Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Voice problem solved

I went to my Mozart opera group rehearsal last night and rediscovered my voice! A couple hours before, I warmed up my voice and analyzed all my problems and took note of what I would need to do to erase my bad habits. And, magically, that evening, all my vocal issues disappeared! I had my lovely old voice back! Subconsciously, I was singing lighter, in a more relaxed manner, and kept everything nice and open in the back for my high notes. Phew! I'm glad I don't have to worry about that any more -- and I got away with not seeing any doctors!

So, in that group, we are only singing Mozart because our director is a Mozart fanatic. Sometimes she asks those of us who are pianists (two of us) to accompany the group on a few pieces, but usually, she prefers to accompany us herself (she knows so many pieces by heart!). The other pianist is a a nice young lady, who teaches music to junior high kids. Her piano playing was very accurate for Sarastro's aria, but was not at all in the pure, delicate, crystalline style of Mozart -- it sounded more like Brahms, heavy and full. Here's my analogy -- an elephant trying to squeeze into a supermodel-sized $10,000 haute couture dress. Let's just say it didn't look pretty. I'm usually quite forgiving, but if you make classical music your business in life, try to be a little musical.

I appreciate musicians who play in a technically and stylistically precise way, but even better, the musicians who play sensitively, expressively -- who obviously feel the music and by playing it can touch the inner core of your being. Next time you go to a concert, listen for these special performers. They don't have to have big names. I studied violin with one of these amazing musicians a few years ago in Hayward, California.

I'm so looking forward to teaching Maylin violin , piano, and voice. I'm not going to force her, but if she seems interested, I'll teach her. One time, she held up a toy violin almost perfectly. With a few minor corrections, she was looking like a pro! I studied violin through the Suzuki method as a child, and once in awhile, we would attend Suzuki music workshops. Here's where you meet hundreds of other kids squeaking away on their little violins and other string instruments. The most incredible kid was a teeny-tiny three or four year-old Asian girl playing a Vivaldi concerto on a teeny-tiny violin. I couldn't get over the beautiful technique -- the way her bow arm moved so smoothly and how the fingers on her left hand just flew! I was probably nine at the time when I witnessed this, and I'm not sure if I felt inspired or degraded. I was very competitive at that age.

I'm off to start my day! Have a good one!

Dou-dou

I just put Maylin down for a nap after a meltdown consisting of screaming, crying, trying to hit Mommy, throwing herself to the floor, nearly shutting herself in the bathroom, etc. She finally realized that my suggestion for taking a nap was a good idea, so she requested her "dou-dou," which is a requirement for napping and bedtime. Yes, it's pronounced "doo-doo." Sounds a little gross, but the term actually refers to her favorite stuffed animal, an ultra-soft lavendar-colored teddybear. The French come up with these funny words for kid-related items and activities. Sleeping is called "do-do," pronounced "doh-doh." I guess you could say it was derived from the verb "dormir," to sleep.

We took the metro to the 16th this morning to have a playdate and lunch with another Californian pre-preschooler! He and his family have lived in Paris for two years. Maylin had a wonderful time playing with trains, Buzz Lightyears, and farm animals. Good thing our playmate knew how to share because Maylin is just starting to figure it out.

Maylin loves our metro rides. Fortunately, she does walk most of the time, and loves to count the stairs with Mommy. When she sees our train arrive, her face lights up and she points and says, "choo-choo!" She also requires that I let her put the ticket in the machine and take it out afterwards before entering the station. She will usually hold the ticket the entire ride.

Last night, I had my first rehearsal with the orchestra and some of the singers for the concert coming up. It was great -- the orchestra sounds pretty good, the singers sound divine, and I didn't do too bad of a job myself. The last piece was the first movement of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, which is a duet between alto and soprano. The soprano didn't show up, so I decided on the spur of the moment to sing with the alto (whom I know) while playing the keyboard. I think I shocked the rest of the orchestra since they were straining to turn around to see where the soprano voice was coming from. I don't know why, but I was so exhilirated that I was slightly trembling and my voice was a little trembly, too (not good). But, boy, that was fun.

John and I will be a little bit more social than usual this weekend. Dinner here with a friend (my former French teacher), dinner at a friend's place (I'm going to learn how to make pasta from a former Italian restauranteur), and drinks with friends here. We're generally not very social people, as was definitely the case in the states (our typical Friday and/or Saturday evenings comprised of eating dinner by ourselves, while watching a video -- booooring), but since coming to Paris, I've been making many more lunches and dinners for friends. I guess it's due to the fact that I can cook better, that we're finally taking the initiative to spend a good time with people we like, and that maintaining a social network is vital when you're in a foreign country. With other expats, it's the "we're-in-this-together" mentality -- we're all trying to survive, trying to make normal lives for ourselves in this sometimes strange place. We share resources, empathize a lot, and provide emotional support.

Thanks for reading my blog. I'm having a great time sharing things with you. If you keep reading, I'll keep writing!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter

Good morning! It's 6:57 am, and I've been up for an hour, and feel like a zombie. At least I was able to sleep in the last few days.

I hope everyone had a nice Easter weekend. We did -- we were very lazy, hanging out in our robes until lunchtime. Ahhh, what a luxury. We had a wonderful Easter dinner with Canadian and American friends. Among the guests were 4 little boys under the age of 6, and dear little Maylin enjoyed herself with them. She almost shared a bed with one of them at the end of the evening. But I put my foot down! :) There is a sweet little love affair going on between 5 year-old Marc and Maylin. But Maylin was playing hard to get at the end of the night because when she's tired she just wants to be with Mommy.

Sorry, no pictures yet. For Mac users, it's a bit of a complicated process to get the photos in. Okay, give me one more week.

So, I misjudged how much time I have to prepare for my concert. I have almost two weeks! Phew! That's a relief.

As for my singing voice, I have been trying to analyze my problem in the shower and I think it's actually the result of changed technique. Somehow, my technique got messed up while I was sick. I don't think my vocal cords are damaged -- I think my breath support has changed. I have to teach myself how to prepare my high notes properly with the adequate air pressure. I'll work on that for a week and if I'm still having a problem, I'll go see a specialist. I'm very good a putting off a visit to the doctor.

John and I are working out an evening schedule for ourselves. Sunday night, he works out. Monday and Tuesday nights -- one of them will end up becoming a regular rehearsal night, and the other will be his workout night. Wednesday night is John's yoga night (we'll get a friend to watch Maylin while I'm at rehearsal, or I'll take her with me). Thursday night I have rehearsal here at the apartment, and John watches Maylin here. Friday night is our family night. And Saturday night is our date night or socializing night. I had order in every part of my life except for my personal life. Now we've got a bit more structure. I asked John how and when he wanted to do his chores (he didn't really have chores, but I was ready to assign him some), and he immediately said he wanted to hire someone to do them. Yippee! I don't mind that. I'm not too good at housekeeping -- let's leave that to the professionals.

Maylin can now count up to 13 on her own, and she will recognize two like items immediately. One time, she looked up at a chandelier and noted that two bulbs were out ("two lights off"). Her preferred color for coloring is blue -- always blue. That poor marker should be all worn out by now, but the quality of these French kids' markers is excellent! Instead of saying "big," "medium," and "small," she says "daddy," "mommy," and "baby." For example, she has two Winnie-the-Pooh plush bears. She calls one "daddy Pooh," and the other, "baby Pooh," Maylin's been doing that for a long time.

She likes wearing dresses and jumpers now. In the cold weather, I had her in a shirt, sweater, and corduroys, but now, she's taking pleasure in looking more feminine! But she still hates things in her hair. Barrettes, headbands, and ponytail holders all get yanked out pretty fast. Oh well.

Yesterday, she took her first shower with Mommy. Usually, she has a bath in her toddler tub, and hates the movable shower head. But this time, she didn't seem to mind the torrent of water coming down. I was very careful to not get the water too hot and too strong. I think she felt proud feeling like a big girl showering. She even soaped herself.

Wish I could write more now, but I have to get ready to go the Prefecture today with John to get our carte de sejour renewals -- so we can still be legal residents in France. We'll walk Leo early, take Maylin early to school, and dash over to the Prefecture. After our appointment, we'll have our rescheduled lunch date. I'm looking forward to a special meal with my honey.

Have a good day!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Georgie Porgie

Do you know that nursery rhyme which starts out, "Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie/Kissed the girls and made them cry"? Well, Maylin encountered a boy like Georgie at the playground yesterday who made her cry three or four times! Okay, maybe she was a little more tired and sensitive than usual, but this kid was just a little too pushy. Everywhere she was, he wanted to be. If she was holding the bars on the wrought-iron fence in a certain place, he would push her aside so he could be right there. Maylin would cry. For a while they were having fun running together, until she got in front of him. He pushed her aside roughly again. Maylin cried. Then, she was sitting on a little bench with two other boys, with really no room for anyone else. But Georgie Porgie pushed his way in next to Maylin without much chivalry, leaving Maylin hardly any breathing room. Maylin cried again. I even talked to this kid in French -- he seemed to be a precocious 3 year-old with an unusual name that sounded like Sebastien. But the only solution to avoiding the crying scenes (and everyone looks) was to go to the playground across the street instead. Problem solved.

This other playground had its main play structure removed, probably for safety reasons, so there were only 4 children, versus 20-30 in the other one. A nice quiet place for Maylin. There was still a bouncy, see-saw type of playground equipment in the shape of a dolphin, which was a favorite of hers when we first moved into the neighborhood. So, we shared the dolphin with a girl who looked about 7. I did most of the bouncing for them, sitting next to Maylin -- I hummed a made-up song and bounced on the squeaky dolphin for at least 10 minutes straight. Maylin is completely content with this, not uttering a sound. The other girl is the quiet, shy type, too. I left to get some cookies out of my backpack and then returned to offer some to Maylin. While I was returning the cookies to my backpack, it seems the girl had gotten quite teary-eyed as her grandmother tried, unsuccessfully, to get her off the dolphin to go home. She wanted to stay, of course, but she was also eyeing me and, I think, the cookies. I offered her one and she seemed to feel a lot better. She had no problem coming off the dolphin afterwards. Being a mom, I've learned that something sweet can solve almost any difficulty with children. I try not to use it as bribery too much, but sometimes, you do need it to avoid a scene, and sometimes danger.

Maylin used to hate holding my hand when crossing the street. I would nearly have to drag her across the street, with Maylin screaming as if in utter agony. Then, we'd make it nearly to the curb, and she'd throw herself on the ground. To get her to a safer place, I'd have to lure her with a lollipop.

During my meeting with the director of the ensemble with whom I'll be performing on April 10th, he confirmed my suspicions that I would be singing the roles of First Lady and Papagena in a performance with another group that his wife directs. His wife directs the opera workshop group I participate in now, but it looks like she's promoting me to her other group. Awesome. Now I just need my voice to get healthy again.

Friday, March 25, 2005

One-Year Anniversary

I just realized that this date last year, our little family arrived in Paris. One year in Paris. And I'm still not fluent in French!

But, today, it was confirmed that I will be performing in my first public concert in Paris! I will be playing harpsichord and organ in a Baroque music concert in 9 days! I have a lot of music to play, but it's all quite manageable. I will be playing with a chamber orchestra, accompanying five singers on Bach's Cantata #154 and excerpts from a few other cantatas. Of course, I'll be inviting all my Parisian friends. Wish all of you could be there to support me!

My Singing Voice

I've had three rehearsals this week, and my voice is sounding strained, tired, and the sound just sometimes completely stops! I miss the voice that I had before I got really sick in December. It was nice and relaxed, and my high notes were easy and controllable. I'm quite a bit frustrated since my singing voice is such a big part of my identity. My self-confidence has definitely gone down since it went out of whack, but I'm making plans to go to the Laboratoire de la Voix in the 19th arrondissement. They'll have specialists who can tell me what's wrong, I hope. And hopefully, I'll understand the undoubtedly complicated (for me) French terminology.

I'm currently reading Renee Fleming's new book, The Inner Voice. I found out about it when I read an interview of hers in a French magazine that I found in the veterinarian's waiting room. I told John immediately, who was still in the states, to get me the book, as specific English-language titles are harder to come by over here and are, not to mention, ridiculously expensive new. For those of you who aren't familiar with Fleming, she is an American superstar soprano at the moment, specializing in Mozart and bel canto (Donizetti, Rossini, and the like). I haven't seen her live....yet. Maybe when she comes to Paris...she loves the French and their way of living. I don't blame her. In the book, she is very candid about her ups and downs in preparation for her career in singing, and does her best explaining, in layman's terms, the workings of the singing voice, and how she thinks her own particular voices works and feels. Finally, a book by a great singer about real singing. I've read the book known to many classical singers, Great Singers on Great Singing, but these great singers didn't seem to really know what they were talking about. These were people with natural talents who, for the most part, couldn't answer the interviewer's main question of "how do you do it?" Fleming has a divine voice, but she has done a lot of work. Some of it was natural, but a lot of it, seems to have been a result of a lot of study, analysis, and experimentation.

Wooooh...I'm getting tired. I don't know if I can handle waking up around 6 am every morning, going to bed after midnight, watching Maylin all day, and not taking a nap! Don't know what's waking me up now. There was no excuse this time. Ah, now I remember. It wasn't Maylin, but it was John. I think he must have had a difficult night sleeping because I vaguely remember, in my state of half-sleep, him moving about the apartment many times. Us moms rarely get a good night sleep. I miss the feeling of waking up from a very deep sleep, feeling completely refreshed. Nope, I wake up tired.

Oh, good news. Thanks to a tenor friend of mine who seems to be putting in a good word for me everywhere about my musical abilities, I've gotten a gig performing a concert in a little over a week! I would be playing the harpsichord (which I haven't touched in ages because I don't own one) for some Bach cantata excerpts. I'm not sure if I can actually hack it (especially if they just give me a figured bass line), but I'm meeting the director today (I'm hauling Maylin over again to the 12th -- wish me luck) to look at the music and find out what I might be able to play. (Did I use enough parentheses in this paragraph?)

In college, I was a very good writer. Not needing to write papers for almost 10 years definitely me a bit out of shape with the pen. I hope this blog will get me back on track.

Okay, time to start the day. I'm going to get into the shower to endure some severe changes in water temperature (is this a common problem in old apartment buildings?). You can imagine me suppressing my screams as the water goes from ice cold to burning hot and back again. Have a good day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ahhh, the life....

Yesterday was wonderful. A perfect spring day in Paris with sun everywhere and daffodils in the gardens. John came back from his trip to NY and Ohio. What a happy reunion. Together with Maylin, we had a lunch of crepe, pita and hummus, and eggdrop soup (aren't I a creative cook?), and then I went to my first rehearsal of the day. I live in the 17th arrondisement, so I had to take the metro to get to the 18th -- 30 min. metro ride away to Northern Paris. I got there way too early because I thought it'd be much longer (with Maylin last week, it took at hour!). I walked around the somewhat drab, rather Arab neighborhood and found a slightly out-of-place bright and shiny chain children's clothing store (come to Paris for the cutest kids' clothes -- and some stores are quite affordable, believe it or not) where I bought Maylin a darling outfit -- short jean skirt, long-sleeved white shirt, and taupe/brown sweater. Very Gap-like.

Upon arriving at the music studio, I had the opportunity to speak a lot of French! I chatted with the other soprano for maybe 10 minutes, as we were the only ones present, rehearsed together for a few moments, and then rehearsed some more when our countertenor arrived. I ended up running the rehearsal, and learned a lot of French words that are critical to directing the rehearsal of a musical piece (a Monteverdi madrigal, for those interested). Turns out that they're the same as in English -- how very convenient! My spelling might be wrong, but "measure" is "mesure," "system" is "systeme," and "note" is -- voila! -- "note," I had to say "encore" ("again") a lot because -- darn it -- one of our singers didn't practice.

After that, I took the metro with the countertenor to the 12th (SW Paris). Our countertenor is a fascinating, lively character who's worked in the airline industry, but presently works for RATP, the metro. We shared our opinions about how polite (or not polite) the French were, discussed the reasons for the recent metro workers strike (which pretty much shut down the city for a day), and agreed on the state of children in France (education is strict, conforming -- kids are pigeon-holed early into one career track, and there's no way out later -- the lives of children and adults are completely separate, unlike in the states). That's a whole blog entry -- life as a child in France. Children are almost completely invisible in the adult-dominated restaurant/cafe scene, day and night. The few times I do see children is in the parks after school and on Wednesday afternoons (their regular time off, which is nice) or on the weekends in the daytime. Maybe they put their kids to bed really early here. We take Maylin out late occasionally (she gets tired around 10:30 pm), and she's the only little cutie in the streets and on the metro.

I hear the garbage truck now. They pick up trash every morning here with their bright and shiny lime-green trucks and matching uniforms and matching city trash bins and matching broomsticks -- hey, everything's got to be color-coordinated. They've got style here in Paris.

Okay, got off track a little bit. Anyways, I got to the 12th arrondisement, went into an "Asian Traiteur" (an Asian deli) and got some VIetnamese eggrolls ("nem"). I chatted a bit with the shopkeeper since I had visited his store the previous week and he was very friendly. I wolfed the eggrolls down on a street bench and went off to sing. I ended up arriving early and was recruited to sing Zerlina's duet wth Don Giovanni, "La ci darem la mano," for someone's voice lesson, as a demonstration to the new singer. The "directrice" of our opera group was in a fun, carefree mood that evening and had us singing lots of Mozart duets that are not on schedule for our June "Magic Flute" concert. I'm glad I'm being exposed to so much Mozart -- my voice is finally at a stage where Mozart is feeling quite comfortable and sounding good in my voice. La directrice asks me to sing Susanna or Zerlina material sometimes just for fun.

Actually, healthwise, my voice is not too great. I had a serious cold which started in mid-December and lasted far into January. My singing voice has just recently made its comeback. It's almost like I have to relearn how to sing because it's been 3 months since I've been able to sing properly.

Goodness, it's 8:16 am and I have to get in the shower and get Maylin ready for school (daycare). Hope you all are well!

With love,
Caroline

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Future entries

It's 5:10 am, and I can't sleep. While lying in bed for half an hour, I thought of some titles for future postings on this site:

Paris Propre: The City of Light's futile attempt to be the City of Clean.

Utilities Fiascoes: How to get your telephone and electricity back on in Paris after they've been turned off for apparently no reason for several days.

Where Have All the Good Chinese Restaurants Gone?: The proliferation of "Asian" delis and the virtual nonexistence of the real thing.

Everyday Fashion in Paris

Misconceptions about the French

Caroline's Recipes

Strollers! Strollers! Strollers!

Parisian Hobby: People Watching

Monkeys Coming Out of My Nose, and Other Blunders with the French Language

Are You My Mommy? Daycare in Paris

A Typical Day in the Life of a Parisian Dog

Who are the People in Your Neighborhood? The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker.

Butchering the English Language (e.g. Be Relax, Mister Bed)

Monday, March 21, 2005

A few words before going to bed

Maylin and I had a great day today. We walked Leo on our usual route, along Blvd. Pereire, where amazingly, dogs are "allowed" to poop without much interference. You just have to watch where you step. Boulevard Pereire has a large island running down the middle of it with beautiful gardens and children's playgrounds (enclosed from the "pooping area/sidewalk"). There's even a concrete ping-pong table. Maylin's favorite play structure is the red wooden train. It has four cars on it with little seats and tables, and holes to climb in and out of. There's even a little station 10 feet in front of it. Maylin likes to play on her own or with one or two other children she knows. A favorite pastime of hers is chasing the pigeons and smelling the roses. The roses aren't here yet, but she already took me to the rose garden to check.

I set up Maylin's little blue IKEA table today for painting. I covered the entire table with white paper, taped down, and gave her four colors and four brushes. She wore her painting smock (which I had fashioned with a Winnie the Pooh face -- from a party napkin -- and lots of transparent tape) and got to work. She covered the entire workspace quite quickly. After washing our hands, she asked for something to eat. As I went into the kitchen to prepare some food, she promptly went to the painting area and started painting on the floor. I scolded her (she knows better) and of course, she threw a tantrum, which the food seemed to resolve.

I finished an acrylic painting of a yellow chick on canvas for her room. It is REALLY simple (based on the yellow chick seen in all the public playgrounds to symbolize accessibility to children age 2 and above) but Maylin was really impressed. So, I let her paint (again) on a canvas of her own. She loved that.

I also finished decoupaging my little terracotta box. I had bought some terracotta clay the other day and worked it yesterday into a box. Today it was completely dry, and I decided to decoupage instead of paint it. For those of you who don't know (and this was my first time so I actually hardly know anything about it), decoupage is a real easy process for decorating a surface. You usually use printed tissue paper (I didn't have any, so I used my origami paper -- I think it would've looked better with the tissue) and a fluid medium (I used Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish), and just use a brush to "glue" the pieces of paper onto the surface and to serve as a varnish.

So, I had a lot of fun today making things. I'm definitely a creator. I feel fulfilled when I'm making things. And this blog is pretty fulfilling, too. I've always wanted to be a published writer, and hey, here I am. And it was oh so easy. Check out blogger.com if you're interested in starting your own blog.

On Wednesday night, I took Maylin to one of my opera rehearsals on the SE side of the city (we live on the NW side, near the Arc de Triomphe). She fell asleep on the way over, so I had to carry her while I sang (she hates strollers, unfortunately, and has for a long time). No problem -- I sang the First Lady, Papagena, (both from Mozart's The Magic Flute) and even sightread some of Susanna's role from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro for fun. An hour of Maylin in my arms. Then she woke up to enjoy the music. Coming back on the metro was interesting. We have to do a change of trains at the Republique station, and while we were waiting on the platform for our train to come, a good-looking young man took notice of Maylin, made this funny clucking sound that only the French can do when they're admiring or trying to amuse a child, and proceeded to the candy machine, from which he produced a candy bar for Maylin! Okay, you're not supposed to take candy from strangers, but Mommy can do it on the child's behalf -- besides, it couldn't be tainted -- it was fresh out of the machine! We still had a few minutes to wait after the "merci" for the train so we waited for the train silently. We got on the same car but were out of sight from one another. Do things like this happen in the U.S.? When we arrived at Place Pereire, where our neighborhood metro station is located, we passed several restaurants and cafes. One waiter saw us and made that same funny clucking sound which I knew was directed at Maylin. I guess it's not too unusual here, especially when complete strangers (usually little old ladies) will come up to your child and pat them on the head and say "Elle est tres mignone!" (she is very cute) or "Ma petite puce!" (my little flea -- yes, it's a term of endearment in our new country).

I've written for half and hour, and I hear Maylin coughing in her bedroom. Hopefully, she'll go back into a deep sleep. I should go rest myself. I've been suffering from allergies and a version of Maylin's cold. Bonne nuit!

Welcome to My Blog!

Hello, Everyone! I'm starting my blog so I can share with all of you photos and updates of our adventure in Paris! Hopefully, I'll get photos up soon, but for now, it's just going to be me rambling.

In December, I helped assemble an expat wives club, which allows the trailing spouses of expats at my husband's company to socialize minus the hubbies, minus the kids. Most of us met at a cooking class arranged by the company, and so far, we've had a bachelorette party and a morning at the movies. This month, I've planned an outing to Angelina's, a famous cafe near the Louvre which supposed serves the best hot chocolate ever -- "tastes like a melted chocolate bar." It's time for the ladies to indulge!

I'm also in the process of starting two singing groups. I am coaching one, whose repertoire includes small ensemble pieces from operas. The people are great in there -- and they have nice voices to work with! The other group may turn out to be a quintet that will specialize in the early Baroque, like Monteverdi, Rameau, and Couperin. I'm also currently involved in a group that hopes to perform excerpts from Mozart's The Magic Flute in June.

Maylin is enjoying herself at l'halte garderie (daycare for toddlers) very well. She participates in all activities -- including dancing, reading, computers, painting, clay sculpting, drawing, and gluing/pasting. Maylin seems to be very popular with the boys -- one has already kissed her and professed her love to her, and one helps her unstick the caps from her markers. Maylin doesn't actually talk at school (just like her mommy at her age), but talks a bunch to me and her daddy. She's got 6-word "sentences" going now, like "Right there is a blue car!"

She can count to twelve without help, and is enjoying sitting on her potty while Mommy's doing it herself! She can say "bonjour," "au revoir," and "merci," but chooses not to. She is still very shy among most people. Maylin loves baguettes and chouquettes (a simple sugar-covered pastry). Her favorite show is Scoobydo, but I think her favorite character is still Winnie the Pooh. She likes to sing the Pooh songs, and nursery and folk songs that I have taught her, like "Baa Baa Black Sheep," "I See the Moon," and "Leo the Lion."

I'm looking forward to having weekly lunch dates with John, as it has been very difficult to get alone time since Maylin came into the world. It'll be nice to continue the growth in our relationship. I'm also going to try to have weekly dates with myself at cafes to just write in my journal. I may include excerpts from my journal on this blog.

Thanks for reading!