Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, French Girl!



Warning: This post includes champagne, chocolate, lots of laughs...
and a green dog!

I am très fatiguée. Exhausted, even. Just coming out of the famous celebration known as "Veroni-kkah." What do you mean you have never heard of it? Well, let me fill you in. A few days ago, I celebrated my birthday. It started over the weekend; it spread through the week; then carried over to the following weekend. For all I know, we will still be celebrating by the time the French elect their next president next May. I bet candidates would be miffed if that happened. Neither Sarkozy or his opponent François Hollande want me to steal their thunder and distract my countrymen from performing their civic duty!

Not to worry. I have had my fun and shall now retire back to my quiet suburban life... until next year. It's probably best if I get my beauty sleep anyway.

I thought I would give you a run down on the past week's events; or at least some of the highlights. First, let me say this, and say it loudly: I have great friends. De supers amis. They are thoughtful and fun. They are the best. I would have been happy with receiving their wonderful messages and cards; in the mail, or on Facebook. They did not stop there (neither did Le Husband and Junior.) 

On the other hand, Seattle was a bit of a party pooper. Sorry, had to say it. Seattle may (or may not,) have received the memo about Veronikkah. Seattle did not care. Searching through her bag of [climatic] tricks, the Emerald City put on quite the show. Wind storms. Hail. Snow. Cold temperatures. Rain, of course, lots of it. 


Yeah, right!

Listen, I am a girl. I can tell when another girl is trying to steal the spotlight. But it did not work. I had fun anyway. Take that, Seattle. Or, to quote The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) in Downtown Abbey: "Put that in your pipe, and smoke it!"

Tell it like it is, Violet!


I realize the world did not stop turning just because of my birthday. Your life went on, as did mine; but it was interspersed with fun moments, and for that, I am grateful. 


Voilà some highlights. 


Last weekend, Les Boys and I treated ourselves to a favorite winter activity: We went boat hunting. Never mind that we mostly end up not buying anything (boats are expensive, you know.) The fun part is the search; browsing online; spending some time on a sailboat; meeting owners. We drove for three hours round trip to find a used Beneteau located in Tacoma, WA. It poured the whole time. It is fair to say that nobody around here drives to Tacoma in the rain (or, arguably, in any weather) unless they have a very good reason to do so. Boat people are funny people and you have to be one to get them and enjoy their quirks. For example, to get to the sailboat we were interested in, we had to walk for 5 minutes on a dock lined with white warehouses where powerboats were docked for the winter. They were more like little houses, personalized by owners to greet guests. Illustration.


Last week, near Point Defiance, Tacoma, WA
(American Frog Photography)
Junior thinks: "Think sun. Think sun!"



Cute, in a quirky kind of way.


We will not be buying that boat either, but she was lovely, and perfectly maintained. We treated ourselves to a delicious lunch at Anthony's Homeport before starting the long drive back. 


The following day, my friend (and French student) Kaydee called last minute and offered to take me to the Seattle Dog Show and then out to lunch for a birthday celebration. I could not believe my luck. First boats, then dogs? Life was decidedly good!


Last minute plans often turn out to be the best plans. This little outing was no exception. The dog show (my first!) was even more fun than I had expected. Like boaters, dog people have their own rules, codes, and quirks. I got a good peek for a few hours, and it was fascinating, but my favorite part was when we spent time with the Rescue groups, and the Breed-specific Clubs where owners and volunteers let us play with the dogs and pet them as long as we wanted. My faithful readers won't be surprised when I write this French Girl was in Heaven!


The main floor where fancy dogs compete with their fancy owners

We learned some great tips. Who knew Dobermen love bananas? Want to get a Doberman's attention? Bring a banana (a very useful tip for house burglars, no doubt.) 


Step 1: Show banana


Step 2: Voilà! Two attentive and subdued Dobermen


Kaydee is a big fan of large breeds and has owned many. We both loved this young man, a Newfoundland puppy. He was very well behaved, but I was fascinated with the size of his paws. I owned a Newfie mix once. What exceptional dogs they are!



We spent the longest time at the French Bulldog booth. I have known for years there is a Frenchie in my future. Some people find them ugly. I am drawn to their comical faces, their playful, sweet personalities... and their body language. I can honestly say I have never, ever held a dog who goes... dead in your arms the minute you pick him up. If a dog can purr, then surely, it is the Frenchie. Being held by a human is the ultimate reward to this little clown and he will spare no effort to reach his goal. 


It may or may not be a good thing:
Frenchies are "in" right now. 
Can I kiss you, please?
Kaydee, melting away...
French Girl and her new friend...
Black Frenchie: "I made it! She picked me, ME!!!"
Cream Frenchie: "Nooooo... Pick me, MEEEEE!!!


The only reason Kaydee and I managed to pull ourselves away from our new friends at the Dog Show: We were starving. Downtown Seattle was five minutes away. The sun came out as we drove by several Seattle landmarks, until we reached our final destination: Café Campagne, near Pike Place Market.


Bonjour, Puget Sound!
Bonjour, Pioneer Square!

Bonjour weird-looking dude at the Seattle Art Museum!


Café Campagne is a favorite brunch place. Sitting there on a Sunday *almost* feels like being in Paris. I always order the same dish there: Les oeufs meurette (poached eggs in a red wine sauce.) They do not photograph well at all, so I will spare you and show our celebratory drink instead... Kir Royal, bien sûr!





Joyeux Anniversaire, French Girl!


Once you are chez Campagne and have made it all the way to Seattle, crossing two lakes and leaving the boonies behind, you have to go for a walk around Pike Place Market! The Market is always a good idea. It never changes much: Colorful stalls; fresh produce; crowds; flying fish... 










Kaydee and I were so determined to play tourists that we even tried to take a picture of Rachel, Pike Place Market's famous pig. A giant piggy bank, she has been collecting visitors' money since 1986. Unfortunately, something happened to the dang camera, and the photo of French Girl impersonating a Cowgirl on a pig's back turned out like this... 




What do you mean: "It must be the Kir Royal?!" Kaydee and I were a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. not tipsy that afternoon, no siree!


Have I mentioned all the great shops near the market?

Nobody gets this happy eating peanut butter fudge!
Kir Royal, anyone?

What a great way to celebrate my birthday! Merci, Kaydee, mon amie!

As could be expected with any birthday celebration, there were gifts too. All week long, mysterious packages sent by French relatives and friends kept trickling in: There was that great book by former Chanel model and style icon Inès de la Fressange. The latest French movies in DVD. Some French sweets from a favorite Parisian store, Fauchon (the local Dean and Deluca.) French magazines, of course. Ah. Quel bonheur


Les Boys spoiled me with a new Nook Tablet. I had always sworn I would never read books on a device. Well, forget it. I love Le Nook. It has become my new best friend. I have already started building my spring/summer reading list while following suggestions from local and blogger friends. 


Gourmet chocolate and salted caramels from Fauchon

My new B.F.F: Le Nook


Cards. Lots of cards. Love greeting cards. For some reason, mine often feature dogs... and Eiffel Towers. Go figure. 


I was already feeling deliciously pampered and spoiled, but there was more to come. 


On Saint Patrick's Day, we joined some of the Usual Suspects for a soggy "Shamrock Run," in a favorite local town, Kirkland. We walked (fast!) We laughed. We admired other participant's outfits, all the while taking in panoramic views of Lake Washington. We got a lot of attention because we had a green dog walking with us. Some of us enjoy painting our dogs, you see! To stay warm and dry, we headed to the Celtic Bayou, a local pub, for some Irish food and drinks... and the day was still young! 


Check out the "green dog!"
(American Frog Photography)

(American Frog Photography)
(American Frog Photography)
A lively group! 
(American Frog Photography)


Later on, girlfriends joined me for a special screening of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, complete with delicious food, laughs, and Champagne, bien sur. When you are a French Girl living in America, guests - in an effort to cheer you up should you feel the occasional pang of homesickness -  tend to get you a lot of French-themed gifts. Over the years, I have built quite the collection: Chez moi, if you open cabinet doors or look closely at knick-knacks, you will spot Eiffel Towers, Fleur-de-Lys, and a variety of French signs. I am grateful to Woody and the film cast for providing the perfect excuse to dust off my French memorabilia! 


Did I mention I have crafty, creative friends?







And so Veroni-kkah goes on. is not over quite yet. There will be more fun in the days to come. I am told one event involves une limousine (a stretch limo.)


Meanwhile, spring is here - or so the calendar says. It is hard to tell, because it snowed again this morning. Brrrrrr... Stay warm. Stay dry. Stay happy. And wherever you may be, celebrate. 


A bientôt.



(American Frog Photography)


Photos by American Frog Photography and French Girl in Seattle.
Please do not use without permission.


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34 comments:

  1. It seems that you had a fantastic week and all kinds of reasons to forget the obviously lousy weather!
    We celebrated also St. Patrick (my son’s name), but didn’t paint the dog! :-)

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    1. Not everyone paints their dog green on St Patrick's day (I guess that's good news for the dogs... ;-)
      Thanks for stopping by Peter!

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  2. Loved this post, my friend. You really know how to celebrate a birthday! Wasn't Midnight in Paris a charming movie? I purchased a vintage Eiffel Tower this past week and it reminded me of you!

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    1. Ah! Would love to see the new Eiffel Tower. You can never have too many of those. Virginia would agree (see her comment below!) I have already seen the movie three times, and I keep noticing cool details. I might have to watch it once again, for good measure!

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  3. OH now that was a fun day. I think a French bulldog is DEFINITELY in your future. ANd about la Tour Eiffel on the table. I think it needs to fly to B'ham and join my ever growing collection, svp!

    Bonne anneversaire chère amie,
    V

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    1. Well, I know what to get you for Christmas, Virginia! Thank you for coming chez French Girl today!

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  4. You threw back your head and laughed at Seattle's weather - bravo!! The Frenchies are adorable and the one you are holding even has a smile. I am fairly familiar with Seattle but do not know about your restaurant, but I do speak "Kir Royal!" Your adventure with Kaydee looks like fun and I love how the quality of the photos changed ever so slightly after the KRs - hah!

    Wish that I could have been there to help you celebrate, and I agree that a birthday should be enjoyed for as long as possible, a week minimum. So, I am wishing you a few more days at least of Veroni-kkah... joyeaux anniversaire, mon amie!

    Bises,
    Genie

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    1. Merci beaucoup Genie. You and I have so much in common. We will definitely have to hook up over some Kir Royal, here, in Birmingham, or in Paris!

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  5. Happy Birthday Veronique! It all looked like fun except for the rain. Sorry about that! Love those French Bulldogs!! That lunch and chocolate store looked amazing!! I love my Le Nook too!

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    1. French Bulldogs, Kir Royal, Chocolate, movies and good friends: Birthdays don't come any better than that!

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  6. He ben, quel bel anniversaire!Happy belated birthday, chère Veronique! (j'aurais pu te le souhaiter plus tôt, mais ma sidebarre n'affiche plus tes nouveaux posts! :( )
    Je n'ai jamais assisté à une presentation de chiens comme celle là, et je crois qu'il faudrait m'en arracher, tellement je me régalerais à papouiller les toutous! :).Les bateaux , j'adore , pour de multiples raisons.Et la pluie me manque , donc pour moi tu as eu un anniversaire idéal! :o)
    Je parle parfois de livres sur mon autre blog (http://marielatortue.blogspot.com/), tu y trouveras peut-être des idées pour ta tablette Nook.
    Et j'adore ce film de Woody Allen!
    Bref, à lire ton anniversaire, j'ai l'impression d'avoir eu un peu une fête aussi! :o)
    Bises niçoises à ajouter à tes cadeaux!

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    1. Merci beaucoup Malyss. Les bises nicoises sont TOUJOURS les bienvenues! Tu adores la pluie? Tu ne vis pas au bon endroit, dis-moi. On echange?

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  7. Happy Birthday dear Veronique!
    Wonderful celebration, can't be better. Thoughtful friends are the best. Enjoy the wonderful gifts and delicious get together.
    Natalie

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    1. Bonjour Natalie. I am enjoying, I am enjoying... ;-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Désolée for your Blogger woes and hope they will soon be resolved. In the meantime, "Happy Belated Birthday!!" Does that mean you are a Poisson? Perhaps that is why you have adapted so well to the wet weather in Seattle.

    I celebrated a rather significant (as in the beginning of a new decade) birthday in early February (I am Verseau.) I was a bit upset at first, but decided to toast the occasion w/a Kir Royal (or 2 or 3). Yet again, we have something very special in common.

    I have a Kir every evening before dinner. Do you know its history? You might enjoy one of my blog posts from last year: http://thefrenchtouch-m-t.blogspot.com/2011/03/water-and-wine-and-touch-of-divine.html

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    1. Bonjour M-T. Oui, je suis "Poisson, ascendant Lion." A Kir Royal (or two, or three,) is ALWAYS a good idea. ;-) I will visit your post about that delicious drink tonight. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction... A bientot!

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  9. Dearest Véronique,

    Happy belated and forever going on Birthday! Isn't that the truth if you receive cards from different continents, it does extend your birthdays!
    Lovely post and I hope you will resolve the problems with Blogger!
    Love to you,

    Mariette

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    1. Merci Mariette. I am hoping, I am hoping (getting a wee bit frustrated too...) Swearing in French - or in English - at Blogger is next. You don't want to be around for that!

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  10. Happy belated birthday. Sounds you had a grand party. By the way we own a 150 pound newfie named Abbi and she is the sweetest thing ever. Actually, has to start out every night on our bed before she retires to the shower where she sleeps because its cooler than the carpet in our room. Bonne journee.

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    1. Welcome back! Did you ever post a picture of Abbi on the blog? I would love to see her!

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  11. I am obsessed with Downton Abbey! My favorite Dowager quote is "What is a week END?"

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    1. Excellent one, I agree. Thank you for your visit!

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  12. I'm sure that only French Girl could organize such a wonderful birthday for herself and for her loved ones to enjoy. At least I wouldn't say no to all the joys that you have described :)

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    1. Thank you, Olga. Well, what can I say? I did not say "no" either ;-)

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  13. Oh my! That is way too much fun for words Veronique! Happy late Birthday lady. I don't have to wish you an awesome one. You already had an awesome b-day!;) I believe, I also have a picture on the same piggy at the Pike Market...I also believe, umm I was very tipsy.lol And those little frenchy bull dogs - are too cute!! They almost hurt my feelings. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Bonjour Sandy! I wonder if most of the [adult] tourists who get to ride Miss Rachel at Pike Place market are *slightly* tipsy??? ;-)

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  14. Dear Veronique,I don't know how I missed this post, Happy Belated Birthday. I love that picture of you with your new friend.
    XXX

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    1. Dear Dash-- Thank you for stopping by. You did not miss my posts. Blogger made it impossible for ANYONE to see them over the last three weeks. Problem fixed as of last night (not thanks to Blogger though.) A bientot!

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  15. First of all, happy belated birthday! Sounds like a very exciting and action-packed birthday! Good for you for going all out and celebrating...you deserve it! :)

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    1. Welcome back Katelyn! I must admit I had a mighty fine birthday this year! ;-)

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  16. Salut, Véronique! I found you via Peter's Paris, and have only read a few of your posts. But I love your humor, your sense of fun, your positive outlook under dreary skies, and your fabulous pig-riding skills. I just had to comment because my dearest and I are currently planning our next Big Trip for the Pacific Northwest...and I have a feeling if I stick around, I might get some great ideas of where to spend our time. Because you know, being French means you have impeccable taste. ;)

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    1. Salut et bienvenue chez French Girl! Thank you for your kind comments and vote of confidence. Let me know when your trip gets closer. If I have not succumbed to a case of S.A.D. [a result of permanently grey skies] I will be happy to give you some pointers! A bientot!

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  17. For some reason I thought I commented on this post last week, but it's not showing up. :(

    Again, I'm so pleased you had a happy birthday. It looks like it was great fun!

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  18. Oh I can't believe I missed your birthday Veronique, belated wishes. It sounds like you had the very best time with all your girfriends..You would have loved to be here in Perth last week, there was a boat show at my favorite spot Sorrento Quay, oh la la some of the yachts were magnificent, but they cost more than a three bedroom maison! The dog show sounded like fun, did you see the movie 'Best in Show' about the goings on at dog shows,it's so funny! Well I certainly learnt something tonight..Dobermans eat BANANAS, who knew!! I see in your photo 'The Paris Wife' is this a book or a movie, whichever I definitely want to either read or see it. Keep on keeping on enjoying your birthday, why not!!

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Bonjour! I love hearing from you, my readers. To quote a fellow blogger, my friend Owen, "Comments are the icing on blogcake... Comments are the UFO in the twilight sky bearing news from other planets... Comments are raspberry vinegar in salad dressing... Comments are the cool balm of after-sun moisturizing lotion... Comments are the moment the band comes back out onstage to play an encore... Comments are the gleam in the eye across the room in a smoky bar... Comments are the rainbow after the rainstorm..." Merci for your comments! French Girl in Seattle