November 2004 Archives

Coffee stains

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I know you were in my office yesterday when I had my day off. I know this because you left an empty coffee cup with a spoon in it on my normally spotless desk.

Busted.

So... what were you doing in my office?

My office - which was technically void of employees yesterday. It can't have been a brief, casual visit, because that wouldn't have really warranted the absent-minded placement of aforementioned coffee cup on my desk.

My curiosity is piqued.

Not that it matters, as I don't have anything to hide, I'm just curious.

I'll be with you presently

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I find Christmas present shopping always very stressful. I am always on the quest for "the perfect" present for everyone, but I've got a bad track record with presents, and buying for Sylvain makes me particularly anxious.

So... thankyou Iris for pointing me towards Thinkgeek. I must have been living under a rock for years, considering that I didn't know about this site until last week.

Now I only have to deal with the problem of choosing which gadget to get! And whether I really need this.

I discovered today that the latest issue of the NeoMag has published 2 (two!) of my articles that I wrote a few months ago. Considering how few people are permanent contributors, I am THRILLED, baby, THRILLED.

It's a start. It really is.

I am still working on convincing Sylvain that we need to move to LA so I can work for Neopets. heh.

One day - and I'm determined that this will be the case - I will be paid just to write, write, write.

How to tell who is the inexperienced (but eager-to-learn) olive-eater :
It is the person who is holding their jaw after eating an olive, having realised only too late that there was a seed in said olive and nearly breaking their teeth on it.

How to tell who is the experienced idiot :
It is the person who is holding their jaw after pondering about how to blog the previous incident whilst taking another olive and unthinkingly chewing on it and nearly breaking their teeth. Again.

Go stuff yourself

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I'm fairly sure that Sylvain doesn't appreciate me making horrible vomiting noises as if I'm about to die of disgust as he cuts up chicken liver and other gross stuff for chicken stuffing.

But it's funny.

heh.

How many years of bad luck?

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I really am the worlds biggest klutz. I walk into things, I trip over invisible stuff, I hurt myself on things that are impossible to hurt onself with. Pick a day, any day, and I'll have at least five new bruises on my person.

I've been working really really really hard on this klutzy side of me, because especially here in a city where women seem to have been born knowing all about elegance and style, I really feel silly hurting myself all the time.

So I've been making an enormous effort to improve my visuo-spatial co-ordination, being aware of what I'm doing and how my body is interacting with the environment around me. Basic stuff, I know, but obviously I missed that life lesson.

Tonight, whilst preparing dinner, I dropped a casserole dish. It's been quite a few months since I've broken anything at home, so I guess I was bound to have a disaster sooner or later. I was quite upset about it, because I knew that Sylvain liked this particular casserole dish.

He came over and helped me clean up, then gave me a massive hug.

"It's really ok, sweetie!" he smiled at me. "It's only people who are doing something who get hurt. You don't get booboos from doing nothing!"

I blinked the tears away (pathetic, I know, but I cry at Hallmark ads, so I'm going to cry over a broken casserole dish), and started to feel better. Minutes later we were laughing and joking again.

"Oh well," I said. "There is no use crying over spilt milk."

"That's right," he replied. "My sister gave me that dish when I moved out of home... but it's really ok."

He was absolutely not trying to be mean, but I really need to give that boy some lessons on tact. And I really need to keep practicing the whole Not Dropping Stuff Routine. heh.

Katzensymphonie

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Oooooh. I love it !

Round and round the garden

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I don't react very well when someone tells me to do something. In fact, telling me to do something is pretty much a guaranteed way of getting me not to do it.

My parents can probably vouch for this.

I have always had the opinion that this is the way it works for most people - you want someone to do something, whether it is a work or personal situation, and you would theoretically couch the request in positives, or incentives to do the task. I would say, "Could you please do this? It would help me out a lot!", rather than, "You have to do this right now".

Logical, no?

I've recently learned that this is not the way it works with everyone. In fact, saying, "Could you please do this? it would help me out a lot!", is basically giving them a green light to procrastinate until they've got absolutely nothing else to do and they'll only do that task because it's the only thing that will save them from dying of boredom.

Saying, "You have to do this right now", however, works like a charm. The subject has finished the task in less than 10 minutes.

Whether the task is done properly is another story for another day.

Argh.

Loving me some liver

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Last night we went out for dinner with my father-in-law. We tend to eat extremely well when we dine with him, and last night was no exception.

We went to the Maison de Foie Gras, near Montmarte, where we ate - surprise surprise - one of my favourite French delicacies : foie gras. I had to concentrate to understand the accent of the lady serving us, as her accent was pure Périgord - all rolling rrrrrs.

Just for the record, I started off with a salad scattered with bits of foie gras, then enjoyed a lightly seasoned fillet of duck stuffed with foie gras, delicately roasted in the oven, accompanied by potatoes. Simplicity at its best - oh my Frickety Fricken Frick Frick Frick it was good. I finished my meal off with raspberries soaked in raspberry liqueur. The wine, of course, was divine. My FIL also enjoyed the same meal that I had, and Sylvain had a hearty cassoulet.

I'm thinking that a serious trip to the Périgord might be in order. Purely for educational purposes, of course. ;)

I thought that I'd share this dining experience with those Australians who cannot have fresh foie gras, as an enticement to think about coming to visit again. hehe.

Just keep swimming

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Monday morning -"how about we give you one of our magazines to "re-look"?"

Whilst I am, of course, delighted to get my grubby little fingers on this horribly fugly magazine and give it a serious working over, tomorrow morning is the deadline for my proposals, and I'm now bloody exhausted. It was a trying process, for many and varied reasons. Hence the lack of blogging for the last 48 hours.

The next few days should be less hectic, however, so I might get around to taking the odd 10 minutes off work here and there to catch up on emails and various bloggity-doo-dads.

Squidlies

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Today we had Salt and Pepper Squid for lunch, using a recipe from one of Rick Stein's books - there was a mix of schezuan and black peppercorns, sea salt, red chilli and shallots (bought from the 13th, cut up and frozen, because we can't get them in normal supermarkets or the market here). It was absolutely divine. I had planned on throwing the squid in a paella, but Sylvain suggested that because it looked so good, we should try to do something more interesting with it.

I'm still not particularly adventurous, but I'm getting there. And when we get results like that - ie. I could have eaten 10 times the amount we'd made - it's worth the effort ;)

I'm now eating all types of olives. Trying different things. I am not sure what's going on. Perhaps I'm growing up?

Nah... never.

We picked up this Rick Stein book in Australia in January, and it contains so many fabulous seafood recipes, but with each section, it lists a whole lot of highly recommended seafood restaurants in the UK and Ireland, along with descriptions of the best things to try. I mean, honestly. He may as well just sell plane tickets with the book. Now I want want want to go!

Sylvain and I were browsing this book this afternoon - it didn't take long for us to make the decision that we're going to start keeping an eye on the airline prices and the eurostar deals, and making little weekend trips around Europe. We have stayed far too long in our little corner of the world - there is too much here to see and discover, and it's a shame not to do these things whilst we're here.

Of course, the fact that I didn't have a job before was a hindrance, but that's not a problem now...

Just call me Dorothy

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Oh forget all the seriousness in the last entry, I am too excited about my latest new purchase to even consider a fraction of seriousness.

Hoorah for new red shoes!

newredshoes.jpg

Now. I KNOW there are going to be certain smart-arses out there who will think that they look like baby shoes, but they are, in fact, real shoes, and they are all for me. Although I must admit that at a 37, they are a fraction too big.

*huggles her new red shoes*

I suppose that whilst I'm admitting all sins shoe-related, I should also say that I bought a pair of black shoes today too? hehehe.

Oh My Gosh I Love This City And Its Shoe Shopping Opportunities.

They don't look so ridiculously small on this angle. Evidently, Symphony is very helpful when it comes to taking photos.

newredshoes2.jpg

An outsider looking in

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The Petite Anglaise brought up an interesting subject on her blog today - something I've often thought about, but wouldn't have dared raise on my own little corner of the internet. *does a little golf clap for PA*

The subject of "american francophobia" is an interesting one - just as is the opposing one, "anti-americanism".

It does make me a little confused when I hear an American say, "well, I've visited and/or lived in France, and can assure you that I've never experienced any sort of Anti-Americanism". What do they expect? They're going to be spat on in the street? The French are, contrary to popular belief, fairly polite sorts of people, and they're probably not going to be rude to you outright.

As an Australian living here, I tend to be exposed to a lot of discussions about Americans. For some reason, people think that I, being an "anglophone", will have an opinion on it all - and there are positive and negative views, like with everyone, whatever the nationality.

There is a lot of discussion about "America" on the television, radio, in general, everyday conversation, and this was even more frequent during the election period and the aftermath. But I don't think that the French are ever particularly rude or cruel - they're all more concerned about the politics and how it will effect the world and their own country more than anything else.

The interesting thing that I've noticed when it comes to "francophobia" vs. "anti-americanism" is that francophobia tends to be directed towards France, French people, French food, French culture, and French politics (everything is rolled into one great big generalisation), whereas "anti-americanism" tends to be directed mainly towards political decisions and American food - the Americans themselves are left out of it.

In all honesty, I hear a hell of a lot of jokes about the British, the Belgians, and the Canadians too... There is no one nationality that gets more jibes than others. (Australia is left out of it though - hoorah for coming from a small, economically and politically undangerous country!)

Just like the fact that Australians are constantly making jokes and commentary about New Zealanders, and vice versa - I think it's only natural that a nation will direct its humour at nearly every country with which they have an economic or political relationship.

Feeling heady

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I love autumn here. There are leaves all over the streets (and it's not my job to clean them up), the skies are clear, the sunlight plays beautifully on the Seine and the white buildings in the city. I am kicking myself for not having brought my camera with me.

Hoorah for the weather getting colder - it's time to start pulling out the coats, jumpers, gloves and scarves. And, of course, the hats!

I still find it amusing that the French word for a little beanie is "bonnet".

Breathe in, breathe out

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I managed to put two magazines to the printer this week - a day early, to boot! I'm so darn cool. Yay me.

Given the highly charged week behind me, today I'm taking it a little easier - doing a few little things here and there, organising my hard drive, doing my backups, organising my desk and the files for the next issues.... and maybe... putting in my request for holiday time in December/January when my sis comes, searching for good prices on plane tickets...

Hoorah!

Mind your Ps and Qs

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Compare a hand-written note by a Frenchie and a hand-written note by me, and you'll see an enormous difference. To my untrained eye, the French seem to have a cursive scrawl that I find virtually indecipherable, but they are able to read each others handwriting without any visible problems. I tend to write with firm, round letters, almost like a handwritten Arial script. It's such a contrast to the French handwriting that I'm often approached at work to write out invitations or notes.

That said, my colleagues have a serious problem with my ones and sevens. I write a one like this : " l ". I write my sevens like this : " 7 ". My colleagues write their ones with a great big long tail on the top, and their sevens are the typical "French seven", with the bar in the middle. I've confused everyone here at least three or four times each with my sevens that look like the French ones, and my ones that look like nothing they've ever seen.

Today, after a phone call from the Printer saying, "you have a gorgeous accent, and you write beautifully, dearie, but I can't read your numbers", I finally relented and started barring my sevens. I am tailing the tops of my ones (a little one, mind you, not a ridiculously huge one), as well as attaching little feet to the bottom.

When in Rome...

Minty fresh

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Note to self :

Don't eat an artificial-tasting mint bonbon just before you're about to drink a cup of fresh mint tea. The tea will be tasteless.

A taxing experience

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I hate taxes here. I hate the tax system here. I hate tax time.

Two months ago, we started getting different letters from the tax office. One of them looked a little wrong, and we panicked for awhile. Sylvain made some phone calls and made apppointments to go and see the sorts of people who could sort it out.

But two weeks ago, we got a letter from the tax office saying that, in fact, the letter contained an error. Now that we're married and all, we've apparently been paying way more than we needed to and our tax situation is looking a lot better. Yesterday, we got our statement from the bank saying that we got a nice fat refund back from the tax department. Hurrah!

Of course, next year, because of the totally spazmo gadazmo way they do taxes here, we'll have to pay a lot more than we do this year. But at least today, for now, all is well.

I may have to go and buy me some new shoes to celebrate. hehe!

Meepity beepity bop

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There is a high-pitched beeping noise going on outside. It's been beeping for about 20 minutes now. I've closed my windows and turned up the music on my pinkuter, but it is at a pitch that manages to permeate through any other sound.

I may have to go out, find where the beepage is coming from and smash it.

Phoo. I didn't realise I could react so unreasonably to something so little.

Feeling sheepish

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Voila a small excerpt from an email that we received yesterday. This is a perfect example of how much work still needs to go into the technology that is the automatic translator, and how important it is that one rereads ones text before one actually puts it through the translator :

Nous avons commandé le titre ci-dessus... pourrions vous svp vérifier le mouton castré là a été retarde en publication.

Direct Translation : We have ordered the above title... could you please verify the castrated sheep is late for publication.

After much laughter, I managed to focus, and remembered what the English word was for a "castrated sheep" : "wether". It's clear that the English phrase was supposed to be as follows :

We have ordered the above title... could you please verify whether it is late for publication.

Time for tea

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Drinking a cup of tea in the middle of the morning reminds me of my mum.

Squeezing the teabag too hard and watching some errant tealeaves float around the bottom of my cup reminds me of my gran.

I try to drink my tea in secret, because if my oh-so-witty French colleagues catch me drinking it, they'll restart their oh-so-funny-the-first-time-but-gets-really-boring-after-100-times tirade about how much I obviously adore the Queen and how Australia is just a slave to the Monarchy.

The fact that Australia lost the "friendly Rugby match" to France this weekend doesn't help the situation either. I was asked if the Australian team was too busy drinking their cups of tea to play rugby.

*sigh*

Neverwhere and Therapy

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I'm always left with a funny feeling whenever I finish a good book - like as if I've said goodbye to a good friend.

Last night I finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and I put it down, feeling satisfied, yet with that funny feeling in my stomach - I'm going to miss the characters and the storyline. Sometimes I wish these books would never end.

I am not a fan of comic books, so I'm not sure whether I should have a look at the Sandman series or not, but he's just such a good writer that it is somewhat tempting nonetheless.

Last week I read Therapy by Jonathan Kellerman. I did enjoy it, but it didn't feel as strong as his other books. The ending was a little abrupt, as if he wasn't sure where he was going. I was glad to have Neverwhere to pick up when that ended.

More work than I can shake a stick at

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There are days when you look at your desk, then you look at your calendar, then you look at the list of tasks you've just entered in your organiser, all the while listening to people chirping at you like baby birds, and you just have to laugh.

Today was one of those days.

Tomorrow, there may be tears.

So I may have to resort to wearing bright pink socks or something.

Cat in the box

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Continuing her attempts at rebellion, this morning Symphony sniffed the wet food that Sylvain put in her bowl, walked to the front door and pretended to vomit.

THE CAT PRETENDED TO VOMIT!

She made all these vomit-y noises for about 20 seconds, whilst Sylvain and I looked at each other incredulously, and finally she vomited up a teensy tiny bit of fluid (I'm sure the exact details are most welcome), then she just sat there and looked at us.

I cannot believe this cat.

She's not sick. At all. A couple of minutes later, she sprinted around the lounge room, then sat in a shoebox and started playing with some string.

This is not the first time she has used her Oh No I'm Vomiting Trick to try to get something from us - the last time was when she was trying to get us up to feed her at 6am on a weekend, after failed attempts to do so for three consecutive weekends in a row. We eventually stopped jumping out of bed and running to clean up the vomit, and she realised we weren't going to jump at her every whim, and so she stopped doing it.

It didn't work last time, and it's not going to work this time.

But whilst Symphony was happily sitting in her box and playing with her piece of string, Sylvain and I chatted about what could possibly be going on. After all, she's eaten her Whiskas for three years without complaints. I thought it was because we'd given her the occasional tin of Sheba, but when I looked at the box of Whiskas, I noticed a big yellow spot declaring, "New Recipe!".

That could be the explaination. Perhaps she simply doesn't like the mix of herbs and spices or something like that. Or perhaps she's just being a little shit.

Stupidest thing I've done today :

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...drinking straight lemon juice.

I normally love eating slices of lemon - sucking the juice out and scarfing down the flesh. It makes my eyes twitch, but it tastes soooo good.

I just squeezed some lemon juice into a glass, for a salad that we're having for dinner. It looked so delicious and yellow, it smelled so good, just like fresh lemons (duh).

So I jumped to the conclusion that drinking the juice straight was going to be a little strong, but it should still be darn good.

I went a little overboard with throwing back the shot and got an entire mouthful of lemon juice. I'm not the sort of girl that will spit out her food (unlike some people I know), so I gulped it down as fast as I could.

Needless to say, ten minutes later, the back of my throat is still smarting, the tastebuds on my tongue are still quivering, my nostrils are still flaring and my eyes are still twitching.

I really have to wonder about myself, sometimes.

I am, however, inspired to make real lemonade. Anyone got a reliable recipe?

Working for the man

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Yesterday I was chatting to my mum (oh how I love cheap overseas phone calls!) about her relationships with the people at work. It saddened me a little, as it highlighted how much of an enormous difference there is between work relationships here and in Australia.

For a long time, I thought it was simply my place of employ that was a bit stuck up about Friday night drinks or meeting to go shopping or for coffee on a Saturday. I didn't dare ask, because it just didn't seem to be the done thing. After reading an entry by Petite Anglaise, however, I realise that I'm not the only one to see this difference. Thank goodness I'm the normal one. hehe.

I do think it does have a little to do with ones place of employ - Sylvain occasionally has drinks with colleagues after work, and when I did my stage (traineeship), I had a good outside relationship with some of the girls in my office. But from what I've seen, I think that's more the exception rather than the rule. I explained my thoughts about this to Sylvain last night, and he shrugged, then admitted that it was fairly close to the mark.

It seems to be that basically, if I want to make friends of my own here, I can't depend on work colleagues. So... I need to find some activities that will put me in contact with people.

It all reminded me of something S said to me on her last day at our place of employ. She hugged me, and said, "C'est marveilleux! Maintenant on n'est plus collegues, on est copines!" (It's marvellous! Now we're no longer colleagues, we are friends!)

I think that pretty much says it all.

Impeccable Taste

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Symphony is staging a rebellion.

It took us a long time, and a lot of trial and error, to figure out exactly what "wet food" she would eat. Since then, she's always been a Whiskas gal, polishing off her morning and evening meal with a flourish.

Until the day that I brought some Sheba home.

Life of the Party

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I've just spent my Friday evening watching Alias and ironing.

I'm terrified of myself and what I may be becoming.

The only saving glory was watching Sylvain sit on the floor and try to match socks and fold underpants.

hehe.

In Training

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Last night on the train there was a group of 8 men in their 40s and 50s. They were all in business suits and lounging around on those classy bright orange vinyl seats that characterise my RER. They were taking up two lots of 6 seats amongst them, which was ok, because the train was not full.

I moved down to the opposite end of the carriage and stuck my nose in my book for a few minutes, until I was given a fright by a sudden outburst of loud laughter from the group. All of the men, except one, jumped up and fled to my end of the carriage, laughing, and seated themselves nearby. The man left behind opened the windows around him, doubled over with laughter.

It was pretty obvious what had happened.

âllo ?

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There is a big meeting going on. Nearly everyone is participating in the meeting, but there are a few who are not. We're all taking advantage of the relative silence and lounging in my office, including the receptionist. The phone rings, and the receptionist starts to get up.

Katia, waving her away, says, "don't move - I'll get it!"

Get out of my way

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It's one thing to combat cramps and crankies when one is at home, with husband and cat, with spaghetti bolognaise and chocolate mousse, with Notting Hill on the tv, with a hot water bottle and a red mohair blankie (thanks Alexis).

It's another thing to be at work with cramps and crankies and deadlines and being completely defenseless.

I wonder if I could bring my hot water bottle to work. I may have to remove the blue fluffy dog cover, but it may be the only solution.

No one had better cross me today.

Changing tracks

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This morning I arrived at work and, as I stepped through the front door, I was pounced on by two journalists. I hadn't even had the chance to put down my handbag and get a cup of coffee.

"Can you do this?", "Can you see if this looks ok?", "Can you have this finished by lunchtime?" - the questions were thrown at me one after the other, and considering that my primary concern was, of course, putting down my handbag and getting a cup of coffee, I babbled out a few cursory responses.

One of the journalists looked at me and said, "wow, you have a hell of an accent on a Monday morning."

I looked at him and said, "count yourself lucky that you're getting a response in French, buddy."

Surfing

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So, I've finished the actual content of the four articles. I need to edit, re-read, polish - but the vast majority of the work is done. I'm feeling very proud of my efforts.

Last week, when I upgraded my blog to MT3, my sheep-like self decided to follow of the rest of the blogging universe and join Blog Explosion. I don't really care about people coming to read me here, but I think it's a wonderful way to find new blogs to read. There is a lot of crap out there (and I have come to a conclusion that I absolutely loathe reading political entries), but over the last week, I've added at least 10 new blogs to my reading list. I find myself occasionally surfing for a minute when I need to take a breather from my work.

I wonder what The Next Big Thing in blogging will be.

Use your ears

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I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall. I explain things over and over again, but there is no listening going on.

At first, I thought it was my French. Then I thought it was the way I was explaining it. Now, after having watched other people trying to explain other things, I realise that it is the subject who is not listening. Hearing, but not listening.

Ok. Rant over.

Breathe.

Noisy Neighbours

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When I first arrived here, we had a lovely family living in the apartment just above us. The father was a gendarme, the mother was a schoolteacher, and the kids were never noisy. We heard not a peep.

A year ago, they moved into another, bigger apartment in the same complex, and the Family From Hell moved in. I know nothing about the father (although I did hear him yelling a few times), the mother walked around constantly in high heels (echo, echo, echo through our apartment), and the two boys spent all their time dropping things on the floor. Specifically, these were things that dropped and bounced and rolled and echoed through our apartment. They were so noisy, it was a relief when, a month ago, they also moved to a bigger apartment in the same building.

Puppy problems

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Oh dear, that poor puppy is still howling its heart out.

I'm seriously considering writing a note for the owners. They probably don't even realise that their dog cries all day when they're not there. I don't care about the noise - it's the obvious unhappiness of that poor puppy that I'm worried about.

I wonder if writing a little note is acceptable, or if it's overstepping the line. Being neighbours with people here in Paris is nothing like what it is back in Australia.

Sylvain suggested that we tell the Guardian - but I think that would be taken as a complaint. I don't want to complain about it, I just want to let them know that their dog is miserable when he/she is alone all day.

Bathroom Cleanliness

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We have a bath/shower, and all of the shampoo, body wash bottles, body scrub pots, hair conditioner treatment pots, face wash bottles and loofah stuff normally sits directly underneath the shower part - within easy reach of the person who is showering. Because I don't use all of the aforementioned products every time I take a shower, and they're covered in water at least twice a day, sometimes water can get stuck behind them and between them and all of that. It can get a little funky on the end of bath shelf, and I am required to clean it nearly every time I have a shower, in order to keep it spick and span.

Last weekend Sylvain moved all of the shampoo, body wash bottles, body scrub pots, hair conditioner treatment pots, face wash bottles and loofah stuff from one end of the bathtub to the other.

Now it's all sitting at the DRY end of the bathtub! No more goopyness and circles created underneath the pots and jars and bottles!

Who knew cleanliness could be so simple?

Who knew?!

Oh golly. I'm so bored. Waiting for Sylvain to get home so I can have someone to talk to (other than the cat).

The dog upstairs is still howling. Poor puppy.

Travelling Joes

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On Toms advice, I decided to look up some information on the Orient Express, as a travel possibility for January, with my sister and Sylvain. It sounds absolutely brilliant - just about 100 times more expensive than I can afford to pay ;) Anyway, it's put (dangerous?) ideas into my head - one day, Sylvain and I will do the whole Paris-Istanbul trip and back. I think it'd be marvellous.

I think Carolyn might want to go to Spain, but I don't know if she realises that Sylvain speaks Spanish. That would take away the sense of adventure that I think she wanted to have in going to a country where none of us understands what is going on. I'm currently leaning towards Italy, or maybe Austria (I nearly typed Australia! LOL!).

I'm getting terribly excited about seeing my sister - it's been more than 10 months since I've seen any of my family, so it's really perfect timing. Any longer and I'd start to be feeling seriously homesick.

I've written too much today - I'm feeling terribly out of sorts and incoherent. Perhaps it's time for a cheddar toastie.

Churning it out

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Two floors above us lives a dog. Its owners must be out, because it's been howling all day long.

This just confirms my belief that dogs definitely should not be kept in apartments. Of course, it seems that every second Parisian has a dog (if the amount of dog crap on the sidewalks is anything to be judged by), so I doubt that my belief is shared by many.

*sigh* I really want to go upstairs and give the doggy a hug.

Despite the noise, I've managed to get 2 1/2 of my articles done. I'm certain to finish the third one this evening, which leaves all day tomorrow for the fourth article, plus revision and editing.

This is so the last time that I volunteer to do four articles in six days, whilst I have big deadlines for my real job. Meep.

I'm still thinking about asking if they'll pay me in plushies. heh.

Good intentions

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Today is a day of writing.

Sylvain is going to play at putting cars together with a friend (as if he doesn't get enough of that during the week!), so theoretically there are no distractions. No Sims 2. No FFX.

The only problem is that writing about Neopets necessitates playing the game. I write a few lines, then need to clickety-click to do a bit of reasearch, then I read my neomails, reply to things on my guild message board and Poof! There goes half an hour.

Stick to Word, and you won't get hurt. I am to get 3 of the 4 articles out of the way today.

Hey boys, hey girls... here we go!

Leave me alone

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Dangnabbit - I hate blog spam. I've upgraded to MT3 (which I lurve, btw), and until I reinstall mt-blacklist, comments are going to be have to go through approval before they go online.

Blame the spammers.

*shakes her fist vehemently*

Reading, writing and 'rithmetic

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I finished the fourth book in the Hitchhiker series on Monday - the day that the Editor of the NeoMag contacted me to say, "can you write a few articles for us?". I say, "sure!". He says, "deadline next Monday!".

I must not buy any more books until I finish these articles. I must not buy any more books until I finish these articles. I must not buy any more books until I finish these articles. I must not buy any more books until I finish these articles. I must not buy any more books until I finish these articles.

I know if I buy a book, I'll want to read, read, read - and nothing else will get done.

I must finish those articles this weekend. I've been way too distracted by fixing my blog in the evenings. I've already got most of my notes done for three of them, now I just need to sit down and write them.

Oooh. How do I get myself into these things?

Next week I have Friday afternoon off. Perhaps I should finally go and sign up at the American Library in Paris, or at least go and have a look and see what they're about. I'm just so lazy - once I'm on the train to go home, I'm not really keen on jumping off and going gallavanting around strange parts of the city that I don't know. I'm so unadventurous.

Travelling buddies

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So my sister is coming for Christmas. She booked her tickets a few weeks ago, and I'm really very excited. Her tickets say that she'll be here for a month (!!), but she may gallavant a little in Lebanon or another random country for a little while too. I don't know. I'm just excited that she's coming to see little old me!

Ok, I know that she's not really coming to see me. I know she's coming to have a great big adventure and it's just conveeeeenient that I'm living in Europe. Free accommodation and whatnot, who can blame her. I'm just ûber-excited and can't wait to give my lil sis a hug.

Sylvain has bet that it will take less than half an hour for us to start arguing.

My bet is less than 5 minutes. She'll come through those doors at the airport, and we'll find something to disagree about.

But those are the things that you're supposed to do with your sister.

Brown paper packages tied up with string

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Last night I received an absolutely fantabulous surprise in my letterbox : a package from Australia.

The said package contained 6 Neopets plushies from MacDonalds, vegemite, a big map of Australia, a cat magnet & a note from my dad. I jumped with joy over the Neopets plushies, drooled over the vegemite, pointed at places on the map, stuck the magnet on the fridge, and got teary over the note.

I'm so grateful to have the family that I have.

Hoorah for dads who put on brave faces and go to MacDonalds to get Neopets plushies for their daughters living overseas!

It really made my day.

A Stab in the Dark

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What are those pencils called? The ones which come in plastic pencil surrounding things, and you push the end to get the lead to come out? And you can refill them with new leads? Those pencils? What are they called, again?

I've forgotten the word in English. What is the world coming to.

Anyway. Those pencils are great. Really great.

Except when they're randomly floating around in my handbag and they stab me in the hand.

Owies.

Construction site

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Energy beginning to dwindle.

Will to continue fiddling with blog diminishing.

Entire evening wasted.

Things will be funky all over this blog for awhile yet. I know. I know. Things don't work. Stop a'pickin on me.

Must write 4 NeoMag articles by Monday. What a productive use of an important evening.

Can you say Meep!

I wonder if I should ask them if I can be paid in plushies.

Broken blog getting fixed

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Oh the drama of a broken blog. Am in the midst of fixing things. This default template is definitely not going to stay!

Excuse the mess and falling debris.

Oops! There goes a curly bracket...

Don't blame it on the sunshine

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As overjoyed as I was to get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, I am mentally unprepared for it to get dark so damn quickly. I now have to walk home from the train station in the dark. Sure, there are street lights, but there are also dark pockets of pitch black darkness that could hide all sorts of creepy things.

Like giant spiders.

Come back to me, my sun! Come back!

Lemming-tons

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Last night, after perusing my Little Aussie Cookbook for an hour or so, Sylvain decided to tackle Lamingtons. These are the very same Lamingtons that I decided NOT to make last week, because they required too much effort.

Despite being extremely fiddly to make, they were, I must admit, an outstanding success. Delicious and moist, I even brought some in to work for my colleagues today.

I'm pretty sure that Sylvain made them, just to prove that he could.

Sylvain stood in the middle of the kitchen last night, happily dunking the chocolate-y squares in the shredded coconut. "I'm more Australian than you are..." he exclaimed, looked at me cheekily, and added a very quiet, "...mate!"

Oh, the horror.

Bobbly bits

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We had a marvellous long weekend. I'll never understand why France, a nation which prides itself on the seperation of The State and Religion, still has so many traditionally Catholic holidays.

But I am not one to argue, as this means we have lots of fabulous public holidays at the most seemingly random times! Hoorah!

So, this weekend, we did many and varied things. So many and varied things that I cannot be bothered explaining them here in my blog. Rest assured, however, that the things we did were many and varied.

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