Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer of 2017 and the Tour de France

My last post was written in May, then June went by and July is about over.  The clearing out of the Georgia house for the move to Tennessee has stalled as I had to get ready for my first knee operation.  I had a left knee replacement surgery in the middle of July.  Now is the time to take it easy and go through therapy - no driving.  I cannot stay seated at the computer for long as it starts hurting, so this post is taking several days.  But I know this shall pass (until the right knee operation!)  June 17, 2017 was our 50th wedding anniversary.  My husband did not know about it because of his progressing Alzheimer's disease, but I took him to a restaurant anyway.  We went to a newly opened Greek restaurant nearyby in Smyrna, GA.  There was music providing a fun ambiance.

The menu was large with colorful pictures of the dishes and of places in Greece.  Click on collage twice to enlarge and see better.

We ordered from the Chef's Special menu.  Jim had the Stuffed Cabbage, that was delicious, and I had the leg of lamb, not so delicious but a bit dry with too much meat.  The salad and bread were good.  The baklava bearing the number 50 was a nice touch.

Dancing lessons were given to anyone interested.  My photos are dark as I did not use a flash.

I have been looking at my pictures of the last two months to remember what we did to share here.  My husband kept busy watering weeds in the back yard, even right after the rain.  Once I did find a turtle he had placed, for some reason, inside an empty planter.  I looked at it for a while and she did not move.  I thought the poor turtle was dead but placed it on top of a plate of water, and soon enough her little eyes came out and looked at me.  It felt rewarding that I had found her in time.  (Turtle in French is "tortue" and is a feminine word.)

While clearing up I found a box with old bottle of wines.  One was from 1978.  I thought it would taste like vinegar, but no, it was still good.  I emailed the vineyard in California, still in business, and sent them a photo.  The manager emailed me back his thanks.  Under my daughter's bed I found an old bear.  Then, way back under her bed I found a big black box.  She messaged me that I could open it, that it contained a project she had meant to do for us as a 20th wedding anniversary present.  Inside were many photographs and movie films that I had thought were lost.  They had sat in this box, undisturbed, since 1987!  Just think, the first time I was seeing them in 30 years!  I did not have time to look at all of them but did find a picture of our daughter Celine with the old bear I had just found under her bed.  I also remembered the photo of our other daughter Jessica at her 2 year old birthday party.  It's going to be fun to have the old movie films made into DVDs and look at them - most are from San Francisco in the 1960s.

At the end of June we went to my primary care physician to get a quick release for my knee operation.  I remember taking a photo to show how nice and empty the waiting room was.  We were not in the office very long.  But just as we were on our way out the door, there was a tornado warning and patients were asked to assemble in an indoor hall - quite a few of them.  We were packed in there for close to 3 hours with doctors, nurses, patients, some with upset and unruly children and autistic teenagers who were going into hysterics - quite an afternoon! (I moved my cell phone camera on purpose to blur the faces of the people in the hall.)

The evening before my knee operation we went to a fine Mexican restaurant in Brentwood, Tennessee, Uncle Julio.  It was not too warm and we sat outside. They advertize authentic, made from scratch Mexican specialties.  It was difficult to decide what to eat as the menu listed so many interesting choices.  While deciding we ate a delicious roasted tomato salsa and queso dip with homemade tortillas.

Our four grandchildren were fascinated by the waiter making side table guacomole, which he explained to them as he went along.

I saw glimpses of the 14th of July (what Anglophones call Bastille's Day) celebrations in Paris on my Ipad and room TV while in the hospital.  To celebrate the 100th anniversary of US troops arriving in France to fight in World War 1, this year the 14 of July celebrations were placed under the Franco-American friendship.  US President Donald Trump had been invited by French President Emmanuel Macron as a guest of honor.  Top picture in the collage below is a Library of Congress photo of US General "Black Jack" John J. Pershing arriving in Boulogne, France on 13 June 1917, then a photo of him next to French General Peltier.  In center are the two presidents and wives having dinner on July 13, 2017, in the Alain Ducasse's upscale restaurant "Jules Verne" on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.

The parade down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees started with 145 US troops marching ahead.  More than 3700 French military personnel followed them.  At the end of the parade the French inter-military orchestra played for 86 seconds, "Nissa la Bella" the city of Nice national hymn, in remembrance of the 86 victims of the terrorist attack there on 14 July 2016.  They ended by positioning the band to form the word "Nice."  President Macron later that day flew to Nice to pay tribute to the victims.

Nissa la Bella was written on July 14, 1903.  It is the city of Nice hymn in the dialect of the town, Occitan dialect.  The lyrics say: Ô ma belle Nice, Reine des fleurs, Tes vieilles toitures Je chanterai toujours. Je chanterai les montagnes, Tes si riches décors, Tes vertes campagnes, Ton grand soleil d’or.    Translation:  O my beautiful Nice, Queen of flowers, Your old roofs, I'll always sing.  I will sing the mountains, Your rich scenery, Your green countryside, Your great golden sun.  I found it on youtube, written in the dialect and in French.


As is the tradition, the 14 of July festivities ended with fireworks by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, as well as in most other French cities and towns.

I was in hospital for four days - July 12 through 15th.  My doctor sent me a pretty red rose, and the CEO of the hospital a beautiful bouquet of unusual flowers.  I also watched the Tour de France on my little TV in my hospital room.

This year the 104th Tour de France started in Dusseldorf, Germany on July 1st, 2017.  It ended on Sunday July 23, 2017 on the Paris Champs-Elysees.  It was made up of 21 stages and covered a total distance of 3,540 kilometres/2,143.73 miles.  It included 9 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 5 mountain stages, 2 individual time-trial stages and 2 rest days.  It also included a total of 23 mountain climbs or hills.  The Tour visited three neighboring countries: Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg; 635 towns were visited among 34 counties of France.  Twenty two international teams made of 198 cyclists started the Tour.  More statistics:  2000 media personnel (TV, radio, newspaper and magazine reporters and photographers,) 23,000 police and security personnel along the route, 170 publicity caravans, 100,000 recyclable garbage bags, 2,800 special signposts installed on dangerous points along the Tour roads, 5,540,000 fans following the Tour on social media, 13 million plus fans watching by the side of the route, 1 billion TV viewers in 190 countries.

Starting with "What is the Tour de France?" on July 22, 2009, every year I write a post on the Tour - you can find the posts by looking under Tour de France on the side of my blog.  I did not mention before the caravans following the Tour, or more accurately ahead of the Tour - 170 publicity caravans (custom-built especially for the Tour) representing 43 organizations.  Their long procession arrives one hour ahead of the race.  Their personnel, usually students working on this special summer job, hand out 14 million gifts to the roadside spectators.  Children and adults alike love getting the caps, sweets, key rings, souvenirs thrown at them.  It gives the Tour this special noisy, crazy fun with blaring music and excitement.

From the millions of fans along the roadside, of all ages and types (animal included,) some wear outlandish outfits or makeup.

The helicopters following the Tour offer us some great overviews and glimpses of the surrounding landscape.  (Do not forget to click on the pictures in the collage twice to see them better.)

I like watching the cyclists who have been running in several previous races, such as Alberto Contador of Spain, Richie Porte and Mark Renshaw of Australia, Thomas Voeckler, Sylvain Chavanel, Thibaut Pinot and Alain Bardet of France, Tony Martin, Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel of Germany and Nairo Quintana of Colombia.  Unfortunately, this year my two favorite sprinters, Mark Cavendish of the UK and Peter Sagan of Slovakia did not finish the Tour.  During the sprint at the end of stage four, Mark Cavendish crashed after hitting Peter Sagans' elbow.  Mark suffered a fractured shoulder blade and withdrew.  The Tour authority disqualified Peter Sagan saying that his dangerous elbow move provoked the accident.  (I think this was controversial and I did not agree.)  But this gave an opportunity for other sprinters to win like the rising star from Canberra, Australia, Michael Matthews.  Matthews won the green jersey for this year's Tour de France.

 Another rising star is Warren Barguil from Brittany, France.  He made the French fans happy by winning Stage 13 on July 14, Bastille Day, against Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador.  He is the first frenchman to win on the 14th of July since 2005.  President Macron personnaly congratulated him.  Barguil ended winning the polka dot king of the mountain jersey for the 2017 Tour.  Christopher Froome won the Tour de France, his fourth win in a row.  Below top left is Warren Barguil and then President Macron and Barguil.  The rest of the photos show the final Stage going through Paris and the winners.

Below are more pictures from the 2017 Tour de France.

Now I have to wait another year to watch the Tour again.  I was happy to just find out that my son-in-law has the book on the Official History of the Tour de France (pictured in the heading.)  It will be fun to have a look at it and learn more.  I end this post by saying "Vive le Tour!"


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

There is do much to comment on in this beautiful post. First of all, my husband and I celebrated our 50th anniversary on June 17th also. My, how the years have gone by so fast. Like you and your husband, the term "in sickness and in health" has taken a new meaning as we go thru our golden years. However, we carry on and are grateful for all the good days we have had and will have. I wrote about our anniversary in my June post. i was happy to read that you got out to celebrate. Greek restaurants are so much fun and the people are full of joy.

We also found a turtle in June in one of my gardens. We worried that he was stuck in the hole he dug himself, so we moved him to the stream that goes thru the woods which I am sure was his destination. I hope we did the right thing.

You must be a special lady to have flowers given to you by your doctor and also the CEO of the hospital. What a nice gesture and kindness. I hope they do the same on your next operation.

I am sure your knee operation will be a success and hope that you will recover quickly.


donna baker said...

Vive la knee. Soon you won't notice it anymore. Until then, you'll think of it all of the time. Boy did you make up for the lack of posting. Glad you had a good anniversary and hopefully the move will go smoothly. Loved hearing about your summer.

Elephant's Child said...

I was so pleased to see a post from you pop up in my reader.
You have been, and are, in my thoughts.
I hope your recovery from surgery is quick and complete.
Loved that you were able to celebrate your 50th in a Greek restaurant - and hearing about the precious memories you found in the clean-up process.
Thank you for yet another fascinating post.
And while I am not usually a Tour fan, I live in Canberra so it got extra attention this year.

Thérèse said...

Bonne chance pour le second genou, d'ici peu tu trotteras de nouveau. En attendant patience! Pas facile.
Comme j'ai dit à ma moitié il y a quelque temps: j'attends le billet de Vagabonde pour avoir le résumé du Tour que je ne regarde jamais... Idem cette année pourle 14 juillet, je n'ai rien suivi à la télévision me contentant de lire les nouvelles, ces dernières sont maintenant souvent faussées et il faut voir et lire sur différends sites pour faire le tour des nouvelles et des questions.

bayou said...

Dear Vagabonde, such a nice post and congratulations to your Golden Wedding anniversary! You are a true star! And glad to read that your knee is on the mend and you could have it done. How bizzare it must be to find those old treasures under the bed, especially the black box and the teddy.
The Tour. THE Tour. It passed right in front of where we live on the way from Düsseldorf before arriving in Liège. We welcomed the bikers in Henri-Chapelle where the village was fully geared up for the event (once a man from Henri-Chapelle participated in a tour and he initiated a lot for the village festivity). Everywhere bikes on lamp post and houses, so great. Unfortunately, it started raining just when the 'ploton' came through and people in front opened their umbrellas - that spoiled it all then. For me, it was the right decision to disqualify Sagan as he is quite an aggressive biker and having watched over and over the incident from different cameras and TV chains. But as you said, it gave the opportunity to other great guys to win.
Would love to put a blog together and this since weeks but life is just too busy right now and different guests from all over every week and instead of using evening hours to upload photos, we sit outside, enjoy summer and watch the stars...
Good luck with the knee and sending boatloads of good

DJan said...

I echo everything that EC said in her comment, except of course I don't live in Canberra. But I have a friend who does: her. I thought of you when I saw the Tour de France on TV, since you always follow it. And I am sure glad to hear you've had one knee replacement already and will soon have the other. It's wonderful news, although I'm sure it hasn't been easy. Congratulations on your 50th anniversary.

When cleaning out old memories, it's bittersweet to see that stuffed toy and to hear of the old photographs and films from 1987! What a find that was. It sounds like you are gradually making progress in the move. Sending you my love, VB, and thank you so much for this post! :-)

Nadezda said...

Dear Vagabonde,
I'm glad your knee operation was successful and you're getting better day by day. It's pity Jim isn't your helper, he and you lived together so many years.Sure weeds grow well, :-) poor turtle.
I know you love watching Tour de France and I always remember your latest posts about this amazing event. I've watched on TV president Macrone in Nice.
Hopefully you have had fun looking at the 30 years old photos, when you've been young and children were little ones.
Have a nice day!

molly said...

Congratulations on your big anniversary. Sorry to hear of your husband's decline. It must be difficult for you. But ah! The comforts of good food! And I'd have been out there learning the Greek dance steps!
My husband is a cyclist and a huge fan of the Tour de France. While he enjoys watching the cyclists I drink in the gorgeous scenery.....
Great photos!

David said...

Vagabonde, Sounds like your knee operation went well. I've done 2 hips but I hear that knees take a bit more time to rehab. None of it is much fun although you certainly had better bedside attention in the hospital than I have! I love finding things around the house that I'd forgotten about but I haven't found anything that I last saw that many years ago! Love your memorabilia finds... We are the repository of all such items for both my wife's family and mine with thousands of slides and photos and a plethora of all kinds of souvenirs, postcards, letters and documents.

My wife saves a few turtles from the highways every year. If it's at all safe to stop, I pull over and she takes the turtle across to the side where it was headed. Despite its popularity, I still don't 'get' watching the Tour de France (or soccer either for that matter) although my wife will watch the Tour at length. The scenery shots are hard to beat though!

We really like Greek Restaurants and we would kill for a good gyro plate with garlicky tzatziki sauce. It's just something that isn't available here in East Tennessee. We can find fairly good Mexican food...but nothing as classy as that place in Brentwood TN. Sorry that your roast lamb was too dry...but there can never be too much meat on my plate! My wife would have reacted to the quantity just like you did...

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Linda said...

Wow, I absolutely love all your photos! I love Greek food. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing tour!

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, this posting of yours is jam-packed with news of you and your husband and children and the tour and the hospital stay and the knee replacement. Where to begin! I am glad you are taking care of your knees. I had my right knee replaced in 2010 and it's been so wonderful to walk again without pain. From what you wrote, I conclude that you are now going to have your other knee done. I'm wondering whether that will be next year or sooner.

I'm sorry to learn about your husband's Alzheimer's Disease. You must be filled with conflicting emotions about all of this. I truly can't imagine, having never been married, what it is like to have a spouse get this disease. My parents died young (Mom 58; Dad 69) and so I've never been "up close and personal" with it. But to lose so much of what has been the habits and rituals of your marriage must be devastating. I hope you know that I enclose you in the white light of Oneness from now on. Whenever I sit here at the computer to begin my blogging, I will think of you and send you that white light of healing and Oneness, which is to say that all of us who have come to care for you continue to do so. Peace.

sweffling said...

I am so pleased to see you posting again:) And a really great post, especially since you cannot sit for long.
I also admire you so much for all you are dealing with: I hope your knee proves to be a great success and that you are soon pain free.
Thanks for this long and detailed post: too much for me to comment on fully at the moment, but thinking of you and wishing a speedy convalescence:) x

Jeanie said...

Wow -- you've had quite the summer. I'm sorry you've had to deal with the surgery but I know it will be much better in the end and glad you are recuperating. All those finds are fun ones (especially the bottle of wine!). That bear was so sweet.

And I'm especially glad you celebrated your anniversary with Jim, even if he wasn't sure what the occasion was. It's a special day, perhaps all the more so when you consider the "in sickness and in health" part of it.

I hope you've had some support and help during your surgery. But glad you could recuperate with the Tour. I felt bad so many really fine riders crashed out (and early, too) and was hoping Bardet would win. But it was a fun tour -- nice that the result was so close.

Sending hugs your way,

Pixel Peeper said...

I always enjoy all your photos, but the food pictures are the best!

I hope you are recuperating quickly from your knee surgery. One of my co-workers' husband had one a few years ago; he was told that such a surgery has a lengthy recuperation time.

Are you in Tennessee for good now, or do you still have the house in Georgia?

Magic Love Crow said...

You always have such beautiful posts my friend! Please take care of your knee! It must be getting so hard with your hubby! Blessings to you both! I love Greek food! That must have been scary about the tornado warning! Love the old photos and the teddy bear! Big Hugs and Much Love!

Arti said...

Congrats on your 50th Anniversary! It is love that holds all those experiences. I'm moved to see you take your husband to the restaurant to celebrate despite his being oblivious to the occasion. I know, my mother is in a care home and has dementia. Most of the time she remembers me, but sometimes not. She's 97.

Your posts are always a smorgasbord of delights, and thought provoking writing. Thanks again for sharing with us your life and experiences. All best wishes for a speedy recovery of your surgery. Take care and keep on blogging. :)

joared said...

Fascinating post, as you always write. I'm so pleased for you that your knee surgery has gone so well. Am sure you'll be pleased to have the other one completed. Reminds me years ago a prominent newsmanTV show host, Hugh Downs, had surgery for both knees at the same time to the amazement of everyone. I've not heard of anyone else ever doing that, but after his recovery he said he did not regret having surgery in that manner. I expect you're active with physical therapy and hope all is going well.

I enjoyed your commentary describing with The Tour, the colorful visuals. I hadn't realized all the celebratory activities that occurred preceding and surrounding the race for spectators. You give me a new appreciation for the event's significance to residents along the route and fans.

Congratulations for your anniversary. I'm sure it must have been rather bittersweet given your husband's lack of awareness to be able to celebrate with you. My husband passed before we reached that mark as we were just a couple months to the day shy of our 43rd anniversary. Sounds good that your husband is able to share in some events, engage in some activities, even if he is just watering weeds. Glad you rescued the turtle. What a delightful surprise to find all those photos and video from years ago.

I derive pleasure in what I know about the new French President who seems to have presented himself in a manner I could only wish of our own leader. The French people keep alive many of the beliefs and positions I support.

Do continue to,take good care of yourself -- do your exercises! *smile*.

Down by the sea said...

You do sound so busy with lots of adventures! I do hope you are recovering well from knee operation, I'm glad you were still able to enjoy the Tour de France. It must have been wonderful to discover your daughter's box. Sarah x

Shammickite said...

My periodontist had both knee joints replaced at the same time in February this year. He was up and attending to his patients by June. Best of luck with your second knee. I have had one hip replaced, and I'm considering getting the second one replaced. I will be consulting the surgeon in September.

I wish you good luck in your move. Moving house is always a great opportunity to sort your family possessions and try to clean out some of the accumulated "stuff", however, some surprises come to light, like the box under your daughter's bed.
I love Greek food and I love Mexican food. Sooooooo delicious. I hope your husband enjoyed his restaurant treats, even though he was unaware of the reason for celebration.

Marja said...

Lovely post Hope Sorry to hear about your knee replacement. Hope it will get better soon and nice you had a dinner at a Greece restaurant I love greece and love their food. What I see on your pictures is quite different to what I am used to. my favourite is Greek salad with olives and goat cheese. love mexican food as well. How lovely that you found that bear and wine. Amazing. We used to look at the tour the France every summer when I was young Joop Soetekouw was a great dutch cyclist who did well in the tour the France. I get often reminded of it as my blog is called Dutchcorner which is also the name of the dutch corner where the dutch fans are in the tour the France.

Pat said...

I hope the knee operations are a total success and that you don't get too exhausted. What fun to have a Greek restaurant celebration. The guitarist has a great Greek face and lovely to see the men dancing. Your husband gets lots of stimulation which can only be good for him.
I enjoyed all the photos as usual. President Trump has the most extraordinary hair - especially from the rear. Please take care of your self. By the way your grandchildren are adorable

Glenda Beall said...

I miss you when you are away. Your posts are extra special and interesting. I hope you surgery goes well and you are back up and strong very soon.
I was down in Roswell last weekend over night. When I am there, I do nothing but visit with family.
Your writing about France has been an education for me. Thank you.

Vicki Lane said...

It sounds as if you are doing well and making good progress on the rehab and the moving. I'm so glad. What a treat to find those lost films etc.! And the Mexican restaurant sounds wonderful.

Carola Bartz said...

Happy anniversary- 50 years together is a long time and you must many many memories that I hope comfort you when times get rough. I hope your knee replacement works out fine and so will the next surgery.
That vineyard is one of my favorite wineries here where I live. I love their Zinfandels! How funny that you found a box with old bottles full of their wine. In my humble opinion this winery belongs to our top wineries.

claude said...

Bonjour Vagabonde !
Très variée cette publication !
Gourmande aussi !
Comme Thérèse je n'ai pas suivi le Tour de France, par contre j'ai regardé le concert classique donné sur le Champ de Mars et le feu d'artifice.

claude said...

J'ai aussi regardé le défilé du 14 Juillet sur les Chmaps, je ne le râte pour rien au monde. Je vois que tu as excellemment documenté sur le Tour de France, on te sent passionnée.

Cergie said...

Heureusement que j'ai déjeuné (j'ai fait une pizza au thon avec un coulis fait maison sur laquelle j'ai ajouté des câpres au vinaigre) car ces deux restaurants me donneraient faim. Nous fréquentons au "grec" près des Buttes Chaumont mais il a très peu de plat qui ne soit pas à la viande, j'ai trouvé seulement des gambas mais elles valaient le détour.

Le tour de France nous l'avons aussi fait en juillet avec nos petits-enfants alors je ne l'ai suivi, le vrai, qu'épisodiquement sur l'auto-radio : l'arrivée au sommet de je ne sais plus quoi dans les Vosges, Romain Bardet promis à la victoire finale mais qui s'effondre à Marseille etc etc. Mon fils aîné a assisté en live au passage sous la verrière du Grd Palais avec son fils. Spectaculaire

Cergie said...

50 ans de mariage ! 40 ans pour nous cette année, ton mari a apprécié sans nul doute cette occasion de faire la fête même s'il n'a pas pris conscience du pourquoi
C'est bien qu'il s'occupe, l'arrosage de la pauvre tortue me rappelle ce que m'a raconté mon père qui avait demandé à un manoeuvre vietnamien de creuser un trou avant de partir en tournée, le trou était très profond à son retour ! Les vietnamiens sont un peuple de creuseurs !

Cergie said...

Par contre nous ne loupons pas le défilé du 14 juillet lorsque nous le pouvons ; c'était bien que le président Trump y ait été convié par le président Macron
A plus tard, Vagabonde !

Haddock said...

I love places where there is live music.

Jenn Jilks said...

What a full post this is!
You've had a heckuva summer.
You take care of that knee.

joared said...

Thinking of you and hope all is going as well as possible.

Thérèse said...

En espérant que ton genou va bien. Que le déménagement se déroule bien.
En pensant à toi...

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I love how this blog was almost like reading a magazine with so many topics and photos rolling along.
I once watch a group of riders along the rural roads outside of Quebec City in the 1960’s and 1980’s. It was amazing.
We love that area of Canada as it’s cuture has a bit of EU in the old city.

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