Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Exhaustion

I should write something, but I'm tired. I'm tired from heaving a screaming 16kg child up the stairs because he refused to eat a hot dog. I'm tired from having class today, when it was one of those days where my brain seemed to just not work in French. I'm tired from writing long emails to my friends. I'm tired from the general cold today. I'm tired from thinking about the gifts I need to buy in the next 9 days before I go back to the US.

I'm also tired of things...of not having access to a reasonably priced washing machine, of eating too many carbs, of forgetting the TP when I go to the toilets, of figuring out my bank account in French, of typing on the stupid keyboard on my phone, of my computer stalling for no reason.

So I don't realllly want to write that much. Instead I'm going to listen to Christmas music and write down all the movies I want to watch that are Christmas-y themed. Also here are some limited photographs.

 thanksgiving dinner number one, chez Augusta

dress for the wedding, it's dark green with a lace overlay

 hilarious turkey outside Cambridge, England, where I was this past weekend

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's what my Thanksgiving Day, 2011, has looked like, so far:

-fog in the morning on the Champ du Mars
-telling the story of the Little Red Hen twice
-taking a 2-hour morning nap
-watching my favorite Friends Thanksgiving episode (The One with the Football) (but really, all the Thanksgiving episodes are good)
-meandering through the Champs-Élysées holiday market
-getting asked out by a man on a bicycle, who thought I was French (aka the best thing you could say to me!!!)
-learning that H&M in Paris has a completely different fit than H&M in America (there is no room for booty here, sadly)
-finding a dress for Jon/Kendall's wedding at Zara (green with green lace overlay, long sleeves, fitted, cut-out back)
-having coffee with a very cute boy (3rd date!)
-eating an entire baguette
-causing the kid I sit for to FREAK OUT CRYING when I left instead of eating dinner with him

Still to come...an adventure out to the banlieus of Paris, where I get to have Thanksgiving dinner, in French. At the home of the Executive VP of Chanel. Woooo. Also hopefully a quick Skype date with my family in Ohio.

And now the requisite "Things I am Thankful For" moment...
1. my general good health, and the fact that I've survived another year without health insurance and no trauma
2. my loving, amazing, wonderful, supportive family
3. my loving, amazing, wonderful, supportive friends (ALL Y'ALL)
4. the fact that I get to live the dream in Paris
5. cheese
6. my strength and determination to survive the worst few months of my life
7. how dang classy I am
8. being employed
9. my computer and my camera and the internet, so I can keep connected to everyone I love so dearly
10. joie de vivre--all those little things each day that make everyone worth it

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Joys and Buzzkills from the Past Week

JOYS:
1. every time the kid says I'm his best friend...never gets old
2. also, seeing the Eiffel Tower never gets old either!
3. mid-50s days when you're too hot in your wool coat and it feels awesome
4. the consistent low angle of the sun is highlighting my hair
5. not biting my nails for a while (woooo)
6. makeshift Thanksgivings (3! like divorced parents plus some!) with friends
7. cute texts
8. walking the same route that Adele does in her "Someone Like You" video while listening to the song
9. getting to watch Winnie the Pooh DVDs
10. buying cheese from the Sunday market

BUZZKILLS:
1. putting on a shirt and finding snot on the sleeve from sniffly children
2. chipping nails in the morning from zipping coats
3. having a 3 year old let go of your hand in the middle of the street
4. being bored at 10pm
5. heartburn/acid reflux?
6. the way my hair looks after baby-sitting ("Haha, look I made you messy!")
7. not being able to articulate "check something out of the library" in French
8. someone requesting the book I wanted to renew
9. not having Thanksgiving with my family
10. when I send a text too quickly and wait reeeeally long for one

Good week. Going to England this weekend. Yeah, I'll take some pics. But I'm not interested in Thanksgiving status updates anymore. That stuff got old sometime on Tuesday. I'm throwing myself a pity party tomorrow, and I'm inviting turkey.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eating Gooood..

I think you can all agree with me that we are in the food-coma-throes of the holiday season. It's time for overeating, parties with buffets, special treats you can't find all year round (or in your new country...sigh), and general merriment. I've been rather busy this week, with my pal big Al Craven visiting, but that did not stop us from consuming delicious food/drinks. In addition, I'm attending a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon, and creating my OWN next weekend in England. There's a lot of eating to be had over the next few weeks (did I mention I'm also going to a wedding in less than three weeks?? whaaaat). If I may, however, I'd like to highlight some delicious things I've eaten this past week:

1. Brocciu Pecurinu, or at least that's what I think it was. It was a soft, creamy (almost crème fraiche-y) cheese you can eat with bread or with a spoon. I did both. It's a goat cheese from Corsica and it might be in my top 3 cheeses in the entire world. Holy crap it was good.
2. Fallafel. That's something I've had before, but I haven't had L'As du Fallafel for over two years. It's worth the line and the confusing "why am I giving money to this random guy on the street" situation. I may have eaten two and a half fallafel sandwiches over the weekend (because Al couldn't finish his!!!).
3. Vin chaud, or hot mulled wine. Seasonal, warming, and extra delicious when consumed as you watch the sunset near Notre Dame de Paris. Need to start making this more often.
4. Poutine, which is not French, but Canadian. And it's the perfect mid-day snack when you might have had a little too much to drink the night before. Cheese curds, gravy, and fries--why do Americans get the bad food rap all this time? Isn't this Canada's national dish? I mean, I'm not complaining...it's delicious.
5. Bean soup. I love me a good old bean soup on a cold day. My host mom made soup one night and I don't know what it was--the French ham stuff, the selected cannelloni beans, the onion-y-ness, but it was DANG good. I need to make some bean soup. Too bad I can't cook cornbread without an oven.
6. Baguettes. They never get old. I ate like 4 of them this weekend.
7. This is not French, nor is it terribly exciting to anyone but me, but I have finally mastered a perfectly poached egg. Keep that water just under a boil, add more vinegar than you think you need, cook for 3-4 minutes. Slotted spoon. It was beautiful and beyond tasty with a buttered baguette. Best breakfast.

Now in my future I have mashed potatoes, jellied cranberries, pumpkin pie, turkey, and probably at least 10 more baguettes (in the next week). I'm just like you guys in America! Right?

Just like America...

 that beautiful poached egg

 
Notre Dame lit up at night

lights on the Seine

offering candles in Notre Dame

vin chaud

  
wedding photography on Pont Alexandre III

what I do when I get bored in the evenings waiting for people to Skype me..two tone nails

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Good Day

Today I walked my kid across the Champ du Mars by the foggy Eiffel Tower. It smells oddly like spring outside, and it was warmer at 8am than it had been all day yesterday.

After I dropped him off, I walked back home quickly and lay down again on my bed, intending to relax for a half hour or so. Instead I promptly fell asleep until a text woke me up around noon. I guess my late-night Skype sessions and gallivanting around Paris have caught up to me.

I didn't do anything today, in classic Natalie fashion, except walk across the park to test the American store's bagels (sub par, as to be expected...sad). I cleaned my room and played with my hair and felt rather at peace, which is interesting enough for me, mid-way through November. When winter approaches, my neurons stop firing and I turn into a bear. Aka, super lazy and grumpy. But today I felt fine.

And work was fine, I'm finding my niche in the family, and while I know for a fact they don't trust me completely, that's also understandable! So whatever. It's a fun, easy job, and I love that every day when I pick my kid up from school, he runs at me for an around-the-knees hug. Is there anything better than that?

Today we also had some good news, complete with a champagne toast--my family's baby got into day care (it's evidently SUPER competitive in Paris)! Which means I get to stay with this family for the school year, which is fantastic news. Then I don't have to move! And get used to a new family and a new schedule. I'm very happy. I think it's going to be great.

And, finally, I got my free Longchamp bag from my bank and I feel super Parisian about it. It's brown and classy. Can't wait to tote it around this weekend. Maybe I've become one of those people who like fancy things...hmmm. Liked that champagne tonight!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving is Coming...

Everything is coming together to tease me on the fact that I'm having a makeshift Thanksgiving this year. I don't know about you, but I love Thanksgiving. I will say that it's not my favorite holiday (Christmas trumps that, easily), so I'm not actually going to cry or anything (the way I will on Christmas). However, there is something that Adult Natalie has really enjoyed doing for the past few years of being a real, semi-financially-responsible adult with my own space: throwing a dinner party.

And so Thanksgiving, really, falls quite nicely into the dinner party niche, PLUS it's a holiday that centers around seasonal food. But quite unfortunately, I live in a shoebox sans oven. And an oven is centrally integral to creating a Thanksgiving meal. I mean, I can still make mashed potatoes. But that might be it.

This is not the first year that I am missing Thanksgiving. In 2008 I stayed in New York for the holiday since I had to work the day before and a half day after. However, I had one roommate plus 3 lovely friends come visit, and we not only did the MOST Thanksgiving-y thing ever (the parade), but we also did the second most Thanksgiving-y thing, which is drink too much before dinner and then die afterwards. And we had an oven and some amazing recipes for brussels sprouts, and so what if I accidentally put cumin in the applesauce?

Anyway, so REALLY this is the first Thanksgiving that I haven't been in America. I guess that's what it all boils down to. I'm in a country where a turkey costs 10€/kg and a bag of cranberries is 6€. I have to work on the 4th Thursday in November. And while I do have a lot of American friends, it's still going to be way difficult on our limited budgets to pull together even the slightest smatterings of Thanksgiving.

And then Epicurious has the balls to dare me to "Host the Ultimate Thanksgiving Dinner." It's just rude, I tell you!

Well, anyway, as you lovely Americanites in les Etats-Unis get ready to brave cramped airports and revel in boatloads of gravy and time off from life (and you Athens County people get ready for hunting season!), send some nice thoughts to the people giving thanks elsewhere. Or Skype me. Or airmail me some pumpkin pie.

P.S. This is not to discredit my dear friend Waldo who is going to help me fix a Thanksgiving dinner the weekend after the holiday. It's just going to be different. For example, when I emailed him a menu, he goes, "How many people are we feeding?" I'm an AMERICAN. We eat to excess! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Long Weekend Recap

It's been a busy weekend. I'm tired, especially since I just cleaned my room (nearly) top to bottom using mostly just a broom, tissues, and window cleaner. Guys, I work with what I've got.

Since I am tired, but also feel the need to update you people on my life, here is a rundown of this weekend's highlights, in numbered list form:

1. Holiday on Friday means go out Thursday night. That night involved a lot of solo champagne, running into the one person I am trying to avoid in Paris (just an ill-thought-out person I gave my number to), dancing, a guy in a tiger suit, loudness, and a lovely walk home. By a lovely walk home, I do mean a 5k trek with my friend Carolyn that somehow involved bare feet and us realizing we don't know the rules on public intoxication in France.
2. Friday began with a baguette in bed (aka, heaven), and continued with a cold two hours at the playground, an impromptu cafe date (!), and a jaunt out to Zone 2 for the USA/France football match. Despite being part of the 2% of the stadium of 70,000 people rooting for the USA, it was very fun. Things to know: flags will be waved in your face, I'm not good at cheering for sports in French, concessions at sporting events are not more expensive (although mostly no one was eating, really), and there are a lot of guards at these games. The French can be rowdy. Also, everyone will be taking the RER back to Paris and it will be nuts.
3. Saturday I woke up bright (well, it was dark) and early after 5 hours of sleep for my trip to Brussels with my friend Morgan. It was lovely. There are many photos of our time on facebook, if you want to see. We arrived around 9:30 and quickly found a waffle and a map. After hitting the chocolate museum (and tasting), we walked to the sketchier part of town to the Cantillon brewery, as they were having a rare public brewing day. For 6 euro, we got to taste a beer of our choice (Morg went rose something (with raspberries) and I opted for the lambic, which was flat and verrrry interestingly delish), and then we got a tour! The cutest old man gave us the tour and we learned a lot about the way beers in Belgium--the REAL beers, he stressed--were made. It has a lot to do with the fermentation in the open air, almost like cheese. That's why these beers are so special, because the microbes in the air are all different wherever you go, so you literally cannot make the same beer anywhere else. Also, this brewery makes, at most, only 7000 litres of beer per batch, and only as many as 30 batches can be made per year...so it's very special.
4. After beers, we went searching for lunch. A special in Brussels is "moules frites" which is mussels and fries. Despite being relatively expensive, I went for it, and got moules provencales for lunch--delicious! I ate all of them, and a ton of fries with mayonnaise (that's how they do it, baby). It was a long lunch that involved the waiter telling me I was good at French, and even though it was obvious he was just hitting on me, I'm taking that compliment to the bank, baby.
5. We needed to walk off our lunch, so we got lost. They we got found at the waffle van (so much for walking off lunch). We ate the most delicious waffle in the world, and then walked up to the park and the royal palace. I attempted to jump in a pile of leaves taller than myself, and we found a lot of pictures of Tin Tin (who is Belgian!). After the strenuous stroll around the park, we ducked into the cathedral to hear the organ, and then ate another waffle from the van (SERIOUSLY THE BEST). The rest of our time consisted of wandering the dark streets, a very cool thrift store, hot chocolate, so many photos, and debating on the merits of falafel. We ended the night with the culturally relevant dinner of Sbarro on the train home.
6. Today I met my brunch club in the 16th for a croque madame and a pain au chocolat. We wandered around and found Ben Franklin's house, and I got to look cool in some pictures. Later on I met the lovely Drue Docie for coffee and discussions of French children/families and something like 7 years of catching up. We walked the long way to the subway in order to enjoy the 60-degree sunshine for maybe the last time until spring, and got super excited for the Christmas markets being set up (and vin chaud!).
7. I finished my walk home by finding an open boulangerie and snagging a baguette. After consuming the entire thing (of course), I realized how disgusting my room was--and since the handsome Al Craven is coming for the weekend, I needed to get my act together. Hence the cleaning with tissues and windex. I swear, I will buy cleaning supplies this week.

Finally, in closing, I would like to say I am no closer to finding a dress for my brother's wedding, but I have started purchasing Christmas gifts. Expect the latter to be random and varied, and cross your fingers I don't get anything taken away at customs. Any advice about that?

Hope your weekend was swell and your floors are clean.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Was Really Patient Today, and Other Things

Today is Wednesday. Today is the day of an au pair's life when things stop making sense and all you do is wonder why, exactly, did you offer, nay JUMP AT THE CHANCE, to take this job when you are actually an adult and you have more interesting things to do with your life than argue with a not-yet-four-year-old. And yet, here we are, on this random day of the week when Paris just decided, oh, we don't need to have school this day, let's have a holiday in the middle of the week EVERY WEEK! And make the au pairs work under their eyes cross and they seriously brace yourself whenever the kids say their name, or anything similar-sounding.

Honestly, today wasn't THAT bad. But Wednesdays are the day we all work ALL DAY and it can be a challenge. A lot of parents overschedule their little ones on this day off with all the extracurriculars you can't fit into the other days (in two weeks it will be dark when I pick up my kid from school). They go from tennis to swimming to music lessons to sculpture class. But for me, we have only music class in the mornings and the rest of the time it's my job to wear him out.

Today we did music class, then we played at the playground for over an hour. Which involved falling no less than 3 times and getting bonked in the head by his friend's head and then holding a grudge for an hour or two. Then we went home and played with stuffed animals. After lunch, Natalie pulled out her old "paint your hand, put it on paper, and look a turkey" trick--seasonal, easy, minimal mess when the ratio of kids:adults is 1:1. Then we went to the library, a different playground, and read some very confusing Dr. Seuss books. Dinner, watching Kipper, a few meltdowns, and the kid is zonked by 7:45. Not bad.

The only really trying part of my day, besides when he (like usual) got into an argument about after-dinner DVD watching and when the elusive "5 more minutes" was actually over, was after the first playground. Sometimes he decides he no longer wants to hold my hand on the street, and seems to think it's an acceptable solution to hold his OWN hand. No amount of explanation can convince him otherwise, so instead of dragging him along or trying to reason with a kid who may not really understand what I'm saying, I pulled out my favorite I-am-definitely-going-to-win-this-battle tactic: stubbornness. Don't want to hold my hand? FINE. Then we can't go anywhere. We will stand here until you decide you're ready to hold my hand. Also, no talking. 3 minutes of that, and we were on our way. Au pair for the win.

In other news, children at the playground here (or maybe these days?) are incredibly badly behaved. I see older children on the stuff designated for the littles, I see kids standing on top of the REALLY HIGH REALLY DANGEROUS equipment, today I saw two 9 year old boys actually punching one another. Also, today I had sand flung into my purse. INTO. The parents/nannies/au pairs are mostly sitting on benches chatting. Ahem, excuse me? I get it, this is like "break time" for some of you, even though I continue to follow my child around because he still can't touch playground equipment without me being within arm's reach. DISCIPLINE your child, or so help me, I'll learn the phrases in French and ream your kids out at the park. I will do it. Fait attention aux petits!! (Watch out for the little ones!!)

When I was walking to music school today, chatting with my kid, a man walked past and said, in English (with a French accent), "Here you have to speak French on the street. This is France. English is illegal." And walked on. I said, to his back, in English, "It's my job to speak English to him. MERCI." How rude.

So anyway. How was your day?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Observation

As I have had a debilitating stomachache all morning, I spent the vast majority either patiently awaiting death or on the internet. Death didn't come, thankfully, so instead I've been ruminating. Also reading a lot of blogs. Including some feminist blogs. (Yes, I am a feminist, dear male friends. Feminism is advocating for equal treatment of women in terms of social, political, and economic rights. EQUAL.)

Anyway, then I realized this:

In the French language, there are no words for a female that doesn't relate her to someone else.

Stick with me:

a boy: un garçon
a son: un fils
a man: un homme
a husband: un mari


NOW:


a girl: une fille
a daughter: une fille
a woman: une femme
a wife: une femme


Waiiiiiiit a second. How is that right? This is a little archaic, don't you think? In France, is a female person only either a daughter or a wife?


I'm not liking it.


P.S. Thank you, yes I really am feeling better! No, I have no idea what the hell is wrong with my stomach. If you want to hear all the details (ALL THE DETAILS), I've been recording them to show a doctor/hospital/priest if it ever goes that far.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Small Talk

While I am here in Paris, I am required by the laws of my visa (or whatever) to take French classes. I'm sure it's part of some old-fashioned law that gets as many people in France speaking French as possible. I get it. They looove their language. (Although, literally every speaks English and so many people want to speak English to me that it's difficult to fight. Yesterday the man I bought a galette from was super annoying and kept speaking English but I just kept responding in French. Biotch.)

Anyway, I take two classes. One is for language and one is for culture. They don't put a lot of emphasis on culture, maybe because we are already living here? That class is about an hour once a week (the other is 2.5 hours twice a week), and mine is specifically about literature. We read excerpts from France's big philosophers/writers and discuss. Well, the prof tries in vain to get us to speak. The problem for me is that I don't have the vocabulary to talk about these abstract concepts. After I hear the right words spoken, then I get it and everything comes together in my head. But when he just asks us to comment on the style of Molière's Don Juan, or Proust's A la recherche de temps perdue, or the technical definition of metonymy--uh, yeah I can't do that. In French.

It's difficult. We have to read one book for this class, Apprendre à Finir. I really need to buy it and get started because I'm going to freaking understand this book if it kills me! I am not really sure how people do grad school classes in French. It's one thing to learn French--it's another to learn history or philosophy in a language that you don't know well enough to express yourself. Nothing makes you feel dumber than when you are called on, and you know the answer, but you just can't get it out. It really makes me feel bad for ever getting annoyed at foreigners in the States.

Something I do for practice is when I get a song stuck in my head I will translate it into French and try to put it to the music. I'm hoping that will help me get some more phrases stuck in my head. It's so difficult when someone just asks you something out on the street and you can't think fast enough to respond. Easy kinds of knee-jerk phrases like:

"Oh, go ahead."
"Sorry I just need to reach around you."
"Is someone sitting here?"
"Did you drop this?"
"I think it's going to get colder as the day goes on." (Couldn't say this one this morning.)

Small-talk. That's what I need.

Well, I'm working on it. In the meantime, big stuff coming up this week. My first sporting event in Europe. My first train ride in Europe since spring '10 (I loooove trains in Europe). Getting out of Paris for the first time in what will be 5 weeks. A new country! Yay.

And today is my brother's birthday! He's 27. I don't feel old enough to have my brother be 27. That means I'm creeping closer and closer to 26. Yikes. (Bringing it back to meeeeee...hey, it's my blog.)

P.S. Picture is Église de la Sainte-Trinité, but it's known as La Trinité. It's in the 9e.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

End-of-the-Week List

1. I only tolerate doing dishes for other people and would, from this moment onward, appreciate someone to come and do mine, as I am so doing for my family.
2. I'm really good at chicken noodle soup. So good, that I consumed 3L of soup in 2 days and had to make a new pot today. I have only eaten 1.5 bowls so far (SMALL BOWLS) (FOR AN ACTUAL MEAL (LUNCH) NOT AT 11PM).
3. On that note, I need to stop eating one baguette per day. France is not a magical place where calories don't count, and my pants are starting to look...ahem...funny. And I don't have any euros to buy more.
4. I don't have any euros because I'm going to Brussels next Saturday! Yayyy.
5. Still have yet to figure out how to make a deposit in my bank account. I think going into an actual bank will do it, but can't I do that stuff at an ATM? Seriously?
6. I put this on facebook already, but it's outrageously expensive to do laundry at a laundromat in Paris. Anyone have any good handwashing-in-a-tiny-sink-without-a-bucket tips besides go naked more often?
7. My shoebox is hot as balls. This is a scientific fact. It's so hot that during the night, I have two options: a.) sleep in as little clothing as possible (ahem) and wake up in the middle of the night drenched with sweat anyway, or b.) shutter my windows and leave the glass open, and wake up in the middle of the night because it sounds like a truck is driving through the wall. They are pretty equally fun.
8. I noticed recently that my legs have scarring from the poison ivy I had in September. White scars on my shins. This has nothing to do with anything except it annoys me to no end.
9. I thought the light above my sink had burned out, but then I realized it had two switches and they both have to be on. Okay, French wiring.
10. Going to the Louvre for the first time on Saturday! Should be exciting. I have gone inside before, but never into the actual museum, so get ready for some weekend art musings. By "get ready," I do mean, "watch out, and please don't make fun of me if you have art history in your blood."
11. It's been rainy here. I didn't think NOT having rain boots would be such a big bummer, but it really is. Walking around Paris in wet flats is the opposite of fun, and also, you really slide around on the cobbles.
12. Peanut butter here is 4€50 for a tiny jar. When I return to the States for the wedding, here's what I'm buying/coercing my mother to buy for me: waterproof shoes, pb, small jars of spices, Proactiv, those really low nylon-y socks, a haircut, a million euros, a wine opener that isn't my swiss army knife, and a lint roller. All these things are either not available to me, stupidly expensive for what they are, or things I always forget to buy.
13. I had a really good one for #13 but now I've forgotten.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Last Day of Vacation...

...which, we all know, means tomorrow = freedom! And laundry. Yes, I know, it's been almost 4 weeks since I got here...shhh...

(Oh, Friday marks four weeks. Wow.)

Anyway, today was the first Wednesday of the month, which meant air-raid sirens at noon. That was fun and interesting. Luckily, I'd been warned ahead of time, so I didn't duck-and-cover. Instead I just marveled in history and the fact that even though I've never heard an air-raid siren before, I still understood it in my gut. Funny.

Ever have those days where nothing you eat is satisfying, and you keep wondering why you're such a bottomless pit, and then all of a sudden you realize you are dying of THIRST really, and not hunger? That just happened.

I'm attempting to cut my bangs tonight. I'll let you know how that goes.

Relating to my job, today I learned about seasons at the American Library (or as my kid says, the "merry-go library"). We made paper snowflakes. Now, I am somewhat of an expert snowflake-maker, and I'm actually serious about that. And I'm proud of it--I freaking ROCK at paper snowflakes. It was all I could do today to not reach over my kid's shoulder and re-fold his paper into thirds instead of halves. Snowflakes have six sides, people, not eight.

Anyway, we also went to the park. My kid is awfully hesitant at the playground, it seems. I'm trying to get him out of his shell more, and also help the kid develop some upper body strength (this kid is a noodle, I swear). But he is not so good at wrapping his brain around the idea of pulling yourself up with your arms. When he stands on a cargo net, he puts his whole arm over the rope, instead of holding with his hands. It's going to definitely hinder his playground growth. One day we had a talk about pushing v. pulling and an English-speaking dad was definitely laughing at me. Whatever. Luckily, he has finally started testing his boundaries by occasionally not holding on when riding the spring animals, and going down slides on his knees. But he won't do anything without me being within 10 feet.

I sound like a mother. Oh well.

Had some legit Italian food tonight. Actually, I wasn't that into it. It was pasta e fagiloli, and I think it was too salty. Bummer. Luckily, we had crepes with Nutella for dessert, so all was saved.

Today I wore a maxi dress with a cardigan. Felt pretty darn fashionable. France and I are doing well together. Transition pieces for the win. Also, it's unseasonably warm here. And I'm loving it.

Well, this has been sufficiently all over the place.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Church Bells

I ccould hear the church bells ring on my unexpected holiday this morning. It's November 1st, All Saint's Day, or Toussaints. Everyone has today off from work (well, almost everyone), as it's a national holiday. With the dreariness of the clouds, today might be a perfect day to spend relaxing chez moi. Making some chickie noo-noo soup, you know. The basics. Sweats.

I had my first real visitor-type, the lovely Emily Alexy, stay! She was passing through town and we had a nice couple of days together. Yesterday we walked the Canal St. Martin and were so fascinated by the lock system. After our feet fell off from tiredness, we found a little cafe in the Marais and I introduced her to confit du canard, which I've written about before. I had some onion soup, which is one of my favorites. Yesterday was gorgeous weather, sort of the opposite of today.

Now there's no way around it--I need to do laundry. But I have a block against it. I hate it. Also I don't know how it works here, so the unfamiliar isn't appealing. Sigh. Maybe I'll do some undergarments in my sink tonight...

Planning out the rest of my 2011 has been fun. I have some upcoming trips and upcoming visitors. I have to start thinking seriously about Christmas presents, as I have to play Santa on December 10 when I go back to the States. I mean, really everyone is just going to get chocolate OR wine OR pate. It's just a matter of me choosing which ones to buy and who gets what.

I didn't do a dang thing for Halloween except carve this pumpkin:


I'm sooooo 10 years old. How do I take care of children again?

Here are a few photos of the canal. Happy November everyone!