mardi, juin 30, 2009

Iced coffee

On these hot days an iced coffee tastes juuuust right after lunch :-)
To make one here's my MilkJam ice coffee recipe:
- 1 sachet if instant coffee (or 2tsp)
- cold milk
- sugar (I used agave syrup because it dissolves better, could try maple syrup or honey maybe?)
- ice, or frozen coffee cubes like I so as not to water down my frappé
as they melt...

Stir well making sure you fully dissolve the coffee granules and enjoy!

* the red heart Ikea ice cube trays are not a requirement but sure are fun! ;-)

dimanche, juin 28, 2009

Test 2

iPhone test...

sunday breakfast

Normally we have a tradition of Sunday Morning Pancakes at the start of Mystery Guest's weekend but today after watching an episode of MasterChef Australia (still totally addicted) we decided to try some of Gary's scones. We followed the recipe as written minus the lemon zest and dates (no lemons or dates on hand). They turned out pretty good! Especially with some fresh mara des bois strawberries on the side...

samedi, juin 27, 2009



my iphone (or blogger) has a bug that when I send a picture to my blog via email from my iPhone it shows up as a broken jpg... but randomly it works from Mystery Guest's iPhone... too weird...

mercredi, juin 24, 2009

Saint Lô

I took the bus down to the capital of our department today where the Rectorat offered me 15 hours of teaching intensive English classes before the school year starts. I've got tons of time to kill until my bus so I thought I'd share some random St Lô festival... What's with the Indians & western theme??

Sent from my iPhone

lundi, juin 22, 2009

vroom vroom

Just a quick driver's license update.. I've spent the whole morning on the phone doing all sorts of different things, but one good thing is that I called the DDE to see if they've gotten me a new date to pass the code. I had received a letter a few days ago saying that I would be getting a date sometime in September. I also asked if there was any possibility of either taking it in English or having more time etc because I'm not a native French speaker. He said there is 1 test offered every 3 months for non-francophones and the next one is September. So if I have to wait until September anyway I might as well take that one! It will still be in French but I'll get more time per question and if there is difficult vocab I can ask for a definition. I just think that the testing environment will be less stressful that way and I might not choke the way I did last time..

I also found out that my new carte de sejour is ready and waiting for me at the Prefecture. Problem is that my old one hasn't expired yet so they won't send me the new one. Say WHAT? It just cracked me up that they've actually managed to get a new one done before the old one expires! Normally I'd be waiting a good 4 months for a new one! I just can't believe it! Or the fact that it was the easiest carte de sejour to get ever! All I had to do was send a few documents (in the mail, not even through the mairie):

-proof of address
-copy of my old carte de sejour
-70 euros of OMI stamps
-my last paystub
-the formula they had sent me to fill out

That's it! No PACS docs or anything... I'm still holding my breath but it sounds like I'll have that puppy in my hot little hands next Tuesday! Wow...

dimanche, juin 21, 2009

MilkJam socks!

I finally finished those socks I started back in April! My first pair of socks for me :-) (Please ignore the pasty-white legs, my shoulders have gotten some color - wish I could say the same about my legs!)
I feel much more comfortable knitting socks now, I understand the layout and how it all works so these ones were finished much faster than the other ones, even the 2nd sock in this pair seemed to go a lot quicker :-)
Mom gave me some beautiful sock yarn from home, I can't wait to experiment with it!

samedi, juin 20, 2009

Tea Forté

When we went to the States in May we stayed at a friend's house in Oregon. I felt bad arriving empty handed, and even worse when she gave me a gift! She gave me some Tea Forté saying it was all the rage in the tea and coffee shops downtown.

I see why! I brewed some a few days after we got back and it is probably the best ice tea I've ever tried! (none of that naaaasty NesTea stuff! eww!!) It's not bitter at all and the flavors are really there.. YUM!

I'm trying to savor these tea bags, the box only came with 12 bags but so far we've tried the blackberry/pomegranate, and wild ginger/pear and they are both amazing... I have some ceylon gold chilling in the fridge as we speak for tomorrow... :-)

(Here's the French site if you're interested, I was surprised to see they had one!)

vendredi, juin 19, 2009

my american market!

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jeudi, juin 18, 2009

Norman Adventures Day 3

Mont Saint Michel and a service in the abbey, castle ruins near Coutances, a beautiful sunny day, salted butter caramel ice cream... ahh priceless!

mardi, juin 16, 2009

i'm alive!

Just a quick little update, Mom & KC are here visiting and it's been busy! But busy in a good way, so far (knock on wood) the weather's been stunning. We've eaten lots of yummy galettes and been on the road visiting the northern coast of the Cotentin, the Dunes and then today all the D-Day sites (Arromanches, Bayeux, the American Cemetery, Pointe du Hoc, and Sainte Mere Eglise!).

More to come later, but for now you'll have to live with just a little collage :-)

samedi, juin 13, 2009


Inside the church in Barfleur.

I've been tutoring a sweet 13 year old girl in English since February. She saw my ad in a bakery and wanted desperately to get into seconde euro next year. She does fine in English but was not exceptional and mostly lacked a lot of confidence. We met once a week on Saturday morning and in the beginning we did very school based activities but it evolved into conversation, I didn't feel like I was doing a ton besides talk to her but I guess that's what she needed! In March she came over one week grinning from ear to ear; on her recent English test she got 20/20! Her grades continued to get better and better, for her oral exam the teacher couldn't see himself giving her a 20/20 so he gave her an 18, she was extatic!

Then it was crunch time, she had an interview coming up with the English profs to see if she'd get into that class next year. We worked really hard on what she should say and what kind of questions they might ask, personally I thought she sounded great. I told her not to stress out too much and she would probably be fine.

On Monday I texted her to ask how it went. Terrible, she answered.

My heart sank, we worked so hard and this little beanpole is obsessed with physics and math and knows that she already wants to be an astrophysicist- at age 13. She's a smart cookie and knows that as a scientists research and conferences are done in English and while it's not her strongest subject being in this class will help get her to where she needs to be.

Yesterday I got another text, she was accepted afterall!

Today she came over for one last session before her exams and the summer vacation with a red rose. So sweet.

vendredi, juin 12, 2009

still huntin'

Job hunt update:

After my interview on Tuesday with the social security place I decided that since they would only be offering a contract of 1 month paid minimum wage and that it would likely fall right when my Mom and KC would be here visiting (they arrive tomorrow! yea!) that I would turn it down.

Well they beat me to it, calling me yesterday saying they had picked someone else.

I figured they probably would, it makes more sense for them to have a native French speaker who speaks English fluently than the other way around, but it would have been nice if I were the one who told them no even though the end result is the same!

The other job interview I had at the private school in Caen got back to me yesterday, they can only offer me 3 hours a week. They said they totally understand if I don't take it but that it would be wise of me to get my foot in the door. The problem that I have with that (and I need to email back for more clarification) is that from what I understand that "door" is a vacataire position without much chance of leading to a permanent job .. not really a door that I want to get my foot into. Especially since if I do get another job offer during the year and I end up not being able to take it because I'm stuck with 3 measly hours somewhere else...

So now back to scratch I guess... anyone know if McDo is hiring?

mercredi, juin 10, 2009


Well now that I can finally sit down to write a decent post last Saturday has just been mulled over in my head too much and I can't figure out what I'd like to say!

The day was amazing, too much waiting but so worth it! The complication was that Sam came in the day of instead of the day before and as the train station in Caen got rid of their lockers after 9/11 and the shuttle wouldn't allow you to take anything more than a handbag we had to figure out what to do do with her bricks... er suitcase. Luckily Natalie was also planning to go to the ceremonies so we were able to leave it in her basement (not up the 5 flights of stairs to her apt...) that also meant that we had to take the shuttle back to Caen (unbelieveably disorganized after the ceremony, it was so well done on the way there but such a mess on the way home...) get her bag and then grab a train back to V-town. All the waiting wouldn't have bothered me so much except for the fact that I had to get to Caen only to go 3/4 of the way home again (we don't live far from the cemetery) and then do the whole thing in reverse!

But I must say that the ceremony was beautiful, as was the cemetery. It turned out to be a hot summer day, quite different from June 6th 65 years ago... the battleships off in the distance almost transported you back in time and the few veterans that made it this year were proudly wearing their medals. Sadly although we were only halfway back in the crowd of 9,000 we were behind the TV cameras and so we couldn't see any of the speeches. I thought all of them were very good but I have to say I prefered Obama's, just because he wasn't saying the same thing over an over despite the fact that he was last to go. And yes, Gordon Brown did rename one of the beaches, Obama Beach ;-)

One thing that struck me was the respect, respect for the place, the day and the veterans. I'm always shocked at how poorly elderly people seem to be treated in France, brushed aside by someone in a hurry, those big sighs and exhales as people wait impatiently in line behind someone taking a while to pay, no one offering to give up a seat in public transport... but on Saturday all that changed and it was really refreshing.

So anyway it's been busy around here since Saturday! Sam came over and although she arrived with sun and departed with sun it mostly rained all day Sunday/Monday... we did our best to try and play tourist and take a few pictures between showers but I guess that way she got a real taste of Normandy ;-)

I'm now getting ready for Mom and KC's visit! They're arriving Sunday and staying for a week! Mystery Guest and I are writing out a whole list of things we can do or show them while they're here! I'm so excited that I'm not working or caught up in something and that I can just enjoy my week :-) Let's just hope the weather cooperates!

dimanche, juin 07, 2009


The lovely Sam is visiting right now so I'll be sure to write more about this later but I wanted to leave you with some pictures of a wonderful day!

vendredi, juin 05, 2009


Just a quick post, I'm off to go see OBAMA tomorow at the American Cemetery but walking to the grocery store this morning I saw a bakery's window decorations - WWII stickers and American/British flags in the window. This last week I've seen WWII era jeeps, 2 fighter planes flying overhead this afternoon and flags everywhere! The tiniest villiage around here has Allied flags all down the main streets...

I'll be sure to post some pictures tomorrow! I can't wait! It will be a long day but so worth it!

jeudi, juin 04, 2009


Yesterday I had my second lesson at the auto-ecole... I had the same moniteur, who looks about my age, as last time. He's really nice and a great teacher. I finally mastered starting on a hill in a stick shift - without rolling 5 feet back! Whoot! He also explained how the test would work, 25 minutes of driving including 2 of a possible 6 manouvers (parking, parallel parking, backing up along a sidewalk etc..) We practiced some of those and other than the fact that I didn't control the reverse gear too well he thought I did totally fine. When he asked if I passed the code my face dropped though.. so he said that I might as well wait to take other lessons until after I pass my code since I have to wait 3 months.

Other good news on the job front, I had an interview on Tuesday with a private school in Caen. It went really well but I'm not sure yet how many people they'll hire or how many hours they will offer (but at least its paid veeeerry well hourly!) I also got a call from one of the social security organizations, they had posted a job offer for a temp job on an English speaking hotline position a while back but when they called I was really busy and hadn't finished my assistantship job yet but they said they would keep my CV on file and they sure did! I've got an interview lined up on Tuesday. I have no idea how long they would need someone, how many hours or how well it's paid but could be random to work on a hotline!

I've also been called twice in the last 2 days by the school district looking for more subs! The first one I couldn't because I would need a car (grrr) and the second one was outside of Caen - feasible on public transport but with a 2 hour commute each way I thought it would be a lot on top of the 18 hours of work a week for at least several weeks... But she said when I called back that someone else was interested anyway - perfect!

Otherwise I'm getting all geared up to go see Obama on Saturday! Sadly our beautiful summer weather seems to be turning and it looks cloudy and/or showers on Saturday... I guess he might get to see our beautiful "norman sunshine" afterall! :-)

lundi, juin 01, 2009

photo collage

Just thought I'd throw up a little photo collage from our walk today. The weather was unbelievable, more like August than the beginning of June! We went geocaching but since it was a holiday there were tons of people out and about picnicking on that spot so we're going to save that cache for when Mom & KC come in 2 weeks :-) They'll love it out there!