Monday, June 29, 2015

Chamonix and doppelgängers and swimming

Our school year is winding down--only one week left! Eric and I are already getting nostalgic and a bit depressed about leaving France. We fly home on August 5th and won't be back until early May next year.

At a school festival
Dio trying to pop a water balloon with a pair of scissors
Property managing

We found an American family to rent our apartment from the end of August until the end of April. They have three kids ages 7,9, and 12. We're hoping they will adapt well to life here. None of them speak French, but they decided to put their kids in the French public schools (private international schools were too expensive).

During the first few weeks of August when we're gone, we already have the place booked as a vacation rental. So we are really glad that everything is taken care of until we come back. Crossing our fingers, of course, that we have no emergencies!

We've had our share of emergencies back home with our various properties. Our boiler back home--almost brand new--went out during the worst cold snap this winter and didn't get replaced for 2 weeks. In our rental properties we've also had a leaking roof (fortunately, an easy repair) and a caving foundation wall (not so easy of a repair, but at least it seems to have stabilized enough that our repair people, will be working on it as soon as the rain dries up).


Eric drove to Chamonix, near Mont Blanc, to visit a writer's workshop. He gave a reading and had a blast meeting the authors who were teaching the workshop, including Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild, which was recently made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon) and Pam Houston.

He used Blablacar, a ridesharing service similar to Uber, and was able to find people to ride with him both there and back. One was an artist who lives in Chamonix, and the other was a French Canadian woman. I was glad that he had company-- I always worry when he's driving long distances alone with no one to make sure he stays awake.

Meeting Ryxi

While Eric was gone, I hosted some unexpected guests. I know a shaman/earth healer named Ryxi (aka Renee Shaw in real life) and she just happened to be traveling in the Swiss/Italian Alps not too far from where Eric was. I saw her update about it on Facebook. Turns out she was planning on coming to Nice next, so I invited her and a young woman traveling with her to visit.

They stayed for 3 days, and we had great conversations about religion and the environment. They did an energy healing session on me--why not?--and both of them independently picked up on a hip injury I've had for the past year. Ryxi put a yarn "dreadlock" into Zari's hair in her favorite color, turquoise. Zari's friends love it. So yeah, good times with my new-Age doppelgänger Ryxi.


We've been going to the beach almost every afternoon after school. Two weeks ago Eric found a GoPro Hero4 Silver on the ocean floor 60 feet below the surface. It still worked! We've been having fun playing around with the camera and documenting our everyday lives. I put together some of the footage into a little film about our family at the beach. Enjoy!

A random picture of us at church...

A day's catch from spearfishing...

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Felted sweater rainbow quilt...because SCOTUS!!

I'm doing a happy dance today after hearing about the SCOTUS ruling striking down gay marriage bans. My younger brother came out a year ago and I am thrilled that he will be able to marry no matter what state he lives in.

As soon as he told me that he was gay--on my birthday!--I decided I had to make him something. I settled on a blanket made from felted wool sweaters. In rainbow colors, of course :)

Now I finally have an occasion to share these pictures:

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Two car births

I have two car births to share. The first one takes place in a moving car. (In my mind, I'm shouting, "Pull the car over! Pull over!" Having a baby en route wouldn't phase me too much...but driving 60-70 mph while having a baby would freak me out!)

Este video dando la vuelta al mundo. Esta madre iba camino a dar a luz al hospital y no pudo esperar mas y tuvo a su bebe en el auto. Increible la tranquilidad con que maneja la situacion. El milagro de la vida en video.
Posted by 106.3 Más Variedad on Monday, December 8, 2014

This next story, A mother's instinct pays off, isn't just about her roadside birth, but also about how listening to her mama instincts in the days following the birth saved her baby's life. She ends her story with this observation:

you know how people say to trust your intuition?

Seriously, do it.

There was a window of opportunity for Gabriel to get his surgery done. He got it done, only because I knew something wasn’t right and persisted.

Just because someone is wearing a badge or uniform, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get other opinions. Paying attention to that little voice inside your head usually means you’re crazy, yes, but it can also save a life.

Read the rest here:
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

August 5th

August 5th. 5.8.15. Le 5 août.

We're leaving France on August 5th and that date suddenly seems too close, too fast. I remember hitting that point during each pregnancy, when giving birth went from an impossibly far-off event to a looming reality. My to-do list still has plenty of items to check off: build a hatch for the attic, put up bars in the attic window so people can't fall out of it, install flooring in the attic, paint & install baseboards, sew curtains for Ivy's room. That list seems modest compared to what we've done already.

I've started sorting items in to bags mentally labeled keep in France, give away, and bring back home. I sold a few bags of Ivy's clothes at a consignment store around the corner called Falabrik Fabrik. The walls  and ceiling are painted in bright, mis-matching colors. Racks of secondhand clothes form the periphery, inside which you can sit at one of small tables and eat a homemade lunch, or your child can sort through a trunk filled with painted wooden toys and board books. I gave away another bag of clothes to a young Muslim mother, tossing them into the passenger seat as she drove by the tram station. I still have two more bags of clothes and a bag of cloth diapers to sell or give away.

I'm leaving our umbrella stroller behind. I won it at a Lamaze conference back when Dio was little. Its wheels are starting to buckle from carting 3 children and ferrying bags overloaded with groceries. We also won't need our hiking backpack any more; Ivy either rides in the Ergo or walks.

I'm bringing home yards of fabric: heavy absinthe jacquard for curtains in Inga's room. Linen gauze to soften the south-facing French doors in our living room. More bright prints and bold weaves for decorative cushions.

I'm leaving behind most of my summer sandals. They were secondhand to begin with, and they are so worn that I want to save my precious luggage quota for something else. I'm bringing home lots of "new" clothes, all secondhand and some even snatched from our garbage station where residents have created an ad-hoc Freecycle corner.

Eric has a pile of new books that will cross the Atlantic this August: biographies of Anaïs Nin and Isadora Duncan, fictionalized accounts of Hemingway's wives, memoirs of bumbling English people moving to France to escape harried city life and living like kings isolated in their country manors. More novels and short story collections.

I'll miss my quiet afternoons with Ivy while the kids are at school.

Also all the fish that Eric catches with his spear gun

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