Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hey all - er... well, anyone who still clicks onto this blog occasionally! Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. This has been a crazy busy month with all the parties and gatherings. And I've spent the last few days buying things for my mother to give to people. My sister from Saudia Arabia was here for a few days last week. She had been taking the Cambridge English Second Language course in Halifax for the last month so she can teacj English when she goes back to the Kingdom. She had a good visit with mom and with me and Brad. She's now in Alberta for Christmas with all 3 of her sons.

Outside, it looks more like October than December. We've has so much rain lately that there isn't a flake of snow left on the ground. But we're supposed to get snow on Sunday and Monday, so it will probably be looking like December again just in time for January.

Brad and I aren't exchanging gifts this year. Instead, we're splurging on a 10-day holiday in February in Miami and Key West! Can't wait for that! Brad hasn't been south in ages, but he's agreed to go this time, since I have agreed to stay put and keep the home fires buring while he takes a 3-month leave of absence from his job next May to hike part of the Appalachian Trail! Can you imagine! He will come home after about six weeks or so for a conjugal visit, and I will go to the States and meet him some time after that for a few days. It's something he's always wanted to do and this looks like a good time to do it! I'll keep you posted!

The other big thing that has happened in our lives is that I have FINALLY started working from home!! I started on December 6 in fact. It has been absolutely wonderful! Brad works at home as well (for the last 14 years in fact!), but we each of our own office and so far, so good! We're not annoying each other too much at all! Officially, for me, it's a 6-month pilot project, but I don't anticipate going back to the office full-time ever again. I may have to go in for a few weeks or a month or so when other supervisors are away on vacation, but basically from now on, I'll be working from home. I haven't really gotten into a routine yet, because every lunchtime I've had to go out and run Christmas errands, but I generally get at least an hours more sleep every day and I sure do not miss the bus ride to and from work.

I'll leave you with a pic of new new workspace. Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pardon my French!

Great song from Cee Lo Green (lead singer from Gnarles Barkley)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

More France

Grape vines on a building


Ile-sur-la-Sorgue - Great little town where we went to the market

Garlic graters - we brought some back for our friends

Free-run French eggs

Gordes in Provence

Murs (the "s" is pronounced) a little town across the way from where we stayed

Gorgeous Gordes

Oh, and Brad and I celebrated 20 years together this week! Here's to at least 20 more sweetie!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


This has been all over the Internets lately, so why not here too? Very cute.

More Dordogne and Provence

The beautiful Dordogne River

Hot air ballons above the Dordogne

Near the caves where prehistoric drawings were found at the beginning of the 20th century

Foie gras and truffle shop in Sarlat

On a walk in the Dordogne

Me, Mark, and Kathleen on a 2 and a half hour walk during which we ended up in the middle of a wild boar hunt. We never saw any boars, but we heard lots of gunshots and dogs baying

A beautiful house we came across during our walk. We decided we could easily live in France!

I petted the horses and got quite a shock - the fence was electrified!

Pastoral France

Our home base in Provence - about 6 km outside of Gordes

One day while in Provence, we took a cooking class from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It was on this beautiful property owned by the descendant of a French viscount and his partner, the latter of whom gave the cooking class. The place was actually occupied by the Nazis during WWII, but they took pretty good care of it.

After preparing our meal, we dined al fresco under the plane tree in the warm sun

The reflecting pool

The servants quarters

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sarlat and the Dordogne

So after 2 nights in Bordeaux, we rented a car and drove to the Dordogne, which is sort of in the middle of France. We stayed three nights in Sarlat, which is where the film Chocolat (with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp) was shot. It is a dapper little town dripping with charm and beauty. We basically had an apartment there as well, though it was connected with a hotel. We had a huge second-floor terrace where we soaked up the sun and ambiance over a bottle or two of wine. One night, we cooked a big vegetable stew and ate al fresco on the terrace.

This was one the way from Bordeaux to Sarlat at a quaint little town where we stopped to have lunch, Mouleydier



Our private terrace

A river in the Dordogne

A sweet little town called Saint-Geniès

Market in Saint-Geniès - Terrific cheese!

Nightime in Sarlat - we were lucky enough to be there during European Heritage Days (September 18 & 19). This night the entire old town was lined with candels and there were numerous outdoor shows and exhibits. Serendipity!

Shot of the church across from our terrace.

A well-trodden road in Sarlat

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Suprise Party

I think this has gone viral... It deserves it! This guy is great!

Bordeaux and Wine Country

After 4 nights in the City of Lights, we got very early in the morning and caught a TGV (train de grande vitesse) to the beautiful city of Bordeaux. It was about a 4 hour trip. The original apartment we had rented in Bordeaux was unavailable owing to pluming problems, but the owner recommended another to us and it worked out fine. It was in the middle of Old Bordeaux and was beautifully decorated, quiet, and spacious. We were well pleased:

Our second day Bordeaux, we hired a guide, Frédéric, who drove us around to various wine estates where we enjoyed several excellent tastings. Lunch was good too!

Moi et Frédéric

The lovely Kathleen, Brad's sister

One of the beautiful estates we visited

A vineyard - harvest would take place about a week later.

You know what's in there! These rooms smells sooo good! the oak from the barrels combined with the yeast and the wine... Intoxicating just the smell!

Dude let us sample a very young Bordeaux - it was excellent!