February 2007 Archives

After effects


I think I would have preferred a migraine* as a physical manifestation of the state I'm in at the moment, as opposed to the horrible cold sore that popped up on my bottom lip two days ago. It's been a good 7 years since I last had a cold sore and I'm feeling incredibly unadorable as a result, and not even my hair sticking out all over the place and my super-fantastic super-long super-dangly earrings are silly enough to make up for it (they're almost down to my shoulder, that's how silly and long and super-fantastic they are).

If I was not at work I'd be getting vodka involved. Surely that'd kill the cold sore, not to mention the added benefits of instantly making me feel better.

Damn socially acceptable behaviour.

* at least I can control my migraines. This came completely out of nowhere.

Happiness is in small things


I'm lucky to be surrounded my people who inspire me every day. Mmy mum recently wrote a list of things that make her happy, and I thought that it was a wonderful idea.

Pain au chocolat. Especially when it is still warm, so the chocolate is still all melty and delicious. Melt-alicious!
Kitten kisses
Taking a photograph that truly captures a moment
Looking at the ocean. For hours.
Spaghetti bolognaise
Long phone calls
The middle of a good book
Surprises in the mail
Laughing so hard that I hiccup. An inevitable state of affairs when I'm with my sister.
My first glimpse of Australia from the aeroplane window as I fly home



Of course, he noticed the pseudo mouse pad had not been changed. Within half an hour of coming home. And he made a smart-arsed comment about how I've obviously been so busy since he's been gone and that must be the reason I hadn't bought myself a "proper" mouse pad.

But I can't really complain. He brought me mums-mums. Nearly birdie num nums and close enough that I squealed in excitement. Apparently he couldn't go past without getting them.

He knows me too well. Chocolate! Marshmallow! Biscuit! Mums-mums!

Birdie mums mums! (almost birdie num nums)

For those people who are interested back home (and elsewhere, why not?), check out his flickr stream for a couple of photos of his snow-covered adventure.

Of flowers and fenugreek


Making our way through the Sunday market at Versailles, we are assaulted by a cornucopia of delightful odours - strawberries that have fallen to the ground and been crushed underfoot, the occasional cut mango or clementine that the merchants leave on top of the enormous mounds of fruit, the inevitable rotisserie chickens, spitting and turning, a sort of delicious olfactory fog surrounding the cheese stand.

My tummy growls.

We walk past one of the many flower stands and one particular smell stops me in my tracks.

Mimosa. Or wattle, as I've always known it.

It's uncanny how a particular smell can take you back to something in your past - in the middle of a French Sunday market, I found myself back in the Australian countryside of my early childhood, walking down the wattle-lined driveway after school, the smell of the bright yellow flowers heavy in the air. I can almost feel the gravel under my feet, the dust circling around my ankles, my schoolbag slapping against my back.

So we now have a vase of wattle sprigs on our coffee table. How could I resist?

Now I just have to figure out why I immediately and invariably think of the pantry back on the farm whenever I open the jar of fenugreek, especially since Mum tells me that she doesn't remember having any in there...

Wattle (or Mimosa)



Sylvain is coming home soon.

There is just one thing he told me he wanted me to do before he got back. And it completely slipped my mind...

For the last two years I've been using an optical mouse with my laptop. I need a mousepad, because our coffee table is made of glass and, of course, the optical mouse doesn't work on that, and since it doesn't work on my "old" mousepad either, I've been looking for a new one. So whilst I've been looking for this Fantabulous New Mousepad (it's taking me a while to find "the one"), I've been using a folded piece of A4 paper. Which progressively gets grottier and grottier with finger smudges and coffee stains until I finally get sick of it, throw it out, and go grab another one from the printer. And so the cycle goes on.

He has gotten slightly frustrated with this little trick of mine and just before he left, he instructed me very clearly to make sure I had a new "proper" mousepad by the time he got home.

I'm looking forward to him coming home. I am looking forward to sharing the Responsibility of Symphony. Especially at night (although for some reason, whilst he's been away, I've been sleeping either on his side or crossways on the bed, so I need to get out of that little habit). I am looking forward to having someone around to take the bins downstairs. And I am looking forward to getting a hug.

But I'm not sure what he's going to do when he sees my Pseudo-Mouse-Pad sitting on the coffee table.

Maybe if I used coloured paper instead of white...

Switched on


My mum always had the radio on when we was growing up. Sitting in the kitchen, it was constantly tuned to 3LO. Our childhood was punctuated by the news, on the hour, every hour, information about current events, and, of course, if it wasn't being shown on television, the football in the winter and cricket in the summer.

I don't know whether she kept it on for company - perhaps, given that she was alone in the house, while my dad was out on the farm. She even brought the portable radio outside with her when she was in the orchard, or in the vegetable garden, or weeding, or pruning the roses. The only time the radio wasn't on was when my dad turned it off. Which he invariably did when he came in from work.

I was wandering around the apartment today, cleaning and tidying (despite my ear infection, which is making me very cranky and tired, and one reason I'm taking the day off), in anticipation of Sylvain coming home later this evening. I don't like having the television on if I'm not watching it, so as usual, I set up a few podcasts to play on my computer (Sunday Night Safran, Triple J's Hack) and was in the middle of scrubbing down the stovetop when it occured to me - I'm doing exactly what my mum did. Sure, podcasts are "new media", but these ones are still from the radio and it's essentially the same thing.

The voices in the background - especially the Australian accents - are comforting.

Although it freaks me out slightly that I'm following in my mum's footsteps. Sorry, mum ;)

Oh, and episode 22.

In my dreams


I often dream of the people I care about, or of people who have been significant in my life at one point or another. I usually have a tremendous amount of fun in these dreams, and I laugh so hard... and I feel so good about it when I wake up that I feel that I really have spent all that time with them, and it's almost hard to believe that it hasn't really happened.

It might sound crazy, but I look forward to going to bed every night and dreaming. It's a way for me to feel close to these people that are so far away, and I'm glad they're still so physically present in my life. Of course, I could just pick up the phone and call...

But given the cirumstances that are unfolding around me at the moment, I am grateful for the moments of folly, and the comfort of familiarity, even if it's only in my dreams.

I would like, however, to stop dreaming about participating as an attendant in my sisters possible Flight of the Valkyries wedding. I don't like getting blood splashed on my tunic.

Creatures of Habit


Whilst Sylvain is away, I find myself the Sole Attention-Giver to Her Royal Highness Symphony.

Given that cats are Creatures of Habit, the fact that Sylvain is not here throws the Young Lady's Daily Routine out of whack. And who is left to pick up the slack?

Normally, Sylvain wakes up slowly, moseying out to the kitchen after at least ten minutes of contemplating getting out of bed. In which time Symphony profits entirely from his barely-moving state and gets copious amounts of cuddles. I, on the other hand, jump out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off (if I lie in bed, I'll fall back asleep) and head straight to the bathroom for my face-washing, hair-brushing, getting-ready-for-work routine. Given that I set my alarm for the Latest Possible Time, leaving no margin for error, there is no time in my morning for unscheduled ten-minute hugs.

Symphony has been completely destabilised by all of this over the last two weeks and sits by the bathroom sink, staring at me pitifully as if she is suffering from lack of attention, with the result that I can't help but pick her up and hug her and then end up missing out on breakfast because goodness knows I can't possibly miss my train (because we all know how that ends up).

When things are going As Normal, at night she typically comes and sits on my chest whilst I read. She'll spend a few more minutes there, purring, after the light goes out, then will proceed to the side table where she will drink out of her glass of water (it used to be my glass of water, five years ago, but she appropriated it and after a Long Battle, it's still hers and so I keep a bottle of water beside the bed instead), then she'll sit there for a minute until she burps, then she'll go and eat some crunch, then she'll spend a minute digging in her litter box, and once all that is done, and ONLY once all that is done, will she finally come back to bed. She will nuzzle underneath the covers and place herself firmly between my legs (a destabilising habit, if one is not expecting it, and is something we have to warn overnight guests about). She'll generally start off the night with me, but because I wriggle too much in my sleep, she tends to finish it off with Sylvain.

Of course, since Sylvain has been here, I've been the one bearing the brunt of all her night-time habits. Mix my nocturnal wriggling with her constant twitching and purring and scratching and licking and burping and sniffing and it makes for an Aussie Lass Who Hasn't Had Much Sleep Lately.

I'm looking forward to when Sylvain gets back.

Because both Her Royal Highness and I would like to get back to our normal routine. And I'm sure he does too.



This date doesn't really mean anything to me, even less so since my dear Muffin Man is still far away in the land of ice and snow.

I am grateful for the mountains of work I've got to do at the moment, because I'm theoretically too busy and too exhausted by the time I get home at night to miss him.

Although I still do.



A good friend nervously commented to me the other day that sometimes I'm a little bit negative about France on my blog.

I love friends who feel that they can be honest with me like this, and her comment really made me think. I replied that my blog is a record of my time here, and the longer I spend in France, the less excited I get about the simple things I used to get excited about when I first arrived, and the more frustrated I get about the things that I don't necessarily like. And anyway, I'm certainly not writing this for the pleasure of anyone but myself... and if I can't be honestly with myself, then who can I be honest with?

It's probably blindingly obvious to anyone that knows me that I have a real push/pull relationship with this country and Australia, and if we could have the best of both worlds, we would live half our time here, and half our time there.

It's no coincidence that in an endeavour to enhance my appreciation of this country and its people, for the last six months I've been undertaking a number of different projects. Experiments in photographing the heart of the country. Outings that open my eyes to things I would never have thought of doing and seeing, and the subsequent (somewhat irreverent) podcasts.

And then, of course, there are times when I think that I've got the French pegged - I know what they're like, I say, as a people - then something happens to throw me completely off balance and I have to reconsider my entire assessment.

This is what I love about this experience. I am sure that even if I lived here for a lifetime, I'd never get stop being surprised by the French, by France. I know that I'm lucky to live this.

Oh, and episode 20.



"So what did you have for dinner?" I ask Sylvain over the phone.

"Salmon," he replies. "And potatoes."

"And last night?" I smile, my mobile wedged between my ear and my shoulder as I fill a pot with water for pasta.

"Salmon," he sighs. "And potatoes."

"So what about the night before?" I ask.

"Salmon," he laughs. "But don't worry, I had potatoes for lunch."

"I'm glad you're getting a varied diet in Sweden, love," I muse, and stir a bubbling pot on the stove. "Guess what I am having for dinner tonight?!"

"Bolognaise!" he exclaims.

"Yes!" I am very excited. "And guess what I had for dinner last night?"

"Bolognaise!" he exclaims again. "And there is no need to say any more, I bet you've had it all week."

He has an excuse for eating the same thing every day - remote location, static menu at the one available restaurant - but I can't say the same thing for myself. Except for the fact that it's easy to make, reheats really well, I can't be bothered cooking elaborate stuff for just me, and, oh, did I mention that I love bolognaise? I LOVE it. If there was one thing I had to eat for the rest of my life, that would be it. I LOVE it.

Oh, and episode 19!

Lost : one brain


I finished my work day at a reasonable hour tonight. Reasonable, at least in comparison to what I've been doing lately. I had my knitting, and was thrilled to be seeing some people that I hadn't seen for awhile, particularly a certain someone I don't get to see very often.

I put my headphones on and switched on my ipod. I walked out of the door, and into the wet cobblestoned street. I got on the train and half an hour later, I found myself walking up the hill, just minutes away from home.

That is, I was almost home, instead of being in the middle of the city, where I was supposed to be. I thought, "wasn't there something I was supposed to be doing?"

I seem to have misplaced my brain today.

If anyone comes across it, I'd like it back. A small reward is offered, in the form of a chest massage from my cat. She has several years of experience and I promise to cut her claws before she starts.

Chain reactions

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It's funny how one thing can lead to another. The cup of my own new-found confidence and willingness to defend myself overflows (it just CLICKED in my head and suddenly, I wasn't afraid anymore - who knew?), and I watch it happening, proudly, in the next person down the line, and then the next person... Who knows where it will take us?

Oh, and Episode 18!


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Sylvain has gone to Sweden.

For three weeks.

He's going to have the time of his life.

Whilst I am stuck here in France.

Although now I think about it, it could be worse, I guess.

I'm going to miss him a lot. His company, his hugs, his patience, his ability to listen, his smile, his presence.

All that, and the fact that he takes the bin downstairs.

Lucky I had someone here today who was willing to do it for me, so I didn't have to touch it. I think it was only because I fed her, but I might have to keep more people like that around.


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When things around me are uncertain, there are lessons to be learned. I look to the people I care about for inspiration, for the strength to stand up for myself and take my destiny in my own hands. They are small, these hands of mine, but I think I can do this. My pride, my integrity, is worth it.

When everything around me is racing so fast that I can barely keep up, I slow things down in my heart and breathe. Time is precious, and I consider it well spent, sitting for half an hour, waiting for a leaf to stop fluttering in the breeze so I can capture it with my camera.


So it begins

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2007 started off with a bang, with a very old friend getting married last weekend. We were sad not to be there to enjoy the celebrations, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, we were able to witness the excitement as if we were there. Although I'm still waiting for photos. Anyone?

Anyway, isn't it fantastic when drunken shenanigans involving cheese get broadcast to the world, and we can comment on it on our blogs for posterity? Future generations will thank us, I'm sure.

But I think this is only the beginning. This year I suspect that we're going to be in for a wild ride.


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This page is an archive of entries from February 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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