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Rain & Rainbows

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It’s been way too long since I’ve posted, and, of course, a lot has happened since August.  Work is super busy, and whenever I try to upload photos to this blog it seems to take me forever no matter what I do.  In big part it’s because of my shitty wifi.  I love where I live, but it has its issues.

Since I’ve last posted, I’ve had a visit from my Al Ain neighbor Haneefa (back in August), and we had fun on a weekend trip discovering Rotterdam.

Cubed houses and interesting street art just to name a few things to find in that city.

And, we’ve gotten plenty of play time right here in Belgium.  Mons had its annual Tanks in Town event, which is always a good time.

Plus, we’ve gone to plenty of fun dinners, concerts, fests on base (including Octoberfest!) and God only knows what other local shenanigans.  There’s always something going on; I just wish I took the time to post about them while they were happening.

The weather has been literally rainbows and rain, but the temps are still lovely.  Today it’s in the 70s (fahrenheit).  It makes for a good metaphor for my life as well.  Nothing bad has happened, but it’s that time of year when I’m just so slammed with work stuff.  It never seems to end, but it’s all good.  Kids are learning, and I’m still energized by them.IMG_E1327

Although sometimes it’s a little too much zap because I’m also exhausted!

I do so love this time of year though because you can feel the shift in season.  The chill is making its way in, and the days are darker longer.  I’m also getting ready for a bunch of visitors and festivities.  My sister and part of her family arrive Oct 23, then we’re off to Germany for a bit, then Shannan arrives for a good visit, and whallah we’ve got Thanksgiving and Christmas time upon us.  Aaron arrives Dec 16, and Kaylene and her crew arrive Dec 23, sooooo I’m all a jingle with holiday planning.

All of which gave me an excuse to visit Champagne country again.  Oh, how I love Epernay and Reims as well.

When there’s so much champagne to sip, water comes in warning bottles.

I’m totally in love with my new champagne bucket/table from the ‘widow.’ Veuve Clicquot champagne is famous thanks to a woman who made the best out of her husband’s passing, so, you know, I’m totally a fan (not that I want to off my husband).

AND for all my visitors, I’m all stocked up on most excellent champagne and wine.

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Oh and there’s goodies in my fridge and cave (basement storage room) too.  Bring on the good cheer!

Badger is hanging in there, but old age is kicking his hind quarters a bit, so we’ve ordered a doggie sling for him to help when he has to use our stairs.  That’s right folks, I’m buying handles, so I can carry my dog like a suitcase.  I’ll update his blog in a bit too since we want to get as many shots of him loving life while he is.  If the doctor keeps giving him morphine, I imagine he’ll hang in for quite a bit longer.  That dog totally digs being stoned.

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He’s also a lush because he keeps wanting to go to the bar across the street from Park du Poo.

Well, I’m sorry I’ve not shared too many details this time around on our travels or expat life.  Like normal life, sometimes we’ve just gotta hunker down and focus on what pays for all that fun.

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It’s all good though when the path we’re on is loaded with colors and cobblestone — and cafe sipping.  Good God do I love cafe sipping, even in the rain.

Fingers crossed I’ll post again soon.  Cheers to all of you!

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Oh Bachus and his magic with produce…

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Guess which lucky girl got to go to Epernay (self proclaimed Champagne capital), France this weekend?

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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.

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And look at all of those glorious bottles just sucking up dust and time waiting for their champagne to be born…

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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…

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