First Christmas in Le Coudeau

We are snug and comfy in the house this holiday season.

I insisted on purchasing and decorating a big tree, albeit a stunning artificial, as I never enjoyed putting on the lights. Had to laugh at myself, and figured you can take the decorating business out of Christmas, but you can’t take Christmas out of the decorator!!!

This year's owl-themed tree.

This year’s owl-themed tree.


The decorations this year are a tribute to the owls that share Le Coudeau with us. We have a pair of barn owls, with their beautiful white heart-shaped faces, living in the ‘penthouse’ of the pigeonnier. And we have visiting tawny owls that we hear in the night. Beautiful.


And decorating the house also honors all the peeps who helped decorate my corporate accounts through the years. I have great memories of ALL that hard work and think about our kooky times and funny stories involving each of you! But I have to say that I’m thankful to be down to just my own personal tree now. Of course, I left my $000,000 worth of holiday decor in America, so had to start from scratch this year…without access to my wholesale floral suppliers. A challenge, but all worked out in the end.

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Have been enjoying visits with friends and neighbors leading up to Christmas Day, and we aren’t done yet. So nice to be so casual about having folks over. My kind of thing…

Since we’re missing our usually Christmas fare (west coast Dungeness crab), we’re planning a seafood paella extravaganza for dinner. Fun, different, and hopefully delicious!!!

I have so much to be thankful for this time of year—the best husband anyone could dream of, a beautiful home, a healthy family (whom I miss very much), adoring dogs, wonderful neighbors, and delightful friends near and far. But there has been one thing that’s been missing, which kept me in Europe for Christmas. My Carte de Séjour, or residency card. Since I’m here as the spouse of an EU citizen, I do not need a Visa. However, to travel alone, I do need a residency card to prove that I’ve surpassed my 90 day visit cap legally. And last Thursday, after three trips (and the innumerable hours of driving, waiting, returning, waiting, driving again, and just squeaking in before lunchtime) to the prefecture, I was finally granted my temporary card.

What more does a girl want? A fire, a margarita, her dog, and her new Carte de Séjour.

What more does a girl want? A fire, a margarita, her dog, and her new Carte de Séjour.

It was so satisfying to simply go onto our property and trim greens from the pine trees, collect beautiful moss, twigs and pinecones, and use them for decorating. Have even more ideas for next year! This next shot is a little blast from the past. It is one thing of my mom’s that I kept from her collection and I enjoy displaying the vintage NOEL (with the original 1950’s never-been-burned candles) wherever we are.

Miss you Mom.

Miss you Mom.

And with this, we wish you the merriest of holiday delights, from our little piece of heaven in the Dordogne!


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6 Responses to First Christmas in Le Coudeau

  1. Maureen & Bob says:

    We’ve been trying for the last 45 minutes to call you with no success (even with operator help!). I have dialed the following: 011 33 06 3071 0551. Is that correct? We wish you a lovely holiday season – Bob is still doing great but extremely tired. We will be going to my daughter’s home here in Auburn and get to be with all of the grandchildren. Absolutely adored your holiday email! Do either of you have cell phones and what would their numbers be? Love, kisses & hugs, Maureen & Bob

  2. Anna Rotakhina says:

    Merry Christmas, dear dear friends!

  3. Cindy Loevenich says:

    That is the correct number, except when dialing from abroad, you need to leave off the 0 in front of the 06. But how would you know that? We are dialing for dollars today and chatting with friends all over the world, so I’ll put you guys next on the list!

  4. Anne Sherwood says:

    Happy New Year Cindy and Theo,

    We still miss you here on Townsend Dr. with your warm smiles and greetings, and
    your friendly pups to amuse! Lori and Dave are really enjoying your home and have had lots of friends and neighborhood gatherings.

    I had a very fun week in Brooklyn and New York City with Lauren and her fiancé, Brian, and Rob, who lives in the East Village. They planned everything and know their city well, so Mom really just had to relax and enjoy… Great restaurants, a little theater and a fun Christmas party at Lauren’s topped off my visit, and, oh yes, looking for a wedding dress at Anthropologie.

    Can’t wait to see more pics of your home as you put the finishing touches on…

    Best wishes from Anne, Ray Wolfe, and “Pony.”

  5. says:

    Ah, the holidays in New York. Lovely!

    We had a very quiet one here, but the weather was great, so lots of fall walks by the canal and river. It’s now turned very frigid here, with most nights below 0°C, so we’ve covered the olive trees and, of course, have the potted lemon tree pulled inside the winter garden. Anxious to getting started on restoring the garden. Have one more ‘big machinery’ project to lay down a good bed of gravel in the driveway, but then have a guy lined up to start working on leveling things out and getting some ‘green’ seeds down. (I hesitate to call it grass. Ha!) Then on the to fun part of planting up some beds in the spring.

    I can’t wait to simply be DONE. So many little crappy projects to finish. So close, yet just not there. But Theo is anxious to ‘show off’ his finished garage, so will need to take pics and post something about that soon to shut him up! ;-0

    Love hearing about your travels too. Have fun with whatever involvement you have in planning the wedding and best wishes to Ray and Pony too!!!


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