Friday, February 16, 2007

Ma Deesse

Valentine's Day was pretty laid back for us this year. I gave Jube a card that said "OOH LA LA!" on it, and he didn't give me anything. I spent the evening writing a paper.

A funny thing happened though... the day before Valentine's, we were teasing each other about the amazing surprises we'd bought. Of course I knew he was only getting a card, but I was hoping for some chocolates or something. When I got back from work that afternoon, there was a phone book lying open on the bed. The page Jube had been consulting was in the "V" section, open to "veterinarians." I thought he might have been thinking about buying me a dog, but that didn't seem plausible.

When I asked him about it, he admitted that he had wanted to buy me something special ever since Christmas vacation. Valentine's had seemed the best day to give it to me, but he hadn't been able to pick it up. He'd spent all morning calling stores to find availability, but there just weren't any!

"What was it?" I demanded.

"Well... I was looking under 'video games,'" he told me. "I saw how much you enjoyed your brother's Nintendo DS, so I wanted to get you one."

The next day I arrived back from work to find that he had biked over 2 hours to Target to get me my little DS. What a nice guy!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Today Jube and I received our livret de famille in the mail. It looks like a bigger version of my US passport: navy blue with a gold crest on the front. The only downside is that they misspelled my name inside. It seems to be a common mistake for speakers of Latin languages, since they made the same mistake on my Spanish student visa.

Now in only 3 years and 9 months I have the "right to French nationality." However, there were a couple of parts of the contract I was unaware of until we received the livret. First of all, there are les obligations alimentaires. I have to feed Belle-mere and Beau-pere, and Jube has to feed my parents, and they have to feed us too. Fun, eh? But it's okay, I like to cook. Mom, Dad, Belle-maman, Beau-papa: you'll never go hungry again! There are also rules about the surnames we can legally give our children, how soon we have to report their births, and other interesting financial obligations.

I have to say, the livret de famille is much more informative than an American marriage certificate. Now I know exactly what I signed up for...

Friday, February 09, 2007

SPCA Sunday

After our trip to the mall on Saturday, we decided to go out again on Sunday, but just down the street this time. We went to Pet Palooza, where we saw lots of dogs and their owners, as well as some interesting animal displays. We saw "the smartest dog in the world," Chalcy, who yawned at her handler when she asked her to jump through a hoop:

Jumping Dog

We saw the Chickenman, a Christian performer who converts using the power of his trained chickens (I am NOT kidding--check out his website at

Chicken Man

We even saw a tortoise collecting money for Reptile Rescue:

Walking Turtle

What we DIDN'T see (and I was glad for it) were dogs to adopt. I think I could have convinced Jube to break our lease and bring home a little puppy--but thankfully I wasn't given the opportunity.

What I wish we hadn't seen:

Remote Control Chicken

The chicken on the left is named Priscilla, and she is alive. The chicken on the right is named Aquilla, and he is dead. But he's still performing his tricks! The Chickenman explained to us that he would soon be in a Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum... and not too soon for me!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

And Now, a Norfolk Tidbit

You know how lots of cities have painted sculptures around that are kind of a tourist attraction? I remember I liked it when I visited New York in 2000 when it was full of cows; even Delaware, Ohio got in on the action with carousel horses a few years later. Well, Norfolk has mermaids. They are everywhere, and I'm sorry to say that most of them are ugly. A couple are really neat, including one made of metal near the water, and this one in the mall:

Go Diva in the Mall

I think it is very creative and it definitely makes me hungry for some chocolate. I had to settle for a green tea smoothie on our last trip to the mall.

Monday, February 05, 2007

La Chandeleur et ses affinites

This weekend was really crazy and fun for us. It all started on Thursday, when one of my profs cancelled class for "inclement weather" (a few snow flurries that quickly turned to rain). Since I don't work on Fridays it was the weekend already!

We woke up late on Friday and cleaned the apartment a little bit, because we were celebrating our first Chandeleur ever. La Chandeleur takes place on February 2, and the French tradition is to make crepes and eat them. While making the crepes, you should flip them left-handed with a coin in your right hand behind your back.
If you succeed in this difficult task, you will be prosperous for the rest of the year.

We invited 7 of our friends--8 showed up. That was fine, since we had made tons of crepes, and we even had enough batter left to let our guests flip some themselves. Everyone should be making lots of money, judging from their successes in crepe-flipping. After our meal, we decided to go do some Karaoke at the Darkside, which was really fun. Lorene fell over during the second solo in "Nothing Else Matters," I sang "Creep" with the wrong lyrics, and everyone had a great time.

On Saturday Jube and I went to the MacArthur Center, the mall in downtown Norfolk. Belle-maman has these really cool plates that she uses for the cheese course in France. They are dessert-size plates with little drawings of different kinds of cheeses and their animal of origin (sheep, goat, and cow are the main donors). Le Pacha has been known to pout until he gets his favorite, Reblochon. ANYWAY, the plates we found are not exactly the same. They have prints of vintage cheese packages on them. The coolest part is that they came in a box that looks like a big camembert:


Pretty cool, huh? The only down side is that when I see it, I get hungry for some tasty ripe camembert...