19 February 2015

Jane Goes to a Birthday Party

Jane was invited to a birthday party today. They played cache-cache and who doesn't love hide-and-seek. Especially when you can hide behind a giant mill-stone.

She and I were both nervous about the event today. Because, obviously ... it would be in French. Which, obviously ... meant we'd have to talk to people ... in French.

But we went. And the hostess was very gracious and warm and understanding. 

And it was in a village called Silly-en-Gouffern. How fantastic is that name?!

And much like back home, the girls laughed and played. They opened gifts and had a simple, beautiful, homemade cake that was nothing short of perfection.

When it was concluded, we were both tired. But it was worth it. And it has become one more thing to look to each other and reply: "We did it!"

And that makes me very happy.

18 February 2015

Late Night Worries and Cranky Indignation

Last night Pops wanted to go to sleep. My body did too ... but my brain would not comply.

"You know I have to process verbally," I reminded him. "I have to unload some of the detritus that is clogging up my brain." He sighed with understanding, head on the pillow, staring straight up at the ceiling while I proceeded to impale him with worries, anxieties, deep-set fears, and unnecessary minutia.

At some point he fell asleep, perhaps lulled by my soothing and comforting words of low-grade hysteria. Since I wasn't actually mad at him, I didn't have it in me to jab an elbow into his ribs and proceed to flop and huff in martyrdom. Standard procedure. You know the drill.

So I was left alone with my noisy brain, swirling in thought-tornadoes, mocking my attempt to demand order. The digital clock read "00:23." Blast it. Why can't it just say "12:23." Stupid 24-hour clock. Stupid France making me remember that when someone says "dix-sept heure quarante-cinq" it is 17h45, which is really just 5:45pm. Stupid brain for taking so long to be able to mentally translate and constantly leaving me standing like an addled fluff head.


I didn't know what to do next. I had some really good indignation whipped up, but I was definitely too lazy to leave bed. My feet were warm and all.

So I grabbed some paper and a pen. Scratch that. A pen was next to me, but I spied the pad of paper just out of my reach. Naturally, I entered into some I-still-won't-leave-the-bed acrobatics and hand-walked myself three-feet across the floor, bum high in the air, and did a twisty-lunge that should only be attempted by people at least 15 years younger than myself. But I got the paper. And my feet stayed warm under the covers.

I look to my left. Pops slept through all of that? Pfft.

Armed with paper, pen, a crick in my back and my fiery vexation, I set to work on what I do so very well:

Make a list.

And did I ever make a list. A list of every. single. thing that was flapping about in my beautiful mind-palace/thought-tornado. It didn't matter how big (Children's well-being at school), or how small (Find out the name of that cheese that was so good),  or how worthy (Prioritize quiet-time and prayer), or how unpalatable (Call for plumber again because the septic system still wafts the perfume of eau d'rotting-vegetable-baby-diaper-soured-garbage-decomposing-poop-sludge).

And can I just say? I was awesome at it. I filled up a page before the clock could blink stupid 00:30-o'clock at me. I was on fire. I wrote and wrote and listed and wrote ... until I ran out of crazy and realized I was bored ... and started looking at Pinterest on my phone.

I looked to my right. Stupid 00:56 o'clock.

And I went to sleep ...

I woke up this morning and the list was still there. And I was still concerned about all the things on my list. And am still in a-swirl about how I am going to manage everything. But I spit in the eye of my thought-storm by making it submit to my lists. Somehow, having all of my crazy on paper makes me feel like I don't have to keep it afloat in my brain. Anyone else like this?

I think I have crossed off 3 things from my list of 427,000 today. And our bathroom still smells like poop. And I prayed some, but not enough this morning. And the children are still on vacation and seem well-enough right now. And I still don't know the name of that cheese.

And that is my day today. And it's okay. And I plan on watching Downton Abbey tonight, eating chocolate, complaining that I ate too much chocolate ... and then going right to sleep. (At 22h30 stupid-o'clock.) Amen.

Love, Bises, and one more Pfft. For good measure.

13 February 2015

A Trip to Belgium and Kitchen Supplies

The kids are on winter vacance and we just returned from a quick trip to Bruges, Belgium. A quick trip to Belgium! I am still in awe that in four hours we can be in a completely different country, different language, different architecture and food and culture.

Speaking of, the brilliant Belgians speak their native Flemish-Dutch, English, French and typically some German. And they do it beauuutifully. I was so impressed. We didn't even bother with our sloppy French because everyone spoke English so flawlessly. (And that element alone made the vacation fun!)

Unfortunately, I managed to forget my camera, but I did take some snaps on my phone that I hope to cull through shortly. In the meantime, I am set to go tidy the kitchen after a impressive baking session by the girls. I am equipped with a few fun supplies we picked up at "Dille & Kamille." Oh goodness, the girls and I were enraptured!

07 February 2015

An Anniversary and a Lunch Together: French Style

As, I've mentioned before, I really don't need a huge fuss in order to celebrate special occasions. However, I am a firm believer in celebrations in general! It's good to recognize another year accomplished, goal met, moment passed. 

Today we are celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary! Every year feels like an accomplishment to be proud of and to be thankful for. We've had our bumps and bruises to get us where we are and I don't take it for granted that we have shared another year together. 

To mark our event, we decided that an anniversary lunch was in order. It is lovely to have children old enough to be home alone for a period of time. But of course, we still must review and make the children recite the "emergency procedures" (Option 1: Run next door to Madame Lucienne's and she'll come help. Don't worry about your French. Option 2: Call the emergency number and they'll figure out there is a problem. Don't worry about your French. It's like Lassie. Bark frantically enough and they'll follow you to the problem.). 

This afternoon, we drove downtown to a little Brasserie that serves a very reasonable and delicious 3-course déjeuner (lunch) as standard fare. I love that three courses for lunch is a normal thing, even out in the French countryside. Very often, French restaurants will have a pre-assembled lunch menu. You have an option for each course and they are all designed to fit with each other. The first course is called the entrée (Their version of our "appetizer." Who knows why we call the main dish an "entrée." It's an "entry" into the meal.) Next is the "plat" (main dish) and then the dessert. Sometimes wine is included, other times it is an add-on. Un café is always encouraged at the end of the meal.

The courses are brought out one at a time, giving you ample opportunity to relax into the experience and strike up some great conversations with your lunch partner. Take your time! You are never hustled out to make room for the next diners. It is assumed that the table is yours for the whole of the lunch service. (Perhaps this is why reservations, even for lunch, are recommended.) It will be a beautiful, well-prepared meal, that will leave you satisfied and, in our experience, costs no more than an lunch out in the States. 

Our lunch was delightful and on the way home, we passed a floral shop and my mister bought some roses for his gal. Are you like me? Do simple things like a lunch out and handful of flowers make your heart sing? Do you prefer to keep it even more simple than this? Do you like a big splash? Do you celebrate some years but not others? Would you like to try a French-style lunch or does it sound like a fussy hassle? 

Celebrations are so personal and unique. We all have to find our own rhythm for these occasions. But today ... I am happy to be celebrating by enjoying the day with Pops ... and having a fully belly to boot!