Friday, December 18, 2015

French Friday: Bouche de Noel (1)

 Apparently there are many variations of the Yule Log tradition.

Its history seems rooted in the Nordic culture. The ashes of the previous yule log were kept through the year to ward off house fires. Then, on Christmas Eve night, a new yule log would be placed in the fireplace and lit by those same ashes.

The log burned for twelve solid hours while watchers sipped cider, mulled wine or other beverages and told ghost stories and reminisced about old memories.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Salon: December 13, 2015

Twelve Days Until Christmas: I don't know why... but it still doesn't feel like Christmas to me. Perhaps it is the weather - in the sixties all week long! It is now raining which is supposed to usher in a cold front. Somehow balmy does not equal Christmas to me (unless, of course, I'm surrounded by decorated Palm Trees).

Or perhaps it's because the children are so far away this year. In the past, the girls would come over to help decorate sugar cookies and dip chocolate-covered pretzels. This year, it's just me.

That should change starting this week though.

My son and his wife come into town Thursday and will stay through January 10th. They have lots of plans including helping us renovate the kitchen, living room and dining room. Perhaps it will begin to look like Christmas at that point...

My youngest and her boyfriend will arrive next Sunday and leave the 28th. She is my baking buddy, and I think the house will begin to smell like Christmas soon.

My granddaughter and her family will travel home on the 26th and stay through January 2nd. We will wait to celebrate gift giving until they arrive - and we will have the traditional Prime Rib Christmas dinner a day late.

Friday, December 11, 2015

French Friday: Place du Tertre

I suppose the greatest inspiration for First Impressionism came from my visit to the Place du Tertre in 2006.

We first toured Sacre-Coeur on the top of the hill. Then we made our way through the small winding streets of Montmartre to the square in the center of the village. Artists with their easels lined its perimeter, some offering to paint portraits or caricatures, others showcasing their original art of iconic Parisian sights.

While many consider this spot the heart of tourism, I see a Paris of yesteryear.  Struggling artists often made Montmartre their home. Painters like Degas and Cassatt in the late nineteenth century, and artists like Picasso and Dali during the early twentieth century.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday Salon: December 6, 2015

I'm not sure how this week passed so quickly. One minute it is a cold, rainy Monday morning, and the next minute it is a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon. I became well acquainted with the chiropractor this week, but other than that, I'm not sure where the time went.

Today's Sunday Salon will be short and sweet...

Friday, December 4, 2015

French Friday: Montmartre

My first visit to Montmartre was in 2006 during a brief stay in Paris. Prior to this trip, I knew nothing about Montmartre except for the iconic white basilica at the top of the hill. After spending a couple of hours in this quaint neighborhood, I fell in love. Five years later I returned to live here for two short, glorious weeks.

The first point of interest as you venture into the area is the elevation. While the narrow roads slightly incline as they wind their way through the 18th arrondissement, visitors must be in good shape to hike to the top. A funicular provides effortless travel up and down (for the cost of a metro ticket), but there is a certain pride and satisfaction in conquering all those steps.

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