Saturday, December 31, 2011

Being a Guest in a French home

During this holiday season there are parties galore.   It is a time when the FRench have time to entertain and be entertained as most have at least a week off from work and many have more.   Often there is a visit to the country or mountain house at this time too. 

 Usually in the  French homes of my single friends, it is a sit down meal with 5 or six people as tables are small to go with the average small apartments.  

This holiday however, I went to a large buffet that was hosted by a French friend, as an American style cocktail party with 25 people draped on all the furniture in the salon of a one bedroom apartment .  Each of us brought a dish, either starter or dessert and the host cooked the "pot au feu" including a nice chunk of beef, carrots, potatoes and a side salad relish for each person.

  There was a gift exchange and several guitar player guests took turns strumming.  It was a delightful evening with mostly artists , cooks,  musicians, teachers, but people representing every other walk of life as well. 

 There were two young children and a teacup chi-hua-hua.  The children never got bored, or tired or became a nuisance in any way.  The children asked for a pen and notebook and wrote poetry all night.  The 9 year old girl had done her school paper on Surrealism which really took her fancy. You get the picture.  

 This modest apartment was covered in contemporary art done by the owner and his friends.  And after years, I knew almost all of the guests from his parties before.   He is very faithful to a core of friends.

Another invitation came from a French friend who lives in a pristine town between Monaco and Nice.  The view overlooking the sea always makes a small apartment seem twice as large and that was the case here.  This small two bedroom, apartment was neatly and tastefully appointed with Grandmother's antiques and mementos and books from the three years our friend had spent studying yoga in India.

The company for lunch was lively although there were just five of us.   The talk went from Indian Fakirs to how a child learns language to what is being done to crops in FRance  ( not good, they have their own sinister seed company equally as powerful as ours in the states)   Every topic was welcomed with good humor and examined from all sides.   We were, of course,  careful around politics and religion since most of us had never met.

 The food this glorious sunny day was the equivalent of an Italian picnic fit for a prince.  We had marinated artichokes and mushrooms, Italian meats and cheeses,  homemade vegetable soup and tabouli.  The  chianti and champagne were the best.  The dessert was a chocolate, raspberry mouse cake from a good Pâtissier in Nice.  An  elegant  table was laid with carefully selected antiques dishes.

So it's not true that foreigners don't get invited into French homes.  It does take some time to build friendships and most French people work very hard to earn modest sums and have time off to entertain outside of their own families.  Family life is very important here; the parents will be honored first at holidays, especially if they are old or living alone.

We hear that the FRench will not invite you in, that they feel that one must do all of the cooking oneself.     Just aint' true these days.  The old ways are changing fast.  

 And while you are here, I want to take this moment to thank you for another year of support on my blog and to wish you the very best in health, wealth, laughter and fun for 2012.  As I said, the old ways are changing fast and we need to stick together.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mysterious skies.

                                                                                                                            photo by Bruce Bethany

                                                                                                                                  photo by Nice Matin

The temperature here in Nice has fallen dramatically.  Yesterday and the day before we had  6 degrees C. (somewhere about 43 degrees F) .... and as if to emphasize that point, we had another development equally as theatrical:

Tornadoes off the sea.

Monday, we had a strange and mysterious sky, a few flakes of snow and then.... (I had it from my hairdresser).....  tornadoes ( water spouts?)  off the Mediterranean.  

Then today we will have our pea soup and our crusty bread on the terrace with the temperature a warm 12 degrees C.

Expect the unexpected, as the sages say.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

PLaywrights discuss "God of Carnage".

I was sent this excerpt from the Los Angeles Times entertainment section by my friend, Bruce.  It shows how the laughs are different with each culture and how flexible  Reza's plays seem to be.  I highlighted some passages in red as I wonder about these ideas also.  Does a film always translate into other cultures for example.  I still hope to see a stage version, to see how the play will be different and maybe better than the film.

Playwrights Yasmina Reza and Christopher Hampton discuss 'God of Carnage'

The barbed insults that fly fast and deadly each night in "God of Carnage" at the Ahmanson Theatre come from the pen of Yasmina Reza, the celebrated French playwright and winner of two Tony Awards. Working once again with British playwright Christopher Hampton as translator, she has written an acidic exploration of middle-class savagery and liberal hypocrisy.

Reza, who was born in Paris and is of Hungarian and Persian heritage, stands virtually alone as a foreign-language playwright able to break into the contemporary Broadway scene. Her comedy "Art" won the Tony for best play in 1998 and went on to become one of the most performed plays in regional theaters across the U.S. Her other plays include "Life x3," "The Unexpected Man" and "Conversations After a Burial."

Hampton has translated most of Reza's plays to English. The London-based writer won a screenplay Oscar in 1989 for "Dangerous Liaisons," adapted from his own play, and two Tonys in 1995 for the book and lyrics to the musical "Sunset Boulevard."
Recently, Reza and Hampton sat down to discuss "God of Carnage." Reza conducted her interview via email from France, and her responses have been translated from French to English. Hampton was in L.A. recently and spoke at his hotel in Beverly Hills.

Can you explain the inspiration for "God of Carnage"?

Reza: Yes. In the street, while returning from school with my son, I was talking to the mother of one of his classmates. Her son had suffered a broken tooth following a fight on the playground, and she said this to me: "Do you realize: the parents haven't even called to apologize!" I immediately thought that there was an interesting theme here.
How did you create the four characters in the play? Did you put yourself in any of them?

Reza: I always put myself in the characters that I write. I spread myself out and hide myself in each of them.
Your plays often deal with characters who are middle class, cultivated, but sometimes hypocritical. What attracts you to this social milieu? 

Reza: I would say that above all, my plays are about people who are well-raised but who lose control of themselves. My characters are for the most part impulsive by nature. You could describe my plays as being a theater of nerves.

Have you discovered anything different in the play with each staging in different cities?

Reza: I first saw the play in Zurich [in 2006 at the Schauspielhaus], for which the play had been written. Each country brings its own culture, aesthetic, and I would also say its own moral standards. You're always learning about what you've written for the theater. The best actors are always inventive and unpredictable. I'm very aware of the generosity of craft that English-speaking actors bring.

Hampton: What strikes me is how flexible [Yasmina's] plays are to fit quite a wide range of actors. We had 21 casts in "Art" in London, who ranged in age from their 20s to 70s. Her plays bend themselves to the actors -- this is also true of Pinter -- which is quite rare. With other plays, mine included, you have to be specific in the casting.

HamptonFor the London production of "God of Carnage," the play was set in France. For the U.S. version, the setting has shifted to Brooklyn. Why the change?

Hampton: Matthew [Warchus, the director], Yasmina and I sat down with the actors a few days before rehearsals [on Broadway] to translate the play into "American." We listened to the actors and talked about each line and wound up with quite a lot of changes, several to the page.... English and American English are really two separate languages, and it's an enjoyable game. In the course of this, it was mooted that we might change the setting. James Gandolfini in particular was uncertain that he would pass muster as a Frenchman. I had resisted changing the setting with "Art." But there's something about "God of Carnage" that is less specific and more universal. Yasmina, who had to be convinced, finally said yes, try it. Hope Davis lives in Brooklyn, so she was able to give us advice, like which parks the characters would visit.

Did you make any changes to the story?

Hampton: In terms of the content of the play, no. Yasmina is very specific about everything. She doesn't really want anything to appear in front of the audience that she didn't write. Sometimes she gets exasperated. Once, she took me aside, and in an exasperated way said, "English is such a poor language!"

People who saw the Paris production of the play (which was directed by Reza) said that it was more serious and less comic than the English-language stagings. Is the play funnier in English or French?
Reza: Or Spanish? Honestly, I don't know. I'm not sure that humor is a distinct criterion.

Hampton: I would say the play had a rather somber tone in Paris. Yasmina is ambivalent about the audience's laughter. I embrace it. I don't think it compromises the seriousness of the play in the least to have the audience laughing.

Is it harder to translate a play by a living writer?

Hampton: Yes and no. Yasmina is very exacting. With "Art," she didn't really speak English. But she speaks it now. I told her that she taught herself English to make my life a misery! I studied languages at Oxford, French and German, and I'm very passionate about rendering accurately the intention of the author. There are some writers I couldn't translate -- I've been offered Pirandello and Lorca, but I can't convince myself of what their intentions are. Those I do choose, I feel a kinship and affinity.

Roman Polanski recently adapted "God of Carnage" for the movies. Do you think the play will work as a film, given that it takes place in one setting and has no scene changes?

Reza:  Yes, very well. Cinema has nothing to do with place. It's the way of filming and envisioning the space that counts. 

What was it like working with Polanski? [Reza co-wrote the screenplay with the director; Hampton is not involved with the film.]

Reza: It was excellent. I admire him and I think that we understand each other.

What new plays and projects are you working on now?

Reza: The title, in English [of my new play], is "How You Talk the Game." It hasn't been translated yet. [It's about] a writer who comes to present his latest work in a small town.

Hampton: I've completed a screenplay for Sam Mendes based on the novel "Netherland" [by Joseph O'Neill]. I've written a stage play based on "All About Eve." And I'm working on a musical called "Rebecca" [based on the Daphne du Maurier novel], which we're hoping to take to Broadway next spring. I'm about to start a new play commissioned by the National Theatre. It's about the last years in the life of J.S. Bach.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

La Droguerie

Being a putterer, a person who likes to make stuff....I have discovered where some of the similarly afflicted hang out in Nice.

It is a crafters boutique franchised throughout France called La Droguerie  In our town it is

La Droguerie à Nice
29 rue de l'Hôtel des Postes 06000 NICE Tél: 04 93 04 51 47 Fax: 04 93 53 39 56 Heures d'ouverture: Du lundi au samedi de 10h00 à 19h00 La boutique restera ouverte le samedi 24 décembre 2011 et le samedi 31 décembre 2011 
jusqu'à 18h

The shop carries buttons, ribbons, and all manner of beads, ropes, chain, baubles, etc for making your own jewelry or completing garments, as well as yarns for crocheting or knitting and fabric swatches for quilting.   It does sound like a female domain but I have known men who knit and sew and certainly men who make jewelry albeit from more noble materials.  One of my brothers can sew and make his own buttons if he feels like it.

It is sort of a mysterious system at the Droguerie.  The store has its own designers who propose possible designs for their jewelry or knitted clothes etc but do not provide written directions.  You are free to take a photo from their picture catalogue and free to ask plenty of questions but why make it too easy.  This is France.

Of course you can come up with your own ideas.  I often take apart necklaces or earrings that aren't quite right or have cheap elements that I don't like and reconstitute them with some of the extra elements I find at the boutique.

  I found this chain in the boutique and redid these old style earrings.

I found these Eiffel towers stamped on abalone shell for 6 euros in a junk store and changed all the rest.

I added the tear drop part and glued on some rhinestones to match the original earring drops.

These chunks of raw coral came from a necklace that pinched my hair. I hate necklaces like that so I changed the necklace in the back and had some remaining chunks of "root" coral left.  I had enough to make two pairs of earrings from elements I found in the "Droguerie"  trove.

Here is a necklace I made using some of my pieces and some of theirs.

and here is one I made using their pieces but my idea.

The only drawback is the price of the elements that can be found cheaper in bulk online.  To make a pair of earrings with just their elements costs about 15 to 23 euros.  I find that expensive so I like to find my own elements as much as possible. But if you are addicted to making things, then it just seems the price to pay for some fun.

The best bargain for the jewelry maker is a pair of round "pince" for 4.30 euros at this boutique. 

All the tools you will need are on sale in the shop for decent prices.

Of course, if you are good with needles or hook, there is a fine selection of yarns.  The only thing that is missing is a knitting circle or class.   But maybe that is an American concept.

Yes, from time to time , you will find me in a hallucinatory trance looking at the endless array of beads and dreaming up new designs.  It is just one of my more innocent addictions.  Let me know if you want to go together and I can get you started on the road to penury.

Out and About

This week I accepted all of my invitations.   Being an artist I suppose means that sometimes I am a recluse , sometimes social.    But this week was a good time to step out.


The first treat this week was a trip to Monaco with a girlfriend to see our compatriot,  Amy Blake, a former Texan, singing in Good Evening Mr. Gershwin at the Variety on the port of Monaco.  Amy is not only charming to watch, but a  talented chanteuse and cantatrice into the bargain.  As far as I can see, the difference between the two designations is popular ( chanteuse) and classical (cantatrice).  With her range from mezzo to soprano she was able to serve up some sultry jazz sounds although having been classically trained as an opera singer.

She was joined by a saxophone/clarinet player Olivier Boutry,  a sax and clarinet player,  a double bassist,  Patrick Barbato to "slap that bass", the chatty piano player, Paul Berthaud who doubled as the narrator,  and a drummer, Patrick Mendez...all amazingly and equally accomplished.   It was a well- rounded delightful evening and I will follow Amy and her fellow musicians when she sings in our area.

           Amy Blake

I continued in my string of events with an invitation to the restaurant LE FROG http://frog-restaurant.frhidden behind the Nice Opera house.  My girlfriend hosted me with a Groupon ticket which meant that instead of paying for the meal,  I enjoyed a fine starter of chevre wrapped in filo dough, a main course of caramelized endive and a slice of rouget fish.  Thanks to my pal, all I payed for was the glass of Sancerre.   Go give FROG a try, the woman under the toque has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Thursday I went to Harmonia Mundi,
a boutique of fine music and film to see an old acquaintance, Pierre Virol, present his latest photos.  I was able to catch up with some friends and admire Pierre's interesting work with the camera.  The intimate exhibition, called Racines reminded me of work I had done on the same subject.  We had already thought about teaming up and I won't rule it out.

Friday, J and I saw the new movie by Polanski: Carnage.   I hadn't thought of Roman Polanski as a director of comedy but he lead a tight ensemble composed of Jody Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christopher Waltz in a comedy/drama that takes place chiefly in one room much like a theatre piece.  It's has to do with two couples trying to "be civilized" about a fight between their teenage sons , a fight which spills over onto the parents.

                                                                          Internet movie database              

 I hadn't known the work of Christopher Waltz ,  deftly hilarious as the cynical lawyer husband of Kate , a man surgically attached to his cell phone.  The other veterans were equally compelling in their roles in this comedy of "no manners".   I have really not seen any of these favorites put a foot wrong for a long time if ever.

 J. and I however were the only ones really laughing in the salle de cinema, so it could be that Carnage is culturally based upper middle class, humor and requires American as a first language.  I would suggest if you possess these requirements that you get thee to the Rialto Cinema this week.

To finish my cluster of invitations,  yesterday afternoon I attended a party to celebrate 150 years of our Nice English- American 
I seldom get a chance to catch up with the volunteers who staff the library, most of whom I have known for years.  The buffet was not even the best part, as I got to renew old acquaintance and gather a few new eccentric types for my "charm bracelet" of "connaissances".  It seems some of the most uncommon folks end up as ex-patriots somewhere. 
I heard stories in accents French, Belgian, American, British, Irish and Scottish. 

 There is nothing like a new story....stories made all the more compelling perhaps when enlivened by endless top-ups of champagne and good smoked salmon.    Today I am going to lay low and listen to my collection of classical music and muse , is that a verb?

Friday, December 9, 2011

From the archive -drawings III

                                                       Pastel on colored Canson paper

 Had enough of looking at that death mask of my last posting every time I opened Safari so I  am emboldened instead to show some more of my stash of drawings.  

                                                    Charcoal on white Canson

                                                        Pencil/Charcoal on Canson
All of these drawings are on Format Raisin or 50 x65 cm, Canson paper.  Canson comes from  the ancient paper mill that makes these internationally respected papers for fine art.

 Format Raisin (pronounced "forma raisenh ) falls into designation for French paper standardizing of which there is no American or English equivalent.
 I would love to know where the name comes from.   Another size is called "Eagle" or  "Aigle".  But back to drawing.

                                             Charcoal , brush and water, white pastel

  When drawing a model, I find it easier, and beginners are encouraged, to use the whole paper . Format Raisin is the paper size  recommended for the class called Academy ( Nude drawing).  

However, format RAisin ( reminds me of FRench wine)  would not always be my chosen size for presenting these nudes and intimate portraits for presentation as "pieces" .  Because of the style I have used, I have decided to experiment with a more discreet size, something that the viewer has to move up on.

                                                Using the edge of the charcoal stick

   So I am now attempting to reduce these to use on a 15x20 cm copper or zinc plate for intaglio printing.

  With the use of a digital camera and the computer it has not been a problem to reduce the images.    One just needs to keep in mind that everything will be the mirror image when drawing on the plate with a stylus through a waxy varnish.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


   When I was a child, a mysterious ceramic face hung on the wall of our house. 

 When asked about it I was told that it was a dead or sleeping girl.  From this launched all manner of childhood questions of which the illogical conclusion was that it must be my deceased grandmother.   It did not really seem odd to a five year old that one would want one's mother watching over one,  dead or alive! 

In fact, I found later that it was a copy of a death mask,  a memorial quite often made of famous people in centuries past.   There are death masks of Pope Innocent ,Voltaire, Napoleon, Beethoven, Lincoln to name a few.  These were cast from plaster or wax and were used as "objets d'art " or as artists models.   In fact copies of these masks are still found in many traditional art schools.  You may have drawn one.

But this copy was a mask of a girl who was never famous until after her death.  She is known simply as "L'inconnue de la Seine"  ( the unknown woman of the Seine.) and at one time, copies of her face were found in hundreds of bohemian homes across Europe and I daresay, in  America.

The story begins in the late 1880's when the body of "L'inconnue" was pulled from the Seine as a suspected suicide.  
Until 1909, the Parisian morgue, then located behind Notre Dame Cathedral displayed bodies for public view.  Thousands of visitors passed by the morgue daily to view the deceased, a popular if not morbid form of entertainment.

According to the story, an assistant at the morgue was attracted by the serene and graceful visage of the unknown girl and decided to have a cast made of her face.  He found it remarkable that the girl's face with it's beguiling Mona Lisa smile was unmarked and looked only as if she were peacefully asleep. 

Soon after, copies of this mask could be found mainly in French and German homes inspiring hairstyles, art and literature.... the unknown girl finding her way into the writings of Camus, Nabokov and Rilke and Anais Nin to name a few.

Nowadays the original story is a suspected fabrication.   According to science, drowned victims are never found in this undamaged state. 

So the mask was probably that of a live girl, some say the daughter of a famous mask-maker of the time from the Lorenzi family model-making firm.   A descendent who still works in the firm also believes that the girl was alive , not drowned when the cast was made as the features are all distinct and un-bloated.  She estimates the age of the girl as no older than 16 as the skin is of a fine texture. 

But the true identity of the girl has never been verified and so she is still the mysterious "inconnue".

An interesting side-line is that in 1960 the CPR dummy was created by the Austrian doctor Peter Safar.    The story is that when Safer was looking for a face that practitioners would not mind getting close to , he chose L'inconnue .  So perhaps it is true,  it is now the most kissed face in the world.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kaki Pommes

                                                               Soft Persimmons

It is the time of year for one of my favorite fruits, the persimmon or kaki, which in France is found in two textures, the kaki pomme ,which as the name says can be eaten like an apple, or the tomato shaped persimmon which is eaten soft.  

 My pick is the thinner elongated Kaki Pomme, or the "Sharon fruit" cultivated for France mainly in Israel  ( from the Sharon Plain ) and Spain.

You have to admit that the design of the persimmon is a work of genius with its bright coral orange surface and perfect flower calyx stem.  It is enough to buy some for a centerpiece but they are a treat to the palette as well.

There was a time that I would not dare to eat the fruit.  As a child I was challenged to eat an unripe persimmon which curled my tongue into a furry twist with all the tannins it contained.  And when I dared to eat a ripe,  tomato shaped one I found it too soft and slippery and still do .  For years  I admired persimmons only for there stunning Autumn beauty and spicy name.

 Just a few years back though, I was asked to try a piece of ripe kaki pomme..... Sweet and different. Now every season I bring home a few each week.. when I find myself near an outdoor or Asian market.

But a warning:  do not throw caution aside when you consider when to indulge in your kaki pomme . A ripe kaki pomme is softer by far than an apple which should be crisp and firm.  A kaki pomme is firm to the touch but like a good Comice pear , the flesh will give a little to a gentle squeeze of finger and thumb.

                                                                  Kaki Pommes

Persimmons come ripe in nature only after the first cold spell (although commercially they are ripened with carbon dioxide).

  There is a big Persimmon tree on the street nearby my house, but at the moment no one seems interested in gathering the fruit.  Perhaps it is because the best way to pick persimmons really is to wait until the fruit is ready to drop and not before.  

 Too bad most of my neighbor's fruit ends up in the street like a kindergartner's finger painting smeared into a De Kooning paste.  

  Still I have my Sharon fruit ripening on my kitchen counter.   So I'm chuffed, as the English say.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kim Boulukos Sculptures

Today Kim Boulukos took me and another friend to see the last weekend of her 5 month long exhibition at the Menton Musee de Beaux- Arts.

Like many dedicated artists, Kim who is an American living in France, finds that her work takes her to several other European countries.

 The iron horses are cast and the lithographs are printed in Hungary where there is a thriving artist community.  She uses the lost wax technique for the bronze sculptures.

Ms. Bouluko's work is characterized by her subject: large creatures...usually hounds or horses.  But as she says she is pleased that viewers bring their own interpretations to the pieces.   The show encompasses ceramics, welded sculpture, lithograph and drawings .

Having a scientific background and starting as a ceramicist , Kim loves coming up with new and interesting patinas for her cast sculptures. 

the artist

The artist with dog with bone..

          One room of the museum is  full of "bird dogs", some of my favorites of Kim's offerings.   The realistic looking "wooden" slabs found in the nests are all hand crafted ceramic pieces.   And there are real feathers and eggs in some of the nests. ...very playful .

                    This nest reminds me of the one our collared doves are making in the bay tree just now.

I love this elegant torso.

My all time favorite though, was this intimate little doe.  The artist says it was inspired by her dog but she was happy to let me have my vision of a deer.

Gotta be a horse....but maybe a giraffe!  I want him in my garden.

                                       Hound dogs dreaming about that bone.

I am only giving you some highlights from the show.  If you rush over you can still see it in its entirety before it goes down on Tuesday.    In a short space of time from a full time job as a scientist, Kim has already penetrated the international art scene. ...and I expect this creator will continue to soar.

Monday, November 14, 2011

One Day On Earth - Original Trailer

photo courtesy of Bruce and Roxanne Bethany

ONE DAY ON EARTH creates a picture of humanity by recording a 24-hour period throughout every country in the world.  

  I am very pleased to have found Vimeo,  with some quite original output. This is where I found the following video:
(Unfortunately I don't see how I am able to post these videos directly.  I could use some advice here.) 

The ONE DAY ON EARTH site  states:

  "We explore a greater diversity of perspectives than ever seen before on screen. We follow characters and events that evolve throughout the day, interspersed with expansive global montages that explore the progression of life from birth, to death, to birth again. In the end, despite unprecedented challenges and tragedies throughout the world, we are reminded that every day we are alive there is hope and a choice to see a better future together. "   

Thanks to friends that travel and share their photos , each of us is now able to give our impressions of humanity at work and play.....  one day on earth as we see it.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Its a rare day with all the attendant predictions and histories..  It's 11/11/11.

If my father were alive he would be 100 years old.  He was born on  Bastille Day so he would have been 5 months old in 1911 when this number came forward a hundred years ago.

We will only see this day once in our lifetimes ( unless you plan on reaching 100 + years)!

It is also Veterans Day or Armistice Day, a holiday in France, as in most allied countries, I presume.
The first World War known as "The Great War" was officially ended when President Wilson signed the treated of Versailles on June 28,1919 at the Palace of Versailles in the town of Versaille, just outside Paris.    The fighting had ended seven months earlier when a temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allies and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  And so the chosen day to celebrate the occasion is 11/11 each year. Unfortunately, this day was not the end of "the war to end all wars" as was supposed.

  But it is the excuse for Monsieur and I to open a bottle of champagne and consume a "poulet de grain" , a chicken raised only on proper grain not on fish meal, and other strange additives.  To us, this type of chicken is the best you can buy in France, much better than a Bresse chicken which is more expensive.

courtesy of Roger Marchese

 The western taste has eaten rubbish chickens for so long that the Bresse chicken with its clingy, dense meat is a bit of an odd texture for us.   The" Poulet de Grain" on the other hand is succulent , flavorful and has flesh that is less compact than the Bresse.

 Here is our lunch for this most auspicious of days.

   I have to admit that I don't often prepare sauces.  We always keep the least fat juices from the roast chicken as its own sauce.    So to us, this is a wonderful meal that I could eat every week of my life.   If you are feeling lean, you can add melted butter for the asparagus and rice but I daren't.

 Besides, this morning, I was in my studio and had to switch my mind over to cooking when it was really on other art forms.   Luckily I have made so many roast chickens in my life that I think I have a default position.  I always put a lemon or an onion into the cavity of the chicken to keep it moist from within.  I always let the red meat cook under done to remove the white meat before it is dried out.  If necessary, I give the legs 5 more minutes in the "four".

Today after that freaky storm last week, we were again eating on the terrace, with the periwinkle sky and a thousand starlings whirling and chattering in the overhead branches....and with the ringed doves (Tourterelles ) above us hoo, hooing  in garden " énergie centrale".

   The doves think this is our tree and come here, I think, to acknowledge solidarity because of the seeds that we offer.  There is no other reason that I can think of that they would get so close to us.  They do this even when there are seeds in sight they have left and not eaten.   Putting out seeds is a four generation tradition for us. ...four generations of doves, that is.

   It is so far, a sublime day.  However, some say that this day 11/11/11 marks the end of the world as we know it.    So if that is true we have a few more hours to celebrate before things get hot.  I intend to do just that and if you have any sense, so will you.   A vôtre santé.