December 23, 2007

Boite a savon

Race Day

Today was the race, and we did OK. There were 7 teams of three and various levels of parental involvement. I think we won the popular vote. We came in third on overall time and we won our first dual and lost our second.
For me the look on Oscar's face made it all worth the tens of hours that went into it.

The team was strong and motivated. Victor and Matthew pushed Oscar with great determination and speed.
Oscar managed the "backward" steering with great aplomb.

There was perhaps a design problem and our front bumper turned out to be more a hazard than a safety. In the second dual race we got caught up in the feet of the opponent and into the wall twice. But we limped across the finish line to great applause.

Wait till next year!

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December 20, 2007

Christmas Spirit

The local favorite restaurant is hosting a holiday meal tomorrow night. It is a fundraiser for Oscar's class at school and the kids are doing the cooking and serving! I spent today helping them prep, ten kids in the kitchen making Buche de Noels (yule logs) and turkey stuffed pastries, smoking a salmon for the appetizer and mixing up the house aperitif of wine and cherry syrup with kirsch and sugar, a "Griotte".

Meanwhile the 20 or so who will be "serving" the meal, were prepping the dining rooms and asking questions like "what's the big fork for? and why does everyone need a napkin? I expect the food to be good under the watchful eye of a very talented chef, but I'm afraid that if the food ever arrives at the table, it will be cold or upside down, or dropped in my lap at least. 20 9 and 10 year olds?!?

Oscar has come home glowing after the past two (half) days of cooking. Proud of his new found abilities in the kitchen,
like pealing potatoes and making soup in a 22 litre batch!

Meanwhile continued progress on the Tour de Martel. The painting is done with the exception of the areas that got messed up, and the moniker on the sides. The steering is waiting for an OxyAcetylene torch to make a crucial bend and the bike breaks cum soap box freinage are almost complete!
(Did you realize, I didn't, that you can double click on any of the photos
and they open up full screen!)
For something personal and funny from us:
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December 13, 2007

Boite a Savon

Box of Soap
in English

We are making steady progress, and due the comments I have gotten, there seems to be a
level of curiosity.

We connected the box and the chassis yesterday
Team mate Victor and his Dad will weld up the steering system tomorrow
Team mate Pierre and Oscar hope to start painting on Sunday
We have learned we are number 5
And the official name is the
Tour de Martel
A pun on the race being a circuit of Martel, Martel being the "village of 7 tours (towers)"
And of course the form of the Eiffel Tower.

The Race is on December 23rd
Think of Oscar, Victor and Pierre!
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December 9, 2007

Top Ten

I wish I had a top ten list to share, I suppose it could get me a job writing for the Late Show, but no I'm talking about receiving lists. This is the time of year that the postman rings twice and then slides the lists through the slot hidden in our stone facade. The letters that come squozen inside of greeting cards, photos attached, recalling for us a wonderful life somewhere else.

Now if you haven't sent one of these Year in Review summaries, your excused and we will get or information elsewhere, but if you have then thanks, it sure beats bloggin'.

That said, I'm not going to go there, our top ten list will have to be distilled from the notes preceding this one.
Suffice it to say it's been grand!

France is getting into the spirit. It seems that every town with a boulanger has a decoration budget with more euros than baguettes.

The round-abouts are tricked out and every main street is lit with light sets on every street lamp. They all match, sometimes they blink, they usually twist and curl like a treble clef and they usually start before you can see the center of town and end well after. A drive across a distance takes you through a series of towns and the competition becomes apparent.
Martel has just upgraded. We have 1 new
round-about, six new blocks of main street and bright treble-clefish things with tiny LED's giving our town a sparkle not unlike the magic in a woman's makeup that We are supposed to think is more inside than out. It works on the street lamps almost as well.

All the small towns as well have Christmas Fetes. We have missed the neighbooring village's due to rainy weather, but are greatly anticipating our own fete here in Martel. Two years ago Oscar and I made a simple soap box car out of stroller wheels and some thick carton. He rode it up and down our street in the center of town until it fell apart. The locals took notice and inaugurated a Soap-Box Derby. We were in the US last year and missed it, but this year we intend to bring home the gold for Team America! Actually it's only American in concept. The team is dad, Oscar and two of his friends, french friends. The name of the car is the Tour de Martel and it's in the shape of a supine Eiffel tower. I wanted to name if it Freedom Flies, but the "humor" was lost on Oscar and most of the Senate as well. So that's Christmas here, a car race around the center of our town, a market selling gifts alongside the truffles and fois gras, and Oscar's class selling homemade confitures to subsidize a class trip (probably to a duck farm!).

We will stay close to home, enjoying these simple pleasures, perhaps a few nights in Bordeaux just to remind ourselves that we are in fact city mice. We have a Christmas tree up and ornamented just this evening, Oscar has already wrapped something and placed it under the tree, I think with the idea of priming the pump, hoping the pile will grow quickly, so he can spend the next few weeks rattling the boxes and musing of Christmas day.

Otherwise, there is slow progress on our home. The master bathroom is 99% complete (done).

Next project is uncertain, a few bits of insulating to finish and then perhaps the new door on the street, or a skylight in the attic first.

And in conclusion tonight, Pat was right, she's been patient, but now I do need glasses. I was certain I was going to slip by reading menus long into the night as well as all the fine print that accompanies old age. But no! Anyway...I can still see the keyborad!

Enjoy the season!

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