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 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}

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Return to Normalcy

{Being wheeled around by the mascot}

     Since I received lots of raised eyebrows and questions from friends/family because of my last post and a little 'short fuse' I  had addressed, I feel I need to say we are good, even might go out on a limb and say great. It was less than perfect in the beginning but as with anything, a learning curve is involved, (how to shower, get dressed, sleep etc)... but we have started to get the hang of it. Shaun has been doing great, splitting his time between breaking down film, rehabbing and elevating his leg. He has had minimal to zero pain, only a little pressure when he gets up and the blood rushes to his leg but other than the cast being heavy and inconvenient, it has been all good. And as for me, I have become friends with the wheel chair and no longer threaten to step on it, curse at it or accuse it of having a 'wanky wheel'. Another small inconvenience of Shaun's injury is that his salsa dancing will take a hit. Me on the other hand, I may have lost my partner, but even that won't keep me away. Shaun's teammates film the lessons so I can show him so he at least doesn't fall too far behind, they are all too sweet. The club has been amazing and the support Shaun has received from strangers has been eye opening, even going as far as giving him candies, wine, rolling his wheel chair and chanting his name through out the game. (Funny enough though, the same people who give him candy and wine are also the ones who seem to worry about him gaining weight due to his immobility). Speaking of the game, Shaun seemed to be a magnet for any errant pass in the vicinity as he had to use ninja-like reflexes in his wheelchair to avoid getting hit on the bench (twice). I nearly had a heart attack at first then I became a little annoyed (here comes that short fuse I spoke about) since both the trainer and the Dr. sitting next to him, ducked. Have no fear, Shaun was good and I gave the Dr. and trainer  the 'I will cut your throat' sign from across the court...think they got the point. We have a friend coming to visit for a few days and I know Shaun is looking forward to shooting the breeze with someone other than me...and I sure am happy to be relieved of that duty, because there is only so much basketball and college football this girl can handle...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Few Days Post Surgery

{A photo our photographer/friend Romain Robini made for the team website}
     It still seems weird to us both that not only did Shaun rupture his achilles only 2 days ago, but he has already had the surgery to repair it. It all happened so fast and as I mentioned in the last post, it is probably for the best because sometimes the waiting game can take it's toll. I am happy to report that as of now, Shaun is in good spirits with no pain, actually singing along to a commercial all the while surfing the internet. The only semi-snag we hit was I was awoken last night to Shaun yelling to me from the other room (he is sleeping on the l-shaped couch because it helps keep his leg elevated) saying he was sick. Guess the morphine based meds were a bit too strong for him so since then, we have cut back but other than that, Shaun has been great and we don't have too much to complain about. Shaun even went to practice tonight in his new wheel chair to 'hang out' and is going to break down film for the team to stay involved on a daily basis. Me on the other hand, I seem to have picked up a 'short fuse' somewhere these past few days. Fortunately for Shaun, it only rears it's ugly head when I am out running errands.  I am happy as can be at the house, but when I get on that road, my head starts spinning and fire comes from my eyes. To those who think it has something to do with Shaun's injury, maybe you're right. But I think it is more the fact that I have had maybe 6 hours of sleep in the last 3 nights, which I guess is due to Shaun's injury but I have these days with the French and driving, it just seemed to be the 'Perfect Storm"today. Glad to report though, I got it all out of my system and I am good to face another day. So I would like to say a few mea culpas....

  1.  To the lady in the green Renault Clio who spent more time texting than driving-I am sorry I gave you the 1 finger salute as I drove around you. I should of been more patient and just sat behind you while you stared down at your phone and in turn, I missed green light after green light because you were 'LOL-ing' and 'LMFAO-ing'
  2. To the person in the pint size car trying to parallel park in a parking spot large enough to fit a boat- I am sorry I told you to 'get a clue' and 'learn how to drive' and when you went to say something back to me and I am very sorry I told you that 'I would f*#@ you up'. Since you were a man, I clearly would not have 'f*#@ed you up' but at that time, I was convinced I could.
  3. To the steering wheel-I am sorry I punched you continuously, beeped your horn, twisted you in hopes of hurting you and spewed profanities at you. It was not your fault I drove all the way to the pharmacy with out the proper papers traffic. You were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
  4. To the new wheel chair- I am sorry for kicking you and comparing you to an old shopping cart with wanky wheels. I know you are new (I took the plastic off you myself) but for some reason, you seem to have a mind of your own in which direction you want to go, especially when my hands are full.
  5. And lastly, to the car trunk and the wheel chair (again)- I am sorry I cursed at you both and kicked you (both) since you, trunk, appeared to be able to fit something bigger than a briefcase inside you. Also, I am sorry to the wheel chair for throwing you on the ground outside of the car and thinking about stepping on you to get you to collapse more. That was not nice and I should not have done that.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Cruel Ending...

{Photo by Romain Robini...and no, Shaun was not jumping off his knee, he came all the way from the floor}

     Wheww.... well, we have had a whirlwind of a last two days, starting on Friday night. The team had a home game so their focus was avenging their first loss of the season last weekend. While I am happy to say they did that, I am not happy to say that what happened 20 seconds from the end of the game changed our weekend drastically, or the next 4-6 months for that matter. Shaun, as with all the players, had a great game and they were looking to close the game out when with 20 seconds to go, he collapsed in a heap on the floor mostly untouched. Shaun being Shaun, he tried to get back up and walk but clearly something was wrong. In his head, he knew it.... He had snapped his achilles tendon. Later, he would say it was not painful, just a weird feeling, like someone had kicked him from behind. But there was no one behind him. Terrible turn of events for a team that has unreal potential and for Shaun who is having a great start to the season..finished with 26 on Friday and is shooting lights out. The last 20 seconds seemed like 15 minutes as I searched for an answer since Shaun was whisked back into the locker room. When I saw one of the players call me over during the the game, I knew it wasn't good but never thought it was as serious as this. But when I saw Shaun's face, I knew. No words were needed, just an understanding. The rest of the evening was a blur as we spoke to the sponsors and speculated as to what his injury was (we didn't have confirmation until saturday afternoon). In the meantime, we learned that the best facility/surgeon for achilles sports injuries was in Monaco and scheduled a consultation for saturday afternoon.
Our consultation in Monaco went well. It was what we thought (torn achilles) and they could schedule surgery to repair the tendon right then. Fortunate in that he hadn't eaten nor drank anything since the night before, Shaun was prepped for surgery and whisked away..almost before we could comprehend what was happening. In hindsight, that was for the better. Our friends/teammates Lesly and his wife Marina helped us through the paperwork, the tricky translation, kept me occupied during the surgery and stayed with us from noon to 9 pm. They were life savers. I could only hope that we can help others at some point to return the favor of all the people who have helped us along the way. The facility was overlooking the harbor in Monaco which rivaled many upscale hotels. The surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses all were great, total wise-asses like us so we knew we were in good hands. They joked after the surgery that Shaun still had 10 fingers and 10 toes and they needed to change his name to Britney since they performed a sex change. But in all seriousness, everything went great. They even took a camera pic of the surgery when his leg was open to show us after. Although he had the choice to stay, we returned home to a new life ahead of Shaun being bed-ridden for the next 3 weeks, not being able to walk for 6 weeks and out of basketball for 4-6 months. It sucks but those are the facts. Being a day in, I am happy to say that Shaun has been completely pain-free and he has adapted to life of being 'waited on' nicely...almost too nicely and too quickly though I might add. He has a long road to recovery but if there is anyone that is capable, it is Shaun. It sure is a character tester but Shaun has kept his cool demeanor and smile all through-out so with fear of sounding like a 'lifetime' movie quote, 'he is ready for the challenge'. But if there was a silver lining to all this, it is the unbelievable support we have received from all the players. We had multiple offers to go with us to Monaco and many more offered food and stopped by the house. This team has some special chemistry, I tell ya', something that doesn't come around often.

{Being prepped}

{One last pic before sending him off}

{Lesly waiting and enjoying the view}

{Post surgery, enjoying some much needed KFC}

{View overlooking the port of Monaco}

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween party 2012

(Shaun and I as vampires)

     I have to say, I am very impressed with this team, and I'm not talking about on the court. Every single player dressed up last night at our party and put some major thought into their costumes. We had a Black Jesus (yes, you read that right), a Harry Potter, a female Lil' Wayne, some Indians, some vampires and some obligatory blood soaked scary guys. And after 1.5 hours of make-up and liquid latex for Shaun and a teammate, I am happy to report that they both made the first little one cry when they walked into the party. Sadly, he continued to be scared of them the rest of the night so he stayed in a back room watching a movie, his loss. The food was amazing, a teammate cooked Caribbean food for all of us, and us Americans did what we do best... cookies, cupcakes and rice crispy treats. (FYI, I scratched the mini pumpkin pies since the pie crust I got puffed up to near beach ball size. I'll save them for Thanksgiving anyways). There were lots of laughs and memorable moments last night and fortunately for you, I took my camera, enjoy...

{Rice Crispy treats in the shape of pumpkins)

(Along with Shaun, I did Moussa's make-up. I'm bummed because this angle you can't see the skin hanging off the side. But at least he made a kid cry...and cry....and cry)

(Trevor aka Harry Potter and Bear the 'Devil Dog'. By the end of the night, Trevor had rubbed his lightening scar so it looked more like the remnants of Ash Wednesday than a scar)

(The Yangos' as Indians, too cute)

(Black Jesus, who at some point in the night was carrying a gun. He said, "when Black Jesus is in the hood, he needs to be strapped".)

(Female Lil' Wayne and I)

(Steve and Carine as sexy nurse and.. bloody surgeon?)

(Anthony as an Arabian guy...? But the best part was he was in charge of the music and someone asked him if he was allowed to play music like that in his country. He thought it was a stupid question but clearly he didn't get it since the question was addressed to Arabian Anthony not American Anthony)

(Shaun was thirsty)

(Ben and Stephanie as a priest and a 'naughty nun'.  At one point, Ben had one of the kids on his knee..too real Ben, too real).

(Notice Black Jesus blessing the priest)

(Thirsty again...)

( Bear was sick of his costume by the end of the night and turned it into a chew toy)