Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Things to do in the country....TX style!

Willie Nelson has a new album out....'wooahhh there little cowgirl'....some of you may be thinking, you're still legally resident in the big city and already thinking like a country girl! Yeeehaaa....

nah, I've always been a closet country fan, meaning my Nelson, Parton & Morgan tendencies only come out from time to time, but even in my music cassette collection from youth you'll find good 'ol cuhntree music!!....so back to my point....'ol Willie has a new album out and there's a song on it called 'You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore'...they apparently made a video for it (celebrity spotting possible!) and I watched it this morning, chuckling to myself thinking...now there's a fun activity we could bring to the French countryside...bet they don't have THAT kind of racing in Le Mans (for those of you not familiar, we will be residing 20km from the famous Le Mans racetrack with the 24hr Le Mans car race)....so, to my TX friends/readers, doesn't this just make you proud? hee hee....by the way, I happen to look good in pink, what do you think??.....to see for yourself, head to Luck, TX and Willie's video---> (hint: pause the clip for a minute or two then hit play, lets it charge up a bit so it plays smoothly!)--original long version available on YouTube, it's actually pretty funny.

http://www.umgnashville.com/willienelson/promo/peoplemagazine

and for me in the pink, here's me and my girl at Montmartre on Sunday

Monday, February 25, 2008

Peace...

As I'm now living on two sides of a coin, let's choose the 2€ one as it has the largest surface area :)

T mentioned after reading my last posting that I sounded sad...and I admit I am, a bit, we are after all leaving almost a decade of experiences behind here in Paris; good ones, bad ones, amazing ones, down right scary ones according to some (any of you recall that motto of mine--Freaks of the world unite and find L--?? I'm hoping they get lost in the country!). But that is not to say I'm not ready for new ones, it's why we are so excited about this house, the land, the surrounding 'departement' of the Sarthe, all the discoveries waiting for us there. I have been, and always will be a sentimentalist--a song, a smell, a picture--all bring an onslaught of memories flooding back to me. But if you don't take risks and forge new paths you take the chance that your memories become clouded and dull, and it is that freshness of brand new experiences that bring freshness to all aspects of your life.

So, in the spirit of a happier tone (you are never to be rid of the Eiffel Towers, sorry folks!) let me share the 'peace' we were able to capture this past weekend. We had our first unofficial, official visitors to the house on Saturday! As I mentioned in my last post, my Aunt L & cousin M were here for the school holiday from Norway, and they begged and pleaded to see the place--I swear we had no influence over them ;) ....and quite honestly, we are happy for any excuse to place our feet on what is hopefully to be ours. The owner and his family were there squeezing the last of their own memories out of it, but are most welcoming to our intrusion....

We popped briefly in the house and then spent the majority of the time walking the grounds and laughing as Freya began her redecorating early...see video-->
videoAs usual the sun was out and it was far warmer than our previous visit. Here is a view from the far side of the pony field, as I call it (this is the fenced off land with a small pony barn on it to the side of the house/yard) where one can take a walking path through the trees and around our pond. If you look through the trees you can just see the house. The pond is fed with fresh water and has its own supply of trout & carp. T has already made fun of me because I said 'Ooo goody I can get my childhood fishing tackle out!'...of course he's not thinking of the delicious grilled trout with a lemon, butter sauce we could have on a warm summer evening....one day he will learn!

Freya of course followed us along, and took her first taste of what will be her biggest water bowl ever--all that digging makes a little girl thirsty! Her review was 'Tastalicious' as the drink was a long, deep one! See evidence of lip licking going on...

For our friends reading along in Japan (Hi Elaine! Coucou Noriko!) you'll notice the bamboo behind T in the photo, we'll be thinking of you as we keep that under control--the current owner informed us it can go bamboo crazy with no supervision.

Tiny bits of Spring are beginning to sprout up as the temperatures creep up...daffodils are out in full force here in Paris...but were only beginning their tentative entry in the country....I include the next photo for another blog reader & ooooold friend--Jen, a little daffodil thought of you when I took this!

I shall conclude today's posting with what I originally set out to share with you....peace. Just as I was struck by the Parisian freedoms I shall be leaving while out the other day, on this day I was ever so gently tapped on the shoulder by nature and pointed out the beautiful peace and quiet I shall soon be surrounded by. Words cannot justly describe it, and so, just for you, I include a small video and audio of life, standing at the bank of our creek, burbling water and blue sky.....turn up the volume, it's worth it! :o) (This joy of peace was even more appreciated as the sounds of an electrical saw shattered Sunday morning sleep yesterday....) Happy Monday Everyone!!
video

Friday, February 22, 2008

Freedom....

Freedom means many things to many people...but just in the realm of living, let me share some thoughts currently making their way through my frantic mind...(the picture above was taken during the recent sunny streak a week or so ago, a miniature of the Statue of Liberty--that symbolic French gift of freedom to America--that stands on an island in the middle of the Seine...we used to take many sunset walks there when we lived in our old apartment).

I am in the middle of a lovely visit from my Aunt L and cousin M, and we spent a day crawling up rue de Passy as M zipped from one heavenly delight--make-up heaven Sephora--to another--the many clothes shops titillating her with their latest fashion offers....as LnL followed along in amused fashion doling out the various opinions when requested. We lunched on sushi, their first running sushi experience, and then ended the day, as I have so many times, at Trocadero. Here there is only one goal and that is to gaze at: Here we whipped out our respective cameras to capture from our different points of view la belle tour. My favourite was the family self-portrait I garnered from arm's length with blind guessing at the viewfinder....ha ha...if that isn't a bunch of character, I don't know what is!

I gathered the arm loads of shopping bags from everyone and left them off to explore the newly installed aquarium at Trocadero and took the 32 bus (my green limo) home through Passy, parc de Ranelagh, deposing me at my usual stop...home to prep a dinner of Raclette...

Along the way it suddenly struck me that this is one of the last 'tours' I'll be giving of my beloved Paris to one of the many, many wonderful visitors we've had over the years. What has become second nature to me, to rattle off random stories, directions, history, point out this and that in the neighbourhood that has changed over the years....zip into this store and that to pick up whatever, lunch at our favourite pizza, sushi...fill in blank....place.....and to pick the raised, single, window seat on the bus that allows me to gaze, ever appreciatively, at the Haussman apartment buildings, hideous 70's additions and various stores along the way that always please the senses....the flower stores with their ridiculously priced but beautifully arranged blooms, the traiteurs catering to the haute bourgeoisie, the ever artistic window displays at the couture baby shops, used luxury goods stores....you name it....finally the ride through Parc de Ranelagh, where the seasons passed and were always identified by the status of the chestnut trees, flowers circling the various statues and children running amok at the various playgrounds and creches or waiting to ride the donkies up and down the sidewalk...I always feel sorry for those poor asses ;)


And so I see the freedom to live my every day life, inbetween glimpses of grandeur that have seen the centuries pass by, dwindling....I know that we move on to new experiences, new freedoms--freedom from restrictions, freedom to roam & breathe, freedom to fling open my windows and blast arias, Aqua or absolutely nothing....but still there is the sadness at saying goodbye to my freedom to daydream in a setting so surreal I still wonder that I have been able to live such richness....siiiigh.....but as the French say so fittingly, it is not goodbye, but Aurevoir...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

T's HOT n fiery thoughts....

Another visit this past weekend continues to reinforce the karmic zen we feel when we are there.

Freya gave me a full belly laugh when she had a prolonged, what we call 'terrorier', goofy spell terrier style, running figure eights around the yard and diving into the ivy below the big tree out front--looking at us with sheer glee in her eyes.

I continued to do layout plans in my head as we diligently made measurements of the downstairs layout to see what shall be our future living configurations--BIG kitchen is what I mainly see, although, let's be clear and point out that that is in comparison to our current kitchen status. Nonetheless it perveys a feeling of joy in me. Here is the current rustic setup of the kitchen--though it does have a dishwasher, the same cannot be said of many an apartment in Paris. This is what will become part of our downstairs laundry/bathroom, with the kitchen moved to the other side of the wall into what is currently the living room. But those details have only begun their festering in my mind, until we meet with the architect to see what is actually feasible, physically and financially, I just keep the fountain of ideas flowing.

And now we arrive at T and his joys. Exhibit 1: --->

Visions of weiner and marshmallow roasts dance in his head! Or perhaps those juvenile pyromaniac tendencies (I'm joking here folks, he was not a pyro as a child) imagine him building a roaring skyscraper fire in the monstrous original fireplace--as compared to the small spark there now ;)

Let us move along to Exhibit 2:
What is this leafy covered brick roofed object?? La Matta look out!!...T has his very own pizza/bread oven! Happy happy joy joy is what the M-J family says to this added home bonus. He is even talking big about using veggies from the 'potager' he will grow....I'm not going to hold my breath on that one, but then again, the country air has already done crazy, crazy things to us!!

It was a balmy 1 degree Celsius when we visited, but sunny with nary a cloud in the sky--needless to say, our Norwegian sweaters that come out from the back of the very top shelf, maybe once a year, here in Paris...well, they will be earning a place of honour in the hall closet! It's cold, but so niiiiiice to walk into a warm, crackling fire, with the occasional blast of cold air from letting Freya in and out as she flip flops between where the action is...outside in her personal flowing creek chasing whozits & whatzits that float by--->

or inside with boring old us blah blah blahing away and not playing. I'll let you guess which one won out :)

So we are one step closer as now T has signed the compromis, all that remains is for the proprietaire's (owner) wife to sign this week. Then we are all sort of committed until all the rest of the administrative processes go through.....putting the date of closing somewhere in mid-April to mid-May. There are still problems that could arise, but I am forcing myself to take the optimistic approach vs. my usual pessimistic view (France has taught me this, I like to think it isn't my general nature!), and to think of what May will bring.....flowers, flowers and MORE flowers....wooopeeee. And just to tease the masses, a small peek at what Spring holds chez future M-J!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Saint-Valentin!

Amour...Amore...Amor...愛...Liebe...Liefde...in whatever language you celebrate Love, Happy Valentine's Day!

And to my love-T...5535+1 days of that crazy spirit and counting!....Here's the man I was fated to love--->
and here's the woman whose fate he followed-->







but no matter where our journey has taken us, it has always been together, and for this we thank the fates!

And so I ask, will you be my Valentine mon amour?

Gros bisous XOXOXO,
L






Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How do you celebrate?

SIGNING THE COMPROMIS DE VENTE!!!**!!
....and let me show you how I celebrated (Stacey & Wyatt, you would be proud :) ....and to my cuz Eric, you know, sometimes The Man just supplies the right stuff) after leaving the Notaire's meeting I walked out into the brisk evening, down a couple of blocks, rounded the corner....and well....as Kool & The Gang said "Celebrate good times! Come on!"....
Up I strode to the counter and in my not yet jubilant voice (this is still just starting to sink in folks) ordered not just a steaming Caramel Macchiato (in honour of my beloved, who was unable to attend this momentous meeting of pen to paper due to work commitments that had him flying from Stockholm to Copenhagen at that very moment)...

but also.....yes, I live on the wild side folks....

a Caramel Macchiato AND a piece of raspberry swirl cheescake. Quelle horreur the francophiles out there say....to that I respond only with "mrrmph donrr careff"...that's me saying I don't care with a mouthful of delicious--hit the post-signing my sanity away spot!!


There will be plenty of time for those delectable French treats to celebrate a future filled with country accomplishments...in the meantime I was happy to watch the buzz of people coming and going in the Starbucks. But let us return to our regularly scheduled program:

Yes. It. Is. So.

Ok, so not completely done, T still has to sign his blank on the last page this weekend, and the owner's wife will sign next week when she is back in town, but for all intents and purposes, c'est fait! (it's done)! We are committed (after 7 day reflection period--uh, yes, I shall be reflecting upon the gazillion plans I have to make now in our renovation designs) to now follow through on the purchase, and most important, the current owners cannot entertain any other offers or back out for any reason, we however have several suspensive clauses, the only one that would be cause for any discussion is the one where farmer Jean-Pierre decides to invoke his preemptive right to purchase the aforementioned parcel of land sometime in the next two months. Let's not even begin to discuss the ramifications that decision would bring the poor man. "Hell hath no fury like a L-woman scorned from her land"...or something along those lines!

The next couple months will see dossiers filled out, proof of various things, corrections-- is it really so hard to put to CC's together in a name and not add an A? Apparently so, as my last name continues to vex those poor frenchies when it comes to official documentation. And, yes, for the 100th time I had to endure the attempt at an explanation of why I must be referred to as Mme J in the Compromis contract (17pgs) instead of my legal name of Mme M...blah blah blah...but it is 'understood' that I remain Mme M. And that even though many French women today are keeping their maiden name, general documentation follows old (read dead) protocol, but not to worry, in a court of law (illogical french law) it would be clear....and this from a younger guy!....I just kept repeating in my head "don't roll your eyes L, don't mock the man in front of another, he is your friend"...ah, digression strikes again.

Step one is done. And on we go. We make another visit this weekend to the Notaire for T's signature and to drop off copies of documents then on to the house for another tour of the property and closer examination of the house and grange...take some measurements, a ton more pictures....and a hell of a lot more dreaming!!

I leave you now, not with another boooooring picture of la belle Tour (blasphemy!) but what I took in during my evening walk from the Notaire's to my celebratory beverage. The ending of another beautiful, sunny day in Paris....and for those of you out there who know our history, the 13th once again brings good into our lives!!



Ok....and because I just wouldn't be me if I didn't include what my bus ride zoomed by and I viewed with a huge sigh.... on the way home....

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oaahhhwwwwmmmmmm.......

That's me making my zen, meditation, calming noise.....and to accompany that let me share with you some of the zen images I focus upon while the roller-coaster ride continues...

But first, let's just get a baseline going of exactly what L&T are dealing with...and this will satisfy some of the requests I've had for more, more, more photos please!...so, since the last couple days here in Paris have been sublimely sunny, and spring is peeping it's head wearily around the corner in an early fashion this year, I can do some comparisons.

First off, what we have Today in our lives. Yes, by Parisian standards a lovely, large, pretty garden view from our 4th floor balcony:








and here is where our views have changed...when we first arrived we saw the vast green, the blooming trees, the tended flower beds....in the last couple years, the evil, greedy, nasty, unwarranted leanings of our landlord have skewed our vision to focus on: the intrusion of buildings everywhere that contribute the never ending noise that surrounds us with their construction, loud conversations at ungodly hours of the night (this is by normal human standards, ie: 3am, 4am during the week, 7am on a Saturday), tv's blasting to the elderly, and musical instrument practices that raise the hairs on my neck prompting homicidal thoughts....the list in fact continues but I think you get the drift.

And to what is it that the zen in me aspires for our Tomorrows?....see below some pictures of what we are endeavouring to experience in Spring (photos provided by Mr. C the owner--his instruments of temptation :) ) --->










nary a hideous building in sight...the noise of nature: babbling brooks, arguing birds, the occasional farm machinery in the distance, mooing cows for Freya to silence, and the only construction noises I'll be privy to will be the trees and plants making flowers for my flower-whore tendencies!!

Yes, this city girl, who will always keep a small portion of her heart reserved for Parisian escapades (that pied-a-terre dream is not dying merely taking a dormant position), has aged, yes, I am readily admitting it--make note all ye who make fun of L--and thus yearns for that country peace...to be infused with regular Paris trips. Did I mention it's only 1-hr by train to the city center??...oaahhwwwmmmmm.....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rub-a-dub-dub

So, a conversation with Monsieur C today to confirm in spoken words that we WANT that house and will sign the 'compromis de vente' as soon as the Notaire (someone who couldn't make it through law school so dropped out to be an important official government paper pusher--ok, maybe I'm being a little harsh, he's actually a nice guy and I should note the official who shall welcome T & I into the French murky waters of home/land ownership...tra la la...) places that beautiful piece of parchment before us....digressing again...we had a brief scare last night when I hopped on the sellers website and saw he had put the house back up again--did he doubt our sincerity??...I mean come on, it would not have been appropriate for us to do the happy dancey jig thing we did, in front of him, but the four e-mails, two conversations AND the fact we called the official paper pusher guy first thing Monday morning might have been a clue we were on the road to buying the house!....

so, re-focusing....after our conversation this morning--did I mention we had to set an alarm.....on a SATURDAY.. to call Mr. C? We all know that anything before 10am on a Saturday is just not civil in the M-J household, so to get up and have to have intelligible foreign conversation...oh did I mention no cup 'o joe yet?....was well, quite an effort on our parts...Freya in fact promptly placed her derrière on the sofa and went back to sleep as the first ray of noon sun had not yet hit her 'I'm awake' spot on the couch.....ok, back to the conversation....we all left it with warm fuzzies agreeing to meet up some time this week when the Notaire informs us the almighty blessed parchment commiting us to nothing for ten days--reflection time obligatory by law--is ready, but allowing us a breath of relief knowing no one else can have our house :)

Of course, my warm fuzzies turned to a swarm of crazy I have a million things to do bees and I promptly got my camera, over the shoulder bag, walking shoes and headed out to: --->

The Salon de Salle de Bain...or the Bathroom Show conveniently taking place this weekend, where I entertained myself with the creative artsy things they would like us to shower with...including one shower where you had a ceiling of water and walls of water coming at you from all sides...I'm thinking that would be more like drowning? Nonetheless, left with these handy mags pictured, and a few million other brochures. Plus some great ideas....Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
If anyone out there is planning to open any type of commercial venture and need a little boy's room, how about this...err....new take on a urinal?
Our little house is exactly that, little, but it shall be a cozy home with lots of BIG space outside! As my mind wandered a bit in the din of bathroom fodder I began to have visions of grandeur dancing in my head...how's this for a little guest bath? I mean, I know I'm the Queen of T's World, but would he go for Cleopatra? ha ha.... but I have a large task ahead of me....after all, as much as I love peach--and that would only be to eat--I have to take this--->



and turn it into something out of the pages of my newly acquired C&B magazines, right?...alors...the true work begins.



Now, lest any of you out there are currently thinking, poor T being dragged around a Bathroom show....worry not, he and Freya hopped in the car with the bike in the trunk and spent today's gloriously sunny day bonding in the woods, making up for all the Mama time she's had to endure whilst T was in Sweden all week.


It's late and I have to go dream about recycling water from my showers....the delectable tiles I so gently caressed in the tile booth until the guy trying really hard not to work on a Saturday had to come over and hand me a brochure just so I would stop fondling his 'carrelage' (tile)....siiiigh....so Bon Soir...and I leave you with this image I took last week as I took the long walk home, savouring those parts of Paris that I shall miss so very much...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A step in the MERDE...@$#&$&^()% !!!

Ok, so I knew that eventually the smooth sailing would stop and I would be uttering the naughty words, or as poor T is accustomed, hearing the rantings and ravings on the other end of a mobile phone as I express, in my oh so lively manner, the injustices of a particular frenchy situation...but day 4 into our adventure wasn't expected...

and yes that is a picture of exactly what you think it is...sometimes a picture IS worth more then any words!...Freya and I were out walking today and the moment I saw this and the feverish thoughts raced through my mind, well, my camera practically took the picture itself....
----------
later, as Freya began to internalize my frustrations, she decided to 'express' her personal opinion about the situation....

and make her own contribution to today's posting!!....Merci my little one for your ever appreciated ability to always lighten your Mama's mood :-)


And so we reach the point in this poo-centric tirade where you are asking, what could ever have prompted such an outburst from our normally calm L?
Welll.......today boys and girls, L & T learned the lesson of Agricultural Law in socialistic, antiquated (insert here medieval origins and Napoleonic updates...and NO updates since before freakin' electricity!!) France. This story could take up pages, so the long and short of it is this: the house comes with 2.5 hectares of land. 1.5 hectares is with the house, our lovely owner purchased an additional 1.0 hectares 5 years after his original land/house purchase and today is selling us the 2.5 hectares. However, in his kind and generous manner 12yrs ago, he let Farmer Jean-Pierre (I'll use my nice name for him here as there may be children educating themselves ;) ) use that 1 hectare to graze his cows and grow corn from time to time since our owner, Mr. C only used the house on weekends/holidays. No written agreement, no lease, no rent...just kindness.....AND STUPIDITY!! As it turns out, in the land of agriculture Farmer J-P gains rights, control, power & money (can you say E.U. subsidies boys and girls?) just because he has been using the land. So, T & I are paying to buy land that a) we can't use, b) we can't take back, c) we must pay the aforementioned Farmer @$$ an indemnity if we do try to reclaim it, d) the laws of the country protect him, him & him e)...I could go on, but I feel that my utter disbelief might reach through the internet and poke you in the eyes that I know are also wide open in utter disbelief!!

wooooosh (large intake of breath)....as usual, T & I managed to research the issue to death in order to be fully informed angry people (ever tried reading articles, sections, laws of 1802 in 76 pages of a foreign language, with outright contraindications and idiocy?--fun fun fun), and decided that the property in question (yes I have a photo--it's the land on the other side of the fence that you see beyond the big tree) ----------------->

is going to just give us a challenge in life--to teach those country folk the M-J way (I'll let you know when I figure out what that is!). But in all actuality the real thing that washes away the anger and injustice (our wondertwin powers did not activate...b/c I for sure would have taken the shape of a can 'o woop @$$...hee hee) is that the beauty of the rest of the place outweighs all the negatives and all it takes is to sit and view the round of photos of everything else that we would...maybe, oh please maybe...own and that would be our little piece of heaven on this earth.

I'm working on getting the rest of those pictures into a slideshow to put up asap...but in the meantime, so as not to leave your visual sensitivities so offended by parisian merde....I shall bid you adieu with an image I took this evening as F and I headed home over the Pont d'Alma bridge. It's a sight I never tire to see and still fills me with joy, though not so much as what we hope to see in the near future....

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Love La France Profonde


....to a new destiny! La France profonde...or the country as some might say beckons us now. We are seduced by thoughts of quiet, romps in green, nights by a warm fire and toast spread with homemade jam from our own fruit trees...Freya dreams of millions of mole hills all belonging to her...and Delfia ponders his later years in a warm windowsill with nothing but green views and waving flowers.....and so it is, our latest journey is an attempt at this....



so follow along and entertain yourself...if you'd like, as we wade through the trials and tribulations of home ownership...or more to the point, the attempt....here in France, and our search for our latest destiny. I'll post some more pictures of the house and it's environs to satiate those of you lusting for that french country seduction (oh wait, that's me that's doing the lusting....no comment on you dirty minded people out there-->you know who you are!)...in any case it will save my e-mail limits from mailing them to everyone! we'll document this fun affair over the next couple of months and hopefully onward...But be warned, there may be the nasties from time to time as we face challenges, this is an L-blog, free association of thoughts baby! But then isn't that why we love life here....NEVER A DULL MOMENT!...touché....et à beintôt.

the path to change....

The path to change always begins with love....T & I have always been lucky to be on the same page when these changes happen, some might say 'blessed' if you're a spiritual thinker...I like to think that fate has a hand as she does in so many of the choices I/we have made....and so our path moves us...
.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Paris Amour....

It's been almost ten years we've lived our Paris Amour....so many words and too many photos to begin to even describe that experience. For that matter, blogs were not even a twinkle in the eye of those inventors, but today....as we begin...or shall I say attempt to begin a new 'chemin' (you've all been clamouring to learn french, et voila! get those dictionaries in hand and create those new brain cells!--thank you L I hear ;o) .....but I digress as I often do...


Our family has grown...from just the big D -->



to our precious little devil love F -->

and so the requirements of life change too....but as the Sheryl Crow song says "a change will do you good"...so we take that to heart and....