August 2004 Archives

Pretty bird

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Oh golly by golly, I just bought some fun, pretty, sparkly things for my hair.

Nothing finishes off a day better than buying fun, pretty, sparkly things for ones hair.

Seven days a week

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Starting from this Sunday, our local Monoprix will be open on Sunday mornings.

This is a HUGE thing, in a country where Sunday shopping only exists in the couple of weeks before Christmas. One giant leap towards real Sunday trading, this is something I've really missed about Australia.

The other good thing is that the "Oriental aisle" in the supermarket has expanded significantly in the last three years. Three years ago, the selection of Oriental products at all our local supermarkets was extremely meagre. Today, the choice is, whilst still not huge, much more interesting.

I'm sure it has something to do with the translation and mass-diffusion of many international cookbooks into French (the Marabout ones come immediately to mind). When these cookbooks are sold directly in the supermarket and refer to "exotic" ingredients, the least the supermarket can do is try to supply such ingredients.

The next step? Baby bok choy and fresh udon noodles in the supermarket. It won't be long, I'm sure.

And it'll be a few years before they're open 24/24, but I'm sure that one day it'll happen.


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On Sunday night I had a really horrible dream.

I dreamt that I was with a bunch of people on some sort of camp. I told someone that I was going to the toilet and would be out in a second. I went into the toilet and sat down - the toilet was all alone in an enormous warehouse-like basement (instead of a normal tiny little room in which toilets are normally located), with a door that didn't shut properly.

Five seconds later, someone came into the toilet and told me that the toilet was actually supposed to be out of service because there had been reports of a horrible spider in the room.

Of course, I freaked out that someone came into the room while I was actually sitting on the toilet, and because there was apparently a horrible spider lurking around somewhere.

Cooking Lessons

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Speaking of "Bowl Food", I'm looking to get some more in the series. We have "Home Food" and "Fast Food" as well, but it looks like there are so many! "Cool Food", "Sweet Food", "Hot Food", "Little Food", "Fish Food", "Vegie Food", "BBQ Food".

I may have to do some more searching on Amazon. I know they're translated and reprinted here in France, but I'd really prefer them in English. It's a great series, and a lot of the recipes are excellent starting points for other, more imaginative things.


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Last night we skipped from A straight to L, and we ate Lentils.

Sylvain loves Lentils, but I'm scared of them because I don't know what to do with them. I associate them with vegetarian hamburgers and that's about it.

Anyway, I tackled "Penne with Rustic Lentil Sauce", from "Bowl Food". In my current frantic fit of eating more vegetables (more more more!), I only used 60g of Penne per person, and upped the dose of lentils. The other "rustic" parts of the sauce included carrots, celery, onions, garlic and thyme. It was very delish and very filling. I was glad that I'd also made a little salad of m?che, goats cheese and jambon cru (come on, I'm not going totally vegetarian), because the lentil dish was quite heavy.

Hearing Aids


My ears are simply not made to wear headphones. I've got a pair of those ones you just stick in your ear, and as soon as I make the slightest movement, they fall out. They're plugged into the speakers on my desk, as I like to listen to music whilst I work, and because the colleagues who share my office don't necessarily share my taste in music.

Unless I buy a pair that makes me look like Mickey Mouse, or spend a fortune on a pair that are ergonomically designed, I'm doomed to spend the rest of my days grabbing the earplugs as they fall out of my ears, and shoving them back in... over and over again.


Back to where we started


... and the pendulum swings again...

Sometimes people like Iris say funny things without realising that they've said anything funny.

Thanks hon, for brightening up my evening. You're an absolute gem.

Now I can start the week with a brave face.

Give me a home

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Enormous mood swing tonight.

Sylvain wanted me to help him choose some pictures to print up on our new printer. I've got some favourites that I wanted to put in frames, so I sat down to look through some cds of photos.

I came across those we took in Australia in December/January.

It was like being hit in the stomach.

Certain people will be pleased to note that I have recently been seen eating artichoke, aubergines and avocado without grimacing. And actually suggesting that we buy some more.

By the looks of things, I'm starting at the beginning of the alphabet, although I'm still skipping the part which involves asparagus.

Now... onto the letter B.


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Nerdy Neopets related rant...

The grapes of wrath

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Sylvain is playing Grand Tourismo 3 on the Playstation. There is a sound effect that sounds identical to the sound of the phone ringing.

At first, I kept jumping out of my chair to go and answer the phone, then realised it's just the tv making noises. After a while, like the good lab rat mousiekins that I am, I learned not to react.

The only problem is that a couple of times this afternoon, the phone really has rung, and I haven't jumped up to answer it, so Sylvain, who is too busy playing GT3 to answer the phone, yells, "can't you hear the phone ringing? grab the phone!!!".


What was that you said?

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I've gotten up this morning with a raging sore throat. A perfect start to the weekend.

At least it can't develop into tonsilitis anymore.

It's cold and rainy outside, but I don't have a book with which I can curl up on the couch and wait for the sore throat to pass. So... Neopets it is.

Perhaps some delicious chicken and sweet corn soup for lunch would help.

It's time to let go

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I just had to perform emergency surgery on my sandals.

They were a lovely pair of black strappy slip-on sandals, with a wide bar going diagonally across the arch of my foot, and two tiny thin little straps criss-crossing my foot. These two tiny thin little straps didn't do anything functional for the sandal - since the wide bar was the thing actually keeping the sandals on my foot - they just looked pretty.

About 6 months ago, one of the two tiny thin little straps on my left sandal started coming off. I ended up having to cut it off, and of course I had to cut off the other tiny thin little strap on the right sandal so that they matched. The "surgery" wasn't obvious and didn't leave any scars, so for all intents and purposes, the sandals looked as if they were made with one wide bar across the arch of my foot and one tiny thin little strap criss-crossing my foot.

All the colours of the rainbow

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When we were in Australia, Alexis gave me a range of fantabulously coloured little tupperware containers. There are green ones, blue ones, orange ones and yellow ones, all with their little matching lids.

Sylvain refuses to put the blue with the blue and so on and so forth.

Instead, the orange lids gets put on green containers, dogs and cats get married and the sky starts to fall.

I don't know whether I'm Arthur or Martha.

He doesn't understand the vital importance of it all - that the lids must match the bottom parts of the containers.

Our fridge looks like someone has broken open a packet of Derwents and thrown them all about willy nilly.

Time for tea

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There's a Columbus Caf? just near my work. I don't go there very often, because paying 4 euros for a large fricken mocha peeves me off. I know it's all relative, and life is just more expensive here, but [begin rant]I can pay the same bloody price for TWO of the same bloody thing in Melbourne[/end rant].

Anyway... Normally I go there first thing in the morning, once every few weeks, when the weather is cold, and there is nothing like a nice hot mocha to start the day off well. I take my steaming takeaway cup in with me to work and everyone shakes their head, "oh she's such an anglophone!".

I haven't been in there for awhile, since we've had nice weather for the last few months, but today I only had a sandwich for lunch and was still feeling hungry, so I popped in and got a Moccacino Glac?, with a White Chocolate Chunk cookie.

Man, my tastebuds are in heaven. Just what I needed, after all the salad I've been eating this week.

Dainty little tootsies

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I'm going to the Body Shop during my lunch break today, to buy me a new pumice stone, cos I like to keep my feet all purty. I do all that I can to not wear shoes, to the point where even when I'm at my desk at work, I kick my sandals off. It's not like I have icky feet or anything - given that they're often in view of others, I just like to keep them nice and soft.

I have to buy a new pumic stone because after, like, a month of use, the old one starts to get all icky because it just doesn't dry out properly.

What can you do to keep a pumice stone clean and dry after you use it? I just don't have the knack. Perhaps it's the type that I'm buying that's wrong - perhaps I need to look for another brand. The Body Shop is just so conveniently across the road from my work and I can't resist getting stuff when I go in there.

Perhaps there is no real secret and they're meant to be thrown out after a month, and I just haven't heard of this Pumice Stone Rule yet.

Toe-tally embarrassing

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Being the hygenic lassie that I am, this morning I put a bandaid on the blister on my little toe.

Somehow, in the course of the day, that bandaid has fallen off.

I'm mortified.

I've checked under my desk, and gone on a discrete walk through my place of employ, just in case there is a gross dirty bandaid lying on the floor somewhere, but there's been no sign of it anywhere.

Hopefully it fell off on the street when I went for lunch, or something like that, and it's not floating around on my bosses carpet.

No woman, no cry

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Three years ago, I considered the accordion an amusing instrument.

Today, I loathe the accordion.

Anyone who has been a tourist in Paris knows that the accordion is the most popular instrument amongst buskers - they come right into the restaurants and are seen often on the trains.

The quartier in which I work is absolutely packed with restaurants and tourists. As a result, there are always heaps of buskers wandering through, singing and playing on their various instruments. Every afternoon, from our office window, we watch one of two different accordion players working up and down the street, playing the same three or four songs over again.

I assume they're all part of the same organised group, operating illegally on the streets. Like the way they work on the trains, their movements are just too well co-ordinated not to be considered suss.

You can run, but you can't hide

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A lose strand of my hair just fell on my face.

I really thought it was a massive spider coming to attack me and jumped out of my chair, trying to shake it off. I looked like an idiot - the two colleagues sharing my office are staring at me with confused looks.

I think this paranoia is going a little too far.



Et voila. Two fantabulous salad recipes that I have found, thanks to my current salad fetish. It's ironic that I'm suddenly enjoying salads and the weather is turning crap again. Why couldn't I have decided that I liked them at the beginning of summer?

We tried the following prawn salad on the weekend, and loved it. I made it again on Monday night with just a couple of prawn tails that we had left over, but varied it a little - the prawns were already cooked, so I threw them in the pan for 2 minutes then popped them into the waiting salad.

I made the second one on Monday night, and we absolutely loved it. It requires "p?toncles", which are quite expensive, so I actually used frozen scallops (from the 3 kilos Sylvain bought on the weekend - it still gives me a heart attack when I see them in the freezer!), which I pan fried, then cut in half (to make them go a little further). I diluted the rocket pesto by adding a little Romain lettuce, but it ended up being quite light, so I think that next time I won't dilute it. Even when you halve the pesto recipe so that it's only for two people, there is quite a lot left over - the leftovers are yummy on fresh, crusty bread ;)


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I think I just saw a couple of drug dealers get busted in the station. It was all happening, like, two metres away from me, and I had no idea what was going on.

I saw these two guys approach another two guys, and they started passing stuff to each other very discretely.

Then all of a sudden the atmosphere between them changed as the two guys who approached the first two pulled something out of their jackets, obviously their undercover id or something, and one of the guys moved his jacket to the side to show his gun. Then they started frisking the first two guys!

They confiscated some stuff and made them stand against the wall while one talked on his mobile and the other chatted on their walkietalkie and the two guys who got sprung looked very cranky.

Over the holidays I read a wonderfully wide range of books, from Val McDermid to The Dante Club to the first two books of Artemis Fowl.

I loved Artemis Fowl. Loved loved loved it. Much better than Harry Potter, it had me laughing out loud so often that Sylvain even started showing an interest. I loved everything about these books, and must try to get the third one.

All in beautiful english english english. I devoured them all.


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Yesterday morning I found a pair of slides that I haven't worn for ages, so I thought I'd wear them to work.

I came home remembering why I hadn't worn them for ages, sporting the mother of all blisters on the littlest toe of my left foot.

It was ok last night - barefoot and carefree around the apartment, I didn't even feel it. But this morning, I was presented with a bit of a problem, and every shoe that I put on had me in agony.

A blister on ones littlest toe is not the most comfortable thing.


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Yesterday I had lunch with my bosses son (who is now working at my place of employ part-time, whilst he studies part-time. I am apparently supposed to take care of him and help him learn his stuff), in a nearby Chinese restaurant.

We were in the middle of a conversation when out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone I recognised from my language classes at the Sorbonne. We greeted each other and she said, "I thought it was you! I recognised your voice!" (do I have a distinctive voice? I know I can be loud sometimes... especially when I laugh... perhaps it was just the obviousness of my accent ringing out over all the other voices in the restaurant!)

Back to work

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The first couple of days back at work have been fine. Really. I thought it would be worse, after three weeks holiday. But I feel really fresh and full of energy, so I guess that's good.

I don't have too much work yet, although it will get a lot busier, but it gives me time to ease back into things. I also have two articles to write for the Neopets Magazine, so I'm taking advantage of the lull at work to polish up my stuff.

Roe roe roe your boat

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We went to the supermarket last Friday, and Sylvain took it upon himself to collect the few frozen things we needed. At our large local supermarket, they provide opaque plastic bags that are designed to keep frozen goods cold on the trip home.

I was too busy looking at other things to notice what Sylvain put in that large opaque plastic bag, and was obviously preoccupied when the cashier put everything through the cash register, because it was only when we got home and I started unpacking the groceries that I realised what he'd gotten.

3 kilos of frozen scallops.

Tossing and turning

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I am going to change my name to Salad Queen.

I've never really been a salad fan - I find them boring and I never know what to put in them to make them interesting.

I think I was tormented as a child by the pineapple and jelly concoction that was titled, "Sunshine Salad" - it was just so wrong - then as a teenager by my sisters attempts at creativity, which involved extra doses of chilli and strange herbs that my innocent tummy just couldn't handle.

Nary a vegetable passed my lips unless it had been fully inspected and approved by my Disgusting Detector. Iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, capsicums and snow peas were the extent of my voluntary vegetable purchases at the supermarket.

But now, it seems that a miraculous event has happened, and I'm tossing salads left, right and centre.

I think I've been the crankiest person on earth for the last month - hence, no blogging.

We are now officially on holidays, and blogging will continue to be at a standstill - we're going away to various places, including Alsace and staying with my in-laws.

I think I just needed a break. So much has been going on at work, in my personal life, to the people around me - I'm tired.

To make matters worse, something funny is going on when I speak English - I'm struggling for words, I'm not expressing myself as eloquently as I'd like. I talk on the phone and tell my parents that the weather is very "agreeable". It's not incorrect, it's just not proper English.

I feel that it is reflected in my blog, in my writing, and I hate that. I've put it down to making progress in French... but it didn't make sense that I would lose the ability to express myself in my own language.

But according to someone I spoke to recently, it does happen to some people, especially when you're totally immersing yourself, and if you're still learning.

To remedy the situation, I bought ten books in English. I will speak French, and listen to French, but I will not read it for the next three weeks. My brain needs a rest.

I'm so cranky.

I need a holiday.

Time to go pack.


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This page is an archive of entries from August 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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