How I Spent the First Real Snowstorm in NYC in 2 Years

Sno-bunnies: Mother and Child
Originally uploaded by Miss-Lapin
I know I know I promised more Frehel diaries, but today I went into the park and walked around for 3 hours and made these two lovely snow creatures. Then I came home and made some Pasta Fagioli. And then moved on to making this cake for Miss Julie's birthday par-tay.

I am so tired, I am not making sense anymore. It's so sad that I'm tired and out of it at 10:30 on a Friday night and I haven't even had a drink.

Not even a glass of wine.

If you want to see more of my snow-y hijinx, go here to check them out.

Good-Bye Hoboken
I promise the travelogue will resume later tonight, but today I am going to go play in the snow...I LOVE SNOW. I am indeed a snow bunny. And then I am going to come back here and make pasta fagioli followed by a gingerbread cake for Julie's Birthday. (Julie, the chili marinated goat cheese is marinatin' as we speak). Lucky for me I went to the grocery store last night on my way home from French class otherwise I would be re-enacting Scott of the Antartic just to get buttermilk and brown sugar.

However, before I go play in the snow like I'm five, (Oh I want a sled!) I thought I would share with you this metafilter post about NJ possibly ending up underwater. Whether it's true or not the headline "Good-bye Hoboken", the town where my ex resides (or used to, he may have enrolled in witness protection by now and be living under the name Earl in Wisconsin), made me see the bright side of Global Warming. Which is ironic on a day like today.

I've been waiting for this snow for two years. And now, to play! (I'll bring my camera.)

We Interrupt This Travelogue....
Because the depressed rabbit punched me in the face yesterday to the point that at 6:30 at night, I took two Tylenol PM (a full dose, which is rare for me as I find half a dose usually does it) and decided the day was officially over. Sure I have about 200 pages of student papers I have get through and I was suppose to do my french homework and go to the gym and edit yet another Frehel entry. But I just couldn't do it.

I could go into details about how ridiculous my students are. And I do mean seriously ridiculous. In that last week they decided on groups and they had 3 days to decide on a topic for their group presentations TO BE ANNOUNCED MONDAY. By Monday only two groups had a topic, so again I told them by Wednesday to pick a topic and post it on the discussion board AND LESS THAN HALF OF THEM DID. Let's add to that since these were GROUP PROJECTS that only ONE person in the team had to write the post. It's not like I was asking them to solve the problem of cold fusion overnight. So I had to YELL at them, which I hate, not to mention it threw off my class sched. AGAIN. Afterwards a rousing "This is a course that is supposed to focus on professional communication, and professionalism is something you are DEMONSTRABLY LACKING as I start an 18 person class with something bet 10-12 people EVERY DAY." Lateness, absence, late homework, homework that ignores the guidelines we reviewed in class AND are identified in a hand-out lest they forget between text messaging has already, in 5 weeks, become the norm. And perhaps I wouldn't take any of this so personally if I had you know something to go home to aside from Pleasance the cracked out kitty. But no, just to be the cherry on my day is come home to my 15th high school reunion where I can enjoy having accomplished in 15 years 2 long term relationships with therapists, 2 2 year relationships, exactly one idiot who told me he loved me (again in 15 years), and this fabulous fabulous profession of mine.

To say that I am a black mood doesn't quite capture how horrible I feel right now. If I could vomit my heart on the stop, I would.

But no I'm going to go and teach these morons how to build an effective presentation.

Feel free to send chocolate, roses, martinis, and frenchmen.

Frehel Diaries: To Build a Better Love Trap
After the concert he drops me at the hotel and goes to drop off his daughter. I take my time changing into a black lace slip. After all, there was the whole sex kitten conversation and the beach fondlery. And even more importantly, he only has these two weeks with me. Two weeks. You would think a Frenchman would understand my desire to get in as much lovemaking as possible. Yet he comes back to the room and falls on the bed. I move towards him, but he tells me that he’s too tired. He needs to sleep. He just needs a little sleep, and he’ll make love to me. But he sleeps through the night and rushes off in the morning to drive her to horseback riding lesson while I can’t believe that I’ve been outdone by a nine year old girl.

Frehel Diaries: From Abba to Othello- Professor Speigelman Explains It All For You
Now playing: The Yayhoos - Dancing Queen
via FoxyTunes

After Pig Pee Bay, we load back into the car. The Sauvage is going to take me to a moulerie for dinner. Moules are mussels, and this area of France is known for them. Despite this fact, I am terrified because I've never had mussels. They look very slimey and unpleasant, and I'm worried I won't be able to choke down more than one or two. The Sauvage goes ahead and orders a bucket of 30 moules each. Mine are to be served a la bretagne, which means with cidre (cider) and onions. The Sauvage also orders a bottle of cidre for the table.

Cider, in Brittany, is alcoholic. When I tried to explain to the Sauvage that in the US there is both non-alcoholic and alcoholic cider, he couldn't understand why. Yet another crazy American idea, like non-alcoholic beer. The cider in Brittany can be like the alcoholic cider served in pubs all over the UK, but there is a range. The more expensive ciders are closer to a sparkling wine than an ale. The Sauvage orders a wine-like cider. He pours us both a glass. Nana demands some. After some negotiation, or more accurately a battle of yes and no, Nana simply takes the bottle and pours herself some. While the Sauvage makes a huff about being angry, he doesn't do anything about it. As if there is nothing he can do about the poured cider. She gulps it down and pours more. I wouldn't care so much, but I know this is the bottle for the meal. I see where this is going. He'll get angry, she'll cry, he'll reconcile, and I'll watch at a distance scribbling in my notebook about the whole dynamic.

What makes this dinner different is she will not be mollified. Throughout dinner she keeps doing her interpretation our Mourning Becomes Electra, and even the Sauvage is embarassed and clearly baffled by her performance. He gives her everything she wants, even ordering her two Cokes** and yet still tears intermittently trickle. I write, "I seek solace in the written word, when I feel alone. She doesn't know, I've already lost. This whole performance is unnecessary. She's won, and I'm just recreation."

In between bouts of Nana's tears, the steaming bowls of moules arrive. I take the bowl off the top, and I am hit by a fragrant cloud of cider, onions, and steam. And while I feared not being able to eat even one, I quickly devoured the bucket even dipping my bread into the sauce afterwards, leaving nothing but a bowl of emptied shells. Filled with moules and cider, I am now in a better mood. While Nana dallies over her moules and frites, the Sauvage and I start by comparing words in French and English like the check or the bill is "l'addition" and quickly it transforms into a discussion about the difference between book titles in French and English. For example Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is Le Meilleur des Mondes-the Best of Worlds. I tried to explain that this would be wrong as the line is supposed to be from the Tempest or La Tempete. I managed to impress the Sauvage with my ability to recite Shakespeare, even though he couldn't understand it. He concluded that I must love Shakespeare.

Again, it's clear he doesn't quite understand how I work.

I do enjoy Shakespeare, but my ability to recite it owes more to the fact that I had to memorize it as part of my acting training, and now I find that these passages can not be dislodged with a crowbar and a blowtorch.

We loaded back into the car, and drove down to the casino to see an outside performance of "Bootleg Abba."

In August, the little towns all over France stage large events regularly to entertain tourists, locals, summer home owners, and individuals like the Sauvage, Parisians who use their vacation to return their hometowns. The entertainments are usually outdoors, free of charge, and result in the most bizarre crowds you are likely to witness.

Bootleg Abba was a British tribute band. As we arrived only shortly before the concert, the square was already packed with people or more accurately everyone in a 20 miles radius from backpacking teens to heavy set senior citizens.

I don't like crowds. They are very difficult for me to navigate, often people don't see me and walk into me full force. Because of my height, I am often elbowed in the face or head. I get jostled, and because of my disability, this makes it difficult for me to keep my balance. Because we were in the thick of the concert crowd, I would have to tolerate all of this and not be able to see a damn thing. Finally, I was going to have to stand for the duration of the concert, which would put quite a strain on my legs.

But I follow the Sauvage through the crowd and took my post. He was, of course, more concerned with Nana, her enjoyment, her ability to see. But the night sky and the mood of the crowd worked their magic on me despite my inability to see the "band." They played Fernando and Mamma Mia, and the crowd swayed and sang along with them. Their spirit is catching, and I find myself singing along with them.

I once wrote that you can tell how depressed you are by how profound karoake seems. If you start finding yourself analyzing the deeper symbolic content of songs like "Creep" and "You are My Lucky Star", you might want check-in with your mental health professional. But I never realized you don't know how in love you are till you start finding the Truth in Abba songs. I had never actually listened to the lyrics to "Take a Chance on Me", but now I realized that it fit the circumstances perfectly. Bootleg Abba sang:
We can go dancing, we can go walking, as long as we're together
Listen to some music, maybe just talking, get to know you better

'Cos you know I've got
So much that I wanna do, when I dream I'm alone with you
It's magic.

And I thought if my friends could see me now, the cynical, the bitter, singing with this sad erstatz Abba group under the starry skies by the beach. I look up and see a star. "Listen here star" I think, "I wish for the rest of this vacation to be good. I'm not asking for a marriage proposal. I just want seven more good days. It's not so much to ask. And if you do, I promise to play down how much the French hates Americans when I write this up....well as much as I can."

The Sauvage wants to beat the crowd to the car and so we leave before hearing my favorite Abba song "Dancing Queen." The begin to play it as we are half way to the car during their first encore. I ask him if he knows what the song is about, and he has no clue. I try to explain the lyrics, but I can't get him to understand the word "Queen." I try to listen as much as I can before we reach the car. As we pull away, I am only certain of one thing: when this is all over, I am never, ever dating another man with a child.

** Because Coke is imported it is usually as expensive as the cheapest glass of wine or beer on the menu. So a glass of Coke generally costs over 2.50 Euro.

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