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.” 


Vocab Friday: Harry Potter and the Punch in the Face

I think I may have mentioned this before, but I feel increasingly confident in my assessment that waiting for the first real contraction is like waiting for someone to jump out and punch you in the face. And then expecting that person to continue pummeling you with increasing ferocity for the next 12-24 hours.

Which makes for a really fun waiting game with many, many unknowns: When’s it going to happen? What’s it actually going to feel like? Will I take the metaphorical punch to the head with stoic grace? Or will I crumble into a hysterical mess of snot and tears? Who knows! It’s all going to be one big mother (bleeping) surprise.

So to take the edge off I’ve been trying to distract myself, mostly with baking. But also with my first foray into Harry Potter land. I know, I know. I’m a bit late to the party, with the final movie already out and all. But I’ve just never been that into wizards and kids books. I fancied myself as someone with more, ahem, literary tastes.

Then I decided to try reading books in French. One page of Les Mis and all my literary pretensions flew out the fenêtre. I downgraded to Le Diable S’Habille en Prada, but there was a lot of slang I didn’t understand and the glacial pace at which I could make it through one page was enough to make me quit reading French for a year.

But a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a copy of dear old J.K.’s first Potter adventure. It was a slim enough volume, and the back cover touted it as perfect for 8-10 year olds. Seeing that my reading level was probably hovering somewhere just below that, and that I already knew the general context of the story, I said what the hell and gave it a shot.

And 80 pages (and many many hours later) I can say that I think I actually like this wizard crap! Especially en français, because I’m learning all kinds of ridiculous vocabulary words that will probably never come in handy other than at Halloween. Which they don’t even celebrate here.

But no matter. Harry Potter is actually enriching my brain with things like:

un crapaud (uh crah-poh) – which means “toad”


une cicatrice (oon see-ca-treece) – which is a scar. Like the one on Harry’s dome.


baguette magique (bahg-get mah-jeek) – which surprisingly is neither a magic loaf of bread nor a funny euphemism for the male anatomy. Nope, it’s a magic wand. As in,

“I wish someone would wave a baguette magique at my belly and make this baby come out. Painlessly.” 




Vocab Friday: Party crashing glee!

I had the great honor of being able to crash the very shwank Independence Day bash at the Ambassador’s residence last night. So instead of a vocabulary lesson, I’m going to share my time-tested tips for official party crashing. You know, just in case you find yourself in Paris next July 4th:

1. Find a friend who can legitimately get you on the guest list (so key). Then walk in like you own the place.

they can't say no to that belly!

2. Make your way immediately to the food (if you’re growing a baby human) or to the bar (if you’re not).


3. Trample any clueless French people who get in between you and a front row seat for the Glee kids.

I am still GLEEKING OUT!

4. If you’re still hungry at the end of the night, feel free to go directly to the catering source when it seems they’ve run out of food/have started putting food away. Waving a large pregnant belly helps.

kitchen crashing


Vocab Friday: Seriously?

I’d really like to stop talking about my boobs. Honestly. But the world just won’t let me forget just how freakishly obscene they are right now. And that means you get to hear all about it. So, earmuffs children. Or maybe eyepatches. Either way, it’s about to get personal up in here.

Because last week as I was hauling my suitcase up the hill to the airport shuttle at 7am, waddling and visibly pregnant, a lone Parisian garbage truck driver took it upon himself to honk in my direction. And as I glanced over to see what all the fuss was about, I saw that he was hanging out window, open mouthed, cupping the air with both hands in front of his chest in an obscene-looking gesture that I could only interpret as “Hey lady! Nice elephant tits!

Seriously. What kind of world do we live in? On what planet is that necessary? And what, exactly, are slimy guys hoping to achieve by making drive by catcalls to pregnant ladies? It was certainly not quite the sendoff I was hoping for. Thank god I was leaving the godforsaken sexist streets of Europe for the kinder, more polite folks in North Carolina.

But not 45 minutes after my arrival in the genteel south, I was greeted warmly by a CVS cashier lady in Charlotte who thought it completely appropriate to ask, “Girl, when are you due? Look at them big ol’ titties!

I stood speechless for a minute. Clearly she meant well. But did she honestly just say big old titties? Yes. Yes she did. So I smiled and told her the baby was due in July. And then considered buying some oversize trash bags to drape over myself to avoid any further confrontations.

Seriously, are my nipples alone an open invitation to say the first inappropriate thing that comes to mind? I mean, if that’s the case, let’s just go ahead and get it all out there now while I still find it relatively funny and my hormones haven’t reached peak scariness. Because at some point I might snap and start wielding these things as deadly weapons in response. You know, crushing people’s skulls with the weight of one breast and such.

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le nichon (luh nee-shaugh) – boob or tit.

le sein (luh sai) – breast

la poitrine (lah pwah-treen) – chest

As in,

“I’m so glad we can all have a good laugh about my nichons. Seriously, the sein jokes never get old!”

Vocab Friday: les collants

Keeping it short and sweet this week because if all goes as planned, I will be sitting on a beach in North Carolina, getting ready to celebrate the marriage of two truly awesome people, when you read this. That’s after taking a 9 hour flight, a 3 hour car ride, and a 30 minute ferry cruise to get there. All while wearing the undeniably sexy medical compression tights that my doctor prescribed for traveling. And by prescribed I mean I had to go to the pharmacy and get measured for those suckers. God are they ugly. But I think it’s all totally worth it to see Mr. Medley and Ms. Rose tie the knot! (I promise not to wear the tights to the wedding)

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les collants

Pronunciation: ley coh-lahnt

Definition: tights. As in,

“I can’t think of anything more uncomfortable than wearing medical compression collants for 9 hours on a plane while pregnant. Other than giving birth itself.” 

Vocab Friday: Chez le coiffeur

Perhaps feeling emboldened by the gorgeous weather or just distressed by the snaggly nature of my tresses this morning, I decided on a whim to stop into a salon de coiffure in the 6th that looked friendly and didn’t cost more than 90 euro.

I’ve only been brave enough to get one other haircut here, fearful that my atrocious French would only lead to even worse hair than I started with. I’ve waited for trips home to see my main man Marcus, who thinks it’s totally insane that I don’t want to get coiffed in the hair capital of the world. But I’m really particular about my haircuts and my hair cutters. I don’t need or want anything fancy, but I’ve got weird hair. It’s super fine but also curly-ish and has a tendency to flip out in really bizarre, uncontrollable ways. Yet I still want to be able to just kind of roll out of bed in the morning and have it be luscious and long and flowy without having to do anything to it.

So pretty much I’d like to just wake up as Sarah Jessica Parker or Blake Lively. Is that so much to ask?

Anyway, at my first French haircut I was disturbed to discover that often everything gets charged separately. Le shampooing, the coupe, the blowout– even the dang conditioner were all sold individually. Which is really confusing if you’re not sure what the stylist is saying to you anyway.

This time, thankfully, le prix was all inclusive– and when I say all inclusive, I mean I got 2+ hours of chair time with a lovely French man from Bourgogne who attended to every hair on my head with delicate attention while telling me all about why starting a business in the US is easier than in France, his plans to visit the Grand Canyon, his love of architecture and opera, the current immigration situation, his opinion of Sarkozy, his distaste for socialism, his views on development in Africa, and how to take a boat ride down the canal St. Martin. He also told me I was the prettiest mother-to-be in Paris and wanted to know if I had a sister. Or a cousin maybe.

Sheesh. The last time I talked to Marcus all I got was a story about how one to many margaritas on the beach led to his shaved head. And that once you shave your head, you might as well go for the hoo-hah!

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le coiffeur/la coiffeuse

Pronunciation: luh kwah-fuhr/ lah kwah-fuhz

Definition: hairdresser (male/female)

le coiffure

Pronunciation: luh kwa-fyr

Definition: hairdo or hairstyle. As in,

“My, that coiffeur gave you a lovely coiffure!”

Vocab Friday: Aiiieeeee!

It’s a good thing my French teacher spent part of Tuesday discussing les interjections. You know, the French equivalent of those little exclamations and phrases you shout when you’re stuck in traffic or stub your toe or step in dog poo. Because when in France, you should be able to say WTF?! or UGH! or Geeeeeezus! so everyone can understand you.

Husband must have sensed that I needed practice with this new vocab, because promptly after dinner he stumbled across a video of a water birth, and suggested we watch it.

Of course, my first reaction was beurk! Gross. No thank you. I’ve seen the miracle of birth firsthand (thanks sis!) and that left me with enough graphic images to last a lifetime. But I was kind of interested in seeing what the heck a water birth was anyway, so we gathered ’round the computer and hit play.

The video followed a nurse who was having her 3rd child. She talked a little about the calming effects of the water and having good water birth experiences in the past. And indeed, when she arrived at the hospital in labor, she was kind of like bof! no big deal.

Then allez-hop! It was time to jump in the tub. There this woman sat in complete zen-like silence, waiting for the time to push. This seemed absolutely crazy to me. Ah la la, c’est pas possible! I shouted, to which Husband said chut! Be quiet! I can’t hear what the midwife is saying!

And then out of nowhere, with nothing more than a slight grimace and a barely audible ouf!, this lady gave (under water) birth to a human.

Ah la vache! C’est super cool!  exclaimed Husband, who turned to me with a big goofy grin on his face.

To which I replied Aiiiiiieeeeeeeeeee! and promptly burst into tears.

Zut, these hormones are out of control.

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beurk (berk): uggghhhh! or ewwwww!

bof (bof): huh! or pffft! Like you’re not impressed.

allez-hop (ah-ley op): alley oop! Used when an action starts.

ah la la (ah lah lah): oh my god/gosh!

chut (shoo): French equivalent of shhhhhh!

ouf (oof): Phew! Like when you’re done with something hard.

ah la vache (ah lah vahsh): holy cow!

aie (eye): similar to “oy vey” or “aye aye aye!”

zut (zoot): crap! or shoot!