Friday, March 31, 2006

Muffin and croissant by the lake

Yay, spring is here, so we decided to go eat the breakfast by the lake.
First a little walk to the baker to buy muffins and croissant, then sitting on a bench in the park facing the lake. Bright sunshine, temp of 70's, the sound of the wave, just perfect opening for the day...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Since Last Friday, we have not been apart.

He will leave Monday, the 3rd.

The kids are counting the days they get to spend with him, me too!

Some things that happen while our frog is with us...

Hysterical pee in your pants laughter, from all of us.
Many stories on all different subjects, all the time..(who needs TV)
Lots of cuddles.
New cuisine (somehow the kids eat ANYTHING he makes, even turkey hearts!)
Lessons on principal, morals, and life. (in a wonderfully loving and nurturing way)
Hikes in the parks.
Experiencing new things

Things that he does for us, without even us asking...

Fix my shower drain.
Reorganize my disorganization (then says he likes to do it for me)
Makes everything in our house safe (by French standards)
Helps Pickle with his ancient Roman culture project (*yawn, boring for me)
Somehow gets everyone in the house super motivated (even the animals)
Makes or builds things for me to make my life easier (No, you cannot have him, he's mine)
Loves us all unconditionally!

I really could continue, but I would much rather crawl in bed with my sick frog, yes, he has done all that and more, while suffering with a cold.

Our home and life is complete with him, and for this week, we are all living in synch. When he leaves, it's tough, Cheese will hold onto his ankles, begging him to stay, Pickle will shed many tears and hug him over and over, and follow behind him while he leaves, the dog will park himself by the car and me, well I cry too, but wait till the next weekend he can join the family again.

But right now, all is well, and we are together.

Isn't life grand!?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

sad day, happy memories...By Thomas

Today is somehow a special day for me. 2 years ago, my grand father died. It happened very suddenly and I never got the chance to tell him goodbye, nor to make him proud (at least it's the way I feel). I don't pretend to know everything about his life, but I remember being a little kid and listening to his stories or to people talking about him. A little part of history, my history died that day, that I will never know about.

Like a lot of French, my family is originally from Spain, Basque country more precisely, and came to France (the French part of the Basque country) around 1910. My grand father was first of second to be born in France, and was raised by his mom and sisters after his father (a contractor) died by being struck by lightning on the bridge he was building in Bayonne. I am not sure what happened next, but as I understood the oldest sister escaped to Scotland with all the family money, leaving the mom with the 3 younger kids, my grand father, 3yo, and his brothers, 5yo, I think and 2yo. They then moved to another city in a different "country" (from Basque country to bearn). My great grand mother not speaking a word of French or the local dialect, I am not sure how things worked out, but it must be why my grand father made a point that his kids would speak French and only French. After that, I don't know what happened, just that he studied at the seminary for awhile, before escaping or something like that and ending up in the army in Algeria. He then was back home, where he met my grand mother, got married and as a honeymoon he had to go fight. WW2 was starting.

This period must have been very traumatic I guess, cause he was talking a lot about it, yet not fully, just giving information bit by bit. I don't really have any clue about what happened during the war itself, as it was rather short and am not sure that he was too happy about it (he always used to call Petain a traitor). The period from 1940 to the liberation is full of info, yet there is no real chronology as there are only specific events there. As the coldest he has ever been was a winter in the Vercors. About how he and a policeman had to stop a Panzer division at the entrance of a tunnel long enough so his friends could evacuate. They just had a mule and a machine gun, and really thought he was going to die that day. How my great grand mother was giving flowers blue-white-red to the German officer passing in front of their house every day. The fact she was Spanish helped her not being in trouble (vous-etes une petite coquine, was saying the officer in a horrible French). Their house was in front of the Kommandantur and they could hear very often at night, people screaming in pain. How one day, this tall blonde and beautiful lady who was walking with her German shepherd was shot by the resistance on the street in front of the house (the car arrived and tactactactactac was the way both my grand parents described it). I also know that when my father was very young (his oldest memory as he says), he got scared while playing in a tree when a Panzer stopped and started turning, I guess as a joke, its turret toward him, and so my grand father decided it was time to move and started building a house in the middle of what was then woods. He also had funny memories, on how his brother once sent a trunk full of guns to Paris by train. But had to pick it back up a few days later as no one picked it up and the trunk just traveled Pau-Paris-Pau, without anyone opening it. The one memory that really cracks me up was how they were passing messages to the Resistance. They were putting the message in a can and asked the kids on the way to school to play soccer with it. Germans at the check-up point usually laughed and even played soccer as well with the kids. The one memory that was coming back a lot though was how once he was waiting to be interrogated at the Gestapo, a German soldier told him: I think you want to run...Now!! Quick quick, escape! I am not sure he ever saw that soldier again but he sure saved his life.

He was also talking about his brothers. But not too much, I just know that one got gassed and one who was in the 2nd DB of Leclerc. When they stormed the German headquarter, took a silver plate with the Nazi eagle and the letters A.H engraved ( I have seen that plate at my grand pa's.) and some red curtains in which my grand mother made pants for all of her kids.

After the war, he opened his garage, built more on his house, and was producing his own veggies and fruit. I remember playing in his garden for hours and hours, or climbing high in trees half naked and screaming like tarzan (yes well I was about 6), eating apples, pears and other fruits from the tree while he was shaking the ladder to scare me. He was a happy man, always joking, passionate with history, but strict on rules and morals. I didn't get to see him for the year before he died and was planning on going to see him the next week. I guess that's why the saying, "ne remets pas a demain ce que tu peux faire le jour meme"....

Not sure why I am talking about this here. I first wanted to talk about him and make parallels with what some French-bashers are saying about France and its people, but anger just went away as soon as I started thinking about him. But anyway, if any french-basher comes to read this post, just know that my 2 middle fingers are waving at you.

Monday, March 27, 2006

April fool's day is coming..By Kim & Thomas

Any ideas on how to fool the kids??

We have painted their faces during the night, we put stuffed animals in their backpacks, to jump out at them in school in front of their friends, we taped the water sprayer on the kitchen sink, pointing directly at them, and a couple of other silly things.

BUT, we need new, original material!!!

Thanks in advance:)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Simple tips to find a hairdresser! By Kim

As I have been reading in many posts from bloggers, it has come to my attention, that some people are having a hard time finding a good hairdresser. Sometimes it can just be a matter of communication, a matter of matching tastes and opinions, or sometimes there are just bad hairdressers.

I happen to be a hairdresser, so maybe I can help some of you who are having troubles.

Here are some useful tips in getting a good cut, color/highlight, or style:

1) Always insist, especially the first time with someone, to have a minimum 15 minute consultation.
2) Wear your hair the way you normally would wear it, make sure the stylist takes note of how it looks. I always feel the hair, move it around with my fingers, so that I can get a feeling of what it does when its dry.
3 )Let them know exactly how much time you are willing to invest in your hair.
4) Bring pictures or look in books, don't just show them what you DO like, its extremely helpful to show them what you DON'T like as well.
5) Gestures work really well.
6) When discussing color, if you say, "I don't want to see any red", remember that everyone's perception of red and gold is different, a good colorist will show you lots of pictures and ask you to point out the ones that you see with red in them.
7) Relax and let your stylist get to know you, tell them things you like, etc. It's helpful for me to know if people tend to be conservative, uptight, easygoing, crazy or whatever.
8) Some people will bring in photos of how they have worn their hair in the past, ones they liked, ones they hated, every bit of information is helpful.

These are pretty basic things, most of you probably know them already.

There are plenty of bad stylists out there, I have worked with my fair share of them, had to fire a few or re-train them. Generally a good stylist it seems, is one that listens and takes their time.

One myth that seems to follow us hairdressers, is that if you don't go to us anymore, we are bothered. I can only speak for myself, but I am never bothered when this happens, we are not doctors, we don't carry your entire medical history, styles change, peoples needs change, and in fact its always good to experiment. I love it when a client that I have done for a while, goes somewhere else and then comes back. I get to see someone else's ideas for their hair. I try to tell everyone that, as I really hate when I see someone who has not come to me for a while, and try to hide or make excuses, that is what makes me feel uncomfortable. I must be this way, because while I was a client, I had numerous hairdressers, and never even thought they would all be bothered if I was seeing them for different things!

I hope this little bit of information that I can offer, can help someone!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Freedom, respect, and other morals... By Thomas

To continue yesterday's post, I have decided to extend my thoughts in different directions (especially after reading all of the comments). This will once again reflect mainly a personal opinion, so I don't expect anyone to agree.

If there is one thing that definitely differs between France and USA is the perception of the notion of freedom. For example, the Freedom of speech (and I think this is mainly what I am going to talk about here) is used to convey any idea, thought or philosophy. I have no idea what the spirit of the text originally was, but nowadays, people will use that particular freedom of speech to justify anything they say, because they can. It is guaranteed in their Constitution. And in a way it is a good thing.

In France, a text similar to the Bill of Rights was written in 1789, the Declaration of the Human Rights. Just like the American one, this declaration ensures the freedom of the individual, but unlike its American cousin, that freedom is not without bounds. My freedom has no bounds other than those that ensure to the other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights. These bounds may be determined only by Law. The same way, The free communication of ideas and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man. Any citizen may therefore speak, write and publish freely, except what is tantamount to the abuse of this liberty in the cases determined by Law. This difference may sound awful to Americans as it is really hard to define these boundaries, and in a way I will tend to agree with them. But....

(Now I guess my title will start to make sense) These bounds are in a way nothing but respect for others, and our limitations in what we say, or do, are a question of morals. Now as great as the Bill of Rights may sound, there is one thing bothering me. It's when that freedom of speech is used to promote or trivialize racial hatred and xenophobia(American Nazi Party, KKK...or trivialization of French Bashing)... In a world of tolerance, and mutual respect, the first amendment would be perfect. But human nature is not as such. And so when someone is bashing or insulting a whole race, a whole people or a whole Nation, with the justification of Freedom of speech, and in return expect no resistance reaction, I don't agree. I know I sound very French here and I don't expect any American to agree, but should we accept, in the name of Freedom, the most extremist ideas, and say nothing against it? My answer is no. If people are not able to put themselves limits, should the society set moral bounds? Yes, that's what laws are.

Now to answer a more specific comment that said: What I don't understand is if so many people are unhappy with her blog, why keep reading it?. Isn't that saying: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil? I don't like it so I pretend it doesn't exist? In that specific case I talked about yesterday, I am not denying her the right to be frustrated and express it, but if she can't use a bit of "esprit critique" and know when her comments are insulting to others (or to me - insulting a country is insulting every citizen of it), then yes I have to right to say I don't agree. ( I would also like to mention that in return, I have never insulted her back, and would never). In other words, if someone wants to use his/her freedom of speech, at least show a bit of respect for people. That is all I am asking for. If that is too much to ask, well let me know.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Droit de Réponse by Thomas (a French man)

Kim recently told me about that blog (click to see) she is reading about an american (who happens to be "trapped in trappes", poor her) living in France and not really being that nice about France and the french people in particular. I went there to read some posts and I somehow want to react.

If I have to believe her either France is a third world country far worse than Afghanistan and I am not aware of it, or she is just the unluckiest woman on earth and just happens to meet the wrong people, to be at the wrong places and so on. I will not deny her point about the fact that there are problem in France (I actually never understood how some foreigners had only nice things to say, as myself am getting frustrated about certain things), but what I can't accept is that she just generalizes to the whole country and every individuals in the country. Her excuse for that, blogging is just to vent, to get the negativity out, but not to get comments (especially negative ones). That's where I guess we disagree. If she was just ranting about frustrating situations happening to her, that would be one thing, but she seems to systematically blame the whole french society and going on about old stereotypes. And she expect people not to react, or take it personally?

Now, Imagine that I was starting to complain about all the things I find frustrating in USA and extend it to every Americans, I wonder what you guys would say. For instance, I find American people disgusting. Everytime I go to the bathroom in a food court, I see about 90% of the guys, not washing their hands after their business and then eating their food...with their hands, yeeeeeeeeew! Did you reconize yourself in that example, cause I can tell you that it is what I saw. Well I dont reconize myself when she says French arent taking showers or whatever. I could go on about all the things she is complaining about and give counter-examples, but that isnt the point here.

Venting is one thing, insulting a whole country a whole people and expect no negative reactions is another. Generalising and stereotyping that way is to me nothing but racism. Things are not working in France, that is true. Some French are disgusting, that is true. Some French are...whatever you want, that is true too... You will always find negative points about a country if you are looking for them, and that is also true about the USA. If we had to discuss together, she would see that I would be probably complaining about the same exact things as her and possibly even more. The difference is she puts every one in the same bag. (Would she blame me if tomorrow her car doesn't start? maybe not, but reading her blog I am asking myself that question). She somehow reminds me (I am not saying that's her case though) of these people who are unhappy with their lives, but blame it on other people rather than making a move and change their situation.

This was a very personal opinion, yet you can post comment even if you disagree or want to insult me. I am sure that some of you know exactly who I am talking about, and don't mind if she knows about that post... I would actually be glad to show her that France is not all that bad, if you know how to appreciate it.

Oh and by the way, I have noticed that generally the more you focus on the negative aspect of things, the more negative things happen to you.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Is an eye tooth really worth 10 bucks?? by kim

Serious dilemna here...

Little Cheese lost his tooth, right before bed!! I know, I know, how wonderful! Yes! But NOT when you only have a $10 dollar bill and nothing else, not even coins. So my question is......Do I give 10 bucks for an eye tooth?? Do I leave a note from the tooth fairy asking for change? Do I leave a note saying, "the toothfairy is out ill today, please leave your tooth for her to come again tomorrow", Do I leave an I.O.U.???

I have checked every little nook and cranny in this house for a single dollar, went through all the laundry and the couch, and nothing! nada! zip!


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hungry enough to eat a horse? kim

Before you say "neigh", as I had once said before. Try it, its very good! I have tried many different things, including turkey hearts. And I have to say this was quite delightful! With a taste similiar to beef, yet a bit more sweet, very tender and not once did I imagine the horses I took lessons on as a kid! I find it funny, that some people will eat bambi, but not trigger.

I agree, it is not something I would eat very often, more for just a special treat. But I am just wondering what the general consensus is on eating this type of animal. There is an ongoing debate in the U.S. over the right or wrong of making a meal out of horse, I just wonder what you think? We eat cows, duck, chickens, dear, geese, pigs, fish, lobsters, crabs, etc. etc., why is it such a tabboo thing to say you would eat horse for dinner?

So, again, just out of curiosity, how would you feel if you sat down to dinner and realized the steak you were eating was in fact horse?

I've finally been tagged, I'm no longer a virgin! Kim

I luckily found that I had been tagged, by looking at buzzgirls current post, otherwise I would have not known it! So I will do this, cause I would be happy to, but I will not tag anyone else, mainly because I'm not totally sure who would have already done one, and also because, I'm not sure who regularly reads this, if any at all. (I'm new, so I don't expect many people actually reading:)

So here goes----->


1) Love Actually
2) All the Harry Potter's
3) A fond kiss
4) Goodbye Lenin


1) Alabama
2) Germany
3) Illinois
4) New York

FOUR TV SHOWS I LOVE TO WATCH....(I'm not watching much tv, so this was hard)

1) ER
2) Beauty and the Geek
3) Nanny 911
4) Charmed


1) Dortmund, Germany
2) Montreal, Canada
3) Barcelona, Spain
4) Bamberg, Germany


1) Pau, France
2) Vieux boucau, France
3) Guadeloupe
4) Belize


1) The 6th grade homework site.
2) Daily Dancer
3) All my other favorite Blogs, too many to name!
4) Yahoo news


1) Anything with cheese
2) Anything with chocolate
3) Anything my mum cooks
4) Anything Thomas cooks


1) With Thomas
2) Getting a massage or pedicure
3) Taking a nice long vacation with the kids and Thom, to France & Germany
4) Gardening in my very own garden with the boys I love.

So anyone who would like to participate, if you happen to read this, please leave me a comment telling me you are going to do it, so I make sure I catch your 4 favorites:)

Ah hah! The one person I know who will read this for sure, Thom! I tag you, you can post tomorrow with your 4's!!! HaHa!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Montreal's way of celebrating St. Patrick's day...By Kim

The boys and I are having a wonderful weekend with our frog. The time whizzes by and before we know it, our time together is up! Oh the day that we will not have to wait for the whirlwind weekend that we can spend together,and just be able to be together all the time, I hope that day comes soon.

But for now, this is our life, as we have it.

We went to the wonderful cinema Guzzo, to see the shaggy dog, great movie for kids and somewhat entertaining for adults..(ppff, I laughed and cried, so I guess it was more than somewhat entertaining for me:)

We went to the "sugar shack", which at first I was like..Huh?!..Because in Chicago, the "sugar shack" is a male strip club...But alas, it was exactly what the term implied a shack for sugar:) maple syrup to be exact, and boy was it good!!!! We ate a really lovely dinner there, and you guessed it, they put maple syrup on everything, so it was a very sweet and interesting tasting of different foods! We ended our visit there with going into the real sugar shack, which consisted of a small hut, with long tables filled with snow, and the guy puts hot maple syrup over the snow, you take a stick and roll it..mmmmmmmmmmmm it is so good!! They also had a little farm with a llama, that pickles kept saying was sneezing on him, but in fact the llama was spitting on him...Only him that could happen to!

The St. Patrick's day parade in Montreal is quite impressive, I will try to upload a couple of pictures, during the middle of it, the snow started falling quite heavily and while waiting for the next group of people to come around the corner, a guy in a thong with his pants around his ankles decided to join the parade as well, he would have done well at the very beginning as he had much enthusiasm for the holiday!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

I collect Kim

I know, I must sound a bit crazy to most of you after reading the title, but I assure you, read on, I'm not completely nuts! Those of you with sitemeters, can probably relate!

When I was a little kid, every summer we would take a 2 week long driving vacation, to the south, east, north, or out west, we traveled all over the United States from age 7 - 17, every couple of years going to Germany to see family. I loved these trips and for a couple of years my brother, 10 years older than me, would come with us, that was great fun, he would beat the crap out of me in the backseat! Brothers!!!

During these long trips, of course there was no gameboy or portable dvd's. Nooo I had to entertain myself the old fashioned, annoy parents, sing outloud, play I spy, write in my diary, sleep, crossword puzzles, annoy parents some more!

My favorite game that I would play every year was collecting states, I would search and search on the highway, for license plates from different states and shout them out for my mum to write down! Of course I was always missing quite a few, and never once saw one from Hawaii, but I did see one from Alaska! hahah!

Now lately on blogworld and my new discovery of sitemeter, *big giant smile on my face* I have come to play my old game again, and every day, more than once for sure, I check the sitemeter and report to Thomas and the kids, "we had someone from Sri Lanka come today", or "OMG, someone from Dubai was here!" I'm such a fool, I have started writing them down and I will pull up the map and show pickle and cheese, who has visited today!

Here are some of the ones I have collected and I thank everyone for coming and giving me a new state or new country or new town, just so you know, you are making a nice Midwest girl, very very very happy and nostalgic at the same time:)

United Kingdom, France, Germany, Malaysia, Italy, Sweden, USA, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Fiji, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Finland, Korea, Bangladesh, India, United Arab emirates, Netherlands, Brazil, Chile

Those are the ones that I have so far, me and the kids have made it a game, and may get a giant board to keep track, most of the time, they are on for 1 second or 0 seconds, but I don't really care, Its very cool to have a contact with people so far away!

comment ça merde alors?...but alors you are French? thomas

I read some posts about Americans having a hard time to communicate when living in France... And in a way that reminds me of the time I decided to study in Great Britain....-->

One summer I had met this english girl and communication had been very difficult. And when I started 3rd year engineering school, I was wondering how in the world was I able to score above 500 at the TOEFL with my pathetic english (yes, yes, in order to get my engineering master, i had to pass the TOEFL)...PLUS... I had in my group 5 scottish students, and was really "glad" when the professors told us we would have to work with them in different projects...Come on, I can't even ask a girl if she wants to spend the night on the beach, how the heck will I write thesis and report with them. Anyway, after few month of adaptation we were able to communicate in a broken french with some words in english, and I told mysel that I really had to do something about it... There were 9 places for the university in Glasgow and 1 in London, so I applied, and because of my good results was accepted. I was going to spend my whole 4th year in Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

After one last summer in France, still being super lousy in english, it was time to fly to Scotland. My flight went really well till Birmingham when we had to get off the plane for some security check or whatever... signs in english, speakers speaking english, policemen speaking english...oh great...after asking me 5 times for I dont know what, the policeman finally said " paper, ID, papier"...Gosh, finally back in the plane and....wait they changed the stewardesses, they are now english...I remember giving a big smile and saying no, when the girl started to talk to me... (YEAAAAAAH i just said no to my lunch, fantastic!!!!)

Then, we finally arrived in Glasgow, the city with the worst scottish accent (no one told me that before), I took my suitcases, and started to look for a friend who was supposed to pick me up...I wait one, two hours, still no one. So I decide that I would have to get there on my own. Luckily, my university has a desk at the airport to orientate the exchange students, so I suddenly feel much better as soon as I spot it. I ask them how to get to the university, and they reply.. asking if I have an accomodation... I try to explain that a friend has my keys but I have no idea where I live...and they understand...that I have nowhere to go, so they call a cab, who takes my suitcases and here I am in the cab (you have to imagine that I am more like a puppet at that time as I have no idea what is going on)... The cab driver is really great, laughing and talking, the only problem.. his sentence is more like the longest english word I've heard, so I do what every foreigner does in this case, I smile...and he talks again..oh great, the same exact long word, must be a question. So I reply that I dont understand... I think that after 5 minutes he gave up as he stopped talking. At that moment, all I can think about is why I decided to come to scotland, how am I supposed to understand a class on thin-walled structure if I can't understand a cab guy. First contact with scottish= disaster.

After that everything went fast, I spent about 400 pounds in 4 hours, but at least, I found my friend who just mistook 10am with 10pm, I finally have my keys, and my next mission is go to the university to have my class choices validated by the supervisor (I decided to go shopping later when all of my french friends would go). It took me awhile to find his office and darn it... my class starts in 2 days and he isnt there, I spot a lady in the corridor and ask her if she knows if Professor McWhatever (sorry I forgot his name - just remember the mac part) is around. She goes to the office to check (yes!!!!! she understood me!!) and then turns around and says " he isn't aRRRRound. Doyouknowseeanyoneelse? AAAAAARGG another giant word!! I ask her to repeat and she says slower (still fast though) do you know see anyone else? (in my head-- a second what the heck does that mean???). In front of my puzzled face, she then decides to write it down... DO YOU KNOW SEE ANYONE ELSE... it took me about 30 seconds to understand she was asking if I knew (if i could) see anyone else... second contact= non conclusive.

And all this in one day.. I decided to just go to bed and as we say...tomorrow is another day. I finally succeeded in mastering Glaswegian comprehension, and my english is now definitelly better than it was. So, if you guys feel down cause you dont understand french, just remember, be patient and "à coeur vaillant, rien d'impossible".

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How a 12 year old cuts onions without crying....By Kim

I try to have the boys help me cook occasionally, mainly to prepare them for life, but then also, because being with a guy who can cook...IS HEAVEN..(So I have recently learned:) So for my future daughter in laws, I would like them to be as happy as I am with Thomas and thank me for teaching the boys how to cook!

I have also taught them a few other things...
*putting the toilet lid down (after many nights of a wet hiney for me)
*setting a table with a little order (not like the Queen is coming, but you know, not a mess)
*holding the door for girls!
*cleaning up their own messes after not aiming correctly
*being kind and thoughtful to girls and others

I'm sure I have plenty more to teach them and luckily I have plenty of years left to do it.

For the men that read here, what were some of the things you learned that benefited you later in life, and for the women, what else should I do to make sure these boys learn?

Thomas' maman did such a wonderful job with both her boys, and I have always said to him, if I can do half as good of a job as her, I will be satisfied:)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Heros and Zeros?.. by Thomas

During the Olympics that took place in Torino this year, we could see every single day on several channels, all day long, athletes competing and carrying the Olympian spirit. Live coverage of competitions, special shows to discuss the chances of medals, reports about this or that athlete...TV, radio, newspaper, internet. It was everywhere. These athletes do incredible things and probably deserve such a coverage.

And then once the cameras of the world turned back to their daily routine, from the 10th to the 19th of March takes place the 9th paralympic games in Torino, and I suddenly felt really mad mad mad watching tv. These guys can't see, can't walk, or are missing legs or arms are going downhill faster than I could ever dream and can you name one of them? Where are the cameras? Don't they represent the same values, don't they show their great spirit and courage? Then why not having a full coverage on regular channels?

And then I am thinking about Bode Miller, my God, you could see his face everywhere, interviews, adverts, reports and so on... well the guy didn't get a single medal but he gets the biggest sponsoring. So now let me ask you this...why can't the paralympic games be incorporated inside of the olympics? They are athletes too and in societies that are looking for heroes, maybe it is time to change our perspectives.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Le Thomas

The Hundred Years war is over since 1453, but nowaday the battle has shifted on another field. "Le crunch" or the biggest game of the 6 nations Tournament.

I remember watching rugby games France-England since I am a little kid, and since I moved to North America, I have troubles doing so (here it's BLAH football). Thank to TV5, I was able to watch last year, but this year I had to follow it on radio. The two teams were still fighting for the final victory and so it was written to be a good game, a great battle.

The action took place in the "Stade de France" where supporters beat the attendance record (once again rugby proves that it has more supporters than soccer). 80,009 people ready for the big clash between the 2 best nations of the northern hemisphere. I will not discuss the game as probably none of you really understand anything about rugby but in the end, France trashed England, the rooster crushed the rose 31-6 (3 tries to 0). The largest victory ever, and the third victory over England since they claimed the World championship title in 2003 (I was in Australia then and was right there to see the Brit trash the French 24-7).

With Scotland defeat against Ireland and the tie between Italy and Wales, 4 more teams can still mathematically win, but one more victory against Wales, and the title is ours...Allez les bleus!!! (sorry to annoy you with such a post, but there is no one in USA to talk about it and my brother is in the train)

1 France (6pts, 4G, 3W, 0D, 1L, 127F, 69A, 16T, 10C, 9Pg, 0Dg)
2 Ireland (6pts, 4G, 3W, 0D, 1L, 103F, 73A, 9T, 8C, 14Pg, 0Dg)
3 England (4pts, 4G, 2W, 0D, 2L, 96F, 78A, 10T, 8C, 10Pg, 0Dg)
4 Scotland (4pts, 4G, 2W, 0D, 2L, 65F, 71A, 4T, 3C, 12Pg, 1Dg)
5 Wales (3pts, 4G, 1W, 1D, 2L, 64F, 114A, 7T, 5C, 5Pg, 0Dg)
6 Italy (1pts, 4G, 0W, 1D, 3L, 62F, 112A, 4T, 3C, 10Pg, 3Dg)

Match to go
Saturday, 18 March 2006
England v Ireland, 17:30
Italy v Scotland, 13:30
Wales v France, 15:30

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Battle of the blades, by Kim

I find this soo funny! I remember when they came out with 2 blades, cool, that must be better...a quicker, easier, cleaner shave..I'm all for that! Then they came up with 3 blades...ok..i'm not sure thats necessary..but well..uh, I have 3 chances to cut myself..but well, progress is necessary i, nonetheless, I've stuck to the 2 or 3 blade choices..I love the added aloe, btw...anyway...:) I ignored the 4 blades..and thought it was ridiculous to have such a weapon in your shower..and now I see they have finally pushed through the 5 blade "fusion" (the name must have come from the idea, that if you cut your'll be needing a blood transFUSION...not sure..just a guess..anyway (I know, I digress:) So, nonetheless..i guess we can expect soon from schick to come out with a 6 blade *gasp*..and as long as these two companies are vying for the biggest baddest will be entertainement for me..but my question is..aren't there charities these companies can donate money to.(I could make some suggestions)....and ditch the research funds as to how many blades we need to achieve smoothness..i'm pretty sure the 5 blades will do the trick..and big will this shaver be if they continue????

NEW YORK - Gillette Co. Wednesday unveiled its newest shaving system, a five-bladed razor called Fusion with a trimmer on the back of the cartridge aimed at the 50 percent of men who have mustaches and beards.

Fusion is Gillette's latest product geared at maintaining the company's leading share of the world's razor and blade market.

It has one more blade than the Quattro sold by rival Schick, a unit of Energizer Holdings Inc., plus a trimming blade on the back of the pivoting cartridge for shaping facial hair, trimming sideburns and shaving under the nose.

Gillette was the first company to sell a three-bladed razor, Mach3, in 1998. Five years later, Schick followed with the four-bladed Quattro.

Schick is adding a battery-powered Quattro to its lineup this month, while Gillette's Fusion — in both manual and battery-powered models — won't hit North American stores until early next year.

"The Schick launch has nothing to do with this, it's like comparing a Ferrari to a Volkswagen as far as we're concerned," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive James Kilts.

Some had expected Gillette to bring out a four-bladed razor, perhaps a self-lubricating one. Instead, it jumped to five blades, or six including the trimmer, and will sell Fusion-branded shaving gels and after shave balm.

"There was never a plan to go to four," he said. said Peter Hoffman, president of Gillette's blades and razors business, who said Fusion was in the development pipeline for several years.

Gillette, which also makes Duracell batteries, said in a meeting with analysts and reporters in New York that Fusion's battery-powered version has a microchip that makes an indicator light turn on to warn users when the battery is running down.

Hoffman said Gillette's capital spending behind Fusion was lower than what was spent on Mach3, but did not provide specific financial details. He said Fusion would add to earnings as soon as it launches.

The Fusion razor and two cartridges will cost about $9.99, and Fusion Power, with one cartridge and a Duracell battery, will cost about $11.99. A four-pack of Fusion cartridges will sell for $12 to $13 and a four-pack of Fusion Power cartridges will cost $13 to $14, Gillette said.

Fusion should hit stores when Gillette is owned by Procter & Gamble Co. if that deal is approved as expected this fall. P&G said Wednesday it will sell its SpinBrush toothbrush business to Church & Dwight Co. Inc., a move it hopes will help lead to antitrust approval of the acquisition of Gillette Co.

Fusion is the first entirely new men's razor system launched by Gillette since Mach3. But early last year, Gillette launched M3Power, a men's battery-operated pulsating model, which is now the world's top-selling razor.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

Movie recommendation by Thomas

I watched a movie last night that was recommended by a friend. It is actually the documentary (academy award 2004 for best documentary):
The Fog of War.

11 lessons given by former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. After watching it, I feel very scared about what is going on today with Iraq and even Iran. I should say I am actually disturbed as I feel that no one really learnt from the past mistakes.

For the ones who have seen it, what do you think about it? For the others, go rent it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Fun ways to torture and embarrass your kim

Thomas had told me the story of how his maman had once painted a funny face on him when he was a kid (she is quite the practical joker, I hear!) and when he woke up in the morning, she just kept laughing at him, but would not tell him why. He followed his normal routine, taking breakfast, getting dressed, and finishing in the bathroom. I would always chuckle imagining his reaction as a little kid.

After he told me the story, I said, I will do that for April fools day, but he would not be there and wanted to see their reaction! So we decided to do it that night, we could hardly wait for them to get to bed and then wake up in the morning!

We got the markers out and snuck in their room, they were sound asleep, it's a good thing because, we laughed soo hard, I almost peed myself, they kept moving, when the marker would touch their face, so we would just laugh harder!!

The next morning, they both woke up and must have looked at eachother, and pointed, and then ran to look in the mirror, oh it was soo funny!

We've done it more than once, and believe me it never gets old. The thing is, we have to hide the markers now, because these little ones are seeking revenge!!! It will be our luck that one of them will grab a sharpy!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I cannot believe what they Thomas

I have discovered the weirdest thing in USA.
I already knew the drive-thru McDonald's, as we have them in France, for the people too lazy to get out of their cars, sit and take the time to eat. I also have seen the drive-in cinema, which I admit is fun!

But I never knew and would have never ever imagined their could be other kinds of drive-thru' banks, drive-thru pharmacy, drive-thru dry cleaner, drive-thru movie rental, drive-thru coffee shop, or drive-thru for your oil change.
If you consider that most of the people drive wherever they go, even a mile away, I start to wonder if Americans aren't allergic to walking.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Schnappi vs Thomas

I remember the story an Italian friend told me after a visit in USA. He had a discussion with an american father that went kind of like this...
Father: and do you have cars in Italy or you still have horses?
Alberto: yes of course we have cars
Father: you have washing machines?
Alberto: yes (wondering why these questions)
Father: oh and your roads, are they in dirt or tar
Alberto:(really annoyed) MAAAAAAAAAAAAHH! where do you think we drive our ferraris!!

Being a multicultural country, I always wonder if these stories (and I heard so many) about USA were just jokes. Then I came to USA, and I noticed something that was really surprising to me, when you rent a movie (or even listen to the radio), you can find mainly if not only american movies or songs. The foreign movie section is generally very small. Where are all the great foreign movies?? Yes there will be movies like La vita e bella or goodbye lenin, but in general not a wide collection as I could have found is all the countries I visited around the world. I will even hear foreign songs translated in english...(99luftballon =99 red balloons). And suddenly this multicultural society seems not so multicultural.

Movies and music being arts are the main vehicles for culture. Having a hard time finding them in USA, would that explain why so many americans are so naively curious whenever they get to talk to foreigners? I got lucky, so far no one asked me where my beret was or if we had cars, but I surely have to confirm that we do indeed have fireworks in France (havent you seen the Eiffel tower?)

Monday, March 06, 2006

This is what happens when the frog leaves the dog! by Kim

Is it possible for a frenchman to love a "dumb carpet dog"? by Kim

I remember the first time I told him about my little doggy, Ticky, is his name, he is a maltese/shitzu! He said, "that's not a dog, that is a carpet". Oh great, I thought, he's a typical male that does not like small dogs. In fact, most men don't. (or so they claim) Confronted with the sight or the very idea of them, they tend to respond with threats of graphic and creative violence, or else with shudders of revulsion. And such boyish antics should come as no surprise. After all,they learned back in their formative years that cute stuffed animals and other pretty portable items - like, say, pocketbooks - are for girls. Big dogs are for big boys: mammoth, slobbering beasts that lope after baseballs and conk out in front of the television; man's best friend, acting more or less like our other best friends. Dogs with names like Gunther and Thoreau. Most certainly not Ticky-bear :o)

Well let me tell you, this little carpet on a string, is my frenchmans best friend. He has won his heart and I may even go as far to say, that he may prefer, small dogs! Oh yes, I have witnessed, "small dogs are really great, you can really cuddle and hug them", I have seen this guy hold the dog like a baby, sing and make doggy noises together. He even thinks the dog knows french, well maybe he does, afterall, he used to attack fingers while eating and suddenly he understands "doucement" and will take the treat gently. They play stupid games together, like he will say "come on Ticky, SHOWER" and Ticky will run to his cage. When it is time for Chase to get off the bus, they will both (yes him and the dog) BARK at the window!

This dog is also a pampered pooch while he is visiting, he gets fresh food, all the fat is trimmed off of the meat we eat, and given to the little "carpet dog". He also is massaged and caressed more than me most of the time and he has a special place right at the end of our bed by his feet or next to him..wherever the "carpet dog" desires! I've even said, can you spoon me, instead of the dog??

So the answer to the question, is YES!! It is possible for a guy to love a small dog, once they realize, the poop is smaller, they don't slobber, they normally don't shed, I will admit they usually have "dragon breath" for such small creatures, but they can act just like any big dog. (normally they believe they are just as big)

We are all very sad around here the first few days of our frog being gone, and generally we play the game of 'who is the saddest, who is missing him the most', this time, it was Ticky I think, he was definitely the saddest!

They sure do blend well, no? by Kim

I have been in a situation, where I had a son on my own, had gotten married, and had to blend them together (err, i shall say, try to blend them together). It was very difficult and never worked. I had vowed after separating, that I would never be in a relationship with someone, because blended families just never worked! Yes, I would stay single until, the boys were grown! (I also said to a certain Frenchman that if I never had sex again in my life, I would be fine with that...that was before I met him, he still laughs at that comment)

UNTIL....he came into our lives. From the moment, and even before the moment they met, these three guys, well they blend!

With my relationship before, from very early on, I did ALOT of mediating, for the whole 7 years, until I could no longer continue. It was exhausting, but I just thought it was normal. I even had made it a rule, that my ex, by no means was to discipline my oldest son, as he was not used to his type of disciplining. I tend to be more of a reasoning, lecturing, explaining, giving examples of consequences, etc, type of disciplining, but I am also very German, and although I am very fair, when I say something, I mean business, and they know it, I try to avoid the whole telling them something over and over and over and then getting to the point of losing it, I will say something at the most twice. It helps that my two boys are really good. (Thomas, with his french upbringing will attest to that:)

But from the moment the frog jumped into our lives, its as if, we blended, with no problems. Its been over a year and we still blend, ,and let me tell you, we have been fortunate enough that we have spent loads of time together, and been in many different situations together. We discipline exactly the same way, with love and reasoning, explanations, and fairness! The kids, I think even prefer him, and when something is wrong, they will ask me to leave, and talk to him...something that made my heart shine:)

So I guess, I wanted to write this story, to say, that it doesn't necessarily have to be hard to blend a family, you just need the right people and the right mix to blend! :o)

Btw, if anyone needs any advice on trying to blend families, I have 7 years of experience, well not success, but I most certainly know what NOT to do ;o)


Saturday, March 04, 2006

The distance between Kim

There is just over 4 hours between us.
We see eachother very often.
I'm so very grateful for the precious, wonderful time we have together!
All the memories we have made in the past and continue every time we are together.
We laugh, we play, we snuggle, we talk, we wrestle, we play jokes on the kids, we cook, we celebrate, we plan for the future....We love!
Sometimes I just have to say, the distance between us sucks!
There is no way to be, but patient for the day that we won't have to talk on the phone (thanks God for unlimited calling to Canada) chat on the computer, or drive over 4 hours to see eachother.
I guess there are things that we all need to work on in our lifetime, I'm sure mine is patience! I most certainly am the typical "immediate gratification" kinda girl! I want it yesterday! :o)
This time, I'm willing to wait and be patient.
So many things this frog has taught me, so many things...
"To build a strong future, you need a strong foundation",
I will lay it brick by brick with you and continue the foundation we are building!
Distance is hard, but not impossible!
I wasn't going to post today, just to give a break, didn't really have an inspiration, wasn't really sure if anyone was listening, but I found this little cartoon, and thought of my frog, that is far away from me at the moment. :o(
I guess that is why I found blogosphere, to vent my feelings..ahh, I somehow feel a little better!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

August 2005, Wellesley Island, NY by Kim

We travel alot back and forth between New York and Montreal. It's not too bad, 4 hours, and a beautiful drive. We cross over the bridges in the Thousand Islands and always admire the islands.

We camped for a long weekend, before the kids went back to school and it was so much fun! We swam at night on our own private beach. Tooled around the St. lawrence river, and got lost, we love to get lost and have adventures.

I never knew there were no skunks in France..(other than pepe le pue) by Kim

This is the story of the cute little frog from the southwest of France, who went camping in big bad USA.

The bears stayed away, the chipmunks were harmless and cute.
The raccoons were naughty, but fled when the frog went "ppppsssst".
The woodpecker was loud, but kind of rhythmatic.
All was good on Wellesley Island.
The camp was set up in a very organized "french" way.
We made smores, shared sauccison, toffifay and wine. (us, not the kids:)
Life was good!
Until....things went bump in the night, well it was more of a scavenging noise, but scary nonetheless.
Was it a bear?
No, too gentle.
Was it a racoon?
This is when the frog, uses the scary to most animals, "pppsssst" sound.
He claims, this noise will scare any animal in France.
Nothing, not even a pause from the perps.
Aha, the frog, peeks through the window of the tent.
AND..."pppppsttt" one more time, till he witnesses what I think must be a tazmanian devil or some evil creature ready to attack!
The brave frenchman, screams and ducks down, with a look of sheer terror.
(my heart stops)
skunk? You have got to be kidding...hahahahhaha (I fall in a fit of giggles)
Well I don't want them to spray me.

That was so funny, he had never, ever seen a skunk and literally they were on the other side of our tent, maybe 5 inches away. I wonder why, pepe le pue, was portrayed as being french, when they don't even have them there?? for though, huh?


Kim & Thomas


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

From 7pm on November 10th to 12:05am on November 11th, Kim

Well I've kind of given you the unabridged story of how my life was before, 8/8/04, how it changed after, and I think I got to the point of before my beloved frog and I were going to meet!

I will say, that at this point, we were soo close, closer than I have ever been to anyone, well my God we had honestly talked and talked and talked, more than anyone could ever imagine. I think getting to know someone by just talking to them without meeting them is really special and unique. We truly got to know eachothers mind and emotional self, before our physical self. But, the scary thing was we did not know if our physical selves would connect as much as our intellectual selves. It was a risk we both were willing to take and thanks GOD, the connection we had, was beyond static, it was magnetic!

I will take you to the title of this post. I am sometimes very superstitious, but then will laugh it off, by saying I am just being silly, but honestly, I believe in that crap more than I let on. You'll notice the book on my dresser, 'Move your stuff, change your life', its all about those silly ancient Chinese secrets, its a feng shui book, yes, that's me..I painted my boys room purple, because they were located in the prosperity section of the house....I added hot peppers to a corner in my kitchen..For love and romance..I know..Crazy (uh, sorry..did I mention, I digress, yeah, ok back to the story) I was really insistent on making my first visit 11/11, since we had met online on 8/8, I thought I should keep with the double number theory, Yes, I am sometimes weird like that. I left at 7, thinking I'd arrive around 12am, and get their technically on 11/11, but have a whole extra day there!

While I was driving, we were keeping in touch by cell phone, and when I was seeing the border for Canada, and it said 25 miles...we were soo excited..never mind that I still had another 2 + hours. Now during the time of driving, I was hearing every song imaginable that would fit my feelings at the moment, and when I was touching base with him on the phone, he was saying, do you ever feel like the radio is talking to you, I keep hearing these songs, that fit our situation, (cue, Celine Dion, 'She drove all night, to get to you') I just laughed, I had learned it was just a part of our connection.

He was preparing a soup, as I had heard so often about his wonderful cooking. And he was telling me about while I was driving, he was quite anxious, and had started the soup very early, it had rice in it...the rice drank all the soup..err, casserole. I was laughing the whole way there, when he was saying, ah, the soup is getting a bit thick, and how much longer will you be, the soup has been done for quite a while. At this point, I'm thinking, dear lord what am I in for? I am going to meet someone, by myself, i'm going to stay at his house, and he's making soup, that is now a casserole. But I continued, thank God!

I got into Montreal in record time, but it was before midnight, so i stopped at a gas station to get some gum and go potty. Damn, its still not midnight, I think I am right near his flat. So, I decide to drive straight through the street to pass time, I went pretty far, then turned around, decided I should stop at the signs that were smaller than US stop signs and said Arret. I turned onto the right road, and called him and said, "I think i'm somewhere near your house, what should I do?" he instructed me to wait right there and he would try to find me. I saw him one moment later, and I couldn't believe that this was happening, but I was suddenly super calm and confident. I knew this was going to be wonderful, I don't know how, but this sense of completeness and serenity just came over me. He instructed me to park (after checking my NY state license plates, before he went to the car) helped me with all my bags, commented how many bags I had, smiled at the tri berry pies I had baked (that border control almost took, for their own enjoyment;) and led me into his house.

We ate the casserole and sat and talked for some time on the couch, decided it would be best to get to sleep and start the day tomorrow. It was 3am at least. I changed into my pajamas, which were an old pink outer banks sweatshirt with holes in it, and yoga pants...I know, I bet you thought it'd be some sexy number..hahahahahahhahahahaha, I don't know what I was thinking:) but that's just me :o)

That trip was 5 days of natural bliss, it was like we were a couple that had been apart for a week and had rejoined eachother. Everything was just so much in sync and has remained that way for over a year, our chemistry together is so wonderful, I have to sometimes pinch myself. That whole 5 days, I kept noticing people staring at us, but I thought it was just me, until he mentioned it, and I thought oh my god, people can see this too? We were both glowing and feeling so complete, I never knew this type of love existed. It was the thing I had been so envious of in some of my friends marriages that I never seemed to be able to feel toward my ex. ( i know, its a terrible thing to admit, I have a theory on why I and alot of other people, someday I will blog on that:) If real true love, were a magical key, to get married, and the only way you could do it, is if the love were true and pure, alot of people, wouldn't get the chance or they would wait.. (yes, I am digressing AGAIN, sorry:)

So that is my very long story, probably more than you would be interested in knowing, but I cannot control myself, my book is always open and the chapters are usually long:)

I promise, once the novelty of blogging wears off, the posts will be much shorter and i don't blame anyone for fast forwarding to the last page, or speed reading, as I sometimes do. I'm so happy to have found this blogosphere, just to have a recollection of my memories and to hear what others have experienced as well!

Rude Thomas

I have read in a lot of blogs about how French rudness being more of a myth, and that you have rude people everywhere...and so on. I will not argue about that last point, but I would like to comment about the case of the French.

I have noticed that most of the foreigners defending the French are people living in France and who discovered the hidden side of France, if I shall say. Yet, I do think they missed a little point, that I am willing to discuss about here.

The main things that I heard about the French all around the world are that they are rude and arrogant. Everyone who really knows the French will definitelly disagree with it. So where does it come from. It can't be a collective hallucination as not only Americans are thinking so....I heard this from a lot of nationalities. So why? Most of the people with such a stereotype have visited France, and when I asked them where they have been, 80-90% replied Paris...AAAAAHH PARIS, BEAUTIFUL PARIS! The city of lights! One of the most beautiful cities I should admit. Could the problem be that simple? Well my answer is.." It explains a lot!!! I, myself, have been about 5 times in Paris, and I have been shocked every single time.

Before anyone starts saying anything, I should mention that I know France, as this is where I was born, where I grew up. I come from what real parisians may call sometimes with some disdain, "la Campagne" (countryside). The South West of France, a city of 100.000 inhabitants (so much for the countryside). Where everyone speaks with a strong accent. Where "une poche" is also a plastic bag. Where the foie gras is not some kind of paté in a can, but a thick slice that you grill. Where the national sport is Rugby and not Soccer. A real French (at least from the South West).

So yes, it is true that I don't reconize myself or anyone I know in the stereotype (we may be blunt and stubborn at times, but always polite). But if you ask me what I think about people in Paris...yes they are rude, yes they are arrogant. I went to Paris either as a tourist or because I had to (everything is centralized in France), and I have never been sent packing as much in my life as when I was in that city. At the airport RCDG, talking to a guy tyding the trolleys, because I got lost: Excuse me , Sir! Could you tell me how to get to the Terminal D! Answer: Hey, why dont you look at the sign, (in that tone that means, dumbass).... Another time, I am looking for a street, and ask this guy who sells newspapers on the Champs Elysees if he can tell me...he tells me he isnt a tourist center. Result, I ask to people who apparently dont know much but still send me in some directions, and end up walking during 1 hour under the rain to discover that the street is not even 50 metres away from that newspaper guy... DIOU BIBAN!!!! I could go on and on and on. So yes I do agree that Americans could try to speak a bit of French when they come visit France ( or any other foreigner), and maybe that could be the cause. Oh wait guess what, I speak French, I am French and they treat me like shit too. Even my own sister became this arrogant, Iknowbetterthanyoubecauseyouarejustalittlecountrysideman bitch (sorry for the ones the word could offend) after she moved to Paris.

So yes this is not how French people really are when you know them, but I won't blame the tourist for thinking that the French are rude or arrogant after a visit. It may be generalizing, but come on...if a french can end up with such prejudices about other french, Imagine a foreigner. (Désolé les parisiens, mais c'est vrai que des fois, vous abusez)

Labels: ,