Category Archives: Random

Featuring Canaille

By   November 17, 2009

Not much going on here these days. After tomorrow, only 4 weeks of classes left for the semester and I only have one more lesson to prepare. December is going to be so easy. Except for all the correcting of recordings and tests.

The weather was actually very sunny and warm these past few days, but I was stuck inside at work the entire time. Oh well, the clouds and rain will be back soon and I’ll be happy to be stuck inside with the heat.

Thanksgiving is next week and I’m trying not to think about it. At least I don’t have to work. But I don’t know if that will make me feel better or worse…

I’m off to watch RAI or listen to Warum Nicht podcasts. And since I have nothing interesting to say: cat pictures!

Stretch to the left!

I shall wait until you look away before I start digging.

This chin scratcher is excellent. (He either rubs his face on it or sleeps on it. Never scratches it with his claws.)

Why is no one rubbing my belly?

I fit on this thing quite comfortably, actually.

My American Market

By   November 7, 2009

Win a 40–euro gift basket of your favorite American treats!

Are you struggling to satisfy your cravings because you are:

–  Embarrassed to ask your family and friends for one more favor?

–  Fed up with products that melted or broke during the transatlantic trip?

–  Worn out from having to rush around Paris, search for parking spaces and drive in traffic?

–  Frustrated from having to wait until your next trip or someone’s visit?

–  Tired of bringing back heavy suitcases from your trip to the US?

Then, My American Market has been designed for you: it is a hassle-free online store for your American food and beverage staples.

My American Market’s best features:


One of the largest assortments of American food and treats in stock and ready to be shipped.


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Fast Delivery

Your order will be processed within the next business day. Your shipment will be securely packaged and sent via La Poste Colissimo. In France, it will be delivered to your door within 2 business days.


My American Market uses a 128bit SSL encrypted checkout system. You can choose to process your payment online, on the phone or by check.


Get connected with Europe’s American community and friends.

Great customer service

The American way, period!

It is time you do something about your cravings! Visit the online “épicerie américaine” today: and enter coupon code “BLOG21” to get a 10% discount on your order (shipping costs not included).

To win a gift basket, follow these simple steps:

1.    Copy these pink paragraphs (include title)

2.    Post them on your personal blog or website.

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4.    Leave a comment and the link to where you blogged about My American Market

5.    Uh that’s it!

Make sure all links work properly: the one to, the contest homepage, as well as your blog’s post.

The winner will be randomly picked as soon as 50 blogs have enrolled and notified through the link they left to their post. If you have more than one blog, you can post the message several times and enter for more chances to win!

Good luck and happy blogging!

Just another October 31st

By   October 31, 2009

I didn’t decorate for Halloween this year, didn’t buy any candy and didn’t carve a pumpkin. It really doesn’t feel like Halloween at all. But fall is definitely here.

David & I went to the marché this morning after stopping by the optician to order my new glasses and contacts (for a grand total of 16€! Thank you new mutuelle!)

Then we walked back home through the park and enjoyed our pain bio and Tamié.

This closed shop reminded me that I need to buy some new boots for winter, but I will probably have to wait until les soldes.

Goodbye October. Hello November.

Concentration, where did you go?

By   August 13, 2009

I’m having trouble concentrating these days. I don’t know if it’s because I’m no longer in college or because I moved to France and don’t work much, but I have grown so lazy. I promised myself that I would get back to reading and studying as much as I did before when I was an undergrad. I’ve got almost all my books here with me in France, and now I have a new desktop computer to work on. And since I have a ton of free time, there’s really no excuse now.

I suppose my biggest problem lately has been wasting time on ridiculous websites that just suck you in, and before you know it, hours have gone by and you’ve done absolutely nothing. So I installed the Leechblock add-on for Firefox to prevent me from looking at all those time wasters. I copied over the hundreds of gigabytes of language files that were on my external hard drive, and I will get them all organized so I can actually make use of them AND make a schedule to stick to for studying.

At least I have read three of the nerdy books that I got while in the US – Second Language Learning and Language Teaching by Cook, Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition: A Rationale for Pedagogy by Coady & Huckin, and Vocabulary in Language Teaching by Schmitt – and finished watching season one of Les bleus : premiers pas dans la police which is a great series for learning slang, though it’s actually better to watch it on TV (M6 or W9) since the DVDs don’t have subtitles and those channels do.

Next I’ll start Colloquial French Grammar by Ball. It looks really useful since it describes how people actually speak instead of how people should write, as 99% of language books tend to do. I suppose I’m going to start on it tonight since I’m still falling asleep around 5 AM…

Je dors plus la nuit

By   August 12, 2009

Why do the effects of jet lag always feel so much worse in Europe?
Whenever I’m in the US, I go to bed really early and wake up around 5 AM.
When I get back to France, I go to bed at 5 AM and it sucks.

Listening to text messages / SMS / textos in France

By   May 10, 2009

Someone called our apartment this morning, but as it was a 01 number (i.e. Paris) that I didn’t recognize, I assumed it was a wrong number. But they kept calling back every 20 minutes. So I finally answered and heard this:

Vous avez reçu un SMS en provenance du 06 xx xx xx xx. Faites le 1 pour écouter….

WHAAAA? It’s possible to send text messages to a landline and listen to them?

The message was something like “Je suis ?? Je peux passer” read by a female computerized voice. I didn’t recognize the cell number either, and since almost no one has my landline number, I’m assuming it was a mistake.

But I’m wondering how effective this service is with the way people write text messages in French. I still have a hard time figuring out what people are trying to say half the time with all the alternate spellings and numbers replacing syllables!

So if you receive a call from 01 41 00 49 00, you have a new SMS. If you want to send an SMS to a landline, you need to use the original number (the ones that begin with 01 through 05) and not the number that your ISP gives you (09 for Free, etc.)

I’ve tried it with both of our cell phones so far, and Orange uses that 01 number for the caller ID, while SFR uses the actual cell phone number. I always wondered what would happen if I accidentally sent an SMS to a landline, and now I know that it doesn’t just get lost in cyberspace.

Anybody know if this type of service is available in the US too?

Where did all of this stuff come from??

By   May 9, 2009

Packing sucks.

I still don’t know what day we’re moving, but I’m already packing some things that we won’t be using in the next few weeks. We have so much stuff! And I don’t know where it all came from! We’ve only been in this apartment for two years, but I wasn’t even in France when David moved our stuff here in June 2007 (I was visiting Rose in Cairo). So maybe we’ve always had this much stuff and I never really noticed before.

We looked at 4 apartments last week, but only liked the last one. We’re going to try to visit 5 more this week. Michelle arrives on May 17 and we leave on May 19 for Milan, so I’m really hoping we can be moved and settled before then… which is in 10 days!!!

The one we liked is a one bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor (2nd floor in France), near the university, with a huge living room and modern kitchen. There’s no balcony though. We’re going to send in our dossier on Monday and see what happens. If we get that one, we could move in on May 18 (my 27th birthday). Honestly, I’d prefer a 2 bedroom apartment so we can have an office/guest room, but they’re usually too expensive or right downtown where I do not want to live.

This will be the fourth place I’ve lived in France, none of which were really my choice. I rented a room when I was an English assistant, and then David & I lived with roommates for a few months before we moved into this apartment – which we only took because his sister was leaving anyway and it helped us save money over the summer. But I’ve never really liked it and now I cannot wait to leave for good. I’m very anxious and stressed about when we’re going to move, especially with the timing of my trips, the few days I actually work in June and David’s training in Montpellier.

So back to cleaning and packing to work off some of this stress!

Do As the French Do (but without the mistakes)

By   April 29, 2009

Which city was the capital of Roman and Christian Gaul?

a. Nice   b. Arles   c. Marseille

The correct answer is, of course, LYON. But Ross Steele’s When in France, Do as the French Do claims the answer is c. Marseille, even though page 92 clearly states “Lyon, where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet, was the capital of Roman and Christian Gaul.”

Another gem is the quote “More recently, in 1996, Mario Botta, an Italian, designed the only new cathedral built in Europe during the 20th century, at Evry, north of Paris.”  If by north, he means south, then there’s nothing wrong with this sentence. Evry is located in Essonne, which lies directly south of Paris, unless you’re holding the map upside-down and disregarding cardinal directions.

I may not be a “renowned expert on French culture” but I sure know somebody who needs a proofreader…

Semester is over and vacation is here. But why am I still so stressed?

By   April 28, 2009

I finished my last class of the semester on Monday and I am now on vacation. Technically I don’t work my regular contract hours again until mid-September when the next school year begins. Though I am working extra hours in June at a conference and proctoring the make-up exams for the other English lectrice who is returning to the US tomorrow. So I should be relaxed and happy and carefree and all of those other wonderful emotions that people feel when on vacation, but I am not.

I suppose it’s just the long “to do” list, to which I endlessly add things, but never accomplish. You would think having all the time in the world to run errands means that those errands will get done, but that is not true. Most of them involve making appointments, which I am too lazy to do, and/or spending money, which I do not want to do. So the only things I accomplished today were mopping the floor and making zucchini bread. But I WILL go to the préfecture on Thursday morning to get my new carte de séjour (they’re closed on Wednesdays, of course).

Plus I am still baby-sitting and doing private lessons this week, so I can’t really say that I’m not working because watching two young boys and teaching English one-on-one is hard work. Those will be finished by the end of this week, and David finishes his current job on Thursday, so we can finally focus on the apartment search this weekend. I’m really hoping we can find a place on the ground or first floor (so Canaille won’t die if he falls from the window/balcony…) that is within walking distance to the university and also David’s job downtown, but we’ll see. I haven’t been impressed so far with any annonces I’ve seen online.

In the meantime, I’m trying to catch up on responding to e-mails. I’ve only got 67 left. If you’ve sent me an e-mail or private message in the past 2 months, I most likely have received it and you will get a response within another, um, 2 months?