A reading blog where I will try to my utmost to avoid the mention of books.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Funny (not haha funny) things about French people!

They discuss elevators--and other trivial things--seriously, and at length.

They all have GPS in their cars, but many don't have internet at home.

They get MAD if you confuse the word for "feet" with the word for "paws".

They wear shorts with tights--but we'll probably be doing this in the US by next year, so I don't know if I should comment...

All the homeless people have dogs.

They are always on strike.

Please applaud my feeble guilt-post.


Saturday, November 17, 2007


This is what the NAEP has to say for itself:

"The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas." (source)

...which is exactly the problem. I'll try to go into this more later, probably on my other blog, but for the moment, I just wanted to put this out there. I am perturbed.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

story time

I have a story. You're going to love it. Last night, my mother went to dinner at a French restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I went to a French restaurant in Avignon, France. We compared notes to-day, and as it turns out, we both got French Onion Soup! (though in France they just call it Onion Soup).

It was amazing.

Then I walked on the Pont D'Avignon, but did not have enough friends to dance en rond.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Here are my French couples up to now:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Excitement at the Place de la Mairie

There was a Harry Potter bus outside the Opera to-day. Why? I don't know. But it had flags on top and was excessively exciting. Andy and I both felt this way, so he took this photo. And then he shared it with me so that I could finally blog about something.

This all happened on our way back from the Boutique SNCF, where we bought train tickets to the south of France. We're leaving a week from to-day, and we're gonna spend a few days down there, at Avignon, and surrounding area. Should be super. I'm actually really excited to get away in a non-educational way. Of course, non-educational just means not with a school group. I'm naturally pumped for the Roman ruins.

Also, can I just say that eating is the meaning of my life? Because that might make me a fat girl, but it's increasingly true. I think I'll start taking photos of French food. Spread the fatness. I will literally do so as well when I get back to the US, cos I have a crepe pan! (party)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

Foto: second go

I have photos up! So I hope you're super happy with me.

go look

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Yes, I'm neglectful. But it's so discouraging not to be able to post pictures. I have plans for that, though. Plans I have planned.

In the meantime, books:

Racine : Phèdre
Camus : L'Etranger
Plato : Syposium
Saul Bellow : The Adventures of Augie March

Of these, I have finished recently only Symposium (I've read Phèdre before, but since it was assigned for my literature class here, only the excerpted scenes she gave us). I might have more to say about that, but only after I have discussed it further in another forum.

Sorry to be so dull, but like I said: tomorrow. And then Saturday to Normandy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Where did they go?
Damned University connection...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Maggie links to me as "Regina in Rennes," which I enjoy very much, being completely unable to resist the charms of alliteration.

Can I just say that I forgot to pack nearly everything useful. I brought a toothbrush, yes, but only two longsleeved shirts, one of which doesn't fit me, and altogether the wrong shoes, at least based on my experience to date. I also forgot a bookbag. But I don't complain, really, since this does open up extensive shopping opportunities. I've already found a French long-sleeved shirt, though they still had mostly short-sleeved varieties in the shops (I wonder whether this lasts all winter; is it merely the French way to wear short sleeves under a sweater?) and on that subject: when the French say "small," they mean it! I haven't worn such tight clothing since highschool. But I like it. I also found a bookbag in the Galleries Lafayette, a pretty fun place all in all. I mean to go back there several times before I leave.

I also took photos of some chateaux and Andy's head, which are sure to be beautiful, but I have to process them on my machine and then load them on my host family's computer, so those will be up soonish. The fact that I've now promised should bring things along, really.

Promises, we forget about our promises...
I stop.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

6 hours later...

It has been more than six hours since my last post, but it is also six hours later here than in America. Because I'm in France! I have been since Friday, in fact, but I shudder to think what kind of post I might have produced under the influence of jetlag. It's the best drug, they say. They don't really say that, and it would be the worst anyway.

But I'm a huge disappointment; I've been here three days and have failed to take a single picture! Bad me. But I will, maybe even tomorrow. In the meantime, I am to be congratulated on making it through this post in a reasonably comprehensible way on a French keyboard! My fingers are so confused... (and why on earth should one need to shift for a period? Oh, the French)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

mention of books

I'm going to run ahead and do this in list form; here is a list of all the books sitting on my cedar chest. What color are books? Blue, but I'm a girl, so let's call them pink!

Marguerite Duras: L'Amant ...this was assigned reading for the last French class I audited, and I didn't quite finish it.
Marilynne Robinson: Gilead ...I loved Housekeeping, and my mother recommended this (she knows everything).
Nikolay Gogol: Dead Souls ...and Easter present from a couple years ago; very slow-going, but I've no idea why.
E. Nesbit: The Enchanted Castle ...I'd read it before, but I did have to get fifty pages in before I realized that. Delightful, anyway. E. Nesbit is peerless.
Philip Pullman: The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass ...It was the end of the summer? These are probably going to France with me, for when I miss English.
Saul Bellow: The Adventures of Augie March ...also going to France with me.
Santiago Calatrava, Milwaukee Art Museum, Quadracci Pavilion (picture book) ...gift for my French host family. I tried to pick one with lots of pictures in case they don't know any English.
Edward Gorey: Amphigorey Again ...There is nothing to be said about Edward Gorey.
National Geographic Traveler: France ...I like pictures, too.
MTV France ...Yeah, I bought it. I have my reasons, ok?
Berlitz French phrase book & dictionary ...Andy made fun of me. But eight years of literary-track French didn't teach me the everyday words I'll need; at least that's my justification.

Now playing: Yo La Tengo - Here Comes My Baby
via FoxyTunes

Friday, August 31, 2007


Last night, I had my first nervous-about-France dream. I don't even remember what the issue was, but there was something I had to change (perhaps currency?) and I didn't have enough time. I also wasn't packed, and I was leaving the next day. Was very relieved to wake up with two weeks until I actually have to board a plane. Knowing how these things go, though, they're sure to fly by, and then I will be pressed to get everything ready at the last minute.

So much for that; it's my birthday tomorrow! And I'm going to be twenty? How about that.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Excuse me?

I just found out that the presentations a week from to-day are going to be held in the largest lecture-hall on campus (of two, but still). And I'm presenting. It won't be full, but still. Not a fan.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I've come up with some goals. Here it goes:

#Triscuits and a Naked are not a meal. Not even with hummus. Act accordingly.
#Get more fresh air. I have no excuse.
#Carry my camera with me everywhere.
#Read for more time each day than I spend online (even if I'm online reading).
#This sounds really hokey, but get more creativity into my life. Play the piano, sketch a tree, whatever. I should do that every day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The uglies kept falling off the bed, so I put them on time-out in a drawer.

Des misérables? non, mais au rang des heureux.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I was held up on the way home from the grocery store (where I bought some Guacamole, which has yet to prove itself) by something involving police cars and fire engines all over the middle of the road. I came almost right up to the mess, because I couldn't see it with the sun slanting in my eyes the way it always does on Union Street, but I got turned around just fine.

The grocery store had brought up the topic of pasta between Reginald Query and myself, and Reginald, having ridiculously expressed "Noodloos" in description of Penne, I of course demanded to know WHAT ON EARTH he was talking about. And what did he have to say for it? Only this: "There is hardly a word that would not profit from an extra double-o." There's a strange logic in it, if you think about it for too long.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Come Winter

That is roughly the view I'll have from my window when I come back from France next winter. Minus the green, plus some snow, one floor up (this was taken from the porch below, a place of general congregation). And I'm excited about this. It's strange that what I can't stop thinking about right now is getting back from my highly anticipated semester in France, I know. But this is the case for two reasons:
I love snow. Anyone who has ever seen me during a snowfall will tell you that it makes me absolutely batty. Fall is my favorite season, but snow is probably my favorite thing. period.
Winter cooking is the best cooking. And the baking! I think pound cake is a great summer dish, and indeed it is, since it lends itself so well to fresh fruit and ice cream (or custard, if you're in Wisconsin!). But it also lends itself quite well to some good, fortifying, home-made whipped cream. And hot drinks. And there's no baking like baking in Wells House. I just can't wait to squeeze back into our tiny closet of a kitchen/laundry room.

Post Scriptum: In titling this post, I was definitely thinking of the Daphne Loves Derby song, which always makes me think of home.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


A little update, in not-so-many words.

Ode to Psyche

I like that song about the church.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Albany, New York

Apparently Albany has several farmer's markets. Of course, I should have figured that out when I googled it and came up with directions to multiple locations. But did I think this out at the time? Oh, no, I just picked a set of directions at random, and followed them, yesterday, Saturday, to the exact location of a farmer's market that takes place every Thursday all summer long. Neat. I never did find the one that was taking place on Saturday, but I did wander around Albany a bit, so I thought I'd share.

Of course Albany, like most cities, is full of juxtapositions like these:

Sometimes I find it charming.

Old architecture and new stand very close together, creating some odd aesthetics, and a sense of time. But to me, Albany seemed even stranger than what I'm used to along these lines. Maybe it's because I'm from Milwaukee, and things aren't quite as old. It's true that back home, we pretty much missed out on the Gothic style altogether. But I've been to other cities: St. Louis, Indianapolis, New York, Boston, and Paris, to work my way east, and there's something weird about Albany. I kept trying to figure it out as I walked around.

I saw this building, and for whatever reason, was very attracted to it. So I turned off the main street. If there had been few people on the main street, there were even down this way. Though I passed a car that was on with the radio blaring, I didn't see a soul until I had turned the corner two more times.

But I did see this Institute for Humanist Studies, and wondered what they do there; isn't Humanism a little dated?

Across the street was this empty parking lot, next to this building in rather a poor state of repair:

For all that these things are all based on European models, I think they come off American in their execution. But I don't really know anything about it.

This street actually looked that white in the sunlight.

There was a whole row of doors with steps like this, fenced and hedged in by shrubbery. Only every three doors or so on this block was operable, with an accessible staircase. It looked strange.

Then, just a couple of blocks away from the Capitol building, I found this ghosttown. There was a stairway down to it, but it was so eerie I didn't make it all the way down the steps.

I walked past an Epsicopal church whose signboard said they had "Holy Eucharist" daily at 12:05. It was two minutes to twelve.

So I walked up along by the side door, and listened to the organ music a while. This was the view I had through the open door. That little row of lights was electrical, and it somehow seemed very appropriate. Maybe it was just the quality of the light, but that row of lights in the dark church seemed as good as candles, from here anyway. I would have gone in, but I was wearing a low-cut, strappy tank top; I was hardly dressed to enter any kind of church.

This was one of several side doors of another, bigger Episcopal church that I passed on my way back.
I was fascinated by that little turquoise dome that you can see in the background. I didn't get around to finding the building to get a better look at. On my way back, I was still very fond of this building on the right.

Friday, June 29, 2007

"That's the effect of living backwards," the Queen said kindly: "it always makes one a little giddy at first--"
"Living backwards!" Alice repeated in great stonishment. "I never heard of such a thing!"
"--but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory works both ways."

Reading. I can tell you something about reading. I don't know how to read food labels. I'm not good at it at all. So, after having tried very hard to like Oatmeal and failed, and having begun to wonder to myself whether the Kashi oat cereal that I do like might be just as good for me, I had no way to settle the question either way. Even forgetting the fact that I have no idea how many servings of cereal I consume--since I eat it now almost exclusively out of the box in handfuls, while drinking milk, rather than bothering combining the two, for which my friends and housemates have made some fun of me--if I did, I wouldn't know what to look for. I usually use the nutrition facts labels to check the amount of fat, see whether there's any protein, and vaguely monitor the sodium (I get into sodium lows and have fainting spells). I don't know how to tell whether something is good for me by reading that business!

In fact, I'm beginning to doubt whether anyone can. I suspect increasingly that the only way to tell how good something is for one is by listening to one's mother and reading a lot of summaries of recent food studies. I can retain that kind of information quite well, but it won't do me any good in this case, since oats are old news, and though I even asked my mother this particular question, she didn't seem to have any better idea than I did.

Anyway, with all the irresponsibility that comes along with being responsible for myself for the first time, (I'm living on campus this summer as a research student, so called, and making my own schedule if not really supporting myself) I have let the whole morning slip away doing very little and next to nothing in particular, and now I have a free lunch to get to, but have not showered.

I think I'll make it my resolution for the day to go out and do something interesting so that I will not need to further embarrass myself and everyone else by blogging about oats anymore.