Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rebecca's weekly musings

So, I haven't blogged yet this week - I am having some start up energy issues for some reason. Also, nothing much has happened except Monday was my birthday - and I added some lines/edited André's birthday post so I didn't need to write about that myself. So I guess this will be another collection of random thoughts...

My birthday - (hmm... did I say I wasn't going to write on it? I lied) I loved all my gifts, several special drawings from each of the kids, lots and lots of emails (thanks facebook - you are so cool) from friends and family, a beautiful necklace from my sister and a whole package of goodies from mom and dad. Highlight of this was a hand crocheted bag - which I LOVE. Plus we had chocolate cake for dinner. Whenever I have the occassion to eat cake at a strange moment, I remember Bill Cosby and his famous 'chocolate cake' skit. We had the record as a kid and listened to it on occassion. The audio for this skit (with some strange guy lipsynching it) is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElQZ5iXVrdk. If you've never listened to it - it is great1 (although much better with the original cosby expressions etc...) We all sang Andre's praises 'Dad is great, he gives us the chocolate cake!'. The cake was awesome and lasted for about 3 days (one advantage to having no friends here - not too much sharing of big chocolate cake)!

One of the things that has always separated my birthday from the madding crowd was that it is on Groundhog Day. I always liked this as a kid. It's never good to have a birthday on a 'real' holiday (like Christmas Day or something) because your birthday is overshadowed by the big event. But Groundhog Day is perfect. It serves only to remind people it is your birthday. I imagine friends and relations the world over thinking to themselves... "Oh, hey, right, it's Groundhog Day...isn't that Rebecca's birthday??? I'd better give her a call/email."
When I grew into adulthood and started my paganistic spiritual journey I discovered that Feb 2nd has been a holiday, like, forever. It is known as Imbolc. It is also the day to celebrate the Godess (or Saint if you want to depaganize it) Brigit AND also a festival called Candlemas. You can learn more about all these amazing festivals on wikipedia (of course).
But what, you may wonder, do they celebrate on this day in France? Well, many of you may be shocked to learn that the answer is, none of the above (at least that I heard about). Does this mean that Feb 2nd, oh day of days, passes by unnoticed in France? Of course not, that would just be wrong. Here in France, on Feb 2nd, we celebrate Crepe Day. That would be the important day we make and eat crepes. (I thought, based on what I see people eating here, that this was any day in France, but, I guess, crepes are so important they wanted to make sure no french person would accidentally let a whole year pass without consuming some). All the kids got them in school (except poor gluten intolerant Griffin of course) and enjoyed them with sugar or nutella - yum. Some day, when I make some good french friends, they will ask me about my birthday and they will say, oh yeah, crepe day! By the way, this amazing festival has NO entry in wikipedia - I need one of my french readers to add one - so I can learn more about this thing!

André has been on a real blog kick lately - getting excited for his upcoming race and tracking all his runs here. This morning he slept in a bit and missed his run - sadness. Speaking of getting in shape - I desperately need to! That has definitely been the worst part of moving here - back home I went to the gym between 3 and 5 mornings a week - here, nothing! I am trying, as my birthday present to myself, to find a yoga class that meets 2-3 mornings a week and that I can get to while the kids are in school. I have been saving for 2 months to have the money to pay for it but, unfortunately, I haven't yet been able to find something that will work. Will keep trying.

A bit now about that rainbow. My rainbows have always, in the past, been limited to the streak like line up in the sky - my most memorable of these was the one that hovered over my sister Tina's high school graduation, over the Lakeland bleachers - I remember not being bored during the ceremony because I was amazed by the rainbow. Well, this one put that one to shame. It was, bar none, the most glorious rainbow I have ever seen. I guess the thing that made it the most amazing for me was that you could literally see the entire arc, like my daughter always draws in her pictures, crossing over the sky. Made me want to climb up it and slide right down, made me want to chase it until I found that legendary pot 'o' gold. Also, there was a second rainbow right next to it - a double bow (though the second wasn't as bright). The colors were pure and breathtaking, Callie was saying, LOOK - it has red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. For the kids, it was the first real rainbow they remember seeing - so that made it special too. It also lasted about 15 minutes. I feel like I should write an ode or something to this rainbow - our camera just couldn't do it even a bit of justice.

Well, here is a recent ad I saw that our camera (hopefully) can do justice to.... I saw this and just about laughed out loud. I know I have mentioned in the past that the French love their meat, and the different meat producers try various things to convince you that theirs is the tastiest. Now this campfire of pickle logs and flames made of ham looks revolting to me - and the ad's claim (translated here for your convenience) "Aoste Ham - Yummy every day." is not too convincing. You want me to eat that every day (yuck). But I guess it looks yummy to the French. It is absolutely true that my kids now have developed a love for ham that makes them want to eat it in plain slices as much as I will give it to them.... must be rubbing off somehow. The pickles here are ALL that mini gherkin type - I miss dills or, even better, those giant jewish garlic pickles from the deli barrel.

As long as we are wandering into unconnected topics, I will quickly write a bit about the amazing gym equipment in Callies school. They do great activities with the kids on the obstacle course pictured here. She has to climb upsidedown on monkey bars, jump through hoops, run across teeter totters, balance across thin beams and, most hysterically, run around in a human sized hamster wheel (or get rolled in it while she clings on). Of course, she performs all these feats with alacrity, and helps those who have not been blessed with such amazing physical coordination.

OK - here is a one liner - When the hell are they going to clean up the dead Christmas trees that are STILL littering the sidewalks of Besancon????
Oh - I can't beleive I forgot about this! I finally met with the mysterious American that André and I met on the street before Christmas. Her name is Isabelle and she was actually born in France and moved to America for 13 years before moving back here to Besancon 7 years ago with her husband and family. Believe it or not, she still owns a house in Mahwah, NJ which is not too far from Ringwood, where I grew up. She patiently listened as I talked and talked and talked to her - such a relief to talk and be understood in English! Isabelle now knows more about me than any other person in France outside my family, in just about an hour over hot chocolate. She is very kind and is going to try to help me meet more Americans she knows. One of them is someone who worked in a cooperative nursery school - and has 3 kids - perfect! Goodbye loneliness? Let's hope this is a good start towards that goal.

Until next time - I love you all!

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