Sunday, September 12, 2010

Turning 110 in Sceaux

Not years, days!

September weather has been better than August, and at least so far, our cycle of nice weather has given us 2 of the three weekend days (Friday afternoon being the beginning of the weekend so I count it) being sunny.  The days are growing shorter: back in June, the sky would be lightening up around 5AM; now I can clearly see Orion at 6:15AM.  I have been warned: the days are coming soon when I will got to work in the dark and come home in the dark, even if I leave at 5PM.  Oh, my friends in the American South, relish your sunshine!  I do!

Life is getting more settled; I am picking up more of the language (FAR from fluent), but enough that I can get around in the shops, and the occasional restaurant (a rare occurrence, as I hate going to a restaurant by myself). I am pan-frying my steaks now, sorta like the French: they use a pan with nothing else on it and get it hot, throw the meat down for about 2 minutes a side, and voila!  It is ready!  My take, and I tried their method, is a bit of a hybrid: I add a little olive oil, heat the pan until a drop of water pops on the oil, throw the steak down for 2 1/2 minutes a side, and voila!  I like my steak a little more done than the French, who seem to think medium-rare is on the verge of over-cooking a steak.  I have not got the routine of side dishes into my cooking, part of the problem of being male and thinking meat alone is enough, which is ample justification, and it is a pain, almost a waste, to keep that stuff around for one person.  I make sure and eat my veggies at work, Ma.

I got my bike "street legal" yesterday.  City ordinance allows bikes on any one way or two street, the bike can go any direction, but requires the bike to have a signal and front and back lights.  The first back light I had fell apart somewhere, and I do not how, but I suspect it was me going over something and it getting walloped by too many g's.  So, I had to get a new one, and I previously had no "signal", a.k.a., a bell, to warn pedestrians or other bikers that I am about to overtake them (for me, it is mostly for pedestrians, so they can avoid being run over; haven't overtaken many other bikes), now I have one (it is not cute, it is black and ugly -- on purpose).  Today, I was planning to ride into Paris, but it is supposed to rain, and I wanted to linger and enjoy Paris, rather than make a quick round-trip.

I am experimenting with cheeses.  There are times in the course of this work that I think the reason there are over 200 varieties of cheese in this country is that no one seems able to get it right.  Just kidding, I think I do not have a good palate for cheese tasting.  Let me say a little bit of any cheese goes a long way with me, and that also guarantees much fewer calories in eating cheese.  My favorites so far: Compte (one local to the Sceaux area), Chevre Frais (fresh goat cheese, do not let it stand more than 5 or 6 days, because it becomes a stinky cheese in the worst way), Saint Agur (the only blue cheese I can eat, and again, it is nice in small quantities), Emmental, the French version of Swiss cheese, and La Vache qui Rit (The Cow which Laughs), a soft pasteurized cheese.  I have more on my list to try, but Roquefort, Camembert, and Chevre Ancien are not on the repeat list...

Thanks for dropping by, and Chez Mark welcomes visitors, should you be in the neighborhood (for Texans, that would be anywhere in Europe)...

A bientot, mes amis!

Mark