The Secret of Pistoulet!

(Saturday, February 24, 2007)

What a deliciously quiet weekend I am having. Yesterday, I spent the entire day unpacking all the kind gifts we got for my bridal shower, washing every little piece and putting them away, amidst cleaning and redecorating what will soon be my OWN! little kitchen. While it was quite the task, it was so very therapeutic and relaxing. My feet were tired, but refreshingly tired, and what will soon be my OWN! little kitchen! looks so quaint and pretty!

This afternoon, I had very much work and studying to get done. I holed myself up in my to-be's apartment and made a cosy little time of it. I walked down to the corner store and decided to treat myself with a little something to bring home. I opened the window just a little bit, cuddled up with a throw on the couch, made myself a cup of cafe Francais in one of my new Pistoulet mugs, and made an afternoon of it.

The Pistoulet dinnerware we got as a gift is so utterly charming! I still wish for the book that goes along with the set, so maybe soon I will treat myself to picking it up... then I can share the Secrets of Pistoulet with you! (I wonder what it is? Delicious soup recipes, I think...) Anyway, half the secret's how lovely all the plates and little bowls look! And the mug I enjoyed my cafe from this afternoon! The review for the book is exquisite; I'm so intrigued...

"Far away in the remote, untraveled southwestern French countryside, there is a small village which contains two homes, an eleventh-century church, and a very special farm known as Pistoulet." Thus begins The Secrets of Pistoulet, a charming and beautiful little book filled with food, magic, and love. Part fiction, part cookbook, this richly illustrated book is reminiscent of the popular Griffin and Sabine, with its collection of letters to be removed from envelopes, and recipes tucked into their own little pockets. Drawings, photographs, snippets of diaries, and mysterious maps decorate this tale of Mademoiselle J., who arrives at Pistoulet with a broken heart. There she is welcomed by the farm's tenants: Madame Claude; Monsieur Andre; the black dog, Marcel; and a chicken that lays golden eggs. Soon, such soul-strengthening dishes as Potage of Babble (guaranteed to cease excessive chatter), Potage of Passion (Cooks beware: this soup has been known to result in marriage proposals!), and Tart of Sunshine (sure to heat both body and soul) have Mademoiselle J. on the road to recovery.

The Secrets of Pistoulet packs a lot of charm into a small package. Readers who love to cook will want to try these simple, tasty recipes, though it may be difficult in some cases to follow the directions exactly ("Go to the nearest fishing port and acquire moules from the fisherman with the largest pecs and most tattoos....). Those who don't will be more than content to simply imagine these sumptuous meals as they, along with Mademoiselle J., attempt to unlock Pistoulet's magical mysteries."

So much to be done this weekend, but so much accomplished. And still many hours of the evening left to spend quietly. I think I'll run a bath and read a book and wait for my man to come home. Could I be any more content?

Until next,
-xo Meg

Poetry Thursday: On Hips...

(Thursday, February 22, 2007)

I have been sooo very swept up in the past week. Lots of busy things to do, tasks for class and just for the wedding. A surprise bridal shower was thrown for me on Sunday, and since then, I've been very consumed with getting things ready and cleaning the apartment and this and that!

But now my week is coming to an end, and even though there's so much left to do before Monday, I decided to take some quiet time and indulge in Poetry Thursday. I have been spending some time (when there is time) drawing figure studies of women, so the topic was particularly interesting to me this week! Even though I didn't have time to write something myself, this week's prompt really inspired me to share these two poems that I adore...

Phenomenal Woman
Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.


Homage to My Hips
Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

Until next,
-xo Meg

Upon the Discovery of a Treasure Box...

(Thursday, February 15, 2007)

It has been so long since I have been able to visit this little part of my world! Our town got what I thought was going to be a quaint snow storm, but turned out to be something quite a bit more serious that cooped me up inside for the better part of three days. Winter wouldn't have been quite complete without one such little storm, however; so I can officially say I'm satisfied and ready for spring!

I took a wonderful little excursion recently that I so wanted to detail with pictures, as I'm such a fan of Vanessa's delightful narratives and stories, but alas, I am without the privilege of a digital camera for now, so the old-fashioned way of tale-telling will have to do...

It all began with a reunion of sorts. Two long lost friends of mine invited me to a place from our pasttime, a favorite little flea market of ours. This is an immense place, an open market, with quaint shop beside quaint shop and little family eateries and mom-and-pop type counters here and there, and open stands of seafoods and colorful candies and people strolling and dashing and fabrics. And you never know what you'll find there. Some people call them junk stores; I think of them as treasure chests.

All the sparkly jewelry stores were pulling my attention as we walked along. There were so many beads and delightful stones and opals and big, chunky necklaces, handmade and found who knows where. My first stop was one such stand, with three tables lined with every different sort of beaded necklace and earrings one could dream of. The proprietor was on his phone, talking away, and as I raised necklaces up to his attention he smiled, covered the mouthpiece of his phone, and offered up a price, each time grinning delightfully. After roaming around several times in awe, fingering this and that pendant, I settled on two charming pieces: one a myriad of green and ruby and teal beads with a pearlescent turquoise pendant, the other strung with amber beads and weighted by a beautiful emerald-hued cross. To my delight as I rushed them home later that evening and tried them on, I realized they also came with matching earrings I'd somehow overlooked!

I chanced upon a place filled with antiqued little country signs, reading "Tea" and "Coffee" and "Sugar," and hung with berry vines, and then a stand that reminded me of being twelve years old. Remember those cheap, adorable little mood rings that were a phase years back? I used to have many of them when I was an adolescent, and I came upon a stand that had boxes of them. Just for old times' sake, I bought one! It's a $3 little thing, and sits just like an oval onyx upon my finger, and looks pretty and recalls a lot of fun memories when I look at it. Sometimes it changes colors and green and brown circles spin the center, but I think it means little more these days than "Megan, your hands are freezing!"

Then -- THEN -- the biggest treat of the night unfolded. We stumbled into a $2 jewelry store. The jewelry I speak of is not fake silver and gold, but handmade necklaces, you see. EVERYTHING in the store was $2, and I could hardly believe it for the beautiful pieces that were hanging everywhere. We spent the better part of an hour inside, sorting through the charming collection. I found a red-corded necklace with an "ivory" elephant's head hung on the end, some white and green big pearly earrings, and another pretty little beaded necklace. It was so hard to choose! We knew then we'd be making this shop a regular visit!

This place is just one big treasure box. One day I will take pictures of the bins of wonderful little finds, but until then I hope you enjoyed the humble tale and perhaps experienced a little of the travel for yourself!

Until next,
-xo Meg

Smell, Rather than Taste...

(Sunday, February 11, 2007)

As a spontaneous exercise, the Sunday Scribblings prompt didn't get me thinking immediately about food or taste, but smell. I was smelling gardens and spring. I gave myself ten minutes to write without stopping to think, with pen and paper... regrettably, I got a little bit interrupted, but nevertheless, here's the product, which ended up in another little description of that character I've had in my head for a while.

. . . . . .

Pots are scattered on rickety shelves that line the walls. Their clay is chipped here, soil-stained there, making terra-cotta towers where they're stacked into the corner.

The ceilings of vaulted glass are cradled in frosted panes, framing glimpses of movement within. Motes of sunlight flicker through in sparkling, lazy spirals to the floor.

An old woman tinkers about in front of a shelf, plucking dead leaves and stems from a particular pot. Against the delicate lavender leaves, her gnarled hands resemble a man's, with thick fingers, cracked and stained the black of soil at their tips. The sound of her feet upon the dusty floor is a whisper that's as deafening as a whisper can be; an idle shuffle, which she does not notice. Long, white hair creeps a long way past her shoulders, bound at the nape of her neck with a cord. I cannot see her face, but her frame is slight, her bony shoulders stuck in a perpetual hunch.

Her presence is haunted with a tick: a sharp intake of breath through her nose every seven seconds. At her first sharp breath, I think she is surprised; that she has made some discovery. But after a few instances it becomes a rhythm, and I realize that she is unaware of her own sound. It keeps time with the shuffling of her feet, a melody of quirks that she would suppress if she knew she was being watched.

Enjoy more Sunday Scribblings!

Until next,
-xo Meg


(Wednesday, February 07, 2007)

I must admit that after that last delicious post about all sorts of bath tea concoctions, I have been lost somewhere quite steamy and foggy... but it isn't my bath tub! That's not to say I haven't enjoyed a bath or three or more, but I've been bogged down with a bugger of a cold.

The thing about colds and illness that irritates me is how far behind it puts me. I am a firm believer in rest, rest, rest, when your body's telling you to -- so I haven't enjoyed one of my usual daily/nightly walks for the better part of a week. That's how long this congestion has been pestering me! Not to mention the inspirations I've been feeling (the mind is willing, the body is not!) to take out my box of charcoals and get messy. Plus, I've been concocting up bath tea and salt recipes, and experimenting with some delightful ideas... I think these will be a real treasure once I get some cooked up!

One thing I do slightly enjoy about being ill, if I must be, is lemon-flavored Theraflu. A hot mug of this stuff just pleases me to no end, and relaxes me beyond belief! So, last night, after realizing how much I do love this part of being ill, I decided that someone else must enjoy hot lemon drinks as much as I have come to, and therefore there must exist a recipe somewhere, for something as delicious as this (minus the acetaminophen and such!). It was then that I discovered.......

Canarino! The Classic Italian Hot Lemon Beverage!

The best part about it is that there seems to be no sugar in it and in fact... really nothing in it, aside from natural ingredients (lemon peel). Better believe I'm going to order myself a batch of this very soon, once I shake this cold. Until then, though, I'll settle for enjoying my evening mug of Theraflu, curled up, hoping to feel better tomorrow!

Until next,
-xo Meg

Creative Bathing!

(Monday, February 05, 2007)

Over at Create a Connection, Tammy Vitale wrote about 'Creative Bathing.' I sat and read, smiling hugely and squirming happily in my chair, because I am a religious, ritual bath-taker--sometimes even twice a day (which is great for me mentally, but probably not as great for my skin). It is very difficult for me to convince myself to take a shower, and do so only when I'm in a hurry--compared with a bath, I just can't resist.

Normally, my baths do not involve candles and music, but go by a certain routine of my own. I begin to fill the tub with very hot water, and when it's just filled enough to cover the bottom, I add my favorite bubbles... lavender & chamomile. I slip in when it's about a third of the way full, bringing my book. I like to get in while the water's still running so I can let the faucet pour water over my feet...I get a little bit of a foot massage that way! I read away until I feel relaxed enough or until the water starts to lose heat, and then I toss aside the book and finish my bath with my favorite wash and a loofah. Usually, if this is my nighttime bath (which I always, always take every night before bed), I get out, put on this delicious lotion, especially on my feet, put on socks and pajamas, and hop into bed.

While a ritual routine is great, this post made me think about doing something a little different for myself for bathtime. The scents and routine I use are comforting to me, but after a while I don't appreciate them as much because I don't try anything new in place of it. I've decided to share two recipes I'm going to try out within the next month or so:

* * * *
Green Tea Bath (green tea has slimming, anticellulite and anticholesterol properties. Also contains polyphenols, which strengthen the immune system and prevents free radicals and cancer cells from multiplying. Tea leaves also tighten pores and soothe insect bites)
5 tbsp loose green tea leaves
1 cup fresh or dried jasmine flowers
4 cups water

Bring water to a rapid boil. Add green tea leaves. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Add jasmine flowers. Let cool down for 5 minutes. Strain and add to bathwater.
* * * *

Jasmine is my favorite scent; and I, in fact, do often drink jasmine green tea, one of my favorites as well. This next one looks expensive, but wonderful:

Seashore Bath (revives circulation, conditions parched skin)
3/4 cup sea salt
1/2 cup Epsom salts
1/3 cup bicarbonate of baking soda
2 drops essential oil of cedar
3 drops essential oil of clary sage
5 drops essential oil of orange
1 drop essential oil of neroli (orange flowers)
5 drops essential oil of bee balm

Mix well. Add to warm bath.

On Saturday, I gave myself a hot mustard foot bath. I suddenly had come down with a cold, and my sinuses were so congested, along with my head in general. I take a little plastic tub and fill it with as hot of water as I can stand, and stir in a heaping tablespoon of ground yellow mustard. Then I sit and soak my feet, keeping them in and sending the man to bring back more hot water to refresh it, keeping it steaming for 30 minutes. This is very good through the lungs and the liver, and really loosened all the congestion up for me.

There are so many benefits in different sorts of baths, and I'm a huge fan of the healing properties of baths and other sorts of pampering -- massage, for instance. I'm becoming increasingly interested in the subject, actually, and was just this weekend researching a book to purchase on massage. I've always given massages, but never with any particular technique, and now I'm looking to do so. My fiance has a lot of pains in his neck, and I think a regular massage once a week, if I knew what I were doing a bit better, would help him out immensely. I perused some reviews, and it seems this one, The Massage Book, is the best, followed possibly by The Book Of Massage: The Complete Stepbystep Guide To Eastern And Western Technique -- anyone else have texts to recommend? I'd love one that includes some information on aromatherapy and massaging with oils, as well (or a website would do for that).

Until next,
-xo Meg

Year-old Goodbyes.

(Sunday, February 04, 2007)

It has been nearly a year now since I told him goodbye. The year creeped up on me--I didn't realize until I was waiting for sleep to come in my bed a week or so ago. When I realized it had been so long, I could hardly fit the thought into a corner of my mind, to dwell on later, or put aside forever; instead, it's there still, catching my eye like a glint of water under the sun.

I don't recall the way we said goodbye. I certainly know that neither of us planned on it being our last, and I'm sure our goodbye had no sense of finality to it. I could never bring myself to speak to him again, and his reasons for leaving the goodbye for our last are likely the same as they were over twenty years ago.

When we met for the second time in my life, some three and a half years ago, I would have never thought our goodbye would be so soon. Our hello meant so much that I thought I could never say goodbye, and it wasn't until recently that I questioned how he could have said it so long ago, when I was only a newborn in his arms. Maybe he didn't say it then... but he thought it; he knew it.

Maybe he never wanted to say hello. But he did. My letter came to him on his birthday. Soon after, I heard his voice in my ear for the first time: "Hi Megan, this is your dad."

I remember his hello, but I don't remember our goodbye.

Indulge in more Sunday Scribblings.

Until next,
-xo Meg

"A Feast for the Senses!"

(Thursday, February 01, 2007)

Deb proposed "A Feast for the Senses" over at Create a Connection, which I can't wait to share. You might recall how much I love quirks -- quirks in people, in places, in myself, in everything! I'm a very sensual person, and so you can imagine how much I adore and delight in my senses... so, what I like to do is answer in stream-of-thought form, not reading ahead of time and answering with the first and most honest answer that pops into my head...

1. What are some of your favorite smells? What's a smell that many other people seem to like, but you don't? The pages of books (new books, old books, in-between books, any books!), coffee, grass--especially onion grass... it reminds me of my summers as a child, "man" scents--at least, mine, who has a particular smell. Fabric softener as I'm walking down the street past someone's house as they do their laundry. I've heard people say they like the scent of gasoline, and I've never liked that, at all.

2. What are some of your favorite tastes? What's a taste many other people seem to like, but you don't? Coffee (yes, I'm a fiend) with light cream, chives... the crusts of my grandmother's pies. Pepper. Salt from the ocean. Most other people I know like, or LOVE, some sort of seafood... and I don't like any of it. I never grew up eating any seafood whatsoever, so I think it's got something with just being weirded out toward it since I wasn't exposed to it.

3. What are some of your favorite textures? What's a texture that many other people seem to like, but you don't? Something strange I can't stand are very dry, sort of cheap towels. For some reason I have this memory of towels like this about biting down on one and it creaked in my teeth and made them feel funny. I know this sounds bizarre... it gives me the jitters and shudders! I can't stand it! Oh, anyway, this was supposed to be about what I like. I love the feeling of flannel sheets -- vs. people who seem to rave about silk or satin sheets. They feel cold to me. I like cosy. I love fluffy icings for pastries and cakes... fluffy and light and whipped rather than the heavy, custardy or dry icing.

4. What are some of your favorite sounds? What's a sound that many other people seem to like, but you don't? Birds singing through my slightly open window on a cool summer or spring morning, nice and early, cool breeze coming in... or the simple sound of crickets and locusts buzzing as the sun sets late on a summer evening... that thick, humid silence as a storm hovers in the air. Many people like whispers, but I don't... I prefer just a quiet, soft voice that is low, just so. Just low enough.

5. What are some of your favorite sights? What's a sight that many other people seem to like but you don't? I don't like sunset scenes. On postcards. Or beach scenes. They all seem false. Being there is just so much more beautiful. I love the sight of old, gently antiqued and worn wooden chairs.. rocking chairs.

This all makes me wish for spring!

Until next,
-xo Meg

© Megan K. 2006-2007


Meg... wife, writer, reader, dreamer, artist.



Penelope Illustration
Wish Jar Journal
Lori Joy Smith
Alex the Girl
More to Me
Drowning in Ink
Waiting on the Front Porch
La Vie En Rose
Inside a Black Apple
A Fanciful Twist
I Still See a Spark in You
37 Days
Colors on My Mind
Diary of a Self Portrait