29 April 2010

rainy day at the beach

"Making the decision to have a child - it's wonderous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." ~Elizabeth Stone

At the small fishing port of Sasset-les-Pins.

25 April 2010

hello ocean

We've missed you.
(In Cassis, where the beach was pebble-y, not sandy)

11 April 2010


One of these days, we're going to take a driving tour of the Route des Grands Crus. You know, go to the northern tip of it, then drive south on it, stopping to spend a night at a chambre d'hôte here or a château there (we're in France, after all). We'd buy a case of wine everyday until we get on A6 to get back to Lyon.

But a trip like that would require thorough planning, and we haven't done enough research yet. So in the meantime, a day trip will have to do.

Wine buying wasn't really on the agenda yesterday. We were just driving on a local road from Macôn, heading toward Grotte d'Azé (which, incidentally, is absolutely great for families with kids). Then we saw a sign for a cellar in a tiny village we were passing through.

Step on the brake and pull over!


The lady askd if we wanted red or white, and explained four of the whites to us. We selected two of those to taste, and ended up buying three bottles of each. One of them is particularly fruity and summery. I already know what I want to cook when I serve that wine, but I need to find where I can buy lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.

Living in France as American expats can be overwhelming and frustrating sometimes. But there are things to be enjoyed and appreciated. Might as well.

Our loot. Let's see how long these six bottles will last.

05 April 2010

never too late

So I was watching someone play the violin yesterday.

I've always been fascinated and awed by the elegance with which violinists play their instruments. Actually all musicians play their instruments with quiet and controlled elegancce. It's just that bowed string instruments always had my fascination because they are entirely foreign to me, although I play a few musical instruments myself (not so well, but that's not the point).

In any case, I was watching a very elegant gentleman play a hymn or two on his violin. And, oh, I don't know what happened -- it may be the fact that his playing was his way of praying, as opposed to performing, because he was playing in a church and he was playing to God -- but suddenly I had this idea that I was going to take violin lessons. I wanted to play the instrument myself.

I know, I know: I did wonder where this brilliant idea came from. Most violinists (like pianists) start taking lessons when they are very, very young, as in when they are five or six. I also wondered where in Lyon I was going to find a violin teacher who speaks English. But it wasn't really a decision; it just came to me as if it was the most natural thing to come up with. So that was that.

Then this morning, I was going through my to-do list and sending off some e-mail messages when -- I couldn't believe it but it totally made sense at the same time -- I saw on my e-mail address list the name of someone who plays the violin professionally in Lyon. No, she doesn't speak English, I don't think. She speaks Japanese. I knew she gave piano lessons; she and I had in fact talked about my taking lessons from her. But would she teach me how to play the violin?

God bless her; she didn't laugh at my question. She knows that I don't intend to apply for a position at Opéra National de Lyon, and told me about someone of "certain age" who started taking violion lessons with his grandchild. Then she offered to accompany me to a place where I can find a violin to rent.

So that's where things are now. And I am writing about this here, now, so I don't back out.

I am actually all excited about this new opportunity -- it feels right for me to be starting something new that I know I will appreciate.

I hope to have something to report here in a few months. Stay tuned.