Thursday, April 29, 2004

Congrats Louisiana!

Hooray! After being named the most dangerous state to live in for several years now, we've moved up to the SECOND most dangerous state to live in.

Who hoo!

Nevada was ranked as the most dangerous, and North Dakota was ranked as the safest.

I'm sorry, but which state would you really prefer to live in? Nevada/Louisiana, or North friggin' Dakota??? Gambling and Mardi Gras, or snow and barren lands?

Hee hee moment of the day was when the reporter on Region 10 News (Monroe) was asked about the ranking of Mississippi. Cause usually they make us look really good, thanks to their motto: "Mississippi: Come to our state and feel better about your own!"

Incidentally, they ranked 14th.

See what your state is ranked.

New Pictures Posted

At long last, I have update my pictures section.

Check em' out:

Haut Koenigsbourg and Monkey Mountain

My trip to Subway (Heidleberg)

Easter at 12 Place St. Etienne

Royal Monkey Business

Well just as I was about to start climbing the walls with boredom, my co-worker Cecile came to my rescue and invited me on a daytrip. Hooray!

The destination was a mountain not too far from Strasbourg that features Le Haut-Koenigsbourg, a restored Chateau, and (dum da dum!) Monkey Mountain!

We took off this afternoon (Me, Cecile, and her friend Fred) and drove up a wind-y mountain with hair-pin turns to the chateau. After a short hike up the hill, we arrived at the castle, just in time for the guided tour.

Having spent the entire week by myself in bored isolation, I really had to make an effort to put my French hat back on. Unfortunately I don't think I did that great of a job. But I tried nonetheless and managed to understand most of the tour guide's schpeel.

After being warned several times not to get off the path because we would get lost, we were set loose to explore the tower and look at some incredibly belles vues.

We walked around, took some photos, then decided it was time to monkey around.

Destination: Montagne des Singes.

This was a sight my students had recommended to me, and it was really fun. After it stopped being scary.

Monkey Mountain is somewhat of a preserve (?) or natural habitat where humans can get up close and personal with the monkeys. After paying your admission fee, you're handed (literally) a handful of stale popcorn to feed the monkeys with. You're also told not to pet the monkeys, because they might see that as an act of aggression (gulp) and to hold on to your valuables, because sometimes the monkeys like to take them.

Pick-pocket monkeys?

I had my doubts about these animals liking popcorn at first, until we walked in the entrance and immediately saw a big fat monkey sitting on the fence. He glared at us all, as though daring someone to walk past and not feed him.

This intimidated me a bit.

After watching Cecile and Fred feed a couple of them, I began to relax. A little. Not much. I will admit I was relieved to see that the monkeys politely used their hands (not their teeth) to take the popcorn. Finally, after noticing that Cecile and Fred had not been bitten or scratched yet, I gathered up my courage, closed my eyes, and fed the monkey.

When I opened my eyes, I was relieved to see that my hand was still in tact.

We spent about half an hour walking around the park, watching them play, pick each other's fleas, and demand popcorn from the timid tourists.

Each monkey had a different way of taking your popcorn. Some would take it one piece at a time and daintily nibble. Others would make sure they got every little bit, stretching out their hand just to make sure they didn't loose a piece. Then they would cram the entire handful into their mouths at once.

Greedy bastards.

After finally reaching the end of the visit, we stepped outside the gates to a mini-museum, featuring posters and "fun facts" about monkeys. They were kind enough to include a gigantic picture of one of them viciously bearing his teeth.

I was glad I didn't see that on the way in.

All in all, the park was pretty damn cool. How many people can say they fed a monkey?

We ended the loverly day with a drink at a quaint little cafe close to Cecile's apartment.

After all that monkeying around, we were tired!

Check out the pictures.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Dammitt!

I bought some bread today that looked really cool on the shelf...it was a torsade and had seeds and grains all over it.

Then I got home and found it it's just a big loaf of white bread with seeds and grains on top of it.**

False advertising. Now I have to give it away. I want my euro forty-five back.

**I do not eat white bread.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Go Go Power Rangers!

I just watched Spiderman. I had never seen it before.

First, let me say, Toby McGuire...ROWR.

Second, best line of the film: "Want to know who I am? Just follow the chill running down your spine." (or something like that)

Third, Willem Dafoe. Didn't he get an Oscar? He deserved it.

But may I comment on the Green Goblin's costume? Did anyone else think it looked like a Power Ranger outfit? All that money for the film and could they not do any better? Seriously.

I'm going to bed.

Hee Hee

I think I actually prefer this guy to ND's 2001 speaker...

(PS--I love how on the CBS news sidebar there were links entitled, "Ostrich Feathers for Sale" and "Buy Feathers Here.")

Prawn Crackers make me thirsty

So today I got lunch at this sympa little Chinese restaurant. Meg and I had stopped for coffee one day there because it's a got a nice atmosphere.

It's owned by this cute little Chinese family and they told me they had just opened the place up. Super friendly and I will definitely be giving them more of my business.

As a token of friendship, he put a free package of prawn crackers in my to go box. I go back and forth with these things. While part of me screams "I am eating styrofoam!!!" every time I bite into one and it sticks to my lips, I kind of like them.

But this afternoon I feel like I just cannot get enough water. So I might have to turn the ol' crackers down next time.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Yea Me!

I got a car! Hooray!

Ironically, it's not the car I originally bid on. Those bloody bastards decided at the last GD minute to withdraw the car for sale. Bastards.

So I started perusing around eBay again and found a better, newer car that was a little more expensive but is not far from my mum so the shipping works out well.

It's a 2000 Honda Civic DX. 5 speed baby. 5 speed.

Marilyn's gonna go look at it tomorrow! Fingers xed peeps!

"Put him in a body bag! Yeah! hihihihihihihihihihi!!"

I just got finished watching the Karate Kid part I. An oldie but a goodie.

I guess I should explain. I have to stay up till' 3 a.m. because that's when the eBay auction will be over and I'll know about my little car. So I've pulled out all the old movies.

I love this movie. I'm not ashamed. I'm also not ashamed to admit I had the biggest crush on Ralph Macchio when I was kid. I went to see Karate Kid part II in the theatre with my friend and we both fell in love. We used to fight over who got to be his make-believe girlfriend.

Anyway, I loved this flick then because I had a crush. I love it now because it makes me giggle. Here's why:

Ralph Macchio. What was I thinking? He is one skinny little twerp. Damn. He actually made Elizabeth Shue look fat.

Daniel Laruso. Wow what a dork. I mean, WHAT a DORK. And why does he always wear white pants??

Mr. Miagi. What a nice little old man. Where did he get all those cool cars?

Ali. You have some dating issues. I think your picker is broken.

The Cobra Kai guys. Yeah, you are all just a tad f-ed up. You frighten me. Especially the blonde (not Johnny the other one) and the "yeah get him a body bag" guy. Whoa.

I'm now old enough to understand what Johnny was doing in the bathroom stall when Daniel put the hose in.

The wonderful line: "Sure you can drive, it's the 80's!"

And la piece de resistance...all that great 80's music! Young Hearts Beat Fast, Cruel Summer, blah blah blah...

**************************************************************
So. Now I think I'll pull out another film to kill the time away.

Only 1 hour and 33 minutes to go! Bonzai!

Pink, Blue, or Yellow?

Yeah, you Americans know what I'm talking about.

One of the things I cannot wait to get back to the USA for (in addition to the free refills) is the delightful assortment of artificial sweetners located on every restaurant and cafe table in the country.

I was never a really huge coffee drinker until I came to France. There's something about this country, especially in nice weather, that makes you want to sit outside with a book or journal for hours while sucking up super strong espresso.

My "usual" is the grand cafe creme: 2 shots of espresso with a dairy product to cut the strength (ha). I say dairy product because you can never actually be sure HOW they are going to make your cafe creme. Sometimes they give you a side of real cream to pour in (mmmm...listen to my arteries clog). Sometimes they give you a side of milk (HELLO--if I wanted milk I would have asked for cafe AU LAIT). Sometimes they give you a packet of crappy half and half (turning your coffee color from dark black to light black), and sometimes (my favorite) they make the coffee with steamed milk already inside so it's nice and warm and foamy (I will make a cream exception for coffee prepared like that).

Coffee is always served with sugar in long colorful tubes or in adorable little cube form. Somtimes (a lot of times) they even give you a little square of dark chocolate.

The problem is that if you are a freak like me, and don't eat real sugar, you are screwed. First, because most places do not carry aspartame. Second, because even if they do have it, you must ask for it, and are forced to try to pronounce the word "edulcorant." And I just can't ever seem to get anything from the servers but funny looks when I try to say that word.

So I gave up on the asking bit really early in the game, and decided that the easiest solution to my coffee dilemma would be to carry around little dispensers of "edulcorant/comprimes" in my purse...tiny little tablets of cancer-causing memory-loss aspartame. MMMmmmmmm...

I am proud to say that during my time here, I've mastered the art of discreetly adding the little comprimes to my coffee. The secret is to place them in a convenient location on the side of my purse where I can casually slip the box out, palm it, then wrap my hands around my coffee cup so as to look like I'm trying to feel the steam on my cold little hands. Then I just flip my thumb down on the dispenser and out pop my artificial goodies. Three to be exact. Then I try not to feel like too big of a freak when people notice me do it anyway.

It seems that even the French producers of edulcorant understand the problem of sweetner not being provided and the embarrassment that carrying around your own aspartame can cause. Thus, they have created fashionable comprimes carrying cases in leapord print, stripes, and polka dots, available at your local Monoprix (Yeah, I'm for real).

I was all for buying one so I would look cool when I went for my next warm beverage, but unfortunately, along with these stylish containers come stylish prices. I am thus forced to buy the generic Monoprix brand and suffer further stigma for my aspartame habit.

So I've been looking forward to my return home, where I can sweeten my coffee in peace. The big irony, however, is that while the good ol US of A will happily provide my heart's desire of artificial sweetners, and even though I can pronounce the words Equal, Sweet and Low and Splenda with no problem, the coffee in my country cannot hope to be as good as the cafe here. Not even Starbucks.

To make up for my loss, I'm toying with the idea of bringing one of these fancy aspartame carrying cases home...as an end of the year splurge.

I'm an idiot...and the smartest person alive...

Hooray! I just figured out how to synchronize my computer with my cell phone through Bluetooth!

And in less than 5 hours too!

"My Boyfriend's Always with Mom"

I just saw this line on a t-shirt. Does anyone besides me think that's just really weird?

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Take only pictures, leave only footprints...except in France

You could say that I'm a bit like Dorrie from the film "Finding Nemo." I'm attracted to shiny, pretty things.

When I was a kid, no interesting or pretty flower was safe from my grubby little hands. Come to think of it, neither were any of the weeds that resembled flowers. And let's not even talk about the times we went to Texas in the spring and saw the famous wildflowers covering the sides of the highway...My voice would go hoarse after asking my mom to stop so we could pick them.

This impulsive picking all seemed to change, however, the first time I went on a school field trip to a local park. I, of course, was all prepared to use my CareBears lunch box as a holding tank for my nature treasures. But before we could go on the hiking trail, we met with Ranger Smith, who spent 10 minutes explaining the reproduction of nature, and how picking flowers or other foliage prevented natural regrowth. And, more importantly, what would our forests look like if EVERYONE picked a few flowers???

Needless to say, I was sufficiently guilt-tripped into leaving the woods alone that day. But, on our next family trip to a National Park, just as my itchy fingers were about to pull, I got the same tale from the signs posted all over: "Take only pictures, leave only footprints."

Damn. Ranger Smith had gotten to all these people.

So in the end, I let my mom take pictures, and I began leaving stuff alone, and have followed these instructions religiously ever since. In fact, in my typical black and white thinking kind of way, I have perhaps gone to the other extreme, because now I freak out if I accidentally walk into a branch or step on something nature-like. I won't even pick up fallen leaves during autumn, because I do not want to be responsible for the destruction of nature.

I had always assumed this "Look but don't touch" attitude was alive and well all over the world. After all, aren't we all concerned about the environment? Well perhaps this idea is all over, but apparently the French don't seem to get it. Or maybe it's like the French dog poop law....you're supposed to clean up after your dog, but if you don't, no one says anything.

Yesterday Hannah and I went to the Forest Robertsau to take a little hike. Spring was in bloom, with flowers, leaves on trees, and lots of bugs. As we walked around, from time to time we would come across some other hikers, and from time to time they would be carrying a bouquet of wild flowers complete with green garnish.

All I could think was WTF?

I wanted to chase every one of them down and accuse them of raping the forest or asking if their mama (or Ranger Smith) had never taught them any better. Then I wanted to make them walk back to the place they stole the flowers from, put them back, and apologize. Unfortunately, this would have required me to give a lecture in French, and I was just not up for that. So I took to glaring instead.

Of course, that was only until I passed a beautiful patch of flowers and felt my own impulses coming back.

Fortunately I restrained myself and took one for the proverbial team. But the whole episode really makes me ponder on the difference between cultures. Americans can be so rule bound, taking the "high road" and making sure everyone else does too. On the other hand, sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot trying to enforce the "rules."

The French seem to respect "rules" as long as they don't have a good excuse as to why they can't follow them. It's the whole "Systeme D" thing I think. Or maybe the rebellious teenager.

Whatever it is, since I'm an American, I kept my hands to myself. And I like to think that today the Forest Robertsau is saying, "Thanks Court!"

Saturday, April 24, 2004

eBay Whore

Look out world, Cour10a has discovered the exciting world of online auctions! And it's much more than buying some silly used beanie baby...I am trying to buy a car. A Honda Civic to be exact. Since selling my beautiful brand new Matrix, I decided to return to the world of Honda.

Some of you may question my choice to buy online. I question it myself. But I've gotten good feedback about it, eBay seems pretty careful, the car comes with a warranty, and being that it's a Honda Civic, I feel pretty good about it.

If I can just win a GD auction....

The problem is I'm very specific about what I want. There are plenty of beautiful Civics out there, but of course I want one that is manual and is not souped up like a big pimp machine. As fun as that would be.

I finally found one and met the reserve price but I'm just waiting for some sneaky bastard to bid higher than me. This can get really addicting and gives you a power trip..."I"ll show that bastard if thinks he can powertrip me with his money..." etc.

So keep your fingers xed for me folks. First that I win the car. Second that I don't regret this decision.

2 days and 13 hours to go...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Orangina

Hello friends,

Today is a beautiful day in Strasbourg. In fact, today's temperature here is the highest in all of France.

Because I spent most of the morning running around town, I intend to spend the entire afternoon lounging on my bed sipping Orangina (light). Today's Monoprix Boisson Special makes me happy. I've been craving orange soda for so long...and Orangina is no ordinary orange soda...it has pulp! And comes in cute little lightbulb bottles!

Mmmmmm...lightbulbs...

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Spanning the Globe

Just realized my title comes from ABC's Wide World of Sports. This post will have nothing to do with that.

When I was a kid my mom was suckered into buying a set of World Book Encyclopedias. I remember when the salesman came to visit. It was a rainy day and I was playing with our old typewriter in the dining room/office.

I say that my mom was suckered, but the books actually served some useful purposes, mainly cheap entertainment. Yves and I mostly used them to look up random non school-related subjects, such as "rare dog breeds" and "whales." Once my friend had been flipping through it and found some really disgusting pictures of skin diseases. We then spent the whole day looking at pictures and saying, "Ewww!"

Between World Book and Childcraft, we were set.

Until I hit the 5th grade. For some reason they didn't consider World Book to be a real "scholarly" encyclopedia, and we were not allowed to use it as a reference for our reports. Much to my chagrin, I had to start spending time at the library instead of the comfort of my own bedroom. I also had to learn how to use the incredibly complicated Encyclopedia Brittanica, the scholarly book of choice for my school.

What annoyed me the most was the snobby way Mr. Snobby Brittanica decided to classify his snobby encyclodias. None of this simpleton A-C. Oh no no. We had to have Aardvark to Czech and so on. I spent a year avoiding them, because I had no idea that the aforementioned classification was actually a way of saying A-Z.

I learned a lot of stuff the hard way.

In any case, it has been years since I've opened up an encyclopedia, and tonight while in the process of restoring my computer, I happenstanced upon a World Book software program that I didn't know I had.

Pay dirt!

I now have a project for my last month in France. I am going to become the smartest person in the world. Because not only do I have an interactive 3 dimensional globe that will pinpoint any city and distance in the world, I have an array of interesting facts at my fingertips. I also have a wide sampling of music from around the world, including the National Anthems of all our favorite countries, like Bhutan and Brunei Darussalam.

Oh sure, you go ahead and laugh now, but who's going to be the more interesting party guest? And when the band starts to play Druk tsendhen who's going to look smarter when they can sing along? Who?

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Court's Word of the Day: Apeshit

Definition: adv. Complete and utter control loss of one's mind and actions.

Use of word in sentence: "If my computer's logic board dies one more time, I'm going to go apeshit on Apple."

(Feel free to use today's word in another sentence in my Comments section)

Bite Me Apple

Got the computer back today. The logic board is working. I am now in the process, however, of restoring all my iPhoto, iTunes, and random software preferences back to the way they were.

Oh, and I was grateful that they were kind enough to place a post-it note on the inside telling me what my new password was.

On the up-side, it was delivered back to me by the same hottie UPS man, who cheerfully proclaimed, "C'est d'Apple!"

On the not so up-side, I had recently woken up, had not showered, and had my greasy hair arranged in an unattractive clip on the top of my head.

At least I was wearing pants.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Royal Eye Candy

My roomate is a former Water Polo player and is always talking about what a great sport it is. I guess so. I mean I don't know, I never really watched a match before so I can't really say.

But if all the players looked like this, I just might become an avid fan.

Thank you Oz for the beautiful beautiful eye candy.

Reparation Commencee

These words greeted me as I checked the status of my little iBook. That's what I like to hear. Now they better hurry up and finir and envoyer the maudit thing back to me tres tres vite.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Bumps of Knowledge, Subway, and (oh yeah) Heidelberg

Hello Friends,

I am still sans computer but hoping it will be back tomorrow. Keep those little fingers crossed.

So yesterday Meg, Shuey and I took advantage of a loverly deal from Deutsch Bahn and took a lil' trip to Heidelberg. I had gone here back in the day as a child, and remembered it was really pretty but that was about it.

However, when Marilyn came to Europe a few weeks ago, she informed me after their day trip to Deutschland that there was (dumdadum!) a SUBWAY in Heidelberg...and they had FREE REFILLS. This made the day trip all the more necessary.

So, as you have come to expect, here are all the moments of our memorable journey, play-by-play...

Friday
Shuey stops by to discuss plans for the journey.

For some reason we all start sharing weird stories and anecdotes.

Court talks about her grandmother's old collie, Cindy, who had a bump on the back of her head that her grandma referred to as her "bump of knowledge."

Shuey talks about 2 old friends of his, one that had an inverted chest and one that had an extroverted chest, and how the two used to press them up together to "fit."

Heebie Jeebies.

Agree to leave for Heidelberg at 10a.m. the next day.

Saturday

Court and Meg arrive at Porte de l'Hopital to take the bus to Kehl. Wait for Shuey. At 10a.m. Shuey calls and says he is just now leaving.

Shuey arrives. Go to Kehl. Miss the early train for Heidelberg.

Walk around Kehl. Meg buys sunglasses. Shuey buys shirt. Court amuses herself in the American teeny-bopper section.

Hop on the first of three trains to Heidelberg. Grim-faced controller steps on and immediately demands tickets. After she passes, Court leans over and whispers to Meghan, "What a ticket Nazi," then realizes that probably wasn't the best choice of words to use in Germany.

Train begins to slow down for Appenweir. Court is about to hop out when she realizes train has stopped in the middle of a big field with a small platform. Looks hesitantly at Meg and Shuey. Then sees the sign for Appenweir. Everyone steps out of train.

Follow the path to the "real" train platform, which is still in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere.

Take pictures in front of the Appenweir sign.

To amuse themselves, Court and Meg begin learning the names of German colors from Shuey.

Rot, Gelb, Weiss, Schwartz, Blau, Grun.

Something falls from the sky and lands on Court's head.

Fearing it is bird crap, she frantically begins swiping at it.

Fortunately it is not bird crap.

Unfortunately, it is a bee that lands on her arm.

Bee decides to give himself an untimely death by stinging Court on the arm.

Ow.

Ow.

Oh, and did I mention, OW???

Meg attempts to extract stinger(s). Meanwhile, Shuey learns a slew of new "vocabulary words" from Court's mouth.

Stinging begins to dull after placing Meg's cold coke bottle on it.

Court proudly proclaims that this is the first time she was stung and did not cry.

Shuey gives a fairly accurate impression of what Court did this time instead of crying (thank God there were no kiddies around).

Second train comes.

Arrive in Karlsruhe. As we pull into station, we are welcomed by a big fat man standing on the outer platform wearing a black lace nighty, red thong, and fishnet stockings.

Yikes.

Decide that since we have an hour to kill, we will try to take some pictures of man. Unfortunately the police were already on their way and made him put on pants. Take what photos we can from far away and keep moving.

Get on the next train and finally arrive in Heidelberg with our stomachs growling for sandwiches.

Take tram to Bismarckplatz.

Start hunting for the sandwich mecca.

Success! Enjoy the American delight that is Subway. Contemplate ordering several more sandwiches to go so we can bring them home and continue to enjoy.

Decide against that idea.

Court wins the drinking contest with 3 free refills.

Decide that even though our main motivation for Heidelberg was Subway, we should probably do some touristic intellectual things as well.

Make our way to the old castle. Decide to climb the big hill to see more.

Arrive, panting, at the castle. Debate the idea of paying to see the "big vat" but decide against it.

Decide we've done enough "tourist stuff" and walk down hill.

Stop at souvenir shop and take picture standing next to postcard of the "big vat."

Browse around at all the stores on the main drag.

Decide it's time to head home.

Arrive in Karlsruhe at 7p.m. with the knowledge that we might not be able to make it home until after midnight (Heidelberg is only 2.5 hours away from Strasbourg).

Take train to Offenbourg. No place to sit because of big soccer match.

Don Johnson white suit wearin' wannabee steps in the train on his cell phone telling some woman (in English) she just kidnapped a child.

Try to listen to conversation without being obvious. Apparently the woman he's talking to is in New Orleans.

Man gets off phone and we find places to sit facing each other.

Unfortunately, also facing us is a scary old man who won't move over for Meg to sit down and keeps giving us funny looks.

Scary old man listens to everything we say and looks as though he desperately wants to participate in our conversation but doesn't understand French. Or English.

Court debates showing him her bee sting to scare him away, which by now has gotten really gross but is covered by her sweater.

Man turns to look out window and Meg and Court realize at the same time that he has a big "bump of knowledge" on the top of his bald head.

Have a hard time containing laughter for the rest of trip.

Arrive in Offenberg. Wander aimlessly around closed deserted town for an hour.

Arrive in Kehl which is equally deserted.

Discover there is no bus or train to Strasbourg until midnight. Cry.

Look temptingly at Taxi driver. Shuey suggests that Court asks him how much it is to Strasbourg because he might have more sympathy for a girl.

Court trys to have a coversation with German taxi driver in French and English with a dabble of German words, such as "Bahnhoff", "Ya," and "Nein." He offers us a ride to the Strasbourg train station for 16 euros.

Court tries to see if he can take us somewhere closer than the station. Finally calls over Shuey who talks to the guy in German.

Shuey gets us a price of 12 euros. (Hmmmmm...)

Arrive in Strasbourg at 10.pm. Decide we are hungry.

Eat at Chinese restaurant.

Leave restaurant with full bellies at midnight. Realize that we would just now be leaving Kehl had we decided to not take the taxi.

SLEEP.

The End.

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

So this time around I managed to take plenty of photos, which you can expect as soon as I have the MAC back...which will hopefully be soon soon soon.

I can honestly say this was one of the best trips I've taken since I came to Strasbourg. I'm a little sad to see it all end.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Dabbling in French Fashion

It's been really interesting this year to see how my opinion of certain things have changed, most notably fashion.

Now don't get me wrong. I am still incredibly anti-head band and fanny pack and tucking the pants in the socks. But one trend that has really grown on me is the fishnet stockings.

My first thought upon seeing them earlier this year was "Hello slutty spice."

But they have really grown on me and now look so cute with capri pants and Mary Jane type shoes.

So this afternoon I bit the bullet and bought a pair. They are more of the kneesock variety, but these aren't your grandma's stockings! They are really cool. And I decided that if I start really liking them I may buy a pair of the actual stockings...

Just for sh*ts and giggles.

Acceptation

So I just called Texas and accepted. Free tuition. Money. State health insurance. No debt. Yes.

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright...

Hello folks, it's decision time.

It appears I will have a free ride to Texass. With a stipend.

On the other hand, with Monterey I will forever be in debt.

I thought I would have awhile to reflect on this, but unfortunately it looks like they want an answer right away. Today to be specific.

What to do?

Bye Bye French Kiddies

Well, that's all folks. Yesterday was my last day of work. I am feeling a bit bittersweet.

On the one-hand, I'm a bit ready to do something different, but on the other I got really attached to some of these kids.

My early morning class threw me a breakfast and got me a card. Awww shucks...

I also managed to take some pictures of my classes today, and ended by giving one of my favorite groups a lesson in American cuss words. Always a popular subject. In turn, they taught me a few mots in French.

Last night a group of assistants rented out the cave of some bar and we had a nice little soir´┐Że...

Now I have a month to sit at home and be bored with nothing to do.

Still waiting for the computer too.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

UPS Man chicka bow bow...

So UPS just came and delivered "the box" to send my Apple away in...and while he was there I thought I would try my luck and see if he could hang on for me to put it in the box and send it away.

He was also really hot. And in training. So he said he would go and check with his trainer and would come back if it was possible.

He came back.

And helped me pack it. And sealed it up real nice like. And gave me a beautiful smile.

Now just hurry the hell up and fix my computer Apple!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Good News:
I got a scholarship to the Monterey Institute, just for being me! Hooray! They are still incredibly expensive and I am still waiting about other financial aid, but it is still nice to feel wanted.

I also booked my flight for les Etats Unis yesterday. It's a bittersweet thing. I will desperately miss France but I am really homesick. It's also nice because I'll be traveling with my hetero life mate (aka roomate) Meghan.

We couldn't get a direct flight to Chicago, so we're flying to Dallas, then splitting ways...I'm heading to Monroe, LA to visit my mum and family. I don't know what I'm going to do not living with my roomate...but we decided that during our layover in Dallas we will eat our first American meal together, to share the goodness that is FREE REFILLS!!! Look out Dallas Ft. Worth...fill the coke machines and chip the ice...cause we're THIRSTY!!

Bad News:
After a joyous reunion with a new power cord, the MAC is broken. Again. With the same problem I had a few months ago, regarding the logic board. I don't know if they replaced the bad part with another bad part, but Courtenay is one tres unhappy little girl. I called Apple in the UK this morning; because I called them last time and I also didn't want to deal with tech support in French. Unfortunately, Elton didn't seem to speak that much English, and he couldn't seem to understand why I was calling the UK. So I hung up and called France. Ironically, Mr. French boy spoke such good English I thought he might be a Brit himself.

I had a moment of "Oh no you dit-ent" when he told me he didn't know if they would fix it again because it had already been fixed...but before I went off he came back and said it was no problem. Yeah, that's what I thought French boy.

So they will now send me the box and they better be quick about it. And replace it with a part that WORKS. Otherwise...

The Ugly:
...I am going to have to get me a Dell. Apple has caused me quite a bit of embarrassment this year. I sing their praises and they screw me over. I could give them the benefit of the doubt on the first repair...they took care of it quickly. The whole cord thing was my fault. But getting the same repair twice??? No no no, unacceptable.

SO. Once again; I am without computer so will be somewhat irratic with my posts. Please bear with me.

A bientot...

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Easter at 12 place St. Etienne

Happy Easter one and all. I hope you had a delightful day and are not getting sick from stuffing chocolate in your face.

Meg and I decided to have a little Easter brunch and invited Shuey and Hannah to come over. We had a great time, feasting on French toast, omelettes and fruit salad with (of course) fromage blanc. Meg even made mimosas, which made me think of old Jewish women for some reason. We all had a (non-mimosa induced) giggle about it.

We then adjourned to the entertainment room (this would be my bedroom), where we watched an entire disc of Friends, Season 5.

Then we ate some more.

Fortunately I thought to take some pictures, which you will see posted up here shortly.

Tomorrow is yet another holiday in Alsace, meaning nothing is open. It's also my last week of school.

Let the sniffling begin in earnest.

Synchronized Incense Swinging

Hello one and all. I am back. After striking out at FNAC and finding out the Apple store was closed yesterday, my best friend in the entire world Shuey took me to some other electronic store that was open AND had a huge Apple section. Along with new cords.

So 109 euros later (OUCH) I am back online. What's a girl to do? This better be the last disaster for awhile.

Well last night I was feeling kind of holy, and decided I would like to go to the Easter Vigil.

For all of you non-Catholics, the Easter Vigil is the Saturday night before Easter (duh) and is really really LOOOOOOOOOONG...But it's cool. Because in the beginning they have the big Easter fire and everyone lights candles and they chant and sing in latin and the whole church is lit with candlelight. Goosebumps. Oh, and they also do more readings than normal and baptize and confirm people as well. The whole fire/water thing is all very symbolic and cool.

If it's done right.

My problem is that years ago my family used to go to this church in Baton Rouge for Easter that had a vigil so wonderful it always brought tears to my eyes, and now I compare everything to it.

These services last MINIMUM 2 hours. The one we used to go to in Baton Rouge lasted a little over 3, but it was so awesome you didn't notice the time pass.

Then again, for most Catholics who like to get in and get out in one hour, this service isn't too appealing.

Well fortunately, we made it out in exactly 2.5 hours. And it was no Baton Rouge, but I have to say the cathedral here did a very nice job.

I dragged Shuey along with me (to thank him for bringing me to the Apple store, muhahahahahahaha!--just kidding, he asked to come, I'm not that evil) and we managed to find decent seats, not like the time my mom and I went to midnight mass there.

Being in a huge gigantic cathedral with all the lights out is f-ing creepy. And cool.

They put the Easter fire up in the front and it was making light dance around the stone walls. The chanting was awesome. Then they came around and lighted candles, but in my opinion they turned on the lights much too soon. Oh well.

The readings were a bit long, although they only did 4 and not all 30 million that are written down. The acoustics made it hard to hear though and they read REALLY SLOW.

The baptism, etc was cool. It did make me a bit nostalgic for the Baton Rouge church's Litany of the Saints song...it was so pretty....anyway, it was interesting that in this huge community, only 2 adults were baptized and 1 confirmed.

The rest of mass was fine. What caught my eye throughout the service, however, were the two young talented alter children, who throughout the mass had to not only carry the incense, but swing it around, and do it in a synchronized fashion. I think they only got off once.

So this put the idea in my head for a way to attract more people, and most importantly, more youth to the Catholic Church.

We could sponsor the Catholic Olympic Games! Along with the sport of synchronized incense swinging, we can have categories such as:

"Host Catching"--Catch the bread with those little pans before it falls to the ground.

"The Recessional Race"--see who can get out of church after communion the fastest.

"Profession of Faith"--who can recite the most?!

"The Kneeling Gauntlet"--whoever stays on their knees the longest wins!

I am thinking we could even throw in some drinking games for the older folks...you know how after communion, the Eucharistic ministers have to drink the rest of the wine? I'm thinking about the "Communion Chug-a-lug Challenge."

For prizes, forget about these gold, silver and bronze medals. I'm thinking relics. Surely we can sacrifice the toe of some old saint to an Olympic winner.

On the other hand, we could also go back to the days of indulgences, and give the winners passes straight to heaven, or 50 less years in purgatory...

Yes, I really like these ideas...the brain wheels are spinning.

So now that I have sufficiently blasphemed myself into the fiery torches of the damned, I am going to go pray for my soul, and then get ready for our Easter brunch.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Out of Commission (DAMMIT)

Once again without computer. This time because the cord has frayed and now is no good. (%*&@#(%*&@)(#$*&@#($*& And of course we are on a holiday and I can't hope to have a new one until next week.

*)@#$*)@(#$*@)#($*@)#(%*@)#($

So if you need to talk to me, you would do better to call.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

They like me? They really LIKE me?

So today I received the sweetest note and handmade beaded flower from one of my students as a goodbye present. It made me get all teary. She has been one of my favorite kids and I was just so touched.

I'm getting sad...I mean on the one hand I'm ready to be moving on and excited about the future but on the other hand...I've gotten to really enjoy some of these classes and kids.

I don't know. I just want to be in a million places doing a million things at once.

I wish

I was a Goth kid...cause then I'd be cool.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Fun with Color

So went back to my good friend Karin at Mod Hair today. REALLY needed a trim. And while I was there I decided to continue the color experiment and put some red mesh in with the blonde.

I likes it lots.

I have done quite a bit of stepping out of the box this year if I do say so myself. But I am starting to think I've become Karin's little "project." She always gives me a gigantic welcome when I come. She almost wet herself when I told her I wanted to try some red, and then as she was cutting my hair, she kept meeting my eyes and giving me this motherly smile...and saying how much I had stepped out of the box this year and what a wonderful change it was from the *shudder* perm I used to have (I'm telling you, it looked NATURAL!) and how I needed to find a French boyfriend so I could stay in France.

I'm not sure how I feel about all her mothering-ness but I know it's good intentioned and she is very nice.

But I didn't have the heart to tell her I could never date a guy who wears a headband or fanny pack...

That's worse than a *shudder* PERM!

La Tristesse

So today I had to say goodbye to my favorite class...sniff...

The worst of it was I thought I still had one more week with them but they've got a practice test next week so class was cancelled. I didn't even have my camera to take a picture.

I hate this saying goodbye crap. BOO!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Court's Gripe of the Day

Hello France.

I understand that you, like most of Europe, do not believe in the concept of "cold drinks."

But can we please not "pretend" to have cold drinks by placing cokes in a freezer that does not seem to do anything other than hum?

You are making me one very frustrated American.

Thank you.

Tartine me bebe

So Meg recently discovered a delightful little cafe (WITHOUT Alsatian food on the menu) and we decided to stop in there for lunch today.

The first thing you notice about the place is the decor...really cool wooden paneling and floors and fun counters, tables, etc.

The place was a deli style sort of cafe with sandwiches and soups and salads, but it specialized in Tartines, which are basically pain de campagne with stuff on top...like spreadables. The ones they featured were salmon, spinach, chicken and spices, ratatouille, and chevre. They were like works of art.

YUM. A. LIC. IOUS.

I got an epinard with blue cheese, while Meg chose the salmon. Then, to our delight, the waiter offered us a chicken and spice one for FREE. So of course we obliged.

To top it off, we each ordered a grande cafe creme which came in cute little mugs and with REAL cream. MMMmmmm...do you hear my arteries hardening?

Monday, April 05, 2004

WARNING: This plastic bag is not a toy. Will cause suffocation.

So because France is the land of babies, I feel compelled to comment on yet another observation I have made, this time having to do with the numerous ginormous strollers all over the street, clogging up the tram, etc.

This comment would be about the placement of a plastic tarp over the entire baby carriage, so as to escape the elements: wind, rain, snow, etc.

Now I understand, we don't want our babies wet and cold...but is putting a plastic bag over them really such a good idea? I don't know about you, but since childhood my mother pounded into my brain that plastic bags were potential killing machines.

In France they appear to be a million dollar marketing idea.

And they say that the Americans are the evil capitalists...

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Goodbye lil' Matrix?

Well it appears that my little car might be sold. I am sad yet relieved. I can't afford the damn thing and have been paying insurance on it to sit in a garage. The potential owners are really nice and have also lived overseas so it sounds like it was perhaps meant to be...

Other news...Marilyn has come and went...it was a loverly visit but way too short...I went to a Moliere play tonight and it was pretty hard to understand what they were saying...but I felt better because all the etrangers thought so too...the good thing is that all Moliere plays are alike so I could figure out the gist.

Hooray for gists.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Marilyn!

My mum is here!!!!! Hooray!

There's no hug like a mum's hug.

Brussels

So just got accepted to the Brussels School.

I have much to think about.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Happy Poisson d'Avril!

Yes, the French also celebrate April 1, but not like Americans.

Instead of April fool's they do April Fish. I really don't know what the origin of this is and am too lazy to look it up, so feel free to do the work for me and post it on comments.

But what they do here is draw little fishes and paste them on your back. Kind of like a "Kick Me" sign but a fish.

One of my students was drawing them today in class so I asked him for one. He happily obliged. It's a really mean looking SOB. Taking Meg's suggestion, I stuck it on my Louisiana map, right on top of Lake Pontchartrain. It's eating New Orleans.

Shunned by the Chien

Talk about a blow to my ego.

Tonight I'm waiting at the tram when all of a sudden to my delight I see a yellow lab. His owner is this nice old man who was busy talking to some other people.

Deciding this was my chance to finally pet a canine, I held my hand out for him to sniff.

He looked at me weird, backed up and barked.

Talk about deppressing. When one of the nicest dog breeds in the world won't let you near him, what does that say about you?

My feelings are hurt.

Another installment of Court's French Fashion Follies

I have spoken before about the fanny pack trend around here. Well today I realized it goes deeper than just a fanny pack. Specifically, it has to be a Lacoste fanny pack, or you're just not cool enough.

Remember the lil' alligator from back in the day??? He's baaaaack!

And his fanny packs are getting more and more popular. Today I counted six at least.

Top it off with a flipped up baseball cap and you're good to go!