Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My new love...

These are lycees (pronounced leechees, I think). They started showing up in the marketplace a few weeks ago. I finally got around to trying them today. Yum!
I had to have someone show me how to eat them. You have to peel off the outer bumpy layer first.

Then you eat the flesh inside.
Watch out for the seed!
Edited to add: They're fruit! - very sweet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

And if you thought that sucked....

... try complying with the "rules" about what you're supposed to do after you've been "Phished."

I called the bank to inform them. They agreed to cancel the card and issue a new one. But first, please make a report to the police and fax them a copy.

So I go to the police station. They say, "You need a report from the bank to register a complaint."

So I head to the bank. You'll never guess what they said. That's right. "Go to the police and register a complaint before we can do anything." (Actually, after a while, they did give me a piece of paper and told me it should be sufficient.)

Back to the police station. "Is this all they gave you?" And not only that, you can't possibly register a complaint if you don't speak French. Come back with someone who speaks French.

So. I happen to run into my babysitter who's father is Belgian, and he speaks French just fine.

Back to the station. Only this time, "Sorry, he is too young. You must have an adult with you."

Two more times to the station, with two additional French-speaking adults. (The first time they were legitimately too busy.)

The second time they explained to me that I didn't need a police report. "The bank is wrong." (Since no "crime" had actually been committed.")

Which I actually agreed with. But. I was there (for the fifth, no sixth time), and dammit if I was going to leave without one.

Fortunately, the friend I brought this time was, shall we say... convincing? I registered my complaint. Officially.

Tomorrow I get to actually fax in the report to the bank. Someday in the next few years, I hope to actually get my card replaced.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Dammit. I followed what looked like a legitimate link. (Because I'd had one just like it the previous month - which was real). It asked for something that I didn't think I should put online, but I clicked on the link of "why this information is needed," and it said something about it's the newest/latest/greatest protection. And I bought it.

As I said, Dammit.

Now, not only am I cash dependent, I have to make an excursion down to the local police station to make a report. In French. This is NOT how I'd planned to spend my afternoon.

(My only excuse is that I was tired... and had seen a VERY similar email recently that WAS legit).


Hot Date Planned...

I have not done a major shopping trip since returning from the US. Our supplies are running low. I think I'm going to arrange a babysitter on Saturday morning so Tom & I can shop together. Which sounds really lame - hot date with my husband at the grocery store. But is actually kind of nice.

At the grocery stores in France, you are expected to load your groceries onto the conveyor belt at one end, then remove them at the other and put them in sacks yourself. The clerk's "job" is to scan items and give you your receipt. (You scan your own payment & enter the PIN code yourself). Then, of course, you load your own groceries into your cart & car. (Customer service doesn't exist here).

Which is okay if you're just doing a little shopping, but if you are trying to get supplies for a family of six, it is a LOT of work. (Just milk, toilet paper, and laundry detergent can take up an entire cart).

So, having two people makes the job a lot eaiser, and occasionally more fun too.

BUT... having two people, and four children, makes the job harder (and louder). Hence, the babysitter. So I have big plans for this weekend...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Exploring St. Germain en Laye

My french classes are in a town, about a half-hour drive from here. Also, one of the locations of the temple (there are two) is in the same place (in fact, just around the corner).

Today, we brought the older boys so they could go to the religious school, then wandered around with the littles.

The first thing we did, was to try to find the train station, so next time we could come that way. Took a few tries (and finding the wrong one first), but it looks do-able. Next week, maybe I could come with J&R, and leave the car for T.

Hmm, this is the first time that having only one car has been an issue at all. Interesting. It's been four months.

We wandered around, and found a "restaurant row" of sorts. And a playground hidden behind buildings (through a VERY narrow alleyway). It was a cool discovery.

Looking forward to more explorations soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

OMG! He's Georgous!

I birthed this guy? Wow.

Better late than never...

Halloween pictures... In order of appearance - A=Bat; R=Zombie Kung Fu Guy; J= Ninja; E=Super Man.

We were planning on joining other American families for a trick-or-treat in the park by the Eiffel Tower. But since we were leaving town the next day for US, I suggested we stay around town.

We decided to create a "backwards Halloween" - instead of asking for candy, we descended upon the town square and gave candy away to everyone we met.

It was pretty funny. And confusing.

We ended up with more candy than we started because many of the businesses gave out candy (after all). But we did confuse people, and we had a good time.

Wonder what we'll do next year...?

Friday, November 14, 2008

But I don't have anything to say...

I'm trying to post every day this month. I'm trying to do it before bedtime. It didn't work today.

I went to see a therapist today. He suggested I have very high expectations of myself. Well, yeah. I'm normally a highly-capable person.

Just because the environment is throwing me for a loop. You'd think I'd be used to it by now.

I think though, that I'm starting to move past the level of mere survival. I'm working on building community. Book club starts December 1. Hot dog!

I have a great picture of J, plus halloween pictures I'm going to try to post this weekend. Better late than never. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

J'ne parle pas encore la francais...

... mais j'apprende.*

*I don't speak French yet... but I'm learning. (At least, I think that's how it's written).

I went to my first class today. It was supposed to start last week, but we were in the US.

The instructor, knowing that I want to teach Jazzercise, found a dialog of people at the gym. So I got to learn words for stretching & bending & breathing & "doing abdominals" (exactly like it's "done" in the US - faire les abdominals). It was fun.

Speaking of exercising... when I was in Colorado, I went to a few classes. It whupped my behind. Everyone was very kind and said "it's the altitude." (Denver is one mile above sea level).

But I know the truth.

I haven't been working out like I did when I was preparing to pass the Jazzercise audition. In fact, I haven't been working out at all. Which means, at the moment, I am not ready to teach, even if I could find a venue/get the information I need. Which means I need to get back to it.

I have a call scheduled tonight with my Jazzercise manager. I'm going to ask for some accountability support so I can get back to it.

The problem with Jazzercise is that it's most fun to do with others. It's not as much fun in the living room alone.

Tomorrow marks 4 months since expatriation. And I still don't have my sh*t together. Imagine that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

100-Nail Days

A day in which I cut 100 nails (50 fingers & 50 toes) means that I've not just taken care of my family, but myself too.

This is a good thing.

This is the first day that has felt somewhat "normal" in the sense that 1) the kids did the normal kid thing (went to school), and 2) I did the normal mom thing - shopped at the market, planned meals for the week and puttered around the house. It's good to be back.

Gives me hope that normal exists over here. May even be sooner than later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blogging for blogging's sake

Apparently this is National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo, for all the fancy bloggers out there. Basically, you are supposed to blog every day for the month.

It's already November 11 (Happy Birthday, T!), but maybe I'll try for the rest of the month (to make up for last month's lack of posts).

We made it back home yesterday, about 5 p.m. France time. We managed to stay awake until around 8:30 and then crashed. Other than a 3 a.m. wake up/snack for the boys, we managed to sleep until after 10 a.m. There is school tomorrow for all the boys. I have no idea if they'll make it.

I'm hoping we can go to sleep at a reasonable time, and wake up early. We'll see.

(And the reward for the World's Most Boring Post goes to...)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Unexpected Gift

Anna's passing has brought us the unexpected gift of an early return visit to the United States. T's company paid airfare for all of us to return for the funeral, and gave him the days off to do it. So instead of spending our own vacation days for short day-trips around France (the plan), we've had a week to visit family in Colorado and Louisiana, and eat at our favorite restaurants (that are open and serve when we're ready to eat!)

And shop, of course. We have spent a ridiculous amount of money to buy things we either can't get in France, or are exhorbitantly expensive there. It's been fun (especially going to my favorite second-hand shops to browse around).

It's also been great to have things be easy for a while. It's just so wonderful to be able to ask for what I want, and get it!

It will be interesting to see if being away will make France feel more like home, for the returning. I hope so.