CA

So a few weeks ago, I piled Miss Lavender into the car, along with her considerable cache of Crucial-for-college Stuff, and off we went. To college. Miss Lavender, that is. I was merely the ride. Well, not “merely.” I mean more to her than that. (A smiley face emoticon would fit nicely here.)

A few things I miss about my big girl, who used to be a little girl, like, about ten minutes ago. No, really: it happens that fast. One minute, you’re a New Mom, a blue-eyed baby dollie in your arms; and the next, you’re making that one last mondo Costco run, so that your dollie won’t starve during her march toward mid-terms.

To what I miss, then. Definitely the very distinct furrow of concentration on her face when she’d be deep in conversation with me. She’s a good listener, that one. And her delectable smile. And her equally delectable laugh–good and loud, with her head thrown back sometimes. I miss her stylishness: Miss Lavender is a walking lookbook. I miss haunting whatever vintage spot we might have decided to call our new favorite. (At the moment, that would be Decades, in Salt Lake City.) And I always deeply appreciated her take on the world and its happenings. Nothing gets past her. Ah, and I miss her hands, their long, elegant fingers, and their expressiveness. And of course . . . of COURSE her dry sense of humor.

CA

I miss my spirited Petal.

But I’d sell the shirt off my back for her to be able to do what she’s doing. There might not be anything more essential to a young woman’s sense of self-identity than a university education.

So go take the world by storm, Miss Lavender.  You’ve earned the right to.

CA

Un fuerte saludo de tu madre . . . y los dos besitos muy necesarios, claro.

(Soon:  Miss Zinnia blossoms.  And what that has to do with Shakespeare’s Ophelia.)

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House with shutters_9503

“Oh, that I lived here,” I say to myself.  “In this valley just south of Sault, France. In this stone house brightened by turquoise shutters.”

But I don’t. And that’s actually okay, I suppose. The place, its happy shutters, its old trees, its nearby fields of lavender: real alright, but not my real.  Moreover, the house probably has plumbing issues, electrical issues, varmint issues, and drafty room issues.  Sure, it’s charming, but charming is a matter of perspective, isn’t it?  At least, that’s what I’ve been persistently telling myself over the last month as I’ve been moving into a new place.

Having relegated the beauties of Provence to memory, I’m planting myself in my New Real, a place at the foot of the Wasatch mountains, in Utah, a spot I never bothered to imagine myself in because I was born and raised in California. But times change, jobs call, new landscapes beckon.

I’m earnestly trying now to see my little corner of the world the way I saw this valley in the Luberon, in France, back in June.  The formula for this kind of seeing:  1) really look, 2) find the Lovely, and 3) remember that the Grass On The Other Side may only be greener (or the lavender brighter) because the lenses of your dark glasses ratchet up the color of everything five shades.

Looking down at fields_9456

Rolled hay_9476

Lavender field_9522

Want to practice along with me?  Okay.  First, we’ll examine the grass on the other side.  Yes, the South of France is decidedly green.  And yes, the village of Sault, nestled right in the soul of lavender country, could charm anyone:  the stone churches and facades, the riot of colorful shutters, the flowers bursting out of an old wheelbarrow.

Statue in front of church_9579

Inside the church_9599

Ivy-covered facade_9561

Oldtime French balcony gridwork_9567

Town facade_9606

Wheelbarrow with flowers_9624

Silas on stile_9608

But being back among my own things?–that business has its charms, too. For example, I felt myself smile as I unpacked my favorite books, which now happily crowd the bookshelves in my new family room. And unearthing my mother’s china, which lived in storage for years, did me a world of good, reminding me of all the occasions when, as a child, I had the job of setting the table for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I never imagined that simply unwrapping my mother’s things would trigger so many lovely memories of the woman whose absence I still feel so keenly after fifteen years. “We’re going to use all this!” I assured my girls as I filled up the china cabinet that also was hers (and her mother’s, and her mother’s mother’s).  Remember in The Quiet Man, when Maureen O’Hara’s character refuses to consider herself properly married because she doesn’t have her mother’s things around her?  Yeah, I get that now.

The Look, Find, Remember-to-remove-your-sunglasses recipe for Being Content is neither new nor novel, I know that.  I’m not the first to realize the value not only in blooming where you’re planted but also in noticing what else has bloomed nearby, so to speak.  In the spirit of flexing my Finding-the-lovely muscles, I thus have to confess that the late summer skies in Utah rival anything the Continent cooked up for us over the last year. And the mountains here feel mystical in their rugged beauty–sunglasses or no.

The other cool thing?–you know those kids I took with me to Europe?  Well, I brought ’em back with me, too.

Railroad

Miss Lavender’s smile eclipses many other things just as well down on the railroad tracks here in Utah Valley as it ever did abroad.

Vintage dress from M.O.T.E.L. in Barcelona

And Miss Zinnia’s diaphanous-ness transposes from one continent to the other just fine.

Vintage dress from M.O.T.E.L. in Barcelona

If I can just get this down, you know??–the formula, I mean. Look, plus find. Plus remember the way those (blasted) dark glasses (read “unmanaged expectations”) so often distort things.

Here’s the drill.  I’m writing down ten things I’ve already named “lovely” today, things that have blossomed for me.  (And the shades are in the kitchen drawer.)  Moreover, lest you find this exercise too cloying, consider this:  deliberately searching out what makes you feel light and bright helps keep the darkness at bay.

Ready, set.

One, the song I’m listening to by Juanes, “Es Por Ti.”

Two, the Kershisnik print of the Nativity, sitting on my fireplace mantle.  (I like to imagine myself as one of the women ministering to Mary . . .)

Three, Goose’s hair this morning, the front of it slicked with pomade.  (Look out, fourth grade girls at Barratt Elementary.)

Four.  The Wasatch ridge.  No words grand enough.

Five.  Miss Zinnia early this morning, perky and unflappable, even when I broke the yoke of one of the eggs I was frying for her.

Six.  Fresh-picked Gala apples found at a local roadside stand, now resting in a dish in my kitchen.  (Had one for breakfast.  Oh, my.)

Seven.  My four-slot toaster.  Yes, indeed.

Eight.  Miss Lavender’s Rapunzel hair.

Nine.  My piano.  And the old, wind-up metronome that tick-tocked its way through my childhood practice sessions with me.

Ten.  This list.  I’m serious.  It’s helped me bloom today.

Happy September, friends.  Here’s to living in the season, whatever it is!

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Millay in vintage_7956

The petals and I love all things vintage. If you happen to be in Los Angeles, then the only vintage place that counts is Shareen Vintage, a store-slash-warehouse so unimaginably fabulous it needed its own Eleven O’Clock post.

We discovered Shareen’s place a couple of years ago when we ran into a young woman wearing a vintage dress so truly (say it with me . . .) fabulous, we had to stop her so we could tell her what we thought of it. It was this little brocaded number, very fifties, a buttery yellow.  As we were dying over it, she thanked us for our compliments, then told us we had to check out Shareen’s.  “It’s girls-only,” she clarified.  “No men allowed!”

I love Shareen’s for more than just the amazing vintage finds, though.  You see, Shareen herself is Someone Special.  Here’s the story.  Miss Lavender and I made the trek into L.A. one day with the express purpose of talking with Shareen, who, once we had her attention, was so fully present, so in the moment with us, you would have thought we were the oldest of friends.  To my surprise, she looked right at Miss L, took her by the shoulders, and pushed them back.  Gently but firmly, she said to my five-foot-ten inch daughter, now standing straight and tall, “Don’t . . . ever . . . slouch.”  As Miss Lavender processed this injunction given from the Vintage Maven of Los Angeles (and New York, for that matter), Shareen continued.  “Your shoulder blades–they’re your wings,” she explained, “and you want them to touch.”  Then she illustrated, showing us the way Miss Lavender, with her shoulders back, could have been touching her imaginary wings together.

I loved the metaphor:  shoulder blades as wings, always meant to be touching.  But I loved other things, too–the way Miss Lavender had instantly become not just a customer but the Pupil Of The Moment.  And the way drawing herself up to her full height seemed to give her a vision of herself as someone strong, elegant, empowered.  Do you know what that kind of carefully given–and poetic!–advice is worth to a mother anxious to give her daughter reasons to believe she can all but fly if she chooses?

When they fell deep into conversation about vintage, another side of Shareen’s character revealed itself.  As she talked about her passion for helping every woman find exactly the right dress, no matter her age or body type, she recounted how a woman who had decided to throw herself a quinceañera party for her fiftieth birthday had left the store just a few days earlier–before Shareen could properly attend to her.  “She left discouraged,” Shareen remembered as she explained that this woman had decided there was no point in trying to find a party dress that would flatter her.  “We could have found the right dress,” Shareen said with conviction, “but the store was busy that day, and I didn’t get to her in time.”

In the year and a half or so since our visit with the proprietress of L.A.’s most beloved vintage store, I’ve thought about how much she gave my petal:  a charge to stand up straight, always, and–equally important–an expressed belief that every woman deserves to feel beautiful when she decides she wants to dress up.  That’s part of what makes clothing exciting, after all:  the opportunity to play a part, and to make a statement about who you understand yourself to be.  With vintage, every piece already has a history that the new wearer often consciously deploys as part of an effort to communicate her sense of identity.  When Miss Zinnia dressed up for her “Gatsby” shoot on our terrace in Barcelona one afternoon several months ago, she saw herself as a character right out of a book or a film.  Her dress:  Shareen’s, of course.

Millay in Shareen vintage_7938

After our afternoon with Shareen, I wrote her, to thank her for her words of wisdom.  And she wrote back, telling me she’d wondered about me, about who I was.  “And here you are,” she said in her reply, thanking me for acknowledging the gift she’d given a clothes-loving teenage girl.  That’s what makes Shareen a force not just in the vintage realm but also–and probably more important–in the realm of Girl Power.  At Shareen’s place, every woman learns quickly that she deserves to stand up straight and to feel at ease in her own skin.

(Photo:  a Gatsby-esque Miss Zinnia, in BCN.)

 

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On top of my dining room table, where I used to write, sat a small, paper car. My then eight-year-old son received it one night when the two of us went out to Ruby’s Diner together for some Friday night cheer. He quickly lost interest in his prize, but the thing was too cool (and, truth be told, too pretty) to throw away, so I kept it parked next to my computer, where I could admire the creativity that went into its design. On the bottom of the chassis were directions for the assembly: fold, tuck, fit the tabs into the slots. Easy, breezy! Finished, it was a miniature Woody—spearmint green, with wood paneling on the doors and the tailgate. But what really struck me about the car was both how Ready-to-go! it looked, and how perfectly, utterly useless it was.

Before I got good pharmacological help for a radioactive (the word “severe” doesn’t quite describe it) anxiety and depression back in the fall of 2008, I was a Paper Woody. To everyone who knew me, I looked so cheerily Ready-to-go!  On the outside, I appeared well put together; all my visible parts seemed to be in polished, working order. But if you’d pulled up the hood and peered inside, you’d have noticed the missing engine. And if you’d checked the fuel tank, you would have found it empty. And if you’d looked closely, you would have noticed that my wheels would not turn, not for love or money.  When I was ill, the only thing with any appearance of ‘real’ was Me-as-shell, a hollowed-out car.  It felt like, if someone had wanted to, they could have gathered me, crushed me into a tight paper ball, and tossed me into the garbage without even breaking stride.

A fancy Woody I seemed.  But I was going exactly nowhere because I had absolutely zero traction–zero–and I could not rouse myself. Could. Not. Rouse myself. Depressives often use metaphors to describe their anguish. Mine was ‘quicksand.’ Picture it: shiny car, sinking into the muck, which squeezes out light and air as it swallows.  Hard to go anywhere in quicksand.  No, forget ‘go’:  hard to survive when you’re in quicksand.

Five years later and worlds away from that time and that self, I now find that I’ll often notice individuals who look to me like Paper Woodies.  I might see one in the grocery store, her shiny mask slipping momentarily as she waits in the check-out line, where no one else notices the pain that settles on her face for an unguarded moment.  Or maybe when I’m stopped at an intersection, where, in another car, a woman stares ahead at nothing, her expression that unmistakable combination of Hollow and Desperate. I find myself wishing I could talk to them, tell them I get it.

Someone did that for me, actually, back when I was made of paper.  An observant friend, herself a former sufferer, knew what she was looking at, and she helped me connect with a great doctor—a pharmacologist and diagnostician extraordinaire who talked me not only through my medication options but also through their chemical properties in order to help me figure out what might be the right place to start.  I appreciated it, that he talked to me like I still had a mind fit enough for a real chemistry lesson.  More than that, I appreciated that, from Day One, he believed me when I told him I thought my brain was a little broken.

Medication set me on a new path. So did deciding to write about my journey, which became an opportunity to reimagine what it meant both to be medicated and to be well. After all, therapeutic medication and earnest self narratives share the same goal: to relocate the lost You, the once Vibrant Person who began fading to dust when those testy brain chemicals started making life difficult.

Whether you are a Paper Woody or just love one deeply, you ought to know this: there is no shame in reaching out for help. In fact, nothing in my lived experience has felt more true. Had I not gotten help, I don’t know who I’d be right now. I don’t know what the landscape of my family would look like, though I can guarantee you it would be bleak. Nor do I know what the ultimate cost would have been to my sense of self-worth, an already fragile thing corroded by mental illness. I am an advocate for good treatment. After all, the help I got saved not only me but my family: if Mom’s not well, nobody’s well.

If you’ve ever joined me for talk of family, teens, travel, culture, you may have thought my life was charmed.  It’s not.  Most people have no idea how hard I have fought for my health and my happiness.  I guess that’s why I decided, post-Spain, to shift the conversation for a moment, so I could address the theme of mental wellness, a thing so essential to successful mothering that it seems like a foregone conclusion.  But the truth is not just that the mental health of a Mother impacts her family.  That’s obvious, isn’t it?  What’s also true is that Moms have the right to feel and to be mentally healthy, and when they don’t, too often they hide it–perhaps because they mistake unwellness for weakness.  I did that, for a long time.  I wore my coloful Paper Self around, never hinting to anyone close to me that up around my ankles, then my knees, then my hips, then my chest, the quicksand was thickening, threatening to swallow me whole.  I feared that if others knew what I felt, they would judge me, that they would view me as Deficient.  And so I kept silent.  And suffered.  It’s a common tale, and the fact that it’s so common mystifies me now.  I ask myself, Why did I care more about the (often uninformed) opinions of others than about the health of my own mind?

I can be gentler with myself now, in retrospect.  I realize that I was as much a victim of misinformation and misconceptions as I was my own illness.  And I worried about the financial cost of treatment, not appreciating fully that the cost of languishing in the quicksand was far higher than the cost of getting well.  One night, I sat the Eleven O’Clock Dad down and said, basically, “You have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into your business enterprises.  I believe I am an enterprise worth funding.”

Every Mother is an Enterprise Worth Funding.  Every single one.  And for Moms who struggle with depression and anxiety or any combination of ills that damage mind and self-worth and eventually soul, a contribution to her fund–with acknowledgement, support, love, friendship, and meaningful help in all its forms–is also a contribution to the family that counts on her for its own wellness.  The only reason I could ever be the Eleven O’Clock Mom?–I got better.

If you’re that woman in the grocery store check-out line; if you’re that woman at the intersection, I get you.  I believe you.  I was you.  Yes, the quicksand is real (even if it’s invisible to everyone else).  And yes–resoundingly!–you deserve the help that will allow you to address whatever it is that has caused you to sink, whether it’s chemical, situational, whatever.

Think of me as your Eleven O’Clock Sister, if you want.  Your fears, your suffering, your story:  all of it is safe with me.

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From One Coast To Another

by Becky on July 22, 2013 · 2 comments

in Travel

packing pains

What an ordeal, leaving Barcelona.  No, really: we became so attached to that city.  And Miss Lavender’s treasured DIY Door out on the sidewalk, waiting for someone else to discover it and haul it home. The idea of dragging an old door out to the street for someone to claim it probably seems odd, no? But that’s the custom: you don’t want it, maybe someone else will, so we parked it on Provenza, five blocks down from the Sagrada Familia cathedral.

Adios Barcelona!

I hope someone appreciated it. And the care that went into its re-making. And the “Adios” spelled out in bold letters for passersby to consider.

Adios Barcelona!

our Barcelona home

Our place looked naked once it was time to head to the airport.

Late in the afternoon on the 11th of July, our plane took off, and as it banked over the city and began to climb, I watched Montjuic and the harbor grow smaller and smaller.  Finally I had to close my eyes because I couldn’t watch everything disappear altogether.

We landed in Berlin, where, at around 9:30, the sun was just setting. Of course the Eleven O’Clock Dad had to stop and grab the moment.

airplane

Once we’d settled in, the Camera Man left the airport for a while and took himself on a walk.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

The crew tried to get comfortable. Tough, though, on those nasty metal chairs.

airport sleeping

airport sleeping

Or on the ground . . .

airport sleeping

We made it through the night, boarded a plane for L.A. the next morning, and, roughly twelve hours later, landed in California, cleared customs, loaded our gear into the cars of some (very good) friends, and made our way down the coast to Newport Beach, where the Eleven O’Clock Grandparents live on the weekends.

From the Mediterranean Coast, to the Pacific Coast: Goose loves the sun either way.

Newport Beach, CA

Not a bad thing, being back. The weather’s been glorious. And it’s brilliant, being with family and friends. But it may take a minute or two for me to accept the fact that I will be homesick for BCN. Maybe for a while.

Newport Beach, CA

Right now, on the other side of the world, it’s 6:20 am. Sun’s up. The city I grew to love is stirring. And I am so deep-down grateful that we grabbed ten months that would otherwise have gone by anyway . . . and took off for Barcelona, Spain.

(Photo:  the lifeguard tower at 39th Street in Newport Beach. )

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Life, The Day I Become A Re-Pat

by Becky on July 11, 2013 · 5 comments

in Travel

Faucets in Born_9012

I get up early, shower, polish off a strawberry yogurt, check email.  The apartment is quiet for a while.  After a bit, the Eleven O’Clock Dad gets up and goes into high gear.  He is remarkable during cruch time.

Today will be crazy.  We’re almost packed, which means nothing, really.  It’s that last ten percent that gets you every time.

* * *

Mid morning, friends show up to help us with last-minute cleaning and relieve us of fridge and cupboard items that need a home. Saying goodbye to friends here?–brutal. Truly. Alarm bells keep going off in my head, signaling the end of this Brilliant Moment in my life, and I keep punching “snooze” so I don’t have to think about it. If I do, it’s all over.

Last night, Miss Lavender and I stood for a few minutes and stared at the Barcelona Cathedral. When I felt myself tearing up, I told her we needed to go.

* * *

Early afternoon. We’re packed, though still shuffling a few things around so we don’t go over our weight limits. The flat looks startlingly bare. Strange, that a place that was never our permanent home will always feel so much like home.

Barcelona. BCN.  The Catalans say “Adeu,” their version of Adios. I’m not going to say it, though. “Hasta pronto” works better for me.

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Tessa in brown dress_2937

Item:  one brown dress with white polka dots, probably homemade (all the better), too big, but oozing potential.  Original location:  an oddly groovy secondhand store in Orange, California.  Mission:  to create a thoroughly unique flamenco impression meant to be styled by a very tall teenage girl, name of Miss Lavender.  Craftswoman and miracle worker:  Maria Jesus, tailor extraordinaire and gentlewoman, and so pleasant I wanted to pick out curtains with her after all the measuring and chatting was over.

Getting measured_2940

Result:  a simple piece, sheath-like, to the knees, with peppy white dots and faaaabulous flamenco sleeves, now proudly hanging in the closet of a certain teen I know.

Final pinning_2948

Gettng fitted_2939

Moral: thrift often, look for the stuff others might scoff at, and use your imagination.  Note to self:  there must be a Maria Jesus back home.  (All that remains is to find her!)

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Crystal bottles_9683

For those of you who adore lotions and potions as I do, The Perfumery, a small boutique in the heart of the Gotic district in Barcelona, might just be the best story ever.  We stumbled upon The Perfumery one night after deciding to make a right turn, not a left, onto a little street we’d only ever gone left on before.  And when I say ‘turn,’ I mean feet, not wheels, since nothing wider than a bicycle could make the venture successfully.  After all, the streets of Gotic were cobbled together–some of them–by Romans.  In fact, the space in which The Perfumery sits was once an entrance into the old city of Barcino, the walls flanking the store are that old.

The Perfumery_9713

But it wasn’t the sign outside the shop that caught my attention, though my eyes often go to signs that promise fragrances.  It was the decor/mood:  rustic opulence might describe it.

Through the bars_9737

Elixir under glass_9738

For example, If I told you that some of the bottles resting on the shelves inside The Perfumery were exact facsimiles of bottles created for fragrances used by Napolean, and that inside said bottles were the same fragrances used by Napolean and his women and children, you’d be within your rights to doubt me.

Years of French perfurme_9698

But it’s true.  And that’s what caught my eye:  the most beautiful bottles I’d ever seen, all arranged just so, the effect giving this little place an air of French decadence that prompted me to say, to the Eleven O’Clock Dad, “Stop.  We are going in here.”

Which we did.

It was Virgilio who helped us that night, reciting stories about various fragrances and the houses that had designed them, and for whom.  A fragrance connoisseur for more than a decade, he and his business partner, Tom, had selected only the lines whose stories and notes were the most unique and compelling.

Fragrance Cones_9657

Bottles with cones_9677

In fact, they actively look for fragrances with stories.  For example, they feature one brand created by a woman who desired to capture the essence of Barcelona, the city’s complex interplay between ancient and modern.  Another brand they carry can be found in only one other boutique on the continent, its makers are that fastidious about where it’s sold.  I adored the feel of the place:  part salon, part apothecary, a menagerie of glimmering crystal arrayed along shelves and tables pushed up against walls mortared centuries ago.

Mercury glass bottles_9722

More bottles_9689

In my jeans and the Volcom pullover I inherited from my son, El Surfeador, and with my backpack slung over my shoulder, I might have felt totally out of place, except that Virgilio was ever the gentleman, eager to respond to my questions and to the petals’ little gasps of delight as he sampled this fragrance or that one for them.

Beautiful bottles_9670

If you can believe it, I hauled my husband back the next day with his camera, to meet Tom, the boutique’s other proprietor.  If Virgilio regaled us in Castillian, then Tom got right down to business in English, giving me the Fragrance 101 rundown on the pyramidal structure of perfumes, which, as he explained, have notes designed to work together to create the scent we experience as a ‘fragrance.’ The head note announces itself first. Then the heart note. And then the base–what stays on the skin. All kinds of things can affect the way a fragrance behaves on a particular individual, including their diet, race, body type, and even the climate. Unsurprisingly, Tom often can predict the kinds of fragrances a woman will gravitate toward, depending on the way she carries herself and the way she interacts with her surroundings.

Bottles of amber_9695

If you’re in Barcelona, you must stop in. Just around the corner from Plaza Neri, The Perfumery will remind you why it’s good to be good to yourself once in a while. And if you’re unsure what ‘good’ might mean, Virgilio or Tom will help you locate your Perfect Fragrance, y con gusto!

View Larger Map

Click on the arrows for a 3-D look at The Perfumery. Be sure you click your way into the shop!

The Perfumery. C/ Sant Sever 1, Bajada de Santa Eulalia, Barcelona. (Just around the corner from Plaza Neri.)

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From the other angle_8855

Sometimes I call my teenage daughters my petals.  Sometimes I call them my flower fairies.  It’s an old habit. But the names fit them quite well during their wanderings through the lavender fields of Provence.

Lavender fields above Rousillon_8487

Millay in lavender_1542

With back to the camera_8661

Millay walking_1608

Deep breath_8601

Tessa reaching out_8531

Millay with arm up_1606

Millay bending over the flowers_1571

Millay walking_1545

Smelling the lavender_8955

Bees in the lavender_1587

What is a sea of lavender anyway, if not an excuse to swim?

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Colors Of Provence II: Market Time!

by Becky on July 2, 2013 · 7 comments

in Travel

Better lavender_0623

Usually, heading to the market means: a hasty list scribbled on a post-it note. And a typical list might read: toothpaste, bagels, shoelaces for Goose’s Converse. And when it comes time to refer to the post-it note, I might realize: Oh, left it at home (which means it’s lost forever). And therefore a trip to the market becomes: guesswork.

But pretty much anywhere in Provence, heading out to the market requires absolutely no post-it note, and guesswork is of course welcome.

No one even minds that you talk to yourself, that you just continaully keep saying over and over, No!–you’re kidding me. (Like when the local macaroon maker insists you try the almond ones, then the pistachio, then the orange blossom . . .) Or that you are heard to exclaim, Oh . . . my! (Like when the endless stacks of Provencal linens frankly just defy understanding.) Or that, to whoever will listen, you insist, Smell-this-smell-this-smell-this! (Like when the fragrant, locally-made soaps make you positively silly.)

Soaps_4099

Girls with soaps_4076

Girls with soaps_4078

Vegetables_0646

Olives_0700

Peppers_0694

Mortar and pestles_0586

Red chairs and tables_0688

Cafe in Bonnieux_0608

Honey_4039

Baguettes_4034

Table linens_0709

Lavender sachets_0610

Flowers_4135

Dresses_4069

During our trip to France, the Eleven O’Clock Dad and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. By marketing. I couldn’t imagine a grander way to ring in year twenty-six.

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