12 October 2005

Found: A reason to get up in the morning!

Good news, kids! I have responsibility again! (Wait, I thought that's what I was leaving behind in the US - uh oh.) We met a neighbor in our building who is looking for a sitter for her kids from time to time, and she wants someone who will only speak English to them. She has two kids, a boy around 4 years and a girl around 8 years. Both of the kids are fluent in English (maybe more so on the girl's part, who has been in English-speaking schools for 5 years), and the mom wants them to practice their language skills. It won't be much work - she wants me to meet them at school and walk home with them, and occassionally watch them when she and her husband want to go out.

One problem, though. I've only babysat once or twice in my life. Plus, the only time I remember doing it, the kids were sick and just went to bed. So, I need advice ASAP!! Any suggestions, recommendations, do's or don'ts for watching kids? I'll take whatever I can get at this point. I am not good with kids because I don't have any experience. Aidez-moi!!

On to the excursion of the day: climbing the stairs in one of the towers of Notre Dame. Colin played hooky from the library to join me for this, so we decided to start off with lunch at "our" café, Le Bouquet d'Alésia. Wow, it was fan-tas-tic!! I had rotisserie chicken and Colin had a beef rib. They were so flavorful and juicy! I haven't salivated over chicken in quite some time. As if that wasn't good enough, I had made up my mind that I wanted to have some mousse au chocolat, since I haven't had any yet. OH MY GOD. I could have died happy right there. It was so thick, rich, creamy, and chocolately! I was seriously contemplating licking the bowl, even though I'm quite certain that our waiter would have had heart failure on the spot. Colin had an awesome tarte aux pommes (apple tart) that was equally exquisite. Man, I could taste that mousse au chocolat all the way down to the tips of my toes!

Despite my desire to just curl up on the couch at home and languish in my food-induced coma, I decided to forge ahead to Notre Dame with Colin. It was a really nice day again today, so I was glad to get some outdoor pictures that didn't look all somber and gray.

I think I was almost more geeked to see Point Zero than Notre Dame, since I didn't know it existed when I first visited in 1990. This is the very center of Paris, and all distances in the country are measured from it. OK, so it's not like it's the South Pole or anything, but I thought it was cool. Plus, all of the people standing around us had NO idea what it was, so there wasn't a big line to take a picture or see it. I love having the time to check out things that aren't on the top ten list of all tourists. At any rate, here I am at Point Zero (to the right).

Fortunately, the line to climb all 422 stairs to the top of Notre Dame was pretty short. I don't think it was because of the 7 euro entrance fee, either! One thing you really have to chuckle at is how they have the tour set up: right after you climb the first set of spiral stairs - but before you get to actually see anything - they drop you off in the gift shop and force you to stay there for several minutes. I suspect they get more sales that way, but Colin and I were strong and didn't buy anything. (It wasn't that hard ... it's all really touristy things like pictures of the Eiffel Tower and pillows with the fleur-de-lis on it).

As we were climbing the stairs, I was feeling pretty smug about how well I was doing. After all, I've been climbing 6 flights of spiral stairs in my apartment building for a week and a half now. Well, my smugness quickly evaporated the further up we went, since I was huffing and puffing by the time we reached the first plateau. But, it was SO worth the climb! Check out that view!

My favorite part, though, was seeing some of the gargoyles up close. I love the expresssions on their faces. The guy to the right is named La Stryge, after a type of spirit in Middle Eastern legends.

However, visitors need to have respect for the gargoyles. They are prone to turn on you when you least expect it, as Colin found out the hard way. Fortunately, I was able to rescue him before the mama bird fed him to the babies. (Ha, ha, I'm soooo funny.) We also got to see the biggest bell in the tower, though the pictures aren't spectacular. It's hard to get the whole thing in your camera view when you can't back up very far.

Now then, I have some business to attend to. As you may recall, I asked for suggestions on what the weird symbol at the top of the Arc de Triomphe meant. I never did figure out what it meant, even after showing it to our French friend Muriel last weekend. Her best guess (after much discussion amongst the whole group) was that it forbids sunbathing up there. Weird, I know. Anyway, I've decided to name Keely as the winner of the most creative answer to the question. She suggested, "No cutting off your legs and dangling them over the edge!" Keely will be getting a FABULOUS postcard from yours truly, with a picture of the Arc de Triomphe on it since that's what started it all. Congratulations, Keely!

On to contest number two: what is going through the mind of this gargoyle? My answer relates directly to some advice that our friend and best man Miguel gave to us. He told us never to let this experience get old or mundane to us, and that every morning, we should wake up and think, "Holy s*^t, I'm in PARIS!" So, for me, that gargoyle is saying, "Holy s^*t, I'm in PARIS!"

This time, the funniest answer to the question wins a postcard from me. So, let's hear it! What is going through the mind of this gargoyle? Post your answers in the comments section. Good luck, everyone!


At 13/10/05 02:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gargoyle is thinking "Holy Shit! That man over there just cut his legs off and dangled them over the ledge!"


At 13/10/05 04:50, Anonymous Anne McGee said...

He's getting ready to launch a loogie (is that how you spell that?) off the side and thinking, "I bet I can hit that fat American!"

At 13/10/05 08:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about "Damnit! I can't believe this is the only small corner of the building where dogs are allowed!"

-Bill Trogdon

At 13/10/05 22:58, Blogger Andy Noverr said...

Hey Amy - first time visiting the blog and love the pics.

Quick answer for the babysitting: T.V. Millions of American children can't be wrong....

I would also like to take this opportunity to address the horrific case of VANDALISM I encountered on my way to the office a while ago. Tre uncool, as they say in France.

In honor of our rivalry, the black and pee-colored yellow will stay up on my door until one of the following happens:
a] you guys come back
b] KU passes the first round of the tournament or
c] Quinny the Pooh gets to a Final Four.

Give the level of suckitude both our teams have suffered lately, I regret to say that I think it will be a].

At 13/10/05 23:27, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's what the gargoyle is really thinking:
"That stupid Quazi Moto. He gets all the publicity. I'M the REAL Hunch Back of Notre Dame!"


At 14/10/05 03:38, Blogger Kat said...

I think the gargoyle is thinking:

"Holy c--p! I can see right into that hot girl's apartment!!" :-)

At 14/10/05 22:47, Anonymous Kelly said...

"Damn. I wish I had opposable thumbs to fill and launch some water balloons."


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