Thursday, March 29, 2012

Olive oil

Joel is my olive dealer. His stand during the marché is the source of all kinds of olives: black, green, garlic, fennel, provincial, green and black olive tapanade, boiled garlic. He has a line of perfume made with flowers picked in Argelès and Collioure and named after the town. He's a terrible flirt. He wears a T shirt saying "Olive King." His last girlfriend, who helped him on the stand, wore one saying "Slave of the Olive King."
Now he is selling his own line of olive made from his own olives and packaged in a lovely bottle. Is it any wonder, that the idea of shopping in a supermarket is so unappealing when you can have such a personal relationship with your food, its producers and its sellers.
Years ago when the Bug was first in the US, it did not have a gas gauge. When one ran out of gas, there was a lever on the floor and the driver moved it and there was one more gallon. It was told that when a man bought the VW bug and kept bragging about mileage. Part of the reason, was that the prankster neighbour would fill up the bug with gas every night. This went on for several weeks. Then one night the neighbour drained the tank much to the surprise of the owner.
Why this story? One of the few things I haven't Europized myself with is my toothpaste. I love Crest's original formula: the taste, the colour, the memories. It doesn't help that it is hard to get. I sometimes ask people coming from the States to bring it as a thank you gift. At the moment I have extra tubes in both Geneva and Argelès. However, in the beginning of January, I thought my old tube was almost empty. I kept pressing and pressing. It is like the VW Bug, it still isn't empty. However, I doubt any neighbour is sneaking in and putting more toothpaste in my tube.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just a wonderful morning

The sun was shining and the sky was an unreal blue.

The merchants had set up their tables up and down the village streets and were unloading them with veggies, cheese, meats, jewelry, clothes, olives, fruits, shoes and anything else that it is sold in a French marché.

I found a small gift for a friend, then stopped at my favourite spice/herb table for rosemary and thyme. He made me roll my "r" and I told him as a Bostonian I never used an "r".

White asparagus was for sale, enough for three meals for just 2 Euros. I gave in.

I stopped at the Algerian artist's. He had mended my obligatory French intellectual black leather coat. He offered me a coffee and we sat amid his paintings and chatted about the creative process.

My next stop was ma copine's shop. Another copine was there and we chatted about her heart attack and our lives in general.

I agreed to watch the shop while they went to buy bread, and gave in to Joel's olives, black this time. He has so many varieties.

My last stop was for bananas and cherry tomato's at Jean-Pierre's and Babette's. She's using a cane since her foot was operated on. J-P was busy picking out veggies for a man outside the shop in a wheelchair, and then J-P packed them into his sack.

Just one of those days that make life a gift.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

few dinner parties

I do few dinner parties but if I could invite famous people living and dead here's some on my list. Not sure what combinations I would put together. Can you imagine Jean Calvin, John Know with Lady Gaga?

Invited for hormonal reasons:

Invited for hormonal reasons and I really like his politics
George Clooney

Invited for literary reasons
Emily Dickinson
Ann Beattie
Alexander McCall Smith
Amy Lowell
Robert B. Parker
S. Scott Fitzgerald but with out Zelda who has the same birthdate in July as I do, but I'd
be afraid she would ruin the party
Maeve Binchey
Zora Neale Hurston
Alice Walker

TV people
Rachel Maddow
Peter Lavelle
Max Keiser
Sir David Frost
Wolf Blitzer (only so I could call him on the stupid things he says and hope he leaves the
Tim Sebastian
Stephen Sakur
Claire Chazel
Catherine Ceylac
Fareed Zakaria
Charlie Rose

Historical figures
Teddy Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Thomas Jefferson
Abraham Lincoln
Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots at the same meal...It might be good for them to meet
Sir Robert Dudley
Julius Cesear
Frederick the Great
Martin Luther King

The Pankhursts
Susan B. Anthony
Robin Morgan
Gloria Steinem
Bill Baird

There are more, but one can overdo entertaining.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rethinking Starbucks

I've never been a fan of Starbucks in Geneva. I prefer the local tea rooms not some corporate behemoth. Of course, I don't consider their espresso brownies, chat lattes and blueberry muffins in the off limits purchases, but I can't get those elsewhere.

However, I was impressed with the fact they are using fair trade coffee.

I was even more impressed with their CEO on Piers Morgan who is opening factories in the US instead of outside. He talked of moral capitalism and supporting the communities where they do business.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I wish that once again...

I could call her on Skype or VOIP cheap or regular phone or or or...

I could hear her laugh tinkling through the phone line.

I could tell her how much I loved her.

We could laugh about how our friendship started because the same boy dated us. He became history our friendship did not.

I could thank her for what she did for my daughter, who now has a nose big enough to breath through.

I could tell her how much it meant that she shared her parents with me both when I needed them and when I didn't.

We could eat potato sticks and play gin rummy.

I could see her wonderful apartments created out of things found on the street and revamped.

We could speak in code...connect A and B it's nothing like that, I didn't know they made rubbers that tiny...we'd need an operation... Let's not meet and eat at (fill in the blank) Thursday at 7...don't you dare put lipstick on . . .

Eat wild raspberries and walk in the woods sharing secrets, hopes, dreams, fears.

She were there to share every bad thing making them less bad.

We could celebrate the good which in later years far outnumbered the bad.

I wish I could stop crying.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My daughter just wished me Happy Mother's Day

She was reminded when she went to Starbucks in Edinburgh.

However, it is not Mother's Day in France.

As an international family, I keep trying to convince her I should get a present for all the different mother's days in the countries where we are.

She's not buying it.

However, everyday is mother's day for me, because I have a great Kid. Too bad they don't have a Kid's Day. But would I give her a gift for every Kid's Day in the different countries?


Sunday, March 11, 2012



I've finished my spring cleaning and taken out three almost giant sized trash bags. If you consider I have a studio and am a minimalist on top of that, those who know me will wonder how.

Even minimalists have a latent rat pack gene, which may explain why I had two empty jars, six extra paper clips, clothes I would never wear, a huge rawhide dog bone (in case a certain German Shepherd, visited) five candles of the wrong shape and colour, a ball point pen I would never use, a pencil I would never use etc., etc. etc.

They and like stuff are gone, gone, gone, thank goodness.

Then I was able to move out the washer, the frigo and couch and wash the flour behind them, etc. arrange my closet in rainbow order and make sure I know where my five remaining paper clips are. Those are the ones that are shaped like animals that I love to use the one or two times a year I need a paper clip.

Now how long will my closet remain in rainbow order, my drawers remain free. I know when I did it in Geneva, I could guarantee six weeks.


I will be in Argelès.

And here in Argelès.

As they say on American TV when they give a news brief..."stay tuned, film at 11."

Thursday, March 08, 2012

A visit to Pont du Diable Céret

The Pont du Diable (Devil's bridge)is a medieval stone arch bridge at over the river Tech Céret, France, built between 1321 and 1341.

The local legend is that the residents wanted a bridge to cross the river Tech and hired the devil as builder. His condition was that he would claim the first soul across. To outsmart him, the locals sent a dog across first. Some say it was a cat. But then for many years everyone was afraid to cross. My housemate and I crossed, but to date the devil has not come for our souls.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Guess what this

On the drive down to Argelès from Geneva, my housemate and I stopped at one of the rest areas.

I found a packet of these.

With the light they were beautiful.

spihc ptatop teloiv (read backwards)

Ladies who lunch

Two friends and I have started making lunch for the three of us. The only caveat is we try a new recipe.

I used the French Master Chef cook book which had magret de canard marinated in lime and mint and served with a nap of a strawberry/cardamon sauce, and asparagus and strawberries. As in all recipes next time I will change it and use more orange and less lime.

I also dressed up a can of tomato soup bought at the American store with cream and finely chopped basil.

Desert was fresh blueberries in a chocolate lined waffle like tart with a light coating of cream.

Champagne to celebrate my emancipation certificate.

Now I look forward to the next ladies lunch where I eat and don't cook.