Friday, August 31, 2012

It smelled like fish.

Entrée + Plat + Dessert
Appetizer + Main + Dessert

3 choices in each category

Entrée I chose to be adventurous and go with the unknown gyozo in a ginger sauce.  APPROVED! I was ready to lick the plate.

Plat?  'Non' to the white fish and pasta, 'Non' to the Langue de Cochon (pig's tongue) - which was actually Longe de Cochon (porc ribs) - ah the beauty of not being a native speaker.

So what did KB choose?  Poulet et tomates avec sardignes.
KB lost.  KB chose the chicken with tomatoes and sardines - which was actually not.  It was undercooked chicken that smelled like fish with some pretty tomatoes.
Sometimes adventurousness is not rewarded.

Dessert:  The server actually warned me off the peach soup with almond ice cream and tapioca, but I took it anyway.  Pretty good.  

I am sorry this is the most boring blog post ever.  I should have at least included some food porn photos.  But my fancy future phone is too future for me.  But it makes awesome phone calls!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's date night!

So I get a lot of shite for this. 
B's dad makes a joke now EVERY TIME we come over for Sunday Lunch.  His dad thinks it is funny that we go on dates.

I like dates.  Especially when I get to pick where we go - which was a stipulation of us going to dinner tonight. We're going out with a couple where the wife was my first experience with the female of the Parisian species.  Territorial, insecure, well-dressed, skinny as a rail.  Can only be fun, right?

We are going to L'Office. 

I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Retro house

We stayed with B's Grandma in the Retro house this last week.  I couldn't help myself from taking photos of the "It was all yellow" bathroom - complete with yellow bidet and yellow toilet paper.

I am just sad you missed the "bathing nude" that was the art piece in this bathroom until very recently.

something went haywire and this photo is EXTRA yellow

I am still not sure how to properly use this.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Do you think?

Do you think if I listen to all of the songs that stick in my head one after the other that their effects would cancel each other out? 
I like pop music.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ma caille

I am a crying machine.  A sympathy crying machine and a sadness sponge. 
B’s grandmother had a stroke and passed away while we were on Ile d’Yeu.  

We went back to the village where she grew up. 
Back to the cemetery where we buried his cousin 1 month ago.   
Back to the same mortuary.
I thought I would drown in all the sadness.  

But there is something very survivalist about the human soul.  It is as though you reach a limit and your body and mind self-regulate.

It was hot.  We played games and chitchatted, organized the ceremony.   Had lunch and dinner outside.  The sky in a village tucked away amid the hills is inky black.  

I can’t remember the last time I saw so many stars.

The Burgundian village of Prâlon:


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fancy Magic Induction Stove

My old stovetop had 4 burners, was a lovely mustard yellow and was commonly used as counter space.
Mostly because it only had 1 useable burner
It would trip the circut breaker and shut off all the electricty for our apartment if more than one burner was on at once. 
And the one burner only functioned on High. 
I am a genius in the kitchen because I can make a damn good meal come out of that space.

But now, I have a magic stove.

3 fully working burners
I can put it on low, 
medium high.  
And it works like a dream.
It is a shiny new black.  

And my fancy new stove that heats through mag(ic)netics boils water is less than 60 seconds.                    
I'm going to have to up my game.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

it is good to be wrong sometimes

... because this is much better than what I expected in the North Atlantic

Friday, August 10, 2012

Île d'Yeu

At first when they told me "eel d'yeuh", 
I thought, île dieu - a paradise Island from God!?  
Yes, please!

And then I remembered,  that's in the North Atlantic.

Which was not unlike when they told me we were going to St Michel


but it was actually St Michel Chef Chef
less yay.

Or when they told me we were going to Province and I thought I was going here:

but no.

 Surprise! You are going.....
...anywhere outside of Paris!

A series of unfortunate events...that happen every day

I have often heard the French are lazy.  At first I thought - this can't be true.  I don't actually know anyone who works anything close to the mandated 35 hours. (It's more like 47-hour weeks.) It's true that they like to eat 2 hour lunches and 5 hour dinners, but they are not lazy about getting work done.

And then a year passed
And I started to see a pattern.
This is what happened the other day at Darty, the Electronic Supply Store.

KB telephoning ESS 

ESS Service Center:  Hello Madame.  Please hold a minute. (I hear her talking for 2 minutes) Bonjour Madame.  Merci d'attendre une minute (je l'entendre parler avec son manager pendant 2 minutes

ESS Service Center:  Excuse me, thank you for holding. Merci, excusez-moi.

KB: Hi, You've just delivered a stovetop to my apartment and the hole in our countertop is not the right size.  Your delivery guy told me you have a service for that? Bonjour je viens d'être livré d'une plaque et le trou chez nous n'est pas de la bonne taille.  Vous avez un service "encastrable" pour l'elargir?

ESS Service Center: Is there a problem? Il y a un problème?

KB:  Yes, but not with the product.  Your delivery person told me you have a service for that - service "encastrable" Oui, mais ce n'est pas avec le produit, le livreur m'avait dit que vous avez un service pour ça, qui s'appel "Service Encastrable".

ESS Service Center:  Yes, but my computer isn't working . You'll have to go into the store, Madame. Oui, mais mon ordinateur ne fonctionne pas. il faut aller au magasin Madame. 

Luckily the closest ESS is a 5 minute walk from KB's apartment.

At the reception Desk:  Hi, I have a problem with a stovetop and they told me you have a service to widen the hole for the stovetop? Bonjour, j'ai un problème avec un plaque et ils m'ont dit que vous avez un service pour elargir le trou?

ESS Reception Desk:  Yes, but you have call and make an appointment. Oui, mais il faut appeler pour prendre rendez-vous.

KB:  Yes, but I just called to make the appointment and they told me to come into the store. Oui, mais je viens de les appeler et ils m'ont dit qu'il faut venir au magasin.

ESS Reception Desk:  So you need to see my colleagues downstairs. Donc il faut aller voir avec mes collegues en bas.

Downstairs at the Electronic Supply Store there are 2 people for the entire floor of: all kitchen and bathroom appliances,  vaccuums, refrigerators, washers/dryers, stoves/ovens. 
4 people are waiting. 
The trick is to not stop looking at them.  If they think you will let up by distracting yourself with a machine - you are clearly have not waited long enough.


Monsieur refrigerators, washers/dryers, stoves/ovens:  Ok so what do you need? Ok donc, qu'est qu'il vous faut?

KB: (Repeats the history of our stovetop) So I need an appointment for the service "encastrable".  Donc j'ai besoin du service "encastrable"

Monsieur refrigerators,washers/dryers, stoves/ovens: Ok we'll do that.Ok on vas faire ça.

He gives me a receipt with a barcode

Monsieur refrigerators, washers/dryers, stoves/ovens: You can pay upstairs with my colleague and then come back down here and we'll make you an appointment. Vous pouvez payer en haut avec ma collegue et revenir qu'on les appel pour un rendez-vous.

Upstairs, after the barcode is scanned and Madame is ready to run my credit card

ESS Reception Desk:  You are buying this service for a door? Mais vous faites pas un porte vous?

KB:  Non

ESS Reception Desk:  He made a mistake.  He must redo the receipt. Il s'est trompé.  Il faut qu'il refasse la feuille. 

Downstairs AGAIN

Monsieur refrigerators, washers/dryers, stoves/ovens: Oh, I did!  I don't know why I did that! Ah oui!  Je ne sais pas pourquoi j'ai fait ça!

KB gets the receipt, goes upstairs, pays, comes back downstairs.

Monsieur refrigerators, washers/dryers, stoves/ovens: Ok, Let's call for an appointment! Ah oui, On va les appeler.

KB:  I would like the soonest appointment possible. Tomorrow? J'aimerais bien la plus vite possible.  Demain?

Monsieur refrigerators, washers/dryers, stoves/ovens: (laugh) Not likely! (smile) It's vacation! It is going to take a long time!Mais non. C'est les vacances! ça va prendre longtemps.

Monsieur refrigerators, washers/dryers, stoves/ovens calls: Oh no! It's not possible! They don't even respond anymore.  It rings busy and I am just supposed to keep calling until I get through?!  I am going to go see my director! Ah non!  C'est pas possible!  Ils ne répondent même plus.  ça sonne occupé maintenant et il faut qu'on continue à rappeler jusqu'au qu'on as quelqu'un.  Je vais voir avec mon directeur. 
The ESS service center changed the call system so that even when their own stores call in - there is no answer, no voice mail.  It just rings. and they have to keep calling until someone picks up. 

Monsieur refrigerators, washers/dryers, stoves/ovens goes upstairs and comes back 5 minutes later.

Monsieur refrigerators, washers/dryers, stoves/ovens: We're going upstairs.  It will be my director that calls. He has a different number than I do. On va la haut ça sera mon directeur qui appel.  Il a un autre numéro que moi.


KB sitting at the desk waiting for the director for 10 minutes.

ESS Director:  You are the one waiting for an appointment...? C'est vous qui attend...

KB:  Yes! Oui!

ESS Director:  The line is busy. I''ll call you when I am able to get through. La ligne est occupé.  Je vous appel quand j'arrive de les avoir.

KB thinks:  You, the director, are going to keep calling until you get an open line and then call me back with the appointment?  I forsee me having to come back here tomorrow.

The alternate title for this post was:  How to make simple things very complicated and time consuming

So it's not that I think the French, or perhaps the Parisians, are lazy- they are just unwilling to invite more complication where even the most simplest (making an appointment) of tasks is complex.

Total time of the unfinished task: 90 minutes.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Classy remarks by awesome journalists

It's nice to see the coverage of the Olympics over here.  A more rounded view of the Olympics with as much coverage for ping pong as for shooting.
Let me say that bouncy ping pong is riveting to watch.

And the commentary:

About the North Korean who won gold in Judo "She doesn't smile much in her own country"

To the female French swimmer that failed to qualify for the final "How does it feel to fail after your teammates won gold just a couple of hours ago?"

 "Do you have any regrets about this match?" to the French wrestling champion Christophe Guenot after his loss on his last Olympic games.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Lost the battle but won the war

It must be said that the generic 1st response to any question in France is "no", or more Frenchly "Non!".  You might even get the impression that they didn't hear what you said.  But if you learn to translate correctly (as done by David Lebovitz, the famous pastry chef/cookbook author) what this actually means "Convince me".

B made me work my behind off at this. And it only took me 4 years to figure it out. As you might remember the beginning from the swimming pool incident.

KB: Let's go to the pool

B: Non!

(repeat 10 times, add increasing anger & whining)

Then I moved on to the gym.

KB:  Come to the gym with me and get some exercise!

B: Non!  (translation:  I need specific work out clothes, perhaps 8 of my friends and a small black & white ball to run after, plus beers afterwards and andouillette)

KB challenges: Yes!
The gym is forced on B.  He returns with this commentary:
B:"It looks like a porn.  They make the same repetitive movement, they are sweating and don't look very happy"

1 year later

KB: Come with me to yoga in the south!

B: Non!

KB:  I want you to go to yoga with me in the south!

B:  ok.

What will I do with all my free time now that I don't have to argue with B about exercise?

Sidenote:  For those of you that think yoga is a female activity.  Please refer to the photo below of my yoga compatriot from the retreat in July.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I am totally allowed to mock your language skills. I get it every day!

A short extract from the email B sent to my sister and her husband after hearing about the birth of their new baby: 

"PS I am already preparing my best muppet show in order to get a smile for your little girl!"

KB Translation:  I will be doing my best impression of the Kermit the Frog on the street so that I can buy your baby some smiles at the store.   

Magic toilet paper

Simple pleasure:  I purposely buy the toilet paper with the cardbored center that disolves in water.  It means I don't have to take anything out of the toilet room to throw away.  I love it. 

Ridiculous marketing:  Our friends order their groceries online and get them delivered.  They always get free samples that come with it.  Their last free sample was not a roll of toilet paper with the dissolvable center - but just the dissolvable center with fold out instructions and commentary.
Yes kids!  Have fun throwing the end of your toilet paper roll into the toilet but make sure to read the directions! 

Reality:  It was probably fun for their 3-year-old to throw it in the toilet...for a whole 3 seconds.  I hope she doesn't get any bright ideas about other things to stick in the toilet.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fully cooked, sweet potato

I had to tell my girlfriends about my new baby niece.  In order to give them the details I had to convert inches and pounds to centimeters and kilos. 

But, the conversion program I use is for cooking. 
 Slightly disconcerting,
     Do I convert my niece as flour or chocolate? 

And then I found it:  Sweet Potato 
Yea that sounds just right.
Little pink baby sweet potato, fully cooked.