Thursday, December 31, 2009

Let it Rain, Let it Rain, Let it Rain

England. Oh, how I love you.

Curries, chips, lager, and cakes.

Funny marketing campaigns, rude humour, and the extra "u" in every other word.

Stores that sell clothes for my body shape, that shape being one that likes cakes, and curries, and chips.

Chatting with the man who runs our favourite curry house...he's been in England for 15 years but still speaks English with a faltering accent. Just as I do with my French. His kids tell him they are British and that here is home. Hubster and I get that. We laugh at how Mini-Husband tells everyone he's English in his American accented speech.

My family-in-law. Even though my brother-in-law likes Chelsea and my other brother-in-law is hooked on cricket, I still like them. My sister-in-law, who literally "kicks arse" and is only a few levels away from her black belt in karate. Not to forget my niece and nephew, who laugh and play with the tribe making me wish we lived just a teeny bit closer.

England. It gets dark here at 4:30pm and it lives up to it's reputation. It's been raining non-stop since Boxing Day.

England. It's history amazes me. All the more so since my own has a place here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Griswold Christmas

There is nothing that strikes fear in a parents' heart like the sound of clattering in your house at 4:30am on Christmas morning. Especially when that sound isn't your darling cherubs, but your husband, who is in the process of vomiting all over the bathroom.

I wish I could blame his upset stomach on a little too much egg nog or whiskeys as we waited for Santa, but alas, that isn't the case. The man is sick and no amount of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is going to help him today.

This, of course, means that I've become the chief toy constructor today. If I needed proof that I have no geometric knowledge or a mechanical bone in my body, today's the day. Somehow, Mini-Husband has been able to get his PlayMobil things all in the right places, The Princess' Barbie house has a working doorbell, and Bubba-Love's Wall-E toy still has it's legs on. It's only 10:30am, but can I break out the champagne now?

Besides Hubster being sick, Rosebud is horribly clingy and trying to pull off her right ear. I'm scared to take her temperature, but I have a feeling we'll be seeing the on-call doctor tomorrow. Did I mention that we are heading off to England tomorrow as well? Right. Yes. Please, dear God, do not let this trip be a repeat of the vomit comet trip we had a few years back...

Ahhh, the holidays.

The living room is a mess, the goose we got for dinner will have to wait to be cooked until tomorrow, and I'm out of white wine. I think I'll make some strong coffee and head up to check on my man. The kids are happy at the moment and, believe it or not, so am I.

So there we are this fine December 25, 2009. Happy Holidays to all of you from all of us at the Birth Control Bed & Breakfast. Typhon sends along a rousing chorus of "Gloria, in excelsis Deo" just to make sure you remember to sing this season with all your heart, with all your joy, and with the voice that God has given you. Even if it's horrible.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

He Was Right, Only A Week In Advance

Last week, Bubba-Love's teacher told me that his class had spent most of Friday afternoon singing Christmas Carols. At one point, she turned to him and asked if he knew any carols in English that he could help teach the class to sing.

She said he got a huge grin on his face and said, "YES! I know one" and started singing this:

Yes, Bubba-Love. I gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night too.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On the Runners

I've forgotten how to drive a dog sled.

Granted, the last time I was on the runners of a dog sled, it was about 1997, when I went out for a night ride with my ex-boyfriend. We took two 6 dog teams and headed into a wilderness clearing to see the Hale-Bopp Comet out in all that darkness. I'll never forget how quiet it was, how happy the dogs were, how solid I felt behind that team.

Here I am about 11 years later, lost and bumbling behind a sprint sled with a team that consists of three huskies who lack serious formal training, prefer eating cats to playing in snow, and have no desire to pull up hills. But you know what? Saturday I got back on the runners. And it was wonderful.

Dog sledding has become something that is a constant for me. Where I live has changed, the people that matter most to me have different names than those I worried about most in 1997. Through Hubster, I've found a place of peace (that sure isn't quiet) that awes me as much if not more than that comet.

And through all this, there have been dogs. Silly, furry, crazy huskies. A type of dog that makes you want to tear your hair out and wonder what the heck you are doing trying to domesticate something that is related to a wolf. But when these free-spirited wonders get behind a sled and I see the happiness on their faces, feel their desire, my life is good.

And you know the craziest thing about all this? I nearly fell of that sprint sled a few times on Saturday. It was like being back on the bike, being dragged through cow shit, except this time, I held on. I kept my balance.

I've got a lot of relearning to do on the sled, that for sure. But that's how it should be. Life continues. Evolves. Dog, by dog. Comet, by comet.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

If You're A Psycho and You Know It, Come On Over and Say Hi

I swear, it's bad enough having the "stray cat" syndrome (the one where people like Eleanor Rigby and her priest all come hang around because they know you'll at least talk to them) but having "psycho magnetic attraction" syndrome as well sucks.

I should have known I was bound for trouble when I saw the random man in the grocery store, puttering around the bread aisle without a trolley or shopping basket to be seen. He shouted and danced down the aisle away from me at that point, heading to points unknown. Me, in my naivety, thought I was safe.

There I was with Rosebud, trying to find some applesauce and Nutella (once again proof Nutella is bad for you) when he came rolling around the corner. He stopped sharply at our trolley and stared at Rosebud.

"It's a little girl, isn't it?" he asked me.

"Yes," I replied with a nervous smile plastered on my face.

"Can I give her a bisou?"

He wants to give her a bisou? This man I've never seen before in my life wants to be physically close enough to my daughter, my 7.5 month old daughter, to kiss her?


"I'd rather you didn't," I tell him.

"But, why? It's just a little bisou...."

At this point, enter panic and exit any capacity I have to speak French. I start going on about how I don't want him to give her a bisou, no. She was sick last week, she's better now, and I don't want someone I don't know giving her a bisou.

He tells me, but is she gonna die from a bisou? Is it fatal to give a bisou? How can you be like this? It's just a little affection? A bisou...

I tell him once again, sorry but no, I do not want him to kiss my baby.

He continues, "we're all going to die one day, why are you worried about a little bisou? She was sick? But who was that worse for? You or her? We're all going to get sick and die. Who is that worse for, her or you, maman?"

"ME! ME! It's worse for me! Now please. No bisous. Thank you very much and have a Happy New Year." (Why I wished him a Happy New Year, I haven't a freaking clue. )

I turned my back on him and pushed that little love of mine down the aisle, as far away from this man as I could get without breaking into a run and sprinting out of the store. I heard him shout from the next aisle over, "MERDE," and that was it. He was gone from my life as quickly as he entered it.

How that 5 minute conversation has completely razzled me since. One side of me is all mama bear, ready to take down anyone who I think might be the slightest risk to my little baby, bisous or no bisous. Who asks a random person in a grocery store if they can kiss your baby? GET AWAY FROM MY CHILD.

The other side of me wants to know why I can't just tell someone like him to fuck off and leave me alone. No, I wish him a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The French Elvis

The biggest story in the French news this week is actually one that's coming out of the US. And I'll send a baguette and a wheel of St Nectaire to anyone over there who actually knows what I'm talking about.

Ok, since Magali is probably going to sneak in here with the answer and get that wheel of cheese before anyone stateside does, I'll just go ahead and answer, Yes. It is the story about Johnny Hallyday who is currently in an induced coma at Cedars-Sini hospital in L.A.

It's been the headline story on TF1 for the last few nights and I think about 1/4 of the news is dedicated to all the details of his health, the surgery he had on his herniated disc, what his wife is doing, what's this means for the tour he's currently on, and the French doctor who may have possibly screwed up on the original surgery on Johnny's back last month.

Why is this news, you may wonder? Well, this is Johnny. THE Johnny. The French version of Elvis who is still alive and singing at 66 years old and not dead wearing a sequined one piece jumpsuit.

I'll admit that when we first arrived in France, this Johnny Hallyday guy seemed just another aging rocker to me. A French aging rocker. One that in my own rock and roll stereotypes, I wasn't prepared to take seriously. Sure, they call him "The French Elvis" but what the heck does that really mean?

Turns out, a lot.

Johnny started his rock n'roll career back in the 1960s, and has since performed over 400 tours and has produced 18 platinum albums. His fans in France, and other Francophone countries, are passionate, obsessive about this man. (I kid you not, since the story has broken about his health, the French doctor who may have or may not have screwed up the original surgery, has already been physically assaulted by Johnny fans.) Just mentioning of some of his biggest hits, like "Marie" or "Allumer Le Feu", will get all ages and generations singing along. His voice is powerful. His presence on stage is electric. And best of all, he's not just a performer. He actually can sing.

And I hate to admit it, but I've become a fan.

In recent years, he's been spending more and more time in the United States. There, he's able to live in relative anonymity and go about his daily life without being hassled every two seconds as he is in France. He's a relative unknown over there. Just another aging rocker-type dude with a thing for Harley Davidsons, a hot young wife, and lots of cash. Throw a stone in L.A and you'll hit about 10 of those, right?

He may come across at first glance as cheesy or unreal with this American motorcycle man look as he belts out rock anthems in French, but there is something to him. He's got substance and, most shocking of all, he seems real.

Yes, you can add me to the list of people who has been watching the news, Googling for updates on him. I'm one of the millions hoping that he'll get better and finally enjoy some peace on his bike in the deserts of the American southwest.

Show us how a true rocker ages, Johnny. Take us with you.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Look at these two. Ever so cute. Ever so innocent. Poor little sods don't stand a chance with Rosebud.

I don't know how she does it, but in her pitch dark room, in the wee hours of the day, she's able to wrangle these suckers around until she find that right ear, and I mean that RIGHT ear, stick it as far as she can in that little mouth, et voila.

I tried subbing out one of the three major bear suckers the other night with a dinosaur and nearly brought the house down with her screaming. Silly mommy. Dinosaurs don't have ears. Dinosaurs only have tails. NO EARS, MOM. THEY HAVE NO RIGHT EAR!! WHERE'S ONE OF MY BEARS?!?!?

Yes. She's got three. And counting.

Bear. It's what's for dinner.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Week That Was

Monday: Cold, foggy, and a tad miserable. Decided to let my mood match what was going on outside. Managed to at least haul Rosebud to the grocery store where I consoled myself with the purchase of Digestives and Oreos.

Tuesday: Hubster had the day off so we attacked the Christmas shopping. Highlights of the day: 1. Lunch at an American type burger place with a fantastic Belgian amber to wash it all down. 2. Hubster's company Christmas gift certificates made it possible for us to spoil the kids rotten and only have to pay out just over a euro. Vive le CE!

Wednesday: Everybody home for the day, including Hubster. His buddy from work came and fixed the extractor fan that has been broken for about 2 months. We celebrated by taking all the kids to Cora to stock up on wine.

Thursday: Appointment with my ob/gyn to make sure that I never have to see him again in his capacity as an ob. Celebrated by taking a run around Billom and waxed nostalgic for Miss Tennessee 1975 and her family.

Friday: Hubster home again so we sold Rosebud to French Me for the day. Lunch out just the two of us, followed by getting each other our Christmas presents. Nothing exciting, just some running gear for me, some clothes for Hubster and new dog collars for Abaka and Anouk.

Speaking of whom, the three furry residents are most displeased that I didn't train them this week. The forecast is for snow today so we'll see. Rumor has it that Musher Boy is wanting to try and take all three out on his own. I can smell the fur and blood already!

Saturday: It's 6:30am and I'm unable to sleep. Today my cousin, Mo, and her fabulous long time boyfriend, Chad, are getting married. It's such a awesome thing to watch our family grow by adding in such wonderful people like him. My thoughts (and liver) are with them and the whole nutty gang I'm related to over there. I hope everything goes as it should for them today... no major snafus and no drunk relatives falling over during the reception.

All things being caught up, I'm off to make more tea and enjoy the silence while I can. I've missed you, my readers! All 4 of you!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


For the first weekend in I don't know how long, Hubster isn't motivated to get outside and mix cement, build walls, or even stock wood. He's tired. Down right tired.

And who can blame him? He works full time and then on his weekends, he's doing his best to become Bob The Builder. And unfortunately for him, I'm a lousy Wendy and the kids can only sing about as good as Roley.

It must drive him crazy, these busy weekends, to know that he's out there chucking cement around all because his wife has this thing for dogs that escape and eat chickens. I'm not even sure that Hubster likes the dogs, to tell you the truth.

He dreams of the day when we'll have a dog that will actually go for a walk with us, rather than having to hang on to dear life to a dog who is in the process of ripping your arms out of your sockets. He loves the idea of a simple Labrador or German Shepherd who will be regal and loving, a dog who will not have recreated the trenches of WWI in our front yard, a dog who will actually come back to you when you call it rather then giving you that husky look that basically translates in every language as, "F-you!"

The people in the village think I'm nuts because I love my huskies. But sometimes I wonder if they think Hubster is even more insane than I am because he actually finds ways to let me have these dogs. Perhaps he knows that this addiction is bigger than I am and somewhere in his heart, he's got a thing for all that fur as well.

I hear him outside now, sanding down a desk he's been wanting to redo for a while now. Working with his hands to take something that needs a little love and attention, putting it right, getting it clean and beautiful. He's good at focusing the minute details, my Hubster. And the end result is always proof that taking your time and doing something as it should be done beats my "can-we-just-duct-tape-it" approach every single time.

A Sunday with a project done. A simple pleasure in making something new.

The cement can wait.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I have no rhythym. Absolutely none. Which makes it very hard to dance, and whirl, and feel like a free spirit when the music hits me. I was always one of those people who liked holding up a wall during a school dance. Or the one who was always happy to go and get the drinks when clubbing.

Once, I thought I could dance but that was because I was at a hippy-love music festival in Angel Fire, New Mexico where everyone was under some sort of drug or alcohol induced vibe and hence, rhythmic. You know the scene. All kinds of wacky people, spinning and twirling recklessly into each other, normally covered in mud and sporting some sort of bizarre variation of dreadlocks. Great fun if you could lose yourself completely. Unfortunately, I never managed to do just that and so, combined with the fact that I liked washing my hair, I never really achieved true hippiedom.

I dance in secret these days, when the kids are at school or Rosebud is napping. Nothing fast and furious, just swaying along to my daily rhythym. There are other times when I feel like I'm dancing as I'm meant to be: the days when I telemark down the mountain, or run through the trails, or when I sing and bounce along behind the dogs on the cart. The rhythym flows and I feel so good. Is that even really dancing? Maybe not, but it's got that same magic for me all the same.

There is one woman I've met in my life who can dance, and spin, and work magic with her rhythym. She may not know this, but I was beyond jealous of her a few years back. She's a beautiful soul and people are drawn to her, like hummingbirds to flowers. She's graceful and open. Things I felt I wasn't at the time. I know she's had her fair share of life in her life, but overall, she seems to radiate peace.

Even more so when she dances with her hoop.

Every time I watch her, I'm awed by the simplicity and beauty of movement.

Find your flow, your rhythym, your hoop, and dance.