Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Add to Google Reader or HomepageAfter leaving our dear friend Mary Beth at the TGV (fast train station) at “0 dark thirty” this morning, we drove east toward the sunrise and Vaison la Romaine. As the skies lightened, the most notable aspect of the horizon was the snow on all of the major mountains. What we experienced as rain on Sunday fell as snow in the higher elevations.

What a beautiful sight. It matched the beauty of some of the other sites we saw during MB’s visit (a French friend calls her “EMBAY” to fit the French pronunciation of the initials.) On Saturday we walked along roads at the foot of Mt. Ventoux past the four rock structures called “les demoiselles coiffĂ©es” (the women wearing hats). We walked past olive groves where the olives were black and ready to be picked. We met a man who had a sighthound and, during the conversation with him, we found out that he knew about Scottish deerhounds but he spent most of his time telling us about the Egyptian lineage of his sighthound.

Sunday, we went to the market in Isle sur la Sorgue. It started raining, so we left the beautiful town and its market and headed back north toward Vaison la Romaine. We stopped to taste wine at the Wine cooperative in Beaumes de Venise where Ellen and MB (EMBAY) enjoyed the presentation of the young man serving the wine—and the translation by the old guy with them--as much as the wine tasting. We took back roads over the Dentelles mountains and had spectacular views of distant horizons, valleys and vineyards.

MB (EMBAY) had come to join us for Thanksgiving. She almost didn’t make it. On the Sunday before her Monday departure, she discovered that her passport had expired. Luckily, there is a Department of State office in Chicago. With all due speed in one day MB was able to complete her renewal application, get speedy photos, and plead her case with the requisite amount of charm and groveling to leave the passport office the same day with a renewed passport and a great sigh of relief. She made it to her flight and we met her at the TGV station the next afternoon.

We had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner: rabbit in mustard sauce, home-made stuffing with fresh sage, sweet potatoes, green beans and a fresh winter squash/pumpkin pie made by Ellen that was better than any canned-pumpkin generated pie of previous years. We were thankful for the good food, the good fortune of enjoying it in France with good friends, and EMBAY’s success at the passport office.

We were also thankful for friends, both enduring friends and new friends including our new neighbor who lives across the street from the apartment. She joined us for “apero” (cocktails) while EMBAY was here and invited us to a wonderful dinner on Saturday evening.

Every morning, EMBAY shouted: “I am in France!” – a sentiment that we are fortunate to feel and enjoy everyday.