anniversary, dogs, France

Fire and Rain… in Ribeauville…

Today was our second full day in Ribeauville. We were supposed to spend another full day here, but James Taylor has caused us to leave tomorrow. It appears that his Copenhagen show went off without a hitch, which means that Frankfurt will probably be going on, as planned. So, tomorrow, we will pack up and go back to Germany and, in 24 hours, I suspect I will be sitting in a second row seat, listening to James play and sing. I know not everyone appreciates James Taylor, but he has gotten me through a lot.

Today, I thought we might go to Riquewihr, which is not even 2 miles away. But we ended up not going there, Instead, we had a very sumptuous and filling lunch, then bought some wine and goodies for Bill’s daughter and grandchildren. I would have liked to have gone to Riquewihr, only to pick up wine and maybe some Madeleines. Also, last time we were there, we had lunch in this restaurant, where I had the most delicious potatoes. I would have liked to have gone back for that… but I don’t even know if that place is open, since the Christmas markets are just around the corner.

It’s actually nice that it’s so quiet here right now, since we have the dogs. No one else is staying in the apartments, so the boys are not bothering anyone. And they’ve been very well behaved, anyway. Yesterday, they howled for about a minute before they quieted down. And Noyzi finally figured out that he needs to do his business on the leash. This was very important, because it’s the only way he can go on trips with us. He doesn’t mind being boarded at all, but I think he’s liked this outing. There is also every chance that we’ll be bringing him to the USA with us at some point, so he needs to learn that it’s okay to go to the bathroom on a leash.

This will probably be Arran’s last visit here… but one never knows. He’s been really surprising us over the past month. And this town is so easy to visit, especially when we just want a quick break from home. I envisioned a fancier holiday for our 20th, but this has worked out well. We feel at home here. I won’t have a lot of exciting stuff to travel blog about, but it’s been a beautiful visit, just the same. We’ve had lots of rest, too… and, the beauty of tomorrow is, we rented the apartment until Sunday, so there’s no rush to leave tomorrow morning.

I actually felt motivated to write a rant earlier today, but I think I’ll wait until I get home. I don’t want to shave my Alsatian wine buzz… I feel very fortunate that we have this ability, to just go to France when we feel like it, and hang out in one of its most beautiful areas. It’s a blessing, and I don’t want to spoil it with a complaint.

Today, we had sunshine, and we had rain… hence the title of this post… especially since we will (probably) be seeing the man who composed that song tomorrow night.

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dogs, France, travel

A quick hello from France!

It’s already 5:00pm, and I’m just now sitting down to post on my blog. I can’t even say it’s been a particularly busy day. Last night, we had dinner at one of the few Ribeauville restaurants we’d never tried. It also happened to be one of the few places that was open right now. Our “host” says that a lot of the local businesses shut down around now, because the Christmas markets are about to start. When the markets start, they will be working very hard, so they take a break beforehand.

Isn’t that crazy? In America, you’d never see half a town shut down because of upcoming Christmas markets. But then, people in America don’t have the same concept of work/life balance as the French do. In a couple of months, a lot of them will shut down again, because it’ll be January and DEAD.

We often come to Ribeauville when it’s the low season. Although this is our sixth time here, we have only been here once when tourism was a thing. I remember we were relegated to a tiny gite, because the one we usually rent was booked. I don’t mind that a lot of places are closed, as long as a few restaurants are open so we don’t starve.

Noyzi took all day to pee. He’s not used to going to the bathroom while on his leash. Bill said it was a two minute stream. He still hasn’t pooped yet. I’m sure that’s coming soon. Hopefully, it will happen outside.

We took a walk this morning, then had a big lunch with a bottle of wine. When we came back in the mid afternoon, I was really sleepy. So I tried to read… and sure enough, I was soon in dreamland. It was a very nice nap, but now it’s dark outside.

Arran has been to this town a few times, although his last visit was in 2018. When we arrived here yesterday, he knew exactly where to go, and was leading the way. I know he has cancer, but you’d really never know it to look at him right now. He’s doing very well.

It looks like James Taylor’s show is going to happen on Saturday, so we will cut this visit short. I think it will be a good thing, if only because Noyzi will probably really need to poop. He usually gets poop zoomies before he goes. He can’t do that here. But he’s enjoying himself, and I think he’s loving seeing a new town in a different country. This is a good place to teach him how to travel. Maybe we can bring him along more often, although he really loves being boarded. Arran, on the other hand, would much rather be with us. I could tell, yesterday, that he was so glad not to be going to the Hunde Hotel.

Ribeauville is a sight for sore eyes. I’m glad we came here to celebrate our 20th anniversary. This morning’s croissant alone, made it worth the trip. I may write something more substantial tomorrow, but today, I just felt like enjoying the break and taking a nap with my favorite boys…

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France, funny stories

“Shut your whore mouth, GPS…”

The featured photo is just over the border into Germany, where the GPS tried to lead us through a place we couldn’t go…

Bill and I are now home from our four night jaunt to extreme eastern France. We had a really nice break. The weather was surprisingly pleasant, if not a bit chilly and windy. Although we have been to Alsace a bunch of times over the past several years, this was our first time in the Soufflenheim area, which is kind of different from the areas where we have been in the past. I chose a great little hotel/Michelin starred restaurant, and the French, as promised, were much less obnoxious about COVID rules than the Germans have been… although while we were gone, some of the rules in Germany were either scrapped or relaxed.

I’m looking forward to writing up our trip on the travel blog. That poor thing has been limping along for months, as we’ve stayed close to home since we went to Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria a few months ago. I think, though, since the weather is improving, the days are getting longer, and the rules are relaxing, I will be able to write better travel posts in the coming weeks. That is, of course, if Putin doesn’t decide to nuke the world.

So what’s up with the title of today’s post? I’ve decided that I hate the GPS. On the rare occasions when I drive, I don’t tend to use it. I don’t like hearing the pack a day smoking voice the GPS always seems to use. I don’t like how it gives a bunch of directions, muting my music or interrupting conversations. Bill, on the other hand, loves using the GPS. Ever since he used a Tom Tom for the first time, back in 2007, he has relied on the GPS to tell him where to go. Sometimes he’ll use that in place of his own common sense. Personally, I often want to tell the GPS where to go.

Yesterday, as we were enjoying the French countryside, the GPS came on as Alison Krauss was introducing a song on her live album. Suddenly, I blurted out, “Shut your whore mouth, GPS!”

Bill cracked up. He knows I hate the GPS. It’s frustrating to try to have a conversation with him while that thing is going. He eventually set it to give fewer directions, not that it helped especially much.

This morning, as we were coming back to Germany, we were in a deep conversation when, just over the border, we ran into an “Umleitung” (detour). As Bill turned right, because he had to turn right, the GPS said in her mournful voice, “Make a U-turn if possible.” But it wasn’t possible.

Inexplicably, Bill continued to follow the GPS’s directions, instead of the street signs, and wound up right back where he came from. I got more agitated as the GPS kept telling him what to do, and giving him bad advice, since the GPS isn’t hooked up to the Internet and can’t offer up-to-the-minute directions. Bill needs to buy a chip for the car for the GPS to be able to give real time directions.

After a few more complaints, I managed to get Bill to turn off the GPS. He was surprisingly reluctant, though. “How will we find our way back?” he asked.

I had to laugh at that, since Bill has been driving for longer than I have.

“What the hell did you do before GPS systems were available?” I asked.

“I got out the map.” he said.

“You got out the map for every trip? Even the ones on interstates or Autobahns, where there are plenty of road signs? You’ve never just used your intuition?” I asked.

Bill had to admit that he did used to do things that way. But the GPS makes it so much easier… just follow along to what the smokey voiced woman says, and you’ll get where you need to go! Except for when she doesn’t have all of the information and leads you astray! Sometimes the human mind is better for problem solving than an automated machine is, don’t you think? Most humans can see with their eyes what’s going on. Machines can’t. On the other hand, machines don’t have cultural mores, subjective standards, or other people’s opinions to influence them.

I have an unusually good sense of direction. I always have been pretty good at finding my way around. It may come from having an Air Force navigator as a father. Consequently, I would take it as a challenge to get around using the GPS as seldom as possible. I also don’t like to be told what to do, even though I do appreciate the GPS when we’re somewhere completely foreign to us. I guess that’s one of the ways in which Bill and I differ.

At some point, I’m going to need to get a new car. It’ll probably have a built in GPS system. But if I know myself, I won’t use it when I drive. I don’t like interruptions when I listen to music or when I’m having a conversation. And sometimes, it’s cool to get lost for awhile. I’ve found some really interesting things that way. Getting lost is a great way to learn your way around a place, as long as you have the time to spare. We do have the time today, as the dogs can’t be picked up until after 6:00pm.

I’m reminded of how, back when I was doing my first social work internship, I had to use my own sense of direction to find my way to clients’ houses. It’s a wonder I was able, if I were to listen to my sweet husband. But sometimes, he’s a little too quick to do what other people tell him to do. Including the GPS system… she really does need to shut her whore mouth! Especially when Alison Krauss is speaking (or singing).

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France, healthcare

Bonjour, France… it’s been too long!

We made it to France yesterday, after a somewhat interesting visit with our dentist in Stuttgart. He always gives me a hard time because I got very anxious when he had to pull one of my two baby teeth a few years ago. We ended up talking about how I have a hard time dealing with doctors, after he asked me if I had any issues with lupus. To my knowledge, I don’t have lupus, but I might have had it for years… I haven’t seen a doctor since 2010.

He asked, because I have an inflamed, red area in my mouth, just under my bottom teeth, that troubles him whenever I visit. He asks me about my health every time I see him. In the past, he’s asked me if I have Chron’s Disease. I’m pretty sure I don’t have that. But anyway, he pressed on the area yesterday and gave me a bruise. I told him a little about why I am so reluctant to go to doctors, and he told me that he, his brother, and their father are all prostate cancer survivors and “everything still works”. Wow… He is half German, half American, and in some ways, is very German.

I ended up looking up lupus and am alarmed that I might have some of the symptoms… which causes me to stress. But then I decided that I need to enjoy France, because it’s been two years since we were last here, and boy have I missed it. I mean, I had no idea how much I have missed France!

And while the town where we’re staying isn’t super exciting or special, unless you’re into Goethe, I did choose a lovely hotel with a restaurant that has a Michelin Star. We have been eating in grand style, too… This morning, we had an insane breakfast with the most delicious pastries I think I have ever had. And then for lunch, we had Moroccan food that left us pretty stuffed!

We did some shopping and walking around… I took lots of pictures. We’re really only about ten miles into France, but it feels like another world. The French are not nearly as anal retentive as the Germans are, so we’ve felt practically free. It’s awesome.

On the other hand, I already miss the dogs. This morning, we saw the most adorable beagle. He was so friendly and sweet and just wanted to talk to us. He even gave me an “arroo!” He reminded me of our sweet, departed Zane, who was super friendly and lovable. I still miss him every day. We also saw some super cute pygmy goats. I have missed the world… especially when it includes friendly animals.

I think tomorrow, we might head further afield to see what else we can see in these parts. I hope we can come back to France again soon and spend more time. I had forgotten how much I love this place.

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Ex, France

The seaglasshole is at it again…

Special thanks to my hilariously witty friend, Nicole, for inspiring today’s title. I’m going to try to keep this entry short and to the point, since we have a lot to do today, and I still need to get dressed. I’ve been sort of looking forward to and dreading today. It’s the first time I’m going out in “public” since, oh… about early January? I think the last time I left the neighborhood was January 5, when I got my COVID booster. It’s not that I’m afraid of the virus per se. I just find the rules confusing and annoying, so I opt to stay home.

Today, we’re going to go to the dentist’s office, all the way down in Stuttgart. We’ll get cleanings, then head into France for a few days. I don’t know what we’ll see or do, but I am hoping to have some fun, or at least take some new pictures. I think we can accomplish that.

Last night, Bill and I were hanging out, listening to music. I did a little snooping on Ex. It’s funny, because I didn’t used to voluntarily look for information about her. But now I kind of unabashedly follow her, because I know she’s done it to me… and because sometimes, she’s alternately entertaining and scary.

I gazed at her public Twitter account and noticed she had posted a fundraiser for herself— as in she posted it a minute before I saw it. Once again, she’s allegedly trying to raise money for her son, who is evidently afflicted with severe autism. She says she wants to erect a fence for her yard, and that she’s been unable to secure grants… so online crowdfunding is the only way she can pay for it. She’s also been clamoring for a certain kind of service dog for people who have autism. She has a specific breed in mind, though… one that isn’t typically used as a service dog.

After years of seaglasshole watching, I suspect that these pleas for money aren’t actually for her son. It’s my guess that she has bills to pay, and her shopping obsession has left her short of cash. So she’s counting on the kindness and generosity of strangers. She claims her son likes to run away, and due to his disabilities, doesn’t have a keen sense of danger. But he’s fifteen years old, and probably getting close to being fully grown. Does she really think a fence will contain him? And why didn’t she put one in ages ago?

Some of the stories I’ve heard about this situation are very alarming. Along with the tales Ex posts on her crowdfunding campaigns, she also incessantly posts about movie stars, and her fantasies involving them. Most of the time, they’re about money, but I think she’s also obsessed with fame. I remember when the older kids were younger, there was a lot of talk about trying to get them into the movie industry. But those ambitions were apparently overcome by events.

I’m sure it’s not easy taking care of a teenaged boy with severe autism, especially since she claims she has two other autistic children, one of whom is my husband’s estranged older daughter. Older daughter was not “diagnosed” until she was 21 years old. I’m sure that’s not uncommon in milder cases, although I do remember that older daughter was often described by Ex as “troublesome”. She used to call her the “Dragon Baby”. Given that, maybe people can see why I doubt her sincerity when she expresses love and concern for her youngest kid, who apparently needs much more help that she and older daughter can give him. I’m assuming #3 is still around, too, but she never posts about him.

Anyway… once again, I’m shaking my damned head… Leave it to me to fall in love with a man whose ex wife is batshit nuts. On the other hand, being married to a man with a nutty ex wife kind of makes me look a lot better than I might otherwise.

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