vendredi 5 août 2011

Le 'chose' cocktail

Time to wax philosophical from la chaise longue. Question: What do we ask of a summer drink? Answer: We ask that it be as tantalizing as a summer fruit, as inviting as a swimming pool, and at least as sparkling as our personality. If it happens to be pink on top of that, so much the better, am I right? And while I could rhapsodize over the appetizing quality of the color pink, I will instead pay homage to my favorite summer drink, a two-ingredient ticket to the shores of utter refreshment. Le chose, pronounced /shOz/, is a blend of citrus tonic (like Schweppes) and grapefruit juice. Yes, as the French would say, "C'est tout bête!" Choose your loveliest cocktail glass; add a little crushed ice; pour in the pamplemousse first, followed by the bubbly. Imbibe the sweet and sour fizzy pinkness. Aaahhh, sublime. Tchin tchin, mon amie.

la chaise longue: lounge chair

"C'est tout bete!": (literally "It's completely dumb") this is an expression that means "It's ridiculously easy!"

pamplemousse: grapefruit

"tchin tchin" /cheen cheen/: cheers!

jeudi 7 juillet 2011

La cerise sur le gateau

Here in the South of France, particularly along the sea, the homes stack up along the hillsides like multi-layered cakes. Between towers and turrets, garnished with terraced gardens, the Cote d'Azur can be a veritable wedding feast for the eyes. Most of these architectural confections are frosted in the typical Provençal earth tones, but others are iced with a little more fantaisie: vanilla white, buttercream yellow, pale turquoise and, as I recently discovered, bubblegum pink!

A few tiers up from La Villa des Naiads sits perhaps the only pink maison I know of in Marseilles, just barely visible from the street, complete with a candy-striped awning and coordinating deck chairs. Think of the scrumptious audacity of that! If your imagination runs away with you, you might imagine some old rich French lady on that hill, living in an all-pink universe with a trained poodle, simply because she can. (Well, you say, it's better than a red-and-purple universe!)

And yet, is it necessarily a woman's abode? In France, colors are slightly more gender-neutral than, say, in the U.S. Men can wear a pink dress shirt, for example, without a question mark hovering over their masculinity. Cotton candy in French is called barbe à papa, "daddy's beard". So the question is, if I ever hiked up to the house perched in pink one day, to compliment the owner on the paint job, who would I find? A man? A woman? A modern day version of Hansel & Gretel's witch? Thanks to our pink paparazzi, we do have some zoomed-in shots. Indeed, by the looks of it, there has been someone nibbling on that roof!

la cerise sur le gateau: expression, literally "the cherry on the cake" (the equivalent of the icing on the cake).
fantaisie: whimsy, fancy
maison: house, home

samedi 18 juin 2011

Georges Bonneterie

Like a beacon in the gathering dusk, the pink tile façade of Georges Bonneterie solicits the eye with a rosy-hued selection of...wait a minute. What is it that Georges sells exactly? Any guesses? To pick the lock of this little shop's secret, it's time for a grammar lesson. In French, as in English, the word for a particular tradesman often follows the formula: (root word of the trade) + er. Think butch-er, think bak-er, think candlestick mak-er. "Baker" in French is boulanger. The name of a shop in French follows roughly the same formula: (noun) + erie. Thus bakery is boulangerie. Are you following me?

Now, even mid-globalization, France is still to some extent a land of mom & pop specialized commerce. So forget going to a one-stop shop. You want cheese? Fromagerie. Need to make duplicates of your keys? Quincaillerie. Fix your shoes? Cordonnerie. Right, you say. So, that would make Georges Bonneterie...a bonnet store? Which is exactly what I was saying to myself, when at last I rummaged through the lingerie drawer of my French vocabulary and retrieved the real meaning. (Here's the part where you rush off to look up the word in a French-English dictionary, drumroll...) Bonnet is not just a hat for your baby, but a cup for your...well, it's a bra cup. Georges Bra-Cupperie?! Egads.

Suddenly, the context was before me, complete with a fully-imagined dialogue. Customer: "Georges! So glad to have found you! Listen, I've been searching out a bra-cupperie all day and a friend of mine told me you were the best boob-cupper in town! I'm a D and could use your support."

I may indulge in an interior giggle whenever I pass "Georges" on the street, but a French woman wouldn't feel the need to blush. French women think pink.

Are you In?

In the pink, that is?
Cause I've found it, by Georges! The theme of our blog.
(And a big thanks goes out to 'Georges', source of the first vignette to christen this site.)

La Vie en (Rose)...

1. Why the parentheses?
Cause this site chooses a new color as its theme periodically. Creativity thrives on a constraint, and color will be ours. Your only rule: see the world through one particular shade, and celebrate it from your corner of the planet. I'll do the same. Post anything fun and theme-worthy: anecdotes, vignettes, music and especially images! Within one color of the rainbow, the sky is the limit.

2. Why pink?
Alas, it is the color I've never taken seriously--a color almost absent from my own wardrobe, a color that gets stuck between one's teeth and chips off one's fingernails. And yet, it is the shade that represents health, femininity, and all things sweet. Virginia farm pink is bound to be different from Marseille inner-city pink. And that is the joy of this project. So, gimme lemonade, gimme piglets, gimme watermelon and cherry cream soda. When at last we've milked pink for all it's worth, you'll choose the new color theme and the new look of our blog.

Ready Miss B? Go!
:) Kate