Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving thanks

"We are never so aware of the blessings we have in our life until we no longer have them"

Be aware today of all the good things in your life. And then eat a whole bucket load of turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

arrete for user sluttiness

My french computer is on 'pose' (break).

It has a nasty search engine redirect virus that I must fix. so no more proper spelling of french words with accents. And on to relearning tech language.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why is it that...

..when my computer gets a virus, I feel like I have been slutty with it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Dessert had 3 parts. (1) It had it's own amuse bouche

mocha eclair, pistachio macaron, nougat, mini caramel apple pie

(2) The official dessert was:

Mousseline de biscuit rose de Reims et pamplemousse, gélée de ratafia aux zestes de citron

Rose and grapefruit cookie topped with white chocolate petals, grapefruit sorbet, one slice of pink grapefruit and gold leafing. Decorated with pink gel and lime peel.

(3)And finally the birthday cake:

A light-as-air raspberry mousse layered in raspberry cake. Decorated with figues, raspberries and white chocolate

"Ladies First!" said Pamela Purse

I am the fourth child.
This meant the sleeves were long, the ski pants two seasons old, the sports equipment has already seen 3 lifetimes of use and, if we are continuing the "seniority" theme, (which is the case 99% of the time) I never get the front seat or first pick.

And now, my friends, I live in France where it is all about beautiful women. At first, this was a bit disconcerting. I couldn't understand why my boss would literally hold every door and wait until I went through. Why at the dinner table I am served 2nd (sometimes 1st if there is not an older woman at the table).

But now I'm over it. Being served 1st suits me just fine.

Suck on that Meggan!
(PS I still love you)

Rules of thumb

You know you live in a nice neighborhood if there is an italian epicerie.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

walking up montmartre

I convinced my girlfriends to come and make my favorite walk with me up the backside of Montmartre.

Montmartre is the hill overlooking Paris, famous for the Basilica of Sacre Coeur. It also has had several famous inhabitants including Van Gogh and Picasso. The latter of which chose the area, an artists' square, and the best view of Paris. At the base of Montmartre is place du clichy and the Moulin Rouge.

It is a steep climb to the top.

Another photo marred by an unused trash bin

Along the route there is this:

Le Passe-muraille

An illustration from a famous french book about a man who could walk through walls.

And also this:

There are tents all over Paris because of a program by Medecins du monde where they give away tents to the homeless.
They are in the most random places. In the rich and chic area next to the Arc, and on the Ile St Louis. And on the way up to Montmartre

Monday, November 15, 2010

Photo Exhibitions

Being in Paris means I get to go to see Art all of the time. Even when I don’t want to and it surprises me in all its’ steamy, wing-flapping uselessness in a train station. But I am a big fan of the fact that I can go see photography shows all the time.

I saw Richard Avedon (1923-2004)

My favorite

Dovima with Elephants 1955

Willy Ronis 1910-2009

Le petit parisien 1952

My favorite

Petits Napolitains 1938

I love the expressions on their faces, like 40 year old men. And the crying little sister clutching her dress and doll.

Raymond Depardon (1942- )

A modern documentary maker who took a 2 year break to photograph France.

I admire the project but not necessarily the work. His photos made France look empty.

Yesterday we went to Maison Européene de la Photography (European House of Photography). The Extreme exhibition had some interesting photos,

Rodrigo Braga, Communion I

but what I really liked was the med/art exhibit. A doctor started creating art with MRI images. The exhibition was very dark and it had the same feeling as photos of space. A little new agey, 3-d, hypercolor, but it was a nice contrast to the seriousness of the shock exhibition.

Rodolphe von Gombergh

AND I am a nerd when it comes to space photos.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Who got sold?!

So marketing has the ability to create desire, make habits. It can make you crave a cinnamon rolls after watching someone eat a gooey, sweet, cinnomany mess of bread on a commercial. It can create an unrealistic need based on skewed data or statistics. We all thought H1N1 was going to go crazy, right? And then it never did. And we all think that when you get in the shower, you wash your body with soap and your hair with shampoo and conditioner, right? Except maybe not.
My boyfriend does not use conditioner. (Because he is a guy, right? Guys don't use conditioner, maybe?)
And at the store I can only find 2 conditioners for ever brand. (Imagine 10 Pantene shampoos and 1 or 2 Pantene conditioners)
I go to the beauty supply store (to use a credit I had) and I try to buy nice, salon quality shampoo and conditioner. Ok for shampoo, but no regular, daily-use conditioners. They have hair masks and hair treatments, but no "after shampoo". The owner asks me if I have particularly dry hair. I start making excuses for why my hair doesn’t look like I spent more than 2 minutes fixing it. Finally, he finds something that seems like what I want.
But it's not. When I get home and try it, it leaves my hair humid and kind of sticky tacky. This stuff is not conditioner. It's a "seriously damaged hair" mask.
Conclusion: I don’t think French people use conditioner

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thing or the claw?

I also love that at this nice château/hotel they were hosting 3 pieces from a contemporary artist.("contemporary" is the period in art -I have been told - after "modern").
I do love sculpture but could not get over the fact that this hand at the entrance looks like Thing (from the Addams Family) or the Claw (from Liar Liar). And it is out to get you.

P.S. The windows on the top left were our room.

roll of the dice success

So I was so tired last night that I didn't want to do anything, including cook. But it's amazing what a good couple's spat and some cauliflour cheddar soup can achieve.

And then this morning I used the butternut squash I had left over to make a GREAT pumpkin hazelnut clafoutis. That might sound like I know what I am doing in the kitchen (and it is true that I am a secret genius) but I don't. Full of contradictions, I know.

Clafoutis is an eggy sweet pie with no crust, and generally with fruit. It sounds odd, but a cherry clafoutis is actually really good. I made individual ones in muffin tins because they cook faster.

Boyfriend's parents came over to help us with some handyman work. And anytime you have a visit, it is required that you put some sweet little somethings out for your guests. So, really convenient that I like to meddle in the kitchen. And kind of amazing that French people aren't fat.

And what that 5 star hotel looks like on the inside...

Would you like room no. 1?

Or room no. 2 ?

I'll take room no.2! And could you please ring my room's doorbell (like I live here), 3 minutes later and with your white gloved hands, pour me a glass of champagne at two o'clock in the afternoon?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I am hungry
and I am a good cook. In fact, some of you might know that I am a genius in the kitchen.

But tonight,
I want someone else's food. I am not sure what or who. I just don't want what is in my fridge, or something I have to cook or something boyfriend will cook me.
I just want someone else's dinner.

Kind of like you're a kid and you want to eat what Ashley's mom is making for dinner. (Which was basically me all the time because my mom didn't make dinner).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What a 5 star hotel looks like in France

I stayed here one night.
And let me tell you my friends, it was LOOOVVELY.

She won't give you the real answer unless you point out how ludicrous her response was.

So I read several blogs. I don't know why, but they all happen to be people who currently live in Utah or have lived in Utah a significant amount of time. I can't tell if this is just coincidence or me feeding the Utah in my bones.

Yesterday, one of my favorite speed, OCD, crazy blog writing Utah immigrants posted about watching a House Hunters episode about a family moving to France from the midwest. And how, when the family remarked on the lack of child-protection devices on 2nd story windows, the realtor said that they should tell their 2 year old to "not to jump out the window".

This struck me for two reasons:

How ludicrous the idea of just telling a 2 year old not to do something like "jump out a window" and expecting that child not do it, is.


How unsurprising this comment is.

This would not have come out of every French person's mouth. And yes, there is a law regulating and REQUIRING protection of windows that infants and young children could try to climb through or fall out of. She has given the answer that will make the client shut up the fastest.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Seasons change

Autum ending

Winter moving in over the longest car windshield in France.

Hot & Cold

French winters, like Belgian winters, are gray and drizzly. There is this humidity that permeates everything. I didn't realize how dry and temperate inland US is (Utah, Minnesota, Iowa). The land of 10,000 lakes doesn't sound like a potentially dry place, but in comparison to France, it really is.
So this humidity permeates the old stone walls of apartment buildings. Boyfriend came home last night and said "It's hot in here". I did have the heater up to seven (settings: 1-8 and no I don't know how that translates into thermostat language). But it's the kind of heat that is just in the air. Like if you had a pot full of 100 degree steam, but the pot itself was cold.

Now I understand why tapestries exist.

Does anyone have any left over shag 70's carpet that I can attach to the walls?

Saturday, November 6, 2010


So this weekend we will be going to celebrate the birthday of my boyfriend's mom. We are going to a nice hotel outside of Reims (back to champagne region) and we will be going to a starred restaurant to eat for, no doubt, 4 hours.

Michelin stars restaurants. Yes, we are talking about the marshmallow man. Michelin started giving stars to restaurants in their travel guides in the early 1900's. They have since become the standard in France. The system is so well recognized all over France that chefs have comitted suicide after losing a star.

Thinking of guides like ZAGAT, I did not give much weight to the stars in the beginning.

But, this is a summary of our first dinner:

amuse bouche (spoonful or spoonsful of something great to start)

entrée (appetizer)

palette cleanser (like the amuse bouche, just a taste of something)

plat (main course)

palette cleanser


coffee/tea/digestif (strong liquor aiding in digestion)

It is all artfully prepared with flavors that marry. It is what you see on top chef, but with tried and true recipes, and perfectly matched drinks.
I have eaten so much at a "starred" dinner that I literally thought I would pop.
So this weekend I am sure it will be good. I will bring photos if I am not to embarassed to take them.

Friendship in 30 words

What do you want in a new friend?

I want someone I can laugh with, do crazy things. Someone who is stylish with a meticulous and practical eye for clothing and accessories to help me in not looking like I stepped out of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Someone who likes to workout. Oh yea and someone who is gourmande, which translates to one of the 7 deadly sins of gluttony, even when they say it, the french look at you with a glint in their eye as if they were saying "oh you wicked little devil"

So, I found some ads for FRIENDSHIP in the english speaking journal of Paris.

Actually, I do this a lot. It is my comic relief. It reminds me how different all of our "ads" might be when looking for a new friend. And also because it is pure comedy.

Parisian German professor seeks
charming friend who likes music
and poetry for a nice love story.


Gentleman seeking a good
honest lady to share the
dance of life. You could be
the one :)

but the real coup d'état is this one:

Hello beautiful black lady with
long legs, your french doctor
is waiting for you in Paris.


Did you know in France you can where your dress to bed?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Do you ever, while scheduling for a Wednesday just look straight at the middle of the week of your calendar?

Me too!

But guess whose calendar starts on Monday(lundi) and not on Sunday?

Yes, that would be me.

And guess who has continually mis-scheduling dates because "26 years of scheduling on a Sunday-starting calendar doesn’t go away in an instant" (give or take two years).

Again, me.

At least I can use "culture shock" as my excuse instead of "old age".

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Canal St Martin

A swanky artsy-hippi area with lots of Lebanese takeout.


Velib is the system of bikes placed around the city connected to electronic kiosks where anyone with a credit card can rent them. It looks like the bike rack at elementary school, only with all of the same bikes

French words of the day: bicycle = velo + libre = free

I like taking the bikes around the city on Sunday morning around 10 when all good Parisians are still asleep and there are no cars on the road. Then I do not have to worry about intersections with round-a-bouts or intersections that look like they should be round-a-bouts but instead have 17 different traffic lights in every imaginable direction but up.
But ,what I really love about velibs are the guys in suits with briefcases using velibs as a shortcut to bypass standstill traffic in order to get to their office after their 3 hour lunch.