Bonjour on this partly cloudy Sunday!

When I got up, thanks to the noisy infants upstairs, the sun was trying to come out.  I got so excited after days of grey and snow.  If I had wanted grey, I would have stayed home, non?  And why is grey spelled two ways, anyway?  Grey and gray.  I never know which one to write...

Yesterday we made croissants and pain au chocolate, which was the croissant dough rolled in a different way, filled with sticks of semi sweet chocolate.  Yummmmm...  It was the most fun day I have had here, besides the tart day.  On Friday, we had the meanest chef supervising us, yelling, demanding, making some of the girls cry.  He failed several people that day. But yesterday, we had a nice chef who actually tried to help us with this difficult lesson.  It was a day that I had hoped the whole experience here would be like. Alas, too many of the lessons are filled with furious chefs who cannot realize why we do not get this all right away in French, no less!  (No interpreter in the practical classes.)  However, there are a few who actually like us.  Chef Hottie is leaving.  He is the head of all the pastry chefs and is to be replaced by Chef Tres Horrible, the one who loves to make us squirm.  I was told that they are understaffed in the Patisserie Division and that is why some of the Superior Level chefs must stoop to teach us lowly Basics. 

My croissants yielded a huge batch and I have been handing them out to everyone.  My fingers still smell of butter.  Could that be because I just had one for breakfast?  Warm and layered with yet more butter and French triple berry jam with my Starbucks Via that I am almost out of -- and rationing like its war-time?  

The problem I am still having is making my pastries plus grande.  I am so used to being American and making all good things big.  But here, and perhaps it is because everything is made with tons of butter and very fine ingredients so one is really satisfied after a meal, nothing is huge.  Nothing.  That is good and why you just do not see fat people very often.  All the walking and all the smoking helps too, but I do not think that is it.  There is not much eating on the fly.  Yes, people do walk around occasionally slowly eating a baguette filled with something wonderful, but not with fries and a 32 oz coke. I know that in the USA, we have a different work ethic so a 2 hour daily lunch is just laughable, as is the 32 hour work week.  But the eating is so much healthier here. Believe it or not, as much as we have been baking, I am losing weight.  I know it is because my eating habits are different.  It is not due to exercise as I get a lot more at home, and do not get to explore Paris like I thought I would have the time to do.  It has to be the eating.  Well, we all know I have far to go.  It seems like the pounds are dropping off of me.  That is until I get my calculator out!  When my scales are in kilograms it seems like so much!  haha Then I must return to reality as I remind myself that 2.2 kilograms only equals one pound.  Bummer....

However, I have found a 50 meter piscine here where I swim several times a week.  What a crazy swimming system they have!  Eric White, take note! In the rapide lanes, it is not rapide at all!  People stop at the end of the lanes and must pace themselves so they do not swim into the person ahead of them.  It is really crowded.  No one seems to get mad or out of sorts.  They just pause, perhaps because le smoking has gotten to them today as well, so it is a good time to catch your breath! They just patiently wait their turn and then go.  And the shower room...  The showers are open so everyone in the pool and those walking by can see those in the shower.  Now, there are separate male and female shower, oui.  But they are wide open on one side  to the public.  So one does NOT shower au naturel. No bare bottoms, please.  But les femmes, especially on the weekend nights perhaps because they are feeling a bit more frisky, just whip off those bikini tops or pull down those speedos and lather up those pert French breasts for all the world.  My boys would take up swimming as their job!

I am including some photos from the darling Patisserie on my street.  I have not done it justice at all.  The women working there are all so nice as are everyone in the businesses which I frequent.  Viva la France!