Mars 6, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Seul / Seule / Alone. Et finalement… Je parle!

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Bonjour mes amis.  Je suis seule mais…pas seule.  Parce que nous sommes ensemble pour toujours dans notre cœurs. 

Interesting take on some time alone:

The last two weeks saw me alone.  Seul / seule – as my husband spent time in France with his Mother.

I had a list of things to do, but I managed to avoid all of them.

I realized that after 33 years together – I don’t do seul / seule very well.

Now, don’t get me wrong the first half of our lives together we spent many days, weeks, and months apart – once a whole year.  But for the last 15 years we have been constant companions.

I knew it would be hard to be alone, but I was most surprised at how I really didn’t know where or how to start the day.

I’m sure that after a few more weeks on my own, I’d fall into a better routine.  But, I seriously feel I wasted the last two weeks.  I took a few days to visit my own mother,  yet even there I found myself waiting for the next phone call.

As a couple we have fallen into a wonderful space.  I do these things and he does those things.  Together it all gets done.  I call these things “pink and blue jobs.”  Pink for girl jobs and blue for boy jobs.

Garbage is a blue job, coffee is a blue job.  Laundry and grocery shopping are pink jobs.  When I look at the division of “our” things, I realize just how traditional we might be labeled.  I also realize there are more blue jobs.

The one thing I did do the last two weeks was think.  I thought a lot and I really think I should make the coffee more often.  A little humor stirs within me, because we both know that won’t happen.  However, I now know how to make coffee.  Will I tell anyone?  Probably not.

Albeit traditional, it works for us.  I missed us / nous.  And I look forward to being us / nous again.

We can be “I’s” and still be “us”.  So intertwined with love.  You are the peace I sought.  You are the sweet relax at the end of the day.

As long as we are always reaching for the “us” before the “I’s”, we will be fine.

Et finalement, How’s that French coming?

Tres bien.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak French.  You would not believe how well I spoke.  AND my accent was even complimented!  VRAIMENT!

I now know for sure – immersion is the key to language learning.

I just ADORE the French language.  Not sure where all of this will lead, but I so enjoy the process.

What do you see for you and me:

Mon Amour

I see us in France.

I see us drinking the wine and tasting the sea.

Je vois toi et je vois moi.  Je vois nous ensemble – juste toi et moi.

Suz

Janvier 20, 2018. Dans ma tête, je suis! Mais, dans le miroir… In my head, I am! But, in the mirror… AND a good example from across the pond.

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Dans Ma tête 

Dans ma tête:  I’m BRISK, I’m active, I’m fast, and energetic.  I’m young, I’m limber, I’m awake.

Dans ma tête – I’m all these things.

In the mirror:  I’m slow, I’m idle, I’m listless, and tired.  I’m old, I’m stiff, I’m always falling asleep.

In the mirror – I’m all these things.

Je Suis Qui ?

Je suis moi! 

Je suis BRISK et actif, et rapide. 

Je suis aussi – fatigué… PARFOIS.  

Je suis qui?  Je suis moi.

C’est moi!

Mais, Je ne suis pas une vieille dame

Je suis jeune! Je suis jeune! JE CRIE!  Dans ma tête je suis jeune.

Pourquoi pas je dis.  Pourquoi pas!

Parce que tout est dans la tête – n’est-ce pas!

Mais, bien sûr! 

Supplémentaire – Elle est une bonne exemple (She is a good example)

When I think of how I want to be when I get old (older).  I think of her.

I think of how she appreciates the years and looks back on the smiles, the lessons, and the tears – but never the fears.

How she aims to share it with us all and hopes we never fall.

She is always by our side – there’s just a big ole lake – l’Atlantique, it’s so wide.

I want her grace and courage, her strength and drive.

Today, I run because I can

I run to feel the air so deep within my breath – beneath.

Suz

 

 

 

Janvier 16, 2018. Mot de la semaine or Word of the week: Fort, Forte / Strong.

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Sometimes things come out of the blue.  They don’t care for the plans you have or the dreams you dream.  They just want you.

This thing can’t have you!

It can’t have you – you are stronger than this thing.  It has no idea what it is up against.  Mon amie – tu est très forte.

Le mot de la semaine est FORT / FORTE.

Mon amie est très jolie and très gentille – ELLE est forte aussi!  

Elle s’appelle Coco.  J’aime beaucoup Coco.  Elle parles anglais avec moi and français avec tout le monde. 

Tu es forte Coco.  Tu es très forte.  Elle est à femme forte.  

My friend Coco is one of the strongest women I know.

She is strong and fierce like the winter wind.

She won’t let this stop her.  She will fight for herself.  She will fight for her children and grand children.

She will fight for her life!

Knowing we are here and she is there is the hard part.

As you start your journey this week, please know we love you!

Be strong as you PAUSE momentarily to get well.

Have FAITH that you will get well.

And KNOW that you are loved.

J’aime beaucoup mon amie Coco!

Love Suz

 

 

 

Décembre 1, 2017. Leaving this space to fill another. Dots on a line. And moving forward with new French themes.

IMG_4445.JPGBonjour!  C’est un nouveau mois et je commence un nouveau chapitre de ma vie!

Leaving this space –

My life thus far has been broken up into segments of time I call – dots; little pockets of places and time on a line.

Each dot or space of time on the line is a significant point in my life.  Births, graduations, marriages, deaths, moves, relationships, jobs etc…

The line includes places I’ve lived, worked, visited.  All chronologically recorded.  It’s quite simple – this line.  And just like everyone’s line, there is an end that we can’t see.  But we continue along the line with faith.

Soon I’ll be leaving a dot that I’ve occupied for 10 years.  A space that’s been very good to me, professionally and personally.

And I don’t yet have another dot to occupy.

Like a scene from a science-fiction movie, I can see the space – the dot on the line that I’ve rested at for the last ten years slowly filling itself in.

Gradually, the big fat sharpie of life gently colors in the dot, signifying that one space of time is closing and another should begin.

Another dot waiting to emerge –

I can see in the distance, the new dot forming – it starts with an arc over the line.  It’s an excited little arc of energy, full of potential, adventure and experiences.

It’s up to me if I chose to roll with this arc of what if.  But why now?  This space is good.  I’m content.  It’s simple enough.  So why am I leaving it?  And why do I feel so strongly that I need to move on?

I have no idea.  Do I thrive on change?  Is it time to learn something new, slow down or mix it up?  Is this the time to count my blessings, to smell those roses?

Whatever it is, I’m walking through the door.  I always do.  I’m going to make it a great dot.  I’m going to live like it’s the last dot YET, I hope I have many more.

We never know how long our dots will last.  Some find fullness in many dots, some find it in one big dot.  On the time line in my head, I have several more arcs waiting like the sun on the horizon at sunrise – peeping eagerly and excitedly for their turn.

Trust.

New French themes –

2017 saw me enhancing my French language skills and running a 50 mile ultra marathon.

2018 will see me continuing to enhance my French language skills and contintinuig to run – possibly a 100 K AND drum roll please…I hope to host a French exchange student.

I’ve wanted to do this for years, but never had the time.  This year, I’ll have the time.

We live in a beautiful area of the U.S., close to several larger cities and intersting Amercian attractions.  I’m excited to host a student and share our amazing America.

Suz

 

 

Novembre 13, 2017. J’ai Couru 50 Miles! C’est Fini. I Did It!

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I ran 50 miles in 11 hours and 30 minutes –

C’est fini!  Je suis très heureux.  Mais, je ne peux pas parler français.

Intesting enough, I could not remember much of anything while I was running let alone French.  I actually resorted to singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall, which actually worked quite well.

The first 5 miles I ran with two friends.  Then both of my knees started to hurt.  Thinking that maybe I was not relaxed enough, I decided to run on my own so I could run at a more relaxed natural gait (not adjusting to their rhythms and cadence).

For the next 32 miles I stuck to a 4 minute run, 1 minute walk routine.  I had a lot of knee pain. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was at a 7.

Luckily, I would see my husband (sweetest, most supportive guy ever) about every 10 miles while filling up my water bottle and grabbing pretzels and oranges from the aide stations.  His gentle kisses and encouraging words helped so much.  Oh and popping a few pain relievers – didn’t hurt either.

At mile 37 I knew I could finish but I was in a lot of pain, but still a level 7.  The pain was bad but it was not getting worse.  Each mile I would say “ok, it’s not worsening – keep moving.”

I walked the last 13 miles!  Oddly enough, at that point, I was able to walk faster than I could run.  I walked the last 13 miles at a 15:30 minute per mile pace singing 99, 98, 97, 96 etc…bottles of beer on the wall.

As the sun set I put on my headlamp to light the now dark trail, and focused all my energy into a driven march forward.  I knew I’d finish the race and I couldn’t wait to do so.

So many emotions to explore and so much time alone to do so.  Yet as I marched, all I thought about were those darn bottles of beer on the wall.  All the while asking God over and over to help me finish the run.  Quite the mental contrast.

I tried to speak French dans ma tête. Mais, c’était trop difficile.  I can never remember how to say the number 14 in French.

Oh – quick side note…remember my period that was due on Saturday, the day of the race, It held off till Sunday morning – is that luck or what!  And drum roll please, NO STOMACH ISSUES.

Today, aside from being unable to bend my knees fully, I am fine.  I have a few blisters on the tips of my toes – but otherwise, I feel great.

I will honestly say that my French studies suffered over the last 3 months.  I’m not sure learning French while running works for me.

I want to thank you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Thank you for the encouragement and support!  I thought about you while I was running – and how I did not want to let you down.  You kept me accountable and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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50.47 miles in 11 hours 30 minutes and 47 seconds.  Average pace of 13:41 minutes per mile.  5167 calories used.

It was quite the adventure.  It was a beautiful day, about 47 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny.  No rain, no wind.  A perfect day, full of happiness and friendship. The trail was amazing, rock walls and fallen leaves, wooden bridges and old train tunnels.

Now, I need to put some energy into French.  Not sure where I’ll go from here – probably the 100 K.  But for the next few weeks – I’ll be working on the knees and dreaming of returning to France late next year.

Life is beautiful.

Merci Beaucoup Mes Amis.

Suz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Septembre 16, 2017. Le fromage – I like it best when I can taste it in my nose. Et cette semaine…nous allons faire des baguettes…because I can’t run.

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Resting the legs, making baguettes and then a return to running.

Bonjour mes amis.  Comment ça va?  Moi?  Je suis très fatiguée.  Alors, je me repose.  Cette semaine je vais faire des baguettes.  Je ne peut pas courir parce que je suis fatiguée.

As you read through this – I have but one comment – Running is easier than baking.

Our family is truly blessed to have a close connection with France and my children love all things French, especially la nourriture et les repas longs / the food and lingering meals.

I’m proud to say they’ll pick a good cheese over a piece of cake any day.  Shopping for, eating, and enjoying cheese is a bond and connection our family enjoys and a bond many of our friends don’t quite get.

I love that as a teenager, my youngest daughter would say “I like the cheese best when I can taste it in my nose.”  And still today, she’ll call to tell me about the cool cheese she found at the supermarket.

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But we can’t find a good baguette to go with the cheese, so we’re making our own.

Ma belle mère recently sent us a French baguette pan.  Reading the recette / recipe on the back of the new baguette pan box AND ah hello…what the heck is a cube of yeast?

Turns out 1 cube equals 42 grams.  And 42 grams equals 2 packets of dry yeast.

Continuing, I reviewed the recipe (in French and English), organized the ingredients and set to work.  I had so much fun with my apron.

Day one making baguettes:  J’ai fait trois baguettes / I made three baguettes.  Les baguettes tasted like biscuits and they didn’t have the wonderful crispy, crunchy crust of a baguette. 

Results:  Not a baguette

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Day two making baguettes: J’ai fait trois plus baguettes / I made three more baguettes.  Kneading more and resting the dough longer, and still the taste of a biscuit.  And, although I increased the cooking time the crust still wasn’t crispy or crunchy.

Results:  Still not a baguette.

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For the first two attempts, I used the recipe on the back of the new baguette pan box, which called for milk; I’m thinking that maybe this is why the baguettes tasted like biscuits.

Day three making baguettes, a different recipe and finally a run:  J’ai fait une baguette avec une nouvelle recette / I made one baguette with a new recipe.

I also managed to get in a four mile run after five days of rest.

I worked through the recipe then set off on the run as the dough was rising.

The dough had an awesome rise, a spray of water and into the 400 degree fahrenheit oven. 

Thirty minutes later, I opened the oven to find a HUGE baguette with a crispy, crunchy crust.

The interior texture was somewhat improved as was the flavor, but the giant baguette still lacked the tell tale air pockets of a real French baguette.

Results:  Almost a baguette!  and HUGE.

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Carbs anyone?  Free bread, j’ai beaucoup!

Again, running…way easier than baking.

So – 

How’s the 50 mile ultra marathon training going?  Well, I wasn’t able to run the full training schedule this week as I needed so much rest after the hardest trail half marathon of my life (you’ll be happy to know – I did get 3rd place in the 50-55 female division).

It was an incredibly steep and technical trail.  I ran every section I could, but there was no running up the hills (there’s a difference between a hill and an incline).

I ran all the inclines, but the hills…these hills were made for walking…

Let’s just say that this was a once and done race.  Not going to do that one again.  No, not even if you give me a coupon.

The 50 mile race in November is really going to be a mental challenge for me.  I’m sure it will totally tax me physically (as long as the knee holds up), but it will exhaust me more so mentally.  I’m going to want to quit.  I know how I am.  I’m not as tough as I claim to be.

How are the knees?  After experiencing a lot of knee pain last week, I was actually able to do the hardest half marathon of my life with no knee pain.  My knees did not hurt at all during the 13.1 mile run from hell.  Afterwords, they ached.  I’m hoping the knee issue will soon pass.

It’s the weirdest thing.

Je ne sais pas pourqoui.

What’s up with your toe nails?  I lost a toe nail as a result of the full marathon last month.  Not pretty, but no new damage.  The toe socks are awesome.  But I’m going to need a good pedicure come November.

How’s the French coming?  WOW on the words I learned this week by simply following a recipe.  And our weekly sit down lesson went well.  Adding the videos to the audio is really paying off.  I’m thinking immersion trip in 2018.

Nouveaux mots / New words.

  • recette / recipe
  • farine /  flour
  • sel / salt
  • beurre / butter
  • lait / milk
  • levure de boulanger / yeast
  • sucre / sugar
  • emiettez / crumble
  • ajoutez / stir
  • incorporez / mix
  • recouvrez / cover
  • pâte  / dough
  • pétrissez / knead
  • faites cuire / cook or bake
  • moule / baking tin

Belle journée à vous tous!

Suz

Septembre 1, 2017. Don’t ask me why. Je ne sais pas pourquoi. It simply interests me. And sitting down to do the work – ensemble (avec du vin).

Bonjour mes amis.  Comment ça va?  Moi, ça va très bien!  Pourquoi?  Pourquoi pas!  Mais, actuellement c’est parce que aujourd’hui est vendredi et demain est samedi.  Aussi, samedi et dimanche, je cours!  J’aime courir!  Et j’ai trois jours sans travail.

Oh my that was exhausting and I hope it’s not too horrible.

Let me know!

I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – don’t ask me why! (From There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. Rose Boone and Alan Mills 1952).

In French this song is known as A vieille femme qui a avalé une mouche. 

I just LOVE French words.  

Hier / Yesterday, I heard this song and immediately asked myself – POURQUOI / WHY?

Why a life long quest to speak French?  Why am I so drawn to a language and one I’m NOT even good at?

And why do I find it necessary to run 50 miles / 80.46 kilometers?

As much as I long to know, I know God will show me in His time.  He always does.

It might not even be that deep – the reason.  It might just be pourquoi pas / why not.  Or, it might be a life changing super cool adventure, which would be so exciting!  Regardless, He reminds me that while I wait, I should enjoy the ride.

“BUT why?”

It simply interests me.

I remember being 12 and dreaming of France.  How I even knew what to dream about, I don’t know.  Yet, I dreamed of  colors and scents and scenes.

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Ironically, I also remember being 12 and running through the woods by myself.  I was afraid of the darker, thicker areas, but never too afraid.  I knew all the trails and I loved being there.

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When I made my way to France for the first time at 20 (wow that was a while ago) it was exactly as I dreamed.

As we drove across France to the Atlantic Ocean, I was oblivious to everything.  I wasn’t even overly excited.  Arriving at the ocean – I felt at home.

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Dont ask me why.  Je ne sais pas pourquoi / I don’t know why.  I have no idea why, no more than I know why I’m training for a 50 mile run!

It simply interests me.

And I trust en Dieu / in God.  God is BIG.  He is HUGE.  He is more than we can comprehend and He is in control – always has been, always will be.

He has the bandwidth to guide each of us individually along our way WHILE still at the same time –  taking care of EVERYTHING.

Sitting down to do the work.  

This week’s 50 mile marathon training schedule has me running 41 miles and 30 of them within two days (not sure how that’s going to pan out).

S’ asseoir ou s’assoir / To sit down.

My handsome half French guy and I have added a sit down night to our weekly schedule.  He may or may not be as thrilled as I am to study…

One night each week we will sit down and go over our French lesson and drink French wine – ensemble! / together!

Learning French while running is Fantastique!  It helps me to tick off the miles.  I normally get two to three audio lessons in during one six mile run.

But to really drive the French learning home, we’ve added a sit down night.  Allowing us planned, uninterupted time together.  In addition, it will allow me the space to practice speaking French out loud not just dans ma tête.

Le Vin / The wine – it’s a bonus!

I love my half French guy, he never fails to support my endeavors.  No matter how big, small, odd, lame, far-fetched or costly, he just goes with my flow.

Merci mon chérie.  Je t’aime! Tu es trop mignon.  

Note to self:  Acheter / To buy.  Be sure to buy champagne for the 50 mile run victory celebration.  Cause you’re going to do it!  Pourquoi Pas!

À la prochaine.

Suz