mercredi, décembre 28, 2005

snow days

Ever since yesterday morning it has been snowing mostly non-stop! Big thick fluffy flakes coming down all over town, it got up to about 4 or 5 inches today! In the past few years that I've lived here I've never seen this much snow!

So of course I've been holed up at home drinking tea and hot chocolate and procrastinating my work because hey, I'm on vacation! But this afternoon the sun came out a bit and so I walked around town taking pictures of the town under a blanket of white.

Otherwise nothing exciting going on, with none of the roads salted there are very few cars and the public transport is barely running so its good to just hang out.

Hope you all are doing well. I leave you with 2 pictures from town, the chateau and the view from my window :) Enjoy!

lundi, décembre 26, 2005

christmas weekend

Well I know my faithful readers (all 2 or 3 of you....) are dying to hear about my Christmas weekend so here's my little recap for your reading pleasure ;)

On Saturday afternoon I took the bumpy little TER train out to La Manche where I spent Christmas Eve with a wonderfully welcoming French family.

After a champagne apero we started on dinner... let me tell you, what a dinner!

Started off with:
*Oysters on the halfshell (for those who liked them) or a little puffpastry filled with cheese and ham.
*Then another appetizer of fried fois gras with sauteed apples (yum yum!) served with Sauternes
*A trou normand
*Main dish: Ostrich, little bundles of green beans and sweet potatoes (besides the green beans not a typical french dish!)
*Dessert: cookies I had brought (thanks Gwenn for your amazing Chocolate-Chocolate-Craisin recipe!) and a homemade pear/chocolate Bûche de Noël

Then presents were opened around 11pm when a webcam/MSN conversation was set up with the oldest brother who is off in South America.

Christmas carols were sung at midnight and then too beat after that excellent dinner everyone was up in bed by 1am (not that late for a Christmas Eve).

I had to catch my train at noon on the 25th so I could be back in Caen to celebrate Christmas Day with Jen and her family who was visiting from the States. After some fantastic French toast, scrambled eggs (with lardons of course!) and lots of o.j. I rolled on home to open my loot!

I'm one spoiled kid! I got tons of fun stuff from home, I especially liked the 4 pounds of coffee and tons of skiens of yarn, great for cold winter days. While watching my new DVD (Phantom of the Opera) I got a chance to talk to almost everyone at home which was really nice. Then I rejoined (does that exist in English?) Jen, her family and Natalie for a yummy stir-fry dinner.

A big warm hug and thank you to everyone that I could share Christmas with, and to everyone at home who thought about me during the weekend. I couldn't have had a better time over here.

gros bisous a tous

samedi, décembre 24, 2005

seasons greetings

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays and Peace on Earth.


For the second time this week I've gone down to the public pool to swim laps with a friend.

I love it. It is so relaxing and unwinding to swim laps back and forth. I don't know why I'd never gone to check out the public pool before, it is right next to my house, only 1.55E for students and open even on Sundays!

But now I've been and it is fantastic. Both days we swam 1km of laps (each lap being 50m). It reminds me of summers playing in the pool, my sister and I racing, doing laps as fast as possible. It is the first time that I've used an outdoor pool in France and it is great, the pool is heated and each time I pop my head up to breathe I get the crisp refreshness of a December day.

The only trouble is I hate wearing a bathing cap, how annoying! I look like a Smurf with Dumbo ears!

Oh well, a small price to pay for an hour of clearheaded, weightless swimming.

I think I'll stop in tomorrow morning before Xmas Eve festivities (yes, now I do have plans).

mercredi, décembre 21, 2005

coupe de blues

Don't freak out, not manic depressive or anything but just got a bit homesick tonight. The longer I'm gone the easier it gets, and believe me after the last 3 years I've been doing pretty good. But the holidays are never an easy time. I'm very thankful to have a wonderful family to share Christmas Day with but when I realized tonight that I'd be alone Christmas Eve it hit me hard...


it just sounds so - alone.

Maybe I'll just spend the day pampering myself, hot cocoa, movies and knitting. Buy some yummy pastery and try not to think about it being Christmas Eve, afterall it would technically only be the 23rd in the States! Or maybe I'll brighten up the day but opening my presents early, afterall I'm not going to lug them over to our xmas brunch just to open them in front of people that didn't give them to me, that way I can get those stateside to call me while I open them and pretend I'm home.

**update: the box I sent home THREE weeks ago finally arrived today! Mom just called and she got it at the post office and was pulling out the goodies as we were speaking. I was going to go down to the post office and ring someone's neck but it came in the nick of time. (My sister is leaving tomorrow so its good she gets her presents before leaving!)

That put a smile on my face.

lundi, décembre 19, 2005

city of lights

I havn't been writing much (as Benette pointed out) as there hasn't been that many exciting things going on. My free time, and thoughts, have been occupied by the Boy but I don't feel comfortable putting that online. Lets just say things are going well.

Back to other things, on Saturday I made a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants decision to go to Paris for the day on Sunday. Some friends of mine had been planning on going to spend a couple days in the capital but I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend that much money.

So Saturday afternoon I decided to go just for the day, we left early in the morning and had a wonderful time. It had been since August that I was in Paris and it was great to be back, especially with a fantastic Christmas atmosphere!

We arrived at 10am and I meet up with Virginie at her place for a coffee and chat. Then hooked up with the Caen girls and had a lovely lunch in a funky cafe in Montmartre. We made our way down to the Marais to check out all the great boutiques they have there, then walked down to Bastille for a coffee. I had picked up the FUSAC and found out about an American church putting on Christmas Carols. Was going to go but I was way too tired after the long day so I decided to head back to Caen.

Side note: A friend of mine and her fiancee went to Germany for break so I've been cat-sitting. I have to remind myself to stop by everyday to feed them, so what do I do last night? I get all the way back home and realized that I forgot the kitties! So I had to go back outside and feed the little fuzz-balls. But they are oh so cute! Its nice to have a warm welcome when you walk in the door, coming up and purring around your legs. Course they know that I bring the chow but hey, still love it!

Things are quiet around here but I like it. Its nice to take a break, be on vacation and veg in front of the tv. So if there aren't many posts thats cause I'm too lazy to post... but I'm around! I promise I'm alive over here, drooling over the lovely presents that arrived in the mail today. But no touchie until the 25th! :)

lundi, décembre 12, 2005

cast your votes!

A few years back people told me I looked like Kate Winslet. But more recently I've gotten Cameron Diaz...

Don't get me wrong, they are both very nice compliments! Both very beautiful women, but honestly I don't see either at all when I look in the mirror.

So cast your votes, don't be shy!

Let me know, I'm really curious!

jeudi, décembre 08, 2005


I've had a great day so far, even if it entailed waking up at the buttcrack of dawn to haul out to my 2nd school where I teach. But the kids were great, I had a group of 6 girls that were actually interested in trying to communicate and made me feel worthwhile. Then the best news came, I didn't have to stay until 5:30 as my last class was canceled, that means I was on the bus home at 3:00! Yipppee!

So what did I do when I came home? I baked of course!

I was invited by a girl in my Masters program to a housewarming/christmas party! First time I'm going to ever see my classmates outside of class! This girl is very nice, in fact when she said she was going to Dublin 2 weeks ago and I said that I missed Philadelphia Cream Cheese she brought back two ginormous tubs! So when she asked me to bring something to the party - Cheesecake!

I finally could make a normal cheesecake! Its too hard finding good substitutes in France... So I found a yummy sounding recipe on the internet - Sinful White Chocolate Cheesecake! It is sitting in the oven resting so in the meantime I made a quick cranberry sauce to put on top. How good does that sound? Yum Yum.

So I'm hoping that the other conversions worked out ok. Thats the problem with cakes and such, you can't try it before serving it... just a wee bit too obvious if there is a slice missing... but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it turned out normal.

I'll post a picture tomorrow of the Sinful White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake in all its glory!

samedi, décembre 03, 2005


When I lived in America I was never one for fashion statements. I just wore jeans and semi-nice tops, nothing to write home about (so to speak hehe).

I came to France to study abroad in the fall of 2001 and my concept of fashion was given a jump start (grâce à Air France) when my luggage didn't turn up and I had to buy all new clothes.

I even dared to buy things I never would have worn before: tight-ass-french-pants! scarves!

My world did indeed change, but I still never thought of myself as having amazing fashion sense.

This changed this week. This week I was complimented on my clothes three times! Yes, count them 3 times! All by frenchies!! Those pigs have flown!

Granted like all stereotypes the French are not all pefectly in tune with fashion, there are some horrible trends out there, but the 3 people that complimented me are all people that I look at as having really nice clothes and unique styles.