Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas and New Year's

Well, Christmas and New Year's can be both summed up in three words....good but sick. Abigail was starting to get sick before Thanksgiving and by the time we returned from England she got the H1N1...then finally got over it, only to catch a serious cold which she then proceeded to share with Nicholas and then the two of them ganged up on me and got me sick.

Tonight...New Year's Eve...we were going to try to go to our friends Nathalie and Laurent's for a fete, but after trying to fix my dead battery, a trip to the hair salon so Nicholas would look appropriate for the evening and then groceries that we'd neglected due to wore me completely out and sadly we had to cancel. We were also supposed to go to my Aunt and Uncle's for New Year's Day but ...sick. So I think God is telling us to stay at home.

Still very grateful to the Lord for the numerous blessings of this year and my heart soars for my brother as he is celebrating the holiday in his brand new house! Thank you Lord!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in England

We were able to make a quick getaway to England for Thanksgiving this year as Nicholas had to visit the University of Birmingham for Postgraduate Open Days.

On the whole the trip was quite successful as he was very much encouraged by the professors there at his chances of being accepted into their PhD program.

We also were able to see much of the main sites that England has to offer and they were quite beautiful. However, that is where our enjoyment stops. We were quite surprised by the absolute across the board rudeness of the people. We met only one lady who was nice who worked at Hampton Court. It even got so bad as my GPS was stolen at the storage facility we kept our luggage at for a few hours. On top of all this the

weather was complete misery, very very cold and wet. When we left we had checked out the local weather reports and it seemed to be having the same weather as we were having in we were all suffering on that account.

All in all my first visit there 20+ years ago was so much more favorable. But as you can see we were able to see the known sites such as Hampton Court, the home of Henry VIII and it's wonderful maze. Big Ben and Parliament, the London Tower Bridge and the London Eye. But also so lesser known sites such as Karl Marx's grave site as well as my favorite....the TARDIS outside Earl's Court train station. For those who are unaware of this, it is from Doctor Who a wildly popular show out of England of a Time Lord and his companions. TARDIS stands for Time And Relative Distance In Space and it is the Doctor's space ship. Pop on to youtube and check out a show or two!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Well school is in full swing now...Abigail is enjoying her new teacher Mme Branche. She will be doing all subjects this year including history and she is quite excited about it. She is see her French teacher Mme Blanc three times a week and will also be going to "Soutien" three times a week to help her with her French. So I really feel that this school year will really make all the difference for her.

Abigail was happy to find most of her friends from last year still here (except Irie...we miss you). One of which is Charlie, and with Kurt now spending much more time here in the South we were able to hook up and have a "hamburger party" last Friday. Yummy! We had a wonderful time eating, talking and playing games. I even found out that Kurt and Charlie love Petanque!! So we may actually get a chance to play!
Hopefully much more on this soon.

And just for a note of oddity, this sign from my neighborhood....I have no idea what this means...this a 4-way intersection with a "sens unique" or one-way going to the left and to the right, they have the same sign but coming from the other direction heading home there is no sign...all I know is that no matter what I do, other cars get angry.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back in France!

Well we are back in France after our two week stent in Georgia visiting family. It was good to see them but we are glad to be back at home....even if we're not actually in our apartment. Luckily for us we have incredible friends and so we're staying with Nathalie & Laurent. They are the kindest of people...Merci mes amis.

We returned extremely late on the 2nd only for Abigail to start school on the 3rd (poor girl) she is now officially in CM2 (5th grade). So far school has been a blast for her as they are kayaking half the day for the first two weeks of school! Can you believe it....a kid's dream! Her new teacher's name is Mme. Branche and I am eager to meet her, scheduled for this Tuesday, she looks quite young but Abigail says she is quite nice. Unfortunately her best "french friend" Margot is not in her class as they were divided into 3 separate CM2 classes...however several of her friends are, so she has the opportunity to get to know them even better.

She is registered again for her sports class afterschool on Mondays and Fridays and also Wednesday afternoons where she'll again be able to do mountain biking, rock climbing and the like. I also registered her this year for kayak lessons on Wednesday mornings from 9-12, so she'll be a little expert by the end. This will help her and me as I will be working for the most part full time...even on Wednesdays.

It is hard to be at the school and not see Rick, Lisa or Irie's smiling faces...just not the same...We miss you guys.

More later and with pictures.

Till then....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Visiting Family in the U. S. of A.

Well, just to keep up with my blogs...we are here in Georgia visiting family. Actually Abigail is off visiting her Dad and other Grandparents while I hang out with my fam....I miss her SO VERY MUCH!!

I've been productive though....found my red, peep-toe, slingback heels that I have been searching for, for months with the help of Karisa...YAY ME! So as a celebration I purchased the matching black ones and another pair of white ones. I've updated my work wardrobe while I've been here and pretty much taken advantage of the cheap prices here. I came here with just a backpack and will leave with backpack and luggage.

I've also been eating all my favorites that I miss in France like Sushi and Chic-fil-A as well as my Mom's cooking ...tonight is Buche de Noel!

Looking forward to going home..

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Long time, no blog...

Many things have happened this summer, as as you can see from the last post...I have not taken (or had) the time to write. So I hope to in this blog to hit the high notes.

I can start by saying that Abigail passed CM1 and will enter into CM2 September 3rd...she had all good grades...I am so very proud of her for coming to France last year not knowing one word and excelling in her grades! Go Abbie!!

We had to leave our paradise on the sea, a.ka. Marie-Claude and Philippe's, and bounce around
this summer in between family, hotels and Sergine's (our soon to-be new home). During this house hopping we also have received guests....the first to come was Nicholas at the end of April, followed by my Mom who came to visit for a couple of months and took advantage to visit her sisters and the same time. Then the big visit with my brother Jean-Pierre, his daughter Ariel and his girlfriend was so good to see them as it had been one year since we last set eyes on them.

We did many many things of which I'm sure I will forget to mention some wonderful things but I will do my best. First of all, of course we showed our guests around Frejus. We then went to Avignon, Arles, Monaco and Dragiunan.

Then we went to the Loire valley and saw many an awe-inspiring castles, so much to see in too little amount of time. Believe it or not I was actually cold...thus my brother's jacket in the picture.....we tried to decide which castle we liked best...I think for sheer awe it must be Chambord! We also saw Chiverney, Chenonceau and the Royal Castle in Amboise.

We then headed up to Paris, the city of light! It was so exciting to be in the city that I've dreamed about all my life....we were hurried to see as much as possible....and due to last minute (thankfully available reservations) we were not in the 'nicest' quarter...but we were in Paris!

Not only this but we were there for the 120 anniversary of the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day! What an experience that was!

We saw most of the sites in Paris including the Louvre, the Catacombs, Notre Damn, Monmarte,
Sacre Coeur, the Arc de Triumph....the paris metro (not as nice as aforementioned sites)

We were in Paris for one week, tons to see...we also took a day to go see Mont Saint Michel (my mountain) but unfortunately we were not able to stay too long and did not have the time to go to the beaches of Normandy...this will have to wait for another day. Now we await our trip to the States so that Abigail can visit her Dad, then as soon as we get back, a grand total of 8 hours after arriving on French soil...Abigail will start her first day in CM2!! Till next post!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I miss you Devan!!

It has been one year since my precious nephew Devan went to be with the the tender age of sixteen. I can't begin to express the pain and loss I feel at his passing and it is beyond understanding the pain of his parents and his sister Ariel. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Devan was by far THE most remarkable young man I ever and I'm sure will ever meet in my life. He was so full of life, energy, laughter, love and plans to conquer the world. He was mischievous and a prankster constantly enjoying torturing those he loved with their weaknesses...mine was the song from Vanilla Ice..."Ice, Ice baby", a song he learned to play on the guitar and used to chase me playing it...he even taught it to his sister so that they could both torture. Even though he could kick my butt easily without breaking a sweat after he stopped playing he would run as fast as he could when I would chase him for my revenge...he knew that I would tickle him...his main weakness.

He took life head first with full speed…he lived life at his fullest and I’ve learned so many lessons from him. He loved, respected and idolized his father (my brother) and wanted nothing more than to be just like him and make his father proud….which he did constantly. They always had such wonderful times together and the love my brother had for his son is immeasurable, there was nothing that he wouldn't do for his children.

To say that I miss him is almost making light of the depths of my feelings. I am distraught at his passing and yet I consider myself to be fortunate to have known him, loved him and have been loved by him….I am a better person for having him in my life and in turn those who know me have and will continue to be touched by this remarkable man.


Sunny days seem to hurt the most
Wear the pain like a heavy coat
I feel you everywhere I go
I see your smile, I see your face
I hear you laughing in the rain
Still can't believe you're gone

It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
The death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today

Would you see the world?
Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family?
I wonder, what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky's so blue
I feel like I can talk to you
And I know it might sound crazy

It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
The death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today

Today, Today, Today
Today, Today, Today

Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
The only thing that gives me hope
Is I know I'll see you again someday

Someday, Someday

Friday, June 19, 2009

End of the Year Lunch

Well it's that time of year....the end of the "school year" for some it has already come for some it is coming. Abigail's last day is July 2nd...though there is not much planned except fun activities like her pending trip to "Marieland" in Antibes.

In this picture we have: Gilbert, MaryVonne, Chris, Gizelle, Annick, Sylvie, Gerard, Nathalie and Me...

My students at Frejus Vous Accueille's last day was the 18th....we had class as usual though a bit later...we strolled in around 10:30 and chatted till noon. I love my class..I love my job because of the people that I get to's the perfect job for me. Nicholas joined me for the last class as they have adopted him into the family and he will actually begin teaching intermediate to advanced grammar in the fall at FVA.

After class we walked over to the restaurant in front of the Base Nature's Pool...ahh what a lovely setting....the ocean right there, the ocean was great. The found was spectacular and the tub o' Tirimasu for desert was the topper....

This was MaryVonne's dish, the same thing that Chris had...isn't that just the prettiest...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Family, Friends, music and Roman ruins

It is so good to have Maman here in France (though she is currently visiting her sisters). We have tried several little excursions with her as she was still suffering from jet lag.

So we went and saw Marie-Claude and Philipe at their place and had them come over for Nicholas' famous "white enchiladas" which turned out to be a great hit. It's hard for anyone to not like is full of creamy goodness! I'm sure it was good for them to see their apartment again after such a long time....we don't have too much longer in this million dollar view place and we will miss it terribly....(merci!)

We also in the meantime had our expo of our arts that we had created over the was quite a spectacular expo...not due to us but rather in spite of us! In this photo we have the lovely Annie, Helen, Josaine and Nathalie....artwork themselves!

Here was a rare occasion for was girls night out! Katell invited Lisa, Nathalie and I out for a drink after she got off work...unfortunately Nathalie was unable to attend (we missed you Nat!) We all ordered smoothies pronounced in french "smoozies" It was a great evening perfect weather, nice breeze and good friends and my baby was taken care of by my sweet Nicholas.

Also we were able to see Irie's first piano recital (though the pictures didn't turn out that great) but we were late (my fault) so we weren't allowed in but I found a "window-door" that opened right into the recital we had front row seats but with a breeze! She was GREAT!

Afterwards, since we were running like chickens with our heads cut off to get there and didn't have the time to take in the sights...we took our time going home and stopped to see the ruins at the Villa....Nicholas is always happy to see Roman ruins! Here he is touching the channel where water used to flow during Roman times....he always gets giddy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Mom is here

My Mom arrived safe and sound from Atlanta...well....almost. As per usual they lost her luggage and then decided to keep her in the baggage claim for well over an hour filling out the proper forms. This happened to her the last time she visited France so she claims next time she'll come naked or not at all....stay tuned.

Turns out that since the first plane made a late connection she made it to the plane but not the bags...they were delivered the next evening.

We were all so happy to see her and have tried to catch up on our year apart, even though we talk all the time on the phone. The first few days or so she suffered from a major case of Jet Lag and spent many a wonderful hours napping...sometimes in bed sometimes on the beach (the 2nd shall not be repeated as she was burnt to a crisp)

Abigail obviously is in heaven having her Grandmere here, and has enjoyed playing with her as well as her help in learning her poems for school.

Maman has also thus far made her special mayonaise for us (which is almost gone) and her fried banana split. Still to come is a fondue and a Buche de Noel which I'm chomping at the bit for.

And now she is off to see her sisters...more posting later

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It is unbelievable to me but my baby girl is now 10 years old! So to mark this momentous birthday we went on a worldwind trip to Italy...our neighbor.

Abigail was so exited, she 
was going to take her first train ride! So off we went to the shopping capital of Italy...Milan. Ohh the stores!

This is beautiful place is actually a type of mall. It is amazing! It included such stores as Prada, Louis Vitton and a token McDonalds for us poor folks.

This beautiful and amazing church is the 3rd largest church in the world and THE largest Gothic church in the world.  It is about 2 city blocks long and all carved with very intricate sculptures and scenes.

Then we were off to Florence where we saw many wonderful things including "David" and "The Birth of Venus" then we were off to Pisa
(this is the copy of David)

When we arrived in Pisa, we took a wrong turn somehow and ended up in an area that was a bit resembled a 3rd world country. I 
suddenly thought this was a mistake, then I saw the Leaning tower...and those thoughts popped out of my head.

It just was the coolest thing to me. We of course had to take the obligatory hold up/knock down the tower pictures. Of course you feel quite silly as you do this but there are people all around you doing the same thing.

Marie-Claude (my aunt) told us we really should climb the tower even though it is a hefty 15 euro pp price. We almost bypassed it but chose to do it anyways and it was SO WORTH IT! It was amazing as you climb the stairs with no outside view and you are thrown back and forth from side to side as you changed sides of the tower.

When you reach the top you have a wonderful view of Pisa...we pretended to re-enact the Galileo. Though I must say we questioned his intelligence as we noted how scary it was at the top and that was WITH the addition of the safty barrier!

Then a worldwind trip back to France, and I for one was so grateful to be back on French soil.

And that was Abigail's 10th birthday...what will it be next year?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nicholas arrived safe and sound!

Just a quick note to say that Nicholas arrived safe and sound in the south of France. Abigail and I are extremely excited to have him here "for good"....he does miss the 'motherland though.

Since he has been here we've   gone to Beziers to visit family, celebrate a birthday and May day and visit the town which was lovely. We got to see a beautiful church where many people were massacred for their faith and the 9 locks on the Canal de Midi.

Much more with photos 

on this's late.

And tomorrow we're off to see Milan, Pisa (the Leaning tower of Pisa) and hopefully Florence for Abigail's 10th 
birthday. So I'm hoping that the camera will not run out of pics. 

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Abigail goes rock climbing!

There are so many wonderful things about living here in France, too many to fully express with words. One of the things I love so is that Abigail has gotten the chance to do so many neat things here that she never would of had the chance to do in the States.

She has gone sea kayaking, mountain biking and now with the same sports group she is rock climbing! This time Mom tagged along with the group to take pictures. It was SO beautiful there and I got many pretty pictures but unfortunately my battery was running low so I only was able to take a little over 100 pictures...not many for me.

Here Abigail is being double and triple checked by Frank their trusted leader. He is a very kind and gentle man who loves the kids....he is also around 6'4" so Abigail laughs that my head must be totally cocked upwards to speak to him...just like a kid. So here she is also getting last minute tips as she heads up the rock.

Up she goes! This is the short climb, basically for them to gain confindence in themselves, Frank and the equipment...kind of a warm up. However, it was nonetheless challenging.

The last thing that she had to do before hopping on the bigger rock was to show "confidence" that the equipment would hold her by releasing the rope, leaning all the way back in a laying down position with her arms out to her side. It was a case of trust...otherwise she'd always wonder if she'd be safe and in the end hurt herself.

Well...we can say that my baby girl has the same trust issues that her Mommy has....oh well. She did great!

She finally made it on the "big rock" and had so much fun, and I can't tell you guys how proud of her I am. She conquered her fear! That 'a Girl!

You rock!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A new Roman site found in Frejus

Abigail and I spent our "Pâques" (Easter) very atypical for us. There was no large meal awaiting us, no room full of was just us two. We had a great day doing a partial "pajama day" till we decided to go to the grocery store for some much needed food. We knew that everything would be closed on Sunday and Monday as it was Easter and then "Easter Monday". Well we got to Geant Casino along with the rest of France and an hour an a half later we left...exhausted! Bad decision but it was over...we came home and had a good, long bible study.
Sunday we got us as usual and went to was our week to do the "Accueil" or welcome, something Abigail really enjoys and would like to do every weekend...but for me it's too early in the morning. This Sunday I met a new lady, Svetlana. A lady from the Ukraine, who speaks Russian! Of all things! We share our numbers and had a wonderful time chatting. I think she will be a wonderful asset for Nicholas in continuing his Russian. She can teach him Russian and he can teach her English! She has a little boy who is 8 named Maxime and he and Abigail had a blast playing together before church. Then we came home and just picked up lunch and did more bible study.
Monday we decided to go for a walk...and that we did...3 hours long! It was wonderful, boy did we need it. I brought my camera and took 103 pictures, par for the course for me here. On the way we stopped at the new dig I'd seen before when I walked to arts class. This time with camera in hand I began snapping away. Here when you want to build something you need to make sure that you aren't building on a Roman ruin as it is an ancient Roman city and in this they struck to speak!
While I was busy taking as many pictures as I could between the little holes in the fence, the guy in the back hoe noticed me and asked me if we'd like to come into the site! Delighted I said yes, his one condition...not to fall into a hole...fine by me!

I peppered him with as many questions as I could....what was this find...I had heard it was the old port of Frejus, only to find no it was a reserve of some sort where they kept fish...kind of bizarre when you look at the structure...but who knows.
I asked if the building would continue as planned and he assured me that the site would not be lost. The builder will preserve it and make a way for the public to go down and tour the site.

Lisa had told me that when she first saw the site there were pots and jars of all kinds that they had just unearthed. So I asked of their location. He told me that they were at the Department of Archeology being cleaned and categorized and will later be brought back on site to be displayed.

You can see in this picture the channal grooved into the rock for a gate or something and then those cool. I only wish that Nicholas could have been there with's more his area of expertise than mine...though I can here him saying now...I'm not a Roman expert! Oh well baby, you're my expert!

I love the roman arches! Seems like a waste for fish but it's still amazing and it's always the KEYSTONE that keeps everything held together!!
Then after our amazing walk we came home and did arts and crafts...what a great weekend.
And in case anyone is counting with me ... it's 2 wks and 1 day till Nicholas arrives!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fete des Plantes

Last Saturday was a gorgeous day in the south of France! Nathalie and Laurent invited us to join them at the Fete des Plantes at the Villa Aurielliene. Originally I had thought this would just be an expo of plants to purchase and that there was. However there were some very beautiful arrangements, paintings, dancers and 'interesting' art on top of an already gorgeous day.

Some of the bouquets were a bit too 'artsy' for my taste but it couldn't take away from the beauty of the flowers themselves. Plus the villa was decked out in flowers top to bottom, roses, tulips, name it.

The flowers were stunning, the sold it, tools, grass and even as you see 10 year old wine vines...would have loved to have one but who knows how much they were and I know after two weeks in my hands it would be I took a picture watering necessary.

They even had this cute little car all covered in grass...yes, real do you mow a car, I wonder? Thoughts?