Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

Wishing everyone a safe and Merry Christmas!! Bring on the sweets....(oh, and the presents).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the World

{Bugarach, photo cred here}
    A few days ago, Shaun and I joined a few of our friends at a local pub for some drinks and laughs. Inevitably, the conversation turned towards this Friday, December 21st, and what the Mayans are predicting as the 'end of the world'. Call me ignorant, but in all honesty, I had not heard of this before. (I just spent $250 on a haircut and color. If I would of known this last week, I would of embraced my roots and 'bangless' do. If anything, not to save money but to have those 2.5 hours of my life back that I wasted sitting in the chair.) I guess you could say not being hip to the Mayan culture cost me in more ways than one. However, there was mention of a village that will be spared of the 'alleged' doom and terror that awaits us.  It is called Bugarach and it is located in the Southwest of France. So whew, me and my new coiffe are good as it's only a car ride away. On December 21st, Pic de Bugarach, a mountain over-looking the village, is expected to open up and UFO's will appear from out of their spaceship to save those nearby. Now as ludicrous as this sounds (I am trying to regain my composure as I type this ) thousands of people are expected to descend on this little village in the mountains in an attempt to escape fate, to be a witness, or just to say, 'I was there'. And all this is infuriating the Mayor and the 200 villagers who reside there. He has since ordered police to patrol the perimeter and not allow any non-residents inside the village. Is it me or is he just being selfish? I mean, I am pretty sure the UFO's will have space for more than 200 or so, so what's the deal? And he obviously does not know that I had my hair done just for this. See how I spun that to my advantage. I have said it before but I will say it again, I am tricky like that. But back to Mayor Jean-Pierre Delord and his many attempts to keep all 'unwanted' out. I think he is majorly missing out on a golden opportunity here. Imagine the revenue that these tourists would bring to the village. Quickly throw together some UFO mugs, key chains and t-shirts and sit back and watch the cash roll in. It seems like a 'fail-proof' plan to me, but who am I to say anything? I am the one making a mockery of all this 'end of the world' talk. Good news is that if it's true, there are only 200 people or so that will be able to say 'we told you so' and laugh at me. I'll take my chances with that number.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

6 weeks

{Working hard and getting his ass kicked by Yoann, his trainer}
     Haven't updated on Shaun's injury in a long time so I figured I might as well do a post on some of our highlights/ low lights of the last few weeks. At our 3 weeks post op appt, the Dr. decided to take the cast of completely and gasp....put nothing back on. His reasoning was that the quicker you get mobility back in your foot, the better...and who I am to argue, although I did and this is why. The morning of the appt it was raining and long story short, Shaun's crutches slipped out from underneath him in the lobby and he placed his full body weight on his casted foot in an attempt to not fall. For the first time, he felt pain, a lot of pain. The kind of pain that made him think he tore it again. Dr. took a look at it and said everything was O.K. and having the cast on did not allow his achilles to move, protecting it. All I could think was thank God for that cast. But this is where things got hairy. He then told us he would not be putting it back on. Yep that's right, no cast, which meant no safety blanket, nothing. I thought surely he didn't understand what had just happened down in the lobby and pleaded my case (or Shaun's case but since he was still ghost white and shaken from his slip, I saw the need to take over). But nope, the Dr understood and pleaded his case back. After going back and forth in French and English with some added charades, we agreed on no cast but he would give us a walking boot for those times that it was wet and/or he was in a crowded area. Like how I implied that I had some say in this decision? But honestly, I think when he looked at Shaun's white face, he felt pity and threw us a bone with the boot. Not to mention, the constant chatter coming from me probably annoyed him. Doesn't matter what the language, I have a skill of talking so fast and at such high quantities that I can confuse the other in the conversation or what I like to call 'bamboozle' them into agreeing with me. Hey, but we at least walked out of there a little less frazzled so add 1 point for the Feins. Fast forward to 6 weeks post op and everything has been great. He is walking with out crutches in controlled environments and I am counting down the days until he can drive again (11 days 14 hours and 7 minutes). His mobility improves everyday and he is able to shoot at practice which, fortunately for me, satisfies his competitive craving since I am getting a little tired of being on the losing end of 'games' or being cut off as I am walking down the hallway in an apparent race I never even knew about. We have family coming in for Christmas so we are both very excited. It will be fun to show them a little glimpse into our lives here. And bonus....Santa will be coming for Christmas too. Life is good.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fete des Lumieres

(Fete des Lumieres Lyon 2012)

     My dear friend Fatiha invited me a few months ago to the Fete des Lumieres (festival of lights) in Lyon where she lives. I have heard so many good things about it through out the years so I jumped at the opportunity to go. But with Shaun's injury being a little time consuming, it wasn't until the week of the Fete that I was 'in the clear' to go. Thankfully, one of Shaun's teammates stayed at the house with him helping him do the everyday things that us able-bodied people take for granted. I laugh because I can only imagine the conversation, the sights and the sounds that were present while I was away. I had made some Spinach Artichoke dip and cookie dough and left it in the fridge with instructions on how to cook it. For the first day and a half, I am pretty sure that is all they ate..it was like a bachelor weekend. And I will tell you, I'm glad I wasn't there to see it. But anywhoo, my trip was fantastic. I knew I was in for a great weekend when I found bath salts, a bottle of water and a fresh towel on my bed, it was like being at an upscale hotel. We hit the ground running, as usual, and walked what felt like 10 miles all over Lyon to make sure we didn't miss a light during the 3 day exhibition. It was cold, like would of been warmer if it snowed cold, but we were prepared and stopped in Starbucks a few times to load up on some warm holiday drinks while we planned out our next step. Fatiha was a great tour guide since she had done lots of research and even scoped it all out in person before I got there so we got to see the best of everything.  The lights were magnificent and, if possible, put me in more of a Christmas spirit than before. Let's just say Clark Griswold would of been in all his glory. Thanks Lyon, until next year...

{Used buildings as backdrops for the lights}

{Christmas market}
{Candied fruit...my favorite}

{Artisan confiture}

{The largest tartiflette pan ever. Just shortly after this pic, the man yelled at me for taking pictures since he thought I worked at a magazine. I think he was really mad because Fatiha outed him for not using real potatoes}

{Elegant Christmas chalet selling chocolates, chandeliers and all}

{Roasted chestnuts..how random is this?? This guy and his chestnut stand are from Toulon. Yep, the same Toulon where Fatiha and I lived last year, small world}

{Roman tyca, a pedestrian walkway with Moroccan themed lighting}

{Alas, a pic of us}

Thursday, December 6, 2012

In full Christmas mode

{Downtown Antibes ready for Christmas}

 We are in it folks. Full. Christmas. Mode. First off, when I say 'we', I am mostly meaning 'me' since I  am a holiday-o-holic. I am sure Shaun enjoys it as much as the next guy but it is mostly me who is on a 'holiday high'. At our house back in the states, our attic consists mostly of holiday decor boxes (ummm...and maybe my clothes/shoes).  But I am proud to say that I am a equal opportunist, I can hang skeletons, cobwebs and goblins just as well as wreaths, bows and garlands, I'm crafty like that. Now I know I posted a picture in the last post of our tree but about 30 minutes after I took the pic, the lower half of the lights went out. To those in the U.S., I am sure you are thinking, well that stinks, but just go get some new ones. I could only wish it were that easy. You see, we have had our tree and lights for almost 10 years (I am beginning to see why the lights fizzled out) and I had to search high and low for regular white twinkle lights with a green cord that first year. I guess I always feared the day would come where one of the 6 sets went out and I had to, gasp, start the search all over. Well that day was last week, and it was frustrating since the french have seemed to move in a more modern direction with their lights, most being blinking silver or blue lights on a white string, not what I need. So after 8 different stores, I realized I had to settle for re-adjusting the existing lights on the tree and shunning my inner 'Griswold' by not having oodles of lights....bah humbug. In my disgust, I added more ornaments and even made a bow to top the tree with two red balls that look suspiciously like, well, real balls since one hangs a little lower than the other. Now when I see the tree, I don't even notice the lack of lights, just the beautiful bow with the 2 questionable red balls...winning!!!

{ I promise our tree is on the taller side, at least for France. This pic makes it look teeny but it's about 6ft.}

{See the bow with it's 2 sidekicks?}
{Accidentally took this pic and it could be my favorite}

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fresh air

     Today I took a break from trying to get over my cold/ bronchitis/walking pneumonia thingie that I have had for over a week now and went for a walk, figuring the fresh air could do me some good. I took along my camera just in case I saw something worth capturing, and that I did. First off, I spotted the first fall colors in our neighborhood. I don't know if it is because we are near the beach but everything is still a vibrant green here so I have been on a mission to find some fall foliage. If you drive a few miles inland, bam... orange, pinks and reds galore. But I have yet to see some of those colors here, until today. So I snapped a shot of that...

After that, I headed to the beach which was completely empty, a nice change from the norm. No traffic, no screaming kids, no cell phones, just the sound of the ocean. So I sat for a few minutes and took in the view and some pics...

Then, out of nowhere, 2 dogs shot onto the scene, a Jack Russell and a Black Lab. Actually 1 shot while the other cruised, guess which dog 'shot' and which dog 'cruised'? I couldn't help but laugh at the Jack Russell completely tormenting the older Lab as he tried to, and I can only assume this, enjoy the quiet beach day just like I was doing. It started out harmless with the Jack doing what I like to refer to as multiple 'fly-bys' where they continuously sprint by you just out of arms reach, coming from every direction with such blazing speed that it often dupes their 'target' into thinking there are multiple dogs flying by...

Then the lab decided enough was enough and lunged at the Jack...

And that is when the Jack turned it on. He did what I can close my eyes and see our two Jack Russells doing a gazillion times. They run full speed (do they ever do anything half-speed?), fly in the air and manage to change directions, all the while still in mid-air and never losing a step. It must be a Jack Russell trait because this little guy executed it perfectly leaving the lab in the dust...

Then I walked home and put up our Christmas tree...

The end.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Hangover

{Speaking of Thanksgiving, we are thankful to have such caring teammates. My mom so aptly described this picture as  'one picture, a thousand words' since it gives those a glimpse of the special chemistry here. Photo by Romain Robini}
    Forgive us for being a bit quiet here, we are still struggling from Thanksgiving. Since the team had practice and a team function on Thursday night, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday so no one was in a rush and people could eat and take in the experience for as long as possible. We invited the entire team and some friends and the guest list quickly shot up to 20 adults and 5 kids, mostly French. All week we fielded questions from teammates like: What does turkey taste like? What is stuffing? What does Thanksgiving mean? Is there really a pumpkin pie? And while we tried to answer every question accurately, I do admit to making a few answers up as the week wore on, sorry. (Reminds me of a few years ago when we threw a baby shower and Shaun's coach pulled him aside during practice to ask him, What is this baby shower thing, did they already have the baby? TOTAL CONFUSION) A few of us wives decided to bear the brunt of preparing the entire meal and I can honestly say, it was freakin' delicious. We had (o.k., bear with me here) 35 lbs of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, potatoes au gratin, chicken wings, mac n' cheese, meatballs, deviled eggs, potato salad, goat cheese bread, baguettes, quiche, apple and pear tart, 2 pumpkin pies, Red velvet cupcakes, chocolate brownie cake, fruit salad, wine and champagne. Whew..... there was enough food to feed 50 people to be honest with you. The frenchies were most curious about the stuffing, the pumpkin pies and how the Red Velvet cupcakes got their vibrant red color. We spent about 4 hours eating, laughing, explaining traditions, watching football and did I say laughing? At the end of the night, everyone prepared themselves a few meals to go and we all headed back home to nurse our turkey hangovers and sleep it off. The only thing I regret was the limited amount of photos I took since the last thing on my mind after cooking for 2 days straight was taking pics, so you will have to take my word, it was a smorgasbord of food. We had kicked around the idea of going around and having people say what they were thankful for but decided against it and added a French twist to the evening by popping a few bottles of champagne and toasting in unison. Shaun and I have always been about immersing ourselves and experiencing as much as possible so it was nice to be able to give a little bit back, even if it was only for one night. Another successful Thanksgiving down!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Everyday doings and a visitor

{View from the observatory overlooking Cannes}
      First off, I can't believe it's November 22nd and it is in the low 70's. For the last week or so, we have been pretty fortunate to have the sun shining and warm temperatures. I feel kind of stupid for packing my warm weather clothes and putting them in storage already (you would think this being our 4th year in the south I would have learned by now...you would think..). In addition to putting everyone in a great mood, it also allowed me and a friend to do some outdoor exploring. When hearing about Shaun's injury, our friend Chuck decided to fly out for the weekend to spend some time with us and lift our spirits (if needed).  In the short time he was here, we ate out (also consumed a bottle of wine or two), hung at a pub with our ex-pat friends, walked along the sea, and found an abandoned observatory with possibly the best view of the cote d'azur. When I say 'found', we actually saw it on the hill between Antibes and Cannes from the roads below and decided to try to get up there, one way or another. 25 minutes later and many a u-turn we had arrived. We scaled the pad-locked/ barbed wire fence (shhhhhhh) and took in one of the most unbelievable views from Cannes to Monaco. Even though it was abandoned and dilapidated, a few walls remained and obviously screamed 'blank canvas' to the many graffiti artists that passed by. We kept our visit short since neither one of us found the prospect of jail desirable by taking pictures quickly all the while keeping one eye on the gate and our car. Once home, we looked on the internet to find some information about the property since my friend had me totally convinced that we could go in and buy it together with questions/statements like : Can you imagine the view?  The main house could be here. Could you imagine the dinner parties? etc... I am thinking a 90/10% split sounds doable for us, not so much for him and his 90%. What we found was in 1989, an affluent family from the United Arab Emirates bought the property with the plans to build a villa only to be shot down by public vote and denial of building permits. Since then, they have let it go to shambles in their disgust and spite with no plans to this day of attempting to re-build. C'est dommage because I was really starting to envision dinner parties there, sigh.

{Not a graffiti fan but I have to admit some of the pics were pretty impressive}

{Even found a few inspirational quotes}
     Back to reality, Shaun has been doing well, started serious rehab this past week so he has been sore and a little tired. However, unlike the last week where rest and elevation was pretty much the extent of his days, he now has goals that drive him to give him that little competition he misses, even if it is just with himself. I know I have said this before but people have come out of the wood works for us, which we appreciate greatly. Going as far as his assistant coach joining him for his rehab/weight lifting sessions at night and even a player coming over tonight to cook us dinner. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he is doing it out of the goodness of his heart and not the fact that we have American cable and the option of every Champions league game on tonight. Thanksgiving is in full planning mode here, as we are doing ours on Saturday since the team has practice and a team function tonight. So bright and early tomorrow, I will get started on preparations for the 20-25 people we are feeding. I'm beginning to think I may have bit off more than I can chew... Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

{Shaun's rehab session with the trainer and asst. coach}