Yearly Archives: 2006

Love and La Recree

Yesterday when, after lunch, I accompanied Charlotte, who is now in CP (Grade 1), to her classroom door the girls in her class were in a complete froth.

“Charlotte, Charlotte!” they milled around her. “Augustin isn’t in love with you anymore! He kissed Camille (not my Camille, thank god) during La Recree!” And this wasn’t all; the rest of the salient details were quickly doled out.

“He kissed her on the mouth!” Solene shouted.
“Three times!” added little Margaux.
“In the cabane!” (this is the plastic playhouse in the school playground – apparently a popular spot for romantic rendezvous).

I looked over and spotted Augustin, a gorgeous little heart-breaker with dark fringed chocolate eyes, standing beside his newest “amoureuse“, his hand protectively on her knee.

As for Camille – that little vixen – she was perched on the window ledge, playing with a stringy lock of hair and smiling a decidedly self-satisfied smile which was rendered particularly striking by the fact that she was missing her two front teeth. No doubt about it; she definitely had the look about her of a girl who had been kissed three times in the cabane.

As a rule I try to keep a healthy parental distance from the ebb and tide of the playground politics that plays such a big part in my daughters’ lives. Yet, I still couldn’t help but curse Augustin, that heartless little Lothario. You see, since last year Charlotte and Augustin have been what french school children referred to as “les amoureux.” From what I could tell, this basically consisted of playing together at recess and being teased by the others. My Charlotte had never allowed herself to be kissed on the mouth in the cabane…at least I don’t think…

As soon as Franck and I got wind of this “amoureux” talk last year we laid down the law at the dinner table. Charlotte was far too young to have an “amoureux“, we declared, and would be until she passed her Baccalaureat (this last part was Franck’s contribution). Yet the persistent chants of “amoureux” still surrounded Charlotte and Augustin in the school courtyard.

Sometime near the end of last year, I began to notice that Augustin, even though he kept coming back to Charlotte, was a rather capricious sort. From time to time he would ditch Charlotte, and declare himself “amoureux” of another girl, even (quelle trahison!) Charlotte’s best friend Anne-Louise at one painful juncture.

Out of Franck’s hearing, I tried to impress upon Charlotte that, even though she was far too young to have an amoureux, when the time did come (of course after she had her Bac, as per her father’s instructions) she should think twice before deciding on a boy like Augustin. I tried to explain the meaning of “fickle” and explained why a boy like Augustin was not a good choice for any self-respecting female. I don’t know a single woman that hasn’t had a nasty experience with the type of man who loves her one day, moves on to somebody else the next, and then comes back the day after – reeling you in and out like a fish on a line.

Indeed, during my adolescence I despaired at the idea that perhaps there were just no men out there with two of the traits I valued the most; constancy and loyalty. I was thoroughly fed up with guys who made me feel like I never knew where I stood, but that’s all I could ever seem to find.

And then I met Franck, who made it clear from the first evening we met that he wanted to be with me – no conditionals, no changes of heart, no playing mind games. The irony that I had to come to France – the country of philandering men – to find such a person was not lost on me. Yet, I realized with no small sense of relief that, contrary to my previous assumptions, there were men out there who were as constant as I was, so there was therefore simply no reason to put up with the other kind.

But after imparting this convoluted life lesson to Charlotte I had serious doubts that any of it had sunk in, or even made any sense to her. So yesterday it was with inordinate pride and a definite sense of accomplishment that I watched my daughter respond to the clamouring girls.

“Why should I care?” Charlotte declared stoutly, hands on her hips. “I’m totally not in love with Augustin anymore. Anyway, I’m much too young to have an amoureux.” (note to self – must remember to break open the champagne with Franck in celebration of this last bit).

With this, she promptly joined in the merciless teasing of Augustin and Camille with the rest of her classmates.

Oh, les amoureux…oh, les amoureux…ils sont amoureux…”

Les Vendanges 2006

My sister Jayne and my future brother-in-law Mark arrived in Beaune on Tuesday, and by Thursday we had them dressed up in their rattiest clothes, hats on heads, and sequeters in hand to cut grapes with Franck at the family Domaine of our friends Charlotte and Marco in Volnay.

The harvest is in full swing here since the beginning of this week. Tractors full of grapes clog up the roads, the vineyards are dotted with harvesters, and the redolent scent of crushed grapes fills the air. I love it. Even though I didn’t cut grapes myself this year (someone has to hold down the fort, feed the kids, etc.) just being here makes me feel like I’m part of something big and important.

Jayne and Mark were game and endured with a smile sore backs, bunches of rotten grapes thrown at their heads (all in good fun, bien sur), and HUGE spiders, according to Jayne. The reward at the end of the day is not only bragging rights that they particpated in harvesting some of the world’s most prestigious grapes, but also a tour of the Domaine’s impressive wine caves and a select tasting of last years’ wine, straight from the barrel, that so far only Marco’s closest family members have had the privilege to taste. Ah, the best treats are those you have to work for!

And we sure picked the right day. Today we woke up to pouring rain, which translates to knee deep mud between the rows of vines.

The fabulous Quiche-Making Meme

Franck’s grandmother Meme is feeling very good and fiesty these days, despite the fact that she is 96, so we have resumed our cooking Wednesdays. In France the girls don’t have school on Wednesdays, so we have Meme over in the afternoon and she and Franck cook up a storm.

Usually one or both of the girls is also allowed to sit at the table, rolling and patting a litle piece of pastry. I’m tolerated if I’m doing the dishes or some other sous-chef task, but otherwise I’m quickly shooed away.

So, just for anybody who is considering whinging that they are getting too old to be productive, here is what Meme and Franck accomplished last Wednesday afternoon:

– three kilos of pastry (some used, the rest frozen for a later date)
– 28 mini quiches (to be frozen flat)
– 1 apple tart
– delicious pork roast with piece of meat that Franck had unearthed from freezer and had no clue what to do with
– wonderful tomato, onion, cream sauce for aforementioned pork roast
-concocted plan with Franck to purchase meat grinder and start making homemade “terrines” next Wednesday

The Germain’s Paris Guide

One of the highlights of our summer vacation was a week spent in Paris. Our good friends Joelle and Nicolas have a stunning apartment smack in the middle of the quartier Montparnasse. They offered it to us while they sunned on the beaches of Tunisia, and of course we said “oui, oui, oui!”. To make what was already an amazing opportunity absolutely perfect was the fact that they have a little girl, Violette, who is Charlotte’s age and has a room full of Playmobile and Polly Pockets.

Franck and I lived in Paris for a year in 1993-94 when I did a year at the Sorbonne studying medieval french for my BA and Franck did an assortment of interesting jobs such as a journalist (got a free trip to Morrocco that included a nifty Djalaba) and coat check at the Louvre (free passes galore and he now knows the Louvre like the back of his hand). We lived in an apartment just behind Notre Dame, and just steps away from the Seine. We loved our year, so jumped at the opportunity to be able to share our love of Paris with our girls.

Here is our family’s little guide of our favorite things in Paris:

1. Glaces Berthillon

Franck and I have long thought this is the world’s best ice cream, and Charlotte and Camille have resoundly seconded this opinion, although Camille insists on calling it “Tourbillon” ice cream. You will find this nectar on the exquisite Isle Saint Louis (right behind Notre Dame), where it is made. Here, ten or so shops sell authentic Berthillon ice cream. Look for the line-ups on the sidealks and you’ll have found the right place.

2. The Louvre’s pyramids at night

It’s almost hard now to imagine how shocked many people were when IM Pei went through with his plans to add glass pyramids to the classically renaissance main courtyard of the Louvre in 1989. Now, however, they have now been fully accepted as part of the magical Parisian landscape, and rightly so in my opinion. Although they are certainly neat to look at during the day, where the largest pyramid serves as the main entrance to the museum, I think they really become magical when the museum closes, the tourists leave, and night falls. Go and see what I mean.

3. Bateaux Mouches at night

I never get tired of this one hour trip, and seeing Paris, its bridges, and most of its important monuments lit up in their nocturnal glory. We always take the boats right underneath the Pont Neuf – called “Les Vedettes de Pont-Neuf”, and of course we always get a seat up top in the open.

4. A dinner and walk at Saint Michel

Paris doesn’t need to be expensive. For dinner, go to Saint Michel and studiously avoid the tourist trap sit down greek restaurants with their plastic food in the vitrines, and instead buy a crepe or a greek sandwich for dinner, walk around being endlessly entertained by the people watching and plate breaking at the aforementioned tourist traps, and finish off your meal with a North African pastry from one of the local pastry shops. Voila – dinner for under five Euros.

5. Brasserie Chartier

We tried this traditional brasserie for the first time on this trip, but we’ve already decided to return. Count on;

1) standing in line to get in
2) getting yelled at by the officious matron because you’re standing in the wrong line or had the audacity to leave for a moment to go to the bathroom
3) the fact that the bustling atmosphere and reasonably priced traditional fare in this joint will have you coming back for more abuse

We were mortified when the matron led us inside the restaurant, saying our table was ready, and then proceeded to position us right beside our future table, which was still occupied by a nice couple who were commiting the unpardonable sin of taking to long to savour their dessert. After the matron billowed off like a ship at full sail to harangue other customers we apologized to the couple, and reassured them that they should feel free to take their time. They just laughed, picked up the pace a bit, and commented with a shrug, “c’est comme ca ici, mais on reviens toujours quand meme.”

Brasserie Chartier
7, rue du Faubourg Montmartre
75009 Paris o1.

6. Les Jardins des Plantes / la Grand Mosquee

These are both in Franck’s and my old “quartier”. The jardin is a relaxing place to walk around, and includes both a gallery of Evolution and Gallery of Paleontology within its walls – great for the kids. For a break afterwards, go for a mint tea and a pastry in the enchanting tiled courtyard of the neighbouring mosque, and almost put yourself to sleep with the burble of the fountain. Apparently they have great and inexpensive massages at the “Hamam” here too.

7. Le Marais

This quartier is a fascinating place to poke around. For those who like home shops and funky cafes, you will have found Nirvana here. You can also visit Victor Hugo’s old house here on the Place des Voges for free, as well as Le Musee Carnavalet which documents the history of Paris, from Neolithic to present time – fascinating.

8. Montparnasse

This is where we stayed on this trip, and it gave us the chance to discover this quartier that has managed to maintain its bohemian spirit. Go for the famous cafes such as Le Dome and La Rotonde where Gauguin, Mogdiliani and friends used to hang out. Check out the amazingly comprehensive art supply stores and all of the neat little art galleries. My friend Joelle is opening up a vacation rental in the heart of Montparnasse this Fall, in a converted artist’s studio (baptised L’Atelier) in the same building which housed both Gauguin’s and Mogdiliani’s studios – it promises to be amazing and you can always contact me for further details…

9. Picnic in the Arenes du Lutece / rue Mouffetard

This ancient Roman amphitheatre is hidden behind stout wooden doors on the rue Monge, not far away from our apartment when we lived in Paris. It is a great place to take a picnic, and lounge where the Romans once did, except now you can watch children playing and elderly men debating their petanque game rather than slaves being devoured by lions: slightly less edifying perhaps, but certainly more of a balm to the spirit. Don’t forget to check out the nearby street the “rue Mouffetard” for the more authentic, untoutisty version of the Latin Quarter. If you are there on a Saturday morning, don’t miss the market which runs almost the whole length of the street ambling, twisting, medieval street.

10. The Eiffel Tower

Ahhhh…a tourist trap it may be, but for good reason. The view from up above is just about as good as it gets, especially at dusk when you can watch all the lights of Paris flicker on at your feet. This time we walked down by foot from the second floor, and for those who don’t have vertigo, it is very fun.

Camille and Charlotte will have the last word. Pretty much all that my daughters retained from their first Paris trip almost two years ago now (except for Violette’s toys) was the Eiffel Tower shaped lollipops that Nicolas had bought the kids from the cafeteria on the first floor. Since that momentous day, the girls would wax nostalgic about these special lollipops any time Paris was mentioned. Thus, this was the top and non-negotiable item on their “List of Must-Do Things” this time around. As you can see from the photo above, the girls got their wish and, clearly, when it comes right down to it, Paris is really all about the Eiffel Tower lollipops.

Good Grapes

The girls are back in school, and Charlotte is (gasp!) in Grade 1 already. This means that every night Franck or I plunge into her reading book with her to sound out such words as “tapis“, “chat“, or “ananas” for her evening “devoirs“. They take school very seriously here – a little too seriously at times – and we’re all finding it’s taking us a little while to adapt to our new routine.

But today Franck and I temporarily ignored the towering piles of backlogged work teetering on our desks (the concrete bybroduct of summer vacation) and went out for a walk after lunch. From Villers-la-Faye or Magny-les-Villers it is pretty much impossible to go anywhere without going past and / or through some vineyards. So on our way back down from “Les Chaumes” we walked for a while through the rows of vines. These partcular vines, planted on the slope just a few metres behind our house, are planted with white “aligote” grapes that are typical of the “Hautes-Cotes“.

This summer July was stinking hot (and, of course, the heatwave peaked just as we were scrambling to finish Le Relais du Vieux Beaune for our first guests). August was very rainy and quite cool, but September is turning out to be nice and sunny and warm – today with temps going up to 30 degrees. Of course, this being Burgundy, the only question in everyone’s mind is “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE WINE?”.

In July the winemakers were wary – would this be an unusually hot summer like 2003 that would turn Burgundy’s famed output into something that tasted far too much like those rowdy, tannic wines from further South (quel horreur!)? In August they were inconsolable. Their vines needed the rain, to be sure, but if this cool, wet weather continued the weeds would be uncontrollable and rot could set in…but now that the weather has dried up and the sun has reappeared the winemakers are wearing sly, satisfied little smiles.

Franck and I decided to find out for ourselves, so we picked a few lovely little white grapes to taste on the way home. They were delectable. If their high sugar content and lovely balanced flavour are anything to go on, this year is shaping up pretty nicely indeed.

Fini…ou presque

Exhausted but satisfied, we are ALMOST finished readying our latest vacation rental, Le Relais du Vieux Beaune, for our first guests The Zahlers who are arriving from Israel on Saturday.

It’s truly amazing how time-consuming the finishing touches and last minute troubleshooting can be. Even now, Franck is down in Beaune kicking up a stink at the France Telecom office – the phone line was booked to be connected as of July 17th. As of this morning it still wasn’t done. There’s also a page that I forgot to insert when I was doing up the info. binders, and we seem to have misplaced the instruction manual for the microwave…and so on and so forth. It really doesn’t stop until the first guests actually arrive, and even then there are suggestions that need to be taken into account, appliances that decide not to cooperate, and last minute bits of furniture to be added to our “search” list.

And I don’t want anyone to be under the false impression that it is a smooth process that we just glide through like a couple of swans. The past week has been insane. Even after the the couch was catapulted through the window, we had to do constant juggling trying to find childcare while we dashed about like farts in a mitt (and yes, as everyone in my family knows, I stole that wonderfully evocative expression directly from my aunt Sharon) trying to get everything bought, cleaned, and set up in a very compressed period of time.

To compound matters the recent heat wave in Europe has, over the past four days, sent temperatures skyrocketing to as high as 39 degrees. Needless to say, we are all feeling tired and extremely grumpy.

This is the third house we have done over here in France now and it is becoming increasingly clear to me that clashes are a common, perhaps even requisite, part of the creative process. Over the past forty-eight hours Franck, I, Charlotte, and Camille had grown increasingly tired and fractious, and last night Franck and I got into a huge argument; it was technically about the format of the information binders, but like all fights when one is tired and at the end of their rope, it expanded to include so many Bigger Issues that seem so pertinent to an exhausted brain.

Afterwards, I fell into an agitated and sweaty sleep, only for Franck came to wake me up again at midnight.

“You have to get up and see this,” he said, and lead me to the living room window that looks out over the valley towards Beaune.

It was as if God had been feeling as on edge as us, but had decided to do something about it. The entire sky was lit up with huge forks of lightening, followed by a concerto of crackles and booms. The wind howled and the rain poured and it felt like the Apocalypse. It was terrible and magnificent, and one hundred times more beautiful than a puffy white cloud in a sunny blue sky.

Afterwards we crawled back into bed. There was a sense of release, not just from the cooler air that had just banged up against the warm air and pushed it away, but also from nature’s reminder that conflicts are not only necessary in order to create something beautiful, but sometimes they have a strange allure in and of themselves.

Mission Impossible II

Friday 5:00 rolled around, but Georges didn’t. In fact, he was nowhere to be seen. This was very un-Georges-like behavior from what we knew of him so far. We were all worried.

Saturday morning Plasterer Franck, My Franck and I were back at the apartment doing the finishings and the recalcitrant couch was still out in the hallway. Occasionally one of us would experience a burst of optimism and think we had figured out a new way to get the couch through the hallway (take the cushions off, squeeze the top of it down as much as possible, lift it higher – isn’t the hallway wider at the top than at the bottom, or is it only an optical illusion?). No go. We had to figure out a way to get it through the living room window.

Then we had a Georges-spotting out the said window, and Franck rushed down to find out if an execution of The Plan was imminent. He came back quickly, dejected.

As it turned out Georges would have liked to have helped, but couldn’t. There was the little problem of the fact that at that very moment he was going back to the hospital to get hooked up to IV antibiotics. The combination of going back to work immediately after his accident and the heat wave hanging over Europe, driving the temperature in Beaune up around the 35 Celsius mark, had meant that his gash had become badly infected. He could hardly walk, let alone participate in The Plan.

In a fit of frustration, My Franck declared that he was going to get that couch into the living room TODAY, come Hell or high water. He called his friend Martial on the cell phone. The conversation was quick, and when he was finished he rushed into the bathroom where Plasterer Franck and I were installing the rod for the shower curtain.

Allez, we have to get everything ready. Martial will be here within fifteen minutes,” he said.

A suspicious thought entered my mind. “Did you just ask Martial to come and help you move a couch, or did you inform him that the idea is to lift the couch through a second story window?”

Franck shrugged. “Actually, I just asked him over for a drink.”

The two Francks hurried off to assemble the ropes and other equipment before I could conduct any further interrogations. They hauled the couch downstairs and stood beside it, occasionally glancing up at the window I was peering out of, and looking very engrossed in discussing what I could only surmise were hoisting techniques. Plasterer Franck lit up a cigarette and took several deep drags – to help him think or calm his nerves, I couldn’t be quite sure.

In a matter of minutes Martial roared up the street in his Skoda, and extracted a huge extension ladder from his trunk – rather well equipped for a mere aperitif, I noted.

I watched in fascination as the three men tied a complicated series of ropes to the couch, then huddled together and planned some more. Eventually My Franck hollered up that I was needed to come down and block traffic, so I hurried down, gave Martial a quick bises hello, wished them Godspeed and ran down to the end of the street.

By the time I got there and turned around they had already gotten the ladder up, and the couch was in the middle of the street. A beat up white car came zooming towards me and I made frantic hand signals for the driver to stop. Luckily the long-haired man behind the steering wheel was very zen, not to mention amused at our little furniture moving endeavor. He even offered to pull ahead a bit to block other oncoming cars with his own.

I jogged alongside him until he stopped, and then looked over to the men again, and my heart stopped. Martial was half way up the ladder with the couch ON HIS BACK. Plasterer Franck was hanging out the window where I had been only a few minutes before, and My Franck was standing directly UNDERNEATH the couch that Martial was balancing precariously over his shoulder.

The nice driver was as transfixed as I was. “Ca alors…,” he murmured.

And then all of a sudden, the situation decanted; Plasterer Franck gave a huge yank from above and Martial a mighty thrust from below, and the couch was in the living room at last.

My Franck gave a whoop of triumph, and thanked the helpful driver.

“It was nothing,” the man said, but then nodded over to a panting, sweating, yet grinning Martial who had just descended from the ladder. “But you owe that guy a drink.”

Progress, and a lot of Petards

We had a welcome break from the apartment work. NOBODY works in France on July 14th. Well…I suppose they still need to have a few doctors and nurses around to stitch back the fingers that have been blown off from the firecrackers (petards), but that’s about it.

The Bastille Day festivities spanned two days. First there was the “retraite aux flambeaux” on the evening of July 13th. All the kids (and more than a few of the adults) picked up a coloured lantern at the salle des fetes in Villers-la-Faye, and then we all walked in a motley, lighted procession towards the little chapel between Magny and Villers (which was, incidentally, built after WWII to thank the Virgin Mary for sparing the two villages). There, we met up with a similarly lantern-bedecked contingent from Magny.

We all paraded through the streets of Magny to the sports field, where the village put on a fabulous fireworks display to music. After, there was a festive “Ball” on the tennis court, complete with Merguez in baguettes just off the BBQ, accordion music, and cups of warm beer.

On the 14th we all got up rather late and then trundled down the road with our coolers full of plates, cutlery, and bottles of water back to the salle des fetes to partake in a huge lunch outside under a tent.

While we ate we (170 villagers in total) were entertained by the village kids setting off “petards”, something very noisy and at times extremely annoying that I think would have made their revolutionary ancestors proud.

But they were finally outdone by one of their elders – our neighbour Victor (same age as Franck) spent about an hour and a half in the blazing sun setting up a chain of 100 or more petards that, once he set the first one off, all went off one after the other in a huge petard concert that Victor and the children seemed particularly enthralled by.

After the four hours of eating and drinking chilled rose wine, the games began. The highlight of the day was undoubtedly when Franck won the trophy for the village champion of “les quilles” – a game sort of like vertical bowling where you have to knock down three wooden pins all stacked behind each other with these very beat-up looking wooden balls. The girls were enamored with their father’s garish silver and shiny blue trophy, and it has held a place of honour on our mantel every since.

And then on the 15th it was back to work, and back to solving the head-scratching dilemma of just HOW to get our chic leather couch into the living room. We managed to squeeze the three antique armoires through the hallway, inch by inch, but the couch remains recalcitrant.

Luckily deliverance arrived came in the form of Georges, the darling general contractor working on the jaw dropping renovation of a beautiful old wine domaine just across the street from Le Relais du Vieux Beaune. The property was just bought last year by a Baron who also owns a huge wine company (Regnard) and has so much money to throw around that he employs all his tradesmen, including Georges, as salaried employees – no small commitment in France.

Georges has a house and family in Brittany, but lives in the building across the street while he is working in Beaune during the week. Franck had started to chat with him on a regular basis, but their “amitie” was inadvertently cemented last week when Georges had an on-the-job accident with a circular saw.

Despite the huge gash in his upper thigh he somehow managed to make his way to the Emergency ward in Beaune where he lunged through the door, clutching at the bloody rag he’d fashioned into a makeshift tourniquet and shouting “MEULEUSE!” (the word for a circular saw in French – now you’ve learned your new thing for the day). The kindly and competent nurse who got him on to a stretcher ASAP and sewed up the gape with 18 stitches while keeping him distracted by asking him questions about his home in Brittany was no other than my sister-in-law Stephanie. Georges was, as most of us would be, very grateful. The upshot of this was that Franck shared our couch dilemma with him, and the two of them have concocted The Plan which involves hoisting the beast through the second story window.

The Plan goes something like this:

Time: Friday evening at 5:00, after the Municipal Police of Beaune have all toddled off for the weekend, or so Georges figures.

Place: rue Rousseau Deslandes, the street between our apartment and George’s workplace and temporary abode.

Equipment: A ladder, several thick cords of rope, and several pulley things, whose use is still an utter mystery to me

Team: My Franck, Georges, and the Other Franck (our cherished drywall / plasterer Franck, who always seems to be around to help us pull us out of this kind of predicament), and Me.

My Mission: I have been informed that I am expected to figure out a method to hold off the multitude of irate French drivers on the street while the other team members perform their magic.

To be honest, I’d rather not; but then that would be cowardly of me. Besides, it was I who picked out the blinking couch in the first place. So it’s my mission, and I guess I have to accept it.

Dum, dum, dum dum, dum, dum dum…

Hallways, and other such nuisances

This time around I had planned everything so as to leave us ample time to get Le Relais du Vieux Beaune ready for our first guests who arrive (and arrive from Israel, no less – a first!) on July 29th

I make a lot of mistakes in life, just like everybody else, but I do try to learn from them. Renovating and equipping La Maison de la Vieille Vigne last year was an experience that I will never regret; it is also an experience that I would never want to repeat. To get a ruin completely renovated from the new roof to the new floor, furnished, and ready for guests in four months…it was not done without a fair amount of screaming, exhaustion, and despair. There was immense satisfaction when it all came together, to be sure, but we arrived in Canada afterwards feeling like we needed to be scraped up by a spatula.

So, trying to learn from the experience, I have turned down guests who have wanted to book the property before the 29th, and we have been very diligent about getting the renos done and ordering the mattresses, couch, etc. and getting them delivered well ahead of time.

So there I was standing in our (freshly installed, plastered, and painted) kitchen the other day, beside our newly delivered couch, congratulating myself on my foresight.

Then I happened to glance down at the width of the couch, and then over to the narrow width of the end of the hallway, and then back again at the couch, and then back again at the hallway.