vendredi, juillet 31, 2009

Sun in V-town

Sitting outside my house having a drink at the cafe enjoying the sun &
a good book...ahhh!

jeudi, juillet 30, 2009


On Sunday Miss A-C drove up from Caen to come visit and we headed to the beach. While lounging on the sand dunes catching those afternoon rays we started talking about Jersey (the island, not the new one!) that we could see across the water. I said that it's so fun to go there and in the summer they often have specials for the ferry. She said the last time she was in England was in 6th grade on a class trip to - Jersey and has always wanted to go back. By Monday morning the tickets were bought (50e round trip for an adult in high season) from Granville. Yesterday we both got up at the buttcrack of dawn and drove down to Granville to catch our 10:45am ferry.

Going through customs on these little boats is always entertaining. A few years ago when Mystery Guest and I went to Guernsey the French outgoing customs forgot to stamp my passport and really were scratching their heads when I came back... "how did you leave?" I guess it wasn't too funny when I said I swam..

This time the French customs were on fire... "Wow a beautiful American passport!" they declared for the whole boatload of people to hear. "So you were born in Switzerland? But you have an American passport?" ... er, yes I'm American. "So where are you living now?" V-town. "Oh la la la out there? What are you doing there?" I'm a student (didn't feel like saying I'm unemployed...) "So what do you study????" uhh.. French? After a wink wink and a nudge nudge when they saw my Amsterdam stamp (uh yeah people I landed there from Seattle, not too into coffee shops... but whatever) They finally let me go.

Arriving in Jersey wasn't any better, they were very stiff-upper lip and grilling me about why I lived in France, why I was coming to Jersey, how long I was staying etc.. But finally let me in, much to the relief of my fellow passengers still green from the very bumpy crossing.

Jersey was fun! Last time I was there with Benette was before I started this blog and we had a great time exploring the whole island by bus, this time A-C and I opted for bike rentals and scooted our way out to the west of St Helier. We found some adorable port towns and a secluded beach where there were just a few kids playing pirate. It was so warm and the water was crystal blue so I quickly got my bathing suit and went for a dip! On the bike ride back (the bikes had to be returned before 5pm) we noticed some nasty looking black clouds approaching so we made the most of our sunshine with a delish Jersey ice cream - one of the best ice creams I've ever had! Tasted like real homemade ice cream, with lots of... well.. cream!

We dropped the bikes off and walked around the shops before they closed (why do stores in England close SO freaking early???) and thats when the downpour started... Buckets I'm telling you! There was no point taking out my umbrella because the wind would have carried it away... so we just suffered through it and went to go for a drink. Thanks to Facebook I found out a couple months ago that a Swiss exchange student who was in my hometown for a high school exchange had recently moved to Jersey! So I contacted him (10 years later...) and asked if he would want to meet up while we were there. So we went for an after-work drink before our ferry. It was perfect timing to get out of the rain and get caught up after 10 years! Thanks Facebook! For that and for Bejeweled Blitz (another reason this MilkJam hasn't been posting much... haha)

Right so this turned into a novel instead of a post so bravo for those who were curious enough (or bored enough) to make it to the end!

To sum things up Jersey rocks! Although I think if I were to go back to the Channel Islands I would prefer the hikes and bike rides of a quieter Guernsey or Sark to explore :-)

jeudi, juillet 23, 2009


I joined JPG magazine a long time ago but forgot about it... when I came across one of their new challenges I immediately though of a picture (the foot challenge) but that one isn't being voted on right now... soooo I got sucked into looking through my pictures to see if I could fit one of the themes. For color this is one I picked, perhaps not the best for the theme but I really like it.

So wonderful MilkJam followers, please go and have a vote if you have a few minutes! I'd sure appreciate it!

lundi, juillet 20, 2009


A few years ago I wrote about my discovery of bagels in Picard and the weirdness of a store that only sells frozen foods. Well today Mystery Guest and I decided to stop by similar store (no Picard in our neck of the woods) to see if they had bagels and this amazing chocolate cake... Well no bagels but they did have a similar cake... it is currently defrosting and we're about to dig in while watching True Blood - can't wait!

Here is the weirdness of the store for you to get a visual image...
No bagels but pancakes! lol Cracks me up that someone would pay 3e for 8 little tiny pancakes (frozen of course) instead of spending 5 minutes to make them... but I guess those are the same people that buy Bisquick at home!

dimanche, juillet 19, 2009

house update

Things are really taking shape out where the house is being built, it has sure changed a lot since last time! They finally got the big rusty truck off the land (the former owner stuck it on the field behind... "for the moment" haha) and the ground was landscaped and the first part of the foundations were poured Friday! They're going to do the rest next week and things are getting all prepped for us to come and put together the frame etc in August!
(I love the picture of Mystery Guest leaping for joy on top of the gravel pile... now a classic!)

While we had our little picnic this afternoon I caught sight of a monster dragonfly buzz around in the grassy area behind us. I crept up on him and managed to shoot a good 20 pictures with him standing perfectly still. What a great model! ;-) I swear the thing was huge though! At least 2.5 or 3 inches long!!

samedi, juillet 18, 2009

a morning walk in V-town

This morning as Mystery Guest headed out the door I took a look outside and the torrential rain from yesterday had finally stopped. There were a few rays of morning sunlight so I headed out to catch V-town as it is waking up on a Saturday morning. There are some really beautiful hidden areas of town. There's one street I wanted to photograph but I got turned around and couldn't seem to find it. I'll go back though, it's all on my front stoop :-)

mercredi, juillet 15, 2009

Bastille Day weekend

On Monday Mystery Guest and I jetted off near Etretat for the weekend. Unlike the dark clouds in this picture the weather was pretty much drop dead gorgeous both days. We had bbqs, swims in the pool and dips in the jacuzzi... I swear they need to start charging us to come! But besides the wonderful company and relaxing setting the real reason we went was to meet the newest member of the family! The little guy was born 2 days before we flew out to the States in May and weekends that go by too quickly made it hard to find the time to get out here. Boy are we glad we did, look at those little tootsies!!
He is just the sweetest baby ever! Just happy go lucky and smiling all the time, a real joy. Plus his mom asked me to do a photo session of him in the bath which was just so much fun to see him splashing around.

It was hard to leave but has been fun since we got back because there is some real progress on the house front... more pictures to come ;-)
(there would be some now but someone *er....? me??* forgot her memory card in the computer and not in the camera where it was supposed to be...)

dimanche, juillet 12, 2009

Here are before and after pictures of the work we did today. We had to get the entryway prepped for the people who are going to come on Wednesday to do excavation work before the foundation is poured. Mystery Guest's parents came down to give us a hand and they brought tools! yea! and gloves! yea yea!
The story of the land itself is pretty funny. The guy who owned it is in his 80's and used it to store his crap. He had a little garage (more like a carport) for his trucks on the side of the property but about 25 years ago during a big storm it collapsed and wrecked his truck. Instead of cleaning it all up he just left it there and it was overgrown with all sorts of blackberry bushes, nettles and other random plants. You couldn't even see that there was a truck under all the mess!! Well the guy has started to clear it away and now the rusted skeleton of the truck is visible and he's supposed to clear it all away before Wednesday. We had to clear out all those lovely plants from the entryway, we thought it wouldn't take too long but low and behold there were a few surprises...
3 concrete EDF poles half buried
25-30 sheets of tin roofing half rusted away
bricks, cast iron tubs, big wooden logs that once held an electric fence...

Oh the joys of hidden treasure! lol But we came away unharmed (mostly save for a few blisters and stinging nettle scratches...) and are quite pleased with the results!

samedi, juillet 11, 2009

Public Enemies

Tonight we went out for some sushi and to go see Public Enemies. The sushi was excellent and the movie was well.. ok. The sound in the theatre was too low and it's never good to strain to hear a movie that and the filming was really weird. Half the time it felt like a documentary... with a slapstick editing job. Both of us felt the time drag on which is never a good sign. I did leave for a minute to ask the guy to turn up the volume but it didn't seem to change much.
That said maybe if you had a better sound system (by the way the soundtrack was excellent! I love Billie Holiday!) you might enjoy the movie a little more...
We also decided to go out to celebrate the official purchase of the land that will soon have a house on it! Mystery Guest signed all the papers and is now fully in debt but is now the proud owner of a huge chunk of land. My offer still stands for anyone wanting to show a little muscle and come help us out the beginning of August... any takers?? :-)

vendredi, juillet 10, 2009

in a pickle

Well not really but it's such a great expression ;-) I tried my homemade pickles at dinner today - pretty good if I do say so myself with a good tang to them. They stayed pretty crunchy too. I kept them in the fridge because I was afraid since I was reusing a jar (and seal) it wouldn't be a good idea to keep them in the pantry. The jar still had a nice pop when I opened it though ;-)

And that crunch sure was better than the crunch I experienced the other day... there were a few cookies leftover from 4th of July so Mystery Guest and I polished them off. As I was crunching through the chunks of chocolate I bit down on something hard. Ok this is really weird but this little round piece of metal was baked in my cookie! I showed it to Mystery Guest and he said that he realized it was those little spots on a knife handle that cover up the screws (does that make sense?) sure enough afterwards the big knife I used to chop up the chocolate was missing one... and the stupid thing chipped my molar!! Dangerous cookies....

And I know (since I'm doing a big 'ole update...) that you're all waited with baited breath about the job hunt... I had an interview at a bank for an English speaking position. That might turn into something. The interview went very well, they're basically looking to expand their team sometime in Septemberish and want people on hand to start right away once the higher ups give the ok on the expansion. As a back up I'm still applying for jobs left and right and am going to send my CV to the Rectorat the end of Aug for subbing positions if all else fails.

In the meantime we're jetting off for part of this long holiday weekend to Etretat to visit some friends and meet their new son for his 2 month birthday!

mardi, juillet 07, 2009

dimanche, juillet 05, 2009

Bayeux 2009

Here's a little glimpse of all the fun we had in Bayeux today for their annual Medieval Festival (held the 1st weekend of July). The weather was fantastic, not too hot, not too cold. There were a few too many people but a great atmosphere and they added a whole new area at place de gaulle with lots of demonstrations and activities. So fun!!

We stayed for about 2 hours, wandering up and down streets until we had seen all we wanted to see. Then we came back home and decided it was a beach day so we drove out to Mystery Guest's parents for an afternoon of relaxing on the beach and a (quick) dip in the sea.

Ahhhh weekends in the summer... :-)

samedi, juillet 04, 2009

happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July!!! For America's 233rd birthday I was invited to a BBQ in Bayeux at an American woman's house. She and her husband have 2 kids and there were other Franco-American-whathaveyou children running around. This little girl is half American, half English and growing up in France. She is just a doll and beautiful in that little dress grandma sent! We feasted on hamburgers, potato salad, watermelon, baked beans - the works! The weather was beautiful and sitting in the sun all afternoon works for me!

Oh and everyone liked my cookies :-) a big hit as usual!

Tomorrow Mystery Guest and I are going back to check out the medieval festival they put on every year - can't wait!!

vendredi, juillet 03, 2009

hot hot hot

Well I dragged myself into the kitchen this afternoon, we've been having a heatwave (I'm not complaining! I looooove hot days but wish the beach were closer...) Anyway, hasn't really made me want to cook but I was invited to a 4th of July bbq in Bayeux tomorrow and last time I was invited to this lady's house I brought my cookies and they were a BIG hit so I offered to bring more. The dough is in the oven to chill for a bit. In this heat if I stuck them in the oven right now they wouldn't stay in nice cookie shapes but form a monster cookie me thinks.

Annnd after reading about making your own dill pickles I was inspired today at the market when I saw pickling cucumbers this morning. Usually in France you find those long cucumbers, which I adore, but I spotted some short fat ones that look just like the ones she used in her recipe. At only 50 cents each I snapped on up to try. I also managed to fenangle some fresh dill from the same lady. I've never seen fresh dill sold as an herb here (dried only) but it was attached to the bulb (finocchio) so I asked her if she could snip some of the dill off for me - score! Free dill! The spice lady also had mustard seeds for a euro a package so I picked some of those up too. Anyway I followed the recipe as best I could (without canning tools) and figured I'd keep the pickles in the fridge after canning them (instead of in the cupboard). I can't wait to try them!! (just found out they have to sit for at least 3 weeks... boo! oh well the wait will just make them taste better!) Grrr... turns out fennel and dill are NOT the same thing, even though they use the same word in French... I wonder how it's going to taste...

Phh I'm beat! I escaped the kitchen and am going to tackle some admin phone calls to the Prefecture (surprise surprise my carte de sejour wasn't ready after all... grr!) and the ANPE but something tells me the reason they're not answering their phone is that they've decided to take Friday afternoon off... grr...