Packing My Bags

And unfortunately not the kind to go on trips.

I’m packing the ones under my eyes.  I’m so tired, can’t even gather the strength to write about the things I want to. So please forgive me while I nod off and try to imagine myself in the most comfy bed I’ve ever slept in.

Hopefully tonight I will sleep.  Good night folks.

Smartie

They’re Everywhere!!!!

‘Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right.” – The Grateful Dead

Now isn’t that the truth!!

I know I keep going on and on about my trip to Europe, but kind readers, bare with me.  I find that there is just so much to share with you!!

I already told you about my trip to the medieval abbey Le Mont Saint Michel in my previous post “A Princes, An Order and An Abbey” but I didn’t tell you about what I saw there.

Lightbulbs!  An entire room of lightbulbs.  You should have heard me yell with glee!

And then the next day, while walking around in the city of Rennes, I look into the window of a store, and I see this!!

I just had to go into the store.  You should have seen all the lightbulbs hanging around.

I was in heaven…and I was cold.  This is the store I got my cozy blue scarf that I’m wearing in my post “Mmm….”)

And these ones where in a dance store I went to check out for my daughter.

What is my obsession with lightbulbs?  Let me explain it to you.  What is the purpose of a lightbulb? The answer is easy: it’s to emanate light.  And why do we have light? A number of different reasons: to light an area, lead the way, make the dark less scary.  Mainly, to allow us to see.

So to me, lightbulbs are a reminder to always try to look at the bright side of life.  Yes, I have that song now stuck in my head too….good ol’ Monty Python. Wether it be being in significant debt, having weeds growing in your driveway, losing your job, fighting with your loved one, going through a divorce etc, there is always a bright side to it.

So now, every time I see a lightbulb, and they’re EVERYWHERE I’ve noticed, I am reminded to do an internal check and see where I’m at.

Bet you that you’ll notice them everywhere too now! hehehe….if you come across any interesting ones, do share.  I’ll post them on this blog to share with everyone.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Mmmm……

“It ain’t burnt, Rosemary, it’s blackened.”  ―    Bunny Mathews

I have been thinking about my relationship with food lately.  It’s a love/hate relationship.  I love to bake, I hate to cook, and I love to eat.  I have been told that I know how to cook, and I have also been told that I have no idea what I’m doing in the kitchen.  I’m often made fun of with my cooking.

I know that can bake.  I can make a serious Turtle pecan Cheesecake, and my other desserts can knock your socks off.  I can read a baking  recipe and tell you if it will turn out to be good or not, by looking at the ingredients and how it’s prepared.  And now I have a cute apron to wear when I bake!

Cooking is a different story.  Despite what some people say, I think I can cook – though some people may argue against my point. Looking back, I can see that when I first got married, I had a rocky road ahead of me.  Prior to being married, I didn’t cook a day in my life, and then I was expected to cook gourmet meals – every day.  And I was being constantly compared to my mother and mother-in-law.  Not fair.  Of course I would hate to cook.  Who wouldn’t? And recently I realized just how much I dislike it. And it’s a strong dislike. I think I may do just about anything possible to not cook. There have been times when I’ve jokingly asked my daughter if she would like to make dinner, and her response would be “Mommy, I’m too little to cook.” Of course, she’s right, and there was a bit of truth to the question, but one can hope, no?

If I could, I would live off of Nutella sandwiches all day long – for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The fact that I have a dependant, and I care deeply for her nutritional needs prevents me from doing so.  So I have no choice but to suck it up and move on.

But like I said, recently it hit me in the face how much I don’t like it, and being spoiled and served this yummy food all the time while on vacation doesn’t help the matter.  I’d like to share some of the photos of the DELISH food I had recently:

I had never had French Onion Soup until my trip to Paris.  The day I arrived, I had this one, and all the ones I had afterwards (one each day) none could come close to being this yummy.  Restaurant La Ville De Abbesses is the place to go.

The same restaurant also served Creme Brule’ in the most interesting way, and this too was to die for.

One thing I found interesting in both Italy and France was the lack of veggies.  I love my veggies. Yes, I’m strange, but I can’t help it.  I found out later on that the veggies weren’t growing very well due to the very hot temperatures, but the fruit did well. Look at the gorgeous apricots!

Gelato. Creme glacee.  Need I say more?  Isn’t your mouth-watering yet?

I need a crepe pan. It’s not real cooking, more a dessert. I went to a crepe restaurant in Rennes – La Creperie Saint Georges.  All the menu items contained George.  I had the George Clooney, and he was delicious.  It was a Rapini crepe with goats cheese and tomato, and cucumber sorbet.  YUM!

Italy means pasta.  Nothing beats pasta baked in the oven.  My Mom’s cousin made this and it was lick your lips yummy.

In Rennes, the little Bed and Breakfast I stayed in was wonderful. Symphonie Des Sense was luxurious, and totally spoiled me. How could I possibly go back to making my own breakfast when I was brought this to my room at my arranged wake up time?

So back to making Nutella sandwiches I go.  At least when I’m home alone. If only I could bring this back with me.  Too bad there wasn’t enough room in my luggage.  It would have made my life so much easier.

She Wore An….

“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, So in the locker, she wanted to stay.” ~ Brian Hyland

I think I wore my first bikini probably when I was four years old.  I imagine that I had a big belly at that time, which most four year olds do, and I looked absolutely dashing!  Sadly, that was probably the last time I wore one too.

I remember one time when I was about seven years old, and my friend’s aunt who was a seamstress made her a cute white bikini with red and orange stripes.  I was jealous of her.  The bikini was beautiful, she looked really good in it and I wanted one just like it.  Her aunt then made one for too, and I looked awful in it.  I was so embarassed that I swore to stick to one pieces from then on. And I did.

I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone in this, but walking around in your intimates at the beach or pool (because really, what’s the difference between a bikini and undearwear besides material?) is nerve wrecking.  It’s the worst thing in the world, right up there with public speaking for some.  I hate it. Every time I walk out onto the beach in one (and pool too) I feel as if everyone stops what they’re doing and stares at me – and not for a good reason either.

So you can probably imagine the shock I experienced when I was stared up and down when going to the beaches in Amalfi and Pescara in Italy. The strange thing is –  I wasn’t stared at because of how my body looks but because I was wearing a one piece bathing suit!  No one wears a one piece bathing suit.  And I mean no one.  Everyone wears a bikini.  Even the grannies who are ninety wear bikinis, revealing all their loose parts.  The pregnant women, the obese women, the fruit shaped women (apple and pear) wear them as well.  Everyone!  And nobody cared about what other people thought.  And they rocked, they wore them with confidence!

I also noticed that the figures we mostly see in magazines and tv were practically non-existant there.  I managed to push aside the fact that I was wearing a one piece and for once in my life, I was able to enjoy walking around in my swimsuit.  I didn’t feel the need to use a cover up.  I went from the sea to the bar to the beach chair and even making a sand castle.  I finally felt free to enjoy being in my own skin!  I was totally comfortable – oh boy!

And then the unthinkable happened.  I decided to buy two bikinis!!  Not one, but two.  And I said I bought them, I didn’t say I wore them.  Actually, I didn’t wear them because I bought them on my last day at the beach, and also because I thought that I would look rather silly in it as I am tanned on my upper and lowere body and it would mean that my midrift would be snow white.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

So yesterday my daughter and I decided to go to the outdoor community pool. I reached for my one piece bathing suit and she immediately stopped me.  She wanted me to wear my “cute” bikini with the polka dots on the inside.  Boy was it ever hard to put that on. Not because it didn’t fit, but because the courage I had experienced in Italy drained out of me the minute I stepped onto that plane to come back home.  I knew that at that point if I didn’t put it on, I never would.  So I sucked it up and I put it on.

At the pool, when I walked out of the change room in my bikini I felt that everyone was staring at me.  I talked myself out of running for the change room, and encouraged myself to believe that I don’t care what people think.  I wasn’t there to impress anyone.  I was there to enjoy myself.  And I did enjoy myself.  I didn’t know that being in a bikini is actually liberating.  The water feels different against the skin, against your bare belly, than when you’re in a one piece.

Then nice things began happening.  My daughter said to me that I look cute.  A woman complimented me on my bikini and I noticed a few men staring at me.  This helped me feel more comfortable in it because I don’t have a model’s figure.  I know I’m soft in a few areas.  I looked around and found that those “perfect” figures were non-existant here too.  Was all the fear I felt about wearing a bikini driven by my mind and what I thought I needed to look like in order to wear one?

I’m so thankful for those ladies on the beach in Italy.  Some may think it’s gross to see some of them in bikinis.  I think it’s beautiful.  They prove that no matter what, you have a right to be free.  Society shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life.  No one should dictate what you should or should not wear.  If it wasn’t for them, it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to wear a two piece.  So girls, pull out you bikini and be free!!  Love what your Mama gave you!

A Princess, An Order and An Abbey

“Every girl pretends she is a princess at one point, no matter how little, her life is like that.”  ~ Alex Flinn, Beastly

When I was a little girl, I sure did pretend that I was a princess.  And then, while doing a professional search on my family’s last name, I found out that way, way back in time, the family name came from a line of Barons.  How cool is that?!!!  So naturally, the princess thing lasted a bit longer than normal.  How many people can say that they come from a noble line?

While in Paris we decided to take a day trip to Normandy to visit Mont Saint Michel which at one point hosted a Benedictine abbey.  To me, it looks like a gothic castle.  It’s a beautiful castle, with big walls surrounding it, narrow walkways and lots of mysteries. My princess dream had awoken once again, and my imagination was running wild.

What has made Mont Saint Michel fascinating is its location and how this castle becomes separated from the mainland at high tide when the causeway is flooded by the sea, and essentially becomes an island.  There are warnings everywhere which advise where to park because if you don’t abide by those rules, and depending how much of the tide has come in, you can kiss your car goodbye.  The dudes who built this place knew what they were doing, and knew how to protect themselves. And of course, this also means that a princess would be protected 🙂

I was pulled into this place, into the mystery of it all.  Not only was it an abbey, but the Order of Saint Michel was also located here.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about Knights.  You know, in shinning armour!!!  They were the highest Order in France at one point, and all the knights met on a yearly basis here.  You need knights around if there is going to be a princess, no?  Imagine them sitting in the Knights Hall.  Those are their crests hanging in from the ceiling.

To add to the energy of my visit, I found this place mysterous as well. There were many locked doors, and so I coulnd’t help myself but to begin peeking into key holes. To my amazement I found blocked stair ways, and hall ways.  Where did they go?  I wanted to know.  I tried going down one flight of stairs, and made it to the bottom.  It was really dark, and then I heard an eerie noise so I chickened out and ran back up the stairs as fast as I could.

There was also a beautiful courtyard, and I would imaging a princess running through the courtyard calling out to her knight.  Important meetings would take place there.  (I did tell you I was getting caught up in all of it, didn’t I?)

The trip was memorable.  I only had one regret.  The bus ride back to town left before the full tide could come in.  I didn’t get to see the beautiful castle become an island.  It would have been amazing to see the ground which I was walking on disappear under the sea water.  There is only one thing that I can do about this.  I guess it means that I just have to go back again, and continue the fairy tale…hehehe

Lost in Action in Italy

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t fallen off the face off the earth. It’s just that I’m in the Amalfi Coast in Italy and the apartment I’m staying at doesn’t have internet. I finally found a little bar that has wi-fi.

So much to share with you – the gorgeous beaches, the winding roads, the food and the driving experiences. Did I mention the food? Haha

Sorry, no pictures right now. I’m still trying to figure out how to upload them onto the blog from the iPad.

Will share more soon. Have to go and stroll onto the cobbled stone streets. Just finished my espresso.

Ciao! A presto!

Ya-Ya, Succulence and Red Hats

“Invent your world. Surround yourself with people, color, sounds and work that nourish you.” – SARK

There is an entire secret society out there. I’m not talking the Templar Knights. They aren’t hiding some kind of scrolls or protecting a family linear. But what they do, it’s just as important. And it’s a sisterhood, not a brotherhood. Ok, so they aren’t a secret, but it was to me, because I just found out about them this past weekend.

Before I tell you about them, let me tell you about my lifetime search for them. You see, I think I’m different from other adults my age. Actually, I think I’m different from most adults, any age. I enjoy being a kid, being silly, and get excited over the most simplest things, just like a kid, and I try to keep my little girl inside of me happy. I remember when I was a kid and looking at the adults around me and thinking, “Wow, they look miserable, and they’re so serious! Don’t they have fun anymore?” And swore to myself that I would never be like that.

As I grew older, I noticed that the more I tried to maintain my attitude of being silly, the more people would distance from me. I began to tame myself in order to not upset others, and essentially keep my friends. Then about ten years ago, what I think is one of the most best movies I’ve ever saw was released on video – The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. One day I was home sick from work, couch ridden, and I watched it about six times. I absolutely loved the bond between the women, the confidence they had, and especially how they were so comfortable with having fun and being silly. I longed to be a part of something like that. This is what I wanted with my friends.

A few months ago I read a book, recommended by my therapist, called Succulent Wild Woman. This is a fabulous book which talks about what a Succulent Woman is all about. It’s a woman who knows what she wants, treats herself with care, and enjoys herself and life. She isn’t afraid of what others think. She is a woman who doesn’t dim down her lights for others, and is true to herself. She is fun to be around, and is full of energy. Hmm, and my therapist thought this was me? Well, I think it’s cool to be considered a Succulent Wild Woman. I love that label!

Now, it’s great to be thought of that way, and I’m beginning to actually see myself through that lens, but it’s kind of boring to be like this on my own. As I mentioned above, I long for that sisterhood, to be understood. Half of my friends from childhood pretty much walked out of my life when my father died, and the other half walked out when I separated from my ex, and really, I have to say that this would be overwhelming for them anyway. The two Succulent Women I know and blessed with their friendship now, are wonderful, but I’d like to see them more often.

So this past weekend I was invited out to dinner. Normally I would just throw on jeans and a nice top, but this time my daughter and I got all dolled up. I couldn’t decide between two beautiful dresses, and so my daughter encouraged me to wear a bright red sleeveless dress. I was so self-conscious and nervous. I was going to attract attention! (Note: I’ve never owned anything that wasn’t black, blue or brown). After a few minutes, I began enjoying the bright colour.

At the restaurant, to my amazement, I saw at a nearby table a group of the most beautiful women that I had ever seen. They were all wearing purple, and on their heads were the most reddest hats ever! I wanted to go up to their table and congratulate them on being Succulent Wild Women so many times, but my courage would just drain right out of me. I couldn’t stop staring. I couldn’t believe it, here, right in front of me, was a sisterhood that I longed to be a part of. Right in front of me! I had so many questions that I wanted to ask, and I was paralyzed by fear. And then, they were getting ready to leave, and my heart began sinking. Then, the unthinkable happened. The gorgeous person sitting next to me stops them and tells them that I think they’re great! OMG!!!

I felt like a babbling idiot, but they were gracious enough to entertain me. I found out that this sisterhood of theirs is worldwide. They belong to the Red Hat Society! It’s about empowering women to have fun, and support each other. Just what I wanted!

I’ve been on their website so many times since then. So I decided to take the leap. I’m now a Red Hatter. Well, technically, I get to wear a pink hat because of my age. Now to come up with my name….should I be Lady Lightbulb, or Princess Peculiar? Or something completely wild like… Duchess Smartie? I’m open to suggestions….really, I am.