All posts by Laura

Laura is Nora Roberts' personal publicist. She can be found on the Nora Roberts and JD Robb Official Fan Pages on Facebook, by Nora's side at book signings, and on the road from her home in Raleigh to Boonsboro every few weeks.

Being Home

Summer–my favorite season–is winding down. We’re approaching Mabon, the Autumn Equinox. With that fleeting balance of day and night, most harvesting’s done. My tomatoes sure are. My garden’s got the late summer shabbies though there are some pretty fabulous spots and corners of color and bloom still. Before much longer, I’ll be thinking about making soups, pulling on sweaters and boots.

A little fall color.
Brilliant pots.
Happy flowers.
Thriving nasturtium

So, I for one, am holding tight to these last wonderfully warm days.

We had a busy summer around here. Lots of work, lots of travel. And we capped it off with our annual summer party.

That meant the weekend after we returned from France, we had party prep to deal with (and that’s after unpacking, putting awaying, nose to the grindstoning on the book).

While Jason and BW spent hours on a rainy Saturday setting up outside–awnings, tables, chairs, food stations–Kat and I spent hours inside (with some assist from our Sarah) cooking, baking, chopping, stirring. I think, in one day, we made up for our couple of weeks on holiday with no cooking involved.

Kat brought France back by making the amazing dessert we call pie-cream-pie. Labor intensive, creative and absolutely delicious.

Pie-cream-pie a la Kat.
Fruit salad in Kat’s carved watermelon.

Fortunately, the rainy Saturday turned into a pretty Sunday for the party. Lots of people, lots of food and drink. And that’s a wrap for another summer.

With that wrap, the kids head back to school. Kayla’s back in cross-country training. Run, Kayla! And Logan grew TWO inches while we were in France. We’re now eye-to-eye.

And at last, one completely at-home weekend follows. Nowhere we need to go. BW and I both spent it doing chores around here. It felt wonderful to put the house and yard back in order. But that short spurt of–for me–domestic bliss–led up to this past weekend’s signing at Turn The Page.

I knew going in this would be a long one. We were lucky to host three writers (and personal friends) who rarely come to our area. Our stellar line-up included–in alpha order: Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Susan Wiggs. A nice bonus for me to be able to catch up with all of them. And since some 360 readers–give or take–came through the doors, I wasn’t wrong about the long one. Five and a half hours rates as long–for the writers and the readers.

Pre-signing pano
Nora has readers of every age.
Bottom row: Alisha Rai, Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora.
Middle row: Laura Treacey Bentley, Susan Wiggs, Kimberly Kincaid
Top: John Bede

Thanks to all who came to sign, to buy books, to be there, for their patience and fortitude.

Today, it’s warm and sunny–but I see one of the poplar trees out my window going yellow with September. I’ve tidied my house, done my workout (not easy to drag my butt out to my gym today!), and after I write this, I’m going to do exactly nothing for the rest of the day.

I want to add to anyone who’s had their lives and homes disrupted by Harvey or Irma, you’re all in my thoughts. I’ve been lighting candles for you, and will light one today before my nothing begins.

Nora

Note from Laura:  I came back from the beach to get to the signing. One last sunrise to hold me over until next year:

And in this week’s #randomkatness:

“May I help you?”

Bits/Pieces, Sunday 9/10

I don’t want to lose touch this fall so on those weekends Nora doesn’t share a blog post, I’l share updates.

The adventurers arrived home safely on August 27.  Word is that Nora got home, minimally unpacked, napped for a bit, then watched the Game of Thrones season finale.  She had to do this because I’d have whined at her to catch up. since we share our GoT thoughts every Monday.  (We loved the finale, btw.)

Then I left town for a long-planned working vacation at the beach with my husband.  We’ve had the usual mix of Outer Banks weather and since I get up to watch the sunrise, I work early so I can have cocktails on the beach in the afternoon.

Just before dawn. Photo by Laura Reeth

Nora adjusted to the time, dove back into the current WIP (an In Death, as we all know) for three days before it was time to prepare for the annual summer barbeque.  I’m afraid she was short one sous chef (me) but I hear the party was a success.  And Kat sent me a photo of her amazing watermelon carving for the fruit salad.

Kat + watermelon = greatness. Photo by kat

Once the Labor Day weekend was over, I hit my beach stride.  Nora hit the manuscript.  What can I say?  We each have our priorities.

Sunrise on the water. Photo by Laura Reeth

And, of course, September 6 brought Secrets In Death release day. The conversation continues on this thread.

On Wednesday, September 7, we shared the brand new author photo for Year One on all social media.  Isn’t it amazing?

Photo by Bruce Wilder.

I shared a couple of quotes on Facebook.

As well as a great review of Secrets in Death on Criminal Element (don’t forget to click on the fun GIFnotes tour of Secrets).

Then suddenly, it was Friday and the end of the week and we knew readers were facing adversity in so many places — recovering from Harvey, preparing for Irma, breathing in ash from western fires — and we wished everyone a safe weekend.

Hope you had exactly that.

Laura

PS.  Kat agreed to continuing with the #randomkatness, but only if I curated the photos and wrote the captions.  I agreed.

Cat in the driver’s seat. Photo by kat

Year One Excerpt

Late last fall, Nora wrote a blog post about New Directions in which she shared the challenges and excitement of starting down a new path.  I watched from the peanut gallery as Nora sweated through writing Year One.  She’d share tiny bits and pieces of what was happening in the book so I first met the characters and situations through her verbal storytelling.

When I had an opportunity to read it in the spring, I nearly swallowed Year One in one gulp.   I remembered the verbal cues and would get to one, then press on for the next.  It’s an amazing start to the ride.

Now,  it’s time for you to get a first taste of the journey that starts December 5.  I’ve read comments from long time readers unhappy with the direction, wanting more traditional romance.  For those readers, I ask you to consider this:  relationships are the framework of this book and Nora’s approach to relationships is why you’ve read her for more than 30 years.  There’s enough familiar to balance the different so I encourage you to give it a try.  Borrow from the library if you’re not keen to invest in something unknown.  But try.

You’ll find the first chapter here.

Laura

Secrets in Death teaser thread

We finally made it to a week out from the Secrets in Death release and you know what that means:  teaser time!   Are you doing ok?  Did you at least enjoy the summer (winter in the southern hemisphere) or wish it away? Is it mean to say I had to reread Secrets to come up with teasers?  Probably.  But I only speak the truth. 🙂

As always these are gentle teasers, no plot reveals, no mystery solved, just little nuggets to be on the lookout for.  I’ll post one a day through Thursday and update with the date.  Comments are absolutely welcome, spoilers are not.

And here we go:

Monday, August 28
After Eve contemplates small humans in smaller spaces, she ponders the puzzle of human conversation recorded for entertainment.

Tuesday, August 29
Before I post this one, I just have to comment that the majority of guesses guesses yesterday were way off the mark.  Way off.  Off enough that I had to quell the Cranky Publicist from replying– except once.  And now, Teaser #2:
Roarke and Summerset have a “well done, grasshopper” moment before images of Summerset nearly ruin a pie moment.  Oh and Scary Roarke may have met his match.

Wednesday, August 30
In which we learn Peabody has a fishing face, Kyung is as devious as he is diplomatic (aka not an asshole) and Trina gives good threats.

Cranky Publicist note:  I’m working from the beach right now, the worst possible place to feel cranky.  But that’s how I feel — frustrated by all the guesses/reader wishes that center around procreation.  As I mention at the top, these are not spoilers, they are teasers. Nuggets to look for — like the Easter eggs in Disney movies — as we move toward Eve solving the case.  They seem cryptic now, but should make sense in context.

For me, any changes for characters — whether it’s expanding what we know about them or new directions for them — constitute spoilers and I’m not about to give anything like that away in these posts. I think that’s part of the fun of reading a series like the In Deaths, letting the major changes/shifts come in without warning. 

We’ve got posts everywhere on this blog about no babies so please stop guessing that — for anyone.  Please read the answers Nora’s given for 22 years in our Index O’Answers.  Take your guesses outside the box and then see how they match up with the real thing.

And now, today’s teaser:

Good TV/vid will always have loyal fans, Peabody included.  Roarke takes a linguistic journey to a youthful memory.

September 1
In a change of pace, a bonus quote:
“You were born to be a cop, and I was born to be something else entirely.  I’d likely still be that, in only small ways that entertained me, if not for you.  You finished the process, we’ll say.”  Roarke


PS From Weary Nora*:
Laura and I really want these little bits from upcoming books to be fun for you guys. We want them to be fun for us, too. And honestly, truly, sincerely, the continued barrage of baby, baby, baby, babysitting, pregnancy eats away at the fun for us.

I honestly don’t know how I can make it more clear. IF–and that’s a very enormous if–if, if, if, Eve ever gets pregnant in the series it will be because I’ve decided it’s time to wrap it up. It will be the end. The end. I’m NEVER going to change my mind on this, as I’ve already stated countless times. I made this decision when I started the series, for all the reasons I’ve laid out before.

Someone else, at some point, MAY have a baby. But Laura certainly wouldn’t give that away on the blog. NO ONE is having a baby in Secrets. No one is pregnant. No one is babysitting.

The series is about murder and investigation, and yes, relationships. It has some humor, but the series is NOT a romantic comedy, and never will be.

I really hope you enjoy Secrets In Death. When you read it, I think you’ll see just how clever Laura’s little teases have been.

*Trademark pending 🙂

 

Provence, France Day Last

Our last day, but a lovely one. My final terrace workout as I doubt I’ll have time this morning, then BW does one on his own while I get some packing done.

Since most of my clothes are going in the laundry or to the dry cleaners, much fits in my small rolly–and packing is more dumping as a result.

With Kat and Jason back from their final walk, Kat fixes us another pretty lunch–with some assist by BW. It’s a nice, tasty way to clean out our fridge. 

Last lunch. Photo by BW.

BW wants a group shot in the big cocoon chair. It’s been one of his favorite morning spots during our stay. And big enough for four. 

Cocooned. Photo by BW.

Now some serious thinking and logistical planning for our pretty ambitious panorama. One involving quick costume changes and props! Can it be done? Will it work? We’re here, we’re there, then here. We anxiously check the results.

Et voila!

We’ve outdone ourselves. Or certainly Jason and Kat who act as producers, directors, stage managers outdid themselves. 

Family pano. Directed by Jason & Kat.

Friday’s playground pano: 

Pano in the playground. Photo directed by Jason and Kat.

We while away the afternoon until it’s time to go to dinner.

A trip to the big supermarket first and its impressive selection of wine. BW buys a mixed case of local reds to take home. Then he tries to ask one of the staff for a box–but translation is difficult. Jason and I think it’s boite–or that’s close, but I suggest BW wait until we’re back at the hotel, and issue a final challenge for the intrepid Alain.

Then it’s really just a quick wind, essentially a change of parking lots for our dinner. We’re back to Restaurant La Garrigue–busy on this Saturday night. But our same delightful server seats us, brings over tonight’s chalkboard. The main special is a mixed grill–and she goes through the meats involved for us. She assures us it’s very good.

Wine comes first while we study our other choices. Some require more explanation. She has good but halting English. We have halting but mediocre French. We all cheerful apologize, but Kat’s able to decide on a kind of stew with chunky potatoes and carrots. This proves, like BW’s mixed grill, a very fine choice. 

Jason and I go for pasta, and are not disappointed.

Kat’s stew. Photo by kat.
BW’s mixed grill. Photo by BW.
Pasta! Photo by j a-b.

This is a lively place. There’s a big table of at least 12-13 people, and the two servers are hopping. We eat serenaded by the karaoke at the nearby pizzeria.

But dinner is, really, just a prelude for dessert.

We switch off, so this time BW and I share Dame Blanche–the hot fudge sundae–and Jason and Kat split the profiteroles. If you’re ever in the Tourrettes area of Provence, stop by La Garrigue for a happy, casual meal, and save room for dessert.

On the way out, Kat and Jason point out their little bakery. Au revoir pain au chocolate!

And back at the hotel, Alain comes out to say hello, and so the final challenge is issued. Our friendly valet has already gone in search of a box, but Alain accepts the challenge, and will connect with the sommelier about a empty wine case for the morning.

To commemorate our stay, Kat whips out a selfie stick! (You never know what Kat has in her bag.) 

Happy selfie. Photo by kat.

A last walk to our villa under the stars.

This morning it’s more packing, several checks of all the rooms for whatever might be somewhere else. The drive to Nice, the long flight home.

It’s been a beautiful, happy, relaxing, delicious holiday, from our visit to Eze to our extended stay here in Provence–and all adventures between. We’re so lucky to be able to take these trips, to spend them with family and see gorgeous slices of the world. Home’s where the heart is, but when you go as family, you take heart with you, and that’s special.

Nora

Notes from Laura:  Our intrepid travelers stayed in two beautiful locations:  Chateau Eza  for the first four days.

Then it was on to Terre Blanche (which several people guessed) for the remainder of the vacation.   

In our last #randomkatness:

Panda and pal. Photo by kat.
Pomegranate before ripening. Photo by kat.

Provence, France Day 17

The glider flights got moved up, so it’s gather together and head out.

BW and Jason check in, fill out the forms, and so on, then we all drive down to the runway area. This is a big field with a couple of narrow runways and a lot of open down a tiny road. A trailer off to the side is for the next stage of checking in.

And this is a busy place.

Lots of gliders parked, lots of cars parked. Guys sitting at a table in the shade of the trailer to do the paperwork, help with the planes, or pilot them. Everyone is very friendly, and incredibly efficient. This is what they do all day, every day, and they’ve got it down. It’s a smooth system.

The plane! The plane! Photo by j a-b.

Despite this, nothing would have gotten me in one of the gliders short of the sort of catastrophe depicted in the movie 2012. Even then, I might pull a Woody Harrelson.

The sun is baking hot, the shade scarce, little tow planes (I think they have two working constantly) land, someone runs out and pulls the tow line to a glider, hooks it. Inside pilot and passenger wear parachutes in a closed cockpit. The tow plane makes its run, the glider follows, lifts, lifts, lifts. Up they go until they reach a height or speed (Maybe both?) that does the job. Tow line disconnects, glider glides off, tow plane circles back, lands, does it all again.

Gliders also land regularly, on runway or the open field. Someone hops in a golf cart, rides out, and they roll the glider back for its next lift.

I’m sure there’s more involved, but that’s how I see it.

BW and Jason meet their pilots–two of the guys sitting in the shade. A couple of other people are already out at planes preparing for their adventure. I use BW’s complicated camera to take a picture of him and Jason by a glider–then pass the camera to Kat.

BW, Jason, plane. Photo by NR.

My girl is anxious, distracts herself taking pictures. I realize my stomach is behaving a bit like I’m going up–remind it I’m not.

I see BW get his parachute, then Jason his. After the flight, Jason tells us when he gets the parachute he thinks: Oh yeah, this is real.

Guys in the planes, Kat and I on a bench in the sun.

Tow line connected for BW. Tiny little tow plane heads off, glider goes up, and up. I’m following Kat’s instructions to try to get a video of the take off. I think it worked.*

Controls at lift off. Photo by j a-b.

Then he’s up there, and the tow plane circles back.

About the same time, Jason’s airborne.

Their flights will be 30 minutes. For awhile I can follow them both–BW goes left, Jason right. Then I lose sight of BW’s plane. They went over our resort, and off over the lake. 

The view of home away from home. Photo by BW.
Selfie. What? Me Nervous? Photo by BW.
Lac de Sainte Cassien. Photo by BW.
Hills, roofs, trees. Photo by j a-b.
Coming in for a landing. Photo by j a-b.

I watch Jason’s longer. Jeez, he’s really up there! And they fly over Fayence and Callian. It’s a long time, thirty minutes, to wait (or pace a bit in my case) More gliders take off, some land, more people arrive.

Then I see what must be BW’s plane making its circle to land. I bet it’s bumpy, that touching down again. Minutes later, I spot Jason’s, and now he’s back on the ground.

Kat needs some hugs, and as she says if there’s ever a next time, we won’t watch.

Apparently it’s really hot in the cockpit–BW said his phone died for awhile. They both took lots of pictures. Jason reports a glide reminded him of the downsides of flying–take off, landing, occasional turbulence. Other than that, all good.

BW, pilot and certificate. Photo by BW’s camera, operated by kat.
Jason, pilot and cert. Photo by kat with BW’s camera.

An adventure is in the books, and we can drive on to Fayence for lunch.

And there on the steep, narrow streets we find a restaurant open after two for lunch.

Jason spots Hawaiian pizza, BW some exotic pizza, and I go for the classic Marguerite. Kat orders a salad and an extra plate as we’ll all share. 

The reward for the wait. Photo by kat.
The reward for the adventure. Photo by kat.

It’s just fabulous pizza–all agree. Perfectly baked and seasoned. And a nice chance to wind down post-adventure.

After I buy some herbs to take home, and hunt for another pair of woven shoes. They don’t have my size in what I’m after, but they do have Kat’s in her choice. I’ll be grateful for the ones I already have–and check on line, just in case.

And that’s enough for all of us, so home we go. Kat takes a nap. I turn on the TV for a bit to see if I can find more news on Hurricane Harvey. It looks very bad, and as I learned this morning, is very bad. Please, anyone and everyone in that path, be safe, be careful. I’ll be following the news as much as possible from here.

We leave a little early for our dinner here, as we have panorama plans. We’re going to use the kids’ playground very close to our villa. This is a fun little place, with wacky props for our project. We discuss, set marks, timing, POVs. At one point, we consider staging me and BW on the larger seesaw. This fails due to weight differential.

The only pano clue among the lot of today’s photos. Photo by kat.

In any case, we plotted it out, did the job, and had some laughs. It worked! I believe we’ll reveal the results tomorrow–as we plan to do another here at the villa today.

It’s dinner time. And what’s that we hear? Thunder! Some really cranky thunder. I see flashes of lighting in the distance. Maybe it’ll rain.

Mais, non.

I hope, again, it rained somewhere.

Dinner is lovely, as always. We’ve enjoyed every single meal here, at every venue we’ve tried.

Desserts. Photo by BW.

Today, our last, dawns beautifully. We’ll stay close–we have that pano to stage and produce. There’s packing to face. Another workout on the terrace. For the reader who asked about outdoor space at home? I live on the side of a hill–not much natural flat space. But today, I’ll enjoy the view and the air while I sweat it out.

Nora

*Note from Laura: video worked perfectly, haven’t figured out a way to get it to load here.

In today’s #randomkatness:

Succulents in shadow. Photo by kat.

Provence, France Day 16

I’m getting spoiled being able to work out on the terrace in the air. I love my little gym at home, but this is such a treat. The views, the breeze, the light. BW even joined me for some yoga to polish it off.

Jason and Kat return from their morning ramble. No pain au chocolate today at the bakery! They had to settle for an eclair. It’s a tough old world. And they brought back a beautiful pastry to share when Kat put together a little pre-spa lunch on our terrace. 

Lunch is served! Photo by kat.

Pretty–and delicious.

Jason and I sit on the terrace before our little lunch and–what is that? Is that rain?

It turns out, not exactly. It’s a few drips from the sky. This region desperately needs rain, but this little cloud only wept about fifty tears.

We have a very active black squirrel in our woods–he jumps from branch to branch–and is a loquacious morning talker. Now he’s joined by a red one, and they do their gymnastics. Le Cirque des Ecureuils!

After our pretty little lunch my gang leaves for massages. They’re all booked at three, so off they walk to the spa while I laze around and read until I head up, too, for my four-thirty facial. I walk the path in air scented with rosemary. How I envy them those tumbling bushes. For my garden, rosemary’s an annual, and it simply refuses to be potted inside over the winter. 

Berries? Grapes? Photo by kat (questions by Laura).
Close-up. Photo by kat.
Black swans on approach. Photo by kat.
A closer look. Photo by kat.

After this scented walk, I experience very possibly the best facial on record. My tech has wonderful hands, the music’s soft and relaxing, the creams and lotions feel marvelous on the skin. And my skin feels baby soft when it’s done.

As I go to check out the woman at the desk tells me my husband took care of the bill already. We agree that’s what husbands are for.

My family’s equally relaxed on my return. Excellent massages all around.

Bellini time!

And I think of the cat, put a little pasta on a plate, set it out.

She shows up as evening’s settling in, creeps up, sniffs, accepts some penne. Then sits, waits. Aha, she’d like more. Kat brings out some lunch meat. Le chat backs off, but waits, watches while Kat tears up a little meat onto the dish. Eats, sits, waits.

I tell her, sorry, no more. I think too much people food will make her sick. She’s had enough. Je suis desolee.

We have a staring contest.

FYI: You can’t win a staring contest with a cat. They are undefeated world champions.

I have a bottle of water, go over, pour some into the dish.

The cat sniffs, gives me a look that clearly says: You have to be kidding me.

She departs.

We have our own meal, on the terrace. I go for the smoothest of smooth tomato soup again, and a little salad. Our Kat continues to spoil BW with fancy coffee and warm cookies.

We discuss ideas for our annual family panorama, and timing for today’s adventuring. A trip into Fayence, back for the glider flights, then dinner at the hotel. It’s barely ten, I’ve done next to nothing all day, but zzzzzz.

I’ll need to get my workout on soon. If they have another pair of those woven shoes in my size in Fayence, I’m having them. These are really great shoes! We definitely need to take home some regional wine and herbs. I need to get my shopping on, too.

Nora

Today’s #randomkatness:

All lined up. Photo by kat.

Provence, France Day 15

Clouds over Tourrettes taken from villa patio. Photo by BW.

Before and after shots of BW’s Cize experience in yesterday’s blog. He worked it for 40 minutes! He joined me for that session after I did 50 minutes Bootcamp Boogieing with Petra Kolber. *

Back to normal for me and my system.

Jason and Kat head out, for their walk, a trip to the market and the bakery. On return we discuss vital matters such as: is pizza a kind of open-faced sandwich (as well as a pie) as it’s cheese on baked dough with toppings. Maybe.

This discussion launches from the fact Kat and Jason have picked up some lunch meat and what’s billed as sandwich bread. And I had a little conversation with the housekeeper regarding leftover pizza, wherein I remembered the word for lunch, in explaining why we’re keeping it rather than having her take it away.

Oui, bien. Pour le dejeuner!

I work in my shady spot, going back to NYC in my state of mind for a couple hours. And now and again surface enough to hear golfers through the trees.

Our men prepare to leave for their glider experience. And are back in ten minutes or so. Short flight?

Wrong day. LOL. Gliders booked for Friday.

So we settle down to our various pursuits. Some reading, some work, some conversation. Some planning for the last days of our holiday.

Playground near the villa. Photo by BW.
18th tee — just below the villa. Golf with a view. Photo by BW.

Jason’s discovered our foundation has its 17th anniversary on Friday–I think it’s Friday. We’ll have a little celebration, maybe here, maybe back at the open-air restaurant we call The Scrublands as the French name (which I can’t remember) translates to just that. Maybe there’ll be karaoke again!

We clean up, dress up for dinner here at the main restaurant. I leave a little plate of torn up lunch meat for the mama-to-be cat in case she comes by while we’re gone.

BW and I head up first for a drink at the bar. He orders some kind of fancy gin drink, and I go for what’s called a Sparkling Jasmine. Champagne, peach juice and jasmine syrup. 

It’s fascinating to watch a good bartender build a drink–and this one is very good. My favorite part of BW’s build is the graceful swirling of a long thin slice of cucumber onto the top, then dashing just a bit of what the bartender explains is barbecue bitters (from Memphis!) and a carefully placed grind of black pepper. 

Basil Collins made with Hendricks Gin (BW’s caption). Photo by NR with BW’s phone.

BW is pleased with the results.

My drink is absolutely lovely. A blend of gorgeous flavors and so very smooth.

The tender shows us the various bitters they have to work with–and some home-made. Saffron bitters, vanilla bitters, I think caramel. What drink wonders embrace these?

Kat and Jason join us, so it’s out (past the sinful dessert display) to our table. 

Temptation row. Photo by kat.
A closer look at Temptation Row. Photo by BW.

It’s a gorgeous night for eating outdoors, with a bottle of smooth, local red. I should take pictures of the wine bottles, but too late now.

A family group celebrating–we think–a birthday has a table nearby.

The service here is unilaterally friendly and as smooth as the wine. When you add fabulous food, it adds up to a very happy dining experience. Blue skies, warm air, good food, good wine, good company. It doesn’t get better.

King of the rock. Photo by kat.
Tray of petite pains. Photo by j a-b.
Dinner plate. Photo by BW.

Until you add that dessert.

They have what will always be pie-cream-pie for us. It’s very large, so Jason and I split it. Kat feels obliged to order the macaroon dessert (it’s France, after all). It’s pink and pretty–and delicious. BW got some creamy, glossy thing I can’t identify–but again, delicious.

I cannot express the fabulousness of the pie-cream-pie. Which is actually cake-cream-cake with pretty berries. Jason points out that when halved it looks like a crazy, toothy smiling face. When eaten, it brings a tear of joy and gratitude to the eye. Whoever baked this magnificence should rule the world. There would be no war, no sadness, no strife if every meal ended with pie-cream-pie.

Pie-cream-pie? Cake-cream-cake? Doesn’t anyone else see The Cookie Monster’s French cousin (Laura’s comment)? Photo by j a-b.

We wander around after, find a little lounge area and start to take a selfie. The bartender cheerfully comes back, and takes a photo for us. Our night is commemorated.

A group never afraid of color. Photo from j a-b’s phone.
Balls. Photo by kat.
Awww. Photo by kat.

We walk back–I might have rolled.

I check, and the little plate I left for the cat is licked clean. So she, too, had a nice little meal.

Hang out a bit, read a bit, then lights out.

To answer a question from yesterday, I don’t know how long it takes to write the blog every morning. Depends. Some days we’ve done more than other days. I just start, then end when it’s done. And that’s pretty much how I write everything!

Today we’ve all got appointments at the spa. Massages for the gang, and a facial for me. But those are hours away yet. Workout’s coming up. My mood after will determine whether I work on my book or read one. I think a swim should work itself into the day.

Right now it’s cool enough for a light hoodie on the terrace, but that will change as the sun gains strength.

Nora

*Note from Laura — there’s that time/space continuum thing again!

Today’s #randomkatness:

Huge butterfly. Photo by kat.

Provence, France Day 14

It really is a constant state of beautiful.

Every morning I sit out to catch up a little with the world, write this blog, and am wonderfully distracted by beauty. Watching the pink haze over the eastern mountains as the sky goes blue, and the changing light in through the trees. It’s a fine, fine way to begin each day on a holiday.

We took (certainly for Kat’s and my sake) a full recovery day. I did a good, steady workout, capped by much needed yoga while my gang disbursed–K&J for their walk, BW to breakfast then photo work.

I considered working, then considered my still shaky system and mushy brain. Decided on reading instead.

Finally pulled it together enough for actual clothes in the afternoon. Jason and Kat back, settled into their work, but how about walking up for lunch?

Walking good. Anything not involving car good.

I have to keep lunch light–it takes time for my system–so abused–to rebound–but it’s good to be out and about, hear chatter. There is a truly gorgeous breeze. We walk through the hotel, and I spot art I’d missed. I’m not at all sure what some of it represents, but it’s interesting and fascinating and fun. 

Golf ball with keys. Photo by kat.
Drama BW-style. Photo by j a-b.
How the day’s drinks progress? Photo by kat.
If you’re going to have a hand model, may as well make it practical. Photo by j a-b.

We pass the Kid’s Club, and oh so cute! They have a kind of modular little mini-golf, and a little boy is having the best time just pouring colorful golf balls in a hole, digging them out again.

Mini-golf. Photo by j a-b.

Back to the book, take a nap. I’m not a napper, but this is all about system recovery. Kat says her calves are tired. Not sore, tired. She naps, too. I stagger awake, take a swim. Hmm, am starting to feel almost level again.

Somehow it’s evening, and I still want to avoid cars. We have some left-overs and will order the rest from room service. I sit with my book again, then see the cat–definitely pregnant–make a dash across the terrace. 

The visitor. Photo by BW.

I say: kitty, kitty, which is universal cat language. She stops, gives me a suspicious look. I have a bag of chips nearby, toss one. She stares–I pretend to look away. She creeps, creeps, creeps up to the chip. Sniffs, snags, bolts.

Amused, I go in to get myself a drink, see her through the kitchen door, sort of slinking back onto the terrace. I grab what’s left of a round of brie out of the fridge. There she is, eyeing BW, eyeing me when I come out. I tear off a tiny bite of brie, toss it. She creeps closer, sniffs. Now we’re talking! More brie tossed–a little bit closer. She’s definitely not coming much closer, but she’s happy to have the brie.

What cat wouldn’t be?

I go in, pour a little saucer of milk–she’s eating for several, after all.

She drinks the milk, and is now relaxed enough to sit and wash herself–very thoroughly after her meal. Then she departs–I think she has a place in the woods near here. And as our own Kat points out, there are plentiful lizards to snack on.

If she comes back, I’ll find some little snack and some milk for her.

We’re having the most gorgeous evening, something about it. The light, the air, the breeze. It’s just one of those perfect interludes.

Now it’s time for our meal–and I still keep it light. System recovery is near complete. Kat and Jason bought cookies at the market, and Kat warms them up–divides one at my request so I have about 1/8th of a cookie. My girl is spoiling my man, serving him warm cookies and cappuccino after dinner. He will miss her when we’re back to reality! 

The Linzer tort game is strong in Provence. Photo by kat.
Choices, so many choices. Photo by kat.

A little more reading, then ZZZZZ.

And now it’s another stunning morning. I’ll pick my workout, clean myself up. I think to work as I seem to be back to normal. BW and Jason have their glider ride this afternoon. Have I mentioned their cast-iron stomachs? This has always been the case.

I’ll stick with the terrace and solid ground. Kat may go down to the aerodrome with them–not to fly, but to take pictures.

We have reservations here for dinner–so no car again today.

So workout, work, maybe a swim, a book someone else sweated over, and a bellini or two while I hear about the men’s adventures in gliding. 

BW avant Cize. Photo by NR.
BW Apres Cize (in his undramatic way). Photo by NR.

A fine way to spend a gorgeous day.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness, a sequel and a quiz:

“Dude, I’m sorry I was late. Look at me!” Photo by kat, caption by Laura.
Spot the import! Photo by kat.