Friday, May 22, 2009

Just Not in the Mood

Bonjour Everyone. I know my blog has been a bit silent lately. Dado is in America, and Max, Josey, and I are in Bouzigues. Our little family is not used to being separated, and I'm not in the mood to blog.

We will meet up with Dado in London on June 3. Yeah! That will be about 2.5 weeks without him, and we get to celebrate seeing him again with a 4-day family trip to London. That will inspire me to blog again.

Until then,

Love to all!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Knife

Many of you heard our “Toulouse Security” story when we arrived in America. Well, here is the knife!

For those of you who haven’t heard the story . . .

We flew to America from the Toulouse airport (it is about $800 cheaper/ticket than Montpelier!). So, on the day of departure, we woke early and drove a bit over 2 hours to Toulouse. Everything was going smoothly . . . We successfully parked the car in long term parking, lugged the bags to the terminal, checked the bags, etc. We thought we were going to get off to a flawless start.

Not so much.

Next stop was security. We each had one carry-on bag plus two laptop bags. There was no line whatsoever at security (another good reason to use the Toulouse airport again!), so we calmly put our things into trays and strolled through the metal detector.

So far so good.


Suddenly, the female security agent was very agitated. She grabbed Max’s carry-on and rushed to the tiny inspection area. Mike was busy putting laptops back into their bags, so he wasn’t paying much attention. I followed the agent and the bag, wondering the whole while, “Hmmm. Why Max’s bag? Does he have toxic markers in there or something?” I mean really – of all the carry-ons, why would Max’s bag cause a problem?

Next thing I knew, she was asking me, “Ou est le monsieur?” Oh no. Whatever it was, it was so bad that they wouldn’t even talk to me. They wanted to talk to Mike.

I waved Mike over, another security guard joined the fray, and they asked Mike to unzip the bag. They thoroughly searched the inside of Max’s bag, and I started to relax, thinking – it was a false alarm. Then, they unzipped the pocket on the FRONT of the bag, and . . . Quel horror!

They pulled out the knife. Oh no!

The agents confiscated Mike’s passport and boarding pass and the knife and rushed off to the small security office. We watched them all huddle over the boss’ desk and wondered, “Oh no! Are they going to give back the passport and boarding pass? Are they putting Mike on the “watch” list? Are they going to throw the knife away?”

After what felt like an eternity (it was actually less than 5 minutes), they returned to us and escorted Mike to the security office. The security boss gave Mike a stern scolding in French, something to the effect of: What are you doing buying a knife like this for your young son? This is not a toy! This is a weapon. However, we will let you reclaim it when you return.

They very kindly put the knife in an envelope marked with our name, and Mike picked it up when we landed in Toulouse. Thank you, nice security agents!

While all the security commotion was brewing, poor Max was horror-struck! It turns out that he put the knife in his carry-on that very morning, minutes before we left Bouzigues. He had remembered his favorite souvenir (we bought it for him in Carcassonne), and he wanted to bring it to America to show to all of his friends and family.

Poor guy! He was terrified that he was going to get in trouble and (even worse) that they would throw his knife away forever. I explained to him that you can’t bring anything that can be used as a weapon onto an airplane. You can check it, but you can’t carry it on. He completely understood. Considering we won’t let him bring the knife to school for show-and-tell, and we won’t let him play with the knife, he understands perfectly that it’s dangerous.

He was so relieved to know he would get it back!

If that had been security in a busy airport – or in America or England – I cringe to think of what would have happened!

Love to all!


Our first full-day back in Bouzigues, I went for a long overdue run on my standard l'etang route. Usually when I run, I watch my feet pretty carefully - so I don't trip over rocks, puddles, etc. on the unpaved trail.

This was true on this run, too.

However, about 2/3 through my run, my calves started aching. I figured it was a result of jetlag and general "you haven't run in about 2 weeks, so of course you ache" kind of pain, so naturally I ignored it. A short while later, the aching increased. I decided I should actually listen to my body, so I started to walk instead.

Ohmigosh, ohmigosh, ohmigosh. As soon as I started walking, I finally looked up. This is what I saw directly to the left of the trail!

If I had continued to run, I could have literally run right past this amazing field of poppies! They grow wild here.

The picture simply doesn't do the sight justice. There is about a square acre of glorious, beautiful, bright red poppies - wavering in the wind. It is one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen.

The next day, I brought the family to see it, too. As you can see, the flowers are waist-high on me, which means that you can barely see Max. If he were to duck, he could disappear forever.

I wanted to share it with all of you. Enjoy!

Love to all!!

P.S. I'm not sure exactly what caused that ache in my calves, but I sure am grateful for it. Yes, I also plan to look up more often when running now. :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Brief Journey to America

We were recently in America to help a good friend through some hard times. We love you, Joan!

While we were there, we enjoyed visits with all of our best friends and family.

Since my blog has so far been all about our European friends and our European Adventures, it's time to balance things out with some photos of my friends, family, and views of California - my home for my first 39.75 years.

This is mostly a picturesque tour through our vacation. I hope you enjoy meeting everyone and seeing the sights!

First highlight: Alex!! She was with us for the weekend. Yeah! Can you believe how old she looks?

I cannot believe that my oldest child is almost 15 years old! I love you, Alex!

Not celebrities . . . although they could be! Kayla and Alex . . .

And we just "had" to get pedicures! Grom got one, too. We had teal, purple, and red toezils.

Second highlight: Visits!! I was lucky enough to see almost all of my good friends for at least a brief visit. I was also lucky enough to see my best friends for multiple visits. You know who you are!

Cathie and Sharlene . . . Just look at all those hand-knits, too.

Alysa, Patty, Mary, Josey, and Sharlene . . . Moira & Marianne, I'm so sorry I missed you this visit!

Sumi, Sung, and Minji . . . Sorry Sumi is hiding behind her hat. I missed her beautiful smile!

Linda . . .

Melissa, James, and Catherine (finally!) . . .

Danny and Kathy . . . Well, this is obviously Danny & Dado. Too funny!

Big Louie . . . We miss you Big Louie! Glad to see that you are still POWERFUL!

Vivi and Meg . . .Sue, Kaitlyn, and Bailey (wow, they grew up!) . . . From left to right, starting from the top: Kayla, Alex, Sue, Hailey, (bottom) Bailey, and Kaitlyn. Sue has been my best friend since the 8th grade - back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

And our family!

Grom& Dude . . . (I have no idea how I did not get a picture of Dude!! He works too much!!)

Julie, David, Jeremy, & Ryan . . . Only Ryan and Julie made it into this shot.

Sandra - this one's for you!! Julie & Grom . . .

Great Grandpa Bob (90 years young!!) & Great Grandma Jayne (86 years young!!) . . . We were lucky enough to celebrate Dan's 50th birthday with (almost) the whole clan.

Sean, Uncle Mark, Aunt Susie, Great Aunt DeeDee, and Grandma Pat . . . Highlight shot of Sean in the giant box. You can't see Max and Josey because they are still inside the box. Too cute.

The kids were lucky enough to see their best friends, too. These are the kinds of friends that make your heart sing . . . They haven't seen each other in 9 months, but you would never guess there had been an absence.

Vivi . . .Divya . . .Minji . . .Ryan . . .

And the kids were lucky enough to also visit their favorite places in California!
Playing at "our" beach (Moran Lake Beach) . . .

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk . . . Thank you very much, Jimmy!

That is Mike, Josey, and Max on the Pirate Ship. The kids rode the Pirate Ship at least 10 times in a row.
Teacher Rick's gymnastics class . . . (unfortunately, I did not get a photo of Teacher Rick!) We love you, Teacher Rick!

Wu Shu Central padded weapons and tumbling classes . . .

Sea lions at the wharf . . .

Third highlight: California!! After 9 months of beautiful scenery in France, Italy, and Spain, I almost forgot how astonishingly beautiful Santa Cruz can be.

A view of the Santa Cruz wharf from Castle Beach . . .

A view of the Santa Cruz Wharf from the Boardwalk . . .

A view of Castle Beach and the Yacht Harbor lighthouse from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk . . .

A view of the mountains and redwoods from Linda's porch . . .

A view of Rio Del Mar and the Cement Ship from Cathie's terrace . . .

A view of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk from the Santa Cruz Wharf . . .

A view of Steamer's Lane (world famous surf spot) from the Santa Cruz Wharf . . .

The only thing I regretfully missed (besides seeing Marianne & Moira) was a visit to Toadal! To all of my other dear friends at Toadal, I miss you! Especially Marty, Cristina, Cheryl, Denise, Rebecca, Forrest, Kristin (and Malia!), Kelvin, Sue, Dave, Jon, and Laine!

Ron, thank you so much for stopping by the beach. Remember - at least monthly emails.

Much love to all!!