Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Plus et ... pourquoi pas?

After so many revelations and proclamations on my 45th birthday --- I have slowly managed to launch into those efforts.  And just like New Year's resolutions--I am still riding the upbeat wave of 
 motivation---but finding out it will take more time and super-woman determination and focus to make things happen like I would want.... mais bien sur.  It is always like that! Non?

In the meantime--a few baby steps.  I have posted a 'hiatus' status on my blog 'Fil de la Vie'..... and I have faced up to one or two 'adieu's of things that just had to go.  I have also put a few things in perspective that were bothering me and have also decided where to continue-on with added vigor.

Just so you know---it's not all peachy.  Remember that statement about being happy about the aging thing and my appearance and all that?   Well you might be amused to know that I woke up a day later with a huge angry ZIT on my cheek (and I never had acne as a teen!) I realized that my knees ached when I bent down to fill the dryer the other day, and as much as I am in denial about it--I am constantly over-heating these days--to the point if you popped over to the house unexpected you might catch me vacuuming in my bra!  All of these little signs of being 'older' have ironically made an appearance since I made those 'I am good with it' statements challenging me on the making peace with being well over 40 now stuff....... Le sigh...... So I remind myself that to handle all of these things with grace is the only hope I have to retaining my 45 years young mentality!

So....On to more important things---goals? Aspirations? 

I have decided to go for full-out citizenship in France rather than just permanent residency.  This might seem trivial --but if you were following on my other blog--you would know that I have found on more than one occasion that France has not been all that eager to embrace me with open-arms.  You might think that being married to the French guy for 17 years and having three French children, the most recent being born on French soil (well not soil--in the hospital--but you understand!) would make me an citoyen français instantanée!  Mais non!  There is lots more to it than that and I have been in process just to get my temporary 3 year residency for the past TWO years!  In.....process......

But at the end of it all---I believe after all of this effort I will be only one or two forms away from citizenship--and why not go for the entire thing--- don't you think?  Seeing as currently I am the only non-citizen in the family and we are not leaving France anytime soon.

Next---- the novel.  It is high time to write that second book.  On my birthday I committed to get going on it--even if I only write a few sentences or words each day.  And the strangest thing---when I was saving my first effort about 4 pages of introduction material--as I went to 'save' I discovered a document of the same name---and remembered that I had started this same book concept the summer we arrived in France and had fallen upon a 'lost' chapter---and there it was!  I had barely any memory of writing it and better yet ...... it was good.  R-e-a-l-l-y good and I found myself thinking for a second, "Who wrote this?!  This is great stuff!"   Silly I know.  But it made me happy.

Okay next?  Is that not enough?  Aging gracefully, citizenship, a novel?  Well perhaps enough for now--the other stuff has of course to do with photography but I am pacing myself and will pace it for you too! 

There is a big antique show this weekend, a 'salon'.... and as I may have mentioned the boys are off school for this week and next for 'Toussaint'.... I have a bundle of linens to add to the shop and a few large pieces to shoot and list on SSO....

So there you have it.....never dull!  

...  à bientôt mes amis! See you again soon!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


When we were in Paris we ran all over the city, just for fun and because we could,
 but also in search of this ....

Which was found here ...

And I thought it was perfect that it was on a quiet side street that had a little artsy flare, a little vintage appeal and slightly chippy and worn too...  all of this was just right for me... and turning 45.

I have been looking forward to this birthday for a while.  I love 45 already.  I mean seriously--what is not to love? To kick off my 45th year in Paris and to have my parents in town could not have been a better start to it.  

The actual day of my birthday was spent in Rouen with Mom and Dad, French Guy and Petite Fille...having a great lunch and exploring the city.

The year between 44 and 45 was interesting.  Celebrating 44 with a new baby on one hand and a teen on the other and a very precocious kiddo in the middle--somehow had a magical way of keeping me young (now don't laugh!)... and focused--if you can believe that! 

Focus on our family which eluded  me for too long finally fell into place and a strange sense of balance in the middle of the chaos made an unexpected appearance midway through the year.  But one thing that I have decided is that as much as I have loved the explosion of creativity and juggle of  the exciting new projects, this next year ... starting now, something has got to give. 

(But more on that below!)

 I also came to terms with the whole 'aging' part of the equation.  I am comfortable in my skin, wrinkles and all.  I am fine with my body and image and I think pretty much give or take a kilo or two--will be what it is and I am okay with it. (Even though in the French/European size equivalents I appear to be HUGE!--in the states I was an 8-10 and here I am a 40-42!) As far as dressing  I have found my 'style' again--I have to say that moving to France temporarily derailed my personal sense of 'me' (let's face it--I arrived in maternity wear when we moved!) but I am so less likely to pick up a fashion magazine to tell me what I should or should not wear for the first time in my life and maybe it's hormones or aging or whatever, but since growing out my hair I now have masses of curls instead of frizz for the first time ever!---so if aging has anything to do with that---bring it on! 

Now back to the cutting back thing.  There are hundreds (make that thousands!) of things I would love to be doing and working on.  Creatively and professionally there are not enough hours in the day!  But more importantly than that--there are things happening in our family that need immediate attention, and with that there are things I want to work on personally.... I would like to be a better friend I have to do some work on the 'inside' and I am over of blaming time constraints on that.  I also made a promise to myself that I would launch a personal project that got waylaid several years ago and come hell or high-water (which seems quite possible at times!) I will do it.  NOW.

There are so many things that push and pull us each day ---  I used to feel that I should send out a personal apology to those that follow me on Pinterest...... 

Dear (insert your name),
Thank you so much for liking my style and taste as reflected in the things I "pin" but please do not expect too much action as I find that there are so many more things I would rather be doing today/this week/this month and perhaps you would like to reconsider your 'follow'?"

As cool as it might be--I must be a Pinterest flunkie-- and honestly--I just can't sort out Twitter--I know. Yes.  Loser.  But oh well..... I used to aspire to keep up with all of it--but not anymore.

So two things (for now!) mes amis-- I am taking a 'hiatus' from writing on my personal blog 'Fil de la Vie' and taking a break from food blogging on 365 French Days.  So if you are following there--I am grateful for your support and perhaps it will be a relief for you to have one less thing as well!

You can still find me here---mais bien sur! There are other changes coming--but that is the beginning. I will be strategically and authentically be saying 'no' more often and letting myself off the hook.  I will not be trapped by comparing my life and accomplishments with those of others knowing that my energy and time is better placed on the ones I love and the things that I love to do-- things I love just because I do. 

All this to say ... I think {45} will be the best year yet.

 Why not---just look how it has started!
Thanks for sticking with me!  The best is yet to come!

À bientôt!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Getting [Halloween] Crafty with Mom

 Halloween is just not a huge deal in France.... comparatively speaking anyway.  The French like Halloween and there are a few places that you can find Halloween decor, but for the most part, at least in Normandy a true pumpkin is hard to find and don't even dream of visiting a pumpkin farm here.  (The glorious pumpkin patches of the PNW are a thing of the past for us!) There has been a little parade which is cute in Trouville but in no way similar to the events and festivities in the US.

Yes, I tried to grow pumpkins in my little potager and a cher-amie even sent organic seeds from home-- and to be honest mes amis-- BIG fail.  I am a terrible pumpkin farmer apparently.  Four times I got as far as cute gum-ball sized baby pumpkins and no matter what I did' left it alone or carefully pollinated it with a male bloom... nothing.  The poor little thing just turned yellow and I finally gave in and bought one single very expensive small pumpkin at the local garden center--which I am sure was the only place within a 500 mile radius to have them.  

So with Mom here, we had to get little crafty and make decorations and she brought the supplies! And next week we will be the most popular family on our street because we will be the only ones throwing a little party!

French Guy looks at us strangely for indulging in such frivolity and I can't say that my in-laws were completely charmed by it when the came for Sunday lunch yesterday.... but we had fun, the children like it--and so does the 'Great Pumpkin'.... when he comes ..... if he can find us... with his GPS--here in France.

Happy Halloween {decorating} mes amis!

À bientôt!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Planless in {Paris} !

Yes!  I know I live in France and Paris should be so, well..... normal. But when I arrive in Paris -- I am giddy at the first glance of La Tour Eiffel!

Imagine the view from these apartments!
Our little getaway to the city of lights was courtesy of my parents sacrificing a day and a half of their time with us to watch 'les enfants'...  the two 'garcons' and Petite Fille; 13, 8 and 21 months..... (which is quite an undertaking.)  But the breather that it gave us....priceless!  It was our first time staying over in Paris (when not passing through to go to the airport and catch a flight out) and our first time without the three-darlings and I have to be honest, because of all of the things aforementioned..... our first time in Paris ---without a plan!  Just a reservation at a hotel in the 14th arrondissement .... an invitation to a 'cocktail' to celebrate a book launch of a close friend ... a tentative lunch date with another ...... and other than that?

 ... Only the Paris streets under our feet.

Now don't gasp in disbelief --- the Paris Flea Market was not in our plans!  Now hold on, hold on!---it is CLOSED on Monday-Thursday, and maybe better this way--we have been there before and it would have felt a little like a work day--scouring the stands and shops and networking, etc.....

So there you have it!  Planless-ness is a pretty great state of being when you have a normally pretty packed life with long to-do lists, commitments, and responsibilities.... and being plan-less in Paris?


So what did we do?  What else?  We wandered around, went to 'Berkley Books' an American bookstore where I loaded up on books in English! We ate yummy food whenever we wanted... sushi for dinner at 10 pm for example ..... we slept in!..... Wow!  I took 100's of pictures ...... and all in all just soaked up as much Paris as possible in just over 24 hours!  (And got a bit soaked--yes it was raining!)

The hotel was fabulous!  Fun decor, great service, fair price!

Our windows opened out to the busy Paris streets!

This is the breakfast room, cozy, casually-chic.

And yes, I still have my WA state plates on my car.... you can't even imagine the looks we get in Paris!

Window 'drooling' over gorgeous towers of macarons!

The simple cafe where we ate; classic home cooking in Paris!

I think this gargoyle was watching us!

Paris in October!  (or anytime!)  I think I am in love!

Do I look content? ... an amazing Paris getaway! 

 To sum it up-- 5 things I learned about Paris:

1. Even in the rain, Paris is fabulous.
2. 24 hours away (in Paris) from my children makes me feel like a new woman.
3. Even when you live in France, you are still a complete tourist in Paris!
4. There are more chocolate shops in Paris than shoe stores.
5. Before driving/riding in a car in Paris it is best to have your Valium prescription updated and refilled, and if another driver passes too close and whacks your mirror, do not expect them to stop or even acknowledge you......

C'est tout for now mes amis!  

Have a fabulous Friday and a Bon Weekend!

More soon .......

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oh "Marchtober" !

My parents arrived on Friday--they normally come visit in October.  Les enfants have a school break for two weeks which usually hits towards the end of the month and I also have a birthday this month (next week and it is a BIG one!) so their timing coincides with that .... except....this time I got the school 'vacances' incorrect and they actually depart the day before the boys are off from school!  For the first time in years (at least the last 2!) they bumped the vacation by a week--so somehow I misled my parents to booking their trip at the wrong time--so now it looks like we will be allowing les garcons a little 'hooky' time out of school so that we can do a day-trip or two.

We have already hit a few great places, parks, and markets with my folks--despite the rain and the wind (and the hail!)  French Guy has pointed out that we are having more like 'March' stormy weather than glorious crisp and sunny October and hence I have re-named this month "Marchtober"....

But nonetheless--we will not be prevented from going to all of our favorite places!  
Like the Sunday Market ...


I love the shift of the seasons and seeing what shows up there ....

And of course a cloudy day--or any kind of day is perfect for an afternoon walk in Honfleur!

I think we will manage just fine--rain or shine!

In fact--at this very moment my stomach is full of butterflies of anticipation because tomorrow French Guy and I head to PARIS for two days ---- SANS ENFANTS!  Can you believe it?!?  We are going away to have time together while the grandparents hold down the fort and keep the children safe, fed and entertained (and off to school on time too!).....  and as crazy as it might be--I have never been to Paris without children in tow!  --Seriously!  So we are going to celebrate that big birthday I mentioned earlier!--and to hang out with some famous French celebrities at an intimate soiree on Tuesday night.... I kid you not.  I am so excited!

Well mes amis--off to finish this Monday, write out notes for the 'sitters', make sure the fridge is stocked and snacks are ready, pull out my high heels and find that cocktail dress in the back of the closet.... (and the raincoat, scarf and umbrella!)

....  and charge the camera batteries, mais bien sur!  

Paris here I come!!!!

À bientôt!

xx Cat