Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Comment much, people?


Thankfully, Beth has been my friend FOR NEARLY EVER. We lived on the same street from, well, birth, until we moved when I was 9. Which was, incidentally, the beginning of The Dark Years.

Anyway, for those of you who've been around for a while, you've probably noticed that Beth comments on every post, even the most inane.

Here's to you, Beth.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yes, Zeb, we all know I have too much time on my hands...

I used to know a guy. He told me a story about something that had happened to him years before we met.

He was driving home from college, a surprise visit to his mother and stepfather. A few miles from the house, he was involved in a car accident. One car trying to pass another with another car coming from the other direction (his car). One car ended up in the ditch, overturned. He stopped his car and ran to the car in the ditch. Where he saw his mother, badly injured, and his stepfather, dead.

While I was visiting my chakra person last week, something came up, in a therapy kind of way. Something from the dark years, those spent with Stepfather1, or Bluebeard, as I think of him. It wasn't an unknown thing or terribly traumatizing thing. It was more like a sad thing. And I was surprised because it didn't look like what I had remembered it looking like. Does that make sense?

Anyway. I can see you're wondering where I'm going with these completely unrelated paragraphs.

Well, it's about my question of the day: What do you do with the stuff you can't live with?

And I'm not talking about surviving or whatever, because we all obviously do that. And to those of you who actually process and move on, who are you and how do you do that?

I'm talking about those things that you can't live with but you can't take away because they're there and they've become the blocks upon which your self has been built.

I myself use a lovely deep purple velvet covered suitcase. I like the suitcase very much and the color is dreamy. What I do not like is that items I had carefully put in said suitcase did not look the same when taken out. Improper packing causes wrinkles. In time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Well, since you asked

Roxanne wanted to know if, perhaps, my one-way ticket to Paris escapade could have been about me running away from someone or something.



I had completed my first year of college and experienced many of the firsts that one tends to experience at that time. My first apartment (very small and messy - the small was an architectural issue and the messy was a Nicole issue), my first college boyfriend (whom I met at orientation and who ditched me shortly after we got together - I'm sure he's full of regret now), my first C (in geology - I went to class twice during the entire semester - for the midterm and the final), my first jobs (waitress, marketing assistant, and aerobics instructor [no laughing or comments please]), my first car (a 75 VW Beetle - canary yellow), and my first student loan. Times were good. Sort of.

Anyway. I suppose there MAY have been certain ASPECTS of my life or myself that I didn't like. And change seemed like a good way to deal with them.

But we all know how futile it is (and impossible unless many drugs are involved and we've already established that I'm a drug virgin) to try to run away from yourself. So we'll say I wasn't running away from anything, just running away.

If I had known that my first student loan would just be the first of many to come, I would have run away before.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More lessons learned

This first time I came to France was 20 years ago. I was 17 and had just finished my first year of college. I sold my car and bought a one-way ticket to Paris.

I only stayed for 3 months. But that was long enough. Long enough to decide I loved it here. Long enough to know how spot a groper from a mile away. Long enough to never be afraid to be alone somewhere unknown.

My kids are so totally NEVER doing ANYTHING like that.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Call me judgemental

But these strikers are ridiculous.

For those of you not living in France, some history.

The government is trying to change parts of the retirement system. The requirements needed to get full retirement benefits and the age at which that is possible are not the same for everyone. I know, I know, that's already asking for trouble. Anyway, the private sector has one set of rules and civil servants have another and even within the governmental worker sector there are régimes spéciaux. So, for example, a person who works for the SNCF, the national railway company, often qualifies for retirement at 50 years old.

Meaning that someone who doesn't will work at least 10 years more before qualifying for retirement.

Given the problems that go along with an absurd system like that, it's no surprise that it can't last. It's expensive and inherently unfair.

But don't tell the strikers that.

Because I ACTUALLY HEARD ONE OF THEM SAY ON THE RADIO, "It's normal for us to be able to retire 10 years earlier than a cadre (manager or business executive). On average, they live 9 years longer than ouvriers (blue collar workers). And so, it's a way to allow us to enjoy the same amount of retirement as them."

Seriously? Next thing you know, they'll be saying men should be able to retire 8 years before women since women live, on average, 8 years longer than men. Hey guys, don't even think about it.

The scariest part? The man saying it was clearly convinced of the 'logic' of his thinking.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Linguistic license

Boy2's suggestion for rendering English more precise, "Mama, suckers should be called chewers. Cause that's what I do to them."

He reminds me of the owl from the tootsie pop commercials. Remember him?

And, as I've mentioned before, I think that procrastiner should be a verb in French. Because it says it all in one word and because I do it a lot.

So here's my question - if you could change one thing about the language you spend most of your time speaking, what would it be?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tag, I'm it.

I've been tagged by someone much more creative than me. Leah, whose link I MUST put in my side bar, tagged me days ago and it's taken me this long to cough something up.

"List one fact, word or tidbit that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your first or middle name. You can theme it to your blog or make it general. Then tag 1 person for each letter of your name. "

M - Married and motherhood. It's kind of miraculous that I got married. I honestly never thought I would. I suppose the motherhood thing just naturally followed but there was a long period in my life when neither was a given.

A - Adaptation. My life has been one adaptation after another. Which I suppose is true for all of us to a certain extent, but I've willfully and repeatedly put myself in situations which require a lot of adapting on my part. Funny, considering that I'm stubborn as a mule.

R - Regrets. I have a lot of them. I say that I don't, but I really do.

I - Illicit drugs. I have never smoked pot or taken any drugs. Isn't that funny? I'm the ONLY pot virgin I know.

E - Etrangère. 99% of the time, I love being a foreigner. It's the best joker card EVER.

Sarah, Sam, Amy, Mouse, and Reb- you're it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oh the places I've been

I had lunch with a friend last week. She's a foreigner too. But not from the US. Anyway, she spent most of the lunch complaining about France and the French. Which brought bad memories flooding back.

When you choose to live in a foreign country, you go through several phases. Don't ask me how many phases there are - I have no idea. I've only been living here 10 years. Ask me in another 10. Maybe.

The first year can go either way, depending on why you came. My first year in France was as an English TA at the University of Nantes. I was 25 and very happy to be here. The differences were enchanting. I came back for in when I was 27. I spent the year teaching English at two different places and planning my wedding. It was a rough year. An American friend and I spent most of the year complaining. Oh the strikes, oh the anti-Americanism, oh the anti-social women, oh the bad television, oh the confusing sexual politics. Husband and my friend's Husband (who were both fiancés at the time) staged an intervention. Told us to stop bitchin' or stop spending time together because we were making everyone miserable. They were right.

When I got back from lunch, I was so happy. So happy to not be in that place anymore, where everything rubs the wrong way, where every incomprehension is a slight and every difference is a cultual misunderstanding.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Nice rep

Boy1 had some friends over for his 7th birthday last week.

While eating cake, he and his friends started talking about nightmares and scary things. Someone mentioned witches. Boy1 proudly stated, "My mama's a witch!" Seeing the incredulous looks, he continued, "No, really, I mean, she gives me soul medicine and we tap on meridians and she touches my chakras and she always knows what I'm thinking of doing, especially when it's something I'm not supposed to do."

One girl suggested that I was a fairy since witches are bad. But then they decided, led by Boy1, that witches could be good too. Whew.