Saturday, August 06, 2011

What I did for my Summer Vacation. DAY SIX.

Saturday, 8/6
Went swimming! Went swimming in the salt-water pool by the sea, which is kept at 30 degrees celcius. So warm! It was great. Did 40 laps. Then we did some shopping after Simon's nap and lunch and then I took Simon back to the pool. They have a large little pool for babies/children with two jacuzzi's in it (same temp as the rest of the pool, but jets of bubbles). There is also an area where the water goes in a current so you can swim with (or against) the current. No part of the pool is very deep. There's another part with a fountain that you can swim under. Really fantastic! But the clerk was a real JERK! (Oh well, what are ya gonna do?…There's always someone…) Simon loved it! What's interesting is that after about 1/2 hour exactly he got out of the pool, took me by the hand towards the exit and was ready to go!

Friday, August 05, 2011

What I did for my Summer Vacation. DAY FIVE.

Friday, 8/5
Walked into town with the girls for them to get some candy and bought Simon a little yellow rainjacket. Walked through a little "Brocante" (flea market). The girls said their "g/bye's" and Simon took his nap. When he woke we went to the Croix's for some macaroons and water. Simon ran around their yard and Thierry tried to play ball with him. Came back home and Christiane was going to give Simon dinner while E took me to my horse-back riding "promenade." Simon was hysterical as he was being put in the chair. :(((((( Christiane kept trying to block him from me and saying "leave, leave, leave" (in French). I gave him a kiss anyways and we left.

Went HORSE-BACK RIDING!!!! I was nervous, but I did good! :)))))) First I was going to ride  "Galopin," which means "little devil" (as in "you little devil" when you say that to a child who's being cute but mischievous) but then because the other people who were going to go riding didn't show up, it was just me and the guide--so they put me on a different horse. 

This is a really different experience than in the United States! First, they told me to go find my own helmut (bombe) among the rack of helmets in the middle of the stalls.  Then they told me to go get my horse and bring him into the menege (the rinding ring). What?!?!!!! So I went back and said, (in French), I'm supposed to go do this tout seule? I'm a little nervous to do that."  So a girl got the horse out of the stall and then I lead Galopin from the stables into the menage. The girl helped me mount him. Then they told me there would be a horse change. So I just waited in the ring and they brought me Papyrus. So then I mounted Papyrus and we did one turn in the ring, to get comfortable and then off we were! (I would've liked a few more turns in the ring…but oh well). 

The only kind of saddle they have in France is an English saddle. The trail we took took us across two roads, down sandy paths, up through hills, between fields, around houses, over driveways, down muddy paths, into a forest, under a canopy of branches/trees, over a little stream, over a little one-person foot path, around in the forest, past a woman re-staining a wooden-beam fence, up and down and around a rocky, dirt, muddy path in the woods, around next to a field where Papyrus stopped to "neigh! neigh!" at some other horses in the field and of course, stopping a few times to grab leaves from trees to eat.

This was nervewraking and I couldn't stop him from doing it.  What was also VERY nervewraking was the guide's horse, which was a beautiful dappled dark grey horse named Nicolas, kept rearing up on his hind legs "because he doesn't like stones or rocks." What?! Geesh. I was so nervous my horse would end up doing the same. Thankfully he didn't.

The guide had us trotting a lot more than I thought we would do. (Which was great, but which i also wasn't really ready for and which I need more lessons on b/c I could "post" but the stirrups were banging hard against the front of my ankle b/c my my feet kept slipping forward instead of staying with the heels down, as they should be.  He also told me I should stand up when the horse is trying to go up some of the very steep hills, but he didn't tell me what to hang onto b/c if i held onto the reins I would end up pulling the horse backwards (or on his hind legs). So I did a combo of grabbing his mane and the saddle.  He also didn't tell me what to do when going down hills, so I leaned back in the saddle and grabbed onto the back of the saddle.

The other major difference (other than the guide not being talkative, not telling you pointers on what you should be doing, etc.) is that the trail is TREACHEROUS!  I don't mean the train in itself is treacherous, but the way it is maintained.  There are big, thick branches that stick out into the trail; there are branches that hang too low; there are branches that have been cut, but not short enough; there are branches that have not been cut at all.  If you didn't pay attention to what was ahead of you at all times you could get seriously knocked in the throat, head or eye by a branch.  These were not small, bendy branches. These were thick, stout branches.  There were parts that are so muddy that the horses were slipping down the hill. There were parts that were so rocky the horses hooves tripped on the rocks or slipped on the boulders.

Other than that, it was great! :)))) I want to go back and take lessons now. No more promenade…too scary, really. I prefer all the jaunts and stuff but to be on better terrain.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What I did for my Summer Vacation. DAYS TWO, THREE AND FOUR.

Tuesday, 8/2
E inflated the pool.  Simon's first day at the beach. He LOVES it. He wanted to bring his stroller and he went running on the sand with his stroller (with me helping him over the sand) directly into the water. He spent the afternoon (well, about 1/2 hour or so) running in and out of the water with the stroller, collecting seaweed and everything. Then he played in the sand (wet and dry) with E and the girls (and me). Brought back some sand for the blow-up pool.

Wednesday, 8/3
Went to the beach a 2nd time. So much warmer and we went earlier (2pm instead of 4pm). Much better!  Brought back more sand for the blow-up pool.

Thursday, 8/4
Rained all night. I tried to cover the sand the night before with a bucket, but it didn't do anything.  Took the sand out and filled it with water when it stopped raining. Rained all day. Played poker with the girls. (They taught me how).  The Croix's came over to visit for the apero so they got to see (meet?) Simon and visit with the girls (say g/b to them). Simon got a little heat-rash of sorts.

Monday, August 01, 2011

What I did for my Summer Vacation

Monday, August 1st we took a taxi to the Montparnasse Train Station. Went to the Columbus Cafe and asked for a decaf coffee and 2 croissants. "Pas de decaf."  [WHAT?! This is a COFFEE BAR AND THERE IS NO DECAF?????!!! WTF!!!!????]  Simon chose a toy at the "presse" and pushed his stroller around.  We got on the train and were able to sit all four together (the three of us).  Simon wanted to just walk up and down the cars with me. Then fell asleep for 1 1/2 hours.  Five minutes before we arrived he found another little girl of 2 years old who had a teletubbie doll. She tried to give kisses with it but he was scared at first. Then the two of them were jumping on the seats together, holding on to them, facing the seats. Then he wanted the teletubbie doll and was upset when he couldn't get it.

Simon has fun with his cousins.  Did a little shopping at the Super U. (got him a little plastic blow-up pool, which we put sand in from the beach, then we filled the pool with water, which is what's in there now).

Dinner: Crepes. Christiane makes crepes for everyone, which is really nice. But then when it's time for her to sit down Anne asks Lucie to leave the table. Just before this I was trying to say something and someone/everyone started talking over me. I made a "hey! I'm talkin' here" gesture/phrase and everyone just looked at me (or not) and said, "too bad, the Joubeaud way is whoever's loudest wins."
-- I'm sorry but that is rude. Okay, sure, "it's a French way of talking." You know what? To me, it's just rude. And I guess that means the French are rude!