sentimental goop, because I don't have the time to be witty tonight

I didn't have time to do the two long blogs I wanted to today due to a quick birthday thing, but I wanted to write something. Today was the first day of spring. I mean I know its not the twenty first and its still technically february, not to mention it is now drizzling outside, as it has been for the past 6 hours, but today was indeed the first day of spring. I know this because this morning up until the late afternoon there was a spring sky. Soft, pure, fresh clouds still untarnished, but also unripe new for the new year hung thick and numerous in a clear watery sky of blue, not the crisp determined blue of winter, but the hazy sleepy blue of spring. What really tipped me off however was the beam of sunlight pouring, bursting through the double glass doors at the end of the hallway out side my study hall this morning. It lasted for so long, and with such careful intensity that I knew, I simply knew that spring had come. It was warm today too, though I'm sure the temperature will waver and regress a bit; all the same, spring has come to my little adopted corner of France. Then later as I was standing on the corner of the street after getting off the bus home I was listening to my ipod and daydreaming when I saw a little hand. I realized that while I thought I has been staring off into space, I had really been staring at the back window of a car preparing to turn, and that in this back seat there was a little girl with a pacifier in her mouth and her face pressed solemnly to the glass. She was waving at me. She had a sound matter of fact face on like she was simply waving to me because I seemed like a nice person who needed a wave, and there fore she was going to perform that service, maybe even a duty. It warmed my heart and I waved back, breaking into a smile. I kept smiling like an idiot all the way down the street to our own car. I mean this little girl waving at me as she rounded the corner, as our eyes met and I smiled back, she made my day, perhaps even my week.
a bientot,
p.s. I have found a place that exhibits my obsessive coffee drinking, i.e. I would drink the stuff all day long if I could, but my wallet, my stomach lining, and my need to sleep prevent me, and that place is la nord, where apparently the real northern mining families that go back generations would keep a pot going hot on the fire 24/7, not as strong as the dreaded and mocked italian coffee*, but just strong enough to the workers warm.
*I find it endlessly entertaining this fear of really strong espresso that the french express quite frequently, with 'well no, oh no, not like the italians, of course not that strong, goodness, no...' etc. because of course americans tend not to classify, anything stronger than gas station coffee is strong, period, but the french it seems need to make the distinction between themselves and the italians in many areas I find.


The ladybug saga

I should have written about this when it all started in, say october or so, but I didn't; I guess I was afraid of angering them, but I think I shall record the entire saga here today:

Well, one night, a cold, wet, and dingy October evening, I was showering to reheat my body/soul, and bring life back to my extremities, when I discovered a black lady bug crawling along the window sill of the little square port hole in the wall of the far side of the shower. It was a tiny little lady bug, black with big red spots and a shiny white head, which made a pattern like saddle shoes where it met his body. I was naturally unalarmed, having grown up with ladybugs in the garden. Ladybugs are legendary for their gentillesse, and I innocently made to pick it up and transfer it outside, as I had fond childhood memories of similar encounters. No sooner, however, than I'd touched its smooth back than it flipped out long, wet, fiendish wings, the likes of which I had never seen. They spiraled out of his back like a venomous tongue to lick my hand, and I in my fear, and shock saw the face of demon smiling at me from the back of this transformed, spotted bug. I hurraled it across the bath room and recoiled in disgust, and horror. Once the beast was free of my grasp, I regained some semblance of my senses and was able to master my mounting confusion. I bravely strolled forward and grasped the thing masquerading as ladybug, and opened the window to fling it out. When what to my astonished eyes should appear, but a whole nest of ladybugs crawling and writhing around the outer rim of the window, not less than 30! Well, I dropped that bug faster than superman on crack, slammed the window shut with every once of my strength and ran, stifling my urge to scream bloody murder, out of the bathroom, dripping wet and driven half mad with terror, to take shelter on top of my bed.
When at last I had calmed down a bit, I began to think about the ladybug, and its strange wings. I couldn't help but assure myself over and over again that, that thing wasn't, couldn't be a ladybug. I could think of only two possibilities, 1). French ladybugs are carnivorous, vicious things that attack people's houses like termites, hungry for fresh blood, instead of wood, or 2). That was no ladybug, that was an evil spirit sent to menace my innocent, wandering soul, by some angry god, or Pandora's box ,in the guise of our loving Coccinella septempunctata. Of course, neither of these seemed very likely to me, but I couldn't shake the image my half blind, and trusting eyes had conjured up, nor the sprit's face with the demon's wings. And when you add the discovery of his entire community, it was like a horror movie, I was hearing the Psycho theme song; I felt like Rosemary when she discovers her doctor is in on the whole thing. It was . . . an infestation. I think now I must have also been influenced by Jane Eyre in my quick leap to evil spirits, as I had just reached the part where the crazy wife lights the bed of her anguished husband on fire in the middle of the night, after harassing the unsuspecting Eyre out of spite and jealousy. Also I think the fact that I was so spooked had much to do with the fact that I have a particular thing about bugs coming near me while I'm showering, something about being wet, and encumbered by soap seems to engender vulnerability to attacks.
At any rate I was on the alert, and I did indeed continue to see lady bugs around the bathroom, and even some migrated to my adjacent bedroom. I kept away from them, never touching them, or bothering them. I figured I'd already violently expelled one from the warm sanctuary that my bathroom must present to them, in full view of their entire colony, the evil spirits must be mad, red hot mad, no need to anger them further. This continued for several months; each siting jolting me with fear, and superstition. Finally I decided that my blind ignorance in terms of evil spirits and ladybugs needed to illuminated, so I did what any clever and crafty being of the twenty-first century would, I googled...
to be continued


Really late pictures

The London Eye, the world's largest ferris wheel
a famous red telephone booth, catty-corner from St. Paul's Catherdral (not pictured)
Buckingham Palace
Westminster Abbey
A formidable lion standing guard next at the edge of the walk in front of the Aquarium, also where the Eye is, which you can see in the background, and in front of the Bridge you would take to get to Big ben (thought thats on the other side of the Thames). Also, its across from the famous mental hospital, Bethlem Royal Hospital, from which we get the word bedlam.
Big Ben
The Union Jack
Tower Bridge
Le Louvre
Le Louvre again
Christian Louboutin's flagship boutique
View from La Tour Eiffel
Second view from La Tour

Here are a few pictures from London, and some from our class trip to Paris, I'm sorry they're so late.