Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Quick post to wish all a Happy Halloween. We have a costume party tonight and in usual fashion, I may have over extended myself. I've committed to making cookies, Rice Krispies balls, and mini pumpkin pies not too mention doing both make-up for myself and Shaun. And if that wasn't enough, we ran into a teammate yesterday at the costume store who I will also do his make-up (and possibly sew part of his costume up) and since his one request was, "I want to make at least 1 kid cry", I feel a little pressure. Although between me and you, he is 6-10 so just a lengthy stare will most likely send any kid screaming. The weather has cooled off and we found the biggest pumpkin we could at the store the other day (still smaller than a basketball) so it truly feels like Halloween here, now if I could only find some candy corn...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Villefranche sur Mer

{Villefrance sur Mer}
     After the storm we had last night (on and off the is now 5-1), we saw that today it was going to be back to it's usual sunny self so we took advantage of it and headed to Villefranche sur Mer for the afternoon. Now let me clarify about this storm. Unlike the 'Frankenstorm' that is headed to the US and has been covered in the news non-stop, we had no warning. There was brutal wind, thunder, vicious lightening and torrential downpours pretty much all night which lead to power outages at the game, a leaky gym roof, and many umbrellas brought out of the closet only to be laid to rest shortly there after because they were no match for this tempete. (Funny story, one of Shaun's teammates ran into the gym all 6'5' of himself with a teeny weeny Strawberry Shortcake umbrella, guess that's all he could find at the last minute). So today with the sun shining, we drove the coastal route down the promenade des anglais in Nice over the hill to Villefranche sur Mer for lunch. We had heard of the area but it has always played second, third and even fouth fiddle to Nice, Cannes and Monaco, so we never made it a priority to visit., until today. First impression was that it was a blend of Cassis and Saint-Tropez with the restuarants on the harbor resembling Cassis and the vibrant colors identical to that of Saint- Tropez. We spent a few hours eating on the water and admiring the boats and the houses that sat on the cliffs above the sea and daydreaming of how awesome it would be to live in one of the villas only for Shaun to remind me that we are pretty lucky ourselves to be able to experience what we have experienced...touché Shaun, touché. However, if there was anything good that came of the storm last night, it was that it put me in more of a Fall/Autumn mindset so I was excited when we saw trees today with a little brown tinge to them, and not the bright green ones that we've become accustomed to. It was only until I took my sunglasses off later did I realize that the color of my lenses were severely altering the colors of the trees and they were in fact, the vibrant green color. And between me and you, I am pretty sure they were greener and they were giving me the finger too. However, as we got in the car to leave, I saw a tree that restored my faith in Fall and in Halloween too. So take that green trees!!

{Funny site of people on the promenade in Nice, those chairs do get some use}

{Sorbet colored church}

{Steep pathway to the sea}

{Hunk I found walking in the steep pathway to the sea}

{The entire facade of the church was Trompe l'oeil-ed}

{Our table for lunch, the water did rise one time over the wall but fortunately I had my purse on the back of the chair. Not fortunate was the lady behind us that had her purse on the ground, and even more unfortunate was her husband since I over heard her say she was in need of a new purse anyway, or an 'upgrade' as she put it}

{Our view at lunch}

{Can you see the brown tinge my glasses gave about teasing}

{Isn't this a 'spooky' tree? Kind of like a hand coming out of a grave reaching for your legs}

{Overlooking Nice harbor and the promenade}

{Sail boat coming into the Nice harbor}

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Odds 'n Ends

Been a little quiet on the blog lately, so I figured I would let you in on a few odds 'n ends that have been going on these past few weeks. We've had lots of fun but not really took the time to document it so here goes...

{Sunset over Juan les Pins}

-A head cold/sickness has been going around. All of us wives got it at the same time but it has lingered for weeks. After a self-diagnosis of walking pneumonia, I spoke with the team doctor about my dizziness, weakness, coughing, difficulty breathing and overall crappy feeling to which he replied, 'that seems normal around this time'. Note to self...get a new doctor. (FYI, feeling better finally after 3 weeks.)

-Shaun's team is 5-0. Yep, 5-0... 2 more wins than he had all of last season. After their 4th win, Coach Weisz and Shaun had a giggle about that since they were together last year with that other club 'that shall not be named'.  (Well, actually they will most likely be named in the multiple lawsuits they are going to face, or so we hear.) On a side note, Coach Weisz left practice with silver hair and the next day it was a nicely uniformed dark brown...hmmmmm. Being the person I am, I asked him if he did something because something seemed different about him, he said 'nope'. Stick with it my man, stick with it.

{Photos by Romain Robini}

{You be the judge on the hair. Photo by Romain Ribini}

-On a late night out with the team, it was revealed what was said before the games in the team huddle. Apparently, Leslie (one of Shaun's teammates aptly nicknamed 'crazy') yells stuff, and by stuff, I mean anything. Words, sounds, noises, numbers etc....While I am sure it is funny when it actually happens, the re-enactment was 'piss your pants 'hilarious.

{A whole lot of gibberish going on. Yep, Romain Robini again}

-The '3 goggles' that bball players do when they hit a 3 pointer has been resurrected here since Shaun pulled it out on the road a few weeks ago. The only problem is that the players are not keeping their promises to do it after hitting a 3 ( I am talking to you Trevor) so us wives have to pick up the slack and do it from the stands...and sometimes from even further... like California.

-It has cooled off a bit here. Still warm enough to be at the beach during the day but now a light jacket is needed at night. So because of that, we asked the team to help us with our heater since neither I nor Shaun could figure it out. Fast forward a week (that is fast in French times) and the team sends a 'guy' over to help us. Now this 'guy' is the jack of all trades 'guy' for the team. He does the laundry, drives the players around when needed, is the towel/water guy during the game and apparently, a handy man to boot, or not. After 10 minutes of huffing, puffing and pushing buttons he left us with no heat and no hot water mumbling something that there was a problem with the water heater. To me, the only problem may have been the multiple valve twisting and button pushing he did since we had no issues with the water before he left. However, seeing their erroneous ways, the team sent someone ( a professional) over asap that informed me that the water valve and gas had been shut off in our 'guys' attempt to help us.

-We have been religious with our salsa lessons and have improved, majorly. Each lesson, we become more and more comfortable and I am happy to say I am no longer threatened to be in the front of the class. Shaun, on the other hand, is happy to stay in the back ever since the 'clap heard around the world'. (Before and after each class we warm up/cool down with some dancing steps and a few timely claps. Well, Shaun must have been a little off because his clap came a good second after the entire class and it was the loudest clap known to man. Not kidding, it was so loud it startled everyone. Since then, it has become a running joke....and Shaun has hovered around the back).

-On the last road trip, I dog-sitted for a teammate. Bear is a Jack Russell (questionable.... since he is pretty large) but unbelievably well behaved and a breeze to watch. We took long walks on the beach, enjoyed the sunset and overall, just hung out. Kind of what I do with Shaun come to think of it.

{ be a dog}

-There has been a fight going on in my head with the desire to do fall-y things, eat comfort foods and embrace the start of the holidays with the fact that it is still summer weather here. I have taken my apple bread recipe out of the box the last 2 trips to the grocery store only to nix the idea and wait until next time. I've compromised by making lots of cookies and finally using up those baguette ends by making breadcrumbs in anticipation for frying things. But I'm telling you, I am pulling out the pumpkin recipes around Halloween whether it's hot or not!!
{We will have breadcrumbs for months!!!}

-I've started to get back into running. I am all over the map with it though.  I will run 4/5 miles a day for 8 days straight then not run for a few weeks after that. I am sure it humors Shaun. What was not humorous was the fall I took a few weeks ago running on the boardwalk all by myself. I ended up with a skinned elbow, cracked Iphone and a severely bruised ego. Since then, I have made sure not to run too close to the street for fear of another graceful fall followed by being run over. It seems like it is only going to get better since my mom has informed me that she has fallen un-provoked a few times these last few weeks. And I am not talking the type of fall that just happens. I am talking about those violent falls that make onlookers cringe, then laugh.

-We saw this guy at the beach. No explanation needed. He clearly hasn't heard....crack kills.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A day in the gardens

{The beach below the gardens}
     For the last two months we have been here, we have been asking the locals for suggestions on places to see, things to do, where to eat, etc... And for the most part, we have checked things off our 'to-do' list in a pretty efficient manner. The weather has been unreal, almost too good, which makes exploring that much easier. Although, I am hoping we are going to have a Fall at some point and not just make the jump from summer to winter, fingers crossed, because drinking my Pumpkin Spice Latte yesterday with the air conditioning on full blast felt wrong on all levels. So when Shaun suggested we check out Villa Eilenroc and the surrounding gardens, I was all for it considering he had the day off and it was in the low 80's. We didn't know what to expect except for the fact that the gardens overlooked the ocean and there were some paths along the way to explore on your own. So donning a long sundress and flip-flops (not the wisest choice since the dress doubled as a broom sweeping up everything in its wake) we headed off. The gardens were a mixture of kempt and unkempt which gave off a feel of Savannah (anyone who has been there knows what I mean). The villa itself was beautiful with the typical architecture that is expected in Europe, but the best part, was the view. It always comes back to the view. Sure the green mossy paths were a highlight (not so much for the spiderwebs though) but they still played a supporting role to the dramatic cliffs spilling down to the sea. While the gardens close for 3 months after Halloween, the paths that lead down to the sea stay open year round so while I am hoping Fall will eventually come, I am happy to benefit from 'Summer' a little longer and maybe have a picnic or two in the meantime...although, not in a long sundress of course.

{Some of the many flowers in the gardens}

{One of the few paved paths}
{The shadow we just couldn't shake}
{The villa itself}
{Isn't the color of the bench awesome...}

{The one path that gave us a bit of a 'spider-web' dilemma}

{Jeweled colored water}

Monday, October 8, 2012

Salsa Lessons

     If there is one thing that Shaun and I are good at (or at least always trying to improve at) is stepping out of our comfort zones. Shaun's zone used to be pretty small while mine has always been a lot bigger as I am all for making an ass out of myself. But I am happy to say that Shaun has caught up and is making an ass out of himself on a regular basis as well. What does all this babbling lead to? It leads to the above post topic: salsa, which we did tonight. One of Shaun's teammates is an amazing dancer who gives lessons along with his wife so we took the opportunity when he asked the team if they were interested in joining along to add another way to make an ass out of ourselves. Now I am not going to toot my own horn and say we are these awesome dancers, but both Shaun and I can hold our own. FYI, we have been known to shut down weddings... on numerous occasions. Well tonight I found out 2 things: we dance way better with a few drinks in us and being in a well lit gymnasium is the equivalent to a neon sign over our heads saying 'we are white'. But all clumsiness aside, it was a great night filled with laughs and many memorable moments. The highlight of my night was after we had switched partners, my new partner told me I needed to loosen up. A bold statement coming from a man that needed to to 'loosen' up with the deodorant since he clearly didn't use any before the lesson, or in his lifetime for that matter. We left tonight running the steps through our heads and looking forward to next week for round two...and a little redemption.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

On a roll

{Shaun in his 'John Stockton' shorts, he has requested larger ones thankfully}

    As much as I would like to say that soaking up the sun and just enjoying the south of France is the reason we are here, or our profession if you will, I can't. Basketball is the reason we are here. The season started a week ago and with 2 games under their belt, the team is rolling with a 2-0 record and a win margin of 29.5 pts a game. In other words, they are a fun team to watch, which is such a nice change from last year's, ummm how do I say this nicely, forgettable season. Being an athlete myself (or former athlete I should say since my body reminds me almost daily of the pounding it took for so many years), I understand that a season is long and there will be ups and downs along the way. So we will enjoy these highs while they are here. And one of the many awesome things this year is the photographer from the team has so kindly offered to give us pics after each game so we can share them with family and/or Shaun can look back on them in 10 years while playing Bruce Springsteen's 'Glory days'...the options are limitless. Hey, we all need a little ego boost some time or another, right? All photos by Romain Robini, thanks Romain, you are the best!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

'I'm on a boat'

    Yesterday, Shaun and I were invited to celebrate a friend's birthday by spending a day on a rented boat/yacht and cruising around St. Tropez. Obviously, we jumped at the chance and said, 'hell yes' unison (yes, we are one of those cheesy couples that sometimes say the same things at the same times). So with the weekend off (LOVE FRIDAY GAMES) we headed out to sea for a day of fun, sun, drinks and a ridiculously large amount of laughs. My biggest fears were sea sickness, and sharks--I'm only human, but I threw all caution to the wind and figured I would be good since most of the others on the boat either currently work on yachts or have in the past so I felt at ease with them at the helm. Fortunately for me, the sea was incredible calm. The conversations ranged from anything and everything since it was a melting pot of nationalities of Kiwis, Brits, Aussies, Irish, Canadians, and of course, us Yanks. We anchored around Pampelonne Beach in St. Tropez for a few hours of snorkeling, snacking, drinking and in general, celebrating Annie's birthday. There were no shark sightings, however there were many schools of fish, starfish and sea urchins. There will be 2 things that I will always was the dance party that formed on the front of the boat that rivaled any stereotypical rap video and the second was a quiet time when Shaun and I were alone on the front of the boat and realized how lucky we are to be able to live this life and experience the things we have experienced. So thanks Annie, for allowing us to celebrate your birthday with you and giving us a glimpse into your glamorous life, we will happily say 'hell yes' anytime.