28 November 2010

found at le marché de noël de lyon

Such a pretty -- and happy -- plate to look at.

I saw that it was from Portugal, and for a brief moment I thought, "But I plan to visit Portugal. So why buy this in Lyon? Why not wait until I go there and select from a wider selection?"

Then I realized that things like this do not travel well, especially on airplanes. Plus it was really, really calling my name. So it came home with me.

The (Happy) End.

25 November 2010


I made an Advent wreath today.

There are several interpretations of the symbolism of the Advent wreath. The accumulation of light is an expression of the growing anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ, who in Christian faith is seen as the light of the world. The circular wreath represents God's eternity and unity. Evergreens are a symbol of enduring life.

In some traditions the first candle is called the prophet's candle and is meant to signify the hope of Jesus' coming. The second is called the Bethlehem candle in honor of the city of Christ's birth. The third candle is the shepherds' candle. The final candle is the angels' candle, symbolising the angelic proclamation of joy at Christ's birth. A number of carols have been written for use with the short liturgy accompanying the lighting of the Advent candles in church services. A common format is to add an extra verse each week, relating to the symbolism of that week's candle.

~ from Wikipedia

The wreath smells wonderful. I can't wait for Sunday.

23 November 2010

qu'est-ce que c'est? (2)

Added 25-Nov-2010: Scroll down for an update!

Can someone please tell me what this is? I found it at Les Puces du Canal.

Here's what it looks like upclose (you can click on the photo to enlarge it):

It says in the upper left corner "Quittance d'Entrée". What is a "bill of entrance"?

The certificate itself is only 19cm wide, 12.5cm long. According to the writing, the document is from 1750 (see second line from the bottom, "mil sept cens cinquante").

I figured out the "long s" thing, but there is another letter that doesn't exist in modern French: see the 6th letter of the first word in the 5th line (That's a mouthful. Incidentally, the third letter of that word is a "long s")? It's a "c" with a plume. I'd like to know the history of this, too, but it's obviously a French language thing and I don't know how/where to look.

Update -- I received an e-mail message from a friend; here's what she wrote (copied here with her permission):

...as far as I know, that letter that you're looking at is the "old" "c" or whatever letter was used in old French that then became the c.

The document is kind of a receipt from a tax that was charged at the "Ancien Régime" regarding beverages, generally wine. What I know is that "les droits des cinq sols" is the name of a royal tax on beverages from 1561. It seems that the document is a proof of customs tax that replaced the old tax on beverages called "les droits des cinq sols".

The translation would be more or less like:

Direction (Secretary or Department or Office) of ... Office of ...

I've received from M. Simon ... living at .... street ..... the amount of "four pounds" (whatever they were using as money) for the royal tax on beverages (the droits d'anciends cinq sols), charged at Boiffons, and then it gives the standard (2 fols per pound) just to explain the law, what basis to charge him 4... then says that he paid 4 based on the weight, or measure, then specify the measures of the product, coming from (can't read the place) because the Office of the place that is suppose to be was on holiday (congé), making M. Simon have to detour and pass by this city and have to pay tax on the product that he was carrying & M. declared that he was going to Rue de .... (that's why there was a customs tax) without causing damage to others, or rights or any kind of actions.

Place, date, time and signature.

Basically you had customs tax to transport products from one place to the other, M. Simon from the document went to his usual place and they were on holiday so he had to go to a different place and pay the "entrance fee" to be able to cross that place.
Isn't this wonderful???
Here's an old -- really old -- piece of paper. Someone bothered to keep it, or perhaps it wasn't meant to be kept for more than five years or so, but it happened to be kept somewhere. Then someone else found it and bothered to frame it nicely. And I, just a foreigner passing by, chanced upon it and get a history lesson and a chuckle out of it.
I mean, I can just picture M. Simon cursing and muttering to himself, "Dang! They're closed! Now I have to make a detour! This is going to add an extra day to my trip. And I'm already two days behind!"
It is so delicious and delightful.
On a totally different note.... The source of this information is a young lady from Brazil who's studying law in France. This sentence I just typed makes it obiouvs that she handles three languages at a highly complex level (the quote from her e-mail above is verbatim), and I feel compelled to add that she also speaks Spanish. Please don't tell me Spanish is similar to Portuguese; there are notable differences and she had to learn it.
The fact that she can have intelligent conversations in four languages -- that alone is enough to impress me, but now she tells me she had a history/theology double major in college.
I'm trying not to feel completely inadequate.

Added note (26-Nov-2010): My friend sent in correction/clarification. Hers wasn't a double major. Her major was theology, and her mémoire (thesis) was specialized in history. Well, I'm still impressed. Wouldn't you be????

20 November 2010

song for a winter's night

I use the aforementioned matches to light the candles. Then I listen to this.

19 November 2010

spent matchsticks

I find them rather pretty.

12 November 2010

still giving thanks

No, it's still hard. But it isn't as hard as it was last year. So, they're right -- whoever they are -- it does get easier.

In the meantime, I needed some distraction/pick-me-up so I won't be so acutely aware of how much I miss Thanksgiving. So I went shopping. For Christmas decorations.

Well, it worked! My moods are lifted (yes, I am predictable) and now I can't wait to get a Christmas tree. I vote for a tall one this year -- our apartment has 11-foot ceilings, so why not?