Friday, September 28, 2007

It feels like a headache in the hips

I was a bit concerned in the past few weeks because my hips were pain free. I wondered, is all this cutting through bone really going to be necessary? Then, like clockwork, the season changed, autumn came*, and my hips started aching again.

This makes me rather glad in a strange way. It makes the decision to go ahead with the surgery all the more appropriate.

* Autumn in the Owens Valley means a few days of winter followed by an Indian Summer. Went for a quick hike up to Grass Lake with Kay Wong (we worked together at NBC Asia in Hong Kong) and her husband Andy last Sunday. There was up to 3 inches of snow on the ground at the top.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Holiday Moments in Dorkdom

Being rather moved by seeing Jarvis Cocker who was pushing his Velib bicycle up the sidewalk in Paris in front of Lavinia*, the three story retail booze palace. The experience has made me listen to A Different Class again a lot lately. This is funny because I was listening to it a lot before the trip.**

Speaking very poor French everywhere we went.

Doing my "Please have your artists come to Bishop" pitch to Mikee Tucker, label owner of Loop Recordings at the Black Seeds concert at La Bellevilloise. The Black Seeds put on a great show before a fairly packed audience of at least 250.

Fishing out a slightly used (only urine) diaper to replace a very used (poo) diaper at La Bellevilloise because we underestimated how many diapers to bring for the evening.

Not recognizing Sofia Coppola for being Sofia Coppola but being a face I'd seen before and staring a bit too long while she ate lunch at a quiet sidewalk cafe with her sleeping child in tow.

Telling Gueze/Lambic brewers/blenders Jean Van Roy and Armand Debelder HOW excited we were to have finally made it to Cantillon and Drei Fonteinen.

* Lavinia was the only place we could find the liqueur Creme de Violette, a missing ingredient to Michelle's Aviation cocktail. Creme de Violette smells a bit like grandmas' perfumes.

** Favorite lines from the album include, "When we woke up that morning/we had no way of knowing/that in a matter of hours/we'd change the way we were going/Where would I be now?/Where would I be now?/If we never met?" and "I'd give my whole life to see it/just you stood there/only in your (use your best Sheffield accent now) oonderwear." and "watching roaches climb the wall/if you called your dad/he could stop it all!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It was silly to think that we would get any reading done on holiday

Gone are the days of lazing about an Asian beach in a hammock with a giant book. Here are the days of intensive sightseeing with a two year old. Didn't do a lick of reading while we were away. So, William Boyd's Restless still keeps me bedside company at night.

Finally figured out that I could only read Joe Boyd's White Bicycles by looking up bands and people in the index. There were far too many names and people popping in an out; so, I made my beelines for anecdotes about Sandy Denny (insecure but endearing genius), Richard Thompson (teenage genius), Nick Drake (stoned, stage frightened genius), Fairport Convention (geniuses), and Jimi Hendrix (well, you know).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Got the booty home


Matt and Tricia: geeking out since 1992. Saw that a bottle of Fou Foune in the States was going for $32. Cantillon Brewer and heir apparent Jean Van Roy had to go into the back and label two bottles for us to takeaway. I think we paid 6 euros a bottle ($8). I have paid as much as $24. Fou Foune is the nickname of the apricot grower the brewery sources its fruit from and also the nickname of a woman's body part, apparently.
Posted by Picasa

Endless summer - Banyuls-sur-Mer, France


Early evening on "Mimi's Beach." We were spoiled.
Posted by Picasa

"AAAAA" Andouillette - another offal in the yes column


Le Tambour, 2nd Arondissement, Paris. It's a bar that doesn't close until 6 am.

Yes, I realize that this looks rather pornographic. You should have seen the inside of the sausage - wavy layered intestines all crammed into that casing. Maybe I liked the dish because it reminded me that I am indeed Chinese and can handle "variety" cuts of meat. Jean-Michel says that good andouillette is hard to do because, poorly prepared, it makes a whole restaurant stink of poo.
Posted by Picasa

Cantillon's stroppy kitty

Posted by Picasa

Quite a few visitors to the brewery got a little souvenir from this kitty - scratches and bites around the ankle. It was cool! Cantillon did not participate in the Belgian Beer Weekend Festival.

One happy mother - Belgian Beer Weekend Festival

The strap-on baby was asleep, and we had a bagful of beer tokens. Need I say more?

It was a shame about the full-sized servings. I decided in the end that of the several hundreds of beer on offer, only Drei Fonteinen's Oude Lambic was worth my tokens. It must have been the mood I was in and my attempt to get on grumpy Brewer Armand Debelder's good side. Fresh Oude Kriek in Brussels tasted of the Scharbeek cherries - tart cherry pie, very little sugar. At home, just a few weeks later, the other Belgian flavors of bandaids and a bit of horseblanket, are coming through.

Home sweet

Glad to be home, but enveloped in the funk of having to go back to work and to our regular lives.

Tried out being a family unit, without our support network of friends and family for the first time. Despite my extreme paranoia and stress that the boy was going to pitch himself off tall structures or in front of moving trains or that he was being a very loud North American male (we taught him to say "I am not an American pig" in French), we survived. We also had some lovely catch up time with folks from our past - Helen and Dyon, Melbournites who are working in Copenhagen, and Paul and Sheila, who have lived in France as long as we've known them.

Towards the end, Matty and I nevertheless missed our Rancilio espresso machine and our beer drinkin' cohorts. Dear God, can one find a half way decent Northern Italian Style espresso in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France? We two fisted countless double shot espresso drinks at the Black Sheep the first morning back (thanks Konrad!).

The trip was fun. Exhausting. I DO seriously need to chill and kill the Type A, high strung tendencies I have. Laduree macarons were nice, but not as fun as Drei Fonteinen Oude Kriek fresh out of the bottle, the Cantillon Brewery tour (thank you Jean Van Roy for recognizing beer geeks when you see them and comping them their drinks at the bar), and "AAAAA" Andouilette (yes, an intestine sausage) at Le Tambour in Paris.

The boy grew so much because of the experience, and he was a trooper. He still talks about Guignol, the Punch and Judy-like Marionette show at the Luxembourg Gardens, and the Eiffel Tower. He is calmer, gentler, and even more engaged in the world around him. So, Chile and Argentina 2008, here we come.