Wednesday, January 31, 2024


Epoxy grout is applied, awaiting the final cleanup tomorrow with grout haze remover.

Next up: painting the mezzanine beams and ceiling since they have yellowed with time. Also getting the shower trap installed.

There's a strike tomorrow affecting the middle & elementary schools. Dio and Inga have several cancelled classes and Ivy will not have cantine.

I spent a while preparing orders for breech clinical scenario booklets and navigating various shipping companies.
Read more ...

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

3 hours for 1 tile...

We got to work on laying the mosaic tile this morning...only to find that we were 1/2 sheet short! In my calculations I had bought one extra sheet of mosaic, but I must not have taken into account the interlock or something. Anyway we had to take a trip to Leroy Merlin for that one piece of mosaic.

While we were there, I had some other items that I had ordered that were ready for pickup. Normally it's a quick process: you drive to the warehouse (5 minutes away from the regular store), they check you in, you park your car, and in a few minutes they come and load your items.

But we waited...and waited...and waited. We could hear the team of employees talking about our missing order. Every so often someone would say that they were working on our order.

75 minutes later, one of the employees tells me that they cannot find the item (our shower faucet). It's lost somewhere in the warehouse. The only option is to re-order it and then have it shipped to our house. This will take 10-14 more days. Argh!!! We would be ready to install the faucet as early as Thursday.

Then we had to go to the actual store to pick up some other stuff, which always takes a while. I was going to get some paint mixed, but the paint machine was closed until 2 pm. (In France, even the paint mixers get lunch breaks!)

In all, it took well over 3 hours to get one stupid little piece of mosaic tile. My dad was with me and at least he's pretty upbeat about things. And our long wait at the warehouse was out in the full sun, so at least that part was pleasant. We leaned against the car and basked in the winter sun.

By dinner time, we had the whole shower tiled and now most everything is cleaned up. Floors are swept and triple-washed, most tools are packed up. Ready to grout tomorrow!

Picture of the shower and of our kitchen with the tile cutting station. And Dio at the table eating cereal amidst the chaos and mess.   

Meanwhile life went on for everyone else while my dad and I were working. I caught up on breech stuff once I was cleaned up. We all hung out at Le Chateau after dinner. It's so nice down there! We just want to spend all of our time there.

Also fun news--we ordered a new couch. Our old couch has been repaired about 5-6 times. The leather keeps cracking and ripping and my patches have a few layers of patches. The matching chair broke a while back. We fixed it. It broke again this year.

All this to say--definitely time for a new couch! We've been scouring the classifieds but we ultimately found something new on sale for an excellent price and it will be good enough. It's nothing fancy but it will give us lots more seating than we currently have.

Ivy and Zari were both feeling better this morning.
Read more ...

Monday, January 29, 2024

Halfway tiled

We have 2 kids sick--Ivy and Zari. Ivy stayed home and Zari powered through school, but maybe she shouldn't have. I finally pulled out my thermometer and she had a fever close to 102 this evening. She went to bed early--unusual for her!

My dad and I had a big work day--tiling the shower! We are a bit more than halfway done. I am exhausted. Most of our work has been an hour here, an hour there, but today was all day.

We had to find a creative solution to the area where the mosaic tiles are going. If we just lay the mosaics as-is, they will be inset about 3 mm. So we built guides on top and bottom to be exacly 3 mm deep and then laid a coat of mortar between the guides, smoothing with a wide taping knife. (We had to get creative and glue together popsicle sticks, which when doubled were the perfect thickness!) We pried off the popsicle sticks right away so they wouldn't stay there permanently. By tomorrow, we'll have a flat surface for the mosaics and won't have to mess with excess mortar squeezing all over everything.

Eric and I went with a friend to look at a garage for sale. We think we can fit 2 cars in it, which would really help since we'd have two of us sharing the cost. It's about 7 minutes away on foot and right off the main road that we take heading in and out of Nice.

The house is in utter chaos right now since our tile-cutting station is set up in the kitchen. We have tarps taped to the walls and draped over the furniture to protect from the spray from the tile saw. I'm so eager to finish this project and reclaim our living spaces!
Read more ...

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Zari is feeling feverish this evening, and my dad wasn't feeling well by the afternoon either. She is stressed because she feels like she can't miss school!

I brought Ivy to the beach this afternoon. I read and basked in the sun while she swam. She says the water is much colder than it was in late December (Eric says it's because she was swimming where a freshwater spring enters the ocean). She was in up to her waist for a good 20 minutes, but once she went all the way in, she only lasted a few minutes. Eric did a short spearfishing excursion but didn't catch anything.

Dio and Inga (and Eric) went to a crepe party this afternoon. Zari was invited, too, but she wasn't feeling well enough to go. My mom went by herself to a concert.

Ivy and I watched Nyad, a dramatization about the woman who swam from Cuba to the USA. It was ok--and actually, since I was also doing book editing, it was something great to have on for multitasking. Zari watched a bit but said it was too boring 🙂
Read more ...

Saturday, January 27, 2024


Ivy and Inga both had big wins. I went to Inga's game against Monaco with my parents. They won 5-0 and Inga scored 2 of the goals. Ivy's team played in Antibes and they won 9-3.

I had my last home nursing visit today. Bandanges and compression hose come off tomorrow! I still have a nice bruise, 11 days post-op. I never got a good look at it right after the surgery becuase of all of the bandages. But if it's this bad must have been impressive on day 1 or 2!

We got the shower base installed and the last coat of waterproofing membrane applied. Then we got stuck because the drain kit I bought has a defect in one of the holes where the screws go and the screw won't go more than 2 turns. We tested the other holes and screws--it's definitely something wrong with that one hole, not with the screws. So anyway it's becoming a huge hassle for such a little thing.

My dad suggested buying a thread tap to get the hole working properly. "They're only a few dollars," he said. I laughed and told him, "I bet you that it's at least 12 Euros." He looked skeptical. I took a walk to the store--20 minutes at least on foot each way. They had a few single thread taps, but they were wrong kind. And they were 24 Euros each! A small set was 80 Euros and a large set was 129 Euros. My dad was shocked when I came back (empty-handed) and told him the prices.

I think I'm going to go back to plan A and return the defective drain kit. But that entails going all the way to Leroy Merlin...

Zari had her bac blanc for geopolitics this morning--4 hours of essay writing, totaling 8.5 pages between to exams. Phew. She came home looking optimistic. My mom treated her to ice cream this afternoon for having done so many big exams lately.
Read more ...

Friday, January 26, 2024

With one big exam done today and another yesterday, Zari has her bac blanc in geopolitics tomorrow. She's stressed, understandably, because she has missed more than half of the lessons while she was in the States. She's trying to catch up but all she has are other students' notes.

I had more meetings today, did lots of work on the book, did a few putzy things around the house, went to the plumbing store for some parts. Honestly it's been a busy day but I am struggling to recall specifics. It doesn't help that it's almost midnight and my brain is mush.

We watched an episode of Doctor Who tonight down in Le Chatea. It's so fun to have another space to gather, and there is way more seating down there than in our apartment.

Eric and I looked at a parking spot for sale today. With about 80% of the parking in our part of Old Nice suddenly gone, we are all left scrambling. The closest place will likely find is 5-10 minutes' walk away. We looked at one that was in a good location, although we feel it's a bit overpriced.
Read more ...

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Wow, it's been a super busy day! I had 4+ hours of meetings today: another InDesign tutorial, a meeting with another birth education organization that is interested in partnering with BWB, and a conference planning meeting for the 2024 Twins-Breech Conference in Louisville, KY.

My dad painted the first coat of waterproofing membrane...and then we ran out! None of the home improvement stores within walking distance carry it. So I ordered it on Amazon and we will do other things until it arrives on Saturday.

2 more days until my bandages can come off, I can stop wearing compression hose, and I can start doing sports. The nurse said I may even want to wait longer for really intense things like running or weightlifting.

Ivy's thumb is still swollen and sore. Inga went to a friend's house for dinner. Zari and Dio had soccer. I helped Zari study lots more dates this evening. She's getting closer! She also had a big philosophy test today. She definitely deserves a treat after the big exams tomorrow and Saturday!

Due to renovation work on the streets near us, almost all of the parking places have been removed. It's been a total nightmare finding a place to park now. We're actively hunting for garages/parking spots for sale.
Read more ...

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

2 walls up!

It was a productive day. We got wall plugs drilled and mortared on the other wall, then we put both sheets of placo hydrofuge (green drywall) up. My dad got to see how to ahere drywall with mortar, which for Americans is SO WEIRD. Before dinner, my dad painted on the high-adhesion primer (primaire d'accrochage).

There were lots of little things to do in between--prepping some last little electrical cables so they didn't stick out, lots of cleaning and mopping. Tomorrow will be painting the two coats of waterproofing membrane. Then we're on to tiling! That will be Friday at the earliest. I also have lots of breech work at the moment so I can only do shorter bursts of work.

We had a Canadian family over for dinner, at the end of a 6-month stay in nice with their three children (one of whom is in Ivy's class). They came to Nice because they read Eric's book, which they got because Eric knows the husband's mother, who is a writer. All of these interesting connections! They also became friends with the Australian family who rented our apartment.

We've met so many interesting families during our time in Nice, and it seems many of them end up leaving. I wish there were a way to keep them all nearby!

I made a South African leaf curry for dinner. The recipe was from my walking tour guide in Bo Kaap, who got it from his mom or grandma. Some instructions were imprecise ("put some cinnamon and coriander with the onions") so we did our best to guess. I've made it a few times with great enthusiasm from the kids each time. This time we cooked it with bell peppers, zucchini, sweet potatoes, onions, and chicken, served over a brown rice mix that the kids adore. We also had salad (brought by the family) and cheese.

Ivy jammed her thumb during soccer. I found the wrist brace that Inga used during skiing last year. It's swollen and is quite painful, but we think it's probably just a sprain.

I helped Zari study a big list of dates. We've got a huge amount of studying coming up before Friday!
Read more ...

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

We have plumbing!

Our plumber came today and got everything done in a few hours. We now have new water supply lines to the sink, shower, and kitchen, plus new drain lines.

My dad helped me prep the walls for the green drywall (cutting plugs into the plaster, filling them with MAP, and putting up the last piece of wood in the small framed-in area).

I made really good progress on book editing as well. Besides doing a general revision for language, wording, and updated content, I'm also adding references to each chapter. The first edition had a long list of references at the very end but no citations. So this is a big change in the 2nd edition. My chapter endnotes are, well, a bit terrifyingly long! It's a good thing but I worry this will double the page length of the book!

We ate tiramisu for dessert. I accidentally made it upside-down (I put the cream first, rather than the biscuits) but it was ok. I just flipped it over onto a plate right before serving and it was back to normal!

Zari is studying to memorize 8 pages of dates and events for geopolitics. She has a big test on Friday and another one on Saturday. It's hard for her becuase she has missed half of all of the lessons and she's learning names and dates and places that she has never studied before. It's hard to learn random facts without the background context.

Inga and her friend have signed a contract to become sisters. They wrote up this fancy sounding document, a "FICHE D’ACCEPTATION POUR DEVENIR FRÈRES/SOEURS."

Ivy is starting to plan her 11th birthday party, which will be Harry Potter themed, like Inga's. It's going to be epic. She and I designed the invitations tonight.
Read more ...

Monday, January 22, 2024

I'm tired and I didn't even do anything physically active today--very unusual but I was just so busy with computer work. Mostly book editing.

The back of my leg is now a nice shade of greenish-yellow. It doesn't hurt unless I poke it, which is not surprising given that it's a great big bruise. It was a little painful the day after the surgery but nothing serious enough even for tylenol.

Zari has her bac de sport (musculation) tomorrow. She also has her bac blanc in geopolitics this weekend. So much pressure on her. Next school year in the US will be super easy! She'll already have done the French bac and will only have one class required for graduation.

Inga is working on math homework (triangles). I need to get her to bed--it's after 10 pm!
Read more ...

Sunday, January 21, 2024

It was quite chilly (for Nice). 3° C (37 F) when I checked before my walk this morning. My dad even saw a few puddles of water iced over.

We had a potluck lunch after church. My mom made simple fajitas (black beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa) and they were all gone within an instant!

We've been doing lots of homework and studying for quizzes, but we did have time to watch the final episode of Wheel of Time. It's been fun but honestly I could do without the gore. We're covering our eyes during the battle scenes. But the So fun. (Note to kids: it would be super fun to make Wheel of Time costumes...but maybe give me a break next Halloween!)

Eric got out all of our ski boots. We have 2 pairs to sell--Ivy is too big for them! Next up are the skis.
Read more ...

Saturday, January 20, 2024

We got the living room wall sconces installed in Le Chateau. Now every light fixture is installed! What else? My dad applied the last coat of finish on the table & chairs.

We've had problems with some of the kitchen appliances in Le Chateau, so the repair technician came today. Now the fridge is working and we're waiting on a replacement part for the oven.

What else? Inga had a soccer game, playing with the under-15 team. They tied 2-2 and she felt good about how she played.

The other kids had instructions that they all had to go outside and exercise. They went running to the Negresco and back while I ran errands (not literally! No sports for me for 10 days).

We watched some Doctor Who and Wheel of Time as a family.
Read more ...

Friday, January 19, 2024

We got a lot of lighting sorted out, tested, and installed in Le Chateau. Just 2 fixtures left! I'm so pleased with all of the old fixtures that we restored and/or rewired.

My dad's tooth, the one that broke last year, came loose again. We went back to the dentist and they reglued it temporarily, but it is just a patch job. The base of the tooth is starting to fracture more, which means he'll need an implant or a bridge as a permanent solution. Probably when he's back in the US.

Eric joined a bike repair coop and fixed his bike. It's an amazing service for just 20 Euros/year. You get access to all the tools, instruction from the poeple at the coop, and parts at reduced prices. We need to do this with the rest of our bikes, most of which have at least one thing wrong with them.

I'm super tired and I can't think of anything else to write. I'm sure other interesting things happened today but I guess they will never enter the historical record!
Read more ...

Thursday, January 18, 2024

It's been a day filled with all sorts of things: little putzy chores in Le Chateau, several errands, and TONS of Zoom meetings.

My legs are definitely more painful today. I'm not surprised as it's a lot of tissue trauma. I had my first home visit with the nurse. She disinfected the surgical strips, replaced the bandages, and gave me the injection. It's a weird luxury to have a nurse do a house call!

It was unsually warm and windy today, with huge waves crashing against the shore.

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, probably due to all of that time spent being unconscious the day before. Here's to hoping it's better tonight!
Read more ...

Wednesday, January 17, 2024


What a weird day. I am officially minus several veins on my left leg!

Last night I was feeling quite sick, fever and body aches. I worried that it would interfere with the operation today but it seemed to have settled down by time the vein removal started.

I arrived at Lenval Hospital at 10 am and went through the pre-op prep. I got shown to my room (shared with another woman having the same surgery--I saw a peek of her being wheeled to the OR as I was arriving). The nurses were very friendly and quite intrigued about my job as the president/researcher for BWB. One of them then launched into her birth story (vaginal birth of twins with an epidural, baby B breech). Her doctor told her, "The breech birth will be so easy! The baby will slide out right onto the table with its feet right there."

I had to gown up in those crinkly paper gown and underwear. So fun. Then it was my turn. I got wheeled on a gurney down a hall, into an elevator, and into the OR suite. Another wait, listening to a tiny baby crying in a nearby room, watching the staff bustle around. Then the anesthesiologist placed an IV.

The operation itself was suuuuper weird due to the sedation. When I got my varicose veins taken out the first time in the US, after Ivy was born, it was with local anesthesia only. No sedation. This time I had some inhaled sedation and hoo boy was it weird.

It only felt like a few minutes, but it was probably at least 2 hours of surgery. I heard people speaking but just sounded like incomprehensible noises. Most of the time I was under, but occasionally I surfaced enough to say, "Ça fait mal!" For some reason I was also tapping my first fingers rhymically whenever I "woke" up. I was lying on my stomach so I remember opening my eyes and seeing pulse ox on my left finger. There was one area behind my knee that needed extra local anesthetic, the doctor exlpained to me afterwards. At one point I remember saying, "Je vais vomir" and they brought me a puke bowl. I think they called it a bean ("haricot"). So bizarre the things I remember. At least I managed to speak in French!

Next I was brought to the "salle de réveil" or post-op room to wake up. I would open my eyes and the whole room would spin and I would pass back out again, over and over. Once they decided I was revived enough to go back to my room, I had to squeeze my eyes shut during the transport. It was making me feel nauseated!

Once I was settled into bed, I was so dizzy that I could hardly raise my head. The nurses stuck a blood pressure cuff on me, and the machine made some unhappy beeps and the nurses clucked at it. They tried the other arm. Same thing. I normally have low blood pressure and apparently it was off-the-charts low! They elevated my legs, put in an IV for some fluids, and left me to rest.

Eventually I was feeling well enough to try eating and drinking something. But I had to stay a few more hours than anticipated until my dizziness had passed completely. They made me walk around the hallway for a half hour to prove all was OK.

Eric and Dio met me at the tram outside the hospital at 4:20 pm. Fortunately it was raining all day so I didn't miss much back home.

We had an evening at home eating dinner (Budda bowls, thumbs up from everyone) and doing homework and watching one episode of Wheel of Time.

With my first varicose vein removal in the US, they sent me home with compression hose and instructions to wear them for 7-10 days and to walk a lot. Here, they sent me home with all of that PLUS like 8 prescriptions PLUS a prescription for 10 days of in-home nursing care to change the bandanges and give me blood thinner injections. I didn't fill the tylenol, but I did come home with all sorts of fancy bandages and sterile gauze and anti-scar cream and anti-bruising cream.

So anyway, that's my adventure in the French medical system!
Read more ...

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Sick, twice to the doctor

Well I took two trips to the doctor's but neither were for my own illness. Visit #1 was the pre-op visit to mark my varicose veins. Visit #2 was Inga's followup visit to discuss her x-ray. She doesn't have pneumonia, so it's just a severe case of bronchitis and something in her lower left lung. Inga's doing much better so I think she'll be back to normal in a few more days.

I'm feeling worse and worse. But I didn't really have an opportunity to rest today--just too many things going on. I did a lot of computer work, so it wasn't super physical. But still, serious mental concentration.

I get forced rest tomorrow during my varicose vein operation! It will be local anesthesia with light sedation and I can't do anything but lie down.

My dad has been refinishing our table & chairs downstairs. The original finish is so fragile that a single drop of water mars it. I want this set to last for a long time, so we're first doing a good cleanup and de-wax treatment (just in case), then applying a water-based poly so the wood is well-protected.

He also rewired some antique lights that we had given up on since they were fritzing and causing the circuit breaker to turn off every time. They are now fully functional! He is amazing.

And my mom has been so helpful, too, taking care of all grocery shopping and many meals. We're trying not to take advantage of her too much and still do some cooking...but on days like today, it was great to have her prepare dinner. It was Dio's favorite: salmon fennel soup, plus a raw broccoli & cabbage salad.
Read more ...

Monday, January 15, 2024


I need a pep talk. I am feeling so overwhelmed that everything I need to get done that it's almost paralyzing. For example, the teeny tiny little issue of revising, expanding, editing, and designing the 2nd edition of our book. You know, just a small little thing. That's just one of about 25 things on my to-do list.

Please help!

I had a 3-hour tutorial with a graphic designer today, walking me through InDesign. She's so lovely and it has massively improved my ability to do things with that program. It's not very intuitive.

Eric and I are both feeling under the weather. He got up in the morning and promplty went back to sleep until noon. I would have liked to do that! But I had to much work to do.

After school, I brought Inga to her x-ray appointment. It was super efficient and cost us a grand total of 7.5 Euros. She has her followup visit with the family doctor tomorrow.

When we were walking to her appointment, Inga said, "Why do so many women wear makeup? It's just a weird thing if you think about it, and it must take so much time to put on." I agreed. And I told her, "You know, chances are that if I wore a lot of makeup, you probably would too when you grew up."

I have my pre-op visit with the varicose vein surgeon tomorrow to mark the veins with permanent marker. Then the vein removal is the next day.

I had to remove all of my leg hair today. I made my normal sugar wax but accidentally cooked it a few degrees too high, so it was way to hard to use. I tried plan B--electric trimmer--but it did not work very well. So I moved on to plan C: hair removal cream. (You're not supposed to use a razor pre-op and I don't like shaving my legs anyway.)
Read more ...

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Trio, sunbath, meetings, homework

My mom is a lifelong violin teacher. She likes to organize musical events and being in France doesn't stop her. She's only been here for 10 days and already she organized a performance this morning at church (violin, bassoon, piano) with her, me, and a friend of ours who is a amateur bassoonist and ENT surgeon enjoying his retirement here in Menton. Wo be unto anyone who says no to her!

Most of us went out after lunch to sunbathe and read at the beach. Dio stayed home to work on homework, though. We got some lovely vitamin D therapy. Ahhhh...

Inga is looking less like death warmed over today. I think she's finally starting to get better rather than worse. She's still sleeping in the living room just in case she coughs a lot at night.

I had 2 breech meetings tonight. As soon as I got done, I was in demand for homework help. Zari has to learn hundreds of dates in the next 2 weeks in preparation for her "bac blanc" in Geopolitics. Inga is trying to catch up on the homework she missed while she was sick (Spanish, music). Dio was working on an essay for his French class about the play "Rhinoceros" by Eugène Ionesco.

I now know a lot about Zoë Saldaña (for Inga's Spanish presentation), taught Inga a whole bunch about homophony vs polyphony and about melisma (cue me singing Gregorian chants and the neighborhood call to prayer that I memorized when I was living in Jerusalem). I also know a lot more about European history now, from the 1555 Treaty of Augsbourg to the 1947 UN plan to divide Palestine and many dates in between. I also learned that Ionesco's play was a metaphor for how people succumbed to Nazism and totalitarianism; in the play, everyone but the main character gradually turn into rhinoceruses. The one who remains a human represents La Resistance, while the rest end up following the path of least resistance and going with the group, literally turning into a herd. (Ok, technically it would be a "crash" of rhinos, not a herd!)

Eric had a meeting tonight as well, with the Maison Baldwin foundation.

It's been quite the day!
Read more ...

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Poor Inga sounds even worse today. We've had her sleeping in the living room the past two nights to not disturb Dio and Ivy with her coughing. She was up a lot last night--it was enough to wake me briefly during every coughing bout.

She hasn't figured out how to swallow pills yet, so we have to crush up the antibiotics and mix them into water or juice. I just want her to start feeling better soon! She's been sick for so long, and looks so pale.

Ivy had a soccer game in the late afternoon, otherwise we were home and not doing all that much. I lacquered all of the antique lights but, alas, one of the 4 glass shades broke and shattered! I don't know what to do now. The shade was broken into so many pieces I don't think I could repair it, and replacement is impossible. Even scouring ebay I haven't seen anything remotely similar...
Read more ...

Friday, January 12, 2024

Is it pneumonia? bronchitis?

Inga has been sick for 9 days now and not looking improved. She missed school again today. We finally decided to bring her to a doctor to rule out something more serious, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. Alhtough our normal family doctor didn't have any openings, I was able to find another one this afternoon just few minute's walk away.

And yes, Inga definitely has something conderning going on. From the sound of her lungs, it's either pneumonia or bronchitis. She's started on antibiotics (the first time in her life, I think!) as well as priobiotics and is going in for an x-ray on Monday, then a followup visit with the doctor to re-evaluate.

Inga said it was like the doctor was a detective. After listening to Inga's chest and back with a stethostcope, she asked Inga, "Do you by any chance have pain in your lower left side?" Inga said, "Actually, yes, I do!" That's where she was hearing something concerning.

We finished framing in the one shower wall and are now at a standstill until the plumber can come (the earliest would be in about 10 days). We *could* do the plumbing ourselves but there's a tricky issue with the drain and I'd really like to have a plumber advise on it. So I think we'll wait and focus on other things in the meantime.

We tested 4 antique lights for the bedroom in Le Chateau, and they all work. So then we polished them up with a mixture of vinegar, salt, and flour. It turned the dark, dull metal back into shiny bronze! I'm going to spray them with a clear lacquer to keep the finish from tarnishing again.

What else? I went running this morning and ran errands to the big Carrefour this evening, which gave me over 15,000 steps. Pretty typical day activity-wise. We had time this evening to watch two episodes of Wheel of Time.

My nephew left this morning. He had enough time to say goodbye to everyone before the kids left for school. My mom made French toast for breakfast, which the kids loved. If I have ever made it (possible but even I cannot be sure), they have no memory of it. It's funny, here in France it's called "pain perdu" (lost bread).
Read more ...

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Cousin science lesson

It's my nephew's last day visiting us before he has to go back to the US for university. He's studying to be a paleontologist and he loves talking about science. He and Ivy had a big discussion tonight and she learned all sorts of stuff about biological evolution, various extinction periods, etc. Her mind was blown.

He and Zari and my mom went out to lunch at our neighbor's restaurant, Chez Palmyre (highly recommended if you are ever in Nice!). The 3-course menu is 20 Euros, lunch or dinner. I translate the menus into English so I get a sneak peek every few weeks as the menu changes frequently.

My dad and I made some good progress in the shower area. We got all of the electrical issues sorted out and now all connections will be accessible via the kitchen side of the wall. Before, they were completely hidden and inaccessible. We also started framing the wall on the long side of the shower, taking great pains to ensure it was square and level. (Nothing in this building is after 600+ years!)

Inga was still sick this morning and looking pretty awful. It was an easy decision to keep her out of school. She has a fever again and a bad cough and is really lethargic. She's currently taking a hot bath and I hope she will get some good rest tonight. She's been coughing so much that her sleep has been fitful.

I had an anesthesiology consultation today in preparating for getting my varicose veins removed next week. It will be local anesthesia (lidocaine) plus light IV sedation. I've had these varicose veins since I was pregnant with Dio. I got them removed on one leg after Ivy's birth but at that time the doctor didn't want to do the other leg. Finally they are coming out! They ache a lot, especially after weightlifting. It was a nice day out, so I walked 6.6 kms to and from the appointment, which was inside Lenval hospital.

We made a very French dinner for my nephew: salad, French onion soup, La Laitière yougurts, and Crème brûlée.
Read more ...

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Soccer Wednesday

Our Wednesdays are much less hectic than usual. Dio has practice on Tues-Thurs this year. Inga and Zari have practice at the same time, so they can go by themselves on the tram. Eric used to help coach both Inga's and Ivy's team, but his year he's just helping with Ivy.

I had a busy day, split between renovating and breech work. I have mostly sorted out and re-routed the electricity so that there will be no hidden connections behind the shower. It was super messy--clouds of dust filling the room. Reminds me of last year...

I also steamed the one wall that we will be tiling onto direclty, getting any loose paint off. Next off: fill any holes, then paint with a special adhesion primer and then coat with a waterproofing membrane.

Inga is still sick with a bad cough and general malaise and fatigue. She went to soccer practice, though. But a few minutes after coming back home, she puked! She spent the rest of the day on the couch wrapped up in blankets.
Read more ...

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Another day of indoor exercise to start the day. I helped my dad get his tram pass and bought some plumbing supplies on the way home. We need to cap off the water supply lines going to the old shower control panel.

I did lots of head-scratching and a little bit of planning and progress on the shower. I made a template of the shower base and fit it on the floor, marking the placement of the drain hole, the feet that support the base, and the rear wall that needs to be squared. I also figured out where some of the hidden electrical conduits are so we can avoid drilling into them when we have to drill through the wall from the bathroom to the kitchen.

I'm quite eager to get this shower done because now we just have a tub with a handheld shower attachment. It's not super fun to shower sitting down holding one arm in the air. But at least we have something!

Inga is playing soccer during school recess, trying to show the boys that she can play just as well as (and probably better than!) them. She says she has lots of fun stories to tell. Dio had soccer practice tonight despite a light drizzle.

Eric cooked tonight: green salad and 2 kinds of quiche.

We watched an episode of Wheel of Time.

I spent some time on hold with my insurance company back in the US. Not my favorite activity.
Read more ...

Monday, January 08, 2024

Back to school!

I like vacation, but I also like getting back into more of a routine. But it is way too dark when we wake up now! We were too spoiled by sleeping in during vacation.

I exercised indoors because it was both cold and rainy outside. My dad and I had a light day of renovating. We got holes drilled through walls and through kitchen cupboards for the new plumbing. We also sorted out most of the electircal mess that a previous DIYer left us. Ugh. What were they thinking?

Pro tip: when you are renovating, please do NOT hide 5 outlets behind a shower wall so that the connections are completely inaccesisble. Also please do NOT cover the outlets with plastic and glue to keep water from coming in. This is against code. And common sense.

I had a breech meeting after dinner and lots of miscellaneous work throughout the day, anywhere from video editing to payroll to t-shirt design to book editing.

Dinner was roasted sausage & fennel in mustard, thyme, and red wine, plus a green salad.

Inga's illness has transformed into a bad cough. She's not feverish any more, though. She had a Freeze family soccer practice with Ivy, Dio, and Eric tonight.
Read more ...

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Big organ in a big cathedral

We attended a free organ concert at the big cathedral right down the street. Wow! There's something incomparable about listing to an organ in a cathedral, feeling the sounds vibrate through your body.

The cathedral doors were wide open during the concernt, which meant that even with our winter coats on, we were very cold. But it was worth it! I can't believe we can just walk out our door and less than a minute away we have events like this.

Zari and Eric had to miss because of a soccer tournament.

My mom made a delicious black bean chipotle soup. Ivy helped by making a gingerbread cake and orange-lemon sauce. I made a big batch of sourdough bread.

We had time for one episode of Wheel of Time before meetings for me (7 pm) and Eric (8 pm). School starts tomorrow so kids are in bed earlier tonight.
Read more ...

Saturday, January 06, 2024

Run, hike, listen, applaud

Great day today! I started off with a run, appreciating the sun after yesterday's rain.

Inga was still feeling a bit sick, so she chose not to play in the game but to just go with Eric and watch. The rest of us headed off after lunch to meet a friend for a hike around Cap Ferrat. When we arrived at Plage Passable, we found that the trail was completely closed on that end! We did the loop in reverse but had to get off the loop about 2/3 of the way and finish the rest on a road.

Although we missed the most beautiful part of the hike--the side with all of the cliffs and vegetation--it was still an amazing afternoon. I can't believe that we get to do these things in the winter and in such amazing weather!

We all gathered back together for dinner (Eric's turn: pizza and green beans). Then everyone but Inga went to the opera house for a Robert Schumann piano concerto and Victor Berlioz symphony. It was outstanding. We were up on the very top floor in the nosebleed section. We had to lean over the railing to be able to see the stage.

We are going to be so cultured! I'm glad my mom is here because she's always getting us to go to things like this, which I realize I miss doing.

This afternoon I finally laid my old wallet to rest. Eric found it on the bottom of the sea many years ago. But with my recent Christmas present being a new leather wallet, it was time to part ways.

Read more ...

Friday, January 05, 2024


It rained all day. Not a weak sprinkle or drizzle, but steady, heavy rain. I'm glad for it because that means snow in the mountains and green in the foothills.

We all suited up and walked to the MAMAC (modern art museum). It's closing for renovations in 2 days so we wanted to visit before we lost our chance. A lot of other people had the same idea--I've never seen the lines so long!

We started watching Wheel of Time. Zari said, "It's a mixture of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings!"

My mom took over dinner today and made pasta puttanesca and flat beans. I have a feeling this will happen often!

Inga was sick today and spent most of her time wrapped in blankets on the couch. She had to miss soccer practice today (they held it despite the rain!). Zari's practice was cancelled, leading to celebrating from Zari.
Read more ...

Thursday, January 04, 2024


My mom and dad arrived today. They'll be here for almost 3 months. My dad is already chomping at the bit to start working on a project.

I didn't get out much today, just errands (5,000 steps) to a few grocery stores in the afternoon. I went to get a copy of a key made, and the locksmith said, "Sorry, that key blank is not even available yet. It's too new." (I bought it at least 7-8 months ago!). I have NEVER heard of this before.

Dio had a friendly game with a new soccer team has has been interested in joining. He was really stressed about it upon arrival, but he played well and really liked his coach and teammates. He's going to go with this team, rather than the one from last year. This new team isn't as good but much better for Dio's mental health and general positivity about continuing soccer.

I had a meeting with two bachelor of midwifery students in Switzerland whose bachelor's thesis I am overseeing. It's fun to be on the "professor" end of things because it doesn't feel like all that long ago I was still on the "student" end. I suppose that doing 12 1/2 years of university will do that to a person!

It was my turn to make dinner: coleslaw and spicy crab sushi. I also pulled out some leftover bean salad.
Read more ...

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

More shopping, some soccer

We had a morning trip to the déchetterie (goodbye old shower!), then Leroy Merlin, then looking at a door via Leboncoin (turned out to be in terrible condition--why don't people post better pictures?!?), then to the Leroy Merlin pickup warehouse, then home.

While the kids were helping us carry down all the old shower parts, Zari bumped one of the tempered glass panels and it completely shattered. She was covered head to toe in glass fragments, standing there wide-eyed. I told her not to move and ran to get a broom. It's amazing how strong yet how fragile tempered glass can be! When Eric and I were throwing the rest of the glass pieces into the dumpster, we couldn't get any of them to break!

The kids also helped us carry everything upstairs, except for the shower base (still in the hallway...need to get 2 people for that one). We all had lunch and then Ivy, Inga, and Dio had soccer practice with Coach Papa. Dio was supposed to go to his team's practice but had a moment of stress and we couldn't convince him to go, even though he really enjoyed it last time.

Zari went with my nephew to a little natural history museum, a pastry store, and good conversation on the beach. I stayed home to catch up on some work.

I ran a quick errand to pick up some special-ordered food ingredients (steel cut oats, maple syrup) and some curry paste from the Asian food store. Dinner was Panang curry with chicken, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, and zucchini, served over a triple brown rice blend. The kids adored the rice: "This is so delicious! I love it! It has so much flavor." Whatever the 3 varieties are, they are great. I didn't do anything other than cook the rice with some salt.

We played card games this evening. Well, I had lots of work to catch up on, so I sat at the table and enjoyed the commotion around me.
Read more ...

Monday, January 01, 2024

New Year's Day

I started off by going on a run first thing. I tried to get one of the kids to go with me, but no one wanted to. I can't imagine why not!

It was overcast most of the day, with the sun breaking through right before sunset. I donned my work clothes and demolished our shower. Ahhh, memories of all of the renovating we've done over the past few years. My mid-day we had it all diassembled. The pieces are in the hallway, awaiting dropoff at the dechetterie tomorrow.

After lunch I had some additional demolition and cleanup to do around the plumbing, and wallpaper to tear off the wall where we'll be tiling. It feels weird to have the shower gone.

There are some bizzarre plumbing things going on and I might just call our plumber who did Le Chateau and Le Catamaran. I could probably figure it out myself, but he would be faster and probably have better ideas of what we need done. (It's funny that I feel like I need to apologize for hiring a skilled professional!)

Zari and Ivy went with my nephew to the Negresco hotel and some fun time on the beach, while I was finishing up.

We all went out mid-afternoon for a hike to Escaliers de Verre / Fort Alban. We haven't been there for a few years now. It's so much faster now that our kids aren't 1-7 years old!

We watched the first two episodes of "Cunk On Earth." Hilarious.
Read more ...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...