lundi 31 décembre 2012
My Husband:

(photo courtesy of Yahoo!)

I just couldn't resist. A frog on a bright green motorcycle.
(and his name is Oui)

The instant I saw this photo, I burst out laughing. I showed it to Alain, saying "look! it is you! A frog on a green motorcycle!" He didn't think it was quite that funny.

Ah 2012. Goodbye.

January and February- quiet months. Me studying for my exam and Alain preparing for his habilitation.
March - my final exam and Alain's Habilitation, within days of each other.
April - the French presidential election, me voting in France for the first time
May - car troubles
June - another exam, in Paris
July- 14th of July celebration with Alain's sister and her family, my exam results, a last-minute trip to Taiwan for Alain
August- last minute trip to the US for us for three weeks, a much needed break
September - return to work, studying for my oral exam
October- oral exam in Paris
November - nothing of interest
December - holidays

Here are our plans for 2013:
January- nothing
February- nothing
March- nothing
April- nothing
May- hopefully meet up with Mom and Dad when they come over to Europe
June- nothing
July- nothing
August- vacation somewhere in France/Italy
September- nothing
October- re-take my oral exam
November- nothing
December- nothing

So hopefully it will be a quiet year with not too many exams for me.

We are passing some quiet holidays. We went to my in-laws for Christmas Eve, and stayed over. My mother-in-law hosted Christmas dinner. Everyone was there except pepe, who wasn't feeling well.  Manon was feeling sick and was rather out of it, Alain's sister and her husband were stressed because they are renovating their apartment (adding on a mezzanine level under the rafters) and are approaching the final days.

Now, here we are, New Year's Eve. Alain isn't feeling well, he thinks he has a pinched nerve in his lower back. He originally wanted to go out for New Year's (which is something we have never done), but due to our general exhaustedness and his back pain, we are staying in. He spent all day yesterday making ravioli for New Year's dinner, which will be at his aunt's house (the one to whom I gave the LAVANDE cross-stitch). Then, back to work on Wednesday.

Best wishes for 2013!
dimanche 16 décembre 2012
 Here is the other cross-stitch I finished this year, this one is for Alain's Aunt, Lydia. I have now done at least one for every household of Alain's immediate family. Noel for my in-laws, France for meme and pepe, Manon and Anna for his sister's family, and now Lavande for his aunt.

I think this is one of the prettiest ones I have done, especially due to the framing job, again 90€.

mercredi 12 décembre 2012
Yep, it is that time of year again folks.

Time for wives to write up lists of what they would like for Christmas, to give to their floundering husbands.

Alain needs help. Really badly.

Whereas I was able to knock out Christmas shopping for his entire family in an hour and a half, he doesn't know what to get me.

I finally took pity on him and wrote up a list with a few things I would like, as well as things I do not want. ie. do not buy me the one perfume I hate most in the entire world for the third time in a row.

My only problem is, there is not much that I want this year.
We need some big-ticket items, like a new CPU, as well as some un-exciting items, like a hot pot and a steamer, woohoo.

Otherwise, everything that I would like is really expensive (like 200+ € purses or an Ipad) or else really cheap, like a new nail polish color.

What is a girl to do?
mardi 11 décembre 2012
Saturday night I happened to fall upon the Miss France pageant on TV. And then I was sucked into the realm of "This is so lame... I have to watch the entire thing to see who wins..."

I was disappointed by the outfits. Seriously, FRANCE, I expected a whole lot more from you. Let's make their hips look BIGGER!  Let's make them look like they have NO WAIST AT ALL! Besides the Marilyn-swimsuit outfits and the jeweled thing at the end, they were all horrible. I could have designed better outfits.

I wonder how much of the final 12/final 5 is really unknown by the contestants before the announcements. It seems like they would have an idea, at least to have the final outfits that fit and know where to stand during the dances and what dances to do. But let's face it, Dancing with the Stars it is not. The dances are mostly: "Be escorted on stage. Stand in one spot and wave your arms around. When it is your turn to walk down the 'catwalk', stride down, stop at end. Pause. Turn around and walk back to your place. Wait for the other girls to finish. All walk together in two straight lines. Turn around. Walk back. Stop. Look over your shoulder. Wait for applause."

For the outfits, I noticed that some seemed to have lace-up backs, so maybe it really is one-size-fits-all. (not that there is a wide range of sizes to be fit in any case).

I think Miss Tahiti (who ended up second) was the prettiest, but she blew it when she introduced herself and said that she had been modeling since the age of 17 in Paris. I think France (and America too) would want a fresh-faced, rather naive young thing to be their Miss, not some pro. model.

Anyway, the show dragged on FOREVER. Costume change, commercial, another presentation of the final contestants, another opportunity for the folks at home to vote for their favorite candidate, another reminder of "Vote 1 for Miss Pays-de-Loire! Vote 2 for Miss Bretagne!...."

Alain and I had a bet of whether his parents were watching. I said his mother certainly was. He said there was no way his father was watching. We called to check, and were both right. His mom was in the bedroom, watching the pageant on the small tv, and his father was in the living room, watching something else on their main TV.

Another thing I noticed- no Talent competition! Thank god. I think they have gotten rid of that for the Miss America pageant as well, at least the televised portion, right?

Let's see how one goes about becoming Miss France:
1 Pour pouvoir concourir à l’élection de Miss France, il faut être une jeune femme, de nationalité Française de naissance ou naturalisée, être âgée de 18 à 25 ans à la date du 15 novembre de l’année en cours.
2 Les critères physiques sont les suivants : mesurer au minimum 1m70, ne pas avoir d’artifice tendant à transformer son aspect naturel (postiche, perruque, lentilles de couleur, prothèse mammaire…).
Il faut également avoir une silhouette élégante, une démarche gracieuse, des cheveux et ongles entretenus, une tenue vestimentaire soignée.    
3 Il faut être célibataire. Ne pas être divorcée, ni veuve, ni pacsée et ne pas vivre en concubinage, être sans enfant.    
4 Ne pas avoir participé précédemment à aucun concours de beauté similaire autre que ceux patronnés ou organisés par le Comité Miss France, Geneviève et Xavier de Fontenay ou la Société Miss France.    
5 Ne pas avoir de casier judiciaire, avoir une bonne réputation et moralité, une bonne culture générale.    
6 Ne jamais avoir posé ou s’être exhiber dans des tenues ou poses équivoques, partiellement ou totalement dénudée.    
7 L'inscription au concours est gratuite.
La candidate doit d'abord concourir aux différentes élections locales, départementales ou régionales qui la mèneront jusqu’à la finale nationale.
Pour les futures inscriptions, rendez-vous sur le site officiel du Comité Miss France.

Huh. Well, let's see. Too short. Too old. Married.

Dang it. Guess I missed my window of opportunity to be Miss France.

Le Sigh.

Wouldn't it be funny if someone got up there with a really strong accent and said "Hello. My name is ... I am 24 years old and am Miss Provence..."
lundi 10 décembre 2012
Our Nativity scene (one figurine for every year we have been together, which is 9 for those who are counting):
Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, all bought the first year in Marseille 2005
The three wise men, bought in 2006
A (lying down) donkey, bought in 2007
(2008, 2009, 2010 nothing, catching up for the previous years)
A camel, bought in 2011 (also lying down, so he doesn't have to "stand up the whole time" according to Alain)

And this year.....(suspense)

An angel!

Previous posts about the Foire:

Every year I set out our Nativity scene, and then we head down to the Foire Aux Santons. We wander around, trying to decide first what type of figurine to add. Shepherd? Sheep? Elephant? (though I'm not really sure elephants were present at the birth of Jesus. But I can't say for sure.)

Once we have decided on the type of figurine, we try and find the one we like the best. Which entails a lot of pushing through hordes of rugrats, and going back and forth between the booths of our final choices, always at opposite ends of the fair. Feel like asking a vendor: Do you mind if I just borrow this angel, so I can compare it side-by-side with an angel by another vendor? No?

We bought some roasted chestnuts, but there didn't seem to be any hot beverages, like mulled wine or hot chocolate. Bummer.

Finally decided on this angel, which was not from the same vendor as any of the other figurines. Oh well.

Came home and set the angel in place. Alain solemnly informed me that I had it wrong: the angel is supposed to be placed right over the crib. Never heard of this before, so I am wondering if it is a French thing.

So there you have it folks.

Next year, I'm holding out for an elephant.

Oh, and this is as far as our Christmas decorating gets.
dimanche 9 décembre 2012
Just finished this custom crosstitch for a Christmas present for my friend's daughter Léa, who is 11 years old. Léa picked out the colors, and wanted bright electric blue. I was a bit hesitant at first, as I wasn't sure how it would look to have the entire dress in bright blue, and also the threads only came in three shades- dark, medium, light, whereas the design calls for at least five shades of the same color. Finally, I mixed one thread of white with one thread of light blue, one thread of light and one thread of medium, one of medium and one of dark, plus light, medium, and dark for six different "shades" of blue.

I then decided on gold as the complementary color and added the gold threads (three shades) and gold metallic thread. Finally, when we were back in the US, I found some blue beads that matched perfectly the blue threads.  Beading is the most painstaking part, it takes days and days, using an "invisible" thread. The design has hundreds of beads on it, of four different colors.

When I was done with the stitching and beading, I gave it to my mother-in-law, who washed and ironed the fabric and then took it to be framed at the usual place. Kinda expensive, 90€, but the woman always knows exactly what matting colors and frame to use. I think it turned out great. I would love to see Lea's face when she receives it, but won't be able to. Kinda sad to see it go, probably won't ever see it again.

PS: For the others of this same series, please see my post:
For the website of the original creator:

Blog Archive


Favorite Posts