French Sabbatical

My family's year in France…

Day 220 (5 February 2011) – View From the Helm

Are we ever in for a treat today, but before going further I have to tell a story related to the expression “in for a treat.” It was often used by my third grade teacher, the woman who so frightened me that I developed night terrors. Ultimately, though, I credit her for me wanting to become an educator. I wanted to make sure that what she did to me was not done to others. Anyway, her idea of “treats” had to do with something she deemed educational. My third grade idea of a treat was what you aimed to get on Halloween, something that involved sugar. As you might guess, I became wary of the expression, “Are we ever in for a treat.” I use it today with more than a little bit of sarcasm.

So the treat? Today’s photo, of course. You see, I wiggled my way up to the front of the tram, Line 2, of course, in order to watch the driver do his thing. Trying to look like I was composing a text message, what is referred to here as an SMS, on my cell phone, I snapped this photo. We are heading north at the moment I took this photo, between the two stops for the University of Nantes. That’s “École Centrale Audencia,” the stop just ahead on the right, what I’ve referred to before as Chloe’s stop. It’s just two stops from our home stop. This stop is somewhat infamous, at least if you consider it having its own Facebook page makes it infamous. You see, some of the trams stop here and then turn around to head back to town. They’re marked as such but that doesn’t mean you always notice it. So when it happens and you want to go further, it can cause some frustration.

Speaking of our home stop, it’s called “Bourgeonnière.” That’s a mouthful. I’ve starting a campaign to rename it “Petit Homme.” 10 points to anyone who can explain why.

February 5, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized |


  1. Well, I can translate Petit Homme, but not sure why your suggestion makes sense unless it is because you are a petite man, only in physical stature of course not in emotional and intellectual stature… how many brownie points does that give me? looking foreward to the real answer….

    Comment by linda taylor | February 6, 2011 | Reply

  2. Well, always one to try to gain more brownie points, I went online and Whoa! A book, a movie, a song and many people with the name petitehomme! Wow! That certainly expands the possibilities especially as Edith Piaf was the singer of Petit Homme… but unfortunately, I need a clue to have any idea what wild guess to make.

    Comment by linda taylor | February 6, 2011 | Reply

    • Here’s your clue. Translate Petit Homme into English and say it out loud. Try different possibilities for the word “petit.”. If you need another clue, let me know.

      Comment by Andy Smallman | February 6, 2011 | Reply

      • HA-HA!!! I was saying little man fast and slow and … your name was sitting there looking at me! I lived for 20 years with the last name of Followell and got asked so many time “Do you follow well”, that I would just groan and roll my eyes!! Thank you Smallman for the clue.

        Just out of curiosity does the station name Bourgeonnière have any special meaning? I will close with just commenting that our class is really taking off. Loved the wild unleashed outpouring of Mary Beth! See what you have set loose!!

        Comment by linda taylor | February 7, 2011

      • I always thought Avery would be the perfect name for a son, had Melinda & I had boys…

        I believe “Bourgeonnière”” refers to housing for the university students that is right near the tram stop.

        Comment by Andy Smallman | February 7, 2011

  3. Oh, I am slow!! A very small man?? You are too clever! How does Melinda put up with you?

    Comment by linda taylor | February 8, 2011 | Reply

    • FYI, my paternal grandfather was like 6′ 4″ tall, too….

      Comment by Andy Smallman | February 8, 2011 | Reply

      • Are you 6’4″, too? My husband is shortish 5’7 1/2″ and is sometimes sensitive about his height. I hope you are not sensitive about your height which I have totally surmised from pictures! I refer to you as Andy, affectionately I must admit!

        Comment by linda taylor | February 8, 2011

      • I’m 5′ 10″. My dad is 6′ 1″ or so. But my mom is 5′ 2″ (and her mom didn’t quite make it to 5′). Seems the small man side is more from my mom’s family!

        Comment by Andy Smallman | February 9, 2011

  4. You see how poor assumptions get made… to me you looked more like my husband’s height and size rather than my son’s!! Live and learn. Of course I am almost exactly my husband’s height and now I surmise that all three of the girls in your life must be a bit above average height as well. It has been fun talking to you about names etc. Off to ski finally with our Brit guests. I feel so much better having worked through my angst! Thanks to you and your continuing efforts… Linda

    Comment by linda taylor | February 9, 2011 | Reply

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