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February 2006

What can you have for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Une tartine!

This is usual dinner conversation at our house. Hubby comes home from work, we discuss the days happenings and I usually ask, "What would you like for dinner, dear?"  "Une Tartine, please!" he responds. 

Quick, quick! Type in your dashboard widget to see what Tartine means in French!

Yeah, so he wants a slice of bread for dinner! A slice of bread!?

But in France, La tartine isn't just toast, my friends...  A tartine for breakfast sounds good to me. Toast? Check! Nutella? CHECK! Yummy in my tummy? Mmmmhmmm.  But my husband has taken me on a tartine adventure let me list off a few that come to mind:  tartine de saumon et créme fraiche, tartine de filet de thon au muscadé, tartine tartar, tartine au thon et whisky, tartine chorizo et basilique, tartine beurrre au sel de guerande et confiture de maman, tartine au jambon et fromage, tartine a l'ail and the list goes on and on.... your little desk widget is getting a lot of use, non? :)

Tartine au beurre de cacahuéte et bananes

A couple nights ago, I had a hankering for some peanut butter.  Good old Skippy creamy peanut butter to be exact.  Be careful buying peanut butter here because the French version has no sugar and talk about serious tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth too! Anyway, I made myself a tartine au beurre de cacahuéte et bananes. Side note: I hadn't discovered peanut butter and banana sandwiches until one late night of studying my last year in college and I happened to see one of my residents in the scholarship hall making herself a PB&B sandwich.  So, I toasted myself a few slices of Pain Polka and spread the peanut butter on the warm toast and sliced bananas.  J was looking over my shoulder unsure of what I was doing? I asked if he'd like one and he shakes his hadnsome French head and said "non, merci" in a very dismissing way.  The French are very much against the idea of peanut butter. As my husband says, they have Nutella, why do they need peanut butter, too? I took a few bites as my husbands curious look turned to I-wish-I-could-have-a-bite look.  I offered it to him and he took a large bite and smiled and muttered mouth full of PB&B, "Pas mal!" Je vois que tu comprenne bien la concept de la tartine, ma cherie"


To Bises or not to Bises?**

**To kiss or not to kiss

French Kisses

 As you know the French kiss when they greet people they know and don't know.  I'd say in the last year I can't remember the last time I shook hands with someone in France.  When I was an exchange student in Besançon in '98 I hung out with a lot of exchange students from different European countries and some Asian countries. We never did les bises.  We shook hands if we met someone new. I felt comfortable with this because this is common practice in the States.  My second stint in France in 2000 (the year I met J) I started to hang out with more and more Frenchies and still instinctively held out my hand when I met people.  I learned from J that handshaking really isn't done especially at our age. It used more when you greet older people for the first time or business contacts, colleagues, etc... Everyone our ages does les bises even good guy friends will instinctively gives kisses when they greet each other.

Tonight, we went to a apéritif dinatoîre* at our friend, Nath's apt, and comme d'hab* I was the only Anglo there.  About an hour into the conversation or so someone realized that I had used a le instead of a la and a de instead of a du (because those of us who speak French or have studied know that this just happens sometimes). The guy I was talking to came to me while I was filling my champagne glass in the kitchen to ask me in a low voice if I were French? Mais non! I responded. He just stood back on his heels and look at me. We had that oh-so-familiar exchange of where I was from and Comment ca se fait que tu parle si bien le francais et patati et patata* and he stated that he thought all Americans only shook hands and were not comfortable kissing. This is exactly what he said.  Well, of course I set him straight and said we love to kiss but it's just a question of habit that's all! We don't greet one another with kisses more often with handshakes or hugs, if we know the person well.  I love little culture exchanges like this.

J said that I used to do the cutest thing I would stick my hand out to shake and pull the person towards me slightly to do les bises. It must of been in my transitional phase from hand shaking instinctively to doing les bises naturally.


 

*Apéritif Dînatoire - Before dinner drinks with heavy hors-d'oeuvres that take the place of dinner, very social setting and mobility for invitees to mingle, drink et manger!

*Comme d'hab- or Comme d'habitude, meaning like usual or usually.

*Patati et Patata- could be interpreted as how we'd use blah, blah, blah or and so on.

 


La marmotte finds her love again

La marmotte finds her love

The husband has returned from a week's vacation with the guys. It's good to be apart. But nothing is better than les retrouvailles!  Sure, separation makes the heart grow fonder and insert other cheesy clichés here but being together is soooo good.

The concept of time has really escaped me these last three months. Three months. Already?  It's like my mind is in hibernation like a ground hog is until spring time arrives.  J calls me his little marmotte. A term of endearment but something that really reflects how I've been lately. 

Did the ground hog see his shadow in the States?  La marmotte doesn't do his duty in France to tell us if Spring will soon be upon us or not. 

I'm hoping with the arrival of spring I will emerge a new marmotte.


My Chicken Pox Scar

Most nights I lay in bed thinking about the day I just lived and feeling grateful for my life.  I drape my arm across my husband's chest and listen to his steady breathing, he's been asleep for several hours now.  It's at this time in the wee hours of the morning when they come to me. Deep memories I haven't thought about in so very long. 

Last night, as I layed in bed thinking about my day  I was suddenly taken back to 1981 or 1982, I can't be sure of the year but with some research into some old photos I will soon know the exact year. Anyway, I was taken back to my parent's bathroom in our old house at 1509 Concord Drive.  His and her sinks. Big bright mirror. My mother's cosmetics neatly arranged around the sink. Her gold curling iron.  I remember always looking at her gold curling iron, admiring it because it was so pretty.  I was wearing my red corduroy sailor dress and had just gotten over a spell of the chicken pox. It was picture day at school. I was in Kindergarten. Mrs. Reinhold's class. This day my mother decided to curl my hair like a big girl, she said.  I remember her showing me on the gold curling iron to watch the brown dot and to tell her when it had turned red because that meant it was hot. I sneaked peeks at her as she brushed her hair.  I remember my mother curling my hair from back to front and I felt like a princess. And then I picked the last scab on my nose left from the chicken pox.  My mom yelled. Well, more like she yelped.  Asked me why I did that?  I don't know why I did that I just did. It was there and I pulled it off. I remember looking at it and pulling it off. It hurt. And bled. And left a scar. A scar that I still have today. 

These moments when these memories come to me are the moments that I look most forward to these days.