Monday, February 26, 2007

vivi lives 2: electric boogaloo

Oh man, I'm exhausted. The good news is that everything is going ahead of schedule!! Don't worry, there's still time to everything to go haywire...

The sale went on without a hitch, seriously exceeding expectations. Everything that wasn't bolted down was either sold off or picked up by Habitat for Humanity just this morning. I've got a room or two to vaccum still and we are outta there! I'll finally have a little downtime before we close on the house Wednesday afternoon.

I'd better recover quick, because I've just booked my ticket to BOSTON for Thursday! I cannot wait but I can't really express it because I'm so tired. Believe me, I'm jumping up and down on the inside.

I'd better get off of here as I've only got seven minutes left before I'm ejected from the library computer, so y'all take care and I'll catch up again with you soon!

Monday, February 19, 2007

vivi lives!

Yes, yes, all is well. I'm in a public library which offers free internet access, but I've only got an hour so I've got to make this quick so I can check my email and try to take a peek at what my fellow bloggers are up to.

Anyway, things are rolling along. I was extremely lucky coming through Philly last Tuesday, as my flight had been canceled but I managed to get on an earlier flight. I ran through two concourses to get to my plane, where they shut the door right behind me and where we sat on the plane at the gate waiting for the snow, which by then had turned to sleet, to ease up so we could take off. Two hours later and a quick run through the de-icing procedure and we were on our way. The icing on the cake was discovering that my luggage had been thrown on the same plane as well and I actually arrived at Charlotte around the same time I was supposed to arrive in the first place, so I didn't have long to wait for my sister.

I celebrated Valentine's Day at the weekly church supper with my Grandmother, her sister and their friends, which is exactly how I'd choose to spend it, provided I'm in a different country from my husband. Hope y'all got some love last week!

Saturday night I got my drink on with some of my best friends from college (one of whom drove six hours just for the occassion!). I consumed way more red wine than I thought was possible but the company was beyond excellent and, as is southern tradition, we recovered the next day by sopping up any leftover alcohol with a good greasy breakfast (at noon).

Well, that's my first week here. This week will be much more stressful, with all the preperations of the huge "moving sale" at Dad's house Saturday. I spent most of the day at the house going through boxes and slapping price tags on items, and I've barely scratched the surface. Hopefully the calvary will be coming in soon to give me a hand. Y'all have a great week and I'll update when I can!

Monday, February 12, 2007

what the hell?

Because the clothes dryer being broken wasn't enough, now the iron's shorting out the electricity.

I mean, honestly!

So I'm packing and cleaning and cooking and baking and candlestick-making and running out to the grocery a little later... it's all chaos around here, really. We'll be getting up before the butt-crack of dawn so I can catch the 7:14 train which is a half hour's drive away and then it's around twenty-four hours of traveling fun! (woo.) Please, everyone, think positive thoughts that I won't be grounded in Philadelphia (though I've just peeked at and it seems they're not expecting snow until very late tomorrow). Posting will be extremely light over the next three weeks or so, because I'll be staying with my darling Grandma, who has a computer and (vaguely) knows how to use it, but it is on dial-up (bless her heart), but I'll do what I can.

I would also like to say that I dearly hope that this will be my last extended trip away from Steph for a very long time, if not forever. The long distance thing absolutely sucks and I hate it. I mean, that is why we got married in the first place.

Right, now I've got to go figure out what to do with all these t-shirts which, thanks to the enormous amount of calcium in French water, now closely resemble wrinkled cardboard. Have fun and be nice to each other while I'm gone!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

first finish!

first finish!
Originally uploaded by vivi en france.
So since I was waiting for the rest of the yarn for Steph's scarf to arrive, I decided to start a new project, just for me. While in Paris, Flare introduced me to the wonder of Noro Kureyon 100% wool yarn. After buying a couple of skeins, I had to decide what I was going to do with it.

I used to think fingerless gloves were kind of silly, but now that we have to keep our heat at a reasonable setting because it's so expensive, my hands are often too cold to type. Now that I'd found something practical to make with my new yarn, Flare and I set out to find a pattern that was debutante-accessible. These super quick knits were done flat, with about 2.5 inches of ribbing, followed by 2.5 inches of stockinette and finally about a half inch of ribbing at the top. I had hoped to use up one skein for these, but I ended up having lots left over; if I'd known, I would have happily made the sleeves a bit longer. Oh, well, I'll know for next time.

In order to tie all the colors in the gloves together, my next project will be to make a scarf with the same yarn (that's why I ran back to Bon Marché on Friday - to get more Noro!). After flipping through Flare's knitting library, I settled on the Misty Garden pattern by Jo Sharp. That yarn, plus the yarn I'd ordered to finish Steph's scarf, are all coming with me to the States and hopefully they'll be finished by the time I get back.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

paris hurts my wallet

Good gracious I'm beat. I guess constantly walking across Paris for a few days will do that to a person. Man, I had such a great time, though!!

I arrived Wednesday afternoon chez Flare, just in time for some lunch. Afterwards, we were visited by this charming young man - what a heartbreaker! Then we went across town to the Bon Marché, where the cashier relieved me of the heavy burden of all the cash I had on me (the knitting obsession? alive and well, thankyouverymuch). After a quick stop at the épicerie across the street (cheddar! root beer!), we headed back home, where I made my favorite new recipe, chicken noodle casserole. Hey, I figure that if I've got free room and board for a visit to the City of Light, the least I can do is whip up a little casserole, right?

Thursday was a very exciting day, because we met up with the dashingly handsome Mickelino! We traded our life stories over delicious Korean delicacies and if time permitted I think we could have chatted for hours and hours. I have been a huge fan of his blog for ages now, so it was a real thrill to finally meet him face to face. Thursday evening, after accompanying Flare to an English lesson (wow, what a fun and innovative teacher she is!), I made my debut at a weekly knitting circle! Oh my goodness - knitting, gossip and snacks - who knew it could be so fun? I finished my first project there, but you'll have to be a little patient for that as pictures are forthcoming. Anyway, it was a virtual who's who of Paris' knitting bloggers: She was there, as well as her and her! (I didn't leave someone out, did I?)

Yesterday, Flare had a prenatal class, so I went back to Bon Marché, because I am, in fact, a glutton for punishment, and then I got on a packed train and came home.

And I. Am. Exhausted. Good grief, three days doing actual normal things like going shopping and visiting with friends and I am wiped! I must get back into the habit of actually going on walks and such. This is ridiculous. Plus, I only have three days before I leave and I have so much to do, I don't even know where to start. So, if I can get my head on straight, I will take some photos of what I'm working on and what goodies I picked up to feed the knitting monster.

Also: I was forced to switch to the new Blogger thingie today. I hope the page looks ok, because I honestly don't have time to futz with it.

Also also: I would like to extend an enormous THANK YOU to all of you that I meet up with for your hospitality, your kindness and your friendship. Please make me do this more often - it's good for my sanity! If I missed you on this go-around, don't worry, I think there will be more sanity visits in the future!

Monday, February 05, 2007

travel plans

Yes, friends, the next few weeks I shall be On The Go! First up, as I mentioned before, I'm going to Paris on Wednesday for a couple of days for some much needed girlie time. Then, thanks to the fact that we have a buyer for Dad's house (after only four months on the market! Ha ha ha ha HA!) and I need to be a part of the estate sale, go through my parent's possessions one more time and take the opportunity to be there to sign the closing papers, I am getting on a big jet plane next Tuesday and will be in the States for right at three weeks. God willin' and the creek don't rise, this will be my last extended holiday (which is hardly a holiday) without my husband, because that part of it just sucks. This will also most likely be my last visit for a good long while, so I want to visit with as many friends as I can. If all goes according to plan, I may even get on a smaller plane to go visit with my oldest friend in the world, whom I haven't seen in TEN FREAKING YEARS. I reeeeeeeeally want to make that one happen!

In other news, I am just pleased as punch that I received a package from this morning - the Eddie Izzard box set! Thank you, Amazon, for putting this set at half price so I could have my favorite comedian in all his glory!! Now I just have to pace myself, because if I watch all six DVDs back to back, my torso will explode from laughing too hard.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

if it can go wrong, it will

Sounds like a fatalistic attitude? Nah, it's just a plain simple fact of my life. Here's a few examples:

* Remember our broken clothes dryer? Steph thinks that Big Appliance Store Chain has some kind of deal that if one of their repairmen can't fix your appliance, some of the money you would have paid for the repairs can go towards a new appliance from that store. We drove to Troyes yesterday (to run many different errands, as you will see) and stopped by the Big Appliance Store Chain to speak to someone in the SAV department (Service Après Vente, literally Service After Sales) if this were true. Of course, we were given a phone number to call where all our questions in this area would be answered, plus we can make an appointment at that time, too. Steph and I looked at each other in wonder - we're standing in the store but have to go home and call a number. Incredible.

* The car is simply falling apart now, which I suppose is its right after ten years of service. The driver's side window is broken (electric windows are lovely until they don't work) and slowly slides down as you drive, so when you stop you have to slap your hands on either side of the window to push it back up again. If it was any other window (and not the middle of winter) I'm not sure we'd care, since we're planning on replacing the car later this year, but not being able to take parking lot tickets or pay the tolls on the autoroute without getting out of the car is a pain in the rear. At least we were able to pick up the right brake light in Troyes yesterday for the one that blew out.

* So, I'm a bit knitting obsessed at the moment. Steph likes the scarf I'm working on, so it's going to be for him. I've done all I can do with the yarn I have and it's only long enough to throw it jauntily over one shoulder, so I've offered to double it for him (yes, I know the colors may be a bit off since the likelihood of finding the same lot is next to impossible since I bought the yarn online). Steph and I both seem to remember that there is a Phildar shop right in the middle of the shopping district in Troyes. My memory is iffy, but if Phildar is a name that sticks out in my husband's head, we surely can't be wrong, right? So I put off ordering more yarn since we're going to Troyes on Saturday, where we discover that what we thought was a Phildar shop was really something else entirely. I came home quite depressed because this meant that I would have to wait until the middle of next week to receive my order of yarn, which I ordered online first thing after walking in the door, and my anxious fingers don't want to wait.

Basically, we went all the way to Troyes yesterday to buy a new brake light, which we could have done here.

At least the weather was pretty.

Anyway, these may sound like petty annoyances but I promise you, these are simply the tip of the iceburg. Besides, everyone's entitled to a little bitching and moaning now and again, right? So, would you like a little cheese with my whine?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

go, speed racer, go!

I think when Americans think of the European lifestyle, they imagine a slower-paced, relaxed way of living. Two hour lunches, shorter work weeks, long vacations, dinners that never end. This is a stereotype, but in every stereotype, there is a nugget of truth.

With one exception: when that laid back Frenchman slips behind the wheel of a car. Suddenly, all bets are off.

Oh, I've seen it all - being tailgated at 100 kph, cars passing me as if I were standing still on a two lane country road, or trying to pass two or three semi trucks at once and swerving back into the right lane between two trucks at the last moment. People are so speed crazy here, it's enough to make you want to breathe a quick prayer before getting in the car yourself.

A couple of days ago, the normally thirty minute drive to Troyes took close to an hour, thanks to a road crew shutting down a short section of one lane to repair a guard rail. Since it was close to lunch time, there were a good number of cars backed up, waiting our turn to cross into the left lane and get on our way. In the meantime, there were several drivers who were obviously so important they couldn't be bothered to wait patiently to get past the roadwork, so they sprinted to the head of the queue and ended up turning around and speeding away in the other direction. Since the only other way into Troyes is by tiny country lanes that pass through even more villages than the main road, I can't imagine how much longer it took them to get to their intended destination. The topper was when I finally got to the head of the line, the impatient jerk behind me, warbling away on into his phone headset (which I'm pretty sure is illegal in France), mistook my millisecond of hesitation for incompetency and actually tried to pass me. I know he didn't hear the obscenities I yelled at him, but I felt better.

Anyone else have some fun road warrior stories?