18 December 2005


Yes, it is definite. I defended my thesis on Dec 7th, successfully. It was not as difficult as I thought, although there were awkward moments.

Such as when I couldn't think of the word in French for "streamlined." I stopped, searched around, euhh-ed for a couple seconds, stepped out of my body to think "God, I must look like an idiot," tried to find a different way of saying it, and finally just stopped the sentence and started all over again. Not exactly what you want to do when trying to impress a panel of four unsmiling French people with lots of letters after their names.

(I later asked Frenchy what the translation was, and he couldn't think of one. It appears that this concept doesn't exist in France. I should have known!)

Afterwards, I asked my advisor if one could say maîtresse instead of maître, and he got all stumbly and red and fumbly and said "well, no, not me, uh, well...." and then, a moment later, asked if I knew what I was really saying. Hello? Did you not just consider me fit to hold an advanced degree in French Studies?

I announced the news in my Christmas cards. Yes, now that I am free of guilt when doing un-thesis-related tasks, I actually wrote Christmas cards! And I'm knitting! Totally guilt-free! Guilt-be-gone! Now with two-thirds less guilt!

04 November 2005

You know you're getting old when...

...you get excited about the goody bag from the dentist.

25 October 2005

Space Cadet

Imagine, if you will (and please do, it's a fun little trip), a nineteen year old girl. Frizzy blond hair, piled on top of her head, sticking out randomly. Wide brown eyes, with a not-quite-there gaze. Puffy jacket, ratty sweater. A denim miniskirt, seemingly cut with a dull knife while blindfolded. Pink knit legwarmers that went all the way up to meet her skirt.

And moon boots.

They even proclaimed proudly what they were: huge puffy white stompers, with "Moon Boots" written in blue.

Moon boots, my friend. The ladies of my daily guilty pleasure would have had a field day with her.

Now, I advise a lot of textile and fashion marketing students who want to go to London. I've seen some funky fashions walking through my office. Some are great and I admire appropriately, some are a little too out-there for my minimalist taste. This trend, if you can even call it that, just makes me think she has some overstated aspirations as to her intended vocation.

She shuffles into the office, twenty minutes late for her appointment. "I've never been to France before, but I want to move there and be a veterinarian. How do I do that?"

It was a long day.

11 October 2005

Pass the pipe

I must have the hookup.

I'm so smooth, I didn't even know I was smoking crack. Because, really, there's no other explanation for telling my advisor last Wednesday that I would have a draft to him on Monday.

There have been so many times this weekend that I actually wanted to post something here, but I guilted myself out of it, saying that if I were going to spend time in front of my screen, it had jolly well be moving me towards my DT.* I worked feverishly every day last week, entertained my parents on Saturday, and worked from 9 to midnight on Sunday, except for a three-hour obligatory sanity-saving M*A*S*H break. I worked on Monday all day while I was supposed to be preparing applications. I worked through lunches. I worked for all the times in the last two years that I haven't worked.

And it's crap. It's all crap. Crap filled with fluff. Fluffy crap.

I'll never finish this thing; my advisor will laugh in my face and then turn suddenly serious: "No, really, we can't let you tarnish the good name of our program by bringing this before a defense committee." I'll work and work on it and get to my defense and everything will fall apart because I didn't work enough.

Now that would be a good excuse to get some more crack.

* Damn thesis.

28 September 2005

The Primary Objective

The newest link at right (also in this post title) actually accomplishes what I set out to do in this blog. Although he compares French life to Australian life. Nevertheless, many of the points he makes resound with me, or explain some facet of the French mindset that always puzzled me. I found him from Petite's comment box.

Here's a French/British/Canadian one.

And a similar French/American blog.

Edit: So it appears that the day after I found him, he quit writing. Or maybe he'll be like me and only post once a month. I'll keep him around for a while. Just in case.

26 September 2005

Shock and Dismay

I guess I'm not as good at this adult gig as I thought I was.

Today I realized my rent is almost due, and I sat down to write the check. Three days early, aren't I so good?

Then I actually looked at my bank account, and realized there is much less than there really should be in there. After the bills I just paid get debited off, and after this month's rent, I'll be left with a little over a hundred dollars, until my next pay period, a week and a half away!* I even suspended my routine savings transfers until I get paid next.

*I know this is not as dire as many people, and I should even be glad to be in this situation. But it's pretty extreme for me, and this is my blog so I'm going to complain whether you like it or not.

I thought it might be a wise idea to see where all my money is going, so I reviewed the last three months of my credit card. The results:

$422.78 for groceries. I like to eat, okay?!
$189.23 for eating out. Well, I could probably cut down on the going out. Only one of those was ordering pizza, though!
$355.50 for gas. Not too bad, considering. That includes my ten-day trip to WI, along with its chauffering Frenchy and his parents everywhere. I still plan to ride my bike to work until it starts snowing.
(gasp)$747.99 for shopping. Ouch. That really needs to stop. I wonder if I can make it to Thanksgiving without going shopping? It'll be hard, I know. I don't even want to think about Christmas....
$472.87 for miscellaneous. Includes a flight to NYC, books, Walgreens purchases, etc. If I overlook the flight, this wouldn't be too bad.

Well, I guess I know what I need to do. How did my monthly credit card bill go from $300 in January to over double that amount in seven months?

25 September 2005

Student Life

I've been thinking about being a student lately.

Not for me specifically--although I am technically still a student, having this ridiculous thesis still haging over my head, I spend a far larger portion of my time working my 8-5 adult job. More on the theoretical level.

I loved being a student. One of the main reasons I do the job I do is because I want to remain in an academic environment. I love the learning, the curiosity, the limitless ambitions. I love the crazy hours. I love the sharing and germinating of ideas, the brainstorming, the creative process, the comparing, the analyzing. I love the hammering out the best way to express your thoughts.

Since I work with students (I am a "Student Services Advisor," in the vague lingo of my university) I spend a fair portion of my time comparing my life as it is right now to what it was just a few short years ago. It really wasn't that long ago that I was in undergrad, in the same place they were, with all the drama, dreams, and drinking that they routinely engage in.

I remember a friend's mother reproaching us for complaining that we were sleepy and overworked in college: We had class for a couple hours a day, dance practice for another couple hours, and called it a full day? Try working straight for eight hours, she said. We'd see.

Well, I'm seeing. Life after college isn't all it's cracked up to be, but nevertheless, I think this period of my life is pretty good to me. I like the challenge of finding the perfect solution for each student who comes in to see me, not only the one that seems the most obvious, but the one that will benefit him or her in the long run. For every blithering idiot who comes in, there are two geniuses, and five or six normal students. I make a real, personal connection with about one in ten. No day is ever the same. When I cheekily say I work for world peace, I really mean it.

Yet, there are so many times I'd rather be lazing on a Union chair on the Terrace. I miss Danville, but I don't really want to go back. Even more, I miss Madison, and if given the chance, I'd move back there.

16 September 2005

Hailin' Taxis Like a Pro

Hey, I just did something I've never done before! I can whistle with my fingers, two-index-fingers-style. Check out where I learned it in the posting title. Right now it's more luck than skill--two times out of three I get a proper, loud whistl-y sounding whistle, and the rest of the time I just blow.

Oh, that sounded bad. You know what I meant, though.

Now I'm sorta lightheaded. Woooo-oooo!

07 September 2005

With Apologies to Dooce

You rotten whore.

(Story to come later if I feel up to it.)

29 August 2005

Wish list

Here's my birthday list:

1. Wooden crepe spreader and turner
2. Canisters for flour and sugar
3. Bike safety lights
4. Invisible zipper foot
5. MASH seasons seven and eight
6. Yeast thermometer

One would say I'm turning fifty seven, not twenty-six.

26 August 2005

Temporary Flashbacks of the Culinary Kind

Ahh, I had the most wonderful dinner: Spanish restaurant, table by the lake, flamenco music (thanks, Norberto!) gambas, sangria, chocolate pie, espresso--I really needed that little taste of Europe.

The only thing that would have made it better would be my sweetie by my side.

18 August 2005


There are some songs that you know instantly what they are, from the first beat. Songs that can transport you back to a certain time and a certain feeling. Songs that make you smile, or curl up and cry, depending on the memory. I only have two or three of these songs, and LiveRadio was kind enough to serve me up one of them today.

And even though I'm very happy with my Frenchy, I'm taken back to senior year of college, a happily painful time when I longed after a boy. It hurts, even now, in a good sort of marshmallowy way. The fun times, the disappointment when I realized I wasn't going to be anything more to him, the whispered conversations that gave me hope again.

I'm too young for nostalgia.

21 July 2005


The universe really wants me to know my emergency procedures.

I thought, when I heard this news, "Man, I'm not ready for this to happen again." Then I thought, "I bet London isn't, either."

08 July 2005

In Which I am Yet Again Self-Absorbed in the Face of the Grander Scheme of Things

It took a catastrophe of the magnitude seen yesterday to make me realize something new about myself. Despite my proclaimed and inveterate French-ophility, through my work and in my recent travels, I have also fallen in love with Mother England. And it wrenched me to see someone, or a group of someones, hurt my new beloved.

I've never met a Brit I didn't like. Granted, I haven't met many. But as I fielded calls from worried parents and schnozzy media, I really started thinking about the handful that I do know personally, and there's not a bad seed among the lot. Laid-back, able to see the big picture, ready to go for a pint at a moment's notice.

Today I chose to wear my red and white England shirt, as a small statement of solidarity. Four years ago I read "Nous sommes tous américains" and wondered what kind of schizophrenia, laudable as it was, might have given rise to that statement. Now, unfortunately, I understand.

14 June 2005


So I was at Barnes and Noble pretending it's a library recently, and I impulsively bought a slim book on palm-reading.

(Affadavit: This is so not like me. Neither impulse buying, nor the ancient art of palmistry. But the pictures were pretty! And it was only five dollars! And ninety-five cents!)

But buy it I did, and read it I did as well. And it was kind of fun. I found out that my head line is forked at the end, which denoted a literary and creative spirit. In fact, just about everything on my hand denoted creativity. Didn't know I was that inventive.

The shape of your hand is apparently very important, as much as the lines. And apparently I have what I deem to be a conical hand, common to psychics and other visionaries. This site corroborates this fact.

Well, blow me down. I had no idea I was a visionary. (How ironic is that sentence?) I guess so, though, since my own hand and birthdate are telling me so. Anybody want some predictions? I can cook up something good. Remember, I'm creative and psychic.

10 June 2005

Non! Non! Non!

So the French are trying to take back history.

I guess they got tired of being the cul of too many jokes about surrender monkeys, and they said "Sacrebleu! We muss rrrregain some of how-er prrride! Prrride ees French nassi-onal speciality, n'est-ce pas?"

And what better way to do this than single-handedly bringing to a screeching, towering halt a fifty-year multinational process, of a degree of cooperation heretofore unseen by this terrestrial sphere?

But leave it to the modern French to leave their mark by negative action rather than true, honest-to-goodness progress.

16 May 2005

On the mind

So I've had many things on my mind lately. The trip to NYC came and went, and we had a lovely time, inside and out. I haven't walked that much since I was in London!

Some of my friends and I have started Girls' Night In on Wednesday nights. Somebody makes dinner and we all pile in her apartment and drink much wine. I have noticed a distinct common thread to our conversation: men, sex (either the presence or lack thereof) and dating. Course, it doesn't help that last week one of the girls had just started the juicy bits of the health class that she teaches at her middle school. Some people get all the fun! I can't imagine ever having to do that.

Mostly, though, the thing that has disturbed me lately is my research. No, not that I'm having trouble doing it (although posting here is a superb way to avoid reading about the long march of French universities). It's that the moment I started back in in earnest on researching, I found myself thinking deep, meta thoughts about pretty much everything. How the late-blooming spring was a metaphor for my psyche. How long-distance relationships alter your relationships with the people around you. How some people seem to be supremely undisturbed by events outside of their sphere of influence, and maybe I should emulate them.

What disturbed me more than these thoughts was the next thought: When did I stop thinking like this? I've been out of classes for less than a year! When did I stop thinking period? Am I destined to become like certain older members of my family who never observe an event but that it confirms their worldview? Am I doomed to the slow but slippery slide towards uncompromising conservatism? Somebody enroll me in Philosphy 560, quick.

20 April 2005

How to annex a sovereign nation

Wow, so many new things to report. I'm going to New York!! Not only will this be my first time in New York, but this will be the first time in several months I've seen my boyfriend.

Some friends of friends have been traveling in Yosemite, Death Valley and various parts of California. I don't have permission to link to his blog, so you'll have to believe me when I say "Holy bejeezus, the US has some gorgeous scenery!" Funny--I've always reproached the French for not appreciating the exquisite landscapes I've inhaled there. Now I realize that I don't know my own country si bien que ça.

In (somewhat) related news:
I have achieved something I've long been wanting to do. Without hurting anybody's feelings, I have taken over France. I feel as though I should stand proudly with my hand between my shirt buttons.

18 April 2005

We're baaack!

So I let this go for a while, and have only now decided to resurrect. Three days, nothin'. It's months, baby.

Really, it was this quiz that got me. Here's me:

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English

10% Dixie

10% Upper Midwestern

5% Yankee

0% Midwestern

28 February 2005


S'been an interesting weekend. Over the cold, and singing joyfully as often as possible to prove it. Found a couple great recipes--I'll post them if they turn out.

On the other hand, at work I'm discovering how difficult it is to give people bad news. At work, I have to do this occasionally. It kills me a little to say it, and then I always bend to their pleas (or their parents' pleas, in some cases) to review and appeal their "extra special case." Right. Some excuses I just don't buy.

Inevitably, I'm going to have to stick to my guns on some of them. What a horrible image. I can already see myself shrinking down in passivity, hiding from the phone (which I do anyway.)

And so I end up ranting to a computer screen. How many years do you have to work before you discover where the fine line should be drawn in telling people what you really think?

23 February 2005

Bastard viruses

My little sis called me last night (already a surprise--I think that's the first time she's called me since I moved out of the house in 1997) and said she might come visit this weekend. Then fifteen minutes later her friends came home and said no, they're not going to Kansas anymore so now she isn't coming to visit. I was excited for a moment. And then disappointed. But I was happy 'cause we talked for a long time.

And I have yet another piece of evidence that I am going to turn out exactly like my parents. Exhibit A: I have a cold. Everyone knows that I have a cold, (especially my sinuses) and that I should be at home self-medicating and watching Seinfeld reruns. But I refuse to take anything. In fact, I did not admit to actually having a cold until yesterday. Tough it out! Rely on your own body! Forget modern medicine--warm salt water will take care of it!

Oh, the realization of the inevitable....

21 February 2005

Carmen Sandiego?

Hey, this was fun. Try it out. These are places I've been. (Disregard the whole potential red states/blue states argument!)

create your own visited countries map

create your own visited states map

20 February 2005

Smoke and Leftovers

So the 'rents came and went, and left a bunch of stuff. Well, that's mostly a good thing, because they came to bring me new seating arrangements, plants, and various sundries I had forgotten. We got my futon into proper respectable futon position (instead of saggily leaning against a wall) and we hung my curtains. Now my living room is bathed in a soft parchmenty glow instead of a renter's white.

And since Mom had jokingly said she expected a gourmet meal next time she came, I went all out. Four courses, matched wine, the whole shebang. I pushed my beginners' luck with all new recipes, and the final results were fantastically tasty.

The process, however, was not without peril. Since I had chosen a broiled salmon pesto (recipe here) for the main dish, I knew the inevitable would occur--the smoke alarm.

And let me tell you, this smoke alarm isn't your basic, beep beep, hey, it's kinda hazy in here. I live in a handicapped apartment, so this alarm is the equivalent of a bipolar mother of six toddlers going through a divorce. Sensitive just doesn't describe it. I could light a match and the thing would go off. And you can't just take the batteries out--it's hardwired into the building. Figures. Dad got the job of waving a towel at the thing, and Mom helped by fussing over the dishes.

But dinner was had, dishes were done, and parents left. Now I'm feeling really alone, which is compounded by the daily call to the boyfriend. It's much tougher than I thought, being so far away yet still in the same country.

But that's not what you came here to read about. I'll keep my self-psychiatrizing off this blog.

17 February 2005

Wait, There's More?

And you thought you were getting rid of me. Ha!

My parents are coming on Saturday. I don't have to do the frantic things that most mid-twenties do when their parents come, like last-minute frantic cleaning, or hiding the box of condoms, or making sure to erase all traces of the ten-hour bender last week, but I should probably make it look as though I've been hard at work on my thesis.

Really, I just want this thesis to go away. It's like I'm ten again, and I intercept the letter that says I need a tetanus shot for school, and I hide it at the very bottom of the pile, hoping that if I can keep this show up, eventually the whole messy situation will just disappear. Except now I'm 25, and my mature reasonable id says "It's just 35 pages,"* while my ego whines "But I don't Wanna!"

*I know, 35 pages isn't much, compared to most masters theses. But this is a special one, I promise....

Maybe I'll watch a few episodes of M*A*S*H, to get in the research mood...

16 February 2005

So Many Things Neither Of Us Know

Hello. After weeks and weeks of being alternately inspired and scaredy-cat, I found the no-brainest, free-est and easiest blog platform to host my blogging debut. Here's to wishy-washyness! But then again, I am from St. Louis. As my favorite columnist, Bill McClellan says, we're a bunch of pioneers who were too afraid to go any farther.

There's a lot of things you don't know about me. Hell, there's a a lot of things even my boyfriend doesn't know about me. He only found out yesterday that I play an instrument.

But here are the basics. I imagine that they will come up often in the future.

  1. I am from St. Louis. I know I already said that, but if you know much about the city, you'll know that when I say I went to Webster, I mean (most) of the sous-entendres that go with that.
  2. I'm a Francophile, of the "France is way more complicated than baguettes and wine" school of thought. France is a highly complex country, and so is our relationship with them. Despite all the negative press about America and France, I still love both countries.
  3. I currently live in the Midwest. It's an odd coincidence that I ended up so close to home, me who has traveled so far so long.
  4. I'm a middle child. Mom doesn't believe in all that birth order crizap, but I certainly do.

That's enough for today. Gotta leave some mystery.