Vocab Friday: Je couve.

Ahhhhh, mon rêve. My sweet chilled bubbly beverage of choice. Soon we will be together again, I promise. But for now, I sit. I wait. I dream.

That’s life these days in Paris. With August approaching, we’re just on the cusp of full-fledged vacation mode, when Parisians flee the city in search of rocky beaches or country homes. Parking spaces will be abundant (and free!). Shops will paper up their windows and lock the doors until September. Hordes of tourists will pack the metro, but beyond Notre Dame and the Eiffel, this place will be a ghost town.

So I’m going to try my best to enjoy the peace and quiet, which parents everywhere assure me will soon be a quaint foreign concept. Maybe I’ll waddle on over to the Paris Plage and wonder at the weirdos who are brave enough to swim in the Seine. Perhaps I’ll spend a few extra minutes chatting up my favorite guy at the Saturday market, the one who only sells blueberries. I could try to do a little writing work. I will definitely not feel too guilty about watching an entire season of Damages in 4 days.

But other than that, I’ve got nothin. There’s simply not much else to do when you’re 9 months pregnant in a town that literally shuts down in the summer time. So I’ll sit. I’ll wait. I’ll dream.

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Which leads us to today’s vocab lesson:

couver (coo-vey): To sit on. Like a nesting chicken sitting on her eggs, waiting for them to hatch. Which is pretty much what I am right now. As in,

“Hey whale belly, what are you up to this weekend? Anything fun?”

“Oh, you know, je couve.” 


Joyeux Noël!

Keeping it short and sweet here folks because it’s Christmas time. And because I’m 7 hours ahead of most of you, Père Noël comes here first. Ha ha! So here’s to hoping that we all find champagne in our stockings and European food processors under the tree!

No? That wasn’t on your list? Well, whatever else you wished for, I hope it comes true. Joyeux Noël á tous!

100 Funny Things.

This is officially my 100th post – Cue the fireworks and free bottles of champagne! Yaaaahoooooooweeeee!

(I’m totally ignoring the fact that this being only my 100th post in about a year means I really need to try harder to post more often. But who wants to rain on their own champagne infused parade? Let’s just consider it New Year’s Resolved.)

Looking back through all my anecdotes and diatribes has made me realize just how much we’ve all learned over the past year. You readers are so totally prepared for life in France now! You’ve got Paris covered, no sweat. Why? Because I’ve shared all there is to know about dog poo covered sidewalks and how to call someone a “nice beetch.” You know all about hoo-ha molds, danger bees, and of course, baby jesus in velvet pants. You have been well versed in the many merits of champagne and pain au raisins for breakfast. And the looming danger of butter brain.

And let’s not forget the informative pieces on pictogram ovens, boob vocabulary and most importantly, sharts.

There have been bike trips and toenail clippings, giant vats of chocolate mousse and master bites. There were lessons on pre-pubescent pickpockets and avoiding Sephora at all costs. I’ve given you the lowdown on castle dwelling in the Loire, excessive wine sipping in Bordeaux, and tan seeking on the Cote d’Azur. I’ve shared the critical details of proper Oktoberfest attire. And just for your sake, I’ve repeatedly tasted and reported on eating oysters, rabbit, rare steaks, pigs feet, kilos of pizza, duck fat fried anything, beignets, baguettes, croissants, pâté, fois gras, pork belly, and cheese. Lots and lots of runny, dead-body-smelling cheese.

After all that, I’d be shocked – SHOCKED! – if you felt you needed a real travel guide to France. Fodors and Lonely Planet? Pshaw. They’ll just recommend a bunch of touristy restaurants and point you straight toward hell on earth, otherwise known as the Louvre. Me? I’ll show you how to get nice and tipsy at the perfect picnic, then make an ass out of yourself trying to speak french to the locals.

So yes. You’re welcome.

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Update: I’m back, I’m no longer jet-lagged, and I’m ready to write. So we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming starting next week!

Vocab Friday: Pompette

So I don’t usually condone day-drinking. It gives you a headache, ruins you for any evening activities, and can often make you seem like a sad lush. But as I’ve nearly reached the ripe old age of 31, I feel as though I can confidently steer my younger readers toward what I think are the exceptions to this rule:

1. Oktoberfest.

When they expect you to drink beer at breakfast, all bets are off. Just hydrate, pace yourself, and eat lots of pretzels.

2. Visiting Bordeaux.

It’s the epicenter of the wine universe, so tasting wine throughout the day is absolutely unavoidable. It’s actually recommended, and made all the better if you have a knowledgeable guide to help you decipher the subtle differences between the 2006 Saint Emilion and 2008 Medoc (here’s a clue: after 2 glasses, not much difference at all!)

3. When a friend sneaks you in to a fancy lunch.

Exceptional circumstances call for exceptional measures. That’s why I spent my afternoon sipping champagne at a lunch thrown by a catering company for some of the city’s big-time party planners. I also got to make my own truffle-oil infused ravioli and savored an entire lobster tail on the side. Meaning I now have indigestion AND a headache. C’est la vie!

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Pronunciation: pom-peht

Definition: tipsy, a little looped, slightly inebriated. As in,

“Please excuse any grammatical mistakes in this post, I’m a little pompette!”


Oh, the places I can drink!

Yeah, yeah, it’s Saturday. And I missed Vocab Friday. But I was busy showing some awesome friends around Paris and doing some awesome things, like attending an open-air performance of Carmen at L’Hotel des Invalides:

With a picnic of saucisse and wine of course:

And then we went back to champagne country, so I could say hi to Tina Turner:

And restock my champagne rack:

And engage in a little public drinking on the train ride home:

So apologies for skipping out on vocab yesterday. But there aren’t really words to describe the awesomeness that was going on anyway. The good news is I’ll be back in French class this week, so we’ll return soon to our regularly scheduled programming: baby jesus in velvet pants and boob vocabulary.

Vocab Friday: Bénévole

So I think I owe you a little story about me handing out gift bags at the Ambassador’s house last week. Let’s set the scene, shall we? It’s Wednesday, two days before I’m about to go on vacation. It’s disgustingly hot (which I know garners no sympathy from my DC friends. But at least you have air conditioning!). I am cramming to finish up a little work and homework from my writing class (this here writing thing don’t come naturally). It’s there, in the haze of my apartment, that I decided to volunteer my services at the Ambassador’s annual 4th of July party.

Why? Who knows. I guess I have a do-gooder gene that just won’t quit. Plus I wanted to get a behind the scenes peak at one of the hottest parties in town. And ok, rumors were flying that the Gossip Girl cast would be there. (They were not)

So I reported to duty the next evening, dressed up, ready to don my biggest volunteer smile. There were 7 or 8 other volunteers, so it was pretty easy at first. At some point three of the volunteers, who looked to be teenager age, went to “cool off” for a bit. Which was fine, until we were totally bum-rushed by hundreds of guests.

And let me tell you: It does not matter what race, nationality, sex or sexual orientation you are. The one unifying desire of people across the globe is free stuff. Everybody wants it, bad.

About an hour into the weeds, our teenage volunteers returned. Maybe little bleary eyed, not so stable on the heels. Perhaps smelling a little boozy. All three chewing gum like it was going out of style.

And good grief did it make me angry. Here I was, doing their share of work in the awful humid evening air, fighting off gift bag hoarders and trying to keep the sweat pooling at my lower back to a minimum. And those kids! Those irresponsible troublemakers!

They didn’t even have the decency to ask me to join them for a cold one.

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Which leads me to today’s vocabulary:


Pronunciation: beh-neh-vohl

Definition: volunteer (and yes! I figured out how to make accents on my french words!)

As in:

The kids should have known that the elder bénévoles were on to their tricks and could have been easily bribed into silence with a glass of champagne.”

Vocab Friday: Veuve

No, today’s vocab word has nothing to do with my beverage of choice. But it does have everything to do with a certain little soccer tournament that’s about to ruin my life.

You all know how I feel about le football to begin with. So imagine my joy when World Cup creeps around every 4 years, and Husband starts planning out his life in 90 minute increments.

Seriously, it’s getting a little weird over here. I found him a few days ago intently bent over his official World Cup Guide magazine, highlighting which games he could watch and when. He told me with a straight face to cut our vacation short by a day so we could get back to watch the semi-finals. When they announced the US team roster, I think Husband was actually a smidge sad that he didn’t make the cut.

So yes, it looks like my first summer in Paris is going to be a lonely one. If I do decide to suck it up and join Husband on the couch, I can only hold out hope for another head-butt drama or many, many close-ups of this guy with his shirt off. Allez USA!

Ok, time to learn:


Pronunciation: vuhh-ve

Definition: Widow. Plain and simple. As in:

“I’ll be a veuve du football for the next month, but I’ll have these hot soccer players in their underwear to keep me company.”