a surprise concert night.

September 18, 2011

Sometimes B manages a very nice surprise.  On Friday night, he took me to see Bon Iver (3rd row center, hells yes!)....and it was sorta a perfect night in all the ways you hope for.  We stopped at our favorite spot to get some wine and a bite to eat.  Two seats at the bar were open.  We drank delicious Sancerre, ate mussels, steak tartare and a little cheese plate.  Then we headed downtown.  We parked the car, took a walk past the place we shared our first kiss nine-plus years ago and headed over to Spreckels Theater.  We walked in just as Bon Iver was going onstage.  Show was amazing.  Plus they played almost every song from their first album, which of course is how I fell in love with them in the first place.  The only slight disappoint I had was that I was sending them E.S.P. messages like crazy to play my favorite cover ever, but my frequency must have been off.   Usually when I try that hard things come through for me.  ;-)

But!  I found this new cover and it is as good IMHO.  I just love that slow tempo.  Plus I've had a soft spot in my heart for Bonnie Raitt since Nick of Time came out during my junior year of high school.  This song gets me in my core in all sorts of ways.  Oy.  I think I may have listened to this song 47 times already.  And isn't Justin's beard hot?


p.s.  bon iver is on instagram (@boniver)...thought you fellow IG addicts might like to know!

guest post at the littlest.

September 15, 2011

I just posted over on one of my favorite blogs: the littlest.  Elizabeth is finishing up her Italian vacation and I shared a memory (and recipe!) from a trip to Amalfi from long, long ago.  Check it out!

Why the South of France Is All That.

September 8, 2011

{view of the coastline from one of our walks}
I think it's almost universal how people feel about the South of France.  It feels a bit silly talking about how beautiful the area is, the beaches, the light, the landscape, the weather.  You might hear people complain that it is touristy or pricey, but everyone I talk to seem think it's pretty freaking spectacular.  (There's usually a reason places get touristy and pricey in the first place, I suppose....)
{typical mode of transport....or a maserati}

B and I kept saying that the place feels like a cliché (in the best possible way).  Everyone wears white linen pants and espadrilles and shirts with the collars turned up.  Every young woman has the perfect top knot and straight bangs.  There are boats everywhere.  The fanciest European cars pull up next to you at the local market.  Awnings above restaurants in perfect pastel colors.  There are big bright striped sun umbrellas lining the beaches. The weather is never too hot or cold (yay for sundresses at night!).  I find it oddly reassuring when I discover clichés like this are true.  That it hasn't all been dreamed up and (just) force-fed to us in bad Hollywood movies (like this one...which I saw when I was probably about 15 years old and yes, it made me want to come to the South of France).

{secret swimming coves everywhere}
{in our neighborhood....for reals}
This is a lovely quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald in Tender Is the Night, who spent a great deal of time there.  (B and I both read the book on our honeymoon in the area seven years ago!)

...The diffused magic of the hot, sweet south had
withdrawn into them -the soft-pawed night and the
ghostly wash of the Mediterranean far below....
a sea as mysteriously coloured as agates and cornelians
of childhood, green as green milk blue as
laundry water, wine dark.

Isn't that nice?  How could you not fall in love with the place?  (And maybe the person you're experiencing it with?)  
{"our spot" for coffee each morning}
My favorite part of our trip this year involved the days I spent with B exploring little towns on the Côte d 'Azur.  Sasha, thankfully, was there to watch the kiddos, so that meant B and I could wake up, throw clothes on and walk down to the town and have coffee.  And talk.  And look around.  And not be responsible for any small humans and not have to be anywhere anytime soon.  In fact, for the two weeks we were there, we probably had plans 1 or 2 days (and those plans were loose).  We never knew what we were going to do.  It was such a beautiful contrast to the way our life is at home.  Sometimes we hopped on a bus or a train and went to another town.  Sometimes we drove.  Sometimes we just walked.  In fact, everyday we walked.  A lot, like for hours.  Our journeys almost always involved finding the next beautiful walking spot.  There are so many paths that wind along the coast, each more impossibly gorgeous than the last.

{there were stairs, lots and lots of stairs}

And so we would walk, we would talk, and then of course, we would eat.  Sometimes we'd pick up sandwiches and tarts and fruit and such, other times we would find a place to sit and eat and drink some rosé and have a proper French lunch.  I liked it all, frankly.

{peeking down to a beach}
{waiting for the train in villefranche}
{relaxing in the sun after lunch}

{the most amazing and exclusive beach club....someday we will be "official" patrons, instead of the other kind ;-) }
{i picked this house...check out that retractable awning!}
Also, how could you not love a place where every single house (no exaggeration) is named?  It was hard finding the house numbers, but the name was always proudly (and beautifully) displayed.

{our house}

It's safe to say B and I are still committed Italophiles, but there is certainly something magical about the South of France.  I'd go back anytime.

p.s.  I worked really hard to write a post without any kid pictures....how'd I do?!  ;-)

She Swims!

September 6, 2011

I feel like pounding my fists on my keyboard right now.  A post about our trip (yes! remember that trip?) that I have been working on for no fewer than 10 days just evaporated into thin air.  Trying not to hate on blogger too much.

As a consolation prize of sorts, I give you this video of Little E.  We recently put her through those swim lessons the other kids took, and sure enough, after 10 days of lessons, she swims!  And jumps off the side of the pool!  We've been through the lessons three times now and I still can't get over how well they work.  (p.s.  Please also feel free to disregard the fact I sound like an injured horse in the video.....)  (p.p.s. Why is the video so small??  Gah, I need serious help with blog issues right now!)

Video upload from domestic reflections on Vimeo.
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