French Sabbatical

My family's year in France…

Day 184-B (31 December 2010) – Today

The knock-outs in the center are Frédérique and Melinda, of course. The lucky guys on the ends are Laurent and me. Just think what two incredibly attractive women like this COULD be doing on New Year’s Eve in France if they put their minds to it… Instead, when this photo was taken they were about to have dinner with us. What might they be thinking? Is this the best we can do? Earlier I posted about 20 years of marriage. Now it’s about a New Year’s Eve dinner with attractive women in France. Am I blessed or what?

So, yes, we had dinner at a very fashionable French restaurant in Nantes called “Le 1” that was chosen by Frédérique and Laurent. To get a sense of how hip this place is, check out their website. The meal was 4 courses over 4 hours, paired with wines selected by Laurent. How many of you got to have a real live Frenchmen not only pair wines for your New Year’s Eve dinner (and 20th anniversary), but sit with you and translate the menu?! What fun we had, complete with a very goofy ringing in of the new year that involved shooting little balls at each other (and the other patrons) through things I can best describe as pea shooters on steroids. After doing that, we even took to the dance floor and boogied (yes, I used the word boogied) to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

After dinner we went to the house of Laurent (yes, another Laurent) and Sandrine, where we sat chatting until about 4am. Frédérique continues to promise me that she is laughing with me and not at me. I’m not so sure, especially after writing out on a piece of paper what sound Americans say a rooster makes. Cock a doodle doo, right?

December 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

Day 184-A (31 December 2010) – 20 Years Ago

Today’s occasion deserves a rule being broken. And I’ll do it in one of two ways. Either I’ll post twice, starting with this one, obviously. Or I’ll make this posting and then delete it, putting up another later.

You see, Melinda & I were married 20 years ago today. We did it in a style that most define as “eloping,” given that we didn’t really tell anyone of our plans. But unlike the stereotypical elopement that involves deciding on the spot to go off and get married, Melinda and I made the decision two months earlier. We spent the ensuing time planning exactly how we wanted to get married and how we then wanted others to learn of it. Critical to this plan was “kidnapping” the two people responsible for us meeting, our buddies Kevin and Bruce, so they could be our witnesses. We managed that, then drove to the Justice of the Peace for our pre-arranged wedding time, 4:30pm in Seattle. After that it was a quick sip of champagne in the parking lot, the cork flying high into the night sky and then coming back to earth to be caught by Bruce before hitting the ground. We drove to tell our parents, including a 45 mile drive in the snow to reach Melinda’s parents at Alpental in the Cascade Mountains, before finally arriving at a New Year’s Eve party Melinda was supposed to be hosting with her sister.

This is really the only photo that came out of our wedding itself. If you look closely, you’ll see I’m wearing “our” (read: Melinda’s) wedding ring. That’s a story in itself.

Tonight we are having dinner with Frédérique and Laurent in Nantes. What a wonderful 20 years it’s been, time that includes two wonderful children and the creation of a school. And get this. We really like each other.

December 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 4 Comments


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