France, 2014, Part 1.

Twednesday – (Marcredi). Michael is calling the first part of our trip The Longest Day. Long it was! We started by flying out of Jacksonville at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Leaving Jacksonville

 

Our flight was scheduled to leave Washington Dulles at 5:30 p.m. but was delayed because of weather until 7:00 p.m. And so we settled into our little airborne cocoons for the 8-hour flight to Geneva. In Dulles we had purchased 2 bottles of wine. We were told that they don’t like you to BYOB and drink on the plane, but we kept it on the down low and two thirsty travelers successfully shared the bottle. Dual success in the area of sleep, however, was not to be shared. My diminutive body is much better suited to cramped space and I was able to actually get in a few solid hours of sleep. Michael, on the other hand, had to settle for precious, yet interrupted pockets of unconsciousness. We awoke to daylight over France, and in an hour or so were on the ground.

We were excited, nervous, and tired. We did discover that we have separate travelling styles when using public transportation. I NEED to make sure we are getting on the right train, and will ask anyone I can find, as many times as it takes, to ensure that I know where I am going. Michael, not so much. He would have just gotten on the train that was sitting there on the track, without verifying where it went; partly because he was so uncomfortable not knowing the language, partly because he is a guy. As it turned out, he was right, we were on our way, and I was relieved.

The train took us from the Geneva airport to the Geneva Central Station. The first part of our plan was to check out Bike Swiss, a bike shop we found on the interweb. At this point we are both extremely tired and spacy, and so it is understandable that Michael, usually the master of direction, took us to the wrong side of the tracks. Train tracks, that is.  We wandered there for a while until we determined that we needed to be on the other side. This would have been no problem to figure out had the information that my phone would have data been reliable. That was not so and as a result we were flying blind, as it were.

So we get to this shop, and it is not much bigger than our bedroom at home. Nevertheless, it had a couple of items of interest, (t-shirt for Michael, leg warmers for me) and better yet, the shopkeeper was a Brit (read – spoke English)! What a relief to be able to converse freely without having to search for words or phrases, and not understand the response, and feel awkward about it.

2014-08-13 05.25.28

Leaving there, we had given up trying to find the next stop, the Patek Phillipe Museum. We just wanted to get to our hotel!  First, lunch must be had, however.  We find a likely spot close to the train station and are successfully seated. I order use pizza, Salad Nicoise, and wine.  Success!  We are quite the international travelers now!

Lunch in Geneva

Next we go back to the Central Station and figure out (ask information) the train to Lausanne on the north bank of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman to the locals) then get on a ferry to take us across the lake to Thonon-Les-Bains, where our hotel is. We almost missed out train – the one that was sitting there for 20 minutes as we waited on the platform for something more likely to come along.

Just another weary traveler waiting on the Train

We realized that this was our train all along at the last minute and hopped on just in time.  This is your classic case of ISGLIATT – it seemed like a good idea at the time – we wanted to see Geneva, to have a lovely boat ride across the lake, and get to our hotel in time to check in, then have a lovely dinner. Train ride, FINE. Get to Lausanne, find the subway to Ouchy (lakeside) VICTORY! Approach the boat ramp with minutes to spare, or so our tickets said. We approached three young sailor-types hanging out at the dock. To my query as to the departure of the boat, their attitude could not have been more insouciant: “the boat is not taking off… maybe in an hour, maybe not.” They were clearly indifferent to our plight and desperation. We were clearly oblivious – at first- of the torrential weather conditions.  It was rainy, extremely windy, and the wave were crashing against the pier and onto the sidewalk.  We took all this in stride and found a place to rest. Almost an hour passed in zombie-like stupor when I noticed the time and thought we might need to see if we were a go. To our relief, there was a bigger boat at the dock and other beleaguered travelers were waiting to board. We were getting closer! All we wanted at this point was a place to rest, a private haven to call our own. The boat eventually embarked after what appeared to be great discussion and consultation amongst the crew, and a clamorous racket below that could have been anything from the gangplanks being pulled in to the hull being battered by the dock.

The Tumultuous Waves

The Tumultuous Waves

Finally we were off. The poor SS Minnow was tossed around by the waves but puttered determinedly to our destination. I was too exhausted to engage in any meaningful conversation and just tried to read the news report on the screen. I looked over at Michael, and in true Michael form, he was fast asleep sitting up and only disturbed when his head fell to one side or the other every few minutes.

I have no idea how long that trip took; I was just so glad to be on the other side in the little town that would be our home for the next few days. I sought out the local chamber of commerce to ask directions to our hotel, and we were off up the (very steep) hill next to the “Funiculare.” A few turns and viola, le’Hotel Ibis! Check in, up the lift, in the room, and in the bed in record time! We are professionals, after all.

We tried to go out to eat that night with no success . . . and we are still not sure why. Possibly a holiday, or just that no one serves dinner on certain days around here. Thank goodness for the Carrefour, bread, cheese, and potato chips! Oh, and of course the wine. We attempted to purchase bananas and apples, but it was not to be. We went to the checkout with our lunch including 2 bags of fruit to be informed that I needed to weigh them in the produce section. So I quickly run back with them, spot the scale, weigh the fruits, commit the numbers to memory, and run back. No, that was not it apparently they do not just take your word for it. So Michael, patient Michael, has paid for our other groceries and is sitting waiting as I run back and see the solution. One must get a label! Place the pommes on the scale, look up to the guide with pictures of fruits and vegetables on it. There were numbers next to each one. The apples were 5. I push 5 on the keypad, and out comes a label! Fraise. NO! I try again and again, for banane (12) – No! Over and over I push numbers and out comes Cerise, fraise, apricot, but no pommes, no banana. I give up and leave my fruit, defeated by the mysterious and cruel fruit scale. But, we have We will never starve. Neither will we fail to sleep. Eventually.

That was Tuesday and Wednesday – the longest day.

It was an exhausting journey not only physically because of the amount of time we were going, but mentally and emotionally as well. It is stressful to be in a part of the world where we do not speak the language – well I can say just enough to get myself in trouble.   It is work to figure out how to say things and communicate. I’m getting better!

P.S. We later figured out that we could have taken a cab to Thonon for about 20 euro more. But where is the adventure in that??!!

Thursday. I was a sleeping champion…until 3:00 a.m., then back to sleep until 8:00 a.m. The hotel customs are unfamiliar to us – no coffee in the room, so we descend to the lobby for coffee and breakfast. The morning repast consisted of bread, cheese, jambon (ham), a round form that looked like omelet, a round form that turned out to be a pineapple and cocoanut pastry, croissants (of course!) and a pound cake. The coffee was definitely the main attraction. Place the lovely white cup in the proper place, push the button for café au lait (for me) and then double espresso (for Michael). One of these machines to take home with me, please! After breakfast we still needed some recovery, so back up to our room and back in bed we climbed.

We emerged for the sake of our bellies. We decided to go to Culture Velo, then Carrefour to figure out the fruit weighing situation, then lunch back in our room. The bike shop was much bigger here, and we came away with arm warmers for me (mine forgotten at home) and 2 badons (we only brought one each with us).

We love bike shops!

We love bike shops!

At Carrefour we approached the mysterious machine with determination. We were going to figure this out! I showed Michael what I had done the day before, and after assessing the offending scale keypad and picture guide, quickly figured out the solution. Bananas placed on scale, he pushed the picture of the banana, and viola, the correct sticker appeared, of course.

CRAZY DAYS AND COMFORT FOOD

This is what happens just abut every morning:  I wake from a nice snuggly sleep to go potty, get a drink of water, put Vaseline on my lips, and eye drops in my eyes.  The cat who has been sleeping at my feet all night is now up, and wants to #1 eat, then #2 go outside.  Despite being three years old now, he is still just a baby kitty.  He used to yowl for me to escort him to his food dish, then yowl for me to let him out.  These days I try to let him out without the food bit.  Anyway, this is my little morning ritual that has been getting me up before I am really ready to get up.  Before my body wants to get up, but not before my brain has started working, and is so completely distracted with the cares of the day that there is no way I am getting back to sleep.  So I think, and then I make coffee, and get out my computer.  And type, or get on the interweb, or think about baking.  Today I am thinking about my mom’s pizzelles.  She gave me her pizzelle iron last time we visited, and I have made them once, but not her recipe.  The ones I made were Tracy’s, a lovely confection made with butter, 3 eggs, and almond extract.  Mom’s recipe, though, is a completely different concoction:  12 eggs, and probably too much oil.  They take all afternoon to make.  But I want to do this.  Why?  Because that’s how she did it, and what that means for me is that that is how it’s ‘supposed to be done.  So there.

Yummy in the Sunny

Yummy in the Sunny

And here:

PIZZELLES

12 eggs

3 C. sugar

2 ½ C. oil

1 T. anise extract

1 T. anise seeds

2. t. vanilla

4 C. flour

In a large bowl, beat eggs, then add the sugar until blended.  Add the oil and mix until smooth.  Stir in anise extract and seeds, vanilla, and when blended, add in flour 1 cup at a time until well blended.  Let sit overnight to allow flavors to meld.

Making the pizzelles:

Plug in the pizzelle iron and wait for it to heat up (the light will go off, on mine, anyway).  Spray both sides with cooking spray, and pour a small amount, about the size of a tablespoon, onto the center of the iron.  I would rather have a smaller pizzelle that have to clean up batter that has poured out the side, so I start small, and if I need to use more the next time I make that adjustment.  Press the top down, and wait for about a minute.  Keep an eye on them, as you want them to be a just stating to turn a very light golden brown.  Remove from iron with a butter knife and place on paper towels to dry.  Keep doing this for hours, until you have several tall stacks of lovely, fragrant pizzelles.  Transfer to tins (the one my mom uses is the biggest, tallest tin I have ever seen. Enjoy with coffee or milk.  And friends.  And give as presents.  And eat more.

 

HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE IN LOVE

KOALAFIED

KOALAFIED

HOW TO KNOW YOU ARE REALLY TRULY IN LOVE

 I have seen several articles posted lately in the ethersphere about how to tell if you are in love.  Having a bit of knowledge on this subject, and desiring to pass it on to my children and others who may be interested, here are my two cents:

You know that it’s really love if:

1.         This person makes every day a perfect day, no matter the circumstances;

2.         You find endearing the things that might normally annoy you about another person,                                  or the stuff that the person does that might be considered ‘faults’ (like leaving their shoes i n the middle of the floor or continually forgetting their keys);   

3.         You want what is best for them, not what works out best for you;

4.         There is no one you would rather spend time with.

5.         You like them.  Really, really, really, really like them.

6.         There is no fault, no keeping score, no question of forgiving.

7.         You are for them and they are for you – TEAM US.

8.         You have the desire to take care of the person as they grow old, especially when they grow feeble.  This one should be at the top of the list because this was the one that really got my attention and let me know that I was really and truly in love.

GOAL UPDATE

 

CARRO, SWISS CHARD, SPINACH, AND ORANGE JUICE

CARROT, SWISS CHARD, SPINACH, AND ORANGE JUICE

1.         JUICING – SO FAR SO GOOD.  I HAVE MANAGED TO JUICE      CONSISTENTLY SO AS TO HAVE AT LEAST 16 OUNCES OF JUICE FOR   EVERY DAY…. WITH VARIOUS COMBINATIONS OF CARROT, RED  SWISS CHARD, SPINACH, CELERY, ORANGE,           APPLE.   YAY!

2.         AH, THE MARKETING PLAN IS GOING NOT SO WELL.  I REALLY NEED             TO SET ASIDE TIME TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS AND PLAN.

3.         INSTAGRAM AND I ARE GETTING A SLOW START AS WELL – I ONLY POSTED 3 LAST WEEK.  I JUST NEED TO ADD IT TO MY TO DO LIST EVERY DAY.

4.         BLOGGING THRICE WEEKLY.  AGAIN, NOT SO GOOD HERE.  IT WOULD SEEM THAT EVERYTHING HINGES ON THE TO DO LIST.  IF IT’S NOT ON IT, IT DOESN’T GET DONE.

5.         I AM AMENDING THIS TO WRITE 500 WORDS A DAY.  I ONLY PULLED             THIS OFF ONCE THIS WEEK.  PUT IT ON THE LIST, JUDI!

6.         FINALLY, SOMETHING I ACCOMPLISHED!  IT IS PRETTY COOL TO SEE           THE MILEAGE ADDING UP AFTER ONLY 12 DAYS.  SO FAR I HAVE SWUM 14,400 YARDS AND BIKED 187 MILES.  OH, IF ONLY I WERE RECORDING RUNNING MILEAGE.  THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

7.         SPEAKING OF RUNNING, I DID FOUNDATION TRAINING 4 TIMES THIS          WEEK.  SINCE MY CORTISONE SHOT ON DECEMBER 27, I HAVE BEEN PAIN FREE.  NO RUNNING, JUST FOUNDATIONS, RESISTANCE TRAINING, CYCLING AND SWIMMING. AND THAT’S COOL WITH ME,   BUT THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO RUN AGAIN.  EVEN IT IT’S ONLY 3-4 MILES 3-4 TIMES A WEEK.  JUST TO RUN AND FEEL GOOD DOING IT.  BUT I HAVE A WAYS TO GO.   I FELT THE FIRST BIT OF TIGHTNESS ON WEDNESDAY, AND IT HAS PERSISTED SINCE.  YESTERDAY WAS THE WORST AFTER THE B RIDE.  I AM GOING TO KEEP IT UP AND SEE HOW IT GOES.

8.         STILL WORKING ON BOOK #1, IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS BY JAN          KARON.  I AM MOR THAN HALFWAY DONE AND WILL BE LOOKING FOR THE NEXT ONE SOON.

9.         DRAW/PAINT.  THIS ONE I AM AMENDING AS WELL. EVERY DAY, DRAW SOMETHING, ANYTHING!  EVEN IF IT’S A STICK FIGURE, GET IT ON PAPER.  AND DATE IT.  I DID THIS ONCE THIS WEEK, BUT IT IS  GOING ON THE LIST FROM HERE ON OUT.

10.      PESKY BODY FAT!  I WAS ON MY WAY INTO THE Y THIS WEEK AND A STAFF MEMBER WAS AT THE FRONT WITH THE TANITA SCALE.       http://www.amazon.com/Tanita-BF679W-Scale-Monitor-Water/dp/B0009V1YPK

SO I GOT ON IT.  AND THIS IS WHAT IT SAID:

photo

21%?? REALLY?  BOY, I’VE GOT A LOT OF WORK TO DO!!

11.      OKAY, SO IN JUNE, WE ARE DOING THIS:     http://www.pyreneesmultisport.com/2014/pyrenean-traverse/

IT WAS BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION THIS WEEK THAT I NEED TO GET MY BUTT IN GEAR AND GET ON A TRAINING PROGRAM TO GET ME THERE.  SO I AM AMPING UP MY BIKE MILEAGE.

12.      WHICH LEADS TO THE ‘A’ RIDE SITUATION.  ANOTHER GOAL AMENDED.  I NEED TO BE HANGING WITH THE ‘A’ GUYS BY APRIL.  I DID RIDE WITH THE GROUP YESTERDAY.  THE STRATEGY IS TO RIDE UP TO THE FRONT A MILE OR SO BEFORE THE BRIDGE TO GET HELP WITH MOMENTUM TO GET OVER SAID BRIDGE WITHOUT GETTING   DROPPED.  I WAS ABLE TO EXECUTE THAT, EXCEPT THAT I QUICKLY     LOST WIND AND LEG STRENGTH. OKAY, THAT’S FINE, I HAVE UNTIL APRIL.  SO THIS MEANS MORE TIME ON THE TRAINER, AND GETTING OUT ON THE BIKE DOING BRIDGE REPEATS AND JUST MORE ROAD RIDING MORE MILES A WEEK.  MY “COACH” IS GOING TO HELP WITH THIS, I HEAR.

13.      GARDEN STARTED!  I HAVE A GREEN AND GROWING ROSEMARY PLANT IN MY KITCHEN WNDOW, AND A BUNCH OF DARLING LITTLE TOMATO SEEDLINGS GERMINATING AND GETTING READY TO BE PUT INTO SOIL.

14.      SO FAR, NO PICTURES SCANNED.  THIS IS A LIST ITEM TOO.

GOALS. 2014.

1.    JUICE CONSISTENTLY EVERY WEEK

2.    CREATE AND EXECUTE A MARKETING PLAN FOR MY LAW PRACTICE

3.    PICTURE A DAY ON INSTAGRAM

4.    BLOG THRICE WEEKLY

5.    WRITE DAILY

6.    RECORD TRAINING ON TP DAILY

7.    STRENGTHEN BACK – BE PAIN FREE – RUN

8.    READ 14 BOOKS

9.    DRAW/PAINT

10.  12% BODY FAT

11.  RIDE THE PYRENEES

12.  HANG WITH THE ‘A’ RIDE

13.  START A GARDEN

14.  SCAN MY PHOTOGRAPHS TO JPEG

MY BIBLE READING PLAN

This is what I started doing about 10 years ago. I took a break for a while, and now I am back to daily (most days, anyway) reading. I started dong this because I had been throughout the Bible about 7 or so times front to back, and wanted to do just more than read a Chapter a day, or someone else’s idea of a read through the Bible in a year plan, which seemed like they were more for those who haven’t read the entire Bible before. So this is what I read:

1 Psalm
1 Proverb
1 chapter from the OT
1 chapter from the Gospels
1 Chapter from the NT

Five Chapters a day. It doesn’t really take that long. I go throughout the Book of Proverbs once a month (I need all the wisdom I can get!). I have found some pretty cool/amazing/GOD things that happen as a result of reading this way:

So many times I am on the Birth of Christ during Christmas or the trial and crucifixion at Easter.
I will be reading about something in the Old Testament, and Jesus is talking about that very same thing in the NT. Like Luke 4:18-19 and Isaiah 61:1. Happens ALL. THE. TIME!