Saturday, December 29, 2012

How is your breakfast made?

This video is awesome!  I am reblogging it from one of my favorite crafty people, DesignMom.

 Did you ever want to know how French pastries are made? 

The windows and the Tree

So continuing in my Christmas Dictatorship, we went to see the vitrines of the Grands Magasins

And here they are...


Oh yea! The Tree

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas is coming, KB is getting ...

 So 2 years ago I was looking at this gigantic thing.
Unlike the hundreds of other planes I had flown in, this one suddenly seemed too large to fly.
(Because airplanes only carrying 600 people are light as feathers! Logical, I know.)
But double decker with double engines on each wing.  HEAVY!

I actually started sweating.  (Clearly a mental break). And too my utter delight when I sat down, I had my own video screen where I could watch live the feed from the tail camera. I could watch myself go down in flames on my own personal tv screen!  How awesome is that!?

Sadly, I did not go down in flames.  It was actually a brand new plane, silent as a hotel room with really comfortable chairs.  The best flight I've ever had. 
Except for that time when my seat was 1A...


This year there will be no planes, only food.  Feast 1 at parents, Feast 2 at Aunts, Feast 3 at restaurant with Grandma and the extended family.  This was the menu and food for the latter, circa 2011: 

Did I mention PRE-Dessert?

Followed by POST dessert: a round of coffee/tea and homemade caramel & truffles.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas market fun

So there are lights on the Champs-Elysees.  And there is that big, ridiculous ferris wheel they put up at the end of the Tuileries.  But mostly, Christmas in Paris takes the form of Christmas Markets.

Like their close cousin, the produce market, they are all over Paris and filled with cold sellers rubbing their hands together and selling you expensive things.

Christmas Market at....

...La Defense, the business district.  Otherwise known as "that huge hollow square" you can see from the Arc de Triomphe

Sometimes it is old hat: polished rocks and vegetable choppers/peelers/squeezers.
Sometimes the randomness is exciting: a kit to make your own 3-d greeting cards.

But really - isn't all about the food court?
When we went to Vienna 2 years ago we drank gluwine.
At Parisian markets it seems to be the raclette.

At every corner food stand, next to the 3 gigantic flat pans of cooking onions, sausage and meat, you will find about 5 of these:
thanks to
Yes, that is a half-wheel of cheese.  And that other thing is some sort of heating coil.

After you order, they open you a small baguette and fill it with some very salty ham.  And then they go from heating coil to heating coil, scraping off the warm melted cheese directly into your sandwich.
thanks to

I didn't get one.  But I am a fan of trying things.  And since my friend got one, I had to try it. 
Let me tell you, it was worth it. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Icy & bright down below

Sunset view through the plane window flying to Canada

Toronto.  Difficult to comprehend that each set of 2 lights on the freeway is a person. And that each person is driving their way back to one light on the street - each linked to a home.  And how many thousands of cars,  hundreds of homes and millions of people.  The immensity of it all.    

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nowhere to go

So we were in Ireland for a week and the U.S. for 10 days and now we are back.  Back to winter nights that last from 17h (5p.m.) to 8h (a.m.).
And we are cranky.

I am cranky because my neighbor across the hall - you know, the one with the "My husband isn't home" welcome mat - is still smoking.  And it is still making our toilet room like a discotheque minus the mirror ball and lights (I do really need to get on that).

And now we have a nice young couple in the apartment above us.  And I don't know what she does but at about 2h30 in the morning once a week he YELLS some foul things.

And b is cranky because...well I'm not really sure why.

And even the birds.
I opened our shutters this morning to this...

An apparent throw down on our balcony between a moineau (mwahn-o  sparrow) and a pigeon.  Though there are about 25 moineaux that live in the garden and I can't see how a pigeon could win.  More like a game of Angry Birds.

AND then there was the alarm this morning.
Have you watched any movie about any person during a war.  And they play that alarm when the bombers are coming.  Yea, they set THAT alarm off the first Wednesday of every month just to make sure its working.
The bombs come every month.
It's like scary movie music.

So I just want to listen to ridiculously loud Christmas music.  But I can't because our apartment is only 2 rooms and the walls are thin.  Me, the young yellers upstairs, the chain smoker, the angry birds and B are all in it together.
Welcome back to Paris!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Speaking of Hot Chocolate

This is the business

It is so rich that it is solid at room temperature.
I am pretty sure it is actually just chocolate butter.
mmmm melt in your mouth chocolate butter

If you cannot find a place to buy this, it seems that Anthony Bourdain has a replacement recipe because he likes chocolate butter too. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Dictatorship

I am in full holiday mode.  We went to visit my family for Thanksgiving and had a little Christmas on the last day. 
Now, I want Christmas.  I want lights, I want hot chocolate and apple cider and eggnog, I want my mini apartment to smell like cinnamon and pine and I want so much holiday music that it makes people want to kill me.

Holidays are my excuse to gather everyone around in the dark of winter.  R and A are hindu and muslim, respectively.  They get Frantasyland excited about Christmas. (They want the pastries but not the dog droppings on the street). To be fair - there isn't really a dark or bad side of Christmas.  But NO we cannot listen to Wax Tailor while sitting around the Christmas Tree with hot chocolate. 

I'm going to make a rule in my house that if you come you must have the full experience. 
And yes, this is a dictatorship. 

Like when I almost locked a 4 year old in the hall because he wouldn't say hello and give me the bises.
These are the rules.  Whether you are 30 or 4. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

"I love that _____!"

So maybe the last post on Ireland

Anyway, after being in Ireland for almost a week I got my chattiness back. We were at the wedding ceremony and there was a girl with almost my same dress.  (Did I mention we went to Ireland for a wedding?) Anyway
So to start making friends, I politely told this girl that she couldn't sit next to me.  She laughed and we had a grand old time all evening.
Around the end of the night (about 4a.m.) she said "and I love that necklace.  You've got it all!" to which I immediately replied "Yes I do!"

And then a couple of hours later my brain started cranking away, moving towards France and a very Parisian girl thought came into my head:  Did she say that as an insult? 

And with these thoughts you cannot win with.  Because you will never know. 
And suddenly all the compliment went away. 

Curse you Parisiennes for poisoning my mind with Mean Girls bitchiness.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Random from 27 November 2012

The best bra ever.  
No joke. You can sleep, dance, do jumping jacks in this thing.  It feels like your ladies are setting themselves into a nice comfortable couch.  The most of the most comfortable: the plain colors in demi.

Why French female soccer players are different than American soccer players...Um makeup on the field.     Ridiculous. 

Proof of my stubborness:
for dinner last night I had a small salad with tomatoes, onions, lettuce and potato chips.
Today it will be alphabet pasta with olive oil, garlic and tomatoes
Because I refuse to borrow money from next months budget to buy something not already in the house.
We can totally do 12 euros for dinner for 4 days! 
Nutella from 2 years ago is a totally acceptable breakfast, we're in France!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Irish Breakfast

Traditional breakfast is

a lot of meat.  Every morning.
Someone at the end told us it was only for weekends.
Good thing we stopped eating lunch because we were so full.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Colors, Dunfanaghy

Are you tired of Ireland yet?  Well you're not allowed.  Partly because I took too many photos.  And partly because it was so cool. 

So here is more:
The full range of Fall nail polish colors: stormy sea blue, wild grass, mossy green, rust, burnished cinnamon, and old stone gray.

We wandered around in ruins we found.

Saw the tallest cliffs in Europe

And were just generally amazed by the scenery.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunshine and Leprechauns

There was no shortage of castles or coastline in North Ireland.  And we were lucky enough to get some completely unexpected sunshine - and even a rainbow.  When we saw it, I tried to swerve the car over to follow it but B thought I was trying to drive on the right side and kept firmly in heart-attack lane left.  Plus apparently no one told the Frenchman about Leprechauns. 
Dude, why else would you go to Ireland if you don't drink whiskey? Hello Pot of Gold!

Dunluce Castle

Downhill House

Mussenden Temple

Leprechaun + pot of gold