Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bonus Pictures

Things that make me happy...

Toenail polish that changes color in the sun.

Purchased last year in Hawaii. But this is my first time on the beach since then.

Thing that makes me unhappy: Stupid thing I can't clean off of my camera.

Home again, Home again, Jiggety Jig

There is something wonderful about coming home after a vacation for the first time (in a new location). Suddenly you remember that HOME is wherever you feel comfortable. Even if it's not where you think it is.

As much as I liked being in Spain, and LOVED being able to talk to people (I speak Spanish), it was not home.

I like coming back here, and knowing where everything is. I like knowing where the kids will be going, and knowing when I'd get a break. (Vacations are wonderful, but I end up being with the kids MORE, and still arranging for everyone to eat).

I like my own stuff. I like my own neighborhood. "My" Femme du Legumes" (the lady who sells vegetables). "My" boulangerie (fresh bread!) "My" other boulangerie (best croissants in town). "My" habits.

Apparently I have some now. Cool.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trying to post more...

Bubbas. (Brothers in Cajun).

Two boys overlooking a drainage pipe. Fascinating.

Caves, as seen from a boat tour.

Guess how many pictures had to be taken to get one decent one? Go on. Guess.

Four boys on a boat. J towers over the others.

Action shot of R, falling into the water, off of the boogie board. Ignore the sudoku player in the background.

A kiss from my youngest. Salty and yummy.

Same child being a "Rock Star!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Listening to the Wind

Yesterday I was in a yucky mood. First day of cycle and all that. The kids were getting wild, and I sent them outside. J asked if he could take R to the forest pathway at the end of the street. I knew the younger kids would want to go along too (and he's not quite ready to watch all of them). So I went with them.

And boy, did I need it. Way more than they did. {{Deep Breath}}
We walked slowly as the path disappeared. We looked at flowers and bugs. As we got further in, I told the boys (the littles - the biggers had long ago abandoned us) to be quiet and listen.

It took a few tries, but we finally did it. The wind started behind us up the hill, whooshed past where we were sitting, then continued to roll down the hill. We could see the leaves quaking and branches swaying.

After awhile we could hear birds and bugs, and possibly lizards crawling through the undergrowth. We watched ants and spiders and butterflies and beetles.

We collected sticks and looked at their shapes and examined fallen bark and pine needles. A decided we needed to build a nest for the birds, so we put the sticks down in a circle, and put a pine cone inside. On the way back we touched flower petals, leaves and grasses.

I needed that.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

4 Things Meme

Four names that people call me
1. Rachel
2. Mom
3. Maman
4. Cutie

Four jobs I have had
1. Demo Princess
2. Personal Assistant
3. Janitor
4. Assistant Claims Adjuster

Four movies I would watch (or have watched) more than once
1. Princess Bride
2. Clueless
3. Dirty Dancing
4. Rocky Horror Picture Show

Four books I would read (or have read) more than once
1. Almost every book by Anne McCaffery
2. Harry Potter (all seven volumes)
3. The Four Fold Way - Angeles Arrien
4. The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

Four places I have lived
1. Garches, France
2. Sugar Land, Texas
3. Lake Charles, Louisiana
4. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Four places I have visited
1. Costa Brava, Spain (I'm here now)
2. St. Neots, England
3. Island of Sant Maarten/Saint Martin
4. Tokyo, Japan

Four places I'd rather be right now
1. On the airplane with T.
2. Other than that, I'm good.

Four of my favorite foods
1. Hamachi Sushi (copying Brian here)
2. Panaang Curry (with Shrimp)
3. Salad Bar at Whole Foods
4. Onion Soup Gratinee (at Le Pressoir restaurant on the island of Sant Maarten)

Four living persons I admire, look up to and/or try to emulate
1. T
2. M&D
3. Marian Head
4. Chris Jordan

Four items that mean something to me
1. Paper Mache Duck
2. Molly the Clown
3. Pennies from Heaven
4. Sabbath Candlesticks

Four things I'm lousy at (and/or would like to learn)
1. Understanding French
2. Speaking (Pronouncing) French
3. Saying "no thank you" to dessert
4. Meditating on a daily basis

Four things I'm really good at
1. Coordinating the needs of a large family
2. Recognizing what I need and want (and for others too)
3. Finding and wearing cool jewelry
4. Surrounding myself with people who can help me (and who love me)

Four things I am looking forward to this year
1. Teaching Jazzercise
2. Finishing writing my book (that I started in 2001)
3. Going on a trip without kids
4. Visiting friends/familiar places in Houston & Denver (July/August)
5. Turning 40

Four things I have strong opinions about
1. Broken bones heal faster than broken spirits
2. Children need both freedom and discipline
3. I created everything in my world (not by molding it, but by noticing, attending to, and choosing it).
4. We all create our lives.

RETURN DIRECTIONS (copied verbatim)

Feel free to do this even if I was rude enough not to tag you in the note itself!Now, here's what you're supposed to do, if you want to:
Copy and paste this into a new note
Erase my answers and type in your answers
Add your own question/s if you want to
Tag me back so I can read your lists

The theory is that each of us will learn a lot of little facts (some previously unknown) about our friends and loved ones. If nothing else, the exercise will stave off the boredom and ennui for another 20 minutes or so.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Je nes parle hablar pas trois lenguas!

Right now I am in a town called Begur on the Costa Brava area of Spain. We are staying in a villa that we found through VRBO. My folks are here too, having arrived in Barcelona earlier in the week.

Back in 1987, I lived in Mexico, went to school and learned to speak Spanish. For four of the last five years, I've used it to communicate with my housekeeper, and others in Houston, Texas.

In the last year, I've used Spanish to influence my learning of French. The languages are very similar.

Now that I am in a country where Spanish is the main language (well, Catalan anyway), I have discovered I can't speak it at all any more. I keep coming up with French words when I try to communicate in Spanish.

And then I try to correct myself, and mix up my English. Every time I try to say "Excuse me," it comes out in French, and I CANNOT get my Spanish accent back. And at the end, when I try to apologize for being so confusing, I say "Desole. I mean pardon. I mean excuse moi. Oh hell."

And I can't keep from adding "sil vous plait" on the end of every request.

So now, I can't speak in three languages! Arrgh!

In the last two weeks...

Oops. Sorry about the long delay in posting. No particular reason. Just life. Yes, my last post was a downer. But it was just a bad day, not a bad month. And, yes I realize that I don't actually know what was said to me. Anyway, it's in the past.

What have I been doing for the past two weeks? Hmmm. One thing I did was to finally use the anger and frustration I've had to spur me to action... I hired a friend who knows the lay of the land around here to help me get things done! Her first assignment is to find a place to Jazzercise that works long term.

And I guess that's what I've been up to. Trying to make Jazzercise work here for me, and for others. With only four people signed up regularly, if they can't come, it's hard to have class. And the schedule I've made doesn't really work for me either.

But it IS coming together. And it IS fun. I DO love being an instructor.

The other thing I've been doing is taking a cooking class. On one hand, it is WONDERFUL! I am learning so much, and the other women in the class are delightful.

The frustrating part is the choices of recipes... everything we've made so far has been incredibly heavy with either cream/cheese/fat or meat-intensive. Stuff that I try not to eat too much of. I'm following directions exactly the first time, and making notes on how to make something lighter in the future. (But it's NOT FRENCH to use low-fat milk instead of full cream). Oh well, I'm learning.