Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ever Wonder What is Really Going on in Dig's Head?

Truth be told, most of the time when I'm driving or running or alone with my thoughts, I'm pondering names.

Names for the dog team I someday hope to have.

Names for each of the dogs that I'll play and train with.

Names for a litter of future puppies, be them Malamute or Siberian.

Pure bred puppies born in France are given specific naming guidelines each year. For example, Anouk was born in 2005 and that year all pure bred puppies had names that started with the letter, "A." In 2008, all pure bred puppies will be given names starting with the letter, "D." I can imagine it now. Denver, Diane, Dude, Dipsy, Driggs, Denali...

The possibilities are endless.

So go on. Send me some ideas. Aide me with my naming addiction. You never know, you might get a lead dog named after you.

"Allez, Kelly!" "Let's Go Daddio!" "Magali, le laisser seul!"

A Sticky Situation

Nothing like a day playing with wallpaper glue to really remind you why it's best to pay a professional.

My American friend here, Miss Tennessee 1975, had her second baby earlier this week and as a surprise, the other expats and I thought it would be nice to actually finish decorating the new baby's room while Miss Tennessee 1975 was still in the hospital. I had been hoping that the two women who actually like doing this sort of thing would be ever so glad to help.

And they were. Except one flew off to Scotland on Thursday and the other was either babysitting or having a root canal.

Hence why yesterday, yours truly and my Russian friend, Tall-N-Lean, got the privilege to play with the wallpaper glue. The good thing was Tall-N-Lean, who it very much that, was able to get the paper started perfectly at the top and in the hidden corners whereas I dealt with the edges and made sure the bottom part was lined up correctly.

We did a fairly good job. Well, we did an ok job. Actually, there are some things that look really, really rough to me and had Hubster been there to guide us, we could have done them correctly, but hey. It's done.

I just hope Miss Tennessee 1975 is pleased. And that we used the right paper.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ah Yes, Now I Remember

Since this weekend, I have had the worst neck pain. At first, I thought I must have contracted meningitis since I couldn't move my head in any of the four major directions with which the head usually moves. Of course, then I got realistic and figured out that I'm feeling like this because of some horrible nightmares I had.

The first one dealt with me and Bubba Love. We had gone to the grocery store and I had left the little guy in the car. When I finished the shopping, I walked out of the store and couldn't find the car. Hence, couldn't find Bubba Love. So there I am, in my dream, completely freaking and yelling and asking everyone and anybody if they had seen my car or my baby. Talk about horrific, that feeling of anxiety and fear.

After that little lovely, I settled back down to sleep only to dream that I had divorced Hubster and was now living with a close relative of his. Just let me tell you, that if I could tell you which relative that was, just how insane that whole scenario would be. (I'm still a little weirded out by that one!) Thank goodness when I woke, Hubster was still there next to me, immune to all my stresses.

So if you take the two nightmares and combine it with all the recent worries about getting organized for going back to school, dealing with Lampshade Head, stressing over the kids, and the like, it would make sense that all of that would pent up in the neck and get all blocked up. So there you go. The reasons I thought I have this ridiculous neck pain.

I complained about this to my friend, French Me. She listened ever so patiently, calmly giving me suggestions on how to deal with the pain, and even was so kind as to offer an alternative cause. You see, last weekend we all went to Le Pal. And they have these really great attractions. And one of them is a roller coaster that I call the "Steak Hache" even though it's really called the "Azteka." (There was a little confusion for me with some French pronunciation, as usual.)

French Me said, "Hey. Is it possible your neck is all screwed up 'cause you went on that thing?"

Ah. Yes. That's right. Hmmmm. Guess I'll still be able to speak to Hubster's relative at the next family party afterall.

The Life of the Party

You know you are in trouble when you end up wearing the lampshade.

(Don't worry. Nothing serious. Just a little skin infection that Typhon needed to leave alone. If only you could hear him when he would try to escape out of the kitchen with that thing on. "Whoosh, thrump." Plastic slapping on the door frame. He's a little uncoordinated at the best of times!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pumpkin, Part 2

A few years ago, Grandma Francaise kindly gave me a 30 kilo pumpkin. Luckily for me, that weekend I had my sister-in-law, Bombshell, here to help cook, puree, and mix up all kinds of never before tested pumpkin treats. I still think there is pumpkin stuck behind the radiator from that experience.

Earlier this week, Country Lawyer Wife from the village (who drives a Mercedes convertible when taking her chickens to the vet) gave me another wacking great pumpkin. She said she had to get it out of her garden before the donkeys ate it. Since I felt so good about my previous experiences with large vegetables, I happily took it.

Today has been in the words of Winnie-the-Pooh, "quite a blustery day." A perfect atmosphere for lighting the woodstove and filling the house with the smells of cinnamon and pumpkin. Luckily, today I have Bombshell Francaise, my friend from Paris, here to help! The soup is ready to go on the stove, the pie is in the oven, and the pots of pumpkin jam are sitting on their lids cooling on the table. The house is warm and cozy and not a spec of pumpkin to be found on the walls.

Ah yes, we do improve with age after all!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Running from the Eight Ball

Every day this week I have been quoting that Calgon commercial. You know the one..."Calgon, take me away!"

Tired children and husband, a house on the verge of actually tumbling into the pit of complete and total pitdom, a dog wearing a lampshade (more to come on that one) and another who thinks that 10K runs are just not enough anymore. (Good thing my sister sent me a new sports bra. It arrived just in time!)

Not to forget that we forgot to call Annie Love (my mother-in-law) on her 70th birthday. It doesn't get much worse than that does it? How on earth could we have spaced that one? Especially since Hubster's sister had a huge and lovely party for her and we knew it was happening. We knew it was an important day and we've had it marked on our calender for months. I hate imagining that sweet lady worrying herself to pieces, getting angry and frustrated herself over our stupid forgetfulness.

I need an assistant, a nanny, a cleaner, and to win the lottery. Possibly even a large tattoo gun to make sure I don't forget the important things. Ever. Is it possible to be going senile and mad at 36.5 years old?

Zen, Dig. Zen.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Note to Self

I think I may have to retire my "Teton Ale" t-shirts. They are some of my favourites and I usually wear them to sleep in or when I'm mucking about with the dogs. I really didn't think about it when I went skipping off to get Mini-Husband from school today. Yes, the stains and dog fur were definitely unattractive, but the stares I got from Grandma Francais and another mom at school made me a little more self conscious than usual.

It seems that "teton" is actually a French slang word for "tits." This I knew when I lived in the Tetons. This I forgot while living amongst the French.

Nothing like a mother of three running around with the word "tits" all over her t-shirt, eh?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I really can not wait for the day that Bubba Love finally starts to talk. At this point, all he is doing is SCREAMING incoherent sounds at me. I'm not sure who is more frustrated. Me, because I don't understand, or him, because he knows what he's screaming. There is nothing like being woken at 5:30am by a toddler screaming, "MOMMY." On your mark, get set, GO!

In the short time I've been getting to sleep at night, I've been dreaming of snow. It's gotten cold and the mornings are chilly and crisp. Autumn is here and it's with impatience that I wait for winter. The dogs seem to know that the season is changing too. They are sleeping outside in their tight little balls, tails tucked under their noses. Both of them covered in dew and frost, but when they finally get up and move around, the ground underneath them steams from their body heat. Both stretch and sing good morning, happy tails wagging in the mist. It's hard not to fall in love with them all over again. Even Daddio, my father, has become smitten.

There are only two more days with my parents. Amazing how quickly I've taken their presence for granted. The extra hands and hugs have been good for all of us. Hope my mother won't mind me screaming, "MOMMY" when she leaves.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Feeling the Love: Fur Fest 2007

My parents are fabulous. Not only are they some of the easiest guests to have, but they didn't flinch when I told them that after only 24 hours of arriving, we would be leaving the three human children in their care for the day. You see, Hubster and I had a meeting to get to. The National Malamute Convention. It's all about priorities, right?

I wish I could explain how just the sight of those magnificent furry dogs just fills me with complete and udder joy. How arriving at the convention site (a large field) and hearing the "wooooo-hoooo" of all of Typhon's friends and rellies gave me goose bumps.

We managed to find Typhon's foster family there and get to see the latest addition to their family, a 2 month old puppy named Cyclone. We also got to meet some fabulous breeders and a super couple who work with the nicest mix bag team of Siberians and Malamutes. Not to mention the purchase of new (matching) harnesses for our "team" and a waist belt for skijoring. Bit by bit, we're getting there!

But the thing that shocked me the most was that there seems to be a real lack of proper working Malamutes in France. There are about 2-3 serious breeders who run their Mals, but most of the others have the dogs just as pets. Except for the four Malamutes from Italy. Imagine if you can Dolce & Gabanna involved in Malamutes. We're talking primping and hair dryers, perfume and sparking collars. It was a little much for us, and our tick covered Typhon, to handle. (Yes, Typhon was with us! As well as the two boys from our village who are as addicted to our dogs as we are.)Yes, Malamutes are beautiful, but the beauty for me comes from their strength, their determination. It was hard to see these "show" Mals. I know they exist all over the world, but for me, a happy Malamute is a Malamute who rolls in cow poop, runs with his friends, and gets a chance to pull at least once in his life. Maybe I'm wrong about the show dogs. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on them. They were so beautiful and so clean!

Turns out the judge for the competition this year was an American women named Nancy Russel. She is the owner/breeder of the only AKC team of Malamutes to run the Iditarod. It was interesting to hear her take on the Malamutes in France and I must admit, she's given me a focus. There needs to be a strong line of working Malamutes in France and I want to help build that. I really would like to get involved with the working teams that are here and help bring the breed back to their roots: strong, beautiful dogs that love to work, love to play, and love to be. Not wear perfume.

It was a fabulous day for us. And Typhon too. There were so many people there that had been involved with his story. It was beyond touching to hear how pleased they were to see him so healthy, happy, and strong. As a Malamute should be.

Next weekend is the Siberian National Convention. Anouk keeps leaving the website page open on our desktop. I have a sneaking suspicion she'd like to go...

Friday, September 14, 2007


My parents are here. It's wonderful.

I love how the anticipation of seeing someone gets so insane and then, when they walk into your sight, it's as if they never left. You haven't seen them in months, but as soon as the hugs are shared, it's as if they never left you.

This is why I love the first scene from "Love Actually." The combination of anticipation and excitement flows into contentedness and peace when you have your loved ones with you again. When they've travelled through time and over distance to be with you. The joy to know that immediately it's as it's always been.

This is why I love having friends and family come stay with us. It's a pleasure to connect and share and know that these relationships are what is real in life. This love we share with our closest is what counts.

This is why there are always rooms available at The Birth Control Bed and Breakfast.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mr Clean and Me

The parents are coming tomorrow. Good thing today has been so sunny and nice. I've been able to keep the kids outside and clean the house. My parents say it isn't important to them if the place is tidy, but it is to me. It's like the house is a reflection of my state of mind. If this place is a complete jumble, so's my head. If I manage to mop the floors and put the laundry away, there's a chance that means I also have showered and found clean clothes!

I'm looking forward to them being here. Nothing like a good dose of your parents to remind you just what a silly nana you've always been.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In Memory of Dan McNeil, Six Years Later

Almighty God,
Our Father,
Creator and savior of our world,
The One who searches for the lost,
Who heals the wounded,
Who comforts mourners,
Who raises the dead,
The God of perfect justice and infinite mercy,
In whose image and likeness we have all been fashioned,

We huddle before you
We kneel before you,
We lie before you,

Bloodied and broken, anxious and angry, unsure and unsteady,
Surrounded by debris and plagued by horrific experiences and images,
the deafening blasts and cries now replaced by an unbearable silence.

We desperately want to return to what was normal,
But realize that is impossible.
We have been thrown into an unknown world,
A world that no longer feels like home.

But we begin our new lives with our ancient faith,
Trusting that as your sons and daughters we need not be victims of history,
but are invited to be co-creators of the future. As followers of Your Son,
we know that we must pass through this Good Friday on the certain road to
an Easter Sunday already reflected in the courage of our rescue workers,
the care of our health care professionals, the leadership of our government
officials, and the compassion of our neighbors here and abroad.

We pray that you who are in and beyond all things will have your Holy
Spirit act with us, through us, and in us so that the best of our God-given
nature will prevail.
Be with us as we bury our loved ones, care for our wounded, pursue our
persecutors, and begin to rebuild our city and our lives.

Though we cannot wrap our minds around the magnitude of the evil that has
scarred us, we know that your arms are wrapped around us. We ask that you
hold us a bit more tightly.


Paul Homer, Director of Service Program
Fordham Preparatory School
October 2001

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Tooth Mouse

Mini-Husband lost his first tooth yesterday. After being able to spin it around in his gums for the last three days, he finally yanked it out. Every so proud of himself, he found the little tooth jar we had been given when he was born, and set it tenderly inside. I haven't a clue how he did it but within five minutes, he had somehow lost it. Not the jar, mind you, but the tooth.

Panic hit as I tried to figure out how I would still be able to have the French version of the Tooth Fairy ("les souris des dents," "The Tooth Mouse") swing past his room while he was sleeping even if he had nothing under his pillow. I blamed the Mouse and said he had probably snuck up behind Mini-Husband when he wasn't looking and took it. Mini-Husband wasn't so convinced. He panicked. What was going to happen tonight if there wasn't a tooth under his pillow? How could the mouse give him something for an empty, slightly bloodstained, tooth jar?

Luckily, a few hours before bedtime, Mini-Husband found the tooth in the pit we call the kids' bedroom. "See Mom. That silly mouse didn't come yet. He's coming when I'm sleeping!" This time, he (aka mommy) made sure to put the tooth in the jar and the jar up high.

Midnight and the ever so adorable tooth mouse goes creeping into Mini-Husband's room to make the swap. Two euros for the first baby tooth to fall from the mouth of my first child. Two euros for this little gem that gave such pain when it broke through the gums over 5 years ago. Two euros for a smile today that is beyond adorable. Two euros for my grand garcon.

When Mini-Husband came running into our room at 7am this morning that last thing I expected to hear was,

"Hey, Mom. The tooth is gone but that silly mouse didn't leave me anything!"

What? What do you mean the tooth is gone and there's nothing in there?

"Silly Mouse. It must be somewhere," I said.

Back again to searching the pit. There, under the bed, was the two euros. Good thing mommy quickly realized that the Tooth Mouse only has little arms. It must have been very difficult for him to put the two euros in the jar once he had the tooth. Under the bed was much easier.

How the two euros really got from the jar to under the bed, I will never know.

But I'm not setting any traps just in case.


I completely let down a friend today. And not just any friend, but one who I truly respect and enjoy being around. One who makes me laugh and let's me vent about everything. And one, who I might add, is 8 months pregnant. I had promised to watch her child this afternoon while she had a doctor's appointment. And I forgot.

I hate it when I forget the things I promise to do. Be it call my mother back, post a letter on time, run the dogs, or watch a friend's child. Yes, life is busy and hectic but it should never be so busy as to forget promises. If I can't keep them, I shouldn't make them.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sitting Here

It's early and two of the three are up.

The sky outside my window is deep blue, no stars, no clouds, a sky void of light. The dark outline the trees give reference to the view. I can blindly remember where the land begins as it tumbles down our slope. A single car passes on the road below, it's red tail lights breaking the darkness into two.

The hint of light that is stretching from the east reveals that there is a duvet of fog snuggling the village. Slowly the light eases into the covers and shows me the trees, the garden wall, and my friend's hamlet dark and calm as they sleep. There is no wind, no movement, everything is still , waiting for morning to come.

Another car goes by on the road below as the fog rises. It's lights greeting the hazy hues of daylight shaking off the covers.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

My little Girl is Growing Up

Anouk is in heat.

Lordy, lordy, lordy. Who would have thought that a neutered male would still be so ready to go?!?!?! Looks like Anouk is getting the basement and the garden tonight and Typhon is hanging inside.

This could get ugly.

In happy news, the woman who lives near us and has two Siberians called me today! I'm hoping to get to meet her and her pups this week. A mushing buddy!

Crap, this means I really need to work on my French!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Notes to Self

Must write about the local healer.

Must write about each of my dogs.

Must call my sisters.

Must wash my running clothes. (Speaking of which, when rust shows up on the clips of a sports bra, does that mean I should probably replace it? Heck, I only bought it in 1990 for when I was playing field hockey!)

Must get Bubba Love addicted to another movie besides "Cars."

Must adjust the brakes on my bike. Typhon is getting faster and stronger and I'm not thinking I want to slide through cow poop again.

Must stop looking at Malamute sites on the Internet. (Is there a 12-step program for people addicted to sled dogs?!?!?)

Must remember that I am blessed each and everyday to live in such a beautiful place, with such beautiful people in my world. And that includes all of you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Allez - Retour - Allez - Retour

A little recap of yesterday's historic events:

8am, Haul all three kids up to school to put The Princess on the bus for her first day at her new school. Head back home.

9am, Haul boys up to school for Mini-Husband's first day in Grande Section.

9:20am, Go to Mayor's office to sign Mini-Husband up for the cafeteria only to be told by Miss Snootie, the secretary at the Mayor's office, that since we live so close and I don't work, he can only go two days a week. But when I start my school in October, Mini-Husband can go all the time. (What changes between now and October you may ask? I was wondering the same thing...) Head home for some needed coffee therapy with friends.

11am, Back to the Mayor's Office to ask for copies of the official maps of our property and of the village. Lovely Miss Snootie tells me I should have copies of those from when we bought the house almost 4 years ago. (I'm thinking she doesn't like me very much at this point.) Head home.

Noon, Head back to school with Bubba Love to collect Mini-Husband for lunch. Teacher is surprised to see me there. I explain that Miss Snootie said there wasn't space for Mini-Husband except on Mon and Thurs to which Teacher replies, "But the Mayor told me yesterday he could eat at the cafeteria everyday. There's loads of space this year." Ok. Right. Miss Snootie definitely doesn't like me. Head home.

2pm, After feeding Bubba Love and throwing myself on the treadmill for 35 minutes while he slept, I mange to have the most peaceful grocery shopping experience I've had in 6 weeks. Ahhhhhh, bliss.

4pm, Have an interesting conversation with our Grandma Francais who tells me that Miss Snootie is just a pain in the arse. Turns out, Miss Snootie has a reputation for being a complete waste of space some days and wonderful on others. Grandma Francais thinks today was a space day. Since I have a high regard for Grandma Francais, I'm going with that one. Besides, who couldn't like me?!!?? I'm charming and wonderful, right?!?!!?

4:30pm, Back up to school to get Mini-Husband, who has thoroughly enjoyed being in the BIG kid class today.

5pm, Princess arrives in her magic chariot (aka the bus) and seems pretty darn happy with her day. I'm ever so proud of the little wonder.

5:30pm, Parent's Meeting at school. Such a change for me this year. It's the third year I've been involved at the school and I understood everything that was discussed! I guess I am finally learning some French! The only scary part is that this year, Mini Husband is going to be learning phonics at school and I'm a nightmare with correct sounds and pronunciation in French. Teacher has promised me that she'll let me sit in on a few classes if I get really stuck. (Hope I can fit my knees under their desks!)

7pm, Finally home. Feed the starving tribe, Husbster and dogs included, get Bubba Love, The Princess, and Mini Husband to bed, enjoy two glasses of Rose and realize that the laundry I put out on the line 3 days ago is still out there. I'm hoping it'll get dry today but since it's wet out there this morning, it may have to wait till spring...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Break Out the Champers!


The kids are back at school!! The kids are back at school!! The kids are back at school!!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Me and Bob

Hubster went back to work today. So endeth the 5 weeks of vacation he had this summer. I must admit, it really was good to have him around so much. He worked ever so hard on several lingering projects we have as well as he finally got a chance to meet up with some of our friends in the village. Travelling 22 weeks a year is not conducive to going to village events, BBQs, and the like. I'm glad that has finally changed for him. He needs to be "known" around here.

In celebration of his return, I decided to continue my flirtation with Bob. "Bob le Bricoleur" that is. Yes, I have spent most of my free time today using the hot air gun to strip paint. It's actually kinda fun once you get going with it. Of course, I did burn a few small spots when my attention was distracted by the tribe, but nothing serious and nothing like my father-in-law, Stan, did several years ago.

He had been busy stripping paint under the eves of their house during a summer heat wave. He had stopped for a break, a nice cup of tea probably, when low and behold, the roof caught on fire. In no time at all, a fair portion of the upstairs had been destroyed. The finally verdict from the fire department was that the electrostatic dust created from the hot air gun/paint combination had lodged under the roof and in the heat wave, it combusted. Lesson learned for this apprentice. (And for Stan!) Of course, we haven't had anything like a heat wave this summer. More like a minute in a microwave on high!

That being said...I smell something burning.

Ah yes, my coffee.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Singing Along

All the creatures I love so much seem to have a thing for singing. Typhon, for example, is now singing his heart out with the Evangelise every time it sounds from the church. That means, he's singing at 7am, noon, and 7pm. Full Malamute voice chiming in with the bells. I don't mind the noon and 7pm performances, but the 7am one is a little much even for this Malamute lover.

The human boys are also big into singing. The latest song seems to be the theme to "Bob the Builder" since they know the words. But, they also do a great humming version of the "Cars" theme if you go, "kaa-chow" to get them started!

The most entertaining singer happens to be the little princess right now. We have the Dixie Chicks latest album in our car and it has become the most requested CD out of the 6. Obviously we can tell where the Princess' political associations lie. It is beyond hysterical to listen to her belt out the lyrics to "The Long Way Around" and "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice." Her little feet swinging out from the car seat, wiggling her head in time, makes it even cute when we get to the cuss word, though she doesn't know it's a cuss word. Yes, another benefit of being the only people around her who speak English!

Both she and her older brother have started asking what the songs are about. Reminds me of when I was little and I asked my dad why all songs seem to be about love. I guess the response is still the same, we sing about the things that touch us the most. The things that stir us, make us want to sing out, the things that fill us to the brim and overflow.

That being said, I am going to be a little less harsh on Typhon in the mornings. He's just doing what we all want to do anyway. Just a lot louder.

Lucky dog.

(If anyone is curious here's a link to the Dixie Chicks tour blog this past summer. This article in particular, I found to be really good. )