Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gardening tips for the under twos

Know your gardening vocabulary. Here you learn the key words: "dirty" and "flower". And speaking of dirt, don't forget to clean up after yourself. Juliette's method is not quite there yet, but she certainly has the best of intentions.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Visiting, world events, and being under the weather

It's been a whole two weeks since I posted! But I have a good reason. I've been playing hostess to my dad and visiting a few sites around my region with him and baby. Also working a bit but luckily the workload's a bit light as it's the school holidays in my area.

So dad arrived about a week and a half ago on a lovely blue sky day, weary from his travels but happy to be here. We explored the underground tunnels in my city and the belltower. Around Thursday he started feeling rather run down by a potential sinus infection (that must be where I get it from!) so I got him an appointment with my doctor for that evening. I played translator relating his symptoms to the doctor, who seemed pleased to try out a bit of his own English. Dad was impressed with how quickly we got an appointment and that even without insurance he only had to pay 22 euros. A round of antibiotics and he's doing a little better.

Then Saturday we went to nearby Amiens. We checked out the cathedral, apparently bigger than Notre Dame in Paris. The morning sun made some of the most beautiful reflections.

Stained-glass shop right near the cathedral.

The morning sun on stone arches.

Reflections on the stone columns.

Then we wandered into the quaint Quartier St. Leu area as the temps warmed up. Met up again with Emma who ate a crepe lunch with us. And then we took a boat ride on the Hortillonages. Juliette was surprisingly well-behaved. I used the baby sling to keep her trapped in my arms instead of climbing out of the flat boat.

Juliette takes a cookie break on the boat.

A picture of dad taking a picture.

We had wanted to take the ferry to Dover tomorrow but the volcanic ash is indirectly affecting our plans. Since so many folks are stranded in airports wanting to get back to England or France, the trains or boats are the only options. The website of one company is highly discouraging foot passengers to go as they can't guarantee places. The other company seems to have suspiciously upped its prices on most of the trips that were much cheaper yesterday. Plus today I seem to have caught that nice tummy bug that Remi was suffering from earlier. On my official day off, at that. Irony is really funny that way.

But we can't do anything about it, so we'll make do for the rest of dad's visit. Luckily he's content to watch Juju dance to pop videos!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ode to chocolate

On this weekend of chocolate eating, a tribute to that divine food. This video seems like some weird concept film with me saying "chocolate" periodically and Juliette doing a funny smile like a Cheshire cat. She must have thought I was taking her picture so she smiled for the camera. Yes, I should have taken her gloves off but it was a chocolate emergency!

Friends and family

There are periods in your life where you seem to not do much at all, stay in your corner and not see a soul. Then all of a sudden there's a flurry of activity and you see lots of people in a short time. Luckily I'm entering one of those busier social times, and after the tough winter months where I had to isolate sickly baby, it's a welcome change.

Friday afternoon I stepped out with baby to the laundromat to wash the big comforter in preparation for my dad's arrival next week. I'm looking forward to seeing him and showing him a few more sights around here. I know he'll be glad to spend time with Juliette and sample a few French pastries. Anyway, moments after I'd put the comforter in the machine, I saw my friend Caroline and her sister walking past the laundromat. I nearly knocked a woman down as I tried to catch their attention. They came in and kept Juliette entertained and gave me company as I waited for my comforter to finish spinning. Then they left to go to the bakery, and bless their souls, stopped by again to give me a piece of this fabulous tarte au sucre (sugar pie: think light Danish filling with sugary gooey topping). Love those girls. Caro can make the dullest chores more bearable.

Then Saturday two blogs collided when I met the lovely Welsh girl Emma and her boyfriend. They were tracking some mysterious golden disk in a GPS-driven game that led them near my town. I was pleased to meet them both and do a bit of France-dissing with equally disenchanted Emma. Once again, it was nice to have some folks to entertain Juliette and this time also Cat-ki!

It does make me feel lighter to see friends. Sometimes it's something that's lacking, though I really am blessed to have met some great folks here in France. As spring gets in full gear I'll be a greenhouse widow again. Remi will get home later and most of our Sundays from morning till evening will be spent at his family's right next to the business. Maybe I'll get into some light gardening while making sure Juliette doesn't stick her hand in things she shouldn't. But it will be a busy time and Remi will be quite tired. But if I can make it through May and my oral report for the teaching equivalent degree (wish me luck for May 11th), then June will bring more family visits, mom and Jessy hopefully.

That and a few Subway cookie visits should be glimmers of hope to get me through the tough times.