Monday, October 27, 2008

Shrooooms & Shots....

A couple days in Paris, our bellys full from a phenomenal 'Menu Chef' from our favourite little sushi restaurant in Paris--this is a menu where you just sit down and eat what the chef puts in front of you--all fresh and his creation for that day--風味がよい!! (tasty in Japanese :) ) A couple hours spent running errands near the Hotel de Ville area, and a wonderful dinner party at some new friends' apartment--I might have spent a good portion of my time ogling the phenomenal view of the blue Eiffel Tower from my spot at the dinner table--it's an addiction, what can I say?

Back at the house we are definitely settling into for acclimating to...errr....certain country Fall habits, well, that's a completely different story!

So....Sunday morning we wake up, the sun is shining, brisk air dresses us in warm clothes and we are partaking of steaming cups of java to conclude the morning crawl when we hear..."BANG BANG ...bang bang". A flash of gray means Josie has torn into the house, closely followed by a flash of white-Freya. Neither are a fan of gunfire for some odd reason.

Ah yes, the ringing sound of gunfire on a Sunday to relax a person....and why is this you may ask? Weeeeeell--apparently in the lovely, idyllic French countryside that we have chosen to call home there is huntin' season--yep, the dress up in camo, grab the dogs & gun and go shootin' for stuff just 'cause it's fun season--September to March. Now, I personally don't have anything against hunting, along the principal that you eat what you shoot, but what I have a particularity against is....when you freakin' shoot a gun within 100 meters of my front door where I'm enjoying my coffee!!.....and based on the corners that the farmers cut in other areas of life, I'm just not convinced of their skill in hitting a target, nevermind a moving one....and thus fear for my, my beloved's, my pooch's & my kitty's rear ends staying intact. Call me vain. Oh yes, and did I mention they were within the bounds of the law and it is apparently us who must now apply to the regional hunting Poobah for limitation of hunting on our newly acquired property? Ah yes, the continued joy of educating ourselves on la vie rural.

And so it was that T had his first encounter with a local hunter (wearing a flourescent yellow vest at my behest) and we are researching the various methods of making the surrounding property to ours completely undesirable to hunters and the animals they stalk--loud music, fake signs, anything legal, suggestions are welcome!In the meantime, we decided that perhaps exploring further rural paths on this particular Sunday was no longer a good idea, but a certain puppy was in desperate need of serious outdoor time and thus we packed off in the car to explore a huge public park/forest just outside Le Mans. It is fabulous! I won't go into the description, see for yourself @ (they have an English button!), but it was a most educational, exercising and entertaining time for all three members of the family! Most importantly, no fear of shots ringing out at any moment AND a haven for all the cool 'champignons' (mushrooms) I have placed pictures of throughout this entry (didn't have any hunters captured on film...yet). I swear some of them looked fake--but I promise you, real as can be! Now I know where Disney traipses around looking for plant inspiration--incredible! As the forest browns there is all new life erupting around...and then again, there is life ending....shooting & shrooms folks....I'm off to search for any remnants of the 80's fluorescent trends in my clothes boxes!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scared Stiff

This little guy took one look at the task before us and just keeled over, stiff as a board.

Nah nah nah....and a double nah nah for those of you wondering if Josie has begun earning her keep--she's still attacking bugs and leaves, though she is perfecting her stalking & kill of T's hiking boot--vicious creature!
The last couple of weeks have illuminated more of what we want from our little maison, but she as well has shown us a few surprises, the most exciting of which is that the house AND the grange hide facades of beautiful Sarthe stones! We had harboured a small hope that this was the case, but being a quintessential pessimist when it comes to things like this, I already loved the house for the crappy 'crépi' covered maison she was (crépi is the lumpy layer of, cement/paint covering the stones...the French love to cover their houses with this). The winsome vines that portray the seasons passing will have to come down, and my heart aches at this prospect, but I am going to do my best to preserve the root and train it to accent the stone later....I hope.
In the meantime, as the work list grows, we don't grow daunted by the task at hand, in fact, the exact opposite is occurring. A sense of excitement is building between us as we see the dream unfolding before us. Visits recently to several friends who have renovated, or are in the process of doing so (Hi Faith & David! Bonjour Amy & Laurent!) lets us see the future, and folks, that future is bright and beautiful--stone and light--woo hoo.

So, I'm hunkering down to the mission of today- FIND ARCHITECT- ok, small clarification after meeting with an architect last week, Find Architect who gets It. It is our vision, what we see as the end result...not what they want us to see (and this is not pretty, I can assure you--remember the crépi people). So if there is anyone out there who knows this visionary, residing in the Sarthe, Sacré-Bleue--send me their details!!

In the meantime I'm off to pack for a couple days in the city...sushi calls....Freya needs pet pal time....Josie--well, she likes to sleep and play in the fireplace....and I have to re-focus all these visions of grandeur I have for La Maison M-J, none of which include fear.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

THE 27s

I'm a couple days late in getting this up as a 'Star Attraction' on M-J Destiny...but alas, as much as I would like to send rays of destruction unto those at France Telecom who block my fully functioning internet access, I must take comfort in the zen of my surroundings and...well, work with what I've got!

So, without further ado, please let me shamelessly and very proudly plug the release of this fabulous book The 27s (1st day out in the world was Thursday...Félicitations!) by my cousin Eric Segalstad & Josh Hunter. This book creation has been many years in the making, and I know describing the work that has gone into it as extensive, is probably the understatement of the year!

Please hop on over to and have a the very least I promise you'll be impressed by the funky graphics, and soundtrack, again done by the talented Cuz Eric, that present the book and it's associated content in such a fabulous format. The artwork has amazing detail and tells a story all it's own.

I've always been a great fan of the is my birthday after all...but history has apparently appointed other significance to that number and the story of this signifcance is The 27s. An extract from the site says, "The 27s is the grandest story of rock & roll, firmly ingrained in popular music and culture yet the saga somehow slipped through the cracks of time—until today. If you’re reading this you probably know that Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain’s lives were cut short at age 27, but the same fate happened to thirty other musicians. Sure, they weren’t all equally famous, but every one of them pushed rock in new directions, leaving lasting legacies that continue to inspire fans and musicians."Limited wearable art t-shirts have been done with 'The King of Rock Bass' and MOST importantly the book is available--for pre-sale only on their website--and yes, the price is $27....coincidence? I think not ;) I'm holding out for the logo on a t-shirt myself, but the book is a done deal.

I don't promote things often, and I certainly don't gratuitously praise family accomplishments just because they're family....but in this case, I find the work exemplary and consider myself lucky to be related to such talent.

Stor klem fra La Cousine!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Surprises

As the trees begin their seasonal striptease, leaving their coloured coverings laying about....Wisps of grey cloud the sky now, a scarf warming the land for the cold approaching...a nip in the air wakes us up to what is coming and what has left.I am sad to see such an amazing season depart. Summer here at La Maison M-J was perfect for me, and nature never ceased to tickle us with all the things we discovered as the months passed. The time spent outdoors playing, walking and just watching life was priceless--our city souls are soothed and as we move indoors with shorter days and longer nights I begin to see the work ahead. But before I bore you with humdrum life inside, let me share just a couple of the Fall Surprises our new home has given us.

As the jungle of green along the creek began to shrink, the red vines enrobing the house tumbled to the ground & the tall grasses along the fence turn wood brown, new life began alongside. We came out one morning to see a blanket of beautiful, varying shades of pink, cyclamins circling the Tilleul tree in the front yard. (I'm learning the French garden words, forgive me if I don't translate them is your friend people!)

On the front of the house, the window high rosebush had a last, magnificent bloom of all the branches that spent the summer growing.And out and about we focus again on a landscape that takes our breath away. Summer made it a green vista and now the technicolour coat of golds, reds and browns accentuates the rolling hills and land divisions.The rain has let up outside now, so I have to take Freya out for some mole digging in the newly bare cornfields....her Fall horizons are looking up....or is that down?!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fun activities to do when visiting....

The Model Guest Behaviour!

Mom & Dad-J have been here for their annual visit and once the shock of rural living L, T & co. wore off I think they like our new environs.

Now that's not to say we didn't make a couple day sojourn at our place in Paris so Dad-J could amble a few hundred blocks in his favourite haunts and Mom-J could ooh/ah window shopping & generously pass a day volunteering with me at a Paris program for newly landed anglos called 'Bloom Where You're Planted'--a very helpful two day orientation program for a crowd of people all very much resembling deer in the headlights as they try to sort the overwhelming amount of helpful information on living in Paris.

However, back at the house....

Dad-J came early--he is a man of leisure now in his retirement years and how great that he likes to spend free time...working!! So our abundantly growing bushes were given a proper trim back...the voraciously growing bamboo was taught a lesson--that or Dad-J is secretly thinking of starting a 12ft fishing pole selling business!...

Don't think we're entirely slave drivers...he was allowed down time, but even that was work...his new nickname is 'The Arm' as rapidly growing Josie chose the crook of his arm for naps heavily accented with the loud sound of her purring engine! Dad-J, the owner of five cats himself, declared her a weird cat because she seems to take the lead from her big dog-sister Freya and dig, beg and exhibit other funny behaviours!

So, just a word of warning to those of you contemplating a tranquil visit to our little piece of heaven....we are the proud new owners of a hatchet, axe & fully tuned chainsaw....and a lot of trees piled up that need cutting, splitting and piling!

Come visit...henh henh henh...

***I should note we reward in good wine, big fires & good eats! ***