Sunday, November 29, 2015

Stiff Necks and Guilt

Sometimes, I know that I'm not a good person.
I'm not saying that in the hopes that one of you readers will try to talk me out of it.
I'm selfish, not as generous or as kind as I should be.
This morning, I went over in my mind the things that I'm dreading. The visiting hours this evening for my friend's daughter's death, along with Katie's funeral Monday morning. I half hoped I wouldn't be able to find a substitute teacher so I couldn't go to the funeral.
I signed up to take dessert for the funeral luncheon, but I didn't go to mass this morning, where I might have talked to or comforted the family.
And now, the pain in my neck has begun -- a pain I had for
two weeks when my Aunt Lorena died.
I could, of course, skip the visiting hours and the funeral. One of my friends from church called and as we talked she said she expected I wouldn't be able to get out of teaching to attend the funeral. I could have grabbed at that straw and assumed everyone else would think that too.
But, I knew that although I could easily skip the funeral and the visitation, my once best friend Cathy could not. I could pretend that nothing had happened, but she is living with the fact that her 21-year-old daughter died.
And for that reason alone, I will be there this evening, offering my sympathy because I know that nothing can be done to ease their pain. And I will be at the funeral mass on Monday morning. I will drive to the cemetery and watch their tears fall as handfuls of dirt are tossed into the hole that holds their daughter.
I think that I might be able to help their daughters. I was 14 when my sister died. Katie's sisters are 18 and 12. I'm the godmother to the younger one.
But what could I tell them?
My sister Tammy in her senior picture. She died
the night before her high school graduation.
I could warn them that as they move forward in their lives, at each milestone, they'll feel the emotional abyss left behind with the loss of Katie. As they complete college and celebrate with their family, they'll feel Katie's absence. When they plan their weddings or give birth to children, they'll feel that ache -- the certain feeling that an older sister would have good advice and experience to share.
But why should I warn them. They'll know soon enough, and at least they'll have each other, along with their two brothers.
I burst out last night and told Grace that whenever I die, they should just plan the service quickly. I hate the limbo, the in-between time when you can't even pretend that things will be normal because of the wait for the services. I remember that time when my sister died, and with Thanksgiving, the wait has been even longer for Katie's funeral.
As a sister, and I imagine as a parent, the toughest part is to leave the person you love in the metal box, no matter how lovely and lined with silk, to close the lid of that box and leave her in the funeral home or the church. I wouldn't be able to bear it. I cried copious tears at that thought of leaving my sister all alone in the church the night of the visitation.
But I will go tonight and recall happy memories of Katie, in the hopes that I can share some joy in the midst of this painful season.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday Snapshot -- Mouth Full of Chocolate

Join West Metro Mommy for this weekly meme of photos people have taken and share on their blogs.
We had a fairly laid back Thanksgiving, but at one point in the afternoon, 3-year-old Regan asked whether I'd come play with her. Of course, I did and she set up an elaborate tea party.
A piece of cake and a piece of Buckeye candy were on Regan's dessert plate. Suddenly, I looked down and the entire Buckeye was gone.
"Did you put that entire thing in your mouth?" I asked Regan. She nodded, but her full cheeks and over-wide eyes told me the answer before she did.

Tucker also got to meet his new cousin Benjamin and he wanted a selfie. So I held up  Benjamin for Tucker to take a selfie with him.

We also got a family snapshot while all of us were in the same place.

Hope you  had a lovely holiday, if your an American, and that everyone else had peaceful weeks.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Life Too Short

On Tuesday evening, as I arrived in class to teach, I pulled a folder from my bag and got a paper cut. I know, a paper cut, big deal. I popped the finger in my mouth and sucked on it, natural reaction for me. But I couldn't stop bleeding. The blood pooled under my fingernail and formed a ruby bubble on my finger. I wrapped a paper towel around it, but as I gathered papers to pass out to students, I left little blots of blood on the papers.
The paper cut wasn't a big deal, but it was a surreal end to a sad day.
That afternoon, I found out that Katie, a 21-year-old who grew up with my kids, had died.
When our family moved to Columbus in 1998, I attended a homeschool meeting. I walked into the meeting and gazed at the people sitting around the tables arranged in a U-shape. I chose the most "normal" looking woman and slid into a chair next to her. I had no idea that this woman would become one of my closest friends. Cathy, like me, had three children -- two girls and a boy. They were all close in age to my children.
We ended up become homeschooling partners, joining forces three or four days a week, as we explored different historical periods and of course allowed the children to run and play.
We had been searching for a church since we arrived in Columbus, and Cathy invited us to try the Newman Center on Ohio State's campus. We began going there and were welcomed into the church family there.
A few years later, Cathy convinced me to join her and start a new religious education program at our church -- Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. We went for weeks and long weekends of training, paying hundreds of dollars and spending hours creating the Montessori-based materials. We even fought with the church leaders about incorporating the new religious education classes.
Through it all, our children remained fast friends.
Then Cathy decided to have more children and put her older kids in school. Once she entered the school realm, we weren't as close, although we both continued to teach religious ed at church. Eventually, as my kids aged out, I stopped teaching. Cathy is there for a few years more as her two younger children still go through the program.
But this story isn't about Cathy, it's about her daughter Katie. When Katie was 2, she had a cancerous tumor somewhere around her rib cage. Usually, when these tumors are discovered, it is too late for the children already. But Cathy listened to Katie's 2-year-old complaints when she lay on her side or when someone picked her up. She took Katie to the doctor and insisted they check it out rather than shrug it off. And after a prayer service one evening, Katie's tumor stopped growing. During her childhood years, she had to have regular checkups to track it, but after five  years, those became yearly checkups.
In her high school years, Katie began having seizures. She was diagnosed with epilepsy. That meant trying to find just the right medicine to control her seizures, but not so much that she became a zombie. Through it all, Katie's giggle and slightly snarky comments as she raised her voice to be heard above everyone else would be the things that stood out.
Rather than being resentful of her younger siblings, Katie often held them when they were little and allowed them to climb her like a jungle gym as they grew older. She swam on swim team and played water polo, insisting on a normal life. She went away to college and moved into her own apartment.
We've grown away from the family, but I ran into Cathy in the grocery store in October. She filled me in on the family and said that Katie had an internship in Chicago this summer with a PR firm. She loved the job and hoped the company might hire her once she graduated college in the spring.
And then on Tuesday came the phone call. Katie had a seizure Tuesday morning and she had died.
I still can't quite grasp it, so I imagined that for her parents and her four siblings, they expect to hear her footsteps and a call of hello from Katie at any moment.
Grace was hit hard by the news. She and Katie were friends on Facebook, but those early years playing pioneer and teacher and Barbies, formed a bond that the two could always count on.
As a friend, I feel helpless. If I were a parent, my mind can't even fathom how I would feel.
I think about stupid arguments with children, worries about weight gain or girl fights.
I need to remember to focus on the important things in life, so I have no regrets. And I need to make sure I love the people around me because we don't know when those people will be gone.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

In the Woods With a Wolf

I'm still in denial about some difficulties that we've had this fall, so I'll write another happy post. This one includes pictures of Grace.
Grace is working a lot and auditioning for plays since finishing her role as Nancy in Oliver.
A photographer friend asked her to pose with a wolf as publicity both for the photographer, Candid Kama Photography, and for the wolf rescue place.
Grace convinced her boyfriend Jack and her friends Kyle and Rachel to pose with her. They all dressed up in Victorian clothes for the shoot.
I can't believe that Jack had a Victorian suit, including a top hat that flattens and pops up.
This is my favorite with Grace and the wolf in the woods. 
 And another one that I liked was this reflective picture. When I first saw it, I only saw the bottom and I wondered why they posted it upside down. Then I scrolled up and saw that the reflection was just incredibly clear.
So Grace is doing well, other than working too much.
And someday soon, I'll be ready to write about the challenges we've faced this fall.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Story About a Kitten

Last week, Earl had some days off and he decided to go on a long bike ride. He drove east of the city and got on a rural bike path.
After six miles or so, he saw a kitten sitting on the asphalt path. It stayed there, close to the body of another cat -- maybe its sibling, maybe its mother. The other cat was clearly dead, and Earl moved him off the path. Rigor mortis had set in, yet the loyal kitten remained there beside his dead comrade.
Earl stopped to pet the kitten and fed it a blueberry cereal bar he carried in his bag. Then he crumbled up some crackers for the cat.
I know our cats would have turned up their nose at those offers of food, but this kitten hungrily ate all of it.

After sending me a picture, Earl continued on his bike journey. I forwarded the pictures to Grace and told her the story. She immediately began sending texts asking her dad to save the kitten.
At the end of the trail, Earl took a break before riding back, and when he returned to his bike, he had a flat tire. So, he called and asked if I'd drive down to pick him up.
Once I retrieved him, the two of us agreed that we'd stop and see if the kitten remained on the bike trail. "There's no way he'll be there," Earl predicted.
But we pulled off at a place near where he thought the kitten had been. We walked, not very far down the trail, and a little gray kitten ran after bikes as they passed before giving up. "I can't believe he's still here."
Earl picked him up -- so small he could sit in a hand. The kitten didn't like being carried, but Earl put him inside his coat. He wouldn't last on the bike trail near a farm field. Coyotes,  hawks, buzzards,  owls. A number of predators would find him a tasty meal.
So we took him home.

Grace took him to the vet after work. The vet said he was 6-7 weeks old. He got antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection, medicine for an eye infection, spray for ear mites and a deworming. Plus he passed a feline leukemia test.
This picture is hilarious. The kitten looks like he was photoshopped in,
but he really just sat there on Earl's shoulder and stared at the camera. 
He was so sick the first few days that I got fooled into thinking he was just a well-behaved kitten, but he feels better now and spends his time getting into mischief.
I don't think this kitten will be ours though. We're carefully trying to integrate him into the household, but the older cats are not fond of him. They hiss at him and swipe at him. We keep him in a crate at night and whenever we leave the house. We've tried all the techniques that I read about online to introduce the cats to each other, but the older cats are still resistant.
I don't want to throw the older cats away, forcing them to hide in the basement or outside to avoid the kitten.
Also, we haven't been able to decide on a name, which I feel like is a sign that he shouldn't stay. Grace wants to call him Oscar Wilde, since he was wild. We almost all agreed on the name Loki, but Earl vetoed it. He didn't like that Loki was evil. In Norse mythology, Loki is a trickster, but apparently in the Avenger movies, Loke is a bad guy. Sometimes Earl calls him Donald because his hair sticks up like Donald Trump's.

One of the main reasons I don't think he'll be with us long is that I'm not quite ready to take care of someone again. Just last year, our youngest child went away to college and I achieved a sense of freedom. But the kids have moved in and out, as I imagine they will for a few years yet until we move to France.
With the kitten, I'm cleaning his litter pan, carrying it downstairs to the other litter pan and cleaning it too. I have to be careful about putting the food up so he can't reach it. Keeping him off the counter, off the table, away from the other cats. When I try to write in the morning  he attacks my feet so I spend more time evading him than I do writing.
Kittens are still a lot of work.
But they sure are cute.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday Intros -- The Ingredients of Love

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 just picked this up today, although I don't know anything about it other than there's an Eiffel Tower on the front and it says it's an International Bestseller. The Ingredients of Love by Nicolas Barreau says it combines Cyrano de Bergerac with Chocolat and Amelie.
Here's the intro:
Last year in November a book saved my life. I know that sounds very unlikely now. Many of you may feel I'm exaggerating -- or even being melodramatic -- when I say so. .But that's exactly how it was.
It wasn't that someone had aimed at my heart and the bullet had miraculously been stopped by the pages of a thick, leatherbound edition of Baudeliare's poetry, as so often happens in the movies. I don't lead that exciting a life. 
According to the book jacket, Aurelie, a restauranteur in Paris, finds a novel in a small bookshop then reads it to discover that she and her restaurant are included in the book. She reads it in one night and wants to desperately meet the author, but he's reclusive and she can't get through to him until one day he writes her back.

I can't wait to dive in. I hope you're reading something interesting too.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Still Dreaming of France

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.
I thought about not posting Dreaming of France today after everything that happened. And not very many people have been joining in, but then decided maybe it's more important than ever to dream about France. 

France holds my heart. The terrorists knew what they were doing when they attacked Paris, because so many of us love it or dream of visiting it. Even Hitler spared Paris. 
And it's so sad that terrorists believe some evil acts could dim the beauty in that city. 

For centuries, each step in the creation of Paris had led to the delights it offers - visually


Filling all the senses.
I know Paris will recover and that I will visit again.
Thanks for visiting and for playing along with Dreaming of France.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Nous Sommes Tous Ensemble

I'm not sure what I want to say today, after the deplorable attacks in Paris, except that violence is not the answer.
This miniature Statue of Liberty stands along the
Seine in Paris, welcoming the less fortunate.
I look at the terrorists and think that they are our modern-day barbarians. They don't care what they destroy, even themselves.
And I need to be clear that I do not equate people from the Middle East or people from countries at war with those who committed the bombings and shootings in Paris last night. It has never helped us to group all people who look alike or come from the same culture or from the same religion.
I teach many Muslim students and they are just like the Christian students, except in the way they worship.
No, these bombers and shooters, whether French-born, Syrian-born, Iraqi or Saudi Arabian-born, have a mental illness. They are part of a cult -- no more Muslim than they are Scientologists. They have been brain washed to believe that somehow killing others will increase the power of their religion. They follow violent leaders to their own doom, like the children followed the Pied Piper, entranced by the leaders' words and promises.
We need to show these young people that they can create change through non-violent ways. They can create in their countries a Paris of their own, where people dine and laugh in restaurants, where people gather to listen to music, where people safely watch soccer matches.
And those who we can't convince, we need to stop before they hurt others.

As we watched the news last night, the stations were broadcasting the phone numbers for the American embassy, both in Paris and in the U.S. But, the newsman urged, call home and let your family know you're okay.
Facebook has created a beautiful opportunity to avoid that phone call and let everyone know that you are safe. Whenever a tragedy or natural disaster occurs, they have a check in page for everyone who lives in the area or who has recently posted in the area.
So on my phone, I could look to see who checked in as safe.

It's a brilliant idea. Most of my friends have checked in. Only one young man has not posted on Facebook since the bombings. He lives in Paris, but he often leaves for the weekend, so I'm hopeful that he is out of town.
Here is Henri with Earl when we visited in March.
When something so tragic happens, I have a natural instinct to draw my family around me. Grace was home last night to watch the television coverage. Tucker began texting because he heard the explosions during the soccer game. He said the announcers thought they were fireworks. 
In an attempt to lure my boys home, I offered to make chili and chocolate chip cookies if they'd come home to watch today's football game. They probably won't make the 3-hour round-trip drive, and my need to pull them close will fade.
I try to find a bright spot in a tragedy, and luckily Upworthy posted a picture of the Eiffel Tower with the Mr. Rogers' saying. 

And last night during the coverage, we saw plenty of helpers, police, firefighters, soldiers, and even ordinary people who stripped off their shirts to bandage the wounded. 

And then today, my friend Aline posted a quote from Mother Theresa. It's all we can hope for as we work toward peace. 
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” 
― Mother Teresa

Please, let's start the ripples. 

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Dreaming of France -- Bicycle Tours

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.

A recent sight for us in Paris were the bicycle tours.
I took some pictures as the bicycles filled with tourists whizzed down rue Mouffetarde, a fairly sedate street to ride down.

 As we traveled through the city by bus, we saw a number of bicycle tours that looked to be in danger.
I'd love to try the individual bicycles for rent throughout Paris, but these tours seemed to take the riders into harm's way, mostly buses.
What do you think? Would you take a bike tour in Paris?
How about a Segway tour? We had some friends who tried that, but we never had.
No matter how you view Paris, it's always worth it.
Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please visit each other's blogs so we all can share our love for all things French.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

FranceBookTours -- Backstabbing in Beaujolais

Click on the banner to go to the complete tour on FranceBookTours.
Today I'm writing a book review of the cozy mystery novel Backstabbing in Beaujolais by authors
Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen.
Here's the synopsis:
"A business magnate calls on wine expert Benjamin Cooker to kickstart his new wine business in Beaujolais, sparking bitter rivalries. Can the Winemaker Detective and his assistant keep calculating real estate agents, taciturn winegrowers, dubious wine merchants and suspicious deaths from delaying delivery of the world-famous Beaujolais Nouveau?"
From the beginning, the characters dove right into their plentiful knowledge of wine and the countryside of France. This book takes place in Beaujolais, which is a wine many Americans will recognize. The wine is usually released around Thanksgiving here in the States, so I enjoyed learning about the region and the wine-making process.
Of course, just like any big business, rival companies are out to get each other. Illicit affairs, relatives, jealousies, all contribute to the intrigue within this carefully-written book.
The emotion within the book is fairly sedate. It seems that most of the action happens "off screen" and the main characters learn about it later and react to it. I wondered if that might be a technique used in mysteries, like in Sherlock Holmes.
Since this is a series, it might also be that the characters grow on readers, and they want to see more of Cooker and his assistant as they spread their wine knowledge and solve mysteries throughout the countryside of France.

Backstabbing in Beaujolais

(cozy mystery) Release date: November 19, 2015 at Le French Book 140 pages ISBN: 9781939474537 Website | Goodreads 


Alaux-Balen Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, wine lover and music lover respectively, came up with the idea for the Winemaker Detective series while sharing a meal, with a bottle of Château Gaudou 1996, a red wine from Cahors with smooth tannins and a balanced nose.


Anne Trager loves France so much she has lived there for 27 years and just can’t seem to leave. What keeps her there is a uniquely French mix of pleasure seeking and creativity. Well, that and the wine. In 2011, she woke up one morning and said, “I just can’t stand it anymore. There are way too many good books being written in France not reaching a broader audience.” That’s when she founded Le French Book to translate some of those books into English. The company’s motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves crime fiction, mysteries and detective novels.


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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Grumpiness Arrives

I'll have to admit that I have felt a little proud of the fact that menopause has not turned me into a monster.
Yes, I gained weight, but over the past few months I've managed to lose 15 pounds so feel fairly healthy.
I have a hot flash every time I drink wine, so I rarely drink any more.
One bullet I thought I had dodged were the mood swings. Since I run four days a week, lift weights three days a week and walk with friends on other days, I credited exercise with helping me avoid screeching at my family and friends.
Yesterday, I ran five miles. Then I walked five miles with my friend Sheila. Then I walked two more miles with my husband as we went to vote and then get coffee. By 11 a.m., I'd gone 12 miles.
In spite of all the exercise, in the past few days though, my moods have taken a turn.
I chewed out a class on Monday when students were looking at their phones rather than listening to my lecture. I warned the next class ahead of time that pulling out their phones would result in ejection from class. They looked at me with fear!
Yesterday, a friend texted to remind me that another friend had a birthday. I felt irritated. I complained to Grace that the friend who texted me has a girl crush on our birthday friend. She follows her outside when she smokes. She switches tables to sit with her.
Was I jealous? Grace asked. Feeling left out?
I don't want that attention myself, but the keenness she lavishes bugs me. I think I'd rather avoid both of them. I might not go to the coffee house for writing group today so I can skip the celebration.
With all of these annoyances building up, you'd think I would have recognized the moodiness, but I still remained blissfully unaware, until a recent email.
Earlier this semester, a student sent a complaint about me. The lead teacher forwarded the email and I responded. The student had come into class late so I didn't let him take the quiz. He became angry and left the room, hitting his backpack against the wall. He said it wasn't anger, but an accident. This student complained about my "caustic rules" and the fact that I didn't let him take the quiz.
After explaining the situation to the lead teacher, I didn't hear back from her for a few weeks. Yesterday, she said the student just "wanted to be heard."
I should have left it at that, but I responded. I said that the English department had always had my back with rules about not accepting late work and I wanted to know what she had said to the student. She replied again that she just listened to the student.
Immediately, I wanted to protest. Did she commiserate with the student about mean old teachers and their stupid rules? She must have said something.
I considered responding. Talking to the chair of the department.
That's when I realized that moodiness had overtaken me.
I'd been juicing today, which meant no coffee, but lemon and ginger water for breakfast. Then I made a beet, sweet potato, apple and grape juice that I drank during my morning classes. By 10 a.m., I knew that I would need to get some coffee.
I stopped by the  book store between classes and ordered a white mocha -- with caffeine. I've been un-addicted to caffeine for years now, since I had surgery on my broken nose.
But caffeine might be a necessary step to avoid snapping at people.
And I might see my weight creep back up as I try to stay calm.
Any advice? Is caffeine and sugar my only hope?

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Tuesday Intros -- If I Could Turn Back Time

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.

This book, If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison, caught my attention because of the cover, in spite of all the folks who say "you can't judge a book by its cover."

Well, I'll let you know if the book is as much fun as the cover.
Here's the intro:
The night before my eighteenth birthday, I was thirty-seven years old.
Not the first time. The first time I was seventeen. Just like you'd expect of an ordinary person. Because I was an ordinary person. I really couldn't pinpoint what put me over the edge, but something did.
So, when it came down to what I want to tell you about today, yes: The night before my second eighteenth birthday, I was thirty-seven. 

There's another line about this, but I kind of think she's belaboring the point. Hope I like the rest of the book better.
I finished reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah yesterday. Now I understand why she has 14,000 reviews with 85% of them being 5-star reviews. I probably would give it 4-stars, but if 4.5 was possible, I would go for that. I felt like there were a few unanswered questions, but the book definitely captured my attention and wouldn't let me go. I loved being immersed in World War II France, and I'd thought I had read enough of that time period.
I came home from work yesterday, made dinner and then didn't stop reading The Nightingale, even when my son left to go back to college, when my daughter left for an audition, when my husband walked in the door from work... I just kept reading until I got to the end. Loved it.
Thanks for visiting today and I hope you're reading something you enjoy.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Election Day

Tuesday is election day here in the United States.
In spite of all the talk you hear about the presidential primaries, those elections are not until March.
The election in November is about local and state issues.
Our school board and city council have several seats open. The zoo has a levy and the mental health board does too -- both things that I'll support.
A lot of people think only the big elections matter, but the small elections affect our everyday lives.
One of the issues is about drawing lines for districts for the Ohio House of Representatives. It's very skewed right now. I heard on an NPR discussion recently that the democrats had 55,000 more votes in the 2014 election, but republicans still hold a supermajority in the state house of representatives.
Can people realize how important it is to vote in the off-year elections?
Two of the most controversial issues concern whether to legalize marijuana and whether to change the state constitution so that monopolies can't be written into the Ohio Constitution. We did that once by allowing two companies to build casinos.
The marijuana bill would allow 10 investor groups to be in charge of the growing and distribution of marijuana in our state. A bunch of rules are included, like people can grow marijuana for their own use, but they have to buy the seeds from one of the 10 companies.
If you hear the results of the election nationally, you'll probably just find out if Ohio legalized marijuana, without any of the nuance, like that people who favor legalization might still vote down this proposal.
In spite of the marijuana issue, not many of my college students seem inclined to vote.
That's why I offer them some incentive. I'll give them extra credit if they vote in the election. They have to bring me their sticker that says, "I voted" and they have to look me in the eye and say they voted. I'll have to trust them.
Some of them vowed to take selfies in the voting booths,
but I have an inkling that is illegal in Ohio. If the students aren't registered, aren't old enough or aren't American citizens, they can write a one-page paper about why voting is important. I'm hoping that research will convince them to register and vote when they're able.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Dreaming of France -- Morning Coffee

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.

Welcome to Dreaming of France. I haven't had a lot of participation with Dreaming of France in the past month or so, but I'm always hopeful that it will increase. I know it will pick up when I actually move to France and everyone will want to know what the transition is like -- to torture yourself with my descriptions of the food, the scenery and the leisurely lifestyle.
I've got another year or so before that happens, but I'm a little concerned because one of my favorite French things has faded.
If you've read my books, or even my blog, you know how much I adore the big mugs of coffee and steamed milk for breakfast. I've post about hotel breakfasts and my own big coffee mugs.
I had a cup that Spencer and Earl bought me on the top of the Eiffel Tower, but it broke.
I bought myself a mammoth cup at the store Sur la Table. It has a crack but still survives, and I've turned off of it.

My excuse is that the coffee gets cold too quickly because of the surface area. 
Instead, I've been seduced by the tall coffee mug, which has a small surface area and keeps the coffee and steamed milk below nice and toasty. 

Here's an example of an adorable tall coffee mug. I don't own it, but I wouldn't mind owning it.
But the way this relates to Dreaming of France is my fear that I'll grow weary of French things. Do you think that's possible.
Will I someday, when I live in France, say, "Ho hum" to a chocolate croissant? I can't imagine that I would, but it gives me pause. 
Hope everyone else is Dreaming of France. Please share your post, and I'd love it if you'd visit the posts of others who play along too. 

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'...