Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Alec

The 1/2 marathon last week-end. Alec and Kelly ran the Race for the Cure.






With his sweet wife and daughter.



October 30,1970 was one of the happiest days of my life. That was the day our first son, Alexander was born. In August of that year, we had moved to North Edwards, Ca for my Dh's first teaching job. We moved from San Francisco and I wanted to have my baby there, so about a month before his due date we went up there and I stayed with my parents and my sweet little girl L. Dh had to go back because he had classes to teach. Almost 2 weeks later I went to spend a few days at my friend Carol's house in the Oakland hills. We did have a really nice couple of days. On friday morning we woke up and began spending another fun day together, but I was feeling kind of strange. I had to run to the bathroom rather often and I just wasn't feeling very good. Later in the afternoon I began to have little uncomfortable feelings and tinges. I didn't think that I was in labor, but as the afternoon progessed I thought I better call my Dr. I did call and he suggested that I come to the hospital. Carol didn't want me to drive my myself so we bundled up the girls (her 2, 2 1/2yrs and 10 mos and my 1, 2 1/2yrs) and off we went. Of course we had waited so long that by now I was having contractions and we were in the middle of San Francisco/Oakland rush hour traffic. It took us a long time to drive across the Bay Bridge and to get to my Mom and Dad's house. The whole time I was driving Carol was periodically asking me if I was alright and if I needed her to drive. I told her that I was just fine. Our drive should have been about 30 mins, but ended up being closer to 2 hours. We finally got to my parents house. We gave the girls to my Mom and headed off to the hospital. I went to check in and Carol took the car to park it. In those days not the Dad's nor anyone else were not allowed to go into the labor or delivery rooms, but Carol decided to wait in the waiting room. They checked me and sure enough I was in labor. By this time there was no mistaking the fact. I knew I was in labor and I could definitely feel the strong contractions. After 3 hours, with no medication whatsoever, I was ready to push. After pushing for a while with no baby, the nurse began pushing on the top of my uterus and the doctor was tugging and pulling from the bottom. Soon my darling boy was born. He was just beautiful from the beginning. He was 7lbs, had lots of dark hair and dark eyes. I was just totally thrilled and totally in love. A funny side note: When the nurse went to the waiting room to announce the birth, she asked for the husband of Natalie A. Carol went running up and said, "What is it?" The nurse said she could only tell the Father." Being so excited and not thinking, Carol replied, "Oh, I'm the Father." When she got strange looks she realized what she was saying and had to explain her error. HaHa
Unknown to me, Dh decided early that afternoon to pay a surprise visit to S.F. for the week-end. He arrived at my parents home sometime late that evening. They were in the middle of a Halloween party and so all the guests had the pleasure of announcing the birth of his new son to him. I had the surprise of having him come to the hospital to meet his new little baby on the very day that he was born. I do not think that it was a coincidence that he decided to come on this particular day.

Alec has grown up to be a most wonderful, thoughtful, patient man. He is married to the love of his life, Kelly, and they have a beautiful daughter, Katie. I am lucky to be his Mom.
He has always been very sweet and tender with me (even in the days when he was a super active little boy and young man).
Alec and Kelly ran a 1/2 marathon just a week ago. He wanted to finish in 1hr 45 and finished in 1:44:44. He was happy to beat his goal. Kelly beat her goal too.
One time he and 2 of his buddies ran a race pushing the Bishop's handicapped son in a wheel chair. They switched off pushing the chair every 3 or 4 mins. The young man was thrilled and said that he had wanted to be in a race all his life and that now his dream had come true.

I am so blessed to be his mother.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEC

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

San Sebastian

Well, this is the last post about our trip to Southern France. You are all probably tired of looking at these pictures, but since this is my journal, I wanted to include lots of pictures.
Dh's cousin Jean Claude and Jacqueline came over one evening for dinner. They had a blast together. Jean Claude was there with Dh when he had some of his childhood adventures. In fact, they were in on lots of those adventures together.
One day Dh(about 15 years old) was riding his bicycle carrying a huge pitch fork over his shoulder. As he drove past some trees, one of the branches grabbed the pitch fork and as if in a sling shot, the fork flew forward catching Dh in the arm and come out the other side of his arm near his elbow. JC said he heard the very loud screaming coming from Dh. His Dad, Jean Baptiste, who had a peg leg, came running to him as fast as he could. Both boys could not believe how fast he could run. He grabbed the handle of the pitch fork and yanked it out of Dh's arm. He still has the scars to show from this adventure.
Another time when he was about 6 or 7 he really wanted to fly. So, he gathered some goose wings and tied them to his arms. Then he climbed into the barn and tried to fly out of the window, because now that he had wings, surely he would be able to fly. Luckily for him, just below that window was a huge dung pile.
Then there was the time they were about 12 and 9 years old and Dh took the car for a spin around the farm. He drove a bit too close to the house and scratched both the house and the car, but they had sooooooo much fun.
One day we drove to San Sebastian, Spain.






The day was overcast and drizzly, but we still had a great time. The area is very beautiful.
The boardwalk was almost empty.


The bridges too.










We drove all the way to the top of the little mt. top left. There on the very top is a large building and a carnival area. It was closed because the season is over, but there were a couple of open gift shops.

The view from the top is gorgeous. You can see the bay and the harbor from one side and the ocean from the other.


It you ever want to use the bathrooms, be ready with your own TP and also have about 50cents for the use of the toilets. Some places will give you a few sheets of TP, but then you have to pay more. At least they now have bathrooms in lots of places. When we were in France 30 years ago, there were almost no public bathrooms.
Thinking of this made me remember that years ago we were visiting little Uncle Julien and Aunt Jeanne, with whom Dh lived for about 2 years. They had a farm and no bathroom. Well Lana and Alec needed to go, so they went out together to protect each other from the animals. While one was busy, the other one would keep the animals away. This one particular time they came in from doing their business and L said, "Oh Mom, it was soooo embarassing. I was going to the bathroom and this big cow came over and watched me."
Another time we were driving through the streets of Bordeaux and A was sick. He really had to go. There was no place to go and we were not near any trees or bushes or anything. Well, when you have diarrhea, you just can't wait, so I asked Dh to pull over and the poor little guy was sick right there on the streets of Bordeaux. That was embarassing, but luckily noone was around.
One last potty story. Even today we see many French men using the side of the road to relieve themselves. Why just across the street from our apartment there is that large field I showed before. There has been many a guy that has done his business there. No embarassment at all.
Well, enough of that.
Back to beautiful San Sebastian. We had a great hike up the hill to the amusement area and we really enjoyed walking around the large building, which was closed. I was asked by 3 separate groups of people to take their picture. I guess they thought I was a good photographer. Hope their pictures turned out.



After that we went and walked around the harbor. We watched some fishing boats coming in with their catch of the day.

We went to old San Sebastian. This is a really old area with shops and restaurants. Everything here was outrageously expensive.





The border was really easy to drive through. They did not stop or check anyone.

Friday, October 23, 2009

La Villa Arnaga a Cambo-les-Bains

Edmond Rostand came to Cambo in 1900 to take treatments for a pulminary affliction. He had this gorgeous villa built in the Basque style to fit in with the countryside. It took from 1903 to 1906 to build it and the adjoining gardens. Edmond Rostand is a famous French writer who wrote many plays, books, and poetry. Among them are Le Musardises, Les Romanesques, Cyrano de Bergerac, L'Aiglon, and Chantecler. He was a member of the French Academy. I loved touring his loverly gardens and villa.
First one must walk up quite a long tree lined lane. It is just beautiful with lovely trees and flowers everywhere. Then you get into the formal gardens, but just before that is a very large gardeners home with a huge fenced yard full of chickens, ducks, and some other fowl. There are peacocks roaming the gardens and the yard also.

This gazebo is the middle section that faces a large pool and fountains.


Part of the formal gardens. In the spring and summer there are many flowers, but now they are no longer in bloom.


There is a walkway on either side of the gazebo. There are still a few flowers and bushes, but I guess not nearly as pretty as at other times of the year.





The house doesn't look very large from the outside, but once you are inside, you see that it is quite large.













The rooms were all quite elaborately decorated. It was interesting that throughout the house there were lots of animal paintings and drawings, especially chickens. This family must have really liked chickens because in almost each room there was a picture or statue or drawing of a chicken.










The kitchen had tiles with lots of farm animals painted on them; cows, pigs, horses, sheep, and of course chickens. If you click on the picture, you can see a little of the border near the ceiling with the painted tiles.

This s the Chinese room.

The bathroom. Next to the bathroom were a spa room, a massage room, and a hydrotherapy room.







Throughout the house there were beautiful parquet floors.






The view from one of the bedrooms.

A portrait of Edmond.
The stairway.
The children's room had fairy tales painted all around the walls. I wanted to take more pictures, but they came and told me that I couldn't. The house had many lovely things in it. Wish I could have taken more pictures.