Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Schooling in France: Ocean

First confession: I do not love the beach. The ocean, though, is part of my very soul. I love the ocean, especially in the off-season, when I get it to myself. It is going to rip my heart out all over again to leave it. Think snow, sister, and how much you would miss that again...snow is good, and Christmas tree hunting in the snowy woods, and fires in the hearth with hot cocoa. Besides, you and sand will no longer be intimate buddies, yay, Iowa. Sorry, back to the beach.

As an educational tool; the seaside is matchless. Number one advantage; children WANT to be at the beach.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Boy's France

The two months here have meant different things to each of us, but I have not said much about the youngest two; Charles, 10 and Gael, 6, who just do boy stuff, like at home, but different.

Here are a few photos from their day to day here, starting with summer's favorite pastime, lucanus cervus, or stag beetles:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bordeaux...Friends Married to Frenchmen

Lucky for me, I have friends with such determination and powers of persuasion that I end up escaping for a minute (or a couple of days) to make the trip to see them all together each time I come. I met the first of them, Dede,

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Another part of my post, the most important part of all, was a tribute to friendship, love and kindness, without which there would be just an abyss of pretty and ugly.
Meeting up with my friend Katie in Mannheim, was the highlight of my days that week, (we must allow for Thierry being the main event of the whole trip.) It was so much fun to spend the only sunny day with her, exploring the gardens of Luisenpark and the rest of the town. Thank you for making the train trip there!

Germany: Heidelberg

Here is the town that somewhat drew a line through my previous musings on architecture and national character. Of course, Mannheim was largely bombed and rebuilt, whereas Heidelberg retains much of its original 16th-19th century construction. It is cute, and full of tourists, consequently. First, there is a castle;

Germany; Mannheim

I've started this post over twice now; first time; it needed rewriting. Second time; Blogger crashed. Third time, a charm?

The car trip itself was a door into a world I had forgotten existed; a long drive without children. There was yarn to knit,

Knitting and France

 If you stumbled upon this earlier; sorry! I was trying to write a little tribute to the following book:
French Girl Knits Accessories: Modern Designs for a Beautiful Life by Griffin-Grimes, Kristeen, from my Kindle, which I clearly lack the skills to use.

This is a beautiful book. The author has such a love for France

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Germany: Mannheim...and Ponderings on Travel

Who we are affects how we travel. I had only thought of this in the broadest of terms, as, years ago, I firmly believed that travel (and reading) were the best ways to broaden one's horizons. Then I met the former owner of our first house at the signing of the final papers. He was someone who had lived abroad and had nothing nice to say of the native population of the countries he had been in. He was also vulgar, inconsiderate AND stole the ladder leading up to the upper story of the old granary in front of our noses. Pah.

...And a Wedding! Vive les Mariés!

I think one major reason our trip came together this year was that Thierry made a promise to his God-daughter, Eve-Lise, to be there for her wedding on July 5th. "There" being France. There were not 36 solutions, as the French say, we needed to fly over.

Je crois bien qu'une des raison majeurs que notre voyage a enfin eu lieu, c'est que Thierry a promis à sa fieulle d'etre la lors de son mariage le 5 juillet. "La" voulait dire la France. Il n'y avait pas 36 solutions, il fallait qu'on prenne l'avion.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Happenings in France

My little guy turned 7 days before we left. We decided celebrating in the US and in France would be the way to go. (This is mostly because the cakes here are so very delicious that it would be a shame to miss an occasion to have a French birthday cake by mere days.)

Gaël with his chocolate (layers of chocolate mousse and cake) cake:

La Vie Quotidienne/ Everyday Life in France...Sort Of

As I mentioned, there was a busy-ish sort of week here, and then another. Busy being relative. My sister and brother-in-law had waited our arrival to baptize my sweet little nephew, Remy. A baptism is an important event in France (not always religiously, but socially, very); weeks of preparation and planning go into it,

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rigny Castle

The sun came out...and I went on a tour of the grounds. I found the moat! It's still there, with little foot bridges. I also got a back view of the castle. This is really a little corner of heaven I thought I would share with you, a few more photos than the last post, a couple more details.

Life in "La Vieille France" or The France of Yesteryear

I had a week...and then another week, and today I am writing from here; on the other side of France and on our way to Germany in a few hours. I am a make-believe countess for two days and a night, in the Chateau de Rigny, a magical, fairy-tale place to stay and visit. The kiddies are with Thierry's family, and we are on a big ol' road trip, starting with a 9-hour drive and a night here: