31/07/2010

Seeing the archeological sites of the Turkish Aegean with kids. Part 1

Whether you are living in Turkey or just visiting, chances are, you'll be wanting to visit the historical sites of the Agean. And if you've got kids, you shouldn't let that put you off. Over the last ten years we have taken our children (now 11 and 8) many times, and we have seen an increasing number of young families on the sites. Before you set off, though, you might want a few pointers about practicalities.


30/07/2010

Portraits of Autism #4

The building where Max has his special education classes is an old embassy residence. We come in and go up one floor where the waiting room - the old kitchen - and the office are. The classrooms are divided between that floor and the one above. Until this week I hadn't know what the ground floor was used for. I didn't even know that it belonged to the school. The door was always shut.

Today, as we walked in, it was open. I recognised a woman who works as an assistant, a young man who I think is a new teacher, and an older man who is probably a father. There was someone else I couldn't see but could hear growling, a low, desperate growl, repeated at regular intervals. An adult voice.

29/07/2010

How to write a book - my post at Untemplater

As you're reading this, I'm on the beach. Or at least, I'm probably resting in the hotel room, trying to get Max to lie down a bit, quietly. Because if it's 2pm Turkish time, when this post is scheduled to come out, then it's too hot to be on the beach. We're careful about those things.


But I'm also over at Untemplater, talking about how to write a book. So this is where I come out of the closet and  say that I've written and published one book and have another one under contract. Nothing glamourous. Nothing you need a blog and lots of readers for. They're academic books. But I feel pretty smug when I thing about how I managed to put all these words together by a deadline. They're not the very best words, but, hey, they hang together, more or less.

Check it out here if you like!



If you're over from Untemplater:    
Welcome to the Paris-Ankara Express!

Please take a tour.

First, this is a sister blog. There's three of us, you see.


Except right now we're all off on our summer holiday so there's none of us.

But until we come back, there's plenty you can look at.

First there's lots of amazing photo posts from Sister 3, the one who only blogs in images because we don't allow her to write in English. Every week she takes part in Tara Cain's Gallery over at Sticky Fingers:

Then there's all the Weekend Charter posts where Marianne and I blog about the one exciting topic we choose together, or ask our readers to choose - there and back.

There's the Writing Workshops, mostly Marianne's, and the Weekend Assignments.

And  there's my new Portraits of Autism Series.

We're French, so of course we blog about food! Check out some of our recipes.


Plus a lot of fantastic posts, some of them featuring hot Swedish actors!



Others with Eighteenth Century feminist teenage zombies!



So yes, there's plenty to keep all of you amused should you wish to look around.

And if you like us, then please come back! Why don't you join us by clicking on the RSS widget or adding your pretty face to the collection on the left. And of course: spread the word about us! Facebook, twitter, digg, stumble anything you like - we'd be eternally grateful and love you forever.
Have fun looking around. Please leave comments - I'll answer them as soon as I can get my hands on a internet connection!

26/07/2010

Making waves

This is my entry for Tara's Gallery over at Sticky Fingers. The theme this week is nature, and since I'll be on the beach when this goes up, I thought I'd give you a few pics from the Turkish seaside.

The beach we go to is shaded by Palm trees.


25/07/2010

Dear So and So - or How I lost Max at the Supermarket

Dear So and So...   

I thought I'd mark the events of yesterday by joining in with 3 Bedroom Bungalow 's Dear So and So. For those of you who didn't hear about it on Twitter or Facebook, this is what happened. While I was queuing at the Supermarket till, I sent Max, my eight year old autistic son, to wait for me on a chair - I'm trying to encourage his independence at the moment: I send him to the toilet by himself, get him to wait for me somewhere a few minutes, ask him to go and pick up something at the supermarket while I'm getting something else, etc. So, long story short, when I went to get him he wasn't there. We eventually found out that he'd taken a cab home all by himself and was waiting for us in the concierge's rooms, drinking tea and drawing pictures.

23/07/2010

Portraits of Autism - Guest post

This week, Max's teacher is on holiday, so no portrait.

But I did write a guest post which you can read here on the Irish Autism Action Blog, where Jen, the editor, is running a series of posts from around the world.

So go check it out!

If you're over from Irish Autism Action, you might want to check out my previous Portraits of Autism here.

And see you again next week!


Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

22/07/2010

Not quite the Marriage of Figaro

Mama's Losin' It This week I'm trying something new: the writer's workshop at Mama Kat's Losing It. Like Josie at Sleep is for the Weak, she gives readers weekly prompts and then you link up to her blog and read the others.


The prompt I chose is 'Write about your wedding song. What was it and why did you choose it?'


We didn't have a wedding song.
We got married on the sly.
We'd been living 'in sin' for five years, but needed to be married so the children could get British passports. I wore a skirt I'd had a while, and a new top. A judge married us in a plain room. It was over in 10 mins. We did it while at work, a conference.

20/07/2010

A novel idea

This is Sister 3's entry for Sticky Fingers' gallery.
This week's theme is: A novel idea.
A photograph which you think represents a favourite book or novel or even children's tale.
A classic, pulp fiction, a fairytale, a modern masterpiece.


The Princess and the Pea....
As a matter of fact I hate this particular tale: it reduces the worth of a woman to her inability to live without the most extreme luxuries.
Ok, so coming from someone who refuses to go camping this may not be a very fair comment...
Long story short: I felt like taking this picture.

18/07/2010

Weekend Charter: How I lost four pianos.

For this Weekend Charter Marianne and I decided to write about music. So being lazy and all, I decided to recycle something I'd posted as a Facebook note a while back. So, facebook friends, I apologize - you'll have already seen a version of this!

My first piano came to me when I was younger than Max. It was brown, rented, and was swiftly replaced by a white one. I learnt to play on the white piano, taking lessons from a prim, angora wearing, teacher from the conservatoire and later a very tall jazz pianist with hands big as steaks. I was not especially talented or hard working and by the time I was eleven, it was clear I would never become a concert pianist, a restaurant pianist, or indeed, any kind of pianist. On Christmas of that year, we had to leave the family home in a hurry. Our mother was granted custody of the children, but not, unfortunately, of the piano. By the time the piano followed us, I was fifteen, and it was out of tune.

16/07/2010

Portraits of Autism #3

There's no one here today. I'm sitting in the waiting room by myself. They've refurbished some of the teaching rooms, and there's a few school desks lying around - including the one I'm writing on now. I suppose everyone must have gone on vacation. At least away to the coast for a long weekend. I don't blame them, it's boiling here.

Anyway, I've promised to do portraits, to introduce you to a new child on the autism spectrum every week. As there's nobody here I'll write about someone I know, someone who's been coming here for as long as we have, a little girl who participates in group therapy with Max.

15/07/2010

Twilight Zone

What a storm! Violent lightening that turned the whole world white, not just a fraction of the sky, and a nasty, loud, powerful wind, banging and pushing at the window so hard I thought it might take it off the wall.

The noise of it woke me.

Storm by Sister 3

14/07/2010

We're substantial, we are.

Our bloggy friend Very Bored in Catalunya has bestowed on us a great honour, an award that says our blog is a blog of substance. Needless to say, she got it first. Although I am extremely grateful to her for giving us the award, I must put it on record that whole periods of work time have been spent in stitches because of her blog.

13/07/2010

And this is...

This is Sister3's entry for this week's gallery at Sticky Fingers. The theme was - Can you see what it is yet?




11/07/2010

How to make apricot jam

Yesterday we found an apricot tree on campus, one whose fruit was ripe and hadn't been picked dry.


08/07/2010

Life is like a tin of ravioli

I went grocery shopping tonight. Without a list. This is extremely rare, as I love making lists and freak out a little when I don't have one with me.

I also usually dislike grocery shopping. There are no huge stores in Paris, all Parisians go to Franprix, tiny supermarkets where, surprisingly enough, you can find anything you need. People who live in the 'burbs go to giant stores and I think I'd rather eat my right arm than go to one of these. For one thing, I'm sure you'd spend tons of money, there are so many things you want to buy that you absolutely don't need but seem really useful or like a good idea. Besides, if you're unlucky enough to go with your kids, you're not going to get out without stickers, or a book, or candy.

Portraits of Autism #2

I'm sitting in the waiting room at the autism centre again, facing the door, so I can see people coming in and out, chatting with the teachers in the hallway. I've got my paper pad and pencil again. I've always got some paper and pens, either for me or for Max. There's not much point bringing my laptop as I don't have the access code for their wireless. So I write the old fashioned way. A child comes in. He has a piece of paper too. In his other hand he's got an origami boat. He sits down and proceeds to fold the piece of paper, trying to reproduce the boat. But the paper is too small and badly cut. So he walks up to me and puts his hand out to my pad. His father catches up to him and stops him from grabbing the paper. Many dads here today, no mums apart from me. There's another couple of men in the waiting room with me. They're chatting about the latest they've read on the internet regarding what may or may not cause autism.

07/07/2010

Holidays

This is Sister 3's (late) contribution  for this week's Gallery over at Sticky Fingers. The theme is 'Holidays'.

Before, meaning six years ago, I used to think that a holiday snap had to be beautiful: a great landscape, a magnificent site. It had to be beautiful and ... impersonal.

Since then there is Nina, and my holiday albums are Nina albums.

Occasionally, you see a bit of landscape...

So this week's theme was problematic, because you see, I'm still not allowed to post pictures of Nina on the web.  Fortunately, leafing through my albums, I came across this photo I took on the Ile de Re last summer!

Oh, one last thing. If you liked this post, would you mind terribly clicking on the RSS feed, here, or the Google connect buttons (top left), or by email at the bottom of this page? And if you didn't like it, you might still want to look around. There's three of us, you know, so you're (almost) bound to find something you like. And then, if you've still got time, you could share this post or stumble it, or both and get in touch with your local tv station to sing our praises. We'll love you forever.

05/07/2010

It's a girl thing!

This is my entry for this week's Weekend Assignment:
Weekend Assignment #323: Tech Savvy
When you bring home some new piece of technology, do you usually get it up and running with pleasant anticipation and calm confidence, or is there more likely to be much swearing, wailing and gnashing of teeth? What's the most trouble you've had with a new computer, tv, phone or related tech gadget?

Extra Credit: Who do you call in to help, if you get stuck?

In our house, there are no divided responsibilties. 'Im indoors and I share everything equally - childcare, housework (not much of that as we have a cleaner!), shopping, cooking, taking Max to his special ed (lots of that!). It means a lot of time spent talking about things, organising, comparing notes. But it's definitely worth it. There are a couple of exceptions: 'Im indoors tends to do all the repair work that involves gluing things. I tend to be in charge of the technology. So if we have a new computer, a new telly, or dvd player, I'm the one that sets it up. If, at a later stage, there's something wrong with any of the above, I'm the one that fixes it.

04/07/2010

Who took the fun out of the fair? Or why I am a wimp and my daughter isn't.


Two days ago I took my daughter to the funfair. Her first. She loved it. She had this huge smile plastered on her face the whole time we were there. Even when her eyes were screwed close and she was holding on to her neighbours' arm for dear life.

We went to Luna Park, in Ankara. It's a big traditional affair, with some new rides and some seriously old ones too. A lot of the rides are for over 12s and Charlotte, a small 11, got turned back quite a few times. She did, however, manage to sneak in to the two storey ghost train, the caterpillar ride, and the ship that goes up and down. She did not succeed in blagging her way in the roller coaster, for which I was grateful indeed.

02/07/2010

Portraits of Autism #1

I'm in the waiting room at my son's special education autism centre. A teenager walks in, followed by his dad. The boy makes straight for me and, with a big grin on his face, says he wants to drink the can of coke that's on the table next to me. I'm embarrassed, I want to tell him that it's not coke, it's got pencils shavings in it, but I don't know how to say that in Turkish. So I just tell him that it's empty. That it's rubbish. His dad comes up and provides me with  few key words. He shows him the rubbish bin. It's like that, he says. The dad looks quite relieved that he doesn't have to wrestle my coke from his boy. The boy, still smiling, then asks me if I can give him a cup of tea instead. He's thirsty. He doesn't want to wait and I'm clearly a drinks person. I say he can get tea in the kitchen upstairs. His dad confirms, and they both go up.

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