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dimanche 20 décembre 2009

Nothing for a week, and then two posts in one day! It must be Christmas or something. Oh. Wait a minute...
So, as I said earlier, Cha Cha invited us all to do a holiday house tour to show off our ace decorating skills. And I, stupidly, said I'd give it a go. A mistake, obviously, as all the other people's decorations I've seen on the internet recently look professional. And mine... really, really doesn't.

Yeah, OK, I didn't actually decorate it, my daughters did (aged really, really almost 8 (one week today!) and a bit more than 5 and a half. And you can totally tell how tall they are because the top third of the tree has almost no decorations at all. And the rest look like they've been thrown at the tree by a blind dwarf. Plus you can see all kinds of crap in the background / foreground / sideground because I take pretty rubbish pictures, too. *sigh* (In case you think I never have anything positive to say about myself, well... in all honesty, I think I'm a pretty good damn translator and I make a mean cauliflower cheese!)

But well. They had fun doing it, didn't squabble and are incredibly proud of their work. There are fairy lights on it, but OF COURSE one of the bulbs blew the second day we lit them and I cannot be arsed to figure out which one. So. No lights this year. But given the doom and gloom of our current situation, that feels strangely appropriate.

And now, after that magnificent build-up, here are the two pictures I've taken of our tree (no other decorations because, well, there aren't any - no space, for one thing and too much other crap for another. Oh, and I'm pretty lazy too.). Plus one I can't resist of the world's cutest,
fluffiest, kindest, intelligentest, adorablest cat.

Happy times

Christmas is almost here and we're off on holiday to my dad's house tomorrow (OK, we're actually going to SPAIN tomorrow because that's where we fly from, but we'll be in Scotland on Monday evening).

The girls are beyond excited, and I'm pleased with the presents D and I have got for them. Not so much for anyone else's presents, mainly because I haven't actually bought many... But there's time still.

I'm exhausted, of course, what with the school newspaper, and marking student exams and having shitloads of work (including a hilarious teaser for a film script) and laundry and what have you.

But most of all, I'm stressed. We have NO money. At all. And a small hill (not a mountain, really) of debt. D has officially given up his status as a freelance translator and will start looking for salaried work - any kind of work - as soon as we get home. I'm working as much as I can and hoping, hoping, hoping to get paid by a few people soon. D asked his bitch of a mother for a loan (not a gift, he said we'd pay interest and everything), she agreed on Friday (yesterday) and then refused today, just when it was too late to explain things to the guy at the bank, bla, bla, bla. The woman's a plague, a pain in the arse, a n°1 class bitch. We said we'd try and visit her in Paris in February, but, even if we do have the money, she can forget it. Totally forget it. And I really regret sending her a fucking present this morning, too.


So, yeah, money worries are worrying me half to death. My VAT cheque will be cashed on Monday or Tuesday, I owe 1600 € to the building supervisors for the roof, we pay 600 € a month for our two loans (the one we took out to pay for the roof, except that it got swallowed up in overdraft, and the one for the car, plus parking) and 700 € for the flat. On top of that, I have my social security, health and retirement contributions (all obligatory and hideously expensive), various taxes (income, land, inhabitance, professional), all the utilities (electricity, gas, mobile phone, private phone, professional phone, internet provider...), health insurance (more or less obligatory), food, school, petrol... I'm drowning, I really am. And sooooo, sooooo stressed.

Plus, I've even failed dear Cha Cha. I promised to put up photos of our Christmas decorations (such as they are) and haven't even managed that yet. But I'm working on it, I swear.

That said, I am excited about Christmas, about my little girl's 8th birthday, about going away. I know I'll manage to "forget" our woes for a while. I just hope 2010 is easier, that D finds work (even 1000 € a month would be good - it's the bare minimum wage more or less and would suit me perfectly, it really would!), that I can work less and that everything turns out OK.

Oh, yeah, and that I don't have to spend any time with my bitch of a mother-in-law...


And, if you're all really lucky, I might just get back to you with a couple of photos of our tree in all its "decorated-by-two-young-children-with-no-idea-about-harmony" glory...

samedi 12 décembre 2009

The new hectic

"Work" has been kind of quiet for the last few days. If this keeps up, I'll start freaking out, but for now, it's kind of a relief to be quite honest. That said, I haven't been idle. I put together the first draft of the end-of-term school newspaper (my partner-in-journalism is doing the finishing touches and we'll do the photocopying and folding on Tuesday, fingers crossed we get the last couple of things we need from other people), and that took me ages. I've helped set up, man and put away the Christmas Market (good fun, but time-consuming). I've corrected lots of student homework, prepared two exams, done invoices, finished up my Christmas cards, tidied my desk, done endless laundry, done a fair amount of my Christmas shopping...

And well, yeah. I'm totally exhausted. And yeah, I'll have 27 exam translations to mark by tomorrow midday, and 8 group glossaries to mark by Monday, and I have a text to proofread and a brochure to update and...GAH.

I'm exhausted, longing for the holidays (even though things can get pretty tense between D and my dad). But really enjoying all this Christmassy stuff.

Can't wait to get to the parcel-wrapping stage, I really can't!

mercredi 2 décembre 2009


I don't remember how I found this, but I did: the Great Interview Experiment. It's pretty easy, but really fun to do. All you do is sign up via the comments section. Neil, the brain behind the idea, then sends you the contact details of the person who commented before you and you send them a short questionnaire. He also sends your details to the person who comments after you and you get to answer their questions.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Jenny from NeuroClassyMom. I read through her blog and its archives (yeah, OK, I didn't read all of it, obviously, but enough to get a feeling for the blog and to decide that yeah, she sounded like a cool person to interview. I wasn't wrong!), thought up some questions and sent them off.

In record time (how are people so organised?), the answers came flying back - and it's now taken me almost 3 days to get this post up... Did I ever mention that I'm disorganised?

So, without further ado, I present Jenny:


Well, funny you should ask number one...

1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE France and everything French! I'm a bit infatuated by it, to say the least. But, I've never been there. It's like a childhood crush, except on an entire country. I would love to live there, at least for a period of time. I can see myself having a new beginning there one day - or a second home, if I ever win the lottery. (Which I highly doubt will ever happen, since I don't play the lottery!)

2. What's your favourite music from the 1980s?
I love 80s music. I've always thought I wasn't really born at the right time - I can see myself living in many different decades for many different reasons. The 80s - I love the music and I can TOTALLY rock the 80s dance moves! (Which, admittedly, isn't saying much.) I listened to *A LOT* of Madonna, the Bangles, and various others. I like pretty much anything I can sing and dance with...which is pretty much all 80s music! :)

3. If someone forced you to sit and watch the two Twilight films back-to-back, what would your reaction be?
I would be OK with that. I'm am not, by any means, a "Twilight Head". I haven't read the books, and I finally saw the first movie this summer. It was definitely a movie that lingered with me after it was over. I love romantic movies. Plus, even with the dead vampire make-up, Robert/Edward was pretty easy on the eyes. I haven't seen New Moon yet, but am looking forward to seeing it. I've heard lots of good things about it! Just this past week, I bought a copy of Twilight and decided to read it. However, I haven't gotten past the first handful of pages yet. I don't know if I will make it. The movie is competing in my mind and (shhh!!) I'm not that impressed with the writing. (No offense!) But, we'll see...I'll give it the good college try!

4. If you could ask one person who is totally unavailable in reality for advice, who would it be and why?
This is, by far, the toughest question. (I skipped it and came back to it.) I think perhaps Audrey Hepburn. She wasn't perfect, of course, but I think we all would agree her life was "successful". She was a loving mother, a beautiful woman, incredibly talented, a humanitarian, and - most obviously - an enduring classic. She was a true lady, yet she thought for herself and must have been quite courageous to do everything she did in such a Man's World. I want to be just like her when I grow up.

5. What famous person (or people) are you most often compared to, and do you find this flattering?
My aunt used to always say I looked like Brooke Shields. My great-grandmother used to call me her "little Elizabeth Taylor". My boss says I am "SO" Reese Witherspoon (not the hair - which is really a bummer. She has such great hair!). One lady I met at a workshop said I looked "just like" Kelly Preston. (I seriously doubt that.) All of those comparisons definitely flatter me.
Then, one day, my brother said I reminded him of Sandra All About Steve. That did NOT flatter me! Her character definitely came across as a bit of a nutjob. (Which really may not be too off the mark, come to think of it...)

6. What's your favourite musical?
So hard to say - I love musicals! I've never seen a bad one! I was completely moved by Cabaret. I couldn't stop talking about it all night after the show, and for days afterwards. I love it when authors & playwrights embed deeper meanings and plots like that. Entertaining my mind on more than one level. I also love Into the Woods. I think stories that manipulate familiar characters and plots are charming and quirky....and I loved the music, of course. And, I also honestly loved Lion King! I was so impressed with the technical aspects of the production - the puppetry, costume design, lighting, etc. I was so impressed with the actors' abilities to "be" animals without seeming like they were "playing" animals. All in all, I can't choose just one favorite! I love so many!

7. What's on your Christmas list this year?
My Christmas list???
a new coffee maker - red, please
gift cards to Joann's, Michael's, etc. for craft/sewing supplies
gift cards for Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. for home projects (repainting, reflooring, and more)
gift cards to Amazon - BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS!
a docking station
salt and pepper shaker (just broke my salt shaker at Thanksgiving meal)
new glasses for my kitchen (I keep breaking them!!)
and, one true "wish list" item: a Cricut machine. I can't justify the expense AT ALL, but would LOVE to have one!!!
Terribly exciting, isn't it? ;)

Thank you for interviewing me. I'll have to interview you sometime, even though that's not the way the game goes. I'd love to hear about your adventures and experiences in France!!!


And there you go. Doesn't she sound lovely? And she loves musicals! A girl after my own heart...

As for the questionnaire for me, I've been promised it around the end of the week. I'll keep you posted!


In true techno-idiot fashion, the link to Jenny's blog of course doesn't work. This has nothing to go with her, all to do with me and my ineptitude. Strangely, if you click on the message in the error message, you do get to her blog, so the link isn't that bad, but still. I'm going to give it another go here, now, but am not holding out much hope... But persevere, people, her blog is lovely and full of sweet Christmas memories today...
Neurotic, Yet Classy

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