lundi 30 janvier 2012
Some people, when they run, get very happy, love the world, love being alive, love moving, love the wind, love the sun, love other people, love the birds chirping, love the light refreshing drizzle.

Not me. I am a very grumpy runner.

After a few weeks of admiring my new running shoes in the box, and a few too many comments from one Frenchman along the lines of "So, did you spend 83€ on new running shoes just to look at them?" (well yeah, at least until spring, duh)
I finally laced 'em up and headed out.
There is a track right nearby, which is usually not too crowded. The problem is, everyone else bothers me.
The father and son playing soccer and my occasionally having to kick the balls back their way mid-stride. The two women walking slightly faster than window shopping in the first two lanes. Move over! Geez. You would think that after being lapped by me 20 times passing a few inches from them, they would get the hint and move over say, to lanes 2 and 3, but nope.

The other runners with their headphones turned up REALLY LOUD. The kids playing with their remote-controlled trucks on the track. The person in the apartment building looking over the track with music turned up at 9 am on a Sunday.
The group of men standing in a circle taking up the entire width of the track, kicking around a soccer ball, whereas there is plenty of room in the center of the ring formed by the track for them to play, plus empty goal posts. I don't care. I run right through them, whereas other runners go over into the weeds to get around this group of men.
The track is for running.
I am on the track.
I am running.
Ergo, I have priority.

jeudi 26 janvier 2012
Saturday morning, I left the house around 10:30 to go grocery shopping (a five minute walk to the nearby Casino market). Alain left a few minutes after I did, to go to the public swimming pool, which opens at 11. He has taken to swimming 30 minutes or so once a week. It costs 2€ to swim. Strangely enough, he doesn't go to the one right next to our apartment, but to one farther away. He says that the pool is bigger and the hours are more convenient for him.
Anyway, before I left, I reminded him "Don't forget to take your keys. I should probably be back by the time you are done, but take them just in case."

After I finished my weekly grocery rounds, I trudged back home around 11:30 with the cart full of groceries. In front of the entrance to our apartment, I searched for my keys. I have each set of keys (apartment, work, and car) on a different ring that clips on to purse. I find it to be much easier that way. Anyway, I had the car key (keyring with the black tassel), my work keys (keyring with the pink tassel), but no house keys (keyring with the ivory tassel). I searched through my purse, but they were not in there. Alain wasn't back yet from swimming. I realized that I had left them on the buffet in the hallway next to the door when I returned home the night before, instead of clipping them to my purse.


I thought about what to do next. None of our neighbors has a set of keys to our apartment, so I couldn't ask them. I don't know where the pool was, so I couldn't go find Alain. Plus, I didn't want to drag my cart full of groceries all over the city. Our in-laws have a set of keys, but they live 30 minutes away. Nothing to do but wait. I debated where to wait. Do I buzz one of my neighbors so that they will let me in to the common area? Don't really just want to sit there. I'm sure our elderly neighbor would let me hang out in her apartment, but I didn't want to bother her. Besides, she might be out herself. I could go window-shopping, but that seemed more of a pain than anything else.
I decided to go to the park nearby. Well, "park" is a bit of an exaggeration. More like concrete area with a few benches and playground equipment for kids.
It was a nice day, sunny and a bit windy but not too bad.
There were just a few kids playing and their parents watching, and some teenagers making out one of the park benches.
Ahh, teenage love!!!
When absolutely anywhere is a suitable place for making out.
Between the dog park and the parking garage, next to the busy boulevard? Who cares! Let's neck!!

I called home and left a message on the answering machine, a rather sheepish "Hi dear. I forgot my keys. I'm at the park. Call me on the cellphone when you get home."

I sat on the bench for about half an hour, then went to the nearby cafe and ordered a coke. There was a group of four teenage guys, talking about stuff that I didn't really want to overhear.

At around 12:20, I headed back home, thinking surely he must be getting back soon.
Sure enough, he was home, and had called the cellphone twice (I hadn't heard it).
Good thing I reminded him to take his keys or else we would have been driving out to see his parents!

I still think we should give a set of keys to our neighbor. Or maybe install some sort of automatic lock where you have to just key in a code. Or an eye scan. That would be cool. And not expensive at all.
mardi 24 janvier 2012
When I was seven, my parents bought me a male golden retrievor puppy.
They asked me what I think we should name him (big mistake).

I said


which, I think, was a perfectly accurate name.

(<- me with Sunny)

They said no. (and learned a valuable lesson - never ask a child what to name a puppy. Which of course has a corrolary- never ask older children what to name the new baby. Which goes double if they are in a Lord of the Rings Phase.

Here's to not having some weird elf name!!)

Anyway, we settled on Barney. This was, mind you, before the days of the big purple dinosaur.

(Grandma Eleanor with Barney on the left and Sunny on the right)

So "Sandball", which could have been transformed into the acceptable golden retrievor name "Sandy" (though it would look a bit funny on the purebreed Kennel Club papers), was out.

Barney Trievor Smith

Now that is one heck of a prestigious dog name.

We took him down to Ecuador with us, where he cheerfully refreshed the gene pool, and we got another puppy from the first litter.

This time, we named him

Sundance Kid de la Cumbré Smith

(de la Cumbré was added on as the name of the street he was born on).

So we had Barney and Sunny, father and son. They were great pals. We brought them back to Colorado with us when we left Ecuador.

Barney passed away at the age of eight, and Sunny passed away at the age of 12, ten years ago this month.

Miss you, you big balls of sand.
dimanche 15 janvier 2012
I did it. I finally caved and joined facebook.

I resisted for a long time.

Not because I was afraid of over-sharing (I have a blog for goodness sake) or of compromising pictures of me (I am rarely in such situations), it was mainly that I didn't want to have to deal with "do I friend this person or not? Just because we were in the same high school class, will they be offended if I don't? I haven't talked to them since 12th grade chemistry class. I didn't even know they got married and had twins."


"Why hasn't she accepted my friend request? She friended all the other girls on our college cheerleading squad, why not me?!?!"

Or worse, from ex-boyfriends that broke your heart. "If I don't accept his request, then it might show that I'm not over him, but if I do accept, then that means I am okay with how he treated me, and I'll have to look at the photos of him and his new girlfriend. Okay, maybe I'm not as over it as I thought. I certainly don't want to be with him again, but ahhh... what to do, what to do, do I want to share with him the details of my new life?"

What about ex-employers, current employers, former teachers, and all the rest? All these issues that weren't ten years ago. If someone writes on my wall, am I obligated to write on theirs?

I just don't know.
samedi 7 janvier 2012
For Christmas "Père Noël" brought Anna (three in March) this stuffed animal.
Père Noël (or rather, Tata Noël) saw a hut at the Christmas Market in Aix-en-Provence selling a zoo of such stuffed animals- pig, bear, tiger, lion, monkey, elephant, etc. Not just any stuffed animal, oh no. They are filled with beads or something, lavender and other stuff, that smell nice. You can put the stuffed animal in the microwave for a few minutes, and it heats up and smells nice.
I chose the elephant, (whoops, Tata Noël chose the elephant) as Manon, Anna's older sister, loved elephants, so like sister like sister it was figured.
The one thing that I don't like about Christmas here in France is that all Christmas presents come from Père Noël, rather than just some that are received at home versus other gifts that come from relatives. Oh no. Here in France, the entire family is required to keep up the farce "Père Noël left this at our house for you..." Whatever.
Anyway, Anna ripped open her present and screamed "Barry!" Apparently, it is a character in a cartoon.
She was quite happy, carrying him around by his trunk all New Year's Day, which made me cringe. I kept telling her "hold him by his body, not by his ear or his trunk." I had visions of him ripping open and the beads pouring out all over the floor.
I told her that he could be heated in the microwave, and she was very excited to try it out.
She kept saying "on va chauffer barry". (we're going to heat Barry).
She was very cute, sitting on Alain's lap, and he was playing with her, making Barry dance and sing "Je suis Barry, babababa..."
Today, I called Lucie, Alain's sister, and asked how Anna liked Barry. She said that she adores him, that it is her new nightime ritual- they put Barry in the microwave and when the microwave bings, she says "Ca y est! Barry est prêt!"
(This is it! Barry is ready!)
Ah, to be a kid again.
mercredi 4 janvier 2012
Ahh, the Dark Ages. How I don't miss thee.
That period of time between the holidays and spring, when it is still dark and cold out, with nothing to look forward to except the European Qualifying Exam.

My external hard drive went kaput, when I arrived at the parking garage this morning there was a car blocking the entrance (didn't put their parking brake on I guess) causing a long line of cars needing to back up and go the other way. Huge traffic jam on the way home. I finally just parked and walked home, about 15 minutes. JUST COULDN'T SIT THERE ANOTHER MINUTE, after having seen several cycles of the stop light and couldn't take it another minute. Decided to stop by McDonald's for a quick bite as Alain is away at karate. One of those times when you peek in, see there is almost no line, then end up waiting half an hour. There were three people at three different tellers, and there was one woman in the center, forming a sort of "common line" like people do, to wait for all three spots. I stood behind her. She then went to order, and another guy came in, didn't get the "common line" concept and went behind the guy still ordering on the right. I edged in front of him, and then the guy who was ordering commented "I guess some people have different cultures." That pissed me off, so I told him off. My feet were hurting from walking half a mile in my heels, I was tired, irritated, and didn't want to be told off by some guy who thinks because I speak with an accent he is better than I am.

Came home all teary-eyed for no good reason, just because.

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