Saturday, October 25, 2008


When I met my better half he was a rockclimber and he was my personal coach.  It wasn't until 6 months of so after we started dating that he told me he was an artist as well, it was his true passion and he had been drawing and painting since he was very young.  He started showing me some of his work and I was amazed...he could draw anything! I can't draw anything.

 When we first started our business it was great because he finally had a real studio of his own, the space was amazing.  He spent every day there painting very large abstract pieces and getting back his artistic groove.  Then after 4 years we moved our studio to a different location, better for the classes and business but not for Bruce.  It was much smaller, didn't have the high ceilings  nor the space for his large canvas'.   So, he moved his studio home and into the garage with my pottery studio. We created our art together in the garage for a few years,  but it wasn't the ideal space for him, with all my dusty pottery it wasn't good for his painting , so he moved the studio into one of our bedrooms, but it was too small for creating large pieces... then he became uninspired and stopped.  That was last year and he didn't feel creative, he didn't work on his own art, just taught the kids.  He was burned out, both by the business and teaching for 10 years.  We knew it was time for a change.

He was so excited to move here for the year and focus on his art.  He always feels so inspired in France so 2 weeks ago when we were in Toulouse he picked up a bunch of paper, charcoal, conte, pastels, fix, erasers, etc....he wanted to start drawing again and so each day he spends 3 or so hours in his studio creating some amazing pieces.  In the past 10 or so years he had been creating mostly large abstract oil paintings, he wanted to get back to drawing realistic stuff. 

We are going to head down to Albi in a week or so to pick up painting supplies and some canvas so he can start painting.  He feels that some things are great as drawings but others need to be painted, they just need the texture and color of paint.  We were talking to some friends we had over for dinner and they have a commercial space in one of the villages and they saw his work and want him to do a show in the spring.  I think that would be great.  Anyway, here is some of his work.  My artist is back!   Enjoy.

barn down the road


le chat

our neighbors

our other neighbors

hay circles

our maison

our maison

more hay

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Memories in a package of cookies?

Maybe because we don't have a television, I'm not sure, but I think my mind has gone a bit crazy, not in a bad way, in a good way.  it's working...bringing up memories that I have had tucked in there for a long time.  Memories that have been pushed down from Entourage or Grey's Anatomy (oh I sure do miss my 2 favorite shows) or the food network.

Last week we visited our friends Nala and Neerva.  They own Le Roucan, the gite we stayed at last year here in the Aveyron.  At that time Neerva was out of town, so in the 2 weeks we were here we never met her.  We arrived at their home with warm memories.  The live in a hamlet called finneroyls, it consists of about 8 houses, starting with a small farm and ending 1 mile up at the top of a hill where you'll find Nala and Neerva's home and gite.  Nala is french and Neerva is originally from Germany.  The offered us some lovely mint tea (fresh mint from the garden) and she brought out a plate of these biscuits/cookies.  I took one bite and was transferred back to my childhood.  It's funny how a taste or smell can do that to you.  I wasn't sure what the memory was and since I was at a friends house I had to focus on the conversation at put it away until later.  I asked what the name of the biscuits were, because not only did they provide a happy memory, they were extremely good, I knew I had to get some.

"Speculoos de bruges" she said.  They are belgian cookies and she told me I could get them at the Hyper-U (pronounced eeper-oo).  I couldn't wait to go and get some.  We are now huge fans of these tasty little biscuit/cookies, they are my new favorite cookie and we keep a big stock of them on hand.  How do I describe speculoos to you?  Well, I'd say they are a thin spice cookie, not a gingersnap, not a molasses cookie, not a snickerdoodle, but maybe something like a mix of all three.  All I can tell you is that they are amazing and addicting, if you can find them, buy them!

old fashioned windmill cookies

Last night Bruce was drawing and I was reading and eating a few after dinner speculoos when I remembered what reminded me of these tasty treats.  When I was young (the youngest of 4 - all 2 years apart - my poor mom) there was a woman who lived across the street named Toni Brady.  I called her Nana.  She took care of me a lot when I was a baby/toddler.  She had a dachshund named "petie" and he would lay outside the door of the room where I would be taking a nap and growl at anyone except Toni that would try and come in.  I don't remember that, my Mom told me.  But as I was sitting in our little house in rural france, I started to remember what her kitchen looked like.  I could remember the layout and the wallpaper, which was red/while toule and she had some bundt pans hung on the wall, I'm sure she used them, but it was also for decoration.  I also remember that she would give me archway windmill cookies, these cooking taste almost exactly like speculoos, except they have almond slices or some type of sliced nut in them, speculoos doesn't have any nuts.  

So by eating this little belgain biscuit here in rural southwest france I was brought back 40 some odd years to my old nana's house where I would eat windmill cookies.  I can't wait to find some more old memories.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

60 mile ride, but totally worth it

getting ready for our ride

how cute is he
someone's house

at the cafe having lunch
ruins in  peyrusse

On Wednesday we went for a ride with our friends Jacques and Fabrice.  Of course they told us they would be chez nous at 9:00 am, but didn't arrive until 10:00 am.  But we have realized that is Jacques, he's like the mayor of every town and loves to talk to everyone, so he's rarely on time...he also tweeks his bike every minute he can, alas.   We had no idea where we were going we just followed Jacques.  We took the road to VilleFrance-de-Rouergue and then up through a pretty little village called Villeneuve.  Then we headed a bit east a village called Peyrusse le-roc.   The hill up to the village almost broke me that time we had already road 30 miles, i was starving and it was extremely steep.

We road into the village and stopped at the first Cafe/Aubergue we came too.  The owner and his dog were standing out front and immediately struck up a conversation with Jacques.  He told us they had a great lunch, so we went in.  The daily lunch special - beautiful pork chops, mac & cheese (the french way), bread, water, red wine and dessert.  10 euros was so amazing and tasty.  The owner and his wife were very friendly and the man behind us also got into our conversations.   I find the people here so incredibly friendly and warm.  For dessert we had french toast.  At least that was what it was to us, day old french bread, with egg and powered sugar.  They called it something else.  I'm sure Betty or Loulou knows what it is called. It was a great lunch and after an hour or so we were ready to head least we thought. 

When we arrived in Peyrusse le-roc and went into the cafe we noticed all these postcards, pictures and books about this ruin called Chateau Inférieur which was built around 761.  We had to go and look at it, but it was down these very very steep cobble stone streets so we had to leave our bikes, take off our bike shoes and walk down the hill.  Oh my god...that's all we could say.  Stunning and beautiful and amazing.  There are even ladders that will take you out to the ruin.  We had to laugh because there are just tiny rails that keep you from falling.  We said that would never fly in America, wouldn't be safe enough.  We didn't go out to the ruin, since we didn't have shoes on, but we'll come back to visit when we are not on the bike.

We headed back down towards VilleFrance and I was spent.  Bonked is the word we use.  It's just that these hills here are so steep and long and I'm not used to them and the speed the guys ride is fast and I wanted to keep up and not slow them down.  We stopped and I had some chocolate and voila I was better...just needed a boost of sugar to get me home.

We all arrived home tired, but we all agreed it was a bon route.  4 hours in the saddle (60 miles), yesterday was a jour du repos, marché day in Villefrance.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

3 very different days

When I went to the intermarché (oh what day was it...I swear I am loosing track) by myself to get supplies for my apple/pear tarte I had to ask a woman where I would find the crust for the tarte, I told her that I was looking for crust and that I only need crust not the whole tarte (and I did this in french).  She understood me and I understood her and I found the pre-made crust.  I was so proud of myself.

So on Friday we decided to get pizza from the pizza van in the village of La Fouillade, which is about 3 miles from our house.  The van comes to the village every friday and we have heard the woman makes really great pizzas from 5pm - 10pm, you order in advance and come and pick it up 2 hours later (yes, 2 hours).  But the pizzas are amazing and you can choose from so many toppings and the grand pizza is only 7.50.  So we ordered 2 pizzas - a grand Les Traditionnelle, tomate-lardons-emmantal-olives and a petite tomate-jambon-champignons-emmental-olives. We sat at the café and i had a glass of rosé and bruce a coffee.  We took the dogs with us and they were a huge hit, we met so many people because they would come up to the dogs and pet them and talk to us.  We met the woman who owns the café, she is probably in her 60's and so nice and we spoke with her for a long time.  We didn't know that it would take so long to get the pizza, so we decided to go back home and come back to pick it up when it was ready.  Bruce told me that I should go get the pizza, good practice.

Now let me tell you, we live in the country, the woods, in a valley surrounded by forest.  The short-cut road to La Fouillade is basically 1 lane that winds up and around many hamlets (small commune of houses, like maybe 2 or 3) and there are no lights, no signs, no directions, nothing....the short-cut road takes you out to the 922 which is a 2 lane road, once I'm there I'm fine, it's getting there that was the problem.  I took Stella with me (as my co-pilot) and we headed off.  Now I can't see very well at night (where did my glasses go???) and you come up to a hamlet and there are like 3 different roads going straight, left and right...we have only taken this road 2 times and I was never driving.  I turned left and ended up on a dirt road, had to reverse and go back, hum, tried straight and ended up at someones house, so backed up and went right - yes!  I made it to the 922 and into La Fouillade.

Our pizza was to be ready at 8:00, and it was now 8:05.  So I went to the van and said to her in french.  My husband Bruce made an order for 2 pizzas, un grand lardons and un petite reine. Easy enough right? no.  She spoke so fast and said something and I had no idea what it was.  I just looked at her and told her that i did not understand.  So she said something else, didn't catch that either.  Crap.  Here I stand, in the middle of fricking nowhere just wanting my pizza! I finally said to her "the pizza is not (oh what is the word for ready) I said,  the pizza, not now" - how's that for caveman talk and she said no, may, pas plus de dix minute.  I think I got will either be ready in less than 10 minutes or more than 10 minutes, oh I don't know?  I got the 10 minutes part so I said OK and went back to the car to wait for dix minutes.  Stella and I sat there and I told her that i was frustrated, this should have been easy, right, just come pick up the pizza.  I know it's only been 8 days, but I felt so confident at the intermarché, now I feel completely deflated.  argh!  I walked up to the van and she points to the box and said your pizza.  YEAH!  It's ready....13.00 for 2 pizzas and off we went.  Only to get lost on the way back home, took a couple wrong turns, but finally figured it out.  What an experience.

So, yesterday we decided to join the local cycling club in Villefrance-de-rouergue (the largest village about 5 km from us) for a ride.  We arrived and there were about 15 men standing around talking, we got out of our car and everyone came over to us and said "bonjour" and shoot our hands, they didn't even know us, but made the effort to come and say hello.  Nobody spoke english either.  Thank goodness Bruce's french rocks, because he did most of the talking. Their ride was going to be around 45 miles and they would be happy in we joined them.  By that time 10 other men and 1 female (thank god another woman) came and all said "bonjour".  Then we noticed that the mechanic we visited on Thursday (who we are seeing today) was there and he looked at Bruce and said "ah, bonjour" and then saw me and kissed me 3 times (it's 3 kisses in the Aveyron).  Everyone laughed.  They asked us if we were from England and we said no, America.  Ah...America,  ah, California.  Then as we were pulling our bikes of the Claude (our 1985 Peugeot station wagon) we heard many of them telling others in french, no they are from america.  I don't think they get many americans here.

The ride started off casual but then we hit the hills.  Now, we are in/around the Aveyron gorge, so nothing is flat here, everything is hills and valleys, so if you go down you know you have to go up.  It was really hard, Los Angeles isn't known for it's hills.  Sure, we've climbed in Palos Verdes, climbed Latigo, Mandeville, but this ride was like doing all of these climbs, twice in 1 ride.  I had a lovely time riding with a Francois, who is 63 and a very sweet man and 5 others (including the woman) we were the slow group, mostly because of me and Francois...great me and the 63 year old.  I do great on the flats, can keep up no problem, but then I hit a hill and that's when I slow down, these people know no different, they grew up riding this hills, but it's going to take me a bit before I'm strong.  I spoke the best I could and listened to everything everyone was saying.  They were such nice people, all of them.  3 hours of riding and we ended up at the bar drinking 1/2 rosé and 1/2 limonade....yummy.  We are riding again with them on Thursday and will probably join the club.  Great way to meet really nice people and ride really hard, you don't have a choice in the matter, you keep up or you get lost in the countryside.

Three very different days, but all of them great experiences.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Visit to toulouse & back to baking

Plase du Capitole in Toulouse

On Wednesday we had an appointment with our banker Séverine. She works for Credit Agricole in Toulouse and was our first meeting with her. We opened our checking account back in June, via email and regular mail. She has handled 3 wire transfers into the account and 2 wire transfers out of the account (to buy our car and to pay first 3 months rent). All via email, so easy. I just emailed her and told her how much to transfer and where and it was done and the fee....$0. I'm telling you I heard nightmares about dealing with french banks, but this was nothing but a pleasure. We have had trouble with our bank in california since we have been here, they cancelled my debit card because of the activity in europe..hello, I went into the branch and told them to note on my account that we would be living in france for 1 year and that there would be loads of activity. Still, they cancelled my card. argh! They charged me $30.00 to wire transfer money to france and each month our rent payment for our house gets wired into our account and we are charged $10.00, certainly not paying for the service!

So, instead of driving the 1 1/2 or so hours down to toulouse, we decided to take the train. It would be easier since we wouldn't have to navigate the city in the car and find parking. We boarded our train at 8:52 am and arrived on-time at 10:22 am. Then we took the metro 2 stops. We had about an hour to kill, so we stopped and had a café and walked around. It was freezing...but only to us, everyone else had maybe a light jacket on, but I was all bundled up. Crazy Californians.

our gare in Villefranche

Our meeting with Séverine lasted about 1 hour. She gave us our checkbook, debit card and pin number for on-line banking and pin-number for debit card. The bank also handles car insurance and that was all set up and ready to go as well. It will cost us 18 euros a month to insure the car. crazy. The bank also handles mortgages and business loans and we met the manager who "loves" california, although she has never been there. It was a great experience.

Our train didn't leave toulouse until 4:30 so we decided to go shopping. Bruce really wanted some art supplies and we found this amazing store called Midica the store has 5 levels. Everything from hardware, appliances, bedding, kitchen, art supplies, frames, etc...  I spent most the time in the kitchen floor and bought some measuring spoons, measuring cups and a tarte pan. Time to get back to baking. Bruce was amazed with the quality of art supplies there and came home with paper, pastels, conte, charcoal, erasers, pencils, fix and some other goodies. He is going to focus on drawing right now and then move to painting.  We also saw some amazing shoes, I love the shoes different from Los Angeles...but I was good and didn't buy any.

We spent a good hour at a café having lunch and more coffee and just hanging out. I love it here, they don't try and get you to leave so someone else can have your table. It's yours until you are ready to go.

We caught the train and arrived home around 6:30. Long day for us and for the dogs, but we all did ok. We can't wait to go back for the day and see more of Toulouse, it's such a lovely city.

Yesterday I decided to bake a tarte in my new pan. On Tuesday we were at the bike shop and we were searching for some commuter bikes for us. I don't want to ride my Lemond to the villages to hang out. We were standing there and I saw this little yellow bike and it looked perfect and I test road it and it was perfect. We put a basket on the front for me and after paying 200 euros we left with my new little bike. I needed some groceries for my tarte so I decided to ride my bike into Villefranche, which is about 35 minutes each way from our house. I put all the goods  into my basket and headed home.

me leaving on my new bike

Here is a picture of my pear/apple tarte. I was so excited to try the "pre-made" crust that I have heard so much about.  I have never not made my own crust, it was so much easier just plop it into the tarte pan.   All I can say is that it's amazing, so good, so buttery, so flaky.  The only problem is our oven isn't very fast, so it took a bit longer to cook.

ingredients for tarte

my first tarte in france

I also made salad nicoise for dinner. We had this salad when we were at B&B's for dinner in the states and it was so good we decided to have it. It's so easy to make and so good for you. Add some wine and good bread and you are good to go.

my first salad nicoise in france

It was another great day today and I'm happy to be baking again. I hadn't baked anything since we left our house and moved into the temporary apartment as I had packed all my baking supplies away. The smell of apples/pears is filled the air here in the house...wish you could have smelled it or better yet, been here to taste it.

(If you want to see the pictures larger, just double click on them.  We are getting faster speed on our internet but until then i can only post small pictures)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

St. Antonin marché

Yesterday was the sunday marché in St. Antonin Noble Val.  This is our favorite village, both of us loved it the moment we arrived in it last year.  We couldn't wait to go back.  The Sunday marché is wonderful, full of people, vendors and music.  We arrived with list in hand, sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming without a list.  We decided that we'll visit the marché once a week and pickup all the fruits and veggies for that week.  We'll visit the intermarché (grocery store) once a week for other stuff for the week.  I only want to shop once a week, not like in Los Angeles where I'd drop by the market every day or so if I needed something. Here we will plan our meals.  

We spent about 3 hours in St. Antonin wandering around, shopping for our fruits and veggies and having a café, oh and taking pictures of course.


We also had to find the home of our new friends B&B.  We met them through La Framéricaine. They live in Los Angeles, but have a summer home in St. Antonin.  We found many things in common with them and can't wait to see them in June.  It was easy to find their home and it's lovely.

maison bleu our friends home

We also saw many places for sale and are going to check with a local agent to see some.  Not sure if we could make a living here in this small village, but we just love it!

My last posts spoke of the cold, but today it is warm and sunny and we are sitting outside with shorts and t-shirts.  The dogs are romping in the meadow having the times of their lives.  We are going on another ride this afternoon.  No car for us today, just relaxing and enjoying the day.

Monday, October 6, 2008

our first ride

Les Costes

Yesterday was our first ride in 3 weeks. We couldn't wait to get back on our bikes. We left our house and and the end of our driveway had to choose left or right...both ways are up and not easy. We chose right and decided to go to a neighboring village called Najac. We had visited Najac last year, it's a lovely village with a castle that dates back to the 1600's. I wanted to go there because Anke, a woman I met last year was now living there and we were hoping to find her. All I can say is that I will become such a strong biker here as there is no "flat" in the Aveyron, only up and down. It took us about 20 minutes to reach the top of our first hill, I was in my easiest gear and it was so hard. Then we road up and down (easy hills) until we went down and down and down into Najac. The down was cold too. Not sure if I mentioned it but there was frost on the meadow and on the car window yesterday and today. Burrr. Although the down part was easy I knew that meant we would have to climb out of Najac.

nice house!

on the way up out of Najac

up into Najac

When we arrived we went to the cafe, I had a decafé au lait and Bruce his usual café grand noir. We asked the woman at the bar if she happened to know Anke. Ah, oui...and in french asked if we were looking for her. We told her the story and that we were back for a year and that we'd love to see her. She pulls out her cell phone and gives us her mobile number and then tells us where she is living. How crazy is that. We finished our café and road the bikes down to her house and there she was! She wasn't expecting us and we haven't spoken to her since last year, she was so surprised. We spent 2 hours with her catching up. She is a cyclist too and so we can't wait to do some riding together and to have her to the house for dinner.

We then headed "up" towards home. A different route, but still up. We road 20 miles today (still trying to figure out km), so about 2 hours...2 hours of riding and 2 hours of visiting, I like it. We have decided any day that it is sunny we will ride, it doesn't have to be warm (because we brought many layers of warm biking clothes) but it must be sunny. If it's cold and gray, no deal.

some of our neighbors

heading home

Saturday, October 4, 2008

An Epic Voyage


(the driveway to our house)

My last post was from Chicago, this post is now from our new home in Sanvensa France, our home for 1 year. We left Chicago on Sunday the 28th in the evening, but we had to be at the airport way ahead because we had to check in the bags first and then come back and check in the dogs. It actually was super easy. O'Hare has a special "oversized" check-in and there wasn't even a line. The man (Steve) who helped us was really cool too. We had 6 bags total (including our bikes and Bruce's extra wheels), he never weighed our bags and only charged us for 2 additional bags. It could have been much worse, if a bag is over 50lbs you are charged $380.00. Steve was so great with the dogs and let us hang around with them until the last minute. We only had to wait 15 minutes to board the plane and we left on-time. Within 10 minutes of the doors closing they gave us our pink tags that said the dogs were loaded on the plane. I was so relieved. Now we only had a 7 1/2 hour flight to get through. That was a breeze. Usually we have a 12 hour flight from Los Angeles and sometimes we have a lay-over. 7 1/2 hours went so fast. We landed in Paris at 9:00 am on Monday the 29th. Now came the tricky part.

We went down to baggage claim and got all our bags (remember we had 6, including 2 bike cases) and then the crates with the dogs were wheeled out on a big cart. Stella's crate is manageable, but Dashells is giant. The dogs were great and very happy to see us and I'm sure had to pee super bad. Dashell started crying (whistling is more like it). Then we looked at all our stuff, holy crap there was a lot. We had to get 3 carts and they were piled high with bags and bike cases and dogs in crates and we had to maneuver them to the rental car desk, not an easy task. People were staring at us....not because of the dogs, but because of our bike cases. Well, I'm sure they were just staring because we had so much stuff. The prepared Americans, here we come! Everyone always stares at our bike cases, I'm sure wondering what they are or if they know what they are they are looking at Bruce like he's a professional cyclist. It's pretty funny. We made it to the rental car desk and I took the dogs out, not many options. But then we had to get to the rental car, again not very convenient. It was hilarious and we were tired and the dogs were confused. We finally got the car and packed it up, we had no room to spare and in fact no room for the dogs in the back. We all had to squeeze into the front. Not bad with tiny Stella, but I had to share my seat with a 75 lb golden retriever. We had a hotel near the airport but the tricky part was finding it. The airport is a joke and nothing but confusing. We went the wrong way about 10 times and finally stumbled upon the right street. We were so happy when we saw the hotel. We showered and went and had a lovely lunch and then went back and took a 2 hour nap. Then we got up and took the dogs into the village and walked around for a couple hours. Back to rest and then out to dinner that night. We had a lovely meal at a little restaurant in the village.

Tuesday morning came way too soon. It was so foggy in/around Paris and at 7:00 am it looked like 4:00 am. It was cold and damp too. But we knew we had a long day ahead of us. We had to drive over to the Dordogne to a small village to pick up our 1985 peugeot stationwagon. A car we had paid for but not yet seen. We met Arnold who we bought the car from and there it was, our little Claude. We call it Claude because that is the name of the man who owned's only owner. It took us 4 hours to get to our new car and we still had 4 more to go to get to our house. But in France you don't get in and out, we had to stay and talk with Arnold and we ended up there for 1 1/2 hours. We left with 2 cars and headed down to our house. By the time we got here it was pitch dark and our house is in the country and we had a really hard time finding it and I mean a really hard time. So hard that we thought we might have to sleep in the cars. The people taking care of the house thought we were coming in around 2pm, so they didn't leave lights on for us. It was so dark. We flagged down a car and spoke to the lovely french homme about our house. Had he heard of it "les costes". "no" he said. Then he said, in french, come to my house and I will call one of my friends, maybe they know of the house. So we followed him to his house (2 minutes away from where we were) and he called his friend and yes, his friend knew where the house was, we were about 2 blocks from it, we turned around right before the driveway. So the lovely man got back into his car and took us to our driveway. Now, everyone says that the french are not nice, but I'm telling you they are lovely. Maybe in paris they are not nice, but in the country they are great people. We took him a bottle of wine to thank him for his troubles. We were both so tired when we arrived and luckily we had stopped at the intermarché for some grocery's, so we had eggs, croissants and some wine and went to bed.

The next morning we awoke to blue skies and we were so excited to explore our new house and land.  The dogs freaked out...not in a bad way but in a good way.  There is so much land for them to run in and Dashell has already found a rabbit hole, well many actually.  He's obsessed with finding a rabbit and it's the first thing he runs to when he's let out (it's a bit obsessive). We actually just let them out the front door, no leashes, no worries that they'll be hit by a car or run away.  It's so amazing, they are in heaven.

We spent the day unpacking and getting things organized.  Then we called our friend Jacques and he invited us to dinner that night.  As je ne regrette rein has probably found out, when you go to someones house, it's never for a quick visit.  You must allow at least 4 hours.  We arrived at 7:00 and had a wonderful ratatouille, with wine and bread and a salad and then a homemade fig tart.  Buy the time we left it was 12:30 am.  We could have stayed longer too, but I was fading fast.

Yesterday we had to return the rental car.  Which meant driving to Albi, which is about 1 hour south of us.  A beautiful city, but hard to navigate when you don't know where you are going.  We drove around and around and got lost and finally found the rental car return and were happy that was out of the way.  We can't wait to go back to Albi to explore.  Last year we went and spent the day there, but there is so much more to see.  Then Kathyjo and Michael came over around 1:30, they are the caretakers of our house and really nice people.  They brought lunch and wine and dessert and by the time they left it was 6:00 pm.  See - at least 4 hours!  We were so tired yesterday and actually went to bed too early, because at 12:00 am, we were both wide awake, so we got up and ate a little bit and i-chated with our friends E&K and my sister. We finally fell asleep around 3:30 am and were up at 8:30 so that we can get used to the time change.  

What we are hoping for is a day not to have to do things, take back things, pickup things, etc...just a day for us to relax here at the house and get into a groove.  Right now we are still figuring things out.  Today we had to get dog food, a tire pump, get credit for the cell phone go to the bank and get gas.  Of course we forgot that things close between 12-2:30, and ended up out and about at noon, so we had a lovely lunch in Villefrance-de-rouergue and then when things opened we went ran our errands.  Right now Bruce is busy putting our bikes together right now as we are planning our first ride tomorrow down to our favorite village St. Antonin Noble Val.  We still have to register our car, visit our bank associate for our checks and debit card on Monday, visit the Marie (mayor) in our village of Sanvensa and a few other things, but this weekend we plan on biking and relaxing.  It's funny but I am loosing track of what day it is. We don't have a television or a telephone here at the house, only internet, which is pretty cool. I do know that this year will be amazing and life-changing and that we'll have some beautiful pictures to show you and great stories to share. Although I'm a bit pissed off about the photo thing. This is where you are spoiled when you live where you have cable or high speed internet, we don't have that here so it takes me about 10 minutes to download a picture. I know there has to be a better way, we have so many beautiful photos to share with you.