Friday, April 26, 2013

I am magic

I am a serial plant killer
really really.
but I made these grow from tomato seeds I dried last year.

You may have grown an entire other human being inside your own body, but
I grew that. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Date à l'amèricaine

It was impromptu date night last night.  So we went to see this guy

Pita's are in the range of fast food/street food.  They are what I used to eat in the wee hours of the morning after dancing for hours. So I have good memories of pita's.

There is lettuce, tomato and onion underneath that pile of meat.  And Samourai sauce - it is like spicy fry sauce. (Shout out to my Utah homies)
In Belgium the pitas are served in a tortilla and the fries are inside.  It is GOOD.  Go big or go home, I say.  If you are going to give yourself clogged arteries and a heart attack, you should have a great big one.

And my 2nd favorite part

I love nickel machines, quarter machines, penny machines.  I think it is my inner gambler. 
But gambling is just silly.  Why would you even play a game that you could lose? So maybe it is more my inner need for instant gratification.

And then date night finished with this
I was craving a little James Bond after discussing the series ad nauseum the weekend before.  I was looking for Casino Royale and assumed it would be in the suggestions section of Skyfall.  But no, by French logic (I'd love to see the algorithm for that) RAMBO is the closest thing to Daniel Craig in a tuxedo. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Le sigh

The French might be the kings of exagerrated non-verbal signs.  They don't like giving praise - it should be understood that if no C'est de la merde was uttered, that what you have done is good. Or if things go the other direction, they just might force out Le sigh.

You should hear this rush of air being forced out of almost-pouted lips, saturated with eye-rolling disgust. It is impressive how they are able to fit so much irritation into one exhale.

But adding irritation to already irritating situations had to stop.  Must get Frog to poop outside of the pond.
I had heard it a hundred times, didn't quite remember to catch it in the act. 
So this is the first time I could consciously point it out.  We were at an airport, our flights had been canceled, thus causing a serious problem for us to catch our connecting flight, to get to our hotel that was already paid for, and pick up our rental car to drive across Costa Rica to pick up my dear old dad and stepmom, with whom we were sharing a car to get to my sister's wedding.
But this was not why Le Sigh came out. No.  I hear the wind in my ear, only to turn in the direction of my Cheri to see him looking across airport check-in hall  at a woman with a small dog... in a wheel chair.  It looked something like this

This was the scene that was so irritating that he forced Le Sigh out. 
Yes, what could possibly be more irritating than being late for my sister's wedding, leaving my dad waiting for us for 4 hours at the airport only to take a Costa Rican bus across the mountains, and us losing money vacation time.  Apparently a dog in a wheelchair.

On a more awesome note, I realized I have begun doing Le Sigh. 
I suppose it shouldn't be much of a surprise, when I first got here and we had arguments, I spoke in French.  It may have been the awkward Belgian French that the French French deem as coming out of the mouth of a Spanish Cow, but still, I could be clearly understood. So it shouldn't really be surprising that I would take a step forward towards Frenchness in order to be understood. 
Yes, now everyone will completely understand me when I am so disdainfully full of disgust at a situation that  I must lazily roll my eyes and force all the air out of my half-puckered lips. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Taking your breath away one naked statue at a time

It is easy for things to get banal here.  You forget to see the beauty of the city.  You go to work, you come home, you rush to the grocery store, you rush to meet friends.  You descend into the dusty metro packed with people and fight for space, only to come up like a mole at your destination.

But sometimes, I get those "through a window" moments of shock.

At home I used to get it when I looked at the mountains.  
In Belgium, it was the Grand Place.
In Paris it's the Opera Garnier.  

It's the view that never gets old.  The view that takes your breath away every time. 

When you come out of the metro - it is all gold and copper tease

Don't even get me started on the inside...

Through a window: Marais

And what to my wondering eyes should appear...

a huge stork painted on a side roof.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

my Gardienne

A green envelope and a postcard slipped under my door?  This is a good mail day.  

We have a Gardien.
A gardien lives in one of the apartments in your building (usually by the entry) and they take care of the building and the inhabitants.  They make sure the hallways and entry are clean, they take care of your plants while you are on your 4 week holiday (if you ask nicely), and they receive and deliver the mail throughout the building. Which is good because deliveries sometimes happen between "9h and 13h", AND the package must be "opened and checked" for damage in front of the delivery guy and then signed for. 
Because no one actually works right?  And if they do, I am sure it is entirely acceptable to stay home every couple of months because you have to "receive" a package being delivered, right?

But if your building has a Gardien, they might be able stick around and "receive" your package.

Or give you the good gossip and goings-on, because they know everyone's business.
Or maybe tell you the secrets to getting things done in the building. 

OR you might just like having a gardien because without saying one nasty word, she helped you clean up after the incontinent 17-year-old dog you were dog-sitting unceremoniously lost control of his bladder on the carpet in front of the LAST door to the street on the first day you met.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring by chocolate & flowers

Guess who showed up today for the 2nd time?
Bless you for coming, bless you.

I have been courting Spring for weeks now.  One nice day here - washing down of our entire balcony and windows.  One nice Spring day there - leaving the house in just a fleece and scarf instead of the full on quilted doudoune (down coat).
And now, after 4 weeks, these guys came out

2 wks ago in permagray soup.
This morning.
I may be a serial plant killer but other people are not and they give me gifts when they come for dinner.  Economies of scale, see?  You - plant growers, me - food maker.  It works.

This weekend I bought a 25euro food utensil at a professional kitchen store.  And a 36euro cake for 4 people.  Magical Frantasyland.
I am easily seduced by the old school design, white marble counter tops and pale blue walls.  Elegant black script and 36euro price tags.
items may have shifted to the right during transit
Easter must be the most serious holiday for bakers/chocolatiers

Here is my cut of cake + a magazine article of some of the eggs from this year put out by the big houses.  Personally, I love the Maman Poule and 3 little chicks.

And just in case you thought they were all class and skateboarding bunnies, here is the chocolate Angry Bird version I saw towering over 2 French Roosters.

Happy Spring!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy April Fish Day

Today is April Fish Day
And this is a photo from the Patissier the day before Easter Sunday.  I failed to get a photo of the chocolate soccer ball, lobsters or skatebording rabbit (you know, for your cool son). 
They don't like when you take photos. Apparently chinese tourists take photos and copy the designs when they get back home. 
I think the skateboarding rabbit is going to be a winner in China.