petite anglaise

August 12, 2008

houseproud

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 10:06 am

For our first dinner ‘party’ in our new place, to which I’d invited a couple of good friends met in the blogosphere, I spent a blissfully happy morning preparing food in my small but extremely practical ‘control centre’ kitchen. The Boy was perched on his stool by the bar, reading a BD and sipping coffee. The pages didn’t turn very often though. I suspect this might have had something to do with the fact that I was wearing only an apron.

I made a spinach and salmon quiche, a broad bean, mint and feta salad and a potato salad, and spent ages finely chopping the ingredients for a dip I’d stumbled across on facebook, of all places. I had plans that afternoon, so the emphasis was on simple dishes I could prepare in advance.

Once I’d dirtied almost every utensil in the kitchen, including the dreaded presse-agrumes, I took a childish pleasure in filling my dishwasher (a parting gift from the former occupants). ‘It’s magic!’ I exclaimed to the Boy, who was still having some trouble looking me in the eye. ‘We can go visit your grandma and when we get back again… Ta da! Everything will be clean. Ah là là, je suis en sur-kiffe, là…’

It struck me suddenly that, only now, with my thirty-sixth birthday rapidly approaching, have I managed to attain the level of domestic comfort that I took for granted back home throughout my childhood.

Space is at such a premium in Paris that having a dishwasher in your kitchen is a luxury. The Boy, born and raised in Paris, has never lived in an apartment that boasted one. The kitchens in my last two apartments could best be described as glorified corridors. Once I’d crammed in the obligatory fridge, washing machine and cooker, I was left with little in the way of work surfaces. Adding another appliance would have been unthinkable. The reason behind this is simple: many Parisian buildings were built around the turn of the last century, when apartments were not built to contain bathrooms. When bathrooms were added, later, as an afterthought, kitchens often had to be sliced in two to accommodate them.

Our new place is in such a building, but suffers from none of the usual period drawbacks. The previous occupants bought two poky, run-down apartments and re-thought the space entirely, knocking down walls, tearing up the floors and re-doing everything from scratch. Which is why it now has so many of the features I love: invisible electrical wiring (electricity being another add-on in many apartments, the wiring often concealed by ‘baguettes‘ which run along the surface of the walls), speaker wire which emerges at four strategic points in the main room, and tons and tons of built-in storage (our whole bedroom floor is raised and currently contains about six cubic metres of BD, records, Tadpole’s baby clothes and other random items.) The original wood floors were re-laid once the work was finished, albeit in a different configuration, meaning that the much prized charme de l’ancien was kept intact.

‘The only thing is,’ sid the Boy, gesturing at the dishwasher, ‘that now you have all this, I’m in danger of becoming superfluous…’ Washing the dishes used to be his job, you see. I think he’s getting withdrawal symptoms.

‘Don’t worry, my dear, I can think of all kinds of ways to put you to work,’ I replied, putting my hands to my apron strings. ‘Everything will be alright, you’ll see…’

103 Comments

  1. Ah la la, indeed! ;-)

    Comment by Katrina — August 12, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  2. Talk about a Domestic Goddess – Nigella eat your heart out!!

    Despite having lived, and loved, in France; I’ve never been jealous of a Frenchman… until now.

    Nice to see that you’re settling into married life in your new apartment, Petite.

    N.

    Comment by Nick C — August 12, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  3. …and dinner was completely deeeeelicious, I might add!

    Comment by rhino75 — August 12, 2008 @ 10:47 am

  4. Do not underestimate how men can miss the therapeutic task of washing up. I was when married totally addicted. It is far from being a ‘girly’ activity and the effort should indeed be recognized by a promisingly pinnied partner.

    Comment by Macthomson — August 12, 2008 @ 12:03 pm

  5. The tons and tons of built-in storage space has got my pulse racing.

    Comment by Sher — August 12, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

  6. I hope the washing machine wasn’t too far away… ;-)

    For washing the apron, silly!

    Comment by Steve... — August 12, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

  7. I am not at all surprised you found the salad dip on David Lebovitz’s ‘facebook’. He has a whole range of good things. Well worth looking into further, if you haven’t already.

    Comment by John Norris — August 12, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

  8. Hmmm I assume that the apron was replaced before your friends arrived… or not? You are becoming too French ;-)

    Comment by Vonric — August 12, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  9. Which BD was he (not) reading?

    Comment by little_bounce — August 12, 2008 @ 1:12 pm

  10. So you were wearing an apron. But were you wearing a hairnet?

    I remember being shown a Parisian apartment once where the kitchen was in a cupboard in one of the bedrooms. I was applying for a flat share and it would have been *my* bedroom. I imagined being woken up each morning by someone at the foot of the bed clanking pots and pans…

    Your apartment sounds like heaven :-)

    Comment by Sophie, Inzaburbs — August 12, 2008 @ 1:24 pm

  11. Is BD like a Manga comic?
    Cooking is very relaxing, especially if one cooks old favourites, but messes with the spices to make the dish slightly different. Yum.

    Comment by PeterG — August 12, 2008 @ 1:26 pm

  12. My guy isn’t much for washing dishes (or aprons, for that matter) but since he does the majority of the cooking, I’m more than happy to do the washing up after a meal (plus we recently got a new dishwasher as a wedding gift). Although maybe if I walked around in an apron, and ONLY an apron, I could entice him to start doing the laundry, too. Hmmm, this is worth thinking about…

    Comment by The Bold Soul — August 12, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

  13. My wife and I have a deal, I cook she cleans although I think that has started to fade. I think I do both most of the time…wait that was her master plan and I bit the hook!!

    Comment by DaveW — August 12, 2008 @ 2:09 pm

  14. I was in the same boat as the boy and you growing up, no dishwasher except our right and left hands. I remember the thrill of my first apartment off-campus from my college. A dishwasher! I couldn’t believe it. Of course, my roommate had to teach me how to operate it.

    So, you are going to be in Austin for that conference? I have a friend that lives in Leander, about 45 min from there. I might just have to make a trip to see her. ;-)

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — August 12, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

  15. I’d rather cook for 1 1/2 hours than clean for 5 minutes. It’s worked well for us for 27 years!

    Comment by John from Florida — August 12, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

  16. What does BD stand for? Cause across the pond, it means “bondage and domination.”

    Comment by Sarah — August 12, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

  17. Is it just me (and predictably I know you will all say it is) or is this post completely lame? Especially the forced attempt to titillate with the cliched apron get up (nurse’s uniform next?) and the lame “boom boom” ending. I guess desperate times call for desperate writing.

    Comment by James — August 12, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

  18. The dinner sounds wonderful,the apartment divine
    Here are some aprons to mess the Boy’s mind!
    ;-)

    http://www.jessiesteele.com/index.php

    Comment by Lin — August 12, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

  19. Congrats on moving in and all being well. the apt sounds amazing, i remember the lack of storage space and no room for a dishwasher in paris. it’s a wonderful feeling filling it for the first time and then studying everything to see if it really is clean! lol!

    Comment by dubnat — August 12, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

  20. Ah, yes, a dishwasher. I remember those.

    Though, as a New Yorker, my ultimate dream is of a washer and dryer in my apartment. Dishes I can do. The washing, not so much.

    Comment by queenie — August 12, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

  21. Ahhh it’s been a while since I got the time to stop by here but I must say, married life seems to be suiting you well Petite! Am happy for you and your man and tadpole and your dishwasher. Very happy indeed :-)

    Comment by princesse ecossaise — August 12, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

  22. @17 – back again?

    Why bother?

    Comment by petite — August 12, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

  23. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Reading this posting at work is not advised. I was getting a semi on so had to think of Margaret Thatcher to remove the image of you in “just” an apron. He’s a lucky chap! Grrrr!

    Comment by Jester — August 12, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

  24. Romance in the kitchen is wonderful.

    (James…you are obviously missing out on it.)

    Go for it Petite!

    Comment by lex — August 12, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

  25. And you’re still being romantic after marriage ?!! Fantastic, long may you continue.

    (And Sarah, comment 16 – BD= Bandes Dessinees = comic books or cartoon stories, treated very much as serious literature in France. Although some can be decidedly pornographic)

    Comment by Moses — August 12, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

  26. Petite – re: #17 – Because he needs to stroke himself to feel good, and probably because he couldn’t write to save his life.

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — August 12, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

  27. ‘Kissing don’t last, cookery do’ they say. In my experience, and I’ve been married nearly your entire life, they both do, or at any rate can. However, Petite, take my advice and find him a routine job to take over (unpacking the dishwasher AND something else) so that you don’t, once the newness is wearing off, find that you’re in charge of all things domestic and that you have to ask to get him to do anything. It’ll pall.

    And keep up the flirting. I still do.

    Comment by Z — August 12, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  28. Dear petit,
    ijust came from austria and germany ..it was with my family and you may call it a family vaction (( LOL not to me))..
    ibought you’r book from virgin mega stores in kuwait..im akuwaiti girl im 23 and i’m you’r biggest fan..after reading you’r book icouldnt wait to get back to kuwait to email you..ihave no idea how this blog works but ihope im doing the right thing here LOL..iloved you’r book,iloved you’r honsty,iloved the fact that you’r a human and you make mistakes..the book is a real page turner..my sister is now reading it..for 20 days iread it ..it was the worst vaction but you’r book still made me smile becaueican tell it come’s from the real life and not just another fake writer LOL…plzzz kiss paris for me

    xoxo

    mimi

    Comment by Mimi — August 12, 2008 @ 7:53 pm

  29. Tu me sembles avoir une approche optimale de la vie maritale ;-)
    Continue…

    Comment by marie-hélène — August 12, 2008 @ 8:47 pm

  30. Wait..you wore nothing but an apron and you still managed to make a salad and other stuff?? Your Boy is quite a gentleman if he let you do any cooking at all ;-D

    I think i ll wear MY apron tomorrow and bake some cupcakes..thanx for the ideas

    Comment by Cake — August 12, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

  31. #17: My thoughts exactly.

    Comment by melen — August 13, 2008 @ 1:22 am

  32. Oh, I remember well the first dishwasher hubby and I purchased. We felt so….well, so rich! Within months, however, the thrill of not having to wash up was replaced with a new and unexpected drudgery — unloading the dang thing!!!!!

    Comment by Mrs Magoo — August 13, 2008 @ 1:24 am

  33. dishwashers are so great… just like seedless watermelon, it makes life a bit easier :)

    Comment by kara — August 13, 2008 @ 1:42 am

  34. ps… you might have a dishwasher now but what always seems to happen next is the dishes go into the sink instead of directly into the dishwasher and then you have to load the dishwasher which becomes a task in itself (like a puzzle) to fit them all in!!

    Comment by kara — August 13, 2008 @ 1:48 am

  35. If I walked around with only an apron on, my boyfriend would laugh at me.

    Sounds like you’re having a lovely time in your lovely new place. Don’t let the hecklers get you down! They obviously need to get a life.

    Comment by librarianlisa — August 13, 2008 @ 2:34 am

  36. If #17, perhaps, lives somewhere in the vicinity of Rennes then I have the heebie jeebies on your behalf.

    Comment by Zoe — August 13, 2008 @ 3:14 am

  37. Congrads on your new pad! Sounds lovely and every working woman deserves a dish washer.

    Love this post about space constraints in Parisian apartments. I live in Tokyo so we face the same problem. I had a single electric hotplate as a stove for a year and a half so it makes cooking a real challenge for the imagination.

    Comment by Yu Ming Lui — August 13, 2008 @ 4:01 am

  38. Awww, the lustful stage.

    I’m seriously jealous.

    #17, seriously, if you can’t get any through your own immeasurable charm, try paying someone. It might actually put a smile on your face.

    Comment by QldDeb — August 13, 2008 @ 4:29 am

  39. At the risk of arousing the green-eyed monster, I have the opposite problem :- the dishwasher is 10 feet away from the sink and we can’t yet afford to re-do the kitchen. Hopefully one day soon once the roof’s fixed (it rained AGAIN yesterday, and the house rewired (we’ll end up looking like the pompidou as the walls are concrete and the twits who built the place broke the conduits round corners), the pool liner replaced and the kids finished Uni…and I’ve got a fella like DaveW, though not quite as well-trained, but at least I’ve manage to stop him from baking as 28m² of flour/glue was not fun. Shouldn’t moan, but it takes two hours to clean up after his culinary masterpieces, so am only just caught up after the weekend.
    Sorry to be so boring – am getting fed up of housework.

    Comment by j — August 13, 2008 @ 7:34 am

  40. Dear me. I can understand a townhouse with bathrooms outside, round the back– but why didn’t they have them in Parisian flats? Other than the unrivalled joy of having your commode mere feet from your bed, of course.

    Spinach and salmon quiche sounds divine. *eats another digestive biscuit*

    Comment by Perakath — August 13, 2008 @ 7:50 am

  41. To n° 9 –

    I was reading a “culte” US “BD” from the 80’s called Watchmen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen)

    Pretty good actually

    The Boy

    Comment by The Boy — August 13, 2008 @ 10:17 am

  42. @22: But you must admit he does have a point.

    Comment by Estelle des Chevaliers — August 13, 2008 @ 1:19 pm

  43. The apron was probably rather a good idea.

    Nude housework can be quite risky as I found out once when ironing a pair of trousers – I’ve still got the scar on my thigh from a glancing touch of the iron. Cooking in the nude could lead to a whole new array of injuries in weird places.

    Comment by Hazy — August 13, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

  44. #17 and #42: I think you both have a point.

    But as potential embarrassment for the offspring in later years, think how much more original this kind of post is than photos of said offspring naked on a fur rug.

    Comment by Passante — August 13, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

  45. Oh thanks for linking back to me. Had completely forgotten I commented before, but, well yes, after reading this post, I think my previous question still makes sense, to me at least. Nice to know I’m consistent.

    Comment by James — August 13, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

  46. Hey good on you Petite and the Boy!! I’m sure there are many more ‘Apron’ times ahead. Such fun to be in a new place and newly married!!
    Love the photos, looks like a very nice place you’ve got there. Glad the move went well. Love Tadpoles room, dinky little desk!! Reminds me of my tiddlers, though they are Teens now!

    A toast to you in your new home: A votre sante!!

    Comment by scribble — August 13, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

  47. You’re very lucky to have a man who wants to help out. Mine “observes” from his reclining chair. :)

    Comment by Starwoodgal — August 13, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

  48. Congratulations! I enjoyed the slideshow too. The new place looks lovely.

    Comment by Di — August 13, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  49. If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all (always listen to your mother!)

    Comment by Timide — August 13, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

  50. Your new home is lovely. Generous of you to share the pictures with us. I have not had the pleasure of visiting in a French home; I’ve only been a traveller there. The pictures you share give me a window into a world that has always fascinated me.

    Thanks for the salad recipe, also. I made it last night and it was wonderful. Hope your soiree was, too.

    Your housewarming post was not lame. It is as they have always been; well written, entertaining, and about your life in Paris. Vive Petite, Manuel, et Tadpole!

    Comment by PJ Carz — August 13, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

  51. The idea of a grown man reading BDs is sexy, I must admit. What BDs? Might we ask?

    Comment by Ariel — August 14, 2008 @ 12:23 am

  52. @49 – Why? Are only nice comments allowed?

    Comment by Janey — August 14, 2008 @ 2:06 am

  53. just curious…do you speak in french with one another or mix english and french???

    Comment by nancy — August 14, 2008 @ 2:08 am

  54. James, you must have a sad little life.

    Comment by Judith Marie — August 14, 2008 @ 2:19 am

  55. We used to have a dishwasher in our old space. We also have one in our newest rental. Interestingly enough we just use this new one for storage space for a large bowl.

    It doesn’t mean the organic lettuce or greens are unneeded.

    Please tell the Husband that there are more than enough tasks for him to perform. Even as I type this I giggle because after 30 years I believe my husband would laugh as well. THAT IS a happy marriage.

    Best Wishes

    Comment by Danna — August 14, 2008 @ 2:54 am

  56. I have just finished reading your book. A two day read-a-thon that has left me feverish with questions like “What NOW!!??” So I turned to your blog finally, which thankfully has given me something to pass the time at my very boring job!!! However I feel that there is too much to catch up on from where the book ends to where you are now. I suppose i will have to slowly sift through it all if I am to know..and I don’t even know what I need to know! The book was a pleasant surprise and I have recommended it to most every woman I know. Even here on a completely different continent I too have my own Mr. Frog story (french canadian). Well thanks for your words and I suppose I will be reading more often!

    Comment by La Canadienne — August 14, 2008 @ 6:36 am

  57. #49: But bloggers invite “comment”, and a comment is a comment. If a comment is objective it will not always be gratuitously flattering.

    Comment by Seattle Boy — August 14, 2008 @ 8:04 am

  58. @57 – Fair point, I simply wonder why someone like James (not from Rennes, I see the email addresses), who has never had a nice word to say on this blog, bothers coming back for more?

    As for this post, it may not be one of my strongest (although different types of posts definitely seem to appeal to different folks), but I’m not sure I need to hear that from the quality control brigade.

    Personally, when I’m reading someone’s blog and I think they are having an off day, I don’t feel moved to say so.

    Comment by petite — August 14, 2008 @ 8:31 am

  59. I thought it was rather a nice post.

    I’ve always been amused at how partisan some of your commenters are, Petite, and at times, over the years, the comments have been even better reading than the posts! Your third book could be an anthology of comments.

    I want to know if Tadpole has got back yet and what her reaction is to her lovely pink and purple bedroom? And did she notice that her bed had got longer?

    Comment by Hazy — August 14, 2008 @ 10:00 am

  60. She’s due back today! I can’t wait to see her face…

    Comment by petite — August 14, 2008 @ 10:14 am

  61. Unlike some people out there, I really like this post. And I admire your efficiency in moving from one place to another, putting furniture in there, inviting people over, cooking for them.
    I’ve moved to my new place 8 months ago and first bought a table two days ago. I am still sleeping on a bed that belongs to my ex and have no sofa in the living room. I’ve had a full kitchen for 6 months now and have not once cooked a meal for my friends , despite my reputation of being a good cook (I make food for my self and eat it while reading blogs). Well, you could say that the lack of table was a good enough reason, but since I am an Africa specialist, I could’ve asked people to sit on the floor and use their fingers to eat. But all of this is to change now. I even started a blog now and you were one of my inspirations. So, thank you and keep doing what you are doing so well.

    Liza from Mango tree

    http://fatoumata_toure2002.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Liza — August 14, 2008 @ 10:42 am

  62. A dishwasher… built in storage… I dream about such things.

    Congrats on your new place!

    Comment by mrs.bee — August 14, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

  63. I enjoyed your post and thought it was good. If people like James don’t like what or how you write, they can always stop coming back to your blog.

    Comment by Elena — August 14, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

  64. PeterG, Sarah> BD = Bandes Dessinees = Graphic novels such as Tintin, or Asterix for example.

    Moses> pornographic? hmmm we don’t read the same BD then…

    Comment by Vonric — August 14, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

  65. Petite, I think folks like James make comments like that to stir the pot; to see what kind of reaction he can get from you and everyone else.. Sadly, I once dated a guy like this. Being the center of controversy was a big ego trip for him.

    I’ve been shocked by some of the apparent feelings of entitlement displayed in these and previous comments. This is your life, your blog to with as you will, and we are just privileged to be able to check in and see what you are up to.

    Comment by librarianlisa — August 14, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

  66. I submitted a comment today but it did not appear, did you recject it, or am I such a useless computer user that I deleted instead of submitted it?
    I’d appreciate it is you let me know. Thanks
    Liza

    Comment by Liza — August 14, 2008 @ 6:20 pm

  67. It’s hard to believe that your place used to actually be TWO “apartments”. I don’t know how building owners even get by with some of the stuff they have done in chopping up those beautiful old buildings. I know space is at a premium for the millions who want to live in Paris, but it seems like the building codes for remodelng must be very lax.At least your previous owner put the two into one space. I’ve seen apartments (as they dare to call them)for rent in Paris that don’t even appear to have a window, and other atrocities. Your new abode is good for a starter place but building a platform on the end of a room and putting a closet on it does not make it a bed”room”. How can they get by with calling it that? A sleeping area, I guess. I mean, it’s great for you, to get you into an affordable place for your little family, but it’s aggravating what building owners and real estate agents pull on the public. And people put up with it because they need an affordable (choke) place to live. At the least, they could advertise more honestly.

    Comment by Sheila K. — August 14, 2008 @ 7:30 pm

  68. Is there an address where we can send gifts?

    Comment by Sheila K. — August 14, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

  69. petite anglaise,

    vous semblez contrariée par le commentaires de James (17), mais c’est la rançon du succès: votre talent attire les jaloux pour qui ce genre de commentaire est une façon d’exister. Ce n’est pas l’originalité du contenu qui fait la qualité de l’écrivain, mais la façon de raconter, même un évènement banal ou “cliché”. En ce qui me concerne, si le post http://www.petiteanglaise.com/archives/2005/05/02/reunion/
    est un de mes préférés, j’ai bien aimé celui-ci et j’adore vous imaginer en tablier…je vous souhaite beaucoup de bonheur à tous les deux.
    Désolé de n’avoir pas écrit en anglais, sentez vous libre de traduire,
    cordialement,

    Comment by clement — August 14, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

  70. ah a dishwasher…what a concept. i have compensated my natal american need for comfort and supersizing with a 160×200 bed, but a dishwasher is indeed a luxury i truely miss. although i really can’t complain because like yours did, my “boy” fills the role pretty well.

    as for this james character, if he thinks he can do better, he should bust out his own blog and boast even half the visitation that you do petite. what do they say, ‘if you can’t do, criticize” ? ah la la.

    Comment by jennyb — August 15, 2008 @ 9:25 am

  71. #22 “Why bother”? That’s a rather philosophical question is it not?

    Why bother? Why blog in the first place? Why are positive comments appreciated but negative comments not? Why bother to command ‘Have your say’ at the end of each blog and then complain about some of the comments received but not others? Why are some contributors valued more than others? Why is your blog so much less creative and interesting of late? Why do you bother to post at all these days when you seem to have lost heart in the venture? Why do I sometimes visit this site, sometimes not? Why are you not realising your full potential in creative writing?

    Why oh why did existentialism go out of fashion?

    Comment by Gonzales — August 15, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  72. The lead-in to the comments box is “have your say…”
    If James thinks the post is lame, he should be able to, well…have his say. No?

    Maybe Petite should change the lead-in to read “praise…” or some such.

    Comment by Estelle — August 15, 2008 @ 11:32 am

  73. Well said #64 – I totally agree.
    All the same, although I thoroughly enjoy your blog it’s also interesting to read the comments and marvel at the strength of feeling of your readers. Surely that speaks volumes for your powers as a writer.

    Comment by sablonneuse — August 15, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

  74. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think spending the day cooking for friends while having an adorable husband spending time with you – and having what sounds like a healthy and fantastic sex life is far from lame! What is being critised here – the way she spent her day or the fact that Petite choose to share?? As far as I am concerned Petite tells it as it is good or bad. So why then beat her up when she is obviously having a good time?

    Comment by Amanda — August 15, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

  75. Whoops that should have read criticised!

    Comment by Amanda — August 15, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

  76. I liked the post. It was playful and fun. The only thing is that I felt you were blogging to an audience. Some of your posts that I most enjoy have been out there almost despite the audience. Because you wanted/needed to get your thoughts out of your head through your finger tips. This was just different. Not bad in anyway, really very entertaining. I like them both, but the difference between the posts for you and the posts for us are very clear.

    Comment by nrg — August 15, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  77. Just to let you know folks – I’m away for a week somewhere remote with no internets whatsover. So I shan’t be blogging for me or for you in the next seven days.

    (Or moderating comments, so they will take a week to appear…)

    Comment by petite — August 15, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  78. @clement, #68,

    Very well said. Petite’s blogs about her vie quotidienne are some of my favoris, aussi.

    I’m sure your English is better than my French.

    Regards (less than bisous, but friendly, quand meme)

    Comment by PJ Carz — August 16, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  79. #70 says it well.

    Comment by Sheila K. — August 16, 2008 @ 7:31 am

  80. I am surprised that people question the meaning of BD but not “kiffe”. I had never heard of the word but from Google and my knowlege of French I was able to work out that kiffe means to like something very much. I then learnt from a friend that I had deduced the meaning correctly and that it is fairly recent young French person’s slang. BD has been common usage in France for some time. French bookshops and libraries have a BD section even for adults. The other day in a bookshop I heard the shop assistant direct a very old lady to something by saying it was on the far side of the BDs.

    Comment by franglais tyke — August 16, 2008 @ 7:32 am

  81. Heey
    I’ve read your book. that is just a ting what i wanna say. It’s great I’m 13 jears old and come from hollad. You book is very personal and i like it!!

    Comment by Lisa — August 16, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

  82. Just finished your book and I admire your candor.

    I have only been to Paris once and fell completely in love. I am living vicariously through you!

    Comment by princessb — August 16, 2008 @ 3:02 pm

  83. Bonjour! Just stumbled on your blog, and it is delightful! I dream of living in a little apartment in Paris; where we live seems very far away from that!
    Who are these people that are calling your post Lame? They are lame, to call it that!

    Comment by woolies — August 16, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

  84. Tut Tut!! What is with all the back and forth twitchy-bitchy comments?!? Blogs and books are there if you like reading them… pretty simple really. If you don’t like it then don’t come back and/or write something better! Or else it just smacks of jealously!

    Comment by Thatgirl — August 16, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

  85. I like your blog, but sometimes it seems a little staged? Like todays post.

    Comment by 1 — August 16, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

  86. Yes, I am impressed that he could just sit at the counter until you were done. But good choice in outfits, . . .
    sorry, I was just distracted by thoughts of aprons.

    Comment by JoeInVegas — August 18, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

  87. I don’t see anything wrong with what James said. There was no name calling. There was no verbal abuse. All he said is that the post, for him, does not make particularly strong reading material.
    Petite, I recently read your book and enjoyed it thoroughly. But to come to James’ defense…although he can do so himself, once you offer yourself up as a writer, either through books, magazines, blogs, whatever, you open yourself up for scrutiny. You have to be able to accept the negative with the positive. If you don’t agree with the negative, just shrug it off. It’s your writing after all. For my own writing, I’ve found that there can be merit in those negative comments, as long as they aren’t written to be abusive. I don’t think #17 was abusive at all. I also wonder why you feel the need to titillate perfect strangers (and friends) in cyberland when you have finally found your own happy ending. I’d rather keep the steamy scenarios as a privilege for The Boy. But then again, I don’t have a famous blog of my life. Do what works for you. And definitely write another book…fictional or otherwise.

    Comment by ReaderWoman — August 18, 2008 @ 8:27 pm

  88. @66 in you think that that is a “great starter place” you should have seen the 35M² that I first lived in when I first moved to Paris. It’s a pretty decent size for most Parisians, even on the big side.

    Personnaly Petite I am loving your new place, looks like the previous owners have made really good use of the M² and have done an excellent job on all the refurbishments.

    Are those sliding doors between the bedrooms and as I am really nosy how many M² do you have there ? 65/70M²

    Comment by Pauline — August 19, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  89. Another “sticking pins in” session – I dislike them intensely it’s so disappointing.

    It’s strange how some posts are sprinkled with spite. I don’t agree with the excuse that James was encouraging debate. Neither do I agree with his supporters who suggest that only positive (praise) is welcomed on this wall. It was evident from Petite’s response that the guy is rarely complimentary. It’s so damned easy to just criticise much harder to write is constructive criticism.

    Comment by ookymooky — August 19, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

  90. Hi Catherine,

    I just read your book and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it! I am American francophile who has been to Paris only once – your descriptions of the city made me feel like I was there! You are a very gifted writer – I think you have a great career ahead of you. You are able to make every reader feel like he/she is a good friend. Have you read Diary of an (Extra) Ordinary Woman by Clare Blake? I think you might enjoy it.
    I found your blog after reading the book. Congrat-ulations on your marriage! I pray for many blessings for you, your husband and daughter.
    élan

    Comment by élan — August 21, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

  91. Dear Petite,
    I think you should just remove the negative comments so as not so start such an outbreak as last time. What’s the point in blogging if you’re going to get rated and assessed within 5 minutes of posting every time? And if people are going to start arguing about whether they can or cannot make negative comments on a blog?
    Just erase them as they come along, there is no obligation for transparency on a personal website. That way you’ll avoid the uncomfortable snowball effect.
    And all you negative commentator’s : s*d off. Go and see someone else’s blog. Don’t you know that Catherine Sanderson is a person and has feelings ? Why would you voluntarily go and hurt someone’s feelings ? Do you walk up to people in the street and tell them “that’s a horrible tie, how dare you wear it in public ?”. But here I am doing what I suggested you may want to avoid, petite. So I’ll shut up. But these people just piss me off.

    Comment by Pisohe — August 21, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

  92. Just curious petite…what is your sign (horoscope)? You have inspired and filled my days with your amazing, and insightful stories about your life and Paris. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to e-mail and say “Hello Petite, my book is published, would u like a copy?…wish me luck!

    Comment by C — August 21, 2008 @ 5:51 pm

  93. Oh YAWN. No one is “entitled” to have their say on someone else’s blog. Blogs are not state-owned or government property and if the owner doesn’t want to give airtime to people who’ve got nothing better to do than leave snide little comments on other people’s blogs then that’s up to them. Petite doesn’t actually have to publish comments from James and James is perfectly free to start his own blog if he needs a platform to criticise her that badly. If she does publish his comments she’s entitled to tell him what she thinks of them.

    Comment by Katy — August 22, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  94. Why would Petite want to erase comments? She has people returning time and time again to read her posts and check comments. A “buzz” has been created and that helps sell books. Some blogs that I read have only a few comments on each post. Any publicity is good publicity, they say in Hollywood. Besides, as long as we keep this up with each other, she doesn’t have to write a new post.

    Comment by Sheila K. — August 24, 2008 @ 5:41 am

  95. The central problem with the comment by lame James is that he paradoxically(given that he finds them uninteresting – hum)focuses on the marginal matter of the apron strings and overlooks the burning issue of the blog, namely that of the relative merits of buying a dishwasher. Some of us (see 20) have truly agonized over whether to buy a dishwasher or tumble dryer first (I plumped for the latter and have been in a heaven of washing and drying pillows ever since). Others (see 34) are of the opinion that buying a dishwasher does not save that much labour. I truly wish that someone would enlighten me as to whether owning a dishwasher does actually help and whether you really do have to rinse everything in the sink first or can just bung the dirty dishes straight into the machine. This is anything but a lame issue – it really does keep me awake at night.

    Comment by Ann-Marie — August 24, 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  96. hmmmmm…. I can see I’m going to have to rethink my stance on dishwashers. I’ve always seen them as a bit of a waste of electricity.

    But if they allow more time for, ahem, untying the apron strings….

    Comment by Barb — August 24, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

  97. #92: Oh YAWN. No one is “entitled” to have their say on someone else’s blog. Blogs are not state-owned or government property

    What on earth does that have to do with anything? Where I live and where I come from (which are not the same countries), people are entitled to have their say on anything they fancy, government/state property or not, so long as they don’t slander or libel or generate hate messages. Even then, they can have their say, though they may be liable for legal action.

    Have you not noticed that books, films, plays, music, art shows, TV shows, and you-name-it are critiqued in the media? Or at least, they are where I live. Perhaps they aren’t where you live, but in that case, you may well live in a repressive regime, where of all things, state/government publications (contrary to what you suggest) are not open for criticism but are criticized only on pain of punishment that usually involves way nastier stuff than happens where I live.

    In a free society, people can say what they like in comment boxes and anywhere else. Bloggers have far more control than book authors, artists, musicians, playwrights, film producers, poets, and so on, because blog owners can delete whatever they like — or rather, don’t like. If a blog owner chooses not to delete a critical or controversial comment, it’s because he or she is egalitarian, or wants to get a conversation going, or wants to generate traffic, or is a masochist, or is secure enough not to care. Whatever the reason, that’s his or her business.

    Oh, YAWN.

    Comment by Passante — August 24, 2008 @ 11:58 pm

  98. @ Christine,
    A belated comment on the Living School in the 19th. It is a nursery school (3-6 yrs) and my son is going to be starting just on Wednesdays as from September. There are 3 staff – the Headmistress, who also teaches, and one French and one American pre-school teacher. The American does everything in English BUT all the parents I met were French and wanting to give their child a head-start in English. I don’t know whether my son will get any more English input than he usually does with me, my parents and English-speaking friends, but the environment is nice and, if we lived closer I would have enrolled him full-time.

    Comment by Flighty — August 25, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  99. ahah I enjoy reading your blogs so much. Now please tell me how do I get the boyfriend to even EMPTY the dishwasher?

    And a facebook recipe? interesting….

    Everything sounds so delicious!

    A la prochaine!

    Comment by Patsy — August 25, 2008 @ 10:23 pm

  100. If a blog owner chooses not to delete a critical or controversial comment, it’s because he or she is egalitarian, or wants to get a conversation going, or wants to generate traffic, or is a masochist, or is secure enough not to care. Whatever the reason, that’s his or her business

    … and the last bit, that it is his or her business, was exactly my point, Passante. If bloggers are entitled to delete the comments they don’t want to read, it sort of follows that, er, people aren’t entitled to have their say wherever they want to have it. Petite is no more obliged to let people say whatever they want to say here than she would be to let them write on the wall of her house. I’m not really sure which bit of what I’m saying you disagree with?

    Comment by Katy — September 1, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

  101. What’s the point of propagating on the internet that you are bonking your husband?

    Am I missing the bigger picture?

    Comment by rocket — September 1, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  102. To #100, Katy,the part I disagree with is the part where although you can string lots of words together,the entirety of your rantings is neither clever nor profound.

    Comment by Sheila K. — September 2, 2008 @ 6:59 pm

  103. @17 & 42

    I think the idea of blogging as a medium is that there is no, as petite describes it, ‘quality control’, some people might think this is a bad thing, but if you start bringing in (supposedly objective but bordering on the subjective considering the medium and wide possibilities of theme) ‘standards’ or ‘criticism’..then doesn’t blogging become something else? I’m all for free commenting…but pointless, lazy commenting on a blog piece which is refreshingly personal and still more articulate than a lot of what is out there is..well, just lazy and pointless.

    Comment by Dublingirl — September 26, 2008 @ 10:47 pm


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