jeudi, octobre 30, 2008

playing catch-up

Wow it has been busy busy around here! So much to say! First of all I FINISHED MY MEMOIRE... sorry did I not say that loud enough and with enough pizzzaz and enthusiasm?!?!


So there you go people, it is printed and turned in as of yesterday. Ahhhh doesn't that feel good?? So hopefully in 2 weeks (Nov 12 if you're interested) I'll be definding it in front of a small jury and then I will officially have a Masters (Bac +5 baby!) I'm SOOOOOO freaking excited! Here's a picture of my baby for your viewing pleasure:

Just thought I'd commemorate this moment like I did last year for my M1. If you notice, the days are just slightly apart, October 26th last year and October 29th this year, nothing like turning things in at the last minute... :-)

After I turned it in I enjoyed an afternoon in Caen, seeing lots of friends and drinking copious amounts of tea and lemon meriange tarte. My train ride home was quiet and very dark since we fell back 1 hour but I relaxed as I watched the MSNBC Nightly News video podcast on my new ipod touch and listened to the fab K&K duo. Ah... life is good.

The only bummer was when I arrived at the train station. I went to go get my bike and when I got there I saw the seat was wet, I usually brush off the rainwater with my hand but in the dark it looked like bird poo or something so I grabbed a kleenex out of my pocket. Shining my bikelight on the seat I realized that what was coming off was black and the seat was loose. Yup, some looser country kids on vacation decided to get bored and take it out on my poor bike :-( The loosened the seat (probably tried to steal it but couldn't since I lock the seat to the frame!), put their cigarettes out on it and finally spat on it.. lovely. I checked the tires and noticed the front one was a little low. Since I had realized by then that this was vandalism and not an accident I decided not to risk riding home on it so I hoofed it back.

This morning there were two surprises, the first being it SNOWED this morning! Uh, hello Mr. Weatherman? It's October 30th! I've never seen snow this early in Normandy before! Here's a picture from the appt. granted you can't see much but you get the idea...

Second, I think the front bike tire was just low. I'll pump it up and give it another go but I think they didn't do too much damage. Gah, come on kids, I know you're bored, I also grew up in a town of 8,000 but hey go cow tippin' instead of messing with my bike!

mercredi, octobre 29, 2008

bday festivities

I had a wonderful birthday on Monday! First of all thanks to all the wonderful friends and family who sent text messages, facebook messages, blog comments, emails and phone calls! I loved them all!!

The day started out with a bang, Mystery Guest surprised me by bringing breakfast in bed! He even ran out to the bakery and brought me a croissant, pain au chocolat and baguette! Yum! I even ignored my own pride and included the bed-head photo of me eating breakfast for your viewing pleasure...

Then our landlord stopped by to fix some stuff around here but didn't stay too long so we were able to go down to the Forge, a restaurant about 5 minutes outside of V-town that is an old blacksmith's workshop. They still have the huge fireplace and billows! We ordered a steak for 2 and the chef brought it out for us to see (raw) before throwing it on the open flame in the restaurant! Too cool! In the middle picture on the top you can see the fireplace behind me, that's where they cooked out steak! Then they brought it out all sliced up and delish!

We splurged on some fantastic chocolate cake, it was like cake with chocolate mousse and then chocolate ganache on top with creme anglaise, YUM YUM! I even got a sparkler in mine :-)

The afternoon we just relaxed and enjoyed some time off, Mystery Guest looked over my conclusion one last time but otherwise my memoire was DONE and just waiting to be printed... more on that in another post...

I had a fantastic birthday, so relaxing and filled with warmth, great presents but even greater friends and family wishing wonderful thoughts from around the world. Thanks everyone!!!

samedi, octobre 25, 2008

one of my favorite songs.


Two days 2 ago we finally turned on the heat. We were trying to last as long as possible but you know its cold inside when you can see your breath in the living room...

We have gas heating here, its the first time I've rented an apt where there are radiators in every room and not electric heaters. In France they're a big fan of these cast iron radiators and let me tell you turning them on was awesome, we're trying to keep it on low to save money and energy but it just takes that chill off :-)

My masters is coming down to the home stretch, I'm finishing my conclusion today (fingers crossed!) and I've done most of the formatting and mise en page, just a few little footnote tweeks here and there. My birthday is coming up and I really want to kick back and enjoy myself instead of stressing over there! So that's why I've got to get this done asap! It should be fine and when I go to Caen for work on Wednesday I'll go to the photocopier's in the afternoon and print out the final draft to drop off late afternoon. I can't wait!

As of yesterday I'm on vacation from the high school for 10 days and this will be the best vacation yet! Nothing hanging over my head and I have this huge list of projects that I've been putting off for the last 2 or 3 years. I think I'm gonna be giddy :-)

Ok, I just wanted to say that I'm not MIA but will be back very very soon! It's back to the grindstone!

dimanche, octobre 19, 2008


Last Monday Mystery Guest and I drove down to Caen for some appointments and were able to squeeze in a lunch and dinner at Kristina and Charlie's. We got one second to last chance to play Catan with them (since hopefully they'll be coming up to V-town in Nov before moving back to the States...).

It was awesome and I'm so sad they'll be moving back... :-(

In other news I definitely feel OLD... I've been checking train prices to hopefully go up to Paris in December for the K&K 200th episode extravaganza and it will be the first time I have to get normal tickets... I think that not having my carte 12-25 ranks up there with the first grey hair... snif, oh and having to pay taxes for the first time ever. Yes, my civic duty to France but hey it hurts having to chuck out 1 month's salary.

I don't wanna grow up!

jeudi, octobre 16, 2008


Whoo!!! got my ballot from WA state today! yippee!! gonna fill that bad boy out and send it off! :-)

dimanche, octobre 12, 2008

pic of the day

V-town picture of the day.
Beautiful weather all day - sunny and around 23C!

vendredi, octobre 10, 2008

anecdote of the day

Yesterday I received a package from my dear friend Miss Claire T including not only a great birthday present but some Obama fun stuff :-) I put the pin on my messenger bag (it looks a little like this one but I'm too lazy to take a picture of mine) and headed off to work.

At the end of the day I jumped on a train to go 1 station home (loving my commute by the way!). Just as the train was slowing down to come into V-town the conductor (who happened to be black) came by.

He saw me and asked me in French for my ticket, then he paused and asked me in English, ticket please. I half smiled and gave him my commuter pass. He continued in English, thank you have a nice trip with a big smile.

As I was getting off the train he opened the door for me and wished me a nice day.

I wondered who put happy juice in this guy's coffee until I realized that he must have seen my pin :-) Most people don't peg me for American these days, especially not going between two tiny towns in the-middle-of-nowhere-Normandy!

I still haven't got my absentee ballot, come on WA put the pedal to the metal! Me wants to vote!!

mercredi, octobre 08, 2008


Yesterday I was introduced to several of the students that I'll be working with this year in the lycee. It all went fine until the last class, the students had a little Q&A session with me and someone asked how old I was.

Right before I was able to answer the teacher jumped in and said, well why don't you guys?


Honestly kids, you don't know what you're talking about!

Well I guess that got me in a little bit of a complex with my birthday coming up at the end of the month (yea birthday month!) so today when I was in Caen to teach I went to the hairdressers in the afternoon to get a haircut and re-do my highlights I totally freaked out.

All was good, she was doing my highlights and I was zoning out after waking up early to catch my train. Then she said, oh you've got a white hair! I snapped out of my zone thinking she had said "blond" instead of "blanc" and was about to say "duh, they're mostly blond!" when I realized what she said!

My first grey hair!!!!!

She asked if I wanted her to pull it out, I said yes please! But the darn thing wouldn't budge so she snipped it with a pair of scissors... I fingered it for a while before tossing it on the floor with the rest of my hair.

With your color no one will ever notice, she tried to reassure me...

Humm... not sure how well that worked! Oh well... I guess I'll celebrate my birthday silly and try to forget that I'll be closer to 30 than to 25... sniff...

mardi, octobre 07, 2008

rainy weekend

This weekend Mystery Guest and I traipsed off to Haute Normandie to visit some friends that live near Etretat. They have a beautiful home and lots of things to do especially for rainy weather (the boys were mostly downstairs playing on the computers...) because I swear everytime we go there its just the worst weather! It really is the "pot de chambre de normandie" up there. On Sunday there were huge gusts of wind and the rain was practically horizontal! Thankfully we got to take advantage of their sauna, yup they've gone and built a sauna in the basement! (Was thinking of you Sam...)

But besides the weather we had a lot of fun. Their little girl is adorable, even if she's going through her terrible twos at the moment... You can just see her trying to push and see how far she can get away with stuff, her parents told her no cartoons since she's been naughty so she comes up to me, Karina, do you know how to turn on the cartoons? Er... nice try kid! ;-)

We got back yesterday and last night I worked on my lesson plans for Wednesday when I start my "vacataire" hours at the University of Caen. As a lectrice I had 3 hours a week in the Med departement at the hospital and when my contract finished this year my collegue decided she was going to get me back for those 3 hours so she bypassed the English department (who is supposed to deal out the hours) and got me hired directly for my 3 hours :-) Hopefully she'll be able to pull the same strings next year! I really like working there, the students are really nice and they work hard even if they like to goof around sometimes. Plus my lessons from the past 2 years are already planned so last night I just had to get the new syllabus ready and find a text from last year and I'm ready to go!

So today is my first day at the lycee where I'm seeing the students. I'm just going to be presenting myself this week and observing some classes before taking over with the half groups next week. I was supposed to go in this morning to meet 1 group but when I arrived at the train station my train wasn't on the list... went up to the ticket counter and asked about it - ops! greve sncf.... train strike! Ah, isn't that the way to start off the year? haha. Apparently it was yesterday and today so hopefully it will be all up and running tomorrow morning when I go to Caen to teach. I called the teacher and explained the situation, I love his reaction "ah, mince alors!" (oh, gosh darn it!) Looks like there's another train at 9h56 so I'll go back and jump on that one.