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June 30, 2010

Conversations from my French class, translated for your entertainment

I started taking a once-weekly intermediate French class last week in hopes of improving my dastardly speaking skills. It turns out "intermediate" can mean anything from a 15-year-old who just finished her first year of high school French, to her father, who had one year of high-school French 30 years ago, to a guy who lived in Quebec for 10 years, to a charming 20-something who has a BA in the language and is looking to dust off her skills before going to France for a year. Oh, wait. That's me!

For the past two Mondays, I have been paired with a fellow I'll call "Guy" for our designated conversation practice time. I think Guy took a few years of Spanish way back when, and he feels like those language skills were immediately applicable to French. That would at least explain why he pronounces the "s" in "dans" and pronounces the "e" at the end of words like "banane" as "ay" (/buh-NAHN-ay/).

This week we had to devise our own situations where one person is a salesperson and the other is a customer. I did my best to translate literally, for your maximum enjoyment. Our exchange went a little like this:

Guy: Hello, ma'am. What do you desire?
Me: I desire a hat for my dog.
Guy: A what?
Me: A hat for my dog, so he doesn't gain a sunburn.
Guy: Sunburn? What is this?
Me: It is when the sun makes the skin blush.
Guy: Oh. OK. We have a hat on the third floor.
Me: Where is it made? I do not support hats that are not made in France.
Guy: There is a factory in England.
Me: Oh. Can I wash this hat at my house or do I need to bring it to a dry cleaner?
Guy: A dry cleaner? What is this?
Me: The place where the professional men wash clothes.
Guy: Shampoo?
Me: No. It is a store. It is a store where people take the clothes that are delicate and say goodbye to the brown things. They wash it very gently.
Guy: I do not understand.
Me: When you wear a tuxedo, you can not wash the earth off it at your house. You must take it to a dry cleaner.
Guy: (blank stare)
Me: Um. I buy it. Thank you. Goodbye.
Guy: Goodbye, ma'am.

Next we were in a restaurant, where I decided to try being funny. I'm not sure why, since I've learned time and again that my humor doesn't translate.

Guy: Hello m'am. Welcome to the restaurant. What would you desire?
Me: I desire a sandwich.
Guy: Which meat do you desire?
Me: I desire a sandwich of pigeons.
Guy: Pigeons? I do not understand.
Me: It is a bird. It is similar to a dove. It is gray. It is a rat that flies.
Guy: Dove? I do not understand.
Me: The dove symbolizes peace. It is white.
Guy: Oh. OK. But pigeon?
Me: It is almost the same word in English. (Enunciating really hard and jutting neck forward) Peed-zjon.
Guy: Oh. Oh! This is bizarre. We do not have pigeons.
Me: I saw some on the street. You could kill them for me.
Guy: In five minutes, I do this.What would you like to drink?
Me: I would like the juice of socks.
Guy: Socks? What is this?
Me: It is the clothing you put on before you put on the shoe.
Guy: (blank stare)
Me: (Pointing at other students) Those people are wearing socks. We are not wearing socks.
Guy: (blank stare)
Me: (Pantomiming putting a sock on) One puts it on the feet. It can be made with the hair of a sheep.
Guy: Oh. Oh! This is bizarre.
Me: Yes. I have desires that are bizarre.
Guy: Good appetite!

June 26, 2010

Please don't get us the Wii

Like most things having to do with wedding planning, registering for gifts is not as fun as I thought it would be. I imagined myself frolicking through the stores, scanner in hand, delightedly blipping upon anything and everything I never knew I always wanted but couldn't afford.

Instead, we had a two-hour slog through gargantuan floor of home goods at Macy's in the Clackamas Town Center. I guess I kind of forgot I wouldn't be doing it all by myselfsies, with only my own particular whims to satisfy. Our exchanges went a little something like this:

Me: "Standing mixer! Squee! I want a color that will pop. How about apple?"
Him: "I like red better."
Me: "I feel like red will clash with too many things."
Him: "And apple green won't?"
Me: "OK... why don't we just get silver then?"
Him: "I thought you wanted something that would pop. I like the red"
Me: "Thisismydreamapplianceandifyoudon'tletmegetitinthecolorIwantIwillscream."*

The sales guy had the attitude that since we weren't buying any of this stuff for ourselves, we should register for the highest quality (and thus most insanely expensive) stuff they had. I almost let myself be persuaded to get the $599 tri-ply cookware set, but Matt made the excellent point that I wouldn't notice the difference between that and the $279 bonded set. It's weird putting the really expensive stuff on there. I feel like I should put a caveat on them that says, "Um...this is kind of a pipe dream. Feel free to get us the ice cream scoop instead. I swear we're not greedy."

We still can't agree on bedding-- I like bright, fun patterns and he likes...taupe-- but we had a major coup yesterday when we finally agreed on a china pattern we could both stand to stare at for the next 70 years. It's called Noritake Platinum Wave, which sounds in equal parts exotic, luxe, and fun. Our sales dude said it was made of bone china, which you could stand on and it wouldn't break. I should have made him prove it. Next time.

Matt was pretty registered-out by the time we were done, so I created our Target registry online while he took a nap. When he woke up, he snatched my laptop off my lap and registered for his version of the standing mixer: a Wii. I grew up in a video game-free house, and the idea of having one--relatively innocuous though the Wii may be--is slightly vomitous.

*This is a dramatization. What really happened is I registered for the red and then when we got home I snuggled up to him, batted my eyelashes, and asked very sweetly if I could change it to apple online. So that's how it's gonna be...

June 23, 2010

Skylines of the Pac N-Dubs

A couple of weekends ago we were treated to a brief reprieve in the unusual soggy sogfest the past three months have been. Matt and I decided to walk downtown from our apartment and we were treated to some lovely views of this fair city from the Broadway Bridge.

The very next day I took the train up to Seattle for my cousin's graduation. It was the most beautiful day in all the woyld, and it just so happens that we had reservations at the top of the Space Needle. The restaurant makes a verrrrrrrrrrry slooooooooooooow revolution (so you don't ralph), and we got to see the whole entire city before it got dark out.

Today was another long-anticipated gift from the heavens. Portland looks a whole lot better when the sun is shining...there's really nothing that compares. It made me a little sad, because we have about two months left here before I blow this popsicle stand, and I don't know if we'll be coming back. At this point it seems most likely that we'd land back in the Minne Apple post-nuptials. While being in closer proximity to many of my favorite people would be great, I'm going to miss it out here so much.

June 10, 2010

Neenuh's Rules of Matrimony

1. No gifts required. If you receive an invitation to our nuptials, it's because we want you there, not because we want to milk your bank account dry. Different rules apply to rich relatives and parental friends, of course, but only until I receive the coveted KitchenAid Standing Mixer. Once that has been checked off the registry everything else is just gravy.

2. Down with the one gift per event rule! If you decide to give me a lovely toilet brush for a bridal shower, consider your gift obligation fulfilled. You most certainly do not need to purchase a matching toilet brush holder for the wedding itself.

3. The bachelorette party will be phallus-free. I do not need to be reminded of male genitalia everywhere I look. I want a tame tea party where we play Truth or Truth and then we're safely tucked in bed by 9:30. Anna, as one of my bridesbitches, I want you to make that happen.

4. Anyone that we made out with in former lives is not invited. Sorry Prince; that means you.

5. Do not mock my creative touches. I'm going to have a brooch bouquet. Deal with it. And if I decide to paint my face like a bunny, it's because that's my power animal. And if my brothers duet on Mary Poppin's "Feed the Birds," it's because that's my favorite song. Get over it. In return, I won't mock the silver spray-painted and glittered animal pelts you had as your centerpieces.

6. Tribe it up. There will be glass breaking, chair dancing, hava nagilah-ing, and mazel tov-ing. L'chaim!

7. Go easy on the open bar. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Every drink you swizzle means one less diaper for my future progeny.