Friday, August 27, 2010

sketch du jour

i'm going out on a limb these days
and mixing up my usual suspects
for sketching material.

after finding an artist
that really inspired my work
i have started to branch out a bit
and went over into my interior design passion
to find subjects.
now i'm trying to train myself
(i.e. retrain myself)
to paint with a different style
and different technique,
and i'll tell you outright
that i'm failing miserably.

but i'm enjoying my new subjects
in the meantime.
the rest of it will (perhaps)
come with time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


it was nothing short
of a revelation.

and all these years, i've tortured myself!
chopping tomatoes
ranks right up there
among the most-loathed of household duties:
mopping the floors,
putting clean laundry away,
scrubbing the shower,
and chopping tomatoes.

why had i never before thought
to use cherry tomatoes instead--
so darn easy to chop!
slice slice, and you're done.
my life has just taken a turn
for the better.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


she's been working on
that roadtrip bingo card
for weeks now.
most things on there were fairly simple.
but today when i asked her
what she had to look for
and she told me she only had two things left,
i asked what it was
we had to look out for today.
she told me
pickup truck and smokestack.

and then i had to tell her
that we were probably going to have to
give up on those two squares,
we'd have to call it a bingo at that.
those are two things
you just can't find 'round these parts.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


i honestly didn't even dream
of being able to visit the flea markets
with 3 kids in tow.
but after giving it a shot
that one saturday
and finding it not only doable
but actually enjoyable,
we have been hitting them every saturday
ever since.

last saturday's market in that
picture-perfect town of montresor,
with the vendors strewn along
the old medieval streets
was not only the quaintest yet,
but also yielded the best finds.
we followed it up by
winding our way across the river
to wander through the agricultural fair
and then found a picnic spot
under the trees away from the crowds
with nothing but a couple of horses
for company.

Monday, August 23, 2010

under the willow

with rain on and off all day
our dinner on the veranda was threatened.

and after i had asked them to set the table,
they began to busy themselves
with plates and bowls.
but upon leaving the kitchen
i found the dining room empty.
then stepping outside
i found that table empty as well.
but on further investigation
i finally found them under the willow tree
setting things up
on the little cafe table,
telling me the tree would keep us dry
in case of rain.

and our dinner en plein air was saved.

Friday, August 20, 2010


i'll tell you
one of the greatest things
about being here,
is that we're not tourists.
we don't have any pressure to see this
or to do that,
and we know no time constraints.
and while there are some
touristy hot spots
in this great valley,
it's a rare thing to see a tour bus.
we almost feel like locals.

and when we hit chateau de villandry
we arrived in the evening,
just as the crowds were clearing
the air was cooling,
and the light was at the perfect angle
to cast a warm glow
on every inch of those colorful gardens.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

plum tree

it's at least every other day
that she tells me
she wishes we had a garden.
and it's at least every day
that i think the exact same thing.

but for now,
we're loving pretending this one is ours,
at least for the time being.
we have apples and pears,
fresh mint and grapes,
plums and even a bit of red currant.

but this year
it's the plum tree that has served us the best.

our first enjoyment of the fresh plums
was that delectable almond tart
so kindly gifted to us.

but yesterday
we used up the rest of our own bounty

with a bit of whipped cream on top,
it was excellent.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

craft du jour

the texture rubbings

they really had all sorts of fun
with this one
and found the house full of
cool textures.
kept asking me to do more and more.
now that's the kind of craft
we like to do.

Monday, August 16, 2010

night at the medieval festival
in loches

Friday, August 13, 2010

sketch du jour


ideally, i would be sitting plein air
drinking in the view
as i sat on my fold up chair
with my portable easel
whiling away the hours.

the truth is,
my excursions are peaceful
but not that careless,
and far from being able to perform
such activities.
(will it only be in emptynesterhood?)
and for now
i will have to snap the photos
while keeping an eye on the the running girls
and parking the stroller for a second,
and then later steal a moment for myself
during those afternoon rests at home,
sitting on the veranda
and sketching from my laptop.

the overall result is about the same, right?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

i could drive these roads
all the day long. . .

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

friendly note

oh, and there's nothing like
a friendly note passed
from my adolescent 5-year-old
to remind me
that these cute little things i'm raising
really are parrots.
i regret that they are getting to the age
where i can hear myself
when they speak.
the worst is my sarcasm
which i know is not a good thing,
especially when she said to me
after i told her thank you,
"mom, was that a good thank you
or a bad thank you?"

let my life be long enough
to overcome
at least a fault or two!

Monday, August 9, 2010

craft du jour

now i'll go ahead
and be honest right up front,
that this one
doesn't fit under my definition
but hey,
we've got time to kill
these days.

i was trying to sift through my memory
of the girl scout days
and dig up those old lashing skills.

and they very much enjoyed
the process,
and then their own
little finishing touches.

and then with the grand launch
we sent them off
down the river.

Friday, August 6, 2010


especially with the torture
that is taking place in moscow these days,
i am both thanking my lucky stars
and just reveling in the fact that
the weather here
is so downright perfect every single day
that we eat every lunch
and every dinner on the veranda.

these days, we are eating like kings.
and that owes nothing to the french restaurants.
because in case you hadn't already heard,
90% of french restaurants are terrible.
but the fresh produce
and the cheese
and the desserts
and the boulangerie?
as heavenly as the weather here.

there was that ribollita
i was so utterly impressed with,
which is the best thing you can do
with yesterday's baguette

and today
since it took coming to france
to find almond meal
so darn easily.

and the cheese?
it's been a few (dreadfully long) years since moscow
quit importing english cheddar.
i thought the cheddar i brought home
from london was divine,
but this?
(and it's probably still english)

i've now learned
that the test of true cheddar
is if it only crumbles
when you try to slice it.
it's salty, it's creamy, it's rich, it's sharp. . .
it's, well. . . dee-vine.

can anyone remind me again
why trying to get friends to visit me here
is like pulling teeth?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

treasure hunt (version 2)

after discovering these
prickly balls
hanging all over one of the trees
in the garden,
the girls started a collection.
they snatched off
all the ones they could reach
without getting stung by nettles
and placed them in a basket.
the basket was then brought to the kitchen
to me, with instructions to
"think of what we can do with them."

after returning to the tree
to fill the basket brim-full,
i decided they were
perfect treasure hunt material.
and so they were placed a foot apart
all through the house,
in and then out
and then in again,
up the stairs and to the linen closet,
where there were two
shining new sticker books
waiting for them.

if only we knew what the mystery tree was!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

safari train

it was the long-awaited
safari train.
and surely it wasn't necessarily
as exotic as the name might imply,
but a lovely afternoon nonetheless,
with animals
right under your nose
and children
quite excited at the encounter.

the stag

the emu

milla and her mystery
face slashes
(please let them not leave scars)

roe deer
(i think?)

wild boar

and milla's shot
of the ostrich

and fallow deer
(again, don't quote me)

and there was a delightful little playground
under some old trees
by a quaint chateau
to kill time at while waiting for the train
and then to expend the leftover energy at

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

avi and the snail