27 January 2014


"You always do that!" is one of the first things I learned to say in French upon my arrival in France. We were in the heady, hot south of France with long summer evenings, dinners stretching to ten or eleven at night; everyone gathered around the large table on the patio having several conversations at once in French in what sent my brain whirling into a mix of being lost, terrified, and fascinated. After dinner all the adults would clear everything up, wash the dishes, wipe down the table and then would come tea, dessert, and quieter conversations that would last until I don't know when. It was during one of these evenings while I was taking a turn at the dishes. My boss's brother-in-law kept interrupting my workflow to dampen the cloth he was using to wipe down the table. "My wife would say, 'Tu fait toujours ça !'" And so I learned to nag in French.

I've been thinking about this frequently on my morning commutes into Paris. My boss and I take the train in together, get off at Gare Nation where she takes the bus and I the metro. She can attest to you that every morning I trip on the same set of stairs. Sometimes at the bottom, others the middle, the top––I'm always tripping. Friday and today I only succeeded in not tripping because I kept repeating to myself, "Pick up your feet, pick up your feet, pick up your feet."

There are other places I trip, though. And I'm becoming increasingly aware there must be something lacking in my spacial perception. Four times out of ten, I can't manage to walk all the way around a corner or a doorway, I keep clipping my side. It's amazing my accumulation of bruises isn't more serious. My parents asked if this might be saying something about my glasses prescription, my sister suggested my parents didn't throw me around enough as a child, I was wondering if it might be a lingering aftereffect of jet lag.

Or has it always been this serious? I don't know, fais-je toujours ça?

I suppose it's not of much note. At least I appropriately recognized the need for and then used the French infinitive passé verbe form in a text last week.  

24 January 2014


Sometimes I hate Friday nights.

From time to time on Fridays my boss will pass the evening with friends which means we don't start cooking dinner until 9pm. There's never warning, it's just like a pop quiz that makes you hungry and then tired. In these circumstances I'm liable to say anything, like tonight when we were eating dinner I told the kids that I, in fact, had found a leprechaun and was secretly rich. The oldest told me that legend goes that if you have the gold you're cursed until the leprechaun get's it back. I refrained from saying, "Of course I'm cursed, I'm an au pair, duh."

We finished cleaning up dinner at 10 to 10, the irony of this being that I got frustrated with this same oldest child earlier in the day because I asked him to go get bread, it's their daily chore they take turns at: going to pick up fresh baguettes at the bakery, and he refused. At first I teased and cajoled through his whining which I probably should have stuck with longer. But really? Sometimes I just want to scream. So instead I said I'm not arguing. Then I argued. In our back and forth I said, "I don't want to be working until 10:00pm trying to get done what I need to because I had to take the time to stop for bread on the way home from picking up your sister!"

We had to stop to get bread on the way home.
I worked until almost 10:00pm.
I am cursed.

If I am in possession of leprechaun gold I'm entirely unaware of it. However, I did buy some rhubarb yogurt today which is much better than gold.  

16 January 2014

two moments

Today I was on the metro when they made an announcement of which I only understood, "no more passengers" so I followed the lead of my incredulous, grumbling fellow passengers and got off. Then I spent an hour or so wandering around in rainy Paris taking various buses giving up on making it to class, then giving up on buses, then finding myself in line to see a free expo of the photography of Brassaï.

Later this afternoon I discovered one of the best things about having an eliptical machine in your house is you can sing, dance, and elipticize at the same time. 

11 January 2014


Email is a nothingness full of adventures. It barely exists save before my eyes, yours, and the NSA's, and on some things called servers that are in secret buildings everywhere. So I guess it exists everywhere. But it doesn't breathe, eat, sleep, and I can't poke it, and it will never come perfume scented or handwritten. Really handwritten not font handwritten. It does, however, come chock full of opportunities to make peculiar mistakes. 

For instance, I was sending an email from my phone and trying to sign off "je t'embrasse," which is kind of like saying hugs and kisses, and I got the autocorrect "jet embarrassed."

Last night, I wrote an email to my mom and sister consisting of a terrible poem about how content I was with my day. This morning my sister replies saying, "Who is Dave and why did you send him this email?" I don't really actually know Dave. He was in one of my wards (congregation) years ago, I don't think we ever had a conversation, and I'm not sure why I even have his email address. It wasn't until this afternoon it dawned on me that I began the email, not with "Hello" or any other normal greeting but with "My toilet is clean."

My toilet is clean, everybody, jet embarrassed.

04 January 2014


The lopsided grin
grappled with reality
and found it was wanting
a beard.

02 January 2014


My NYR, as they're called, is to write a piece of horrible poetry every day, what's yours? Most of my little frightening beauties will be kept just for me in my journal but I accidentally started 2014 with an apocalypse and those can't be kept secret. I make no apologies for what is about to follow.
Happy New Year!


She knew it was the end when her armpits began to itch.
They turned soft, puffy, red and the need to scratch was unnerving.
Soon she looked like a baboon with both arms curled up as she grated at the prophetic pits.
She'd always known she was allergic to meteorites
but usually they were so few and so far away, landing in strange places like Russia.
Now her knee pits were exploding in hives, world destruction couldn't be far off.
She rolled out of doors a mess of irritation, arms flailing about her
and she grimaced at the sky.
It was a brilliant, beautiful blue
then fiery, ablaze with light

Based on actual events

The rough draft in my journal is funnier because I was trying to find alternative appellations for armpits. How does "irritated underarm seats" sound to you?