Thursday, January 29, 2009

All Change!

A change is as good as a rest, don't they say. I have been meaning to have a bit of a spring clean and finally got around to it. Changing the template is about as adventurous as it gets here at the moment.

Also changed are our plans to get to France in March, instead it looks like it will be April as the firm I am temping for have asked me to stay on until the end of March so I am being virtuous and obligingly changing my plans. On the bright side at least the weather may be a little nicer in April. April in Paris sounds wonderful so I am seeing the silver lining in the situation. Also I am being a little premature on the "spring" cleaning as we are still amidst snowstorms and frigid temperatures around here. Hazel over at Mud Walls and Beams mentioned she has already seen snowdrops and crocus ...... that seems a long long way away. 

I decided to "go green" in an effort to reflect my sentiments in the current greedy material world. Leaving a smaller carbon footprint and generally trying to use our world more gently is part of our reasoning behind our eventual move to France.

So fairly short and sweet today. However I would just like to thank everyone who stopped by my last post to leave a comment, advice and suggestions for our forthcoming trip. Thanks!!

PS: If anyone is interested, I also updated my profile.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where in the World....?

My daughter and her husband are in a frigid Montreal this weekend. This was their Christmas present to each other. My daughter loves to travel and I think she has found someone very similar in her husband. Her husband although only in his early thirties has already lived and worked abroad in the UK and in Germany so I think they are a good match.

My eldest son as you probably know is bumming around Europe with his Australian girlfriend, presently they are in Austria at a ski resort working to pay for the lift passes, but in the last four months since the wedding they have been to Hungary, Germany and Italy and driven through a few others en route.

Youngest son also has itchy feet and is always planning a trip, for several years he talked about his project to walk in a straight line around the world and did lots of research as to the easiest (and safest) way to do this – I think he will do this one day. However more recently he has been contemplating trips to Latin America and Japan. As he is in his penultimate year in high school he is constantly thinking of how he can combine uni, work and travel.

So where did our children get these “gypsy” genes? Well we have never lived a particularly settled life, as a child myself I was moved from pillar to post as my dad was in the RAF so I went to several schools and always loved the new countries (maybe not those first few days in a new school!). My husband though had never been outside the UK before we met at 15 and 17. His first trip abroad was a day trip to France and then we went on a ship to Denmark for a weekend!

However he is in an industry (aerospace) where job opportunities are global and we have taken advantage of that and moved regularly with the job. Here is a run down of our moves over the past 25 years.

1985 – 1986 Israel

1986 – 1987 back to the UK were GWE spent 6 months of that in Scotland

1987 – 1990 San Diego California

1990 Savannah Georgia

Oct 1990 – Jan 1993 Montreal Canada

1993 to Oct 1996 Toronto Canada

Oct 1996 to Apr 1999 Seattle Washington

Apr 1999 – Aug 2004 me in the UK ( in 6 different houses – 3 of which we bought and sold!!) while GWE was in Taiwan, Germany, Italy

Aug 2004 to Mar 2005 Seattle Washington

Mar 2005 to present – living in Canada while GWE has been to Germany, Montreal and now Wichita Kansas

Is it any wonder? And of course you know it is next stop France!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Suggestions Please

I am planning our next trip to France in March.   It is never for as long as I would wish due to school/work commitments but this time we have actually promised ourselves some time in Paris and I don't mean overnight in the hotel at Charles de Gaulle airport. 

We want to be in the thick of things, say Montmartre / Left Bank, so I am looking for hotel suggestions from all you who have been lucky enough to have the occasional weekend in Paris. Obviously budget is a big factor, rather not be in a chain hotel but if that's the most reasonable. I am hoping that Paris in Spring will be nice enough to sit in street cafes and soak up the atmosphere. To wander streets just like this one would be my idea of heaven.

I would say suggestions on a postcard but probably in the comment box would be more appropriate.

Other than that the plan is to get stuff done. Don't we say that every time?! Anyway this is the current wish list:
  • meet up with potential electricians/plumbers
  • purchase a wood burning stove
  • purchase a shower stall
  • purchase vanity unit and toilet
  • purchase a kitchen unit (as in photo) this will be our stop gap kitchen (funny thing isn't it - I have only ever seen these in Europe - but just what we need)

    The idea is that we achieve hot water, some usable electricity and heat so that on our summer visit we can stay in the house and not waste money on gites.  Keep your fingers crossed for us and send in those suggestions. 

  • Friday, January 16, 2009

    It's so cold that....

    The real estate market has been pretty quiet for the last couple of months, hence the temping, however I am keeping my hand in by doing open houses and I have another one this Sunday. So yesterday I went out to hang out my shingle on the for sale sign. Its not my listing so I had an appointment to preview the property. It was so cold that my fingers froze, I did have my gloves on, but fiddling with the plastic ties was quite a challenge.

    Anyway after five minutes of that, I could not work the lockbox to get the key. It was this type of lockbox in picture 1 (which I hate because they are so temperamental, even on a good day). So after all that I couldn't get the key out so get inside.

    I much prefer the button type box in picture 2. No having to remember 2 turns left 1 right etc.etc. Just press in the code. Anyway after that little episode I am wondering if I am a fairweather agent. Sunday it is only supposed to be -7 C so hopefully my fingers will work and I will be successful in gainng access, otherwise it could be a little awkward. The other fun part of Sunday will be clambering around in the snow putting out the open house signs to direct traffic. After all that, fingers crossed that I meet some lovely people who would be delighted to have me show them some houses and I can stop feeling like a secret real estate agent.

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    What a lovely bunch you are

    It's amazing what a little whining can do!! :)  Thank you all for taking the time to leave me a note. I have been consciously making the effort to comment more over the last few days and I have realised what my stumbling block is - I want my comment to be witty!! but now realise from what we have all said that that is not the point, just a note to say you where there, you took the time to stop by, to click on my blog that is sufficient. I will no longer hover over the comment box waiting for the right witticism I'll just go for it.

    Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts behind commenting, it is intriguing...I must agree with a lot of the points made, there is just not enough time in the day to comment everywhere, but I mean it sincerely when I say, if you have posted I will get around to reading it, usually on a daily basis. This could account for why I don't post as regularly as I used to - too busy visiting. I have really loved becoming part of the blogging community and really feel I have got to know a lot of you very well. Even planning to meet up with Debra as Us in France some time in the future.

    BTW welcome back Carolyn - I hope you find some time to blog again this year, I love to hear about life in your corner of the world.

    I am repeating myself here as I did make this comment in response to all of yours but just in case you are not obsessive like me and don't re-visit to see if there is a response to your comment... ha ha .....getting to know all my little obsessions now.

    Monday, January 5, 2009

    Comment Protocol

    I have to admit to a certain amount of comment envy - only two comments on my last post, both of which are gratefully received, no doubt about that but what are the ethics and niceties of commenting?  I visit many blogs, in fact I have subscribed to no less than 53 through Google Reader and be assured if you post, I will read it.  However, I don't always feel the need to comment.  I am not shy and retiring by nature so it is nothing of that sort.  I just feel that it is not always necessary to leave my mark.  

    Is this the case with everyone else, is this why I have so few comments while others have sooooo many?  It has crossed my mind that the content is just not as stimulating, hilarious or downright brilliant as are many of those I read.....but it is not that ...surely. :)   Also, is it the done thing to respond to everyone that leaves a little note?  Do tell, I don't want to be rude.  Be assured that I love to receive your comments, maybe I will start just leaving little notes everywhere and see if it has any impact.  

    Anyway I just felt the need to bring up the topic, so if you do drop by today maybe you will just leave me a little hello so I know you were here.  I am sure there is some high tech way of seeing who is reading but I have  no idea what that might be.

    Just to bring you up to date with the comings and goings (boring though they may be (!)) at Chez Soft, GWE did in fact drive off to Kansas over the weekend.  The project he was working on in Montreal has been moved on to Wichita and so has he.  It was touch and go there for a while as the immigration guy was hell bent on not giving him a work visa but he was persistent and he had to give him one.  Believe me the immigration officer was not happy... to put it mildly.  In fact he was downright rude and threatening.  His job description must require him to try and thoroughly piss people off.  GWE said the whole experience was degrading and he was treated in a totally unprofessional way.  

    He decided to drive the 18 hours to get there so he would have a car at his disposal rather than renting a car.  He was very lucky with the weather considering the storms we have experienced over the last week or so, clear and sunny all the way, with just a bit of fog in Illinois on Saturday night as he was looking for a motel.  In the end he just pulled off into what he described as "Bates Motel".  When the proprietors queried his accent, he mentioned Canada and they pondered if that wasn't where "that presidential candidate" had come from.  He enlightened them that they meant Alaska but he said it was an eye opening experience all round.  But you get what you pay for and it was only $42 for the night!!!

    Anyway he is now safely in the land of Dorothy, Toto and the Wizard of Oz.  For the rest of us it is back to normal.  Christmas is well and truly done and dusted here, now looking forwards into 2009 to see what it holds for us all.  Back to school, back to work....ho hum.   Maybe it is a little boring around here.