I should really run for the hills!
This is the first time we put LP on his dad's drumset, when he was 10 months old. Boy, I really miss these days when his hair was naturally styled in that adorable faux-hawk...
And you can then see the progress he's made with this video taken last week. He's got his own drums now, which he received from my mother and her partner last Christmas. We're not quite there yet rhythm-wise, but his coordination has much improved lately! He's even (not really effortlessly) using the bass drum, something he could not do a month ago.
A LOT of fun for me in the future n'est-ce pas?
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I should really run for the hills!
Monday, March 30, 2009
Great news! M and I will be married at the orchard on May 17! As in, 48 days from now.
Their price was very reasonable and it seems like everything will work out fine...
We still have many details to take of, the most important ones being finding an officiant and confirming things with Alex, the photog. M finally received the e-mail late on Friday night and he woke me up at 11:30 to hug me and tell me it was a done deal. Within a few minutes he was snoring lightly, while I kept drifting on and off, with my train of thought similar to this:
...I wonder if my friend still has the name and number of her officiant...I could go to the dollar store and buy plastic buckets full of trinkets for the kids...I don't even have a wedding band...I wonder if I can get the invitations in the mail on Monday...Should we be proactive and buy pretty yellow umbrellas just in case?...
Friday, March 27, 2009
Four times a year at work we all gather into the kitchen around several fondue pots and spend an afternoon making crude jokes, badly translating everything between French, English and Spanish because nearly no one in our little international group speaks all three, eating good food and drinking good booze.
Well yesterday I didn't drink and dutifully left at 4:30, but let's just say it ended very late and drunkenly, with someone nearly swallowing a five-centimeter big spider sunken in the last glass of a very good bottle of wine, and someone else throwing up in a men's room stall this morning.
Apparently not being able to hold your drink, and failing to restrain yourself (especially in a job-related setting) is not solely reserved to frat boys anymore!
We decided to call her "Perrin", after the wine. Our best guess is that she came directly from the vineyard in the South of France. Yes, a guy had this in his mouth. I'm never drinking red wine again.
One of the very few first conversations M and I had was about spoons.
I had just started a new job at this place where he worked. We were both taken at the time, and although I didn't really have an opinion about this tall, rather handsome guy yet, he later told me he noticed and liked me immediately.
I was at the sink in the communal kitchen, washing this spoon I kept at the office to eat my daily morning yogurt. He came into the room, and jumped onto the opportunity to talk to me (so he says).
He asked about that unusual utensil, my baby spoon which I've always kept. There's Sylvester the Cat on it, and the year of my birth is engraved at the back. He said he thought it was cute that a grown woman was still using her baby spoon and toting it around. He then told me he also had one which looked just like it. He wasn't sure where it was, but mine looked very familiar.
Yeah, right, I told myself. The things guys will say to try and impress chicks...
Fast forward a few years later, when I decide to clean up the kitchen drawers at the house we now share. Buried in the back somewhere, I find a Mickey Mouse baby spoon, nearly identical to mine. And I fall even more in love, with this grown man who although he has kept few things from his childhood, still had his baby spoon. Incidentally, the same thing that I had kept as part of a very small collection of objects.
Our son now eats his cereal with these spoons, which both amuse him ("Kee-kee Mouse!" he used to say before moving on to the correct pronunciation). And the symbolic meaning of that, both silly and earnest, fills me with tenderness. It's a turn of events I would have never expected could happen back on that day of September 2002.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Thank you to the lovely bride-to-be Rachel from Peacock Feathers and Diamond Rings. She's a fab London gal planning a June wedding in the English countryside. She has tagged me for a "choose your own award" award!
Among the possible three, it's the Friendship one I decided to retain. Because among all the ups and downs of blogging, the most unexpected thing that happened to me was this getting to know all of these interesting people whose lives I would have likely never crossed in real life, but am now able to share in a small way. Yes, I know the difference between real life friends and Internet ones. But in many aspects, the greatness of this online community I've built in the past year, with its pool of inspiration, perspective, emotion and support, still made a difference in my (real) life. It's a fantastic aspect that never ceases to amaze me.
Internet friends, I may have never met you (or may have), but you do mean to me.
1 - Blogging my Baby
Melissa and I were always commenting on the same mommy blogger posts, and one day I decided to introduce myself. Turns out our sons were born only a few days apart, and we have many other things in common! I love her no nonsense approach. She became a first time mom at 40!
2 - a babe in the making
I admire Veronica for her guts. Late last year in the midst of wedding planning this New Yorker called off her engagement for all the right reasons. Starting over seems to do her good: this is her new blog about personal interests, including getting fit and training for a half-marathon, planning a fab party for her upcoming big 3-0...
3 - Pacing the Panic Room
Ryan reached out to me through my other blog at Babble. He had just started out one and I followed him since the very beginning when there were like 5 of us reading (this Florida stepfather and soon-to-be-dad is funny and crazy and an amazing photographer). Then, he became BIG. He's like a star now. I feel like aww, he's all grown up now!
4 - Lalapoo and Strollers
Pat first came here through a comment I left on Rebecca Woolfe's blog. I had already noticed her as an active commenter on Momversation. I'm slow sometimes, and I hadn't even realized she also lives right here in Montreal! She's launching an hopefully successful freelance career, and preparing to move to my corner of the 'burbs with her family soon.
5 - Now we're three
Alison used to be my co-worker (I know firsthand she's an excellent, if implacable editor). She's also the unofficial chairwoman of my monthly Awesome Mom's club. She's this typically very smart, sassy, bookish, athletic, super busy overachiever. Getting to know her more through her blog is fun, and her baby is so darn cute!
6 - simple life love
I recently fell in blog love with this gal's universe focusing on what's most important (food, especially), and on her challenge to eat a salad every day this year and document it with pictures! I wish I had thought of that!
7 - Prince Liam the Brave
I said it before, but Gretchen and her family hold a really special place in my heart. This wonderful New York family with an amazing 4 year-old cancer patient constantly reminds me about what really matters, and how lucky we are.
8 - Ariane's Blog
This SoCal mother-of-two reached out to me while browsing for information about number 7 just above. Her mother is French and shares my name! I obviously find the French-English mix (which I share) very interesting! We haven't spoken a lot but I always find it very comforting to see her city come up again and again in visit statistics...
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Yesterday was M and I's anniversary. Four years. The first two years, we went out to dinner. That second year dinner was quite a bold gesture, as we had a 7 week-old baby at home. But his parents were there, so we knew we could leave him for a hurried feast of mussels and fries. Last year, we were coming back from the Easter weekend in New York, we spent most of the day in the car, and didn't really do anything special. Except for that crazy present he gave me while we stopped at outlets: (60% off, still expensive) Gucci shoes.
This year I had almost forgotten. How bad of a fiancee am I, really. I kissed him and wished him happy anniversary in the morning, but then went on to a really so-so day at work and all kinds of things bringing me down in spite of myself (for instance, not being able to confirm our wedding date which is 7 weeks away). To top it off, the daycare called in the middle of the afternoon because LP had been crying and screaming at the top of his lungs for an hour and a half, lost in his own world of opaque, complete, non-functioning, no-turning-back meltdown. His teacher was overwhelmed and preoccupied. It doesn't happen often nowadays, compared to when he was a baby, but he still has this in him, and it makes me really sad. I rushed over there, la mort dans l'âme (meaning that "you have death within your soul"). He was OK, having reverted back to Dr. Jekyll, and was simply very happy to see me.
But then all afternoon he kept crying for no reason, defying me, shouting, etc. I was taken over by mommy brain, this distracted, tired, overstimulated stance that I once thought I was the only one experimenting, and friggin' hit my head on the car trunk for THE SECOND TIME in a few months. Ashamed, embarrassed of not being able to do things like everyone else, and hurt, I was imagining a frightening Natasha Richardson scenario and telling myself that it would be really stupid if the last thing I said to my beloved son was that mommy had had it with his tantrums.
Then M came back and completely changed my mood. He had flowers, and told me he would take care of dinner. He asked me whether I minded that he had invited two special friends over. Here they were:
Now we both LOVE lobster, but only eat it a couple of times a year when they're in season and the smallish ones are on sale at the supermarket. But he got these massive, top-quality ones at a fishmonger, and they were downright the freshest and best I've ever had. What a great, completely different Tuesday night, when I expected to eat salade niçoise with canned tuna. When I told him he was crazy to have spent that much, he replied that since I was the best thing that ever happened to him in his whole life, $55 for two lobsters was nuthin. Which was the sweetest thing I'd ever heard (and needed to hear yesterday).
I am marrying the right guy, people. I really am.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Apart from an (unfortunate) earring phase in the '90s, M has never worn jewelry. His first thoughts on soon having to wear a ring were that it would be annoying. Great! I told him he'd better get over it!... I know it's a personal choice but I don't really like when married men don't wear their wedding band (I work almost exclusively with men who kind of view me as one of the guys, and I guess what I don't like is the jokes they make about it!) For me it's the symbol of your commitment, so just like I proudly wear my diamond ring to represent what we have, I want him to do the same. I know that guys don't really notice these things, but ask almost any girl after a party and she'll tell you which guys wore a wedding band and which ones didn't. I've unconsciously been doing that for years and years. How else are we going to know who's taken?
I didn't think much of our wedding bands; for me the "showstopper" ring is the one I already have, and I don't really mind if my wedding band is relatively plain. I'm not very bling-blingy. So when I suggested M that we get them at this kind of boring place, I was surprised to hear that a "generic" one what NOT what he had in mind. Really, he had an opinion about his ring? I mean, that's great, I guess finding him something a little more unique he really liked would be a great incentive for him wearing it then!
He said he wanted something "simple, but a bit wide, and a bit rough, with some texture." Huh... I guess most mall jewelry stores don't sell that... So, I turned to Etsy, and found several ones that I thought he might like. He ended up choosing this one:
Made of oxidized sterling silver. The seller is in Ontario, the neighboring Canadian province, and it should arrive in about three weeks. Another step that makes me realize that all of this is becoming very real! This is THE ring I will soon place on his finger and that he'll hopefully wear forever. Oh my...
Friday, March 20, 2009
M and I started running outside again. Another sign that winter is definitely over! Major morale booster. We're not the only ones craving to be outside: the streets of our neighborhood post-dinnertime are crowded with people, dogs and strollers, and everyone has that triumphant smile... The Canadian geese are back (major marker of spring), about 2 weeks earlier than last year. I'm so happy that we're done with winter, but I must say it was a breeze this year compared to the last.
So our usual routine is that we start off together for the first few minutes, and then M takes off ahead with the stroller (he and his 6'2 legs run much faster than I ever could). This year, I half-hoped that things would be different (I've been religiously working out inside all winter long, 3 to 5 times a week, while he didn't). I thought this might give me an edge... But nature proved to me once again that we are clearly not created equal when it comes to a "natural" fitness level. I couldn't keep up with him after mere seconds, and miserably puffed while trying to fight this awful ache on my left side that hit me after a good 2 1/2 minutes... While he cruised along, constantly coming back to me and then zooming forward out of my sight, barely out of breath.
I suck and I'm one of the least athletic people I know. This is a fact and the important thing is that it did not prevent me from trying to improve my nature and push my own limits... I've always hated group sports of any kind because I'm so below everyone's level, but found my niche in individual sports (jogging especially) since I have no one to compare myself to and can only focus on my own progress. Still, I sometimes let myself go into thinking that since I'm working hard on it, I may objectively not be that bad anymore. But there you go. I am. Silly me.
LP loves to see the return of this activity he enjoyed so much last year. His role has changed in that he now has a responsibility: holding the water bottle for whenever we need it. We wouldn't even really need it, but he's so happy to help out. I can coax him into doing basically anything if I say it's going to help us ("unloading" the dishwasher, putting clothes into the dryer, bringing things to his dad, putting them away into the garbage bin)... And there he is, beaming with pride. Ah, the wonderful feeling of being helpful. I should definitely enjoy it while it lasts...
He's usually running with M so I don't get to hear much of his jogging-inspired philosophical musings, but M says he talks all the time. An excerpt from his latest monologues:
"Les oiseaux, ils volent dans le ciel". (Birds, they fly in the sky...)
"On entend les autos (qui) passent" (We can hear the cars passing by)
"Les pompiers éteindre les feux avec extincteur (sic)" (Firemen put out fires with extinguishers) "Les autobus scolaires amènent (les) enfants à l'école" (School buses bring children to school)...
And not to forget the enigmatic ones, like "Ça pique les cactus!" (Cactuses are prickly) or "Grand-maman D fait beaucoup de bruit" (Grandma makes a lot of noise!)
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I don't know how, but as a follow-up to my recent post about not being able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight no matter how hard I tried, it just FINALLY happened. Within a matter of a few weeks since then, the number just went down and down and here we are! I couldn't be more thrilled. I worked my butt off for a long time! I guess writing about it gave me just the extra oomph I needed.
I tried my dress on last weekend and it fit fantastically. Well, the bottom part anyway. The top is still too tight and I don't think my ribcage is getting any smaller. So my mom and I purchased all the fabric she needs to widen the sides just a bit, redo the straps in a different kind of mesh lace and make a sash. She's supposed to be working her magic starting this week. I'm fitting into a size 4 dress! Except it's not a true size 4 and I don't know who it could fit on top because I'm small. I have a body that could really belong to two different women: round hips, thighs and butt, but small waist, stomach that used to be perfectly flat but is now just a tiny bit paunchy like every mother I know, and nearly nonexistent boobs. I usually wear x-small tops, size 4 skirts, and size 8 pants (that are too big at the waist). I don't understand it either.
OK, and now I will stop talking about this altogether because I'm even starting to annoy myself at this point.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Have you checked out this site called Stuff White People like? I remember reading about it in a paper several months ago, but I only visited recently following a tweet from Alison.
It's the most fun and addictive read I've had in a long, long, while. The tone is so sarcastic, wry, clever and anthropologically cohesive it makes me both completely rejoice and cringe in slight embarrassment, because I do feel like I'm the butt of the joke a little.
I mean, yeah, they're right. I guess I am that predictable. I can recognize my own full-of-s**tness in so much of this, including, but not limited to:
#8 Barack Obama
#10 Wes Anderson movies
#29 80s Night
#40 Apple products
#44 Public radio
#45 Asian fusion food
#47 Art degrees
#48 Whole Foods stores
#54 Kitchen Gadgets
#78 Multilingual children
#81 Graduate school
#90 Dinner parties
#94 Free health care
#107 Self-aware hip-hop references
Seriously, the accuracy of this list to describe my whole life, tastes and personality is pretty scary...
The only thing I'd have to say is that the title is way off. I can think of plenty of white people for whom all of these references would be very obscure and foreign. Hence, I think it should really be named:
Stuff urban, college-educated, somewhat tech-savvy, wannabe hipster, fashionably green white people like.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I've loved books for as long as I can remember. I learned how to read right before my fifth birthday, and basically I've never stopped. After studying them in university for 5 years (finishing up my Contemporary French Literature thesis was very hard for me), I've become a bit less of a fervent novel reader, but I still read just as much, magazines, papers, blogs, and such. M is the same, and it was very important for us both to try and raise a reader.
I've been reading stories to LP since he was about 3 months old, right by the time we started to establish a bedtime routine. It's still a favorite part of my day, because in the grand tradition of the apple not having fallen far from the tree with this kid (for the good and the bad), LP has loved books from Day 1. By about 4 months he was grabbing them and trying to turn the pages. This made me happier than I could possibly say.
"Une histoire maman, une histoire!" (a story), he constantly
barks at me politely asks.
One of his favorites books right now is one miraculously salvaged from my own childhood: "Les vacances de Caroline."
I don't know how this 1958 book ever came to be mine. It was already about 25 years old when looked at it with such fascination as a kid. The first time I read it to LP last year I still had vivid images from it: a breakfast comprised of golden flaky croissants and bowls of café au lait, a pillow fight with feathers flying everywhere, a visit to a medieval castle I'm still sure was inspired by the one in Heidelberg, Germany (when I visited it at 25 I was hit by the sudden and very strong feeling I was literally walking into the pages of my childhood book).
Caroline is a little French girl with rockin' style (this is not her best look but she was absolutely delightful in her ballet flats, little cropped red pants, small scarf and ponytail with bow). The book was part of a series but in this particular one, she's a summer camp counselor who doesn't even seem to realize that although everyone else in the book is a person, all of her own campers are animals (there are dogs, cats, even a tiger and a lederhosen-wearing, obviously German bear cub)!
My son knows the book by heart as well now, with the animals being his favorite part (I don't think he even cares about Caroline's outfits). He doesn't mind that it's 50 years old and quite dated. At first I wasn't sure if he'd like it, since it's a little girl-centric. And LP is just not girly, although sometimes when I put makeup on he'll beautifully paint his whole face with 'khaki gray' pencil and 'mocha pink' blush.
So even though I'm sure that I'll have many more wonderful moments of sharing the books I used to love as a child with him (Jules Verne novels, Tom Sawyer, etc.), I think I can probably cross my all-time favorites (the works of the Comtesse de Ségur, which depicted the life of little girls from the early 19th-century French nobility in great detail, including all of their frilly dresses and beautiful doll houses) off the list.
P.S. You might like to know that my mom almost never calls me by my real name. Ever since I was about 6 years old, she's been calling me "Sophie" because of the book above...
Monday, March 16, 2009
We went over to the orchard on Saturday. It's about an hour and fifteen minutes from our house, while going through a lot of uninteresting tiny roads and tired farmlands. We were thinking we had really landed in the middle of Nowhere, Quebec... Until we arrived at the beautiful village, then took the road to the orchard and started to see the apple trees, all prettily lined up amidst the rugged terrain. Then we saw the place, with its huge farmhouse and small tasting house/boutique. It was perfect! Perfect for the kind of wedding we wanted, perfect for spending a wonderful afternoon in the country with the people we love. It's breathtaking, it's small, it's refined, it's quiet, it's unfussy... It's everything.
After visiting, explaining what our vision was and seeing what was possible, they agreed to go on with it. We were both so thrilled! I still can't say that it's done, because since they have never done this they couldn't give us a price already. They will figure it out in the next few days and send us a detailed quote. M is taking this over from now on, and is ready to negiotiate and arrange something (he's much better than me at this). I don't expect they would come over-budget, especially since it's a small affair and weddings are not their main business (for them we would simply be a small group of people they can promote their products to). But I don't want to get ahead of myself before we're sure it will work out. What if they come up with a completely unreasonable price?
They would take care of the tent and rentals, which would be included in the price, as would be the staff, alcohol (they have really high-quality ice cider and other types of ciders and apple-based booze) as well as other refreshments such as freshly-pressed apple juice! The only other thing we would need to cover would be the food and food service. While there we had a crash course on which foods pair well with cider (smoked salmon, sushi, foie gras, seafood, fine cheeses, game, etc.) so we're not even sure we would go with a caterer at this point. Who says you have to? When my mom threw me a baby shower she made the (gorgeous) food for about 40 people, so it's perfectly doable. She's willing to come over a few days in advance and help out. For 150 people it wouldn't be advisable, but hors d'oeuvres for about 30 people to eat along with cider for a couple of hours in the afternoon is no biggie. Thank goodness for my mom, who's a wonderful and fearless gourmet cook.
The targeted date is Sunday, May 17 (the next day is a statutory holiday here in Quebec). We can reasonably expect that the apple trees will be blossoming at that date, although of course there are no absolute guarantees. We saw pictures of those wonderful 14 or so days and it looks absolutely magical. What an incredible setting to marry! Every time I think about it I can't help but get emotional. I still can't believe that it's going to happen sometimes. I could totally see us there, dressed up to the nines, looking at each other among the apple blossoms while surrounded by our meaningful group of people, swearing to each other that we'll always stick around. *tear*.
Friday, March 13, 2009
I've been blogging for one year...
Wow, nearly 300 posts. I didn't even know I had so many things to say. Or where all these thoughts and sentences went before.
Thank you to anyone who reads, you have no idea how much it means to me...
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Which is such a fun thing to do: how many times will you have an opportunity to come up with THE soundtrack you want people to hear because it will sound like you (with memories of moments and moods you want to replay at your wedding for everyone to enjoy and hopefully leave happy)?
This is playing non-stop in my head right now. I'm absolutely nuts about this song. It's aptly titled "All my friends", and it's fitting since in the last few weeks with the wedding plans springing forward we've had nothing but heartwarming outpourings of support and love from them (and our family). Dear all my friends (and family), I don't tell you that I LOVE YOU often enough.
Either version is awesome:
Original from LCD Soundsystem
Cover by Franz Ferdinand
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
...My cyber-friend Ryan from Pacing the Panic Room just twittered me about the blog's new look.
So, like it? I do. There are still a few things that need to be done as of now, but it's coming together. M is working on a title bar as we speak. He's the artsy one in the family.
Design is by Delicious Design Studio. Thanks to my friend Julie who apparently couldn't stand the old one anymore! I didn't like it that much either but I just suck at these things, while being very ashamed because I still have an eye for the beautiful and wish I could actually transform my visions into reality.
No more posts about shoes...
But for this, you'll forgive me, I'm sure.
These are what the guys will be wearing for the wedding. Identical ones for daddy and kiddo!
Turns out you can customize shoes about any way you want on the Converse Web site. I had a lot of fun. They're a little more expensive than in stores, but hey. They make these shoes just this once, just for you. The total for the two pairs was about $115 US.
I wouldn't give them bonus points, though, because their Website is not the most user-friendly and of course, right before I whipped up my credit card, I saw the "Shipping to US addresses only" notice, which, as usual, infuriated me. So heartfelt thanks to my dear friend in California who will receive and reroute them over here. What would I do without her? She's even scheming an amazing new look for this blog as an engagement present, which should come soon!!!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
This woman named Clara offers online cooking classes called "Depression Cooking". Not because she's been down awhile, but because being all of 93 years old, she has lived through the Great Depression in the '30s and remembers what people did to feed themselves during these difficult times. She also provides a little commentary on how life was back then (like saying that before they had a radio at home, all the women in her Sicilian family would gather at her aunt's place and listen to one of them read a romance novel). Amazing isn't?
I may not emphasize this side of myself a lot on this blog, but cooking (and eating) are two of my favorite things to do in life. I'm a good cook, and basically food in on my mind all the time. I love her no-nonsense simple approach, and think her insight is priceless. Although I'm crossing my fingers really hard at this point, we have not been impacted by this crisis as of yet but I'm still thinking about it a lot and it has definitely changed my spending habits. I've always hated to waste food, but now I've really cranked it up a notch by trying to find more and more ways to make the most of what we buy and not buy anything unnecessary. Recently I was even thinking about starting to bake my own bread again, like I did when I worked from home and during my mat leave. So this woman's ideas sound very true to me.
I've always been so interested in what older people have to say... When I was about 6 or 7, the highlight of my life was calling my grand-papa at his office every Thursday and asking him to come over for dinner at our house. I did like it in part because he always brought us candy, but also mostly because he was telling us all these fascinating stories about his own childhood. When I think of it now, he was far from old at that time, probably in his late forties, which is ridiculously young for a grandfather. But the fact is he had lived in very different times than ours, having probably been part of the generation who witnessed the most dramatic changes within a single lifetime ever in history.
When my grandpa R was young (he was the youngest of a typically big French-Canadian Catholic brood), his mom was sending him half a kilometer away to bring their cow to a pasture every morning before school. This is where their milk, butter and cheese came from. They had a big garden in their backyard and were canning all the vegetables for the winter, so that they could have something else to eat than potatoes. During the summer, his mother had a little sideline business of selling her lettuces to the neighbors, who had otherwise never seen it. They rarely ate fruit, and received an apple and an orange as (only) Christmas presents. His mom would make soap (they used the same for people, clothes and dishes) by boiling baking soda with animal grease and other unappetizing things...
He has seen this, and then he has seen everything we now take for granted: TV, democratized flying and traveling, women working outside the home, the Pill, the Internet, same-sex marriages, GPSes, doing all your banking without ever really setting foot in a bank, an amazingly strong and intelligent African-American man ruling the world, buying and eating whatever you want whenever you want it, regardless of the season... And he's still here, very alert and interested in all of this. The other day we were talking about e-bay with him... And I thought to myself that's incredible. How lucky am I.
I've been thinking for a while now that I should film him talking about his childhood and family memories, or at the very least write them down. He's always been such a great storyteller... I remember how strange were his anecdotes when I was little (what do you mean you couldn't just go and buy soap at the store?), so I can't even guess how they would feel to LP. Or LP's kids. He's in his late 70s now, and I should not take him (or my grandmother) for granted. I would just hate myself for letting all of these stories slip away.
Monday, March 9, 2009
I hope you will bear with me as wedding-related posts will probably be more frequent in the near future... I'll however try to constantly remind myself that life is about other things than the one day you get hitched, and that in the end, it's just a party.
So I had thought about a wonderful place to have our reception/cocktail/whatever you do after the ceremony to get a drink while surrounded by the people you love. It's a small restaurant and happy hour bar that's usually only open during daytime, but which you can reserve on weeknights for private parties. We have been there twice for such occasions, and I loved the vibe: urban, artsy, modern and different. There was even a small lounge in an adjacent room where we could have set up a kids' table with some activities. The food was good and creative, it wasn't too expensive, and it would have been on a Friday night, which I love (when you receive an invitation for a Friday night wedding, it pretty much sets the tone that it won't be a traditional affair). It was located downtown in a newly happening neighborhood made up of old factories now housing lofts and such... There was even a park nearby in the Old Port where the ceremony could have happened.
But it won't happen. I'm sick of calling and emailing the owner who doesn't even bother replying back (except for that one, undecipherable and evasive e-mail). I feel I've given him a fair chance, but as it is, even if it ended up working out, I wouldn't want to deal with someone you need to rely on and who simply can't be reached. It's really not a "weddingy" place, and frankly I'm a little afraid that the mention of the word kind of scared them away. Oh well. Option out the window.
Then when we came back from Vermont the other day M had this idea of looking at the many orchards located in a beautiful region called the Eastern Townships, near the US border (about an hour from our house). So I emailed this place in Frelighsburg where they produce a really fine, award-winning ice cider I'm very fond of, and hey, guess what, they replied almost immediately!
Basically, they've never done such a thing, but they are sort of open to the idea. The orchard is huge and breathtaking, at the bottom of a mountain (after which the cider is named) overlooking the picturesque village. There's a big English-style 1859 farmhouse, which legend has it was once used for the Underground Railroad.
My first thought was to have the ceremony outdoors (weather permitting), and the "cocktail" in their tasting room afterward. But the guy (who was really nice) told me it was too small, so we would have to rent a tent and chairs (which he told me they do every year for a fall festival). It's the kind of thing I really wanted to avoid, but I guess we'll see. For them, Sundays are better than Saturdays (all the better for us), and the early season is much better since there are less visitors. Marrying in May under the blossoming apple trees, anyone? Yes I know it's only about 10 weeks from now.
So we're going there to meet with them and visit the place on March 14 (better brush up my negotiating skills and arrive prepared). They're not even sure themselves if they really want to go ahead with it, so it's far from done (I guess in this case the fact that it would be just a small, afternoon, no-full-meal kind of affair helps). But I'm pretty excited nonetheless (I shouldn't be and go ahead of myself at this point, right?)
They don't provide food or have a caterer so I guess we would order/arrange finger food and hors d'oeuvre platters ourselves and bring them there. If no one is there to serve them, then we'll simply put them on a table and people will have to fetch them themselves (aren't we cruel?). Drinks would be limited to the delectable cider, but really, what else would you ever want to drink? (OK, maybe that's just me). I think (I may be mistaken) it would probably be more affordable to do that than to have a full open bar (while still being fun and appearing more "thematic" and slightly sophisticated than cheap), and that maybe it could even offset the cost of rentals.
I know it's really going from one extreme to the other: urban, hip cocktail to afternoon country affair... But in truth neither M nor I had a preconception of where to have the wedding, I guess I just want some place nice, different, and kid-friendly, which this completely is. I'll keep you posted!
Friday, March 6, 2009
I think I am, meine Damen und Herren, I think I am.
Yellow flowers it will be. In the spring (which is very, very fast approaching, thus becoming more and more unlikely), no problem. I would do daffodils, tulips, and ranunculus... A little bit like this:
From The Knot
Incidentally, this was a bridesmaids bouquet... And it's not the first time I think those are actually more beautiful than the bride's... Something about perfectly assessed simplicity, sophistication and proportions... When it comes to flowers, grander is not necessarily better... What is it about brides that want to carry ginormous bouquets anyway?
For springtime centerpieces, there's even the option of using beautiful (and heavenly scented) forsythia branches from one of our two shrubs during their blossoming time -about 2 weeks in April.
But all of these stop being available like, in May. So other than that, flowers in the yellow spectrum include freesia, calla lilies, roses, tiger lilies and gerbera daisies. I'm not opposed to the first three, although they wouldn't have been my first pick. And I'm not really warm about gerbera and lilies, I like them, just not in my bouquet.
But carnations are, as I've said before, long-lasting, widely available in just about any color, and really inexpensive. I would try to use a couple of different yellow shades and work them nicely in a tight round ball, like this:
The first pic is from Real Simple. The other two are from here.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Four years ago, when M and I first started dating, I made an excited call to my father to talk to him about it. And there's my dad, always protective of his little girl he had never fully realized had now been living on her own for a decade, and was now 29, divorced, holder of a graduate degree, fluent in three languages, etc.
So the questions came: how old, what he did, where he lived, etc. Then when he asked his last name and I told him, he coughed and half-jokingly said: "You can't marry this guy."
"Your great-grandmother had the same last name. We're certainly related to him."
So about a year a half later while I was knocked up, one weekend we were spending at his parents', M and his dad spent a whole night drinking coffee and wine and looking into huge dusty genealogy books. And then he triumphantly woke me up, me the poor hormonal, bloated pregnant woman who needed the sleep so much, and tipsily told me they had pieced the puzzle together.
We are in fact related to each other, with a common ancestor who arrived from France in 1635. So we ourselves are separated by 10 generations of people who hopefully didn't all marry their cousins, and LP is the 11th generation. In terms of the gene pool, I think we're safe.
I've even noted all the details into a beautiful, complex family tree, which LP can enjoy one day. Or think we're impossibly embarrassing nerds.
I'm thinking it would be really funny if I asked my dad (who obviously loves M to pieces) to talk about this anecdote at our wedding.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
In a couple of weeks we're going to R's birthday party. You may remember R as LP's girlfriend from his own birthday party last month. She's turning 3, so he seems to be digging the older chick thing.
R is beautiful, adorable, outspoken, articulate, and quite a firecracker. LP was and still is an early talker, but she was far, far, far ahead. Even though LP talks a lot and even his daycare teachers are constantly impressed by his vocabulary, she probably knew twice as many words as him at the same age. Our son is able to verbalize a lot of abstract concepts and seems to understand much more than he can say, but he still has a babyish pronunciation for some words (for instance he calls his vitamin "tatamine"). He mostly makes full sentences by now, but they usually miss a few little words like prepositions, and he often makes small mistakes, for instance improperly "genderizing" adjectives... Like if he wants to say that a man he's seen on TV is happy, he'll say "le monsieur est contente," which is the correct word and everything, but in this case would only apply to a woman.
My point is when you talk to him, you're still under the impression that you're dealing with a kid. Whereas with R, who once participated to a McGill University study on linguistically gifted children, you just have this wonderful but also a bit uncanny feeling that you're talking with a pint-size adult, and an intelligent one at that. Parenting such a child must be fantastic, but also incredibly challenging at times. Let's just say I wish her parents, who are close friends of ours, good luck, and add that I think R has a wonderful career in the entertainment business or PR ahead of her.
LP lights up when we talk of her. He's no doormat himself but he's still shadowed by her own personality, which is just larger than life. If they were 17, I would probably be slightly worried that she'd boss him around and break his heart. But for now, they simply smile at each other and hold hands, so it's just awwww...
I asked him what he wanted to give her as a birthday present. He thought about it for a second, then said "a cement truck," while nodding and being very pleased with his oh-so-clever idea. I explained to him that little girls usually weren't into trucks much. But he said no worries, he'd keep it for himself then.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Bought the shoes! After months and month of browsing, they ended up finding me. I swear after today there will be no more posts about shoes (I do have at least a few male readers after all), but I had to show them off here.
When I saw them I actually heard fireworks and some sexy '70s Motown music playing in the background. I know I wanted to wait until we set the date so that their color could complement the flowers in season, but they were THE shoes. The ones and only I was meant to get married in.
They had everything: unexpected, beautiful color, rich material, feminineness, 3-to-4 inch heel, peep-toe, embellishment... But it's the one-two-punch color combo that sold them to me.
Those who know me in real life will chuckle, because I've been pretty much associated with all things turquoise for, well, years. And exactly because of that, I had consciously decided NOT to have anything of that color at my wedding, because it would be too expected. But the hell with it. I just can't seem to go against my very nature after all.
And so with these, our colors are pretty much set. My sash and flowers will be yellow. Over the weekend we went and bought several yellow/turquoise things, like invitation material, the ribbon for my bouquet, small Chinese takeout boxes for favors, Martha Stewart pompoms, etc.
We came back late on Saturday night and left these in bags on the floor and on Sunday morning, LP got up before us and had a blast messing everything up. So I thought: "This is why you're supposed to have kids after you marry..."
Ordered the shooz online, can't wait for them to arrive. I never think about doing these things, but my lovely fiance saved me $90 by retrieving a promo code and assessing different shipping options. With the exchange rate, they're still on the pricey side, but since I've been so reasonable with my dress I decided that they would be my one wedding splurge.
And I will totally wear them again.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Gregory Czerkinsky - Natacha
So weird, yet so appealing.
Carla Bruni - Quelqu'un m'a dit
Yes I know she's the First Lady of France, and her husband is quite a unlikable character. She still used to be a highly fascinating person and a talented musician (in the French tradition of women not really having powerful voices). You can have a fictionalized insider view at her upbringing and personality in her sister's movie "Il est plus facile pour un chameau..." (which hints that, hello, she was born from one of her mom's extra-marital affair), as well as in Justine Levy's book "Rien de grave" (Nothing Serious). For the gossip fix, Bruni stole Levy's husband (after having an affair with his father), who then became the father of Bruni's 8 year-old son, before she ditched him to move
up on to Sarkozy.
Alain Souchon - Foule sentimentale
There's something very sweetly nostalgic about this one.
Vanessa Paradis - Tandem
Very sexy Serge Gainsbourg song! Yes, she's Johnny Depp's partner. In France she's got quite a name of her own, although she's always struggled with credibility a bit. I've always liked her. M often teases me about it. She's definitely the most embarrassing thing I have on my iPod.
Etienne Daho - Tombé pour la France
I've been sort of in love with him ever since I was a teenager, even though I've never been quite sure of his sexual orientation.