vendredi 16 mars 2012

It is Anna's third birthday soon, and as all kids are, she is very excited.

For her birthday, I did a crosstitch with her name on it, with beads and metallic threads. I did one for her sister Manon a few years ago, it is pink and yellow with a butterfly. (see picture at bottom).

Though I'm sure she won't be as thrilled with it as she was with Barry (because, let's face it, nothing can top a microwaveable elephant) I do hope she likes it as she gets older.

It is blue and purple with silver metallic thread, and white, purple, blue, grey beads.

Josée takes them to a framing store near their house. The lady always does an excellent job picking out the mats and frames.

NOEL, the first one I did. I gave it Josée for my first Christmas in France. It goes very well with her living room, which is mainly Bordeaux-red.

I have been crosstitching since I was about 10. I like to do it while watching tv. It relaxes me, and I like working with the colors and beads.

I started doing these patterns a few years ago, starting with Noel, then Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. I started switching the colors, especially for Autumn, and then customizing the names and themes. As you can see, there are five basic patterns which I mix and match and change the colors and lettering as I want.

 Alain always asks "But what are we going to DO with them?" Just keep them. Give them away when I want. I also have done lots of Angel patterns, Christmas patterns, etc.


Autumn, with an apple

Winter, with snow

Spring, with a bouquet of yellow roses

Summer, with a basket of flowers

Bride (to commemorate my own wedding)

ManonPatriotic themes

America for Mom

France, for meme and pepe


It keeps me occupied, though I buy most of the materials (fabric, thread, beads, pattern) from a US online store. Even with shipping, it is cheaper than buying the materials here. I am currently working on two different patterns, LAVANDE for Lydia, Alain's aunt with lavender and olive green colors, and LEA for the daughter of the cleaning lady at work.

For anyone wondering, the designs are from the "Lavender & Lace" by Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum at Told in A Garden.

I love her designs and she also has a lot of angels, christmas patterns, etc.
jeudi 15 mars 2012
I took an early train to Paris, arriving around 11 am. I took the subway to my hotel, and dropped off my luggage at the front desk. It started to drizzle, so I brought my umbrella with me as I headed back out to explore a bit. Walked around the Opera section, then down to the Louvre and along the Champs-Elysée. There were more tourists than I expected. It was a long walk. I stopped in some fancy stores, bought some postcards, and had an expensive coffee before taking the subway back to my hotel. I met a fellow student for dinner, who was there for the C and D exams, and we ate at a Japanese restaurant across from my hotel.
The next morning, I tried to study in the morning, had lunch at McDonald's, then headed over to the exam hall. I saw some other students I knew from my class in Strasbourg two years ago.
The exam went okay, though I did panic a bit. I thought it was the same trap as last year, but it turns out it wasn't. The subject was a self-cooling barrel. I used the full four hours for the exam.
Afterwards, some of the other students and I walked back to the hotel and had dinner in the hotel. They were taking the C exam the next day, so it was an early night.
The next morning, I checked out of the hotel and went to the National Intellectual Property Office. I wanted to browse in the library, and I met two other friends for lunch, who are patent examiners with the office. I then left to head for my train at 4:20, and arrived in Marseille at 7:30 pm. Alain met me at the train station and we took the subway home. A short, but hopefully productive visit to Paris that I won't have to repeat next year.

I wasn't able to take many pictures, as the camera battery quickly died. (Alain's camera is at least 10 years old).
mardi 6 mars 2012
At VMI, there was an expression "two-oh and go", referring to Grade Point Average. Basically, you could graduate as long as your grade point average was 2.0 or higher, and for some, this was all that mattered.

Which right now is how I feel about my exam. Would I love to get 90 points like I did on the A exam and have my paper printed as the ideal answer? Of course. Would I be willing to wait another year for that or would I accept a 45, the minimum number of points I need, since I have passed (50+) two papers and have a compensatable grade (45 to 49) in one other exam?
Would much rather pass it this year, without a doubt.
I would take the C exam (48 points) again, to try and get 50+, but if I take it again and get a lower score, I lose my compensatability, and then would have to take it yet again. If I could try again and be guaranteed to at least keep the 48, I would, though still focusing on the B exam.

So, fingers crossed for mediocrity!
lundi 5 mars 2012
Tomorrow I leave for Paris on the TGV, my exam is Wednesday afternoon, 4 hours.
Last year I took the whole week before the exams off from work to focus on studying, plus the whole week of exams, and the two following weeks when I went to the US. This year, I only took this week off.
I am so tired of studying for this exam. I've done each of the past papers, from 1990to 2011, at least twice on my own, plus several three or more times during training sessions. I'm sick of it! Sick of it! Sick of it! Sick of it!

Please god let me pass this time because I can't take another year of this.

So right now I am reviewing my answers as compared to the best candidate's answer and the examiner's report. Then I have one more practice exam to do, along with preparing my suitcase.

I plan to relax tomorrow afternoon, wander around central Paris and visit some of the sites, then Wednesday morning do some light reviewing, the exam Wednesday afternoon, and then on Thursday go to the library at the National IP Office (Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle) and meet up with some people who were in my course in Strasbourg two years ago.
Then return Thursday evening to Marseille as Alain as his oral defense of his habilitation Friday morning.

I wanted him to come up and join me in Paris for a long weekend, but it was one of the few dates that he could give his defense.

Ah well, perhaps it is better that we go another time anyway, after everything is ove and we are not tired from written exams/preparations for oral exams.

Saturday we went to Casino and Carrefour near his work. We bought 12 bottles of champagne, six bottles of red wine, and Alain ordered some hors d'oeuvres for the obligatory party afterwards. This morning I bought some soda. I think this little party is going to cost us at least 500€ but we have to do it. Ah well. It will be worth it when his habilitation is over.

Five more days to hold up....

PS Oh yeah, plus the joy of hearing my neighbor's horrid hacking phlemgy constant cough, night and day. Jesus. What does she have, whooping cough? Go to the hospital already!
dimanche 4 mars 2012
Alain loves the movie "Arizona Dream". He has mentioned it to me several times, but I had never seen it. When my parents asked me what movie he might like for his birthday, I thought of it. They bought it for him, and we watched it on Sunday night. I think it is one of those movies that you either love or hate. Either you think it is a brilliant opus on the vagaries of life, or you think it is a bunch of weird piffle.
At about forty minutes into the film, I grabbed the case and casually glanced at it, really checking for how many minutes it lasts. I was displeased to find out it was listed at 2 hours and 15 minutes. Sigh, only an hour and a half to go.
At about 1:25, I started to play a game with myself. I would watch the movie, and try to guess when five minutes had passed, then look at the clock. To be quite disappointed that only two minutes had passed. It was a long two hours and fifteen minutes.
To those that have seen it, what is your opinion?

Mom and dad, do not watch this movie. I severely disliked it, and I know you will absolutely hate it. But Alain is happy you got it for him.

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