For Christian’s birthday I enlisted a nursery owner to help me make a small terrarium. It has so far beaten the odds in our house and survived, even though I take care of it to some extent.
What it is also doing is sprouting teeny mushrooms, non stop.
The first one I spotted made me run to Christian – terrarium in hand – and point excitedly while repeating ‘Look look look look look!’ A perfect miniature little mushroom!
Christian on the other hand wasn’t that excited and said ‘Get rid of it’. Why?!! Because if you don’t mushrooms will take over the whole thing.
With a heavy heart I uprooted it with a little spoon, marvelling at how ‘mushroomy’ it smelt before throwing it away. I did have a second’s hesitation and thought I could maybe eat it. The look on Christian’s face quickly let me know what he thought of that idea.
Since then, we can’t get a break. Mini mushrooms just keep on appearing and appearing – and they all get the little spoon treatment – but that doesn’t stop ‘em.
What’s worse, the latest two have started to band together. I am giving them one more day to unfold their plan. After that, they’ll have to say hello to my little spoon.
From Friday to Sunday a bunch of men in jumpsuits and helmets drove their cars really fast around Albert Park lake, exactly like in that picture (no, not really).
We live pretty close so for three days we heard what seemed like an industrious angry bee swarm every afternoon.
All this culminated in a freaking fighter jet flying circles yesterday just before the big race, and it was SO loud and boomed SO much, when we went out on our balcony to see it I hid behind Christian. Just a little.
I love this poster by the way, which I believe can be picked up from the one place where I would spend a lot of my money in a heartbeat: Galerie Montmartre in Fitzroy. Vroum.
It’s that time of the year again! I’m not sure Shepard Fairey postcards are kicking around this year to announce it, but tonight at 8:30 we’ll be turning our lights off for Earth Hour.
Which will really disconcert Mira – and cause her to become clingy and shaky until the lights are back on. Don’t feel sorry for her, she’ll be spending an hour in my lap getting cuddles and kisses.
I will probably wake up with a few extra bruises tomorrow since my usual clumsy will be magnified by lack of light. Which reminds me: I must buy some candles today…
(Image is from here)
Amongst other things (many, wonderful, and happy things) sharing my life with Christian has given me a new perspective on French (and him a new one on English). Simply because we ask each other questions that we’ve never contemplated about our native languages. Or we open our eyes wide when the other says something incomprehensible. Or we translate literally from one language to the other and giggle like mad at the results (especially me: I’m very excitable).
All this has led me to the conclusion we have hilarious ways of saying things in French. Originally descriptive but sometimes, a bit sick too.
Like this one: when you are really sure of something, you can say that you would ‘wager your head to be chopped off‘ (if that’s not confidence I don’t know what is).
Errr, this is not helping the fact that we already have a reputation for the practice. And that until the death penalty was abolished, it is still how prisoners were executed well into the 1970s (the indignity and grossness…).
By the way, it’s an expression I never use. I like my head just where it is.
When we moved to Melbourne, imaginably there were a few sticking points I found hard to get over. A lot of them to do with the healthcare system: I was infuriated I had to be out of pocket to go see a doctor. ‘Why?’ I said to Christian – ‘Because the rest of the world is not France, and you have been spoilt from birth and take universal healthcare for granted.’ Fair point. Still, WHY!!
The French healthcare system has been on my mind lately (okay, I also admit it is on my mind every time I go to the doctor and mumble about not getting every cent back) – mostly because I have followed very loosely the debating surrounding the proposed healthcare reform in America.
What really astounds me is the way the words ‘socialist‘ and ‘socialism‘ are thrown around – like a straight linguistic elevator to doom if you will.
Here is what I don’t understand: in France the left is called the ‘socialist party’. Heck, there is even a French communist party (yes, it’s true! And a communist newspaper). We have free education from primary school all the way to university (you do have to pay cheap token admin fees, but that’s all).
So I guess that makes us a fairly ‘socialist’ country all things considered, no? And all these things are good – if not perfect in their execution, fundamentally good, noble and decent in intention and principle.
Don’t believe me? When Christian caught a very nasty virus in Paris and had really high fever that wouldn’t fall, he had a chest x-ray taken in our kitchen, blood taken in our kitchen, and that cost us nothing. Doctors and lab technicians had his back and were trying to help him – he was seriously sick and what we could or couldn’t afford did not play a part in the tests performed and treatment he received.
I’m not saying there aren’t problems with the French healthcare system (and a large looming and worrying deficit), but I am happy that it exists (the healthcare system, not the deficit) – and if that makes me a socialist in anyone’s eyes, so be it. I’m happy about that too.
PS: You can be out of pocket when you go see a doctor in France too, if they have hefty qualifications and study to their name. But my drift is, most of the time you’re not. That’s the default.
PPS: Just to be clear, I’m not saying France is perfect. It’s not! But some good social ideas do exist in France.
PPPS: Those pesky $30 I never get back from a doctor’s visit, they’ll never stop haunting me. Never!
(Image is from here)
I am finding myself cleaning out our storage space in the wee hours of the morning at the moment. About 6AM to be exact. It’s in a large 2-storey warehouse and it basically looks like what you see in the picture: long corridors with one door after the other (except they’re orange and not blue).
I am typically the only one there so early, and I have noticed my brain plays tricks on me by making me remember cheesy horror movie chases where a doomed teenager runs away from a psycho wielding a nasty looking weapon.
(Thanks a lot right? I am alone in a gigantic warehouse when it’s still dark and that’s what my brain comes up with! I think it’s getting back at me for my current 5 hour tops night sleeps).
I usually do a pretty good job reassuring myself that people who store here are just like me: normal, decent, free-from-murdering-impulses people who just don’t have enough space in their house.
On Sunday* though my left brain put forth the following counter-argument: actually psychos would have much better reasons for renting a storage space than normal people. They would have disgusting killing trophies to hide (not every murderer is as neat as Dexter right?), or other gross possessions they would not want their neighbours or family to see (collection of body parts maybe?). So it follows I am more likely to run into a psycho (and in the cover of night too) than a well adjusted individual storing a couple of armchairs and personal archives.
Since I came up with this scary curveball, I try to be quiet when I’m there, and frequently look up from what I’m doing and check left, then right. And I keep a gigantic pair of scissors right next to me. Just in case.
*Yes I was there at 6 on Sunday. I know.
(Image is from here)
And it exists in poster form (courtesy of Joshua Rothhaas), which I obviously really want (I even have a wall already picked out for it, Christian what do you say?).
PS: I love the French flag – the blue and the red are such strong colours but they go really well together. It makes my heart go boom – and when I feel homesick to the point of tears (it does happen!), I dress in blue, white and red. Now you know!
She tried to steer me from Looney Tunes cartoons that – horror – I still enjoyed watching past the age of 12 (maybe I should have been a more sophisticated child in her mind and read the Economist instead?). With one exception: the marvellous, flamboyant and frisky Pepe le Pew. He made her laugh and we watched him together many times. She actually does a fantastic Pepe impression to boot.
So when I think of Pepe I am not only rolling around laughing at his accent, at the signs in the cartoons saying ‘Le’ everywhere, but I am also picturing my mother saying ‘Weeeere ah-re yoo peegeon?’. If you have never heard her say that, something in your life is missing. Honest.
(Image is from here – how could such a cute little creature have such an evil stink?)
PS: My sister just reminded me in a comment of this absolute classic, so for those of you who don’t read French here is the lowdown: mother goes to rubbish bins. Mother hears someone coming, mother thinks it’s my sister. Mother screams: ‘Weeeere ah-re yoo my leeetle peeeenk rah-beet??’. Mother comes face to face with neighbour. Is it more evil than Pepe’s stink to find deliciousness in her embarrassment?