You probably already gathered that we didn't just fait le pont, we did le grand viaduc, which is to combine the first and second long weekend and make it into one extra long weekend of 10 days. Imagine instead of a nice little footbridge, we now have an ancient Roman stone arched edifice of weekend upon weekend with everything stacked in between. Loic and I just wrapped up a rough and tumble season and were both good and ready for a break!
Loic really deserved a break after a long push to get his dossier considered and then a concours in front of a jury to decide if he would win the much desired promotion to Professor at the University. This kind of position is the equivalent of a tenured position. Well, HE GOT IT! Yay! His parents had been through some changes too, with one of Loic's uncles who passed away a couple of months ago (quite traumatic to L's father) and Mamie Durandeau finally making the decision to move into a retirement home in town, a transition that is never easy. Some family time was in order.
I have been working on a pretty extensive project which has finally taken voluptuous shape and is filling out. It is taking a lot of energy and will take a whole lot more. I found a place to put it down and we went down to the Midi, Sissy the cat in tow, and settled into Loic's old room. I scanned the bookcases for something new, noticing only that the second copy of the Lord of the Rings had been borrowed from his bookcase, leaving a gap. I don't know why he had two copies in the first place. Reassuringly, Princess Leia and companions surveyed the room from her frozen tomb of beauty, framed by unknown data in cream colored 1MB disks.
One of our outings was to the local Ikea, to pick up a certain model of something we tried to get up in Lyon but they didn't have in stock, a baby bed. Yessss. a baby bed (whispered). For those not in the know, we are expecting a baby but not in the conventional way. We don't know when the baby will arrive but have been given official hope that it will be very soon.
We got Sissy a cute kitty tent and rug which she didn't express any interest in down at Loic's parents' house while she could sit on the windowsill of Loic's bedroom. Framed by green shutters and warmed by red terra cotta stones, languidly eying the neighbors pigeons in their cage, she thought the tent was an attempt to spoil her fun. But once we got home (pictured here), she sidled right in and has adopted it very cutely. It's quite interesting, she has decided to pass her days in the house, coming out to graze on her patch of grass from time to time and scratch her orange carpet.
We consumed a massive amount of seafood last week, with a different fish every day of the week, it seemed, and if we weren't going to have fish at the main course, we had it on the end of a cocktail stick with the apero. I am afraid to look at the Monteray Bay Aquarium 'avoid' list, because I suspect we each had a serving of everything on it. We enjoyed tuna stuffed peppers and pickled anchovies, an enormous Mediterranean sea bass that one of Brigitte's friends caught, salmon cooked with smoked salt, delicately fried skate wings with caper sauce and potatoes, boiled crab with asparagus and fresh home made mayonnaise, and lots more politically incorrect fish like shrimp and a cousin of the bass that's not popping into my mind directly at the moment. Ahhhhh. Fish.
I listened to Brigitte talk about the babies and give me various tidbits of sage advice about child rearing, I read two books, we had a day at a Thalasso spa where you get massaged with seawater jets with all these elderly people in swim caps and then painted with heated seaweed paste and wrapped in a cocoon. I got slightly sunburned, Brigitte got her first batch of fresh feves of the year from her garden, I pondered sage and rosemary based liqueurs since Brigitte has two large fragrant bushes and just can't use it all. We went up to spend a few days with Francoise and Philippe at the chateau. I let myself have a slight fever, and Loic spent about 2 solid days helping his father with computer stuff. They have decided to finally do away with the old computer and also the dial-up connection. We were appalled at the conditions under which Yves was working. His old screen was so degraded it was completely blurred out and words were not even legible at the sides! He had to get a new one. All of this father-son bonding over the computer gave me a chance for a little time on my own. We also got away for a stroll through a lovely little town next to Hyeres, and enjoyed the kite surfers and the pink flamingos which have set up their little community in the salt marshes there. I read for awhile at the port and generally just relaxed.
A tip on stepping off those stone arched bridges - Try to avoid "a red day", leave a day early or a day late. In this country we label the traffic condition like ski slopes, red being second to most hazardous, implying that Swiss and German Audis will slalom through the sea of Belgian and Dutch camping cars and that there will be accidents in Montpelier, Orange, and stopped traffic for 5 kilometers leading to the tunnel that connects to the Lyon-Paris motorway.
Voila, a nice break from the daily grind. I found that the change of air was very effective in getting some stagnant areas of my creativity circulating again. Just a reminder to take a break now and then and turn away from any big project you have going, then take a good look at it again. It helps to put a better perspective on it. I feel refreshed and ready for the next big push.