lundi 29 octobre 2007
(Note to all: My camera is not working lately, so I am unable to take and post pictures. Perhaps I will borrow Alain's camera til I can get a new one).
I have an alarm clock that is at least 15 years old. It is a Spanish Speaking alarm clock- you push a button on the top and it tells the time in Spanish. We got it as a gift when we were living in Ecuador. I am suprised it has lasted this long, considering the number of times it has been banged around in luggage, falled off the nightstand, etc. I wish I could find a French speaking one. I may have forgotten all of my spanish (besides Hola, que tal? Commo estas?) but if anyone should ever ask me what time it is in Spanish, I will happily chirp "Beep. Las cinco et cinquenta uno de la tarde".
In France there is an expression "parler Français comme une vache Espagnole" (to speak French like a spanish cow). No idea why they decided to use Spanish and cow, but that's how it goes. Sometimes they use it in a self-deprecating way, sometimes they turn it around and say "I speak Spanish like a french cow". Someone said this to me a few months ago- You speak French like a Spanish cow. I was too hurt and insulted at the time to think of a good comeback, but next time it happens I have one already ready "Well, you speak English like a French pig". So there.
lundi 22 octobre 2007
After several false starts in August and September, fall has finally decided to stick around. Alain and I have been busy preparing for my parent's visit. So far we have: bought a couch that pulls out into a bed (but it isn't a futon) from IKEA, with two single mattresses. Somehow we managed to fit two people and the couch into our Fiat Bravo. I felt like I was in a clown car. This past Saturday we assembled it, which took all afternoon. We also painted our bathroom walls white, installed a new light fixture (again, IKEA) that isn't quite bright enough. Alain has also been working on the toilet. He made a small shelf to hide the pipe/water counter. Will post pictures when I can. Last weekend we went over to his coworker's to watch the France-England game, then this weekend we had one of my coworkers and his wife come over to watch the France-Argentina game (they are both Argentinian). It was fun. No hard feelings.
Now two more days of work, then I am taking Wednesday off to run various errands before my parents arrive Wednesday evening. Have a great week!
samedi 13 octobre 2007
Time for my annual torturing at the opthamologists office (no idea how that is spelled, in English or French, and I cannot for the life of me pronounce it correctly in French- EYE DOCTOR). My eyes had been giving me trouble lately. And by trouble I mean- Bright Red about a half an hour after inserting contact lenses that requires immediate switching to glasses and red eye for about a week.
I went to his office a few weeks ago after work. He gave me a week's treatment of eye drops against some sort of infection and told me to come back in two weeks.
Yesterday I returned, though to his other office this time. No idea why he has two separate offices. My appointment was at 5:45. I left work on the dot of 5, then cursed traffic the whole way back to Marseille, whereupon I took the metro and then sprinted to his office. Sure glad I bothered since I didn't see him until 7. This time, they dilated my eyes so that no blue was showing, then proceeded with this horrid glass that is put DIRECTLY on the eyeball. What is worse, you have to press your eyeball against this glass. Yes, I do love pressure on my eyeball, thank you. Finally it was done and I was weeping yellow tears (from some solution they put in my eyes). They gave me some contacts and told me to return in two weeks. Sigh. Seriously starting to consider laser surgery now. I will talk to him next appointment about that. Oh yeah, it is now 2 pm the following day, and my pupils have not yet returned to normal.
Read my previous entry about the optho's here.
vendredi 12 octobre 2007
They DO exist in France! What you ask? Bagels of course! In a country that loves bread so much, I am surprised there aren't more of these. Last week, as I was doing my grocery shopping, in between my stop for cheese and crepes, I was walking down an aisle when I saw right in front of me, like a mirage in the desert, a new exotic food being introduced to the masses. Bagels!
Mr. Bagels.
4 Small natural special breads.
Low in fat.
Recommended use:
Cut your bagel in two and put it in the toaster for 1 minute. Or put in a microwave for 20-40 seconds. Delicious sweet or salty or as a sandwich.

Of course, the next important question is cream cheese. The closest seems to be spreadable cheese, which isn't quite the same, but it will do. I have found Philly cream cheese in Italy, when we went to San Remo. Thought about buying some then, but didn't see the point as there were no bagels. Ahh...

As for the bagel quality, I must say they are rather dry. Oh how I miss Bodo's....
jeudi 11 octobre 2007

This is one of Alain's favorite cheeses. The name is literally- bark of pine. Apparently, it is a cow's cheese (though the picture looks more like Great Dane- seriously, click on the picture, look at just the head and tell me what it looks like to you) that is wrapped in pine bark. It does certainly have a piney flavor. That is, I am guessing. Haven't gone around licking too many pine trees lately. It is from the Franche-Comté Region (on the Germany border, south of Strasbourg).
The suggested way of eating this cheese (from the wrapper):
A Delicious Main Course
Step 1: Remove the plastic film and wooden plate it is placed on. (Have to make sure everyone understands that).
Step 2: Make a 3 cm hole in the center of the cheese. (Notice how they are precise about the size, but don't specify how deep this hole should be).
Step 3: Fill with white wine. (What, no suggest year and vineyard? This is France after all, and two of the things they take the most seriously: wine and cheese.)
Step 4: Place in a small poêlon.
Step 5: Cook 20 min in a warm oven 180 degrees C.
Step 6: Serve with hot potatos, vegetables, and sausages.

Sounds yummy to me.

Five cheeses!
mardi 2 octobre 2007

On Sunday, Alain and I went with a group of people from his karate club on an outing. The leader of the club is an avid Vespa collecter- he has 17 antique Vespas in excellent condition. He lent some to the others, but Alain and I rode on his motorcycle. (oh sore rear!) We arrived at the appointed time, 9 am. in order to find that we were the only ones who had yet arrived. The others dribbled in over the period of an hour. Sure glad we slept the previous night at his parent's so that we could be on time! It took awhile for everyone to get there, get organized, get gas, etc. We finally left around 10 am, and then immediately stopped because one scooter was not working properly. The rest of us went to have coffee in Alliens. This was 11 am. We finally got back on the road a little before 12, and went up into the beautiful countryside near Gordes. Where we stopped again We stopped for lunch, whereupon I took this picture. The Vespas were blue, red, yellow, black, green, and purple. There was also an antique, topless car for extra supplies and for those who were tired of riding to sit in.
We had lunch, then headed back down to where we had had an appertif and the men played boules while the women walked to a nearby "vide grenier" (literally attic empty, like a yard sale). We rejoined the men around 4, and headed back to Pelissane. I was starting to feel quite sore, so I rode in the car, only to discover that that was worse. Had to hold on for dear life, and the wind was incredible. Unable to talk and had to cover up the face and head so that it doesn't get blown off. I was glad when the day was over.

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