Saturday, December 30

Maybe you had to be there...

"He's not very well, only has one month to six weeks to live."

OK, so that's not funny at all, but at the same time, it kind of is. Classic, classic example of British understatement.

"Oh honey, please try to look normal!"

Me to S, while taking photos on Christmas Day.

"Hey, you look just like an Aardman character!" and, later, on hearing me walk (stomp?) into the room, "Is that a baby elephant?"

S to me, getting his own back.

It's my birthday...

... and I'll post beefcake shots if I want to.

Friday, December 22

The Coat

I have a new coat. It's gorgeous, long, black, fur-trimmed on the cuffs and collar. Yes, fur. Rabbit, to be exact, and I don't feel too bad about it - if I can eat it, I figure I should be able to wear its skin, and vice versa.

It's not a young woman's coat, though. Not an old lady coat, either, but a rather bourgeois Parisian of a certain age coat. On weekends I can temper that by wearing it with jeans and motorcycle-type boots, but during the week with my smart-ish work clothes it's very bourge indeed.

Wearing it, I feel like a different person. More impatient, less nice for some reason. It gives me an attitude. I snapped at a post office employee the other day, and I swear it wasn't me, it was the Coat. The Coat doesn't think its wearer should wait in line for over a half an hour only to be told the package she was picking up had been mislaid. The Coat also make me paranoid. Wearing good jewels and a leather jacket, I feel inconspicuous and safe. Wearing jewels and the Coat, I feel like a target for pickpockets. On the other hand, it does get me instantly good service in posh shops.

Clothes may not make the man, but they do allow a woman to role play.

Friday, December 15

I don't have to worry...

...about S having an affair. In addition to love and trust and all those groovy things, there is the fact that he would simply be too bad at hiding the evidence.

Take my Christmas presents, for instance. He has bought them on his own and hidden them. So far so good. Except that one receipt is in plain view on the coffee table, a shopping bag is left lying on the living room floor, and another shopping bag (both from stores he would never shop at for himself) is somewhat out of sight but still, in a place I have a look at every few days.


If you read this, sweetie, don't change a thing. I love you.

Wednesday, December 13


Skimming through reader reviews and comments on The Departed on various sites, because I'm the sort of geek who likes to read comments on a film after I've seen it. Stunned at the number of people who take the film to task because of the violence and profanity.

If that's not your scene, fine. I can understand.

But what the fuck? It's a movie by Martin fucking Scorsese. A Scorsese movie about cops and gangsters, not an Age of Innocence type adaptation. Of course it's fucking violent. Have these people been living under a rock for the last 30-odd years and then randomly decide to go into the first movie theatre they came across?

Thursday, December 7

Somewhat out of context quote

"The only thing you really have to do is be happy, be kind, love somebody, pay the bills. That's it. "

Or so writes a wise acquaintance/friend-but-to-write "friend"-would-be-presuming-a-bit type person.

And I would tend to agree with her. But that's actually 4 things, isn't it.

Monday, December 4

I love

The smell of lardons, onions and garlic frying.
Dim sum at my favorite Chinese restaurant.
My new top, pinkish mauve with lace trim around the V-neck and sleeves, perfect for wearing under a jacket now and on its own in the summer.
Spending an argument-free weekend with my mother (OK, so I rolled my eyes and muttered under my breath a few times - I can't help it, she pushes my annoyance buttons like no one else).
Seeing Casino Royale with her, and having her - a long time Sean Connery devotee - agree that Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever.

Saturday, December 2

When you've had

...short hair your whole life, then spend 5 years growing it out until it's down to bra-strap length, then get it cut short again - it feels like coming home.

Wednesday, November 22

and speaking of clothes...

...three different people have complimented me on my elegance today. Three ! That's almost upsetting, because I'm OK, but not particularly well dressed today* - I must really look like a bag of potatoes the rest of the time.

*Black shift dress with 3/4 length sleeves, loosely tied at the waist, just below knee length, sheer black hose, classic black pumps.

A major difference.

S desperately needs new clothes, but doesn't want them, whereas I really, really, want them but can't say that I need them.

Monday, November 20

Falling out of love

... with a favorite author is very sad.

I've been a big fan of Laurie Colwin since first reading her columns in Gourmet magazine as a kid quite a long time ago (my parents were subscribers, ceci explique celà). Since then I've read almost all her work, and loved every paragraph of it - the essays on food and cooking that first got me hooked, collected in Home Cooking and More Home Cooking - her novels about impossibly bright and charming and just quirky enough to be endearing New Yorkers...

Well, I've read 3 of her books again very recently and am disappointed. The thrill is gone. The quirkiness is no longer endearing, it's pretentious affectation. I'm sad. I've never fallen out of love with an author before, and I don't like change. It would be one thing to consider that I've outgrown her, in a spurt of intellectual growth, but frankly I doubt that's the case - and I didn't think Colwin was the sort of author who could or should be outgrown.

Oh well. Back on the shelf they go, and perhaps in a few years I'll fall for them all over again.

Thursday, November 9

small indulgences...

...are the best. Big ones leave me feeling guilty - and broke. But small ones just brighten up your day. Today, a supper of smoked Irish salmon, perked up with lemon juice and freshly ground pepper. (Of course now that so much salmon is farm-raised and perfectly affordable - albeit "flabby" as per Nigella Lawson - it's not so much of an indulgence, but for me it still has that connotation of luxurious, special food).

Follow up with a nice bottle of Côtes du Rhone and cigarettes. Tom Waits on the stereo. Some idle tidying up and cleaning, but nothing too strenuous. Two good books on the go, and the knowledge that the budget for the rest of the month is in fine shape, therefore I can contemplate making an Amazon order in the next few days. Life is good.

Monday, November 6

So, among other things

... I have's headlines on my personalized Google homepage. Today the top line reads "Parties make their final push" - obviously an article about the U.S. midterm elections.

Except that I misread that as "Panties make their final push" and thought it might have something to do with increased lingerie sales, or a surge in Victoria's Secret stock price.

Saturday, November 4

This is exactly how I feel...

...when S talks to me about cricket. blah blah blah wicket blah blah blah silly mid-off blah blah blah England batsman blah blah blah... It really is like a foreign, no, an alien language.
* cartoon by Gary Larson, of course.

Thursday, October 26

Ode to the Sartorialist

I literally had to shoot this from the hip as I was embarrassed that I might be caught taking a photo - but these two ladies were so so chic I thought "what would Sart do" and couldn't resist...Of course, Sart would have spoken to them and taken the photo from the front, but I'm far too shy !

Monday, October 23

S is a gem

... and I’m keeping him. And he’d better not leave me, because I’d find him. (Yes, that is a line from The Wedding Crashers. I have no shame).

He spent the whole weekend food shopping and cooking, so we now have:

2 liters of leek & potato soup
Enough Bolognese sauce for at least 2 meals
A fair quantity of chicken stock
Chicken curry
Loads of fresh veggies just waiting to be stir-fried.

All divided into tubs of various sizes and neatly distributed between fridge and freezer.

And what did I do during the weekend? Read blogs and online newspapers, finished one novel and started another, slept, napped, dozed and generally just lazed around.

Thursday, October 19

Dans Paris

A lovely little film about brothers, fathers, mothers and lovers - set in Paris at Christmas time, and yet devoid of clichés - starring the delicious Romain Duris and the no less delightful Louis Garrel, both seen in various stages of undress. Mmm-hmmm.

Tuesday, October 17

Google has taken over my life.

Hardly an original thought, I know, but it's been on my mind lately.

Between Blogger, Picasa, Gmail, and the new Google homepage which I've played around with cutomizing (Paris weather forecast! Word of the day! CNN! Le Monde headlines! and more!), there isn't a lot "they" couldn't find out about me if "they" wanted to.

Do no evil, people. Do no evil.

The problem with winter...

... in addition to the obvious issues such as cold and lack of sunlight, is that dressing well is so much more expensive than in the summer.

Summer clothes can be cheap and not necessarily look cheap, and even if they do, it really doesn't matter because they can be fun and cheerful and not really meant to last. You can buy new white cotton T-shirts every single year and just toss them when they get grey and dingy at the end of the season without breaking the bank. There are always inexpensive plain linen shirts and dresses on sale at various high street stores, in half a dozen different colors that are easy to look great in, with a bit of a tan and sunglasses.

Now consider winter. Sweaters needn't all be cashmere (although wouldn't that be great!) but you do want a nice merino or lambswool, which isn't cheap. Boots, especially knee high ones in good quality leather, are obviously more expensive than espadrilles. Jackets and coats need at least halfway decent tailoring to look good, so ooops, there you go, costly again.

The good thing about winter is that in a pinch, you can wear the same black turtleneck, dark blue jeans, black boots and beige trenchcoat every other day for months and still look fine - exactly like 80% of women in the 20 to 55 age bracket, but fine nonetheless...

Wednesday, October 11

The anti-Miranda Priestley

I *heart* my boss. We were supposed to have lunch together today, but she had to postpone to next week (for a perfectly legit reason).

She just got me flowers to apologize.



Among the assorted bills and ads in my mailbox the other day, I found a chocolate bar.

No kidding, a full-size, 70% cocoa, dark chocolate bar from Lindt, with a “30 cents off next purchase” coupon on the back of the packaging.

Obviously a marketing promotion from Lindt, right?

But the idea of getting something edible (chocolate!) for free, just dropped into my mailbox, is disconcerting. How do I know it’s not, well, tainted? How do I know it’s not a chocolate version of phishing? It looks like real Lindt packaging, but what’s if it’s really…oh, I don’t know...something bad...

Am no doubt completely paranoid and neurotic and shouldn’t look a gift chocolate bar in the mouth, so to speak, but not accepting candy from strangers is so ingrained I really don’t think I would be able to eat it without suffering from psychosomatic stomach pains...

Tuesday, October 10

Cultural differences

Talking about the impending smoking ban, and whether it will be enforced or not.

- well, probably not at first, but then someone will probably sue their employer for not providing a smoke-free environment.

quizzical look.

- oh, but people don't really sue each other much here, do they.
- erm. no.

And it's true, France is governed, in the widest sense of the word, through legislation rather than litigation. And practicing law, by and large, is seen as a respectable profession, there are no French equivalents to the plethora of jokes in American pop culture about lawyers being despicable scum of the earth. Not sure that there is any relation there, but I find it interesting...

Wednesday, September 27

Weird spam

Sender: Kevin Costner.
Subject: Tomatoes.

Errr... rotten ones, perhaps?

Monday, September 25

After sneering at the trend

... last winter, I just caved in and bought something like this.

Not quite the same, mine are darker and the plaid pattern is very subtle. I think they'd be nice with a black sweater and black knee high boots (low heel, or perhaps a medium but chunky one) when it gets colder, maybe ballet type flats for now. They fit perfectly and the price was right (i.e. cheap!) but I'm a bit fearful of looking like a fashion victim. Hey, at least they're not leggings, right ?!

Sunday, September 24

Supper for one

Leftover smoked haddock (previously poached in milk) and plain boiled potatoes, flaked and cut into bite-sized pieces, topped with a couple gobs of mayo and a squeeze of lemon juice. Eat straight from the tupperware container, in front of 'puter.

I can eat some pretty strange things when I'm alone and lazy and have no witnesses to my unearthly combos, but this is good, good enough to be fancied up and presented to guests in the future, with a handful of chopped scallions and/or parsley on top. In a pretty bowl, of course, and a good bottle of white...

Saturday, September 23

And another thing

My blogger friends - you know who you are - I can't leave comments on your blogs anymore, at least 9 times of 10 I can't, and most days I get annoyed and give up way before the 10th attempt - but I still read y'all...

I am the proud owner of

23 bags and 54 pairs of shoes. I know this precisely because I just:

a) updated my shoe spreadsheet
b) created a bag spreadsheet

who says I don't lead an exciting life?

Wednesday, September 20


Wanting to take advantage of a warm sunny Indian summer day, am wearing a skirt, with bare legs and sandals - these may be the last days of being able to feel air against my skin, before wrapping up for the next 6 months in closed toe shoes, hosiery, boots, and so on.

Except that the office air-con is set to Below Freezing which is uncomfortable, but far worse, my nipples are jutting out like torpedoes even through a padded bra. Will spend the day hunching over files and legal pads clutched tighly to my chest, like an awkward teenager. Lovely.

Tuesday, September 19

You never really know

what's going on in people's lives. Self evident perhaps but I was reminded of it today. There's a woman who lives in our appartment building. We say hello when we see each other, and she's polite enough, but always seems to be in a nervous rush, and will respond to my greeting but with no eye contact or smile. She has a dog (small uncute yappy thing, but I digress) and I tend to think that perhaps she's in a hurry when our paths happen to cross because the dog needs to be taken out .

Today I saw her in the metro on my way home from work, and during the whole ride - I wasn't staring, but kept stealing glances at her, thinking that if she looked up, and recognized me, I would say hi - she looked as if she was fighting back tears - either of rage or of grief, I couldn't tell. It was scary, and uncomfortable - this agitated face of just barely under control emotion. I wonder what her story is, where she works, if she's lonely, if she's friends with any of the other neighbors.

Friday, September 15

bad blogger

Over a week, and no updates? Bad, bad blogger!

Part of my lack of inspiration probably stems from the fact that I actually *gasp* enjoy my new job and therefore don't spend as much time faffing around on the internet as I used to. Which is probably a good thing.

And then evenings are spent telling S all about new job, new colleagues, and the intricacies of new office politics.

Anyway... this yuppie sandwich place near the office does a wrap with beef, bean sprouts, mint, and a soy based sauce, and they call it Buddha. Does that strike anyone else as a bit strange? I get that it's Asian-food influenced, and certainly not all Buddhists are vegetarians, but all the same - would anyone call a roast pork sandwich Mohammed? I think not!

Monday, September 4

goodbye Andre...

Has tears in my eyes reading the accounts of Agassi's last match and all the tributes from fellow players. He's my most enduring tennis-player crush. I remember being 15 or so when he first reached the - what was it, quarter finals ? of Roland Garros, with his mullet and acid-wash denim shorts and irreverant playfulness. I thought he was sooooo cool. And I still do.

Good call on getting rid of the hair, though.

Saturday, September 2

So S went to the market this morning

I don’t enjoy going late on a Saturday morning because it is so crowded and cramped – not a happy market hustle and bustle but crowds the likes of which I deal with quite enough in the metro during rush hour every day of the week - it’s not pleasant. People are constantly bumping into each other and it’s hard to take a step without shoving or being shoved. But the produce is good, and really, really cheap.

Today S had to break up a fight – one woman apparently stepped on the shoe of another woman in front of her. Instead of accepting that sort of thing will happen occasionally when masses of people are trying to move in various directions at varying speeds in the reduced space of a market aisle, the first woman whipped off her shoe and clobbered the other one over the head with it.

Flailing and hitting and shouting ensued and S and another man had to physically intervene and separate the two. S’s glasses were knocked off (luckily into a pile of herbs and not on the ground!) and he suffered collateral damage under the form of two tiny scratches on his face – not a huge deal, but still.

Madness, utter madness.

Thursday, August 31

Looking forward to...

...November 27th - got tickets to see Madeleine Peyroux at the Olympia - one of the most prestigious concert halls in town. Yay !

Of course, there goes my concert budget for the next couple of months - usually I prefer to see lesser known artists in more intimate venues - cheaper, and often more fun as there's more of a connection between small audiences and artists but hey. Once in a while it's nice to splurge on a big name show.

Having said that, a friend of mine just saw Madonna on Monday and her ticket cost 180 euros - madness...

Wednesday, August 30

Tonight's menu

On Wednesdays S doesn't come home until after 9, so it's my turn to cook dinner. Last week I reheated a frozen (good, though!) pizza and made a salad, lazy bum that I am.

Tonight I was a bit more ambitious: sea bream fillets, lightly coated in flour and cooked in a little butter with lemon juice drizzled over them in the pan, sauteed carrots finished off in a creamy sauce with shallots and chives, green salad (romaine - love it), and Saint Felicien cheese on 6-grain bread.


...across this blog and found it really moving. Just wanted to share.

Monday, August 28

Three things

... as tagged by Ms. Cookie.

3 Things I'm proud of
1) Becoming financially responsible (having to say "I can't afford it" all the time sucks, but on the other hand, it's nice to receive a letter from the bank and think, hmm, what could this be about ? instead of instantly having a panic attack because I know it's going to be bad news).
2) Not caring as much about what people think of me as I did throughout my teens and twenties. It's so liberating !
3) Being "a serious person in professional terms" according to my new boss. Although I'm not quite sure whether I should be proud or amused. Both no doubt.

3 Things I wish for
1) Peace on earth. Failing that, a reconciliation between my mother and my favorite auntie, which is just as unlikely.
2) More motivation, less procrastination. That covers a lot of ground ! Also, I wish it were as easy to pick up good habits as it is bad ones.
3) Continued health and happiness.

3 Things I like about myself
1) I don't take myself too seriously.
2) I'm generally good-natured and optimistic. Generally.
3) I never get PMS.

3 Things I would like to do this lifetime
1) Visit the new museum at Quai Branly (there's one goal I have a good chance of achieving!)
2) Have a garden to tend to, with a vegetable patch.
3) Learn how to ride a goddamned motherfucking bicycle. Little kids can do it. Idiots can do it. Why can't I?

Sunday, August 27

Random Sunday evening thoughts

Late August and it feels like fall, has done so for days and days now. Some leaves are turning already (and I have photographic evidence, but Blogger is being a pain*). I blame it on all the people who complained about the heat in July. Happy now ?

La science des rêves (Science of sleep) by Michel Gondry, with Gael Garcia Bernal and the fabulous Charlotte Gainsbourg. See this if you liked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Or even if you didn't. So original and inventive and completely fantaisiste, but so real.

It's hard to be torn between a yearning for minimalism and a tendency toward being a pack rat. Every few months (seems to be a change of season thing, come to think of it) I have an overwhelming urge to clean, tidy, purge, organize and get rid of stuff I've accumulated, trying to comply with William Morris's oft-quoted instruction, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful". Easier said than done. My home is filled with things not really beautiful but sentimentally meaningful, and stuff not useful, but who knows, they might come in handy some day.

* This Blogger beta still has a lot of kinks in it. Uploading pictures always fails on the first attempt, and is impossible via Picasa (which is a Google tool just like Blogger - you'd think they'd get compatibility issues between their own family of applications sorted in priority, no ?). The format of old posts with photos has gone mildly wonky and I've read that users of the classic Blogger can't post comments on beta Blogs. However I do love being able to add and edit sidebars and change colors easily without having a clue about HTML.

And a propos of nothing, S has the loudest sneezes I have EVER heard. Seriously. When he sneezes it's like the sound is coming from a 20-foot tall ogre. No idea how a skinny guy like him can produce such a noise. Quite startling.

Wednesday, August 23


There are lots of people I admire for their work (and sometimes, let’s be honest, for their looks as well) but I’m not celeb mad as a rule, and wish pop culture didn’t encourage vapid bimbos of either gender to be famous just for being famous.

But I was thrilled to bits to walk just behind Charlotte Gainsbourg for a few minutes on rue Clément Marot.

Funnily enough - although perfectly in character for me - I noticed her bag first.

"Ooooh, that's nice. Looks like a new version of a Darel bag, must be this season's ... wow, she's very slim and graceful. Wonder if she's a model ? She looks like.... no.... yes ! It's Charlotte ! Squeeeeeeeaaaaak!"

This was an internal monologue, of course. I didn't actually squeak out loud.

She turned to go into a restaurant (Chez André, if anyone is interested) ; I went to my salad bar. And on my way back, I went past the restaurant and caught a glimpse of Yvan Attal.

Excited, me.

(And really, this mostly a post for Julia – or are there other fans out there ?)

Saturday, August 19

Beta Blogger

Thanks to the new beta version of Blogger which I simply had to switch to and play around with, I've obsessively cyber-doodled and pottered with templates and fonts and settings all evening and did not get around to doing any (much needed) tidying or cleaning.


Thursday, August 17

Just noticed

... that in all three corporate-ish companies I’ve worked in so far, the conference rooms are named after cities.

As in, “Mr. Important Client is waiting in Tokyo”;
or “Are there enough chairs for everyone in Amsterdam ?” ;
or “Sydney has a better view than Dubai, why do I get stuck in Dubai all the time ?" (stamps foot)

Is that just a coincidence, or is it an unspoken rule that It Must Be So ?

So much for thinking outside the box...

Tuesday, August 15

Gorgeous market, Annecy again

Over-blogging, yes, but I love markets, especially in the summer, and this one was great. All the produce looked so perfectly fresh and good, and there were several stalls with spices and herbs heaped high. So lovely.

The salt & pepper grinders

... as well as the minimalist place settings were what made me chose this restaurant for lunch. I thought any place with proper grinders and not shakers on the table would be good. I was wrong. It was decent, but nothing special. The kind of food that is "prepared" (from frozen ? sous vide perhaps ?) and then plated rather than cooked properly from scratch on the premises. But that's OK. Location was great and waitstaff were friendly. And it was such a glorious day. Posted by Picasa

Browsing cookbooks on Amazon

and found this :

"Vegetarian cooking without: Over 100 easy-to-follow delicious recipes free from wheat, gluten, sugar, salt, dairy products, yeast, saturated fat, and meat."

How depressing.

Necessary no doubt (although food intolerance seems to be a recent issue - did people just suffer in silence before, or is it a relatively new problem, and if so, what are the causes ?) but depressing all the same.

Monday, August 14

The beauty that is the Lac d'Annecy

The beauty that is Annecy

I'm ba-ack !

  • being on holiday and not doing ANYTHING is bliss.
  • tomatoes and figs fresh from the garden are simply amazing. Even farmer's market produce isn't quite the same.
  • my mother drives me crazy sometimes (often?) but I do love her to bits.
  • trying to learn to ride a bicycle as an adult sucks, truly. See how I had to say "trying to learn", and not "learning" ?
  • cooking shows are great entertainment. I *heart* Rick Stein and the Masterchef competition.
  • those scales that not only weigh but also calculate body fat percentage are a bit scary. Especially when one's 10 day holiday consists of vegging on the couch, reading, watching cooking shows and eating ice cream.
  • 90% of the ads on British satellite TV are for car insurance and debt consolidation services. I realize debt is a huge problem but how much car insurance can each household possibly need ?

Friday, August 4

how on earth will I survive

...being off line until August 15th ? My 'net addiction is more worrying at this point than my smoking, or my fondness for sitting out in the sun with no SPF.

Anyway I'm off to the Alps for 10 days. The house where we're staying does have a computer but apparently S couldn't get the broadband connection working. We'll fiddle around with it, as I would like to blog (and post piccies !) but not too much as I don't want to blow up hardware or unintentionally disable firewalls and such.

Wednesday, August 2

S and I

Poorly framed attempt at self-portaiture, or conceptual art, as per Li(ii)sa ?

New job, Day 3 update

Since Jules asked...

Well, it's certainly been interesting. My boss has been assistant-less for 2 months, and has kicked off a huge project so there is LOADS to do and organize, which is fine, but I'm having to scramble to get all the information I need together.

And since it's August, 80% of the staff is on vacation, so there are precious few people around to give advice, let alone formal training.

But hey, I can manage. I think.

And in other news, because of my start date, vacation plans were slightly messed up, so S left today for Haute Savoie where he will spending 2 days alone with my mother before I get there on Friday...

Sunday, July 30

My eyes, my eyes !

Randomly clicking on the Recently Updated blogs as they appear on the Blogger home page can be quite an experience. Would it be terribly uncouth and unkind to say that in my opinion only goodlooking people should post their nudie pics on the 'net ? On the other hand, the self confidence is worthy of admiration, I suppose.

Saturday, July 29

Like these...

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

I have just purchased a digital camera, which means this blog will soon be inundated with mediocre pictures of little or no interest to anyone other than myself.

*cue evil laughter and spooky music*

Friday, July 28

Last days

No, not the Gus van Sant movie.

Today was my last day at Ex-Employer’s. After four and a half years, I said my goodbyes and waltzed out that door with a grin on my face. I’ll miss some of my colleagues, but as New Employer is only one metro stop away I’m sure I’ll keep in touch and continue to meet them for lunch and gossip quite often.

After being unreasonably pissed off at my departure and generally acting like a nasty person for 6 weeks – during which time I could have written a blog called My Boss is a Twat, with daily updates – the man relented and reverted to being a pretty nice guy during my last week. He even took the whole department – well, all 7 of us ! – out for lunch at a very yum seafood restaurant.

And my farewell present was – get this – a red handbag. Not the Furla I had my eye on (but I am not one to look a gift bag in the zippered compartment) and it is a similar shape and style, in leather and fabric, from Lancel. So, a big thank you to my lovely colleague T, lunchtime window-shopping companion extraordinaire, for choosing so well.

Tuesday, July 25

Pearly pits ?

So there's a new product on the market which boggles my mind. Perhaps I am easily boggled, but all the same...

It's a deodorant/antiperspirant with "natural extracts of pearl" and in addition to keeping one fresh, dry and clean smelling, it promises "beautiful armpit skin".

Now, I admit I am as much of a girly cosmetics addict as the next woman. I have succombed to the marketing sirens and bought more than my fair share of oils, balms, powders and creams that have promised - and delivered - glitter, pearly sheen, all sorts of iridescence. Products that make tanned skin glow, add interesting sparkle to cleavage, and subtle shimmer to browbones and cheekbones.

But not once in my life have I applied deodorant, waxed or shaved, or just randomly caught sight of my pits, and thought "you know, I could use a little natural pearly extract here. What the world really needs is a shimmery deodorant".

Would you buy this product ?

Sunday, July 23

Too much of a good thing.

Specifically, rosé wine. Chilled and tasty, it's so easy to drink more than one should, when sitting in someone's garden on a sunny day. Lovely way to spend an afternoon, but as a result the evening starts with a mini-hangover and a touch of sunburn.

And tomorrow it will be Monday.


Saturday, July 22

Bullitt's PJs

Jumped at the chance today to see Bullitt today at the cinema. This is a classic I'd seen several times on DVD - actually, it may even have been a VHS tape - but it was great to see it again on a big screen.

One thing I had never picked up before - not once but twice, we see Frank Bullitt at home in bed and he is wearing highly improbable paisley pyjamas, featured in the movie poster here.

Come on. This is Steve bloody McQueen. Possibly one of the coolest men ever to have walked the earth.

I cannot believe for one second that Steve McQueen wore paisley PJs to bed, and neither should Lieutenant Frank Bullitt.

Especially when he's in bed with Jacqueline Bisset.

Friday, July 21

So sad.

Am not usually an overly weepy person, but on the Metro this evening I had a hard time fighting back tears.

We had just seen Tsotsi, which is a rather emotional experience in itself. Then on the way home, we notice a young man passing out flyers with a photo and description of a missing person. He's not just handing them out, he is calling out to people, urging them to contact the police or the number on the flyer should they see the missing person.

His name is Thierry, he is autistic, and he has been missing since July 16th.

I vaguely remember seeing the same flyer up on the side of a phone booth in my neighborhood, and not paying any particular attention, but it is now days later, and I think of the parents of the missing child in the movie we've just seen, and the family of this young man, sick with worry.

Then S tells me he had seen this friend or family member much earlier in the day, at another metro station, doing the same thing, and my heart just breaks.

I hope Thierry returns safely to the people who care about him. And I count my blessings.

Thursday, July 20

A list, a list ! (pinched from Julia)

Four jobs I've had in my life:
1. Waitress
2. French teacher
3. Admin assistant
4. Muse and confidante (OK, so that's not really a job...)

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the extended DVD version. Geeky, moi ?
2. Strictly ballroom
3. A room with a view
4. When Harry met Sally

Four places I have lived:
1. Bangkok
2. Cartagena de Indias
3. Jerusalem
4. 5 different arrondissements in Paris

Four TV shows I love to watch:
N/A as I don't have a TV... I did love Friends and have seen every single episode up until season 8, but my co-conspirator with the DVD player moved away and that was that...

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Croatia
2. Saint Barth
3. USA
4. England

Four websites I visit daily:
1. Google
2. Current employer's intranet, which I will not link to...
3. Go fug yourself
4. New York Times

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Pho
2. Full English breakfast
3. Dim sum
4. Steak tartare

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. A beach, any beach...
2. A walled city by the sea - a place like Dubrovnik, or Saint Malo...
3. A luxurious day spa, getting a massage.
4. A village in the Cevennes, cool inside an old stone house with thick walls, in spite of the sun beating down outside.

Saturday, July 15

Yesterday's non event

Walked up to Montmartre last night, hoping to have a nice view of the Bastille Day fireworks, couldn't see anything, walked back home. So much for that.

However, had some wonderful news - my mother and grandmother had dinner together after not speaking for 6 years. As both are incredibly stubborn women, I'm very happy they were able to talk before, well... my grandmother is 96, or is it 97 now ? so it was high time this happened.

Now I would love it if my mother and my favorite auntie could reconcile as well, but that could take another decade or so, if ever, so I'm not holding my breath... baby steps, baby steps...

Thursday, July 13

The Man has spoken

Just saw the Zidane interview as linked to on Julia's blog. (The wonders of cyberspace, making the world smaller - I'm in France, but only saw this interview - on French TV ! - thanks to a blogger in Australia...)

Ranks have closed here, and Zinedine is more of a hero than ever. If anything, his hotheadedness and willingness to get in trouble to defend the honor of his womenfolk only made him more likeable to the masses.

But, but - I'm not convinced.

If black footballers can go on playing when "fans" throw bananas on the pitch and make monkey noises (no, not during the World Cup, but it does happen) then he should damn well be able to continue playing even in the face of a pathetic "your mama" insult.

Never mind. Thanks to all the Bleus for a wonderful month of excitement and passion and this feeling of togetherness, of being connected in some way to the popular heart of the country. Rendez-vous en 2010 !

Sunday, July 9


What a terrible way to end a glorious career. I'm sad that France lost, but that is completely overshadowed by my shock and disappointment in Zidane.

What possessed him ? It doesn't matter how he was provoked - if indeed he was - but there is simply no excuse for such behavior.

Zizou has always been a fair player and a gentleman. Why, why, why tonight, during the last match of his career, did he lose his cool and act like a common thug ?

Thursday, July 6

Today's non-event

The première of Pirates of the Carribean 2 was held at a cinema on the Champs Elysées and I had to walk through the crowd on my way from the office to the metro. Apparently Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloomin'heck (as S calls him - sheer jealousy, I say) were there. Didn't see them but heard lots of squeals and cries of "Johnny, Johnny".

And I was shoved out of the way by a security guard when I tried to walk onto the street to avoid the crowd on the sidewalk.

Perhaps he was afraid I would hijack a limo ?

Tuesday, July 4

a lovely handbag

Same model as in the photo, but in red grainy leather, from Furla. Boxy rectangular shape, big enough to hold all the usual crap that hangs out in my bags, possibly roomy enough to stuff a book and light sweater in as well. But not too bulky. Can be hand held, carried in crook of elbow, or over a shoulder. Perfect. And it's red - have I mentioned already that it's red ? Cause I don't do white bags. A steal at 174 euros, reduced from 290. But I really can't afford it.

Whine whine whine.

Saturday, July 1

What a perfect evening

Lovely summer weather, a table outside, great food - 6 courses, all of them mouthwatering, simple, honest ingredients cooked to perfection, flavors both subtle and cristal clear - red wine, far too many cigarettes, a charming waiter, a chef who came out when the meal was finished to ask patrons if they were happy (a resounding yes from all), laughter, football talk, fashion talk, travel talk, cinema talk, more laughter.

See a pattern here ?

France - Switzerland 0-0
France - South Korea 1-1
France - Togo 2-0
France - Spain 3-1


does that mean France will score 4 goals against Brazil ????

Thursday, June 29

so angry

I can't see straight - so much for Current Employer being nicer than expected about my resignation - that was too much of a good thing to last long ! Just goes to show my initial apprehension about resigning was justified...

This week I've realized just how much I've been dicked around on the subject of my departure date since the beginning and the situation is really deteriorating.

The most tempting option for me now is to be such a smart ass bitch that current boss blows a gasket and tells me to leave before he kicks me out.

Unfortunately he might also decide to wait me out and push back my departure even further. Which would not be good, and especially so for Future Employer who is waiting for me start with them as soon as possible.

Not much anyone can do about it (unless there are any specialists in French labor law out there who can give some advice, pro bono ? Or better yet, really important captain of industry bigwig types who can make a phone call or two to put pressure on Current Employer ? No ? Didn't think so !) but it feels good to get a little rant out in writing.

Wednesday, June 21

What I know about football

Team A and Team B both try to kick the ball into each other’s goal. Every time the ball goes in, one point is scored. The team with the most points after 90 minutes of playing, wins.

The End.

I don’t know what the offside rule is all about, even though I once read an explanation involving shoe shopping, a forgotten purse, and someone throwing her wallet over the crowd of shoppers so that her friend didn’t have to give up her place in the queue at the till. This makes no sense to me whatsoever as I prefer to shop alone and would never set foot in a shoe store without my wallet.

I don’t know what corners are all about, nor do I know what coup franc or surface de reparation are. I don’t even know what they are in English, let alone what they actually mean. Whereas a corner is un corner in French, so at least that’s nice and easy.

I do know that many footballs players, as soon as they are bumped into by a member of the opposing team, tend to fall down and writhe around on the ground in mock agony, pulling dreadful faces. Sort of like me when I get a papercut or break a nail. This is why I can safely say they are attention seeking drama queens – no offense guys, but it takes one to know one.

So why have I been watching the World Cup matches ?

Because it’s fun to watch good looking men in shorts run around, getting all sweaty. Yes, Freddie “Get your kit off” Ljundberg is but the tip of the hottie iceberg, so to speak.

Because S wants to, and I like hanging out with him in bars, smoking and drinking beer. The football is incidental.

And last but not least, because France. July 1998. That is all.

Having been here and lived through that, even the most die hard bah humbug anti-football could not care less about sports in general person cannot help but get at least a little bit excited at the thought of the World Cup.

Allez les Bleus !

Saturday, June 17

Just found out today

...that not one but two of my favorite novels, Love in the Time of Cholera and Belle du Seigneur, are being adapted to the screen.

As much as I love films, I am more dubious than excited about this... Javier Bardem in Love, I can see. But Olivier Martinez as Solal ? He has the looks but not the substance. Oh dear oh dear. Je crains le pire...

Thursday, June 15

Ha !

Just as I was googling for photos of hottie Freddie Ljungberg in various states of undress (thank you, Calvin Klein) he scored and won the game for Sweden !

Wednesday, June 14


June 14th, I saw something horrifying.

We have had no more than 10 - OK, maybe 12 - days of lovely summer weather so far, after a crappy cold spring, and today I walked past a store window featuring the new fall / winter collection. The Marina Rinaldi store on avenue Victor Hugo, if anyone is interested.

Looks like dark jewel tone colors and jeans tucked into knee-high boots are coming back in the fall. Maybe *yawn*, maybe fair enough, it's a good look.

But today is June 14th, fashion merchandizing people. Summer has barely begun. And, more to the point, the summer collections don't even go on sale yet for another good three weeks. Give us a break. We are not ready for fall. I am not ready.

Saturday, June 10

It’s true what they say

…about women dressing up for other women, and not for men.

I’ve never worried much about what to wear on a date, and S certainly couldn’t care less –he’s thoughtful enough to pay compliments when I look nice, but he wouldn’t mind if I spent all my time in ratty T-shirts and sweatpants.

But the delightful Mademoiselle Julia – beautiful, sophisticated, girl crush extraordinaire - will be in town at the end of the month and I am already thinking about what to wear when we meet.

Friday, June 9

It’s the little things

...that make me happy after a long day at the office.

I actually gasped out loud with joy at the sight of Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chunk cookies at my local supermarket. They are one of my staple purchases whenever I am in the US (others being Celestial Seasonings herbal teas and – don’t laugh – Rice a Roni – yes, yes, I know…) and were, up to now, unavailable in France.

To be honest, the cookies were not quite as good as in my memories. Perhaps it was never the cookies that were that great, but the fact that I was on vacation, seeing friends, and for a few days at least, being American me instead of French me.

But they were still pretty good.

Wednesday, May 31

on the correct usage of office supplies.

The hem on the right leg of my pants (trousers, need I specify ?) came undone mid-morning.

I have stapled it back in place.

I'm quite sure that is the not right thing to do, but don't have a sewing kit on me (not that I can sew, anyway) and don't want to to trip over it. Double-faced Scotch tape would be better as it wouldn't leave holes in the fabric, but there is none available here.

Monday, May 29

and... exhale...

After flipping and flopping and stressing and generally being in a tizz for the past 5 days, (should I stay or should I go now ? is the grass really greener or will it be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire ? and why do I have to work for a living at all ? I'd make a great heiress, really. Why Paris Hilton and not me, huh ? My dress sense is way better, not to mention my taste in men - but I digress...) I did it today - signed the contract with New Employer and handed in my notice to Current Employer.


I'm relieved and happy and have managed to say the right things to Direct Boss and Bigger Boss and not antagonize anyone - which is good. I may need these people for a reference or, who knows, another job some months or years down the line.

Wednesday, May 24


I've been offered the job !

My post below was very "meh" - I'll admit that the idea of staying in the same exact business was not really a strong selling point prior to the interview as the whole point of changing jobs for me is, well, change.

But the people seem nice, and that's crucial to enjoying any job - the most exciting career in the world would still suck if you were surrounded by assholes all day. They actually had photos and decorations on their desks, and personalized surroundings. Current office is as sterile and cold as anything, no one leaves anything personal on their desks, and I think that's a highly symbolic difference.

When I was introduced around to the team they stopped working and had time for a chat and didn't look over their shoulders fearfully whenever a manager walked past. At current office, candidates are not introduced to anyone other than the execs who carry out the actual interview process, until their first day on the job. No chance for a casual talk about what it's like to work here, and no one asks the admin staff's opinion on potential new recruits. No sirree.

So yes, it's the same business, but I think things will be different. In a good way.

Now all I have to do is resign and negotiate my notice period.

Will the shit hit the fan ?

Will my boss, who is a nice enough guy personally but a killer professionally, be decent and understanding or will he take my departure as a betrayal of the Firm, or even worse, Himself ?

Stay tuned... answers next Monday.

Monday, May 22

another interview

in a little over an hour.

Same business (direct competitor in fact). Same job. Same salary.

Pros: familiar environment - easy.
Cons: probably not a big enough change from my current job - boring.

To be continued...

Sunday, May 21

I want I want I want

  • a digital camera.
  • an Ipod Nano. (I actually never listen to music on the go, but they're just so damn cute).
  • a Balenciaga motorcycle bag, the medium sized one, black. (Yes, they are sooooooo 2004, dahling, and fashionistas have since moved on to the Fendi Spy or Chloe Paddingon, but I don't care - the Motorcycle is a little bit slouchy, a little bit rock'n'roll, and I love it).
  • a full day at a fancy spa - manicure, pedicure, facial, massage, the works.
  • a personal shopper and a decent budget, perhaps at Printemps, my favorite department store. Nothing lavish, nothing fancy - am not paparazzi fodder on the red carpet at Cannes after all, but my office wardrobe is in need of an update - a couple classic suits, maybe a cashmere twin-set.
  • another room in my appartment - see, not a townhouse or a duplex with a rooftop garden - just one more room - a home office for S that would serve as a guest bedroom so I can say, "oh please, you don't need a hotel recommendation, you're welcome to stay with us !" and really mean it. The pull-out couch in the living room serves its purpose when necessary but we're all grown ups now and like our privacy and comfort, right ?

Wednesday, May 10


was fabulous as always. Have seen him 3 times now (which is not very often considering that I have loved him longer than anyone I know apart from family members, but I digress...) and every time I am afraid it won't be nearly as good as I am expecting, but it's better. Yes, I am a love-sick fan.

Anyway the real point I wanted to make was, back in the olden days of concert going, people used to hold up lighters during certain songs - tonight looking across the dark crowd, the only pinpricks of light came from the glowing digital displays of cell phones being held up.

Wednesday, May 3

S could very well dump me...

...any minute now.

I am sitting at the 'puter, in sweatpants, drinking beer and eating leftover carrot salad (garlicky!) straight out a plastic tub (which previously contained ice cream, not a fancy Tupperware).

I might even burp soon...

Am I too comfortable in this relationship ? Is that a bad thing ?

(am not seriously worried - just amused at what my "standards" used to be and how relaxed I am now...)

Monday, May 1

I take the weather personally.

Yes, I realize that is completely irrational and self-centered, but I do.

When at the end of April, beginning of May, it is cold and rainy and miserable and November-like, I feel like a mischievous meteorological deity is sticking its tongue out and thumbing its nose at me.

I want warmth and sunshine and I want it here for good, damnit, not for a couple of days, just long enough to get my hopes up before disappearing again, leaving my winter coats to work overtime and my sunglasses and sandals feeling neglected and useless.

Friday, April 28

Paris au Cinéma

Interesting article in the NY Times about the Paris au Cinéma exhibition at Hôtel de Ville which I mentioned briefly in my other blog (the neglected one).

and still haven't got around to seeing, by the way. perhaps tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 26

so I had an interview...

...last Friday for a position that's a step up from what I do now, small firm that hopes to expand quickly, only just founded in January, so really a chance to create my own job within a certain framework, and grow along with the company. They wanted someone autonomous who can take initiative, really contribute to the team, all that jazz... Met 3 out of the 7 people currently with the firm. Liked them and could really picture myself working with them.

Got a call from the recruiter today - the interviews went really well, they liked me, BUT decided to hire someone else.


Never mind. Something else will come up.

At least they gave me the courtesy of a reply, unlike a certain venerable and highly esteemed fashion house I interviewed with back in January (at their request might I add!) who never gave me any feedback or answer at all.

Why ? I can understand not replying to all the unsollicited CVs they must receive, but THEY contacted ME and I spent an hour and a half with an HR guy and pffft, that's it, never heard from them again.

It's as if they had disappeared off the face of the earth, except that I read Elle religiously every week and there is no way that could have happened without my being aware of it.

(And yes, I did contact them to follow up after the interview). Is that rude or what ?

Sunday, April 23


I suffer from :
  • Retirement envy. Having spent some time this past week with 2 different retired couples I have come to the conclusion that what I really want to be when I grow up is not an astrophysicist or a neurosurgeon or a movie star, but retired. Pity I still have to work for at least 30 odd years before that can happen, at best. And even then I doubt that my retirement would be nearly as comfortable.
  • Knowing what to do with long hair envy. I've always had gamine, pixie-ish short hair and even though I've been letting it grow for the past 3 years or so and it's now below shoulder length, I still think of myself as a short-haired person. Yesterday I spent 30 minutes with a very patient salesperson at the hair accessories stand of a major department store trying on various hair thingies and feeling inadequate. All the long haired women I know can casually twist their hair up in a bun, stick a pencil in it, and look great. I tried that with assorted fancy thingies and my hair is so fine and straight the damn things wouldn't stay in place. It's enough to make me want to cut it all off again.

Wednesday, April 19

no sooner have I...

... grown to like the jeans tucked in to boots look*, than a new trend appears.

Skinny jeans, tapered tightly around the ankles, really long, i.e. bunched up to look almost like legwarmers, and worn with ballet flats. Now no doubt I'm just too far behind the cutting edge to adopt new looks right away and need time to grow used to it, but my first reaction is "huh?" Does this actually look good on anyone ?

*on other people, mind you, not for myself - I can zip up (most) boots over my calves without too much straining and pulling, but trying to add jeans to the mix would simply be asking for trouble.

Sunday, April 16

Looking forward to:

May 10th - Bruce Springsteen & band (not the E Streeters), Seeger Sessions tour


June 12th - Emmylou Harris & Mark Knopfler, All the roadrunning tour.

Friday, April 14

Honorary man status

Or a man in a woman’s body.

Last night I met an internet acquaintance (yes, one of those people!) and her boyfriend for drinks. They were nice, interesting, easy to talk to and we got along well so I invited them over for dinner tonight, thinking it would be fun and that S would like them as much as I did. All fine and good, right ?

Except that in my enthusiasm it completely slipped my mind that today is our 2nd anniversary and that S and I had previously talked about going out to dinner.


Bad girlfriend. Bad, bad girlfriend.

Luckily S didn’t mind at all, but I still feel guilty. Let’s face it, if the roles had been reversed, I can’t guarantee that I wouldn’t be at least a tiny bit peeved, and think something along the lines of “harrumph, typical male blablabla…”

So there you have it. I’m an honorary man. Next thing you know I’ll be leaving the toilet seat up.

Monday, April 10

A big thank you

To the man who sang the Girl from Ipanema (in Portuguese) and another classic Joao Gilberto song, the name of which I can’t recall, and played the saxophone on line 13 this morning.

The Metro ride into work is usually my least favorite part of the day, but thanks to him, I spent my brief commute humming along and smiling like an idiot at no one in particular. Not bad at all as far as Monday mornings go...

Saturday, April 8

Me, sort of, but not.

A photo of moi in which I look nothing like myself. (I think - but that's sort of like listening to a recording of one's voice. You never sound the way you think you do.) But it's me all the same.

Friday, April 7

courtesy of the Lush forum

2 down, 2 to go

It finally happened this morning. S had 2 of his wisdom teeth out and will get the other 2 sorted in 2 or 3 weeks or so. He ended up going to a (competent and friendly enough) dentist in a medical centre rather than to the (no doubt competent and friendly enough, with a private practice in a posh and expensive part of town) dentist who was initally recommended, so the procedure cost 105 € instead of 280 €, and most of it will be reimbursed by a combination of national health and private insurances.

Really, when you're having your teeth pulled, is it worth paying an extra 175 € for a well decorated waiting room with a good selection of magazines ? I think not.

In other news, the internet connection at home has just been re-established after having been down for 3 days, because of a "technical intervention" (uh-huh...) by the internet service provider on our phone line. It took 4 phone calls to the technical assistance hotline, and a lot of frustration on my part, before I finally spoke to someone who knew exactly what the problem was and sorted it out in a few minutes.

The other guys I spoke to were very polite and friendly and charming but had no clue. They kept asking me to plug and unplug and try this and try that as if it were my installation that was at fault. Dudes - everything worked fine until YOUR company did something to my phone line - sort it out, people. Grrrr. (One person actually told me to turn the computer off, try again the next day, and call them back if it still didn't work - the IT equivalent of "take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning")

All the more annoying given the fact that every minute spent on the hotline costs an exhorbitant amount of money. At that price I'll take curtness and efficiency, thank you very much.

Sunday, April 2

in the what ?

Friday night, helped out at my friends' restaurant as they were short-staffed. Finished later than expected, so a little after midnight S called my cell phone to make sure I was OK and wouldn't miss the last metro home.

- Where are you ?
- I'm almost home, I'm in the staircase. (quietly, as voices carry in this old building)
- You're where ?
- In the staircase.
- You're what ?
- I'm here, in the staircase !
- puzzled silence. What ?
- Open the door, I'm right here !

The door opens. Laughter.

He thought I had said "I'm in the suitcase."

It's a good thing he's learning French. We'll now be able to miscommunicate in 2 languages instead of just one.

Wednesday, March 29


The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash sounded exactly as you would expect them to with such a great name. Foot stomping, yee haw yelling, cigarette in one hand and beer in the other fabulousness.

And while they sang mostly their own songs, they did do covers of Folsom Prison Blues and Ring of Fire.

My ex, F, used to be in an amateur band and whenever they did a gig, if I was there, they would play Ring of Fire for me. Not as a romantic, aw, it's our song gesture, no, as a piss take because my fondness for country music was a source of much ridicule and hilarity - so they would generally play one verse, collapse with laughter, and play something else. Having long ago given up any pretence of trying to like the right music in order to fit in, I would laugh as well, maybe roll my eyes a little and shrug. They were - still are ! - nice guys and if the reccuring joke grew old in the end I can't really blame them for poking fun at me. This was, after all, several years before Joaquin Phoenix made it socially acceptable for a Parisian woman to like Johnny Cash...

But last night, the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash played Ring of Fire with all their hearts, without a trace of irony, and I was happy.

Sunday, March 26

random thoughts on a Sunday evening

  • Winner of the 2006 Bloggie for best British blog, Girl with a one track mind is like a cooler, more self-confident, less neurotic, and hell of a lot raunchier Bridget Jones. I like her.
  • On Tuesday I'm going to see the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash in concert. I've never heard their music, but with a name like that, how could I resist.
  • M is married. Married ! Eek. How did that happen ? Where have the last 10 years gone ?
  • I "mystery shopped" the Paris Lush store and will receive 25 £ worth of vouchers from Lush UK in exchange for my report. Very cool.
  • S finds it very funny that I use the word "cool" so much. I guess "cool" is old school. I have no idea what youth-speak for "cool" is nowadays.

Saturday, March 25

they're going to the chapel

and they're going to get maaaarried...

My dear friend M and her fiancé D are getting married today in D.C.

I wish them oodles of fun, a hangover-free day tomorrow, and a long and happy life together.

(and while I appreciate the fact that they're not in it for the presents and are not bride and groom-zillas, I do wish they had registered properly - I've been told they did, with both Macy's and Bed Bath and Beyond, but their names don't show up on the online wedding registries of those retailers. What's a friend from across the Atlantic to do ?)

Friday, March 24

Fighting the blues with the red

Lipstick, that it.

In an effort to cheer myself up and shake off this dreadful lethargy/crankiness/sadness/state of I can't get no satisfaction, treated myself to not one but two new lipsticks from MAC, one of which is only available at the Sephora flagship store on the Champs Elysées, and is called, appropriately enough, Sephora Red. It's lovely.

Hadn't done that in a long time, but new lipstick is such a nice pick-me-up. It's enough of a luxury item to be an indulgence, and yet not cripplingly expensive. And you can never really have too many lipsticks. Once you have the perfect red, you can then go off in search of the perfect natural browny-pink. Some days you want matte staying power, others you want a soothing moisturizer with a hint of sheer color...

Anyway, it worked. I felt better.

Until I went to the ladies' at work to apply my new purchases. When faced with my pale lanky haired self in the mirror I realized I needed a whole new face to go with the lips.

Oh, and a haircut too.

Ah well.

Tuesday, March 21

my current obsession

Pandora, the interactive web equivalent of my friend C, who has over 3500 CDs and is always suggesting new bands for me to listen to.

Saturday, March 18

it's Official

After a couple days of being under the weather, woke up today feeling downright dreadful. Actually spent much of the morning being weepy due to a combination of being exhausted, constantly cold, having aches and pains all over, and a nasty cough, the kind that leaves you gasping.

So I went to the doctor's, and I Officially have the flu. The Official flu, as diagnosed by a medical professional.

I say this because one of my (many!) pet peeves is the tendency that people with a garden variety common cold have to say they're suffering from the flu. Perhaps this is a uniquely French phenomenon, but at any rate it's extremely rare for the French people I know to say they have a cold - un rhume - it's always the flu - la grippe.

Now I'm no stranger to colds, and I know very well that as unpleasant as they are, you can function normally with a cold, as long as there are Kleenexes handy for the sniffles, and in fact once you've taken one of the many over the counter cold medicines available it's fine. Not great by any means, but fine.

Today I couldn't have gone to work and had a normal day if wild horses had dragged me there and I was promised 100 times my salary. Going to the doctor's and the pharmacy, 2-3 blocks from home, was literally all I could manage.

A bit better now after dozing all day, but earlier I was so out of sorts, I checked out the Fugly site, saw it has been updated since I had last looked at it, and felt too bad to read or even scroll down to look at the photos. Can you believe it ?

Thursday, March 16

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum...

I was supposed to see Joolz Holland in concert tonight with a friend. But cancelled because I've felt bad all day. Nausea, headache and chills bad.

So on my way home I bought rum, lemons, and honey, and will drink hot toddies til I pass out out tonight, in the hopes that it will either kill me or cure me. (Plus, it tastes good.)

Tuesday, March 14

Mean girls

J and I are blowing off steam, making bitchy comments about people we know and laughing our heads off.

Realizing how unkind we must sound, I say, chastened:

- Do you think we’ll rot in hell for this ?
- Oh yes. But at least we’ll be together !

Saturday, March 11

random thoughts du jour

  • Just saw Capote. What a beautiful portrait of an unlikeable man.
  • Earlier, went for a walk in the jardins du Palais Royal and spent some time gazing in the window of Didier Ludot. I wonder if this is the place where Reese Witherspoon found her Oscars dress. There was a stunning Schiaparelli gown from 1937 that I could really picture Uma Thurman in. Not this one, but this is beautiful, courtesy of google images and the Metropolitan Museum of Art :

  • Craving beer, bought a can out of the cooler of a fruit and veg shop on the avenue, because getting it at the supermarket meant it wouldn't be cold. Thought about buying some fruit as well for fear of looking like a rather desperate alcoholic, but didn't.

Wednesday, March 8

So today is Women’s Day, huh ?

It’s like Valentine’s Day – a “Let’s throw those harpies a bone, some crumbs, some rose petals so they stop breaking our balls the rest of the year” Day.

Today’s edition of daily newspaper Le Parisien devotes it front page to the issue of violence against women and domestic abuse, fair enough. But it is also sold with a special issue of “La Parisienne” – 28 pages especially for us lil’ ladies, with articles on losing weight, home decorating, and fashion.

Yeah, we’ve come a long way baby.

OK, so it’s not a very good paper to begin with (the couple of times I’ve bought it, I noticed its “cultural” pages are devoted 80 % to TV, 10 % to films, and 10% to theatre which is a sure sign of mediocrity…yes I am an anti-TV snob) but bloody hell it makes me mad.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, what is up with those smart, well educated women, my age or younger, who feel the need to start any sentence that might be construed as vaguely feminist with the words “well, I’m not a feminist, but…”

Why? Why ? Why ?

Monday, March 6

Am I the only one...

... who is constantly refreshing the Fugly site ? I can't wait to see their comments on the Oscar fashions.

I love Mondays…

...when I’m not working. Actually any day of the week when I’m not working is good, but Mondays are particularly sweet. It’s like cheating death for a little while longer. (OK, that is overly dramatic…)

The sun is shining and the temperature has risen to tolerable levels (I will not gloat that spring has arrived, for fear of jinxing it) so I have the bedroom window wide open. Have changed the sheets and done laundry – surely one of life’s great simple pleasures is sliding into a bed freshly made with clean sheets.

Have spent much of the day so far reading Oscar coverage on various news sites. Am very pleased with the Supporting Actor and Actress awards – George Clooney and Rachel Weisz were both fantastic in their winning parts. Best Actor and Actress – I don’t know. Haven’t seen Capote yet so cannot comment. Reese – yes, I enjoyed Walk the Line very much and her performance was fine but was she really better than, say, Judi Dench ?

And like many commentators I too think that Brokeback Mountain was a better movie than Crash. Then again, so were Syriana and The Constant Gardener, and they weren’t even nominated for Best Picture. Never mind. At least Ang Lee won Best Director. (And I am pleased but perversely miffed – now everyone knows how brilliant he is – I’ve been a huge fan since The Wedding Banquet, I loved him first… waaaaaah…)

Anyway. Saw Memoirs of a Geisha last night. Was seated next to 2 young girls who giggled throughout the trailer for Capote because of the way he/Philip Seymour Hoffman talked, and also because capote means condom in French... ha, ha. Oh, to be young again and so easily amused. Not. If the theatre hadn’t been full, I would have changed seats but luckily they kept quiet during Memoirs…

Loved the visuals – the costumes, the decors – it was a stunning movie, but didn’t really engage me. And as I recall, the book didn't either. I liked it well enough, it was a good read, it was interesting, but it didn't really grab me. I never felt anything strongly about Chiyo / Sayuri. Still, it's on my list of books to re-read. Perhaps I'll react differently the second time around.

Saturday, March 4

Fun at the farm show

Encouraged by R, who went last Tuesday and had a blast, we went to the yearly Salon International de l’Agriculture yesterday. This is the biggest farm show in France and a Very Big Deal.

For years I thought going to the Salon was incredibly ringard and beauf (think tacky / corny / low brow). Then I started to think that it might be fun, but never got my act together enough to make a point of going.

It was great. There were animals galore (including rabbits – I decided that I love the giant rabbits and the dwarf ones, the regular ones are too banal – and an extraordinarily ugly breed of cattle with huuuuuuge well defined, ripped muscles – think bodybuilding cow and that’s about what they look like).

Of course this being France, and the purpose of farming being to feed people, there were 3 gigantic exhibition halls filled with all the regional specialties you can imagine, and more. Wine. Cheese. Saucisson. Ham. Other assorted charcuteries. Jam. Pastry. More different foie gras producers than you could shake a stick at. We tasted our way through one hall and a half before exhaustion set in and we left.

Thinking about it later, I realized what a complete nightmare the farm show must be for an unsuspecting vegetarian who might wander in looking for information on say, varieties of apples, or cereal production. The show caters to carnivores, overwhelmingly so.

Funnily enough, driven by thirst during the 5 hours in the crowded exhibition halls, I bought 2 half-liter bottles of water – one, Cretan water from the international food hall, cost 1.50 euros whereas the other, a widely available brand of French mineral water purchased at basic refreshment stand, cost 2.90 euros ! Crazy…

Sadly, our budget did not allow us to place orders for cases of wine and liqueurs (oh the Burgundies ! oh the Cognacs !), but we did manage to come away with milk produced from the cows at the show – limited edition milk from the finest cattle in France – c’est mieux que rien !

Thursday, March 2

My big fat hypothetical wedding

The other night I dreamed that S and I were getting married. It was a happy dream, but by far the biggest focus of it was that I was wearing a black pantsuit, something along the lines of a classic YSL tux.

Guests were amused and remarked that we looked like a gay couple. I loved it. Why look like a big fluffy meringue when you can look like an androgynous James Bond ?

Monday, February 27

Aha ! (having just figured out the link function)

R has been in town since Friday, so we’ve been eating like piglets. He is someone I don’t see often at all (and, cool travel tidbit, we have never seen each other twice in the same country) but I still consider him a friend. We have much in common, and enjoy many of the same things, one of which just happens to be food. So on Friday we had a Cajun dinner at Thanksgiving, Saturday night we had a traditional French meal at Le Bouclard and last night we had dim sum and other fabulous food, including deep fried soft shelled crabs, in Chinatown. Just lovely. Am even more skint now than usual at the end of each month, but so well fed.

All this leads to the fact that I no longer fit comfortably in what used to be my best interview suit, as I found out much to my dismay half an hour before my interview with a recruitment agency this afternoon. Very sad. It’s a Cacharel pant suit, black with white pinstripes, the jacket is slightly boxy (I like a more fitted shape now) but the pants make my legs look long, or at least they did back when I could still do up the zipper and button and breathe satisfactorily.

I found something else to wear, and the interview went well. I am “very good, but expensive”. Well, I could have told the interviewer that right away, but it’s always a nice thing to hear from a professional. I think.

Friday, February 24

Forging ahead with the food theme…

In one of the comments below, I say I’m not a food snob. This made S laugh (or was that a snort?) with disbelief. Yes you are, he claims.

So here are my 5 reasons for definitely NOT being a food snob, even though MFK Fisher is one of my favourite writers and I do know my Saint Marcellin from my Saint Félicien, and my blanc de blanc from my bog standard champagne.

1. Although I haven’t eaten in McDonald’s since reading Fast Food Nation over 3 years ago, I still occasionally think that a Big Mac or Egg McMuffin would really hit the spot.

2. One of my snacks of choice: crab sticks. You know, those fake looking things that are bright orange on the outside, white on the inside, made with a percentage of fish (one hopes) and a percentage of goodness knows what else.

3. Another guilty pleasure: frozen breaded fish fingers, with ketchup.

4. A trip to New York is incomplete without a hot dog from a street cart. Yes, there are many other gastronomic pleasures to be had in that great city, but there you go.

5. I like English food. Fish and chips, full English breakfasts (oh, yum !), yes even beans from a can on toast. (This is serious - I might be asked to renounce my French nationality for admitting this…)

Voilà. A food snob, moi ? C’est impossible !

I'm It !

Eeek, I’ve been tagged by Y to come up with 5 food challenges ! Okey dokey –

1. Cook more fish

I love fish, but don’t often cook it because I find it intimidating. It’s less forgiving than a roast, or a stew, or a veggie stir fry. You can’t just leave fish to simmer or bake or fry for an extra few minutes while you toss a salad, for instance. And fish seems to require a fancy sauce, too. I’m a good cook, I think, but my cooking is low maintenance, and fish is high maintenance. Scary stuff.

2. Cook more, period.

S has taken over the kitchen and does the vast majority of the cooking, and most of the grocery shopping as well. But as much as I love coming home from work and flopping on the couch, asking “what’s for dinner?” I do also love the look on his face when I make dinner and come up with something good. Cooking for someone else (who truly enjoys food and is appreciative of your efforts) is so much more fun than cooking for one.

3. Eat more fruit

This shouldn’t be hard, but for some reason it is. I love most fruit, but rarely eat any type of dessert and when I want a snack I’m much more likely to reach for something savory rather than something sweet.

4. Use up the cans and jars of interesting looking sauces and condiments I buy on a whim and then leave untouched, gathering dust on the kitchen shelves.

‘Nuff said.

5. Make more food posts !

Originally this was going to be one of the blog’s main focuses (hence the kitchen table bit) but as it happens I rarely post about food. So from now on, I will talk about food more often. Maybe I’ll post recipes. Restaurant reviews. Stuff like that.

Soooo…. Now my problem is who to tag ? All the bloggers I know have already done this, or have been tagged by Y. Except for a certain dumb blonde in the South of France … (hey, her words, not mine !).

And if any other kind soul reads this and hasn’t yet done the 5 food challenge, consider yourself tagged ;-)

Wednesday, February 22

Teeth issues

S has been told by a French dentist that he needs to have all four of his wisdom teeth removed.

(Cue jokes about the NHS and dental care in the UK, if you will.)

He is now very worried.

Have tried to tell him that when I had mine out, it really wasn't such a big deal, the swelling was minimal, and barely 2 days later I was eating quite normally and not to make such a fuss. To no avail:

"I don't have a will!"
"What if he breaks my jaw?"
"I'll have to stay in bed for weeks afterwards"
"Why can't I have a general anesthesia?"
"My ears will drop off" (to which I replied that his brain might drain out of the holes left by the upper teeth - so much for being supportive...)

Tuesday, February 21

Jobs are a lot like men... should leave them both before you hate them, when you can still part on amicable terms, wishing each other the best.

Unfortunately I seem to have sailed past that stage with my current job, and am now firmly entrenched in the skin-crawling-cringing-I-cannot-believe-what-I-ever-saw-in-this-I-can’t-stand-it-any-longer phase.

Sunday, February 19

a perfect lunch

... for a grey winter Sunday.

Roasted pumpkin, onion & garlic soup, served with crusty chunks of baguette slathered with salted butter.

Tuesday, February 14

Valenswine's Day

The current post on the Waiter Rant blog (see links section) made me laugh :

“Valenswine’s Day is the day before Valentine’s Day,” she explains. “It’s when cheating husbands take their mistresses out to dinner.”

Sunday, February 12

this weekend's outfit

Baggy yoga pants and my favorite cashmere sweater.

Perfect comfort dressing : half slob, half snob.

Friday, February 10

A sign, another sign !

(of my needing a new job)

Two nights in a row, I have dreamed about work. The first dream involved my computer being infected by a virus, and having my ‘net surfing blamed for it (I guilt trip even during sleep !). The second one involved me working for a new boss who was simply odious. When I told him I didn’t see us working well together, he replied that I didn’t have any choice in the matter, and I woke up gasping and feeling really oppressed.

Arrived at the office this morning to more bad news about an assignment. It’s so tiring when projects that should be conducted in 3 months drag on. And on. And on. And on. So that 6, 9 or 12 months later you are still working on the same things, losing motivation day by day. With new projects coming in as well, so that the workload just gets heavier and heavier.

On a cheerier note though, I have rediscovered my gorgeous pair of suede and leather Vanessa Bruno boots and am wearing them today. Thank goodness my fashionista self is a happier bunny than my professional self.

Thursday, February 9

a sign, a sign !

(of my needing a new job)

I just picked up the phone in such anger that I banged the receiver against my ear really hard. ouch.

Wednesday, February 1

Mr Darcy again

Sorry, am a bit obsessed.

Has anyone else noticed that Matthew McFadyen looks a little bit like John Cusack ?

Pride & Prejudice

Just got back from the cinema after seeing P & P for the second time. Delightful.

There was a group of very giggly young girls sitting behind us. They cooed and gasped and held their breaths and sighed at all the romantic scenes and laughed whole heartedly at the funny bits. It enhanced my own pleasure at watching the movie.

(And allowed me to indulge in a bit of old fartiness when I caught myself thinking that it was good that they liked the film, because now they might be encouraged to read some Austen...)

Sunday, January 29

Year of the Dog

My intention was to write a long ranty post about things that haven't been going so well in the past couple of weeks and the reasons I've been in a not so great mood lately - nothing big, just little annoyances that add up.

But as today is the first day of the year of Dog, I'd rather leave the negativity behind, and remind myself that the day, and therefore the year, is off to a rather good start :
  • I seem to be over my cold.
  • The sun is shining.
  • I slept very well last night and had an interesting dream involving espionnage, visiting heads of State, car chases, hiding from bad guys in old fortresses and oral sex.
  • Am enjoying a lazy Sunday morning, the coffee is good, there is cake for breakfast if I want it, I have several browsers open so I can read the NY Times magazine section and other people's blogs.
  • In accordance with the tradition that noodles must be eaten on Chinese New Year (for longevity), I just happen to have homemade bolognese sauce in the fridge which is pretty damn good if I say so myself - there is no rule that the noodles must be Chinese egg noodles and not spaghetti, after all !

Happy new year !

Friday, January 27

the one time...

I forget to do something at work when it's been crazy busy and I've been working late everyday to try and get things done, it gets picked up on and someone calls me at home, on my day off, to see whether I've done it or not...

Oh well.

(Or should that be, "oh hell" ?)

Thursday, January 26


The idea of a man named Richard William Johnson can make me laugh 'til I cry.

Silly, aren't I ?

Sunday, January 22

in the aftermath

... of a fight with S, I feel as one would, I imagine, feel like after a minor car accident.

Nothing is broken, no wounds to speak of, we have made up and are fine, but I am shaken and sore and bruised, and carry myself gingerly, as if trying to avoid sudden jolts which would revive the ache.

Thursday, January 19

Happiness is a new handbag

Shopping - I love it. For clothes, shoes and bags.
And cosmetics.
And books, and CDs.
Hell, I even like grocery shopping.

But there is something particularly satisfying about buying new handbags.

There is no getting naked in front of a mirror, in harsh lighting, to try them on. (And therefore no subsequent traumatized wailing about the size of one's ass).

There is no discomfort or blisters or teetering dangerously on high heels because they looked fabulous in the store but are treacherous on cobblestones and when running after buses.

Bags. They catch your eye, you fondle the leather, you sling them over your shoulder, you decide they're the right size for all your stuff (and if they're too small, well, you can always leave the kitchen sink at home for once), you buy them, they don't need breaking in or tailoring - instant happiness.

Wednesday, January 18

Richard Thompson

Amazing concert at the New Morning last night.
That energy !
Those lyrics !
That guitar playing !
That wry sense of humor !
That beret !

Have found myself a new musical hero.

Monday, January 16

"Inspirational" e-mails

Just received one of those, under the guise of New Year's greetings.

Among other things, it said :

"Dance as if no one was watching
Love as if you had never been hurt
Work as if you didn't need the money"

Now the first 2 lines, hokey as they may be, I can understand.

But the 3rd ? Come on, seriously ! If I didn't need the money, I wouldn't work !

Tastes NOT acquired

Darts. (can you see a theme here ?)
Custard (crème anglaise by any other name, still has an unappealing texture and pointless taste)

Sunday, January 15

Tastes acquired

... thanks to S :

Marmite (the biggie, as I previously was convinced that it was a vile, horrible substance)
Bitter shandy (less of a pansy drink than lager shandy, no ?)
Strong tea with milk and sugar (although when the tea is really fine, à la Mariage Frères, it's better plain)
Branston pickle (particularly nice when paired with Saint Nectaire cheese - our own cross-Channel fusion sandwich)

Saturday, January 14

S in front of Brighton pier

Image hosted by

This is a test. I'm playing around with and have no idea what I'm doing, really.

Friday, January 13

Friday evening

I have Bruce and the E Streeters on, loud.

I've done a load of laundry.

I've cleaned the bathroom.

I've swept the kitchen floor and cleaned the counter tops. (I should mop too but fuck it).

I've tidied, and thrown away old papers.

I've sat down at the computer with a glass of healthy V8 juice. (No booze in the house).

Damn, I really, really want a cigarette now. More than that, I deserve one.

Mrs Henderson presents

What a charming movie.

Did anyone notice that the clothes worn by Judi Dench were fantastic ? Lots of Asian-inspired motifs and fabrics. Silk and velvet. Deep rich colors.

When I'm an old lady I want to be just as formidable and witty and well dressed as her character. (Actually, I would rather like to be just as formidable and witty and well dressed right now, but it ain't happening.)

Thursday, January 12

Perusing the week's movie selection

- I'd really like to see Rumor Has It.
- What's it about ?
- Well, it's a romantic comedy...
- Oh ? (S seems doubtful)
- But I think it's a good one, it's directed by Rob Reiner ! You know ? The guy who did When Harry Met Sally ?
- Ah right... (aha, a glimmer of interest !)
- It stars Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Costner and Mark Ruffalo and Shirley MacLaine and there's a reference to Mrs Robinson, you know, the film and the soundtrack with the song by Simon & Garfunkel and...
(His eyes glaze over. Damn, I lost him at the mention of Costner... should have kept his name for last.)

Friday, January 6

Good night and good luck

Saw this last night. I really, really really wanted to love it. Ended up thinking it was OK, but very repetitive - basically it seemed as if the first 20 minutes of the film just repeated themselves over and over.

Kudos to George for making it though, in these Patriot Act days. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

(and boy, they sure smoked a lot in the 5os, didn't they ....)

Thursday, January 5

My mother

... has been staying with us for a week. It's a bit of a tradition, we always spend the week of my birthday / new year together. Of course for the past 2 years, S has been here as well.

She left yesterday and she was very touched and pleased when S offered to accompany her to the train station.

I would be touched and pleased as well, expect that I have a sneaking suspicion that his main motive for taking her was to make sure she would really leave.