January 7, 2016 § 1 Comment
We were snowed in today! Right in Santa Fe!
Okay, I exaggerate. I just want to tease my friends in the Northeast who so far have been served with only the bad aspects of winter: cold rain in a grey landscape with the black silhouettes of leafless trees and the dirty brown of bare ground.
We live on a dead end, unpaved and steep road and after an overnight storm, the city’s road maintenance crew usually doesn’t show up before 9:00am. No plowing, just a sprinkle of red sand. Sunshine is expected to do the rest…
The Plaza at the center of town is only a 10 minute walk on a warm dry day, but can be a 20 minute hair-raising adventure over a sheet of snow-covered ice. So yes: snowed-in indeed, in a beautiful city.
January 4, 2016 § 2 Comments
Almost as hard as naming our children, finding a new name for my blog is how I have spent the better part of this New Year’s weekend. Since we were just the two of us at home, sans children, my husband had to be the critic, the sounding board and the creative director, while remaining gentle and patient, which neither of us are good at being, throughout the process.
Marchand de Couleurs
When I was a little girl my parents’ apartment in Paris was next to a “Marchand de Couleurs”. It was a small store principally selling paints and varnishes, but also everything from brushes, brooms, kitchen utensils and house cleaning supplies.
I loved that place! It looked and felt like it was frozen in the time of the turn of the century when it had first opened. Even the “merchant” himself looked ancient and venerable.
I remember the smell of furniture wax, the sound of the bell as you entered the store, the dark patina of the floor to ceiling shelves against the popping colors of paint cans and cleaning products. Alibaba’s cavern!
You won’t find a real Marchand de Couleurs in France anymore. These small general stores that once were the essence of a neighborhood have vanished. They have been replaced by the modern hardware super chains near highway exits or, oddly enough, elevated to become Concept Stores for the chic and trendy fashionista.
Indeed colors have had a strong influence on my personality for as long as I can remember. I express my creativity through colors. The best word to describe my house, my clothes and especially my art is “colorful”. A beautiful color can stop me in my tracks anywhere I go. Colors nourish and inspire me.
And finally, it’s in French: I was born and raised in France.
Next time I go to Paris, I’ll take a picture of the preserved façade of that old store for you.
November 7, 2013 § 1 Comment
For 6 hours yesterday and another 6 today we have been driving East on Route 66. From the high desert of eastern New Mexico, the Texas Panhandle, all across Oklahoma and tonight the Ozarks in Missouri, we saw deep America on this mythical road.
One could say there’s nothing to see from a highway, at least nothing spectacular. Flat dry plains interspaced between occasional clusters of truck stops, gas stations, fast food restaurants and motels, a couple of spruced up old fashioned diners for the nostalgics of 66 complete with oldies music in the bathrooms, the ubiquitous fireworks superstore and adults megastores, it’s a treeless landscape studded with wind turbines, cell towers, telegraph poles, giant white crosses, tall Phillips 66 poles or American flags: Historic Route 66.
November 6, 2013 § 2 Comments
We left Santa Fe bright and early today after three weeks of moving and settling in our little adobe house. As we are just beginning to feel comfortable finding our way around the city and having staked out favorite places for breakfast or dinner, compared quality and value among the main grocery stores and made acquaintances with a couple of bakery owners and garage mechanics, it’s time to go back to New England for our last winter, sell our house and say goodbye.
Now I am eager to eventually become a local in New Mexico and Santa Fe (as opposed to a mere visitor). However I have a feeling it will take time and dedication on my part to achieve such a goal.
Even if I am fairly confident that, given time,I can learn to pronounce the spanish names and terms correctly, try to look casual in a pair of worn low profile cowboy boots or breathe normally after climbing only 3 steps or walking across a street, I know now that there will be some major hurdles to get over.
And the number one is… eating my chile.
” Red or Green?” that is the question.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner, whenever I order from a simple menu of local food, diner food, food truck food or any food that is not considered exotic and fancy, here it comes! I can’t eat my chile! I wont touch my chile! I am just like a picky eater kid with my chile.
Most embarrassingly I don’t even know the difference between red or green! I feel too stupid to ask so I’ll have to find out the hard way: Taste both and compare.
See, the big problem for me is that if an invisible speck of chile touches my tongue, I am afraid I will turn reddish purple, stop breathing and instantly combust on my chair. So I don’t dare yet or I should say have the courage to eat anything that looks remotely spicy, more precisely anything with a spanish name except for Dulce de Leche or Flan.
For example the other day I succumbed and ordered a chocolate lava cake for dessert at a barbecue place. It sounded pretty safe, even after the waitress warned me that it had just a hint of chile in it. I was too embarrassed to change my mind so I said boastingly and probably with a weird smile ” Oh! I’m sure it’s okay, I’ll take it. Thank you”.
A hint? That’s what they call a hint? After only one bite I forgot what chocolate or vanilla, or sugar or dessert ever tasted like, and drank my whole glass of ice water in one shot before I could put down my fork in defeat.
I was sad to leave this morning and looking forward to coming back in the spring to resume my “assimilation”. But I was also secretely relieved to know that in a few days and after many miles on the road again I will be ordering New England clam chowder and Boston Cream Pie…with plain, sweet and very bland whipped cream.
October 11, 2013 § 1 Comment
Another 8 hours on the road and we finally arrived in Austin, TX tonight for a 3 day visit with our son and his fiancee.
This is the second weekend of Austin City Limits festival, so the city is buzzing, packed, and traffic getting into Austin was… actually not so bad!
We are too tired to venture out of our place this evening so we’ll have to wait till tomorrow to get an idea of what this is all about, as bystanders of course, because we don’t have tickets for any of the events.
Anyway, the drive from Little Rock, AR to Austin provided some exposure to local flavor and surprised me in some ways:
The driver didn’t even bother to close the driver side door while shopping! I imagine this is part of the ACL festival’s cool dude attitude…
October 9, 2013 § 2 Comments
Starting the day with a quiet landscape before long hours of driving through a non landscape of Anywhere, America, of highways, fast food stops exits, neither truly rural nor urban, a semi no man’s land where nature is extinct.
Louisville for just one night, we’ll see more on the the way back in one month.