Wednesday, August 15, 2012


August 12, 2012. Sunday.
We get up and take the train from Montparnasse at 9:12 AM to Lannion (1:21 PM) and then car to Tregastel by 1:30 PM. Simon didn't get his nap at the usual time due to the travel and then as soon as we arrived at Grandmere's he was so excited to see the jardin (yard) there was just no slowing him down. He slept for an hour in the car, later as we drove around to sightsee a little bit. 

August 13, 2012. Monday.
Simon is LOVING the jardin. And, our neighbors have 2 sets of grandchildren visiting so Simon has playmates his age and a little older. He is running over to their house all the time, asking to play...and having a great time! I am so happy he's enjoying himself and that he is so outgoing and friendly. Hope he keeps this great characteristic.

Emmanuel starts his Fun-Board lessons where he is recapturing his fun-board skills from 20 years ago. As he proved to the instructor when he said, "it's like getting on a bike," he passed from the Intermediate to Advanced group immediately. All his "classmates" are young teenagers and he's wowing them already! He's taking classes all week, and probably next week as well.

August 14, 2012. Tuesday. 
I took a horse-back riding lesson. I am trying a new Stable. Last year I tried one and it was a little too "laissez-faire" in the approach. The 2nd one I looked into resembled a farm from the wild West and was really unsettling for taking a class. The 3rd stable we looked at last year were clean, big and appeared organized. Mostly they were really clean looking. So this year I decided to try the 3rd one. It was okay. They still get high points on cleanliness, but it was still quite disorganized. Fortunately they have many "stagieres" (students interning/training for the summer) and they prepared the horse for me.

[I grew up riding horses but they were always our own so we knew them and it was in fields around our house and farmland my father owned.] Taking group lessons, in French, with a different style riding and on a strange horse was really intimidating for me.

Initially I was put on a horse that just wouldn't follow my commands and, frustrated to spend my lesson trying to control the horse rather than the actual exercises, I decided this just isn't for me and I'll try it again under different circumstances. I pulled the horse into the center ring and stammered in broken French "I am going to leave the lesson. This just isn't working for me." Finally this got the instructors attention, because before this they just treated me like everyone else, which isn't bad, but I really was/AM a novice at this point. And I, too, was in a group of tweens who were more experienced than me. They took some time to find out the problem; I explained the goal of this lesson isn't to struggle with a horse. They asked if I would like to try with a different horse. I didn't. But I agreed to try it. So they gave me an older, more calm horse and so I continued in the lesson.

After getting a horse better suited for me the lesson wasn't so bad. I actually was able to learn a bit, and see how different the French style of riding is, even if it is the same saddle. [Americans have two styles of riding: "English style" or "Western style" with the knob. The French don't have Western style. They just have one (English), but they don't call it that obviously. And, as I learned in my lesson, the commands with the reins are opposite what the American "English style" are.] Regardless, there even were a few moments were I could break out in a smile and enjoy myself for actually Riding, as opposed to clinging on for dear life with completely incorrect technique. I have to say I haven't done something that required 100% of my body AND brain at the same time in a LONG LONG time! That was nice too.

August 15, 2012. Wednesday. Assomption Day. 
Oh my gosh I am swollen and black and blue and have a rash in parts I'd rather not write about! Thank you Horse-Back Riding lesson! I have a 1 1/2 days to recuperate before the next lesson. (Yes, we decided to take a "Package" and I signed up for 5 hours of horse-back riding lessons! Today I went swimming in the town's heated salt-water pool, to stretch my muscles a bit and relax. It didn't go too bad. There are no lanes in this pool and since it's heated everyone goes there to just goof-off and paddle around. Normally it feels like just chaos to me and is always frustrating as people keep getting in the way of my obvious attempt at just swimming some laps. ;) 

Emmanuel's cousin came over with her three children. Simon was still napping and the three children came into his room to wake him up with me. I told him they were there and he was fast asleep. He squinted his eyes and began to sit up. Then he sees three strange people in his room. I was worried he would be upset or freaked out but I kept saying "they are your cousins." He then sat bolt upright and started waving at them, then he stuck out his left to shake each one's hand. They were used to giving "bises" (the French kiss on both cheeks) but he just kept his hand out for them to shake it. So funny. And so cute. 

Simon had a great big full day. The beach this morning to watch Papa on his Fun-board and play in the sand and sea. And then 3 cousins and their dog. And then the neighbors came home and he invited their children over to play. Of course he was a little too wound-up to sit down and eat a proper dinner but we gave him a bath and then he ate something afterwards.