Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sipping champagne... the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge, and waiting for flight to London (then on to geneva). I have become a total devotee of VA since my flight to NYC on Thursday. They made me a bed and tucked me in. There was a bar--a real bar! With stools! I felt civilized, which is not a feeling I get often when I fly. 

Had breakfast with Sam in NYC. Oh happy heart!

Just saw so many people I love. 

And now eager to get back to France and Annabelle for our final week in Chamonix!

Friday, May 30, 2014


What time is it?! Flew from Geneva to JFK yesterday and went straight to People Magazine book party for the BEA.  Can't intersperse pics here so will put them all at the end. But it was a terrific party, filled with many of my favorite writers, including Lily King (new novel EUPHORIA is wonderful! Read it!) and Christina Baker Kline (ORPHAN TRAIN! Ditto!) Then on to dinner at Barbuto (vodka and rosemary lemonade cocktails!  Kale salad, their famous chicken and potatoes!) with one of my oldest, dearest friends, Matt (flight attendants together). Then collapsed in bed. Now awake at 4:30 am. Book signing at 10:30, lunch at noon, possible collapse after, followed by the premiere of the movie THE FAULT IN OUR STARS tonight. Guess what? Back to France tomorrow!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Side trip to Italy

Why not?! Chamonix is maybe the perfect town: not only is it adorable and charming, but it's near so many excellent places. So we all hopped in the car and drove to Aosta, Italy--another perfect town. Postcard pretty with great little shops and cafes and unbelievable Roman ruins in great shape. Standing in the Forum, feeling history in those ancient stones (25 BC) actually made me cry. 

Cried again when I drove to our agriotourismo for dinner and sleep. Not out of awe but out if sheer terror. Me with my fear of heights had to navigate switchbacks with no railings on hairpin hair raising turns. Might have to just live here now rather than drive back down...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Back in Chamonix

After a sunny, glorious day in Lyon (including a street market full of produce so beautiful I couldn't stop taking pictures-- think white asparagus and artichokes the size of my head; a funicular ride up to the dazzling Nortre Dame Cathedral; and the best omelette I have ever eaten), we returned to our little Chamonix family. We made kir royales followed by more champagne with the requisite bread and fromage and charcuterie. Then Skyped with everyone back home. They too looked dazzling in the bright afternoon sun in the backyard. And I went to sleep feeling a little homesick. But grateful too for this adventure annabelle and I are having. 

This afternoon, our tribe heads off to Italy for an agriotourismo adventure in Aosta. 

Today, reunited with my wonderful students in our lovely cafe. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

In Lyon

The city girl in me loves Lyon. Gorgeous gleaming buildings. Lots of statues and fountains. And warm sunshine. Sat outside and sipped champagne before walking across a broad plaza with giant letters that spell out LYON to Le Sud for dinner. The bridge outside has a sculpture of a bouquet of flowers. Everything here kind of makes me smile!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Birds singing...

...outside my window in Beaune. Trying to roust myself out of bed and downstairs where cafe au lait awaits beneath stern eyes of cantankerous B and B owner. 

Fun trip, though not my favorite place. We have done a lot of laughing!
Cheese, wine, Norwegians, more cheese, more wine, mustard, nun mannequins, still more cheese and wine. 

Onward to Lyon!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Adventures in Burgundy

It was hard to leave our apartment in Chamonix, but the promise of burgundy--the wine and the region--sent us west for the weekend. Rain. Highway. Road construction. We'd read about the beautiful, colorful tiled roofs of Beaune, and heard that our hotel was special, so we kept our spirits up despite the ride. 

Well. Our hotel is not so great. Ok. It's kind of depressing. And far from the old town, a confusing walk away down busy streets. And old town proved to be less beautiful and colorful than we'd hoped. 

But! We did a 10 wine tasting for only 15 euro. And for Chardonnay lover me, Burgundy is pretty accommodating. Then dinner at one of the best restaurants I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. There was smoked asparagus. Amouse bouches. Pork. But it was the mashed potatoes that turned excellent to mind blowing. A foamy bowl of creamy deliciousness. Annabelle ate two bowls full! 

The confusing long walk back took the glow off though. Our hot stuffy depressing room made Cousin Gina get us a room change. The old lady smell followed us to our new room unfortunately. 

I think tomorrow's vineyard tour and visit to the mustard maker will take our mind off our troubles. So far, Beaune not so bonne. But hey! I'm in France! And we've already got enough stories from just today to keep us laughing all the way back to Chamonix!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Morning in Chamonix

Feels more Swiss than French here, what with raclette and fondue on every corner and chalets everywhere I look. I love teaching at the local cafe with a cafe au lait and big flaky pastry by my side. What a great, convivial group we have here. Annabelle is having a ball with the other kiddos. There's my favorite widow, Veuve Cliquot, every night along with yummy local cheeses and baguettes. Can't find a thing to complain about!

Here's my "office". Couldn't get that guy to move, so pretend he's not there!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Morning, Chamonix

Greeted by the fabulous Erin Belieu, Michael Dahlie, and Allison Lynn (+kids) and spent an evening of wine, local cheeses, salami, and mini macarons and eclairs. 

Mostly unpacked, though for now I am avoiding the heap of stuff that needs to be hung up still. Coffee in bed as I dip in to Richard Russo's gorgeous memoir Elsewhere before meeting my workshop at 9. 

View from our balcony:

Waiting in Heathrow

Seems I'm doing that a lot lately! A shlep still ahead. Fly to geneva, pick up baggage and rental car, an hour drive to Chamonix, a grocery store stop, unpacking, hopefully dinner at some point. Then my favorite kind of sleep, when jet lag takes over. 

Will be posting pictures soon, after we've settled in and wake up!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Home, Briefly

I have returned from my cruise to Bermuda with Gogo, tanned and rested! What a week! And what a way to spend Mother's Day! Usually, we host Gogo and my mother-in-law, various cousins and aunts. And although I always feel adored and feted, I also cook and entertain. This year, Gogo and I lay on a pink sand beach together drinking rum swizzles and eating grouper sandwiches. And talking. And talking. And talking. Gogo and I have no secrets from each other, and I relish our time together reviewing the good, the bad, and the ugly of our lives, past and present. Real mother-daughter time, now that was a Mother's Day to remember...

It was no coincidence that that night, the lounge act was a guy singing a Beatles' Tribute, as if Gracie was there with me too.

And now I'm back! Just in time to pick up Annabelle from her field trip to Mystic Seaport, and take her to her on-site dance the rain!!! Her dance company, Jump!, is so innovative and exciting. They've done on-site performances at the Rochembeau Library here in Providence, as well as at the Athenaeum, both really terrific. Excited to see them dance down Blackstone Boulevard tonight, and then go to the annual fundraiser.

A crazy day tomorrow as Annabelle and I pack up for our three weeks in Chamonix, France. Our apartment is waiting for us, and I'm already dreaming of sitting around at night eating good cheeses, drinking good wine, maybe working on a jigsaw puzzle...We've got a trip to Beaune and Lyon all booked, and hopefully we will also get to Turin, Italy. But mostly looking forward to getting to know our little town, taking some hikes, and hearing Annabelle's French in practice!

Books I'm taking along with me:
The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Euphoria by Lily King
Elsewhere by Richard Russo
I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place by Howard Norman
Family Life by Akhil Sharma

That's a lot of books, and with teaching four days a week I'm not sure I'll read all of them. But like friends, I need books around me.

Haven't decided what knitting project to bring. That Bristol and Ivy silk cami takes a lot of concentration...should I limit myself to just dishrags? I'll reconsider once I see how heavy my suitcases are!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Starry Starry Night, City Year

What a night! City Year's 25th anniversary, and I talked to so many incredible young people. Grant from Apex, NC? You rock! As does Molly, Jacob, and Dominic! (from PA, CT, IL) These young people and so many others go into our public schools and make a true difference. Happy I got to talk to them and support City Year. 

Ok. Time to pack. Pink sands ahead. 

Pink Sand in My Future!

What a great way to end my week at the Ames Library in Easton, MA last night! Sold out crowd, KNITTING YARNS contributors, Marianne Leone and Taylor Polites, knitters and readers galore!

Today? Digging out the bathing suits and sunscreen, flip flops and sundresses, magazines and paperbacks, and packing up for Bermuda!

Gogo and I set sail tomorrow at 4. Stay tuned for updates. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On to Easton, MA!

Just a quick thank you to the 60+ people who attended the Pages in the Pub event last night and made it such a success!

Hope to see you at the Ames Library in Easton, MA tomorrow night at 6:30 if you are in the neighborhood!

Monday, May 5, 2014

New Author Photo

Thanks to the incredible Catherine Sebastian!

Newport, RI; Easton, MA

What great news! I just learned the Pages and the Pub fundraiser for Baby Steps tonight is sold out! Thanks to Judy and Island Books and of course to Lisa Christie from the Norwich Bookstore in Vermont who made this happen. I hope you have a ticket and will be at the Salvation Cafe in Newport tonight at 6!

Wednesday night, I will be at the Ames Library in Easton, MA at 6PM with some of my favorite Knitting Yarns contributors. If you are in that neighborhood, please come and see us. Bring your knitting! I am!

I'm finishing the Whidbey scarf from Loop Knits so that I can concentrate on my Bristol Ivy pale pink cami. This is a challenging project that makes me sweat when I think about it. Stay tuned for progress reports.

Friday, Gogo and I head to Bermuda on our cruise that she won! I haven't seen those pink sand beaches since I was sixteen and I took the money I'd earned from modeling at Jordan Marsh and went there with my friend Nancy. The flight on delta from Boston was $99. Roundtrip! Day One I met a boy (my downfall!) who was there with his family, and he swooped Nancy and I up with him on all their adventures--sailing, dining, rum swizzling. I'm excited to finally go back to that magical island!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Come to Newport for Cinqo de Mayo

Pages in the Pub was started by the lovely women of the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, VT. It brings together local "celebrities", books, drinks, and frivolity all for a good cause. 

This Monday we'll be at the Salvation Cafe in Newport, RI at 6 for Pages in the Pub, which will raise money for Baby Steps. ( The wonderful Judy Crosby of Island Books will have books for moms, dads and grads. You'll get a free drink and have lots of fun. And a good time will be had by all. 

If you're itching for someCinqo de Mayo celebrating, head over to Perro Salado! 

Hope to see you on Monday!