31 August, 2011

Lunar landscape (with sheep)

Today I hiked part of the top of the Mont Ventoux again with the kids and the dog. Had a couple of nervewracking moments when one of them stepped (or peed) too close to the edge, but otherwise it went great and we had a really nice afternoon. Here is the photographic evidence, documented by S.

29 August, 2011


Today we visited Roussillon, a quaint little town nearby, which is famous for its ochre mines. Spent about an hour hiking through the woods and marveling at the gorgeous variety of vibrant color in the cliffs and trails. Then we had coffee and ice cream and came back to the campsite so that the boys can swim.

This afternoon Oma and I will hit the supermarket-- there's been a disaster here: we've run out of peanut butter! I can now sympathize with rehab patients and their withdrawal pains! Hope to get lucky-- there are so many Dutch and American tourists in this area, and that usually means PEANUT BUTTER! Please keep your fingers crossed and send some good vibes my way! ;-)

28 August, 2011


We’re back in the Provence; this time I’m camping with the kids and Michiel’s parents. I wanted to jump on Internet to fart around follow intellectual pursuits. The campground has a wifi router and guests can buy access in increments of 1 hour, 1 day, etc.

I just told the woman at reception that I’d like to buy 24 hour access. She handed me a card with the rates printed on it and said that I can just buy it directly over Internet. (Right, like I’m about to give my credit card information over a public server!) Knowing it's also possible to pay with cash, I smiled sweetly, waved 10 Euros at her and said in my very best French:

Mais non, je préfére acheter vous! ( Which means approximately: No thanks, I’d rather buy you.)

Niiiiiiiiiiccccceee. I haven’t even been here 24 hours and I’m already puttin’ the moves on the staff!

26 August, 2011

Say what?!

Me: OK guys, you've *got* to get your hair cut! I've made an appointment for you for this afternoon. How do you want them to do your hair?

B.: I want mine long.

Me: OK B, but last time you weren't happy with what you got. Maybe you should bring a picture of the haircut you want so that the stylist knows what you like. Whose hair do you like?

B.: Gaddafi's.

**Follow-up: In the end he decided to get it cut shorter so that it doesn't get in his eyes at the pool this week. His hair turned out great, just for GOD'S SAKE, please don't tell him it looks "just like Justin Bieber"! ;-)

18 August, 2011

Tomorrow we'll wrestle some crocodiles

Earlier this week we took out S's stitches using kitchen shears at the breakfast table. Today we hiked the top of Mont Ventoux! We are so manly! Just like Ernest Hemingway! (the only thing missing is the scotch. and the hangovers. usually...)

16 August, 2011

Hello from sunny Provence!

Well we finally made it to the Provence. Left a day later than planned, but that turned out fine because it meant that we had plenty of time to do the things that are normally last minute and our departure was relatively relaxed.

S's knee has healed up nicely. We took the stitches out right here on the campground yesterday: just propped his leg up on the table amongst the breakfast dishes and cut them out with the a pair of kitchen shears. Now there's a vacation memory we'll never forget! :-)

Took a tour of an old coal mine in Alès yesterday. It was fascinating, and the kids were really impressed by the horrendous conditions under which the miners (and their families) had to work over the years. This provided yet another convincing opportunity to remind them why it's so important to get a good education.

S has now had a year of French in school, so it's been a treat for him to be able to interact with kids here on the playground and try out his vocabulary. It's taken him a lot more effort to learn than he'd expected, so it's nice for him to be able to have fun with it here and see that his lessons, however dry, really are useful.

S and B have spent the past couple of days working through a French Donald Duck comic book; I'm wrestling with a Russian health magazine and M is reading a German camping magazine. We're all leaning waaaaaaay out of our comfort zone, but that's a good thing to do while stretched out in lawn chairs in the shade with a cool drink and a happy, lazy dog! :-)

05 August, 2011

Life with Boyz

The last 24 hours have been a little more "interesting" than are good for me. B dislocated his shoulder playing soccer yesterday evening. M, who was watching them play, called me and asked me to hurry down because Bram's shoulder looked "suspicious". By the time I got there it had popped back in and he was feeling better. Iced it down, gave him Ibuprofen, and after a sleepless night (mine, not his!) everything seems to be on the mend.

Then this afternoon S fell off of his bike out at the skateboard park. B called to tell me that it was bleeding and deep enough that you could "see something white" in the wound. Niiiiiice. 3 hours, one pediatrician, one surgeon and 3 stitches later and we're back home. We've got a follow-up appointment with the doctor at 8:45 am tomorrow morning. (We had planned to leave to drive to the Provence at 6am.)

I think I've had enough drama to last me for a while, thank you...