My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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5 Ways to feel like you’re in France when you don’t have the francs

Are you Dreaming of France but finding yourself short of the francs you need to take you there? Ladies and Gentlemen, Mesdames et Messieurs, step right up and join my travel club and take a journey that won’t cost you a red hot centime. Because this is a trip you take in your mind. Okay, its not exactly there-there but if you cant actually get to Paris or the Cote dazur, its the next best thing. 
Heres five things to pack in your virtual valise to put you in a French state of mind. Substituting French words for English is a great starting point...

Un: French Ambience

Pretend you live on a charming street near the Eiffel Tower with the simple application of this artistically incorrect mural. How do you say cheesy in french?

Or better yet, decorate your home with every Eiffel tower you can find —never mind most self-respecting French citizens would likely prefer to leave the tour Eiffel on the Champ de Mars where it belongs. 

Deux: La musique français. 

Surround yourself with sounds that scream “I’m in France!” even if you’re actually in your living room. Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, the gorgeous Ne Me Quitte Pas by Jacques Brel. No sarcasm there, by the way, it’s lush.

Recreate that feeling of walking down a Parisian street, arm in arm with your beau—let’s call it the Rue de Romantique—a red beret on your tete (his tete?), en route to a quaint little French cafe for cup of cafe au lait by playing this collection of French Cafe Music as part of your personal soundtrack.

Never mind that the French have their own top forty hit list which sometimes actually includes French songs! Take a listen to this brand new chanson by Black M featuring Kevin Adams. Le Prince Aladin, a rap en français, is part of a new soundtrack for Les Nouvelles Aventures d’Aladin.

Trois. Bon Appetit

Grab your trusty, crusty baguette, trying to keep your inner germaphobe at bay —who else has had their grubby hands on my loaf of bread?!—and spread on a little brie. Even the most petite town has, if not a French Epicerie, a grocery store where you can at least buy a wheel or two of brie. 
Have a sweet tooth? You can always ask the clerk for ‘confiture de fraise’  and if they look confused  add ‘Ow do you say ‘strawberry jam’? And don’t forget to say Merci. 

Quatre. Cannes it.

Pull up Netflix and plug in ‘French movies’ and stream your own French film festival. 

Everything from Populaire to Renoir to Blue is the Warmest Color, you’ll never again have to leave your boring old real life with its dreary, utterly lacking in charmant, streets.

Cinq. Color Your Way to France

Those adult coloring books—not that kind of adult!—aren’t just about coloring butterflies and flowers to find your inner zen. I just discovered Secret Paris: Color Your Way to Calm

I can’t wait to get started on this page. It’s almost like the real thing, right? Right?

Uh oh! Instead of staying calm and sating my appetite for France, my plan seems to be backfiring and I’m jonesing for a real trip instead. Hmmm. Looks like I can get a roundtrip ticket on Air France for a little over a thousand bucks. Sans champagne, of course. Maybe I should start putting some argent in this tour Eiffel savings bank?

In the meantime, shall I color the mansard roof in Secret Paris, green or bleu?

I’m definitely playing along with my friend Paulita’s Dreaming of France meme this week. Join us?

originally posted 8/15/2015


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  1. That's too funny Sim- such a perfect post. I love it. I do all of those things already though I think. I loved, loved, loved Popular- I saw it on a plane in 2013 and haven't been able to find it here since. We're just trialling Netflix here- but Aussie Netflix sucks. Apparently an 1/8 of what you have access to! Barely any French movies, I've already checked. I bought that Paris colouring in book a few months ago, but you know life to busy to have a chance to find the pencils that must be in the house somewhere....

    1. Haha! Of course you do. Thanks Louise:)

  2. Sim, I'm feeling full of French joie de vivre! Grace says she loves her French coloring book. The smell of slightly crispy toast always reminds me of France, maybe that's just our friends' houses in France. Keep saving your francs (Euros) and by next fall, Earl and I may have a place for you to stay when you buy that airline ticket to France.

    1. That would be most awesome, indeed!

  3. This is so much fun. I bought an adult colouring book the last time I was there. It is relaxing.

  4. Still love this post. Another thing I try to do is live my life the way I would in France, slow it down, take time for cafes and coffee and wine and walks.

    1. I love that you do that, I try to do that here too, sans the cafes. I just don’t get out that much.

  5. After I read that post, I ordered the Paris coloring book for Grace. The best way for me to feel like I'm living in France is to try to enjoy life -- a coffee, a meal, a walk with my husband. Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme


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