Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Laundry Thief

Our washing machine is conviently located in the basement of our house. That means, I have absolutely no problem building the tallest of mountains out of underpants, t-shirts, and socks. It's hidden ever so well. Far, far from the public eye.

This morning, I had been wandering between the basement and the garden, doing a few little odd jobs outside, when I got distracted by the telephone and the kids.

A couple of hours have past and it occurs that I must have forgotten to close the outside basement door for I now see that half of my mountain has been moved to the front lawn. And the very kind moving man is curled up, nose tucked under his tail, asleep in the middle of it.

And no. I am not taking pictures of my dirty laundry no matter how damn cute the dog is!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What's In a Name?

One really should reflect long and hard before choosing the names for one's offspring.

It's not just how it will go with the family name, but how it will sound when you yell it at the top of your voice during school vacations and weekends.

Or when you find that they've put their toys in the dishwasher.

Or when they've decided that they are not going to get dressed no matter how many times you've asked them.

Or how the name will sound when followed by, "Mom, _____ pushed me" or "Mom, _____ won't share their toys with me" or "Mom, _____ keeps touching me!"

It's important to give names to our children that we like a lot.

Because before the age of 7, you are going to have found at least 348,259 ways of saying the same name, over and over again.

Bill Cosby explained it best in his sketch about Jeffery.

Replace the airplane with a grocery store or doctor's office, and you've lived my horror.

Times three.

Vive les vacances!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I stood in the kitchen loading dishes into the dishwasher when The Princess walked in.

"How do I look?"

I turned to see a stunning vision in pink. Pink t-shirt, pink pants, hot pink socks, and her shiny pink handbag with the fake fur around the top.

"You look fabulous!"

"I know. I look great and stylish. Do you know what stylish is, Mom?"

Sure, I thought, as I quickly took inventory of my own outfit.

Old jeans that are ready to split at the butt and knees, a black zip-up fleece spotted with white paint and dog fur, a pair of old New Balance running shoes being held together only by the laces, and my hair tied on top of my head with a pencil.

"Stylish...yes, it's when..." I started to respond, but it was already to late.

The Princess, laughing, tossed her hair and left the kitchen in a skip, singing, "My Baby Just Cares For Me."

Once again, I am humbled, amazed and in awe of this little person who's not quite 5.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Subtleties of Loneliness

There are days when I really wish I could communicate in French as me.

I'm never sure that what I'm saying really corresponds with what I'm trying to say. I search for words and phrases to express myself, but I know that I'm falling short in so many ways and it makes me feel very lost and isolated.

I've made huge progress with my French over 5 years, but I still am not convinced my French friends here 'get' me sometimes. The ease and familiarity I find with other native English speakers is something I don't think I'll ever truely have within my French. There are two or three exceptions to this, and I cling to them and their friendship like a drowning man.

Yesterday afternoon, we spent some time with another French friend and her kids that we hadn't seen for a while. We enjoyed ourselves completely, but driving home, all I wanted to do was contact my closest friends from the English speaking world.

I don't know why, but having coffee and chatting away with her made me miss the closeness I've had with my friends in my own language. Of course, I tried phoning a sister in the US but our lovely telephone service that comes from Italy somehow wouldn't connect to a line across the ocean.

I was beginning to see the waves crashing all around me, pulling me deeper into the water. It was roughly about this point that Hubster got home from w0rk.

Sometimes I complain that even though Hubster and I both speak English, we don't speak the same English. There are times when our phrases and choices of words don't make sense to the other Anglo-phone. But we at least have a common base. Normally, we get there in the end.

And normally, Hubster gets me. And on days like yesterday, I thank God for that and the way he maneuvers the lifeboat.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Full Moon

I wish I had been able to really capture the moon this morning. As I stumbled towards the coffee maker in the kitchen, my breath was taken away by the tableau outside my window.

As the mist was rising from the river below, the moon, which seemed as large as the sun, glowed orange and pink as it finished it's lullaby to my sleeping friends in the houses below.

Slowly, the morning clouds embraced the moon and took over the tableau. Instead of one solitary shining spot above the mountain, the sky became red, purple, wide awake and alive.

Good morning to the earth, the moon, the sky and me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happiness Has A Tail

It's started. My little girl's desire to be around horses. I know Freud had some psycho-babble to say on this whole thing, but I do find it amazing how most little girls (myself included) go through a phase of horses.

Luckily for us, we don't live that far from a horse farm. They've got about 6 horses and Pinocchio. He's your typical Sheltand pony, more interested in eating the grass next to the trails then exploring them, but perfect for inexperienced little people their moms.

When we got to the horse farm, the woman who runs the place gave me a quick run down of what Pinocchio would or wouldn't do, pointed to the trail, handed me the lead, and said, "See you in an hour."


I'm much better at dogs, I must admit, but there was something charming about Pinocchio with his bangs covering his eyes and his little round belly sticking out from under the saddle. The Princess was beyond happy.

Of course, she had a right royal tantrum when she had to share the pony with her friend and brother, but we'll not dwell on the negatives today. We'll just think about how happy this little girl was to be riding her pony, on a country trail in the sun.

The Princess is already telling us what she wants for her birthday. Yes, you guessed it. She knows we've got this wacking great garden that would be perfect for a pony.

Of course, I'm not sure how two huskies would react to a much larger 'husky' living in their midst.

But if I really think about it, Typhon isn't far off the size of Pinocchio and probably runs at about the same speed.

Hmmm. Wonder if I could get harness for Pinocchio?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Did I Forget to Mention...

My very kind friend, The Beautiful Version of Julia Child, has convinced me to do another half marathon.

On April 6.


Like I needed something else to stress about.

I wonder if I attach Typhon and Anouk to me, would that be considered cheating?

The Tap Water

The water comes out of our tap so clear, clean and cold. It's as though I'm drinking water from a private underground source, straight out of the rocks underneath my house and into the jam jar that I use as a glass.

Our water has such a good taste and I've found that I've become spoiled by it. It's gotten so bad, that when I'm not here, I need to buy the next best thing. I'm like a crack addict when I'm away. Needing buy and horde at least six bottles of the stuff in my car, sneaking out for a 'hit' when no one is looking.

At least I fit in here with the French addiction to bottled water. Enter any grocery store and you will find almost an entire wing devoted to the various types of bottled water. There's natural sparkling (with two types: large or small bubbles), still water, flavoured water, water from the Alps, water from Italy, water that's a bit salty, water that has magnesium in it, water that comes from the village just over the valley, water that comes from Paris, etc etc. It's a serious business.

Who knew something we take for granted could become so addicting.

There's a lesson here, I'm sure.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What a Way to Celebrate Valentine's Day

Anouk is in heat. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how 'in heat' she was until about 2am last night when I was woken from a dead sleep to the sounds of a Siberian going, "rrrrr,eiiiiii,aaaaaa,errrrrrrr" in a high pitched squeal.

I flew from my bed, ran downstairs and out into the garden in hopes of at least holding Anouk calm until the whole thing was over. Of course, Typhon was trying to move away from her, but since they were 'tied,' that just wasn't possible.

Imagine if you can: sub-zero temps, a sleepy haired women in a t-shirt and boxers, holding precariously to a Malamute in one hand and a Siberian in the other, as the two dogs cry and whine, frantic to go in seperate directions.

One positive is that it didn't last too long and Typhon seems to a "just-once-and-that's-it" kinda guy. It's also a relief he's been fixed. I can't even imagine having a litter of potential new singers for Typhon's choir at this point!

It's also reminded us that we need to get the dog yard fenced behind the house as soon as possible.

Until then, looks like I'm going to be like a prom chaperon hovering near the punch bowl, just in case they get a little too close...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Les Boules

I'm feeling like I know how to speak French today.

There was once a time when the thought of making a phone call in French scared the beejeesus outta me and sent me running for my Hubster. Even for something so simple as calling a friend. After 5 years, I feel like I'm finally starting to shake that.

Last night, I came home to hear a gruff message on my answer phone from a particular Worker Man. I was astonished by his message and as the French say, I had "les boules." Or in as I would say in English, I was pissed.

Without hesitation, I grabbed the phone, dialed the number, and started talking. We passed briefly through yelling, a few moments of explaining, several "mais, monsieurs," finally reaching a relative peace at the end.

Most of you that know me, know that I'm not a confrontational kinda person, but I have to admit to feeling empowered and strong after all this last night. I spoke my mind, I told Worker Man what I thought, I expressed myself. In French. And I think he got the point.

Of course, I didn't sleep a wink last night and I'm feeling emotionally exhausted. This morning, I bascially begged Hubster to deal with him from now on.

Sure, I might be getting better at my French, but I'm still horrible at conflict in any language.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Lists

The latest talk in the village is all about "the lists."

"Have you heard who's on the list?"

"Can you believe they joined and then left the list!"

"There's no way they can get 11 people on their list."

A list? A list of what?

Turns out, the local elections are coming up in March and the lists are the bottom line for anyone who's running for office. A list in our village has to have 11 people on it and when the elections are held, people will vote for a list to become the village council. One of those on the winning list will then become the mayor.

You'd never know the elections were coming up by driving through the village. There isn't a poster or political banner in sight. Not a single publication has gone through our mailbox. In fact, it's eerie how quiet this whole process seems to be on the surface.

We've started hearing the underground squabbles though about who's going on what list and why. There are those vehemently against our current mayor and therefore completely opposed to her list, regardless if they are happy with the others on it.

There is a list that is composed of a mix of folks from all the aspects of the village. A couple of farmers, some teachers, a Swiss born former ex-pat to Brazil, a retired couple, and the local bus company owner.

There's also the renagade one man list from the guy who runs the nursing home and brother to Miss Snootie, the secretary at the mayor's office. He's guarrenteed to have at least 37 votes. (Surprisingly, the exact number of residents in the home.)

Maybe we should try and put together our own list. Hubster, me and the tribe, plus the dogs, works out to about 7 candidates. Just need to round up a couple of cats (balance from the opposition, of course) and a donkey or two.

Unfortunately, I don't have the right to vote in the elections since I'm not a European citizen. Hubster went to the mayor's office in December to register only to be told by Miss Snootie that he's not European either.

Luckily, Hubster was patient and kind and reminded Miss Snootie that Britain actually is in Europe, contrary to popular belief, and so therefore he has the right to vote in the elections.

Turns out, Miss Snootie tried the same argument with our neighbour who's originally from Belgium.

Such a shame the secretary isn't up for election.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Let's Talk About that Guy

Hubster rocks.

We celebrated his 39th birthday yesterday just as you should. On the ski slopes, in brilliant sunshine, and the kids accounted for elsewhere.


I'm ever so glad my Hubster was born. Without him, my life wouldn't be as rich as it is. Rich in love, rich in adventure, rich in emotion, rich in laughter.

He's the softest tough nut I've ever met. Gruff and grumpy is his favourite costume. But underneath the scowling mask, he's just a lovely man who wants the best for his family, his wife, and himself. Who can blame him for the grumpies when tiled roofs and unhappy cars try and mess with that?

I hope he enjoyed his birthday as much as I did by being with him. I loved watching that guy go sliding down a slope, on his back, skis still on the snow (and parallel I might add,) with a huge smile on his beautiful face.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Red Skies At Night

The view this evening from our front steps. Who says God doesn't play with crayons?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Trees

Today is one of those days where you want to reach up, touch the sky, and dance in the sunshine.

Just as the trees do.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I'm Going to Admit This

Hubster was right.

Yes, I know. Look out for the lightening bolts. Not because he was right, but because I'm actually going to admit that he was!

I gave in the other night and told him to just go buy whatever washing machine he thought would be best. I had no faith in his logic on the subject and after a heated discussion on Monday night, I was ready to through him out with the dirty laundry.

Luckily for me, the man really does have a clue.

He came home last night with a washing machine.

A nice, simple washing machine.

A washing machine that is so quiet, I keep going to check on it to make sure it's ok.

A washing machine that has washed all of Bubba-Love's disgusting diahrea and vomit covered clothes and blankies.

It's been running non-stop since it got here at 7pm last night.

My Hubster rocks.

Maybe I should start listening to his advice on other things too...

Then again, nah. Need to keep him on his toes, right?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Here's A Super Tuesday

Bubba-Love has diarhea.

And I don't have a washing machine.


Can I open the wine yet?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Ode to An Old Friend

It's been a tough five years for you, my old friend. So many sheets, clothes, and nappies. Not to mention all the spare change and keys that have clogged your system. I've tortured you with dog blankets, vomit covered toys, and countless smelly running shoes. It was a thankless world you lived in.

But you stood valiantly next to the dryer, patiently waiting for the next load, be it darks, lights or colours. The ultimate in unconditional love.

You had a rhythm all your own, shaking to the beat of God only knows what band, some sort of combination of hard rock and Reggae. A solid thumping from the basement, that let me know you were on the scene, doing what needed to be done.

It's just a shame that you decided to give up the ghost when Hubster was actually helping with the laundry. There he stood, ankle deep in water, trying to keep you together long enough to finish the spin cycle.

Bless you on your final journey, old friend. May your final resting place be free of unmatched socks.

As for us, we've sent condolences to the dryer and promised to find her a nice new machine to cuddle. Perhaps one that we won't have to bolt to the wall this time.

Though, I will admit, everytime I hear this song, I will shed a tear for my old friend.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Hey, Typhon...

"Since I forgot Hubster's birthday is actually next, I'm afraid I'm going to be your roommate for a bit. Can you squeeze on over?"

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Why I Love February 2nd

Because, some of you might want to celebrate Groundhog Day while others of you may be making crepes since it's Chandeleur.

Or perhaps you're really looking for a way to combine your roots with a recovering Catholic positive outlook and have a good old party for Brigid (the saint or goddess, take your pick) on Imbolc.

It's a date on the calender full of possibilities! Plus, it's also The Princess' second favourite day of the year.

Why, you ask?

'Cause now, the next birthday Chez Nous, is hers!

Happy celebrations today to all my favourite groundhogs, druids, Catholics, and Brigids out there!

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Things You Remember

I don't know the right words to describe labour to someone who hasn't been through it. Sure the pain is one thing, but the surreal state in which you count the minutes and breaths is extraordinary.

Two years ago, I spent the last night of January counting contractions and breathing like a freight train at the lovely clinic in Clermont. Hubster lay down on the camping bed in the room and I channel surfed trying to find something to distract myself.

I stumbled upon Les Bronzes Font du Ski. I had no idea that the Les Bronzes movies were a cross between Caddyshack, Monty Python, and American Pie. Thus, right up my alley. I'm a huge fan of stupid movies. Ask anyone from my Idaho days. The only thing I watched on tv for several years was a battered video of Weekend at Bernie's.

So there between contractions, I tried to translate as I laughed out loud. This clip from Les Bronzes Font du Ski is one of the best. The group of friends stumble upon a local farmer after being stuck on the mountains. In this scene, he kindly offers some of his homemade hooch as a gesture of kindess and hospitality. If my water hadn't already broken by this point, it would have then! I've been the woman in the blue coat on way too many occasions!

Two years ago, I laughed until I cried. And then the next morning, I cried until I laughed and Bubba-Love was with us.

He's two today and to celebrate he's got a new stuffed Flash McQueen toy and a Little People garage. Tonight, Hubster and I are going to celebrate by breaking out a bottle of champers and my copy of Les Bronzes Font du Ski.

Happy Birthday, Bubba-Love! Here's hoping you always have reason to laugh!