June 30, 2011
Upon arriving in Saint-Tropez today, I experienced a pigment of distaste - the yachts filling the harbor, Chanel and Dior crammed into the narrow streets of the charming village, snootiness at every gaze. But then I escaped a little and rode my scooter (featured here) up into the hills behind the town. The amazing thing about this place is you could boil it down to its crowd and you would be so very wrong. So wrong. Just a stone's throw away is such complex and beautiful nature. It just takes a few unknown turns here and there and you promptly get the wind knocked out of you - dangerous on a scooter.
The scooter (who is featured looking very proud of herself here).
And when you find that yours is the only scooter parked near the 17th century church on a hill above the town with a glorious sunset, you suddenly find yourself grateful for those yachts and those other priorities (take the route de Sainte-Anne to la Chapelle Saint-Anne at exactly 8:45pm - well, today anyway).
June 28, 2011
I'm going to St. Tropez tomorrow for 6 weeks for work.
Things I like about St. Tropez: hot sand granules and piles of seaweed, Mediterranean water and swimming every day, anchovies and calamari, scooter expeditions, the Saint-Tropez weather report (80 degrees and sunny every day for the next 45 days), Saint-Tropez sunsets, figs and madeleines. Also, it might be one of the best places to take photographs. The one deprivation (knowing all those things would be better with him): Xavier, my boy. He will be there to visit though.
June 20, 2011
I wrote about being Marguerite's step-mom here and I've written a lot about Xavier being Marguerite's dad. I have high standards when it comes to dads - mine is amazing. Xavier flies high as well. If you know Xavier, you know that he always wears two baby pink silly bands on his wrist. He hasn't removed them in over a year. They were a gift from Mlle. Marguerite, now cherished by her dad - a constant reminder of her. Being a dad hasn't been traditional or easy for Xavier. Since he and Marguerite's mom split very early on in her life, he's had to take the reigns every moment she is with him in a way he might not have otherwise had to do (a blessing in lots of ways). He has been spectacular. Nothing daunts him - not food or baths, not diapers, not tantrums. When Marguerite has a nightmare, she hollers "Papa!" When Marguerite's strong little personality surfaces - when "elle fait son cinema" (makes a fuss/drama) - Xavier calls it exactly like it is, speaks to her as he will when she is 15 or 20 or 45 (always has) and she knows the drama won't take her far. When there is fun to be had, Xavier is there to act out any character or to spice up her story time with extra characters and scenarios. She knows that her papa loves les bêtises and she shares his passion for mischief. They call each other "renard(e)" (fox).
So, yesterday, she called for father's day and she asked me to give Xavier "une surprise" for both of us. Documentation to follow - but her surprise, to be carried out by me (to my relish), was a cream tart in Xavier's face. A wonderful father's day surprise indeed. Quelle renarde, Marguerite.
June 16, 2011
I married into a lovely French family. The most traditional of sorts. Look at some of them in 1926. This is Xavier's grandfather's family (his dad's father) - Marcel is first on the left, front row (you can see Xavier in him - it is strange to recognize your husband in a photo of someone else from 1926). I love all those boys, their raiment; the girls and their socks and shoes - the little fat blonde one.
June 13, 2011
June 12, 2011
...a last minute trip to Washington for the weekend to visit my parents and family. My parents spend a good portion of their lives outside, near or on mountains. So the very first act involved biking & hiking near Mount Rainier. I am always stunned by the overgrown size of everything in this part of Washington - trees, plants, waterfalls, the drops down to a river.
The one thing that was not oversized was my dad's jacket. Ironically, the man who is notoriously well-outfitted neglected to put his backpack in the car before leaving. It was 50 degrees cooler in Seattle than in New York (no exaggeration!) and jackets were a requisite here, especially up in the mountains. So, he borrowed one of my mom's and I think it really suited him.
June 8, 2011
Look at all those windows. Like stars in New York.
And this is where the row boats take a break next to drippy trees.
Back to Paris - another church looking like King Kong, ready to eat the street it faces. Get ready Miss June.
A velvety red Paris staircase with shadows only Paris could keep.
June 4, 2011
June 3, 2011
Annoying and comical at once: I was standing outside of the building where I work in New York, speaking on the phone to my sister-in-law, Marie, in French. A man walked past, heard me speaking and then put his wrists together as if they were bound by handcuffs. Was this the gestured equivalent of saying "freedom fries" in the current scandal? Les Americains.