Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve

Do you hear what I hear? It's the magical sound of espresso beans whirling around machines in Dublin Starbucks as they await my arrival. And if you listen really closely, you'll also here the cocktail shakers being chilled in preparation for my martinis at the Octagon Bar (Bonjour Bono... make ready my bar stool).

Tomorrow we are off to Dublin to spend nine glorious days surrounded by English speakers where I can let my brain get all lazy as I turn off my internal translator. And as for speaking English, well I don't plan on shutting up at all. I'm going to talk, talk, talk. Plus I'll be aided by copious amounts of Gingerbread Lattes to help me on my chatterbox quest (Christmas in a cup... yum!). I'm sure for my family Christmas 2010 will forever be remembered as, 'that Christmas where Sara never shut up.' How very lucky for them.

Today I'm packing the suitcases, making the rounds to Le Villagers dropping off Rice Krispie Treats (this Christmas, I'm giving a taste of America), and saying au revoir to Le Petit Village...

{La Petite Notre Dame}

Because soon I'll be saying bonjour to Dublin...

Holiday wishes and kisses

 from The Husband, Fifty, and me.

See you next year! 



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's A Cheese Cheese Cheese World

I'm talking about cheese again. But it's not my fault. I live in a country with about 400 cheeses. We're all about the cheese here. This is what happened...

Friday morning we awoke to a snowy icy village. Too much snow and ice for The Husband to drive to work (the roads in and out of Le Petit Village can get real bad, real quick, and don't get salted). Snow day. Now last year The Husband had a snow day, and since that one drove me batty, I learned my lesson. I had a plan; as soon as The Husband starts to go stir crazy (which he will) get him out of the house.

The Husband was stir crazy by 8:30 (it doesn't take long). Time to put my plan into motion; I steered him in the direction of Honey Jr's next door (pretty good plan, no?). A few minutes later The Husband returned with his own plan. Brother-in-Law was also at Honey Jr's (I'm guessing he was stir crazy too and Child Bride and I have the same plan). The three of them put their boy heads together and decided that a snow day should be celebrated. And it should be celebrated with cheese. That's right, cheese. We celebrated our snow day with not only a Raclette, but Fondue too.

Fondue and Raclette? 
It's insanity I know! 
Here's me all bundled up with my bag of goodies. 
It's off to Brother-in-Law's I go. 
(That was a poem. Sort of)

On the walk past the snowy war memorial, 
I bumped into Fifty's girlfriend, Vicky, and stopped to say bonjour


We arrived at Brother-in-Law's, shed all the layers, and settled in for the cheesy cheese madness. 

Honey Jr toasted...

The Husband and Child Bride ate. A lot. 
Child Bride's La Petite is becoming 
a serious rival to The Husband's Food Whore.   


{half baked}

We drank some homemade pear digestif to burn through all that cheese. 


All the while chaperoned by Professor Python.

{he's not really a professor}


(Thank God It's Cheeseday)



Sunday, December 19, 2010

chez husband

Because sometimes you have to put your husband on a Time Out.  



Friday, December 17, 2010

itchy feet

"And just out of curiosity, are you Irish or American who just lived in Ireland for a while?" Good question Shorty. It's probably confusing sometimes times with all my New York, Boston, Texas, Dublin talk. And to be honest, sometimes The Husband gets confused too and he tells people that I'm Irish and this gets on my wick because no I'm not, I'm American.

So I'm going to try to unmuddle everything. And this is great for me because it has been a slow week in Le Petit Village with nothing much to report (except; Monday night The Husband saw a dog get hit by a car, and then on Tuesday night he hit a deer. The Husband has needed a lot of cuddles this week). So unmuddle I will do. And there may or may not be a quiz later.
(There won't be a quiz. I don't believe in quizzes on Fridays)

Let's see... where to begin... to quote the Sound of Music (because that seems like a Christmasy thing to do) "Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start"... My mother. My born in Dublin, Irish mother hightailed it to NYC as quickly as her little eighteen year old legs could carry her (It should be noted that she didn't actually run to NYC, she flew, and also  technically she moved to New Jersey, but as soon as the Au Pair gig ended, it was nothing but the Big Apple for her).

And it was there in the Big Apple on a hot summer night she met my Massachusetts daddy. Two weeks later they were engaged and four weeks after that they got married. My mother with flowers in her hair and a white lace mini while Hey Jude played in the background. It was all very peace and love wasn't it? For the record, if I was to get engaged after two weeks and married after six I'd be in serious trouble and probably grounded no matter how old I was. (But like Mom, I did get married in a mini).

And then on a cold February day, I made my debut into the world in the glorious city of New York. Because I guess I figured if I could make it there I could make it anywhere. And I grew up in NY until one day, while looking out over Manhattan through the window of my mother's office on 5th and 42nd (an address that really might as well be the center of the universe) my mother uttered these crazy words, "We're moving to Texas." 
Hold up... What? As visions of cowboys and tumbleweeds rolled through my NY head.

So Mom and I moved to Texas and Dad stayed in NY and then the D I V O R C E happened. And then I flip flopped back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until the college years where I figured out that the stars at night, truly are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas so I'd decided to stay put.

And stay put I did, until my feet started to feel itchy and I wondered what else was out there in the big wide world. And I thought that maybe my mother who had returned to Dublin shouldn't be there unsupervised because lord only knows what kind of scraps she could get into, or maybe she was lonely and would really like my company (for the record she wasn't and she didn't) and so I sold my Cherokee, packed some trunks and away I went to the land of Leprechauns.

Meanwhile my Dad's feet had gotten itchy too, and he scratched them all they way back to Massachusetts, and then he met my step-mom. So he returned to his roots and now I'm always looking for cheap plane tickets to Boston. Because sometimes, a girl misses her daddy.

And it was in Dublin's fair city that I met The Husband and voila... now I'm in France. (One day I swear I'll post the story of how we met). So to sum up and cover all the places bases... Dad is in Massachusetts, my childhood belongs to NY, lots of my stuff sits in storage in Texas, I'm in France and Mom is in Dublin. Until next month when she moves back to Texas.

It's those damn itchy feet.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Baby...

Because I've been an awful good girl;

I'd like a bathtub. If I'm going to be picky about it, I'd like a huge claw foot tub with a chandelier overhead Mariah Carey style, but I'll take a regular old bathtub too. Just someplace where I can relax in bubbles and soak my tootsies.

My stuff out of storage in Texas and here with me would be nice as well. (I am planning on doing this myself sometime next year, but it would be really great if it kind of just teleported here on it's own. And preferably in time for Xmas so I can decorate with my Santa Claus collection).
And the bonus of not seeing my stuff for seven years; it will be like getting all new stuff. Except the stuff will be dusty and grimy. (Note to self, have multiple packs of cleaning wipes on hand while unpacking).

I'd like plane tickets from Nice to Boston to be really cheap (like really cheap) during the first three months of 2011. I promised my dad I'd be back by then and I really don't want to break that promise.

More, more, and more French lessons with my tutor Sophie. I'm thinking of calling her Annie Sullivan*, because she's a miracle worker.
*Helen Keller's teacher.

Because sometimes you need a Lifetime movie day, I'd like to turn on the TV and have Lifetime and Hallmark movies waiting for my viewing pleasure (in English please). They were always my lazy indulgence, to be watched alone. Preferably on the couch, under a blanket, while stuffing my face with ruffled chips and french onion dip (and here's a thought... you'd think I'd be up to my neck in french onion dip since I'm in France and all, but nope, none is sight... sometimes life is confusing).

The next time I'm grocery shopping at Hyper U, Intermarche, or E.Leclerc, I'd like for the store to magically transform into Whole Foods.

And here's something feasible I'd like; The Top Chef Cookbook  (Hey Husband... are you reading this? hint hint)

A little bit more will power to put down the damn baguette, croissants, and cheese would be great too Santa. Just because The Husband comes home with those Nutella stuffed doughnuts doesn't mean I have to eat ALL of them.

Santa, we've already talked about the whole Starbucks thing and I'm still waiting. I appreciate that you put one in Marseille (I know that was for me so thanks) but it's not like Marseille is a hop, skip, and a jump.

And finally, I'd like a bun in the oven.

Thank you Santa


Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday is Cheeseday

Just as last Sunday I was stuffing myself with the wonderful gooey goodness of the Raclette, yesterday we indulged in cheese again, but this time in the form of the Fondue.

Clermont was playing Leinster in Rugby. And since The Husband's home team was playing my Dublin team we had to do something. Melting cheese seemed like the right thing to do. Voila... Fondue.
(And when is melting cheese not the right thing to do?)

But because I am without a fondue pot and Honey Jr is not, he scored an invitation to our teeny tiny fondue party. Plus he's a wonderful distraction for Fifty. In Fifty's eyes, Honey Jr is a big bonbon.

Emmental, Comté, and Beaufort cheeses were shredded into the pot, with a bit of flour, a pinch of paprika, and a glug of wine and then stirred stirred and stirred until it all blended together into deliciousness. Then a bit of baguette is stuck on the end of the fondue fork and dipped into the pot until covered and dripping with cheese.

{before and after dipping}

We cheered on the rugby sipping beer and dipping the bread until no more dipping could be done. Well except for The Husband. The Husband does not get full as quickly (RE: Food Whore). And because subtlety is not his forté, he picked up the pot and ditched the fondue fork.

{me like food}

Which totally reminded me of another adorable Food Whore...

But at least The Husband is wearing pants. 


Saturday, December 11, 2010

I'm Scared of Le Père Fouettard

In two weeks it will be Christmas. The year has flown by so quickly, I can hardly believe that soon, The Husband and I will wake up at my mother's house on Christmas morning in Dublin, sit down to a full Irish breakfast (hint hint Mother) and then be off to celebrate the holiday with the family.

This time last year, I was preparing for my first Christmas in France. Out of curiosity, I googled French Christmas traditions and this is what I found out (it's kinda scary).

(originally titled Nothing Says Christmas Like a Flogging and posted 15.12.09)

OK, this is weird. I was doing a little reading about French Christmas traditions. Figure since I'm here, might as well find out the happenings of the holiday, French style. And there is no use asking The Boyfriend, he is useless at relaying this kind of information.


In France, Santa Clause is Père Noël, nothing strange there, but Père Noël has a partner, and it's not Rudolph. It's an evil man named...dun dun dun....
Le Père Fouettard!

(sounds a bit scary doesn't it, thought it needed that dun dun dun).

According to my sources, the ever reliable Wikipedia,  Le Père Fouettard was a guy who kidnapped three little boys, robbed them, killed them, and then chopped them up and put them in a stew.

Holy Reindeer Droppings! How the Fudge does this guy end up having anything to do with Sugar Plums and Mistletoe? Apparently, Jolly Ol' St. Nick some how discovered the crime (maybe when Le Père Fouettard's name was flashing in red lights all over the naughty list) and magically resurrected the children (nice tie in to J.C. there - it is his birthday after all). Le Père Fouettard ends up feeling bad and becomes St. Nick's partner and goes around with him on Christmas.

But get this, Le Père Fouettard doesn't become all full of holiday cheer like Ebeneezer Scrooge, he's still sinister, so instead of handing out pressies, he punishes all the naughty children instead. Usually with a good old fashioned flogging.

Nothing says Christmas like a flogging.

Safe to say, I'm usually a well behaved girl, but after reading about you know who (don't want to type his name again in case it has some sort of Beetlejuice effect) I'm going to be on my best behavior this holiday season.

Don't want you know who coming to town.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

wifi panic

This is the story of what happens when I wake up in the morning and discover that my Wifi is on the fritz. Upon realizing that I am cut off from the world I automatically say, "f*ck" in a breathy, exasperated whisper, while rubbing my barely awake face. I then discover that the Wifi has decided not to work on the same morning that I have run out of coffee. 6am, no internet, no coffee. Not a fun way to start the day. Obviously this is some sort of conspiracy and for the moment, I'm blaming Fifty. He's been ignoring me this morning anyway.

I make a cup of tea in place of my coffee and while sipping it, I mourn the loss of my tea making skills that I have obviously left in Dublin. And since the tea is not cutting it, I decide that I will have to go to the bar with my Starbucks to-go tumbler and have The Parisian pour two cafés au lait into it. He always looks at me like I'm an alien life form when I do this but I don't care, for a brief moment I can pretend that I'm in a Starbucks (it's a rather active imagination I have).

I turn on the television and the only thing on that looks even remotely interesting is a show called Enquêtes au Coeur d'une Prison de Femmes (investigations inside the heart of a womens prison). And then I ponder why morning television here is a little strange. Where in the world is Matt Lauer?

I reset the Wifi box every few minutes with my fingers crossed praying that it starts working before my French lesson this afternoon. (My lessons are via Skype, how Jetson-like is that?). And then I resign myself to the fact that I may end up cut off from the world for the day, and contemplate how much I can actually accomplish without the interference of the wonderful pesky internet to distract me.

But then I think; if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Like if a little American sits internetless in the middle of B.F.E. France, will anyone know that she's here? Anyone?

(Wifi came back on thirty minutes after I woke up. 

I can do a lot of panicking in thirty minutes)


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Heart Raclette

Let me tell you about my friend Raclette. Raclette is both a cheese and a party and it's all the rage in Switzerland, France, and probably loads of other countries too (because yeah, it's that good).

See, you take one of these grills...

And you put slices of Raclette cheese on the little plates inside until it's melted. When the cheese has melted to your desired level of gooeyiness, you scrape the cheese  on top of meats, potatoes, and any other goodness you'd like. Add some wine and voila... it's a party. Hence, Raclette Party.

Papa's Wife loves a Raclette, and when she phoned on Friday to invite us over on Sunday for her first Raclette of the season, I knew that she had been swept up in the Christmas spirit. And get this, besides partaking in the deliciousness that is the Raclette, Papa's Wife wanted us (us as in Brother-in-Law, Child Bride, The Husband, and me) to help build the little rock walls for her Christmas creche. RSVP yes thank you very much.

Raclette + Xmas creche building = holiday family fun time

So The Husband and I picked up Child Bride and headed over to Papa's House. Papa and Brother-in-law would be joining us later. After they killed a wild boar. Because apparently, Wild Boar Hunting > Raclette.

We were greeted by a smiling Papa's Wife and a table setup with all the Raclette goodness... meats, slices of the Raclette cheese; both natural and fumé, plump cherry tomatoes, potatoes, cornichons, pearl onions, and of course wine. I felt gleeful. I was picturing my stuffed self tipsily (but ever so deftly) constructing a mini Provencal rock wall for the creche. Like I said... holiday family fun time.

But then the Grinch that stole Christmas happened. Or more precisely; the Papa that stole my holiday family fun time happened. When Papa had heard that we were all to participate in the mini wall building, he threw a tantrum, and said that it was his favorite holiday thing to do and he wanted to do it all by himself. I guess Papa doesn't want to share his toys.
(OK, I don't know if he really threw a tantrum but it's fun for me to picture it in my head). I had to readjust my equation.

Raclette + wine = holiday family fun time 

And so we ate and ate and kept on eating. And Papa and Brother-in-Law hunted and hunted and kept on hunting. Which was really fine with me because I didn't want to share my food. (I was totally bogarting the chorizo).  

So the final math of this story is that four people (4 1/2 if we count la petite in Child Bride's belly) can eat Raclette for six. But I can't figure out that equation.

Math + Me ≠ Friends

And did you notice that I typed la petite and not le petit?


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Princess for the Day

{ho ho ho}

It started with this chocolate Santa. The Husband came home from the épicerie with it for me. So very sweet, but oh how I'd love him so much more if he was made of cheese instead (the chocolate Santa, not The Husband). And that brings up an important question; 
why are there no cheese Santas?

So The Husband came home with this chocolate Santa, which is like the sweetest thing ever, almost as sweet as when he came home with those Nutella stuffed doughnuts (Which he did again this week! I'm beginning to think The Husband likes his women a little on the pudgy side).  

And then he announced that he would be waiting on me for the day. I'm not sure why, or what for, he certainly wasn't in any sort of trouble (that I'm aware of) but if your husband tells you that you aren't going to have to lift a finger all day you kinda roll with it, no?

I became an island unto myself on the couch with my magazines while The Husband busied himself with the art of waiting on his lady (me). He started to make a fire, do this dishes, and make hot chocolate all at the same time. It was like the Tasmanian devil was whirling around my house. The path of destruction that was left in his wake was a thing of beauty

So what if the house smells like burned milk, Fifty has dish soap on his head (don't ask) and I had to find  'how to build a fire' instructions on ehow? 

I felt like a princess all day.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

my furry little angel

This very same weekend a year ago, The Husband and I set out to buy a Christmas tree and decorations. Somehow we found ourselves at the animal rescue center instead. 

Of course the rest is history. 

In honor of one year with Fifty, I'm re-posting the very first post I wrote about my furry little angel, when I was still oblivious to the amount of work that goes into raising a puppy. Before I became obsessive about vacuuming, thanks to his ever shedding fur. Before I knew the joys of coming home to a mangled appliance or de-stuffed cushion, or disemboweled stuffed animal. Before I began to question my sanity, because what type of crazy person gets a puppy in the beginning of December? Housebreaking a puppy in the dead of winter... poppycock!

It really was a lovely, innocent time.

Something happened on our way to pick out a Christmas Tree...

...we picked up this little guy instead.

His name is Fifty, he's three months old, and he snores. Loudly.

And if you don't take him for a walk IMMEDIATELY after drinking water, he piddles.

And he likes to chew fingers.

But he's adorable and gives sweet sweet kisses so all that piddling and finger chewing is quickly forgiven.

And he's very smart.

He already understands 'NO' in two languages.

And here we are a year later.

{I heart Clermont Rugby}


Puppy child to The Husband and me.

Boyfriend to Vicky.

And BFF to Honey Jr.

We love you Fifty.

But this year I'm getting a Christmas tree.


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