Sunday, July 20, 2014

When do You Know You Have Arrived?

Today, on Corey's post, she asks: How do you find your way?  My answer to her blog post spurred this one.

When I arrive at Marignane airport, it's the herb-y, resiny smell of Provence that welcomes. Then, when the Mont Sainte-Victoire appears to my left, I am really on my way. The Basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Saint-Maximin where Mary Magdalene's remains are said to reside, is another milestone further on.
Then,  after the hairpin curve, then, when the three parasol pines, stand, majestic on my right, I am only kilometers away from home. At the sign that proclaims 1600 years of rosé wine making in my area, although I haven't stepped through the door yet, I know I have arrived.


photo via www.beyond.fr
The drive from the airport is a little over and hour but is always a pleasure, at least until the turn off the Provençale to Brignoles when suddenly, I become impatient to get home. By this time, the 20+ hours of travel are kicking in and I have to remind myself to be in the moment, open a window and breathe.  Then the comments come: "It really is beautiful isn't it? I mean, it's not just us, others have said the same, that this place is magical, enchanting, soul nurturing."

Six years we've been coming here, to the magical place and it doesn't get old. My soul sings here, my body vibrates with the energy here.  I drink the water from the fountain across the street, the sunshine on my balcony and from the deep, deep well of joy that resides in my heart.

Stella-with-stars-in-her-eyes

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cleaning a Crawl Space/Treasure-Hunting

If you asked me what activities I do not like to engage in, I would answer: solving the Rubic's Cube, reading the Income Tax Act, playing Bridge, running and now, I would add: cleaning a crawl space.

We've been readying for a garage sale for what seems to be forever.  First we had to clean the garage, then set up our new gardening shed, then, we had to clean the crawl space.  This last activity has me panting and sweating hard.  Picture this: you are on your knees or crouching while tugging, pulling and lifting boxes containing anything from canning jars to toys to books (V's got about 25-30 boxes of books and papers that we will not talk about today).

We've been at it every other day or so for what it seems like 2 weeks.  I could honestly tell you that we are not more than 75% through.  V. is doing his own boxes at a later date...

There is nothing more discouraging that a mountain of junk buried beneath the house in cramped, dark quarters.

I did however, discover treasures worth mentioning here:

1. Prismacolor crayon sets - two of them, one for each son.  I have since started coloring and enjoy it very much.

2. This old figurine which V. assures me is very precious.  Unfortunately Marguerite has had her head glued back on and is missing a flower in her basket.

 3. I've rediscovered another family heirloom, this cup and saucer made by Rosenthal in the 1920s.  The pattern is called Jsolde and we have 3 cups and one saucer left from a tea set.


You have to know that the few pieces that we have survived a war, a nighttime escape from Czechoslovakia to Austria in 1948(V. was a wee lad and had to be drugged so he wouldn't speak Romanian when they got to the train), a refugee camp, a move to the south of France, a boat ride to Canada and a move from Montreal to Alberta.  They are a testament to the human spirit...

Love,

Stella-the-treasure-hunter

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

 Finished reading this summer's reading circle selection last night and it left me suspended in thin air.  Good, good read about real-life abolitionist Sarah Grimké and her sister Nina in a historical novel including fictional Hetty-Handful, the slave that Sarah befriends.

The novel's chapters alternate between Sarah and Handful thus giving us a vivid poignant and colorful look into each woman's life and the differences and similarities between the two.

Sarah is white, privileged, cooped-up in her souped-up Charleston mansion and imprisoned by her femininity.  Handful, well, you can imagine her life at the mansion.  Handful is very talented at sewing, a craft she has honed at her mother, Charlotte's side.  Charlotte is a master quilter and in her few minutes of free time each day, stitches together the story of her life in a quilt that will be central to Handful's his-story.

I took my time reading this book, not something that I normally do with a book I like.  This novel, like a fine liqueur is meant to be savored,  but not just that, I found I had to stop after a few chapters because "it was enough".

This is the best of the several Monk Kidd novels I've read: The Mermaid's Chair, The Secret Life of Bees and Traveling with Pomegranates. The author outdoes herself with this one, the language, so evocative of the south, so sensual and rich it is almost like reading poetry and the story, well, the story is believable and well-imagined.  The author did extensive research on the Grimké sisters but had to fill in many gaps.  She did this admirably, creating a story that is at once informative and spell-binding.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Stella-the-critic

Sumertime

And the weather was easy, reaching 29 degrees Celsius yesterday.  I lazed around a bit, recorded the beauty on the deck with my new camera. It was my birthday, and everything was just as near perfect as it could be.  Weather, friends, family, food, bubbly, cake, laughs, stories, Facebook birthday greetings, a call from our boy in Chicago and a thoughtful, appropriate gift from D. our youngest.









Life is good.

Love,

Stella

Friday, July 4, 2014

The New Camera

My guy says that I should have a good camera.  I've been very happy with my iPhone or the odd little sure shot kind of thingey as I am a "point and shoot" kind of girl.

Well, I got a new Canon Rebel EOS T3i... I think that this is too much camera for me.  Just the instruction manual is intimidating.  I'm not the read the book before you use it kind of girl. I like to play.

So yesterday, we had a couple of couples over for drinks...

My Darling

Isn't she lovely?

W. likes to have his picture taken

J. told me to use the telephoto lens for these  

Watch J. do the dance of the seven veils


 I'm liking this serious camera stuff.

Love,

Stella

Sunday, June 29, 2014

T. and D. Christmas 2013


They rock our world and float our boat.

Stella-Mother

Rainy Sunday Taking Inventory

 Five weeks to lift off...

*Our boy has two more days with us before he flies off... He's still sleeping now but soon, we will wake him to join us... He's been delightful, huggy, funny, sweet, passionate when talking about medicine and all around easy-going and happy to be home.

     This is A. with his Daddy and Mommy on Tatie and GUV's deck on
     June 7th when he had (cake)sugar for the first time on his first birth-
     day and fed some to Mommy and Daddy too.



*Last night Sister D., her husband, her daughter, husband and our baby A. came over for supper.  I made Chicken Curry, a spinach and mushroom side-dish, coconut rice and cucumber raita.  There was animated conversation aplenty, baby was shifted from arms to arms to arms all evening and remained happy. We plotted and planned our next projects and trips... There may be a car-trip in Ireland in the not-too-too distant future as there is a direct flight from Marseille to Dublin that lasts a mere 2.5 hours...


* Today, I'm off cooking as our two boys are going to their fave 'Furusato' to have sushi and sashimi.

* Tomorrow, I am offering orientation to possibly my last renters of the season.  Marc and Josée.

* Wednesday we're having a few friends over for a little drinks partay.

* Saturday is a supper with and at our friends Eveline and Barry...

* The second weekend of July, we are having our garage sale.

* The third week of July we are having supper for our friends Nicole and Claude.

* The 31st of July, we are having a reading circle on our deck and discussing: "The Invention of Wings" by the incredible Sue Monk Kidd. She is are most-read author as we've also read: The Mermaid Chair, The Secret Life of Bees and Traveling with Pomegranates by her.

Then, then, we are going into hiding for the last week before departure to: pack, organize, rest, clean and advise our son on how to best take care of the garden during our absence.

Life is so very good.

Are you having fun too?

Stella-her-cup-running-over