Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spa day @ Shiseido Spa @ La Mas Candilla

Tuesday - Spa Day
After a leisure morning (well, if any morning with a 4-yr. old can be leisurely), E came to get us around lunchtime. There was no time to go to the set so he dropped me off at 13h00 for my spa afternoon. I was showed the Relaxation Room, which wasn't very relaxing with the modern jazz/spa type instrumentals so I went outside and sat in the mild outdoors enjoying the lovely view.

My facialist arrived and showed me to my room. After a questionnaire I changed and slid onto a heated table. Ahhhhhhhhhh! I then submitted to an hour of cleaning, vaporizing, massage, mask and final moisturizing. Heaven! "Bien tranquillement" I got up and dressed.

Heading to the spa pool I clambered up onto the hammock under a Willow Tree...ahhhhhh! Peace..... After deciding I can't leave this place without trying the pool, I went back up to change into my bathing suit.

The pool was so warm it was nearly hot! I loved it! And I tried the "counter-current" swimming jets, and hard-pressure shower to work on my back some more. After another round on the hammock, I plunged into the pool again for more floating and luxuriating before having to bid adieu to this moment...

Each part was so luxurious I didn't want to switch to the next delightful moment!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Vacation 2014

Thursday: arrived via plane. Was talked up the whole flight by an older Frenchman who lives in my neighborhood. Missed the chance to go to the cockpit because I told the stewardess I was "well distracted enough". Simon was a good boy! Well behaved and amused himself. Gorgeous views of the mountains and incredible coastline...

Friday: sunny day. Fun "model shoot" in the playground with Simon and me. Visited the set. Lunch with Fred and Caroline (E's assistant) at Mick Elly's for pizzas. Simon was a good boy - drew on napkins and we played games/stories with forks, knives, water and oil bottles.

Saturday: RAINY. egg hunt was rained out but Simon got his face painted with 2 blue Easter eggs on his cheeks and a yellow Easter bell on his forehead. Went on a menage where the electricity was cut because it was raining so hard so the man had it on slow. All the children looked so sad!!!! Then we went on a pony ride (Charlie) who was pretty jumpy and filthy! I felt so bad for the poneys--they looked like they hadn't been brushed in a year and Charlie even had a tail with a lot of brambles entangled in it. Saw sheep, petted a baby sheep, Simon "milked" a rubber cow that produced real milk, he fed a donkey and horse. Finished with playing in an all-natural type playground. Rainy the whole time. Came home and relaxed. Then went for drive in afternoon. Simon fell asleep as E and I drove from Mandelieu-La Napoule to San Raphael. Agay and Anthos are really pretty--beautiful drive along the coast.

Sunday: got up and ready to get to Nice by 10:00 AM. Parked in Espace Grimaldi and walked to the boardwalk. Simon threw rocks into the sea. Beautiful setting. Lots of Chinese women tourists taking selfies with their phones. Walked back to the Holy Trinity Anglican Church (11 rue Buffa) and waited for the service to start at 11am. There was an older man with a white poodle/bichon type dog in the pew! I wanted to sit next to him but E said it would be too distracting... Simon was very good in the service. A woman came and gave him colored pencils and a pre-printed sheet he could color. The service was lovely. I loved how they had The Gloria part sung by the Cantor, and then alternate parts sung and spoken by us. Beautiful! Nice sermon about how God calls us by name as Jesus called Mary in the garden by her name. And how we know the voice of a good friend instantly. So true.

Afterwards they hosted an Easter egg hunt in the cemetery and there was a lady hiding eggs as fast as the children were finding them. Well, there were only about 4 children. Simon got some orange juice and some potato chips and 2 younger English women complimented me on my hat. I wore my Blue Hydrangea hat that a former beau bought me during a wild weekend in Newport. It's about 20 years old! Aie aie aie!

Then we drove 1/2 hour to Theoule-Sur-Mer for a nice lunch where E's Production Director and wife were already established. We all dined together and the PD's wife was very playful with Simon during the lunch. Afterwards she and Simon went running around the beach together and played "cache-cache" with me. I had Nicoise Salad as an entree and Lamb brochettes for Plat Principal. The restaurant is simple but good food and the owner is très charmant. Plus, he knows E and the PD as they eat there all the time.

We went home to change a bit and then went back out for another exploratory drive--this time up through a mountain pass to Frejus. We listened to and sang along with Simon's French comptines (nursery rhymes). E decided to take PD's suggestion and take me to Saint Tropez for a vrai Tarte Tropezienne, but as it was already 17h30 I said we should do it another time. We made our way back and stopped at a beach for a little promenade where Simon collected a good bunch of driftwood pieces.

Monday: Simon and I relaxed at home until 11:45 when E came to get us and we went to the set. We waited till lunchtime and then had lunch with the crew and actors of the show. I had the salmon on a curried barley with vegetables. Delicious! Frank (one of the actors) was so friendly and so fun and playful with Simon. Everyone gave us such a friendly warm welcome. I got to see another part of the vast industrial building where they create and recreate different sets for the show. Christian showed me the "loge" for the male striptease dancers which was this episode's theme. Before, other rooms were prison showers, prison visitors room, administrative offices and more! Very cool! It's amazing how they have this raw space and how it can get totally transformed depending on the episode.

I went for a short walk up to the Fragonard factory for a (free) tour and then sampled lots of beautiful fragrances. Saw a chicken coop on my way back and got a few more shots... Simon was entertained by all of the crew at various times. We took out his bike but because I left it near the entrance where they were filming, Frank couldn't resist the temptation and tried to ride on it. It broke, of course! So, he frantically tried to repair it between takes, which he did eventually.  Emmanuel escaped at 18:30 and we picked up fresh pizzas and McDo (for Simon) to eat back in our bungalow.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A model shoot?!

Our first day on Easter break, my husband snapped some photos of me and my son. I goofed off and pretended I was a model when I realized he wasn't going to stop clicking away!









Friday, April 11, 2014

Parisian morning

There is nothing finer than finishing a great coffee and conversation with a great friend only to step out into the crisp sunny day and pass a flower shop setting up, petals strewn across the concrete garden path...

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Rude Baguette's Paris Founders Event @Google. A Success!

A fan of Google maps, it was fun to actually go inside their Paris headquarters as opposed to just see the street view. Last night, April 8, 2014, the 2011-founded blog Rude Baguette hosted its 9th Founders Event (TFE) with a twist. Instead of the usual networking-only soiree, they presented 10 finalists, of which five will get a launch package including assistance in marketing, 1-on-1 workshops at Google and tickets to The Next Web conference in Amsterdam.
By hosting the event, Google and its Google for Entrepreneurs program, hopes to contribute to the development of the truly burgeoning French startup scene. Partnered with TFE were La French Tech and Maddyness. La French Tech is another new association created with the French government and businesses to promote French startups. Their aim is to show the world France is a  "Startup Republic!" Maddyness is a site dedicated to the French Startup ecosystem and focuses on news, analysis, trends and guidelines for entrepreneurs. 
Having been in New York City at the beginning of the boiling point for Internet and web, in the mid-90s, it was exciting to be in this basement auditorium at what feels like the new boom for France.
Google, presented by Martin Gorner, asked "why do Google offices look like a kindergarten?" Because we like to think of ourselves as a creative agency, promoting the idea of developing and wanting to work with developers around the world. He referenced former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's famous tweet  "My New Year's Resolution is to learn code with Codeacademy in 2012." Gorner then talked about how the 2013 winner of the Stanford Challenge was French startup Goopil and that with Cloud computing, Google developers can work anywhere.

French Etiquette Lesson #3

Yesterday I went into a brasserie. A "hip" ala New Yorkaise brasserie. Anyway. I went in, early in the morning and hadn't had any coffee yet. I went there the day before all was fine. However, this morning, I went in and three men just looked at me. The server gave me one of those backwards head nods, like "yeah, what are you doing here?" Taken aback, and uncaffeinated, I simply stammered, in French, "do you have any pain au raisin?"
"quoi?"
"pain au raisin? ou croissant...no? d'accord...Je prendrai un croissant"

An older man who looked like he was repairing something electric looked up and hollered after the server saying, "Merci, Monsieur!!"

*     *     *     *     *

Ohhhhhhh....of course. I had completely forgotten my French manners.

When the server came back I said, "excuse me, I forgot to say 'Bonjour' and 'Thank you."

They didn't care by this point. He didn't even tell me how much it cost. This wasn't a very communicative kind of guy anyway. I asked how much it was, knowing full well but just to continue the communicating...An error on my part?

The other patron repeated the amount since the server only really pronounced the first half..."un euro..." (et cinquante...)

I paid 2 euros. Waited for my change. And left.

Harrummph. So frustrating that even after 6 1/2 years here in France, the one morning I forgot my French etiquette I get a patron who decides it's his job to remind me (teach me) my manners.

Some days require more patience than others. But I also remember that there are plenty of times where I have corrected myself as above and it smooths things over immediately and there's a conviviality and forgiveness. Perhaps the owner was just having "one of those mornings too..."

And on with our day!