Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Unhidden Vacuums

When we were little, we had a babysitter named c-ster who would watch us if my parents went away for a few hours or a few days.  She let us watch the movie Airplane once and that was all it took for a million little silly jokes to become the norm.  She was always acting out parts of the movie, or referring to them, and we'd crack up.

Then we watched the horrible sequel, Airplane 2 and it just sucked.  It wasn't nearly as funny and went too far with its ridiculousness.  However, there was one scene with a vacuum cleaner that just made c-ster wet her pants laughing and the vacuum became the new joke.  My parents had a central vacuum and whenever c-ster would go to use it, she'd pretend the vacuum was overtaking her.  Not really funny, but a lasting memory.

This must be why I can't stop taking pictures of vacuums in weird places.  First it was this one, which is definitely my favorite.

And then I saw this one in the hotel in Paris and I had to take it.  There's something about a long vacuum hose, located somewhere that it shouldn't be, and I just can't stop laughing.  This is a live one, I guess, because it took the toilet paper hostage!

I know, I know, something is wrong with my mental state.

Finding the Funny

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mediterranean Burgers

Believe it or not, the original recipe for these was in our local grocery store flier and I have changed it to suit myself, but it's still pretty amazing. Even k-ster speaks highly of it.

I use ground turkey for these because I don't eat beef.  I have never made them with beef so I can't imagine how they would taste. 

Mix in some feta and make patties, like these and set them on the grill, medium-low.  You can probably make them in your oven, but I don't know about that.  I'm a grilling gal when it comes to burgers of any kind.

You are supposed to use Ranch dressing from a bottle for this next part, but you know me better than that!  Instead, I buy these packets of dressing mix because the others have MSG in them.

Mix it with some plain, thick, Greek yogurt and some cucumber.  I use about half of packet of dressing mix and I usually use more than this 6 oz. container of yogurt, but it's all I had.  Mix them together and let them sit while your burgers are cooking. 

The pièce de résistance is these "miami" onion rolls. I  don't know what you people in Miami do differently, but OMG these rolls are amazing.  They really do justice to these burgers!

Split the rolls, put a burger on the roll and then slather on some of the yogurt dressing.  It's yogurt, so slather away.  Sometimes, turkey burgers can be a little dry, so this dressing takes care of that in an instant.

Nothing like "moming up" a burger with broccoli!  I can't help it!  I think you need a vegetable at every dinner.  So I steamed some broccoli and squeezed some lemon juice on it.  Yummmmmm.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Maybe I Better 'Splain Myself

So, I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this picture that I took in Paris.  To allay any fears you may have had, here's my story and I'm sticking to it.

a)  Yes, I was with students when I took this picture, but I only knew about it because THEY pointed it out to US!  They thought it was great that I took the picture to show my friends. 

b)  Remember that the students who were with me in Paris were 16-18 years old, hardly the young ages of my middle school students and therefore far less impressionable with silly pictures that had the word ass in them.  And it's not like we were handing out detentions for saying dirty words.  If that had been the case, then everyone would have had detention when we first arrived at the school and one of the French kids had a t-shirt that said Mother f-ing something or other all spelled out in English.  That blew them away far more than Madame taking a picture of meat.

c)  The ASS in the picture really was supposed to be ASSIETTE which is the French word for plate but clearly there wasn't room for the whole word.

d)  It was about 10pm the night they found that sign, so we were all a little silly.  This came right after we saw a restaurant called PANIS and as I looked at it and imagined one of them saying PENIS, that exact word came out of one of their mouths and I laughed out loud.

e)  And no, my students do not read this blog, or if they do, it is not because I've told them about it or given them the address.  I do have a blog for my students but I don't even use the blogger platform for it, so if they ever made the connection, they'd be more savvy than I would imagine.  This blog here is just for us adults, as far as I know.

f)  The part of Paris where this picture was located is known as the Latin Quarter.  These particular streets are known for their ethnic foods and college student oriented places, and there was a strip club right in among the restaurants that not a single kid mentioned.  Either they were too horrified to acknowledge it in front of us or they didn't see it.  I can't decide. 

All in all, the word ass was hardly the most shocking thing these kids saw while they were in Paris.  The ads in store windows with naked or almost naked women advertising beauty products or clothing or whatever were probably far more shocking to most of them.

And that, my friends, is all she wrote.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Super Ass Gyros Available Here

Nothing to worry about- they have air conditioning so you can eat your Super Ass Gyros in total comfort.

The French, always thinking about your comfort.
  Finding the Funny

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hey Look, It's Me!

Oh wait, that's not me. I think it's the woman behind me.

At Sacre Coeur, there are a million people running around with drawing paper who want to do your portrait. I approached a woman instead of her begging me, and I thought she'd be thrilled. She was like "ok, whatever" and I stood there while she drew this. I am quite certain this is not me. I've never made that face in my life.

This face down here?  Sure.  But that one up there?  Totally someone living in her head.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Taking A Walk on the Wild Side

Yesterday in Paris, we played in some traffic.

I did my impression of an old lady waiting for a bus in front of the Louvre. 
Napoleon asked me to stay for supper but I told him if he can't offer me desserts like the one below, no thanks, Nap.  Plus, I was afraid the food would never be passed down to my end of the table and then I'd get grouchy.

I tried on the crown jewels.  I didn't even know France had crown jewels.

I ripped the arms off of the Venus de Milo.  She's much more attractive this way, isn't she?

And I found my favorite treasure at the Louvre:  the not so carefully stowed vacuum cleaner.  I wonder which era this belongs in?  No guards were watching this gem, so I almost stole it.

Linking here and below:
Finding the Funny

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Striking Fear In the Hearts of French Teachers Who've Dragged Their Derrieres All the Way to Paris...

So, our first day in Paris, we planned to go to the Eiffel Tower and take the elevator to the very top.

The tower had other plans for us.

Feel free to walk up the steps to the 2nd level or take an elevator to the first or 2nd level, but don't plan on going to the top.  There's a problem with the elevator and when we asked how long it had been like that, the lady said "day before yesterday" and shrugged and that was the end of that.  After 2 hours in line. 

I've only ever been to the 2nd level and the view is fantastic, so I didn't really care.  I've heard it's better from that level than the very top because the top is so very high!

THe tower has the most awesome glow that can't really be captured by my camera.  These aren't too bad.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's So Tiring When You're Royal

Yesterday, we visited a castle/palace called Fontainebleau. I was under the impression that the current president lives there, but that is quite wrong. Everyone from Francois the 1st to Napoleon lived there at one point or another and now it's just pretty to look at.

The "pissing dogs" fountain.  Lovely.

When you are royal, you can't be bothered to have to go find natural water, you just have your slaves dig a pond so you can fish and boat at your leisure.

You have lots of comfortable furniture to sit on all day while gazing at your hand made tapestries on the walls.

You have lots of secret staircases for the servants to run up and down and for antics to go on behind the king's back.  You probably would not use these staircases yourselves because your wide dresses would probably never make it up and down the stairs.

You will have grandly opulent rooms for your ladies in waiting so sit and be comfortable while they wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.

You have sitting areas between staircases because it can be so tiring to go from one end of a wing to the other, you might need a comfy place to take a break and look at more tapestries.

Forget cathedrals, you will have your own chapel or two right in your house.

And my favorite:  if you are Napoleon, you will have a bed here in your study in case you get tired.

Because walking all the way to your bedroom next door (I was standing in the study to take this picture of the bedroom!!) can be way too draining.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

History Already Made

This should probably be the warning label on my website! In typical French fashion, this is the warning you get for entering an area that might be dangerous. If you get hurt, you've been warned by this sign, so you can't sue. Too bad or as they say, tant pis.

As promised, here's a little information and pictures about the World War 1 field trip.  I know my father got very excited when he heard WWI field trip and he's dying for pictures, so here's what I have.

The sun doesn't rise until about 8am so it's really hard to get up in the morning.  On the other end of the day, it's nice to have light until almost 7pm, but leaving on a field trip at 7am and seeing darkness like it's 5am at home for us is hard.  THese are some of the American kids as we all stood at the school waiting for our buses.

We ran into some unexpected traffic headed toward Paris, more than the typical rush hour, so we got off and went through some town.

I liked this road but I have no idea where it was. Notice there is a white line down the middle of the road, not yellow.  We Americans can't get used to the missing yellow line.

It was not a pretty day and as we got out into the country, we saw lots of fields and gray skies.  The sun tried to poke through, but it didn't have much luck and then it rained and we were out in the rain like a bunch of fools at one point.

This is in the Piccardie area which is in northern France.  They grow wheat, corn, sugar beets and potatoes.  A lot of the fields looked like they had just been turned over because they were really brown.  Others just had grass growing on them, looking like they were waiting to be turned.

I think there is a rainbow in this picture, toward the right.  We saw both sides of the rainbow, but not at the same time in an arc.

This might be the Somme river which is where the battle of the Somme took place.  It might just be a canal.  I told you this would not be 100% accurate!

This is a museum dedicated to La Grande Guerre, the "big" war.  I always though WW2 was the big one, but they are called WW1 the big one.  As I said yesterday, the US arrived late to this party, so I think the "big" part had already happened by the time we came on the scene and it was not so big by then.

The museum was actually in an old ruined castle and they made a nice modern museum inside.  I didn't realize it was a castle until I started wandering around after lunch.

They had a nice way of displaying the uniforms and battle gear.  They were set down in the floor and you could get a really good look at everything and it was nice that it wasn't behind glass.  There were maps that explained what each thing was in the inset.  I think this one above was the German outfit.  I took pictures of the signs after this one so I would know which was which but I am pretty sure that was German.

This was the British soldier's stuff.

This was the gear that the French had on the front.

The German gear at the front.

The French uniforms.

The British gear at the front.

Not sure whose this was but I think it was French...  The red and blue make me think French.

This is the town of Peronne which is where the museum is located.  This is the center of town.  I always think it's funny when they park like this because it looks like they are parked in the middle of the road but it's really meant for parking.

Outside the museum.

On the way out to the battlefields.

This is a British cemetery.  They lost a lot of soldiers in this war and they were buried in France.  The British commonwealth at that time included Ireland, Australia and parts of Africa.  The German and French soldiers' families could have the remains sent home for burial, but the British commonwealth thought it was best to leave their soldiers in France.  At the time, there was no quick way to transport remains back to places like Australia and Africa, and they didn't think it was fair that some could be brought back to their homeland in England or Ireland, but others couldn't be brought home, so they established British commonwealth cemeteries all over the area.

They are in the process of locating tunnels and trenches that were used during the war.  The yellow flags indicate that there is a tunnel/trench below.  I thought we would see open trenches but they aren't open in the area where we were.  If you didn't know, you would just think they were hills.

And it's not really sacred.  This is a house right across the street from where the yellow flags are.  I asked if it was now named as historic land and they said yes, but you still can build on it if you want to go through all of the  red tape (or yellow flags, hee heee).  Some of the French kids were shocked that there might be bodies, bombs and tunnels still there, and the guide explained that if they put everything on hold because of leftover war remains, no one would have been able to move on and rebuild at all because France is so littered with war debris.

True, but strange to think about.  They still have live munitions buried all over and it's not unusual for farmers to find them.  I don't think Americans really understand any of this because we haven't had this kind of war on our land.  There weren't bombs like that during the Revoluntionary and Civil wars.

This friendly horse is in a pasture where they have some flags marking the trenches.  The flags look like what they put out when the check for gas or electric lines.  I'd expect something more heavy duty.

Here's a house build right on top of where there must be tunnels because there are tunnels before and after the house.

This is a big crater that was left after a particularly large explosion.  The French soldiers would sneak in and dig below the German trenches and set explosives to blow up the trenches and interfere with their movement.  There was some insane amount of explosives used in this one and it left a giant hole that's still there.  This is where that warning sign was located and the rim of it is where we had the crazy mud episode.

This little crater within the crater is where the explosives went off.

The guide claims that the lines you see are from kids riding BMX bikes before they fenced it off.  THat seems a little far fetched to me because I would think grass would have grown in.  The fence looked like it was as old as the crater.  You can't go down into the crater now, you walk around the rim.

The land has tons of limestone which is what made the muddy mess.  It doesn't seem to bother the farmers at all.  This is a piece of the chalky, crumbly limestone.

Lots of pieces of chalk!

This is a French cemetery.  Not all of the French soldiers' remains went back to their towns.

  These are just bikers but I said it looked like the Tour de France passing by!