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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

E & me {toaster}

Remember last week's E & me
We were in the kitchen comparing le lait

Well, this week, toast's on!

Erin's toaster is impressive with its four slots 
{very necessary to make breakfast for all those boys of hers!},
whereas ours is smaller, rouge 
& en service most mornings toasting baguette.

I love toast.  Toi aussi ?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Les Scènes du Week-End {24}

My parents have been here in France for a few days now.

We spent the weekend in Pommiers
the beautiful village in the Beaujolais region of France
{not far from Lyon}
where my husband grew up
& where his parents still live.

We admired the lovely scenery,
ate lots of yummy stuff,
drank lots of festive things
& celebrated {a teeny bit belatedly} 
my birthday with family lunch on Sunday.

It was a fantastic weekend.
Here are the photos!
Moi avec mes parents near the community centre in Pommiers.
My father-in-law was up in that hot-air balloon on Saturday morning!!!
The view from our bedroom window of Merlin chilling down on the pool deck.
Sunday afternoon with la famille.
Juliette avec the bilingual book my parents gave her as a present.
Hooray for birthday cake! And for not putting the first digit of my age on this one!
My mom la touriste in FQ's hometown.

Just one of the lovely houses & beautiful vineyards in my in-law's village.
FQ feeding goats along our walk on Sunday afternoon.
My lovely niece in my parents-in-law's piscine.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

E & me {milk}

In just a few days, fall will officially be here.
I don't know how the weather is where you live,
but in les Alpes, it's starting to be quite chilly in the morning.

That's not a problem for me.
I love autumn.
And you know what else I love?
Hot beverages.

That's why this week's E & me is all about milk.

Café au lait?
Strong tea with milk & sugar?
Steaming hot chocolate?
Home-made London Fog?

Yes please!

I imagine this post is making you wish for
one of the tasty warm beverages I mentioned above.

Before you go into the kitchen or hit your local coffee shop,
please let me know...

Is milk chez toi like the big jug taking up space in Erin's fridge?

Or is it more like the Lactel lait in my cupboard?

Yep, most milk in France is UHT.
That means it's sterilized at super-high temperatures
& doesn't need to be put into the fridge until it's opened.
{That kind-of weirded me out at first,
but I'm used to it now.}

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Three years ago today...

... we said "I do".

in a field near Gap, France, 20 September 2008
{Well, actually, we said "oui"!}

Monday, September 19, 2011

Les Scènes du Week-end {23}

This weekend was all about musical friends with similar names,
pretty mountain views,
housework, hot beverages & rain.

Friday night, my dear friend Anna,
who I met when I was an English teacher in Poland, 
was playing a concert in a little village about an hour from Annecy.
Anna is an amazing pianist.  
You can read more about her here.

I invited my new friend Ana 
{spelled with only one "n", but still pretty cool...}
to go with me to the concert
because I know she is very musical herself
& that she'd love listening to Bach & the rest of the programme.

Old friends & new friends 
& beautiful music 
& tasty Polish-style food after the concert?
It was a great night, 
not to mention the perfect way to start the weekend.
Anna at the end of her lovely concert.
We decided that we look as young as the last time we saw each other, 8 years ago.

After the concert, I slept over at my friend Ana's house 
in the middle of the French Alps countryside.
She & her husband made a yummy brunch on Saturday morning
& the rain stopped long enough 
so that we could have a little walk around their property.
So charming!

Country road outside my friend Ana's house in a local village.
The last blooms of the season & the beautiful view from Ana & Nico's house.
Walnuts from a tree near Ana's place.
Sunday morning it was pouring rain.
But I wanted a break from the housework 
& to take advantage of some local events

I decided to put on my gumboots,
grab my umbrella
& participate in a guided tour 
of some 1930s mansions in my neighbourhood.
Other brave/nerdy folks came out for the walking tour.
Many of the local 1930s mansions have art-deco entryway posts like this one.
I love my gumboots.
Sunday-afternoon coffee {& Tim Tams from my brother.}
The sun finally came out while I was mid-chores on Sunday afternoon, so I cleaned the kitchen window.  Whee!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


French word of the day:
le train-train.

It refers to the daily routine.

I think you could translate it as
"same old, same old" or perhaps
"another day, another dollar".

I don't usually complain about the daily grind.
You see, I really enjoy teaching English.

However, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday I teach pretty much all day.
As you teachers reading this know,
it's exhausting.

So I love making it to Thursday, 
when I only have a few classes.
It means I finally have some down time pour moi.

This afternoon, the weather was perfect.
I had about six zillion errands I needed to do 
& lots of stuff to take care of at home.

But you know what?
Carpe Diem was my high-school motto.

So I took advantage of not being caught up in the train-train,
unlike the first part of the week.

I gathered up my book, some stationary & my sunglasses.
I walked along the lake for a while.
I found a bench in the sun with a beautiful view of the water.
I read, people-watched, daydreamed a little.

Oh, & I took the above photo of 
Annecy's cute little tourist locomotive for you.

Take that, train-train!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

E & me {phone booth}

Hello? Âllo? 

Today's E & me is all about that rare sighting these days,
the public phone booth.

Erin's phone booth & my French version are quite similar.

The biggest difference?
The booth on the right involves a door that opens & closes,
whereas the phone on the left is out in the open.


So do you figure the French require a lot of privacy 
when they use the téléphone?

Or are the Canadians the ones who tell the most secrets, 
so they need to close the door?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lapin love?

Yesterday I showed you how I'd received lots of lovely birthday cards.

there is one carte that needs its own post.


Let me explain.

FQ & I have a tradition:
we try to buy each other 
the cheesiest, tackiest birthday card out there.

We've found some good ones in the past, 
but this year's edition is amazing.

Just look at that yucky, fuzzy fur!
And those red, beady, uneven eyes!
That lapin is way more creepy than cute.

But that's not all!

When you open the card, "Happy Birthday" starts playing.
It's somehow tinny & high-pitched at the same time.
Also, please note the "Joyeux Anniversaire" light-up sign
on the inside of the card
avec plastic neon at its best.

FQ was pretty proud of this fantastically horrid card 
& I can understand why.

His birthday is in November.
Guess I should start scouring the tacky card shops in town, non?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Les Scènes du Week-end {22}

The special event this past weekend?
My birthday!

It looked something like this:

Saturday morning:
sleep in, have home-made brunch, open cards & presents.

Saturday afternoon:
drive to our mystery destination,
We spent hours relaxing in the water
& I also had an hour-long massage as FQ's present to me.
So. Great.

Saturday evening:
stop in Lausanne, Switzerland for dinner
& a few festive beverages at a really fun brewpub.

We arrived back in Annecy at 11:58 p.m.,
full, relaxed & happy.

It was a lovely birthday.

Yummy brunch chez nous.
Hooray for birthday cards!
This was FQ's present to me... any guesses why??
Just two of the many pools filled with Swiss spring-water.
view from our table at the pub in Lausanne
So many beers, so little time...
A funny part of Erin's gift to me.  Does this mean she thinks I've been in France for too long?
My friend Julie sent me several sweet kitchen gadgets, including this.
Teatime just got way better, thanks to these cookies from my brother in Australia.
My friend Dawn knitted this scarf for me.  Swoon!  Hurry up & get colder, weather!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Ahhh, Annecy!

This afternoon I had an appointment in Annecy's vielle ville.
It had been a little while since the last time I was in the old town.

You see, Annecy is crawling with tourists in the summer.
It's insane, 
like a combination of Disneyland & Times Square.

I don't usually mind crowds,
but I have to admit that there are so many people here 
in July & August
that it's enough to make anyone annoyed.

Now that school is back in session, there are a lot less tourists
taking photos, lining up for ice-cream & strolling along the canals.

I found my way to the office I needed to be at,
which was up a few flights of very old, very pretty spiral staircase
in this charming little tower.

I was reminded how lovely this place I live really is.

Church steeples
& bicycles
& streetlamps
& old buildings
no tourists in my photo?

Ahhh, Annecy!
Je t'adore!!


So, happy Friday & bon week-end to you!

I'll be back next week with Les Scènes du Week-end,
which may or may not involve a birthday cake...

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Frenglish: colour blind

I live in the "quartier des lycées" in Annecy, 
which means there are several big high schools just down the street.

Now that school is back in session, 
there are tons of teenagers in my neighbourhood,
riding their bikes to class,
sitting in cafés on their lunch break
& generally hanging out.

The other day, I had to laugh when I saw this boy's bookbag.

You don't get it either, huh?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

E & me {school zone}

It's back-to-school on E & me this week!

 It's easy to tell which sign is in Erin's school zone
& which one is down the street from me here in Annecy.

Those Canadian kids look more orderly than their French peers, non?
 And did you notice that the étudiants on the right
seem to have forgotten their bookbags?

So speaking of back-to-school,
that's my excuse for not having blogged the last few days.

Even though I teach adults, not kids
& I work in the private sector, not at public school,
I still find myself all caught up in early-September fever.

I love my job, but after a lovely month of vacation,
I'm suddenly reminded how much energy teaching requires.

It's nearly 8 p.m. here in France.
Is it too early to go to bed?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is a beautiful place.
It was my first time in Spain and I spent the entire weekend
being impressed by things like this:

Santiago has beautiful churches,
elegant arched arcades to walk along
& lots of lovely little streets.

It also has an amazingly impressive cathedral.

I loved the double staircase
view from the cathedral steps back towards the main square
But this is not just any old cathedral.
It's the final destination for those who walk along
the Way of Saint James,
a famous pilgrimage trail that you can read more about here.

We saw plenty of modern-day pilgrims in town.

Some had hiked the trail:

Some had used their bikes to travel:
Regardless of how they travelled, 
these modern-day pilgrims were thrilled 
to have arrived at their destination
& to be able to take a rest.


What else do you need to know about Santiago?
is the symbol of Saint James, who the pilgrimage path is named after.
The shell was amongst the cobblestones in front of the cathedral:

As well as all over town:
You could also find scallop shells on hats & walking sticks
which were on sale all over town.

FQ thought maybe he needed a shell-themed stick;
but I convinced him that he should wait
to have done the pilgrimage trail
before buying one.

I'd love to walk the trail one day.
It seems like an amazing adventure
with a beautiful destination.

And I'm sure I'd meet lots of interesting people along the way,
like these guys:

Saint James (on the right), his buddy & a couple tourists in front of the cathedral
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