Wednesday, July 28, 2010


FB: (bursting through the door) I have a present for you!
ME: YAY PRESENTS! (jumping up and down)
FB: You're gonna loooooove it, they are sooooo good!

He opens a bag and presents me with this....

ME: this like sheep brain baked in veal eyes or something??(automatic sneer)
FB: No, it's an Oeuf en Gelée!
ME: A what???

I pick it up and sneeringly examine it more closely.....

ME: this a JELLO cup?
FB: Delicious!
ME: Is that an EGG in the middle???
FB: Yup. SO good.
ME: Sooo...(putting the foreign object down)'s basically ham and egg jello.
FB: Pretty much.
ME: Ham and egg jello cups....ugh (sneer turning to grimace)...That. Is. SO. GROSS.

My mind races back to various Jello molds I encountered as a child, with enticing names like "Ambroooooosia Jello Salad" all of which ended in a big fat ten year old EWWWWWWWW from me. I'm a fan of the Jello. I would happily rock a bowl of American over-sweetened cherry flavor Jello in a heartbeat. It's the putting things INSIDE the Jello that I find to be a horror show.

I am usually adventurous when it comes to trying new food but THIS thing presented in front of my eyes just takes the cake. WHY would ANYONE put HAM and EGG in JELLLLLLLO????? The ten year old takes control...

ME: EEEEEEEWWWWWW! I can't eat THIS!! I'm gonna BAAAAAARF! It's so GROOOSSSS!! EWWWWW!! What are you DOING?? You just plop it onto your plate like that??? BARF-O-RAAAAAAMA!!! HAM JELLLLLOOOOO....GROOOOOOSSSSSS......
FB: It's not JELLO. It's in ASPIC and it's AMAAAZING. TRY IT.
ME: (poking at it)...ugh....ok, fine.

I cut through the center and gingerly try a bite.


I scarfed the whole thing in three bites and it's official. I am a convert to the Oeuf en Gelée, or as I call them: Jello Cups of Champions. Some have a tomato in them, others have cornichons, a bit of parsley or estragon. I have no idea what time of day the French eat them but these are my new breakfast of champions.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Today I went back to the 10th arrondissement to visit my favorite old men. First stop was my Savate teacher at my old boxing school. I hadn't called him since dropping off the face of the planet months ago and I missed being made fun of by all the old men at the school so I picked up some of my favorite tarts as a gift and paid a little visit. Upon entering, my teacher smiled a wide grin and said "PAS VRAI!!!!" (NO WAY!!!)
"OUI VRAI!!!" I replied wholeheartedly.

After giving him a giant American hug and explaining my giant belly, we sat down to catch up. When the topic of whether I am having a boy or girl came up, the convo went like this (in French...)

TEACH: Is it a boy or a girl?
ME: Almost certainly a boy.
TEACH: AHHHHHH, felicitations!!!
ME: Yeah, I am very happy. (pause) The women are difficult.
TEACH: Ah yes, very difficult.
ME: TOO difficult.
TEACH: Of course....
ME: I like boys.
TEACH: Clearly.
ME: The women make like WAAAAH WAAAAAAH (wild hand gestures)!!!
TEACH: (nodding seriously) Ah yes, ah yes.....

Apparently I suddenly hate women in baby language. Lately I have found myself saying things that makes absolutely no sense to me or anyone around me. I don't really know what I meant by "the women make like WAH WAH" and I am fairly certain my Teach had no idea what I meant either so we just let it go at that......

After catching up with all my favorite old dude boxers, I went to my favorite Indian market up the street to stock up on supplies. The owner Raj never remembers my name but instead calls me New York. He learned English while working on a Texan steamship from 1972-1978. He has three kids and still loves his wife after 37 years. He told me the key to a happy marriage is to tell your wife she is beautiful every day. (He's right.) As I was leaving, we had the following convo (in English)....

RAJ: WAIT! YOU WILL BUY MY MANGOES! (he declares with a raised finger and ushers me to a large stack of boxes where he delicately selects a box from the middle)
ME: (laughing) Oh really? I will?
ME: How much are they?
RAJ: 5.90
ME: How come the sign says 3.50?
RAJ: Oh no, those are for other mangoes. Those mangoes are BAAAD. You will NOT buy those mangoes. Very bad, VERY bad. (opens a box to show me some sad looking shriveled up fruit)
ME: Then why are you selling them?
RAJ: I am not selling them to you, YOU ONLY BUY THE BEST MANGOES!
ME: OK OK, I'll buy a box. But they BETTER BE GOOD. IF NOT.....
RAJ: Yes, yes, I know, New York comes to find me and finish it.

I laughed so hard that tears came to my eyes as I promised Raj that in my current state I wouldn't be hunting him down and that the only thing I would be finishing are his box of best mangoes (which, consequently, ARE the best mangoes I have tasted in a long time).

I so heart old dudes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Spent a lazy Sunday at the inlaw's house outside a sweltering Paris. They had left on vacation the day before so I did what any normal person would do the minute they left the the cabinets for snacks (as rifling through other people's kitchens is a favorite sport of mine).

Past the rice, beans, soup mix...blah blah boring.....through the chocolate, cookies and in the mood.....dried pasta....blech.....weird packaged eyes widened as I found a bag of what looked like....YES IT favorite candy in the whole entire universe.....BUBBLEGUM. A GIIIIIIANT BAG OF BUBBLEGUM.

(yes, the slippers are also pilfered and are my new favs)

Trying not to get too excited because as I've learned, you never know what weird flavor French candy might come in, I let out a small yelp as I ripped open two pieces and popped them in my mouth. Chewing furiously, an oversized gummy smile came over my face.
(Spit out first two pieces).
(Rip open three more).
(Spit out, rip open three more)
(Make my own mix of cola/citrus/cherry/tuttifrutti)

I have always been a gum fanatic with Bazooka cherry flavor in particular being my lifetime gum of choice. I could always roll with Bubblelicious and Double Bubble in a pinch of course, but I would inevitably return to the master of all gum, Bazooka Joe. In the third grade my mind got blown when I walked into the dime store to buy my usual handful of Bazooka and saw a new product calling out to me from the shelf....GIANT BAZOOKA GUM. "Whaaaaaaaaaaa?!!!!" my nine year old brain shrieked as I shook with excitement. 10 pieces in ONE???? It's GUM and more importantly, it's BIGGER???? IT'S BIG GUM????!!!! This oversized piece of sugar rush overcame all my senses as I yanked it eagerly from the shelf, ran to the cashier, dumped my change and proceeded to stuff the entire jackpot into my mouth.
(Insert nine year old crack high)

I chewed that piece all day and into the night when I proceeded to go to bed with it still in mouth. At some point during the night the mangled wad fell out of my mouth and adhered itself to my face, then my nightgown, then my sheets and eventually my hair which resulted in large chunks of pigtail needing to be cut out the following morning.
Lesson learned?
I need more gum.

That same year I was doing my fleeting stint as a softball player on the presciently hipster named "Oakland Plum Sox". My father has a photo of me up to bat in mid swing during this time with gum in mouth, determined look on my face to kill the ball and the bat about two feet below where the ball actually is. Needless to say, I was never any good. My most vivid memory is during a game, standing in my out-outfield position, the snack bar perilously close to my right, my gaze is permanently fixed on it and my thoughts are HOTDOGS BAZOOKAGUM HOTDOGS BAZOOKAGUM HOTDOGS GUM HOTDOGS GUM.....when....
The ball knocks me on the head and rolls away as I realize I just added another notch to the "The Plum Sox SUCK" club.

I spent the entire afternoon on Sunday chewing and bubble blowing my way through the entire bag of Malabar Bubble Mix while covering my body with the fake tattoos that come with each piece.

(**NOTE: ROCK ATTITUDE must be said with a French accent)

I AM famous.
Life is good.

Friday, July 16, 2010



ME: (jolted awake) Who is ringing our doorbell this early????
FB: I don't know.
FB: I don't know....
FB: J'arrive!!!!! OK OK!

We threw some clothes on and as FB answered the door and I heard him accept a package, my heart skipped a beat and I knew immediately what had just arrived.....


It all started a few months ago after my perception of the world and how it works came to a grinding halt in 15 short seconds. Hooked up to a sonogram machine, I saw and heard for the first time a heartbeat not my own but instead from a small globular alien with a giant head and shortened limbs growing inside of me. Maybe for some, this is as natural an experience as could be, one to print out and send to everyone you know as the first glimpse of your oh so precious little cupcake.
No, I say.
Not for me.
My brain immediately went to THIS PLACE......

Straight out the window and into the world of space aliens and creatures from the beyond. I have just always assumed I was made of plastic. I have no tolerance for blood and guts and what goes on inside the body. I have no clue where any of my organs are and frankly, I have never really cared. I go about my daily business just fine, thanks. But now I hear this thumping sound over the monitors and it hits me like a Godzilla smackdown...THIS THING IS INSIDE OF YOU. AND IT COULD EAT YOU ALIVE. IN FACT, IT IS EATING YOU ALIVE RIGHT NOW.

I instantly fall in love with it.

It was at this pivotal moment I became obsessed with the daily question "is the monster still alive?". Having a creature from the lagoon living inside of you but not being able to hear or see it on a daily basis can drive a control freak like me off the deep end. Every day I meditated on "letting go"....basically, on changing my entire personality. One morning I caught FB online looking at medical gear...
ME: What's that?
FB: It's a home fetal monitor
ME: Oh nononononononononono, bad idea. BAD IDEA.
FB: Why?
ME: 'Cause I'll be that neurotic retard who ends up with it permanently taped to my belly wearing a pair of headphones all day "just to check". My OCD will LOOOOOVE THAT. No way. I'm trying to be a hippie instead and let go, ok?

As the weeks progressed and I started to feel actual movement, my neuroses diminished and we had the "fun" idea last week to order a stethoscope off ebay. Why not? What a "fun activity" for us to be able to hear the heartbeat whenever we wanted to. As usual, all logic flew out the window and as FB tore open the box this morning, I jumped into bed and yelled "OK DOC! I'M READY!!" After a quick read of the directions, he set the stethoscope on my belly. After searching around for a few minutes, I felt my familiar panic starting. He can't find it, he can't find it, oh my god, oh my god. OK, calm dooooooown, he couldn't find his OWN heartbeat a few minutes ago. Relax, just relax. But with every passing minute, I felt my own heart rate rising until finally I couldn't take it anymore. "JUST GIVE IT TO ME". After a quick Google search of "hear fetal heartbeat with stethoscope" (which brings up about 100 other jackasses trying to do the same thing) and ignoring all the advice saying it is difficult to hear at home with a stethoscope , I laid down and started furiously pressing into my abdomen. Listening intensely, all I could hear was bubbles and water. Oh noohnoohnoohno....tears welling, I tore it off of me and threw it across the room. "WHY DID WE BUY THAT STUPID THING???!! I CAN'T FIND THE HEARTBEAT!! WHAT IF THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG?????" As I laid back down exasperated and in tears, I felt a sudden jerk of movements in my abdomen and the alien gave me good solid kick as if to say, "LISTEN YOU IDIOTS, LEAVE. ME. ALONE."

Oops. Sorry, alien. I'll knock next time....

ME: That definitely qualifies as most asinine waste of money EVER. WHO BUYS A STETHOSCOPE?? Why did we DO THAT??
FB: It's not a waste, I'll still use it.
ME: For what exactly?
FB: We can check its heartbeat after it's born.
ME: (rolling eyes) Yyyyyyeah, ok. Cause it'll love THAT so much, two crazed parents chasing it around with a stethoscope just to "make sure everything is ok". That sounds really productive and I'm sure its friends will love that...."Dude, why does your loser Dad keep trying to check you heart?"
FB: OK fine, I'll use it to check my OWN heartbeat.
ME: You mean the one you couldn't find five minutes ago? A little unnecessary...
FB: Why is that unnecessary?
ME: Because if you are standing there breathing and moving and thinking you need to check your heartbeat, chances are YOUR HEART IS DEFINITELY STILL BEATING.
FB: Whatever. I'm still gonna use it.
ME: Yeah ok, doc. ;)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Four months ago I unexpectedly dropped off the face of the planet. We had some house-guests from NY staying with us at the time and I was exhausted and feeling pretty ill.

After hosting a particularly boozy dinner party that included this....

my jambalaya or as I call it, Four Meat Frenzy, I awoke at 3AM and raced to greet the porcelain throne. As I slowly lifted my head out of the toilet, it suddenly dawned on me......the unexplained exhaustion, the coming and going flu symptoms......DUUUUUDE. YOU ARE TOTALLY PREGNANT.
(Blank stare at the toilet lid)
(Blank stare at the toilet lid)
Good job.
Off to a great start there, champ.

Whatever fleeting pregnant glow I got from the surprising but good news quickly faded as I settled into what I now call my Three Months In The Dark Ages. This was me on a good day.....

My exciting Parisian life now consisted of sleep, shuffle to bathroom, throw up, cry, whine, eat watermelon, sleep, shuffle, throw up, cry, demand cottage cheese, throw up, whine, sleep.....and on and on and on....

There were a few detours along the way, i.e. the "McDonald's Incident" about two months in. During one of the rare 45 minute periods in the early afternoon where I actually felt I could stomach more than water and fruit, I had the genius idea of giving myself and the growing monster inside of me a real "treat". A real congratulatory edible gift in the form of a Big Mac and some fries. So, under the guise of going birthday gift shopping for FB, I quickly threw on my first makeup in two months and headed out the door to the golden arches across the Seine, the whole way thinking fries fries fries fries fries fries fries fries......
Entering the restaurant and making my way to the front of the line, I was suddenly overwhelmed by all the pictures and blurted out "I'll have a Big Mac menu please, LARGE....aaaaaaand also a Fish wait, make it a Fish Royale, also a large but um, just one soda, thanks. Uh, yeah."

What possessed me in that moment to order TWO large meals for myself is beyond me. What was a bad idea in the first place was spiraling into a disastrous idea by the second. I slunk to the back of the restaurant feeling sure all eyes were on "that fat girl eating two lunches BY HERSELF". I quickly downed the Big Mac and got rid of the box evidence of my double lunch. Scarfing down two servings of fries and topping it off with one giant piece of fake fish smothered in fake mayonnaise, I let out a burp, sat back and enjoyed exactly two minutes of satisfaction my delusional binge had brought me.

And then it started.....the burps, the unidentifiable stomach sounds....uh, I don't feel too good. Oh no....I REALLY don't feel too good. I have to get out of here. Have to get home. NOW. Hot sweats starting. Heart beating faster, gotta get home, gotta get home, get home get home get home get home....

I half ran out of the restaurant in a panic, up the stairs and outside. OK fresh air, fresh air. Across the Louvre and to the river, ok, ok, ok I can make it I can make it. Overcome by a wave of nausea, I had to stop half way and lean over the side of the bridge....NOOOOOOOOOOOO, I WILL NOT PUKE MCDONALD'S INTO THE SEINE, I WILL NOT PUKE MCDONALD'S INTO THE SEINE, I AM NOT THAT PERSON, GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF. I forced myself upright and somehow made it home without losing my cookies, crawled back into bed and spent the next five hours paying DEARLY for a two minute binge. FB IM'd me and asked where I had gone..."to buy you a present"....I left out the part about ripping my insides out with chemically treated beef and partially hydrogenated oil.
Some things are best kept to oneself.

8:30PM FB arrives home, upon opening the front door....
ME: (from the bedroom) Huh? What smell?
ME: Sewage? Huh? I don't know, I think I'm a little gassy from the pregnancy...
FB: (enters the bedroom and is immediately thrown back two feet by the stench, covers his mouth) AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH, OPEN THE WINDOWS! (races to windows and throws them open) What is your DEAL???!
ME: Oh, uh ok, yeah I don't really know what's happening.....strange....
FB: What did you EAT today?
ME: Oh, you know....just the usual....watermelon, some toast, cottage cheese....
FB: That's it?
ME: Yup, that's all. Pregnancy, man. (pause) Crazy what it does, ya know?
FB: (furiously lighting matches over the bed) Are you sure you didn't crap in the bed or something?? Seriously. That smell is HORRIFIC.
ME: (lifting sheets as a new wave of stench is released) Yeah, um, I'm sure. I'm just...ya know....a little gassy....from uh...pregnancy...
FB: (fleeing from bedroom) AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!! (from other room while opening the rest of the windows) Oh my GOD, you're blowing me out of the apartment with this.
ME: (innocently) Yeah I know, I'm reeeeeeally sorry. Stay on the couch tonight....I'll get a grip on won't last long I's just....what comes with being pregnant.....

The next morning I fessed up to what really happened and vowed never again to set foot in the golden arches. After I spilled the beans, FB got a smile on his face...
FB: Guess what?
ME: What?
FB: I did the same exact thing two nights ago but I didn't tell you about it because I knew you'd be mad that I didn't bring you any.
ME: Huh????

Apparently, he was working late and went into McDonald's to get a late dinner, got overwhelmed by the pictures and ordered the exact same thing I had....a Big Mac menu and a Fish Royale.
I guess we're in sync after all.

p.s. Now in the middle of the second trimester and having traded in the McDonald's for quinoa salads, I am back in the world of living laaaaaaaaarge. One baby rocker is on the way.....

photo courtesy of Naomi White