Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dreaming of France -- Traveling by Train


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

Almost everyone headed to France, and other places too, land in Paris at Charles de Gaulle airport. If  you're going on to other places in France or in Europe, you may take the long trek from the air terminals to the train station. They're all connected.
We pulled our wheeled suitcases behind us and weaved around groups of people who stood still, wondering which way to go to find a taxi. The same walk will take people to the local trains that ferry them into the heart of Paris.
When we traveled with the kids, we caught a bus that took us to the train terminal. Now, it's just easier to walk.
Once we got there, we saw this list of trains leaving Paris.
The trains from Paris go everywhere!
We had an hour or so before our train to Aix en Provence left, so we headed up to a local boulangerie, which is right there in the train station.

This is a chain now, and the food doesn't compare to what you might get at a local boulangerie anywhere in Paris or smaller cities around France. But to us weary travelers, what an opportunity to settle down and enjoy a few pastries.

This is a chausson pommes -- apples folded under that lovely sugary crust.


And this is a tart sucre. A sugar tart. 

And these pastries say welcome to France. I wonder how long it will be before I get to try these kinds of pastries again. 

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, August 29, 2015

Saturday Snapshot -- Sunrise


Join West Metro Mommy for this weekly meme of photos people have taken and share on their blogs.
Friday evening, I went to the first same-sex marriage that I've attended. The Supreme Court ruling in June made same-sex marriage legal in Ohio.
This morning on my run, I spotted a lovely sunrise. 
How many times a year will it peek through at this exact spot? 
Of course, the picture is never as good as the real thing. You'll have to take my word for it. 


Maybe I'll get a picture of the full moon tonight so I can juxtapose them. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Checking Off My Bucket List

I'm generally the kind of person who has big ideas, but thinks them through for quite a while. That means, that nothing may come of my big idea.
I can't explain it, but for a few months now, I have been wanting to try paddle boarding. Particularly, stand-up paddle boarding. Like this girl:
I don't think I'll look like this girl on the paddle board, but I hope to be able to stand up.

I'd been thinking that we should go to the beach somewhere to try it. But I work Mondays and Fridays starting next week and I get very little time off, which I need to save in case I'm actually sick. So we do not have time to drive to an ocean, 8-9 hours from here, learn to paddle board and drive back on a Saturday and Sunday. 
But Labor Day is approaching. I know that Earl works, but Grace is starting a new job, so she can take a few days off in between. 
I mentioned it to her, and, although she feels bad about leaving her old job early, I convinced her to come along. 
I asked my cousin who lives in Charleston whether she would be home that weekend. No luck.
Instead, I booked a hotel in North Carolina for three nights, and I've already made my reservations for the stand-up paddle board lesson on Sunday morning. 
It's so impetuous of me. I thought about it. I made the reservation without torturing myself. 
I'm thrilled, and a little scared.
Now to find out what kind of exercise I should be doing to get ready for paddle boarding. I suspect I'll need to do more planks!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Long Winter Warnings?

We've enjoyed a brief autumn-like spell here. Since I love the fall I'm thrilled.
The other morning, I let the cats outside, and I noticed the older one, the hunter, was lying on the grass with his paws beneath him. I thought he might have captured something, a bunny, a squirrel, a bird, so I walked out to see if I could save a creature from him. He didn't have an animal, but was just cold.
As I stood there in the grass beside him, I heard a honking noise. The younger cat and I both looked up at the sky. The younger cat definitely feared whatever made that noise. But after a few more sounds, I saw seven geese flying in formation and heading south.
Since it is still August, that made me worry a bit. It definitely gave me flashbacks to The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder:
"Not a goose nor a duck on the lake. None in the slough. Not one in sight. They are flying high above the clouds, flying fast,” Pa tells the family after coming back from what should have been a productive hunting trip in the fall. “Every kind of bird is going south as fast and as high as it can fly…And no other kind of game is out. Every living thing that runs or swims is hidden away somewhere. I never saw country so empty and still.”

But that chilly morning, the temperature was 55 degrees, gave me the opportunity to put on a new sweater that I'd ordered sometime since the spring. I had to walk to the post office to mail some books, so I put the loose knit sweater over a camisole, and enjoyed the warmth, until I got home and was too warm.

Then I put it away until autumn really and truly comes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Intros -- The Little Paris Bookshop


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 morning the library notified me that I had a knew download available. I love getting a library book through email. I clicked on the link then clicked on download and there it was on my Kindle.
This time I received The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. Anyone who knows my obsession with France will know why I 'm excited about this book.
The bookshop proprietor doles out books like a pharmacist does medicine. He knows how to heal anyone's emotions, except his own.
Here's the intro:
How on earth could I have let them talk me into it?The two generals of number 27 Rue Montagnard -- Madame Bernard, the owner, and Madame Rosalette, the concierge -- had caught Monsieur in a pincer movement between their ground-floor flats.
"That Le P. has treated his wife shamelessly."
"Scandalously. Like a moth treats a wedding veil."
"You can hardly blame some people when you look at their wives. Fridges in Chanel. But men?  Monsters, all of them."
"Ladies, I don't quite know what..."
"Not you of course, Mosieur Perdu. You are cashmere compared with the normal yarn from which men are spun."
Sounds like these ladies are masters of figurative language.
Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dreaming of France -- On the Water


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.

As the summer wanes here, I figure the same thing must be happening in the South of France. The cicadas are buzzing and people are squeezing every bit of sun out of the days of August.
When Earl and I visited the South of France in March, people had already taken to the water to enjoy life on the Mediterranean.

We visited the Calanques, like fjords except located in the South of France rather than in Norway, and they aren't icy. The calanques are located between Cassis and Marseille.  


As we hiked along the stone formations, we came up on a marina protected by high, rocky walls. 


And we saw a young woman getting an early start on her tan. Earl took this picture so it would artfully hide the parts that many in the South of France have no problem exposing. 
Hope everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere enjoys a warm and peaceful end to their summer. 

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, August 22, 2015

Saturday Snapshot -- A Wedding


Join West Metro Mommy for this weekly meme of photos people have taken and share on their blogs.
Friday evening, I went to the first same-sex marriage that I've attended. The Supreme Court ruling in June made same-sex marriage legal in Ohio.
Grace and Tucker had a swim coach in high school who lived with her partner. The two had been married before in another state, before a court had struck down that state's marriage law.
Now, they are married in Ohio and throughout the country.
The two walked down the aisle holding hands with their 12-year-old daughter.

On the way back down the aisle, with her parents married to each other, tears dripped down their daughter's cheeks. 
I thought nothing else about the fact that two women married each other, until Earl and I were leaving, after eating, drinking and dancing. 
We stopped to congratulate Leslie. 
"You two have always been lovely to us," she said. 
That's when it struck me that there must have been others who weren't lovely to them. People who judged them or shut them out because they were two women in love with each other. 
That made me so sad. 
I hope that one day soon, the expectation will be that everyone treats each other with respect, no matter what kind of relationship they're in . 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blessings

Before I start to sound like a privileged whiner (after reading my previous post), let me just say how grateful I am to have my parents around.
I realize as I kvetch about petty details, that many of my friends no longer have their parents to complain about.
So last night, Dad and I took a ride around the golf course. Dad had made margaritas before dinner, so we both carried one along with us.
He usually plays in the golf league that was going on, so he searched for his cronies who were able to be on the links while he was laid up with a cast on his foot, trying to heal an infected sore.
Although the heat is nearly unbearable in most places in Florida, riding along the golf course, the grass and trees helped bring the temperature down, and rather than the usual afternoon showers, a nice breeze had kicked up.
I took a selfie of the two of us.

And I hope it helps me to remember how lucky I am to spend time with him and with Mom.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lessons From a Grownup Child

No matter my age, when I visit my parents, I'm a child. So I should have anticipated that there would be some resistance to a trip where I planned to help them out. 
Dad has had an ongoing battle with a wound on his foot that won't heal. This follows on the tracks of sciatic pain and a bout of salmonella that sent him to the hospital. It has definitely been a challenging year for him at age 78. 
The sore on his foot is a problem because he is diabetic. They're going to do surgery to unclog some arteries so he gets better circulation and meanwhile, he's spending two hours, five days a week in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, or as I tell the kids, the chamber of secrets. 
Mom and Dad are reluctant to accept my help. Dad wants to hold the door for me when we get in the car. Mom wants to make me a protein shake after I run. 
They apologized a dozen times that I had to take the trash out. 
I drove Dad to the chamber yesterday while Mom played golf. She was meeting us at the doctor. 
Although Dad claimed he could get changed on his own, stretching his shorts over the cast and pulling on scrubs before putting the walking boot back on, he seemed agitated when mom showed up. He wouldn't let me help him get changed. 
The one thing I've learned is that if I want to be helpful then I just need to do whatever my parents want. Church where the prayer includes comments about the election and "taking our country back" -- no problem. Switching to the lane Dad suggests and driving at the speed he usually drives at -- okay. Leaving an hour early for a doctor appointment that is 30 minutes away -- I'm ready. 
Drink a protein shake, eat the melon they left out for me -- I'll try to just smile and go along with it. 
Going to the oxygen treatment turns out to be a 4-hour odyssey. But they're both being fairly calm about it, and truthfully, they don't need my help. I just want to feel useful, as if I can take some of their burden away. 
So while Dad was in the oxygen treatment today, Mom and I went to have our nails done. 
And this morning after I ran, I enjoyed a dip in the pool. 

I've gotten to spend good time with both of them, so maybe that's the most I can hope for. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dreaming of France -- First Night in 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. 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.

What do you do first when you visit France?
For us, on our last trip, we hopped right on the train to Aix en Provence. Our friend Delana picked us up at the train station and dropped us at our hotel on Cours Mirabeau and we agreed to meet for a drink in a nearby plaza.
The theme that night must have been red, because here I am, drinking a kir royale which is a lovely scarlet color.

Maybe the color rubbed off on the other pictures because the other pictures from the square there look red as well.


For me, this was one of our easiest transitions, probably because we were entertained by Delana and her friend Patrick. We stayed awake and entertained until late in the evening as we moved to a Moroccan restaurant and enjoyed a fulfilling meal followed by mint tea, instead of our usual arrival in France which finds us dragging along counting the hours until we can fall in bed.

What a lovely start to a visit in France. I hope that it is always this delightful. 
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

Florida Sunrise

I'm on a short visit to my parents' house in Florida, and one of my favorite things is my first run. The scenery is so strikingly different from the my usual runs in Ohio.
When I woke up, late for me, at 6:41 a.m., I was surprised that the sun wasn't up yet. But I had to remind myself that during the summer, the sun is positioned in the north. I had time to get up and get dressed for a run as the sun rose.
I could hear the Sandhill Cranes calling out a warning and I looked around nervously for the big loud birds that travel in packs, but I didn't see any.
It's the time of  year in Florida when thunderstorms strike every day, usually in the afternoon, but the way the clouds were building up this morning, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a thunder storm brewing in the morning.

As I ran on around the lake, I saw that some fishermen had gotten a jump on me that morning as they were already casting while the sun rose behind the clouds.

I followed my run with a dip in the pool, which is again, something that I don't get at home.

Lovely to spend time with my parents and to soak in the beautiful scenery.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hair Hurdles and Other Updates

So, I sat down to write a complaining blog about a recent trip to the salon, but I'd better start out with the positive news.
My youngest son has decided to return to college. He is re-enrolled and has an apartment. He just needs to firm up classes and get a job. Those of you who have listened to my worries on this topic, know it is a relief, or it will be once everything is settled and he moves to his apartment next Friday. Then we'll keep our fingers crossed until he completes the semester and earns passing grades.
Our other concerns, like whether my husband will keep his job as the newspaper reorganizes under its new owner, continue to hang over our heads, but we're feeling hopeful.
On to my hair debacle. I'm sitting here for an hour with a plastic bag over my head and a deep conditioner on my hair in an attempt to save it.
A week ago, I went to Aveda Nurtur to have my roots and highlights done. The hairdresser was new at the salon. She decided to do an all over color first. After she washed it, she did the highlights. The entire process took three hours, rather than the usual two hours. As I sat there, I got more and more fidgety. I had papers to grade and never got a big chunk of time to get them done as someone kept checking my hair or washing it or rinsing it.
When I finally finished the color process, another stylist dried my hair. As she laboriously pulled a round brush through my curly hair, trying to straighten it, I told her that a flat iron was really the only thing that took the curl out of my hair.
"Oh, I could do that, but it would cost an extra $10," the stylist said.
That pissed me off. Why shouldn't I leave the salon with my hair actually styled the way I want. I felt like I was on one of those airlines that charge extra for peanuts and seatbelts and carry-on bags.
I walked home from the salon and fixed it. That infuriated me, since I'd paid over $100 to have my hair done, coming home and to flatiron it myself felt ridiculous.
I thought about writing a note to the salon to complain, but as the days went past, I dropped it. Until I started noticing that the hair on my bangs and around my face that had been highlights were crinkly and breaking. The highlights had basically fried my hair.
I stopped at the salon yesterday and they gave me a tiny little cup of conditioner and suggested I try a deep condition which should take care of it.
And that's why I'm wasting another hour sitting with my hair in a plastic bag and determining that the price to have my hair colored and styled was a complete waste this week.
This family selfie is the only picture I have of myself after my recent trip to the salon.

But I did get a photo of two of the kids plus my husband dressed up for a wedding.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Dreaming of France -- Provence Video by The New York Times


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.

After a couple of very hectic days, on Sunday morning, I had the chance to enjoy some down time.
The yeasty smell of rising croissants waiting to be baked greeted me as I walked through the empty house; everyone else was sleeping.
I clicked on an email link my friend Najah had sent me. The title was "36 Hours in Provence." I saw that the video ran 6 minutes long, so I hesitated. Did I have time to watch a 6-minute video.
Yes! I deserved six minutes in Provence, but first I made a cup of coffee and steamed the milk until it was frothy.
Then I took my computer and my coffee to the cool air of the front porch and clicked start.
36 Hours in Provence

Unfortunately, the video is available to upload directly to my blog, so I've captured a shot from the video and included the link here. It's definitely worth  your time if you want to long to visit Provence. The video focused a bit too much on "going out" kinds of clubs rather than the gorgeous landscapes and Roman architecture that I'm entranced by, but maybe some of you are looking for hot clubs to visit. 
The New York Times also did a video call "36 Hours in Nice" and I can upload that one here. 
Grab a cup of coffee and a croissant and join me!



Where would you rather spend 36 hours - Provence or Nice?
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.


Wedding Fun

Yesterday we traveled to Kentucky for my cousin's daughter's wedding.
We love Morgan. She's one of those people with an infectious enthusiasm for life. She looks like she should be a weather girl on a local television station and her southern accent just melts my heart.
The announcement at the beginning of the wedding requested that people refrain from taking photos during the wedding, to be in the moment instead. Which I did.  However, other people didn't, so I stole one of their pics off Facebook.

During the reception, we took advantage of the photo booth. 

That's me with the mitre hat, next to Grace and my niece Caroline in the tiaras, and my sister-in-law Dawn in the cowboy hat. 
I took a nice photo of my cousin Mike dancing with Morgan. He cried as he walked her down the aisle and couldn't hold the tears back again as they danced. 

But my favorite moment was the throwing of the garter.
Grace and Caroline joined the single women for throwing the bouquet, but Morgan turned around and handed it to a friend.
Here's her actual bouquet, which she didn't throw. It's made from brooches.
Spencer didn't seem to be inclined to join the single guys for the garter toss.
We told him the goal was to catch the garter. We didn't explain that meant he would be the next to get married.
He lined up at the end of the group of guys. Then we saw him flexing his knees. 
Being a bit competitive, Spencer takes a challenge quite literally. Of course, he played  basketball for years and he has many jump balls under his belt. When the the garter was in the air, he went up for it, like a basketball, leaping in front of all the other men to snatch it out of the air. 
Why, oh why, didn't I videotape that? 
Here he is with the garter.

I don't see a wedding in his near future. 
We had a hotel and planned to spend the night, but when we got back to the hotel room around 10, I suggested we just drive home. Earl's a night owl, so he agreed to drive. 
Spencer, who generally doesn't get home until 2 or so, said he would help drive too. He fell asleep by 11 and slept hard until we woke him in the garage at 2 a.m. and he thought we were at the hotel.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Glorious Morning

This morning was glorious, not just the weather, but the fact that I didn't have to go to work.
I've been teaching six days a week, but one of my colleges just finished until Aug. 31, so I'm only working three days a week.
Don't feel bad for me though; the number of hours I work is pretty pitiful. It just mentally took its toll because I didn't have two full days off.
This morning, I decided to ride my bike to the gym. The bike trail is smooth and safe, but I take my life in my hands a bit getting to the bike trail.

Our town definitely needs to work on that. Part of the ride is along a four-lane road. I figured early in the morning, I should be safe.
After my workout at the gym, I got on my bike to ride back home, but the intense blue of the sky convinced me to keep going.
This low-head dam hasn't been removed yet.

I was one of those obnoxious people saying "Morning!" to anyone I passed. Most of them were on their way to work, however, so their greetings were not as effusive as mine.
My attempt at an artsy photo of downtown Columbus. 

On my way to the gym, I passed a family walking on the trail. A mother with a little boy, maybe five  years old, and a grandmother. When I rode my bike to downtown Columbus, I passed them again. They had walked all that way. I can't imagine my kids able to walk that far when they were little. People have lives that we know nothing about. They greeted me with a cheery hello each time I saw them, because I turned around from downtown and rode back home.

On the bike path near Confluence Park, which is where the Scioto and Olentangy rivers come together, I saw a love lock. Etched on the lock were the names Chris and Sara. Then the date, 7/13/09. Since it's the only lock attached there since 2009, I guess this bridge isn't going to become one of those "love locks" bridges that becomes weighed down by locks.
Here's the lock on the bridge. 
When I returned home, I convinced Grace to get out of bed and to walk to the coffee shop with me. Usually, in August, the air in Ohio is heavy with humidity, but the past few days, the humidity has dispersed and that makes the sky sparkle.
We enjoyed a bonding mother/daughter time before she had to get ready for work.
Then Tucker came into the kitchen,  ready for work, and we actually had a good talk. He's going to consider maybe going back to college. I'll take that little sign of hope.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Tuesday Intros -- The Sisters of Versailles


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'm reading The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie as part of France Book Tours. I'm not sure yet when I'll be reviewing it, but sometime between Aug. 31 and Sept. 9.
As I started the book, I thought the language was a bit blah, but the historical novel has really sucked me in.
Here's the intro:
Hortense
Paris
1799
We are five sisters and four became mistresses of our king. Only I escaped his arms but that was my choice: I may be eighty-four years old, and all that I speak of may have happened in the far distance of the past, but in a woman vanity is eternal. So I need to tell you: I could have. Had I wanted.
Because he - the king - he certainly wanted.
I'm not speaking of the last king, our sixteenth Louis, poor hapless man dead these six years on the guillotine, followed by his Austrian wife. No, here I talk of the fifteenth Louis, a magnificent king. I knew him when he was fresh and young, no hint of the debauched libertine that he would become in his later years, with his drooping eyes and sallow skin, his lips wet with lust.

What do you think? The book becomes available on Sept. 1.
Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Dreaming of France -- Prepping for A France Move


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.

Today, the sky is the clearest blue, like an imagined dream that filled the sky.
As Earl and I rode our bikes to the coffee shop, I looked up and saw the white silhouette of an airplane stark against the sky.
We both thought the same thing: We should be on that plane on our way to France.
Maybe soon.
The newspaper will be laying off people in the next 60 days. We hope Earl isn't on that list, but if he is, we'll move in December since I have a full load of classes this fall.
If he keeps his job, we'll wait until next August when Spencer finishes college and is hopefully employed.
We'll feel so much better if our children have jobs and apartments.
One thing that we have accomplished, in addition to cleaning up my desk, is to make sure all of the kids have reliable cars.
Our family of five has survived with two cars. As each child got their driver's license, we resisted buying an extra car. And it worked out as Grace headed off to college in Upstate New York, and then Spencer went to school in Florida. The kid left at home got to drive the second car, and most of the time Earl takes the bus to work.
When I have morning classes, I drop Earl at work since we both go downtown Columbus. Many times I suggest that Earl should take the car to work, but he doesn't want to pay for parking.
As Tucker moved home, and Grace moved back in after college, we knew the time had come to increase the number of cars. Both Grace and Tucker needed cars to get to work.
Luckily, Grace bought her own car. We talked about used cars; we considered a lease, but Grace dived right into buying a new car. An adorable Fiat.

Spencer spent the summer at college in Athens, Ohio. We let him take our second car, a Volkswagen Passat. He has been searching for a job and being a delivery person might be in the cards for him once the college students head back to school this month.

For Tucker, we started off buying a Chevrolet Suburban that he could use for his landscaping business. Then a few days later, he quit landscaping and got a job delivering sandwiches for Jimmy Johns. That behemoth vehicle was definitely the wrong car for delivering.
So  we dug deep and bought a 2002 Subaru Outback. The gas mileage is much better and he can get into tight spaces quickly.
We didn't notice until they were purchased that all three of our children have green cars. 

We can check buying cars off our list of things to do now. All of the kids have cars. Earl and I are sharing a car, and we won't worry about getting any more until we move to France.
Grace moves into an apartment at the end of the month and just this morning we sat in the dining room peering into the living room and deciding who would get which pieces of furniture when we left for France.
Of course, Grace was the only child there, so she claimed most of the items. It's strange to think of moving and leaving most of our possessions behind.
For those of you who have moved to another country, a country across the sea, what do you think I need to bring with me?
I think it's different going from the U.K. to France because you can load your car and go through the Chunnel.
Other than clothes and pictures and some books, what must I be certain to take along?
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.


Catching Up

Woohoo! I've just finished a few intense days, returning from France and all that entails, two grocery store trips, four loads of laund...