⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

December 29, 2012

Cache Valley, Utah.





...and a rare wintery family portrait.

December 27, 2012

Christmas magic.



First, the snow. Then, the babies.







December 26, 2012

December 18, 2012

Saint Lucia.



We had lovely visitors over the weekend who have Swedish blood and every year celebrate Saint Lucia - a ceremony to honor light during the darkest days of the year, as a reminder of the light that will come. Marguerite (yes! she is back again to spend Christmas!) loved the long dresses and the red sash they all donned. They sang lovely traditional songs for the occasion. Colette, lover of small lights, was entranced.



December 17, 2012

December 16, 2012

December 14, 2012

Bulbs.



Stephen gave me a very special Christmas present this year: bulbs. A backyard (cement New York slab of a backyard) full of bulbs. A hundred or more. Tulips, narcissus, fritillaria, crocus, hyacinth, all sorts. Out our kitchen window will be a popping sensation. Stephen is sort of the bulb expert. He instructed us with precision and the bulbs seemed happy in their spots. You'll see the results when spring lands. Soon!







December 12, 2012

From Marie's Paris Atelier:



My beautiful sister in law has designed a line of jewelry. In her words, these (rings - above, cuff links - below, earrings, necklaces, brooches) are: "sturdy and unique pieces of jewelry, hand-made with genuine parts of old haberdashery found in antique stores and flee markets in France. All jewelry media new and adjustable. I am a French jewelry designer. I mostly work with materials from the 30s to 60s."

Marie is a true artist - whimsical, free - she perceives in new ways. If you need gifts for Christmas, these are perfect. The whole thing is on Etsy and she ships to the USA and all over the world: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MarieJolyWorkshop

December 11, 2012

Tatigaba

Another Christmas idea: Tatigaba, the children's book Marie and I collaborated on. I wrote the story and Marie did the illustrations. The story is in both French and English.



Read the book and buy a copy here.

December 9, 2012

Masterpiece.



Presenting a triumph by Xavier. A gut renovated bathroom (really gut - check out the last couple of pictures in this series). We are talking floor, walls, ceiling, plumbing (with just a plumber to weigh in one day), tiling, paint stripping (accompanied by many fights about lead paint dangers), electricity, 400-lb cast iron tub-removal and replacing and on and on. This was one heavy bricoleur job. He started out loving it, got pretty fed up at various points, but in the end, clearly triumphed.







The details are what make his work so lovely. I am delighted to have a husband who pays such close attention to things like trimming the tiling with that perfect red stripe...


choosing just the right clock for the bathroom,


restoring the original door knobs and hardware,


getting us a telephone receiver shower part in the tub (love this!),


installing a soap thing-y (yellow thing on the wall - savon jaune rotatif) - the same he had in his French primary schools growing up,


...down to choosing the perfect lights.

Colette adores Mr. Chaplin in the bathroom. She is learning to wave hello and goodbye and Mr. Chaplin is her primary conferree of these baby salutations. She also laughs really hard when she sees him hanging up there. He must seem really amiable.


When the guts were still out:


(Special thanks go to: François et co. for risking their lives to help Xavier bobsled the original cast iron tub down the stairs and out of the house. Also to Hugues for help fracturing the original floor, where flying cement chunks threatened his unprotected eyes. And to Julie for risking her respiratory health stripping paint with a heat gun while I was hiding out 8 months pregnant in Barbados - better for Colette, let's say).

December 6, 2012

For Colette and all babies.

For Colette from Meredith Bak.


Here is the gift from Meredith. Colette is such a fan.

December 3, 2012

Picture book.



I've written before about riding a bike to work, but this morning my fervor for the activity was totally revived. I left my house around 6:30am. I was dreading the dark and the cold and I was totally beat from a difficult night with little lady Colette (she is a funny baby - goes from sleeping straight through the night to waking up every two hours randomly). I have an early morning meeting on Mondays and so I can't dilly-dally if I do ride my bike. I dragged my bike (the killer bike Xavier recently found me to replace a stolen one) out of the house and started down the hill of our street. The air streamed through my nostrils and by the time I had made those wheels turn ten times I was reconverted. Totally awake, happy, full of life. The sun was coming up and I actually took off my gloves, the air felt so balmy (New York City is 60 degrees today!). I rode all the way through Harlem - down St. Nicholas and then turned the corner on Fifth Avenue and 110th Street - the northeast corner of Central Park. I slammed on the brakes when I looked to my right. This is what I saw. Straight out of some story book. My story book of New York City.

December 2, 2012

Lights lights everywhere.



With the city festooned with so many lights, Colette's eyes are full of wonder and her nostrils perpetually flared.



December 1, 2012

"Is that Colette?"



I hear from behind me, as I push little miss in the swing.

"Why, yes, here she is."

"Well, bonjour!" And then they come over. Colette's friends from the park. She knows them. Her feet kick a million miles a minute when she sees Alexa and her dad, Bill. She knows lots of other kids too, and their dogs. She gets down on the ground and crawls all over while they run circles around her. Claire is fantastic says these parents who know and see her at the park. So sweet.



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