Tuesday, January 29, 2008

night of firsts

Monday night my manager and I went to Prague for meetings today and it was a night of firsts for me –first time in Orly airport; first time flying Skyeurope; first time in Prague (although I didn’t get to see any of the city); and the first time I’ve ever had such a hassle getting to the plane. It started when I beeped going through the security scanner and had to be patted down and checked with the hand scanner. Then my purse needed to be checked, I guess because they saw something on the x-ray machine or they thought I looked sketchy. And then, and this was what got me, at the gate my boarding pass came up as invalid. My manager and I checked in together and his boarding pass was ok, so I'm not sure what was going on. I tried to peek at the screen to see if I had been put on a no-fly list since my last trip. I was allowed on the flight but my paranoia had kicked in and I started wondering if the cosmos was trying to tell me not to get on the plane. Suddenly I had visions of my life as a movie of the week where everything was fine until I ignored the signals to stay off the plane and was killed in the subsequent crash. Fortunately, nothing so dramatic occurred and we arrived safely. My manager asked if I was a terrorist or an undercover spy. Perhaps I should change my name to Seattleite 007…

Sunday, January 27, 2008

(stereo)typically french

The roommate had one of her infamously long dinners last night. Usually I decline, but decided to participate in this one (and didn’t get to bed until around 2 this morning). Here’s a run down of the guest list.

Roommate’s best friend: let’s call her bf. Roomy and bf share the same first name and have known each other since childhood. Bf is here for the weekend with her boyfriend and both of them are still married to other people (I have no idea why they don’t divorce). Bf separated from her husband, was then with another guy who committed suicide and she got breast cancer. Now she’s with the current guy, I think they might’ve met on Meetic, but I’m not positive. Side note - bf tends to stare which, with my American sensitivities, I find rude.

One of roommate’s ex’s: roomy has dated several men (the boyfriend and I refer to them as the Pepes) during the year and half that I’ve lived with her. I’ll have to explain the Pepes in another post because it would be too complicated to add them all here. The Pepe at dinner last night is the one she was with when I moved in. They were off and on for a while, seem to fight whenever they’re together and he’s still in love with her. She claims they’re not getting back together, but she slept at his place last night while bf and boyfriend stayed here. I suppose they can have a friendly overnight “visit” without getting back together, however I’m skeptical.

Friend of roommate (who is also an ex): let’s call this guy Francois. Francois is a serial dragueur and every time I see him he’s with someone different or on the prowl. He and roomy dated briefly before I knew her, but she soon figured out that he was dating several other women at the same time. They’ve remained good friends. The last time Francois was here a few months ago he was with a woman from South America. They met in NY while he was working there under the table as a waiter. Since then, they’ve been PACSed, have broken up and even though they’re no longer together she works for him sometimes. Last night he was with a new lady. They met at a party and have been together 2 weeks. I give it another week or two before he moves on to the next one…

Saturday, January 26, 2008


If any of you plan on visiting Paris, below are a couple of tips to avoid irritating those of us who live here.
1) When you are walking down a sidewalk, do NOT walk several abreast causing someone to have to go into the street to get around you or say something to go through you.
2) When you get off the metro – GET OUT OF THE WAY!!! Do not step off and immediately stop to look around for the exit or metro connection. There are people behind you who also need to get off (and know where they’re going) and others in front of you who are trying to get on.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

money, money…

If you haven’t already heard the name Jerome Kerviel, you will soon. This is the man who allegedly caused Société Générale (my bank) to lose 5 billion euros ($7 billion). Read about the bank’s huge loss here or here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

double vision

Living in France has given me what I will call French double vision – the ability to walk down the street and scan for cdc while also looking ahead to avoid walking into someone or something. I don’t usually think about this until I go home or to some other place where cdc on the sidewalk isn't common. I find myself automatically scanning the sidewalk until it clicks that I’m no longer in France.

When I’m going somewhere new in Paris, this double vision becomes triple vision. Like this weekend when I went to a friend’s apartment, for the first time, for dinner. I have to coordinate the sidewalk scan with looking ahead AND looking at street names, building numbers and the map. I’ve learned to take advantage of a crosswalk red light to peek at the map or if I can’t scan the sidewalk far enough ahead due to people or a lack of light, I’ll move to the side (to avoid getting bumped into or run over) look at the map or search for the street name/building number because in Paris they often aren’t in the same place and then continue with my double/triple vision choreography. To those of you who haven’t had the "pleasure" of walking on French city sidewalks, this might sound silly, but I guarantee that it’s necessary if you want to keep your shoes clean…

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

(stereo)typically french

I had lunch with a friend and she told me about a couple she knows, let’s call them Mr. and Mrs. X. Mr. and Mrs. X have been married for about 20 years and during part of this time (if not the entire marriage) Mr. X has had lovers. Mrs. X is aware of this and does not object as long as Mr. X remains discreet and his affairs do not interfere with Mrs. X or the children. A short time before Christmas, Mrs. X called Mr. X’s office and an unfamiliar female voice answered. Mrs. X asked to speak to Mr. X and the woman on the other end asked who was speaking. Mrs. X had an odd feeling and told the mystery voice that she was Mr. X’s wife…she was immediately transferred. When she asked Mr. X about the woman who answered the phone and where his assistant was, he replied that the assistant no longer worked there and the woman who replaced her was someone Mrs. X knew. It turns out that Mr. X's mistress was now working as his assistant. Mrs. X hit the roof and asked Mr. X how his company (based in NY) would respond if she informed them that Mr. X was employing his mistress – who had no training or previous experience as an assistant.

A day or two later, Mrs. X told Mr. X that she had thought about what to get him for Xmas and had settled on the gift of divorce. Mr. X grumbled that he didn’t want a divorce (even though he’s mentioned it a few times in the past), but Mrs. X met with an attorney anyway. The attorney advised Mrs. X that filing for a divorce was not in her best interest financially because even though Mrs. X works part time in a family member’s business and earns a fraction of Mr. X’s salary, the apartment is in her name. This means that if Mrs. X files for divorce, she will have to pay alimony to Mr. X and she’ll be better off if Mr. X files. I suggested to my friend that Mrs. X should find herself a boyfriend and maybe that would push Mr. X to initiate a divorce. It so happens that she already has one and Mr. X knows about him. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried…

Monday, January 14, 2008


If you’re in Seattle and like chocolate, you should visit Theo. This company, based in Fremont, makes fair trade and organic chocolate in all sorts of yummy flavors. For the purists, they also make “normal” dark chocolate bars in different percentages. The boyfriend and I toured the factory early last year and during my recent trip home we did the port and chocolate night. During this event, we sampled some of Theo’s ganache chocolates along with three styles of port. Delicious and scrumptious don’t even begin to describe these pairings…

Just writing this made me get a piece of the Bread & Chocolate bar I brought back with me.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I have some repeat visitors and a few of you have been kind enough to leave comments. I’m curious. If you’re reading this blog, especially if you keep coming back to read more, drop me a line and tell me about yourself. Who are you? Where are you? How’d you find me?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

les soldes

Yesterday was the first day of les soldes. No one who knows me or has ever seen me would accuse me of being into fashion, although I am known for having a thing for leather. But you can’t live in France and not be familiar with les soldes. I always avoid the stores during the first week of the soldes. This means I miss out on the good stuff, but I don’t have the temperament or desire to physically battle for reduced price clothing. While I’m not a spend-all-day-in-the-stores-shopper, I do prefer my shopping experiences to be as calm as possible. Finding pants that fit is traumatic enough, I really don’t need to add throngs of aggressive women (or men) to the mix.

For those of you who plan to join the Parisian “solding” - check out this nifty site that has shopping circuits according to style. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

seattleites are literate!

I’m slowly catching up on blogs and after coming across this posting on Talking Stuff, I had to mention it here. That’s right folks, MY city (and yes, even though I left the place and there are many things about Seattle that irritate me, it is and will always be home) is the 2nd most literate city in the US!

Some people like the b/f (a.k.a. the snooty Brit) might compare this to being the 2nd tallest person in a village of midgets, but we’ll ignore these people. The criteria used to rank the cities include: newspaper circulation; number of bookstores; library resources; periodical publishing resources; educational attainment; and Internet resources. Perhaps The Emerald City has a large number of PhDs sitting around in bookstores or libraries with wifi, surfing random sites and reading
the Stranger.

On a sadder note, a
woman was stabbed to death on Capitol Hill. was After buying groceries, Shannon Harps was killed outside of her home on New Year’s Eve. The killer still has not been caught and understandably people in the neighborhood are concerned. Visit the seattlepi.com blog for self defense tips and CHS for more on this tragic event.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I'm back in Paris. I have a cold and sound like I've been smoking for at least 50 years. I'm several lbs heavier than when I left (I don't want to know how many). I'm jetlagged. I have to go back to work tomorrow. I think I'll start unpacking before I fall over.