Wednesday, October 06, 2010

How time flies when you are stressed out

I swear to god, people, I came back to Paris in a good mood but every other person I meet has done his level best to stomp on my smiley face. Which is to say, I have had more than my fair share of run-ins with Paris' finest SOBs. Which means that I have been a bit too stressed out to do anything other than bite my nails and cry.

The most worrisome of this fine line-up of mankind is Ella's new teacher. She changed schools this year and its not been entirely what I had imagined. She is going to a private Catholic school in the 5th and it turns out to be so ridiculously snobby that I actually walked out of the parent's association meeting early, realizing that there wasn't a snowball chance in hell that I would willingly spend my free time hanging out with these people. But thats more due to the snooze factor than anything else. No, the problem is her teacher who is an absolute beyotch- to the point that I am considering taking Ella out of this school. We have already done an inscription for a different private school for next year so atleast I know that I am not stuck with this place, but still. A year is a LONG time to have to deal with this woman.

Then the downstairs neighbors started acting up again. The last time we phoned to ask them to keep the noise down, after midnight, they freaked out and screamed (literally) that 'it was now war!' I am baffled, as I had already declared war back in May. (Seriously, keep up folks) But in their drunken screeching, it appears that they were under the impression that as owners of the apartment (vs the situation of a renter) that they could do anything that they pleased. The concierge later told me that they previously were renters. And they also thought that they coproprieté would support them in a complaint against us (see, the way they figure it, we are harrassing them. Idiots.) when in fact, the coproprieté has asked B to be its president which would mean that he is the boss of the building (which would really help me out in my bid to sue the pants off these asshats for noise disturbances. I could make them replace their tile floors!) Anyways, what a delight to have to worry night and day about being attacked in a dark hall by the people next door, right?

Speaking of people next door, the lady renter in the apartment next to ours is moving out and we immediately phoned the owner to see if he would sell us the flat so that we could have that little bit of extra space that we are lacking and he not only said 'no' but shouted at us for even bothering him with the question. He is like 105 years old, it seemed like a reasonable assumption that he might be tired of dealing with renters. Guess not. Of course, all of our other neighbors have kindly chimed in with helpful speculation regarding the tenuous state of his health and the likelihood that his kids will definitely sell to us. I hate betting on death odds. Seems like it is likely to attract some seriously bad karma. Anyways, noisy neighbors make us a bit skittish about investing any more in this place, but the For Sale listings are not inspiring me (although if we had a million and a half to throw at our next purchase, I might be feeling it...)

Who else has pissed me off lately? Oh right. My playgroup is a bunch of jerks. OK, not entirely. Its just that people seem to prefer meeting up separately, in groups of 2 or 3, rather than just sending out a note to everyone and suggesting something. That just seems not nice. And in my tender state, I have a hard time dealing. I just want a nice group of friendly moms who make me feel like I have an entire gang of sympathetic people to turn to once a week to mop up all the mommy messes that I have made over the course of the past 6 days, rather than having to get on the phone and beg someone to come out and meet me. This doesn't seem like it should be such an issue, but there you go.

And lastly, but most irritatingly, my colorist, who I LOVE, now has a three week waiting list. That means, I need to think about re-doing my roots THREE WEEKS before I notice a prob in the mirror. I might as well switch colorists now because that ain't ever gonna happen. I am always calling up and begging for a same day appointment. I'm never going to get my shit together to sort out an appointment. That sucks but I have to just face reality and move on, I think.

So there you go. Paris, why you bein' so mean to me? Treat me right or I am going to pack my bags and go. Swear. To. God.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We're back

Of COURSE Georgia has the worst case of jetlag and after a rather difficult flight (So sorry fellow passengers of Delta flight 217- I mananged to keep the screaming to a minimum but frankly, I am well aware that any screaming is too much screaming when trapped in a tin can for 8 hours...) I am hoping to get this sorted out ASAP. First night back, I was awake with both girls from 2 til 5:45 a.m. It was horrific and I nearly lost it when Georgia knocked over my block tower for the 100th time, which was my signal that it was time for them to be put to bed. Honestly, when you can't even play blocks with your 1 year-old, you need to sleep. Thats a good rule of thumb, I've found.

Last night, I managed to get Ella asleep at 2 am, at which point (sigh), Georgia woke up. I made her stay in bed but had to go in and calm her down every 15 minutes til 4:45. Its nearly noon and she is still asleep, so as soon as I finish here, she is getting her wake-up call. I hope a week is long enough to get the girls back on schedule. I am so tired. So so tired. It doesn't quite seem fair that after skipping a night's sleep while travelling that they put me through this circus. I don't know if I'll manage to survive long enough to see the outcome.

On the other hand, being awake all night, I've managed to catch up on all my blogs after doing a bit of an internet detox this summer, which was much needed. I have also discovered a new kids series on DVD that I love- Shaun the Sheep, from the people who do the Wallace and Gromit stuff. So cute and funny (although that is coming from a severely sleep-deprived person, so I'll have to verify the funniness when I am fully conscious)! Of course, it was supposed to be a new treat for on the airplane but one of my darling children decided to poke around in the carry-on bag at some point, and turned on the brand-new, purchased-especially-for-this-flight DVD player, thereby assuring that the battery was completely dead by the time we got on the plane and needed to be entertained. Did I mention that our flight back was a little bit hellish?

I hate re-entry after a long long summer holiday.

On a more positive note, I was so excited to see Georgia's new room- the color is beautiful and the fabric stickers that I ordered are adorable. It looks like such a sweet little girl's room now. Will post photos as soon as I manage to download all 1500 (!) summer vacation photos off my camera. I went to by an external hard drive last night so if all goes well, it will happen this afternoon. Extreme tiredness is not usual conducive to successful computer repair jobs, as far as I am concerned, but I am optimistic. Also, dying to look through the photos! The new camera seems like it was taking great photos and I want to get a set printed out as soon as I can.

I also looked through my giant stack of mail and I got a place at the Ecole du Louvre night school! I have wanted to do the History of Art course for YEARS and never managed to get my paperwork in on time. Finally, through some stroke of luck, the day before we left in June I remembered to download the paperwork. I did the application and had Bruno post it. I totally forgot to ask about it all summer so it was a nice surprise to come back to. Between weekly art classes at the Louvre and the abonnement to the ballet, I feel like my culture quotient will go through the roof this year.

I am in such a hazy state of consciousness that I thought it was Friday yesterday, when I had booked the sitter. Luckily, she didn't mind staying late yesterday although she must have been a bit confused about what was going on. Between this and entirely unpacking our suitcases (she even ironed everything before putting it away!), I feel like I already owe her a giant bonus for the month. Seriously, she is worth her weight in gold and pretty much is top of my list when I grimly make me list of Reasons Why France is OK. Obviously, it is the time of year when I need to pull it out very often.

Anyways, B took off work early yesterday and we managed to get out on a date. When he visits us in the States we don't tend to get much alone time, so it seems like years since we've done this. He has been so sweet and 'affectionate' since we got home that its practically like dating a new boyfriend. I know it'll wear off quickly enough, but I'm enjoying it while I can. We walked around St Germain des Pres in the rain (so romantic) and did some shopping (for computer stuff- NOT so romantic) and then had the nicest dinner at Le Recamier in the 7th. We'd gone there years ago once or twice and I don't remember it being so good. They specialize in soufflés, which seems a bit odd- are there that many soufflé-ophiles wandering the streets of Paris?, but clearly this place is a favorite of the locals and we had to beg for a table on the terrasse despite the lousy weather last night. The waiter then turned away dozens of other people, despite the fact that the terrasse was still half empty, which of course, made me feel like One of the Chosen Few. Its true that Parisian waiters can be complete b*&!%#ds, but once you've cracked the code, its so nice.

I suppose I need to add that to my list of good things about Paris- being able to sit outside on a warm night, drinking champagne and eating apricot souffles with a lovely date. Today is going to be dedicated to back-to-school organization. Top of the list- haircuts for everyone.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just a little bit longer...

We had a great time when B came to visit, which obviously kept me away from the computer and out having fun. (Remind me to tell you about how we roasted a whole pig in a giant pit when his dad came to visit for a few days.) Once he left, we were really sad but it seemed like the summer had just whizzed by and it was already time for me and the girls to start packing so... I changed our tickets to stay for an extra 10 days. Its not so much more and we still get home in plenty of time for school but we don't have to try and entertain ourselves in the city for so long. B actually was the one to suggest that it was far better to keep the kids here, where they can run around outside and play at the lake, than to take them back to the apartment.

I am so relieved. I needed a bit more time to get myself back in the mood for city life. It gets harder every year!

Lots more photos to post but I have the Mother of all Computer Viruses on my laptop and I have it at the shop right now. Once that gets sorted out, I can start downloading a few more of the 1000+ photos I have sitting on my memory stick. Its going to be a big job.

Friday, July 16, 2010

wisconsin things

Meeting the animals at the county fair
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Wisconsin things

The county fair
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Belated birthday present

Ella's birthday arrived just a week after my grandfather's funeral, so quite understandably, my mom forgot to send a present. Which worked out very well for Ella- she was paging through a toy catalog that had landed in the mailbox and found a kid's make-up kit that she ABSOLUTELY needed (I think I may have an Eloise on my hands after repeated readings of the Eloise anthology...). I said that I would bear that in mind when Christmas came along but it didn't take much more than one little 'Pleeeeeese, Mamie?' for my Mom to offer to buy it as a belated birthday gift. It arrived yesterday and has turned out to be even better than she had imagined. I remember playing in my mom's make-up when I was that age, taking turns with my best friend painting our faces all the colors of the rainbow. Make-up is the most thrilling thing to play with when you are that age. This looks like a sparkly pink Box-o-rashes to me, but you can't deny that it is Ella's dream present.
Oh well. I bought an economy-sized bottle of Benadryl on my first trip to Walmart for a reason.
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Wisconsin things

Tornado warnings
We heard the sirens this morning at 10:30 while we were at swimming lessons and drove home as fast as we could. The sky was so dark that the lights of all the signs had gone on and the air was ominously warm and heavy. I drove past the county fairgrounds, where all the RVs were sitting and said a little prayer for all those poor people stuck out there, with their animals, waiting for the judging to begin this afternoon. They already had the police cars sitting at the gates with the ambulance. I guess I'm not the only one who was thinking about what a disaster it would be if a tornado touched down in town. I'm now sitting in the kitchen watching the black clouds roll by, jumping up every time it thunders (wondering if it is actually the start of a touchdown), and flicking over to the weather site to track the storm clouds.

I don't actually mind the rain- its kind of nice to be stuck in the house on a stormy day. I just have lost the habit of hiding out in the basement.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

wisconsin things

Watching a butterfly crawl out of its cocoon

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wisconsin things

Wearing rodeo leftovers abandoned at the cabin as sunhats

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wisconsin things

Sunday afternoon, with all the family, watching a game at the baseball diamond
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wisconsin things

Baseball in the backyard after dinner
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Friday, July 09, 2010

Wisconsin things

Learning to ride a bike
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Wisconsin things

Freezie Pops
After spending the afternoon at the pool, the perfect snack is a freezie pop while drying off in the sun.
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wisconsin things

Swimming lessons

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wisconsin things

Cheerios with blueberries for breakfast
Trying to get every last drop in her mouth
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Blowing bubbles

We tried ice cream and a visit to the lakeside park, but it was no good. We could not beat the heat. Then finally, it finally started to cool off around dinner time, when the wind picked up and blew away the humidity that had been hanging over the day like a heavy, wet blanket. We had my aunt and uncle over a dinner of grilled steaks and salade from the garden, with a gorgeous bottle of Napa Valley wine that my parents picked up last fall on their trip out there. We sat out on the patio and spent a couple of hours talking and drinking- we probably would have been there even longer if we hadn't run out of the good wine so quickly! The girls started getting a little antsy at the table, but that it what is so perfect about dinners outside. I grabbed a bottle of bubbles and they were happy to play for another hour while we watched them run and laugh around us. I managed to snap a few photos, to remember it all.

(and once again, there they are, in matching dresses. I swear- its like a disease. I promise myself that I will stop and then something happens, like my MIL gives me cash to buy something nice for the girls. Now, when she does that the EXACT SAME DAY that my invite to the private sales at Bonpoint arrives in the mail, its like the universe is telling me that I need to buy them these little outfits. How can you argue with the universe, people? You can't. You can only hand over your cash.)
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Monday, July 05, 2010


Well, 4th of July was a bit of a bust this year. We couldn't stay at the cabin at the lake because my sister was there with her kids so after a great day of swimming and grilling on Saturday, we drove back to my parent's house and crashed into bed. The next morning came far too early and the gray, rainy weather scared us, but we ignored it, hoped for the best, and climbed back in the car to drive to the parade.

By the time we got there, the weather had improved from downpour to misting so I said it was on. I put the girls in their costumes and signed us up. We were supposed to walk in the parade with my sister's kids and two of my cousins, but none of them showed up! Wusses. Georgia shocked me by getting totally into it and walking down the entire parade route waving a little flag at the crowds- only stopping when she lost her little pumpkin hat. Can you believe that she ended up LOVING her costume and happily wearing the entire time we were in town? I was astounded. This is the grumpiest, most anti-social baby alive (ok, I might be exaggerating a bit but she is not the easiest kid that I've ever met) but she is a total ham. Put her on stage and she shines.

Hey- I've been talking about putting Ella into one of those kiddie beauty pageants for a laugh and now I'm thinking that I might have to do it with both of them. Watch for us on the next episode of 'Toddlers and Tiaras'. I'll be the most crazy stage mom and my kids will be the ones giving interviews about how mean their mommy is.

So the kiddie parade went great and we collected our goodie bags before making our way back to my mom, who had been snapping photos. By the time we got there, the rest of the family had finally arrived. So had the big storm clouds. As the main parade started, the rain went from a light mist to a drizzle. Then it worked its way up to a steady rain. By the time the fire trucks were making their way up main street, it was a deluge. We had some rain coats and umbrellas but the kids just stood on the side of the road getting soaked. I mean, they didn't want anything to get in the way of some serious candy collecting, right? We eventually made our way back to the car, dripping wet. No afternoon in the park, drinking 5 dollar pitchers of beer and eating roast chicken while listening to the local band and the kids played silly carnival games.

We all got dried off and threw together a fun lunch of taco salade (another thing I forgot how much I love! Taco salade, kids, get yourself some!) then sort of hung around the window, speculating on the weather. Would it clear up in time for fireworks? Was it worth having the kids try and nap on the sofa? Or should we just bail out and hope for better things on Monday?

We bailed. We were all exhausted from rushing around all morning and the rain and whatever. I kind of hated leaving and felt like I really should just make the best of things, rain or no rain. But. But. But we were all SO tired. Its hard because there are so many people that it is nearly impossible to find a quiet corner. See, this is why we need an extension on the cabin- a few extra bedrooms a little bit away from the crowds would come in handy. In the end, it was my mom who really needed to leave. She hasn't really recovered her energy since her cancer scare and was practically collapsing from exhaustion. We all slept in the car and when we got home, she went straight up to bed for a few hours. Unfortunately, the nap in the car was in for the girls and we pottered around the house til after dinner.

Ella was holding me to my promise that I would take her to see fireworks in town. I'd only ever been to see fireworks at this little town in the woods so I didn't know what to expect. My mom was recovered, after her nap, and she came with. We brought a blanket and sat at the edge of the lake, just near the park. The fireworks were beautiful and the weather was warm. We could see all the twinkling lights on the lake from the boats out for the show. Ella oohed and ahhed and decided that ALL the fireworks were her favorite! It ended up being a great day.

Not enough Old Milwaukee to make it into my top ten, but it was pretty good all the same. Hurray Wisconsin, you pulled it off again and made it worth all the trouble that it takes to get here, each year.

4th of July

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First weekend of vacation

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