Take one Canadian girl in les Alpes.
Add the ups & downs of living in France.
Cover with melted cheese...
Et voilà !

Friday, October 29, 2010

Frenglish: make deliver at home!!!

While in Chamonix last weekend, 
I noticed that a local supermarket was advertising their on-line shopping/home delivery service
to the English-speaking crowd:

Posted by Picasa


My recommendations?  
Go back to the grammar books and review those pesky prepositions.  
While you're at it, why not re-read the chapter on  "make" vs "do"?
Then we'll talk about groceries, ok?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boo hoo!

Street sign spotted in Chamonix.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Have you worked up a huge appetite after all that mountain/glacier scenery in yesterday's post? 
I've got just the thing for you...


You see, after being tourists all day, 
braving scary gondolas, 
breathing in fresh (freezing cold) air 
& marveling at Mt. Blanc, 
we were famished.

We needed potatoes & melted cheese & cold cuts & pickles (oh, and wine!)

Fortunately, there were several restaurants in Chamonix with raclette on the menu. 
The hotel recommended one called "Le Monchu" that turned out to be fabulous. 
They do raclette the old-school way. 

Because although cheese, whether melted by electricity, open flame or what-have-you, 
is already pretty fantastic
cheese melted by hot coals at your table?!? Now we're talking!

Step One:  push big chunk of cheese towards thingy containing embers.
Step Two:  wait (I know it's hard, but it will be so worth it... you'll see!)
Step Three:  Once cheese has gotten good & melty on one side, 
take spatula thingy & scrape off a layer.

(Nerdy French Fact:  "racler" means "scrape"... hence the name of this dish!)
FQ shows off his expert technique (scraping from the bottom towards the top like a real professional.)
Step Four:  Put melty cheese deliciousness on potatoes.  Dig in.
Step Five:  Approximately 5 million calories later, concede defeat.
Turns out taking a photo of a melty, oozy, crusty lump of cheese isn't easy.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chamonix: La Mer de Glace

So I know I promised you more mountain photos. 
But do you mind if I throw a glacier in there too? 
No? Didn't think so!

(Look at me, getting all fancy with my slideshow!)
(If you'd like to look at the photos in my Picasa album instead, just click on one of the pictures.)

La Mer de Glace ("Sea of Ice") is the longest glacier in France. 
It's 7 km long and 200 km deep. 
Obviously we couldn't miss seeing it during our weekend in Chamonix, could we?

I could tell you that we hiked up to the glacier,
or heli-skiied in,
or did something sporty involving crampons to get there.

The truth is, we took the train.
But not just any old train.
a nifty little "rack railway".
The train ride lasted 20 minutes.
It went up & up & up
from 3,418 ft above sea level when we got on in Chamonix 
to 6,276 ft when we got off in Montenvers by the glacier.
(That's 1042 to 1913 metres for you metric folks).

No crampons required.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why the big smile?

Posted by Picasa

a. She's feeling most proud of herself after braving not one but two scary cable cars 
allllll the way up to the top of the world (ok, almost).

b. It was freezing up at the top
& that grin just so happened to get frozen on there.

c. She's thinking, "this will be a great photo for the blog!"

d. All of the above.

Check back tomorrow
for the correct answer 
& many more mountain photos 
from our weekend in Chamonix!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Taking time

"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn."
- Elizabeth Lawrence

And that's exactly what I did yesterday afternoon.

I picked this bench down by the lake:
I sat down and enjoyed this view:
Can you see the Basilique de la Visitation between the branches?
How about now?
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to you, Ben!

From this...
October 2009

To this...
Christmas 2009

And then to this...
Summer 2009
... in only a year!

Happy first birthday to my nephew Benjamin!

I'm pretty sure that look means, "why yes, I am old enough to eat birthday cake"!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Three strikes, you're out!

For a second, let's forget about the ongoing strike & huge mess that is going on over here right now.

Let's try to ignore all the hoopla (& along with it, my terrible pun in the title of this post.)


Well, because I've had a lousy day and I need to complain.

Here's how things went down:

1.  Leave house at 8 a.m.  
Wait in rain for 10 minutes for my colleague to pick me up (she was late).  
Battle heavier-than-usual traffic 
(more people are on the road - despite the fuel shortages -
since trains and buses have been affected by the strike.)  
50 minutes later, arrive in Bellegarde for English classes 
but find 
main access road to town completely shut down 
due to striking high-school students.  
Turn off car, lock doors,
sit & observe shouting teens, grim-looking police officers 
& annoyed motorists.  
Arrive 15 minutes late for class.

2.  Forget lunch at home.  
Only alternative is to buy soggy tuna-fish sandwich from train station cafe.  

3.  Finally get back to the apartment after another long day.  
Open front door, immediately notice strange sound.  
Spot a jet stream of water shooting out of the radiator in the corner of the living room, 
hitting the wall opposite 
& then splashing down onto the floor.  
All over the parquet.  
& the table.  
& the sofa. 

Sigh.  Sigh.  Sigh.

Several hours later, all the towels we own are soaking wet 
(but the good news is there are no more puddles of hot water on the living-room floor 
& our neighbours haven't come up to complain about a leak). 
I've made fajitas for dinner & had a (well-deserved) beer.  
And I'm heading off to bed shortly.

Note to all those striking Frenchies:  
working until the age of 62 seems like a walk in the park compared to the day I've had today!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Frenglish: Splippery

Spotted at a restaurant we went to last weekend.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 18, 2010

Coming soon: the brioche-powered car...

So it's a new week.
The French are continuing to strike in protest against the retirement reforms.

Things aren't really showing any sign of settling down.
The strike action has now reached France's petrol refineries.  
Le résultat?  
Motorists are driving around in a frenzy trying to find a gas station that still has some fuel left.

In addition,
train travelers are getting stranded, 
high school students are happily cutting class to march in the street
& people are generally pretty upset.

Et moi

As long as the bakeries don't strike, I'm happy.
Behold the brioche we had at breakfast Saturday morning!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 15, 2010


There are a lot of beautiful things to take photos of here in Annecy.  

The gorgeous buildings & canals in the old town, 
the amazingly clear water in the lake, 
the lovely mountains. 

Oh, and the water fowl.

Don't get me wrong... I like ducks as much as the next guy.
I can see how a swan floating along on the Lac d'Annecy makes for a good photo.

In fact, I could easily put an entire blog post together 
featuring all the snapshots I've taken 
of the scenic combination
that is birds + water + mountains.

That being said, I have a feeling my passion (?) for duck-based photography
pales in comparison to this guy, spotted down at the lake not too long ago.

Ready to check out his impressive technique?

Step 1:  Walk out on pier to get as close as possible to duckies.
Step 2:  Crouch down on all fours & stabilize camera against dock.
Step 3:  Look completely ridiculous with your fesses in the air for all to see!
Posted by Picasa

Any questions?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dear Autumn,

Down by the lake around 5:30 p.m. today.
I adore you.

C'est tout.


Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We are family...

Posted by Picasa

A snapshot of the whiteboard during my lesson today
& a shout-out to ma famille! XOXOXO

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Moi = certified geek?

I always was a bit of a nerd, but this is getting out of hand.

The time has come to ask myself a few serious questions...

Am I truly ready to enter the kingdom of geekiness?

Can I really update my blog from my cell phone?

If you can read this post, the answer is yes!

Monday, October 11, 2010

May the force be with me...

So the French like to go on strike.

Tomorrow is another nation-wide strike to protest the retirement reforms.
The strike will affect SNCF (national rail) service.
My students work for the SNCF.
I go to work by train.

Any questions?


Well then, just wish me luck.

I think I'll need it.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 08, 2010

Jil is Lucky

We're going to see a band called "Jil is Lucky" tonight.

So why is there only one "l" in "Jil"?
Why is she lucky?
And who is Jil anyway?  (The band is made up of a bunch of French dudes!)

I have no idea.

I do know, however, that one of their songs was chosen as the music for this lovely perfume ad:

Jil is Lucky / Musique Pub FlowerByKenzo
envoyé par roymusic. - Regardez la dernière sélection musicale.

No word on whether there will be poppies floating through the air at the show tonight.
Fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

At least a fedora would have covered up my bad perm...

Spotted in the window display of a French clothing chain earlier today:

I'm not convinced.

The Michael Jacksonesque fedora,
the lace on the shirt,
the sloppy cardigan with too-long sleeves,
the baggy waistband on the pants...


Aren't the French supposed to be trend-setters when it comes to fashion?

Perhaps it's part of that whole "what's old is new again" philosophy, 
but all this outfit does for me is take me back
 to the late 80s/early 90s 
& high school
when I had 
& a perm.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Bleary-eyed? Moi?

I'm not a morning person. Never have been.
So getting myself up, ready, organized
& on that 7:39 a.m. train is no easy feat.

You call it "blurry"?  Mais no!  It's arty!
Luckily I am rewarded by beautiful mountain scenery during my commute.
It almost makes it worth waking up so early.

I said "almost".

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Full speed ahead!

Today was my second day at my new teaching job.

The good news? Today was about 99% less disastrous than my first day was.

The bad news?  I am exhausted from:
- all of yesterday's turmoil
- intense lesson-planning
- going to bed way too late & waking up way too early
- commuting two hours on the train every day
- & (last but not least!)
spending six hours per day teaching a class of total beginners.

So the extent of my blogging tonight 
is going to consist of posting this photo
of some speedy boats on the Lac d'Annecy
that I snapped while we were out on a bateau ourselves last weekend.

And, as soon as life stops zipping along at 6 million knots per hour,
I'll tell you more about that & all sorts of other things.  I promise!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 04, 2010

Le sigh: back at work

Yesterday was Sunday.  It was wonderful.  
My morning looked something like this:

9:30 a.m.  Wake up.  Think about getting up but lounge in bed for a while instead.

10:30 a.m.  Brunch at home:  
fresh-squeezed OJ & bagels & St Moret (France's version of cream cheese) & smoked salmon & tea.

11:30 a.m.  Sit in sun on balcony, drink second cup of tea, read magazines.

Today was the first day of my new job
which just so happens to be in a city 90 km (1 hour by train) from Annecy.  

This morning was not exactly wonderful.
It looked something like this:

6:00 a.m.  Alarm goes off.  

6:15 a.m.  Drag self out of bed, get into shower.

6:30 a.m.  Get dressed, double-check that school bag is all ready to go, put kettle on.

6:45 a.m.  Eat breakfast.

7:05 a.m.  Already??!

7:10 a.m.  Brush teeth, debate whether or not to take umbrella 
(I chose not to, which was a big mistake...)

7:15 a.m.  Leave house (it's not even light out, for Pete's sake!)

7:17 a.m.  Get on bus.

7:27 a.m.  Get off bus at train station in Annecy.

7:39 a.m.  Train leaves for La Roche sur Foiron.

8:00 a.m.  FQ calls.  Happily inform him all is going well & I'm right on time.

8:10 a.m.  Realize that I spoke way too soon.

8:15 a.m.  Train staff make announcement to let us know we are delayed
 because something-or-other is blocking the tracks.

8:20 a.m.  Start to panic.  
Find conductor & ask him if he can call ahead to the next station 
to ask them to hold the train I am supposed to catch for the second part of my trip.

8:21 a.m.  Conductor looks dubious.

8:35 a.m.  Arrive at La Roche sur Foiron.  
Train has not waited for me.

8:36 a.m.  Learn that waiting for next train will make me 15 minutes late for new job.  
Try not to cry.

8:40 a.m.  Call taxi.

8:50 a.m.  Taxi arrives.

9:10 a.m.  Taxi stops at bank machine so I can withdraw my life savings to pay for 20-minute trip.

9:15 a.m.  Finally arrive at the train station in Annemasse.

9:17 a.m.  Try, without success, to figure out where I'm supposed to go.

9:18 a.m.  Go to information window, introduce myself as English teacher 
explain I am there to start an intensive training course to the TGV (fast train) employees, 
encounter blank stare.

9:20 a.m.  Go to Station Director's office, introduce myself as above, encounter blank stare.

9:22 a.m.  Director makes a phone call or two.  Stare becomes slightly less blank.

9:25 a.m.  Am handed orange safety vest & told to "walk this way".

9:27 a.m.  Cross many railway tracks with cranky SNCF (French railway) employee in tow.

9:29 a.m.  Finally arrive where I'm supposed to be.  Students waiting for me.

9:30 a.m.  Start class.

And you know what?  That's not even the worst of it!

You will have to wait until I have the time & energy to dedicate an entire post 
to what truly ruined my morning, so for now, let me leave you with these two words:

turkish toilet

Not.  Even.  Joking.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Froggy Friday

It's Friday night.  Earlier this evening, we went to a movie.  
Silly us!

If only I'd remembered what was going on at a restaurant just around the corner from our place...

26 euros??! I sure hope it's all-you-can-eat frogs' legs for that price!
For the record, I have not eaten frogs' legs & do not plan on doing so any time soon.
Apparently they taste like chicken.
Which leads me to ask the question on everyone's mind:
"Why not just eat chicken then?"


Happy October!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...