Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 - What a year

I was talking to my friends daughter on New Years Eve about writing a blog.  I showed her my blog and then realized I hadn't updated it since last January.  Pathetic.  So, one of my goals for 2014 is to update it regularly.  The only problem is that our life here in France is pretty simple and to some, maybe a bit boring.  But, I'll do my best to write about some interesting things!

But this post will be about 2013.  Just a little re-cap of our year.

The winter here was horrible.  Starting in November of 2012 it was cold, it continued through December and in January snow.  We headed to Spain to find some sun and do some climbing.  Once you drove over the Pyrénées into Spain in was sunny and much warmer.  We spent 5 days there.

The road to our house.

Not everyone was unhappy.

Stella with her snow balls.

A small traffic jam in sunny Spain.

In February we headed to Paris for 4 days to attend some camp fairs.  It was freezing and sleeting most of the time.  Not fun.  After Paris we headed towards Nice for another camp fair.  The weather was much nicer and we spent a couple extra days climbing at Chateauvert and we also visited the Picasso museum outside of Nice.

Spent most of the time in Paris underground.

Bruce and his favorite Artist.

Sun and warm in southeast France.
At the end of February we headed back to Spain with our friends Mike and Nicci for some hiking, mountain biking and climbing, spent a week there,  good times.

In Spain with our good friends.
In March we had 2 visitors.  First was our good friend Chris who came for 3 weeks from Colorado to climb.  We climbed here for the first 2 weeks and then headed back to Spain for another week of climbing.  At the end of February our friend Paul came from Los Angeles for 10 days, he's also a climber and we stayed around here as the weather was getting better.  It was good to have both of them here.

April was quiet, weather wasn't so bad, so we did loads of climbing, hiking and running.

Always a good day when we're climbing.
In May we had our adult culinary retreat with Chef Carol Cotner Thompson.  We had a great group of women from Los Angeles for the week.  It was filled with great food, good wine and loads of laughter.

Chef Carol with some of her students cutting up whole ducks.
In June, Bruce went back to Paris to meet his good friend Kevin who scored tickets to the French Open.  He spent 4 days in Paris and the two had a great time.  Our good friends B and B arrived from Los Angeles for the summer.  We met them 5 years ago in Los Angeles, right before we moved to France. Little did we know they owned a house in our village, we've been great friends ever since. They only come here in the summer, it was so good to see them.  We then spent the rest of June climbing and getting the house ready for our teen art retreats, which started the last week of June.

Me and Bruce (not my Bruce, but the "other" Bruce)

Bruce and Kevin in Paris at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.
July and August were super busy.  We had (3) teen art retreats, each 16 days long, with a 2 day break in-between.  It's non-stop 24/, but we love it!  We had amazing teens from all over the world come and stay with us and they created some fantastic art.  We had a girl from Hong Kong come for all 3 sessions (she was with us for 7 weeks).  She was like our adopted child.  I cried when she left.  At the end of August we hosted (3) families here at Haute Serre.  Our good friends Brant and Tia came with their 2 boys and they brought (2) other couples and their (4) kids.  They spent a week with us, kids doing art in the mornings and in the afternoons we toured them around our region.  A wonderful week with great people.

In September I turned 50!  Our "family" retreat was here and I got (5) cakes.  Two of the girls made (2) cakes and Bruce bought (3).  After the family retreat ended, Bruce and I headed over to Millau to do some rock climbing in the Gorges du Tarn. We spent a week exploring, hiking and climbing.  A perfect birthday.  We came home from my birthday week we were outside and heard a cry.....we took a flashlight and walked around the back of the house and down the road.  Bruce and I could hear the cry but couldn't see anything, and then all of sudden we saw a little black kitten.  Dumped right on the side of the road, she was in the nettles, crying.  We took her in (we couldn't leave her out there) and she could fit in my hand.  We took her to the vet the next day and found out she was about 4 weeks old. We decided (we'll maybe she decided too) to keep her and now she's almost 5 months old.  Her name is Colette.

One of my fantastic cakes.
This is the love letter I got from ended with "50 things I love about you".

Our new addition to the pack.  Colette.

In October we headed back to Los Angeles to visit family and friends, as it had been over 2 years since we've been back.  We spent a week in Los Angeles and then headed out to Las Vegas to climb at Red Rocks.  Our friends (who we stayed with) daughter turned 14 when we came back from Vegas and she and Bruce spent an afternoon at Duff's Cakes making her birthday cake.  We spent another week in Los Angeles and then decided to go back to Vegas to do some more climbing for a few days.  While we were in Los Angeles, we saw family and good friends and spent quality time with our good friends E and K.  We also ate Mexican, Sushi, Vietnamese, Italian, etc....all the food we can't get here in France.  We were there a month. Thank goodness for our good friends Mike and Nicci who took care of the dogs while we were away, Gill who took in Colette and E and K who took us in for a month!

The cake!

Red Rocks, Las Vegas, NV

Love the red rocks and blue sky.

Tired after a long day of climbing.

Visiting friends in Malibu, Bruce was excited to get back in the ocean.

Famous Hinano's in Venice.

Back to France the week before Thanksgiving.  We had a quiet non-eventful Thanksgiving (we had duck breast) and were happy to be home.  The weather was wonderful and warm and dry.

We spent most of December climbing, as again, the weather was fantastic.  We did head over to Brantome to see our good friend Kim.  We hadn't seen her in a few years and it was good to catch up. Our Christmas was quiet too, just the two of us.  New Year's Eve was spent at our good friends house, with 12 others.  Lovely time and great food.  We actually stayed up until after midnight, the first in a long time.  We had kept a memory jar for 2013 and on the 1st we opened it and read all the notes we had put in to remind us of things that happened during the year.

Beautiful Brantöme

 Kim and I on our way to lunch.

Here's to 2014.  Hope all of you have a fantastic year.


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