Five and a half hours without a fever. Hooray! And all it took was a visit to the doctor to beg for antibiotics.
She tried to tell me something about allergies, but I wouldn't have it. I pointed to my list of translated from English symptoms I had prepared because I know how much she hates seeing me in her office. I placed my finger in the book near "Green Mucus".
"Yes, I am allergic to Oak, but this isn't allergies, I've had allergies before."
"Oak, what's that Oak?" She asked, feigning interest. Surely Oak was the deadly viral strain of plant that was killing me.
"It's a tree. It doesn't grow here."
"Well, I just want to know because - well I agree that it's an infection but I want to know WHY you have it. Oak, Oak, Oak..."
She searched the internet briefly not finding anything relevant, then gave up.
Finally she prescribed me some amoxicillin and I went on my merry way. Yes, because allergies OFTEN are accompanied by a constant fever and green mucus. I SO need to find a new doctor before I get sick again. *
She didn't even ASK me if I had swine flu symptoms.
But I know I DON'T and so when my dear friend J volunteered to come keep me company (and bring me some food! Because my pantry was empty! How did she KNOW!?) I didn't say no. I even disinfected my bathroom for her and made sure she used a sanitary wipe before she touched my computer.
What we didn't account for? The Boober. Apparently on a recent trip to visit our friend down South (since relocated to Paris though, what fun!) she was not SO allergic to his two imported from America fat cats. My little Frenchy though, got her nose a sniffin' and in no time flat we had to rush her out, inhalor in hand. And here I was worried about killing her with the FLU.
Meanwhile Toady has told me I am not allowed to feel to great just yet and must stay in for at least one more day (Okay, YES SIR! and don't mind if I do!) and so I have one more day to watch mundane videos and dope myself on cough medicine before I have to return to real life. If what I have is that.
But at least I won't be sick again any time soon.
*In my doctor's defense (even though I don't care for her) apparently awhile back French doctor's got in terrible bad trouble by the Government for doling out the antibiotics like candy and so now they are SUPER cautious about it. That being said - allergies? Did you SEE my throat?
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Five and a half hours without a fever. Hooray! And all it took was a visit to the doctor to beg for antibiotics.
Monday, September 28, 2009
I called in sick today. In the whole year that I've worked as an Au Pair I haven't called in sick. I sort of assumed that, as a Nanny, I should work like a mom. Mom's don't get sick days, and so neither do I.
Luckily for me France is terrified of the Swine Flu (called Grippe A here) and so currently the spreading of any germs is quite frowned upon. And, because the kid has already had some type of illness, I thought it would be mighty inconsiderate of me to give it right back to him. Thus, I politely wrote a letter to HM and HD that I would be staying in my apartment, planned the kid's work via email and crawled back to my death bed.
Mostly I tried to sleep and stop myself from coughing, but occasionally I engaged in other very interesting activities such as slathering myself with vapor rub and taking additional doses of cough syrup that did not seem to work. I also entertained myself with Facecrack and children's movies. Why does Cruella De Vil have such pointy cheek bones?
After a lunch of Ramen noodles (Why does every flavor taste the same?) I only wanted M&M's and more cough syrup. I obsessively checked my temperature. (Am I still sick? Am I still sick? Am I still sick?) and watched an episode of Dawson's Creek that I am fairly certain never aired in America. (Which one is Jen? Why does Pacey have such a disturbing little beard?)
To round off my evening I am entertaining myself with Jurassic Park, propped up on pillows so that I can breath, dipped in a vat of vapo rub and thinking a few very interesting things:
- Are all the famous actors dubbed by the same voices movie after movie, or do they ever try to improve Samuel L. Jackson's voice. I could make my own test by switching the channel to "Snakes on a Plane" but I don't care much for that movie so I suppose the world will never know.
- Why is Dennis Nedry SUCH a bastard? I mean, really. Couldn't he have figured out a different way to get the embryos?
- Did you know that Richard Attenborough was in The Great Escape? And also doesn't he look like Colonel Sanders? (He spared no expense!)
- Even after all these years I am still terrified of velociraptors.
- REALLY? Jurassic Park FOUR?
- I can't believe France is just now catching onto Swiffer. Pfff.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I am currently breaking the fever, which is a good thing. I've woken up nearly ever hour for at least thirty minutes, fussing with pillows, taking more cough medicine, drinking water, taking ibuprofen, wishing I had some codeine...
At two am I saw that my Best Friend from infancy was online and so called her. She's hard to reach, so it was nice. We talked for an hour. Not one single cough. Until I hung up the phone and tried to sleep again.
I am dying. I just took a second kind of cold medicine and it's in French and I bought it over the counter and so I can only guess that it doesn't have a big yummy sleep inducing drug in it. I am also doubtful that it will stop my cough. All I want is sleep. Sleep, codeine, sleep and some more sleep.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
As promised, here is a photo to the awesome pink drink shaker I stole. You can see that it's not very big, which I find just perfectly apt for something that makes girly drinks. Yes, I am proud.
In other news, it is that time of year again when I am incessantly sick. I briefly had a stomach bug - which I thought I kicked with a extra garlicky soup broth - and then the young one got
the swine flu a nasty cold. And I have apparently contracted that. My throat this morning is swollen like.... well something very swollen (use your imagination here) ...making it hard to swallow and causing me to sound like a child with a funny lisp when I talk. This should prove to be entertaining when I go today to register for my French classes.
Not that it's what I want to do today. No, I would be plenty happy eating soup broth and watching movies whilst cuddling with The Boober, contemplating my navel and the possibilities of the meaning behind this funny little guy's conversation bubble.
Though I've no translation for that word in French I do believe that the "O" with the Umlaut is making him say "Poo". At least, I'm going to stick to that translation, as I find it the most entertaining.
Really, the possibilities are endless. Unless you actually know German, then the possibilities are probably only one.
Today is sponsored by DayQuil (which would totally rock my socks off right now) and the letter ö. And the sun, because we've got it.
More interesting things to come when I am not doped up on NotatAllDayQuil. For now my brain is a bit mushy. It goes great with my funny childlike lisp.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Today I spent nearly four hours at the prefecture hoping to get my long awaited carte de sejour only to be told I didn't have the right kind of proof of habitation in France. No, clearly three months of mail with my name and address on it DO NOT COUNT. And so I get to go again. YAY.
Then I came home and, whilst trying to get the young one to work with me on a new way to be productive (because our old way is not working so smoothly), he threw things and then screamed at me at the top of his lungs. I asked him if he was finished and then called his dad, which made him none the happier, and I spent the rest of the time trying NOT to argue with him further. Tomorrow I plan a radically different approach and have begun to think I should soon be certified in Child Psychology. Or at least eligible for a lobotomy.
But then I had drinks with two dear friends along the Seine, plus one more overpriced cocktail called a Cointreaupolitan (which i will post delightfully pink photos of tomorrow). I stole the pink plastic drink shaker to make up for the cost, but don't worry the last bits leaked in my purse as proper Karma.
And now I have the sweetest little Boo just begging me for cuddles and dare I say that makes up for being verbally abused by a thirteen year old? Oh yes, and we are going to unabashedly sleep until noon tomorrow, because we can.
You win some you lose some, I guess!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Baby Boo lost his first kitten tooth this weekend and Toady and I went to bed at a decent hour Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. It was quite possibly the most "normal" weekend we've have in a long time, considering that usually we flee the apartment like it's on fire when the weekend whistle blows. The homebody that I am, I didn't mind it one bit.
Today I thought about staying awake after T left for work but just like every Monday my stomach revolted and so I said "Fuck It" and resolved to begin this weeks proper obligations tomorrow.
I miss having a regular routine. I have always said that I am allergic to work and I still hold to that theory, but there is something to be said about having a real reason to get up in the morning and a list of mundane tasks you are obliged to fulfill each day. On all my resumes I tout myself as a "self-starter" but it's not true. If it were I would have a book written, an internship at a gallery and a place secured at an artists residency. No, to that end I am a failure.
But don't dare tell me that, lest I get depressed.
The cat is sleeping beside me on the couch, little pink paws pushed up against my leg as if he is holding himself up. Oh darling, how I wish I could be that pillar.
Today is promisingly sunny and I have a marginal amount of energy, thus the day seems like it could be a good one. No promises for tomorrow, but today has hope. Which is why I avoid the little task of asking to see a psychiatrist to up my dosage of medication and why I pretend to "forget" every day that I have the number of a therapist I need to call. I am fine. I say to myself, and mostly I am, ignoring the numb teeth and dizzy eyes of drug with drawls (even though I haven't stopped taking them) and the random moments of unwarranted tears. I am fine.
Everything right now seems to be in the planning stage. I am praying for the energy to move to the next level and maybe - wonder of wonders! - someday accomplish something. For now I am piggy backing on a black and white kitten.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Because there is still plenty in this lovely fall.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
In addition to Boo Radley (named by the previous au pair who couldn't have known how amazingly appropriate this title was for my spooky kitten) I have been trying hard to find spots of color in my currently greyish world. I picked up my camera again and opened my eyes, straining to catch the shapes and vivid streaks in the spectrum.
The craziest thing about being depressed - in addition to the odd moments where I am not and I feel like a phoney and a liar - is that the color drains from the world. Things become dim, a more gradient hue of their former self leaning towards shadow and darkness. Those things that once drew our my in the sunshine go missed as I wander down the street feeling the deep seed of sadness aching in my chest.
The homeless man searching through the trash for a clean tissue to wipe his hands catches my eye. Ambulances wailing give me pause.
Today a man fell to the ground in the pharmacy I was in purchasing my antidepressant and I no longer knew how to react. I fled the scene, knowing I was useless, and went on to buy a tasteless street crepe to fill my empty stomach. I left him where he laid, hoping one of those around him would save him.
But I am trying. I force myself to see the spectacular brilliance that Nature is giving us as the light shifts. I have begun creating a little garden of my secret pleasures, infinitely small but silently marvelous to me.
For now I feel good. The distraction of little Boo is enough to get me out of bed, and hopefully with it I can create a momentum. Little by little he is warming to me, and day by day I am trying to move forward.
One step at a time. One foot in front of the other.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I went to the Vogue Party. Fashion's Night Out it was called; a party thrown by designers in New York and Paris to drive the sales of luxury fashion as well as a show off their fall collections. Of course we never really need a reason to pop a good bottle of champagne, but rest assure that was present as well.
All along Avenue Montaigne the biggest fashion houses in the world opened their doors and posed people into queues. Prada, Gucci, Diane von Furstenberg, Manoush, and of course Louis Vuitton were all dressed to the nines and filling their stores with hordes of the most fashionable people in Paris.
I was tagging along with the editor of Signature 9 and a couple of her journalists. I had nervously ditched the lace vest in favor of going all black. As it turned out fushia is the mode color for the season and my frilly bit of lace would have been the least outstanding fashion item worn that night, but that nervousness turned out to be only the tip of my emotional iceberg.
For awhile I had fun. I took photographs, I drank champagne and learned all about baby cashmere. Do you know it takes seventeen baby cashmere goats to produce one sweater? But oh how soft it is.
My head was light. I couldn't attribute it to anything. I had felt the dizziness coming and eaten, suspecting low blood sugar, but there was clearly something else going on. My teeth felt numb, my eyes occasionally lost focus. I stopped drinking.
Around eleven my friend C and I stopped off at a cafe to use the bathroom and I while trying to place my finger on what was wrong with me I lightly exploded. It was this, surely this was why I was so depressed. I was so lonely. I was so tired of being a weekend girlfriend. I was so tired of living in the suburbs. I was sick. I was tired.
I wandered down the chic rue with C, completely uninterested in the fashionable queues, the last bottles of champagne, the beautiful men and women. I wanted to go home. C was taken aback. What could she do, really? It came out of nowhere.
"Why don't you come out with us? We're going dancing, it will be fun!" She looked at me worriedly, helplessly.
But I knew I would be useless. Standing in Place d'Alma, a beautiful view of the golden Eiffel Tower behind me and fancy cafe dwellers in front, salty tears spilled down my blushed cheeks. I cried because I was depressed and I knew it. It was that fragile place I had been in before, grasping me with its bony withering hands. I had to get home and hide.
And so I did. The next day, just like this disease does to me, I felt fine. Saturday was a lovely day spent walking around Paris with Toady and his family - possibly the last really lovely day of the Summer (or maybe it's long past and I am in denial) and I almost felt happy. Sunday began slowly and ended again in tears. Poor Toad, trying to understand, sat with me for an hour in his red VW beetle while I cried. I knew I was starting arguments because I needed to push him away. I was testing him. For the moment I let him pass.
On Thursday night as waited on a grey and empty platform for the train home, I decided to get a kitten. A distraction, I know, but a good one. Monday, in a torrential downpour, I carried my new little black and white spook home in a carefully purchased carrier that doesn't look like a carrier (wouldn't want HM to have a fit right off, would I?). I prayed with every train stop closer to home that he would keep me from falling apart further.
This is my year. I do not want to give any of it to depression. I curse my genetics. I have no reason at all to be sad. Not one single thing. And yet I find sadness? It's like some kind of punishment. I will not be punished this year. And so help me god I will not sabotage my perfect relationship with this poison. I will not punish the people I love.
I haven't named him yet, mostly because he is still spending the majority of the time hiding in the closet. I want to name him James Bond or Bruce Wayne because he has a very handsome black suit, but I am afraid he's not going to be quite as brave as all that. But occasionally, when he allows me to hold him for a moment, he is a glutton for being loved.
At least we know we have something in common already. That and we're both hiding out for the moment. With luck we'll warm up again soon and greet the coming winter with braver faces.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Do you think that tonight I will get turned away from the door?
I'll be sporting this little lacy vest thing I made because apparently my current mode of operation does not include doing anything except that which completely distracts me from my actual responsibilities.
But damnit I'm getting cuter by the minute.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
In September I always think of going back to school. Even though it's been nearly ten years since I had a regimented education, the end of the summer always feels like the end of something beautiful. I loved summer as a child. My family lived in a big three level house with a two car driveway on a street where all of the houses were some variation of each other. Ours was white with fake blue shutters that didn't actually close, but gave the illusion that the house had more charm than it actually did. It was smack in the middle of a long street, wedged between two similar houses and facing the mouth of another shorter street with a cul de sac I could see from my bedroom window. There was a basketball court there and though I never joined in the sports that happened there but I was a part of them each time, gazing with intrigue from the safety of our second story.
The leaves in Colorado changed color. Not like in Texas where the heat merely crumples them bitterly until they drop from the trees. Our street, where I grew up, was lined with a few skinny Aspens and nearly each yard was a Weeping Willow tree. The color change of the Willows was subtle, but noticeable, coinciding with the shifting of the sun to it's low warm place in the sky. For years, I would wander up that short street with the cul de sac, lined by Willow trees and matching houses, off to my first day of school.
I dreaded it. Waiting for the long yellow bus was like torture to me. For some reason the other students found me odd. Maybe it was because I thought it was charming to sing out loud to myself, or maybe it was because I had this terribly thin skin that, when prodded by the dry joke of a taunting child, ruptured me into red faced tears. They all thought something was wrong with me. And so I hated the bus. I hated trying to find a seat that no one else was sitting in, I hated watching the other children board the bus at each stop, laughing cheerfully to each other while I gripped my lunchbox furiously, checking and rechecking my new pens and my colorful notebooks and folders. I hated them for liking each other, but not me.
That was the only redeeming thing about going back to school: Each year I got to buy new supplies. I adored going to the giant hyper markets with names like K-Mart and City Market and choosing oh so carefully a different folder for each class, matching agendas and a good sturdy ruler that I would dutifully write my name on once I was home so that it wouldn't get stolen from me. I loved going down the long list of things that the teachers asked us to buy, marking off each one and putting it in my hand basket, grinning under yellowish florescent market lighting. The pens and markers were my favorite. I always managed to convince my mother - who didn't have enough money for all these new things anyhow - to buy me a pack of multicolored pens so I could take my notes in pink or green or purple. I chose the GOOD Crayola markers - simple, with thin tips that I wouldn't let anyone else color with because I didn't want them to be ruined. These were my tools. Even though I would suffer through most days at school I would always have my hard plastic box of weapons that allowed me to dive into my own secret paper world whenever I was bored of listening to the teacher or the other students. Those little things kept me alive in my imagination.
On fall days like today - sky equivalently blue to the day I arrived, Host Mom's garden still blooming - I find myself missing the same things I missed that day. The slants of sunlight through the oak trees in Texas. Riding my bike down the hill from my house to the video store and then to Whole foods to pick up a pint of ice cream that would mostly melt on the way home. The contented sigh of my sweet Simon as he curled up in the crook of my arm for a nap. The crackle of my record player and the laughter of my friends and neighbors. I don't miss America, I miss the home I made there. I long to return to a place in my life where I don't live temporarily. I know that another year will pass before I reach that goal.
But I am happy. I am comfortable with my nostalgia for the first time in my life. I don't want to go back and change one thing. I want to keep moving forward.
I've replaced my crackling records with streaming audio of Big Band and Bossa Nova. My bike rides have become train rides, and picking up a pint of ice cream is now grabbing a fresh, hot baguette for the family on my way home from Paris. The laughter of my neighbors is in the little old Italian couple who sit on their porch all day, watching the street; the woman next door who feeds all the cats in the neighborhood. My heart is warm like the fall sunshine. My life is charmed and sweet.
Monday, September 7, 2009
This morning I woke up thinking - "I would sure like to SEW something." And I had something already in mind and so I took out my sweet seafoamy blue jersey knit, a sweater that I liked the shape of and set to making a pattern.
I thought it was all going fine until I had nearly all of the pieces together and realize that somewhere I had forgotten something, though what exactly I couldn't tell. All I knew is the the shoulders somehow had ended up near my armpits and it didn't have a neckline. At all.
Oh well, I thought merrily, I will finish the sleeves and then figure this mess out.
And so I did (not after the bobbin jammed and subsequently ran out of thread, of course). I turned the sleeve right side out so examine it only to find I had sewn it wrong side out. YES. I AM AMAZING.
Then I thought, Oh hell, I've wasted the whole day I may as well try to salvage it. Really, I just needed a little bit here and a tiny piece there. It could be fixed, I was determined.
And then I attached BOTH THE SLEEVES wrong side out to the garment. And I swear to you people I really thought hard when I pinned it together. Oh well, I "finished" it and it needs some help still. I intend to add and subtract bits here and there until it looks a bit less... lopsided.
Honestly, I like to think of it as the perfect metaphor for my life. Try a thing, hack at it until I make it work, if it sucks try something else. It's not terribly poetic, I guess but, alas, it is me.
In other news, it's fall here which means the light is shifting, absorbed in bowls of fruit - happy and warm.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
balls plural noun(popular)
After yesterdays fun little note I found that, with the young one I had yet another note highlighting my various faults. This one was riddled with heavy handed scribbles and dark multiple underlines of words like "errors" and "not checked".
She had come home early and assumed the cooking that I was currently in the process of. I found her in the kitchen peeling the zucchini angrily. I had not begun by peeling the zucchini. Silly me, I like the skin.
I went upstairs and finished working with the young one, numb and filled with tears and then retreated to my apartment to call everyone in my phone book. Not only because I wanted to bitch about her, but because I felt something terribly familiar and frightening lingering under my upset: My Depression. Kids, I've found myself in danger again.
The difference this year?? I am going to take my depression by the couilles (pronounced: qwee) and hopefully kick it's dark black ass once and for all. On my list of things to start with? Yoga, Shiatsu, Vitamin B, Swimming, A New Schedule, Therapy. Also, trying to find a way to block out a certain someone's OCD antics. I wish I was born a tad more thick skinned...
Anyhow I woke this morning and decided that the best thing for a new resolve is a new haircut. And so here it is, live blogging style.
When one cuts ones own hair, it is important to remove all superflous items from the bathroom what may catch the bits of flying hair which will be EVERYWHERE. For weeks.
Next, crank up the motivating Big Band music and ready your tools.
I've decided to do this in two steps because of the kind of cut I want to do: Asymmetrical and choppy. This is good for two things: Hiding errors and
hiding errors being chic.
(Note) After years of trial and error I have found that it's best to do this sort of thing before showering and nude. You are going to get hair EVERYWHERE and find it for weeks. It's worth repeating. That said you ain't gonna find any nude photos here kids! Sorry!
Straightening the YES ALREADY STRAIGHT hair while dry allows one to better feel where the bulk of the weight is. Mine is always at the ends making my head look like a lovely mushroom. I started there with my brand new thinning shears.
For the record it was, indeed terrifying. Especially because right in the middle of doing it the first of the month air raid sirens went off. Ha! Also, any good stylist will tell you to use a straight razor instead of thinning shears but I don't trust myself with the likes of a razor so I went for it.
Following this I wet my hair. In order to get the finer details of a cut this is necessary. Next, hack mercilessly with no fear.
Upon realizing hair still had said lovely mushroom thing going on, I showered, blow-dried and picked up the thinning shears again. Next, hack mercilessly.
Shower, Rinse, Repeat. HAIR EVERYWHERE. FOR WEEKS.
Et voila!!! Take that depression! ...Next time we're shaving it all off.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
For diner Tuesday please warm up the chicken pastillas [looks in fridge, sees chicken chinese food in plastic container] (4x person) in the oven [insert drawing of oven here] á 180 C for 15 min. and cook the zuchini in the pan with very little oil.
[Marches off to find doctor to perform labotomy, and/or prepare the noose for later suicide.]