Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Last day of the year...

Rusty sliding down the hill on her belly.
My village in the snow.
What's up here:
The garden is trimmed, the brush cleared away (I helped drag branches around this morning) the snow is melting (it never stays long here) and the washing machine is fixed and chugging along happily washing dirty clothes. The mountain is now a mole-hill.

I have a new oven. I made chocolate chip cookies to celebrate. I ate far too much cookie dough. (Why does the raw dough taste better than the cooked cookies?)

There is still lots of ice on the ground, so people are putting woollen socks OVER their shoes and walking around - the wool sticks to the ice. It's a good idea, but the socks are probably destroyed.
The dogs love the snow, and Rusty slides like an otter on her belly whenever there is a hill. Auguste always looks like he's cold, and he walks around with his favorite toy (an empty water bottle). He did find a way to escape this morning, and the neighbor's boy brought him back.

This evening we're going to a friend's house for dinner. (Very small New Year's Eve party) But since I'm still sort of sniffling and flu-ish, I don't think we'll be out very late!
Have a happy New Year Everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Machines, the flu, and ice storm.

I don't think people can build things anymore. My oven door broke, and the 'thing-ma-gig' that broke is not under guarantee. If, when the thing-ma-gig broke, I'd let the door fall off instead of catching it, and the glass broke THAT would have been insured. As it was, the little joint that held the door broke, I caught the door, took the oven to the store, and was told to 'Go buy a new Oven'.
My daughter, who was with me, said loudly, 'We'll go buy it in Another Store, Not Here. I'm Never buying anything Here Again.'
The serviceman, who was just doing his job, replied, 'Happy Holidays to you too.'
I'm afraid I started to laugh hysterically.
My step mother sent me a check for Christmas, I used it as my oven money; Thank you Anne!
(We did, however, go to another store).

I forgot to get the flu jab and I think I have the flu. Not a very virulent flu, but enough to keep me stuffing myself with aspirin. For some reason, fevers give me lots of energy, and I've cleaned the house from top to bottom. To kill all the germs, I've used Chlorox. My husband says it smells like a hospitol here. It's CLEAN.

We're having an ice storm today. It's a tiny storm. Just a drizzle of freezing rain falling on frozen ground, covering everything with a layer of ice. I put salt on our front steps, because my Washing Machine (brand new!) Is BROKEN and the repair man Should come. Probably won't because of the ice. Laundry is piling up like nuclear waste. Pretty soon I expect to see it start to shuffle down the stairs. Especially the boys' socks.

So that's life in France today. Crappy machines that break, the flu going around, and hubby is outside in the ice storm trimming the bushes back. (My husband decided today was the day to trim the trees - and once he decides something...) So there are huge piles of branches all over the garden. I'm hoping he'll make a big bonfire - I love it when it's cold and there is a huge bonfire outside.
The tractor just drove by, they're salting the roads.
We're supposed to get freezing weather for the next week or so.
My daughter is at the mall with friends shopping the sales with her Christmas money.
I'm off to make more coffee!
If the coffee machine still works.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holiday Musings

Sorry about the hiatus - been busy.

Something about winter makes me want to stay in bed under thick quilts and read. Maybe I was a bear in another life and still get the urge to hibernate. One of my twins takes after me. He can sleep more than a marmot, the other twin is like his father, bouncing out of bed at the crack of dawn, a bundle of nervous energy.
My husband has lots of nervous energy, and I'm more the calm sort. I noticed my siblings marriages were the same - one calm partner - one energetic, and I wondered if the old adage about opposites attracting was true.

So what's been going on in my corner of the world? Not much. A snow flurry lent us hope that winter would be sparkly-white, but it's been warm and rainy, and so the typical gray, soggy winter has settled in.

The twins got a paintball set and have been (with a group of freinds) roaming the woods above the village dressed in army clothes and looking like a bunch of terrorists with their masks and hoods. I warned the neighbors, so they didn't call the 'gendarmes'.

The holidays swooped up on us faster than I thought, and I had a last-minute scramble to get ready. My work has been interesting, and I went to a conference in Paris last week to hear all about electromagnetic waves and their effects on the human body. Several renowned scientists were there and it was quite interesting. They said they were under considerable pressure from politicians and activist groups, even recieving death-threats, but they refused to budge from their findings - EMFs cause no proven damage to the human body. Continue to use your cell phones, folks, don't worry about power lines. You're safe - well, from EMF's anyhow. Don't know how safe you are from activist groups.

A case in point - one of my best friends just sent me an e-mail marked 'URGENT'. In it was a psuedo-study about how the new vaccination against the human genital warts virus was all a scam by huge pharmaceutical companies to get rich. She said that I must Not vaccinate my daughter, because the malady in question was rare, and that the vaccine would cause health problems.
First of all, I know someone who caught cervical cancer at the age of 25, and had to have a total hysterectomy. Secondly, genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection there is, and most people don't even realize they have it HPV infection.
These are the facts:
Approximately 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, and another 6.2 million people become newly infected each year. At least 50% of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2008, 11,070 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S.
Activist groups will try and bend these facts to fit their agendas, but in doing so they put a part of the population at risk - the part of the population willing to forgo scientific conclusions for shrill protests.

Scientists have poor communication skills. They don't see things in 'black and white', 'good and bad'. They know that proving something is 100% safe or dangerous is impossible, so they stick with years of meticulous studies to help prove or disprove theories. They publish their meticulous studies in peer-reviewed magazines and text-books, and the general public buys 'People' magazine or switches on Operah to see what She has to say about this. Through my job I meet scientists, read reports, see the studies, and I'm always amazed at the disconnect between the scientist's findings and the activists claims.
It's like the girl at the pony club who kept asking if she could change her horse's name.
"Go ahead and change it," the director said.
"But I heard it was bad luck!" she wailed, and continued to ask people, searching for the one who would confort her superstition and tell her not to change her horse's name.

I suppose that people will believe what they choose to believe. Not what science proves, but what their friend Joe said over at the garage the other day, or what they heard on the TV.
I'm afraid I'm the type of person who doubts everything except what is scientifically proven.
I'll keep on using my cell phone, and my kids will get their vaccinations despite what people say.
Sometimes I wonder if the expression 'modern man' isn't an oxymoron.