Wednesday, 24 December 2008

All ready!.

I think we're set to go. Presents are wrapped and under the tree, we've got mistletoe and holly, fake snow-spray decorations on the windows, smoked salmon for entrée and a nice big turkey, Christmas pudding all made with brandy sauce waiting and jelly cakes just like Lily wanted from Henry Bear's Christmas. We've even got Nonno Piero here to share it all with us. The only thing we don't have is snow! But you can't have everything, I guess... Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, 19 December 2008

The Purse-snatcher

I have to preface this by saying two things. Firstly, I have been going to the Monoprix in the centre of town every few days for over 18 months now and secondly, there are some very nice people who work there, a couple of whom, always take the time to ask how I am, how the kids are etc. Sadly there are also a couple of right bitches who work there. Obviously this post is about the latter....

So, I am paying and the cashier asks me if I have the 42 centimes. I do and start to get it out. Before handing it over I realize I've made a mistake and was about to give her 82 centimes (like many newish expats, I still have problems with numbers in the 80s and for me this extends to the 40s as well as they have 4s in them just like the 80s do!). So, I fish around and give her what I think is 42 centimes. Bear in mind, this all happened fast, its not like I took very long. But I was wrong. I'd given her two 50 centimes pieces. So I go to take it back to correct it and she reaches out to take my purse from me to do it herself as obviously, being a silly foreigner, I am useless.

Well, I tell you, those french lessons must have been paying off as for once my french came out quickly and (I think) accurately. "No", I said, moving my purse out of her reach and pointing to my change, "give that back to me please. I know the money well, I just made a mistake". And I handed back over my 42 centimes (fortunately correct this time!). Score one for me! Silly cow!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Just as it was starting to melt we got a lot of snow overnight!

Been waiting 18 months to take this photo!

Making snow angels on the Paquier

Sunday, 14 December 2008

A very Christmassy weekend

We braved the cold on Saturday morning to go to gymnastique. Expecting to see Père Noël, we were surprised to see a great parcours set up for all the kids. Lily and Jasper had a fantastic time but soon stopped when the man himself arrived with his basket of papillotes! After that we headed to the Saturday markets to buy our sapin. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to the decorations.

On Sunday we went to the Christmas markets at the Palais Impèrial which were terrific. There were Quebecois markets outside, with reindeer. And the kids each got a maple syrup lolly pop for good behaviour. Inside the hotel, they had really nice Christmas markets and a terrific toy train set up in the middle.

But to top it all, we stopped on the Paquier on the way home for a pony ride.

And later on, down at the cinéma, during Burn After Reading, that person sitting all alone in the third row from the front, who ate salt and vinegar chips all the way through the movie - well, that was me - and I enjoyed every minute of it!

papillotes - Christmas lollies wrapped in curly paper

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

More snow!

It's still snowing. Jasper and I popped out to get some groceries and we took the scenic route...


There's been lots of snow overnight and its still going. Hopefully we'll get out for some fun later but Lily has woken up with gastro - joy! In the meantime, here are a few photos taken from home...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A sunny Sunday in Annecy

After lots of rain this week, we woke up to a beautiful day today. Leaving a pot of soup on the stove and David in bed, sleeping off the flu, the kids and I headed out for the morning. First stop was one of the two new merry-go-rounds in town for the Christmas festivities. The second is so very special, it deserves its own post soon. But this one caught Jasper's eye last week and he has been waiting for a while to "wump manège".

After a quick ride on the manège, we headed up to the ice-rink which is set up opposite the Courier shopping centre for a month. This year, thanks to all her rollerblading, Lily was quite confident going off on her own. Which meant I was able to put a little pair of strap-on patinettes on Jasper and hold his hand as we went around. After a while we borrowed someone's chair and Lily pushed him on that for a bit which left me free to have a little skate on my own. It was a heap of fun!

"wump manège" - manège is obviously merry-go-round. Wump took us a while to work out but generally is used for climb or get on so we think he's saying "monte".

The magic pudding

Its been a few years since I've made a Christmas pudding and this was the first year I've had two kids to "help" me. Still, we managed to get it together and everyone had a stir and made a wish. And I now have a rather unattractive-looking, but soon to be very tasty, pudding hanging above my fridge!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Bonne anniversaire Jacques!

Lily's favourite game for a long time now has been to play school. She has been known to get up at 7am on a weekend and want to start straight away - rather exhausting! Fortunately, Jasper is a keen participant and will eagerly do his travaille, have a sieste, and all else that school entails. But somewhere along the line he got a new name and whenever they play school he is known as Jacques.

And apparently it was his birthday the other day, judging from what Lily wrote on the blackboard...

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Une grenade...

A pomegranate, that is! I don't think I've eaten one since I was a child but we've started eating them a lot here. Lily especially loves them and they've become a favourite, albeit messy, way to finish off lunch.

Friday, 21 November 2008

On se débrouille

We've just go back from a celebratory dinner out at the Bistrot de Bonlieu, just around the corner from our place. We were celebrating 3 things: surviving 18 months in France, the end of all that breastfeeding and Jasper's good hips. As I sat there listening to us all talking in french and eating our delicious fondue, I thought to myself "look at us, we're not doing too badly." We might have our hard times but we're all happy and we're getting by (on se débrouille). Of course, all those happy thoughts could have had something to do with the 50cl bottle of Beaujolais nouveau David and I were sharing or the cool 80s soundtrack playing in the restaurant (or a combination of the two!)

La fête des caïon

I'm only a week late with this post but I really am going to make an effort to keep up with this blog again. It seems a shame to neglect it when I look back and see what a good record it makes for the kids.

So, here are some photos from the pig festival we went to last weekend. It was held in rue Filaterie, one of my favourite streets and one where traditionally there were many butchers. We bought some boudin blanc, a traditional white sausage containing pork and poultry. I thought it might be nicer than boudin, which is a type of blood sausage. But I'm sorry to say the texture, which was so fine as to feel silky, was really off-putting. In fact, I think Jasper was the only one who really liked it. Tough luck buddy, because I wont be cooking it again!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Hooray for Jasper!

Jasper has been busy the last few weeks - busy growing up, that is. In this short space of time he has:

1 Weaned! It was so gradual, that I was only a little sad to say goodbye to five years of breastfeeding. But I'm thrilled that he did it at his own pace and without any tears. (BTW, the five years - I'm talking about him and Lily here. Just in case, anyone thinks he's 5, he's not!)

2 Learned to wee standing up! He was getting a little lax with the potty so I figured if he can stand up and wee anywhere in the house (to avoid having to stop playing and actually go to the toilet), then it was time for him to learn to stand in front of the potty!

3 Decided naps are for wusses! Why nap every day, when once a week will suffice? I cant say I agree with him on this one but at least he goes to bed before 10pm now.

4 Talked and talked and talked! He's had another big leap in his speech, which is now a wonderful mix of french and english. He's also come out of his shell a bit at gym and playgroup.

And, most importantly

5 Graduated! At his check up today at the orthopedic specialist, we found out his hips are well positioned and growing well, so there is no more need for yearly checks. That's it! All the drama of hip dysplasia that began 2 years ago now, is finally over.

Well done, little man!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Concert at the CRR

On Friday, I went with Lily's class to a concert at the Conservatorium. It was the first time I've been somewhere with her this school year and I noticed they treat the grandes a bit different to the moyennes. Unlike last year, there were no nametags in case they got lost and the parents just generally helped to keep them on the sidewalk, instead of being responsible for a little group of specific kids.

The concert was excellent. There was a group of three men playing original compositions. No dumbing down for the kids! There was a piano, guitar and a vibraphone. The kids were, for the most part, very well behaved and sat and listened well. They swayed along with the music and some got really excited, tapping away with their hands during the vibraphone solos. But the funniest bit was during a tango piece. During the guitar solo, a couple of the little boys were playing along. It was so cute to see the tendency to air guitar coming out so early!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The next step...

What an exciting result. I barely slept last night, what with Lily's nightmares and Jasper's drinks of water having me out of bed every couple of hours. Then, I'd check the news and go back to bed wide awake. Sometime there, I decided to stop checking so I was so thrilled to see the news this morning. It feels such a momentous day, full of promise...

Which is probably why I finally plucked up the courage to do something about my french today. I've been wanting to take a class since I got here but its really only been possible for the last six months or so, as Jasper now takes a nice long nap in the afternoon that leaves me with enough free time. I loved doing my classes at Alliance Française back in Brisbane. There are two language schools in Annecy but their shortest courses are 12 or 15 hours a week, rather than just the couple of hours I'd like to do.

I've known the solution for a long time. There is a very good french tutor here that many people I know have recommended. So, its weird that its taken me this long to ring her. My french took a good leap over summer, as a result of hanging out with my lovely french friends. But I am rather lazy and apart from reading the paper every few days and the odd book, I really don't work at it. That's fine if I want to continue progressing as I am but I feel like its really time to do something and to be a bit more disciplined about it.

So, the call is made and I'll be meeting her in about 10 days...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Time Of Your Life

Its been a rather anxious day today - cold gloomy weather and a nervous pit in my stomach as we wait for the election results overnight. But I found a brief respite from my thoughts as I wandered through a little park on the way back from the shops today. Lots of local teenagers hang out there - talking, smoking (unfortunately), playing guitar and just doing what teenagers do. One of them was playing "Time of your life" and I sat down to listen, taken as always by what a simple classic ballad it is. And he did an excellent job of the english lyrics...

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Song for Sarah

Well, its November and I'm back! And what better way to get back into blogging than with this delightful little tune dedicated to Mrs Palin who will soon, hopefully, fingers crossed, be winging her way back to Wasilla...

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Taking a break...

Rather than continuing to feel guilty about the fact that I post so rarely anymore, I've decided to take a bit of a blogging break. See you some time in November...

Friday, 10 October 2008

Catching up...

Its been a busy time with Lily back at school and all the activities that come with that. Also we are so lucky to have my parents staying with us for two weeks. So blogging has been once again taking a back seat to life but here are a few photos of what's been happening, including a boat ride just after there was snow on the peaks, a trip to Chambéry and the soirée lingerie I hosted the other night...