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February 2007

January 2007

The farewell smoke

From My 2007 Daily Photo Diary:

Tonight, I witnessed my husband roll, light  and smoke his last cigarette.

He's doing this so that his son will not know a father who smells of cologne and smoke.   I am so proud of him.  My husband never ceases to amaze me. 

Je t'aime, mon bibi nours.

Free Hugs

While taking a stroll near Hotel de Ville, this guy caught my attention. Actually, I spotted him from a distance taking this   lovely photo of the Hotel de Ville basking in the setting sun. We headed over to see what was going on. In the middle of the capharnaüm going on in front of the Hotel de Ville we see this guy peddling free hugs .  Most people pass him by without glancing at him. A few look confused asking, "Mais qu'est-ce que c'est un HUG??" and a couple   bystanders give in and go and get their free hug.  As did Julien and I... we were his first 2 1/2 person hug.  When asked why he was doing this he just said "Comme ca...J'aime bien donner des câlins"

I responded, Ca tombe bien, moi aussi... :)

Check out this video on Free Hugs. And an interview with the guy who started the Free Hug Movement.

I actually finished something...

I have an FO for 2007! I can't believe it.  Of all things, it's a pair of socks!

Lounging around in my socks
Click photo for knitting details.

I thought that I would be forever doomed to only knitting one sock. For some reason I never could get my mind around the basic construction of a sock. But there was something about this yarn that mesmerized me into finishing them.  Maybe variegated yarns are the key to getting me to finish a pair of socks?  So, I've set myself a little knitting new year's resolution: One finished object a month.  I think that's pretty do-able. I feel motivated to try anyways and since I'm starting my congé maternité very soon, I think I'll be able to get a good start.

So, I've got a couple projects on the needles these days: A log cabin blankie from Mason-Dixon knitting and a chunky baby cardigan for the babe. I'm also going to be making a couple more pairs of house socks to gift to a far away blogger friend!

A good friend here in France has just confessed to me that she wants to learn to knit, so we have to get that taken care of too!

And something totally random, I hear it's supposed to snow this week in Paris! I can't believe it. But here's to hoping...

This is the beginning of my 29th week of pregnancy and I'm starting to feel the weight of the baby partout! Especially in my hips!

I hope everyone's having a wonderful start to your week. 

Sleepy hands at 29 weeks

January 15, 2007 - I don't recognize this hand...

From My 2007 Daily Photo Diary:

it's the hand from the Addams family!

Today, I had my monthly check up and everything is going very well. I've only gailed 4 kilos since my last visit for a total of 11 kilos to date. I'm pretty happy with that. I don't have gestational diabetes. My blood pressure is normal.  My hands are still swollen and sleepy most of the time. It makes knitting very hard but I deal. The doctor isn't concerned with it at all and has given me a magnesium supplement to take and said just to wait it out.  I still have plenty of energy and try to make the most of the days to continue to prepare for the baby. We still have work to do at home and I try to do a little everyday.  My complexion  is the best it has been in years! I'll miss the hormones for that though I could do without the daily emotional roller coaster.  The baby is positioned head down and the doctor thinks he'll remain like that until he makes his grand debut. His little tootsies are suggled right up under my ribs. Lovely. He shows off his fancy foot work every night before bed and now he's doing coupe de boule or head butts against my bladder which we witnessed today during the sonogram.   

I've found out that I will go on congé maternité on Febuary 5th. That's 8 weeks before the esitmated due date of our babe. And I'll have another 10 weeks after that! I can hardly believe it .  My friend in the US went back to work 4 weeks after he baby was born and she had to take time off without pay to have that much time.  The social ideals of each country astound me.

Just wondering... for those of you who have children, how much time did you take off after giving birth?  Or I guess I should say how much time were you allowed off?

Sunday, I'm in love...

January 14, 2007 - My husband insists that I have a duvet. I'd rather call it peach fuzz, thank you very much!

Caption for photo: My husband insists that I have duvet, but I'd like to call it peach fuzz, thank you very much!!

It's been a rather productive Sunday.  I've started giving reading lessons to my neighbor's daughter today. She's 4.  Her teacher gives her a book a week to read. I'm supposed to read it to her and then we discuss to make sure she understood the story.  I must say she's a pretty astute little 4 year old. I am really going to enjoy our weekly reading dates.  After the lesson, I came home to house buzzing with commotion. My husband had started the laundry and changed the sheets, made the bed and started cleaning out the utility closet. We've become a better oiled machine when it comes to sharing the household duties. I'm almost ashamed to say that my husband is sometimes better than I am when it comes to doing things like the dishes and cleaning the bathroom.  I know he's reading this so I have to say that "T'es le best, mon amour!" :) After defrosting the fridge and cleaning up we decided to head to the Korean grocery store near Opera to pick up a few things I've been craving lately and to fill our tummies full of yummy Japanese noodles.  While we were in the neighborhood, we enjoyed a nice walk to Palais Royal and metro'd it home as the sun started to set.

I wonder how drastically our lives will change when our baby arrives.  Or maybe it won't...  I hope to be able to still do spontaneous things. I honestly have no idea what to expect. So, I guess I won't expect anything and just take it as it comes. So far, so good...


I love Frangipane

Bourdaloue aux poire et framboise (aka. Frangipane tarte)

This is my new favorite pie! Last weekend was the fête de Galette des Rois or the celebration of Epiphany.  The holiday has been celebrated since the middle ages but more modernly it's become a way for families and friends to gather around the table to celebrate and spend time together.

I'm not a huge fan of the tarte in itself.   The original galette could look like this (Thanks, AliThinks  for the great photo!) but different regions in France have their own versions. So, with that excuse I've made my own version that my husband and I will enjoy. I love pears and he loves raspberries. I've omitted the top crusty portion of the galette and made a tarte entirely of creme d'amande and fruit.  The middle portion of the galette des rois is also called  Frangipane.  I call this my Frangipane tarte, just so much fun to say.

So check it out pre baking... the fruit will sink into the Frangipane once it's baked.

Here's the info you need to make one yourself:

Bourdaloue (Pear frangipane tarte, as I call it)

- 1 pâte sablée de 200g
- 1 crème d’amande (Recipe below)
- 1 grosse boîte de poires au sirop (or any other fruit you'd like to use)
- 1 moule à tarte

1) Beurrer la moule, le garnir avec la pâte.
2) Ajouter la crème d’amande
3) Ajouter les poires
4) Cuissons 30 minutes à four 200˚C

Crème d’amande (Or Frangipane)

-125g de beurre (en pommade)
-125g de sucre semoule
-125 g de poudre d’amande
-2 œufs à température
-30g de farine ou poudre à crème ou Maizena (corn starch) ou fécule. (I use Maizena makes for a lighter Frangipane)

1) Faire mousser le beurre. I heat the bowl in the microwave  and let the cold butter sit in the bowl for a bit to soften up. Do not melt butter completely . 

2) Incorporer la moitié de la poudre d’amande et la moitié du sucre ; faire blanchir (au batteur)

3) Ajouter 1 œuf, battre.

4)Recommencez étape 2 et 3.

5)Incorporer la poudre a crème.

My recipes are always in French and English, just the way my brain works now. Here's an english translation of the recipe.

Seeing the world

January 9, 2007 - Shooting Blind III

This is part of a series I shot tonight of myself for My 2007 Daily Photo Dairy. Shooting blind. I've never done this before. My eyes in this one don't seem like my own. How about a close up on my pregnancy induced freckles? And I just liked this one.

The real story behind the though process of these photos:

I made a new aquaintance yesterday and she's already made an impact on my life.  She's my neighbor. Well, she lives in the building next to mine in the same apartment complex. I was crossing the street yesterday to catch the bus to work and I noticed a woman about to walk out in the middle of the street. Then I noticed that she was blind and probably didn't see the car that was speeding towards her.  I was on the other side of the street and I ran to curb and yelled "Madam, il y a une voiture!!" She stopped. I crossed the street and offered her my assistance which she gladly took.  I found out that she was headed to the same bus stop as I was and we were actually heading in the same direction.  I found out that she has a 4 year old daughter that she was going to pick up from school right on the same street where I work. I offered to her that we go together everyday since we leave at the same time.  She gladly said yes. I was happy to have the company.  Upon boarding the bus I couldn't stop thinking about how she sees the world through her other senses. Tears came to my eyes as I looked at her admiringly.  She turned towards me right at that moment and asked me if  I was ok? She touched my hand which was resting near by and said that she was glad to have met me. And that she sensed that I'd be a good mother. I hadn't told her I was pregnant.  It looks like we are going to be able to help one another.  I can help her by lending her the use of my eyes and she's already helped me by just making me see more clearly.

After living in Paris for nearly 4 years, I've just made friends with my first neighbor.


January 6, 2007

This photo is today's entry in my 2007 photo diary:

I've been having a rather rough week. Emotionally speaking that is. I've been thinking about my mom a lot lately.  Missing her terribly. I lost her a year ago last November.  Last year was a complete blur. I only started to see clear near the end and with the beginning of this new year, I beieve I finally see where I want to go.

I've scanned a photo for today's entry.  This the photo that is on my bed stand. I look at it every night before I got to bed and it's almost the first thing I see when I wake up.   

Every night before bed, my husband and I have our nightly ritual to tell each other that we love each other. I often lay carressing my husband's hands and I fall asleep.  Growing up, my mother's hands were my "dou-dou" as the French call it. Her hands were my security blanket. My teddy bear. I always remember holding hands with my mom. It was just something we always did.  They smelled of sweet cherries and were as soft as silk.   In all the photos I have of my mother, I always look at her hands. They were always a safe place for me.  After grueling tennis matches in high school, my mother would rub my shoulders. Hugs always included my mother cupping her hands on my face. And excitement always meant an enthusiastic clap of joy from her.  These little things I miss so much. 

I reach down and cup my hands around my growing belly and know that my hands will be as equalling important to our little guy.  I often wonder what memories a baby carries with them when then start their life, I truely believe that deep feeling I have towards my mother's hands stems from the very beginning of my life.  This memory is an intrinsic mark I will carry with me forever.

Bastille Black & White

Bastille Black and White

Went to Flickr@Paris tonight but had to leave pretty quickly because the La Poudriere was very smoky. Looking forward to the no smoking ban in bars that will go into effect next year.   I've forgotten smokey bar life. How do people put up with it?

So, instead Julien and I sent to see The Fountain. It was pretty amazing. In very many levels. Concepts of life and death and I really could appreciate. Beautifully shot. Go see it.

Now, I'm home on Flickr... obsessed. Maybe. Since I've started my 2007 in photos diary, I've become absolutely enthralled with other 2007 photo diaries on Flickr.  If you haven't visited the group at Flickr, do it.

A new year

We've just kissed our way into the new year and hugged as hard as we possibly could.  This is our year, we say. As I sit at my computer typing this, Julien is on the couch with his laptop. We're doing "our thing"  as we call it. And we're happy doing it our way. :) Oh, he's just brought me a few fraise tagada for me to enjoy.  I hear fireworks outside our window. On est vraiment bien.

What's my new year's resolution this year? Live life to the fullest. Eyes open. Aware. And to be happy.

This is our year.

Happy New Year!

And I'm starting a new photo project, follow My 2007 Daily Photo Diary here.