26 September 2007
Tom’s Got Not One, But THREE dates!

Tom Turkey, that guy that no one cares about until November rolls around, is very busy this year. And in France, no less. Aren’t you shocked!

I didn’t think so.

This year, instead of inviting everyone on God’s Green Half Acre, we’ve split our production in half. Mr. Brain (first name Finally Functioning) looks forward to Turkey Day so he can visit with those of his friends willing and able to make the trip to Prostate Of, France. Me? I look forward to it for the same reason, although it seems in recent years, those who I’d like to invite get pushed to the side so those he invites have space.

Ah, space, glorious space. It’s something we’ve got in short supply, so each year the entire production gets moved out to the woods, to the Chalet Under the Vineyard. It all gets cooked here, though. Fun stuff. Ever tried moving a feast for 30+ without spilling green bean casserole all over the back seat of your car or displacing one of those perfectly-placed-so-the-platter-looks-gorgeous nibblies that you’ve spent hours on? Not Easy.

Anyway, no griping. I’m not here to gripe (for once).

Mr. Brain wants to spend time with his Lovies, and I with mine. And since most of his Lovies work in that frighteningly over-compensated Mafia called l’Education Nationale, and because they’ve all left their champ-ardennais roots for greener climes, forcing them to visit on a weekend outside of their (many paid) holidays is akin to ripping hair off my legs with wax—doable, yet painful.

And then they spend the weekend bitching and moaning about how HARD life is. Boohoohoo.

So screw that. Let’s invite them for a Rezo Weekend over Fall Break, where they can all fiddle around with their first love—those beastly machines called computers—and spend their (ha-ha-ha-hard-earned) vacation shooting each other and yelling obscenities, the likes of which would make my mother blush. And since Mr. Brain will probably do nothing less than abandon me yet again with three small kids so he can talk, shoot and yell disgusting things at those he loves, I can get away with simpler fare than the normal Gooble-Gooble Gooble-Up. In fact, simple, when they’re all intent on making blood and gore splash around their screens, is appreciated.

And we all know I need to be appreciated.

And so, with the Frickin’ Frenchies out of the way, the road is cleared for more interesting people. And better looking people. And, dare I say it, NICE people—not that Marc’s friends aren’t nice. They are. They really are. But they’ve been conditioned, by all those meals I lovingly prepared, served, and cleaned up after when I didn’t speak French, to basically ignore my presence or treat me like the waitress. That might be overstating things a bit, but only a bit. And honestly, I’m at the point where, if I spend as much time as I do cooking, I’d actually like to enjoy the meal, too.

So, on Turkey Day weekend my Lovies will be invited, to a significantly smaller, significantly more English-speaking, yet no less gut-filling Frenchified version of That Great Meal. And then I’ll kick them all out and go watch them try to drown the Scary Baby and his brother.

Two Toms down! “But Doc”, you’re thinking, “You said three. What’s up with the mystery date?” (Yeah, I know you were totally not thinking that at all. In fact, if you’ve made it this far into my mind-numbing gibberish, you’re either very bored or too kind, or maybe just a sadist—I likes me some sadists.) Yes, Date Number Three! The most exciting of my news!

Our neighbors, the ones with the restaurant, that restaurant that normally caters to truckers (although they don’t allow lot lizards), put on a theme night one Saturday every month. They’ve been after me for awhile now to do an American dinner with them. What’s more American than tail-gate parties, a phenomenon the French can’t quite grasp? Why, Thanksgiving, of course! So I’ve been invited to be Chef For A Day on November 10th where I get the fun job of preparing yet another gobbly-gobble-gobble for those anonymous Frenchies curious enough to reserve in advance. I’m really looking forward to it! Not only to I get to share my “culture”, they’re giving me free reign in a kitchen the size of California and have told me Not To Worry About The Clean Up. They’ll take care of that part. Do they not understand, this is like tossing a bunch of nymphomaniacs into the Playboy Mansion.

Mayhem is sure to follow.

posted by Doc at 10:29 | Permalink | 5 comments
23 September 2007
Who’s the turkey now, beyotch!

Why, why, why? I have created a monster and now it must be killed. Or at least scaled back a notch or two. Or something.

This whole Thanksgiving thing has totally spiraled out of control. It started out with just family, then family and a few friends, and now, six years after the ‘tradition’ set foot in my back yard, folks are inviting themselves before I can even start planning the menu. What the hell is up with that? Are they just so confident of their place in my heart that they assume they’ll be re-invited? Or maybe it’s that the food is just that good and they cannot imagine going an entire year without my hot crab dip, stuffing, and green bean casserole?

While my darlin Vivi was here last weekend, I cried a bit on her shoulder about how it feels like Turkey Day has now become an obligation. An Obligation. I feckin hate obligations. It becomes Work then. Work is a nasty four-letter word. And while I usually like four-letter words, this one leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

And after we’d had a good ole chuckle about how we all know there’s no way I’d not do the stuff till you drop feast that I’m apparently so notorious for (and Vivi assured herself that these “See ya at Thanksgving” self-invites were probably just a bit of me over-stating how folks love my hospitality), one of Marc’s friends (who’d just gotten up from a table full of food and my hard work) said, “So when’s Thanksgiving? We’re invited, right?”


Now, don’t get me wrong. I love cooking for a crowd. And I love even more watching that crowd dig in and purr over each bite. And when they get up to undo the button on their pants, man, it’s The Big O for me. A great big one!

But, dude, what’s so hard about letting ME put the invite out there?

Especially this year.

Because I’m not even sure how I’m going to pull this gig off.

See, Marc’s sister, the older one with kids—Scary Baby’s mom, has decided to baptize both her kids that weekend. And while I shan’t go into the politics about this—how they’re probably only doing this because we’ve done it—three times now, and how we always seem to upstage any of their productions—how dare we!, and how no matter what we do or say it’s just plain WRONG—I will grumble…A LOT.

My MIL has already let me know that this baptism takes precedence over any plans we had—family is family, even if they manage to step on each other’s toes. And who cares that Thanksgiving is planned way in advance—like years even, because Thanksgiving 2012? I can totally give you the date. And half the menu, even. And at least part of the guest list.

So I’m in a quandary. What to do? I DO NOT want to call all these folks up and change this to another weekend. I mean, these people work, and have to get time off ahead of time, especially those traveling. And it does seem rather rude to get every one up and kick them out of the house before 11 on Sunday morning. No one can digest that quickly. Besides, that’s when the overnighters usually wander back to the chalet in the woods to snack on leftovers and, most importantly, put things back in order—something I hate doing.

I so totally cannot get rid of the cleaning crew. I JUST CANNOT!

I do not know what to do. When I mentioned that I might send Marc and the kids to the service, then join them after things were taken care of here, I got the look of death—like how could I honestly consider NOT spending the ENTIRE DAY with Scary Baby and entourage! Easy: I’m not particularly fond of most of the people who will be there, in fact a lot of them give me the heebie-jeebies. And those that don’t? Oddly enough they’ll be at the Thanksgiving Day Feast the day before (doesn’t bode well for their shin-dig if some of us are still gavé-ed from the night before bwahahaha).

Oh, the other thing: We’re all sworn to secrecy. We cannot mention this to anyone because someone might get offended they weren’t invited. Which is totally why they handed out the invitations at MP3’s party—so the aunts and uncles who aren’t invited wouldn’t know.

Someone give these folks a brain.

posted by Doc at 13:11 | Permalink | 1 comments
19 September 2007
the (ever-so-slightly fictionalized) baptism story

THIS is the over-sexed meal Antipo has been harping about: Creamy, nay, Velvety Chicken Colombo, Bangin’ Bertha Aubergine Curry, and Virginal Bazmati Rice. None of us culinarily-gifted anglophones thought the Frenchies would go for it. But those bastards left nary a crumb. Hate 'em!

That was Saturday night's fun. And that beer? I swear it was only one of many the Kiwi Tart downed before engaging in a very lesbian-esque lap dance with the ill-LUST-trious Vivi while sticking her tongue in my husband's ear. At least that's my version of events...

Seek not the truth here.

Sunday, being the holiest of days, brought with it passions of a different kind. Yep, MP3 has been delivered to Jesus, Amen, PRAISE THE LORD, and Pass The Loot. She got rinsed, and I honestly had to fight the urge to leave just a little bit of shampoo in her hair before going to the Church That IS NOT In My Village. (No, I'm NOT bitter.) MP3 is notoriously the calmest of my three monkeys, and the only one of the three to cry during her baptism.
I hope that’s not an omen, especially considering how much calmer her siblings became after sleeping through the same ceremony. Please God, I know I’ve been bad, but please don’t let my time in hell start now. You have an eternity to make me pay for all the sins I’ve thoroughly enjoyed here on Earth.

Vivi, in addition to being an awesome friend—or maybe because of—floored the Deacon with her answer to his question of, “What does it mean to be a godparent.” She totally got an A+ and man, ya remember those days in college when you’d pull a drunk while cramming for your exams and how if you didn’t taken the exam while you were inebriated you couldn’t recall the answers? Vivi is so not like that! She can down sixteen beers with whiskey chasers and still dazzle the man in the white dress.

Marc says I tend to exaggerate… so maybe it was only fifteen beers.

Afterwards we ate ourselves stupid and Oh My Gawd! If ever you use the same caterers we did and invite like 40 people, order food for 20. Holy Leftovers Batman! I ordered for 35. There were 31 adults and nine kids, two of whom are 13, so they hardly count as little munchkins, right? But those cooky-cooky people went a bit overboard and I have coq au vin running out of my ears. I know, I know, having coq in one’s ears can be messy, but DAYUM! And it was some good coq, but a bit too much to handle. And of course I had to share my extra coq with my darlin’ BFF Antipo—because she likes coq as much as I do. And now I’m getting e-mails from her about how yummy my nice hot juicy coq is on a lonely winter’s day. It’s INSANE. Oh, and the rest of it was good, too.

Vivi mentioned several times something about how we were going to get the devil out of MP3. So I’ll leave you with this: Do you think we succeeded? (click the photo, and you'll see what I mean)

I have my doubts…

posted by Doc at 13:19 | Permalink | 3 comments
18 September 2007
When Blogger wants to cooperate...

…and let me upload pictures, I’ll tell you all about the fun-filled weekend that you are so desperate to hear about. But in the meantime, does anyone know anything about hedgehogs? Because there’s this big fat muther of a hedgehog that’s been hanging out in front of the house for the past couple of nights and it’s sneaking up to my front door and stealing the leftovers of my nasty habit (i.e. cigarette butts) and strewing them across the driveway. It just seems unnatural.

I wonder if it has anything to do with that UFO I saw the other night.

posted by Doc at 23:29 | Permalink | 3 comments
14 September 2007
They've got to be kidding...

Go Read THIS.

Especially the last paragraph.


Christ, they should put all of us under the jail.

posted by Doc at 10:25 | Permalink | 5 comments
11 September 2007

Why is it that all my plans always seem to turn to shit at that critical moment. Everything starts out well. I get everything planned out, figure out what needs to be done, and then, whosh, it all falls to total shit.

I should jut give up.

Saturday we’re planning on having a grand old time for our fifth wedding anniversary (it’s actually Friday, but who wants to celebrate alone?). Folks are coming in for the baptism on Sunday and we figured it would be a nice opportunity to goof off a bit. Menu is planned, chores have been given out to various people, one of whom is going to be kind enough to attempt a certain dish I’m not feeling smart enough to do. (Yep, I was serious about that, else we'll have no veg with our meat. The horror!) All seems great!

Then Mr. Organized decides that having the friends around is also a great time to pick the friggin apples and squish ‘em and start them on the road to fermentation. Lovely. But Mr. Organized (first name is Notso) forgets that I like to plan these things in advance, so that I’m not stuck at the last minute with fifteen hungry souls trapped around a table while I’m trying to de-bone chicken thighs and feed a three month old and keep a toddler alive and keep a three-year-old from sticking forks in a light socket—one that’s still hanging from a wire four years after the renovation was started. I can multi-task, mais pas a ce point la!

AND: someone has to set up the place (wherever that turns out to be) where we’ll be eating Sunday—all forty of us. There are tables and chairs to set up, the table needs to be dressed, the buffet put up. There are THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE. But these finer points of entertaining escape him. The fact that we aren’t exactly sure where we’ll be eating is certainly playing on his mind, along with the myriad of other things—all business related , of course, but he is the one that needs to worry about them—but it’s not doing much more than playing. I don’t know if he thinks a magical solution will just present itself or what.

No, I do know that’s exactly what he’s thinking, because that’s what usually happens.

Hi, My name is Magical Solution.

Actually I’m already sick of the whole thing. Mr. Organized complains that each time his friends come it’s chaos, and he’s sad he doesn’t get to spend as much time as he’d like with each of them. I can totally understand and relate to that. I’m usually running after kids when my friends are around and that is a huge conversation killer. But I often feel like the whole of the work gets dumped on me, gets thanklessly dumped on me and hey, these are his kids, too.

But there’s the Farm Argument, and while the farm is paying the vast majority of the bills I can’t really bitch too much. Well, I can, but then he and I sit there and try to figure out traceless ways of killing each other.

I hate those apple tress. I really do.

And I’m not too particularly fond of the farm, either.

Especially the putain de farm equipment that keeps breaking. All. The. Damn. Time.

But it’s not only Mr. Organized that’s throwing wrenches in the machine. It’s this place. It’s the mayor. It’s just fricking life. Everything is conspiring against me. The weather’s turning cold, so our lovely champagne-cellar/barn/garage thing is out. No sense in having people sit down to eat if their butts are only going to freeze to the benches. The mayor is just a prat and I’m so sick about him closing down the church and kicking us out that I have to physically restrain myself every time he sticks his smiling, pro-American face out of his window to tell me I shouldn’t smoke. 97.8% of our guests have replied in one form or the other. That missing 2.2% will either show up or not. I have to move beyond caring about details. And let’s face it, 2.2% is a detail.

So as things stand now, tomorrow is the last of the Big Clean. No sense in doing it too early or I’ll just fuck it up again and who has time to do housework? Not I. (Seriously, those of you who don’t have nine weeks of dirty dishes piled up beside the dishwasher that hasn’t been unpacked for a month, or fifteen loads of laundry waiting desperately to be washed before they rot, or floors that will protect you should the Earth ever lose its gravitational pull, HOW THE HELL DO YOU MANAGE?) Thursday is the Big Shop, because we can at least pretend that the fresh eggs in the dessert are fresh, right? Friday is the Big Prep, because you know, animals? They come with bones. Bones are too crunchy to eat. And Saturday, is the Big Chaos. Mr. Organized is under the assumption that those not arriving by train will be here at Sparrow Fart. Ha! (Mr. Organized forgets that certain folks work Saturday morning, and others live far away, and even others have other things to do, things more important than wallowing in sheep dung while shaking apples off a tree, and still others have a combination or even all three of these things going on in their non-farm-related lives. Forgive him, but Mr. Organized hasn’t lived in the non-farm-related realm for entirely too long.) I don’t even want to think about Sunday. If I make it to the Big Sprinkle and the Big Feed afterwards I will consider myself extremely lucky. If not, maybe the dingleberry they elected to run this joint will open the church for my funeral.

Then again, that’s a sure-fire way to bring the roof down.

posted by Doc at 14:38 | Permalink | 9 comments
08 September 2007
Parenting brings with it many challenges. The latest here seems to be choosing between having a neat house and eating. I chose eating. See the result?

This particular mess was created by Pooplette in the time it took me to make soup from a mix--three minutes folks! Ya know, fasting is looking like a good idea.
posted by Doc at 10:40 | Permalink | 4 comments
06 September 2007
and on this happy note...




What's Your Blog Wanted For?
...I think I'll go do just that!
posted by Doc at 23:30 | Permalink | 1 comments
04 September 2007
Je suis vert !

Tonight I am not a happy camper. For those of you not in the know (and that’s honestly not because I don’t love you, but because I don’t have space for all of you), we’re holding Melanie’s baptism on the 16th. We’ve been really excited about this because finally we're going to be able to baptize one of our children in Marc’s village, in the church his ancestors built, the same church where les Poulot have been baptized for centuries. We weren’t able to do this for either of older monkeys because they hold mass in this church only twice a year and we were never able to line things up to do it there. The 16th is also the village fête, so we’ve got entertainment built right in—rides for everyone! Just what you need after a ‘light’ sit-down, post-sprinkling lunch.

On the 15th of August we had a mini-tempest blow through. It only lasted about ten minutes, but it did a lot of damage. A LOT. Like it ripped up part of the roof on our new house (covered by insurance!! so we weren’t one bit sad about that), broke out windows and punched through shutters all over the place. It was such a strong storm that the stained pillars in the front of our house are no longer stained—they’ve been hail-blasted. But it also hit the roof of the church pretty hard.

Pretty hard…HA! A few of the roof tiles got broken and a few others flew off. So they mayor has all but condemned the place. No Mass. No baptism. We’ve been kicked out of our church and told to go next door. To ANOTHER village.

I’m so pissed off I don’t know what to do. It’s not like we’re going to get another shot at this (oh God, please not). And it’s not like the damn roof is going to fall in on us (I’m not getting married again, ferchrissake—it’s a baptism—not exactly something God would bring the roof down on me for).

All of this for a few roof tiles…

Does this man not realize how many people I now have to call, how many plans will need to be changed…for a few fucking tiles?

I need some booze.

PS—a note to Mme ArtyFartyPants: Who needs you anyway? I managed to locate and fabricate and over-stuff-icate all the lovely, sexy, Dragée bags all by my lonesome! And are they DEE-Lish! Ha! And Melanie says, “Imagine, thinking of choosing an ArtyFartPants for my Godmother so MomsyDarling wouldn’t need to express herself so artistically and put the world to shame! Bwahahaha!” OK, actually what she said was, “Arrrrrrrrrrghrrrrrrrr”, so I’ve interpreted for you because Her Loveliness isn’t feeling particularly articulate today. Love, Her Royal High(ney)ness
posted by Doc at 22:19 | Permalink | 5 comments