Monday, December 26, 2011

This morning, we leave for LONDON!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

On Sunday afternoon, the Annemasse music conservatory gave their annual Christmas concert. I participated, just as I did the past two years- but this time it was much more fun because Valentine was there singing with me:
(This isn't a great pic, as it's kind of blurry- but it's the only one where you can get the full effect of our concert garb. I think we looked kind of elegant!)

The church was pretty full, but not as jam-packed as previous years, when it was standing room only.

Vivaldi's "Gloria" (RV 589- the famous one) was on the program.

It went really well and a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

We had an excellent Halloween!

The kids had the whole house decorated and invited a dozen friends over.

I even got dressed up for the occasion. I was a witch and Severin was supposed to be a vampire.
But I thought he looked more like a male model after a particularly hard night of partying....
Don't the girls all look cute?
Valentine had the Hipster Vampire Girl look going, while the twins were just being gorgeous something -unspecifieds....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Original Halloween Cuteness (by Mallory)

It's mid-October now.
School has been well underway for a month and a half now and we're heading into the two-week long "Toussaint" holiday.

But my kids aren't thinking "all saint's"- they're all about Halloween.

It's definitely NOT a French thing.
In fact, many people here are actively Halloween-hostile.
Which is weird.
I think it comes from the multiple attempts that French shops have made at promoting the foreign holiday in order to push merchandise. The efforts were such blatant attempts at culturally invasive money-grubbing that it turned many people off.
And, frankly, France doesn't need Halloween.

My kids and I always have a big party for our friends because we're American and like to enjoy this fun holiday that I grew up with.

But I'd really rather not see French people doing Halloween parties. They try to make you eat pumpkin soup and they don't know what candy corn is.
It's just sad, really....

Thursday, September 01, 2011

It's my birthday today.
Yes- I'm now 46 years old. And I don't care who knows it. Coyness does not become me.

No- I don't want any cake today. Thank you.

Yes- I just spend 10 minutes reading my Facebook birthday wishes and counting how many there are so far (25). This is possibly pathetic, but I'm not sure. While I feel that 25 is a perfectly respectable number, I have a suspicion that it's not cool to count- or at least to admit that you did so....

No- I'm not having a party. Back in the day, I used to always have a party with a good friend from jr high/high school. It was always very fun and crazy and no parties since have ever compared.

Yes- I have been invited out to dinner and will be going to a nearby restaurant that I've wanted to check out for ages. It looks so chic and charming- I hope it lives up to its reputation...

and finally:

No- I'm not going to trot out that tired old bit of nonsense "I'm not getting older, only getting better".
In fact, I am getting both older AND better.
So there.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This has been an odd that, for a variety of reasons, I haven't been too inclined to blog about.
But here's a nice topic for a post:

Along with three friends from the Music Conservatory, I performed last weekend at a medieval faire in a charming mountain village.

It was a long, hot day, but lots of fun....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Valentine turned 18 on the 6th of July. Not that it made me feel old, or anything....

OK- maybe a little.
But that's ok. That was more than outweighed by the joy of seeing her becoming an adult- so beautiful, capable, kindhearted, clever, talented and full of happiness....

The party we had for her was great. Tya had about 11 friends over and had a barbecue. Then they played Wii rock Band outside, followed by a "sitting around the campfire late in the evening" kind of thing, which was all really fun...

(And here's Al, looking cute.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Grandes Medievales D'Andilly 2011:
Part III, In Which My Girls are So Beautiful

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grandes Medivales d'Andilly 2011: Part II, In Which Severin Is Totally Awesome

We just spent the last two weekends in the late 15th century, and it was fantastic! Severin was a knight in the daily shows at the fair. He was great and looked pretty impressive.

The photo of him and Valentine appeared in the Geneva newspaper last week, so it's not only me who thinks my kids are gorgeous and amazing!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Grandes Medievales d'Andilly 2011: Part I, In Which Ae Terribly Geeky and Proud of It!

We spent last weekend in full-on geek mode, enjoying ourselves at the huge Andilly Medieval Fair.

This is the third year we've gone, but the first in which we were actual, official participants!

Since September, Sev has been in a medieval combat group, and when it's time for the fair, they put on quite a show!

As you can see, there's quite a crowd- this is one of the biggest historical fairs in France!

In the photo below, Severin is just behind the flag bearer, carrying the group's blason on his back.

And you can see him in the doorway of the tower, ready to defend it from enemy incursions!

To add to the fun, I managed to convince some of the people that I sing with at the Conservatory to come out to the fair to sing with Tya and me!

Three showed up on Sunday and we had a great time walking around and entertaining the crowds. It reminded me so much of the good old days with the LHS Madrigal Singers!

The fair continues for three more days next weekend and we'll be there for nearly all of it.
And on the 12th, there will be lots more people from the Conservatory to sing - at least 10 besides Tya and myself.

(Also- please note that Sev and Tya's rock band has a concert on the 11th!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

List of Eight Things That Are Making Beth Happy Right Now

8. "Friday" by Rebecca Black.
How on earth could this be making me happy, when it is apparently inducing severe vomitting in everyone else on the face of the planet? It's one of those "so bad that it's good" situations.
Plus, the lyrics are easily changed to suit every day of the week and every possible situation. My kids are particularly good at this and many lulz ensue.
If you want to hear a version of this song that won't make your brain bleed, listen to this.
If you don't value your cerebral integrity, go ahead with the face-palmingly unforgettable original.

But what I really think you should all do is watch this parody
(btw- DON'T get in the van with Uncle Dave. I'm just sayin....)

7.Super-short hair
Natalie Portman in "V for Vendetta", Demi Moore in "G I Jane",
Persis Khambatta in "Star Trek" , and Beth in "Just Went to the Hair Salon Today and Said What the Heck, Cut it All Off."
Ok- maybe my hair isn't quite a marine-syle buzz-cut, but it's not far off by much.

Yes, I look kind of scary.

And yes, I love it!

6.Chanel Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil ( in brun cendre)
Just because I have no hair doesn't mean I don't want eyebrows, people!
And the best way to make my mangy, sandy-colored eyebrows look all awesome is to use this exactly-right, natural brown pencil that is the Holy Grail of the eyebrow-enhancing world.
And there IS such a world, I swear it upon my Mac Brow Set.

5. No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series by A. Mc Call Smith
If you don't know these books, start reading them NOW. They will not only entertain you, they'll make you wish to be a better person.
What happens after that is up to you, of course....

4. June 2011
Just thinking about next month makes my heart sing a bit, for a variety of reasons. One of these is the medieval faire at Andilly. We attended last year and the year before that. But this will be the first year that my kids and I will be WORKING there! Expect to hear MUCH more about this in a future post....

3. Ray William Johnson - Equals Three
One-stop shopping to meet all of your weekly YouTube viral video needs.
What? You say you HAVE NO weekly YouTube viral video needs?
Well the, you'd better watch this now and get over being so classy and highbrow and stuff....

2. Battlestar Galactica
I'm talking about the awesome 2003 miniseries, which was followed by a pretty darn fine bunch of shows from 2004 to 2009. I'm sort of rediscovering this, as when it first aired, I had no access to US tv shows because I was still living in Ouagadougou. (Just loading a short YouTube video there could take half a day. Seriously.)

What I'm NOT talking about is the original 1970's Battlestar Galactica, which, at the time, I loved with a mad passion. I have to admit that much of this mad passion was directed at actor Dirk Benedict, whom I ( and just about every other 12 year old girl I knew) had a crush on. Starbuck!
Fond memories of my girlish fantasies (some not precisely G-rated, let's just say) featuring Starbuck tempted me to use the magic of YouTube to have a look at the old show.

And now I have proof that 12 year old girls in Nebraska in the late 1970's did not come with factory-installed Gaydar.

"Non-threatening" is the nicest thing you can say about the guy. The feathered hair, the high-pitched voice, the arch delivery of the oh-so-cheesy dialogue... what was I thinking?
My brother's guinea pig had more sex-appeal.

In the new version, the character of Starbuck is played actress Katee Sackoff, who is hundreds of times sexier and infinitely more masculine than Dirk Benedict. Even a straight woman, forced to choose between the two of them, would opt to date Katee.
I'm just sayin....

1. Bang Girl's Pages of Truth
My daughter Mallory doesn't read books, she inhales them.
So, it's no surprise that her first-ever blog is made up of her reviews of various novels she's reading. If you're interested in seeing it, contact me and I'll send you a link. As she's only 13, we're keeping her blog private for now. ( Creepers gonna creep, and all that)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It has recently come to my attention that my blogging skillz have seriously taken a downward turn over the last six months or so. Posts have been sporadic and major milestones missed.

This sad state of affairs must not continue! Especially considering the fact that a major area of neglect has been the very excellent rock band that Sev and Tya are part of: The Boxmen!

So, for your viewing and listening pleasure, here's the only existing video of their first-ever concert back in December of 2009! They'd only been playing together a few months, but were already pretty darn good!

Since then , they've only gotten better. Sadly, I don't have any other video footage to share. But I do have a few photos from their concert in December 2010.

Their next concert is in June and I PROMISE to get a decent video of it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Friday afternoon, we celebrated JP's 60th birthday with several firemen and a few gendarmes....
Very festive, as you can see...
It turns out that when you set the woods behind your house on fire, the fire department and cops show up.
JP knows that now.
Just to be clear, he didn't start a forest fire on purpose, he was just trying to burn off some dry grass.
Which, it turns out, is illegal and dangerous.
Live and learn, as they say...

After the excitement died down, I took the twins and one of their little friends on a road trip to Lyon to see:
which was SO completely amazing and fun and cool!!
We had great seats and the girls loved the show- especially Alexa.

At the end, we went down in front of the stage to dance and sing along with the encore.
We finally got home at about 2am.
Good times!!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Generally speaking, France on a Sunday is SO boring!
Few shops or businesses of any kind are authorised to be open and things slow down to a deadly pace. So, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with the German exchange student who we are hosting this week.
Valentine had told me that the girl doesn't like history, so that ruled out museum visits. And museums are kind of my go-to solution in times of trouble...

But I wanted to do something nice, as Sunday would be our only full day with Teresia. Afterwards, she'd be at school all day and then leave on Friday night. So, I proposed that we go up to Chamonix/Mont Blanc. I figured we could go up the cute little railway to the glacier and then go back down and visit the village.

My plan work out...for the most part.
I drove us to Chamonix (it took 45 minutes flat- my personal best!) and got us on the train. We were at Montenvers station within 20 minutes.
We got out and looked around.
took a few photos...
I tried to chat with our guest a bit about the Mer de Glace glacier, Mont Blanc, the Montenvers rack railway line, etc.
In fact, what I did was commit the error of forgetting that she doesn't like history.
And she doesn't much like geology either, apparently, because after approximately 8.5 minutes on the mountainside, she said "So, are we leaving now?"
Yes, we're leaving now.

What she likes
Luckily, Chamonix is one of the most touristy spots in all of France. And this means many shops are open on Sunday.
As I predicted, Teresia perked right up the moment we got her into a Benetton shop...
And we fed her pizza.
She mostly just likes pizza.

As for me?
At that point, I could have used a stiff gin and tonic....