Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bad Combination

Lovely French Sauvignon Blanc


SweetTarts Chews


wine that tastes yucky, and sweettarts that taste pretty much the same.


Thanks to Shalynn and Jeff and Reagan for the Candy!!! The Reese's peanut butter cups are long gone...


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New Gloves

Mission: Accomplished.

Same type, no holes, not black. (They were out.) Instead, a pretty pale pink that should look good with the red scarf I am knitting, and hopefully not get lost as easily.

Got these at one of the H&M's on Rue de Rivoli. It's fun to see the Xmas decorations starting to come out in the shopping districts--I hear they will be in full force on Dec. 1. (Amazing this French Restraint--and they don't even have Thanksgiving or Halloween to hold them back!)

Not very exciting, but I feel good about it so thought I'd share.

And home in time to heat up some soup and eat bread with cancoillote nature de Franche-Comté (a really liquidy mild cheese).



Green Bean Casserole worth eating

At our Thanksgiving, friend Sarah made an awesome Green Bean Casserole from scratch (no cream of random items soup to be had in France). She followed this recipe, substituting crème fraiche (like sour cream) for the 1/2 and 1/2 (they don't have that here, either.)

It was amazing, and I passed it on to my sister. She and J (her boyfriend) raved about it and actually ended up making it twice that weekend because they loved it so much. (That being said, my sister has always loved green beans, and her favorite breakfast as a kid included leftover green beans on buttered toast. No kidding.)

So I thought I'd share, in case you are really on top of things and already planning Christmas dinner.

Bon Appétit!



During one of said long phone conversations, R and I discussed the bizarre nature of pizza in Europe, and the ultimately strange and unpalatable toppings we have no choice but to choose from.

I'll give you some examples:

green beans
an egg, cracked in the middle and left to bake

I once got a pizza at the bakery that I thought had green peppers and artichoke hearts on it. Nope. Buried beneath that cheese was not my lovely peppers, but potatoes, green beans and salmon. Ew. I couldn't eat pizza, potatoes, green beans or salmon for two weeks after that.

Not once have I seen a pizza in Paris with any sort of peppers on it, and if it does have olives, there will (guaranteed) be hairy anchovies as well. So far, my safe bet has been "La Reine" (the Queen) which is ham, cheese and mushrooms (though they often call the ham "épaule" which means shoulder, but I know it really is ham). Dr. B goes for "Le Roi" (king) which adds an egg. I really don't understand the egg thing, but he loves eggs and will pretty much put them on anything.

I would love to take a sack from the grocery over to our local pizza restaurant (-15% if you get it to go) and ask them to put on green peppers, onions, green and black olives, and pork sausage. They are Italian at La Trastavere, so I don't think they'd mind, but they go with the crowd here in Paris, and for some reason, that means potatoes and green beans.

But as for me, I like the supreme.
Everything Pizza

Diverse and adaptable
You enjoy the full buffet of life
It's hard to you play favorites with friends... or flavors
There's very little that you dislike!

Except, of course, potatoes on my pizza. I'm sorry if I am being very, very American, but... yuck.


New Day

Amazing what a difference a day makes!

Today, I am feeling a bit more up, a big lighter, more like myself again. Many things contributed to this, and I am relieved to be feeling better. Thanks for the notes of encouragement, and I will do exactly what you suggest--hang in there!

Got calls from good friends and family, a package (filled with treats--Reese's PB cups, Sweet Tarts, etc., plus dog cookies for Lucy), and many a reassuring email. It is so wonderful to have so many good friends and caring family out there!

Lucy and I didn't do much to report on yesterday, just housework and took a walk up to La Butte aux Cailles. This is a little neighborhood near our place that is at the top of a hill (thus the "butte"). The streets are narrow and charming, dotted with many unusual restaurants, bars, and salons de thé. Lucy's favorite life-size fiberglass cows in front of the tapas bar were not on the sidewalk, being Monday when many places are closed, but she met friends along the way, anyway, live ones.

It's fun to see how she has changed since we moved here--how she now seems to enjoy being a city dog, and doesn't mind the lack of grass, the ever-present leash, and the people everywhere. Though she is still very much "our dog", she does now go up to people, which she never did before. Of course, the fact that they have a baguette sticking out of their bag or their hand helps. She loves going into stores with me, and can't quite understand why she has to wait outside, attached to a hook outside the door, when I go into the bakery. Being the crafty little bugger she is, she waits for someone to enter or leave, and stretches herself as far inside the door as she can. I watch the reaction of the baker--if they look irritated, I choose another bakery the next time. The bakers that laugh at her antics, and call her "Kiki"--they get my return business.

("Kiki" seems to be the french thing to call a cute dog when you don't know the name--like I'd call them "Sweet Pea" or "Buddy", I guess.)

We also started planning a trip at the end of December. Since we will be here for Christmas, and Dr. B will have time off, we are going to get train tickets to go to Saarbrucken to visit my dear friend R (the bassoon queen of Germany) and her boyfriend P. She works at an orchestra in Germany, he works at one in France (he plays Horn), and they live halfway between. We are really looking forward to seeing them, and to spending some time as tourists.

And for those who are interested (though I am not quite sure why you would be) the red scarf is coming along. By my calculations, I believe I have about 16 inches done. I am pretty proud of that. (My calculations=2 hands plus a little bit. I once measured the length of my hand--it is exactly 7 inches from base to tip of my middle finger. Handy to know!)

And tomorrow is a big day--Harry Potter 4 comes out in France!!! (Please don't tell me anything!) We are hoping to see it a block from our place at the Grand Écran--it is the biggest screen in France and even if the movie isn't very good, seeing it on a screen that huge is an experience. I am not sure how it will be to get tickets though--in France they often don't sell them until the published time of the show, and my guess is the line may be long! Hopefully we'll get seats (cross your fingers for us!)

Love from France!


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Holiday Preparations

On Saturday, Dr. B and I decided to head out, and do a little shopping in Montparnasse. I use this word very loosely--we weren't planning on spending the money we don't have, thanks to many things that are awaiting reimbursal right now (long story, won't bore you.) But, we were both feeling a bit down in the dumps due to the winter blahs, and needed a little outing full of holiday cheer, glitz, and paper snowflakes to cheer us. We headed to the heart of Montparnasse, keeping an eye out at eye level for the lost glove (unfortunately--it was long gone, so I am officially giving up on the quest for the glove. Thank you for your help, though!)

We headed first to Créa, an art and craft supply store, for various small, needed items. We were on our way back to the CC at Place du Montparnasse for a little window shopping when we spotted this, with a line stretching behind it. Since it was mid-afternoon, and we hadn't had lunch yet, we decided to see what all the fuss was about.

The gentleman inside was dressed for the cold, but was warmed by the steam rising from the hot, fresh crêpes as he ladled them out on his sizzling griddles. The first person in line had their nose just inches from the surface, and he carefully browned the delicate, thin pancake, spread it with their topping of choice, folded it, and allowed it to warm through while preparing the paper wrapping. These were not pre-made, re-warmed wraps--this guy was the real deal. Fresh, homemade crêpes, made to order, with your choice of sweet or savory fixings.

We queued up, and hungrily planned our feast. Dr. B went for the Super Complet (fromage, jambon, oeuf et champignon) while I went simply for the jambon et fromage. (Fromage: cheese, Jambon: ham, Oeuf: egg, Champignon: mushroom). He ladled out the batter, smoothed it in a swirl with a little wooden instrument, flipped the golden brown, paper thin crêpe, topped it with the toppings, and waited for the cheese to melt. He folded, flipped, wrapped, and handed us our delicate, crispy-tender delights.

Oh. Dear. My. Mmm...

Warm hands, full bellies.

A new Christmas memory.

(Too busy eating to take a picture of ours--we devoured them long before we thought to take the camera out.)


Real Thanksgiving

When we moved here, I knew it wouldn't all be easy, but I also knew that I was very lucky to be moving to Paris. So few people get this chance, and there are so many wonderful things to discover.

Today, though, I am finding it hard to be here, right now, though I would probably feel this way no matter where in the world I was. There are a lot of things that have been weighing on me lately--seeing friends faced with great losses in their lives, wishing I could help somehow, seeing relationships end, and realizing when there is nothing left to do or to say.

Add to that the beginning of winter, so little sunlight, cold feet and drippy noses--not much to raise my spirits.

I guess I've hit the homesick phase, too--missing family and friends far away, longing for traditions, tastes, smells that remind me of home and of who I am, who I've become.

At the same time, I am learning about who I really am, and what I really cherish. I am reminded, by those who matter, that I am important in their lives. I receive notes from students who write to tell me that life has gone on, but they still miss my presence. I hear from old friends who are anxiously awaiting the time we will have together soon. And I look, and there by my side, is the one friend who is always there for me.

And I know that I am truly loved.


Saturday, November 26, 2005


My friends are so cool.

They invited me to join their KIP group (knitting in public).

AND they started a website. And I get to be on it! (doing a little happy dance)

Try--just click on the KNOTS logo in my sidebar. It will take you there.

Uh oh. Now I REALLY have to knit. [gulp]


Paris Neige

This is what we woke up to today.

We had a little taste of this yesterday, but it didn't amount to anything then, not even enough to brush off your shoulders.

But this morning (OK, afternoon. Give me a break--it's Saturday!), as you can see, the trees are still green, while the snow softly blankets the small strip of grass (also still green under the white) on our avenue.

It has been rather surreal--green leaves at the end of November, cool winds, rain and now, snow--so far away from every winter I have ever known.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Stupid Murphy.

Stupid law.

Today's Agenda: go to Montparnasse to shop for a knit hat, wallet, and an extra pair of black gloves for my other jacket, so I wouldn't forget them like I did yesterday. There is an H&M at Montparnasse, and an Etam that specializes in accessories, plus a Mango, and it's all close to line 6 on the Metro, which I can catch a block from home. Sounds simple, right?

OK, so I get to Montparnasse and what happens?

I lose one of the nice leather gloves I have in my pocket.

The second time this has happened--these Isotoners were purchased to replace the ones of which I lost 1/2 the pair back in Wisconsin. I walked up and down the route I took a few times, and went in every store I had been in to ask, and searched the floors frantically.

No dice.


That's IT!

No more nice gloves for me. From now on, only cheap will do because I am just going to lose them anyway. Although, I never seem to lose the cheap ones, just the expensive ones.

Maybe I should make a part of my Adult Garanimals line a group of those little glove-to-coat clippies like I had when I was 5 for people like me. I just have to figure out how to make them not atrociously ugly.

But then, when I am a billionaire due to the amazing success of my Garanimals/Clippies lines, I can buy truckloads of gloves and feel free to lose as many as I want.

Even the nice leather ones.


I really loved those gloves.

***Update: I bought a pair of inexpensive black wool gloves to tide me over.

Last pair of black--I grabbed them, paid and left.

And wouldn't you know.

They have a hole in them.


Tried to get to the other H&M at Forum Les Halles before Knots, and missed the closing by 10 minutes.

So now I have to go out again tomorrow to exchange the holey gloves at another store.




Crunchy, crispy, salty potato chips (crisps) + rich homemade chocolate (your choice of milk, dark or white) = heaven of contrasting flavors! Delicious for the holidays or any time of year. (Just don't leave them in the car in July.)

For those who are interested:

Widman's Candy Shop
Homemade candy (specializing in chocolate covered potato chips) and gifts.
106 South 3rd Street
Grand Forks, ND 58201 USA
Phone: (701) 775-3480
FAX: (701) 775-5590
(International dial 00+1+the number)

Widman's Chippers for Christmas! I believe if you phone, they will ship Chippers pretty much anywhere. Please avoid imitations, even if they make it easy by having internet sites--Widman's in Grand Forks is the Original, and of course, the Best. The shop is still run by the same family who has been making candy for 4 generations, making wonderful homemade treats.

If you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop into the shop--the aroma is amazing, the selection is unbelievable and the new shop (the old one was destroyed by the flood of '97) is absolutely charming.

And of course, since it is Grand Forks, ND--the people there are also charming and polite and warm and friendly as well.

Vive le Mom-n-Pop-Shop!


Snow Pig

Yesterday, the girls' music teacher was unable to come, so instead of our usual Wednesday routine, we met up with their Mom, and two of their cousins, and headed to the 16th arrondissement to the Théâtre du Jardin d'Acclimatation for a play called "Cochon Neige"--Snow Pig.

Yep. Snow Pig.

The idea was that they took several fairy tales and combined them, while changing the character of Blanche Neige (Snow White) into a pig. Add in 3 dwarves (yes 3, the group of 7 lives on the other side of the forest, and they are cousins of course!) But these dwarves were not so nice--they were trying to get dear little Cochon Neige to clean their house, and then they would cook her for dinner. With a hungry heroine (no golden locks, but pretty close--she did eat pretty much everything in sight), an evil queen with a magic talking mirror, a red poisoned apple...well, you get the idea. Cute play, and the kids really enjoyed it. We heard chorus after chorus of "Miroir, gentil miroir, dit-moi!" in the bathroom right afterward, which they soon forgot, thank goodness. (Translation: mirror, mirror on the wall...)

Before and after the show, we spent time walking around the Jardin d'Acclimatation. It's set up as a kind of amusement park for kids, with lots of rides, a mini-zoo, and lots of things to play on. I thought ahead enough to bring my camera with me, and thought you might like to see some of the fun we had. This was in the house of mirrors. It wasn't very crowded, probably due to the temperature, so we were able to do a lot of things in a few hours. The kids were having a ball, and of course did not want to leave (though the adults were freezing) but we managed to drag them out by 5 PM as the sun was rapidly sinking in the sky.

I guess we were charmed by the fairy tales, and didn't have any trouble catching a metro home--despite "La Grève" (the strike) that was making life miserable in Paris this week. As we walked from the train back to their apartment, the littlest one told the girls' Mom that "only the kids get tired, not the adults"--I'm not so sure about that one!

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...who is the tiredest of them all?


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

First Care Package

Our first care package arrived from the states today, with some
presents for Christmas. (What can I say? My mother-in-law is really
on the ball!)

But included in the package, some of our (OK, my) favorites:

Cherry Chapstick (4 tubes!)
Real Qtips, with a mini lotion attached (to keep in my purse)
Puffs (I'll save these for when we have a nasty cold--they are sooooo
and (la pièce de résistance)....

Chippers!!! Yay!

(Chippers are Widman's Candies homemade specialty--ND rippled potato
chips covered in their homemade chocolate. Don't look at me like
that--they are REALLY GOOD.)

Wow! I also talked to my Dad and Pam last night, and word is, we've
got more cherry chapstick coming in a package from them.

I will be rolling in Cherry Chapstick!

Yipee! The Parisian Chapstick Queen, that's me!!! (Sorry, but the
Labello just wasn't cutting it. I gotta have my chapstick.)

My lips feel soooooooooo good. Mmmm. Cherry.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Thanksgiving: the Good, the Bad and the Stuffed

Wonderful day, spent with wonderful people, eating wonderful food. We had enough food to feed about 40 people, but only had about 20, so there were lots of leftovers, and lots of stuffed bellies (the way Thanksgiving should be!) Although we missed some who were unable to be here, the bunch who made it were a hoot, and we are all thankful that we've found such a neat group to spend time with, halfway across the globe. It was fun to share our family traditions, and to introduce non-Americans to the dishes we grew up with. So...with no further are the results of the Thanksgiving Showdown.

Cranberries (Oklahoma): thumbs up!
Deviled Eggs (Midwest): thumbs up again!
Pumpkin Pie: split. Some hated, some tolerated. I guess this is an acquired taste. I have acquired it, and enjoyed it thoroughly!
Derby Pie (Kentucky): thumbs up! (It has melted chocolate...yummy.)
Hidden Valley Ranch and Crudités: thumbs up-ish. But the Americans were lovin' it.
Norwegian Meatballs (North Dakota): enjoyed greatly (Thanks Mom!)
Stuffing: awesome! Thank you, Sally!
Green Bean Casserole: way good--and not a drop of cream of mushroom soup in it. Tasted SO much better!
Sweet Potatoes (Oklahoma): Mmmm...sweet.
Corn Puddin' (Virginia): Delish, y'all!
Raspberry Pavlova Roll (Australian entry): Mmmmmm...raspberry...
Apple pie;
Turkey and bread: yum! Thank you to the restaurant across the street for helping us out! Turkeys weren't to be found this time of year, but the restaurant guys found some through a wholesaler, and baked us a HUGE bread--this thing was pretty much the size of a bed pillow--a big bed pillow! And Sally's trick of the sopping wet kitchen towel in the turkey, re-wet every twenty minutes, gave us the first moist turkey I think I have ever eaten on Thanksgiving! (Ok, maybe I exaggerate, but it really worked! Weird, but worked!)

I may have missed something, but at this point the triptophan is kicking in (or else I am just pooped), so will close with a few photos. Some of the photos can be found on Flickr, but since my Flickr is full for the month, and since we had to ante up for prescriptions, doctor bills, and home repairs (which will all be reimbursed, but haven't yet), I am not "pro" yet, so will post a few stragglers here. I wish I had captured more, but was enjoying the festivities rather than spending time behind the lens. Check out a few more on my Flickr page.

To all our new friends, thank you for welcoming us into the group, and for being such a great bunch of people. We are truly blessed to have found you.


Saturday, November 19, 2005

New Tradition

Beaujolais Nouveau


Cards (Gin Rummy)

3rd Thursday in November

(OK, so we're a little late.)

Here's to starting new traditions! "Clink!"


French Rock Concert

Thursday night, Dr. B and I had the opportunity to attend our first french rock concert, with the band Louise Attaque. Our landlady's son is the drummer, and they are pretty much the most famous French band, and they tour all over the world. There is talk about them coming to New York in the near future.

Our seats at the Olympia were fantastic, and not just because they were free. We were dead center, mid-balcony, in cushy red velvet seats. The Olympia is quite intimate, as it seats only 2000 people, but those on the main level were all standing. (Not that it would have been bad to stand, but with my trick knee, I was thankful I didn't have to.) This was the 3rd sold out night in Paris, in the middle of their Autumn tour. The concert started with a DJ (not impressive), and an opening act band. Unfortunately, I had to go to my mental happy place during that one--the singer needs some serious work on her pitch (Aie!)

Then Louise Attaque came out, and they played a rockin' show. High energy, well-written songs. Fun to listen to, fun to dance to, and obviously crowd favorites. I have to say that the show was much better than the new album, which I like a lot, but is missing the raw energy they displayed in concert. If they recorded a live album, WHOA.

However, having been to a few American concerts, I did notice a few differences.

1. No one passed me any "funny stuff" to smoke.
2. I did not fear for my bodily harm--the dancing was very tame, controlled, polite. French dancing. No one flailed!
3. No one screamed. (In fact, a young kid behind us who had come with his dad actually fell asleep.)
4. I wore earplugs, but even if I hadn't, it wasn't ear-blisteringly loud like many American concerts are.
5. People were dressed very conservatively--like they were going to the library. I actually looked more "Rock Star" (in my new Stella McCartney shirt, funky art-deco chandelier earrings and dark jeans) than the singer from the aforementioned band that I won't name because I thought they were awful. Not that I minded looking a little like a Rock Star--I guess it was my Halloween since I didn't get one.
6. People weren't under the effects of lots of mind-altering substances, or if they were, they were very quiet about it.
7. No Mosh Pit.
8. A guy in front of me giving the "devil" hand gesture was wearing khakis, a sweater and a polo shirt. And, as expected, he had no idea where the beat was.

Although many of those things were positives, there was a feeling that was just missing. The music was fantastic, and Louise Attaque puts on a great show, but without a crowd responding with crazy enthusiasm and fierce excitement, I didn't leave feeling naturally high and completely exhausted like I would from a show in the US. The drummer had told his mom that the crowds in Paris are never that good, but they had been pleasantly surprised this time--it was better than usual from their perspective.

I would love to see them again, and definitely would go if presented another opportunity. I do hope that they can break into the American scene, because they are definitely "good enough" to make it, though US audiences may have some trouble with the language barrier. The songs, the writing, the stage presence--it's all there. So, if Louise Attaque plays in the US, PLEASE GO. I'll be jealous, because that would be the ultimate experience--a great French band plus a wild American crowd. Wooo!

PS I did get a lot of stares at the concert--possibly due to the Backstage Pass I was wearing. And yes, I met some members of the band. They may play like Rock Stars, but they greet you like French Guys--distant, cool--got a "Bonsoir" but that was about it. Maybe it was because DrummerMom introduced us as "Americans"--did that scare them?

I probably should have told them I went to school with Chuck Klosterman. Maybe that would have helped. (But, to be honest, I didn't like him much, and I'm sure he doesn't remember me.)


Deviled Eggs

Note: French eggs are fresh. Really fresh. Just laid fresh.

Which is wonderful!

Except when you are making deviled eggs.

I tried, guys, I tried, but the whites are a bit ragged. Should taste good, though.



So here I am, in Paris, France, making Norwegian Meatballs, as much like my Mom used to as I can while in France. The ingredients may be a little different, but the reason is the same.

And this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the opportunity to live a new life in a new place, to learn from another culture while retaining my own, and to make new friends.

And tomorrow, I wear the fat pants.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Garanimals for the Matchically Challenged

So, Dr. B returned from Nice last night, and it is wonderful to have him back. We spent some time catching up on all that had happened in the 3 days he was gone, and then he went to check his email.

And catch up on my blog. He loved the "luckiest woman" post but was a bit offended by the "matchically challenged" comment. "Me?" he said. "Me? But I dress great!"

This morning, before leaving for work, he handed me a cup of coffee (so I couldn't fall asleep again--requested by me otherwise it's just too easy to roll over for another hour.) Since tonight we will be meeting at the Olympia in the 9th arrondissement for the Louise Attaque concert, he wanted me to appraise his outfit.

Blue plaid shirt
Black courderoy jacket
Black pinstripe pants
One Blue Converse all-star sneaker
One Lime Green Converse all-star sneaker
Olive green, black, tan and white scarf.

Yep, that's his idea of "matching".

So he says, "but you told me to wear this shirt with these pants. I wore this at the conference."

(Inner shudder of embarassment.)

And I said "no, actually I told you specifically NOT to wear the plaid shirt with the striped pants. I said several times, STRIPES WITH SOLIDS."


Then he proceeded to give me a kiss goodbye, and go out the door.

He must have seen the desperate look on my puffy, sleepy face, and he turned around.

"Would it help if I wore two blue shoes?"

Yeah. It would.

I try people, I try.

OK, so who can help me with the Garanimals tag design?


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Crap Happens

Well, you know it had to.

In a city with 8 bagadazakillion pigeons, at some point, I wouldn't escape.

Although, I am not too sure it was a pigeon, because this bird was flying high.

But he got me.

RIGHT on the head.

So much for that "Hair Silk" I used this morning.



Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bachelorette on a Cleaning Spree

OK, attempted a cool title, didn't succeed. Sorry.

Since Dr. B is out of town, I have been on my own for the last 2 days. Expected to be woken at the crack of dawn by a cold, wet nose, but was surprised that she held it until 10:30--which meant I woke up REALLY late. Oops. It's tough when the metal shade is down--it's pitch black and 8 AM feels like 2 AM. Oh well.

Got a call from my good friend R in Germany, and set up some plans for the near future for visits there and here. Then began the big push to clean the place, which involves putting everything up high and sweeping and mopping, followed by leaving the windows wide open so it dries faster (and having really cold feet!) Lucy, of course, was not happy about this at all, and insisted on accompanying me on my errands (post, pharmacie, bricorama) afterward. She knocked over the telephone in the pharmacy, got in everyone's way in Bricorama, and then insisted on a long walk before we went to get the girls from school. When we approached the school, a cold rain started to fall, making our walk home pretty miserable.

After work, the bus was again late (like last night--25 minutes late!), the rain was even colder, and when I finally got near home, I needed to stop at the grocery again.

OK, I didn't need to, but I wanted a glass of wine, some chocolate, and some chevre (goat cheese) and was cranky enough not to be able to talk myself out of it.

But now, after a few chocolates, a delightful glass of Bordeaux, a bowl of velouté de potiron (pumpkin soup), some pavé aux amandes (multigrain bread with almonds), chevre, cornichons (my favorite super sour pickles) and a chicken patty, I am pretty happy with the world again.

PS--Please, no flak about the chicken patty. I was cranky and hungry and it looked good.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Moldy Cave

Well, wouldn't you know.

We have a "cave" (storage unit) in the 2nd basement, but we learned that there's not much you can store down there.

Dr. B is on a business trip to Nice (I've heard it's nice), and last night had to go down to get a small suitcase to pack.

We are lucky he did! We found our luggage (much of it brand-new HUGE suitcases purchased for the move at Boston Store in Madison) beginning to MOLD.


So, last night was spent scrubbing off the mold with hot water, soap and bleach, cleaning off all the suitcases with bleach water (just in case) and sniffing bleach fumes. Then ironing and packing the clothes he needs for three days into his Osprey bag (which involved some creative combinations--I still hold to the theory that Garanimals tags should be bought and applied to the clothing of the matchically-challenged.)

Yay. Like we have tons of room in this apartment to store large suitcases.

So he's off, and I'm a single dog-mom for a few days. We have plans for a big Thanksgiving dinner this weekend with the gang, so will be busy planning for that, as well as reading, ironing (still) and hopefully knitting. I now have done 2 inches without frogging the whole project, so I am pretty proud of that.

On Thursday, we are going to hear Louise Attaque at the Olympia. The drummer's mom is our landlady, and is getting us in to see them. She says they are "the best band in France!" It will be our first french rock concert, so it should be interesting.

Hmmm...come to think of the above post there are two ideas for a new enterprise for me. Growing my very own cheese in the cave, and marketing "Garanimals" tags to sell so people can label the clothes of their matchically challenged friends/family members.

Hey, I'm gonna be a millionaire!


Saturday, November 12, 2005


My friend's mother died today.

She had a heart attack, was on the mend, and then died. I don't know the details of it, but I know how much my friend is hurting right now.

My mom died 7 and a half years ago. And it still hurts, every day. And I wish there was something I could do for my friend. My heart aches to know that she has to go through this, because it's so hard. So very hard.

I know that she is angry because she is here, in France, and wasn't there with her mom. That seems to be often the issue with expats--that they feel guilty and angry because they aren't physically there when something bad happens at home. I was angry that I was home across town, and not at the hospital, when Mom died. But it doesn't matter, it really wouldn't have made anything better. We need a reason to be angry because we are angry.

Because she's gone.

And no matter where you are or what you do, you are powerless. And in pain.

And it hurts.


Friday, November 11, 2005

I Wish they had THIS in America

From Nestlés, La Laitière Secret de Mousse au Chocolat (in Chocolat Noir et Chocolat au Lait.)

You buy it in the grocery store in the yogurt section.

Not expensive, tastes good, does not resemble in any way, shape or form the little Jello Pudding Cups you can get in American supermarkets.

I also like their Pots de Crème au Chocolat.

Makes J-E-L-L-O look like Y-U-C-K-O.

Why not, Nestlés?

Maybe if we start an email campaign and bombard them with requests.

Maybe not.



Thursday, November 10, 2005

I am the luckiest woman in the world

Yes, I am.

And I know it.

My husband is sweet, kind, loving, caring, handsome, sexy, funny, fun to be with, intelligent, creative, supportive, understanding, moral, sensitive, helpful (including vacuuming!), loves dogs as much as I do, and he cooks a mean chicken panang curry.

Plus, he isn't grossed out by my eating of sunny-side-up eggs, can make them for me flawlessly, and agrees with me that toilet paper should go over the top.

AND he brought me to Paris for a year.

I know.

And I thank God every day for every moment I have with him.


Parisian City Shoes


Très Cool.


French "efficiency"

Today's adventures were a pretty good example of French vs. American

Below is an excerpt from an email to my Dad, thanking him for being
my "go to guy" when it comes to Converse All Stars from
(I got some sweet chocolate oxfords headed my way, and some charcoal/
kelly green high tops for Dr. B!)

Hi Dad,

Today we went to Égide (the place that 'handles' Dr. B's fellowship)
to work on our carte de séjour (this is the thing we need to stay in
france--official government stuff). The Préfecture (place that
handles all this official stuff for the government of France) had
given us 2 forms with lists of all the papers we needed.

So we had all of them (passports, copies of passports, 3 extra
photos, original gas/electric bill, copy gas/electric bill, original
lease, copy lease, copy ID card of lady who rents us the apartment,
copy Dr. B's pay stuff from CNRS, visas, original forms inviting him
to come, original forms saying he can come, original birth
certificates, original marriage license, proof of doctor check ups),
plus a few extras we tucked in, just in case. Got up (Dr. B missing
work, though he can't work tomorrow because it is a state holiday, so
will be at home frustrated because he can't do any experiments
because he has to celebrate "Armistice Day"), got ready, took two
trains to be there on time when the place opened at 9:30. The guy we
needed to see rolled in about 10 minutes later, as we sat in a line.

But did we have all the papers we needed?

Of course we didn't!

"Do you have your Égide numbers?"
"No. No one told us to have those. Isn't this Égide?"
"Yes, but don't you have them?"
"They are at home."
(wondering if the computer on his desk WORKS or not.)
"Grumble grumble grumble."
(He types Dr. B's name into the computer and pulls up the forms he
needs in about 23 seconds. Hits print. Meanwhile giving us lots of
dirty looks for making him go to ALL THIS WORK.)

(He flirts for 2 minutes with lady who also "works" there, who just
came in. She is at least 15 years older than him.)

"Don't you have your PhD diploma?"
"No, it's at home." (Note: thank you UW-Madison for mailing it to
us last week!)
"Oh, well, we can't do anything without that."
"But they saw it to invite him here, had copies to make his visa
application, had proof to hire him. Why do you need it?"

(more flirting as she walks by again)

"Oh, well, it's not enough unless I see it."
"(multiple swear words)".
"Welcome to France." (he really said this)

So we went all the way back to our apartment (about 40 minutes on 2
trains) and back again (40 minutes again.)

For one stupid piece of paper that he didn't have because the other
people already saw it and no one told us this guy would need it.


We (luckily) got back before lunch and he didn't have a line so we
didn't have to wait this time, thank heavens (once we had to wait 6
and a half hours--so we expect the worst). He sorted through our
stuff, between more flirts with the lady of the day.

Now we have a piece of paper (with 2 stamps and signatures) that says
we have applied for our cartes de séjour. We don't have them yet.

Of course not.

But in 3 weeks they will send us a form that will allow us to go to
their special doctor for another medical check up to prove we are
healthy enough to live here. Because, though the doctor we saw was
trained in France, and got his medical degree in France, and is
covered by french social security, that doesn't matter. Because we
have to see the specific doctor THEY want. Though no one at the
Préfecture told us that, when she told us we would need medical check
ups to stay here.

So we will have to go to another doctor, who will pronounce us as
healthy as the last one, so we can again apply for the right piece of
paper with the right stamp seen by the right person during the right
phase of the moon.

Of course, by this time, we will have lived here for 4 months anyway
and could have spread horrible diseases amongst the population if we
had any, because you know that the US is the world leader in horrible
diseases that are not covered by the zillions of vaccinations we have
undergone since we were old enough to breathe. (By the time we get
this stupid thing it will be time to go home.)

We went home. And then decided we were too frustrated and tired to
heat up soup.

So after a lovely lunch at Urfa Kebab, I walked Lucy over to the copy
place (multitasking in France--a new concept!) to fax the order for
our new shoes from (they won't accept int'l credit cards
online, even though mine is a Visa).

After, went to the grocery store to get bread, ham and eggs for
breakfast tomorrow, and a few odds and ends. Gone maybe 20, 25 minutes.

Got home and already had an email from Zappos saying they had
received my fax and the order would be sent. And it was 2:38 PM,
which means it was 5:38 in the morning in the San Francisco (where I
think Zappo's is)*.

And France wonders why they are not the world leaders anymore????

EFFICIENCY, man! Wake up and smell the 21st century.


So thanks for handling this--I know with you in charge I'll get my
shoes before I'm 80 years old. And you probably won't even forget
the chapstick.

Love you,
Have a good night.

* if I did my time conversion right. (Please don't comment on it if
I'm wrong. That's not the point.)


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

American vs. French Portions

Dr. B had been telling me that I had my portion size all wrong--the
french eat much less in each portion, you make too much, yadda yadda

Well, tonight he eats his words.

HE made the vinaigrette for the salad.

I told him a "traditional french vinaigrette" is 4 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, some mustard, salt and


To me, I can envision the finished dressing (which for two people is about, what, a tablespoon, maybe one and a half?)

What does he use for his "parts"?


It took about 4 parts of dishwashing liquid to one part of water to
clean up all the oil.



Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Stinky Fridge Update

My young charges helped me eat the Stinky Camembert today. It's now at the 50% stage. Dr. B was not happy that there is still some left, but we are working on it.

It was so strongly scented, I thought for sure it would be covered in mold and yuck.

But no, it looked the same.

Tasted good, too.

PS: under NO circumstances give Camembert to the dog. When it is released from their interior combustion tank, the smell is about 700 times worse. Woah.


Wish List

Note: this is a list of things I miss a lot from the US. I plan to update this regularly, so if you are ever sending me something or visiting, please check back! I have found, and am finding, french equivelents that are OK, but there are always certain products you just can't replace. Of course, I will have a similar list when we move from France back to the US--because there are some wonderful things here, too!

So, should a cherry chapstick be stuck in the envelope or in your suitcase, I would be a very happy lady.

So far, I cannot find in France and miss...

*Cherry Chapstick!
*Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion
*OPI nail polish (Sephora only has a few colors, like 5 of the 2 bazillion they make.)
*Contact Solution (Renu no rub or generic) that doesn't cost 14 euros a bottle!!!
*Tony Chachere's Original Creole/Cajun Seasoning (in the little green can with the red top)
*Smucker's reduced sugar jam (not the one with Nutrasweet)
*Aveeno lotion (we like the green--no menthol, no lavendar.)
*REAL Qtips (with the cardboard stems)
*Peanut butter dog biscuits--the big ones (this is Lucy, obviously)
*Oops Scoops Poop bags (from Madison, WI--for Lucy as well! I hope you knew that.)
*Puffs extra soft tissues (no lotion)
*Excedrin (they have Advil at "La Pharmacie"--but no Excedrin. I am OK on my supply right now, though.)

Note: I have a good source for peanut butter and it's not too expensive. They call it "Pate d'Arachide"--sounds like Arachnid paste, doesn't it? Mmmm...spider paste. Yuck! Maybe that's why the french don't eat it--plus, the peanut's name in french is "cacahuete"-- and you know what "caca" is [same thing in English]--not too appetizing! I guess I can hardly blame them. If we called it spider paste or poop butter, I don't know if I'd eat it either...

Note #2: Got an email from my Dad tonight that said he's sending some cherry chapstick in with the new Converse All Stars I ordered for us from Zappos--yay! I guess it's a blessing that Zappos won't mail to France--my "supplier" can hook me up. These chappy lips will be soft and cherry-scented in no time.

Woo hoo!!!! Thanks, Dad!


Population Density

I think these figures are correct; at least they are close. This
will give my American readers an idea of the difference between here
and there. Incredible!

Paris (proper) area in square miles= 41

Fargo area in square miles= 37.9

Population Paris: 2,125,246.

Population Fargo: 90,599

51,835 people per square mile in Paris.

2,390 people per square mile in Fargo.

Kind of changes the perspective, doesn't it?


He's Here!

Yay! The repairman showed up today (I don't know if my telephone call last night to remind him helped or hindered) but he was early, and he is working on our "store" (metal shade) and the "manivel" (handle). Hopefully it will soon be working.

Meanwhile, I am catching up on all the ironing I hadn't done because we didn't own an iron or ironing board (my Mom would have been so embarrassed that my husband was walking around in public with wrinkly shirts. Quel horreur!)
I bought an iron at Monoprix, and an ironing board at Tati, so now I guess I don't have any excuse. Rats.

Lucy has since become very irritated with the both of us (imagine--making noise at 10 AM. How could we do that to her?) She has moved in to the bathroom--the quietest room in our tiny place that has a soft rug for her to snuggle in on-- for her mid-morning nap. (To be followed by an early afternoon nap, a walk, a late afternoon nap, a walk, dinner, and bedtime.)

Such is life, in Paris, on a Tuesday morning in November.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Maps of Paris

Here are two maps, so you can get an idea of where we are, and where the rioting is. We live in the 13th, which is in the south east part of Paris. The circular thing you see in the middle of the 13th is the Place d'Italie, and we live 1/2 block from it.


We're Safe

Thanks for all the notes of concern. We are OK; none of the rioting has yet reached the 13th arrondissement. It's a strange situation--here we are rather insulated, and haven't yet seen anything from the riots. In fact, many of my friends didn't know they were even going on until the 7th day (when I mentioned it) because they hadn't watched the news. I keep up through the BBC, New York Times and Le Monde on my computer, so have been reading about it. It's a grave situation, and very difficult to control.

Due to America's history as a nation of immigrants, we have a different take on this, I think. France was not set up the same way, and thus did not have anything in place for dealing with the problems that arise when people settle in their country. Due to the economy being depressed, immigrants have had a very hard time finding jobs. France also makes it difficult for them to get legal work, due to their immigrant status (I am in a similar boat, though my husband is employed legally.) And there is no way to live in France without money--it is an expensive place to live. But the living conditions are so much better than the countries many of the immigrants come from, they are willing to make sacrifices to come here. We see the same thing in the US with immigrants from Mexico and Central America--the benefits outweigh the risks.

However, in France, I have not seen evidence of the government going to great lengths to help the immigrants to find work or to have decent housing, and tension was mounting. It is almost impossible to believe the government didn't see this coming--but it seems they had an attitude of "ignore it and it will go away."

Unfortunately, that doesn't work, and they are now finding out what kind of power people have when they are desperate. I am very concerned as to what is going to happen. It's a scary time to be here, but I really believe it could happen anywhere.

The fact is, all people need to be treated with respect, no matter where they come from or where they go. The world is just too small. We can no longer discriminate against someone due to their skin color, religion, or upbringing--not that we ever should have, but it happened and continues to happen all over the world. But now, more than ever, we have learned that this kind of discrimination is not just unethical, it can be lethal.

Below is a quotation from the Parler Paris newsletter I read twice a week. The writer, Adrian Leeds, has lived in Paris for many years, but is a native New Orleanian. She lives in the Marais, north of where Dr. B and I live.

"To ignore the Paris riots would be irresponsible on my part, but I must tell you, that if it weren't for my CNN news alerts, I wouldn't know they were happening. That's not to say that my head is "in the sand," but living in central Paris, there has been no sign of the angered destruction taking place in the "banlieue" (suburbs) or in other parts of France -- until last night, when a car was burned in the Marais.

I caution all those watching and reading American media so as not to overexaggerate the true situation. Remember that the American media is run by entertainment organizations that tend to sensationalize the news to build ratings. Remember that they usually take the same 20-second "sound bite" and run it every hour on the hour or more often leading you to believe the event is happening in continuous motion, rather than done and past. Remember that in Paris, the rich live in the center and the poor live in the suburbs -- the opposite of the U.S. condition of the inner cities vs the wealthy "burbs."

There is no question of the seriousness of the situation. For a very long time the poorly treated immigrant pot has been simmering and predictions of it coming to a boiling point have been whispered about. Now the time has come for France to pay for its mistakes vis a vis its poor and suffering immigrant population, mostly of North African and West African origin, who are jobless and grossly discriminated against. I remind myself that I, too, am an immigrant in France, but my white face and western background don't threaten the French middle class.

Craig S. Smith of the New York Times reminds us that "Just two months ago, the French watched in horrified fascination at the anarchy of New Orleans, where members of America's underclass were seen looting stores and defying the police in the wake of Hurricane Katrina."

In his article "France Has an Underclass, but Its Roots Are Still Shallow" published November 6, 2005, he continues, "The corrosive gap between America's whites and its racial minorities, especially African-Americans, is the product of centuries: slavery, followed by cycles of poverty and racial exclusion that denied generation after generation the best the United States could offer. France, on the other hand, is only beginning to struggle with a much newer variant of the same problem: the fury of Muslims of North African descent who have found themselves caught for three generations in a trap of ethnic and religious discrimination."

Now both sides of the Atlantic are getting a taste for their just rewards. While the rioting is destructive, just like Katrina was, it sheds new light on problems that need to be addressed NOW, not tomorrow, and for our pain and suffering will come renewed enlightenment. Just like my cast will help heal my torn ligaments, so shall the uncorralled and violent expression strengthen the cause.

Call me the ultimate optimist as one of France's more welcome immigrants, but I see a brighter future for an ailing community from a more tolerant government.

Paris is still Paris. Paris will always be Paris and this, too, shall pass."


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Moderator Schmoderator

I have switched to monitoring my comments before they are published. This is not because I don't trust you, but I don't want any weird "unsavory" sites linked to mine--after all, there could still be kids reading this. (Hi Kids!)

So, if you don't see your comment pop up right away, that's because I haven't read it and approved it yet. We are 7 hours ahead of the US here, so I may be asleep. Or I may just be toying with you.

Muuh hu ha ha ha ha haaaahhhhhhh!!!!

"What are we going to do tonight, Brain?"

"The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try and take over the WORLD!!!"


Pho 14, Sputnik, and Doggy Kisses

Eventful Saturday...

Spent the day taking books back to the library (and learning NOT to let them go overdue--24 euros--OUCH!), and then shopping at Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on the Boulevard Haussman for a bag and shoes. Both were already decked out for Christmas (they don't have the Thanksgiving thing to get in the way)--although this year, Christmas seems to involve lots of hot pink lights and strange, stuffed green robotic patchwork squirrels marching in circles. That scared me a little.

Finding neither a bag nor shoes that pleased me at either of the "Grands Magasins", nor at C&A or H&M, I headed to Zara and found a teal courderoy bag, a soft little aqua shrug and grey top for not too many euros. Yay!

Then I discovered a little shop in the metro station for the Havre-Caumartin stop that had cute purses for cheap (who knew?), and metroed home after a call from Flare inviting us for Vietnemese noodle soup at her favorite hangout, Pho 14 on Avenue de Choisy. Delicious--now we know why she was so excited about soup.

Flare headed home early, and AussieLass and Kyliemac and Dr. B and I walked up to the La Butte aux Cailles area for a drink at Sputnik, a café/internet/bar place. We saw a pirate there! (We were pretty sure, anyway. The big gold hoop earring and the funky teeth gave it away.)

But here's the best part; Aussie had a bit of a cough, and agreed to our suggestion of a cup of hot tea at our place, provided we introduced her and Kylie to Lucy.

And she loved Lucy. And Lucy LOVED her.

How's that for a bise?


Friday, November 04, 2005


The french can be very annoying.

Like when they say they are going to show up for an appointment to fix something and they don't show up.

Our manivel has been broken for 3 weeks--that's the name for the iron curtain on the window with the broken handle, currently "fixed" with a wrench attached--à la my Dad (who "fixed" our heater at the lake by taking off the cover and sticking two screwdrivers in it, and left it that way for two years.)

So I called. They "forgot" and apologized and asked me to forgive them.

And set up another appointment for today.

And didn't show up. AGAIN.

I called our landlady; she called them, they said they are moving (my guess is that they knew this when they made this appointment two weeks ago, but made the rendez-vous anyway) and they will phone me within the hour.

It's been an hour. No ringie-dingie.


I think maybe a phone tantrum is necessary.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Spent my last day "off" (this whole year is kind of off, but I digress...) getting my hair cut (and no, I didn't dye it brown--I was wearing white, in a white bathroom, I am pale as a fish, the flash went off and the bathroom light was fluorescent, thank you very much), delivering the rent to the Marais area, and taking 2 trains, a bus, another train, and another bus to IKEA. Got lots of stuff, which irritated people on the trains coming back, but Dr. B met me between the 2 trains home to help me carry it, so it was OK. Took care of a lot of the little junk we needed but didn't have room for last time. Also some Xmas decorations--our first Christmas away from home will be in Paris, so I wanted some Scandinavian stuff to make it feel like home. (I am actually missing the thump and squeak of the lefse rolling pin about now...)

And on the way out, I had to check, just to see.

The clearance area.

And yes, SCORE!

A rug.

Perfect size (for the room and for carrying it back), good color (beige is beige), and soft (100% wool.) Sort of a funky, 70's style shaggy thing.

AND perfect price. 29,50 €.

Lucy was so excited, she brought her dinner out to eat on the new rug.

(Really, she did. A big mouthful of kibble on the rug--we followed with her bowl to save her some trips from the kitchen.)

She is in Dog Heaven.


First Haircut in France

Number One Fear: trying to find a decent stylist who cuts hair well AND listens to you.

Best way to find one: have a friend with good hair and ask her.

Madison: MagE and KC at Baci. Paris: Aimee and Min at Studio 203.

I feel all Rock and Roll! Woooo! Loving it!
(I know, I know; I am about as rock and roll as Julie Andrews. But it is a great cut anyway.)

Next on the agenda: learn how to take a decent self-portrait.


Why French Fridges Stink


Even if you wrap it hermetically in 3 layers (including a ziploc
freezer bag) IT STILL STINKS.

Camembert: Taste the Feet!

If you wanna be happy, eat more Cheesy Feet.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Our Apartment

Well, I am officially succumbing. Though I don't feel it's "ready" to be seen yet, I have posted pics of our apartment on Flickr. To see my current stash, click on the link under the Weather Pixies and the Clocks. I am still learning how to do this, so expect more later.

It's tiny, very tiny (27 meters squared--our whole apartment in Paris would fit in our Living Room in our apartment in Madison), but we like it. You have to be efficient when you don't have much space, so we are still working on it. In the works is some bookshelves (desperately needed), more hooks in the hall for coats, umbrellas, etc., paint (for some reason, paint is about 50 euros a gallon here--don't know why), and pictures for the wall. Also need a rug (the ceramic tile floor is a bit chilly on the tootsies.)

It's in a recent building, only 10 years old. This means, things work (like plumbing, electricity, elevator), it has a garbage chute (2 steps from our door, very handy), and is designed pretty well. In fact, our elevator actually fits up to 8 people! (I have been in a Parisian elevator where 3 people had to suck in their guts to fit, and furniture is moved in through the windows by cranes.) It also means it's not the charming, elegantly crumbling Parisian apartment you may be dreaming of, but it's clean, well-cared for and inexpensive. Plus, we didn't have to go through the hunt and trauma of finding a place, because Doc's boss's best friend was willing to rent to us on his boss's guarantee. Renting an apartment in France can be very traumatic--they want lots of proof that you'll pay, because during several months of the year, they cannot kick you out (by law.) There are whole buildings that are condemned that can't be razed because one family will not leave. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but that's France! We were very lucky to get help finding this place, and the location is incredible. We are a block from 3 metro lines, and within walking distance to just about everything we need. Being close to the Place d'Italie has been great--lots of shops and services in the area. A bit noisy at night, but well lit and close to 3 movie theaters (and close means 1 block away, here.)

Some have also asked for a pic of us. Since we don't want to look like geeky tourists with our camera everywhere we go, we haven't done much of that. When you come visit, you can take those for us, OK? But here's one of us tonight; we're alive, well and living in Paris.


Where I've Been

First, thanks for all the 'get well soons'--the day off really did a world of good, and I felt better by that evening, enough to take a long walk with Dr. B and the dog in the Butte aux Cailles area near our house. It was either stoppable sickness with rest, or a migraine that I also stopped with rest. I don't care which--I am just glad to feel better.

I haven't been posting much lately, because I didn't know how interesting my learning to knit (yes, me who couldn't crochet or embroider to save her life), yarn shopping with my new buds, walking the dog a lot, and just generally shopping would be. (Well, I find shopping terribly interesting, but I don't know if it's worth blogging about!) Today was a national holiday, All Saints' Day (after a pitiful and sad Halloween, that made me miss terribly the commercial overboardness of American holidays). Supposedly, people go to the cemetaries to lay flowers on everyone's grave today. We celebrated by sleeping until 11, eating omlettes, and shopping. When I have him home, I gotta get him out--Dr. B is not fun to shop with, and when he needs stuff and says "OK, let's go"--I know to go right now!!! Found him 3 pair of pants, a sweater, a long sleeve ribbed T and some boots. We also love that most of the men here are his size, so finding pants that fit him is much easier. All his American pants look so baggy in the legs now, he can't stand wearing them.

Anyway, he mailed off 2 job applications yesterday, and is working on a third, so we are hoping something will come up. It is pretty common to do 2 post-docs, so he may not get something this year, but it's worth a try. That's why he didn't "faire le pont"--do the bridge. This is pretty common in France--when there is a holiday on a Thursday or Tuesday, you have a choice to take the Friday or Monday as well and make it a 4-day weekend. Dr. B is just too American I guess, and couldn't stand the idea of wasting a day when he could be working. Too bad he doesn't get paid hourly.

Tomorrow is my last full day off before the kids return from their vacation. I may get my hair cut (needed, desperately) and if I get really ambitious, go do the IKEA run. Thursday night is my 2nd KNOTS meeting (my girlfriends get together at Starbucks at Les Halles to drink sugary concoctions, knit and talk), and I will likely start my first project then. I am looking for lots of help from the other ladies, but am in love with the Alpaca Silk yarn I got at Le Bon Marché. Scarlet and Black--should be gorgeous. IF I can manage do learn how to do it---we'll see. I am sure it will be something to laugh about, eventually. I am hoping my Mom's domesticity genes will come out through those needles!