OUR HONEYMOON – 11 Years Later

It was a Sunday – mid-June. Usually on Sunday, Steve and I would take off, go to the Italian market for provolone cheese, ravioli, gnocchi, and thin-sliced salami, then browse the flower market for flowers, fruit, cheeses, olives, baguettes, and wind up at our favorite restaurant – Di Piu, Nice. After lunch, we might browse the shops, get a soft vanilla ice cream, or walk along the Sea. Come home, hang out, watch TV, and munch on baguette, thin-sliced salami, Dijon Mustard, and olives for supper – with a cookie for dessert. Add Cabernet and Canada Dry Ginger Ale, and you have the picture. It was always fun.

For some reason this Sunday, we were staying in. Steve was writing. I was surfing the Internet, looking for a place to go on holiday that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. I came across a Get Away resort in Interval International – Club Elite Vacation at La Fenice Resort, outside of Olbia, Sardinia, Italy. “Steve, have you ever been to Sardinia?’ “No, why?” “Want to go?” “Sure, why not?’ “Can we be ready to go by July 8?” “Sure.” With that response, I clicked “confirm”. We were going on holiday to Olbia, Italy [Sardinia] from July 8 – July 15.

We flew to EasyJet to Olbia from Nice, and the Resort sent a shuttle to pick us up. Driving there, I began to question our choice because the road became narrow and mountainous. “Remote” is another word for it. Yet, when we arrived, it was beautiful. Serene. Picturesque. Cozy. Quaint. Surrounded by small mountains. Right away, we could see that it felt different – like we had gone to summer camp.Pool and PatioIMG_2802

We even had an assigned leader, a lovely Italian woman who lives in Spain who comes to Olbia for 4 months in the summer while the resort is open for guests. Obviously, it is closed for the rest of the year!? Right away, our leader said food was expensive in Sardinia – duh – and did we want to buy the food package – seven breakfasts and seven 4-course dinners with wine for 400 euros? I said no; Steve said yes. Well, we didn’t have a car, so why not. And, where would we go? We hardly knew where we were. When we arrived at our assigned room, it was delightful. Not plush, but nice. With a patio, covered with bougainvillea. Lovely. Then, true to form, we immediately tried to get online. No way. So, Steve took his phone to the Lobby. Yes, WiFi – but he had to find a “hot spot”. The hot spot changed often during the day. One had to shift around the chairs to find where it was at the time you wanted to check messages.


On the other hand, the people were nice, the guests friendly, and the pool was just what the doctor ordered. The surrounding hillside was gorgeous. Al Fresco dining with candlelight. There was a TV in the room – in Italian, French, German. So…. No WiFi, no TV, no lunch, dinner almost past my bedtime – at 8 PM. And, no car. Hmmm. I brought a book, and Steve brought his computer.




During the days – other than the day when we went with our “co-campers” around the Island on a private yacht, we ate breakfast (when we pocketed something to eat for lunch), sat by the pool, read, swam, slept, laughed, joked, played solitaire on our Ipad(s), and hung out together.


Steve did a lot of writing on the patio while I lay on the bed and read. It was great. We met a couple from Bristol, England, and were delighted to have someone to talk to. EVERYONE was Italian except for the four of us. The chef was Italian and divine. Pasta courses every night. Dinners were out of this world. Each dinner was different with four courses, and wine. Steve, of course, had Sprite. I cannot tell you how much we loved being there and loved being with each other. Several times, we agreed that this was the honeymoon we never had. And, it was worth waiting for.


On the last night, we set our alarms early for a 6:30 a.m. shuttle ride to the airport. That was when I saw a message on my phone (wonder of wonders) from my niece, Deb Prince Kroll. She wanted to know if we were all right. Yes. Why wouldn’t we be? Had something happened? That is when we turned on the TV to discover – Terror Attack in Nice.  Since we couldn’t get WiFi, Steve went to the lobby to find a hot spot. No go. We turned on the TV to look at pictures and were horrified. That is where we go every Sunday. It was Bastille Day. We would have been there but for this vacation. Would we be able to get home? Would they close the Nice airport? Were our friends all right? Those were families. Families go to see the fireworks at the beach on Bastille Day.

It all went well. Our flight was delayed three hours, but we got to Nice. No problem going through customs. Got a taxi. Got home. We found out our friends were fine – even though close calls. They were there, watching the fireworks. So were his parents. Found out the Nice airport had been closed right after we left. That Sunday, July 17, we went to the scene of the crime – the Promenade – where so many died. We agreed that life is fragile. Little did we know what would happen two weeks later.


I am posting pictures of the resort, the pool, our boat trip around the island, the patio, our friends from England, and a few others. The pictures aren’t great, but my heart was not in taking photographs. I was having too much fun. This was a week to remember. Forever. I love you, Steve. I miss you. Forever,

Love, Jay




This post is about ROSES. I am not sure when my love affair with roses began. Early on. But, Mother did not grow roses. She always said they were too difficult. Instead, she decorated the house with silk roses that Henry George helped her buy. I never liked the silk ones because I was a nature-snob and thought anything artificial was tacky. But, at least, Mother’s artificial flowers were silk. And expensive. That helped – snob that I was/am. And, if I got a corsage, it was either an orchid – purple or white – or gardenias. I wouldn’t wear anything else. Alice Whitehead’s father grew roses – really pretty ones. I think Mrs. Martin next door had some roses. And, I LOVED it if a boyfriend brought me roses. But, that seldom happened because roses were expensive. Plus, when I was dating, guys didn’t bring flowers – not like today. Steve bought me roses on my birthday and on Valentine’s Day. He knew I loved them and enjoyed seeing my delight when he came in the door with a dozen long-stemmed red roses. My son Craig sent me roses one time on Mother’s Day. I was ecstatic. And, I bought roses from time to time at Ralph’s or Gelson’s.

Things really changed when I got my first smart phone in 2005 – a Blackberry. It had a camera. So, in the mornings, when I walked through the neighborhoods, I took pictures – of roses. In Southern California, it seemed as if every yard had roses. At least, that was all I saw. Beautiful roses. When Facebook arrived on the scene, I began posting a picture-a-day on Facebook. Very little else – just pictures of roses. People began giving me thumbs ups. That encouraged me to continue. And now, 11 years later, I am still posting pictures of roses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, FOAP. I have an international following. It is fun. And, I have published two books about roses – “Moments in Time” and “Capturing Beauty” – for sale on amazon.com.

So, from time to time, expect a rose here and there on Jayspeak. Today, I am posting roses from Los Angeles – Brentwood, Westwood, Encino – and Nice, France. Plus, I am posting flowers I have used on my books. Steve was wonderful at Photoshop. So, he made some beautiful covers. Guess I will have to learn how to use Photoshop. Along with a myriad of other things that Steve took care of for us. Picture quality has changed over time because Apple keeps making the camera better and better. I have so many pictures of roses, that it is difficult to pick only a few. But, this is a sampler. Enjoy.


Best, Jay

JayM1_1932 good



A lot is going on over here on the French Riviera. Each day is filled with at least one crisis, often more. And, it is always exciting to go to the mailbox to see what has arrived in this day’s mail. Usually, it is another bill or problem or requirement or whatever. The list goes on. As a result, my original intentions of moving to France, travelling with my husband, dining in delicious cafes and restaurants, reading, writing, practicing the piano, taking photographs, learning to paint with oils – has all gone out the window. Steve died. As a result, I write. I read a little. I take photographs from time to time and practice my scales on the piano. Don’t “dine” – it is expensive and no fun to do alone. Don’t travel – it is no fun to do alone – well, sorta. And, learning to paint with oils – well, that sounds expensive. I would need supplies, wouldn’t I?

Instead, my days are filled with trying to reach someone on the telephone at the Social Security office in Paris, sending required documents to the U.S. Embassy in Marseille. Dealing with l ’Assurance Maladies, AXA Insurance Company, dealing with Hopital Les Sources, Hopital Pasteur, and Hopital l’Archet. Trying to find out who gives flu shots. Making doctor and dentist appointments for me. Buying less groceries – groceries are heavy. And, at my local supermarket, Monoprix, I must package my own, schlepp them (without a cart) to the car (after I find a parking space in the carpark), schlepp them into the building, get them into the elevator, up to the condo – all things Steve used to help me do. I am good at putting them away. 🙂

Then, I started looking for good things happening- small things that were working. Small things that mattered.

At that point, I got sick – caught a bug going around, possibly a virus of some kind. I looked up “Viral Infection” in Louisa Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life”, and it says, “a viral infection signifies ‘lack of joy flowing through life. Bitterness'”. HELL, YES!  Duh. This is not fun. It goes on to say that I should say the affirmation, “I lovingly allow joy to flow freely in my life. I love me.”  Yeah … well… maybe, as soon as I find out how to get rid of these money-eating time shares, pay the insurance company, see a dermatologist, put the groceries away, meet with Hopital Admissions at three hospitals, deal with my landlord, ….  Then, to my surprise, I discovered – this building has turned on the heat!! In the middle of the night, I felt heat – actually, heat – coming through the radiators. Great news!!  This condo building, like many buildings in France (so I have been told), has its heating system in the cellar somewhere. I cannot control it from my unit. And, in the summer, someone turns off the heat. It is turned back on in October. So, if it gets cold before then, tough luck. Last year, when Steve and I first came from Encino (100 + in the shade), we were sleeping in down jackets. This year I was better prepared for the cold nights – Andrea and Slav let me use their portable heater – a favor that mattered.

Small things matter.

When I thought about it, I realized: Monoprix delivers groceries (70 euros minimum + nominal delivery charge) – I am still learning how to order – just received too many zucchini, apples, and carrots (enough for a cafeteria),  and L ’Atelier de Julien delivers Vegetarienne pizza AND Vin Rouge (for a fee) and they know who I am. I see trees out my bedroom window. I have my warm bathrobe my sister Patricia gave me for my birthday one year. My piano is holding its tune – with all it has been through. I can close my windows (with the weather getting cold) and practice my scales.  I know two – count them – two young women at Pharmacie de Cimiez who speak English, know me, and explain things to me. Lignes d’Azur No. 17 bus stops in the Monastery parking lot during the week – good for me in case it is raining.  Riviera Radio (FM 106.5) in Monaco (News, Music, Talk Shows in English) wakes me up in the morning on my Bose Radio that Steve and I bought in LA. Church bells toll from time to time in the Monastery – don’t know why they are tolling, but I don’t care – sounds comforting to me. Mama Loudermilk’s water color that she painted when she was an Art Teacher at Brenau College is hanging by my bed. Some of Steve’s clothes fit me – Nautica sweat pants, skinny jeans, sweat shirts, T’s, denim train shirt and white dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up. He loved it when I would wear his clothes. And more.

Small things matter. Good things are happening. 

This post is about small things mattering. Good things happen while we are focused elsewhere. It is not about the filler pictures at the end or windows to truths or God or faith. Just an observation by me at a unique time in my life. Life is fragile. It is important to live each day fully. Steve and I both thought he would get well and be home soon. Not to be. So,  the gofundme.com campaign continues. If you have contributed, or cannot contribute, or don’t want to contribute, please share the campaign post. That helps a lot. And, to those who have objections to a personal campaign like this, I understand. I used to have them myself – before the need arose. Thank you very much to all who have helped and are helping. It means the world to me – especially at this time.  Jay


Small Things Matter2


Best, Jay

Janet - 4-15-16 at Plage Beau Rivage


Once again doing my first love – ACTING. Over the past few weeks, as I began to realize that life as I had known it was over, I tried to get a grip because at night, I would panic. Aside from bills, problems, money, crises one-after-another, I realized that I am in France, not California or Georgia. By myself. I can’t work at all in France – not allowed. My age is such that it is time to retire. Yet, I have energy. My health is good. I look and feel younger than I am. I love living here. And then, I remembered my first love: ACTING. I am in SAG, the Television Academy, The Actors Studio. And, I could re-join Women in Film – International, if need be. Then, I remembered that I cannot work in France. Well, maybe American producers would hire local talent if shooting in France. I live close to Cannes. I will network, try to meet people. Look for an agent in Nice. Or Cannes. Or Paris. The thought of this gave me hope.

Acting has been part of my life forever. When I was four or five, my father taught me a “speech” that he wanted me to act out on cue. He would put me on a stump or platform or chair or desk – anything to elevate me – in the presence of friends, associates, business executives, farmers, relatives or whoever was around. And, this is what I was supposed to say while pounding my little fist into my left hand:

I (pound) know a man (pound) in the ranks (pound),

Who would not stay (pound) in the ranks (pound).

Why (pound)I’ll (pound) tell you why (pound).

Simply (pound) because (pound) he had (pound) the ability (pound) to get (pound)  things (pound)  done (pound)!!

Photograph (2)-2

About that same time, Mother took me to “speech lessons” at Mrs. Hosch’s house on Prior Street. There, I had to learn a speech for the recital, titled “I’m Just a Raggedy, Raggedy Doll”, falling limp like a rag doll while reciting. Often, I would put on a “show” in my front yard on Cleveland Road, with Jenny and Jo Shillington who lived across the street. We would invite my sisters and our parents to come for the presentation.

Photograph 6Janet - the ACTRESS

Then, in kindergarten, I performed in Miss Alice’s recital for the parents. My part was that of a beautiful scarf dancer from an exotic country far, far away. I had one aqua scarf draped around my body and another one I was supposed to swish in all directions. I poured my heart into it – swishing my scarf with expertise while draped in aqua “silk”.

In grammar school, I got the part of the Statute of Liberty in the class pageant and got to hold a torch. That was wonderful. During high school, I tried out for everything everywhere. I got acting and singing roles in the plays at Brenau College, Riverside Military Academy, the First Baptist Church, the Junior Class Play, the Senior Class Play, and skits happening anywhere in town.

At the University of Wisconsin, I got the role of Diana Devereaux in “Of Thee I Sing”, performing for huge audiences with the Wisconsin Players as well as performing in Humerology for the Greeks, and running for Prom Queen. I performed my campaign skit all over the campus.


At the University of Georgia, I was a Drama major and played Juno in “Juno and the Paycock”, Ghislaine in “Waltz of the Toreadors”, and Mrs. Elvsted in “Hedda Gabler”.


When I moved back to Gainesville, I performed, produced, and directed –  at Brenau College (Brenau Playmakers), Gainesville College (College Players), Appletree Summer Stock, Gainesville Junior Service League (Children’s Theatre), among others. I couldn’t get enough. For as long as I can remember, I loved pretending. Pretending to be someone else. Not animals or inanimate objects, but lovely young girls or women whom everyone loved. For a long time, it was Honey Bunch – a young girl in a series of books I loved. Everyone loved Honey Bunch. Then, it was Nurse Sue Barton or Nurse Cherry Ames. As long as I had my imagination to count on, I didn’t care what happened – I could escape into my mind. It was wonderful.

1967 Any Wednesday Cover


In 1968, I moved to Los Angeles and acted in film, television, theatre, commercials, print ads – for 38 years. I loved it.

JanetPeterSgt.Pepper poster

1977 Set Lemonade commercial

Then, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I wanted a change. I have tried to explain it as a desire for power, a dislike of the youth-oriented industry, lack of jobs for older actresses, whatever. So, I went to – wait for it – Law School. No one thought I could do it – make the switch. I did. I went to law school, passed the California Bar, and practiced law – employment litigation and entertainment law – for 19 years. Did I miss acting? You bet. I missed it big-time! But, I loved practicing law, too.


When my husband and I retired to the South of France, I immediately started eyeing Cannes and the film festival there every year. Plus, I took note of various theatres in Nice, wondering if France has acting unions like SAG. One day, I googled acting agents in this area and wondered if they ever signed American actresses. I noticed French actresses seemed mature – not all young and sexy. I studied French commercials on television. I made note of people I know in the U.S. to ask, maybe message one day on Facebook.


Steve loved my being an actress. He encouraged me to get back into it. He would say – “the happiest I have ever seen you is when you were working as an actress.” He loved this picture.

Photograph (1)

He wanted me to do both (act and practice law) – in LA. I couldn’t. As an attorney, I gave it 100 percent focus. But, the part about my being happier when I was acting – that is true.

When Steve died, I talked to expat friends in Nice about getting involved in the film industry somehow.  acting in France – in films. Then, week before last, two expat friends texted me about a “Casting Call” on Angloinfo.com. An American writer/producer/director Maxine Pugh, living in Cannes, needed a mature actress to play a French Countess in a short film currently titled “Damien’s Reawakening”, to enter into International film festivals. No pay. Expenses, only. Concerned about the French language and whether I remembered how to act or not, I contacted Ms. Pugh. The part needed English language with authentic French dialect, to act with French actors from Paris. After a lot of back and forth trying to get my English to have an “authentic” French-sounding accent and in competition with three other actresses, I got the part. I worked last Sunday – in Cannes. Producer Daniella Gonella works for the BBC in London. Small crew working camera, camera/lights, and sound from London and Portugal. It was fabulous. I took the train from Nice to Cannes. Walked to the set. Used my own wardrobe. Worked all day with excellent actors from Paris. Got more and more French as the day wore on. I was back in the saddle again. It felt great. Steve would be happy.

At this time in my life, there are several things that make me feel like things will be all right once time passes and the pain decreases – classical piano, a soulful saxophone, the smell of roses, and a creating a character I like (thank you, Miss Alice) – or don’t like. At the shoot, I wasn’t focusing on taking pictures, so the attached are not great – the train, the myriad of steps at the train station, the set and some of the crew, the actress Celine Durand from Paris (daughter Chloe), the actor Nicolas Audebaud (son-in-law Damien) from Paris, and me (the Countess) on the set and in makeup. I felt like things would be all right. As Steve would say, “maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon”.


Best, Jay



Steve and I had just gotten back from Sardinia. It was a terrific trip – totally unplanned and a spur-of-the-moment happening. We tried to find something close by so that we could get away for a week in July to have a “summer vacation” because the fall would be intense. We would have been here a year, and all of our policies, house lease, my French Visa, and several other things would come due. So, we had to watch our pennies to get past all of the incoming invoices. No problem. We would just “tighten our belts” for a while. Then, in October or November, Steve wanted to go to Portofino, Italy. Especially, since Steve had his Italian passport. So, I had started looking for Airbnb’s for the weekend. In fact, we found several that I starred because we liked them.

Our main dilemma was trying to decide whether we would spring for a trip to our time share at the Hanalei Bay Resort, in Princeville, Kauai. We had booked a week in the Guava Building (choice spot) in April 2017. That is where Steve proposed to me. We both loved it. So, Steve was looking into air fare and had found some relatively cheap flights. But, we were concerned about being on a plane for such a long time. Did we really want to go? Yet, the Guava building was tempting.

And, Steve was 70 pages into his next book, and he was loving it. Vic and The Redhead were in Nice, France, at someone’s request. Steve was mentally in all his favorite places on the French Riviera, writing non-stop. And, we had both just started Stevespeak and Jayspeak. Steve had a list of things he wanted to cover in his posts, and so did I. We liked the titles – Stevespeak and Jayspeak. Lots to do and lots of fun ahead.

Then, on August 2, 2016, while the housekeeper was cleaning the condo, a series of events happened within an hour to change our lives forever. Trip to emergency, hospitals, doctors, good days, bad days, and death. NEVER did we see this coming. It hit us both blindsided. Yes, Steve had a cough. And, yes, Steve thought he was fighting a flu bug, but…..

Within three weeks after his death, I had bills and bills and bills. And, they are still coming in. At the same time, Social Security stopped all future payments of benefits (of Steve’s) and took back Steve’s September payment, while threatening to take back August’s. And, Steve had charges on his charge cards. I started trying to figure out what I could sell. Not much of anything. No life insurance. No death benefits. No plans for dying. Only plans for living.

Sometimes, I get frightened. I was the older one – Steve would be burying me. Yet, here I am – without Steve. Most of the time, I handle what I can when I can. I have lost weight, and most of the time, my stomach is in knots. But, I won’t take medicines of any kind. I don’t believe in medical crutches. Wine helps at night, but I try to limit that, too. And, I walk. Like a maniac, I walk. That seems to help. Taking my flower pictures and posting them from time to time.

Swallowing my ego, I set up a gofundme.com page and asked for help. I am still asking for help. Not what I had planned to post on Jayspeak, especially with all the election mess to cover, yet here it is.

This is the link. It would mean the world to me if you would donate something. And, if you don’t want to donate or have already donated or cannot donate, then share the post. That helps a lot. I thank you in advance – without a way to pay you back. The only thing I can promise is that I will pay it forward when I can. And, Steve would thank you, too, if he could.


Best, Jay


JARDIN du Monastère de Cimiez

This morning, after my walk and café in the park, I decided to go into my place of serenity and peace – the Jardin du Monastere de Cimiez – with the specific purpose of taking pictures to post on Jayspeak. So, I did.


Now, as I have said before, up on the hill of Cimiez – near my condo – is the Monastery of Cimiez, which includes a church (see also, cathedral) and a monastery that have been used (and still are, but by four Italian priests now, so I have been told) by Franciscan monks since 1546. And, behind the Monastery sits the beautiful Jardin du Monastere de Cimiez – the oldest garden of the French Riviera. Beautiful flowers (exquisite roses galore), trees, and shrubs grow there in every season. When one flower or shrub dies, it is cut back or replaced by the gardeners – a hearty crew. And, gorgeous magnolia trees!!! Imagine, beautiful magnolias in my own back yard (so to speak). Now, the gardeners are not a friendly bunch – let me tell you. I got too close one day to a rose I was shooting, and – well, let me say, I won’t do that again. They watch the visitors like a hawk, protecting their beauties.

IMG_3759I have read that the garden covers 9,550 square meters and initially was used as a kitchen and orchard garden by the Franciscan friars. Apparently, the original layout from 1546 has been preserved (for the most part) and transformed into flower beds. And, the best part – all of it leads to an incredible view of Nice – looking out to the Med. Breathtaking. Plus, lots of fruit trees – orange and lemon – and even pomegranate groves. The people who walk there are so quiet, it is amazing. A place of reverie, to be sure.



I have posted a lot of pictures. In fact, I have more – for another day. So much fun. Every time I would look up, I would see something else I wanted to shoot. In fact, there were several stalks of corn there. ??? And, my new best friend, the Monastere cat followed me everywhere. Don’t know its name, but I call it “pretty kitty”. It is always in that garden. Duh.


Anyway, take a look at the pictures. Pretty self-explanatory. Hopefully, I was able to capture the beauty. I want you to see what I love to see.




I later posted this photo on a site where I sell my photographs.  It was selected and purchased by Getty Images. That is quite an honor!!


More photos!!


And, on to home.


Best, Jay





For years, I have heard that there are five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining (with whom? I don’t know. God?), depression, acceptance. And, well-meaning friends have reminded me to remember those stages as I go through this terrible time of loss. Others have told me it will take at least a year before I get better. I don’t agree. I don’t think there are “stages”. I will grieve the loss of Steve – forever. And, I don’t have a year to get better because I don’t think it will ever be “better” or that I will ever get “better”. I will miss Steve for the rest of my life. We had something special that I don’t have any more. I don’t get over that. It cannot be replaced. My friend Carole Lilly Jones said to me – most of our families of origin and friends are dead. Yet, for some reason, we are still alive. Go live. Yes, I am alive. I am going to go live. Now, I am not sure what that means just yet, so I will keep on keeping on. Keep showing up – for my walks, for coffee in the Park, for groceries, for lunch with friends, for doctor appointments….

So far, everything is painful and disorienting – without a finish line. But, I already feel my moods and emotions shift and change. Highs, then lows. Laughter, then tears. Anger, fear, peace, joy, guilt, confusion. I don’t believe in “closure”. Grief is a part of love, and love evolves. Acceptance is not final. It shifts around, changing often during the day. This is a poem that spoke to me today when I read it  – it came on a card in the mail from our friends in Sarasota…

“Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow, I am the sun on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circling flight. I am the soft starlight at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die.”  – Mary Frye  (Thank you, Carole and Cliff)

Below are some selfies and other pictures we or I took during this year in France. Each day was sheer delight. And, those who knew Steve KNOW he hated having his picture taken. Love that guy!







He fought a good fight. He so wanted to live.  I will miss him forever.

Best, Jay9408CB0D-B6CF-4FD4-A989-437A6003595E



On October 1, 2015, my husband and I moved to Nice, France. We are currently beginning our 11th month – as residents. It is tricky because we don’t either one speak French. We try to, but — no. A word here and there, but full sentences throw us for a loop. Yet, we have been able to make ourselves understood – by waiters in restaurants, UPS at the door, the mailman, the Post Office, the grocery clerk, the pharmacist, the doctor, the dentist. A lot of these people speak “some” English, but not much. I bought Michel Thomas’ French apps, and listened for months to the lessons. That helped. My problem comes with pronunciation. Mine and theirs. I say something I think is excellent, and they look puzzled. If they say something, I have no idea what it might be. Yet, I can translate it. I can read a lot of things; I am struggling with speech. I had hoped to pick it up faster — no.

We moved to France as a compromise. We had been living in Los Angeles, California, for many years. I had moved there in 1968, from Gainesville, Georgia. While there, I worked as an actress in film and television – selling real estate as backup. At a certain point, I got frustrated with acting and decided to go to law school. I practiced law for fifteen years and decided to retire. I married my husband Steve Orlandella – a live sports producer for television – in 2005. We had dated for several years, and he popped the question that spring. In 2014, we decided to retire. He hated the traffic, and I had battle-fatigue from contentious clients and defense attorneys. Steve wanted to move to Sarasota, Florida. I wanted to stay in L.A. We compromised by agreeing to move to Nice, France. It did not happen quite that easily, but all of that drama and saga I will save for another time.

It took us two years to “get our ducks in a row.” Steve applied for an Italian passport so he could have duel-citizenship. I required a long-term French visa. Plus, I had to close down Law Offices of Jay W. MacIntosh. It was complicated with snags galore, but we did it. And, here we are.

Hopefully, this blog will be the forum for me to explain how we did it – especially at this time in our lives. I am older than Steve – by 13 years, so moving home – lock, stock, and barrel, is not the norm. But, going to law school at age 59 was not the norm either. And, going from Georgia to the University of Wisconsin was not the norm. Moving a family and furnishings from Georgia to California was not the norm. So, I can say – I was not the norm. Neither was Steve. So, I am going to write about France, moving to France, and living in France – from my perspective. I plan to post pictures and write about the setting. Don’t expect this to be a travelogue — no.

This is my first post. Welcome aboard.  BY JAY W. MACINTOSH



When Steve and I were making our plans to move to France, our first consideration was a place to live that we could afford. Steve was more skeptical than I was. He was convinced we would not be able to afford anything fit to live in.  I, on the other hand, had lived in various homes in Los Angeles, in various neighborhoods.  During the time that I was working as an actress, I worked as a real estate agent (eventually becoming a broker) as back-up. Thus, I knew to look for help – a real estate agent in Nice.

After an extensive search, I heard about the site www.angloinfo.com. I created a page on that site and began posting comments regarding our upcoming move and our need for help. I got several responses, one of which was from someone named Andrea Emond. She was a Canadian, living in Nice. She said she would be glad to help us.

Andrea and I began corresponding back and forth. That went on for almost two years. Our plans changed so much that I was afraid Andrea would get disgusted and disappear. But, she did not do so. At some point, she realized that a major stumbling block – other than Steve’s obtaining his Italian passport – was a place to live. So she began sending us setups regarding properties that were within our budget, knowing that there were still a lot of snags to our getting on a plane. When we began to see what was available and prices involved, Steve and I both got excited. We could afford Nice.

In 2015, we made the decision to move by November 1st. We made one offer that did not fly, but the second offer did. We leased a furnished three-bedroom, one bath condo in an area called Cimiez, starting October 1st. That didn’t mean anything to us, but Andrea said it was one of the best neighborhoods in Nice.

(Note: Unfurnished units sometimes don’t have complete kitchens – no stove, refrigerator, etc.  And, long-term lets are difficult to find. Nice is a short-term rental town. AND, international moving companies are expensive.)

We decided to unload our all of our furniture (except for my Steinway piano).  We sold all of the furniture, both of our cars (2 BMW’s), and lots of personal items. THAT was very difficult for both of us to do – that’s how much we wanted to make the move. I am posting a picture of Andrea and her partner Slav (http://www.home-frenchriviera.com/).

Andrea and Slav

Below are some “before” pictures and “after” pictures of our condo. We have done some more things since these pictures were taken. And, I am not including all of the rooms.  But, these give you an idea of whom we met, what we saw, and how we have begun fixing it up. We’ve ended up using some of the landlord’s existing furniture, but we got them to take away most of it, including all of their personal items, like pots & pans, dishes, towels, and such.  The unit now is warm and cozy.

We bought pieces at Habitat (https://www.habitat.fr), on the French version of Craigslist(https://www.leboncoin.fr/annonces/offres/provence_alpes_cote_d_azur/) and at a donation outlet named Emmaus (http://www.emmaus06.fr/). We shipped my Steinway piano, artwork, kitchenware, clothes, and linens.  




This is the incredible view!!


Best, Jay



Two months ago, I started my blog, Jayspeak. My husband, Steve Orlandella, started his blog, Stevespeak. And, we both were off and running. I had ideas galore about future topics, and so did he. We both had followings on Facebook. We hoped we could get followings for our blogs. That same weekend, he didn’t feel well – thought he was coming down with the flu. On Tuesday, August 2, 2016, I rushed him to the emergency room at Hopital Pasteur. He was transferred to Hopital l’Archet immediately. Diagnosed with acute pneumonia on life-saving machines. He got a tad better and was transferred to Les Sources for further treatment – in the intensive care section of the ICU. For a month, French doctors tried to save his life. Without success. He died on August 31, 2016 – a date I will never forget. That day, my heart broke.

Now, I am trying to re-group. How do I reinvent my life?  How do I write a blog about life in France? What do I say?  Steve was my best friend, my constant companion, my lover, my life. We had places to go; things to do. Our retirement years in France were just beginning.  Now, that is not going to happen – at least, not the way we planned.  Stevespeak is silent…forever.  I still have a voice.  I am here.   SO, here goes.  Jayspeak speaks – anew.  Hang in there.

I had planned to write about Cimiez – the area where we live.  Well, I still live here.  And, the things we both loved about the area, I still love.  I am posting pictures of the view from our condo – out the window; the grocery store Monoprix; the Park Café; the Roman ruins; the Monastery; The Monastery Garden; the Museum Matisse; the Monster Munch we loved at the store; the Hot Dog sign at the Park that was only there from time to time; the Bus Schedule for the bus near our condo – that we took every Sunday to town; the neighborhood palace Regina that we saw every day; and others. I can hardly write through my tears. But, you get the picture.  Life was good.  We were happy and in love – with each other, with Nice, with Cimiez, with France.  I still am….

The Gorgeous View out my Living Room Window.  See the Observatory?


My great grocery store!  Fresh orange juice every day!
The Park Cafe – delicious croissants and coffee!
Roman Ruins
A Functioning Monastery and Chapel. Beautiful in side!
The Monastery Gardens with beautiful flowers – tended all year long by professional gardeners.
The Matisse Museum.  Gorgeous inside!!
Steve’s Favorite munchies!!
The great #17 bus stop near our apartment!
This is “The Regina” – the summer home of Queen Victoria, now apartments and businesses. Gorgeous architecture!

The days of our lives


Welcome to My World!


-Chase the Stories



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