Thursday, January 29, 2004

Court's Social Commentary: Head Gear

The latest controversy in France has been, and continues to be, the right of Muslim girls to wear their veil at school. The government is about to pass a law that will forbid outward religious symbols, such as the veil, yarmulke, cross, etc.

Supporters for this law claim that any sign of religious affiliation at a public institution (like school) violates the separation of Church and State.

Opponents of this law claim that this violates freedom of expression, discriminates against the right of religious freedom, and tries to hide ongoing racism against arabs under the cover of the law.

In all likelihood, muslim girls will be forced to remove their veil next year if they want to go to public school.

Well, in this same spirit, there is another, quite disturbing French trend that I feel I can longer ignore. Someone needs to speak out on this before it's too late! (And since when have I been shy to use my blog to speak my political beliefs????)

So here goes:

What is up with these French guys wearing headbands?!?!?!?!?!??! I sh*t you not. I have now seen in the past week at least 3 guys with some sort of red, black or green (although I'm sure they are multi-colored) THICK headband.

No no, lest you get confused, not a SWEAT band, for the purpose of running or other exercize...a HEAD band...keeping the hair away from the face in a stylish, girly sort of way.

Ok, I can handle the cell phone around the neck, I can handle (and actually like) the man purse, I can even understand the practicality of the fanny pack. But HEAD BANDS????????????

No no no no no no no.

Fortunately my students have yet to come in my classroom wearing one. For if they had (just like the muslim girls), I would make them take it off. For it conflicts with Courtenay's law of Separation of Girls and Boys.

Guys, your European sexiness is quickly dissolving. If things keep on this way I'm going to have to turn my head towards Germany, land of big tall macho men.

Fortunately the border's only 5 minutes away.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Fun with Portuguese

So I've been entertaining myself all evening. Listen to how cool this sounds.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Sympa sympa sympa

We rule.

Tonight my (French) friend Christelle came over for a dinner a la americain.

Taking the advice from my other French friends Lionel and Veronique, we decided to cook hamburgers and all the fixings to prove that "real" american hamburgers are not that of McDonalds.

Here was the meal: Burgers made with my mum's special recipe (mmmmm), oven fried potatoes with garlic, season all, and a tad of olive oil, sweet potato slices (we finally found them!), sauteed mushrooms and onions, and deviled eggs. Then for dessert we had fruit salad with fromage blanc and finished off with a nice cup of tea.

Yum-a-friggin-licous.

Our house is filled with the delightful smell of onions and meat, and even better we have leftovers for tomorrow.

And on top of our loverly meal, the conversation was superb. As always.

We decided this must become a more common evenement. Cooking is so much more fun when you have people to cook for.

I think when I am rich and famous I will host lots of dinner parties.

Span-ICHSHHH

Well I started my Portuguese course today. Oh la la la! How I love it!

The prof is actually from Portugal, so she has a beautiful accent. This is the first time I've really heard it spoken and it's such a beautiful language!! Oh so similar to Spanish but with lots of ch's and shhh's and such. And I could actually understand some of what she was saying...including hearing the difference among verb conjugations and such.

As annoying as grammar can be, it really provides a foundation that makes everything else much easier.

My mom will be so happy I said that.

It's a bit bizarre being a student again. It's also weird being in one of my classrooms and sitting down as a student. It's further weird being in a class with some of my students (cringe).

But Shuey is also taking it, as is another professor, so I don't feel too old or self-conscious.

So now I'm planning my trip to Portugal...

Monday, January 26, 2004

Ok one more I can't resist...

This is really the best one.

Now we know what's been keeping John Paul alive for all these years...his love for break dancing.

Hee hee

At least he escaped with a full stomach...

And now I've heard of everything...

Technology is so cool but so scary...

Let me clear my throat (in other words, I'm about to go off on one of my bitching tangents...)

Subject: Country Bashing

I am getting more and more annoyed by hot heads who are completely ignorant and have no basis for their argument other than pure hatred and ego.

I can't stand them when they're American (think Freedom Fries), and sure as hell can't stand them when they're foreign, have NEVER been to the other country (not even to vacation) and can't shut the f*** up for two minutes to listen and consider that someone else who is older, a little bit wiser, definitely more educated, has traveled throughout Europe and is currently living in a foreign country MIGHT have an inkling of an idea of what they are talking about.

So as you may have surmised, I ran into a bit o' USA bashing today.

Maybe I'm just hyper sensitive to it since I've been living here but God that annoys the hell out of me. Don't get me wrong, I have no problems having a discussion with someone about my country and its problems, and have had several with intelligent people who are smart enough to discern fact from fiction, open minded enough to hear and try to understand another point of view, and recognize the fact that NO COUNTRY IS PERFECT. We can dig up a messy past and present everywhere.

So I should know better, really, than to let this kind of crap get to me. And especially when they are young and dumb.

But I fear they will soon be old, still dumb, and running the country.

*shiver*

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Can I just say...

...that I love Tracy Chapman? I've been listening to her all day and she just rules. Her voice and especially her lyrics. She is a poet.

Evil nap, evil

I just woke up...I love sleeping...but hate the way I feel after getting up in the middle of the day.

Especially knowing that now I have to clean up before Meg gets back. Blah.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Fun with Henna

Yes, so, one of my purchases today was a bag of Henna hair dye from the Body Shop.

I've been using this Henna shampoo from Yves Rocher that has been working but not very quickly and not really well. So I thought what the hell? I'll buy something more potent.

So after reading the 13 pages of instructions and dos and don'ts, I decided to give it a whirl.

The mixture looked like geese crap and didn't smell much better. After smathering it all over my hair (and trashing the bathroom--thank God Meg is gone this weekend), I put on the little showercap and proceeded to sit by the heater and read until it was time to take it off.

And I have to say I am quite pleased. My hair is now a nice rich auburn. Worth the ickiness and clean up.

Hooray!

Zurich (encore une fois)

So with Meghan taking off for Paris this weekend, Court began to feel a bit lonely (and referring to herself in 3rd person) so she decided to take another day trip.

But where to go, where to go?

After debating and reading countless hours of Let's Go Europe, she finally decided that Zurich was the only close big city that was cheap enough to travel to and come back in a day.

So off she went.

I actually really enjoyed the day, for a couple reasons. First, I LOVE traveling by myself. That may sound weird but it's true. Don't get me wrong I like traveling with people as well (although I'm quite picky about my traveling companions) but there is nothing like exploring a place on your own, going where you want to go, eating where you want to eat, doing what you want to do. I feel almighty and powerful when I travel by myself. ROWR.

Secondly, when I was in Zurich last Sunday, everything was closed. And the weather wasn't all the great.

So I arrived around noon to beautiful sunny skies, proceeded to have lunch (but not cheese this time) then turned my attention to wandering the streets.

Zurich has really cool twisty turny winding streets that are easy and fun to get lost in. I wanted to stop at this store that I had read about called "Friends of Carlotta" that specializes in unique jewelry.

I really wanted to become Carlotta's friend, but unfortunately, she was quite busy and nothing immediately struck my fancy to motivate me to wait.

So I took off and headed to the main shopping drag, full of stores like Chanel, Cartier, Rolex, etc. Sprinkled among these stores were a few peon shops where I was actually able to buy a couple things.

After having some tea, I set out again and walked around until things started to close, then I hopped on the train back to Strasbourg.

But the fun continued as I crossed the border. After getting on the train, once again sans French customs, some man sits in the seat across from me and asks me if you have to have a ticket ahead of time or if you can buy one on board. Then he asks about whether or not the controllers come on to check passports, et al.

You see, Karim is from Algeria and living in Zurich illegally, and trying to get to his sister's wedding in Besancon. Apparently he is there with a girlfriend but she won't marry him because she owns a business and wants to keep it in her name. (hmmm...)
Then he pulled out pictures of her.

I told him I have never had my passport checked and I was a foreigner too (although legal) and he shouldn't worry. But he kept going on and on. And I think he asked me (but he was talking quietly so I can't be sure) if the controllers came, could I tell them he was my friend and with me (Uh, hi, I'm not going to get thrown out of France).

Then when he found out I was American he started putting on the moves.

"Oh, American. I'd love to go to America. But you really have to "be with" someone to get there easily. But I would love to get a green card and work. It's so big and vast and you would never have to worry about having your papers because you could go to some many states and not have to worry about passport control like in Europe."

"Are you originally from Italy? Or the south of France? You have a Mediterranean look about you. You have beautiful skin color. And eyes."

"I knew when I first saw you that you were nice. I saw you getting on the train and I told myself I would get on the same compartment as you because you didn't seem like some of these French women. They are snobs. To themselves. Look at them (pointing)...they don't even look at anyone."

Then he went on and on about racism and how hard it was to get papers and I felt bad for him but honestly I just wanted to read my book. And he was making me quite uncomfortable.

Finally Karim decided that he was going to get off at the first stop after the French border to avoid the controllers. So as he got off he gives me his phone number and says if I ever want to go to Algeria and need contacts there he can help me out.

Oy.

I am beginning to have quite a collection of random people's phone numbers. It brings back memories of the soccer player from Maroc that I met a few years ago. Who was actually quite nice and quite nice looking...but then when I left he gave me his cell phone, pager, home phone, email and snail mail...and I'm just like...uh, thanks.

Anyway, all in all, quite an eventful day.

Hopefully Karim got to his destination.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Yeah welfare

Hooray! I got my welfare approval letter (and the all important deposit) today! Now I can possibly afford to continue living in Strasbourg and manage to travel a bit as well. Yippee.

My newfound windfall of cash luckily permitted me to have cafe with Shuey tonight, who informed me about the new Portugese class starting up at school. From what he understands, anyone can sign up.

I am there baby. Ever since I became a fan of Getz and Gilberto I have wanted to learn Portuguese. Actually if I could just learn every romance language I would be quite happy. But Spanish and Portuguese are a start. Anyway we have to go sign up on Monday and hopefully there will be no problems.

Rock. On.

Lil' Bunny Foo Foo (I am gonna eat you...)

**WARNING**
Vegetarians and PETA activists may want to quit reading now.

Today I went to one of my teachers' homes for lunch. Hooray first of all for being invited somewhere. Hooray second of all for a home cooked meal. Hooray third of all for an unusual (to me) home cooked meal.

We had rabbit!! Apparently it is an Alsatian specialty.

Now I have actually eaten bunny before. My cajun grandma used to make rabbit stew all the time.

But my teacher prepared it in a big casserole with moutarde and peppercorns and some other stuff and we ate it with spatzle (Alsatian noodles). Oh, and we had soup with wild mushrooms and marrons also.

De-friggin-licious.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

And now, on another note...

I don't know if these Darwin Awards are true or not, but regardless, this made me laugh for about 5 minutes. This is the kind of thing that would happen to me.

**************************************************************************

A thief burst into a Florida bank one day wearing a ski mask and carrying a gun.
Aiming his gun at the guard, the thief yelled, "FREEZE, MOTHER-STICKERS, THIS IS A F_C_-UP!"
For a moment, everyone was silent.
Then the snickers started.
The security guard completely lost it and doubled over laughing.
It probably saved his life, because he'd been about to draw his gun. He couldn't have drawn and fired before the thief got him.
The thief ran away and is still at large.
In memory of the event, the banker later put a plaque on the wall engraved with the words, "Freeze, mother-stickers, this is a _U_K-UP!"

"Stay the course, stay the course, thousand points of light, stay the course..." (Dana Carvey as George Bush Sr., 1988)

Little did Dana know his words would be echoing years later.

Today I was speaking with one of the other English teachers and happened to find out his wife was American. I asked if she kept her citizenship or decided to become French. As it turned out, she decided to be French, and he asked if I was going to do the same thing if Bush was re-elected.

I just might. Or at least find a way to stay out of the country for the next 4 years.

Last night's State of the Union (or "You should re-elect me because...") address did very little to bring back any positive thoughts or respect for my president.

"America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country."

Yes, this is a great statement Mr. Bush. Where once your aggressive rhetoric may have been impressive and unifying (after 9-11) it now just makes you sound even more pompous and arrogant.

Let's allow every country in the world to do whatever it pleases to "defend" its security, shall we? I'm sure North Korea will have some good ideas.

In fact, let's disband the UN all together, so these silly little "permission slips" won't get in the way anymore.

Come to think of it, isn't that why we attacked Iraq in the first place? Because it was going against the UN? Because they had those "weapons of mass destruction"? Or, to be more exact, "weapons of mass destruction program related activities"?

Ok, you don't need work in marketing to recognize a bullshit statement when it hits you in the face.

Of course, I am forgetting that the USA doesn't have to follow the rules like everyone else. When you have money and power you can do what you want. Fine example to set.

Here's another great idea--let's make a constitutional amendment to specifically define marriage, so we can please our homophobic rich friends. And let's give em' another tax break while we're at it.

Click on the links below to read more about the State of the Union Address.

"'Go it Alone' Speech"

State of the Union Abroad

State of the Platform

Support Democracy in Action.

Make your voice heard in Congress.

God I'm a b*tch

So today I substituted for one of the teachers who had a formation or something to go to. I've taught this class before and really like them a lot.

But today a couple of them were talking...not too loudly, but they were not paying attention. I caught them a couple times by calling on them and they asked me to repeat the question.

So finally--and here comes my bitchiness--I said, "Hey, here's a hint...if you would stop talking and pay attention then maybe you would know what the question was."

Should I have been so harsh? I am turning into one of those teachers that I labeled "b*tch" in high school. But honestly...I don't think I am a bitch...I think my kids like me and if you pay attention we get along just fine.

So I wouldn't have said it if they had shut up the first time.

Being in the teacher's seat changes things quite a bit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

GOD I love my computer...

Ok, so I am sorry to keep going on about this but for real. MACs are amazing. They are so amazing.

I need to record a sound byte for U Texas and have been worried about it getting there in time since I am in France and all. So--I installed a simple program, that easily lets me record my voice and saves the file in AIFF through Quicktime. Then, using iTunes I can easily convert into MP3, email to my friend in the states, have her burn it to a CD, and BAM it will get there with no problem (Fingers xed).

Technology just rules.

Think Different.

Speaking of MACs, 2004 is its 20th anniversary. Click here to view the commercial that began it all. (*Shiver*)

The MAC Store: You are EVIL! (but I love you...)

Ok, so they know my name now.

I can't help it, I HAD to go in again to get a microphone for my computer...I have to record myself speaking French for my TA Application and it was perfect and well...

Thank God for credit cards, that's all I have to say.

I've even manged to impress myself with my techincal French language skills, such as "Oooh Es Bay (USB)" and "EEEeeee Book (iBook).

MACs are my life.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Zurich=Fun

Well, yesterday's discovery that this Suisse city was only 2.5 hrs by train inspired a spontaneous, "Let's take a day trip" trip.

Oooo-rah.

Needless to say, this trip continued to affirm my strong love for la Suisse. Every city I've visited there has been beautiful fresh and clean, and Zurich was no exception.

Here is a blow by blow account of today's excursion:

6:55 a.m. Jolt myself awake from a horrible dream where I was incredibly angry.

7:00 a.m. Church bells ring. Cell phone alarm goes off.

8:30 a.m. Depart for the gare. Get to the tram stop and see that the next one will take forever. Huff it to the gare.

9:00 a.m. Get on the train just in time.

9:01 a.m. Catch breath

10:15 a.m. Arrive in Basel. Discover that customs agents do not work on Sundays.

Noon Arrive in Zurich. Begin to wander around and admire the various night clubs and porn shops.

1:00 p.m. Find loverly cheese restaurant. They immediately know we're american. But like us anyway. We eat fondue and are amazed at the quality of Swiss customer service, INCLUDING the option to pay our bills separately. WOW.

2:00 p.m. Wander some more. Beautiful city. Unfortunately most shops were closed. But we didn't want to buy stuff anyway.

4:00 p.m. STARBUCKS!

4:30 p.m. Get the train back to Strasbourg.

Present Gotta draw up lesson plans. Sigh.

I like spontaneous trips such as this. Quite fun. And just the thing to break out of the Alsatian boredom. Hooray!

Saturday, January 17, 2004

We have comments

Again. With a new host this time.

Feel free to tell me how wonderful I am.

Frickin' Frack Applications (and life choices!)

Just spent the past hour tearing my hair out over my UTexas TA app. Augh!

I wish I knew what to do with my life. Other than play my new Harry Potter video game.

Made in the USA

So today, out of sheer desparation for a taste of home, I bought a 5 euro bottle of "American Steak Sauce."

It's no A1, but it suffices. In the beginning, I questioned whether it was "really" made in the USA. But then I read the ingredients, which included, (in addition to the standard tomato sauce and vineagar), "Genetically Modified Corn."

Oh yes. It's american.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Legume Shopping

So went food shopping at the Galleries today (cause it's so pretty!). As I was struggling to extend my short arm into the tall basket of champignons, I heard a soft come-hither voice behind me ask, "Je peux vous aider?"

So my tall dark and handsome legume hero reached in and pulled out a handful of shrooms. Then he weighed them, put on the sticker, flashed a dazzling smile and said "Bonne Journee."

I've decided I need to shop for shrooms every day.

Sympa

So I know I've been slacking in the blog dept but really...life has suddenly become very boring.

Yesterday at school there were some issues with my schedule and classrooms and such so I went after class to see one of the secretaries. She's always been really nice and back during the glorious puce incident, she gave me the name of that nice doctor who didn't charge us.

Anyway we settled my schedule, I asked her how the holidays were, and then we just got into a loverly conversation. It was so nice. We must have talked for about 30 minutes and then the principal came in and we talked some more. A lot of it was about the US and our wonderful fantastic stupendous president, and it was so nice to have an intelligent open minded discussion about it (in French!)...and what's more--to be honest about the fact that every country has its own shameful past actions AND to be affirmed that not all French people hate Americans. Hooray!

What else is going on....Oh, it will not quit raining! The river is flooded, lamp posts are covered, etc etc. It's weird. Enough with the rain already!

Also, at long last I have finally planned my trip to Barcelona! Hooray! I've wanted to go for oh so long now and managed to talk Oz into coming with. Look out Spaniards!

Finally, I discovered the mecca of evil...and happiness...the Strasbourg Mac Store. Sigh....I went in to find a cable for my laptop and spent a half and hour wandering around. Happiness. I ended up leaving with the Harry Potter video game. And what's better it's all in French. So Hogwarts=Poudlard, Hufflepuff=Poufsouffle, and a whole bunch of random other things. I love it. And listening to these silly cartoon kids speak in French. Giggle.

I am not really a video game person but let me tell you I am quickly becoming one.

Well this is a pretty boring post for a pretty boring life that I'm living right now. Hopefully there will be some excitement to come.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I really don't know life at all...

It's pouring down rain and I've been listening to Joni Mitchell all evening.

Talk about mood music.

God I love her.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Looks like you've been usin' that paper not for writin' but for rollin' doobies...

Yes there was plenty of doobie rollin' going on today in the van down by the river...I mean in the stairwell at school.

I was walking up to my classroom today, lugging the gigantic 300 ton piece of audio recording equipment when my sensitive nose was slammed with a waft of incredibly potent MaryJane. WOW.

Even though I am naive and innocent there was no mistaking that smell.

Looks like Matt Foley needs to come do one of his motivational speeches here as well.

He'll have plenty of coffee.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Alan Rickman...ROWR

Yes...the voice of the one true God...this role does me quite nicely...

THE METATRON!
You are The Metatron from the movie 'Dogma'. You
are a Seraphim, The highest choir of angels,
thank you very much. You get pissed off when
people act dull around you. You resent Charlton
Heston. You can be sarcastic and a know-it-all,
but you're really a kind fellow. You lack
genitalia, because all angels do, and love to
make fun of the faces humans make while having
sex.
Oh, and you're the voice of God.


Which of the illustrious Alan Rickman's characters are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, January 09, 2004

"They don't give you the whole turkey...just a little bit..."

Need a dose of self confidence before the big date?

Just visited my fellow blogger Srah's site and found this link.

I suppose if I were actually having dates this might actually be useful. Fortunately there is a plethora of other helpful information here as well.

My grandpa's cooler than yours...

So all morning long I've been listening to one of my Christmas presents, courtesy of my Aunt Cheryl.

My grandpa, Robert Coquille, was a bass player with Roy Liberto's Basin Street Six and played with the likes of Pete Fountain and Al Hirt. Years ago, my mom and aunt had all of their records converted to CDs, and for Christmas I received copies of all of them.

The quality is amazing. No scratches, no echo, no buzzing, just good clean jazz.

Sigh....

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Time for Soldes!!!!

Yes, every store (and I mean literally, EVERY store in France) is having a sale...but not just any sale...a solde! 50, 60, 75% off!

This magical event only happens twice a year--in January and July.

So to celebrate I bought myself a new pair of tennis shoes. In all fairness I really needed a pair. And they were 50% off!! I got a pair of chocolate brown Reeboks with lil' baby blue stripes on the side. Oh how I love them. And oh so comfy too.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

John Williams, Grand Pubah of Music

Just finished watching the first Harry Potter movie (yes, I have turned into a regular little HP groupie) and was delighted to discover that John Williams (E.T., Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Hook, Schindler's List, I could go on and on) composed the score!

To quote Ron Weasley, that man is "bloody brilliant."

Drinks + Chicks

A club advertisment recently seen on a flier. I don't know whether to laugh or be offended.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Strangers in the Night ("...this isn't the States you know...")

So tonight I went to my usual Monday night rendez vous and because I have to walk by myself for a considerable distance in the dark, I am always extra careful...not that it's a dangerous neighborhood, but still.

Anyway, this evening, not too long after getting off the tram, I see a man in a big coat and skull cap out of the corner of my eye and hear him say, "Bonjour."

Well of course you can say "bonjour" to be friendly, but it is also one of the many original and oh-so-clever French pick up lines. So I ignored it as usual and kept walking. He said "bonjour" several more times and I kept ignoring him, then as he persisted I got pissed and walked away faster.

I could see him following behind me and this time I reached into my pocket for my handy dandy pepper spray, (entitled, "BACK OFF!!", courtesy of the Baton Rouge police dept).

He said "bonjour" again, came right up next to me, I turned...

And then I realized it was one of my acquaintences, a fellow North American (from Quebec). D'oh!

So after profusely apologizing for my perceived rudeness, I then lectured him about sneaking up on people...and showed him my can of pepper spray at the ready.

He laughed and said, "Pepper spray...this isn't the States you know..."

No, no, it's definitely not.

Back to School, Back to School (so dad doesn't think I'm a fool...)

Well the vacation is over, Meghan has returned, and life is finally turning back to some semblence of "normal," whatever that means (as my friend likes to say, "normal is only a cycle on the washing machine").

Interestingly enough, this is the first time I can remember after a long vacation not dreading going back to work. Hmmm....this must be what it means to LIKE your job!

The day went fine, nothing too exciting except I unexpectedly got a new group of students which was cool, and it started snowing "for real" this morning. And even though I am not new to snow (although I'm new to snow in France, so there!) I still get excited sometimes. So, like an 8 year old, I said excitedly to my students, "Look!!!!! It's snowing!!!"

They all looked at me like "Eh alors (you big freak)?"

Whatever. I'm still a stoopid southerner at heart.

While I always enjoy time off, there is something to be said for getting back into the routine. I've been fairly homesick for the past couple weeks and doing what I need to do (and enjoy doing) helps me keep my mind off it.

It's also great to have Meg back. However, I need to start paying attention to things I have let slide for past couple weeks, like leaving my crap all over the floor and not washing the dishes except when I need to. And also talking to myself...

Ok, yes, I talk to myself, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Actually, I prefer to say I'm "practicing my French"...cause I like to think in French sometimes, and when you are all alone, why not think aloud? But tonight I was watching t.v. and forgot she was here, and started repeating the names of Alsatian cities (cause they're fun to say!) they were talking about on the news.

Fortunately she was sleeping off her jet lag so I don't think she heard me.

Yes folks, the looney bin is not far off.

In any case. School is good, home is good, life is good. Vive the routine!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Canine Envy

Yes, I've diagnosed myself with a big fat case of it. It doesn't help that I am in the pays of dogs and they are everywhere. **

The dog of choice here seems to be the yellow lab, which quite pleases me, as they remind of my dear ancienne chien Honey. Every time I see one I am so tempted to run up and pet it but helas there never seems to be a good moment. But lately I've gotten so desperate I've seriously considered giving some change to this strange guy in the street so I can pet his dog.

Sick sad and wrong.

But sigh...I miss having a dog...

**Quite happily (and contrary to Paris) the Alsacians seem to like big dogs...which are of course my fav.

It's a snowin'

...And has been all day. AND it's sticking.

Still nothing like the 'Bend. More like a dusting I would say. But pretty nonetheless.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Cuppa Soup Chicka Bow Bow

There is nothing like a nice warm bowl of soup on a freezing cold day. In fact, my soup consumption has steadily increased each week.

But I just created the best damn soup for lunch if I do say so myself.

I've been a bum all day. I love it.

Madness, Mayhem, and a Happy New Year

Hello one and all, and please excuse my recent absence from the world of blogging. Several things have impeded my ability to post, including the hosting of several visitors and the discovery that big brother is watching.

But alas, the visitors have departed, and after receiving a phone call at 6 this morning from Carol and Brigid first wishing me a Happy New Year, and second asking me why I haven't been posting, I decided it is time to recommence. By the way girls, it was AWESOME to hear from you.

Well the holidays have come and gone and all in all, it was a successful visit. Marilyn enjoyed her time here tremendously (i think) except for the freezing a$$ cold weather. I am venturing to say it gets as cold here as it does in the 'Bend, but without the 12 feet of snow, which is a good thing at least.

Marilyn left on Monday, but before she took off, we were joined by our dear friends Lionel and Veronique, who traveled from Nantes for a visit. Taking full advantage of their car, Sunday they took us out to Obernai, Colmar, and Riquewir, beautiful little gingerbread villages around Strasbourg. I'll get some pics up soon.

Acting as my surrogate parents, Lionel and Veronique spent the week with me here and it was so wonderful. I just love them. Last night, to celebrate the New Year, we had an amazing 5-course meal. When we finally finished after midnight, we exited the restaurant to fall upon the madness of p�tards and feu d'artifice...(noisemakers and fireworks).

I have honestly not seen anything like this in my life. And I've seen a lot. People out everywhere on the street, just lighting them wherever they wanted, in front of cars, in front of people, drinking and giggling all the while. I'm all about having fun, but it made the walk home quite dangerous.

Fortunately, we did not see any cars on fire, which is apparently the traditional New Year's pastime in Strasbourg.

Lionel and Veronique took off this morning and I am sad, although somewhat happy to be able to spend the day inside by the heater and relax.

There is always the post-holiday sadness that comes with taking the decorations down and preparing for a long, cold winter. At least in Louisiana, Mardi Gras season begins right after New Years so there is something else to look forward to...but I'm not in Louisiana now am I??

sigh...but I digress...

Marilyn's visit made me somewhat homesick, so I have a lot of thinking to do re: my future. Don't know what it will include but I suppose I have a few months to think of something don't I?

Anyway...time to curl back up in bed and continue my reading of the 5th Harry Potter...don't know what I'm going to do with myself when I finish...I'll have to wait for the 6th like everyone else I s'pose.

Happy New Year all!