Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dreaming of France -- Shopping

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

Many people think of shopping when they visit France, and since Christmas has become primarily a shopping season, I thought I'd share some pictures Grace took on a trip to Paris. I'm not a big shopper, but I feel like I could find plenty to spend my money on at this Paris flea market.

The sheer number of beautiful items would probably overwhelm me. What is French here? Or Asian? Or Russian? So many countries come together in the porcelain on this table. 

A statue lamp? Pourquoi pas? This light-holding statue looks a little more risque than our Statue of Liberty. 

Carpets anyone? I imagine beautiful French apartments with thick rugs from all over the world.
Hope everyone else is dreaming of France even as the Christmas holidays distract us all. 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks for dreaming along with me this year. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Snapshot -- Sunrise

Join West Metro Mommy for this weekly meme of photos people have taken and share on their blogs. Here's mine:
Visiting my parents in Florida, one of my favorite things is going on morning runs and seeing the sunrise.
Of course, this time of year, the best thing about my morning runs is the weather compared to the weather at home.
Today the thermometer is supposed to climb to 79.
So here are a few sunrise shots from my first run in Florida

This is the scene that greeted me. It always looks a little prehistoric to me with the trees and the mist. The moon was just a sliver. 

This picturesque scene with the palm trees and the moon reminded me of my painter friend Leah. So I stopped my run again and took a photo. 
Hope everyone has a lovely holiday, whichever one you celebrate. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Readjusting Christmas Plans

With all of our children in flux, you could have predicted that our Christmas plans would change. We had hoped to go to Florida as a family and spend the week of Christmas with my parents.
As Grace moved out of her apartment after graduating from college, and Tucker moved back home after only one semester at college, the odds were good that something would mess up our plans.
Grace had taken a job but already warned them that she would be gone for Christmas.
Tucker went looking for a job on Monday and got hired. He can't wait until after Christmas though because he is working for UPS. They definitely need his help this week.
So we moved our trip a few days earlier and some of us will be headed to Florida. We'll drive back on Christmas Eve so that we can all spend Christmas together.
That meant that I suddenly had only two days to get together all of the Christmas gifts before we left.
I also needed to get a Christmas tree. I'd planned to skip that step since we were going to be in Florida for Christmas.
So yesterday, the kids and I went to a local hardware store with live trees outside. We walked into the lot, Spencer spotted a tree, held it up and said,"How bout this one?"
Grace and Tucker both nodded. "Looks good."
"Wait! It's the first one you touched!" I protested.
"Yeah, but it looks good," all the kids said.
So we wrapped up that Frasier Fir and tied it to the top of the car. and made it the few blocks home. Spencer and Tucker carefully set it up in its stand. Grace and I added the lights and we all added a few ornaments. By the time Earl got home from work, the tree was sparkling quietly in its corner.
I've been grading papers, trying to finish out the semester, along with shopping for our Christmas dinner, since I won't be back until late Christmas Eve. And I've been trying to get all of the Christmas shopping done.
I probably won't pull it off perfectly, but we should still manage to have a lovely Christmas, with my parents before the actual day, and with all my kids on Christmas Day.
Hope your Christmas prep is going smoothly.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dreaming of France -- Marseille

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

My husband and I have never been to Marseille, but instead of dreaming of France, we're really both dreaming of Marseille. Mostly, because we are including scenes that take place in Marseille in our current novels. Of course, it is possible to write about a place without visiting it.
It's fiction, so we can make up things. But it's best to actually visit and experience the city, the streets, the individual markets to give real flavor to a place.
We also can visit the very streets of Marseille on Google Maps and move along the streets like the cameras did.
I've been online looking at trips to Marseille. They're very affordable, especially in the winter. We could fly from Columbus to Marseille and spend six nights in a hotel for about $1500 each. That's almost too cheap not to go!
Here's a picture of one hotel that particularly appeals to me.

This picture from Expedia pops up for Escale Oceania Marseille Vieux Port.
I'm not sure if it's the carousel on the left side or the street lamp, the charming old building with the promise of a port behind it from the looks of the open space. The golden light shining onto the pale stones. I just love the idea of staying here and wandering around the streets of Marseille.
I know the city has a bad reputation, which is one of the reason the characters in my book are there, but I would probably want to venture out to visit some charming villages in nearby Provence too.
So for now, I'm dreaming of Marseille.
I look forward to seeing your posts. Thanks for playing along and please take the time to stop in at each other's blogs.

Adventures with Students

This week, I realized that my family eats a lot more pork than I had recognized.
This epiphany came when I offered bacon to the Jewish boy from California then had pulled pork in the crock pot when the two Muslim boys from Dubai showed up. But I wasn't expecting the guys from Dubai, until they missed their flight home.
Their story is a comedy of errors.
Medhi is a friend of Spencer's who goes to OU. He came home with Spencer for Thanksgiving and missed the bus back to OU because he was standing inside the bus station when the driver walked out to the bus, climbed in and drove away. Medhi ran after the bus waving, like a bad sit com scene. Then he called us to come pick him up, and he spent another night with us.
So on Friday morning, I drove Spencer's friend from California to the airport. He was early, but it fit our schedule.
I set off on another round-trip drive to Ohio University to pick up Tucker and all of his belongings, since he has decided not to return.
Once I got home and we had unpacked the car, I got ready to go teach my evening class at a local university. That's when Spencer's phone rang.
"What?" I heard him say. He repeated it a few more times then said, "I'll be there to get you."
"I have to take the car to work," I called out to Spencer.
"Catch a taxi here," Spencer said. "I'll text you my address."
So Spence explained to me that Medhi and Al, another student from Dubai, had missed their flight. They missed their flight because they  missed the GoBus from Athens.
The story came out a little backward, but this is how I've pieced it together.
Medhi and Al were at Ohio University, ready to take the GoBus which drives from Athens straight to the airport.
The bus picks up at the student center, which is a 4-story building built into the side of a hill. Students often cut through the building rather than walking up the hill. They can ride the escalators inside.
Medhi and Al were at the top of the hill behind the building when they realized that the bus would pick them up at the bottom. Rather than hopping on the escalators, they asked someone to drive them to the front of the building. The roads are rather circuitous to get around to the front of the building and by the time they arrived, the bus had gone.
The two of them paid a taxi driver $200 to take them to the airport in Columbus, about 90 miles away.
Their flight was at 3:30 p.m. They made it to the airport, through security and to the gate by 3:20, but were told the plane had already boarded. They could see the plane through the window, but the airline personnel refused to open the door again.
That's when they sought refuge in our basement for the night.
We were glad to give them a place to stay, but that morning, long before I took the first guy to the airport or drove to pick up Tucker, I had placed a pork roast in the crock pot, covered it with barbecue sauce and planned to serve pulled pork for dinner.
That's why the guys from Dubai might have been a little hungry that night. I didn't know though, because I was gone to work when they arrived.
Late that night, as I lay in bed, I heard them talking.
"We will stay right by the gate! We will not go anywhere," Medhi said.
I knew he was determined to make that first flight from Columbus to Detroit. Then they would board a plane from Detroit to Amsterdam. Then Amsterdam to Dubai.
"We have a very long lay over in Amsterdam," Medhi said the next morning at the dining room table.
"Oh, maybe you could go see the city..." I started. Then I stopped myself, "No. Don't leave the airport. Just stay there and wait for your flight!"
They weren't interested in breakfast, but I gave them some strong coffee spiced for winter in little blue and white espresso cups,
before my husband drove them off to the airport. They were not scheduled to reach home until Sunday evening, but I'm sure their families will be thrilled to see them.