Thursday, September 29, 2005

Update on Monthly Goals

1. Read one classic per month, read one book in each language you read over the year, and 28 books for the year in total - This month I read Sense and Sensibility and A Complicated Kindness. Both are worth it! And at the very end of the month I started reading Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue 2. Go to a new museum on each free first Sunday of the month – Nope and since I am doingt his retroactively I didn’t make it in October either (excuse I was at the Nuit Blanche the night before till 4am) 3. Drink a minimum of 1 litre of water per day - Yup, still a water retaining sea cow. And one who does the I gotta go pee pee yeah you no me dance more often. 4. Spend one night a week with no TV and no DVDs and no Technology. Whole night! – I think I got once a month in, maybe twice… should try to note it so I don’t forget I guess 5. Save money to recreate a “nest egg/safety parachute” – HAHAHAHAHA are you trying to make me laught??? Work and French bureacracy spent the past month bleeding me from my eyeballs. 6. Cook a true dinner once a month- No but I got closer, I bought meat- now to use it before it goes bad…. 7. Try a new cuisine each month (something you normally scrunch your nose at!) – I have been on a no eating out dinner. And the cooking moratorium is in place too. But I promise next month to try something I scrunch my noes at. 8. Take one activity class per week (pilates, ballet, dance, yoga, etc) – I have made it a point to run once a week or walk a whole hell of a lot once a week. 9. Do one physical activity (swimming, running, rock climbing, cardio at gym etc) once a week- Not happening, money is tight 10. Run a half Marathon - I am trying to keep up on the running weekly thing and thinking I might like doing the Dublin race 11. Eat vegetables (i.e. a vegetable for the month eaten once a week) Still ditching this one 12. Make a monthly contribution to a charity - I have contributed to the Red Cross. You should too!! 13. Start “learning” Spanish- not yet 14. Visit two regions in France and at least one vineyard, plus one new country – China is seemingly off the list for the rest of this year (don’t ask) but instead thanks to a special friend I am going to Berlin next weekend and I have never been there before. 15. Get my grandfather’s birth certificate - HELL YEAH BEEEYOTCHES I have GOT IT. This one is off the list. I am still waiting for the death certificate though. One step at a time 16. Take a scuba diving course- I am looking into a program for it in Belize, Thailand or the Red Sea maybe in March of next year. Saving for it to will have to be taken into account, where I will get that savings… I know not 17. Learn about and read the texts of one of the major world religions - No attention paid, I think I would like to look in to Hindu but that seems a bit overwheming… 18. Finish my knitting projects- Yeah, yeah yeah I am getting there. I did socks galore, I started a clapotis (that has a whole other story behind it) and baby sweaters. Now to seam up Fern and buy Pretty Wrappy Top yarn. 19. Go to one Opera and one Ballet at Garnier- Offices have just opened back up but by September they will have the performance list for the Fall out for the choosing!! Will try to coral my favorite scruffy italian when he moves to town next week for a night out. 20. Take a photo daily - Not daily but I am getting some taken, this one is my most recent favorite- Kate… it is for you! Taken during the Nuit Blanche 21. Floss weekly – I have declared war on the floss. An avoidance war. We will see if I ever conqueor this one. 22. DECLUTTERStill in the bit by bit mode. 23. STUDY my ass off and take the GREs (while you are at it, get a ROCKING score too) – I have bought the books and remembered why I hate them. I NEED MATHS HELP!!! Why can no book carry lots of exercises for maths, when they have tons for verbal?? The exam it fucking sucks. Next step start studying seriously. Next step is to schedule a date and pay up. 24. Make your home more yours (decoration etc) – None of this this month. My flat has been a disaster actually. I made the switch over in wardrobes and so… more ostrich manoeuvres 25. Cultivate a bit of garden on your window – Time to go to the flower market again. But I have cleared out those that will not winter over so we are ready for the next planting. 26. Get a website up and going - I have bought both urls and I chosen a host. I should be on the way to get memory tonight. Let's hope that external speakers work to cause the speakers work not now and that makes Tink and her DVDs not happy 27. Keep the dishes done nightly- We have had on and off weeks. 28. Relax and fill this one in later when it comes to you :) - I think this is going to become a rotater monthly; so for next month the goal is: Next month the goal is to eamil old friends and get back in touch with people.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Do I ever Knit???

Seriously do I ever do anything but bitch…Why yes I do (though I still bitch a lot). I am paranoid, and when I get paranoid I not only hear voices, the voices stress me out. And when I am stressed out I knit. Like a fiend. So today’s post… it brings you knitting and a celebrity sighting- which should get its own post… but I am lazy, so it is the cookie at the end, for those of you anxious and all. First I bring you socks from Sockapaltwoza. I am a slacker. I know. But see my pal is in Houston. I emailed her to say I was about a week late (which is good for me), and at that exact same time she was hosting an unwelcome visitor named Rita. Given that fact she will let me know when to send them, with French goodies to make up for my inherent lameness. Here is the table shot of socks I am calling bubble gum candy cane stripes. They have to be kitchenered up (and I need to remember how to do that…) but they are “done.” I hope they fit and that she likes them! And since I am jealous of everyone else who can go throw their things on plants in a garden… here is my attempt as I try to “garden” on my balconier. The pot is empty due to the weather change (oh yes equinox and all- it is officially Fall), the dahlias say it’s a no-go any more. I haven’t decided what to plant in its place. I switch between bulbs, crazy plants, and the Parisen Roi des Balcons- geraniums like every other freaking windowsill grows. Next up is one of the NOT WHAT I EXPECTED stripy socks. I haven’t decided if I will keep them or given them to someone else. I am not 100% fond of the colors, but they have grown a wee bit more on me. Continuing with my theme are the socks socks and more socks pile (yes people, I may be having blog blahs… and the "eh" work deal, but I am sock knitting to beat the band). The pink anklets in that pile there the F-You Cancer, said while I am being Pretty in Pink Anklets. They will hopefully make tootsies warmer and the cancer fuck off. The blue ones are for the about to burst already pregnant lady. They will match His Royal Highness's outfit. I am hoping that her womb is comfy enough that the socks arrive before “he” decides to make his appearance. I know she hates me for that but hey, I am selfish. Gestate till they get there! They are for her to wear at the hospital (instead of silly slippers that the checklist suggests). And those b-limey ones?? Well I fell in LOVE with the others and I wanted a pair for me. This is my colour and I am loving them. One down one to go! Now we get to notoriety. Not mine- I don’t have enough readers. Notoriety of the “them” kind. Le Bon Marché had guests for the day. For those not in the know, France is not so big on the LYS concept. They have boutiques here and there, but they are often just one brand (like Phildar, Anny Blatt and Plassard) and not always do they have that great of a selection. Almost never do they have a GREAT sale, nor are there usually discounts. So you go to the department stores, which like in the UK have yarn. Funny to think of Nordstroms as your yarn store, but that is how things work here. I call it a haberdashery- it sounds posh. Anyways since le Bon Marché has La Drougerie, Phildar, Anny Blatt, Bouton d’Or, Plassard, Noro, Colinette Rowan, RYC, and Debbie Bliss. They are my LYS, that one stop shopping concept- me likey. Over all given what she has to work with Marie (who runs my favorite section) does pretty good. Sometimes we get half ass trunk shows (here have one pattern done in something from one pattern book you carry… here is another from another in another series, is what I call it). But most of the time it is all blind faith. Now for the most part getting patterns and the like in takes a while- cause they sell them only with the translations. And that means they have to be translated. Sure that makes sense, but I don’t want to knit in French. I already drink enough wine as it is. This means that they have carried the Alpaca Silk line for about 8 months I think… and had no pattern book. But WHAM BAM Thank You Ma’am- the motherlode is arriving. Marie is extending her Debbie Bliss line, and in doing that she got us a visit from the traveling road show. Debbie Bliss and Jane Ellison came to town!!! And I got to see the Alpaca Silk DK, the Cashmerino Ashkatran and knit patterns!Yeah I took a long lunch to go and see. At first I was shy… then I asked if I could try things on (it may be a yarn store- but it is France you NEVER know). Here we go opens the great divide by saying well I actually half know people that you do so … and then there was no turning back. I started chatting with them both. Which was probably an oddity of sorts given their day- as most of the people coming by the table only spoke French. There was a translator on hand but you know… actually I stepped in as a model of two things and translated a bit myself as I stood there hemming and hawing. I mean Debbie Bliss told me she was starting to dislike me as I kept looking sexy in all these goods. Sure it was the sales pitch but it entertained me. They were very kind and said that I HAD to make two of the items, and to be honest I agree. One more than the other, but so goes it. I bought the books for both and now need to find me a deal on the yarn. So without further ado… here are the girls who run the show and headline it too. And these two are of me in patterns that I love. Please ignore the fact that I look like a wide load in them though m’kay? Thanks! But before we get there (and to be honest I dont know when I will, but I was ONE hair away from running off with it I swear I was) next post... it is Clapotis!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Doctor, Doctor

Let’s talk about living abroad. It is one thing to work in Franglais all day, watch French TV and then mumble in your sleep in French (yes a friend confirmed my sleep talking… it be in the French now). But none of that ensures when you face daily life situations you will not resort to playing charades, talking in circles or trying to francophone a word into comprehension. You would think with that Latin base in medicine it might work… you would be wrong. Nope 9 years of school girl French did not teach me how to talk with my doctor (nor many other people). And so we bring you stories of visits to the doctor by Tink: The first encounter was the one that ensured the others. No it was not to the generalist… it was the joy called OMI Visite Médicale. The one in which I paid the French government 220 euros to get my clearance. YIPEEEEE. Off we go at 8:30 am to the other side of town. Don’t you see me skipping along the path Mary Sunshine? Yes this is how I want to start my Friday. I told you French bureaucrats had talent! All I want to do is finish this thing and get my fucking tampon. No not for my period or regle as it is called here- which also means rule, they call stamps timbre sometimes, tampon others. Appropriately enough, a carte de séjour is a tampon. Dual meaning words in medical and bureaucratic things are fun says Tink. First thing I have to get out my mouth at 8:30 in the morning is to clarify that they will not be giving me my carte de séjour there like they do for everyone else. I am short bus special. I am an Olympic gold medallist in the stud game. They do not believe me. Seriously don’t you know I woke up at God O’Clock to sit my ass in the waiting room for 2 hours?? Let me go wait. Anyways after they dig for 40 minutes (they start slower in the morning than I do- impressive…) they confirm no they do not have my file so… they will only doing my medical visit. I will have the added joy of going to the préfucture again after all this fun. So I get to go sit and wait. And wait. And wait. Let the exam begin. Well not so much exam but scan. Remember back to the second grade when you started school and there was health day where you walked around with a colored paper fish cut out stuck to a tongue depressor and they recorded things about you and played pirates (eye exam) before sliding a hand up your spine (Nope no scoliosis here!). Yeah it is like that. They weigh me, they measure me (hey I now know my height in cm! Not worth 220 euros but something) they make me do the eye test which really should just be called a test on your ability to recite the French alphabet when performed early in the morning (what is that letter- Y. Y?? shit I mean Y pronounced as Egrek) and then we get to the pregnancy test. This one is my favorite. I was totally prepared to pee in a cup, but pregnancy tests in France at OMI go like this: Are you pregnant? Non? Ok on to the next bit where you strip. And here we have the entertainment. See if you haven’t guessed we are recounting a NO TINK ONLY YOU story. To the Cabine to get proof of what I knew hours before. Indeed, I do not have tuberculosis. . There is a line of 4 of them. First the "doctor" gives me the instruction in French, to strip off my top-EVERYTHING off the top, lock the door and wait for them to come and get me. I got it, great. But my brilliant “doctor” has figured out that I am an Anglophone (like that Irish name didn’t give it away ;) So he decides to give me the instructions in English, mind you they are written in 18 languages on the wall of the cabine but he wants to talk. They went like this (imagine the hands too). “Zhou Stripper Topless.” The entertainment value of that is at least worth 10 euros right?? I do my first radiography and go back to sitting in the waiting room. Guess what, after playing the Flash them the Tata’s game once, I was asked back for a second round. I must have Tata’s made of Kryptonite, the first time the Tata’s did not “souffle” enough. Time for round two in the joy cabines. And after another round in the waiting room with the rapper ghetto fabulous gansta wannabes from the Maghreb hood I got called in to do the first of what has become many medical discussions over the past 3 weeks. This time though I answer her questions. Do I exercise- yes, have I had any major surgeries- no. Blah Blah Blah. This one is easier than the other cause me… I never intend to go back if I can avoid it, so I am quiet. Later in the day there was a visit to the préfuckture. There was a cerimonial dance, some sprinkling of the holy water, a few incantations and the affixing of a tampon to my passport. Yes for 420 plus euros, not to mention the costs to my sanity, my work time or my over all faith in many many things - I have a carte de séjour. This should have resulted in a WHOOSH of joy, but the funds expended that the organization is rejecting reimbursment for…they take it all out of a girl. But the one nice thing is that now that I have the carte de séjour they have to get me a French social security number! And with that I can get my reimbursements so that means I can go to the doctors!!! I immediately went to my pharmacist, asked for doctor’s references (OBGYN, GP, Dermo, etc) and made me some appointments. I had the appointment with the GP first. Another recounting of the medical history (where in I make an effort) and 20 questions. I pay 20 euros and get two prescriptions, one for pharmaceuticals, the other for blood tests? Blood tests places who get right freaking snappy (and the French, they can DO snappy!) when you try to find out how much you will have to pay (I have to pay up front and wait till I get a numéro de sécu- there is no telling how long that will take. Then and only then can I submit my receipts for reimbursement, how ever long that take the French to process and all. All this before I will see my money again, things are already tight people I need to budget. I need to know if I am back on the fecking couscous diet!). All that to see how much alien blood I am carrying as a vessel for the … wait they said not to say my name- but for the record there was no anal probe (Southpark reference for those who caught Cartman ;) Next up was yesterdays OBGYN, oh we all love that annual deal. I must admit I am the woman all other women love to hate. I don’t get PMS or PMT depending on how you like to call it. I know you hate me. I don’t find the papsmears to be anything to bring out the tears or fears for either. Sure I wouldn’t order one up for fun, but really nothing to cry home about. And as for being there in the stirrups and all? Well I have very few virtues modesty is not one of them. I flash that much of the cooch when I wax it so I am ok if you’re ok. This time was better than all other Dr visits though. I was the last of the day. I gave her the family medical history and then we went to the exam room. Being that her office was an apartment at one point basically we go to the kitchen/toilet. She says take off your pants, and as I do she digs in the drawer for the speculum. This lack of privacy may bother some but for me I see nothing but the good in it. First I don’t have to put on some stewpid gown and float about like Casper trying to keep my ass from freezing off while waiting for the Dr to never return. And two goes FASTER, which is always good in my book. Anyways I am done I put my thighs (not feet) in the “stirrups” and we are off and running. Here is where my inner three year old and French language collide. I decide after winging my way through the appointment I should use it as a learning experience. I am going to learn the French words for things like- Papsmear. It will make for great discussion with the Ambassadors to the Organization at cocktail parties. So I look down between my legs and ask her what is this called. Un Frottis….hahahahahaha says the inner three year old. Frotis- you mean from the verb to rub (as in rub thy self or up against someone else...). The same verb that is slang for saying jack off??? HAHAHAHAHA Yes Ed I’ll go for jacking off, no wait make that a papsmear. Living in France… so much for the pants… tis a hoot non?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Ketchup

No. Not on my fries, for you. Time for me to ketchup everyone who bothers to read anymore. I have been a bad blogger. I had all these posts and just couldnt bring myself to type them. The blahs hit me, but in typing things not kitting them. It is silly of me, I know, but I never said I wasn't a fickle bird. I should do things properly so that they all get equal attention, but I am really too tired to go through and back enter everything. So here is the condensed rundown. In life well this starting the new job (oh mi god it is going to be LOTS of work) is giving me a run for my money. Unfortunately the "Eh" has still not left the building. It needs to catch a ride with Elvis soon though. Go "Eh"... go to Graceland. I got a WHACK upside the head from the organisation (no reimbursement). Someone tell me why I PAY to work for them as they screw me over??? Then add in having someone I would rather not have (in the work crew) hit on me, hit on me hard, and now I must go dance on eggshells of the id and ego as I say… I love you but you are married, that is always a NO GO. Next up was a freak out I spared you when I had the whole realization that the exams I have to take for my PhD applications (let us not talk about the applications, their HEINOUS letters of intent and fees), you know the ones I AM NOT studying for like I should… that ostrich method leaves me with my ass in the air- you do the math. Want more? Huh?? HUH??? I got more for ya, for good measure another WHACK on the other side of the head to even it all out (thanks to incompetence by my student loans institute, the swirling sound you hear is my credit record going down the toilet, and it's not even my fault... Of course I don't get your letters when you mail them to Paris CANADA, and not Paris FRANCE like I told you...). What does all that leave us with? Tink laying dazed on the ground with the little Tweety birds circling her head. On the other side, where I don’t bleed money through my eyeballs- or maybe I do and this is how I try to ignore that fact, I have been knitting. I started a Clapotis and have many many questions. This one will get its own post, whenever I can get back to knitting it. It is on the back burner. Why would it be there… well because I have so many socks to knit it is not even funny. (Photos and links at a future date) I have knit a pair of socks for someone who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy before she starts radiation. I knit a pair of socks for someone who is about to BURST with a beautiful bouncing baby boy to wear at the hospital- instead of slippers you know. I am frantically knitting to finish up (the cancer socks jumped in line and I lost track of time plus thought the date was the end not middle of September) my Retro Rib socks for my Sockapaltwoza pal. I should after two-three more nights of furious knitting, she has looooooong feet, be done with them and only have to go face the evil evil post office debacle (lest I remind you how horrible I am about getting to the post office in time for these things- I have the DVD set of Father Ted which I really really want (and totally could knit to for EONS) waiting there for me and it has been 4 days and counting that I don't get there during their crap hours). I am trying to get working on something sweater like cause this past week I have been showing nip given the dip in temperatures. The weather is gorgeous but the crispness is there and transition to Fall is starting. I have dreams of watching orange and red leaves fall (shut up about the Parisian leaves, I remember ok… we are delusioning, join me please) as I wrap up in a yummy plush sweater. I usually love this as Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I have grand delusions of me taking that study book I bought and having a nice hot chocolate (ancien SVP) as I sit in a WIFI enabled cozy café and geek out on my computer over these stupid computer adapted tests. But I am not ready for it, any of it to be honest. I am fighting change for whatever reason and well it is taking it out of me. So that is where things stand. I will post the Sockapaltwoza socks with goodies to make up for me being a flake on Saturday (a day I MIGHT be able to make it to the post office in time!) and then I will finish up a pair of anklets that I started for myself in B-Limey baby cashmerino. After that, well I am going to make myself order the yarn to finish the Pretty Wrappy Top, I am going to finish a bunch of stuff (why finish I mean it is the knitting I like you know :) First on the finish the fuckers list are two Daydreams I have all knit up and waiting for babies to grow out of them! After that I will take on dealing with the finishing of Fern. If I don’t drop all those once the Retro Rib socks are done to go back to the Clapotis. And then once I decide on the perfect pattern, I can start knitting me that Fall sweater. Bwhahahahahahahahaha!!!