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A Canadian expatriate living and exploring first France now Germany, then BACK to FRANCE (!!!) with her family; former fashion designer, turned unexpected UNLIKELY NOMAD, raising two children, writing, photographing, painting, playing piano (who knew!!) and blogging - and now... full time student at ART SCHOOL!! (I MUST be crazy!!)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

We just got back from the weekend in Paris with the kids.

It was awesome because TBG was able to fly to join us so we all got to be feeling like a family. On Saturday I went to do my Cordon Bleu course for the day and TBG took the kids to three museums…(I was impressed…NO?) I think they had a pretty good time.

Then on Sunday we wandered around the Louvres for several hours and had a great visit.
The museum itself is so amazing and it was so uplifting to see such timeless works of art.
Even the kids were awe struck at the potency of some of the classical paintings.

I had lots of fun with the camera and took some interesting shots.

The kids soak it up like sponges. One of the more interesting exhibits is a medieval castle excavated in the central court where the glass pyramid now sits. The 20 foot high foundations are exposed and we were able to walk amongst them via the path of the old moat, and were even able to look at some of the ancient detritus pitched into it by the kitchen scullery. (Why is garbage such an endless source of fascination for kids) The evolvement of the site the Louvres sits on is illustrated by a series of models and the kids had an interesting time analyzing how it has changed and developed over the last 500 years.

Mona Lisa, The crowning of Josephine, all the amazing sculpture and Napolean III’s original apartments are still there and intact.

Dinner with Napoleon anyone?


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Riel today when we were eating lunch…

"Hey Mom, Didja ever notice when green peppers are cooked they are yummy…But…"

*thoughtful silence*

"But when they aren’t they taste kinda ...MEAN??"

Monday, February 19, 2007


The Day has Finally arrived...

For those if you who may not already know this Riel has enrolled in a roller blade class with his school, as an extra curricular activity. Riel was very enthusiastic right from the get go and has been doing what they call “Roller” (with a big rolled French “R” at the beginning and the end). His coach is a nice young guy named Emilien and as far as I can see Emilien does not “Roller” on water yet, but he sure must be pretty close to it.

Several weeks ago there was “Un Competition” which due to extenuating circumstances Riel was not able to participate in. This delay only served to heighten the anticipation of the next “Competition” several weeks off, and indeed it did come to parallel an event of equal significance such as a birthday or even Christmas…

Yes Honey?
How may days till my race?
Ummm…*consult calendar* uhh…5 weeks honey…
Several hours pass… and then

Let’s just say that Riel was REALLY looking forward to it, especially since he now has his own very new spanky pair of roller blades an Xmas gift from his G’ma and G’pa B…

So the Big Day Finally arrives…I am flying in from Chicago and TBG has to leave on a 3:30 train out that same afternoon , so we are desperately trying to get it together so Riel can actually participate. The transit gods are smiling on me and I arrive just in time in Paris to catch the last train to Dijon possible before the race.

Riel suits up

The Racer Ready to Go

Pensive thoughts pre race and maybe a strategy brewing??

The Line up

Ready Steady…


GoGo…. GOOooo!!!

Phew…I’m pooped now!!! Great Race Riel!!!!

Fidgety Lily has found it difficult to SIT STILL so instead has found Mom’s lipgloss and toe separators for a pedicure…

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Creative endeavor for the day

The fact that we know we will soon be leaving Dijon has made me feel suddenly a little attached and nostalgic...figures...huh!!!

LML and I took a walk today to see a film and I took some photos on the way back.

This is the alley we normally take to the historic central area of Dijon. Our path winds its way in and out of ruelles (allies) mostly cobbled and mostly pedestrian, always lovely and quiet and always lots to look at. This particular alley leads past the famous owl carved on the side of Notre Dame, not visible but just to the left. It was vandalized some years ago and is now video monitored 24 hours a day.
The owl, which as legend or history has it, was gently stroked by Napoleon on his way past and which is rumoured to give the modern stroker great luck as well.

Lily was cavorting around the front of the church while I was trying to photograph the gargoyles suspended on the front. Notice how all the sculpture at the top of the arch ways has been chipped off by angry peasants during the french revolution.

The rows of gargoyles are fantastically tortured looking creatures, maimed and looking in great agony, and there are many more than I was able to capture in this shot. I can only imagine the energy and effort put into the design and creation of these frightening images, undoubtedly the average souls reward in hell for errant deeds.

This is the main square in Dijon, Francois Rude with its bronze statue and fountain and the ever turning carousel.

Lily hamming it up on the way home.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Scientific Eye Candy

Lily and I had some business in Paris on Friday, so we took the train in early and decided to stay and make a day of it.

We went to the Cite des Sciences, Paris’s ENOURMOUS science centre, cited in what used to be the cities old slaughterhouse lands.

It is an enormous structure (7 hectares) about 14 acres and on 4 levels, flanked by a reflective Geo-dome theatre and criss-crossed by futuristic pathways that seem suspended in air.

Its industrial architecture is reminiscent of the Pompidou museum but it has a more urban ultra modern feel, and it is situated in an equally large park peppered with more activities for families and children than we had time to explore.

We lunched

We watched movies

And we explored.

It was great to just hang out and have some quality time with little miss Lily.

The museum itself explores traditional areas of science but also has some interesting galleries devoted to images which in turn are linked to an exhibition all about light, as well as a fascinating exhibit devoted to extraterrestrial life. According to several prominent scientists, the immense size of our universe and the sheer number of planets that possess the building blocks of life indicates that extraterrestrial life is most probable.

I LOVE that.

Two alternative intergalactic worlds have been constructed in a virtual reality animation with postulations regarding climate, and local flora and fauna. The animation is projected from the ceiling onto an immense waist height platform which we could move around and touch the images to manipulate the display. Very cool; scientific eye candy. We, needless to say, were there for quite a while.

Plus Lily got to say hi to her FAVORITE guy…(besides her Daddy that is)….E.T.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


The children have been accepted at the International School of Hannover Region after MUCH telephoning and more than a little wrangling on my part.
Because of course anyone who knows me knows I give up after the first try and I am NOT AT ALL PUSHY…


It seems that though our kids academic status did not pose a problem, the school was pretty much chock a block full to capacity…which did not bode to well. The program at the International School is quite rich as compared to most other local schools. The children will study Music, Art, have Phys Ed, (anyone over there griping about your kids education realize that YOU HAVE IT GOOD) and another language. They do something cool called “Unit Study” which essentially is take one subject and learn everything about it applying all areas of study. I liked the idea. I must confess the school at first glance was a little too glossy for me as I tend to prefer things a little bit more basic with a bit more of a mixed bag regarding the student body. But hey even though it is my life’s quest; it’s never perfect!!!

There is also a Montessori School in Hannover and the kids were able to go there as well, but the only draw back to that was that the school is only in German, as well as the fact that the school is VERY small and VERY new. From a stimulation and sensory perspective it would have been the perfect place for Lily, but for Riel?? We had to ask ourselves how much we wanted Riel to struggle to play catch up in German when we knew it is not likely a language he will continue to use.

So in the end after much angst…since we never REALLY felt like we had enough information to make a good decision and since one never really knows how the kids will fit in we decided that the more robust curriculum in a more established school in English might be the best bet, for now and even though we love the tenents of Montessori.

My little compromise for myself (and the kids) is to try to get my hands on some Montessori Method books and try to do some of the sensorial work at home.

I feel a great sense of relief at having made that decision as pretty much the rest of our life in Germany hinges on the geographic location of the school since Hannover is a bit gridlocked and G*d forbid we end up in the wrong spot. So now we can make some decisions regarding housing. We will rent as we have been doing in Dijon, as buying is a difficult proposition not knowing the area or the real estate market well enough not to get caught.

We have seen lots of houses and apartments, and I must confess it is a bit discouraging (like everywhere else I guess) first the process of understanding what is available for what money and where. There is a little too much burgundy tile and icky 70’s shag around for my liking…

I will be glad to know when we will actually box up and go and where we will all be laying our heads. Finally.

What we have been up to...