Friday, November 30, 2012



There are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion 
That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble 
Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret 
Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together. 
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

A turbulent week. Emotions rampant; head down, fingers scurrying across the keyboard. A very short blog post is called for. In between home improvement… well, home finishing… projects, taking extra time to snuggle Marty as the end nears and working on my various projects. Bits and pieces. My life, my emotions spread thin, bumping up and down, a commotion of sensations. My words come out in short gasps, my movements fluttering from one thought to the next as I gather them up and jot them down, painting words in black and white. Time is fleeting, rushing past like my nine-year-old self on a bike whizzing home, wind whipping my thick mess of hair out of my eyes for the first time all day, hurry hurry. Or time slows down to a trickle, as thick as molasses, as slow as my son preparing to execute any chore we have requested of him… one sock, first shoe, check text messages, tie shoe, stare off into space and dream for a while, second sock….

Friday, November 23, 2012



Come, woo me, woo me; 
for now I am in a holiday humor, and like enough to consent. 
- William Shakespeare

I love the holidays. Halloween comes and goes swathed in orange and black, tiny fondant jack-o’-lanterns and chocolate skeletons dancing across supermarket shelves and shop windows. Thanksgiving arrives sharp on its heels in a burst of cooking energy; a cornucopia of seasonal fruits and vegetables just making their reluctant appearance on market stalls give themselves up to casseroles, cakes and side dishes; table tops strewn with crisp fall leaves in burnished gold and sepia and red the color of the evening sky where tiny Pilgrims stand in wooden severity. Then swoosh we are swept away in a Winter Wonderland of sparkle and brightness, swags of tiny colored lights and the twinkle of stars against inky black; the crinkle of shiny paper and the romance of plump bows lure and entice, flames dance in windows amid festive songs and Champagne cheer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012



Le Créateur, en obligeant l’homme à manger pour vivre, 
l’y invite par appétit et l’en récompense par le plaisir. **

My husband and I keep having the same debate. I argue that Nantes, our adopted city, does not have a local cuisine as much as she has a choice selection of fabulous local ingredients, these ingredients the basis for a wide variety of pure, clean, simple dishes that are created to highlight the quality and freshness of sea scallops, sardines, tomatoes, carrots, lamb’s lettuce, among others, these ingredients the basis for Nantes’ quiet but assertive renown as a gastronomic city. My husband, passionate and knowledgeable about food and an even better cook than I, disagrees, arguing for Nantes’ stunningly simple and elegant cuisine bourgeoise, a cuisine born from the wealth and modest sophistication of her former ruling class, nobles and merchants alike, as much as a consequence of the fine and exquisite products of this port city.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


it seems that we are a long way removed from the discreet combinations of flavors, 
thought out at length, that were once the basis of French gourmandise. . . 
- Colette, Prisons et paradis, 1933 

Hand in hand, bundled up against the wild wind, we picked our way along the old stone wall above a narrow stretch of beach somewhere between Ploudalmézeau and Plouguemeau. Quaint picture postcard fishing villages dot the coastline, those low stone walls the only protection against the wild waves of tempests. This single day was sunny and bright although sweaters and coats were necessary even for a spring day up in this spectacular, wind whipped, chilly part of the country. Our faces often turned towards the warmth of the sun, we watched brave Bretons frolic in the frigid water, fishermen tying and untying rope, dogs romp in the mud and old locals and tourists alike wander the tiny cobbled streets. We poked through pretty little shops displaying bowls for cider, plates for crêpes and picture postcards as we breathed in the fresh, bracing air and built up an appetite.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012



A renovation. A move. An election. I have been wrapped up in all of the nerve-wracking, nail-biting excitement, bogged down with so much frustrating, passionate activity. It has taken me away, dragged me body and soul from my work, my writing, even my cooking and baking. Lunches were more often than not sandwiches bought at the corner bakery washed down with cans of cola; dinners were more often than not pizza or kabobs. Evenings found us blottis, slumped on the sofa, cocooned deeply in layers of blankets and pillows, too exhausted both physically and mentally to do anything other than zone out in front of a movie. Nothing outside of those three activities got done in any way, shape or form. Now, I tell you one thing, I could always drag this on and on as we are still surrounded by cartons and suitcases, there are still walls to be finished and lighting fixtures to be hung. I could use this as an excuse, the excuse of the lazy, to procrastinate further, to put off until tomorrow what I should do today. But as much as I truly think that I needed that break, needed to step away for a few weeks from the expectations and deadlines, I am actually anxious to get back to work.

Friday, November 9, 2012



November grumbled in, arriving like a grouchy old man determined to spread his gloom and misery, gray and rainy, damp and cold. But this morning, one week in, pinpricks of light spread elegantly throughout the city, pink and glowing, the promise of autumn whispered. By mid-morning the sun was blazing, offering the kiss of warmth as we welcomed the season’s chill, the exciting chill reminiscent of pumpkins, apples and pears, the nostalgic chill of campfires and new winter coats. A whiff of approaching holidays gladdens, the excitement of children as we bundle up and stand outside, hands buried deep down in pockets, as the dog scoots through the heaps of golden leaves that have gathered in the corners of the steps in front of our new home.

Monday, November 5, 2012


My, my. A body does get around. 
 – William Faulkner, Light in August 

 Giorgio has been with us since Italy.  
He has been through five moves with us now.

My arms are covered in bruises, aubergine and plum fading to the color of the autumn leaves that have woven an elegantly golden carpet outside our window since we began this adventure. My muscles ache and it is harder to stand up straight after lowering another carton to the ground and I am reminded that I am not as young as I was the last time we did this. Carton after carton, rolls of white tape scattered throughout the house and a never-ending search for the last magic marker I had just been clutching now where did I use it last, for heaven’s sake?! And on the other side of town the busy bees are energetically flapping their wings, all in a flurry to finish the last touches to our new home.


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