Friday, February 25, 2011

I can't make this merde up...

Let me just say that, in addition to all the other general strangeness of this week, I woke up to this yesterday morning:

Freaking snow.

[Poor Olive Oil, our olive tree...]

But literally before you could even say "Are you kidding me?" - it was gone. Poof. Vanished. Like it never happened.

Rewind to Tuesday: I went with a friend to her daughter's school Carnival Parade...

Now I tend to find French social functions to be a lot of fun and strange/humorous in general, but my first french school fucntion absolutely took the cake. Carnival is like the french equivalent of America's Halloween, and people take their costumes very seriously. Some of the costumes were really impressive, like a few robots, monsters and a french dictionary. But one cannot party in costume alone - there must be entertainment! Bring on the clowns!

Or, uh, these guys will do. They were punk hippies who must work by day as clowns at children's entertainment events. The guy on the left is wheeling around a foam shark with a boom box inside blaring rave music (do you really need an excuse in France to blare rave music? The answer is unfortunately NO), and some of the little kids were actually quite terrified of the dragon. (Maybe if he had stopped roaring at them for a minute, they would have stopped crying.) The guy in the plaid on the right was riding a unicycle but also had the front half of the bike - though they weren't connected. The man with the dreads in the middle was a juggler...all, I think it's safe to say, were amateurs. Little did we know, these three men would be the source of the entertainment during the party portion of our afternoon.

So on to the party! Did you know that they serve booze at school functions here in France? For the parents obviously, unless you're a sneaky 11 year-old picking up floaters, which was seen A LOT at the Bastille Day and St. Maurice celebrations this year.

And so, with that, the "clowns" took to the stage.

I think he's the sad clown, you need to use your imagination without the makeup...

Maybe he wouldn't be so sad if the other clowns didn't make fun of him for playing the button accordion...

Maybe if they didn't make fun of him so much, he wouldn't have given up an illustrious career as a button accordionist and taken up the violin, which truth be told he's not very good at. Maybe that's why he's chugging that bottle of vodka on stage.

Wait, what? Pardon?

Did I mention the show was not only really, really, REALLY bad, but also really, really REALLY seemingly non-age appropriate for kids? Not only was there too much dialogue and not enough dancing and noise for what I would think the 3-11 year old set would be able to hold their attention to, but the above picture was of them during a skit. He comes on stage acting drunk, then chugs the vodka straight out of the bottle, and then shares it with his friends (one of whom was dressed as a lady whose boobs I swear got bigger with every act...maybe I had too much cidre). They all then finished chugging the bottle until it was empty and began acting drunk and dancing around chorus line style. What came next you ask? Well a song about vodka of course! (I couldn't make this merde up people.) That's right kids: drink vodka, a lot of it, really fast, and you'll have lots of friends and dance and sing and have great fun. We told ourselves this was French vaudeville, which was a very weak attempt to justify the french theater we had just witnessed.

What else could top off a week of "I can't make this merde up?" Well an epidemic of the measles in Geneva and the Rhone-Alps region (where we live) of course! Good thing I found this out after spending the day at les puces on Wednesday. Can't wait to go get blood drawn next week to see if we're still immune to the measles or if we need booster shots.

[Measles measles measles!]

Hope everyone out there has a happy and measles free weekend!
A la prochain friends...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Above the clouds.

On Saturday, I went skiing/snowboarding with some friends in Crozet (they ski, I snowboard). Crozet is one of the next towns over from us, and only about 10 minutes away by car. (I honestly had no idea we were so close to the slopes.) It was grey and foggy in the morning,but after taking the telecabine through and up above the clouds, it was beautiful, sunny and warm.

Due to the fact that spring has hit us about 2 months early here in France, they've had to make some fake snow to allow for skiing/snowboarding conditions...hence the distinct line above of where the snow ends and the dead grass begins.

[Swiss Alps off in the distance.]

Saturday was also my first time on my snowboard since I took a snowboarding gym class at Penn State - which I just realized was back in January/February of 2002! It was scary at first to re-learn and remember how to ride, but after about an hour or so I started to get my bearings back a bit. I'll also mention, for the record, that back in 2002 I had only just learned how to turn on my snowboard, and could just barely make it down a Blue slope, so it's not like I was coming from an illustrious snowboarding career to begin with. That being said, by the end of the day I was able to make it down a pretty steep blue slope without falling, and was loving every minute of it.

The hardest parts of the day? Dealing with my bindings. I have step in bindings that are supposed to be easier and faster to get your boot locked in, but instead I spent half of my time trying to do so. I also fell twice as much on that task than I did actually snowboarding. Maybe it just takes time to get the system down, but I remember always having trouble with it. Le sigh. Any suggestions from anyone else who may have step-in bindings?

I had a blast on Saturday, and despite the fact that I'm still having trouble moving my arms I hope I get another opportunity to use my board this season. Thanks to Maura over at Pardon my French and family for putting up with me for the day!

A la prochain friends...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A walk across the border...

Yesterday, I took advantage of the sunshine (see, told you I don't trust the weather reports) and went on a walk to Switzerland. I had been told by friends how pretty the little towns just across the border were, and I can't believe I've waited all this time to actually see it for myself.

[My 'hood.]

It was really cool to look at Thoiry, Fenieres and St. Jean de Gonville from afar, as well as to spend the afternoon walking through the vineyards...

I love how on the various hiking routes here there are often signs letting you know about how long it should take you to walk to surrounding towns.

[Malval, Suisse]

[Left foot in France, right foot in Switzerland.]

And on the whole walk, I saw nothing but blue skies...

...some sheep...

...and vineyards.

Not a bad way to start off the weekend.

A la prochain friends...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Happy Wednesday everyone! What are you up to today? I plan on spending the day baking, working on a little French Rosetta Stone, and hopefully finishing up a re-read of one of my favorite books, Tom Robbin's "Jitterbug Perfume." The sun is apparently going on vacay for the next two weeks, and it seems it's gotten rain to cover the majority of its shifts (though I never really believe any of our weather reports), so I wanted to take a minute to share some pictures of our super beautiful and sunny last few days. I'll be daydreaming about it while giving Rosetta Stone a merde-fit over my pronunciations of "quatre" and "sandwich."

[I like shiny pants.]

A la prochain friends...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Je ne suis pas une touriste, je suis une blogger..."

As I mentioned in my last post, Saturday was our official one year France-a-versary. And what better way to celebrate then by going to the St. Genis salon des vins!

[At the ready...]

The Thoiry Salon back in September was on a much bigger scale tha this one, however the one flaw that it had was a lack of food. When you belly up to that little bar for each vendor, you better be ready to take down 2-6 possible different wines, and some form of sustenance is necessary to keep a clear head and even-keeled tummy.

That being said, how cool is this little contraption?! Not only did we get a nifty little wine glass with the degustation kit (all for the low low price of 2€), but it came with a plate, a cute napkin, and a little thing so you don't lose your glass/have a hand free to write them a check for a case of wine...The plate came in handy as there were several Bio vendors selling everything from crepes, bread and baked goodies to saucisson and cheese. Heaven in a salle de fete...

We picked up a kilo of oysters (huitres) from the South of France while we were there...

...and even got a free sampling.

Dan knows he is a merely a decoy to capture the fabulous essence of this scotch-peddlin-frenchman's hot pink shirt...

We ended the night by purchasing 10 bottles of wine, a kilo of huitres, two saucissons, and some coconut goodies for the following morning.

Dan even found a way to survive my massive amount of picture taking. (I can't help it, I'm a very visually oriented person...) I think that what made it easier for him to handle was that every time I reached for my camera I quickly said, "Je ne suis pas une touriste, je suis une blogger..." Maybe next time I'll make a Press pass, but instead of "press" it'll just say "blogger."

A la prochain friends...