samedi 26 juillet 2008

jeudi 24 juillet 2008

Azerty or Qwerty

Another item on my list of things to buy in France: an AZERTY keyboard.

For those who do not know, your standard English language keyboard is a QWERTY. The names come from the first six letters on the first row of letters going from left to right. Admit it. You have never paid attention to this before. So listen up. And look. Your keyboard, if you are a native speaker of English, features these letters in the place I just indicated: QWERTY. Imagine trying to type if instead of those letters you had these ones: AZERTY

And that's not all. But I don't want to complicate things too much.

This is from Wikipedia:
Main article: AZERTY
The AZERTY layout is used in France, Belgium (French-speaking parts) and some neighbouring countries. It differs from the QWERTY layout thus:
A and Q are swapped,
Z and W are swapped,
M is moved from the right of N to the right of L (where colon/semicolon is on a US keyboard),
The digits 0 to 9 are on the same keys, but to be typed the shift key must be pressed. The unshifted positions are used for accented characters.
The French AZERTY keyboard also has special characters used in the French language, such as ç, à, é and è, and other characters such as &, ", ' and §, all located under the numbers.
Some French people use the Canadian Multilingual standard keyboard[citation needed]. The Portuguese (Portugal) keyboard layout may also be preferred, as it provides all French accents (aigu, grave, tréma, tilde, circumflex, cedilla, and also quotation marks «») and its dead-letter option for all the accent keys allow for easy input of all the possibilities in French and most other languages (áàäãâéèëêíìïîóòöõôúùüû). Ç is, however, a separate key, as can be seen above.

mercredi 23 juillet 2008

Neglected blog

Time seems to be speeding away from me like a TGV bound for La Rochelle. In one week, I'll be on that Air France flight headed for Paris. A direct flight from Seattle is a vast improvement on having to fly through Houston, NY or Atlanta. Between now and then, I have so much work to do.
This blog entry will be a work in progress, a place where I jot down what I plan to do, who I need to see, what I want to buy and bring back from Paris.
Don't hate me because I'm paid in euros and have places to stay for free the entire time.
Here's my excellent plan:
The suitcase I check in Seattle will be practically empty. No toiletries at all. I'll head directly to Monoprix when I get to Paris - I'll go to my favorite Monoprix near St-Augustin - and buy all necessary items at their wonderful little parapharmacie. I'll also pick up my gift for Kelsey's baby. Monoprix has the best line of kid and baby clothes called "bout'chou" (literally, cabbage end, but a term for a little person, and it makes me think of cabbage patch kids for some reason). Then I'll head up to the Gap store on the Champs de l'Elysée. The best Gap store on the planet, especially the lingerie section. A whole floor devoted to undies, bras, indoor wear, etc. I'll check out the t-shirts on the way out.
I also need a new pair of glasses, and will go to the Grand Optical, either on the Champs or on Boulevard Haussmann. My glasses will be ready within an hour or so. Yippee!

In sum:
Undies and pyjamas
New pair of glasses

That will be accomplished during my first two hours in Paris.

jeudi 10 juillet 2008

Not complaining, but nobody gave me flowers for my birthday

About Anthuriums:

This is from a website about the flower industry in Hawaii
Get off a Hilo or Kona flight, and chances are you'll see people carrying armloads of ruby-red anthuriums, arguably the signature flower of the Big Island.No wonder. No other place in the United States grows more of the heart-shaped flower that reminds people of Valentine's Day year round.
This is from a UK online flower business website
You have to know what kind of person you're sending flowers to. There are 4 types of people, at least when it comes to flowers:

ARTISTIC – If you listen to loud music, enjoy art galleries and Broadway shows, you are probably an artistic person. Artistic personalities are attracted to out of the box creativity, especially when it comes to flowers. Exotic flower arrangements, loud colors and creative displays are best for this personality.
ULTRAMODERN – Ultramodern people are driven and hard working, but they know how to let loose and have a good time. Spontaneous and energetic, they love striking designs with simple yet bold flowers. Ultramodern personalities appreciate minimal but eye-catching arrangements. Exotic baskets and vases are a definite plus for this personality type. NATURAL – Natural personality types like walks in the forest, arts and crafts, and other relaxed, laid back activities. And, you guessed it, they like their flower designs to be simple and natural. Natural types prefer baskets with an abundance of plants and wild flowers like sunflowers and carnations. These people will enjoy flowers that can be preserved and dried for decorating and crafts.
TRADITIONAL - If you like simple, elegant and timeless designs, you would be best suited for a traditional flower arrangement. Traditional personalities enjoy an array of flowers and appreciate a tastefully designed arrangement with a diverse range of blossoms.
ROMANTIC – If you love chick flicks or have ever made a grand, dramatic gesture for the one you love, you are most likely a romantic personality. Romantics love elaborate arrangements with pastel colors and classic flower types. Bold statements are what romantic types enjoy in their floral design. This personality will most appreciate large, timeless arrangements like a dozen, or more, pastel roses.

lundi 7 juillet 2008

Our house

This is how our house looks from the outside in mid-summer. The foliage is so thick and green this year because of all the rain. We have a banana tree in our partly enclosed garden, which is off the deck.

You can't tell from here, but the house gets a lot of natural light. The sliding door opening to the deck is gigantic, and there is a window on top of it that extends to the ceiling. So all the southern and eastern exposures have a lot of windows. The front side faces west, but is opposite a thick forest of tall trees and so does not get much direct sunlight. The only northern exposed window is upstairs in the master bathroom. You can see downtown Seattle from there in the winter, when all the trees are bare. It looks and feels like a tree house. I always wanted to live in a tree house.

Kitty Ranch

Well, she may not weigh much (1 pound) but she finally has a name: Munchkin. Everyone who has met her agrees that this is a good name for the little runt. Here she is last Friday, boning up on her Chinese and learning to use big words like "gustatory" and "voracious." She is also dangerously close to one of Neko's toys, the famous blob we were given as part of her welcome package at the Deluxe Hotel in Portland, and the plastic bone, also included in the package.

This tiny little critter may not live past twelve weeks. In fact, there are moments when I am sure she will not live to see another day. She has a healthy appetite (voracious even) and can muster a lusty cry, but to be honest she can't really walk. She lurches and rolls and drags herself around somehow. She does get places, though. Last night, we left Munchkin and her bigger brother BB (for Big Brother, although this name is subject to change) home alone. Unable to find a restaurant open, we did a quick store run and came home thirty minutes later. The kittens were gone! We looked everywhere. I was convinced they had found the hole at the back of the wardrobe and had bolted, but in fact they had crawled into the smallest and most suffocating space they could find--right behind the dishwasher. How Munchkin managed to drag herself that far is beyond comprehension.

They seem to have returned to sleep there as well. Their bean bag chair was empty when we got up this morning. Munchkin is making up for that wild night behind the dishwasher today, with sleep interrupted only to lap up some milk and wolf down a bit of solid food. I have mixed some baby food (organic squash) into her milk, hoping that this will solidify her little stools a bit. This is why I wonder if she'll make it: diarrhea can be fatal when you weigh one pound. There is a condition called Fading Kitty Syndrome to describe kittens that gradually fade away and die before they survive their twelfth week. She is beginning week eight. I may be wrong, but I'm hoping that if she can make it to twelve weeks she will live to be at least twelve years old.

Everyone says that even if she doesn't, she will have ended her brief life in a happy place. She looks happy, and has been elated since BB showed up. But she also looks so tiny and so frail. I just don't know. If we took her to the vet now, he would tell us to put her down. Gotta run. I just heard a lusty, insistent cry.

July 8, 2008 update: Munchkin has gained two ounces and now weighs 1 pound and 2 ounces. She is also much stronger and can sit up without assistance. She loves to chew on and do battle with towels and other objects, and has just discovered her tail. Like Neko, she loves to try and capture it. She also loves to watch me work. If only she knew a little French; I can always use extra help.