Friday, November 30, 2007

Sing it to Me

Not sure which way this day is going...Mini-Husband got dressed by himself, The Princess wanted to wear a skirt, and the dogs didn't break into a chorus this morning with the bells. Something's up.

Plus, Bubba-Love is under the weather again so we are off to see the doctor this morning. "Off to see the wizard, the wizard..."

Yet another day with a musical quote! Not bad! Let's go with this idea here for a minute. Yes, I think it's LURKERS AND POSTERS PARTICIPATION TIME!

Tell me the lyrics from a song that really rings true for you. Could be a list of several or could just be one you hold dear to your heart.

I'll even start.

"I can see clearly now the rain has gone." --Jimmy Cliff

That song always helps me keep my head when I'm going nuts and reminds me to see the forest for the trees. And there sure are a hell of a lot of trees out there!

"And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful Wife
And you may ask did I get here? "--Talking Heads

Not only do I love the whole song but that "how did I get here" line seems to fit me like a T!

Ok, people. Hit that comment button and let me know what lyrics have that special something for you. Go on, it'll only take a minute. You know you want to...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A New Morning

There is the sun!

It's shining warm and bright this morning. We've had a hard frost so all the tree branches, gardens, roads, and houses are coated silver with crystal rainbows reflecting back at the sky.

Hubster isn't working till this afternoon so we've had some time to talk. He's spoken with the people who made the decision about our roof. We're going to try and work with them to find a solution. Nothing is resolved but at least we feel as if things are moving. There may be hope after all.

Since he was here, I got the chance to not be the morning staff today. He kindly got Mini-Husband some breakfast and got Bubba-Love up for his bottle. That extra time snuggled under the duvet was bliss. No starting gun start for me today, just a stretch and a yawn.

Best of all, with Hubster here, I got out to bikejor with Anouk and Typhon. They are doing so well and we really are starting to work better together. Of course, Grandma Francaise saw us getting ready and was completely paranoid I would hurt myself again. Ok, she's got good reason to think that, but we really are getting better at this! I didn't fall at all today!!

Watching them pull, with all the white light glissening around us, was peace.

It's beautiful out there.

Sometimes you do get what you need.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Case of the Greys

Maybe it's the weather. The lack of sunshine must be taking a toll on me. Or maybe it's the distressing news about a friend who is the most important person in the life of someone I love.

Or maybe it's that we need to think about making some big decisions and that goes against my nature. I've always been a spur of the moment kind of person. Doing things on a whim. It's how I found my college, my career out west, my love of dog sledding, my husband. They all felt right to me instantaneously. I didn't need to think about these things.

But now, I need to think. I need to really reflect on how our choices will effect not just Hubster and I, but our little people and our four legged friends.

See, we have a problem with our roof. It needs to be replaced and it's more than we can afford right now. We could stretch to cover the costs, but that would put us into a situation that I'm not sure either Hubster or I would be comfortable with.

We could sell the house and find something well within our means, but that could possibly meaning moving from this immediate area. Away from the kids' school, friends (mine as well), and all that they have known.

There is no spur of the moment here.

I should be grateful that it's only a question of finances and not of something more serious. This is something we can control, something we can find a solution to. It's just hard to know what the right choices are and what will come to pass because of those choices.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things
I cannot change; the courage to change the
things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

I think I need to continue talking this all over with Hubster. But more importantly, I need to pray for my loved one's friend

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Not a Cat to be Seen

I made it back alive from a jaunt with the dogs today. I will admit to be a little bit intimidated when I hook up Typhon and Anouk and head off through the village. The minute it takes to get from my front door to the open road, sends chills up my spin. I never know how many cars, cats, or people we are going to see before getting free of the confines of village life. Who knew cats and a boulangerie could be so stressful?!?

As we rolled around the corner past said boulangerie this morning, I was ready with the brakes just in case Winnie the Cat showed his little grey face. But to my delight and joy, not a cat to be seen! It was only when I heard the sound of the gunshots that I figured the cats must have already been in hiding.

Hunting season has arrived.

Rumour has it, most of the time the hunters are looking for three things: Red, white and rose.

Hence why Anouk, Typhon and I decided that with the shotgun sounds being just a teenie weenie closer than normal this morning, we'd stick to the roads.

Most of the hunters are men that I know from around the village. They all meet up at this lovely old trailer by the quarry, check that they've all got their cell phones, throw a couple of hound dogs in the back of a Renault, and then head off. It's a massive convoy of big men in little cars, parking on the side of the road as the hounds flush out the birds or deer or wild boar that they are looking for. If they get a call that the hunted have changed direction, it's everyone back in the cars and off towards the trails where they once again park on the side and wait.

We passed the convoy as we headed out on the main road. I managed to free my death grip from the brakes to wave hello to the various sundry I know from the village.

I'm sure they all think I'm nuts.

There goes that crazy American woman with her dogs again. Did you see her the time she flew over the handle bars in front of the boulangerie? Funniest thing I've seen in weeks!

Life in the country. We've all got our own ways of having fun.

The hunters have shotguns and wine.

I've got a banged up bike and two huskies.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Trimming the Tree(s)

This weekend we are going to finish trimming the trees. Now before you get all excited and start singing Christmas songs, I'm not talking about ornaments and tinsel. I'm talking about trimming with saws and clippers. Playing with Man Toys!

In front of our house we have two beautiful Magnolia trees. In the spring, one has beautiful red flowers and the other white. I'm always worried about trimming these trees, that somehow we'll ruin them and then the flowers won't bloom in the spring. Luckily, that hasn't happened in the past. But I'm still a nervous nelly about it. It's like giving them a bad hair cut but not being able to hide it under a hat!

The other tree we've started working on is a huge old leafy thing that sits in the corner of the garden. It's obvious from it's growth pattern that it has been trimmed before. Actually, it's obvious it's been not just trimmed, but hacked back to it's trunk over the years. One thick solid trunk that has four knobs growing out from it. Each of the four knobs has marks from where branches have been cut over time. It looks like four scarred fists, trying to reach up and touch the coulds.

I'm not sure what it is in France, but there seems to be a general attitude that trees need to be cut right back every year. Cut off all the new shoots, cut off all the old dead branches, cut off anything that looks like it remotely wants to become green! The trees look just like a stalk of broccoli after all the florets have been cut off. Fine for a vegetable, but a tree?!?

It reminds me of when Daddio used to trim the crab apple tress at our old house. He would head out to those three little trees and just start snipping away. A couple of hours later, we'd still consider them trees but we'd have to wait a few months for proof!

In Daddio's case, and hopefully in ours, with the spring we had beautiful trees once again. And I will admit, that the trees in France are ever so pretty once they start sporting their new leaves.

It's just such a stark look for winter. Maybe if I knitted some big colourful mittens for the four fists, throw a little tinsel on 'em, some lights, maybe even an ornament or two...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My White Wine Women

Since 1993, I haven't really spent Thanksgiving with my family. The first year I was away, I remember clearly talking to Daddio from the race shack on Snowmass Mountain. My family was all together, getting ready to eat, and I was on the side of a mountain watching people race NASTAR.

The wonderful thing about having lived in resort towns was that there was never a question of being alone on this holiday. There were always loads of other people in the same situation as me. We became each others family. And if that didn't work, I begged my single crazy friends from high school to come and play with me. A few years later, one small house in Idaho, copious amounts of alcohol, and a turkey. Not a bad way to pass the holiday!

The Great Turkey Chase of 2006 is also something I'll never forget. We had been invited (Hubster the non-American included) to have Thanksgiving with Miss Tennessee 1975's family and some other American friends. Keep in mind that trying to find American things in France is hard enough at the best of times, but trying to find a turkey 3 weeks before the French actually think about putting them in the stores adds a little adventure!

Miss T, undaunted, had gone out of her way to make it a "real" Thanksgiving by making fabulous deserts, ordering a turkey from the bird guy at the market, and tracking down fresh cranberries. The Saturday that we actually celebrated Thanksgiving, Mr. Tennesse (who's really from South Carolina) ended up driving all over the Auvergne to find the bird man and the turkey.

To Market to Market to buy a Big Turkey.
Home Again, Home Again, all I found was Beef Jerky!

Luckily, Mr T did track down the bird man with enough time to roast that bird to perfection!

There is one Thanksgiving in particular that has had the biggest impact on me. In November of 2000, I had been living in England for 5 months and was going through a difficult period professionally and personally. I flew home for the holiday and stayed with one of my sisters. Thanksgiving Day, I sat with my two sisters, my mom, my two beautiful cousins and their mom and we drank our way through several bottles of white wine. As we sat there, we talked.

And talked. And talked. And laughed. And cried. I felt so loved. All of them helped me realize what I needed and wanted to do with my situation and my life. Those women, with those bottles of wine, helped me find clarity and direction.

I am eternally grateful.

Today, I've been trying to explain this "foreign" holiday to The Princess and Mini-Husband a bit. They've never really celebrated a true American Thanksgiving but I think they get the basic idea. When I asked them what they were most thankful for they both said their blankies and teddies. They're on the right track.

Blankies, teddies and the white wine women. It's all the same. Love and constancy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

While I'm Thinking This...

What on earth did parents feed their children for dinner before the mass production of pasta?!!?!?!?

God bless spaghetti!!!

The Joy of Fur

I know y'all must be waiting with baited breath for the latest from my little world! My apologies for not having a moment to post sooner, but grammar and fur called.

Fur? Yes, fur. Fabulous Malamute and Siberian fur. All over the place. Blowing in the wind. Sticking to my fleece. Changing my black pants to grey. Glorious fur. Someone once said to me, "You know you've got huskies when you open a new jar of peanut butter and there's fur in it already." Happier, truer words have never been spoken!

This past weekend there was another fur fest in the region. And not just a hang-around-and-look-at-the-pretty-dogs kinda fur fest. It was a real watch-the-fur-work kinda fest. Yes, you guessed it. A proper dog sled competition. Of course, there's not enough snow (or no snow rather) so it was dogs with bikes and karts, pulling over a 6k course. It was fabulous.

It was good for us to head over and see all the various mushers and their teams getting ready, heading to the start, and actually running. There were a few of teams with fancy equipment and nice looking dogs. There were other teams with karts held to together by duct tape. There were Malamutes and Sibs and some huskies of questionable background. There was fur. Lots and lots of fur.

For most of the teams, be it 4 dogs or 6, the musher has other people helping them get organized at the start or moving around the staging aread. These people, handlers as they are called, are a common site. They know the dogs well and really try and keep things calm.

That being said, the one team that really impressed me was a team of 6 Malamutes and their musher who navigated the staging area and arrived at the start all by themselves. No handlers. The relationship between the musher and dogs was so good. Those dogs knew what he expected from them and them from him. While other teams would get insane with excitement and jump and pull at the harness at the start, this team of 6 calmly listened to their musher.

"Sit. Wait." That was all he said and they did exactly that. Calm. Controled. Alert. Ready. When it was time for them to go, only one word was said, "Allez!" Off they went. Fabulous. Beautiful. A team. A team.

This is how I want to be with my dogs. Of course, Tpyhon isn't exactly convinced. Y'all know how we have our little wobbles when out. He likes to stop and pee on everything and that gets Anouk frustrated and since he weighs more than me and her put together, eh, well...

The good news is that there were other teams out there just like us. Dogs who didn't want to go up the big hill. Dogs who wanted to take the short cut back to the staging area. Dogs who wanted to pee everywhere. Mushers falling off the bike. Mushers happy to have a handler or two around. Teams just like ours.

I'm going to try and remember that in my quest to be like Malamute Musher, the journey of a thousand dogs begins with a little fur flying in the wind and a little pee on the flowers.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Something I Realized Today

I think I'm failing Bible study.

Perhaps if I actually read the book that might help.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Did the Brakes Hold Out?

Eh, voila! I've made it back home safe and sound after taking both the happy mutts out with the bike. Sure, I've blown out the brakes yet again, but not a single wound to be found!

Honestly, it was amazing. We had gotten about a centimeter of snow last night and it was still snowing this morning. I somehow managed to get the dogs, the baby, and the bike into our little 4x4 and haul them over to French-Me's house. There are a series of beautiful logging roads not too far from her place so she watched the Bubba Love while I got to go toodling with the dogs.

The silence of snow is something I live for. The calm, the quiet, the peace of fresh snow. Here we were, out on new undiscovered trails, bouncing along, with only the jingling of Anouk and Typhon's collars as background noise.

Anouk is really coming on as a lead and followed my commands like a rockstar. Typhon even seems to be getting the idea and helped keep us flowing at a good pace for over 10K. The nicest thing is that when I did finally burn through my brakes, we were only about 1/2 a kilometer from French-Me's house!

It was at that point that I took a spectacular spill when I tried to brake going into her hamlet. Yes, that's when I realized the brakes were well and truely gone! I tried to roll through the frosty/snow scrub on the side of the road to slow down but ended up going over the gangline and tumbling. Typhon and Anouk stopped, waited for me to get back up, sorta snorted a laugh at me, and off we went again.

I love being able to watch them run and pull. Heck, I even kinda like falling off the bike at this point!

I love these dogs. I love seeing them curled up outside in the snow right now. Tired, happy, and peaceful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Grace a Eux

I've had a day of connections, as it were. I finally had a chance to call and talk to my mom. Really talk, complain, laugh, and listen. She's great, my mom. I really do believe that I have been blessed to have her in my life.

She's not a complicated person. She doesn't stand for falseness or seek those who care for material things.

She reads. I mean reads. If there is a topic that slightly interests her, she finds a book, or a story, or an article and reads. This is a woman who hasn't stopped learning.

My mom has always been very good at letting me and my sisters make our own choices and our own mistakes. I realize now just how hard that must have been for her. I am who I am because she allowed me to be. (And, probably, because she convinced my father to let me be!)

She once said to me, "I am not your friend. I am your mother." I didn't get that at the time. But now, that is exactly how I want to be with my kids.

My mother loves me, there is no question, and she supports me and listens to me, but that doesn't mean she always likes what I'm doing or who I'm hanging out with. She's not my friend. She's more than that. She is my mother.

The beautiful irony in our relationship is that I married a version of my father. (And, not only me, but one of my sisters as well!) Their relationship, married now for almost 45 years, has been the best example of how to love and be a part of something so amazing without losing sight of who you are and who you want to be. My parents are normal, everyday people. That is what is so extraordinary.

It's getting late. Hubster has a company dinner and I'm having red wine with bread and cheese for my dinner. I'm glad for the alone time. I'm glad for the time to think about my mom, my dad.

I hope I take the good lessons they've given me and pass them on. I hope I continue to learn as she has.

The Weather

It's grey, cold, and sleeting today. Just my kinda weather. It can only mean that the real cold and snow isn't far off! Bring on winter! I'm ready to play in the snow, build some igloos, and break trail with the dogs.

Of course, if today is any insight, that could be difficult. Anouk has curled up in her dog house and hasn't even come over to say, "Good Morning." Typhon, on the other hand, knocked on the door just after his 7am karaoke with the bells and hasn't moved from the hallway since. I've opened the door a couple of times to let him out and he won't budge. Must be a Malamute thing. Luna always liked to play the carpet when it was cold outside too.

Tomorrow I'm taking them out for a jaunt with the bike. I've got my helmet, my gloves, and my brakes ready to go. Cross your fingers for me, ok?

Whoa....wait!!! There's a snowflake!!!! Oh JOY!!!! Oh HAPPINESS!!! Oh WINTER!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tired Tired Tired

My head is ready to explode. Yet another afternoon of French grammar and I really do feel like I'm having all this pronoun, masculine/feminine thing hammered into my head. Accord? Accorde? Why? When? Why with this verb in this context and not with the same verb when it's having a cup of tea?!?!?! Who made this up?!?!

I'm almost too tried to write about my experiences with tripe on Sunday. (Tripe. If you don't know what it it, you need to click on the link.) I was proud of myself for actually tasting it and finding it much better than expected. That being said, I'm not sure I'll be making it anytime soon.

See, I helped waitress the annual parent's association dinner. A dinner that started at 9am. A dinner of tripe that started at 9am. And there were people actually there to eat tripe at 9am! By about 12:30, my sense of smell was gone and I had no trouble serving the huge plates of tripe with boiled potatoes, bread, and cheese.

There was a fair amount of food left over when we had finished serving so we waitresses were allowed to take what we wanted back home. I scored a huge wheel of bread, some St Nectaire, and a tub of tripe. I had thought maybe one of the tribe at home would want to taste it.

I had the distinct impression I smelled ever so lovely as I wandered back to our house. Low and behold, the dogs sensed that too. I was literally licked clean as I walked into the garden. Seems tripe is a big favourite with the four legged members of our family. Who knew! Anouk and Typhon manged to open the Tuperware (without using thumbs I might add) and inhaled the entire container. I haven't seen something that clean since I bought new dishes.

Tripe. I love most things French but I will admit I'm having a little trouble with that one. Oh, and the grammar, of course! Thank goodness I've got a week till the next class and a year until the next parent's association meal.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday's Ramblings

There is an unbeaten path just down the lane, that winds along the bottom of our hill, leading past the most beautiful lonely house, up past our peaceful cemetary, then meandering back to the village. It's full of thorns, sticky bushes, and muddy puddles. At one point, the trail heads under a ceiling of branches, the leaves casting hues of green and yellow all around us. As we walked along, it felt as if we were miles from anywhere.

When we found ourselves leaving the trees, we realized we had arrived in the garden of the lonely house. This is a house we see everyday when we drive up the hill and into the village. It sits in a little hollow off the road and is similar in style and size to our home. Every fall, the lonely house is covered in flaming red vines. We could see, as we stood there, that the vines covered the windows and front door. Not neglected as much as forgotten. An air of sad peacefulness holds this house empty and quiet, out of time.

We manged to clamber through the overgrown bushes and thorns and follow the trail as it climbed past the cemetary. There are so many chrysanthemums resting on the tombs at this time of year. All shades and colours, giving a freshness to a place that one would expect to be grey and cold. There is life in the remembering.

Reaching our house as the light rain began, I gazed upon the dog houses tucked under our big tree, our old shutters folded into the window panes, and the mess of what were my tomato plants. The sight made me smile.

Our house, cluttered, noisy, and in a contant state of change, is beautiful. There is life in the living.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Word from My Sponsors

Anouk and Typhon have decided they've had enough of all this illness and sickie talk and have manifested in the garden. They've set up their own obstacle course through what's left of my flowers, around the house, and over the see-saw. Not bad for a day's work. I managed to pull them away from their frenzy by announcing that they now have a new cousin besides Snickers, the Husky on the Hill.

And here he is, Gus, the cutest 10 month old Dachador. (Or Labrahund as his new Grandmammy calls him.)

What? You've never heard of a Dachador/Labrahund before? Goodness me! Well, for those of you who don't know, Gus is a Dachshund-Black Lab mix. He's a combination of all the wonderful things about Labs with all the fabulous spicy behavior of a sausage dog.

We had a sausage dog when I was growing up. His name was Klein and he was a pistol. (When I think about the speed that dog possessed, it makes me dream of a possible Dachusky team!) Klein wasn't your typical Dachshund either. He was, as Daddio called him, a "tweener weiner" since his mother had been of the standard size and his father, a miniture.

The greatest Thanksgiving memory I have is the time that Klein stole the turkey carcus off the dining room table. He somehow managed to eat the entire thing, between ferocious growls to scare us off his "kill" of course! Poor dog didn't move for 2 days, he was so stuffed. (Credit to my mom, that was one delicious bird!) He was as wide as he was long, sitting there under that table. Bless him. Klein, the Dachshund who'd have sold his soul for a piece of cheese.

There was a link not too long ago from the SDC site about a miniature Alaskan Husky. Interesting concept, a smaller version of these fantastic dogs appeals to me, but when I actually had a look, I'm not sure I'd know what to do with it. They are kind cute in that children's-beauty-pagent-contestant kinda way but I'm not sure about hooking them up to a sled anytime soon!

My own mini-Siberian and her accomplice would like me to just reaffirm their position on all dogs, pure bred or not:

Love us.
Whatever we Look Like and Whatever our Roots.
Go Hug Us, Play with Us, Take Us Out for a Walk.

Welcome to the family, Gus!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I Think We've Now Paid for a Full Doctor's Office Renovation

Ah yes, back from yet another visit with the doctor. Bubba-Love's fever hasn't improved over the last three days, so after a frantic phone call last night, Buba Love and I went down and saw him this morning.

The diagnosis: pneumonia.

We've got a new anitbiotic to try and a x-ray appointment for tomorrow. I'm on hive watch and thinking we might need to buy a new copy of Cars.

Red wine, anyone?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Colours

Mini-Husband and The Princess head back to school tomorrow. It's been a cold, dark, hectic vacation with all sorts of loudness and banging, in the end signifying nothing has been accomplished. Eh, voila. It's like that sometimes.

It's actually sunny today which has helped the morale incredibly. (That and at least my antibiotic seems to be working.) It's this striking yellow out there today. With all of the various tones on most of the trees right now, it's glowing across the fields and up to little peak on the other side of the valley. It looks as if everything is blooming in gold. I'm in awe. Yellow has always been my favourite colour.

With the time change during this vacation, I now get the chance to cook dinner in my purple and orange world of light. Our kitchen walls are painted a light purple and when the setting sun knocks on the window about 5pm, I happily let him in.

He dances about, jumping behind our wooden cabinets, sitting on top of the sticker covered white fridge, and then hiding in the purple corners of our old stone sink. I catch a glimpse of him as he heads towards the mountains, taking a quick pass over the stove. It's alive in there. It's my favourite time of year in the kitchen.

It's a good time of year to have had a vacation. If only we had had more days of light rather than fog, more days of playing rather than visiting the doctor. But it sure is amazing what a difference one day of light and colour makes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Now Showing Chez Nous: Hives and Strep Throat

I thought we had it tough a few years back when Mini-Husband had pneumonia, stomach viruses, scarlet fever, and chicken pox in a 6 month time span...wait, as I type that, I'm realizing that was pretty tough. Thank goodness he's been healthy (for the most part) this last year. Touch wood that continues!

Right now, though, I'm going through Round Two of mulitple illnesses with Bubba Love. He had a lovely case of a stomach bug about 2.5 weeks ago. Got through that only to have him develop an ear infection (as you all know.) The doctor put him on the usual course of antibiotics and he seemed to perk up very quickly. Until Friday and the latest fun visit to the doctor.

Hives. The little guy was covered from head to toe in the most amazing patchwork of hives. One minute, all over his back, the next, covering his face and arms. Off we go to see our favourite man. Thank goodness the doctor is patient and doesn't mind playing charades. We finally were able to determine the right term for hives in French and he gave Bubba Love some medicine to ease the itching and discomfort.

Trouble is, I'm not sure what is causing the hives in the first place. Was it the antibiotic? Was it the fish sticks we ate for lunch on Friday? Is he having a reaction to a virus in his system? Was it the laundry soap?

He was ok during the weekend but broke out again with them yesterday and today. At least today he's eating and happily watching (yes, you guessed it) Cars.

This is good for me. 'Cause I've come down with strep throat. Mini-Husband and The Princess have been taking care of me today. I've had the most wonderful cup of tea made from apple juice and a brioche and peanut butter sandwich for breakfast.

Think I'll bring the dogs in and curl up with them on the couch. I know it doesn't seem possible, but I'm not sure they've ever seen the ending of Cars...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

La Neighboure

La Neighboure (spelled as such because the neighbour is a she and in French, you add an "e" at the end if you are talking about a tribute to French grammar!) is here this week. Her husband is in the French military and they have moved around this country over the years. The house they have here is their dream, it's their future, their place for when he retires from the army. It's a very old house dating back to the time of Louis XV, the late 1700s. They have worked incredibly hard to renovate the house and it's lovely having more voices and life in the village when they are here.

It's an odd relationship I have with her. She is very nice and friendly but I can't help but feel that she holds the opinion that we don't really belong here. That we don't really have roots here. Whereas in her case, her mother was from near the village, they have family in the cemetery, and probably the most difficult one, she's French and we are not.

I worry sometimes about how our children will cope with being strangers in their own land. Mini-Husband may have some connections to England but the Princess and Bubba-Love were both born here and have never lived anywhere but France. They are technically not French, but when The Princess speaks, it's with an Auvergnate accent.

The kids don't have a tooth fairy, they have the tooth mouse. They don't think Halloween is about any costume you want, it's about scary skeletons and ghosts. Dressing up is Carnival. They take their shoes off immediately when going into a friend's house and they expect "gouter" at 4pm. They have never lived with air-conditioning and expect a bite of baguette when we go grocery shopping. School is Monday and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Pate and vegetables are normal options at the cafeteria. It's Dora speaking French and English not English and Spanish. When they grow up, they want to have an appartment in Paris.

This is what they know. This is their life. How can I teach them to not let people like La Neighboure make them feel that they don't belong?

I'll admit that it hurts me when La Neighboure speaks to me sometimes, as if I'm not capable of understanding this world where I live. Not capable of being part of this village that has her family name in the cemetery.

The irony is that she is trying to become a teacher and hasn't been able to pass the exams. Her stumbling area: English.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Well at Least That's Sorted

Last night as I was getting the little people to bed, Mini-Husband started asking some rather in depth questions about families, life, and death. Super mom that I am, I dealt with all of the questions with aplomb. Feeling ever so smug with myself and the narrow margin between bedtime discussions and philosophy/religion avoided, I kissed the beautiful boy goodnight.

"Mom, where would we go live if you and Dad were to die right now?"

Dang. Didn't quite escape as cleanly as I had hoped!

"Well, you would probably go and live with your aunts and cousins in the Unites States. Wouldn't that be fun having all those other kids around you?"

Mini-Husband thought about that for a second and then added, "But we could always go and live with Grandma and Granddad in England too, you know."

"Yes," I said, "but I think dealing with the three of you might be a bit much for Grandma and Granddad at this point."

Mini-Husband pondered this again for a second. He looked at me with those fabulous brown eyes, smiled and said, "Yeah, The Princess really can be such a piece of work!"