Avril 4, 2018. Exploring Crêpes And The Crêpe Suzette. Cultural Kitchen Clashes From France to Kentucky.

 

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Crêpes And Crêpe Suzette – 

It’s only fitting I explore the Crêpe Suzette.  Since it’s named after MOI and full of sugar and butter and brandy.  Comme moi sans brandy.

Exploring the recette / recipe, I watched several videos including the Julia Child video on Smithsonian.com.  What a character, she so seemed to have lived her life full.

Last month while my husband was visiting France sans moi, he and his Mother, bought me (upon my request) the most awesome crêpe  pan.  Crêpes are a French food that we really have never explored in our home.  I’m sure my husband had them many times growing up, but to be honest, we just make pancakes – even when ma belle mère visits.

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I remember one of the first times, I made a BIG American breakfast for my French in-laws.  Canned laughter plays in the background of this memory.  I made fried eggs, bacon, sausage gravy and biscuits and of course American pancakes topped with peanut butter and syrup.  Most likely it was the peanut butter that provoked the grimaces and looks of confusion – although, it could have been the biscuits smothered in thick milky sausage gravy.  All served with a side of ketchup.

One of the major cultural differences between us was and still is – la cuisine.

Blending – 

I grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s in a suburban area just south of Detroit, Michigan with a Irish, German and Polish Mother and an Irish, Scottish Father who had been born and raised in Kentucky.  This common for the time classic American mixture and coupling made for extremely exciting childhood memories – mostly involving love, laughter, quick tempers, obsessive cleaning, cabbage, kielbasa and scotch whiskey.  It also yielded my fiercely protective Mother and my know-it-all Father who eventually flew the coop.

In addition, many interesting foods were made and shared over the years as I visited each uniquely distinct set of Grandparents.  On any given Sunday, we might enjoy pierogis at lunch, then beans and corn bread in the evening.

Flashing forward, I see how my personal cooking style was influenced.  As the years passed, I continued the traditions by sharing family recipes and flavors with my children and grandchildren all the while tossing in my half French husband’s roots and tastes.

I recall many happy Saturday mornings – watching Tom & Jerry cartoons and Abbott and Costello re-runs, and waiting for the pancakes and peanut butter.  Then heading out on my bike for the entire day.  Hours later, arriving back at home, I’d run into the kitchen, grab a spoon and thrust it into the peanut butter jar – just a little snack before dinner.

No one can make a steak, BBQ a pork butt, or roast corn on the cob, like an American.  There is also fine cuisine and many fantastic chefs in America and I personally love our eclectic menu.

Kitchen Cultural Clashes –

However, after 30 plus years of blending mine with his – I still can’t get ma beau-père (father-in-law) to try corn on the cob.  When I make it – he will occasionally (very occasionally) slice it off the cob or skip it all together.  And it’s not a denture issue.  For him, it’s more about the actual practice of eating corn on the cob.  And the fact that he is 86 and set in his ways.

Mostly he revels in new experiences – having traveled the globe.  But the peanut butter and corn on the cob (not eaten together, although… I might give it a try) have proven to be too much for him.  Oh and my use of ketchup, doesn’t everyone put ketchup on scrambled eggs and steak?

Buerre De Cacahuètes / Peanut Butter –   

Shown below, made with my new crêpe pan, delicious Crêpes avec et sans le beurre de cacahuètes / peanut butter.

We did not flambé le crêpes today – we are reserving the Cointreau for the weekend.

Crêpes with peanut butter and hazelnut spread and we may or may not have added a bit of maple syrup.

Délicieux / Delicious.

Bonne Appétit – Suz!A333A23A-A732-4CB8-A231-5BA5AE597B7F

 

Mars 29, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Attendre / To wait. And waiting for God’s next move.

663E320B-FFC4-4FD3-8E3E-D14FCBAB116FBonjour mes amies – des fleurs pour vous.  Les fleurs sont un signe du printemps.

Nous attendons le printemps.  Nous attendons l’ete.  Nous attendons l’automne.  Nous attendons l’hiver.  Nous attendons et nous attendons et nous attendons.  

Nous sommes simples.  Nous sommes minuscules.  Nos esprits sont petits

Arreter!  Vous perdez votre temps.

Waiting on God’s next move –

We are all so simple, all so small – if only we could comprehend Your magnitude.

Attendre / To wait –

The French verb that means to wait for or to await.

It is one of those false friends as it does not mean to attend – but looks like it should.  And is derived from the Latin (vulgar versus the classical) word Attendō.

French / attendre.  Italian / attendere.  Spanish / attender.  All derived from the same vulgar Latin word.

Always fascinated with languages and more so word origins, it’s difficult for me to read.

When I read (especially in French), I frequently stop on a word – examine it’s structure and think about its possible origin.  Happening upon words and losing myself in their thoughts.

According to the website wordsense.eu, the alternative (vulgar) Latin form of attendo is adtendo and its origin and history derive from ad + tendo (meaning to stretch and extend).

As stated on the website, the word was used in relation to the stretching of a bow, when taking aim at a target.

I can see this bow in my mind, wait for it…wait for it…  I think as the string is pulled back and the arrow released…  Attendo…Attendo… as the arrow flies through the air…bull’s-eye!

Many times I’ve heard the word of the week (attendre) used in France.  Mostly when someone is aggravated or they need someone to stop doing something quickly.  Oh and always while entering a Rond Point.

Here’s a ramble for you –

To focus on living in the present – we must wait.  And while we wait – we must live.  And while we live – we must not focus on the wait.  Round and round we go in this circle.

Recently, I remarked to my sister how I’ve stopped planning and am just waiting for God’s next move.  I then continued by saying how even though I was waiting for God’s next move, I was silently waiting for his move to include sunshine and exciting cool people who speak French.

As I spoke the above, I was immediately struck by how ignorant I am.  I say I trust God, but I silently wish.  This is so bizarre.  Is my simple and small human brain trying to manipulate God?  Then I hear Him, and He reminds me that He is so much bigger than I can comprehend.  And that I’m okay and it’s okay if I wish (or better yet pray).  Because as He explains, He’s got it.  He’s got it all.  He’s that BIG.  And I should seriously relax.

As I continue to let go of my worries, I find a calm that I welcome.  A freeing sense of peace.  And at the same time an excitement at what He has in store next for me.

And yes, I still hope it includes sunshine and exciting cool people who speak French.

Suz learns French while she runs –

This week’s running went… I simply ran.

I ran after not running for 2 weeks.  I was able to hold a 9 minute pace for 3 miles.  But can I do this for 13.1 miles?

My goal is to run each half marathon under 2 hours.  The last half marathon I ran – I pushed that limit and ran a 1:58.  Cutting it close.

And now, I have less than 2 months to get in shape as I attempt to stay under two hours.

This is the my personal benchmark.  And it’s what I strive for, but as I age, should I cut myself some slack?  I may need to come May.  But I will try to stay under 2 hours.

I have 2 major events planned for May and after a long winter, I have a lot of catching up to do.

As I run, my thoughts are only on my breath – no French is spoken as I gasped for air.  My face is red, the others asked me if I am okay.  “I’m okay, I’ve just not been running like I should,”  I respond.  I’ve been waiting for the rain to stop and the sun to shine.

When the sun finally shows its face – the green will be so green and the blue will be so blue.

No more waiting.  Juste be – OH AND RUN so you can meet your personal goal.

Attendre – 

Nous attendons le printemps. Nous attendons l’ete. Nous attendons l’automne. Nous attendons l’hiver. Nous attendons et nous attendons et nous attendons.

Nous sommes simples. Nous sommes minuscules. Nos esprits sont petits

Arreter! Vous perdez votre temps. 

Suz

 

Mars 6, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Seul / Seule / Alone. Et finalement… Je parle!

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Bonjour mes amis.  Je suis seule mais…pas seule.  Parce que nous sommes ensemble pour toujours dans notre cœurs. 

Interesting take on some time alone:

The last two weeks saw me alone.  Seul / seule – as my husband spent time in France with his Mother.

I had a list of things to do, but I managed to avoid all of them.

I realized that after 33 years together – I don’t do seul / seule very well.

Now, don’t get me wrong the first half of our lives together we spent many days, weeks, and months apart – once a whole year.  But for the last 15 years we have been constant companions.

I knew it would be hard to be alone, but I was most surprised at how I really didn’t know where or how to start the day.

I’m sure that after a few more weeks on my own, I’d fall into a better routine.  But, I seriously feel I wasted the last two weeks.  I took a few days to visit my own mother,  yet even there I found myself waiting for the next phone call.

As a couple we have fallen into a wonderful space.  I do these things and he does those things.  Together it all gets done.  I call these things “pink and blue jobs.”  Pink for girl jobs and blue for boy jobs.

Garbage is a blue job, coffee is a blue job.  Laundry and grocery shopping are pink jobs.  When I look at the division of “our” things, I realize just how traditional we might be labeled.  I also realize there are more blue jobs.

The one thing I did do the last two weeks was think.  I thought a lot and I really think I should make the coffee more often.  A little humor stirs within me, because we both know that won’t happen.  However, I now know how to make coffee.  Will I tell anyone?  Probably not.

Albeit traditional, it works for us.  I missed us / nous.  And I look forward to being us / nous again.

We can be “I’s” and still be “us”.  So intertwined with love.  You are the peace I sought.  You are the sweet relax at the end of the day.

As long as we are always reaching for the “us” before the “I’s”, we will be fine.

Et finalement, How’s that French coming?

Tres bien.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak French.  You would not believe how well I spoke.  AND my accent was even complimented!  VRAIMENT!

I now know for sure – immersion is the key to language learning.

I just ADORE the French language.  Not sure where all of this will lead, but I so enjoy the process.

What do you see for you and me:

Mon Amour

I see us in France.

I see us drinking the wine and tasting the sea.

Je vois toi et je vois moi.  Je vois nous ensemble – juste toi et moi.

Suz

Janvier 20, 2018. Dans ma tête, je suis! Mais, dans le miroir… In my head, I am! But, in the mirror… AND a good example from across the pond.

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Dans Ma tête 

Dans ma tête:  I’m BRISK, I’m active, I’m fast, and energetic.  I’m young, I’m limber, I’m awake.

Dans ma tête – I’m all these things.

In the mirror:  I’m slow, I’m idle, I’m listless, and tired.  I’m old, I’m stiff, I’m always falling asleep.

In the mirror – I’m all these things.

Je Suis Qui ?

Je suis moi! 

Je suis BRISK et actif, et rapide. 

Je suis aussi – fatigué… PARFOIS.  

Je suis qui?  Je suis moi.

C’est moi!

Mais, Je ne suis pas une vieille dame

Je suis jeune! Je suis jeune! JE CRIE!  Dans ma tête je suis jeune.

Pourquoi pas je dis.  Pourquoi pas!

Parce que tout est dans la tête – n’est-ce pas!

Mais, bien sûr! 

Supplémentaire – Elle est une bonne exemple (She is a good example)

When I think of how I want to be when I get old (older).  I think of her.

I think of how she appreciates the years and looks back on the smiles, the lessons, and the tears – but never the fears.

How she aims to share it with us all and hopes we never fall.

She is always by our side – there’s just a big ole lake – l’Atlantique, it’s so wide.

I want her grace and courage, her strength and drive.

Today, I run because I can

I run to feel the air so deep within my breath – beneath.

Suz

 

 

 

Janvier 16, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Fort, Forte / Strong.

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Sometimes things come out of the blue.  They don’t care for the plans you have or the dreams you dream.  They just want you.

This thing can’t have you!

It can’t have you – you are stronger than this thing.  It has no idea what it is up against.  Mon amie – tu est très forte.

Le mot de la semaine est FORT / FORTE.

Mon amie est très jolie and très gentille – ELLE est forte aussi!  

Elle s’appelle Coco.  J’aime beaucoup Coco.  Elle parles anglais avec moi and français avec tout le monde. 

Tu es forte Coco.  Tu es très forte.  Elle est à femme forte.  

My friend Coco is one of the strongest women I know.

She is strong and fierce like the winter wind.

She won’t let this stop her.  She will fight for herself.  She will fight for her children and grand children.

She will fight for her life!

Knowing we are here and she is there is the hard part.

As you start your journey this week, please know we love you!

Be strong as you PAUSE momentarily to get well.

Have FAITH that you will get well.

And KNOW that you are loved.

J’aime beaucoup mon amie Coco!

Love Suz

 

 

 

Janvier 2, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Espérer / To hope.

IMG_4665.JPGBonne année mes amis!  Quoi de neuf?

Aujourd’hui est le deuxième jour de janvier.  Cette année j’ai beaucoup à faire et à apprendre.  Alors, j’ai besoin de continuer mes études de français.

En 2017,  j’ai beaucoup couru et j’ai étudié le français un peu. En 2018, je vais travailler dur pour apprendre le français et courir un peu.

I haven’t sorted out my running goals for the year but am leaning toward shorter distances with focus on speed.  After last years 50 miler, my body needs to relearn to run shorter distances.  It’s a whole different game.

Thriving on change, I’m so excited as we enter the new year.  My new books have arrived and I have a sense of clarity I haven’t felt in years.

New this year will be an occasional blog post focusing on the word of the week relevant to the month, season or my mood.

An opportunity to work on vocabulary and sentence structure while attempting to be creative.

J’espère apprendre beaucoup de français cette année.

Bonne Année,

Suz

 

 

 

 

Décembre 20, 2017. Big blue ball in the sky, one ticket one ride. One round on this round.

IMG_4530.JPGDay 21 –

Bonjour!

Big blue ball in the sky.  One ticket, one ride.

One round on this round.

21 days ago I left my job, my routine, my security, my norm.

I’m a little afraid.

It was a really good job!

I quit my job to change my life as it became more than a job – it became my life.  I was totally out of balance.

We’ve all heard the phrase – Americans live to work, whereas the French work to live.

This resonates deep with me.

Realistically, we all have to work.  Nothing is free.  I of course will work again – but I needed to come up for air, look around a bit and focus on what’s real.

It was a choice I made after a LONG think.  A choice I’m still sifting through and a choice I’m slowly moving through.

I remind myself that if you want change – you have to change.  That change won’t come by thoughts alone – it takes action.

For over a year I tried to change without changing.  I thought about changing every day.  But nothing changed.  So one day without thinking too much – I abruptly changed.

Now, moving through the change, I try not to look back.  I try not to fear and I try not to second guess.

Sometimes you have to step back before you can step forward.

Day 21 –

I think I’m ready to step forward.  Not into into what will be – but forward into the change – into the process.

Here’s to coupon cutting, simpler days and homemade meals.  Here’s to conscious living and feeling life.  Here’s to a new year, a new start and changing my life.

Big blue ball in the sky. One ticket, one ride.

One round on this round.

Today I take the  first step.  Slowly but with intention and with a smile.

Feeling blessed to have this choice.

Suz