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.