Thursday, June 20, 2024

I slept well last night and feel much better. Not quite well enough to run...but otherwise pretty good. Zari had her last written exam (English) today and she realized that it was also the very last day she would be in her high school. Her oral exams next week are in another school. And so...that's it! Just like that, it's over.

I went out with our guests this afternoon to buy ice cream and walk up to the chateau and then back around the point.

Ivy asked me to supervise her and a friend after school. They had planned to go to the miroir d'eau (splash pad) but there was no water running when we arrived! So we chose Plan B and went to the beach. They swam for almost and hour and left reluctantly when I told them it was time to go.

Dio's team had a friendly kids vs. parents soccer match tonight, and he and Eric had so much fun. The parents won most of the matches.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2024


I started feeling icky yesterday afternoon and was down with a fever and GI issues all day today. So fun. Not much else to report on my day. Resting, reading, and computer work mostly. Normally it's my day to do sprint intervals but there was no way that was happening!

Zari had her 2nd written exam for her geopolitics specialty. She feels pretty good about her essays. She wrote 20 pages (double spaced) in 4 hours.

Tomorrow is the last written exam (English speciality). She's not at all worried about that one!

Eric and I had a nice walk this evening with light rain sprinking. It was so warm that the occasional raindrops felt great.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Hot and windy today. I did mostly breech stuff, some home renovating stuff, and had a short swim at the end of the afternoon. Dinner was merguez sausages, roasted broccoli, and roasted potatoes in duck fat.

I'm feeling a bit icky--upset stomach and all that. Hoping it goes away tomorrow.

Zari finished her philosophy exam. Tomorrow is geopolitics. She thinks she did ok--the question was "La science peut-elle satisfaire notre besoin de vérité?" (Can science satisfy our need for truth?)

Quick video of opening up the book for the first time...
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Monday, June 17, 2024

My new baby!!

Zari is doing some last-minute studying for her philosophy bac tomorrow. The next day is geopolitics. English is on Friday but she isn't at all worried about that one. These are all written exams. Then she has her big "grand oral" to prepare for.

We have new guests in Le Chateau, and they were super kind and bought our kids presents (candy and plushies). What a treat.

I received 5 advance copies of the book today, delivered express all the way from South Korea! Each book weighs in at 5 lb 7.4 oz or 2478 g, which is a respectable weight for this "baby" of mine.

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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Eric woke up at 3:30 am, exclaiming something dramatic in his sleep. Compeltely non-sensical and non-grammatical. I couldn't get back to sleep after that. I read for a while...tried to sleep...and finally when it was time to be, I snoozed for a little.

Ivy was feeling sick again so she stayed home. Inga had a soccer tournament all day in St Lauren du Var. It ended being a huge disappointment, with the team playing terribly and them getting last place. Inga scored the only goal in all of their games combined. Eric came home super frustrated.

We didn't do much this afternoon: homework, reading, crafting. I prepared Le Chateau for the next guest, who arrives tomorrow. We need to move a huge puzzle from the table up to our apartment; it's an "impossible" 1000-piece Harry Potter puzzle.

Ivy had a friend over in the late afternoon to make silkscreen t-shirts and mandala dot paintings.

Once Eric was back, we had some time to go on a long walk. He vented all of his frustrations about the soccer tournament.
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Saturday, June 15, 2024


We watched "Yesterday," which Eric and I had seen but the kids hadn't yet. Fun movie.

No one had soccer today, so Eric went spearfishing in the morning and caught a fat loup (sea bass), which we ate for dinner. We went to the beach in the afternoon. The water was still milky with a white sediment that turns the water fluorescent blue. No jellyfish!

I did some putzy work around both apartments--painting, replacing a door latch mechanism.

Ivy had a fever again today and her cough is worse.
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Friday, June 14, 2024


The after-school fair/concert/bake sale/garage sale was lots of fun for the kids. But whew! so much noise. I made a batch of cookies.

Ivy and a group of friends had a table of hand-crafted items such as bracelets, keychains, and origami that they made themselves. After donating some of the sales to the school fund and splitting the rest among themselves, Ivy came home with 12 Euros.

I joined the string quartet playing--last minute, since it's a group I often play with, and I offered to come play along if they wanted me. The other two violinists are a couple whose kids also go to this school and that's actually how we met in the first place. It turned into a quintet when I joined them 🙂

We watched a fantastic movie: "Catherine Called Birdie." Zari recommended it and it was 10/10.

As a side note, it actually had realistic birth scenes with the woman sitting on a birth stool, crouched on her hands and knees, and kneeling while pulling up on ropes. None of this lying on a bed on the back nonsense (which wasn't really a thing until doctors came along and took over childbirth). Certainly this would not have been happening in 13th century England.
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Thursday, June 13, 2024


My brother left yesterday morning, after treating us to pastries for breakfast! We were thoroughly spoiled during his visit. He's back home with his dog and gearing up to go back to work.

Ivy's school is having a big kermesse (school fair/fundraiser) tomorrow and she's been making loads of origami. I made a big batch of cookies for the bake sale.

Zari's last day of classes was yesterday. It's so anti-climactic here. Classes kind of taper off since the last two or so weeks don't count towards grades and thus almost no one goes. Then there are the big exams over the next few weeks but nothing else. No ceremonies to mark the end of high school. No parties. You're just done!

Dio had his oral du brevet today and he said it went well. Zari has her oral d'anglais tomorrow, a 10-minute memorized presentation analyzing The Handmaid's Tale, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and a few other articles and documents relating to totalitarianism, censorship, and political repression.

Ivy came down with a sudden fever yesterday afternoon, so she missed school today. I think she'll be well enough to go tomorrow, though.
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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Mission accomplished: Quatorze boules de glace!

We've had an ongoing joke with my brother about buying "quatorze boules de glace" (14 scoops of ice cream) at Fenocchio (said in his Russian-accented French). It only took us 4+ years, but tonight we finally did buy 14 boules de glace.

The man scooping the ice cream looked very puzzled when we ordered 14 scoops. "You don't want 14 individual cones?"

"No! All in one bowl, please!"

We hurried home and divded up the scoops into individual bowls. We each had chosen two flavors. I had cacao sorbet and pistachio ice cream.

The tourists around us were taking pictures of our giant bowl of ice cream. I wonder how many times it will appear on other social media accounts???

My brother leaves tomorrow. We'll go through Funcle (and ice cream) withdrawal. We had one last swim together this afternoon and of course lots of walks.

He's going home loaded up with French records and specialty food items.
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Monday, June 10, 2024

Work in the morning...a bit of ride with my brother then a late lunch at a bakery....swimming in some big waves...Freeze family football practice + thrift for dinner...walk with Eric and my brother.

14,000 steps, not bad, plus all of the biking on top of that.
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Sunday, June 09, 2024

A day in Monaco

Eric and Dio were at a soccer tournament all day in Beausoleil. The rest of us decide to take a day trip to Monaco, since it's my brother's last weekend here. We were out the door by 9:30 and hopped on the bus to get there.

Our first stop was the Private Cars Collection of HSH Prince of Monaco, which none of us had ever seen before. It was surprisingly fun to look at the extensive collection of cars (and some old-fashioned buggies) dating back to the 1800s. My brother knows a lot about cars, so it was a great time to visit.

I took a picture of one of my favorites: a tiny little car that you get into by opening the entire front!

We then bought baguettes and made sandwiches in a park. Zari and my brother went to buy some snacks, drinks, and pastries. We were sitting underneath a pine tree and getting rained on constantly by pine needles.

Then it was time to go up to Le Rocher. We walked along the botanical gardens to the Oceanographic Museum. I passed a statue that I've seen many times and, when I walked to the back of it, realized it had another side--a nursing baby! 

At the museum, we hit a mid-afternoon slump and were ready to head home after that visit.

I called Eric to see if there were any games left for us to watch, but his team was done playing. So we caught the bus home. Several of us (me included!) couldn't stay awake. Ivy was complaining about feeling sick on both bus rides, but fortunately she didn't puke.

I made Thai coconut chicken soup and tarte au chocolat for dinner. We finished off the evening with a walk to the Negresco and back, just me, Ivy, and my brother.

I'm tired! We did over 17,000 steps today so that's probably why.
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Saturday, June 08, 2024

Moving crew, Pont de la Cerise, Gilette

What a fun, full day! We had an early morning departure to help some friends in St Laurent du Var move. We spent the morning loading and unloading, cleaning and packing, and disassembling furniture. We then picked up my brother at the big mall and headed up river to Pont de la Cerise.

It was overcast with a few sprinkles around 11 am, and the kids were saying, "Let's just go home." But I insisted and persisted. We are all so glad we didn't cancel the afternoon outing--it was amazing! We've never gone to the Esteron so early in the season and were worried that the water would be too cold to swim in. It was quite chilly but not as cold as I had expected. And the water was the clearest and strongest flow I've ever seen! It was amazing to play in. We didn't dare go into the gorge under the bridge because the current was so strong we weren't sure we could get back out. So we played in our usual place with the natural waterslides.

The sun almost peeked out of a hazy sky. It never got hot out, but we were able to stay in the water for at least 20 minutes.

Then, on our way home, we stopped in Gilette, a perched 11th century village that we have driven through multiple times but never explored. We wandered through the narrow, steep streets and made our way to the ruined fortress on an outcropping high above the village (destroyed by our favorite dictator/monarch Louis XIV, who also destroyed the Chateau in Nice). Inga and Ivy made friends with a neighborhood cat. I thought it was a stray because it had no collar, but it was super friendly so we think it probably lives nearby.

(This photo isn't mine, but it gives you the idea of the village and the mountains in the background).

I had a breech live session right when we got home, followed by a walk around the port with my brother and then another short walk with Inga to see if we could pick up a package at a shipping relay station that is inside a bar. It was supposed to be open until 2 am but it was closed!
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Friday, June 07, 2024

Sharks in the Seine

Another bad night's sleep...keeps me humble, I suppose, reminding me that I sometimes have very little control over my life.

I did some little repairs at Le Catamaran and gave my brother a tour. He appreciated the catamaran net and is thinking of putting one in his own home.

The two of us went to luch at L'eau de Vie. He loved the food and thought it much better than La Rotonde. I agreed.

Everyone but Ivy went to the beach at various times in the afternoon. It was windy with big waves. I almost went in...but didn't. But my brother got Inga and Zari to swim!

Dinner was larb and leftover bean salad. We took a walk and then watched "Under Paris," a totally ridiculous movie about killer sharks infesting the Seine. Hearing the kids make fun of the movie was as fun as the movie itself. Eric missed out because he was off playing soccer.

We have a full day tomorrow: helping some friends move in the morning and then hiking and wild swimming in the afternoon.

Some pictures from my brother and in which I think he is pretending to be posing for an Instagram picture. He likes to make fun of all the tourists who do these elaborate poses.

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Thursday, June 06, 2024

Homemade pasta and D-Day

My brother decided to make homemade pasta, with lots of participation from the kids. Zari helped him make the dough. All of the kids got a turn hand-rolling each piece into a frilly tube shape.

We watched the national D-Day celebration while making pasta and eating dinner. It was quite the event and amazing to realize that this might be the last decade marker anniversary with D-Day veterans still alive. I enjoyed the music and flowery speeches (there's a reason schools here do "concours d'éloquence" and "concours de lecture").

We ate our homemade pasta in a pesto-cream sauce, sprinkled with parmesan (the real stuff, bought from a nearby Italian food store). We also had some antipasti charcuterie plates and more lemon cheesecake for dessert.

Some of us went out on an evening walk while the others were at soccer practice.

I had another poor night of sleep and really hope that things will normalize. But...I was able to get some extra sleep this morning so that helped. I went running, too.

Eric, my brother, and I went out for lunch at a fancy restaurant at Le Negresco hotel, called La Rotonde. It was ok but actually not nearly as amazing as I had expected, given the setting and price.
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Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Another poor night's sleep...woke up feeling more tired than when I went to bed! Oh well. We had 5 dentist's appointments today. Zari is going to get x-rays later on this week because she has wisdom teeth coming in that will need to come out. So fun.

Ivy and Eric were gone all afternoon at a beach sodder tournament. They didn't play very well and Eric was quite disappointed.

I made our favorite lemon cheesecake for dessert tonight. Yum!
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Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Sleeping like a baby

I only slept about 4 hours...oh well. I gave up on trying to sleep and read a book. Somehow Eric took several naps but not me! This picture shows morning nap #2 or 3. Seriously, he has napping superpowers. I could never sleep like that.

My day was mostly graphic design, video editing, and course content editing. Broken up by a few doctor's appointments (sports physicals) and making dinner. We ate spicy crab sushi that had yellow and red bell peppers, cucumbers, and avocados inside as well.

Dio and Inga had soccer practice, so the other two kids and I went on a "boring" walk with my brother up and around the chateau, and then the really super boring part to buy ice cream.

We watched "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" with my brother because he'd never seen it. Then we watched a few real Eurovision songs and yep, just as weird as the fictional ones. I now have "Double Trouble" in my head...
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Monday, June 03, 2024

My brother had a fun excursion to Antibes, taking the train and then catching a bus out to the Cap d'Antibes, where he walked on the sentier littoral. He loved it and would be happy to go back. We all had things going on so it was a solo trip.

I love the view of Nice and the Alps from Antibes--you realize how close we are to the mountains!

I exercised today, even though I didn't want to. Felt like a big win since I was so not motivated.

I took another trip to the antique/consignment store with my brother, then joined the family for the Freeze Family soccer practice. We ate Eric's barracuda and mackerel (saved in the freezer since his birthday), plus finished off the tiramisu and cherry clafoutis.
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Sunday, June 02, 2024

Yesterday ended late for many of us. Eric and Inga were at a tournament that was supposed to get them home by 11:30 pm, but it went 90 minutes late so they got back at 1 am!

I came down with a fever and GI bug and went to bed but couldn't sleep, so I ended up still being awake when they came home. And then I woke up again at 3:30 am and couldn't sleep any more. When I am sick, I don't sleep well whereas Eric goes into a sleep coma when he is sick.

So I read most of the night and then slept once everyone was up and out of the house. I still feel a bit icky but am on the mend.

While Eric and Inga were at the tournament, the rest of us went to a church talent show/potluck, and it turned out to be surprisingly hilarious. Ivy did a dramatic reading from the French translation of Coraline. The older kids were in a long skit involving all sorts of random anachronisms thrown in. Dio got to act the role of Donald Trump (getting booed by everyone on stage, of course, he's not popular over here!). Zari was a Storm Trooper.

My brother made dinner for us, a delicious pasta dish with sausage, cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic, shallots, feta, artichoke hearts, white wine, and parmesan. We also had steamed cauliflower and tiramisu for dessert, which we made yesterday. So delicious!

It wasn't good swimming weather today but we went on two walks. I didn't make it very far on the first one as I was feeling too woozy.
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Friday, May 31, 2024

I devoted much of the day to doing BWB taxes and bookkeeping. I broke up the monotony by going for a short swim in the afternoon with Eric and my brother.

Ivy got treated out to a (late) birthday lunch with my brother.

Eric and I were invited out to dinner with an interesting group of people--from England, Lithuania, Canada (Quebec), US, and France. Fun conversation. We haven't gone out with a large group for...I don't even know how long!

My brother spoiled our kids while we were gone. I think he brings someone out for ice cream on a daily basis!

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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Today felt unproductive. I suppose I'm allowed to have some days like that. I woke up at 7 to get the kids up for school and then I went back to bed for a little while. I was tired!

My brother and I went grocery shopping. I get so excited when I think of all the delicious things I still want to cook for him. And him too--he is constantly amazed at the variety and quality of food items, not to mention their affordability.

He made us an amazing lunch today. He made a mixture of tuna, greek olives, red onions, capers, anchovies, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, and herbes de provence, which we spread on toasted baguette slices. Amazing! 10/10 from all the kids.

Then it was my turn to cook dinner: roasted Toulouse sausages with fennel in mustard, thyme, and red wine sauce. Dessert was a cherry clafoutis that had a crust underneath the custard and concentrated cherry sauce on top. Pretty simple recipes but so good!

Zari and I went with Eric to the beach, hoping to swim. But we lost our sun and it was windy, so only Eric got up the courage to get in the water.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Mawwige is whut bwings us togevveh today...

I was gone much of the day at a wedding out in the middle of nowhere, Provence at a chateau/vineyard. Between being the driver and then playing my violin for a few hours, I'm beat!

I rustled up the energy to go on a walk with my brother. He's having fun doing All The Things All The Time. Like tonight, he got a triple scoop of ice cream from Fenocchio (cacao sorbet, pistachio, and cinnamon) because why not?

Inga raided my closet and found several things she liked, mostly nicer shirts and jackets.

I did some light weightlifting and leg exercises today. Still feeling very stable! Woohoo!
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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

I've been feeling very normal the past few days. I had a visit with the kine this morning and all looks good on his end as well. He said it would be fine to resume my normal high-impact sports by the weekend.

I forgot to write yesterday and honestly I am struggling to remember what I did! Oh yeah, one thing that was fun was we all went up to the Freeze family soccer training. I dropped them off and then my brother and I went to my favorite antique/consignment store that's on the outskirts of town, then we rejoined them for the rest of practice. Since it was late when we got home, my brother treated us to pizza (5 different flavors!).

Dio just got back from a friendly soccer match in Antibes. His team lost by a large margin, sadly.

More gorgeous weather...not too hot but good enough to be at the beach and swim. I didn't make it today, but Zari went with my brother.
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Sunday, May 26, 2024


It's great having my brother here because he gets the kids up and out of the house! After lunch we headed to the beach for swimming, napping, and/or reading. Eric took a long swim/treasure hunt. Zari, Ivy, my brother, and I swam. Inga and Dio enjoyed the sun but didn't want to get in. There's a warm layer of water for the first few inches. It's really not bad--getting in is the worst part.

I prepared dinner and then joined my brother at a local pub to watch the last part of the Grand Prix. It was surprisingly fun. He told me all sorts of facts he had learned from his time in Monaco yesterday. I was super impressed watching the 2-second tire changes during pit stops. Seriously amazing.

After dinner but before dessert, we went outside again on the Promenade des Anglais. He brought his skateboard and taught the kids how to ride on it.

It's one of those days where we feel so lucky to live here and to have so many visitors. Hint to all our friends & family members: please come see us!

It's Mother's Day in France so I got some handmade cards from the kids--always very creative of course. Ivy also gave me some cookies she made at school.
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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Eric and Ivy had a marathon soccer tournament, from 6 am - 8 pm. I went to Inga's game in the afternoon, while Zari and Dio opted to take a bike ride out to the Var and back.

I felt well enough today to do some exercise--squats, lifting weights. Nothing too jumpy or jarring. Today I feel the most normal since my vertigo started.

We're looking forward to a chill day tomorrow with, weather permitting, some time at the beach.

My brother's view of the Grand Prix, right at the Monaco harbor.

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Friday, May 24, 2024

I feel muddy

I had a consult with a ENT who specializes in treating vertigo and other inner-ear issues. A real specialty with in a specialty. He said it's a bit harder to determine what's going on 10 days after my vertigo started, but he is about 99% sure it is BPPV (back to the original diagnosis from my family doctor, but different from what the osteopath/kine said). Anyway, he did all sorts of tests on me, asked all sorts of questions, and sent me with a big list of bloodwork just to rule out all sorts of very rare things.

There's a word he used to describe my type of vertigo--it's less of a "crise" and more a state of being "vaseux." I looked at him blankly because that's a word I've never heard before. And looking up the translation didn't help, because "muddy, slimy, sludgy" are the most direct translations of vaseux. He described it as a general state of feeling unstable and off-balance rather than distinct episodes of vertigo. I agreed that much of the time, that's what it feels like. General unsteadiness and the room spinning around or shifting any time I'm moving.

I did more painting today--final touch-ups in Le Catamaran.

My brother came with me grocery shopping and then he made some delicious lamb kebabs for dinner: some with garlic & rosemary, others with orange teriyaki sauce. He's going to the Moncao Grand Prix tomorrow--it's the day for many qualifying races before the Big Race on Sunday. He will still see cars racing on the same track, so it should be super exciting.

Eric and Ivy will be gone all day at a tournament. Inga has one game here in town. I'm not sure what I'm going to do besides go to her game!
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Thursday, May 23, 2024

A stormy lunch

The highlight of the day was having lunch with Eric and my brother. We ate at Peixes, which is a seafood restaurant that has a 20 Euro lunch menu. So good!

It started out hot and sunny, turned cold and cloudy, and then it started hailing and pouring by the end of the meal. We were seated outdoors so that was fun. They extended the awning right before the hail hit, but it didn't stop everything. We were pretty much done eating anyway so we moved to a more protected area to wait out the worst of the storm.

I have a ENT consult tomorrow with someone who specializes in vertigo and other inner-ear issues. I'm curious to see what they say.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Brothers are the best

My brother arrived last night! He's here for 3 weeks and we are all super excited. He is determined to spoil the kids and earn (or rather, keep) "favorite uncle" status.

We've already done tons of fun things today:
1. He and Ivy went for a morning walk and bought pastries
2. He and I went to my favorite antique/consignment store plus ran an errand to Decathlon.
3. He and Dio went to a skate shop, where he bought a deck and then built a skateboard with trucks and wheels he brought from home
4. He and the kids designed the pattern for the grip strip on the top of the skateboard
5. He bought Dio a fancy patissserie
6. He convinced Dio, Inga, and Zari to come to the beach. He and I swam while the rest enjoyed the sun. It was amazing! We stayed in for a good 15-20 minutes.
7. He and Ivy went skateboarding/rollerblading together
8. After dinner, he invited some of the kids downstairs to to "very boring things" (aka going out for ice cream)

We have determined that we need to find him a sexy French boyfriend while he is here 🙂

I had another visit with the osteopath/kine. He did more tests with his fancy equipment and said that it looks improved since last time. One of the things he had me do, while wearing some fancy eyecoverings that track eye moments, was lie down and turn my head quicky from side to side a few times. That definitely provoked some vertigo and on his end he was seeing something on his equipment. Then he did one Epley maneuver and immediately after it was much better than it had been all day.

I'm supposed to see an ENT and also come back to the osteopath in a week.
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Monday, May 20, 2024

Circuit de la Forna

We had a holiday today, our last until the summer break. I decided it was time for a hike! We tried the Circuit de la Forna today, which starts and ends at La Turbie, a little village high above Monaco.

I had some vertigo but was able to do the hike and mostly keep up.

We ended up cutting the loop short since the kids found some side paths they wanted to explore. Had I been at 100%, I would have insisted on doing the whole thing. But we got a good 5 km in instead of the 8 or so on the full hike.

We parked right next to the Trophée d'Auguste, which is a Roman memorial boasting about Augustus' victory over the local Gallic tribes over 2000 years ago. The original monument was 15 stories high! The part that's left is still quite imposing and towers over the old town of La Turbie.

But...the monument itself was closed on Mondays! So we weren't able to get very close. We wandered around some of the narrow streets in the old town and the kids were raving about how beautiful it was and how it was so much better than Eze ("no tourists!").

I also took a picture of the AS Monaco training facility, literally cut out of the side of a mountain. Pretty impressive.

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Sunday, May 19, 2024

I slept poorly last night, so I let myself sleep in a bit this morning. Not much vertigo today! I went on two walks, one in the morning by myself and one in the evening with Eric. He ran into a ENT specialist friend of ours, who says my vertigo is likely labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis, caused by a virus.

We had a restful afternoon at home--doing homework, playing video games, napping. Eric cooked half of the sériole (amberjack) he caught yesterday. It fed our family with some left over! Apparently this species is one of the most highly prized varieties for sushi meat in Japan.

I did a few renovating things down in Le Chateau, getting ready for my brother's visit starting on Tuesday. He is determined to cement his status of Favorite Uncle by going on lots of trips with the kids, treating them out to restaurants, going out for ice cream, and generally having tons of fun with them.

We had a family discussion during dinner about screen time--what the research says about what is optimal, what patterns we're seeing in our own family, how might we better manage our use of devices, etc. This prompted the kids to pull out our Legos and now they are building a Lego zoo filled with all sorts of fun animals.

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Saturday, May 18, 2024

50!! And fish!!

It was a momentous day: Eric turned 50! I can't believe it because it sounds so OLD. But I don't feel much older than I did 10 or 20 years ago.

Eric and Ivy had a soccer practice in the morning. As soon as they left, we started birthday preparations. Zari helped me mix up a batch of Streuselkuchen. Then I send all three kids to the store to buy decorations. They had a carte blanche and they came back with lots of stuff!

We got almost everything done before they came home. They made Eric wait downstairs in Le Chateau for about 10 minutes while we finished hanging up the last balloons.


Later in the afternoon, Eric went spearfishing and came home with his biggest catch ever, in terms of size and weight. He caught a 3 kg (6.6 lb) seriole, plus a big barracuda and a mackerel.

The kids invented balloon volleyball with the "joyeux anniversaire" sign.

My vertigo is a lot worse today. I was barely able to walk to the beach and back and probably looked like I had imbibed way too much alcohol.

I gave myself a summer haircut. My hair grows fast so I didn't mind parting with a good amount. I have a large bag of hair now, which I would like to donate, from me, Ivy, Inga, and my brother back when he had "Jesus" hair.

We watched "The Map of Tiny Perfect Things" this evening, which was a fun way to end a very fun day.

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Friday, May 17, 2024

We just got done watching The Quiet Place 2 and we are all suitably spooked. So many jump scares!

I ran errands all over town trying to find a store that can replace the battery on Eric's dive watch. I finally found a place...but it would cost just a few Euros less than buying the watch all over again! Fortunately, Eric did more digging around and discovered the Decathlon does it for 15 Euros. Much more reasonable.

Big day tomorrow. You'll know why...tomorrow!

I worked on CME applications much of the day. It feels almost like writing another book except way more boring. I painted the last edges of the two doors for Le Chateau (WC and electerical cupboard) so we can finally put them up tomorrow!
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Thursday, May 16, 2024

The mystery deepens...

I had my appointment this evening with the kine, who also turned out to be a DO who specializes in treating vertigo. He did all sorts of fancy tests on me with differnet machines and maniuplations of the body. And...good news...he can't find anything abnormal.

Weird news...he also doesn't think I have BPPV! He doesn't know what it is, really, except that he's ruled out a whole bunch of possibilities.

I left with instructions to contact him if it persisted or got worse, but if it goes away then no need to come back. He also suggested getting a workup from an audiologist. I am feeling more vertigo today, but not as bad as the first day.

Anyway enough about my weird inner-ear issues!

I did a little bit of a lot of things today:
  • painting
  • helping Eric cut down 2 doors with a table saw
  • turning a loose men's button-down shirt into a semi-fitted women's shirt to fit Zari
  • a few small grocery errands
  • going to the beach to read with Eric...although we lost our sun after 5 minutes as a thunderstorm rolled in
  • lots of breech stuff
  • watching Coraline with the family. I've seen it several times and it's still just as creepy!
Ivy was supposed to have a huge sports day with many schools participating. But with the big storms rolling through, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, it got cancelled. She was so disappointed because she was determined to win the race!
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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

I'm feeling much better, enough to do some painting, get around town a bit, and go on a walk. I'm so thankful that I can move and eat.

I had a morning meeting with a team who will be working on a breech birth video analysis project. I'm so excited to work on it! Our goal is to have around 200 physiologic breech birth videos to analyize. So far I have about 130 in my library so I think it's a doable goal.

Ivy has a big race tomorrow. I wanted to go, but I have a meeting at the same time. Eric is going with instructions to take some videos of the race for me. Last year she was determined to win, but in the final race she hit a wall and started hyperventilating. It took her over an hour to be able to breathe normally. Eric has been working with her this year on pacing and mental preparation.

Dio got 100% on his oral presentation for the brevet blanc! Wow! It's super rare to get 100% on anything.

Random picture of Ivy I found on my phone

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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

I'm still dizzy but it's better than yesterday. I was able to eat a bit in the afternoon and again at dinner.

Lots of computer work today but sitting at the table instead of lying down.

That's about it for news!
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Monday, May 13, 2024


Yesterday morning I had a brief spell of vertigo as I was going down our loft stairs. I almost fell over but thought nothing of it.

This morning, I woke up and was so dizzy I could barely crawl out of bed. It didn't go away so I consulted Dr. Google as well as my brother (he's an internal medicine MD) and, fortunately, got an appointment with my family doctor this evening.

I somehow made it through the day by moving as little as possible and keeping my eyes closed through long parts of it. Eating was out of the question.

After my appointment, which ruled out anything concerning, the diagnosis was BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)...not surprising. I came home with two prescriptions (of course!): one for 10 sessions with a kiné who is specialized in treating vertigo, the other for an anti-vertigo medication of some sort.

Kristine Lauria has been my vertigo doula this evening since she has dealt with it herself. I did the Epley maneuvers twice and puked my guts out. So I called it good. I'm even more dizzy and more nauseated.

So yeah, that's my super exciting day. I tried eating after the doctor's appointment but it all came back up. Vomiting: 5, Rixa: 0.

I've been checked out all day and periperhally part of the family's life, huddled up in my spot on the couch. I'm so glad that at least I can huddle into a motionless lump and not, say, have to go to a workplace for 8 hours.

On the up side...the printer's proofs arrived from South Korea!

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Sunday, May 12, 2024

Yesterday was a big soccer day for 3 of the 4 kids. Dio's team, unfortunately, lost 12-0! By the end, he said he and the goalie who were the only ones even trying. Ivy's team lost 3-2. But...Inga's team won 2-0, even though they were ranked much lower and had many younger players compared to the other team. She and Eric came home very happy.

This afternoon was relaxing. We read books, did some homework, played video games, went on a walk, went spearfishing (Eric), read a bit at the beach (me). The weather is turning into summer all of a sudden and it's glorious.
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Friday, May 10, 2024

Another day of school vacation...some soccer practices...time for the kids to relax and do some homework. Not a whole lot else going on.

Oh, we went to see a movie yesterday morning: Fall Guy. It was silly and funny and over-the-top. Just what I was expecting. Dio brought a friend along and he put up with watching it in VOST (English with subtitles). Most foreign films over here are dubbed, so you have to go out of your way to find them in the original language with subtitles. Dio's friend looked at us like we were crazy when we told him that in the US, foreign films aren't dubbed. They are subtitled.

I took ivy to the doctor today about her constant back pain. I was a bit surprised that he only looked at her for like 30 seconds. He said that her lower back seems a bit more arched than typical and recommended doing planks every other day to strengthen her core. He also prescribed an x-ray to check on the alignment of her spine. And of course prescribed doliprane (tylenol). They love that over here! Ivy is not convinced that his diagnosis is correct but I told her that doing planks is a good thing regardless.
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Tuesday, May 07, 2024

We're on vacation again until next Monday! Dio said his presentation went pretty well; the biggest critique was on some of the images he used in his optional PowerPoint presentation. Weirdly specific critiques of some of the images. Zari had her big test on hundreds of dates and felt good about it.

We took a short trip to the beach mid-afternoon to read in the sun. We left earlier than normal due to thunderclouds building and starting to block the sun.

I painted window exteriors this morning and caulked in the evening. One more coat tomorrow and then they are done!

Inga and Ivy have tournaments tomorrow morning with a very early departure.

I made Dio's favorite dish tonight: salmon fennel soup. It's so good when the salmon is barely cooked through, perfectly tender.
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Monday, May 06, 2024

I did something I haven't done for several weeks: some renovating! I worked on the window exteriors in Le Chateau, the windows that open into the staircase. Today I applied MAP around all of the big gaps. Tomorrow I can sand and caulk.

Dio has been prepping for his big oral presentation tomorrow. Zari has been memorizing hundreds of dates. Big stress tomorrow and then a nice 5-day wekeend 🙂

Ivy's back has been hurting for 5-6 weeks now, every time after she plays soccer. We keep thinking it will get better but it hasn't. I booked an appointment with our family doctor, who I predict will order MRIs and/or X-rays and/or physical therapy. Maybe all of the above?
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Sunday, May 05, 2024

With nothing scheduled at all this afternoon, we were able to take it easy together. We found time to watch one episode of Good Omens. Zari is memorizing aboug 450 dates for her big geopolitics exam. Dio is memorizing an oral presentation for Tuesday.

Eric and I even had time to sneak away for a nap downstairs in Le Chateau.

Back to school tomorrow after 2 weeks of vacation. But due to some holidays, our school week is only 2 days long!

I'm working on book 13 of Wheel of Time. I still can't keep most of the side characters straight. But it's been fun to have something that is low-key. Interesting enough to keep going through way too many volumes, but not so interesting that I drop everything else to read.
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Saturday, May 04, 2024

Ivy came home this afternoon, tired and happy, after a sleepover with her friend, plus yesterday all day with her friend at tennis camp (her dad is the coach). Zari and Inga both had soccer games.

Zari's team won 17-0, with Zari scoring 5 goals! I missed this one as I was waiting for Ivy to come home.

Ivy and I joined Zari and Eric to watch Inga's game, which they lost 0-3. It was a lovely sunny afternoon. During halftime, I gave Zari and Ivy some money and they walked to a nearby Aldi to buy some snacks.

We've started watching Good Omens, which is also a very fun book to read.
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Thursday, May 02, 2024

Rain...and more rain!

The 3 oldest kids were supposed to be on a 3-day camping trip. We're all glad it was cancelled, because they would have already been in day 2 of steady rain.

I finally managed to dry some of my breech-related items enough to pack them away. I had to put them on heaters and run fans on them. Putting them outside on the laundry lines just got them wetter!

Ivy and I are working on a quilt for one of her friends. It's mostly done. I told the kids, "Good thing I love you so much that I make cool things for your friends!"

Our fridge, which has been broken for something like 2 months now, has been declared unrepairable. We got a purchase credit and today went to the store and bought a new fridge. It's only 3 years old and has broken down so many times. I hope this new one will actually last and function properly. This is fridge #4 in 10 years.
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Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Back home!

I got home last evening and tried hard not to do anything but the most urgent emails. We've been doing some crafty things, watching Doctor Who, lots of laundry and some deep cleaning. Some scary things were growing on leftovers in the fridge...Eric hadn't taken them out since before I left in early April!

It's been raining on and off all day, which has frustrated my attempts to do laundry. I did three loads but they're all wetter now than when I took them out of the washer.

Ivy and Inga made a "green space" today, finding every green object in the house and decorating a corner of the living room. They also dressed entirely in green. Now they're preparing for a blue space tomorrow. Where do they come up with these ideas? I love it!
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Monday, April 29, 2024

Done teaching!

After a great day of teaching a group of obstetricians and midwives (and one doula!), I came to my apartment all smiles. I get to go home tomorrow! And then I collapsed on the bed and crashed. Eric woke me up to check in--I'm glad, because it was too early to go to bed.

I don't have to wake up early tomorrow (although I probably will, knowing my luck). I'll have an unhurried drive to the airport, only 15 minutes away, and see my family by the evening!
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Sunday, April 28, 2024

Santiago de Compostela

If only I had a backpack, hiking boots, and walking sticks, I would blend in with everyone else. This city is the final destination of many pilgrimages. My mom did the final 100 km of the Camino de Santiago several years ago.

I'm just a few minutes from the main cathedral. I wandered around a bit this afternoon while waiting for my airbnb to open up. I went out again to see a bit more of the central city and to buy some food for dinner.

It's still not very warm: high of maybe 9 Celsius today. And my apartment is mostly unheated and I'm SO COLD. I hoped to warm up by taking a shower...and the water only goes to warm, not hot! It was so frustrating. I'm now running the hair dryer on myself, trying to warm up a bit.

I was walking around town, wondering why everything just felt a bit...weird, when I realized that there is no color anywhere! The buildings are all a darker stone or white. It's such a difference from Nice, where every building is painted a different vibrant color, usually in warm yellows, oranges, reds, and pinks with blue or aqua shutters.

It's still not completely dark, but I need to get to bed soon. I've been up since 4:45 am and I have an early start tomorrow.
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Saturday, April 27, 2024

Barcelona breech training

We had an outstanding training in Barcelona today, with a mixture of OBGYNs, midwives, and some midwives-in-training. Some worked in hospitals, some in home, some with MSF. They came from Spain (of course!), Italy, Iceland, Belgium, the USA, and Israel. (If I missed a country, I apologize).

We met at a trendy coworking space, La Vaca Coworking. We had the entire space to ourselves, two floors.

By the end of the day I was so tired! But also so happy because I made it through another day!

Just for fun, here's a picture of Ivy with the trophy she won at the end of this week's soccer camp.

Tomorrow morning, very early, I am off to Santiago de Compostela for one last breech training! Then I get to go home! So many exclamation marks today because I am just that excited!
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