Tuesday, January 25, 2011

mini cancer?

So it is really popular to smoke here. Still.
I thought it would have died down with the negative ad campaigns and the statistics on lung cancer. But it really hasn't.

While I worked 6 months at a private high school I was shocked at the amount of kids smoking. They are not allowed to smoke on the property of the school so they all stand just outside the gate. My adorable kids from the 15 year old class, sitting around trying to look cool. Because, of course, "all the cool kids do it". But really, it's more like "all the adults do it".

Even 3 of my 5 closest girlfriend's have picked up smoking.
My one girlfriend, C, from my old office smokes this skinny Marylin Monroe sort of cigarette. And I want to say "So, do you get an adorably skinny cancer instead of a regular sized cancer with those?"

Yup. me - big balls. Though I have yet to say it out loud. Somehow I don't think she thinks about that like I do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Because she let me...

I like to take photos.
like everyone else.

My pregnant friend R, after continued harrassement and threats that I would loudly sing Barney to her pregnant belly, smartly gave in and let me take some pictures of her.

This was our favorite

How the French are like French Bulldogs

So I am planning a surprise baby shower for my friend R and I was thinking of asking her French husband for a list of things they still need for the baby and then I remembered how he probably has no idea what they need and how him subtly asking her what they need would be similar to a French bulldog sneaking up on someone.

Don't get me wrong, in matters of love a Frenchman can oh-so-subtly kiss your hand while simultaneously talking to you about the weather and sliding his other hand right down your pants.

but when it comes to something less sexy or something they don't want to do, it's right up there with the bulldogs. Loud, pudgy, adorably ugly French bulldogs.

If you don't know anything about this adorably ugly type of dog let me enlighten you with the help of yourpurebredpuppy.com.

Snorting, snuffling, wheezing, snoring, and some slobbering go with the territory of short-faced breeds.

So you can see, I am on my own for finding out what R is going to need.

Just for fun, check out this adorable video of a French bulldog puppy. You'll be full of the humorous guilt of laughing at your best friend after they slipped and fell on their ass.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Smoked tea chicken

I was “offered” a cooking class (franglais translation: given as a gift). So I can be even more of a genius in the kitchen. My class with the “girlfriends” (the girlfriends/wives of boyfriends’ friends- repeat 10 times fast) was Cooking with Tea.

So, I was looking for the recipe and I fell on this little treat. Very clearly a translation.

Check out “Practice 1”

Oolong tea smoked chicken


1 chicken, a little salt, brown sugar bowl, tea bowl.


1. Chicken Rinse the chicken with salt all over the body and abdominal wipe, marinate for 1 hour.

2. To pot 40 minutes, and then stew for 15 minutes. Drain the juice out steam.

3. Pot dry, laying into the aluminum foil, place brown sugar, tea, and then into the grill.

4. Chicken on the grill, lid tightly closed, first open the fire, so that the pot is full of smoke, and then smoked over low heat about 10 minutes, turning it over and then smoked 7 minutes, until golden brown chicken body into flame.

Anyone want to chicken rinse me with an abdominal wipe?
btw my smoked tea chicken was awesome

Friday, January 14, 2011


So boyfriend has underwear that costs so much it must be categorized as lingerie.

This is an up and coming sector - men and beauty products. It goes along with cologne, hair gel, and luxury goods. It could be the gays, the metrosexuals, or just the fact that women are not the only ones prancing around and having to preen their feathers to find a mate (peacock?).

"45Euro!!" I said

"Yes" boyfriend said "But you can pick them out"

oooh! I thought. I get to pick out my boyfriend's Mangerie (Man lingerie). And he did say ANYTHING. Should I get the flames with the red devil? Or the gay 1970's multicolored disco party pants?
But no, I am boring and would feel bad every time I saw multi colored disco party underwear that cost 45 euro.
Kind of like spending 30euro on one box of chocolates (oh wait, I did that.)
Classy black with multicolored pinstripes it is.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


So my girlfriends are funny.

They love boyfriend. Like everyone gets along like peas and carrots.

He totally accepts that everyone hangs out late and sometimes slumber parties at our place. They are kind of brother-sistery.

And like most brother-sister relationships, there is an element of teasing. The latest installment of which is a Facebook page for boyfriend. Boyfriend refuses to be a part of the egocentrical hourly updating-“I washed my hair” “I went to the grocery store and they were out of corn!”

So, my gfs created a page for him. A page where he likes

Which didn’t seem to bother his brother, his friends or my aunt.

Maybe my gf's should add if he is Team Edward or Team Jacob.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Would you like some chocolate with your chocolate chocolate with chocolate frosting and shiny decorated chocolate balls?

This is our buche de noel (yule log). It is a traditional French cake eaten at Christmas time.

I force boyfriend to keep French traditions because (a) I need some sort of continuity and (b) because I am always looking for a good excuse to have a party or eat a cake.

So here we are at Christmas time listening (on repeat) the Starbuck’s Christmas cd, while I make a wreath with wine corks and ribbon (I am so crafty! But not Beastie Boy’s crafty) and eat Buche (boeuwshe) de Noel.

I used to have buche de noel in my French class in middle school. It was this thin sponge cake layered with butter cream and then rolled up. Then covered in icing and “painted” to look like the log of a tree, complete with sprigs of pine and mushrooms. I don’t remember what it tasted like but I do remember it being the best cake ever. (Could it be that I was dying of hunger in my 8th grade 4th period class?)

Well, as you know, Frantasyland is all about the pastries and the modern buche, which only kind of resembles the tradition and my middle school version in its round form, is a perfect example.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Brussels/Bruxelles aka my first European love.

I can't pretend that France was my first love. I liked French as a kid and the idea of Frantasyland (pastries, romance, the beautiful city of lights and art). But as most everyone else, I went there, people were French to me and I decided I didn't like France very much.
Then I graduated university and started looking internationally. I found a position in Brussels, Belgium and within 1 months time, had moved my entire life over there.
Because I am crazy.
I couldn't even pinpoint this country for you on a map, nor could I tell you anything about it other than the fact that they were supposed to make good chocolate and (only because I had presented this country to my international economics class) that they belong to just about every international organization that exists (except ASEAN, because they don't qualify).

But after 3 years, I began to love this country (and not just because the Belgians finally decided I had done my time and could now be invited to dinner parties). I actually felt quite Zen there. And even though it is the most heavy source of tension and conflict (and governmental upset), the double cultures of Flanders (flemish speakers) and Wallon (french speakers) are the balanced scale. The logical and unpresumptuousness of the Flemish with the style and taste of the Wallons.

And so of course I miss it. And every couple of months, I need a fix. And so I just go back and wander the cobbled streets.....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Ballet

I never thought I would love the ballet or the opera as much as I did when I was a kid.

When I was 8, I used to sit in my mom's room staring mesmerized at PBS replaying opera for hours. My mother took me to Madame Butterfly and I fell asleep just before the most exciting part (she kills herself). And that was the end of my love for opera.
When I was in high school, we got underpriced tickets and extra credit for going to the opera. We went to see Hamlet. I was bored to tears. (sidenote: I don't think Hamlet should ever be made into an opera).

And then this year we went to the opera. I was a bit worried, but I figured I could at least stare at the architecture of the famous Opera Garnier of Paris if I started feeling the urge to scratch my eyes out. But I didn't and it was alright. In fact, I was absolutely fascinated with the musicians and the voices (ignoring the comedy of the piece and the comedy of the modernized costumes). And tonight it was the same with the ballet at the Bastille. The music was lovely, LOVELY. And those tight bums were so tight in their tights.

And those ballerinas so beautiful and strong and amazing. You've got to feel for the lead girl. On her TOES ALL NIGHT long, and keeping her body stone hard while she gets twirled around like a music box 30 times a night. I hope she gets massages for free. Seriously.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rosemary and thyme roasted chicken or pepperoni pizza flavored chips

cheeseburger flavor?

...or maybe bacon

You can also have:

smoked ham
braised chicken
chili & cheese
and of course salted, peppered and vinegar...

It's almost like Willy Wonka's dinner chewing gum!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The subjunctive

So boyfriend's dad corrects my french mistakes. And yes it is good for me to be corrected. No one else does anymore (I am apparently snappy when I get corrected).
But he literally cannot stop himself from correcting, and explaining to me what the subjunctive is and that it is a verb from the "3rd group".
It happens at least once every time we see each other. Which is about every 6 weeks.

Note to French people: We do not teach our language with verbs in groups.

I think this is conditioning. Something that has been repeated and drummed in so long that they cannot help themselves, no matter how many times you tell them you don't care about the subjunctive.

I suppose we all have something, right?

"Hate" would be a nice word for how I feel about people talking with their mouths open. (Thanks dad!)

I eat regularly with people who talk with food in their mouth.
Not in-the-side-of-their-mouth-talking, but sounds-almost-resembling-words-coming-out-of-teeth-mashing-meat sort of talking, threatening at any moment to launch spittle and half-chewed meat onto my face.
Yes, really.  Gross. 

So yes, French people, let's make a trade.  I'll start practicing my "3rd group" verbs and if you stop forcing me to wear a rain poncho and face mask every time we eat together.