Archive for December, 2010

Bonne année 2011 !

Posted in Cats, Journal, La France at 19:28

Treats, and cat

Kanoko, as you’ve often seen, likes to stick his curious self into otherwise-still lifes. These are some of the treats I’ll be having to ring in the New Year, with egg and pine cone added for symbolism (the New Year being associated with rebirth). Pine cones are also neat for their math: their scales are arranged in Fibonacci number sequences, as are shell spirals and many other things. As for Kanoko, I’m pretty sure his mathematical basis is most closely related to chaos theory.

When not nerding out over snail shells and pine cones while drinking French wine, I’ve been playing my new digital piano (it’s as nice as I’d hoped) and writing a paper for one of my Masters courses. Once it and a second paper are finished, the first three-fourths of 2011 will be spent focused on my thesis. (As a reminder, I’m working on a Masters in comparative literature.) My initial research has been going well, in spite of, and even thanks to, a few setbacks, because they piqued my curiosity and incited me to look places I wouldn’t have otherwise. My advisor is great as well, and has recommended works I was unfamiliar with, that are a huge boon. It’s a good foundation, and working on these two smaller papers has helped develop ideas I’ll use in my thesis too, so I’m looking forward to the challenge. Yes, I am speaking in generalities on purpose — the topics involved are things that people often feel strongly about, whether they’ve analyzed them or not, so I prioritize my own peace of mind over attracting readers to my site with something more piquant.

That said, Kanoko is quite piquant. (In French, piquant can mean “pointy; sharp” in addition to “spicy; provocative; stimulating”.)

Happy New Year to everyone, all the best for 2011!

Je suis Française

Posted in Biographical, Journal, La France at 16:53

Today I received a letter from the Ministère de l’intérieur, de l’outre-mer, des collectivités territoriales et de l’immigration that begins with: “J’ai le plaisir de vous faire savoir que vous êtes Française depuis le 13/12/2010.” Translated: “I am pleased to let you know that as of 13 December 2010, you are French.”

Nice Christmas present, eh!

I can now vote in French national elections, as well as European Union elections, and will no longer have to worry about ever-changing immigration laws for non-EU citizens (which I was, until the 13th of December). I have kept my US citizenship, mainly to continue voting and participating there as well, so I have dual nationality.

Happy holidays!

Posted in Cats at 15:21

Dried fruit basket, with fruitcat

2010 ends; on to 2011

Posted in Journal at 20:48

This is a meme I did last year, that I thought I’d do again this year. A touch early, since I plan to write and play piano over the holidays, so would probably forget about the meme otherwise!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
– Applied for French citizenship (will be dual with my US citizenship).
– Applied for and was accepted into a Masters degree program.
– Checked in passengers on Air France flights. I’m still like a kid when it comes to airplanes. My current job is as a contractor at Air France, testing airline ticketing agreements. Part of that was learning how to operate their check-in system. Not a huge thing, but still, whee! (I only do it for testing, though, not for real-life flights.)

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I decide things as I go.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Like last year, yes, several colleagues had babies! They’re all adorable, though to the difference of last year, a few have had some worrisome health problems (they’re okay, but it’s stressful).

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my paternal grandmother, early this year. I’ll always remember her for her delicious pies, smart humor, and the love she had for my grandfather (who passed away several years ago). My dear cat Grey also passed away.

5. What countries did you visit?
This was the first year I didn’t leave France.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My grandmother’s passing, Grey’s passing, and December 1st, which is when I met a neat man.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Despite innumerable financial setbacks, nonetheless managing to scrape up enough to finally purchase a digital piano. I’ve wanted a piano (real, or realistic digital) to play for over a decade now, and am really looking forward to it. (I ordered it a few days ago, it was shipped right away, so I should receive it soon. Background: I studied piano from age 5 through to a year as a UOregon School of Music piano performance student, age 20.)

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not managing to get my bathroom water damage repaired… still… I should be able to afford it in a couple of months though!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Goodness yes. 2010 was the worst year of my life for that. (I hope it stays the worst, I wouldn’t want any worse.)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The Korg digital piano I mentioned in 8!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My friends’. Their presence, sincerity and kindness meant a lot. I feel terrifically lucky to know so many neat people.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
This isn’t really a question that can be answered in public, is it.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, food, and DIY supplies.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Being accepted to the Masters program in comparative literature and going to classes for it!

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Not a song, but the Old Spice Man phenomenon:

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? All told, happier!
b) thinner or fatter? Same.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, though that’s not saying much :)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Bicycling and sewing

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being ill…!

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
At home alone with Kanoko, books, and a delicious home-cooked meal.

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
I think I’m falling, yes :)

22. How many one-night stands?
I’ve never had a one-night stand and dare say I never will.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
“Mad Men”

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Same as last year… I don’t do hate. Such a pointless waste of energy. I should just change this question.

25. What was the best book you read?
Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Not really a “discovery” per se, but going to the opera was really nice.

27. What did you want and get?
Again, the Korg digital piano!

28. What did you want and not get?
Relief from illness, though it is finally getting better these last couple of months.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
It wasn’t a great year for films, but I did like “Inception”. I don’t think it’s great, mind, but it was nice.

30. What did you do on your birthday?
I forget!

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Can’t really say

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
US West Coast hippy mixed with French chic.

33. What kept you sane?
Getting home every evening and opening my front door to the sight of Kanoko, purring and excited to see me.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Eh. I’ve never really fancied famous people, because I know that I don’t know who they really are. I should change this question too, my answer is always the same.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Everything surrounding Sarkozy and Woerth, argh. Roma, retirement, Bettencourt, what a year.

36. Who did you miss?
Faraway friends

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Finn :)

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
Same as last year, confirmed even more: sincerity, integrity, and compassion earn respect, and even when overlooked, give you an inner strength that keeps you going during the worst of times.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“This is ponderous, man. Really ponderous.”