DIY Paris-Inspired Terrariums

Beautiful terrariums on a table in the Maison Astor Paris.

At our chic hotel Maison Astor Paris, a tabletop arrangement of terrariums inspired me to make my own. I bought large and medium-sized glass globes and succulents to add to the vessels and plants I already had at home. I also picked up small, white rocks, soil and moss. On a walk, I found fallen pine boughs and plan to scatter tiny pine cones around the succulents. Guess what’s doubling as Thanksgiving centerpieces?

Happy indoor gardening, hon!

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Charming and Comfortable Hotel Tardif in Bayeux, France

This gorgeous courtyard leads to the main entrance.

Hôtel Tardif, Noble Guesthouse in Bayeux, France

gets my vote as the most charming place I’ve ever stayed!

Hubby and I arrived in Bayeux early in the morning after crossing the English Channel on a ferry. Friends had recommended Hôtel Tardif (shout out to Deb and Dave) and, right away, owner Anthony Voidie welcomed us, answered our questions, and even had our room prepared earlier than anticipated. After a delicious breakfast (think crêpes, croissants, and amazing coffee), we were ready to explore the town. But wait, there was so much to see in the guest house and grounds. Hubby had to convince me to leave since I was enamored of the decorating details and, hon, you know I love details! The fireplace, the fabrics, the fresh flowers…oh so lovely!

From the hotel’s website:

 Enjoy the priviledge of a stay in a  historic monument dating of the 18th century, in the heart of  medival Bayeux.

   Our guest house of charm is nestled in the former park of the botanist Moisson de Vaux, where many species like Magnolias were first acclimated in Europe. A peaceful location, between the Bayeux Tapestry museum, the cathedral, many restaurants bars and shops.

If you want more autonomy you can also opt for one of our  furnished tourism accomodation located on the street.

  You can easily reach the famous landing beaches, Omaha Beach, Arromanches, the Caen Memorial, Honfleur, Le Mont-Saint-Michel.

     This private mansion reflects a glorious past with its wood paneling, fireplaces in marble, a remarkable staircase, some rare centuries old trees …  

 

Bayeux, France in Photos, Part 1

IMG_1139
Macarons bigger than Oreos!

Hubby and I are now in Paris and today we’re headed to Giverny!

I’ll have lots to post when we get back to the U.S., but in the meantime, here are some pics of Bayeux, France. We rode a commuter train from London to Portsmouth, England and, from there, crossed the English Channel on an overnight Brittany Ferry from Portsmouth to France.

Bayeux feels like a step back in time. We had visited Bath, England which is also historic, but Bath is filled with stores that you see everywhere which, in my opinion, takes away from the town’s authenticity. Bayeux has plenty of stores–our Normandie tour guide called it bourgeois–but they and the cafes seemed individually owned rather than international chains. The village is filled with quirky shops:  a ceramicist’s gallery that includes her studio (throwing wheel, bags of clay, and unfinished work right behind a half wall, just my kind of place!); a tiny home goods shop with beautiful, velvet bed covers and pillows; a shop just for hats; shops featuring locals artisans; a needlework store or “Broderie” that recalls the town’s famous tapestry; and a shop that sells merchandise adorned with poppies–so specific to the region.

Bayeux is a town on the Aure river in the Normandy region of northwestern France, 10 kilometers from the Channel coast. Its medieval center contains cobbled streets, half-timbered houses and the towering, Norman-Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame. The famed 68-meter Tapisserie de Bayeux, an 11th-century tapestry depicting the 1066 Norman invasion of England, is on display in an 18th-century seminary.

 

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The Verdict’s In: The Rooster Can Crow!

Maurice the rooster with his owner, Corinne Fesseau, at her home on the southwestern island of Oléron, France. Photo Credit Kasia Strek for The New York Times

Good news for the rooster. Bad news for the neighbors.

Best quote ever! “This rooster was not being unbearable,” Mr. Papineau added. “He was just being himself.”

Hon, remember the trial of Maurice the Rooster? The judge made his decision!

  

PARIS — The most famous rooster in France can continue to crow.

So ruled a French judge on Thursday, rejecting a claim by neighbors on the southwestern island of Oléron that the fowl, named Maurice, was a nuisance and made too much noise.

The judge found that the rooster, being a rooster, had a right to crow in his rural habitat.

“Maurice has won his fight,” his lawyer, Julien Papineau, said after the court decision in the small coastal city of Rochefort. “The judge recalled that, where Maurice is singing, it is in nature. It is in a rural town.”

“This rooster was not being unbearable,” Mr. Papineau added. “He was just being himself.”

The court also awarded the rooster 1,000 euros, about $1,100, in damages — more than enough for a luxury redo of his simple green chicken coop, though the money will go to a fund for the families of those who have perished at sea, his lawyer said.

Maurice, a modest bird with magnificent plumage, did not let out a triumphant cackle at the news of his court victory in Rochefort. His celebrity has not gone to his head.

The rooster and his owner, Corinne Fesseau, had been sued by a retired couple, Jean-Louis Biron and Joëlle Andrieux, who have a vacation home in the area and claimed that Maurice’s crowing had made their holidays stressful.

The rooster’s case had been taken up by thousands of people across France as a symbol of rural values — eternal values in France — that they say are under threat.

Other neighbors staunchly defended the chicken, and the mayor passed an ordinance protecting his rights.

The judge’s decision was soundly based on French law, the lawyer said. In these “fights between neighbors, the nuisance has to be excessive, or permanent,” Mr. Papineau said.

The court found that neither was the case.

“This is a reaffirmation that people of bad faith don’t always win,” Mr. Papineau said, “and that we’ve got to accept nature’s sounds.”

Video from my post on Maurice the Rooster.

The Trial of Maurice the Rooster

Hon, you know what’s stranger than the Central Park Squirrel Census? A rooster on trial!

Cockadoodle-Do or Cockadoodle-Don’t?

On June 23,  The New York Times ran an article,  On Front Lines of Culture War In France:  Maurice the Rooster by Adam Nossiter about a rooster on trial for waking up neighbors with his early-bird song. Jean-Louis Biron and Joëlle Andrieux, who built a summer vacation house in the town of St.-Pierre-D’Oléron 15 years ago, had enjoyed peaceful vacations until Corinne Fesseau installed a chicken coop in 2017. “Jean-Louis Biron and Joëlle Andrieux have petitioned a judge to make Ms. Fesseau and her husband stop ‘the nuisances consecutive to the installation of their chicken-coop, and most particularly the song of Maurice the cock. They insist that the setting is urban, and so Maurice has no right to crow.'” The notion that the town is urban is part of the controversy.

The crowing Gallic coq is an eternal symbol of France and the controversy taps in to France’s still unbroken connection to its agricultural past, its self-image as a place that exalts farm life and the perceived value of a simpler existence.

Maurice has become the most famous chicken in France, but as always in a country where hidden significance is never far from the surface, he is much more than just a chicken.

The following are quotes and info from Nossiter’s NYT’s article. 

  • Maurice is described as “a cantankerous fowl with a magnificent puffed-out coat who struts Ms. Fesseau’s backyard with three hens in tow.”
  • “Mr. Biron and Ms. Andrieux hired an official court bailiff to report on the rooster, at a cost of hundreds of dollars…On the second and third day, at 6:30 and 7:00 am, the bailiff ‘took note of the song of the rooster.'”
  • Tens of thousands of people across France have signed a petition in the rooster’s favor.
  • The mayor of St.-Pierre-D’Oléron supported a municipal ordinance that “proclaimed the need ‘to preserve the rural character’ of the town.”
  • “A parliamentary representative from the rural district of Lozère wants rural sounds to be officially classified and protected as ‘national heritage’.”
  • “The rooster must be defended,” said mayoral candidate Thibault Brechkoff.
  • The plaintiff’s lawyer, Vincent Huberdeau said his clients are “not against the rooster, they’ve never asked for the death of the animal, this is about noise.”
  • Mr. Huberdeau said, “[My clients] have been presented as hostile to nature. But it’s not that at all. They have nothing against the rural world.”
  • “A mediator suggested sending Maurice away while Mr. Biron and Ms. Andrieux were using their vacation home.” Ms. Fesseau said, “I won’t be separated from my rooster!”
  • Ms. Fesseau also said, “A rooster needs to express himself.”
  • “On a recent morning, at precisely 6 am, with the sun just emerging, Maurice stiffened, raised his head, shook his wattles, opened his beak and let out a low, hoarse crow that Maurice’s lawyer characterized as ‘discreet.’ Ms. Fesseau’s husband, Jacky, slept right through the performance.”
  • Ms. Fesseau fretted, “Before, [Maurice] was happy, everything was going so well. But now…all this uproar and stress…”
  • “The rooster’s lawyer, in official pleadings, said Maurice ‘himself has perceived this disquiet, as for the past past several months he has only rarely sung.'”
  • “A random sampling of other neighbors uncovered only staunch defenders of Maurice.”
  • “Why must a rooster be arrested?’ asked neighbor Katherine Karom.
  • Another neighbor, Renaud Morandeau, said “he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about since he’d never heard it and added, ‘And even if I had heard, what the heck, it’s a rooster.'”
  • “There was no immediate risk of expulsion, or less pleasant rooster destinies.”

The court will announce a verdict in September.

Amazing Marathon! New York City Marathon Video, Redux, too.

NYC Marathon course, bib, .and mile marker bracelet
NYC Marathon course, bib, and mile marker bracelet.
Hubby and Teen Daughter.
Hubby at Mile 22 and Teen Daughter.

Happy New York Marathon Day!

I’m re-posting this video from last year in honor of the big event today, the New York Marathon. This year, Hubby is running in the Philadelphia Marathon. I bet the enthusiasm will be the same. I know I made it, but I just love this video. The excitement is palpable and contagious!  Hon, thanks for watching.

November 2, 2014, I got high.

Not from drugs, drinks or too much sugar, but from witnessing Hubby and 49,599 other marathoners reach their goal–running the New York Marathon. Thanks to one of my college girfriends, (shout out to Kim) Hubby and I arranged meeting points along the route. It was her hubby’s third marathon (shout out to Oliver–Woohoo!) At our first meeting spot in Brooklyn,Teen Daughter and I were joined by Pratt Daughter and her roommate. Then Teen Daughter and I rode the rails all over the city. Seeing Hubby during the Marathon was unbelievable. So much training, discipline and hard work.  In other words, AMAZING!

Hon, I hope my 3 minute 53 second video gives you a taste of the day.

Click here to watch:  New York Marathon Video

Amazing Marathon! New York City Marathon Video

NYC Marathon course, bib, .and mile marker bracelet
NYC Marathon course, bib, and mile marker bracelet.
Hubby and Teen Daughter.
Hubby at Mile 22 and Teen Daughter.

November 2, 2014, I got high.

Not from drugs, drinks or too much sugar, but from witnessing Hubby and 49,599 other marathoners reach their goal–running the New York Marathon. Thanks to one of my college girfriends, (shout out to Kim) Hubby and I arranged meeting points along the route. It was her hubby’s third marathon (shout out to Oliver–Woohoo!) At our first meeting spot in Brooklyn,Teen Daughter and I were joined by Pratt Daughter and her roommate. Then Teen Daughter and I rode the rails all over the city. Seeing Hubby during the Marathon was unbelievable. So much training, discipline and hard work.  In other words, AMAZING!

Hon, I hope my 3 minute 53 second video gives you a taste of the day.

Click here to watch:  New York Marathon Video

Beach Blanket Bingo (Embarrassed in France)

Nice, France, 1988, I'm on the right in the black whole piece. Ilene is wearing a white t-shirt. The blonde guy in the Speedo was someone we met that day. The other three people are other student backpackers. Peter is not pictured in any of these photos.
Nice, France, 1988, I’m on the right in the black whole piece. Ilene is wearing a white t-shirt. The blonde guy in the Speedo was someone we met that day. The other three people are other student backpackers. Peter is not pictured in any of these photos.
Sunbathers in summer of 1988. Nice, France
Sunbathers in summer of 1988. Nice, France

Rating of this post:  somewhere between PG-13 and R, depending on which country you live in, what year you were born, if you are a direct descendant of Puritans, your Zodiac sign and personality traits.

Warning: If discussing the body makes you uncomfortable, you can find recipes under the category “Call Me Cook.”

Intro:  If you read about my trip to Jamaica in April, then you might remember how surprised I was when I met a couple of nudists.  After I posted “Birthday Plus Suit Equals ?, I comprised a list of my Top Ten Questions For Visitors To The “N” (as in Naked) Resort.  The whole subject reminded me of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life. Friends, if you’ve already heard this anecdote, skip it!

Back story:  In 1988, after graduating from college, a girlfriend (shout out to Ilene) and I backpacked across Europe.  We wound our way to Nice in the south of France where we planned to sunbathe and relax. For the entire backpacking trip, we asked each other one question: “Should we or should we not go topless in Nice?” We spent much emotional energy discussing this topic.

You know the whole “When in Rome” argument?  Well, a lot of French women don’t wear bathing suit tops and we wanted to be like them.  Then again, our modesty combined with skin that had never seen the light of day weighed heavily on our minds.  But, we were on an adventure (Writer friends, can you name which one of my characters is on an adventure?  But, I digress.) and were young.

Scenario:  Walking to the beach, we stopped at shops to browse.

Me:  “Look at the baskets of bikinis!”

Friend:  “There are only bottoms!  That’s it.  Let’s do it.”

Me:  “Okay, but we’re wearing whole pieces.”

Friend:  “Once we lay down, we’ll roll them down. At the same time!  Anyway who are we going to see?”

Me:  “You’re right.  Who are we going to see?”

I interrupt this story to tell you that we had met up with some other students (pictured above)  backpacking in Europe.  The girls were having the same dilemma as us and we weren’t interested in the boys “like that.”

After we set up our beach towels…

Friend:  “Tell me when you’re ready.”

Me:  “One the count of three:  one, two, three!” (Much giggling ensued!)

After awhile we got used to the exposure (pun intended) and sat up.  Then from a bunch of beach blankets away…

Peter (former football player and biggest jock in my high school):  “Naomi, is that you?  Hi!”

I lookeded in his direction and half-waved, half-covered my now burnt-to-a-crisp upper body (applying sunscreen would have been doubly mortifying so, alas, we didn’t).  I realized not only was Peter sitting a few blankets away, so were some other boys from Baltimore!

Two thoughts went through my mind:

1)  “What are the chances boys from Baltimore are sitting on the same beach I am at the same time I decide to roll down my top?!?

2)  The biggest jock from my high school, who I was never friends with, never had classes with and who I hadn’t seen since high school graduation, knew my name?  Wow!

Friend:  “You know him?”

Me:  “I can’t believe it!!”

Peter:  Waving and pointing me out to friends.

Me:  “Cover me!”

Friend:  Blocked view of me while I quickly rolled up my top.

Me:  I stayed on my towel and waved back, but I did’t go over and say hi!

Friend and I decided it was best to be occupied.  We ran to the water, grabbed a paddleboat and stayed out in the water for a long time.

That was the beginning and end of my “When in Rome” adventure!

Two more things happened after that:

1)  Peter gave me a big hug when we ran into him in Monaco the next night. (OMG!)

2)  My friend and I were in pain for a week.

Moral of the story:  Don’t roll down your top if you’re too embarrassed to apply sunblock! 

Do you have any embarrassing moments you’d like to share?  

My friend and I went paddleboating after the embarrassing incident. We stayed out in the water a long time!
My friend and I went paddleboating after the embarrassing incident. We stayed out in the water a long time!
Sexy sand sculpture!
Sexy sand sculpture!

 

Antidote to Evil–Faith

A view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.
A view of the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel.
The Abuhav Synagogue, Tzfat, Israel.
The Abuhav Synagogue, Tzfat, Israel.

As “antidotes to evil,” sweetness and family started Bmore’s week of inspirational words and images.

I hope the places and symbols of faith in this post are a salve for the psychic wounds we all share. I am inspired in many different places of worship.  Sitting in a hallowed hall, I feel faith envelope me.  I concentrate on absorbing the aura of holiness created by the religious symbols, the people and the prayer.  But, I don’t have to be in a place of worship to pray.  The edge of the ocean and the blue sky invite me to look inward and then upward.

Where does faith find you?

Native American Indian, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Native American Indian, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Buddha, Port St. Lucie, Florida
Buddha, Port St. Lucie, Florida
Saint-Chapelle, Paris, France
Saint-Chapelle, Paris, France