Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stone Arches

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.


Blogger Sheltie Girl said...

Wow Lucy! So many fabulous things happening at your home right now. Congratulations to your husband for his promotion. Plus, I'm so excited for you both...a little one coming. Babies will change your life. Let us know when he/she arrives.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

2:01 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger Tracey said...

Wow!!! Congratulations to you and your husband on all the exciting events happening in you lives right now!!

2:59 PM, May 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i delurk... i don't know you or your family, but i have been reading this blog quite regularly. i have a love for the french food, language and culture and get little snippits through you. so thanks.
felicitations on the impending arrival of a little one. a journey unlike any other, with rewards that your imagination and heart at this point can't comprehend.

5:11 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

I love your blog...stunning photos, inspiring cuisine and lots of great addresses...
Congratulations on your "double" good news :)

5:17 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger Kitt said...

Ooh, a baby! That's wonderful news. Here's hoping for a speedy delivery (which always makes me think of a wee bundle tied up with string and a stamp or two.)

Hope your other labor of love goes smoothly, too.

5:28 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm so thrilled for you, Lucy! A baby is an amazing thing - you're truly blessed.

I confess that I love your blog for its food and French culture but, today, I'm loving the awesome Star Wars figurines! Fantastic!

5:37 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger glamah16 said...

All your food looks lovely. Im so happy on all of your recent develpoments! Congrats>

6:04 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger christine said...

I´m jumpimg up and down for you guys!! And your little getaway has made me so homesick for places and pepole and food. It looked lika a wonderful viaduct!

6:53 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger Wendy said...

Oh! Congratulations on your soon to be baby! Lovely news. So happy for you. :)

9:30 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

oh, congrats on Loic's promotion and on your superb baby news! :)

7:38 AM, May 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bravo au futur bebe, aux futurs parents et au futur professeur ! je ne laisse jamais de message mais apprecie bcp votre blog !
Un bonjour de Geneve,

1:33 PM, May 15, 2008  
Blogger Lori said...

Oh, Lucy, what terrific news about your baby! So glad for you and Loic...

2:06 PM, May 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What wonderful "double" good news. As a long time reader of you blog and your postings on egullet I think it is "double" great. Congratulations. D

2:59 AM, May 16, 2008  
Blogger Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Hi, the name (Desire Paths...)is so appropriate too don't you think..?
Thanks for your visit :)

2:01 PM, May 16, 2008  
Blogger L Vanel said...

I really appreciate your comments, my friends. Thanks for coming by!

6:57 PM, May 16, 2008  
Blogger Tace said...

Wowsers, sounds like an incredibly well packed vacation. Congratulations on the exciting news, your husband's job and a baby in the future! Wowsers, lots of stuff happen' huh?
The food......golly just reading the lists of what you eat sometimes is enough to send me into spasms of food jealousy which are quickly cured by raiding my own kitchen. Your food photos, descriptions and recipes are very inspiring to me, so thanks!

2:02 AM, May 17, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have alot of excitement going on over there! Congratulations to your husband with his professorship and congratulations with your baby coming soon, what wonderful news!I'm happy for you!

9:36 AM, May 19, 2008  

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