Monthly Archives: January 2018
Just checking in to let the folks back home know everything is peachy over here. I had started to write something on Sunday, but I was too busy sipping kir royals and dancing around my place while cooking up a stew (in my purple Le Creuset that I bought at the factory in France — hahaha other girls can have their Channel and Dior, I’m all about cookware you could pull a muscle lifting), catching up with friends and doing mundane Sunday-type things — and perfectly happy doing so!
I also made some new friends and had a last-minute happy hour at my place, which was a lot of fun. I’ve been humiliating myself at Zumba, and I’ve been pushing my students with literary theory, WW1 research and, oh my goodness, even attempting a little literary analysis, with the lower level ESL kids, which is cruel of me, but we all seem to be enjoying (notice how I convince myself they’re liking it too) multi-level thinking and discussions. I love this shit. So all is right in my world.
I won’t be watching tonight’s State of the Union because, well, I’ll be sleeping when it takes place, and I want to stay on the ‘expanding our minds’ track, plus the odds are it’ll just pull me out of my happy place — but I could be wrong. Here’s to hoping I am!
And onto even bigger news: Joe and Badger arrive in LESS than two weeks. This living in Belgium thing is happening for them soon too! Since it’s pre-work hours, I’ll have to raise my coffee (and save the champagne glass for much, much later) to celebrating whatever it is that makes us all happy. Here’s to the normal-day things that make life peachy!
Guess which lucky girl got to go to Epernay (self proclaimed Champagne capital), France this weekend?
And guess who got to sample a few glasses?
I know there are all sorts of scary, bad things going on in our lil shithole world, but I am not going to let any of that dampen my time in the land of glorious food, wine, beer (another Bachus miracle) and champagne. It is 2018, and I’m no longer moving in or settling in to my new school, I’m in the thick of it and finally getting the chance to breathe and appreciate all of it — including the rare moments of actual sunlight (she’s danced quite a bit with us this weekend). In less than 30 days (can you believe?!!) Joe and Badger join me, and then a little after that spring kicks in, and, well, there’s just so much for us to enjoy. Thank you to all the powers that be for the gift of now and where I get to live, work and play.
Epernay is less than a 3 hour drive from Mons. It’s an easy route (especially when you’re not the one driving), and great to do in the winter because it’s not crowded. Since I’m blessed to get to meet and befriend wonderful people, I had a great time with my bubbly-sipping crew. We laughed, sipped, ate, shopped and learned a lot. I appreciate champagne more now that I know more about its process. Perhaps during the summer Joe and I can visit the actual orchards too.
And look at all of those glorious bottles just sucking up dust and time waiting for their champagne to be born…
As for other news my house is officially sold. On January 4 a new family’s name went on its title. I was surprised at how sad I was that day. Had a good cry and mourned the passing of the place where I raised my children, but let’s be fair I raised my children in several places, that one was just where we lived the longest. And our bond doesn’t end just because the house most of us haven’t lived in for a while is gone. The next day I perked up when I saw the money in my account and realised, for now (you know it won’t last), I’m debt free. The stresses in my life are no longer connected to bills, and I so hope to keep it that way!
Oh, and I also got my new spiffy iPhone for Christmas (Thanks Santa Joe), so enjoying having a phone that works quickly. I’m learning to play with its camera too, but I still prefer an actual camera to the phone thing. That said a phone is more convenient for tours and stuff. When Joe gets here we’ll go on hiking trips where I can play with my Nikon and whatnot (sadly my Sony died), so life is transitioning back to normal again.
Of course there’s so much more going on — I’ve had some great meals, great times with friends, great experiences with students and the not-so great stuff like jet lag and wearing the wrong footwear on a cold rainy day.
Tried this tasty French appetiser Oeufs en Meurette. It’s a poached egg in a red wine sauce (beans, meat and mushroom stew). I’m on a mission to visit Le Creuset (yeah I know Staub was this restaurant’s choice) in France to buy my own dutch oven and little cute stew serving dishes, so that I can start making some of these dishes on my own.
To counter all my imbibing I’m also joining a Zumba class and attempting to use the gym on base. God help me it’s all about the balance.
As for all of you who plan on visiting, Mama has goodies waiting for you…
I brought in 2017 bundled up next to my man, getting fireworks ash in our eyes, in Reykjavik, Iceland; I ended it huddled up under my new soft blankie (thanks to Aaron’s girlfriend), alone on my couch in Mons, Belgium. That sounds sad, but it’s exactly where I wanted to be. Of course I’d have preferred celebrating New Years with family and friends, but work begins again tomorrow, and my best flight option meant being back in Belgium on the 31st.
After two weeks of rushing around to get things done in Arizona, and a return journey that included three flights, a hot bath, some wine, and lots of shut eye is all I wanted. I slept until noon today! And it felt great. It’s been raining since I returned, so hibernating inside my warm, cozy apartment is what this weekend is all about.
My trip home went by way, way, way too quickly. My only 2017 regret is that both my trips back home were too rushed because there was so much to do, BUT the doing is done. My house is pretty much sold (signed all the papers; buyers sign on Jan 4), Badger and Joe are all set for their big move (the hound is chipped and immunised; the man is stressed and tackling his list of to-dos), and my kids are moving along in their versions of happy.
We spent Christmas at Kelly and Kaylene’s, where I finally got to meet Kelly’s mom (we had fun embarrassing our kids with our stories — hopefully something we’ll do many times more!). We feasted, we drank, we laughed, we watched movies, we played Game of Thrones monopoly, we familied it up! I sure do love my people.
I cherished my time with Joe and the kids, and I’m so glad we got to spend Christmas together. Again, I’m proud of all of them and love being witness to the adults they’ve become. I didn’t get to spend much time with friends, but the little bit of time some of us got together was awesome. Summer 2019 I’ll be back for a much longer visit, so lots of whooping it up time is in our future.
Party time with friends included a pub bicycle crawl to celebrate a friend’s 50th. LOL after all my years in Phoenix I can finally claim I hit the downtown Scottsdale bars. I also got to fit some patio bar time in, something I can no longer do during the winter where I now live. Sadly not pictured is my outing with Julie and Sushi with Tiffany and Joe. There are so many others I didn’t get to see, but we’ll catch up some where some time and it’ll be great.
As for 2018 resolutions, I have none. I’m a lucky, stable, healthy soul who is cool with her extra lumps and wrinkles. No need to promise to lose weight or save or whatever (but you know I’ll try). My only goal is to continue embracing all that comes my way. Good or bad it usually works out toward something great, so Happy New Everything that comes our way — and good riddance to the bad that usually, eventually melts away.
All of my kids adopted puppies, so our holidays also included a lot of pooch love. Not pictured are Kyle and Kendra’s two dogs, Piper and her puppy Penny. Kaylene and Kelly’s two white lab puppies are also Piper’s babies, and Aaron and Stacy’s pups are rescues. Dexter, the brown cutie (um, the dog who wanted to eat my unicorn slippers) won me over with his snores and snuggles. Okay, the others did too. Badger has learned to cope with all the whipper snappers.
And that’s all that I have for you right now. My jet lagged self needs to figure out what she’s torturing her students with tomorrow.