Monday, May 13, 2013

I got the Liebster Award.

Hey guess what readers, unbelievable news! My blogger friend Sara over at Sara in Le Petit Village just presented the Liebster Blog award to me. Thank you so much Sara for the award. I am thrilled that you read what I write and honored that you like my blog.

Sara lives in Le Petit Village somewhere in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. She was born in New York City, moved to Texas where she lived until she moved to Dublin and worked in the banking industry. One night she ran into her future French husband in a club and followed him back to Le Petit Village in Provence.

Sara sees the world through a unique lens and most everything she writes makes me smile. She may well get her writing skills from her mother who has a blog and is the author of two books. I just found out from Sara that her mom reads my blog too and that makes me very happy.

When I read that Sara had passed the award to me, I went to Google to see what I could find about the award. Here is what I found, "The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or dearest."

If you're familiar with the blogosphere than you know that an award like the Liebster comes with rules and these are the rules for the Liebster:

1. Thank and link back to the blogger who presented you with the award.
2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
4. Write 11 questions for your nominees.
5. Present/nominate a Liebster blog award to 3-5 other bloggers.

Here are eleven random facts about me:

1. I have dual United States and Swiss citizenship through father Daniel, born in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Swiss family town of origin is Langnau in the canton (like a state) of Bern. My father’s mother was 100% French from near the Pont du Gard so I think I could get French citizenship too.

2. Once upon a time, very inadvertently, I behaved like a cad and stood up Shirley on what was to be our first date. Let me explain; I met Shirley during freshmen registration and asked her out. Shirley‘s maiden name is long and unusual, and by Saturday night, I had forgotten her name. I knew she lived in a dorm but not the room # so I couldn't get her.

While we were dating

3. I was drafted into the US Army after freshmen year, the next to last year the US conducted a lottery draft before the army became all volunteer. In case you are interested, I escaped Vietnam and was stationed just outside Washington DC at Ft. Detrick, MD where I was the company clerk (think Radar O'Reilly in Mash) for a medical research unit.

Radar O'Reilly

4. I missed the birth of our first child. Wife Shirley went into labor on the day a final test was scheduled my last semester of college. I spoke to the professor and shared the happy news and he told me that if I didn’t take the test at the scheduled time, he would give me an F for the class. So I took the test and by the time I got to the hospital, I was a father.

5. Despite multiple faux pas (see #2 and #4), Shirley still likes me and this summer we will celebrate our 40th anniversary. My life would have been very different and not in a good way if she had not overlooked my many screw-ups along the way.

Near Marseille after nearly 40 years of marriage

6. I officiated at a wedding, one of the scariest things I have done. Writing a meaningful homily that didn’t offend the Jewish family of the groom or the Christian family of the bride was hard to do. They are still married and have a beautiful little girl so I guess I did OK.

7. My favorite candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. If you haven’t tried them, you really must do so.

8. For the first part of my life, I was a vegetarian like the rest of my family. My brother, mother and sister still are and my father would be too if he was still alive. Thankfully, my family in the Tarn region of France introduced me to tasty alternatives. You can read about it here.

9. I am afraid of heights. I am afraid for myself and for anyone up high. I had a fight (verbal only) with my friend when we visited the Pont du Gard in 1995. He took our daughters to the top level (the barriers had not been put in place yet back then) and they walked on the top. I freaked out. Clearly some French official must be afraid of heights too as they now have barriers which stop people from walking on the top. I am glad I am not the only one.

10. I met former first lady of the United States, Laura Bush a few days ago and had my picture taken with her. She asked me about the origin of my name, so we had a little moment while we talked about that.

11. I don't like beer or ale, although to be honest, I have not tried very many. On the other hand, I love wine and I have tasted many different ones. My favorite wines are California Pinot Noirs and red wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. I like dry crisp pink wine too.

Here are the answers to the 11 questions that Sara gave me:

1. What movie or TV show do you hate that everyone else loves? There are several but the TV show I hate most is "Survivor."

2. Where were you when you ate your first Chicken McNugget? I don't know for sure but I assume it was somewhere in Montgomery County, Maryland outside of Washington, DC.

3. Who are your five dream dinner guests (alive or dead) and what would you cook them? My dinner guests would be Diana, Princess of Wales (first wife to Prince Charles), Alice Waters(chef/author), Warren Buffett (billionaire entrepreneur), Neil Armstrong (first man to walk on the moon), and Walter Cronkite (news anchor). All the dishes would be typical of Provence and would come from the cookbook "Lulu's Provencal Table" by Richard Olney. The dishes in the cookbook are from Lulu Peyraud, the proprietress and fabulous home cook at Domaine Tempier in Bandol.

4. What is your favorite book or author? My love of Provence began with the book "A Year in Provence" by Peter Mayle so I would have to say that is my favorite book.

5. What is your favorite tipple? Pastis, bien sur!

6. What's your middle name? André. My father's middle name was André and his best friend's name was André.

7. If you were given €4000 for a holiday, where would you go and what would you do? Shirley was born in Tanzania near the border with Kenya. She has fond memories of the animal parks and would love to go back there. I would use the money and take her back to where she was born and visit the vast animal parks of Africa.

8. What song do you hear, that when you hear it, takes you right back to your childhood/teenage years? It would have to be "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" sung by B. J. Thomas and written for the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" or "Sweet Caroline" written and performed by Neil Diamond. Both songs were written in 1969.

9. What's your favorite sport and favorite team?I like quite a few sports, in fact my first major in college was physical education. But if I have to choose, my favorite sports would be baseball and football and my favorite teams are the Detroit Tigers baseball team and Detroit Lions football team.

10. McDonald's or Burger King? I rarely eat at McDonald's and never at Burger King. I have no idea where there is even a Burger King within 50 miles of our house in Northern California.

11. What is your favorite city in the world? I think San Francisco as I told you here is probably my favorite city in the world. A close second would be Paris.

Here are the bloggers that I am presenting with the Liebster Award: Belle Provence Travels, 2KidsinWineCountry, French Girl in Seattle, Sipping Espresso and Cuisine de Provence.

11 questions I have chosen for you to answer are:

1. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, alive or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

2. Describe the circumstances under which you met your spouse or the significant person in your life?

3. Name your very favorite restaurant, in what city/town/village is it located and what kind of food do they serve? I am always looking for recommendations for restaurants to try.

4. What is your favorite dinner meal or "comfort food?"

5. Who is your favorite author?

6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

7. What is your favorite movie of all time.

8. Tea or coffee?

9. What is your guilty pleasure?

10. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

11. What would be your dream job?

Bonne journée mes amis et à bientôt.


  1. Michel, thank you so much for nominating Cuisine de Provence! What an honor!

  2. Mon cher Michel. Thank you for nominating French Girl in Seattle. An award is always a big honor. It's also a fun process, as it enabled me to learn more about you through the question game! You know I love your blog. Keep the good stories coming... Your friend, Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  3. Grazie mille, Michel! We are honored to have Sipping Espresso nominated. I loved reading your answers - now I'll have to do some real internal digging to come up with my own answers. I like this fun challenge - we are counting down the days until we can see some of the amazing things you write about in person. Ciao!

  4. This was really fun! Thank you for playing along, I enjoyed getting to know you a bit more through your answers. And thank you for the lovely things you said about me and my blog :)

  5. Barbara - You are most welcome!

    Veronique - You are most welcome! Thank you for the sweet feedback about my blog.

    Greg, Jennifer and Julia - You are welcome! We look forward to showing you are part of the wonderful world of Provence.

    Sara - It was fun to do the answers. You are most welcome. I am huge fan of your blog.

  6. Go Lions, Go Tigers! Such a surprise to read that! And now I know why your name is French ;)

  7. Felicitations! Now I feel like I know you far better :)

  8. Liza - Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment. A life long Tigers and Lions fan. Fell asleep as a kid listening to Ernie Harwell on the transistor radio.

    The Sullivans - Thank you. When do you return to Michigan?

    Labergerebasque - Merci. I guess you know some good stuff and some not so good.