Sunday, April 29, 2007

Update: Grass

It's been just over a week and I'm happy to report that Bilbo Le Nôtre and his bol de lait did an excellent job with the garden!

Behold . . .

We enjoyed the good weather and new garden by eating everything in our refrigerator (and at the boulangerie next door).

Pain aux raisins / Feuilleté abricot

Quiche au jambon et au fromage

L’humus et les olives

Omelette aux tomates et crème fraiche

Les sandwiches au saucisson au poivre

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pigskin Face

I hate the photo on my carte de sejour. My head is the shape of a football. Nearly every time I open my wallet, I gasp in terror as if it's the first time I've seen the image, an image so horrific that my eyes have yet to become desensitized.

Fred tries to comfort me by asking me how many times I've actually had to show the card in the past year. Twice. Once to our apartment rental agent, and once to the ticket verifier on the TGV. Both turned to stone.

Fred tells me to look on the bright side. In 9 more years I can have a new photo taken, and I can spend the time in between practicing my smile. This comes as little consolation. After living in France 10 years it’s not likely that I’ll have any teeth left.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

May I suggest pills?

I know it's horribly insensitive and selfish of me to say, but apparently they're really easy to get here and I am sick of receiving regular calls from my tired and hard working husband telling me that he is going to arrive home from work late again due to yet another "accident grave de voyageur" on his train line. A percentage of these "accidents" likely are just that, but I think it's a common assumption that most are suicides.

A few months ago a study on the use of antidepressants in France was published. On this topic, a student told me that the only reason French use more antidepressants compared to other countries, namely the U.S., is because France has the best health care system in the world. Thus, if a French person feels even mildly depressed, he or she can visit the doctor and receive antidepressants and sleeping pills compared to depressed Americans who must suffer in pain. Maybe she's right. I have no idea. Although, she is the same person who told me this.

The checks in the mail . . .

Dear Mom,

Please don't fret. I've been working really hard in France this month teaching extra English classes so you will have the money that you need to buy the brand new 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV that you've been dreaming of ever since you grew tired of your 2006 model.



[Note to Americans Living in France:

The French are on to us!

Yesterday a French engineer informed me during the midst of a political discussion that Americans come to France to work so that they can send money back to their families in the U.S. This, of course, is a problem for the French economy because the money being earned here isn't being spent here.

I found this "fact" shocking as my French husband took a 50% pay cut when he moved from the U.S. back to France, and I literally make the same hourly rate (adjusted for inflation and conversion) teaching English in France that I made in 1984 cleaning my neighbor's condo. Moreover, anytime we've run low on cash, we've transferred money from our U.S. account to our French one (money that was earned in the U.S.) I've also heard other French complain about Brits and Americans (and/or American investment firms) buying apartments in Paris, thereby pricing the locals out of the market. So which is it?!?

Either way, if he or one of his French family members would like my job as an English teacher, they can have it because I'm not earning enough to send money back to the States or purchase an apartment in Paris.]

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Farmer Fred

Before moving to Paris, Paula and I enjoyed a good-bye dinner at Plouf where our Parisien waiter teased me that my bordelais husband was actually a bol de lait, and probably too backwoods to make it in the savvy capital of La France.

That's because most Parisiens don't have a backyard! Last weekend as I lay dying (thank you for the well wishes and excellent links, I'm feeling all better and I'm caught up on Grey's Anatomy!), Fred worked the land.

Armed with a box of Gazon and the goddess of fertility, Fred planted his seeds.

Since I was still too weak to bark orders, a meow would have to do. Bilbo was put in charge of supervising Fred's work.

Please check back in 10 days to see if the grass is growing, or if it was a mistake to put a cat in charge of a "bowl of milk"!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Netflix Transatlantic?

The worst thing about being sick in a foreign country is television. I can live without Vicks Vapor Rub, Sucrets, and Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup, but I can’t live with just one English language channel!

My entertainment choices boil down to watching our wedding DVD over and over again (it’s the only DVD at my disposal that is formatted for our French DVD player) or viewing regurgitated news broadcasted on the BBC about Prince William’s break-up, World Sports featuring cricket, and a program about global warming - which only reminds me what a shit I am for leaving my T.V. on watching programming on a loop and then complaining about it. I decided to boot-up my computer and write this for good measure.

[Update: My hero brought me apple juice and The Black Dahlia.]