Sunday, November 30, 2003

LOR Quotes of the Evening

"I couldn't finish 'Return of the King.' All they did was eat. Whine whine whine, then eat. Then whine some more."

"All Frodo knows how to do is whine and get stabbed. For the love of see the blade coming, you move. It's not that hard."

"Whenever I see Elijah Wood, all I can think of is the movie 'Flipper.'"

"Flipper! I loved that show!!! They call him Flipper, Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning..."

(Ed. note: Only 17 more days till the premiere of Return of the King!)

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Angry Garbagemen/People/Waste Management

The decorations here are so beautiful, and what makes the city even prettier are the lovely sacks of garbage and overflowing bins all over the street.

Read this

New pictures added

Just uploaded my pics from the lighting ceremony last night.

Check em' out.

Goodbye cigarrette smoke!

The girls of 387 LeMans will be thrilled to know that they have Febreeze in France!

Since the american company rejected our ad idea, I say we try again in France.

Straight hair, Christmas b*tches, and a Bolivian, a Columbian, 2 Mexicans and me in an Irish (?) pub...

Bonjour tous,

Well I finally got paid yesterday. No more insufficient funds in my account. Hooray!

So I decided to celebrate by finally getting my shaggy split end hair cut. I went to this chic little place that's just next to a salon de the I frequent. It was pouring down rain and freezing and as soon as I walked in I was greeted with warmth and a large chorus of "Bonjour Madame!"

As it turned out they could take me right away, so I sat in the chair and had the most orgasmic hair washing experience of my life, complete with a 10 minute head massage. All I needed was my pashmina scarf to wrap around my neck and I would have been in heaven.

They then moved me to the chair, and this incredibly French woman appeared and said, "Bonjour, je m'appelle Audrey et je m'occoupe de vous aujourd'hui."

Audrey was wearing a black off the shoulder sweater, a black double layer skirt from the 80's, black tights that ended around her ankles to reveal bare skin, and to top it off, big black granny boots with the highest spikiest heels I have ever seen.

Bow chicka bow bow.

So she began "suggesting" things, and with a clip clip here and a clip clip there, now my hair is straight. STRAIGHT. But it looks great. It is amazing what the French can do with a pair of scissors.

For those of you who are wondering about my curls...I have to confess that my hair is naturally straight. I've been getting a perm for the past two years. I know, I know. But I am too poor to continue the curls. It's time for a lil' change.

So with my new straight hair, last night we went to the official lighting of the town. The ceremony took place at Place Gutenburg in the Chamber of Commerce building. It featured little kids dressed as elves dancing in the windows, the "Christmas Magicien" (We are still wondering where that came from...perhaps the same place as the Christmas Lobster from "Love Actually.") Pere Noel even made an appearance.

They had some great fireworks, but the problem was: 1. The fireworks were like 2 feet away from the crowd so we had sparks rain on us, 2. It was raining and they forgot to take off the plastic. So when they went off, one of the displays caught on fire. Not a big one, but a fire was quite entertaining.

Eventually it went out, and it was time to turn on the lights. We all counted down...and nothing happened. D'oh! After some technical difficulties, they came on.

BEAUTIFUL. This town is gorgeous. I am going to upload some pictures for all to see.

Meghan and I spent most of the event, however, making fun of it, and in honor of the holiday season, we have upgraded our self-imposed labels from "B*itches" to "Christmas B*itches." Happy Holidays everyone!

Afterwards I met up with the Bolivian assistant from my school and we had a beverage and snackies, then he invited me to hang out with the other Spanish assistants so I could practice my barely-existant Spanish speaking skills. Rock on!

We headed out to the residence universitaire where we met a Columbian and Mexican, THEN headed out to an awesome Irish bar. I have never been surrounded by so many Irish in my life. Not even at ND. Even though I was hoping to escape all things Irish by coming to France, I must say it was very cool.

All in all a big heavy eventful day/evening but quite fun.

The Xmas markets are now open and I must go! I love this place!

Friday, November 28, 2003


I have a crick. In my neck. It hurts. And can't find my Advil. Damn.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Food, Glorious (French) Food!

Well, I have had my Thanksgiving feast. Not turkey, but the best damn substitute I can think of.

Meghan and I discovered "Le Petit Ours" (the little bear) when we first arrived in Strasbourg. According to their website, they are the "restaurant aux herbes et epices"...or the restaurant of herbs and spices.

What first turned us on to the place was the decor...nice bright orange and yellow walls, done in a sponge sort of pattern (It would do "Trading Spaces" proud), and these really cool glasses with crooked stems on the table. To top it off, they were playing Dido...and well, you just can't go wrong with Dido.

The presentation of the food is equally pleasing to the eye...quite artistically done, yet it's not one of thos crappy gourmet places where you get a lettuce leaf and a piece of can get quite full. And the so so so good.

So we decided this would be the place to return for our Thanksgiving meal, especially since Meghan's parents are in town.

Dinner began with a huge lovely salad of spinich leaves, roquefort cheese, yellow peppers, and the most amazing sauce...with traces of dill. To top it off, they served it on a beautiful glass plate that turned up on the ends.

The main course was a brochette de fruit de mer. A kebab of seafood, salmon, white fish, shrimp and veggies, perfectly seasoned and lying in a pool of red salsa type sauce. It came with brown rice and beautiful green, red and yellow vegetables.

Then, la piece de resistance, la dessert. Most of you all know I don't eat sugar. I found a lovely little fruit thing, and my dinner companions all had Molleux...this amazing chocolate mousse cake thing that would release steam when you cut into it. I got full just watching them eat it.

They also had some sort of tea flavored ice cream that sounds really disgusting but got rave reviews.

All I can say is the Petit Ours knows how to do it right. If you come to visit me, it is a must.

All in all it has been a good day. Several of the English teachers wished me happy thanksgiving, and I had all my favorite students today too. Just really smart, intelligent, decent kids. One of the teachers came up to me after and said "I dont know what you do in that class, but they are always ecstatic when they leave."

That gave me warm fuzzy feelings. And reaffirmed that I really want to teach when this is all said and done.

So I am content, full, and happy. it's time for bed. Bonne nuit tout le monde!

Get the pepperoni out of my chicken...

The French being the celebrated culinary experts they are, I generally do not question meals they serve that I otherwise would label "weird." More than once, I have been pleasantly surprised by their "mystery dishes."

But pepperoni in a chicken breast???? What the hell?

Today's luncheon selection in the school canteen featured a lovely chicken breast with gravy; legumes, and scalloped potatoes. Feeling like I deserved
some sort of poultry this Thanksgiving day, I reached for a plate...only to discover that there appeared to be a big round piece of sausage in the center of the chicken breast itself.

So I took pork instead. Which, ironically, was round-piece-of-sausage-free.

After sitting down, I examined the other proffs' plates and noticed that those who had selected the "chicken" had cut out the piece of sausage. Apparently I wasn't the only person who thought it was weird.

Upon further examination, I concluded that the mystery sausage was pepperoni.

I don't know man, that's just weird. And do I even want to think about how they insert a circle of pepperoni in 3 million individual chicken breasts? Probably not.

In other related food news, one of the English proffs wished me "Happy Turkey Day" today....mmmmmm.....turkey...

So I know all that stuff I said yesterday about being so happy to be in France and blah blah blah but it all just kind of hit me you know what I would kill to have a plate of turkey, my mom's cranberries, sweet potato casserole with sugar (splenda), cinnamon and pecans??? To watch the Macy's parade, complete with the freakishly large balloons and the Mrs. Claus Drag Queen that is new this year??

Then lay on the couch and take a lovely nap, wake up a few hours later and have leftovers?

So, yeah, happy to be in France...but really want some turkey.

Not chicken with pepperoni.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Ode to Thanksgiving....

Happy Thanksgiving all. I think Adam Sandler says it best when he says:

Love to eat turkey...
Love to eat turkey...

Love to eat turkey
'Cause it's good
Love to eat turkey
Like a good boy should
'Cause it's turkey to eat
So good

Turkey for me
Turkey for you
Let's eat the turkey
in my big brown shoe
Love to eat the turkey
At the table
I once saw a movie
With Betty Grable
Eat that turkey
All night long
Fifty million Elvis fans
Can't be wrong
Turkey turkey doo and
Turkey turkeydap
I eat that turkey Then I take a nap

Thanksgiving is a special night
Jimmy Walker used to say Dynomite
That's right
Turkey with gravy and cranberry
Can't believe the Mets
traded Darryl Strawberry
Turkey for you and
Turkey for me
Can't believe Tyson
Gave that girl V.D.

White meat, dark meat
You just can't lose
I fell off my moped
And I got a bruise
Turkey in the oven
And the buns in the toaster
I'll never take down
My Cheryl Tiegs poster
Wrap the turkey up
In aluminum foil
My brother like to masturbate
With baby oil
Turkey and sweet potato pie
Sammy Davis Jr.
Only had one eye

Turkey for the girls and
Turkey for the boys
My favorite kind of pant
Are corduroys
Gobble gobble goo and
Gobble gobble gickel
I wish turkey
Only cost a nickel

Oh I love turkey on Thanksgiving

Christmas bells are riiiiiiinging...

So yea.

This afternoon, as I was returning to my apartment from school, I was filled with a sudden renewed love for France and the city of Strasbourg. I am so damn happy to be here.

I don't know what has brought this on exactly...perhaps a combination of things. I think after all the misery of my return trip on Monday, I felt like I was COMING HOME. All the familiar sites...the river was so pretty, the buildings are so nice and gingerbready...then, as my roomie and I took a walk before we went to dinner, we ran into the Spanish and other American assistant at my school and we all had dinner together.

Warm fuzzy feelings.

And can I just say that I LOVE teaching? Today I started teaching the preperatory class for the Cambridge exam. I have the greatest group of kids, and I just enjoy it...I just can't explain it. Perhaps some of you other teachers can understand.

And today was also a beautiful day.

AND...the Christmas lights are being turned on FRIDAY! And I think I can smell chocolate in the air....I'm serious. That's all I could smell last night. The vendors are putting up their booths for the much fun. My kids talked about it to me today and got so excited. It made me excited too.

Once again I have affirmed that I am exactly in the right place at the right time and I am so grateful and happy for this opportunity.

So excuse the sappiness, but I can venture out every now and then can't I?

Tomorrow is also Thanksgiving and I will be working. The good thing about being in France is that there is no talk of this holiday and therefore I don't have constant reminders about not being home with family. So that's ok.

My roomies parents are coming in town and I think we will eat out. Probably at an Alsatian resto? Ham and sauerkraut for Thanksgiving?

When in Rome...

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


Ok, I believe all has been restored. What a huge gigantic pain in the ass. I want to change my blog template but I don't know if I can, the way things are layed out. Grrr.

The good news is I thought I lost all of my comments but they re-appeared. Hooray!

So now that is incredibly late I am going to bed. OCD sucks.


Ok, so this might seem a little insensitive given the recent post about Jonathan Brandis, but I just updated the template of my blog and lost everything.

Why God, why?

And since I am obsessive compulsive I am going to stay up until I fix it back.


Oh. My. God.

So I am a little behind things, but give me a break, I am in France and have no tv.

I just found out Jonathan Brandis died!!!!!!

For those of you that don't remember (or who aren't girls) he was the little hottie that was in the movie "Ladybugs" (he dressed up as a girl soccer player) and also played Lucas and the old show "Seaquest." They think it was suicide but it's being investigated.

I can't believe it. I had the hugest crush on him. I want to say I even once bought a "Big Bopper" magazine because he was on the cover...shhhhh.....

It also makes me feel really old.

London is Fundon (part deux)

Although this blog will not be quite as entertaining as mine and Oz's previous joint endeavor, I hope you will enjoy the recap of Sunday's activities quand même. I have also uploaded my picture (s) to the blog. Enjoy.

We rolled out of our (respective) beds around noon to a beautiful day in London. By beautiful day, I mean cold, gray, windy, and pouring down rain.

After individual trips to the bathroom, we headed to the bus stop where we waited for several minutes, surrounded by French people. Why God, why?

We then had a little snack at Oz's favorite French (?) Italian (?) boulangerie. After selecting my desired sandwich, I proceeded to view the beverage selection and picked up a can of what appeared to be very expensive diet coke. Thankfully, Oz interceded in time to tell me that it was actually COCA LIGHT!!!! Horror of horrors. Yes. There is a difference.

We then made our way (did I mention it was cold, windy, and pouring down rain?) to the area that features royal/political things (Oz, help me out here), such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, etc.

It was there I also discovered that they mark the street to remind you to "look right" before you cross. Apparently I am not the only tourist in London with this problem.

We then proceeded to Buckingham palace where we were lucky enough to see the guard emerge to walk around and stomp a lot. Hooray!

Being fairly soaked by this time, we decided high tea was in order. We made our way to the queen's grocery store (I would love to see her shopping there in sweat pants and slippers) only to find out the place Oz had in mind was closed.

Instead we headed toward the Cartier/Tiffany's/Chanel area of town and admired the empty windows.

After making our way onto some really big street, we saw it. The holy grail of fast food: Subway. Yeah baby, yeah.

Because Oz is an avid reader of my blog and is such a good friend, he remembered my sudden longing for a "real" sandwich. So we went. And it was good. Is it wrong that Subway sounded so much better than "high tea?"

One roasted chicken breast sandwich and a fountain pepsi later, we decided it was time for some shopping.

So we went to yet another american cultural icon: The Gap. The English really like this store it seems, considering there are about 5 million of them in London.

After helping Oz pick out some euro trash clothes (he only ended up leaving with a scarf) we passed by Finn's favorite store, Muji. Still the preferred provider of severe and functional clothing...And all decked out for Christmas too!

With Finn still in mind, Oz took me to Tesco, "replete" with an indoor escalator, where I bought supplies for my trip home.

We then made our way to fulfill my final american craving: Starbucks.

How I have longed for my sugar free vanilla latte/breve. Unfortunately, even though we spoke the same language, they apparently couldn't understand what I wanted. After about 10 minutes of negotiations, I walked out with what I asked for. Rich, creamy and delicious.

After a brief stop chez Bankside, we left again to cross of the final item on my list: The Tower of London.

Very very cool place. Unfortunately the batteries in my camera were dying by this point and I couldn't get a really good shot. I did however get a decent picture of the Tower Bridge.

The evening ended with dinner at Wagamama's (giggle). Who knew that Ramen noodles (a staple of the poverty diet) could be so fabulous? Or whole wheat? They give you really big bowls with noodles and stuff, and you eat with chopsticks and a big wooden spoon. Mmmmmm...warms the heart and soul.

All in all the weekend was most superb. For those of you sitting on the fence about whether or not to visit Oz, get off your butt and buy a ticket. You will not find a more pleasant or knowledgeable tour guide. Anyone who would spend all day walking around in the freezing cold rain with a silly first time tourist, seeing the same stuff they see every day, AND can keep a smile on their face the whole time gets a gold star in my book.

Next month, things will flip flop, as Oz and I plan to meet in gay Pareee. At the very least I can tell him what kind of food he's ordering.

Thanks for the lovely weekend Oz.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Ryanair? Never, ever, never, ever, never, never, never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never again....

Yes, that lil' quote from George Bush Senior (or actually Dana Carvey dressed up like GB Senior) expresses my emotions to the letter.

I am cursed. Yes. It is so.

If you have read Oz's blog lately, you will know that on my way to visit him in Londres my flight was cancelled due to fog. He goes into more detail, but basically...stayed in pricey hotel in millionaire town, wasted money on cabs, got there a day later, blah blah blah.

Surely my return would go smoothly?


This morning after the cab arrived en retard, I took a later train to Stansted and proceeded to wait in the check-in line that I was directed to. After several minutes I began wondering why all the people in line were speaking Italian.

So I asked about check-in for Baden Baden.

In a lovely British accent that I have grown to both love and hate, I received the following reply:

"Baden Baden? Why check in for Baden Baden just closed a few minutes ago."

Stunned, shock, disbelief...these would be a few words to describe my state o' mind. I begged, pleaded, tried to use my seductive powers, to no avail.

So I pay more money to get on a flight to Frankfurt, then more money to get the train station then again to get another train to Strasbourg. So much for discount airfare.

I also missed my classes and they didn't get my message about what was happening so they assumed I just didn't show up. (Fortunately I spoke to my head teacher tonight and explained and all is well. She even commented on how "responsible" I was. *Gleam*)

Note to self: Next time I take a trip to London, I will take Air France and leave from Strasbourg.

When I arrived in London on Friday night, I joked that I could have flown a "real" airline first class for what I had paid for useless transport and hotel.

After today's adventure, we can change that number to two first class flights.

But no matter.

I am neglecting the fact that in spite of the before and after events, London and my Oz visit rocked my world. And because of this, I will post my pictures and blog about the rest of my adventures tomorrow. I will not further diminish its greatness by writing about it in the same blog containing this negative blather.

But right now I'm pissed/frustrated/wiped and need to vent. Oz, I think we need to find an appropriate Stewey quote for this whole GD situation.

See you in the 8th level of hell Ryanair.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

London is fundon!

Like Funyuns, but not quite.

Since we spent the day together, we're blogging together, because except for our individual trips to the bathroom we've had the exact same experiences.

Here's the day in review (links provided for those wishing to take the poor man's tour):

-1. Court goes to ATM last night to discover she has insufficient funds. (Shout out to Marilyn).

0. Awake to sounds of construction.

1. Individual trips to the bathroom.

2. Carpet picnic with bread and babybel.

3. Walk to Globe. Enter Globe. See the £8 tariff for entry. Exit Globe. Take pictures of Globe from sidewalk.

4. Cross Millennium Bridge.

5. Wander grounds of St Paul's Cathedral.

6. Court comments on how strange it is to see cars driving on the wrong side of the street.

7. Court has her first tube ride from St Pauls to St Pancras.

8. Cherche Court's Irish friend Neha at the gare.

9. Walk in rain to Upper Street, Islington.

10. Walk in rain past Upper Street, Islington.

11. Cout comments on how weird it is to see cars driving on the wrong side of the street.

12. Decide we've gone too far.

13. Walk in rain back to Upper Street, Islington.

14. Walk in rain to Business Design Centre, Islington.

15. Enter MacExpo 2003.

16. Bow chicka bow bow

17. Drool.

18. Wander. Gnash teeth at lone PC in attendance.

19. Drool.

20. Amend Christmas list to include the following:

21. Court comments on how weird it is to see cars driving on the wrong side of the street.

22. Neha decides its time to eat.

23. Walk in rain in search of Papa John's.

24. See Pizza Hut. Delivery only.

25. Find Papa John's. Also delivery only.

26. Walk in rain back to Italian restaurant.

27. Court describes Marilyn's feelings about Italians, and then comments about how weird it is to see cars driving on the wrong side of the street.

28. Nosh.

29. Return to MacExpo 2003.

30. Take posters of boobs.

31. Court has her second tube ride from Angel to London Bridge.

32. Court has her first bus ride from London Bridge to Bankside.

33. A chat.

34. A snack.

35. Court has her second bus ride from Bankside to Covent Garden.

36. We say goodbye to Neha, but she misses the bus and stays another five minutes.

37. We say goodbye to Neha, this time for real, and then Court comments about how weird it is to see cars driving on the wrong side of the road.

38. We visit the London School of Economics and Political Science.

39. Court has her third bus ride, driven by Mr Toad himself.

40. Meet Dirrrty at the Barbican.

41. See Love Actually.

42. Walk to Bankside.

43. Listen to Stewie from "The Family Guy" and decide that we love God. He's so deliciously evil.

44. Blog, jointly.

45. Court comments about how weird it is to see cars driving on the wrong side of the road.

46. Individual trips to the bathroom.

And we're spent.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Welcome to your visite medicale...

Let the games begin.

Today was my first real "official" taste of French bureacracy, going to the Office of Migrations for my medical visit.

After being turned away from the waiting room (because it was 1:00 and my appointment was at 1:30 and they wanted to eat lunch...sigh...) I returned to find a large group of etrangers waiting at the top of the stairs.

Overall it was a pretty standard medical visit. But the most exciting part was the chest X-ray. "Hello. Please take off your shirt and press your boobs up against this freezing cold metal plate."

Satisfied that I have no contagious lung diseases, they gave me my very own copy of the x-ray to keep!!! Genial! I am currently searching for the best place to put it. Perhaps on my window that faces east. It would be lovely to see my beautiful lungs light up as the first rays of the morning dawn creep out of the darkness each day.


I tried to make it over to the prefecture to apply for my carte de sejour but there wasn't enough time. Curses.

So now I have to do laundry instead.

A Message to the Pink Couch Clan

Dear F***Head's Girlfriend,

Since you are very obviously color-blind, I feel it only helpful to inform you that a bright red shirt, hot pink scarf, and neon green arm/glove things do not exactly "match."


12 Place St. Etienne

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Getting Fresh

That title just sounds so much better than "Eating Fresh."

I was just hit with an incredible craving for Subway. Specifically the chicken ceasar sub that had just come out before I left for France. A Chicken Ceasar sub with Sour Cream and Onion Baked Lays and a Diet Pepsi Slurpeee...

Sweet Mother of God.

Trombones #1

Years ago when I was in college, my mom emailed to inform me that "Trombones #1" was written on her box of paperclips. Being a prideful trombone player I was of course delighted. I was further delighted to discover that Trombone is the word for paperclip in FRENCH.

Those frenchies sure are smart.

How fitting is it that the name for a piece of metal that holds together your papers is also the name for the instrument that holds together a band? I can think of many other deep metaphors for trombones such as life, family, etc. but it is late and I am too tired.

Anyway. Tonight I went to a lovely concert that was part of the Strasbourg Jazz Festival. The jazz was awesome. Better yet it was free. My favorite price.

The trombone player rocked my world, blatting out one of the best improvs I have heard. There was also a barisax player who was good but I always think of some weirdo I went to school with who played barisax when I see those things so I automatically get annoyed with them. I also think of "The Great Gate of Kiev" from Pictures and Pleasures.

Another long story.

Anyway. I have also started my volunteer work with "Clair de Terre" a group that organizes social activities etc. for people with disabilities. Some of you may remember me working at Logan Center back in the day and how much I loved it. This place is kind of like Logan but the people only go for a few hours a day.

Hooray for everything.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Happy Birthday Marilyn

Yes, today is my mum's birthday. Send her happy greetings.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Read this

From the Onion--courtesy of Oz, courtesy of And pretty damn funny.
  • Mom found the Blog

  • What does it mean if my mom HAS my blog address but never reads it? Should my feelings be hurt?

    Mindless blathering

    Hello. Today I thought I would try something new. Since I don't really have a theme for this blog I thought I would give you 10 points to ponder. Each is labeled accordingly.

    1. Pique-ing my place
    What is it about the French and cutting in line?!?!?!??!?!?! For the love of God and all that is holy!!!! Twice in one week some Frenchie has slunk up right in front of me when it was quite obvious I was there first. Have I had the nerve to say anything? No. But that's not quite the point is it?

    2. He's got a girlfriend now
    Our dear friend F***head (our term of endearment for the leader of the pink couch clan) has a woman! The absence of the pink couch has not prevented them from coupling activites...they merely use the benches outside. Nice. We were getting annoyed and then decided he probably thinks of place St Etienne as HIS territory...not ours. We, in fact, are the intruders.

    3. Russian Pants
    I bought these neato pants for 15 euro the other day that I love. Very frenchie and of the style here...little elastic at the bottom to tie up. They are the most comfortable things I've ever worn but I feel like a Russian. After I looked at myself in the mirror, I had the song "To Life" from "Fiddler on the Roof" playing in my head all day long. Do any of you remember that scene? Lechayim!!

    4. Frickin' Frack teenagers

    5. Good music
    The pink couch clan has a guitar and they are actually playing nice music...this beats the drunken singing and drum beating that usually goes on. A little Bob Marley, a little Nirvana...I wish they would learn more than the first two chords of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" however.

    6. Pepsi Max
    This would be the French version of Diet Pepsi. It tastes exactly like Coca Light, which tastes nothing like Diet Coke.

    7. Ripped Off
    I paid 4 euros for water last night. Normally it is under 2 dollars. That's the last time I go to the stupid little epicerie up the street!

    8. Clean Red Toilet
    Do I really need to go into detail about this?

    9. Medical Visit
    It was finally rescheduled and I have it next Wednesday at 1:30. Hoping I'll have enough time after to run to the prefecture and apply for my carte de sejour. Just in time to visit Oz in London on Thursday. If not, let's say our prayers that I can get back into the country.

    10. That's it.
    I have nothing else to say.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2003

    SPRE-KEN-ZEE English?

    French will get you far in Western Europe.

    Think about it. This one language will take you sans problem through three countries (For the geographically impaired, I'm talking about Belgium, Switzerland, and -duh- France).

    And to be honest, if you know French, you can make it through Spain and Italy, because they are all so similar.

    German, however...that's another story.

    We went to Freiburg, Germany today. First, this is my first excursion outside of the country. Even without my medical visit I decided to risk leaving and fortunately there were no problems.

    Getting back into France that is. The language barrier was a whole different story.

    Not speaking the language or understanding anything that is being said is a weird weird thing. And to be honest, made me quite uncomfortable. I couldn't order dinner or even think of simple little things to say, like excuse me, and hello, and thank you.

    And on top of that, I am still in the French mindset, so I kept trying to communicate that way...and felt like a silly little american when I had to resort to English.

    Fortunately as the day progressed I learned. But even so.

    The positive thing is this is more motivation for me to learn another language.

    So here are the words I learned today:

    Danke=Thank you

    And the most important: Kaffee=Coffee

    Still haven't figured out how to say "excuse me." In the context of you have just bumped into someone and want to apologize. Any of you German speakers want to clue me in?

    Oh, and Frieburg was beautiful by the way. Lovely lovely city. Look for pictures soon.

    Sunday, November 09, 2003


    Because I established long ago that I was already going to hell (all the fun people are) I decided to take a quiz that would determine which level of Dante's Inferno I would be condemned to. Here is what it said:

    The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Eigth Level of Hell - the Malebolge!
    Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
    Purgatory (Repenting Believers)High
    Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
    Level 2 (Lustful)High
    Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
    Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Low
    Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
    Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
    Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
    Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
    Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

    Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

    Saturday, November 08, 2003

    I was tired, but now I'm wired

    Hey! I'm a poet and I didn't know it! But my feet show it cause' they're Loooooooooooooongfellows!

    Patent leather, shades, explosives and kung fu

    In other words, the Matrix 3. Yeah baby, yeah.

    Thursday, November 06, 2003

    Pencil Packs

    Hello boys and girls. Today we are going to explore the French student phenomenen that is the gigantic pencil pack.

    Do you rememeber buying school supplies in elementary school? On the supply list it would list, "Cigar box for storing pencils, markers, crayons, etc."

    The "cigar box" was usually a yellow container with a little red schoolhouse and happy multicultural children on the front.

    What kind of cigars came in that box?

    My cigar box buying days ended in 6th grade. There was no room to cart around these cardboard contraptions in junior high.

    Well, not so here. The French still carry this beloved tradition well into high school. The first time I asked my students to write something, I watched with my mouth open as they reached into their back packs and pulled out little bags containing enough contents to stock a shelf in Office Depot.

    Pencils, highlighters, ball point pens, fountain pens, special erasers, white out, compass, scissors, rulers, the kitchen sink. It's all in there.

    I even discovered they make special marker type white out things. Like a white highlighter. Tres cool.

    I can't imagine these supplies are that easy to carry around. And it gets to be little ridiculous when my students are meticulously lining up their ruler to draw a straight line to cut their paper in half.

    And yet, there is still something to be said for pride in your work.

    Wednesday, November 05, 2003

    Who needs a man? I have a Pashmina scarf.

    I stopped by the market at Place Broglie today for the first time. Actually I didn't want to go but Meghan needed veggies. So with my hands full I trudged behind, looking bored and annoyed...and while she was deciding what type of lettuce to buy, I spotted the scarf stand!

    Pashmina baby. Red. Bon marche. It became mine within two seconds.

    So soft...oh so soft. I have worn it all evening. Just can't seem to make myself take it off.

    Here is what the label says:

    The Pashmina Story

    Pashmina, from the Persian word for wool, is popularly known in the west as cashmere wool, from the old spelling for kashmir. The fine wool comes from the undercoat of himalayan mountain sheep, raised by semi-nomadic herders. It yields 3-8 ounces of fiber per year.

    In recent years, pashmina shawl has been in fashion all over the world for its luxurious rarity, its incomparable softness, warmth and durability.


    Tuesday, November 04, 2003

    My new baby cousin!

    Go check out the
  • pictures
  • of Vivian Grace, born on HALLOWEEN! Isn't she cute? For real.

    Monday, November 03, 2003

    Bonnie and Clyde 03

    So today was my first day back at school after two lovely long weeks of vacation. This is really such a hard life. Boy was I tired at the end of the day.

    To shake things up a bit I decided I would have one of my classes listen to and translate the song "Bonnie and Clyde" as sung by Jayz and Beyonce. I even incorporated a little history lesson on who Bonnie and Clyde actually were. (Any of you Louisianians familiar with the ol' "Bonnie and Clyde Trading Days?") Oh the fun that ensued!

    In the end I am not sure how effective this little exercise was, because face it--this is kind of a hard song if you are not a native English speaker. So I may need to adopt a new one. Suggestions are welcome.

    Saturday, November 01, 2003

    Keeping time, time, time, in a sort of Rhunic Rhyme

    I have never been a huge fan of Edgar Allen Poe, but several of his poems have stayed with me over the years.

    I remember listening to Dr. Engel, when I was in 8th grade, tell the story of EAP. And his sad death. Tricked into voting numerous times, paid by Lynchburg Lemonade, and died passed out in the gutter. For some reason that stayed with me.

    Anyway...what is my point?

    We live right by a church (several cathedrals actually) and bells have been ringing non stop for like, an hour. Three different kinds. At least.

    Time change

    I have updated my blog to reflect the time in France.

    Not that anyone cares.

    Fromage Frais sous la Mousse du Creme Fouettee

    Dairy perfection my friends...dairy perfection.