Happy Halloween! I think you all should send me some photos of you and/or your child in costume so I can post them here. Ok?

I'm just going to ramble a minute and post a few photos.

Who's gonna be our President y'all??? Yikes! and God help America.

We just found out that Erik's class is going on a week-long trip to Paris in May. Definitely a perk of living in France ... a field trip to Paris! Jason is going to do an exchange to either Massachusetts (same school Kerry's kids went!) or to Canada. He hopes to go to Canada. We haven't heard anything about a trip or exchange for Emily's class yet.

I took Jonathan to the airport Monday, a little later than usual ... at 10am instead of 5am. That's a much more agreeable time to be operating a motor vehicle <haha>. He'll be gone for a 9-day trip to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Milan, one of his usual routes these days. He has some long layovers in Stockholm so maybe he will get out to do some exploring.

We got some things accomplished while he was home for the week... mostly he got things accomplished. He took the car to get the brakes fixed, got new wipers put on, picked up the headboard to a bed we bought, replaced a lot of burned-out lightbulbs (why do I hate doing that??? ...maybe something to bring up in therapy?) and Jonathan, Emily and I cleaned up the car. It looks so nice! Both of us are the world's worst at keeping the car clean so we are still feeling all pumped up over that. For those of you who keep your car clean, I know you are scratching your head over this one.

Jonathan and I went out to eat Soupe de Poisson one night in Aix while he was home. It's nice that it's soup weather again. I'd love to have some of the soup that the ladies of my mother's church make for fundraising every week during the fall/winter. And one of their homemade chicken salad sandwiches ... oh-là-là.

Sunday, we all went exploring. It's the first time we've all been exploring together for a long time. The kids always complain about going now even though they end up having fun. Jason always asks even as we are walking out the door if he can stay home. After he asked for the umpteenth time 'when are we going home', I told him that my father died when I was his age and I would give anything to spend a day anywhere with him, so he should stop complaining! It worked for a few minutes! Anything to promote family bonding time...

We went to Lourmarin and had a picnic next to the playground and watched a soccer game in progress. The kids had a good time playing on the slide and merry-go-round (old fashioned kind ... you sit on it and spin it).

We walked around the village and went to the shop where we had previously bought a sculpture of, what I call, my little sad man. Unfortunately, he looks really sad now because he shattered into 4 pieces when I knocked him off the nightstand while making the bed. The artist is Belgian, lives in France and he started making these men out of smoked clay after being inspired by seeing victims of the war in the Czech Republic. I love them ... they are so different and soulful and I was really sorry I broke the first one. So thankfully, they still had more at this shop and we bought another one with 3 little sad men on it. My little sad men.

We went in another shop with household things (pillows, plaques, tea towels) with French "quotes" on them (note to self: return to this shop without Jonathan and spend too much money).

Then Jonathan and I stopped for a café crème ... American-sized coffee with steamed cream.

We drove on to Bonnieux and beyond to see if there was any fall color. Most of the color in the area is pale yellow ... not very spectacular, but the weather was definitely beautiful and fall-like and we drove around with our windows down and our arms sticking out against the wind.

We drove to La Coste for the first time and walked up to the chateau ruins. This chateau was owned by the master of 18th century debauchery, the Marquis de Sade. Heard of Sadism? Mmm-hmm. Since this is a family-friendly site, let's just say the Marquis was arrested and jailed for a large portion of his life for committing various indecent, incorrigible and illegal acts. But then, the end of the 18th century was a time of decadence of the most extreme forms in all of Europe, and some say in France especially. The Kings were involved and immensely enjoyed the freedoms and indulgences of the social upheaval of the time.


After La Coste, we drove on to Roussillon and stopped for a quick walk around the block. Roussillon is famous for its beautiful red cliffs and ochre quarries and is in the heart of one of the biggest ochre deposits in the world.

Since it was dinnertime by now, we drove back to Bonnieux for a salad and pizza at one of our favorite pizzerias. Thankfully all the villages in the area are close together and it's easy to explore a lot in one day.

Have a Happy Halloween and don't forget to send me some photos! Keep in touch! VOTE!



Starting with a few miscellaneous photos ...



Joanna sent me this sign funny!





Jonathan and Erik at the Sous Prefecture in Aix.
Yes, once again it was time to renew the paperwork that keeps us here legally from year to year. We always feel like we are going to some hugely important inquisition and that we are on the verge of being immediately deported or swiftly imprisoned <g> Of course that's not true but it's still always a mystery. Part of it is because Jonathan is gone so much and we only have a short window of opportunity when he is home and the time is nigh for staying legal. Jonathan is meticulous about providing everything they require but this year they asked for a photocopy of our current Carte de Sejour which is NOT mentioned on the list. That has never been required before. Thankfully, she made the copies for us instead of us having to reappear with the proper paperwork.
Been there, done that.






Erik playing his Gameboy after his bath. Looks pretty comfy doesn't he?








Jason and Fairy!







Emily doing KP with a flourish.







The bed we bought







As we passed through Cadenet, we noticed an early Santon fair set up. We bought a lady holding pumpkins and a totally secular Santa Santon!







A "hand" fountain in Cadenet















Jonathan carefully preparing bread for cheese and Jason enjoying chips in Lourmarin.








The kids playing in a pipe on the playground.








My Little Sad Men!







An interesting menu







A fat cat. All of these little villages have tons of cats that come out in the evenings ... it really is like the Broadway musical!








This was a nice little market stand. Look closely in the case to the right...







Pig's heads! The sign in the front of them says 'Dit moi Bonjour' ... Say Hello to me!







La Coste








Clock tower and campanile at La Coste








Campanile (wrought iron bell tower) ... built here because the strong winds in the region could topple a solid one.







The kids at La Coste. The little village in the distance is Bonnieux.







Roussillon and the ochre cliffs.












The buildings in Roussillon are especially beautiful at sunset.









Speaking of sunsets ... back to Bonnieux for pizza and a great sunset.




Thank you for stopping by! See ya soon!







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