Friday, November 30, 2007

Nice matters

Dixie Peach has been kind enough to bestow the Nice Matters Award upon me. Last week I was rather grumpy, but I think I made up for it this week by helping a friend move across town to get away from her crazy, evil landlady. (Said crazy, evil landlady has a fake rain forest in her shower, by the way. It's a little creepy, and probably rather mildewy, too.)

I would like to pass this award along to The Lone Beader, who is incredibly talented with beadwork, and to Twango, who works hard to raise awareness about healthy eating and our food supply. Be sure to check out their blogs!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Playing with pictures

I started playing around with Picasa today. Here are some of the results:

And here's the link to my Rome album from February of last year:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

El Rey de San Gregorio

There's a Latin American film festival going on in town right now, so I went to go see "El Rey de San Gregorio" with a friend. It's a Chilean film about two mentally handicapped adults who are in love. The film does a good job of showing the caretakers' (the man's mother and the woman's older sister) dilemma as to what to do about the relationship, since the pair are adults but incapable of being independent.

It's pretty interesting, so go see it if you get the chance.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm a little bummed out because I'm the only American I know here who hasn't gotten invited to a Thanksgiving dinner. But I'll be home for Christmas in a little over three weeks, so I'll make up for it then!

Hope y'all have a good day.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I swear I didn't do it!

Domestic cats living along the French/Swiss border have been disappearing at a surprising rate.

Meanwhile, in our German class we're learning about the accusative and the dative. So Saturday we had to talk about what gifts we're going to "give" our classmates for Christmas. I decided to give everybody a cat.

As soon as I announced this, the German teacher burst into laughter and said, "So you're the one who's stealing all the cats!"

I swear it wasn't me...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You meet all kinds of people at the bus stop.

My father always said, "It takes all kinds of people to make a world," and at the bus stop, it shows!

Example 1:

A few days ago, I was standing at a bus stop with a group of three college-age girls speaking English, a middle-aged man, and an elderly woman. The woman walked up to me and said (in French): "Do you speak French?" "Yes, ma'am," I answered. "Well, good! I just saw a group of people who couldn't speak English, French or German. They weren't even speaking Spanish or Italian. I just don't understand it. It's good to meet nice young girls like you who speak French. Oh, that's my bus. Goodbye!"

Example 2:

Later on that very same day, I was sitting on the end of a bus stop bench beside a woman (hereinafter known as The Hog) who was taking up quite a lot of space by placing her grocery bags on the bench. An older woman came up to the bench, and I immediately got up to give her my spot.
"No! No, no, no. Sit back down! There's room for everyone."
"Yes, ma'am," I said, sitting back down.
"Now if we all scoot over a little bit, there will be room for everyone."
"Okay," I said, scooting as far to the edge of the bench as I could (which wasn't very far!)
"No! Not you. You don't have both your buttcheeks on the bench. Scoot back over where you were."
"Yes, ma'am."
Then she got face-to-face with The Hog.
"If we all scoot over a little bit, there will be room for everyone!" she repeated.
The Hog had enough of a sense of shame left to move her bags and scoot down to the other end of the bench. So the older woman sat down between us. After a while she turned to me and asked,
"Still got both buttcheeks on the bench?"
"Yes, ma'am!"

At least my fellow bus stop companions are concerned about the state of my language abilities and my behind.

Monday, November 12, 2007

How to crash a car

First, drive the wrong way down the road.

Then, chicken out in the face of oncoming traffic.

Last, swerve away from the oncoming traffic and hit the tram that Kitty is riding home from school.

Nobody was hurt very badly. Except the car.

Stupid driver.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I saw a man

...fall down in the street yesterday.

He was an elderly man, and he was using a walker. I couldn't figure out why he was walking in the middle of the street rather than on the sidewalk. The road sloped downhill, and he tottered along faster and faster, pulled along by the walker. Then he fell and his shoe came off, and the car behind him slammed on its brakes, narrowly missing him. And as his walker skittered down the hill, the bus I was on sped by, oblivious.

I hope someone stopped to help him.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I've been playing around with my blog layout this evening, trying to make it a little more original. I dug through all the photos on my computer and found a nice one of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle that I took the day before my birthday last year, so I turned it into a header. That was the easy part... the hard part has been figuring out what colors to use on the blog layout. I'm still not 100% thrilled with them, but they'll do for now.

So... do you like it?

Soeur Florence and Soeur Monique

Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, I got to thinking about the two nuns who ran my dormitory in France. At first glance, you wouldn't know that Soeur Florence was a nun. She had just turned 40, had a very short haircut, wore jeans, sneakers and a sweater every day, and was very outgoing. Soeur Monique, on the other hand, had more traditional nun-like qualities about her. She was an older woman, close to retirement, a good deal shorter than Soeur Florence and a good deal less demonstrative, too.

I think that this story sums up their personality differences quite nicely:

It was the morning of my father's birthday. I had forgotten to buy a phone card the day before, so I ran down the stairs and around the corner to the tabac to pick one up. I was gone all of five minutes.

The second I put my hand on the doorknob to my room, I knew something was wrong. Once the door was open, it took a few minutes for me to process what I was seeing.

There was a sea of smelly water in my floor, populated with large, mushy white islands. An enormous hole was in the middle of the ceiling, and water was gushing out of it. I grabbed my teddy bear and rescued him from being drowned, and then I ran to the hall phone to call Soeur Florence.

(Translated from the original French:)

"Hi, Soeur Florence, this is Kitty."
"Oh, hi, Kitty! What can I do for you?"
"Well, there's a really big hole in my ceiling."
"Okay, well, I'll come around and have a look at it in about fifteen minutes."
"Um, Soeur Florence? The ceiling is raining, too. There's water everywhere."
"Shit! Don't move. I'm coming."

As I was recovering from my first-ever experience with hearing a nun cuss, Soeur Florence careened down the stairs and through the hall, screeching to a halt in front of my doorway to survey the damage. It took awhile for it to all sink in. Once she realized the scope of the problem, she said, "Oh God. Oh Jesus, shit. Oh Goddamn it. Monique! MONIQUE! Come quick!"

Soeur Monique took her time coming. That wasn't really her fault. She wasn't in any fit state to run, after all. She leisurely walked up to my door, looked at my room, and said, "Yes, Florence?"

"I see."
"What are we going to do?!"
"Well, Florence, start by getting a broom."

So Soeur Florence went and got a broom, and we slowly cleared the mess away. As it turns out, the girl in the room above me had forgotten to turn off her shower, and it had overflowed. Luckily enough, I was leaving the next day to go to Normandie on vacation, so when I came back a week later, my ceiling was newly repaired and the wood floor was freshly polished.

That story makes me laugh to this day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A barrel of monkeys

I was a good child growing up. I rarely caused trouble or made poor decisions. That is, unless my cousin Desirée was around.

There is a wonderful picture of us taken when we were about four. (I'd love to post it here, but unfortunately it is an ocean away, sitting on my mother's piano.) We're posing with our grandmother, grinning mishchievously. Just prior to the moment when that photo was taken, my mother had returned to my grandmother's house after a morning of running errands to find my grandmother exiled to the front porch. We had locked her out of her own home. Naughty little girls!

Another one of the poor decisions we made together was pouring sand into each other's hair. Thankfully, my hair was very short at the time. Desirée's was waist-length, though, and it took my grandmother three tries to wash all the sand out of it.

But our most glaring lack of judgment surfaced one day when we both had to go to the bathroom. Earlier that morning, we had seen a picture of two very young children sitting back-to-back on the toilet. Our seven-year-old selves decided that we should try to recreate that photo and use my grandmother's toilet simultaneously.

Needless to say, it didn't work.

It took a while to clean up the mess.

Oops. (Sorry, Mee-Maw!)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Today's translation pearl of wisdom

"Tourists are people, not objects."

This has been brought to you by a 2005 editorial on the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border dispute.

Have a lovely, enlightened day.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Campaign funny

I am not a big fan of the long, drawn-out campaign for the presidency of the United States. It drives me up the ever-loving wall. But this clip on Joseph Biden's verbosity absolutely cracked me up, so I hope that you enjoy it, too.