Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ella's Stocking-a-day Advent calendar

Finished one project. Now I am slaving away at that damn scarf for B- I think we have firmly established that I am not much of a knitter but sheer cussedness is keeping me from abandoning this scarf. Its a shame because I would love to be able to knit a little sweater for all the little babies due in 2007.
I haven't finished up my mom's cork wreath and this is clearly a mistake as my two co-crafters (B and my dad) will not stop with the advice and suggestions. Have tried to suggest that they 'put a cork in it, ha ha' and they think I am trying to do a bad pun. If only they knew where I really would like to stuff that bag of corks...
Today's To-do list includes going to my Grandmother's house to put up her Christmas tree. I do love being able to help her out, but as noted above I am not super excited about the whole tree decorating thing. And her massive collection of angel decorations is even more fuss-tastic than my mom's. Yikes. Atleast I am allowed to break into the liquor cabinet here and self-medicate to get through the project (hey, I have a head cold and it is a well known fact that brandy Tom-n-Jerry's are a sure fire cure.) Fear that strongest thing that Grandma will be offering are cherry cordials.
And since we managed to get a good shot this morning for our Christmas card, I will need to start in on that to get them in the post tomorrow afternoon.
Clearly I have been sniffing too many glue sticks. This is not vacation but a work camp for bad elves.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

hospital visits

For the second time since coming home, I made a trip to the hospital. Last week I visiting my grandfather who was admitted with Congestive Heart Failure. Yesterday, I had to bring in my mother who threw out her back and was completely immobile. We were taking care of my other grandfather who needs full-time care due to pretty advanced Parkinson's and it was a circus, trying to arrange for someone to take care of him while trying to get my mother off the floor and Ella into some clothes so that we could drive 60 miles to the ER. I am shattered. And today? Trying to keep my mom sitting and resting is draining all the energy I have. Another day I will rant about how this woman is impossible but no time now.

All this is really awful of course, but mostly I feel thankful that I was here when I needed to be. I can't imagine how long my mom would have been lying on the floor if she had been there alone with my grandfather.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Reading stories

Reading stories
Originally uploaded by nicole_gt.
Here is a photo that I snapped the other night of my two youngest sisters with Ella and her cousin when we were at my sister's house for my nephew's birthday party. It really reminds me how much we miss out on living so far away.

I am still suffering from jetlag although I've managed to keep Ella in bed til atleast 8 am for the last 2 mornings. She really messes with me around 4 and I end up lying awake for an hour or two, waiting for her to wake up again. Need to sneak off to bed in a few secs.

Tomorrow will go to stay with my mom at my Grandpa's house. Should have gone this morning with her but I had to get a few things sorted out. My dad and I are working on another craft-y project for my mom (did he not get the memo about my depleted levels of artsy-ness?!!) plus I had to go through my brother's and sisters' Christmas lists for my mom and order the things off the Internet that they asked for before we ended up paying priority shipping charges on everything, like we do most years. My mom talks a pretty good game and sounds like she has got everything sorted. Then December 23rd roles around and it is total chaos around here. Well, I've done my bit to help avert disaster. We'll have to see if that makes any difference. As a sign of my efficiency, Mastercard actually called my dad about the amount of activity on his card and asked if it hadn't been stolen. He must be so happy to have me home.

I took Ella with me to lunch in a cafe today. She was a doll! I was completely stunned by how well she behaved. First she ran into the restaurant, by herself, and climbed up on a chair at an empty table and played with the salt and pepper shakers while I ordered at the desk in the front. When it started taking too long, she started calling "Maman! Maaaah-Maaaan!" It was so cute- albeit a bit noisy. When I finally arrived at the table, she settled down with a bread stick and her plate of vegetables and ate like an angel while I had my soup. As soon as she was done eating, she was off but all through the meal she was perfect. Of course, as I tried to gather up our stuff and leave a tip she ran around to all the tables and waved bye-bye, then blew kisses to the woman next to us who had been making faces at her all through the meal. I would take this as a sign that she is nearly big enough to be taken out to dinner with B and I, but I fear it is merely a tactic to wreak even more havoc if I do attempt anything as rash as that.

Like I said, as soon as she finished eating, she turned into an itty bitty hurricane blowing through the shop attached to the resto. I was trying to buy some yarn (to make a scarf for B. I know, I know. I'm mad. But he will be so surprised!) and it took about a half hour as I had to dash after her about every 30 seconds.

Took things down a notch for our next stop- Payless. I wanted to get Ella some little boots so she could go out and play. Not because there is snow. There is hardly a flake. No. Its December in Wisconsin and it is raining so much that there is mud every where. This fills me with rage- 90% of the reason that I come home in December is because it is so pretty when everything is covered with snow. Haven't hardly snapped any photos yet because there are no photo ops. Hence, the Christmas card is going no where, which is starting to get me a teeny bit nervous....

Monday, December 11, 2006

We made it back to Wisconsin fine. The worst part was right at the beginning. There was a huge wind storm moving through Paris and they started boarding the passengers through a terminal where we had to walk about 100 meters across the tarmac. As usualm they asked me to leave the stroller at the desk- totally baffled when I said I needed assistance since I wouldn't be able to manage to carry a backpack, a purse, a car seat and a baby, through the hurricane winds and rain and up a steep staircase. After 10 minutes of my stubborn refusal to budge, they FINALLY found someone from the 8 employees standing on the side chatting who was willing to help. Then once we got ont the plane and settled, they announced that they had stopped boarding since the high winds made it unsafe for people to walk outside. And yet 30 seconds earlier, it was totally unreasonable of me to suggest that I shouldn't maybe carry a baby in one hand and 20 kilos of luggage in the other hand up a wet flight of stairs. After this many flights with Ella, I hardly even notice this sort of stupidity anymore.

Naturally we took off late- 2 hours late to be precise so I knew I would miss my connection (another thing that has become a standard part of our travel...) and called home to let them know. The plane ride was relatively painless, the only glitch being that I forgot to pick up my stroller at customs. I have to start calling around to see where it might be now, but honestly, dealing with the airlines is such a pain in the ass, I am tempted to just write it off and ask Santa to bring a new one- one without Ella's blood all over the seat from that day at the florist's when she mysteriously cut her finger. But because I didn't have my stroller, I had to carry the carseat and make Ella walk all the way through O'Hare airport to our connecting flight. What a little trooper. Remember that at this point, it was 1 am for her. I have to admit, she is such a good traveller it is amazing. Finally, the connecting flight was conveniently running 2 hours late as well so atleast we didn't have to spend the night at a hotel in Chicago.

We are dealing with our jetlag ok, as long as I remain zen about the fact that I spend more time on my feet between the hours of 2 and 5 than I do actually laying down in bed. Of course, you can get tons done when you are up hours before dawn. Yesterday, I made muffins and read three back issues of Living magazine. On the other hand, I was so spacey from lack of sleep that I forgot to take a shower. Efficient and filthy would sum up my first weekend home.

Went to my nephew's birthday party yesterday which was lovely. The thing I miss most, living in France, is being able to go to these little family dinners. I busted my ass all day Saturday to make this. I glued and I cut and I sewed on dozens of tiny jingle bells. Finished it just on time and then I forgot to take a picture of it. In theory I am going to make another one for Ella but, to be honest, I may have used up all my craftiness for 2006. I may have to go and visit my sister just so that I can take a photo and have photographic evidence that I actually made it. Its like that conundrum, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, did it make an noise?"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Last minute preparations

I thought that this morning I would be frantically dashing around trying to get B's Christmas present but instead, I am sitting in front of my computer, surfing gift sites trying to think up something new. After talking about it over with a few people I had decided to buy him a telephone/organizer. I wanted a Palm Pilot Treo 680 but I couldn't find one in stock anywhere yesterday, after spending 3 hours running from one boutique to another. Figured out a back-up plan and managed to sort out a way to go and buy his present this morning while Ella was at daycare, eliminating my last major task (ummm, if you don't count packing 4 suitcases...) before leaving on holiday. I told him last night that I need to do go and buy his gift and asked if he preferred if I put it on a certain card or paid cash. Well, he could have cared less about that and instead badgered me until I finally told him what I was going to get him. I should have just kept my mouth shut but I was trying to give out little hints, since I was a bit unsure whether or not he would like it. When he figured it out, did he get a big smile on his face and then give me a big kiss to say thanks? Nope. He said, oh. I got one of those a few years ago and sold it to one of my buddies after two months, since I never used it.

Actually, I had forgotten about that. So back to the drawing board. He is such a nightmare to shop for! No hints. No lists. No obvious hobbies to supply. I always manage to find something nice and surprise him but what a battle. I'm lying. He did actually ask for something- a watch from Cartier. But he wants it to have the date on the face, which none of them do. So basically, he wants a special order Cartier for Christmas. Somehow I don't think it will be such a surprise when he sees the 20,000 euro charge on my AmEx.

I am going to get him a new backpack though. A few years ago he absolutely had to have one of these hard-shell backpacks that were made for things like rollerblading, where you could fall or bang it and whatever was inside would be protected from the shock. Well, it cost a fortune, is impossible to fill, because everything has to be jammed through a narrow opening at the top, and it looks retarded. But the worst thing about this stupid backpack is that it can't just be squeezed in the cupboard with the other luggage, because it is the size of a toddler. It takes up half the shelf and I can never grab anything else out of there without getting on a chair and removing his backpack, which I might add, he uses about 3 times a year, maximum. I warned him last time it got in my way that I would buy him a replacement and then I would personally hand it over to the first homeless person I could find, preferrably one who looked to be en route some distant land so that I would never ever see the backpack again. He thought I was kidding. Why oh why does that man continue to underestimate me, after all these years?

Ella on the otherhand, will be buried in presents this year. Sadly, none of them will be wrapped for under the tree since she will probably receive them all on our plane trip. I bought 75 euro worth of plastic crap yesterday and am praying that it all fits in my carry-on bag because I think I will need every last bit of it if we are to arrive at our destination with my sanity intact. She is 100% toddler right now, and by that I mean she is a stubborn, tenacious, loud, sensitive, and capricious. The ideal travelling companion. I honestly don't know what I will give her on Christmas day because she is going to be spoiled beyond belief by the stuff I've got in my giant Sac o' Fun for the plane. Dora stickers, Santa stickers, shiny flower stickers, Play-Doh, plastic animals, little cars, puzzle books, toys for her dolly, electronic gadgets (I actually don't know what they do, except beep, which is all she cares about anyways), nesting cups, raisins, cookies, pomme-pots, juice boxes, tagada strawberries, crayons, color books, and new music on my Ipod. If only she hadn't chewed apart the earphones yesterday, we could actually listen to the music. Note to self- add earphones to shopping list. I hesitated a long time yesterday over buying a portable DVD player, but the batteries only last about 3 hours a piece and so I would need to buy atleast one extra and then it started to get quite expensive. In theory, we are flying an Airbus 330 which B assures me has individual video screens and with their own libraries but I don't like to trust the airlines with anything more than keeping the plane in the air. All the rest seems to go to crap on a pretty regular basis. But then my mom said a portable DVD player would probably be an excellent present for someone to give me and maybe I shouldn't buy it for myself 3 weeks before Christmas. She is so sneaky, that one.

So basically, I have to throw together our bags, run out to the shops and pick up a few lastminute things, and then try to get to bed early tonight so I am fresh for whatever tomorrow brings. I am less worried about Ella than I am about the problems the airline will cause. Will I take the carseat on the plane with me or not? Will I be able to carry it, if I decide to bring it? Will I get my stroller in Chicago? Will I manage to go through customs with all my shit plus a cranky baby? Will I be able to bring on a bottle of my magic sleeping potion for Ella (thats Quietude, for all you taking notes)? Will there be Dora cartoons on the plane?

Answers to all these questions and more sometime this weekend when we have recovered. Might be Monday, actually. Did I tell you that my mom volunteered me to babysit my sister's two kids on Saturday night, after I arrive? They'll be dropped off at around 1 am, Paris time, and I'll get to play with them til about 5 am, Paris time, or rather, until there's only about 2 hours before Ella wakes up with her jetlag. I love my mom, but she drives me crazy sometimes. Somehow she is the only person who forgets how I break out in an actual rash when I get overtired- and while the doctor can give me a steroid shot for the rash, there is sadly no cure for the absolutely foul mood that I get in.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Apartment visits

I know, its only been two weeks and if we had actually sold our apartment in 2 weeks I would not only have been amazed but also completely freaked out over the idea of having to move out of here in January/February. But I don't think I can handle any more visits. Good god, they are annoying, particularly when I've decided that 99% of the time, they are just wasting my time.

Today there was a visit at 12 noon so I got up and started cleaning the house room by room. The cleaning lady is finished for the year so she hasn't been at all this week and I really needed to clean things and by the time I finished up, an hour and a half later, I was sweaty and tired. Why do I worry about missing yoga when a thorough house cleaning must easily burn as many calories with the bending and scrubbing and scooting around on my knees washing the floor. Plus I am constantly dashing around after Ella as I spy her getting into some new mischief. Of course, I had started the cleaning a bit later than I should have so I was moving even faster than normal to get everything done on time.

And then they didn't show. Assholes.

The woman who came at 12:30 was lovely but didn't seem really interested so basically all that was for nothing. I suppose one could argue that a clean house is a reward in and of itself, but that person would just be pissing me off right now. Getting up early, scrubbing the house from top to bottom daily, sitting Ella in front of a Dora film for the nth time so that I can either clean or show the house- honestly, our next place better be fucking amazing to warrant all this.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The calm before the storm

I am sitting here at my desk doing nothing but messing around on the internet, when really I should be making lists and packing bags, dropping things at the drycleaners and running into the shops for things to take home for Christmas. But, I am just feeling very lazy and unmotivated. Am really a very very lazy person and all this activity lately is wearing me out.

We had my in-laws to stay last night. They very generously offered to stay with Ella so that we could go out to dinner. But then it seemed awfully odd that they didn't bring any food with them, as they tend to come with bags of lovely things from the country- vegetables and fruit from the garden, sausage and terrine from the hunting parties they do, wine from their cave, eggs from the their chickens (I suppose I should be a bit insulted that they do this, but its such a huge help, I can't really be bothered to get angry. As we got ready to leave I grabbed B and dragged him into the other room to double-check that I wasn't supposed to have cooked something for them for dinner. He said that they could sort something out, and luckily I had bought a few things just so that the refridgerator wasn't embarrassingly empty, but I had bought a pretty random bunch of things since the goal wasn't necessarily to make a meal but to fill the shelves. I could see B's father getting a bit nervous about the lack of activity in the kitchen, so we quick grabbed our coats and ran out the door.

Word to the wise, rue St Paul on a Monday night is clearly not the place to be. It took us 4 tries before we found a restaurant open. Ended up at Le Rouge Gorge, a wine bar that does a very short menu de marché. We hadn't every eaten there although it looks quite nice. I tried warm oysters for the first time last night- didn't particularly like them, actually. I think my favorite thing about oysters is that icy salty brine that they sit in, with just a bit of crunchy, sour shallots it is such a perfect winter meal. They served these oysters in the shell with a warm creme fraiche and wine sauce. Just seemed like the poor cousin of the moules served in cream sauce. But the main course was lovely- it was just a magret du canard, but the skin was so perfectly crisped, it was better than any other I'd eaten before. Since its a wine bar, they served us a good Vouvray that tasted like Granny Smith apples and some strange red that I had never heard of before,very purple and plummy. There was just one old man doing the service and he was a bit of a disaster, but that made it feel like even more of a nice local place to go and hang out. The only problem is that it is such a tiny room, we could never ever go there with Ella because if she got in one of her moods, there would be nothing to do to stop her from ruining the dinner for everyone in the place, besides just leaving immediately. What I need to find is some nice local restaurant where we can actually take Ella. Maybe I am being a bit too ambitious, considering her age. Sigh.

This morning we were up bright and early (nice thing about December is that 9 am is pretty much as bright and early as it gets) to get ready for the Playgroup Christmas party. Had a very nice time since Ella managed to be perfectly entertained all morning with no intervention on my part and with only one small meltdown over seating at the drawing table. I wish we had playgroups three times a week. First of all, Ella is happier than she ever is home alone with me and secondly, I am able to have a chat with my friends. I know I make comments about how I don't find my mommy friends hugely entertaining, but I have to take it back. I just get irritated that no one seems to need to go out at night (as much as I do). Our playgroups are generally plenty long for the kids who all start to run out of steam after 2 hours, while us moms are still going strong.

Would be so perfect if we managed to find a new apartment in central Paris with enough space that I could have a separate playroom and then could host a playgroup every single week in addition to the normal one. B was just saying last night that he thought I was being awfully greedy insisting on looking at things only over 150 m² but I tried to explain that he would get acclimated very quickly and if there was ever a baby number 2, we would absolutely treasure every spare inch. Of course, he is right and one of my main motivations for finding something big is that it will give Ella a bit of space to run and maybe, maybe?, she will be able to amuse herself a bit better. At the very least, this will give us enough space so that we can have a spare cupboard for a fille au pair. No matter what ends up happening next year in terms of my job/schooling, I think we will need to find live-in help. You would think with 50-some first cousins rattling around Wisconsin, I would be able to find 1 who would be happy to spend a year in Paris.

So this afternoon, I am going to attempt to put a semelle on my new shoes all by myself rather than take them to the cordonnier. I haven't been able to find anyone I like as much as the guy who used to work at Emeric at the place Bastille. Plus most places tend to charge 25 euro just to glue a semelle on- highway robbery! Yesterday at BHV, I found a kit for 9 euro and so I am going to give it a try. I think it will be easy (famous last words). I didn't tell B because he would want to take over and I really do want to try it first myself. There is this fantastic little scraper tool in there, I think for fixing the edges. Its like a giant nutmeg grater. Fun. Of course, if I cock it all up, will pass it over to B when he gets home. Will have to suffer through a good half hour of him sighing dramatically over my disaterous attempt, but then he loves feeling like the Big Strong Clever Man and fixing things for me. Lets just hope it doesn't come to that. And don't worry, you'll see the photos if it turns out well.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

girls night in

Didn't accomplish much of anything Saturday, but was definitely very girly from beginning to end. Ella and I had one of our lovely mornings in the bath. Its the second outpost of Les Bains du Marais, I think. I brought a big cup of coffee and she brought her Dora figurines (yep, those ones)and we played in the bath for ages, scrubbing with the pumice stone and going through one soap/mask after another. Then we spent a good hour or so blowing our hair, putting on lotion, and playing with make-up. She is such a girly-girl its unbelieveable.

In the afternoon, we played in the park for a bit and then while she napped, I baked (a very average apple pie, sadly). The sky was steely grey all afternoon and so it was lovely to have no where to go and nothing to do. Also took the chance to get going on some Christmas projects. Must admit that I didn't get much further than dragging out all my embroidery things and some fabric, but the wheels are turning. I am hoping to be struck by inspriration today.

Saturday night, I had been invited over to a friends house for a bit of a house-warming party. I am missing the actual party next week since I will be in the States and her husband was out of town, so I popped round thinking it would be a quick drink or two, but turned into a very boozy dinner that finished up around 2 am. We were going to be very well-behaved and then we got it in our heads that we should do a bit of a Champagne Desgustation since we had each bought a bottle of our favorite champagne. (My new fav is Heidseick and hers is Mailly- a blanc de noirs. Was lovely and chocolate-y compared to mine which was very very fruity. Am writing off this hangover as a necessary part of of the learning experience.)

Their apartment is really lovely and the best part is that they have a fireplace in the living room. We lit a fire and settled into the sofa with a (few...) bottles of champagne for a nice chat. Then, all of a sudden, my friends cell phone rings with an SMS- some girl had apparently given out that number as her own and so we spent the next hour sending naughty 'how can you not remember our steamy night of passion?!!' textos to some poor hapless Thomas. Felt like we were 15 and had broken into our parents liquor cabinet while they were out of town.

This friend is also one of my few girlfriends who is married and is also American, so we have very similar ideas about things. Sometimes its nice to be able to compare notes with someone who is on the same page as me. We're about the same age and she's quite independent so I think she understands my mind set a bit better. I can't moan too much about my husband to my single girlfriends because they either can't understand why I put up with certain things or can't understand why I would complain since I have attained the Holy Grail which is a ring on my finger. My French girlfriends who are married don't seem to enjoy complaining about their husbands as much. And lots of my mommy friends are too involved with their kids to be able to take out a whole evening for drinking and gossiping, it seems like. If I had managed to get to bed before 3, it would have been the ideal night out. Might just have to slip back into bed when Ella takes her nap this afternoon...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Date night

After my meltdown on Thusday night, I was thrilled when B reminded me that he had taken off Friday afternoon so he would be home at around 2 and therefore I could go do whatever I wanted after dropping Ella at daycare, I wouldn't have to be home until late. All I had to do that day was show the apartment twice (both of which went well) and I was off duty. The cleaning lady was even planning on coming so I didn't have to worry about a thing.

I immediately called up the salon , L'Appartement 217, I had been wanting to try to see if I could still get an appointment for that afternoon and by some miracle, they had an opening. After getting Ella to school, I went straight over, since I wasn't sure exactly where the place was. In fact, its right next to the Colette shop on rue St Honore, super easy to find. The only downside is that the room that I was put in has windows onto the street and so inevitably, you lay there and listen to scooters buzzing by and horns honking and kids screaming at each other as they leave school. They don't have music in the rooms, I could hear what they were playing out in the main areas but it wasn't the most serene atmosphere. On the other hand, the decor is great. Its a typical Hausmannian apartment so high ceiling, moulures, and parquet floors. Everything was painted a beautiful soft grey and there were spots of bright color scattered around. I loved it. Made me even more excited about the idea of getting my hands on a new apartment.

The best part was the actual "facial". Its half facial and half massage, so she started by spraying some sort of oil in the air and then massaged my stomach and chest. She did the basic facial with all sorts of lovely different oils and then while the mask was setting she massaged my shoulders, head, and top of my back. After the facial was done, she had me roll over to massage the rest of my back with lavendar and rosemary oil and then finished by going over the rest of my body. It was absolute heaven. Then she had me lay on the chaise longue with a cup of tea, while I got my strength back. That is pampering. They use a line of products called Les Senteurs des Fees, which is a French brand that I had never heard of before, and it smells as wonderful as it feels. An hour and a half of absolute bliss and the price was great as well. If I was going to rate this spa, I would say that it is nearly as nice as the George V spa, which is my absolute favorite.

I think that I'll make an appointment on Monday for the first day in January that I have Ella back in daycare. After all the holiday stress, it will be just the thing and how nice to have that to look forward to when I am stuck in the airplane with Ella, going on Hour 18 of our endless journey home.

After that wonderful afternoon, I still had our date to look forward to that night. I had made a reservation for B and I at Market. After reading La Petite's entry about her dinner there, I started getting hungry. Was very lucky and they managed to squeeze us in at the first sitting (comme d'hab, when I called they were a bit snotty about it being so last minute and said that there were only tables left in the smoking section. I said that would be fine- although those tables are awful- and then when we got there, we managed to get a really nice table in the main room. NEVER BELIEVE WHAT THE RECEPTIONIST SAYS is rule number one of dining in France.)

I really like that restaurant. I don't think its phenomenally good, but we definitely ate well last night, had enough space around us to have a good chat, and basically it was just a nice grown-up night out, which was what I was hoping for before the madness of our 3 week holiday at my parent's house. The funny thing was, most of the night, the tables on either side of us were empty. But then when we were waiting for our dessert, people were seated on both sides. To the right was a couple with the woman quite a bit older than the man (who sported the best mullet I've seen in a long time. And I couldn't really tell if he was being ironic about it or not.). On the other side, there was a man in his mid-50's with a stick-thin girl in her early 20's. The Mullet Man didn't talk much, so I didn't pay much attention to them. On the other hand, the Old Guy wouldn't shut up and all the better to eve's drop on them. It just confirmed all my negative ideas about those sort of mismatched couples- he wanted her beauty, she wanted his money and they were both so fixated on that they seemed to ignore the fact that they were completely miserable. He was some sort of bigshot at an advertising agency and actually seemed like a decent enough guy- smart, interesting, well-travelled, well-connected. It seemed like she didn't have anything to say, she couldn't find anything on the menu to eat (well, I suppose, considering her size, food isn't something that she is well-acquainted with), and actually seemed really bored with the whole thing. I don't want to be too hard on her because I think she was possibly even younger than I am guessing and when you are that young, you're automatically sort of stupid and gauche. That is why it is so nice to finally be a grown-up on day. The guy was a bit of a tool, because the only reason I can imagine he was so excited to be out with her was because she was so attractive. But it baffles me- is that kind of relationship (even if its only a night out) fun for either of them? Between the uncomfortable silence at the table to the right, and the blah-blah-blahing of the guy on the left, we were ready to get out of there by the time our bill came. The Smoking Section was starting to look like it wasn't so bad after all...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Champagne shopping

Thats what I had planned to do- my fav Christmas tradition. Every year, le Bon Marche does a special Thursday night of Christmas shopping, when they have live music, waiters handing out glasses of champagne and petits fours, and special events like book signings, etc. Last year B and I went I had a fantastic time. I must have had 4 glasses of champagne while we wandered around (only turned into 4 because B cannot make a decision to save his life and those lovely waiters kept taking my empty glass from my hand and automatically handing me a full glass. How do you say no?!!) and plus I got all my shopping done. I tried on all the fur coats after the saleswoman irritated me by saying that she didn't think that they were in my budget. Most of them weren't in the budget, no, but thats the worst sales technique I've ever seen. Anyways, I showed her- every single one of those coats was double-locked on the rail and she had to crawl around for 20 minutes releasing and attaching cords. Snotty salespeople is the downside of BM. The best thing about the Bon Marche is that it is never too crowded, so pushing a stroller around isn't the nightmare that it would be in the other grands magasins.

I was really looking forward to going again this year and then B told me yesterday morning that there was no way that he could leave the shop early. So already, I knew that it would be a bit difficult. Then instead of deciding on whether we would meet at home or at the Bon Marche, we decided to wait to see how Ella's nap went. Well, she only napped for 2 hours, which is much less than she seems to need lately, so I thought that there was no way I could manage to take her alone on the bus all the way across town at that time of the day and decided to wait for B to get home so we could go together. But after 4 hours of Ella whining at me, I was not in the mood to spend another minute with her. When B walked in, I handed him his child and said he was on his own for the night.

There are some days when I use up every last bit of patience that I have and I am counting the seconds til he walks through that door. Thats why I am convinced that mothering is a Real Job, because it takes some very specific qualities to be good mother. Its like cooking- I can cook a meal, but I'm not a chef. I can drive a car, but I'm not a Formula One Racer. I can take care of my child, but I'm not sure that this is the job that I should be doing everyday. I don't feel bad admitting that either. I feel worse about not actually finding an outside job so that Ella can spend her day with people who are good at entertaining and managing toddlers. 2007 is my year, I can feel it.

So anyways, I grabbed my knitting and headed out the door to join the Knotties who had decided to meet over at St Michel (a bit of a pain for me, but I figured a nice long walk to clear my head would do me good) when my cell phone rang. Turns out it was Mimi asking if I wanted to join her and some girlfriends for drinks at Six Seven over by the Champs Elysees. Drinks with the girls was EXACTLY what I needed so I turned around and went home to change my clothes and headed back out. I had never actually been to this bar and while I didn't go down into the club, the music was really good last night and plus we had a nice comfortable sofa and chairs in the corner, perfect for people watching. The only downside is that the place was so smoky that I had to leave early. I'm only just getting over my cold and my throat started burning after some fat old man who was the friend of a friend of a friend sat down just across from me and started smoking a cigar. Honestly, I think smoking bans are ridiculous and I am totally against them, but I do think that out of politesse, people who smoke cigars should atleast ask the people near them if that is alright. That this horrible person would come and sit down at my table and start smoking an enormous stinking cigar right in my face without even considering if it would bother me was a shock. It makes me wonder how he treats people he dislikes if this is how he is with people he is trying to impress.

Was also a good opportunity to give my Louboutins an outing. I've only managed to wear them three times since I bought them, and frankly, its looking like I might have wasted my money, considering how much they cost. Here's the problem- first of all, they are so high that I either have to go to my destination in a taxi or in a different pair of shoes and change because I cannot walk any distance in the heels. Secondly, they are so high that they end up being quite short (distance between toe and heel) and I have pretty small feet already so it looks weird if I wear them with trousers, only a tiny bit of toe manages to peek out from under the hem. I have to wear them with skirts and in the middle of winter this is not generally my first choice. Thirdly, I can't wear them with footed stockings because then my foot slips a little bit and I end up wobbling around like a 12-year-old who just raided her mothers closet. Or like I am hopelessly drunk, neither of which I find to be a particularly attractive vibe. Of course, i can't even think this when B is in the room otherwise he will never shut up with the 'I told you so' s.

Also, while I was out I got a texto from that friend with whom I had argued. It wasn't exactly an official pardon, but atleast it means that I'm not being ignored and will probably have a chance to apologize in person. Feeling much much better having that situation halfway sorted out.

And now it is the 1st of December? I can't believe it. I have no shopping done, no lists made up, no projects started. Plus, on Sunday, I might quickly fly up to London and try and have lunch with a friend so that I can sneak in another flight for my frequent flyer card. Its a fun idea, because its so ridiculous, but also? maybe I should just forget about the stupid frequent flyer miles considering everything else that I have going on? Who am I kidding- when have I ever chosen reasonable over fun.