vendredi 30 septembre 2011
Awhile ago, I was told that I am "pulpeous", which I guess translates into English best as "voluptuous".

I don't think I am particularly voluptuous.

Scarlett Johannsen is voluptuous. I am not.

I never particularly wanted to be voluptuous. It always seemed to me to imply a bit of extra padding on the bones. Padding in good places mind you, but still, EXTRA.
I always wanted to be svelte. I guess I am not particularly svelte at the moment.

So here are some questions:
1) Define svelte and voluptuous, in your own words
2) For men: would you prefer to be with a svelte woman or a voluptuous woman?
3) For women: would you rather be svelte or voluptuous?

I have a theory, but will wait to see the answers before I voice it.
lundi 26 septembre 2011
On Sunday, we had Alain's childhood friend Bertrand, his wife Isabelle, and their two daughters over for lunch.
The past several times (every six months or so) they have invited us over to their place, so it was our turn to reciprocate. Though, in our defense, they prefer that we come there, as it is easier for them with the kids. At least, that is what they say. So I'm sticking to that version.

Alain originally suggested Saturday or Sunday, lunch, dinner, or "gouter". They suggested Saturday lunch. I quickly made him retract his original offer- Saturday gouter, Saturday dinner, Sunday lunch, Sunday gouter, or Sunday dinner. They came back with Sunday lunch. Okay. I just could not handle getting the place clean, shopping for groceries, and preparing a meal between Friday end of work and Saturday lunch. Nuh uh.

So we spent all day Saturday going to the grocery store, doing laundry, and cleaning the apartment. Wow did it really need a good cleaning. In order to require a full day's worth of cleaning, 76 meters squared must be really messy. Well, Alain's back has been hurting, so he hasn't been able to broom and mop the floors. That is the official version.

Sunday morning, I woke up at 9 and immediately started baking- chocolate muffins for dessert, plus an entrée. Alain started making a chicken and mushroom dish around 11. They arrived just after 12, rugrats in tow.

We sat down for the aperitif, and someone spilled their glass of red wine on the tablecloth. Well, that has happened several times now. We mopped it up. That same person then knocked over the wine glass and broke it. Okay, how many have you had?

We had a bit of trouble getting everything ready at the same time, that's the trouble with a small kitchen I guess.

The kids of course refused to eat anything. We specifically told Bertrand- we are planning on having chicken and rice. Will they eat that or would you prefer we make ravioli or spaghetti for them? No, no the chicken and rice are fine. Nope, not fine. They each ate a bit of rice, lots of Pringles and coke, and vanilla ice cream.

The kids got tired of sitting at the table (rather quickly). Luckily, their parents had brought along a Dora DVD, so we plopped that in (on full blast).

After awhile, they got tired of that, so started coloring. Alain watched rather nervously as they approached HIS WALLS with their markers and crayons.

I think if we ever have kids, we are just going to have to bite the bullet. Take some fingerpaint, markers, and pastels; make some scribbles on the wall, near the bottom. Then take some spaghetti-sauce covered noodles and throw them at the wall, put some grubby handprints and footprint kick marks, plus maybe even some orange baby poop.

I just have to break him in to the idea of less than pristine walls. The man won't even let me hang pictures for goodness sake!

Anyway, they ran around and screamed for awhile, which didn't really bother me. Bothered the downstairs neighbors though, because after awhile we heard "boom boom boom". Ah well. We've had enough of their screaming (the wife) and shrieking (their grandkids) that they can put up with a bit from us every few months.

They left around 3:30 pm.

I've decided that we need to have people over at least every two weeks. Force us to clean the apartment on a regular basis. Also, maybe we will expand our culinary repertoire.
vendredi 16 septembre 2011

I picked up my French passport this morning. It has been ready for awhile, I received the text message saying it was available for pick-up a few weeks ago, but I didn't have a weekday free until now.

The picture is terrible, as all passport pictures are. Sigh.

The picture will haunt me until 22-08-2021.

It is a biometric passport, so when I went to apply for it, they scanned my fingerprints, then scanned them again when I picked it up. (I guess to be sure it was really me picking it up, then I don't see the point, as I could just give it to someone else as soon as I walked out the door.)

The passport pages are interesting, I'd like to take a magnifying glass and look at all the details, I'm sure they have tiny writing like the US ones do.

I'm unimpressed with the pictures on each page though. They feature each region of France, so it's pretty much just an undistinguishable blob with name of the region. I much prefer the US passport with the state seals.

Still waiting for my national ID card.
dimanche 11 septembre 2011
A first-year graduate student at the University of Virginia, Electrical Engineering Department. She has a few classes, plus an Introduction to Science and Engineering class for Freshmen for which she is the teacher's assistant.

Another fall day in Virginia like any other. She gets up, and leaves her first-ever apartment for class, this morning she is sitting in on the Intro. to Science class. The professor up in front is talking about GPS- what it is and how it works. He talks about the accuracy of the GPS locators, saying that they have an accuracy radius of about 100 m. To demonstrate, he shows a picture of the White House, showing that a GPS could be used to hit the white house, and also Pentagon.

Outside class, there is some buzz about a small plane or helicopter that hit the World Trade Center in New York, but nobody really thinks too much of it.

As the morning progress, things begin to seem much more serious, but nobody really knows what is going on. The university puts some TVs in the hallways, and there are groups of students standing around the TVs, watching.

There starts to be some panic, and someone mentions that the top-secret Army Intelligence installation just north of town was also hit, that someone saw some smoke coming out of the building.

In the afternoon, in the computer lab for the Intro. class, the teacher apologizes for his remarks earlier that morning. He had had no idea, obviously, that at the time of his comments, someone was hitting the Pentagon with a plane.

The day passes, and our young graduate student returns to her apartment, feeling a bit isolated- no roommate, plus doesn't know too many people as classes started just a few weeks earlier. She doesn't have a tv, so just listens to the radio and looks at the news on the internet.

Her family calls, to make sure she is alright, and to say that nobody they know was hurt.

Classes are cancelled for the next few days. People go to give blood, donate items, raise money.
Church attendance is greatly increased, and there is a candlelight vigil on The Lawn. Everyone is still rather stunned by it all.
mardi 6 septembre 2011
(overheard in an apartment in Marseille)

One of us: You know that thing, like a marathon but with swimming?
The other of us: You mean, a triathalon?
One: No, not with running or biking.
Other: So, just swimming?
One: Yeah, that is it!
Other: So, you mean a swimming competition, which is pretty much nothing like a marathon, huh?
One: Yep.

One of us wants to do the Monte Cristo Challenge- swim from the Chateau d'If to the coast of Marseille, 5 km in the ocean. The other one of us thinks one of us is nuts.
samedi 3 septembre 2011
I am a firm believer that with the right keywords, anything can be found on the internet.

However, having said this, I am going crazy trying to find a product.

I have been searching various sites (Ebay, Amazon, Google, Google Images, Google Shopping, Yahoo, etc) for this product using all the different keyword combinations that I can think of, and nothing.

So here goes, I am going to ask the Internet.

I am looking for a rose hand scrub product that I had several years ago.
This stuff was the greatest. It wasn't from a major company like Bath and Body Works, but rather from a medium/small sized business, not mom and pop making it in their garage.
I ordered it on the internet.
It came in a plastic or glass tub, clear, and had a mixture of essential oils and salt or sugar scrubs. I want to say sugar, but don't want to unduly influence search strategies.
It wasn't in a tube. I think the top was black.
It was more of a clear oil with bits of roses in it that you had to stir up before using, not a uniformly-pink mixture.
I believe it came with a wooden scoop, but wouldn't bet my life on it.
It was in the 20$ price range. There was also an unscented scrub.
It was mainly marketed as a hand scrub (not body, face, etc.)


If you find it, I will offer you a free tub. (really, it is the best hand scrub out there).
(Or something else of similar value if you are a man.)

vendredi 2 septembre 2011
I am so ready for summer to be over. It seems interminable.
Operation in June followed by weeks of thinking "I'll never take sitting up from a lying position without pain for granted again".
Sore rear motorcycle trip in July, trip to San Remo in August with bad weather, my results from the exams (not as good as I hoped but better than I expected).
And hot hot hot weather. The kind where you put the air conditioning on in the car on the way to work at 6:30 am.
Oh yeah, plus the medication I'm taking gave me hot flashes. In July. In the south of France.

Please let cooler weather arrive quickly!

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