February 2006 Archives

When it snows


Perhaps it's because I hadn't experienced this until my arrival in France, but I do hope that I will forever be able to retain this childlike appreciation of when it snows...

The thrill of seeing falling snow still rushes through me like a lightening bolt and I press my nose against the windowpane and try to think of an excuse to go outside. It is too much for me - I don't need an excuse, even at 10.30pm - so I race out the door and am overwhelmed with the feeling of tiny little flakes of snow on my face and in my hair, even as I shiver in my tshirt, jeans and birkenstocks.

When it snows, the world seems to slow down. The noise from the busy streets is muffled, and everything appears to move slower. Even my feet, crunching softly on the thin layer of white, seem to belong to someone else. I can almost imagine myself to be all alone - not surrounded by millions of people in this big city - with a veil of delicate snowflakes falling in my hair and on my outstretched hands.

When it snows, I'm sure that magic can happen.


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The Robin Hood count is up to 3 (reasonably good really, given all the juicy malevolence).

It's been fun.

But I'm looking forward to him coming home.

And, my dear Symphony, if I thought that sitting beside the front door miaowing pitifully would help matters, I'd be doing it too.

Ode to the discarded sock pile


A fleeting taste of the single life,
The pile of discarded socks grows, slowly.

I relish the naughtiness of it.

Phone calls, emails, text messages.
21st century communication
Heralds the arrival of guests.

With reluctance,
I kneel on the floor,
The habit of a lifetime
(When you were little,
My mother sighs,
You left socks under the couch,
Between the cushions,
Behind the bread bin)
And I realise
That I must comply
With the demands of society.

Discarded sock pile,
It was fun while it lasted.



For the last two months, I've been having a lot of vivid dreams. The sort of dreams that involve me being back at university and realising that I'm going to fail an exam or not turning in the last paper for the semester and knowing that I'm going to have to do the whole class over again next semester. I wake up, and for a minute or two I am stressed and unsettled because I don't know where I am or what I'm doing.

This week, those dreams have stopped.

The northern lands


Still no moose sightings, and no reindeer sightings either ("except for on my plate", he snickers), but snow is better than nothing.

Put a sock in it


So, this temporary bachelorette life is treating me pretty well. I am enjoying taking up a little more space in the bed and eating spaghetti bolognaise for dinner (nearly) every night. Little things. I don't have any horrible habits that I'm suddenly reverting to now that Sylvain has gone - mostly because I have never hidden any of my horrible habits and he just has to live with them.

Except for the sock thing.

I love to be barefoot. I have a tendency to whip off my shoes and socks as soon as humanly possible - I'll often kick them off under my desk at work and will almost always take them off whenever I enter someone elses house. So, when I get home, I take off my shoes at the front door, walk into the lounge room, sit down and take off my socks. They end up being scattered around the lounge room and I think, "oh I'll put them in the laundry basket later".

Sylvain hates this. I mostly do my best to behave when he's around, because it is rather lazy of me not to put them in the laundry straight away.

But since he's been gone, I have slowly accumulated a healthy little pile of discarded socks in the middle of the lounge room floor.


It's my pile of my socks and I'll deal with it when I feel like it.



I hate ads that cover the following subjects :
- "light" products (especially when the advertising campaigns involve ridiculous statements such as women "finally" having a "choice", and the actual product tastes like crap)
- cleaning products (specifically those which promote "nice smells" in ones abode, and when the apparatus which produces the nice smells looks like it's farting - "poof!")
- hygiene products (particularly when they involve thousands of women marching through a big city and declaring their independence)



On Saturday night, as Sylvain was packing his bags, I suddenly remembered that he had given me his leftover Swedish currency after his visit in March last year. He had suggested that I exchange the kronor for euros at one of the large number of exchange centres here in Paris, but as is typical of both of us, I promptly forgot about it and the Swedish notes sat in my purse for 12 months.

So, this brainwave hits and I triumphantly pull out the creased and crumpled bits of paper, brandishing them in front of Sylvain's nose, and Symphony swatted at them with interest. "Look at what I've got! It's your money from last year that I forgot to exchange! Isn't that lucky! You can take it with you now!"

Sylvain looks at me bemusedly - he's as scatterbrained about these things as I am, and after all, one could argue that I wasn't being forgetful, I was, in fact, being organised ahead of time, knowing that he was going to be making this trip.

He took the money from me and flicked through the notes. He flicked through them again and looked up at me, "do you know how much money this is?"

I shrug.

"3000 kronor... that's just over 300 euros..." he shook his head. "That's 300 euros that you've been dragging around in your purse for the last year."

Scatterbrained indeed.

Of ducks and laughter


Today my boss was telling a story about a recent train trip that he had taken in the TGV. The lady sitting across from him got up from her seat, picked up her bag, and left the carriage. She left behind un canard enchainé and my boss explained that he picked it up and the lady came back and yelled at him. He was terribly embarrassed.

Everyone laughed at the story, but I was confused. Un canard enchainé? A tethered duck?

As is typical in such situations, my big mouth got the better of me and I spoke before I thought, translating as I went, "un canard? en laisse?" (a duck? on a leash?)

I kicked myself as the words were coming out of my mouth (surely I could have figured out another way to say "what is this thing of which you speak?"), and everyone in the room thought it was hilarious. I blushed even more as giggling colleagues from across the hall called out and asked me if I had a pet duck.

It was kindly explained to me, after the laughter had died down, that Le canard enchainé is a newspaper here in France.

Who knew? Who seriously names a paper "The tethered duck"?

The French. That's who.

It's been awhile since I've said something silly like that. I had obviously lulled myself into a false sense of security and it's only natural that when I do say something silly it's a big'un. I suspect it may take me awhile to live this one down.

Btw, I told my boss that this was definitely a bloggable event. He laughed and told me to write a version in French just for him. Désolée! Je n'écrit pas en français. Ou, au moins, pas après le boulot ;)



Finally. The opportunity to sleep.
Finally. Unhindered by worries and concerns that should be kept within the boundaries of 9am-5.30pm.
I sleep right through. Right through.
Saturday morning cartoons. Coffee in one hand, Tim Tam in the other. Pick up knitting.
Nestling, cocooning, recuperating.
Hugs from my husband and kisses from our cat.

And then, this morning at 6.15am, Sylvain left for three weeks of work in a cold, northern country. We've swapped out our sim cards and exchanged phones, and he's on strict instructions that any moose spottings must be moblogged (and photos will turn up on my sidebar and flickr).

Three weeks of ...
... getting up five minutes early to give cuddles to Symphony, to make up for the time he normally gives her
... taking the bins out myself
... sleeping alone in a king-sized bed, except for the thankful presence of a purring cat
... smelling only my own perfume in the bathroom
... waiting for my husband to come back home.

Three weeks. It's not that long, not in the big scheme of things, and we've been apart much longer in the past, but today it feels a little daunting.

I did, however, decide to take the bull by the horns and began my three weeks of temporary bachelorette life by making a massive pot of spaghetti bolognaise (enough to last me for 4 days), knitting and watching five straight hours of Pride and Prejudice. I think I'm off to a good start.

But the really important question is this : how many times will I watch Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (extended version, with more juicy malevolence, thanks to Kyliemac) in the next three weeks?



Katia climbs into bed, "I have to get up early... again..."

Sylvain reaches over to the alarm clock, "what time do you want me to set the alarm then?"

Katia mumbles incoherently and Sylvain chuckles. She rubs her eyes, "and you seriously have to kick me out of bed. Otherwise I won't get up."

Sylvain looks at her, "kick you? Really?" He laughs again.

It occurs to Katia that he was sounding a bit too enthusiastic about this. She hurries to clarify the situation, "but if I start crying, you have to stop."

Sylvain grins, "so if you don't get out of bed tomorrow, I kick you. And I shouldn't stop until you start crying?"

Katia flicks off the lightswitch, "you're a sadist".


Of course, it's always on those nights when you need to get a good night sleep, when you need to get up early the next day, that sleep evades you. You're tired, but your brain won't stop ticking.

I imagine a big flashing neon light, "No Work Zone" - sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't. Last night it didn't, and I lay in bed tossing and turning for hours. I suspect it doesn't help when I keep saying to myself, "if I fall asleep in the next five minutes I'll still get 5 hours sleep".

In an attempt to catch up, tonight I'll think of my gran. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Or in my case, early to bed, early to rise, makes the Aussie Lass a little cranky, with no overtime pay, but at least she gets her work done.

Of green pens and jailbreaks


A nose stained green, the guilty pen having also left blotches all over my fingers, was noticed in the mirror whilst on a toilet break several hours after the event. A wayward underwire making a quick getaway from my bra.

Frustrated by why I was not told about the former by those around me, and thinking myself lucky I didn't get stabbed in the chin by the latter, this is a good representation of my day.

Wrinkles are a sign of wisdom


Hypothetically speaking, if I were to put the tumble-dried and therefore heavily creased doona cover (duvet cover) on the bed, is it wrong to stand back and consider running the iron over the bed?

Quite frankly, I find it surprising that I've even found the time to wash the darn thing.


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