Sunday, May 01, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Musée d'Orsay


Thank you for joining 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.

One morning in Paris last year, Earl was feeling under the weather, and he sent me off to the Musée d'Orsay. After waiting in line, I rambled around the museum.
I discovered this new impressionist artist, Pierre Bonnard and I really loved his style.


I could stand to have one of his paintings in my house. I love the detail on the wallpaper below. 


Have you heard of Bonnard before?
Whenever I'm at the Musée d'Orsay, I like to stop in the café for something to eat, but this time I wandered over to the fancy restaurant side of the museum. Look at this hallway. The parquet floors look beautiful too.




 And through these closed doors, you can see the ceiling above the diners. I'm kind of intimidated by fancy restaurants, but someday maybe I'll try it.  

Do you visit museums on vacation? What's your favorite painting at Musée d;Orsay?

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.


Friday, April 29, 2016

My Week Off

Today is the final day of the week that I snuck and took off work.
Since I teach at two universities, their breaks rarely match up. One college had a break this week, so I took advantage of my substitute hours and got a sub to fill in for me so I could have the week off.
Originally, I hoped to fly to visit Mom and Dad in Florida, but the price and the timing didn't cooperate. I also wanted to stay home to get some things done.
My husband has been working crazy hours covering a trial, 12 to 13 hours a day many days, and I wanted to help reduce his stress. I planned to accomplish a lot more than I actually did, but I got some things done.
I was especially productive on Monday and Tuesday. I got an Adirondack chair sanded and painted.

I sanded and painted the metal chairs that go around the outdoor table. A wooden bench that sits on the front porch had gotten faded and rough. I sanded it and used spray lacquer to finish it.
Finally, I sanded the porch swing and coated it in hemp oil, which my friend Sheila gave me. She refinishes furniture for a living, so she held my hand through a lot of this stuff.

In addition, I also started scraping the house to get it ready for painting. I know that painting the house is one of those things that is weighing heavy on my husband's mind. I haven't made much progress, but I plan to scrape, sand and paint one section of the house at a time and I have all summer.
Wednesday was fairly sedentary, after my morning run and walk. And Thursday, a sinus infection set in that left piercing pain in my face and head. I went to Writing Group anyway and my ears got stopped up too until finally, everyone's voices sounded like they were coming through a strange filter.
I skipped my run this morning but walked a couple of miles instead. In addition, I had a lot of shopping to do.
My husband and oldest son are headed out for a week on the Appalachian Trail on Sunday, so I bought the food they will need and also went to Eddie Bauer to get some hiking-appropriate pants for my son. Three stores and a load of laundry before I collapsed on the couch for an afternoon nap.
I think I made good use of my week off, and I'm just going to bask in the things I accomplished rather than focusing on what I didn't. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Long Lost Friends

As I walked along the bike path this morning, watching a Great Blue Heron take flight then a long-legged egret flap his wings, a text from my daughter Grace arrived on my phone.
"Is this your Bobby Hipp?" she asked and included a black and white picture.

I recognized him right away, although we probably haven't seen each other in 30 years.
My Bobby Hipp.
He moved up the street from me during middle school and he became my close friend in high school.
The story of his first day of school in Lebanon, Ohio, became a kind of legend that he retold to us.
Coming from Louisiana, he had a southern drawl as he introduced himself to his teacher. "Bobby Hipp - H-I-P-P." Imagine the extra southern accent on those Ps.

And that's how I told the story to my own kids about my friend Bobby.

We went to prom together as friends and he planted a shy kiss against my lips as he left my door and darted toward his car. Later that day, we went canoeing as the after-prom activity. Bobby and I were both awful at it and he rowed us toward the banks where a snake dangled from a tree.
I remember screaming at Bobby as we drew closer to that snake.

I'm not sure what prompted these roller skating photos. Maybe the Olympics had been on.
Not even rollerblades, awesome tennis shoe skates. 

Look at the perfect symmetry of those leg lifts!

At one point, after I married a man from Columbus, Ohio, I heard that Bobby lived in Columbus. And when we moved here, I tried to find him.
My husband even looked him up on the database at work before those sorts of things became easily accessible on the internet. I called the phone number that my husband found and left a voice message, but never heard back from Bobby.
Once Facebook came around, I tried to find him too. I messaged several Bobby Hipps but never found my Bobby.
I knew, even in high school when we didn't talk about such things, that Bobby was probably gay. He had no idea if I, a  small town girl, would be accepting of his life or not. Maybe it was easier for him not to connect with people from high school.

Still, this morning when Grace found him, it was for all the wrong reasons. One of her theater friends had posted that she was going to his memorial service.
I looked him up online and found out that he died unexpectedly last week while traveling in New Zealand. I can only guess at the cause since donations were directed toward a diabetes foundation.
Knowing he visited New Zealand, I was able to find him on Facebook. It turned out that he loved and visited New Zealand as often as I loved and visited France. Maybe we would have still had many things to share as adults.
A feeling of love and joy and laughter wells up whenever I think of him. I wish we could have shared some times as adults.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Speaking French



Thank you for joining 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.

As I sit in the living room writing my blog, I can hear my husband on the front porch studying his French. He matches verbs with each pronoun -- je parle, tu parles, il parle... Je suis journaliste.
He learned German in high school, so French is a whole new ballgame for him. He has picked up words as we have traveled to France again and again, but the past few years he has begun to take it seriously with the realization that we will move to France next May.
I joke with him that he will learn French in hardware store as he tries to find the right tool or product. But I know he wants to be able to talk people -- our neighbors, shop owners, waiters.
I'm proud that he is tackling French.

And, inspired by him, and by a new blog friend Roz at Our French Life, I've also been working harder at speaking French. I try to study Duolingo most days, which is a great way to learn vocabulary and the basics of French sentences. I wrote a blog post about it in September 2014.








Last month, I got my nerves up and I joined a Meetup group for people who want to speak French. They met on a Friday night at a coffee shop/bar, and I spent quite a bit of time speaking French with Americans, Spanish, Brazilians, and had a headache by the time I left. I'd forgotten how much speaking another language muddles my brain.
This week, there was another Meetup and I had to force myself to consider going, but I need to learn French better, especially comprehending when people speak to me. Then I noticed that the Meetup was full and a waiting list had formed. On the waiting list, I saw the name of a friend from church who has a doctorate in French.
I emailed her and we agreed to meet at the restaurant and speak only in French for an hour.

That was a challenge, but I know i must do it. I feel like I stumble constantly.
I studied French in  high school, minored in French in college and spoke fairly fluently when I stayed in France for three months as an au pair.
After our hour, with my friend feeling free to correct my pronunciation or verb tense, I again felt wrung out, but I know it's necessary to improve my language skills before we move. She complimented my French and said the fact that we were able to converse for an hour meant good things about my abilities. That made me feel better.
How bout you? Do you speak French or another language? How do you keep  your language skills strong?

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.