Sunday, May 31, 2020

French déconfinement day 21

10,346 steps

The playgrounds have opened up again!

We went for a brief swim near the port while Eric went spearfishing. Well, I stayed on the rocks and supervised while the 3 youngest swam. Zari took pictures of the sunlight reflecting off the water.

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Saturday, May 30, 2020

French déconfinement day 20

9,668 steps

Eric had grand plans to go spearfishing early in the morning. But we had both slept poorly and chose to stay in bed and snooze a bit once the kids were up.

We went to the beach after lunch and ran into several sets of Ivy's friends--village life! One of them watched Ivy so she could play with her two boys (twins, one of whom is in Ivy's class). I took the other kids swimming in the Paillon for a quick half-hour. Then we gathered Ivy and ran into a few more of her classmates!

The best part of the day was when Eric came back from spearfishing. No fish...but he had a bike! It had just been thrown into the sea yesterday. Unfortunately the back of the frame and the real wheel were bent--likely from being thrown off of the 10m cliff. He'll see if he can straighten the frame and wheel out. However, it's not a very expensive bike and is not worth spending money on.

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Friday, May 29, 2020

French déconfinement day 19

10,263 steps

I got out Ivory and Sophie today and did a series of breech simulation videos. I have someone coming next week to act as a "student." It's much better when I'm teaching a student, rather than me running back and forth between the pushing side and the catching side. But it still worked okay.

Ivy is off school Thursdays and Fridays, so we invited a few of her school friends over. Lots of happy shrieking coming from up in the attic while I was editing videos.

I baked sourdough loaves that had been proofing in the fridge for 48 hours. I pulled them out and let them rise for 6 hours, which ended up being too long. The dough flattened as soon as I put it onto the backing sheet. I've figured out most things with sourdough, but not the timing of when to bake. Nevertheless, the bread was delicious with a very strong sourdough flavor.
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Thursday, May 28, 2020

French déconfinement day 18

15,221 steps

I convinced Zari into coming along with me on my morning run. She rode her scooter and we chatted most of the time.

I did more filming and video editing. Zari was my assistant, holding the pelvis in place while I demonstrated maneuvers. I have one more thing to film: maneuvers on the Sophie and Her Mum simulators.

Zari, Ivy, and I went to the beach in the late afternoon, but lost our sun a half hour after we arrived. I brought the kids home as Eric was heading out for some spearfishing. He came back with a sar (sargo) and a chinchard (Mediterranean horse mackerel).

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

French déconfinement day 17

It's Wednesday, which means no school for elementary-aged kids. So everyone was home all day. By time mid-afternoon hit, we were all going a bit crazy from all the noise. Good, happy noise but still noise. Dio and Inga are the worst culprits.

I was tending sourdough bread, so I stayed behind while Eric brought the 3 youngest kids back to the Paillon. Today the channel was deeper and straighter until it hit the beach, where it did a hard right. I missed most of the fun but came for the last 20 minutes.

Zari and I went on a walk in the evening, because she had been inside all day. She is very concerned about the future of our planet--the environment in particular--and wants to find a job that will "save the world." She keeps lamenting how humans are so intelligent and ingenious, yet human nature also means that we end up destroying our own planet because we lack the political or social will for the actions that would keep our planet healthy and thriving.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

French déconfinement day 16

8,344 steps

Dio's teacher was gone today, so he and Zari were home all day with me. I worked in the morning and took them out for some fun after lunch.

We "surfed" down the Paillon river where it empties into the ocean. There was a swift, narrow channel of cold water that swept us out to sea. The kids are so easily amused. Dio got really upset when we had to go home.

Eric went spearfishing in the morning and was so caught up in the amazing conditions that he was an hour late coming home. I was planning his funeral during that last hour...I like eating the fish but I hate the worry that spearfishing brings to me!

Eric took the 3 youngest kids for a second swim once school got out. Zari and I stayed home to prepare dinner.

Zari came to us at bedtime and said she was feeling stressed. She just heard that school is starting up again next week, and she's nervous. (Never mind that she has top grades in just about every class.) Eric had a good talk with her, while I sat on her other side in solidarity while also sending emails. Go multitasking.

France is doing well with its covid-19 numbers. We had 98 deaths today. Yesterday we had just 35 deaths and around 150 new cases, and 43 deaths 2 days ago. There's some variation from day to day, but wee're on a clear downward trajectory with both deaths and new infections. I wonder if it will change after a few more weeks of déconfinement?
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Monday, May 25, 2020

French déconfinement day 15

13,601 steps

Another good work day for me: I jerry-rigged a way to suspend a cloth pelvis in the air, using a table I found at the garbage depot, some velcro, and thread. This served as a frame for filming breech maneuvers from both top & bottom perspectives of the pelvis.

I finished and uploaded one of the several videos that will come out of today's filming.

Zari went running by herself for the first time. Going on her own, wherever she wanted, was a bit intimidating at first. She's used to exercising in groups (soccer) or with us.

Eric has another book coming out this fall, a memoir about our first year here in France, when we had 4 kids ages 1-7 and were renovating our tiny apartment while living in it. The last few days have been devoted to figuring out the perfect subtitle. (Well, I'm sure he worked on other things, too! But he keeps reading me new ones.) Some are too long, some are too cheesy, some are too short, some are too vague, and some are too specific. Some he likes but his publisher doesn't.

Who knew subtitles were so important?
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Sunday, May 24, 2020

French déconfinement day 14

6,974 steps

I didn't get outside until the late afternoon, but I had a good excuse: I filmed another 2 breech workshop lectures. I have already edited both of them, having just finished the last one a minute ago.

Eric took the kids to the beach in the morning so I could film, and then we all went again in the afternoon. Why not?

The kids love to sun themselves on the embankment underneath the Promenade des Anglais.

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

French déconfinement day 13

9,728 steps

I finally made it to the post office! Our kids' visa renewals are now on the way to the préfecture.

After lunch we went grocery shopping and let the kids play in a nearby park. Zari took pictures of the wildlife--human and plant.

Eric took the kids to the beach while I was "babysitting" sourdough loaves. (The kids thought that expression was so funny.) Good-sized waves today.

Zari is reading Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks, a book about music-related neurological disorders and phenomena. She keeps telling me random anecdotes from the book: "Mama, here's a story of a person who thought their wife was a hat, but music helped him recognize everyday objects!" I read the book more than 10 years ago when it first came out. She thinks it's cool that I'm one of the rare people who has perfect pitch. I've always wondered what it would be like to have synesthesia.
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Friday, May 22, 2020

French déconfinement day 12

9,474 steps

I've been trying to mail something this week and keep getting to the post office at the wrong time, or going to the wrong one, or showing up on a holiday. Maybe tomorrow I'll succeed...everything is hard to figure out with covid-19 changes.

We babysat one of Ivy's friends, a girl 2 years younger who was in her mixed-age class last year. She's one of my favorite children to have over. Our kids have a new little sister to play with who is super adorable, and it also forces them to speak in French all day.

And we had some other friends come over in the morning so I could show their mom how to make sourdough bread & feed the starter.

And we met up with 2 more of Ivy's friends at the beach, totally by accident. These fortunate accidents happen nearly every day in Old Nice.

When we arrived at the beach, the police were once again making their way down the shore, reminding everyone that it was a "plage dynamique." Some people got up and left. A few went in the water. Everyone else waited a few minutes and sat back down. The police were super nice--joking with Eric about how using a wetsuit was cheating, showing off their farmer's tans. Eric also got interviewed by a reporter for France 2 about his opinions on the beach rules.

When I was putting Ivy to bed, she asked if all of her friends could come over for a sleepover. I said no...but we did have fun figuring out where they all would sleep.
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Thursday, May 21, 2020

French déconfinement day 11

12,396 steps

I went for a run this morning; I needed the energy and endorphin boost after yesterday. I almost jumped in the sea at the end. It's getting hot!

I've been fretting about the future of Breech Without Borders. COVID-19 has made it clear that we can't rely solely on breech workshops to keep us running. If another wave hits, or if not enough people sign up, we are out of business. So it's time to start applying for grants.

Today I finished a long project of going through hundreds of private foundations that give grant money for medical education or maternal/child health. I've now read through all of the foundations' mission statements, endowment size and annual giving, exclusions and inclusions. And of course organized it all into a spreadsheet.

The next step is to select the first round of foundations to apply to, starting with ones that have a generous annual giving rate and that are a good match.

Today wasn't all work, though. We spent a few hours swimming and soaking up the sun.

A group of police were making their way down the beach when we arrived, reminding everyone that they were not allowed to sit--only walk or swim. Maybe 1 in 20 people actually followed those instructions once the police moved on. We all knew it was a lost cause, police included.

To our credit, we were mostly active: swimming, playing on the retaining wall, pounding bits of pottery into powder that the kids use as makeup, or stacking rocks and other found objects into patterns.

Eric went spearfishing and caught a sea bass (loup) which turned into sushi this evening. Yum.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

French déconfinement day 10

10,718 steps

I was feeling despondent and unmotivated much of the day. I even curled up on the daybed and took a nap. So unlike me! I've been dealing with these feelings by reading.

I suppose reading is a fairly benign way of coping. Reading got me through those icky weeks of pregnancy nausea; I even immortalized coping-reading on Ivy's birth quilt.

We spent a few hours up at the chateau with several friends. Lots of Vitamin D therapy.

The kids started online piano lessons a few weeks ago with my mom. She's a Suzuki violin teacher but has also taken pedagogy classes for piano. She is thrilled that our children are finally learning music.

Music has been a huge part of my life since I was 5 years old. I was a violin performance major in college, until I realized that I wanted to study too many other things outside of music. And being a music major--the grades, the competition, the juried recitals--took the joy out of playing the violin. (Or maybe I was just afraid of not being the best and took the coward's way out...who knows!)
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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

French déconfinement day 9

12,003 steps

I am getting a feel for sourdough. Today's loaves came out perfect. It's a bit less forgiving than my no-knead artisan bread. I have to form the loaves right when the dough is ready. But otherwise it's not much more difficult and it is so satisfying to make bread without commercial yeast.

Not much else to report from today. I need to find a way to get the kids outside after school and not push dinner and bedtime too late. We didn't bring the kids outside today and it was mayhem. They had too much energy! The only workable solution I could come up with is to make dinner before school gets out (depending on the child, it's between 4:30-4:45 pm).
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Monday, May 18, 2020

French déconfinement day 8

17,406 steps

Running this morning, reading a book in the park after lunch, swimming after school, sunny weather...a perfect day. We all swam. I wasn't going to, but then the sea just looked too inviting. The water was cold, but more along the lines of "deliciously cold" than "numbingly cold."

And it was Eric's birthday! I have known him for half his life now. He celebrated by going spearfishing and catching a mulet, a saupe, and a cuttlefish. He also caught an octopus but let it go.

I got a break from making birthday cakes. Eric bought an opéra at Lac patisserie. Lots of happy sounds as we were eating it.

We are watching "A Series of Unfortunate Events" on Netflix. The kids look forward to it so much every day. At first I didn't like it as much as the original movie with Jim Carrey, but it's growing on me now. We don't watch TV very often, but it's been fun to have something to watch as a family.

The middle picture shows my final "film studio"--the one that actually works. It was worth the 40 Euros to buy the old-style projector screen. Now I can set up everything in just a few minutes without moving any furniture.

And after lots of editing and Adobe Premiere Pro magic, I'm able to create videos with me superimposed in front of my slides! I found a way to erase the background without a green screen. Opacity = divide + nest + color key = white.

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

French déconfinement day 7

5,110 steps

As you can see from my step count, I didn't get out much today. I filmed another workshop session in the morning while Eric took the kids out, then I spent all afternoon editing.

We all got out after dinner to walk on the beach and along the lighthouse jetty. The kids were begging to swim but we hadn't brought swimsuits or towels.

Ivy noticed that we were wearing matching clothes (not on purpose), so I fixed her hair the same way and took a "mini me" picture.

Eric found another parent at our elementary school who spearfishes, so they're going out tomorrow. Pole fishing on the beach is not allowed, but spearfishing is! He is so excited--tomorrow will be his first day of spearfishing since lockdown AND his birthday.
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Saturday, May 16, 2020

French déconfinement day 6

10,957 steps

The beaches officially opened today, although they are "dynamic & active" beaches only. You can run, walk, swim, or paddleboard but you can't sunbathe or fish. It was also overcast and rainy, so the beaches were nearly empty.

Except for us. Our kids put on their swimming suits and went right in! Inga and Ivy went all the way under, while Dio and Zari just got their legs wet. We picked up garbage on the beach as a way of staying "active."

I'm patting myself on the back because I went running this morning, even though I didn't feel like it and had told myself, "It's okay, I'll just skip today." And every time I run, I feel so good the rest of the day.

My fabric finally arrived this week! I've made masks for almost everyone and am testing and altering various patterns. Pictures tomorrow.
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Friday, May 15, 2020

French déconfinement day 5

10,543 steps

Wow--even with only 2 of the 4 children at school, I can get so much work done! It's been 3 months since any of them were in physical school. I completed two breech workshop videos and have a third encoding as I type.

We took the kids to the park during lunch. 2-hour lunch breaks are so civilized. None of this 20-minute nonsense that American schools do.

The waves were wild today. No, it's not the North Shore in Hawaii but it's about as big as it ever gets here in Nice.

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

French déconfinement day 4

12,172 steps

Ivy came home from school with a big smile: it wasn't as scary after all. Her class only had 6 students. For recess, they couldn't play close together so they figured out a game hopping from one social distancing X to another. Dio complained that school was boring. His class was held outside all day--I highly approve.

I feel like I hardly got out today, yet I got in over 12,000 steps. I retraced my day and realized that I had gone to the grocery store, the thrift store, to Ivy's school to pick her up, and then on our normal evening walk. And today was fairly sedentary in comparison to normal.

I'd say that about half the people outside are wearing masks. It's mandatory in public transport and in some stores, highly recommended in other settings. But people--you can't put a mask under your nose or chin and think it will protect you! If you wear it wrong, you're probably worse off than not wearing a mask at all.

I typically don't wear a mask when I'm outside walking around. Before I go into a store, I pull the mask out of its ziploc bag, put the mask on, and don't touch it until I leave the store. Then I spray the mask and the plastic bag with alcohol and put the mask away for cleaning at home.

A big portion of the Promenade des Anglais has been converted into a bike path, making the street 1-way. This just happened last week and it feels really transgressive to go on it.

Zari and I reading after dinner. She's reading more Shannara books; I'm on book 10 of Mercy Thompson.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

French déconfinement day 3

12,477 steps

During my morning run, the wind was blowing so violently I felt like I was on a treadmill: running hard and going nowhere.

I've been editing videos today. So tedious. And 15 minutes of my lecture are just...missing. I've checked the original video files and there's just a mysterious gap even though I filmed it all at once. So more filming tomorrow!

I baked dark chocolate mint cookies today.

Ivy and Dio go back to school tomorrow. They were both nervous. Will they know what to do? Where to go? With all of the new rules, school will not be like before.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

French déconfinement day 2

Unlike the yesterday's rain that kept the crowds indoors, today we were graced with sun. People were out--way too many people! It wasn't bad up at the chateau park but the Promenade des Anglais was packed.

Zari made this "gardez votre distance" poster yesterday for a school art project about déconfinement. I admit, I helped a lot. I had to teach her how to use Photoshop and Canva. She was supposed to base hers off of the original "restez à la maison" poster by Mathieu Persan.

I filmed a lecture on breech maneuvers and some demonstrations with the giant pelvis. I even squatted on the dining table to illustrate my point! (Don't worry, I will edit out the washing machine & cupboards and me crawling up onto the table!) The things we do when we love our work...

This next video is from 2 days ago--the evening before déconfinement. I love the rain-soaked requiem at the beginning.

The third video is all sorts of random, ordinary things from today: kids making things from toilet paper rolls and cereal boxes, me helping kids with homework.

The last video is from our afternoon at the chateau. Zari combined her magnifying glass with the phone's camera in order to film insects up close.

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Monday, May 11, 2020

French déconfinement day 1!

10,736 steps

We are officially not on lockdown. No need to carry papers, no restrictions on exercise hours or distance. Ironically, since it rained most of the day, the streets were just as empty as before!

We braved the rain and spent a few hours outside in the chateau park. It's amazing to be able to go to the parks again. The only other people at the chateau were, with very few exceptions, all friends of ours. Village life is the best. Our kids played together, got muddy and wet together, and came home very happy.

We noticed the Invisible Man was back after his quarantine break. He needs to work on his English, though; "peace of the world" doesn't quite have the right ring.

I bought a 1970s-era projector screen this morning. Last week I filmed a few breech workshops against my living room wall but had issues with the video quality as half of my face was overexposed and the other half too dark. With this projector screen, I can now stand facing the window directly, thus having even lighting on my entire face. I also don't have to rearrange the entire living room each time I need to film. I had to lug it home a few kilometers (in the rain, no less) but it was worth it.

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

French quarantine day 52

6,231 steps

Rain all day. Most of us still got outside anyway. And it's great for social distancing!

I made sourdough bread and, with part of the leftover dough, a fancy tear-apart bread filled with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. The fancy bread didn't rise as well as I'd like, but it still tasted awesome.

We officially start the long process of déconfinement tomorrow. Schools and parks will be opening. We can go hiking again. Older children and adults will have to wear masks in public (although I also read something that says you either have to wear them or have them on your we're really not sure what that means). This won't be a free-for-all, but rather a slow and controlled reopening.

Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, sent a letter explaining how the schools are preparing for the déconfinement. Class sizes are limited to 10-15. Handwashing, distancing, and disinfecting protocols are in place. Anyone who wants to continue online schooling for the rest of the year may do so. Apparently slightly under half of children are coming back to physical school. Our school year goes until the first week of July.

I was happy to hear that Estrosi has been working with the Lenval hospital to ensure rapid testing & contact tracing if any child, teacher, school employee, or family member of any of the above contracts covid-19. In that case, everyone in that large circle will be tested and traced.
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