Friday, 17 December 2010

Star of Wonder


Olive was one of two stars in her Nursery School's production of the Nativity at the local Church of England here in Cheveley. As the "Star" (the astronomical conjunction of Jupiter, Venus, and Regulus, which is a cluster of 4 blue-white stars) her role was to stand on a box while all the other kids sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" It might have been the start, or end of an acting career, we shall see.


video

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A Weekend in Germany



Over the weekend, we popped on over to the Continent for a little German Christmas cheer. We flew out Friday evening on RyanAir. After the general lateness and vague directions we were able to "self board" the plane. We dashed around to the back door and took our cramped yellow and blue seats for our hour-ish flight. During which we were doused in full Light and Heat for the continuous commercial that is RyanAir- Keep those lights on, we don't want you dozing and missing out on our great products.... Do you want to buy a drink? It sure is hot enough to need one. Do you want smokeless German cigarettes? You can have your nicotine fix right now. Scratch off tickets to win 1 million Euro? You're board, you know you want to. Sandwich? None of those, why not take home a Hot Girls of RyanAir calendar?

After the hour long continuous sales pitch, we landed at Frankurt- Hahn Airport. Unfortunately there was a bit of a communication breakdown and we had a driving directions to our destination from somewhere in Frankfurt. When we walked out to retrieve our Hertz rent-a-car (a Ford focus, really?) through the piled up snow and flakes coming down, we were on our way, but not. Josh admittedly was going the correct direction for 20 miles, but he did think we were someplace else. We did turn around in someone driveway after all. I was so tired I kept trying to find "Ausfahrt" on our microscopic map in the dark. In the clarity of morning and a few hours rest, I realize my mistake and it meant "exit".

Past midnight, I broke down and Josh kept talking out loud "stay right, stay right" whenever we turned... so we got a hotel BACK at the airport. It was a lovely little place, but all we did was sleep and scarf an expensive meat and bread breakfast before we were back on the (same) road but knowing where we were coming from this time.

We made it to our friends home at around 11am after Josh driving the autobahn in our little 4 cylinder Focus. He was doing 120kph (a smooth 75ish) but there were definite passers-by running up behind with their left blinker going asking ever so kindly to move away. We stayed with the Laramie's in a village 20minutes from Ramstein AFB where he works. They served as our tour guides and chauffeurs for the next two days. THANK YOU GABE & STEPHANIE!

Saturday afternoon we went to our first Christkindlmarkt in Saarbrucken. Being dark at 5pm, we were dazzled by the wooden storefronts decked out in lights and all sorts of holiday cheer. Josh procured us with gluhwein, a mulled hot wine, in ceramic cups and off we went. Olive even got a Kinder-gluhwein, but wasn't having it.

We were lucky to arrive in time for the showing of Der Weihnachtsmann. Suspended above stories on a wire road Father Christmas, some fiberglass reindeer, and a special friend helper in the ballast which Josh, so maturely, called the "brain" due to it's scrotum like appearance from the sleigh. Olive thought it was neat stuff with the fire-work jets, fake bubble snow, and a red reindeer nose.


For dinner we had MEAT. Lots, and lots of pig meat in various forms. Josh had a bockworst , I had a schwenker , which was pounded grilled pig, and Olive had a kasegriller, a cheese stuffed pig sausage. All were placed on a brochen, a lump of bread. We also managed another gluhwein and a waffle with sugar before the night was up. (we didn't buy anything, but ate our way though the days)

We walked there were various stalls containing wooden carved ornaments, candies, nuts, glass, pottery, puppets, jewelry, art, and various items for sale. Olive and Layla took a ride on the most random round-about. Payed our 50 Euro to use the toilet. Watched a wayward angel lift her dress to children driving by on a ride. I payed a bride-to-be a euro for some cookies (It's a custom to go out with a basket of items for your batchelorette party and ask strangers to buy things from you to raise money for the rest of the night -dinner and drinks- a much better concept than a suck-for-a-buck t-shirt I think) Store fronts had lovely winter displays to gaze at on our walk back to the car.

On Sunday we awoke to go to a local bakery to sample a half dozen or so pastries for breakfast and left for Trier's Christmas market that afternoon. Bigger than the last, but still as folksy and bright. More gluhwein, this time in red boot mugs, and we were wandering about again. Olive spent some time at the nativity looking at the Baby Jesus (who Olive insists matches Nana every time she sees him, Nana I'm sure you can guess why ;) We also ventured into the Trier Cathedral (the oldest one in Germany) for a quick walk about and a Olive mandated candle lighting for the grandmas. Then back through the market to the Porta Nigra, which is also known as the Black Gate. It was built by the Romans when they occupied the area around 180AD. -I love how I learn the history of places I've been after visiting- All and all it was a good time with more pork, wine, and sugar being consumed.

Monday was a Ramstein day where we toured the American AFBs gigantic mall, shops, attractions, and Josh was able to catch up with a few people he knew stationed there. Olive did get a go on the rock wall, and was pleased just to hang. Afterwards we got back into our German speaking Ford and drove back to the airport amongst the views of old farms with solar panels and wind turbines in the setting sun.



Saturday, 4 December 2010

Turkey, Santa, Snow, and Trees

I'll be diving right in to the past few weeks. Sometime it just has to be this way.

Turkey Day- For the beloved holiday based off family, eating, and American football we found ourselves in two variations of the day. The first was at the boss' family home with a few other expats on the Holiday Thursday. All the requirements were there: friendly folks, TV on during the meal, kids table, plenty of food with all the traditional requirements, even a turkey from Popeye's. Oh yah. It was lovely to be around other Americans and just have O run in a pack of kids and watch Nickelodeon.

That Saturday we held our own festivities here in Cheveley. Our friends Ron and Maria are from the good-old-days of Greenkill and are versed in many American customs. So, along with them, they brought a set of parents, and a brother with his family. They were newbies to American cuisine and T-day traditions. We made sure not to fail them. Josh made an awesome turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. I made the rest: homemade bread, roasted root vegi, sprouts, sweet potato pie, apple pie, mash potatoes. THEN I made the American "classics" out of a can or box: stove top stuffing, green bean casserole, Pillsbury crescent rolls (most amazed one was of the packaging) cranberry sauce with the can shape intact, sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows, and cherry Jello.
It was a good meal. Interesting questions of "why" do we celebrate and "how" were asked. But simply getting together as a family and eating is the primary function of the day. Not the history behind it at all. A good cultural exchange it was. And the first time many of them had ever tried pumpkin pie or sweet potatoes cooked in those manners.Sunday was a chilly day. We had been graced with true winter weather and it was -2C out. Perfect weather for a fun run. Josh dressed up in a nice thin felt Santa suit and Olive was cautiously bundled by myself for the event. It was a 2K. Josh and O made it back quick before I had anytime to do x-mas shopping. The rest of the morning in Bury St. Edmunds was spent at their holiday market. We walked the stalls, got hot drinks, dressed O as an angel at the Church's living nativity and ate Pannekoek (which is a mini Dutch pancake/crepe).All through the week it was cold and snowy. Most of the north was plagued with issues of snow and ice. We only had 2 inches thought the week. Enough for "sledding" in the backyard- which is really running and then whipping olive off the sled onto the ground. Really, she loved it. She did.

This past weekend was getting ready for Christmas here. Olive is trilled that she gets to wake up to a chocolate every morning. Maybe we should have scooted the time in hindsight, but can't change the pattern now. We went to get a tree on Saturday. It was a "farm" which you chose your pre-cut tree from. A small fortune later, we had procured a tree and had it pulled to our car by dog. The Newfoundlands people were there to help raise funds for charity and had their big woolly, slobbery friends were hooked to wooden carts to help you out. Olive wasn't having it at first due to their booming barks. Then slowly, after a few pets, wet muzzles to the face, and warmth of them, she gave it. She now wants one of them too.

The rest of the day was setting up the tree, explaining the magic of Santa (too many detail questions, I'm soon to be caught in a lie), and general holiday cheer. The family has been plagued by the never-ending-cough-of-England. In Josh's attempt to cure himself with Hot Toddy's, he fell asleep before 8pm.

Sunday was another day out and about. We ended going to Blackthorpe Barn for a craft fair. Yeah, for me. I ended up getting a etching of a rabbit by this Welsh woman. Me being me, I asked if her work was on-line, she smiled at me, gave me a phone number and said for me to keep trying to call if the line was down. So, I decided to get one instead of wait due to poor phone service up her mountain lane.

Sinterklass came later that evening after several choruses of "Sinterklaas Kapoentje" with Oma and Opa on Skype. S. managed to toss in chocolate coins, chocolate hedgehogs, a pound of marzipan, owl hat (thanks Nana), 2 books, and, Cookie Monster Wii game into the carefully selected boots Olive put out for the family. Boots see because they are bigger than your every day shoes. We've got a smart one here already understanding volume!This week we're gearing up for our weekend in Germany. Ryan Air adventure and Christmas market stories to come.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Most of November

I've been a little lax about this blogging gig. Haven't the energy as of late to be quippy about daily happenings. My life is much like your life. You don't really want to hear about me doing mountains of laundry or the mundane life as a stay at home mom of a preschooler, or MOP, really, who likes calling themselves that? And it's like anything you procrastinate on, the longer you put it off, the more daunting the task it becomes.

So, I'll roll out the highlight reel for those who want to be in the know:

Olive is obsessed with the computer. Somewhere in the last month she has mastered windows. Fine motor skills not only open and close applications, she is able to run and create on paint, run Skype, start up Sesame Street on-line, and type her name from memory. I'm just waiting for her to lock us out of the computer... it's only a matter of time.

As for Events/Happenings and the like. We participated in Bonfire Night on Nov 5th. In loving memory of Guy Fawkes, we took in the sights in Cambridge. Fireworks in the fall don't have the same feel as a warm late July night on a blanket in the grass. We stood in the pouring rain, cold, and huddle in mass in the mud to watch the blast 100 meters away. LOUD. Olive wasn't pleased. Beautiful low display. She's more enamored with the idea of fireworks now then she was then. Afterward, the bonfire was lit (nothing says class like burning 100s of wooden pallets on the park lawn) and we were able to warm up a bit before taking our sodden selves home.

We're still trying to keep to our weekend walks, but the weather change has made it a little more challenging for O. Fall is all but done here and it's dark by 4:30pm making for interesting biorhythms in us all. (sorry Oma, I did end up getting the "ugly coat" but it's been a fantastic one :) Have seen some huge rabbit holes about. I now know why Lewis Carroll had Alice fall down one. Olive was quite put out pretending that Her rabbit, Lakewood, lived there.

(photo is of Josh and Olive jumping trying to reach the tail)

We did finally manage a trip to London. The draw? Harry Potter of course. Thursday the 11th we took the train down to London to stop by the World premier of HP DH1 (as Josh calls it). We just saw the crowds and set-up. There were people who had been camped outside the theater since Tuesday. We made it home in time to watch the red carpet hoo-ha on-line. Olive now is very interested in HP. Even commemorated the event by making a ceramic tile with Josh. On the same trip, we were able to squeeze in a few sections of the Natural History Museum. Dino fossils were a hit. Live action T-Rex Robot, not so much. O wasn't having it. Still a bit bothered by it when we read her dino books... "is that the robot? turn page NOW"


And, Done. Sorry, I feel like long post are like essays and should have a concluding paragraph to wrap it all up nicely. Too much pressure and thought for late night updates. With this thought I end.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Halloween Weekend

Highlights from this weekend include:

*Trick-or-Treating on Lakenheath AFB- kids queued to get candy with a assembly line like efficiency with no door knocking involved or explanation of costume. A bit of a disappointment since I wanted to show off Olive and my creativity with a little neighborly howdy-do. Olive wanted to be an Angelfish-Cat, so below is what we came up with for a costume. She picket out the fabric - purple satin with rainbow sequins. Oma stitched together the dress and I put together the flair via O's careful instructions. My cousin helped by suggesting the parental costumes, hence the cat and angel fish. You get the picture. Josh's make up job is all Olive if you couldn't tell.

*O has eaten candy that has NEVER been permitted before- so far Sour Patch Kids and Skittles have been consumed. Tonight's menu already has M&Ms planned.

*Had a whopping TWO trick-or-treaters here on Broomstick Corner. O was pleased as punch to answer the door and give them candy.

*Went on our Sunday walk on Saturday to find the ruins of a Castle.

Here you'll see the earthworks that are left and the current residence are a bit woolly. Lovely fall weather made the day so much nicer and now can check another local footpath off the list.



*Made our 2nd trip to Ikea since being in country and left with spending under 20 pounds. The store is as overwhelming as ever. Did spend about 8 minutes in an ASDA. It's in the wal*mart family. As Josh said- a wal*mart is a wal*mart the world over. Don't know if they have a People of ASDA website though.

*And the rest of the time has been simple things like enjoying the fall colours and eating gingerbread. Here's to enjoying fall for as long as it lasts!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Next Generation




In all honesty, I want O to become who she wants to be, but selfishly I want her to love all that I do. So today I took O to Cambridge to explore some of the free museums at the University... the science ones. Can't help it, I want her to think rocks, fossils, and smelly preserved invertebrates are COOL. I think I might have succeeded. We first went to the The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Olive was welcomed by a dinosaur skeleton and was completely won over. She loved the Allosaurus and then asked all sorts of curious questions about the ammonites, ancient bear, and other oddities in the collection. We also got to see some of Darwin's collections with his script beside the specimen. The enormity of this was lost on her, however, but I stood a gasp. (picture- O making Dino face as seen above)

Wanting more, how could I refuse, really, we went down the block to the
Museum of Zoology. More bones and specimens awaited us. I had to read ALL the names no matter how obscure the Latin, and help reinforce the differences between turtle and tortoise, moose and deer, and parakeet and parrot (I don't know that one do you?). She even sat down for a half hour lecture on skeletal importance and evolution. Seriously, I wanted to got to lunch. She sat there very politely listening and watching the slides. Score for patience when she got to handle a 3000 year old deer leg and got to wiggle elephant tarsals.

Here's to the next generation of nerds and geeks. Smart girls rule.



Sunday, 24 October 2010

Antiquing

This morning we went to our first antiques and collectible fair. See, all the other expats have a hobby of hording over-priced old junk as a way of infusing local culture into their homes. I've been to two functions now where women have sat about gossiping about the great deals they have found and how they managed to come about them. So, in self preservation and personal interest, I needed to know a little something about it to. Never should one find herself at a hen party and lack the necessary small talk filler in her repertoire.

All in all. It was a bunch of silver, jewlery, gaudy figurines, old tidbits from barns and garages, and some waxed up old furnisher. People were oggling and quietly observing. We were on the fast look and dash route with Olive in tow, but did manage to nab one random Christmas gift while there. Olive's highlights included going up and down the stairs at the Rowley Mile's paraide circle (the venue was one of the racecourses in town) and looking at very expensive antique rings that glittered and called her name. The man who's stall it was kept answering her questions to which stones were which. Afterward we were told she had exquisite but very expensive taste.

Oh what our future holds.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The ONLY Pumpkin Patch in East Anglia

There are 3 lovely orange pumpkins sitting on our stoop from a little pumpkin "patch" nestled between the bases. A smart farmer has capitalized on the dense American population wanting these iconic gourds for October 31st. Olive did prove us wrong in the existence of purple pumpkins when we came upon a heap of them (we now own one because supposedly they make tasty pies.. we shall see). And she did get herself a pony ride. NOT a donkey ride, just a pony ride because he had a proper saddle.

As nice as it was to have a little taste of home traditions, it wasn't as filling as a long morning out at a family farm feeding the goats and plucking the pumpkins from the vine. I enjoy the differences living here, but sometimes nothing is like home. So, come October 30th, not 31st, we'll be on base, bag in hand, begging for candy from other expats for my favorite holiday of the year.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Great Yarmouth Treasures

This past holiday (well, US holiday) weekend we took to the sea side to the tourist town of Great Yarmouth for 2 days in the sun with the sea. Destination was driven by 3 things in my mind. 1)Finally no rain, we MUST do something outside 2) Since there is no mountains, it would have to be the sea and 3) a last minute B&B room had to be available. Hence, Great Yarmouth.

We loaded the car and was there under 2 hours. Along the route, the ever not-so-surprising views of agricultural lands. Look Olive, Horses. Look Olive, Sheep. Look Olive, Cows. Look Olive, Tractor. Look Olive, Windmills... I believe we are lucky to be here during Olive younger years when she still gets excited to see these things over, and over and over again. If she was 12 instead, we'd get the eye roll, exasperated sigh, and then hear music flood from her ipod in protest. Can't wait for those days.


So we made it there before 10am. And anyone who's ever been in England knows NOTHING is open before 10am. People leave there house at 10am to go where ever they are headed. We walked a bit in the cold foggy morning waiting to do something (sun, where are you?). We ended up in an arcade. Basically a training ground for future gambeling habits. There were pence pushers, claws for manky stuffed animals, video games, basically the works. Olive and Josh quickly went to work attempting to win big, waiting for the landslide of coins... they never came. Introduced O to skiball (not yet the arm, we'll get her in training) and whack the shark with a mallet game. She love it. More importantly she was content just shoving coins into slots.

Later we moved on for lunch in a tea shop with old toys. We found several interesting items in GY.

Exhibit A: Why is he so Jolly sitting there with his hands in his pockets?
After lunch we checked into our B&B. A four star establishment with great reviews. We were greeted by the owner, Gary, and taken to sit in the leather sedet and booked in. Looking around there were black and white photos on canvass from the US 1950s and 1960s movie icons, karate awards, mini bar, plastic toys, small TV, ton of kitsch, and about 15 air fresheners in different forms and all of unique odors. Nice people and really care about the place. Nice room. Like the food was good enough as well. Olive had Gary's special fruit parfait for breakfast the next day, you'd of thought we'd given her ice cream.

That afternoon we took to the beach. Olive scored herself a pirate bucket & played in the sand (the sun did grace us for a little while) After a nice Italian dinner in a basement restaurant, we took Olive to see all the lights- the beach in rainbow colors, Circus Circus and all the other arcades. Then we found these.

Exhibit B: What does one do once you win 1 booby?


The next morning we went to go see the Brittish Navy's new ship, the HMS Dauntless. Que time to get on the shuttle bus =2 hours. Arrive at dock to get onto the ship, que time = 1 hour. Tour = 25 minutes. Que time to get back on the return bus = 1 hour. Therefore, DONE with ques for awhile.

Hit up the amusement kiddie rides, grabbed a fish and chip lunch, and headed back to the beach. More digging holes and making of sandcastles for Olive to squash and we were ready for ice cream. A whole whippy Olive devoured on her own while Josh and I had difficulty containing laughter. A stereo-typical football jersey, bad teeth, ugly faced, thug looking man out of Austin Powers was standing waiting on some friends. Every time he opened his mouth, egad, it was the stuff running gags are made of. Tried to get a photo, but at that instant he finally shut his mouth. Also on the walk along the beach we found this equally disturbing bit.

Exhibit C: Just a Pound!


That about concludes are trip to the seaside. This weekend we're staying in, meeting with a few folks, and going to purchase the most expensive runty bruised pumpkin ever. Here's to autumn!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

the past few weeks

Josh was away for two weeks to the glorious state of Alabama. Oma came in near the end of Olive's and my "quality time" alone with one another for little over a week. And since then, we're re-adjusting to schedules, personalities, and shuffling of the mundane chores of life. So I shall not boar you with all of that.

So, for more notable tidbits of our lives:

-Olive and I start Little Duck 3 swim lessons on Wednesday. The Drill Sargent instructor who looks like my 7th grade gym teacher (egg shaped body, short polyester shorts, and barking voice) will be a GREAT fit. Should be fun right?

-Apples on the tree are becoming ripe and we've made a few tasty apple pies. Olive is becoming spoiled and wonders where dessert is every night. The pears keep hanging on and are the blandest things ever. Could be the lack of sun the past few weeks. One can not be sure.

-Autumn is here. No one ever told me that an electric lawn mower could act as a vacuum cleaner for your lawn. I would have totally ditched the push mower ages ago if I knew I never had to rake leaves again.

-Olive is slowly adjusting to her pre-school, Little Acorns. She's getting lessons in phonics and I was told by her teacher today it was "alright that she learns both ways of speaking at home." She has funny little voice she uses when she talks "British" I do need to get a video to share.

-Spiders live in the cracks between the windows and the sills. So, on nice warmer days when you open a window, they go skittering about into your house. Just had to share that.

-Now have black lady bugs with red spots (rather than the traditional red with black spots) invading the house too.

-Been counting horses in the mornings while were out. Averaging about 150 horse/rider sightings per 30 minutes near the gallops. Olive's horse fascination is growing. There's a place a village over that starts lessons at 4 years. Seems like that might be her next birthday gift.

-With Josh away, I had a little time to start EntWorks up again. Check it out on ETSY when you have the chance. Share with friends, please. AND if you want anything, let me know BEFORE you buy, I can get you the "friends & family" discount ;)

Looking forward to taking an over night trip somewhere this weekend. Will post stories and pictures when it happens. Until then, this shall do.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The First Days




Olive has been to Little Acorns Nursery School four times now. Here she is on day one.

Here she is on day four. I need not say any more.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Paris

Another delay in updating happenings. Better late than never, right?

The past holiday weekend we bused it on over to Paris to take in the sights and enjoy a bit of sun for a change. It was our first (of many, hopefully) visits to the continent. To sum up our whorl wind tour see list below. Consider this a narrative for the massive collection of Paris pictures we now have on Flickr.*Note, photos appear in reverse order, last day 1st*

Day 1- England to Paris
4:30 left house in Newmarket to drive to bus stop on base for the 5am pick-up. Three hours after boarding the bus, we made it to the white cliffs of Dover to catch the ferry across the English Channel. Olive loved being aboard and wanted to stay on deck the entire hour and a half journey despite the wind. Once to Calais, France it was another 4ish hours to Pairs with the "detour" and traffic. Scenery could have been anywhere in farming middle America, except for the large wind turbines littering the landscape.

We were determined to see a little of Paris that night before total melt down for bed time (all of us, not just Olive) The Metro took us to city center where we walked about shops and had a quick dinner of crepes and creme fresh. Scored a chocolate croissant, chocolate eclair, bread and very, very, ripe Bree for later (smelled worse than Josh's feet according to Olive). And we found a little park where O could play right outside St Eustache before we headed back to our hotel.


Day 2
That morning started with a nice Parisian breakfast. I believe Josh and Olive ate a great number of croissants each day, fortified with a little jam, chocolate, and/or pat of butter.
We got a little muddled up coming out of the Metro and ended up back at St. Eustache again while trying to make it to Notre Dame. So, we lit a candle for the grandmas, took a moment and headed towards the Île de la Cité. By the time we arrived the que was already too long to happily wait to go up the bell tower, so we just went inside with the masses to view it's grandeur. Olive lit another candle for the grandmas (see a trend?) And we had a lovely little picnic lunch of grilled baguettes in the gardens behind the cathedral. There we lucked into pay toilets, a swing, and a very awesome large tilted spinning disk to play on.

As we left, we took in a little live music on the bridge where Olive happily danced until I took out the camera and she gave me the stink eye. She even got her papa up for a spell to dance around with her once I put the camera away. Early on, we decided we wanted to get O a French version of "Goodnight Moon" since we read it every single day... a little variety would be nice. We looked at the book venders along the Seine. Closest was 1950's TinTin's of questionable PC content. We did manage to find an English bookstore, Shakespear & Co, where we settled on The Little Prince instead. As we walked we saw the Place Saint-Michel, snapped a photo, and continued on. From there we took the Batobus, aka water bus, down the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. Along the way, there were many a sun bather, mostly men, enjoying the lovely weather of the day. Josh swears he saw naked old man ass. I told him they were wearing thongs. I didn't feel the need to further prove my point. Josh took a picture to prove his. You can zoom in on the flickr picture if you like. Either way, I don't need to see overly tan old man ass, do you?

By that point in the afternoon it was HOT, comparatively, to any weather we've experienced here in England for the past month. Olive didn't nap, we were hungry, tired, need of a toilet, and a little snappy. We hopped off the boat to pay an exorbitant amount for cool drinks in the Tuileries. Olive decided it was time to cheer us up by doing her "statue" poses for EVERY statue she came across. She even waited till other people moved away from their studies to do so. And, had one of the bigger fits when we dragged her away from the dozen more off the lawn. Thwarted by closed public toilets we got back on the boat to arrive at the Eiffel Tower.

There we did the walk up, under, and through to the other side. Olive had more interest seeing it from the boat, and there were hundreds of people waiting in lines. Found a public toilet (woohoo) and went to the park for Olive to dig in the sand and slide with the other kids. She nearly took out a little French boy with a stick. Time to go.

We walked most of the way back to St. Germaine's square for dinner (hitched the boat while O took a quick snooze in the ergo). We settled on a restaurant with a decent looking menu. The food was okay. View, O love waving at the golden yellow cats in the Japanese restaurant across the way. There she ate escargot, and liked it. Josh had to share his little chewy garlic treat. Me, no thanks, too much science knowledge gives too many visions of what you really are eating for my comfort. I've been back to meat now for 3 years. The thought of muscle is enough for me- all the other bits. Ick.

If we hadn't done enough. We went out after dinner looking to buy a bottle of wine. Did. But also went past Centre Pompidou. Olive love the fountain and the building. It might have helped that it was the first time she's been "out" at night in city full of music, lights, and action. It was after 10 when we arrived back at the hotel from our long Metro ride.

Day 3
Similar breakfast as the day before and we were off to the Louvre. Took the Metro in, hopped in line, and was in a fair amount of time. 1st Sundays of the month are FREE in most art museums in Paris (it was worth researching b/4 going :) Olive stayed in the Ergo except for some breaks in Greek statues, foundations, and Nepolian's apartment. Lots of stairs were climbed. I feel like I need to be on the Ergo CD with all the other nut jobs swearing how wonderful this baby product is. I honestly believe it! It was a quick glance tour, but got in the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Aphrodite, some Da Vinci, and others which I can't remember. I was talking 3 year old art- Do you see the angel? Where's the dog? What color is....?

Afterward we grabbed a meal at an outdoor cafe in the Tuileries. Olive was quiet enamered with the ice cream menu and looked at maps with us while we waited for our sandwiches. Our next destination was to Montmartre. Back on the metro, and so very, very, very, very many winding stairs later (if you've been there, you know, don't you?) we were above ground. We quickly went to the Church of St. Peter and headed up the hill. With stairs. Up up up.

We were greeted in the square where all the portrait artist are by a busker with a music box. Olive tipped her a euro and she got an orange candy. She was over the moon. At Sacre-Coeur, we quietly took our tour amongst the throng of worshipers. Olive lit yet another candle for the grandmas and headed out. Down the stairs we went listening to various street performers along the way. Enjoyed the accordions much more than the American rock ballads, but I wasn't the one trying to make the money. Got ourselves a much anticipated Crème glacée where Olive opted out of the spoon and licked it from the cup. Many a folk had to comment on the cuteness of our child at this time as we sat on the curb with our iced treat.

Many more stairs and hills we found ourselves at another playground. This time Olive played with the kids making a dog pile on the slide, and made a little bratty girl cry by standing her ground that she was indeed waiting in line for the see-saw. We managed to pass the Cafe where Amelie was film, the Moulin Rouge along a porn riddled street of NYC past, bought Absenthe (and yet to try it), and Olive took a nap on a bench in the middle of town due to all the carrying she had been subjected to all day.

We enjoyed dinner in an open air resturant watching the tourists walk by and street artist strum up buisness for portraits. Waiting for our food, Olive and I sat on the curb blowing bubbles at them. Other kids stopped to play and pop the bubbles, a dog chased them, adults smiled (mostly), an older artist kept coming by telling her how beautiful she was and how she was making magic in French, the waiter was stealing turns and blowing bubbles at her, and the smokers who sat near us left after being pumped with them. All benefits in my book. Big belly laughs from O. Somehow I hope she remembers that one on her own with out us having to tell her about it later in life. Meal itself? Yet to be impressed by French cooking. Sweets, yes, yes I am impressed, all others, so so.

Our time being almost up, we took the Metro back to city center to see the Eiffel Tower alight. We waited on the Pont Alexandre III bridge (the one w/gold horse statues). O continuing with the bubbles was trying to blow them over the water to the tower to no avail. Had yet another eclair and waited till 9pm. O was wowed. I said the lights looked like ants running up and down the tower and Olive quickly corrected me and said they were Elephants. Ants would be to small. Silly me. To that we said "au revoir" and started making our way back home.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Arachnophobia

Really, I am okay with spiders. Don't bother me a bit when they are outside. The ones who spin webs and eat pesky little bugs in my home are A-Ok with me. However, I'm a bit changed by these new English variety. My neighbor, Alison, upon our first meeting, asked me how I felt about them. Now upon our next meeting, I'll have to revise my original statement and tell her, that yes, indeed she was correct in saying there are some SPIDERS who like our homes a little too much. I might even take back that I'm willing to come over and "take care of" the ones she finds. Just when you're not ready for them *shiver*.