Thursday, July 28, 2005

I have spent the beginning of this week packing, sorting (for the yard sale), pricing, doing laundry, ironing, calling around for storage places, and reading. (Unfortunately, we finished the new Harry Potter, and I am very sad indeed.) It's tough without a car, when you are used to having one and everything is not within walking distance. Dr. B has the car out in Spring Green every day, where he is working at a glass company for the summer. That will change in France--things are much closer together, so it should be easier to get what you need.

Today we are leaving for a 5 day whirlwind trip back to North Dakota to see family. It's finally nice here--65 degrees right now, and yesterday was beautifully cool and breezy. The weekend looks to be warm but nice weather, with some storms on Saturday. Better go pack! We've got to get on the road! We'll be back Monday, for more packing!


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Today was beastly in Madison with heat indexes over 100 degrees. I hope hope hope that things will not be this way in France next summer, as few have A/C (not even stores--it's fairly rare there.) We took Lucy on a walk after 10:30 PM and I felt like I was going to melt with heat index still at 97 degrees. Oy. Not pleasant.

Also finished the latest Harry Potter today. I won't give anything away, but I have to say it was great and I am quite depressed and still mentally "in" the story. Wow. What a great series.

Going back to North Dakota this weekend for a visit, albeit quick, with family. We are looking forward to it--it will be nice so see people once again before we fly off to la belle France!


Friday, July 22, 2005

Had my last day of teaching SMG students yesterday. Finished at SFX a week ago or so. Hard to say goodbye! I can't believe I am done. I am really going to miss the kids.

Of course, I got a stress migraine last night. Argh! First one in a long time.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Got an OK to do a yard sale, so have begun the sorting process (and packing of things we don't use daily, like china, crystal, etc.) Amazing how much junk you accumulate over time. And really amazing how little you care about it when you know you'll have to pay to store it!

On the bright side, a friend who also had a Honda went to sell his and it sold in a week. We are hoping for the same, and will use that $ for paying for the storage unit. Pointless to own a car in Paris, from what I understand. Ah Honda, you have served us well...

Loving my new weather pixies--check them out! Very exciting--I can't wait to see them change clothes! (Boy, I have an exciting life.)

Missed the Harry Potter unveiling, and sorry to miss it SMG actors. I am sure it was awesome. Going to buy my copy today.

Did to go Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Batman Begins at the Highway 18 outdoor theatre with friends. So much fun! A Drive in movie (felt very "Grease!"), greasy food (love the mozzarella sticks!) and a double feature for $7/adult. Fun was had by all. Have to do that again before we go.

Only 6 weeks--yikes!


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

We survived Hurricane Dennis!

Mr. B and I went to New Orleans, Louisiana, on Saturday to visit friends and celebrate his completion of his PhD. Although a Hurricane was forecasted, we were lucky that it blew east, and we didn't see too much trouble from it. We had a great time in NOLA, spending time with our friends, walking around the French Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny, eating at fabulous restaurants, and sight-seeing some of the things that typical tourists don't get a chance to see.

Saturday, M&D picked us up at the airport, and we went out in the French Quarter for dinner and socializing. It was pretty hot, so we didn't stay outdoors too long. We ate at a great little place in the Quarter called "The Alpine" and enjoyed some delicious Louisiana seafood. We originally had planned to go to 2 other restaurants, but both were closed for their summer vacations. On Sunday, they took us on a tour of the Garden District, Audabon Park, and out to see Lake Pontchartrain.

The Lake is normally quite placid, but there were a few waves (5 foot waves to be exact!) The bridge you see stretches 26 miles across the lake, and I think is the longest bridge in the world, but I may be wrong. The police had blocked it off, so we couldn't go out on it that day. M and I got quite soaked by the waves that splashed up through the dock we stood on, and Dr. B and D noticed that our drinks in the restaurant were moving from the force of the waves hitting the posts that the restaurant sat on (it was built on the Dock and called "The Dock"). On the way back to their home, we stopped by to see a restaurant that had been removed from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, and brought to New Orleans before being reconstructed. This is a photo of the restaurant--all steel and glass.

We spent Monday morning walking around the French Quarter, and met D for lunch at Voodoo BBQ before hopping the plane back to Chicago. We were able to catch the 5.30 bus back to Madison, so were home by 8 PM. It was a great vacation, and Dr. B says he feels much more relaxed following his stressful work on his thesis and defense.


Saturday, July 09, 2005

He did it! Success!

Hallelujah--or as my Mom would have said, "Praise the Lord and pass the band-aids!"

Off to New Orleans, to take it easy in the Big Easy while Tropical Storm Dennis rages (hopefully) to the east.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Defense looming...and then--VACATION!

Mr./soon to be Dr./ B is finishing his talk, which he will give on Friday to defend his PhD thesis. He is nervous, though most people assure him that this is merely a formality, and that he is very good at what he does anyway, but it is his nature to be worried and nervous about it, and everything else! When he doesn't have anything to worry about, he worries about that. It's a difficult time for him, so I am doing my best to be supportive, and to stay out of his way whenever he needs time alone. I am not teaching again until Tuesday, so now the plan is to prepare the food for the defense.

Traditionally people offer cookies, but I like to do something a little different. B loves to grill (this is genetic--his family requires it--that and the love of movies with popcorn), so I am thinking of a grilled menu: chicken saté, grilled eggplant dip with grilled pitas, grilled veggies (peppers, tomatoes, onions) with olive oil and fresh herbs, and grilled pineapple (dipped in coconut milk, cinnamon and brown sugar.)

Who knows? Maybe I'll give up and just buy Oreos.

The morning after his defense, we leave Madison for Chicago, where we'll hop a plane to visit some dear friends of ours in the Big Easy, New Orleans. This is his birthday/graduation/defense/anniversary present (and a present to me, too). As long as the hurricane doesn't cause too much trouble, it should be a really fun weekend. We love New Orleans; spent our honeymoon there, and returned on our 5th anniversary. Our 10th will be in Paris, so we will celebrate the second 5-year mark a little early.

I plan to eat my way through the French Quarter--the broccoli will be here when we return! Hello, Jambalaya!


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lucy's Flight Box has been purchased, and we are in the process of getting her used to it. We bought an XL crate, in plastic as required by the airlines, and we have placed her bed in the bottom half. So far, she is fine with that, but we haven't yet put the top or the door on. We're hoping she doesn't get too upset by that, because we want her to be comfortable with her crate so the flight over isn't so difficult for her. She does speak English, but her vocabulary is pretty limited, so I don't think she'll quite understand what is going on when she is placed in an airplane for 8 hours. The vet said that this can be the hardest part for them. She won't be sedated, because our vet said that she could be injured if she was given any calming drugs, because she wouldn't be able to brace herself during turbulence. We'll make sure she has Piggie, her favorite toy, to keep her company. She usually nibbles on him when she is feeling upset.

She also got a fresh shave, so the hot summer weather is much more tolerable. She's sporting her american flag bandana for her last 4th of July in the USA.

I don't know if they make Bastille Day bandanas for dogs in France.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

An Apartment in Paris?

Mr. B and I got an exciting offer yesterday. His new boss in Paris has a friend who has an apartment for rent in the city that would be available the day we arrive. The apartment is in the Place d'Italie area in the 13th arrondissment. (The photos are from this area--I downloaded them off the web.) The apartment is very small (about 1/3 the size of our place now) and is one room, plus a kitchen and bathroom. These are known as studio apartments. The upside of this is that it is something we could afford, it is owned by someone we can trust, it is near so many neat parts of the city as well as near his work (a quick train ride), plus it has an equipped kitchen.

In France, a non-citizen has to have a special official paper to get a job (called a work visa), and this is something Mr. B has, but I don't! I may be able to teach some private lessons, but it could be hard finding another job, so Mr. B and I will have to be pretty careful with our money.

It is also common in Europe for people to buy and take their stove, fridge and kitchen cupboards with them when they move. For that reason, we need an apartment with an equipped kitchen. This place has it, so we wouldn't have to spend as much money. We would have to buy some furniture (like a table and chairs, a sofa or sofa bed, maybe a bed), but a smaller place means less furniture to buy. To ship our furniture over from Wisconsin would be very expensive, and it would be way too big for most European places. We plan to store most of it here in Madison, because we plan to come back to the states in a few years, and will want these things then.

Things in Europe are much smaller and closer together, so we will get used to living in a smaller place. Even the cars there are very tiny. (My Wisconsin Honda Accord is bigger than the biggest cars there!) A Mini-Cooper is actually a fairly large car in Europe. Some cars, called "Smart Cars" are so small that they can park sideways on the street. They have 2 seats, and no backseat or trunk to speak of. Forget about an SUV or Mini-Van--they would be huge!

Here is a photo of a smart car. The blue thing in the seat is a man's dress shirt, so you can tell that these are very, very tiny cars!

I don't know for sure if this is the apartment we will take, but we are going to contact the owner and find out more about it. It would be pretty exciting to live right in Paris itself, and to get a true city experience. I'll keep you informed on what happens. We are pretty excited!


Friday, July 01, 2005

How To Contact Me:

At the bottom of each post, there is a little button that says "Comments". If you'd like to write a comment on a post (or just say Hello!), click on this and you should be able to do that. These will be posted on this site, so know that anything you write will be seen by others. I will read these posts, and can respond to you. They are sent right to my email account. (I didn't want my email address listed on the web for security reasons.)

Please remember, for safety's sake, do not put your last name or any thing that can really identify you on this site. I know my students, so if you say "Hi Mrs. B, this is Joe-Bob from SMG and I played the bari sax", then I will likely remember you. (Especially Joe Schmoe in the back row.) Other kids from your school will recognize you, but we will be able to keep you safe because you won't have put any idenitfying info on the blog for anyone to locate you.

If there is anything posted on this blog that I do not want on here, I will delete it.

I hope to hear from many of you soon! Enjoy!