wayfaringwordhack: (art - guitton housework)
 Here I am, in France, settling in to our new home, while my beloved is back in Egypt, finishing up his contract. We were well on our way with the unpacking when I fell down the steps leading to the kitchen. I was looking at a broken knife in my hand and not where I was going. Fortunately, I didn't stab myself, only sprained my wrist and elbow. My mother-in-law is here to help me with the kids.

Even one-armed/handed, I'm doing my best to plant a winter garden, and the ER doctor would wince to see me trying to lug the chicken tractor from one garden bed to the next. C'est la vie, and I plan on living it to the max.

So, yes, things are going more slowly than planned, boxes are piled everywhere, and my Pinterest-inspired dreams of a well-decorated house are still but dreams. BUT! Walks in the woods have yet-ilded wild raspberries and mushrooms. Hidden in the garden, under cardboard and oak fence posts, we've uncovered asparagus, strawberry plants, raspberries, onions...

Yes, c'est la vie et c'est bon.

I will be in touch more once typing is easier. 
 

Done Deal

13 May 2017 03:06 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (art - guitton housework)
As of yesterday, we are homeowners. For Real. First time in ... 11 years. I'm excited in more ways than I am going to take the time to express. :P

A guy from the moving company came by this morning to estimate how much stuff we want to ship back to France. His estimate: 12-13 cubic meters. J's and my estimate: 4-5 cubic meters.

Comment and say who you think is closer to the truth. :P In any case, we pay on the real cubage, not any estimates. I. just.want. my. boxes.  Ms Antsy? That's me.

As soon as he left, I got online and booked a moving van to haul all our stuff that is in storage at my mil's up to our new abode. Hoarders Extraordinaire? That's us.

Seriously though, we have all sorts of stuff that we always knew we would need once we settled down again.

So our coming weeks look like this:

This week - Get boxes and start packing
May 20th - Celebrate Ti'Loup's 1st Birthday!!!
More weeks - pack some more
July 4th - Finally "Bye Bye, Egypt" for four of the Faures
July 8th - move into new home
unpack moving van stuff and wait for maritime shipment to arrive, probably mid-August - September.

Which means we have to be super careful how we pack from here. Cast iron skillets weigh a lot, but I will have put mine in my suitcase. Can't live without them for months. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (Junebug Diggin' Life)
The final papers have been approved.

No one has exercised their right to pre-empt the sale.

The money has changed hands.

Now all is needed is a signature next week, and the house will be ours.

A couple of years ago I shared this naive, folk art watercolor I did of our dream home:

dream home

And this is the facade of our dream-come-true home:under a cut because it's big ) We have rolling hills, prairie, woods, nearby mountains, all seasons with white winters... the sea is far away, but we can live with that. Now all we have to do is cultivate the rest of the dream.

I can't wait. When is the moving company going to deliver the boxes!?
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
 Can someone tell me how to post photos in a normal size in my entries? When I try, they are always thumbnail size and if I increase the width and height in the image property window, it distorts the image. :( 

Ten weeks

26 Apr 2017 01:24 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (art - guitton housework)
For some weeks now, I've been feeling really puffy and moonfaced. Just the other day (no points for observation for me) I noticed that this puffiness is in my legs, too. I'm feeling stiff and sore for no reason.  So, I've decided that I'm going to go off gluten for the remainder of the time we are here. Not because i have a proven sensitivity to it, I just want to see what my body does without it. I'm also cutting down on carbs* overall, especially those in a processed form. I'll still eat veggies and fruits that contain them. I haven't decided on brown rice, etc. yet. Of course thinking about what I put in my body makes me more aware of the lack of exercise I get. I'm going to change that as well. To get rid of the edema, I'm drinking lemongrass infusions; juices with celery, parsley, ginger, lemon...; cutting back on salt; elevating my legs; and giving myself massages to move the fluid. I'm going to do some yoga for lymphatic flow.  If it doesn't go away or comes back again, I'll have to go to the doc to figure out why I have it and try to get it under control before flying out.

I hope to be a lighter in body and spirit when we get to our new place.

Speaking of weeks, the kids and I are without J as he spends two weeks working at the French consulate in Alexandria. We had planned to go see him this weekend, but some unexpected work on his end and the fact that Alex is even louder, apparently, than Cairo and is not kid-friendly to navigate, we've cancelled that.

This separation is a foretaste of what our lives will be like in France, and so far the kids are sort of OK. Junebug, however, seems to be a bit needier than usual and is more set on persecuting Sprout. "It's the age and the stage," she stoically tells me. This comes from me telling her that she also went through this when she was younger. Junebug's issues are exacerbated by Ti'Loup's presence in his life. He loves his baby brother and is often affectionate towards him, but boy does he dislike Ti'Loup being near me when he, Junebug, is tired or in need. Ti'Loup just turned 11 months old, but he already senses the rivalry and is starting to glare at Junebug. :-/

Now back to my cleaning and packing...

____________
* Carbs are a no-no of sorts for me because of my PCOS.


wayfaringwordhack: (kicking it island style)
As I mentioned in another post, I spent a hectic couple of weeks doing hand-lettered signs to raise money for Egyptian charities.

I rented a booth at a Spring Fair, held by the Maadi Women's Guild, on the premises of St John's church in Maadi. I decided to give 50% of all sales to charities, and I sold exactly enough to pay for my booth and my framing expenses. I sold one more painting after the fact (and gave 100% to charity) and also got some interest to sell any remaining pieces in a store and two requests for commissions. One of the commission hasn't gotten back to me, and I haven't given my price to the other one. I think once I do, though, she won't accept. She wants me to hand-letter an entire Psalms and embellish it with watercolor. I know what a crazy amount of work that is going to be and won't just give the piece away. Ah, the joys of putting a price on one's time and creativity. I think she will refuse because she already winced when I told her (custom) framing would cost $25. That is crazy cheap, especially for the size of are we are talking about, which is 100cm X 70cm.

Here are some samples of what I did (click on thumbnail for larger image):

wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
As the mother of three small children, I often find myself wondering where my days and time go. Unsurprisingly, I have a definite answer to where all my energy goes.

These past two months have been crazy busy, though, what with dealing with the whole family being sick with one thing after another. We are coasting along with mild coughs and some eye discharge for the boys. As lon as its doesn't et any worse, l can cope. Ok, from that sentence, uess what key is screwing up on my kelybolarld now.l LWelll, besides the llinsane lllllllll that just inserts itself where elvesl.l...olr clever ...ollr ever it lwanlltls. Does charming things with my auto-correct, let me tell you. And makes it very hard to type. Sigh.

All this because there are no ground wires here in Egypt, at least not in the flats we've had. So every time there is a surge, my keyboard flips out. :( My laptop will also be glad to be back in France.)

And speaking of France...

We learned that despite setting aside vacation days into a special account for the past four years so he could insure having some time to settle the family on our return to France, J's employer insists he come straight to work. This is the craziness that they subject him to in order to not have his pay docked: remain at work until the end of his shift on 31 July, fly out on 31 July so that he can land IN FRANCE no later than 11:59 p.m., and report to work at 8 a.m. on 1 August. The answer to his request to have one day off from his vacation time (not a freebie) was, "Absolutely not."

Fine, we thought, and proceeded to plan out an alternative. J decided to take more vacation time before his termination date to accompany the family back to France, settle us in, fly back to Cairo on the 29th, sign some papers on the 30th, and fly back the 31st in order to be at work on August 1. We even asked the current owners of the house we are buying to move the hand-off date from 2 Aug to July 22. They agreed.

Then we had to look like idiots and ask them to move the date up even more when one of J's colleagues told him to be careful about the dates he was taking off. Apparently, he has to be in Egypt for the two weeks prior to his termination date. So nice of his boss to tell him.

The family we are buying from is super nice and understanding, so we'll leave Egypt 4 July, move into our new place 8 July, and J will spend a few days with us before flying back to Cairo. When he returns to France, he'll head straight to work and will work until the company releases him for time off.

For those who don't know or remember, he is with the riot police in France and is regularly sent on deployment for 3 weeks at a time. This means that we could potentially go for 5 weeks without seeing him. This is going to be a trying time for the kids. First an international move--for the boys from the only country they've ever known, but one could argue that Sprout doesn't remember much of living in France--and then not seeing their father for such an extended period of time.

BUT! We will be back in France. We will have a gorgeous home in a lovely, clean! rural setting. We'll have awesome adventures getting to know a new place. It will be peaceful; we will be in our element.  So good things on the horizon despite the bumps.

I'm to that stage of change where I'm getting antsy, with physical pangs, yearning for this transition to either get more squarely under way or to pass altogether. We should get the boxes from the moving company within a couple of weeks; that will help. As will a more solid move into hotter temps so I can put away all mid-season clothing and bedding.

In other news, I was also been busy painting a lot to raise money for Egyptian charities. I'll try to remember to take some photos and do a Sunday snippet...


Lemming

14 Apr 2017 03:11 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
Despite that I have a permanent account here on LJ, I'm going to be active on DW now because most of my flist has already migrated that way. If you want to keep in touch over there, I'm wayfaringwordhack.

I may or may not post more over there than over here. Life is still in a very busy season for me, even more so since our departure date from Egypt has been moved up by three weeks. Still, I'm going to try...
wayfaringwordhack: (Default)
Sooooooo...8 years after setting up this account, I guess LJ has finally pushed me to use it. I'm in over my head with admin stuff right now, but I do sincerely hope I'll be here more often as our move progresses and life takes on some form of normalcy.

*hugs friends*
wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
So, things:

Got my laptop back from the shop.  It works. Not perfectly, but certainly functional and probably for many years. No thanks to Apple.

I have some crud that really resembles strep throat.* I am self-medicating with homemade remedies and feeling better. J seems to have something similar (he has congestion; I had none. My fever lasted 2 days; his is going on four...), but the doc said J probably has something viral. A pediatrician came to the house today and said the three kids have strep. Didn't do a swab test or send anything to the lab, though.

I am not going to miss Egypt, but here are a few things that I will be sad to have no more of:

- Access to Egypt's mad love affair with all things DELIVERY! Seriously awesome when you are sick and can't muster the energy to cook for the sick family.

- Awesomely exotic blooming trees. (Note to self: take some pics when you feel better)

- The smell of citrus trees in bloom. Heady.

- The network of lovely people we've met here


And now time for bed.  Oh, I'm going to miss that, too. Our mattress here is terrific. Not so the one waiting on us back in France. :P

____________
* I spent almost all day yesterday lying in bed, watching this guy paint with his baby in his arms:


So relaxing. :D
wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
After a blessedly uneventful trip, we are back in Egypt for the final stretch.  It is a weird feeling this time, knowing we are set to experience so many "lasts." Last time to do this, that, and the other here in Egypt. I've been doing that, more or less, since end of July, but this time it has kicked up a notch.

I've started mentally sorting our possessions, deciding what will go back with us and what won't. I'm so eager for things to move that I want to start giving away those won't things right now. It is too soon, though, and that would be just silly.  Still the ansty-ness is distracting as I'm trying to settle back in.

There are so many things to get done:

- Get N'Djema vaccinated, etc. in prep for our trip
- Get Junebug and Ti'Loup their American nationality (yes, I am lousy about taking care of admin stuff)
- Decide whether or not I want to do pottery and/or jewelry-making workshops before we leave here, and if so, Get on with it!
and lots of other things that my tired mind can't think of right now... Things which aren't the usual, "make progress on my art/books/etc."

Also, despite many attempts on J's part, we're still no closer to knowing what is going on with our car. Today he contacted someone who may be able to help. Fingers crossed. Because if it can run, or isn't in too bad of shape, we have to decide if we want to take it back to France and look into the cost and procedure of that.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: shroom sweet shroom)
Last night, we signed the papers blocking in the sale for the house.

I will spend many hours fetching books from this little library and reading on that sofa in front of the fire. :D



I spent many an hour going through our boxes (many, many, many book boxes) in order to get ready for the move.*  Today I have to pack our suitcases. Back to Egypt tomorrow.

____________
* When we sold our house in 2006 and moved to Mayotte, we put our belongings into storage at my MIL's place. We've continued to add to that stock over the last 10 years. She has had enough, to say the least. We'll soon be out of you hair, MIL; soon! :D
wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: !!!)
Or does she?

Goat is the name we gave our car that was stolen a year and a half ago. A few days before we left for our holiday, J was getting ready to throw away the key. "Wait," I said. "You never know."

J got a call today saying the police found Goat in Suez.

We don't know what condition the car is in, but it still has its diplomatic plates and these are what we need to hand over to customs when we leave the country in order to avoid heavy penalties.

Praise the Lord, whether she rides or not.

If she does, she just might come back to France with us, carrying all our boxes.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: shroom sweet shroom)
Hello and Happy New Year.

2016 was a busy year, full of good and bad. Too much to sum up, even. A few things in no particular order because how can one classify things like this:

We gave birth to Ti'Loup, who is now 7.5 months old.
My mother was diagnosed with esphogal cancer.
My grandmother died.
I wrote a Middle Grade fantasy novel.
We found a house to buy in France (our offer was accepted on New Year's Eve; we have yet to sign the papers).

2017 is the year we leave Egypt and come home, the year we have to declare that we are unschooling Sprout, the year I need to get my picture book finished...

__________
We're in France now, and everyone is sick, so I don't have much energy. I looked back through LJ, but I don't have the energy to comment on everything. Sending good vibes and get well wishes to those of you who need them.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: paper flames)
OK, completed NaNo.

I have a first draft of my MG fantasy novel now. It needs some details but is complete at 51708 words.

Yay, me.

Will be setting it aside until February, I think.
wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
Sheesh. Almost let another Sunday slip past me.

These past two weeks were crazy busy with the pageant, making costumes and working on the painting that I have to do onstage, and with writing. It takes a lot of prep work to pull off something that is A) big and B) painted live.  Not something I really want to repeat in the near future.

We had a dress rehearsal yesterday, and all went well. This week, i have to adjust some costumes and tweak a few things for the painting. One more dress rehearsal on Saturday, followed by two shows, and then this will be finished.

And what comes next? Christmas. :P

NaNo will end in a couple of days, and I can ease up on the word goal. I don't, however, want to stop writing, unless of course I finish the story. I am writing towards the climax now. 
wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: !!!)
As you can guess from the subject line, Sprout is still crazy in love with dinosaurs (at this time in her young life she says she'll be a paleontologist when she grows up), so dinosaur fun it was.

A peek at the preparations and some party photos.

I made my first ever pinata, a triceratops that I failed to get a picture of before it was smashed to pieces. Huge Fail. Especially since it was finished days before the party. Have some production shots:



My mil tactfully said, "That's not a dinosaur. It's a rhinoceros." And then wisely--since she'll be the first to tell you she isn't really "up" on her animals, much less dinosaurs--added, "Or maybe not." LOL

OK, I lied. I pulled a stillshot of the finished pinata from the video of the kids smashing it, but it was filmed at night and doesn't do it justice. If I do say so myself.


Out of salt dough, I made four dinosaur skeletons, one for each team of mini paleontologists to race to assemble. Here is part of the pterandon, drying:


Each dino had 45-50 "bones"  and measured one meter long. That's a lot of salt dough. I assembled and photographed them so the kids would have a "cheat sheet."  I had to use it myself to double-check the spinosaurus.


I would have loved to have the kids excavate the "fossils" and then put them together, but a) we don't have the room in our yard, and b) I didn't think the fossils would survive that. :P

Since this wasn't a surprise party, Sprout and Junebug got in on the decorations:


I got the idea for this cool banner off Pinterest:


Instead of cutting out each letter, I drafted the whole on three large sheets of paper, which I taped together.

I made dino eggs out of salt dough and coffee grounds with a small (not as little as I wanted, actually) dinosaur figurine inside. I was going to make one for each kid, but Egypt is not the US where one can find any little trinket one wants, not even in the Egyptian Toys-R-Us. So the eggs, which looked very much like rocks, doubled as decor, holding up an ostrich egg as a centerpiece. You can barely see them in the photo above, but I'll post another. There where just enough eggs that I could give them out to the members of the winning team in the Great Dino Games. But we played those after snacks, which were:

Herbivore Munchies, Cretaceaous Chips, (GF) Carnivore Chicken Bites, (GF) Pterosaur Tuna, Dino Tails (baby corn), dinosaur eggs, dino DNA, Fruitivore salad, Marshosaurus Molars (large and small marshmallows; I was pretty chuffed to find a dinosaur called Marshosaurus); dinosaur fossils (huge pain in the butt; will never make again), dino print cookies, and prehistoric popcorn.



I jazzed up some free food tent printouts with free clipart.

After snacks, the kids divided up into their herds: Triceratops, Stegosauruses, Spinosauruses, and Pteranodons.

Then they played Dino Stomp, which consisted of a timed race to pop all the balloons tied to J's ankles and wrists while he did his best to escape them. Next was Pterosaur fishing, at which the Pteranodon team exceled, clenching their victory of the games since they were able to catch the "special" fish, worth ten points. :P Then came the fossil puzzles, and finally the naked egg spoon race. That didn't last long, as you can imagine with small children, but it was OK because it was getting late and time for cake.



pinata.jpg

See how narrow our yard is:

pinata.jpg

I was all over the place with the party and didn't take any of the photos. So my absolute biggest fail was not getting a photo of the cake. It was a volcano, four layers high to get the cone shape. It had both chocolate and red velvet layers and was covered in icing, then ganache, and drizzled with red and yellow icing to simulate lava flows. It was a pinata cake; the top three layers were hollowed out to make the volcano chimney and filled with candy. It had fake palm trees and sparklers, and it was pretty awesome, even if prior to being decorated it it looked like a steaming pile of dino poo. LOL

Again I tried to pull photos from the video, but yeah...just not the same.



Happy Birthday, Sprout.
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wayfaringwordhack: (hellville)
A propos of my last post, here is a video via [livejournal.com profile] frigg that shows a glimpse of a campaign to educate people here about sexual harassment:

wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
Or shall we just call it, "The State of Things." Forgive me, LJ, for it has been awhile since my last post.

_________
I've never tried to put a cut under a cut, so be warned that when I say something vile happened, there should be an additional cut there to keep it out of public view unless you want to read it. If there is not a cut, don't read on, there's nothing more to see. :)
________

In which you can read about the State of Things )Vile Thing )

Anyhow. Did not mean to end on a tirade.SaveSaveSaveSave
wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
I'm an American citizen, who lives overseas, and I do not follow the news or the election hullabaloo. Still, I hear plenty about it.  Enough to scare me about the future of the US presidency more than just about any other time since I've been old enough to vote.  So, I got online and figured out how to vote from overseas.

I received my electronic ballot today and then spent a goodly amount of time at http://www.isidewith.com/ to see with which candidate I align the most. If you are feeling over- or underwhelmed by the two leading names/parties, I urge you to check it out and consider voting for someone other than the usual suspects. Check it out anyhow; you might surprise yourself.

Enough voices make a difference.

For the first time I feel at peace about this election. My candidate might not win, but I did not sit by and just let whoever into office, not out of idleness or some fatalistic view of Oh-Well-the-Big-Parties-Always-Win-Anyhow.  But they will, of course, if enough people just go with what's familiar...

As much as that sounds like I'm implying someone is wrong to vote for a major party, that is not my intention at all.  I hope only to encourage people to examine what they really think and believe in.

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