La Rochelle, Le Retour

Gare La Rochelle

We’re back in La Rochelle, first time since our long séjour in 2014. Planes, trains and automobiles were all involved, but we’re here at last. I can already tell I’m a bit more comfortable speaking French. I chatted with the Paris taxi driver most of the way from the airport to Gare Montparnasse, then dealt with an issue on the train without switching to English. When asked if I spoke French or English, I said “les deux” (both) and defended our right to our seats in French without hesitation.

What fun it was to walk out of the train station, to the familiar streets of this charming town . . .

Rue Bazoges, La Rochelle

Yesterday afternoon, we scrambled to get a few groceries to tide us over until Tuesday, since most shops close on Sundays, and Monday is a holiday in France, so we weren’t really able to take advantage of the warmth and sunshine–not to mention being nearly comatose from fatigue.

Today, Sunday, after an excellent night’s sleep, we were ready to reacquaint ourselves with one of our favorite places. Half a block from our apartment, the main central marché was open . . .

Le Vieux Marché, La Rochelle

This marché is open every day, so we buy only what we need for the day or in this case two days, since I wasn’t sure about the holiday tomorrow.

The breeze was a bit brisk this morning and the sky was overcast, but it wasn’t too bad. Then the weather went a little crazy around noon, sending chairs and signs flying. Fortunately, we were already installed inside a port-side café by then, with pineau des Charentes and moules frites, so were able to watch the drama from l’intérieur.

Here’s le vieux port on sunnier days back in 2014.

Le Vieux Port, La Rochelle
View over Le Vieux Port, La Rochelle, to the famous three towers

The space got a bit cozy as more and more people sought shelter, but that created an air of camaraderie enough that we (well, mostly I, since it was in French) ended up chatting a bit with the people at the next table. (Remember the “next” table in France is often only 3 or 4 inches from your own.) It reminded me of Frederick Buechner’s comments about rainy days.

We lingered a bit over coffee and dessert, but finally ventured out to head back “home.” What a relief it is, having an apartment this time en plein centre ville (right in the center of town). Still David has done more walking in the past two days than he has in months, but he insists he’s doing well.

With the intermittent rain, we took advantage of les arcades . . .

Les Arcades, La Rochelle

. . . which covered us nearly all the way back to the apartment.

Tomorrow, we’ll see Pascale and Jacky, our companions in so many adventures. Can’t wait.

The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.  Amelia Earhart

Wishing you congenial companions in both adversity and adventure!


And Back Again

So sorry! It’s been a while since my last Movable Assets post. As you know if you’ve read the last two, most of our attention these days is focused on David’s battle with pancreatic cancer. For the time being, though, I’m VERY happy to report he’s doing remarkably well. Regular updates are on

The number and frequency of house guests has diminished considerably as David has improved, but we did host our girls and granddaughters at Christmas . . .

Felicity and Bailey Christmas 2016
Felicity, left, and Bailey
David Christmas 2016
David appreciating Felicity’s balloon-animal-making skills

. . . but since David ended up in the hospital on December 26th and for the three days following, the above photos are about all I have to show for the Christmas visits. Fortunately, David bounced back quickly from that bug.

In early January, he was doing well and we were interviewed for a video to be shown at our church, and to have as a keepsake for our family.  What a gift that will be and already is. Here’s a link that should allow you to see it, if you’re interested:

February was challenging, with David . . . er . . . enjoying a week-long hospital stay, but his chemo has since been adjusted and he is doing very well now.

Ship Tavern, Brown Palace, Denver
Ship Tavern, The Brown Palace, Denver

Which brings us to this past weekend’s return guests: David’s brother Doug, of course, and David’s mom, Helen. They had flown in from opposite coasts, so we decided sitting around in the living room was not quite entertaining enough. David is doing so well these days, we were able to drive down to the airport to pick them up and head into downtown Denver for lunch at the Ship Tavern in The Brown Palace.

Fromage de FranceThen Saturday, we drove down to Longmont to the Cheese Importers where we had lunch in the bistro, perused the stacks, shelves, piles, heaps, mounds of goods for sale (most of it about or from France, which I love!) and finished with a quick trip through the chilly cheese room, where we stocked up on not just cheese, but also my favorite butter with sea salt crystals. Yum. You can see the butter choices on the right in the photo below.

Cheese Room

Jazz at Jay’s with Linda Briceño

Saturday evening, we decided to revisit the venue for Doug and Kristl’s rehearsal dinner and treat Helen to a bit of excellent jazz, one of her favorite things. Unbeknownst to us, we were about to be treated to a special Fort Collins appearance by Linda Briceño, renowned Venezuelan trumpeter and vocalist, playing along with Myles Sloniker on bass and his dad Mark Sloniker on piano. We knew we would enjoy hearing Mark and whatever group he had for the evening, but the three of them together were an amazing, rare treat. Boatloads of talent in that trio! Loved it!

Helen and Doug have both gone home, but Doug says he’ll be back again before too long. He’s a VERY easy house guest–when he’s not setting our toaster oven on fire–so always welcome. We supervise his cooking now!

In other news of returns, Chelsea will be soon be back again, this time for the foreseeable future, maybe for good!

Chelsea and Brian

She’s moving back to Colorado and hopes to be here by Easter. David’s cancer was the impetus for reevaluating how far away she wanted to live, and the answer was NOT that far. Bonus: Brian also lives here in Colorado. She’ll fly to DC a few times a year for work, and we enjoyed our visits there so much, we may even join her sometime, but mostly we are very much looking forward to having her closer. Brian’s pretty happy about it, too!

And yet more news of returns: We will be returning to our beloved La Rochelle (France) at the end of April and have the blessing of David’s doctor to stay for the entire month of May (stellar timing–Chelsea can house-sit). I promise more regular Movable Assets posts while we’re there!

Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another. ∼Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces (Love that book!)

There is certainly a LOT of love going on here. Beloved family and friends visiting from far and near, emailing, sending cards, commenting on my posts here and on Caring Bridge, praying and thinking of us so faithfully. And now we have a chance to go back again to see our very dear friends in La Rochelle. I’m hoping to astound them and my tutor/friend Natacha with my improved French. On verra! (We’ll see!)

Wishing you excellent times with people you love in places that resonate deep in your soul!