. Au revoir mes bebes! I will see you again soon!
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It’s not everyday that my whole family gets to walk around NYC, on a holiday weekend, when anyone with a car has long since left this piece of the Apple. The Bride thought the city looked beautiful in its abandoned state: an older woman was slowly pushing her small dog in a fancy pram; decorated, horse-drawn carriages were lined up in front of the Plaza waiting for tourists who never came; and out on Sue’s upper-East side terrace, where she had planted 35 tomatoes in painters’ tubs, a nest of baby birds was singing to us. It’s one of those strange, paradoxical moments in time. In the midst of grief, sitting shiva in the middle of this concrete canyon, we realize there is still beauty.

And that’s probably what we are meant to do, reflect on my cousin’s life through our own lens. Someone said she wasn’t a political person, but I knew better. Because around Ada’s kitchen table we let our political hair down, and Sue was always in the middle of the fray, leading the conversation. Maybe with her NYC realtor/colleagues she didn’t voice her opinions, but her family and close friends knew she had the heart of a liberal. Which is why my conversation with the cabby of my taxi on the way to Penn Station was apropos.

He was from Africa. He spoke French “officially.” He got his BA from Baruch College in the Flatiron District and was going to get his masters soon. Just as soon as he gets his green card…

And to wake up at home this morning and hear all about President Obama’s meeting with Gov Perry in TX and speculation about Obama’s decision not to have a “photo-op” holding refugee children at the border yesterday made me feel sick. Particularly when I saw Perry quickly swivel his chair out of sight as the CNN camera started rolling at that meeting with the POTUS. God forbid he should be seen like Gov Chris Christie – embracing our President. Of course Perry would like a picture of Obama holding children he is “…about to deport” as one commentator said.

Because to a politician, it’s appearances that count. And the optics of immigration isn’t very pretty.

My cabby told me there is a French saying about things you may want in life. Bit by bit, the bird builds her nest.

Father and Daughter in NYC

Father and Daughter in NYC

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It’s enough already! Every day I wake up and wonder if they found that missing Malaysian plane. How can a triple 7 just disappear in this day and age? We have satellites circling the globe, Google maps looking into our windows, radar and cell phones and the latest idea is that this was a “deliberate” act; or maybe it’s somewhere in the Indian Ocean?

So I’m redirecting my thoughts this morning. No CNN, no more Meet the Press. My brain needs a rest from speculation and erudition. I tuned in to CBS Sunday Morning like the Flapper always did, for a taste of feel good news. Happy Iranian hikers are reunited with their families! And then, there was Catherine Deneuve.

Deneuve always reminded me of my sister, Kay. A beautiful woman who was in some ways, burdened by her beauty. The interviewer asked her what it is about French women? She said you mean how they can do or eat anything they want? And he said no, it was more about the flirtatiousness, which was not necessarily the right word IMHO. She smiled coyly and said “No, I hadn’t thought of that.”

French women embody style and mystery. I remember being told when I was younger that even the shop girls will save their money to buy one beautiful thing every year. Something classic, that transcends time and trends. Think of Audrey Hepburn when she returns from Paris in the 1954 movie, Sabrina – not ready to live above the garage anymore with her chauffeur father.

But this week Deneuve, at the ripe old age of 70, is debuting a new movie, “On My Way.” It’s about a woman of a certain age who disappears. Yes, she dumps her family and its restaurant woes after her lover dumps her, and she goes on a road trip. Her character takes up with a younger man; it would seem I like the idea of a woman disappearing! I love her answer to the question of how she ages so gracefully:

You have to try not to fight so hard against time, you know. It’s not that I enjoy it. It is just not that much of a problem. Maybe because I have children and grandchildren, it’s a different rhythm. It’s a different way of looking at things other than yourself. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/12/us-catherinedeneuve-idUSBREA2B0RU20140312

So here’s to that joie de vie, that je n’est sais quoi! To French women everywhere, we salute you. We American Boomers have decided not to age so gracefully. In fact, we like to be disgraceful as much as possible so as not to be invisible. We’d rather not disappear after all. And if you haven’t peeked at Ari Seth Cohen’s blog about NYC women in their 60s, 70s and 80s, here’s your chance. To The Barricades Ladies!

http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com

this is what 65 looks like - sans makeup!

this is what 65 looks like – sans makeup!

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Two things happened to collide in my first week home. One was our overabundance – how big America is, how wide our roads, how many choices we have for cereal. And “B” (it’s a family joke) was a New Yorker article I was reading at the gym about Walmart art. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/02/walmart-art.html#ixzz2MfZBirVd

Artist Brendan O’Connell worked for the Winn Dixie as a teenager when he had the brilliant idea that he wanted to paint the patterns and colors of store shelves. He saw beauty in the endless void of our material world, someone called him the Warhol of this generation. But he didn’t actually start painting until he started to photograph shoppers and shelves in Walmart. Imagine, Cheeto bags inspired passion; well actually he hasn’t painted a Cheeto bag, yet…

Now, his is the only art hung in Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Arkansas, and Alec Baldwin is a collector. “A company executive said, (O’Connell is) capturing ‘the art in the Wonderbread; the art in the Jif.'”

I like to think that’s about how I write. Something ordinary, or maybe newsworthy, might catch my eye and off I’ll run with words. Seeing something extraordinary in everyday things. The Flapper and my beautiful sister Kay were the artists in my family, so drawing was out of the question for me, but painting a picture with words and metaphor seemed doable. Still, I can appreciate art when I see it.

Like the lovely Art in Place project that has sculpture and murals popping up all over Cville. http://www.artinplace.org I am consistently  delighted to see ever-changing roadscapes while I drive around town.The fin of a giant whale, a zipper being unzipped, a harried commuter with his tie flying in the wind, or even a butterfly made out of stone by Philip Kyle Hathcock hathcock  

Since I don’t go to Walmarts, here is my photo montage of O’Connell-like shelves I found intriguing after getting through customs, my dignity somewhat intact and my avocat lotion not confiscated:
A still life of 100 calorie snack packs at a Harris Teeter grocery store. The French do not have a word for “snack.” photo copy
The Starbucks mermaid.photo copy 3
A favorite chip for teens in Target photo copy
And a woman looking for beauty products photo copy 3

What is art, what is beauty? Discuss.

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There is a silly tee shirt here that says something like, “Shopping is my Cardio.” Ah, if only that were true. The problem with a French island is that the concept of gym workouts is foreign. Even when the Bride spent her Junior semester in Paris, the gym was a strange American place. Yoga, yes, maybe even Pilates has made it this far, but not cross-training or body pumping.

We climb the hills, and we walk on the beach; that is the sum of our exercise so far. Although yesterday we were walking on Petit Cul de Sac and thought for a minute we saw a dead body. Being superstitious only made it worse, I wanted to turn away and walk back to our car. I remembered the last time we found a dead body on this island. A Canadian man had fallen out of his dinghy one night, his blue foot was sticking out from under a sheet on the dock. It was a major CSI moment.

We had to walk off a wonderful moules frites when the gendarmes thought to redirect us around the dead man. At the very last minute…

Then I thought maybe it’s only a hat bobbing in the waves. Probably that’s all. But then we looked, it was a dead goat! Poor thing, it probably lost its footing on a cliff.

I broke into a trot. We had happier times ahead. We had to do a 6 month birthday photo shoot of the Love Bug and take her out for crepe caramel and ice cream. And maybe do some cardio.

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