Making an effort?

[EDIT: I am resurrecting this blog. While reacquainting myself with WordPress, I came across this draft post from April 2014. Hopefully you find it as amusing as I still do.]

Ah ha! Sunday, 12:30. After exchanging a few words with our veggie vendor at the market about my rather diminshed tri training regimen (partly explaining why I was even at the market in the first place) we were finally ready to head back home, lugging a bulging shopping trolley. 

As we pulled the trolley against the thick Sunday, just-before-lunch crowds, we were blocked by an older man and a smiling young blond woman with bright red lipstick. He was clutching a clipboard holding a sheaf of glossy B&W contact sheets, and several small cards.

“I run a school of hairdressing!” he explained, as he blocked the narrow passage between a poultry butcher and a vegetable stand. 

“And you, Madame, need a haircut. Sure, it’s fine to show off your ears, but look at this (he gestures towards the spiky crown where i have a cowlick, slightly exaggerated by my hairdresser to avoid looking like a dark-haired Princess Di), c’est du n’importe quoi !”

Translation: your hair’s a mess!

Then turning to HerrKaa, “Ça c’est marrant,” as he swept over his bedhead-induced cowlick, “but it’s just too short on the sides. It should be at least a centimetre longer.” (Marrant = funny or amusing).

Incredibly, instead of responding with his best grumpy-German look, HerrKaa asked where the salons where and how much they charged. 

The reply was also marrant: “Yes, you see I was trained by Vidal Sassoon himself, my maitre, and now I run my own school. We’re always packed, but on Sundays I still come out to the markets and give people my card. I look for people like you, people who fait un effort…”

I had to laugh. “Make an effort” smacked of being damned with faint praise. “Ah, so we’re trying, but not quite succeeding, eh?” Our vegetable vendor looked at me sympathetically. 

Tout à fait. You should come to my salon. It has….blah blah blah. And our hairdressers speak English! (NB: this conversation was held entirely in French) Your hair, well, it’s ok, but it could be so much better! “

I explained somewhat apologetically that this is my hair 6 weeks after its last cut and that I’m due to get another next weekend. 

“Yes, but we look at this, there’s no shape, there’s blah blah blah…” as he rifled through my Sunday got-out-of-bed, totally-unstyled, must-get-groceries-done coiffure. “Really, showing your ears is OK, and we can bring out your masculine side too, but really, this cut is way too short for you.”

(Oh, not this again. I left my last French hairdresser oops I mean artiste de coiffure because she too refused to cut my hair shorter than shoulder length. “But it doesn’t go with your morphology. It shows off far too much of your shoulders!”)

Anyhow. If this is his normal sales pitch, no wonder he has to cruise for customers at the Sunday morning markets. 

For the record, here’s what my hair (and shoulders) looks like au naturel, as well as with a bit of grooming:

‘Done’ is the new Perfect

I met a lovely makeup artist today who quoted this to me when I blamed my current lack of time + blogger’s block as the reason why my blog has been un-updated since last year. So here I am, going for “done”.

(The person she was quoting, BTW, was a Danish model. Who is 19 years old. )

The lack of time is rather legit: inspired by the solo biking exploits described in Suze, Cycling (who likes to bike up steep mountains in the south of France), I decided it’s time to actually get back in shape rather than talking about my desperate need to do so. Cuz I’d like to be able to bike up steep mountains in the south of France too someday.

But for this year, I’ll content myself with a triathlon. I’ve joined an expats Tri club (cleverly called the expaTRIés), so I not only do I have some structure for training, I also get to talk in English with several people at once, often other native English speakers, which is fun and novel. I can make jokes! I don’t have to grope for words midway through telling a story! I meet other women who are not averse to sweating while clad in lycra!

So since early Jan I’ve been going out regularly to swim and and run (very, very slowly) around a track  and ride loops around the Longchamps hippodrome (thankfully, much better than my running).

This is new for me. While I’ve always been somewhat active, it was pretty random. A hike here, a bike ride there, a few years of casual running 2x a week, often followed by a bacon-laden brunch. And then I’d spend the next several days moaning about sore muscles, then not do anything for weeks (these last few years, make that months).  Then repeat the process.

So for the first time in my life I’m working out 4-6 times a week. This means I sleep a lot, and eat even more. And grocery shop & cook more, because I’m doing another whole30 this month (then there’s the dishes. Our dishwasher is on the fritz, and my backup dishwasher is away on business. My hands have started to shrivel).

My first mini-tri is a week Sunday!

It’s all quite fun, but not good for writing.

Tomorrow I will be introducing some newbie cyclists to the gorgeous Val de la Chevreuse, which is the local cycling mecca for roadies and mountain bikers alike. I’ve never lead a group of cyclists before: I’m more used to being the one wheezing at the back since moving to Paris.

But I noticed several of my fellow newbie triathletes are still not comfortable with things like switching gears and clipping out of pedals.  It seems far more pleasant to get to know one’s bike in lovely quiet countryside rather than an urban track with literally hundreds of cyclists in fast-moving peletons threatening to mow you down at every turn.

I hope they enjoy biking there as much as I do. On verra. I am praying we have no mechanical issues beyond flat tires!

Tights of the month – December

Forget fleece-lined tights this month. For December, it’s all glam.

A few of you said you wanted to see the blue leopard print tights from October.

Do you have any cheap, cheerful clothing finds that perk up old outfits?
Please share!