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……..celebrating…..seeing my fabulous ACP, which I miss SO much!!! And my friends that volunteered w/ me there……

Letters from Marseille

Today's forecast: slightly cloudy...

After 17 months it is accomplished!!  Fait d’ accompli !!

After  1 Year and 5 months of preparing, copying, translating, traveling back & forth on public transport, requesting new/updated birth certificates from the United States,  displaying in front of bureaucrats, being turned down, doing it all over again, and again and again, today, on Good Friday, March 29th, 2013, it is finished!!

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ― Aristotle

I said to God, “God,   —–I know that I asked you to help me be more patient, but you really tried my patience on this one.”    🙂

Here are some scenes from today’s “Fait d’accompli”

Inside a Cloud

The drive down the Gineste mountain is dark, but lighted by a full moon and the most incredible cloud covering in the deep ravines to our left and through other clouds we drive.  David says, It’s so beautiful, are we in heaven?” …

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Marti Graham! You are NOW able to RESIDE & WORK in France totally LEGALLY! Bienvenue!!

Today's forecast: slightly cloudy...

After 17 months it is accomplished!!  Fait d’ accompli !!

After  1 Year and 5 months of preparing, copying, translating, traveling back & forth on public transport, requesting new/updated birth certificates from the United States,  displaying in front of bureaucrats, being turned down, doing it all over again, and again and again, today, on Good Friday, March 29th, 2013, it is finished!!

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ― Aristotle

I said to God, “God,   —–I know that I asked you to help me be more patient, but you really tried my patience on this one.”    🙂

Here are some scenes from today’s “Fait d’accompli”

Inside a Cloud

The drive down the Gineste mountain is dark, but lighted by a full moon and the most incredible cloud covering in the deep ravines to our left and through other clouds we drive.  David says, It’s so beautiful, are we in heaven?”  I say, “I hope not, I want my Titre de Sejour (Carte de Sejour)  FIRST! ”     ha ha

We are there in the line before the sun rises……’s about 6 am here


David brings a chair and my cushion from home so I don’t have to stand for 2 1/2 hours and have my knees lock up !        🙂    J’Adore ma maire       ( I love my husband)


I bring some good reading material – some pollyanna feel good  story  (not)IMG_9340

It is actually a book written by my son’s stepbro who now lives in Japan     🙂  It is mirroring the angst I am feeling right now.

Some of the others waiting in front of us, and those behind us,  too numerous to count.  We feel good.  We are one of the first 60.   They only take 60 persons a day.

IMG_9347 IMG_9342

The police with their weapons appear as the doors begin to open at 8:15AM.

There is no need.  Everyone is extremely orderly.
There is a line for “ASYLUM”   and it is driving me crazy because I want to know every single detail of their stories.  What country they are from, why they were expelled, if they were, why they want to live here, the entire political story.  Alas, it is not going to happen  – I will never know.

They call our number “705” and we are in. IMG_9345  The clerk is impatient with us because she sees the transcribed marriage certificate and the birth certificate but WHERE ARE THE COPIES?   David has everything neatly arranged in the plastic sleeves and it’s so tight he is having trouble getting them all out at the same time and as quickly as she wants.  After she sees that EVERYTHING is there and there are multiple copies of absolutely everything, she smiles.  It is a HUGE sign.  The SMILE.   Yep.  I think we’re in.

And – 5 minutes later  (total this day: 5 1/2 hours) – my information is totally  recorded, and she hands me my coveted

Carte de Sejour!!!      It is good for 10 years.  It entitles me to all benefits as if I were French. All my medical is paid, and it’s retro-active from 17 months ago.   Big yeah.IMG_9349 IMG_9350        I cry.  But not in front of her.  I wait until she gets up to get something and I am mad with joy.  The tears come.

Here it is………


My friend Robert said to me when I was whining, “Marti, Seems to me that you’re dealing with what I like to call the vicissitudes of life. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly and begin another day. You cannot always control what happens to you, only how you react to what happens to you. Viva La France et Les Etats-Unis.”

Yes Robert!   Thank you!

Yes – and also………from II Peter 3

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish……..”

We are on our way to PARIS with a bottle of Champagne (I’ve been holding onto for 3 months)   to CELEBRATE!!!!!  We’re on Vacance!!!  (for Joyeux Pacque!)   We also plan to attend our beautiful church where I volunteered last year – ACP (American Church in Paris) Am SO excited.    Good is God.   God is  Good – all of the time.

I think I need to leave France NOW, and go home to Saint Louis

This was a really horrid day !!

Yes, I know  that  2 weeks ago I wrote why I could never leave France.  However, things change.  You  have one great day, and then you have a completely out of no-where really awful, no good, down in the toilet, strung out on acid, when you don’t even do the stuff,  day.   That was today.

So by  8:55 this morning I wanted to kiss France GOODBYE.

Defending their country

Defending their country (Photo credit: Feggy Art)

In a nutshell:

Prefecture day.  Oh fun.  We take 2 hours to get there thru horrible traffic, My french teacher comes along to help with the translation,( she is wonderful)  and we get in the door.

For those that want some familiarity of that hellish procedure –  here is the link about that:

The woman who “works the line” smiles and speaks a tad of English, but doesn’t say anything to us when we show her WHY we’re here, and what it is we want to do.  NOTHING.  She SHOULD know what we are about to find out……. and she could have saved us one-half hour at least……..

Finally we get up to the window.

We are told that we missed the cutoff – every one of the “60 people” (that they let in each day) are already here, and we’re too late.

We leave and head back to Cassis after thanking her for absolutely nothing.

I take a 15 minute nap.

We head back down the Gineste (mountain pass)  for David’s afternoon (extra day of) teaching, and I head to the library to work.

I find out that my phone is dead.  Not only dead, but totally devoid of information.
I mean EVERYTHING.  It has crashed.

Remembering that 2 hours ago there was a sign on my MAC saying to upgrade my iPhone which I dutifully did.  That’s when it crashed.   (as I’m thinking back…..)

I pack up after finishing up some homework – and head out.

When I find my car in the parking garage, I see that the TOMTOM is dead. It’s dead because the charger (cigarette lighter ) has died.   Now I have to navigate Marseille all by myself and my  sense of direction.  Hmmmm. This is going to be interesting.

As I start-up the ramp, I see that the cars are heading left and I follow suit, not realizing that this was the street that I should have turned right on to take me to my husband’s work on Rue Prado.

That’s where everything went wrong………for the next 27 minutes, because I went left instead of right, I ended up from the 1st arrondissement of Marseille to the 2nd to the 7th, to the 13th, and no where could I find a way to get back heading SOUTH, to the Vieux Port or heading to ANY sign that  would be a  recognizable point in which I could navigate easily from that point on. Not ONE.

As I was driving aimlessly through the tight tiny streets of Marseille I reflected on how much I missed my friends


that had just left , our very good neighbors,  at one time, in Saint Louis.    It was so hard to say goodbye at the train station.

Gare Saint-Charles, the main railway station

Gare Saint-Charles, the main railway station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had such a good time.  It also made me miss Saint Louis but mainly my family there – Big time, – all the grands and all my children.    Yes!  Very homesick.


In addition to the above, my  mind wandered to the difficult experience  and thoughts I had about the few friends that I’ve made here in Marseille.  And now,  it was coming down to making much needed and  steadfast decisions on how I would deal with them from this day out.
Someone posted on my Facebook the following:
Our culture has accepted two huge lies.  The first is that if you disagree with someones lifestyle,  you must fear or hate them.  The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.  Both are nonsense.  You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

So, that summed it up  beautifully in the situation I have found myself in –  with these friends.   One of my friends appears to be self-destructing and it is making me physically sick.   Sicker than my iPhone and my TomTom going kaput.  Sicker than lying on a pavement full of dog doo, smashed cigarette butts and various and assorted bacillus in order to obtain my carte de sejour.

My other friend, has a lot on her plate.   There are so many things I love about her and there are also things that concern me greatly.  Well, one thing I do know is that  if  I see someone I care about hurting themselves, you will not  be met with quiet  solitude.  I care too much. I will TELL YOU.


A glimmer of something familiar,fills my  windshield  and then the sign Vieux Port comes into my view.  Now I can find my way to my destination.

Now I can stop thinking that  I must leave France and go home to the U.S.  There is always a silver lining in that dark cloud hanging out over your head………… and yes, I WILL go to the PREFECTURE at 4am this Friday………

365/209: Every cloud has a silver lining

365/209: Every cloud has a silver lining (Photo credit: riekhavoc (caught up?))


Be HAPPIER in your HOME……I just had to re-blog – I’ve put this on before – but had to do it again, cause I love the book.  (AND, I like making my bed!!  🙂

Found this list on and was inspired! Hopefully it will inspire you t00!

1. Make your bed.

The book The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to “ready.”

I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul’s clever book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys. It’s a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to “ready” before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home.

One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire…

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“A singular second doesn’t feel like much, but bunched together they transform into something excellent.”



A glass being full of rosé wine

A glass being full of rosé wine

English: Place Georges Clemenceau and château ...

Place Georges Clemenceau and château in Cassis, France Deutsch: Place Georges Clemenceau, im Hintergrund erhoben das Château aus dem 14. Jahrhundert in Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Aperitif before dinner in the garden....

Aperitif before dinner in the garden.

Cassis, a city in southern France, seen from t...

Cassis, a city in southern France, seen from the cliffs

Coat of arms of Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône, Fran...

Coat of arms of Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône, France) drawn by User:Spedona for the Blazon Project of French-speaking Wikipedia, with Inkscape. Source: Own work – Blazon: unspecified (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many reasons that I want to stay in France . But today, was  a plethora of  really good reasons.   10 Reasons , in fact, that  I will share with you and may surprise you

1) The Ravioli man was at the outside market today, and filled my bag with épinards ravioli  and ceps and his homemade sauce.

2) The bum that sits on the bench between the post office and the market with his 2 stuff toy dogs at his feet, his bottle of wine on the gravel,

was engaged by a fellow Cassidien which melted my heart. (Iris would identify with the 2 stuffed dogs).

3)  I have a new French teacher that actually lives in Cassis.

4)  She took me on a “field trip ” to speak French in the village, instead of speaking just to her in the classroom.

3) The lesson being:  When approaching the “Pedalogue” (the foot doctor), I would ask her in French  to please take me asap with my particular toe problem & describe it  …… she, and 4 others stood speechless while I made a fool of myself, but I just kept talking…….in French

4) It was remedied by a hand / arm coming through fancy bars on a tall window from a flat  in the middle of the tiny street in my village………he (the hand) was offering aperitif’s (at 11;45am) to the Pedalogogist, 2 siblings, and then to me and my new teacher.  It was so unexpected, and really beautiful.  I thought, “What a JOB this Pedalogue has, yeah! sure!– looks at FEET all day, but walks out her office, into the teeny street and her neighbor offers her a glass of wine as she gets to  go home now  for 2 1/2 + hours before returning to work!

5) We heard the history of the man “with the arm” offering aperitifs at noon and that he was BORN right here as were his siblings who were standing on the outside with their rosé wine in their hands,  their faces content.   They have lived in this village of Cassis for over 70 years and known everything and everyone!  🙂

6) The man behind the bars had a “Parrot” that recorded anything you said – children came up and spoke to the parrot and it repeated their funny things.  It also recorded my bad French.  It was a small moment of laughter………for all of us standing in the tiny street.

7)  We visited a  restaurant around the corner  from this “mini fete”, in which  to see a menu for my french food items vocabulary.  We  were  then offered 2 more appertif’s, given a seat at the already set up table, clearing it for us as we studied the French menu. They also gave us a  tiny bowl of fresh olives.  He kissed us both goodbye on both cheeks……..a happy proprietor!

8) Despite my TV in the apt taking 1/2 hour to come on, and when it does, the picture is green, and there  is no “vegging out” to some english speaking sitcom, at all, I remember  my outside wanderings  which render artists vistas absolutely everywhere I go. That is my TV – or better than……..

9) The little old woman next door to me was standing out in the sun as I walked home and I stopped to talk to her.  She  then invited me INto her abode   to  show me her expansive underground apartment when I told her I needed  a place for my kids to stay when they come visit.

10) I “tripped the light fantastic”, back to my little abode, realizing that indeed, a few seconds doesn’t feel like much, but when bunched together with good and happy people, who were at first strangers, then NOT, it ends up being one EXCELLENT day……….

Com, and trip it as ye go,On the light fantastick toe  (milton)

English: Arles, France, Place du Forum: In the...

English: Panorama of Cassis (France) Italiano:...

English: Panorama of Cassis (France) Italiano: Panorama di Cassis (Francia) dalla Route des Crêtes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 4 -Nice & the oldest habitation-Cemenelum (Cimiez) – Winter Vacance

Regional 17428, Estação de Briançon, 2011.07.24

Vieux Nice

Vieux Nice Ruines des arènes romaines de Cemenelum, dans ...

BEFORE the look on the right, before the thousands of apartments, before the trains, before the Russians,

there was CEMENELUM.  This ancient city  is located on the outskirts of the ancient city of Cemenelum (Cimiez), between the amphitheatre and the three thermes from the third century.


was located at the northern part of Nice – and high up topographically speaking for protection.

Before that, it was  inhabited some 400,000 years ago  in the prehistoric site of Terra Amata.

Hard to put that in perspective, but yes, this is true.

See mother earth  link below……..  These are some photos we took in and around the archeological site in Nice…….

if you click on the pics, they’ll enlarge or they’ll start a slide show.  Still learning WORDPRESS, forgive me for not having this “perfect” for you.  I’m trying………

IMG_8825 IMG_8827 IMG_8831 IMG_8836

and another very good link:

Vieux Nice

Vieux Nice

English: The northern baths in Cemenelum (Cimi...

The northern baths in Cemenelum (Cimiez) in Nice, France.  Wikipedia)

City Lights, France-Italy Border (NASA, Intern...

City Lights, France-Italy Border (NASA, International Space Station Science, 04/28/10) (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)

Day Three- Nice – Winter Vacance – Sunday. Day of hell. Even in 0 temps.


I was thinking before we set out this morning “we should probably give up our dream of seeing the ALPS and SNOW.  But, I plugged on and went for the trip that the Tourist Information clerk told us to go for.  It was to TENDE.

If the dinner on Saturday night hadn’t been without incident it probably would have been a much better Sunday.  But it wasn’t and it was what it was.   (Okay, briefly, the escargot was so cold that I had to spit it out and the rest of the dinner was so so with not so so prices. )

Anyway, we did go to TENDE, the ski resorts of ski resorts.  The woman guide aboard the train giving a detail description of this beautiful area spoke only in French. When it started snowing half way up the mountain on this train, she exclaimed to her avid listeners  “ REGARDE!!!   La NEIGE, La Neige!!!”   Look!!!   the snow, the snow!!  “  Okay, I’m looking, I barely see – little snow flakes coming towards the glass window and am thinking….. you’re excited about this?   Please!!!!!!!


This “Group” gets off at the stop before Tende.  There is a bus waiting .  We don’t think anything about this….  Until we arrive in TENDE and the town is not only without ANY snow to speak of, but the town is also DEAD.  I mean, NO one is out, the Tourist office is far from opened, there is NO one about.  Finally, we see a proprietor of a Tabac and ask him about the ski village.  He says, “The bus only goes there starting in MAY.”   MAY????  This is March, and there is no bus till May????  OMG.  I am wanting to be LIVID, but I am not, because I am controlling myself, and – yes, thanking God that I have this opportunity, even though it is NOT EXACTLY what I had bargained for……..  We turned right around and got back on the train  going back to Nice in one hour.  We sat for an hour waiting for the conductor to appear.   I looked at people ( the few people that were getting on the train) and thinking, ofcourse they are going to Nice.  There is NOTHING to do HERE!!! What the heck????


we find out LATER, that the stop BEFORE Tende , was where we really needed to get off , to get the BUS, to take us to the top of the mountain, the ski village, which is where we wanted to be.  (Originally.)  This is the problem with not having everything PLANNED, everything in a “Package sort of deal” but this is what you do when you’re an AIRLINE EMPLOYEE – or RE-TIREE – and wing just about everything that you do.  I find fault, actually with the NICE TOURIST OFFICE that told us to go to TENDE and didn’t tell us – “Oh , By the way, – you must get off the stop – the stop before TENDE, in order to get the special bus that takes you to all that lovely fluffy  SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!   🙂


It’s okay. That hour of silence on the train???  I just meditated.


Music in France. Music from the Great SAINT LOUIS Missouri

We play a lot of French music here.  That’s about all there is (except for the over -played Adele, Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars…….)  and I think that really needs to change.


So on a day that I chose to grocery shop in Aubagne, the next village over,  and drag my eco-grocery bags with me and shop with mon ami, Abigail, things began to fly everywhere as the MISTRAL hit us today and I was out in it!!  If you know what a MISTRAL is like, you don’t want to be out, because God forbid if you left your scarf at home, or worse, your warm coat, or your hat, as temperatures drop big time, your hair goes flying, your packages go sliding down the voie at your train station;   it’s a mess.  Julia Child absolutely LOVED the MISTRAL but, hmmm, I’m not so sure, personally.    The MISTRAL is a day to stay home.  So  imagine my delight when my son posted on facebook that his friend was playing in 1 hour on KDHX in Saint Louis.   I thought how great it would be if I could tap into the music or stream it, especially on a day like today, when I needed to be home, stay warm and listen to some really good music for a change.

I also  knew it probably impossible because nothing much streams here  as our WiFi is up and down or it’s weak. To stream you must have a pretty good signal.

Well, lo and behold, the music did stream and we got to hear Ryan Spearman and some wonderful tunes listening to KDHX 88.1 in Saint Louis for about 3 hours.  It put us in the best frame of mind, to finally hear music we liked and understood.   The WIND was HOWLING outside our little Les Romarins Apartment……..but we had not a care in the world!!!!!        Thank you Ryan Spearman!!!


I was so excited I wrote the station an e-mail and said:

THANK YOU !!!    It was great!    My son put it on FB that you would be playing and that Ryan Spearman would be on and we love him… we tuned in all the way from Marseille France.

Thanks for a great show! We ate our dinner while you played great tunes!

We’ll tune in more often now.

Marti  & David


THEN, they wrote me back:



KDHX _DSC7533 (Photo credit: sara97)

MAR 04, 2013  |  12:11PM CST

Scott Bahan replied:

Hi Marti and David,

Thank you so much for tuning in to KDHX online! We love hearing that people are enjoying the station from outside of St Louis, even more so from all the way in France!!!

Here is a link to the Ryan Spearman performance:

You can listen to his performance or any of our other past performances online and on demand! As you know, you can stream us live online from France 24/7! You can also listen to entire programs in our archives. You can also connect with us on Facebook for more information and links to more in-studio performances.

Thank you so much for listening. We love to hear from folks overseas!


KDHX Staff and Volunteers!


We LOVE KDHX – Saint Louis – 88.1  – whoo hooooo !!!!  MUSIC we LOVE!!!!  Especially when the MISTRAL hits and it’s cozy to stay at home with good music playing!!!!!

English: Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, Missouri...

English: Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, Missouri Español: El Arco Gateway en San Luis, Misuri (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nice Vacation – Day Two – What? Nice in Nice??? :-)


22nd Feb – Friday – Train from Menton Garlavan  OMG – it’s RIGHT  next to the IBIS, for those that don’t know ( I didn’t)  so  we did not know this!!! – It’s not much of a walk from here to IBIS, but it is far from the Center Menton – which is where my story began 2 days ago with THE AUTOMATED HOTEL FROM HELL

(an unexpected frustration – and almost a huge rowl in trying to get in to this place.)

The tickets to the train to Nice from MENTON,  were automated – in french – &  David was able to get us 2 tickets from Garlavan – to Nice – no human contact once again. Not a problem.

You need to know about all this automation before you get there – as it requires some

knowledge of French, if the little english flag isn’t working.  )


Arrived into Nice Gare, very nice, well, not so nice, actually, but a huge big and very old station.  I imagine the 18th Century Russians that used to frequent this place as Nice was FOUNDED upon Russians, or they think they have founded Nice.   Truly.  Do not miss the largest Russian Orthodox Church right behind the Nice Train Station. It is closed on Mondays.

While walking the streets of Nice, we found, though it was cloudy and sometimes rainy, the most lovely of walks, down the LONGCHAMP street which leads from the TrainIMG_8779Station all the way practically to the sea – stopping at the old town, and it is truly a beautiful walk, many shops, many unusual vistas, and you won’t be disappointed in this walk at all, I promise!

The Galleries Lafayette was near, and though I don’t shop here at all because the prices are just too exorbitant, the items are beautiful to SEE, my favorite departments are the sheets and bedding as the sheets are as good as PORTHAULT……..

The tea in the little bistro on the 4th floor – lovely – fresh mint leaves too, so we got our money’s worth…….

Someone Buy This House, Please……..

For purely selfish reasons, I confess, even though I’m a long way AWAY from this house  – geographically

Here are the details:

55 NW 94th St Miami Shores FL – Home For Sale and Real Estate Listing – MLS #A1723846 –®.

If you buy it, I’ll probably know you – perhaps – and then you will invite me over

so that I can cook a gourmet meal for you in the fabulous kitchen and slide down the stairs on my tummy like I did on those stairs – many many MANY years ago…….

I will do this with my granddaughter IRIS who slides down HER STAIRS too now.
Funny – what’s in the blood, eh??!!?

Please buy this  house  that I was born in – my old house!!!!!!

It’s an awesome place –

I love my home – always will

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