Thursday, August 28, 2008

one last summer jam

I swear, every time this video comes on French Fry starts dancing! This is Magic System, whom I'm pretty sure I blogged about last summer as well. The is "Zouglou Dance" and is guaranteed to get you moving! Warning: There is a lot of booty shaking in this video, so if you're offended by that sort of thing, either click it and don't watch or just don't click at all!

After taking a look at Météo France's new and improved website, it looks like we're going to have one more summery weekend before La Rentrée and summer is "officially" over in France. Tomorrow, Stéph and I are going to Troyes to run a bunch of errands, including stopping by the furniture store to see if the computer desk is in. If it is, we may actually get to start moving things around this weekend! Keep your fingers crossed! Meanwhile, the huge armoire we've ordered won't be delivered until September 11, so it looks like we'll be unintentionally dragging out this moving furniture around thing as long as possible...

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Olympics as seen from the Hexagone

So the Olympics have come and gone and for the first time since I've lived here, we've had the the Games on, at least running in the background, for the better part of the last two weeks. Four years ago I had my last American dose of the Olympics as we prepared for my move to France, and I don't know why I didn't get into the Winter Olympics two years ago, but I didn't at all. I reckon I either didn't understand enough French to follow the coverage or I was still suffering enough culture shock to want to watch American athletes.

So what makes the coverage in France different? The most obvious difference is following the French athletes as opposed to the American ones. Except Michael Phelps, of course. A friend of mine asked if the French were as obnoxious about Phelps as they were in the States, and while maybe obnoxious isn't the right word, the French media certainly gave plenty of airtime to his accomplishments. But then, France's men's swimming team didn't do too badly, either.

The second difference is that, unless you have a satellite dish here, your viewing is going to be very general and will change at the whim of France Television, which was the only place to see the action (channels France 2 and France 3 switched back and forth with the same reporting teams; Canal+ had coverage as well but this is a paying channel; no coverage at all could be found on TNT channels). Just as you'd be settling into a good game, you'd be whisked away to see France's medal contender in a completely different sport.

The good news about the format was that, because we're only six hours behind Beijing here, most of what I saw was live, as coverage lasted all day. And when I say all day, I mean that it started at 2:00 am and lasted until dinnertime. I also enjoyed the hour program at the end of the day ("Un jour à Pékin") that covered everything I missed, including important stories across the board (like that Tae Kwon Do guy that kicked his judge in the face - nice sportsmanship!).

So how did the French do? Some of the "surefire" medals were lost, like Laure Manaudou, the swimming phenom who cracked, and Yohann Diniz, the European 50k walking champion and native of Reims, who dropped out after two hours. Then again, we had some nice surprises, like the brothers that won gold and bronze in wrestling (in different weight categories), the ladies that took gold and silver in the very first BMX event, and a bronze in the men's gymnastics all-around event. The men's handball team pulled out an amazing gold medal win in the eleventh hour Sunday, bringing France up into the tenth position overall (following the IOC's pecking order of number of golds as opposed to overall medals). I'd say this is pretty impressive coming from a country of 60 million, which is five times smaller than the United States. You can see France's medal breakdown by clicking here.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching the games here, especially since I got to watch a few sports that don't often come up on the radar of American coverage, including Judo, Handball, and Fencing. Now I'm really looking forward to watching the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

my new theme song

For your viewing pleasure, "Qu'est-ce qu'on va faire de toi," by Alister. The title translates to, "What are we going to do with you?" Click here to see the video, as they've turned off the embedding (heaven forbid we promote music we like on our blogs!).

Even if you don't understand the French, I'm sure you'll enjoy the very Vivi-like antics of the clips...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

family weekend

This weekend a load of us ferners (that's foreigners with a goofy southern accent ex: "I'd move to France but it's filled up with ferners" quoth my Dad) headed out into deepest darkest France to the gentleman farmer estate of Doc and her family. The load of us included Flare and her family, Mrs. C and her family, the effervescent Antipo and the always lovely Ksam (that's Sam with a silent K for those of you out of the loop, though I'm still lobbying for a pronunciation closer to KAZAM!) and Stéph and yours truly. Together with Doc's crowd we made one hell of a Franco-American noise.

But what a great noise! We lounged around, ate good food, talked for hours, went sightseeing, ate some more, talked a lot more (well, I did, anyway) enjoyed the gorgeous weather and finished up by eating some more with some talking thrown in for good measure. It was glorious!

Of course, I'm at the point now that even a weekend of lounging and eating wipes me out so yesterday was kind of a wash (plus I think French Fry was going through a growth spurt which means I had some stretching pains, ouchie) but today I'm back to my summer routine of tidying up things, crafting things and watching things on tv (the Olympics pretty much stays on for most of the day). But that's alright, this past weekend was a fantastic break from the norm that was much needed. Thanks to Doc and her family for being wonderful hosts as always and to the other guests for putting up with my motor mouth (which ran a mile a minute from the time I got there until we left - you'd think I was starving for company or something! oh wait...).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

this is why they call me grace

I have a reputation for being something of a klutz. If it can be tripped over, I will find it. I have some small consolation in that this seems to be an inherited trait. Some my parents' greatest hits include Mom walking into a clear glass door and shattering it and Dad reaching under a running lawn mower - both of which required nothing more than stitches, thank goodness.

Yes, accidents do happen, but they seem to happen a lot more to us. When I was a kid, we often joked that visiting the emergency room was our way of slowly financing a new hospital wing.

I've enjoyed a pretty good run of minor mishaps, mostly walking into things or dropping things, which has naturally increased since I became pregnant but not alarmingly so. Well, yesterday made up for it.

First thing in the morning, I was climbing the stairs with a bowl of cereal in one hand and two mugs of hot beverages in the other, much like I have done nearly every morning for the last three years, as Stéph and I enjoy taking our breakfast in front of our computers like nice nerdy couples. Only this time I missed a step, two steps from the top.

Why yes, I did drop two steaming only-moments-ago-boiling mugs of hot beverage on my left hand, how did you guess?

Luckily, I landed on my knees and since French Fry has more than enough padding I'm positive he escaped with nothing more than a little shock (he was moving like usual by the afternoon). Even more luckily, Stéph was right there when it happened and took total control. After he cleaned up the mess and sent me to soak my hand in cold water, we assessed the damage.

Most of my hand was an angry, swollen red, but the outside of my wrist was decidedly bubbly. We hightailed it to the pharmacy where we were assured that a good coating of Biafine would help it heal. I was pretty helpless for the rest of the day, but again I was lucky to have Stéph here to help me out.

Well, I'm here to tell you that Biafine is a damn miracle drug, as this morning I woke with nearly no pain, just a little tenderness and some nasty looking blisters. And, of course, another entry into my personal lexicon called "This is Why They Call me Grace."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

the very, very long home stretch

Well, it seems that, despite my best efforts, this blog is veering dangerously towards mommy blog territory. Meh, what can I tell you, that's what's happening right now. I'll try not to make a habit of it.

So I think that calling the third trimester "the home stretch" is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is starting to feel like this is getting on towards the end. According to the doctor, whom we saw yesterday morning for a checkup, I started the third trimester last week, which came as a surprise to me. But then, since the French tack on an extra week (and let me just say, thank you SO much for that!) and they count the weeks vs. months thing a little different than everything I've read in English, I'm having a hard time keeping up.

Happily, all is well in the pregnancy department - blood pressure is still cool, French Fry is happily gestating away, and the little wonkiness I experienced last week didn't raise any alarms for the doctor so we're business as usual. But then the secretary had to wig me out by giving me the paperwork I'll need for when we meet the anesthesiologist next month (doesn't that happen at the end of the pregnancy? oh crap!) and reminding us that we're getting down to the end. Yikes!

Yesterday we also celebrated our anniversary a week late by going out for lunch to our favorite crêperie and buying furniture, for which we still have to wait a couple of weeks because they were both on backorder, which disappointed me to no end as I can't wait to start moving things around and finding new homes for things. Of course after that we'll have to buy actual baby things. Gosh.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

99 days

That's how many days my little pregnancy widget says I have until French Fry's due date. I can't believe we're into double digits already!

This past week was pretty rough, I think mostly because of the heat wave we had. I've never done well in hot temperatures anyway but I spent most of my time crashed in front of a fan feeling nauseous and not feeling French Fry move much. Now that the weather's broken and we've had a couple of days of more reasonable temperatures he's back to his usual cartwheels. I reckon he's gonna take after his mom in this area! Unfortunately, it looks like the temperature's going to start climbing again by the middle of the week. Bring on September!

We did manage to get out and do a little furniture shopping - not baby furniture but certainly because of the baby. Since we've got to convert the office into a nursery, we need to move the computers downstairs, so we need a smaller desk/table that will actually fit (and preferably match one the desks we already have). The desk that doesn't go downstairs will become a glorified changing table. Then we're going to get a larger armoire for our bedroom so that our small one can go into the nursery. We found one that we think will be perfect for storing not only clothes but all my yarn as well, which is currently languishing in several classy plastic bags strewn around the bedroom. Since we've got a checkup this week in Troyes, we'll likely buy the items we saw last week while we're in town, and The Great Reorganization of 2008 will begin!

Also - and believe me, this is kind of humbling to admit - we both totally forgot about our anniversary last week! I guess we've hit "old married couple" status at only four years! On our way back from Troyes on Thursday, Stéph asked me what day it was. Even when I responded "July 31" I still didn't get the significance until he said, "Our anniversary was yesterday!" Heh. I blame the heat.