Sunday, November 28, 2010

Totally crap outfit of the week

Woman #1 - Hey, I have a great idea - let's dig out the ugliest things in our wardrobes and go parading around the streets of Paris like total half-wits!

Woman #2 - Oooh, that'll be fun, and I have just the thing:  a blue and purple coat with a floral print - it looks like a colour-blind monkey junkie designed it while stoned, it's perfect!  What do you have?

Woman #1 - Mine is so much more gross - I've got a purple and yellow tartan jacket, some of the ugliest bags ever made, and best of all, tights with faces on them. Can you imagine what that's going to look like when I put it all together?!?

Woman #2 - OMG, we are going to so totally look like idiots - woohoo!!!

Or so I imagine the conversation must have gone, because what other explanation could there possibly be for this???

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fried. Turkey. Parts.

Was this what we had for the redneck Thanksgiving?  Alas, no (but it's such a great title, I couldn't waste it).  Mr and Mrs Redneck had originally planned to deep-fry some turkey parts, since their apartment here in Paris doesn't have an oven, but they went with pre-cooked poultry and just heated it up.   Although, quite honestly, I'm amazed that any of us could eat our main meal considering that the pre-dinner snacks consisted of: nuts, olives, chips, popcorn, veggies and dip, two kinds of sausage, five kinds of cheese, and a five-layer Tex Mex dip.  Then there was: turkey, cranberry sauce, creamed corn, regular corn, macaroni and cheese, mashed sweet potatoes, stuffing and a cranberry jello salad sort of thing (which was actually much nicer than the jello salads I used to encounter when I was growing up in swamp country, so clearly, rednecks are a step up the culinary ladder from swamp trash like me!).

I was so busy cramming my face with food that I didn't even manage to drink all that much wine, but not to worry - Mr and Mrs Redneck are having another party tomorrow afternoon, which will be followed by a visit to the Paris Wine Show.  Yikes - you just know that's not going to end well for my liver...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving - redneck style

One of the wonderful things about living in Paris that you make friends with other expats.  In my case, the vast majority of my friends here are American.  I've never had American friends before (well, a long time ago there was that gorgeous American boyfriend who looked like a young Elvis Presley...sigh... Ahhh, back in the day Miss K had some game, let me tell you.  Ahem.  Moving on...), which you might think odd, since I'm Canadian and we're national neighbours, but Americans don't really seem to like crossing our border all that much.  I don't know if it's because they think they'll be eaten by moose, or seduced by socialized medical care, or freeze to death in July (because, hey, everyone knows it snows in Canada all year long, right?), but I just never met all that many when I lived in Toronto.  Also not when I lived in London, but in Paris?  The place is swarming with Americans, and may I just say, I am delighted to have made such wonderful, fun, generous, kind-hearted friends. 

So the point of this is to say that the awesome Mr and Mrs Redneck have invited me to my very first American Thanksgiving dinner tonight and I am in a state of excitement akin to a small, hyperactive child on a sugar high on Christmas morning.  Now, if you recall my post about Canadian Thanksgiving last month (thanksgiving), being in a foreign country poses certain challenges for such a celebration, so I can't wait to see what the Rednecks have come up with.  One thing I know they will come up with is a ton of alcohol, so I may not report until my sure-to-be-monumental hangover subsides tomorrow, but there will be a report and I'm betting it's going to be worth reading, because a Redneck Thanksgiving?  This is going to be FUN!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things you might see on the street

Well, normally I would say that this dog is thinking "Sweet lord, the shame in having to go out in public wearing a doggie parka - kill me immediately."  But this is a Parisian dog, so he's probably thinking "Mon dieu, where are my tasteful little booties to match zis élégant little jacket I am wearing?  Ze shame in having to go out in public not properly accessorized - kill me immédiatement."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Walk of shame

Are you perhaps thinking, from that title, that Miss K might have a little salacious something to confess?  (Not that I would tell you if I did, but I will most certainly complain about the fact that I don't!)  Alas, no.  I went to a very good party with Tiny Dancer last night and we left just a little bit too late to catch my metro connection home.  So I ended up crashing at her place (and I slept in a child-sized bunk bed, no less), but at least I had an adorable kitten to keep me company, and they made me a rather splendid breakfast this morning.  So the shame part of my walk of shame home this morning is that it was completely not shameful.  I mean, really.  There I was, at a party where I saw several people couple up and leave with clearly amorous intentions, but me?  Rien.  Disgraceful!  Shouldn't I be living a scandalous, decadent life here in Paris, in the classic tradition of writers?  Clearly I'm not doing very well at scandal and decadence -  which really is a shame!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Awesome outfit of the week

Oh, I love a stylish man - even when he is over 80.  Seriously, this lovely old chap was fantastic - dark green shirt, bright red scarf - I tried and tried to get a shot from the front so you could see the whole ensemble, but no such luck.  So you will have to make do with the elegant hat and this coat, which is possibly the most awesome thing I have ever seen a man wear.   Swoon.  Yes, I know he's over 80, I don't care - swoon...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where's the love?

I've been writing this blog for exactly one year today - this is my 177th post, which averages out to one nearly every other day.  So even though I haven't always been the most...erm, consistent, shall we say?... blogger, that's not actually a bad track record.  And I seem to get quite a reasonable number of hits, but not many actual followers (although to those of you who do follow? Thanks!) appearing on this page.  Now, gentle readers, Miss K is a hardy soul, but I could still use a little ego-boost from time to time.  So if you lurk out there in cyberspace and drop in once in a while to see what's happening in my random life in Paris, and if you enjoy my silly ramblings, I would take it as a personal favour if you would put yourself down as a follower.  It only takes a couple of mouse clicks, and you can count it as your good deed of the day - show a humble blogger some love, people, because it's hard to stay motivated when you feel like you're just talking to yourself all the time... 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things you might see on the street

Okay, Miss K cheerfully admits to being low-class swamp trash, but even I would not be caught dead in a vehicle like this.  I can't really criticize carrying your furniture strapped to the top of your car, or covering your seats with crappy blankets (since those are both things that my low-class swamp trash family was known to do back in the day - ahem!) but the paint job?  Which looks like it was done with the brush from a bottle of nail polish?  That just ain't right.  The pink would be vile enough on, say, a scarf or a blouse (or anything in the world ever), but you know, I just have to respect the commitment to detail - not only painting the bumper, but also the matching accents in the centre of the hubcaps.  Niiiice...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Why the Belgians are better than the French (Pt 4 and final)

16.  Okay, you need to look very carefully at the photo below: the two people on this bike are facing away from each other.  Yes, that's right.  On the same bike, facing in different directions.  I...just...don't even know what to say about it, except that you would certainly never see the French doing anything that awesomely insane. 
17.  This is how the Belgians do hot chocolate.  Totally. Civilized. Country.
18.  The Belgian waffle (and yes, there actually is a waffle lurking underneath all that, you just can't see it - and that's how I like it!):  suuuure, the French do amazingly delicious and perfect pastries, but would you ever find anything resembling this hot mess in France?  Mais non! But quite honestly, if they loosened up on the perfection once in a while, it might do them some good...
19.  The French can sometimes be a bit too subtle.  The Belgians?  Yeah, not so much.
20.  A giant replica cone of frites by the front door - you would never see anything this tacky (and awesome) in France.  But I swear, every time I see this photo I get hungry, so it's effective advertising.  And also?  Hee!  Truly, my love knows no bounds.
So here we are at the end of my twenty reasons why the Belgians are better than the French (which, I repeat, was all tongue-in-cheek affectionate teasing, of course) - I've had fun choosing the photos and writing about it, I hope you've enjoyed reading it.  I now return you to our regularly scheduled programme...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why the Belgians are better than the French (Pt 3)

11.  The Belgians make about 8000 kinds of beer.  Miss K is not a fan of beer, but I appreciate a) the inventiveness and b) the names.  Like Kwak, for example.  Just say it a few times: Kwak, Kwak, Kwak.  Hee!
12.  The Segway tour in Bruges.  There are Segway tours in other cities, but this one is fabulous.  You go all over town, which is a great thing when you are short on time (we were only there for a day, so this was ideal).  Plus - fun!  The Segway is just about the most fun you can have standing up...
13.  The Belgians are not afraid to let you know they have a kinky side.  This little shop was right along one of the main tourist streets in Bruges - yes, you can buy linens and chocolates and postcards and chain-and-leather lingerie all on the same block.  Hey, you just never know when you might need to get all those things at once...
14.  They have a museum entirely dedicated to frites.  And why not?  The frites in Belgium deserve their own museum.  French frites should hide their little frite faces in shame at the vast superiority of the Belgian version.  Oh yeah, them's fighting words, but I'm not wrong.
15.  Deckchairs outside a Brussels city centre bar on a cold night in September.  This is so awesomely freaky that you would never see it in Paris. 
To be continued...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why the Belgians are better than the French (Pt 2)

6.  Oh. My. God.  Where do I even start???  Believe me, I cannot even begin to describe how intrigued I am by the "poulycroc" and the "crizly", but I swear that I will go to my deathbed still wondering about the "cheese crack".  But perhaps it's for the best - I might have gotten hooked and ended up selling myself on the mean streets of Brussels for just another taste of cheese crack.  Dude, it's cheese crack - that could totally happen...

7. Belgium is a civilized country where you can buy frites at the little stand in the street (in this case, from Antoine's, which makes the best frites in Brussels) and then sit and enjoy them with beer or wine or whatever at a neighbouring bar where frites are "accepted".  Civilized, I'm telling you.

8.  The half-and-half - it's half white wine, half champagne, and the waiter brings both bottles and fills your glass to the point where the only thing keeping it from spilling is the surface tension, so the only way to start drinking it is to slurp - hee!  So not classy but so much fun.  And it's about half what it would cost in Paris, if they even served such an awesome thing, which they do not.

9.  Sure, the French make pain au chocolat, and it's wonderful.  But the Belgians do it too, and they add chocolate glaze on top.  Chocolate glaze on top of your pain au chocolat...mmm...excuse me for a moment while I wipe the drool off my chin.  Seriously, when the French are being left behind in the field of pastry?  Well, you might want to strap on your ice-skates, because apparently Hell has just frozen over...

10.  They sell copies of In Bruges in the tourist office in Bruges!!!  If you haven't seen the movie (Tiny Dancer hasn't, and I had to educate her that the correct way to refer to the city is: In F*ckin' Bruges), you may not realize how completely, totally, insanely awesome this fact is, but if you have?  Well, then you know.

To be continued...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why the Belgians are better than the French (Pt 1)

Okay, even the title of this post is going to get me into huge trouble, but too bad.  In September, Tiny Dancer and I went to Brussels and Bruges for a long weekend, and being in a half-Flemish, half-French country really highlighted some of the differences between French speakers in France and in other countries (have I mentioned before that I know of Parisians who will only speak English to native French speakers from other countries because they simply can't bear to hear French spoken by anyone other than the French? Because a foreign accent is so "offensive" to their delicate ears. Seriously.) and of course this is meant only in a tongue-in-cheek, poking-affectionate-fun-at way...

1.  Belgians bring the crazy right away.  This is one of the first things we saw from the bus window upon entering Brussels.  Tasteful?  No.  Hilarious? Yes.  Hee!

2.  Belgians like fun art - not just the occasional temporary fun thing installed in the Tuileries masquerading as some kind of festival, or some wacky thing hidden away where no one will see it.  Nope, they stick a great big robot-thingie guy right on the path from the train station to the centre of town and they leave it there.  Excellent.  And fun.

3. Belgians know how to have a good time.  The sign for this beer festival?  Still up two weeks later.  Clearly they enjoyed themselves at the beer festival so much that they just couldn't be bothered to take the sign down afterward.  (In France, I am sure there is some humourless bureaucrat whose entire job is to make sure signs are promptly taken down after events.)

4.  Belgians apparently sell "High Quality Pleasure" in shops, and Miss K entirely approves of anyone selling such a thing.

5. In Brussels, they quite literally roll the red carpet out for pedestrians.  Seriously!  The sign says so, and I'm not kidding, the carpet goes on forever.  Fantastique!  And as pedestrians who are almost killed every damn day on the Parisian streets, this is the exact moment when Tiny Dancer (pictured below) and I both fell in love with the Belgians.

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Charming Chartres

Mrs Redneck and I took another day trip in August, this time to Chartres.  Now, there's a big difference between Fontainebleau and Chartres.  In Fontainebleau, the only reason to go there is to visit the chateau; in Chartres, the main reason to go there is to see the amazing cathedral, but quite honestly, if you're looking for a picture-postcard-gorgeous little French town?  Chartres is your place.  You can actually see the cathedral when you walk out of the train station (so it's not like you have any issues with finding the damn thing, unlike certain other places - yeah, Fontainebleau, I'm looking at you), there is a lovely little Beaux Arts museum, all the streets around the cathedral are so frickin' picturesque it nearly hurts, and there is a sweet little trolley that will take you all around the town in case you missed anything walking around.  In other words - highly recommended.  And if you do go to check it out, make sure you take one of Malcolm Miller's tours of the cathedral - he has been studying the place for 50-odd years and whenever he does a tour, he just talks about whatever the hell he wants to focus on that particular day.  Hee!  You just get what you're given and it's awesome.

View from train station - no risk of getting lost in Chartres

Dude, this is a friendly town - just look at the garbage cans...

Chartres cathedral - spectacular stained glass

Chartres cathedral - general awesomeness - interior

Chartres cathedral - general awesomeness - exterior

Chartres cathedral - more stunning stained glass

Chartres cathedral - exterior

Chartres cathedral - back is just as impressive as front

The salmon house

Just some random café but so damn charming

The adorable little trolley that will take you through the back streets

Whole town is like a postcard


Don't get confused, this isn't even the cathedral people come to see

So frickin' adorable

Fabulous Fontainebleau

As one of the many projects I am catching up on, I finally got around to sorting through a gigantic backlog of photos, and since my Marrakech posts proved to be very popular, I thought I'd share a few of my other recent trips. First up is Fontainebleau (which, roughly translated from the French, means "this is my idea of a humble hunting lodge - oh yes, it's good to be the king"), where I went in August on a day trip with Mrs Redneck.  Both of us are experienced travelers, so the amount of trouble we had in actually getting there was so embarrassingly ridiculous, I'm not even going to discuss it.  But if anyone is thinking of going there by train, be advised that even though the chateau is the only thing to see in town, don't expect there to be a sign of any kind to help you figure out where to go.  Just sayin'.

Yes, just a humble hunting lodge

There's no way that I could have been more amused to find a plate of Niagara Falls

Those French kings - such minimalists

I cannot tell you how much I want these awesome Medusa-head doors for my imaginary dream home

I also want one of these - SO great

The guy in the middle must be sooo mad to be going through eternity with no hands...

Oh yeah, like everyone doesn't have a fireplace like that. Whatever.

For me, the best part is his jaunty scarf

I suppose it's all right.  If you like that sort of thing.  Which I do.

I recommend the little cart to see the grounds because your feet will be KILLING you

And the grounds just keep going...