I’ve Been Nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Very inspiring blogger award

When I began my blog, I didn’t have any specific goals in mind. Okay,  maybe I hoped  the end result would be a million followers and a six-figure book deal. But really, I started because I am a writer and I have words, thoughts, and ideas banging around in my head all the time, begging me to lead them in a dance on the page (or computer screen). So, I write, not knowing who will read, whether or not they will enjoy it, hate it, be bored by it, or just ignore it. Then something comes along, like this award, and I learn that someone is not just reading, but liking my blog! The lovely Anna at I’m Not Lost, I’m Just Exploring, was kind enough to nominate me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Thank you, Anna, for making my day.

I’ll jump right in; here are the award’s rules:

First: Link back to the page that nominates you (see above)

Second: Post the award image (that’s above, too)

Third: Share 7 random facts about yourself. It’s been a great month for my blog – this is my second award – and the other award called for random facts, too. This is the hardest part, but here goes:

1. I have an uncanny ability to memorize song lyrics. And my singing voice is pretty decent, I’ve been told.

2. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 7. I still write fiction when I can find a bit of spare time.

3. The only time I’ve had long(ish) fingernails was for my wedding. Piano lessons for 8 years, then years of basketball, then I became a physical therapist – for me long fingernails are impractical and uncomfortable.

4. I’m not a big fan of chocolate covered fruit. I’m a purist. I like my chocolate unadulterated. Though Will at Eclipse Chocolate is challenging me on this one. (Shameless plug for my friend’s amazing San Diego café)

5. I love thunderstorms.

6. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, I’d be cool with tacos.

7. I like making scrapbooks.

The last part of the award: Nominate 15 other blogs and inform them about it. This one is tough, too. Lots of great blogs out there, and I just nominated eleven with the Liebster Award. Here are 15 more that are definitely worth checking out; they range from wildly popular to virtually unknown, but I like them all:

Babies Without Borders

Belle Provence Travels

The Bilingual Experiment

Bilingual Monkeys

Bonjour Mama

Bringing Up Baby Bilingual

Bucket List Publications

Honea Express

Le Franco Phoney

My French Heaven

One Thousand Single Days

The Paris Busy Bee Blog

Patricia Parisianne

Project Light to Life

Turtle and Robot

Go check them out, spread the blog love!

Bastille Day/ La Fête Nationale

Arc de Triomphe on Bastille Day

Arc de Triomphe on Bastille Day

July 14, Le Quatorze Julliet, marks the French holiday we know as Bastille Day. Not surprisingly, the origins of this holiday are un peu compliqué. Two key events in the French Revolution share this date.

The first: In 1789, the people of Paris, fearful that their representatives would be attacked by the royal military of Louis XVI and desiring ammunition and gunpowder for a possible battle, stormed the Bastille, a prison in Paris that held citizens under not so just cause and without rights to appeal. Often, prisoners were held there because of anti-royal writings.

One year later, on July 14, 1790, there was a huge feast to celebrate the conclusion, or so they thought at the time, of the French Revolution. Apparently the feast lasted 4 days and concluded with fireworks, fine wine, and running naked through the streets.

Pétanque in Provence

Pétanque in Provence

While we didn’t run naked anywhere, we did celebrate the holiday. We kicked it off with a pétanque tournament; I was partnered with a lovely Englishwoman named June and while we held our own, we were eliminated early in the tournament. It’s quite possible that my problem was I didn’t have a cool straw hat like most of the experienced players. No big deal, I was hungry and I forgot how long those games last! The French-American Chamber of Commerce sponsored a barbeque, concert, and pick-up soccer and volleyball games, so we had plenty of time to eat and play with San Diego’s French and Francophile community. It was a perfect southern California day: sunny, a cool ocean breeze, bright blue skies.

Here are some photos from the Bastille Day Military Parade a few years ago. It proceeds down the Champs Elysees and lasts for hours. The year we were there, Sarkozy was president. As he rode through, the crowd around us started whistling and my first thought was: they really like their president. Then I realized my mother-in-law was shaking her head and shocked, astonished, that people would dare whistle like that. Turns out whistling in France is quite rude; basically the equivalent of booing. So probably best not to whistle at a French girl.

If you ever go to the parade, get there early, bring lots of water, a snack, definitely a camera, and don’t bother to try and claim any territory like you would in a parade here – you’ll be scrunched and pushed out of the way.

Here’s my Bastille Day workout, designed to help you stand your ground in the crowd of parade revelers:

1. Medicine Ball Squats: Take a wide stance and squat down, maintaining even weight on each foot, while thrusting the medicine ball straight out in front of you, arms parallel to the ground. This will help you keep your position and should you need to, shove back.

2. Lateral Deltoid Raises While Balancing on One Foot: To help you ward off those pushers that come at you from the side while maintaining your balance. You can’t risk falling at the parade, they’ll never let you stand back up.

3. Lunges with Biceps Curls: It’s hot. Really freaking hot in Paris in July. If you are American, and as such a Water Bottle Addict, you’ll be lifting that water bottle to your mouth for at least three hours straight. The lunges are to help propel yourself forward with force after you’ve been shoved and maneuvered to the back of the pack.

Me, waiting for the parade to start

Me, tired from getting up early, waiting for the parade. We started out in front then got shoved to the back before the parade even began.

594 Bastille Day 597 Bastille Day

Best seats on the Champs

Best seats on the Champs. They were drinking champagne.

608 Bastille Day 610 Bastille Day 634 Bastille Day

The firemen, the most popular group in the parade

The firemen, the most popular group in the parade

651 Bastille Day

642 Bastille Day 656 Bastille Day

664 Bastille Day652 Bastille Day

Fourth of July

I love the Fourth of July. Moreso than Memorial Day, it marks the true arrival of summer. Grills fire up, parades march through the streets, smiling kids lick their ice cream cones and ride their bikes, the May Grays and June Glooms of San Diego usually let the sun have her turn to play. A year ago, we moved to a suburban neighborhood in our city. My biggest fear was that I would feel lost in the burbs. Our former neighborhood was mixed use; all sorts of shops, bars, and restaurants within walking distance and a park always filled with playing kids, impromptu soccer games, owners walking their dogs, picnics and birthday parties. Most of us didn’t have a garage, or if we did it was way too small and/or full of stuff to fit a car into, so we saw our neighbors often as we all came and went, visiting the park and the shops. We knew each other and even spent time together. Sometimes I think garages are one of the worst things for a neighborhood. That and not having front porches.

However, our little suburban ‘hood knows how to celebrate the Fourth. It’s even a big enough deal that the mayor of San Diego came, and the trolleys altered their routes in order to bring people in. At our neighborhood park, we had a pancake breakfast, a fun run, live music all day, a pet and bike parade, dance troupes – my favorite was the Polynesian one, I got a little escape to Tahiti for a moment there, all sorts of booths, and plenty of things for kids to see and do. For a day, I felt like I was part of small town USA. I loved every second of it.

Live Music at University City’s 25th Annual Forth of July Celebration. Oh Say Can U.C.



People enjoying the pancake breakfast:


Bike and Pet Parade:


DSC00610 DSC00612 DSC00613 DSC00616

Presentation of the colors:


Stuff for kids. Because no party is complete without a jumping castle. I was more excited about the rock climbing wall.






We had friends over for a barbeque after. Planked salmon with a mustard slather and corn on the cob. Plus peach cobbler. My grandmother’s recipe. Yum.




Chef’s helper. I wasn’t crazy about this beer, but the bottle is pretty.


Another fabulous Fourth. Welcome, summer!