Browsing Posts published in April, 2012

For someone who has spent the last year and a half confined to a housette in pajamas with only a computer screen to talk to, this little jaunt can only be described as overwhelming, in every sense of the word. I’m still jetlagged but who could blame me? It took 18 hours to get here where I’m 5 hours behind France time. The bags under my eyes will have to be claimed as carry-ons when I head out to St. John’s tomorrow.

Anyway, bag lady or no, I hardly know where to begin to describe the events of late. I arrived in Halifax last Wednesday half starved to death, so we popped into one of my favourite restaurants (Jane’s) for a light supper and my long overdue daily dose of vin blanc. Just as we were settling the bill, a young waitress stood a few feet back from the table, cocked her head to the side, narrowed her eyes and said, “Did you write that book?” I said, “Well, I wrote a book.” “I knew it,” she said, “we were all over in the corner trying to decide if we should ask you.” Apparently they had seen the poster for the blook in the window of Bookmark and recognized me. Well, I never! Continue reading “Finding Me in Halifax” »

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Okay Finders, if you’ve ever wondered what I sound like, here’s your chance. This is me on the radio chatting with the lovely, charming, gracious and cool Louise Renault of CBC Information Morning Halifax. We taped this in a big fancy radio booth with big windows overlooking the Halifax citadel. I felt like a rock star and it took everything I had not to lean in to the mike and say, “I’m Dr. Bobbi French and I’m listening. Roz, who’s our first caller?”

Finding Me in France Radio Interview-April 26, 2012.

More to come on my 14 1/2 minutes of fame…

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Priorities

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Halifax is a tornado of events and I’ll update on every one of them as soon as I get a chance, but first things first…

That is all I have to say.

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Well, this is it. Today I will find myself sitting in planes, trains and automobiles for almost 24 hours straight. It doesn’t matter, as long as there’s an armrest for my white knuckled hand to grab. I’m officially on “tour” promoting the Big Blook of Doodles in Canada. God help me.

Now I have no idea how to keep to the regular posting schedule in the midst of this mayhem. If you subscribe by email, then you’ll know when there’s a post. If not check in when you feel like it. I’ll try to keep you up to date on the happenings and how often I say or do something entirely ridiculous (hmm, so a post every 6-8 hours).

So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help me promote the merde out of this book. Facebook it. Tweet it. Pinterest it. Take a picture of yourself while reading it and plaster it all over the internet. Leave a copy on your desk or more likely by your toilet. Give it as a gift (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, National Support a Shrink Day). Read a copy on the bus. Take it to the hair salon and to the gynecologist/proctologist. Carry one to your board meeting or to Me & Mommy Yoga. Ask your local library to stock it and for the love of god tell anyone who’ll listen to pick up a copy. Word of mouth sells books so get your gums flapping.

In the meantime, here’s another interview I did recently (page 9). It’s the Proust questionnaire, like the one that George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt did for Vanity Fair (you see the company I keep?). Wish me luck my friends. This is a whole new game for me and I’m only barely warmed up. See you on the other side.

 

 

 

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Finders ’tis a large day. Finding Me in France, now italicized because it is an ACTUAL BOOK, has hit Canadian bookstores and is now in the hands of The People. It’s a little bittersweet because I have yet to see the book myself. I’ve seen a digital proof but as we all know that’s nothing like holding your paper baby in your hands.

But the good news is that Bookmark, an independent bookstore in Halifax, has blessed me with something that in all my 44 years I could never have imagined. Corinne took this on her way to Saturday brunch, god love her …

And if you look closely in this next picture you can see my beloved friend Jill taking the shot …

She is so proud and you cannot believe the cheerleading she’s been doing for this book: tweeting like a maniac, talking it up ’til she’s blue in the face and she’s even agreed to introduce me at my launch. I need to get her a little pleated skirt and some pom-poms. It’s making me a bananas not to be able to see this display but having her see it is the next best thing. Merci Madame.

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Provence for Dummies

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Ah yes, my relaxing weekend getaway to Avignon. Okay, in my defence, I was told to be ready to leave the house by 8:20. So when I came down the stairs with my little suitcase to greet an impatient looking Rusty at 8:19, I was confused. Turns out he had said 8:10 and that was tight to say the least. What ensued can only be described as the most harrowing drive ever made from Semur to Dijon, followed by the fastest sprint through the Dijon train station on record. We literally had to hurl ourselves on the train as it started to roll out of the station.

Anyway, we made it. Oh how lovely, the South of France, a first for me and there’s only one word to describe it: Antarctica. I have never been so cold in my life. In my rush to depart, I forgot to pack my down filled coat and wool hat. It. Was. Freezing. The wind (the famous Mistral) was enough to blow the head off you. I wore every piece of clothing I packed, most days all at the same time.

At least the food made up for it. We found a beautiful indoor (and mercifully heated) market …

And we had great luck with restaurants … Continue reading “Provence for Dummies” »

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Okay my Finders, today, an interview with Catherine McNamara, a Finder and writer who lives in Italy and who has just released her super fun book:

Why Italy? Did you come to Italy to live ‘La Dolce Vita’?

I came to live in Veneto, north-eastern Italy, in 2002 after nine years in West Africa. I owned a house there with my first husband who is Italian. I was freshly separated, with four smallish kids, and moved into a damp and freezing farmhouse on the foggy plains. It was about as far from the ‘La Dolce Vita’ as I am from Brad Pitt in his underwear at this moment. Continue reading “Getting Down with the DLC” »

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Easter Feaster

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Honest to god, sometimes the difference between my life in Canada and my life over here makes my head spin. It’s like living in a whole different country. I’ve never been a big Easter person. Sure, I was raised as a Catholic, so my experience of the holiest day of the year involved eating a few pounds of low quality chocolate that Jesus brought back from the dead or something like that. But after this French Easter, or as they say in these parts, Pâques, I’m a true believer.

We were invited to an annual event that has been taking place now for decades—the famous Easter party hosted by our friends Anne and Michel. He’s Swiss, she’s American and with us, the Canadians, as well as the French, Germans and the English who were attending, the plan was to solve the global financial crisis or slip into a food and wine induced coma by 2 p.m., whichever came first.

By the time we arrived the party was in full swing—kids running about, grown-ups sipping and cheek kissing and basking in the spring sun. I guess it was much the same as any other Easter party. As egg-spected (the wit, the wit I tell you), there were these …

And these … Continue reading “Easter Feaster” »

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Le Road Trip

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And speaking of books …

Vivian Swift (you might remember some of her genius comments here at FMIF) is the author of When Wanderers Cease to Roam, a stunningly beautiful book about travelling and staying put. Now she graces us with her illustrated travel memoir of France. I am positive that this will go down in herstory as one of the most gorgeous books ever created about France.

“J’adore Vivian Swift—my favorite travel writer, my favorite travel doodler. This book is a little secret pocket of treasure and intimacy. Enjoy every careful and carefree detail!”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

You can order your copy and see the book trailer here. I’m hoping mine will be in my mailbox before I leave for Canada. I live here and I still can’t wait to savour her visual feast of France.

When I first thought of writing a book about France, I took a chance and emailed Vivian, then a stranger to me. She has since become an invaluable source of support, advice and enthusiasm for me every step of the way, so I raise my glass to Vivian and her book, no, her work of art.

So grab your glass of French wine and a flaky, buttery croissant and let Vivian’s words and paintings whisk you across France without liquid restrictions or a full body pat-down. Merci and Felicitations Madame Swift!

 

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Let Them Eat Books

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Unless you’ve been living in outer space for the last few years, you must know about the demise of independent bookstores. Even the big chain bookstores may be in jeopardy as we advance toward a paperless world. One of my favourite bookstores in the world is Shakespeare and Company in Paris but right here in Semur we have one that I think should be declared a French national treasure.

Of course not an English book to be found … Continue reading “Let Them Eat Books” »

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Absolutely Fav

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Well my Finders, it’s a rare moment indeed. Neil wants to say something and I’m letting him (that’s the rare part). Here’s today’s guest post from none other than Rusty the Wonderhusband.

Bureaucrazy at its finest indeed. Phase 1 of the quest for permission to drive on French soil is complete (perhaps that should be Phase 1b—1a being the five month process of applying for exchange under the reciprocity agreement with Canada only to be denied). The b-phase has only been half that time, most of which was spent fighting the decision from the a-phase.

But now, after about 4 weeks of intense study of the code-a-pedia—virage à gauche, passage à niveau sans barrier…avec barrier, giratoire, rond-point, ligne continue, discontinue, interdit, devoir, pouvoir, obligatoire, clignotant, and the all-important prioritaire à droite—on Monday I, along with 7 others in my class, endured the dreaded French driving theory exam.

Of course the night before I woke up in a panic at 3 a.m. and tossed and turned (without crossing the solid line or forgetting to use my blinker) until morning. Thankfully, I didn’t spontaneously vomit on the way to the exam as I sometimes found myself doing walking up Rue Sherbrooke to the McGill gymnasium. I was nervous though. Not because if I didn’t pass I’d have to wait another month to try again, par contre because I couldn’t imagine knowing the rules any better than at that moment, and if I didn’t pass now, I’d might as well give up. Continue reading “Absolutely Fav” »

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Mother Nature has presented winter with her ultimatum and I am not immune to her will. Every living thing here is working overtime to rejuvenate and start anew. For me, that means a return to mulling and pondering. Whether I like it or not, my brain is defrosting and sprouting new leaves.

My brain works best when my body is moving, so I took a walk and I let my thoughts have free reign. Let’s see. I moved to France, gained the prerequisite 20-odd pounds, learned to pace myself at the bakery and squeezed myself back into all my pants. I wrote a book about my shrinking independence and expanding point of view. I made some friends, learned a load of French swear words (Merci Mademoiselle Elodie) and sampled almost every wine produced in this great nation. So now what?

One thing I’ve learned from this whole caper is that quitting your job and ditching your life is a breeze. The hard part is knowing what to do with yourself after the dust settles. I’m 18 months into France and almost 2 years into funemployment. And what a liberating, joyous, terrifying, irritating, peaceful, mind-numbingly boring and exciting time it has been. But when it comes to anticipating the times ahead, well, I find no answer. At the end of my walk I decided that I will now allow that search to slowly take up residence in the vast, empty, dusty, cobwebby corners of my mind.

But I also decided that whatever and wherever my future may be, today there is only this …

Continue reading “Life’s a Bowl of Cherries” »

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