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PIZZA, In a Truck! Words Fail Me

Pizza in a truck.  I love this country.

and then – I looked it up – and it seems that it’s quite ambitious!!  See link below:

The Art of Perseverance – Letters from Marseille

I’ve discovered 3 things today.

  1. That if you persevere, and absolutely do not give up, you can, actually be rewarded with that  extremely coveted document.  It’s called a CARTE VITALE.   This means, that David is now enrolled in the French Social Security System and reimbursed  for any medical expenses.  Since we’re married, I’m entitled to same.   YEAH!!! .    A more than a 11 month process!!!
  2. I made a new friend yesterday on the bus.  I normally sleep, but knew I needed a piece of paper for my notes and asked to borrow one (in French from this middle school girl).    She gladly gave me one and then moved over to the seat next to me.  We talked the rest of the way into Marseille, I checked her ENGLISH WORKBOOK, and she helped me with my FRENCH.   What a cute little girl and sooooo nice, –  like my grand girls!!!!!   
  3. If David is to participate in the cooking process and be happy doing thus, then he will need his own Bar-b-Q in order to do this.


  1. If that happens, I have figured that with the cost of  a little Hibachi, the cost of the briquets, the cost of the fuel, that our “meaty meal bar-b-Q” would no doubt cost us 4 times as much as if I were to slap it on the top of the stove.
  2. My stove, ofcourse is only 2 hot plates. But they rock.
  3. I wonder if the proprietaire thinks we’re smoking pot since I have the incense going.
  4. Ahhhhh, the things you think about, while putting away the groceries!!
  5. I have to leave you now.  I need my croissant
French notes and study awaiting.  And there’s a LOT to re-type!   I love my French class!!!!

I leave you with this tiny video  in the large outdoors…………………….


Hmmm;  Guess I’m out of VIDEO SPACE. (Must be -the last fisherman video did it in). So, I’ll have to buy more space to allow videos to just “appear”.  In the meantime, to see the video, copy and past the link above that ends with MOV.    It’s beautiful (and short).

….and NOW I have included a video of the Fishmonger & what he does, and now what I must do. Oh dear.

Letters from Marseille


Okay, well, it’s not the musical, but I’m so happy, it should be.    I may share a TOWEL with my husband cause we’re too cheap to add more stuff to our tiny apt,

but I don’t sacrifice when it comes to my hair.  Went to Jacques Dessange, the fab Parisian Hair  place which  I actually used to FLY TO PARIS for, back in the 90’s –  when I was an airline person – just for the weekend.  Yeah, I’m such a brat.   So, now, I’ve continued the tradition………..only I don’t have to fly anymore.  I’m here!!

For 3 1/2 hours they spoke to me in French and I have NO IDEA what they said to me, honestly.   I also spoke to them in French – and GOD KNOWS what it was that I really said –

but the good thing is –…

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MARSEILLE – Revisited…Somebody who thinks like me, but cooks way better……….

Commercial Fishing Vessel with colorful ropes ...

” Before dinner, we took a walk along the cobblestoned edge of the Vieux Port.  The air was brisk and breezy, and the harbor was redolent of sewage and decaying fish.  There were mobs of sailors, soldiers, Arabs, gamins, whores, pickpockets, shopkeepers, tourists, and citizens of every shape and size, all moiling and shouting.

About half the men looked like they’d modeled themselves on Hollywood movie gangsters, and their gals looked like gun molls.  The honking cars, bellowing trucks, and whining motorbikes created bedlam.

C&C in Marseille

C&C in Marseille (Photo credit: Chris_Carter_)

The streets and gutters were cluttered with garbage.  Masses of it.  We decided this must be a legacy of the medieval habit of tossing refuse out the window.  Along the quay, dozens of wooden fishing boats were parked, stern in, and wizened old men and enormous fishwives sold the day’s catch from little stalls or sometimes right from the back of their boats.  Moving deliberately, the dark-skinned crew of a two-masted schooner from Palma de Mallorca were unloading crates of bright-orange tangerines.

Marseille’s hot noise was so different from Paris’s cool sophistication.  To many of our northern-French friends it was terra incognito: they had never been here, and considered it a rough, rude, “southern” place.  But it struck me as a rich broth of vigorous, emotional, uninhibited Life- a veritable  BOUILLABAISSE OF A CITY”


Julia Child,   Marseille  1953

“My Life In France”      

Cover of "My Life in France"

Cover of My Life in France

Actually, it’s pretty much the same – not much different 59 years later!   🙂

(Garbage now in neat green plastic bags though)

But the wind….


Oh, how it blows

stuff around!!!


Hair – The Musical & Other Stories……….


1979 movie poster.

1979 movie poster. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, well, it’s not the musical, but I’m so happy, it should be.    I may share a TOWEL with my husband cause we’re too cheap to add more stuff to our tiny apt,

but I don’t sacrifice when it comes to my hair.  Went to Jacques Dessange, the fab Parisian Hair  place which  I actually used to FLY TO PARIS for, back in the 90’s –  when I was an airline person – just for the weekend.  Yeah, I’m such a brat.   So, now, I’ve continued the tradition………..only I don’t have to fly anymore.  I’m here!!

For 3 1/2 hours they spoke to me in French and I have NO IDEA what they said to me, honestly.   I also spoke to them in French – and GOD KNOWS what it was that I really said –

but the good thing is – my hair came out okay.   Don’t you think?



The Poissonnerie:

  1. for the very first time, I ordered fresh fish – watched him  weigh it,  clean it,   and present it to me – can’t wait to cook it tonight.  It was SOLE.

Me to the Fishmonger:   – “I don’t know how to clean a fish, I want to learn by watching you”   in very bad French.   Fishmonger to me :  Shakes his head with a smile

2.   This is actually what happened:

I unwrapped it to cook it up in the sizzling buttered pan with fresh lemon for my husband tonight and I see that the head is still attached to body of fish, so I took out my favorite big knife and WHOPPED it right off .  Not only  that- but – well, I discovered , inside – it was still the INSIDES…..and I’m thinking, hmmmm, how do I do this?  So, I started cooking it and it kind of took care of itself.  Then I scraped the beautiful white pieces of flesh off – and it came out really good.  This is what was left in the pan:

“If you come to the dock early in the morning”, the Tourist Bureau tells me, “then you can get fresh fish from the little fishing boats, but you have to be early.”  “How early?”  I ask…..” they’re in by 8am.”  Okay, then, that ‘s what I’m gonna do.   Going to the port in Cassis and place my order and hope they’ll clean it thoroughly this time, and I’ll watch and learn – then try to do it myself  – – –  eventually.     NOTHING like fresh right from the SEA!    🙂

My husband,  happy about the dinner……………..

Those are my stories for today, and I’m sticking to ’em!!!!

Have a nice night!

Bon Nuit!   🙂

UPDATE              UPDATE                UPDATE

Have seen the fishmongers in action at the port.  Here is what I have to do…………….



I don’t know what to say ……..


I Lift Up My Eyes Unto The Hills – From Whence Cometh My Help

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Hi Grands!!

You know what  one of  the best things about going to school is?   – Getting up very early! For when you do this – you see things you don’t ordinarily  see.  Today, for example, I got on the bus before dawn and when I could finally see out the window the most gorgeous hills came into view.   I immediately thought of the verse above.!!   It’s from Psalm 121.   It really made my day as it was going to be a difficult French day.  Please remember that verse whenever you need help.  Okay?  🙂

And do you know what I was able to see on the long walk to the school?    A huge flea market had just opened up with such beautiful items on display, but it was so early that I actually watched them take all the items OUT of their vans, and proceed  to put it all together in the most organized way I’ve ever seen! They work so very hard, as it’s a beehive of vendors  unloading, setting up tables,  placing lovely cloths on them,  lifting up canopies, arranging the items ever so carefully, taking fresh fish from containers of ice,  displaying them in an appealing manner, the meat vendors, the produce vendors  doing the same – it’s all so unbelievable to watch.  I walked past so many items of clothing, all sizes, even baby things, and then bric-a-brac, ribbons, yarn, crochet hooks, threading, pillows, materials (usually those lovely bright Provencal prints)  baskets, linens, more specialty foods, more cheeses, and the vegetables just jump out at you because they are so vibrant with color.  They also had huge brown eggs in big baskets, chickens that were so fresh, (but I would have to tell them to please take the head off for me;  😉  –  fresh fish, fresh shellfish, scallops, moules (mussels) and calamari.  How to take some calamari without it smelling up the classroom, eh?  Hmmm.  Would have to wait for that.    I did buy some linens (as you probably read about my loving them on the last blog) however, these were only 3 euros, hardly PORTHAULT, but that’s okay, it’ll do the trick.  I have to use my bad French to get questions answered.  It finally worked.

Well, it’s afternoon already, class was great, and I’m heading for the bus.  The wind is blowing, so by tonight we’ll have a full MISTRAL.  It will last 3 days, 6 or 9.  It’s really blowing out there.
Here is the view of my walk home when I get off the bus.

Not bad, eh?

EVERYwhere I look – I see these hills……..even coming out of the grocery store!        

Well, my shutters are hitting each other, so I’ve got to close them.  (I’m home now  – and will rest a bit before Papa’O comes home as he won’t be off the train until 11PM!! )   I like to go outside and greet him when he drives up in our new little used car!)    Here’s a picture of it:  

Have a very good week you 4 and remember the beautiful verse above.

Love, Babcia


or – it doesn’t matter where you’re living, sometime the “COMFORTS of HOME” are just plain PARAMOUNT…………..HENCE:


Oh, I must have been a laundress in another life, as I have an extreme fetish about clean sheets and towels.  When you don’t have access to a washer, it can drive you mad!   First of all, we had so few towels in our first apartment, that David and I had to share the same bath towel.  I thought , yuk, but actually is wasn’t bad after you get used to it.

Then we got TWO towels, and that was luxury.

Amy brought them from Miami, plus sheets,  regular sized pillows and even blow up beds. I could now have company – of which she was the FIRST!  LOVED it AMY and your VISIT!  🙂 

When we moved into the apartment in the South of France recently, we again were at a limit.

One towel was used for a bathmat, and the other we shared again.  Towels must be dried outside here.  There are few to NO  DRYERS here in France. That is just plain wasteful and so non-eco friendly in their eyes – and the sun shines all the time (well, 300 days) down here in the South, so no excuses.  PUT THE LAUNDRY OUT!

We did get an extra towel or two from the landlord, so that was a bonus, but they’re tiny.

Just like everything else…..  TINY cups,, tiny glasses, tiny plates, tiny towels, tiny living spaces, tiny cars, tiny washing machines, tiny receipts, TINY EVERYTHING.  David says even the mosquitos are so tiny we can’t  even SEE THEM.   True. Did I tell you our apartment is tiny?  Here is how we deal with that.  ————>

This is our friend’s AIRSTREAM.  They lived in this for 10 years.  If they can do it. WE can do a 33 sq. meter Apartment!!!

Think how everything is oversized in America.  Think of those “Big Gulps” at Quick Trip, or the mammoth automobiles, or the oversized plates of food in most restaurants. Got the image?  Okay, now think totally opposite.  That is France.

our tiny dinner

as we failed to go to the market today – see the 3 lonely grapes?   🙂

Anyway – about the linens – – sorry I got off of a tangent…….

When I don’t have a fresh washcloth (they don’t use those either) and a clean towel, sometimes it would push me over the edge.

I may live in a prole neighborhood back in Saint Louis, but when you come to my house, to stay overnight,  you will be treated as though you were staying at the RITZ.  I will use my best linens and they will be ironed or have been sun- dried on a clothesline, and the bed will be fluffy and comfortable.  I know, I’m probably in for my guests staying longer than 3 days because I make them so comfortable.

Bed made up with bed linens with blue and gree...

Bed made up with bed linens with blue and green highlights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I should have had a B&B.

Check out this amazing linen boutique.  It is my dream to be able to afford just one set of sheets from here. I understand that if you take a trip to LILLE, there are factories there where the linens can be found for one half the cost of the Paris store.

Jackie Kennedy ordered all the sheets and linens for the WHITEHOUSE from Porthault Paris.  Oooh la la – to be a guest then.

Like I said, I think I owned a laundry once,  was a laundress, was Chinese, belonged to royalty of some sort – maybe owned a Porthault Store – in another life – because fine crisp clean linens – are enormously popular with me. My comfort is wrapped up in them.

Now to the beach – with my lone thin towel that I’ll again share with my husband as we sit on the sand.  🙂       Not bad.      This beach is in BANDOL

Letters From Marseille

Sept 14th 2012

Dear Sharon,

I know how much you love doors and windows so have included some for you.

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These were taken in the “old Vieux Port” of Marseille today near where they film a popular soap opera. It’s called “Plus Belle a Vie”. It would have been the “plus belle “ for me today as it was a French class outing, the kind I love because we have to read a questionnaire in French and complete a scavenger hunt.  When we could not find the answers – we’d resort to asking a native.  They are SO eager to respond and are proud of their city.
Unfortunately, I developed a “Martons Neuroma” on the bottom of my foot so it was very painful to walk the distances and steep inclines.  Errrggggg!!!
I’m seeing a local doctor and will find a remedy hopefully soon.

Love and hugs


The Apartment – Final Stage – Sleep

We are in CASSIS, pronounced CASS – See –

It is magnificently beautiful.       

Our apartment is tiny.  But it’s okay.  We’ll be OUT – a  LOT.

Here are the last stages of getting a place to LIVE……………..

Step 11)  Find the agency via car- let hubby out while Marti PARKS said car – not easy – and give copious amounts of Deposits, Agency fees to our agency girl, Natalie,     Then find the INSURANCE company in this little village –  to buy the rentor’s apt insurance, bring back the satisfaction of the insurance TO the Real Estate Agency, so we can proceed from there with the mandatory break for lunch (2 hours)

At this point, we have decided to enjoy an espresso and a beer while we wait and wait for the AGENCY to re-open after their mandatory 2 hour lunch.

Step 12 ) This next step is to accompany the Real Estate Agency Angel, to the apartment  at 3:45pm (2 hours later ) – I had a nap in the car as it was rainy and cool and wanted to be DRY after walking in the rain.   We are now to meet with the Electrical /Energy Inspectors to determine the square footage of the apartment -( we don’t really want to know this, as it’s half the size of our Paris apartment)  & what we’re going to be  in for  – each month –  for an electricity bill. ( It shouldn’t be much  – it’s SO TINY!)

However, before this can take place, – David, the Guarantor has to complete a HAND -WRITTEN statement in FRENCH, stating that he is willing to guarantee his wife’s student status.  (Even though we’re married and this is not your typical STUDENT APT LEASE). It’s about 4 pages long.   He must hand-write this – like I already reiterated.


In reading the contract, it’s all in French, ofcourse;  we must read and accept various conditions – the conditions of the furnitures, the amount of the furniture, how many pieces of dishes, cups, plates, saucers, flatware, pots, pans, casseroles, coffee pots, (broken) , tea kettle, table, chairs, wicker, sofa, TV, etc, there are.

But then, there are additional “TAXES” for the apartment – – the yearly garbage tax – occupancy tax – calculated  on – and based on money earned.  Since I am unemployed (at the moment )-  I shouldn’t be held responsible for the occupancy tax….She says.  “You’re a student”.     Garbage tax, however, yes.

Sign papers without knowing about washer/ WiFi/ garbage tax/ or occupancy tax

Get the keys, drive to apartment, open the doors and fall  into the big bed – in the tiny apartment.


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