Sunday, July 3, 2011


Time : 10:44 am (Sophie and Iness are gone, Marwann is sawin’ logs) July 2nd

Location : Sitting on the floor

Weather : Gonna be a hot one today

a rose for the star
11 june

The Alps
Starting where I left off: the weekend at Pra-Loup. But before we get there, we go to Iness’ theatre class’ year end production. It was a 45 minute play set in medieval times that was paired with a dance recital. The dancers went first. Ages ranging from just out of diapers to about twelve years old, it was relatively entertaining. There really was not much there for content, but the very detailed costumes and kids who A) had no interest in being there, B) were five seconds behind everyone else, or C) were more preoccupied with making sure mommy and daddy saw them than actually dancing, made up for it.
the Alps

The piece put on by Iness’ troupe really was good. Although they were a nine to twelve years old, they still did a good job and their theatre training showed in their presence and how they were able to project their voices. Not to mention the ability some of them have to deliver lines, the crowd loved it.
Hiking around Pra-Loup
12 june
made a crown for Iness
while hiking

After the show we got in the car and went directly to Pra-Loup for a three day weekend. The weather was nicer, so we got to spend more time playing tennis and sun tanning on the mountain while in the pool. We met a family there that had kids the same ages as Iness and Marwann, so we spent some time with them going on a hike and I organized us a ping-pong tournament.
is dead during the Spring

Thankfully this time when we got home we still had our phone and internet.
the hotel is dead center
Hotel des Bergers
13 juin

That same week of mid-June, on the Tuesday, I went out for supper at Cassis with Evelin, Ebba and Jara. It was absolutely lovely (apart from the fact that I somehow managed to crack my toe nail down the center just after we arrived, and that there was next to nowhere to eat after 10pm…). We found a cute little restaurant on a side street aptly named L’Escalier (The Stairs) for it had a magnificent iron work staircase in the middle of it which led to a mysterious upstairs. The upstairs just turned out to be a very tranquil and intimate extra dining room, as well as the washrooms.
The most extraordinary experience
of my life.
14 june
Cassis by streetlamp

After our meal we headed to the beach and sat on the rocks for an hour or so, treasuring our last moments in France with Evelin because she was leaving on the Thursday, and due to our au-pairing duties (or at least my own) we (I) wouldn’t be able to see her again.

It was “so lovely”, sitting in the moonlight by the sea. Not exactly something you get to experience in Saskatchewan…
Iness (farthest) literally hanging by her toes
15 june

The following day I returned to Cassis with the family for some beach time.
Pizza vans are all the rage.
hotter than rotisserie chickens
and kebabs.

That Friday was the Karmess for Sophie and Marwann’s school, so I went and helped out with the fishing stand. A Karmess is like a year end fundraiser for the school with carnival games and snacks. By the end of it, myself and the moms I was working with were so thankful that we got some free food because we were starving. All we wanted to do was run over and get a little sandwich, but the kids loved fishing for treasure so much we were never able to escape!!
beau gosse
19 june
Iness' Bday Party

Second last Saturday of June was when Iness had her FĂȘte du Gym for the Roquevaire club. That is where she went before she got into the gymnastic school in Marseille and still competes with them for competitions. It was ridiculously hot that day, and we were crammed in an upstairs training room on the bleachers to watch the year end show of gymnastics. Ages again ranging from just out of diapers to 17 years old and abilities from debutant to Iness’ level.
Cap Canaille
21 june

We then moved outside for the aperitif hour, and then back inside for the potluck dinner and dance.

Imed came home for the weekend for the FĂȘte and for Father’s Day (which, unlike Mother’s Day, is the same day as in Canada). The kids had their Father’s Day morning with him and we made some shrink art key chains before heading off to Iness’ joint birthday party in Marseille.

Thankfully the heat let up a bit for the Monday when I helped out on the four class field trip. It was in a forested area just outside of Aubagne and was themed around the Gauls; the people who populated France during roman times. Familiar with Asterix comics at all? That’s exactly what it was. A hundred plus kids running around from one activity to the next wearing hand painted diamond patterned t-shirts and their winged Asterix helmets.

hes afraid of crabs

The druid had been captured by two Romans and the mini-Asterix had to gather the secret words in order to return power to the druid. I swear I was at the back of the group making sure no Romans came up from behind, but a couple kids still call me “La Druide!!” when I come by the school. Silly children, druids don’t wear watches…or nail polish…


There was the Festival of Music all across France (and maybe the world?) on the 21st when we went to Cassis. We caught some rays on the beach before heading up to the top of the second highest cliff in Europe to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, when we got up, there was sea fog (or something of the like) and so the sunset was not much to see.

View of Cassis from Cap Canaille


Cassis from Cap Canaille

Cap Canaille is the name of the cliff, and it is situated between Cassis and La Ciotat. It is 399 meters above sea level and has no railings. From the top you can see all of Cassis, the lights of La Ciotat (if it is dark enough) and some of the Calanques.

Cassis in Cassis
22 june
some things just gotta be shared

Wednesday morning Marwann and I took our time with breakfast while we waited for Sophie to return from dropping Iness off in Marseille. Once she returned, we went to the market in Cassis. I got some pants and some earrings.

Cathedrale de la Major
24 june

it looks fake doesnt it
Last Friday, I walked for 20 minutes, rode the bus for 10 then the train for 30 to get to Marseille and meet my friend Juanjo. I tried to return the favour and give a great tour of Marseille, but I know next to nothing about Marseille. I had planned one thing; to visit Notre Dame de la Garde and the one spectacular view of Marseille, but he had already done that the night before.

looking into the Vieux Port

So we just walked all the way around the Vieux Port in one direction. We came across a movie being shot and a weird stripy church, as well as an incredible wind. Then in the other direction the Fort Saint-Nicholas who’s cannons are pointed towards the city… to protect the city from itself and the uprising against the governor three and a half centuries ago. We tried to walk in, but some one yelled “STOP!” and then we saw the sign saying it was military property and we could not enter.

looking out to sea
Paris wins.

Later we came across l’Arc de Triomphe, which is indeed a (very poor) replica of l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris. There is also an Obelisk in Marseille, which is copying…you guessed it! The one in Paris. Way back when, Marseille wanted to be like Paris. They wanted to be the capital of the country. You can not compare Marseille to Paris. Not at all. Marseille just can not be the capital of France. So, now instead of being like Paris, they just don’t like Paris. If at first you don’t succeed, go do something easier.

this was not the worst
harvesting of the ABRICOTS begins
27 june

This last week had been a mix of extreme relaxation and extreme business, as the last week before vacation usually is. When the Mistral is not blowing us away, we’re in pool or picking apricots, enjoying summer. As well as moving Sophie’s class room into the spare room here. Apparently the Mistral comes in sets of three, six or nine days. Today is day three; let’s hope it stays that way.

Caught a papillion and...
28 june

made it a house.
In regards to the fate of the papillon,
it escaped the very next day...

Tuesday I dug out the very old and deteriorates when you touch it tent from the cellar and set it up. I also repaired it a bit because otherwise I would not have been able to set it up. After dinner I gathered sticks and made a little fire in an old pan outside (‘coz we aren’t exactly supposed to have fires here, but there was no wind so Sophie said it was ok, as long as it was small) and prepared the coals for a marshmallow roast.

Somebody just had their first
roasted marshmallow.
nobody has fire pits.. so we used a pan...

My mind was blown (but only for a moment, because well, this IS France) when I found out that Marwann and Iness had never had roasted marshmallows before. I think they liked them. Maybe more than my skills on the guitar I tuned up that day as well (let’s just say my repertoire is Well Known). To make up for it, we played Uno in the tent before we gave up on the wind-it-flashlight.

shes a star

I had never been this excited for Canada Day. I don’t know why. Maybe because I love drawing Maple Leaves and spreading Canadian Joy? It is a possibility. Or maybe it is just because I love baking…

my skills are limited
but thats ok

I made a Canada Day Flag Cake for Canada Day, and for Sophie’s lunch potluck on July 1st. Being the last day of school as well as Sophie’s last day at that school, her teacher friends, as well as some of their children who happen to be Marwann’s friends, came over for a potluck lunch. It was a good time, everyone was very happy that summer vacay was a couple of hours away, and I was very happy that it was Canada Day. Although I think it was missing a bit of festivities… People did ask about it though, which I liked.

realised I was singing the alphabet wrong...

But back to this cake.

So it really is a simple recipe: cake pieces, Jell-O, strawberries mixed in, whipped cream and more strawberries. What can (haha not go wrong, don’t worry) be hard?!

Peace and Love man


Cake mixes = non existent. Not a big deal. Just whip up a yogurt cake.


Jell-O = nobody even knows what I am talking about. I spent days in the supermarkets around here looking for Jell-O. Eventually, all I managed to get were gelatine leaves. Yeah I don’t know what they are either. But they work. And I guess are relatively easy to use… As long as you think of buying drink syrups to flavour them because this gelatine has no flavour…
someone was creepin'

So a relatively simple recipe becomes a multi step process of grocery buying and recipe reformatting. It all turned out and people loved it so I shouldn’t complain, not that I am. But sometimes I wonder about French people….


After school, when I went to get Marwann, Sophie’s class was outside in the courtyard giving her flowers and gifts, and presenting on the spot theatre productions and songs. It was quite nice and a little chaotic. Later in the evening more people came over for dinner with more children.

Loved & Devoured
One of Iness’ friends, when she arrived, came up to me and gave me a Tupperware container with plastic wrap on it and something weird inside. I asked what it was and she told me it was a live cigale (cicada) she rescued from her pool for me as well as some dead bodies she found. She knew that I had never seen one before, so she thoughtfully brought me this gift.


Now that it is hot out, from sun rise to sun set the cicadas are doin’ their thing in the trees. And it is borderline driving me nuts. At first I thought they were crickets, but then I discovered that they were the cigales. People here, in the South, either love them with their whole pride of Provence (which is only consists of olive oil, lavender, herbs and cigales), or hate them. Anyway, I hear them ALL THE TIME but I never see them, so it kind of bothers me… The sound is the males making their mating call. I don’t really know how they do it, but I doubt they make it with their tiny mouths). Debate arose last night if the cigales only live for a day, or three or a full week. Either way, they’re doomed. (I later checked and found out that they live for years!! And in some places on the globe, they can live for 17 years!!!!)

One last comment on Canada Day: not being in Canada for Canada Day was definitely weirder than Christmas. Probably because everyone knows about Christmas and not Canada Day…

12:02 pm