Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Halloween


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.

It's a funny post this week, because I'm focused on something that happened here in Ohio rather than something in France.
But it's making me think of France because my husband and I plan to move to France next fall, and then we won't be in the same city with our children. It may be our last Halloween living close to each other.
So my husband, who is quite artistic, agreed to carve a pumpkin for each of the kids.
We delivered Spencer's to him on Friday when we drove to Ohio University to visit him for his birthday.

Tonight, we visited the other kids' apartments and left a lit jack o'lantern glowing on by their doors, along with a small bag of candy.
Here's our black cat posing with the pumpkins before we took them. 

The porch on Tucker's apartment was pretty dark. 

This is the same pumpkin at Grace's apartment -- like the famous drama mask, one side shows comedy while the other shows tragedy.

I'm not sure how we'll celebrate  Halloween next year when we're in France, but I suspect it won't be the same.

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France today. Please leave your name and blog address in Mr. Linky below, and leave a comment letting me know what  you think about my love affair with France, or your own passion for the country and its people and cultures. Also consider visiting the blogs of others who play along so we can all share the love.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Professor's Hair Diary


I've about given up on my hair experiment for the semester. The problem isn't the hairstyles, it's finding someone to take the pictures.
Grace has moved out, and many mornings, my husband decides to catch a later bus, so he is still in bed when I'm running out the door to work.
It seems selfish to force him out of bed on a chilly morning just to take my picture. I've tried asking the barista at Starbucks to take it if she's not busy, or the secretary in the English Department at school, but it all seems a little ridiculous.
I try taking the picture myself, but it just doesn't work out.
Like the time I tried to do two braids and then pin them up on either side.

I ended up doing one ponytail braid.

Another day I did a loose side braid and took a picture of myself in the classroom after all the students had left.

Monday, I did a ponytail and walked to work. Enjoying some of the lights on the 4-mile trek, but my hair was a real wreck afterwards . Must have been a lot of moisture in the air.

Wednesday I did a high bun that I bobby pinned down. I tried to take a selfie while sitting in the bookstore study area, but I don't think you can even see the bun.

It's all been too much to worry about, perhaps. But I am eventually going to figure out how to do a milkmaid braid, like this:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Cafes

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.

I forgot to post Dreaming of France Sunday evening, but that doesn't mean I wasn't dreaming. I'm always imagining that day when I get to spend all my evenings in France.
One of the first things we do after we arrive in France and dump our suitcases at the hotel is find a cafe.

And later in the day, if our energy is waning, we find another cafe for a quick espresso, although in French, they might call it an expresso. 


You might say we embrace the cafe lifestyle when we're in France, especially Paris. 
Hope you are all dreaming about France, or living it.

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France today. Please leave your name and blog address in Mr. Linky below, and leave a comment letting me know what  you think about my love affair with France, or your own passion for the country and its people and cultures. Also consider visiting the blogs of others who play along so we can all share the love.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday Snapshot -- Experiments


Join West Metro Mommy for this weekly meme of photos people have taken and share on their blogs.

On Wednesday, as I was dashing between classes from building to building, I passed this balloon experiment. I didn't get to stay long enough to see what happened, but did enjoy seeing the students beginning to surround the professor wondering what was going on.

I imagine the experiment had something to do with physics or chemistry. Since the balloon was floating it obviously was filled with helium.

Hope something piqued your curiosity this week too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

#ReadersWorkouts -- Marathon


Joy at Joy's Book Blog has built up a community of people who love to read and work out. You know that I enjoy both of those things, so I'm joining in.

The Columbus Marathon runs in the middle of October each year. Since I'm a runner, I always look forward to it, even though I'm not running it.
I trained for it twice and ran it once.
Like last year on the morning of the Marathon, I got up and went for a run. I ran the marathon route near our house. The streets were nice and wide, empty of parked cars. Banners flapped along the side of the road, letting runners know how much farther they had to go to the finish line.
The mile marker near our house is 22. So I ran it backwards for 2 1/2 miles then turned around and came back for a five-mile run.
The sky was dark as I began and a glowing full moon sat heavy in the sky. Gorgeous.

On the run back, the streets had become a little busier with volunteers setting up tables and pushing giant trash cans into place so the runners could dispose of their water cups.

I texted my running friends pictures of the moon and talked about the preparation for the marathon.
One friend asked if it inspired me to run another marathon.
"No!" I texted back. I remember the pain in all of my joints and my muscles, even as I trained, running 20 miles then 22 miles then 24 miles, plus all the shorter distances in between. I picture myself coming down the stairs at my house, holding onto the banister and the wall as I slowly eased down each step.
Later that morning, on a beautifully sunny, warm day, I walked along the sidewalk, clapping and cheering for the runners.
"Go runners! Keep it up!" I'd yell.
I ran into so many friends and neighbors lining the sidewalks as I walked to the coffee shop. It was like a festival.
In front of the coffee shop, I took a picture of runners making their way down the street. Musicians played all along the route to keep the competitors moving along.

And then, I felt just a twinge, thinking, I could do the marathon again.
Hope your exercising went well this week.

Tuesday Intros -- Vinegar Girl


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.

Last Friday, a gloriously sunny and breezy day, I found myself with two hours free between classes.
I decided to set off for the main library downtown. It was closed for more than a year and remodeled and I hadn't visited yet.
While there, I scooped up three books and have happily immersed myself in Vinegar Girl by Anne
Tyler.
Here's the intro:
Kate Battista was gardening out back when she heard the telephone ring in the kitchen. She straightened up and listened. Her sister was in the house, although she might not be awake yet. But then there was another ring, and two more after that, and when she finally heard her sister's voice it was only the announcement on the answering machine. "Hi-yee! It's us? We're not home, looks like? So leave a --"
By that time Kate was striding toward the back steps tossing her hair off her shoulders with an exasperated "Tech!" She wiped her hands on her jeans and yanked the screen door open. "Kate," her father was saying, "pick up."
This is apparently a modernized version of Taming of the Shrew. I'd say Kate is a bit "on the spectrum," not picking up emotional cues from others, like her father the scientist. I'm enjoying the book though.
Thanks for visiting and I look forward to seeing what  you are reading.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Traveling in France Blog


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.

A few weeks ago when my uncle died, I reconnected with his son, my cousin John. We are two of 27 cousins stretched over a wide range of ages and have never really known each other.
I knew John and his wife, Lynn, lived in West Palm Beach, Florida, and he worked as a judge. And they knew a few things about me, like my novels and the fact that I love France. They had scheduled a trip to France the week after my uncle's funeral. So we friend-ed each other on Facebook and I discovered that John writes a blog while they travel in France. I've had fun getting to learn about their travels and their interests on John's blog, so I thought I'd share it with you.
They've been in France two weeks and have one more week. The current name of the blog will tell you about their travels. It's called "2016 Loire Valley and Burgundy, France."
John and Lynn have said they began writing the blog so that John's mother, my Aunt Esther, could keep up with their travels.
They've written 15 blog posts, beginning with their their plans and moving on to their flight from Miami  to Paris, a harrowing trip in a rental car from CDG to Orly to pick up their friends. Then they traveled on to Fontainebleau.
They've seen horse shows and chateaus; markets and baguettes.
John loves bicycling so he has hit the road a number of times, taking blog readers along on his adventures.
The blog is filled with pictures and history and views of Americans traveling in France.
Hope you'll take the time to pick a random blogpost to read.

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France today. Please leave your name and blog address in Mr. Linky below, and leave a comment letting me know what  you think about my love affair with France, or your own passion for the country and its people and cultures. Also consider visiting the blogs of others who play along so we can all share the love.

Friday, October 14, 2016

National Anxiety

I went to bed Sunday night after the entire Presidential debate. That's fairly late for me since I usually get up at 5 a.m. But as I lay my head on my pillow, I felt a buzzing  in my chest, in my stomach. I couldn't settle the agitation. I turned on Pandora nature sounds, setting it to go off within half an hour, but I was still awake when it went off. What was going on with me? Why was I so unsettled?
My daughter called me for the third day in a row. She wanted to talk while she was driving. She felt on the edge of an anxiety attack. She couldn't understand why they were happening; she hadn't experienced them for awhile.
Then she stopped. "I think it was the tape that came out on Friday," she said, making a connection with her anxiousness and the bragging of a powerful man that he can force himself on women any time he wants.
That kick started the nausea that she feels, the racing of her heart, that feeling of metal in her mouth.
I don't think she and I are alone in this kick-in-the-gut feeling.
Women have known men like this all our lives. Sometimes we're strong enough to fight back, sometimes we wonder did we do something to lead them on, and sometimes we swallow the uncomfortableness and never tell anyone.
When I was a girl, 11 or so,  I went with my cousin to visit her grandparents on her father's side. They were a lovely old couple. I sat on the porch swing with the grandfather while my cousin went with her grandmother to the garden. The man's arm resting on the back swing reached over and snapped my bra strap.
Thwack. I felt the elastic and heard the twang.
I was shocked. I sat still, wondering what I should do. I let a minute go by before I slid off the swing, saying I was going to find my cousin. He laughed.
I never told anyone that happened. I felt ashamed that a nice old man would have done that to me. He obviously didn't see me as a little girl but as a sexual object, even at that age. I never went with my cousin to her grandparents' house again.
Of course, it's different when it was boys my age who would pull my bra strap. The power makes a huge disparity in how women feel -- like we have no way out. We only have to grit our teeth and take it.
So as we both dealt with uncomfortable sensations this week, I suggested to my daughter that she might  tamp down the anxiety if she stopped listening to political news and if she went to the early polling place to vote.
"Once you vote, maybe you'll feel some sense of resolution, knowing you've done what you can to prevent him from winning," I said.
She hasn't gone to vote yet and she called today after retching over the toilet at work. I don't think she'll be able to make it to early voting during the week since the polls are open 8-6 and she works 9-5. So she'll have to wait until Oct. 29 when the polls stay open on the weekends.
I hope both of us can turn our attention away from the ugliness that has invaded our society, until we can put it to rest on November 8.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

#ReadersWorkouts -- Pampering

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Joy at Joy's Book Blog has built up a community of people who love to read and work out. You know that I enjoy both of those things, so I'm joining in.

Anyone who visits my blog regularly knows that I'm all about exercising. According to my Fitbit weekly report, I walked 102,000 steps last week, more than 44 miles. But if I'm not careful, I can get too obsessed about exercising, which these days consists of running, walking and lifting weights at the gym three days a week.
So to prevent myself from going overboard, I take some time to pamper myself. That's all about wellness too, right?
So today, after a walk with my friend Sheila, and after I reached my 10,000 steps about 10 a.m., I went to a new salon for a facial and a pedicure.
Yes, it can get pricey, but luckily, I had collected enough Pure Privilege points with my Aveda products, so I had a $75 coupon that paid for the facial.
Some people talk about facials being painful. That has never been the focus at Aveda. It's all about the relaxation, the massage and the glorious scents of the Aveda products.
So I put on a wrap that covers my breasts down to mid-thigh and climb onto a massage bed. I told the guy doing the facial that I was congested, so he included a lot of blue mint oil for me to inhale. The entire hour that I received my facial, I had no congestion at all.
As I lay there while he rubbed various oils and cream on my skin, massaged my arms and hands, wrapped hot towels on my face, I found too often that I focused on hoping this wasn't the end.
Isn't that hilarious? I was so worried that the facial would end so I didn't relax and enjoy it as much as I should have.
Don't get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed it, lying for an hour in a darkened room having someone slather my skin with creams. My favorite part is when he used a thick brush, like a small paintbrush, to paint a masque on my skin. That is such a lovely feeling.
All too soon, the lovely facial ended and I walked blinking out of the dark room.
Don't feel too bad for me though, I only moved to soak my feet in a hot tub while a woman scrubbed some of the calluses off my feet. My doctor told me in the past that I needed regular pedicures to keep my feet healthy since I run. So I was only following doctor's orders.

Now my toes are a lovely steely blue-gray and the skin on my face feels soft and young.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Pronouncing French

hank 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.

Last weekend, as my husband and I perused the map of new French regions, I pointed to the area we planned to move. It had been known as Languedoc-Roussillon. Now the area, combined with Mid-Pyrenees would be known as Occitanie.

"How do you pronounce it?" my husband asked. 
"I don't know," I replied. I'm okay at speaking French that I've heard, but I'm awful at reading words and figuring out how to pronounce them. I guessed that it would probably rhyme with Punxsutawney, like the groundhog in Pennsylvania. Occitanie = Ocksutawney.
I decided I'd better check it out. So I searched, on my phone for how to pronounce Occitanie in French. 
The website Forvo.com popped up. It's an app, so I can download it on my phone for $2.99, and after hearing how to pronounce Occitanie, I'd better. It's pronounced Ock-sit-uh-knee with the emphasis on sit. 
Here, don't try to imagine how to say it, go to Forov and choose a female or male voice to pronounce it for you. Forvo pronounciation of Occitanie

We looked up some other words, and my husband asked to see how to pronounce his name in French. 
Now we've been to France many times, and he has heard our French friends massacre his name. There just isn't an easy way to say Earl in French. 
When I searched on Forvo, it changed the language to English rather than French, and even some American. 
I went back to searching for the pronunciation of areas within the region where we plan to move. One of those is Herault. 
I typed it into Forvo.com and the pronuncation sounded a lot like Earl, maybe a bit more like Errol. "That's how I'll spell my name from now on so people can pronounce it," he said. 
Here's Forvo's take on Herault. 
Guess I'd better get busy practicing my French skills.
I have a student from Senegal, where they speak French, and I asked him how he would say "Earl." He laughed and agreed that it would be a very hard name for the French. But I don't feel too bad, because last week when we were reading a story in class, he read latté as lat. 
I said, "Wait! That's a French word."
He went back and read it with French pronunciation and agreed, "Latté is a French word."
Are you good at reading French words and pronouncing them? How do you get better?

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Perfect Cardigan

I've been on a quest lately for new cardigans.
There for awhile, I was rich in cardigans -- black, gray, tan.
But  lately, they've gotten misshapen and baggy.

Like this tan one, which has served me so well with its neutral color, going with anything I put on. 
When we traveled to France last year, I bought a warm black cardigan that stretched longer in the front, but unfortunately it has begun to unravel. The buttonholes on a thick gray cardigan  have stretched out so it will no long stay buttoned.
This week, I began my search for a perfect cardigan.
The two important features are buttons and pockets. What's the point of a cardigan if it won't close when I'm cold? That's why I need buttons.
The pockets are a necessity for my cellphone, of course.
And if I find a sweater that has buttons and pockets, then I decide if the material is acceptable. Cotton is my favorite material for sweaters. Sure, it can have some wool or some silk, but cotton is the best. A lot of times, wool sweaters are too hot for me.  And I don't want anything too bulky either.
Today after I finished teaching, I went to a place where I've been very lucky finding cardigans -- the Eddie Bauer outlet.
I found this burgundy sweater with a fashionable button on the left side, but no pockets.
Next, I went to a rack full of sweaters. I found black with fur trim, Aqua with a zipper front. Orange with buttons and no pockets.
Finally, I pulled out a long black and ivory cotton sweater with deep pockets. The only problem, no buttons.
If Eddie Bauer hadn't been having a fabulous sale, 30% off and then 50% off after that, I probably wouldn't have bought it. But, since it was on sale, I brought it home.
I'm not giving up on finding the perfect cardigan though -- at least before we move to France next year.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Chocolates


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.

Of course, one of my favorite things about France is the chocolates. I don't have a favorite chocolatier, because I've never had bad chocolates in France. The last time we were in Paris, staying on Rue Mouffetarde, we wandered into Jeff de Bruges' chocolate shop and stocked up.

Grace was in London last week, and I noticed that London has a Jeff de Bruges shop, so I requested she make a detour and bring home some French chocolates. Since I drove her to the airport, a 7-hour drive both ways, she was happy to oblige.

And this week, I get to indulge in a delicious chocolates. My husband warned me that we were supposed to eat the chocolates within a few days of opening them. Sorry, but that would probably require sharing way more than I plan to. Of course, I'm freely giving chocolates to my husband and to my children whenever they drop by. And I took a couple to the secretary of the English department at school.
But my favorite is to just savor a few chocolates everyday.
Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France today. Please leave your name and blog address in Mr. Linky below, and leave a comment letting me know what  you think about my love affair with France, or your own passion for the country and its people and cultures. Also consider visiting the blogs of others who play along so we can all share the love.




Dreaming of France -- Caunes-Minervois

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 yo...