Tuesday, January 30, 2007

it's electric

I was chatting with KylieMac yesterday, complaining about our clothes dryer woes, and in talking about how we discovered that it was indeed the dryer that was tripping the fuse, she suggested I write a little post about electricity in France and how it's different than in the States.

So how is it different? Well, for one thing, getting electricity turned on for your new abode isn't as simple as calling up the electric company and paying for what you use. Here in France, when you call, you'll be asked for an accounting of all your electrical appliances. For us, that includes the refrigerator, the dish washer, the television, the two computers, the clothes washer and dryer and all the radiators, of which there is one in each room. The electric company rep then makes an estimate of how much electricity you will need as well as your payment schedule. Once that's set, you'll pay a fixed amount each month for ten months and then on the eleventh month you'll either pay the balance or receive a refund.

If you're playing at home and want a comparison, our monthly payment is right around 100 euros a month. It took the first couple of weeks to get adjusted to the number of appliances that could run at the same time before tripping the fuse - the computers can run with the clothes washer or the dish washer, but never both washers at the same time. Same goes with the washer and dryer, or the dryer and the dish washer. Of course, we could have the amount of electricity increased, but that means our monthly payment would be increased as well. With careful timing, all runs smoothly.

Then you have discounted hours - running appliances between the hours of 12:00pm - 2:00pm and 11:00pm - 7:00am will save you quite a bit of money. For this purpose, our dish washer has a timer on it so it can run in the middle of the night and the water heater waits until the dead of night to replenish itself, but other than that, it's a matter of paying attention to the hour - trying to remember to turn the laundry on at lunchtime, for example.

At first, I thought the idea of paying for electricity on a fixed schedule was just on this side of ridiculous, but Steph reminded me that it would likely save us a huge headache, as the radiators running nonstop would result in sky high bills in winter contrasted with quite low bills in summer. Now I rather like the idea. I once explained all of this to my Dad, who assured me that this option was available in the States as well, but I'd never heard of it.

The only other thing to mention, in case you didn't pick it up, is that electricity is crazy expensive here! It's for this reason that we wait as long as we can before turning on the radiators in autumn and turn them off as soon as we can stand it in the spring. Of course, there are other ways to heat a home (gas radiators, etc.) but as we're renting, we didn't get that choice - or to be more precise, we weighed the cost of rent with the knowledge that we would be paying X amount more a month because of the electric radiators.

I believe that about covers it. Am I leaving anything out, my fellow Frenchies?

The bad part about all this is that I hadn't even thought of blogging about this - either I'm getting used to the differences of living here or I'm just being a lazy blogger. I'm afraid the latter may be true. Bad blogger!

Monday, January 29, 2007

when appliances betray you

Last week, we discovered that the sèche-linge, or clothes dryer, isn't working right. To be honest, it's worse than that - it's blowing out the fuse, knocking out all of the electricity. At first I didn't realize the dryer was the culprit - this took several rounds of process of elimination and a few trips outside to turn the electricity back on.

So now that we know it's the dryer, we've got to figure out what to do about it. Steph wants to have a crack at it before we call someone in. The thing is about seven years old so it may just have given up the ghost and that's all. In the meantime, I must hang everything to dry and then *shudder* iron everything, thanks to the enormously high amounts of calcium in French water, which leaves clothes as stiff starch. Gee, and I was afraid of being bored. Ha! Who has time?

Meanwhile, I am well and truly obsessed with knitting. I started my first real project last night, with quite a lot of help and guidance from Flare, with the aid of my flickr feed and a barrage of emails. If I haven't said it yet, thanks, Flare, for your patience while I wig out over my new obsession!

Plus, if things go well, I may be making a visit to the City of Light next week. Flare's going to take me on a knitting-related shopping spree. I'd better leave the bank card at home...

Friday, January 26, 2007

where were you?

It's been a good long while since I've done a meme, plus I told Mickelino I'd do it, and I wouldn't want to go back on my word. If you like the looks of it, please do it and let me know in the comments section so I can link you back!

1) Where were you when Armstrong first walked on the Moon?

My parents didn't even know each other yet. I was a wee sparkle in mah dear Daddy's eye.

2) Where were you when you heard Princess Di had died?

In bed; I had just woken up and the first thing I used to do was switch on the tv. The tv was still on CNN from the night before. I guess they had reported that she'd been in an accident before I went to sleep. I don't think I burst into tears, but I was definitely sad because I was only eight or nine years old when she was married and it really was like a fairy tale, so I was always a little sentimental about her.

3) Where were you on New Year’s Eve of 1999/2000?

Ugh. At my ex's house, where he lived with his mother. He wouldn't go out because his mother was terrified of the Y2K bug. I should have left him to celebrate with his mommy and gone downtown alone. But then, there's a lot of things I should have done where that ex is concerned. Next!

4) Where were you on Sept.11, 2001?

I could do a whole blog post about that day because I remember so many little details. I was at work in my little office when a guy from the bay (part of our business was installing sirens and radars into government vehicles) and said that a plane had flown into the WTC. I immediately pictured a dinky Cessna bouncing off a skyscraper; I scoffed and said, "Well, that was stupid." Of course it went downhill from there. My mother, a native New Yorker, was supposed to go to New York that Friday for a memorial for her uncle. At one point I told her I didn't think she'd be going, and she said, "Oh, they'll have it cleaned up by the end of the week." I think she meant it more as a testament to the fortitude of New Yorkers but maybe we didn't know the extent of the disaster yet. I didn't actually see any footage until I got home that evening - we had plenty of radios but no televisions and I couldn't get anything online to work. I cried every night for a week until I finally just stopped watching television.

5) Where were you when you first heard about the big 2004 Tsunami?

Our old apartment was really only two rooms, so our bedroom was also where we put the tv, the computers and where we usually ate. I remember seeing the footage on tv sitting in bed. Thailand is a very popular vacation destination for Europeans but happily we didn't know anyone that was there. I just had the feeling that this was another example of the world going to hell in a handbasket.

6) Where were you when you first heard that Madonna would go on tour last year?

I was just wondering where I could find a current example of the phrase "jumping the shark." Since I'm reading the Dark Tower series, I can just hear Susannah say, "Honey, the world has moved on."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

back to craftin'

three little words #5
Originally uploaded by vivi en france.
Remember this old thing? I haven't work on this marquoir since the beginning of last summer, because it was just to hot to sit with all that fabric draped over me. I picked it up again a couple of months ago and picked at it here and there between making books as Christmas gifts. I finally just finished it up this section today, but I'm none too happy with it. A lot of the pieces aren't adding up and I can't find where the mistakes are, which will be bad, bad news when I get to the next section. I hope I don't have to call this a wash or start over now that I'm nearly half way through it. You can see the rest of the pieces here.

Meanwhile, I finally caved in and decided to learn how to knit. I resisted forever and then suddenly, out of the blue, I decided that it would be a nice change to have some kind of crafting hobby that was actually practical. I can't even explain it - out of nowhere I desperately wanted to know how to do it. I am under the tutelage of master knitter Flare and have bought my first skeins and needles (you can see them in my flickr feed by clicking on the photo) and I'm going to be studying this site to get me started. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

winter is back

Yep, winter is back in full force and it's snowing everywhere in France except here. Something about the Champagne Plain makes the snow want to divide and avoid us, like a pothole in the middle of a street. Though, to be fair, it did try to flurry a little yesterday, but nothing stuck. At least it feels more like winter, small comfort as it is.

Nothing much else to report really; Steph is home sick and is going to the doctor this afternoon. Everything else is waiting... waiting for one thing to happen so I can start this project or that project. I'm in a holding pattern. "Hurry up and wait" should be my motto.

Monday, January 22, 2007

the language lottery*

As I mentioned in my last post, something as simple as running errands can go a long way in making me feel more at home here. The truth is, interacting with those around me often does turn out to be something of a crap shoot. Days like Friday, where everything goes smoothly, are becoming more frequent, but there are still days where I'm left a trembling mess, because either I haven't understood a word or I just can't find the words to say what I want. Worse yet, I know what I want to say and the words just won't come out.

And then there are moments that pass into the bizarre. I ran another errand last week and the proprietor who usually helps me was busy with another customer, so her assistant came to help me out. Now, the proprietor knows I'm American, always teases me about my accent, and since I usually order the same thing she knows what I'm going to say before I say it.

The assistant didn't know what I was going to order, but she finally got it right after a series of hand gestures accompanying my bad pronunciation. As she was ringing me up, I smiled apologetically and muttered, "Oui, je sais... mon accent..."

She perked up and smiled and said, "Ah oui? Vous êtes belge?" Suddenly, it was everything I could do to not burst out laughing.

You see, I've never been mistaken for being Belgian before.

*I wish I came up with this phrase, which sums up my predicament perfectly, but it comes to us from the amazing Karla, who mentioned it in the comments of my last post. Hope you don't mind, K!

Friday, January 19, 2007

the butcher's shop

I'm trying a new recipe today - Italian sausage soup - and I couldn't find ground pork at the grocery store last night (to be more specific, the ground pork at the grocery store didn't look that fresh), so I decided to visit my friendly neighborhood boucherie this morning.

The wind was still a little strong in our lane and my hair stood on end as I made my way to the main street. At the corner, I passed the chevaline on by (I may be more adventurous in my cuisine now but I don't think I'll ever attempt a dish with horse meat) and walked two more blocks to the butcher's shop. Two older ladies were already waiting for the bouchère to make her appearance, who is herself an older woman. I don't think I've ever seen someone as young as me here in the butcher's shop. We all say "bonjour" to each other, as is customary when you enter a shop, whether you know the others or not.

The butcher arrives and another round of "bonjour mesdames" ring through the tiny shop. The first woman places her order - a bit of chopped meat here, a portion of pressed meat wrapped in pastry there, and a few slices of gorgeous ham already loaded on the automatic slicer that reminds me of the same contraption found at grocery stores back home. A round of "au revoir mesdames" are called out as she leaves.

The second orders up a few pork chops. The butcher, a small woman with short peppery hair and a green cardigan, produces an enormous knife and whacks at the side of pork until four perfectly identical pork chops are stacked up and wrapped in brown paper. "Au revoir mesdames," says the customer as she reaches for the door, almost under her breath without eye contact. Whether one means it or not, these formalities must be followed.

It's my turn, and I smile as I order my "trois cent grammes de chair au saucisse, s'il vous plait." She smiles back and scoops up the ground pork, which is lovely and dark pink, such a contrast to the great big tub of rather colorless pork I'd seen the night before. I asked myself again why I don't shop here more often. I wished her a good day and head out the door.

I love days like this, returning home with the meat wrapped in brown paper, a subsequently purchased baugette tucked under one arm, and thank my lucky stars again that I get to do this. It's just a small transaction, but every small transaction like this makes me feel more at home. It makes me feel light and happy for the rest of the day - and just from buying a little more than half a pound of pork at the butcher's shop.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


After several sleepless nights, I succumbed to a nap yesterday afternoon. I am not a nappy person, so I was consequently awake at midnight, staring at the ceiling and listening to Steph's snores compete with the wind howling down our lane, throwing raindrops against the skylights in uneven intervals. Eventually, Steph won, driving me to the office/guest room. I made my nest on the pull out couch, read a couple of chapters, listened to the wind roar as it rattled shutters and me, a little.

A tempest is making its way across France, again today. The sky is bullet gray, the wind is still screaming down the lane. I'm back in my personal fog but trying to push myself forward. My mind is on what could be a trip to the States sooner than I expected, to finish family business, to disperse my parents' belongings, gathered over thirty-five years of marriage and two lives cut short. This will most likely be my last trip home for a long, long time. Five trips in less than three years is straining our wallets and interrupts my life so much that it's no wonder I can't settle myself here - I've barely spent six months at a stretch in France.

But I'm not gone yet - I have to focus on here and now. I have too much to do to lose myself in daydreaming of what I'll do when I'm there. I need to be here. The wind howls again and brings me back. I've got to go - there's too much to do today.

Monday, January 15, 2007

books, and the women who love them

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you may have noticed that I have a certain passion for books. Actually, it's more to the point that I love reading, as I'll read just about anything. In a fit of desperation a couple of years ago, I even grabbed Steph's Petit Larousse (which is about as "petit" as an elephant) and started flipping through its illustrated pages. This is an obsession that started when I was still in Kindergarten, when Mom would take my sister and I on weekly trips to the library, where I could borrow as many books as I could carry and then read them so fast I was ready to go back in the middle of the week. It's not just the act of reading, but the ability to step into another world. Even during the worst times in my life, I had my escape, neatly bound between two covers and small enough to throw in my bag.

As I'm sure you can imagine, English books are hard to come by here in the Middle of Nowhere, France. There are two shops in Troyes that feature a small selection of English books, which are excellent if I've been too long without a book, but if I'm looking for something in particular it means going to the internet, and that can get a bit expensive. Lucky for me, my friend Doc suffers from the same obsession and from time to time we have the occasion to borrow from each other's personal libraries.

So it came to pass that on New Year's Day, I was allowed in Doc's hallowed library to choose a couple of books to borrow. Lo and behold, she deigned to lend me the motherlode - not only the Chronicles of Narnia but the Dark Tower series as well!

I hadn't read the Chronic(what?!)cles of Narnia* since I was probably ten years old, so revisiting them after twenty (gah!) so many years has been a revelation. I've fallen in love all over again and I'm going to have to buy my own copy so I can reread it again and again. I think I've even come across what may be my favorite opening sentence for a book ever:

"There once was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis.

Isn't it wonderful?

Anyway, I've just started the Dark Tower series. I have a vague recollection of starting this series way back when, but I sort of went off Stephen King quite a long time ago. However, everyone raves about this series so much that I'm willing to give him a second chance.

And then, wouldn't you know it, two days later the postman dropped a notice in our mailbox - the two boxes of books I'd shipped to myself from North Carolina had arrived. Next up after the Dark Tower: rereading the Outlander series before buying the latest in the series.

Looks like I'm going to be knee-deep in books, both borrowed and my own, equally treasured, for a long while. That's just how I like it.

*I'd planned to make a goofy reference/link to SNL's "Lazy Sunday" but the Powers That Be have yanked it from You Tube. *sigh* Well, I know you're hip so I know you got the joke. *wink*

more addictive than crack

Like many folks, I dismissed Myspace as a teenage fantasy-land and barely gave it a second thought. Then, not too long ago, I was googling names of friends I knew long ago (like you do) and landed on a high school friend's Myspace page. Then I looked around and saw that I found a few others hanging out there.

Well, I did the only thing I could do - create my own page. And here it is. Today I've lost the whole morning to looking at friends' pages - this crap is more addictive than crack! I've got to tear myself away from the computer before I get sucked in again.

If you've been sucked in too, send me an add, but you may want to drop me a line as well, as I'm in the habit of turning down requests of people I don't know (I'm wacky like that).

Right, I've got to step away from the keyboard... slowly... slowly...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Americana in France

retro glassware
Originally uploaded by vivi en france.
For the second year in a row, I received an American-themed gift for Christmas from my in-laws. Last year I got an apron with the stars and stripes on it, not in bright red, white and blue but in what I used to call "country colors," more maroon than red, for example. I thought it was hilarious and instead of using it, it hangs on a peg as decoration.

This year I got this pitcher and glass set with amusing retro American images. I absolutely love it - I've been longing for a pitcher and glass set and I've been wanting to get into the habit of having fresh beverages in the summer. I guess the need of having a fresh pitcher of lemonade or ice tea in the fridge is the Southerner in me making itself known! The fact that they have kitchy Americana images on them only make them that much more awesome.

Since we're sorely lacking in storage space, I decided the best thing to do is to display them until I get the urge to use them. This means I had to find the perfect platter to display them on (I may dislike clothes shopping for myself but everything else is fair game).

Believe it or not, it seems retro Americana is making a name for itself in France - one prominent supermarché has a collection of trays, bowls, plates and more featuring Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Rice Crispies. The Rice Crispies girl was so cute I just had to snap her up. (By the way, you can click on the picture to go see close ups of all the glasses and other recent photos I've added to my flickr feed!)

The best part of all this is that these are things I never would have bought for myself - I never felt like I had to surround myself with American things, since it's not things that make me homesick but people - but they really make me smile and I think it's nice that my in-laws try to give me a little piece of "home."

Either that or they're subtly hinting I should go back. Hm.

One final note - as I was checking out at the grocery, the cashier, who was about my age and actually smiled at me when I arrived at her empty lane, struck up a conversation with me. This may sound normal but this never happens. I'm way too shy (in France, anyway) to strike up a conversation usually, but as the cashier rang up the the Rice Crispies girl, she commented that there was a whole collection with these Kellogg's images, if I was interested. I told her that I'm American and I thought the whole collection was very cute and I was surprised to see them here. Then we made small talk until the transaction was finished. It was so nice to have a normal conversation that I nearly skipped out of the grocery store.

Friday, January 12, 2007

oh joy - it's the soldes

Yep, it's that time of year when all the stores in France have clearance sales that last a month and everyone goes freakin' nuts. This happens twice a year, once in January and again in August, and serves to make room for the next season's apparel.

Troyes is pretty well known in northern France for having a couple of outlet shopping centers and for good reason - they have some pretty well-known names doing business here and they offer their goods at well below retail cost.

It just so happens that I have been needing a new pair of jeans and I've put off the odious task of shopping for them for the last couple of months knowing that deep discount time was at hand. Since Les Soldes started Wednesday - a day when most kids are out of school and I'm sure chaos reigned supreme - I decided to take a chance on Thursday. Oh, but I should have known better. I arrived at the outlet center on my way into Troyes at 11:30, hoping folks would be getting a bit peckish by then, and all I found was a parking lot full of people who had all lost their minds. I actually saw two cars pointed at the same parking space and it looked like it was about to come to blows. I did one full turn of the parking lot and got the hell out of there. Happily, it will be much calmer in a couple of weeks, and while the best items will be gone, I'll be happy to pick over the remains at very deeply discounted prices.

Lucky for me, I had a backup plan, and drove around to the other side of town to a store that stocks fluffy-sized clothing. They also had racks after racks of clothes on sale, but after flicking through them and finding all the sizes in the wrong places, I gave up any hope of finding anything interesting and went on to the new collection, where after flicking through more disordered clothes, I finally found a couple pairs of jeans in my size. I quickly chose the most comfortable/least trendy (and I've got to commit to these jeans for a while) pair and ran outside while my sanity was still intact.

You may have noticed that I don't exactly find shopping to be a pleasurable pastime. This is partly my fault, as being a bit fluffier than I ought to be keeps me from wearing a lot of the clothes I'd like to wear. A lot of the problem is my short stature, and I haven't yet found anything like "petite" sizes here (which is awfully ironic if you ask me, but I digress), so clothes tend to hang on me like so many tents. While many stores offer a tailoring service, when you're as short as me they'd end up cutting away a whole other garment, so I can't see the point in it. Anyway, shopping in general is a pretty disheartening task but one must clothe oneself so I put myself through the paces from time to time.

The rest of the day went off alright. I even found a nice pair of shoes and they were half off to boot! Can you believe I hadn't bought shoes in a whole year? Considering Dad used to call me Imelda, that's showing quite a bit of restraint, if you ask me.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

state of the union

Don't worry, the state of marriage is fine, if that's what you were wondering. No, I'm referring to one of the requirements of the American president which has been in place since the Constitution was written - he must appear before Congress every January to deliver a speech on the state of the Union. I don't do resolutions at the beginning of the year - I'm sure I did once, but I never kept them - but there is something about turning the page to a new year that makes one reflect on the past year and look towards the new one. We rarely get "do overs" in this life, but we do sometimes get a fresh start, and for me January is one of those times to close one chapter and open a new one.

I've got to come clean with you. Everyone blogs for different reasons and goodness knows there are others who write more eloquently of living in a foreign country and as much as I like to think it is, this blog is not a real journal in the truest sense. It is heavily filtered and the censoring committee (i.e. me) is particularly strict. While this adventure I've been living for the past two years and some change has been phenomenal and I wouldn't change it, the truth is that this past year and most of the year before it have been an utter nightmare. I spent my entire life, excepting the four years I was at college, not more than an hour away from my parents and the minute I stepped one foot out of the country they proceeded to fall ill and die, one right after the other. I tell you without exaggeration that not one day has passed since my mother fell ill that I haven't thought about them. Some days it's just a fond memory of something one of them said or a joke we shared. Other days I am wracked with guilt that I wasn't there for either of them when they needed most. Most of the time I just wish I could hear their voices just one more time.

Writing about these things in detail would only serve to torture me and try your patience. Can you imagine if I did? Today Vivi's mourning: I can't remember a minuscule detail about our family history and I can't call Mom; she would know without hesitation or better yet Watching my father-in-law holding my baby niece in his arms and knowing my father will never do the same with his own grandchildren is more than I can bear. And yet these last two months since my father died have been like walking through a fog. I've lost all sense of direction and focus; I can hardly remember three tasks I set out to do in the morning.

The best way I can describe it is like riding on a boat at sea. Sometimes the seas get a little rough and it's all I can do to hang on and ride it out. Sometimes the sea is too calm and I'm as listless as a sailboat without wind. Sometimes the sun is shining I've got the wind at my back and it's full speed ahead. They say that time heals all wounds and I'm inclined to believe them. Little by little, I'm experiencing more sunny days, though the seas do get a bit choppy now and then.

Maybe you can see why I'm so anxious to turn the page and start a new chapter. My heart is still broken but it's time to look ahead. I can't help but feel like good things are coming. I don't know what they are yet, but I'm on the watch for them. It could be a new address, or maybe I'll stop looking for work and start making my own, or, "God willin' and the creek don't rise," a new addition to our family. I'm open to it all. Here, at the beginning of a chapter, at the top of a fresh page, all things seem possible.

Monday, January 08, 2007

back to our regularly scheduled program

Here it is, Monday morning. Up since 8:30, Steph's back at work, the bathroom is clean, clothes are in the washer and I've got a few minutes before I have to make a boulangerie run and start lunch. Oh, it was hard, friends, to move our lazy bodies this morning.

Meanwhile, quite a lot of things happened last week. First off, I forgot to mention that I left Doc's house with more than your usual holiday gifts of boxes of chocolate. She's found cheddar (yes! real cheddar!) at a local shop and graciously gave me a small block to bring home, which became taco topping the very next day. She also gave me a pack of Rolos which were one of my favorite candies when I was a kid. Those were gobbled up pretty quick, too. Thanks again, Doc!

Friday we went to Troyes to pick up my third carte de sejour, or residence card. We're pretty lucky that, living in a relatively small town (compared to many of my transplant friends in Paris or other big cities), our wait at the Préfecture is pretty short, usually about fifteen minutes. However, it seems like every year there's something new to drive you just a little bit crazy. This year, it was the tax stamp, or the fee for processing the card. In years past, we simply walked across the hall to pick up our stamp, but this year we learned the Préfecture doesn't offer this service anymore. So off we went to the Centre des Impôts, or the Tax Office, to pick up the sacred stamp. We parked the car, flew across the street and glided in the door fifteen minutes before they would be locked for lunch. The good news is that the Tax Office is pretty quiet when taxes aren't due (much like the lead up to April 15 in the States) and we were in and out pretty quick. After lunch with the in-laws, we went back to the Préfecture to finish the business. Something else that's changed is that this year, I got a real card! Not a sticker in my passport, but a real card! Hurray! This will hold me until September, when we will be able to apply for a ten-year card, thus leaving this messy business behind for a little while.

Otherwise, it was a quiet Christmas vacation. I finished up my research and writing on the guide for Troyes and it's resting in other hands now. I can't say my French grew leaps and bounds working on it, but it's funny that this came into my life when I'm experiencing a growth spurt in French, so it gave me an opportunity to test out my new found confidence. Don't worry, I should be plateau-ing any minute now! More importantly, it gave me something to focus on, which is something that has been frustratingly difficult for me these last couple of months. But more about that in my next post - for now it's enough to say the guide is done and I'm looking forward to my next project.

Well, my time is up, I've got to get on with the rest of my day. Actually, while I'm here - someone mentioned in my comments that my RSS feed isn't working (thanks Amy!). Is this because I haven't gone to Blogger beta? Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

normal blogging will resume shortly

There are so many things I've been meaning to blog about, including our yearly visit to the Prefecture and other happenings from this week, but I'm in the last throes of finishing up the guide I've been working on and trying to get some quality time in with the hubby, and the blog has sadly fallen by the wayside. Come Monday, Steph will head back to work and I'll be trying to reestablish some normalcy around here. Thanks for your patience and for continuing to stop by. I've got some fun plans for this blog that I'm hoping to bring to fruition in the coming months (doesn't that sound exciting!) and I'd love to have y'all along.

Have a great weekend and let's meet back here on Monday, mkay?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

happy new year!

We rang in the New Year in a rather quiet fashion, between the cheese course and dessert chez Doc and Marc. The four of us enjoyed, as always, the fruits of Doc's labor in the kitchen (she declared that while I am artsy-fartsy, she is cuisiney-weeny) while their two little ones were tucked into bed. We all joked that we were going to have to set the alarm for midnight so we could properly celebrate, but it wasn't long after that we all hit the hay and Steph and I nearly slept in far too late to be considered polite.

The next day was leisurely and simple, chatting with Marc's parents and playing with the kids. One of my favorite moments was this conversation, between Doc and her two-year old, whom she calls Muppet, as lunch was winding down:

Doc: Would you like some fruit?

Muppet: No.

Doc: Would you like a clementine?

Muppet: No.

Doc: Would you like some banana?

Muppet: No.

Doc: Would you like a car?

Muppet: No.

Doc: Would you like a million euros?

Muppet: ... yes.

Smart kid. Anyway, we had a great time, thanks Doc and Marc for your hospitality, as always, and we hope to return the favor soon!

Thank you, all of you who take a glance at my little outpost on the internet from time to time. I hope you all rang in the New Year in the way that gave you the most pleasure, and here's to the feeling of a fresh new start and the courage to embrace everything that comes our way this year!