dimanche, mars 30, 2008

change your clocks!

Don't forget that in France we spring forward today and change our clocks!

samedi, mars 29, 2008

jazzzz baby

Last night I went out with some friends to listen to some jazz. There is a little cafe/bar that tends to have free live jazz music every Friday night. Last time we went we had a little, er, miscommunication about the time so we missed it but this week no problem! It was great, the music was wonderful, the wine was cheap and delish (2.50e for a house red and it was gooood!) and the company was hilarious. We had some pretty entertaining conversations, most likely influenced by said cheap wine, and the best was when 3 of the Frenchies decided that I reminded them of Johanna...

Now, who is this Johanna?? I've heard people reference her to me before but never took the time to figure this out. Apparently there was a teenybopper show on in France in the early 90's which reminds me of Saved by the Bell and one of the characters is an American, Johanna.

So I could understand why the accent or something might give us something in common but when I looked up this video on YouTube I just don't see it! Sarah said that yes, take away the fabulous hair and there is a little something...

I'll let you decide for yourself:

jeudi, mars 27, 2008

praise be!

The day has finally arrived! The day all expats have been dreaming of... please spread this blessed word as far and wide as you possibly can!

Yes, oh yes, they are selling window screens at Lidl!!!

I'm off to stock up next week! Can't wait! :-)

Happy dance!

samedi, mars 22, 2008

expensive groceries

In Le Monde yesterday it has finally been studied that food prices have gone up... uhh really??

"Ainsi, les pâtes alimentaires ont augmenté de 16 % en un an, les oeufs de 14 %, le lait de 12 %, le beurre de 10 %, la farine 10 %, le riz de 9 %, les fromages de 8 % et les yaourts de 7 %."

In the last year pasta has gone up 16%, eggs 14%, milk 12%, butter and flour 10%, rice 9%, cheese 8% and yogurt 7%.

I can tell you I've sure seen that difference in the last few years, its crazy how much these basic products are increasing and salaries are not.

And why is it that gas in Europe continues to increase despite the fall of the dollar? That one is what really gets you, 1 gallon of gas in France will cost you about $10 based on the euro/dollar exchange rate these days! Its a good time for Europeans to go to the States but a bad time for Americans to come travel around Europe that's for sure.

In other news I tried out a new scone recipe yesterday, yum! So light and fluffy they were dewwwishhhhious ;-)

jeudi, mars 20, 2008


Today I went to a conference organized by the English Research Department on campus. There was an honored guest this morning, Geoffrey Hill, considered by the majority of critics, to be among the most distinguished English poets of his generation.

After a wonderful introduction by one of my profs (a Geoffrey Hill scholor and translator of some of his poems!), Hill read some of his work.

It was amazing, the poetry is so complex and detailed but hearing it read outloud by this big Santa Claus man with a beautiful deep voice was unbelieveable.

It was one of those times where something that would seem to have been written by "old white men" comes alive and shake off the dust. Great experience.

mercredi, mars 19, 2008

bravo! bravo! BRAVO!

When was the last time we heard a real speech like this?? Excellent.

vendredi, mars 14, 2008


Mystery Guest went fishing last week and brought back this beautiful rainbow trout! It was 30cm long and went straight from the river to my plate! Lucky me he doesn't like fish :-) I decided to post about it partly to show him how cool his catch was and partly inspired by These Days in a French Life and "meet your meat" in March. I didn't really meet this fish while he was still alive but it was the first time I've ever had to cut a whole fish apart to cook it. (Thankfully Mystery Guest gutted the poor thing first, I'm not sure if I could handle doing that...) So I did my best and decided to steam it in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt. I didn't have time that day to eat it but the next day I cut up the meat into small chunks and mixed them with pasta, a little creme fraiche (straight from the market!) and lots and lots of lemon juice - YUM!
My other culinary challenge this week was an attempt to try to reproduce the AMAZING pizza we had in Venice. The difference with this pizza was the huge fluffy crust. This was not a dense, boring pizza crust, this was crusty on the outside, light and delicious on the inside... When I tried it in Venice I decided it had to be a focaccia dough that they used... so I turned to my wonderful cookbook and looked up their *best* recipe.
It was very simple to follow, the only problem was of course the waiting - as you would with all yeast breads and the very very sticky dough! But it rose beautifully and I let it cool for a bit while waiting for Mystery Guest and the pizza toppings.
Here is the finished product. I put the toppings on after the dough was already baked and just let them sit under the broiler for 5 minutes to get all melty and gooey.
I have to say for a 1st attempt this was very very close to what we had in Venice and delicious! I can't wait to try again soon :-)
Plus the cool thing is that it was way cheap to make, I'd say about 4euros for the whole pizza... just time consuming but hey what better way to procrastinate?

mercredi, mars 12, 2008


Well Mystery Guest and I have taken that leap, we are now PACSed! We had dropped off all of the paperwork (birth certificates, certificates that we are not pacsed already, that we are not brother and sister etc...) and then we got a letter for our appointment.

So this morning we showed up at the Tribunal and the lady showed us everything, went over the paperwork, had us sign 2 things and we were done! 10 minutes, easy-peasy!
His mom surprised us with a lovely bouquet of flowers and took a couple pictures. Then we headed back to Caen because afterall it was a school day :-) Then this evening we headed out to a little dinner, at Buffalo Grill bien sur! Yum, I started with a little Sheriff Bubbly (ie Kir Royale) and then moved on to some ribs baby! Yum yum!
Here are a few pictures of the day.
(note to self: even if you want to look cute, wearing a skirt when the wind is blowing at 110km per hour is a baaaad idea!)

dimanche, mars 09, 2008

me on tv...

Wow 3 blog posts in one day! Guess that's what happens when you hole yourself up with the intention of studying all day! :-)

I volunteered to help represent the English Department at the Salon de l'Etudiant back in January and ended up on a *very* local TV station. They finally posted the clip, so for your viewing pleasure (and my shame...) here it is! I'm about 5 minutes into the clip...

Les Infos du 25 janvier 2008 - cityzen
Les Infos du 25 janvier 2008 - cityzen

Les Infos du 25 janvier 2008 - cityzen
Salon de l'étudiant et des métiers au Parc des Expositions de Caen, conférence sur les conséquences comportementales liées aux jeux vidéos à l'Université de Caen, lecture publique au Théâtre d'Hérouville St Clair

lazy venice recap

Ok, I made this instead :-)

-the best (and cheapest!) coffee I've ever had! duo cappuccini!
-helping a random lady out carrying some boxes on the vaporetto and learning that she works for a local museum, got us a behind the scenes tour!
-amazing pizza, am going to try to make my version at home. I think they used focaccia bread as a crust...
-ahhh the gondola, expensive but so worth it!

(the music used is "Escape from Venice" from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade... little Easter Egg there for you, there is a picture of the outside of the church (San Barnaba) where they find the knight's tomb in...!)

Venice Day 1

Ok ok I figured I should just sit down and write this otherwise I'd regret it later :-)

So after a long drive over to Beauvais we had extra time before the flight so we ducked into town to see the cathedral, too bad outside of downtown Beauvais is stinky! I swear we decided it smelled like a mix of old dog poo and cooked kidneys (that last part was added by Mystery Guest, I have never smelled kidneys cooking...). But anyway it was a nice cathedral and sure beat sitting around the airport for any longer than you have to!
The flight went so smoothly! The whole trip actually, it was as if it were perfectly timed just for us. We arrived in the airport outside of Venice and there was a bus waiting for our flight to take us downtown, we jumped on and 40 minutes later we were in Venice. The vaporetto line we needed to catch left from the bus stop and so we called our B&B and arranged for a pick up at our vaporetto stop Saint Stae 20 minutes later. While we stood infront of a church waiting for the pick-up you could see down little alleyways and in the quiet February night there was hardly a soul around. I really understood why Venice is such a sought after location for movies and the setting of books. The mystery, the fog and the low lights just all add to the atmosphere. It's great mid-week in the off season, like you've stepped back in time!
The man met us after we had only been waiting about 10 minutes and showed us to our cute little room, gave us directions to local restaurants and supermarkets and wished us a pleasant stay (in a mis-mash of Italian, French and random English). If you ever need a place in Venice let me know, this place was awesome and a great deal!

We decided to stay in after the traveling and head to bed early. It was so strange not to hear any cars or mopeds, just quiet, so quiet!

mardi, mars 04, 2008

chez les ch'tis

Ok, I still have a ton I want to write about Venice but I've been busy at work the last two days, so I'll hopefully get to it soon...

In the meantime Mystery Guest and I went to go see Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis tonight after some friends highly recommended it and it rocked!! I loved loved it! After I got more used to the accent it was hilarious and not just a movie that used some loose story line to put in a million bad jokes, but really cute.

Makes me want to go to Lille... maybe... :-)

dimanche, mars 02, 2008

i'm back!

I'm back with a million pictures and stories, but right now its time to get unpacked and grab some fresh food at the market :-)