Autumn in the neighborhood

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Sunday stuff

Yesterday I told our local bookseller I wanted to start reading in French. Could he recommend something easy and short, perhaps chick lit or kids’ books? Any bilingual editions, I asked? The answer to that last question was mighty convoluted–j’ai pas compris! Not an auspicious beginning. 

He mused and murmured and wandered around the shop.

Ah, he says, finally. 

Le Petit Prince! 

Bonne idée! I replied. Since I already know the story!

But he wasn’t finished.

Back to books for grown-ups.

He pulled a book off the shelf. Here you go!

CAMUS????? I must have looked alarmed.

The language is not difficult, he said.

Lordy, I thought. Some of the ideas are . . . too complicated for words.

Alors, on y va! 

Stumbled across a fascinating TV show this morning, Escape to the Chateau. English couple spends life savings on a 45-room abandoned, dilapidated chateau in the Loire. For GBP 390,000! Which left them exactly 20,000 pounds for the renovation. It was so absurd I couldn’t believe it was real, but apparently so. Must find other episodes. 

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Out and about

Here’s the report on the pork (I used pork loin) and watermelon dish: IT’S ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE EVER MADE. Super easy and delicious. You are crazy if you don’t go make it right this minute. 

The photo on the right is another Vivian Howard recipe, for some kind of watermelon salad/salsa, with pine nuts, parmesan and anchovy, scooped up with endive. Gotta make that, too.

Seen yesterday in the Carrefour parking lot: 

Obviously a serious situation. Otherwise, NO WORDS. 
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What’s got my attention right now

This finding is seriously cool, but the way the researchers figured out how it was done is really fascinating. 

Lately I’ve been watching the PBS series A Chef’s Life, which is great and making me homesick for North Carolina. Last weekend I came out of the grocery store with fresh corn (ahem, I mean, what the good people of France think passes for same; it’s a bit more oriented towards what animals would like than Southerners), white peaches, and some good-looking okra from Senegal. Ended up with some mighty fine fried okra, macaroni and cheese, my version of Vivian Howard‘s tomato sandwich with roasted corn aioli, which, aside from being impossible to eat, was pretty good, and delicious peaches in Moscato.

Now I’ve bought Vivian’s book, Deep Run Roots. I’ve just made a crazy pork and watermelon dish and will be using up that watermelon rind for pickles. Stay tuned for a full report!

These pickles and no doubt the photo belong to Alton Brown! Check his recipe out here.


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Becoming a YouTube star

I had a few art goals for the weekend. One was to make a little video of one or two of my current art projects.

Easier said than done, as I am well over 14.

Let us just say it involved buying more than a few bits and bobs from Amazon, and then watching a bunch of unboxing and how-to-set-up videos and then several failed attempts and the list goes on.

But, in spite of all of that, I managed to print some photos, work in some of my art journals, AND MAKE A VIDEO. Next time I will remember to get the watercolor and marker ink off my fingers first 😉

 

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I guess this was bound to happen

Frankenfood comes to France.

croissant tacos

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A fantastic find

The amazing Austin Kleon pointed me to Quotenik, which is an amazing site for quotes from creative people.

I LOVE this entry, from a poet I have long admired:

Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.

“Everything I Know About Writing Poetry,” in A Hundred White Daffodils (Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 1999), 141.

							
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Women getting their due, even if they ARE dead

Such a great initiative by the New York Times.

But I’m still gobsmacked at the women they missed out. Ida B. Wells? SYLVIA PLATH??

I guess “better late than never” really applies in this case.

 

Sylvia Plath

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Penguin love

This is great.

And this.

I agree with Robert Louis Stevenson: “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

cartoon penguin

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Increasing addiction

The travel sketchbook, or carnet de voyage, is HUGE in France. There are festivals devoted to them in lots of places. Artists come from all over Europe to show off their work. I’ve now been to two, and am booked for a third. It’s so inspiring to wander around, seeing hundreds of different kinds of work, gathering ideas, not to mention materials and samples at the shop!

Not all the photos below are very good, but they give a good flavor of the variety of sketchbooks on display.

Carnets de voyage

Continue reading

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