Friday, April 30, 2010

Flash

This flashcard could save your life

When I first moved here, I was pretty motivated with my French lessons. I studied a couple of hours every morning and would always have on the television in the background while I went about my day (By the way, 7th Heaven in French is just as annoying, and Spencer Pratt even more so if that is humanly possible).

Then we got Fifty, and my French study schedule got a bit off. My determination to house train Fifty took up most of my time and left me pretty exhausted (once I was so tired, I was getting in the shower and instead of throwing my panties in the hamper, I threw them in the toilet. True story).

So French lessons took a back seat to Fifty's ability to not leave little presents in the house.

And more excuses...


And then we went to Dublin in January.

And my birthday was in February (aka International Day of Awesomeness)

And then we went to the States in March, and oh, got married.

So as you can see, there have been plenty of excuses for me not to study my French everyday. Besides, I live here. Basically everyday life is one big annoying French lesson.

In order for me to get back on track, I've gone back to my old faithful; studying like a fourth grader. It's the way I learn.

Writing things down helps me commit things to memory. Plus, flashcards are more fun (yes flashcards are fun, stop laughing at me) then studying some text book.

I first started using them to study French back in Dublin and I had a buttload of them (buttload - I have no idea what made me type that word, I don't think I've used it for like twenty years, but now it's out there and I've typed this, so I'm leaving it).

Anyhoo, I had a buttload of flashcards when I lived in Dublin, probably close to a thousand. And I'd study them on the bus on the way to work in the morning and on the way home

Sidebar - last summer when I was visiting Le Petit Village, I was having ice cream with V. She asked me how I studied French (we were speaking bits of French and bits of English so the conversation was slow, odd, and utterly confusing). I told her that I made flashcards every night and then would study them on the bus on the way to work. What she got out of this conversation was that I drove a bus for work.

Flashcards work for me. It's the easiest way for me to learn vocabulary and actually have it stick in my wee brain. The Husband likes to point at random things when we're out and about and I'll use my flashcard learned French words (it's like a non-stop pop quiz around here, my inner Lisa Simpson is elated).

So I've gone back to the flashcards.

And it's Fifty's fault I'm not fluent in French yet.

That's all I wanted to say.

bisou

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Psycho Killer Qu'est Que C'est



First there was the original Baby. A wee white bear that came home with Fifty on his first day in Le Petit Village. A little present to make him feel comfortable and loved.

After about a month, Baby was looking pretty nasty (as you would if you spent a month coated in puppy saliva) and I threw him in the washing machine. From then on, Baby got weekly washings. He would be dried on top of the radiator with Fifty anxiously waiting. When he was dry Fifty would walk over and I'd put Baby back in his mouth and he'd curl up on the floor.

It didn't take too many washes for the squeaky noise inside Baby to disappear. There was a whistling wheeze for a bit, and then nothing.

Sometime around January, I noticed that Baby had been gnawed on quite a bit. Every week when I retrieved Baby from Fifty's little house (Chez Fifty as we like to call it) he looked worse. Clearly Baby was no longer for cuddles. Fifty was slowing torturing Baby to death by chewing.

Eventually I made the shocking discovery; Baby was as headless as Anne Boleyn (I've been watching reruns of The Tudors lately). There was only one thing to do, lay Baby to rest in the trash can. It was a sad day.

I scolded Fifty and told him that he shouldn't torture and kill his friends.

An innocent Fifty and Baby in happier times.

Next was the toy. A braided circle of thick rope.

It held up pretty well transitioning from a circle to a half circle with long bits of rope hanging from it. Fifty would put it in his mouth and whip it around. You didn't want to get struck in the leg while that thing was being whipped about. If it had little metal balls on the end it would have been perfect for a flailing (not that I've ever flailed, but I saw that albino do it in The Da Vinci Code).

Eventually the flailing toy went the way of Baby...

Fifty. Caught Red Pawed
Flailing toy carcass and it's killer

Because I'm a softy and Fifty was sans Baby and toy it was time for something new.

Last weekend, The Husband and I struggled in the dog toy section of the pet store. There was a cuddly looking cow that I wanted and a long eared doggy that The Husband liked. I didn't want him whining on a Saturday so we came home with the doggy.

It wasn't too bad. Not the original Baby by any means but it looked sturdy enough and made two different squeaking noises; a high pitched one when his head was squeezed and a low pitched one when you squeezed his little doggy butt.

Less than a day after having him, I found these, on the floor...

Exhibit A. Doggy Eyeballs

In case you are unfamiliar with the anatomy of a stuffed doggy, these are eyeballs.

Clearly, Fifty's insatiable appetite for torture had returned.

But this time, the torturer would become the torturee...

Monday morning and The Husband returned with Fifty from their morning walk.

"Does he look ok to you?" he asked (The Husband was asking, not Fifty).

"A little tired, but I'm sure he's ok."

He was ok until the noises came.

Fifty was making cat hair ball noises.

(Cat hair ball noises sound bad enough from a cat. Can you imagine them from a 50lb puppy? Gross)

And then... (feeling squeamish... now is the time to look away)


Exhibit B. Regurgitated Doggy Innards

It was the size of a fist but I wasn't sure what it was.

Until I found doggy.

Doggy too had met his demise...

Exhibit C. Tortured, Eyeless, Disemboweled Doggy

Doggy had been disemboweled and Fifty had coughed up the evidence.

He was pretty sick for the rest of the day.

I'd love to say he's learned his lesson

but you can't teach a Psycho Killer new tricks.

fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa

bisou

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two Blissful Hours

The sun was shining this weekend in Le Petit Village. On Sunday, it was a warm and beautiful 72 degrees.

Before moving to Le Petit Village, I lived in Dublin for six years and had a Dublin tan (a translucent blue tint). I'm anxious to get back to my former Texas shade and I think Provence weather might be able to help me with that. So 72 degrees and sunny means it's time to spray on the factor 15 and lay down outside somewhere.

Our cozy little home does not come with a garden, but luckily our German friend's 14th century vacation house has a roof top terrace and they have kindly given us the keys for days just like this (14th century creepiness can be ignored when it's topped with a terrace).

Sitting on the roof of a three story house on top of a mountain means you're just that much closer to the sun anyway.

The view from the top...


Fifty's girlfriend Vicky came along to keep him company. They beg for food together, it's obviously love...


Rickety wooden chair for The Husband, comfy sun lounger for me...


Since Fifty was born last September, the warm sun is new for him. I don't think he likes it.


This is not a happy face. I think he may need some sunglasses.

Fifty must have been sending puppy prayers to heaven for all that warm sunshine to end because a little over an hour later the sky grew dark as these clouds rolled up...

Thanks Fifty

We packed up and headed down the street towards home but saw some Le Petit Villagers underneath the awning of the local bistro.

Might as well squeeze in and have a pastis or three and a gossip.

It would be have been rude not too.

bisou


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fun For The Whole Family

There is no such thing as a free lunch, even at Papa's house. It was time to earn our keep.

Some of the wild boar that Papa hunted needed to be made into pâté. Apparently, this is an activity for the whole family. Fun.

I'm warning you now. If you are eating, do not read any further. If you have a weak stomach, look away. Some of these pictures might make you queasy, the way the smell of all that wild boar blood made me.

Queasy.

I'm leaving out the first pictures of the chopping and grinding of the meat.

Once again, queasy.

Here's Uncle's hands mixing it up. And that's Papa's hand about to add some more... actually, I don't know what that is, and I don't want to. Just some more stuff...


Finished raw gooeyness....


All the empty tins to be packed with raw gooeyness...


Even the dogs got involved. Here's Leo, either supervising or desperately hoping Papa's Wife's pâté packing skills aren't great...


Ruby is far too civilized for raw pâté scraps. He prefers to supervise from the side with a nice Côtes du Rhône...

I love this dog

Raw gooeyness packed tightly and ready to be sealed...


Papa showing The Husband how to use the sealing machine (I'm sure it has some technical name other than, sealing machine)...


Raw gooeyness packed, sealed, and ready to be boiled...


Notice how you don't see me or my hands anywhere and I stayed behind the camera?

That's not an accident.

I used to love pâté.

Now, not so much.

bisou

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Really French

Dash at French Sampler (you know, the lovely lady who posts about scandalicious historical courtesans with juicy pasts) bestowed upon moi, The Vraiment Francaise Award.

It's really French

Thank you dear Dash for this and for teaching me about all those naughty courtesans. Love reading about those ladies while I have my afternoon tea.

Now of course, in blog land tradition, it is my duty to bestow this award on some other really French blogger. Moi, being moi, I'm going to handle this a bit differently and veer off course a little and pass it on to Samantha at Samantha Sans Dosage.

Samantha is not an expat blogger living life in France, but her passion is French wine, and that makes her really French to me.

Samantha Sans Dosage is about Samantha's life working in the wine industry, her love affair with wine (and champagne, and an occasional margarita and martini) telling funny stories about working trips to France, tastings at the wine shop, or a night out (or in) with friends.

Reading Samantha Sans Dosage, you'll learn about wines and not in that pretentious, academic, snooze fest way. Samantha writes about wine in relation to life, herself, a memory, and how they can make you feel.

Her honesty will make you laugh, might make you cry, occasionally cringe, but most of all, she'll really make you want a drink. And I like that.

À votre santé

bisou



Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bad Moon Rising



Conversation between The Husband and I last night...

The Husband, leaning over me, "You are in a bad moon?"


Moi, looking up from my book, "A what?"

"A bad moon"

"What the hell is a bad moon?"

"You are not happy?"

I had been feeling a little bit blah, but after that how could I be?

Bad moon.

Adorable.

bisou



Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Load of Bull

There was a word that I kept hearing over and over again in French conversations, and I had no idea what it meant.

It sounded like, 'Connery'.

So they must be talking about the one and only Sean, right?

But how many times could conversations The Husband was having with Papa, The Honeys, or Honey Jr revolve around Sean Connery?

If it was me and a gaggle of girls sure, but did The Husband have some sort of Sean Connery man crush I didn't know about? Isn't he a little too old for The Husband? Clooney maybe, but Connery?

Eat your heart out Clooney, I'm Scottish

I finally asked what it meant...

'bullsh*t'

Wait. What? Really?

In French, Connery (connerie) means bullsh*t?

That doesn't seem right.

Sandler or Farley maybe.

But not Connery.

bisou



P.S. The * has been used because I like to keep Le Petit Village a PG kind of place (in English anyway)

P.S.S. Also, I did not feel a translation time was necessary for this post. You already got connerie

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm It

The adorable Morgane at One + One = A French Way of Life has tagged moi in a game of blogger tag.
In bloggy blog world, getting tagged and being it, means that you have to answer a few questions before tagging someone else. Seems easy enough.

In my best 'Wink Martindale' voice, let's play blogger tag...

1. Who is your style icon?
I have to go back to American roots on this one and say Summer from The OC, Miss Rachel Bilson.

This is exactly how I look when I walk Fifty.

2. What is your favorite Socialite Lit book?
Honestly, I'm not sure what Socialite Lit is (Morgane, are you sure you tagged the right girl?) so I googled it and didn't come up with much. No definition and only one example; Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes, and unfortunately, I have yet to read this Pulitzer Prize nominee. (Joking. I'm sure it's a very entertaining read, and in the interest of full disclosure, I have read all of Candace Bushnell and currently have a Barbara Taylor Bradford in a pile of books waiting to be read so I can't judge).
I'm going to go out on a limb and say, The Man With the Dancing Eyes.


I'm not sure if it meets the Socialite Lit requirements and I may be in danger of disqualification but it was written by Sophie Dahl who I'm guessing is a socialite if being Roald Dahl's granddaughter and Mick Jagger's ex makes you one.

3. Favorite Party Theme?
Is free booze a theme? Probably not, but if I could throw a party right now I'd go with Texas. And I'll get more specific, Dallas, the show, not the city; 80's style, big hair, big shoulders, and big drinks. I'd go as Sue Ellen and spend the whole night hunting down a Pamela just so I could throw my drink in her face.

4. Go to Halloween costume?
Since I'm no longer in elementary school, I don't have one. But, I do have my costume picked out for this year already (maybe I am still in elementary school); French rugby player, Dimitri Szarzewski.


He's so pretty and his hair always looks perfect, The Husband and I call him, L'Oréal. Dimitri is the Hooker for the French team. Sounds naughty doesn't it?

I had briefly considered going as Chabal, but I don't want to mess around with the whole beard thing.

Love me some Chabal

5. Extravagance you can't live without?
I've become a tad less high maintenance as I've gotten older (I can hear the laughter from all who know me) and the only thing I really need is one great restaurant a month.

6. Living person you admire?
Christiane Amanpour.

She's a brainy broad

7. Greatest fear?
Not being prepared. And this goes for everything; not being prepared for the grocery store, travel, the future...

8. Trait you deplore in yourself?
Raging PMS (aka as PMT in Great Britain and Ireland).
'Watch out world I'm going to cry. Now I'm going to yell at you. Now I'm going to cry some more while I nag, nag, and nag some more. I need cuddles. Can someone hug me?' I'm surprised The Husband and Fifty don't check into a hotel each month.
Oh, and I don't like that I can never live in the moment. Having to feel prepared all the time means I rarely relax and just go with the flow. I'd love to be one of those flowy people.

9. Which talent would you most like to have?
It's not a talent as much as a trait, selflessness. I think more selfless people is a good thing.

10. Greatest achievement?
Being good friends with my mother. It's true. She's my wine travel buddy.

Wow. That took forever. Hope everyone is still with me.

Now I tag...
(I'm going to be naughty and tag three because I haven't had enough coffee to make a decision)

James at Man of the 50's


Worthy at Worthy Style

I'm Out.

bisou




Monday, April 12, 2010

A Nice Stinky Day

Easter Monday, Papa's Wife and I went to the markets in Forcalquier. The Husband wouldn't be joining us, Papa needed him to help chop down trees in the forest. That sounds very manly, doesn't it?

And I think the fact that Papa suddenly had to chop down those trees on Easter Monday and needed The Husband to help is a testament to how they both would do pretty much anything, to avoid a trip to the markets.

The warm Spring weather has been hiding from us in our little corner of Provence, but the forecast called for sunny blue skies so we had planned a hike and a picnic after the market, where Papa and The Husband would meet us with Fifty and Leo in tow.

(Notice how they can abandon the forest immediately after we leave the market).

Papa's Wife and I toured the stalls, oohing and aahing over the cheeses and produce, dodging shadows to stay in the warm sun.

Naturally, I brought my camera...


One of the fruit & veg stand where I scored some jalapenos


The seafood stand where we picked up fresh sardines


I picked up some sausage for The Husband and Fifty to share.


And I didn't buy any of this cheese. I just liked how it looked.

It quickly became apparent that the mistral was out to play and even in the sun, it wasn't warm enough for a picnic. With our straw baskets full, we headed home to prepare lunch there instead.

I phoned The Husband with the change of plans and surprise... he and Papa had found their way out of the forest but couldn't quite find their way home. They were at the Cafe Tabac in the village for a little morning Pastis. I briefly considered laying out a path of breadcrumbs for them to follow, but instead realized, more Rosé for me.

We had some of Papa's Wife home made sanglier (wild boar) pâté, tapenade and grilled the sardines from the market.


I've never had grilled sardines before. It's just like the cartoons when a cat would eat a fish and after, would hold up a little fish skeleton. Eating sardines is exactly like that. Stinky fingers and all.

It had been such a nice day; the beautiful morning at the market, bonding time with Papa's Wife, and those delicious, stinky, grilled sardines.

There was only one way to finish it all off; with a digestif and Mesrine on DVD.

Because every family meal should finish with watching a movie about a sociopath killer.

bisou

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Happy As A Clam

Never understood what happy as a clam means... does anyone? Are clams happy? Doubt it. I know I'm damn happy when I've got clams in a sauce on some linguine but that's because I can be a little gluttonous at times.

The point is... I'm happy happy happy!

Yesterday morning, I sat in the sun (it reached a whole 68 degrees!) at the Cafe Tabac with a cafe au lait and a copy of History magazine. And since The Husband was getting his haircut, I got to enjoy both without any chatter. The Husband is quite the chatter bug. If I have a coffee and magazine or newspaper in front of me, it might as well be a sign that says... ssh... no talking. The Husband hasn't grasped that yet.

Heaven. Look at the sun shining on my table! Sun beams mean angels are smiling (I just made that up, because I'm happy!)

And after my cafe au lait soaked in sun beams, we went and bought something I've been dreaming about for awhile. No, not a Chanel 2.55 purse, or a new pair of Christian Louboutins. Something better! Remember a post awhile back where I complained about the useless, stupid little red vacuum that The Husband bought instead of the Dyson as instructed?

Well check me out...


That's me, happy!

With my new friend that I've named Buddy. Buddy the Dyson.

See, it doesn't take much to make me happy, just a little sunshine and a €300 vacuum cleaner.

Gotta go!

Me and Buddy are off to tackle the world!

OK, maybe not the world, that's a little ambitious,

but we will follow a shedding Fifty,

and a baguette crumb dropping Husband around.

bisou



P.S. Buddy the Dyson is brought to you buy a generous envelope stuffed wedding present from Auntie J and Uncle E.
Holla!
You guys really are my favorites.
It's true.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Love Your Blog

Since the cat is out of the bag and everyone knows what I was really doing on vacation, I'll tell you about the days leading up to it... which can best be described as a series of unfortunate incidents.

Let me elaborate... a series of unfortunate incidents are not major life altering catastrophes, nothing tragic happened, nobody died or lost a foot, instead it's a continuing stream of small pain in the petunia events that chip away at your bank account and inconvenience you leaving you less than chipper and feeling like you are in desperate need of an aura cleanse (never had one of those but they sound fun).

Six days before we left, the charger for my macbook broke. It died. You have to understand that my macbook is my connection to the world outside of Le Petit Village. Le Petit Village is a teeny tiny non-english speaking place, with old people, feral cats, and one épicerie that's opened sometimes (why do tourists come here?? oh yes, it's pretty and charming. whatever). I need my macbook. The internet keeps me sane. Luckily sweet Honey Jr gave me his laptop for the week. I'm not completely sure it was out of kindness rather than fear but either way, it was a fantastic gesture and I was thrilled to have it, backward French keyboard and all.

The day before the macbook charger died, we had planned on a productive Saturday. Saturday being the one day that The Husband and I can get anything done (most everything on a Sunday is closed). We were going to Avignon to pick up The Husband's suit for the wedding and our wedding rings.

First we needed to stop at La Poste in St. Michel (our bank and post office all rolled into one. you think that would make it convenient. it doesn't) and on the way, we would drop Fifty off at Papa's house for the day.

Fifty still has that puppy car sick thing going on so driving is always a bit precarious. We have to stop the car a lot to give him time to compose himself whenever I start to notice his eyes glaze over and his mouth getting extra salivary (I know that's not a word, just go with it). We were less than a mile from Papa's house and Fifty had weaseled his way onto my lap, and like an idiot, I let him sit there. And then it started; a huge eruption of puppy vomit, all over me and into that pocket on the door (my passport was in that pocket). Gross. Gross. Gross. We had to go back to the house so I could shower and change. Not a big problem, it was only going to put us an hour behind, we still would have time for Avignon and getting back for The Husband's hair cut appointment that afternoon.

The man at La Poste had other ideas.

Upon our return to St. Michel, we rolled up to La Poste to see all the shutters closed. We checked the time, it was a little past 10am. The man usually opens about 10ish (in the south of France, all time is an 'ish'). Maybe he was in a pastis induced slumber because those shutters didn't open until almost 11:30 (he lives above La Poste). Imagine living where you work and still being late? I think someone needs a better alarm clock and an expresso machine. Or maybe an irate American girl can bang pots and pans outside his window every Saturday morning. That would work too.

Too late for us to go to Avignon.

Thanks La Poste man.

It turned out to be a tiny blessing that the La Poste man decided to open later and cancel our Avignon trip because a little while later...BAM... MIGRAINE.

I spent the rest of the day in my darkened bedroom with a cold cloth over my eyes.

The Husband stayed next to me (he's good like that) until it was time for his wedding haircut. Back to St. Michel he went for the third time that day. Only when he got there, the girl said, "Oh yeah, I remember you phoning for the appointment, but I must have forgotten to write it down. Can you come back in an hour or two?" Moron.

When he did go back for his haircut, she cut the back of his neck. Twice. Moron.

I'm telling ya, we need an aura cleanse.

And then there was a bunch of other stuff that I'm not going to include because I don't want to manifest any more wacky bad juju. It's all about sunshine and rainbows over here now and I intend on keeping it that way.

Believe it or not, there was a point to all this bad juju drivel.

While these incidents were happening, the lovely Nancy at Window To My Sol passed this on to me...


Unfortunately I was too wrapped up in my mini dramas to give thanks properly to lovely Nancy or to do anything about it, but now that my old, tired self is finally back to normal, I'm passing it on to Dash at French Sampler. Dash lives in south-west France and besides having a super cool moniker, writes about trips to Spain for lunch and other such fab things.

The other day she wrote a post about Lady Emma Hamilton that I loved so much, I spent the morning googling Lady Hamilton when I should have been studying my French, and having my aura cleansed.

No more bad juju.

bisou

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One Last Thing...


A funny thing happened on St. Patrick's Day. I married The Boyfriend.

Oh, did I forget to mention that we were getting married? Oops, my bad.


That's us getting ready to walk into the church (the same church my great grandparents got married in). I'm not too sure what the confused look on my face is all about. At least I still look fabulous in my wedding tunic. Who needs a wedding dress when you can have a wedding tunic? Bonus of the tunic... not needing a bridesmaid to help you go pee. And I know what I'm talking about, I've been that bridesmaid.


Me again. This time wearing my Nana's fifty plus year old mink cape which turns me into my alter ego... Fabulous Girl. Fabulous Girl doesn't fight crime or anything. She just hangs out... being fabulous.


Me and The Husband (that's weird, not used to that at all) and some pretty nifty wedding presents.


Having our red velvet wedding cake and eating it too at The Old Inn On The Green with the Best Man Girl (who needs a Best Man when you can have a Best Man Girl) and the Matron of Honor (who by the way was that bride I had to help go pee pee).


And finally us again, the happy and very tired couple at a bar much later that evening (it was St. Patrick's Day after all).

The way all weddings should end; pissed in a bar next to someone wearing a moose hat.

So from now on I suppose I will be referring to The Boyfriend as The Husband.

But if I forget, you'll still know who I'm talking about.

bisou


P.S. A final tidbit... at the end of the wedding dinner, The Husband (weird) and I went to pay and the waiter informed us that it had already been taken care of. What?! How?! Huh?! My Amelia Bedelia Mother pulled off the coup of the century, arranging to pay for the whole thing from her little Dublin lair.
Well played Mother. Well played.

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