lundi 15 décembre 2008

Food for thought

Which is more corrupt, Illinois or Louisiana?

Goodbye party at work

Amy and I are leaving work on the same day, so we had our goodbye party together. We benefited from the proximity to St Lucia's day, as Ann brought in homemade saffron buns, the yummy Swedish specialty.

What a bummer it was to say goodbye to everyone.

Here is everyone: Farhad, Matthias, Eve, Mary, Therese, Nua, me, Manuella, Karina, Mazda, Amy, James, Mia, Sharon, Valerie, Shu-Chin, Eric, and Valérie.

Amy opening her gift.
And me opening mine.
Elisabeth, Mia, Farhad, me, and Amy.

Setting up the champagne.

dimanche 14 décembre 2008


Our last trip was down to Cassis, which is on the Mediterranean 20 km from Marseilles, the weekend of the 6th of December. It was lovely to have some sunshine and warmer weather.

Although this photo doesnt really do it justice, the houses were painted bright shades of yellow and pink.The main part of Cassis surrounds a harbor, and the buildings on the water are mostly restaurants.It also had a small and rocky beach, where some people were actually swimming.The town had a little Christmas market. The market featured a band playing traditional regional songs, the sound of which were completely unfamiliar. They didnt sound like typical old French music.Cassis is surrounded by hills.The most notable feature of the area is the Calanques, which are big limestone cliffs that go out into the sea. We went for a hike out along them.The terrain was a bit lunar.

La Fête des Lumières

The annual Fête des Lumières was this past weekend. The origins of the Fête des Lumières date from 1643, when through fervent prayers to Mary, the city of Lyon was spared from the plague.

Merci Marie!
Rue de la Republique had little curlique thingies hanging from the trees.Place des Jacobins had a little fish motif.The St Jean Cathedral was gorgeous.Gare Saint Paul, near my apartment, changed colors.This year's Fête des Lumières had the theme, "Through the eyes of a child." The slow in Place des Terreaux began by making the Hotel de Ville look like a dollhouse.The picture in the bubble is of the fountain across the square, which they made look like it was in a snow globe.
The show there finished with a pseudo-fingerpainting design.
And a child's writing, complete with misspellings.And there were many other little things along the streets.

dimanche 30 novembre 2008


Well, its done. I am all moved out of my apartment. My stuff is now in piles all over Brian's apartment. I need to take some things to work to give to people, ship a little bit home, and pack the rest for the flight. I leave La France en deux semaines.

Everyone told me horror stories of French landlords and how they try to wring every last cent out of one's deposit. When you move into an apartment, there is a lengthy list of every single thing in the place, and a box to check to indicate the quality: good, used, or bad. When you move out, you must go through the list again and re-examine each item. My officemate, for example, recently moved out of a place and her landlord refused to refund a cent; she and her husband have now hired a lawyer. So, I went into today's meeting with a bit of trepidation. And what happened? My landlord gave me the entire refund back. She took the long checklist, and without even looking at anything, just checked "good" for everything. Finally I said, "I broke a glass," and she replied, "In 2 years? Of course! That is to be expected." We then went through all the water bills and she ended up giving me a 70 euro check because I had overpaid. So, it was unexpectedly painless.

Only 2 weeks left in France. I can hardly believe it after all this time.

jeudi 27 novembre 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Its been a mellow Thanksgiving day here in France, a work day. I'm about to head out to dinner to a place with a very delicious poultry dish.. I figured that is about as close as it gets. We may not have turkey with all the trimmings, but a nice meal is what it is all about.

mercredi 26 novembre 2008

Congratulations to my officemate Elisabeth and her husband David! Elisabeth gave birth this morning at 8:46 to Elliot, 3600 g. All are well. See Elisabeth's blog link to the right.