Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dreaming of France -- The Mediterranean

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.

On a sweltering day like we had Saturday, and even the high humidity of Sunday morning, nothing could sound better than a dip in the cool, sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
Luckily, that's where Grace was this weekend, so I have a picture, even if I didn't get to dip my toes or other body parts in. She and Delana, who lives in Aix en Provence, went to Carry La Rouet.

Sigh. I don't know about you, but I'm really dreaming of France now.
Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave a comment and visit each other's blogs, too, so you can get your fix of France dreams.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Younger -- Must-See TV

I saw a newspaper article about a new television series and it sounded fun. So I DVR-ed it. The show is on TVLand, which I never watch. I didn't even realize it had new shows. I thought it only showed reruns from the 60s and 70s.
But this new show is delightful. It's called Younger. And the premise is Liza, a woman in her 40s who
worked in the publishing business but gave it up to raise her daughter and move to the suburbs. Now she's getting a divorce, her teenage daughter is studying in India, and she can't find a job because she is too qualified.
When a younger guy hits on her in a bar and says, they're about the same age, 26, she decides to become a 26 year old. She changes the way she dresses and speaks. She has highlights. She wears knit caps for no reason, and she gets a job as an assistant to the marketing director in a publishing house.
Each week when I watch the show on my DVR, I wish it was longer.
I'd never heard of the star, Sutton Foster, but my daughter Grace knows her as a Broadway star. I
looked her up, and she is just barely 40. Still, she carries off the 26-year-old thing pretty well.
She keeps getting caught in her own timeline lies, like when she confides to her 26-year-old boyfriend that she lost her virginity after a Nirvana concert, and he asks her if she was in elementary school. (See Nirvana broke up after Kurt Cobain died in 1994, and if she is 26 now, that means she was born in 1989.)
And the first time she went to the gym with two of her co-workers and got undressed, she realized her pubic hair looked nothing like the well-plucked girls in their 20s.
She knows nothing about social media and has to learn it all from scratch.
When she interviews for her job, she nails it when the marketing director asks her what makes her special. (Apparently, that's something that all 20-somethings think, that they're special.) Liza responds, "I'm a grown up. I don't think I'm special." Love that line, but her 40-something is showing.
It's fun to see how Liza gets herself out of each complication. But I'm not doing it justice.

Only two episodes left until the end of the season, so watch it. Set your DVR to Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on TVLand. Bet you'll laugh along with me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Long-Distance Parenting

Today, I had one of those days where I wonder if I had too many children. Not really, but I received two frantic phone calls from my kids.
First was Grace.
She's on a European adventure, and for the most part, she's on her own. She headed to Aix en Provence today to stay with my lovely friend Delana. Grace took the TGV (the very fast train) from Paris to Aix. She wrangled her big black suitcase from the Paris hotel to the train station then hoisted it up the steps. She had three hours or so until the train got into Aix en Provence. Then she would take a bus to the city and Delana would meet her there.
Apparently, Grace fell into a very deep slumber, something like Sleeping Beauty but without the brambles growing up around her.
When she awoke, she wasn't being kissed by a prince, but she realized that the train was pulling out of a station. Thinking she had missed her stop in Aix en Provence, she asked the people around her.
She had, in fact, missed her stop in Aix en Provence and had continued to sleep while the train stopped in Marseille and left there too!
I didn't think the train went any farther than Marseille, which, as you may know, is nestled right into the corner of the Mediterranean Sea. But apparently it kept going, as she realized when she woke up.
The TGV is not one of those trains that stops frequently. I've been on the TGV when it left Paris and didn't stop until Aix, or Avignon at the earliest.
For all I knew, the next stop could be Spain or Italy.
As we talked by cell phone, spending $1 per minute to ponder the possibilities, Delana called to see if she was on the bus.
So we hung up and I tried to take a nap.
This area looks close together, but you can see how close Italy and Spain are too.
Unlike my daughter who falls into a deep sleep easily, I've been up since 2 a.m. I taught class at 8 a.m. and have to teach again at 6 p.m., so I thought a nap was a necessity for me. But I lay in bed wondering what had happened to Grace. I kept incessantly checking Facebook, where I had posted her dilemma. Helpful friends in the U.K. and France were giving me tips or offering suggestions (Thanks, Anne and Corey!) Anne called the rail office to see where the train went. Corey, who lives in Provence, offered to pick her up in Aix or Marseille or Avignon.
Realizing I couldn't possible sleep, I called her back on that expensive cell line to see what had happened.
She had just exited the train at Toulon. The train people gave her a note that allowed her to return to Aix en Provence, where, she should be right about now. Fingers crossed.
As I gave  up napping, I sat with a book on the couch and my phone rang. Spencer is in Athens. Not that Athens, the one in Ohio. He has his first apartment which he moved into a few weeks ago.
He set up the electricity for the apartment before he moved in, and it was all working when we moved his furniture in. Apparently, though, he didn't bother opening the letters from the electric company which told him to pay a deposit.
So last week, just after he got internet set up in his apartment, the lights went off.
The electricity was turned off, which meant, he had no internet, no stove, no hot water, and no way to charge his cell phone, which also serves as his alarm clock.
It's been a bit of a challenge, but when he came home Saturday, I helped him set up his online account and make a payment to the electric company. We hoped he'd get electricity back today.
When he phoned, I figured he would tell me the power was back on.
Instead, he said, "The carbon monoxide detector is going off."
"What? Are you sure it isn't the smoke alarm?" I asked.
"It says carbon monoxide detector right on it," he replied.
Since it is plugged in, I thought maybe the electricity had come back on, but it hadn't.
We told Spencer to go outside and to call the maintenance guy to come right away.
He didn't call or text to update me, but when I texted him, he said it just needed a new battery rather than having actual carbon monoxide in his place.
Earl was home for lunch and we both looked at each other. What would come next?
Tucker just took our cat home with him the other day. Would he call to say the cat was lost?
We're ready for anything, and still wondering if we had too many kids.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dreaming of France -- Versailles

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.
Grace is still on a European adventure and this weekend, for the first time, she visited Versailles. She's been to France three other times, and the last time she visited, she really wanted to visit Versaille, but couldn't get anyone to go with her.
This time, she gathered her visiting friends and they took the train from Paris to Versaille. It was crowded, as it always is.

She says she nearly melted into tears when she found out the hall of mirrors was closed.  But luckily, her friends tempted her out into the gardens, where the sun had come out and she found, to her delight, that musicians played throughout the gardens.

Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave a comment and visit each other's blogs, too, so you can get your fix of France dreams.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday Snapshot -- Adventures of My Daughter

Join West Metro Mommy for this weekly meme of photos people have taken and share on their blogs.
My daughter and some friends are in Paris this week. She's on a 5-week European adventure.
At the Louvre, they came up with a unique (to me) photo idea.

So it's a selfie with all four of them leaning over the camera and the ornate ceiling of the Louvre is above them. 
Hope everyone else is having a terrific holiday weekend. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Different Paths

All three of my kids are smart. Grace has a terrific memory; she excels at writing, literature and, at one point, understanding DNA. Spencer was always a math hound who loves history. He wipes most people away at chess, as he sees the board and all it's possible moves. He can tell you pretty much every play he ever made in every game in his high school basketball years.
Tucker, my youngest, was the most well-rounded. In addition to an excellent
memory, he had a good balance of reading, writing, and math. He loved history and created fun stories in journalism. He took mostly Advanced Placement classes his last two years of high school. He understood how to succeed in school. He got they system in a way that Grace and Spencer never did after all those years of homeschooling.
Last year, when we went for his annual checkup, the doctor asked what colleges he was thinking about. He told her he'd been accepted at Pitt, University of Missouri and Ohio University. The doctor turned to me and said, "It doesn't matter where he goes; He'll be fine."
And I agreed.
School was pretty easy for him.
Then college happened and things seemed to go downhill quickly.
Circumstances lined up against him. He started having panic attacks in the summer. Then he had his wisdom teeth pulled the week before he left for college. They became infected the first week he was there.
He came home nearly every weekend for doctor or dentist visits.
He also had a steady girlfriend who was still in high school, so he came home regularly to see her.
Living in the dorms did not agree with Tucker.
He had three roommates. One of them was his best friend, Josh. The other two were also friends from home. With four guys in the room, Tucker never had any alone time. As an introvert, he needed alone time to restart his engines.
At my insistence, he took his guitar alone to school. At home, we would frequently hear him playing the guitar in the basement. At school, he took it out to play only once, when another friend begged him to play a song.
All of these circumstances, plus some apathy since he didn't know what he wanted to do, caused him to end up with bad grades in almost all of his classes.
We agreed to let him come home in December and take classes at the local community college.
He signed up for 4 classes, and yesterday I asked him how his grades ended up. He only passed one of those classes.
None of them were too hard for him. He had Calculus in high school and failed an Algebra class in college. History, one of his passions, he failed too. Economics joined the dominoes of failures.
So after a year of college, he has two classes that he passed.
I don't even want to add up the amount of money we paid for those two classes.
This summer, Tucker, 19, is signed up for a welding class.
I don't think he'll like it. He has never been the kind of guy who played with Legos or built things. But we're giving him a chance. He can earn a two-year degree in welding at the community college.
This class is his final opportunity with us footing the bill though. He'll need to do well in this class for us to help pay for the rest of the welding classes.
And if he decides he wants to go back to college in the future, he'll be responsible for the tuition there too.
That's a hard choice, because we've paid for college for Grace and Spencer. They've taken out the government loans available to them and we've paid the rest, taking out some loans ourselves.
But Tucker's choices force us to draw the line.
While he's in school, we're paying his rent, but if he's finished with school then he'll need to pay for his own apartment too. Not to mention his phone. When do we stop paying for his contacts and his monthly medicine too?
I'm not sure, but I know he's going to face the real world much sooner than the other two did.
I'm not counting Tucker out as a failure. He has just chosen a different path.
Tucker and a friend have started a landscaping business. They're working quite a bit and that could turn into a money maker for him. I fully support him in becoming an entrepreneur, and maybe he'll be the most successful of all of our children.
I just never pictured any of our children not going to college, and especially not Tucker.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Intros -- Oh! You Pretty Things

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.

I picked this up at the library because the cover looked so appealing. Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin is about a woman in Hollywood, trying to make it big, and her relationship with her mother, a failed actress. Here's the intro:
A few hours before I quit my job, I'm stuck at the light on Rose and Pacific, watching a string of kids wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the name of their preschool -- "Blackberry Atelier" -- as they cross the dirty asphalt. Harried teachers urge them onward while supermodel-beautiful moms in Fred Segal sweatpants bring up the rear, tapping urgently on their cell phones. 
I like the sound of this irreverent, detailed scene.
I'll look forward to seeing what everyone else is reading.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dreaming of France -- Religious Symbols

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.
France is a dichotomy in the fact that it celebrates so many religious holidays, yet demands that people show no outward signs of their religion.
As we were walking in Aix en Provence one day, we came upon this government building.

And we were surprised me to see this statue of Mary, the Virgin Mother, on a government building. I guess people can't wear signs of religion, but the government is still catholic deep down. 

In 2004, the government passed a bill against wearing any veils or signs for religious reasons in public schools.  Most people think the goal was to prevent Muslim women from wearing the hijab in school. But for a country that wants no signs of religion, it's curious that it celebrates both Ascension and Pentecost in May with three-day or four-day weekends. 
Even in a country I love, I'm not going to agree with everything. 
But I see no harm in the occasional religious statuary on government buildings, like this one of Mary.
Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave a comment and visit each other's blogs, too, so you can get your fix of France dreams. 

Another Chance

Yesterday, I wrote about the challenges I face while raising my sometimes stubborn and emotional 19-year-old, but earlier in the week I had been reminded that the two of us have more opportunities to work out our relationship.
On Thursday, my husband called from the newspaper and asked if I remembered a boy named Chase. I did. He ran track with Tucker, and we had been at some parties with his parents.
The boy died in a car accident the night before.
He was 19, going to college, running his own lawn care business during the summer, and he crashed on a curve in the country near his college campus. Not wearing a seat belt, he was thrown from the car and died on the scene.
As I ran the next morning early, I passed the boy's house, and I wondered if his parents were awake. Then I wondered if they'd slept. How could you possibly sleep if suddenly you son was dead?
I knew that they must have been awakened by the police the night before since the accident was at 1 a.m. The police would have known the boy's identity and notified his parents.
As I continued to run, I remembered the feeling when my own 18-year-old sister had died. That feeling that it must be a mistake, that she would walk through the door again any minute. That feeling continued for weeks afterward -- the anticipation that she'd be home.
And I also remembered waking the morning after with the sun sparkling in through the window and feeling happy, until, like a brick hitting me in the chest, the realization came that my sister had died.
There's a moment, just after waking, when it feels like everything might be okay, until the memory flashes the tragedy and it all comes back.
I didn't know Chase well enough to go to his funeral, but I'll be thinking of his family, and being  a little more gentle with my own kids.
We're so lucky to have them alive and in one piece. If we've had a fight or said hasty words, we have another chance to smooth it over.
No matter what path they've chosen, they're alive and at least we have another chance.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Boys to Men

I'm not a very honest blogger.
I think I avoid writing about the topics that are hurtful. Instead, I attempt to be funny or divert to book plots.
That's why, right now, I have a blog post languishing that begins:
So, he moved out yesterday and left without kissing me goodbye.
Both of my boys have now moved into apartments, and they were very different departures.
Yes, you can still see his ribs. He never did put
on weight while living in the college dorms.
Spencer came home from college for about a week. He slept most of the days away, caught up with his friends in the evenings, and even found some time to scrape the garage so we can paint it.
He drove back to school on Sunday with his car filled with clothes and an air mattress so that he can camp out in his house until we take his furniture down on Saturday.
He texts me things like, "Can you bring down a spatula?" and "The mac and cheese seems really watery." So I had to tell him he should drain off the water before he added the cheese.

I drove down Thursday with his desk, and we hung curtains and took a trip to the grocery store to stock up on essentials.
Spence is far from perfect, but he's interested in talking about things. So I can tell him about my classes and students or have conversations about Grace and her adventures. And he shares a lot with me too.
He hasn't even complained about the flamingo and palm tree dishes I bought for him at the garage sales last weekend.
Earl and I are going back down today with a truckload of furniture so he'll have his real bed, a couch and a dresser.
The apartment is fine on the inside, but the outside looks like typical student apartments, kind of run down with steps crumbling and the porch overhang a bit rotten. It's the kind of place that parents would never approve of renting, but college students are a bit more eager. I'm sure it'll be fine for one year.
Spence has already texted the maintenance guy about a leak under the sink, a crack in a window and a slow draining bathtub.
He's still waiting to have internet installed. He called before he moved in and set up installation, but that internet company had some equipment challenges. So yesterday he called the other internet company. He's learning about the frustrations of dealing with utilities. I'm sure the experience will be an eye-opener for him.
So there was the peaceful transition of one boy to his first apartment.

Tucker moved out two weeks ago, on May 1.
I was gone to work and when I came home, a beat up pickup truck behind the garage was partially loaded with furniture.
He and his new roommate carried out mattresses and a desk and dresser then bags full of clothes. When we asked if he needed help, he said, "No."
And he left then, without kissing me goodbye.

Even through all the tense times we've had since Tucker returned home from college in December and lived at home throughout the winter and into spring, he has leaned over to let me plant a kiss on his bearded cheek most days, whether in the morning as he left for class or in the afternoon as he left for work, or even when he came home at night from time out with his friends.
19 is hard.
He thinks he's an adult, but he's still making adolescent mistakes.
We had said we wouldn't help pay for an apartment. He could live at home, or he could go to college and live in a dorm.
All three of my kids on Tucker's 19th birthday in March.
This spring, we agreed to let him move into an apartment with a friend in the hope it might help our relationship. We didn't seem to have conversations, but terse snapping one liners at each other.
He hated being home and having to answer questions like, "Did you go to class?"; "How are your grades?"; "What are you doing tonight?"
The questions might even be polite, like "how was your day?" but he bristled each time.
So after he left, I was heart broken that things were so bad between us.

But just two days before he left, I was in bed around 11, with my door closed to keep the cats from annoying me, as they like to do when I try to sleep. Suddenly, the door was pushed open and Tucker said, "Mom, will you come help me?"
I jumped up and went into the bathroom where he was leaning over a trash can throwing up.
He had a splitting pain in his head. He felt sure it was a brain tumor, as many of us do.
"I think it's a migraine," I said.
I got a cold cloth and put it on the back of his neck. I found the Excedrin migraine medicine and he was able to keep that down.
I settled him on the couch and sat next to him until he stopped sweating and seemed able to relax.
Then my husband took my spot and sat up until he fell asleep.

So even as Tucker brusquely moved out of our house, I remembered that just two nights before, he had turned to me when he needed me.
And my goal will be that he knows I'm here for him. That doesn't mean that I will bail him out of every situation or give him money, but I'll always love him, and he can move back home if he wants to.

The day after he moved out, he came back home and ate with us. On Sunday, he texted me and asked what time family dinner was. I hadn't actually been planning a family dinner, but since Grace was leaving for Europe and Spencer was home, it was an excellent idea.
I saw Tucker most days the week after he moved out. When I went to the grocery store, I bought an extra gallon of milk for him.
I offered him a box of Raisin Bran Crunch that hadn't been opened yet.
"No, that's okay. We only have one bowl," he said.
So during the neighborhood garage sales last week, I found Spencer's flamingo dishes and another set of dishes for Tucker's apartment for only $5.
Last week, he and his roommate drove to Colorado to stay for the week and bring a friend home from college.
Crystal Lake at Pike's Peak
We've had some heated exchanges about the amount of data he's using on his phone, but he also sent me some lovely scenic pictures.
Garden of the Gods
Our relationship still has many mountains ahead, up and downs, but I know he loves me, and I'll keep working to treat him like an adult -- an independent adult, and hopefully he'll move toward that title.

Also connecting with Saturday Snapshot today because there are some lovely photos in spite of the very long post.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday Intros -- French Illusions From Tours to Paris

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.
Today I downloaded a new memoir on my Kindle. It's French Illusions: from Tours to Paris by Linda Kovic-Skow. This is the second part of Linda's memoir about her time in France, which began as an au pair. I read her first memoir two years ago and enjoyed it.
Here's the opening:
A chilly gust of December wind blew hair into my face as I leaned through the car window to swap cheek kisses with Evelyne. "Thanks for the ride," I said, pulling my blue wool coat tighter.
She smiled, and her toffee-brown eyes sparkled as she steered her Citroen down the cobbled street.
I'll be sure to write a review when I finish the memoir so you can all try it too.
I look forward to learning about some new reads from everyone else.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dreaming of France -- The Paris Winter

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.

I'm almost finished with the historical novel The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson, and the book enthralled me from the beginning. As a matter of fact, I've had to tear myself away from it to pay some bills and write a blog post.
I picked up this book for obvious reasons, set in France, and I wasn't sure at first that I'd like it. The book jacket explains the main character Maud is a middle class English woman who goes to Paris to take art lessons. It hints at the intolerably cold and hungry conditions she faces. And I thought I really didn't want to read about a woman during the Belle Epoque who starved in her Paris apartment, but the book jacket was misleading.
The book takes the reader from Paris high society to the pickpockets of Montmartre.
In addition to the plot, which turns on high about midway through the book, the writing of Robertson is just beautiful. I feel like I'm in the streets of Paris in the 1900s.
The car argued its way through the traffic under the fifty-two Corinthian pillars and wide steps of the new Eglise de la Madeleine, then swung up Boulevard Malesherbes past the dome of Saint Augustin. All movement and variety. Street-hawkers and boulevardiers, women dragging carts of vegetables or herring. The charming busy face of Paris a thousand miles away from Maud's draughty room in one of the back alleys around Place des Vosges, in a house just clinging to respectability, with its paper-thin sheets and the miserable collection of failed businessmen and poor widows who gathered around the landlady's table in the evening and tried to pretend her thin soups and stews were enough to sustain them. 
 As I was reading the book, I got caught up in the language in so many places, but now that I look for them, I can't find them, of course. So you'll just have to take my word for it and try it yourself.

Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave a comment and visit each other's blogs too so you can get your fix of France dreams.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Writing Idiosyncracies

I've given myself a deadline to finish my latest novel in May.
I have a two-week break from my daytime teaching job, so I figure that I have no excuse. Even if I take time to workout in the morning and keep the house running with cooking, laundry and cleaning, I should have plenty of time to write.
If I don't buckle down and write, then I need to find a full-time job and stop calling myself a writer.

One of my most prolific and happy times as a writer was when I would go to Caribou Coffee to write.
Since Caribou Coffee closed, I haven't regularly settled on a place to write, other than at home.
Home is full of distractions, my children come and go. They ask for help with things or wonder if I have time to make them coffee before they run out to work or class.
The cats beg for attention; the pile of laundry demands equal devotion. A dust bunny blowing across the floor hints at other tasks that need doing.

At Caribou, which closed in 2012, I'd listen to music, sip my mocha and write.
The coffee shop had high ceilings with duct work visible. Wood or concrete floors and cozy nooks, along with warm lighting all made Caribou a welcoming place to work.
Often, if I was there in the morning, I'd buy a pastry. It had a cream cheese filling and the pastry was flaky with large granules of sugar on top. Yum.
Just recently, I brought home some pastries from the grocery store. The inside was cherry, but the outside was that flaky crust with large granules of sugar. Just like the pastry that inspired me at Caribou.
Suddenly, I knew that if I could eat one of those pastries in the morning, I could write!
That first day, I put away the remaining pastries so one would be there in the morning for my writing.
When Spencer came in from a friend's house that night, I heard the cabinet doors opening and closing as he searched for his post-midnight snack.
The next morning, no pastries remained.
So I went for a run then, still sweaty, went to the grocery and bought a box of four more pastries.
As I ate one, I wrote.
Things were going well; I figured I'd follow the same plan the next morning. But when I got home from work that night, the pastries were gone again.
This morning before I went to the gym, I stopped at the grocery and bought another box of pastries, so that when I got home, I could do some writing. Since Spencer is still in bed (almost noon) the pastries remained, and I was able to eat one and made some good progress on my writing again.
Once Spencer is out of the house (he's going back to college for summer classes next week), I'm sure I'll be able to to keep pastries here and write each morning.
I may gain 20 pounds, but dammit I'm going to finish that book by the end of May.  

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Dreaming of France -- Bon Voyage

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.
I love seeing my children take off for new adventures, and today, Grace is leaving for five weeks in Europe.
She's starting off in Dublin then on to London before crossing the channel to France. She'll spend time in Paris and Aix en Provence, at least. Who knows where else she'll visit on her great journey.
Here's a picture of her in France during her last visit in 2011.
Doesn't she look so innocent?
I hope she has a terrific time on her latest adventure.
Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave a comment and visit each other's blogs too so you can get your fix of France dreams.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Saturday Snapshot -- Class Selfie

Join West Metro Mommy for this weekly meme of photos people have taken and share on their blogs.
This semester, I had a small class of advanced composition. We started out with about 12 students, and they were a lackadaisical bunch, except for two very devoted girls who came every time.
Even though I constantly nagged them to work harder, we had a good time.
I raged at them one day that they might be a good class to hang out with, but I wouldn't want my pay based on their grades. (That's something they're talking about doing for elementary through high school teachers in Ohio. Their pay would be based on student performance.)
So on Friday they gave presentations based on the persuasive papers they wrote.
For some of them, it was like defending their doctoral thesis because the other students challenged their premises.
At the end of class, the students said, "Let's take a selfie!"
"I'll take a picture of all of you," I said.
"No, you have to be in it," Madelyn cried.
So we all lined up, and Dan, who is very tall with very long arms, snapped a selfie of us.
What a fun class and a fun memory.

We have one more class, but since they've finished their finals, we make take a field trip to Starbucks, which is within walking distance.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Book Sale

Friday and Saturday, you can find two of my novels on sale for the Kindle or other ebook.
If you haven't read them, I hope you'll give them a try. And tell your friends.

I See London I See France is the story of a mother who sells her minivan and runs off to Europe with her three children in hopes of finding the vibrant woman she once was.
I think it's my best book. It has some romance and some adventure thrown in.
It's only 99 cents through Saturday.

Trail Mix, the story of two women who try the ultimate diet plan on the Appalachian Trail is also 99 cents. The women leave behind disgruntled husbands and infuriating young adult children, but they find some magic on the trail.
Thanks to everyone for your support.
And,  yes, tomorrow I'll finally write the blog post that I've been avoiding, the frustration of having my 19-year-old son living at home again.
19-year-olds were definitely meant to live in dorms.

Cockadoodle Doo or Cocorico?

 We stood in the middle of the road, having walked together 13 miles that day and Claudine grasped my forearm. "Mais non! It doesn'...