Can we talk about how excited I am that it’s March? Because I’m really excited that it’s March. Normally I don’t mind February. I mean, it’s my birthday month. Plus there’s always a school holiday. And it’s the only month with 28 days. Really: there’s really nothing to NOT like about February.
Except this year. This year between issues with the train during my trip to Lyon, difficult e-mails, tearing off the back half of a car topper and then a random speeding ticket (90€ for three kms over the limit!), all topped off with a complete emotional melt down after a long day hiking, I was more than happy when I got to flip my calendar.
Part of it was just plain ol’ bad luck (like sliding on ice and scraping my knee badly) and part of it was stress getting to me (forgetting the car topper). I’ve always been someone who tries to do it all. I’ve gotten quite good at juggling and balancing and making sure to remember things. Then, other times: I don’t.
For some reason, I’ve never been good at, or liked, asking for help. I just don’t. More because I’ve felt that I should be able to do everything, even though I know, better than anyone, that I can’t.
So the last five days, as we’ve had grandparents visiting, have been wonderful. Because grandparents, especially grandmas, don’t wait to be asked. They just do it. They help you out and lighten your load and tell you that you’re doing a good job and hold you while you sob in the driver’s seat while there are cars honking behind you and three children in the backseat asking you why you’re crying.
I think grandparents, more than parents, oddly enough, remember what this age was like. They can look at it from a different angle and sympathize more. They also really know what to say.
We were watching Mary Poppins and everyone was joking about how I’ll now have to learn how to snap my fingers to help all the toys march back to their places during clean up. And Bonne Maman (as she’s called) said, “She doesn’t need to learn. She already has the magic touch. With both the children and the cleaning.”
Which was exactly what I needed to hear.
Things I’m Loving:
+ This interview/those photographs – (Because you’re never too young to do amazing things.)
+ These travel tips – (I’m thinking about this summer. I miss the warmth. I miss shorts. I’m constantly wearing sunglasses, so there is that.)
+ These tips - (Because I’m always up for a refresher course.)
+ This video – (Was exactly what I needed.)
My family is proficient when it comes to sending the best letters. They really are. My sister is fantastic when it comes to making things out of paper. She has this whole scrapbook deal down to a science and is absolutely talented at it. (She’s the one who made the ‘boo’ letter. Yeah, I couldn’t do that if I tried.)
The boys? The boys are my little artists. My mom sends me manila envelopes filled with sheets of paper that have evaluation forms on one side from the school and on the other are covered in stories. That’s my favourite part. The part where, if you ask them what’s going on, and point to something, they’ll tell you exactly what it is. And it’s the same story every time. I can’t even do that when I’m telling stories of things that have actually happened. Normally I end up losing somebody or putting everything out of sequence. I write a lot better than I tell stories. So if I ever start, just give me a piece of paper and a pen and tell me you’ll wait. It’ll be much easier that way.
(Yes. That’s my Babar calendar. With English, French, German and Spanish months and days of the week. I know that’s a jealous face you’re sporting right now.)
Things I’m Loving:
+ This song – (A song written about the death of Robert Capa. And done beautifully. Yes.)
+ This article – (The idea of a ‘defining photography’ fascinates me.)
+ This magazine – (I’d forgotten how much I loved going through it.)
+ This tag – (Since I’ve known her, she’s always had the best music recommendations. Always.)
I never realized you could miss a habit. Maybe it’s more of an acceptance. Acceptance sounds like it fits better, really. My family accepting that my camera wasn’t just going to stay in my bag, accepting that I wanted to take pictures of things they thought were ‘weird’, accepting that I would possibly get up close and possibly personal for a photograph. Acceptance of the fact that I really loved taking photographs and that they were going to be my subjects.
But I do. It’s been added, more to the top than just to the list, as one of the things that I miss about home. Also on that list is:
- homemade soup that does not get pureed
- brown bread
- the usual suspects of family
- mushroom soup
- picking up a fashion magazine to peruse and not having my brain start overworking because my French isn’t at that level yet
- watching TV with my sister (even though she falls asleep. Every time.).
I’ve realized that most of the things I miss right now are food, which should really just be a testimonial to my mother’s cooking, really.
Though, there are also things that make me feel good here, too. Things like:
- the fact that the other night, the oldest kid put his dishes away and folded his napkin – without me having to ask him
- like how the middle child does his homework without any complaints
- practicing piano without having a fight about it
- ditto with helping to set the table
I’m not going to think that it’s going to last long, because inevitably someone will be playing X-box and nope, they don’t want to set the table, but it’s there. It’s something I’ve helped with, something that I’ve worked on and am seeing the rewards for. That, little by little, they’re accepting me.
Next step is accepting the camera.
Things I’m Loving:
+ This photo – (Because wide shots make me happy.)
+ This interesting interactive - (Migration and change interest me.)
+ A diagram of a photographer’s brain - (Laughing is good.)
+ A new wine for the Clasico on Sunday – (Most people drink beer, me? I keep it classy.)
Just about posted unedited pictures and then realized that I wasn’t quite THAT tired. (Yet. Watch me make every spelling error possible.)
Sunday we went out and saw all sorts of things. There was the cathedral, then this, the theatre, and then afterwards an archeological learning centre-esque thing. (It was really quite fascinating.) Basically: A lot of history, which I really quite enjoyed and am hoping to read over some of the pamphlets I got because, to be quite honest, I really didn’t catch as much of the information as I probably should have. (Don’t worry, I’ll share the other pictures after. That’s just a huge photo dump I couldn’t do to you.)
As well: had my first ride en vélo, complete with camera in the basket up front and child strapped in a seat behind me. (And really, nothing is going to be as scary as the mothers in Taiwan who had their children in highchairs in front of them on the scooters. Nothing.) It took a bit, but really, you don’t forget how to ride a bike, even if you do panic over the fact that those cars are driving really quite close and there’s extra weight that makes turning a little more difficult, but I overcame all that and can’t wait for my next trip out! Plus, I have my own vélo, which means that, within the next few days I’ll hopefully be checking out the footie clubs in town as well as the girls’ basketball team (and seeing about playing.) Yay!
Yes, the theatre. It’s small. I don’t know if you can tell that in the pictures, but it is. It’s close and intimate and is still used regularly, which obviously means that going to see a show is going to be on my to do list. By small I mean that the theatre itself is small. The building has these winding stairs and you can only go up one way and down a separate stair way and then there’s the huge ball room with the bars and the fireplaces and it looks out over onto the front street. It took me back (okay, not all that long ago, really) to when I was in drama and the hours we’d spend in the gym, working on projection and blocking, memorizing lines and how much I absolutely adored it. Even if it was in the gym, after some team or another had finished practicing it smelled grossly like sweat and your voice always hurt after the first few practices because it wasn’t used to having to throw itself at the back wall without yelling. This reminded me of that, except stunningly beautiful, like most things that took ages to build and were made to last, are.
Things I’m Loving:
+ Real Madrid 3 – 2 Manchester City - With all due respect to Michael Cox, I really do feel that this game deserved a more Sid Lowe-esque article. I have no nails left. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t stop shaking. It was that sort of game and a brilliant, emotional way to start the Champion’s League. To top it all off, Mou put it so beautifully in his post game interview: “The DNA of my team is back.” Yes, they really are. Video highlights.
+ Visions of a Blind Photographer - Such an inspiring story about overcoming so much in order to do the thing that you love. How there are ways to work around a situation that cannot be changed, to make the best of it and to find a solution, to push through it all and say you did it.
+ Happiness - The official trailer for a documentary by Roko Belic who travels around the world in search of what it means to be happy. A beautiful combination of stories and interviews with scientists about happiness, it makes you stop and think about what it is that makes you happy. (Things that make me happy: mail, Skyping home, the beach with my family, taking pictures, a book I can’t bear to pull away from, long walks. What about you?)
+ Brioche French Toast - I am all about the French toast, apparently. Which is just plain bizarre because I haven’t had any in ages. (Or maybe that’s telling me something…hmm…maybe tomorrow morning…). ANYWAYS: if this recipe and these photos don’t have you trying to eat them through your laptop, I just…I don’t know. I have nothing to say. Because I most definitely tried.