Monday, March 26, 2012

A rewarding career

Add to Google Reader or HomepageThis is not the usual type of entry for me. In fact, it is about me!

I am very proud to write that I have been chosen to receive the 2012 Betty Garlick Lifetime Achievement Award by the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children. If I were in Michigan, I would be able to receive the award in person at the MiAEYC annual conference this Friday. Readers can see a little about MiAEYC and the award at:

The Betty Garlick Lifetime Achievement Award is quite an honor. I am very pleased and honored to have been nominated and selected.

Since I can’t be there to receive the award in person on March 30, I enlisted the help of one of the child care teachers at the crèche – a talented amateur videographer -- to help me create a video expressing my thanks. Domy did a great job. She included images of me singing and interacting with the kids (in English and in French) as well as the actual thank you portion of the DVD. In a small way, I can say that my award acceptance was an international effort.

I would love to include the video here for all to see, but the privacy rights of children are protected here in France much as they are in the US. So the video use is restricted only to its showing at the award ceremony.

Who could have guessed that a part-time job driving a bus for Head Start was going to lead to a lifetime of wonderful, rewarding years of working on behalf of kids? And with volunteer opportunities in child care centers in Lansing and at the crèche here, I get to continue doing what I so enjoy.

Thank you for this award, MiAEYC!

I can't talk right now. I am too busy having fun!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Add to Google Reader or HomepageA short distance west of Les Baux is the city of Arles. We went there last weekend when Susan and Allen were visiting from Paris. Since their arrival in Paris in January, the weather there had been cold and rainy. They wanted to visit us and take advantage of sunny Provence. The weather here was very accommodating as the sun shone everyday and the temperatures climbed to the mid-20°s.

The connection between Les Baux and Arles is a very old one. Les Baux is strategically located about midway on the old trade route between Arles and Aix-en-Provence (Via Aurelia).

Arles was an important city from the time of the Romans. Even though Arles is located on the Rhone, the Romans built a canal connecting the city to the sea. Constantine liked the city and lived there. Constantine III made Arles his capital. Many of the Roman ruins remain to this day. The arena/amphitheatre is still used for bullfights.

From the medieval age, Arles was a starting point for the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. Hikers and pilgrims still make the 1600 kilometer journey from Arles across the Camargue to the Pyrenees and into Spain.

The Night Café
Van Gogh's Painting of the hospital
At the end of the 19th century, Van Gogh lived in Arles where he completed over 300 paintings and drawings. Among the most famous are Starry Night Over the Rhone and The Night Café. It was in Arles that he cut off part of his ear and subsequently spent time at the hospital in Arles – a site for more of his work.

Arles Hospital
Years ago we stayed in Arles and during that trip found the marker showing the place where Van Gogh had painted his famous Starry Nights, one of Ellen’s favorites of his work. We went back there in the evening and Ellen had tears in her eyes as she took a series of picture of the scene using her cell phone. I think that was the phone that made an unfortunate, unplanned trip through the wash cycle the following summer. It’s fortunate we have our memories since we no longer have the pictures.

I had forgotten that Saturday is market day in Arles. We arrived in time to see the end of the market day and then made our way to the Hotel Voltaire for a very nice (and inexpensive) lunch. Then off to do some more touring of the old town. While walking, I noticed some old doors and was intrigued by the keyholes.


BTW - as they write in text messagesArles is home for the “Gipsy Kings”; one of my favorite singing groups.

Gipsy Kings

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Les Baux

Add to Google Reader or HomepageThe daughter of close friends visited us last weekend. We got to be tour guides again and showed her around our village and then we went to “Les Baux.”

Located on a plateau in the Alpilles just south of St. Remy de Provence, Les Baux was an important strategic location during the medieval days as well as during the Renaissance.

As tourists, we can appreciate the beautiful landscape of olive trees and grape vines starting right below the cliffs of the plateau and stretching into the distance. It reminds me of a landscape that Van Gogh might have painted (he spent a year in nearby St. Remy de Provence).

 It is hard to imagine how difficult life must have been in medieval times. If marauders, the Black Death, the Inquisition, the Crusades weren’t enough to keep one occupied, one could create living space by carving rooms and homes out of the stone at les Baux.

Daily life must have been pretty boring albeit difficult if residents had enough time to carve shelves, windows and doorways out of the rock walls…



Almond Trees

PS: I thought that I had found an almond tree worthy of including in my pronouncement of spring. Then, yesterday, I was visiting a friend’s blog and saw a great picture of almond trees. Please take a minute and visit Kristin Espinasse’s “French Word A Day” site. She has beautiful photos of almond trees in bloom. Go to: and look for the post of March 7 (Comment faire). Kristin always writes interesting vignettes to go with the words to which she introduces us.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Add to Google Reader or HomepageThe almond trees are flowering.

An almond tree at les Baux

Still no rain….