Monthly Archives: April 2009

Palm Desert – April 2009

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It is windy and cooler than I thought it would be this time of year. The view of the pool and then the golf course (with water feature) is just beyond. Roadrunners jog by from time to time and a few geese that haven’t migrated yet linger nearby. I’m enjoying hearing the stories from 84 years of living from the Grandma. I’m surprised by how quickly we feel connected – I think we really could be room-mates. Watching her deal with the loss of her eyesight has helped me to appreciate some of the simple things I enjoy. 

We had left-over Easter Lamb tossed into a salad with the other things we had on hand the first night. We went to the grocery store yesterday and picked up some fresh ingredients. Grandma had never had (or even heard of) Tilapia but she was willing to try it. So I baked two yams in the microwave and sauted onions, yellow and green squash in a skillet. After I took the vegetables out I added a little more light olive oil and cooked the fish until it was browned and flaked easily (it cooked quickly since the filets were small). It always feels so good to eat healthy food – fish and vegetables, a little olive oil and salt and pepper – simple goodness.

Tonight we plan to have Turkey Meatloaf – we had a conversation about comfort food that prompted the decision. I’m hoping to make a Lemon Meringue Pie tomorrow (or tonight) but I need to go buy a rolling pin first.

The house is beautiful, comfortable and welcoming. Well, it’s time to look through some recipes, almost time to cook.

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Love of Fleur de lis ‘part duex’

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Andre`, my pen-pal from France was named Andre`!! Guess how I remembered it? No that’s not how. I was reading my dear friend’s daughter’s blog from Paris and I was looking at the photos of the young people she is hanging out with and it just came to me!! I knew it would eventually. More thoughts to come…gotta go live life…

Fleur-de-lis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The fleur-de-lis (or fleur-de-lys, plural: fleurs-de-lis; pronounced /ˌfləː(r)dəˈliː/ (pronounced [ˌflœː(ʀ)dəˈlɪs] in Quebec French), translated from French as “lily flower”) is a stylized design of either an iris or a lily that is now used decoratively as well as symbolically, or it may be “at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic”,[1] especially in heraldry.

While the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coats of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy in an historical context, and continues to appear in the arms of the king of Spain and the grand duke of Luxembourg, members of the House of Bourbon.

It is an enduring symbol of France that appears on French postage stamps, though it has never been adopted officially by any of the French republics. InNorth America, the fleur-de-lis is often associated with areas formerly settled by France, such as Quebec and Louisiana, and with French-speaking people in other Canadian provinces.

It is also the emblem of the city of Florence, and of the Swiss municipality of Schlieren.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the flag of Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 1998 contained six fleurs-de-lis and is used as a national symbol of Bosniaks.

In the United Kingdom, a fleur-de-lis has appeared in the official arms of the Norroy King of Arms for hundreds of years.

The Welsh poet Hedd Wyn used Fleur de Lys as his pen name when he won his chair at the National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru), the national poetry contest. (See Chairing of the bard.)

Fleurs-de-lis appear on military insignia and the logos of many different organizations, and, during the 20th century, the symbol was adopted by various Scouting organizations worldwide for their badges. Architects and designers may use it alone or as a repeated motif in a wide range of contexts, from ironwork to bookbinding, especially where a French context is being implied. As a religious symbol, it may represent the Trinity, or be an iconographic attribute of the archangel Gabriel, notably in representations of the Annunciation.[2] In such contexts, the fleur-de-lis is associated with the Virgin Mary.

The symbol is also often used on a compass rose to mark the north direction, a tradition started by Flavio Gioja, a Neapolitan mariner of the fourteenth century.

It is represented in Unicode at U+269C FLEUR-DE-LIS ().

My Love of the Fleur de lis Symbol

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0404092145I’m not sure when it started, but I love the Fleur de lis Symbol.

In my pre-teen years I (along with millions of others) romanticized Paris and anything else French. I didn’t allow myself very many big dreams in my ‘small town world’ but I did hope to someday go to France (including Paris). I always loved to draw and paint. In fact it’s the only thing I really felt like I might be good at (well except twirling the baton but I was smart enough to know that wouldn’t get me very far in the real world).

<Random thought> my daughter will read this and think (maybe even say to me) ‘why does my mom use soooo many parenthesis??? <end random thought>

So back to my big dreams….I pictured myself traveling, drawing, painting, eating French food, meeting romantic French men…..oh that reminds me, I went so far as to start corresponding with a young man from France – a pen pal through my French class my Freshman year of  High School. What was his name? I know I will remember it…..but the most memorable part (other than not being able to read French even though I was in a class to learn how) was that he was very disappointed when I finally sent a photo of myself because he thought since I was from California that I would be blond and he couldn’t believe how far away from the beach I lived!

Trust me, I was disappointed with both of those fact as well. In fact, I had a plan to remedy both of those problems – yes one of my ‘big’ dreams (the other thing my daughter will complain about is my over use of quotes) was to eventually live at the beach in California. Well I’m almost 50 yrs old and it’s not looking like I will make it but I’m not giving up on that one yet. 

The other two goals I had I have given up on: Goal #1. going blond – ok, I had enough high-lights a few years ago that I was close and I did consider ‘going all the way’ but I resisted and I’m now proudly going gray.

Goal #2. boob job – that one I think I am adequately over (unless I get breast cancer and I found out there are no risks to removing both breast and replacing them with very large implants, cuz I will do that if I have to have painful surgery anyway, especially if I’m a widow by then – I will need resources for getting a new husband, I’m sorry, that’s just a fact – I can’t financially support myself adequately)

So this ‘Random Thoughts’ post is more random than I planned….back to my love of the Fleur de lis….I really didn’t know what it was called or pay much attention to it until I was in my early thirties. A new friend mentioned that our home was very generic, not much of  ‘me’ in the decor. Well of course I became very defensive and explained that we didn’t have enough money and we had recently moved and a few other excuses but he was relentless. No, there was something more there. Some reasons I didn’t take the risk to make our home a reflection of my personality or at least a representation of our family (I was married and had one pre-school age daughter – did I mention she is now an editor for a business journal – hence the prediction of her remarks regarding my spelling, grammar and use of punctuation).

Anyway, I got to thinking…..why have I been so hesitant to decorate our home? I was a full time home-maker and loved most of what that entailed (ok, I admit – I don’t like or do a very good job at the actual cleaning part – but I love to rearrange furniture, cook, grocery shop, decorate <now>, entertain, etc.). 

One reason I hadn’t decorated our home (again, I may be overstating it a little – it was just bland – beige, neutrals, mostly hand me downs and a few cheap new additions, no pictures up on the wall – photos or artwork) is because I wasn’t sure what my style was. I knew I didn’t want ultra traditional and I had been leaning toward an early 80’s quasi tropical (we lived in Southern California before we were there living in Texas).

So I started researching my decorating style. I had a new mission. I jest now but it was quite a serious endeavor. I heard my mother’s practical voice in the back of my mind (my own mind was pretty practical too). I had to keep asking myself ‘but what do you like?’ I really wasn’t sure.

One suggestion that caught my attention was to find an object that would be your inspiration for the rooms you were going to decorate. Ironically, I received that object that would inspire my decorating style as a going away gift a few days before we moved back to California. One of my neighbors was with me when I saw it at a Laura Ashley store in the Mall (did I mention it was in the mid 80’s). The item that inspired my entire decorating direction was a blue and white chintz patterned tea pot. 

Even though Laura Ashley tea pots were clearly British not French, it took me down a path of really liking a sort of Euro Country Classic style that often had Fleur de lis patters somewhere in the decor. Some parts of my home have a Tuscan feel, especially the wall paint color in the kitchen. The family room has more of an American casual with a few classic touches (the arms of the brown leather sectional have a classic curve to them). But my favorite spot in the house is my sitting room/dining room. The Dining Room table and chairs are definitely Country French and the settee and wing back chairs in my blue and white sitting area would probably be considered Traditional (British).

I’ve tried not to be too cutesy with the Fleur de lis pattern, but there are a few here and there. The recipe card holder, the olive oil decanter I got in Florence (see Wikipedia for more info on that connection), and now my latest happy addition – four glasses one of my dear friends from Texas had delivered to my door yesterday!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur-de-lis