Saturday, December 31

random thought about kitchen knives

... and how some people, even if they cook regularly, don't mind working with the dullest blades imaginable, that haven't been sharpened in years, if ever.

Why ?

And how ?

It makes the simplest prep work really difficult and time consuming, not to mention dangerous. (Yes, I may have a knife fetish, but there is a happy medium, surely.)

Thursday, December 15

one of the nicest things...

... anyone has ever said about me :

"Having C around is like having a cat on your tummy, it just makes you feel better."


Monday, December 12

Murphy’s law of haircuts

Perhaps not quite Murphy’s law but am unsure of what else to call this phenomenon…

You know how a few months after your last haircut, no matter how good the cut was, your hair reaches a stage where it has completely grown out of any recognizable style or shape ?

I usually wait a few weeks after it hits that stage to make an appointment for a new cut.

(because I’m lazy, because I keep hoping it’s just a bad hair day and that tomorrow it will look better, because although I love the salon I go to, and my hairstylist K, she is chronically late and I always end up waiting for an hour even though I have an appointment and it annoys me - but K is a nice person and a genius with scissors and I’ve known her for years so no, I won’t go anywhere else).

Well, no matter how dreadfully frumpy and limp my locks have been, as soon as I get my act together and make the appointment, all of a sudden, a little miracle of occurs and my hair looks fabulous. It has body, bounce, volume, and the unevenly grown out layers look like they were placed just so on purpose….

I don’t get it. I really don’t.

Sunday, December 11

ugh - must I go ?

Sunday morning and I have promised friends of mine I would help out in their restaurant because they are short staffed. It'll be fun enough once I'm there, and a little extra cash will come in handy. But right now I don't really feel like doing anything other than reading the NY Times online and various blogs with a second cup of coffee and then potter around the house, half-heartededly tidying, wth frequent tea breaks, in my PJs until 2 pm.

Saturday, December 10

Martha Wainwright

Saw her last night at the Nouveau Casino. Am now the proud owner of an autographed album and ticket stub, and a non-autographed pair of red boy short style underpants with "bloody mother fucking asshole" written across the butt.

I've seen her three times so far, last year when she opened and sang backup vocals for Kate & Anna McGarrigle, her mother and aunt, and then just a couple weeks ago when she opened for her brother Rufus.

It was a great concert. She is so cool. And funny. And sexy. And friendly.

OK, it's official, I have crushes on both Wainwright siblings.

(Oh, and Teddy Thompson was the opening act last night and he too is talented and cute as a button).

Wednesday, November 30

oh happy day

Have just picked up some new Post-it notes from the stationery cupboard and the fact that they are different bright colors instead of standard yellow has made my day.

Who says I'm hard to please.

Tuesday, November 29

Rufus Wainwright

... gave a fan-bloody-tastic concert last night.

I have no idea how to describe his musical style, so I won't. See here if you're interested.

But you've got to love a performer who does 2 Leonard Cohen covers, a duet with Jane Birkin*, and dedicates a song to Marc Jacobs, who designed the tux he was wearing. With no shirt underneath, only a big bling bling necklace.

If I were a gay man I would be madly in love with him.

*except that she did not impress me, frankly.

Saturday, November 26


No sooner had I managed to get rid of it in one place (bathroom ceiling, due to insufficient ventilation) than it appeared in another (under the windows in bedroom and living room due to condensation running off the window panes). Plaster is all water logged and paint is scaling off.

Bugger shit damn.

It's snowing !

It's snowing this morning ! Woke up and looked out the window to see big fat snowflakes. They've been coming down pretty steadily for at least an hour now.

Actually it snowed yesterday afternoon too, but it was more like hail. This morning it is fluffy snow. Nice.

But also bizarre, coming so soon after the warmest fall ever. At the beginning of the month it was still T-shirt weather, now it might as well be January. Il n'y a plus de saisons, ma bonne dame.

Friday, November 25

Thanksgiving blues

(Yes, I know it was yesterday. Bear with me.)

When I was growing up, my parents always had a combined Thanksgiving/ birthday dinner party, my father’s birthday being on December 2nd.

When I moved to Paris as a student, the other American students in the foyer and I would celebrate Thanksgiving together. We would each cook one dish that was a family tradition or specialty, make toasts about what we were thankful for, and it was a lot of fun. Even though for a lot of people it was their first holiday away from home, they were in Paris ! We were all so young and giddy and everything was possible and we felt like grown ups. It was a lovely time.

Then I got a job working in a restaurant/grocery store/catering business called, guess what, Thanksgiving, and on Thanksgiving itself I worked, but then on the following Sunday the staff would all have a great Thanksgiving meal together and be thankful that the busiest time of the year was over.

Even after I stopped working there, I would still have the post-Thanksgiving meal there with the owners, who are good friends, and staff past and present. Again, a lot of fun. Interesting to see what people had become some years after working there, and there was always someone’s American friend visiting from somewhere who of course should not be left alone on Thanksgiving, and the more the merrier, and someone’s new French girlfriend or boyfriend who had no idea what Thanksgiving is and had to have it all explained to them. (The only day in the year where Americans eat as well as the French, according to Art Buchwald).

This year I was at a bit of a loss. My restaurant-owning friends have decided not to host a post-Thanksgiving party this year because they are just too tired of turkey.

All my other American friends have moved away, either back to the US, or elsewhere.

S, who is English, very nicely offered to roast a chicken for us, but I said no. The point of Thanksgiving for me isn’t in the roast fowl, but in a big table full of friends, making toasts both funny and sentimental, eating far too much and perhaps drinking a wee bit too much as well.

So we ended up deep frying wonton dumplings for dinner (which were delicious but the apartment now reeks of grease), and going to see a silly French comedy, and I told S how thankful I was to have him in my life.

Not a bad evening, far from it, but not Thanksgiving.

Next year I will have a dinner party and turkey and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Thursday, November 24


... the crap that I manage to come up with sometimes. I actually said this to S last night:

"You're more than an accountant, you're a lifestyle guru !"

Of course this is only really funny if you know S, because he is not an accountant, or even what one would generally think of as an accountant type person. And certainly not a lifestyle guru type person.

Whatever that may be.

Tuesday, November 22

message for KT Tunstall

Yes KT, I’m talking to you.

If you want to start your concert 2 hours after the scheduled time, that’s your prerogative. No doubt beginning a show on time is not cool, not the done thing for the latest hot pop rock husky voiced cutie. Fair enough. I don’t approve, but fair enough.


Please do not come on stage and flippantly say "I’m a girl" as if that were any kind of justification. No doubt some people found that cute and endearing (the men in the audience ? the women in the audience who also use their gender as a dismaying excuse for lack of punctuality ?), but for my part, it just made me want to kick your ass. Say "I’m a rock star" if you must say anything, but not “I’m a girl”. Thank you.

Good show though, once it got going. You really do have a fantastic voice and if you can avoid the pitfalls of the dreaded "second-release-after-a-very successful-debut-album" then you may have quite a career ahead of you.

Nice boots, too.

Friday, November 18

my favorite joke, ever

Why did the snail have a big "S" painted on the side of his sports car ?

So that people would watch him drive past and say "Look at that S car go!"

OK, so it's very silly, but it is both culinary and bilingual (well, sort of)...

Wednesday, November 16


Yoga is wonderful.

It is good for the body, the mind and the spirit. It soothes yet energizes. No matter how blah I may feel before a class, afterwards, when I leave the studio, I am walking on air.

Except when I slip and fall halfway down the stairs on the way to the changing room and hurt my foot, arm and elbow.

Then it sucks.

My dignity needs a sling.

Sunday, November 6

Feel-good films

When we get around to buying a TV set and a DVD player (some day... maybe...) these are the films I am going to buy :

Say Anything
Princess Bride
When Harry met Sally
A room with a view
Bend it like Beckham
Strictly Ballroom
Fried Green Tomatoes
The Wedding Banquet

Now these are not necessarily my favorite films, but they are the ones I have seen more than once (twice, three times...) without tiring of them, they are the ones I know I could watch again and again and again. Because they make me laugh, but more than that, because they leave me feeling warm and fuzzy and optimistic.

Wednesday, November 2

Mine, all mine

This was initially meant to be a co-blog. The idea was that I would sometimes write a post, S would sometimes write one, and occasionally we would write together.

So far S hasn't been inspired to post so this seems to have turned into "my" blog rather than ours. Oh well. Perhaps he can make special appearances every now and again like a guest star.

Thursday, October 27

Smoking = child abuse ?

Today for the second time ever, I heard someone express the idea that parents who smoke in front of their kids should be "done in for child abuse".

My mind boggles.

I understand non-smokers who rant about smokers, I really do. Smoking is unhealthy, it smells bad, it's a bad habit, etc etc etc. Yes, I know all this.

But really.

Equating smoking with child abuse ? Nope, no way, no how. In fact it's pretty damn offensive to all the great parents out there who just so happen to smoke, and who are raising happy, well adjusted, self confident children.

My father smoked. He also taught me the difference between right and wrong, a sense of personal responsibility, gave me self-confidence, taught me to read and love books, to take an interest in the world at large - I could go on and on.

The fact that he died of lung cancer at 53, when I was 20, is punishment enough for his addiction, wouldn't you think ?

Should he really be tarred in memoriam with the same brush as the people who molest and beat their children ?

For fuck's sake.

Tuesday, October 25

random pet peeve

People who complain about anchovies in their Caesar salad.

If it doesn't contain anchovies in some way, shape or form, it isn't a real Caesar, OK ? It's like complaining about tuna in a Niçoise, or apples in a Waldorf.

Friday, October 21


So we're expecting guests for the weekend. They arrive from Japan in, oh, about an hour.

Thing is, we've never met. They are friends-of-a-friend.

Having guests stay here is a Big Deal, because there is no spare bedroom, only a pull-out couch in the living room. You have to go through the living room to get to and from our bedroom to the rest of the appartment. So getting up early in the morning, or in the middle of the night for a pee or a glass of water involves tip toe-ing past the sleeping guests. Therefore although I am quite hospitable (I like to think so, anyway!), usually the only people who come to stay are family members or very, very close friends.

And I like my space and privacy. Really, if there was an extra room here I would gladly offer it to acquaintances, friends-of-friends, even people-that-I-chat-with-on-the-Internet but have never met in real life. But there isn't.

Strangely enough though I am looking forward to it. They seem nice. They've never been to Europe before and want to visit lots of museums and do interesting stuff in Paris. Since I love, love, love this city and all it has to offer it will be fun to play tour guide.

Hey, maybe I'll even go up the Eiffel tower again.

(S being a much nicer person than I am, he has taken hospitality as far as going to pick them up at the airport. Bless him.)

Tuesday, October 18

religieuse ecstasy

Lunchtime today.

A woman eating alone.

Early thirties, good looking, well dressed in an austere kind of way - black turtleneck sweater and black tailored pants. Hair pulled back, eyeglasses with a square-ish frame.

She had a salad.

And then ordered dessert. The waitress brought a religieuse au chocolat. A religieuse is sort of like an eclair, but shaped differently. Imagine 2 puff pastries, a big one with a smaller one perched on top of it, sort of like a snowman. Filled with chocolate cream, and covered with chocolate icing. An old fashioned dessert.

Well, the woman's face lit up. She beamed. She grinned. She was almost giggling to herself as she took her first bite.

Was she on a diet, and was that the only sweet she would eat all month ?
Did it remind her of Sunday afternoons at a tea room with her grandmother, or perhaps a favorite aunt ?

Who knows. It made me happy to watch her eat.

Monday, October 17

RW Apple, Jr.

I want that man's job.

Last week there were 2 articles written by this guy in the travel (or was it dining?) section of the New York Times. One was about eating out in Shanghai. The other was about genuine English restaurants in London.

Yesterday I was browsing through the NYT website again and noticed that the lucky Mr. Apple had been eating his way through the best Thai food in Bangkok.

So Mr. Apple travels to vibrant and exciting cities, samples the glorious local cuisine, and then is paid to write about the experience.

Come to think of it, Mr. Apple regularly mentions his wife Betsey in his articles. She obviously travels with him and is his most frequent dining companion. Never mind wanting his job, it's hers I'm really after...

Sunday, October 16


Yesterday, I bought half a kilo of parsnips for S. Because there is nothing quite like a gift of root vegetables to show a man you love him.