Category Archives: Holidays

A Bit About the Delay (in posting)

I will now tell you three funny things and the not at all funny thing that came about as a result of their existence. Funny thing about a laptop — it needs power to operate for more than a few hours. Funny thing about France — they have a different power source/plug configuration. Funny thing about the power converter we bought (good for use in 150 countries!): it sisn’t designed for three prong plugs, only two.

So we got a converter at the airport on our way home. That’s why we’ve been silent since the first ‘we’re here!’ posts.

Read on for the deluge!

We Made It!

And even slept.

Our only delay was on the flight leaving SeaTac, which had to be de-iced. Denver and Washington were both a mild 50 degrees and we had no issues at all.  We both napped on the short legs, and got a solid 3 or so hours of sleep on the segment over the Atlantic. The Business/1st Class section was very empty, and we got a lot of personalized attention from our steward. He brought me wine from 1st class to drink “as a tasting”

CDG is a bizarre airport but not fiendishly difficult to navigate, just ignore the jetlag and double check your directions. Be warned: the pedestrian walkways (moving belts) UNDULATE. So don’t let go of your suitcase because it will slide down the hill and hit the people in back of you. (This did not happen to us, but I worried about it.) Customs was a check of the passport and waved through. (No paperwork????)

Finally, after moving up a walkway that spewed us out (eeriely reminiscent of the egg laying scene in Aliens, but without the goo.  Or the alien.) we emerged into the baggage claim area. There we waited until about 7:15am and picked up our bag (basically our bag was the first off the plane — this much good luck does not bode well for the return trip. *sigh*).

Following the signs, we made our way to the RER, line B, bought tickets, and got on the train. Then we had a scary moment as our train, which had about 20 stops before the one we wanted, just went through station after station without stopping. We got off briefly at Gare du Nord and then realized that our train was NOW going to stop at the rest of the stations. So we got back on. And — voila! — exited at Luxembourg. Total cost = 16.80e (approx. $20).

Then it was up and out (with a little delay as our tickets initially weren’t accepted — and you can NOT get out without them) and amoment of whcih direction is North? You see, I’d mapped out our walking directions (just a few blocks) but they were based on knowing which direction is North. And the sky was overcast (it was even dawn yet — but that can’t be right, can it?). So we attempted logic and started walking. Happiness is finding a local map and seeing that you hadn’t just walked three blocks out of your way. Up, and over, and here we are at the Grand Hotel St. Michel. Thsi place looks like an old-timey hotel, but the rooms are sleekly euro/modern complete with flat screen TV on the wall, WiF, a mini fridge, a HUGE tub, and real windows that overlook a sweet courtyard.

It was about 2 hours from landing to our arrival at the hotel.

We unpacked our clothes a bit (basically hung up what we’re wearing tonight) and fell into bed. It was incredibly hard for me to fall asleep. But about 9am  I put earplugs in and fell off the face of the earth until about noon. John’s having a shower and we’re getting ready to go for a walk around the neighborhood before returning to dress for dinner.

Thanksgiving Tales, Part Two

My own tale of Thanksgiving starts on Saturday. Lisa and I compared schedules, lives, and various other things and realized that we would be best-served for her to fly down to San Francisco on Monday evening. That’s fine, and it made a lot of sense (I won’t bore you with the details), but it left me with a very interesting adventure – two full days of driving with El Poocho. Everybody knows that Sasha is a Good Dog, but we were about to find out if she was Amazing.

Sunday morning, I get up with Sasha and take her to a field where we can run and play for 45 minutes or so – a good long game of Chuck-It, catch, and so on. I bring her home, and while her heart rate returns to normal I finish off some packing. She eats, and then we’re off! Getting her in the car is no problem; like all dogs everywhere (as far as I know) the words “go for a ride?” are pure magic. We drive up the hill and come to the I-5 interchange, where the same feeling always comes over me. I hit this interchange several times a week (it used to be essentially daily, for a couple years). I go North greater than 99% of the time – basically, I go South once a year, to go on vacation to Ashland. I figure that’s why going South that day gave me the same weird sense of calm and relaxation even though I wasn’t technically going to the Festival.

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Thanksgiving Tales

I’ve got a pretty good family when it comes to working out the holidays. Over the years we’ve all gotten comfortable with making sure we ask for what it is we really need, and make it clearly different from what we just want. (Which, I feel, is the secret to a good family gathering with a minimum of drama.) My sister had a very specific desire: to introduce her son C to Sasha so that she could begin her campaign to get a dog. (It seems that he’s had a few scary experiences with dogs coming right up into his face and he’s on the verge of being AFRAID of all dogs.) I had a desire to see the two of them interact. My mother wanted to spend time with the family as a group and with me individually. Overall, I think we succeeded, but the highlight was the boy-dog interaction. (And Sasha’s first trip to the beach, but that’s another post.)

C. was definitely weirded out by Sasha. Her head is literally at the level of his head, so he consistently gets a clear look at her big mouth of teeth. And he tends to carry food around in his hands, so he’s a big attractant for her. But C. pretty quickly got over needing Mommy to hold him whenever Sasha came near and on day two got pretty good at saying “Sasha, NO” when she got up in his face. For our part, J and I just paid a lot of attention to where she was and what she was doing. A gentle “leave him alone” was all that was needed to turn her aside, even when it was a plate full of his food. What she loved to do most of all was sneakily kiss him. She’d just lope quietly from across the room and then then — slurp! — lick him upside the face. At first, this freaked him out. (See comment earlier about the big mouth of teeth.) Then he got used to it, or resigned to it, and he’d just wipe his face and go back to playing. Breakthrough on day 3 — she went to sleep on her bed and he played at his train table while the adults had dinner.

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