Monday, February 28, 2011

Morning Cuddle Gone Wrong

"Mama, bear cave!" This is Puck's naptime routine; under a big blanket with mama bear to settle down for a bear nap.

Only it was the morning, and we were face to face sitting on the living room floor. And it was post-tea, pre-teeth-brushing.

Puck snatches the blanket off, holds it over his nose, which is wrinkled in puzzlement and disappointment. He squishes it up to my face, covering my nose and mouth. "Do you feel better?" he wants to know.

Working from Home

For my husband, this means he does his usual work from his computer in a corner, while balancing some sort of child-care if I am gone, an ear-set on his head for meetings. For me, this morning, this means trying to type in bed between bouts of running to the bathroom for my sick Arthur and trying to soothe Puck who is climbing and draping himself all over me in an attempt to keep from falling back to sleep at 5:30am.

It will be a day at home, not just because of children who are ill beyond belief, but because we had thunderstorms last night at 32 degrees, on top of the 4 inches of snow that just fell. Temps quickly cooled down to 25 or so, which means the roads are absolutely treacherous. Pierre will take the car for once, this should reassure me, but it doesn't.

Just in; Aragorn, 12, is down as well. His back "feels like it is breaking," and he can't walk unassisted. I should have known something was up with him when I found him taking a shower to warm up at midnight. I was so tired I just told him to go back to bed. We were both suffering from delusion, clearly.

Days like this, I believe in the power of homeopathy, hot tea with honey, and the DVD player.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Snow, Here and There

Sitting under a warm, winter-white sky, enjoying the balminess of 28 degrees F (or -2C), I am carried back in time after reading a post by the Stephanie Pearl-McPhee: on snow in Seattle.

The climate in Southwestern France is very much like that of Seattle or London; rainy winters, springs and falls, and no snow. The only way to see snow is to head to the Pyrenees. Toulouse, my home for many years, is very much like Seattle, minus the sea and the mountains, but with better coffee and sunnier summers.

Well, one day it snowed. This melted my Midwestern heart, even if it was less than an inch and melting fast. Nevertheless, it was white, and scary for the entire population. It stopped everything; buses, businesses and school. Going to the university was out of the question, as my bus  was not running. A rather disappointing holiday, since we couldn't even have a decent snowball fight or go ice-skating, but the white was fun. A year later it snowed for real one evening, right around the time people were leaving work.

Catastrophe! A whole two or maybe three inches, total mayhem. We lived on the only hill in the entire city and the show was spectacular. My husband and I sat at the window of our apartment and laughed ourselves silly over a nice beer. People were abandoning their vehicles en masse after foolishly attempting to climb the hill. The tow trucks were noisily grinding and lifting and dragging cars away. The best part, however, was yet to come.

Hours later, the "salt truck" arrived, and I use the term loosely. It was the little city golf-cart sized thingy with three men on board. One driving and two diligently scooping salt they must have stolen from a restaurant somewhere.

The next day, as there was still snow and no traffic, we went for a long walk through the city. My French husband had the foresight to take along an umbrella, and it was very wet snow, so I was grateful for the odd but useful addition to our meager snow gear. We picked up an American friend and strolled through the empty Japanese garden, enjoying the bridge and the plants with a dusting of snow and watching the ducks huddled on their island on the almost-frozen pond. We took pictures of the three inches piled on the roof of our car to send home to the in-laws, incroyable! 

Our cat was the least happy of us three. We made several attempts to let him outside, what a French creature he was! He would put one paw into the cold stuff, turn and make a head-long dash back inside, meowing loudly in complaint. I wonder how he would have fared had he moved back here with us. I just can't picture him up to his armpits in snow. I'm pretty sure he would have taken up semi-hibernation the way some wild animals do.  Short of importing his own salt truck to strew his path with melting warmth, it would have been a case of taking the cat out of France, but not the French out of the cat.

One Midwestern girl glad for the snow, white skies and the promise of a little more before spring takes over.

Back, Very Carefully

List of blessings:
1) New computer; cute little keyboard and screen
2) Husband who knows how to install and trouble-shoot new computer

List of woes:
 1) New computer; I need to get to get used to the size of this really cute, really little keyboard with too many features for simple little me. Keeps erasing what I just wrote. It's taken me an hour to write this.
2) Husband, knows everything, can help with everything, insists on commenting on everything.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Heading into Quiet Contemplation

But not entirely by choice.

The computer that has stood by me faithfully these past two years, gently used and well-loved, is quickly fading into darkness.

I will miss it, but I will miss writing more. The next couple of weeks may or may not see me equipped to continue writing, sniff, but perhaps it is time to stand back and meditate quietly on life for awhile (I'll keep reminding myself of this as I suffer radio silence from an easily accessible online world.)

Farewell until then...or perhaps not. I do not know what each new day will bring, only that it is harder and harder to make anything happen on this trusty old machine.

Posting fast...while I still can!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

La Tempete/How the Kids Spent the Blizzard Hours

Posted by Picasa

The Great White Storm

Too bad, the above photo is really more meaningful when seen in its video format: five crazy children jumping for all  their might on a trampoline in a raging blizzard, one concerned neighbor standing by while their parents sip red wine and film from indoors, thank you!

We had around 17 inches by the next morning, yee-ha! Shoveling went on for hours, hot coffee with whipped cream was served to the neighbors, cocoa to their children, who were outside, literally, all day until past dark. Then we ate around the fire by candlelight; crepes for the Chandeleur; the presentation of Christ at the Temple celebrated yet in France, an event substituted by the church for St.Brigit...the return of the sun's strength and warmth; thus the old tradition of making sun-shaped crepes.

The Next Day

Posted by Picasa

Snow Sculptures

Posted by Picasa